Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
Around the world, violence against women harms not only millions of women and girls every year, but also their communities and families. Violence against women, whether in the workforce, the home, a school environment, or as a result of conflict or crisis, is never acceptable. The United States recognizes the inherent dignity that every woman and girl possesses and is committed to preventing and responding to violence against women.
Every woman and girl deserves to live a life free from violence. Eliminating violence against women removes significant barriers to women’s empowerment, enabling them to become trailblazers, innovators, and leaders in their communities. These efforts require the dedication of governments, the private sector, and civil society to create an enduring impact. The United States is proud to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 and the accompanying 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The United States recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has uniquely and disproportionately impacted women – from increased rates of violence against women to increased employment insecurity. It is time for the international community to come together to end violence against women, stand with and empower survivors, and emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever before. The United States is committed to doing so for the sake of national security, global prosperity, and the rights and dignity of women and girls worldwide.
- Federal Court Restrains Toledo Pharmacy and Two Pharmacists From Dispensing Opioids or Other Controlled SubstancesBy Sam NewsJanuary 15, 2021More from: January 15, [Read More…]
- Fair Lending: CFPB Needs to Assess the Impact of Recent Changes to Its Fair Lending ActivitiesBy Sam NewsMay 15, 2021What GAO Found In January 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a reorganization of its fair lending activities that moved its Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity (Fair Lending Office) from the Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending Division to the Office of the Director and reallocated certain of its responsibilities (see figure). As CFPB planned and implemented the reorganization, it did not substantially incorporate key practices for agency reform efforts GAO identified in prior work—such as using employee input for planning or monitoring implementation progress and outcomes. GAO identified challenges related to the reorganization (including loss of fair lending expertise and specialized data analysts) that may have contributed to a decline in enforcement activity in 2018. However, CFPB has not assessed how well the reorganization met its goals or how it affected fair lending supervision and enforcement efforts. Collecting and analyzing information on reorganization outcomes would help CFPB determine the impact of the changes and identify actions needed to address any related challenges or unintended consequences. Key Changes in Fair Lending Responsibilities under CFPB's 2018 Reorganization As of February 2019, CFPB stopped reporting on performance goals and measures specific to fair lending supervision and enforcement—such as the number of completed examinations and the percentage of enforcement cases successfully resolved. Without these goals and measures, CFPB is limited in its ability to assess and communicate progress on its fair lending supervision and enforcement efforts, key components of CFPB's mission. CFPB has used additional Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data that some lenders have had to report since 2018 to support supervisory and enforcement activities and fair lending analyses. CFPB incorporated these new loan-level data into efforts to identify and prioritize fair lending risks and support fair lending examinations. For example, the new data points improve CFPB's ability to compare how different institutions price loans, which helps its staff identify potentially discriminatory lending practices. Why GAO Did This Study Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, CFPB is responsible for two federal fair lending laws that protect consumers from discrimination: the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. In January 2019, CFPB completed a reorganization of its fair lending activities. GAO was asked to review issues related to CFPB's oversight and enforcement of fair lending laws. This report examines how CFPB has (1) managed the reorganization of its fair lending activities, (2) monitored and reported on its fair lending performance, and (3) used Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data to support its fair lending activities. GAO reviewed CFPB documents related to its fair lending activities (such as strategic and performance reports, policies and procedures) and to the reorganization of its Fair Lending Office. GAO evaluated implementation of this reorganization against relevant key practices identified in GAO-18-427. GAO also interviewed CFPB staff.[Read More…]
- Media Freedom Coalition Statement on Hong Kong’s Apple DailyBy Sam NewsJuly 10, 2021
- Forbes Names U.S. Department of State as one of America’s Best-In-State Employers for 2021By Sam NewsAugust 26, 2021
- 2021 International Women of Courage Award Recipients AnnouncedBy Sam NewsMarch 5, 2021
