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Saturday, July 6, 2013



Violence in Egypt
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 6, 2013

The United States is deeply troubled by the violence across Egypt. We strongly condemn any and all incitement to violence or attempts to divide and provoke, rather than unite, all Egyptians. The United States strongly condemns the violence by all parties and urges calm. At the same time, we firmly reject the unfounded and false claims by some in Egypt that the United States supports the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood or any specific Egyptian political party or movement. The United States has always been and remains committed to the democratic process, not to any party or personality. We want Egyptians to make their democracy work for the good of all Egyptians. At this sensitive moment, we call on all Egyptian leaders to condemn the use of force and prevent further violence among their supporters and we urge all those demonstrating to do so peacefully.

The United States wants to see Egypt’s ongoing transition succeed for the benefit of the Egyptian people. The Egyptians themselves must come together and make the tough decisions necessary for that to happen. As I said in March when I was in Cairo, the United States supports the people of Egypt in their continued transition to a stable, sovereign Egyptian democracy. The only solution to the current impasse is for all parties to work together peacefully to address the many legitimate concerns and needs of the people and to ensure Egypt has a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the millions of Egyptians who have taken to the streets to demand a better future. Lasting stability in Egypt will only be achieved through a transparent and inclusive democratic process with participation from all sides and all political parties. This process must also ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts.

The Egyptian people seek and deserve an honest, capable and representative democratic government. As President Obama has said, "no transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people." The longstanding partnership and friendship between the United States and Egypt is of great importance to the United States, and we will continue to support the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds. - View Image - View Image

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update


Dempsey Calls on Americans to Discuss Civil-Military Relations

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 5, 2013 - America's all-volunteer military has been a success, but society at large and service members must ensure a shared understanding exists between them, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in a commentary in the Washington Post today.

Dempsey described the all-volunteer force as one of America's finest achievements. The military is so good, he wrote, that many Americans take it for granted.

"The last decade of war has affected the relationship between our society and the military," Dempsey wrote. "We can't allow a sense of separation to grow between us. As the all-volunteer force enters its fifth decade, civilians and the military need to maintain the shared understanding necessary for a healthy relationship."

Dempsey wrote that the nation needs to discuss the military-civil relationship, as well as the nation's relationship with its service members.

"As a nation, we've learned to separate the warrior from the war," he wrote. "But we still have much to learn about how to connect the warrior to the citizen."

Since the end of conscription in July 1973, those entering the military have served as volunteers. In his commentary, Dempsey urged America's civilians to establish a dialogue with their fellow citizens who serve in the all-volunteer force.

"As citizens, we must listen to our veterans," the chairman wrote. "If we do, we'll hear stories of pride and courage, anger and pain, laughter and joy. We'll hear of actions that humble and inspire us. We'll also hear of moments that break our hearts. These stories represent the best of our nation."

Service members also bear a responsibility to communicate with their fellow citizens, Dempsey wrote. "We should tell our stories and recognize that those who aren't in uniform might not know what to say or ask," he added. "We also have a duty to listen. Our fellow citizens may have different perspectives that we need to hear and understand."

The services as well as veterans understand the need for fiscal change, the general wrote. Cuts in funding, he added, are not an attack on veterans and their families.

"Modest reforms to pay and compensation will improve readiness and modernization," Dempsey wrote. "They will help keep our all-volunteer force sustainable and strong. Keeping faith also means investing sufficient resources so that we can uphold our sacred obligations to defend the nation and to send our sons and daughters to war with only the best training, leadership and equipment. We can't shrink from our obligations to one another. The stakes are too high."

Service members and veterans must remember that public service takes many forms, Dempsey wrote.

"Across our country, police officers, firefighters, teachers, coaches, pastors, scout masters, business people and many others serve their communities every day," he added. "Military service makes us different, but the desire to contribute permeates every corner of the United States."

The nation cannot afford allowing the military to disconnect from American society, Dempsey wrote.

"We must guard against letting military service become a job for others," he added. "Children of those in the military are far more likely to join than the children of those who are not. And young men and women in some areas never even consider the military as one of many ways to serve our nation."

Some fault for this, Dempsey said, lies with the military. Service members, he added, cannot just stay on bases and remain in their own world.

"But we didn't stop being citizens when we put on the uniform," Dempsey wrote. "We came from small towns and big cities across our country, and we'll go back one day. Civilians aren't an abstraction; they're our parents, grandparents, siblings and friends."

An all-volunteer force is actually the norm for the United States, the chairman wrote, noting that since 1787, the nation used conscription for only 35 years.

"Except in times of great crisis, we have relied on a tradition of selfless service," Dempsey wrote. "The all-volunteer force continues that tradition. It has served our nation well for the past 40 years. To do so for the next 40, we'll have to work at it together."

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

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update


President Obama speaks to service members and their families celebrating Independence Day at the White House, July 4, 2013. White House courtesy photo

Obama Thanks Troops at White House July Fourth Celebration

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 5, 2013 - President Barack Obama praised and thanked U.S. military members and their families for their service to the nation during an Independence Day celebration held yesterday on the South Lawn of the White House.

The event was attended by military members representing all branches of the armed forces.

"We are incredibly grateful for your service, and we're thankful that you get a chance to spend the Fourth here with us," Obama told the service members.

This year's Fourth of July celebration marked 237 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the president said. Today, the United States "stands as the greatest nation on Earth," he said.

"And what makes us great is not our size or our wealth, but our values and our ideals and the fact that we're willing to fight for them," the president added.

America continues to be "a land of liberty and opportunity; a global defender of peace and freedom; a beacon of hope for people everywhere who cherish those ideals," Obama said. And the nation's service members -- past and present -- "have defended our nation at home and abroad," Obama said.

"You fought for our nation's beliefs, to make the world a better and safer place," he told service members at the White House. "People in scattered corners of the world live in peace today are free to write their own futures, because of you."

Obama praised the "incredibly capable and brave men and women" serving in the nation's armed forces, and he highlighted some of the military members in attendance, including Army Spc. Heidi Olson, who, after being wounded by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, gave lifesaving treatment to other injured soldiers.

Olson "had to be ordered to stop and get treatment for herself when the MEDEVAC aircraft arrived," the president said. "And for her courage, she was awarded a Bronze Star. "

The president also saluted Navy Petty Officer Joe Marcinkowski who
, he said, "serves wounded warriors at Walter Reed, coordinating their care and supporting their families throughout their recoveries. "

Obama also recognized Air Force Staff Sergeant Adam Ybarra. The airman, he said, "helped save nine lives in 11 combat search-and-rescue missions in Afghanistan in 2012. "

The president also praised Marine Corps Cpl. Amber Fifer. Fifer "was shot five times in an attack in Helmand province [in Afghanistan], and has stayed on to serve as a Marine Corps drill instructor," the president said.

Obama also saluted Coast Guard Petty Officer Randy Haba. The Coast Guard member, the president said, "was one of the first responders to rescue the crew of a ship off the coast of North Carolina when Hurricane Sandy struck and saved the lives of five mariners."

Each day, U.S. service members are "carrying forward the ideals that inspired that American Dream [that began] 237 years ago," Obama said.

"Defending our nation and our freedoms with strength and with sacrifice is your daily charge," the president told the service members. "And it's the charge of all of us -- the charge of all who serve worldwide, including our troops that are still in harm's way, and their families back home. They serve, too. And so we think of them, we pray for them.

"And on behalf of all Americans, I want to say thank you and wish you all a very, very happy Fourth of July," Obama continued. "You've earned it. So, God bless you. God bless your families. God bless the United States of America."



Violations Occurred When Diller Acquired Voting Securities of The Coca Cola Company

WASHINGTON — Corporate investor Barry Diller will pay a $480,000 civil penalty to settle charges that he violated premerger reporting and waiting requirements when he acquired voting securities of The Coca Cola Company, the Department of Justice announced today.

The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., against Diller 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.

The HSR Act of 1976, an amendment to the Clayton Act, imposes notification and waiting period requirements on individuals and companies over a certain size before they consummate acquisitions resulting in holding stock or assets above a certain value, which at the time of Diller’s violations ranged from $63.4 million to $68.2 million and is currently $70.9 million.

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.


U.S. Exports Reach $187.1 Billion in May
Exports Up 41% Since 2009

Washington, D.C. – The United States exported $187.1 billion in goods and services in May 2013, according to data released today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Commerce Department.

