December 4, 2021

News

News Network

Acting Assistant Secretary Lempert’s Trip to Tunisia and Libya

14 min read

Office of the Spokesperson

Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lempert visited Tunisia and Libya October 19-21.  During her trip to Tunisia, Acting Assistant Secretary Lempert met with Tunisian government officials, including Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi, welcoming Tunisia’s newly formed government and reiterated that the U.S. looks forward to the establishment of a broadly inclusive process for a rapid return to constitutional order. She also discussed Libya and other regional issues. Acting Assistant Secretary Lempert also met with young Tunisian civil society representatives and women entrepreneurs who are playing a key role in Tunisia’s economic future.  

In Libya, accompanied by U.S. Special Envoy and Ambassador to Libya Richard Norland, Acting Assistant Secretary Lempert represented the United States at the Libya Stabilization Conference in Tripoli. She also participated in bilateral meetings with senior Libyan officials, including Prime Minister Dabaiba and Foreign Minister Mangoush, and a range of other foreign delegations to the conference, emphasizing the importance of Libya’s efforts to prepare for free and fair national elections in December, and U.S. support for the withdrawal of all foreign forces, fighters, and mercenaries from Libya.

More from: Office of the Spokesperson

News Network

  • Force Structure: DOD Needs to Integrate Data into Its Force Identification Process and Examine Options to Meet Requirements for High-Demand Support Forces
    In U.S GAO News
    Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the war on terrorism has dominated the global security environment. Ongoing overseas operations and heavy reliance on reservists have raised concerns about how the Department of Defense (DOD) will continue to meet its requirements using an all-volunteer force. The Army, in particular, has faced continuing demand for large numbers of forces, especially for forces with support skills. GAO was mandated to examine the extent of DOD's reliance on personnel with high-demand skills and its efforts to reduce or eliminate reliance on these personnel. Accordingly, GAO assessed (1) the combat support and combat service support skills that are in high demand and the extent to which DOD officials have visibility over personnel who are available for future deployment and (2) the extent to which DOD has conducted a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of alternatives for providing needed skills.Ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have required large numbers of ground forces, creating particularly high demand for certain combat support and combat service support skills, such as military police and civil affairs. After determining which requirements can be met with contractor personnel, DOD then determines how to meet requirements for military personnel. DOD officials charged with identifying forces have not had full visibility over the pool of skilled personnel available for future deployments. For some skills, the combatant commander's operational requirements have exceeded the initial supply of readily available trained military forces. DOD has met demands for these skills through strategies such as reassigning or retraining personnel. However, many of the skilled personnel in high demand are reservists whose involuntary active duty is limited under the current partial mobilization authority and DOD and Army policy. To meet requirements, officials charged with identifying personnel for future rotations developed an inefficient, labor-intensive process to gather information needed for decision making because integrated, comprehensive personnel data were not readily available. DOD is taking steps to develop comprehensive data that identify personnel according to deployment histories and skills; however, until DOD systematically integrates such data into its process for identifying forces, it will continue to make important decisions about personnel for future rotations based upon limited information and lack the analytical bases for requesting changes in or exceptions to deployment policies. Although DOD has developed several strategies to meet the combatant commander's requirements for previous rotations, it has not undertaken comprehensive, data-driven analysis of options that would make more personnel available for future rotations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A key reason why DOD has not conducted comprehensive analyses of options is that its process for identifying forces focuses on one rotation at a time and does not take a long-term view of potential requirements. Prior GAO work has shown that reliable data about current and future workforce requirements are essential for effective strategic planning, as is the data-driven analysis of the number of personnel and the skill mix needed to support key competencies. With data that link deployment dates and skills, DOD could assess options, including using more personnel with support skills from the Army and other services, transferring more positions to high-demand areas, and changing deployment lengths. Each of these options has both advantages and disadvantages. However, without a comprehensive analysis of the options and their related advantages and disadvantages, DOD will be challenged to plan effectively for future requirements and to meet recruiting goals. Additionally, without linking data and options, the services may have difficulty deploying all reservists once before other reservists are required to deploy for a second time, which is a key DOD goal. Moreover, the Secretary of Defense and Congress will not have complete information with which to make decisions about the size and composition of the force, mobilization policies, and other issues.
