GAO’s ‘High Risk’ Report Shows Mixed Picture

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently reported improvements since 2013 in many problematic areas in the federal government but also noted growing concerns in veterans health care, information technology and tax law enforcement.

The agency’s new biennial update on “high-risk” areas says further improvements offer “the potential to save billions of dollars, improve service to the public, and strengthen government performance and accountability.”

The GAO puts the “high-risk” label on areas in the government that are particularly vulnerable to problems such as waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement and inefficiency.

“Solid, steady progress has been made in the vast majority of the high-risk areas,” the GAO says.

But it has added two areas to the 30 that were already on the high-risk list:



  • Veterans Affairs (VA) health care, where more than 100 previous GAO recommendations have not been fully addressed on everything from ambiguous policies to inadequate training.
  • Management of information technology acquisitions and operations, with billions of dollars spent on “failed and poorly performing IT investments.”

GAO also reports expanding concerns with tax refund fraud and privacy breaches.

The administration and Congress should heed GAO’s call for action and oversight to achieve greater progress in dealing with the problems that have been identified.   

External links:
High-Risk Series — Update (GAO)
VA Chief Vows to Operate Like a Business (Fiscal Times)

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