AUDIT REPORTS
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Report: Obama Campaign Soliciting Foreign Donations ... - PJ Media

Report: Obama Campaign Soliciting Foreign Donations ... - PJ Media | AUDIT REPORTS | Scoop.it
The Government Accountability Institute released a blockbuster study today on the issue of foreign donations in American politics, and in particular, the Obama campaign. The study determined three key findings: The absence ...
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AUDIT REPORTS
Full copies of reports in the news or worth noting
Curated by Jim Wesberry
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UK NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE REPORT: Accountability to Parliamen for taxpayers’ money

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Semiannual Report to the Congress
April 1–September 30, 2016
OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
USAID

OIG ACCOMPLISHMENTS DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD More than $19 million in questioned costs More than $1.7 million in investigative recoveries and savings 298 audit reports issued 147 investigations closed 20 prosecutorial referrals 57 administrative actions
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Political Aides Get Preference Over Veterans for Government Jobs

Of the 30 agencies GAO reviewed, 28 reported converting 69 individuals from political to career positions from January 1, 2010, to October 1, 2015. The other two agencies reported making no conversions during this time. Of the agencies that implemented political conversions during the review period, eight agencies implemented 17 conversions without receiving prior approval from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as required by OPM policy. OPM completed post-appointment reviews for 13 of these 17 political conversions, approving 9 and denying 4. For each of the four denied cases, the agencies undertook various remedies, such as re-evaluating applicants, in response to OPM’s concerns. For the four conversions for which OPM did not complete a post-appointment review, OPM or the agency determined that such a review was not needed for three because the appointee was no longer in the career position. For the fourth case, OPM officials said they were sending a letter to the cognizant agency to initiate the review process as of September 2016. Agency officials identified difficulties understanding OPM’s policy for prior approval of political conversions as a reason for not seeking prior approval, and they identified various steps they are taking to better adhere to OPM and agency policies. These steps include additional training on the types of political appointments that require prior OPM approval and implementing additional internal reviews to ensure compliance with OPM policy. GAO also found that OPM’s oversight activities do not effectively identify all conversions that agencies completed without obtaining prior OPM approval. OPM officials said they are working to enhance their monitoring processes and increase the frequency of their reviews. These actions, if effectively implemented, should help OPM to identify all conversions completed by agencies in a timely manner.
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Auditor general delivers scathing criticism of P.E.I. e-gaming 

The P.E.I. government’s controversial e-gaming venture was riddled with inappropriate secrecy, conflicts of interest among numerous top government officials and an overall disregard for taxpayers’ interests, says the province’s auditor general. Jane MacAdam’s special audit into the province’s e-gaming scandal has been tabled in the P.E.I. legislature today. It is a scathing indictment of the venture pursued by the former Ghiz administration, which aimed to make Prince Edward Island an Internet gambling regulator for the country.
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Federal Real Property: Efforts Made, but Challenges Remain in Reducing Unneeded Facilities

Federal Real Property: Efforts Made, but Challenges Remain in Reducing Unneeded Facilities | AUDIT REPORTS | Scoop.it
GAO's work has found that significant challenges persist in managing real property in general and excess and underutilized property in particular. They include:
a lack of reliable data with which to measure the extent of the problem,
a complex disposal process,
costly environmental requirements,
competing stakeholder interests, and
limited accessibility of some federal properties.
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INVESTIGATIVE
REPORT
U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office
Analysis of Patent Examiners’
Time and Attendance

Thousands of employees who review patents for the federal government potentially cheated taxpayers out of at least $18.3 million as they billed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for almost 300,000 hours they never worked, according to a new investigation. The investigation by the independent watchdog for the Commerce Department, the patent office’s parent agency, determined that the real scale of fraud is probably double those numbers. To ensure that their conclusions were airtight, investigators interpreted the data they gathered conservatively, they said, often giving employees the benefit of the doubt for the time they reportedly worked.
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Whistleblower
Protections Need
Strengthening

