Do not travel to Burma due to COVID-19 as well as areas of civil unrest and armed conflict.
On February 14, the Department authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and their family members. On March 30, the Department updated that status to ordered departure.
Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Burma due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in Burma.
The Burmese military has detained and deposed elected government officials. Protests and demonstrations against military rule have occurred and are expected to continue.
In addition to nation-wide protests and demonstrations, the following areas of Burma are subject to heightened civil unrest or armed conflict:
- Matupi township in Chin State
- Bhamo and Mogaung townships in Kachin State
- Hopang, Hseni, Hsipaw, Mongkaung, Namhsan, Namtu, and Nanhkan townships in Shan State
- Shadaw township in Kayah State
- Paletwa township in Chin State
- Hpakan, Mansi, Momauk, Sumprabum, Tanai, and Waingmaw townships in Kachin State
- Hpapun township in Kayin State Konkyan, Kutkai, Kyaukme, Laukkaing, Matman, Mongmao, Muse, Namphan, Pangsang, and Pangwaun townships in Shan State
The following areas of Burma are especially subject to civil unrest and armed violence due to fighting between the Burmese military and various ethnic armed groups and militia forces.
- Northern Shan State
- Parts of Kachin, Rakhine, and Chin States
- The Naga Self-Administered Zone in northern Sagaing Region
Conflict-affected areas, particularly Northern Shan State and parts of Kachin, Rakhine, and Chin States are subject to land mines and unexploded ordnance. Land mines and unexploded ordnance have injured foreign tourists in conflict-affected areas, and their locations are often not marked or otherwise identifiable.
Read the Burma (Myanmar) country information page.
If you decide to travel to Burma:
Parts of Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Sagaing, and Shan States
Some townships in the states listed above are subject to fighting between the Burmese military and armed insurgent groups. The level of risk varies significantly between townships and may change at any time.
The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in these townships as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel to these locations.
Review information on Travel to High-Risk Areas.
Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.
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- Drug Pricing Program: HHS Uses Multiple Mechanisms to Help Ensure Compliance with 340B Requirements
December 14, 2020The 340B Drug Pricing Program (340B Program) requires drug manufacturers to sell outpatient drugs at a discount to covered entities—eligible hospitals and other entities participating in the program—in order for their drugs to be covered by Medicaid. Participation in the 340B Program has grown from nearly 9,700 covered entities in 2010 to 12,700 in 2020. The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) administers the program and oversees covered entities’ compliance with 340B Program requirements through annual audits, among other efforts. If audits identify noncompliance with program requirements, HRSA issues findings to covered entities and requires them to take corrective action to continue participating in the 340B Program (see table). Audit Findings Issued to Covered Entities by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for Fiscal Years 2012-2019, as of September 2020 340B Program findings of noncompliance Number Eligibility of covered entities. Failure to maintain eligibility-related requirements (e.g., covered entities’ oversight of their contract pharmacies). 561 Diversion of 340B drugs to ineligible patients. 340B drugs distributed to individuals who are not eligible patients of a covered entity (e.g., patients’ health records are not maintained by the covered entity). 546 Duplicate discounts. Prescribed drugs that may have been subject to both the 340B price and a Medicaid rebate. 429 Total 1,536 Source: GAO analysis of information received from HRSA. | GAO-21-107 HRSA officials told GAO that, beginning in fall 2019, the agency started issuing findings only when audit information presents a clear and direct violation of the requirements outlined in the 340B Program statute. HRSA officials explained that guidance, which is used to interpret provisions of the 340B statute for the purposes of promoting program compliance among covered entities, does not provide the agency with appropriate enforcement capability. For example, HRSA officials reported that there were instances among fiscal year 2019 audits in which the agency did not issue findings for a failure to comply with guidance related to contract pharmacies in part because the 340B statute does not address contract pharmacy use and, therefore, there may not have been a clear statutory violation. In addition to audits, HRSA provides education to covered entities about 340B Program requirements and has implemented other efforts to identify noncompliance. For example, HRSA requires all covered entities to recertify their eligibility to participate in the 340B Program annually (e.g., self-attesting to compliance); and uses a self-disclosure process through which covered entities can disclose and correct self-identified instances of noncompliance. Covered entities can realize substantial savings through 340B Program price discounts, enabling them to stretch federal resources to reach more eligible patients and provide more comprehensive services. GAO was asked to provide information on HRSA’s efforts to oversee covered entities’ compliance with 340B Program requirements. This report describes (1) the audit findings that HRSA issued to address covered entity noncompliance with 340B Program requirements; and (2) other efforts HRSA uses to help ensure that covered entities comply with 340B Program requirements. GAO reviewed documentation, including relevant federal laws and regulations and HRSA’s policies, procedures, and guidance, related to 340B Program oversight. GAO also reviewed HRSA data on the number and type of audit findings made from audits finalized during fiscal years 2012 through 2019 as of September 2020—the latest data available at the time of the audit. GAO also interviewed officials from HRSA, agency contractors, and 340B Program stakeholders. GAO provided a draft of this report to HHS for review. The agency provided written and technical comments on the draft, both of which were incorporated as appropriate. For more information, contact Debra A. Draper at (202) 512-7114 or email@example.com.
