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Government Accountability Office (GAO) Podcast: Watchdog Report Cover
Government Accountability Office (GAO) Podcast: Watchdog Report Profile

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Podcast: Watchdog Report

English, Finance, 1 season, 64 episodes
About
Featuring interviews with GAO officials on significant issues and new reports, the Watchdog Report is recorded, hosted, and produced by GAO staff.
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Mpox Response Highlights the Risks of Repeating Past Mistakes

After the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a new worldwide health emergency--a global outbreak of Mpox, which may be better known as monkeypox. That outbreak once again highlighted the need for a strong federal response to public health emergencies. But…
4/18/20240
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Our First-Of-A-Kind Estimate of Fraud in the Federal Government

Our new report estimates, for the first time, the direct financial losses from fraud across federal programs and operations. GAO looked at a recent 5-year period and is estimating annual losses from fraud to be between $233 and $521 billion dollars…
4/16/20240
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F-35 Costs More and Maybe Used Less

The F-35 Lightning II aircraft is the military's most advanced stealth fighter. It's the Department of Defense's most ambitious and costly weapons system. The military currently has about 600 of these jets with plans to buy nearly…
4/15/20240
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Each State has Its Own Move Over Law, But Many Drivers Don't Know About Them

The first Move Over law originated in 1996 in South Carolina. Today, every state has its own law. But despite this, many drivers don’t know about them. We learn more about efforts to get the word out from GAO’s Elizabeth "Biza" Repko.
4/4/20240
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Lack of Sleep Among Active Duty Military Contributes to Millions of Dollars in Damage and Service Member Deaths

We expect our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to be combat ready. But sleep deprivation and fatigue can dramatically reduce readiness, and fatigue has been connected to accidents that have resulted in deaths, as well as hundreds of millions of…
3/26/20240
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At-Home Testing Tools for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

At-home testing tools may aid early detection of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and be more cost effective for patients. In a new report, a Science & Tech Spotlight, we looked at the status of this at-home…
3/25/20240
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COVID-19 Battered the Aviation Industry, Is the US Prepared if it Happens Again?

U.S. commercial airline traffic dropped 96% during peak pandemic times. In response, the federal government (the taxpayers) provided $132 billion in financial assistance to the industry and related businesses. Today, the industry has largely…
3/18/20240
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Oversight of Defense and Security Assistance to Ukraine

Congress has approved $113 billion dollars in aid for Ukraine. Today, GAO is issuing the first in a series of reports--requested by Congress--about the use and oversight of this assistance. Today’s report specifically looks at defense and security…
3/13/20240
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Combating Deepfakes

We're seeing more deepfakes on social media and in the news. These are videos, audio or images that have been manipulated using artificial intelligence. What's being done to combat these fakes? We find out from GAO's Brian Bothwell.
3/11/20240
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Is Head Start--An Important Program for Children in Poverty--Reaching All Who Need It?

Head Start is an important program that supports early learning and development in young children (from birth to 5), who live in poverty. Nearly 800,000 young children were enrolled in Head Start programs during the 2021-2022 school year. But many…
2/27/20240
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Active-Duty Military Can Face Long Wait Times for Even Urgent Mental Health Care

Serving in the military, especially combat, may carry a psychological cost for active-duty service members. If left untreated, behavioral health conditions--such as mental health and substance use disorders-- can worsen with consequences for the…
2/6/20240
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Meet Our New Chief Economist

Here at GAO, we recognize economic trends can change quickly and have major impacts on Americans. We publish reports and provide technical assistance to Congress to help members understand these emerging issues and their potential policy options. On…
1/29/20240
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We Tested Prenatal Supplements to See What's in Them--Here's What We Found

Many pregnant people take prenatal vitamins to promote healthy pregnancies and babies. But these widely used supplements are not subject to the same scrutiny for safety and labeling as prescription drugs. For a new report, we looked at whether some…
1/11/20240
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The Growing Need for Cyber Diplomacy

The U.S. and its allies face growing cyber threats from adversaries and individuals looking to undermine our democracies, institutions, and economies. These include threats from nations like China and Russia. In a new report, we looked at recent…
1/11/20240
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Spending Under Medicaid Managed Care is Growing Rapidly--Here's Why

