December 6, 2021

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Former Supplement Company Owner Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Distribution of Anabolic Steroids and Steroid-like Drugs

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<div>A Georgia resident and his company pleaded guilty today to a felony charge relating to the distribution of anabolic steroids and steroid-like drugs in purported dietary supplements.</div>
A Georgia resident and his company pleaded guilty today to a felony charge relating to the distribution of anabolic steroids and steroid-like drugs in purported dietary supplements.

More from: June 21, 2021

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  • Defense Infrastructure: The Army Needs to Establish Priorities, Goals, and Performance Measures for Its Arsenal Support Program Initiative
    In U.S GAO News
    The Army has three government-owned and operated manufacturing arsenals that it considers vital to the Department of Defense's (DOD) industrial base because they provide products or services that are either unavailable from private industry or ensure a ready and controlled source of technical competence and resources in case of national defense contingencies or other emergencies. These three arsenals are Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas; Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois; and Watervliet Arsenal, New York. Pine Bluff's core mission is the production of conventional ammunition and other types of munitions. Rock Island's core mission is weapons manufacturing, and the arsenal is home to the Army's only remaining foundry. Watervliet is the Army's only cannon maker and also produces other armaments and mortars. Historically, the Army's arsenals have generally had vacant or underutilized space. For many years the Army has not provided the capital investment needed to keep pace with modern manufacturing requirements and retain core skills in the arsenal workforce. Additionally, the arsenals have generally had lower workloads during peacetime, but since the onset of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan they have experienced a surge in workloads to provide vital manufacturing capabilities, such as producing armor kits to harden Army personnel vehicles after it was found that the Army's existing vehicles were susceptible to improvised explosive devices. During the defense drawdown of the 1990s, the manufacturing arsenals were struggling from a diminishing and fluctuating workload, high product costs, significant reductions in force, and a fear that their core skills were being lost. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 authorized the Arsenal Support Program Initiative (ASPI), as a demonstration program designed to help maintain the viability of the Army's manufacturing arsenals. The ASPI authority sets forth 11 purposes for the program, including utilizing and employing the arsenals' skilled manufacturing workforce by commercial firms; encouraging private commercial use of underutilized government facilities; reducing the government's cost of ownership and the cost of products produced at the arsenals; and fostering cooperation between the Army, state and local governments, and private companies in the development and joint use of the Army's arsenals. The conference report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 directed us to review the ASPI program and report to the defense authorization committees. Our objective for this review was to determine the extent to which the Army has addressed the intended purposes set forth in the ASPI authorizing legislation. Additionally, in response to congressional interest, we have provided information that discusses other available authorities that the Army uses or could use to improve the viability of its manufacturing arsenals. In response to direction by the conferees to conduct a business case analysis that examines the cost, return on investment, and economic impact of the ASPI program, the Congressional Budget Office expects to submit its report later this year. Accordingly, our review did not address those aspects of the ASPI program.Although the Army's three manufacturing arsenals have secured tenants that collectively address all but one of the purposes of the ASPI authority, the arsenals have had limited success in attracting ASPI tenants that enhance their core manufacturing missions and related workforce skills. According to the Army, 44 tenants had been secured under the ASPI program through the end of July 2009 (27 at Rock Island, 16 at Watervliet, and 1 at Pine Bluff), and each tenant addressed at least 1 of the 11 ASPI purposes. However, the Army has determined that, of the 44 tenants, only 4 are engaged in activities that have helped to strengthen the arsenals' core manufacturing capabilities or related workforce skills. ASPI site managers are generating operating revenue in the form of rent paid by ASPI tenants and have been more successful in securing commercial tenants needing administrative office space, which tends to be more profitable than leasing manufacturing space. Nonetheless, while ASPI tenants are generating revenue for the arsenals, program and site managers have generally been free to implement the program using a variety of approaches that may not be significantly contributing to the core manufacturing missions of the arsenals because the Army Materiel Command has provided them with only limited guidance. Given the discretion afforded by the ASPI authority--which does not prioritize its 11 purposes or require that all 11 purposes be addressed--the Army has missed an opportunity to ensure that program execution is aligned with its own priorities because Army guidance does not specify which of the authority's 11 purposes the Army considers to be its highest priorities. Further, the guidance does not incorporate the priorities identified in the conference report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which encouraged the Army to recruit more tenants that enhance the arsenals' core missions and workforce skills. Additionally, the Army has not developed a strategy that describes the methods it plans to use to achieve its highest priorities and has not established performance goals and measures for the ASPI program. Our prior work has emphasized that performance goals should be measurable and results-oriented. Although the Army has adopted the 11 ASPI purposes as its broad goals for the program, these goals can not be easily quantified. Similarly, while the Army has developed some metrics to assess the program, existing metrics measure only the number of ASPI contracts secured and cost savings or cost avoidance to the Army, rather than the extent to which the program is making progress toward achieving the broad goals represented by the purposes established in the ASPI authority. Without clearly defined priorities, performance goals, and measures, the Army may be unable to respond to congressional direction or ensure that its own interests are being addressed. Further, the arsenals could be at risk of diminished core manufacturing capabilities that are considered vital to the national defense, and thus these skills and capabilities may not be readily available when needed. We are making three recommendations to improve the Army's execution of the ASPI program to help ensure that it addresses the broad goals of both congressional conferees and the Army by distinguishing its highest priorities among the ASPI purposes and establishing a strategy that includes measurable goals and performance measures to monitor progress the Army has made toward addressing the ASPI purposes.
