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Critical Issues in High End Computing - Final Report

Description: High-End computing (HEC) has been a driver for advances in science and engineering for the past four decades. Increasingly HEC has become a significant element in the national security, economic vitality, and competitiveness of the United States. Advances in HEC provide results that cut across traditional disciplinary and organizational boundaries. This program provides opportunities to share information about HEC systems and computational techniques across multiple disciplines and organizations through conferences and exhibitions of HEC advances held in Washington DC so that mission agency staff, scientists, and industry can come together with White House, Congressional and Legislative staff in an environment conducive to the sharing of technical information, accomplishments, goals, and plans. A common thread across this series of conferences is the understanding of computational science and applied mathematics techniques across a diverse set of application areas of interest to the Nation. The specific objectives of this program are: Program Objective 1. To provide opportunities to share information about advances in high-end computing systems and computational techniques between mission critical agencies, agency laboratories, academics, and industry. Program Objective 2. To gather pertinent data, address specific topics of wide interest to mission critical agencies. Program Objective 3. To promote a continuing discussion of critical issues in high-end computing. Program Objective 4.To provide a venue where a multidisciplinary scientific audience can discuss the difficulties applying computational science techniques to specific problems and can specify future research that, if successful, will eliminate these problems.
Date: September 23, 2013
Creator: Corones, James
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pipeline Safety: Better Data and Guidance Needed to Improve Pipeline Operator Incident Response

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has an opportunity to improve the ability of pipeline operators to respond to incidents by developing a performance-based approach for incident response times. The ability of transmission pipeline operators to respond to incidents--such as leaks and ruptures--is affected by numerous variables, some of which are under operators' control. For example, the use of different valve types (manual valves or "automated" valves that can be closed automatically or remotely) and the location of response personnel can affect the amount of time it takes for operators to respond to incidents. Variables outside of operators' control, such as weather conditions, can also influence incident response time, which can range from minutes to days. GAO has previously reported that a performance-based approach--including goals and associated performance measures and targets--can allow those being regulated to determine the most appropriate way to achieve desired outcomes. In addition, several organizations in the pipeline industry have developed methods for quantitatively evaluating response times to incidents, including setting specific, measurable performance goals. While defining performance measures and targets for incident response can be challenging, PHMSA could move toward a performance-based approach by evaluating nationwide data to determine response times for different types of pipeline (based on location, operating pressure, and pipeline diameter, among other factors). However, PHMSA must first improve the data it collects on incident response times. These data are not reliable both because operators are not required to fill out certain time-related fields in the reporting form and because operators told us they interpret these data fields in different ways. Reliable data would improve PHMSA's ability to measure incident response and assist the agency in exploring the feasibility of developing a ...
Date: January 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Acquisition Workforce: DOT Lacks Data, Oversight, and Strategic Focus Needed to Address Significant Workforce Challenges

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Transportation (DOT) lacks sufficient and reliable data to fully identify its acquisition workforce needs and assess progress in addressing shortfalls over time. Over the last 3 years, the Office of the Senior Procurement Executive—the office within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation responsible for department-wide acquisition workforce management—has submitted acquisition workforce plans that reported progress in increasing the size of the workforce and the number of personnel certified to meet education, training, and experience requirements. However, GAO identified data limitations due to a lack of internal controls to maintain, compare, and reconcile the data compiled from DOT’s 11 operating administrations (OA), and determined that the department-level data were not sufficient to assess progress over time. For example, DOT did not maintain the data it used to prepare the 2010 and 2011 plans and in some cases the data were also not available from the OAs. By contrast, GAO obtained the data DOT used to prepare the 2012 plan, compared it with data from the OAs, and interviewed OA officials about the sources and methods they used to report the data. GAO found inconsistencies in how the OAs reported their data that affect the reliability of the department’s aggregate data, but determined that the OA-level data were sufficiently reliable to make observations about staffing challenges and certification shortfalls at the individual OAs. Specifically, GAO found that 4 of the 11 OAs would need to replace 50 percent or more of their contract specialists by the end of fiscal year 2013 to meet staffing targets. In addition, some OAs reported low certification rates for program/project managers and contracting officer’s representatives, which increases the risk of DOT programs not receiving appropriate oversight."
Date: January 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Data Center Consolidation: Strengthened Oversight Needed to Achieve Cost Savings Goal

