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Border Security: Actions Needed to Strengthen Management of Department of Homeland Security's Visa Security Program

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Homeland Security Act of 2002 required that the Department of Homeland Security's on-site personnel in Saudi Arabia review all visa applications. The act also authorized the expansion of the Visa Security Program to other embassies and consulates to provide expert advice and training to consular officers, among other things. Given the congressional interest in effective implementation of the Visa Security Program, we assessed (1) the Visa Security Officers' activities in Saudi Arabia, and (2) DHS's plans to expand its Visa Security Program to other consular posts overseas."
Date: July 29, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Military Bases: Analysis of DOD's 2005 Selection Process and Recommendations for Base Closures and Realignments

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "On May 13, 2005, the Secretary of Defense submitted proposed base realignment and closure (BRAC) actions to an independent commission for its review. The Commission must submit its recommendations to the President by September 8, 2005, for his acceptance or rejection in their entirety. Congress has final action to accept or reject these recommendations in their entirety later this year. The law requires that GAO issue a report on the Department of Defense's (DOD) recommendations and selection process by July 1, 2005. GAO's objectives were to (1) determine the extent to which DOD's proposals achieved its stated BRAC goals, (2) analyze whether the process for developing recommendations was logical and reasoned, and (3) identify issues with the recommendations that may warrant further attention. Time constraints limited GAO's ability to examine implementation details of most of the individual recommended actions."
Date: July 1, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Tax Compliance: Better Compliance Data and Long-term Goals Would Support a More Strategic IRS Approach to Reducing the Tax Gap

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a gap arises each year between what taxpayers pay accurately and on time in taxes and what they should pay under the law. The tax gap is composed of underreporting of tax liabilities on tax returns, underpaying of taxes due from filed returns, and nonfiling of required tax returns altogether or on time. GAO was asked to provide information on (1) the estimated amount that each major type of noncompliance contributed to the 2001 tax gap and IRS's views on the certainty of its tax gap estimates, (2) reasons why noncompliance occurs, and (3) IRS's approach to reducing the tax gap and whether the approach incorporates established results-oriented planning principles."
Date: July 18, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Financial Audit: Capitol Preservation Fund's Fiscal Years 2003 and 2002 Financial Statements

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This report presents our opinion on the financial statements of the Capitol Preservation Fund (the Fund) for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2003, and 2002. It also discusses our consideration of the Fund's internal controls and our tests of compliance with laws and regulations during fiscal year 2003. We conducted our audit pursuant to 2 U.S.C. 2084 and in accordance with U.S. generally accepted government auditing standards."
Date: July 14, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Public Utility Holding Company Act: Opportunities to Strengthen SEC's Administration of the Act

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA), which is administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), subjects public utility holding companies to federal regulation. Some recent events have raised concerns about SEC's administration of the act. GAO was asked to review SEC's administration of PUCHA. GAO's objectives included determining the nature and the extent to which SEC regulates registered holding companies and the results of its regulation, the extent to which SEC reviews claims of exemption and the results of these reviews, and how SEC determines whether companies have a controlling influence over public utilities or holding companies."
Date: July 8, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Military Personnel: DOD Needs to Improve the Transparency and Reassess the Reasonableness, Appropriateness, Affordability, and Sustainability of Its Military Compensation System

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Over the years, the Department of Defense's (DOD) military compensation system has become an increasingly complex and piecemeal accretion of pays, allowances, benefits, and special tax preferences. DOD leaders have expressed concern that rising compensation costs may not be sustainable in the future and could crowd out other important investments needed to recapitalize equipment and infrastructure. Given the looming fiscal challenges facing the nation in the 21st century, GAO believes it is time for a baseline review of all federal programs to ensure that they are efficiently meeting their objectives. Under the Comptroller General's authority, GAO (1) assessed whether DOD's approach to compensation provides adequate transparency over costs; (2) identified recent trends in active duty compensation, and how costs have been allocated to cash and benefits; and (3) reviewed how active duty servicemembers perceive their compensation and whether DOD has effectively explained the value of the military compensation package to its members."
Date: July 19, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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DOD Business Systems Modernization: Long-Standing Weaknesses in Enterprise Architecture Development Need to Be Addressed