The Department of Energy (DOE) has used a combination of independent reviews and contractor self-assessments to evaluate the openness of the environment for raising safety and other concerns. The independent reviews, which were methodologically sound and consistently applied, revealed problems with the environment for raising concerns. In contrast, many self-assessments used flawed and inconsistent methodologies and overstated the openness of the environment. For example, self-assessment survey response rates were as low as about 5 percent and were not sufficient for drawing conclusions. Contractor officials told GAO that the low response rates, in some cases, reflect a concern about anonymity. Nonetheless, additional independent assessments are not planned. Instead, DOE plans to provide voluntary guidance to contractors and rely on them to conduct evaluations and take appropriate action in response to results. Consequently, DOE cannot judge the openness of its environment or ensure that appropriate action is taken in response to evaluation results. Several factors may limit the use and effectiveness of mechanisms for contractor employees to raise concerns and seek whistleblower protections. For example, contractor employees seeking a remedy for alleged retaliation may find DOE’s whistleblower program difficult to navigate without legal assistance because it includes filing motions and appeals and arguing before an administrative judge. One case GAO examined was dismissed because the complaint was too vague. On appeal, more specific information was provided but was considered a recharacterization of events and the appeal was denied. A new statutory whistleblower pilot program available to DOE and other government contractors may mitigate some of these challenges. Under the pilot program, DOE’s Office of Inspector General investigates alleged retaliation, and officials with this office told GAO that legal assistance would not be necessary. The pilot program expires in January 2017, however, and DOE has not evaluated the extent of its implementation or whether it might mitigate challenges of the existing program.
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State Department report on Clinton's email practices

State Department report on Clinton's email practices | AUDIT REPORTS | Scoop.it
The State Department's independent watchdog has issued a highly critical analysis of Hillary Clinton's email practices while running the department, concluding that she failed to seek legal approval for her use of a private email server and that department staff would not have given its blessing because of the "security risks in doing so."
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Most Large Profitable
U.S. Corporations
Paid Tax but Effective
Tax Rates Differed
Significantly from the
Statutory Rate

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Comptroller General's Statement

"Certain material weaknesses1 in internal control over financial reporting and other limitations on the scope of our work resulted in conditions that prevented us from expressing an opinion on the accrual-based consolidated financial statements as of and for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2015, and 2014.2 About 34 percent of the federal government’s reported total assets as of September 30, 2015, and approximately 19 percent of the federal government’s reported net cost for fiscal year 2015 relate to three Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act agencies—the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture—that received disclaimers of opinion on their fiscal year 2015 financial statements. x Significant uncertainties (discussed in Note 23 to the consolidated financial statements), primarily related to the achievement of projected reductions in Medicare cost growth, and a material weakness in internal control over financial reporting, prevented us from expressing  an opinion on the sustainability financial statements..."
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Fiscal Year 2015 U.S. Government Financial Statements: Need to Address the Government's Remaining Financial Management Challenges and Long-Term Fiscal Path

Fiscal Year 2015 U.S. Government Financial Statements: Need to Address the Government's Remaining Financial Management Challenges and Long-Term Fiscal Path | AUDIT REPORTS | Scoop.it
While significant progress has been made in improving federal financial management over the past 20 years, material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting and other limitations continued to prevent GAO from expressing an opinion on the government's accrual-based financial statements. Three major impediments are: (1) serious financial management problems at DOD, which represented 30 percent and 15 percent of the government's reported total assets and net costs, respectively; (2) the government's inability to adequately account for and reconcile a significant amount of intragovernmental activity and balances between federal entities, which resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in differences; and (3) the government's ineffective process for preparing the U.S. government's consolidated financial statements (governmentwide financial statements).
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DHS Allowed Employees to Stay on Paid Leave for Years While It Investigated Misconduct

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THE NATION'S FISCAL HEALTH: Action is Needed to Address the Federal Government's Fiscal Future

