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Thursday, January 31, 2013

U.S. DOD Contracts for January 31, 2013

Contracts for January 31, 2013

Resolution reset time

Resolution reset time

Woensdagmorgen.nl: al gamend de wetenschap helpen

Woensdagmorgen.nl: al gamend de wetenschap helpen

EPA BANNING 12 D-CON RAT AND MOUSE POISOIN PRODUCTS


Rat Eating Seeds.  Credit:  Wikimedia Commons.
FROM: U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Action Will Prevent Thousands of Accidental Exposures Among Children Each Year

WASHINGTON
– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving to ban the sale of 12 D-Con mouse and rat poison products produced by Reckitt Benckiser Inc. because these products fail to comply with current EPA safety standards. Approximately 10,000 children a year are accidentally exposed to mouse and rat baits; EPA has worked cooperatively with companies to ensure that products are both safe to use around children and effective for consumers. Reckitt Benckiser Inc., maker of D-Con brand products, is the only rodenticide producer that has refused to adopt EPA’s safety standards for all of its consumer use products.

"Moving forward to ban these products will prevent completely avoidable risks to children, said James Jones, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "With this action, EPA is ensuring that the products on the market are both safe and effective for consumers."

The agency has worked with a number of companies during the last five years to develop safer rodent control products that are effective, affordable, and widely available to meet the needs of consumers. Examples of products meeting EPA safety standards include Bell Laboratories’ Tomcat products, PM Resources’ Assault brand products and Chemsico’s products.

The EPA requires rodenticide products for consumer use to be contained in protective tamper-resistant bait stations and prohibits pellets and other bait forms that cannot be secured in bait stations. In addition, the EPA prohibits the sale to residential consumers of products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, and difenacoum because of their toxicity to wildlife.

For companies that have complied with the new standards in 2011, EPA has received no reports of children being exposed to bait contained in bait stations. EPA expects to see a substantial reduction in exposures to children when the 12 D-Con products that do not comply with current standards are removed from the consumer market as millions of households use these products each year.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

LAUNCH OF THE DIPLOMACY CENTER

FROM: U.S. STATE DELPARTMENT

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Former Secretary of State James Baker Host the Launch of the Diplomacy Center

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Franklin Room
Washington, DC
January 25, 2013

 

SECRETARY BAKER: Thank you very much, Bill, for those generous words, and thank you as well for your superb, extremely superb service to our country. And I know that Secretary Clinton would join me in that comment.

I also want to thank Pat Kennedy. Pat Kennedy was here way back in the dark ages when I was here. (Laughter.) He’s been here ever since. He’s done a remarkable job for this Department, and particularly for his country. And Elizabeth Bagley; and let me tell you something. Without Elizabeth Bagley, there would be no Diplomacy Center. She’s been absolutely critical and instrumental to its creation and to its future. And I want to say a word, too, to all of you out there who are supporting this center. Thank you for what you’re doing. Without you, there would be no Diplomacy Center.

Since the days of our founding, we have been very blessed here in this country by the practice of adroit diplomacy. It was successful diplomacy, after all, that allowed us to strike the Treaty of Paris, the picture of which is over there on the other side of this hall. It was diplomacy that made possible the Louisiana Purchase. It was diplomacy that formulated and implemented the Marshall Plan. It was diplomacy that made sure – practiced under all presidents from Truman to George H.W. Bush – that made sure that the Cold War ended with a whimper and not a bang. Throughout our history, our nation has been strengthened and protected through strong, diplomatic alliances and agreements.

Diplomats such as Ben Franklin, John Jay, Dean Acheson have all played roles that are every bit as important to our nation’s security and well-being as the roles played by generals such as Winfield Scott and John Pershing and Norman Schwarzkopf. So I think it is very fitting that this Diplomacy Center is being built, because it will tell, as both Elizabeth and Bill Burns said, the amazing stories of the brave men and women who have served on the front lines of American diplomacy. Although too often overlooked, their tales of heroism really are inspiring.

But this center is going to do something else as well, something equally important. It’s going to explain why diplomacy matters to every single citizen. Diplomats negotiate everything from peace treaties to international trade pacts to agreements that keep our air clean. As a former American ambassador once said, "Foreign policy can raise or lower the cost of your home mortgage, it can give you a job, or it can take that job away. Foreign policy can affect the air you breathe. Foreign policy can determine the future of American security, and it can determine the fate of American ideals."

The lessons that this center will teach are particularly important for all Americans to know and to understand. America’s might cannot be properly exercised without the support of citizens who appreciate our nation’s role in the world and its relationship with other countries, because that’s simply how our democracy works.

One lesson that this center will hopefully teach, I hope, is that it is important to talk to your adversaries. You don’t make peace, after all, with your friends. You make peace with your enemies. The diplomat’s role in establishing effective lines of communication with hostile nations is a critical component of our safety just as it was, frankly, during the entire 46 years of the Cold War when we maintained an embassy in Moscow.
Of course, diplomacy is best practiced with a mailed fist. All you diplomats out there know that. It’s nice to have the 101st Airborne in your pocket when you’re negotiating. (Laughter.) And so we have to always maintain a strong military. But America’s security and foreign policy interests are best advanced when we use all of the tools at our disposal, and of course diplomacy is one of the most important and most effective.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I personally look forward to the grand opening of this U.S. Diplomacy Center. It’s going to remind us of the great diplomats in our past, and it’s going to remind us of the importance of diplomacy to our future.

And now, it is an extreme pleasure for the 61st Secretary of State of the United States to introduce the very able 67th Secretary of State, who in a few days will join the small club of six former Secretaries of State. And let me say in introducing her: Thank you, Madam Secretary, for your service to the nation. And by the way, welcome to the club. (Laughter, applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s so great. Oh, thank you all very much. Thank you. Well, Jim, I’m honored to be a member of that club with you, and I’m so grateful to you for your years of service to our country and especially today for your generous support of the U.S. Diplomacy Center. It is a real joy to have you and Susan and your family here with us.

And I want to thank everyone who is here this afternoon on a snowy day in Washington, because you have really made a commitment to do exactly what Jim Baker just said, to help us tell the story. Donors, staff, partners from across the government, the Foreign Affairs Museum Council, I thank you all.

It is exciting to see this project being launched, and there are many people who have really made a contribution. I thought that Secretary Baker’s comments need to be recorded and included somewhere in the Diplomacy Center. That was an excellent quick summary of exactly why we are here today. (Applause.) And I do think that it’s important to remind ourselves as we do this work that although we do occasionally get some notice – I’m thinking of the film, Argo, actually – (laughter). In fact, I’ve been told we have a few of the diplomats who lived through that harrowing experience in Iran and endured the entire hostage crisis with us today.

But most of the time, the work that is done is not going to end up in a movie. It’s under the radar, so to speak. And as Pat Kennedy rightly said, many people still don’t fully understand what we do here at the State Department and at more than 275 posts around the world. Many Americans, especially children growing up, know about our military and what a great force for peace and stability it is. And the role that diplomats play in so much of what built our country, starting with Benjamin Franklin, since we are, of course, in the Ben Franklin room, is maybe taught in school, but it’s not as fully understood as we want it to be.

So that’s why this center is so important today. Now, the center and my commitment to it really began when I first learned about it, because I guess I missed that 1999 announcement and wasn’t aware of all the work that was being done to try to bring the center to fruition. And when I learned about it, I thought, "This needs to be a focus for all of us," and got a briefing, as I often do, from Pat Kennedy, who has a great overview of what has been and is happening here at State, and learned more about the mission.

And then I asked Ambassador Elizabeth Bagley to once again take on a special project. She’d been the person driving our participation in building a pavilion at the Shanghai Expo after I made my first trip to Asia in February of ’09. And I was sitting at the bilat with all the Chinese delegation, which was a very large one, and one of the first things the Foreign Minister said, "Well, it is such a shame that the United States will not be represented at the Shanghai Expo." And I’m sitting there, flipping through my notes, "the Shanghai what?" (Laughter.) Nobody had told me about the Shanghai Expo.

