September 27, 2021

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Trafficking meth with firearm lands felon back in prison

4 min read
A Texas Syndicate gang member has been ordered to federal prison for possessing a semi-automatic handgun in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and possession with intent to distribute meth

Read full article at: https://www.justice.gov July 28, 2021

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  • Two Iranian Nationals Charged in Cyber Theft Campaign Targeting Computer Systems in United States, Europe, and the Middle East
    In Crime News
    Two Iranian nationals have been charged in connection with a coordinated cyber intrusion campaign – sometimes at the behest of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran) – targeting computers in New Jersey, elsewhere in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, the Department of Justice announced today.
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  • Force Structure: Army and Marine Corps Efforts to Review Nonstandard Equipment for Future Usefulness
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundIn summary, the Army and the Marine Corps have taken steps to determine the future usefulness of nonstandard equipment but have not finalized all of the decisions on whether to add such equipment to unit authorization documents. As of November 2011, the Army had reviewed 409 equipment systems through its Capabilities Development for Rapid Transition process, determining that about 11 percent of that equipment is useful for the future and about 37 percent is not needed and should be terminated. The Army has not made a final decision on the future need for the remaining 52 percent of the equipment, which it continues to sustain for current operations primarily through the use of overseas contingency operations funds. The Army has also taken some additional actions to review nonstandard equipment through other forums and reviews which have led to recommendations for some items to be retained for the future. Since 2008, the Marine Corps has reviewed 144 different requests for capabilities to fill gaps identified by commanders. Of these, the Marine Corps has determined that about 63 percent will continue to be needed in the future to meet enduring requirements and should be incorporated into the Marine Corps force structure and about 17 percent will not be needed. An additional 21 percent are in initial development or are still being evaluated for future usefulness. In addition to service-provided equipment, some nonstandard equipment, such as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP), was fielded by DOD and managed as a joint program. According to the Army and the Marine Corps, both services are now transitioning the management of MRAPs from a joint office to service offices, and are in the process of determining how many MRAPs they want to retain for the future and add to their respective authorization documents.Once decisions are made to retain nonstandard equipment for the future, multiple steps have to be taken before equipment can become standard and authorized for all like units, and delays in the Army process for reviewing and approving plans to add equipment to unit authorization documents may have hampered the authorization of some equipment items. As part of the process for adding equipment to unit authorization documents, the services develop detailed plans that describe how equipment will be made available across the force, including how it will be sustained and which existing equipment it will replace. Delays in the completion of some of the Army’s plans, known as “basis of issue plans,” may affect when equipment can be authorized. While many factors can contribute to delays in the approval of these plans, such as changes to military strategy and the corresponding equipment requirements, Army documentation showed that delays in completing many of the plans were due to the originators’ failure to include essential data elements when plans were initially submitted for consideration. Army officials noted that current guidance is not as helpful as it might be in specifying which elements should be included in the plans to facilitate approval. Without comprehensive procedural guidance on developing basis of issue plans, initial plans may continue to be incomplete and rework may contribute to delays in issuance of documentation and new capabilities.Why GAO Did This StudyThis letter responds to the House Armed Services Committee report accompanying a bill for the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that directed us to examine the Army and Marine Corps tables of equipment and submit a report to the congressional defense committees. Over the course of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army and the Marine Corps have quickly acquired and fielded new equipment to meet evolving threats. Largely supported with overseas contingency operations funds rather than through the Army’s and the Marine Corps’ regular budgets, this “nonstandard” (rapidly fielded) equipment is not listed on units’ equipment authorization documents. However, with the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, their planned drawdown from Afghanistan, and the likely reductions in overseas contingency operations funding, the military services face decisions about which rapidly fielded equipment should be retained for future use, funded through regular budget processes, and incorporated into unit equipment authorization documents.We assessed (1) the status of Army and Marine Corps efforts to decide whether nonstandard equipment should be kept for the future and (2) the steps these services must take before adding nonstandard equipment to unit authorization documents and possible areas for improving the efficiency of these steps.
