New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Airport Noise Grants: FAA Needs to Better Ensure Project Eligibility and Improve Strategic Goal and Performance Measures. GAO-12-890, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648149.pdf
2. Asset Forfeiture Programs: Justice and Treasury Should Determine Costs and Benefits of Potential Consolidation. GAO-12-972, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648097.pdf
4. Bureau of Prisons: Growing Inmate Crowding Negatively Affects Inmates, Staff, and Infrastructure. GAO-12-743, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648124.pdf
5. Critical Infrastructure: DHS Needs to Refocus Its Efforts to Lead the Government Facilities Sector. GAO-12-852, August 20.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593580.pdf
6. Department of Homeland Security: Oversight and Coordination of Research and Development Should Be Strengthened. GAO-12-837, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648153.pdf
7. Federal Disaster Assistance: Improved Criteria Needed to Assess a Jurisdiction’s Capability to Respond and Recover on Its Own. GAO-12-838, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648163.pdf
8. Iraq and Afghanistan: Agencies Are Taking Steps to Improve Data on Contracting but Need to Standardize Reporting. GAO-12-977R, September 12.
9. Military Training: DOD Met Annual Reporting Requirements and Improved Its Sustainable Ranges Report. GAO-12-879R, September 12.
10. Millennium Challenge Corporation: Results of Transportation Infrastructure Projects in Seven Countries. GAO-12-631, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648093.pdf
11. Nonproliferation: Agencies Could Improve Information Sharing and End-Use Monitoring on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Exports. GAO-12-536, July 30.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593132.pdf
1. Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise: Observations on the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Oversight of Safety, Security, and Project Management, by Mark Gaffigan, managing director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce. GAO-12-912T, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592773.pdf
2. Next Generation Air Transportation System: FAA Faces Implementation Challenges, by Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D., director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Aviation, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. GAO-12-1011T, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648121.pdf
3. Operational Contract Support: Sustained DOD Leadership Needed to Better Prepare for Future Contingencies, by Timothy J. DiNapoli, acting director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the House Committee on Armed Services. GAO-12-1026T, September 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/650/648106.pdf
New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Federal Buildings Fund: Improved Transparency and Long-term Plan Needed to Clarify Capital Funding Priorities. GAO-12-646, July 12.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592378.pdf
2. Medicaid: Providers in Three States with Unpaid Federal Taxes Received Over $6 Billion in Medicaid Reimbursements. GAO-12-857, July 27.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593096.pdf
3. Ownership by Minority, Female, and Disadvantaged Firms in the Pipeline Industry. GAO-12-896R, August 2.
4. Federal Fleets: Overall Increase in Number of Vehicles Masks That Some Agencies Decreased Their Fleets. GAO-12-780, August 2.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593248.pdf
5. Cancellation of the Army’s Autonomous Navigation System. GAO-12-851R, August 2.
6. Iraq and Afghanistan: State and DOD Should Ensure Interagency Acquisitions Are Effectively Managed and Comply with Fiscal Law. GAO-12-750, August 2.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/593262.pdf
7. Secure Communities: Criminal Alien Removals Increased, but Technology Planning Improvements Needed. GAO-12-708, July 13.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592416.pdf
1. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: Vulnerability to Fraud and Abuse Remains, by Richard J. Hillman, managing director, forensic audits and investigative service, before the Subcommittees on Economic Opportunity and Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. GAO-12-967T, August 2.
New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Freedom of Information Act: Key Website Is Generally Reliable, but Action Is Needed to Ensure Completeness of Its Reports. GAO-12-754, June 28.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592011.pdf
2. Defense Management: Steps Taken to Better Manage Fuel Demand but Additional Information Sharing Mechanisms Are Needed. GAO-12-619, June 28.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592023.pdf
3. Internal Revenue Service: Status of GAO Financial Audit and Related Financial Management Recommendations. GAO-12-695, June 28.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592016.pdf
1. Mission Iraq: State and DOD Face Challenges in Finalizing Support and Security Capabilities, by Michael J. Courts, acting director, international affairs and trade, before the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-12-856T, June 28.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/591998.pdf
2. Residential Appraisals: Regulators Should Take Actions to Strengthen Appraisal Oversight, by William B. Shear, director, financial markets and community investment, before the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity, House Committee on Financial Services. GAO-12-840T, June 28.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592001.pdf
3. Information Security: Cyber Threats Facilitate Ability to Commit Economic Espionage, by Gregory C. Wilshusen, director, information security issues, before the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, House Committee on Homeland Security. GAO-12-876T, June 28.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/592009.pdf
4. Modernizing the Nuclear Security Enterprise: Observations on the Organization and Management of the National Nuclear Security Administration, by Gene Aloise, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, House Committee on Armed Services. GAO-12-867T, June 27.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/600/591975.pdf
Presentation by the Comptroller General
1. Partnership and Collaboration: Meeting the Challenges Across All Levels of Government, by Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, before the 19th Biennial Forum of Government Auditors, Alexandria Virginia. GAO-12-882CG, June 27.
