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Saturday, March 1, 2014


Readout of President Obama’s calls with President Hollande and Prime Minister Harper

President Obama spoke separately this afternoon with President Hollande of France and Prime Minister Harper of Canada. The leaders agreed that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, and expressed their grave concern over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. The leaders agreed to continue to coordinate closely, including bilaterally, and through appropriate international organizations. The leaders affirmed the importance of unity within the international community in support of international law, and the future of Ukraine and its democracy.  The leaders also pledged to work together on a package of support and assistance to help Ukraine as it pursues reforms and stabilizes its economy.


Official Sees Hope in U.S. Willingness to Let New Afghan Leader Sign BSA
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Mar. 1, 2014 – President Barack Obama’s recent statement of willingness to let Afghanistan’s next president sign a critical bilateral security agreement may give hope to Afghans who feared NATO-mission troops would withdraw from the nation by Dec. 31, a senior U.S. military official said this week.

On the sidelines of the NATO Defense Ministerial here Feb. 26, the military official spoke on background with several U.S. reporters.

“Yesterday was the first time I’d ever heard our government say there would be a willingness to sign the BSA with another president,” the official said.
Inside Afghanistan there is concern about Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign the BSA and a potential U.S.-ISAF shutdown of the 2015 mission there, and great fear that the United States would not wait to deal with another administration, he observed.

“We’ll have to see what the Afghan people say,” the official said, but added that U.S. willingness to deal with a new administration after Afghanistan’s April 5 presidential elections could help relieve uncertainty among people there.
Karzai won’t be running for re-election as president because of term limits.
The senior military official said he would advertise this willingness among his Afghan counterparts and make sure they know this offers hope “that might not have been there the day before yesterday.”

The official said at the time of the interview he hadn’t seen Obama’s directive but had read news reports about the White House readout of a Feb. 25 telephone call between Obama and Karzai.

The United States requires the Afghan government’s approval of the BSA before committing troops to a post-2014 NATO train-advise-assist mission in Afghanistan called Operation Resolute Support.

The BSA, along with a separate NATO Status of Forces Agreement and agreements with non-NATO nations that contribute troops to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force mission, would give all participating nations a legal justification for the new mission that would begin Jan. 1, 2015.

On the call, Obama told Karzai that because Karzai has refused to sign the BSA, Obama directed Defense Department leaders to make sure plans are in place to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Dec. 31.

“On the other hand,” Obama said, according to the White House readout, “should we have a BSA and a willing and committed partner in the Afghan government, a limited post-2014 mission focused on training, advising and assisting Afghan forces and going after the remnants of core al-Qaida could be in the interests of the United States and Afghanistan.”

The official said his own concerns about such a delay in plans for 2015 extend first to its impact on Afghan and Afghan security force confidence, then on hedging behavior in the region, coalition cohesion and, only after those considerations, concern about the impact on the physics of the military campaign, which he says military leaders have in control.

“Clearly,” he added, “the political environment as a whole creates concern and uncertainty among the Afghan leadership and the Afghan forces. That’s one of our challenges.”

Whether a BSA agreement is signed or not, the senior U.S. military official said nothing changes for the 2014 NATO ISAF mission until July.
“Regardless of the [decision] for 2015, I would not change the plan that's in place between now and the summer,” the official said.

“In July if we still don’t have a decision … I probably would do some things that would allow us to go either way. Then, as you get to the fall, you start taking a look at whether you're going to empty the theater by the end of December or … set [up] for Resolute Support,” he explained.

The official took a piece of paper and drew a large circle with a smaller circle inside, representing the Resolute Support mission structure.

“In July I will have established the inner circle, [which] is the Resolute Support mission,” he said. “Forces that are deployed this July will [perform] the tasks in the organizational construct of Resolute Support.”

The outside concentric circle represents forces still performing residual ISAF tasks until the end of December, the official said, and gradually over that time will withdraw from the theater.

“The force that's going to deploy in July, even if there's still no [2015] decision, has been trained, organized and equipped to do the Resolute Support task,” he said.

That force, he added, is designed to provide core-level train-advise-assist mission elements.

One of the most important jobs this year for the Afghan national security force is to support the April 5 presidential elections, the senior U.S. military official said.
The Afghans want their election to be inclusive, credible and transparent, he added.

“We largely focus on the inclusivity piece,” the official noted, which includes technical and security elements. That means supporting the Afghans to make sure voters have access to the polls and public information, and providing an environment in which people can believe the vote will make a difference, the official said.

“From a technical and a security perspective I feel pretty good,” he said. “The technical piece [involves] distributing ballot material, building polling sites and assessing security. The security piece is a Ministry of Interior-led effort to ensure security at the polling places.”

The Afghans also want credibility and transparency during the election, and the official thinks these will be the most challenging goals to achieve.

“This is not my specific lane,” he said, “but we’re creating the conditions within which [credibility and transparency] can take place.”

The senior U.S. military official said none of the decisions yet to be made about 2015 affect the last year of the ISAF campaign.

“We have a mandate to do certain things, we have certain authorities, we have certain resources, and I plan on applying those until the very last day of the year,” he said. “No one has suggested that we’re not going to continue to do in 2014 what has been the plan since the [2010] Lisbon Agreement.”

The official said he’s proud of the progress made by the Afghan forces.
“If you ask me today whether the Afghan forces are capable of providing security to the Afghan people, the record speaks for itself,” he said.

But if no BSA is signed and no ISAF troops are on the ground in Afghanistan next year, he added, progress made to date “will not be sustainable.”

Four critical areas still must be addressed, he said. The first involves Afghan security institution capacity -- or MOD (Ministry of Defense) and MOI (Ministry of Interior) capacity building.

