September 29, 2022

ACN Center

Area Control Network

Trends Affecting Government and Society

11 min read

We publish a strategic plan every 4 years to guide our work as we help lawmakers oversee federal operations.

The latest plan includes 12 papers on trends that will likely affect government and society in the next 5 to 15 years—including science and technology in an innovation economy, global supply chains, racial and ethnic disparities, and national security threats.

To identify these trends, we consulted with internal and external experts, including fellows from our Center for Strategic Foresight.

The strategic plan also includes our key efforts (near-term priorities for informing Congress on important issues).

Trends Affecting Government and Society, GAO Strategic Plan 2022-2027

More from:

  • State Department Designates Two Senior Al-Shabaab Leaders as Terrorists
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • The Department of Justice Files Brief Defending the Constitutionality of Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Peru President-Elect Castillo
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • The Houthis Must Cease the Assault on Marib
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • DRL Strengthening Human Rights and Accountability in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Bureau of Democracy, [Read More…]
  • Department Press Briefing – December 6, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken to Participate in Christchurch Call to Action Leaders’ Summit
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • VA Acquisition Management: Fundamental Challenges Could Hinder Supply Chain Modernization Efforts if Not Addressed
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found VA has one of the most significant acquisition functions in the federal government, with over $34 billion obligated in fiscal year 2021. GAO added the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) acquisition management to its High-Risk List in 2019 due to long-standing acquisition management challenges, including purchases of goods and services, particularly medical supplies. For example, VA’s Medical-Surgical Prime Vendor (MSPV) program is the VA medical centers’ primary source for medical supplies. In 2017, GAO reported that VA’s initial implementation of the current version of MSPV was flawed. It lacked an overarching strategy, stable leadership, and medical center buy-in. Consequently, despite some improvements, the program has yet to fully meet medical centers’ needs for medical supplies. Additionally, during 2019 and 2020, the Veterans Health Administration piloted the Defense Logistics Agency’s version of MSPV and decided to expand it VA-wide. However, it did not evaluate whether the pilot was scalable, as GAO recommended in September 2020. A legal challenge has led to further delays, during which the medical centers continue to face the shortcomings of the current version of the program, including frequent backorders and other issues. GAO’s March 2021 High-Risk Update reported that VA has made limited progress addressing its acquisition management challenges. Since that time, VA has issued a high-risk action plan. While this plan identifies root causes of problems GAO identified in prior work, it lacks specifics. For example, the plan does not identify the scope of VA’s supply chain and how existing programs and initiatives will be included in its overall supply chain modernization effort. In March 2021, GAO made a recommendation that VA develop a comprehensive supply chain management strategy, given existing and continuing supply chain challenges that were highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, VA has taken action and, according to the Chief Acquisition Officer, plans to complete a supply chain assessment by the end of 2022, which will inform its supply chain strategy. While GAO recognizes that VA is taking action on supply chain issues, preliminary observations from its ongoing work underscore that VA has fundamental acquisition management challenges that, if not addressed, could undermine these supply chain efforts. For example, preliminary observations indicate that several of VA’s key acquisition programs are not following VA’s acquisition framework introduced in 2017—a situation confirmed by senior VA acquisition officials. A good acquisition framework, among other things, can help ensure that VA leaders have a structured process and the necessary information to make decisions at key points as it implements and executes a program. Such a framework also provides leaders with ways to monitor program outcomes and ensure accountability. GAO will be reporting on VA’s current framework and actions it is taking to develop and implement a new framework and other actions related to acquisition oversight in the summer of 2022. Why GAO Did This Study GAO’s prior work shows that VA has long faced challenges in achieving efficient acquisitions. Further, VA faced supply chain challenges during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as GAO testified in June 2020, September 2020, and March 2021. This statement discusses VA’s supply chain and broader acquisition management challenges, its efforts to address them, and implications for improving VA’s overall acquisition management. This statement is largely based on information from GAO reports and testimony statements issued from 2017-2021 and preliminary observations from ongoing work. The ongoing work includes reviews focused on VA’s management of major acquisitions and its acquisition workforce, on which GAO plans to issue reports in summer 2022. To perform the ongoing work, GAO reviewed VA documentation and interviewed VA officials. Information about the scope and methodology of prior work on which this statement is based can be found in those products.