Exports of goods and services over the last twelve months totaled $2.2 trillion, which is 41.2 percent above the level of exports in 2009. Exports have been growing at an annualized rate of 10.6 percent during the same period when compared to 2009.

“These numbers reflect the continued competitiveness of American exporters in the global marketplace,” said Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. “It is clear that foreign countries continue to ‘buy American’ because of the superior quality of our products and services and the unrivaled innovation of our workforce. Ex-Im Bank remains committed to supporting U.S. jobs by promoting U.S. exports.”

Over the last twelve months, among the major export markets (i.e., markets with at least $6 billion in annual imports of U.S. goods), the countries with the largest annualized increase in U.S. goods purchases, when compared to 2009, were Panama (29.4 percent), United Arab Emirates (24.1 percent), Russia (23.4 percent), Peru (22.2 percent), Chile (21.5 percent), Colombia (19.7 percent), Venezuela (19.4 percent), South Africa (19.1 percent), Hong Kong (18.9 percent), and Argentina (18.8 percent).



Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama and First Lady Laura Bush in a Conversation at the African First Ladies Summit

Serena Hotel
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

9:56 A.M. SAT

MS. ROBERTS: What a great occasion, and what a tremendous honor for me to be here. Thank you so very, very much for inviting me to come to Tanzania. And thank you, Mrs. Kikwete, for hosting this. This is very -- it's important to do.

President Obama said in South Africa on Sunday, quoting the best possible source -- his mother -- (laughter) -- he said that you can measure how well a country does by how it treats its women. And, of course, President Obama's mother said that long before we had the data -- and we now have tons and tons of data to show that the single two biggest factors in development are the education of girls and the economic empowerment of women.

And for all the reasons that you've just delineated, Mrs. Bush -- the importance of the education of girls and the empowerment of women. So my hat's off to all of you, and especially the first ladies of Africa -- who are wearing wonderful hats, by the way -- because you work on these issues every day in your countries, pushing and prodding the powers that be -- and yes, your husbands -- to do the right things; to help your countries by helping the women and girls in your countries. So congratulations to you.

And this is a session where we are going to have some congratulations and also some learning. And in that spirit, I was going to start by saying, why can't the guys get together like this, but now they are getting together. (Laughter.) They're getting together this morning; I think they've probably taken their example from you.

MRS. OBAMA: They're learning from us as women. (Laughter.)

MS. ROBERTS: Exactly. But you know, this question of "First Lady" has always been somewhat fraught. You quoted Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Bush, but it really -- particularly, I know in the United States, Americans have always been a little bit wary about first ladies -- they're not elected, and they can't be fired -- (laughter) -- and they have a whole lot of power. But it can also be a little confining, I think is a fair way to put it.

Martha Washington, our first First Lady, wrote in the first year that she was First Lady, she wrote to her niece that she felt like a "Chief State Prisoner." (Laughter.) But she was able to do good -- she lobbied for all of those veterans that she had been to camp with through the Revolutionary War. And people don’t realize that first ladies have been doing that kind of thing from Martha Washington --

MRS. OBAMA: Absolutely.

MS. ROBERTS: And, Mrs. Obama, you talked about -- you've talked about, wherever you go, there's a light that shines, and that you're able to shine that light on something that needs attention that wouldn’t otherwise get it. Talk about that a little bit.

MRS. OBAMA: That’s absolutely true. I always joke that we have probably the best jobs in the world because, unlike our husbands who have to react and respond to crisis on a minute-by-minute basis -- they come into office with a wonderful, profound agenda, and then they're faced with the reality. (Laughter.)

On the other hand, we get to work on what we're passionate about. And I think that that’s something that I would encourage all first ladies to never lose sight of. You have an opportunity to speak to your passions and to really design and be very strategic about the issues you care most about. And I just found it just a very freeing and liberating opportunity.

MS. ROBERTS: No state prisoner? (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA: No, there are prison elements to it. (Laughter.) But it's a really nice prison, so --

MRS. BUSH: But with a chef. (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA: You can't complain. But there is definitely elements that are confining.

MS. ROBERTS: And she said that before tweeting and cell phones.

MRS. OBAMA: That’s right, 24-hour media.

MS. ROBERTS: And she could cover her hair with that cap. (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA: Right. But being able to pursue our passions and do things that not only help our country and connect us with the rest of the world, it's a great privilege. So while people are sort of sorting through our shoes and our hair -- (laughter) -- whether we cut it or not --

MRS. BUSH: Whether we have bangs.

MRS. OBAMA: Whether we have bangs. (Laughter.) Who would have thought? I didn’t call that one. (Laughter.)

MRS. BUSH: I said that just because our daughter, Barbara, cut bangs at the same time Michelle did. They commiserated --

MRS. OBAMA: I was doing what Barbara was doing. (Laughter.) I was just following her lead. But we take our bangs and we stand in front of important things that the world needs to see. And eventually, people stop looking at the bangs and they start looking at what we're standing in front of.

MRS. BUSH: We hope.

MRS. OBAMA: They do, and that’s the power of our roles.

MS. ROBERTS: Mrs. Bush, you quoted, again, Lady Bird Johnson, talking about, I have a podium and I'm going to use it. But it's a unique role, and there must be a learning curve. And I remember as you were leaving the White House, you said that at first you were "dense" -- (laughter) -- about how hard it was; how the role is really not something that you understood the power of.

MRS. BUSH: Well, and I should have understood it, because I had a mother-in-law who was a First Lady. I had watched her, of course, the whole time she served in public office with her husband, my father-in-law, President Bush. And so, I really had an advantage that -- the only other First Lady that’s had this advantage was Louisa Adams, whose mother-in-law had been first lady as well.

So I really did come to the White House knowing a lot about the White House and knowing where things were, and we even knew the staff -- the butlers and the ushers -- because we had stayed there so often with President Bush and Barbara. But what I didn’t really understand was how people would listen to the First Lady.

And right after attacks of September 11th when -- I gave the presidential radio address to talk about women in Afghanistan. And right after that, I was in a department store with my daughter, Jenna -- she was a freshman in college and I was in Austin seeing her -- and we want to a department store. And the women who sold cosmetics at the department store said, thank you so much, Ms. Bush, thank you for speaking for the women in Afghanistan. And that was the first time it really occurred to me that people really did hear me, and that I really did have that podium that Lady Bird Johnson knew about and had told us about.

And so, I want to encourage every first lady to speak out and speak up and let people know, because people are watching and they are listening. And you can be so constructive for your country if you speak up about issues that you think are important.

MS. ROBERTS: Did you have an experience like that?

MRS. OBAMA: Absolutely, but I just want to take a moment to commend Mrs. Bush, because she and her staff helped my team with that transition. And that’s a powerful lesson for other leaders, is that there's a lot of give and take when you're campaigning, but when the dust settles, we are all in this together. And Laura has been just so helpful. Her Chief of Staff, Anita McBride, and many of the team members left notes for my staff. My chief of staff calls Anita on a regular basis -- (laughter) -- I think it's daily or weekly or something like that.

But having your predecessors be people who are willing to extend themselves on behalf of the country, to help with that transition makes the world of difference. But nothing prepares you. (Laughter.) Nothing prepares you for this role. I mean, it is so startling that the transition of power in the United States happens so quickly that you don’t have access to the house until the President takes the oath of office.

So, literally --

MRS. BUSH: During the inaugural parade -- one family moves out and the next family moves in. (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA: Literally. And I remember walking into that house and I didn’t even know where the bathrooms were. (Laughter.) But I had to get ready for a ball. (Laughter.) It was like, and I've got to look nice? It's like, what door is this, and you're opening up all these doors, and you can't find your toothpaste, you don’t know where your kids are. (Laughter.) So that’s day one.

MRS. BUSH: Exactly.

MS. ROBERTS: That’s a daunting experience. One of the things -- we did ask the first ladies of Africa if they wanted to submit some questions, and one of the things that was true throughout the questions was the sense of continuity; that -- was there a way to keep your efforts going after the spotlight does go away. Now, Mrs. Bush, is this one of your ways of doing that?

MRS. BUSH: Yes, this is. But for George and me, through the Bush Institute, we're able to focus on four areas that were so important to us when George was President.

