October 19, 2021

News

News Network

Rental Housing: Information on Low-Income Veterans’ Housing Conditions and Participation in HUD’s Programs

14 min read
<div>Veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan could increase demand for affordable rental housing. Households with low incomes (80 percent or less of the area median income) generally are eligible to receive rental assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) housing choice voucher, public housing, and project-based programs. However, because rental assistance is not an entitlement, not all who are eligible receive assistance. This testimony, based on a 2007 report, discusses (1) the income status and demographic and housing characteristics of veteran renter households, (2) how HUD's rental assistance programs treat veteran status (whether a person is a veteran or not) and whether they use a veteran's preference, and (3) the extent to which HUD's rental assistance programs served veterans in fiscal year 2005. The 2007 report discussed in this testimony made no recommendations.In 2005, an estimated 2.3 million veteran renter households had low incomes. The proportion of veteran renter households that were low income varied by state but did not fall below 41 percent. Further, an estimated 1.3 million, or about 56 percent of these low-income veteran households nationwide, had housing affordability problems--that is, rental costs exceeding 30 percent of household income (see map for state percentages). Compared with other (nonveteran) renter households, however, veterans were somewhat less likely to be low income or have housing affordability problems. HUD's major rental assistance programs are not required to take a household's veteran status into account when determining eligibility and calculating subsidy amounts, but eligible veterans can receive assistance. The majority of the 41 largest public housing agencies that administer the housing choice voucher or public housing programs had no veterans' preference for admission. The 13 largest performance-based contract administrators that oversaw most properties under project-based programs reported that owners generally did not adopt a veterans' preference. In fiscal year 2005, an estimated 11 percent of all eligible low-income veteran households (at least 250,000) received assistance, compared with 19 percent of nonveteran households. Although the reasons for the difference are unclear, factors such as differing levels of need for affordable housing among veteran and other households could influence the percentages.</div>

Veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan could increase demand for affordable rental housing. Households with low incomes (80 percent or less of the area median income) generally are eligible to receive rental assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) housing choice voucher, public housing, and project-based programs. However, because rental assistance is not an entitlement, not all who are eligible receive assistance. This testimony, based on a 2007 report, discusses (1) the income status and demographic and housing characteristics of veteran renter households, (2) how HUD’s rental assistance programs treat veteran status (whether a person is a veteran or not) and whether they use a veteran’s preference, and (3) the extent to which HUD’s rental assistance programs served veterans in fiscal year 2005. The 2007 report discussed in this testimony made no recommendations.

In 2005, an estimated 2.3 million veteran renter households had low incomes. The proportion of veteran renter households that were low income varied by state but did not fall below 41 percent. Further, an estimated 1.3 million, or about 56 percent of these low-income veteran households nationwide, had housing affordability problems–that is, rental costs exceeding 30 percent of household income (see map for state percentages). Compared with other (nonveteran) renter households, however, veterans were somewhat less likely to be low income or have housing affordability problems. HUD’s major rental assistance programs are not required to take a household’s veteran status into account when determining eligibility and calculating subsidy amounts, but eligible veterans can receive assistance. The majority of the 41 largest public housing agencies that administer the housing choice voucher or public housing programs had no veterans’ preference for admission. The 13 largest performance-based contract administrators that oversaw most properties under project-based programs reported that owners generally did not adopt a veterans’ preference. In fiscal year 2005, an estimated 11 percent of all eligible low-income veteran households (at least 250,000) received assistance, compared with 19 percent of nonveteran households. Although the reasons for the difference are unclear, factors such as differing levels of need for affordable housing among veteran and other households could influence the percentages.

