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2020 Census: Initial Research Milestones Generally Met but Plans Needed to Mitigate Highest Risks

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "According to U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) officials, to inform timely design decisions, research on new methods to improve the cost effectiveness of the 2020 Census must be accomplished early enough in the decade to confirm their likely impact on both cost and quality. Three key efforts--(1) the use of the Internet as a response option, (2) a potential move towards targeted address canvassing, and (3) the possible use of administrative records to replace data collected during census field operations--present the Bureau with potential opportunities to reduce costs while maintaining quality. The Bureau's 2020 Research and Testing Program has 14 fiscal year 2012 projects focused on informing design decisions related to the three key efforts. Bureau officials are also aware that the changes they are testing come with many risks, and for each project the Bureau has identified a number of risks and prioritized them from high to low. However, the Bureau has not developed mitigation or contingency plans for these project risks. For example, there are several risks, including tight time frames and accurate cost information, without mitigation and contingency plans. Additionally, GAO found that the Bureau had not developed cost estimates for any of its 2020 research and testing projects as required in guidance provided to project teams. Unreliable cost estimates was one of the reasons the 2010 Census was placed on GAO's high-risk list. Without timely cost estimates, it will be difficult for the Bureau to ensure that resources are adequate to support the research and testing program."
Date: November 7, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Abortion Services and Military Medical Facilities

Description: The purpose of this report is to describe and discuss the provisions for providing abortion services to military personnel, their dependents, and other military health care beneficiaries at military medical facilities. The report describes the history of these provisions, with particular emphasis on legislative actions. Finally, this report discusses a number of proposals to modify the law, as well as other related legislative and administrative actions.
Date: June 7, 2012
Creator: Burrelli, David F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Afghanistan Development: Agencies Could Benefit from a Shared and More Comprehensive Database on U.S. Efforts

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The four main U.S. agency Afghan development programs and accounts have similar goals and activities and hence overlap to some degree. In fiscal year 2011, the Economic Support Fund (ESF) and other smaller accounts administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP), administered by the Department of Defense (DOD), funded similar activities related to agriculture; democracy and governance; education and health; energy and electricity; economic growth; and transportation. Both funded activities in 33 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces and in 249 of Afghanistan's 399 districts. The Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO), administered by DOD, and the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund (AIF), administered by DOD and the Department of State (State), also funded efforts in some of the same categories of assistance as ESF and CERP in fiscal year 2011. According to agency officials, these overlapping development efforts can be beneficial, provided that agencies leverage their respective expertise and coordinate efforts."
Date: November 7, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Air Force and Interior Can Benefit from Additional Guidance When Deciding Whether to Lease or Purchase Equipment

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Contracting officials from Air Force and Interior generally did not perform lease versus purchase analyses for selected contracts. Based on contract file reviews and discussions with contracting officials, we found that analyses were not performed and that contracting officials had not considered the alternative acquisition method for 24 of the 32 selected contracts. For the 8 contracts with lease versus purchase analyses, 5 were documented in the contract files and 3 were performed but were not documented, according to contracting officials. In most cases, contract files did not contain basic information to make lease or purchase decisions, such as the length of time the equipment would be used. Even files containing documentation of analyses generally did not address the full range of criteria specified in the FAR. For example, the analyses typically lacked a discussion of the financial and operating advantages of alternate approaches that would help contracting officials determine the appropriate acquisition method. Contracting officials noted that their decision to lease or purchase equipment often depends on the nature of the requirement, such as a short-term need for equipment, based on documents or other correspondence from the requester. Further, these officials generally stated that while they are familiar with the FAR guidance, they typically do not know how or when to perform the analyses and are not provided training on how to do so."
Date: February 7, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements

Description: This report provides an overview of many of the key arms control and nonproliferation agreements and endeavors of the past 40 years. It is divided into three sections. The first describes arms control efforts between the United States and the states of the former Soviet Union, covering both formal, bilateral treaties, and the cooperative threat reduction process. The second section describes multilateral nuclear nonproliferation efforts, covering both formal treaties and less formal accommodations that have been initiated in recent years. The final section reviews treaties and agreements that address chemical, biological, and conventional weapons.
Date: March 7, 2012
Creator: Woolf, Amy F.; Nikitin, Mary Beth & Kerr, Paul K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biomass: Comparison of Definitions in Legislation Through the 111th Congress

Description: The use of biomass as an energy feedstock is emerging as a potentially viable alternative to address U.S. energy security concerns, foreign oil dependence, rural economic development, and diminishing sources of conventional energy. Biomass (organic matter that can be converted into energy) may include food crops, crops for energy, crop residues, wood waste and byproducts, and animal manure. Most legislation involving biomass has focused on encouraging the production of liquid fuels from corn. For over 30 years, the term biomass has been a part of legislation enacted by Congress for various programs, indicating some interest by the general public and policymakers in expanding its use. To aid understanding of why U.S. consumers, utility groups, refinery managers, and others have not fully adopted biomass as an energy resource, this report investigates the characterization of biomass in legislation.
Date: March 7, 2012
Creator: Bracmort, Kelsi & Gorte, Ross W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bureau of Prisons: Eligibility and Capacity Impact Use of Flexibilities to Reduce Inmates' Time in Prison

