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Saturday, August 2, 2014

NASA VIDEO: MARS 2020 ROVER AND BEYOND NEWS TELECONFERENCE FROM NASA HEADQUARTERS

WEST WING WEEK 08/01/14: A WALK DOWN MAIN STREET WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA

SECRETARY KERRY'S PRESS STATEMENT ON COMMEMORATION OF WWII GENOCIDE OF ROMA

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Statement in Commemoration of the World War II Genocide of Roma

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 1, 2014




We pause today to mourn and remember the hundreds of thousands of Romani men, women and children who were savagely and senselessly murdered by the Nazis during World War II.
On August 2, seventy years ago, Romani men, women, and children were taken from their quarters at Auschwitz-Birkenau and sent to the gas chambers. Over the course of a single night, the Nazis sent 2,879 Roma to their deaths. Entire families were lost.

Today, we remember the 23,000 Romani persons from 11 countries who were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and the 19,000 who perished. We remember the men, women, and children who died from inhumane medical experiments, and the many more who died from disease and starvation. And we remember that the appalling murder of Roma didn’t stop at the camp’s edge. In parts of Naziâoccupied territory, Roma were rounded up, shot at village outskirts, and dumped into mass graves.

Above all, we remember our common responsibility to stand strong against the cruel sting of bigotry and injustice. Racism against Roma persists even today, and racism anywhere is a threat to people everywhere. We must condemn all prejudice wherever it springs up, because we know that words of hatred too often become acts of hatred.

Teaching about Romani experiences during the Holocaust is critical in combating prejudice. We commend Germany’s efforts to remember the Romani victims of the Nazis, including the memorial unveiled in Berlin two years ago.

We can learn from our history, and, together, we can change its course for generations to come.

SECRETARY KERRY ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISAS FOR AFGHANS WHO HELPED U.S.

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT  

Additional Visas Authorized for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Program

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 1, 2014




For 13 years, thousands of Afghans have worked alongside our troops and our diplomats, often at great personal risk and many have even lost their lives. When I was in the Senate, I was proud to support the creation of the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program to keep faith with so many Afghans and Iraqis who stood by the United States. I came into the State Department determined to keep our promises to these brave men and women. That is why I welcome today’s approval of bipartisan legislation in the Senate authorizing 1,000 additional visas for the Afghan SIV program, which follows passage of this legislation in the House on Wednesday. Congress has stood by us in making sure that the United States remains committed to helping those who helped us.

Over the past year, the State Department and our colleagues at other agencies have streamlined the SIV application process and reduced backlogs. As a result of these efforts, well before the end of fiscal year 2014, we have nearly reached our statutory cap of 3,000 visas for Afghans who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government. Passage of this legislation enables us to continue visa issuances for these deserving individuals who faithfully served with us.

I want to particularly thank my former Senate colleagues, Senators Jeanne Shaheen and John McCain, as well as their counterparts in the House, Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Adam Kinzinger, for their leadership on this issue. We look forward to further cooperation with Congress as we seek authorization to continue this program in fiscal year 2015. More than 11,000 Afghans and their family members have benefited from SIV programs, and we are eager to welcome many more.

AG HOLDER SPEAKS AT NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS MEETING

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 57th Annual Meeting and 13th State Criminal Justice Network Conference
Philadelphia ~ Friday, August 1, 2014
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Norman [Reimer], for those kind words – and for your exemplary leadership as Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  It’s a pleasure to share the stage with you this morning.  And it’s a great privilege to stand with dedicated leaders like NACDL President Jerry Cox and so many distinguished jurists, passionate public servants, members of the defense bar, and engaged citizens.

I want to thank this organization’s entire leadership team, staff, and membership for bringing us together this morning – and for everything this group has done, in the 57 years since your founding, to help expand access to justice; to strengthen the rule of law; and to draw America’s legal system ever closer to the values – of equality, opportunity, and justice – that have defined our profession, and shaped this nation, for more than two and a quarter centuries.

Since 1958, the attorneys and staff of NACDL have exemplified the finest traditions of service and advocacy, striving to ensure justice and due process for those who stand accused of crime and misconduct.  You’ve long stood at the forefront of our efforts to improve the administration of justice for all litigants.  And you’ve worked tirelessly to educate practitioners, the public, and the judiciary about matters ranging from mass incarceration to the indigent defense crisis – consistently standing up and speaking out for populations that are too often overlooked and too often underserved.

Especially today, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 – a landmark measure President Lyndon Johnson signed into law half a century ago this month to codify the Sixth Amendment right to counsel – it’s appropriate that we pause to reflect on the invaluable contributions, and the many sacrifices, that this Association’s members and so many others have made to ensure equality under the law.  But it’s just as important that we mark this anniversary, and honor the legacy of the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, by recommitting ourselves to the work that remains unfinished – and the significant challenges now before us.

As we speak – more than five decades after Gideon , and 50 years after the Criminal Justice Act established a framework for compensating attorneys who serve indigent federal defendants – millions of Americans remain unable to access or afford the legal assistance they need.  Far too many hardworking public defenders are overwhelmed by crushing caseloads or undermined by a shameful lack of resources.  And it’s clear that, despite the progress we’ve seen over the years, a persistent and unacceptable “justice gap” remains all too real.  It poses a significant threat to the integrity of our criminal justice system.  And meeting this threat will require bold action and renewed efforts from legal professionals of all stripes.

As my predecessor, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, reminded a gathering of legal professionals 50 years ago next week, it’s incumbent upon us to ensure that “the scales of our legal system measure justice, not wealth.”  That’s why this Administration – and this Justice Department in particular – is committed to doing everything in our power to address the indigent defense crisis.  Over the last four years, in spite of sequestration and other deep budget cuts, the Department of Justice has committed more than $24 million in grants, initiatives, and direct assistance to support indigent defense work around the country.  The President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2015 would do even more in this regard.  And thanks to the hardworking men and women of the Department’s Access to Justice Initiative – an office I launched over four years ago to improve access to counsel, increase legal assistance, and bolster justice delivery systems – we’re working closely with state, local, tribal and federal officials, as well as members of the bench and bar, to extend our outreach efforts; and to broaden access to quality representation in both the criminal and civil justice systems.

Last summer, we took a significant step forward by filing a Statement of Interest in a class action lawsuit – Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon – asserting that the federal government has a strong interest in ensuring that all jurisdictions are fulfilling their obligations under Gideon .  In December, in a pivotal decision, the U.S. District Court found that there had, in fact, been a systemic deprivation of the right to counsel – and mandated the appointment of a public defender supervisor to monitor the quality of indigent defense representation.  These and similar efforts will help us meet our constitutional and moral obligations to administer a legal system that matches its demands for accountability with a commitment to due process.  And they are only the beginning.

Moving forward, we must continue to come together – across aisles that divide counsel tables and political parties – to ensure that America has a criminal justice system that’s worthy of its highest ideals.  To make certain that those who pay their debts to society have fair opportunities to become productive, law-abiding citizens.  And to empower justice professionals to meet 21 st -century crime challenges with 21 st -century solutions.

With this goal in mind – one year ago – I launched a new “Smart on Crime” initiative, which includes a series of targeted, data-driven reforms that are designed to advance these goals.  Since that time, my colleagues and I have implemented a range of meaningful changes – by increasing our focus on proven diversion and reentry strategies; by making criminal justice expenditures both smarter and more productive; and by moving decisively away from outdated and overly-stringent sentencing regimes.

I want to be very clear: we will never stop being vigilant in our pursuit of justice and our determination to ensure that those who break the law are held rigorously to account.  But years of intensive study – and decades of professional experience – have shown that we will never be able to prosecute and incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.