I said, "Well, yes, Minister, that is a challenge." I’m sitting there thinking, "What is this about," right? (Laughter.) He goes, "Yes, America will be the only country not represented." So I got back to Washington, and I said, "What is the Shanghai Expo, and why are we not there?" And of course the reason is our government doesn’t support American participation. It has to be one of those public-private partnerships that this Diplomacy Center is. So I asked Ambassador Bagley to take on that responsibility, and we were pretty far behind all of the rest of the world, but we got it done. We had a great presentation there and were not left out.

I think that when we look at what the Foreign Service, what our diplomats and our development experts do around the world, we need to connect it to what happens here at home. People need to understand how an economic officer in Cambodia is helping to create jobs not only there, but in the United States; how helping women farmers in Africa sell more of their crop at markets makes the region the more stable and prosperous and gives us the opportunity to really expand our bilateral and regional relationships.

How we work to help others understand our commitment really does matter to the American people and people around the world. During the past four years, I have been very fortunate in being assisted by a great team of people. As I have focused on diplomacy and development alongside defense as pillars of our foreign policy and the strategic investments that we need to make, I know that every day nearly 70,000 people are getting up and going to work to do just that.

Now, what started as an idea and a handful of objects in a single file cabinet drawer back in 1997 has grown into what will be, as you can see, a beautiful pavilion and exhibition halls housing more than 6,000 artifacts, including items that date back to our earliest days as a nation. In fact – I know Mr. Franklin would approve – one of the original printings of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce that he helped negotiate with France in 1778 will have a permanent home in this collection, one of the first treaties we signed as a fledgling nation that helped America win our independence.

But this center is not just about the past. It captures the living work of American diplomacy and all the creative ways that our diplomats carry out their missions. Visitors to this center will get to experience for themselves what it’s like to be part of a diplomatic simulation, stepping into the shoes of a diplomat in Darfur, for example, trying to defuse a crisis. They can take a practice run at a mock Foreign Service exam. They can even poke around an exhibit called, "Inside the Secretary’s Day." And, fair warning, it’s not all that glamorous, but it’ll give you an idea of what Jim and I and our other colleagues have done, and to learn for themselves how challenging, valuable, and rewarding diplomacy can be.

Now, we are fortunate to have leaders in this department who exemplify that every day. Deputy Secretary Tom Nides has championed our economic statecraft initiative, along with many other tasks as our Deputy Secretary for Resources and Management. And he also was instrumental in helping us reach this point. And Tom, I’m very appreciative to you. And Bill Burns, who really is our exemplar of what an American diplomat can and should be, has been an indispensable partner to me from the moment that I walked in the door. And I am very grateful to him for his expertise, his experience, and his wry, good humor at what often happens in the world we try to understand.

And so many others who I look out and see in this audience, diplomats of today and yesterday and, I hope, of tomorrow. I think it’s important for you to see this center as a mutual project that we want you to be involved in not just today, but going forward. It’s been one of the great honors of my life to lead the men and women of the State Department and USAID to understand even more than I did before what they do for us and oftentimes how unsung their contributions have been.

I said when I was before the Congress the other day that we’ve actually seen a spike in people wanting to take the exam for potential membership in Foreign Service. We’ve seen young people exhibit a great curiosity about what is happening in the Foreign Service. We will be launching next week a new education program that will go hand in hand with this center to try to explain not only to Americans, first and foremost, but to people around the world, why diplomacy is at the center of who we are as a nation.

So this is a project whose time has come and one we must see through. Like Jim Baker, I look forward to returning for the grand opening, the ribbon cutting. I hope it’s pretty soon and not too far off because we have a great story to tell. And we need to get about telling it. Thank you very much. (Applause.)


West Wing Week 01/25/13 or… “Behind the Scenes: Inauguration 2013” | The White House

West Wing Week 01/25/13 or… “Behind the Scenes: Inauguration 2013” | The White House

Friday, January 25, 2013

Statement by the President on Roe v. Wade Anniversary | The White House

Statement by the President on Roe v. Wade Anniversary | The White House

DOL RECESS APPOINTMENT RULING

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Statement by Chairman Pearce on recess appointment ruling

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a decision finding that the Jan. 4, 2012 recess appointments of three members to the National Labor Relations Board were invalid. In response, Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce issued the following statement:

"The Board respectfully disagrees with today’s decision and believes that the President’s position in the matter will ultimately be upheld. It should be noted that this order applies to only one specific case, Noel Canning, and that similar questions have been been raised in more than a dozen cases pending in other courts of appeals.

In the meantime, the Board has important work to do. The parties who come to us seek and expect careful consideration and resolution of their cases, and for that reason, we will continue to perform our statutory duties and issue decisions."

Department of Defense Contracts for January 25, 2013

Contracts for January 25, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

U.S. DOD Contracts for January 24, 2013

Contracts for January 24, 2013

DVIDS - Video - DoD Briefing

DVIDS - Video - DoD Briefing

U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT INITIAL CLAIMS DOWN


FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR:

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA



In the week ending January 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 330,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 335,000. The 4-week moving average was 351,750, a decrease of 8,250 from the previous week's revised average of 360,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending January 12, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending January 12 was 3,157,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,228,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,197,500, a decrease of 12,250 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,209,750.
UNADJUSTED DATA
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 436,766 in the week ending January 19, a decrease of 119,944 from the previous week. There were 416,880 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9 percent during the week ending January 12, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,690,615, a decrease of 177,080 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.2 percent and the volume was 4,069,651.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending January 5 was 5,659,760, a decrease of 214,076 from the previous week. There were 7,670,108 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2012.

Extended Benefits were not available in any state during the week ending January 5.

Initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees totaled 2,354 in the week ending January 12, an increase of 578 from the prior week. There were 3,037 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 659 from the preceding week.

There were 22,166 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending January 5, a decrease of 571 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 40,567, an increase of 1,425 from the prior week.

States reported 1,693,797 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending January 5, a decrease of 365,641 from the prior week. There were 2,922,533 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2012. EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending January 5 were in Alaska (6.6), Pennsylvania (4.8), Puerto Rico (4.5), New Jersey (4.4), Oregon (4.3), Wisconsin (4.3), Connecticut (4.2), Michigan (4.2), Montana (4.2), and Rhode Island (4.1).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 12 were in Texas (+12,786), California (+10,232), Florida (+7,314), Indiana (+4,266), and New Jersey (+3,570), while the largest decreases were in New

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Contracts for January 16, 2013

Contracts for January 16, 2013

President Obama Introduces a Plan to Reduce Gun Violence | The White House

President Obama Introduces a Plan to Reduce Gun Violence | The White House

Think. Share. Talk HealthCare.

Think. Share. Talk HealthCare.

Doe mee aan het Space Expo vakantiekamp!

Doe mee aan het Space Expo vakantiekamp!

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update: Anticipating The Age Of Surprise

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

Eco Global Corporation, et al.

Eco Global Corporation, et al.

U.S.-MONTENEGRO RELATIONS

FROM: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
The United States established diplomatic relations with Montenegro in 1905 following its 1878 independence from the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, Montenegro was subsumed into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, and U.S.-Montenegro diplomatic relations ended in 1920. The United States reestablished diplomatic relations with Montenegro in 2006 following the dissolution of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

The relationship between the United States and Montenegro has promoted peace and prosperity in the region and around the world. U.S. policy toward Montenegro is structured to help the country transition to a prosperous, market-based democracy, fully integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union. The country is a participant in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. The European Union opened accession negotiations with Montenegro in June 2012. Montenegro has demonstrated its commitment to international peacekeeping efforts, including in Afghanistan where it has contributed troops to the International Security Assistance Force.

