While the ability of an auditing agency like GAO to influence national security policy is limited (one of the factors I have had to come to grips with during my internship), the work is still very important. GAO audits list a series of recommendations the audited agency should implement, but the agency can contest any findings. In that regard, GAO reports are more directed towards Congress by providing members with more detailed information on a specific topic allowing them to conduct more in-depth hearings. For the project I am working on, it will be very interesting to follow the report after it has been released and what becomes of GAO’s recommendations.
My internship at GAO has been a great introduction to defense acquisition and contracting, a topic I am very interested in. While this internship is by nature an office job, it has had some great perks. These include meeting with Navy and shipyard officials, and conducting site visits to the Washington Navy Yard, the Pentagon, and the Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Experiences like these will help me in my career as I know I am definitely interested in working in the defense acquisition field. I am hopeful to continue working at GAO after my internship as many interns are converted into full-time employees. Even if this does not happen, this internship has provided me with valuable experience in conducting interviews, research and analysis, and reading very dense, jargony defense contracts. Overall, I have had a great experience at GAO and highly recommend GAO internships to future SSP students.