Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
Around the world, violence against women harms not only millions of women and girls every year, but also their communities and families. Violence against women, whether in the workforce, the home, a school environment, or as a result of conflict or crisis, is never acceptable. The United States recognizes the inherent dignity that every woman and girl possesses and is committed to preventing and responding to violence against women.
Every woman and girl deserves to live a life free from violence. Eliminating violence against women removes significant barriers to women’s empowerment, enabling them to become trailblazers, innovators, and leaders in their communities. These efforts require the dedication of governments, the private sector, and civil society to create an enduring impact. The United States is proud to observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 and the accompanying 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The United States recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has uniquely and disproportionately impacted women – from increased rates of violence against women to increased employment insecurity. It is time for the international community to come together to end violence against women, stand with and empower survivors, and emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever before. The United States is committed to doing so for the sake of national security, global prosperity, and the rights and dignity of women and girls worldwide.
- Special Representative Ambassador Jeffrey Travels to BelgiumBy Sam NewsMarch 9, 2020
- U.S.-Canada High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate AmbitionBy Sam NewsFebruary 24, 2021
- Foreign National Sentenced for Money Laundering Funds to Promote Turtle TraffickingBy Sam NewsOctober 6, 2021A Chinese citizen was sentenced today to 38 months in prison and one year of supervised release on a federal money laundering conviction.[Read More…]
- Spectrum Management: Agencies Should Strengthen Collaborative Mechanisms and Processes to Address Potential InterferenceBy Sam NewsJuly 20, 2021What GAO Found The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) regulate and manage spectrum, and other agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are among federal spectrum users. To address potential interference among proposed uses of spectrum, these agencies employ various coordination mechanisms. For domestic matters, the agencies coordinate through an NTIA-led committee that provides input to FCC's spectrum proceedings. For U.S. participation in the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC), agencies coordinate via a preparatory committee that provides input used to develop U.S. positions that the Department of State submits to a regional body or directly to the WRC (see figure). Technical Coordination Process for U.S. Participation in WRC These mechanisms reflect some key collaboration practices but do not fully reflect others. For example, while the documents that guide coordination between FCC and NTIA and the preparatory committee emphasize reaching consensus whenever possible, there are no clearly defined and agreed-upon processes for resolving matters when agencies cannot do so. Additionally, neither document has been updated in almost 20 years, though agency officials said conditions regarding spectrum management activities have changed in that time. GAO's review of U.S. participation in ITU's 2019 WRC shows that these issues affected collaboration. For example, disputes among the agencies and the inability to reach agreement on U.S. technical contributions challenged the U.S.'s ability to present an agreed-upon basis for decisions or a unified position. NOAA and NASA conduct and FCC and NTIA review technical interference studies on a case-by-case basis. When originating from ITU activities, the agencies conduct or review technical interference studies through participation in international technical meetings and the preparatory committee process. However, the lack of consensus on study design and, within the U.S. process, specific procedures to guide the design of these types of studies, hampered U.S. efforts to prepare for the 2019 WRC. For example, the U.S. did not submit its studies on certain key issues to the final technical meeting, resulting in some stakeholders questioning whether the corresponding U.S. positions were technically rooted. Agreed-upon procedures could help guide U.S. efforts to design these studies and consider tradeoffs between what is desirable versus practical, to mitigate the possibility of protracted disagreements in the future. Why GAO Did This Study Spectrum is a scarce resource that supports vital services, such as mobile communications and Earth-observing satellites. In the U.S., FCC and NTIA regulate and manage nonfederal and federal spectrum use, respectively, while the ITU sets global regulations and hosts conferences to update them. Recent U.S. and ITU activities have sought to designate spectrum for possible 5G use and to study how to do so without causing harmful interference to other uses, particularly satellites like those operated by NOAA and NASA that contribute to weather forecasting and climate science. GAO was asked to review how agencies coordinate on and study these matters. Among other objectives, this report examines: (1) the extent that cognizant federal agencies follow leading practices in collaborating on potential interference effects on weather forecasting and (2) their processes to conduct and review technical interference studies. GAO reviewed documentation and interviewed officials from FCC, NTIA, NOAA, and NASA; analyzed how various agency mechanisms and processes were implemented during recent FCC and ITU spectrum-management activities; and compared agencies' efforts to key collaboration practices and applicable key elements of a sound research process.[Read More…]
- Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Criminal Division Delivers Remarks on Operation Dark HunTorBy Sam NewsOctober 26, 2021Operation Dark HunTor stands as our most recent victory in the global fight against cyber-enabled drug trafficking. The online trafficking of opioids, particularly fentanyl, poses a lethal threat to not only the United States, but also to our European and Australian counterparts, and beyond. This is a global threat that requires a global response. Our communities now face the constant threat of relatively easy access to dangerous illicit drugs now being peddled not on a street corner but in cyber space. Operation Dark HunTor highlights both the magnitude of this lethal threat, and the significant efforts we are taking at the Department of Justice to address it.[Read More…]
- Public Designation, Due to Involvement in Significant Corruption, of Former Guatemalan Minister Alejandro SinibaldiBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Meet with Fellow G7 Enforcement Partners on Competition in Digital MarketsBy Sam NewsNovember 29, 2021Today, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina M. Khan participated in a Competition Enforcers Summit (Summit) as part of the 2021 G7 Digital and Technology Track. The Summit, hosted by the UK Competition and Markets Authority, explored how competition agencies are approaching the challenges posed by digital markets.[Read More…]
- Louisiana Doctor Indicted for Illegally Dispensing Over One Million Doses of Opioids and for $5.1 Million Health Care Fraud SchemeBy Sam NewsAugust 27, 2021A federal grand jury in New Orleans, Louisiana, returned an indictment today charging a Louisiana physician for his role in distributing over 1,200,000 doses of Schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone and morphine, outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, and for maintaining his clinic for the purpose of illegally distributing controlled substances. Today’s indictment also charges the physician with defrauding health care benefit programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, of more than $5,100,000, given that the opioid prescriptions were filled using health insurance benefits.[Read More…]
- DOD Acquisition Outcomes: A Case for ChangeBy Sam NewsAugust 25, 2021The Department of Defense (DOD) is shepherding a portfolio of major weapon systems valued at about $1.3 trillion. How DOD is managing this investment has been a matter of concern for some time. Since 1990, GAO has designated DOD's weapon system acquisitions as a high-risk area for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. DOD has experienced cost overruns, missed deadlines, performance shortfalls, and persistent management problems. In light of the serious budget pressures facing the nation, such problems are especially troubling. GAO has issued hundreds of reports addressing broad-based issues, such as best practices, as well as reports focusing on individual acquisitions. These reports have included many recommendations. Congress asked GAO to testify on possible problems with and improvements to defense acquisition policy. In doing so, we highlight the risks of conducting business as usual and identify some of the solutions we have found in successful acquisition programs and organizations.DOD is facing a cascading number of problems in managing its acquisitions. Cost increases incurred while developing new weapon systems mean DOD cannot produce as many of those weapons as intended nor can it be relied on to deliver to the warfighter when promised. Military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are consuming a large share of DOD resources and causing the department to invest more money sooner than expected to replace or fix existing weapons. Meanwhile, DOD is intent on transforming military operations and has its eye on multiple megasystems that are expected to be the most expensive and complex ever. These costly conditions are running head-on into the nation's unsustainable fiscal path. DOD knows what to do to achieve more successful outcomes but finds it difficult to apply the necessary discipline and controls or assign much-needed accountability. DOD has written into policy an approach that emphasizes attaining a certain level of knowledge at critical junctures before managers agree to invest more money in the next phase of weapon system development. This knowledge-based approach results in evolutionary--that is, incremental, manageable, predictable--development and inserts several controls to help managers gauge progress in meeting cost, schedule, and performance goals. But DOD is not employing the knowledge-based approach, discipline is lacking, and business cases are weak. Persistent practices show a decided lack of restraint. DOD's requirements process generates more demand for new programs than fiscal resources can support. DOD compounds the problem by approving so many highly complex and interdependent programs. Once too many programs are approved to start, the budgeting process exacerbates problems. Because programs are funded annually and departmentwide, cross-portfolio priorities have not been established, competition for funding continues over time, forcing programs to view success as the ability to secure the next funding increment rather than delivering capabilities when and as promised. Improving this condition requires discipline in the requirements and budgetary processes. Determining who should be held accountable for deviations and what penalties are needed is crucial. If DOD cannot discipline itself now to execute programs within fiscal realities, then draconian, budget-driven decisions may have to be made later.[Read More…]
