September 22, 2021

News

News Network

Department of State’s Counternarcotics Performance Management System

10 min read
<div>Our recent reviews of U.S counternarcotics programs in Mexico and Afghanistan highlighted the need to improve the programs' performance measures to track progress. The Department of State (State) received over $1 billion in its fiscal year 2010 appropriation for international counternarcotics assistance programs. The vast majority of this funding--about 90 percent in fiscal year 2010--supports counternarcotics programs in five countries--Mexico, Afghanistan, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is primarily responsible for implementing U.S. assistance programs involving eradication of illicit crops, interdiction of drug trafficking, and drug demand reduction, which represented about 85 percent of State's counternarcotics appropriation in fiscal year 2010. INL implements a large share of its funding through contractors, primarily for aviation support for eradication and interdiction efforts. Congress asked us to review State's performance measures for its counternarcotics programs. On March 10, 2011, we briefed congressional staff on our preliminary findings in which we described State's performance management system, including State's standard indicators for measuring the performance of counternarcotics assistance in recipient countries and requirements for posts to develop project-specific performance measures. Following the briefing, in subsequent correspondence with your office, we agreed to provide to you the information presented in the briefing, updated with additional material, that describes (1) how State measures the performance of its international counternarcotics assistance efforts, and (2) the nature of its counternarcotics contracts and whether these contracts are linked to State's performance management system. This report provides a summary of the observations conveyed at this briefing.State measures the performance of its counternarcotics activities based on information provided by the Narcotic Affairs Sections (NAS) at overseas posts on both high-level indicators and project-level indicators. State currently has nine standard indicators for its eradication, interdiction, and drug demand reduction programs, which overseas posts report on, if applicable, to the Office of the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance in annual Performance Plans and Reports. These reports include targets and results, and form the basis for State's annual reporting of results to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). In addition to these standard indicators, INL requires posts to develop project-specific performance measures and include them in letters of agreement (LOA) with recipient countries. According to State officials, INL is developing new guidelines for monitoring and evaluation, which would require posts to develop a performance management plan that defines each project's performance measures and establishes an approach for periodic monitoring. INL also reports results of its counternarcotics efforts for each country in its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), although this report does not necessarily identify performance targets in its country narratives. According to INL officials responsible for contract management, INL generally does not link the performance of individual contracts to its overall program performance assessments, in part because performance measures in contracts relate specifically to fulfillment of contract requirements rather than broad program goals. For example, performance measures in the aviation equipment and support contracts define targets for availability of aircraft and the number of flights to be conducted, not drug interdiction or eradication targets. In addition to aviation equipment and support, which constitute the bulk of contract obligations related to counternarcotics efforts, other INL counternarcotics contract activities include meal services and lodging for counternarcotics personnel, and commodities, such as fuel and vehicles. According to INL officials, State does not have a centralized inventory of counternarcotics contracts. Instead, contract data at State are disaggregated between the Narcotics Affairs Sections at overseas posts and the governmentwide FPDS. An INL official noted that INL has begun the process of developing its own database of counternarcotics contracts. Overseas posts are generally responsible for setting contract requirements and conducting contract oversight of counternarcotics activities.</div>

Our recent reviews of U.S counternarcotics programs in Mexico and Afghanistan highlighted the need to improve the programs’ performance measures to track progress. The Department of State (State) received over $1 billion in its fiscal year 2010 appropriation for international counternarcotics assistance programs. The vast majority of this funding–about 90 percent in fiscal year 2010–supports counternarcotics programs in five countries–Mexico, Afghanistan, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is primarily responsible for implementing U.S. assistance programs involving eradication of illicit crops, interdiction of drug trafficking, and drug demand reduction, which represented about 85 percent of State’s counternarcotics appropriation in fiscal year 2010. INL implements a large share of its funding through contractors, primarily for aviation support for eradication and interdiction efforts. Congress asked us to review State’s performance measures for its counternarcotics programs. On March 10, 2011, we briefed congressional staff on our preliminary findings in which we described State’s performance management system, including State’s standard indicators for measuring the performance of counternarcotics assistance in recipient countries and requirements for posts to develop project-specific performance measures. Following the briefing, in subsequent correspondence with your office, we agreed to provide to you the information presented in the briefing, updated with additional material, that describes (1) how State measures the performance of its international counternarcotics assistance efforts, and (2) the nature of its counternarcotics contracts and whether these contracts are linked to State’s performance management system. This report provides a summary of the observations conveyed at this briefing.

