October 2, 2022

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Fourth Annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

29 min read

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and India on the occasion of the Fourth Annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in 2022.

Begin Text:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and Minister of External Affairs Dr. S. Jaishankar to Washington, D.C., on April 11, 2022, for the fourth U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. The Dialogue was preceded by a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joseph Biden.

As natural and trusted partners celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and independent India, with a shared commitment to democracy and pluralism, a multifaceted bilateral agenda, and growing convergence of strategic interests, both countries seek to continue to promote a resilient, rules-based international order that safeguards sovereignty and territorial integrity, upholds democratic values, and promotes peace and prosperity for all.

Building upon the September 2021 meeting between President Biden and Prime Minister Modi, and their respective participation in Summits related to COVID-19, climate, infrastructure and supply chain resilience, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership to international peace and security.

Global Partnership and Indo-Pacific Cooperation

The Ministers reviewed mutual efforts to respond to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and assessed its broader implications. They urged an immediate cessation of hostilities. The Ministers unequivocally condemned civilian deaths.  They underscored that the contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, respect for international law, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.

Recalling the inaugural virtual Quad Leaders’ Summit in March 2021, the in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit in September 2021 in Washington, the February 2022 Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Melbourne, and looking forward to the next Quad Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo in 2022, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific in which the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states are respected, and countries are free from military, economic, and political coercion. They further reaffirmed their dedication to promoting regional stability and prosperity, with an inclusive regional architecture, abiding by the rule of law, the freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, and ASEAN centrality. They also reiterated the importance of adherence to international law to meet challenges to the rules-based order, including in the South China Sea.

The Ministers welcomed the progress made in the last year on developing a positive and constructive agenda for the Quad to deliver peace and prosperity to the region in pursuance of their shared vision for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to the take forward the initiatives announced by the Leaders, to empower the Quad as a force for global good for the Indo-Pacific region and welcomed ongoing discussions in the Quad Working Groups on vaccines, climate change, infrastructure, space, cyber security, and critical and emerging technologies for delivering practical and tangible benefits to the region.

Welcoming the remarkable progress made under the Quad Vaccine Partnership to augment the manufacturing capacity of the Biological E facility in India, supported by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the Ministers committed to expedite delivery of the first batch of vaccines to countries of the Indo-Pacific and beyond and to diversify the basket of vaccines in the context of changes in the global demand and supply landscape.

Following up on the October 2021 virtual meeting of the Foreign Ministers of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States, the Ministers welcomed the opportunity to enhance engagement in this forum on shared priorities such as food security, clean energy, waste management, and infrastructure development.

The United States congratulated India for its significant contributions as a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2021-2022. In this context, the United States expressed its appreciation for India’s leadership as the Chair of the three Committees of the Security Council: the 1988 Taliban Sanctions Committee, the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee and the 1373 Counter Terrorism Committee.

The Ministers reiterated their commitment to work together in close coordination at the UNSC and in international organizations. The United States reaffirmed its continued support for India’s permanent membership in a reformed UNSC and for India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group.

Considering growing national security threats from both state and non-state malicious cyber actors, the Ministers recognized the importance of an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet and stable cyberspace.  Both sides reaffirmed the 2021 reports of the UN Open Ended Working Group and the UN Group of Governmental Experts, which articulate a framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace and committed to work together in future multilateral negotiations to encourage States to implement the framework. They confirmed their intent to work closely as part of ongoing efforts to counter the use of information communications technologies for criminal purposes.

Acknowledging India’s distinguished history of leading peacekeeping missions, the United States welcomed India’s commitment to participate in multilateral peacekeeping training in 2022, expand joint-capacity building efforts with third-country partners, and launch a new joint National Investigation Officers Training of Trainers course in partnership with the United Nations.

The Ministers called on the Taliban to abide by UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021), which demands that Afghan territory must never again be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or finance terrorist attacks.  The Ministers urged the Taliban to adhere to these and all other commitments; respect the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and members of minority groups; and uphold freedom of travel. They also emphasized the importance of an inclusive Afghan government and unhindered access for the United Nations and its implementing partners to deliver humanitarian assistance. The Ministers recommitted to close consultations on Afghanistan to help facilitate an inclusive and peaceful future for all Afghans.

