Secretary Antony J. Blinken, Greenlandic Premier Mute Egede, Greenlandic Foreign Minister Pele Broberg, And Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod At a Joint Press Availability

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Mute Egede, Greenlandic Premier

Pele Broberg, Greenlandic Foreign Minister

Jeppe Kofod, Danish Foreign Minister

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Kangerlussuaq Airport

PREMIER EGEDE: Secretary Blinken, it has been a pleasure to have you as a guest in my country, in Greenland. This year, we will celebrate Kangerlussuaq’s 80-years anniversary. It was built by the U.S. Army Air Force in 1941. It shows as a great symbol of our shared history and the evolution of our relationship. What began as a military base is now an important civilian airport for Greenland. Kangerlussuaq also hosts the Air National Guard and the National Science Foundation, who works closely with the Greenlandic scientific communities. This is a direct result of our relation, as we saw a few minutes ago.

Our relationships starts – starting with the strategic situation with the world at war has evolved to a cooperation in science and mutual interest and understanding the health of our planet. I hope this evolution in our relationship will serve as a example for all of the Arctic and the world. It is among the examples like this that science, peace, and prosperity can grow from common global challenges. I hope that your visit today will pave the way for even deeper bonds. We made a common plan for our cooperation in October last year with the U.S. and the world to deepen our bond – have those already begun.

And your visit, Secretary Blinken – or Tony, as your friends call you – and our talks today reaffirm our commitment to each other. As I said earlier today, Greenland is unavoidable in the development in the Arctic. And I will say that so to the rest of the world: Nothing about us in the Arctic without us.

Based on this, I’m convinced that this decade will be the beginning of a new era in the relationship between our countries with developing trade, science, and common interest protecting the fragile environment for the benefit of the planet. The value of visiting Greenland in person and seeing the unique opportunities and challenges can’t be overstated in this regard. You see the ice cap today. You’ve been told about the climate changes and the – and so on. Greenland has in the U.S. what every country needs – a close friend, a good and open relation, and a strong ally to keep and maintain the Arctic as a peaceful place.

So please, Secretary Blinken, send our regards to President Biden with best wishes and bring him our invitation to visit Greenland at any convenient time here in Greenland. And as I say to you, qujanaq, it means thank you. Let it be the first word of the next steps of our relationships to learn that word. It’s meaning thank you, so qujanaq. Now Jeppe, the foreign minister from Denmark, will have some few words. Jeppe.

FOREIGN MINISTER KOFOD: Thank you so much, Premier Egede, for welcoming us here today. Greenland is very close to my heart. It is impossible not be overwhelmed by the beauty of this country and the hospitality of its people.

Being here with you, Secretary Blinken, is particular pleasure. The U.S. is a close friend of the entire kingdom, our most important ally, and a strategic partner in the world today. The relationship between Denmark, Greenland, and the U.S. is strong and unique. The U.S. military has been present in Greenland for 80 years, and we have – working closely together to ensure the security and prosperity of both the U.S. and the kingdom. For all of us the way ahead is international cooperation between the kingdom, the U.S., between Greenland and the U.S., and between everyone who wants a positive, peaceful, and sustainable development in the Arctic. Thank you so much.

PREMIER EGEDE: Thank you. Sir, please.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. And just a few days ago, I was in Copenhagen with Foreign Minister Broberg, with Foreign Minister Kofod, and now I’m especially delighted to be reunited here in Greenland and to have the chance not only to meet you but to get to know you over the course of these hours. And I greatly appreciate that. I want to extend my congratulations in person to the new Greenlandic government, following April’s elections.

Before we get to the visit to Greenland, let me just offer a very brief update on the situation in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. During my flight here from Iceland, I spoke again with my Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi and reiterated President Biden’s message that we expect to see a de-escalation on the path to a ceasefire.

I also spoke to a number of my counterparts about this over the course of the last 24 hours while I was in Iceland on the margins of the Arctic Council meeting. There’s a deep and shared concern around the world for the deaths of innocent Palestinians and innocent Israelis. Our goal continues to be to stop the violence, bring calm, and then get back to work trying to build lasting stability and a more hopeful future for all.

Returning to today’s events, I’m in Greenland because the United States deeply values our partnership and wants to make it even stronger. That’s why we reopened our consulate in Nuuk last year after nearly 70 years, a signal of our enduring commitment to the Arctic and to boosting our shared security and prosperity with our Arctic partners – Greenland and Denmark. We’ve been working together closely to increase our engagement across the board, from trade and investment to scientific research, energy and mining, to sustainable tourism and public health.

Let me just cite two examples. We’ve seen, first of all, that the Arctic educational lines, a collaboration between Greenlandic institutions and the University of Alaska Fairbanks to support land and fisheries management, sustainable tourism, and the hospitality industry here in Greenland. And the U.S. National Science Foundation and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration work with partners here in Greenland to carry out urgent research on melting sheet ice and to better understand the impacts of the climate crisis on the Arctic and marine environment in the North Atlantic.

Greenland’s fjords, ice caps, and sheet ice are powerful reminders of the scale and speed of the climate crisis, something that I had an opportunity with my colleagues to witness for myself as we flew over the ice cap. And we see how it’s receding at an alarmingly rapid pace as a result of global warming. The people of Greenland, of course, have seen it for themselves, and they’ve seen how these rising global temperatures are transforming their homeland.

And so actually having the opportunity not just to talk about it, not just to read about it, but to actually see it is very, very compelling. This is as urgent as it gets, and the United States applauds Greenland’s efforts to reach its renewable energy targets by the end of the decade.

As the premier and I discussed today, our countries will work together on other pressing issues as well. For example, to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic so that we can prevent, detect, and respond to future global health crises, and to protect and defend democratic values at home and around the world as well. More broadly, the United States is committed to being a good partner to our Arctic allies and partners. We were just in Reykjavik, as I noted, for the Arctic Council ministerial meeting. I reiterated our vision of an Arctic region that is free of conflict, where nations act responsibly, where economic development and investment take place in a sustainable and transparent manner that respects the environment and the interests and culture of local and indigenous people.

We know that Greenland shares that vision, Denmark shares that vision, and we will work together as partners to realize that vision. Thank you very much.

PREMIER EGEDE: Thank you. And to the last, I will say it again: I appreciate a lot, as a leader for the Greenlandic Government and for the Greenlandic people, that you starting to be a big player again in the international politics, as being part of an international agreement again, like the Paris Agreement, and the – because we want some peaceful development developing in the rest of the world, and also the Arctic. So thank you for that.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you.