When you are President, every issue comes to the desk of the President of the United States. First ladies have it a little bit easier because we can choose specific issues to focus on, but now that we're home, through the Bush Institute -- the policy institute that’s part of our Bush Presidential Center at SMU -- we are able to continue to work on issues that were important to us.

MS. ROBERTS: And you said, Mrs. Obama, that you want your issues to have a lasting effect, so how do you do that?

MRS. OBAMA: Four to eight years is really a blink of an eye. And you often find that you're just starting to get your teeth into your issues, and then it's time to go. But none of the issues --

MS. ROBERTS: -- your children.

MRS. OBAMA: That’s true, that’s true. (Laughter.) That’s absolutely true. But none of the work that we do and any of us does will be concluded at the end of a term. I tell the young people that I work with around health, the military families that I support, that for me, these issues are -- I say a forever proposition.

This isn't work that I'm just doing

(Audio drops out.)

MRS. OBAMA: -- that I find in this position that there are girls around the world who are looking to us and how we behave and how we carry on our issues. And they're going to be watching us for decades to come.

MS. ROBERTS: There's that prisoner thing again.

MRS. OBAMA: There it is. (Laughter.) Keeps coming --

MRS. BUSH: But there are things that you could establish, like the National Book Festival that I started. I'm the librarian, and so it was a very obvious sort of thing for me to start. I started a Texas book festival in Dallas -- I mean, in Austin, when George was governor, and then started one that the Library of Congress now runs. And so it continues to go on.

But Michelle's right -- we'll never finish with education. We'll never get to rub our hands together and say, oh, we took care of that. There will be another little class of kindergartners. And it's something we'll always work on.

MS. ROBERTS: Well, again, it's like child-raising. Yes, it's like child-raising.

MRS. BUSH: Exactly -- it's never over.

MS. ROBERTS: But, Mrs. Bush, you all talked about the -- agenda and it gets disrupted, but your agenda got disrupted too. And you were on Capitol Hill about to testify before Ted Kennedy's committee about education when September 11th --

MRS. BUSH: That’s right. I mean, of course, things happen that you don’t expect, like what happened to us in the United States on September 11th. And the National Book Festival that I founded, it -- just then the weekend before -- the Saturday before that, September 8th. And then I was scheduled -- in fact, I went onto Capitol Hill on the morning of September 11th because I was going to brief the Senate Education Committee on a summit that I had hosted that summer on early childhood education, and got to the Capitol and joined Senator Kennedy in his office then as we watched on television and started to see the towers fall. And we knew -- he knew and I knew -- that everything had changed for us and for our country, really.

And that’s what happens to presidents also; those kinds of issues come up that you don’t expect, and it changes your whole focus. In fact, in our new presidential museum, the very first part of it is everything that we thought we would be working on -- tax cuts, the book festival, the faith-based and community service projects, tee ball on the South Lawn of the White House -- (laughter) -- our first state dinner, which was with Mexico -- which is where we really expected to spend a lot of our time in the Americas because we were from a border state -- and then September 11th --

MS. ROBERTS: And that’s how you got involved with the women of Afghanistan.

MRS. BUSH: That’s right.

MS. ROBERTS: One of the questions that has come in from the South African -- or from the African first ladies refers to both of you as the mothers of girls -- and you are now the grandmother of a girl.

MRS. BUSH: That’s right, the grandmother of another girl -- baby Margaret Laura. (Applause.)

MS. ROBERTS: And the question of the education of girls -- and you, of course, know how important it is in your own lives, but as I alluded to earlier, one of the things we now have just so much data on is that if you educate a girl, you can save a country. And the first ladies here are saying, what can you do to work with them globally for the education of girls?

MRS. BUSH: Well, we both obviously spend a lot of time on education, especially the education of girls. But the fact is, in the United States, now more girls are graduating from high school than boys. And more girls are in college and more girls are in masters programs -- women are -- than boys. And that --

(Audio interruption.)

MRS. OBAMA: -- Mandela's most important quote of the millions of things he has said is that education is probably the most powerful weapon for change. But a lot of our kids don’t understand that. In the United States, many of them take it for granted. Many of them have a mindset that they can't do it because they've been grown up to be taught that they can't.

So there's a large part of my initiative that’s really trying to get into the heads of these young people and use my story as an example of what -- the power of education. And I tell kids all across the country, I want them to look at me not as the First Lady, but as one of them.

I was a girl who grew up on the South Side of Chicago, my parents didn’t have much money, but they invested in my education. And they invested in my education as equally as they did my brother; there was no different bar. And as a result of that training and preparation, I have had opportunities and I am sitting here now as First Lady of the United States of America because of education. (Applause.)

MS. ROBERTS: It was -- one of the things that the PEPFAR program is doing is not just reaching -- not just treating people -- which is, of course, wonderful -- but getting to the orphans and vulnerable children. I was in -- Ethiopia with Save The Children where this 13-year-old girl that had been through our program stood up and started talking about what was needed in the community, and then the local minister from that region told her she was crazy and she just stood right back up and just went -- and I -- you go, girl. And that really does make a difference in the future.

MRS. BUSH: Well, it is important to reach parents as well. So the parents know that they need to make sure their children are educated -- in whatever way they can.

We know from research that mothers who can bring in a little bit of money, they're more likely to spend their money on their fees for their children's education and on their uniforms and others things they need to go to school. So all of it really works together -- the economic empowerment as well as just the understanding of how important education is.

MRS. OBAMA: And I just want to take a moment to recognize Mama Kikwete's work educating female orphans here, the school she has started. (Applause.) I got an opportunity to sit with some of the children and watch a cultural program. But there are so many young girls that don’t have families, they don’t have role models. And as Mama Kikwete understands, they need a safe place to land, a place where they can get food and shelter and love and direction.

So I applaud Mama Kikwete and all the first ladies who are providing that kind of safe harbor for our young girls. So, congratulations. (Applause.)

MS. ROBERTS: Well, you talk about the role models, and you talked about yourselves as role models, but, Mrs. Bush, you said at one point, I think that our first ladies are a lot more complicated than they get treated in the media. I suspect every first lady here would agree with that. Why do you think that is? Why do you think that it's always those sort of --

MRS. BUSH: Well, I think -- in the United States, it has a lot to do with the way you look. That’s a lot of the discussion about women. That’s a problem everywhere in the United States -- for girls as well. The way you look -- girls worry about all sorts of problems that they shouldn’t have to worry about. They should be worried about what they're doing and how they're being educated instead of whether they look pretty or they look sexy. (Applause.)

But that’s the way we treat women, sadly. And it's obviously when you read in the press -- I mean, it's like talking about the bangs, or somebody writing about them, really -- worse -- the press writing about them.

MS. ROBERTS: Do you think you get put in a box?

MRS. BUSH: Yes, a little bit.

MRS. OBAMA: Absolutely. I constantly get asked, especially in the first term, are you more like Laura Bush, or are you more like Hillary Clinton? And I'm like, is that it? That’s all I -- (laughter) --

MRS. BUSH: Exactly the problem -- everyone said -- reporters -- are you Hillary Clinton or Barbara Bush? And I always just said, well, I think I'll be Laura Bush; I do Laura Bush pretty well, having grown up as her. (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA: But this is also why it's important for us to make sure that more women use their voices and their power. Because we know, as women, that we're not that complicated, but we are complex. We are deep, diverse, enlightened people in the universe. And the world will be better off when our voices are at the table.

We just bring a different perspective. We are mothers. We are nurturers. We have to juggle a lot. I love my husband, but sometimes when he has, like, five things to do at one time, it's funny to watch it. (Laughter.) You don’t know where you jacket is right now -- (laughter) -- can't find that shoe, Mr. President. (Laughter.) It's a little --

MRS. BUSH: I always think -- but they're good at focus.

MRS. OBAMA: Very focused. Focus. (Laughter.) But I think that that’s the -- and we as women cannot underestimate the value of what we bring, and I think that’s what young girls are taught -- that their voices aren't important; be small, be quiet.

MRS. BUSH: The way we look is more important --

MRS. OBAMA: The way they look is more important --

MRS. BUSH: -- than what they learn and say.

MRS. OBAMA: And we are missing 50 percent of the intellect that could go -- and needs to go to -- that’s true. But I want to keep it fair. I don’t want the men to feel too --

MS. ROBERTS: Left out.