The Ministers called for the cessation of violence in Myanmar, the release of all those arbitrarily detained, and a swift return to the path of democracy and inclusive governance. They also called for urgent implementation of the ASEAN Five Point Consensus.

The Ministers recalled U.S. and Indian initiatives announced during the first Summit for Democracy and looked forward to further cooperation in the current Year of Action ahead of the next Summit.

Leveraging the recently extended U.S.-India Statement of Guiding Principles on Triangular Cooperation for Global Development, the Ministers called for greater cooperation to address global development challenges around the world, including in Asia and Africa.  In this regard, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and India’s Development Partnership Administration (DPA) have decided to expand triangular development activity with third countries.  In addition, the Ministers looked forward to continuing discussions on the establishment of the U.S.-India Gandhi-King Development Foundation.

The Ministers welcomed the 2021 Indo-Pacific Business Forum, co-hosted by the United States and India, and convened for the first time in South Asia. They affirmed their interest in expanding efforts to promote sustainable and durable infrastructure across the Indo-Pacific and affirmed they would remain engaged through the Blue Dot Network and Build Back Better World (B3W) Initiative. The United States appreciated the opportunity for USAID to co-chair the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)’s Governing Council.  Both sides reaffirmed plans to collaborate through CDRI in supporting countries most impacted by natural disasters, including those resulting from climate change.

The United States welcomed India’s announcement at COP26 to intensify its climate action including its long-term vision to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.  Both sides looked forward to further cooperation to support negotiations on ocean plastic pollution launched by the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) in February 2022. India welcomed the United States’ signing of the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and looked forward to supporting projects to expand the availability of reliable and affordable solar power including the $500 million investment by the DFC in First Solar’s facility to produce solar panels in India.

The United States conveyed its full support to India’s upcoming G20 Presidency from December 2022 to November 2023.  In this context, the Ministers reiterated their commitment to work closely on international security, social, and economic issues of global interest and impact.

The Ministers welcomed the March 21, 2022, Foreign Office Consultations, and affirmed that closer regional and multilateral coordination was integral to the bilateral Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership.  The Ministers look forward to reconvening the Global Issues Forum to further exchange perspectives on issues of mutual interest.

Mutual Prosperity, Innovation, and Resilient Supply Chains

The Ministers underlined the importance of strengthening the commercial and economic pillar of the U.S.-India partnership to advance economic growth and deliver mutual prosperity for both countries. They applauded the rebound in bilateral trade between the two countries over the last year, surpassing $113 billion in goods. They welcomed the 12th Ministerial-level meeting of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) and the renewal of Working Group discussions to expand bilateral trade, remove market access barriers, and improve ease of business.  They looked forward to both sides developing action plans that identify and prioritize the resolution of specific trade concerns to build on the progress made during the last TPF Ministerial meeting.

The Ministers reiterated the importance of a transparent and predictable business environment to facilitate private-sector investment. They looked forward to reconvening the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue and the CEO Forum this year to enhance economic cooperation, boost commercial ties, and develop private-sector recommendations for both governments. The Ministers appreciated the discussions held during the eighth ministerial-level US-India Economic and Financial Partnership meeting in October 2021, which focused on continued cooperation on a range of subjects including financial regulatory and technical collaboration, multilateral engagement, climate finance, and anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. The United States appreciated recent economic reform initiatives in India, which help improve the ease of doing business, and efforts to accelerate the start-up and innovation sector.

The Ministers reaffirmed the vital role of secure, resilient, reliable, and diverse supply chains for Critical and Emerging Technologies (CET), and the need to enable regional and global innovation.  The Ministers decided to put in place a framework to advance cooperation in CET such as advanced communication technology, artificial intelligence, quantum science, STEM, semi-conductors and biotechnology.

The Ministers noted the substantial progress in negotiations for an Investment Incentive Agreement (IIA) between the Governments of India and the United States, which provides a framework for DFC to continue to expand its investment in India – for private sector-led projects in critical areas such as renewable energy, agriculture, healthcare, and SME financing. The Ministers encouraged negotiators to resolve remaining issues so that the IIA may be concluded as soon as possible.