PREMIER EGEDE: Yeah. So —

MODERATOR: Thank you, Egede, Blinken, Kofod, and Broberg. And now we are opening the questions from the press. The first question will be from Arnaq Nielsen, KNR, Greenland.

QUESTION: Secretary Blinken – it’s here.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Where are you? Ah.

QUESTION: Here. (Laughter.)

FOREIGN MINISTESR KOFOD: That’s great, Tony.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you.

QUESTION: The Biden administration is quite new, as we all know. And why is it so important for United States of America to visit Greenland in this early stage of presidential period? Tell us specifically, why is Greenland so important?

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Sorry about that. I think what you’re seeing and what we’re trying to move forward today – but not only today, but every day – is the strong desire on the part of the United States to build a true and strong partnership with Greenland. We have – the relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Denmark is strong and multifaceted, and we’ve made significant ties – strides – excuse me – on broadening our ties with Greenland. And what was important, I think, about coming here today was to demonstrate that the way we see the relationship is as a partnership. We have shared interests; we have shared values. At a time when the world is ever more complicated and challenging, it’s very important to reinvigorate our – not only our alliances, but our partnerships with countries that share our interests and values. And that’s why we’ve sought to deepen our engagement here in Greenland.

We had the reopening of the consulate, as you know, last year in Nuuk after 70 years. That already reflected a mutual desire to deepen the U.S.-Greenland-Denmark relationship, underscoring its importance and the significance we place on the Arctic region as a whole. And of course, we were also together at the Arctic Council meeting. I think we’ve seen the tremendous potential when it comes to the Arctic region to have something that unfortunately is increasingly rare, which is a region at peace, where there is genuine cooperation among nations to make progress and advance on issues that are critical to our time, particularly climate change, scientific exploration, and actually dealing effectively with sustainable development.

Let me just add that we have worked closely and cooperatively with the governments of Greenland and Denmark on increasing engagement. We have, as you know, a program that the prime minister alluded to with very specific projects that focus on economic growth to include very important educational elements. We’re looking at doing things that are focused on sustainable tourism, fishing, land management between organizations and universities in the United States and Greenland. This and other efforts and programs, including the Fulbright Program, are designed to strengthen the partnership, and strengthen it not just government to government, but also, ultimately, commercially through people-to-people ties, and to bind us, I hope, evermore closely together.

So it’s a long way of saying what – the big focus of our foreign policy, immediately, from day one, has been to energize, invigorate, or reinvigorate as necessary, the partnerships with likeminded countries. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here today.

MODERATOR: The next question will be from Frederikke Ingemann, TV2, Denmark.

QUESTION: Yes. Secretary of State Blinken. Hello? Can you hear me?

PREMIER EGEDE: You should hold it on – this way.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Huh? Sounded good. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Do you have another one? It’s a shame not to get a question.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, what – maybe not, depends on what. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Now it works. Oh, yeah, indeed.

Secretary of State Blinken, you’re talking about deepening the relationship to Greenland and to the Kingdom of Denmark. You’re talking about invigorating the partnership. In Iceland, you also talked about – you said that Greenland is not only of the strategic importance.

So could you please be a little more – bit more concrete? What will the U.S. actually offer Greenland, having in mind that Mute B. Egede, at your side, stated that what the U.S. gives to Greenland should be according to the needs of Greenland? So what can the U.S. and will the U.S. actually offer Greenland?

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. We already have, I think, a good foundation in a common program that was established, and that we now actually want to move forward on and make very concrete. Just as – to give you an example, we have already, just at the government level, about $12 million in programming in the first year, and plans for additional funding. And again, these programs focus on economic growth. They have important educational elements. I touched on a few of them. Focused on sustainable tourism, focused on fishing, land management, and bringing together organizations, bringing together universities.

But beyond that, beyond the government-to-government, as I said – this is something we talked about today. We would – we’d like to find ways to strengthen even more the commercial relationship, and that’s something we’re going to work on. The people-to-people ties – and once we get beyond COVID-19, I expect that we will see more of that. Certainly, I’m going to go home as someone who’s going to strongly recommend to my friends that they find a way to come visit.

But beyond that, I think we have a joint committee that is going to get to work in actually moving forward on some of these programs and projects, and we’ll develop new ones. So this is something that is not like flipping a light switch. It’s going to develop over time. But there’s one fundamental thing that we both have in mind in talking to the prime minister and to my colleagues – is we both feel a strong obligation in everything that we’re doing to think about how it is what we’re doing is going to have a practical impact in bettering the lives of the citizens that we work for. And I think as we continue to grow the relationship, to strengthen it, that’s exactly what we’re going to have in mind. How do we, through the work that we’re doing together, create more opportunity? How do we share experiences, knowledge, best practices, including when it comes to education? How do we connect our people in ways that will allow them to improve their lives? These are the things that are motivating us, and I think you’ll see that unfold in the months and years ahead.

MR PRICE: John Hudson.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, an unusual question for some unusual times we’ve lived through recently. Can you definitively say that the United States does not seek to buy Greenland?

And given the rising death toll between Israel and Hamas and calls for U.S. involvement, do you think it was a mistake not to add a stop to the Middle East on this trip? Also, could you comment on just breaking reports that the Israeli cabinet has approved a ceasefire to end the offensive in Gaza?

Premier Egede, when so much discourse about Greenland surrounds it being a space of natural resource potential or strategic, geopolitical competition, does that kind of talk cheapen the value of the 56,000 people who live here? Or is it a source of pride? And the same question for Foreign Minister Kofod.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: I’m happy to start. The answer to the very first part of your question is I can confirm that’s correct.

Second, with regard to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, I’ve seen these emerging reports of a ceasefire. I can’t confirm them. I expect to be speaking to the Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi as soon as we get on the plane and start heading back home, so I’ll know more then. I am prepared at any time to go to Israel, to the Middle East, if that would serve the purpose of moving beyond the violence and helping to work on improving lives for Israelis and Palestinians alike. And so if there’s a good time to do that, that’s certainly something I intend to do.

Right now, we’re focused on hopefully seeing that these reports are real and that, as President Biden said, we have a genuine de-escalation and a ceasefire.

PREMIER EGEDE: Thank you. My foreign minister will answer your question, so Pele, please.

FOREIGN MINISTER BROBERG: Thank you very much for your question. There is no doubt that a lot of people speculating on the geo-location, and it’s of the utmost importance for the defense of the United States. But as we have discovered during the course of the last few days with Secretary Blinken in Copenhagen, in the Arctic Council meeting in Reykjavik and today, and which we will underscore is – this is not considered a real estate deal. Real estate means land with nothing on it, nobody on it. Secretary Blinken has made it very clear that he is here for the people living in the Arctic, for the people living in Greenland.