U.S. Assistance to Montenegro

U.S. Government assistance to Montenegro aims to help the country advance toward Euro-Atlantic integration, increase its ability to fight organized crime and corruption, strengthen its civil society and democratic structures, and provide stability in the Balkans.

Bilateral Economic Relations

A number of U.S. companies are operating in Montenegro, and the Government of Montenegro has put an emphasis on attracting more U.S. investment. The Montenegrin government counts the following as incentives for U.S. investors to do business in Montenegro: a business-oriented economic system, a high level of economic freedom, a stable currency (Euro), macroeconomic predictability, and protected ownership rights. Montenegro has been designated as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences program, which provides duty-free access to the U.S. market in various eligible categories.

Montenegro's Membership in International Organizations

Montenegro and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. Montenegro also is a participant in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) Partnership for Peace program.

MISSION IN TAJIKISTAN

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE,
NMCB 133 Conducts First Mission in Tajikistan
By Lt. Kyle Schlais, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 Public Affairs


BAHRAIN (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 deployed to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in November as part of a Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), the first Seabee mission in Tajikistan.

In support of the Office of Military Cooperation (OMC) and Tajikistan Ministry of Defense (MOD), the Seabee crew began construction alongside the MOD's construction force, the Stroibat, on phase one of a $1 million project at the Peace Support Operation Training Center (PSOTC) at Shamsi Base, funded by GPOI.

To help boost the local economy and establish lasting relationships with contractors and vendors, the building materials were procured in nearby street vendor markets by Utilitiesman 1st Class Justin Walker, the Seabee project supervisor, and Air Force contracting officer, 1st Lt. Sunset Lo. The vendors delivered the materials in a timely manner, enabling the project to move forward on schedule.

Throughout the first phase, which included the construction of a new roof, English language lab classroom, kitchen renovations and electrical distribution repairs, the Seabees mentored 10 Stroibat soldiers, teaching them basic construction skills while building strong relationships through coordination with MOD Stroibat forces and communication with high level Tajikistan military officers.

"Working with Stroibat has been a great experience," said Builder Constructionman Xavier Knowlesball. "It has been educational working through language barrier challenges and I am honored to be a part of the crew."

Construction Electrician Constructionman Hunter Kiser expressed a similar sentiment.

"It has been an awesome experience working with the local construction force," said Kiser. "Their hospitality is amazing and made our visit to Dushanbe easy, allowing us to focus on the tasking."

With the first phase scheduled to conclude in January, planning for the second phase has already begun.

NMCB 133 is currently deployed as a part of engineering support operations throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

SUIT SETTLED AGAINST INDIVIDUAL FOR INTERFERENCE WITH REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE RIGHTS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Monday, January 14, 2013

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Alleging Interference with Persons Exercising

Right to Seek or Provide Reproductive Health Care

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today settled a civil complaint against Richard A. Retta, of Rockville, Md, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, for violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The settlement permanently enjoins Retta from going inside the gated area in front of the entrance to the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington facility (PPMW) in Washington, D.C., and, during certain hours, from going within an additional 18.5 feet by six feet "buffer zone" directly outside the PPMW gate. Retta is further enjoined from violating, or directing or instructing others to violate, the FACE Act.

The complaint filed by the United States alleged that, on Jan. 8, 2011, inside the gated area in front of PPMW, Retta physically obstructed a patient attempting to enter PPMW and interfered with the rights of two volunteer escorts who were assisting the patient. The FACE Act prohibits the physical obstruction of any person providing or obtaining reproductive health services with the intent to intimidate or interfere with that person.


Early in the case, the court rejected the defendant’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit and held that, under FACE, the complaint need only allege that the defendant believed the individuals to be obtaining or providing reproductive health services, not that they were actually seeking or providing such services. This important ruling protects patient privacy, patients’ companions and volunteer escorts.


"While people have a First Amendment right to communicate their views and offer information, they do not have the right to prevent access to health care facilities," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Individuals who seek to obtain or provide reproductive health services should be able to do so without physical interference by those who disagree with them."

This civil action was filed by the Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section Deputy Chief Julie Abbate and Trial Attorneys Aaron Zisser and Michelle Leung.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

This Day in Naval History - Jan. 15

This Day in Naval History - Jan. 15

Wisconsin Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination

Wisconsin Firm Recalls Ground Beef Products Due to Possible E. Coli O157:H7 Contamination

Press Briefing For January 15, 2013 | The White House

Press Briefing | The White House

Press Conference by Secretary Panetta in Madrid, Spain

Press Conference by Secretary Panetta in Madrid, Spain

Press Conference by Secretary Panetta and Minister Aguiar-Branco in Lisbon, Portugal

Press Conference by Secretary Panetta and Minister Aguiar-Branco in Lisbon, Portugal

Veilig vliegen dankzij FlySafe

Veilig vliegen dankzij FlySafe

Press Conference by Secretary Panetta and Minister Aguiar-Branco in Lisbon, Portugal

Press Conference by Secretary Panetta and Minister Aguiar-Branco in Lisbon, Portugal

Remarks at the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue Signing Ceremony

Remarks at the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue Signing Ceremony

Antibiotics: Don't Use Them to Treat Colds or the Flu

Antibiotics: Don't Use Them to Treat Colds or the Flu

Antibiotics: Don't Use Them to Treat Colds or the Flu

Antibiotics: Don't Use Them to Treat Colds or the Flu

BUCKLEY LADIES' EMPOWERMENT SOCIAL AND BOOK CLUB

Senior female leaders host first ladies' social

by Staff Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar
460th Space Wing Public Affairs
1/11/2013 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- More than 90 Team Buckley women gathered Jan. 10 at the Buckley Leadership Development Center for a Ladies' Empowerment Social and Book Club event.

The social and book club, the first of its kind at Buckley, offered a venue for women to gather in a relaxed environment for networking, socializing and building camaraderie. The gathering also provided an opportunity for high-ranking female leaders to discuss the sensitive subject of sexual assault in a women-only environment.

Active-duty, guard and reserve service members, civilians, contractors, and spouses attended the event, offering a wide array of life experiences and stances on various issues to discuss.

The event kicked off with an explanation of the gathering's purpose and introductions offered by Col. Tracey Hayes, 460th Space Wing vice commander; Col. DeAnna Burt, 460th Operations Group commander; Chief Master Sgt. Marilyn Savage, 460th Mission Support Group chief enlisted advisor; Christina Stump, 460th SW community support coordinator; and Peggy Moore-McCoy, 460th SW sexual assault response coordinator. Each played a key role in the coordination of this event.

Focus was placed on national bestseller "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin de Becker, which emphasizes regaining power and control in one's life. The women in attendance, whether they read the book or not, participated in engaging discussion of past experiences, outlooks on life and personal habits relating to losing, gaining or maintaining power and control over their lives.

Coordinators of the social event asked for book suggestions and feedback from participants for future events. Potential events include self-defense courses and a men's gathering. Look to
http://www.buckley.af.mil/Calendar/default.aspx for a listing of upcoming Buckley community events and ceremonies.

THREE MEN CONVICTED FOR PROVIDING SECURITY FOR DRUG TRANSACTIONS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Three Men Convicted in Puerto Rico in Final Operation Guard Shack Prosecution
131 Defendants in This Case Have Pleaded Guilty or Been Convicted After Trial


WASHINGTON – Three men, including two former officers with the Police of Puerto Rico, were convicted today by a federal jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for their roles in providing security for drug transactions, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rosa E. Rodriguez-Velez of the District of Puerto Rico, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph S. Campbell of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office.

Former Police of Puerto Rico Officers Daviel Salinas Acevedo, 29, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and Miguel Santiago Cordero, 30, of Lares, Puerto Rico, were each convicted of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug transaction.