The Congress and incoming Administration face serious economic, security, and social challenges that will require difficult policy choices in the short term about the level of federal spending and investments as well as ways to obtain needed resources. At the same time, the federal government is highly leveraged in debt by historical norms. In addition to near term financing decisions, a broader plan is needed to put the government on a more sustainable long-term path. This report illuminates this need by outlining the fiscal condition of the U.S. government and its future path based on current fiscal policies. It draws on the recently issued Fiscal Year 2016 Financial Report of the United States Government (2016 Financial Report) and GAO's audit of the government's consolidated financial statements. Significant Changes to the Government’s Fiscal Condition in Fiscal Year 2016 According to the 2016 Financial Report, the federal deficit in fiscal year 2016 increased to $587 billion—up from $439 billion in fiscal year 2015. Federal receipts grew a modest $18.0 billion due primarily to extensions of tax preferences, but that was outweighed by a $166.5 billion increase in spending, driven by Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and interest on debt held by the public (net interest). Debt held by the public rose as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), from 74 percent at the end of fiscal year 2015 to 77 percent at the end of fiscal year 2016. This compares to an average of 44 percent of GDP since 1946. Long-Term Fiscal Projections Show the Federal Government is on an Unsustainable Fiscal Path The 2016 Financial Report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and GAO projections all show that, absent policy changes, the federal government’s fiscal path is unsustainable and that the debt-to-GDP ratio would surpass its historical high of 106 percent within 15 to 25 years (see figure).
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2016-10-05 Audit of Global Fund Grants in India - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

2016-10-05 Audit of Global Fund Grants in India - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria | AUDIT REPORTS | Scoop.it
Regarding procurement and supply chain, in a 2013 audit, the OIG had noted delays of up to one year in health commodities. In the 2016 audit, delays in procurement processes increased, with an average of over 18 months for HIV commodities, 24 months for TB, and up to four years for malaria with the risk of stock-outs and treatment disruptions.

As for data quality, there has been no TB prevalence survey in India since 1958 to evaluate the extent of the disease burden and the required response. This means that, although updates have been made periodically, calculations for the TB control programme in India are now approximately 60 years old. Recent surveys in specific states show a two-fold increase over previous estimates. Given that the country accounts for 25% of the global TB burden, significant variation in the estimates and actual burden could affect global disease estimates.

The auditors also found that risks related to differing quality of drugs used in disease programs have not been adequately resolved. For example, the Global Fund finances only medicines that meet the World Health Organization's standards. Drugs procured using domestic funds are not subject to these requirements. The co-mingling of drugs at all levels in the TB program has meant that patients receive drugs from both sources. For the HIV program, given the planned transition to government funding of drugs in 2018, patients will be switching to drugs that do not comply with the same standards as before. No assessments to compare divergent quality assurance standards have been conducted to understand, for example, whether government-funded drugs are of a poorer quality, leading possibly to drug resistance.
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Top Homeland Official Accused of Political Favoritism

In three matters pending before USCIS, Mr. Mayorkas, now Deputy Secretary of DHS, communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders. Mr. Mayorkas’ conduct led many USCIS employees to reasonably believe that specific individuals or groups were being given special access or consideration in the EB-5 program.
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Detalle Informe

INVESTIGACION ESPECIAL 15-13 MUNICIPALIDAD DE QUILICURA - IRREGULARIDADES EN HORAS EXTRAORDINARIAS - MARZO 2014
Destinatarios ALCALDE, ---, ALCALDE
SECRETARIO, ---, SECRETARIO MUNICIPAL
DIRECTOR DE CONTROL, ---, DIRECTOR DE CONTROL
PARTICULAR
DIRECTOR, CONSEJO PARA LA TRANSPARENCIA, DIRECTOR
JEFE USEG, CONTRALORIA GENERAL DE LA REPUBLICA, JEFE
Objetivos Atender lo requerido por don Raúl Ferrada Carrasco, Director General del Consejo para la Transparencia, y doña Rocío Lagarribel Mena, periodista del canal de televisión Megavisión, denunciando eventuales irregularidades acontecidas en la Municipalidad de Quilicura, que transgredirían la normativa vigente en materia de horas extraordinarias y de contrataciones a honorarios, las que dieron origen a una investigación especial, cuyo resultado consta en el presente documento.
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US FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION ACT
Litigation Costs For
Justice and Agencies
Could Not Be Fully
Determined