So for our point of view, it’s a matter of pride that Secretary Blinken has honored us with his visit on this trip, and we do realize that they have many obligations around the world. You just underscored one of them, and in that respect, it is quite important that we feel honored with his presence here today.

We have again and again talked about how do we get something out of a meeting. Well, occasionally – journalists may not know this, but we have a lot of competent people working behind the scenes. And these guys are helping put together how we work together between countries. But what this visit means for us in the first instance is that occasionally you need to show the rest of the world we are actually working together. The people-to-people contact, which I also brought up in the Arctic Council meeting, is what Secretary Blinken is underscoring here today by his presence. It does not need to, as you say, flip a switch and something changes, but it does illustrate his point this is between people and countries, of course.

So we take it as a matter of pride that the United States has taken the time to honor us with Secretary Blinken’s visit. I hope that answers your question.

FOREIGN MINISTER KOFOD: If I also may add, first of all, I mean, the United States is the most important ally to the Kingdom of Denmark – to Greenland, to Denmark. It is the foundation for our security. We share common interests, we share common values, and I believe we have done so over many decades. And this prosperity that we all enjoy is something that is due to the strong transatlantic relationship that we hold so dear. And these values and the world that we are in, we need to protect them, we need to protect our interests, and that is why I’m so happy that Secretary Blinken, Tony, can come to Denmark, to Greenland, and have this close, close cooperation with us. Because we share also the same aspirations for delivering prosperity, economic opportunity, and peaceful cooperation also in the Arctic and North Atlantic. And today, I think this visit also testify the close relationship that we have, and we have been working for a long time and is deepening into the future.

And I’m proud also, like my colleague, that Secretary Blinken has visited the Kingdom of Denmark and Greenland and also engaged so heavily in cooperation. The U.S., as I said, not only when it comes to big issues but also person to person, commercial issues, cultural issues, looking into the world that we see a climate crisis, which was top of the agenda of the Arctic Ministerial Council. We did a good declaration. This is so important.

So I also, for my part, from the Government of Denmark, want to thank Secretary Blinken and the prime minister and also my colleague for this. Thank you.

PREMIER EGEDE: At the end, we have built on a relationship in the last 80 years. So I think the visit from Secretary Blinken today is also a sign of a next step of our relationship for the future. So thank you again for your visit and I hope to see you again, and maybe your President in the coming four years.

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you. Thank you very much.

PREMIER EGEDE: Thank you.

More from: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State, Mute Egede, Greenlandic Premier, Pele Broberg, Greenlandic Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod, Danish Foreign Minister

