January 25, 2022

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South Florida Residents Sentenced for Illegally Exporting Controlled Items to Libya

23 min read
<div>Two Florida residents were sentenced yesterday for conspiring to and illegally attempting to export controlled items to Libya.</div>
Two Florida residents were sentenced yesterday for conspiring to and illegally attempting to export controlled items to Libya.

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    In U.S GAO News
    Since 2001, Congress has provided the Department of Defense (DOD) with hundreds of billions of dollars in supplemental and annual appropriations for military operations in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). DOD's reported annual costs for GWOT have shown a steady increase from about $0.2 billion in fiscal year 2001 to about $98.4 billion in fiscal year 2006. In fiscal year 2007, Congress provided DOD with about $161.8 billion in annual and supplemental appropriations for GWOT. To continue its GWOT operations, DOD has requested $141.7 billion in appropriations for fiscal year 2008. The United States' commitments to GWOT will likely involve the continued investment of significant resources, requiring decision makers to consider difficult trade-offs as the nation faces an increasing long-range fiscal challenge. The magnitude of future costs will depend on several direct and indirect cost variables and, in some cases, decisions that have not yet been made. DOD's future costs will likely be affected by the pace and duration of operations, the types of facilities needed to support troops overseas, redeployment plans, and the amount of equipment to be repaired or replaced. Future cost variables for other U.S. government agencies include the efforts to help form national and provincial governments and build management capacity as well as capable and loyal security forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Reconstruction activities to restore, sustain, and protect critical infrastructure will also impose costs. Also, healthcare costs will likely increase as more servicemembers require treatment from injuries and mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. DOD compiles and reports monthly and cumulative incremental obligations incurred to support GWOT in a monthly Supplemental and Cost of War Execution Report. DOD leadership uses this report, along with other information, to advise Congress on the costs of the war and to formulate future GWOT budget requests. DOD reports these obligations by appropriation, contingency operation, and military service or defense agency. The monthly cost reports are typically compiled in the 45 days after the end of the reporting month in which the obligations are incurred. DOD has prepared monthly reports on the obligations incurred for its involvement in GWOT since fiscal year 2001. Section 1221 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 requires us to submit quarterly updates to Congress on the costs of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom based on DOD's monthly Supplemental and Cost of War Execution Reports. This report, which responds to this requirement, contains our analysis of DOD's reported obligations for military operations in support of GWOT through April 2007. Specifically, we assessed (1) DOD's appropriations and reported obligations for military operations in support of GWOT to date and (2) DOD's fiscal year 2007 reported obligations for GWOT by military service and appropriation account.From fiscal year 2001 through July 2007, Congress has provided DOD with about $542.9 billion for its efforts in support of GWOT. DOD has reported obligations of about $429.1 billion for military operations in support of the war from fiscal years 2001 through 2006 and from the beginning of fiscal year 2007 through April 2007, the latest available data. The $113.8 billion difference between DOD's GWOT appropriations and reported obligations can generally be attributed to certain fiscal year 2007 appropriations and multiyear funding for procurement; military construction; and research, development, test, and evaluation from previous GWOT-related appropriations that have yet to be obligated, and obligations for classified activities, which are not included in DOD's reported obligations. DOD's total reported obligations related to GWOT have demonstrated a steady annual increase each fiscal year through 2006. Through April 2007, DOD's total reported obligations are already more than three quarters of the total amount of obligations it reported for all of fiscal year 2006. In addition, DOD's reported investment obligations--which include procurement; research, development, test, and evaluation; and military construction, through April 2007--are approximately one and a half times higher than its reported obligations for investments during all of fiscal year 2006. As a result, total reported obligations for fiscal year 2007 may well exceed the amount reported for fiscal year 2006. DOD's reported obligations to date include about $324.9 billion for operations in and around Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and about $76.5 billion for operations in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines, and elsewhere as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. It also includes about $27.7 billion for operations in defense of the homeland as part of Operation Noble Eagle. DOD's reported fiscal year 2007 obligations as of April 2007 total $76.6 billion. The Army accounts for the largest proportion of reported obligations--about $55.0 billion, nearly eight times higher than the almost $6.9 billion in obligations reported for the Marine Corps, the service with the next greatest reported amount. Among appropriation accounts, operation and maintenance, which include items such as support for housing, food, and services; the repair of equipment; and transportation to move people, supplies, and equipment, accounts for the largest reported obligations--about $38.9 billion. Obligations for investment, which include procurement; research, development, test, and evaluation; and military construction, account for more than a quarter of reported obligations or about $21.6 billion. In previous work, we reported that significant amounts of multiyear procurement funding provided in the fiscal year 2006 supplemental appropriation would likely not be obligated by DOD in fiscal year 2006 and would remain available for use in fiscal year 2007. A large amount of these multiyear funds has since been obligated.
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    In U.S GAO News
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    In U.S GAO News
