Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
On behalf of the United States, I extend my best wishes and hope for a bright future to the people of the Republic of Chad on the 61st anniversary of their independence.
On this important day, we remain committed to further strengthening the historic ties between our countries. As we have since U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower welcomed Chad into the community of nations in 1960, the United States continues to support the national unity and territorial integrity of Chad.
The Republic of Chad can continue to depend on the United States to support the country’s efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law, expand access to justice, counter terrorism, combat human trafficking, and promote respect for human rights and freedom of expression for all Chadians.
We continue to stand with the people of Chad as they navigate an inclusive national dialogue towards a democratically elected government in 2022.
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- Acting Deputy Attorney General John Carlin Delivers Remarks on Domestic TerrorismBy Sam NewsFebruary 26, 2021Thank you, Marc. Before I begin, I’d like to address an important issue: the reports of horrific attacks on Asian Americans across the country. I want to be clear here: No one in America should fear violence because of who they are of what they believe. Period. These types of attacks have no place in our society. We will not tolerate any form of domestic terrorism or hate-based violent extremism, and we are committed to putting a stop to it.[Read More…]
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- Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks Announcing Lawsuit Against the State of Texas to Stop Unconstitutional Senate Bill 8By Sam NewsSeptember 9, 2021Good afternoon. Last week, after the Supreme Court allowed Texas Senate Bill 8 to take effect, I said that the Justice Department was evaluating all options to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons.[Read More…]
- Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Advance Coordination and Increased Visibility Needed to Optimize CapabilitiesBy Sam NewsAugust 25, 2021Combatant commanders carrying out ongoing operations rank the need for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities as high on their priority lists. The Department of Defense (DOD) is investing in many ISR systems, including unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), to meet the growing demand for ISR assets to support the warfighter. GAO was asked to evaluate DOD's efforts to integrate UAS into ongoing operations while optimizing the use of all DOD ISR assets. Specifically, this report addresses the extent that (1) DOD has taken steps to facilitate the integration of UAS into combat operations, and (2) DOD's approach to allocating and tasking its ISR assets considers all available ISR capabilities, including those provided by UAS. GAO also reviewed the extent that DOD evaluates the performance of its ISR assets, including UAS, in meeting warfighters' needs. To perform this work, GAO analyzed data and guidance on the use of ISR assets, and interviewed DOD officials, including those supporting ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.DOD components have developed guidance to facilitate the integration of UAS into combat operations; however, further steps are needed to coordinate the deployment of these assets. For example, DOD developed guidance for the tactical employment of UAS and a Joint UAS Concept of Operations. This guidance is an important first step but does not address coordinating UAS and other ISR assets prior to deploying them to ongoing operations, which U.S. Central Command recognized is a critical factor in integrating UAS into combat operations. Until DOD addresses the need for DOD-wide advance coordination, it may continue to face challenges in successfully integrating UAS and other ISR assets into combat operations and may exacerbate integration challenges such as limited bandwidth. DOD's approach to allocating and tasking its ISR assets, including UAS, hinders its ability to optimize the use of these assets because it does not consider the capabilities of all available ISR assets. The command charged with recommending how theater-level DOD ISR assets should be allocated to support operational requirements does not have awareness of all available ISR assets because DOD does not have a mechanism for obtaining this information. Similarly, the commander responsible for coordinating ongoing joint air operations does not have information on how assets controlled by tactical units are being used or what missions they've been tasked to support. Nor do tactical units have information on how theater-level assets and ISR assets embedded in other units are being tasked, which results in problems such as duplicative taskings. This lack of visibility occurs because DOD does not have a mechanism for tracking the missions both theater- and tactical-level ISR assets are supporting or how they are being used. Without an approach to allocation and tasking that includes a mechanism for considering all ISR capabilities, DOD may be unable to fully leverage all available ISR assets and optimize their use. DOD is unable to fully evaluate the performance of its ISR assets