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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


WASHINGTON, DC (February 16, 2011) -- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the biennial update to its list of federal programs and operations at “high risk” for waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement or needing broad-based transformation.

Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO, announced that the Interior Department’s management of oil and gas resources has been added to the high-risk list. At the same time, Dodaro noted that two issues—the Department of Defense’s (DOD) personnel security clearance program and the 2010 Census—had been dropped from the list because of sufficient progress in addressing past vulnerabilities. As a result of these changes, a total of 30 programs and operations are on GAO’s 2011 high-risk list.

“Although oil and gas resources represent one of the largest sources of revenue for the federal government, it’s far from clear that Interior has been collecting all the funds to which the American people are entitled. I am hopeful that the addition of this area to the high-risk list will encourage the Department to successfully make fundamental changes to enhance its ability to carry out its important mission,” Dodaro said.

The Comptroller General released the 2011 list (GAO-11-278 - http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-11-278) at a bipartisan briefing on Capitol Hill with leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Dodaro observed that a number of areas that remained on the high-risk list had shown improvement, although not enough to drop the high-risk designation. “We at GAO will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to help hasten progress,” Dodaro said.

“While DOD still has several issues on the list, it has demonstrated real progress in turning around a troubled program, enough to allow GAO to remove the security clearance function from the list,” Dodaro said.

The list is updated every two years and released at the start of each new Congress to help in setting oversight agendas. Recent Congresses and administrations have been particularly alert to GAO’s high-risk list and have used its finding to help tailor agency-specific solutions as well as develop broader, government-wide initiatives.

There were 14 areas on the high-risk list when the program was started in 1990. Since then, there have been 39 additions, 21 removals (eight of which were among the original 14), and two areas that were consolidated.

The complete 2011 high-risk list is available on-line at http://www.gao.gov/products/gao-11-278 .

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