September 28, 2021

News

News Network

Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports

25 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Kyiv, Ukraine

Hyatt Regency Hotel

QUESTION:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s great to be with you.

QUESTION:  Thank you for being here.  First of all, Vladimir Putin had said he would withdraw; he has not.  U.S. officials say there are 80,000 troops still on the border; he’s left his tanks and artillery, a continuing threat to Ukraine.  What is your message to Vladimir Putin?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Andrea, I’m really here in Ukraine with a message for the Ukrainian people and for our Ukrainian partners.  And a big part of that message is our commitment to Ukraine’s independence, its territorial integrity, its sovereignty.  We stand with them, including against any aggression from Russia.  And also a strong message that we stand with them as they work to make progress on reforming their democracy, on making it stronger, on actually having a government that delivers for the Ukrainian people.

That’s the message I’m bringing.  President Biden wanted me to come here as soon as I could to send that strong message.  He’d already had a very good conversation with President Zelenskyy on the phone a few weeks ago, but now we’re here, showing up in person, and delivering the same message.

(Interruption.)

QUESTION:  Regarding the military threat, though, will the U.S. defend Ukraine if Vladimir Putin invades?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So what we’ve seen, Andrea, is that there was a massive buildup of forces on the Ukrainian border – more forces, Russian forces, deployed to the border than at any time since 2014 when Russia invaded, took over Crimea and eastern – parts of eastern Ukraine and Donbas.  Some of those forces have pulled back, but significant forces remain.  Some of the heavy equipment has been pulled back, but other heavy equipment remains, and they can turn that around fairly quickly.  What we’re doing is making clear our commitment to helping Ukraine defend itself with security assistance, with advice, other allies and partners are doing the same, and also making clear that as happened after 2014, the international community is resolutely against any Russian aggression, reckless actions in Ukraine.  There have been longstanding sanctions on Russia as a result of the actions it took.  And I hope that we don’t see any more.

QUESTION:  You’ve also made the point that corruption is a threat to Ukraine’s national security.  Yet just before you arrived here, the government fired the head of the state-owned gas company.  Doesn’t that show that Ukraine has not proved that it can reform?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, they’re kind of flip sides of the same coin.  Ukraine has aggression coming from outside, from Russia, but also inside in terms of corruption that potentially eats away at its democracy, oligarchs who are advancing their own interests instead of the interests of the Ukrainian people.  And so we’re – we’ve had detailed conversations with our Ukrainian counterparts about the efforts they’re making to reform.  They’ve taken some good steps, but there are other areas where real progress is needed, which they acknowledge.  Corporate governance is one of them.  So is making sure that the judiciary is reformed.  So is making sure that there’s a truly independent anticorruption board, something we helped establish way back in 2015.

All of those things are vital, but the reason they’re vital is because this is how you make sure that the government is actually delivering for the people and not for some special interest, also because corruption is a tool that Russia uses to try to erode Ukrainian sovereignty from the inside.

QUESTION:  The U.S. has now decided, under great pressure from around the world, to waive patents on vaccines, to try to improve access to vaccines in less developed countries.  Do you have any concerns?  As the critics say, this will affect supply chains and that we could face shortages ourselves back in the U.S.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Andrea, we wanted, first and foremost, to make sure that we were able to vaccinate the American people.  And as you know, we’ve made remarkable progress on that.  But we also know that none of us are going to be fully safe until everyone is, that is that around the world we get as many people vaccinated as possible.  And here’s why:  If the virus is replicating anywhere, it could be mutating, and if it’s mutating with a new variant, it could come back here and bite us even after people have been vaccinated.  So we have to get ahead of that, and we have to get ahead of it around the world.

That’s why we’re leaning into looking at everything we can do to make available any excess vaccines that we have.  The President made the announcement on the AstraZeneca vaccines that we’re not using that we will begin to make available.  And the patent waiver is also one possible means of increasing manufacture and access to vaccines.  We’re looking at other things, too.

But the main thing is we have to speed this up.  On the current trajectory, if we don’t do more, if the entire world doesn’t do more, the world won’t be vaccinated until 2024.  We can speed this up and get that done, I think, in a much shorter time.  And if we do, we’re all going to be better off.