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  • Defense Logistics: Army Should Track Financial Benefits Realized from its Logistics Modernization Program
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundThe Army Materiel Command (AMC) is using the Logistics Modernization Program (LMP) Increment 1 to support its industrial operations, but additional development is necessary, according to the Army, because the current system does not support certain critical requirements, including enabling the Army to generate auditable financial statements by fiscal year 2017. Officials at the 14 AMC sites GAO visited stated that LMP provided the core functionality they needed to support their operations and that they are improving in their ability to use the system. Additionally, some sites have locally developed tools to augment LMP capabilities. Army officials stated that although LMP is functional, it currently does not support certain critical requirements that have emerged since its initial development, such as automatically tracking repair and manufacturing operations on the shop floor of depots and arsenals. In addition, according to Army officials, the current system will not enable the Army to generate auditable financial statements by 2017, the statutory deadline for this goal. Increment 2, which is estimated to cost $730 million through fiscal year 2026, is expected to address these shortcomings. The Army is in the process of developing Increment 2 and expects to complete fielding by September 2016.The use of LMP Increment 1 has provided the Army some benefits, but whether the system has delivered the expected financial benefits to date is unknown because AMC does not have a process for tracking financial benefits realized. Since its deployment, LMP has provided some benefits to the Army. For example, because LMP relies on accurate data to perform effectively and efficiently, the Army has made data accuracy a priority and improved the accuracy of its data by conducting data assessments, correcting data problems, and placing management emphasis on data accuracy. Additionally, the use of LMP has improved accountability for inventory stored at AMC depots, increased visibility over Army assets, and resulted in other efficiencies--such as providing faster access to information. AMC officials also stated that LMP has enabled them to develop and begin to implement a set of standardized, enterprise-wide performance measures to better assess the business operations of AMC sites. The officials stated that these performance measures, which were being used during AMC leadership reviews in June 2013, were necessary because the measures previously used to assess AMC performance were inadequate. However, the extent to which financial benefits have been realized from deploying LMP is unknown. The Army expected LMP to lead to over $750 million in financial benefits by fiscal year 2012 and eventually achieve more than two dollars in benefits for every dollar spent. Army officials told us that there currently is no accurate process in place to track financial benefits associated with LMP. Officials stated that the inability to quantify benefits from LMP-driven performance improvements was due in part to the fluctuations in AMC workload resulting from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army is in the process of developing a performance baseline for sites that will pilot Increment 2, and it intends to apply these metrics to other AMC sites before May 2015. Federal guidelines and standards outline the need for assessing whether the benefits expected from an investment are achieved. Without a process in place to track the financial benefits associated with LMP, the Army does not have a way to determine whether LMP's projected financial benefits are materializing.Why GAO Did This StudyLMP is an Army enterprise resource planning system that supports industrial operations conducted by AMC at its life cycle management commands and its maintenance, manufacturing, and storage sites. Increment 1 of LMP was fully deployed in October 2010, and the Army has spent approximately $1.4 billion on LMP through fiscal year 2012. In order to expand the system's capabilities, the Army plans to deploy a second increment of LMP. The life cycle cost for LMP Increment 1 and Increment 2, from fiscal year 2000 through 2026, is estimated to be over $4 billion. GAO was asked to evaluate AMC's use of LMP. This report assesses the extent to which (1) LMP supports AMC's industrial operations and (2) the Army has realized the expected benefits from deploying LMP. GAO reviewed Army documents regarding LMP usage and interviewed officials from AMC headquarters, the LMP product office, and 14 AMC sites that use LMP to conduct their operations.
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  • [Protests of Army Corps of Engineers Contract Award for Environmental Remediation Services]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested an Army Corps of Engineers contract award for environmental remediation services, contending that the: (1) Corps' evaluation of the bids was unreasonable and inconsistent with the solicitation's evaluation criteria, making the selection decision flawed; and (2) Corps improperly failed to perform a cost-technical tradeoff analysis. GAO held that the: (1) Corps reasonably gave the awardee's proposal an excellent technical rating in areas where the proposal met most of the criteria for an excellent rating; (2) protester untimely filed more than 10 days after it knew the basis of protest several issues raised in its supplemental protest; and (3) Corps' consideration of price and technical factors in the selection decision was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation's evaluation criteria. Accordingly, the protests were denied.
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  • Agricultural Developer Agrees to Pay Clean Water Act Fines, Mitigate Impacts to Sensitive Streams and Wetlands
    In Crime News
    A California agricultural developer has agreed to pay a civil penalty, preserve streams and wetlands, effect mitigation, and be subject to a prohibitory injunction to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) on property near the Sacramento River located in Tehama County, California, the Justice Department announced today.
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  • Six Additional Individuals Indicted On Antitrust Charges In Ongoing Broiler Chicken Investigation
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado, returned a superseding indictment charging six additional defendants for their roles in a previously indicted conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products, and containing additional allegations against the previously charged defendants in the same conspiracy, the Department of Justice announced today.  The superseding indictment also charges one defendant with making false statements and obstruction of justice. 
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  • [Protest of Forest Service Contract Award for Publication Support Services]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested a Forest Service contract award for publication support services, contending that the Forest Service conducted improper post-best and final offer (BAFO) discussions with the awardee. GAO held that the: (1) Service's consideration of the awardee's subcontracting approach constituted discussions and therefore it should have reopened discussions and allowed bidders to resubmit BAFO; and (2) Service conducted improper discussions with only the awardee after BAFO submission. Accordingly, the protest was sustained and GAO recommended that the Forest Service: (1) reopen discussions and request best and final offers; (2) make award to the bidder whose bid is determined to be the most advantageous to the government; and (3) reimburse the protester for its protest costs.
