Podcast on Diplomatic Facility Security

GAO Podcast IconUnited States policy can call for U.S. personnel to be posted to high-threat, high-risk posts overseas. To maintain a presence in these locations, the Department of State has often relied on older, acquired, and temporary work facilities that do not meet the same security standards as newly constructed permanent facilities.

Hear our new podcast with Michael Courts, a director in GAO’s International Affairs and Trade team who led a review of U.S. diplomatic facility security.

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Podcast on Counterterrorism Efforts in Africa

GAO Podcast IconFrom the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa to recent al Qaeda and Boko Haram attacks in northwest Africa, events have suggested that both regions are vulnerable to terrorism and violent extremism.

Hear our podcast with Charles Johnson, Jr., a director in GAO’s International Affairs and Trade team, who led recent reviews of U.S. counterterrorism efforts in northwest Africa and East Africa.


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Gearing Up for Wildland Fire Season

thumbnail environmentWith fires already burning in Southern California and the Southwest, the western United States is gearing up for another fire season. The federal government plays several roles in addressing wildland fires—from suppressing wildfires and reducing potentially hazardous vegetation that can fuel fires, to educating the public about the risks of wildfires and developing wildland fire management strategies. Continue reading

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Podcast on Defense Inventory Management

GAO Podcast IconThe U.S. military’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) manages billions of dollars of DOD’s inventory, such as spare parts to keep military equipment operating. GAO has identified DOD supply chain management as a High Risk area.

Hear our latest podcast with Zina Merritt, a director in GAO’s Defense Capabilities and Management team, who led a recent look at issues related to DLA’s inventory management practices.

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Duplication, Delays, and other Issues Hinder DOD’s Multi-Billion-Dollar IT Investments

thumbnail_itAs you might expect, the information technology (IT) that supports one of the largest and most complex organizations in the world can be very expensive. In its fiscal year 2015 budget, the Department of Defense (DOD) requested more than $30 billion to operate, maintain, and modernize its IT systems. To put it in perspective, $30 billion is more than 40% of the entire federal government’s IT budget request. Continue reading

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Chemical Safety One Year After Explosion in West, TX

thumbnail environmentLast year, a fire set off a tragic explosion at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in West, Texas. The explosion killed and injured many people and severely damaged nearby houses and other buildings, including schools. While the investigation that followed was unable to identify the cause of the initial fire, it determined that the explosion involved the chemical ammonium nitrate. We recently recommended steps certain federal agencies should take to more safely manage this chemical. Continue reading

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Podcast on Securing U.S. Industrial Radiological Materials

GAO Podcast IconMany industries use radiological materials that, in the wrong hands, could be used to construct a dirty bomb.

Hear our podcast with David Trimble, a director in GAO’s Natural Resources and Environment team, who led a recent look at what federal agencies are doing to secure industrial sources of radiation in the United States.

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Environmental Challenges and Opportunities in the Arctic Get Federal Attention

thumbnail environmentA warming climate is changing the Arctic’s environment. The decline in summer sea ice, which reached its lowest point on record in 2012, has made some Arctic waters navigable for longer periods of time. Continue reading

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Podcast on the Relationship between STEM Education and the Workforce

GAO Podcast IconFederal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education programs, known as STEM programs, help enhance the nation’s global competitiveness by preparing students for related careers.

Hear our latest podcast with Melissa Emrey-Arras, a director in GAO’s Education, Workforce, and Income Security team, who led a recent report looking at how well STEM education programs are aligned with workforce needs.


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Using DATA to Shine the Light on Federal Spending

thumbnail_itUnderstanding how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars is a daunting task. In fiscal year 2013 alone, the federal government spent $3.5 trillion. In May, Congress unanimously passed and the President signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA), which increases accountability and transparency of federal spending. The act requires several changes that will shed more light on how federal dollars are used. Continue reading

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