QUESTION:  Now, you have said that China is behaving more aggressively than at any time before, both at home and abroad.  What are you prepared to do about it?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, when it comes to China, we’ve been very clear that we’re not trying to contain China or hold it back, but we are determined to uphold the so-called rules-based international order that we’ve invested so much in over so many decades and that has been good for us and good for the world, and I think even good for China.  So when anyone takes actions that undermine their word, when they don’t play by the rules, when they renege on commitments, whether it’s in the commercial area, whether it’s on human rights, or anything that undermines that order, we’re going to stand up and defend it.  And what I’ve heard in conversations with countries around the world is they’re determined to do the same thing.

QUESTION:  What are you prepared – what can you do about Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Uyghurs?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  We’ve, I think, shown a few things already.  One is that we’re much stronger and more effective when we’re working with likeminded countries.  And I think our voices have been heard much more strongly and together.  We’ve taken actions together, including sanctions.  We are taking other initiatives, including, for example, when it comes to the atrocities being committed against Uyghurs, trying to make sure that countries are not supplying any equipment or technology that could be used to repress people in China, or that we’re not buying products that are made with forced labor.  There are a number of very concrete steps, but the first and most important step is to speak up, speak out.

QUESTION:  Afghanistan.  The decision’s been made.  The President made the decision, despite the military arguing against it or advising against, I should say.  Are you prepared for the consequences, the worst case, which many of the President’s own advisors are warning about, which is the Taliban will take over?  Is American going to stand by, stand back if the Taliban withdraw all the rights of women and girls that have been so hard-fought over the years?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, if any future Afghan state does that, it will be a pariah and it will not have any support from the international community.  And that’s something that has to be in anyone’s thinking to your question.

But step back for just a second.  We have to remember why we went there in the first place, and that was because of 9/11.  We went there to get the people who attacked us on 9/11 and to make sure that it couldn’t happen again from Afghanistan, and we succeeded in that effort.  And in fact, that Osama bin Laden was brought to justice 10 years ago.  We’ve been there for 20 years.

But even as we’re withdrawing our forces, we are not disengaging from Afghanistan.  We’re going to continue strong support, economic development assistance, humanitarian, support for their security forces.  We’ve trained over the years well over 300,000 Afghan Security Forces.  Other countries too are going to remain engaged.

And finally, everyone has to now I think make some new calculations.  That starts with the Taliban.  It has to it has to decide whether it wants to plunge the country back into a civil war, or whether it wants some kind of recognition and to be an accepted actor in the international community.  It has to decide that.  Countries around Afghanistan have to decide what they want and whether they’re going to use their influence to try to keep Afghanistan moving forward, or whether they are not going to do anything and again, potentially allow a civil war that’s going to have devastating consequences for them as well as for the people of Afghanistan.

Everyone now is, I think, focused on this.  We’re also focused on the diplomacy, trying to see if the Taliban will engage with the Afghan Government to try to come to a political resolution of the conflict that’s been going on for so long.  So we are very focused on this, and including sustaining the programs that we put in place for women and girls.

QUESTION:  Is time running out for Iran deal with the Iranian elections around the corner next month?  And would you accept anything, even an interim deal, without first getting the American prisoners out?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So we’ve been engaged in talks – as you know, indirect talks – in Vienna.  They’re starting up again now at the end of this week.  And what we don’t know is whether Iran is actually prepared to make the decisions necessary to return to full compliance with the nuclear agreement.  They unfortunately have continued to take steps that are restarting dangerous parts of their program that the nuclear agreement stopped, and the jury is out on whether they’re prepared to do what’s necessary.

Regardless of that, we are resolutely focused on Americans who are being arbitrarily detained or being held hostage in Iran or anywhere else, so —

QUESTION:  Is there any – any new hope?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  All I can tell you is I work on that, our team works on that virtually every day, and unfortunately around the world, because there are cases in a number of places.  When I first got on the job, one of the first things I did was to meet virtually with the families of every American abroad who is being arbitrarily detained or is being held hostage, and this is a huge problem that I think increasingly you’re going to see countries take a stand against.  Canada, which has two of its citizens being arbitrarily detained in China, has been helping lead an effort, and I think you’re going to see more and more countries coming together to make it clear that this practice is totally unacceptable.  And if countries engage in it, there are going to have to be consequences.

QUESTION:  Your grandfather was a refugee.  He came from around here.  (Inaudible) had roots, yet the President initially kept the Trump refugee cap, historically low refugee cap.  Did that damage the President’s reputation around the world?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  No.  The President is making good on the commitment that he set, that he made, to make the United States once again the leading country in the world for giving refuge to those who are fleeing oppression.