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February 17, 2022A Virginia man was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for possession of child pornography.
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January 10, 2022The Department of Justice today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with Buddy’s Kitchen Inc., a Minnesota-based company that produces and distributes frozen foods.
- Afghanistan Security: U.S.-Funded Equipment for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces
September 24, 2021What GAO Found In 2003, the United States began funding a variety of key equipment for the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP)–collectively known as the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). GAO’s analysis of Department of Defense (DOD) data identified six categories of key equipment that the United States funded for the ANDSF from fiscal years 2003 through 2016. Communications equipment and vehicles were first authorized by DOD for procurement in fiscal year 2003; weapons in 2004; explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) equipment in 2006; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) equipment and aircraft in 2007. GAO’s analysis also shows the following details about the six categories of key equipment: About 163,000 communications equipment items were funded for the ANDSF–approximately 95,000 for the ANA and nearly 68,000 for the ANP. The majority of this equipment consisted of tactical radios. The nearly 76,000 U.S.-funded vehicles included a range of combat and support vehicles for the ANA and ANP. Over half of the U.S.-funded vehicles were light tactical vehicles, such as pickup trucks. Almost 600,000 ANDSF weapons were funded by the United States–about 322,000 for the ANA and 278,000 for the ANP. Of these 600,000 weapons, almost 81 percent were rifles and pistols. The United States has funded a variety of EOD equipment for the ANDSF–such as mine rollers, electronic countermeasure devices, hand-held mine detectors, bomb suits, and related equipment–totaling about 30,000 items. There were slightly more than 16,000 U.S.-funded ISR equipment items, consisting almost entirely of night vision devices: about 10,200 such devices for the ANA and 5,800 for the ANP. The United States has also funded biometrics and positioning equipment for the ANDSF. Finally, the United States has funded 208 aircraft for the ANDSF; more than half were helicopters, and more than a quarter were transport/cargo airplanes. In addition, the United States has funded air-to-ground munitions, including nearly 2 million cannon rounds, more than 200,000 unguided rockets, and about 9,800 general-purpose bombs and guided bomb kits for the ANDSF. The figure below shows the total quantities of key equipment that the United States funded for the ANDSF in fiscal years 2003 through 2016. Total Quantity of Key U.S.-Funded Equipment for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, by Fiscal Year, 2003–2016 Why GAO Did This Study Developing an independently capable ANDSF is a key component of U.S. and coalition efforts to counter terrorist threats and create sustainable security and stability in Afghanistan. Since 2002, the United States has worked to train and equip these forces, with assistance from North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and other coalition nations. Since fiscal year 2002, more than $76 billion has been appropriated or allocated for various DOD and Department of State (State) programs to support Afghan security, and DOD has disbursed almost $18 billion for equipment and transportation. House Report 114-537 associated with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 included a provision for GAO to review U.S. assistance to the ANDSF, including equipment. In this report, GAO describes key equipment–weapons and equipment DOD considers critical to the missions of the ANDSF–that DOD and State have funded for the ANDSF. GAO collected and analyzed agency data, reviewed agency documents and reports, and interviewed agency officials. For more information, contact Jessica Farb at (202) 512-6991 or FarbJ@gao.gov.
