United States and ASEAN: A Billion Futures Across the Indo-Pacific

Office of the Spokesperson

Senior White House officials met with the leaders of the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States to advance our strategic partnership during the 8th U.S.-ASEAN Summit held November 13 (November 14 in Southeast Asia). The officials reaffirmed their support for a free and open Indo-Pacific as outlined in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Our vision is based on ASEAN centrality and a shared respect for freedom of the seas and skies; sovereignty; market-based economics, open investment, and fair and reciprocal trade; and supporting transparency and good governance.

The officials paid particular attention to advancing human capital development across the region. In the past 15 years, the United States has invested over $930 million to support education in ASEAN countries and $785 million to support academic, cultural and professional exchanges.

BILLION FUTURES

“Billion Futures” embodies the limitless range of connections between the combined one billion people of the United States and ASEAN as we work together to create opportunities and build human capital on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. The Billion Futures Scholars framework aims to bring more ASEAN students to the United States for exchange study. Through this initiative, we can build on the over 500,000 ASEAN students who have studied in the United States in the last ten years and help U.S. universities diversify their international student bodies. We will support even more ASEAN students interested in U.S. study opportunities through two existing and highly successful programs: the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (UGRAD) and the Fulbright program for graduate studies.

Also included in Billion Futures Scholars is USAID’s five-year $19 million Lincoln Scholarship Program in Burma. This program will support 95 young leaders from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds to earn master’s degrees in the United States in fields that promote reconciliation and a stable future for Burma. The first 14 of the group of 17 scholars departed Burma for the United States in August 2020.

Complementing the Billion Futures Scholars initiative, the State Department provided $5 million to establish the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academy at Fulbright University Vietnam to educate the next generation of Southeast Asian leaders in technology and innovation, public policy, and entrepreneurship. Since 2013, more than 150,000 young leaders from across ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste have participated in YSEALI through U.S. exchanges, regional workshops and programs, and the virtual YSEALI Network. The United States has supported YSEALI with $51 million to date.

U.S.-ASEAN HEALTH FUTURES

Over the last 20 years, the United States has invested over $3.5 billion in supporting public health in ASEAN member countries. The U.S.-ASEAN Health Futures platform supports existing and expanded U.S. assistance for public health and combating infectious disease in ASEAN states, with a focus on health system capacity and resiliency, developing the next generation of health professionals, and research. We have established the Health Futures Alumni Network to link the more than 2,400 exchange alumni from ASEAN and Timor-Leste that have participated in U.S. government health-related exchange and training programs.

Recent support for ASEAN member states includes assistance in the response to COVID-19, and strengthening health security in the region to prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks, including from zoonotic diseases. The United States has allocated over $87 million dollars to help ASEAN Member States respond to COVID-19. Additionally, we are planning to fund $1.5 million to support the development of an ASEAN Public Health Emergency Coordination System, which will help ASEAN members collectively respond to future health emergencies. We have also provided $2.5 million to establish the U.S.-ASEAN Infection Prevention and Control Task Force to combat the growing threat of Anti-Microbial Resistance.

USAID is investing $16 million in One Health Workforce-Next Generation to transform the multisectoral health workforce and help ASEAN countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, and Laos prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to public health emergencies before they pose an overwhelming pandemic threat.

U.S.-MEKONG PARTNERSHIP

The United States’ engagement with ASEAN member states in the Mekong sub-region is an important part of our support for ASEAN. Over the course of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), from 2009 to 2020, State and USAID provided over $3.9 billion in assistance to the five Mekong partner countries. Together with Cambodia, Lao PDR, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam, we launched the U.S.-Mekong Partnership in September to build on 11 years of collaboration under the LMI. The Partnership expands our areas of cooperation, bringing additional resources to address issues of economic connectivity, human capital, women’s empowerment, transboundary water and natural resource management, and non-traditional security, such as transnational crime, including wildlife and timber trafficking, and other important areas. Over $150 million in U.S. assistance was announced at the inaugural Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial.