QUESTION:  Only after an outcry from Capitol Hill.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  No, what happened was we made – the President made the commitment and then, as we looked at what was actually needed to be done, what was necessary in terms of turning around a system that had been broken in recent years, it turned out there was even more damage done than we knew.  And on top of that, of course, we had challenges from immigration on our own border, some – the same office that deals with refugees also deals in part with the immigration problem, and the President wanted to make sure that before we followed up on a promise that he had made that we could actually deliver on it.  So we needed to take some time to make sure that the resources were in place, the people were in place, the programs were in place to actually receive refugees coming in.  And once he was satisfied that we could actually do that, then we moved forward with his commitment.

QUESTION:  And I’ve been talking about people here in Ukraine.  The fallout from what happened with Donald Trump and with Giuliani with the pressure, with the smear campaign against Joe Biden, with the removal of the U.S. ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch – that fallout is still pervasive against the U.S., against our reputation, the role model we’re supposed to be.  How much damage was done?  And how do you rebuild morale at the State Department and also around the world for what America represents?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Andrea, we’re – we are fully focused on this moment and on the future.  And I think what you’re seeing today by our presence here today, what you’re seeing in the President’s engagement with President Zelenskyy is a reinvigoration, a reaffirmation of our support for Ukraine, our partnership with Ukraine, our determination to make sure that its security is upheld and also that it continues to move forward with the reforms that are so necessary for the well-being of its people.  So that’s what we’re focused on.

QUESTION:  And not the fact there’s a parallel State Department and rogue players here in this country?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I am focused on the State Department that I’m incredibly privileged to lead for some period of time right now, and I can tell you that what I’m seeing, what I’m finding in the department itself and in all the missions around the world is people incredibly engaged in re-engaging the United States, revitalizing our partnerships, our alliances, re-engaging in these multilateral institutions.  And there’s – there are two big reasons for that.

One, virtually all of the challenges that we face that actually have an impact on the lives of the American people – the pandemic, climate change, the disruptive impact of new technologies that are changing people’s lives in so many ways – we can’t deal with any of them unless we’re working with other countries.  Even the United States – acting alone, we can’t do it as effectively as when we’re working with others.  So there’s a real lean-in on diplomacy.  That’s how we work with other countries.

And second, we know and the people in the department know that if we’re not engaged, then someone else is likely to be in our place, and maybe not in a way that is good for the American people.  Or maybe no one is, and then you may have chaos before you have anything else.

So I’m finding that the men and women of the State Department, the Foreign Service officers, civil servants are incredibly energized about American engagement, American diplomacy.  They’re leading the charge.  The President has asked them to lead our foreign policy.  Diplomacy first.  That’s what we’re doing, that’s what they’re doing, and they’re incredibly energized about it.

QUESTION:  Well, thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.  Thank you (inaudible).

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s great to be with you.  Thanks, Andrea.

