October 18, 2021

News

News Network

Securing, Stabilizing, and Developing Pakistan’s Border Area with Afghanistan: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight

18 min read
<div>Since 2002, destroying the terrorist threat and closing the terrorist safe haven along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan have been key national security goals. The United States has provided Pakistan, an important ally in the war on terror, with more than $12.3 billion for a variety of activities, in part to address these goals. About half of this amount has been to reimburse Pakistan for military-related support, including combat operations in and around the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Despite 6 years of U.S. and Pakistani government efforts, al Qaeda has regenerated its ability to attack the United States and continues to maintain a safe haven in Pakistan's FATA. As the United States considers how it will go forward with efforts to assist Pakistan in securing, stabilizing, and developing its FATA and Western Frontier bordering Afghanistan, it is vital that efforts to develop a comprehensive plan using all elements of national power be completed and that continued oversight and accountability over funds used for these efforts are in place.This report provides background information on Pakistan; the status of U.S. government efforts to develop a comprehensive plan; and information on the goals, funding, and current status of U.S. efforts to use various elements of national power (i.e., military, law enforcement, development and economic assistance, and diplomacy) to combat terrorism in Pakistan. The scope of this report does not include the plans, goals, operations, activities, and accomplishments of the intelligence community.</div>

Since 2002, destroying the terrorist threat and closing the terrorist safe haven along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan have been key national security goals. The United States has provided Pakistan, an important ally in the war on terror, with more than $12.3 billion for a variety of activities, in part to address these goals. About half of this amount has been to reimburse Pakistan for military-related support, including combat operations in and around the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Despite 6 years of U.S. and Pakistani government efforts, al Qaeda has regenerated its ability to attack the United States and continues to maintain a safe haven in Pakistan’s FATA. As the United States considers how it will go forward with efforts to assist Pakistan in securing, stabilizing, and developing its FATA and Western Frontier bordering Afghanistan, it is vital that efforts to develop a comprehensive plan using all elements of national power be completed and that continued oversight and accountability over funds used for these efforts are in place.

This report provides background information on Pakistan; the status of U.S. government efforts to develop a comprehensive plan; and information on the goals, funding, and current status of U.S. efforts to use various elements of national power (i.e., military, law enforcement, development and economic assistance, and diplomacy) to combat terrorism in Pakistan. The scope of this report does not include the plans, goals, operations, activities, and accomplishments of the intelligence community.

More from:

