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Saturday, October 27, 2012

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION NEWS VIDEO FROM NASA


RECENT U.S. NAVY PHOTO


FROM: U.S. NAVY

An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Dragon Whales of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 transfers ammunition from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) to the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE 2) during the carrier's last ammunition offload before returning to homeport. Enterprise is completing its final scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. America's Sailors are Warfighters, a fast and flexible force deployed worldwide. Join the conversation on social media using #warfighting. U.S. Navy photo by Information Systems Technician 1st Class Stephen Wolff (Released) 121025-N-ZZ999-084

MAN INDICTED FOR STOLEN IDENTITY REFUND FRAUD

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alabama Man Indicted for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

A federal grand jury in Montgomery, Ala., returned an indictment charging Kenneth Jerome Blackmon Jr., with aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, access device fraud and misuse of a Social Security number, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.

According to the indictment, from January 2011 through November 2011, Blackmon participated in a scheme to file false tax returns using stolen identities. As alleged, he possessed lists of names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth as well as prepaid debit cards, all for the purpose of obtaining fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Blackmon faces a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison for each of the two wire fraud counts, 10 years for the access device fraud count, 5 years for the misuse of a Social Security number count, and a mandatory 2-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft counts. He is also subject to fines and mandatory restitution if convicted.

This case was investigated by special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation. Trial Attorneys Justin Gelfand and Jason Poole of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.

U.S. Navy Navy Live Update

U.S. Navy Navy Live Update

HURRICANE SANDY AS SEEN FROM SPACE

FROM: NASA

 

CONDITIONS ON KOREAN PENINSULA


FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

The "Bridge of No Return" in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea was used for prisoner exchanges at the close of the Korean War.

U.S. Korea Commander Details Conditions on Peninsula

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2012 - Nowhere in the world is the disparity between freedom and oppression more apparent than on the Korean peninsula, the commander of U.S. and United Nations forces in Korea said here yesterday.

Army Gen. James D. Thurman told the audience at an Association of the U.S. Army luncheon that American forces in South Korea have helped to guarantee the security needed to produce one of the world's richest countries.

The prosperity of South Korea is contrasted by North Korea -- "one of the world's poorest, most closed, most oppressive, and most militarized countries," Thurman said.

About 28,500 U.S. service members are based in South Korea now, and U.S. personnel have helped to guarantee security in the south since the end of the Korean War in 1953. That war, which began when North Korea launched an attack into the south in June 1950, devastated the peninsula and killed millions, including 33,686 Americans.

Since the war, North Korea has remained a communist state in the grips of hard liners who have sunk billions into their military while their people literally starved to death.

By contrast, South Korea began an incredible renaissance. "The Republic of Korea is now a modern, free, and prosperous society," Thurman said. "Its over 50 million people live in a free and open democracy."

More than 80 percent of South Korea's residents are wired into the net, and it is the 13th largest economy in the world. "The average per capita income is over $31,000," the general said. "[South Korea] is our seventh-largest trading partner, and is home to companies that are familiar to all -- Hyundai, Kia, Samsung and LG, to name a few."

The South Korean military has risen as well, and Thurman said it is well led, well trained and well equipped. With more than 600,000 personnel under arms, the South Korean military continues to modernize to retain a qualitative edge over North Korean capabilities. South Korea is investing in interoperable command and control systems, ballistic missile defense capabilities such as Patriot and Aegis, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

"They are a very capable force. The [South Korean] Joint Chiefs of Staff are on track to assume responsibility for the wartime defense of Korea in December 2015," Thurman said.

The South Korean military faces a formidable and unpredictable foe in the North. North Korea maintains the fourth-largest military in the world, and possesses significant conventional and asymmetric capabilities, Thurman said.

With more than 1 million personnel, the North Korean army has more than 13,000 artillery systems, more than 4,000 tanks and more than 2,000 armored personnel carriers. North Korea's air force has more than 1,700 aircraft, and its navy has more than 800 surface combatants. "And more than 70 percent of this combat power is positioned within 90 miles of the Demilitarized Zone," Thurman said.

North Korea continues to improve its long-range artillery forces, which could hit the South Korean capital of Seoul. "An attack by these forces on any scale could cause significant damage to the greater Seoul metropolitan area," the general said.

Yet, he added, North Korea's significant asymmetric capabilities worry him more.

"North Korea possesses the world's largest special operations force of over 60,000," Thurman said. "They possess a significant amount of weapons of mass destruction. They are investing heavily in developing a deliverable nuclear weapon. North Korea continues to invest in ballistic missile improvements to include developing missiles which can threaten the region. Finally, the North Koreans possess a significant cyberwarfare capability, which they continue to improve."

And this is controlled by a ruler who answers to no one. Kim Jong Un, 29, is the third member of the communist dynasty to rule North Korea. "Initially, it appeared that he would follow the policies of his late father," the general said. "However, as he is consolidating his power, he is making changes in North Korea. He replaced some of his inner circle -- notably the top military leader."

There is speculation in the West about what these changes foretell, but the bottom line is no one really knows, Thurman said.

"He is an unpredictable ruler who leads a regime unwilling to operate as part of the global community," Thurman said of North Korea's leader. "His actions have increased uncertainty on the peninsula and in the greater Northeast Asia region."

The Korean peninsula is one area of the world where large-scale tank-on-tank warfare could erupt. U.S. forces in South Korea are being brought up to 100 percent manning and receiving the latest equipment. American forces are doing more and better training with South Korean and other allies. Thurman said his mission remains the same as it was when Army Gen. Matthew Ridgway commanded during the Korean War: to deter and defend.

DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY CARTER SAYS ARMY APPLYING LESSONS LEARNED

Air Drop In Afghanistan.  Photo Credit:  U.S. Army.
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Carter: Army to Apply Lessons Learned to New Challenges

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2012 - U.S. soldiers have succeeded brilliantly in facing new demands during the post-9/11 era, and have now reached another major transition point, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter told an Army audience here today.

During a speech at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, the deputy secretary said a "massive strategic transition is underway" in defense forces, and a look back over the last 11 years offers insight to where the Army is headed next.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, few organizations had to adapt as much as the Army, he noted, when "our country was called to fight enemies we did not fully understand."

The Army responded as a strong wartime force that learned to build, govern, advise and assist, and to think strategically as well as tactically, he said.

The deputy secretary noted that even with the end of the troop surge to Afghanistan, that "almost 60,000 soldiers remain engaged in combat ... out of 68,000 total [U.S.] service members there."

Carter added that beyond Afghanistan, more than 15,000 soldiers are deployed around the world, from Kuwait to the Sinai to the Horn of Africa. Over 90,000 soldiers and civilians are forward stationed in nearly 160 countries, he said, and Army special operations forces make up 75 percent of U.S. Special Operations Command operators.

"That is our Army today. And our Army has learned and learned again in the past decade to conduct new missions to defeat adaptive enemies," Carter said. "In the wars of this millennium our soldiers learned to conduct counterinsurgency, counterterrorism and security assistance force operations to protect civilian populations, become discriminately lethal, and build up our partners' capacity."

The Army of 2012 is powerful and adaptive across its ranks, the deputy secretary said.

"The junior officers and [noncommissioned officers] ... became administrators and community liaison officers in addition to, of course, unequalled warriors," he said. Meanwhile, he added, Army senior officers "couldn't ask the world to stop so that they could think; they had to design and execute a new strategy on the fly, with the fighting going on around them."