State measures the performance of its counternarcotics activities based on information provided by the Narcotic Affairs Sections (NAS) at overseas posts on both high-level indicators and project-level indicators. State currently has nine standard indicators for its eradication, interdiction, and drug demand reduction programs, which overseas posts report on, if applicable, to the Office of the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance in annual Performance Plans and Reports. These reports include targets and results, and form the basis for State’s annual reporting of results to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). In addition to these standard indicators, INL requires posts to develop project-specific performance measures and include them in letters of agreement (LOA) with recipient countries. According to State officials, INL is developing new guidelines for monitoring and evaluation, which would require posts to develop a performance management plan that defines each project’s performance measures and establishes an approach for periodic monitoring. INL also reports results of its counternarcotics efforts for each country in its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), although this report does not necessarily identify performance targets in its country narratives. According to INL officials responsible for contract management, INL generally does not link the performance of individual contracts to its overall program performance assessments, in part because performance measures in contracts relate specifically to fulfillment of contract requirements rather than broad program goals. For example, performance measures in the aviation equipment and support contracts define targets for availability of aircraft and the number of flights to be conducted, not drug interdiction or eradication targets. In addition to aviation equipment and support, which constitute the bulk of contract obligations related to counternarcotics efforts, other INL counternarcotics contract activities include meal services and lodging for counternarcotics personnel, and commodities, such as fuel and vehicles. According to INL officials, State does not have a centralized inventory of counternarcotics contracts. Instead, contract data at State are disaggregated between the Narcotics Affairs Sections at overseas posts and the governmentwide FPDS. An INL official noted that INL has begun the process of developing its own database of counternarcotics contracts. Overseas posts are generally responsible for setting contract requirements and conducting contract oversight of counternarcotics activities.

More from:

