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FY 2014 Annual Report from the Defense Department by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation

January 28, 2015 Comments off

FY 2014 Annual Report from the Defense Department by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The purpose of operational testing is to assure the Military Services field weapons that work in combat. This purpose has been codified in both USC Title 10 and in the Department of Defense’s (DOD) 5000-series regulations for many years without substantive alteration. Operational testing is intended to occur under “realistic combat conditions” that include operational scenarios typical of a system’s employment in combat, realistic threat forces, and employment of the systems under test by typical users (Soldiers) rather than by hand-picked or contractor crews.

Thorough operational testing should be conducted prior to a system’ s Full-Rate Production decision or deployment to combat in order to inform acquisition decision makers and operators in an objective way about how the system will perform in its combat missions. Under current law, the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) is required to present his opinion on whether the operational testing conducted prior to the Beyond Low-Rate Initial Production decision is adequate or not. The Director must consider all the operational facets of a system’s employment in combat when he determines what constitutes adequate operational testing, including the performance envelope the system must be able to achieve, the various operating conditions anticipated in a time of war, and the range of realistic operational threats.

In 2014, I investigated many examples of recent programs across all Services to identify common themes in operational testing. These themes illustrate the value that operational testing provides to the Defense community. Additionally, they highlight the continuing improvements we have made in the credibility and efficiency of OT&E during my tenure. A briefing covering these six themes and dozens of examples across all Services is posted on the DOT&E website. 1 These themes reveal a common conclusion: OT&E provides value to the Department by identifying key problems and clearly informing warfighters and the acquisition community about the capabilities our combat systems do and do not have. Furthermore, we are getting this information now more efficiently and cost effectively than ever by employing rigorous scientific methods in test planning, execution, and evaluation.

CBO — How Changes in Immigration Policy Would Affect the Federal Budget

January 28, 2015 Comments off

How Changes in Immigration Policy Would Affect the Federal Budget
Source: Congressional Budget Office

During the past two years, the Congress has considered proposals to modify the nation’s immigration system. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), passed by the Senate in June 2013, addresses multiple facets of immigration policy, including changes to the existing visa system, improvements in border security and law enforcement, and changes to the status of people who currently live in the country without legal authorization. Other proposals have focused on one component of immigration policy—for example, improving border security or changing certain aspects of the visa system. Whether the proposals involve broad or narrow changes to immigration policy, they could have a variety of consequences for both citizens and noncitizens, for the federal government, and for state and local governments. This CBO report examines some of those proposals and how such changes would affect the federal budget.

When estimating the budgetary consequences of immigration reform, CBO considers various factors. Depending on the details of proposed legislation, changes to immigration policy could have a significant effect on the size and composition of the noncitizen population and, as a result, on rates of participation in federal programs and the payment of taxes. For that reason, when estimating the budgetary effects of proposals, CBO considers the demographic and labor force characteristics of foreign-born people, their eligibility for and participation in federal programs, their tax liability, changes in the economy, and a number of other factors. If proposals were combined into a single, more comprehensive immigration bill, estimates of the budgetary effects would take into account the complex interactions among the various provisions; the net effect would not be a simple summation of the individual effects.

UK — Securing technology at the OFFICIAL classification

January 28, 2015 Comments off

Securing technology at the OFFICIAL classification
Source: Cabinet Office and CESG

The OFFICIAL classification is used to manage the majority of information that is created or processed by the public sector. This includes routine information about business operations and services, some of which could have damaging consequences if lost or stolen.

Security at OFFICIAL is achieved through commercial good practice, using commodity technologies and people taking personal responsibility and using their judgement actively. Government-wide security standards are met through meeting clearly defined outcomes and working within common frameworks rather than applying prescriptive controls. The Government Security Policy Framework describes government’s overall approach to protective security.

Whilst technology risks must always be effectively managed, there are opportunities for organisations to develop innovative solutions and use modern, commodity technologies and tools. Security should always considered when making decisions about technology, and it should be balanced against other aspects of the service.

This page will be updated with new guidance as it is issued by the Cabinet Office and CESG, the Information Security arm of GCHQ, and the UK National Technical Authority for Information Assurance.

