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Friday, August 22, 2014

NASA VIDEO | OZONE-DEPLETING COMPOUND PERSISTS

DOD VIDEO: EXERCISE RED DRAGON UNDERWAY IN WISCONSIN

video

AG HOLDER'S REMARKS AT ST. LOUIS FBI FIELD OFFICE

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks at the St. Louis FBI Field Office
~ Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We have brought to this area very experienced prosecutors, we have very experienced agents who are handling this matter, and doing so, I think, in a fine way.

I'm going to get briefed on more of the details about the investigation.  I've been kept up to date, but there's nothing that can replace actually coming to the office that's handling the matter, and being able to look in the face the people who are, I think at this point, very ably handling this investigation.

Now, our investigation is different from that which the state is doing.  We are looking for violations of federal, criminal civil rights statutes, which is different from what the local investigation is.

We have brought a substantial number of people here, of agents here, who have done a great job in the canvassing that they did over the past weekend, and continue to follow leads so that we can do a thorough and a fair job of making a determination about what happened on August the ninth.  And I'm confident that through the ability of these people, we will be able to make a determination about whether or not any federal statutes have in fact been violated.

My hope also is that through the trip that I'm making out here today and by expressing the importance of the way in which this investigation is going, that hopefully will have a calming influence on the area, if people know that a federal, thorough investigation is being done--is being manned by these very capable people.  My hope is that that will have—give people some degree of confidence that the appropriate things are being done by their federal government.

Again, we are doing something different, okay, than that which the state is doing--than what the county prosecutors are doing.  But nevertheless, I think that what we are doing, hopefully, will have a positive impact.

Thank you.

FTC ALERTS RETAILERS REGARDING ATHLETIC MOUTHGUARD PROTECTION CLAIMS

FROM:  U.S. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 
FTC Alerts Major Retailers to Concerns About Concussion Protection Claims for Athletic Mouthguards Made on Websites

Staff of the Federal Trade Commission has sent letters to five major retailers, alerting them to concerns about whether there is adequate substantiation for concussion-protection claims made for athletic mouthguards sold on their web sites.

“Given all of the news reports in the past few years about concussions, retailers should be vigilant in reviewing claims made for products they are selling for young athletes,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

According to the letters, making an objective claim for a product without a reasonable basis to support the claim is deceptive, and “competent and reliable” scientific evidence is generally needed to substantiate health-related claims.  The letters point out that retailers, as well as product manufacturers, can be liable for violating the FTC Act if they disseminate false or unsubstantiated claims.

Each letter identifies a mouthguard on the retailer’s website for which a concussion protection claim is made.  The letter then discusses the FTC’s 2012 case against mouthguard manufacturer Brain-Pad Inc., and recommends that the retailer review its website to ensure that it is not making unsupported concussion protection claims.  The letter also suggests that the retailer contact the product manufacturer to inquire about the substantiation for concussion protection claims, and says that the staff plans to revisit their website in 90 days.

This is the third set of warning letters the FTC has sent regarding concussion protection claims.  In November 2012, after the order in the Brain-Pad case became final, agency staff sent out warning letters to 18 other manufacturers of sports equipment, advising them of the Brain-Pad settlement and warning them that they might be making deceptive concussion protection claims for their products.  Letters to almost a dozen additional manufacturers were subsequently sent out over the next 18 months.

The FTC also testified before a Congressional subcommittee last May, noting that as awareness of the danger of concussions has grown, manufacturers have started making concussion-protection claims for an increasing array of sports-related products.

For more information about concussions, see: Concussion and Mild Brain Traumatic Injury on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The FTC is a member of the National Prevention Council, which provides coordination and leadership at the federal level regarding prevention, wellness, and health promotion practices.  These letters advance the National Prevention Strategy’s goal of increasing the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND MAMMALS OF THE PAST

FROM:  NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION 

Understanding how ancestors of today's mammals responded to climate change
Research provides valuable insights for future environmental challenges
About 10 million years into the current Cenozoic Era, or roughly 56 million years ago, during a climate that was hot and wet, two groups of mammals moved from land to water. These were the cetaceans, which include whales, dolphins and porpoises, and the sirenians, with its sea cows, manatees and dugongs.

Over time, their bodies began to adapt to their new environment. They lost their hind limbs, and their forelimbs began to resemble flippers. Their nostrils moved higher on their skulls. The cetaceans became carnivores, eating fish and squid, while the sirenians became herbivores, living on sea grasses and algae.

"It's an interesting example of evolution, and a natural experiment you don't normally have," says Mark T. Clementz, an associate professor of paleontology in the University of Wyoming's department of geology and geophysics. "The changes are so extreme, you can't really ignore them. By studying these groups, we can tease out the main environmental factors that affect mammalian groups as they move into a new environment, and a new ecosystem."

The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientist believes that understanding how the ancient ancestors of today's mammals responded to climate change will provide valuable insights that will help in dealing with environmental challenges.

"A better understanding of how these mammals responded in the past will give us a more informed idea of how they will respond to climate change in the future," he says. "This could benefit conservation efforts down the road, for example, what to look out for, what things could benefit these groups, and what will hurt them if climate change goes as we project."

Moreover, "these mammals are like data loggers," he adds. "You can infer what the environmental conditions of the past were like, and how they changed over time, and you can say something about how marine ecosystems have changed over time."

The primary goal of his project is to compare the evolutionary ecology of these two orders, the Cetacea and the Sirenia, in the context of Cenozoic climate change.

The Cenozoic Era is made up of two time periods, the Paleogene and the Neogene, with each of those divided into epochs, which are smaller subdivisions of geologic time.

"With the appearance of whales and sea cows in the Early Eocene [the second epoch of the Paleogene], the evolution and diversification of both groups occurred across major episodes of significant climate change as the Earth moved from the greenhouse conditions of the early Paleogene and into the icehouse conditions of the Neogene, and today," he says.

Clementz is conducting his research under an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, which he received in 2009. The award supports junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organization.

In order to evaluate the impact of climate change on each group, Clementz is examining fossil specimens of these ancient whales and sea cows as part of marine food webs, analyzing the stable isotopes of calcium, carbon, oxygen and strontium, with an emphasis on, among other things, each group's ecological status, including diet and salinity tolerance.

"When we look at the sirenians, it appears that they had a relationship with sea grasses, which are found only in salt water, that extends far in the past," he says, noting that it is unusual for mammals to move from land to saltwater without first spending a transitional period in freshwater. "The isotopes suggest they were feeding in sea grass beds while still capable of walking on land, and skipped the freshwater phase."

However, these conclusions may change upon examining recently acquired additional specimens.