Those leaders ensured their troops learned to adapt and meet a wide range of new, highly demanding missions, he said.

"That transformation is one of the exceptional stories of our age," Carter said, noting that what used to be known as "operations other than war" became the core Army mission set over that time.

Part of the Army's success stems from its counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations, he said, which forged a stronger connection between intelligence and operations. Carter said that fusion is apparent in any Army company-level command post today, where an observer will see capabilities that, 15 years ago, were found only at division level or higher.

"Operators and analysts synthesize all-source intelligence to identify targets, understand conditions and meet U.S. interests," he noted. "The bin Laden raid, while an excellent example, is just one example of that collaboration."

The Army has performed exceptionally well, he said. "Those lessons learned, that new capability built, those leaders forged [and] that habit of adaptation comprise an enormous asset for this country."

The world, the nation's friends and enemies, and technology have not stood still while America and its coalition partners fought two wars, the deputy secretary noted. Now, he added, Army and defense leaders must look up, around and out "to what the world needs next."

With $487 billion dollars trimmed from defense budgets over the next decade under the Budget Control Act, he said, military leaders must spend taxpayers' dollars more wisely and "ensure every dollar is spent strategically."

The department announced last winter a defense strategy that requires agile, lean forces that are "ready on a moment's notice, and technologically advanced," Carter said.

The Army will have a role in each of the new strategy's tenets, he said.

"One tenet is to capture the lesson learned -- so hard-learned -- in the past decade, including leadership, counterinsurgency, integrating intelligence and operations, and above all, adaptability, and turn them to future challenges," the deputy secretary said.

The Army will once again train to conduct a full range of operations and execute a full range of contingency plans, he said.

"They will do so through a flexible mix of armored, medium, light and airborne units which can be tailored and scaled for a full range of mission," Carter said.

The Army will also play a key part on the strategy's second tenet, he said, which involves a "broad political and military rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, and continuing presence in the Middle East."

The U.S. strategic goal for the Asia-Pacific is to ensure a stable, peaceful region such as the nation's military presence has helped maintain since World War II, he said. In the decades since that conflict, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia have prospered, as China and India are doing now, Carter noted.

The Army will bolster its stabilizing role in the Asia-Pacific region by increasing regional troop rotations and exercise engagements over the coming years, he said. Noting that the Asia-Pacific boasts seven of the world's 10 largest armies, Carter said the U.S. Army will continue to partner closely with land forces throughout the region.

"As one example, the United States worked closely with Australia in Iraq and Afghanistan," Carter said. "Today, American and Australian senior and mid-level Army officers know each other well. And our cooperation is increasing across the globe -- for instance, Australian Maj. Gen. Rick Burns will join the staff of U.S. Army Pacific on Nov. 4th, as deputy commanding general for operations."

The third tenet of the strategy involves "[spreading] the burden and responsibilities of security" by building partner nation military capacity around the world, Carter noted. The Army's role will involve sustaining and increasing bilateral and multilateral training and theater security cooperation, he said.

"One of the lessons the Army learned from Iraq and Afghanistan is that soldiers need core regional skills," the deputy secretary said. "So the Army is aligning its forces to different regions to build partner capacity more effectively."

The realignment begins this year, he said, with the 1st Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade aligning to U.S. Africa Command. The Army will also rotate units into Europe and other regions to bolster alliances, including through the NATO response force, he said, while Army corps headquarters will align with combatant commanders to better facilitate planning and training.

"These are all good steps," Carter said. "I urge the Army to continue to think creatively about how best to match its regional and cultural skills to requirements over the long term."

The fourth tenet of the defense strategy is to safeguard the future, he said.

In hard times, he explained, it's "very easy ... to pull out the things that are most shallowly rooted. ... And they're the newest things, and they're the last things that you should be taking out ... because they're your most recent, freshest, and best ideas."

Networking, mobility, cyber, unmanned vehicles, space and special operations are examples of vital functions the Army needs to "keep being good at," and the Pentagon will invest in those capabilities, the deputy secretary said.

Carter said the Army, along with the nation's other military services, has arrived at a moment of significant change, with operations ended in Iraq and Afghanistan involvement winding down.

"The Army story from the last 11 years is a story of dynamic and historic leadership at senior and junior levels," he said. "Soldiers faced immense strategic and tactical ambiguity; through incredible focus and determination, the Army learned new skills and succeeded."

Historians will write of the bravery and brilliance soldiers have displayed since 2001, Carter said, and also of the service's response to the demands of a new era.

"That's where we are again, right now," the deputy secretary said. "We face strategic choices about the kind of force we want to build."

Army and defense leaders are planning for the future at a moment of opportunity, Carter said.

"The question is, what kind of Army do we want? The answer is, powerful and adaptive," he said. "Not defensive, creative. The Army has a rich history from which to draw to make that adaptation, and I look forward to working on this next chapter."

RECENT U.S. NAVY PHOTO




FROM: U.S. NAVY
The guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) prepares to sortie in advance of Hurricane Sandy. Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, ordered all U.S. Navy ships in the Hampton Roads, Va., area to set Sortie Condition Alpha Oct. 26 in preparation of Hurricane Sandy. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tamekia L. Perdue (Released) 121026-N-JX924-163

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE 2012 SECURITY INNOVATION NETWORK CONFERENCE

Photo Credit:  U.S. Department Of Defense
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Industry Partnerships Key to Mobility Strategy, Official Says

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2012 - The Defense Department's partnerships with industry, particularly in the mobile realm, are essential to its future success, the department's deputy chief information officer for command, control, communications and computers and information infrastructure said here yesterday.

"I think that's what's going to make or break us in the future," Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert E. Wheeler told attendees at the 2012 Security Innovation Network conference.

DOD's plans for mobility, spectrum policy and programs, and national leadership command capabilities all are interconnected, he said.

Mobility -- the ability to perform the department's functions in various locations -- hinges on the effective use of the wireless spectrum across all of DOD's systems, Wheeler said. This includes planning for the president's order to free up 500 megahertz of the spectrum, as well as future technological changes. National leadership command capabilities tie back to mobility as well, he added, because the president and other senior leaders need the ability to make decisions while on the move, anywhere in the world.

"They're all tied together," he said, "and there's a thread that goes between them all."

Wheeler said that DOD's agility -- its ability to change quickly in response to technology -- worries him.

"This is an area that DOD is getting better at, but we're still not perfect yet," he said. "Our acquisition programs are known throughout the world to be large, ... but not to be very fast."

That's something that has to change, especially in regard to "tech-heavy" areas, Wheeler said. "We're trying to make sure that the way we write our programs and build them [includes] that ability, the agility, to move and to change quickly, unlike in the past."

The need for speed must be balanced with security, he said, and DOD is working with industry to accomplish that from the beginning of the acquisitions process. "No matter which way you look at this, we have to have cybersecurity dialed in from the beginning," he added. "It has to be dialed in at the right level and dialed in at the right speed."

DOD also has to be able to move more quickly in the mobility arena, he said. Mobility is an important part of being able to keep up with change, he added, noting that decisions now are made at a much higher rate than in the past, and DOD is going to become much smaller in the future.

"What do we have to have? Access to information any time, anywhere and on any device," Wheeler said. Without communications, DOD can't conduct operations, he said.

