Global security and the government’s fiscal gaps are two of the key concentrations in GAO’s recently released strategic plan.
The Government Accountability Office road map from 2018 through 2023 and security, including threats, disasters and military capability and readiness, are key areas of focus.
The four main strategic goals within the plan are addressing challenges to the well-being and financial security of the American people, helping Congress respond to changing security threats, helping federal Government to address national challenges and maximizing the value of GAO.
Some of the specific strategic objectives that GAO set out in its plan include: assess federal efforts to prevent, deter, investigate, and prosecute terrorism, violent crime, and cybercrime, assess federal homeland security management, resources, acquisitions, and stakeholder coordination, and analyze factors affecting the federal short- and long-term budget outlook, debt management, and agencies’ budget decisions and operations.
GAO also published a separate document outlining the trends that provide strategic context for the plan. It has identified eight trends, and their implications, of national issues of greatest concern to Congress and American people. Some of the factors it cites are the federal government’s long-term unsustainable fiscal path, and increasingly complex governance relationships and practices.
Evolving global political and technological conditions are among the eight trends that the report identifies as having major implications for U.S. security. “Further, new assessments of national and international law and policy will be necessary to anticipate and counter the potential nefarious use of advanced technologies such as AI, synthetic biology, and genome editing,” the report says.
On the subject of fiscal outlook and debt, the report highlights that the government is on a long-term, unsustainable fiscal path, with the federal deficit increasing from $587 billion in FY 2016 to $666 billion now. “Having a broader fiscal plan to put the federal government on a more sustainable long-term path would help with these tough decisions,” states the report.
In his foreword, Comptroller General Gene Dodaro also identifies some of the areas that are on GAO’s high risk list, which include the Department of Defense financial management and business operations and the Department of Homeland Security. He goes on to point out that this list also includes areas where the government faces large and unknown financial liability, such as flood insurance claims or protecting the nation’s cyber critical infrastructure.
“GAO continually explores and identifies new ways to communicate the results of our work to Congress and the American people in an accessible manner,” Dodaro writes in his foreword. “Above all else, we will safeguard the high quality of our work by working effectively and efficiently while at the same time maintaining our strong commitment to a skilled and diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace.”