December 4, 2021

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Cameroon man sentenced for wire fraud conspiracy

15 min read
The leader and manager of an eight-man conspiracy has been ordered to federal prison for his role in a scheme to steal over $726,000 from a South Korean compa

Read full article at: https://www.justice.gov May 17, 2021

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  • Defense Acquisitions: Resolving Development Risks in the Army’s Networked Communications Capabilities Is Key to Fielding Future Force
    In U.S GAO News
    The Army has embarked on a major transformation of its force. Central to this transformation is the Future Combat Systems (FCS), a $108 billion effort to provide warfighters with the vehicles, weapons, and communications needed to identify and respond to threats with speed, precision, and lethality. Establishing reliable, robust communications and networking capabilities is key to FCS's success. Each of the systems integral to the FCS communications network--the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T), and the System of Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE)--rely on significant advances in current technologies and must be fully integrated to realize FCS. Given the complexity and costs of this undertaking, GAO was asked to review each of these key development efforts to identify any risks that may jeopardize the successful fielding of FCS.Each of the programs for developing FCS's communications network is struggling to meet ambitious sets of user requirements and steep technical challenges within highly compressed schedules. As currently structured, the programs are at risk of not delivering intended capabilities for the first spiral of FCS, slated to start in fiscal year 2008. The JTRS Cluster 1 program--a program to develop radios for ground vehicles and helicopters--began development with an aggressive schedule, immature technologies, and a lack of clearly defined and stable requirements. As currently designed, the radio will only have a transmission range of only 3 kilometers--well short of the required 10 kilometers--and will not meet security requirements for operating in an open networked environment. The program's struggle to mature and integrate key technologies has contributed to significant cost and schedule growth. A recent review of the program concluded that the current program structure is not executable, and in April 2005, DOD directed the Army to stop work and notify the contractor that it was considering terminating the contract. Meeting requirements for JTRS Cluster 5 radios--miniaturized radios, including those that soldiers carry--is even more technically challenging given their smaller size, weight, and power needs. The smallest of these radios weighs only about 1 pound, compared with 84 pounds for Cluster 1 radios. Several programmatic changes and a contract award bid protest have further slowed program progress. The Army is considering options for restructuring the program to meet the needs of FCS and address the technical issues encountered in the Cluster 1 program. The Army does not expect to fully mature the technologies for WIN-T--communications equipment that supports an expanded area of battlefield operations and interfaces with JTRS radios--when production begins in March 2006. Moreover, the compressed schedule assumes nearly flawless execution and does not allow sufficient time for correcting problems. Significant interdependencies among the critical technologies further increase overall program risk. The program was directed to deliver networking and communications capabilities sooner to meet near-term warfighting needs and synchronize with the restructured FCS program. A plan for how to develop and field WIN-T capabilities sooner to address FCS needs remains undetermined. According to Army network system integration officials, SOSCOE--the operating software to integrate the communications network--may not reach the necessary technical maturity level required to meet program milestones. In addition, top-level FCS requirements are still evolving and have not been translated into more detailed specifications necessary for writing SOSCOE software.
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  • Stabilizing and Rebuilding Iraq: Conditions in Iraq Are Conducive to Fraud, Waste, and Abuse
    In U.S GAO News
    This testimony discusses some of the systemic conditions in Iraq that contribute to the fraud, waste, or abuse of U.S.-provided funds. Since 2003, DOD has reported total costs of about $257.5 billion for military operations in Iraq; these have increased from about $38.8 billion in fiscal year 2003 to about $83.4 billion in fiscal year 2006. The largest increase has been in operation and maintenance expenses, including items such as support for housing, food, and services; the repair of equipment; and transportation of people, supplies and equipment. Many of the operation and maintenance expenses are for services. Other U.S. government agencies had reported obligations of $29 billion for Iraqi reconstruction and stabilization, as of October 2006. These funds have been used for, among other things, infrastructure repair of the electricity, oil, water, and health sectors; training and equipping of the Iraqi security forces; and administrative expenses. Specifically, the testimony focuses on (1) security, (2) management and reporting of the program to train and equip Iraqi security forces, (3) contracting and contract management activities, and (4) Iraqi capacity and commitment to manage and fund reconstruction and security efforts.Despite U.S. and Iraqi efforts to shift a greater share of the country's defense on Iraqi forces, the security situation continues to deteriorate. Poor security conditions have hindered the management of the more than $29 billion that has been obligated for reconstruction and stabilization efforts since 2003. Although the State Department has reported that the number of Iraqi army and police forces that has been trained and equipped has increased from about 174,000 in July 2005 to about 323,000 in December 2006, overall security conditions in Iraq have deteriorated and