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "BOP’s use of authorities to reduce a federal prisoner’s period of incarceration varies. BOP primarily utilizes three authorities—the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP), community corrections, and good conduct time."
Date: February 7, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report gives an overview of the situation in the Arctic region. The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region's future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region. The Arctic has increasingly become a subject of discussion among political leaders of the nations in the region. In varying degrees, the Arctic coastal states have indicated a willingness to establish and maintain a military presence in the high north. U.S. military forces, particularly the Navy and Coast Guard, have begun to pay more attention to the region.
Date: February 7, 2012
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Charter Schools: Additional Federal Attention Needed to Help Protect Access for Students with Disabilities

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Charter schools enrolled a lower percentage of students with disabilities than traditional public schools, but little is known about the factors contributing to these differences. In school year 2009-2010, which was the most recent data available at the time of our review, approximately 11 percent of students enrolled in traditional public schools were students with disabilities compared to about 8 percent of students enrolled in charter schools."
Date: June 7, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Close-Out of OIG Report No. 11-P-0702, Procedural Review of Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes, September 26, 2011

Description: OIG analysis of EPA response to OIG Report No. 11-P-0702, "Procedural Review of Greenhouse Gases Endangerment Finding Data Quality Processes", September 26, 2011.
Date: February 7, 2012
Creator: United States. Environmental Protection Agency. Office of the Inspector General.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Congressional Oversight and Related Issues Concerning International Security Agreements Concluded by the United States

Description: This report looks at issues arising from disputes between Congress and the executive branch. It begins by providing a general background on the types of international agreements that are binding upon the United States, as well as considerations affecting whether they take the form of a treaty or an executive agreement. Next, the report discusses historical precedents as to the role that security agreements have taken, with specific attention paid to past agreements entered with Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Iraq. The report discusses the oversight role that Congress exercises with respect to entering and implementing international agreements involving the United States.
Date: June 7, 2012
Creator: Garcia, Michael John & Mason, Chuck R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Debt Management: Buybacks Can Enhance Treasury's Capacity to Manage under Changing Market Conditions [Reissued on March 21, 2012]

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Debt buybacks can help advance Treasury’s goals under a variety of budget and market conditions. For example, Treasury currently faces rollover peaks—large increases in the amounts of maturing debt that must be refinanced at a given time—which expose Treasury to the risk of refinancing large amounts of debt when interest rates are less favorable. All four of our case study countries use debt buybacks to mitigate rollover risk. Buybacks can also be used to enhance liquidity, which can be adversely affected when the growth in borrowing slows rapidly and issue sizes decline significantly. GAO’s illustrative analysis of Treasury’s past buyback program showed that, had Treasury refinanced the debt by simultaneously issuing new debt, it could have captured a liquidity premium—the additional price investors are willing to pay for securities that can be easily traded—which would reduce interest costs."
Date: March 7, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Diesel Pollution: Fragmented Federal Programs That Reduce Mobile Source Emissions Could Be Improved

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal grant and loan funding for activities that reduce mobile source diesel emissions is fragmented across 14 programs at the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From fiscal years 2007 through 2011, the programs obligated at least $1.4 billion for activities that have the effect of reducing mobile source diesel emissions. The programs have varying goals and purposes; nevertheless, each program allows or requires a portion of its funding to support activities that reduce mobile source diesel emissions, such as replacing fleets of older diesel trucks or school buses with natural gas vehicles. In addition, each of the 14 programs overlaps with at least one other program in the specific activities they fund, the program goals, or the eligible recipients of funding. GAO also identified several instances of duplication where more than one program provided grant funding to the same recipient for the same type of activities. However, GAO was unable to determine whether unnecessary duplication exists because of limited information on program administrative costs, among other things. GAO did not find any gaps among the programs, such as mobile sources that are not eligible for funding."
Date: February 7, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

End-Stage Renal Disease: Reduction in Drug Utilization Suggests Bundled Payment Is Too High

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Utilization of ESRD drugs in 2011 was about 23 percent lower, on average, than it was in 2007, driven largely by a decline in the utilization of ESAs. As a result, Medicare may have paid more than necessary for dialysis care in 2011 because the bundled payment rate in that year was based on 2007 utilization levels. We estimated that Medicare expenditures on dialysis would have been about $650 million to $880 million lower in 2011 if the bundled payment rate were rebased to reflect the 2011 utilization level of ESRD drugs. Furthermore, this estimate of potential savings could be larger in future years if the level of ESRD drug utilization at the end of 2011 declines further, as preliminary data suggest. Rebasing the bundled payment rate to account for changes in ESRD drug utilization could help ensure that Medicare pays appropriately for dialysis services and also yield savings to Medicare. However, CMS officials indicated that they did not have immediate plans to rebase the rate and that the statute does not provide CMS with explicit authority to do so. Therefore, Congress should consider requiring the Secretary of HHS to rebase the ESRD bundled payment rate as soon as possible and on a periodic basis thereafter, using the most current available data."
Date: December 7, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department