January 25, 2022


News Network

Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a Joint Press Availability

22 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Kyiv, Ukraine

Office of the President of Ukraine

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter) Dear representatives of the media, you have your opportunity to put questions to president of Ukraine and State Secretary of the U.S.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  (Via interpreter) I would like to apologize for infringing upon your rule procedure, but a couple opening remarks from myself and Secretary of State.  I would like to talk essentially and without emotions – unlikely emotions.

The United States of America is represented at this level for the first time in my life.  I have State Secretary here and Victoria Nuland and all the team.  This is the first meeting, but I have this feeling of familiarity because the team has been well-versed in our developments.  You’re well posted on all the details.  Sometimes, this is a disadvantage, but – to have such well-informed interlocutors, but your – the awareness of the U.S. team on the developments in the Ukrainian Donbas is striking.  And they’re supporting us not just in words but in deeds – our sovereignty, our territorial integrity.

And quite frankly, I’d like to say that we’ve made many steps to stop the buildup and escalation, the recent buildup along the Ukrainian borders.  And so we prevented some developments, especially coming from this side of the temporarily occupied areas in the Donbas and the Crimean peninsula that belongs to Ukraine.  And we discussed the issues not just of our occupied territories and the illegal annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation, but also Nord Stream 2.  This is of utmost importance and a very sensitive issue for Ukraine.

There are different positions imaginable in Europe.  Unfortunately, there is not always coinciding with the Ukraine’s stance, but we have a full understanding with the United States, and their sanction policy is very well present and appreciated by us.  Some things we have achieved, some where we have covered part of the distance, but the meeting has been very essential and significant.

We hope that this is going to be a fundamental year of our bilateral relations.  This is fundamental for Ukraine because this is the 30th anniversary of our regained independence, and under the auspices of this, we will open the Crimean Platform, the first venue to support Ukrainian Crimea and de-occupy the peninsula.  I invited President Biden and Vice President of the U.S.  We believe that this year, the year of such symbolic developments for Ukraine, the United States by all means will be with us and play – pay us a visit officially and not so officially.

Thank you very much.  The floor is yours.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Mr. President, thank you very, very much.  Thank you for your hospitality, thank you for already some very, very good and detailed meetings.  I’m particularly delighted to be back in Kyiv in Ukraine.  And I really came, as I told you, on one of my first trips as Secretary of State to convey personally on behalf of President Biden how deeply we value our friendship, our partnership with Ukraine.  And I think we are in the process of really reinvigorating that partnership.  We are proud to stand by your side to secure a prosperous and democratic future for all the people of this country.

And as the president told you when you spoke, and as I reiterated today, we are committed to Ukraine’s independence, to its sovereignty, to its territorial integrity.  And by the way, I’m pleased to note that that sentiment was very much shared by all of our colleagues at the G7 meeting that I just came from in London.  To some extent, what we’re doing today here reflects the breadth and depth of the relationship we have because even in the short amount of time that we’re here today, I was able to see leaders of the Rada this morning.  Had a very good meeting with my good friend, the foreign minister.  We’ve been working very closely together for – since I came to office.

I managed to visit the majestic St. Michael’s Monastery and was very grateful that his beatitude gave me a tour.  We were able to pay tribute to those who’ve lost their lives defending Ukraine’s democracy, and it’s very, very moving to be at the wall, to see the pictures of these individuals.  Monuments are powerful things, but I think this is especially powerful because you see in those pictures each life, and you think of the mothers and fathers, the sisters and brothers, the children who have lost their loved ones because they were defending Ukraine.  And it’s very, very, very powerful.

I’ll have an opportunity to see the prime minister as well.  We’ll be meeting with representatives of your very strong civil society.  And in all of this, I think it just shows the breadth of what we’re doing together.