Climate, Environment, and Clean Energy

The Ministers commended ongoing engagement under the two main tracks of the U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership – the Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD) and the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP) – to explore and identify low carbon pathways to develop and undertake joint research and development projects, mobilize finance, develop and promote green technologies, and enhance technical collaboration aimed at building on complementarities for facilitating energy transition. To this end, the Ministers affirmed the intent to work together for the exchange of best practices and development of technology transfer to enable the affordable deployment of clean and emerging energy technologies, including commercialization and scaling up of battery storage, offshore wind, green hydrogen, and rooftop solar technology in India.

Both sides welcomed the expanding cooperation between the energy sectors of both countries. Recognizing that access to energy must be affordable and reliable, they committed to work together bilaterally and at the global level towards these objectives. Noting that volatility in energy markets could threaten orderly and predictable global energy transition they welcomed initiatives taken by both countries to stabilize prices, including through the coordinated release from strategic petroleum reserves.

The Ministers expressed satisfaction on the progress made on different collaborative initiatives under the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Energy Working Group and the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership Joint Working Group.  The Ministers noted ongoing negotiations between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) for the construction of six nuclear reactors in India. They welcomed progress through consultations between the U.S. Department of Energy and India’s Department of Atomic Energy for facilitating opportunities for WEC to develop a techno-commercial offer for the Kovvada nuclear project. They also noted the ongoing discussion on developing next generation small modular reactor technologies in a collaborative mode for the domestic market as well as for export.

The Ministers also recognized the efforts of USAID and other U.S. agencies to support and augment production of clean and accessible energy and engage with private sector through its initiatives such as South Asia Regional Energy Partnership, Flexible Resources Initiative, and Smart Grid Knowledge Center.

Science, Technology, Cybersecurity, and Space

Reflecting on the positive science and technology cooperation between the two countries, the Ministers welcomed the announcement of a Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology in 2022, to discuss future science and technology collaboration.

The Ministers applauded the recent and upcoming meetings of the U.S.-India Cyber Dialogue and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group to deepen cybersecurity cooperation. They strongly condemned ransomware and other cyber-related crimes and recognized the need to bolster protection of critical networks and infrastructure.

Recalling their countries’ strong tradition of space exploration and endeavors, the Ministers announced the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding on Space Situational Awareness and pledged to expand bilateral space cooperation, acknowledging the pivotal role international cooperation plays in the long-term sustainability and safety of the outer-space environment. They applauded the ongoing development of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite, planned for launch from India in 2023.  The NISAR mission will collect data vital to tackling the climate crisis. The Ministers also looked forward to the convening of the next India-U.S. Civil Space Joint Working Group in 2022.

The Ministers expressed appreciation for the continued cooperation between the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and India’s Ministry of Earth Science (MoES) and ISRO in areas such as ocean and fisheries science, meteorology, and earth observation to better understand climate change and save lives through improved weather and ocean modeling and information sharing.  In support of climate and disaster resilience goals, the United States and India are driving advancements in climate and monsoon prediction and forecasting through collaborative work in the Indian Ocean.  As part of that work, MoES recently launched a joint data portal providing near-real-time public data from the NOAA Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) and the MoES Ocean Moored Buoy Network for the Northern Indian Ocean (OMNI).  The data supports improved monsoon prediction capabilities and sub-seasonal weather forecasting including for the United States, whose weather and atmosphere are impacted by systems that develop in the Indian Ocean. The Ministers also welcomed expansion of collaboration between NOAA and MoES under EKAMSAT program (Enhancing Knowledge of the Arabian Sea Marine Environment through Science and Advanced Technology).

Global Health

The Ministers recognized the pivotal role of the U.S.-India partnership in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and other contemporary global health challenges.  They welcomed joint U.S.-India leadership under the COVID-19 Global Action Plan to get shots in arms, diversify and secure global supply chains, build capacity for health care workers, and scientific cooperation.  They appreciated U.S.-India collaboration in vaccine R&D and production including the Janssen and Corbevax vaccines being manufactured by Biological E., and the Novovax vaccines by Serum Institute of India, and expressed appreciation that due to efforts to increase manufacturing, safe, effective, and affordable COVID vaccines are readily available to third countries, further strengthening global vaccination efforts. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to facilitate joint research and information sharing, and work together to address barriers to pandemic-related vaccines and medical production so that global supply chains for vaccines are more resilient, stable, and predictable.

