January 26, 2022

News

News Network

GAO Audits Involving DOD: Status of Efforts to Schedule and Hold Timely Entrance Conferences

14 min read
<div>GAO began 37 new audits that involved the Department of Defense (DOD) in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020. Of GAO's 37 requested entrance conferences for those audits, DOD scheduled 33 within 14 days and held 34 within 30 days of GAO's notification. Entrance conferences are initial meetings between agency officials and GAO staff that allow GAO to communicate its audit objectives and enable agencies to assign key personnel to support the audit work. The four entrance conferences that were scheduled more than 14 days after notification were scheduled late due to either difficulties in identifying a primary action officer or aligning the schedules of GAO and DOD officials. The three entrance conferences that were held more than 30 days after notification were scheduled late due to difficulties in aligning the schedules of GAO and DOD officials. GAO's agency protocols govern GAO's relationships with audited agencies. These protocols assist GAO in scheduling entrance conferences with key agency officials within 14 days of their receiving notice of a new audit. The ability of the Congress to conduct effective oversight of federal agencies is enhanced through the timely completion of GAO audits. In past years, DOD experienced difficulty meeting the protocol target for the timely facilitation of entrance conferences. In Senate Report 116-48 accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, the Senate Armed Services Committee included a provision for GAO to review DOD's scheduling and holding of entrance conferences. In this report, GAO evaluates the extent to which DOD scheduled entrance conferences within 14 days of receiving notice of a new audit, consistent with GAO's agency protocols, and held those conferences within 30 days. This is the final of four quarterly reports that GAO will produce on this topic for fiscal year 2020. In the first three quarterly reports, GAO found that DOD had improved its ability to meet the protocol target. GAO analyzed data on GAO audits involving DOD and initiated in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2020, through September 30, 2020). Specifically, GAO identified the number of notification letters requesting entrance conferences that it sent to DOD during that time period. GAO determined the number of days between when DOD received GAO's notification letter for each new audit and when DOD scheduled the entrance conference and assessed whether DOD scheduled entrance conferences within 14 days of notification, which is the time frame identified in GAO's agency protocols. GAO also determined the date that each requested entrance conference was held by collecting this information from the GAO team conducting each audit and assessed whether DOD held entrance conferences for new audits within 30 days of notification, which was the time frame identified in the mandate for this review. For more information, contact Elizabeth Field at (202) 512-2775 or Fielde1@gao.gov.</div>

What GAO Found

GAO began 37 new audits that involved the Department of Defense (DOD) in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020. Of GAO’s 37 requested entrance conferences for those audits, DOD scheduled 33 within 14 days and held 34 within 30 days of GAO’s notification.

Entrance conferences are initial meetings between agency officials and GAO staff that allow GAO to communicate its audit objectives and enable agencies to assign key personnel to support the audit work.

The four entrance conferences that were scheduled more than 14 days after notification were scheduled late due to either difficulties in identifying a primary action officer or aligning the schedules of GAO and DOD officials.

The three entrance conferences that were held more than 30 days after notification were scheduled late due to difficulties in aligning the schedules of GAO and DOD officials.

Why GAO Did This Study

GAO’s agency protocols govern GAO’s relationships with audited agencies. These protocols assist GAO in scheduling entrance conferences with key agency officials within 14 days of their receiving notice of a new audit. The ability of the Congress to conduct effective oversight of federal agencies is enhanced through the timely completion of GAO audits. In past years, DOD experienced difficulty meeting the protocol target for the timely facilitation of entrance conferences.

In Senate Report 116-48 accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, the Senate Armed Services Committee included a provision for GAO to review DOD’s scheduling and holding of entrance conferences. In this report, GAO evaluates the extent to which DOD scheduled entrance conferences within 14 days of receiving notice of a new audit, consistent with GAO’s agency protocols, and held those conferences within 30 days. This is the final of four quarterly reports that GAO will produce on this topic for fiscal year 2020. In the first three quarterly reports, GAO found that DOD had improved its ability to meet the protocol target.