U.S.-ASEAN SMART CITIES PARTNERSHIP

Since Vice President Pence announced the establishment of the U.S.-ASEAN Smart Cities Partnership (USASCP) in November 2018, the United States has committed over $13 million to 20 projects throughout ASEAN. Our support helps ASEAN Member States meet rapid urbanization challenges, including transportation, water management, and energy to improve the quality of life for their residents. This year, the USASCP is expanding its programming to support research and innovation in the use of sustainable technology. The Partnership is engaging with the private sector in new programs, such as the Integrated Urban Services project, which will create linkages across basic urban services to optimize efficiency and advance water and energy recovery and reuse. The new Health in Cities program is designed to help build resilience in sub-national health care systems in response to the COVID-19 pandemic through small grants to support ASEAN business and service providers. For example, the program is helping hospitals in three Cambodian cities migrate to electronic medical records. In 2020, the Partnership launched eight city pairings between U.S. and ASEAN cities, five in transportation planning and three in water management, to promote best practices, spur innovation, and identify new business opportunities.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is actively investing in multiple sectors across Southeast Asia, with over $1 billion dollars deployed to date. In June, DFC approved a $25 million investment to support a regional equity fund, which will invest in businesses introducing innovative technology in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. These investments will help reduce costs for small and medium enterprises, facilitate trade, and foster innovation. DFC has committed to invest $40M to help Frontiir expand broadband access for the people of Burma. Another $5 million project in Cambodia will extend financial services to underbanked populations. DFC’s qualified pipeline includes investments in telecommunications in Burma, education in Vietnam, and renewable energy projects across the region.

The Third Indo-Pacific Business Forum in October 2020 brought together business and government leaders to spur economic innovation and collaboration. U.S. firms signed more than $11 billion in commercial deals. The U.S. government organized high-level public-private panels on human capital development entitled “Building ASEAN’s Workforce for Tomorrow” and “Sustainable Smart Cities,” as well as a discussion on the business outlook and investment opportunities in Mekong countries with all five U.S. Ambassadors to Mekong countries.

Launched in 2019, the annual ASEAN Women CEO Summit is organized and hosted by the ASEAN Women’s Entrepreneur Network (AWEN) founded through USAID assistance in 2014. USAID will continue to promote this effort at the 2nd Annual ASEAN Women CEO Summit slated for November 9, 2020, in Hanoi. The Summit brings together high-profile speakers from the U.S. private sector and U.S. government.

The United States has helped support the ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women for since 2014, inspiring young women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields across the region. This Prize honors women researchers in STEM and highlights their work. In 2020, the winner was Dr. Yoke-Fun Chan of Malaysia.

USAID helps provide support through loan guarantees, managed through the Development Finance Corporation, for the Women’s Livelihood Bond Series. Currently, the second bond in the series is working toward mobilizing $100 million in private sector financing for expanded economic opportunities. This activity provides women access to long-term financing raised through capital markets, thereby addressing the structural constraints that women and girls often face in many countries across the region. This year, more than 25,000 women in Indonesia and Cambodia are benefiting from increased financial inclusion.

Through the ASEAN Single Window (ASW), USAID has continued to work with ASEAN to implement a self-certified system to expedite select traders in securing government certificates of origin to qualify for lower tariff rates. We have reached the first step of linking the ASW with the United States Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) to share electronic plant inspection certificates (e-phyto certificates) between ASEAN and the United States. Currently around 90,000 documents are issued by ASEAN and the United States each year, totaling approximately $13 billion of two-way trade revenue. Expansion of the ASW allows for increased intra-ASEAN trade and will eventually lead to streamlined trade with the United States once our electronic commercial systems are linked.