News Network

  • Justice Department Files Second Civil Contempt Claim Against CenturyLink
    In Crime News
    CenturyLink Inc., now known as Lumen Technologies Inc., has agreed to pay $275,000 to resolve a civil contempt claim by the Department of Justice arising from CenturyLink’s violations of the Amended Final Judgment that was designed to preserve competition following CenturyLink’s 2018 acquisition of Level 3 Communications Inc.
    [Read More…]
  • Court Intervention Teams Target Substance Abuse
    In U.S Courts
    Two specialized programs in the Northern District of California are harnessing local resources to help high-risk individuals rebuild their lives.
    [Read More…]
  • The United States Announces New Assistance to Respond to the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Issues Guidance on Federal Statutes Regarding Voting Methods and Post-Election “Audits”
    In Crime News
    Today the U.S. Department of Justice announced the release of two guidance documents to ensure states fully comply with federal laws regarding elections, specifically federal statutes affecting methods of voting and federal constraints related to post-election “audits.”
    [Read More…]
  • Cybersecurity and Informtion Technology: Federal Agencies Need to Strengthen Efforts to Address High-Risk Areas
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In March 2021, GAO issued its high-risk series update and emphasized that federal agencies' needed to implement numerous critical actions to strengthen the nation's cybersecurity and information technology (IT) management efforts. In the update, GAO reiterated the importance of agencies addressing four major cybersecurity challenges facing the nation: (1) establishing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy and performing effective oversight, (2) securing federal systems and information, (3) protecting cyber critical infrastructure, and (4) protecting privacy and sensitive data. Overall, the federal government has to move with a greater sense of urgency to fully address key cybersecurity challenges. In particular: Develop and execute a more comprehensive federal strategy for national cybersecurity and global cyberspace . In September 2020, GAO reported that the White House's national cyber strategy and associated implementation plan addressed some, but not all, of the desirable characteristics of national strategies, such as goals and resources needed. Mitigate global supply chain risks . GAO reported in December 2020 that few of the 23 civilian federal agencies it reviewed implemented foundational practices for managing information and communication technology supply chain risks. Address weaknesses in federal agencies information security programs. GAO reported in July 2019 that 23 agencies almost always designated a risk executive, but had not fully incorporated other key risk management practices, such as establishing a process for assessing agency-wide cybersecurity risks. In its March update, GAO also stressed the importance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and federal agencies fully implementing critical actions recommended to improve the management of IT to better manage tens of billions of dollars in IT investments. GAO emphasized, for example, that OMB had demonstrated its leadership commitment to improving IT management, but sustaining this commitment was critically important; twenty-one of 24 federal agencies had not yet implemented recommendations to fully address the role of Chief Information Officers, including enhancing their authorities; OMB and agencies needed to address modernization challenges and workforce planning weaknesses; and agencies could take further action to reduce duplicative IT contracts and reduce the risk of wasteful spending. Until OMB and federal agencies take critical actions to strengthen efforts to address these important high-risk areas, longstanding and pervasive weaknesses will likely continue to jeopardize the nation's cybersecurity and management of IT. Why GAO Did This Study The nation's critical infrastructures and federal agencies are dependent on IT systems and electronic data to carry out operations and to process, maintain, and report essential information. Each year, the federal government spends more than $100 billion on cybersecurity and IT investments. GAO has long stressed the continuing and urgent need for effective cybersecurity, as underscored by recent events that have illustrated persistent and evermore sophisticated cyber threats and incidents. Moreover, many IT investments have failed, performed poorly, or suffered from ineffective management. Accordingly, GAO has included information security on its high-risk list since 1997 and added improving the management of IT acquisitions and operations in 2015. In its March 2021 high-risk series update, GAO reported that significant attention was needed in both of these important areas. GAO was asked to testify on federal agencies' efforts to address cybersecurity and the management of IT. For this testimony, GAO relied on selected products it previously issued.
    [Read More…]
  • Statement from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Regarding Texas SB8
    In Crime News
    Attorney General Merrick B. Garland tonight issued the following statement regarding the U.S. District Court’s decision to issue a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of Texas Senate Bill 8. On Sept. 9, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to prevent the State of Texas from enforcing the law, which effectively bans most abortions in the state.
    [Read More…]
  • COVID-19 Pandemic: Actions Needed to Improve Federal Oversight of Assistance to Individuals, Communities, and the Transportation Industry