Introduction:Arab populations have many similarities and dissimilarities. They share culture, language and religion but they are also subject to economic, political and social differences. The purpose of this study is to understand the causes of the rising trend of diabetes prevalence in order to suggest efficient actions susceptible to reduce the burden of diabetes in the Arab world.Method:We use principal component analysis to illustrate similarities and differences between Arab countries according to four variables: 1) the prevalence of diabetes, 2) impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), 3) diabetes related deaths and 4) diabetes related expenditure per person. A linear regression is also used to study the correlation between human development index and diabetes prevalence.Results:Arab countries are mainly classified into three groups according to the diabetes comparative prevalence (high, medium and low) but other differences are seen in terms of diabetes-related mortality and diabetes related expenditure per person. We also investigate the correlation between the human development index (HDI) and diabetes comparative prevalence (R = 0.81).Conclusion:The alarming rising trend of diabetes prevalence in the Arab region constitutes a real challenge for heath decision makers. In order to alleviate the burden of diabetes, preventive strategies are needed, based essentially on sensitization for a more healthy diet with regular exercise but health authorities are also asked to provide populations with heath- care and early diagnosis to avoid the high burden caused by complications of diabetes.
October 2011: Quarterly Report To Congress
Source: Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction
Sixty days from now, the mission of the U.S. Forces-Iraq will come to an end. his historic moment will close the books on nearly nine years of U.S. military engagement in Iraq. his moment also inaugurates a new phase in the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq. Substantial U.S. inancial assistance will continue, albeit at levels lower than in previous years. But a more cooperative and collaborative aspect will eventually embrace this crucially important relationship as the State Department’s plans and programs develop.
The Iraq that the U.S. military leaves is fundamentally changed from the foundering state that existed in the spring of 2003. Iraq’s economy, then at a stand-still, is expected to grow at a robust 9.6% this year; inlation is low; the national budget is 40% larger than it was three years ago; and oil production in 2011 will almost certainly set a post-2003 record. But Iraq still sufers from daily attacks, with Iraqi Security Forces personnel and senior Government of Iraq leaders regularly subject to assassination attempts. his painful reality underscores the continuing need for Iraq to strengthen its military, police, and rule-of-law institutions. Section 1 of this Report features detailed perspectives on the security situation drawn from recent interviews with top oicials at the Ministries of Interior and Defense.
There were political clashes within the GOI this quarter over competing versions of the long-awaited new hydrocarbon law, a contentious issue that fundamentally divides the GOI and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). his Report’s Focus on the Kurdistan Region provides details on what has been a largely successful reconstruction program in that part of northern Iraq, notwithstanding the unsettling issues that currently daunt relations between the GOI and KRG.
Long-Term Health Consequences of Exposure to Burn Pits in Iraq and Afghanistan
Source: Institute of Medicine
From press release:
Insufficient data on service members’ exposures to emissions from open-air burn pits for trash on military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan is one of the reasons why it is not possible to say whether these emissions could cause long-term health effects, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. High background levels of ambient pollution from other sources and lack of information on the quantities and composition of wastes burned in the pits also complicate interpretation of the data.
During deployment to a war zone, military personnel can be exposed to a variety of environmental hazards, many of which have been associated with long-term adverse health outcomes such as cancer and respiratory disease. Many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have health problems that they worry are related to their exposure to burn pits on military bases. Special attention has been focused on the burn pit at Joint Base Balad (JBB), one of the largest U.S. military bases in Iraq and a central logistics hub.