GAO analyzed data on GAO audits involving DOD and initiated in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2020, through September 30, 2020). Specifically, GAO identified the number of notification letters requesting entrance conferences that it sent to DOD during that time period. GAO determined the number of days between when DOD received GAO’s notification letter for each new audit and when DOD scheduled the entrance conference and assessed whether DOD scheduled entrance conferences within 14 days of notification, which is the time frame identified in GAO’s agency protocols. GAO also determined the date that each requested entrance conference was held by collecting this information from the GAO team conducting each audit and assessed whether DOD held entrance conferences for new audits within 30 days of notification, which was the time frame identified in the mandate for this review.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Field at (202) 512-2775 or Fielde1@gao.gov.

News Network

  • Follow-up on 2011 Report: Status of Actions Taken to Reduce Duplication, Overlap, and Fragmentation, Save Tax Dollars, and Enhance Revenue
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO’s specific assessment of progress as of February 10, 2012, showed that 4 (or 5 percent) of the 81 areas GAO identified were addressed; 60 (or 74 percent) were partially addressed; and 17 (or 21 percent) were not addressed. Enclosure I presents GAO’s assessment of the overall progress made in each area. GAO applied the following criteria in making these overall assessments for the 81 areas. We determined that an area was: “addressed” if all actions needed in that area were addressed; “partially addressed” if at least one action needed in that area showed some progress toward implementation, but not all actions were addressed; and “not addressed” if none of the actions needed in that area were addressed. As of February 10, 2012, the majority of 176 actions needed within the 81 areas identified by GAO have been partially addressed. Specifically, 23 (or 13 percent) were addressed; 99 (or 56 percent) were partially addressed; 54 (or 31 percent) were not addressed. Streamlining federal efforts, reducing government costs, and enhancing revenue collections can offer financial and other benefits. Today, and concurrently with this report, GAO issued its second annual report to Congress in response to the statutory requirement that GAO identify federal programs, agencies, offices, and initiatives with duplicative goals or activities. That report identifies 51 additional issue areas and numerous actions within those issue areas that, if implemented, may further improve programs’ effectiveness and efficiency, achieve cost savings, and enhance revenues. Opportunities exist for the Congress and federal agencies to continue to address the identified actions needed in our March 2011 and February 2012 reports. Collectively, these reports show that, if the actions are implemented, the government could save tens of billions of dollars annually. A number of the issues are difficult to address and implementing many of the actions identified will take time and sustained leadership. Why GAO Did This Study In March 2011, GAO issued its first annual report to the Congress on potential duplication, overlap, and fragmentation in the federal government. The report also identified opportunities to achieve cost savings and enhance revenues. We identified 81 areas—which span a wide range of government missions—with a total of 176 actions that the Congress and the executive branch could take to reduce or eliminate unnecessary duplication, overlap, and fragmentation or achieve other potential financial benefits. We also presented areas where programs may be able to achieve greater efficiencies or become more effective in providing government services. In many areas, we suggested actions— identifying some new options, as well as underscoring numerous existing GAO recommendations—that policymakers could consider. This status report provides an overall assessment of progress in implementing actions for the 81 areas, as well as an assessment of each of the 176 suggested actions. As of February 10, 2012, the Congress and the executive branch had made some progress in addressing the majority of the 81 areas that we identified, including the implementation of all actions in 4 areas; however, additional steps are needed to fully implement the remaining actions to achieve associated benefits. GAO suggested a wide range of actions for the Congress and the executive branch to consider, such as developing strategies to better coordinate fragmented efforts, implementing executive initiatives to improve oversight and evaluation of overlapping programs, considering enactment of legislation to facilitate revenue collection, and examining opportunities to eliminate potential duplication through streamlining, collocating, or consolidating program efforts or administrative services. For more information, contact Janet St. Laurent at (202) 512-4300, or stlaurentj@gao.gov and Zina Merritt, at (202) 512-4300 or merrittz@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken At the Virtual COVID-19 Summit
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Human Trafficking: DOD Should Address Weaknesses in Oversight of Contractors and Reporting of Investigations Related to Contracts