    [Read More…]
  • GAO Strategic Plan 2004-2009 (Superseded by GAO-07-1SP)
    In U.S GAO News
    This publication has been superceded by GAO-07-1SP, GAO Strategic Plan, 2007-2012, April 2007. GAO presented its strategic plan for serving the Congress for fiscal years 2004 through 2009. In keeping with its commitment to update our plan every 2 years, with each new Congress, this plan describes our proposed goals and strategies for supporting the Congress and the nation in facing the challenges of a rapidly changing world while addressing the nation's large and growing long-term fiscal imbalance. Indeed, even since the last plan, much has changed. Policymakers are therefore increasingly being called on to distinguish wants from needs and to judge what the nation can afford, both now and in the longer term. Policymakers also face a world in which national boundaries are becoming less relevant when addressing a range of economic, security, social, and environmental issues. These broad themes--security, the changing economy, global interconnectedness, an aging and more diverse population, scientific and technological change, concern for quality of life, and evolving governance structures--provide the context for GAO's plan. The broad goals and objectives of the plan have not altered dramatically since the last plan, but recent events account for some modifications in emphasis. Because of the large and growing long-term fiscal imbalance facing the nation, GAO has identified this as a separate theme for its plan. Therefore, it will continue to increase its emphasis on work related to the transformation of the federal government, as it addresses fiscal challenges, new priorities and world conditions, as well as a substantial turnover in its workforce. GAO's High-Risk Series, which began more than a decade ago with an emphasis on fraud, waste, and abuse, has most recently expanded to include challenges in broad-based transformation, and GAO will continue to use the high-risk designation to highlight additional areas facing major transformation challenges. Given the continued national focus on homeland security, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and the ongoing war on terrorism, GAO expects to pay continuing attention to monitoring the progress of the department and other critical parts of the federal government in becoming effective structures for meeting national needs. Because the pressures to meet the health care and retirement needs of a growing elderly population continue to mount, GAO expects that health care cost and quality, along with public and private pension issues, will come under increasing scrutiny and require additional effort and attention. As the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan continues and other global events unfold, GAO expects to provide additional support to the Congress in overseeing the pace and cost of related federal efforts. Additionally, as the Department of Defense embarks on a major transformation effort following the enactment of sweeping new authorities, GAO expects to report on the department's progress and effectiveness. To help support its efforts on behalf of the Congress and the American people, GAO has set itsself the goal of becoming a model agency and world-class professional services organization--a goal that remains as vital as ever. To make sure that the plan is an accurate reflection of congressional and national needs, GAO invited comments on a draft of this plan from Members of the Congress and their staffs; its sister congressional agencies--the Congressional Budget Office and the Congressional Research Service; the inspectors general; state and local government audit organizations; and other key accountability organizations. It has incorporated many of these comments in this final version of the plan.
    [Read More…]
  • On Latvia’s Actions to Constrain Hizballah
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Cale Brown, Principal [Read More…]
  • Organ Donation and Transplantation: We’re All Needed
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    As the Nation’s Doctor, [Read More…]
  • Readout of Acting CT Coordinator Godfrey’s Travel to Malta
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Philadelphia Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to False Returns
    In Crime News
    A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty yesterday to assisting in the preparation of false federal tax returns.
    [Read More…]
  • Highway Bridges: Federal Highway Administration Could Better Assist States with Information on Corrosion Practices
