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Saturday, June 15, 2013


Army Birthday Celebration

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Auditorium, Washington D.C., Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thank you. Thank you. Good morning. Happy birthday. Mr. Secretary [McHugh], thank you for your leadership and what you continue to do for this institution, General Odierno, for your leadership at a very challenging time in the history of the United States Army.

Sergeant Major Chandler, thank you. You and your enlisted men and women continue to inspire us all. I want to also acknowledge and thank the DOD leadership present here today for what you continue to do for this institution and for our country. Thank you.

Special acknowledgement and happy birthday to our oldest Army veteran here, wherever he is, Colonel Wittich, where is Colonel Wittich? Colonel Wittich happy birthday. Thank you. You've never looked better and more fit.

Also, our youngest Army representative here, I think is here somewhere, Private First Class Selig? And thank you, as we thank all of our members of the United States Army here today and all over the world, and we thank and celebrate those who have served in the United States Army and our veterans, and in particular, as Secretary McHugh noted, our wounded warriors here today and their families. Thank you for what you've done.

I will begin my brief remarks with an acknowledgement, as the Chief and Secretary have already noted, to the families of our Army – current Army, our past Army, our future Army, for what you've done. And I think General Odierno said it pretty well. The sacrifices that families make are not covered in great glory or attention, but they deserve as much recognition and thanks as do our members. So to the families, thank you. Thank you.

As has been noted, a 238th birthday is rather significant. That represents an institution that has essentially been around longer than the republic and has grown as vibrantly and effectively and been as important to the world and to this republic as any one institution.

General Odierno talked about trust. And as we all know, that is the coin of the realm. And I would add one component to that, and that's confidence. I don't know of an institution in our country that has held the trust and the confidence of our citizenry more than the United States Army and the military.

That's rather significant, through the history of this country, I don't know of another country in the world that can say that. And that is the result of many, many things. But more than anything else, it's just as General Odierno talked about what has defined and shaped the culture, but it's the definition of why we have an Army. And I'll share with you two examples of what I'm talking about.

Over the last two days, I have had the great privilege of revisiting my former home, the Congress, in hearings. It's always a joyous event as many of you know, especially our distinguished leaders in the front row here. And you're always much enhanced and you earn your pay, of course, but you always learn a hell of a lot. And you're much enhanced as you leave those hearings, of course.

Two interesting questions were asked during those three hearings, yesterday in particular, and they came from the House Budget Committee. One was about the Army and our military doing humanitarian work. Why would the military, the Army, be focused, have in its budget assistance for natural disasters around the world? And why is that important to your mission? Or is that your mission? We thought the Department of Defense was about the security of our country.

Well, it gave me an opportunity to address that, because many times that component of our force structure is lost. And I said, bottom line, when you look at what the soldier is about, more than any other part of our society, it's about preserving the peace, because it's the soldier, when we don't have peace, that makes the sacrifices.

And so MacArthur said it eloquently. Other great leaders in our country's history in the Army have said it. The soldier wants peace more than anyone else. And so when you look at investments in helping others – and we have countless examples from every war, over the 238 years of this institution – great photographs of American G.I.'s in World War II bending down on their knees, giving a young German boy or girl a chocolate bar.

Former Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl used to tell the story, the first orange – the first orange he ever saw in his life, he was seven years old. The American troops were marching into this German village, and every German citizen was scared to death, thinking that they would be massacred. And the American troops hugged these children, gave them chocolate bars and oranges. And Kohl tells that story – told it many, many times, and tears would come to his eyes when he would tell that story.

The point being, what is a better investment in peace and stability and security and developing friendships and partnerships for the future of the world than what our military does in that capacity? Yes, we fight wars. We're the best at it, have been, will continue to be. But there's another dynamic to what you do.

Another question I was asked yesterday: "Well, Mr. Secretary, can you address the issue of the bifurcation, the split, misunderstanding in our society today when we have 1 percent of our population serves in the military? Is that healthy? Should we change that? Are you disconnected from society?"

Good question. It's a question, as a matter of fact, when I was in the United States Senate, I more than occasionally spoke on, on the Senate floor. But part of the answer I gave back to the congressman was acknowledging it's a relevant question, it's an important question, but part of the way I would answer it – and I did answer it – is the continued astounding confidence and trust the American people have in this institution. In Gallup's last 15 years of most trusted institutions in America, the military is in the stratosphere. Everybody else isn't doing well. But the military has stayed way the hell on top.

And so that's good news, in many ways. You could also say, well, yeah, but it's that one percent that bears all the burden, makes all the sacrifices, does all the fighting, does all the dying. That's true. But even with that difference, there is still an astounding respect for our military in society. Even though they are disconnected, probably more so than at any time in the history of this nation, and it still connects and resonates with the American public.

Now, those values that were instilled and shaped this institution 237, 238 years ago just weren't a narrative. They had to be sustained over 238 years - duty, honor, country. I don't know of an institution that's done that better than this institution.

Thank you for what you are doing, what you've done, and what you continue to do for this country. These are difficult times. I don't have to tell any of you, especially for our Army leadership having to deal with the budget issues and these – these great uncertainties that hang over all of us.

But if you ever want to put your money on an institution, you want to put it on the Army, because the Army has weathered a lot of things and our military has, and we'll get through this. And we will rebalance. And we will adapt, as we always have. And that'll be much because we will go back and stay anchored to the traditions and the values and the family and the partnerships of who we are as not just American citizens, but part of a remarkable, remarkable institution that we celebrate today and we recognize today.

Now, for 12 years, when I was in the Senate, I had the privilege of serving the state of Nebraska, and every June 14th, if the Senate was in session, I would go to the Senate floor, and I would give a happy birthday speech to the Army. So it became the only thing I was ever known for, actually.

It would be brief, of course, and substantive, as all my speeches were, but I'd always end it with a birthday greetings and a happy birthday and a very healthy "hooah!"

There we are. Happy birthday.

Weekly Address: Celebrating Father’s Day Weekend | The White House

Weekly Address: Celebrating Father’s Day Weekend | The White House


Remarks With British Foreign Secretary William Hague After Their Meeting
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 12, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you very much. It’s a huge pleasure for me to welcome my friend and partner in so many efforts, the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, William Hague.

The United States and the United Kingdom obviously share a now time-honored and time-defined relationship, and it’s grounded in so much – our history, our values, our traditions. It is, without question, an essential, if not the essential relationship, and based on a common agenda that we share, our mutual cooperation on so many global issues, from peace and stability in the Middle East, Afghanistan, proliferation, Libya, Egypt, you run the gamut; we have been able to work together in effective ways. We’re the closest of military allies, having served alongside each other in major campaigns over the last 20 years, six major campaigns in total, including right now in Afghanistan, where our troops are serving side-by-side. And we promote together a very vigorous and a capable NATO.

But it’s fair to say that this special relationship really touches many different issues. Let me just say that two days ago, our governments signed a memorandum of understanding for the Global Innovation Initiative. And this important initiative is going to support multilateral research emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and it will focus on issues such as climate change, which we have just discussed at length, and sustainable development. And this initiative will also further our higher education cooperation, which is a priority of both President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron. It will bolster collaborations between universities in the United States and the United Kingdom.

I also want to applaud Prime Minister Cameron and Foreign Secretary Hague for their important leadership in the lead-up to the G-8. The UK is helping to take a lead on an important initiative to prevent sexual violence in conflict areas around the world. We met in London on that as a prep leading up to the G-8, and the Foreign Secretary convened a very important gathering and I think there was some important progress made in our discussions there. And we stood together in April, the G-8 foreign ministers, to affirm what will lead into the meetings in Ireland, Northern Ireland.