- DATA Act: Audit of GAO’s Fiscal Year 2020, Fourth Quarter, DATA Act Submission
September 29, 2021Objectives This is a publication by GAO’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG contracted with the independent certified public accounting firm of Williams Adley to audit GAO’s compliance with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act), and produce this report. This report addresses (1) the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, and quality of GAO’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, fourth quarter financial and award data submitted for publication on USASpending.gov and (2) GAO’s implementation and use of the Government-wide financial data standards established by the OMB and the Department of Treasury, as required by the DATA Act of 2014. What OIG Found The audit found that GAO’s data submitted for the fourth quarter of FY 2020 was accurate, complete, timely, of excellent quality, and in accordance with data standards. For more information, contact Tonya R. Ford at (202) 512-5748 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- Peruvian Brothers Sentenced to More than Seven Years in Prison for Defrauding Thousands of Spanish-Speaking Immigrants
February 14, 2022Two Peruvian nationals responsible for operating a series of call centers in Peru that defrauded and threatened Spanish-speaking U.S. residents were sentenced to serve prison time in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. On Feb. 9, U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. sentenced Josmell Espinoza Huerta (Josmell Espinoza), 32, to serve 88 months in prison. Earlier today, Judge Scola ordered Carlos Alberto Espinoza Huerta (Carlos Espinoza), 40, to be imprisoned for 102 months.
- Tax Preparer Charged with COVID-19 Loan Fraud
March 17, 2021A South Florida tax preparer was charged Tuesday by criminal information with wire fraud in connection with a scheme to obtain over 100 COVID-19-relief loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
- Homeless Women Veterans: Actions Needed to Ensure Safe and Appropriate Housing
August 24, 2021What GAO FoundLimited VA data show the number of women veterans it has identified as homeless more than doubled, from 1,380 in fiscal year 2006 to 3,328 in fiscal year 2010. Although these data are not generalizable to the overall population of homeless women veterans, we identified some characteristics of these women. For example, almost two-thirds were between 40 and 59 years old and over one-third had disabilities. In addition, many of these women resided with their minor children.HUD collects data on homeless women and on homeless veterans, but does not collect detailed information on homeless women veterans. Neither VA nor HUD collect data on the total number of homeless women veterans in the general population. Further, they lack data on the characteristics and needs of these women on a national, state, and local level. Absent more complete data, VA does not have the information needed to plan services effectively, allocate grants to providers, and track progress toward its overall goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. According to knowledgeable VA and HUD officials we spoke with, collecting data specific to homeless women veterans would incur minimal burden and cost.Homeless women veterans were not always aware of veteran housing services, which posed a significant barrier to access, according to GPD programs we surveyed, service providers, agency officials, and experts we interviewed. Some VA Medical Center homeless coordinators reported challenges in reaching this population. However, VA has recently launched an outreach campaign to increase awareness that includes materials specific to homeless women veterans.VA requires its staff to give homeless veterans a referral for shelter or short-term housing while they await placement in veteran housing; however, several homeless women veterans told us they did not receive such referrals. In addition, about 24 percent of VA Medical Center homeless coordinators indicated not having referral plans or processes in place for temporarily housing homeless women veterans while they await placement in HUD-VASH and GPD programs. According to our data analysis, women veterans waited an average of 4 months before securing HUD-VASH housing. In addition, about one fourth of GPD providers reported that women veterans had to wait for placement in their programs and the median wait was 30 days. Without referrals for shelter or temporary housing during these waits, homeless women veterans may be at risk of physical harm and further trauma on the streets or in other unsafe places.More than 60 percent of surveyed GPD programs that serve homeless women veterans did not house children, and most programs that did house children had restrictions on the ages or numbers of children. In our survey, GPD providers cited lack of housing for women with children as a significant barrier to accessing veteran housing. In addition, several noted there were financial disincentives for providers, as VA does not have the statutory authority to reimburse them for costs of housing veterans children. Limited housing for women and their children puts these families at risk of remaining homeless.Homeless women veterans we talked to cited safety concerns about GPD housing, and 9 of the 142 GPD programs we surveyed indicated that there had been reported incidents of sexual harassment or assault on women residents in the past 5 years. GPD providers also cited safety concerns as a barrier to accessing veteran housing. In response to a recent report by the VA Inspector General, VA has begun to evaluate safety and security arrangements at GPD programs that serve women. However, VA does not have gender-specific safety and security standards for its GPD housing, potentially putting women veterans at risk of sexual harassment or assault. While