January 23, 2022

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Texan resentenced following terrorism conviction and appeal

10 min read
The 27-year-old Spring man convicted of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization has been ordered to prison for 12 years following reversal of original sentence

Read full article at: https://www.justice.gov December 22, 2021
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  • Weapon System Requirements: Joint Staff Lacks Reliable Data on the Effectiveness of Its Revised Joint Approval Process
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Defense (DOD) sets the foundation of its weapon system acquisitions in documented requirements for new or enhanced capabilities. DOD's Joint Staff uses the Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) process to manage the review and approval of capability requirements documents. The Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) oversees the process. At congressional direction, the Joint Staff revised the process in November 2018, reducing the JROC's role to focus on documents addressing requirements of multiple departments, while increasing the role of military departments for their unique capability documents. GAO found that the Joint Staff lacks reliable data on the total number of programs that have completed the revised process. In addition, GAO found that Joint Staff data for the time to validate selected capability documents were also unreliable. Capability documents move through the JCIDS process in the Joint Staff's Knowledge Management and Decision Support (KM/DS) information system. GAO found discrepancies between KM/DS data and data from those that submit documents, known as sponsors. Joint Staff officials stated that deficiencies with the KM/DS system are at the root of its data issues. A detailed plan addressing these deficiencies will better position the Joint Staff to assess if the revised process is achieving stated JCIDS objectives. See figure below. The Joint Staff cannot assess the JCIDS process because it lacks reliable data and a baseline to measure timeliness. Joint Staff guidance provides a notional length of time of 103 days to review documents in the JCIDS process, but this is not evidence-based. Joint Staff officials stated they have not measured the actual length of time that documents take to go through the JCIDS process. GAO analysis and sponsor officials confirmed that none of the selected capability documents completed the process within 103 days. Sponsor officials noted that certain issues can add time to the review process and emphasized document quality over fast review and approval. However, without a data-driven baseline that reflects issues that affect the length of time to validate capability documents, Joint Staff officials are not able to assess JCIDS' efficiency and effectiveness. Discrepancies between Joint Staff and Sponsor Validation Timeline Data Note: One selected program is not included in the figure because the sponsor withdrew it from the process. Why GAO Did This Study In the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, Congress mandated revisions to the JCIDS process by modifying the scope of the JROC's responsibilities. The accompanying Senate Armed Services Committee report noted that these changes were, in part, to improve the timeliness of the JCIDS process. House Armed Services Committee report 116-120 included a provision for GAO to review the revisions to the JCIDS process. This report examines (1) key revisions to the process, (2) how many programs have been through the revised process and how long it took, and (3) the Joint Staff's ability to assess the timeliness of the process. GAO reviewed JCIDS policies and guidance, and interviewed relevant DOD officials. GAO also selected a nongeneralizable sample of 12 capability documents from across the Air Force, Army, and Navy. GAO analyzed data associated with these documents from the Joint Staff's KM/DS information system and compared it to data provided by military department officials to determine the Joint Staff's ability to assess the timeliness of the document review process.
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  • Defense Real Property: DOD-Wide Strategy Needed to Address Control Issues and Improve Reliability of Records
    In U.S GAO News
    As required by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, the Department of Defense (DOD) for fiscal year 2019 underwent a financial statement audit. In the military services' full financial statement audit reports for fiscal year 2019, the independent public accountants reported serious control issues related to events that occur during the life cycle of real property, consisting of adding, disposing, reconciling, valuing, and performing physical inventory counts. These control issues affect not only the reliability of financial statement reporting but also the quality of property record data that DOD officials need to make decisions for budget and mission planning, space management, and buying versus leasing options. Further, with DOD having almost half of the government's buildings, better data could help the federal government identify opportunities to dispose of unneeded buildings and reduce lease costs, thus potentially saving it millions of dollars. DOD has not yet developed a comprehensive, department-wide strategy—an element of leading practices for enterprise-wide real property management—to address the reported real property issues. Instead, each of the military services is independently developing corrective actions to address control issues, without applying common solutions among the services or department-wide. A department-wide strategy for remediating control issues would better position DOD to develop sustainable, routine processes that help ensure accurate real property records and, ultimately, auditable information for financial reporting for the department. Additionally, a DOD-wide strategy could help the military services more effectively and efficiently address reported control issues, particularly for those categorized as DOD-wide issues. The Acting Secretary, noting that the services had not accurately accounted for DOD's buildings and structures, required existence and completeness (E&C) verifications to be performed for all real property for fiscal year 2019. Given the lack of department-wide instructions for how to carry out the requirement, the military services independently developed approaches for performing the E&C verifications. Their approaches differed in both scope (what assets were verified) and methodology (how the assets were verified), including the extent to which instructions were written. Reporting and monitoring of the results by service and department-level management also differed. Without department-wide instructions for performing the fiscal year 2019 E&C verifications, the results were not comparable among the military services. Further, DOD and the military services did not obtain the complete and consistent information needed to create a DOD real property baseline or to help ensure that the department's real property records are reliable. DOD-wide instructions would help DOD obtain complete and comparable E&C verifications results, which would help DOD achieve an auditable real property baseline and, ultimately, its objective of an unmodified (“clean”) audit opinion. DOD manages one of the federal government's largest portfolios of real property. This engagement was initiated in connection with the statutory requirement for GAO to audit the U.S. government's consolidated financial statements. DOD's uncorrected deficiencies, including those affecting real property, prevent DOD from having auditable financial statements, one of the three major impediments preventing GAO from expressing an opinion on the accrual-based consolidated financial statements of the U.S. government. This report (1) identifies the real property control issues that independent public accountants reported that may affect the ability of the military services to establish and maintain accurate and complete real property records, (2) examines the extent to which DOD had a strategy to address the control issues, and (3) assesses the extent to which DOD provided guidance for the required E&C verifications during fiscal year 2019 and how each military service implemented the directive. GAO analyzed fiscal year 2019 audit findings, reviewed key DOD documents, and interviewed DOD and military service officials. GAO is recommending that DOD (1) develop and implement an enterprise-wide strategy to remediate real property control issues and (2) issue DOD-wide instructions for the E&C verifications. DOD concurred with GAO's recommendations. For more information, contact Kristen Kociolek at (202) 512-2989 or kociolekk@gao.gov.
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  • Judiciary Informs Congress of Its Opposition to Bill
    In U.S Courts
    The Judiciary has informed Congress that it opposes the proposed Judiciary Accountability Act. In a letter to key lawmakers today, Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf, secretary of the Judicial Conference of the United States, wrote that the bill “fails to recognize the robust safeguards that have been in place within the Judiciary to protect Judiciary employees, including law clerks, from wrongful conduct in the workplace, including protections against discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and abusive conduct.”
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    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Justice Department Finds Yale Illegally Discriminates Against Asians and Whites in Undergraduate Admissions in Violation of Federal Civil-Rights Laws
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice today notified Yale University of its findings that Yale illegally discriminates against Asian American and white applicants in its undergraduate admissions process in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The findings are the result of a two-year investigation in response to a complaint by Asian American groups concerning Yale’s conduct.   
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    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Justice Department Settles with Construction Company to Resolve Immigration-Related Discrimination Claims
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Priority Construction Corporation, located in Baltimore, Maryland.
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  • Federal Officials Close Cold Case Re-Investigation of Murder of Emmett Till
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi announced today that it has closed its investigation into a witness’s alleged recantation of her account of the events leading up to the murder of Emmett Till. The investigation was conducted in conjunction with the Mississippi District Attorney’s Office, Fourth District. Till’s murder is one of the most infamous acts of racial violence in our country’s history.
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