Our relationship is also rooted in our very, very close economic cooperation. We are each each other’s largest investors. Almost one million people in the United States work for British companies, and almost one million people work for American companies in the UK. We are also both committed to making this economic relationship stronger. President Obama’s commitment to launch the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union is a significant way to make it stronger. And we look forward to the deliberations that will take place in a few days in the EU with respect to the mandate for those negotiations. We are convinced, both of us, that a successful conclusion to this agreement would have a profound, important impact boosting both of our economies and, in fact, the economies of Europe as a whole.

Together, our two countries also remain committed to a Syrian-led political solution to the crisis there. We are deeply concerned about the dire situation in Syria, including the involvement of Hezbollah, as well as Iran, across state lines in another country. So we are focusing our efforts now on doing all that we can to support the opposition as they work to change the balance on the ground. And together, we have provided tremendous humanitarian assistance in an effort to mitigate the human suffering that is taking place in Syria. We remain committed to the Geneva 2 conference. We both understand the complications with the situation on the ground and moving forward rapidly. But there will have to be a political solution, ultimately, to the situation on the ground, and that is the framework that will continue to be the outline, and we remain committed to it.

Throughout each of our careers, I think it’s fair to say that Foreign Secretary Hague and I have spoken candidly about the urgent need for a two-state solution in the Middle East. This is a top priority for President Obama, a top priority for Prime Minister Cameron, and we will continue to work towards it together.

With respect to Iran’s nuclear program, as President Obama said in Israel in March, Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. We appreciate the United Kingdom’s leadership in continuing to push for the EU efforts to adopt and implement strict EU sanctions on Iran. They are making a difference, and they are – the UK has also been critical in its leadership of the P-5+1 in those efforts.

So I am delighted to welcome, as you can see in all that I have just described, a vital partner, and in our case, I’m happy to say, a close friend. We’ve gotten to know each other better and better in this process, and I think we enjoy working together enormously. And I’m happy to welcome you here, William. Thank you.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Thank you very much, John. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to be back here in Washington, D.C and with my great friend and colleague, who I’ve hugely enjoyed – come to enjoy working with already over the last four months, Secretary Kerry. The United States is the United Kingdom’s greatest ally in world affairs, and the range of issues that we have discussed today reflects that.

And I want to pay tribute to the energy and the resolve and the commitment that Secretary Kerry has brought to this role as Secretary of State. I’ve particularly welcomed his personal leadership on the Middle East peace process. He’s put an enormous amount of his time and energy into creating the foundations for a return to negotiations. And no single act would do more to unlock a more peaceful and stable Middle East than a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A two-state solution is the only way to end this conflict and achieve peace and security for both sides, but the window for a viable settlement is closing fast, and the regional environment is growing more difficult and more dangerous, as you know, all the time. The United States can count on the full and active support of the United Kingdom in getting both sides to the negotiating table bilaterally, through our relationships with Israelis and Palestinians, and using our role in the European Union as well.

We also discussed the meeting of the G-8 in Northern Ireland, as you’ve heard, where we hoped to make progress on the priorities of trade and tax and transparency set out by Prime Minister David Cameron. I also reiterated our commitment to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the EU. This is the biggest opportunity in a generation to power new jobs and growth in Europe and America and to provide an immense boost to the world economy. The United Kingdom is fully behind it.

We’ve also discussed our work together to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. We’ve identified new areas in which the State Department and the Foreign Office can work together on climate change issues. And the British Government greatly looks forward to welcoming President Obama to the G-8. We see this as an important opportunity to discuss many matters in world affairs, but it’s also an important opportunity to discuss with world leaders, including President Putin, the most urgent crisis anywhere in the world today, the terrible and deepening conflict in Syria.

Syria has been a focus, of course, of our talks today. We’re both deeply concerned by what is happening to innocent people there. The regime appears to be preparing new assaults, endangering the lives and safety of hundreds of thousands of Syrians who are already in desperate need. And the scale of the regime’s repression and the human suffering that it has caused beggars belief. A campaign of murder and tyranny that they have waged for more than 800 days now is not only a moral outrage, it’s a grave threat to the wider region, it’s a danger to our own national security, and this includes the risks of growing radicalization, the involvement of Hezbollah and Iranian proxies, and credible reports of the use of chemical weapons.

So we agreed today that we cannot turn away from Syria and its people. The United Kingdom believes the situation demands a strong, coordinated, and determined approach by the UK, the U.S., and our allies in Europe and in the region.

I want to pay tribute to the governments and people of Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon for their extraordinary generosity in hosting the vast refugee population and the burden that they’re shouldering for the whole world because of their proximity to this appalling conflict. And we will all have to do more in the coming weeks to assist with the immense humanitarian effort that is necessary.

We agreed today, of course, that our priority remains to see a diplomatic process in Geneva that succeeds in reaching a negotiated end to the conflict. But we will have to be prepared to do more to save lives, to pressure the Assad regime to negotiate seriously, and to prevent the growth of extremism and terrorism if diplomatic efforts are going to succeed. So we have discussed that thoroughly, how to help the regime and opposition come to the negotiating table, as well as to protect civilian life.

And we should never forget that this conflict began when the Assad regime turned its tanks, helicopter gunships, and heavy weapons against peaceful protesters. We shouldn’t forget that 1.6 million people have become refugees and more than 4 million are internally displaced. These are innocent victims of war and repression, and they’ve been at the forefront of our minds in our discussions here in Washington today.

Thank you very much.

MS. PSAKI: The first question will be from Jill Dougherty of CNN.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Secretary Kerry – I have a question, actually, for both Secretary Kerry and Secretary Hague. After this catastrophic defeat for the opposition in Qusayr, do you still believe that they can win and do it without the weapons that they are asking for? That’s to both of you.

And then Secretary Kerry, these reports of NSA surveillance – are you hearing from allies concerned? Did you hear it from Secretary Hague today concerned about this? We’re hearing the Germans are disturbed. They’ll be talking with President Obama about it.

And then finally just a very quick one on the OIG. Are you concerned that these – that allegations of serious, perhaps even illegal behavior or conduct, are not being investigated because of any alleged undue influence by senior State Department officials?

Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: Okay. Let me take your three questions in order, beginning with the NSA leaks.

The answer is no, I think the Secretary and I both understand the very delicate but vital balance between privacy and the protection of people in our country. And the Secretary made a very fine statement on the floor of the parliament in which, at the beginning of the week, he made clear the British Government’s position with respect to this. And I’ll just say for us, as you’re hearing now more and more, the members of Congress understand that Congress passed on this, voted for it several times, and the judiciary branch of our country has reviewed this and been engaged in this. This is a three-branch of government effort to keep America safe, and in fact, it has not read emails or looked at or listened to conversations, the exception of where a court may have made some decision which was predicated on appropriate evidence.

The United States of America has been hugely protected over the course of these last years by the valiant efforts of our law enforcement community, our international law enforcement efforts, the FBI, our agencies, the Homeland Security, all of whom have coordinated in remarkable ways to prevent some very terrible events from taking place. And I think they have done so in a remarkable balance of the values of our nation with respect to privacy, freedom, and the Constitution. And I think over time, this will withstand scrutiny and people will understand that.

That said, on the OIG I’ll just say very quickly all employees of this Department are held to the highest standards of behavior, and now and always. And I welcome the OIG who was asked – I’m a former prosecutor. I can tell you as a former prosecutor I take very seriously a investigative process, and I am confident that the OIG’s process where he has invited outsiders to come and review whatever took place a year ago will be reviewed. And I welcome that, I think the Department welcomes that, because we do want the highest standards applied.

And finally with respect to Syria, your question on Syria is specifically about whether or not --

QUESTION: About specifically with, after Qusayr --

SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah, I got it, whether or not they’re going to be able to win and so forth. Yeah.