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The U.S. government has a zero tolerance policy for human trafficking, as established in a presidential directive, but trafficking in persons (TIP) of foreign workers on U.S. government contracts overseas persists. Selected Department of Defense (DOD) components have conducted limited oversight of contractors and not met combating trafficking in persons (CTIP) training requirements for contracts. Twelve of 14 Army and Navy contracting officers and contracting officer representatives (CORs) GAO spoke with said they were not aware of their CTIP oversight responsibilities, as set forth in CTIP guidance. DOD requires CORs to conduct contract oversight, but does not say how they should do so. Moreover, nine of 14 individuals said they took a CTIP training other than the required training for acquisition professionals. DOD CTIP guidance, as of fiscal year 2018, also no longer requires components to report the number or percentage of personnel trained, which may limit DOD's awareness about whether acquisition professionals have taken their required training. Until DOD provides guidance to explain how contracting personnel should oversee contractor CTIP compliance and ensures they take the correct training, contracting personnel may continue to be unaware of their CTIP responsibilities. Department of Defense (DOD) Combatting Trafficking in Persons Awareness Poster The Army, the Navy, and DOD's Office of Inspector General (DODIG) have systems for tracking investigations of TIP incidents, but the Army and DODIG did not report all TIP violations and investigations in contracts in annual self-assessments, as required by DOD guidance. For example, the Army and DODIG had incomplete reporting of closed TIP investigations in their annual reporting from fiscal years 2015 through 2020. Without complete reporting, DOD leadership lacks full information on TIP investigations. GAO also found that two investigations led to DOD taking action against the contractors, but the Army contracting officers did not report them as TIP violations in a federal database, as required. DOD guidance and federal regulations have different requirements for who is responsible for this reporting, and the Army has not developed clarifying guidance. Without accurate reporting of actions taken against contractors in this database, contracting officers will lack complete information when making future award decisions involving contractors that engaged in TIP. Why GAO Did This Study GAO and DODIG reports on overseas U.S. military operations have highlighted TIP among foreign workers employed on contracts. Congress included a provision in the conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 for GAO to review DOD's efforts to combat TIP related to contracts. This report examines, among other things: the extent to which selected DOD components have implemented oversight and training requirements for CTIP in contracts and the extent to which selected DOD components have tracked and reported investigations of TIP incidents in contracts from fiscal years 2015 through 2020. GAO analyzed federal laws, and DOD guidance, regulations, contracts, and data related to CTIP. GAO also interviewed DOD officials, including Army and Navy officials responsible for overseeing contracts in U.S. Southern Command.
    [Read More…]
  • U.S. Decision To Reengage with the UN Human Rights Council
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Keynote Address of Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen on Combatting Fraud in the Age of COVID-19 at the BBB National Programs NAD 2020 Conference
    In Crime News
    Remarks As Prepared For [Read More…]
  • List Brokerage Firm Pleads Guilty To Facilitating Elder Fraud Schemes
    In Crime News
    Connecticut list brokerage firm Macromark Inc. pleaded guilty on Friday to knowingly providing lists of potential victims to fraudulent mass-mailing schemes, the Department of Justice announced.  The fraudulent schemes tricked consumers into paying fees for falsely promised cash prizes and purportedly personalized “psychic” services.  Thousands of consumers lost millions of dollars to the schemes.  
    [Read More…]
  • Telecomunicaciones: La FCC Asistió en la Restauración de Redes después del Huracán María, pero es Necesario Clarificar Su Función en las Labores de Respuesta a los Desastres y Mejorar la Comunicación
    In U.S GAO News
    This is the Spanish language highlights associated with GAO-21-297. Conclusiones de la GAO La Comisión Federal de Comunicaciones (FCC, por sus siglas en inglés) tomó múltiples medidas para apoyar la restauración de las telecomunicaciones en el periodo posterior al huracán María. Por ejemplo, la FCC recopiló información sobre fallas del sistema, proporcionó asistencia de personal a Puerto Rico, estableció el Grupo de trabajo para la recuperación tras los huracanes para apoyar la restauración de las telecomunicaciones en Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de los EE. UU., y puso fondos a disposición para la restauración de las redes. Sin embargo, la GAO descubrió que la función de respuesta a los desastres de la FCC no quedaba claramente definida en las directrices publicadas por el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés), aunque las directrices establecen que todos los niveles del gobierno deberían comprender sus respectivas funciones. En particular, el DHS no definió acciones específicas para la FCC en las directrices de funciones de apoyo a emergencias relacionadas con la restauración de la infraestructura de comunicaciones. Esta falta de claridad pudo haber contribuido a la confusión y los retrasos en el