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  • Veterans Health Care: Addressing High Risk Concerns for Oversight and Accountability Are Key to Ensuring Quality of Care and Patient Safety
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO's work has identified a range of concerns with the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) oversight and accountability of its health care system, including those related to quality of care and patient safety. Since GAO added VA health care to its High-Risk List in 2015, GAO has made 131 recommendations related to VA's oversight and accountability, almost half of all GAO's recommendations for VA health care. Recent examples of quality of care and patient safety recommendations include the following: VA has faced challenges in ensuring that its providers deliver safe and effective care to veterans. In February 2021, GAO identified 227providers that had been removed from VA employment but were potentially providing care in a community care network. GAO recommended that VA take actions to assess and address the situation.VA implemented this recommendation by reviewing and excluding 155providers from participating in VA's community care networks. In recent years, there have been reports of veterans dying by suicide on VA campuses—in locations such as inpatient settings, parking lots, and on the grounds of VA cemeteries. In September 2020, GAO found that VA lacks accurate information on the number of suicides and comprehensive analyses of the underlying causes. While VA agreed with two of GAO's recommendations to address these issues, VA still needs to provide documentation of key actions taken by the committee it established to improve its understanding of on-campus suicides. In June 2019, GAO found that VA's oversight of its regional health care networks was limited. GAO recommended that VA develop a process for assessing the overall performance of its networks to be able to better determine if a network's performance is positive, if it is functioning poorly, or if it requires remediation. While VA concurred with GAO's recommendation, VA still needs to provide documentation of the process developed to assess the overall performance of these networks in managing medical centers. Since the last high-risk update in March 2021, VA has taken steps to address some of the oversight and accountability concerns identified by GAO. In May 2021, VA published a revised high-risk action plan for addressing VA health care concerns. However, VA is still in the beginning stages of developing its plan to address root causes such as a fragmented oversight and accountability infrastructure and will need clearly defined metrics to ensure it is effective. Fully addressing oversight and accountability concerns also requires sustained leadership attention as well as leadership stability. However, the Under Secretary for Health position responsible for managing VA health care has not had permanent leadership since January 2017. While VA takes steps to address its needed transformation, it should continue to implement recommendations GAO has made in the oversight and accountability area, given the number of these similar types of recommendations and the need to ensure quality of care and patient safety. Why GAO Did This Study VA operates one of the nation's largest health care systems. GAO's work, along with that of VA's Office of Inspector General and others, has cited longstanding issues with VA's oversight of its health care system. In 2015, GAO added VA health care to its High-Risk List, in which one broad area of concern was inadequate oversight and accountability. In its latest high-risk update in March 2021, GAO noted continued concern over VA's ability to ensure the safety and protection of patients and staff, as well as to oversee its programs. This statement describes the oversight and accountability issues GAO's work has identified related to quality care and patient safety, and the status of VA's efforts to address its high-risk designation. This statement is based on GAO's body of work in this area. GAO’s Fiscal Year 2021 Rating for the Inadequate Oversight and Accountability Area For more information, contact Sharon M. Silas at (202) 512-7114 or silass@gao.gov.
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    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) has substantially completed three of five planned phases to renovate the Cannon House Office Building (Cannon project). AOC completed Phase 0 utility work; the Phase 1 work to renovate the building's west side, the Phase 2 work to renovate the building's north side; and work is underway on Phase 3 of the building's east side. Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D. C. From 2009 to 2018, AOC consistently estimated the project cost at $753 million, In 2014, GAO found that AOC's cost estimate of $753 million reflected several of GAO's leading practices for high-quality, reliable cost estimates, including that AOC had conducted a risk and uncertainty analysis. GAO found that AOC's cost estimating policies and guidance did not require a quantitative risk and uncertainty analysis nor the reporting of the resulting confidence level of the estimate. GAO made recommendations for AOC to incorporate leading practices into agency guidance and submit confidence levels of cost estimates to Congress. AOC implemented our recommendations. In January 2018, AOC updated its analysis of risks by undertaking an integrated cost-schedule risk analysis. AOC's 2018 analysis arrived at the same conclusion as its earlier analysis—that the project's estimated $753 million total cost was adequate to complete the project. However, AOC's 2018 analysis indicated that inaccurate estimates of costs for risk mitigations, unknown risks, and optimistic assumptions about the effect of risk mitigations on the project's cost and schedule could affect its total cost. AOC updated the analysis in December 2019 and estimated the project cost at $890 million. Two unknown risks materialized after the December 2019 estimate: the effect of COVID-19 and the January 2021 security events–their impact on the project is uncertain. In its March 2021 project summary, AOC reported that a revised budget would be formulated after the completion of an analysis in December 2021. Toward this end, in May 2021, AOC began updating its integrated cost-schedule risk analysis, with the aim of more accurately determining the extent to which the project's costs are increasing and its estimated cost at completion. Why GAO Did This Study In its Cannon project, the AOC intends to preserve the historic character while improving the functionality of the 113 year-old Cannon Building—the oldest congressional office building—as well as address deterioration to the building and its components. The project—nearing year 7 of its planned 10-year duration—is being implemented in five sequential phases with an initial phase (Phase 0) for utility work and four subsequent phases (Phases 1 through 4) to renovate the north-, south-, east-, and west-facing sides of the building. Each phase is scheduled around a 2-year congressional session. This statement describes: (1) the status of the Cannon project and (2) changes to the project's estimated cost at completion. This statement is based on GAO's prior reports in 2009 and 2014 and ongoing monitoring of the project. To monitor the project, GAO has been observing the ongoing construction, attending project meetings, and analyzing AOC documents.
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