The Government Accountability Office (GAO) requested $706 million in appropriated funds for Fiscal Year 2021. An increase of $76 million from the FY2020 enacted level, the agency aims to improve its internal IT infrastructure and its Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics (STAA) audit team.
The budget increase will partially support more than 3,000 new full-time equivalent staff positions, some within STAA. GAO is still working toward fulfilling a 2019 staffing plan to grow its STAA team. To meet congressional demand, the agency plans to grow STAA to 140 new full-time equivalent staff positions in areas such as computer science, quantum computing, and engineering.
The funding increase will also support STAA’s mission to conduct Federal science and tech assessments, provide technical assistance to Congress, develop technical guides for major Fed tech and acquisition programs, and other key priorities. Further, more funds will be put toward the agency’s emerging tech initiatives, such as building artificial intelligence prototypes and fostering algorithmic accountability.
The agency invest in a new reporting system, New Blue. The platform will GAO hopes New Blue will improve the security of its reporting process and ability to maintain compliance with policy standards.
If the additional funding is enacted, GAO plans to expand its IT and cybersecurity work. In FY2019, the agency hired 30 new IT and cybersecurity analysts, positioning the agency to expand its tech and cyber work with Fed agencies.