because it lacks a complete set of metrics and does not consistently receive feedback to ensure the warfighter's needs were met. Although the Joint Functional Component Command for ISR has been tasked with developing ISR metrics, DOD currently assesses its ISR missions with limited quantitative metrics such as the number of targets planned versus captured. While these metrics are a good start, DOD officials acknowledge that the current metrics do not capture all of the qualitative considerations associated with measuring ISR asset effectiveness such as the cumulative knowledge provided by numerous ISR missions. There is an ongoing effort within DOD to develop additional quantitative as well as qualitative ISR metrics, but no DOD-wide milestones have been established. Furthermore, DOD guidance calls for an evaluation of the results of joint operations; however, DOD officials acknowledge that this feedback is not consistently occurring due to the fast pace of operations in theater. Without metrics and feedback, DOD may not be able to validate how well the warfighters' needs are being met, whether it is optimizing the use of existing assets, or which new systems would best support warfighting needs.[Read More…]
- Maryland Accountant Convicted of Preparing False Tax Returns for D.C. ResidentsBy Sam NewsJuly 1, 2021A federal jury in the District of Columbia convicted a Maryland woman today for preparing three false tax returns for District of Columbia residents that claimed more than $1.1 million in fraudulent refunds.[Read More…]
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- President of Commercial Flooring Company Pleads Guilty to Rigging Bids in Violation of Federal Antitrust LawsBy Sam NewsNovember 18, 2020Delmar E. Church Jr., the president and one of the principal owners of a Chicago-area commercial flooring company, pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices for commercial flooring services and products sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced. The defendant is cooperating with the department’s ongoing investigation.[Read More…]
- Small Business Loans: SBA Generally Incorporated Key Elements for Estimating Subsidy Cost of 7(a) ProgramBy Sam NewsOctober 30, 2020The Small Business Administration (SBA) develops its subsidy cost estimates for the 7(a) loan guarantee program—that is, estimates of the program's net long-term cost to the government—using a cash flow model. The model uses historical data, econometric equations, and macroeconomic projections to estimate cash flows—such as guarantee fees, SBA purchases of defaulted loans, and recoveries on those loans—for the loans SBA expects to guarantee in the next fiscal year. The net present value of the cash flows (value in current dollars) is the subsidy cost estimate. SBA generally incorporated key elements of subsidy cost estimation into its estimates for the 7(a) program for the fiscal year 2020 budget. Specifically, GAO found that SBA's estimation process was largely consistent with eight key elements GAO previously identified that help ensure subsidy estimates are supported, reliable, and reasonable. For example, SBA generally validated historical data, documented the cash flow model and key assumptions, analyzed the sensitivity of estimates to alternative assumptions, and had documented policies and procedures. SBA made changes in its estimation process that collectively increased the 7(a) program's subsidy cost to $99 million for fiscal year 2020 (a 0.33 percent subsidy rate when expressed as the cost per dollar of credit assistance) from $0 for fiscal year 2019 (0 percent subsidy rate). Some of these changes were routine updates to data and economic assumptions used in the cash flow model, while others were revisions to the estimation process. Additionally, some individual changes increased the subsidy costs, while others decreased it. Some of the changes that had the largest impact on the subsidy rate included the following: Incorporating the President's economic assumptions for fiscal year 2020 decreased the rate by 0.27 percentage points. Updating the basis for the size and composition of the loan cohort SBA expected to guarantee in fiscal year 2020 increased the rate by 0.21 percentage points. Revising the methodology for estimating purchase amounts for defaulted loans to better reflect the outstanding loan balance at the time of purchase increased the rate by 0.21 percentage points. The 7(a) program is SBA's largest loan guarantee program for small businesses, with about $95 billion in outstanding loan principal as of the end of fiscal year 2019. Federal agencies that provide credit assistance are generally required to estimate the net long-term cost to the government—known as the subsidy cost—for each annual cohort of loans. SBA initially estimated a zero subsidy cost for each cohort from fiscal years 2014 through 2019, but estimated that the fiscal year 2020 cohort would have a positive subsidy cost and require appropriations. GAO was asked to evaluate SBA's subsidy estimation process for the 7(a) program. This report examines (1) how SBA estimates 7(a) subsidy costs, (2) the extent to which SBA incorporated key elements of subsidy cost estimation into its estimation process for the fiscal year 2020 budget, and (3) the changes SBA made in its estimation process for the fiscal year 2020 budget. GAO reviewed SBA documentation on its estimation process, including information on SBA's cash flow model, and compared SBA's process to key elements that GAO previously identified ( GAO-16-269 ). GAO also interviewed officials from SBA, the Office of Management and Budget, and outside auditors and contractors that annually review SBA's process and model. For more information, contact William B. Shear at (202) 512-8678 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[Read More…]