Medicaid is the government's program that helps low income, medically needy, populations receive health care services. Within Medicaid, managed care allows beneficiaries to receive these services from a network of approved providers. Spending…
12/14/20230
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Artificial Intelligence in Severe Weather and Wildfire Modeling

As weather-related events--like hurricanes and wildfires--become more frequent and severe, meteorologists and others are looking for new ways to forecast these events. GAO's Brian Bothwell joins us to share his new report on the role artificial…
12/14/20230
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Meet GAO’s New Chief Scientist

GAO publishes reports and provides technical assistance to Congress to help members understand the emerging technology and science issues and potential policy options. We recently named a new chief scientist to help lead this work. Met our new Chief…
12/4/20230
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Federal Response to Cyber-based Attacks

Cyber-based attacks on federal systems have become more damaging and disruptive. Federal agencies are required to secure their IT systems from these attacks. GAO's Jennifer Franks joins us to look at our new report on the federal government…
12/4/20230
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High-Risk Radioactive Material Disposal

Radioactive materials are commonly used for medical, industrial and research purposes. But after use, what's being done to ensure radioactive materials are disposed of safely. In a new report, we look at these concerns. GAO's Allison…
11/30/20230
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Public Health Preparedness--Building and Maintaining Infrastructure Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

At the beginning of the pandemic, we heard a lot about shortages of hospital beds, ventilators, testing supplies, as well as doctors and nurses. GAO has reported heavily on the impacts of not being prepared for a pandemic. But in a new report, we…
11/7/20230
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Early Childhood Development--Challenges Providing and Accessing Services

Parents know that the first few years of a child's life include so many critical milestones. During those first few years, it's critical to identify any developmental delays a child might have and provide early intervention services. The…
10/5/20230
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What More Should the U.S. Do to Prevent Transitional Repression?

Some foreign governments have harassed, abducted, threatened, or even assassinated U.S.-based individuals in an effort to silence their criticism. Prominent examples of transnational repression like this include the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal…
10/3/20230
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What More Should the U.S. Do to Prevent Transnational Repression?

Some foreign governments have harassed, abducted, threatened, or even assassinated U.S.-based individuals in an effort to silence their criticism. Prominent examples of transnational repression like this include the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal…
10/3/20230
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As NASA Plans Its Return to the Moon, Greater Visibility Into Spending Could Help Address Cost Concern

When NASA launched Artemis I last November, it used the world's most powerful rocket. The same rocket design, or Space Launch System, will be used in the Artemis II and III missions, with the goal of returning Americans to the moon for the…
9/7/20230
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State and Local Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Vehicles

Greenhouse gas emissions are a major contributor to climate change. The largest source of emissions in the U.S. is transportation occurring on our nation’s roadways, which are owned and run by state and local governments. We learn more about the…
8/3/20230
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Shift from Corporations to Partnerships Causes Challenges for IRS Audits

Businesses are increasingly shifting their legal structures from corporations-- that are subject to corporate income taxes--to partnerships. This shift has made it more difficult for the IRS to identify taxable income and catch potential tax cheats…
7/27/20230
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Unemployment Insurance Delays Caused by Old Computer IT

Unemployment Insurance programs saw unprecedented increases in demand during the pandemic. But despite this increase, many Americans were extremely frustrated when they tried to apply facing delays and other issues in accessing this essential safety…
7/24/20230
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Underused Federal Office Spaces

The federal government has 500 million square feet of office space, which costs billions of dollars each year to lease, operate and maintain. But many of these buildings are under-occupied. This is a long standing problem, but one that increased…
7/13/20230
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Our Priority Recommendations for the Department of Homeland Security

Every year, GAO sends letters to federal agencies highlighting our recommendations from past reports that we think should be prioritized because they would have an immediate high impact on the most pressing challenges facing their agencies and…
7/5/20230
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Department of Defense Efforts to Acquire Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence could transform national defense and security. The Department of Defense has designated it a top priority in its modernization efforts. What are DOD's plans to gain AI technology and capabilities? We'll learn more…
6/29/20230
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U.S. Coast Guard's Offshore Patrol Cutters Efforts Are Delayed And More Expensive Than Planned

The U.S. Coast Guard plans to acquire 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters to help continue its mission--patrolling for homeland security, law enforcement, and search and rescue operations. But construction of these ships faces delays, increasing costs and…
6/20/20230
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Nuclear Weapons Cybersecurity