"We now have some new fossils that imply that some sea cows might have been living in freshwater, but we haven't been able to fully analyze them yet," he says. Should that be the case, "it might have been a really fast transition," he says. "They might have spent a very short amount of time in freshwater, then moved quickly into a marine habitat."

The cetaceans, on the other hand, "do show a freshwater phase," he says.

Interestingly, the sirenians are very sensitive to environmental temperatures, staying where the water is warm--20 degrees Celsius (about 68 degrees Fahrenheit) or warmer. Today's global warming may, in fact, support them but possibly only to a certain extent.

"They like it warm," he says. "In the past, when conditions were warm, their range was greater. They went further north and further south. So, from a temperature perspective, today's climate change warming could benefit them. There is some question about how the climate could affect sea grasses and algae. It could be worse for them if it hurts their food supply."

Cetaceans, being more diverse, are more complicated, he says.

"They have about 80 different species, compared to the sirenians' four," he says. "They have been more successful at taking advantages of changes. It could be related to their diet of fish and squid. In cooler environments, they had higher food productivity They exploited those periods and diversified. Now that things are getting hotter, we're not sure how this will affect them."

As part of the grant's educational component, Clementz is taking an integrative big-picture approach to teaching K-12 and college students the concepts of evolution, ecology and climate change.

For example, he wrote a children's play that explains what occurred during the evolution of whales. Later, with the input of a choreographer and dance instructor, the play expanded to include a dance recital. It has been performed multiple times on campus, and many outside groups of young children have seen it.

"The children studied the movement of whales, then learned about their movements through dance," he says. "They got to see how whales move, and how it affects their bodies, and they got to dance, using dance moves that simulate whale movement. Visually, it really was stunning, and the kids learned a lot this way."

-- Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation
Investigators
Mark Clementz
Related Institutions/Organizations
University of Wyoming

DOJ ANNOUNCES $16.85 BILLION SETTLEMENT WITH BANK OF AMERICA

FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE 
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Bank of America to Pay $16.65 Billion in Historic Justice Department Settlement for Financial Fraud Leading up to and During the Financial Crisis 

Attorney General Eric Holder and Associate Attorney General Tony West announced today that the Department of Justice has reached a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America Corporation – the largest civil settlement with a single entity in American history ­— to resolve federal and state claims against Bank of America and its former and current subsidiaries, including Countrywide Financial Corporation and Merrill Lynch.  As part of this global resolution, the bank has agreed to pay a $5 billion penalty under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) – the largest FIRREA penalty ever – and provide billions of dollars of relief to struggling homeowners, including funds that will help defray tax liability as a result of mortgage modification, forbearance or forgiveness.  The settlement does not release individuals from civil charges, nor does it absolve Bank of America, its current or former subsidiaries and affiliates or any individuals from potential criminal prosecution.

“This historic resolution - the largest such settlement on record - goes far beyond ‘the cost of doing business,’” said Attorney General Holder.  "Under the terms of this settlement, the bank has agreed to pay $7 billion in relief to struggling homeowners, borrowers and communities affected by the bank’s conduct.  This is appropriate given the size and scope of the wrongdoing at issue.”

This settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and its Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) Working Group, which has recovered $36.65 billion to date for American consumers and investors.

“At nearly $17 billion, today’s resolution with Bank of America is the largest the department has ever reached with a single entity in American history,” said Associate Attorney General West.  “But the significance of this settlement lies not just in its size; this agreement is notable because it achieves real accountability for the American people and helps to rectify the harm caused by Bank of America’s conduct through a $7 billion consumer relief package that could benefit hundreds of thousands of Americans still struggling to pull themselves out from under the weight of the financial crisis.”

The Justice Department and the bank settled several of the department’s ongoing civil investigations related to the packaging, marketing, sale, arrangement, structuring and issuance of RMBS, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and the bank’s practices concerning the underwriting and origination of mortgage loans.  The settlement includes a statement of facts, in which the bank has acknowledged that it sold billions of dollars of RMBS without disclosing to investors key facts about the quality of the securitized loans.  When the RMBS collapsed, investors, including federally insured financial institutions, suffered billions of dollars in losses.  The bank has also conceded that it originated risky mortgage loans and made misrepresentations about the quality of those loans to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Of the record-breaking $16.65 billion resolution, almost $10 billion will be paid to settle federal and state civil claims by various entities related to RMBS, CDOs and other types of fraud.  Bank of America will pay a $5 billion civil penalty to settle the Justice Department claims under FIRREA.  Approximately $1.8 billion will be paid to settle federal fraud claims related to the bank’s origination and sale of mortgages, $1.03 billion will be paid to settle federal and state securities claims by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), $135.84 million will be paid to settle claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  In addition, $300 million will be paid to settle claims by the state of California, $45 million to settle claims by the state of Delaware, $200 million to settle claims by the state of Illinois, $23 million to settle claims by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, $75 million to settle claims by the state of Maryland, and $300 million to settle claims by the state of New York.

Bank of America will provide the remaining $7 billion in the form of relief to aid hundreds of thousands of consumers harmed by the financial crisis precipitated by the unlawful conduct of Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Countrywide.  That relief will take various forms, including principal reduction loan modifications that result in numerous homeowners no longer being underwater on their mortgages and finally having substantial equity in their homes.  It will also include new loans to credit worthy borrowers struggling to get a loan, donations to assist communities in recovering from the financial crisis, and financing for affordable rental housing.  Finally, Bank of America has agreed to place over $490 million in a tax relief fund to be used to help defray some of the tax liability that will be incurred by consumers receiving certain types of relief if Congress fails to extend the tax relief coverage of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007.

An independent monitor will be appointed to determine whether Bank of America is satisfying its obligations.  If Bank of America fails to live up to its agreement by Aug. 31, 2018, it must pay liquidated damages in the amount of the shortfall to organizations that will use the funds for state-based Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) organizations and NeighborWorks America, a non-profit organization and leader in providing affordable housing and facilitating community development.  The organizations will use the funds for foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment, legal assistance, housing counselling and neighborhood stabilization.

As part of the RMBS Working Group, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey conducted a FIRREA investigation into misrepresentations made by Merrill Lynch to investors in 72 RMBS throughout 2006 and 2007.  As the statement of facts describes, Merrill Lynch regularly told investors the loans it was securitizing were made to borrowers who were likely and able to repay their debts.  Merrill Lynch made these representations even though it knew, based on the due diligence it had performed on samples of the loans, that a significant number of those loans had material underwriting and compliance defects - including as many as 55 percent in a single pool.  In addition, Merrill Lynch rarely reviewed the unsampled loans to ensure that the defects observed in the samples were not present throughout the remainder of the pools.  Merrill Lynch also disregarded its own due diligence and securitized loans that the due diligence vendors had identified as defective.  This practice led one Merrill Lynch consultant to “wonder why we have due diligence performed” if Merrill Lynch was going to securitize the loans “regardless of issues.”