News Network

  • Two Former Deutsche Bank Traders Convicted of Engaging in Deceptive and Manipulative Trading Practices in U.S. Commodities Markets
    In Crime News
    A Chicago federal jury found two former employees of Deutsche Bank, a global financial institution, guilty today of fraud charges for their respective roles in fraudulent and manipulative trading practices involving publicly-traded precious metals futures contracts.
    [Read More…]
  • COVID-19: Implementation and Oversight of Preparedness Strategies at Veterans Affairs Medical Centers
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Beginning in January 2020, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) took actions to help the Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers (VAMC) prepare for COVID-19. VHA's Office of Emergency Management facilitated the development of VHA's COVID-19 Response Plan, which defined preparedness strategies for VAMCs to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. According to VHA, preparedness refers to the development of plans, resources, and capabilities to manage and recover from the effects of emergencies. Plans for the safety of staff and patients, identification of sufficient supplies and capacity, and coherent communication were among the identified strategies. VAMCs began implementing these strategies in February 2020. Officials from four selected VAMCs reported using similar approaches to implement VHA's preparedness strategies, such as developed plans for screening and testing; trained staff on personal protective equipment (PPE) use; identified the capability to expand beds in the event of a patient surge; conducted problem solving activities to identify gaps in response capabilities; counted PPE and calculated consumption rates; and communicated safety information to patients. VHA oversaw VAMCs' implementation of COVID-19 preparedness strategies by collecting data on the VAMCs' efforts and holding VHA-wide conference calls. VHA's Healthcare Operations Center (HOC) worked with Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) to gather data from VAMCs on a daily basis. HOC Data Collection on COVID-19 Preparedness Strategies Implemented at VAMCs The VHA-wide conference calls included officials from VHA Central Office, VISNs, and VAMCs, among others, and focused on the data collected. Some topics discussed included the number of VAMC staff able to provide PPE training and VAMC plans to screen staff and patients for COVID-19. VHA-wide calls were also a way to discuss data collection challenges and for VAMCs and VISNs to share best practices. In addition to the preparedness issues in this report, GAO expects to continue examining VHA's actions to address COVID-19. Why GAO Did This Study VHA provides health care to more than 10 million veterans each year, offering a range of services at approximately 170 VAMCs nationwide. In January 2020, components of VHA's emergency management system began coordinating the agency's efforts to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic so VAMCs could continue the delivery of services while maintaining the health and safety of patients and staff. The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO to report on its ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report describes VHA efforts to prepare for COVID-19, including (1) how selected VAMCs implemented VHA's COVID-19 preparedness strategies; and (2) the steps VHA took to oversee VAMCs' implementation of preparedness strategies. GAO reviewed VHA plans, policies, and guidance related to COVID-19 preparedness, including VHA's COVID-19 Response Plan. GAO interviewed officials at four VAMCs, a nongeneralizable sample selected based on hospital complexity and geographic diversity, as well as officials from their associated VISNs. GAO also interviewed officials from VHA's Central Office, Office of Emergency Management, HOC, and other VHA offices. GAO provided a draft of this report to VA. In response, VA provided one technical comment, which was incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact A. Nicole Clowers at (202) 512-7114 or clowersa@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Puerto Rico: Perspectives on the Potential to Expand Air Cargo Operations
    In U.S GAO News
    Cargo was flown by air between more than 97 countries within the selected regions of Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. that may affect air cargo expansion in Puerto Rico. However, according to Department of Transportation (DOT) and European Union data, most international air cargo transportation was concentrated at a handful of countries and at airports in these regions. For example, four countries in Europe accounted for 72 percent of the U.S.-European Union air cargo transported, by weight. Likewise for airports, Miami International Airport accounted for 70 percent of air cargo transported between the U.S. and Latin America. Worldwide, cargo-only carriers transported on average 13.8 billion pounds of air cargo to and from the U.S. from 2016 through 2018. Of that cargo, two of the selected regions—Latin America and Europe—when combined accounted for 46 percent. Air Cargo Transported by Cargo-Only Airlines between the U.S. and Global Regions, Average Weight in Millions of Pounds, 2016 through 2018 Based on interviews with industry stakeholders and studies reviewed. GAO identified four factors that are generally associated with an airport's ability to attract air cargo traffic: (1) an airport's geographical location; (2) its proximity to transportation networks; (3) its supporting airport infrastructure and resources; and (4) the governmental and regulatory environments. For example, an airport located near businesses that generate large volumes of both inbound and outbound cargo that could be transported by air may be an important geographic factor for air carriers. Puerto Rican government and industry stakeholders GAO spoke with said that increased air cargo would benefit its airports and lead to positive effects on the Puerto Rican economy. For example, officials noted that expansion of air cargo operations could increase the use of underutilized airports and create opportunities for existing industry—such as the pharmaceutical, medical device, and aerospace industries—and help develop new ones. Puerto Rican and industry stakeholders had varying perspectives on the potential for Puerto Rico's expanding its air cargo operations. For example, some stakeholders said Puerto Rico's geographic location may allow it to serve as a refueling and cargo distribution point, particularly for flights between Europe and Latin America, while others said the island may be too close to some Latin American destinations to serve that purpose. Whether and to what extent Puerto Rico can increase air cargo operations depends on how air carriers weigh the various factors discussed above. Puerto Rico's economy has been in decline for much of the last 15 years and was devastated by hurricanes in 2017. Puerto Rico has sought to increase air cargo and passenger traffic at its international airports as a means to bolster and diversify its economy. Specifically, Puerto Rico seeks to serve as a transshipment point for transferring cargo between air carriers flying from Europe to Latin America. Air cargo, whether carried in the holds of passenger aircraft or by cargo-only aircraft, is an important component of global trade. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 includes a provision for GAO to study the international air cargo transportation services among the United States and the African, Latin American, and European regions and the potential expansion of air cargo operations in Puerto Rico. This report addresses (1) what is known about air cargo operations between these world regions; (2) factors affecting the development of air cargo markets; and (3) Puerto Rican officials' and selected industry stakeholders' views on the economic effect and potential of expanding air cargo operations in Puerto Rico. GAO analyzed DOT and European air cargo data for flights between the U.S. and the selected regions for 2016 through 2018 (the latest available data). GAO also interviewed officials from DOT, and stakeholders from Puerto Rico and the air-cargo industry, selected based on prior GAO work and stakeholder mission. For more information, contact Heather Krause at (202) 512-2834 or krauseh@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Four Additional Members of Los Angeles-Based Fraud Ring Indicted for Exploiting COVID-Relief Programs
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Los Angeles returned a superseding indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, charging four additional individuals for their alleged participation in a scheme to submit over 150 fraudulent loan applications seeking over $21.9 million in COVID-19 relief funds guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department and EPA Reach Clean Air Act Settlement with Gear Box Z for Selling Defeat Devices
    In Crime News
    Arizona-based Gear Box Z (GBZ) has agreed to stop manufacturing and selling aftermarket automotive products widely known as “defeat devices,” that, when installed, bypass, defeat or render inoperative Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-certified emission controls on motor vehicles thereby increasing emissions and harming air quality.
    [Read More…]
  • Minnesota Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced the guilty plea of Abdelhamid Al-Madioum, 24, to one count of providing material support and resources, namely personnel and services, to ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
    [Read More…]
  • Young Giant Planet Offers Clues to Formation of Exotic Worlds
    In Space
    Jupiter-size planets [Read More…]
  • Ph.D. Chemist Convicted of Conspiracy to Steal Trade Secrets, Economic Espionage, Theft of Trade Secrets and Wire Fraud
    In Crime News
    A federal jury in Greeneville, Tennessee, convicted a U.S. citizen today of conspiracy to steal trade secrets, economic espionage and wire fraud.
    [Read More…]
  • Laredo man admits to smuggling meth in fire extinguishers
    In Justice News
    A 40-year-old Laredo man [Read More…]
  • The United States and Turkmenistan Hold Annual Bilateral Consultations
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Hawaii Couple Indicted in Tax Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Honolulu, Hawaii, returned an indictment on May 13 charging a Hawaii husband and wife with conspiring to defraud the United States and filing a false tax return. The husband was also charged with five counts of money laundering.
    [Read More…]
  • Aviation Safety: Actions Needed to Evaluate Changes to FAA’s Enforcement Policy on Safety Standards
    In U.S GAO News
    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) directed individual offices to implement the Compliance Program, and FAA has increasingly used compliance actions rather than enforcement actions to address violations of safety standards since starting the Compliance Program. FAA revised agency-wide guidance in September 2015 to emphasize using compliance actions, such as counseling or changes to policies. Compliance actions are to be used when a regulated entity is willing and able to comply and enforcement action is not required or warranted, e.g., for repeated violations, according to FAA guidance. FAA then directed its offices—for example, Flight Standards Service and Drug Abatement Division—to implement the Compliance Program as appropriate, given their different responsibilities and existing processes. Under the Compliance Program, data show that selected FAA offices have made increasing use of compliance actions. Total Number of Federal Aviation Administration Enforcement Actions and Number of Compliance Actions Closed for Selected Program Offices, Fiscal Years 2012-2019 No specific FAA office or entity oversees the Compliance Program. FAA tasked a working group to lead some initial implementation efforts. However, the group no longer regularly discusses the Compliance Program, and no office or entity was then assigned oversight authority. As a result, FAA is not positioned to identify and share best practices or other valuable information across offices. FAA established goals for the Compliance Program—to promote the highest level of safety and compliance with standards and to foster an open, transparent exchange of data. FAA, however, has not taken steps to evaluate if or determine how the program accomplishes these goals. Key considerations for agency enforcement decisions state that an agency should establish an evaluation plan to determine if its enforcement policy achieves desired goals. Three of eight FAA offices have started to evaluate the effects of the Compliance Program, but two offices have not yet started. Three other offices do not plan to do so—in one case, because FAA has not told the office to. FAA officials generally believe the Compliance Program is achieving its safety goals based on examples of its use. However, without an evaluation, FAA will not know if the Compliance Program is improving safety or having other effects—intended or unintended. FAA supports the safety of the U.S. aviation system by ensuring air carriers, pilots, and other regulated entities comply with safety standards. In 2015, FAA announced a new enforcement policy with a more collaborative and problem-solving approach called the Compliance Program. Under the program, FAA emphasizes using compliance actions, for example, counseling or training, to address many violations more efficiently, according to FAA. Enforcement actions such as civil penalties are reserved for more serious violations, such as when a violation is reckless or intentional. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 included a provision that GAO review FAA's Compliance Program. This report examines (1) how FAA implemented and used the Compliance Program and (2) how FAA evaluates the effectiveness of the program. GAO analyzed FAA data on enforcement actions agency-wide and on compliance actions for three selected offices for fiscal years 2012 to 2019 (4 years before and after program start).GAO also reviewed FAA guidance and interviewed FAA officials, including those from the eight offices that oversee compliance with safety standards. GAO is making three recommendations including that FAA assign authority to oversee the Compliance Program and evaluate the effectiveness of the program in meeting goals. FAA concurred with the recommendations. For more information, contact Heather Krause at (202) 512-2834 or krauseh@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Hypersonic Weapons: DOD Should Clarify Roles and Responsibilities to Ensure Coordination across Development Efforts
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO identified 70 efforts to develop hypersonic weapons and related technologies that are estimated to cost almost $15 billion from fiscal years 2015 through 2024 (see figure). These efforts are widespread across the Department of Defense (DOD) in collaboration with the Department of Energy (DOE) and, in the case of hypersonic technology development, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). DOD accounts for nearly all of this amount. Hypersonic Weapon-related and Technology Development Total Reported Funding by Type of Effort from Fiscal Years 2015 through 2024, in Billions of Then-Year Dollars The majority of this funding is for product development and potential fielding of prototype offensive hypersonic weapons. Additionally, it includes substantial investments in developing technologies for next generation hypersonic weapons and a smaller proportion aimed at countering hypersonic threats. Hypersonic weapon systems are technically complex, and DOD has taken several steps to mitigate some of the challenges to developing them. For example, DOD has attempted to address challenges posed by immature technologies and aggressive schedules by pursuing multiple potential technological solutions so that it has options. Other challenges DOD is addressing relate to industrial base and human capital workforce investments needed to support large-scale production and the availability of wind tunnels and open-air flight test ranges needed to test hypersonic weapons. DOE and NASA have agreements with DOD on supporting roles, but DOD itself has not documented the roles, responsibilities, and authorities of the multitude of its organizations, including the military services, that are working on hypersonic weapon development. Such governing documentation would provide for a level of continuity when leadership and organizational priorities inevitably change, especially as hypersonic weapon development efforts are expected to continue over at least the next decade. Without clear leadership roles, responsibilities, and authorities, DOD is at risk of impeding its progress toward delivering hypersonic weapon capabilities and opening up the potential for conflict and wasted resources as decisions over larger investments are made in the future. Why GAO Did This Study Hypersonic missiles, which are an important part of building hypersonic weapon systems, move at least five times the speed of sound, have unpredictable flight paths, and are expected to be capable of evading today's defensive systems. DOD has begun multiple efforts to develop offensive hypersonic weapons as well as technologies to improve its ability to track and defend against them. NASA and DOE are also conducting research into hypersonic technologies. The investments for these efforts are significant. This report identifies: (1) U.S. government efforts to develop hypersonic systems that are underway and their costs, (2) challenges these efforts face and what is being done to address them, and (3) the extent to which the U.S. government is effectively coordinating these efforts. This is a public version of a sensitive report that GAO issued in January 2021. Information that DOD deemed to be sensitive has been omitted. GAO collected and reviewed information from DOD, DOE, and NASA to identify hypersonic weapons development efforts from fiscal years 2015 through 2024. GAO also analyzed agency documentation and interviewed agency officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Algeria National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Former Subcontractor Sentenced for Obstruction of Justice
    In Crime News
    A former subcontractor for the U.S. Marines Corps was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for destroying records in connection with a federal investigation of bribery and procurement fraud at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (MCBCL), located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
    [Read More…]
  • Benin Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Private Equity CEO Enters into Non-prosecution Agreement on International Tax Fraud Scheme and Agrees to Pay $139 Million, to Abandon $182 Million in Charitable Contribution Deductions, and to Cooperate with Government Investigations
    In Crime News
    Robert F. Smith, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of a San Francisco based private equity company, entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement (the agreement) with the Department of Justice, for his involvement from 2000 through 2015 in an illegal scheme to conceal income and evade millions in taxes by using an offshore trust structure and offshore bank accounts, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Tax Division, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California, and Chief of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Jim Lee. In that agreement, Smith admits his involvement in the illegal scheme and agrees to cooperate with ongoing investigations and to pay back taxes and penalties in full. 
    [Read More…]
  • White Supremacists Plead Guilty to Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering
    In Crime News
    Two members of the Aryan Circle (AC) pleaded guilty this week to their roles in a violent assault of a man in October 2016.
    [Read More…]
  • Two Indicted for $2 Million Scheme that Defrauded Over 20 Investors
    In Crime News
    An indictment charging a District of Columbia man and Connecticut woman with perpetrating an advance fee and investment fraud scheme that defrauded more than 20 victims of more than $2 million was unsealed today in the District of Columbia.
    [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.