As you know, the Smart on Crime initiative has led us to revise the Justice Department’s charging policies with regard to mandatory minimum sentences for certain federal, drug-related crimes – so that sentences will be determined based on the facts, the law, and the conduct at issue in each individual case.  This means that the toughest penalties will now be reserved for the most serious criminals.  Over the last few months – with the Department’s urging – the U.S. Sentencing Commission has taken additional steps to codify this approach, amending federal sentencing guidelines for low-level drug trafficking crimes to reduce the average sentence by nearly 18 percent.  Going forward, these new guidelines will impact almost 70 percent of people who are convicted of these offenses.  And last month, the Commission voted to allow judges to apply these revised guidelines retroactively in cases where reductions are warranted.

Now, some have suggested that these modest changes might somehow undermine the ability of law enforcement and prosecutors to induce cooperation from defendants in federal drug cases.  But the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth.

Like anyone who served as a prosecutor in the days before sentencing guidelines existed and mandatory minimums took effect, I know from experience that defendant cooperation depends on the certainty of swift and fair punishment, not on the disproportionate length of a mandatory minimum sentence.  As veteran prosecutors and defense attorneys surely recall – and as our U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, John Vaudreuil, has often reminded his colleagues – sentencing guidelines essentially systematized the kinds of negotiations that routinely took place in cases where defendants cooperated with the government in exchange for reduced sentences.  With or without the threat of a mandatory minimum, it remains in the interest of these defendants to cooperate.  It remains in the mutual interest of defense attorneys and prosecutors to engage in these discussions.  And any suggestion that defendant cooperation is somehow dependent on mandatory minimums is plainly inconsistent with the facts and with history.

Far from impeding the work of federal prosecutors, these sentencing reforms that I have mandated represent the ultimate expression of confidence in their judgment and discretion.  That’s why I’ve called on Congress to expand upon and further institutionalize the changes we’ve put in place – so we can better promote public safety, deterrence, and rehabilitation while saving billions of dollars and reducing our overreliance on incarceration.

Beyond this work, my colleagues and I are also striving to restore justice, fairness, and proportionality to those currently involved with our justice system through an improved approach to the executive clemency process.  In April, the Department announced new criteria that we will consider when recommending clemency applications for President Obama’s review.  This will allow us to consider requests from a larger field of eligible individuals – who have clean prison records, who do not present threats to public safety, and who were sentenced under out-of-date laws that are no longer seen as appropriate.

I’m pleased to report that we’ve already established an extensive and rigorous screening mechanism.  We’ve facilitated efforts to engage assistance from pro bono attorneys, including many in this bar.  We have detailed a number of lawyers within the Justice Department to temporary assignments in the Pardon Attorney’s Office.  And we’ve taken important steps to establish a process by which we will consult with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the trial judges who handled each original case – so we can evaluate every clemency application in the appropriate context.

I am particularly grateful for the assistance of dedicated criminal defense attorneys in and beyond this room – as well as nonprofit lawyers – who have stepped forward to answer the call for experienced pro bono counsel.  As our process unfolds, these associated groups, including NACDL, and individuals – who stand more than a thousand attorneys strong, and call themselves “Clemency Project 2014” – will work with incarcerated people who appear to meet our criteria and request the assistance of a lawyer.

Your efforts in this regard – and your partnership in strengthening our criminal justice system across the board – have been in keeping with the most critical obligation entrusted to every member of our profession:  not merely to represent clients or win cases, but to see that justice is done.  Every day, in courtrooms from coast to coast, criminal defense attorneys take on cases that are fraught with difficulty and often controversy – because you understand that, for our criminal justice system to function at all, every accused individual must have effective representation.  And every defendant’s right to due process must be guaranteed.

Yet with the integral role that defense attorneys play in our justice system comes a tremendous responsibility: to uphold the highest standards of conduct in every single case.  Prosecutors and defense lawyers can agree that we all must act in good faith in discovery, including refraining from alleging discovery violations as a routine practice.  Our overburdened court system is ill-served by such unfounded tactics.  And the interests of justice demand that legal professionals look to their ultimate obligations: to strengthen the system as a whole; to address the disparities and divides that harm our society; to confront conditions and choices that breed crime and violence; and to harness innovative tools – and new technologies – in effective and responsible ways.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen an explosion in the practice of using aggregate data to observe trends and anticipate outcomes.  In fields ranging from professional sports, to marketing, to medicine; from genomics to agriculture; from banking to criminal justice, this increased reliance on empirical data has the potential to transform entire industries – and, in the process, countless lives – depending on how this data is harnessed and put to use.

With programs like CompStat – the New York City Police Department’s management tool, which has been replicated and deployed in a number of police departments across the country – we’ve seen that data gathering can lead to better allocation of police resources.  On the federal level, we know that the development of risk assessments has, for years, successfully aided in parole boards’ decision-making about candidates for early release.  Data can also help design paths for federal inmates to lower these risk assessments, and earn their way towards a reduced sentence, based on participation in programs that research shows can dramatically improve the odds of successful reentry.  Such evidence-based strategies show promise in allowing us to more effectively reduce recidivism.  And ultimately, they hold the potential to revolutionize community corrections and make our system far more effective than it is today – by better matching services with needs;  by providing early warnings whenever supervised individuals stray from their reentry plans; by incorporating faster responses from probation officers to get people back on track; and by yielding feedback and results in real-time.

It’s increasingly clear that, in the context of directing law enforcement resources and improving reentry programs, intensive analysis and data-driven solutions can help us achieve significant successes while reducing costs.  But particularly when it comes to front-end applications – such as sentencing decisions, where a handful of states are now attempting to employ this methodology – we need to be sure the use of aggregate data analysis won’t have unintended consequences.

Here in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, legislators have introduced the concept of “risk assessments” that seek to assign a probability to an individual’s likelihood of committing future crimes and, based on those risk assessments, make sentencing determinations.  Although these measures were crafted with the best of intentions, I am concerned that they may inadvertently undermine our efforts to ensure individualized and equal justice.  By basing sentencing decisions on static factors and immutable characteristics – like the defendant’s education level, socioeconomic background, or neighborhood – they may exacerbate unwarranted and unjust disparities that are already far too common in our criminal justice system and in our society.

Criminal sentences must be based on the facts, the law, the actual crimes committed, the circumstances surrounding each individual case, and the defendant’s history of criminal conduct.  They should not be based on unchangeable factors that a person cannot control, or on the possibility of a future crime that has not taken place.  Equal justice can only mean individualized justice, with charges, convictions, and sentences befitting the conduct of each defendant and the particular crime he or she commits.  And that’s why, this week, the Justice Department is taking the important step of urging the Sentencing Commission to study the use of data-driven analysis in front-end sentencing – and to issue policy recommendations based on this careful, independent analysis.

At the state level, data-driven reforms are resulting in reduced prison populations – and importantly, those reductions are disproportionately impacting men of color.  We should celebrate this milestone – a turning point – and hope that front-end applications can also result in both public safety and racial justice.  Careful study of the issue is warranted.

We are at a watershed in the debate over how to reform our sentencing laws.  A generation ago, the “truth in sentencing” movement of the 1970s and 80s sought to mete out equal sentences across the board, but sent the prison population soaring.  By contrast, the idea of sentencing defendants based on risk factors may help to reduce the prison population, but in certain circumstances it may run the risk of imposing drastically different punishments for the same crimes.  Neither approach may, by itself, provide the answer.  Instead, policymakers should consider taking the good parts of each model.  The legacy of the truth-in-sentencing era is the lesson that the certainty of imposing some sanction for criminal behavior can indeed change behavior.  And the “Big Data” movement has immense potential to make the corrections process more effective and efficient when it comes to reducing recidivism rates.  A blending of these approaches may represent the best path forward.