    [Read More…]

  • Opening Remarks by Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo Before the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Saturn’s Moon Titan Drifting Away Faster Than Previously Thought
    The new research by [Read More…]
  • Trader Indicted for Commodities Insider Trading Scheme
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Houston returned an indictment on Dec. 7 charging a natural gas trader for an insider trading scheme involving natural gas futures.

    [Read More…]

  • Professional Standards Update No. 81
    In U.S GAO News
    To alert the audit community to changes in professional standards, we periodically issue Professional Standards Updates (PSU). These updates highlight the effective dates and issuance of recent standards and guidance related to engagements conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards. PSUs contain summary information only, and those affected by a change should refer to the respective standard or guidance for details. This PSU has three sections.

    [Read More…]

  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken with U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau Tulinabo S. Mushingi and Senegalese Economy Minister Amadou Hott at a Women’s Economic and Digital Roundtable
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Addresses Rise in Criminal Conduct on Commercial Aircraft
    In Crime News
    As the holiday travel season commences, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today directed U.S. Attorneys to prioritize prosecution of federal crimes occurring on commercial aircraft that endanger the safety of passengers, flight crews and flight attendants.

    [Read More…]

  • Assistant Secretary David Schenker’s Travel to Lebanon, Morocco, and the United Kingdom
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Pipeline Safety: Manufacturing Defects in Pipeline Components Rarely Contribute to Accidents
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Manufacturing defects involving certain pipelines components—specifically fittings, flanges, and valves—accounted for less than 2 percent (23 of 1,529) of all accidents on gas and hazardous liquid interstate transmission pipelines from 2016 through 2020, according to GAO’s analysis of Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) data. During this period, none of the reported 10 fatalities or 24 injuries requiring in-patient hospitalizations were related to accidents involving such defects. The amount of product released was also lower than average for all accidents that GAO reviewed. For example, accidents involving manufacturing defects in these pipeline components resulted in the spillage of 69 barrels of hazardous liquid on average, compared to an average release of 242 barrels for all accidents. Many selected stakeholders GAO interviewed also said that manufacturing defects in pipeline components rarely contribute to accidents. All selected operators GAO interviewed described taking a number of steps to design, inspect, and test pipeline components to ensure quality prior to placing the components into service. Many of these selected operators described taking steps above PHMSA’s minimum safety standards. For example, some operators described conducting inspections of manufacturers’ processes or requiring manufacturers to maintain voluntary management and design certifications. According to these selected operators, these actions help ensure that manufacturers have the skills and expertise to construct high-quality pipeline components. While selected operators generally did not describe additional testing steps, many of these operators and other stakeholders agreed that defects are often identified during the testing of components. Specifically, PHMSA generally requires that operators conduct a hydrostatic test—whereby the pipeline is pressurized to a level above the normal operating pressure—to ensure the integrity of the pipe and components prior to the pipeline being placed in service. Why GAO Did This Study The U.S. pipeline network includes almost 350,000 miles of interstate gas and hazardous liquid transmission pipelines that operate at high pressures and transport products across the country. The integrity of individual components used in constructing these pipelines is critical to protect life, property, and the environment. These components include fittings to accommodate changes in terrain or direction of the pipe; flanges to connect pipes and other equipment together; and valves to help control the flow and pressure of product in the pipe. Within the U.S. Department of Transportation, PHMSA sets and enforces the federal minimum pipeline safety standards for pipelines and pipeline facilities, including for the design and manufacture of components. The minimum safety standards apply to owners and operators of pipeline facilities rather than the manufacturers of components. Due to potential concerns about the manufacturing process for pipeline components, GAO was asked to review the quality of fittings, flanges, and valves on interstate transmission pipelines. This report describes: (1) the extent to which manufacturing defects in pipeline components have contributed to accidents from 2016 through 2020, and (2) the actions selected pipeline operators have taken to ensure the quality of components manufactured for their pipelines. GAO analyzed PHMSA’s accident data on interstate transmission pipelines for gas and hazardous liquid—including number, item involved, cause, related fatalities and injuries, and amount of product released—from 2016 through 2020, the most recent 5-year period for which data were available. GAO assessed the reliability of the data by reviewing PHMSA reports and interviewing PHMSA officials, among other things, and found the data to be sufficiently reliable to describe the frequency in which manufacturing defects contributed to reportable pipeline accidents. GAO also reviewed relevant pipeline safety statutes and regulations, including those addressing the safety of pipeline components. GAO interviewed officials from PHMSA and the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as representatives from 10 pipeline operators, six industry associations, four pipeline manufacturers, three standards-setting organizations, and one safety group. GAO selected operators that manage interstate transmission pipelines, but vary in size (number of pipeline miles managed); commodities transported (i.e., natural gas and hazardous liquids); accident history; and geographic location. GAO selected the remaining stakeholders based on, among other things, inclusion in prior GAO reports, recommendations from stakeholders, or references in PHMSA’s regulations. For more information, contact Elizabeth Repko at (202 )512-2834 or repkoe@gao.gov. 