As the president said, we had very wide-ranging discussions.  We talked about Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.  I emphasized the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to supporting the vital work that Ukraine is undertaking to advance reforms, to tackle corruption, to implement a strong reform agenda based on the shared democratic values we have.  We know from our own experiences we talked about, that the work of reforming institutions is hard.  There are powerful interests lined up against reform and against anticorruption efforts.  Those include external forces like Russia but also internal forces like oligarchs and other powerful individuals who are pursuing their own narrow interests through illegitimate means at the expense of the interests of the Ukrainian people.  And we know that effectively combating corruption is one of the most important issues to the Ukrainian people and it’s crucial to improving their lives, from the services they rely upon to the opportunities they are able to pursue.

So we talked about a number of areas where this work is so important: corporate governance, transparency, the integrity and independence of the anticorruption bodies, the judiciary, and we had a very good – a very good exchange on all of that.

Let me just say also that we spent some time talking about the threat that Russia continues to pose to Ukraine.  We’ve been watching this very, very closely and very, very carefully.  We’re proud to have supported Ukraine in the face of years of Russian aggression and pressure, from the invasion of Crimea to hostilities in the Donbas.  And of course, Ukraine was tested again just weeks ago this spring as Russia pushed more forces to Ukraine’s border than at any time since 2014 when it invaded.  And I can tell you, Mr. President, that we stand strongly with you.  Partners do as well.  I heard the same thing when I was at NATO a couple of weeks ago.  And we look to Russia to cease reckless and aggressive actions.

We’ll continue to strengthen our security partnership in close collaboration with you to make sure that Ukraine can defend itself against aggression.  We’re aware that Russia has withdrawn some forces from the border of Ukraine, but we also see that significant forces remain there, significant equipment remains there.  We’re monitoring the situation very, very closely.  As I said, regardless of the movement that Russia is making back and forth, one thing is tragically constant, and that is that there are casualties every day along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, and cyber attacks, abuses of its place in the seas, all of this is a daily occurrence.

And ultimately, let me just say in conclusion that we oppose Russia’s destabilizing actions toward Ukraine for the same reason we believe these anticorruption and rule of law reforms are so important, because corrupt interests and Russian aggression both seek in different ways to do the same thing, and that is to take away from the Ukrainian people what is rightfully theirs: their right to make their own decisions, to use their resources as they see fit, and whether that be resources, territory, justice, or simply the ability to chart the country’s future, those are decisions for a sovereign Ukraine and the Ukrainian people to make, and no one else.

So Mr. President, again, it’s so good to be here, but also so good to have an opportunity to work with you and to really reinvigorate the partnership between our countries.  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter) We have time for two questions from the Ukrainian media, Ukraine TV network.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  (Via interpreter) So I have two.  My questions to President Zelenskyy and Secretary Blinken:  Mr. President, can you tell us how we will deepen the military cooperation with the United States?  Have you discussed this with the Secretary of State here?  And the second question:  Have you discussed the opportunity to meet Joe Biden?  Because it’s such – Ukraine has insisted upon such opportunity.

(In English.) Mr. State Secretary, the same questions I have to you.  Have you discussed with the Ukrainian president strengthening and deepening of military support of Ukraine?  Because we’re faced with ongoing Russian aggression.  And the second – my question is about how do you estimate the oaths of our president to meet with the President of the United States Joe Biden?  Because as you know, our country is willing to have this meeting.  Thank you.  We would highly appreciate this possibility.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  (Via interpreter) Well, thank you for the question, and two in one.  Let me start with the latter part.  I have discussed this already.  I mentioned it at the very beginning in my talking points.  Yes, I invited President Joe Biden to officially visit Ukraine.  This year, this is our 30th anniversary of the regained independence.  I don’t know what will the format of this meeting exactly.  It depends on our both countries.  But the invitation is accepted, I understand, and I believe that the meeting will happen.  It is very important for both our countries.

Now, speaking of the military support and financial support and technical assistance coming from the U.S. for Ukraine, yes, it is happening.  It is unfolding.  I would like to thank for the bipartisan and bicameral support coming from the U.S.  We increased the military, the financial support.  Indeed, we discussed separately the format of support of – as – which is fundamental, the alliance issue, and possible bilateral very serious agreement.  But this is for the future to tell; it is too early to discuss any detail.