Of course, whatever the outcome of this debate, there’s no doubt that these are complicated questions that implicate extraordinarily difficult issues.  We seek – and we are bringing about – nothing less than a paradigm shift in our approach to criminal justice challenges.  Ultimately, we’re striving to turn the page on an era, and an approach, that relied on incarceration over rehabilitation; that emphasized punishment over outcomes; and that too often discounted the ability of our justice system to prepare criminal defendants to reenter their communities as productive members of society.  Through the Smart on Crime initiative, we have already achieved a tremendous amount.     As we move forward together, my colleagues and I will continue to rely on leaders like you to advance, to hone, and to grow this work.

This morning, as I look around this crowd of passionate professionals and dedicated public servants, I cannot help but feel confident in our ability to do just that; to develop smart solutions to the toughest problems we face; to protect the rights of everyone in this country, no matter their salary or their skin color; and to further enshrine the ideals of American justice into the annals of American law.  The very existence of organizations like NACDL reminds us that – no matter how complex the challenges or how contentious the debate – there will always be men and women who do not shrink from the responsibility to bring this country closer to its highest principles and deepest values.

Even in the face of great trial and challenge, despite criticism and public scrutiny, you have for nearly six decades remained faithful to your mission to ensure justice, foster integrity, and promote the fair administration of our criminal justice system.  I thank you, once again, for your inspiring commitment to these efforts.  I applaud your dedication to principled and inclusive leadership of America’s legal community.  And I look forward to all that we’ll achieve together in our ongoing efforts to deliver on the promise of equal justice under law.

Thank you.

SBA TOUTS MEETING 2013 SMALL BUSINESS FEDERAL PROCUREMENT CONTRACTING GOAL

FROM:  U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION 

Obama Administration Achieves 2013 Small Business Federal Procurement Contracting Goal

First Time in Eight Years Goal is Met
 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced that the federal government reached its small business federal contracting goal for the first time in eight years, awarding 23.39 percent in federal contracts to small businesses totaling $83.1 billion of eligible contracting dollars.  SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet made the announcement at a press conference held at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md.
“When we hit our small business procurement target, it’s a win.  Small businesses get the revenue they need to grow and create jobs, and the federal government gets the chance to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the U.S. while the economy grows,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  “Thanks to the President’s leadership and a team effort among all federal agencies, we were able to meet this goal.”
Performance in four out of five of the small business prime contracting categories showed significant improvement, with increases in performance against statutory goals. While contract dollars have gone down in all categories as a result of overall reduced federal spending, small businesses still secured a greater percentage of the contracting dollars.  The SBA has worked with federal agencies to expand opportunities for small businesses to compete for and win federal contracts.

Alongside the announcement, the SBA released the FY 2013 Small Business Procurement Scorecard, which provides an assessment of each federal agency’s yearly small business contracting achievement against its goal with 20 agencies receiving an A or A+.  Overall, the federal government received an “A” on the government-wide Scorecard.

Friday, August 1, 2014

READOUT: VP BIDNEN'S CALL WITH UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT POROSHENKO

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

Readout of the Vice President's Call with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko


Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko regarding the political situation in Ukraine, the Ukrainian government’s efforts to ensure unhindered access to the MH-17 crash site, and Russia’s destabilizing actions in eastern Ukraine. The Vice President also announced approximately $8 million in new assistance to the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service. This additional assistance includes engineering equipment for improving infrastructure along Ukraine's borders, transport and patrol vehicles, surveillance equipment to extend the visual range of border security patrols, and small boats to conduct maritime patrol and interdiction operations. The Vice President congratulated Poroshenko on the Ukrainian parliament’s confidence vote in Prime Minister Yatsenyuk as well the passage of important economic reform bills and the ratification of agreements with Australia and the Netherlands for security personnel to access to the MH-17 crash site in support of the international investigation. President Poroshenko informed the Vice President that access to the crash site had been secured both yesterday and today despite continued separatist attacks in the vicinity. The two leaders also discussed Russia’s deeply destabilizing efforts to continue supplying weapons to its proxies in eastern Ukraine and the increasing prevalence of artillery and rocket fire coming from the Russian side of the border.

SECRETARY KERRY CONDEMNS ATTACK KILLING TWO ISRAELI SOLDIERS, ABDUCTION OF ANOTHER

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

The Situation in the Gaza Strip

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 1, 2014


The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s attack, which led to the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the apparent abduction of another. It was an outrageous violation of the cease-fire negotiated over the past several days, and of the assurances given to the United States and the United Nations.

Hamas, which has security control over the Gaza Strip, must immediately and unconditionally release the missing Israeli soldier, and I call on those with influence over Hamas to reinforce this message.

After the horrific loss of life in this attack and its aftermath, it would be a tragedy if this outrageous attack leads to more suffering and loss of life on both sides of this conflict. I have been in close touch with Prime Minister Netanyahu, with UN Special Coordinator Robert Serry and with other regional partners. The international community must now redouble its efforts to end the tunnel and rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel and the suffering and loss of civilian life.

U.S. CONGRATULATES PEOPLE OF SWITZERLAND ON THEIR NATIONAL DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

On the Occasion of Switzerland's National Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 1, 2014


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Switzerland on your National Day on August 1.

My affection for your country dates back to my days as a student, living and learning in the Swiss Alps just outside Zurich while my father was posted overseas working for the State Department.

The United States and Switzerland are sister republics, united in common cause by the ideas enshrined in the words of your Ruetlischwur and our Declaration of Independence.

As two of the oldest federal republics in the world, we share core democratic values, including respect for rule of law, minority rights, and individual liberties.

I am proud of the work we do together to support democracy, promote human rights, and provide humanitarian relief and economic development assistance to countries throughout the world.

The United States looks forward to strengthening our partnership in the years to come.