“In the run-up to the financial crisis, Merrill Lynch bought more and more mortgage loans, packaged them together, and sold them off in securities – even when the bank knew a substantial number of those loans were defective,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman for the District of New Jersey.  “The failure to disclose known risks undermines investor confidence in our financial institutions.  Today’s record-breaking settlement, which includes the resolution of our office’s imminent multibillion-dollar suit for FIRREA penalties, reflects the seriousness of the lapses that caused staggering losses and wider economic damage.”

This settlement also resolves the complaint filed against Bank of America in August 2013 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina concerning an $850 million securitization.  Bank of America acknowledges that it marketed this securitization as being backed by bank-originated “prime” mortgages that were underwritten in accordance with its underwriting guidelines.  Yet, Bank of America knew that a significant number of loans in the security were “wholesale” mortgages originated through mortgage brokers and that based on its internal reporting, such loans were experiencing a marked increase in underwriting defects and a noticeable decrease in performance.  Notwithstanding these red flags, the bank sold these RMBS to federally backed financial institutions without conducting any third party due diligence on the securitized loans and without disclosing key facts to investors in the offering documents filed with the SEC.  A related case concerning the same securitization was filed by the SEC against Bank of America and is also being resolved as part of this settlement.

“Today’s settlement attests to the fact that fraud pervaded every level of the RMBS industry, including purportedly prime securities, which formed the basis of our filed complaint,” said U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins for the Western District of North Carolina.  “Even reputable institutions like Bank of America caved to the pernicious forces of greed and cut corners, putting profits ahead of their customers.  As we deal with the aftermath of the financial meltdown and rebuild our economy, we will hold accountable firms that contributed to the economic crisis.  Today’s settlement makes clear that my office will not sit idly while fraud occurs in our backyard.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California has been investigating the origination and securitization practices of Countrywide as part of the RMBS Working Group effort.  The statement of facts describes how Countrywide typically represented to investors that it originated loans based on underwriting standards that were designed to ensure that borrowers could repay their loans, although Countrywide had information that certain borrowers had a high probability of defaulting on their loans.  Countrywide also concealed from RMBS investors its use of “shadow guidelines” that permitted loans to riskier borrowers than Countrywide’s underwriting guidelines would otherwise permit.  Countrywide’s origination arm was motivated by the “saleability” of loans and Countrywide was willing to originate “exception loans” (i.e., loans that fell outside of its underwriting guidelines) so long as the loans, and the attendant risk, could be sold.  This led Countrywide to expand its loan offerings to include, for example, “Extreme Alt-A” loans, which one Countrywide executive described as a “hazardous product,” although Countrywide failed to tell RMBS investors that these loans were being originated outside of Countrywide’s underwriting guidelines.  Countrywide knew that these exception loans were performing far worse than loans originated without exceptions, although it never disclosed this fact to investors.

“The Central District of California has taken the lead in the department’s investigation of Countrywide Financial Corporation,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura for the Central District of California.  “Countrywide’s improper securitization practices resulted in billions of dollars of losses to federally-insured financial institutions.  We are pleased that this investigation has resulted in a multibillion-dollar recovery to compensate the United States for the losses caused by Countrywide’s misconduct.”

In addition to the matters relating to the securitization of toxic mortgages, today’s settlement also resolves claims arising out of misrepresentations made to government entities concerning the origination of residential mortgages.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, along with the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General and the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, conducted investigations into the origination of defective residential mortgage loans by Countrywide’s Consumer Markets Division and Bank of America’s Retail Lending Division as well as the fraudulent sale of such loans to the government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the “GSEs”).  The investigation into these practices, as well as three private whistleblower lawsuits filed under seal pursuant to the False Claims Act, are resolved in connection with this settlement.  As part of the settlement, Countrywide and Bank of America have agreed to pay $1 billion to resolve their liability under the False Claims Act.  The FIRREA penalty to be paid by Bank of America as part of the settlement also resolves the government’s claims against Bank of America and Countrywide under FIRREA for loans fraudulently sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  In addition, Countrywide and Bank of America made admissions concerning their conduct, including that they were aware that many of the residential mortgage loans they had made to borrowers were defective, that many of the representations and warranties they made to the GSEs about the quality of the loans were inaccurate, and that they did not self-report to the GSEs mortgage loans they had internally identified as defective.

“For years, Countrywide and Bank of America unloaded toxic mortgage loans on the government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with false representations that the loans were quality investments,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York.  “This office has already obtained a jury verdict of fraud and a judgment for over a billion dollars against Countrywide and Bank of America for engaging in similar conduct.  Now, this settlement, which requires the bank to pay another billion dollars for false statements to the GSEs, continues to send a clear message to Wall Street that mortgage fraud cannot be a cost of doing business.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, together with its partners from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), conducted a two-year investigation into whether Bank of America knowingly made loans insured by the FHA in violation of applicable underwriting guidelines.  The investigation established that the bank caused the FHA to insure loans that were not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance.  As a result, HUD incurred hundreds of millions of dollars of losses.  Moreover, many of Bank of America’s borrowers have defaulted on their FHA mortgage loans and have either lost or are in the process of losing their homes to foreclosure.

“As a Direct Endorser of FHA insured loans, Bank of America performs a critical role in home lending,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch for the Eastern District of New York.  “It is a gatekeeper entrusted with the authority to commit government funds earmarked for facilitating mortgage lending to first-time and low-income homebuyers, senior citizen homeowners and others seeking or owning homes throughout the nation, including many who live in the Eastern District of New York.  In obtaining a payment of $800 million and sweeping relief for troubled homeowners, we have not just secured a meaningful remedy for the bank’s conduct, but have sent a powerful message of deterrence.”

“Bank of America failed to make accurate and complete disclosure to investors and its illegal conduct kept investors in the dark,” said Rhea Kemble Dignam, Regional Director of the SEC’s Atlanta Office.  “Requiring an admission of wrongdoing as part of Bank of America’s agreement to resolve the SEC charges filed today provides an additional level of accountability for its violation of the federal securities laws.”

“Today’s settlement with Bank of America is another important step in the Obama Administration’s efforts to provide relief to American homeowners who were hurt during the housing crisis,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro.  “This global settlement will strengthen the FHA fund and Ginnie Mae, and it will provide $7 billion in consumer relief with a focus on helping borrowers in areas that were the hardest hit during the crisis.  HUD will continue working with the Department of Justice, state attorneys general, and other partners to take appropriate action to hold financial institutions accountable and provide consumers with the relief they need to stay in their homes.  HUD remains committed to solidifying the housing recovery and creating more opportunities for Americans to succeed.”