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 directed the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop, by September 2005, a well-defined business enterprise architecture (BEA) and a transition plan. GAO has made numerous recommendations to assist the department in successfully doing so. As part of ongoing monitoring of the architecture, GAO assessed whether the department had (1) established an effective governance structure; (2) developed program plans, including supporting workforce plans; (3) performed effective configuration management; (4) developed well-defined BEA products; and (5) addressed GAO's other recommendations."
Date: July 22, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Afghanistan Reconstruction: Despite Some Progress, Deteriorating Security and Other Obstacles Continue to Threaten Achievement of U.S. Goals

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In October 2001, coalition forces forcibly removed the Taliban regime from Afghanistan, responding to their protection of al Qaeda terrorists who attacked the United States. Congress subsequently passed the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002 authorizing funds to help Afghanistan rebuild a stable, democratic society. The act directed GAO to monitor the implementation of U.S. humanitarian, development, and counternarcotics assistance. This report analyzes, for fiscal year 2004, (1) U.S. obligations and expenditures, (2) progress and results of assistance efforts, (3) assistance management and coordination, and (4) major obstacles that affected the achievement of U.S. goals."
Date: July 28, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Human Capital: DOD's National Security Personnel System Faces Implementation Challenges

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense's (DOD) new personnel system--the National Security Personnel System (NSPS)--will have far-reaching implications not just for DOD, but for civil service reform across the federal government. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 gave DOD significant authorities to redesign the rules, regulations, and processes that govern the way that more than 700,000 defense civilian employees are hired, compensated, promoted, and disciplined. In addition, NSPS could serve as a model for governmentwide transformation in human capital management. However, if not properly designed and effectively implemented, it could severely impede progress toward a more performance- and results-based system for the federal government as a whole. This report (1) describes DOD's process to design its new personnel management system, (2) analyzes the extent to which DOD's process reflects key practices for successful transformations, and (3) identifies the most significant challenges DOD faces in implementing NSPS."
Date: July 14, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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International Air Passengers: Staffing Model for Airport Inspections Personnel Can Be Improved

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "While the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Protection Act repealed a 45 minute standard for inspecting international passengers, minimizing wait times at airports remains an area of concern for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Shortly after its creation in March 2003, CBP assumed inspection functions from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Department of Agriculture. The new agency's priority missions are to prevent terrorism and to facilitate travel and trade. To assess CBP's efforts to minimize wait times for international air passengers while ensuring security, this report answers the following questions: (1) What are the wait times at the 20 U.S. international airports that receive most of the international traffic and what factors affect wait times? (2) What steps have airports and airlines taken to minimize passenger wait times? (3) How has CBP managed staffing to minimize wait times across airports?"
Date: July 15, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Information Management: Acquisition of the Electronics Records Archives Is Progressing

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since 2001, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has been working to acquire the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) system. In August 2004, NARA awarded two contracts to design the ERA system. The agency plans to select one of the resulting designs for the development of the system in August 2005. Conference Report 108-792 directed GAO to report on ERA's costs, schedule, and performance. Our objectives were to determine (1) the extent to which NARA has achieved the ERA program's cost, schedule, and performance objectives and the extent to which the agency has identified risks to future objectives; and (2) the status of NARA's efforts to address prior GAO recommendations on the acquisition."
Date: July 15, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Clean Water Act: Improved Resource Planning Would Help EPA Better Respond to Changing Needs and Fiscal Constraints

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal and state fiscal constraints may jeopardize past and future accomplishments resulting from the Clean Water Act (the act). In this environment, it is important to manage available resources as efficiently as possible and to identify future human capital needs, including the size of the workforce and its deployment across the organization. GAO was asked to determine (1) the extent to which the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) process for budgeting and allocating resources considers the nature and distribution of its Clean Water Act workload and (2) the actions EPA is taking to improve resource planning and the challenges the agency faces in doing so."
Date: July 22, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Information Security: Weaknesses Persist at Federal Agencies Despite Progress Made in Implementing Related Statutory Requirements

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal agencies rely extensively on computerized information systems and electronic data to carry out their missions. The security of these systems and data is essential to prevent data tampering, disruptions in critical operations, fraud, and inappropriate disclosure of sensitive information. Concerned with accounts of attacks on systems via the Internet and reports of significant weaknesses in federal computer systems that make them vulnerable to attack, Congress passed the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) in 2002. In accordance with FISMA requirements that the Comptroller General report periodically to the Congress, GAO's objectives in this report are to evaluate (1) the adequacy and effectiveness of agencies' information security policies and practices and (2) the federal government's implementation of FISMA requirements."
Date: July 15, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Rebuilding Iraq: Actions Needed To Improve Use of Private Security Providers