- American Darknet Vendor and Costa Rican Pharmacist Charged with Narcotics and Money Laundering ViolationsBy Sam NewsAugust 4, 2020A dual U.S.-Costa Rican citizen and a Costa Rican citizen, both of whom reside in Costa Rica, were indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for their illegal sales of opioids on the darknet.[Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken On CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS with Fareed ZakariaBy Sam NewsMay 23, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Contingency Contracting: State and USAID Made Progress Assessing and Implementing Changes, but Further Actions NeededBy Sam NewsAugust 24, 2021What GAO Found The Department of State (State) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) identified a number of changes needed to improve contract support in overseas contingency operations, but have not completed implementation efforts. As required by the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), both agencies determined that their organizational structures were effective, though State created a new regional Contract Management Office to better support contracting efforts in Iraq. In October 2013, State approved a number of actions to improve policies and procedures, including specific initiatives in acquisition planning and risk management, among others, and intends to institutionalize these changes in its Foreign Affairs Manual in 2014. State generally has not, however, developed plans to assess the impact of these initiatives. Federal internal control standards highlight the importance of managers comparing actual performance to expected results. Accordingly, continued management attention is needed to ensure that these efforts achieve their intended objectives. USAID focused its efforts on areas such as improving contractor performance evaluations and risk management. GAO found that some USAID missions and offices that operate in contingency environments have developed procedures and practices, but USAID did not consider whether these should be institutionalized agency-wide because USAID officials interpreted the legislative requirement to include only a review of agency-wide policies. As a result, USAID may have missed opportunities to leverage its institutional knowledge to better support future contingencies. USAID established a new working group in October 2013 to develop lessons learned, toolkits, and training and is expected to complete its efforts in late 2014. This working group could further assess the policies and procedures developed by the missions and offices, thus potentially affording USAID an opportunity to better leverage its institutional knowledge. State and USAID have increased their acquisition workforce by 53 and 15 percent, respectively, from their 2011 levels and are in various stages of assessing their workforce needs for overseas contingency operations. Per Office of Management and Budget guidance, both agencies identified competency and skill gaps for their acquisition workforce in their 2013 acquisition human capital plans. State's 2013 plan noted that in response to growth in contracting activity in areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan, additional acquisition personnel are needed. In October 2013, State's Under Secretary for Management approved the formation of a multibureau working group that plans to further explore workforce needs for current and future contingency operations. USAID's 2013 plan cited its greatest challenge as providing training for its acquisition workforce, as many personnel have 5 years or less of contracting experience. USAID established a training division in 2013 for its acquisition workforce. State noted in its Section 850 report that it will increase its focus on conducting risk assessments on the reliance, use, and oversight of contractors through the establishment of risk management staff. USAID's Section 850 report did not address reliance on contractors, but in October 2013, USAID drafted a revision to its planning policy that will require a risk assessment and mitigation plan associated with contractor performance of critical functions in overseas contingency operations. Why GAO Did This Study For more than a decade, State and USAID have used contractors extensively to help carry out missions in contingency operations, such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan. While State and USAID transition to more traditional diplomatic and assistance missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, contract management and oversight challenges remain significant because the agencies are likely to be called upon again to operate in future contingencies. Section 850(a) of the Fiscal Year 2013 NDAA directed State and USAID to assess their organizational structures, policies, and workforces related to contract support for overseas contingency operations. Section 850(c) mandated that GAO report on the progress State and USAID have made in identifying and implementing improvements related to those areas. GAO analyzed the extent to which State and USAID have identified and implemented changes to their (1) organizational structures and policies; and (2) workforces, including their use of contractors. GAO analyzed State and USAID's Section 850 reports to Congress, contract policies and procedures, and 2013 acquisition human capital plans, and interviewed agency officials.[Read More…]
- NASA, US and European Partner Satellite Returns First Sea Level MeasurementsBy Sam NewsIn SpaceDecember 17, 2020Launched on a Falcon 9 [Read More…]
