Archive

Archive for the ‘Gov – US’ Category

USPS OIG — Domestic Merchandise Returns and Forwarding

April 24, 2015 Comments off

Domestic Merchandise Returns and Forwarding (PDF)
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

The package delivery market is an important and growing segment of the U.S. economy. American businesses and consumers spent more than $68 billion in 2013 to ship packages domestically. As part of this package activity, merchandise sometimes needs to be returned to the merchant or forwarded to a different address designated by the recipient. A recent study conducted from April to June 2013 showed that just over 5 percent of business volume (over 500 million pieces) was returned using a carrier shipping service. The domestic returns business is worth an estimated $3 billion annually and is expected to approach $4 billion by 2016.

The U.S. Postal Service is active in the returns market, having generated about [redacted] in returns-related revenue in fiscal year (FY) 2014. The potential of this market was recently acknowledged when the vice president, New Products and Innovation, stated, “Returns play an important role in our efforts to grow our package business.” The Postal Service has also released its new “Already There” advertising campaign aimed at promoting the ease of its return services. In addition, the Postal Service generated about [redacted] in forwarding-related revenue in FY 2014. To support this growing market, the Postal Service offers a variety of merchandise return and forwarding products and services and continues to develop additional services to keep up with eCommerce, digital innovations, and changing customer preferences.

The objective of our review was to identify opportunities for the Postal Service to grow its merchandise returns and forwarding revenue. To that end, we researched global trends, reviewed actions of foreign posts, met with Postal Service managers and returns companies, and examined prior U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General reports.

Major Work Stoppages in 2014

April 24, 2015 Comments off

Major Work Stoppages in 2014
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

In 2014, there were 11 major work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers and lasting at least one shift, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The 11 major work stoppages beginning in 2014 were down from the 15 major work stoppages beginning in 2013, and equaled the second lowest annual total (11 in 2010) of work stoppages since the series began in 1947. The lowest annual total was 5 in 2009. (See chart 1 and table 1.)

Major work stoppages beginning in 2014 idled 34,000 workers, lower than the 2013 total of 55,000 idled workers. In 2014, there were 200,000 days idle from major work stoppages in effect, also lower than 2013 with 290,000 days idle. In 2014, private industry organizations accounted for 9 of the 11 major work stoppages in 2014. In addition, 7 of the 11 major work stoppages beginning in 2014 occurred in the health care and social assistance industry and the educational services industry. (See table 2.)

In 2014, the largest major work stoppage in both days idle and duration was between FairPoint Communications and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Locals 2320, 2326, and 2327 and the Communications Workers of America Local 1400, with 1,700 workers accounting for 86,700 days idle in 2014. The work stoppage was still ongoing at the end of 2014. (See table 2.)

A Relevant Risk Approach to Mental Health Inquiries in Question 21 of the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF-86)

April 24, 2015 Comments off

A Relevant Risk Approach to Mental Health Inquiries in Question 21 of the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF-86) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Background
Individuals vetted by the government for initial or continuing eligibility to access classified information must fill out a personnel security questionnaire as part of a screening process designed to identify those who are not likely to be trustworthy, reliable , or loyal to the United States. Question 21 in the Questionnaire for National Security Positions (SF – 86) asks applicants if they have consulted with a mental health professional in the last 7 years , with certain groups exempted . This approach identifies too many individuals for investigative follow – up who do not have a mental health condition that pose s an unacceptable risk , and likely misses other at – risk individuals . Disagreements over the goal, effectiveness , and adverse consequences ( e.g., stigmatizing the use of mental health services ) associated with this question have resulted in previous Question 21 wording changes but have not significantly resolved concerns.

Highlights
A proposed “r elevant r isk ” approach to Question 21 — focusing only on standardized clinical conditions that could pose a security risk as well as mental health related hospitalizations — would not represent an obstacle to mental health care for the vast majority of personnel and would be consistent with Department of Defense ( DoD ) policy to foster a culture of support with respect to mental he alth. This approach would reduce the costs associated with unnecessary Q uestion 21 follow – up investigative work, as well as much of the stigma – related adverse consequences associated with the current Q uestion 21. At the same time , the “relevant risk” appro ach would identify more effectively the small number of individuals with mental health conditions that may pose security risks. In addition, t his report evaluates the benefits for both security and clinical care for having separate professionals conduct se curity fitness evaluations vice individuals’ mental health treatment.

Carter Unveils New DoD Cyber Strategy in Silicon Valley

April 24, 2015 Comments off

Carter Unveils New DoD Cyber Strategy in Silicon Valley
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Defense Secretary Ash Carter today unveiled the Defense Department’s second cyber strategy to guide the development of DoD’s cyber forces and to strengthen its cyber defenses and its posture on cyber deterrence.

Carter discussed the new strategy — an update to the original strategy released in 2011 — before an audience at Stanford University on the first day of a two-day trip to Silicon Valley in California.

Deterrence is a key part of the new cyber strategy, which describes the department’s contributions to a broader national set of capabilities to deter adversaries from conducting cyberattacks, according to a fact sheet about the strategy.

The department assumes that the totality of U.S. actions — including declaratory policy, substantial indications and warning capabilities, defensive posture, response procedures and resilient U.S. networks and systems –- will deter cyberattacks on U.S. interests, the fact sheet added.

CRS — Freedom of Information Act Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis (February 26, 2015)

April 23, 2015 Comments off

Freedom of Information Act Legislation in the 114th Congress: Issue Summary and Side-by-Side Analysis (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Both the House and Senate are currently considering legislation that would make substantive changes to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIA was originally enacted in 1966 and has been amended numerous times since—most recently in 2009. FOIA provides the public with a presumptive right to access agency records, limited by nine exemptions that allow agencies to withhold certain types or categories of records.

CRS — Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources (February 27, 2015)

April 23, 2015 Comments off

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This guide provides information on locating military unit histories and individual service records of discharged, retired, and deceased military personnel. It includes contact information for military history centers, websites for additional sources of research, and a bibliography of other publications.

This report will be updated as needed.

CRS — State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism–Legislative Parameters: In Brief (February 27, 2015)

April 23, 2015 Comments off

State Sponsors of Acts of International Terrorism–Legislative Parameters: In Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria are identified by the U.S. government as countries with governments that support acts of international terrorism. As the 114th Congress is sworn in and begins its first session, U.S. foreign policy and national security policies toward Cuba, Iran, and North Korea are in a state of close scrutiny, with an eye to easing sanctions, including removing Cuba and Iran from the terrorist lists, and with an eye to returning North Korea to the same lists. While it is the President’s authority to designate, and remove from designation, terrorist states, Congress is likely to weigh in as the reviews proceed.

This brief report provides information on legislation that authorizes the designation of any foreign government as a state sponsor of acts of international terrorism. It addresses the statutes and how they each define acts of international terrorism; establish a list to limit or prohibit aid or trade; provide for systematic removal of a foreign government from a list, including timeline and reporting requirements; authorize the President to waive restrictions on a listed foreign government; and provide (or do not provide) Congress with a means to block a delisting. It closes with a summary of delisting in the past.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,034 other followers