GAO is requesting budget authority of $614.8 million for FY 2019 to allow it to cover mandatory pay and inflationary cost increases, and achieve increases in its on-board staff.
The request includes an appropriation of $578.9 million and $35.9 million in offsetting receipts and reimbursements from program and financial audits, rental income, training fees, bid protest fees, and funds from the disaster supplemental.
In its budget request, it says that in 2017 its work resulted in a return of $128 for every dollar invested in GAO, generating almost $74 billion in financial benefits to the federal government. Implementation of GAO’s recommendations led to 1,280 program and operational improvements across the federal government, and its reports contained more than 1,400 recommendations across a vast array of areas to foster government efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness on high-priority challenges facing Congress and the nation.
It also highlights that Congress passed a number of laws based on GAO recommendations, which led to increased efficiency in areas such as the acquisition of weapon systems and cybersecurity.
With the funding enacted for FY 2018, including $10 million in 2-year funding for information technology and building infrastructure projects, GAO revised its FY 2018 operating plan and FY 2019 budget request. It says additional IT resources will allow it to make strategic investments to modernize its communications, infrastructure, security, and document management systems.
GAO states that the revised plan will put it in a position to achieve 3,100 FTE in FY 2019 without an increase over the FY 2018 appropriation level, moving GAO closer to its optimal staffing level of 3,250 FTE.
With increased staffing it says it will expand its focus on critical cybersecurity issues and the threats to the nation’s critical infrastructure, continue its focus on a range of rapidly evolving science and technology issues, bolster reviews of the increased investment in Department of Defense programs and assess the challenges associated with growing federal healthcare costs.