    In 2006, the United States created two new programs, authorized in Sections 1206 and 1207 of the Fiscal Year 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, to respond to the threats of global terrorism and instability. These programs have provided over $1.3 billion in military and nonmilitary aid to 62 countries and are due to expire in 2011 and 2010, respectively. The Congress mandated that GAO assess the programs. This report addresses the extent to which the programs (1) are consistent with U.S. strategic priorities, (2) are distinct from other programs, (3) address sustainment needs, and (4) incorporate monitoring and evaluation. GAO analyzed data and program documents from the Departments of Defense (DOD) and State (State), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and interviewed U.S. and host country officials.The Section 1206 and 1207 programs have generally been consistent with U.S. strategic priorities. The Section 1206 program was established to build the military capacity of foreign countries to conduct counterterrorism and stabilization operations. DOD and State have devoted 82 percent of this program's funds to address specific terrorist threats, primarily in countries the U.S. intelligence community has identified as priorities for the counterterrorism effort. The Section 1207 program was established to transfer DOD funds to State for nonmilitary assistance related to stabilization, reconstruction, and security. DOD, State, and USAID have devoted 77 percent of this program's funds to countries at significant risk of instability, mostly those the United States has identified as vulnerable to state failure. Based on agency guidelines, the Section 1206 program is generally distinct from other programs, while the Section 1207 program is not. In most cases, Section 1206 projects addressed urgent and emergent counterterrorism and stabilization priorities of combatant commanders and did so more quickly than other programs, sometimes in a year, whereas Foreign Military Financing (FMF) projects can take up to 3 years to plan. DOD and embassy officials GAO spoke to consistently explained why projects do not overlap those of FMF and other programs, although project proposals GAO reviewed did not always document these distinctions. Section 1207 projects are virtually indistinguishable from those of other foreign aid programs in their content and time frames. Furthermore, the Section 1207 program has entailed additional implementation costs and funding delays beyond those of traditional foreign assistance programs, while the 1206 program has not. The uncertain availability of resources to sustain Section 1206 projects poses risks to achieving long-term impact. Enabling nations to achieve sustainable counterterrorism capabilities is a key U.S. policy goal. The long-term viability of Section 1206 projects is threatened by (1) the limited ability or willingness of partner nations to support new capabilities, as 76 percent of Section 1206 projects are in low- or lower-middle-income countries, and (2) U.S. legal and policy restrictions on using FMF and additional Section 1206 resources for sustainment. In contrast, sustainment risks for Section 1207 projects appear minimal, because State, USAID, and DOD are not restricted from drawing on a variety of overlapping funding sources to continue them. DOD and State have incorporated little monitoring and evaluation into the Section 1206 and 1207 programs. For Section 1206 projects, the agencies have not consistently defined performance measures, and results reporting has generally been limited to anecdotal information. For Section 1207 projects, the agencies have defined performance measures and State requires quarterly reporting on project implementation. However, State has not fully analyzed this information or provided it to DOD to inform program management. As a result, agencies have made decisions to sustain and expand both Section 1206 and 1207 projects without documentation of progress or effectiveness.
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    In Crime News
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  • Federal Hiring: OPM Should Collect and Share COVID-19 Lessons Learned to Inform Hiring During Future Emergencies
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The CARES Act provided temporary hiring authorities to six agencies with responsibilities for responding to the public health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. A hiring authority is the law, executive order, or regulation that allows an agency to hire a person into the federal civil service. In addition, as of September 30, 2020, five agencies received direct hiring authority (DHA) from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in response to the pandemic. DHAs allow agencies to expedite hiring by eliminating competitive rating and ranking procedures and veterans' preference for specific positions. Also, in March 2020, OPM authorized the use of COVID-19 Schedule A hiring authority, which allows agencies to fill positions for up to 1 year as needed in response to, or as a result of, COVID-19. GAO found that the number of staff hired by 10 selected agencies using these three temporary COVID-19 hiring authorities varied. Figure 1: Availability of COVID-19 Hiring Authorities and Total Number of Hires Made at Selected Agencies, March through December 2020 aCOVID-19 Schedule A hiring authority allows agencies to fill positions for up to 1 year as needed in response to, or as a result of, COVID-19. bAgency received approval to amend an existing authority so hires were not all related to COVID-19. cCommerce's CARES Act hiring authority is limited to the Economic Development Administration. The selected agencies described a few lessons learned that could help other agencies improve the use of hiring authorities in future emergencies including: (1) collaborating with internal stakeholders to maximize information sharing across the agency; and (2) creating an inventory of hiring needs and available authorities to assist in addressing agency workforce needs. OPM intends to conduct reviews in fiscal year 2022 that may provide insight into agencies' use of hiring authorities in response to the pandemic. However, according to OPM officials, the agency has not yet developed plans to collect and share lessons learned on the use of COVID-19 related hiring authorities. Collecting and sharing lessons learned would help OPM understand how the various hiring authorities could be used during future emergencies and identify opportunities to improve the hiring process. Why GAO Did This Study The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching effects on federal programs and operations. To address this public health crisis, Congress and the administration made several hiring authorities available to agencies to hire staff with the needed skills to effectively respond to the pandemic. The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO to report on ongoing monitoring and oversight efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report examines: (1) the new hiring authorities provided to federal agencies for COVID-19 response and the extent to which selected agencies have used them; (2) selected agencies' experiences using those hiring authorities, including lessons learned; and (3) OPM's efforts to assess agencies' use of the COVID-19 related hiring authorities. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed officials from OPM and the 10 agencies that were provided hiring authorities in the CARES Act or DHA for the public health emergency from OPM between March 1 and September 30, 2020. The documents reviewed included data on the agencies' hiring and OPM policies and guidance for its oversight of agencies' use of hiring authorities.
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