LAW ENFORCEMENT & SECURITY

Since 2015, ASEAN member states have benefited from more than $217 million in dedicated U.S. programs to combat crime, including eliminating the scourge of illicit narcotics. The United States has provided more than $120 million in law enforcement capacity-building to ASEAN member states since 2015. These projects strengthen partners’ ability to prevent and respond to crimes in a rules-based manner. Transnational crime requires a multi-country approach, and the United States has provided more than $40 million over the last five years to assist ASEAN member states in developing cohesive regional approaches to transnational criminal challenges and law enforcement.

SUPPORT FOR THE ASEAN SECRETARIAT

The United States remains committed to our partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat. In 2020, the United States committed an additional $7.2 million in support for these efforts, and between 2013 and 2012, the United States dedicated more than $58 million to ASEAN multilateral assistance programs. Our assistance is implemented by the ASEAN-USAID Partnership for Regional Optimization within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT) and Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade and E-Commerce (IGNITE) programs. PROSPECT supports ASEAN to better respond to transnational challenges—including non-traditional security threats—and promotes sustainable, rules-based and inclusive growth by expanding rights and opportunities for women, youth, and other marginalized groups across Southeast Asia. IGNITE implements initiatives that reduce the cost of international trade; spurs e-commerce; supports micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) and gender mainstreaming; and increases productivity in Southeast Asia through technical assistance to ASEAN bodies in the areas of trade facilitation; digital economy; and science, technology and innovation.

In August 2020, USAID and the ASEAN Secretariat signed the USAID-ASEAN Regional Development Cooperation Agreement, a 5-year agreement with a value of up to $50 million, to support programs addressing regional and global challenges and promoting economic integration of ASEAN, human rights, and the rule of law.