And we also discussed the issue of security in the Black Sea and Azov Sea regions, and we can see some joint action there.  One of the fundamental ideas, I think – well, I cannot discuss it publicly yet.  We have to reconcile this idea, finalize it, and then we will come to the public with it.  But we can see support in a very important point of development of our history for our nation, for our people.  It is very important for our people to feel support of our partners.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  And thank you very much.  So two things.  Yes, we – as the president said, we discussed in some detail the support that we’re providing, we’ll continue to provide to Ukraine to continue to strengthen its security, its defenses.  And that’s something that we are working on very, very actively, and, by the way, other strong supporters of Ukraine are looking at the same thing.

And I very much appreciated the invitation that the president extended to President Biden, which of course I’ll share with the President as soon as we get back to Washington.  I know that he looks very much forward to the opportunity to meet, especially after the very good conversation that you had.  I know he will welcome the opportunity at the right time to come back to Ukraine, where he spent much time in the past.

As you all know, we continue to face challenges with COVID-19 and – that make travel challenging.  We’ll be testing the proposition soon when the President makes his first trip.  We’ve been – he’s been in office for more than four months and we, of course, have not yet had the opportunity to travel, so – but we’ll be doing that soon.  And I know that at some point, he will very much want to, of course, see you and return to Ukraine.

MR PRICE:  We’ll turn to Barbara Usher of the BBC.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Here we are.  Just a few follow-up questions on that.  On security, you mentioned that the Russians had not withdrawn all their forces; in fact, left a sizable force there.  What – both of you – what is your assessment of the threat level, especially as NATO is beginning a series of military exercises in the region?

On U.S. support, you both talked, I think generally, about strengthening military assistance, a possible NATO agreement, but nothing concrete at the moment.  So if you could confirm that there’s no new steps on the military and NATO side, but is there anything new to announce about an expanded diplomatic role for the United States when it comes to the Minsk peace talks?  I know that’s something that you’ve been looking for.

And then finally, about reform, Rudy Giuliani is back in the news.  Was his involvement here, President, a setback for the anticorruption reform?  And can you respond to U.S. criticism of the firing of the Naftogaz board, which the State Department has said is a setback for the anticorruption reform?

And Mr. Blinken, will that move – will that affect in any way assistance tied to reforms?  Thank you very much.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  (Via interpreter) Thank you.  Where are you?  (Laughter.)  I see you put the question.  Face the answer.

Well, thank you very much for your question or questions, in plural.  First of all, about the number of the force and the contingent of the Russian military presence along the borders, you put this question to us both or Secretary Blinken alone?  Well, both of us, all right.

What we see is so far, despite the buildup and the contingent and the equipment and the weapons in the Crimean Peninsula and the temporarily occupied parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions and also along the borders between Ukraine and Russia, the military strength and equipment, we have tens of thousands of units and members of the personnel.  That’s what we have, and our intelligence and our professional military can see 3,000 to 3,500-strong force, which is being withdrawn now from the territory of the temporarily occupied annex Crimea.  This is it, so we can imagine a threat.  We do not want any surprises there.

At the same time, I would like to tell you the truth.  We have fewer sniper shots fired, and glory be to all our supporters, and thank God for that because sniper fire is responsible for the majority of our casualties and dead.

QUESTION:  (Off-mike.)

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  (Via interpreter) You don’t hear?

QUESTION:  There was an interruption in the translation, but it’s okay.  Continue.

PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY:  Russian translators, they’re here.  (Laughter.)  They’re everywhere.  (Laughter.)

QUESTION:  An interruption – a Russian interruption in the translation (inaudible).


(Via interpreter) So this is – this is – well, I have answered that, and you can see fewer sniper shots fired.  And unfortunately, we have more UAVs coming from the separatist side in temporarily occupied Donbas.  Now, speaking of – you asked me about Rudy Giuliani being back and his hand in – and I’m not sure what – Naftogaz?  Because I didn’t know —

QUESTION:  Those were two separate questions.  So the question was:  Was his involvement here at the time, was that a setback for anticorruption reform?


