The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's overall cost estimating procedures do not create reliable cost estimates, a recently released Dec. 12 Government Accountability Office report says. While some of the NRC's cost estimation procedures incorporate best practices, the agency isn't doing enough to make sure the cost estimates are accurate, the report says.
Despite NASA reporting the James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST, will launch as planned in October 2018, the Government Accountability Office says one of the agency's most complex and expensive projects in NASA history faces increased schedule and cost risks.
Still basking in the success of last week's Orion space launch, NASA officials were brought back to Earth with Government Accountability Office testimony that says NASA still faces incredible technical and financial challenges in its mission to put a person on Mars. In Dec. 10 testimony, GAO space expert Cristina Chaplain says the mission to put a person on Mars has been hampered by unrealistic and inconsistent goals as well as significant funding issues.
Agency inspectors general have made progress tracking improper payments, which were reduced by about $1.3 billion between fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013, says a Dec. 9 Government Accountability Office report. Inspectors general are required to audit for improper payments, which totaled $105.8 billion in fiscal 2013, through the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010.
The Energy Department needs to rethink how it calculates the costs of its programs, otherwise it risks dealing with cost overruns, a Nov. 25 Government Accountability Office report says.
Two of the agencies participating in a Small Business Administration innovation program opted to open the program to small businesses that are majority-owned by venture capital firms, says a Nov. 20 Government Accountability Office report. The Health and Human Services Department and the Energy Department opted to open part of their Small Business Innovation Research programs to small businesses that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital or similar firms, allowing such companies to apply for and receive SBIR awards, the report says.
The Environmental Protection Agency has paid more than $1 million to eight employees on administrative leave, including two workers who have been collecting salaries and benefits for four years, the inspector general says in a Nov. 19 early warning report.
The Office of Personnel Management could have understated the amount of time federal employees are conducting union business on the clock, a recently released Oct. 23 Government Accountability Office report says. OPM found in 2012 that the cost of federal employees conducting union business during official time across 62 agencies came in at about $157.2 million for about 3.44 million hours, the report says.
The Veterans Health Administration didn't properly assess each Veterans Affairs Department medical center to see if they were prepared to implement methodology for how to properly staff their nursing units, a recently released Oct. 16 Government Accountability Office report says. That means VHA doesn't know if each medical center has the nurse staffing that is adequate to meet veterans' "growing and increasingly complex health care needs," GAO says.
The 2013 government shutdown impacted operations at three agencies the Government Accountability Office reviewed including closures of clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health, a recently released Oct. 15 GAO report says. GAO reviewed programs at the Health and Human Services Department, Energy Department and Transportation Department and found the October 2013 lapse in appropriations significantly hindered some programs at those agencies.