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    Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) met its goal to expand the 287(g) program. However, ICE has not established performance goals that cover all program activities, such as ICE's oversight of its law enforcement agency (LEA) partners, or measures to assess the program's performance, such as the percentage of LEA partners in compliance with annual training requirements. As a result, ICE is not well-positioned to determine the extent to which the program is achieving intended results. ICE considers a number of factors, such as LEAs' capability to act as an ICE force multiplier, when reviewing their suitability to join the program; however, ICE has not assessed how to optimize the use of its resources and program benefits to guide its recruitment of future 287(g) participants. For example, ICE has two models in which LEAs can participate with varying levels of immigration enforcement responsibilities. In the Jail Enforcement Model (JEM), designated state or local officers identify and process removable foreign nationals who have been arrested and booked into the LEA's correctional facility, whereas in the Warrant Service Officer (WSO) model, the designated officers only serve warrants to such individuals. However, ICE has not assessed the mix of participants for each model that would address resource limitations, as each model has differing resource and oversight requirements. By assessing how to leverage its program resources and optimize benefits received, ICE could approach recruitment more strategically and optimize program benefits. 287(g) Participants in January 2017 and September 2020 ICE uses a number of mechanisms to oversee 287(g) JEM participants' compliance with their agreements, such as conducting inspections and reviewing reported complaints. However, at the time of GAO's review, ICE did not have an oversight mechanism for participants' in the WSO model. For example, ICE did not have clear policies on 287(g) field supervisors' oversight responsibilities or plan to conduct compliance inspections for WSO participants. An oversight mechanism could help ICE ensure that WSO participants comply with their 287(g) agreement and other relevant ICE policies and procedures. The 287(g) program authorizes ICE to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies to assist with enforcing immigration laws. The program expanded from 35 agreements in January 2017 to 150 as of September 2020. GAO was asked to review ICE's management and oversight of the program. This report examines (1) the extent to which ICE has developed performance goals and measures to assess the 287(g) program; (2) how ICE determines eligibility for 287(g) program participation and considers program resources; and (3) how ICE conducts oversight of 287(g) program participant compliance and addresses noncompliance. GAO reviewed ICE policies and documentation, and interviewed officials from ICE headquarters and field offices. GAO also interviewed 11 LEAs selected based on the type of 287(g) agreement, length of participation, and facility type (e.g. state or local).While not generalizable, information collected from the selected LEAs provided insights into 287(g) program operations and oversight of program participants. GAO analyzed data on 287(g) inspection results and complaints from fiscal years 2015 through 2020. GAO recommends that ICE (1) establish performance goals and related performance measures; (2) assess the 287(g) program's composition to help leverage its resources and optimize program benefits; and (3) develop and implement an oversight mechanism for the WSO model. DHS concurred with the recommendations. For more information, contact Rebecca Gambler at (202) 512-8777 or GamblerR@gao.gov.
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  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Virtual Meeting with Japanese Women Entrepreneurs
    In Crime Control and Security News
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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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  • Federal Jury Convicts Illinois Man for Bombing the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center
    In Crime News
    Yesterday, a federal jury returned a guilty verdict against Micheal Hari, 49, for his role in the bombing of the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, on Aug. 5, 2017. The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Erica H. MacDonald, Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Minneapolis Division Michael Paul.
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  • Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Hugh Hewitt of the Hugh Hewitt Show
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting with Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Negotiating Team
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Department Of Justice And U.S. Patent And Trademark Office To Host Public Workshop On Promoting Innovation In The Life Science Sector
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division (DOJ) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will host a virtual public workshop on Sept. 23rd and 24th, 2020 to discuss the importance of intellectual property rights and pro-competitive collaborations for life sciences companies, research institutions, and American consumers. 
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  • Statement of Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on the Verdict in the Chauvin Trial
    In Crime News
    U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland's statement following the verdict in the state of Minnesota's trial of Derek Chauvin:
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  • Sao Tome and Principe Travel Advisory
    In Travel
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  • Justice Department Files Complaint to Stop Distribution of Unapproved, Misbranded, and Adulterated “Poly-MVA” Products
    In Crime News
    The United States filed a civil complaint to stop a California company from distributing unapproved and misbranded drugs and adulterated animal drugs, the Department of Justice announced today.
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  • Commercial Space Transportation: FAA Should Examine a Range of Options to Support U.S. Launch Infrastructure
    In U.S GAO News