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and Department of the Treasury (Treasury), among others, continue to provide financial assistance to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. FEMA reported obligating over $79 billion from its Disaster Relief Fund to respond to COVID-19. Through several programs, FEMA is providing help to individuals with funeral costs; reimbursing communities for vaccine distribution; and funding federal agencies' efforts to support communities, including National Guard deployments. DOT and Treasury continue to make available the over $200 billion appropriated by COVID-19 relief laws for financial assistance to the transportation sector, including to air carriers, airports and airport tenants, Amtrak, and transit agencies. Through several financial assistance programs, GAO's work has found DOT and Treasury have provided critical support to the transportation sector during a period of sharp declines in travel demand and uncertainty about the pace and nature of the recovery. Depending on the program, financial assistance has reportedly enabled recipients to avoid layoffs, maintain service, and ramp up operations as demand for their services improves. Based on GAO's prior work examining responses to public health and fiscal emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic, GAO has (1) identified key lessons learned that could improve the federal response to emergencies, and (2) made several related recommendations, including ones that highlight the importance of applying these lessons learned. For example, DOT has not developed a national aviation preparedness plan to coordinate, establish, and define roles and responsibilities for communicable diseases across the federal government. GAO recommended in 2015 that DOT work with federal partners to develop such a plan, but it has not taken any action. Without such a plan, the U.S. is less prepared to respond to future communicable disease events. In addition, FEMA has faced challenges collecting and analyzing data on requests for supplies, such as personal protective equipment, made through the federal government. In 2020, GAO recommended that FEMA work with relevant stakeholders to develop an interim solution to help states track the status of their supply requests and plan for supply needs. FEMA has not taken action on this recommendation, and until the agency develops a solution, states, tribes, and territories will likely continue to face challenges that hamper the effectiveness of their COVID-19 response. Why GAO Did This Study In response to the public health and economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress provided billions of dollars across a range of agencies to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. This included billions to: FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund to provide assistance to individuals as well as state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, and DOT and Treasury to provide financial assistance to the transportation sector. This statement describes: (1) the federal response and selected relief programs administered by FEMA, DOT, and Treasury and (2) lessons learned based on GAO's reviews of selected COVID-19 relief programs, including related recommendations and their implementation status. This statement is based on GAO's body of work on the CARES Act issued from June 2020 through July 2021.To update this information, GAO reviewed agency documentation; and interviewed agency officials, industry associations, and selected businesses that applied to these programs on the latest implementation efforts.
    [Read More…]
  • President Trump’s Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty to Rigging Bids at Foreclosure Auctions
    In Crime News
    A California man pleaded guilty yesterday to rigging bids at public foreclosure auctions.
    [Read More…]
  • Federal Debt Management: Treasury Quickly Financed Historic Government Response to the Pandemic and is assessing Risks to Market Functioning
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In response to COVID-19, in March 2020 many investors rapidly sold their Treasury securities for cash. This led to a severe liquidity disruption when prices fell and transaction costs rose for Treasury notes and bonds in the secondary market. The Federal Reserve acted quickly to support market functioning, including purchasing trillions of dollars of Treasury securities. This market disruption highlighted risks to the Treasury market. For example, growth in federal debt and regulatory changes may reduce broker-dealers' willingness and ability to intermediate trades (facilitate purchases and sales) of Treasury securities for investors. In April 2021 Treasury initiated an interagency effort to examine options that could help mitigate future disruptions in the market. Following the market disruption, Treasury quickly raised trillions of dollars to fund the federal response to COVID-19. It dramatically increased its issuance of bills—including adding regular, weekly auctions of cash management bills, which have historically been issued irregularly to cover near-term financing gaps. The bills were met with strong investor demand. For example, GAO found almost no difference between cash management bill and other bill yields during this time. Monthly Gross Issuance of U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, and Bonds Note: Notes and bonds includes Treasury Floating Rate Notes and Inflation Protected Securities. Due to the uncertainty created by COVID-19, Treasury maintained a historically high operating cash balance of around $1.6 trillion. Its stated policy is to hold a level of cash generally sufficient to cover one week of outflows. However, other factors not explicitly reflected in its policy informed how it managed the cash balance during COVID-19. Market participants told GAO that they were unclear about all of these factors. They said that understanding the level and trajectory of the cash balance is important because it affects market expectations for the size of Treasury issuance, supply of bank reserves, and short-term lending rates—all of which inform their business strategies and support market functioning. Additionally, uncertainty about the size of the cash balance can lead to volatility in financial markets. This, in turn, can affect Treasury's borrowing costs. Why GAO Did This Study The federal government's fiscal response to the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increased the