MRS. OBAMA: -- lesser.

MS. ROBERTS: You know, you talked -- just briefly mentioned the campaign trail. And of course, both of you spent a great deal of time on the campaign trail, and wives -- and it has been wives so far -- are sort of in the role of validators, character witnesses for their husbands on the trail. But then you get to the White House and you have another role, which seemed to me to be incredibly difficult, which is that sometimes you have to be the only truth teller.

Now, this is true of all spouses to some degree, but when I have to tell my husband the truth, there's not his political future or the peace of the world riding on it.

MRS. OBAMA: It's just "that tie looks bad." (Laughter.)

MS. ROBERTS: So how do you deal with sometimes being the only person who can tell your husband the truth?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I have that famous story -- I think I told it to the first ladies last year in New York -- about how Barbara Bush, my mother-in-law, said, don’t criticize George's speeches -- (laughter) -- because she criticized her George's speech and he came home for weeks afterwards with letters saying it was the best speech he'd ever given. (Laughter.)

So I took her advice -- this was years ago when George was running for Congress -- and we were driving into our driveway after a campaign event in another town. We were just driving up, and he said, how was my speech? And I said, well, it wasn't really very good, and he drove into the garage wall. (Laughter and applause.)

But I think you have to be really careful, actually -- (laughter) -- with -- tells him the truth. Actually, the President --

Friday, July 5, 2013


DOD Recruiting Remains Strong Through May
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2013 - All four active services met or exceeded their numerical accession goals for fiscal year 2013 through May, Defense Department officials announced today.

Here are the numbers for the active force for the first eight months of the fiscal year:
-- Army: 45,947 accessions, 101 percent of its goal of 45,435;
-- Navy: 24,344 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 24,344;
-- Marine Corps: 17,214 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 17,174;
-- Air Force: 18,695 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 18,695.
The Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps exhibited strong retention numbers for the eighth month of fiscal year 2013. The Navy exhibited strong retention numbers in the mid-career and career categories. However, the Navy's achievement of 90 percent in the initial category relates to reduced accessions from four to six years ago.

Five of the six reserve components met or exceeded their 2013 numerical accession goals through May. While the Army Reserve met its May goals, it remains 1,662 accessions short of its fiscal year goal.
Here are the reserve component numbers:
-- Army National Guard: 34,034 accessions, 102 percent of its goal of 33,266;
-- Army Reserve: 17,815 accessions, 91 percent of its goal of 19,477;
-- Navy Reserve: 3,594 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 3,594;
-- Marine Corps Reserve: 5,804 accessions, 101 percent of its goal of 5,766;
-- Air National Guard: 6,732 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 6,732;
-- Air Force Reserve: 4,856 accessions, 109 percent of its goal of 4,439.
All reserve components have met their attrition goals, officials said, noting that the availability of this data lags accession statistics by a month.


Air Force JAG turns 20
by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs

7/2/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- Celebrating 20 years of providing the Air Force with trained and qualified judge advocates, civilian attorneys and paralegals, the Air Force Judge Advocate General's School recently commemorated the historic occasion.

"The 20th anniversary of the JAG School building dedication is a momentous day in the JAG School's history," said Col. Kenneth Theurer, commandant of AFJAGS.

The school offers opportunities for attorneys and paralegals to enhance their legal education.

"The in-resident courses, distance education and publications provided by the JAG School give our students the legal training needed to properly advise commanders on many of the Air Force's day-to-day operations around the world," he said.

Events to celebrate the anniversary included a dinner inviting leaders, donors and military retirees who took part in the planning and development of AFJAGS. Army retired Brig. Gen. Malinda Dunn was the guest lecturer at the fourth annual Maj. Gen. David C. Morehouse distinguished lecture series June 20.

Twenty years ago in May, Morehouse, the 10th judge advocate general of the Air Force, held the official dedication ceremony for the William L. Dickenson Law Center housing AFJAGS. Thus began the school's legacy of education at Maxwell as the educational home of the Air Force JAG Corps.

The Morehouse lectures honors his memory.

Dunn served in the United States Army Judge Advocate General's Corps for 28 years and is currently the executive director of the American Inns of Court Foundation.

Speaking on the relationship among the rule of law, professionalism and leadership, Dunn provided insight, inspiration and personal experiences from her time deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her examples showcased the essential characteristics law has on economic growth, foreign investments, citizens' confidence in government and "for everything else to function in a governing country," said Dunn.

She told the attorneys present that as leaders and "torch-bearers of the rule of law," they are given the utmost responsibility to protect liberties essential to a free society.

"It is the highest honor to lead in any context. It's not about us, it's about the difference we can make," said Dunn. "As lawyers our ultimate responsibility is to protect the principles of the rule of law."

"It is our responsibility," she added, "To uphold the profession of law and to ensure by our actions that the public respects the rule of law. We owe it to the profession, we owe it to the country and if we don't do it, who will do it? If we aren't keepers of the torch, who is?"

Dunn served as the first female staff judge advocate of the 82nd Airborne Division, the first female chief of personnel for the Army JAG Corps, the first female staff judge advocate for the 18th Airborne Corps and the first woman to become an active-duty general officer in the Army JAG Corps.

Originally established in 1950 as the Judge Advocate General Division of the Air Command and Staff School, the program began as a small 12-week course teaching 70 judge advocates, three times a year. Five years later it was moved to the United States Air Force Chaplain's School where it taught introductory training in military law.

Later, the school was moved under Air University's Institute for Professional Development, where its legal curriculum broadened into several different courses offered for judge advocates and paralegals. It was not until 1993 that the AFJAGS began its permanent residence on Maxwell's Academic Circle.

The school transferred from Air Education and Training Command to the Air Force Legal Operations Agency in 2006 and continues to add new courses to its curriculum, which now encompasses paralegal, deployed fiscal law and contingency contracting, area defense counsel and distance learning courses.

Today, AFJAGS instructs more than 3,000 students during 30 resident courses taught each year. Faculty also provides instruction to students attending the Air University schools.

Week in Images

Week in Images

Fireworks on the National Mall from the White House | The White House

Fireworks on the National Mall from the White House | The White House

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

U.S. Department of Defense Armed with Science Update

Aftermath of Colorado’s Most Destructive Wildfire

Aftermath of Colorado’s Most Destructive Wildfire

Thursday, July 4, 2013



Breedlove: Special Operators Provide Decisive Capability

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2013 - Special operators, working together through the NATO Special Forces Headquarters, have provided the decisive edge during NATO missions in Europe, Afghanistan and Africa, and continue to improve their capabilities across the land, air and sea domains, the senior U.S. and NATO commander in Europe said today.

"These 'quiet professionals' provide unique current and emerging capabilities that enable our team to respond rapidly and precisely in ways no one else can," Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, noted in a blog posting. "As our military teams across the alliance find more efficient and effective ways of providing the right forces at the right place and at the right time, we will increasingly look to our special operators to get the job done."

Breedlove praised the role of special operators after presiding today over the NATO Special Forces Headquarters' change of command ceremony. Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank J. Kisner passed command to Navy Vice Adm. Sean A. Pybus.

Breedlove recognized the operational support the headquarters has provided more than 2,200 allied and partner special operations service members serving in Afghanistan under the International Security Assistance Force mission. Meanwhile, the NATO Special Forces Headquarters has provided special operations expertise to Operation Unified Protector in Libya, Operation Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa, Operation Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean Sea and other NATO missions, he said.

The general attributed much of the success of these missions -- and future ones -- to the NATO Special Operations Forces Training and Education Program. This initiative is "the centerpiece of building and sustaining allied and partner SOF capability," he said, with more than 3,500 special operations personnel from 34 nations graduating from the program's 26 courses that span the spectrum of special operations capabilities.

Breedlove singled out examples of these capabilities across the region. Members of U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, based in Stuttgart, Germany, "are accomplishing great things every day on the ground, in the air and on the seas across the European theater and beyond," he said.

New aircraft arriving in the theater will bring additional capability, specifically in support of crises response, disaster preparedness and emergency airlift missions, he noted. The first of two CV-22 Osprey aircraft at the British Royal Air Force base at Mildenhall, United Kingdom, represent "a first for U.S. special operations aviation in Europe, providing transformational vertical-lift capability to our theater," he said.