DOD released its mobile device strategy earlier this year, and will release the implementation plan in the next few days, the general said. The bottom line, he said, is that DOD's approach to mobile devices provides cost savings to the nation, increases communications security and jumps the productivity curve.

DOD has an "intense" interest in adapting commercial mobile technology, Wheeler said, noting that mobility pilot programs are ongoing throughout the department. All of them use mobile devices to communicate in one of three ways: off the network, or via commercial Internet; secure but unclassified; or classified.

Each of the three "bins," he said, has unique security requirements and will have its own application store where users can download mission-related apps.

The Pentagon has issued an open request for proposals to build the mobile applications store, Wheeler said. Applications submitted to the store will be approved, disapproved or returned for revision within 90 days, he added.

"The key to us is streamlined certification," Wheeler said. "If somebody says [certification will take] six months to a year, it's useless. ... Things change too dramatically. Even 90 days is probably a little bit too long."

Mobility also is tied to spectrum policy, the general said.

The president has asked for the federal government and commercial industries to clear 500 MHz of spectrum to use for economic development, he said. That could enable broadband companies to put a 4G network, for example, across the nation, including in rural areas, he added.

A change like that would have an extremely significant economic impact on the country, Wheeler said, similar to the impact of GPS and other breakthroughs.

"I would argue that it would transform the nation," the general added.

But vacating spectrum is costly and time-consuming, Wheeler said, as it requires equipment replacement and new acquisition strategies. And because U.S. allies have bought equipment that frequency shifts would affect, it also has international implications. Those allies may not be able to simply change to a different frequency, because their home country's spectrum also may be crowded, he explained.

"In the future, we have to have the ability to go to multiple bands with our equipment," Wheeler said, and to be cost-effective, that ability needs to be built into the planning process from the beginning.

Spectrum crowding isn't strictly a negative issue, the general said. "Scarcity is the mother of all inventions," he said, noting that new ways to use the communications spectrum have been developed that probably wouldn't have been had there been enough spectrum to go around.

For example, he said, some new technologies allow a frequency to be shared, rather than owned by a single user who may not use its full capacity. In the short term, Wheeler said, DOD is shifting the focus to sharing frequencies instead of clearing and auctioning off frequencies.

Long-term spectrum plans include exploring the concept of a national spectrum research facility and developing a long-term spectrum strategy, the general said.

DOD is working on increasing system flexibility, operations agility and refreshing and updating the regulatory framework, Wheeler said.

"While we're working very quickly to do this, we also have to have the regulatory requirements -- to include laws -- that allow us to do some of that sharing," he said. But that can be a slow process, he added, so the regulatory process has to become faster and work in tandem with the acquisition process.

Long-term Defense Department strategy has to connect to the national and commercial strategies, Wheeler said. "Connecting those dots is something that we have been trying to do for about the past decade correctly, and I actually think we're getting close," the general said.

Industry can help by understanding the budget and political environments, Wheeler said. "It's an environment where, obviously, all of the budgets are restricted right now ... as our nation comes out of the economic slump," he said.

Despite what many view as a negative economy, Wheeler said, he sees a lot of opportunity for development. "Watching all the innovation [coming] out of scarcity in the Department of Defense ... shows me that there's probably more opportunity now than there's been in many years to fix some of the problems that have been difficult in the past."

Success will consist of a partnership between government and industry, Wheeler said, noting that many companies are finding out they need the same levels of cybersecurity and innovation as DOD does.

"If you come in and make it more secure, cheaper for the department overall and help us with productivity, you're going to get in the door, because that's what we need," the general said. "It's good for the taxpayer, it's good for the nation, and I don't care what agency you're going into, they're going to need your help."



U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR ANNOUNCES LEASE FOR OFFSHORE DELAWARE RENEWABLE ENERGY

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
Interior Announces Commercial Lease for Renewable Energy Offshore Delaware

WASHINGTON
—As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau today announced that BOEM has reached agreement on a lease for commercial wind energy development in federal waters that covers 96,430 acres approximately 11 nautical miles off the coast of Delaware.

This is the first lease completed under Interior’s "
Smart from the Start" approach to facilitate environmentally responsible offshore wind development along the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) by identifying wind energy areas in a coordinated, focused approach with extensive environmental analysis, public review and large-scale planning.

"Delaware has remarkable offshore wind potential, and harnessing this clean, domestic energy resource will create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen our nation’s economic competitiveness," said Salazar. "The Administration has implemented a true all of the above approach to American energy, with renewable energy from sources like wind and solar doubling since the President took office, while at the same time domestic oil and gas production has increased each year, with domestic oil production currently higher than any time in almost a decade and domestic natural gas production at its highest level ever."

The lease grants NRG Bluewater Wind Delaware LLC the exclusive right to submit one or more plans to BOEM to conduct activities in support of wind energy development in the lease area. The company may submit a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) with a proposal to conduct site assessment activities, such as the installation of a meteorological tower or meteorological buoy, and/or submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to propose construction of the actual wind facility and cabling to shore.

"This lease is the result of many months of hard work and collaboration among BOEM, our Federal partners, the Delaware Renewable Energy Task Force, and other stakeholders," said Beaudreau. "I congratulate NRG Bluewater Wind and we look forward to their progress in standing up offshore wind energy generation under this lease."

In its original project nomination, NRG Bluewater proposed a 450-megawatt project offshore Delaware, with estimates that the project could generate enough power to supply electricity for over 100,000 homes. This estimate could change after NRG undergoes additional planning and survey work, and submits its COP to BOEM, which will assess the potential plans based on environmental, technical and other factors before granting approval for construction.

The lease area, which is composed of 11 full OCS blocks and 16 partial blocks, has been located to avoid existing uses of the OCS offshore Delaware, including but not limited to major shipping lanes into and out of Delaware Bay, a proposed vessel anchorage ground and a munitions disposal area.

On public lands and waters, Interior recently eclipsed a major milestone by meeting the President’s goal of authorizing 10,000 megawatts of large-scale renewable power by the end of the year. Since 2009, Interior has authorized 33 renewable energy projects, including 18 utility-scale solar facilities, 7 wind farms and 8 geothermal plants, with associated transmission corridors and infrastructure that will enable the projects to connect to established power grids.

When built, these projects will provide enough electricity to power more than 3.5 million homes, and support an estimated 13,000 construction and operations jobs according to project developers.

Today’s action is in line with the President’s direction to continue to expand domestic energy production, safely and responsibly. Since President Obama took office, domestic oil and gas production has increased each year, with domestic oil production at an eight-year high, natural gas production at an all-time high, and foreign oil imports now accounting for less than 50 percent of the oil consumed in America – the lowest level since 1995.

RECENT U.S. ARMY PHOTOS


 
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
U.S. Army soldiers prepare for a mission on Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistan's Logar province, Oct. 10, 2012. The soldiers are combat engineers assigned to the102nd Sapper Company, 307th Engineer Battalion, Combat Airborne, 20th Engineer Brigade. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Bonebrake.
 
 

 
U.S. Army Pfc. Daniel Beauchamp sets up his M240 machine gun to provide security after one of the trucks in the convoy was hit by a roadside bomb on the way to Combat Outpost Baraki Barak in Afghanistan's Logar province, Oct. 10, 2012. Beauchamp, a combat engineer, is assigned to the 102nd Sapper Company, 307th Engineer Battalion, Combat Airborne, 20th Engineer Brigade. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Bonebrake.


