January 29, 2022

News

News Network

The Department of State Breaks Ground on the New U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai, Thailand

13 min read

Office of the Spokesperson

In a concrete sign of the enduring U.S. – Thai alliance and friendship, Ambassador Michael George DeSombre, Consul General Sean K. O’Neill, Thai Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Vijavat Isarabhakdi, and Chiang Mai Governor Charoenrit Sanguansat broke ground today on the new U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The new U.S. Consulate General will provide a secure, modern, and resilient platform for the conduct of U.S. diplomacy in northern Thailand. Ennead Architects of New York, NY is the design architect for the project and B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, AL is the construction contractor. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.

Throughout this project, an estimated $45 million will be invested in the local economy. The project will employ an estimated 600 American, Thai, and third-country nationals. Approximately 70% of the workforce will be recruited from the local labor pool. Many of these workers will gain new skills that will help distinguish them from other construction workers in the local labor market.

Since the start of the U.S. Department of State’s Capital Security Construction Program in 1999, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has completed 162 new diplomatic facilities and has an additional 51 projects in design or under construction.

OBO provides safe, secure, functional, and resilient facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and support the Department’s achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad. These facilities represent American values and the best in American architecture, design, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.

For further information, please contact Christine Foushee at FousheeCT@state.gov or visit www.state.gov/obo.

 