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The United States is spending billions of dollars to reconstruct Iraq while combating an insurgency that has targeted military and contractor personnel and the Iraqi people. This environment created a need for those rebuilding Iraq to obtain security services. GAO evaluated the extent to which (1) U.S. agencies and contractors acquired security services from private providers, (2) the U.S. military and private security providers developed a working relationship, and (3) U.S. agencies assessed the costs of using private security providers on reconstruction contracts."
Date: July 28, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Federal Contracting: Share-in-Savings Initiative Not Yet Tested

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal agencies spend billions of dollars every year on information technology and are increasingly using performance-based contracting methods where agencies specify desired outcomes and allow contractors to design the best solutions to achieve those outcomes. Share-in-savings contracting is one such method under which a contractor provides funding for a project, and the agency compensates the contractor from any savings derived as a result of contract performance. The E-Government Act of 2002 authorized the use of share-in-savings contracting for information technology and required implementing regulations by mid-September 2003. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reported in December 2004 that no share-in-savings contracts had been awarded. The act's authority expires in September 2005. The act required GAO to assess the effectiveness of share-in-savings contracts. Because no such contracts have been awarded, GAO cannot provide an assessment. Instead, GAO reviewed the status of regulations and tools available to agencies in developing these contracts and identified the reasons agencies have not used the authority provided by the act. OMB and the General Services Administration (GSA) generally agreed with GAO's report."
Date: July 26, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Compacts of Free Association: Implementation of New Funding and Accountability Requirements Is Well Under Way, but Planning Challenges Remain

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "From 1987 to 2003, the United States provided economic aid to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) through a Compact of Free Association. A previous GAO report found little accountability for the assistance provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior under this compact. In 2004, amended compacts with the FSM and RMI went into effect and will provide $3.5 billion in assistance over 20 years, consisting of grants and contributions to trust funds that are to replace the grants after 2023. The amended compacts include funding and accountability requirements that were not present in the original compact. To better understand the status of the compacts' implementation, GAO evaluated actions taken by the U.S., FSM, and RMI governments since fiscal year 2004 to (1) meet funding requirements and plan for the use of this funding, (2) meet accountability requirements, and (3) establish operations to implement the new agreements."
Date: July 11, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Border Patrol: Available Data on Interior Checkpoints Suggest Differences in Sector Performance

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. Border Patrol, a component of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), aims to apprehend persons who illegally enter the United States between official ports of entry, including potential terrorists, aliens, and contraband smugglers, thereby deterring or stopping illegal activity. The Patrol operates permanent and tactical (temporary) interior traffic checkpoints on major and secondary U.S. roads, mainly in the southwest border states where most illegal entries occur, as part of a multi-layer strategy to maximize detection and apprehension of illegal entrants. This report addresses (1) the role of interior checkpoints in the Patrol's strategy; (2) what is known about checkpoint costs and benefits; and (3) how checkpoints are evaluated and what performance measures indicate regarding their effectiveness."
Date: July 22, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Southeast Asia: Better Human Rights Reviews and Strategic Planning Needed for U.S. Assistance to Foreign Security Forces

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The executive branch has bolstered assistance to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand to contribute to U.S. foreign policy and security goals. To further human rights goals, Congress restricts certain security assistance funds from being provided to any units of foreign security forces when credible evidence exists that units have committed gross violations of human rights. GAO (1) describes the nature and extent of U.S. assistance to foreign security forces in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand, (2) assesses the controls used to achieve compliance with human rights restrictions on U.S. funding to foreign security forces in these countries, and (3) assesses the U.S. government's national security assistance strategy."
Date: July 29, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Tax Administration: IRS Can Improve Its Productivity Measures by Using Alternative Methods

