GAO’s new strategic plan will guide our efforts from 2022 to 2027, as we help lawmakers oversee federal operations and address the most important national issues facing government and society as a whole.
The plan outlines 12 key trends — domestic and international — with significant implications for the well-being of the American people. Understanding these trends will be critical to ensuring the federal government is prepared for the future.
This video gives a few examples of these trends, and the role they play in our more forward-looking work.
The trends were developed with research and through consultations with our own internal experts as well as experts inside and outside the federal government. Here’s a quick rundown of the trends:
- Global and domestic national security threats—Which includes growing threats abroad and a rise in violent extremism tied to conspiracy theories and misinformation
- The federal government’s increasing debt, which makes a fiscal crisis more likely, with the need to take action sooner to avoid more drastic measures in the future
- Strengthening the nation’s ability to prepare for catastrophic biological incidents—A need underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic — including building a more resilient medical supply chain
- Persistent racial and ethnic disparities in all facets of society including housing, education, wealth, health care, criminal justice, and access to voting
- The declining public investment in science and technology R&D in our innovation-based global economy
- Society’s increasing reliance on digital technology with security implications like cybercrime and the emergence of “deep fakes” and other types of media designed to deceive people
- Changes to the US workforce due to new technologies and the new skills they require, automation, and the increase in remote work
- Potential economic and national security effects on the global supply chain due to COVID-19 disruptions, the trade war between the US and China, and shocks from global crises
- The increased use of online learning and technology in educationwhich is creating both opportunities and challenges for students, educators, and policymakers
- The benefits and costs of evolving health technologies—For example, artificial intelligence can decrease the time and costs required to make more effective drugs available, but also raises privacy concerns
- Environmental security–Balancing the need to use natural resources critical to our economy with an increasingly stressed environment and the need for sustainability
- The evolving space environment—Space is increasingly being used for national security, commercial, and human exploration purposes
For more on these key trends, check out the full trend papers.