More from:

News Network

  • Defense Health Care: Efforts to Ensure Beneficiaries Access Specialty Care and Receive Timely and Effective Care
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Defense (DOD) has a general expectation that its health care beneficiaries, upon receiving an urgent referral to see a specialist, will access that specialty care in 3 days or less. GAO's analysis of 16,754 urgent referrals at military treatment facilities (MTF) shows that DOD beneficiaries accessed specialty care services in 3 days or less for more than half of the urgent referrals. About 9 percent of the urgent referrals involved beneficiaries waiting 3 weeks or longer to be seen. According to DOD officials, some beneficiaries may have waited longer than 3 days due to factors such as patient preference, appointment availability, or waiting for lab results. Time to access care varied by specialty, with beneficiaries urgently referred to ophthalmology generally seeing a specialist the fastest, and those urgently referred to mental health and oncology generally waiting the longest. According to DOD officials, MTFs are responsible for monitoring beneficiaries' access to specialty care through urgent referrals. GAO found that the monitoring processes used varied by MTF and specialty care clinic at the five selected MTFs that GAO reviewed. For example, officials from one MTF told GAO they centrally manage all urgent referrals using a daily report to address any delays, while officials from another MTF told GAO that individual specialty care clinics are responsible for managing their own urgent referrals. DOD officials acknowledged such variation and MTFs have been directed to centralize their referral management and monitoring processes—an effort that is currently underway. GAO found that DOD monitors the rates at which beneficiaries receive timely and effective care, in part, through 10 outpatient health care quality measures. These measures allow DOD to make comparisons to civilian health care systems, and they are reviewed by various DOD groups at least quarterly. However, DOD officials told GAO that since October 2017, they have been unable to monitor nine of the 10 measures for MTFs using Military Health System (MHS) Genesis, DOD's new electronic health record system. According to the officials, DOD's current data warehouse—a system that stores some MHS Genesis data and can be used by MTFs to create reports on quality measures—is not capable of producing accurate reports for those measures. DOD officials told GAO they expect to implement a new data warehouse by the end of 2020. DOD officials also said they are importing data related to quality measures into another system used for quality monitoring; however, DOD does not have a targeted date for completing these data imports. Until these actions are fully implemented, groups responsible for monitoring quality care will continue to lack the data needed to offer assurance that the growing number of MTFs using MHS Genesis are providing beneficiaries with timely and effective care that will lead to better health outcomes. A draft of this report recommended that DOD establish a timeline to complete importing the quality measure-related data from MHS Genesis into DOD's system used for quality monitoring. In its review of the draft, DOD concurred with the recommendation and established a timeline for importing the data, to be available in DOD's system no later than May 2021. After reviewing the information DOD provided, GAO removed the recommendation from the final report. DOD is responsible for ensuring that beneficiaries have access to specialty care for conditions that, while not life-threatening, require immediate attention, as well as for ensuring that beneficiaries receive timely and effective care for certain routine or other services. A report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 included a provision for GAO to review the quality of health care in the MHS. This report examines (1) the timeliness with which beneficiaries access specialty care at MTFs through urgent referrals and DOD's efforts to monitor access, and (2) DOD's use of quality measures to monitor and improve the rates of timely and effective care received by beneficiaries at MTFs. GAO examined relevant policies, national DOD referral data (a total of 16,754 urgent referrals) for a 1-year period ending August 2019, and the most recent available quality measure data (April 2020). GAO interviewed officials from five MTFs, selected for variation in military services, geography, provision of select specialty services, and use of the electronic health record system. For more information, contact Debra A. Draper at (202) 512-7114 or draperd@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Defense Health Care: Oversight of Military Services’ Post-Deployment Health Reassessment Completion Rates Is Limited
    In U.S GAO News
    Military servicemembers engaged in combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq are at risk of developing combat-related mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In many cases, signs of potential mental health conditions do not surface until months after servicemembers return from deployment. In 2004, Army researchers published a series of articles that indicated a significant increase in the number of servicemembers reporting mental health concerns 90 to 120 days after returning from deployment, compared with mental health concerns reported before or soon after deployment. These findings led the Department of Defense (DOD) in March 2005 to develop requirements and policies for the post-deployment health reassessment (PDHRA) as part of its continuum of deployment health assessments for servicemembers. PDHRA is a screening tool for military servicemembers; it is designed to identify and address their health concerns--including mental health concerns--90 to 180 days after return from deployment. Servicemembers answer a set of questions about their physical and mental health conditions and concerns, and health care providers review the answers and refer servicemembers for further evaluation and treatment if