“Bank of America and the banks it bought securitized billions of dollars of defective mortgages,” said Acting Inspector General Michael P. Stephens of the FHFA-OIG.  “Investors, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, suffered enormous losses by purchasing RMBS from Bank of America, Countrywide and Merrill Lynch not knowing about those defects.  Today’s settlement is a significant, but by no means final step by FHFA-OIG and its law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who committed acts of fraud and deceit.”

The attorneys general of California, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland and New York also conducted related investigations that were critical to bringing about this settlement.  In addition, the settlement resolves investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and litigation filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC).

The RMBS Working Group is a federal and state law enforcement effort focused on investigating fraud and abuse in the RMBS market that helped lead to the 2008 financial crisis.  The RMBS Working Group brings together more than 200 attorneys, investigators, analysts and staff from dozens of state and federal agencies including the Department of Justice, 10 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the FHFA-OIG, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Federal Reserve Board’s Office of Inspector General, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and more than 10 state attorneys general offices around the country.

The RMBS Working Group is led by Director Geoffrey Graber and five co-chairs: Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Stuart Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Leslie Caldwell, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement Andrew Ceresney, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Investigations were led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leticia Vandehaar of the District of New Jersey; Dan Ryan and Mark Odulio of the Western District of North Carolina; George Cardona and Lee Weidman of the Central District of Carolina; Richard Hayes and Kenneth Abell of the Eastern District of New York; and Pierre Armand and Jaimie Nawaday of the Southern District of New York.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DOD SAYS U.S. CONTINUES AIRSTRIKES IN IRAQ NEAR MOSUL DAM

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 

U.S. Conducts Airstrikes Against ISIL Near Mosul Dam

DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2014 – U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in support of Iraqi Security Force operations, using fighter and attack aircraft to conduct six airstrikes in the vicinity of the Mosul Dam, according to a U.S. Central Command news release issued today.
The strikes destroyed or damaged three ISIL Humvees, one ISIL vehicle, and multiple IED emplacements. All aircraft exited the strike area safely.
These strikes were conducted under authority to support Iraqi security forces and Kurdish defense force operations, as well as to protect critical infrastructure, U.S. personnel and facilities, and support humanitarian efforts.
Since Aug. 8, U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 90 airstrikes across Iraq. Of those 90 strikes, 57 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam.