VA is taking stepssuch as launching an outreach campaignto end homelessness among all veterans, it does not have sufficient data about the population and needs of women veterans to plan effectively for increases in their numbers as servicemembers return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, without improved services, womenincluding those with children and those who have experienced military sexual traumaremain at risk of homelessness and experiencing further abuse.Why GAO Did This StudyAs more women serve in the military, the number of women veterans has grown substantially, doubling from 4 percent of all veterans in 1990 to 8 percent, or an estimated 1.8 million, today. The number of women veterans will continue to increase as servicemembers return from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these women veterans, like their male counterparts, face challenges readjusting to civilian life and are at risk of becoming homeless. Such challenges may be particularly pronounced for those women veterans who have disabling psychological conditions resulting from military sexual trauma and for those who are single mothers.The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has committed to ending homelessness among all veterans by 2015 and funds several programs to house homeless veterans. The two largest are the VA Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) program, which provides transitional housing and supportive services; and HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), which is a joint program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and VA offering permanent supportive housing.While these programs have expanded in recent years to serve more veterans, it remains unclear whether they are meeting the housing needs of all homeless women veterans. To respond to your interest in this issue, this report addresses (1) What is known about the characteristics of homeless women veterans, including those with disabilities? (2) What barriers, if any, do homeless women veterans face in accessing and using VAs Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem and HUD-VA Supportive Housing programs?For more information, contact Daniel Bertoni at (202) 512-7215 or email@example.com.
- Information Technology: Biannual Scorecards Have Evolved and Served as Effective Oversight Tools
January 20, 2022What GAO Found The Subcommittee’s biannual scorecards initially focused on agencies’ progress in implementing statutory provisions contained in the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) on topics such as incremental development and data center consolidation. The scorecard evolved over time to include additional IT-related components such as Chief Information Officer (CIO) direct reporting, software licensing, and cybersecurity (see figure). Biannual Scorecards Release Timeline with Associated Components The biannual scorecards have served as effective tools for monitoring federal agencies’ efforts in implementing statutory requirements and addressing other important IT issues. For example, the Subcommittee-assigned grades of agency performance have shown steady improvement. Specifically, from November 2015 through December 2021, agencies receiving C or higher grades increased from 29 to 100 percent (all agencies). For the most recent scorecard, 50 percent of agencies received an A or B. This escalation in grades reflects the notable improvements in components of the scorecard. For example: Portfolio review savings. The amount of cost savings and avoidances reported from annually reviewing IT portfolios increased from $3.4 billion to $23.5 billion. CIO direct reporting. The number of agency CIOs that report directly to the Secretary or Deputy increased from 12 to 16 of the 24 agencies. Software licensing. The number of agencies with comprehensive, regularly updated software licensing inventories went from 3 to all 24, resulting in the removal of this component from the scorecard. Going forward, it will be important for Congress to continue adapting oversight tools, such as the biannual scorecards, to meet the advancing federal IT landscape. Why GAO Did This Study The federal government annually spends more than $100 billion on IT and cyber-related investments; however, many of these investments have failed or performed poorly and have often suffered from ineffective management. To improve the management of IT, Congress and the President enacted FITARA in December 2014. The law better enables Congress to monitor covered agencies’ progress in managing IT and hold them accountable. FITARA applies to the 24 agencies subject to the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, although not all FITARA provisions apply to the Department of Defense. In November 2015, this Subcommittee began issuing biannual scorecards as an oversight tool to monitor agencies’ progress toward implementing FITARA and subsequently, other IT-related issues. The scorecards rely on publicly available data to track and assign federal agencies letter grades (i.e., A, B, C, D, or F). As of January 2022, thirteen scorecards had been released. GAO was asked to testify on the evolution and effectiveness of the biannual scorecards. For this testimony, GAO relied primarily on previously issued products. For more information, contact Carol C. Harris at (202) 512-4456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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September 10, 2020An NFL player has been charged for his alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
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July 12, 2021The Florida Department of Children and Families (FDCF) has agreed to pay to the United States $17,500,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act in its administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Until 2008, SNAP was known as the Food Stamp Program.