Also arriving are the first of 12 MC-130J Commando II aircraft, "uniquely capable of low-visibility, low-level aerial refueling missions for special operations helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft, as well as infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of ground and maritime special operations forces," the general said.

"These aircraft bring new capabilities to our theater that are welcome additions," Breedlove said. "These important upgrades will allow our special operators to fly further, faster, higher and longer than ever before, dramatically increasing our theater special operations capabilities and range of modern support to our European partners."

Meanwhile, Special Operations Command Europe continues to focus on expanding theater-wide SOF capabilities. Efforts to train, develop and enable European allies and partners "thickens our lines," Breedlove said.

In Afghanistan, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force's Combined Special Operations Task Force 10, led by the only U.S. special operations forces serving under NATO operational control, includes special operators from Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Breedlove recognized the contributions the element is making across nine Afghan provinces, with "profound effects on enabling the Afghans to assume full responsibility for their national security."

Navy Special Warfare Unit 2, Special Operations Command Europe's maritime element, also remains heavily engaged in Afghanistan, Breedlove noted. Teamed primarily with Romanian and Polish forces and Afghan law enforcement officials, they are "bringing some very bad people to justice," he said.

Meanwhile, the unit has built strong relationships with allies from Greece and Denmark and Norwegian navy special warfare teams to create "a theater maritime response capability second to none," Breedlove said.

Looking to the future, Breedlove said coalitions will remain the cornerstone of international military missions. Just as in current operations, he said special operators will be looked to "to get the job done."

"From what I have seen thus far, our quiet professionals in NATO and Eucom are exactly the right people to meet this challenge," he said. "They are a special breed, and I'm grateful for what they bring to our team."



Ospreys migrate to England6/26/2013 - An MC-130H Combat Talon II from the 7th Special Operations Squadron refuels a CV-22B Osprey off the coast of Greenland, June 21, 2013. The CV-22, assigned to the 7th SOS, is the first of 10 slated to arrive as part of the 352nd Special Operations Group expansion, which is slated to last through the end of 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Laura Yahemiak/Released)

Weekly Address: Celebrating Independence Day | The White House

Weekly Address: Celebrating Independence Day | The White House

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

U.S. Navy Photos of the Day Update

Vista da Luca!

Vista da Luca!



The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). Monterey is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Billy Ho (Released) 130630-N-QL471-325

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) is pierside in Mayport, Fla., before their 2013 Tiger Cruise. Dwight D. Eisenhower is returning to her homeport of Norfolk, Va., after operating in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Wesley J. Breedlove (Released) 130701-N-SR567-069


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Hagel Issues Independence Day Message
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2013 - In his Independence Day message issued today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel thanked U.S. troops and their families for their service to the nation.

Here is the text of the secretary's message:

On this Independence Day, I want to express my appreciation to the men and women and their families who serve our country across the nation and around the world. Thank you for everything you do to help keep our nation safe.

It's been 237 years since a small band of patriots signed the Declaration of Independence, in which they pledged their lives and their sacred honor to defend our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Since then, generations of Americans have made that same pledge, boldly standing up in the face of tyranny, oppression, and persecution.

That legacy lives on today. This week marked the 40th anniversary of the all-volunteer force, a symbol of how our brave men and women in uniform continue to protect the freedoms declared by our founding fathers more than two centuries ago. Their devotion to duty is just as strong, as is their willingness to risk their lives for each other and our country. And their dedication is a reminder that the preservation of America's liberties does not come without cost.

Those who serve in our armed forces, and their families, have given much in the name of defending the ideals and free institutions we often take for granted. Today, as we celebrate our nation's birth, let us honor their dutiful service and strive to be worthy of their tremendous sacrifices.

God bless you, our great nation, and all who serve to protect it. Happy Fourth of July!


EPA Warns Against Use of Refrigerant Substitutes That Pose Fire and Explosion Risk

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is warning homeowners, propane manufacturers and sellers, home improvement contractors and air conditioning technicians of potential safety hazards related to the use of propane or other unapproved refrigerants in home air conditioning systems.

EPA is currently investigating instances where propane has been marketed and used as a substitute for HCFC-22 (R-22), a refrigerant that is widely used in home air conditioning systems.

Home air conditioning systems are not designed to handle propane or other similar flammable refrigerants. The use of these substances poses a potential fire or explosion hazard for homeowners and service technicians.  

EPA is aware of incidents that have occurred both overseas and in the U.S. where individuals have been injured as a result of the use of propane and other unapproved refrigerants in air conditioning systems. We are investigating and will take enforcement actions where appropriate. Other names for these unapproved refrigerants include R-290, 22a, 22-A, R-22a, HC-22a, and CARE 40.

At this time, EPA has not approved the use of propane refrigerant or other hydrocarbon refrigerants in any type of air conditioner. Homeowners and technicians are strongly recommended to limit use of propane or other hydrocarbons to only those appliances specifically designed for these substances and that are properly marked to alert technicians that the equipment contains a flammable substance. EPA has approved the use of propane as a substitute refrigerant for R-22 in industrial process refrigeration systems and in new, stand-alone retail food refrigerators and freezers that are specifically designed to use flammable hydrocarbon refrigerants.

R-22 is being phased out of production and importation under the Montreal Protocol, an environmental treaty ratified by every country in the world designed to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of ozone depleting substances. EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program has already listed numerous refrigerants with improved environmental, health and safety profiles and continues to evaluate other refrigerants that can be used to replace R-22 and other ozone-depleting substances.



FACT SHEET: U.S. Efforts to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

July 01, 2013

Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar illicit business that is decimating Africa’s iconic animal populations. Many species -- most notably elephants and rhinoceroses -- now face the risk of significant decline or even extinction. Like other forms of illicit trade, wildlife trafficking undermines security across nations. Well-armed, well-equipped, and well-organized networks of poachers, criminals, and corrupt officials exploit porous borders and weak institutions to profit from trading in illegally taken wildlife.

The United States is committed to combating wildlife trafficking, related corruption, and money laundering. With our international partners, we are working to reduce demand, strengthen enforcement, and building capacity to address these challenges bilaterally, regionally, and multilaterally.

A New Executive Order to Better Coordinate the U.S. Response

Today the President will sign an Executive Order (E.O.) to enhance coordination of U.S. Government efforts to combat wildlife trafficking and assist foreign governments in building the capacity needed to combat wildlife trafficking and related organized crime.

The E.O. establishes a Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking charged with developing a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. It also establishes an Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking comprised of eight individuals with relevant expertise from outside the Government to make recommendations to the Task Force.

New Assistance to Support Regional Partners

As the President will announce today in Tanzania, the U.S. Department of State will provide an additional $10 million in regional and bilateral training and technical assistance in Africa to combat wildlife trafficking. This will include approximately $3 million in bilateral assistance to South Africa, $3 million in bilateral assistance to Kenya, and $4 million in regional assistance throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

This training and technical assistance aims to:

1) Strengthen policies and legislative frameworks;

2) Enhance investigative and law enforcement functions;

3) Support regional cooperation among enforcement agencies; and,

4) Develop capacities to prosecute and adjudicate crimes related to wildlife trafficking.

In addition, USAID will launch a wildlife technology challenge, which will promote the use of innovative technologies like mobile phone applications and wildlife DNA analysis techniques to assist in combating wildlife trafficking.

The State Department, USAID, and the Department of Interior U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) will also assign a USFWS official to our Embassy in Dar es Salaam to support the Government of Tanzania's efforts to develop an overarching wildlife security strategy.

New U.S. Enforcement and Regulatory Efforts to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

The Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program, which was signed into law on January 2013, enables the Secretary of State to offer rewards up for information leading to the arrest, conviction, or identification of significant members of transnational criminal organizations who operate primarily outside the United States.

The law also allows for rewards for information that dismantles such organizations or leads to the disruption of their financial mechanisms. The United States intends to leverage this new authority, as appropriate, to combat the most significant perpetrators of wildlife trafficking.

In addition, the Department of Interior will enhance regulations that directly affect illegal wildlife trafficking of elephants and rhinoceroses. These regulations pertain to U.S. federal laws including the Endangered Species Act, the African Elephant Conservation Act, and the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act.

