Blog Archives

Eyes in the Sky | Could We Be Headed for Less Accurate Weather Forecasts?

Satellites are critical for timely forecasts and warnings of extreme weather events. But, as we’ve discussed before, some of these satellites are aging and should be replaced. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oversees key weather satellites, and today we’re … Continue reading

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Lights, Camera, Court Room?

The U.S. Supreme Court hears cases that potentially affect millions of Americans. Oral arguments are open to the public, but seating is limited—if you’re in DC while the Court is in session, you may glimpse lines of people snaking the … Continue reading

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Licenses for Dangerous Radioactive Materials (podcast)

We set up fake companies in 3 states to test licensing of radioactive materials, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversees. The result? 2 states flagged the fake business but, in 1 state, we were able to get a license and … Continue reading

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6 years after Dodd-Frank, Oversight of Financial Services Industry Still Needs Streamlining

Today is the 6th anniversary of the signing of the Dodd-Frank Act. The law made a range of financial reforms meant to help prevent future financial crises. For example, it closed gaps in the oversight of consumer protection and markets … Continue reading

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What You Need to Know about Tax Incentives and the Federal Budget (infographic)

The federal budget consists of revenue (mostly taxes, but also things like user fees and intragovernmental revolving funds) and spending. But not all spending looks the same. Spending through tax provisions—known as tax incentives or expenditures—is not as well-known as … Continue reading

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When the Federal Government Makes Improper Payments (podcast)

Federal government agencies made an estimated $137 billion in improper payments in fiscal year 2015. These were payments that shouldn’t have been made at all or were sent in the wrong amount. Here is Beryl Davis, a director in our … Continue reading

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The Stubborn Problem of Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud (podcast)

The Internal Revenue Service estimates that it paid out more than $3 billion in identity theft tax refund fraud in 2014—i.e., fraudsters using stolen identities to file taxes in someone else’s name, collecting tax refunds, and then disappearing. Jay McTigue, … Continue reading

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Securing the Nation’s Most Sensitive Information (podcast)

High-impact federal information systems hold sensitive information, which, if lost, could cause catastrophic harm to individuals, the government, and the nation. We recently surveyed federal agencies about cyber threats to high-impact systems and efforts to protect them. Listen to Greg … Continue reading

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Managing DOD’s Spare Parts

Spare parts. Every military service—the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps—has them, and they’re crucial to ensuring that complicated and expensive weapons systems work when needed. There are also a lot of them—as of September 2014, the Department of … Continue reading

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Customer Service for Federal Student Loan Borrowers (podcast)

The Department of Education issued almost $96 billion in higher education loans through its Direct Loan Program in fiscal year 2015. Under this program, students borrow from the federal government, but repay the loan through loan servicers under contract with … Continue reading

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