(Via interpreter) Well, quite frankly, I think that – well, I – I’m sorry.  I’d like to be as correct as I can, but I’m no – I don’t know how aware are you of the reforms made before our team came to office and while we are in office.  The anticorruption court had to be introduced and become operational.  That was done in – during my presidency.  National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine, NABU, is now independent.  Any case should be finalized.  If it is not adjudicated, there is no sentence and there is no outcome.  So it should – it is 50/50.  One hundred percent success is putting all the corruption – the corrupt people behind bars, but this can only be done by the specialized anticorruption court.

The land reforms, for 30 years it was discussed under the previous presidency.  And this is not just a law voted for.  This is 11 new bills and the 12th is in making, and this is the land reform for you, a big reform in Ukraine.  Now we have this special competition for the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office.  And the Constitutional Court should be reset.  It used to work against the people of Ukraine.  And I’m very open that the superpowers for the Constitutional Court judges were provided by the previous president, the previous administration.

But let’s not talk about the past.  Let bygones be bygones and let’s discuss the future.  We have many developments in the parliamentary pipeline: the bill on the water transport which is fundamental, the banking law and fundamental reforms.  A lot has been done.  So I don’t understand where the setback is because I’m – I think we are quite on schedule.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much.  In terms of the threat, it remains.  Russia has pulled back some forces, but significant forces remain at Ukraine’s border.  It has pulled back some equipment, but significant equipment remains near Ukraine’s border.  And so Russia has the capacity on fairly short notice to take aggressive action if it so chooses, and so we are watching this very, very carefully.  We’re in close contact.  I must tell you that I admire the restraint that Ukraine has shown in the face of these provocative actions, in the face of this aggression.  And as we were discussing a few minutes ago, Ukrainians continue to lose their lives on a regular basis, and yet the restraint is very, very real and very much appreciated.  Ukraine has not taken to the provocations by Russia.  So we’re very focused on this, as are many allies and partners.  This is the subject of extensive discussion at the most recent NATO meetings, and as well at the meetings of the G7 just in the last two days.

In turn, we are, as I said, actively looking at strengthening even further our security cooperation and our security assistance to Ukraine.  Nothing to announce today, but it’s something that we’re very actively looking at.

We’ve – we also discussed the diplomacy, the Minsk process and commitments that were made, and we’ll always continue to explore ways to see if there are opportunities to help advance the diplomacy.  But there again, Russia continues to be the recalcitrant party in not engaging in good faith in trying to resolve the – both Crimea, of course, and the Donbas, and restoring what is rightfully Ukraine’s, which is its border and its territorial integrity and sovereignty over its – over all of Ukraine.

Finally, we talked extensively about reform efforts and how important those are.  As I said, when you look at it, really, Ukraine faces twin challenges: aggression from outside coming from Russia, and in effect, aggression from within coming from corruption, oligarchs, and others who are putting their interests ahead of those of the Ukrainian people.  And these two things are linked because Russia also plays on that internal aggression, using corruption and using individuals to try to advance its interests as opposed to those of the Ukrainian people.  And in that context, we talked about the importance of continuing to move forward with corporate governance.  That’s tremendously important, including with regard to Naftogaz, we – but beyond Naftogaz, other major institutions.

We talked about the importance of a strong, independent anticorruption board.  We talked about the importance of moving forward with reforms of the judiciary and the way judges are selected. We talked about the important work that’s being done in the Rada right now on reform of the security services.  The bill on reform got its first reading.  That’s a very positive development.  As the president said, it’s also important to note that there’s been – just as there are significant remaining challenges, there’s been real progress as well.  The land reform the president talked about, I think, is very significant, new laws focused on dealing with illicit gains, new laws focused on reforming parliamentary immunities.  These are very, very significant as well.