Hits: 0

News Network

  • Opening Statement Before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • United States Antitrust Agencies Co-Host the 19th Annual International Competition Network Conference
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are co-hosting the International Competition Network’s (ICN) 19th annual conference, which opens today and runs through Thursday, September 17, 2020.  Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim and FTC Chairman Joseph J. Simons are leading the U.S. agencies’ participation in the ICN’s first virtual conference.  Assistant Attorney General Delrahim and Chairman Simons will deliver opening remarks and speak on the conference’s showcase program addressing the challenges of enforcement in the digital economy.
    [Read More…]
  • Riverside, California Man Who Admitted Planning Mass Casualty Attacks and Purchasing Firearms Later Used in 2015 Terrorist Attack in San Bernardino Ordered to Serve 20-Year Federal Prison Sentence
    In Crime News
    A Riverside man was sentenced today to 20 years in federal prison for conspiring to commit terrorist attacks in the Inland Empire and for providing assault rifles later used in the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack that killed 14 people.
    [Read More…]
  • Arkansas RV Salesman Indicted for Income Tax Evasion
    In Crime News
    An indictment was unsealed today charging an Arkansas man with three counts of evading his individual income taxes.
    [Read More…]
  • Operation Legend: Case of the Day
    In Crime News
    A Detroit man was charged in federal court with drug trafficking and illegally possessing a firearm.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo with Yoshio Arima of NHK
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Nuclear Weapons: Action Needed to Address the W80-4 Warhead Program’s Schedule Constraints
    In U.S GAO News
    The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a separately organized agency within the Department of Energy (DOE), has identified a range of risks facing the W80-4 nuclear warhead life extension program (LEP)—including risks related to developing new technologies and manufacturing processes as well as reestablishing dormant production capabilities. NNSA is managing these risks using a variety of processes and tools, such as a classified risk database. However, NNSA has introduced potential risk to the program by adopting a date (September 2025) for the delivery of the program's first production unit (FPU) that is more than 1 year earlier than the date projected by the program's own schedule risk analysis process (see figure). NNSA and Department of Defense (DOD) officials said that they adopted the September 2025 date partly because the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015 specifies that NNSA must deliver the first warhead unit by the end of fiscal year 2025, as well as to free up resources for future LEPs. However, the statute allows DOE to obtain an extension, and, according to best practices identified in GAO's prior work, program schedules should avoid date constraints that do not reflect program realities. Adopting an FPU date more consistent with the date range identified as realistic in the W80-4 program's schedule risk analysis, or justifying an alternative date based on other factors, would allow NNSA to better inform decision makers and improve alignment between schedules for the W80-4 program and DOD's long-range standoff missile (LRSO) program. W80-4 Life Extension Program Phases and Milestone Dates NNSA substantially incorporated best practices in developing the preliminary lifecycle cost estimate for the W80-4 LEP, as reflected in the LEP's weapon design and cost report. GAO assessed the W80-4 program's cost estimate of $11.2 billion against the four characteristics of a high quality, reliable cost estimate: comprehensive, well-documented, accurate, and credible. To develop a comprehensive cost estimate, NNSA instituted processes to help ensure consistency across the program. The program also provided detailed documentation to substantiate its estimate and assumptions. To help ensure accuracy, the cost estimate drew on historic data from prior LEPs. Finally, to support a credible estimate, NNSA reconciled the program estimate with an independent cost estimate. GAO considers a cost estimate to be reliable if the overall assessment ratings for each of the four characteristics are substantially or fully met—as was the case with the W80-4 program's cost estimate in its weapon design and cost report, which substantially met each characteristic. To maintain and modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, NNSA and DOD conduct LEPs. In 2014, they began an LEP to produce a warhead, the W80-4, to be carried on the LRSO missile. In February 2019, NNSA adopted an FPU delivery date of fiscal year 2025 for the W80-4 LEP, at an estimated cost of about $11.2 billion over the life of the program. The explanatory statement accompanying the 2018 appropriation included a provision for GAO to review the W80-4 LEP. This report examines, among other objectives, (1) the risks NNSA has identified for the W80-4 LEP, and processes it has established to manage them, and (2) the extent to which NNSA's lifecycle cost estimate for the LEP aligned with best practices. GAO reviewed NNSA's risk management database and other program information; visited four NNSA sites; interviewed NNSA and DOD officials; and assessed the program's cost estimate using best practices established in prior GAO work. GAO is making two recommendations, including that NNSA adopt a W80-4 program FPU delivery date based on the program's schedule risk analysis, or document its justification for not doing so. NNSA generally disagreed with GAO's recommendations. GAO continues to believe that its recommendations are valid, as discussed in the report. For more information, contact Allison B. Bawden at (202) 512-3841 or bawdena@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • The Kingdom of Thailand’s National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Houthi Attacks Impacting Civilians
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Justice Department announces court-authorized effort to disrupt exploitation of Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities
    In Justice News
    Authorities have [Read More…]
  • Statement by Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall on the Passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    In Crime News
    Acting Solicitor General [Read More…]
  • Turkmenistan Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Do not travel to [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • As Courts Restore Operations, COVID-19 Creates a New Normal
    In U.S Courts
    When coronavirus (COVID-19) cases spiked in March, court practices changed almost overnight, relying on virtual hearings that make it possible to conduct most court-related activities without coming to the building. Now, with courts seeking to restore in-person proceedings, one thing already is clear: Justice in a pandemic environment will have a very different look and feel.
    [Read More…]
  • NASA Confirms New SIMPLEx Mission Small Satellite to Blaze Trails Studying Lunar Surface
    In Space
    Producing maps to locate [Read More…]
  • Department Press Briefing – March 1, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting with Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [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…]
  • Remarks at Munich Security Conference Special Session
    In Climate - Environment - Conservation
    John Kerry, Special [Read More…]
  • Missile Defense: Observations on Ground-based Midcourse Defense Acquisition Challenges and Potential Contract Strategy Changes
    In U.S GAO News
    The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is developing a system to defend the U.S. from long-range missile attacks. As MDA continues to develop this system, called Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), it has opportunities to incorporate into its approach lessons learned from over 2 decades of system development. MDA has made progress in developing and fielding elements of the GMD system. For example, MDA is constructing a new missile field to expand the fleet of interceptors. However, MDA has also experienced significant setbacks. Most recently, the Department of Defense canceled development of a key GMD element, the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, in 2019 because of fundamental problems with the system's design. Ongoing Construction of a New Ground-based Midcourse Defense Interceptor Field (July 16, 2019) Over the years, GAO has identified practices that MDA could apply to the GMD program to improve acquisition outcomes, such as: Using knowledge-based acquisition practices Involving stakeholders early and often Providing effective oversight Promoting competition Performing robust testing GAO has also made numerous recommendations to improve MDA's acquisition outcomes and reduce risk. As of July 2020, the department has concurred with most of the recommendations GAO made since MDA's inception in 2002. Although the department has implemented many of the recommendations, it has further opportunities to implement the remaining open recommendations and apply lessons learned on a major, new effort to develop a next-generation GMD interceptor. Since the late 1990s, DOD has executed the GMD program through a prime contractor responsible for developing and integrating the entire weapon system. MDA is considering taking over these responsibilities for GMD for the next phase of the program. GAO found that this approach offers potential benefits to the agency, such as more direct control over and greater insight into GMD's cost, schedule, and performance. However, the approach has some challenges that, if not addressed, could outweigh the benefits. For example, MDA may encounter