periodo posterior al huracán. Por medio de la actualización de las directrices de apoyo a emergencias y una clara definición de la función de la FCC en ellas, el DHS podría ayudar a reducir la confusión y aprovechar el conocimiento de la FCC sobre tecnologías nuevas o en evolución que podrían ayudar a restaurar las redes con mayor rapidez después de los desastres. Vista aérea de una torre caída en Puerto Rico después del huracán María, septiembre de 2017 En el periodo posterior a la temporada de huracanes en el Atlántico de 2017, la FCC determinó cuáles fueron las lecciones aprendidas que le permitirán mejorar su respuesta a los desastres y labores de recuperación, y emitió un informe en agosto de 2018 que contenía observaciones sobre cuatro huracanes, incluido el huracán María. Por ejemplo, la FCC mencionó que pudo mejorar sus funciones en materia de capacitación y mejorar su colaboración con socios federales. Sin embargo, y específicamente relacionado con el huracán María, la GAO descubrió que la FCC obtuvo aportes limitados del público y que las labores del Grupo de trabajo para la recuperación tras los huracanes no fueron lo suficientemente transparentes porque la FCC no comunicó públicamente sus acciones ni sus hallazgos. Debido a la falta de comunicación sobre las acciones del grupo de trabajo y sus hallazgos, el público no tiene una explicación completa y precisa de las labores de respuesta de la FCC al huracán María. Una explicación de esta índole podría asistir con la preparación de desastres futuros. Al presentar al público informes sobre las labores del grupo de trabajo, la FCC podría ayudar a asegurar que los funcionarios del gobierno territorial y demás partes entiendan lo que la FCC ha logrado y qué medidas adicionales son necesarias para construir redes de telecomunicaciones que sean más resilientes. Propósito de Este Estudio El huracán María azotó a Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de los EE. UU. en 2017 y ocasionó grandes daños físicos a los residentes, así como graves daños a la infraestructura crítica de las islas, incluida la infraestructura de redes de telecomunicaciones (véase la foto). Las agencias federales han enfrentado desafíos sin precedentes en el periodo posterior al huracán que complicaron las labores para resolver las fallas de servicio de las redes de telecomunicaciones. Si bien el DHS es la agencia que lidera la respuesta a los desastres, la FCC desempeña una función de apoyo en asuntos de telecomunicaciones. Se le solicitó a la GAO que analizara la respuesta de la FCC a las fallas en las redes de telecomunicaciones posteriores al huracán María. Este informe analiza 1) las acciones de la FCC para apoyar la restauración de las redes de telecomunicaciones después del huracán María y hasta qué grado está claramente definida la función de respuesta a los desastres de la FCC, y 2) las labores de la FCC para identificar las lecciones aprendidas gracias a los aportes del público y determinar hasta qué punto la FCC comunicó esas labores al público. La GAO analizó informes de agencias y evaluó sus labores contra los criterios pertinentes, y entrevistó a funcionarios gubernamentales y a representantes del sector de las telecomunicaciones y grupos de activistas para obtener una amplia gama de puntos de vista no generalizables.
    [Read More…]
  • New Sanctions Following Sham Elections in Nicaragua
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Military Health Care: Defense Health Agency Processes for Responding to Provider Quality and Safety Concerns
    In U.S GAO News
    The Defense Health Agency (DHA) within the Department of Defense (DOD) has established processes for preventing and responding to quality and safety concerns about individual providers delivering health care in military treatment facilities (MTF). Specifically, DHA's August 2019 policy standardized processes for managing health care quality in the Military Health System, which superseded the policies of each of the military services (Air Force, Army, and Navy). These processes include 1) initial and ongoing monitoring of providers; 2) taking action to deny, limit, or remove individual providers' ability to practice, known as adverse privileging action; and 3) reviewing the care delivered by individual providers involved in certain patient safety events, known as potentially compensable event reviews. For example, DHA policy establishes requirements for taking adverse privileging actions against a provider that either limit the care a provider is allowed to deliver at a facility or prevent the provider from delivering care altogether, when warranted. In particular, DHA policy specifies that the provider's privileges should be placed in summary suspension—a temporary removal of all or a portion of the provider's privileges—while a peer conducts an investigation of the concerns. DHA policy also specifies that summary suspensions lasting greater than 30 days, as well as any final adverse privileging actions, must be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). The NPDB is an electronic repository that collects and releases information on certain adverse actions and medical malpractice payments related to providers. According to DOD officials, 27 DOD providers were reported to the NPDB for a summary suspension lasting greater than 30 days between February 1, 2020—when this requirement was implemented—and September 30, 2020. DHA supports the delivery of health care to servicemembers and their families throughout the Military Health System. As in all health care delivery settings, concerns may arise about the quality and safety of care delivered by individual health care providers at MTFs. For example, patient safety events—incidents that could have resulted or did result in harm to a patient—may occur during the course of providing health care services and may raise questions about the quality and safety of care delivered. DHA is responsible for ensuring the quality and safety of health care delivered by military and civilian health care providers, including contractors, through its clinical quality management program. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 included a provision for GAO to review aspects of DOD's clinical quality management program, including its processes for reviewing the quality and safety of providers' care. This report describes DHA's processes for preventing and responding to quality and safety concerns about individual health care providers at MTFs. In future work, GAO will examine the implementation of these processes at MTFs. GAO reviewed documentation that contains policy and guidance for these processes, including DHA's August 2019 procedure manual for managing clinical quality management in the Military Health System. GAO also interviewed officials from DHA and each of the military services. We provided a draft of this report to DOD for review and comment. DOD concurred with our report and provided technical comments, which we incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Sharon M. Silas at(202)512-7114 or Silass@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Surface Transportation Security: TSA Has Taken Steps to Improve its Surface Inspector Program, but Lacks Performance Targets
    In U.S GAO News
    According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Surface Transportation Security Inspector Operations Plan (TSA's plan), surface transportation security inspectors—known as surface inspectors—are to enter key details for program activities in the Performance and Results Information System (PARIS)—TSA's system of record for all surface inspector activities. In December 2017, GAO reported that TSA was unable to fully account for surface inspector time spent assisting with non-surface transportation modes, including aviation, due to data limitations in PARIS, and recommended TSA address these limitations. Since GAO's report, TSA updated PARIS to better track surface inspector activities in non-surface transportation modes. Transportation Security Administration Surface Inspectors Assess Security of a Bus System TSA's plan outlines steps to align work plan activities with risk assessment findings. However, TSA cannot comprehensively ensure surface inspectors are targeting program resources to high-risk modes and locations because it does not consistently collect information on entity mode or location in PARIS. According to officials, TSA plans to update PARIS and program guidance to require inspectors to include this information in the system by the end of fiscal year 2020. TSA's plan outlines performance measures for the surface inspector program, but does not establish quantifiable performance targets for all activities. Targets indicate how well an agency aspires to perform and could include, for example, entity scores on TSA security assessments, among others. By developing targets, TSA would be better positioned to assess the surface inspector program's progress in achieving its objective of increasing security among surface transportation entities. Surface transportation—freight and passenger rail, mass transit, highway, maritime and pipeline systems—is vulnerable to global terrorism and other threats. TSA is the federal agency primarily responsible for securing surface transportation systems. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 requires TSA to submit a plan to guide its Surface Transportation Security Inspectors Program. The Act includes a provision for GAO to review TSA's plan. This report examines the extent to which TSA's plan and its implementation: (1) address known data limitations related to tracking surface inspector activities among non-surface modes, (2) align surface operations with risk assessments, and how, if at all, TSA ensures inspectors prioritize activities in high-risk modes and locations, and (3) establish performance targets for the surface inspector program. GAO reviewed TSA's June 2019 plan and analyzed data on inspector activities for fiscal years 2017 through 2019. GAO interviewed officials in headquarters and a non-generalizable sample of 7 field offices selected based on geographical location and the presence of high-risk urban areas. GAO recommends that TSA establish quantifiable performance targets for the surface inspector program's activity-level performance measures. DHS concurred with our recommendation. For more information, contact Triana McNeil at (202) 512-8777 or McNeilT@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • VA Disability Benefits and Health Care: Providing Certain Services to the Seriously Injured Poses Challenges
    In U.S GAO News
