Science and Technology at GAO

Technology_Assessment_MedallionReaders of the WatchBlog know that GAO is more than financial audits. Our mission has grown over the years to include performance audits, bid protest adjudication, and other professional services for Congress.

And the federal government has also changed. From large IT projects to NASA’s space launch systems, government programs have increasingly encompassed more science and technology issues.

Today’s WatchBlog shares what the U.S. Comptroller General has done to build our in-house science and technology expertise.

Our Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering

GAO’s Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering houses our workforce of science and technology professionals. This includes people with backgrounds in physical sciences, engineering, biological sciences, IT, and operations research. Our Chief Scientist and Chief Technologist lead this Center.

Leading technology assessments

Our science and tech professionals have produced more than a dozen technology assessments. These assessments provide balanced analyses of the impact of technological innovations on

  • society,
  • the environment, and
  • the economy.

For example, the team recently reported on water use in the energy sector—including fracking.

And last month, we issued another tech assessment on what municipal utilities can do to address freshwater scarcity—stay tuned for an in-depth look at that assessment later this week on the WatchBlog!

Our tech assessments also pay particular attention to unintended consequences and effects of technology. For example, our reports on 3D printing, nanotechnology’s movement into the manufacturing sector, and cybersecurity for critical infrastructure protection consider the strategic trends and the economic and policy implications of each technology.

Our tech assessments are available on our website. Whether you’re interested in advanced nuclear reactors, climate engineering, or wildland fires, check out the full collection.

Informing audits

Our team of scientists and engineers also assist GAO teams working on a range of issues. For example,

Science, technology, and engineering developments will continue to influence almost every aspect of our lives and our government. Meanwhile, GAO’s science and technology experts will continue to provide balanced and objective assessments of technologies in the context of important public policy issues.


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