necessary. A November 2007 study showed that a larger number of servicemembers indicated mental health concerns on their PDHRAs than on assessments earlier in their deployment cycles. Although DOD established PDHRA requirements and policies, it gave the military services discretion to implement them to meet their unique needs as long as the services adhere to the requirements and policies. DOD oversees the military services' compliance with PDHRA requirements through its deployment health assessment quality assurance program and is required to report on the quality assurance program annually to the Armed Services Committees of the House of Representatives and Senate. In June 2007, we reported that DOD's oversight of its deployment health assessments does not provide DOD or Congress with the information needed to evaluate DOD and the military services' compliance with deployment health assessment requirements. That report is part of a body of work in which we identified weaknesses in DOD's quality assurance program. The Senate Committee on Armed Services directed us to review DOD's oversight of PDHRA, and the House Committee on Armed Services and 11 senators also expressed interest in this work. In this report, we focus on how DOD ensures that servicemembers complete the PDHRA. Specifically, we discuss how well DOD's quality assurance program oversees the military services' compliance with the requirement that they ensure that servicemembers complete the PDHRA.DOD's quality assurance program has limitations and does not allow the department to accurately assess whether the military services ensure that servicemembers complete the PDHRA. DOD's quality assurance program relies on quarterly reports from each military service, monthly reports from AFHSC, and site visits to military installations to oversee the military services' compliance with deployment health assessment requirements, including completion of PDHRA. Each of these sources of information has limitations. The military services' quarterly reports and the monthly reports from AFHSC do not provide the information DOD needs to accurately assess the military services' PDHRA completion rates, which would allow DOD to determine if the military services have ensured that servicemembers completed the PDHRA. These reports do not allow DOD to calculate a completion rate because they do not provide essential information, such as the total number of servicemembers who returned from deployment and should have completed the PDHRA in that quarter or month. Furthermore, DOD cannot use information collected from site visits to validate the services' quarterly reports because the small number of site visits constitutes an insufficient sample for validation purposes. In our 2007 report, we recommended that DOD make enhancements to its quality assurance program, which would allow the department to better evaluate compliance with deployment health requirements. Although DOD concurred with the recommendation included in the 2007 report, as of June 2008, the department had not implemented the recommendation. As a result, DOD's quality assurance program cannot provide decision makers with reasonable assurance that servicemembers complete PDHRA. Overall, DOD concurred with our report's findings and conclusions; however, DOD identified several items in the report that it addressed in written comments. DOD suggested that the function of oversight is beyond the scope of the quality assurance program. Additionally, DOD commented that the department is taking steps that it believes will resolve some of the issues we note in this report. However, DOD did not provide us with relevant details or evidence pertaining to these efforts. We believe that oversight is an essential function of the quality assurance program and that the program currently does not receive the information necessary to perform this function.
    [Read More…]
  • 2018 Pacific Island Disasters: Federal Actions Helped Facilitate the Response, but FEMA Needs to Address Long-Term Recovery Challenges
    In U.S GAO News
    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took steps prior to the 2018 disasters in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, and Hawaii to facilitate response in the region, where time and distance from the continental United States create unique challenges. For instance, FEMA increased the capacity of two Pacific-area supply distribution centers and helped develop area specific disaster response plans. FEMA and its federal partners, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), had varied response roles, which local officials in the CNMI, Guam, and Hawaii considered effective. For example, DOD provided temporary roof repair for disaster survivors in the CNMI. Damage from Typhoon Yutu in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (left) and the Kilauea Volcano Eruption in Hawaii (right) As of October 2020, FEMA obligated $877 million—more than 70 percent of which was for Individual and Public Assistance missions—following the 2018 disasters and made progress addressing some region specific challenges. However, FEMA has not fully addressed housing assistance issues in the CNMI. For example, it experienced delays implementing its Permanent Housing Construction program in the CNMI due to contracting shortfalls and lack of experienced staff. As of October 2020, only about 30 percent of homes were completed and returned to survivors. GAO found that these housing assistance challenges are consistent with lessons learned from prior FEMA missions in other remote areas of the U.S. Developing guidance that addresses lessons learned in the Permanent Housing Construction program could help streamline assistance to disaster survivors. GAO also identified delays in FEMA's obligation of Public Assistance program funds—used to repair or replace disaster-damaged public infrastructure such as utilities, roads, and schools—in the CNMI, Guam, and Hawaii. Specifically, on average, it took over a year for FEMA to approve funds for projects awarded after the 2018 disasters. FEMA and local officials identified potential reasons for the