challenges obtaining the technical data and staffing levels necessary to manage this complex weapon system, which could ultimately affect its availability or readiness. As of October 2020, MDA has not yet determined an acquisition strategy for the next phase of the GMD program. The GMD system aims to defend the U.S. against ballistic missile attacks from rogue states like North Korea or Iran. DOD has been developing this system since the 1990s and has spent $53 billion on the system so far. GMD is a complex system that includes interceptors and a ground system, and MDA has largely relied on a contractor, Boeing, to manage development and system integration. MDA is considering moving away from this approach as the program embarks on developing a key element of the GMD, a new interceptor. The House Armed Services Committee included a provision in a report for GAO to assess the GMD contract structure and identify potential opportunities to improve government management and contractor accountability. This report addresses (1) the lessons learned from challenges MDA encountered acquiring the GMD system and (2) the potential benefits and risks of MDA taking over system integration responsibilities for GMD. To conduct this work, GAO reviewed GMD program documentation, prior GAO reports on missile defense, GAO interviews with other DOD components, and expert panel reviews of GMD. GAO also spoke with officials from MDA and other DOD components. GAO has 17 open recommendations aimed at improving missile defense acquisition outcomes and reducing risk. Recently, DOD has taken steps to address some of these open recommendations, but further action is needed to fully implement the remaining recommendations. For more information, contact W. William Russell at (202) 512-4841 or russellw@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Russian National Convicted of Charges Relating to Kelihos Botnet
    In Crime News
    A federal jury in Connecticut convicted a Russian national on Tuesday for operating a “crypting” service used to conceal “Kelihos” malware from antivirus software, enabling hackers to systematically infect victim computers around the world with malicious software, including ransomware.
    [Read More…]
  • Member of White Supremacist Prison Gang Guilty of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering
    In Crime News
    A Texas man pleaded guilty today to violent gang-related activities in the Eastern District of Texas.
    [Read More…]
  • Financial Stability: Agencies Have Not Found Leveraged Lending to Significantly Threaten Stability but Remain Cautious Amid Pandemic
    In U.S GAO News
    In the years before the economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and others assessed the potential risks to financial stability that leveraged loans and collateralized loan obligation (CLO) securities may pose. Generally, leveraged loans are those made to businesses with poor credit and high debt, and CLO securities are backed by these loans. FSOC and others found that riskier borrower profiles and looser underwriting standards left leveraged lending market participants vulnerable to losses in the event of a downturn. After the COVID-19 shock in March 2020, loans suffered record downgrades and increased defaults, but the highest-rated CLO securities remained resilient. Although regulators monitoring the effects of the pandemic remain cautious, as of September 2020, they had not found that leveraged lending presented significant threats to financial stability. Based on regulators' assessments, leveraged lending activities had not contributed significantly to the distress of any large financial entity whose failure could threaten financial stability. Large banks' strong capital positions have allowed them to manage their leveraged lending exposures, and the exposure of insurers and other investors also appeared manageable. Mutual funds experienced redemptions by investors but were able to meet them in part by selling leveraged loan holdings. While this may have put downward pressure on already-distressed loan prices, based on regulators' assessments, distressed leveraged loan prices did not pose a potential threat to financial stability. Present-day CLO securities appear to pose less of a risk to financial stability than did similar securities during the 2007–2009 financial crisis, according to regulators and market participants. For example, CLO securities have better investor protections, are more insulated from market swings, and are not widely tied to other risky, complex instruments. FSOC monitors leveraged-lending-related risks primarily through its monthly Systemic Risk Committee meetings, but opportunities exist to enhance FSOC's abilities to respond to financial stability threats. FSOC identified leveraged lending activities as a source of potential risk to financial stability before the COVID-19 shock and recommended continued monitoring and analysis. However, FSOC does not conduct tabletop or similar scenario-based exercises where participants discuss roles and responses to hypothetical emergency scenarios. As a result, FSOC is missing an opportunity to enhance preparedness and test members' coordinated response to financial stability risks. Further, as GAO reported in 2016, FSOC does not generally have clear authority to address broader risks that are not specific to a particular financial entity, such as risks from leveraged lending. GAO recommended that Congress consider better aligning FSOC's authorities with its mission to respond to systemic risks, but Congress had not done so as of September 2020. GAO maintains that changes such as broader designation authority would help FSOC respond to risks from activities that involve many regulators, such as leveraged lending. The market for institutional leveraged loans grew from an estimated $0.5 trillion in 2010 to $1.2 trillion in 2019, fueled largely by investor demand for CLO securities. Some observers and regulators have drawn comparisons to the pre-2008 subprime mortgage market, noting that loan origination and securitization may similarly spread risks to the financial system. These fears are being tested by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly affected leveraged businesses. This report examines assessments by regulators, FSOC, and others—both before and after the COVID-19 shock to the economy—of the potential risks to financial stability stemming from leveraged lending activities, and the extent to which FSOC monitors and responds to risks from broad-based activities like leveraged lending, among other objectives. GAO examined agency and private data on market size and investor exposures; reviewed agency, industry, and international reports; and interviewed federal financial regulators and industry participants. GAO recommends that the Secretary of the Treasury, as Chairperson of FSOC, conduct scenario-based exercises intended to evaluate capabilities for responding to crises. GAO also reiterates its 2016 recommendation (GAO-16-175) that Congress consider legislative changes to align FSOC's authorities with its mission. FSOC neither agreed nor disagreed with the recommendation, but said that it would take further actions if it determined necessary. For more information, contact Michael E. Clements at (202) 512-8678 or ClementsM@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Paul W. Smith of The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR Detroit
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Remarks by Attorney General William P. Barr at Hillsdale College Constitution Day Event
    In Crime News
    I am pleased to be at this Hillsdale College celebration of Constitution Day.  Sadly, many colleges these days don’t even teach the Constitution, much less celebrate it.  But at Hillsdale, you recognize that the principles of the Founding are as relevant today as ever—and vital to the success of our free society.  I appreciate your observance of this important day and all you do for civic education in the United States.
    [Read More…]
  • Escalation of Violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Morgan Ortagus, [Read More…]
  • Pennsylvania Attorney Sentenced for Role in $2.7 Million Ponzi Scheme
    In Crime News
    An Allentown, Pennsylvania, attorney was sentenced today to 78 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in a $2.7 million investment fraud scheme that victimized his law clients.
    [Read More…]
  • Dominican Republic Independence Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Massachusetts Woman Pleads Guilty to Tax and Drug Charges Arising from Multimillion-Dollar Marijuana Enterprise
    In Crime News
    A Massachusetts woman pleaded guilty today to tax evasion, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and money laundering.
    [Read More…]
  • Chad Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper Travels to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Israel
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Putting the public in public health: KidneyX COVID-19 Kidney Care Challenge Winners
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    When COVID-19 hit the [Read More…]
  • Science & Tech Spotlight: Tracing the Source of Chemical Weapons
    In U.S GAO News