Federal agencies spend millions of tax dollars opposing Americans’ successful lawsuits seeking public records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but can’t say exactly how much, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Department of Justice (DOJ) officials responsible for tracking agencies’ FOIA compliance don’t know how much agencies spent fighting 112 cases from 2009 to 2014 in which the plaintiff “substantially” prevailed, according to GAO. Of the 57 lawsuits agencies could track, agencies spent $1.8 million. Read more: 
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Audit of the Government National Mortgage Association’s Financial Statements
for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2013

We were unable to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to express an opinion on the fairness of the $6.6 billion in nonpooled loan assets from Ginnie Mae’s defaulted issuers’ portfolio and $735 million in liability for loss on the mortgage-backed securities program guaranty. In addition, Ginnie Mae improperly accounted for Federal Housing Administration reimbursable costs as an expense instead of capitalizing the costs as an asset. This error resulted in the misstatement of the asset and net income. Overall, the issues cited in this report were tied to the problems associated with the acquisition and management of a multi-billion dollar defaulted issuers’ portfolio, which is a non-core segment of Ginnie Mae’s business. Due to the scope limitation in our audit work and the effects of material weaknesses in internal control, we have not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion on Ginnie Mae’s fiscal year 2014 financial statements. Accordingly, we do not express an opinion on the fiscal year 2014 financial statements. We identified four material weaknesses and one significant deficiency. Ginnie Mae’s inadequate monitoring, oversight and governance of its accounting and reporting functions by the executive management team, loss of several key Office of Chief Financial Officer personnel, and the inability to track accounting transactions and events at a loan level due to system limitations were all contributing factors to these issues.
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ENRC Has Enhanced
the Controls of
Dangerous
Radioactive Materials,
but Vulnerabilities
Remainmpty title

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the 37 states it permits to grant licenses for radioactive materials—called agreement states—have taken several steps since 2007 to help ensure that licenses are granted only to legitimate organizations and that licensees can only obtain such materials in quantities allowed by their licenses. However, NRC and agreement states have not taken some measures to better control some dangerous quantities of radioactive materials. The International Atomic Energy Agency established a system ranking quantities of certain radioactive materials into five categories based on their potential to harm human health, with, in descending order of danger, categories 1, 2, and 3 all considered dangerous. NRC developed revised guidance, screening criteria, and a checklist, among other things, and now directs NRC regions and agreement states to conduct prelicensing site visits—focusing on questions related to the applicant’s business operations, facility, radiation safety operations, and personnel qualifications for all unknown applicants. NRC, however, has not strengthened controls for all categories of radioactive material considered dangerous. Unlike its process for applicants for category 1 and 2 quantities of radioactive materials, for category 3 applicants NRC does not review specific security measures before a license is issued. NRC has also developed and deployed the National Source Tracking System (NSTS), the Webbased Licensing System (WBL), and the License Verification System to better control some materials. However, these systems focus on more dangerous category 1 and 2 quantities but not category 3 quantities. Further, NRC does not specifically require that the validity of category 3 licenses be verified by the seller with NRC or the agreement states—creating risks that licenses could be counterfeited or that licensees could obtain radioactive materials in quantities greater than what is allowed by their licenses
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Information Technology: Federal Agencies Need to Address Aging Legacy Systems