delays, including cost estimation challenges. FEMA established cost factors in the CNMI to account for higher construction costs, and GAO found that FEMA collects some data on the timeliness of individual steps in the process. However, FEMA has not analyzed the data to help identify causes of the delays, which could allow it to target solutions to address them. The CNMI, Guam, and Hawaii experienced an unprecedented number of natural disasters in 2018—including typhoons, earthquakes, mudslides, and volcanic eruptions. FEMA is the lead federal agency responsible for helping states and territories prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters. Due to the remoteness of Hawaii and the Pacific territories, disaster response and recovery can be challenging. Title IX of the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 includes a provision for GAO to review FEMA's response and recovery efforts for 2018 natural disasters, including those in the Pacific region. This report examines (1) how FEMA and its federal partners prepared for and responded to the 2018 disasters in the CNMI, Guam, and Hawaii; and (2) the extent to which FEMA assisted the CNMI, Guam, and Hawaii in recovering from the 2018 natural disasters. GAO analyzed program documents, response plans, and data on FEMA obligations, expenditures, and grant process steps as of October 2020; interviewed federal, state, territorial, and local officials; and visited disaster-damaged areas in Hawaii. GAO is making four recommendations, including that FEMA (1) incorporate lessons learned into Permanent Housing Construction guidance; and (2) use performance data to identify and address inefficiencies in the Public Assistance program. The Department of Homeland Security concurred, and FEMA is taking actions in response. For more information, contact Chris Currie at (404) 679-1875 or curriec@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • U.S. Government and the State of Illinois Reach Agreement with Peoria and the Greater Peoria Sanitary District to Reduce Water Pollution from Sewer System
    In Crime News
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice, and the state of Illinois today announced an agreement with the city of Peoria and the Greater Peoria Sanitary District (GPSD) that will yield significant reductions of sewage discharges from Peoria’s wastewater systems into the Illinois River and Peoria Lake.
    [Read More…]
  • Texas Man Sentenced for Hate Crime and Other Charges After Using Dating App to Target Gay Men for Violent Crimes
    In Crime News
    Daniel Jenkins, 22, of Dallas was sentenced today for committing violent crimes as part of a conspiracy to target users of the dating app Grindr. Jenkins was sentenced to a federal prison term of 280 months for his involvement in the scheme to target gay men for violent crimes.
    [Read More…]
  • Thirteen Charged in Federal Court Following Riot at the United States Capitol
    In Crime News
    Thirteen individuals have been charged so far in federal court in the District of Columbia related to crimes committed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. In addition to those who have been charged, additional complaints have been submitted and investigations are ongoing.
    [Read More…]
  • Military Pay: Hundreds of Battle-Injured GWOT Soldiers Have Struggled to Resolve Military Debts
    In U.S GAO News
    As part of the Committee on Government Reform's continuing focus on pay and financial issues affecting Army soldiers deployed in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), the requesters were concerned that battle-injured soldiers were not only battling the broken military pay system, but faced blemishes on their credit reports and pursuit by collection agencies from referrals of their Army debts. GAO was asked to determine (1) the extent of debt of separated battle-injured soldiers and deceased Army soldiers who served in the GWOT, (2) the impact of DOD debt collection action on separated battle-injured and deceased soldiers and their families, and (3) ways that Congress could make the process for collecting these debts more soldier friendly.Pay problems rooted in the complex, cumbersome processes used to pay Army soldiers from their initial mobilization through active duty deployment to demobilization have generated military debts. As of September 30, 2005, nearly 1,300 separated Army GWOT soldiers who were injured or killed during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan had incurred over $1.5 million in military debt, including almost 900 battle-injured soldiers with debts of $1.2 million and about 400 soldiers who died in combat with debts of $300,000. As a policy, DOD does not pursue collection of debts of soldiers who were killed in combat. However, hundreds of battle-injured soldiers experienced collection action on their debts. The extent of these debts may be greater due to incomplete reporting. GAO's case studies of 19 battle-injured soldiers showed that collection action on military debts resulted in significant hardships to these soldiers and their families. For example, 16 of the 19 soldiers were unable to pay their basic household expenses; 4 soldiers were unable to obtain loans to purchase a car or house or meet other needs; and 8 soldiers' debts were offset against their income tax refunds. In addition, 16 of the 19 case study soldiers had their debts reported to credit bureaus and 9 soldiers were contacted by private collection agencies. Due to concerns about soldier indebtedness resulting from pay-related problems during deployments, Congress recently gave the Service Secretaries authority to cancel some GWOT soldier debts. Because of restrictions in the law, debts of injured soldiers who separated at different times can be treated differently. For example, soldiers who separated more than 1 year ago are not eligible for debt relief and soldiers who paid their debts are not eligible for refunds. Further, because this authority expires in December 2007, injured soldiers and their families could face bad credit reports, visits from collection agents, and tax refund offsets in the future.