    More than 10,000 U.S. military servicemembers, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, have been injured in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those with serious physical and psychological injuries are initially treated at the Department of Defense's (DOD) major military treatment facilities (MTF). The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made provision of services to these servicemembers a high priority. This testimony focuses on the steps VA has taken and the challenges it faces in providing services to the seriously injured and highlights findings from three recent GAO reports that addressed VA's efforts to provide services to the seriously injured. These services include vocational rehabilitation and employment (VR&E) and health care for those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).VA has taken steps to provide services as a high priority to seriously injured servicemembers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. To identify and monitor those who may require VA's services, VA and DOD are working on a formal agreement to share data about servicemembers with serious injuries. Meanwhile, VA has relied on its regional offices to coordinate with staff at MTFs and VA medical centers to learn the identities, medical conditions, and military status of seriously injured servicemembers. For servicemembers with PTSD, VA has taken steps to improve care including developing with DOD a clinical practice guideline for identifying and treating individuals with PTSD. The guideline contains a four-question screening tool, which both VA and DOD use to identify those who may be at risk for PTSD. VA faces significant challenges in providing services to seriously injured servicemembers. For example, the individualized nature of recovery makes it difficult to determine when a seriously injured servicemember will be ready for vocational rehabilitation, and DOD has expressed concern that VA's outreach to servicemembers could affect retention for those whose discharge from military service is uncertain. VA is also challenged by the lack of access to DOD data; although VA staff have developed ad hoc arrangements, such informal agreements can break down. Regarding PTSD, inaccurate data limit VA's ability to estimate its capacity for treating additional veterans and to plan for an increased demand for these services.
    [Read More…]
  • Jury finds Webster aviation company liable for violating FAA regulations
    In Justice News
    Ascent Aviation [Read More…]
  • Defense Infrastructure: Army Needs to Improve Its Facility Planning Systems to Better Support Installations Experiencing Significant Growth
    In U.S GAO News
    The Army is concurrently implementing several major force structure and basing initiatives, including Base Realignment and Closure, Grow the Force, and Army Modularity. The resulting large increase in personnel associated with these initiatives at many installations has required and will continue to require significant facility planning and construction to meet needs. GAO was asked to (1) describe the Army's investment in domestic facilities to meet the needs associated with the initiatives; (2) determine the extent to which the Army's facility planning systems are complete, current, and accurate; and (3) assess whether stationing information has been provided to installations far enough in advance to permit facility planning and acquisition to accommodate arriving personnel. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed relevant documentation; analyzed budget documents, information from Army planning systems, and facility criteria standards; visited installations; and interviewed relevant officials.For fiscal years 2006 through 2015, the Army plans to have spent about $31 billion to meet domestic installation facility needs associated with the personnel increases resulting from several major force structure and infrastructure initiatives. This investment will reduce facility shortages at the affected installations, but some shortages will still exist for certain types of facilities, including tactical vehicle maintenance facilities and battalion and company headquarters. The Army estimates that it could cost an additional $19 billion to eliminate the shortages. Yet, without these buildings, the Army will continue to rely on legacy facilities that often do not meet current Army standards or use relocatable facilities. The Army plans to evaluate these requirements and priorities in preparing future budget requests. The systems used by the Army to determine the number, type, and size of facilities needed to accommodate forces stationed at domestic installations have not always produced reliable results for some types of facilities because the systems have often relied on data that are not complete, current, or accurate. GAO examined the criteria system for 62 essential facility types and found that the system did not include the Army's current standard design criteria for 51 of the 62 facilities. Without current criteria embedded into the facility planning systems, the systems cannot help planners accurately calculate facility requirements. Additionally, GAO found that the automated calculations that produce facility allowances--a baseline for determining facility requirements--were questionable in several cases, such as producing a requirement for 74 baseball fields for Fort Bragg. Moreover, because the information from the planning systems is used to identify facility shortages and support budget decisions, incomplete, out-of-date, or inaccurate data could adversely affect management decisions about the construction and renovation of facilities. The Army has not always provided installation planners with information on stationing actions far enough in advance to allow the installations to prepare the permanent facilities necessary for arriving personnel. Army guidance recommends 5 years' lead time for submitting stationing packages