QUESTION: Whether you have confidence.

SECRETARY KERRY: Look, I think that nobody wins in Syria the way things are going; the people lose, and Syria as a country loses. And what we have been pushing for, all of us involved in this effort, is a political solution that ends the violence, saves Syria, stops the killing and destruction of an entire nation. And that’s what we’re pushing for. So it’s not a question to me whether or not the opposition can, quote, "win." It’s a question of whether or not we can get to this political solution.

And the political solution that the Russians have agreed to contemplates a transition government. The implementation of Geneva 1 is the goal of Geneva 2, and that is a transition government with full executive authority which gives the Syrian people as a whole, everybody in Syria, the chance to have a new beginning where they choose their future leadership. Now, that’s the goal. And we have said that we will do everything we can and we’re able to do to help the opposition be able to achieve that goal and to reach a point where that can be implemented. And that’s what we’re trying to do. And I think that there’s a unanimity about the importance of trying to find a way to peace, not a way to war. Now, the Assad regime is making that very difficult.

We will be – as everybody knows and has written about, we’re meeting to talk about the various balances in this issue right now. And I have nothing to announce about that at this point, but clearly, the choice of weapons that he has engaged in across the board challenge anybody’s values and standards of human behavior. And we’re going to have to make judgments for ourselves about how we can help the opposition to be able to deal with that.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: On that, I want to support what Secretary Kerry has said. He’s spoken quite rightly, as I often have, of there only being a political solution in the end in Syria. Whatever happens, however long it goes on for, in the end there has to be a political solution. There isn’t a solution for either side of only military conquest. The Syria that would be left at the end of that is not a Syria that would be able to function at all. And so there has to be a political solution. That is why I particularly pay tribute to Secretary Kerry’s efforts to create a new process in Geneva, building on what we agreed last year at Geneva, a transitional government with full executive powers, formed by mutual consent.

But what the regime is doing at the moment, and what you’ve seen over the last couple of weeks in the military action, supported in this case by Hezbollah, is making a political solution more difficult. It may be designed to make a political solution more difficult. And so our efforts in Syria have been to try to save lives, to prevent radicalization, to send a message to the regime that in the end there does have to be a political solution. That’s why the United Kingdom has sent practical support to the opposition, to the national coalition, why we send so much humanitarian support. This is what our diplomatic effort is working towards. And so I think Secretary Kerry are in complete agreement about this. I also don’t have any new announcement that we’re making today about this. But we are determined that we will address this issue together and do our utmost to create the conditions for a political solution in Syria.

On the NSA and intelligence matters, that’s not been the focus of our discussions today. We’ve noted recent controversies, and the Secretary was very kind about my speech in the House of Commons on Monday. The intelligence sharing relationship between the UK and the U.S. is unique in the world. It is the strongest in the world. And it contributes massively to the national security of both countries. I think that’s something that the citizens of our countries should have confidence in, and in particular have confidence in that that relationship is based on a framework of law in both countries, law that is vigorously upheld. And so I repeat what I said in the House of Commons on Monday about the importance of that. And it’s a relationship we must never endanger, because it has saved many lives over recent decades in countering terrorism and in contributing to the security of all our citizens.

MODERATOR: The second question is Tom Whipple, The Times.

QUESTION: Thank you. I’ve got one question for both of you on Syria, if you don’t mind. But first of all, Foreign Secretary, to pick you up on the NSA story, I mean, you have made it clear in Parliament you don’t think British intelligence is breaking the law using information gathered by whatever means by U.S. intelligence. I’m not sure you that you’ve addressed what safeguards there are protecting British people from U.S. intelligence using these kinds of wholesale trawling of phone records and online activity we’ve been hearing about directly on innocent people in the UK.

And on Syria, we have heard what you’ve been saying about Syria for 800 days now. Have you discussed what military help you can give Syria’s rebels? And have you agreed on anything?

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Well, on the first point, the UK and the U.S. are very close partners on cyber security, on intelligence sharing. There couldn’t be two more trusted partners in the world than the United Kingdom and the United States. And I think that should give some level of assurance to the citizens of our countries. I pointed out in the House of Commons on Monday the legal protections that are there. And of course, I’ve made very clear that any information received by the United Kingdom is subject to all the laws of the United Kingdom. And so that remains the answer. That is the situation.

But no two countries in the world work more closely to protect the privacy of their citizens than the United Kingdom and the United States. There may be threats from elsewhere, of course, and there are, from criminal networks, sometimes from other states. It’s the UK and the U.S. that work together in trying to deal with that. So it’s not the United States we should be looking at when we’re worried about those things.

On the question about Syria, we’ve discussed many things about Syria, but I think we’ve dealt with this point earlier where we are restating today our determination that the UK, the U.S., our other allies in Europe and across the region, will work closely on this. Secretary Kerry has done a great deal in recent weeks to pull together a group of foreign ministers. We’ve met several times, including in Istanbul and in Amman recently, to coordinate our actions and our diplomacy and our support for the national coalition. We will continue to do that, and we may well have to intensify that in various ways over the coming weeks and months in order to make it more likely that we can achieve a political solution in Syria. So we’ve discussed all the ramifications of that today, but I can’t go into any more detail than that at the moment.

SECRETARY KERRY: Which part of it do you want me to answer?

QUESTION: Sorry. About Syria. We’ve heard you say similar things for 800 days about Syria.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, not me. I haven’t been in office for 800 days.

QUESTION: Officials like yourself, sir. Can you say – can you give us a sense, any sense at all, what you’ve been talking about in terms of the kind of help you may be offering the Syrian rebels, and why you aren’t able to say anything more than you’re saying at the moment, which you’re staying pretty tight-lipped about what you’ve been discussing in terms of this help you can give the rebels? At some point, it’s going to be too late for that, isn’t it? Do you think we’ve reached that point?

SECRETARY KERRY: I’m not going to make judgments about the points, where we are or aren’t. I’ll just say to you that as I said to you, we are determined to do everything that we can in order to help the opposition to be able to reach – to save Syria. And that stands. That’s exactly what we’re going to do. I have nothing new to announce today. When and if I do, you’ll hear about it. But at this moment, we are in consideration, as everybody knows – it’s been written about this week. People are talking about what further options might be exercised here. And we certainly had some discussion about that, obviously. But we don’t have anything to announce at this moment.

Thank you, all. Appreciate it.

FOREIGN SECRETARY HAGUE: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thanks very much.


NASA Flights Target How Pollution, Storms and Climate Mix

WASHINGTON -- NASA aircraft will take to the skies over the southern United States this summer to investigate how air pollution and natural emissions, which are pushed high into the atmosphere by large storms, affect atmospheric composition and climate.

NASA will conduct its most complex airborne science campaign of the year from Houston's Ellington Field, which is operated by the agency's Johnson Space Center, beginning Aug. 7 and continuing through September. The field campaign draws together coordinated observations from NASA satellites, aircraft and an array of ground sites.

More than 250 scientists, engineers, and flight personnel are participating in the Studies of Emissions, Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys (SEAC4RS) campaign. The project is sponsored by the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Brian Toon of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is SEAC4RS lead scientist.

Aircraft and sensors will probe the atmosphere from top to bottom at the critical time of year when weather systems are strong enough and regional air pollution and natural emissions are prolific enough to pump gases and particles high into the atmosphere. The result is potentially global consequences for Earth's atmosphere and climate.

"In summertime across the United States, emissions from large seasonal fires, metropolitan areas, and vegetation are moved upward by thunderstorms and the North American Monsoon," Toon said. "When these chemicals get into the stratosphere they can affect the whole Earth. They also may influence how thunderstorms behave. With SEAC4RS we hope to better understand how all these things interact."