    [Read More…]
  • Remarks at the 7th Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue
    In Climate - Environment - Conservation
    John Kerry, Special [Read More…]
  • Former employee admits to stealing over $400,000
    In Justice News
    The former controlling [Read More…]
  • Michigan Man Sentenced for COVID-19 Relief Fraud
    In Crime News
    A Michigan man was sentenced today to 32 months in federal prison for fraudulently seeking nearly $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…]
  • Liberia National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Our Global Partnership Against Chemical Weapons Abuses
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Dr. Christopher Ashley [Read More…]
  • New Jersey Man Admits Conspiring with White Supremacists to Vandalize Synagogues Across the Country
    In Crime News
    A New Jersey man pleaded guilty today to his role in conspiring with members of a white supremacist hate group to threaten and intimidate African Americans and Jewish Americans by vandalizing minority-owned properties throughout the country in September 2019.
    [Read More…]
  • [Protest of Army Contract Award for Silhouette Targets]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested an Army contract award for silhouette targets, contending that the: (1) Army erroneously evaluated the awardee's transportation costs; (2) awardee did not qualify as a small business; (3) awardee and another offerer were commonly owned; and (4) Army should have conducted the procurement under advertised, rather than negotiated procedures. GAO held that: (1) while the Army may have miscalculated transportation costs, it relied in good faith on its specialists, and the protester was not prejudiced, since its offer would not have been low even had the Army calculated those costs using the protester's method; (2) the Army reasonably determined, based on a preaward survey, that the awardee qualified as a small business; (3) the common ownership did not create a conflict of interest, since the situation did not prejudice other bidders; and (4) the protester untimely protested after bid opening against an alleged solicitation impropriety. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.
    [Read More…]
  • Under Secretary Hale’s Call with Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Army Logistics: Container Handling Equipment Requirements, Contracts, and Inventory
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundThe Army’s requirements for container handling equipment have changed since 1998 from focusing on "break bulk" to focusing on containerized distribution, and the Army has awarded contracts and issued delivery orders to reflect those changing requirements.The 1998 Operational Requirements Document indicated that cargo would be transported to secure locations in containers and then to troops in “break bulk,” without using containers. Capabilities that would later be filled by Container Handling Units (CHU)/Enhanced Container Handling Units (E-CHU) and Container Transfer Enhancements (CTE) were identified for the requirement to transport cargo in containers. The Container Roll-in/out Platform (CROP) was identified as a capability for the requirement to transport “break bulk” cargo without containers. Flatracks, the existing capability since 1994 to move both containerized and “break bulk” cargo, were no longer identified as a capability in the 1998 document. As a result, in a 2001 strategy, the Army eliminated the use of flatracks and transitioned funding to CROP procurement. The Army awarded a contract in December 2002 for up to 3,997 CROPs and awarded another contract in June 2006, from which it ordered 32,917 CROPs.According to Army documentation, from 2008 through 2010, warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan identified an unanticipated and urgent need for flatracks to move cargo in containers to forward operating units, in order to better protect items being moved along hazardous routes. After the Army’s 2001 strategy eliminated the use of flatracks, Army officials stated that the ability to move containers to forward operating units was limited. Further, as of 2010, Army officials said that there was insufficient inventory of and training on CHUs/E-CHUs to meet the urgent needs for container distribution because the Army had not anticipated the need to move containers to forward operating units, and the CTE had not yet been fielded. As a result of the urgent need to move cargo in containers, the Army awarded a contract in August 2010 for 3,227 flatracks.In February 2012, the Army issued the Distribution Enablers Study, which revisited the capabilities needed for “break bulk” and containerized cargo distribution. This study included the E-CHU in its analysis, because more E-CHUs had been fielded to units, and the CTE, which completed testing in 2011. The Distribution Enablers Study recommended using the E-CHU paired with the CTE, because this combination provides three times more capacity to distribute cargo than flatracks alone. As a result, in June 2012, the Army ordered 180 CTEs.Requirements for container handling equipment are continuing to be updated and may change due to DOD's plans to reduce the size of the Army. A Capability Production Document—expected to be issued in late summer 2013 to update the 1998 Operational Requirements Document—is to provide updated requirements to include current technologies for CROPs, E-CHUs, and CTEs and is expected to add the flatrack capability for Army Corps of Engineers bridge units.Army officials said thatplans are also being completed for each piece of container handling equipment—based on the 2012 Distribution Enablers Study—that will identify the quantity and type of equipment to be sent to units.Additionally, Army officials said that the Army is conducting a tactical