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  • Two Louisiana Return Preparers Plead Guilty to Tax Fraud Conspiracy
    In Crime News
    Two Louisiana tax preparers pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to defraud the United States, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
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  • Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David R. Stilwell on the Secretary’s Travel to Japan, Mongolia, and the Republic of Korea
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  • Florida Medical Doctor Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Falsify Clinical Trial Data
    In Crime News
    A Florida medical doctor pleaded guilty to conspiring to falsify clinical trial data regarding an asthma medication, the Department of Justice announced today.
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  • DOD Acquisition Reform: Increased Focus on Knowledge Needed to Achieve Intended Performance and Innovation Outcomes
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found As the Department of Defense (DOD) drives to deliver innovative capabilities faster to keep pace with evolving threats and emerging adversaries, knowledge—about programs' cost, schedule, and technology—increases the likelihood that these capabilities will be achieved. GAO annually assesses selected DOD weapon programs and their likely outcomes by analyzing: (1) the soundness of a program's business case—which provides evidence that the warfighter's needs are valid and the concept can be produced within existing resources—at program start, and (2) the knowledge a program attains at other key points in the acquisition process. For example, the Navy's Ford-class aircraft carrier program began with a weak business case, including an unrealistic cost estimate based on unproven technologies, resulting in over $2 billion in cost growth and years of delays to date for the lead ship. DOD's new acquisition framework uses six different acquisition pathways and offers programs a chance to tailor acquisition approaches, providing options to speed up the process. However, preliminary findings from GAO's 2021 annual assessment show that programs using the new middle-tier pathway face increasing risk that they will fall short of expected performance goals as a result of starting without sound business cases. While these programs are intended to be streamlined, business case information is critical for decision makers to know if a program is likely to meet its goals (see figure below). Completion of Key Business Case Documents by Selected Middle-tier Acquisition Programs The framework also introduces new considerations for program oversight and reporting. DOD has made some progress in developing its approach to oversight for programs using the new pathways, but questions remain about what metrics DOD will use for internal oversight and report to Congress for external oversight. Why GAO Did This Study DOD spends billions of dollars annually to acquire new major weapon systems, such as aircraft, ships, and satellites, and deliver them to the warfighter. GAO has reviewed individual weapon programs for many years and conducted its annual assessment of selected major DOD weapon programs for 19 years. GAO added DOD's weapon system acquisition process to its High-Risk List in 1990. This statement discusses: (1) the performance of selected DOD weapon programs and the role of a sound business case in that performance, (2) DOD's progress implementing recent acquisition reforms, (3) the status of DOD's actions to support innovation, and (4) DOD's efforts to improve data for acquisition oversight. This statement is drawn primarily from GAO's extensive body of work on DOD's acquisition of weapon systems, science and technology, and acquisition reforms conducted from 2004–2021, and observations from an ongoing annual review of selected DOD weapon programs. To perform this work, GAO reviewed DOD documentation, program information, and relevant legislation. GAO also interviewed DOD officials.
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  • Justice Department and EPA Announce Settlement with Stericycle Inc. to Address Environmental Violations at Medical Waste Incinerator
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with Illinois-based Stericycle Inc. resolving alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act and Utah air quality regulations at its medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake, Utah.