More from: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

News Network

  • Man Convicted of Conspiracy to Import and Distribute Fentanyl
    In Crime News
    A federal jury convicted a Rhode Island man today for conspiring to import and distribute fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, continuing criminal enterprise, money laundering conspiracy, and multiple obstruction offenses.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken Opening Remarks at D-ISIS Meeting Opening Session
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Economic Development: Opportunities Exist for Further Collaboration among EDA, HUD, and USDA
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Federal economic development programs and state business incentives approach economic development in different ways. In GAO's review of six large state business incentive packages ($50 million or more) in four states, federal economic development program funds were not directly used. Reasons for limited use could include differences in purposes and goals, and limitations on how federal funds can be used. For example, the goals of economic development programs administered by the Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) do not completely align with the goals of state business incentives, the latter of which include attracting and retaining individual businesses. Although these incentive packages were not funded with federal economic development program funds, some of the businesses that received a large incentive package were highlighted in federal strategic plans as opportunities for investment and job growth in the local economy. The economic development programs of EDA, HUD, and USDA each encourage or require state and local communities to conduct strategic planning, which includes obtaining input from a range of public and private stakeholders and identifying ways to leverage other available resources, such as federal and state funding. Recognizing the similarities in what they require of grantees, in 2016, EDA and HUD entered into an interagency agreement to align planning requirements under their programs. The agencies implemented certain aspects of the agreement, such as issuing joint guidance to applicants. However, they have not implemented selected leading practices for effective interagency collaboration: Updating written agreements: EDA and HUD have not regularly monitored or updated their interagency agreement to reflect changing priorities of either agency. Officials stated the agencies have prioritized other areas for coordination, such as disaster relief, instead of state and local strategic planning processes. Including relevant participants: EDA and HUD have made limited efforts to involve USDA in their collaborative efforts. USDA also encourages strategic planning for local communities. Monitoring progress towards outcomes: EDA and HUD's agreement identifies specific outcomes, including effectively aligning federal, state, and local resources for economic development. However, the agencies have not monitored progress or addressed any related challenges in meeting the stated outcomes of the collaboration. By incorporating selected leading practices for effective collaboration, EDA and HUD can help grantees and local communities better manage fragmented efforts to meet federal requirements for strategic planning and more effectively align federal and state resources. Why GAO Did This Study States spend billions of dollars annually in business incentives to attract and retain individual businesses or industries. EDA, HUD, and USDA administer programs that support states' economic development goals and encourage strategic planning. In previous reports, we have identified concerns related to fragmentation in these agencies' efforts to collaborate on economic development programs with each other. GAO was asked to review issues related to these state and federal economic development efforts. This report examines the use of federal economic development programs to support state business incentives and how selected federal agencies collaborate on these programs, among other issues. GAO reviewed information on federal economic development programs and business incentives in four states (selected because the states offer incentives of $50 million or more and vary geographically). GAO interviewed federal and state agency officials and policy organizations.
    [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…]
  • Appellate Court Agrees with Government that Supervised Injection Sites are Illegal under Federal Law; Reverses District Court Ruling
    In Crime News
    In a precedential opinion, the Third Circuit ruled yesterday that it is a federal crime to open a supervised injection site or “consumption room” for illegal drug use.  Local nonprofit Safehouse planned to open the nation’s first such consumption room in the City of Philadelphia, where individuals would be invited to inject heroin and use other drugs under supervision.  But the Third Circuit ruled that doing so “will break the law” because Safehouse knows and intends that visitors to its consumption room will have a significant purpose of using illegal drugs.  In agreeing with the government’s interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act, the Court explained that, “[t]hough the opioid crisis may call for innovative solutions, local innovations may not break federal law.”
    [Read More…]
  • Tax Filing: Actions Needed to Address Processing Delays and Risks to the 2021 Filing Season
    In U.S GAO News
    The 2020 filing season occurred during the global COVID-19 pandemic, introducing challenges that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had to respond to quickly to fulfill its mission-essential functions. IRS took steps to protect the integrity of its operations, help ensure the health and safety of its employees, and provide relief to taxpayers. For example, IRS closed all its processing and service facilities for several weeks before re-opening with health and safety measures and extended the filing season deadline to July 15, 2020. IRS's 2020 processing of e-filed returns was generally on par with prior years. However, IRS's overall 2020 performance was significantly impacted by its reliance on manual processes such as for paper returns, and its limited ability to process returns remotely while processing centers were closed. As a result, as of December 2020, IRS had a significant backlog of unprocessed returns and taxpayer correspondence. Additionally, costs increased including interest on delayed refunds which exceeded $3 billion in fiscal year 2020. IRS has not revised its estimates for addressing all of the backlog due to