SEAC4RS will provide new insights into the effects of the gases and tiny aerosol particles in the atmosphere. The mission is targeting two major regional sources of summertime emissions: intense smoke from forest fires in the U.S. West and natural emissions of isoprene, a carbon compound, from forests in the Southeast.

Forest fire smoke can change the properties of clouds. The particles in the smoke can reflect and absorb incoming solar energy, potentially producing a net cooling at the ground and a warming of the atmosphere. The addition of large amounts of chemicals, such as isoprene, can alter the chemical balance of the atmosphere. Some of these chemicals can damage Earth's protective ozone layer.

The mission will use a number of scientific instruments in orbit, in the air, and on the ground to paint a detailed picture of these intertwined atmospheric processes. As a fleet of formation-flying satellites known as NASA's A-Train passes over the region every day, sensors will detect different features of the scene below. NASA's ER-2 high-altitude aircraft will fly into the stratosphere to the edge of space while NASA's DC-8 aircraft will sample the atmosphere below it. A third aircraft from SPEC Inc., of Boulder, Colo., will measure cloud properties.
One benefit of this thorough examination of the region's atmosphere will be more accurate satellite data.

"By using aircraft to collect data from inside the atmosphere, we can compare those measurements with what our satellites see and improve the quality of the data from space," said Hal Maring of the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters.

The SEAC4RS campaign is partly supported by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. NASA scientists involved in the mission come from NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.; Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt., Md.; Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.; and Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

NASA's Earth Science Project Office at Ames manages the SEAC4RS project. The DC-8 and ER-2 research aircraft are managed by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and based at Dryden's Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif

Friday, June 14, 2013

Press Briefing by Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest | The White House

Press Briefing by Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest | The White House


U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Derek Turner, right, searches a compound during Operation Nightmare in Nowzad in Afghanistan's Helmand province, June 6, 2013. Turner, a squad leader, is assigned to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kowshon Ye


Combined Force Makes Arrest During Search for Facilitator

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 14, 2013 - A combined Afghan and coalition security force arrested an enemy operative during a search for an al-Qaida facilitator in the Behsud district of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province today, military officials reported.

The facilitator coordinates the delivery of weapons, military equipment and money to al-Qaida and operational cells for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, officials said. He also relays messages for senior al-Qaida leaders.

Also today, a combined force in Wardak province's Sayyidabad district arrested an extremist during a search for a Taliban facilitator who acquires and distributes weapons, ammunition, improvised explosive devices and other equipment for high-profile attacks targeting Afghan and coalition forces in three provinces. He also coordinates training for new enemy fighters.

And yesterday, the highest-ranking Taliban leader in Kunduz province's Archi district was killed, along with his top military advisor.

Qari Halim, also known as Zubair, was responsible for command and control, finance and logistical efforts for extremists in the region. He oversaw a group of about 50 fighters who have engaged in ambushes and IED operations against Afghan and coalition forces.

Under his orders, his military advisor directed and executed attacks targeting Afghan government officials and Afghan and coalition forces.



White House Assesses Assad Used Sarin, Will Boost Opposition Aid

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2013 - The White House in a statement today condemned Bashar Assad's regime in Syria for multiple uses of chemical weapons against Syrian citizens, and pledged increased aid to opposition forces there.

In a statement to Congress and the public, the administration alleged "that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year."

The statement, credited to deputy national security advisor for strategic communications Ben Rhodes, noted President Barack Obama has said his strategic approach to the Syrian conflict would change given clear evidence of chemical weapons use.

"Following on the credible evidence that the regime has used chemical weapons against the Syrian people, the president has augmented the provision of non-lethal assistance to the civilian opposition, and also authorized the expansion of our assistance to the Supreme Military Council, and we will be consulting with Congress on these matters in the coming weeks," the statement reads in part. " ... Put simply, the Assad regime should know that its actions have led us to increase the scope and scale of assistance that we provide to the opposition, including direct support to the SMC. These efforts will increase going forward."

The United States and the international community have a number of other legal, financial, diplomatic, and military responses available, Rhodes said.

"We are prepared for all contingencies, and we will make decisions on our own timeline," he said. "Any future action we take will be consistent with our national interest, and must advance our objectives, which include achieving a negotiated political settlement to establish an authority that can provide basic stability and administer state institutions; protecting the rights of all Syrians; securing unconventional and advanced conventional weapons; and countering terrorist activity."

The statement cites intelligence reports, witness interviews, medical reports and open-source reporting, including on social media platforms, as providing "multiple, independent streams of information" on which to base the assessment of chemical weapons use.

"The intelligence community estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from detected chemical weapons attacks in Syria to date; however, casualty data is likely incomplete," Rhodes said. "While the lethality of these attacks make up only a small portion of the catastrophic loss of life in Syria, which now stands at more than 90,000 deaths, the use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades."

He added, "We believe that the Assad regime maintains control of these weapons. We have no reliable, corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons."

The White House and allies will "present a credible, evidentiary case to share with the international community and the public," Rhodes said. "... We will also be providing a letter to [United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon], calling the U.N.'s attention to our updated intelligence assessment and specific incidents of alleged chemical weapons use. We request that the U.N. mission include these incidents in its ongoing investigation and report, as appropriate, on its findings."



130608-N-KG407-073 U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (June 8, 2013) An E2-C Hawkeye assigned to the Bluetails of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 launches off of the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Dwight D. Eisenhower is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility promoting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kameren Guy Hodnett/Released)

130608-N-KG407-424 U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY (June 8, 2013) An E2-C Hawkeye assigned to the Bluetails of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 conducts an arrested recovery on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Dwight D. Eisenhower is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility promoting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kameren Guy Hodnett/Released)

West Wing Week: 06/14/13 or “There's an App for That" | The White House

West Wing Week: 06/14/13 or “There's an App for That" | The White House



Conviction of Liu Hui
Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 12, 2013

The United States is deeply concerned that Liu Hui, the brother-in-law of Nobel laureate and imprisoned activist Liu Xiaobo, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for purportedly engaging in fraud related to a disputed land deal.

In May, 2011, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined the arrest and imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo and the extralegal house arrest of his wife Liu Xia to be in contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We urge Chinese authorities to release Liu Xiaobo, as well as his wife Liu Xia, immediately and to guarantee Liu Xiaobo and his family members the protections and freedoms to which they are entitled under China’s international human rights obligations and commitments. As President Obama told President Xi in California last week, history shows that upholding universal rights is ultimately a key to success, prosperity, and justice for all nations.


Photograph of an ultrathin (72 µm thick) metamaterial sample. Image courtesy Los Alamos National Laboratory

Metamaterial Flexible Sheets Could Transform Optics
New design flattens bulky optical devices
LOS ALAMOS, N.M., June 5, 2013—New ultrathin, planar, lightweight, and broadband polarimetric photonic devices and optics could result from recent research by a team of Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists. The advances would boost security screening systems, infrared thermal cameras, energy harvesting, and radar systems.

This development is a key step toward replacing bulky conventional optics with flexible sheets that are about the thickness of a human hair and weighing a fraction of an ounce. The advance is in the design of artificially created materials, called metamaterials, that give scientists new levels of control over light wavelengths.

The research was reported online in Science magazine, "Terahertz Metamaterials for Linear Polarization Conversion and Anomalous Refraction." The team demonstrated broadband, high-performance linear polarization conversion using ultrathin planar metamaterials, enabling possible applications in the terahertz (THz) frequency regime. Their design can be scaled to other frequency ranges from the microwave through infrared.

Polarization is one of the basic properties of electromagnetic waves, describing the direction of the electric field oscillation, and thus conveying valuable information in signal transmission and sensitive measurements.

"Conventional methods for advanced polarization control impose very demanding requirements on material properties and fabrication methods, but they attain only limited performance," said Hou-Tong Chen, the senior researcher on the project.

