From Ellis Island to ELIS

Statue of LibertyEvery year, millions of people apply to study, work, visit, or live in the United States. And for years, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have worked to transform the outdated system used to track and manage these applications. Today’s WatchBlog has our review of these USCIS efforts. Continue reading

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Videos on Freshwater Use in Hydraulic Fracturing and Thermoelectric Power Plants

GAO_Video_icon-largeFreshwater is a limited natural resource that is essential to the nation’s economic security and prosperity—in no small part because of its role in energy production. The nation’s current droughts highlight questions about how to balance water and energy use.

As part of our ongoing technology assessment series, we released two new videos on water use in the energy sector. Continue reading

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Infographic on Pay for Success Projects

Infographic_IconUnder Pay for Success (also known as Social Impact Bonds), private investors fund prevention programs that are intended to improve social outcomes and reduce future costs to the government. Examples of these programs include early childhood education for disadvantaged children and services that help reduce recidivism. If the program is successful in achieving outcomes, the government repays the private investors. Continue reading

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When Self-Reporting Fails, Fraud Prevails

thumbnail retirement securityNearly 2 million doctors, nurses, medical equipment suppliers, and other health care providers participate in Medicare, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. To get paid for their services to Medicare beneficiaries, providers must first tell CMS about themselves, such as where they practice and their medical license status.

When we looked into CMS’s procedures for screening these providers, we found that this reliance on self-reported data leaves Medicare vulnerable to fraud. Continue reading

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Preventing Suicide among Veterans

suicide preventionAn estimated 18 to 22 veterans die by suicide every day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. That’s almost one veteran every hour. For National Suicide Prevention Month, we’re taking a closer look at VA efforts to prevent veteran suicides.

Reaching those in need Continue reading

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Podcast on DOD and Military Ethics

GAO Podcast IconIn the high-stakes realm of national defense, professionalism and sound ethical judgement are essential. But recent investigations have revealed misconduct among DOD and military officials related to sexual behavior, bribery, cheating, and more.

Listen to Brenda Farrell, a director in GAO’s Defense Capabilities and Management team, discuss her team’s recent review of DOD’s ethics and professionalism programs for military servicemembers.

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Our Prescriptions for Prescription Drug Abuse

_OPA6811Prescription drugs are generally safe when taken as directed, but they can also be abused. Moreover, some people try to use their insurance to pay for prescriptions they shouldn’t be getting. Read on for our look at how two federal agencies are trying to prevent some of these prescription drug problems. Continue reading

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Shrinking DOD’s Headquarters Could Mean Big Savings

DVIDSThe Pentagon may be the most iconic, but the Department of Defense has numerous headquarters operations around the world. Each is staffed by thousands of people and costs hundreds of millions of dollars—and these headquarters have been growing.

For today’s WatchBlog, we take you on a world tour of DOD headquarters, efforts to trim them, Continue reading

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Hurricane Katrina: 10 Years after the Storm

weatherIt’s been a decade since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. In that time, we’ve examined almost every aspect of federal recovery efforts following the storm. Today, we look back at some of that work and explore how to reduce the costs of future disasters. Continue reading

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Podcast on Federal Employee Engagement

IMG_0154It shouldn’t be surprising that both private and public organizations perform better when employees are more engaged—that is, committed to the mission and organization. But after peaking in 2011, federal employee engagement has declined, primarily at several large agencies. Continue reading

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