for approval that require new construction; however, the size of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has led to an increase in the movement of Army personnel, has made this difficult. For example, GAO found cases where installations were informed of stationing decisions with less than a year's notice, which installation officials said was far less time than needed to prepare the required facilities. As a result, new facilities have not always been available for arriving units and installations have had to employ interim measures, such as using relocatable facilities or using sustainment funds to build facilities, which, in turn, could result in needed sustainment work going unmet. GAO also found that installations were not always being notified when proposed stationing actions had been delayed or canceled, potentially leading to funds being wasted on unnecessary preparations.
    [Read More…]
  • Q&A with the Student Who Named Ingenuity, NASA’s Mars Helicopter
    In Space
    As a longtime fan of [Read More…]
  • Alice man admits to distributing meth
    In Justice News
    A 29-year-old local [Read More…]
  • Timor-Leste Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel [Read More…]
  • Texas woman admits to smuggling cocaine
    In Justice News
    A resident of San [Read More…]
  • Statement by Attorney General William P. Barr on the Passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    In Crime News
    Attorney General William [Read More…]
  • U.S. Postal Service: Better Use of Climate Data Could Enhance the Climate Resilience of Postal Facilities
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found GAO's analysis of the United States Postal Service's (USPS) data found that about 1,065 USPS facilities—about 3 percent of USPS's over 32,000 facilities—sustained damage from 21 weather-related natural disasters from fiscal years 2015 through 2019. The damage, from floods, hurricanes, winter storms and other disasters, cost USPS over $30 million and ranged from broken flag poles to collapsed sections of buildings. USPS officials noted that any amount paid to repair damage is a challenge given USPS's poor financial condition. Impact of Most Costly Weather-Related Natural Disasters on the U.S. Postal Service's Facilities, Fiscal Years 2015–2019 GAO's analysis of USPS and federal climate data found that about one-third (just over 10,000) of USPS's facilities are in areas that may be affected by one or more potential climate change effects including flooding, storm surge, sea level rise, and wildfires. Most of the facilities at risk are post offices, but about one-third of USPS's mail processing and distribution facilities, which are crucial to USPS's ability to process and deliver mail, are also at risk. USPS has taken steps to incorporate climate resilience into its facilities, but its practices are not consistent with its policy to assess climate risk early in its investment process. Several factors can affect USPS's efforts to incorporate climate resilience into its facilities, including competing priorities for limited financial resources and a universal service mission that necessitates having facilities in all parts of the country—even in areas at heightened risk from climate change. Nevertheless, USPS has taken steps to incorporate climate resilience, such as adding resilience requirements to its facility guidance and developing a mapping tool to analyze climate data in its facility investment process. However, USPS currently uses these data at the end of the process, rather than in the preliminary planning steps, as specified in USPS policy. Using the data earlier could help USPS enhance the resilience of its facilities to climate change and ensure that Americans continue to have access to mail that they depend upon. Why GAO Did This Study USPS has one of the largest asset portfolios in the United States. Its post offices and other facilities are essential to the processing and delivery of mail, which millions of Americans rely on for communication and commerce. Weather-related natural disasters resulting from extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, can damage USPS's facilities and present financial and operational risks. According to a recent study, some extreme weather events are projected to become more frequent and intense due to climate change. Investing in climate resilience—taking actions to reduce potential damage by planning for extreme weather events—can help to manage climate change risks. GAO was asked to review the climate resilience of USPS's facilities. This report addresses: (1) how USPS's facilities have been affected by recent weather-related natural disasters; (2) the extent to which USPS's facilities may be affected by climate change effects; and (3) the extent to which USPS has taken steps to incorporate climate resilience into its facilities. GAO analyzed USPS facilities' data and financial data as well as federal climate data; reviewed prior GAO work on climate resilience, the Fourth National Climate Assessment , USPS policies and facility inspection reports; and interviewed USPS officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization
    In Crime News
    An Ohio man, who was scheduled to start jury trial today, pleaded guilty Friday evening to one count of attempting to provide material support – himself, as personnel – to foreign terrorist organizations, namely ISIS and ISIS Wilayat Khorasan (ISIS-K).
    [Read More…]

Crime

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