Successes to Date and Building on On-going Activities

These new commitments build on on-going efforts within the U.S. Government, and with foreign governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to reduce demand and strengthen enforcement and institutional capabilities. Representative examples include:

Capacity Building from Asia to Africa

USAID supports over $12 million per year in counter-wildlife trafficking activities, including support for anti-poaching activities in Africa and Asia, capacity building, and demand reduction campaigns in Asia.
The State Department and Department of the Interior / USFWS support the International Law Enforcement Academy in Gaborone, Botswana, which has trained 350 law enforcement officers in wildlife crime investigations since 2002.
To specifically address transcontinental trafficking, USAID is funding a three-year program with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC to improve understanding of current trends in wildlife trafficking and identify priority wildlife trafficking issues on behalf of the broader law enforcement and security communities.
The State Department is providing more than $2 million to support investigation, interdiction, and prosecution efforts in East Asia and the Pacific, including park ranger training and special investigative training for wildlife managers at the U.S. International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok.
The USFWS is providing an additional $2 million annually to support the Wildlife Without Borders capacity building program, which aids government agencies and non-governmental partners in enhancing wildlife law enforcement training, promoting best practices for community stewardship of wildlife resources, and addressing other critical conservation needs.
The Department of Justice and the USFWS jointly investigate and prosecute wildlife trafficking cases, working alongside international partners, to provide training and state-of-the-art forensic support for investigating and prosecuting wildlife crimes.

Conservation and Demand Reduction

The USFWS provides $10 million annually to enhance and support wildlife conservation throughout Africa and Asia. The funds support essential wildlife protection activities in 25 African countries, including improving capacity to carry out investigations and prosecutions of wildlife crime; developing effective park law enforcement and management to deter illegal hunting; improving management of key wildlife species and protected areas; and developing community management schemes.
USAID invests $200 million a year in biodiversity conservation, $70 million of which is in Africa. These investments provide support for community-based approaches to natural resources management in Africa, including community-scouting and ranger programs.
In consumer nations in Asia, USFWS supports government partners in awareness and demand reduction campaigns, which include public outreach to discourage consumption, noting the cost to wildlife of purchased exotic items, and highlighting criminal consequences of consuming illegally trafficked or purchased wildlife products.

Building a Coalition of Partnerships

The United States is working with the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime and other interested partners to support the creation of a global network of regional and national Wildlife Enforcement Networks to improve communication and strengthen response actions across enforcement agencies globally. USAID has invested $17 million since 2005 to specifically support improving these regional networks of wildlife enforcement officials, as well as increasing public awareness, reducing demand for wildlife products, and building political will. The United States is also supporting the creation of new networks in central Africa and the Horn of Africa, among others in Asia and South America.
Additionally, the United States encourages participation by governments, civil society, and the private sector in existing partnerships that combat wildlife crime, such as the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT).

Raising the Issue in International Fora

The United States successfully co-sponsored a resolution at the 2013 UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice encouraging UN Member States to classify wildlife trafficking as a "serious" crime as defined in the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. This will facilitate further international cooperation among states that have ratified or acceded to the treaty, and will lead to increased penalties for traffickers.
Through U.S. advocacy, the 2012 APEC Leaders Declaration included commitments to address both the supply and demand for endangered and protected wildlife, including through capacity building and increased enforcement.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Have a Perfect Picnic

Have a Perfect Picnic

DOD Daily Press Briefing - July 3, 2013

Daily Press Briefing - July 3, 2013



Top Service Members Mark All-volunteer Force's Anniversary

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2013 - In a letter issued yesterday to the men and women of the armed forces, the nation's top two military officers and senior enlisted member marked the 40th anniversary of the all-volunteer force.

The letter -- signed by Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs; and Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman -- reads as follows:

Since the Nation's founding, our sons and daughters have volunteered to leave the everyday comforts of their homes, their neighborhoods, and their families to join and serve a cause greater than themselves. They have joined a profession bound by honor, sacrifice, bravery, and -- in many cases -- danger. They serve a greater purpose -- protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States.

On 1 July 1973, the United States instituted the All-Volunteer Force. Those who choose to wear the cloth of our Nation do so with a great sense of pride and allegiance. To volunteer speaks volumes to the character, patriotism, and commitment of America's most precious resource -- our men and women who serve.

As we commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the All-Volunteer Force, we would like to pass our heartfelt appreciation to all those who have served and are serving in the United States Armed Forces. You are America's strength -- you honor our past, and you preserve our future.

Well done, Warriors -- thank you for your service!


Air Force Tech Sgt. Kevin Garner and Air Force Senior Airman David Solnok, cyber transport technicians assigned to the 354th Communications Squadron, hook cables in to the new Air Force Network router system at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Jan. 26, 2012. The system enhanced cyber capabilities by providing network oversight to all U.S. Air Force installations. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz

DOD at Work on New Cyber Strategy, Senior Military Advisor Says

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2013 - The Defense Department released its first strategy for operating in cyberspace two years ago this month, and officials are at work on the next version, the senior military advisor for cyber to the undersecretary of defense for policy said in Baltimore last week.

Army Maj. Gen. John A. Davis spoke to a lunch audience at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association International Cyber Symposium, noting that two years might equal 20 in the domain that accommodates distanceless travel.

"Senior leaders in the department and beyond the department understand that cyber is a problem [and] cyber is important. They've made cyber a priority, and there is a sense of urgency," the general said.

The strategy's five initiatives were to treat cyberspace as an operational domain, use new defense operating concepts to protect Defense Department networks, partner with other federal agencies and the private sector for a whole-of-government approach, partner with international allies for a global approach, and leverage the nation's ingenuity through an exceptional cyber workforce and technological innovation.

The department's method for implementing the strategy is called the cyber initiative group, the general said. "It's a process that includes engagement at all levels, from the action-officer level all the way to senior defense leadership," he explained.

A great deal of work remains, he added, "but we have made some really good progress in a number of areas under each of these strategy components." The process has been difficult and complex, he added, which reflects the complex interrelationships involved in the cyberspace arena.

Over the past two years, Davis said, the department has made progress in several areas. For example, he told the audience, DOD has:

-- Established service cyber components under U.S. Cyber Command;

-- Established joint cyber centers at each combatant command;

-- Implemented a military-orders process to handle cyber action as it is handled in other operational domains in a process supported by an emergency conferencing procedure that links key organizations and leaders from across DOD and government to quickly assess major cyber threats and make decisions;

-- Established an interim command-and-control framework for cyberspace operations across joint service and defense agency organizations;

-- Developed a force structure model for cyber force organizations;

-- Established a plan and developed orders to transition to a new network architecture called the Joint Information Environment, or JIE, that will make DOD networks more effective, defendable and efficient; and

-- Conducted two years of Cyber Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada that were joint, full-spectrum cyberspace operations exercises using live opposition forces and a virtual environment that mirrored current cyber threats.

DOD's mission is to defend the nation in all domains, but in cyberspace, the department shares its role with other members of the federal cybersecurity team, including the Justice Department and its FBI, the lead for investigation and law enforcement, the general said.

Other team members are the Department of Homeland Security -- the lead for protecting critical infrastructure and government systems outside the military -- and the intelligence community, which is responsible for threat intelligence and attribution, he added, noting that there are even roles and responsibilities for public-private and international partners.

DOD has begun to refine its role in defending the nation in cyberspace, Davis said.

"We have three main cyber missions, and three kinds of cyber forces will operate around the clock to conduct those missions," the general explained.

National mission forces will be prepared to counter adversary cyberattacks, he said. A second, larger set of combat mission forces will be prepared to support combatant commanders as they execute military missions, integrating cyber capabilities and effects into their military contingency plans and operations alongside traditional capabilities and effects, he added.

Still other cyber protection forces -- the largest set, Davis said, will operate and defend the networks that support military operations worldwide.

"We will deter, disrupt and deny adversary cyberspace operations that threaten vital U.S. interests when approved by the president and directed by the secretary of defense," he said. "If a crippling cyberattack is launched against our nation, the Department of Defense must be ready for an order from the commander in chief to act."

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg



Statement by Secretary Arne Duncan on the Anniversary of Title VI

July 2, 2013

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the following statement regarding the anniversary of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

"The 49th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of education in America's progress toward racial equality.

"Title VI has prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity - including all elementary and secondary schools and colleges and universities, public or private - receiving Federal financial assistance.