Wendell Rivera Ruperto, 38, of Las Marias, Puerto Rico, was convicted of one count each of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, attempting to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug transaction. Rivera Ruperto had been convicted previously of 15 other counts arising from his participation in other, related drug transactions.

Salinas Acevedo, Santiago Cordero and Rivera Ruperto were charged in a superseding indictment returned in the District of Puerto Rico on Sept. 30, 2010, in addition to 87 other law enforcement officers and 43 other individuals, as part of the FBI undercover operation known as "Operation Guard Shack." To date, 131defendants have pleaded guilty or been convicted, and 119 defendants have been sentenced. Today’s convictions were the last of the Guard Shack defendants to stand trial.

According to the evidence presented in court, Salinas Acevedo, Rivera Ruperto and Santiago Cordero each provided security for what they believed were illegal cocaine deals that occurred on March 24, April 9 and July 8, 2010, respectively. In fact, each purported drug transaction was one of dozens of simulated transactions conducted as part of the undercover FBI operation. The three men performed armed security for the multi-kilogram cocaine deals by frisking the buyer (a confidential informant working for the FBI), standing guard as the kilos were counted, and inspecting and escorting the buyer in and out of the transaction. In return for the security they provided, Salinas Acevedo, Santiago Cordero and Rivera Ruperto each received a cash payment of $2,000.

In return for the security they provided, Salinas Acevedo, Santiago Cordero and Rivera Ruperto each received a cash payment of $2,000. The money was never returned by any of the defendants, and none of the defendants ever reported the transactions.

Sentencing in the case will be scheduled by U.S. District Judge Carmen Consuelo Cerezo for later this year. At sentencing, Salinas Acevedo and Santiago Cordero face mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Rivera Ruperto is presently serving a sentence of 126 years and 10 months in prison for his prior convictions and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison for his convictions today.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Anthony J. Phillips and Edward J. Loya Jr., of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case was investigated by the FBI. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Puerto Rico Department of Justice also provided assistance in this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico also participated in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

DOD SEMINAR ON AFGHANISTAN SECURITY TRASITION RUNS JANUARY 15-23, 2013

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

DOD Seminar Examines Afghanistan Security Transition
By Jason Tudor
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, Jan. 14, 2013 - A seminar at the Defense Department's European regional center here Jan. 15-23 will focus on issues related to the handover of security responsibility from NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan to the Afghan national security forces.

Senior Executive Seminar 13-1 at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies gathers 105 people from 39 countries and focuses on 11 key themes in security cooperation and counternarcotics.

"Central Asia after ISAF Transition: Regional Challenges and Cooperative Responses" -- also looks for specific outcomes for those attending and for the stakeholders, including U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command, who count on the Marshall Center for results, said Marine Corps Col. Philip Lark, the seminar's deputy director.

"The Marshall Center SES brings together the world's leading governmental and ministerial leaders, diplomats, military officers and security sector specialists in a week of open and frank dialogue," Lark said. "What we want in the end is for participants to have recognition that ISAF transition results in sustainment of Afghan institutions and long-term international support."

Lark added that the seminar should help participants see that "proactive, coordinated support from the international community is necessary," and "greater local ownership of the issues, problems and solutions is required."

Subject-matter experts and leaders in government will address the seminar, including Kathleen Hicks, principal deputy under secretary of defense for policy, and Ambassador Robert Blake, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs.

Other speakers include retired Navy Adm. Dennis Blair, the third U.S. director of national intelligence and former commander of U.S. Pacific Command; Mark Destito, Middle East regional director for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency; and James Appathurai, the NATO secretary general's special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia. Navy Adm. James Stavridis, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, is scheduled to address the group via video teleconference.

The seminar consists of plenary meetings with all 105 attendees and smaller seminar breakout sessions to tackle the issues, Lark said. The event is interpreted live into English and Russian, and includes four Russian special guests, including a former head of its military intelligence agency and a former state council representative.

"The role of Central Asia states, the Caucasus states and Russia is particularly important in consolidating the gains of more than a decade of military operations," Lark said. Eleven ambassadors, including those from the Central Asian states, are expected to attend.

The seminar is tailored to meet the specific needs of national ministers, ambassadors, legislators, admirals, general officers and senior government officials. The results of the SES will be reported back to Marshall Center stakeholders for use in decisions about policy and more, officials said.

Monday, January 14, 2013

President Obama Holds a News Conference | The White House

President Obama Holds a News Conference | The White House

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

Reclaiming 40-mm barrels

Reclaiming 40-mm barrels

It's not too late

It's not too late

It's not too late

It's not too late

Military Stand-ins Support Inauguration Rehearsal

Military Stand-ins Support Inauguration Rehearsal

TROOPS AND FAMILIES PLAN FOR DEPLOYMENTS WITH NEW RESOURCE

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

New Resource Helps Troops, Families Plan Deployments
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2013 - The Defense Department has launched a new resource to help troops and their families plan for the "before, during and after" of deploying.

Barbara Thompson, director of DOD's office for family policy, explained "Plan My Deployment" during an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.

"This is a new, interactive, online tool that supports service members and their families as they prepare for the different stages of deployment," she said.

The new resource guides users through the "ins and outs" of deployment, Thompson said: from power of attorney and legal assistance considerations to financial and emotional issues. Other tips and tools address education and training benefits, she added.

"We modeled this after the very, very popular 'Plan My Move,' which helps with [permanent change of station] moves," she said. "It's the same kind of approach: we look at providing the tools and information, and you tailor it to your individual family's needs."

Plan My Deployment saves the user's information, she said, so people can exit from the site and return at their convenience, picking up where they left off.

Though other deployment planning guides and resources already exist, Thompson said, DOD leaders wanted to offer family readiness assistance to the entire active duty, National Guard and Reserve force and their families.

While the pace of deployment across the services has dropped since U.S. forces left Iraq and will continue to decline as the combat mission in Afghanistan draws to an end, Thompson said, service members always will face the possibility of deploying for duty.

"Let's face it: military members deploy all the time. ... We've learned a lot of lessons during this long-term conflict, and we want to make sure that our service members and their families are prepared for what's in the future," she said.

Plan My Deployment is available at DOD's Military OneSource website, which also offers a range of other services for military families, she said. Thompson pointed out the site is "outside the gates" in the public domain, so it is available to extended family members who don't have access to military facilities.

AIR FORCE LEADERS COMPLAIN OF BUDGET PROCESSS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Air Force Leaders Call for End to 'Budget Gymnastics'

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2013 - The government's "ongoing budget gymnastics" are having an effect on service members, Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said here today.

Donley and Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force chief of staff, said the looming "fiscal cliff" as well as conducting government business under repeated continuing budget resolutions create an atmosphere of unease among Air Force military and civilian personnel.

"Failure to enact a settled budget leads to repeated budget iterations, which, along with the overhanging threat of large and largely arbitrary cuts, creates wasteful churn," Donley said during a Pentagon news conference.

This churn could lead to many airmen voting with their feet and leaving the service, he said. "They see and understand what's going on in Washington," he added. "They're very well-connected. They're the most educated force we have ever had. And they stay connected to what's going on in our Air Force and what's going on in our military [and] what's happening in Washington. ... They are watching this and ... making their own judgments about the process."

The secretary said it is extremely inefficient and disruptive to operate a "$100-plus billion enterprise, which is the United States Air Force, on a budget a month or two at a time."

Welsh said that although re-enlistment remains solid for the service, the burden of deploying time and again since 1990 and working to keep "antique" aircraft such as the B-52 flying is wearing on airmen.

"They're not begging to get out the door," the general said. "Our retention rates are great. They're still proud of who they are and what they do. They express it every single day. But they want to know what's coming."

He said he has been working to keep airmen informed. "They're phenomenally engaged, and so we're trying very hard to keep them informed and improve the communication with them."

"Communication for us right now is absolutely essential internally if we're going to be successful down the road'" the general added. "And so we're working this pretty hard."