government's borrowing needs. Treasury borrows money needed by issuing Treasury securities. The ability to borrow large amounts of money quickly and cheaply is especially important during a crisis, when government spending tends to increase and revenues tend to decrease. Any disruptions in investor demand for Treasury securities or the functioning of the Treasury market can have costly implications for the federal government and taxpayers. The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO to report on its monitoring and oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report examines (1) how the cost and liquidity of Treasury securities changed during COVID-19; (2) actions Treasury is taking to mitigate future disruptions; and (3) the actions Treasury took to finance the federal government's response to the pandemic. GAO analyzed data on Treasury securities; reviewed agency and market research; and interviewed market participants across key financial sectors (e.g., broker-dealers, banks, mutual and money market funds), market experts, and Treasury and Federal Reserve officials.
    [Read More…]
  • South Texan convicted of gun and drug possession
    In Justice News
    35-year-old Edinburg man [Read More…]
  • Physical Infrastructure: Preliminary Observations on Options for Improving Climate Resilience of Transportation Infrastructure
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO's Disaster Resilience Framework serves as a guide for analysis of federal actions to facilitate and promote resilience to natural disasters and changes in the climate across many policy areas, including transportation. The framework is organized around three guiding principles—information, integration, and incentives—and a series of questions that can help identify opportunities to enhance federal efforts to promote disaster resilience. Specifically, the integration principle states that integrated analysis and planning can help decision makers take coherent and coordinated actions to promote resilience. For example, in October 2019, GAO reported that no federal agency, interagency collaborative effort, or other organizational arrangement has been established to implement a strategic approach to climate resilience investment that includes periodically identifying and prioritizing projects. Such an approach could supplement individual agency climate resilience efforts and help target federal resources toward high-priority projects. GAO recommended that Congress consider establishing a federal organizational arrangement to periodically identify and prioritize climate resilience projects for federal investment. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has taken steps to encourage states to enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads by developing agency policy, providing technical assistance to states, and supporting climate resilience research funding, among other actions. In addition, as part of ongoing work on FHWA's federal-aid highway program, GAO identified options that could further enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads, based on a literature review and interviews with knowledgeable stakeholders (see table). Some of these options are similar to recommendations made previously by GAO. Further, according to FHWA officials, some of these options would likely require additional congressional direction or authority to implement. Options to further enhance resilience of federally funded roads, as suggested by relevant literature and knowledgeable stakeholders Option Integrate climate resilience into Federal Highway Administration policy and guidance. Update design standards to account for climate change and resilience best practices. Provide authoritative, actionable, forward-looking climate information. Add climate resilience funding eligibility requirements, conditions, or criteria to formula grant programs. Expand the availability of discretionary funding for climate resilience improvements. Alter the Emergency Relief (ER) program by providing incentives for, or conditioning funding on, pre-disaster resilience actions. Expand the availability of ER funding for post-disaster climate resilience improvements. Establish additional climate resilience planning or project requirements. Link climate resilience actions or requirements to incentives or penalties. Condition eligibility, funding, or project approval on compliance with climate resilience policy and guidance. Source: GAO analysis of literature and interviews with knowledgeable stakeholders. | GAO-21-561T Why GAO Did This Study Since 2013, GAO has included Limiting the Federal Government's Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change Risks in its High Risk List. In addition, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a changing climate threatens the performance of the U.S. transportation system across all modes, including roads. Congress authorized approximately $43 billion of fiscal year 2021 formula funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation's FHWA's federal-aid highway program, which primarily funds highway planning and construction. This testimony discusses (1) GAO's framework for identifying opportunities to enhance the climate resilience of transportation infrastructure; and (2) preliminary observations on actions taken and options to further enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads. This work is based on GAO reports issued from 2014 through 2019, a review of literature, and interviews conducted with FHWA officials and knowledgeable stakeholders conducted as part of on-going work. GAO expects to issue a report on the results of its ongoing work in summer 2021.
    [Read More…]
  • Department of State Announces Online Publication of 2020 Digest of United States Practice in International Law
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Sécurité Sanitaire Mondiale: Financements, activités et évaluations de l’USAID et des CDC relatifs aux capacités des pays à faire face aux menaces des maladies infectieuses avant l’apparition du COVID-19
    In U.S GAO News