 
 
   U.S. soldiers carry a fellow soldier to a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter for evacuation after he was injured by an improvised explosive device on the way to Combat Outpost Baraki Barak in Afghanistan's Logar province, Oct. 10, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Bonebrake AA2


SEC CHARGES FORMER J.CREW EXECUTIVE WITH INSIDER TRADING

Photo:  Slot Machines.  Credit:  Wikimedia Commons.

FROM: U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it filed an insider trading civil action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York against Frank A. LoBue, a former Director of Store Operations at J.Crew Group, Inc. (J.Crew). The complaint alleges that LoBue used material, nonpublic information about sales and expenses of the company’s stores to purchase J.Crew common stock in advance of earnings announcements in May and August 2009.

The Commission’s complaint alleges that in the course of his employment LoBue regularly received nonpublic information about J.Crew’s "Stores" component, which comprised approximately 70% of the company’s sales. In April and May 2009, LoBue received several reports containing information about J.Crew’s expenses, payroll costs, and store sales results for the company’s fiscal first quarter ended May 2, 2009. The reports showed results that were better than expected. The complaint further alleges that LoBue breached duties he owed to the company and its shareholders by using the information to purchase 2,300 shares of J.Crew stock in advance of the company’s May 28, 2009 quarterly earnings release. The market reacted positively to the release, with J.Crew’s stock closing up 26.4% from its prior close.

The complaint also alleges that in July and August 2009 LoBue continued to receive the reports on J.Crew stores, including stores’ sales figures, and that the information showed that the company was experiencing an improving sales trend. The complaint alleges that LoBue again breached his duties by using this information to purchase another 11,680 shares of J.Crew stock ahead of the company’s August 27, 2009 second quarter earnings release. The day following the release, J.Crew stock closed up 6.01% from its prior close. LoBue’s aggregate illicit profits from trading alleged in the complaint were at least $60,735.60. J.Crew terminated LoBue’s employment in February 2010.

Without admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, LoBue has consented to the entry of a proposed final judgment permanently enjoining him from violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder; ordering him to pay disgorgement of $60,735.60, plus prejudgment interest thereon of $6,749.33; and imposing a civil penalty in the amount of $60,735.60. The proposed settlement is subject to the approval of the District Court.

The Commission acknowledges the assistance of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

ARMY EXPEDITIONARY WARRIOR EXPERIMENTS

Photo:  Fort Benning Controled Burn.  Credit:  U.S. DOD.
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Army, Joint Staff Team Up for Training, Tech Experiment

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2012 - Fort Benning, Ga., long known as the home of the U.S. Army's infantry, also recently served as host for a precedent-setting Army-Joint Staff collaboration aimed at testing new technologies for infantry squad-level training.

Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Fort Benning-based Army Maneuver Center of Excellence run a program called the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments, or AEWE, which is now in its eighth year and focuses on network-enabled, small-unit warfare.

The Joint Staff, meanwhile, sponsors a series of coalition capability demonstrations and assessments dating back to 2001 and known as Bold Quest. From Sept. 17 to Oct. 19, the two programs' staffs merged to assess squad-level live, virtual and immersive training in Army, Marine Corps and Canadian army forces.

The partnered event, known in military circles as AEWE-BQ12, also drew military observers from about a dozen partner nations, as well as Army Test and Evaluation Command analysts and evaluators to report detailed results.

Technology in Training

John Miller, the operational manager for Bold Quest and a member of the Joint Staff's command, control and communications directorate, told American Forces Press Service during a recent interview that the Joint Staff's involvement with Bold Quest "goes back well over 10 years."

"In 2001, what we now know as Bold Quest began as an advanced concept technology demonstration," he said. While the focus was initially narrow, Miller added, by around 2008 "it became apparent that internationally, there was an appetite ... for continuing these capability demonstrations, and expanding their focus, on a regular basis. So we settled into a recurring series of what we now call Bold Quest operational demonstrations."

Before the linkup with Fort Benning's AEWE, Bold Quest had been a stand-alone event, he noted. The September-October partnered event was "a significant precedent" for the Joint Staff, he said, adding that partnering with the services for future Bold Quest cycles is something members of the Joint Staff want to continue.

Miller said AEWE and Bold Quest have similar goals.

"They call themselves an experiment. We call Bold Quest a capabilities demonstration and assessment, but the aims are very similar: bring warfighters, developers and analysts into an early partnership, provide the warfighters an opportunity [to work with emerging systems] ... and get their feedback," he said.

Developing Capabilities

The Joint Staff exists, in part, to set the conditions for the U.S. and other nations' military services to succeed and to cooperate effectively, he said.

An example of that condition setting, he said, occurred during the dismounted squad experiment. "Most people would think that something as basic as infantry marksmanship would be pretty standard around the world. ... [But] it's been eye-opening for all of us, this week, to bring these nations and services together," Miller said. "Even infantry experts from those nations were ... surprised [and] informed to find out that the approaches to basic marksmanship vary considerably from service to service and nation to nation."

Encouraging varied militaries to congregate and learn together leads to shared viewpoints and exposure to new methods, Miller noted. "Everybody goes away better off," he added.

The Joint Staff "is not in the business of buying things; we are in the business of making sure the overall capabilities, joint and coalition, get developed in the most efficient way they can for everybody," he said.

Joint Staff planners approach Bold Quest in two-year increments, as in the current 2012-2013 cycle, he said. At the beginning of that cycle, "the Joint Staff puts out a memorandum of invitation, essentially saying, "The next cycle is beginning. What are your priorities and initiatives for demonstration and assessment?" Miller explained.

The invitation is widely distributed to NATO and other allied and partner nations, he said.

"Then over the next six months, we're in the 'receive' mode," Miller added. "Because we're in touch with priorities and capabilities development, there are not a lot of surprises when [responses] come in. But we ... get those all on the table, and when you see very clearly that a number of services and nations are all lined up and trying to achieve the same capability, then that tells us the kinds of venues we need to go to."

Depending on the emphasis, the venue could center on littoral operations along a coastline, or an infantry post such as Fort Benning, he said. Once the location is identified, "then collectively we work out the timing: everybody is grouped up and aimed at the same capability goal: When do we all think we can get there within this two-year cycle?"

Analyzing the Action

Miller said the Army organizations taking part in the most recent Bold Quest divided objectives for the event into "learning demands" that included situational awareness at the dismounted squad level and immersive-system marksmanship, along with an overall emphasis on immersive systems in infantry training.

He pointed out that while virtual and immersive systems played a central role in the experiment, each squad also completed several days of advanced situational awareness training, which was nonvirtual, real-world, classroom- and field-based instruction intended to train soldiers and Marines to be human "sensors."

"The analysts have taken varied looks at what's the best progression here," he said. "How do you take the live and virtual pieces and best sequence them so the soldiers and Marines come out with the optimal outcome?"

ATEC analysts will compare results from each squad and each training sequence, Miller said, noting that some of the most valuable Bold Quest results can come from simply putting systems in troops' hands. Service members often suggest changes to increase ease of use, field of view and other variables, he explained.

"All kinds of very specific warfighter subjective desires always come out of these things, but you never get them until you get everybody together," he added.

The Joint Staff is not finished exploring dismounted infantry squad capabilities, Miller noted.