NASA Rules Out Earth Impact in 2036 for Asteroid Apophis - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA Rules Out Earth Impact in 2036 for Asteroid Apophis - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - NASA Selects High-Performing Interns As Student Ambassadors

NASA - NASA Selects High-Performing Interns As Student Ambassadors

BRIBING OFFICIALS LEADS TO GUILTY PLEA FOR TWO GEROGIA MEN

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Thursday, January 10, 2013 Georgia Men Plead Guilty to Bribing Official to Secure Government Contracts
Defendants Admit to Overcharging Defense Department More Than $900,000

WASHINGTON – Two men employed by a machine products vendor in Albany, Ga., have pleaded guilty to bribing a public official working for a military organization at the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (MCLB-Albany) to secure contracts for machine products, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore for the Middle District of Georgia.

Thomas J. Cole Jr., 43, and Fredrick W. Simon, 55, both of Albany, each pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands in the Middle District of Georgia to one count of bribery of a public official.

During their guilty pleas, Cole, the general manager of an Albany-based machine products vendor, and Simon, an employee responsible for processing sales orders, admitted to participating in a scheme to secure sales order contracts from the Maintenance Center Albany (MCA) at MCLB-Albany by subverting a competitive bid process. The MCA is responsible for rebuilding and repairing ground combat and combat support equipment, much of which has been utilized in military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other parts of the world. To accomplish the scheme, Cole and Simon bribed a MCA purchase tech responsible for placing machine product orders. Cole and Simon admitted to participating in the scheme at the purchase tech’s suggestion, after Simon had spoken with the purchase tech about how his company could obtain business from the MCA. Cole and Simon admitted that, at the purchase tech’s request, they paid the purchase tech a bribe of at least $75 for each of the more than 1,000 sales orders MCA placed with their company. According to court documents, the purchase tech would transmit sales bids to Simon and then communicate privately to him exactly how much money the company should bid for each particular order. Cole and Simon admitted that these orders were extremely profitable, often times exceeding the fair market value of the machine products, sometimes by as much as 1,000 percent.

Cole and Simon further admitted that, at the purchase tech’s urging, in 2011 they began routing some orders through a second company, owned by Cole, because the volume of orders MCA placed with the first company was so high. They also admitted that the purchase tech increased the bribe required for orders as the scheme progressed. Cole and Simon admitted to paying the purchase tech approximately $161,000 in bribes during the nearly two-year scheme. Cole admitted to personally receiving approximately $209,000 in proceeds from the scheme; Simon admitted to personally receiving approximately $74,500. Both admitted that the total loss to the Department of Defense from overcharges associated with the machine product orders placed during the scheme was approximately $907,000.

At sentencing, Cole and Simon each face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of not more than twice the pecuniary loss to the government. As part of their plea agreements with the United States, Cole and Simon both agreed to forfeit the proceeds they received from the scheme, as well as to pay full restitution to the Department of Defense. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Richard B. Evans and J.P. Cooney of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney K. Alan Dasher of the Middle District of Georgia. The case is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, with assistance from the Dougherty County District Attorney’s Office Economic Crime Unit and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

U.S. EXPORT-IMPORT BANK FINANCES $15.7 MILLION LOAND TO EXPORT FIRE TRUCKS TO NIGERIA

FROM: U.S. EXPORT-IMPORT BANK
Ex-Im Approves $15.7 Million Direct Loan to Finance Export
of American-made Fire Trucks to Nigeria


Washington, D.C. – The board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has authorized a $15.7 million direct loan to the state government of Lagos, Nigeria, to underwrite the purchase of 32 American fire-fighting vehicles manufactured by W.S. Darley & Co. (Darley) of Itasca, Ill.

The loan, which is in line with the Administration’s "Doing Business in Africa Campaign," will support approximately 100 U.S. jobs, according to bank estimates derived from Departments of Commerce and Labor data and methodology. Moreover, 65 percent of the financing is expected to support American small businesses.


"This transaction reflects our continued commitment to increasing exports to sub-Saharan Africa while supporting American small-business jobs," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "Additionally, the financing, which targets one of our nine key markets, ensures the government of Lagos can respond efficiently and effectively to emergency situations."

The State of Lagos, which is home to Nigeria’s commercial center and largest city of the same name, plans to upgrade its fleet of fire-fighting vehicles. The governor of Lagos has declared that the expansion and re-equipping of the fire service is an urgent matter of state security.

Darley is a family-owned small business founded in 1908. The company, which has exported its products to foreign markets since the 1940s, designs and manufactures firefighting trucks, equipment, pumping, and safety gear.

"Darley Company is excited to have the opportunity to work with the Lagos Nigeria Fire Service on this important contract," said Peter Darley, vice president of Darley. "This project was only possible because our customer was able to secure financing with the assistance of Ex-Im. As a small business, this type of support meant we were able to compete with other companies outside of the US for this business. Darley, as well as some of our key partner suppliers, will need to hire new employees so we can fulfill this order."

Darley’s Africa Representative, Trinity International Inc. of Potomac, Md., arranged the transaction.

In FY 2012, Ex-Im Bank authorized more than $1.5 billion to support U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa.

ABOUT EX-IM BANK:


Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that creates and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years (from Fiscal Year 2008), Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers nearly $1.6 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.

Ex-Im Bank approved $35.8 billion in total authorizations in FY 2012 – an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6.1 billion directly supporting small-business export sales – also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank's total authorizations are supporting an estimated $50 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 255,000 American jobs in communities across the country.

MAN PLEADS GUILTY FOR ROLE IN HUMAN SMUGGLING

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Friday, January 4, 2013

Foreign National Pleads Guilty in Houston to Human Smuggling Charges

WASHINGTON – A foreign national pleaded guilty today to federal human smuggling charges for his role in a scheme to smuggle undocumented migrants from India into the United States, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson for the Southern District of Texas; and Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Moskowitz of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Houston

Fabiano Augusto Amorim, 28, a Brazilian national, pleaded guilty today at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. in Houston, to one count of conspiracy to bring undocumented migrants into the United States for profit and to one count of unlawfully bringing two undocumented migrants into the United States for profit.

On June 6, 2012, Amorim was charged by indictment, along with four other individuals, with one count of conspiracy to smuggle undocumented migrants into the United States and six human smuggling counts related to five incidents in which Amorim helped smuggle undocumented migrants into the United States. Based on Amorim’s guilty plea, the government will dismiss the remaining human smuggling counts against him at sentencing.

At the plea hearing and in related court documents, Amorim admitted that between January 2011 and April 2012, he conspired with his co-defendants to bring undocumented migrants to the United States, and to encourage and induce undocumented migrants to come to the United States unlawfully. According to court documents, Amorim and his co-conspirators devised the scheme to profit financially.

In support of the conspiracy, Amorim and other conspirators recruited individuals in India who were willing to pay up to $60,000 to be smuggled into the United States. For their smuggling operations, Amorim and his co-conspirators used a network of alleged conspirators in South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the United States, including the state of Texas. Using this network, Amorim and his co-conspirators transported groups of undocumented migrants from locations within India through South America, Central America and the Caribbean and then into the United States by various means, including by air travel, automobiles, water craft and foot. Many of these smuggling events, including five of the incidents described in the indictment, involved illegal entry into the United States via the border between the United States and Mexico near McAllen and Laredo, Texas.

At sentencing, which is scheduled for April 5, 2013, Amorim faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Amorim currently is serving a 36-month sentence in federal prison for participating in a separate conspiracy to smuggle undocumented migrants from Brazil and Peru into the United States via a maritime route from the Bahamas into southern Florida.

Amorim’s co-conspirator Maria Adela De Luna pleaded guilty on Nov. 9, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to harbor undocumented migrants in the United States. Co-conspirator Kaushik Jayantibhai Thakkar pleaded guilty on Dec. 3, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to bring undocumented migrants into the United States for profit and to one count of unlawfully bringing two undocumented migrants into the United States for profit.