    Why This Matters Some governments are suspected of using chemical weapons despite international prohibitions under the Chemical Weapons Convention. For example, sarin and VX nerve gas have been identified in attacks. Most recently, Novichok nerve agent was used in 2020. Technologies exist to identify chemical warfare agents and possibly their sources, but challenges remain in identifying the person or entity responsible. The Technology What is it? According to the Global Public Policy Institute, there have been more than 330 chemical weapons attacks since 2012. Such attacks are prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention. A set of methods called forensic chemical attribution has the potential to trace the chemical agent used in such attacks to a source. A set of methods called forensic chemical attribution has the potential to trace the chemical agent used in such attacks to a source. For example, investigators could use these methods to identify the geographic sources of raw materials used to make the agent, for example, or to identify the manufacturing process Such information can aid leaders in deciding on whether or how to respond to a chemical weapons attack. Figure 1. Forensic chemical attribution process How does it work? Forensic chemical attribution is a three-step process, though the third step is being developed (see Fig. 1). First, a sample is taken from a victim or the site of an attack. Second, the sample's chemical components are analyzed and identified (see Fig. 2), either at a mobile lab or at one of 18 authorized biomedical labs worldwide. Common identification methods are: Gas chromatography, which separates chemical components of a mixture and quantifies the amount of each chemical. Mass spectrometry, which measures the mass-to-charge ratio of ions (i.e., charged particles) by converting molecules to ions and separating the ions based on their molecular weight. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), which can determine the structure of a molecule by measuring the interaction between atomic nuclei placed in a magnetic field and exposing it to radio waves. NMR works on is the same principle as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) used in medical diagnostics. In the third step—still under development—investigators use the data from the forensic chemical identification and analysis and identification methods from step two to develop a "chemical fingerprint." The fingerprint can be matched to a database of information on existing methods or known sources to identify chemical agents (i.e., Source A matching Sample 1 of Fig. 2). However, a comprehensive database containing complete, reliable data for known agents does not exist. How mature is it? Forensic chemical analysis and identification (i.e., Step 2 of Fig.1) is mature for known chemical agents. For example, investigators determined the nerve agent sarin was used in an attack on civilians in 2017. The methods can also identify new agents, as when investigators determined the chemical composition of the Novichok nerve agent after its first known use, in 2018. Forensic chemical analysis and identification methods are also mature enough to generate data that investigators could use as a "chemical fingerprint"– that is, a unique chemical signature that could be used in part to attribute a chemical weapon to a person or entity. For example, combining gas chromatography and mass spectrometry can provide reliable information about the chemical components and molecular weight of an agent. To achieve Step 3, scientists could use this these methods in a laboratory experiment to match impurities in chemical feedstocks of the weapon to potentially determine who made it. In an investigation, such impurities could indicate the geographic origin of the starting material and the process used to create the agent. Figure 2. Example of forensic chemical identification and analysis, showing a match between Sample 1 and Source A. Opportunities An effective international system for forensic chemical attribution can open up several opportunities, including: Defense. Knowing the source of a chemical agent could help nations better defend against future attacks and, when appropriate, take military action in response to an attack.  Legal response. Source attribution may provide information to help find and prosecute attackers or to impose sanctions. Deterrence. The ability to trace chemical agents to a source might deter future use of chemical weapons.  Challenges Chemical database. Creating a comprehensive international database of chemical fingerprints would require funding and international collaboration to sample chemicals from around the world. Finding perpetrators. Matching a chemical to its sources does not reveal who actually used it in an attack. Almost all investigations require additional evidence. Samples. Collecting a sufficient sample for attribution can be challenging, as can storing and transporting it using a secure chain of custody—potentially over great distance—to one of the 18 authorized biomedical labs worldwide. International cooperation. Lack of cooperation can delay investigations and may compromise sample quality.  Cooperation is also essential for creating an international database. Standardization. Attribution methods are complex and require standardized, internationally accepted protocols to ensure results are reliable and trusted. Such protocols do not yet exist for attributing a chemical weapons attack. Policy Context and Questions The following questions are relevant to building an effective, trusted system for tracing attacks using forensic chemical attribution: How can federal agencies promote and contribute to the international standardization of scientific methods for forensic chemical attribution? Which agency or agencies should lead this effort? How can the international community create and implement a framework for cooperation and trust in forensic chemical attribution? What actions could promote or incentivize creation of an internationally accepted database of unique chemical fingerprints for attributing chemical agents to their sources? What can be done to fully identify and address the scientific and technological gaps in current capabilities for attributing a chemical agent to its source? For more information, contact Karen Howard at (202) 512-6888 or HowardK@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Luxembourg Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • U.S. Engagement with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Ghana Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim Announces Re-Organization of the Antitrust Division’s Civil Enforcement Program
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced today that it is creating the Office of Decree Enforcement and Compliance and a Civil Conduct Task Force.  Additionally, it will redistribute matters among its six civil sections in order to build expertise based on current trends in the economy.
    [Read More…]
  • Russia Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Do not travel to Russia [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Jake Tapper of CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Warfighter Support: DOD Needs a Complete Picture of the Military Services’ Prepositioning Programs
    In U.S GAO News
    The services preposition combat and support assets ashore and afloat worldwide, including in the Indo-Pacific region. Prepositioned assets include combat vehicles, equipment sets for engineering and construction, and protective gear for chemical or biological attacks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Defense (DOD) used prepositioned medical assets for personnel in Guam, South Korea, and Germany. All of the services have reported some shortfalls in their prepositioned assets from 2015 through 2019—including mortars, combat vehicles, and medical equipment. In the Indo-Pacific region, for example, the Army reported shortfalls in equipment to construct bridges over difficult terrain. All services also cited challenges, such as insufficient storage space, storage facilities located far away from intended points of use, and the perishability of some assets. In some cases, the services are taking actions to address these shortfalls and challenges. In others, the services are accepting risk because, according to officials, not all shortfalls and challenges can be fully addressed. Sailors and Marines Offload Assets from a Prepositioning Ship during the COVID-19 Response in Guam DOD has taken steps to implement a joint oversight framework but does not have a complete view of the services' prepositioning programs. DOD revised two guidance documents—an instruction in 2019 and a strategic implementation plan in 2020—to establish a joint oversight framework. However, DOD has focused much of its joint efforts to date on preparing a required annual report to Congress on the status of the services' prepositioning programs. While the report provides some useful information, GAO found inaccurate and inconsistent information in multiple annual reports, which hinder their utility. DOD does not have a reporting mechanism or information-collection tool to develop a complete picture of the services' prepositioning programs. The current annual reporting requirement expires in 2021, which provides DOD with an opportunity to create a new reporting mechanism, or modify existing mechanisms or tools, to enable a complete picture of the services' prepositioning programs. By doing so, DOD could better identify gaps or redundancies in the services' programs, make more informed decisions to mitigate asset shortfalls and challenges, reduce potential duplication and fragmentation, and improve its joint oversight. The U.S. military services preposition critical assets at strategic locations around the world for access during the initial phases of an operation. DOD uses these prepositioned assets for combat, support to allies, and disaster and humanitarian assistance. For many years, GAO has identified weaknesses in DOD's efforts to establish a joint oversight framework to guide its ability to assess the services' prepositioning programs. This has led to fragmentation and the potential for duplication. Senate Report 116-48 included a provision for GAO to evaluate the services' prepositioning programs and associated challenges. This report (1) describes the types of assets the services preposition worldwide, as well as asset shortfalls and challenges the services have identified, and (2) assesses the extent to which DOD has made progress in implementing a joint oversight framework for the services' programs. To conduct this work, GAO reviewed DOD prepositioning documents and interviewed DOD and State Department officials from over 20 offices. This is a public version of a sensitive report that GAO issued in December 2020. Information that DOD deemed sensitive has been omitted. GAO recommends that DOD develop a reporting mechanism or tool to gather complete information about the military services' prepositioning programs for joint oversight and to reduce duplication and fragmentation. DOD concurred with the recommendation. For more information, contact Cary B. Russell at (202) 512-5431 or russellc@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • North Carolina Return Preparer Indicted for Tax Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury sitting in Greenville, North Carolina, returned an indictment charging a North Carolina tax preparer with conspiracy to defraud the United States and with preparing false returns for clients, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