Based on its analysis of raw data from air monitoring efforts at JBB conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense, the committee that wrote the report concluded that levels of most pollutants of concern at the base were not higher than levels measured at other polluted sites worldwide. Moreover, research on other populations exposed to complex mixtures of pollutants, primarily firefighters and workers at municipal waste incineration plants, has not indicated increased risk for long-term health consequences such as cancer, heart disease, and most respiratory illnesses among these groups.
Even so, the committee pointed out shortcomings in research and gaps in evidence that prevented them from drawing firm conclusions, and it recommended a path to overcome some of these limitations. Lack of information on the specific quantities and types of wastes burned and on other sources of background pollution when air samples were being collected meant it was difficult to correlate pit emissions, including smoke events, with potential health outcomes. Different types of wastes produce different combinations of chemical emissions with the possibility of different health outcomes in those exposed. Moreover, it is hard to determine whether surrogate populations such as firefighters experience exposures to pollutants and durations of exposures similar to those of service members stationed at JBB.
Travel Warning: Iraq
Source: U.S. Department of State
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq given the dangerous security situation. Civilian air and road travel within Iraq remains dangerous. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated April 12, 2011, to update information and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns for U.S. citizens in Iraq, including kidnapping and terrorist violence.
The United States has reduced the number of U.S. military forces in Iraq and ended the combat mission there on August 31, 2010. Consistent with agreements between the two countries, the United States is scheduled to complete its withdrawal of military forces from Iraq by December 31, 2011.
Some regions within Iraq have experienced fewer violent incidents than others in recent years, in particular the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR). However, violence and threats against U.S. citizens persist and no region should be considered safe from dangerous conditions. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue, including in the International (or “Green”) Zone (IZ). Methods of attack have included magnetic bombs placed on vehicles; roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs); mortars and rockets; human- and vehicle-borne IEDs, including Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs); mines placed on or concealed near roads; suicide attacks; and shootings. Numerous insurgent groups remain active throughout Iraq. Although Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) operations against these groups continue, attacks against the ISF and U.S. forces persist in many areas of the country. U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at a high risk for kidnapping.
New GAO Reports and Testimonies (PDFs)
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. DOD Financial Management: Marine Corps Statement of Budgetary Resources Audit Results and Lessons Learned. GAO-11-830, September 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11830high.pdf
2. DOD Financial Management: Improvement Needed in DOD Components’ Implementation of Audit Readiness Effort. GAO-11-851, September 13.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11851high.pdf
3. Chesapeake Bay: Restoration Effort Needs Common Federal and State Goals and Assessment Approach. GAO-11-802, September 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11802high.pdf
4. Iraq and Afghanistan: DOD, State, and USAID Cannot Fully Account for Contracts, Assistance Instruments, and Associated Personnel. GAO-11-886, September 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11886high.pdf
1. Disaster Recovery: Federal Contracting in the Aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, by William T. Woods, acquisition and sourcing management before the Senate Committee On Small Business and Entrepreneurship. GAO-11-942T, September 15.
2. Small Business Contracting: Opportunities to Improve the Effectiveness of Agency and SBA Advocates and Mentor-Protege Programs, by William B. Shear, financial markets and community investment before the Contracting And Workforce Subcommittee of the House Small Business Committee. GAO-11-844T, September 15.
3. DOD Financial Management: Ongoing Challenges in Implementing the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness Plan by Asif Khan, financial management and assurance before the Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security Subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs Committee. GAO-11-932T, September 15.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11932thigh.pdf
Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)
Iraq’s political system is increasingly characterized by peaceful competition and formation of cross-sectarian alliances, but ethnic and sectarian political infighting continues, often involving violence or the questionable use of key levers of power and legal institutions. This infighting is based on the belief that holding political power may mean the difference between poverty and prosperity, or even life and death, for the various political communities. The schisms delayed agreement on a new government following the March 7, 2010, national elections for the Council of Representatives (COR, parliament). With U.S. diplomatic help, on November 10, 2010, major ethnic and sectarian factions finally agreed on a framework (“Irbil Agreement”) for a new government under which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is serving a second term.