"As we always are in Bold Quest, we're executing one and in concept development for the next one. ... This effort's going to continue, so the outcome of AEWE-BQ12 doesn't put a wrapper on these efforts," he explained. "This will provide a foundation for similar partnerships in [2013] and beyond. It's a building block."

In the experiment's aftermath, developers will "tweak their systems" based on feedback, Miller said, while Joint Staff members will plan the next logical level for further demonstrations.

"There was a wrap-up comment made by one of the Army representatives that I think we all agree with," Miller said. "The most bang for the buck is in training, and that's what this event was all about, ... [and] the results will be widely distributed. The outcomes will be eagerly awaited."

Training for the Future

Several key leaders for AEWEBQ12 detailed the experiment for defense reporters during a telephone interview Oct. 16.

"We're not an acquisition experiment, so there won't be any recommendations coming out of this experiment for the procurement or acquisition of anything, said Gary Daniel, an AEWE Maneuver Battle Lab project lead. "Rather, we're going to provide insights in terms of the 'goodness' ... of virtual and/or immersive training systems to help inform a couple of efforts: one, to help the [directorate of training and doctrine] here at the Maneuver Center of Excellence develop the future training strategy for 21st century training."

Secondly, he said, the experiment will inform the Army initiative known as Squad: Foundation to the Decisive Force.

"We're really looking to see what capabilities have been brought to bear in the experiment that have promise for the future, [and] what limitations are out there from an immersive training environment [perspective] that we need to overcome through live training or technology development," he said.

Immersive training will never replace live training, Daniel said. "But how can it enhance a training program at the small-unit level," he added, "to make their live training more effective and more efficient?"

A standard eight-man infantry squad can use immersive training to "do lots of things to some benefit," he said.

"They can practice their tactics, techniques and procedures for a given mission; they can practice their squad and platoon battle drills; they can actually conduct an upcoming mission in a virtual environment to refine their scheme of maneuver and to modify their [standard operating procedures] inside the unit if necessary," he said. "So those are the things that are jumping out at us right away."

Virtual Training Strengths, Weaknesses

Army Lt. Col. Aaron Lilley, lead ATEC analyst for the exercise, told reporters training technology improves each year, but hasn't reached the point at which a soldier can suspend disbelief. For example, he explained, immersive training can't yet replicate real-world sensations.

"Motion is a critical part of that," he said. "A soldier wants to move his character in the system by actual movement, so of course then you start getting into questions of scale, for instance. A basketball-court-sized space supports some number of soldiers training; what is that number?"

Sensory "feel" in the systems is a challenge too, he added.

"[A soldier preparing to enter and clear a room] should be able to feel the soldier he is moving up to and behind, who is immediately in front of him in the stack," Lilley explained. "He'd like that feel of the soldier behind him saying, 'Yes, I'm here, we are ready to go.' Obviously, that's a sophisticated concept ... [and] it could be years away."

Jim Morris, chief of the Maneuver Center of Excellence training development division, discussed how well an infantry soldier's performance in simulated training matches up with what his real-world results would be.

"We don't know, necessarily," he said. "That's part of what we're trying to get to. ... In virtual tools, we're trying to find the art of the possible, and reasonable, and cost-effective ... new capabilities for better-trained soldiers to accomplish their mission."

Lilley noted that virtual tools offer trainers advantages the real world can't match.

"[When] a soldier goes to either a live range or a virtual range, what the soldier with the weapon is going to do is practice, and that's not going to change, whether it's live or virtual training," he noted. "But to the observer standing near him on a live range, the outcome of his next shot is rather random."

A coach at a live range can't share the shooter's sight picture or aim point, so can't reliably identify sources of error, Lilley pointed out. "Various [simulation] systems can present the soldier's point of aim, live, as he is drawing his sight picture on the target in the virtual system," he said. "And then the coach can see where the round impacted after the trigger squeeze. ... So the coach gets an incredibly valuable [after-action review] tool that doesn't exist on the real range."

One question the Army has "on the fringes of the experiment," he said, is what the right mix of live and virtual training would be.

"Can you avoid live [training] time on a range or at a MOUT site and still gain ... a trained and ready squad?" he asked. A MOUT – military operations in urban terrain - site typically has several mock buildings where infantry troops can practice cordon-and-search, entrance and clearing procedures they'd typically carry out in a real-world town or city.

With improved technology, virtual training alone could probably get close to that result, he said. But as a leader, he added, he still would want to evaluate that squad on the live range.

Morris pointed out training simulations allow troops and leaders to learn some things they otherwise couldn't. "How many opportunities does a [squad] leader have to employ a UAV, an unmanned aerial vehicle? Not very many," he said. "In an immersive environment, every single soldier can do it, and it doesn't cost much money."

Similarly, he asked, how many helicopter pilots have trained live on what to do if their aircraft loses a tail rotor? "None," Morris noted. "However, they've all practiced it in immersive trainers. ... There are a lot of things that we can do in immersion that you really can't do any other place."

Lilley pointed out an immersive trainer also allows the leader to alter the training environment, and with a few keystrokes take his squad from city to desert to jungle to grasslands. "Even on a very large training footprint, I don't know that you can get that variety of environments at one home station," he noted.

Morris and Daniel both noted virtual trainers also allow easy changes to training conditions, so the training leader can dial in factors such as the number of enemies present and the behaviors of noncombatant civilians.

"You can present [soldiers], in a very short period of time, multiple scenarios that are a pretty good training ground for developing leaders and creating conditions where they have to make a rapid assessment of the situation, develop a course of action, implement a decision and pass out instructions to their soldiers," Daniel said. The same variation in training conditions would be much harder to effect in live training, he noted.

Field Demonstrations

Lilley explained the latest experiment allowed service members three days of training with a virtual technology before they moved to field demonstrations.

"We're taking each of these several squads, on the fourth day, out to the McKenna MOUT site here at Fort Benning and giving them the opportunity to execute the same tactical mission, in scenario, in the live environment that they were practicing for the prior three days," he said.

That sequence, he said, allows observers to measure troops' performance "according to a mission success profile we developed, looking at the key tasks identified by the commander ... and how well the unit is able to accomplish those tasks."

Lilley said service members taking part in the experiment also complete several surveys on their experience and participate in thorough after-action reviews to capture their opinions and experiences during the training.

Each squad trained on each virtual system in isolation, one squad per system, but the squads came together on field assessment days for the assigned missions: area reconnaissance, cordon-and-search and deliberate attack, Lilley explained.

During field assessment, the squads worked together to perform platoon-level missions. "They execute in round-robin fashion, and each squad has the opportunity to become the main effort of the platoon," he said.

Daniel said the experiment's designers didn't include specific objectives for multi-squad training beyond gaining more insight through joint and coalition participation.

"We're seeing, as an aspect of the Marines' and the Canadians' involvement, different ways of doing things [and] different tactics, techniques and procedures, different approaches to learning inside the system – so it's been pretty good for us," he noted.

Harry Lubin, chief of the Maneuver Battle Lab's live experimentation branch, said the experiment was "the first time we've worked at this level of detail with the Joint Staff." Based on what the level of success in the first partnered experiment, he added, "We do anticipate this carrying on ... as an annual event."

That yearly look into new systems and simulators from the joint and combined, small-unit perspective, he said, will ensure continued exploration of new and evolving training systems and techniques.