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found According to the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) database of information on bridges' condition, the percentage of deck area, a measure that accounts for the size of a bridge, for National Highway System (NHS) bridges in poor condition has decreased since 2012. However, since 2016, the percentage of deck area for NHS bridges in good condition has also decreased, while the percentage of deck area for bridges in fair condition has increased. Although these data do not indicate the extent to which corrosion affects bridges' condition, studies GAO reviewed and stakeholders GAO spoke with—including FHWA, five selected states, and six associations—indicate a significant relationship between corrosion and bridge condition. (See figure.) Examples of Bridge Corrosion State practices to prevent and manage corrosion vary based on environmental factors and bridge condition. For example, states exposed to sea water and deicing chemicals may clean bridges to remove materials that could accelerate corrosion. Four of the five selected states prioritized rehabilitating and replacing poor condition bridges, while the fifth state said it took steps to address corrosion to preserve and maintain bridges in good and fair condition. States are transitioning to asset management practices that emphasize bridge preservation strategies. However, officials from the selected states said limited information about specific corrosion practices' effectiveness is a challenge to implementing asset management practices. For example, officials from some selected states said they use sealant on bridge decks to prevent corrosion while officials from another said they do not because they do not know how effective it is. FHWA, within the Department of Transportation, helps states address corrosion through research and technical assistance. However, FHWA efforts have generally focused on overall bridge condition and may not meet states' needs to determine the circumstances in which to use specific practices. For example, FHWA's Bridge Preservation Guide identifies practices that can be part of a bridge preservation approach but does not indicate under what circumstances they are most effective. Although FHWA does not endorse specific practices, officials recognize their role in helping states make well-informed decisions regarding bridge corrosion. As states continue transitioning to an asset management approach, providing information about the circumstances under which different corrosion practices are most effective could help states make best use of their resources. Why GAO Did This Study In 2021, U.S. bridges, including those on the NHS, were estimated to need billions of dollars in repairs, including efforts to mitigate the effects of corrosion. House Report 116-106 included a provision for GAO to review the status of states' bridge corrosion-control planning. This report examines: (1) trends in the condition of bridges on the NHS and what is known about how corrosion affects bridge condition, (2) practices states use to address corrosion on NHS bridges and how selected states prioritize efforts to address corrosion, and (3) how FHWA assists states in addressing bridge corrosion. GAO reviewed applicable statutes, regulations, guidance, and studies related to corrosion prevention and management, and analyzed data on NHS bridges. GAO selected five states—Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Rhode Island, and Wyoming—based on factors, such as the percentage of bridge deck area in good and poor condition and geographic diversity. Finally, GAO interviewed FHWA, state transportation, and various association officials and assessed FHWA's actions against internal controls for using quality information.
    [Read More…]
  • Chinese Businessman Charged With Conspiring To Steal Trade Secrets
    In Crime News
    Chi Lung Winsman Ng, aka Winsman Ng, 64, a Chinese businessman residing in Hong Kong, was indicted yesterday for conspiring to steal General Electric’s (GE) trade secrets involving the company’s silicon carbide MOSFET technology and worth millions of dollars.
    [Read More…]
  • Homeless Women Veterans: Actions Needed to Ensure Safe and Appropriate Housing
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundLimited VA data show the number of women veterans it has identified as homeless more than doubled, from 1,380 in fiscal year 2006 to 3,328 in fiscal year 2010. Although these data are not generalizable to the overall population of homeless women veterans, we identified some characteristics of these women. For example, almost two-thirds were between 40 and 59 years old and over one-third had disabilities. In addition, many of these women resided with their minor children.HUD collects data on homeless women and on homeless veterans, but does not collect detailed information on homeless women veterans. Neither VA nor HUD collect data on the total number of homeless women veterans in the general population. Further, they lack data on the characteristics and needs of these women on a national, state, and local level. Absent more complete data, VA does not have the information needed to plan services effectively, allocate grants to providers, and track progress toward its overall goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. According to knowledgeable VA and HUD officials we spoke with, collecting data specific to homeless women veterans would incur minimal burden and cost.Homeless women veterans were not always aware of veteran housing services, which posed a significant barrier to access, according to GPD programs we surveyed, service providers, agency officials, and experts we interviewed. Some VA Medical Center homeless coordinators reported challenges in reaching this population. However, VA has recently launched an outreach campaign to increase awareness that includes materials specific to homeless women veterans.VA requires its staff to give homeless veterans a referral for shelter or short-term housing while they await placement in veteran housing; however, several