In recent months, and with a complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq looming at the end of 2011, the optimism of that agreement has faded and relations among major factions have frayed. Sunni Arabs still fear that Maliki and his Shiite allies will try to monopolize power. The Kurds are wary that Maliki will not honor pledges to resolve Kurd-Arab territorial and financial disputes. Sunni Arabs and the Kurds dispute territory and governance in parts of northern Iraq, particularly Nineveh Province. Some Iraqi communities, including Christians in northern Iraq, are not necessarily at odds with the government but are often caught in the crossfire between the Sunni Arabs and the Kurds. These splits have created conditions under which the insurgency that hampered U.S. policy during 2004-2008 continues to succeed in conducting occasional high casualty attacks, and in which Shiite militias are rearming and conducting attacks on U.S. forces still in Iraq.
These political disputes and ongoing violence—coupled with U.S. concerns about the effectiveness of Iraq’s 650,000 member security forces—have created momentum for the United States and Iraq to modify the firm deadline for a complete U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011. That deadline is enshrined in a 2008 U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement. With the formal end of the U.S. combat mission on August 31, 2010, U.S. forces have dropped to a current level of about 47,000, from a 2008 high of 170,000. In several high-level visits and statements during 2011, senior U.S. officials have said that Iraq should request a continuing, but likely sharply reduced, presence of U.S. forces after 2011. An Iraqi decision on such a request was long hampered by all the same political schisms discussed above, as well as the Sadr threats to rearm his followers if U.S. forces remain after 2011. However, Maliki obtained sufficient consensus in July 2011 to announce the start of negotiations with the United States on extension of the U.S. military presence. The retention of some U.S. troops leave might reduce some of the concerns about the ability of the U.S. State Department to secure its facilities and personnel and to carry out its mission on its own.
The Administration is hopeful that, no matter the outcome of discussions on the U.S. military presence, all factions will cooperate to act on key outstanding legislation crucial to attracting foreign investment, such as national hydrocarbon laws. The new government took action on some long-stalled initiatives, including year-long tensions over Kurdish exports of oil. However, the lack of a broader and sustained focus on governance, or on improving key services, such as electricity, created popular frustration that manifested as protests since February 2011. The demonstrations were partly inspired by the wave of unrest that has broken out in many other Middle Eastern countries, but were not centered on overthrowing the regime or wholesale political change.
Wartime Contracting Commission releases final report to Congress
Source: Commission on Wartime Contracting
The final report of the congressionally chartered Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan says at least $31 billion has been lost to contract waste and fraud, and that major reforms are required.
Commission reform objectives include improving federal planning for use of contracts, strengthening contract management and oversight, expanding competition, improving interagency coordination, and modifying or cancelling U.S.-funded projects that host nations cannot sustain. The reforms are described in 15 strategic recommendations.
The eight-member, bipartisan Commission filed its 240-page final report, “Transforming Wartime Contracting: Controlling Costs, Reducing Risks,” with U.S. Senate and House officials this morning. A briefing in the Capitol followed.
The Commission report notes that a consequence of 1990s reductions in the federal acquisition workforce and in support units within the military, the United States cannot conduct large or sustained contingency operations without heavy support from contractors. “Contingency” operations, as defined in federal law for the Department of Defense, are those involving military forces in actual or imminent hostilities, or in response to declared national emergencies. Civilian agencies use a similar definition.
Commission Co-Chair Michael Thibault, former deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, said, “The government has known for 20 years that contractors would be a key part of any major response to large or sustained hostilities or major disasters. Yet the government was not prepared to go into Afghanistan in 2001 or Iraq in 2003 using large numbers of contractors, and is still unable to provide effective management and oversight of contract spending that will have exceeded $206 billion by the end of September. That has to change.”
Co-Chair Christopher Shays, a former U.S. Representative for Connecticut, said, “The Commission finds the government is over-relying on contractors. Even if you think having more than 260,000 contractor employees at work in Iraq and Afghanistan, at times outnumbering the military they support, is reasonable, there are still problems. Some contractors have been performing tasks that only federal employees should perform, while others are doing work that is permissible but still too risky or inappropriate for contractors. And overall, there is simply too much contracting for the federal contract-management and oversight workforce to handle. From every angle, that’s over-reliance.”
The co-chairs said fraud and abuse are problems in wartime contracting, but the biggest challenge is waste. Thibault said, “We have founds billions of dollars of waste stemming from a variety of shortcomings—poor decision making, vague contract requirements, lack of adequately trained federal oversight people in the field, duplicative or unnecessary work, failure to revise or recompete contracts, unsustainable projects, inadequate business processes among contractors, and delayed audits. There are many causes, and no simple solution.”