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR AUGUST 21, 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
CONTRACTS
ARMY
Boh Bros. Construction Co., LLC, New Orleans, Louisiana, was awarded an $116,956,672 firm-fixed-price contract with options for the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project’s widening of the Florida Avenue Canal, Phase II and III, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Work will be performed in New Orleans, Louisiana, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 15, 2018. Bids were solicited via the Internet, with six received. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $116,956,672 are being obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans, Louisiana, is the contracting activity (W912P8-14-C-0049).
ImSAR LLC,* Springville, Utah, was awarded a $98,971,746 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development, rapid advancement and integration of small aperture radars on small unmanned aerial systems. Funding and work location will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 20, 2019. One bid was solicited, with one received. Army Contracting Command, Natick, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity (W911QY-14-D-0007).
Nova Technologies,* Panama City, Florida, was awarded a $55,000,000 modification (P00007) to contract W900KK-12-D-0005 for modification of the fire training system for simulated battlefield training of fire support specialists, joint fire observers and soldiers at the institutional and unit level. Funding and work location will be determined with each order. Estimated completion date is Aug. 14, 2017. Army PEO Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Illinois, was awarded a $10,006,600 modification (P00019) to contract W58RGZ-12-C-0046 for sole source modification for limited scope services to provide additional development and testing of the current Common Infrared Countermeasure Technology Development phase system. Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $10,006,600 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is March 14, 2015. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration Inc., Nashua, New Hampshire, was awarded an $8,005,521 modification (P00018) to contract W58RGZ-12-C-0045 for limited scope services to provide additional development and testing of the current Common Infrared Countermeasure Technology Development phase system. Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $8,005,521 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is March 14, 2015. Work will be performed in Nashua, New Hampshire. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.
MACKNAK Korte Group*, Lakewood, Washington, was awarded a $7,143,462 firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of the air support operations center expansion. Work will be performed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 29, 2016. Bids were solicited via the Internet, with 26 received. Fiscal 2014 military construction funds in the amount of $7,143,462 are being obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville, Kentucky, is the contracting activity (W912QR-14-C-0027).
NAVY
Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc., Jacksonville, Florida, is being awarded a $71,979,673 modification (P00031) to a previously awarded contract (M67004-09-D-0020) to exercise option year six for prepositioning and Marine Corps logistics support services for Blount Island Command. Work will be performed at the Blount Island Command in Jacksonville, Florida (85 percent); aboard 12 maritime prepositioning ships (12 percent); six locations in Norway (2 percent); and one location in Kuwait (1 percent). Work for this modification is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2015. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. U. S. Marine Corps, Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, Florida, is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Airborne Early Warning & Electronic Warfare Systems, Bethpage, New York, is being awarded $47,596,436 for cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order 0055 against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-10-G-0004) for non-recurring engineering and development of five French E-2C compatible AN/ALQ-217 electronic support measures units for the government of France under the Foreign Military Sales program. In addition, this delivery order includes hardware and software modifications required for compatibility with the French E-2C aircraft, modification kits, aircrew and maintenance training, publications, post-installation ground and flight testing, and technical data. Work will be performed in Owego, New York (43 percent); Melbourne, Florida (40 percent); Cuers, France (9 percent); Dayton, Ohio (4 percent); Norfolk, Virginia (2 percent); Rolling Meadows, Illinois (1 percent); and Redwood City, California (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2018. FMS funds in the amount of $37,461,976 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
Raydar Inc., Odon, Indiana, is being awarded a $25,973,375 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for vehicular automated diagnostic systems (VADS). The VADS allows trouble shooting to be performed on a wide variety of U.S. Marine Corps vehicles. Work will be performed in Odon, Indiana, and is expected to be completed by August 2019. Fiscal 2014 procurement (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $2,655,135 will be obligated at time of contract award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with five offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N00164-14-D-JS20).
American Rheinmetall Munitions Inc., Stafford, Virginia, is being awarded a $16,783,613 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for multi-bang, flash bang grenades in support of the U.S. Special Operations Command. Multi-bang, flash bang grenades are sound and flash devices that produce an intense light and sound display used as non-lethal means to distract and disorient in hostile environments that require less than lethal force. Work will be performed in Trittau, Germany, and is expected to be completed by August 2019. Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $461,318 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with five offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N00164-14-D-JR04).
L-3 Communications Corp., Link Simulation & Training Division, Arlington, Texas, is being awarded $15,548,954 for cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price delivery order 0005 against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N61340-12-G-0001) for the procurement of 25 system configuration sets, Navy Aviation Simulation Master Plans, Next Generation Threat System upgrades and 25 liquid crystal display spare kits in support of the F/A-18 Tactical Operational Flight Trainer Suites. Work will be performed in Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia (25 percent); Naval Air Station Lemoore, California (15 percent); Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California (15 percent); Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina (15 percent); Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan (10 percent); Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, Louisiana (10 percent); and Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2016. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $15,548,954 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity.
IntelliSolutions, Inc.,* San Diego, California, is being awarded a $13,689,953 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide engineering support services for standards engineering and analysis, test support, configuration management, architecture engineering and analysis services, fleet support engineering services, and Network Design Facility operation to ensure interfacing Navy, joint service, and allied nations air, surface, subsurface and land command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems are interoperable. This is one of three contracts awarded; each awardee will have the opportunity to compete for task orders during the ordering period. This five-year contract includes a three-year base period followed by a two-year option period, which, if exercised, would bring the potential value of this contract to $23,241,504. Work will be performed in San Diego, California (94 percent), and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6 percent); work is expected to be completed Aug. 20, 2017. With all options exercised, work will continue through August 2019. No fiscal 2014 funding is currently associated with this award. Funding will be obligated via task orders beginning in fiscal 2015. The types of funding to be obligated include aircraft procurement (Navy); ship construction (Navy); operations and maintenance (Navy); research, development, test and evaluation; foreign military sales, and Navy working capital fund. This contract was competitively procured via 100 percent Small Business Set-Aside solicitation via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central websites. Five proposals were received and three were selected for award. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N66001-14-D-0041).
Tactical Engineering & Analysis, Inc.,* San Diego, California, is being awarded a $13,411,718 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide engineering support services for standards engineering and analysis, test support, configuration management, architecture engineering and analysis services, fleet support engineering services, and Network Design Facility operation to ensure interfacing Navy, joint service, and allied nations air, surface, subsurface and land command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems are interoperable. This is one of three contracts awarded; each awardee will have the opportunity to compete for task orders during the ordering period. This five-year contract includes a three-year base period followed by one two-year option period, which, if exercised, would bring the potential value of this contract to $22,592,386. Work will be performed in San Diego, California (94 percent), and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6 percent); work is expected to be completed Aug. 20, 2017. With all options exercised, work will continue through August 2019. No fiscal 2014 funding is currently associated with this award. Funding will be obligated via task orders beginning in fiscal 2015. The types of funding to be obligated include aircraft procurement (Navy); ship construction (Navy); operations and maintenance (Navy); research, development, test and evaluation; foreign military sales, and Navy working capital fund. This contract was competitively procured via 100 percent Small Business Set-Aside solicitation via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central websites. Five proposals were received and three were selected for award. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, California is the contracting activity (N66001-14-D-0042).
Data Intelligence LLC,* Marlton, New Jersey, is being awarded a $12,958,772 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee multiple award contract to provide engineering support services for standards engineering and analysis, test support, configuration management, architecture engineering and analysis services, fleet support engineering services, and Network Design Facility operation to ensure interfacing Navy, joint service, and allied nations air, surface, subsurface and land command, control, communications, computers and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems are interoperable. This is one of three contracts awarded; each awardee will have the opportunity to compete for task orders during the ordering period. This five-year contract includes a three-year base period followed by one two-year option period, which, if exercised, would bring the potential value of this contract to $21,961,954. Work will be performed in San Diego, California (64 percent); Marlton, New Jersey (30 percent); and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (6 percent); work is expected to be completed Aug. 20, 2017. With all options exercised, work will continue through August 2019. No fiscal 2014 funding is currently associated with this award. Funding will be obligated via task orders beginning in fiscal 2015. The types of funding to be obligated include aircraft procurement (Navy); ship construction (Navy); operations and maintenance (Navy); research, development, test and evaluation; foreign military sales, and Navy working capital fund. This contract was competitively procured via 100% Small Business Set-Aside solicitation via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central websites. Five proposals were received and three were selected for award. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N66001-14-D-0040).
Choctaw Manufacturing Defense Contractor,* McAlester, Oklahoma, is being awarded $10,757,625 for firm-fixed price delivery order 0015 under an a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-09-D-5024), for the procurement of 500 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) modular production trailers (MPT) and water dispensing systems to support and fill the needs of the U.S. Marine Corps. The MTVR MPT will be employed throughout all elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force as well as being forward deployed through the Maritime Prepositioned Force. Work will be performed in McAlester, Oklahoma, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2016. Fiscal 2012 procurement Marine Corps overseas contingency operations funds in the amount of $10,607,018 will be obligated at the time of award, and will expire at the end of this current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(5). The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity.
AIR FORCE
Rockwell Collins, Inc. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has been awarded a $35,364,765 modification (P00027) to a firm-fixed-price contract (FA8106-11-C-0006) for KC-10 Communication Navigation Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) kits and installs. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $114,485,428. This modification provides for the exercise of an option for Group A and B kits and installation for 27 KC-10 aircraft. Work will be performed at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Atlanta, Georgia, and is expected to be completed by November 2015. Fiscal 2014 aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $35,364,765 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WKDK, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity. 
Alion Science and Technology Corp., Burr Ridge, Illinois, has been awarded a $25,172,296 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order (0082) on the AMMTIAC indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, sole-source (FA4600-06-D-0003) for technical analysis, logistics and sustainment for Headquarters U. S. Marine Corps. AMMTIAC shall provide research and development, engineering analysis, technical and operational evaluations, and systems engineering for programs designated by the U.S. Marine Corps. The work will be performed at Mount Arlington, New Jersey, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 29, 2016. Fiscal 2014 Marine Corps operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $50,000 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency/KD, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.
Crash Rescue Equipment Service, Inc.,* Dallas, Texas, has been awarded an estimated $11,330,244 indefinite-delivery requirements contract for the fire truck overhaul and repair. Work will be performed in Dallas, Texas, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 19, 2015. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition; multiple offers were solicited and four offers were received. No operations and maintenance funds are being obligated at time of award. The contracting activity is Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WNKBBA, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia (FA8519-14-D-0004).
*Small business 

DOD STATEMENT ON ATTEMPTED RESCUE OF HOSTAGES HELD BY ISIL

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 

Pentagon Provides Statement on Rescue Operation

DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2014 – The United States attempted a rescue operation recently to free a number of American hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement released today.
The mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location, Kirby said in the statement. He added that the U.S. government will not tolerate the abduction of its people and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of its citizens and to hold their captors accountable.
Kirby’s statement reads as follows:
“The United States attempted a rescue operation recently to free a number of American hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL. Unfortunately, the mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location.
“As we have said repeatedly, the United States government is committed to the safety and well-being of its citizens, particularly those suffering in captivity. In this case, we put the best of the United States military in harms' way to try and bring our citizens home.
“The United States government uses the full breadth of our military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring people home whenever we can. The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.”

