October 4, 2022

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South Texas man admits to smuggling cocaine on passenger bus

13 min read
A 21-year-old Hidalgo County man has pleaded guilty to possessing with the intent to distribute 4.5 kilograms of cocaine

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    What GAO Found The Navy has identified several challenges with using its regular maintenance capability (which restores ships to fully operational status) to provide battle damage repairs during a great power conflict. Challenges include—the lack of established doctrine for battle damage repair, unclear command and control roles, and a shortage of repair capacity. The Navy Process for Repairing Ships Damaged in Battle The Navy is in the early stages of determining how it will provide battle damage repair during a great power conflict. Eight organizations are responsible for the Navy’s 15 battle damage repair planning efforts, however the Navy has not designated an organization to lead and oversee these efforts. Without designated leadership, the Navy may be hindered in its efforts to address the many challenges it faces in sustaining its ships during a great power conflict. The Navy develops ship vulnerability models during a ship’s acquisition to estimate damage during a conflict. These models are also used to inform war games that refine operational approaches and train leaders on decision-making. However, the Navy does not update these models over a ship’s decades-long service life to reflect changes to key systems that could affect model accuracy. As a result, it lacks quality data on ship mission-critical failure points to inform its analysis of battle damage repair needs. Without periodically assessing and updating its models to accurately reflect the ship’s mission-critical systems, the Navy has limited its ability to assess and develop battle damage repair capabilities necessary to sustain ships in a conflict with a great power competitor. Why GAO Did This Study The ability to repair and maintain ships plays a critical role in sustaining Navy readiness. After the Cold War, the Navy divested many wartime ship repair capabilities. With the rise of great power competitors capable of producing high-end threats in warfare, the Navy must now be prepared to quickly salvage and repair damage to a modern fleet. House Report 116-120, accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, included a provision for GAO to assess the Navy’s efforts to identify and mitigate challenges in repairing battle-damaged ships during a great power conflict. GAO’s report (1) discusses the challenges the Navy has identified in using its regular maintenance capability for battle damage repair, and (2) evaluates the extent to which the Navy has begun developing the battle damage repair capability it requires to prevail in a great power conflict. GAO reviewed relevant guidance and assessed reports on naval war games and other documentation to identify challenges that may impede the planning and repair of battle-damaged ships and efforts to improve the repair capability for a great power conflict.

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  • Information Security: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Has Made Progress, but Further Actions Are Needed to Protect Financial Data
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundAlthough FDIC had implemented numerous controls in its systems, it had not always implemented access and other controls to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its financial systems and information. FDIC has implemented controls to detect and change default user accounts and passwords in vendor-supplied software, restricted access to network management servers, developed and tested contingency plans for major systems, and improved mainframe logging controls. However, the corporation had not always (1) required strong passwords on financial systems and databases; (2) reviewed user access to financial information in its document sharing system in accordance with policy; (3) encrypted financial information transmitted over and stored on its network; and (4) protected powerful database accounts and privileges from unauthorized use. In addition, other weaknesses existed in FDIC’s controls that were intended to appropriately segregate incompatible duties, manage system configurations, and implement patches.An underlying reason for the information security weaknesses is that FDIC had not always implemented key information security program activities. To its credit, FDIC had developed and documented a security program and had completed actions to correct or mitigate 26 of the 33 information security weaknesses that were previously identified by GAO. However, the corporation had not assessed risks, documented security controls, or performed periodic testing on the programs and data used to support the estimates of losses and costs associated with the servicing and disposal of the assets of failed institutions. Additionally, FDIC had not always implemented its policies for restricting user access or for monitoring the progress of security patch installation.Because FDIC had made progress in correcting or mitigating previously reported weaknesses and had implemented compensating management and reconciliation controls during 2010, GAO concluded that FDIC had resolved the significant deficiency in internal control over financial reporting related to information security that was reported in GAO’s 2009 audit, and that the remaining unresolved issues and the new issues identified did not individually or collectively constitute a material weakness or significant deficiency in 2010. However, if left unaddressed, these issues will continue to increase FDIC’s risk that its sensitive and financial information will be subject to unauthorized disclosure, modification, or destruction.Why GAO Did This StudyThe Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has a demanding responsibility enforcing banking laws, regulating financial institutions, and protecting depositors. Because of the importance of FDIC’s work, effective information security controls are essential to ensure that the corporation’s systems and information are adequately protected from inadvertent misuse, fraudulent use, or improper disclosure.As part of its audits of the 2010 financial statements of the Deposit Insurance Fund and the Federal Savings & Loan Insurance Corporation Resolution Fund administrated by FDIC, GAO assessed the effectiveness of the corporation’s controls in protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its financial systems and information. To perform the audit, GAO examined security policies, procedures, reports, and other documents; tested controls over key financial applications; and interviewed key FDIC personnel.