The last thing I’d say is that the laws are very important, but so is their implementation.  And I think from what we hear, the Ukrainian people are looking to see that the laws, once passed, are actually implemented, including against corrupt actors.  Thank you very much.

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter)  Thank you very much.  This concludes our meeting, ladies and gentlemen.

More from: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

News Network

  • Cameroon Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Five individuals charged in multi-million dollar money laundering conspiracy
    In Justice News
    A fifth individual has [Read More…]
  • Malta National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Immigrant gets lengthy prison sentence for drug conviction
    In Justice News
    A 35 year-old Mexican [Read More…]
  • Department of Justice Announces More Than $341 Million in Grants to Combat America’s Addiction Crisis
    In Crime News
    The Department of [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama At a Joint Press Availability
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Broiler Chicken Producer Indicted for Price Fixing and Bid Rigging
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Denver, Colorado, returned an indictment charging Norman W. Fries Inc., dba Claxton Poultry Farms (Claxton), headquartered in Claxton, Georgia, with participating in a nationwide conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products.
    [Read More…]
  • Qatar National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Special Representative Khalilzad Travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar and Turkmenistan
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Federal Jury Convicts Former Reality Television Personality for Downloading and Possessing Child Sexual Abuse Material
    In Crime News
    A federal jury convicted an Arkansas man today for receiving and possessing material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
    [Read More…]
  • DRL Promoting Transparent and Accountable Governance in the Indo-Pacific Region
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Bureau of Democracy, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Pompeo’s Call with Foreign Minister Mahuta 
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with South African Foreign Minister Pandor
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS and Attempting to Commit a Hate Crime
    In Crime News
    An Ohio man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), and attempting to commit a hate crime, for planning an attack on a synagogue in the Toledo, Ohio area.
    [Read More…]
  • Aircraft Noise: Information on a Potential Mandated Transition to Quieter Airplanes
    In U.S GAO News
    Based on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data and GAO estimates, most U.S. large commercial jet airplanes are certificated at the minimum required stage 3 noise standards, but nearly all of them are able to meet more stringent noise standards. Sixty-three percent of large commercial airplanes in the United States are certificated as meeting the stage 3 standards; however, 87 percent of them were manufactured with technologies that are able to meet more recent and stringent stage 4 or 5 standards as currently configured, according to FAA's 2017 analysis. By analyzing updated data from airlines and aviation manufacturers, GAO estimated that this proportion is even higher: 96 percent of large commercial airplanes are able to meet stage 4 or 5 standards (see figure). According to FAA officials and aviation stakeholders, the primary reason many large commercial airplanes certificated as stage 3 produce lower than stage 3 noise levels is because engine and airframe technology has outpaced the implementation of noise standards. More recently, some airlines have accelerated retirement of certain airplanes, some of which are certificated as stage 3, due to the decrease in travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For the generally smaller regional commercial jets (i.e., generally with less than 90 seats), 86 percent are able to meet stage 4 or stage 5 standards, according to manufacturers' data. With regard to general aviation (which are used for personal or corporate flights), 73 percent of the jet airplanes in that fleet are able to meet the more stringent stage 4 or 5 standards, according to manufacturers' data. GAO Estimate of The Number of Large Airplanes in the U.S. Commercial Fleet That Are Able to Meet Stage 3 or Stage 4 and 5 Noise Standards, January 2020 According to stakeholders GAO interviewed, a phase-out of jet airplanes that are certificated as meeting stage 3 standards would provide limited noise reduction and limited other benefits, and could be costly and present other challenges. A phase-out could require recertificating the vast majority of stage 3 airplanes to comply with stage 4 or 5 standards. This process could be costly for operators and manufacturers but would provide little reduction in noise. Further, airplanes currently unable to meet more stringent standards would require modifications or face retirement. For