    [Read More…]

  • Human Trafficking: Monitoring and Evaluation of International Projects Are Limited, but Experts Suggest Improvements
    In U.S GAO News
    Human trafficking–a worldwide crime involving the exploitation of men, women, and children for others’ financial gain–is a violation of human rights. Victims are often lured or abducted and forced to work in involuntary servitude. Since 2001, the U.S. government has provided about $447 million to combat global human trafficking. As GAO previously reported, estimates of the number of trafficking victims are questionable. In this report, GAO examines (1) collaboration among organizations involved in international antitrafficking efforts, (2) U.S. government monitoring of antitrafficking projects and difficulties in evaluating these projects, and (3) suggestions for strengthening monitoring and evaluation. GAO analyzed agency documents; convened an expert panel; interviewed officials; and conducted fieldwork in Indonesia, Thailand, and Mexico.While governments, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations have recognized the importance of collaborating and have established some coordination mechanisms and practices, they will need to overcome challenges that have impeded collaboration in the past for their efforts to be successful. In two of the three countries GAO visited, it found that host governments–which bear ultimate responsibility for combating trafficking within their borders–have passed national antitrafficking laws and enacted national action plans. However, organizations continue to face numerous challenges when collaborating to combat human trafficking, including varying levels of government commitment and capacity. For example, some governments treat foreign trafficking victims as illegal immigrants and deport rather than protect them. In addition, according to officials in two of the three countries GAO visited, the ministries responsible for coordinating antitrafficking efforts have limited authority and capacity. U.S. government-funded antitrafficking projects often lack some important elements that allow projects to be monitored, and little is known about project impact due to difficulties in conducting evaluations. Project documents GAO reviewed generally include monitoring elements, such as an overarching goal and related activities, but often lack other monitoring elements, such as targets for measuring performance. To oversee projects, State officials supplement their efforts with assistance from U.S. embassy staff, but have not established written guidance for oversight. Officials said that they are working to improve performance measures and develop monitoring guidance. Conducting impact evaluations of antitrafficking projects is difficult due to several factors, including questionable project-level estimates of the number of trafficking victims. These estimates are needed for baselines by which to evaluate how effectively specific interventions are reducing trafficking. Elements in the design of certain projects, such as objectives that are too broad, further impede evaluation. Because of these difficulties, few impact evaluations have been completed, and little is known about the impact of antitrafficking interventions. A GAO-convened panel of experts identified and discussed ways to address the factors that make it difficult to monitor and evaluate antitrafficking projects. Panelists’ suggested approaches included improving information on the nature and severity of trafficking and addressing monitoring and evaluation in project design. To improve information on trafficking, panelists suggested methods that have been used to sample other hard-to-reach populations, including domestic violence victims. One suggested method is sampling of “hot spots”–an intensive search for victims in areas known to have high concentrations of victims. To address weaknesses in project design that impede monitoring and evaluation, panelists suggested that officials design projects that clearly link activities to intended outcomes, identify measurable indicators, and establish procedures for setting and modifying targets.

    [Read More…]

  • Travel of Special Envoy for the Sahel Region Dr. J. Peter Pham to Mali
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • United States and United Kingdom Sign Civil Air Transport Agreement
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • The United States and Turkmenistan Hold Annual Bilateral Consultations
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]

Source: Network News
Area Control Network

Copyright © 2022 ACN
All Rights Reserved © ACN 2020

ACN Privacy Policies
ACN TOS
Area Control Network (ACN)
Area Control Network
Area Control Network Center