+ Transforming Wartime Contracting: Controlling costs, reducing risks (PDF; low res)
+ Transforming Wartime Contracting: Controlling costs, reducing risks (PDF; high res)
Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report To Congress
Source: Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction
he theme of this report, “A Summer of Uncertainty,” alludes to the question of whether the United States will maintain a military presence in Iraq beyond year’s end. Negotiations continue on this issue, with the nearly 44,000 remaining U.S. troops still scheduled to leave by December 31. Whatever the decision, the outcome will signiicantly afect the ongoing U.S. reconstruction program, which is in the throes of a series of program transitions from the Department of Defense (DoD) to the Department of State (DoS).
Among those transitions, DoS reported progress this quarter toward assuming full responsibility for the continued U.S. support of Iraq’s police forces. he Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Afairs (INL) will manage this efort through the new Police Development Program (PDP). Executing the PDP will be challenging, involving fewer than 200 advisors based at 3 sites and supporting Iraqi police in 10 provinces. SIGIR’s eforts to audit the PDP were stymied this quarter because DoS either did not respond to repeated requests for information or provided data that was late and of limited usefulness. (SIGIR encountered similar obstacles in a separate audit of private security contractors in Iraq.)
Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work. It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago. Buttressing this conclusion is the fact that June was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in more than two years. Shia militias—possibly armed and trained by Iran—were responsible for some of the lethal attacks. hey may have also been behind this quarter’s increase in indirect ire on the International Zone. Diyala province, lying just northeast of Baghdad, also continues to be very unstable. his Quarterly Report’s “Focus on Diyala” provides an in-depth review of the province, its people, and the efects of U.S. reconstruction eforts there.
On the corruption front, Iraq’s Council of Representatives repealed Article 136(b) of the Iraqi Criminal Procedure Code. his provision permitted Iraqi ministers to block investigations of their subordinates. Its repeal represents an important step toward implementing an efective rule-of-law system, but much remains to be done in this regard, including securing judges from attacks and stopping the assassinations of police officials.
July 2011: Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report To Congress
Source: Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction
I am pleased to present this 30th Quarterly Report to the United States Congress and the Secretaries of State and Defense.
The theme of this report, “A Summer of Uncertainty,” alludes to the question of whether the United States will maintain a military presence in Iraq beyond year’s end. Negotiations continue on this issue, with the nearly 44,000 remaining U.S. troops still scheduled to leave by December 31. Whatever the decision, the outcome will significantly affect the ongoing U.S. reconstruction program, which is in the throes of a series of program transitions from the Department of Defense (DoD) to the Department of State (DoS).
Among those transitions, DoS reported progress this quarter toward assuming full responsibility for the con- tinued U.S. support of Iraq’s police forces. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) will manage this effort through the new Police Development Program (PDP). Executing the PDP will be challenging, involving fewer than 200 advisors based at 3 sites and supporting Iraqi police in 10 provinces. SIGIR’s efforts to audit the PDP were stymied this quarter because DoS either did not respond to repeated requests for information or provided data that was late and of limited usefulness. (SIGIR encountered similar obstacles in a separate audit of private security contractors in Iraq.)
Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work. It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago. Buttressing this conclusion is the fact that June was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in more than two years. Shia militias—possibly armed and trained by Iran—were responsible for some of the lethal attacks. They may have also been behind this quarter’s increase in indirect fire on the International Zone. Diyala province, lying just northeast of Baghdad, also continues to be very unstable. This Quarterly Report’s “Focus on Diyala” provides an in-depth review of the province, its people, and the effects of U.S. reconstruction efforts there.
On the corruption front, Iraq’s Council of Representatives repealed Article 136(b) of the Iraqi Criminal Procedure Code. This provision permitted Iraqi ministers to block investigations of their subordinates. Its repeal represents an important step toward implementing an effective rule-of-law system, but much remains to be done in this regard, including securing judges from attacks and stopping the assassinations of police officials.
New GAO Reports and Testimony (PDFs)
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Iraq and Afghanistan: Actions Needed to Enhance the Ability of Army Brigades to Support the Advising Mission. GAO-11-760, August 2.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11760high.pdf
3. Public Transportation: Requirements for Smaller Capital Projects Generally Seen as Less Burdensome. GAO-11-778, August 2.