homeless women veterans told us they did not receive such referrals. In addition, about 24 percent of VA Medical Center homeless coordinators indicated not having referral plans or processes in place for temporarily housing homeless women veterans while they await placement in HUD-VASH and GPD programs. According to our data analysis, women veterans waited an average of 4 months before securing HUD-VASH housing. In addition, about one fourth of GPD providers reported that women veterans had to wait for placement in their programs and the median wait was 30 days. Without referrals for shelter or temporary housing during these waits, homeless women veterans may be at risk of physical harm and further trauma on the streets or in other unsafe places.More than 60 percent of surveyed GPD programs that serve homeless women veterans did not house children, and most programs that did house children had restrictions on the ages or numbers of children. In our survey, GPD providers cited lack of housing for women with children as a significant barrier to accessing veteran housing. In addition, several noted there were financial disincentives for providers, as VA does not have the statutory authority to reimburse them for costs of housing veterans’ children. Limited housing for women and their children puts these families at risk of remaining homeless.Homeless women veterans we talked to cited safety concerns about GPD housing, and 9 of the 142 GPD programs we surveyed indicated that there had been reported incidents of sexual harassment or assault on women residents in the past 5 years. GPD providers also cited safety concerns as a barrier to accessing veteran housing. In response to a recent report by the VA Inspector General, VA has begun to evaluate safety and security arrangements at GPD programs that serve women. However, VA does not have gender-specific safety and security standards for its GPD housing, potentially putting women veterans at risk of sexual harassment or assault. While VA is taking steps—such as launching an outreach campaign—to end homelessness among all veterans, it does not have sufficient data about the population and needs of women veterans to plan effectively for increases in their numbers as servicemembers return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, without improved services, women—including those with children and those who have experienced military sexual trauma—remain at risk of homelessness and experiencing further abuse.Why GAO Did This StudyAs more women serve in the military, the number of women veterans has grown substantially, doubling from 4 percent of all veterans in 1990 to 8 percent, or an estimated 1.8 million, today. The number of women veterans will continue to increase as servicemembers return from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these women veterans, like their male counterparts, face challenges readjusting to civilian life and are at risk of becoming homeless. Such challenges may be particularly pronounced for those women veterans who have disabling psychological conditions resulting from military sexual trauma and for those who are single mothers.The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has committed to ending homelessness among all veterans by 2015 and funds several programs to house homeless veterans. The two largest are the VA Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program, which provides transitional housing and supportive services; and HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), which is a joint program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and VA offering permanent supportive housing.While these programs have expanded in recent years to serve more veterans, it remains unclear whether they are meeting the housing needs of all homeless women veterans. To respond to your interest in this issue, this report addresses (1) What is known about the characteristics of homeless women veterans, including those with disabilities? (2) What barriers, if any, do homeless women veterans face in accessing and using VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem and HUD-VA Supportive Housing programs?For more information, contact Daniel Bertoni at (202) 512-7215 or bertonid@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Five MS-13 Members Charged with Murder
    In Crime News
    Five local members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) international street gang are set to appear in court following charges of conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick of the Southern District of Texas.
    [Read More…]
  • Colorado Man Convicted of Production, Transportation, and Possession of Child Pornography
    In Crime News
    An Englewood, Colorado, resident was convicted today after a three-day jury trial on six child exploitation offenses, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Gregg Sofer of the Western District of Texas.
    [Read More…]
  • Four Executives Plead Guilty to Fraud Scheme that Caused Over $4.5 Million in Losses to the Small Business Administration
    In Crime News
    Three former executives of Valley Bank, a defunct financial institution based in Moline, Illinois, and the President of Vital Financial Services (Vital Financial), a lending service provider, have pleaded guilty to scheming to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA) in connection with its programs to guarantee loans made to small businesses. 
    [Read More…]
