Protecting against Insider Threats at DOD

thumbnail_defenseThirteen people were killed and dozens more injured when a gunman opened fire at Fort Hood, Texas, 6 years ago today. In what’s known as an insider threat, the gunman, a Department of Defense employee, had authorized access to the military base. Today’s WatchBlog looks at how DOD fights against various types of insider threats, whether they’re attacks like the Fort Hood tragedy, the Washington Navy Yard shooting, or the unauthorized release of classified information. Continue reading

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Reality TV or Reality?

GAO_Logo-squareTelevision often takes liberties with reality. While we enjoy a good drama, as auditors we tend to be pretty skeptical about what we see and hear. As November sweeps commences, we’re looking at TV shows where GAO is mentioned and breaking down what Hollywood gets right, close to right, or just plain wrong. So get comfy on the couch and enjoy the show! Continue reading

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Small Business Administration Management (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconThe Small Business Administration is a small agency with a big mission: help Americans start, build, and grow businesses. But for years, the SBA has struggled to manage its own operations.

Listen to Bill Shear, a director in our Financial Markets and Community Investment team, discuss his team’s recent review of SBA’s progress addressing these challenges, and what more it needs to do.

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VA Overpayments on GI Bill (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconThe Post-9/11 GI Bill has provided valuable education benefits—including tuition, housing, and books—to millions of veterans.

But of the $10.8 billion paid out in fiscal year 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs identified $416 million in overpayments. These overpayments create challenges for the VA, schools, and veterans, who may be hit with unexpected bills.

Listen to Melissa Emrey-Arras, a director in our Education, Workforce, and Income Security team, discuss her team’s recent review of Post-9/11 GI Bill overpayments.

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Contracting during a Disaster: Lessons Learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy

weatherWhen disaster strikes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency can help. But FEMA doesn’t do it all on its own. The agency contracts for goods, like meals and cots for disaster survivors, as well as services, like translators and housing inspectors.

Three years after Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest natural disasters in our nation’s history, today’s WatchBlog focuses on the importance of contracting during a disaster, and some of its inherent challenges. Continue reading

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Designing and Implementing Federal User Fees

moneyNavigating the federal budget can stump even the savviest of wonks. One of the things that complicates federal budgeting is the variety of ways the federal government collects money. Today’s WatchBlog examines one significant, if lesser known, source of federal revenue: user fees. Continue reading

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AskGAOLive: Student Loan Debt, a Video Chat from October 29th

Update (11/2/2015): This post has been updated to include links and images shared during the chat.

AskPosterOutstanding student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion. And some borrowers are struggling to make their payments—about 12 percent defaulted on their student loans within 3 years of starting repayment. The Department of Education has multiple programs to help borrowers pay off their debts, but we’ve found that many may not be aware of these programs. Continue reading

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Don’t Know Much about Geography (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconMore than memorizing maps, geography is about the relationship between people and the environment. Fighting the spread of Ebola? Geography helps anticipate possible transmission from one place to another. Growing a business? Geography can help identify the best store locations. Yet three-quarters of 8th grade students weren’t proficient in the subject in 2014.

Listen to Jackie Nowicki, a director in our Education, Workforce, and Income Security team, discuss her team’s recent review of geography education in U.S. schools.

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Expanding Participation in Retirement Savings Programs

thumbnail retirement securityMany Americans approach retirement with little or no savings. For National Save for Retirement Week, today’s WatchBlog explores why people aren’t saving for retirement and what some states are proposing to help fix that. Continue reading

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DOD’s 3D Printing Projects (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconThe Department of Defense has used 3D printing to create prosthetics for injured servicemembers and to help design military equipment. But DOD lacks a systemic approach for tracking and sharing its printing projects.

Listen to Zina Merritt, a director in our Defense Capabilities and Management team, discuss her team’s recent review of DOD’s use of 3D printing.

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