New From the GAO

January 27, 2015 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Defense Logistics: DOD Has a Strategy and Has Taken Steps to Improve Its Asset Visibility, but Further Actions Are Needed. GAO-15-148, January 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-148
Highlights –  http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668089.pdf

2. Depot Maintenance: Status of the Public-Private Partnership for Repair of the Dual-Mode Transmitter in the F-16 Fire-Control Radar. GAO-15-249R, January 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-249R

3. Supply Chain Security: CBP Needs to Enhance Its Guidance and Oversight of High-Risk Maritime Cargo Shipments. GAO-15-294, January 27.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-294
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668099.pdf

Are Public-Sector Jobs Recession Proof? Were They Ever?

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Are Public-Sector Jobs Recession Proof? Were They Ever?
Source: Cato Institute

As government budgets have tightened in the aftermath of the Great Recession, increased scrutiny has been placed upon the compensation received by public-sector workers. Commentators such as Zuckerman (2010) have suggested that public-sector workers are overpaid, while others such as Allegretto and Keefe (2010) have argued that their compensation packages are appropriate, particularly because they tend to have more education than their private-sector counterparts. Most of the focus has been on wage and salary differentials, although pension benefits have also received some attention (Bewerunge and Rosen 2012). However, a compensation package consists of nonpecuniary as well as pecuniary components. An important nonpecuniary benefit is job security. Assuming that workers are risk averse, jobs that offer more security are worth more than those that offer less, ceteris paribus.

It has been argued that government employment has a sizable advantage over private sector employment in this respect. Thus, for example, according to Richwine and Biggs (2012), “It is well known that government employees enjoy considerably more job security than private workers,” and Goldberg (2014) asserts that “government employees are essentially unfireable.” In the popular press, several commentators have stated that even during the Great Recession, government jobs were secure. At the beginning of a piece on this topic, Kittle (2012) asks and answers a question: “Looking for job security in economically trying times? Go government.” Similarly, Curry (2011) characterizes federal employment as being “recession proof.”

However, others assert that while public-sector workers enjoyed more job security than private-sector workers in the past, this advantage decreased in the Great Recession: “The public sector looks far, far worse now than it did then… . Local government employment actually grew in the past two recessions by 7.7 percent and 5.2 percent for each respective period. This time around, it’s hemorrhaging jobs” (Covert 2012). Similarly, Polak and Schott (2012) write in the New York Times, “In the past, local government employment has been almost recession-proof. This time it’s not.”

CBO — The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2015 to 2025

January 27, 2015 Comments off

The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2015 to 2025
Source: Congressional Budget Office

The federal budget deficit, which has fallen sharply during the past few years, is projected to hold steady relative to the size of the economy through 2018. Beyond that point, however, the gap between spending and revenues is projected to grow, further increasing federal debt relative to the size of the economy—which is already historically high.

Those projections by CBO, based on the assumption that current laws governing taxes and spending will generally remain unchanged, are built upon the agency’s economic forecast. According to that forecast, the economy will expand at a solid pace in 2015 and for the next few years—to the point that the gap between the nation’s output and its potential (that is, maximum sustainable) output will be essentially eliminated by the end of 2017. As a result, the unemployment rate will fall a little further, and more people will be encouraged to enter or stay in the labor force. Beyond 2017, CBO projects, real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at a rate that is notably less than the average growth during the 1980s and 1990s.

Federal Justice Statistics, 2011–12

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Federal Justice Statistics, 2011–12
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Describes the annual activity, workloads, and outcomes associated with the federal criminal justice system from arrest to imprisonment, using data from the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC), and Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Tables and text describe arrests and investigations by law enforcement agency and growth rates by type of offense and federal judicial district. This report examines trends in drug arrests by the DEA. It also provides the number of offenders returning to federal prison within 3 years of release and includes the most recently available data on sentences imposed and their lengths by type of offense. See also Federal Justice Statistics, 2011 – Statistical Tables and Federal Justice Statistics, 2012 – Statistical Tables .

Highlights:

  • At yearend 2012, 414,065 persons were under some form of federal correctional control 62% were in confinement and 38% were under supervision in the community. „„
  • Fifteen percent of federal prisoners released in 2010 were returned to federal prison within 3 years. Over half (54%) were returned for supervision violations. „„
  • In 2012, five federal judicial districts along the U.S.-Mexico border accounted for 60% of federal arrests, 53% of suspects investigated, and 41% of offenders sentenced to prison. „„
  • In 2012, 3,171 suspects were arrested for a sex offense. Defendants convicted of a felony sex offense were the most likely (97%) to receive a prison sentence following conviction. „„
  • During 2012, 172,248 suspects were booked by the U.S. Marshals Service, a 2% decline from 179,034 booked in 2010. „„
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