General Accounting Office

441 G St. NW

Washington, D.C. 20548

(202) 512-5500

Founded: 1921

Comptroller general: David Walker

Employees: 3,275

What it does: GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency, often referred to as the watch dog for Congress. It studies how the federal government spends money and advises Congress and federal agencies on what it finds, with recommended actions if necessary. GAO evaluates programs, audits expenditures and issues legal opinions.

Major subagencies: Eleven offices throughout the country.


2003 budget request: $458 million

2002 budget: $432 million

2001 budget: $408 million


Report: VA Information Technology: Management Making Important Progress in Addressing Key Challenges

Report Number: GAO-02-1054T

Released: Sept. 26


Report: Bureau of Public Debt: Areas for Improvement in Computer Controls

Report Number: GAO-02-1082R

Released: Sept. 18


Report: Electronic Government: Proposal Addresses Critical Challenges

Report Number: GAO-02-1083T

Released: Sept. 18


Report: National Airspace System: Status of FAA's Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System

Report Number: GAO-02-1071

Released: Sept. 17


Report: National Preparedness: Technology and Information Sharing Challenges

Report Number: GAO-02-1048R

Released: Aug. 30


Report: Federal Reserve Banks: Areas for Improvement in Computer Controls

Report Number: GAO-02-1018R

Released: Aug. 29


Report: FDIC Information Security: Improvements Made but Weaknesses Remain

Report Number: GAO-02-689

Released: July 15


Report: Human Services: Federal Approval and Funding Processes for States' Information Systems

Report Number: GAO-02-347T

Released: July 9


Report: Executive Office of the President: Analysis of Mandated Report on Key Information Technology Areas

Report Number: GAO-02-779R

Released: June 28


*The 2003 budget request includes $4 million for security and safety enhancements identified following Sept. 11 and the anthrax cases. Some of these include better building protection against biological and chemical attacks and more background checks and security clearances for GAO employees and contractors.

*Fraudulent activity now can be reported to GAO via the Internet. The agency maintains FraudNET, a Web site that allows people to file a report and remain anonymous if they wish. I pulled up the filing form with no problem.

*You can't exactly do business with GAO. Its main focus is to make sure federal agencies are fulfilling their missions and spending taxpayers' money wisely. However, if you're new to the federal market, it's a good idea to peruse GAO's Web site and become familiar with its mission. I found helpful the "Help Using This Site" link on the agency's Web page.

*GAO is unique in that its leader, the comptroller general, holds the office for a 15-year term. Most of its employees are career civil servants. These measures are for continuity and to maintain the agency's independence for its investigative works. Comptroller General David Walker's term began in October 1998 and will expire in October 2013.

Anthony Cicco, chief information officer

Took the job: Jan. 1, 2000

Hometown: Sharon, Pa.

Home now: Annandale, Va.

Family: Wife Linda, daughters Monica and Katherine

Hobbies: Golf and home remodeling

Last book read: "Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission" by Hampton Sides

Alma Mater: Bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska, master's degree from Cal State Long Beach

What are the IT challenges the agency faces?

One of the first is maintaining a sound security program internally and externally. Also, demonstrating value to business by integrating our work more closely with business needs.


What do you look for in companies

with which you are thinking of doing


At the management level, the people I deal with must have the customers' best interests in mind. I can sense quickly when their interests are in maximizing revenue and customers' needs are secondary. I look for a level of integrity that is focused on the customer, and obviously their technical skills.

A year from now, where do you see the department's technology capabilities?

We continue to do a stepwise progression. A year from now, our overall, 24/7 availability -- anywhere anytime access -- also, worldwide remote access; essentially our auditors will be able to travel throughout the world and stay connected. Those are the two things I see we'll add to our portfolio in the next year.

We are changing our infrastructure so downtime will be minimized. We're never on Eastern Standard Time. This will allow us to shorten the window where systems maintenance is being performed. A third [goal would be to] work with business units in putting systems together that make a lot of sense. We are heavily involved with business process redesign.


Between 2002 and 2007, GAO likely will issues reports in the following areas:


Effective system of justice

Physical infrastructure

Security threats

Military capabilities and readiness

Advancement of U.S. interests

Global market forces

Human capital

Progress toward results-oriented, accountable government

Financing of government


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