December 3, 2021


News Network

Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks at the Signing Ceremony for $2.1 Billion Development Assistance Agreement with Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama

22 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Abuja, Nigeria 

Aso Rock Presidential Villa

MR IPAYE:  (In progress) the U.S. Secretary of State Mr. Antony Blinken, Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Honorable Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, Your Excellency the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, distinguished members of the visiting delegation, distinguished ladies and gentlemen:  It’s my pleasure to welcome you to this engagement between the U.S. Secretary of State and His Excellency the vice president. 

This will be a short meeting which will begin with the welcome remarks of the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, followed by the comments of the U.S. Secretary of State.  And then His Excellency the Vice President will make his comments.  This will be followed by photographs on this side of the hall, following which the Honorable Minister and the Secretary of State will move to the table at the center to sign a joint statement while His Excellency the Vice President just stays on to witness that.  I am informed that following the signing we will close the ceremony in here, and then the Secretary of State and the Honorable Minister will go on to address a press conference.

So having said that, may I ask the members of the U.S. delegation to just please quickly introduce themselves.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PHEE:  Good afternoon.  My name is Molly Phee, and I am the assistant secretary of state for African Affairs.  It’s an honor to be here. 

MS BANKS:  Good afternoon, Excellencies.  I’m Dana Banks.  I’m the senior director for Africa at the National Security Council.  A pleasure to be here. 

MS GEORGE:  Good afternoon.  Suzy George, chief of staff at the State Department.

MR SULLIVAN:  Good afternoon.  Tom Sullivan, deputy chief of staff at the State Department.

MS FITZGIBBON:  Kathleen FitzGibbon, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Mission Nigeria.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  And I think you know who I am.  (Laughter.) 

MR IPAYE:  You’re welcome.  So we’ll go on then to the first item, which is the welcome remarks of the honorable minister of foreign affairs.  May I request that following the welcome remarks, the press will please leave the hall?  And then after the tete-à-tete between His Excellency and the Secretary of State, you will come back to cover the signing.

Foreign Minister.

FOREIGN MINISTER ONYEAMA:  Your Excellency the Vice President; Your Excellency the Secretary of State of the United States; Your Excellency the Honorable Minister of State for Industry, Trade, and Investment; Your Excellency the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria; Your Excellency the assistant secretary of state, and the U.S. delegation here present:  It gives me great pleasure, Your Excellency Secretary, to welcome you once again to Nigeria. 

And you have in your personal, and I would say also official capacity, shown your great solidarity with Nigeria.  You’ve been coming here for a number of years, and also when you were the deputy secretary of State, and it’s wonderful for us to have you here again.  You visited not so long ago in a virtual capacity, and so we’re happy to see you here for the first time physically as – in your role as the Secretary of State of the United States.  We just – we would like to thank you for what you have been doing in your new capacity in supporting Nigeria and sharing your friendship and solidarity towards Nigeria. 

And Your Excellency, the vice president, the United States has been very supportive in the health area with vaccines for the COVID, and we’re hoping that they might support us to develop capacity – manufacturing capacity for vaccines, helping with technology transfer and intellectual property agreements with the various pharmaceutical companies. 

We – they’ve also been very supportive in the security area, provided a Super Tucano aircraft.  We have a slight issue with some attack helicopters, but that’s more on the legislative side and not on the executive side.  And also, trade is increasing, but we are hoping to have increased market access for our agricultural products in the framework of AGOA, the African Growth Opportunities Act mechanism that is in place to help to promote African access to U.S. markets for African countries. 

And also, very recently in Glasgow, our president met with President Biden and some other leaders, and we’re discussing cooperation in the area of infrastructure.  And that’s also an area that we’re hoping to get some support from the U.S., as infrastructure is very much a priority for this government. 

We’re hoping also, Your Excellency, that – to see some easing of the bottlenecks with regards to visas for Nigerians to the U.S.  We had a mechanism, a drop box mechanism, that was in existence for many, many years, and unfortunately that has now been – we hope it’s suspended and it will be reinstated.  But there are issues there, and we hope that the Secretary would also help to ease the visa challenges that Nigerians wishing to enter the U.S. have.