ISAF CONDEMNS MOSQUE ATTACK

Photo: Morning In Afghanistan.   Credit:  U.S. Army

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

ISAF Condemns Faryab Mosque Bombing
International Security Assistance Force News Release

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2012 - The International Security Assistance Force condemns with grave conviction the suicide attack carried out today at the Eid Gah Mosque in Maimana, Faryab province, in Afghanistan.

Dozens were killed or injured in the explosion as they left the mosque after the opening prayers of the holy observation of Eid al-Adha.

"I condemn this heinous act, which is an affront to human life, to religious devotion, and to the peaceful aspirations of the Afghan people," said Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, the ISAF commander. "I offer my condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed or injured, and the resources of ISAF to help however we can. This violence undertaken at a place of worship, and during Eid, once again shows the insurgency's callous hypocrisy and disregard for religion and faith.

"In my recent remarks to commemorate this most holy Muslim observance of Eid al-Adha, I spoke of the admiration I hold for the Afghan people's desire for peace," Allen continued. "Today's tragic attack makes this feeling all the more poignant as we -- the coalition and the Afghan people -- stand together in tireless pursuit of peace."

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

Friday, October 26, 2012

PATRIOT Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) AND Terminal High Altitude Area De...


MILITARY RESPONSE TO MELTING ARTIC ICE CAPS

Navy Adm. James Stavridis, commander U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, at the Northern Europe Chiefs of Defense Conference in Helsinki, Finland, Oct. 18, 2012. NATO photo by British Army Staff Sgt. Ian Houlding

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Stavridis: Arctic Presents Opportunities, Risks, Challenges

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2012 - The melting of the arctic ice cap opens new opportunities -- as well as risks and challenges -- that will require increasing cooperation among regional nations, said Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, the commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.

The future of the one of the world's last remote frontiers was a major agenda item during the Northern European Chiefs of Defense meeting held last week in Helsinki, Stavridis reported in a blog to his command.

That remoteness is fading with the ice cap, with the opening of new shipping lanes that bring both positives and negatives to once-closed areas, he recognized.

"We'll see more commercial traffic and scientific exploration missions, non-state actors trafficking illegal goods or other illicit cargo, or even just adventurous tourists," Stavridis predicted. "Bottom line: the increase in Arctic shipping traffic and the movement of humans north elevate the potential for manmade disasters like oil spills and ship accidents and the consequent need for appropriate response and rescue capabilities."

Warning against "militarizing" the region, he emphasized the importance of leveraging interagency and international partnerships to address the risks, concerns and opportunities associated with Arctic activities.

"We need to ensure this open space becomes a zone of cooperation, not a zone of confrontation as it was during the Cold War," he said. "Cooperation in the Arctic today, through organizations like the Arctic Council, can help build trust and focus our efforts in areas of mutual interest to maintain regional security."

Stavridis cited steps already being taken to build those capabilities.

Eight Arctic states came together last month for the Arctic Council's Search and Rescue Exercise 2012, led by Denmark's Greenland Command in a remote area of Greenland's east coast. Personnel, authorities, aircraft, helicopters and ships from Canada, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and the United States operated together in stormy weather and high seas as they evaluated their individual and collective Arctic search-and-rescue capabilities.

In late August, Exercise Northern Eagle brought together U.S., Russian and Norwegian ships, aircraft and helicopters in the Barents Sea to prepare for rescue and anti-piracy missions, Stavridis noted.

The final stage of that exercise, conducted under Russian command, includes the U.S. Navy's Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Farragut, the Russian Northern Fleet's destroyer Admiral Chabaneko and the Norwegian coast guard vessel KV Andenes.

Stavridis emphasized the United States' long-term interest in and commitment to the Arctic.

"As an Arctic nation with significant coastline 'up north,' the U.S. will remain engaged," he said.

Daily Press Briefing - October 26, 2012

Daily Press Briefing - October 26, 2012

FLORIDA AIRMEN GET READY FOR HURRICANE SANDY

FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

As Hurricane Sandy, a Category 1 storm, approaches, maintenance airmen assigned to the 920th Rescue Wing move a HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter onto the ramp to perform avionic systems operations checks at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Oct. 26, 2012. In between rain bands the service members huddled inside the aircraft during some of the more gusty conditions to finish their work for the day before tucking the helicopter back into the hangar with the rest of the aircraft for safekeeping. U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Cathleen Snow


Florida Airmen Brace for Hurricane Sandy

By Air Force Capt. Cathleen Snow
920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs


PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Oct. 26, 2012 - As Hurricane Sandy crept up the Atlantic coastline today blowing a mix of sand, rain and salt mist, 920th Rescue Wing airmen here moved the wing's six HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters inside an aircraft hangar to protect them from the storm.

"A damaging wind warning was issued earlier," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Charles Washington, range weather forecaster at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. While Hurricane Sandy isn't expected to exceed a Category 1, he said, sustained winds at 34 knots will be in effect until 5 a.m. Oct. 27.

The storm will be closest to Patrick later this evening at around 185 miles east of the base, Washington said.

Although no flying was scheduled involving the 920th today, maintenance airmen took precautions by policing loose items in and around the flight line, in addition to securing the 920th's five HC-130P/N King fixed-wing aircraft by fastening chains to their tails, noses and wings to steel rings embedded into the ramp.

"We [also] worked with the 920th Logistics Readiness Flight to put away deployment gear for the upcoming readiness exercise," said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Armand Barrett, logistic superintendent with the 920th Maintenance Operation Flight.

Long before the storm's eye neared, airmen moved one Pave Hawk onto the open aircraft ramp to perform avionic systems operations checks. In between rain bands they huddled inside the aircraft during some of the more gusty conditions to, "Get some work done today," Barrett said.

The 920th is a combat search-and-rescue wing dedicated to saving lives. It is a component of Air Force Reserve Command, based at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

REPUBLIC OF TURKMENISTAN'S INDEPENDENCE DAY

Map Credit:  CIA World Factbook.
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Republic of Turkmenistan's Independence Day

Press Statement
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 25, 2012


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of Turkmenistan as you celebrate twenty-one years of independence this October 27th.

The governments of the United States and Turkmenistan have both shown a strong commitment to enhancing our bilateral partnership. The United States greatly appreciates Turkmenistan’s cooperation and work to promote stability, integration, and prosperity in the region. We are working to broaden economic and commercial ties, build democratic institutions, and ensure the protection of human rights.

I wish the people of Turkmenistan a very happy Independence day with peace and prosperity in the years to come.

Map Credit:  CIA World Factbook.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM CIA WORLD FACTBOOK


Present-day Turkmenistan covers territory that has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. The area was ruled in antiquity by various Persian empires, and was conquered by Alexander the Great, Muslim crusaders, the Mongols, Turkic warriors, and eventually the Russians. In medieval times Merv (today known as Mary) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by Russia in the late 1800s, Turkmenistan later figured prominently in the anti-Bolshevik movement in Central Asia. In 1924, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic; it achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves, which have yet to be fully exploited, have begun to transform the country. Turkmenistan is moving to expand its extraction and delivery projects. The Turkmen Government is actively working to diversify its gas export routes beyond the still important Russian pipeline network. In 2010, new gas export pipelines that carry Turkmen gas to China and to northern Iran began operating, effectively ending the Russian monopoly on Turkmen gas exports. President for Life Saparmurat NYYAZOW died in December 2006, and Turkmenistan held its first multi-candidate presidential election in February 2007. Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, a deputy cabinet chairman under NYYAZOW, emerged as the country's new president; he was reelected in February 2012.