operational uncertainties created by the pandemic. Doing so would help IRS determine how best to address the backlog and perform 2021 filing season activities. Refund Interest Paid to Taxpayers, Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020 GAO also found that about 23 percent of business tax returns were filed on paper even though an e-file option is available. IRS has not comprehensively identified barriers to business-related e-filing nor taken specific actions to increase e-filing. Doing so would help reduce the volume of costly paper-based work and improve services to business filers. Further, during the filing season, IRS transitioned nearly two-thirds of its phone customer service staff to telework, but was unable to do so for returns processing staff because most of its paper-based work is not set up to be performed remotely. As of late October 2020, about one-third of these staff remained on paid leave. Identifying and implementing alternative work assignments for staff that remain on paid leave would better support IRS operations and reduce costs. IRS has not fully identified and assessed all risks to the 2021 filing season—including those exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic—consistent with enterprise risk management practices. IRS identified some risks in October 2020 after GAO raised concerns, but did not fully address all essential elements of enterprise risk management, such as identifying options for risk response. Doing so would better position IRS to respond to risks during the 2021 filing season. In early 2021, after receiving a draft of this report, IRS provided additional information on its risk management efforts. GAO will review this information to determine if these efforts are sufficient to address its recommendation. During the annual tax filing season, generally from January to mid-April, IRS processes more than 150 million individual and business tax returns and provides telephone, correspondence, online, and in-person services to tens of millions of taxpayers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide relief to taxpayers, IRS extended the 2020 filing and payment deadline by 3 months to July 15, 2020. GAO was asked to review IRS's performance during the 2020 filing season. This report (1) describes the changes IRS made to operations and services for the 2020 filing season due to the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) assesses IRS's performance on providing customer service and processing individual and business income tax returns during the 2020 filing season and compare to prior filing seasons, where appropriate; and (3) evaluates IRS's plans to prepare for the 2021 filing season. GAO analyzed IRS documents, filing season performance data, and employee timecard data; assessed IRS's plans for the 2021 filing season; and interviewed cognizant officials. GAO is making seven recommendations, including that IRS revise estimates for addressing its backlog; identify and address barriers to e-filing for business taxpayers; identify and consider implementing alternative work assignments for returns processing staff on paid leave; and identify and assess risks to the 2021 filing season. IRS agreed with four recommendations and disagreed with three. GAO believes that the recommendations remain warranted. For more information, contact Jessica Lucas-Judy at (202) 512-6806 or lucasjudyj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Aryeh Lightstone Designated as U.S. Special Envoy for Economic Normalization
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Bud Hedinger of Good Morning Orlando on WFLA Orlando
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Two Charged as Co-Conspirators for Nearly $1 Million COVID-19 Relief Fraud Scheme and Money Laundering
    In Crime News
    A New York man and an Oklahoma woman were arrested Wednesday in Buffalo, New York and Altus, Oklahoma, respectively, on a criminal complaint filed in the Western District of New York charging them for their roles in fraudulently obtaining and laundering nearly $1 million in funds from the COVID-19 relief Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
    [Read More…]
  • Owner of Montana Construction Company Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Employment Tax Fraud
    In Crime News
    A Montana man was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for employment tax fraud.
    [Read More…]
  • Suburban Chicago Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison for Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    An Illinois man was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, a foreign terrorist organization (aka ISIS).
    [Read More…]
  • Immigration Detention: ICE Should Enhance Its Use of Facility Oversight Data and Management of Detainee Complaints
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other DHS entities use, in part, inspections to oversee detention facilities and address identified deficiencies. As shown below, in fiscal year 2019, most of ICE's 179 facilities that housed adults for over 72 hours underwent inspections by contractors or its Office of Detention Oversight, while smaller facilities conducted self-assessments. ICE also conducted onsite monitoring at facilities. Further, two DHS offices conducted inspections related to certain aspects of facilities. ICE collects the results of its various inspections, such as deficiencies they identify, but does not comprehensively analyze them to identify trends or record all inspection results in a format conducive to such analyses. By ensuring inspection results are recorded in a format conducive to analysis and regularly conducting comprehensive analyses of results, ICE would be better positioned to identify and address potential trends in deficiencies. Detention Facility Oversight by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Entities at 179 Facilities, Fiscal Year 2019 ICE and DHS entities have various mechanisms for receiving and addressing detention-related complaints from detainees and others. However, while some of these entities conduct some analyses of the complaint data they maintain, ICE does not regularly analyze detention-related complaint data across all of its relevant offices. By regularly conducting such analyses, ICE could identify and address potential trends in complaints. Additionally, ICE does not have reasonable assurance that Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) field offices—which oversee and manage detention facilities—address and record outcomes of detention-related complaints referred to them for resolution, or do so in a timely manner. For example, GAO's analysis of data from one referring office—the Administrative