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR AUGUST 1, 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
CONTRACTS
SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
Exelis, Inc., Clifton, New Jersey, is being awarded a $190,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasure components and related services for the Technology Applications program office and CV-22 program offices. The majority of the work will be performed in Clifton, New Jersey. This contract has a five-year base period and a three-year incentive award period. Ordering periods will end on July 30, 2019. Individual task orders will be funded with operations and maintenance or procurement appropriations under the appropriate fiscal year. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $8,618,657 are being obligated at time of award on the first task order. This contract was a not competitively procured in accordance with FAR 6.302-1. U.S. Special Operations Command, Tampa, Florida, is the contracting activity (H92241-14-D-0006).
NAVY
Baldi Bros., Inc.*, Beaumont, California (N62473-14-D-0064); CJW Construction, Inc.*, Santa Ana, California (N62473-14-D-0065); Granite Construction Company, Watsonville, California (N62473-14-D-0066); Marathon Construction Corporation*, Lakeside, California (N62473-14-D-0067); and Reyes Construction, Inc., Pomona, California (N62473-14-D-0068), are each being awarded a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract for new construction, repair and renovation of heavy horizontal and civil engineering construction projects at various locations within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest area of responsibility (AOR). Types of projects may include, but are not limited to: outdoor shooting and combat training ranges and terrains, canals and channels, dams and embankments, bridges, erosion control and stormwater management, landfills, ammunition/weapons magazines, irrigation and landscaping, recreational fields and parks, and tunneling and horizontal directional drilling. The combined maximum dollar value for all five contracts, including the base period and four option years, is $99,000,000. No task orders are being issued at this time. All work on these contracts will be performed within the NAVFAC Southwest AOR including, but not limited to, California (80 percent); Arizona (16 percent); Nevada (1 percent); Utah (1 percent); Colorado (1 percent); and New Mexico (1 percent). The terms of the contracts are not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of August 2019. Fiscal 2014 operation and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $25,000 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured as full and open unrestricted procurement with a Historically Underutilized Business Zone price evaluation preference in accordance with FAR 52.219-4, and a reserve to two or more small businesses, via the Federal Business Opportunities website with 19 proposals received. These five contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contracts. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity.
Huntington Ingalls Inc., Newport News, Virginia, is being awarded a $49,646,289 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for fiscal 2014 advance planning to prepare and make ready for the defueling work on USS George Washington (CVN 73). This effort will provide for advanced planning, ship checks, design, documentation, engineering, procurement, fabrication and preliminary shipyard or support facility work to prepare for the defueling work. Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia, and is expected to completed by July 2015. Fiscal 2014 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $49,646,289 will be obligated at the time of the award. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured under the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-14-C-2111).
MicroPact, Inc.,* Herndon, Virginia, is being awarded a $12,989,520 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the Naval Justice Information System (NJIS). The NJIS will provide enterprise support for the United States Navy and Marine Corps criminal justice community’s case management and reporting requirements. The NJIS program will enable end-to-end case management and incident reporting capabilities for the law enforcement, investigations, command actions, corrections and judicial actions communities, with implementation and configuration of the program in a two-phase approach. This program includes the replacement and retirement of the Consolidated Law Enforcement Operations Center, Corrections Management Information and Case Management systems, as well as the migration of all legacy data from those systems into the NJIS database. Work will be performed in Quantico, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by Feb. 2, 2019. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated as individual task orders are issued. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with full and open competition proposals solicited via the Commerce Business Daily’s Federal Business Opportunities and SPAWAR e-Commerce Central websites, with 11 offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare System Command, San Diego, California, awarded the contract on behalf of its organizational partner, the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (N00039-14-D-0004).
Airborne Tactical Advantage Co., Newport News, Virginia, is being awarded a $12,798,915 firm-fixed-price, cost reimbursement, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for services in support of the Contracted Air Services program, which provides contractor-owned and operated Type III high subsonic and Type IV supersonic aircraft to U.S. Navy fleet customers for a wide variety of airborne threat simulation capabilities. This provides for training shipboard and aircraft squadron weapon systems operators and aircrew. Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia (45 percent); Point Mugu, California (35 percent); and various locations outside the continental United States (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2014. Fiscal year 2014 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,856,845 will be obligated at time of award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00019-14-D-0010).

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, is being awarded a $7,467,820 modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024 13 C-5407) for Standard Missile-6 lifetime buy of obsolete material components. This contract modification will incorporate requirements for lifetime buys of SM-6 obsolete components and will mitigate the risk of redesign efforts. Work will be performed in Malaga, Spain (67 percent); Melville, New York (19 percent); Camden, Arkansas (5 percent); Dallas, Texas (4 percent); Sandy Hook, Connecticut (2 percent); Los Alamitos, California (2 percent); Wilmington, Massachusetts (less than 1 percent); Austin, Texas (less than 1 percent); and is expected to be completed by December 2014. Fiscal 2012, 2013and 2014 weapons procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $7,467,820 will be obligated at the time of award. Contract funds in the amount of $5,992,165 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.
ARMY
Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was awarded a $45,037,719 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to reset and upgrade up to 800 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV). Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2015. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $38,727,860, and fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the amount of $6,309,859, are being obligated at the time of the award. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan is the contracting activity (W56HZV-14-C-0094).
The Atlantic Group,* Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded a $9,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity single award task order contract for engineer surveying and mapping of shallow water habitat, floodplain changes and vegetation cover at various nationwide locations. Funding and work location will be determined with each order with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2019. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 27 received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Nebraska is the contracting activity (W9128F-14-D-0003).
Kutta Technologies, Inc.,* Phoenix, Arizona, was awarded a $9,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Synergistic Unmanned Manned Intelligent Teaming Mission Tasking System. Funding and work location will be determined with each order with a completion date of Sept. 1, 2017. One bid was solicited with one received. Army Contracting Command, Fort Eustis, Virginia is the contracting activity (W911W6-14-D-0001).
Hesco Bastion, Inc.,* North Charleston, South Carolina, was awarded a $8,792,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with options, for partially textile-lined gabion baskets, refurbishment of partially textile-lined gabion baskets, and technical advisory services for the National Flood Fight Center, Rock Island, Illinois. Funding and work location will be determined with each order with a completion date of Dec. 31, 2017. Bids were solicited via the Internet with two received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island, Illinois is the contracting activity (W912EK-14-D-0001).
Ichor Medical Systems, Inc.,* San Diego, California, was awarded a $8,640,535 cost-plus-fixed- fee multiyear contract for the development and clinical assessment of a DNA-based antibody delivery platform for passive immunoprophylaxis. Work will be performed in San Diego, California, with an estimated completion date of July 30, 2018. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 100 received. Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $2,824,961 are being obligated at the time of the award. Army Contracting Command, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina is the contracting activity (W911NF-14-C-0001).
AIR FORCE
Alion Science and Technology Corp., Burr Ridge, Illinois, has been awarded a $10,027,721 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order (0067) on the AMMTIAC indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost-plus-fixed-fee sole-source (FA4600-06-D-0003) for nanotechnology development and technology transfer. AMMTIAC will provide technical, engineering, and expertise in nanotechnology applications in materials, manufacturing and testing of interest to the military. The work will be performed at Rome, New York, and Crane, Indiana, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 29, 2016. Department of Defense working capital funds in the amount of $20,000 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.
*Small business

DOD VIDEO: DESERT TRAINING BEFORE EXERCISE IN ASIA


FTC SAYS COURT HALTS OFFICE SUPPLY SCAM

FROM:  FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 
FTC Stops Deceptive Office Supply Scam That Targeted Small Businesses and Nonprofits

At the Federal Trade Commission’s request, a federal court has temporarily halted and frozen the assets of an operation that bilked nonprofits, businesses, and municipalities out of millions of dollars by deceptively sending them overpriced light bulbs and cleaning supplies that they never ordered. The FTC seeks to permanently stop the illegal practices and make the defendants return victims’ money.

“The FTC is committed to taking action against deceptive schemes that take advantage of people who work in nonprofits and small businesses,” said Jessica Rich, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Scam artists who lie to employees about orders and then demand payment are a magnet for FTC enforcement.”

According to a complaint filed by the FTC, the defendants called organizations throughout the country and falsely indicated that they had previously done business with them; that the call was to confirm a shipping or mailing address or follow up on a supposed previous order; that they were offering a free sample, catalog or gift; or that they needed an employee’s name and contact information for some purpose other than a sale. The defendants often did not identify themselves accurately or clearly disclose that it was a sales call, and sent consumers merchandise after misleading them and without their consent.

Many consumers paid the defendants’ invoices, thinking the employee named on the invoice had ordered the merchandise. The person who processed the invoices was often not the same person who received the shipments and did not know the merchandise was never ordered.  Consumers who paid thinking they were obligated to do so became targets for future shipments of unordered merchandise. Those who questioned the invoices were often pressured into paying by the defendants’ claiming that they had audio recordings verifying the order (which they failed to produce) or stating they would accept a “discounted” price as payment in full.

The defendants are charged with violating the FTC Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Unordered Merchandise Statute by shipping and billing for unordered merchandise.