We appreciate very much the support in the humanitarian area that has been extended to us, especially with internally displaced persons, and – that we have in the northern part of the country.   

So the relationship has been extremely good, and very soon there will be a summit the president has been invited for being hosted by the U.S. President on democracy, and – democracies – and of course, we recognize the shared values, the shared similar political and governance systems and shared democracy and hope to engage with them in that. 

So with those few words, Secretary, thank you so much, Antony, for taking time off your very, very busy schedule to visit us here.  And Your Excellency has a program also tomorrow where he will be making a big, major statement on U.S. policy with regards to Africa, and he’s chosen Nigeria as the country in which to make this very important statement on U.S. foreign policy.

So thank you very much indeed for coming and thank you for all you are doing to strengthen relations between our two countries.  Thank you. 

MR IPAYE:  Thank you very much, Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs.  So gentlemen of the press will please take their leave now temporarily.  We will call you back presently as soon as it’s time for to sign the document. 


MR IPAYE:  All right, then.  So we go on to the U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. Antony Blinken.  Please, go ahead. 

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, thank you very much, and I don’t want to take too much time other than to say how wonderful it is to be here, to be back in Nigeria.  Mr. Vice President, it’s very good to be with you, and always good to see my friend and colleague Geoffrey, the foreign minister.  You’re right; one of the very first things that I was able to do as Secretary of State was a virtual visit to Nigeria, which we very much appreciated.  But to your point, Geoffrey, nothing is a substitute for being here in person – and as I like to say, if not face to face, at least mask to mask. 

And I think you’ve covered the agenda that we have so very well, and it’s really reflective of the fact that the work that our countries are doing together is both incredibly broad in the things that we’re doing, and also increasingly deep, and we welcome that.  We welcome working in ever closer ways, because one of the things that we feel very strongly is that the big challenges all of our citizens face simply can’t be addressed by any one of us acting alone.  There’s a greater premium than there’s ever been on working together, finding ways to cooperate.  We’re all feeling that very strongly when it comes to COVID-19, and we’re grateful for the work we’ve been able to do together on that. 

And I think looking to the future, developing capacity for manufacturing vaccines in Africa is going to be critical, especially in dealing with, unfortunately, the next pandemic, because there almost certainly will be one.  We know from the work that we’re doing together on climate that we have to be doing this together, and we very much appreciate what Nigeria has done, including at COP26 and including with regard to dealing with methane emissions. 

We know that there is much that we can do together to build our economies back even stronger after the pandemic, and much of that goes to the right kinds of investment in infrastructure, in green economies, in making sure that the investments we’re making together are really a race to the top for our people in terms of the standards that we bring to these projects.  So I know we’ll be spending some time and looking at that. 

We very much appreciate as well the security cooperation that we’re developing and making sure that we do it in a comprehensive way that puts our concerns about people first and foremost in what we’re doing. 

And there’s much more to be discussed, and again, I don’t want to belabor it because we’ll have an opportunity to talk to our colleagues in the press very shortly and go into in more detail.  But for now, let me simply say to all of our colleagues it’s wonderful to be with you.  We’re so pleased for the hospitality, but especially pleased for the good work that our countries are doing together.  Thank you. 

MR IPAYE:  Thank you very much.  Your Excellency.

VICE PRESIDENT OSINBAJO:  Thank you very much, Your Excellency Secretary of State, Your Excellency Ambassador, and all our friends and colleagues on the delegation of His Excellency the Secretary of State:  Thank you very much again for making the time to visit.  And again, just as our minister of foreign affairs has said, we are pleased that we are getting this much attention, first virtual and now, to use your expression, mask to mask at least.

And again, just to – with most of what you have said, especially about the importance of the cooperation and the importance of working together, and it’s absolutely – is absolutely critical.  It’s been shown, especially in the response to COVID-19.  And I think that this is probably a providential way of showing just how interconnected the whole world is, and there is no real solution without everyone being protected from this pandemic and the possibility of others.