Information Technology: Federal Agencies Need to Address Aging Legacy Systems | AUDIT REPORTS | Scoop.it
The federal government spent about 75 percent of the total amount budgeted for information technology (IT) for fiscal year 2015 on operations and maintenance (O&M) investments. Such spending has increased over the past 7 fiscal years, which has resulted in a $7.3 billion decline from fiscal years 2010 to 2017 in development, modernization, and enhancement activities.
Total Federal IT Spending by Type (in billions)

Specifically, 5,233 of the government's approximately 7,000 IT investments are spending all of their funds on O&M activities. Moreover, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has directed agencies to identify IT O&M expenditures known as non-provisioned services that do not use solutions often viewed as more efficient, such as cloud computing and shared services. Agencies reported planned spending of nearly $55 billion on such non-provisioned IT in fiscal year 2015. OMB has developed a metric for agencies to measure their spending on services such as cloud computing and shared services, but has not identified an associated goal. Thus, agencies may be limited in their ability to evaluate progress.
Many O&M investments in GAO's review were identified as moderate to high risk by agency CIOs, and agencies did not consistently perform required analysis of these at-risk investments. Further, several of the at-risk investments did not have plans to be retired or modernized. Until agencies fully review their at-risk investments, the government's oversight of such investments will be limited and its spending could be wasteful.
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UNITED NATIONATIONS: OIOS Audit of Ng & South South News, OIOS Cut Out Ban Photo Op with Ng at UNCA Ball

The UN's unwillingness to address the obvious corruption of South South News, to which it has given awards and Ban Ki-moon photo ops via its UN Correspondents Association, and whose Ng Lap Seng bought documents from Ban's Secretariat, has become even more clear -- though not in the UN's favored media.

While the UN tries to blunt the corruption scandal by handing first questions and more to Reuters, Inner City Press is today putting online, as a full text exclusive, the actual Office of Internal Oversight Services audit of the Global Sustainability Foundation and David Ng Lap Seng's Sun Kian Ip Foundation and, at least preliminarily, South South News.

The audit does list South South News - but conveniently decided to begin review only on January 1 2012 -- days after UNCA provided Ng Lap Seng a photo op with Ban Ki-moon in December 2011 in Cipriani's Wall Street, after accepting money from South South News. There is more, here.

On April 5, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson if the Ng Lap Seng related World Harmony Foundation is, as it appeared, still a member of the UN Global Company, ironically about transparency, six months after the indictment of Ng. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: is the World Harmony Foundation, linked to Ng Lap Seng and Frank Liu, still a member of the Global Compact? Because on my computer, it still is. And I'm wondering, since the audit, has the Global Compact taken any steps to make sure that Ng Lap Seng affiliates are not promoting human rights for the UN?

Deputy Spokesman Haq: Certainly, I'll check on whether the World Harmony Foundation is still part of the Global Compact. I'd need to check with the Global Compact office on that.

Haq never returned with an answer, which in context showed what the answer was. When after Haq presided over a three ring circus of obfuscation by UNCA -- now the UN's Censorship Alliance -- board members from Reuters, France 24 and AFP, Inner City Press managed to ask him, did he have an answer on World Harmony Foundation?

In fact he did, though he had not bothered to convey it to Inner City Press and apparently never would have, if not asked again at a noon briefing. The World Harmony Foundation is still a member of the UN Global Compact, six months after the indictment. We'll have more on this.

Even as the Government Accountability Project writes to Ban K-moon to protest his Secretariat's "crude and heavy handed" retaliation against Inner City Press for its questions, four honchos of the UN Correspondents Association were allowed by Ban's Office of the Spokesperson on April 6 to use the briefing to directly address Inner City Press, complete with canned applause.

Ban's deputy spokesperson Haq handed the first question to Reuters' Lou Charbonneau, who have been outed secretly lobbying to get Inner City Press out of the UN for not accepting theft of exclusives; he handed it over to a France 24 correspondent then -- see a trend here? - to Agence France Presse.