- Arkansas Project Manager Sentenced in Connection with COVID-Relief Fraud
December 7, 2020A project manager employed by a major retailer was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for fraudulently seeking more than $8 million in forgivable loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Trent Shores of the Northern District of Oklahoma.
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August 13, 2020Attorney General William P. Barr issued the following statement in response to the arrest of a Kansas City man accused of murdering four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, after whom the Department of Justice’s Operation Legend is named.
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- Operational Contract Support: Actions Needed to Enhance the Collection, Integration, and Sharing of Lessons Learned
August 24, 2021What GAO Found The Department of Defense’s (DOD) geographic combatant commands are improving efforts to collect operational contract support (OCS) issues from operations and exercises needed to develop lessons learned, but the military services are generally not collecting them. Currently, four of the six geographic combatant commands—U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Central Command, U.S. Northern Command, and U.S. Southern Command—have identified OCS as a critical capability in their joint training plans and have incorporated it into planning, execution, and assessment of exercises, while U.S. European Command and U.S. Pacific Command continue to make progress doing so. However, with the exception of the Army, the military services and their component commands are not generally collecting OCS issues to develop lessons learned. Officials from the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy stated that the lack of OCS awareness caused by not having (1) service-wide guidance on collecting OCS issues and (2) an OCS training requirement for senior leaders hinders their ability to develop lessons learned. Without guidance and a training requirement for senior leaders to improve OCS awareness, it will be difficult for DOD to ensure consistent collection of OCS issues and build on efficiencies that the services have identified to adequately plan for the use of contractor support. DOD has made progress resolving some OCS issues, but does not have a focal point for integrating OCS issues identified through the Joint Lessons Learned Program (JLLP). The combatant commands and services are to use the JLLP to develop lessons learned related to joint capabilities from operations and exercises to improve areas such as doctrine and training. Currently, there are multiple organizations across DOD that are working on separate and sometimes disjointed OCS lessons-learned efforts. DOD has undertaken initial efforts to assign an OCS joint proponent with lessons-learned responsibilities. A joint proponent is an entity intended to lead collaborative development and integration of joint capability. However, DOD has not determined whether the joint proponent will be responsible for providing formal oversight and integration of OCS issues from the JLLP. As it develops the joint proponent, including such roles and responsibilities will help better position DOD to integrate all OCS issues from the JLLP, thereby addressing any gaps in its efforts. DOD organizations do not consistently use the Joint Lessons Learned Information System (JLLIS) to share OCS issues and lessons learned due to the system’s limited functionality. JLLIS is the JLLP’s system of record and is to facilitate the DOD-wide collection and sharing of lessons learned. However, GAO found that geographic combatant commands and the Army use JLLIS to varying degrees. Further, DOD is generally not sharing OCS lessons learned in JLLIS because the system is not functional for users searching OCS issues due to, among other reasons, not having an OCS label and not having a designated location for sharing OCS lessons learned. JLLIS’s limited functionality impedes information sharing department-wide. Until DOD improves the functionality of JLLIS, it will be difficult for users to search for OCS issues, and DOD runs the risk of not being able to systematically track and share OCS lessons learned department-wide, which could negatively affect joint force development and readiness. Why GAO Did This Study DOD has spent billions of dollars on contract support during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 and anticipates continuing its heavy reliance on contractors in future operations. Generally, OCS is the process of planning for and obtaining needed supplies and services from commercial sources in support of joint operations. GAO has previously identified long-standing concerns with DOD’s efforts to institutionalize OCS. This report examines the extent to which (1) the geographic combatant commands and the services collect OCS issues to develop lessons learned, (2) DOD has a focal point for integrating OCS issues from the JLLP, and (3) DOD organizations use JLLIS to share OCS issues and lessons learned. GAO evaluated OCS and lessons-learned guidance and plans and met with DOD commands and offices responsible for OCS planning, integration, policy, and contractor-management functions.
- Archdiocese of New Orleans Agrees to Pay More Than $1 Million to Resolve Hurricane Katrina-related False Claims Act Allegations
November 15, 2021The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans (Archdiocese of New Orleans) has agreed to pay more than $1 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly submitting false claims for payment to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the repair or replacement of certain facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The settlement, which is based on the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ financial condition, required final approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, which approved the settlement on Oct. 26.