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d11778high.pdf
1. Private Health Insurance: State Oversight of Premium Rates and Changes in Response to Federal Rate Review Grants, by John E. Dicken, director, health care, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. GAO-11-878T, August 2.
Constrictive Bronchiolitis in Soldiers Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
Source: New England Journal of Medicine
Among the soldiers who were referred for evaluation, a history of inhalational exposure to a 2003 sulfur-mine fire in Iraq was common but not universal. Of the 49 soldiers who underwent lung biopsy, all biopsy samples were abnormal, with 38 soldiers having changes that were diagnostic of constrictive bronchiolitis. In the remaining 11 soldiers, diagnoses other than constrictive bronchiolitis that could explain the presenting dyspnea were established. All soldiers with constrictive bronchiolitis had normal results on chest radiography, but about one quarter were found to have mosaic air trapping or centrilobular nodules on chest CT. The results of pulmonary-function and cardiopulmonary-exercise testing were generally within normal population limits but were inferior to those of the military control subjects.
U.S. Marines in Iraq, 2004-2008: An Anthology and Annotated Bibliography (PDF)
Source: U.S. Marine Corps (History Division)
This anthology presents a collection of 21 articles describing the full range of U.S. Marine Corps operations in Iraq from 2004 to 2008. During this period, the Marines conducted a wide variety of kinetic and non-kinetic operations as they fought to defeat the Iraq insurgency, build stability, and lay the groundwork for democratic governance.
The selections in this collection include journalistic accounts, scholarly essays, and Marine Corps summaries of action. Our intent is to provide a general overview to educate Marines and the general public about this critical period in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps, the United States, and Iraq. Many of the conclusions are provisional and are being updated and revised as new information and archival resources become available. The accompanying annotated bibliography provides a detailed overview of where current scholarship on this period currently stands.
The editor of this anthology, Nicholas J. Schiosser, earned his doctorate in history from the University of Maryland in 2008 and has worked as a historian with the Marine Corps History Division since 2009. His research examines U.S. Marine Corps operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom, focusing on irregular warfare, counterinsurgency operations, and the al-Anbar Awakening.
Research Cites 225,000 Lives Lost and US$4 Trillion in Spending on Post-9/11 Wars
Source: Watson Institute for International Studies (Brown University)
Nearly 10 years after the declaration of the War on Terror, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan have killed at least 225,000 people, including men and women in uniform, contractors, and civilians. The wars will cost Americans between $3.2 and $4 trillion, including medical care and disability for current and future war veterans, according to a new report by the Eisenhower Research Project at the Watson Institute. If these wars continue, they are on track to require at least another $450 billion in Pentagon spending by 2020.
The Costs of War report by this major multi-university research project reveals costs that are far higher than recognized. Its findings are being released at a critical juncture. As Project Co-Director and Institute Professor Catherine Lutz puts it: “Knowing the actual costs of war is essential as the public, Congress, and the President consider the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and other issues including the deficit, security, public investments, and reconstruction.”
The project has posted its extensive findings, graphically illustrated, at costsofwar.org, to spur public debate about America at war.
The Costs of War report, compiled by more than 20 economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists, is the first comprehensive analysis of this decade of war and its costs – human and economic, direct and indirect, U.S. and international, and often uncounted or undercounted.
Special Report No 3/2011: “The efficiency and effectiveness of EU contributions channelled through United Nations Organisations in conflict-affected countries”
The amounts, channelled by EuropeAid through UN organisations, are substantial, in the region of 4000 million euro for the five year period from 2005 to 2009.
This audit is the second part of the two phase audit. The first audit dealt with monitoring and decision making and concluded that the monitoring process should be more thorough, with increased focus on results, and that all decisions to work through the UN should be clearly evidenced. These conclusions were published in Special Report 15/2009 of January 2010.The present audit focuses on conflict affected areas and, in particular, on projects in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan over the period 2006 – 2008. It complements the earlier report by its emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability.
The report acknowledges the particular difficulties involved in delivering aid in conflict affected countries and the fact that the Commission has been able, through the UN, to deliver aid in areas which would otherwise have been very difficult to target. In these circumstances, the overall impact of the activities funded through UN organisations was positive.