Nuclear weapons, along with other military weapon systems, are increasingly relying on software and other information technology to operate. But this increased reliance may make nuclear weapons and the systems they rely on more vulnerable to…
6/12/20230
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Social Security Reform

Social Security makes up a substantial percentage of the retirement income for many older Americans. But significant financial challenges threaten the government's ability to continue paying benefits in full. GAO's Kris Nguyen discusses…
5/18/20230
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Fraud in Small Business COVID-19 Relief Programs

Funding to support small businesses and their employees, who were impacted by the pandemic, totaled over $1 trillion. While this assisted more than 10 million businesses, some of it went to those who sought to defraud the government. We'll…
5/18/20230
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Aviation Workforce--Concerns about Future Pilot and Mechanic Shortages

Widespread cancellations and delays seemed commonplace during the last holiday travel season. But while airlines are taking actions to address the causes of these disruptions, larger obstacles may lie ahead, including concerns about major shortages…
5/17/20230
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What Do Noncompete Agreements Mean for Lower-Wage Workers and the Economy?

Noncompete agreements have historically been applied to highly skilled workers and executives with access to company secrets and other proprietary information. But recently these contracts used more broadly, with as many as 38% of workers saying…
5/16/20230
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Department of Defense Financial Management Challenges

The Department of Defense's budget makes up about half of all federal discretionary spending. But the DOD's financial statements have long been the source of scrutiny. For example, DOD is the only major federal agency that has never…
5/15/20230
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Child Trafficking and Child Protection Compacts

To combat child trafficking, the U.S. partners with other countries through Child Protection Compacts. We'll find out more from GAO's Chelsa Kenney, who looked at what is known about how well these partnerships work.
4/17/20230
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U.S. Funding of Entities Located In China

U.S. agencies sometimes provide funding to foreign businesses and other entities when it helps support U.S. trade and other goals. This financial support includes entities located in China. GAO's Kim Gianopoulos tells us more on this podcast.
4/12/20230
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Fusion Energy

Fusion energy has long promised to be a potentially transformative source of energy that avoids some of the risks and environmental impacts that other energy sources produce. But the advancement of this technology still faces fundamental challenges…
3/30/20230
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Food Prices Increases

Food prices generally increase by about 2 percent each year. But from 2021 to 2022, food prices rose by 11 percent, the largest annual increase in over 40 years. What caused this major increase, and what can be done about it? We'll find out…
3/28/20230
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Regenerative Medicine Workforce

Regenerative medicine is an emerging field of health care that has the potential to cure previously untreatable diseases, repair or replace human cells, tissue or organs, and save lives. While the promise is vast, the workforce needed at all levels…
3/23/20230
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The U.S. Led Fight Against Global Cybercrime

The United States and its global partners are experiencing a massive wave of cybercrimes. Here in the U.S., federal law enforcement have received record numbers of complaints in recent years, which include a wide array of Internet based scams…
3/1/20230
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Climate Change--Building Greater Resilience in Agriculture

American farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers are increasingly facing the impacts of climate change. Federal insurance programs can help offset some of these financial impacts. But as extreme weather events increase, so does the…
2/16/20230
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IRS’s Reliance on Aging Technology Impacts Taxpayers, and Modernization Plans are Incomplete and Delayed

The IRS relies heavily on outdated computer software and hardware to perform its day-to-day operations. This includes things that would impact taxpayers, such as processing tax returns and refunds, and collecting taxes. We find out about IRS's…
2/7/20230
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Planning for the Next Public Health Emergency and Medical Countermeasure Development

COVID-19 has underscored the importance of being able to rapidly develop, manufacture, and distribute medical countermeasures--such as drugs, vaccines and testing supplies. But in the early days of the pandemic, the Department of Health and Human…
2/2/20230
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Nursing Home Ownership Can Affect the Quality of Care, And Clearer Information Could Help Families' Decision-making

Who owns a nursing home is often an important factor impacting the quality of care residents living in that home receive. For nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs, ownership information is shared with the public so that…
2/2/20230
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Efforts to Promote Pediatric Cancer Research

Pediatric cancer is among the leading cause of death by disease among children in the United States. But there have been relatively few new drugs approved for treatments. What are the efforts to expand research for developing new treatments? We find…
1/31/20230
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Navy Ship Maintenance and Operation Costs Grew as Use Shrank