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  • Drug Development: Pathway for Approving Antibacterial and Antifungal Drugs for Patients with Limited Treatment Options is Infrequently Used
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Antibacterial and antifungal infections resistant to available drugs are a serious public health challenge. However, the number of drugs under development may be insufficient to meet this threat, in part because developers face economic and other challenges in developing drugs for these conditions, many of which are still relatively rare. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may use a certain pathway—known as the limited population pathway for antibacterial and antifungal drugs (LPAD)—to approve drugs intended to treat serious or life-threatening infections that affect a limited group of patients and are not adequately addressed by available therapy. LPAD does not fundamentally change FDA’s drug approval process, but it does provide tools that can help the agency accept greater risk and uncertainty when deciding to approve a drug for these otherwise difficult to treat infections, according to FDA officials. As a result, officials say FDA may approve a drug for a limited population because of the potential benefits for these patients, despite risks that would be unacceptable if the drug was intended to treat a broader population. GAO’s review of FDA documentation shows that since LPAD was established in 2016, drug developers have formally requested approval under LPAD for four drugs, two of which were approved: Two Drugs Approved under the Limited Population Pathway for Antibacterial and Antifungal Drugs (LPAD), as of June 2021 Drug Name Condition approved to treat Population with condition Arikayce Treatment of a bacterial infection in the lung called refractory Mycobacterium avium complex lung disease Fewer than 27 per 100,000 persons older than 60 years of age Pretomanid Treatment of types of highly drug-resistant tuberculosis 123 cases reported in the United States in 2017 Source: Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. | GAO-22-105042 FDA and stakeholders agreed that LPAD’s effect on the drug pipeline could be limited because the pathway does not address the economic challenges facing the development of these products. For example, according to stakeholders, given the limited market for such drugs, sales revenue can be insufficient to cover development costs, making it difficult for companies to survive in the antibacterial and antifungal drug market. In March 2020, GAO reported on similar challenges and recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) develop a strategy to further incentivize the development of new treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections, including the use of post-market financial incentives, which could include rewards for market entry or reimbursement reform. HHS did not concur with this recommendation, and as of June 2021, the agency indicated that it was still examining the issue and this recommendation had not been implemented. Why GAO Did This Study It is estimated that at least 2.8 million antibacterial and antifungal-resistant infections occur each year in the United States, and more than 35,000 people die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The development of new antibacterial and antifungal treatments is one strategy to address the threat of antimicrobial resistance. The 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in 2016, established LPAD to help facilitate the approval of certain antibacterial and antifungal drugs. FDA oversees the approval of such drugs. The 21st Century Cures Act includes a provision for GAO to review and report on FDA’s LPAD activities. This report describes (1) the extent to which LPAD changes FDA’s drug approval process, (2) the extent to which drug developers have sought to use LPAD for drugs under development, and (3) stakeholders’ and FDA’s views on the effectiveness of LPAD in benefiting the development and approval of antibacterial and antifungal drugs. GAO reviewed FDA guidance documents; documentation from the approval process; and drug developers’ written statements to investors and FDA on LPAD. GAO also interviewed FDA officials and obtained information from 10 stakeholders selected because they sought approval for a drug through LPAD, considered using LPAD, or provided written comment to FDA on LPAD. These included two industry associations, one think tank, and seven drug developers. HHS provided technical comments on a draft of this report, which GAO incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Mary Denigan-Macauley at (202) 512-7114 or deniganmacauleym@gao.gov.

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