News Network

  • Patient Recruiter Convicted in $2.8 Million Telemedicine Scheme Against Medicare
    In Crime News
    The owner of an Orlando-area telemarketing call center was convicted for his role in a kickback scheme involving expensive genetic tests and fraudulent telemedicine services that resulted in the payment of approximately $2.8 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.
    [Read More…]
  • Three Texas Men Sentenced to Prison for Using Dating App to Target Gay Men for Violent Crimes
    In Crime News
    Three Texas men were sentenced yesterday for violent crimes.
    [Read More…]
  • Georgia Woman Sentenced to 41 Months in COVID-19 Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A Georgia woman was sentenced today to 41 months in prison for her scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $7.9 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
    [Read More…]
  • Monaco National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Nauru National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • President of Commercial Flooring Company Pleads Guilty to Rigging Bids in Violation of Federal Antitrust Laws
    In Crime News
    Delmar E. Church Jr., the president and one of the principal owners of a Chicago-area commercial flooring company, pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices for commercial flooring services and products sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced. The defendant is cooperating with the department’s ongoing investigation.
    [Read More…]
  • [Protest of Air Force Contract Award for Modernization Support Services]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested an Air Force contract award for systems modernization support services, contending that the Air Force: (1) unreasonably determined that its proposal represented a moderate risk; (2) treated the protester and the awardee unfairly in the evaluation of the two firms' proposed architectures; (3) inappropriately evaluated its bid under the development-implementation processes evaluation factor; (4) should have considered the awardee's poor past performance on three large programs; and (5) should have rejected the awardee's proposal, since the solicitation prohibited the submission of more than one proposal by a bidder. GAO held that the Air Force: (1) reasonably determined the protester's bid represented a moderate risk, since its proposed architecture was based upon emerging technology and would require a substantial amount of custom software development; (2) treated the protester and the awardee fairly in the risk assessment; (3) appropriately considered the bidder's past performance in the bid evaluation, since the solicitation criteria provided for consideration of bidder's relevant experience; (4) properly limited its consideration of the awardee's performance to those procurements that the awardee itself performed as opposed to those performed by affiliated entities; and (5) properly accepted proposals from the awardee and an affiliated entity, since each were a separate business entity within a larger corporation. Accordingly, the protest was denied.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Hillary Clinton, “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” Podcast
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: DOD Needs to Update Modernization Schedule and Improve Data on Software Development
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Defense (DOD) delayed the completion of key testing until problems with the F-35 aircraft simulator are resolved, which GAO also reported last year, and will again delay its full-rate production decision. In August 2020, the program office determined the aircraft simulator—to be used to replicate complex test scenarios that could not be accomplished in real-world environment testing—did not fully represent F-35 capabilities and could not be used for further testing until fixed. Since then, program officials have been developing a new plan to ensure the simulator works as intended. Until they finalize the plan and fix the simulator, the next production milestone date—which would formally authorize DOD's transition from development to full production—remains undetermined (see figure). F-35 Operational Test Schedule and Key Events through 2021, as of November 2020 DOD is now in its third year of its modernization effort, known as Block 4, to upgrade the hardware and software of the aircraft. While DOD added another year to the schedule, GAO found the remaining development time frame is not achievable. The program routinely underestimated the amount of work needed to develop Block 4 capabilities, which has resulted in delays, and has not reflected historical performance into its remaining work schedule. Unless the F-35 program accounts for historical performance in the schedule estimates, the Block 4 schedule will continue to exceed estimated time frames and stakeholders will lack reliable information on when capabilities will be delivered. GAO found the F-35 program office collects data on many Block 4 software development metrics, a key practice from GAO's Agile Assessment Guide, but has not met two other key practices for monitoring software development progress. Specifically, the F-35 program office has not implemented tools to enable automated data collection on software development performance, a key practice. The program's primary reliance on the contractor's monthly reports, often based on older data, has hindered program officials' timely decision-making. The program office has also not set software quality performance targets, inconsistent with another key practice. Without these targets, the program office is less able to assess whether the contractor has met acceptable quality performance levels. Why GAO Did This Study The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program remains DOD's most expensive weapon system program. DOD is 3 years into a development effort that is loosely based on Agile software development processes to modernize the F-35 aircraft's capabilities. With this approach, DOD intends to incrementally develop, test, and deliver small groups of new capabilities every 6 months. Congress included provisions in two statutes for GAO to review the F-35 program. This report addresses the F-35 operational testing status, DOD's Block 4 modernization development schedule, and how the F-35 program office implements key practices for evaluating Agile software development progress. To assess cost and schedule concerns identified in prior years, GAO selected three key practices that focus on evaluating Agile software development progress. GAO reviewed DOD and contractor documentation and interviewed DOD officials and contractor representatives.
    [Read More…]
  • Houston gang member charged for trafficking young teen for sex
    In Justice News
    A local gang member has [Read More…]
  • Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks on the Biden Administration’s Gun Crime Prevention Strategy
    In Crime News
    Good afternoon, Mr. President. It’s good to be here with you, with local elected and community leaders, and with representatives of law enforcement.
    [Read More…]
  • Utah Man and His Company Indicted for Wildlife Trafficking
    In Crime News
    A Utah man and his company were charged in an indictment today with violating the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act for their role in illegal wildlife trafficking, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan D. Brightbill of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney John W. Huber of the District of Utah.
    [Read More…]
  • Mexican trafficker convicted following two-ton marijuana seizure
    In Justice News
    A 20-year-old Mexican [Read More…]
  • 12th Annual HBCU Foreign Policy Conference
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of St. Louis to Ensure Polling Place Accessibility for Voters with Disabilities
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today reached a settlement under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of St. Louis to ensure that St. Louis polling places are accessible during elections to individuals with mobility and vision impairments. 
    [Read More…]
  • Puerto Rico: Efforts to Improve Competition for Medicaid Procurement
