The Government Accountability Office (GAO) launched its new Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics (STAA) team on Tuesday, with a focus on enhancing GAO’s ability to audit technology.

“For some time, GAO has examined science and technology matters in connection with its reviews of federal agencies and programs. By consolidating its science and technology work in one unit and adding additional resources, the agency anticipates synergies that will enhance its work for Congress,” GAO noted in a press release.

However, don’t expect the familiar faces from GAO, like Carol Harris, director of IT Management Issues at GAO, to go anywhere.

“Additionally, our Information Technology and Cybersecurity team will continue to work on technology and science reports related to cybersecurity,” GAO noted on STAA’s website.

The new unit will:

  • Conduct technology assessments;
  • Provide technical assistance to Congress;
  • Audit science and technology programs at Federal agencies;
  • Compile best practices; and
  • Establish an audit innovation lab to test how emerging technology can help GAO.

STAA will be led by Timothy Persons, chief scientist and a managing director at GAO, and John Neumann, a managing director at GAO.

In a video explaining the changes, GAO highlighted artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, quantum computing, blockchain and big data as emerging technology areas where the unit’s work will leave an impact.

“The work of our science, technology assessment, and analytics team is designed to help Congress oversee the substantial federal investment in science and technology, enhance U.S. innovation and competitiveness, and consider the implications and potential policy options concerning emerging technologies,” said Gene L. Dodaro, head of GAO.

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MeriTalk Staff