The defendants are Midway Industries Limited Liability Company, also doing business as Midway Industries, Midway Industries LLC, and Midway Industries of Delray Beach LLC; Commercial Industries LLC, also d/b/a Commercial Industries, Commercial Industries of Palm Beach LLC, and State Electric & Power LLC; National LLC, also d/b/a National Distributors, National Lighting & Maintenance, National, and National of Delray Beach LLC; State Power & Lighting LLC; Standard Industries LLC, also d/b/a Standard Industries and Standard Industries, LLC; Essex Industries, LLC; Johnson Distributing Limited Liability Company, also d/b/a Johnson Distributing, Johnson Distributing MD, Johnson Distribution, and Johnson Distributors; Hansen Supply LLC; Environmental Industries LLC; Mid Atlantic Industries LLC; Midway Management, LLC; B & E Industries, LLC; Eric A. Epstein; and Brian K. Wallen.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The court entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants on July 21, 2014.

The FTC appreciates the assistance of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland in helping to investigate and bring this case.

AG HOLDER ANNOUNCES PLANS FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT TO CARRY NALOXONE TO HELP HEROIN OVERDOSE VICTIMS

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Attorney General Holder Announces Plans for Federal Law Enforcement Personnel to Begin Carrying Naloxone
Holder Cautions Congress to Preserve Immediate Suspension Orders (ISOs) That Help DEA Shut Down Rogue Drug Distributors

In a new memorandum released Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder urged federal law enforcement agencies to identify, train and equip personnel who may interact with a victim of a heroin overdose with the drug naloxone.  This latest step by the Attorney General will pave the way for certain federal agents -- such as emergency medical personnel -- to begin carrying the potentially life-saving drug known for effectively restoring breathing to a victim in the midst of a heroin or opioid overdose.

According to the most recent study, 110 Americans on average die from drug overdoses every day, outnumbering even deaths from gunshot wounds or motor vehicle crashes.  More than half of these drug overdose deaths involve opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers.  Between 2006 and 2010, heroin overdose deaths dramatically increased by 45 percent.

“The shocking increase in overdose deaths illustrates that addiction to heroin and other opioids, including some prescription painkillers, represents nothing less than a public health crisis,” said Attorney General Holder.  “I am confident that expanding the availability of naloxone has the potential to save the lives, families and futures of countless people across the nation.”

The Justice Department wants federal law enforcement agencies, as well as their state and local partners, to review their policies and procedures to determine whether personnel in those agencies should be equipped and trained to recognize and respond to opioid overdose by various methods, including the use of naloxone.  Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, resulting in over 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001.

“ The heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic knows no boundaries--anyone can be affected, and we have already lost far too many lives,” said Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli.  “We have moved aggressively against this epidemic and we know that the actions of law enforcement officers at the scene of an overdose can mean the difference between life and death.  Attorney General Holder's leadership in this arena will help prevent future overdose deaths and we look forward to working closely with his office and other partners to get naloxone to law enforcement professionals across the nation. ”

As the department continues to address escalating and rapidly-evolving challenges that lead to opioid abuse and drug trafficking, the Attorney General cautioned members of Congress to protect critical enforcement tools like Immediate Suspension Orders (ISOs).  A recently passed House bill would “severely undermine” a critical component of our efforts to prevent communities and families from falling prey to dangerous drugs.

The Attorney General announced the new memorandum at a day-long conference on law enforcement and naloxone convened by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.   Today’s announcement follows up on the Attorney General’s call to action in March, when he urged local law enforcement authorities, who are often the first to respond to possible overdoses, to routinely carry naloxone.

The Attorney General’s full remarks to the law enforcement conference, as prepared for delivery appear below:

“Thank you, Mary Lou Leary, for those kind words – and thank you all for being here today.  I’d particularly like to thank Director Denise O’Donnell, Deputy Director Kristen Mahoney, and their colleagues from the Bureau of Justice Assistance – as well as Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli, Administrator Michele Leonhart, Deputy Assistant Administrator Joe Rannazzisi, and the dedicated men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration – for bringing us together this morning.  And I want to recognize all of the distinguished panelists – representing fields ranging from law enforcement, to public policy, to public health and drug treatment – who have taken the time to lend their voices to this important discussion.  Every day, you stand on the front lines of our fight to confront an urgent – and growing – threat to our nation and its citizens.  And we’re proud to count you as colleagues and partners.

“As the leaders in this room know all too well, in the five years between 2006 and 2010, this country witnessed a dramatic, 45-percent increase in heroin-related deaths.  And 110 people die every day from overdoses, primarily driven by prescription drugs.  The shocking increase in overdose deaths illustrates that addiction to heroin and other opioids, including some prescription painkillers, represents nothing less than a public health crisis.  It’s also a public safety crisis.  And every day, this crisis touches – and devastates – the lives of Americans from every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life.

“That’s why this Administration, and this Department of Justice in particular, have taken aggressive steps to fight back at every point of intervention – and with every tool at our disposal.  In recent years, we have worked to prevent opioid diversion and abuse by targeting the illegal supply chain, by disrupting pill mills, and by thwarting doctor-shopping attempts by drug users and distributors.  We have developed innovative public health programs to educate the public, to monitor the problem, and to rigorously enforce applicable federal laws.  And we have stepped up our investigatory efforts – opening more than 4,500 heroin-related investigations since 2011 and increasing the amount of heroin seized along America’s southwest border by 320 percent between 2008 and 2013.

“From our rigorous scrutiny of new pharmacy applications to prevent illicit storefront drug trafficking – to our sponsorship of “Drug Take Back” events that provide opportunities for safe and responsible prescription drug disposal – with your help and expert guidance, the department has pursued a comprehensive strategy to keep pharmaceutical controlled substances from falling into the hands of non-medical users.  We can all be proud of the steps forward we’ve taken, and the considerable results we’ve achieved, over the last few years alone.  But we continue to face escalating and rapidly-evolving challenges in our efforts to prevent opioid abuse and intercept illicit drugs.

“These challenges illustrate the need to preserve important law enforcement tools like Immediate Suspension Orders, which allow DEA to immediately shut down irresponsible distributors, pharmacies, and rogue pain clinics that flood the market with pills prescribed by unethical or irresponsible doctors.  These Immediate Suspension Orders, or ISOs, are used to take action in instances where irresponsible behavior places the public at risk - and do so without interrupting the legitimate flow of prescription drugs or preventing patients from receiving necessary medications.

“Particularly now – at a time when our nation is facing a heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis – law enforcement tools like ISOs could not be more important.  And if Congress were to take them away, or weaken our ability to use them successfully, it would severely undermine a critical component of our efforts to prevent communities and families from falling prey to dangerous drugs.

“Of course, I recognize – as you do – that we cannot prevent every individual instance of heroin or prescription painkiller abuse.  And that is why, beyond these efforts, we must also take additional steps to ensure that we can respond quickly and effectively in the event of acute heroin- or prescription drug-related emergencies that are encountered in the field.

“In March, I urged local law enforcement authorities, who are often the first to respond to possible overdoses, to routinely carry naloxone – a drug that’s extremely effective at restoring breathing to a victim in the midst of a heroin or other opioid overdose.  At that time, seventeen states and the District of Columbia had amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, resulting in over 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001.  During one of my regular meetings with the leaders of national law enforcement organizations – many of whom I see here today – they identified the need for technical assistance so that jurisdictions with an interest in equipping officers and first responders may do so effectively.  Today’s meeting fulfills that request.  The result of this convening will be a set of guidelines to assist law enforcement and public health providers who wish to be equipped and trained in the use of this potentially life-saving remedy.