In the United States, the Defense Department has people who specialize in acquisition, planning, programming and budgeting, and other people who are experts in managing supplies and identifying requirements.
“There's a big machine in the department that allows forces in the field to be supported,” the military official said.

At the ministerial level in Afghanistan, he said, “we’re only eight or nine months into a concerted effort to develop MOD and MOI capacities. That’s one of the areas of most concern.

“So if you talk about executing a budget,” the military official continued, “the Afghans … aren't capable of executing a complete budget right now, in large part due to a lack of expertise in contracting, acquisition and those kinds of things, and the ability then to project requirements, which is a huge piece of what we do in the Department of Defense.”

In Afghanistan, he said, neither the intelligence nor the aviation enterprises will be mature by the end of 2014. And the special operations capability, he said, inextricably linked with intelligence and aviation, still needs work.
“Those four gaps would be the focus of Resolute Support,” he said.
Without the 2015 mission, he said, “I think we'll see deteriorating security conditions over time as a result of deteriorating Afghan security force capability” caused by simple things like inconsistent distribution of parts, fuel, pay and supplies.

Conditions in the region also affect what ISAF can accomplish in Afghanistan, the official said.

“Uncertainty about 2015 and beyond creates hedging behavior in the region, and all the nations there have to think about how they're going to protect their interests [if] there is no coalition presence at the end of 2014,” he added.

“My sense is that our presence has been and would be a stabilizing presence in the region, allowing some difficult issues to be worked through,” the official said, including complex relationships among Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
Critical work also remains in the region involving the more than 2,000-kilometer-long porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The enemy has sanctuary in Pakistan,” from which operates “the most virulent strain of the insurgency,” the official said.

“To achieve our end-state in the region, we need a comprehensive approach to address extremism that knows no boundaries. My recommendation is for [the United States to take] a broader regional approach,” he added.

The U.S. military recommendation for the region is in the context of a broader whole-of-government approach, the official said, to achieve the end-state the president has identified.

To be successful in Afghanistan, he added, “you have to address the challenges that are in Pakistan.”

Somerset Levels Swamped



Weekly Address: Investing in Technology and Infrastructure to Create Jobs

WASHINGTON, DC — In his weekly address, President Obama said he took action this week to launch new manufacturing hubs and expand a competition to fund transformative infrastructure projects.  Both are policies aimed at expanding economic opportunity for all by creating jobs and ensuring the long-term strength of the American economy.  Congress can boost this effort by passing a bipartisan proposal to create a nationwide network of high-tech manufacturing hubs and taking steps to invest in our nation’s infrastructure -- rebuilding our transportation system, creating new construction jobs, and better connecting Americans to economic opportunities.
The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, March 1, 2014.
Video Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
March 1, 2014
Hi everybody.  In my State of the Union Address, I said that the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job.  And after the worst recession of our lifetimes, our businesses have created eight and a half million new jobs in the last four years.
But we need to do more to make America a magnet for good jobs for the future.  And in this year of action, where Congress won’t do that, I will do whatever I can to expand opportunity for more Americans.  This week, I took two actions to attract new jobs to America – jobs in American manufacturing, and jobs rebuilding America’s infrastructure.
Here’s why this is important.  In the 2000s alone, we lost more than one-third of all American manufacturing jobs.  One in three.  And when the housing bubble burst, workers in the construction industry were hit harder than just about anybody.  The good news is, today, our manufacturers have added more than 620,000 jobs over the last four years – the first sustained growth in manufacturing jobs since the 1990s. 
Still, the economy has changed.  If we want to attract more good manufacturing jobs to America, we’ve got to make sure we’re on the cutting edge of new manufacturing technologies and techniques.  And in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.
That’s why, on Tuesday, I launched two new high-tech manufacturing hubs – places where businesses and universities will partner to turn groundbreaking research into real-world goods Made in America.  So far, we’ve launched four of these hubs, where our workers can master 3-D printing, energy-efficient electronics, lightweight metals, and digital manufacturing – all technologies that can help ensure a steady stream of good jobs well into the 21st century.
Then on Wednesday, I launched a new competition to build 21st century infrastructure – roads and bridges, mass transit, more efficient ports, and faster passenger rail.  Rebuilding America won’t just attract new businesses; it will create good construction jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.
Of course, Congress could make an even bigger difference in both areas.  Thanks to the leadership of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, there’s a bill in Congress right now that would create an entire network of high-tech manufacturing hubs all across the country.  And next week, I’ll send Congress a budget that will rebuild our transportation systems and support millions of jobs nationwide. 
There’s a lot we can do if we work together.  And while Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to keep doing everything in my power to rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead – where we’re restoring our founding vision of opportunity for all. 
Thanks, everybody, and have a great weekend.  


Monday, February 24, 2014
Three Plead Guilty to Bank Secrecy Act Violations in Connection with Check Cashing Scheme

Three men have pleaded guilty in Brooklyn, N.Y., for their roles in a check cashing scheme designed to evade anti-money laundering reporting requirements, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York.

Robert Petrosyants, 32, and his twin brother Zhan Petrosyants, 32, both of Fort Lee, N.J., pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Frederic Block at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn to conspiring to violate the Bank Secrecy Act by causing the filing of false Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) for cash transactions in excess of $10,000.  On Feb. 21, 2014, Lasha Goletiani, 34, of Brooklyn, pleaded guilty to the same charge.  They each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison at sentencing, which will be determined at a later date.

