January 29, 2022

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Operation Legend Expanded to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee

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<div>Today, the expansion of Operation Legend was announced in Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee. Operation Legend is a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime. The Operation was first launched on July 8 in Kansas City, Missouri, and expanded on July 22, 2020, to Chicago and Albuquerque. Operation Legend is named in honor of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. The first federal arrest under Operation Legend was announced on July 20.</div>

Today, the expansion of Operation Legend was announced in Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee. Operation Legend is a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime. The Operation was first launched on July 8 in Kansas City, Missouri, and expanded on July 22, 2020, to Chicago and Albuquerque.

Operation Legend is named in honor of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. The first federal arrest under Operation Legend was announced on July 20.

“The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens,” said Attorney General William P. Barr. “Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee, three cities that have seen disturbing increases in violent crime, particularly homicides. For decades, the Department of Justice has achieved significant success when utilizing our anti-violent crime task forces and federal law enforcement agents to enforce federal law and assist American cities that are experiencing upticks in violent crime. The Department of Justice’s assets will supplement local law enforcement efforts, as we work together to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off of our streets.”

As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General Barr directed the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA, and ATF to significantly increase resources into Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee in the coming weeks to help state and local officials fight high levels of violent crime, particularly gun violence. Cleveland is currently experiencing a significant increase in violent crime, with homicides currently up more than 13 percent and shootings up over 35 percent over 2019. Similarly, homicides are up in Detroit nearly 31 percent and shootings resulting in wounds are up over 53 percent. In Milwaukee, homicides are up 85 percent this year, and non-fatal shootings are up 64 percent.  

In Cleveland, the Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending more than 25 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, and ATF to the city. Under the leadership of Justin Herdman, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, these investigators will complement the work already underway by existing joint federal, state and local task forces focused on combating violent gangs, gun crime, and drug trafficking organizations.  

The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $1 million to support Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Cleveland, and the COPS Office has also made almost $10 million available to the Cleveland Police Department to fund the hiring of 30 officers, five Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers, and four Adult Parole Authority officers.

In Detroit, the Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending approximately 42 federal agents from the FBI, DEA, and ATF to the city. An additional 10 Detroit ATF agents have been reassigned to work on violent gun crimes. Under the leadership of Matthew Schneider, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, these federal agents will work cooperatively with the Detroit Police Department to combat gun and gang violence, as they have been doing since December 2019. These additional resources include 11 new and permanent ATF Special Agents and five new and permanent FBI Special Agents who will focus on violent crime in the City of Detroit.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $1.4 million to support Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Detroit, and the COPS Office has also made $2.4 million available to the Detroit Police Department to fund the hiring of 15 officers.

In Milwaukee, the Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending more than 25 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service to the city. Under the leadership of Matthew Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, these investigators will complement the work already underway by existing joint federal, state and local task forces focused on combatting violent crime, including offenses involving firearms and violent drug trafficking organizations. 10 of those federal investigators are assigned to work in Milwaukee temporarily to provide immediate assistance, and the others will be assigned over the coming year to Milwaukee permanently to provide long-term assistance. 

The Bureau of Justice Assistance will make available $1.9 million in funding to support Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts in Milwaukee, and the COPS Office has also made $10.2 million available to the Police Departments of Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, and Cudahy to fund the hiring of 29 officers. 

The Department has also provided assistance through the Joint Law Enforcement Operations (JLEO) fund to assist reimbursement of local law enforcement serving as federal task force officers with FBI, ATF, DEA, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Each city will receive $100,000 from ATF to help local agencies defray costs associated with installing or maintaining shot detection technology.