- Man Pleads Guilty to Directing COVID-Relief Fraud SchemeBy Sam NewsFebruary 23, 2021A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty today for his role in fraudulently obtaining over $1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.[Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks to the Press Before the Berlin II Conference on LibyaBy Sam NewsJune 23, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Former U.S. Army Employee Pleads Guilty to Kickback Scheme to Steer U.S. Government ContractsBy Sam NewsJuly 21, 2021A former civilian employee of the U.S. Army’s Directorate of Public Works pleaded guilty today for his role in a kickbacks scheme to steer government contracts for work at Camp Arifjan, a U.S. Army base in Kuwait.[Read More…]
- Acting Assistant Secretary Reeker’s Travel to Italy, Albania, and North MacedoniaBy Sam NewsJune 18, 2021
- Former Supervisory Corrections Officer Sentenced for Repeatedly Tasing Restrained DetaineeBy Sam NewsNovember 20, 2020Former supervisory corrections officer Mark Bryant, 42, was sentenced today to 5 years in prison for repeatedly tasing a restrained pretrial detainee inside the Cheatham County Jail in Tennessee. In January 2020, a jury in the Middle District of Tennessee convicted Bryant of two counts of violating Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 242, for using excessive force while acting under color of law.[Read More…]
- Eight Individuals Charged With Conspiring to Act as Illegal Agents of the People’s Republic of ChinaBy Sam NewsOctober 28, 2020A complaint and arrest warrants were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging eight defendants with conspiring to act in the United States as illegal agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Six defendants also face related charges of conspiring to commit interstate and international stalking. The defendants, allegedly acting at the direction and under the control of PRC government officials, conducted surveillance of and engaged in a campaign to harass, stalk, and coerce certain residents of the United States to return to the PRC as part of a global, concerted, and extralegal repatriation effort known as “Operation Fox Hunt.”[Read More…]
- Overseas Presence: Cost Analyses and Performance Measures Are Needed to Demonstrate the Full Potential of Providing Embassy Support RemotelyBy Sam NewsAugust 25, 2021The President has emphasized the importance of safety, efficiency, and accountability in U.S. government staffing overseas by designating the achievement of a rightsized overseas presence as a part of the President's Management Agenda. One of the elements of rightsizing involves relocating certain administrative support functions from overseas posts to the United States or regional centers overseas, which can provide cheaper, safer, or more effective support. This report (1) reviews State's efforts in providing administrative support from remote locations, (2) identifies the challenges it faces in doing so, and (3) outlines the potential advantages and concerns associated with providing support remotely.State has a number of regional and domestic offices that provide some management support remotely to overseas posts in areas such as financial management and human resources. For example, State's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs provides support to posts in its region through staff based in Florida. State announced in October 2005 it would identify and remove additional functions that do not need to be performed at post and could instead be performed domestically or at regional centers overseas. State faces several challenges in trying to expand its use of remote support. For example, restrictions on what management functions non-American staff can perform might limit the extent to which services can be provided remotely. In addition, current funding arrangements for various regional bureaus and posts might limit opportunities for remote support to be offered from one region to another, while posts' reluctance to change is a further constraint. State is assessing whether certain regulations could be waived or changed and how institutional challenges might be overcome. There are several potential advantages to providing administrative support to posts from remote locations, and several concerns. For example, one U.S.-based officer provides financial management support to multiple overseas posts, eliminating the need for an American financial management officer at each post served, which, according to State, could result in cost savings. Officials at posts we visited reported they were generally satisfied with the level of support and customer service at a regional or domestic service center, though some noted concerns. However, at the time of our review, State had neither analyzed the potential cost savings associated with providing remote support nor systematically assessed the quality of support provided. In addition, many officials in Washington and overseas were unaware of the full breadth of support offered by regional service centers.[Read More…]
- Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Greg Kelly of Greg Kelly Reports on Newsmax TVBy Sam NewsOctober 10, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Secretary Blinken’s Call with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic RaabBy Sam NewsAugust 28, 2021
- Four sentenced for roles in ransom schemeBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsMay 8, 2021Four U.S. citizens have [Read More…]
- Former Georgia Supervisory Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Offenses for Assaulting InmatesBy Sam NewsMay 19, 2021A former supervisory correctional officer at the Valdosta State Prison (VSP) in Valdosta, Georgia, pleaded guilty today to violating the civil rights of two inmates during two separate incidents.[Read More…]