According to court filings and facts presented during the plea proceedings, the Petrosyants twins operated medical billing companies, including DJR Capital Inc., formerly located at 45 Main Street in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn.  Those billing companies filed no-fault accident claims with insurance companies on behalf of medical clinics and equipment providers.  Upon receipt of payment from the insurance companies in settlement of the claims, the conspirators drew checks payable to a complex web of shell companies.  These shell companies appeared to be health care related but in fact did no legitimate business and were incorporated in the names of students who had received special short-term visas to study in the United States.  The checks were then cashed by Goletiani and Zhan Petrosyants at Belair Payroll Services Inc., a Flushing-based check cashing business.

Belair and its owner, Craig Panzera, pleaded guilty in November 2013 to failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and agreed to forfeit over $3.2 million.

According to court documents, Goletiani and Zhan Petrosyants provided false names to Belair when cashing checks and caused Belair to file CTRs stating that the shell companies or their nominee owners received the cash.  Goletiani and Zhan Petrosyants received all of the cash from checks in the names of the shell companies.  At the time that many of these transactions occurred, the nominee shell company owners were not even in the country when Goletiani and Zhan Petrosyants were cashing checks in their names.

Under the Bank Secrecy Act, financial institutions, including check cashers, are required to file a CTR with the Department of the Treasury for any transaction involving more than $10,000 in currency on a single day.  As part of the CTR, the check casher is required to verify and accurately record the name and address of the individual who conducted the currency transaction and the individual on whose behalf the transaction was conducted, as well as the amount and date of the transaction.  

Goletiani and Zhan Petrosyants pleaded guilty to a second superseding indictment filed on Nov. 6, 2013, charging them with conspiring to cause Belair to file false CTRs.  Robert Petrosyants pleaded guilty to a separate information charging the same conspiracy.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Kevin G. Mosley, J. Randall Warden and Claiborne Porter of the Money Laundering and Bank Integrity Unit of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Trial Attorney Darrin McCullough of AFMLS’s Forfeiture Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Notopoulos of the Eastern District of New York.

The Money Laundering and Bank Integrity Unit investigates and prosecutes complex, multi-district and international criminal cases involving financial institutions and individuals who violate the money laundering statutes, the Bank Secrecy Act and other related statutes.  The unit’s prosecutions generally focus on three types of violators: financial institutions, including their officers, managers and employees, whose actions threaten the integrity of the individual institution or the wider financial system; professional money launderers and gatekeepers who provide their services to serious criminal organizations; and individuals and entities engaged in using the latest and most sophisticated money laundering techniques and tools.


Remarks at the Launch of the Bureau of Narcotics and International Law Enforcement (INL) Guide to Gender in the Criminal Justice System
Catherine M. Russell
Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues 
United States Institute of Peace
Washington, DC
February 20, 2014

Good afternoon everyone, and thank you so much for the opportunity to be here. This is an important gathering of advocates and practitioners focused on the critical importance of women and the criminal justice system and how to implement real changes in our programming across the globe.

Before I begin, I’d like to thank USIP for hosting this meeting, and especially Kathleen Kuehnast, Director of USIP's Gender and Peace building Center and Collete Rausch, the Director of USIP’s Rule of Law Center of Innovation.

We wouldn’t be here without the work and commitment of INL. I would like to thank INL for its leadership on this topic both inside and outside the State Department, especially INL’s Assistant Secretary, Ambassador Brownfield. Gender equality has become integrated into so much of INL’s critical work, and your vision and leadership have made that possible.

I’d also like to recognize the experts in INL who contributed to this valuable report. To everyone who worked on this guide - congratulations on a tremendous effort. My team looks forward to continuing our close collaboration with you in the months and years ahead.

Finally, I would like to recognize Major Suzanne Hajj from Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces, whose efforts are highlighted in the guide.

Her story shows how one committed person can really make a difference. I met with Major Hajj yesterday, and was so deeply impressed with her commitment and leadership in enhancing the representation of women in the Lebanese Internal Security Forces.

As part of the United States Government’s commitment to this end, INL has consulted with experts across government, including my Office of Global Women’s Issues, to create the INL Guide to Gender in the Criminal Justice System. I’m proud that we have been able to work together on the guide and on disseminating it to practitioners and policy makers. This guide is also part of the work the Department of State is undertaking to integrate gender into our broader foreign policy objectives to advance the status of women and girls worldwide.

Under the frameworks of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally and the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, INL is supporting innovative policies and programs to protect women, increase access to justice, and promote their participation in law enforcement and judicial sectors. Importantly, this guide provides concrete examples of exactly how to mainstream gender into existing programs and stand-alone interventions in the criminal justice system, a system that can be difficult to navigate for women across the globe.

As we’ve seen, integrating gender and enhancing women’s participation has made a difference. Major Hajj’s story highlights how having an effective champion for women’s inclusion matters. Because of her dogged efforts – working within the system and making the case for more women in the Internal Security Forces - the number of women in the ISF rose from 2 to over 1,000.

Twenty three are now officers. These women demonstrate every day that women are able to protect the public and do their job well.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, INL support has been critical to the establishment of mobile courts. Mobile courts in North Kivu provide legal and psychological counseling to women who have survived gender-based violence, and are an example of an intervention that provide both justice and dignity to survivors of violence or rape.

The courts make it easier for survivors to report crimes, ensuring that justice is more accessible and real. Legal aid clinics also provide counseling and medical assistance so that survivors can address emotional and physical injuries. They are able to obtain the necessary documentation that serves as evidence of rape under Congolese law.

These examples from Lebanon and DRC are just two interventions that illustrate the difference that this work can make.

After taking stock of the political, cultural, and legal considerations in a given country, the guide encourages INL officers to rethink long-established practices and requires them to evaluate the positive and negative consequences a proposed intervention will have on women and men.

It is initiatives such as this guide that exemplify the Department’s work on reducing gender disparities and promoting gender equality to foster stability, peace, and security.

As recognized by President Obama and Secretary Kerry, all societies benefit when women and girls are healthy, safe, and can live up to their full potential.