THE 'BONANZA KING' OF MARS

FROM:  NASA 


The pale rocks in the foreground of this fisheye image from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover include the "Bonanza King" target under consideration to become the fourth rock drilled by the Mars Science Laboratory mission.  No previous mission has collected sample material from the interior of rocks on Mars. Curiosity delivers the drilled rock powder into analytical laboratory instruments inside the rover. Curiosity's front Hazard Avoidance Camera (Hazcam), which has a very wide-angle lens, recorded this view on Aug. 14, 2014, during the 719th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars.  The view faces southward, looking down a ramp at the northeastern end of sandy-floored "Hidden Valley." Wheel tracks show where Curiosity drove into the valley, and back out again, earlier in August 2014.  The largest of the individual flat rocks in the foreground are a few inches (several centimeters) across.  For scale, the rover's left front wheel, visible at left, is 20 inches (0.5 meter) in diameter. A map showing Hidden Valley is at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18408 . NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover and the rover's Navcam. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA VIDEO | GODDARD IN THE GALAXY

USDA VIDEO: FARMERS MARKETS MORE POPULAR THAN EVER

DOJ, CITY OF BALTIMORE REACH AGREEMENT TO PREVENT DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the City of Baltimore to Prevent Disability Discrimination
City of Baltimore to Pay $65,000 in Damages and Adopt New Policies and Procedures

The Justice Department today announced that it has reached an agreement with the city of Baltimore, Maryland, to end hiring practices that discriminate against people with disabilities.  The agreement, filed as a consent decree along with a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, resolves allegations by the department that the city engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability in various aspects of employment, including hiring.

The department alleges that the city required job applicants, including an individual complainant, to submit to a medical examination and answer disability-related inquiries before the city made conditional offers of employment.  Under the ADA, employers may not require applicants to submit to medical exams or answer disability-related inquiries before making conditional offers of employment.  The department also alleges that the city refused to hire the complainant for a fire dispatcher position because of her disability, even though she was already working successfully as a dispatcher elsewhere and required no accommodations.

The consent decree must be approved by the court, and requires the city to:                        
·                      pay $65,000 to the complainant in compensatory damages;
·                      adopt new policies and procedures regarding the administration of pre-employment medical examinations and inquiries;
·                      provide training on the ADA to all employees who participate in making personnel decisions related to pre-employment medical examinations and inquiries;
·                      ensure that the city’s contract with any medical examiner provides that the examiner is required to comply with the ADA in conducting medical examinations and certify that it  has reviewed ADA training materials;
·                      provide periodic reports to the department on compliance; and
·                      designate an employee to address ADA compliance matters.
“The Justice Department will not tolerate discriminatory, outdated stereotypes that prevent individuals with disabilities from being hired for positions for which they are qualified,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran for the Civil Rights Division.

U.S. DOD VIDEO: AIR FORCE GROUNDS PORTION OF F-16D FLEET

video

AIRSTRIKES GO ON IN IRAQ AGAINST ISIL

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
U.S. Continues Airstrikes Against ISIL in Iraq
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2014 – U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in support of Iraqi security force operations, using fighter, remotely piloted and attack aircraft to conduct 14 airstrikes in the vicinity of the Mosul Dam, according to a U.S. Central Command news release issued today.
The strikes destroyed or damaged six ISIL Humvees, three IED emplacements, one mortar tube, and two armed trucks, the release said. All aircraft exited the strike area safely.

These strikes were conducted under in support of Iraqi security forces and Kurdish defense force operations, as well as to protect critical infrastructure, U.S. personnel and facilities, and humanitarian efforts, according to the release.
The Department of Defense confirmed Aug. 18 that Iraqi forces have cleared and now hold Mosul Dam, and that Iraqi security forces and Kurdish forces are working together to further expand their control of the area, the release said.
Since Aug. 8, U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 84 airstrikes across Iraq, the release said, and of those 84 strikes, 51 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR AUGUST 20, 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
CONTRACTS
NAVY
BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Inc., Rockville, Maryland (N00039-14-D-0121); General Dynamics C4 Systems, Taunton, Massachusetts (N00039-14-D-0122); Global Technical Systems,* Virginia Beach, Virginia (N00039-14-D-0123); Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, Virginia (N00039-14-D-0124); and Serco, Inc., Reston, Virginia (N00039-14-D-0125), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) production units. The estimated, cumulative value of the multiple award contract is $2,529,500,000. CANES serves as the bridge to the future of Navy afloat networks, consolidating existing legacy and standalone networks, providing the necessary infrastructure for applications, systems and services to operate in the tactical domain. CANES delivers its capabilities within a single complete system, bringing the necessary infrastructure that will enable timely and interoperable information exchange among tactical, support and non-tactical or administrative users, applications and information technology platforms. This contract has an eight-year ordering period up to the contract award amount. There are no options. Work will be performed in North Charleston, South Carolina; Taunton, Massachusetts; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Madison, Alabama; and San Diego, California, as delivery orders determine. Work is expected to be completed by August 2022. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated as individual delivery orders are issued. The multiple award contracts were competitively procured by full and open competition bids via the Space and Naval Warfare e-Commerce Central and the Federal Business Opportunities websites, with seven offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity.

Caddell Construction Co. (Delaware), LLC, Montgomery, Alabama, is being awarded a $110,809,000 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of nuclear power training facilities at Joint Base Charleston. The work to be performed provides for construction of a new multistory, blast hardened training operation facility; construction of a single story secured area entry point; and construction of a pier extension of steel and concrete piles and slabs. The contract also contains six unexercised options and two planned modifications, which if exercised and/or issued, would increase cumulative contract value to $157,810,500. Work will be performed in Goose Creek, South Carolina, and is expected to be completed by June 2018. Fiscal 2014 military construction (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $110,809,000 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with five proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Florida, is the contracting activity (N69450-14-C-1756).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Mission Systems and Training, Moorestown, New Jersey, is being awarded a $60,802,243 fixed-price-incentive, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-only contract for ship integration and test of the Aegis Weapon System (AWS) for AWS Baselines through Advanced Capability Build 12. The contract provides for Aegis shipboard integration engineering, Aegis test team support, Aegis modernization team engineering support, ballistic missile defense test team support, and AWS element assessments. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $420,379,808. Work will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey (27 percent); Norfolk, Virginia (22.5 percent); San Diego, California (20 percent); Pascagoula, Mississippi (6.5 percent); Bath, Maine (6.5 percent); Mayport, Florida (6.5 percent); Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (5.5 percent); Everett, Washington (4 percent); Syracuse, New York (1 percent), and other locations totaling less than 1 percent (0.5), and is expected to be completed by November 2018. Fiscal 2011 and 2013 shipbuilding conversion (Navy); fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Navy); and fiscal 2012 and 2014 other procurement (Navy) funding, in the amount of $21,839,327 will be obligated at time of award. Contract funds in the amount of $6,485,936 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) - only one or limited number of sources and no other suppliers will satisfy the requirements. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-14-C-5104).

