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Report of Official Foreign Travel to Germany, May 16-June 1, 2001

Description: The Department of Energy (DOE) and associated agencies have moved rapidly toward electronic production, management, and dissemination of scientific and technical information. The World-Wide Web (WWW) has become a primary means of information dissemination. Electronic commerce (EC) is becoming the preferred means of procurement. DOE, like other government agencies, depends on and encourages the use of international standards in data communications. Like most government agencies, DOE has expressed a preference for openly developed standards over proprietary designs promoted as ''standards'' by vendors. In particular, there is a preference for standards developed by organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that use open, public processes to develop their standards. Among the most widely adopted international standards is the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML, ISO 8879:1986, FIPS 152), to which DOE long ago made a commitment. Besides the official commitment, which has resulted in several specialized projects, DOE makes heavy use of coding derived from SGML: Most documents on the WWW are coded in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), which is an application of SGML. The World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C), with the backing of major software houses like Adobe, IBM, Microsoft, Netscape, Oracle, and Sun, is promoting XML (eXtensible Markup Language), a class of SGML applications, for the future of the WWW and the basis for EC. In support of DOE's use of these standards, I have served since 1985 as Chairman of the international committee responsible for SGML and related standards, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 (SC34) and its predecessor organizations. During my May 2001 trip, I chaired the spring 2001 meeting of SC34 in Berlin, Germany. I also attended XML Europe 2001, a major conference on the use of SGML and XML sponsored by the Graphic Communications Association (GCA), and chaired a meeting of the ...
Date: June 18, 2001
Creator: Mason, J. D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

DOD Personnel: More Consistency Needed in Determining Eligibility for Top Secret Security Clearances

Description: A chapter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Each year, the Department of Defense (DOD) makes about 200,000 decisions to grant, deny, or revoke security clearances for its civilian, military, and contractor personnel. Through a process called adjudication, DOD personnel security specialists review the results of employees' background investigations and determine whether the individual is eligible for a clearance. This report (1) assesses whether DOD's adjudicators consistently document all significant adverse security conditions when determining individuals' eligibility for top secret security clearances and (2) identifies factors that hinder the effectiveness of DOD's adjudicative process. GAO found that DOD adjudicators have not consistently documented all significant adverse security conditions present in investigative case files when determining individuals' eligibility for top secret security clearances. DOD has been unable to demonstrate that it fully considered all significant adverse conditions often not documented, including financial matters. Several factors have hindered the effectiveness of DOD's adjudicative process. The Assistant Secretary has not (1) used common explanatory guidance, such as that contained in the Adjudicative Desk Reference he developed, or issued any other clarifying guidance to promote consistency in applying the federal guidelines; (2) required adjudicators to take DOD adjudicative training or afforded them with continuing education opportunities on applying the federal guidelines; and (3) established common equality assurance mechanisms to identify any problem areas needing clarifying guidance or training. Common quality assurance procedures would facilitate DOD's oversight of the adjudicative process. Actions to provide stronger direction and oversight are needed given the challenges posed by the decentralized nature of DOD's process."
Date: April 18, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Navy Acquisitions: Improved Littoral War-Fighting Capabilities Needed

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "According to the Navy, the primary purpose of forward-deployed naval forces is to project power from the sea to influence events ashore. To be successful, naval forces must be able to gain access to, and operate in the coastal areas of potential adversaries. Consequently, they must be able to detect and neutralize enemy sea mines and other antiship weapons. Finally, they must be able to launch and support offensive operations against enemy forces ashore. This report assesses the Navy's (1) existing mine countermeasures, (2) antisubmarine warfare, (3) ship self-defense, (4) surface fire support capabilities, and (5) progress in the acquisition programs the Navy is pursuing to address shortfalls in these areas. GAO found that the Navy's current force of specialized ships, helicopters, and other assets developed to detect and neutralize enemy sea mines lack several key warfighting capabilities it needs for shoreline operations. Although the Navy is making some progress in overcoming shortfalls in antisubmarine warfare, a lack of resources and priorities among competing programs persists. The Navy's ship defense capabilities against cruise missiles are marginal, and surface ships will be at risk when operating within the range of these weapons. The Navy will not meet the Marine Corps' naval surface fire support requirements for at least another decade. The Navy has shown limited progress in overcoming shortfalls in the acquisition programs it is pursuing."
Date: May 18, 2001
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department