Recalling the recent U.S.-India Health Dialogue, the Ministers commended our ongoing collaboration on biomedical research, strengthening regulatory procedures and pandemic preparedness. The Ministers welcomed the signing of an overarching Memorandum of Understanding between India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to work together to strengthen public health preparedness and response by expanding training on disease surveillance, improve response to and containment of outbreaks, strengthen laboratory networks and diagnostics, enhance pan-respiratory disease surveillance, develop sub-national emergency operation centers, and integrate a “One Health” approach into all public health initiatives.

The Ministers welcomed the renewal of our joint commitment to undertake collaborative research on infectious diseases of global health significance and conclude a Memorandum of Understanding to continue joint support for an Indo-U.S. International Centre for Excellence in Research between the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The Ministers also welcomed the launch of ICMR-NIH Clinical Research Fellowship program, under which clinicians from both sides can come to conduct research in laboratories in India and the United States. The Ministers welcomed a new regulatory partnership in furtherance of shrimp safety between the Food and Drug Administration and Marine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA), and reaffirmed plans to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding to undertake further research on diabetes between the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and ICMR.

The Ministers looked forward to expansion of the USAID-supported COVID-19 Learning Exchange virtual platform, to include programs for more population groups and allow cities and health officials to share best practices to improve routine immunization, strengthen urban health, and launch an interactive web-based platform to enhance knowledge management and operational reach.

Defense and Security

The Ministers commended the significant and continuing progress in the U.S.-India Major Defense Partnership.  Drawing on the momentum from the U.S.-India Defense Policy Group meeting in October 2021, they reaffirmed their ambitions for building an advanced and comprehensive defense partnership in which the U.S. and Indian militaries coordinate closely together across all domains.

The Ministers acknowledged the importance of deepening collaboration in science and technology in the U.S.-India Joint Technical Group (JTG), and in evolving new defense domains, including space, artificial intelligence (AI), and cyber.  The Ministers underscored the importance of cooperation in space and welcomed plans to conduct an inaugural Defense Space Dialogue in 2022. They welcomed the second Defense Cyber Dialogue held in 2021 and look forward to the next round this year.  They decided to hold an inaugural AI Dialogue this year to harness opportunities for joint innovation and cooperation in new domains.  The Ministers also discussed additional training opportunities for our respective militaries, and the United States welcomed enhanced Indian participation in advanced courses across these emerging domains.

As information-sharing forms an important pillar of the U.S.-India defense cooperation, the Ministers underlined the importance of building a comprehensive framework under which our militaries are equipped to exchange information in real time across domains.  The Ministers welcomed progress made toward full implementation of the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) to support the exchange of geospatial information. The Ministers noted that information exchange and placement of liaison officers in each other’s military organizations will spur joint service cooperation between our militaries to support integrated and multi-domain cooperation.

Acknowledging that our navies have been a driving force in advancing the United States and India’s shared interests in the Indian Ocean Region and the wider Indo-Pacific, the Ministers discussed opportunities to further advance and deepen maritime cooperation, including in underwater domain awareness.

The United States also welcomed India’s decision to join the Combined Maritime Forces Task Force as an Associate Partner to expand multilateral cooperation in the Indian Ocean. The Ministers lauded the 2022 Indo-Pacific Military Health Exchange, which India and the United States co-hosted to bring together experts from 38 countries to discuss challenges and solutions to military medical issues. Both sides look forward to India’s co-hosting of the Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (IPACC) and Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS) in 2023.

In support of the Indian military’s expanding operational reach and emerging opportunities for cooperation in the Indian Ocean and the wider region, the Ministers welcomed regular bilateral logistics operations such as replenishments at sea, air-to-air and ground-refueling and committed to increasing such cooperation, including through the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).

Both sides reaffirmed the importance of regular bilateral and multilateral exercises, including the MALABAR exercise with inclusion of Australia, the tri-service TIGER TRIUMPH exercise, the multilateral MILAN naval exercise, the bilateral YUDH ABHYAS and VAJRA PRAHAR Army exercises, the bilateral COPE India air exercise, and Indian participation in RED FLAG. They supported increasing the scope and complexity of these exercises. They looked forward to deepening cooperation between the Special Forces of both countries.