wheeled vehicle reduction study, due to be completed in late 2013 or early 2014 that could affect requirements for container handling equipment.To increase its ability to move containerized cargo, the Army plans to increase its June 2013 inventory of 1,241 E-CHUs and no CTEs to a fiscal year 2018 inventory of 6,035 E-CHUs and 6,324 CTEs. To move “break bulk” cargo, the Army had 47,228 CROPs and 4,342 flatracks as of June 2013. There is no future funding programmed for CROPs or flatracks, but the inventory is expected to increase because some CROPs and flatracks have been procured but have not yet been provided to units. By fiscal year 2018, the Army expects to have 48,397 CROPs and 7,241 flatracks.Why GAO Did This StudyContainer handling equipment provides Army commanders with the flexibility to respond to rapidly shifting operations by supplying the capability to transport critical cargo. To support a versatile and expandable distribution system, the Army has five types of container handling equipment to carry both containerized and non-containerized (or "break bulk") cargo: flatracks, CROPs, CHUs, E-CHUs, and CTEs. Flatracks, which can carry both containerized and "break bulk" cargo, and CROPs, which can carry only "break bulk" cargo, are structural steel frames. CHUs and E-CHUs attach to the lifting arm of a truck and allow for upload and offload of containers. The CTE is a modification to a trailer which allows the container to roll onto the trailer while being pushed by the CHU/E-CHU.GAO was mandated to provide a report to the congressional defense committees on the acquisition plan, requirement, and inventory for container handling equipment in the Army. Objectives for this report were to describe (1) how the requirements for container handling equipment have changed since 1998 and when the corresponding contracts were awarded or delivery orders issued and (2) the current and projected inventories of container handling equipment.For more information contact Zina D. Merritt at (202) 512-5257 or merrittz@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Olympic Security: Better Planning Can Enhance U.S. Support to Future Olympic Games
    In U.S GAO News
    The 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, were the second Olympic Games to take place overseas since September 11, 2001. The United States worked with Italy to ensure the security of U.S. citizens, and it expects to continue such support for future Games, including the 2008 Games in Beijing, China. GAO was asked to (1) discuss the U.S. approach for providing security support for the 2006 Winter Games and how such efforts were coordinated, (2) identify the roles of U.S. agencies in providing security support for the Games and how they financed their activities, (3) review lessons learned in providing security support and the application of prior lessons learned, and (4) identify U.S. efforts under way for providing security support to the 2008 Beijing Games.In 2004, the United States began planning to provide a U.S. security presence in Italy and security support to the Italian government, and based much of its security strategy on its understanding of Italy's advanced security capabilities. The United States provided Italy with some security assistance, mostly in the form of crisis management and response support. To coordinate U.S. efforts, the U.S. Mission in Italy established an office in Turin as a central point for security information and logistics, and to provide consular services to U.S. citizens during the Games. The U.S. Ambassador to Italy, through the U.S. Consulate in Milan, coordinated and led U.S. efforts in-country, while the Department of State-chaired interagency working group in Washington, D.C., coordinated domestic efforts. While the interagency working group has been a useful forum for coordinating U.S. security support to overseas athletic events, State and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials have indicated that formal guidance that articulates a charter; a mission; and agencies' authorities, roles, and responsibilities would help in planning for security support to future Games. Nearly 20 entities and offices within several U.S. agencies provided more than $16 million for security support activities for the Turin Games. The roles of these agencies--which included the Departments of State, Justice, Homeland Security, Defense, and Energy--included providing crisis management and response support through personnel, equipment, and training and providing security advice and other assistance to U.S. athletes, spectators, and commercial investors. The U.S. Embassy in Rome initially paid for lodging and other administrative support needs, which were reimbursed by the participating agencies, although it struggled to do so. State and DOJ officials indicated that an interagency mechanism for identifying costs and addressing potential funding issues would be useful in providing U.S. security support to future Games. For the Turin Games, agencies applied key lessons learned from the 2004 Athens Games and identified additional lessons for future Games. Key lessons identified from the Turin Games included, the importance of establishing an operations center at the location of the Games, establishing clear roles and responsibilities for agencies in event planning and crisis response efforts, and planning early for several years of Olympic-related expenditures. These lessons learned were communicated by Washington, D.C.- and Italy-based personnel to their counterparts who are preparing for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The United States is currently taking steps to identify the types of security support that agencies may provide to support China's security efforts for the 2008 Summer Games and to ensure the safety of U.S. athletes, spectators, and commercial investors.
