October 1, 2022

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National Security Snapshot: Challenges Facing DOD in Strategic Competition with China

9 min read

China’s growing economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power—and willingness to exercise it—poses a significant long-term challenge to the United States.

This National Security Snapshot discusses our work on ways DOD can bolster national security as it focuses on strategic competition with China.

For example:

  • DOD could better mitigate threats to mobility from China (i.e., if China tries to prevent the military from moving equipment and personnel to the region during a conflict)
  • DOD could strengthen itself against cybersecurity threats
  • Sailor fatigue contributed to two fatal Navy ship collisions in the Pacific Ocean in 2017

More from:

  • Securing, Stabilizing, and Rebuilding Iraq: Progress Report: Some Gains Made, Updated Strategy Needed
    In U.S GAO News
    In January 2007, the President announced a new U.S. strategy to stem the violence in Iraq and help the Iraqi government foster conditions for national reconciliation. In The New Way Forward, the Administration articulated near-term goals to achieve over a 12- to 18-month period and reasserted the end state for Iraq: a unified, democratic, federal Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and is an ally in the war on terror. To support this strategy, the United States increased its military presence and financial commitments for Iraq operations. This testimony discusses (1) progress in meeting key security, legislative, and economic goals of The New Way Forward; and (2) past and current U.S. strategies for Iraq and the need for an updated strategy. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed officials from U.S. agencies, MNF-I, the UN, and the Iraqi government. GAO also had staff stationed in Baghdad. Since 2003, GAO has issued about 140 Iraq-related products, which provided baseline information for this assessment.The United States has made some progress in achieving key goals stated in The New Way Forward. Looking forward, many challenges remain, and an updated strategy is essential. In the security area, violence–as measured by the number of enemy-initiated attacks–decreased about 80 percent from June 2007 to June 2008, trained Iraqi security forces have increased substantially, and many units are leading counterinsurgency operations. However, as of July 2008, 8 of 18 provincial governments do not yet have lead responsibility for security in their provinces, and DOD reported that, in June 2008, less than 10 percent of Iraqi security forces were at the highest readiness level and therefore considered capable of performing operations without coalition support. The security environment remains volatile and dangerous. In the legislative area, Iraq has enacted key legislation to return some Ba’athists to government, grant amnesty to detained Iraqis, and define provincial powers. The unfinished Iraqi legislative agenda includes enacting laws that will provide the legal framework for sharing oil revenues, disarming militias, and holding provincial elections. On economic and infrastructure issues, Iraq spent only 24 percent of the $27 billion it budgeted for its reconstruction efforts between 2005 and 2007. Although crude oil production improved for short periods, the early July 2008 average production capacity of about 2.5 million barrels per day was below the U.S. goal of 3 million barrels per day. In addition, while State reports that U.S. goals for Iraq’s water sector are close to being reached, the daily supply of electricity in Iraq met only slightly more than half of demand in early July 2008. Since 2003, the United States has developed and revised multiple strategies to address security and reconstruction needs in Iraq. The New Way Forward responded to failures in prior U.S. plans and the escalating violence that occurred in 2006. However, this strategy and the military surge that was central to it end in July 2008, and many agree that the situation remains fragile. GAO recommends an updated strategy for Iraq for several reasons. First, much has changed in Iraq since The New Way Forward began in January 2007. Violence is down, U.S. surge forces are leaving, and the United States is negotiating a security agreement with Iraq to replace the expiring UN mandate. Second, The New Way Forward only articulates U.S. goals and objectives for the phase that ends in July 2008. Third, the goals and objectives of The New Way Forward are contained in disparate documents rather than a single strategic plan. Furthermore, the classified MNF-I/U.S. Embassy Joint Campaign Plan is not a strategic plan; it is an operational plan with limitations that GAO will discuss during the closed portion of the hearing.

    [Read More…]

  • Owner of Texas Chain of Hospice Companies Sentenced for $150 Million Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
    In Crime News
    A corporate executive has been ordered to serve 20 years in prison after his conviction related to falsely telling thousands of patients with long-term incurable diseases, such as Alzheimers and dementia, they had less than six months to live and subsequently enrolling them in hospice programs.

    [Read More…]

  • Observance of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • DRL Promoting Transparent and Accountable Governance in the Indo-Pacific Region
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Bureau of Democracy, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Will Award $1.6 Billion to Reduce Violent Crime and Strengthen Communities
    In Crime News
    Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today announced the Department of Justice will award $1.6 billion in grant awards to support a wide range of programs designed to reduce violent crime and strengthen communities. The grants, which are being distributed to communities and organizations throughout the nation, are administered by the department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP).

    [Read More…]

  • Georgia Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Offense for Assaulting Inmate
    In Crime News
    A Georgia correctional officer pleaded guilty today to violating the civil rights of an inmate.