Recognizing the importance of building robust private industry collaboration, the Ministers welcomed ongoing projects under the auspices of the U.S.-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), including a project agreement to co-develop Air-Launched UAVs.  They called on both sides to consider additional DTTI projects, such as a counter-unmanned aerial systems (UAS) system and an Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) platform.  They also lauded the rapid growth in bilateral defense trade over the past decade.

Seeking trusted and resilient defense supply chains, the Ministers welcomed the progress made towards implementation of the Industrial Security Agreement to facilitate collaboration on cutting edge defense technologies between industries. Both sides would explore and further promote the means to encourage reciprocal participation of U.S. and Indian vendors in each other’s defense supply chains. Acknowledging India’s focus on developing its domestic capabilities and helping to ensure reliable defense supplies, the Ministers committed to work closely across their respective governments on co-production, co-development, cooperative testing of advanced systems, investment promotion, and the development of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities in India. To further enhance defense industrial cooperation in the naval sector, both sides agreed to explore possibilities of utilizing the Indian shipyards for repair and maintenance of ships of the U.S. Maritime Sealift Command (MSC) to support mid-voyage repair of U.S. Naval ships.

Counterterrorism and Counter Narcotics

The Ministers welcomed the convening of the 18th Meeting of the India-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism and the 4th Session of the India-U.S. Designations Dialogue in October 2021.  The Ministers strongly condemned any use of terrorist proxies and cross-border terrorism in all its forms and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, and Pathankot attack, to be brought to justice.  They called for concerted action against all terrorist groups, including groups proscribed by the UNSC 1267 Sanctions Committee, such as al-Qa’ida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb ul Mujahideen. The Ministers called on Pakistan to take immediate, sustained, and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorist attacks.  The Ministers committed to continued exchange of information about sanctions and designations against terror groups and individuals, countering violent radicalism, use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, and cross-border movement of terrorists.  The Ministers also emphasized the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism by all countries, consistent with FATF recommendations.

The Ministers also reaffirmed their support for the early adoption of a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) that advances and strengthens the framework for global cooperation and reinforces that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism.

Both sides looked forward to the next U.S.-India Counter Narcotics Working Group meeting in 2022 and enhancing cooperation through a bilateral Counter-Narcotics Framework to combat drug trafficking, illicit narcotics production, and precursor chemical supply chains.

Building upon the recent Senior Officials Meeting between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, both sides looked forward to reconvening a Ministerial meeting of the U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue in 2022.

Education and People-to-People Ties

Lauding the vibrant educational linkages between India and the United States, the Ministers reiterated their support to further strengthen cooperation in the field of education and skill development through joint collaborations and promote student and scholar mobility to build people-to-people linkages between the two countries.  In this regard, the ministers announced the intent to establish a new U.S.-India Education and Skills Development Working Group.  The Ministers also appreciated the contribution of the Fulbright-Nehru program in furthering the exchange of outstanding academics and professionals between both countries and the special role the four million strong Indian-American diaspora play in deepening U.S.-India relations.

Welcoming the resumption of regular air travel between the two countries and expressing hope that this would encourage tourism and business travel, the Ministers acknowledged that the movement of skilled professionals, students, entrepreneurs, investors, and business travelers between our countries plays an important role in catalyzing innovation and economic opportunity.  India welcomed the waiver, through December 31, 2022, of in-person visa interviews for applicants that were previously issued any type of visa and are now applying for certain nonimmigrant visa classifications, which include those for Persons in Specialty Occupation, Academic and Vocational Students, and Intracompany Transferees.  The Ministers underlined the importance of continued engagement on visa issues, welcomed the December 2021 meeting of the bilateral Consular Dialogue, and resolved to continue efforts to facilitate the reciprocal movement of professionals, businesspersons, skilled workers, experts, and scientific personnel.

The Ministers also acknowledged the importance of continued discussions on a Social Security Totalization Agreement and welcomed the opportunity to further engage on pursuing such an agreement.