    [Read More…]
  • Brooklyn Federal Jury Convicts U.S. Citizen of Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    Earlier today, a federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Bernard Raymond Augustine, a U.S. citizen and California resident, of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“ISIS” or “the Islamic State”). The verdict followed a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. When sentenced, Augustine faces up to 20 years in prison.
    [Read More…]
  • International Trade: Foreign Sourcing in Government Procurement
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The U.S. government awarded contracts valued at about $12 billion to foreign-located firms, of which about $5 billion went to firms with reported locations in the other six main parties to the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (see figure). Conversely, government procurement databases indicated the central governments of these parties awarded an estimated $7 billion to foreign sources, out of which about $2 billion was U.S.-sourced. Canada and Mexico awarded most of the U.S.-sourced contracts. GAO was able to determine that the U.S. government awarded more, by contract value, to foreign-owned firms located abroad than to foreign-owned, U.S.-located firms. Moreover, more than 80 percent of U.S. government contracts awarded to foreign-owned firms located abroad were Department of Defense contracts performed abroad. Overall, while available contract data enable broad cross-country comparisons, they do not necessarily show where the goods are produced, where the services are delivered, or where the profits go, among other economic effects. Estimated Bilateral Procurement Flows between Central Governments of the United States and the Other Six Main Parties to Selected International Procurement Agreements, 2015 Foreign sourcing by the seven GPA and NAFTA parties within the scope of the study, using two alternative methods, is less than 20 percent of overall central government procurement. Foreign sourcing by central governments, estimated from government procurement databases of the United States and the other six main parties, varied in value by party from about 2 to 19 percent of overall central government procurement. Foreign sourcing by all levels of government, estimated from data on trade and public sector purchases, showed that the governments' imports likely ranged from about 7 to 18 percent of the goods and services the governments purchased. In addition, contract data show that U.S., South Korean, and Mexican central government foreign sourcing was greater in value under contracts covered by GPA and NAFTA than under noncovered contracts, but the opposite was true for Canada and Norway. For the European Union and Japan, GAO found little difference or could not calculate an estimate. Why GAO Did This Study Globally, government procurement constitutes about a $4 trillion market for international trade. However, little is known about foreign sourcing in government procurement—how much governments procure from foreign-located suppliers or how much they acquire in foreign-made goods. GAO was asked to review the extent of foreign sourcing in government procurement across countries. GAO focused on the United States and the other six main parties to the GPA and NAFTA, selected international agreements that open procurement markets on a reciprocal basis. This report, the fourth of a related series, (1) provides broad estimates of foreign sourcing by the U.S. government and central governments of the other six main parties, and (2) assesses foreign sourcing as a share of estimated central government procurement and of estimated procurement by all levels of government, and the extent to which central government contracts that are covered under selected international procurement agreements are foreign-sourced. GAO analyzed the most recent comparable data available from two sources: (1) government procurement databases used in Canada, the European Union, South Korea, Mexico, Norway, and the United States, for 2015, and (2) 2014 trade data merged with data on the types of goods and services purchased by the public sector. Since Japan does not have a government procurement database, data for Japan were based on its 2015 GPA submission of 2013 data. GAO also interviewed cognizant government officials in Washington, D.C.; Ottawa, Canada; Mexico City, Mexico; Seoul, South Korea; and Tokyo, Japan. For more information, contact Kimberly Gianopoulos at (202) 512-8612 or gianopoulosk@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.