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  • Software Development: DOD Faces Risks and Challenges in Implementing Modern Approaches and Addressing Cybersecurity Practices
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found According to the Department of Defense's (DOD) fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request, DOD spent $2.8 billion on the 29 selected major business information technology (IT) programs in FY 2019. The department also reported that it planned to invest over $9.7 billion on these programs between FY 2020 and FY 2022. In addition, 20 of the 29 programs reported experiencing cost or schedule changes since January 2019. Program officials attributed cost and schedule changes to a variety of reasons, including modernization changes and requirements changes or delays. Seventeen of the 29 programs also reported experiencing challenges associated with the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the slowdown of contractors' software development efforts. DOD and GAO's assessments of program risk identified a range of program risk levels and indicated that some programs could be underreporting risks. Specifically, of the 22 programs that were actively using a register to manage program risks, DOD rated nine programs as low risk, 12 as medium risk, and one as high risk. In contrast, GAO rated seven as low risk, 12 as medium risk, and three as high risk. In total, GAO found 10 programs for which its numerical assessments of program risk reflected greater risk than reported by DOD, while DOD had three programs with greater reported risk than GAO. DOD officials noted that differences in risk levels might be associated with a variety of factors, including different risk assessment approaches. However, the differences in risk level GAO identified highlight the need for DOD to ensure that it is accurately reporting program risks. Until the department does so, oversight of some programs could be limited by overly optimistic risk perspectives. As of December 2020, program officials for the 22 major DOD business IT programs that were actively developing software reported using approaches that may help to limit cost and schedule risks. (See table.) Selected Software Development and Cybersecurity Approaches That May Limit Risks and Number of Major DOD Business IT Programs That Reported Using the Approach Software development and cybersecurity approaches that may limit risk Number of programs that reported using the approach Using off-the-shelf software 19 of 22 Implementing continuous iterative software development 18 of 22 Delivering software at least every 6 monthsa 16 of 22 Developing or planning to develop a cybersecurity strategy 21 of 22 Conducting developmental cybersecurity testing 16 of 22 Conducting operational cybersecurity testing 15 of 22 Source: GAO analysis of Department of Defense questionnaire responses. | GAO-21-351aThe Defense Innovation Board encourages more frequent delivery of working software to users for Agile and DevOps practices. Program officials also reported facing a variety of software development challenges while implementing these approaches. These included difficulties finding and hiring staff, transitioning from waterfall to Agile software development, and managing technical environments. DOD's continued efforts to address these challenges will be critical to the department's implementation of modern software development approaches. DOD has also made organizational and policy changes intended to improve the management of its IT acquisitions, such as taking steps to implement Agile software development and improve data transparency. In addition, to address statutory requirements, DOD has taken steps to remove the department's chief management officer (CMO) position. However, the department had not yet sufficiently implemented these changes. Officials from many of the 18 programs GAO assessed that reported using Agile development reported that DOD had implemented activities associated with Agile transition best practices to only some or little to no extent, indicating that the department had not sufficiently implemented best practices. For example, 12 of the 18 programs reported that DOD's life-cycle activities only supported Agile methods to some or little to no extent. Program officials also reported challenges associated with implementing Agile software development. The department has a variety of efforts underway to help with its implementation of Agile software development. DOD officials stated that the department's transition to Agile will take years and will require sustained engagement throughout DOD. In addition, DOD has taken steps aimed at improving the sharing and transparency of data it uses to monitor its acquisitions. According to a November 2020 proposal from the Office of the Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment, DOD officials are to develop data strategies and metrics to assess performance for the department's acquisition pathways. However, as of February 2021, DOD did not have data strategies and had not finalized metrics for the two pathways associated with the programs discussed in this report. Officials said they were working with DOD programs and components to finalize initial pathway metrics. They stated that they plan to implement them in fiscal year 2021 and continue to refine and adjust them over the coming years. Without important data from acquistion pathways and systems, DOD risks not having timely quantitative insight into program performance, including its acquisition reform efforts. Finally, DOD's CMO position was eliminated by a statute enacted in January 2021. This position was responsible for key efforts associated with the department's business systems modernization, which has been on GAO's High Risk List since 1995. DOD plans to take steps to address the uncertainty associated with the recent elimination of the position. Why GAO Did This Study For fiscal year 2021, DOD requested approximately $37.7 billion for IT investments. These investments included major business IT programs, which are intended to help the department carry out key business functions, such as financial management and health care. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 included a provision for GAO to assess selected IT programs annually through March 2023. GAO's objectives for this review were to (1) summarize DOD's reported performance of its portfolio of IT acquisition programs and the reasons for this performance; (2) evaluate DOD's assessments of program risks; (3) summarize DOD's approaches to software development and cybersecurity and identify associated challenges; and (4) evaluate how selected organizational and policy changes could affect IT acquisitions. To address these objectives, GAO selected 29 major business IT programs that DOD reported to the federal IT Dashboard (a public website that includes information on the performance of major IT investments) as of September 2020. GAO reviewed planned expenditures for these programs, from fiscal years 2019 through 2022, as reported in the department's FY 2021 budget request. It also aggregated program office responses to a GAO questionnaire that requested information about cost and schedule changes that occurred since January 2019 and the early impacts of COVID-19. GAO also analyzed the risks of the 22 programs that were actively using central repositories known as risk registers to manage program risks. GAO used these registers to create program risk ratings, and then compared its ratings to those of the DOD chief information officer (CIO). In addition, GAO aggregated DOD program office responses to the questionnaire that requested information about the software and cybersecurity practices used by 22 of the 29 IT programs that were actively developing software. GAO compared the responses to relevant guidance and leading practices. GAO reviewed selected IT-related organizational and policy changes and reviewed reports and documentation related to the effects of these changes on IT acquisitions. GAO also aggregated program office responses to the questionnaire that requested information about DOD's implementation of these changes. This included information on DOD's implementation of best practices as part of its efforts to implement Agile software development. GAO met with relevant DOD officials to discuss each of the topics addressed in this report.
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    In Crime News
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