The investigation was conducted by agents with ICE-HSI in McAllen and Houston, with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Alien Smuggling Interdiction Unit. This case is being prosecuted jointly by Trial Attorney Stephen Curran of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leo J. Leo III and Casey MacDonald of the Southern District of Texas.

The investigation was conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force (ECT) program, a joint partnership between the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and HSI. The ECT program focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

NO BREAKFAST INTERNET MYTH DEBUNKED BY DOD

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMEN T OF DEFENSE

DOD Takes on 'No Breakfast' Internet Myth
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2013 - If it's on the Internet, it has to be true, right?

Well, no.

There is no truth to the Internet myth that Washington budget cuts have taken away breakfast for service members in Afghanistan, Defense Department officials said.

Americans serving in Afghanistan can have up to four meals a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and a midnight meal, if one is needed.

The Internet myth's genesis came from a few forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province that are closing or being turned over to Afghan security forces. Instead of a hot, prepared breakfast, service members at those bases receive packaged meals known as "meals, ready-to-eat," or MREs. This streamlines the logistics for these closing bases, officials explained.

SnopesMRE for breakfast" policy. The original email also said the reason for the policy was because of DOD budget cuts. This is not true, defense officials said.

The vast majority of service members in Afghanistan are receiving a hot breakfast, officials emphasized

DCoE News: Posttraumatic Headache Management: Focus of DVBIC ‘Hot TBI Topics’ Series

DCoE News: Posttraumatic Headache Management: Focus of DVBIC ‘Hot TBI Topics’ Series

U.S. DRAWDOWN OF FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN CONTINUES

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Afghan Forces Accelerate Taking Security Lead in Country
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2013 - Afghan forces will take the lead for security throughout Afghanistan this spring rather than at mid-year, President Barack Obama announced at a White House news conference today.

Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke following White House meetings.

The Afghan president emphasized that the number of American forces that will remain in Afghanistan after the NATO mission concludes at the end of 2014 is not crucial.

"Numbers are not going to make a difference to the situation in Afghanistan," Karzai said. "It's the broader relationship that will make a difference to Afghanistan and beyond in the region. The specifics of numbers are issues that the military will decide and Afghanistan will have no particular concern when we are talking of numbers and how they are deployed."

Afghan forces will be in the lead sooner than planned, Obama said. U.S. and NATO forces have been training Afghan police and soldiers, who have progressed to the point where they are able to take the lead, Obama said. "We are able to meet those goals and accelerate them somewhat," he said. "What's going to happen this spring is that Afghans will be in the lead throughout the country."

U.S. forces will still be in the fight, the president said. "It does mean, though, that Afghans will have taken the lead and our presence, the nature of our work, will be different," he said. "We will be in a training, assisting, advising role."

This will lead to a responsible end to the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the president said. "This progress is only possible because of the incredible sacrifices of our troops and our diplomats, the forces of our many coalition partners, and the Afghan people, who've endured extraordinary hardship," he added.

Obama noted that more than 2,000 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001, and tens of thousands have been wounded. "These are patriots that we honor today, tomorrow, and forever," he said.

The president promised that the number of U.S. service members in Afghanistan will continue to drop over the next year. Some 66,000 Americans are deployed to the nation now. "I've pledged we'll continue to bring our forces home at a steady pace," he said. "And in the coming months, I'll announce the next phase of our drawdown, a responsible drawdown that protects the gains our troops have made."

Karzai and Obama discussed the still to be worked out bilateral security agreement between the two nations. Part of this is a status of forces agreement, which will protect American service members. Both said they think an agreement is possible this year.

U.S. PATRIOT MISSILES DEPLOYED TO TURKEY

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

U.S., NATO Patriots Deploy to Augment Turkish Air Defenses
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2013 - With advance elements of two U.S. Patriot missile batteries already on the ground in Turkey, additional defenders are prepared to deploy tomorrow in support of NATO's missile defense mission there.

Airmen from the 721st Aerial Port Squadron loaded equipment for U.S. Army Europe's 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command and 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, and the 32nd AAMDC from Fort Bliss, Texas, aboard a C-5 aircraft today at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, officials at U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Air Forces in Europe confirmed.

The 10th AAMDC will provide command and control for two Patriot missile batteries from the 32nd AAMDC.

Meanwhile, roughly 400 U.S. personnel and equipment from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery, based at Fort Sill, Okla., began flowing into Turkey late last week to man the equipment, U.S. European Command officials said. Additional equipment will arrive by sea later this month.

In Turkey, the U.S. forces will be joined by missile defenders from Germany and the Netherlands, the only other NATO nations with PAC-3 Patriot anti-missile systems, which are each contributing two batteries to the mission.

NATO foreign ministers agreed in late November to provide Turkey the air defense support it had requested. The request came after shells from Syria's political unrest -– which a new United Nations report estimated this week has claimed 60,000 lives -- spilled into Turkey.

"NATO has decided to augment Turkey's air defense capabilities in order to defend the population and territory of Turkey and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the alliance's border," the ministers said in a statement released following the meeting.

"Turkey is an important NATO ally, and we welcome the opportunity to support the Turkish government's request in accordance with the NATO standing defense plan," said Navy Vice Adm. Charles Martoglio, Eucom's deputy commander.

Martoglio said the Patriot batteries will fall under NATO command once the systems become operational within the next several weeks.

He emphasized that the deployment will be defensive only, and won't support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.

Army Lt. Col. Robert Ozanich, intelligence and security officer for the Kaiserslautern-based 10th AAMDC, said the command-and-control element his command is deploying will interact with the Turkish government and NATO forces to ensure they are providing the protections Turkey has requested.

With experience throughout the European theater under their belts -- including recent deployments to Poland and to Israel during the Austere Challenge 2012 exercise -- the deploying soldiers have the experience and hands-on time with their equipment to carry out the mission, Ozanich said. "One of the biggest pieces is making sure that our soldiers are ready," he said.

Equally important, he said, they have had the opportunity to work side by side with partner militaries and to develop an awareness of cultural customs, courtesies and sensitivities.

"The people going forward look forward to doing the mission they have trained for," Ozanich said. "Our expectations are that we will be able to successfully complete this mission and provide the necessary protections to Turkey."

"It's good to be in Turkey," said Army Maj. Brian Carlin, who deployed to Turkey with the advance elements. "We believe the measure of deterrence that we can add makes our soldiers' time away from friends and families back home worthwhile. Protecting our allies is what this alliance is all about."

At this point, it's unclear how long the deployment will last. That, officials said, will be determined by the contributing nations in coordination with Turkey and NATO.

(Jesse Granger and Army Staff Sgt. Joel Salgado from U.S. Army Europe contributed to this article.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weekly Address: Ending the War in Afghanistan and Rebuilding America | The White House

Weekly Address: Ending the War in Afghanistan and Rebuilding America | The White House

U.S. ACTIVE SERVICES REPORT MEETING OR EXCEEDING RECRUITING TARGETS

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Recruiting Remains Strong Through November
American Forces Press Service


WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2013 - All four active services met or exceeded their target recruiting numbers for the first two months of fiscal 2013, Pentagon officials reported today.

Here are the specific numbers by service so far for the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1:

-- Army: 11,685 accessions, 101 percent of its goal of 11,550;

-- Navy: 5,299 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 5,299;

-- Marine Corps: 4,293 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 4,307; and

-- Air Force: 4,452 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 4,452.

The Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps exhibited strong retention numbers for the second month of fiscal 2013, officials said, adding that the Navy exhibited strong retention numbers in the mid-career and career categories. Its 88 percent retention rate in the first-term category is the result of the Navy's transition from a downsizing posture to a stabilizing posture, officials explained.