Metamaterial-based polarimetric devices are particularly attractive in the terahertz frequency range due to the lack of suitable natural materials for THz applications. Currently available designs suffer from either very limited bandwidth or high losses. The Los Alamos designs further enable the near-perfect realization of the generalized laws of reflection/refraction. According to the researchers, this can be exploited to make flat lenses, prisms, and other optical elements in a fashion very different from the curved, conventional designs that we use in our daily life.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program funded a portion of the research. Part of the work was performed at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT).

Reference: ‘Terahertz Metamaterials for Linear Polarization Conversion and Anomalous Refraction," Science, published online in Science Express, May 16, DOI: 10.1126/science.1235399, by Nathaniel K. Grady, Jane E. Heyes, Dibakar Roy Chowdhury, Yong Zeng, Matthew T. Reiten, Abul K. Azad, Antoinette J. Taylor, Diego A. R. Dalvit and Hou-Tong Chen of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing - June 13, 2013

Daily Press Briefing - June 13, 2013

Press Briefing | The White House

Press Briefing | The White House



U.S. Marines patrol through a village during Operation Nightmare in Nowzad in Afghanistan's Helmand province, June 6, 2013. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kowshon Ye


Combined Force Kills Extremists in Kunduz Province
From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release
KABUL, Afghanistan, June 13, 2013 - A combined Afghan and coalition security force killed five extremists after being fired upon during a search of a senior Taliban leader in the Archi district of Afghanistan's Kunduz province today, military officials reported.

The Taliban leader builds improvised explosive devices and suicide vests and has also directed and coordinated attacks that have killed Afghan security force members.

The security force also seized a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, three RPGs, four machine guns and ammunition.

In Afghanistan operations yesterday:
-- Afghan uniformed and local police establishing a new checkpoint in Kandahar province's Panjwai district with coalition advisors found and destroyed five IEDs.

-- Afghan commandos conducting a clearance operation in Nangarhar province's Chaparhar district detained three enemy fighters.


Hagel, Dempsey to Senate: Budget Uncertainty Can't Last
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 - The Pentagon is maintaining a fiscal balancing act that must eventually teeter into a potentially dangerous loss of combat power if Congress doesn't act to stabilize defense budgets, department leaders told the Senate Budget Committee today.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, each named fiscal uncertainty as the greatest enemy to effective military planning. In the face of steep short-term cuts, they explained, long-term military readiness priorities take the biggest hits.

"When you're talking about ... abrupt cuts without slowing the growth, then what you're really, bottom line, saying is that you're going to cut your combat power," Hagel said. "And in the end, combat power and the readiness and everything that fits into that is ... the one core asset that you must preserve and continually enhance for the future, whether it's cyber or anything else."

Hagel noted that lacking certainty "from month to month, year to year, as to what our possibilities are for contracts for acquisitions, for technology, for research, the technological advantage that we have in the air and the superiority we have at sea, the training, the readiness, all of these are affected."

Dempsey told senators the pace of defense spending decreases largely drives how drastic they will be.

"We've had deeper cuts. But [sequestration] is by far the steepest," the chairman said. "And when the cut is steep, we limit the places we can go to get the money, frankly, because a lot of this money is unavailable in the short term."

DOD is and has been reforming in many ways to cut costs and add efficiency, Dempsey said, but short-term crises soak up time and energy. "We can make long-term institutional reform, but you can't sweep it up in the near term," he said. "That's the problem we're having."

Dempsey and Hagel both urged senators to set clear and flexible spending limits for the department.

"Time and flexibility are absolutely key here," Hagel said. "If we've got the flexibility and the time to bring [spending] down, we can do that. That's manageable. And there are a lot of things that we should be doing, we can be doing, to be more efficient and still protect the interests of this country and still be the most effective fighting force."

Hagel noted he is now studying the strategic choices in management review that Dempsey led across the department. He will be discussing the review with Congress, he said, because it will guide the fiscal year 2015 budget request going into 2014.

Dempsey said the review made some factors more clear.

"This review ... allows us to see the impact of not only the president's fiscal year '14 submission, but also the Senate's plan and then full sequestration, and it does pose a series of choices which become pretty difficult," the chairman said.

Adding the $487 billion reduction in defense spending by the Budget Control Act and the $500 billion in sequester cuts, on top of previous DOD efficiency initiatives, Dempsey noted, "comes out to about $1.2 trillion," which he said "leaves a mark on the United States armed forces."

"We haven't decided that it would make our current strategy unfeasible," he added, "but it would put it at great risk and could make it unfeasible."

Hagel said the service chiefs tell him they can match force structure with the strategic guidance, and preserve and enhance U.S. security interests around the world, given clarity on what resources they will have.

"I cannot give them that," the secretary said. "And when I can't give them that, then we have to continually go back and adjust and adapt. ... Furloughs for people are a good example of that."

The 11-day unpaid leave most defense civilians will take between July 8 and Sept. 30 is triage, Hagel said. "It's the worst way to have to respond to anything," he added. "But it was a necessity, and we all came to the same conclusion."

Furloughs are only part of the cloud of uncertainty that envelops service members and the defense enterprise, Hagel told senators.

"It's very unfair to these people," he said of furloughed civilian employees. "It's unfair to this country to ... be put in that kind of a situation and then still ask these people to make the contributions they are and the sacrifices they are for this country."

Press Briefing | The White House

Press Briefing | The White House

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update: The Heater

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update


Thursday, June 6, 2013
Three Georgia Residents Sentenced for Their Roles in Bribery Scheme Related to the Award of Government Contracts
A former employee at the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany (MCLB-Albany) and two local businessmen were sentenced today for their roles in a bribery scheme related to the award of contracts for machine products that resulted in approximately $907,000 in fraudulent overcharges to the U.S. Marines, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore of the Middle District of Georgia.

Michelle Rodriguez, 32; Thomas J. Cole, 43; and Fredrick W. Simon, 55, all of Albany, Ga., were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands in the Middle District of Georgia. Rodriguez was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to pay $161,000 in restitution; Cole was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $209,000 in restitution; and Simon was sentenced to 32 months in prison and ordered to pay $74,500 in restitution. Each is also subject to a $907,000 restitution order and three years of supervised release.

During her guilty plea in February 2013, Rodriguez, a supply technician in the Maintenance Center Albany (MCA), admitted to participating in a scheme to award contracts for machine products to Company A and Company B, companies operated by Cole and Simon. Cole and Simon pleaded guilty to bribery charges related to the same scheme in January 2013 and cooperated with the government’s criminal investigation. The MCA is responsible for rebuilding and repairing ground combat and combat support equipment, much of which has been utilized in military missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other parts of the world. To accomplish the scheme, Rodriguez would transmit bid solicitations to Simon via facsimile or email, and then usually follow that communication with a text message specifying how much Company A should bid. Simon, on Company A’s behalf, and with Cole’s knowledge, bid the amount specified by Rodriguez on each order, which was normally in excess of fair market value. Rodriguez was then paid $75 in cash for each order awarded to Simon and Cole during the previous week. According to court records, during the relevant period Rodriguez awarded Cole and Simon’s companies nearly 1,300 machine product orders, all of which were in exchange for bribes paid to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez further admitted that in 2011, she began routing some orders through a second company, Company B, owned by Cole, because the volume of orders MCA placed with the first company was so high. Company A, however, continued to perform the required services. Court records state that Rodriguez received approximately $161,000 in bribes during the nearly two-year scheme, while Cole and Simon personally received $209,000 and $74,500, respectively. Court records also indicate that the total loss to the U.S. Marines from overcharges associated with the machine product orders placed during the scheme was approximately $907,000.