Both sides looked forward to commencing a dialogue on contemporary issues related to women in the context of people to people linkages.

Recognizing the importance of protecting cultural heritage, the Ministers committed to work toward negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding that will deepen cooperation in this area and assist authorities in combatting the trade in cultural artifacts and facilitating their repatriation.

The United States thanked India for its support for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) missions in India. The Ministers reiterated their commitment to future DPAA‎ missions.

India looks forward to hosting the next 2+2 Ministerial.

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    The U.S. Center for SafeSport (the Center), an independent nonprofit organization, was established in response to concerns about the consistency of investigations conducted and resolutions reached by amateur sports organizations of allegations of misconduct and abuse. According to Center staff, their response to allegations of misconduct are guided by the SafeSport Code, which establishes acceptable standards of conduct for all individuals who participate in U.S. Olympic and Paralympic events and training, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and other tools. The SafeSport Code defines the scope of the Center’s jurisdiction, establishes the standard of proof for its decisions, identifies types of prohibited conduct, describes possible temporary measures and sanctions, and outlines the resolution process and requirements to report to law enforcement. SOPs outline intake and investigation staff roles and responsibilities and provide a step-by-step guide of processes, and a case management system is used by intake and investigation staff to document their work. The Center seeks to ensure its intake and investigation process is fair by taking steps to ensure anonymity and privacy; providing opportunities for claimants (the persons alleged to have experienced misconduct) and respondents (the individuals accused of misconduct) to participate in investigations; and providing parties with the right to consult with an advisor and to seek arbitration of sanctions or other measures imposed by the Center. The Center refers to allegations of misconduct as cases when it establishes that it has enough information to proceed with intake and investigation. From February 2018 through June 2020, the Center created and resolved 3,909 cases. Most of the Center’s cases were resolved through administrative closure or jurisdictional closure. Administrative closure may occur as a result of insufficient evidence, claimants who elect not to participate in the resolution process, or other factors. Jurisdictional closure occurs when the Center does not have jurisdiction or the Center chooses not to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction, as defined in the SafeSport Code. As of June 30, 2020, approximately 1,300 individuals were listed in the Center’s Centralized Disciplinary Database; this number includes individuals placed on temporary restriction(s) or temporary suspension, as well as individuals suspended or rendered permanently ineligible to participate. On February 14, 2018, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 was enacted, which codified the Center’s jurisdiction over the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and its affiliated organizations with regard to safeguarding amateur athletes against abuse in sports. It also required the Center to develop resources and policies to prevent abuse of amateur athletes. The Center investigates and resolves allegations of sexual misconduct by coaches, trainers, managers, peers, and others that may be in violation of the Center’s policies and procedures. In addition, the Center may, at its discretion, investigate and resolve allegations of other policy violations, including non-sexual child abuse and emotional and physical misconduct. The Center plays a key role in ensuring the safety of amateur athletes, many of whom are minors, who participate in Olympic, Paralympic, and Pan-American events and training. GAO was asked to describe the process the Center uses in responding to, investigating, and resolving allegations of misconduct. This report describes (1) how the Center responds to allegations of misconduct in amateur athletics and seeks to ensure its process for investigating and resolving allegations is fair, and (2) what is known about incidents reported to the Center from February 2018 through June 2020. GAO reviewed documents relevant to Center intake and investigation policies and practices and interviewed the Center’s leadership, including individuals responsible for the intake and investigation of allegations of misconduct. In addition, GAO requested summary data for the period February 2018 through June 2020—the most recent data available—including information about allegations of misconduct and abuse, and the investigation and resolution of cases. For more information, contact Kathy A. Larin at (202) 512-7215 or larink@gao.gov.

    [Read More…]

  • U.S. Judicial Conference Urges Senate to Back Security Funding
    In U.S Courts
    Citing a growing danger to federal judges and courthouses, the Judicial Conference of the United States has asked the U.S. Senate to support a total of $182.5 million in supplemental funding to bolster security.