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- Man Pleads Guilty to Directing COVID-Relief Fraud SchemeBy Sam NewsFebruary 23, 2021A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty today for his role in fraudulently obtaining over $1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.[Read More…]
- Financial Services Industry: Using Data to Promote Greater Diversity and InclusionBy Sam NewsMarch 18, 2021What GAO Found GAO's prior work has shown that the financial services industry has made little or no progress in increasing diversity at the senior management level. The figure below shows the latest available data on diversity at senior levels. Race/Ethnicity and Gender Representation of Executive/Senior-Level Management in the Financial Services Industry, 2018 One common theme of GAO's recent reports on diversity in the financial services industry is the importance of using data to assess diversity and inclusion efforts. In 2017, GAO reported that financial services firms said it is important for firms to collect and analyze data to assess workforce diversity. Notably, all the financial services firms with which GAO spoke agreed on the importance of analyzing employee data. Some firm representatives noted that with such data, they can analyze the gender and racial/ethnic diversity of new hires, employees leaving the organization, and newly promoted staff and managers. In 2019 and 2020, GAO reported that the Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks) and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the enterprises) track diversity composition data on their workforce, recruitment, and hiring. The FHLBanks and the enterprises use these data to compare their performance against benchmarks, such as prior-year metrics and peer institutions, and set goals for future performance. They also incorporate diversity targets into their incentive compensation goals or performance competencies for management. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) uses data to oversee the workforce diversity and inclusion efforts of the FHLBanks and the enterprises. As GAO reported in 2019 and 2020, FHFA collects and reviews quarterly and annual workforce diversity data from the FHLBanks and enterprises. For example, FHFA assesses each FHLBank's performance in workforce diversity using the quarterly data. In 2017, FHFA also began reviewing diversity and inclusion efforts as part of its annual examinations of the FHLBanks and the enterprises. Why GAO Did This Study The financial services industry provides services that help families build wealth and is essential to the economic growth of the country. For instance, the FHLBanks, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac play important roles in supporting the U.S. housing market. The FHLBanks include 11 federally chartered banks that provide liquidity for member institutions, such as commercial and community banks, to use in support of housing finance and community lending. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchase single-family and multifamily mortgage loans that lenders already made to borrowers. Congressional members and others have highlighted the need for the financial services industry to create opportunities for all Americans, including supporting a diverse workforce. This statement discusses (1) how financial service firms use data to assess workforce diversity efforts; (2) how the FHLBanks and the enterprises use data to assess their diversity efforts; and (3) how FHFA oversees diversity efforts at the FHLBanks and the enterprises. This statement is primarily based on three GAO reports (GAO-18-64, GAO-19-589, and GAO-20-637) on diversity efforts in the financial services industry and at FHLBanks and the enterprises. For the reports, GAO reviewed relevant literature and data, and interviewed representatives of financial services firms and industry and diversity advocacy organizations. GAO also reviewed documents and interviewed officials from the FHLBanks, enterprises, and FHFA. For more information, contact Daniel Garcia-Diaz at (202) 512-8678 or GarciaDiazD@gao.gov.[Read More…]
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- FY 2021 State Justice Statistics Program for Statistical Analysis Centers (SJS-SAC) Technical Assistance ProgramBy Sam NewsMay 18, 2021(Solicitation)
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is seeking applications for funding to administer activities under the FY 2021 State Justice Statistics Program for Statistical Analysis Centers (SJS-SAC) Technical Assistance Program. This program supports the collection, analysis, and dissemination of statistical information on crime and criminal justice at the state and local level.
Grants.gov Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 14, 2021; JustGrants Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 28, 2021 [Read More…]