In fiscal year 2015, the federal government spent more than $430 billion on contracts for goods and services—almost 40 percent of all discretionary spending. These contracts covered everything from products such as major weapons systems and IT equipment, to services such as construction or research and development.
Operating and maintaining the Navy’s ships is a 24/7 job. Having the right number of sailors onboard with the right skills is crucial for keeping the fleet in prime condition and for ensuring that sailors aren’t being overworked.
Planning that big summer trip to Jellystone (or one of the non-fictitious U.S. national parks)? Visiting one of the many concessions services overseen by the National Park Service is one way to avoid Yogi Bear’s creative attempts to swipe your pic-a-nic basket.
Through concessions contracts, companies and individuals (known as “concessioners”) operate businesses such as lodges, restaurants, and recreational services in National Parks. The Park Service has faced challenges managing these contracts in the past, so today’s WatchBlog takes a look at how it’s doing now.
Rooftop solar panels, smart thermostats, residential batteries, and other tech may help you manage your energy use, generate electricity, and lower your utility bills. For example, homeowners can use solar systems to generate clean electricity to power their home and electric car.
But too much customer-generated electricity could strain the local electrical grid and lead to higher infrastructure costs if solar systems and other technologies are deployed without regard to grid conditions.
Avid readers of the WatchBlog have seen some of our many posts on veterans’ access to health care and other support services, such as disability payments. Despite years of attempts to correct ongoing problems with health care and disability benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to struggle, in part because of issues with the information technology that underpins these vital systems—one of the reasons it’s on our High Risk list. In addition, VA has had other IT problems as well, such as slow consolidation and closure of its data centers.
The island of Guam located in the Pacific Ocean has been a U.S. territory since 1898. Over the years, the United States has maintained a military presence on the island to support and defend its interests in the western Pacific Ocean. Starting around 2022, the Department of Defense expects to further grow that presence by moving approximately 4,100 Marines from Japan to Guam. But will Guam be ready?
As the conditions in the Earth’s oceans change due to rising ocean temperatures, among other things, the size and location of fish populations may also change. So, can federal agencies anticipate and plan for the effects of these changes on specific types of fish?
A major World War II naval battle around the Midway Atoll—a trio of small islands near Hawaii—ended in June 1942 when the United States turned back a Japanese attack and crippled its Imperial Navy.
Now, 75 years later, this atoll is home to the Battle of Midway National Memorial, which marks the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
To honor the occasion, we’re taking a tour of some historic battle spots on the atoll from our review of Midway’s history and habitat. While Midway is inaccessible to most Americans, our video and the photos below can help give you a sense of what the atoll looks like now. Continue reading →
On June 1, 1967, the Beatles released their album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in the United States. It revolutionized modern music and helped usher in the Summer of Love. In honor of this musical and cultural milestone, the WatchBlog shares some GAO reports you may recognize in the classic lyrics. Continue reading →