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, is being awarded a $59,159,691 modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-11-C-6410) to exercise an option for the production of MK54 Mod 0 Lightweight Torpedo (LWT) Kits, and related engineering and repair services for upgrade of U.S. Navy LWT. Although the MK54 Mod 0 LWT is primarily intended as an anti-submarine torpedo for littoral scenarios, its basic capabilities includes operation in both shallow and deep water acoustic environmental conditions, and exceeds MK46 anti-submarine warfare capabilities in deep-water scenarios. This modification involves purchases for the U.S. Navy and the governments of India, Turkey and Australia under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Keyport, Washington (60 percent), and Portsmouth, Rhode Island (40 percent), and is expected to be completed by January 2018. Fiscal 2012 and 2014 weapons procurement (Navy), and FMS funds, in the amount of $59,159,691 will be obligated at the time of award. Contract funds in the amount of $2,073,984 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, Virginia, is being awarded a $34,774,652 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract utilizing firm-fixed priced orders for production hardware for Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS) Mk2 production hardware. The scope includes hardware production, assembly, configuration, alignment, integration, testing and shipping of the SSDS hardware. Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, Virginia (80 percent), and Huntsville, Alabama (20 percent), and is expected to be completed by August 2017. Subject to availability of funds, fiscal 2014 and 2017 other procurement (Navy), and fiscal 2015 and 2016 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) contract funds, in the amount of $799,056 will be obligated at contract award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with two offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N00178-14-D-3035).

Lockheed Martin Sippican, Inc., Marion, Massachusetts, is being awarded a $31,905,389 modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-11-C-6404) for fixed-price-incentive, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed fee, cost-type option for the production of 108 MK48 Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) Functional Item Replacement (FIR) Kits, related engineering services to support CBASS FIR kits, CBASS FIR kit spares, and CBASS FIR kit warranty. The objective of the MK48 Mod 7 CBASS kit production program is to supply the U.S. Navy with functional item replacement upgrade kits consisting of a guidance and control box, broadband analog sonar receiver, preamplifier, cable assemblies, and guidance and control assembly materials. Work will be performed in Marion, Massachusetts (95 percent), and Syracuse, New York (5 percent), and is expected to be completed by November 2017. Fiscal 2012 and 2014 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $31,905,389 will be obligated at the time of award. Contract funds in the amount of $1,540,688 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $12,789,893 modification to the previously awarded F-35 Lightning II Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot VI contract (N00019-11-C-0083). This modification provides for the procurement of F-35 Deployable Spares Package spares for the U.S. Air Force. Work will be performed in Owego, New York (21 percent); Orlando, Florida (20 percent); Nashua, New Hampshire (18 percent); United Kingdom (18 percent); Torrance, California (15 percent); Marion, Virginia (3 percent); Melbourne, Florida (3 percent); Endicott, New York (1 percent); Williston, Vermont (0.5 percent); and Duarte, California (0.5 percent). Work is expected to be completed in May 2017. Fiscal 2012 aircraft procurement (Air Force) funds in the amount of $12,789,893 will be obligated at time of award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics, Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, is being awarded a $8,990,973 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the ongoing acquisition of the weapons systems shipboard development, integration requirements, and shipboard engineering for refueling support for the United States and United Kingdom Trident II D5 missile program. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and two option years is $32,334,273. The work will be performed in Groton, Connecticut (21 percent); Norfolk, Virginia (20 percent); Silverdale, Washington (19 percent); Bremerton, Washington (18 percent); St. Marys, Georgia (16 percent); and Cape Canaveral, Florida (6 percent), with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2014. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $8,990,973 are being obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is a sole source acquisition negotiated under 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). Strategic Systems Program, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00030-14-C-0023).

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded a $6,948,500 modification to a cost-plus-incentive-fee delivery order issued previously against a Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-11-G-0001). This modification provides for Phase C1 of the F/A-18 A-D Airframe Service Life Extension Program. The effort will include seven flight critical engineering change proposals for fracture and maintenance critical areas of the airframe. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri (55 percent). and El Segundo, California (45 percent), and is expected to be completed in July 2015. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 aircraft procurement (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $6,948,500 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
AIR FORCE
BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems Integration, Nashua, New Hampshire, has been awarded a $74,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for F-16 Stores System Tester sustainment. The contractor will provide F-16 Stores System Tester spares, as well as engineering and software development and maintenance support. Work will be performed at Nashua, New Hampshire, and is expected to be completed by Oct. 14, 2020. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. It is anticipated that fiscal 2014 procurement, operations and maintenance; consolidated sustainment activity group non-expiring working capital; and foreign military sales funds will be issued via delivery orders against this contract in support of the requirement. FMS is approximately 33 percent of the contract. The first delivery order will be obligated at time of award for fiscal 2014 FMS funds for Taiwan in the amount of $6,753,382. Air Force Sustainment Center, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8251-14-D-0001).

ARCTEC Alaska Joint Venture, Joint-Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, has been awarded a $32,062,792 firm-fixed-price contract, plus one option year, for the operation and maintenance of 15 geographically separated long range radar sites, three remote radio sites, maintenance of the Regional Air Operations Center, and Maintenance Control and Communications Center within Alaska. Work will be performed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and at the 15 separate sites located throughout Alaska, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2027, if all 12 option years are exercised. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and one offer was received. Operations and maintenance funds will be obligated subject to availability. 766 SCONS/OL AA, Joint-Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, is the contracting activity (FA5215-14-C-7007).

FlightSafety International, Flushing, New York, will be awarded a $27,471,325 firm-fixed-price requirements contract for Gulfstream Pilot/Flight Engineering Training services. This requirement is a recurring requirement within Headquarters Air Force Mobility Command/A3T. This contract will provide initial and refresher academic and simulator training, and a variety of technical courses for U.S. Air Force pilots and flight engineers operating the Air Force Gulfstream series aircraft. Work will be performed at Dallas, Texas; Savannah, Georgia; Wilmington, Delaware; and Long Beach, California, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2019. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with no limit to the number of offers solicited; two offers were received. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $5,494,265 will be obligated for the base period, but no funds are being obligated at time of award. The 763 Specialized Contracting Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity (FA4452-14-D-0003).
ARMY
MedTrust LLC, San Antonio, Texas, was awarded a $20,746,039 modification (P00003) to contract W81K00-14-D-0014 for the extension of specialized nursing services. Work will be performed at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, and Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Funding will be determined with each order. Estimated completion date is March 31, 2015. The Army Medical Command, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Ordnance Systems Inc., Kingsport, Tennessee, was awarded a $9,665,276 modification (P00545) to contract DAAA09-98-E-0006 to modernize infrastructure, Building G-4, Holston Army Ammunition Plant. Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the amount of $9,665,276 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is Aug. 31, 2017. Work will be performed at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant, Kingsport, Tennessee. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, is the contracting activity.