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The 24 agencies participating in the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) made progress towards the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) goal to close 40 percent, or 1,253 of the 3,133 total federal data centers, by the end of 2015, but OMB has not measured agencies' progress against its other goal of $3 billion in cost savings by the end of 2015. Agencies closed 420 data centers by the end of December 2012, and have plans to close an additional 548 to reach 968 by December 2015--285 closures short of OMB's goal. OMB has not determined agencies' progress against its cost savings goal because, according to OMB staff, the agency has not determined a consistent and repeatable method for tracking cost savings. This lack of information makes it uncertain whether the $3 billion in savings is achievable by the end of 2015. Until OMB begins tracking and reporting on performance measures such as cost savings, it will be limited in its ability to oversee agencies' progress against key initiative goals. Additionally, extending the horizon for realizing planned cost savings could provide OMB and data center consolidation stakeholders with input and information on the benefits of consolidation beyond OMB's initial goal."
Date: April 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Private Health Insurance: The Range of Base Premiums in the Individual Market by State in January 2013

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "GAO reported the range of base premiums prior to underwriting for health insurance in the individual market that were displayed on the HealthCare.gov Plan Finder in the month of January 2013 for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The base premiums displayed on the HealthCare.gov Plan Finder reflected information from data submitted by insurers to the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Included were ranges for six different types of consumers: 1) 30-year-old, single, nonsmoking male; 2) 30-year-old, single, smoking male; 3) 30-year-old, single, nonsmoking female; 4) 30-year-old, single, smoking female; 5) a family of 4 with 2 parents, aged 40; and 6) a couple, aged 55. GAO also reported on base premiums prior to underwriting for an urban and rural zip code in four select states, one from each census region. The states included: Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas."
Date: July 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Protecting Defense Technologies: DOD Assessment Needed to Determine Requirement for Critical Technologies List

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "While the Department of Defense (DOD) took steps to address previously identified weaknesses in updating and maintaining the Militarily Critical Technologies List (MCTL), the list remains outdated and updates have ceased. For example, DOD has solicited users' requirements and feedback on the MCTL, and added a search engine capability to improve navigation of the list and updated each technology section at least once. DOD also determined the list's purpose is to support export control decisions and in October 2008, issued an instruction that (1) recognized the list's usefulness for other DOD programs and activities and (2) outlined the roles, responsibilities, and procedures for updating and maintaining the list. However, in 2011, DOD cut funding for the program from $4 million in prior years to about $1.5 million and ceased MCTL content updates. Subsequently, DOD removed the public version of the list from the Internet, and officials posted a disclaimer for the restricted version noting that the list should only be used for informational purposes as it had not been updated. Similarly, the compendium of emerging technologies is outdated and two sections have not been updated since 1999. Program officials from the Militarily Critical Technologies Program have devised a plan to improve how MCTL content will be updated in the future, including relying on contributions from the user community, but implementation of the plan has been limited due to funding constraints. However, program officials have yet to get input from users to agree to this approach and would still require additional funding to implement it."
Date: January 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Voters with Disabilities: Challenges to Voting Accessibility

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Compared to 2000, the proportion of polling places in 2008 without potential impediments increased and almost all polling places had an accessible voting system as states and localities made various efforts to help facilitate accessible voting. In 2008, based upon GAO's survey of polling places, GAO estimated that 27 percent of polling places had no potential impediments in the path from the parking to the voting area--up from16 percent in 2000; 45 percent had potential impediments but offered curbside voting; and the remaining 27 percent had potential impediments and did not offer curbside voting. All but one polling place GAO visited had an accessible voting system--typically, an electronic machine in a voting station--to facilitate private and independent voting for people with disabilities. However, 46 percent of polling places had an accessible voting system that could pose a challenge to certain voters with disabilities, such as voting stations that were not arranged to accommodate voters using wheelchairs. In GAO's 2008 state survey, 43 states reported that they set accessibility standards for polling places, up from 23 states in 2000. Further, 31 states reported that ensuring polling place accessibility was challenging. Localities GAO surveyed in 2008 reported providing voting services directly to long-term care facility residents who may face challenges voting in a polling place. For example, close to one-third of localities GAO surveyed reported designating long-term care facilities as Election Day polling places."
Date: April 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Export-Import Bank: More Detailed Information about Its Jobs Calculation Methodology Could Improve Transparency