And I would also like to thank you again through – thank the Government of the U.S. for the cooperation on security, which has been very important to us.  The Super Tucanos have been delivered, and of course, we’re looking forward to the helicopters as well.  But also, I think more importantly, a lot of the infrastructure support and the intelligence support that we’ve gotten from the U.S. on the security issues in the northeast and the Sahel, because the challenges continue to – they seem to increase, especially the Sahel today, and most of what we are seeing in the Lake Chad region with ISWAP and all of that. 

And I think that going forward, we of course, as we talked about, we are looking forward to greater collaboration, greater cooperation, because the challenge of terrorism, especially of the sort we have seen with ISWAP and Boko Haram and ISIS is that it can – itwill fester, and it can really take on the kinds of dimensions that may – that may be – may turn out to be much more grave than we ever thought.  So I think that we need to do – the working together, again, a lot in that particular respect.

Climate change and climate action, again, to your point, absolutely important.  Again, collaboration is the key.  And of course, some of the concerns that we had our president –  President Buhari had mentioned at COP26, especially around the whole issue of gas as a transition fuel given the fact that some countries, especially developing countries, are fossil fuel-rich, and no industrialized nation has yet been able to prove that it was able to industrialize using renewable energy alone.  And so if developing countries are called upon to rely on renewable energy, especially for industrialization, obviously that will be calling for a sea change in the way that this has been done and historically shown to be possible. 

So we expect that – and this point has been made – that there will be – for adaptation and mitigation measures  –  there will be the kind of support that have been promised since Paris, and I think that we should really look at how to ensure that there is – public investment goes on, especially for gas, because really it remains the way by which we can improve access to electricity, which is a problem that developing countries have – that whole question of access.  I mean, and again, it’s so closely tied to poverty and extreme poverty and all of that.  So we think that these are issues that, again, working collaboratively, we can really solve.

Again, to just say that we’re very pleased with the work that USAID has done in Nigeria, and I mentioned earlier that this is work that they have somehow mastered the way of being able to ensure that there is a bottom-up approach, there is participation of those who will be beneficiaries in developing the programs, which has been very helpful indeed.  And I think that accounts for a lot of the success that we are seeing in a good number of those programs, so we really would want to thank the USAID for that and to thank you also.

So just to say welcome again to Nigeria, and we hope to see you very soon again.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Maybe really face to face.  (Laughter.)

VICE PRESIDENT OSINBAJO:  Yes, face to face this time.  Thank you very much.


MR IPAYE:  Thank you very much, Your Excellency.  Recently – that is, on the 31st of August 2021 – the 2021-2026 Development Objectives Assistance Agreement was executed between the United States, acting through the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  A joint statement has been prepared as a means of making formal communication of the agreement and will be executed by the Secretary of State and the honorable minister of foreign affairs.  But before the move to the center to execute it, we just have photographs from this side of the hall, and then they will go to the center.  Thank you. 

His Excellency – first will be Secretary of State.  Honorable minister of foreign affairs will join and his excellency the ambassador.  Thank you very much.

So the foreign minister and the Secretary of State will proceed to endorse the agreement, the joint statement.

(The agreement was signed.)

Your Excellency, that brings this session to a close.

More from: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
More from Area Control Network
1. Global Warming Network
2. Christians Online
3. Put your website in the archives
4. Area Control Network News