older airplanes that could not be recertificated to meet stage 4 or 5 standards, some operators could incur costs for replacement airplanes sooner than originally planned. Although stakeholders indicated that a phase-out would not substantially reduce noise, they identified other limited benefits newer airplanes generate, such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption. Although advances in technology have led to quieter aircraft capable of meeting increasingly stringent noise standards, airport noise remains a concern. FAA regulates aircraft noise by ensuring compliance with relevant noise standards. In 1990, federal law required large jet airplanes to comply with stage 3 noise standards by 1999, leading to a phase-out of the noisiest airplanes (stage 1 and 2 airplanes). Later, federal law required smaller airplanes to comply with stage 3 standards by 2016. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 included a provision for GAO to review a potential phase-out of stage 3 airplanes—the loudest aircraft currently operating in the United States. This report describes (1) the proportion of stage 3 airplanes in the U.S. fleet, and what proportion of these stage 3 airplanes are able to meet more stringent noise standards and (2) selected stakeholders' views on the potential benefits, costs, and challenges of phasing out stage 3 airplanes. GAO reviewed FAA's analysis of December 2017 fleet data, analyzed January 2020 fleet data from select airlines and airframe and engine manufacturers, and interviewed FAA officials. GAO also interviewed a non-generalizable sample of 35 stakeholders, including airlines; airframe and engine manufacturers; airports; and industry associations, selected based on fleet and noise data, stakeholder recommendations, or prior GAO knowledge. For more information, contact Heather Krause at (202) 512-2834 or krauseh@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Officials Announce International Operation Targeting Transnational Criminal Organization QQAAZZ that Provided Money Laundering Services to High-Level Cybercriminals
    In Crime News
    Fourteen members of the transnational criminal organization, QQAAZZ, were charged by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania in an indictment unsealed today.  A related indictment unsealed in October 2019 charged five members of QQAAZZ.  One additional conspirator, a Russian national, was arrested by criminal complaint in late March 2020 while visiting the United States, bringing the total number of charged defendants to 20.  Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady for the Western District of Pennsylvania, made the announcement today.
    [Read More…]
  • Troika Statement on the Anniversary of the Juba Peace Agreement
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Ethiopia Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Malawi Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Do not travel [Read More…]
  • High-Risk Series: Dedicated Leadership Needed to Address Limited Progress in Most High-Risk Areas
    In U.S GAO News
    Overall ratings in 2021 for 20 of GAO's 2019 high-risk areas remain unchanged, and five regressed. Seven areas improved, one to the point of removal from the High-Risk List. Two new areas are being added, bringing our 2021 High-Risk List to 36 areas. Where there has been improvement in high-risk areas, congressional actions, in addition to those by executive agencies, have been critical in spurring progress. GAO is removing Department of Defense (DOD) Support Infrastructure Management from the High-Risk List. Among other things, DOD has more efficiently utilized military installation space; reduced its infrastructure footprint and use of leases, reportedly saving millions of dollars; and improved its use of installation agreements, reducing base support costs GAO is narrowing the scope of three high-risk areas by removing segments of the areas due to progress that has been made. The affected areas are: (1) Federal Real Property (Costly Leasing) because the General Services Administration has reduced its reliance on costly leases and improved monitoring efforts; (2) DOD Contract Management (Acquisition Workforce) because DOD has significantly rebuilt its acquisition workforce; and (3) Management of Federal Oil and Gas Resources (Offshore Oil and Gas Oversight) because the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has implemented reforms improving offshore oil and gas oversight. National Efforts to Prevent, Respond to, and Recover from Drug Misuse is being added to the High-Risk List. National rates of drug misuse have been increasing, and drug misuse has resulted in significant loss of life and harmful effects to society and the economy. GAO identified several challenges in the federal government's response, such as a need for greater leadership and coordination of the national effort, strategic guidance that fulfills all statutory requirements, and more effective implementation and monitoring. Emergency Loans for Small Businesses also is being added. The Small Business Administration has provided hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of loans and advances to help small businesses recover from adverse economic impacts created by COVID-19. While loans have greatly aided many small businesses, evidence of fraud and significant program integrity risks need much greater oversight and management attention. Nine existing high-risk areas also need more focused attention (see table). 