Meanwhile, five of the six reserve components met or exceeded their fiscal 2013 recruiting goals for the first two months of the fiscal year. Here are the numbers:

-- Army National Guard: 8,453 accessions, 118 percent of its goal of 7,146;

-- Army Reserve: 4,013 accessions, 86 percent of its goal of 4,667;

-- Navy Reserve: 877 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 877;

-- Marine Corps Reserve: 1,768 accessions, 113 percent of its goal of 1,569;

-- Air National Guard: 1,414 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 1,414; and

-- Air Force Reserve: 1,279 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 1,279; 100 percent.

All reserve components met their initial fiscal-year-to-date attrition goals. Officials said that although they expect this trend will continue, attrition numbers for November are not yet available.

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

FUGITIVE MEMBER OF "STICK UP KIDZ" CRIME GANG CAUGHT

FROM: U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE

U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force Arrests "Stick Up Kid"

January 07, 2013 - The U.S. Marshals Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force assisted by officers from the Erie Bureau of Police arrested James Gates III. Gates was taken into custody in Erie, PA. Gates is believed to be a member of the "Stick Up Kidz" in Erie. Several members are alleged to have committed home invasion robberies and burglaries in the Erie County area. Gates is wanted on charges of Robbery, Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, Corrupt Organizations, Criminal Conspiracy to a Corrupt Organization, Burglary, Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, Theft by Unlawful Taking and Conspiracy to Commit Theft by Deception.

Friday, January 11, 2013

DVIDS - Video - Joint Press Brief

DVIDS - Video - Joint Press Brief

Check Your Credit Report Regularly -- It's Free!

Check Your Credit Report Regularly -- It's Free!


DoD Briefing - 7 January 2013

DoD Briefing - 7 January 2013

DVIDS - Video - DoD Briefing

DVIDS - Video - DoD Briefing

OUT OF THE OFFICE OFFICER

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Face of Defense: Officer Goes From Desk to Dirt

By Army Staff Sgt. Dave Overson
11th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

KABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Jan. 10, 2013 - Army Capt. Sarah Robinson wasn't happy working behind a desk.

While serving as an Air Force communications officer, she said, she knew she wanted something much more challenging in her life. When the opportunity presented itself, she joined the Army as a military police officer.

Robinson is assigned to Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 as the officer in charge of assessments and training for field detention sites in regional commands East, South, Southwest and in Kabul province in Afghanistan.

"I joined the Army because I have a superhero complex," Robinson said. "When I was a kid, I wanted to be a superhero like most kids, but that is obviously out of the realm of reality, so I decided to join something larger than myself where I could contribute to humanity."

Robinson, a native of Columbia, Mo., said she was raised by her father in the "woods of Missouri," and needed to be outside more than she was as a communications officer. The Army offered her that opportunity and the opportunity to fire weapons more often, she said.

Her quest to become an Army officer and MP also resulted in meeting her husband, Marine Corps Capt. Andrew Segal, who was a classmate in Robinson's captain's career course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

During the past year, she said, she has seen more of her husband than she did at her home station in Sembach, Germany. He is stationed at Camp Leatherneck in southern Afghanistan.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Robinson -- no relation to the captain – is Robinson's noncommissioned officer in charge and a 27-year Army veteran. He has high praise for her.

"She's phenomenal," he said. "She'll make a great senior officer in the military police corps."

Robinson said she believes her training and oversight have kept soldiers out of trouble and ensured the humane treatment of prisoners at various detention sites. As she prepares to return home, she gives her NCOs most of the credit.

"They did all the hard work, but this has been the most rewarding experience in the military to date," she said. "We helped strategically keep the United States on high ground, and I'm really proud of that."

'NEED MORE STABILITY IN BUDGET SIZE, PROCESS' DOD COMPTROLER SAYS

DOD COMPTROLER

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DOD COMPTROLLER BUDGET OPINION, NATIONAL SECURITY, STABILITY IN BUDGET PROCESS

DOD Comptroller: Budget Stability Key to National Security
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2013 - Stability in the size of the Defense Department's budget -- and especially in the process of funding it -- is critical to maintaining national security, DOD Comptroller Robert F. Hale said here yesterday.

During a keynote address at the Brookings Institution here, Hale discussed three steps that must be taken to accommodate lean budget times.

Two of the steps already are in place, he said: determining a defense strategy to guide spending and instituting initiatives that stretch defense dollars.

"And third, we need -- I would say desperately need -- more stability, both in terms of budget size and, maybe particularly, budget process," Hale added.

In more than three decades of working in and around the defense budget, he said, he has never seen a period featuring greater budgetary uncertainty than the next few months present.

Meanwhile, Hale said, he hopes to submit the fifth defense budget he's overseen as comptroller.

"The first two [budgets] featured increases in the top line," he said. "The third one, in February 2011, featured substantial top-line reduction, and the last one featured a significant reduction: about $260 billion over a five-year period relative to our planned $487 billion [reduction] over 10 years. And we may not be done."

The 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act, which Congress passed Jan. 1, may force further reductions, Hale said. Although the law avoided activating a "sequestration" mechanism in a budget law passed last year, the threat of that mechanism's automatic across-the-board cuts now looms beginning March 1, he added.

"We're still working on the details, but the total sequestration for DOD appears to be roughly $45 billion if it all goes into effect -- about 9 percent of our budget," Hale explained.

"That is less than the sequestration [amount of about $62 billion] we faced before passage of the New Year's Day act. That could have been as much as 12 percent. But we also have two fewer months in which to accommodate those changes," he said.

At a time when U.S. national security challenges have never been more complex, Hale said, the lack of budgetary stability and the reliance on continuing resolutions, which fund only a portion of the fiscal year budget at a time, makes it very hard to plan and extremely hard to plan well.

"We also cannot rule out an extension of the continuing resolution throughout the rest of this year, and that would sharply reduce the operation and maintenance funds that we have available and that we need to maintain readiness," one of the department's highest priorities, the comptroller said.

And while U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, protecting funds for wartime operations means even larger cuts in base budget dollars available for readiness, he noted.

"I think the nation's security would be better served if Congress adopted and then stayed with a more stable budget plan," Hale said.

The department hasn't enjoyed much budget-process stability during his tenure as comptroller, Hale added.

"I have personally coordinated four shutdown drills," he said. "During two of them, I was sitting in my office at 8 at night, not knowing whether at midnight we would shut down the department or not. Fortunately, we didn't in either case."

Continuing resolutions -- the nation is operating under one right now, he pointed out -- "really hogtie the department and its ability to manage," Hale added.

A questioner asked Hale how industry can help the department navigate in a leaner budget environment. "We need you to sharpen your pencils as much as we are trying to do with regard to your overhead and anything else that would help us hold down costs," he replied.

The department's Better Buying Power initiative, established in 2010, was directed at improving efficiency and productivity for the $400 billion DOD spends annually on goods and services. Part of the initiative seeks to work "more closely with industry to see what you can do there. In return, we owe you some stability, and ... we're not there yet," Hale said.

"My hope is that in the next two months, all of us in the leadership of the nation and the Congress can work together to provide that stability," he added. "Our national security demands no less."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

President Obama Nominates Jack Lew for Secretary of the Treasury | The White House

President Obama Nominates Jack Lew for Secretary of the Treasury | The White House

MQ-1B PREDATOR ACCIDENT REPORT RELEASED

MQ-1B PREDATOR ACCIDENT REPORT RELEASED

NOAA's National Weather Service SPC Tornado/Severe Thunderstorm Watches Update

NOAA's National Weather Service SPC Tornado/Severe Thunderstorm Watches Update

Remarks by Secretary Panetta and President Karzai at Full Honors Arrival Ceremony at the Pentagon

Remarks by Secretary Panetta and President Karzai at Full Honors Arrival Ceremony at the Pentagon

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

Sfere robot in azione in microgravità

Sfere robot in azione in microgravità

USA.GOV: CREDIT COUNSELING AGENCY SELECTION

FROM:  USA.GOV

How to Choose a Credit Counseling Agency

It’s easy to get into debt. It’s much harder to get out of it.


