January 19, 2022

News

News Network

Australia Travel Advisory

10 min read

Reconsider travel to Australia due to COVID-19.  

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.    

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Australia due to COVID-19.   

Australia has resumed most transportation options, (including airport operations and re-opening of borders) and business operations (including day cares and schools).  Other improved conditions have been reported within Australia.  Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Australia.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Australia:

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

News Network

  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Kenyan President Kenyatta
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Iranian National Pleads Guilty to Violating U.S. Sanctions Against Iran
    In Crime News
    More from: July 22, 2021 [Read More…]
  • Algeria Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Advertising Platform OpenX Agrees to Injunctive Relief and $2 Million Payment in Case Alleging Violations of Children’s Privacy Law
    In Crime News
    Online advertising platform OpenX Technologies Inc. (OpenX) has agreed to a court order requiring it to pay $2 million and to be bound by injunctive relief provisions mandating its compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. This stipulated order resolves a lawsuit the government filed against OpenX in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. 
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Issues Business Review Letter for Proposed University Technology Licensing Program
    In Crime News
    The Justice  Department’s Antitrust Division announced today that it has completed its review of a proposed joint patent licensing pool known as the University Technology Licensing Program (UTLP).  UTLP is a proposal by participating universities to offer licenses to their physical science patents relating to specified emerging technologies.
    [Read More…]
  • High-Performance Computing: NNSA Could Improve Program Management Processes for System Acquisitions
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) analysis of alternatives (AOA) process for its $600 million El Capitan HPC acquisition did not fully follow agency policy that states that AOA processes should be consistent with GAO best practices, where possible, and any deviations must be justified and documented. According to GAO best practices, a reliable AOA process should meet four characteristics: it should be comprehensive, well documented, unbiased, and credible. As seen in the table, the AOA process for El Capitan partially met one of these characteristics and minimally met the other three. NNSA did not justify or document the deviations from these best practices, as required by NNSA policy. GAO also found that the AOA process was conducted by the contractor that manages the El Capitan acquisition program, contrary to agency policy and guidance stating that AOAs should be conducted by an independent entity. Without following AOA best practices where possible; justifying and documenting any deviations; and ensuring AOA processes are conducted by an independent entity, as required, NNSA cannot be assured of a reliable assessment of options for meeting critical mission needs. Extent to Which the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Met the Characteristics of a Reliable Analysis of Alternatives (AOA) Process AOA characteristic GAO assessment Example of deviation Comprehensive Partially met Cost estimates are incomplete and did not follow best practices. Well documented Minimally met The alternatives' descriptions are not detailed enough for a robust analysis. Unbiased Minimally met NNSA had a predetermined solution, acquiring an HPC system, before performing the AOA process. Credible Minimally met The selection criteria appear to have been written for the preferred alternative. Source: GAO analysis of NNSA information. | GAO-21-194 GAO found that, in the second year of the El Capitan acquisition program's 5-year acquisition life cycle, NNSA has fully implemented selected key practices related to program monitoring and control. However, NNSA has only partially implemented key practices related to requirements management. Specifically, El Capitan program officials did not update and maintain acquisition program documents to include current requirements. NNSA officials stated that once the program developed its program plan early in the program's life cycle, they did not require the program to update and maintain that program plan. However, NNSA's own program management policy requires programs to update program documents throughout the duration of the program. Without updating and maintaining El Capitan program documents to include current requirements, NNSA officials may be limited in their ability to ensure that all mission requirements are met. Why GAO Did This Study NNSA is responsible for maintaining the nation's nuclear stockpile. To analyze the performance, safety, and reliability of nuclear weapons, it acquires high-performance computing (HPC) systems to conduct simulations. The latest system, El Capitan, is expected to be fully deployed by March 2024. The committee report accompanying the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019, includes a provision for GAO to review NNSA's management of its Advanced Simulation and Computing program. This report examines, among other things, (1) the extent to which NNSA's AOA process for the El Capitan acquisition met best practices and followed agency policy and guidance and (2) the extent to which NNSA is implementing selected acquisition best practices in carrying out the El Capitan acquisition program. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed NNSA officials and laboratory representatives involved in carrying out the AOA and acquisition processes.
    [Read More…]
  • FY 2021 Local Jail Reporting Program (LJRP) Pilot Test
    In Justice News
    (Solicitation)
    The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) is seeking applications for funding for the FY 2021 Local Jail Reporting Program Pilot Test. This pilot test will collect individual-level administrative record data from 10 large jails. The information collected will include jail admissions and releases, demographic characteristics of inmates, charges and dispositions, and sentences.
    Grants.gov Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 14, 2021; JustGrants Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. eastern time on June 28, 2021 [Read More…]
  • Readout of U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s Meeting with Mexico Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero
    In Crime News