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


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hosts an honor cordon to welcome Peruvian President Ollanta Humala at the Pentagon, June 11, 2013. The two leaders met to discuss issues of mutual importance. DOD

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hosts an honor cordon to welcome Peruvian President Ollanta Humala at the Pentagon, June 11, 2013. The two leaders met to discuss issues of mutual importance. DOD


Secretary Hosts Peruvian Leaders at Pentagon

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2013 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hosted Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, Foreign Minister Eda Rivas and Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano at the Pentagon yesterday, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Little noted that Humala had met with President Barack Obama at the White House earlier in the day.

"Secretary Hagel affirmed the importance of the U.S.-Peru bilateral relationship and told President Humala that the Department of Defense is committed to increasing our cooperation, including in the areas of training and information sharing," Little said. Hagel also commended Humala on Peru's comprehensive counternarcotics strategy and recent operations to interdict narcoterrorists, he added.

Both leaders agreed that one of the key vehicles to deepening defense cooperation is an updated defense cooperation agreement that the United States and Peru began working on following then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's visit to Lima last year, the press secretary said, and they agreed that representatives from both nations should work to finalize these consultations.

Hagel also thanked Humala for hosting the next Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas and conveyed that he looks forward to working with Cateriano on a successful meeting, Little said



The Butterfly Nebula

The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth's night sky are often named for flowers or insects. Though its wingspan covers over 3 light-years, NGC 6302 is no exception. With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees C, the dying central star of this particular planetary nebula has become exceptionally hot, shining brightly in ultraviolet light but hidden from direct view by a dense torus of dust.

This sharp and colorful close-up of the dying star's nebula was recorded in 2009 by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, installed during the final shuttle servicing mission. Cutting across a bright cavity of ionized gas, the dust torus surrounding the central star is near the center of this view, almost edge-on to the line-of-sight. Molecular hydrogen has been detected in the hot star's dusty cosmic shroud. NGC 6302 lies about 4,000 light-years away in the arachnologically correct constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius). Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Remarks by Deputy Secretary Carter at the Center for a New American Security on Defense Priorities in an Era of Constrained Budgets, Washington, D.C.

Remarks by Deputy Secretary Carter at the Center for a New American Security on Defense Priorities in an Era of Constrained Budgets, Washington, D.C.

U.S. DOD Contracts for June 12, 2013

Contracts for June 12, 2013

U.S. Daily Press Briefing - June 12, 2013

Daily Press Briefing - June 12, 2013


A U.S. Marine intravenously hydrates Cane, his military working dog, on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan's Helmand province, June 6, 2013, before conducting a clearing operation. The Marine is assigned to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7. Afghan national forces led the clearing operation and the Marines supported it. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kowshon Ye


Afghan, Coalition Forces Kill Extremists in Wardak Province

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 12, 2013 - An combined Afghan and coalition security force killed four extremists and wounded another during a search for a senior Taliban leader in the Sayyidabad district of Afghanistan's Wardak province yesterday, military officials reported.

The senior leader controls about 70 extremist fighters responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. He also oversees local weapons trafficking and reports on extremist operations to higher-ranking Taliban officials.

In other Afghanistan operations yesterday:

-- Afghan commandos and special forces soldiers and coalition forces killed an enemy fighter and destroyed homemade explosives and improvised explosive devices in Kandahar province's Panjwai district.

-- A senior Taliban leader was killed in Nangarhar province's Khugyani district. He facilitated the movement of enemy fighters and weapons, and he oversaw a group responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

-- Afghan forces wounded and arrested an insurgent who was part of a group that attacked an Afghan army patrol in Paktika province's Jani Khel district. The district police chief organized and led the counterattack.

-- A combined force in Logar province's Pul-e Alam district killed four extremists during a search for a senior Haqqani network leader who plans attacks and facilitates the movement of enemy weapons and fighters in the area.


CARAT Thailand 2013 Closes

CARAT Thailand 2013 Closes


Army Spc. Adam Thomas, a member of the Maine Army National Guard's 136th Engineering Company, builds a school during Beyond the Horizon at El Castano, El Salvador, May 19, 2013. The U.S. Southern Command-sponsored joint and combined field training humanitarian exercise provides engineering, construction and health care services to communities as well as valuable deployment training for participants. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Bolick
Beyond the Horizon Provides Valuable Deployment, Mission Training
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

SONSONATE, El Salvador, June 6, 2013 - When 1,400 members of Joint Task Force Jaguar prepared for a four-month mission here as part of Beyond the Horizon 2013, they went through many of the same procedures they'd follow for missions ranging from a wartime deployment to a disaster response in the homeland.

The task force, led by the New Hampshire Army National Guard, includes National Guard, reserve and active-duty soldiers and airmen from across the United States as well as from El Salvador, Colombia, Chile and Canada, explained Army Lt. Col. Raymond Valas, the task force commander.

Getting them here to support the mission -- whether as the duration force for the exercise's entirety or for two- to four-week rotations -- required intensive planning and coordination.

"We do everything for this deployment that we do to deploy anywhere in the world," Valas said. "We exercise all of those systems," moving equipment and personnel by rail, road, sea and air, as well as providing the logistical support functions throughout the mission, he said.

"We bring them all together, and in the end, we have a remarkable training experience," Valas added.

For participants, working together in austere conditions to build schools and deliver medical, dental and veterinary care presents many of the difficulties they would encounter in any overseas deployment.

"We have challenges here that you wouldn't face if you were doing this training back at home station in the States," Valas said. "We are dealing with language barriers, with different construction materials, with tight timelines, with a different environment and climate than we are used to -- and still performing the mission."

Army 1st Lt. Michelle Lachat, a Wisconsin National Guard soldier serving as officer in charge of the school construction project in El Taramindo, said the crews are getting experience not easily replicated in the United States.

There, they typically do small-scale projects in local parks and recreation areas. But here during Beyond the Horizon, they're building classrooms and latrine facilities from the ground up, doing everything from building foundations and walls to running electrical wires and plumbing.

"For us, being here is pretty exciting, because we don't get to apply our skills in an environment like this all the time," Lachat said. "But these are the skills we would use when setting up our [forward operating bases] overseas, so this is valuable training for everyone."

For some of the participants, like Wisconsin Army Guardsman Spc. Amanda Short, Beyond the Horizon was their first deployment since completing basic training.

For others, like Army Pfc. Megan Klister, an active-duty soldier from the 56th Signal Battalion in San Antonio, it offered the first opportunity to set up operations as they would in a deployed environment.

"This is a great experience, getting to do all this in this kind of environment," Klister said as she set up communications equipment at the Rancho San Marcos school construction site. "I would so this all again in a heartbeat."

"This has been a learning experience for everybody," as they tackle projects in a demanding climate with time schedules to meet and language barriers to overcome, said Army Sgt. Anthony Rorick, project manager at the Las Marias site. "But it's been rewarding, being able to bring it all together to support such a worthwhile effort."

Beyond the Horizon serves as "a great lesson for all of our soldiers," Valas said.

"They take away from it that no matter what environment we might get put in, we get the mission done," he added. "We take what materials or tools we have and we find a way to make it work, on time.

"And in the end," he continued, "with all the training and all the experience that they will gain in doing that, they are going to leave behind a lasting benefit for the people in the communities where they are working."

As they do so, Valas said, the troops are fine-tuning many of the capabilities they would apply if called on to support their own neighbors during a homeland disaster.

"Being able to work out in the community, coordinate with mayors, schoolteachers, school directors, community leaders -- that is exactly what we do in the National Guard in the case of natural disasters," he said. "And we are training for that in a very real environment."

Participating in Beyond the Horizon is a heady experience, Valas said.