    Launch providers support the deployment of people and payloads, such as national security and commercial satellites or research probes, into space. The majority of these providers told GAO that U.S. space transportation infrastructure—located at sites across the country—is generally sufficient for them to meet their customers' current requirements. This situation is in part a result of the launch providers' investments in launch sites, along with state and local funding. Launch providers and site operators alike seek future improvements but differ on the type and location of infrastructure required. Some launch providers said that infrastructure improvements would be required to increase launch capacity at existing busy launch sites, while a few site operators said that new infrastructure and additional launch sites would help expand the nation's overall launch capacity. U.S. Commercial Launch Sites with Number of FAA-Licensed Launches, January 2015 - November 2020 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was directed by statute to make recommendations to Congress on how to facilitate and promote greater investments in space transportation infrastructure, among other things. However, FAA's initial draft report was limited because it focused only on two existing FAA programs, rather than a range of options. FAA officials stated that they did not examine other options because of limited time and resources, and that the two identified programs could be implemented quickly because FAA has administrative authority to manage them. Leading practices in infrastructure investment emphasize the importance of conducting an examination of potential approaches, which can help identify how best to support national interests; avoid overlap or duplication of federal effort; and enhance, not substitute, participation by non-federal stakeholders. An examination may also help identify alternatives to making funding available, such as increasing efficiency and capacity through technology improvements. By focusing only on these existing programs, FAA may overlook other options that better meet federal policy goals and maximize the effect of any federal investment. Although FAA has already prepared its initial report to respond to the statute, it still has opportunities, such as during subsequent mandated updates, to report separately on potential approaches. Demand for commercial space launches is anticipated to increase in the coming years. FAA, the agency responsible for overseeing the sites where these launches occur, was directed by statute to submit a report—and update it every 2 years until December 2024—that makes recommendations on how to facilitate and promote greater investments in space transportation infrastructure. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 included a provision for GAO to review issues related to space transportation infrastructure. This report discusses launch providers' and site operators' views on the sufficiency of infrastructure in meeting market demand and assesses the steps FAA has taken to identify options for federal support of space transportation infrastructure, among other things. GAO reviewed relevant regulations; assessed FAA's actions against GAO-identified leading practices; and interviewed FAA officials, commercial launch providers, and representatives from U.S. commercial launch sites that GAO identified as having hosted an FAA-licensed launch since 2015 or having an FAA launch site operator license as of August 2020. GAO recommends that FAA examine a range of potential options to support space transportation infrastructure and that this examination include a discussion of trade-offs. DOT partially concurred, noting that it would provide its mandated report to Congress but not conduct a new examination of a range of options. GAO continues to believe that such an examination is warranted. For more information, contact Heather Krause at (202) 512-2834 or KrauseH@gao.gov.
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  • U.S.-India Joint Statement on Launching the “U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership”
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Appointment of Ambassador Daniel Smith as Chargé d’Affaires at Embassy New Delhi  
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  • Six Arrested on Federal Charge of Conspiracy to Kidnap the Governor of Michigan
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice today announced that six men have been arrested and charged federally with conspiring to kidnap the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer. According to a complaint filed Tuesday, October 6, 2020, Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Ty Garbin, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta conspired to kidnap the Governor from her vacation home in the Western District of Michigan. Under federal law, each faces any term of years up to life in prison if convicted. Fox, Garbin, Franks, Harris, and Caserta are residents of Michigan. Croft is a resident of Delaware.
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  • Social Media Influencer Charged with Election Interference Stemming from Voter Disinformation Campaign
    In Crime News
    A Florida man was arrested this morning on charges of conspiring with others in advance of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election to use various social media platforms to disseminate misinformation designed to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote.
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  • Department Press Briefing – March 17, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Utah Man and His Company Indicted for Wildlife Trafficking
    In Crime News
    A Utah man and his company were charged in an indictment today with violating the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act for their role in illegal wildlife trafficking, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan D. Brightbill of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney John W. Huber of the District of Utah.
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  • United States Places Global Magnitsky Sanctions on the Cuban Ministry of Interior and Its Minister
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Statement on Misinformation on Social Media Regarding the Office of the Pardon Attorney
    In Crime News
    “Please be advised that the information circulating on social media claiming to be from Acting Pardon Attorney Rosalind Sargent-Burns is inauthentic and should not be taken seriously.  "The Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney does not have a social media presence and is not involved in any efforts to pardon individuals or groups involved with the heinous acts that took place this week in and around the U.S. Capitol."
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  • Law Firms Representing Purdue Pharma Agree to Relinquish $1 Million in Settlement with U.S. Trustee Program
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program (USTP) has entered into a settlement with three law firms representing Purdue Pharma (Purdue) in its ongoing bankruptcy cases. The firms are Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP; and Dechert LLP (the Firms). 
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  • Five Charged in Connection with an over $4 Million Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    Five individuals were charged in an indictment with fraudulently obtaining more than $4 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and using those funds, in part, to purchase luxury vehicles. Authorities have seized a Range Rover worth approximately $125,000, jewelry, over $120,000 in cash, and over $3 million from 10 bank accounts at the time of arrest.
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  • CEO Sentenced to Prison in $150 Million Health Care Fraud, Opioid Distribution, and Money Laundering Scheme
    In Crime News
    The chief executive officer of a Michigan and Ohio-based group of pain clinics and other medical providers was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for developing and approving a corporate policy to administer unnecessary back injections to patients in exchange for prescriptions of over 6.6 million doses of medically unnecessary opioids.
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  • State Department Designates Two Senior Al-Shabaab Leaders as Terrorists
    In Crime Control and Security News
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