“In addition, this morning, I can announce that, for the first time ever, I have issued a memorandum urging federal law enforcement agencies – including the DEA, the ATF, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service – to review their policies and procedures to determine whether personnel within their agencies should be equipped and trained to recognize and respond to opioid overdose, including with the use of naloxone.  In the coming days, I expect each of these critical agencies to determine whether and which members of their teams should be trained to use and carry naloxone in the performance of their duties.

“Although, like you, I recognize that there are numerous challenges involved in naloxone implementation – from acquisition and replenishment, to training, medical oversight and liability issues – I am confident that expanding the availability of this tool has the potential to save the lives, families, and futures of countless people across the nation.  I am certain that the leaders in this room – together with our colleagues and counterparts far beyond it – possess the knowledge, the skill, and the determination to forge workable solutions to these pressing concerns.  The ultimate goal of today’s conference is to harness your insights, to channel your expertise, and to mine your collective experience in order to make real and lasting progress on behalf of those who are in desperate need of our assistance.  Through extensive collaboration and shared wisdom, we can overcome persistent challenges and set a new course for the future.

“So long as I have the privilege of serving as Attorney General, I am determined to keep working with you – and with leaders and stakeholders from around the country – to help break new ground, to develop new solutions, and to forge new paths to the safer, brighter, and more just futures that all Americans deserve.  I want to thank each of you, once again, for your commitment to this initiative; for your devotion to this cause; and for your partnership in the considerable work that lies before us.  I look forward to all that we must, and surely will, accomplish together in the months and years to come.  And I wish you all a most productive conference.”

DOD VIDEO: F-35 STILL ON TRACK FOR 2016


SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS WITH INDIAN MINISTER FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS SWARAJ

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks With Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj After Their Meeting
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan
New Delhi, India
July 31, 2014

MODERATOR: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I welcome you to this media interaction. As is usual, we will first have opening statements by the two dignitaries, following which they have agreed to respond to a couple of questions each. We now begin the program. May I request that External Affairs Minister of India Shrimati Sushma Swaraj to make her opening remarks.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: Thanks. We have just completed an excellent discussion on the main areas of our partnership: security; energy; trade and investment; science and technology; regional and border issues. The extent to which our cooperation is an impact on the wellbeing of our people, our economies, and our respective regional and global interests, makes us a truly defining partnership. And the extent to which revitalized India-U.S. ties contribute to peace, security, and prosperity of our neighborhood, the Asian region and beyond, makes our relationship truly strategic.

We recognized that today, both sides stand at an important turning point. Today, we can once again realize the latent potential of our partnership, which is based on common fundamental values and converging long-term strategic interests.

Secretary Kerry and Secretary Pritzker were generous in their assessment of what our new government will be able to do to realize the expectations of our people. They recognize that there’s much hard work ahead to realize the people’s mandate in an election of hope. My colleagues and I underlined that, for our part, we see great potential for the United States as a global partner. We underlined our interest in seeing a much more robust American presence in the Indian economy – as investors, as trade partners, in skill development, in defense, and in science and technology.

We also recognized that the regional and global aspect of our strategic partnership has great value for both sides, especially in the current situation of global and regional flux. We are delighted that there is a growing global dimension in our partnership. We agreed that the visit of Defense Secretary Hagel next Friday is an important opportunity to energize our defense partnership and begin the process of giving it a new strategic content.

We also recognized that the majority of our strategic relationship has given both sides the capacity to treat issues where we diverge as an opportunity for further conversation and dialogue. Towards this end, we discussed scheduling our long-pending commercial dialogue, our ministerial trade policy forum, and other bilateral dialogue mechanisms to address outstanding trade and economic issues that arise as a natural result of different perceptions.

Today, at the conclusion of this Fifth Strategic Dialogue, we can take satisfaction in the fact that within the few years since we raised our relationship to a strategic plane, our bilateral dialogue, as in all of the (inaudible), a new energy that our meeting today has imparted to partner departments and ministries should lead to determined efforts to ensure that the summit meeting in September between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Obama raises our partnership to a new level.

I want to thank our distinguished guests for their presence here in India. We appreciate the commitment to this partnership and the substantive contributions made on both sides today. While I’m pleased at the current effort to build on the momentum of our elections, we can be truly satisfied if we sustain this effort to ensure the best possible outcomes from the summit this September and through the rest of the year.

I now request Secretary Kerry to address you, after which we’ll take a few questions. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much, Minister Swaraj. I want to thank you, first of all, for your leadership and I particularly want to thank you for the important perspective you brought to the discussions here today, as well as your very, very generous welcome. Thank you very much.

And in fact, the minister was extremely generous in permitting me to make a number of must-do phone calls during our session, and I’m very grateful to her for her indulgence.

I also want to acknowledge and thank the many members of the United States delegation joining me here today. Secretary Penny Pritzker is as good a Commerce Secretary as you could ever find, and I’m blessed to have her not only as a friend but as a colleague in this endeavor. And I saw firsthand today how important her leadership is in all that we are trying to undertake – science and technology, trade, all of our commercial activity and our economic issues.

Before I begin to discuss what we’ve accomplished in the past few days – and it has been a few days, because a number of members of our delegation arrived here several days ago and began meetings in Mumbai and here in Delhi. So there have been a lot of conversations taking place leading up to today. But I particularly wanted to share on behalf of President Obama and the United States our condolences with the families and the loved ones of the dozens of men and women who lost their lives in the Pune mudslide. There are many who remain missing. I know the Indian Government is investing enormous resources and effort in order to engage in the recovery effort, and the United States certainly is prepared to do anything that we might be able to if indeed help is needed.

I have been coming to India for many years. I’ve come here many times. In fact, I remember traveling here at the end of the Cold War, and it was a moment when nerves were still raw and suspicions still lingered. But as a Senator, I began to see how the relationship could quickly change, and in fact did. When I began to travel to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, with the executives from companies and high-tech industries or in aerospace, it was very clear to me the breadth of the potential of the relationship between India and the United States, the potential of a real partnership. And I feel today, particularly after these two days of in-depth discussions, that the moment has never been more ripe to deliver on the incredible possibilities of the relationship between our nations.

Now that India’s new government has won an historic mandate to deliver change and reform, together we have a singular opportunity: to help India to meet its challenge; to boost two-way trade; to support South Asia’s connectivity; to develop cleaner energy; to deepen our security partnership in the Asia Pacific and beyond.

The United States and India can and should be indispensable partners in the 21st century. Of course, delivering on the potential of this moment is the key. The words are easy; it’s the actions we need to take that will really define the relationship in the days ahead. And I think it’s safe to say that I said to the foreign minister that we all have a lot of homework to do coming out of this meeting, many bilateral initiatives that will continue, but clearly, an importance to put specifics on the table for the trip of Prime Minister Modi to Washington in September to meet with President Obama.

I think we share a clear understanding of where we can begin. The new – in the new government’s plan for (in Hindi) – “together with all, development for all,” is a concept and a vision that is not unlike that expressed by President Obama and is one that we support wholeheartedly. Our private sector is very eager to be a catalyst for India’s development, and our government will enthusiastically support those kinds of development efforts. The opportunities are really clear, and they’re quite dramatic. American companies lead in key sectors that India wants to grow in: high-end manufacturing in infrastructure, in healthcare, and in information technology.

Still, we know we have a lot of work yet to do in breaking down barriers to trade and in encouraging the talent that we both have to be able to go to work. By limiting those obstacles, which we talked about over the course of these two days, whether they’re tariffs or price controls or preferential treatment for certain products in large, influential markets, we can build a more competitive market as well as build the bridges of opportunity that our young people in both of our countries want so much. When 10 million Indians enter the workforce each year, the Indian Government clearly understands this imperative.