    [Read More…]

  • Nuclear Waste Disposal: Actions Needed to Enable DOE Decision That Could Save Tens of Billions of Dollars
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Several potential options exist for disposing of grouted supplemental low-activity waste (LAW) from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford site. (Grout immobilizes waste in a concrete-like mixture.) Specifically, two commercial and two federal facilities present minimal technical challenges to accepting grouted LAW. The commercial facilities—Clive Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility in Utah and Waste Control Specialists in Texas—are licensed to receive similar waste. The federal facilities—Hanford’s Integrated Disposal Facility and the Nevada National Security Site—face regulatory constraints and other challenges to disposing of grouted supplemental LAW. Disposal costs and health and environmental risks vary among the four potential disposal facilities, but disposing of Hanford’s supplemental LAW as grouted waste could cost billions less than disposing of it as vitrified waste, which is DOE’s current plan. (Vitrification immobilizes the waste in glass.) DOE estimated that vitrification and disposal of the waste would cost between $21 billion and $37 billion. GAO estimated grouting and disposal would cost between $11 billion and $13 billion (see figure) and may be faster. DOE has begun exploring how to dispose of grouted Hanford waste, but it has not analyzed a range of options as GAO and DOE best practices recommend. As a result, DOE is likely missing opportunities to reduce risks, expedite treatment, and save tens of billions of dollars. Figure: Estimated Total Costs for Treatment and Disposal of Vitrified and Grouted Supplemental Low-Activity Waste DOE faces legal challenges in selecting a disposal site if it grouts supplemental LAW. For example, before DOE can consider alternatives to vitrification, it must show it can manage Hanford’s tank waste as a waste type other than high-level waste (HLW) because it is currently required to vitrify at least a portion of the HLW. DOE is testing alternative treatment and disposal options, but DOE officials told GAO that if they continue with the testing, they expect the effort to be the subject of litigation. Clarifying DOE’s authority to manage Hanford’s supplemental LAW as low-level waste and transport it outside Washington State for disposal could help save tens of billions of dollars by allowing DOE to pursue less expensive disposal options. Why GAO Did This Study DOE oversees the treatment and disposal of 54 million gallons of nuclear and hazardous waste at the Hanford site in Washington State. Hanford’s tank waste is currently managed as HLW; however, more than 90 percent of the waste’s volume has low levels of radioactivity. DOE plans to vitrify a portion of Hanford’s LAW, but it has not made a decision on how to treat and dispose of the roughly 40 percent referred to as supplemental LAW. In May 2017, GAO found that grouting supplemental LAW could save tens of billions of dollars and reduce certain risks compared to vitrification. However, little is known about disposal options for grouted LAW. GAO examined (1) what potential disposal options exist for grouted supplemental LAW, (2) what is known about the costs and environmental risks of potential disposal facilities and the extent to which DOE has assessed them, and (3) the challenges DOE faces in selecting a disposal method. GAO reviewed technical reports on DOE’s waste disposal strategies at Hanford, compared DOE’s approach to best practices, and interviewed DOE officials and disposal facility representatives.

    [Read More…]

  • Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Uruguayan President Lacalle Pou
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Rwanda Travel Advisory
    Exercise normal [Read More…]
  • [Protest of Air Force Contract Award for Modernization Support Services]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested an Air Force contract award for systems modernization support services, contending that the Air Force: (1) unreasonably determined that its proposal represented a moderate risk; (2) treated the protester and the awardee unfairly in the evaluation of the two firms’ proposed architectures; (3) inappropriately evaluated its bid under the development-implementation processes evaluation factor; (4) should have considered the awardee’s poor past performance on three large programs; and (5) should have rejected the awardee’s proposal, since the solicitation prohibited the submission of more than one proposal by a bidder. GAO held that the Air Force: (1) reasonably determined the protester’s bid represented a moderate risk, since its proposed architecture was based upon emerging technology and would require a substantial amount of custom software development; (2) treated the protester and the awardee fairly in the risk assessment; (3) appropriately considered the bidder’s past performance in the bid evaluation, since the solicitation criteria provided for consideration of bidder’s relevant experience; (4) properly limited its consideration of the awardee’s performance to those procurements that the awardee itself performed as opposed to those performed by affiliated entities; and (5) properly accepted proposals from the awardee and an affiliated entity, since each were a separate business entity within a larger corporation. Accordingly, the protest was denied.

    [Read More…]

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