Exploring GAO’s High Risk List and Opportunities for Reform
Homeland Security Digital Library Blog 2013-02-16
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing yesterday titled, "Exploring GAO's High Risk List and Opportunities for Reform."
"Every two years at the start of a new Congress, GAO [Government Accountability Office] calls attention to agencies and program areas that are high risk due to their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or are most in need of transformation." This year, GAO has found 30 high risk areas. Among the issues are:
- Management of federal oil and gas resources
- Modernizing the U.S. Financial Regulatory System
- Restructuring the U.S. Postal Service
- Improving federal oversight of food safety
- Protecting the federal government's information systems, as well as the country's cyber critical infrastructures
Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa remarked: "By one account we lost $261 billion – or seven percent of total spending – to fraud and waste in 2012 alone. The 30 areas on this year’s list represent tremendous opportunities to save billions of dollars. The truth is, identifying these high-risk areas isn’t good enough anymore. Not when Washington refuses to act to reform what’s so clearly broken. Seventeen areas on this year’s high-risk list have been on the list for more than a decade. Six have been on since the List first began in 1990. For anyone in Washington to try and ask the American people for more while this waste and fraud is allowed to exist year-after-year is shameful."
At the hearing, the Comptroller General of the United States, Gene L. Dodaro, provided testimony which highlighted "GAO's views on progress made and what remains to be done to bring about lasting solutions for each high-risk area."
Dodaro concluded: "Perseverance by the executive branch in implementing GAO’s recommended solutions and continued oversight and action by Congress are essential to achieving progress. GAO is dedicated to continue working with Congress and the executive branch to help ensure additional progress is made."