The good news is that we are making real progress. And, thanks to the hard work of the experts who compiled this guide, we’ll be able to make even greater progress in the journey ahead.

Thank you again for the opportunity to be here.



Violence in Thailand

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
February 28, 2014

We are deeply concerned by the ongoing politically-motivated violence in Thailand. As allies and close friends of the Thai people, we are profoundly saddened by the deaths and injuries that have shaken the country. As a father and grandfather, the death of several innocent children is particularly horrifying, and must at last be a wake-up call to all sides to refrain from violence, exercise restraint, and respect the rule of law.

I call upon Thai authorities to investigate these attacks swiftly and bring those responsible to justice. Violence is not an acceptable means of resolving political differences. We are also concerned by the employment of other tactics that undermine Thailand’s democratic values and processes, inhibit compromise, and further exacerbate political tensions.

The United States of America does not take sides in Thai politics. Ultimately, it is up to the people of Thailand to decide how they will resolve their differences. All sides should commit to dialogue in the spirit of seeking common ground to address differences and find a peaceful, democratic way forward.


IRS Criminal Investigation Issues Annual Report 
IR-2014-18, Feb. 24, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service  announced the release of its IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) Annual Report for fiscal year 2013, reflecting significant increases in enforcement actions against tax criminals and a robust rise in convictions, including identity theft.

CI investigates potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner to foster confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law.

High points of fiscal year 2013 include a 12.5 percent increase in investigations initiated compared to the prior year and a nearly 18 percent gain in prosecution recommendations. Specifically, CI initiated 5,314 cases and recommended 4,364 cases for prosecution. These increases were accomplished at a time when agent resources decreased more than 5 percent.

Meanwhile, convictions rose more than 25 percent compared to the prior year. The conviction rate for fiscal 2013 was 93 percent.

“The conviction rate is especially important because it reflects the quality of our case work, our teamwork with law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and it represents an increase over 2011 and 2012,” said Richard Weber, Chief of Criminal Investigation.

CI continues to play a vital role in the fight against identity theft. CI initiated over 1,400 investigations and recommended prosecution of over 1,250 individuals who were involved in identity theft crimes during fiscal 2013.

As an active partner in over 35 Identity Theft Task Forces, CI works side-by-side with federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies to combat the threat of this insidious crime. One of those task forces, the Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance, was recently recognized as the "2013 Task Force of the Year," a national award given by the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators for investigative excellence and outstanding public service. The Tampa Bay Identity Theft Alliance was formed last year and comprises of 20 Tampa Bay federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.

 “The Alliance represents true teamwork by all levels of law enforcement,” Weber said. “Individuals who commit identity theft demonstrate a blatant disregard of the integrity of the United States tax system and cause immeasurable hardship to innocent victims.”

 In addition, the 36-page report summarizes a wide variety of IRS CI activity on a range of tax crimes, money laundering, public corruption, terrorist financing and narcotics trafficking financial crimes during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013.

 “Our cases involved individuals and corporations from all segments of society. They led us into corporate board rooms, offices of public officials, tax preparation businesses, identity theft gangs and narcotics trafficking organizations,” Weber said.

 "This report highlights some of the many noteworthy cases that were completed by CI, which is just the tip of the iceberg of the complex cases we completed this past year,” Weber added. “The dedication and enthusiasm of our employees was a driving force behind these achievements. IRS-CI continues to make our mark in history as the best financial investigators in the world."


CFTC Charges Melody Nganthuy Phan of California and Her Companies, My Forex Planet, Inc., Wal Capital, S.A., and Top Global Capital, Inc., with Operating a Fraudulent $3.7 Million Off-Exchange Forex Scheme

The CFTC also Charges Melody Nganthuy Phan with Fraud by an Unregistered Commodity Pool Operator

Washington, DC - The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a civil enforcement action charging Defendants Melody Nganthuy Phan (Phan) of California and her companies, My Forex Planet, Inc. (MFP), Wal Capital, S.A. (Wal Capital), and Top Global Capital, Inc. (TGC) with operating a fraudulent off-exchange foreign currency (forex) scheme. The CFTC Complaint also charges Phan with fraud by an unregistered commodity pool operator. The scheme allegedly fraudulently solicited at least $3,764,214 from over 174 customers and misappropriated customer funds in an effort to perpetuate the fraud.

Specifically, the Complaint alleges that, from at least January 2009 and through February 2011, Phan, Wal Capital, and TGC, through MFP, used forex training classes to directly and indirectly solicit actual and prospective clients to open self-traded forex accounts at Wal Capital and pooled forex trading at TGC. During the forex trading classes given by MFP, Defendants falsely stated, among other things, that 1) Phan was a highly successful forex trader who had made millions of dollars trading forex, 2) Phan’s forex trading system, which was taught in MFP classes, was a very safe system that virtually guaranteed profit over time, and 3) money deposited by Defendants’ customers would be used for its intended purpose. The Complaint alleges that all of these representations to clients were false. In fact, Phan lost over $1.4 million trading forex in multiple accounts in her name or under her control, according to the Complaint.

Additionally, the Complaint alleges that Defendants used customer funds for unauthorized purposes, such as paying other customer withdrawals, as well as business expenses such as radio ads and marketing.

The CFTC Complaint seeks restitution, civil monetary penalties, restitution, trading and registration bans, and a permanent injunction prohibiting further violations of the federal commodities laws, as charged.

The CFTC greatly appreciates the assistance of the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

CFTC Division of Enforcement Staff members responsible for this case are Alison Wilson, Maura Viehmeyer, Boaz Green, Heather Johnson, James H. Holl, III, and Rick Glaser.


