DHS to oversee visas

Homeland Security Department officials dispatched agents to Saudi Arabia in the past month to inspect every visa application as part of its newest job of controlling U.S. visa policy worldwide.

Although the State Department will continue to have a major role in dispensing visas, DHS officials will have a new responsibility to oversee visa approvals and determine if an applicant should have a personal interview before getting permission to enter the United States.

In its new role mandated by Congress, DHS will control visa policy, have final say over State decisions and make sure security requirements are carried out. State will continue to control certain visa decisions that impact foreign policy, such as who can have a visa to travel to the United Nations for diplomatic purposes.

Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for DHS' Border and Transportation Security Directorate, testified before the panel that the joint State-DHS partnership would help secure the border from "external threats while ensuring that our doors remain open to legitimate travel."

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Probing questions

The General Services Administration is seeking comment from vendors and agencies on how to improve share-in-savings contracting. GSA wants to know:

* What type of information will vendors need in the solicitation to adequately prepare a proposal for contract?

* What criteria should be considered in developing an appropriate share ratio and schedule for payment?

* What general criteria should be considered in determining the original, or baseline, cost of a process?

* How, if at all, should the determination of cancellation and termination costs differ from those used in connection with multiyear contracts?

* Should ownership rights of hardware or property acquired under the share-in- savings contract be addressed in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)?

* What method should be used to determine a contracts' value in regard to FAR requirements that are triggered by the acquisitions' dollar amount?

* Should there be a preference for structuring the contracts as firm-fixed-price or fixed-price with price adjustments allowed?

* Which, if any, performance-based contracting policies should not be applicable to an share-in-savings contract, and why?

* What types of activities in the information technology arena might be conducive to share-in-savings contracting?

Source: Federal Register

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