    This is the French language highlights associated with GAO-21-359. Constats du GAO Au 31 mars 2020, l’Agence des États-Unis pour le développement international (USAID) et les Centres des États-Unis pour le contrôle et la prévention des maladies (CDC) ensemble avaient alloué un total de plus de 1,2 milliard de dollars et avaient décaissé environ 1 milliard pour financer des activités de sécurité sanitaire mondiale (global health security - GHS), sur des fonds affectés durant les années fiscales 2015 à 2019. L’USAID et les CDC ont soutenu des activités de renforcement des capacités des pays dans 11 domaines techniques en rapport avec la lutte contre les maladies infectieuses. Les fonds engagés ont soutenu des activités de GHS dans pas moins de 34 pays, dont 25 étaient partenaires du Programme d’action pour la sécurité sanitaire mondiale (Global Health Security Agenda - GHSA). Activités soutenues par les États-Unis en Éthiopie pour renforcer la sécurité sanitaire mondiale Les évaluations de responsables officiels des États-Unis portant sur les capacités de 17 pays partenaires du GHSA à faire face aux menaces des maladies infectieuses révèlent qu’à la fin de l’année fiscale 2019, la plupart de ces pays avaient des capacités dans chacun des 11 domaines techniques retenus mais connaissaient diverses difficultés. Les équipes-pays interinstitutionnelles américaines réalisent des évaluations de capacités bisannuelles dont le personnel du siège de l’USAID et des CDC se sert pour assurer un suivi des progrès des pays. Selon les évaluations de l’année fiscale 2019, 14 pays avaient développé ou démontré des capacités dans la plupart des domaines techniques. Les rapports ont démontré par ailleurs que la plupart des capacités de ces pays étaient restées stables ou avaient augmenté par rapport à 2016 et 2017. C’est dans le domaine technique de la résistance aux antimicrobiens qu’ont été enregistrées les plus fortes augmentations de capacités, par exemple dans la mise en place de systèmes de surveillance. Dans son analyse des rapports, le GAO a constaté que les difficultés les plus fréquentes en matière de renforcement des capacités de GHS étaient les faiblesses des institutions de l’État et le manque de ressources et de capital humain. Selon des responsables officiels, certaines de ces difficultés peuvent être résolues par plus de financement, d’assistance technique ou d’efforts diplomatiques des États-Unis, mais beaucoup d’autres restent en dehors du control du gouvernement des États-Unis. Ceci est une version publique d’un rapport confidentiel émis par le GAO en février 2021; les informations jugées sensibles par l’USAID et les CDC en ont été omises. Pourquoi cette étude du GAO La survenue de la maladie à coronavirus (COVID-19) en décembre 2019 a démontré que les maladies infectieuses peuvent causer des pertes de vie catastrophiques et infliger des dommages durables à l’économie mondiale. L’USAID et les CDC dirigent les efforts déployés par les États-Unis pour renforcer la sécurité sanitaire mondiale, à savoir la capacité mondiale à se préparer à lutter contre les maladies infectieuses, à les détecter et à y riposter, ainsi qu’à réduire ou à prévenir leur propagation sur le plan international. Ces efforts comprennent des activités liées au GHSA, qui vise à accélérer l’obtention de progrès en matière de respect des règlements et autres accords mondiaux relatifs à la santé. Le rapport 114-693 de la Chambre des représentants prévoyait un examen, par le Government Accountability Office (GAO), de l’emploi des fonds de GHS. Dans ce rapport, le GAO examine, pour les 5 années fiscales précédant le début de la pandémie de COVID-19 : 1) l’état des financements et des activités de l’USAID et des CDC relatifs à la GHS et 2) des évaluations d’organismes des États -Unis, réalisées à la fin de l’année fiscale 2019, portant sur les capacités des pays partenaires du GHSA à faire face aux menaces des maladies infectieuses et sur les difficultés que ces pays ont dû relever pour renforcer leurs capacités. Le GAO a analysé des documents d’organismes des États-Unis et d’organismes internationaux. Le GAO a aussi interviewé des responsables officiels à Washington et à Atlanta (Géorgie) ainsi qu’en Ethiopie, en Indonésie, au Sénégal et au Viet Nam. Le GAO a choisi ces pays sur la base de critères tels que la présence de personnel de multiples organismes des États-Unis. Le GAO a également analysé des évaluations interinstitutionnelles des capacités des pays à faire face aux menaces des maladies infectieuses durant l’année fiscale 2019 et les a comparées aux données de référence de 2016 et 2017. Pour plus d’informations, s’adresser à David Gootnick au (202) 512-3149 ou à gootnickd@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Attorney General William P. Barr Honors Department of Justice Employees and Others for the 68th Annual Attorney General’s Awards
    In Crime News
    Today, Attorney General [Read More…]
  • Operation Legend Expanded to Memphis and St. Louis
    In Crime News
    Today, the expansion of [Read More…]
  • Bahrain Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles Claim Against Akal Security To Enforce Servicemember’s USERRA Rights
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today that it finalized the settlement of a claim against Akal Security to protect rights guaranteed to a military reservist, Chief Petty Officer Robert M. Diaz (Ret.), by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
    [Read More…]
  • Remarks by Attorney General William P. Barr at the Funeral of Cleveland Police Detective and Operation Legend Officer James Skernivitz
    In Crime News
    Good Morning. I am [Read More…]
  • Removal Order Upheld Against Tennessee Man Who Served as Nazi Concentration Camp Guard During WWII
    In Crime News
    The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has dismissed the appeal of Tennessee resident Friedrich Karl Berger, a German citizen who was ordered removed from the United States earlier this year on the basis of his service in Nazi Germany in 1945 as an armed guard of concentration camp prisoners in the Neuengamme Concentration Camp system (Neuengamme).
    [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.