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Like other U.S. territories and states, Puerto Rico implements major functions of its Medicaid program by procuring services from contractors, such as the delivery of managed care services to Medicaid beneficiaries. In 2018, procurement costs represented $2.4 billion of Puerto Rico's $2.5 billion in total Medicaid expenditures. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)—the federal agency that oversees Medicaid—requires states and territories to use the same process for Medicaid procurements as they do for their non-federal procurements. However, in February 2021, GAO found that CMS has not taken steps to ensure Puerto Rico has met this requirement. Instead, CMS has relied on Puerto Rico to oversee the territory’s procurement process and to attest to its compliance. CMS officials told GAO that states and territories are in the best position to ensure compliance with their respective procurement laws. A 2019 federal indictment alleging Puerto Rico officials unlawfully steered Medicaid contracts to certain individuals has also raised questions about Puerto Rico's Medicaid procurement process, including whether this process helps ensure appropriate competition. The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, directed Puerto Rico to publish a Medicaid procurement reform plan to combat fraud, waste, and abuse, which the territory provided to Congress in December 2020. In its procurement reform plan, Puerto Rico acknowledges the need to improve competition and outlines future initiatives and general timeframes to do so. For example, Puerto Rico notes that by August 2021, it will identify the circumstances under which the use of noncompetitive contracts is justified, as well as the factors it might consider in making this determination. By April 2021, Puerto Rico intends to identify procurement information it will make public as part of its competitive procurement process and will make such information public by the end of 2021. Such changes—if implemented as planned—could address some of the issues GAO identified in its review of eight selected Puerto Rico procurements. In its review, GAO found that Puerto Rico did not include important steps to promote competition and mitigate the risk for fraud, waste, and abuse, underscoring the need for federal oversight. GAO and others have found that competition is a cornerstone of procurement. Using competition can reduce costs, improve contractor performance, curb fraud, and promote accountability. As Puerto Rico continues to develop and carry out its planned reforms, implementing GAO’s recommendation for ongoing, risk-based oversight of Puerto Rico’s Medicaid procurement process could enable CMS to promote competition and efficiency while preventing fraud, waste, and abuse in the program. Why GAO Did This Study This testimony summarizes the information contained in GAO's February 2021 report, entitled Medicaid: CMS Needs to Implement Risk-Based Oversight of Puerto Rico’s Procurement Process (GAO-21-229). Specifically, the testimony discusses findings from the report as they relate to Puerto Rico’s Medicaid procurement reform plan.
    [Read More…]
  • Credit Suisse Resolves Fraudulent Mozambique Loan Case in $547 Million Coordinated Global Resolution
    In Crime News
    Credit Suisse Group AG, a global financial institution headquartered in Switzerland, and Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Limited (CSSEL), its subsidiary in the United Kingdom (together, Credit Suisse), have admitted to defrauding U.S. and international investors in the financing of an $850 million loan for a tuna fishing project in Mozambique, and have been assessed more than $547 million in penalties, fines, and disgorgement as part of coordinated resolutions with criminal and civil authorities in the United States and the United Kingdom. After taking account of crediting by the department of the other resolutions, Credit Suisse will pay approximately $475 million to authorities in the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as restitution to victims in an amount to be determined by the court.
    [Read More…]
  • FDA Workforce: Agency-Wide Workforce Planning Needed to Ensure Medical Product Staff Meet Current and Future Needs
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—is responsible for, among other things, ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human medical products marketed in the United States. FDA has used a variety of strategies to improve the agency's ability to recruit and retain the scientific, technical, and professional staff for its three centers responsible for the oversight of human medical products. These centers—the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and the Center for Devices and Radiological Health—were the focus of GAO's review. To improve both recruitment and retention for these centers, FDA leveraged the hiring and pay flexibilities provided by the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) to expedite hiring and to offer higher salaries than the agency could under traditional federal hiring authorities. FDA has used these flexibilities to hire and retain staff such as scientists, physicians, and regulatory counsel, for whom pay disparities with the private sector are especially large. FDA also established a team dedicated to engaging with the scientific community and established a unified branding strategy that emphasizes the agency's public health mission. GAO found that FDA follows some leading practices for effective workforce planning for medical product staff. FDA's medical product centers each conduct yearly workforce planning in which they determine the skills they need and develop strategies to address identified gaps. However, FDA does not have an agency-wide strategic workforce plan to coordinate human capital efforts across the medical product centers, nor does it have performance measures in place to evaluate the effectiveness of its human capital strategies, as called for by leading practices of effective workforce planning. FDA Workforce Planning Activities for Medical Product Staff As Compared to GAO-Identified Leading Practices for Effective Workforce Planning Leading practice Alignment between FDA actions and leading practices Determine needed skills and develop strategies to address gaps ● Monitor and evaluate progress toward human capital goals ◒ Develop a strategic workforce plan ◯ Legend: ● = Aligned with leading practices; ◒ = Partially aligned with leading practices; ○ = Not aligned with leading practices Source: GAO analysis of Food and Drug Administration documents and interviews with officials. | GAO-22-104791 Further, FDA does not have a process to update such a plan on an ongoing basis should one be developed. FDA's last agency-wide strategic workforce plan—covering fiscal years 2010 through 2012—was developed under prior leadership and current agency officials were not aware of it. Without an agency-wide strategic workforce plan and a process to keep it up to date, FDA lacks reasonable assurance that actions taken within its individual centers and offices will help the agency achieve its overarching goals and mission over time. Why GAO Did This Study FDA relies on a qualified medical product workforce to achieve its mission to protect public health. However, FDA has faced challenges meeting its medical product workforce needs, due in part to competition with the private sector for candidates. Enacted in 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act provided additional flexibilities to facilitate FDA's recruitment and retention of medical product staff and included a provision for GAO to study FDA's recruitment and retention of these staff. This report: (1) describes the strategies FDA uses to recruit, hire, and retain medical product staff, and (2) evaluates the workforce planning processes FDA uses for these staff and whether these processes follow leading workforce planning practices. GAO analyzed FDA policies, guidance, reports, and data related to recruitment and retention of medical product staff and workforce planning. GAO also interviewed FDA officials responsible for hiring these staff and nonprofit and private sector organizations representing scientific staff.
    [Read More…]
  • Afghan National Arrested for 2008 Abduction of American Journalist
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced the unsealing of a federal indictment charging Haji Najibullah, a/k/a “Najibullah Naim,” a/k/a “Abu Tayeb,” a/k/a “Atiqullah” with six counts related to the 2008 kidnapping of an American journalist and two Afghan nationals. Najibullah, 44, was arrested and transferred to the United States from Ukraine to face the charges in the indictment. Najibullah will be presented today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Secretary Lloyd J. Austin at Meet and Greet with U.S. Military and Interagency Team
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]

Crime

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