Fighting to Protect Wildlife

Figure 7: Elephant in Ruaha National Park, TanzaniaToday is World Wildlife Day. To commemorate, the WatchBlog takes a look at the illegal trafficking of animals—like elephants and rhinos—that are on the brink of extinction.

What’s it worth?

The trade in illegal wildlife brings in anywhere from $7 to $23 billion a year.  Continue reading

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Data Challenges Contribute to Billions in Medicaid Improper Payments (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconFederal Medicaid administrators rely on state-reported data to help with oversight activities, such as determining whether the program is paying eligible providers for covered services. Given that Medicaid made an estimated $36 billion in payment errors in 2016, many question the quality of these data.

A team led by Carolyn Yocom, a director in our Health Care team, recently looked at the quality of state-reported Medicaid data. Listen to what they found:

 

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If Disaster Strikes, How Is DOD Prepared to Help?

Figure 5: Region IV (Georgia) Homeland Response Force’s CBRN Task Force Establishing Command and Control Communications during an EvaluationWhen disasters strike, the Department of Defense, including the National Guard, must be prepared to respond quickly to support civil authorities—such as state and local agencies, and the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.

DOD can provide support to civil authorities, when requested, for a wide range of emergencies, including wildfires; earthquakes; chemical, biological, and cyber incidents; and pandemic diseases. Continue reading

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NASA Commercial Crew Program (podcast)

GAO Podcast IconNASA contracted with Boeing and SpaceX to produce vehicles to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. But first, NASA has to certify that the vehicles meet its technical requirements and are safe for human spaceflight. Are the companies on track to meet their 2017 certification goals?

A team led by Cristina Chaplain, a director in our Acquisition and Sourcing Management team, recently looked at the progress of these projects. Listen to what they found:

 

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Do the Oscars Make You Think of Federal Policy? Yeah, Us Too.

GAO logoWe think about our reports all the time—even when we watch movies. As a tribute to our single-mindedness, today’s WatchBlog is all about how our work relates to this year’s Oscar-nominated films.

So, get some popcorn, put your feet up, and enjoy some edutainment, GAO style. Continue reading

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Security of Federal Facilities Leased from Foreign Owners (Podcast)

GAO Podcast IconThe federal government leases space for many high-security federal agencies—such as the FBI and the DEA—which may conduct classified operations and handle sensitive data. If the spaces are in buildings owned by foreign entities, how does the government address potential threats to sensitive information and the employees who work there?

A team led by Keith Cunningham, an assistant director with our Physical Infrastructure team, recently examined government leasing in foreign-owned buildings. Listen to what they found:

 

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Fragmented Data on Sexual Violence

 Definition of FragmentationSexual violence has been in the headlines during the past year, including crimes involving college students, incarcerated people, and the military. Data collected by the federal government on sexual violence can help prioritize resources and design programs to prevent and address these crimes.

However, we recently looked at federal data on sexual violence and found that it is confusing and fragmented—which may obscure the scope of the problem. Today’s WatchBlog explores.

Different methods, different results Continue reading

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2017 High Risk List – U.S. Government’s Environmental Liability (video)

GAO_Video_icon-largeThis year, we added the federal government’s environmental liability to our High Risk List—our biennial report highlighting areas particularly susceptible to fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, or needing a fundamental transformation.

When federal government activities contaminate the environment, the government’s on the hook for the cleaning bill. In 2016, this bill was estimated to be $447 billion, and the actual costs may be more.

Watch David Trimble, a director in our Natural Resources and Environment team, explain why we added the government’s environmental liability to our latest High Risk List.

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2017 High Risk List – Management of Programs that Serve Indian Tribes and Their Members (video)

GAO_Video_icon-largeThis year, we added management of programs that serve Indian tribes and their members to our High Risk List—our biennial report highlighting areas particularly susceptible to fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, or needing a fundamental transformation.

The United States has a unique responsibility to protect and support Indian tribes and their members. But for a decade, multiple oversight organizations—including GAO—have raised concerns that the federal government is ineffectively managing programs intended to serve them.

Watch Melissa Emrey-Arras, a director in our Education, Workforce, and Income Security team, explain why we added management of such programs that serve tribes and their members to our latest High Risk List.

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2017 High Risk List – 2020 Decennial Census (video)

GAO_Video_icon-largeThis year, we added the 2020 Decennial Census to our High Risk List—our biennial report highlighting areas particularly susceptible to fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, or needing a fundamental transformation.

In 2020 the government will once again conduct a census of the nation’s population, gathering critical demographic information to be used to, among other things, define legislative districts and allocate billions in financial assistance. The 2010 Census cost over $12 billion, and innovations planned for 2020—while aimed at saving money—may introduce new risks.

Watch Robert Goldenkoff, a director in our Strategic Issues team, explain why we added the 2020 Decennial Census to our latest High Risk List.

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