Maritime Piracy Threatens Some Parts of African Coast

thumbnail_homeland_securityArghh, matey! September 19 may be International Talk Like a Pirate Day, but modern pirates continue to threaten commercial shipping lanes and fishing boats, particularly along the coasts of Africa. In 2014, we assessed the problem of piracy and the U.S. role in counterpiracy efforts off the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Guinea.

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Rulemaking in the Federal Government

Government thumbnail imageFederal regulation is a basic tool of government. Agencies issue thousands of regulations, or rules, each year to achieve public policy goals, such as ensuring that:

  • workplaces, air travel, foods, and drugs are safe;
  • the nation’s air, water, and land are not polluted; and
  • taxes are collected.

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GAO Receives ‘Clean Opinion’ from International Peer Review

thumbnail_gao_sealGAO has received a “clean opinion”—the best review possible—from an independent international peer review team that closely examined the agency’s quality assurance system. This year’s review cited GAO’s institutional structures and organizational culture for clearly prioritizing quality and independence, values that GAO conveys to its staff as soon as they join the agency.

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Medicare Recommendations for Healthcare Fraud Prevention and Awareness Month

Thumbnail Health CareSeptember may be Healthcare Fraud Prevention and Awareness Month, but GAO tracks this issue year round. Because the Medicare program is particularly susceptible to fraud, waste, and abuse, it has been on our High Risk list since we started compiling the list in 1990. As a result, we have made numerous recommendations to help protect and improve the program.

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Updated Green Book Standards Help Improve Government Accountability and Performance

GAO Green Book iconIn an effort to help all federal agencies improve their performance, GAO has issued the 2014 revision of Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, also known as the “Green Book.” The book sets the standards for an effective internal control system for federal agencies, a crucial safeguard over public resources. Internal control is an organizational process that can aid agencies in working more efficiently and effectively, reporting accurately on their operations, and complying with applicable laws and regulations.

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Podcast on Federal Oversight of Contractor Information Security Controls

GAO Podcast IconFederal agencies often rely on contractors to operate computer systems and process information on their behalf. Federal law and policy require that agencies ensure that contractors adequately protect these systems and information.

Hear our podcast with Greg Wilshusen, a director in GAO’s Information Technology team, who led a recent review of how well agencies oversee contractor-operated systems.

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Considering College Costs Beyond Tuition

thumbnail_adulteducationIf you’re heading to college this fall, you may be focused on the major costs—tuition and fees, possibly room and board. We have examined some of the other costs of college, such as textbooks and college debit cards, that can really add up if you’re not looking out for them. Here’s some information to help you manage those costs.
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Providing a Stable Education for Foster and Homeless Children

Education Thumbnail imageSchool should be a stable environment for all students. In two recent reports, we looked at how states addressed federal legislation intended, in part, to increase school stability for children in foster care and those experiencing homelessness. We also highlighted student, school district, and child welfare agency challenges in minimizing school changes for these students. Continue reading

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Protecting Workers’ Safety and Health

caution_sign_300_DPIThe unofficial end of summer, Labor Day is a holiday for celebrating the economic and social contributions of the American worker. It’s also a good time to think about protecting those workers from occupational hazards. We have many federal safety and health standards to protect workers at more than 8 million U.S. worksites, but accidents at worksites are not uncommon. For example, in an 18-month period from 2006 to 2008, a dozen workers died on construction sites in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in 2013, a tragic explosion at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in Texas killed and injured 14 people. Continue reading

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It’s Hurricane Season—Informing Federal Disaster Management

weatherHurricane season is well under way, and we’re highlighting some of our reports and resources that can help inform federal disaster management in events such as hurricanes.

2014’s first named storm, Hurricane Arthur, has already found a place in the record books. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service, July 3rd—when Hurricane Arthur made landfall in North Carolina—is the earliest recorded date for a hurricane to hit North Carolina. Continue reading

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