    [Read More…]

  • Combating Transnational Crime and Imposing Sanctions on Persons Involved in the Global Illicit Drug Trade
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Disaster Recovery: Better Data Are Needed to Ensure HUD Block Grant Funds Reach Vulnerable Populations
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Recent Federal Register notices for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds direct grantees to demonstrate how their programs will promote housing for vulnerable populations. Grantees generally have been required to spend 70 percent of their funds on low- and moderate-income people. Draft action plans that grantees submit to HUD are to describe how grant funds will be used and the populations to be served, including vulnerable populations such as racial minorities, the elderly, or persons with disabilities. HUD provides tools, such as strategies for reaching people with limited English proficiency, to help grantees serve these populations. When reviewing grantees’ draft plans, HUD officials told GAO they typically require revisions to clarify the populations defined as vulnerable, how funds will be used to help them, and how grantees will reach out to traditionally underserved populations. HUD officials also noted that vulnerable populations can be difficult to define because they vary locally and regionally based on factors such as geography, housing stock, and policy, but described steps they plan to take to develop and include a definition in upcoming Federal Register notices. CDBG-DR grantees told GAO they assist low- and moderate-income people who are members of vulnerable populations; however, HUD does not collect and analyze key demographic data needed to fully assess the extent. HUD requires grantees to report selected data (race and ethnicity and the gender of single-headed households) for those served by activities that directly benefit households or individuals (such as housing). However, HUD only requires grantees to report these data on individuals actually served, not on all those who apply. The six grantees GAO reviewed gather additional demographic information on both applicants and those served, including age, disability status, and primary language. A 2021 Executive Order cited the need for better data collection and transparency on assistance to vulnerable populations, noting that a lack of data impedes efforts to measure and advance equity. By collecting, analyzing, and publicly reporting these additional demographic data, HUD and grantees could better assess whether they are effectively reaching the populations CDBG-DR activities are intended to serve. According to grantees and organizations GAO interviewed, and studies GAO reviewed, vulnerable populations may experience several challenges accessing CDBG-DR assistance. These include language barriers, such as the need for translation services for those with limited English proficiency; limited access to transportation, especially for individuals without physical access to assistance intake centers or with mobility impairments; and program requirements, such as those that involve extensive documentation. Some grantees have addressed these challenges by acquiring translation services and developing outreach plans to reach vulnerable populations. Why GAO Did This Study Large-scale disasters, such as the 2017 hurricanes, have resulted in catastrophic damage and particularly have challenged vulnerable populations. Since 1993, Congress has provided over $90 billion in supplemental appropriations through HUD’s CDBG-DR funds to help affected areas recover. GAO was asked to evaluate the delivery of CDBG-DR assistance to vulnerable populations. This report examines (1) HUD’s approach to assisting vulnerable populations, (2) grantees’ actions to assist vulnerable populations, and (3) challenges grantees and vulnerable populations face in implementing and using CDBG-DR. GAO reviewed documentation from HUD and a nongeneralizable sample of six grantees (the four largest 2017 CDBG-DR grantees—Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—and Louisiana and New Jersey, which are further along in implementation). GAO also interviewed HUD officials, grantees, and organizations representing vulnerable populations.

    [Read More…]

  • Terrorist Attacks in Baghdad
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Daniel B. Smith, Acting [Read More…]
  • The Expected Parole of Hampig “Harry” Sassounian
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • U.S. Citizens Released in Haiti
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Imposing Sanctions on CAR Militia Leader
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks at a Climate/Sustainable Products Event
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • On the Occasion of Eid al-Fitr
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • North Carolina Return Preparers Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud the IRS
    In Crime News
    Two Durham, North Carolina, return preparers pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin of the Middle District of North Carolina.

    [Read More…]

  • Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim Delivers Remarks at Virtual MOU Signing Ceremony with Korean Prosecution Service
    In Crime News
    It is with great pleasure that I sign this Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Department of Justice alongside my good friend, Prosecutor General Yoon. Enhancing the ties between our agencies has been an important priority for me during my tenure as Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division. While only a few years ago we knew comparatively little about one another, our relationship has quickly blossomed into a strong and enduring friendship. I am extremely pleased that we have succeeded in developing important and lasting ties between our agencies, as underscored by our signing of this Memorandum of Understanding today.

    [Read More…]

  • Deputy Attorney General Convenes Inaugural Meeting of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force
    In Crime News
    Yesterday, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco convened the first meeting of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force. Launched earlier this month, the Task Force is marshalling the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across the federal government to enhance enforcement efforts against COVID-19 related fraud.

    [Read More…]

  • Malta National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Former Mexican police officer gets 30 years for sexually exploiting child
    In Justice News
    A 38-year-old resident [Read More…]
  • Woman Pleads Guilty to Accessing and Releasing Sensitive, Non-public Information
    In Crime News
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