News Network

  • Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Joly
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Depot Maintenance: Improved Strategic Planning Needed to Ensure That Army and Marine Corps Depots Can Meet Future Maintenance Requirements
    In U.S GAO News
    The Army and Marine Corps maintenance depots provide critical support to ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and are heavily involved in efforts to reset the force. The Department of Defense (DOD) has an interest in ensuring that the depots remain operationally effective, efficient, and capable of meeting future maintenance requirements. In 2008, in response to direction by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Army and the Marine Corps each submitted a depot maintenance strategic plan. Our objective was to evaluate the extent to which these plans provide comprehensive strategies for meeting future depot maintenance requirements. GAO determined whether the plans were consistent with the criteria for developing a results-oriented management framework and fully addressed OSD's criteria.The depot maintenance strategic plans developed by the Army and Marine Corps identify key issues affecting the depots, but do not provide assurance that the depots will be postured and resourced to meet future maintenance requirements because they do not fully address all of the elements required for a comprehensive, results-oriented management framework. Nor are they fully responsive to OSD's direction for developing the plans. While the services' strategic plans contain mission statements, along with long-term goals and objectives, they do not fully address all the elements needed for sound strategic planning, such as external factors that may affect how goals and objectives will be accomplished, performance indicators or metrics that measure outcomes and gauge progress, and resources required to meet the goals and objectives. Also, the plans partially address four issues that OSD directed the services, at a minimum, to include in their plans, such as logistics transformation, core logistics capability assurance, workforce revitalization, and capital investment. Army and Marine Corps officials involved with the development of the service strategic plans acknowledged that their plans do not fully address the OSD criteria, but they stated that the plans nevertheless address issues they believe are critical to maintaining effective, long-term depot maintenance capabilities. The Army's and Marine Corps' plans also are not comprehensive because they do not provide strategies for mitigating and reducing uncertainties in future workloads that affect the depots' ability to plan for meeting future maintenance requirements. Such uncertainties stem primarily from a lack of information on (1) workload that will replace current work on existing systems, which is expected to decline, and (2) workload associated with new systems that are in the acquisition pipeline. According to depot officials, to effectively plan for future maintenance requirements, the depots need timely and reliable information from their major commands on both the amounts and types of workloads they should expect to receive in future years. Depot officials told us that the information they receive from their major commands on their future workloads are uncertain beyond the current fiscal year. Officials cited various factors that contribute to these uncertainties, such as volatility in workload requirements, changing wartime environment, budget instability, and unanticipated changes in customer orders. In addition, depot officials said that they are not involved in the sustainment portion of the life cycle management planning process for new and modified systems. No clear process exists that would enable them to have input into weapon system program managers' decisions on how and where new and modified systems will be supported and maintained in the future. Unless they are integrated in this planning process, these officials said, the depots will continue to have uncertainties about what capabilities they will need to plan for future workloads and what other resources they will need to support new and modified weapon systems.
    [Read More…]
  • The United States Announces New Humanitarian Aid for the People of Somalia
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Algeria Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Five Charged in Scheme to Export Thermal Imaging Scopes and Night Vision Goggles to Russia, in Violation of Arms Export Control Act
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Los Angeles unsealed an indictment Thursday that accuses five defendants of conspiring to unlawfully export defense articles to Russia. Specifically, the defendants allegedly exported thermal imaging riflescopes and night-vision goggles without a license, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
    [Read More…]
  • Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices: Multiple DOD Organizations are Developing Numerous Initiatives
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundWe identified 1,340 potential, separate initiatives that DOD funded from fiscal year 2008 through the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 that, in DOD officials’ opinion, met the above definition for C-IED initiatives. We relied on our survey, in part, to determine this number because DOD has not determined, and does not have a ready means for determining, the universe of C-IED initiatives. Of the 1,340 initiatives, we received detailed survey responses confirming that 711 initiatives met our C-IED definition. Of the remaining 629 initiatives for which we did not receive survey responses, 481 were JIEDDO initiatives. JIEDDO officials attribute their low survey returns for reasons including that C-IED initiatives are currently not fully identified, catalogued, and retrievable; however, they expect updates to their information technology system will correct