Seed dispersal study shows value of conservation corridors

Ecologists study how wind moves seeds through longleaf pines
Field ecologists go to great lengths to get data. Radio collars and automatic video cameras are among their tools for documenting the natural world.

So when a group of ecologists set out to see how wind moves seeds through isolated patches of habitat carved into a longleaf pine plantation, they came up with a novel way of addressing this question. They twisted colored yarn to create mock seeds that would drift with the wind much like native seeds.

The scientists discovered that both wind and the corridors between the patches of habitat matter to seed dispersal in the longleaf pine forest.

Their experimental "seeds" were dusted with fluorescent powder and inserted into custom-made boxes mounted on poles, then released as the scientists monitored local wind conditions.

That night, the field crew returned for a black-light treasure hunt, locating more than 80 percent of the fake seeds, which glowed under the ultraviolet light.

The paths of these glowing seeds were matched with output from a computer model to produce the first accurate picture of how wind moves seeds through corridors linking two patches of habitat.

The study results are published in a paper in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Conservation biologists have long discussed building conservation corridors to link isolated patches of protected land.

"Understanding the conservation impact of corridors is at the cutting edge of conservation," says lead paper author Ellen Damschen, a zoologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Corridors are designed to improve conditions for uncommon native species living in separated habitats.

Small populations in these "islands" of habitat may be killed by storms or disease. They may lack genetic diversity and be prone to inbreeding. And they may be unable to reach new habitat.

"It makes intuitive sense that these connections could foster genetic and biological diversity," says Damschen. "But there has been little scientific evidence for if and how they work."

Most of the studies have involved animals, she adds, even though plants provide the basic energy and structure to land ecosystems.

Wind matters for the movement of seeds and whole organisms, Damschen says. "In many open habitats, more than one-third of plants are wind dispersed, but there are also insects, spiders, pathogens and fungi that move on the wind."

The experiment, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Forest Service, began in 2000 with the creation of eight groups of patches at the Savannah River Site, a large holding of the U.S. Department of Energy. Each set of patches was built at a different orientation to prevailing winds.

"Relatively few researchers have investigated the effects of habitat configuration on wind-dispersed species," says Betsy Von Holle, a program director in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research. "This study demonstrates that influences on wind-dispersed species are more complex than previously thought."

A research group of meteorologists and ecologists found that corridors increased the movement of wind and of their glowing artificial seeds, echoing the results of a computer model developed by Gil Bohrer at The Ohio State University, a paper co-author.

And when Damschen and colleagues counted newly dispersed plants over the 12-year experiment, they found that a corridor linking two patches of land indeed promotes the diversity of plants dispersed by wind - especially if the corridor is oriented roughly parallel to the prevailing winds.

Both the data and the model showed that wind speeds up in certain areas of the patches, and that a strong vertical air movement is present.

"Uplift is important because the wind tends to be faster higher above the ground," Damschen says, "and uplift can lead to long-distance dispersal, which is significant for moving plants around the landscape."

That's why the study matters for conservation biology, Damschen says.

"We predicted that corridors in line with the dominant winds would move more species, and this is what we found. Wind alignment matters for species diversity in conservation areas."

The results are especially relevant to threatened Midwestern ecosystems like grasslands, prairies and savannas, where big bluestem and milkweed are two of many native plants that loft their seeds on the wind.

"In conservation science, it is often assumed that wind-dispersed seeds can go everywhere, but that's not true," Damschen says.

"Wind direction, and the shape of the habitat, control where these seeds go.

"While this adds another factor to consider in management of natural areas, the information is on the table so we can make better decisions about how to achieve management goals."

Other co-authors of the paper are: Dirk Baker of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ran Nathan of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; John Orrock of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Jay Turner of Washington University in St. Louis; Lars Brudvig of Michigan State University; Nick Haddad of North Carolina State University; Doug Levey of the University of Florida, Gainesville; and Joshua Tewksbury of the University of Washington.


Friday, February 28, 2014



Statement by the President on Ukraine

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
5:05 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody.
Over the last several days, the United States has been responding to events as they unfold in Ukraine.  Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future.  Together with our European allies, we have urged an end to the violence and encouraged Ukrainians to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, forge a broad-based government and move to elections this spring.
I also spoke several days ago with President Putin, and my administration has been in daily communication with Russian officials, and we've made clear that they can be part of an international community’s effort to support the stability and success of a united Ukraine going forward, which is not only in the interest of The people of Ukraine and the international community, but also in Russia’s interest.
However, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine.  Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe. 
It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people.  It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws.  And just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world.  And indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.
The events of the past several months remind us of how difficult democracy can be in a country with deep divisions.  But the Ukrainian people have also reminded us that human beings have a universal right to determine their own future. 
Right now, the situation remains very fluid.  Vice President Biden just spoke with Prime Minister -- the Prime Minister of Ukraine to assure him that in this difficult moment the United States supports his government’s efforts and stands for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic future of Ukraine.  I also commend the Ukrainian government’s restraint and its commitment to uphold its international obligations. 
We will continue to coordinate closely with our European allies.  We will continue to communicate directly with the Russian government.  And we will continue to keep all of you in the press corps and the American people informed as events develop.
Thanks very much.
5:09 P.M. EST


Message -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Zimbabwe


Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C.

1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288 of March 6, 2003, with respect to the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or institutions is to continue in effect beyond March 6, 2014.

The threat constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or institutions has not been resolved. These actions and policies continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue this national emergency and to maintain in force the sanctions to respond to this threat.




Raytheon Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded a $655,413,297 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for two PATRIOT fire units and associated initial spares.  This is a foreign military sales to Kuwait.  Fiscal 2010 other procurement funds in the amount of $65,541,330 were obligated at the time of the award.  Estimated completion date is April 30, 2018.  One bid was solicited with one received.  Work will be performed in Andover, Mass., Chatsworth, Calif., and in Greece.  Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-14-C-0052).