    [Read More…]
  • Jeffrey Lowe and Tiger King LLC Ordered to Relinquish Big Cat Cubs to United States for Placement in Suitable Facilities
    In Crime News
    On Jan. 15, 2021, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction in favor of the United States and against Jeffrey and Lauren Lowe, Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park LLC, and Tiger King LLC based on claimed violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Animal Welfare Act.
    [Read More…]
  • Science and Technology: Strengthening and Sustaining the Federal Science and Technology Workforce
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Strengthening human capital management at federal agencies, particularly those with science and technology missions, can help agencies build a diverse, highly qualified, and agile workforce. GAO's past work demonstrates three key areas for strengthening and sustaining the federal science and technology workforce. Strategic workforce planning to identify gaps and future needs. To successfully implement their missions, agencies need to identify current skill gaps and future needs in their workforce, and select the right human capital strategies to address them. However, GAO's prior work has identified science and technology workforce strategic planning challenges that agencies have not fully addressed. For example, in October 2019, GAO evaluated major agencies' implementation of cybersecurity workforce planning strategies for information technology (IT) workers. GAO found that most of the 24 federal agencies had not fully implemented five of the eight key workforce activities that GAO identified because of reasons such as competing priorities and limited resources. GAO recommended that the 18 agencies fully implement the eight key IT workforce planning activities. Thirteen agencies agreed with the recommendation, while the other five expressed a range of views; however, while some agencies have made progress, none have fully implemented the recommendation. Improving federal pay and hiring. Agencies may experience challenges in recruiting and retaining a diverse, highly-qualified workforce due to differences in pay compared to private sector employers and challenges related to the hiring process. Generally, federal agencies have seven broadly available government-wide special payment authorities to help address recruitment and retention challenges. In December 2017, GAO reported that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) collects data on use of these authorities but had not analyzed how much the authorities help improve recruitment and retention. GAO also reported that the agency may be missing opportunities to promote strategic use of these authorities by providing guidance and tools on assessing effectiveness. Similarly, in August 2016, GAO reported that OPM and hiring agencies had not used hiring data to analyze the effectiveness of hiring authorities. Across these reports, GAO made six recommendations to assess and improve the use of pay and hiring authorities. OPM generally agreed with GAO's recommendations, and has implemented two of the six recommendations, but has not fully implemented the other four. Addressing factors that affect the federal work environment. Factors affecting the working environment may also influence agencies' ability to attract, hire, and retain personnel. For example, GAO reported in September 2020 that individuals who experience sexual harassment are more likely to leave their jobs. Also, in March 2015, GAO reported that impediments to interacting with non-federal scientific peers because, for example, of restrictions on conference participation can be a disincentive to federal employment. Agency officials told GAO that scientists and engineers establish their professional reputations by presenting research at conferences to have their work published and, without such opportunities, researchers may find federal employment less desirable. Addressing such factors could help agencies build and sustain a diverse, highly-skilled science and technology workforce. Why GAO Did This Study The federal workforce is critical to agencies' ability to address the complex social, economic, and security challenges facing the United States. However, across government, mission critical skill gaps are undermining the ability of federal agencies to carry out their missions. Federal agencies face the difficult task of staying apace of advances in science and technology while competing for talent with the private sector, universities, and non-profit research centers. GAO has had long-standing concerns about federal agencies' strategic human capital management, an issue highlighted in GAO's High Risk Series since 2001. This testimony summarizes GAO's insights based on a wide range of GAO work covering various human capital management- and science and technology-related issues from March 2015 through February 2021. In particular, the statement focuses on (1) workforce planning to help ensure agencies are better positioned to implement their missions; (2) opportunities and challenges to recruiting a diverse, high-qualified science and technology workforce; and (3) factors that can affect the work environment. For this testimony, GAO selected prior work across human capital management- and science and technology-related topics.
    [Read More…]
  • More Achieved in 2020 to Improve Kidney Care Than in Decades
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Since the Department of [Read More…]
  • Arrest of Eight Pan-Democratic Politicians in Hong Kong
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • The Future of AI in Health and Human Services
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    As the largest public [Read More…]
  • On the Passing of King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • United States Citizen Who Joined ISIS Charged With Material Support Violations
    In Crime News
    An indictment and arrest warrant were unsealed today in the federal court of the District of Columbia charging Lirim Sylejmani, a Kosovo-born naturalized U.S. citizen, with conspiring to provide, providing, and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and receiving training from ISIS, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2339B and 2339D. 
    [Read More…]
  • United States and United Kingdom Sign Civil Air Transport Agreement
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Again to Monitor Compliance with the Federal Voting Rights Laws on Election Day
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced its plans for voting rights monitoring in jurisdictions around the country for the Nov. 3, 2020 general election. The Justice Department historically has monitored in jurisdictions in the field on election day, and is again doing so this year. The department will also take complaints from the public nationwide regarding possible violations of the federal voting rights laws through its call center.  
    [Read More…]
  • High-Risk Series: Dedicated Leadership Needed to Address Limited Progress in Most High-Risk Areas
    In U.S GAO News
    Overall ratings in 2021 for 20 of GAO's 2019 high-risk areas remain unchanged, and five regressed. Seven areas improved, one to the point of removal from the High-Risk List. Two new areas are being added, bringing our 2021 High-Risk List to 36 areas. Where there has been improvement in high-risk areas, congressional actions, in addition to those by executive agencies, have been critical in spurring progress. GAO is removing Department of Defense (DOD) Support Infrastructure Management from the High-Risk List. Among other things, DOD has more efficiently utilized military installation space; reduced its infrastructure footprint and use of leases, reportedly saving millions of dollars; and improved its use of installation agreements, reducing base support costs GAO is narrowing the scope of three high-risk areas by removing segments of the areas due to progress that has been made. The affected areas are: (1) Federal Real Property (Costly Leasing) because the General Services Administration has reduced its reliance on costly leases and improved monitoring efforts; (2) DOD Contract Management (Acquisition Workforce) because DOD has significantly rebuilt its acquisition workforce; and (3) Management of Federal Oil and Gas Resources (Offshore Oil and Gas Oversight) because the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has implemented reforms improving offshore oil and gas oversight. National Efforts to Prevent, Respond to, and Recover from Drug Misuse is being added to the High-Risk List. National rates of drug misuse have been increasing, and drug misuse has resulted in significant loss of life and harmful effects to society and the economy. GAO identified several challenges in the federal government's response, such as a need for greater leadership and coordination of the national effort, strategic guidance that fulfills all statutory requirements, and more effective implementation and monitoring. Emergency Loans for Small Businesses also is being added. The Small Business Administration has provided hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of loans and advances to help small businesses recover from adverse economic impacts created by COVID-19. While loans have greatly aided many small businesses, evidence of fraud and significant program integrity risks need much greater oversight and management attention. Nine existing high-risk areas also need more focused attention (see table). 