Inquiry Unit—indicated that for certain noncriminal complaints the unit refers, ERO field offices did not provide resolutions back to the unit for 99 percent of referrals. Without requiring that ERO field offices record any actions taken on, and the resolutions of, detention-related complaints, ICE does not have reasonable assurance that field offices are addressing them. ICE is the lead agency responsible for providing safe, secure, and humane confinement for detained foreign nationals in the United States. ICE has established standards for immigration detention related to complaint processes, medical care, and other areas. The joint explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, includes a provision for GAO to review ICE's management and oversight of detention facilities and detention-related complaints. This report examines ICE and other DHS entities' mechanisms for (1) overseeing compliance with immigration detention facility standards and how ICE uses oversight information to address any identified deficiencies; and (2) receiving and addressing detainee complaints, and how ICE uses complaint information. GAO analyzed documentation and data on inspections and complaints at facilities that held detainees for over 72 hours during the last 3 fiscal years—2017 through 2019; visited 10 facilities selected based on inspection results and other factors; and interviewed officials. GAO is making six recommendations, including that ICE ensures oversight data are recorded in a format conducive to analysis, regularly conducts trend analyses of oversight data and detention-related complaint data, and requires that ERO field offices record the resolutions of detention-related complaints. DHS concurred. For more information, contact Rebecca Gambler, (202) 512-8777) or gamblerr@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Joint Statement on the Situation in Libya
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Satellite Communications: DOD Should Explore Options to Meet User Needs for Narrowband Capabilities
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Defense (DOD) is not using the full capabilities of its latest ultra high frequency (narrowband) military satellite communications system, the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). MUOS provides secure communications less vulnerable to weather conditions or other potential impediments. The full constellation of MUOS satellites has been on orbit for over 4 years, but DOD has not been able to use the system's advanced capabilities—such as its 10-fold increase in communications capacity. A key reason is the military services' delayed delivery of compatible radio terminals to users (see figure). DOD is funding and developing plans to accelerate procurement and delivery of these terminals. Army Soldiers Using a Mobile User Objective System-Compatible Portable Terminal DOD faces other challenges to its narrowband communications capabilities. In the near term, users continue to rely on the communications system that preceded MUOS, which is oversubscribed and will remain so while DOD works to field terminals and transition to MUOS. DOD has not explored and adopted narrowband communication options, which, if implemented, could help to meet unmet near-term communication needs. In the longer term, the five MUOS satellites that are on orbit have limited design lives. DOD plans to buy and launch additional satellites to sustain the constellation's availability, but without the legacy capability of the older system. DOD has not determined its future narrowband satellite communication needs after MUOS. DOD has not updated its narrowband requirements since 2010 and has no plans to do so, although the uses, technology, and threats to communications have changed. Reexamining its narrowband communications needs will enhance DOD's ability to field a timely replacement for MUOS and ensure warfighters have needed communications tools in the future. Why GAO Did This Study DOD has invested $7.4 billion to develop, build, and begin delivering MUOS. However, longstanding gaps between the fielding of the satellite system and compatible user terminals have limited DOD's ability to fully use the system. The Senate Armed Services Committee report to the bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 contained a provision for GAO to review DOD's use of MUOS capabilities and any plans for a MUOS follow-on capability. In this report, GAO (1) provides information on the extent to which DOD is using MUOS advanced communications capabilities; (2) assesses DOD's challenges and steps taken in transitioning to these capabilities, and (3) assesses efforts DOD has underway to meet future narrowband satellite communications needs. This is a public version of a sensitive report that GAO issued in June 2021. Information that DOD deemed to be sensitive has been omitted. GAO reviewed DOD planning documents, system assessments, and test reports. GAO also analyzed the services' terminal fielding and network transition plans. GAO interviewed oversight and acquisition officials across DOD.
    [Read More…]
  • The Justice Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative Announces Newly Translated Online Hate Crimes Resources
    In Crime News
    Today, marking the 40th Anniversary of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW), the Justice Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative announced newly translated hate crimes resources in eight languages for the department’s hate crimes website, www.justice.gov/hatecrimes.
    [Read More…]
  • Remarks at World Sustainable Development Summit 2021
    In Climate - Environment - Conservation
    John Kerry, Special [Read More…]
  • Fiji National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Man Charged with $5 Million COVID-Relief Fraud
    In Crime News
    A Texas man has been charged in the Eastern District of Texas with allegedly filing bank loan applications fraudulently seeking more than $5 million dollars in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
    [Read More…]
  • Nord Stream 2 and Potential Sanctionable Activity
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Reaches Proposed Consent Decree with the State of New Jersey to Resolve Claims that the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women Violated the Constitution by Failing to Protect Prisoners from Sexual Abuse by Staff
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey today filed a complaint and a proposed consent decree with the State of New Jersey and New Jersey Department of Corrections concerning the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women.
    [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.