"To have this experience, where we are all working to to make something like that happen -- you go home and say, 'We pulled it off,'" he said. "We brought people together from five countries, from across two continents, and we formed one task force and we did a tough mission and we got it done. That is just something you never forget."



Washington, D.C., June 11, 2013 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and an affiliate for various systemic breakdowns in their regulatory and compliance functions as a self-regulatory organization, including a failure to enforce or even fully comprehend rules to prevent abusive short selling.

CBOE agreed to pay a $6 million penalty and implement major remedial measures to settle the SEC's charges. The financial penalty is the first assessed against an exchange for violations related to its regulatory oversight. Previous financial penalties against exchanges involved misconduct on the business side of their operations.

Self-regulatory organizations (SROs) must enforce the federal securities laws as well as their own rules to regulate trading on their exchanges by their member firms. In doing so, they must sufficiently manage an inherent conflict that exists between self-regulatory obligations and the business interests of an SRO and its members. An SEC investigation found that CBOE failed to adequately police and control this conflict for a member firm that later became the subject of an SEC enforcement action. CBOE put the interests of the firm ahead of its regulatory obligations by failing to properly investigate the firm's compliance with Regulation SHO and then interfering with the SEC investigation of the firm.

According to the SEC's order instituting settled administrative proceedings, CBOE demonstrated an overall inability to enforce Reg. SHO with an ineffective surveillance program that failed to detect wrongdoing despite numerous red flags that its members were engaged in abusive short selling. CBOE also fell short in its regulatory and compliance responsibilities in several other areas during a four-year period.

"The proper regulation of the markets relies on SROs to aggressively police their member firms and enforce their rules as well as the securities laws," said Andrew J. Ceresney, Co-Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "When SROs fail to regulate responsibly the conduct of their member firms as CBOE did here, we will not hesitate to bring an enforcement action."

Daniel M. Hawke, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division's Market Abuse Unit, added, "CBOE's failures in this case were disappointing. The public depends on SROs to provide a watchful eye on their exchanges and market activities occurring through them. They must have strong compliance cultures and adequate and dedicated compliance resources to ensure that they do not stray from their bedrock obligation to provide rigorous self-regulation."

According to the SEC's order, CBOE moved its surveillance and monitoring of Reg. SHO compliance from one department to another in 2008, and the transfer of responsibilities adversely affected its Reg. SHO enforcement program. After that transfer, CBOE did not take action against any firm for violations of Reg. SHO as a result of its surveillance or complaints from third parties. Reg. SHO requires the delivery of equity securities to a registered clearing agency when delivery is due, generally three days after the trade date (T+3). If no delivery is made by that time, the firm must purchase or borrow the securities to close out that failure-to-deliver position by no later than the beginning of regular trading hours on the next day (T+4). CBOE failed to adequately enforce Reg. SHO because its staff lacked a fundamental understanding of the rule. CBOE investigators responsible for Reg. SHO surveillance never received any formal training. CBOE never ensured that its investigators even read the rules. Therefore, they did not have a basic understanding of a failure to deliver.

According to the SEC's order, CBOE received a complaint in February 2009 about possible short sale violations involving a customer account at a member firm. CBOE began investigating whether the trading activity violated Rule 204T of Reg. SHO. However, CBOE staff assigned to the case did not know how to determine if a fail existed and were confused about whether Reg. SHO applied to a retail customer. CBOE closed its Reg. SHO investigation later that year.

The SEC's order found that not only did CBOE fail to adequately detect violations and investigate and discipline one of its members, but it also took misguided and unprecedented steps to assist that same member firm when it became the subject of an SEC investigation in December 2009. CBOE failed to provide information to SEC staff when requested, and went so far as to assist the member firm by providing information for its Wells submission to the SEC. The CBOE actually edited the firm's draft submission, and some of the information and edits provided by CBOE were inaccurate and misleading. The SEC brought its enforcement action against the firm in April 2012, and an administrative law judge recently rendered an initial decision in that case.

According to the SEC's order, CBOE had a number of other regulatory and compliance failures at various times between 2008 and 2012. CBOE failed to adequately enforce its firm quote and priority rules for certain orders and trades on its exchange as well as rules requiring the registration of persons associated with its proprietary trading members. CBOE also provided unauthorized "customer accommodation" payments to some members and not others without applicable rules in place, resulting in unfair discrimination. And CBOE and affiliate C2 Options Exchange failed to file proposed rule changes with the SEC when certain trading functions on their exchanges were implemented.

The SEC's order finds that CBOE violated Section 19(b)(1) and Section 19(g)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act as well as Section 17(a) and Rule 17a-1 when it failed to promptly provide information requested by the SEC that the exchange kept in the course of its business, including information related to the member firm that was under SEC investigation for Reg. SHO violations. CBOE and C2 agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying the SEC's findings. CBOE agreed to pay $6 million, accept a censure and cease-and-desist order, and implement significant undertakings. C2 also agreed to a censure and cease-and-desist order and significant undertakings.

After the SEC began its investigation, CBOE and C2 responded by engaging in voluntary remedial efforts and initiatives. In reaching the settlement, the SEC took into account these remediation efforts and initiatives. CBOE reorganized its Regulatory Services Division, and hired a chief compliance officer and two deputy chief regulatory officers. CBOE updated written policies and procedures, increased the regulatory budget and the hiring of regulatory staff, implemented mandatory training for all staff and management, and hired a third-party consultant to review its Reg. SHO enforcement program. CBOE also conducted a "bottom-up" review of its Regulatory Services Division's independence, began a "gap" analysis to determine whether CBOE or C2 needed to file any additional rules, and reviewed all of CBOE's regulatory surveillances and the exchange's enterprise risk management framework. After the SEC expressed concern about an accommodation payment to a member, CBOE hired outside counsel to investigate and self-reported additional instances of financial accommodations to other members. After considering CBOE's remedial efforts, the SEC determined not to impose limitations upon the activities, functions or operations of CBOE pursuant to Section 19(h)(1) of the Exchange Act.

The SEC's investigation was conducted by Market Abuse Unit members Paul E. Kim and Deborah A. Tarasevich and Structured and New Products Unit member Jill S. Henderson with assistance from market surveillance specialist Brian Shute and trading strategies specialist Ainsley Kerr. The case was supervised by Market Abuse Unit Chief Daniel M. Hawke

Press Briefing | The White House

Press Briefing | The White House

A Long Look at El Paso and Ciudad Juarez

A Long Look at El Paso and Ciudad Juarez


A high-resolution microscopic image of a new type of nanostructured-carbon-based catalyst developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory that could pave the way for reliable, economical next-generation batteries and alkaline fuel cells. (Photo credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Los Alamos Catalyst Could Jumpstart E-Cars, Green Energy

Economical non-precious-metal catalyst capitalizes on carbon nanotubes

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., June 4, 2013—Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have designed a new type of nanostructured-carbon-based catalyst that could pave the way for reliable, economical next-generation batteries and alkaline fuel cells, providing for practical use of wind- and solar-powered electricity, as well as enhanced hybrid electric vehicles.

In a paper appearing recently in Nature Communications, Los Alamos researchers Hoon T. Chung, Piotr Zelenay and Jong H. Won, the latter now at the Korea Basic Science Institute, describe a new type of nitrogen-doped carbon-nanotube catalyst. The new material has the highest oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity in alkaline media of any non-precious metal catalyst developed to date. This activity is critical for efficient storage of electrical energy.

The new catalyst doesn’t use precious metals such as platinum, which is more expensive per ounce than gold, yet it performs under certain conditions as effectively as many well-known and prohibitively expensive precious-metal catalysts developed for battery and fuel-cell use. Moreover, although the catalyst is based on nitrogen-containing carbon nanotubes, it does not require the tedious, toxic and costly processing that is usually required when converting such materials for catalytic use.