2021 High-Risk List Areas Requiring Significant Attention High-risk areas that regressed since 2019 High-risk areas that need additional attention USPS Financial Viability IT Acquisitions and Operations Decennial Census Limiting the Federal Government's Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change Risks Ensuring the Cybersecurity of the Nation U.S. Government's Environmental Liability Strategic Human Capital Management Improving Federal Oversight of Food Safety EPA's Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals   Source: GAO. | GAO-21-119SP   GAO's 2021 High-Risk List High-risk area Change since 2019 Strengthening the Foundation for Efficiency and Effectiveness Strategic Human Capital Management ↓ Managing Federal Real Propertya ↑ Funding the Nation's Surface Transportation Systemb c n/a Modernizing the U.S. Financial Regulatory Systemb ● Resolving the Federal Role in Housing Financeb ● USPS Financial Viabilityb ↓ Management of Federal Oil and Gas Resourcesa ● Limiting the Federal Government's Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change Risksb ● Improving the Management of IT Acquisitions and Operations ● Improving Federal Management of Programs That Serve Tribes and Their Members ● Decennial Census ↓ U.S. Government's Environmental Liabilityb ● Emergency Loans for Small Businesses (new)c n/a Transforming DOD Program Management DOD Weapon Systems Acquisition ● DOD Financial Management ↑ DOD Business Systems Modernization ● DOD Approach to Business Transformation ● Ensuring Public Safety and Security Government-wide Personnel Security Clearance Processb ↑ Ensuring the Cybersecurity of the Nationb ↓ Strengthening Department of Homeland Security Management Functions ● Ensuring the Effective Protection of Technologies Critical to U.S. National Security Interests ● Improving Federal Oversight of Food Safetyb ● Protecting Public Health through Enhanced Oversight of Medical Products ● Transforming EPA's Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals ↓ National Efforts to Prevent, Respond to, and Recover from Drug Misuse (new)c n/a Managing Federal Contracting More Effectively VA Acquisition Managementd n/a DOE's Contract and Project Management for the National Nuclear Security Administration and Office of Environmental Management ↑ NASA Acquisition Management ↑ DOD Contract Managementa ● Assessing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Tax Law Administration Enforcement of Tax Lawsb ● Modernizing and Safeguarding Insurance and Benefit Programs Medicare Program & Improper Paymentse ● Strengthening Medicaid Program Integrityb ● Improving and Modernizing Federal Disability Programs ● Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Insurance Programsb c n/a National Flood Insurance Programb ● Managing Risks and Improving VA Health Careb ↑ (↑ indicates area progressed on one or more criteria since 2019; ↓ indicates area declined on one or more criteria ; ● indicates no change; n/a = not applicable) Source: GAO. | GAO-21-119SP aRatings for a segment within this high-risk area improved sufficiently that the segment was removed. bLegislation is likely to be necessary in order to effectively address this high-risk area. cNot rated, because this high-risk area is newly added or primarily involves congressional action. dRated for the first time, because this high-risk area was newly added in 2019. eOnly rated on one segment; we did not rate other elements of the Medicare program. The federal government is one of the world's largest and most complex entities; about $6.6 trillion in outlays in fiscal year 2020 funded a broad array of programs and operations. GAO's High-Risk Series identifies government operations with vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or in need of transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges. This biennial update describes the status of high-risk areas, outlines actions that are still needed to assure further progress, and identifies any new high-risk areas needing attention by the executive branch and Congress. Solutions to high-risk problems save billions of dollars, improve service to the public, and strengthen government performance and accountability. GAO uses five criteria to assess progress in addressing high-risk areas: (1) leadership commitment, (2) agency capacity, (3) an action plan, (4) monitoring efforts, and (5) demonstrated progress. This report describes GAO's views on progress made and what remains to be done to bring about lasting solutions for each high-risk area. Addressing GAO's hundreds of open recommendations across the high-risk areas and continued congressional oversight and action are essential to achieving greater progress. For more information, contact Michelle Sager at (202) 512-6806 or sagerm@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Department of Justice Announces More Than $341 Million in Grants to Combat America’s Addiction Crisis
    In Crime News
    The Department of [Read More…]
  • Houston Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Offshore Tax Evasion Scheme
    In Crime News
    A Houston, Texas attorney was sentenced to 24 months in prison today for conspiring to defraud the United States and tax evasion, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas.
    [Read More…]
  • Remarks by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan D. Brightbill at the American Bar Association’s Environmental & Energy Litigation Federal Updates Virtual Regional CLE Program
    In Crime News
    Remarks as Prepared for [Read More…]
  • Public Designation of Five Bulgarian Public Officials Due to Involvement in Significant Corruption
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Troubled Asset Relief Program: Treasury Continues Winding Down Housing Programs
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) continues to wind down housing assistance programs funded by the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Treasury has extended one program to assist certain program participants who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, although limited program funds remain at this point. As of September 30, 2020, Treasury had disbursed $30.85 billion (95 percent) of the $32.56 billion TARP funds obligated to the three housing programs (see figure). The Making Home Affordable program allowed homeowners to apply for loan modifications to avoid foreclosure. Treasury will continue to provide incentive payments for loan modifications through 2023. The Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund for the Hardest Hit Housing Markets provided funds to 18 states and the District of Columbia to help struggling homeowners through programs tailored to the state. Treasury extended this program through June 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic's negative economic effects on some program participants. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Short Refinance program allowed eligible homeowners to refinance into an FHA-insured loan. Under this program, Treasury made TARP funds available to provide additional coverage to lenders for a share of potential losses on these loans for borrowers who entered the program by December 31, 2016. Status of Troubled Asset Relief Program Housing Programs, as of September 2020 aAccording to the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), these funds have been committed to future financial incentives for existing Making Home Affordable transactions, as of September 30, 2020. bRepresents the amount of funds that states and the District of Columbia have drawn from Treasury. cIncludes about $11.6 million in administrative expenses and $10 million of reserve funds, as of September 30, 2020. Treasury will be reimbursed for unused reserve amounts. dAmounts do not add up due to rounding. In response to the 2008 housing crisis, Treasury established TARP-funded housing programs to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure and preserve homeownership. Since 2009, Treasury has obligated $32.56 billion for such housing programs. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 provided GAO with broad oversight authorities for actions taken related to TARP. This report provides an update on the status of TARP-funded housing programs, as of September 30, 2020. GAO reviewed Treasury program data and documentation, and interviewed Treasury officials. This report contains the most recently available public data at the time of GAO's review, including obligations, disbursements, and program participation. For more information, contact John H. Pendleton at (202) 512-8678 or pendletonj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Department of Justice Issues Statement Regarding Decision in Skyworks v. CDC
    In Crime News
    More from: March 12, 2021 [Read More…]
  • South Carolina Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    In San Antonio today, 34-year-old Kristopher Sean Matthews (aka Ali Jibreel) admitted to conspiring to provide material support to the designated foreign terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria (aka ISIS), announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer for the Western District of Texas, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division.
    [Read More…]
  • Elections in El Salvador
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken Meet and Greet with Embassy San Jose Staff
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]