Finally Haq allowed Charbonneau's reporter Michelle Nichol to make an outright statement to / at Inner City Press, in the briefing, followed by canned applause. Here is a petition of 1,280 people in the real world to Ban to restore what was crudely taken.

On April 4, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric gave the first question and the audit to Reuters bureau chief Louis Charbonneau, to try to take the sting out of this question.

But Reuters has an obvious conflict of interest: it has an essentially permanent seat on the Executive Committee of the UN Correspondents Association, which took South South News' money and gave its funder Ng Lap Seng a photo op with Ban Ki-moon.


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FISCAL YEAR 2015 U.S. GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL STATEMENTS:
Need to Address the Government's Remaining Financial Management Challenges and Long-Term Fiscal Path

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Civil Support: DOD Needs to Clarify Its Roles and Responsibilities for Defense Support of Civil Authorities during Cyber Incidents

Civil Support: DOD Needs to Clarify Its Roles and Responsibilities for Defense Support of Civil Authorities during Cyber Incidents | AUDIT REPORTS | Scoop.it
The Department of Defense (DOD) has developed overarching guidance about how it is to support civil authorities as part of its Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) mission, but DOD's guidance does not clearly define its roles and responsibilities for cyber incidents. Specifically, DOD has developed and issued key DSCA guidance—such as DOD Directive 3025.18, Defense Support of Civil Authorities— that provides guidance for the execution and oversight of DSCA. However, DOD guidance does not clarify the roles and responsibilities of key DOD entities—such as DOD components, the supported command, and the dual-status commander—that may be called upon to support a cyber incident. Specifically:
DOD components: DOD Directive 3025.18 identifies the specific responsibilities of DOD officials who oversee DOD components responsible for various elements of DSCA, such as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs for health or medical-related support, but does not specify the responsibilities of DOD components (such as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security) in supporting civil authorities for cyber incidents.
Supported command: Various guidance documents are inconsistent on which combatant command would be designated the supported command and have primary responsibility for supporting civil authorities during a cyber incident. U.S. Northern Command's DSCA response concept plan states that U.S. Northern Command would be the supported command for a DSCA mission that may include cyber domain incidents and activities. However, other guidance directs and DOD officials stated that a different command, U.S. Cyber Command, would be responsible for supporting civil authorities in a cyber incident.
Dual-status commander: Key DSCA guidance documents do not identify the role of the dual-status commander—that is, the commander who has authority over federal military and National Guard forces—in supporting civil authorities during a cyber incident. According to U.S. Northern Command officials, in a recent cyber exercise there was a lack of unity of effort among the DOD and National Guard forces that were responding to the emergency but were not under the control of the dual-status commander.
DOD officials acknowledged the limitations of current guidance to direct the department's efforts in supporting civil authorities in a cyber incident and discussed with GAO the need for clarified guidance on roles and responsibilities. DOD officials stated that the department had not yet determined the approach it would take to support a civil authority in a cyber incident and, as of January 2016, DOD had not begun efforts to issue or update guidance and did not have an estimate on when the guidance will be finalized. Until DOD clarifies the roles and responsibilities of its key entities for cyber incidents, there would continue to be uncertainty about which DOD component or command should be providing support to civil authorities in the event of a major cyber incident.
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The Security of U.S. Visa Programs

• After 11 years, USCIS has made little progress in transforming its paper-based processes into an automated immigration benefits processing environment. USCIS now estimates that it will take three more years and an additional $1 billion to automate benefit processing. This delay will prevent USCIS from achieving its workload processing, national security, and customer service goals. • Known human traffickers used work and fiancé visas to bring victims to the U.S. using legal means. USCIS and ICE can improve data sharing and coordination regarding suspected human traffickers to better identify potential trafficking cases. • ICE did not have sufficient data to determine the effectiveness of its Visa Security Program, which requires the screening and vetting of overseas visa applicants. • The laws and regulations governing the EB-5 immigrant investor program do not give USCIS the authority to deny or terminate a regional center’s participation in the program due to fraud or national security concerns.
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