"The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has used Title VI to promote equal access to college- and career-preparatory courses and programs and to combat school segregation, discriminatory discipline, harassment, and other barriers to equal education for students of different racial, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

"We still have a long way to go to achieve racial equity. Last week, in the Fisher case, the Supreme Court preserved the well-established legal principle that colleges and universities have a compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits that flow from a racially and ethnically diverse student body, and can pursue that interest in their admissions programs. Lack of access to college- and career preparatory school programs persist, and racial disparities in discipline deny equal opportunity to too many of our students of color. Many of our nation's schools are still racially isolated, and racial gaps continue to exist in important measurements of learning.

"Today, we at the Department of Education recommit ourselves to enforcing Title VI to help end illegal discrimination in our country's schools and promote equitable opportunities for all students. We salute the states, districts, communities and advocates across America that have worked tirelessly to ensure that racial discrimination is eliminated as a barrier to student learning and success."

Dernières images d'une icône

Dernières images d'une icône


Senate Floor Statement on the Introduction of the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, the Great Lakes are a magnificent resource and unique in the world. These water bodies, formed during the last ten thousand years, are the largest source of surface freshwater on the planet. The lakes shaped how people settled and secured resources for their survival. Native Americans, French explorers, early European settlers, immigrants flocking to new industrial cities, along with the current populations of today all rely on the lakes for their survival – providing food and drinking water, transportation, power, recreation, and magnificent beauty.

However, the vast resources the Great Lakes provide must not be taken for granted. We must do all we can to protect these waters and clean up the areas that have been harmed by toxic contaminants, polluted runoff, untreated wastewater, and destructive invasive species. That is why as co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Senator Kirk and I, along with several of our colleagues, are introducing today the Great Lakes Ecological and Economic Protection Act of 2013, or GLEEPA.

This bill builds upon the work of a multitude of stakeholders -- environmental organizations; business associations; tribal governments; community leaders; and federal, state and local officials – who worked together to craft the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy, a 2005 plan to guide restoration and protection for the Great Lakes. The legislation we are introducing today would formally authorize the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), an inter-agency program designed to implement the plan articulated in the Collaboration Strategy.

The GLRI is an action-oriented, results-driven initiative targeting the most significant problems in the Great Lakes, including aquatic invasive species, toxics and contaminated sediment, nonpoint source pollution, and habitat and wildlife protection and restoration. While broadly authorized under the Clean Water Act, the GLRI should be specifically authorized in law to clarify its purpose and objectives and to demonstrate support from Congress. Since the GLRI was launched in fiscal year 2010 with $475 million in funding, real progress has been made to restore the health of the Great Lakes: More than a million cubic yards of contaminated sediments have been cleaned up. More than 20,000 acres of wetland, coastal, upland and island habitat have been restored or enhanced. New technologies are being developed to combat the sea lamprey. Asian carp have been prevented from establishing a sustaining population in the Great Lakes. Hundreds of river miles have been restored to enable free fish passage from the Great Lakes to their spawning grounds. Reduction of nutrient loading from agriculture runoff has lessened occurrences of harmful algal blooms.

In addition to authorization of the GLRI, this legislation would reauthorize two existing programs: (1) the Great Lakes Legacy program, which supports the removal of contaminated sediments at more than thirty Areas of Concern (AOCs) across the Great Lakes; and (2) the Great Lakes National Program Office, which handles Great Lakes matters for the EPA.

The health and vitality of the Great Lakes not only provide immense public health and environmental benefits, but they are also critical to the economic health of the region. For example, in Muskegon Lake, which is directly connected to Lake Michigan, cleanup of 430,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, also provided jobs to barge and dredge operators, truck drivers, biologists, chemists, toxicologists, and general laborers. The cleanup will help lift fish consumption advisories and restore fish habitat, which is vital to this area that is a popular fishing and boating destination.

Reports find a two to three dollar return for every dollar invested in cleanup and restoration activity. And preventing future damage to the lakes – from aquatic invasive species for example – could easily save the public hundreds of millions of dollars in future expenditures. With a $7 billion fishery, $16 billion in annual expenditures related to recreational boating, and about 37 million hunters, anglers and bird watchers enjoying the Great Lakes each year, we cannot afford to not protect and restore this precious resource.

The legislation we are introducing today includes important safeguards to ensure that tax dollars are wisely spent on activities that actually achieve results. Projects are directed to be selected so that they achieve strategic and measurable outcomes and which can be promptly implemented through leveraging additional non-federal resources. The bill would also authorize an inter-agency task force to coordinate federal resources in a way that most efficiently uses taxpayer funds, focusing on measurable outcomes such as cleaner water, improved public health, and sustainable fisheries in the Great Lakes.

Finally, state and local officials, tribal governments, business organizations, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders need an avenue to communicate on matters pertaining to Great Lakes restoration. Recently, the EPA created a board that advises the EPA and other federal agencies on Great Lakes cleanup and protection activities. This bill would make the advisory board permanent to ensure that the many voices across the Great Lakes region can have a direct conduit to the federal government.

Mr. President, the Great Lakes are home to more than 3,500 species of plants and animals and support 1.5 million direct jobs, $62 billion in wages and a $7 billion fishery. This legislation is needed to address the threat of invasive species such as Asian carp, polluted runoff that can harm aquatic and public health, toxic sediments, and harmful algal blooms that kill fish, foul coastlines, and threaten public health. The legislation will also help the United States implement its commitment to the bi-national 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. We hope the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will promptly act on this important legislation, as it did in 2010 when it approved similar legislation.


Lodgepole Pines.  Credit:  Widimedia.

Ghosts of Forests Past: Bark Beetles Kill Lodgepole Pines, Affecting Entire Watersheds

In mountains across the Western United States, scientists are racing against time--against a tiny beetle--to save the last lodgepole pines.

Forests are bleeding out from the effects of the beetles, their conifers' needles turning crimson before the trees die.

Now, researchers are also hurrying to preserve the region's water quality, affected by the deaths of the pines.

"When these trees die," says hydrologist Reed Maxwell of the Colorado School of Mines, "the loss of the forest canopy affects hydrology and the cycling of essential nutrients."

Maxwell and other scientists recently published results of their study in the journal Biogeochemistry.

Co-authors, in addition to Maxwell, are Kristin Mikkelson, Lindsay Bearup, John McCray and Jonathan Sharp of the Colorado School of Mines, and John Stednick of Colorado State University. Mikkelson is the paper's first author.

Bark beetle numbers: heating up
"The mountain pine beetle outbreak in Western states has reached epidemic proportions," says Maxwell.

Bark beetles, as they're known, are native to the United States. They're so-named as the beetles reproduce in the inner bark of trees. Some species, such as the mountain pine beetle, attack and kill live trees. Others live in dead, weakened or dying hosts.

Massive outbreaks of mountain pine beetles in western North America since the mid-2000s have felled millions of acres of forests from New Mexico to British Columbia, threatening increases in mudslides and wildfires.

Climate change could be to blame. The beetles' numbers were once kept in check by cold winter temperatures and trees that had plenty of water to use as a defense.

But winters have become warmer, and droughts have left trees water-stressed and less able to withstand an onslaught of winged invaders.

"A small change in temperature leads to a large change in the number of beetles--and now to a large change in water quality," says Tom Torgersen, director of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Water, Sustainability and Climate (WSC) Program, which funded the research.

WSC is part of NSF's Science, Engineering and Education portfolio of investments.

"Bark beetles have killed 95 percent of mature lodgepole pines," says Maxwell.

Death of a lodgepole pine

But the trees don't die immediately.

When beetles invade, a blue fungus spreads inside a tree's trunk, choking off transpiration and killing the tree in about two years.

The trees turn blood-red, then the ashen gray of death, dropping their needles to the forest floor.

"Some of the most important effects of bark beetles may be changes in the hydrologic cycle," says Maxwell, "via snow accumulation under trees and water transpiration from trees and other plants."

Biogeochemical changes may be even more important, he says, with carbon and nitrogen cycles interrupted.

"We're studying these hydrologic and geochemical processes through a combination of field work, lab research and computer modeling," says Maxwell.

Whither the beetles, so the trees, forests...and waters
Changes in tree canopies affect snowpack development and snowmelt.

For example, a lack of needles on branches lets more snow fall through the canopy--snow that would otherwise be caught on branches. A tree without needles also has less shade beneath it.