grown more complex. These conditions have hindered efforts to engage with Iraqi partners and demonstrate the difficulty in making political and economic progress in the absence of adequate security conditions. GAO's ongoing work has identified weaknesses in the $15.4 billion program to support the development and sustainment of Iraqi security forces. Sectarian divisions have eroded the dependability of many Iraqi units, and a number of Iraqi units have refused to serve outside the areas where they were recruited. Corruption and infiltration by militias and others loyal to parties other than the Iraqi government have resulted in the Iraqi security forces being part of the problem in many areas instead of the solution. While unit-level transition readiness assessments (TRA) provide important information on Iraqi security force capabilities, the aggregate reports DOD provides to Congress based on these assessments do not provide adequate information to judge the capabilities of Iraqi forces. The DOD reports do not detail the adequacy of Iraqi security forces' manpower, equipment, logistical support, or training and may overstate the number of forces on duty. Congress will need additional information found in the TRAs to assess DOD's supplemental request for funds to train and equip Iraqi security forces. DOD's heavy reliance on contractors in Iraq, its long-standing contract and contract management problems, and poor security conditions provide opportunities for fraud, waste, and abuse. First, military commanders and senior DOD leaders do not have visibility over the total number of contractors who are supporting deployed forces in Iraq. As we have noted in the past, this limited visibility can unnecessarily increase costs to the government. Second, DOD lacks clear and comprehensive guidance and leadership for managing and overseeing contractors. In October 2005, DOD issued, for the first time, department-wide guidance on the use of contractors that support deployed forces. Although this guidance is a good first step, it does not address a number of problems we have repeatedly raised. Third, key contracting issues have prevented DOD from achieving successful acquisition outcomes. There has been an absence of well-defined requirements, and DOD has often entered into contract arrangements on reconstruction efforts and into contracts to support deployed forces that have posed additional risk to the government. Further, a lack of training hinders the ability of military commanders to adequately plan for the use of contractor support and inhibits the ability of contract oversight personnel to manage and oversee contracts and contractors in Iraq. Iraqi capacity and commitment to manage and fund reconstruction and security efforts remains limited. Key ministries face challenges in staffing a competent and non-partisan civil service, fighting corruption, and using modern technology. The inability of the Iraqi government to spend its 2006 capital budget also increases the uncertainty that it can sustain the rebuilding effort.
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  • Stabilizing Iraq: Preliminary Observations on Budget and Management Challenges of Iraq’s Security Ministries
    In U.S GAO News
    In November 2005, the President issued the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. According to the strategy, victory will be achieved when Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terror. To help Iraq achieve this, the U.S. is, among other efforts, helping strengthen the capabilities of the Iraq Ministries of Defense and Interior (police forces) so they can assume greater responsibility for the country's security. The United States has provided about $15.4 billion to develop Iraqi security forces and institutions. In this testimony, GAO discusses preliminary observations on (1) U.S. and Iraqi funding to develop and sustain the Iraqi security forces, and (2) key challenges the United States and Iraq face in improving the security ministries' operations and management. This statement is based on prior GAO reports, recent fieldwork in Iraq and Department of Defense, U.S. Treasury and Embassy budget documents. GAO added information to this statement in response to comments from Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq. We completed the work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.In March 2007, DOD reported that Iraq will increase its 2007 security budget from $5.4 billion to $7.3 billion (a 37-percent increase). DOD states this increase provides evidence of the country's growing self-sufficiency and commitment to security. However, our analysis shows that some of this increase is due to the appreciation of the Iraqi dinar against the dollar. Using a constant exchange rate, Iraq's 2007 security budget grows by 15 percent. Also, Iraq faced problems spending its 2006 security budget. As of November 2006, the Iraq Ministry of Defense had spent only about 1 percent of its capital goods budget for weapons, ammunition, and vehicles. DOD has requested $5.8 billion in additional U.S. funds to help purchase these items for Iraq and provide assistance to its security ministries. The United States and Iraq face personnel and logistical challenges in developing ministries that can sustain Iraq's growing security forces. For example, the ministries have inadequate systems to account for personnel and inexperienced staff with limited budgeting and technology skills. Also, both security ministries have difficulties acquiring, distributing, and maintaining weapons, vehicles, and equipment. The U.S.-led coalition has provided significant resources to develop Iraq's security forces and has 215 military and civilian advisors at the ministries. The United States signed a foreign military sales agreement with Iraq that, according to U.S. officials, allows Iraq to bypass its ineffective procurement systems to purchase equipment directly from the United States. Iraq has deposited $1.9 billion into its account for foreign military sales. However, it is unclear whether this program will help improve the ministries' procurement and contracting capacity.
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