- Department of State Offers Reward Increase for Information to Bring Transnational Criminal to JusticeBy Sam NewsMarch 4, 2021Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
- Military Readiness: Joint Policy Needed to Better Manage the Training and Use of Certain Forces to Meet Operational DemandsBy Sam NewsAugust 24, 2021Military operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism, particularly those in Iraq and Afghanistan, have challenged the Department of Defense's (DOD) ability to provide needed ground forces. Section 354 of the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act directed GAO to report on a number of military readiness issues. In this report, GAO addresses (1) the extent to which DOD's use of nonstandard forces to meet ground force requirements has impacted the force and (2) the extent to which DOD has faced challenges in managing the training and use of these forces, and taken steps to address any challenges. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed DOD policies, guidance, and data and interviewed department, joint, combatant command, and service officials as well as trainers and over 300 deploying, deployed, and redeploying servicemembers.The use of nonstandard forces--individuals in certain temporary positions, and units with missions that require the unit personnel to learn new skills or operate in different environments--has helped DOD fulfill U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) requirements that the Army otherwise would not have been able to fill, but these efforts have also caused challenges across the force. For certain Navy and Air Force occupational specialties, these nonstandard force deployments have challenged the services' abilities to (1) balance the amount of time their forces are deployed with the amount of time they spend at home, and (2) meet other standard mission requirements. Some of the communities that have been most affected by nonstandard force deployments include the engineering, security force, and explosive ordnance disposal communities. In addition, the services have been challenged by emerging requirements for capabilities which do not exist in any of the services' standard forces, such as the transition teams that train local forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. These requirements are particularly taxing because the teams are composed primarily of officers and senior noncommissioned officers. Because standard forces do not exist to meet these leadership requirements, the services are forced to take leaders from other commands, which must then perform their missions without a full complement of leaders. The steps that DOD has taken to increase coordination between the services and CENTCOM have helped DOD manage challenges related to nonstandard forces, but additional steps are needed to ensure consistency in training and using these forces. Nonstandard forces face more complex relationships than standard forces, making coordination of their training and use more challenging. Specifically, their training requirements are established by both the services and theater commanders and training may be conducted by trainers from another service. In addition, while deployed, these forces often report to commanders from two different services. Furthermore, authorities concerning the training and use of forces do not specifically address the training and use of nonstandard forces. DOD has taken significant steps to coordinate the training of its nonstandard forces through regular conferences at which CENTCOM and service officials develop detailed training plans for some nonstandard forces. However, the training of individual augmentees has not been fully coordinated. As a result, individuals who perform the same types of tasks may receive different levels of training. Also, the services waive training requirements without consistently coordinating with CENTCOM, so CENTCOM lacks full visibility over the extent to which all of its forces have met requirements. To increase support and oversight of the use of nonstandard forces in theater, the services have taken steps to improve coordination, which have reduced instances where nonstandard forces' missions, tasks, or organization are modified. However, the services do not have full visibility over their nonstandard forces and view the authority of ground force commanders differently, which has sometimes led to differences in their use of nonstandard forces.[Read More…]
- Man Pleads Guilty to Directing COVID-Relief Fraud SchemeBy Sam NewsFebruary 23, 2021A Wisconsin man pleaded guilty today for his role in fraudulently obtaining over $1 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.[Read More…]
- Department Press Briefing – March 5, 2021By Sam NewsMarch 5, 2021Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
- Public Health and the Draw Down of the Migrant Protection Protocols ProgramBy Sam NewsFebruary 19, 2021
- Special Representative for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim’s Trilateral Call with Republic of Korea (ROK) Special Representative Noh and Japan Director General FunakoshiBy Sam NewsJanuary 17, 2022
- Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks at Announcement of Pattern or Practice Investigation into the Louisville Police DepartmentBy Sam NewsApril 26, 2021Remarks as delivered.[Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks at the Virtual Kenya-U.S. Interagency Clean Energy EventBy Sam NewsApril 27, 2021Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
- Puerto Rico Men Charged with Hate Crimes for Shooting Transgender Woman with a Paintball GunBy Sam NewsAugust 6, 2021A federal grand jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico, returned a three-count indictment charging Jordany Rafael Laboy García, Christian Yamaurie Rivera Otero and Anthony Steven Lobos Ruiz with hate crimes for assaulting a transgender woman because of her gender identity.[Read More…]
- Disaster Response: Agencies Should Assess Contracting Workforce Needs and Purchase Card Fraud RiskBy Sam NewsNovember 24, 2020The efforts of selected agencies to plan for disaster contracting activities and assess contracting workforce needs varied. The U.S. Forest Service initiated efforts to address its disaster response contracting workforce needs while three agencies—the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Coast Guard, and Department of the Interior (DOI)—partially addressed these needs. The Environmental Protection Agency indicated it did not have concerns fulfilling its disaster contracting responsibilities. Specifically, GAO found the following: USACE assigned clear roles and responsibilities for disaster response contracting activities, but has not formally assessed its contracting workforce to determine if it can fulfill these roles. The Coast Guard has a process to assess its workforce needs, but it does not account for contracting for disaster response activities. DOI is developing a strategic acquisition plan and additional guidance for its bureaus on how to structure their contracting functions, but currently does not account for disaster contracting responsibilities. Contracting officials at all three of these agencies identified challenges executing their regular responsibilities along with their disaster-related responsibilities during the 2017 and 2018 hurricane and wildfire seasons. For example, Coast Guard contracting officials stated they have fallen increasingly behind since 2017 and that future disaster response missions would not be sustainable with their current workforce. GAO's strategic workforce planning principles call for agencies to determine the critical skills and competencies needed to achieve future programmatic results. Without accounting for disaster response contracting activities in workforce planning, these agencies are missing opportunities to ensure their contracting workforces are equipped to respond to future disasters. The five agencies GAO reviewed from above, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), collectively spent more than $20 million for 2017 and 2018 disaster response activities using purchase cards. GAO found that two of these six agencies—Forest Service and EPA—have not completed fraud risk profiles for their purchase card programs that align with leading practices in GAO's Fraud Risk Framework. Additionally, five of the six agencies have not assessed or documented how their fraud risk for purchase card use might differ in a disaster response environment. DOI completed such an assessment during the course of our review. An Office of Management and Budget memorandum requires agencies to complete risk profiles for their purchase card programs that include fraud risk. GAO's Fraud Risk Framework states managers should assess fraud risk regularly and document those assessments in risk profiles. The framework also states that risk profiles may differ in the context of disaster response when managers may have a higher fraud risk tolerance since individuals in these environments have an urgent need for products and services. Without assessing fraud risk for purchase card programs or how risk may change in a disaster response environment, agencies may not design or implement effective internal controls, such as search criteria to identify fraudulent transactions. The 2017 and 2018 hurricanes and California wildfires affected millions of people and caused billions of dollars in damages. Extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent and intense due to climate change. Federal contracts for goods and services play a key role in disaster response and recovery, and government purchase cards can be used by agency staff to buy needed items. GAO was asked to review federal response and recovery efforts related to recent disasters. This report examines the extent to which selected agencies planned for their disaster response contracting activities, assessed their contracting workforce needs, and assessed the fraud risk related to their use of purchase cards for disaster response. GAO selected six agencies based on contract obligations for 2017 and 2018 disasters; analyzed federal procurement and agency data; reviewed agencies' policies on workforce planning, purchase card use, and fraud risk; and analyzed purchase card data. FEMA was not included in the examination of workforce planning due to prior GAO work. GAO is making 12 recommendations, including to three agencies to assess disaster response contracting needs in workforce planning, and to five agencies to assess fraud risk for purchase card use in support of disaster response. For more information, contact Marie A. Mak at (202) 512-4841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[Read More…]
- Protecting U.S. Investors from Financing Communist Chinese Military CompaniesBy Sam NewsDecember 29, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]