    U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland met in Washington, D.C. yesterday afternoon with Mexico Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work closely on criminal investigations and prosecutions of cross-border crime, including with regard to narcotics and firearms trafficking, human smuggling and trafficking, and illicit finance and money laundering. The Attorneys General also agreed on the importance of our extradition relationship, and committed to vigorously pursuing the extradition requests pending in each of our countries. 
    [Read More…]
  • Service Acquisitions: DOD’s Report to Congress Identifies Steps Taken to Improve Management, But Does Not Address Some Key Planning Issues
    In U.S GAO News
    The Department of Defense (DOD) relies on contractors to provide a wide array of services, including support for management, information technology, and weapon systems. DOD obligated about $190 billion on service acquisitions in fiscal year 2019 (see figure). Department of Defense Obligations for Service Acquisitions by Military Department and Defense Agencies and Field Activities, Fiscal Year 2019 Since 2001, GAO has highlighted service acquisitions as an issue for oversight within the DOD Contract Management area in its High-Risk List. Among other things, the High-Risk List and GAO's prior work have identified that: DOD's service requirements reviews were narrowly focused on individual contracts rather than entire capability portfolios, DOD's efforts to use its inventory of contracted services to inform management decisions were hindered by data collection issues, and DOD's budget exhibits did not clearly identify service acquisitions. In October 2020, DOD issued a report to Congress describing its current mechanisms and plans for managing and overseeing service contracts. GAO found that this report addresses some of the key issues identified in GAO's High-Risk List, but does not address others. Requirement reviews. The DOD report summarizes guidance the department issued in January 2020 that links requirements reviews to budget trade-offs, and clarifies the relationship between service acquisition management and category management activities. Category management is an Office of Management and Budget-led, government-wide initiative to reorganize government spending around fewer, larger contracts and use the government's purchasing power to buy like a single enterprise. These efforts have the potential to improve how requirements reviews support budget trade-off decisions within and across capability portfolios. Inventory of contracted services. The DOD report discusses the department's recent transition to the government-wide system other federal agencies use to collect data for their inventories of contracted services, and explains that this transition is intended to reduce the burden of data collection for defense contractors and improve compliance. However, the report does not discuss how DOD plans to use this data to inform decision-making and workforce planning, the key issues GAO has identified in past work. Future-year spending plans. The DOD report does not discuss our finding in a prior report that DOD could improve its ability to strategically manage service acquisitions by improving visibility on future budgetary requirements. Instead, DOD's report states that DOD plans to address capability gaps in budget planning for service contracts in a separate effort in response to a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 that might address GAO's recommendations. DOD officials told GAO they are working to better understand that provision before initiating their effort. The Senate report on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 included a provision for the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the congressional defense committees on current mechanisms for overseeing defense service contracts, and for GAO to assess this report. DOD issued its report to Congress in the second week of October 2020. This GAO report assesses the extent to which that DOD report addresses service acquisition issues identified in GAO's High-Risk List and other products. GAO reviewed DOD's report to Congress on defense service acquisitions and GAO's past reports on defense service acquisitions, including GAO's 2019 High-Risk List and 11 other products issued between 2011 and 2018. GAO collected and assessed additional documentation from DOD offices and military departments, and interviewed officials from these offices and departments to collect additional information about DOD plans to improve service acquisitions. For more information, contact Timothy DiNapoli at (202) 512-4841 or DiNapoliT@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Veterans Community Care Program: VA Should Strengthen Its Ability to Identify Ineligible Health Care Providers
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO found vulnerabilities in the controls used by the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and its contractors to identify health care providers who are not eligible to participate in the Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP), resulting in the inclusion of potentially ineligible providers. Examples of Requirements of and Restrictions on Veterans Community Care Program Provider Eligibility Of over 800,000 providers assessed, GAO identified approximately 1,600 VCCP providers who were deceased, were ineligible to work with the federal government, or had revoked or suspended medical licenses. VHA and its contractors had controls in place to identify such providers. However, the existing controls missed some providers who could have been identified with enhanced controls and more consistent implementation of standard operating procedures. For example, GAO found the following: One provider had an expired nursing license in April 2016 and was arrested for assault in October 2018. This provider was excluded from working in federally funded health care programs. The provider was convicted of patient abuse and neglect in July 2019. The provider entered the VCCP in November 2019. VHA officials stated that this provider was uploaded into the system in error. One provider was eligible for referrals in the VHA system, but his medical license had been revoked in 2019. Licensing documents stated that the provider posed a clear and immediate danger to public health and safety. GAO also identified weaknesses in oversight of provider address data. Some VCCP providers used commercial mail receiving addresses as their only service address. Such addresses have been disguised as business addresses in the past by individuals intending to commit fraud. VHA has not assessed the fraud risk that invalid address data pose to the program. These vulnerabilities potentially put veterans at risk of receiving care from unqualified providers. Additionally, VHA is at risk of fraudulent activity, as some of the providers GAO