"These findings could help forge a path between nanostructured-carbon-based materials and alkaline fuel cells, metal-air batteries and certain electrolyzers," said Zelenay. "A lithium-air secondary battery, potentially the most-promising metal-air battery known, has an energy storage potential that is 10 times greater than a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery. Consequently, the new catalyst makes possible the creation of economical lithium-air batteries that could power electric vehicles, or provide efficient, reliable energy storage for intermittent sources of green energy, such as windmills or solar panels."

The scientists developed an ingenious method for synthesizing the new catalyst using readily available chemicals that allow preparation of the material in a single step. They also demonstrated that the synthesis method can be scaled up to larger volumes and could also be used to prepare other carbon-nanotube-based materials.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

U.S. Department Of State Daily Press Briefing - June 11, 2013

Daily Press Briefing - June 11, 2013


U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Mays participates in a rifle qualification range on Forward Operating Base Farah in Farah province, Afghanistan, June 8, 2013. Mays, a hospital corpsman, is assigned to Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. j.g. Matthew Stroup


Combined Force Kills Extremists in Nangarhar Province

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release
KABUL, Afghanistan, June 11, 2013 - A combined Afghan and coalition security force killed five extremists during a search for a senior Taliban leader in the Khugyani district of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province today, military officials reported.

The sought-after Taliban leader coordinates movement of weapons and fighters through the district and oversees a group responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, officials said.

The security force also destroyed a machine gun and several rocket-propelled grenades in the operation.

In Kandahar province's capital city of Kandahar today, a combined force arrested the ranking Taliban official for the province's Panjwai district. He oversees assassinations, improvised-explosive-device attacks targeting Afghan and coalition forces, collects illegal taxes to finance extremist activities, and facilitates the movement of weapons.


Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David Anzualda, a cyber network operator with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit command element, peers out the back of an MV-22B Osprey as he crosses decks from the USS Bataan to the USS San Antonio, Dec. 15, 2012. This was part of the 26th MEU's third major training exercise of their pre-deployment training process. The 26th MEU operates continuously around the globe, providing a forward-deployed, sea-based quick-reaction force. The MEU is a Marine air-ground task force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and limited contingency operations. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels


Marines Focused at Tactical Edge of Cyber, Commander Says
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., June 10, 2013 - What differentiates his command from Army, Navy and Air Force cyber operations is a focus on the forward-deployed nature of America's expeditionary force in readiness, the commander of Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command said during a recent interview here.

As commander of MARFORCYBER, Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills heads one of four service components of U.S. Cyber Command. The Marine command stood up in January 2010.

Today, 300 Marines, federal civilians and contractors are performing cyber operations, Mills said. That number, he added, will grow to just under 1,000, at least until fiscal year 2016.

Each of the services' cyber commands protects its own networks, Mills noted.

"Where we differ is that we look more at tactical-level cyber operations and how we will be able to provide our forward-deployed ... Marine Air-Ground Task Force commanders with the capability to reach back into the cyber world [at home] to have their deployed units supported," the general said.

The basic structure for deployed Marine units, he said, is an air-ground task force that integrates ground, aviation and logistics combat elements under a common command element.

"We're more focused at the tactical level, the tactical edge of cyber operations, in supporting our forward-deployed commanders, and that's what we should do," Mills said.

It's an important capability, the general said, and one that will become more important and effective for deployed commanders in the years ahead.

"Cyber to me is kind of like artillery or air support," Mills explained. "The actual weapon systems are well to your rear, back here in the continental United States, and what you need to be able to do is request that support be given to you and have it take effect wherever you're operating."

The Marine Corps cyber mission is to advise the commander of U.S. Cyber Command, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, on the capabilities of the Marines within the cyber world and how to best use those forces in accomplishing the Cybercom mission, Mills said.

"That's our first job," he added. "Our second job is to be able to conduct cyber operations across all three lines of cyber operations -– defensive and offensive cyber ops –- so we have to man, train and equip Marine forces to accomplish those missions."

In testimony to Congress in March, Alexander described the three Cybercom lines, or missions.

-- A Cyber National Mission Force and its teams will help to defend the country against national-level threats;

-- A Cyber Combat Mission Force and its teams will be assigned to the operational control of individual combatant commanders to support their objectives; and

-- A Cyber Protection Force and its teams will help to operate and defend the Defense Department's information environment.

Of the nearly 1,000 MARFORCYBER forces that will come online between now and fiscal 2016, Mills estimated that a third will be in uniform, a third will be federal civilian employees, and a third will be contractors.

MARFORCYBER has Marines in the joint community who work throughout Cybercom at Fort Meade in Maryland. The Marine Corps cyber organization also is developing teams to be tasked by Cybercom to conduct operations across the spectrum of cyber operations.

"It's very similar to what we do today," Mills said. "The units train and go forward from the United States and work for other commanders well forward, and cyber will be the same way. We'll ship forces to Cybercom when requested, fully trained, fully manned, fully equipped, ready to operate."

MARFORCYBER is a full-up component command under Cybercom along with the Air Force, Navy and Army, the general said.

"All four of the component commanders talk regularly to each other and meet regularly at Cybercom to coordinate our growth, coordinate our requirements, [provide] input to Cybercom and take its guidance and direction, and operate together in big exercises like Cyber Flag," he said.

Cyber Flag is an annual exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., which Cybercom conducts with U.S. interagency and international partners.

For the Marines, the smallest U.S. military service branch, contractors play an important part in cyber, the general said.

"One of the challenges of cyber is that it's such a dynamic environment," he explained. "You need people who are educated and current in their specialties and who are available to stay on the job for long periods of time, whereas Marines come and go in the normal assignment process."

Contractors have skill sets that aren't always available in the active-duty Marine Corps, and can fit neatly into short-term projects, he added.

"They all operate under the same clearance requirements, the same authorities, the same rules," the general said. "That's one of the things that make them so expensive. They come at a cost, but you have to bear it to make sure that your cyber capabilities are current and that you stay on the cutting edge."

In the newest domain of warfare, the battlefield is evolving, Mills said, and Marine commanders have come to understand the impact cyber can have on defensive and offensive operations.

"I think cyber commanders now understand when you go forward you have to be able to defend your systems against intrusion by other states, by rogue elements, and even by hobbyists who are just trying to break in and infiltrate your nets," the general said. "But they're also beginning to understand the positive effects cyber can have in your operations against potential enemies. ... It's a very valuable tool in that quiver of arrows that a commander takes forward, and they want to understand how it operates."

In the new domain, even a discussion of weapons veers off the traditional path. A cyber weapon, Mills said, "can be something as simple as a desktop computer. It's also a vulnerability to you, because it's a way in which the enemy can enter your Web system if you put the wrong hardware on there or open the wrong attachment or email."

Cyber weapons are much more nuanced than big cannons and large bombs and weapons systems.

"The armories of the cyber world are very sophisticated computers and very sophisticated smart people who sit behind those computers and work those issues for you," the general said.

Mills said he's an infantry officer by trade, so he tends to view everything he does through a combat-arms prism.

"I think the definition of combat arms is expanding a little bit these days," he said. "I don't think cyber is any longer a communicator's environment -- it's an operator's environment. So we want that cyber expert to sit in the operations shop right next to the air expert, right next to the artillery expert, because we think that's where it belongs."

Mills pointed out the contrast between a Marine "kitted out" for battle with a Marine dressed for a cyber operation who may be sitting behind a desk in the United States.

"He's got access to a huge computer system that allows him to operate within that domain," the general said. "He may go home at night and never have to deploy forward. But he's providing support to deployed forces, he's conducting actions against designated targets, he's doing a lot of things -- but from the foxhole or the fighting hole at his desk, rather than some foxhole or fighting hole forward."