this deficiency. Our survey also identified 45 different organizations that DOD is funding to undertake these 1,340 identified initiatives. Some of these organizations receive JIEDDO funding while others receive other DOD funding. We documented $4.8 billion of DOD funds expended in fiscal year 2011 in support of C-IED initiatives, but this amount is understated because we did not receive survey data confirming DOD funding for all initiatives. As an example, at least 94 of the 711 responses did not include funding amounts for associated C-IED initiatives. Further, the DOD agency with the greatest number of C-IED initiatives identified—JIEDDO—did not return surveys for 81 percent of its initiatives.Our survey results showed that multiple C-IED initiatives were concentrated within some areas of development, resulting in overlap within DOD for these efforts—i.e., programs engaged in similar activities to achieve similar goals or target similar beneficiaries. For example, our survey data identified 19 organizations with 107 initiatives being developed to combat cell phone-triggered IEDs. While the concentration of initiatives in itself does not constitute duplication, this concentration taken together with the high number of different DOD organizations that are undertaking these initiatives and JIEDDO’s inability to identify and compare C-IED initiatives, demonstrates overlap and the potential for duplication of effort. According to JIEDDO officials, the organization has a robust coordinating process in place that precludes unintended overlap. However, through our survey and follow-up with relevant agency officials, we found examples of overlap in the following areas: (1) IED-related intelligence analysis: two organizations were producing and disseminating similar IED-related intelligence products to the warfighter, (2) C-IED hardware development: two organizations were developing similar robotics for detecting IEDs from a safe distance, and (3) IED detection: two organizations had developed C-IED initiatives using chemical sensors that were similar in their technologies and capabilities.Our survey results showed that a majority of respondents said they communicated with JIEDDO regarding their C-IED initiatives; however, JIEDDO does not consistently record and track this data. Based on our prior work, JIEDDO does not have a mechanism for recording data communicated on C-IED efforts. Therefore, these data are not available for analysis by JIEDDO or others in DOD to reduce the risk of duplicating efforts and avoid repeating mistakes.Why GAO Did This StudyImprovised explosive devices (IEDs) are the enemy's weapon of choice (e.g., 16,500 IEDs were detonated or discovered being used against U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2011) and, according to the Department of Defense (DOD) will probably be a mainstay in any present and future conflict given their low cost to develop coupled with their potential for strategic impact. Multiple DOD components, including the military services, have been pursuing counter-IED (C-IED) efforts leading up to June 2005 when DOD established the Joint IED Defeat Task Force followed in 2006 with the establishment of the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) to lead and coordinate all DOD actions to defeat IEDs. From fiscal years 2006 through 2011, JIEDDO has received over $18 billion in funding, however, DOD has funded other C-IED efforts outside of JIEDDO, including $40 billion for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.We reported in February 2012 that DOD does not have full visibility over all of its C-IED efforts. DOD relies on various sources and systems for managing its C-IED efforts, but has not developed a process that provides DOD with a comprehensive listing of its C-IED initiatives and activities. In response to our recommendation that the Secretary of Defense direct JIEDDO to develop an implementation plan for the establishment of DOD’s C-IED database including a detailed timeline with milestones to help achieve this goal, DOD officials said that a revision of DOD's Directive 2000.19E will contain a new task requiring combatant commands, the military services, and DOD agencies to report C-IED initiatives to JIEDDO. This would include programming and funding pursued by a military service, combatant command, or other DOD component, in addition to activities funded by JIEDDO. In January 2012, DOD estimated it would complete draft revisions to DOD Directive 2000.19E in early 2012, but as of July 2012, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) officials stated that the revised draft was under review at the OSD level, and therefore, not issued. In addition, according to JIEDDO officials, DOD is conducting an ongoing review of C-IED capabilities across the Department that may affect JIEDDO and the contents of the draft directive.This report responds to congressional request asking us to examine the potential for overlap and duplication in DOD's C-IED efforts. Because DOD lacks a comprehensive database of C-IED initiatives, we conducted a department-wide survey to determine (1) the number of different C-IED initiatives and the organizations developing them from fiscal year 2008 through the closing date of our survey, January 6, 2012, and the extent to which DOD is funding these initiatives, and (2) the extent and nature of any overlap that could lead to duplication of C-IED efforts. In July 2012, we briefed committee staff on the results of our survey and analysis.For more information, contact Cary Russell at (202) 512-5431, or
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting with Japanese National Security Secretariat Secretary General Shigeru Kitamura
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Visa and Plaid Abandon Merger After Antitrust Division’s Suit to Block
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that Visa Inc. and Plaid Inc. have abandoned their planned $5.3 billion merger.
    [Read More…]