2021 High-Risk List Areas Requiring Significant Attention High-risk areas that regressed since 2019 High-risk areas that need additional attention USPS Financial Viability IT Acquisitions and Operations Decennial Census Limiting the Federal Government's Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change Risks Ensuring the Cybersecurity of the Nation U.S. Government's Environmental Liability Strategic Human Capital Management Improving Federal Oversight of Food Safety EPA's Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals   Source: GAO. | GAO-21-119SP   GAO's 2021 High-Risk List High-risk area Change since 2019 Strengthening the Foundation for Efficiency and Effectiveness Strategic Human Capital Management ↓ Managing Federal Real Propertya ↑ Funding the Nation's Surface Transportation Systemb c n/a Modernizing the U.S. Financial Regulatory Systemb ● Resolving the Federal Role in Housing Financeb ● USPS Financial Viabilityb ↓ Management of Federal Oil and Gas Resourcesa ● Limiting the Federal Government's Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change Risksb ● Improving the Management of IT Acquisitions and Operations ● Improving Federal Management of Programs That Serve Tribes and Their Members ● Decennial Census ↓ U.S. Government's Environmental Liabilityb ● Emergency Loans for Small Businesses (new)c n/a Transforming DOD Program Management DOD Weapon Systems Acquisition ● DOD Financial Management ↑ DOD Business Systems Modernization ● DOD Approach to Business Transformation ● Ensuring Public Safety and Security Government-wide Personnel Security Clearance Processb ↑ Ensuring the Cybersecurity of the Nationb ↓ Strengthening Department of Homeland Security Management Functions ● Ensuring the Effective Protection of Technologies Critical to U.S. National Security Interests ● Improving Federal Oversight of Food Safetyb ● Protecting Public Health through Enhanced Oversight of Medical Products ● Transforming EPA's Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals ↓ National Efforts to Prevent, Respond to, and Recover from Drug Misuse (new)c n/a Managing Federal Contracting More Effectively VA Acquisition Managementd n/a DOE's Contract and Project Management for the National Nuclear Security Administration and Office of Environmental Management ↑ NASA Acquisition Management ↑ DOD Contract Managementa ● Assessing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Tax Law Administration Enforcement of Tax Lawsb ● Modernizing and Safeguarding Insurance and Benefit Programs Medicare Program & Improper Paymentse ● Strengthening Medicaid Program Integrityb ● Improving and Modernizing Federal Disability Programs ● Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Insurance Programsb c n/a National Flood Insurance Programb ● Managing Risks and Improving VA Health Careb ↑ (↑ indicates area progressed on one or more criteria since 2019; ↓ indicates area declined on one or more criteria ; ● indicates no change; n/a = not applicable) Source: GAO. | GAO-21-119SP aRatings for a segment within this high-risk area improved sufficiently that the segment was removed. bLegislation is likely to be necessary in order to effectively address this high-risk area. cNot rated, because this high-risk area is newly added or primarily involves congressional action. dRated for the first time, because this high-risk area was newly added in 2019. eOnly rated on one segment; we did not rate other elements of the Medicare program. The federal government is one of the world's largest and most complex entities; about $6.6 trillion in outlays in fiscal year 2020 funded a broad array of programs and operations. GAO's High-Risk Series identifies government operations with vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or in need of transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges. This biennial update describes the status of high-risk areas, outlines actions that are still needed to assure further progress, and identifies any new high-risk areas needing attention by the executive branch and Congress. Solutions to high-risk problems save billions of dollars, improve service to the public, and strengthen government performance and accountability. GAO uses five criteria to assess progress in addressing high-risk areas: (1) leadership commitment, (2) agency capacity, (3) an action plan, (4) monitoring efforts, and (5) demonstrated progress. This report describes GAO's views on progress made and what remains to be done to bring about lasting solutions for each high-risk area. Addressing GAO's hundreds of open recommendations across the high-risk areas and continued congressional oversight and action are essential to achieving greater progress. For more information, contact Michelle Sager at (202) 512-6806 or sagerm@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]


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