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. Export-Import Bank's (Ex-Im) methodology to calculate the number of U.S. jobs associated with the exports it helps finance has four key steps. First, Ex-Im determines the industry associated with each transaction it finances. Second, Ex-Im calculates the total value of exports it supports for each industry. Ex-Im implements these first two steps using its own data. Third, Ex-Im multiplies the export value for each industry by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ratio of jobs needed to support $1 million in exports in that industry--a figure known as the "jobs ratio." Finally, Ex-Im aggregates across all industries to produce an overall estimate."
Date: May 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Oil and Gas Development: BLM Needs Better Data to Track Permit Processing Times and Prioritize Inspections

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Bureau of Land Management (BLM) data indicate that BLM received about half as many applications for permit to drill (APD) for federal oil and gas resources in fiscal year 2012 as it had in fiscal year 2007. The decline in APDs since 2007 was driven by declines in natural gas and coalbed methane APDs on federal lands even while oil development on federal lands increased significantly. The reasons BLM officials and industry representatives cited for these changes in APDs include, among other things, a general industry move toward developing gas in shale formations using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing; shale development has largely occurred on state and private lands, where shale resources are predominately located. However, the number of APDs has varied by BLM location, with 23 of 33 BLM offices seeing declines, 9 offices seeing increases, and 1 office seeing no change in APDs."
Date: August 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Automatic IRAS: Lower-Earning Households Could Realize Increases in Retirement Income

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Households without employer-sponsored defined contribution (DC) pension plans or individual retirement accounts (IRA) had lower incomes and tax rates than households with those plans, and are also likely to have limited additional resources to draw upon in retirement, according to GAO estimates. The median adjusted gross income for households without DC plans or IRAs was $32,000, compared to $75,000 for those that did have them. The median marginal tax rate for households without DC plans or IRAs was 15 percent, compared to 25 percent for households with those savings vehicles. A defined benefit (DB) pension plan could provide a monthly benefit during retirement years for those without a DC plan or IRA; however, in 2010 only 15 percent of married households and 11 percent of single households without a DC plan or IRA had a DB plan."
Date: August 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Financial Regulatory Reform: Regulators Have Faced Challenges Finalizing Key Reforms and Unaddressed Areas Pose Potential Risks

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Implementation of financial regulatory reform is ongoing. Although regulators have made progress in implementing some key reforms required by the Dodd- Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act), others remain incomplete. Moreover, the effectiveness of some implemented reforms, as illustrated below, remains to be seen."
Date: January 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Medicare Program Integrity: Increasing Consistency of Contractor Requirements May Improve Administrative Efficiency

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) contractors that conduct postpayment reviews on Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) claims were established by different legislative actions; are managed by different offices within CMS; and serve different functions in the program. These contractors include (1) Medicare Administrative Contractors that process and pay claims and are responsible for taking actions to reduce payment errors in their jurisdictions; (2) Zone Program Integrity Contractors (ZPIC) that investigate potential fraud, which can result in referrals to law enforcement or administrative actions; (3) Recovery Auditors (RA) tasked to identify improper payments on a postpayment basis; and (4) the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) contractor that reviews a sample of claims nationwide and related documentation to determine a national Medicare FFS improper payment rate. All four types of contractors conduct complex reviews, in which the contractor examines medical records and other documentation sent by providers to determine if the claims meet Medicare coverage and payment requirements. RAs are paid fees contingent on the amount of the claims that are found improper and recouped or adjusted, whereas the other contractors' reimbursement is not dependent on the amount of their claims reviews. The RAs conducted almost five times as many reviews as the other three contractors combined. Overall, compared to over one 1 billion claims processed in 2012, all four types of contractors combined reviewed less than one 1 percent of claims, about 1.4 million reviews, for which providers might be contacted to send in medical records or other documentation."
Date: July 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Grants Management: Improved Planning, Coordination, and Communication Needed to Strengthen Reform Efforts

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In the past 14 years, since the passage of the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-107), there has been a series of legislative- and executive-sponsored initiatives aimed at reforming aspects of the grants management life cycle. Recently, a new grants reform governance body, the Council on Financial Assistance Reform (COFAR), replaced two former federal boards--the Grants Policy Committee (GPC) and Grants Executive Board (GEB). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) created COFAR and charged it with identifying emerging issues, challenges, and opportunities in grants management and policy and providing recommendations to OMB on policies and actions to improve grants administration."
Date: May 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Defense Acquisitions: Continued Management Attention Needed to Enhance Use and Review of DOD's Inventory of Contracted Services

