[We updated this post on June 9, 2017 to reflect current chiefs.] GAO is well known for its financial and performance audits of the federal government. In our pursuit of objective, fact-based information, we often encounter technical issues related to accounting, actuarial science, economics, science, and technology. We have many employees with backgrounds in all of these areas and they are led by five experts—our Technical Chiefs—to help us dive deeper into these areas.
GAO’s current Technical Chiefs as of June 2017.
In addition to providing assistance to our mission teams, the Technical Chiefs also lead and contribute to reports and congressional testimony related to their areas of expertise. Here are descriptions of GAO’s Technical Chiefs and examples of the types of work they do:
- The Chief Accountant is our expert on accounting, auditing, and business practices, such as financial management, financial reporting, and program cost effectiveness. The Chief Accountant supports GAO financial audits, including the audit of the U.S. government’s consolidated financial statements. The Chief Accountant also represents GAO in organizations such as the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board. Robert (Bob) Dacey, GAO’s current Chief Accountant, holds a J.D. from George Mason University and a B.B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to his appointment, he distinguished himself through leadership in GAO’s financial audit, information security, and critical infrastructure work, and in the private sector.
- The Chief Actuary is our expert on applying actuarial science to issues such as pensions and retirement security, health and disability insurance, and property and casualty insurance—helping to assess their liabilities, risks, and actuarial soundness. For example, the Chief Actuary has worked to help clarify the U.S. Postal Service’s liabilities for its pension, retiree medical, and workers’ compensation programs. Frank Todisco, GAO’s current Chief Actuary, is a nationally recognized expert on retirement security issues, and a member of the Actuarial Standards Board, which establishes standards of practice for the U.S. actuarial profession. He has a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in economics from Princeton University and an MA in economics from The New School for Social Research.
- The Chief Economist provides direction to GAO’s leaders on a variety of economic matters. The Chief Economist also oversees the economics staff who contribute their expertise to GAO’s reports and testimonies. For example, the Chief Economist helped GAO evaluate the potential economic impact of reducing the number of foreign workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to zero and replacing them with domestic workers. In addition, the Chief Economist leads seminars at GAO on economic issues. Oliver M. Richard, our current Chief Economist, holds a Ph.D. in Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences from Northwestern University and a BA with High Honors in Economics and Mathematics from Swarthmore College. Prior to joining GAO, he was an Assistant Chief in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and has also served as tenure-track faculty at the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester.
- The Chief Scientist assists our mission teams on topics like nuclear engineering, radiation detection systems, nanotechnology, biomedical sciences, and data analytics. The Chief Scientist leads technology assessments such as this one on nanotechnology in the U.S. manufacturing sector. Timothy Persons, GAO’s current Chief Scientist, holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and an M.Sc. in computer science from Wake Forest University, and an M.Sc. in nuclear physics from Emory University. He previously held leadership positions within the national security community.
- The Chief Technologist consults on a range of engineering, software development, computer security, and technology issues. The Chief Technologist leads technology assessments such as this one on explosives detection technologies for passenger rail. Naba Barkakati, GAO’s current Chief Technologist, holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland and has authored more than two dozen books.
The chiefs also work together—for example, the Chief Scientist and Chief Technologist both direct GAO’s Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering. The Center’s work focuses on science, engineering, computer security, operations research, and the aforementioned technology assessments.
In a time of complex federal challenges, our Technical Chiefs provide the expertise we need to continue our work on topics that are important to you.