MARINE COMMANDER SAYS AFGHAN FORCES GAINING CAPABILITY


Photo Credit:  U.S. Navy
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Commander: Afghan Forces Gaining Capability, Respect

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2012 - Comparing insider attacks in Afghanistan to the desperate suicide missions Kamikaze pilots launched during World War II, a Marine commander in southwestern Afghanistan said the insurgents have failed to put a wedge between the coalition and the increasingly capable Afghan forces preparing to assume full security responsibility there.

Marine Corps Col. John Shafer, commander of Regimental Combat Team 6, called insider attacks a drastic, last-ditch effort by a desperate insurgency struggling to gain an advantage. But aside from requiring new security measures to protect Afghan national security forces as well as coalition members, the attacks have fallen flat in terms of derailing the relationship between them, he said.

Speaking by teleconference during an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Shafer reported steady progress in the Afghan security forces' development during the 10 months since his Marines and sailors arrived in Helmand province.

Initially, offensive actions and targeted raids helped to create a less hostile environment for the fledging Afghan security forces to develop their capabilities, Shafer said. "Then, as we moved into the summer months, ... we ensured that the Afghan national security forces -- both the army and police forces -- had the ability to occupy the spaces that we helped create through our offensive actions earlier in the year," he said.

Now, the Afghans have taken on greater security responsibility that Schafer said has enabled his forces to scale back their operations as they prepare to redeploy.

"We reduced the force in the regimental combat team by approximately 60 percent, and we have made up the difference with the Afghan national security forces," he said. "So ... the Marines of the regional combat team ... effectively created the conditions to allow the Afghan national security forces to come in and create the space for them to be able to effectively operate."

As the Afghan forces show their increasing ability to conduct independent operations, Schafer said, they're gaining the respect of the Afghan people.

"Initially, there was hesitation from the local national perspective, because they didn't know how capable their Afghan national security forces were," he said. "But ... as a result of the thinning of the [International Security Assistance Force] and coalition forces, the Afghan national security forces have had to step up to meet the challenges that the Taliban have presented. And overwhelmingly, they have done very well and been very successful.

"And with that, it has really bolstered the confidence of the local national population and ... given the Afghan national security forces credibility in the eyes of the people of Afghanistan," Shafer continued. "So I think we are well on track."

Noting a key lesson learned during the drawdown in Iraq, Shafer said population support will be critical to long-term mission success in Afghanistan.

"In any counterinsurgent environment that you are operating in, both the insurgency and the counterinsurgent forces are dependent on the local national population," he said. "The population is what will eventually carry the day for you. So he who is most closely aligned with the population will eventually be ... the winner of the conflict.

"So what we have tried to do is offer the local national population a choice that is better for them and their future, by selecting and siding with the government of Afghanistan over what the insurgency choice offers them," Shafer said. "And I think that was very much true as well in Iraq."

As U.S. and coalition forces draw down in Afghanistan, Shafer said, they're ensuring the Afghan forces recognize that responsibility and conduct themselves as representatives of the Afghan government.

He expressed pride in his Marines and sailors, who often operate behind the scenes providing the ongoing support that has enabled progress to take place.

"They have done it all in a period [when] we have doubled the size of the battle space, ... reduced the force by two-thirds, ... transitioned lead security responsibility in many of the districts to the Afghan national security forces, ... repositioned our headquarters from one location to another and sent about 40 percent of our headquarters home," Shafer said. "And in doing it, they haven't skipped a beat."

SAVING CHILDREN FROM DRUG ENVIRONMENTS

Photo Credit:  U.S. FDA.
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENTOF JUSTICE

Working Together to Help Drug Endangered Children

It is estimated that over 9 million children live in homes where a parent or other adult use illegal drugs. Children growing up in such a challenging environment are 3 times more likely to be verbally, physically, or sexually abused and 4 times more likely to be neglected.

This week, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Community Oriented Policing Services Office Director Bernard Melekian, U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas Barry Grissom, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, Nicholas Klinefeldt, and interim U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa Sean Berry attended the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children Conference in Des Moines, Iowa to support the efforts to find and help children growing up in dangerous drug environments.

Dputy Attorney General James Cole
spoke with urgency about the importance and responsibility we have to ensure the justice, health and safety of these vulnerable young members of our communities:
This work is difficult and gut-wrenching. We cannot simply arrest and prosecute our way out of the growing epidemic of drug abuse, trafficking, and addiction by parents and childcare providers. Saving these children requires a multi-disciplinary approach involving coordinated teams comprised of law enforcement, child protective services, healthcare professionals, educators, victim service specialists, child advocates, courts, and the community. It requires all of us.

As Chairman of the Federal Interagency Task Force on Drug Endangered Children, Deputy Attorney General Cole has led the efforts to raise awareness; increase coordination at the federal, state, tribal and local levels; and provide assistance to the field.

The DEC Task Force recently developed a combined resource CD for law enforcement and child welfare agencies; new training courses at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; and developed a
drug endangered children resource website.

The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (National DEC) is one of the DEC Task Force’s best allies. This year they received a $1.2 million in grants from the department. With this funding, they’ve transformed from an informal association of state leaders to a national voice for training, technical assistance, and advocacy on behalf of abused and neglected children.

COPS Director Melekian:

The better the availability of training opportunities focused on identifying and helping drug endangered children, the better chance we have of making this a central part of law enforcement’s mission to serve and protect. And it needs to be clear that there is an alternative to the violence and fear that is part of the daily lives of these children…With the right tools and information, we can reduce the incidences of children’s exposure to violence and intervene more effectively.
In addition to the national organization, state-level DEC groups are finding innovative solutions to share with their state and federal partners.

For example, the COPS Office awarded the Colorado Alliance for Drug Endangered Children funding to expand their Drug Endangered Children Tracking System (DECSYS). DECSYS is an easy-to-use, web-based system that allows law enforcement and child protection agencies an automated process for identifying children at risk.

This can expedite the identification of children in danger and bring them the assistance they need. In the last two years, DECSYS has been credited with a 150 percent increase in the number of drug endangered children identified for child protective services. It will soon launch in Nevada and Wisconsin.

U.S. Attorney Grissom spoke about coordination and collaboration:
Our coordination and collaboration with the Southern District of Iowa and the National DEC Alliance serves as an example of the power of partnerships; this training will encourage partnerships, and provide tools for law enforcement, victim service providers, medical personnel, welfare workers, educators and other professionals to protect our most valuable resource, our children.
While investigation and prosecution will be discussed at this conference, the conference will focus on the importance of partnerships to assure the safety of children, enforce state and federal laws, and identify alternatives to incarceration that are designed to maintain, or reunite families.

By bringing together federal, state and local resources with advocates, experts and community leaders, we can raise awareness of the plight of drug endangered children nationwide. We can increase coordination and intervene early to stop the cycle of violence and ensure these vulnerable citizens have the bright future full of promise they deserve.