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Over the past year and a half, the Department of Defense (DOD) has taken steps to implement its plan to collect contractor manpower data directly from contractors and to develop and implement a department-wide system, based on the Army's existing system, to collect and store these and other inventory data. DOD officials estimate that the data system will be available in fiscal year 2014, with DOD components reporting on most of their service contracts by fiscal year 2016. DOD, however, is still working on key decisions related to security, funding, and other technological issues and has not developed a plan of action with anticipated time frames and necessary resources to help ensure DOD remains on track to meet its goals. Making timely decisions and developing a plan of action with anticipated timeframes and necessary resources, as GAO has previously recommended, would facilitate DOD's stated intent of implementing a DOD-wide system to collect required inventory information. For the fiscal year 2011 inventory, DOD components generally used the same compilation processes used in the previous year. As such, with the exception of the Army, which already has an inventory data collection system, the remaining components relied primarily on the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG). GAO previously reported that FPDS-NG has several limitations, including the inability to identify more than one type of service in a contract or the number of contractor full-time equivalents (FTE), which limit its utility for purposes of compiling a complete and accurate inventory."
Date: May 23, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Description: This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, focusing particularly on the influence of the Taliban and other militant groups and on the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. This report also discusses the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship, in both the short and long term, and U.S. efforts under the Obama Administration to provide military, reconstructive, and stabilization aid.
Date: October 23, 2013
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Wildfire Damages to Homes and Resources: Understanding Causes and Reducing Losses

Description: This report focuses on options for protecting structures and for protecting wildlands and natural resources from wildfires. It begins with a brief overview of the nature of wildfires, followed by a discussion of protecting structures. Then, it discusses wildfire damages to wildlands and natural resources, fuel treatment options and their benefits and limitations, and public involvement in federal decisions.
Date: May 23, 2013
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Spectrum Policy: Provisions in the 2012 Spectrum Act

Description: This report discusses the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. The act established a process for television broadcasters to release spectrum licensed to them for auction as commercial licenses. The act also included provisions to apply future spectrum license auction revenues toward deficit reduction; to establish a planning and governance structure to deploy public safety broadband networks, using some auction proceeds for that purpose; and to assign additional spectrum resources for public safety communications.
Date: December 23, 2013
Creator: Moore, Linda K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Medical Device Excise Tax: Economic Analysis

Description: This report reviews the issues surrounding the medical devices tax within the framework of basic principles surrounding the choice of commodities to tax under excise taxes. The next section describes the tax and its legislative origins. After that, the report analyzes the arguments for retaining and repealing the tax.
Date: December 23, 2013
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G. & Lowry, Sean
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion

Description: The first section of this report reviews what countries might be considered tax havens, including a discussion of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) initiatives and lists. The next two sections discuss, in turn, the corporate profit-shifting mechanisms and evidence on the existence and magnitude of profit shifting activity. The following two sections provide the same analysis for individual tax evasion. The report concludes with overviews of alternative policy options and a summary of specific legislative proposals.
Date: January 23, 2013
Creator: Gravelle, Jane G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Title X (Public Health Service Act) Family Planning Program

Description: This report discusses the Family Planning Program, Title X of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. §§300 to 300a-6), which is the only domestic federal program devoted solely to family planning and related preventive health services. The report discusses various services related to Title X and also considers current legislation related to the program.
Date: January 23, 2013
Creator: Napili, Angela
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

FY2013 Supplemental Funding for Disaster Relief: Summary and Considerations for Congress

Description: This report analyzes the Administration's request, the House-passed legislation, and the Senate position as reflected in Senate-amended H.R. 1 from the 112th Congress. (The newly constituted Senate has not taken up legislation establishing its position on the supplemental request as of the date of publication.) It includes information on legislative provisions as well as funding levels.
Date: January 23, 2013
Creator: Painter, William L. & Brown, Jared T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Intelligence Issues for Congress

Description: This report gives an overview of current intelligence issues of interest to the 112th Congress. It includes background and analysis including most recent development, ongoing Congressional concerns, specific issues for the 112th Congress, and a summary of related legislation from the 109th through the 112th Congresses.
Date: April 23, 2013
Creator: Erwin, Marshall Curtis
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department