  • The United States Applauds the Interim Government’s “People’s Vote”
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Lao People’s Democratic Republic National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting on Venezuelan Refugee Assistance in Uruguay
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor and Puerto Rico Supreme Court Chief Justice Maite Oronoz Address Latin American Judges at Justice Department’s Judicial Studies Institute
    In Crime News
    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Puerto Rico Supreme Court Chief Justice Maite Oronoz today addressed over 157 judges from Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Peru as part of a Department of Justice training program for the judiciaries of the Western Hemisphere. 
    [Read More…]
  • India Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Do not travel to India [Read More…]
  • Appointment of António Guterres as UN Secretary-General for a Second Term
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Professional Standards Update No. 81
    In U.S GAO News
    To alert the audit community to changes in professional standards, we periodically issue Professional Standards Updates (PSU). These updates highlight the effective dates and issuance of recent standards and guidance related to engagements conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards. PSUs contain summary information only, and those affected by a change should refer to the respective standard or guidance for details. This PSU has three sections.
    [Read More…]
  • Former Construction Executive Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison for Tax Evasion and Bribery Scheme
    In Crime News
    A New York construction executive was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 51 months in prison for evading taxes on more than $1.8 million in bribes he received from building subcontractors.
    [Read More…]
  • Retirement Security: DOL Could Better Inform Divorcing Parties About Dividing Savings
    In U.S GAO News
    Although more than one-third of adults aged 50 or older have experienced divorce, few people seek and obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), according to large plan sponsors GAO surveyed. A QDRO establishes the right of an alternate payee, such as a former spouse, to receive all or a portion of the benefits payable to a participant under a retirement plan upon separation or divorce. There are no nationally representative data on the number of QDROs, but plans and record keepers GAO interviewed and surveyed reported that few seek and obtain QDROs. For example, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation administered retirement benefits to about 1.6 million participants, and approved about 16,000 QDROs in the last 10 years. GAO's analysis of other survey data found about one-third of those who experienced a divorce from 2008 to 2016 and reported their former spouse had a retirement plan also reported losing a claim to that spouse's benefits. Many experts stated that some people—especially those with lower incomes—face challenges to successfully navigating the process for obtaining a QDRO, including complexity and cost. Individuals seeking a QDRO may be charged fees for preparation and review of draft orders before they are qualified as QDROs and, according to experts GAO interviewed, these fees vary widely. These experts cited concerns about QDRO review fees that they said in some cases were more than twice the amount of typical fees, and said they may discourage some from pursuing QDROs. Department of Labor (DOL) officials said the agency generally does not collect information on QDRO fees. Exploring ways to collect and analyze information from plans on fees could help DOL ensure costs are reasonable. Divorcing parties who pursue QDROs often had orders not qualified due to lacking basic information, according to plans and record keepers we surveyed (see figure). Plan Administrators and Record Keepers Reported Reasons for Not Qualifying a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) DOL provides some information to help divorcing parties pursue QDROs. However, many experts cited a lack of awareness about QDROs by the public and said DOL could do more to make resources available to divorcing parties. Without additional outreach by DOL, divorcing parties may spend unnecessary time and resources drafting orders that are not likely to be qualified, resulting in unnecessary expenditures of time and money. A domestic relations order (DRO) is a court-issued judgment, decree, or order that, when qualified by a retirement plan administrator, can divide certain retirement benefits in connection with separation or divorce and as such provide crucial financial security to a former spouse. DOL has authority to interpret QDRO requirements. GAO was asked to review the process for obtaining QDROs. This report examines what is known about (1) the number of QDRO recipients, (2) the fees and other expenses for processing QDROs, and (3) the reasons plans do not initially qualify DROs and the challenges experts identify regarding the QDRO process. To conduct this work, GAO analyzed available data, and a total of 14 responses from two surveys of large private sector plans and account record keepers, and interviewed 18 experts including practitioners who provide services to divorcing couples. GAO is recommending that DOL (1) explore ways to collect information on QDRO-related fees charged to participants or alternate payees, and (2) take steps to ensure information about the process for obtaining a QDRO is accessible. DOL generally agreed with our recommendations. For more information, contact Kris Nguyen at (202) 512-7215 or
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau Before Their Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Birthday and Ninth Anniversary of the Captivity of Austin Tice
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]


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