People with Medicare save $4.8 billion on prescription drugs because of the health care law

People with Medicare save $4.8 billion on prescription drugs because of the health care law

DOD News Briefing with Secretary Panetta and Gen. Dempsey from the Pentagon

DOD News Briefing with Secretary Panetta and Gen. Dempsey from the Pentagon

FORMER GEORGIA SHERIFF PLEADS GUILTY TO ASSAULTING INMATE

 FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Monday, October 22, 2012

Former Wilcox County, Georgia, Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Inmate

The Justice Department and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Michael J. Moore announced today that Stacy Bloodsworth, the former sheriff of Wilcox County, Ga., pleaded guilty to assaulting an inmate inside the Wilcox County jail and subsequently conspiring to cover up the assault. Bloodsworth’s son, Austin Bloodsworth, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to cover up the same assault. Three other defendants had previously pleaded guilty to civil rights and obstruction of justice crimes in connection with the July 23, 2009, assault.

During his plea hearing, Stacy Bloodsworth admitted that on July 23, 2009, while he was acting as sheriff, he was inside the Wilcox County Jail with several other individuals, including his son, Austin Bloodsworth; a Wilcox County inmate-trustee, Willie James Caruthers; a South Central Georgia Drug Task Force agent, Timothy King, Jr.; and a Wilcox County Jailer, Casey Owens. Stacy Bloodsworth ordered three inmates out of their cells because he was angry about reports that one of the inmates had a cell phone, which is in violation of jail regulations. Bloodsworth hit all three inmates, and also watched as other people, including the sheriff’s son, struck and kicked one of the inmates in the face. After it appeared that that inmate’s jaw was broken, the sheriff used a wrench in an attempt to put his broken jaw back into place.

Approximately one week later, the inmate was brought to a local hospital, where his jaw had to be wired shut. The other two inmates assaulted on the same day suffered lacerations, bruising, and pain.

During the plea hearing, Stacy Bloodsworth further admitted that he and the others conspired to cover up the July 23, 2009, assault. The following day, Bloodsworth concocted a false cover story about the assaults in order to cover up the involvement of the law enforcement officials. Specifically, the sheriff instructed Caruthers, Austin Bloodsworth, King and Owens that, if they were ever questioned about the incident, they should say that inmate Caruthers and the victim got into a physical altercation after the inmate used a racial slur against Caruthers. Stacy Bloodsworth, knowing that this statement was false, instructed Caruthers and Owens to write this false cover story in a report. In addition, in August 2010, after learning that the inmate whose jaw had been broken had hired an attorney and had begun to initiate a lawsuit, Sheriff Bloodsworth met with King and Owens and again instructed them that to relay the false story about the cause of the inmate’s broken jaw. In April 2011, Stacy Bloodsworth, who was then still the sheriff of Wilcox County, relayed the false cover story regarding the cause of the inmate’s broken jaw to special agents of the FBI.

Austin Bloodsworth also pleaded guilty today to conspiring to cover up the July 23, 2009, assault. During his plea hearing, Austin Bloodsworth admitted that he kicked the inmate in the face multiple times. In addition, he admitted that he relayed the sheriff’s false cover story about the assault to special agents of the FBI who questioned him in April 2011.

"The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute officers who cross the line and engage in criminal misconduct," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.

"We expect our law enforcement officials to uphold the law – and to protect those they serve," said Michael J. Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. "Today’s guilty pleas by former Sheriff Bloodsworth and Austin Bloodsworth remind us that no one, not even an elected sheriff, is above the law."

When Stacy Bloodsworth is sentenced, he faces a maximum of ten years on the civil rights charge, and a maximum of five years on the conspiracy charge. Austin Bloodsworth faces a maximum of five years on the conspiracy charge.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christine M. Siscaretti and Special Litigation Counsel Gerard V. Hogan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.

PATHWAYS TO PROSPERITY OPENING STATEMENT


Photo Credit:  U.S. State Department 
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Opening Statement for the Pathways to Prosperity Conference

Remarks
William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary

Cali, Colombia
October 23, 2012

Good morning. It is a pleasure to join you for this fifth Ministerial meeting of Pathways to Prosperity. I would like to thank the government of Colombia for their gracious hospitality. Your country’s own pathway toward prosperity and peace is an inspiration to the world and a credit to your leadership.

Latin America’s record of democratic development and social advancement stands as a model for a world whose citizens are reaching for dignity and economic hope. The success of the Americas is measured not just by the growth of its GDP, but by the number and strength of its middle classes, rights, freedoms and democratic institutions.

The intellectual heart of democratic development is the recognition that these successes—political, economic and social—can and must be mutually reinforcing. That is why together we have worked to build societies where the benefits of trade and investment are broadly felt, where rights and rules are respected, where what you know is more important than who you know, where democratic good governance is a force for economic growth; and where financial and social inclusion ensure that even struggling communities produce successful men and women.

Many in the Americas have already found their own Pathways to Prosperity, but many more can benefit from the dialogue and partnerships we are here to build and strengthen today.

I am hopeful that, by sharing ideas, innovative business practices and social policies and lessons learned, every country here—including my own—can find ways to better serve our people. Local successes that affect several hundred can be leveraged into sustainable change for millions throughout the region. That is what brings us together.

And as Colombia has shown, in word and deed, democratic development works best when the work is shared: when governments, businesses, civil society, educational institutions and ordinary citizens work together. I congratulate Colombia for linking the Pathways Ministerial with the Americas Competitiveness Forum, or ACF. This continues an important innovation made by the Dominican Republic last year, and one that will be carried forward by Panama in 2013. The goals of ACF and Pathways are distinct but complementary: ACF provides a forum for political, economic, and business leaders to exchange ideas about how to thrive in an increasingly competitive global economy. Pathways seeks to ensure that all our people reap the benefits of this exchange.

Let me highlight two particular areas of interest to the United States.

First, we should be focused on training and financing small-scale entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses and reach markets around the world. Through Pathways, we hope to build on the successful U.S. model of small business development centers to empower businessmen and women in Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and across the region. Last April, President Obama launched the Small Business Network of the Americas to link more than 2,000 small business development centers throughout the Western Hemisphere. And as we offer our own stories, we also know that innovation flows north, and we are eager to learn from your experiences.

Second, we should sustain our focus on women entrepreneurs, which has become a signature accomplishment of this forum. We know that investing in women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises is one of the best ways to achieve our economic, financial and social goals. The Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) initiative, launched by Secretary Clinton and her counterparts at the Summit earlier this year, uses public-private partnerships to increase women’s economic participation and improve women’s access to markets, finance, and training and networks. This effort builds on the progress Pathways has made through the Pathways Access Initiative (PAI), providing training to women entrepreneurs through WeConnect International, and bringing U.S. businesses together with women-owned businesses in Peru. Today, the Colombian women entrepreneurs of the Colempresarias network will have the opportunity to break further barriers, by displaying their products for this gathering and connecting with private sector partners tomorrow to increase their exports.

The fundamental message I want to leave you with is one of optimism about what we can accomplish if we work together. We are eager to share ideas and come together around a Declaration and Plan of Action to guide our efforts in the year ahead. We are excited about the new Pathways Clearinghouse announced today to expand our network of stakeholders and further engage private businesses. We value this forum.

There is an old proverb, sometimes quoted in American politics, that says: "If you want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, go with others." We have already come a long way together. This important meeting is another reminder of how much further we can go, how much more we can accomplish together. Let us use this moment to redouble our efforts to build better societies and to leave behind, for our children, a better Hemisphere and a better world. Thank you.