  • Former DEA Special Agent Sentenced to Over 13 Years in Prison for Corruption-Related Charges
    In Crime News
    A former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent was sentenced today to 160 months in prison for nine crimes related to official misconduct, including perjury, obstruction of justice, and theft.
    [Read More…]
  • International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Drug trafficker sentenced for meth and cocaine conspiracy
    In Justice News
    A 45-year-old Laredo [Read More…]
  • NASA to Hold Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Launch Briefing
    In Space
    Learn more about the [Read More…]
  • DOD Critical Technologies: Plans for Communicating, Assessing, and Overseeing Protection Efforts Should Be Completed
    In U.S GAO News
    Critical technologies—such as elements of artificial intelligence and biotechnology—are those necessary to maintain U.S. technological superiority. As such, they are frequently the target of theft, espionage, and illegal export by adversaries. The Department of Defense (DOD) has outlined a revised process (see figure) to better identify and protect its critical technologies including those associated with acquisition programs throughout their lifecycle or those early in development. Prior DOD efforts to identify these technologies were considered by some military officials to be too broad to adequately guide protection. The revised process is expected to address this by offering more specificity about what elements of an acquisition program or technology need to be protected and the protection measures DOD is expected to implement. It is also expected to support DOD's annual input to the National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies, which was first published in October 2020. Overview of DOD's Revised Process to Identify and Protect Critical Acquisition Programs and Technologies DOD began implementing this process in February 2020, and officials expect to complete all steps for the first time by September 2021. DOD has focused on identifying critical acquisition programs and technologies that need to be protected and how they should be protected. It has not yet determined how it will communicate the list internally and to other agencies, which metrics it will use to assess protection measures, and which organization will oversee future protection efforts. By determining the approach for completing these tasks, DOD can better ensure its revised process will support the protection of critical acquisition programs and technologies consistently across the department. Once completed, the revised process should also inform DOD and other federal agencies' protection efforts. Military officials stated they could use the list of critical acquisition programs and technologies to better direct resources. Officials from the Departments of State, Commerce, and the Treasury stated that they could use the list, if it is effectively communicated, to better understand what is important to DOD to help ensure protection through their respective programs. The federal government spends billions annually to develop and acquire advanced technologies. It permits the sale and transfer of some of these technologies to allies to promote U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic interests. However, the technologies can be targets for adversaries. The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 requires the Secretary of Defense to develop and maintain a list of acquisition programs, technologies, manufacturing capabilities, and research areas that are critical for preserving U.S. national security advantages. Ensuring effective protection of critical technologies has been included on GAO's high-risk list since 2007. This report examines (1) DOD's efforts to identify and protect its critical technologies, and (2) opportunities for these efforts to inform government protection activities. GAO analyzed DOD critical acquisition program and technologies documentation, and held interviews with senior officials at DOD and other federal agencies responsible for protecting critical technologies. GAO is recommending that DOD specify how it will communicate its critical programs and technologies list, develop metrics to assess protection measures, and select the DOD organization that will oversee protection efforts beyond 2020. DOD concurred with the first recommendation and partially concurred with the second and third. GAO maintains the importance of all recommendations in this report. For more information, contact William Russell at (202) 512-4841 or russellw@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin With Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga Before Their Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Briefing with Senior State Department Officials On the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program Priority 2 (P-2) Designation for Afghan Nationals
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Medical Device Maker Merit Medical To Pay $18 Million To Settle Allegations Of Improper Payments To Physicians
    In Crime News
    Medical device maker Merit Medical Systems Inc. (MMSI), of South Jordan, Utah, has agreed to pay $18 million to resolve allegations that the company caused the submission of false claims to the Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE programs by paying kickbacks to physicians and hospitals to induce the use of MMSI products, the Department of Justice announced today. 
    [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.