Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., Ranking Republican on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said President-elect Barack Obama should begin preparations for assuming office by consulting the Government Accountability Office's "Urgent Issues List."
The list was released today as part of the unveiling of a new transition Web site designed to ease the process of taking office for the new administration. Congress amended the Presidential Transition Act in 2000 to include GAO as a resource for briefings and other materials to assist incoming administrations.
"GAO honestly calls the balls and strikes for government, and its list provides a timely and accurate guide as to where to start to reform government," said Davis, who will retire at the end of this term. "The list includes key priorities that can help new appointees zero in on the challenges their agencies confront."
The GAO listed 13 top challenges:
* Caring for service members.
* Defense readiness.
* Defense spending.
* Food safety.
* Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
* Oversight of financial institutions and markets.
* Preparing for large-scale health emergencies.
* Protecting the homeland.
* Public diplomacy and international broadcasting.
* Retirement of the Space Shuttle.
* Surface transportation.
* The 2010 Census.
* Transition to Digital TV.
The transition site also includes an agency-by-agency listing of challenges of mission, budget and programs, 50 opportunities to limit costs and reduce waste, a list of management challenges across government, a long-term fiscal outlook and a list of upcoming GAO reports on major national issues.
"Every president takes office with a huge set of priorities and challenges," Davis said. "Having key information compiled in this easy-to-use format will help significantly. I hope the new administration takes advantage of this."