Lockheed Martin Aculight Corp., Bothell, Wash., was awarded a $25,162,654 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to design, develop, fabricate, test and deliver a 60 kilowatt spectrally combined high power fiber laser to support High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator operation on Army and Department of Defense test ranges and other outdoor locations.  Fiscal 2014 incrementally funded research, development, testing, and evaluation funds in the amount of $3,300,000 were obligated at the time of the award.  Estimated completion date is Dec. 27, 2016.  One bid was solicited with one received.  Work will be performed in Bothell, Wash.  Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (W9113M-14-C-0008).

Northrop Grumman Information Technology, McLean, Va., was awarded a $15,904,914 modification (P000433) to contract W91QUZ-06-D-0005 for contractor support to program management office biometric enabling capabilities for the continuation of development, maintenance and sustainment of the Department of Defense Automated Biometric Identification System.  Incremental funding is applied.  Fiscal 2014 research, development, testing, and evaluation funds in the amount of $3,108,608 were obligated at the time of the award.  Estimated completion date is Feb 28, 2015.  Work will be performed in McLean, Va.  Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity.

PRIDE Industries, Roseville, Calif., was awarded a $13,844,609 modification (P00014) to multi-year contract W9124G-13-C-0002 for the Department of Public Works-Base Operations, Fort Rucker, Ala.  Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $1,071,008 were obligated at the time of the award.  Estimated completion date is Feb. 28, 2015.  Work will be performed at Fort Rucker, Ala.  Army Contracting Command, Fort Rucker, Ala., is the contracting activity.

Quinlivan, Pierik & Krause, Architects/Engineers LLP*, Syracuse, N.Y., was awarded a $9,900,000 firm-fixed-price contract for general architectural and engineering services primarily within New York District boundaries and Corps of Engineers locations within North Atlantic Division boundaries.  Funding and work location will be determined with each order.  Estimated completion date is Feb. 28, 2019.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with 12 received.  Army Corps of Engineers, New York, N.Y., is the contracting activity (W912DS-14-D-0002).

Survice Engineering Co., LLC, Belcamp, Md., was awarded a $9,000,000 firm-fixed-price, multi-year contract for the development of test and evaluation documentation, blast analysis, lethality strategies, assessment plans, detailed test plans , and training programs to support research and development, procurement, and sustainment activities for Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, Ground System Survivability, Joint Program Office, Mine Resistant Ambush Program, and Program Manager Family of Special Operations Vehicles.  Funding and work performance location will be determined with each order.  Estimated completion date is March 2, 2017.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received.  Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-14-D-0056).

Walker Miller Equipment Co, Inc.*, Orlando, Fla., was awarded an $8,4221,000 firm-fixed-price contract for a vibratory plate compactor for compacting soil and asphalt in areas inaccessible to larger equipment or for compacting smaller areas.  Funding and work location will be determined with each order.  Estimated completion date is June 7, 2019.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with five received.  Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-14-D-L001).

BAE Systems, Nashua, N.H., was awarded a $7,918,125 modification (P00003) to contract W58RGZ-13-D-0245 for AN/AAR-57(V) Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) and associated spare parts and systems engineering, technical, and logistics support services for both CMWS and OT-255/ALQ-212(V) Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures.  Funding and work location will be determined with each order.  Estimated completion date is Feb 28, 2015.  Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity.

Manufacturing Support Industries doing business as MSI*, Salisbury, Md. (W15QKN-14-D-0029), and OG Technologies Inc.*, New York, N.Y. (W15QKN-14-D-0030), were awarded a $7,612,000 firm-fixed-price contract for M4 carbine ambidextrous fire control selector assemblies. The selector switch will be combined with other weapon components to form a single modification kit to convert fielded M4 carbines to M4A1 carbines.  Funding and work location will be determined with each order.  Estimated completion date is Feb. 28, 2018.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with three received.  Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity.

SRCTec Inc., Syracuse, N.Y., was awarded a $7,222,543 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract with options for procuring, installing and providing spare parts for the ground based dense and avoid lightweight surveillance and target acquisition radar.  Fiscal 2013 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $7,222,543 were obligated at the time of the award.  Estimated completion date is Oct. 30, 2015.  One bid was solicited and one received.  Work will be performed in Syracuse, N.Y.  Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-14-C-0036).


Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $351,009,568 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive, fixed-price incentive-fee contract (N00019-09-D-0008) for V-22 Joint Performance Based Logistics support.  Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (40 percent); Ridley Park, Pa. (40 percent); various locations within the continental United States (15 percent) and locations outside the continental United States (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2016.  No funding will be obligated at time of award; funds will be obligated on individual delivery orders as they are issued.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Federal Staffing Resources LLC.*, Annapolis, Md. (N62645-14-D-5013); Loyal Source Government Services*, Orlando, Fla.(N62645-14-D-5014); MedTrust LLC.*, San Antonio, Texas (N62645-14-D-5015); Rao Radiologists Inc.*, Gaithersburg, Md. (N62645-14-D-5016), are each being awarded a 39-month, firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award task order contract for various nursing services that include the labor bands of advanced practice nurse and nursing.  The aggregate not-to-exceed amount for these multiple award contracts combined is $152,250,696.  The four companies will have the opportunity to bid on each individual task order as they are issued.  Work will be performed at the following Military Treatment Facilities in the Northeastern Region of the United States:  Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Va. and its affiliated clinics (86 percent); Naval Health Clinic Quantico, Va. (4 percent); Naval Health Clinic Annapolis, Md. (2 percent) ; Naval Health Clinic Great Lakes, Ill. (2 percent); Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River, Md. (1 percent); Naval Health Clinic Newport, R.I. (1 percent); Naval Branch Health Clinic Groton, Conn. (1 percent); Naval Branch Health Clinic Portsmouth, N.H. (1 percent); Naval Branch Health Clinic Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (1 percent); and any associated branch clinics in the Northeast Region of the United States (1 percent), and work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2017.  Fiscal 2014 Defense health program funds in the aggregate amount of $20,000 will be obligated at the time of award, and the funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  Funding is predominantly from the Defense Health Program; however, other funding initiatives such as psychological health/traumatic brain injury, overseas contingency operations and wounded, ill, and injured may be used.  These are all one-year funding types.  These contracts were solicited via a multiple award electronic request for proposals as a 100 percent small business set-aside, with 50 offers received.  The Naval Medical Logistics Command, Fort Detrick, Md., is the contracting activity.

Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a $54,305,623 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for depot level repair of engines, propellers and other propulsion system components for 50 KC-130 aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps (47) and the government of Kuwait (3).  Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind. (92 percent), Al Mubarak, Kuwait (2.1 percent); various locations in Japan (2 percent); Cherry Point. N.C. (1.3 percent); Miramar, Calif. (1.3 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas (1.3 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2015.  Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Navy funds in the amount of $24,517,676 are being obligated on this award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1.  This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Marines Corps ($50,163,909; 92 percent) and the Government of Kuwait ($4,141,714; 8 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-14-D-0007).

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded $22,401,663 for cost-plus-fixed-fee, delivery order 0166 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-11-G-0001) for supplies and services to support follow-on test and evaluation of the F/-18 E/F and EA-18G aircraft.  Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. (76 percent), St. Louis, Mo. (22 percent), El Segundo, Calif. (1 percent), and Bethpage, N.Y. (1 percent) and is expected to be completed in January 2015.  Fiscal 2014 aircraft procurement, Navy funds in the amount of $22,401,663 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $19,898,974 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-11-C-2109) for engineering and technical design services to support advanced submarine technology research and development (R&D) for current and future submarine platforms.  Advanced submarine R&D includes studies to support the manufacturability, maintainability, producibility, reliability, manning, survivability, hull integrity, performance, structural, weight/margin, stability, arrangements, machinery systems, acoustics, hydrodynamics, ship control, logistics, human factors, materials, weapons handling and stowage, submarine safety, and affordability.  The program also supports near term insertion of Virginia class technology; identification of Ohio class replacement technology options; future submarine concepts; and core technologies.  Work will be performed in Groton, Conn., and is expected to be completed by October 2014.  Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation contract funds in the amount of $249,400 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the fiscal year.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Airborne Systems Ltd., Bridgend, United Kingdom, is being awarded a $17,976,844 firm-fixed-price job order to previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00164-13-G-WM55-0003) for the procurement of components in support of the MK 59 Mod 0 Decoy Launch System (DLS).  The MK 59 DLS is a deck-mounted countermeasure system that is used to launch an advanced inflatable radar decoy cartridge to confuse hostile tracking and homing associated with anti-ship missiles by simulating the radar cross section of the ship.  Work will be performed in Bridgend, United Kingdom, and is expected to be completed by December 2015.  Fiscal 2014 other procurement, Navy funding in the amount of $17,976,844 will be obligated at time of award.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity.

Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $15,978,977 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-13-C-2128) for procurement of missile tube long-lead-time material in support of the Ohio Class Replacement Program.  The contractor will be designing and manufacturing hardware to support the manufacture of the common missile compartment.  This contract combines purchases for the government of the United Kingdom (67 percent) and the U.S. Navy (37 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program.  Work will be performed in Groton, Conn., and is scheduled to be completed by February 2016.  FMS and fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funding in the amount of $15,978,977 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  Supervisor of Shipbuilding Conversion and Repair, Groton, Conn., is the contracting activity.

NVE Inc.*, Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $14,858,122 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for janitorial services at Naval Support Activity Bethesda.  The work to be performed provides for all labor, supervision, management, tools, materials, equipment, facilities, transportation, and incidental engineering and other items necessary to provide janitorial services.  The maximum dollar value including the base period and four option years is $77,324,605.  Work will be performed in Bethesda, Md., and is expected to be completed by March 2015.  Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Navy; fiscal 2014 working capital funds, Defense; and fiscal 2014 health program, Defense contract funds in the amount of $1,619,093 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with seven proposals received.  The Naval Facilities Command, Washington, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N40080-14-D-2010).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Baltimore, Md., is being awarded a $10,798,739 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-11-C-2300) to exercise an option for post-delivery support for the USS Milwaukee (LCS 5).  Lockheed Martin will perform the planning and implementation of deferred design changes that have been identified during the construction period.  Work will be performed in Marinette, Wis. (57 percent); Hampton, Va. (14 percent); Moorestown, N.J. (11 percent); San Diego, Calif. (11 percent); and Washington, D.C. (7 percent), and is expected to be completed by October 2015.  Fiscal 2010 shipbuilding and conversion, Navy funding in the amount of $10,798,739 will be obligated at time of award.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Allen & Shariff*, Columbia, Md., is being awarded $8,895,680 for firm-fixed-price task order 0027 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40080-10-D-0496) for the repair of chillers and air handlers, installation of ventilation in corridors and installation of an elevator in building 15 at the Marine Corps Base, Quantico.  The work to be performed provides for an addition of a hydraulic elevator with new elevator structure to support the elevator function.  The addition of a corridor structure connecting the A-4 and C-3 wings to the elevator.  The replacement of the bedroom and stairwell doors and fire rated doors and the replacement of stair handrails and fire alarm system and the complete replacement of the mechanical equipment in the building with the exception of gas fired boilers.  Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and is expected to be completed by May 2016.  Fiscal 2014 operation and maintenance, Navy contract funds in the amount of $8,895,680 are being obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  Five proposals were received for this task order.  The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded an $8,021,387 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-10-C-0020) for the procurement of 11 low power CV-22 repairs under the Mission Care™ contract.  Work will be performed in Oakland, Calif. (70 percent) and Indianapolis, Ind. (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2015.  Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Air Force funds in the amount of $8,021,387 are being obligated on this award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., is being awarded a $7,120,153 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-11-C-2301) to exercise an option for post-delivery support for the USS Jackson (LCS 6).  Austal USA will perform the planning and implementation of deferred design changes that have been identified during the construction period.  Work will be performed in Mobile, Ala. (70 percent); Pittsfield, Mass. (20 percent); and San Diego, Calif. (10 percent) and is expected to be completed by September 2015.  Fiscal 2010 shipbuilding and conversion, Navy funding in the amount of $7,120,153 will be obligated at time of award.  Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.