The U.S. Navy plays a critical role in U.S. national defense, as well as world commerce and keeping the seas open to trade. It faces a number of obstacles in maintaining and operating its fleet of ships. We recently looked at these issues and found…
1/31/20230
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FAA Tackles Increased Drone Use

Commercial and personal use of drones is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. How is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responding to this increase and making sure drones are being used safely? We'll find out from GAO…
1/26/20230
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More Attention Needed to Prevent Abuse and Neglect in Hospice Care

When Medicaid and Medicare programs pay for nursing home or hospice care, the government requires participating hospitals, nursing homes and hospice providers to protect individuals from abuse or neglect. But federal requirements may differ, leaving…
1/11/20230
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Workforce Gaps May Slow Broadband and 5G Expansion

Broadband and 5G technology are important technologies used in daily activities across the U.S. Yet, millions of Americans lack access to them. Congress recently approved over $42 billion to accelerate efforts to expand access. But do we have the…
12/15/20220
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Exploitation of Children Online is Increasing, As Are The Challenges In Preventing It

Reports of sexual exploitation of children online increased by 35% during COVID-19. To address this alarming trend, federal agencies have efforts underway to combat online exploitation. Today, we'll find out more about these efforts and some of…
12/14/20220
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Financial Aid Offers Often Don't Share The Full Cost of College

Paying for college is one of the biggest financial decisions students and their families make. In FY 2022, the Department of Education provided $112 billion in federal student financial aid to more than 10 million students. But there are concerns…
12/5/20220
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How Does DOD Protect Itself and Contractors from Cyberthreats?

The Department of Defense and its industrial base depend on information technology systems and electronic data to do their work. But these systems are attractive targets for hackers and other U.S. adversaries. So how does the DOD respond to these…
11/14/20220
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Veterans Health—Improving Access Through the Community Care Program

The Veterans Community Care Program was created to improve veterans' access to health care. Under the program, veterans can receive health care services through community providers when they face challenges accessing care at VA facilities. But…
11/10/20220
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National Teacher Shortage—Why Are So Many Educators Leaving the Profession?

Reports about teacher shortages in K-12 public schools grew during COVID-19. But this is actually a long-standing issue. Why are so many educators leaving the profession and why is it hard to recruit new teachers? We'll find out more from GAO…
10/27/20220
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Ransomware and Other Cyberattacks on K-12 Schools

Ransomware and other cyberattacks on public schools increased dramatically during the pandemic as schools across the nation increased their reliance on IT to deliver instruction to students. Now that classes are back in-person, what vulnerabilities…
10/24/20220
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Transitioning Federal Government Vehicles From Conventional Fuels to Zero Emissions

Last December, President Biden called on the federal government to transition its fleet of more than 600,000 non-military cars, trucks, busses and other vehicles from conventional fuels to electricity by 2035. What steps have been taken so far? We’…
10/20/20220
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Maternal Deaths Are Increasing--Here's Why

Each year, hundreds of women die in the U.S. from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. While the number of deaths has increased steadily, in 2021, during COVID, it reached more than a thousand. What factors have contributed to this growing…
10/19/20220
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Hispanic Workers Are Underrepresented in Media Industry-What Can Be Done about It?

The media industry plays an important role in educating and entertaining the public-from producing movies and television programs to publishing books and providing news coverage. But this industry has long been criticized for its lack of diversity…
10/5/20220
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Quality of Care and Privacy Risks with Medicare Telehealth Services During COVID-19

Before the pandemic, Medicare only paid for telehealth services under limited circumstances-for example, when access to in-person care is limited by location. But during COVID-19, the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees Medicare…
9/26/20220
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The Federal Government Collects Large Amounts of Personal Data. But How Is It Protected?

Privacy has become a more significant issue in recent years as new technologies collect and share more and more personal data. The federal government is among those collecting large amounts of personal data, including taxpayer information. How do…
9/22/20220
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Efforts to Protect Nursing Home Residents from COVID-19 Also May Have Negatively Affected Some Residents

At the onset of the pandemic, steps were taken to protect elderly residents living in nursing homes from the spread of COVID-19. This included, for example, limiting visitors and isolating some residents. But these steps may have had unintended…
9/14/20220