Another topic that we spent a great deal of time discussing today was climate change. In past months, we have begun to find more common ground on this important global issue. There is no place where the challenges posed by climate change and the economic opportunities of renewable energy converge like they do in India today. We want to help India to be able to meet this challenge, to make the connections, and to be able to help supply clean electricity to the 400 million Indians who today live without power. I know this is a priority for the prime minister, and it’s a priority that we’re prepared to try to share.

This morning, I had the privilege of visiting IIT, the Indian Institute of Technology. And I met with some of the young doctorate candidates – doctoral candidates and master’s candidates who are doing fascinating research and development. This is one of India’s and the world’s premier institutions where students and researchers are – and their professors obviously are experimenting and working with the use of biomass and algae as sources of green energy, also new means of water treatment and cleaning water. It was really encouraging to see what is happening there, and I hope that we’ll be able to see Indian and American institutions coming together in a more formalized and productive way in order to be able to encourage that kind of joint research and innovation.

We also want to be clear: Climate change and energy shortages are not something that might happen way off in the future; it’s here with us now. Extreme weather, blackouts, scarce resources, all of these things endanger human health, prosperity, and they ultimately endanger security for all of us. Prime Minister Modi has stated clearly that he understands the urgency of this issue. He’s called for a saffron revolution, because the saffron color represents energy. He said that this revolution should focus on renewable energy sources such as solar energy in order to meet India’s growing energy demand. He is absolutely right. The United States could not agree with him more, and together, we believe that we can at last begin a new and constructive chapter in the United States-India climate change relationship.

Lastly, in this century, one that will continue to be defined by competing models of governance, India and the United States have a common responsibility. It is to prove that democracies can deliver the full expectations of their citizens. Our two nations believe that when every citizen, no matter their background, no matter their beliefs, can make their full contribution, that is when a nation is strongest and most secure, and that certainly applies to India and the United States. We are two confident nations. We are connected by core values. And we are optimistic nations should never lose sight of how much we can and must achieve. From women’s rights to minority rights, there is room to go further for both of us. We must also speak with a common voice that violence against women in any shape or form is a violence against our deepest values.

The United States and India are two nations that begin our founding documents with the exact same three words: We The People, We The People. By working together so that all people in our nations can pursue their aspirations, we believe we can come closer to achieving our founding dreams.

For both India and the United States, investing in each other’s success is frankly one of our smartest long-term strategic bets. We have the capacity, we have the resources, we have the open and resilient societies that can help us compete and win in an interconnected world, and we have remarkable and talented citizens in both of our countries waiting to do so. In the weeks to come, we will take a series of concrete steps to pave the way for Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington in September, and hopefully – hopefully – to pave the way for a new chapter in the ties between our two great democracies.

And I am also prepared to answer a few questions.

MODERATOR: The first question will be from Mr. Ashish Singh, ABP News.

QUESTION: Greetings, Secretary Kerry and greetings (inaudible). My question is for both ministers. (In Hindi.)

And Secretary, I would also request you respond to the same question about the concerns raised in India or the (inaudible) – on the Indian political parties, specifically parties (in Hindi). Thank you.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: (Via interpreter) Yes, I raised this issue with Secretary John Kerry when the matter was published in Indian newspapers. I have also conveyed to him that this act on the part of U.S. authorities is completely unacceptable to us, since our two countries are friendly nations and we happen to share dialogue with each other.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we have a policy in the United States that with respect to intelligence matters, we do not discuss intelligence matters in public. But let me just say, very clearly, we value our relationship with India, our bilateral relationship in all the ways that I’ve just described. And we also value the sharing of information between each other regarding counterterrorism and other threats to both of our countries. We’ve had conversations, as the minister has stated, with government officials about these reports, and usually we try to have our intelligence communities work to resolve any questions or any differences that may exist.

But let me say this: President Obama has undertaken a unique and unprecedented review that he ordered of all of our intelligence and intelligence gathering and activities, and unlike any prior president, he has put out a memorandum clearly articulating in a speech – excuse me – he gave a speech in which he clearly articulated America’s approach going forward and the standards that we will apply. We will continue to work actively with India wherever we see a threat to our shared interests, and we fully respect and understand the feelings expressed by the minister.

MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Shaun Tandon of AFP.

QUESTION: Thank you. I wanted to ask for further elaboration. You mentioned a growing role of India and the United States in the Asia- Pacific region. Can you be more specific about what you meant by that? Could you, for example, see Indian activity more in the South China Sea disputes?

And if I could touch on another global issue, Secretary Kerry, Gaza. The United States has authorized further ammunition for the Israeli forces. You’ve also called for an immediate ceasefire. I was wondering if you thought that this was consistent and whether you thought that a ceasefire is still possible at this point, particularly with all the personal attacks that have been leveled against you.

And if I could ask the external affairs minister on this same issue: When the BJP was last in power, India moved a little bit more closely – a little bit closer to Israel. I was wondering if you see that same momentum now between India and Israel, or whether the Gaza conflict affects that. Thanks.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: Your first question – strategic partnership has definite definition. If you have partnership in the area of trade, defense, and space, then that partnership is called strategic partnership. So is there no ambiguity about that.

As regards Gaza, India’s policy is very specific: We fully support the cause of Palestinians, but we have good relations with Israel.

SECRETARY KERRY: I just reaffirm what the minister just said. We have a very strong strategic partnership. It is evidenced by the fact that the United States supports India’s hopes to be able to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. That’s something we support, and we wouldn’t support that if we didn’t believe in the breadth of India’s capacity and reach, and in its values. And I talked about those values. We cooperate significantly on many different issues in the region: counterterrorism, Afghanistan, nonproliferation. India has been a significant, responsible steward of nuclear power, and those are things which we respect and, obviously, work with very closely.

So there are a great deal of interests that tie us together, and we all acknowledge that there have been ups and downs in the relationship for some period of years. But much more ups and much more involvement over the past 10 to 15 years. And that’s why I said we see this as such a ripe moment.

Prime Minister Modi has clearly made it a prime objective to deal with the question of jobs, the question of reform, providing efficiency to decisions and other kinds of things. He wants the market to be more accessible. They’re considering different things that they need to share with you, but we’re impressed by the breadth of their thoughts about the economic changes that are possible, and we certainly want to see those implemented. And we’ll wait to see. The proof is always in the pudding, obviously.

With respect to Gaza, we’ve never stopped working towards the notion that a ceasefire at some point is essential. And even today, I’ve been on the telephone on the plane flying over here. We’ve been continuing discussions. And yes, the United States remains hopeful that it is achievable. And sooner is better because of the needs to get to the table and begin the negotiation that could ultimately, hopefully, resolve issues. There’s no promise in that, I want to make that clear. No promise in that. But I think everybody would feel better if there was a bona fide effort to try to see that happen.

MS. PSAKI: The next question is from Lara Jakes of AP.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, a moment ago you spoke about barriers to trade. I’m wondering if you can update us on whether there was an agreement with India for keeping food subsidies as part of the WTO trade deal.

I also wanted to ask you whether the U.S. has asked India to follow the spirit of the sanctions against Russia, given India’s years of purchasing Russian arms.

And Madam Minister, has there been any shift in that long-time Indian policy, especially now with the shoot-down of Malaysian Airlines flight 17? Thank you.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: You asked three questions in a row. To your first question, consultations are underway in Geneva. Let us wait for the final outcome.

To your second question, there is no change in our policy because we think that the foreign policy is in continuity. Foreign policy does not change with a change in government.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we obviously – I think there’s a meeting – I’m not sure when. Have they already met in Geneva?

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: They’ve met. They’ve already --

SECRETARY KERRY: They already did.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: They’re meeting.