The result is a shallower snowpack, earlier snowmelt and less water in spring.

"The real question," Maxwell says, "is how these processes translate from individual trees to hillslopes to large watersheds."

Dead trees don't transpire water. Once a forest has died, this important flow of moisture from the ground to the atmosphere ceases.

That can mean a loss of as much as 60 percent of the water budget, although increases in ground evaporation or transpiration from understory shrubs and bushes may compensate for some of the lack.

"Combined with what's happening to snowpack depth," says Maxwell, "it becomes a complicated relationship that can change the timing and magnitude of spring runoff from snowmelt--and an entire year's water resources."

Tree mortality also appears to affect forest carbon and nitrogen cycles through increases in dissolved organic carbon.

"We've seen changes in drinking water quality in beetle-affected watersheds that are almost certainly related to high dissolved organic carbon levels," says Maxwell.

As Maxwell, Mikkelson, Bearup and colleagues discovered, there's a lag time between beetle infestation and water quality declines, "so tree and forest water transport processes are very likely involved," says Maxwell.

All watersheds great and small
The observations prompted the researchers to study processes at the individual tree and hillslope scale to better understand what's happening in watersheds large and small.

"Watersheds are complex, interrelated systems," says Maxwell, "which makes understanding them more challenging.

"We're developing complex, numerical models of bark beetle-infested watersheds that include our best understanding of how and where water flows. The models are allowing us to isolate individual processes by turning them on and off in 'what-if' scenarios."

Along with on-the-ground observations, he says, "they're showing us more of the complex story of pine beetle effects on Western watersheds.

"We now know that healthy watersheds ultimately depend on healthy forests."

Western streams and rivers soon may be part of dead and dying forests, surrounded only by the ghosts of lodgepole pines past.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013



Remarks by President Obama in an Exchange of Dinner Toasts -- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

State House
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

8:58 PM EAT

PRESIDENT OBAMA: President Kikwete, Madam First Lady, distinguished guests -- on behalf of myself and Michelle, our delegation, our daughters -- we want to thank you for the incredible warmth and hospitality with which you've greeted us throughout the day. We could not be more grateful.

I am not the first American leader to visit this beautiful country. Other Presidents and prominent citizens have come before me. We just came from South Africa, where Robert Kennedy famously spoke of how every time we stand up for an ideal, we send out a "tiny ripple of hope." Less known is that after that trip to South Africa, Robert Kennedy also came here to Tanzania. It was a little different back then. Kennedy and his wife, Ethel, rode in the back of an open truck. The Secret Service has me and Michelle inside a fortified limousine. We call it "The Beast." (Laughter.) As Kennedy's truck made its way through the crowds, he picked up two boys and let them ride alongside them. The Secret Service doesn't let me do these things. (Laughter.) When Kennedy came, it was a public holiday here. I apologize to Tanzanians that you all had to work today. (Laughter.)

But while these times have changed, the good feelings stay the same. We've been deeply touched by the welcome and the warm wishes from the Tanzanian people along the streets as we came in here with you tonight. Dar es Salaam means "harbor of peace," and we thank you for sharing that sense of peace and brotherhood for which this country and its people have long been known.

Mr. President, you've shown wisdom and strength in seeking reforms so that more Tanzanians can enjoy progress, more opportunity. And like me, you're strengthened by a woman who is a leader in her own right. (Applause.) I am told that Mama Kikwete is fond of a traditional Tanzanian saying -- "My neighbor's child is my child." And that sentiment I think also captures the feeling, the partnership between -- our two countries must have. We live thousands of miles apart, but as fellow human beings, we share a sense of obligation to each other, especially to the youngest among us.

So you might say an American child is my child. We might say a Tanzanian child is my child. In this way, both of our nations will be looking after all of our children and we'll be living out the vision of President Nyerere. The core values that he proclaimed for Tanzania also describe what both our countries seek -- wisdom, unity, and peace -- Hekima, Umoja, na Amani. (Applause.)

So what I'd like to do is to propose a toast -- if I can get my water here -- to our gracious Tanzanian hosts, to our Tanzanian friends and to wisdom, unity and peace that we all seek in the world. Cheers.

Department of State Daily Press Briefing - July 2, 2013

Daily Press Briefing - July 2, 2013

DOD Contracts for July 02, 2013

Contracts for July 02, 2013

New Jersey Recovery From Superstorm Sandy: By The Numbers

New Jersey Recovery From Superstorm Sandy: By The Numbers

Meets With Staff and Families of Embassy Brunei

Meets With Staff and Families of Embassy Brunei



Monday, July 1, 2013

Three Florida Residents Arrested on Charges of Fraud

Indictment Alleges That Defendants Operated Fraudulent Companies for Years Despite December 2000 Court Order

Three individuals charged in connection with operating a series of fraudulent business opportunity companies were arrested Friday following their indictment by a federal grand jury in Miami on June 25, 2013, the Justice Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced today. Mitchell Berman (aka Brian Griffin), of Boca Raton, Fla., Robert Gallo (aka Bobby Pace, Vincent Pastone, Joe Barone, Bobby Marino, Anthony Russo), of Coconut Creek, Fla., and Steven Axelrod (aka Michael Hutton), of Wellington, Fla., were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud. Mitchell Berman was also charged with criminal contempt of court.

The indictment alleges that the defendants operated a series of fraudulent companies that sold coffee display racks business opportunities. Buyers were told they would receive display racks and packets of coffee, as well as assistance in establishing and maintaining a business selling the coffee.

Beginning in August 2000 and continuing through October 2011, the indictment charges that Berman, Gallo, and Axelrod operated a series of five coffee display rack business opportunity companies: Selective Services Business, Best Gourmet Coffee, Cambridge Coffee, Royal Gourmet Coffee and South Beach Coffee. The business opportunities the defendants sold cost a minimum of approximately $10,000. Each company operated for six months to a year, and after one company closed, the next opened.

The indictment alleges that Berman and Gallo ran the companies, while working as salesman together with Axelrod. All three defendants allegedly made numerous false statements to potential purchasers of the business opportunities to induce them to buy. Among the misrepresentations alleged in the indictment are that purchasers would likely earn substantial profits, that prior purchasers of the business opportunities were earning substantial profits, that purchasers would be given lucrative "commercial accounts," and that the company would provide assistance in establishing and maintaining the business. According to the indictment, purchasers made little to no money on their investments, were unable to find profitable locations or accounts, and were not provided the support promised by defendants. In making misrepresentations to potential purchasers, Berman was violating a December 2000 federal court order barring him from misrepresenting profits, locations, and other aspects of business opportunities.

According to the indictment, once purchasers began filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau or state authorities, the defendants shut down each of their companies in turn, and opened the next one. In order to evade detection, all the defendants allegedly used aliases and gave out false addresses for the company. The indictment alleges that Berman and Gallo also avoided listing their own names on corporate and promotional documents, and instead paid people who did not work at the companies to be titular presidents.

"The Department of Justice is committed to protecting consumers from business opportunity fraud schemes," said Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. "As this indictment demonstrates, we will continue to prosecute individuals who seek to swindle innocent Americans out of their hard-earned money."

All three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. In addition, Berman was charged with 8 counts of mail fraud and 9 counts of criminal contempt; Gallo was charged with 8 counts of mail fraud; and Axelrod was charged with 4 counts of mail fraud. If convicted, Berman, Gallo, and Axelrod face a maximum statutory term of 20 years in prison, a possible fine, and mandatory restitution on each conspiracy and mail fraud count. Berman faces a maximum statutory term of up to life in prison, a possible fine, and mandatory restitution on each of the criminal contempt counts.

"Business opportunity schemers use deceit to target and victimize hard-working Americans who are seeking opportunities to better provide for themselves and their families," said Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. "We will continue to vigorously pursue these individuals who seek to steal the American Dream from their victims."

"Cases like this one illustrate the Postal Inspection Service’s dedication to investigating business opportunity fraud that insidiously targets innocent victims," said Ronald Verocchio, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge in Miami.

The charges in the indictment form part of the government’s continued nationwide crackdown on business opportunity fraud.

This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants.

Acting Assistant Attorney Stuart Delery commended the investigative efforts of the Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Director Richard Goldberg and Trial Attorney Cindy Cho of the Consumer Protection Branch of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.