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For example, appliance technicians might wear a holographic display headset configured with video cameras and distance and positioning sensors. The XR-enabled headset could then help guide them through an inspection or repair. In medicine, XR is emerging as a tool to help train surgeons by enabling interaction with three-dimensional images of anatomical structures (see fig. 2). In addition, specialists may be able to virtually examine organs or body systems in three dimensions using XR, rather than the more limited evaluations allowed by flat screens. Realistic XR renderings could help providers better understand the complexity of each patient, making medical procedures safer and more effective. Figure 2. Surgeons wear MR headsets to examine a personalized 3D model of a patient’s anatomy. Sensors track hand gestures and eye motion, and listen for verbal commands to control the model and the digital environment. Another promising health care application is VR-based psychotherapy for addiction disorders, in which therapists work with patients in a digital world. For example, therapists could monitor patients' heart rates and other responses to simulated situations, without exposing patients to an actual event in an uncontrolled environment. This could provide information to therapists and patients to tailor treatment. In workplace collaboration and training, XR may help workers become more efficient and skilled at lower cost and with less risk. For example, XR systems are currently used to train workers virtually before they actually operate complex systems, such as nuclear power plants. In the construction industry, architects, engineers, and project managers can collaborate in a virtual environment to plan and oversee projects. XR systems could also be used to help K-12 administrators improve security procedures and better protect the physical and operational security of their schools and students. How mature is it? Widespread use of XR has been limited, although it has been around for decades. As of January 2022, multiple XR hardware systems and software development platforms are available in the market, and the market is expanding rapidly. For instance, one global market research advisor estimates that yearly AR/VR headset shipments will increase from 9.7 million in 2021 to 32.8 million by 2025. Reasons for the anticipated growth include ongoing development of more sophisticated devices (e.g., smartphones), growing needs for a more skilled and productive workforce, and recent disruptions to workplace dynamics caused by social distancing associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, implementation of XR in business and government remains limited. Many of the applications described above are pilot programs, rather than mature uses of XR. Full deployment of these applications would require tailoring for broader use in different environments, and the widespread availability of key enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence and 5G. Artificial intelligence could provide users with customized and highly interactive XR experiences by interpreting large amounts of data. 5G network expansion may provide more reliable high-bandwidth communications to facilitate more diverse and complex XR technologies. Opportunities Access. XR could provide better access to jobs, medical care, and other opportunities for remote communities or people with few or no transportation options. Collaboration. XR could provide data sharing and digital workspaces that support collaborative design, planning, and decision-making. Data analysis. Analyzing data in XR environments might allow new kinds of knowledge generation or decision-making. 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These included difficulties finding and hiring staff, transitioning from waterfall to Agile software development, and managing technical environments. DOD's continued efforts to address these challenges will be critical to the department's implementation of modern software development approaches. DOD has also made organizational and policy changes intended to improve the management of its IT acquisitions, such as taking steps to implement Agile software development and improve data transparency. In addition, to address statutory requirements, DOD has taken steps to remove the department's chief management officer (CMO) position. However, the department had not yet sufficiently implemented these changes. Officials from many of the 18 programs GAO assessed that reported using Agile development reported that DOD had implemented activities associated with Agile transition best practices to only some or little to no extent, indicating that the department had not sufficiently implemented best practices. For example, 12 of the 18 programs reported that DOD's life-cycle activities only supported Agile methods to some or little to no extent. Program officials also reported challenges associated with implementing Agile software development. The department has a variety of efforts underway to help with its implementation of Agile software development. DOD officials stated that the department's transition to Agile will take years and will require sustained engagement throughout DOD. In addition, DOD has taken steps aimed at improving the sharing and transparency of data it uses to monitor its acquisitions. According to a November 2020 proposal from the Office of the Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment, DOD officials are to develop data strategies and metrics to assess performance for the department's acquisition pathways. However, as of February 2021, DOD did not have data strategies and had not finalized metrics for the two pathways associated with the programs discussed in this report. Officials said they were working with DOD programs and components to finalize initial pathway metrics. They stated that they plan to implement them in fiscal year 2021 and continue to refine and adjust them over the coming years. Without important data from acquistion pathways and systems, DOD risks not having timely quantitative insight into program performance, including its acquisition reform efforts. Finally, DOD's CMO position was eliminated by a statute enacted in January 2021. This position was responsible for key efforts associated with the department's business systems modernization, which has been on GAO's High Risk List since 1995. DOD plans to take steps to address the uncertainty associated with the recent elimination of the position. Why GAO Did This Study For fiscal year 2021, DOD requested approximately $37.7 billion for IT investments. These investments included major business IT programs, which are intended to help the department carry out key business functions, such as financial management and health care. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 included a provision for GAO to assess selected IT programs annually through March 2023. GAO's objectives for this review were to (1) summarize DOD's reported performance of its portfolio of IT acquisition programs and the reasons for this performance; (2) evaluate DOD's assessments of program risks; (3) summarize DOD's approaches to software development and cybersecurity and identify associated challenges; and (4) evaluate how selected organizational and policy changes could affect IT acquisitions. To address these objectives, GAO selected 29 major business IT programs that DOD reported to the federal IT Dashboard (a public website that includes information on the performance of major IT investments) as of September 2020. GAO reviewed planned expenditures for these programs, from fiscal years 2019 through 2022, as reported in the department's FY 2021 budget request. It also aggregated program office responses to a GAO questionnaire that requested information about cost and schedule changes that occurred since January 2019 and the early impacts of COVID-19. GAO also analyzed the risks of the 22 programs that were actively using central repositories known as risk registers to manage program risks. GAO used these registers to create program risk ratings, and then compared its ratings to those of the DOD chief information officer (CIO). In addition, GAO aggregated DOD program office responses to the questionnaire that requested information about the software and cybersecurity practices used by 22 of the 29 IT programs that were actively developing software. GAO compared the responses to relevant guidance and leading practices. GAO reviewed selected IT-related organizational and policy changes and reviewed reports and documentation related to the effects of these changes on IT acquisitions. GAO also aggregated program office responses to the questionnaire that requested information about DOD's implementation of these changes. This included information on DOD's implementation of best practices as part of its efforts to implement Agile software development. GAO met with relevant DOD officials to discuss each of the topics addressed in this report.
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  • Social Security Contracting: Relevant Guidance Should Be Revised to Reflect the Role of Contracting Personnel in Software Development
    In U.S GAO News
    The approach followed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in awarding and overseeing contracts generally aligns with the requirements GAO reviewed. For the 27 contracts and orders GAO reviewed, SSA varied its approach depending on the contract type used and the dollar value. For example, one of SSA's written acquisition plans acknowledged the risks to the government associated with time-and-materials contracts. From fiscal year 2015 through 2019, SSA obligated 22.7 percent of its contract dollars on time-and-material contracts compared with 10.5 percent at other civilian agencies. In addition, from fiscal year 2015 through 2019, the rate at which SSA used competitive award procedures to achieve the best value for the agency increased by nearly 20 percentage points. This increase was the result of the agency's increased use of competition in its contracting for information technology (IT). SSA relies heavily on IT resources to support the administration of its programs and related activities. During fiscal years 2015 through 2019, about 65 percent of the $8.3 billion in contract obligations were for IT goods and services compared with about 16 percent at other civilian agencies. The figure shows the percentage of obligations for IT goods and services at SSA. Percentage of Social Security Administration's Contract Obligations for Goods and Services during Fiscal Years 2015 through 2019 SSA adopted an Agile approach to software development for some of its critical IT programs in 2015. An Agile approach to software development involves incremental improvements to software rather than the more traditional single-track approach. Subsequently, SSA developed an IT modernization plan in 2017 that states SSA will use an Agile methodology. GAO's draft Agile Assessment Guide states that an organization's acquisition policies and guidance should support an Agile development approach and identify clear roles for contracting personnel, since this is a different approach than federal agencies previously used. However, GAO found SSA's acquisition handbook does not specifically identify a role for contracting personnel with respect to contracts and task orders involving Agile, which GAO has identified as a leading practice. Identifying a role for contracting personnel in the Agile process should better position SSA to achieve its IT modernization goals and provide appropriate levels of oversight. SSA is responsible for delivering services that touch the lives of virtually every American. To do so, SSA relies on a variety of products and services, including information technology (IT) systems. SSA obligates approximately $1.5 billion annually to procure goods and services, 65 percent of which are IT-related. GAO was asked to assess how SSA implements its contracting and acquisition processes. This report examines: (1) how SSA awards and oversees contracts for products and services, and (2) the extent to which SSA has updated its guidance regarding the role of contracting personnel in software development efforts. GAO reviewed SSA's acquisition policies, interviewed contracting officials, and reviewed a non-generalizable sample of 27 high- and lower value contracts and orders with dollars obligated in fiscal years 2014 through 2018. GAO also examined data from fiscal years 2015-2019 to determine what SSA contracted for and reviewed IT guidance. GAO compared SSA's practices to leading practices for Agile software development with respect to the roles of contracting personnel. GAO recommends that SSA revise relevant guidance to identify the roles of contracting personnel in Agile software development. SSA agreed with this recommendation. For more information, contact William Woods at (202) 512-4841 or woodsw@gao.gov.
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