SECRETARY KERRY: They already did. They already met. They’re meeting now. I thought so. Right around now.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: That’s what (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: Our feeling is obviously that the agreement that was reached in Bali is an agreement that importantly can provide for food security for India. We do not dismiss the concerns India has about large numbers of poor people who require some sort of food assurance and subsistence level, but we believe there’s a way to provide for that that keeps faith with the WTO Bali agreement. And so we are obviously encouraging our friends in India to try to find a path here where there is a compromise that meets both needs. And we think that’s achievable and we hope it’s achievable.

With respect to the issue of the sanctions, the focus of our meetings here today is bilateral fundamentally, and the ways the U.S. and India can grow the relationship with respect to trade, clean energy cooperation, counterterrorism, science, technology and so forth. Now, we would obviously welcome India joining in with us with respect to that, but it’s up to them. It’s India’s choice. India has its relationships. We’d support and welcome them in dealing with the challenge that Russia is presenting, but it’s really up to India. It’s not something that entered into the bilateral relationship in the context of today’s discussion.

MODERATOR: Last question. Rajeev Sharma from the Firstpost.

QUESTION: Thank you. My question is to both Minister Swaraj and Mr. Kerry. (Inaudible), what is India’s view on Senate bill 744, whether this issue was discussed with Mr. Kerry by you? And what is his assurance, if any?

And question to Mr. Kerry is: Don’t you think that this 744 is a rather protectionist measure? And even American companies are seeing it as a protectionist measure. Is there a mood to amend it or dilute it? Thank you.

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: Let me first answer. Yes, I raised the issue with Secretary Kerry about the bill number 744. And our minister of commerce, Shrimati Nirmala Sitharaman, also raised this issue in the plenary session. I told Secretary Kerry that we are not against the bill per se. Immigration is your internal matter. But we are certainly concerned with the provisions which will affect the Indian IT industry if the bill is passed in the present form. And I also told Secretary Kerry that it will give a very negative signal, and that too at a time when India is opening up its economy for the foreign players. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: So I’m going to confess something to you that I probably shouldn’t confess to you, but when I was in the United States Senate for 29 years, I never identified a bill by its number. (Laughter.) It was the immigration bill or it was the something bill. So thank God the minister knew that that was the number to that. (Laughter.)

EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER SWARAJ: Yes, that was the number.

SECRETARY KERRY: We did talk about the immigration bill, and it’s a critical priority for President Obama. And we are very aware of the need to make sure that there are more people able to travel, more people able to become part of the commerce that we just talked about – all of these areas, including education and so forth.

But the way it left the Senate leaves that in need of some amending. The House has not taken it up yet, and it really appears as if they won’t, certainly, before the election, which is in three months. The Administration – President Obama – would support some changes that will deal with some of the issues that you’ve just raised and other issues, but at the moment, it does not appear as if this bill – not “appear” – it will not move in the next several months. One has to hope that after the election is over, there may be the possibility of rebuilding support for it.

It’s a critical bill for us in many, many ways, way beyond those that you just articulated. And President Obama would really like to see it done as a matter of fairness, as a matter of morality, as a matter of commercial and business interests, as a matter of family interests. There are many compelling reasons for why this needs to pass, and I’m confident that at some point in time, we will get appropriate immigration reform.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. With that, we come to the end of this event.

SECRETARY KERRY AND SECRETARY PRITZKE SHARE OP-ED ON INDIA'S BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

India's Economic Strength and Business Environment Are of Strategic Importance to the U.S.

Op-Ed
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Penny Pritzke, U.S. Secretary of Commerce
The Economic Times
Washington, DC
July 30, 2014


The long-standing partnership between the US and India is on the cusp of an historic transformation. Working together, the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy can forge a new era of shared prosperity and security for hundreds of millions of people in India, across Asia and the world.

India's rise will help the Indo-Pacific region become more stable, more prosperous and more free. The strategic choices India makes on how to grow its economy and promote regional security will directly impact Asia's growth and US interests. As President Barack Obama has observed, America's economy and security will increasingly be influenced by events in Asia. India's economic strength and business environment are, therefore, of strategic importance to both our countries.

We are coming to India to deliver a single message: the US is prepared to be a full partner in this effort. We will work hand in hand with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government to promote open and liberal trade and investment, job training and closer strategic ties.

Burgeoning Business

We are not starting from scratch. Since 2000, trade between our countries has increased nearly fivefold to more than $96 billion, Indian investment in the US has grown from just over $300 million to $9 billion, and US investment in India has risen from $2.4 billion to $28 billion. Ford is spending $1 billion to turn its new auto plant in Gujarat into a regional manufacturing hub. US subsidiaries of Indian-owned companies employ 45,000 people in the US. Citizens of both countries recognise the importance of our relationship. Half of all Indians see the US as their country's "most dependable future ally", according to a recent Pew poll. Similarly, a recent Gallup poll found that more Americans than ever have a favourable view of India.

The Next Chapter

We want to build on this strong foundation. We will focus on specific areas that are aligned with the priorities of India's new government.

First, infrastructure. We will have astrong focus on this area during our strategic dialogue, reinforcing our joint efforts to create a business climate conducive to increasing US private sector participation in India's infrastructure needs. We believe US companies can play a leading role in bringing cutting-edge technologies, equipment, capital, services and know-how to India.

Second, India and the US are rich in talent. By sharing best practices and skills in manufacturing, training and education, we can expand that talent together. India is already a centre of entrepreneurship with budding innovators. But we can expand practical programmes like vocational training, community colleges and healthcare industry skills. Some 1,00,000 Indian students are pursuing higher education degrees at American universities. Increasing our collaboration in these areas will strengthen both of our economies.

Third, creating a business climate that is open to global business and investment is key to unleashing India's economic potential. Attracting investment, technology and know-how is essential to growth and requires all of us to have world-class, transparent and clear regulations that incentivise innovation by ensuring protection of intellectual property rights.

The development of competitive technology and manufacturing capabilities that integrate India into global supply chains will create far more employment than mandatory local-content requirements, which discourage foreign investment. Creating a level playing field will help India attract even more foreign investment, and help it boost growth.

In that regard, as we work with our trading partners around the world to advance trade and investment liberalisation, India must decide where it fits in the global trading system. Its commitment to a rulesbased trading order and its willingness to fulfil its obligations will be a key indication.
Powering India 

For India to fuel its economy, however, it must address its energy security needs. Fortunately, this is one of the most robust areas of our partnership. We will expand our partnership to leapfrog the limits of power grids and bring modern energy access to millions. We are expanding our work together to find competitive formulas for clean energy, including further cooperation on civilian nuclear power, renewable energy sources and supporting a regional energy network, that demonstrate how economic growth and the environment can be secured together.

Our strong and deepening partnership will continue on a series of fronts: from energy to higher education and climate change to joint military training and counter-proliferation efforts.

What's more, programmes such as President Obama's SelectUSA initiative, which connects foreign investors with opportunities in the US, can be powerful engines for global collaboration and integration.

We look forward to working with the governments and business leaders in India's states. The leadership, entrepreneurship and competitive spirit we see in many Indian states augur well for the country's economic transformation.

Our trip to India for the strategic dialogue — along with subsequent senior-level visits, including Prime Minister Modi's prospective trip to Washington — signals our commitment to a bold and unequivocally affirmative partnership with India. Working together will mean more jobs for Indians and Americans, and it will help India achieve its full potential as a trade and investment centre of Asia. With this shared prosperity will come a shared security and a stronger partnership between our two great democracies.

(John Kerry is U.S. Secretary of State and Penny Pritzker is U.S. Secretary of Commerce)