identified had previous convictions of health-care fraud. VA has an opportunity to address these limitations as it continues to refine the controls, policies, and procedures for this 2-year old program. Why GAO Did This Study The VHA allows eligible veterans to receive care from community providers through VA's VCCP when veterans face challenges accessing care at VA medical facilities. VHA is responsible for ensuring VCCP providers are qualified and competent to provide safe care to veterans based on the eligibility requirements and restrictions. GAO was asked to examine the extent to which vulnerabilities in VCCP provider eligibility controls contributed to potentially ineligible providers participating in the program. GAO reviewed VHA and contractor standard operating procedures, policies, and guidance. GAO also interviewed knowledgeable officials. To identify potentially ineligible providers, GAO compared data from VHA's Office of Community Care to data sources related to actions that may exclude providers from participating in the VCCP.
    [Read More…]
  • Termination of PRC-Funded Propaganda Programs
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • 9th U.S-Philippines Bilateral Strategic Dialogue
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • AUSMIN 2021 Global Health Security Statement
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Bureau of Oceans and [Read More…]
  • Warfighter Support: Preliminary Observations on DOD’s Progress and Challenges in Distributing Supplies and Equipment to Afghanistan
    In U.S GAO News
    In fiscal year 2009, the Department of Defense (DOD) reported that it spent $4 billion to move troops and materiel into Afghanistan, a mountainous, arid, land-locked country with few roads, no railway, and only four airports with paved runways over 3,000 meters. The terrain and weather in Afghanistan and surrounding countries pose further challenges to transporting supplies and equipment. In December 2009, the President announced that an additional 30,000 U.S. troops will be sent to Afghanistan by August 2010. Today's testimony discusses GAO's preliminary observations drawn from ongoing work reviewing DOD's logistics efforts supporting operations in Afghanistan, including (1) the organizations involved and routes and methods used to transport supplies and equipment into and around Afghanistan; (2) steps DOD has taken to improve its distribution process, based on lessons learned from prior operations; and (3) challenges affecting DOD's ability to distribute supplies and equipment within Afghanistan, and its efforts to mitigate them. In conducting its audit work, GAO examined DOD guidance and other documentation relating to the processes of transporting supplies and equipment to Afghanistan and met with various cognizant officials and commanders in the United States, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Qatar.Movement of supplies and equipment into and around Afghanistan is a complex process involving many DOD organizations and using air, sea, and ground modes of transportation. DOD's ability to provide timely logistics support to units deploying to Afghanistan or already in theater depends on its ability to synchronize all of these activities into one seamless process. For example, U.S. Transportation Command manages air and surface transportation from the United States to and around the U.S. Central Command area of operations; U.S. Central Command's Deployment and Distribution Operations Center validates and directs air movements and monitors and directs surface movements within theater; the Air Force's Air Mobility Division assigns and directs aircraft to carry materiel within the theater; and the Army's 1st Theater Sustainment Command monitors strategic movements of materiel and directly influences movements into theater. Most cargo in theater is transported commercially by ship to Pakistan and then by contractor-operated trucks to Afghanistan, but high-priority and sensitive items are transported by U.S. military and commercial aircraft directly from the United States and other countries to logistics hubs in Afghanistan. DOD has taken some steps to improve its processes for distributing materiel to deployed forces based on lessons learned from prior operations. For example, in response to lessons learned from problems with keeping commanders informed about incoming materiel in Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. Transportation Command established the Central Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center, which now helps coordinate the movement of materiel and forces into the theater of operations. Also, since GAO reported in 2003 that radio frequency identification tags were not being effectively used to track materiel in transit to, within, and from Iraq, DOD developed policies and procedures to increase tag use on cargo traveling through the U.S. Central Command theater of operations, including Afghanistan. Challenges hindering DOD's ability to distribute needed supplies and equipment to U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan include difficulties with transporting cargo through neighboring countries and around Afghanistan, limited airfield infrastructure, lack of full visibility over cargo movements, limited storage capacity at logistics hubs, difficulties in synchronizing the arrival of units and equipment, lack of coordination between U.S. and other coalition forces for delivery of supplies and equipment, and uncertain requirements and low transportation priority for contractors. DOD recognizes these challenges and has ongoing or planned efforts to mitigate some of them; however, some efforts involve long-term plans that will not be complete in time to support the ongoing troop increase. DOD is also working to address these challenges through planning conferences to synchronize the flow of forces into Afghanistan. At these conferences, DOD officials stressed the need to balance and coordinate multiple requirements in order to sustain current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, draw down forces and equipment in Iraq, and increase forces and equipment in Afghanistan.
    [Read More…]
  • Luxembourg National Day 
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • The United States Announces $25 Million to Support Access to Clean Nuclear Energy
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in Before Their Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Statement by Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson on the Pakistani Supreme Court’s Ruling Relating to the Abduction and Murder of Daniel Pearl
    In Crime News
    Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson has released the following statement:
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Tajikistan Foreign Minister Muhriddin
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.