Fortunately, there are credit counseling agencies that can help you get your finances in order. They can help you figure out a budget and stick to it while managing your debt and avoiding future financial pitfalls.

However, not all credit counseling agencies are the same. Some offer free or low-cost services while others charge high fees or might not be trustworthy. The following tips will help you choose the right credit counseling agency.

Look for Agencies with a Good Reputation

Most reputable credit counseling agencies are nonprofits that offer free or low-cost services. However, the fact that an agency is a nonprofit does not guarantee that it is affordable or that it has a good reputation. Here are some tips for selecting a credit agency you can trust:
Ask family members and friends if they can recommend an agency. It’s best to pick one that has been around for several years and has a well-established reputation.
Use credit agencies or credit counseling services referred by credit unions, banks, universities or military bases.
Choose a credit agency that’s been
approved by the Federal Government.
You can also check out state and local consumer agencies to find out if a credit agency has complaints.

Compare Services and Costs

Once you have a list of agencies you can trust, the next step is to take a closer look at the services and costs they offer so that you can choose the one that best serves your needs. Be careful with credit agencies that charge high fees for services that you can get for free somewhere else.

Some of the most common services offered by credit agencies include:
Professional, person-to-person assistance with managing your money and debt.
Help putting together a family budget and sticking to it.
Free workshops and educational material.

Ask Lots of Questions

Before finally choosing a credit agency, it’s worth writing down a list of questions you might have so that you can avoid surprises such as hidden fees or limited services. Here are some questions to help you pick the right credit agency.
Are there different fees for different services? Some agencies might charge for initial consultations or a monthly fee. Be careful with agencies that pay their employees more depending on the services you sign up for.
Will you be signing a contract before getting counseling? If so, be sure to read the contract before signing it.
Does the agency have the right certifications to provide credit counseling? It’s best to use agencies that have been certified by independent organizations.
What is the privacy policy of the agency? It’s important that your personal and financial information is protected.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

Leveraging Culture and Diplomacy in the Age of Information

Leveraging Culture and Diplomacy in the Age of Information

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

A little smoking, a sudden death

A little smoking, a sudden death

FINAL JUDGMENT ENTERED AGAINST DEFENDANT IN SEC ACTION INVOLVING RHODE ISLAND-BASED OFFERING FRAUD

FROM: U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today the resolution of an enforcement action filed by the Commission on October 19, 2010 in federal district court in Rhode Island against defendants David G. Stern and Online-Registries, Inc. (d/b/a Online Medical Registries) ("OMR") and relief defendant Michele Ritter. The court entered final judgment by consent against Stern on December 5, 2012 and entered a stipulation of dismissal of the claims against the relief defendant on December 27, 2012. The court previously had entered a final judgment by default against OMR on September 25, 2012.

The Commission's complaint alleged that Stern and OMR made false and misleading statements to investors in OMR, a web-based company founded and controlled by Stern, in connection with investors' purchase of stock in OMR. The misrepresentations generally related to OMR's business ventures, the status of its technology, its number of customers, and Stern's personal background, consisting of disbarment from the practice of law and a prior criminal conviction in federal district court in Massachusetts relating to financial wrongdoing. Based upon these and other allegations, including the misuse of investor funds, the Commission obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze on October 20, 2010, and a stipulated preliminary injunction on February 28, 2011 against Stern and OMR. On April 3, 2012, the court held Stern in contempt for violations of the preliminary injunction.

Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's complaint, Stern agreed to the entry of a final judgment that: (i) permanently enjoins him from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the "Securities Act") and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") and Rule 10b-5 thereunder; (ii) holds him liable for disgorgement of $197,875, representing amounts received as a result of the conduct alleged in the Commission's complaint, together with prejudgment interest thereon in the amount of $27,800.71, for a total of $225,675.71; and (iii) waives the payment of disgorgement and prejudgment interest and does not impose a civil penalty based upon the representations in Stern's sworn statement of financial condition. The final judgment by default entered against OMR (i) enjoins OMR from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and (ii) orders OMR to pay disgorgement of $197,875 and prejudgment interest in the amount of $24,997.22. The Commission had initially charged that relief defendant Michele Ritter received some investor funds from Stern and sought the return of those funds. The Commission has now agreed to dismiss its charges against relief defendant Michele Ritter.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

U.S. DOD Contracts for January 08, 2013

Contracts for January 08, 2013

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. SOLDIERS RESCUE FAMILY IN GERMANY

FROM: U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Face of Defense: Germany-based Soldiers Rescue Family

By Ignacio Rubalcava
U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder

BAUMHOLDER, Germany, Jan. 3, 2013 - An early morning drive here turned into a nightmare for Heather Majorwitz and her two children, Kaitie and Bret.

They were on their way to school recently when their car hit a patch of ice and started to skid across the road toward an oncoming bus. Majorwitz, a librarian at a local elementary school, swerved to avoid the bus and slid off the road, rolling her car.

"One minute we were on the road and the next we were hanging from our seatbelts," Majorwitz recalled during a recent recognition ceremony held at U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder here.

The car's wheels were still turning when a group of soldiers from the 421st Multifunctional Medical Battalion came upon the scene. Without hesitation, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Vladimir Sequera and three other soldiers stopped their Humvee and dashed out to help. The children were already making their way out of the car's shattered back window when the soldiers approached.

Sequera and the other soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Winston Smith, Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Lehman and Sgt. Cheryl Henneberry quickly brought the children to safety and wrapped them with their jackets to stay warm. By then, Majorwitz was trying to get out of the car and Sequera and the other soldiers turned their attention to helping her.

"When we saw the vehicle we immediately pulled to the side. We all had the same thought. There's somebody in the vehicle," Sequera said. "We didn't know if they were American or German. We just wanted to help."

"I just remember the car rolling and lots of glass. I felt blessed to walk away from the wreck but I also felt really blessed that we had soldiers there that would go above and beyond and help us. You guys are my heroes," Majorwitz said.

"I'm glad that we were there to help out. I don't think it's a hero thing. I think it's a human behavior that we help each other out. It is part of what we do in the military," Sequera said.

Madeleine Dwoiakowski, public affairs officer for the Baumholder garrison, drives the same route on her way to work.

"I saw soldiers and hoped that none of our guys were injured, not knowing that the soldiers were actually assisting on the scene," Dwoiakowski said. "I then saw the car and it looked like it had gone through a press. They were extremely fortunate to walk away with no injuries and they were also equally fortunate that the soldiers were there almost immediately to help."

For Majorwitz, it was the scariest moment she's experienced as a mother.

"I wasn't sure if the children were OK. Everybody said they were OK but even at the hospital I wasn't sure," she said. "My little boy gets anxious about things and I was worried that he'd have this anxiety and wouldn't want to ride in a car again." Majorwitz explained that they had a flat tire once and for the next year her son checked the tires before getting in the car.

But her son "was fine, he was a trooper," Majorwitz said. Turning to Sequera, she added, "I think he was fine because you guys were there immediately. There wasn't that second to even worry about it because we were taken care of right away."

Later, Majorwitz, called her 15-year-old daughter in the states and told her why she enjoys working with soldiers and their families.

"This is why I do what I do to serve these guys, because they're there and they step in -- no matter what," Majorwitz said. "It's automatic, because that's who they are. This makes me even more proud to be able to teach the kids of our soldiers because I know that they're out there taking care of everybody else."

Majorwitz expressed her gratitude to the soldiers who rescued her and her children.

"I think that's why you are soldiers," Majorwitz said, as she fought back tears. "We could have died but we didn't. We were very fortunate all around so I just want to thank you."

Majorwitz then embraced Sequera and repeated her appreciation for their help.

"You guys are my heroes," she said