Burleson Consulting Inc.,* Folsom, California, was awarded a $7,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract to restore the natural habitat and for habitat monitoring, at the former Fort Ord, California, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 19, 2019. Funding will be determined with each order. Bids were solicited via the Internet with two received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento, California, is the contracting activity (W91238-14-D-0010).
DEFENSE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AGENCY
Harris IT Services Corp., Herndon, Virginia was awarded a ceiling $450,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity hybrid contract (firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-award-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost reimbursement contract line items) for services to provide engineering, maintenance, and program management support for the Crisis Management System. The IDIQ total cumulative ceiling value of the contract is $450,000,000 over the one-year base period and nine one-year option periods. There is no guarantee that the contract will be extended beyond the base one-year ordering period. Performance will be at various locations in the continental United States, with an estimated completion date of August 2015. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $5,412,872 will be obligated on the first task order at time of award. The original solicitation was issued as other than full and open competitive action pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c) (6) or 41 U.S.C. 3304(a) (6), and two proposals were received. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization-National Capital Region, Fort Meade, Maryland is the contracting activity (HC1047-14-D-4006).
*Small business

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY WILL PAY $896,000 PENALTY FOR VIOLATING PREMERGER RULES

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Berkshire Hathaway to Pay $896,000 Civil Penalty for Violating Antitrust Premerger Notification Requirements
Violation Occurred When Berkshire Hathaway Acquired Voting Securities of USG Corporation

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has agreed to pay an $896,000 civil penalty to settle charges that it violated premerger reporting and waiting requirements when it acquired voting securities of USG Corp., the Department of Justice announced today.

The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., against Berkshire Hathaway for violating the notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Act of 1976.   At the same time, the department filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, will settle the charges.

Berkshire Hathaway is a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.   As a result of its acquisition of USG voting securities in December 2013, Berkshire Hathaway held approximately 28 percent of USG voting securities, valued at more than $950 million.    

USG is a Delaware corporation with its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

The HSR Act of 1976, an amendment to the Clayton Act, imposes notification and waiting period requirements for transactions meeting certain size thresholds so that they can undergo premerger antitrust review.

Federal courts can assess civil penalties for premerger notification violations under the HSR Act in lawsuits brought by the Department of Justice.   For a party in violation of the HSR Act the maximum civil penalty is $16,000 a day.

President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Murder of James Foley



U.S. DOD VIDEO: NAVY CONTINUES UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TESTS

video

AUTOMOTIVE PARTS COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO PRICE FIXING AND WILL PAY $52.1 MILLION FINE

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
NGK Spark Plug Co. Ltd. Agrees to Plead Guilty to Price Fixing and Bid Rigging on Automobile Parts Installed in U.S. Cars
Company Agrees to Pay $52.1 Million Criminal Fine

NGK Spark Plug Co. Ltd., an automotive parts manufacturer based in Nagoya, Japan, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $52.1 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors, and air fuel ratio sensors installed in cars sold to automobile manufacturers in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.

According to the one-count felony charge filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, NGK Spark Plug engaged in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of, spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors and air fuel ratio sensors installed in cars sold to automobile manufacturers such as DaimlerChrysler AG, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corp., among others, in the United States and elsewhere.   In addition to the criminal fine, NGK Spark Plug has agreed to cooperate in the department’s ongoing investigation.   The plea agreement will be subject to court approval.

“Today’s guilty plea is just another example of the commitment of the Antitrust Division to preserving fair and legal competitive practices,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program.  “We will continue to do whatever it takes to protect U.S. consumers and businesses.”

According to the charge, NGK Spark Plug and its co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy through meetings and conversations in which they discussed and agreed upon bids and price quotations on bids to be submitted to certain automobile manufacturers and to allocate the supply of the products to those manufacturers.  NGK Spark Plug sold spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors, and air fuel ratio sensors at non-competitive prices to auto makers in the United States and elsewhere in furtherance of the agreement.  NGK Spark Plug’s involvement in the conspiracy lasted from at least as early as January 2000 until on or about July 2011.

NGK Spark Plug manufactures and sells spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors and air fuel ratio sensors.   A spark plug is an engine component for delivering high electric voltage from the ignition system to the combustion chamber of an internal combustion engine.   Oxygen sensors are located in the exhaust system and measure the amount of oxygen in the exhaust.   Air fuel ratio sensors are “wideband” oxygen sensors that enable more precise control of the air/fuel ratio injected into the engine.            

The charge against NGK Spark Plug is the latest in the department’s on-going investigation into anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry.   These are the first charges filed relating to spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors and air fuel ratio sensors sold to automobile manufacturers.

Including NGK Spark Plug, 28 companies and 26 executives have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in the division’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry and have agreed to pay a total of $2.4 billion in criminal fines.

NGK Spark Plug is charged with price fixing and bid rigging in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of a $100 million criminal fine for corporations.   The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

Today’s charge is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement sections and the FBI.   Today’s charge was brought by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section and the FBI’s Detroit Field Office with the assistance of the FBI Headquarters’ International Corruption Unit.

U.S. EXTENDS WARM WISHES TO PEOPLE OF HUNGARY ON THEIR SAINT STEPHEN'S DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

On the Occasion of Hungary's National Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
August 19, 2014




On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I extend warm wishes to the people of Hungary as you celebrate Saint Stephen’s Day on August 20.

On Saint Stephen’s Day, we remember the enduring legacy of King Stephen I, who unified all Hungarians. The United States is proud of its role in honoring that legacy during the more than 30 years that we protected the Crown of St. Stephen on behalf of the Hungarian people.
My own family will always be connected to Hungary. My grandmother Ida was born and raised in Budapest, before crossing the Atlantic for the United States near the turn of the 20th century.
Today we share more than genealogical connections for so many. We also share democratic principles, economic interests, rich cultural ties, and a commitment to safeguard international peace and security.

U.S. and Hungarian troops continue to serve together around the world as NATO allies. And together, we promote the rule of law, transparency, and good governance, both abroad and at home.

The United States looks forward to continuing to work with Hungary in pursuit of our common goals in the years to come.