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In the past, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has experienced declines in enforcement productivity as measured by cases closed per Full Time Equivalent. Increasing enforcement productivity through a variety of enforcement improvement projects is one strategy being pursued by IRS. Evaluating the benefits of different projects requires good measures of productivity. In addition, IRS's ability to correctly measure its productivity has important budget implications. GAO was asked to illustrate available methods to better measure productivity at IRS. Specifically, our objectives were to (1) describe challenges that IRS faces when measuring productivity, (2) describe alternative methods that IRS can use to improve its productivity measures, and (3) assess the feasibility of using these alternative methods by illustrating their use with existing IRS data."
Date: July 11, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Defense Health Care: Improvements Needed in Occupational and Environmental Health Surveillance During Deployments to Address Immediate and Long-Term Health Issues

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, research and investigations into the causes of servicemembers' unexplained illnesses were hampered by inadequate occupational and environmental exposure data. In 1997, the Department of Defense (DOD) developed a militarywide health surveillance framework that includes occupational and environmental health surveillance (OEHS)--the regular collection and reporting of occupational and environmental health hazard data by the military services. GAO is reporting on (1) how the deployed military services have implemented DOD's policies for collecting and reporting OEHS data for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and (2) the efforts under way to use OEHS reports to address both immediate and long-term health issues of servicemembers deployed in support of OIF."
Date: July 14, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Securing U.S. Nuclear Materials: DOE Needs to Take Action to Safely Consolidate Plutonium

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Plutonium is very hazardous to human health and the environment and requires extensive security because of its potential use in a nuclear weapon. The Department of Energy (DOE) stores about 50 metric tons of plutonium that is no longer needed by the United States for nuclear weapons. Some of this plutonium is contaminated metal, oxides, solutions, and residues remaining from the nuclear weapons production process. To improve security and reduce plutonium storage costs, DOE plans to establish enough storage capacity at its Savannah River Site (SRS) in the event it decides to consolidate its plutonium at SRS until it can be permanently disposed of in a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. GAO was asked to examine (1) the extent to which DOE can consolidate this plutonium at SRS and (2) SRS's capacity to monitor plutonium storage containers."
Date: July 20, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Student Aid And Postsecondary Tax Preferences: Limited Research Exists on Effectiveness of Tools to Assist Students and Families through Title IV Student Aid and Tax Preferences

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal assistance helps students and families pay for postsecondary education through several policy tools--grant and loan programs authorized by title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and more recently enacted tax preferences. In fiscal year 2004, about $14 billion in grants and $56 billion in loans were made under title IV while estimated outlay equivalents for postsecondary tax preferences amounted to $10 billion. In light of the relative newness and financial significance of tax preferences, this report examines (1) how title IV assistance compares to that provided through the tax code, (2) the extent to which tax filers effectively use postsecondary tax preferences, and (3) what is known about the effectiveness of federal assistance."
Date: July 29, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Tax Administration: IRS Needs Better Strategic Planning and Evaluation of Taxpayer Assistance Training

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Millions of taxpayers ask IRS questions about tax law each year. While the accuracy of IRS's answers has improved in some cases, it is still not always what taxpayers or Congress expect. Concerns about accuracy have raised questions about the adequacy of the training IRS provides to its taxpayer assistance staff. Because of these questions, GAO was asked to assess the extent to which IRS's planning and evaluation of its taxpayer assistor training conformed to guidance published by GAO and others. Planning and evaluation are part of a feedback loop whereby lessons from one year can be applied to making improvements in future years."
Date: July 11, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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Foreign Assistance: USAID's Cash Transfer Program in Egypt Supports Economic Reform Activities, but Various Factors Have Limited Its Influence

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Since 1992, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has focused the Cash Transfer Program in Egypt on supporting economic reform activities to move Egypt toward a more liberal and market-oriented economy. USAID has provided funds to Egypt's government as it completed agreed-on economic reform activities. In fiscal year 2002, the Department of State and USAID conducted a review of U.S. economic assistance in Egypt that led USAID to renegotiate the program's terms. USAID and Egypt signed a new agreement in March 2005. GAO's review of the Cash Transfer Program focused on the program's disbursement of funds and Egypt's completion of agreed-on activities, factors affecting the program's influence on Egypt's economic reform, USAID's efforts to evaluate the program's impact, and USAID's changes to the program in response to the 2002 review by the Department of State and USAID. GAO received comments on a draft of this report from USAID. USAID stated that the draft was fair and clear but that Egypt's completion of about 70 percent of the activities resulted from the program's structure rather than shortcomings in Egypt's policy reforms. USAID also stated that extending the target dates for completing reforms increased U.S. influence in accomplishing reforms."
Date: July 11, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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