SupplyCore*, Rockford, Ill., has been awarded a maximum $340,000,000 firm-fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for maintenance, repair, and operations tailored logistics support prime vendor programs.  This contract is a competitive acquisition and five offers were received.  This is a five-year base contract with no option year periods.  Location of performance is Illinois with a Feb. 28, 2019 performance completion date.  Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2019 defense working capital funds.  The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM8EG-14-D-0001).

TW Metals, Carol Stream, Ill., has been awarded a maximum $78,768,905 modification (P00101) exercising the third option year on a two-year base contract (SPM8E5-10-D-0005) with three one-year option periods for various carbon steel bar and plate materials. This is a fixed-price with economic-price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is Illinois with a March 1, 2015 performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal year 2014 through fiscal 2015 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

US Worldmeds LLC*, Louisville, Ky., has been awarded a maximum $29,978,934 modification (P00002) exercising the first option year on a one-year base contract (SPM2D0-13-D-0002) with seven one-year option periods for various pharmaceuticals.  This is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract.  Location of performance is Kentucky with a March 3, 2015 performance completion date.  Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 war-stopper funds.  The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

GE Datex Ohmeda Inc., Madison, Wis., has been awarded a maximum $19,847,688 modification (P00101) exercising the fifth option year on a one-year base contract (SPM2D1-09-D-8348) with nine one-year option periods for patient monitoring systems, subsystems, accessories, consumables, spare and repair parts, and training.  This is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract.  Location of performance is Wisconsin with a March 5, 2015 performance completion date.  Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2015 defense working capital funds.  The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

General Electric Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, has been awarded a maximum $12,756,275 firm-fixed-price, definite-quantity contract for 10,826 turbine rotor blades.  This contract is a sole-source acquisition.  This is a one-year base contract.  Location of performance is Ohio with a Dec. 31, 2015 performance completion date.  Using military service is Air Force.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2015 defense working capital funds.  The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Richmond, Va., (SPRTA1-12-G-0006-TY7C).

CORRECTION:  The contract announced Dec 27, 2013 to Brother’s Produce, Inc. was incorrect.  The contract was actually awarded on Feb. 27, 2014.  The maximum funds, estimated completion date and contract number were incorrect. The correct information is: Brothers Produce, Inc.,* Houston, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $8,658,596 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of full line fresh fruit and vegetable support to non-Department of Defense customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth schools zone.  This contract is a competitive acquisition, and three offers were received. Location of performance is Texas with a Sept 2015 estimated performance completion date. Using service is U.S. Department of Agriculture school customers.  Type of appropriation is fiscal year 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPE300-14-D-S607).


Infoscitex Corp., Waltham, Mass. (FA8650-14-D-6500) and Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., Systems Engineering Solutions, Boulder, Colo. (FA8650-14-D-6501), have each been awarded a $60,100,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for research and development.  The goal of these contracts is to provide the 711th Human Performance Wing (HPW)/RHC with research to perform the mission of "increase warfighter lethality and enhance combat survivability while reducing information processing demands through revolutionary human interface technology."  The 711th HPW/RHC is transforming its portfolio to emphasize the technology priorities of: control of remotely piloted aircraft; decision making and autonomy; multi-sensory technologies; conceptual design and demonstration of advanced information operations workstations; advanced visualizations, technology and human cognitive modeling. These technologies will be used to transform the following concepts of operations objectives:  battlespace visualization, planning and assessment tools; find, fix, track, target, engage and assess and seamless decision support.  Work will be performed at Dayton, Ohio, and Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and is expected to be complete by May 28, 2020.  This award is the result of a competitive broad agency announcement, BAA-12-04-HPW/RHC, in which three offers were received and two were awarded.  Fiscal 2013 research and development funds in the amount of $50,000 for each contract are being obligated at time of award to the first task order (0001) for each contract.  Air Force Research Laboratory/RQKHA, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

Battlespace Flight Services LCC, Arlington, Va., has been awarded an $8,649,020 modification to TO 0003 and a $7,168,732 modification to TO 0004 to exercise option year one under an existing single award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (FA4890-13-D-0001).  Support shall include aircraft maintenance management; aerospace ground equipment and ground support equipment maintenance; supply support; command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems; quality control; and ancillary support programs.  The program supports Air Combat Command (ACC), the Air National Guard, and other major command and combatant command customers to sustain the combat and training capability.   Work will be performed at tasked locations worldwide, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2015.  Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $720,752 will be obligated with the exercise of option year one for TO 0003 modification 09 and $597,394 will be obligated for TO 0004 modification 08.  Headquarters ACC, Acquisition Management and Integration Center, Newport News, Va., is the contracting activity.

*Small Business


Remarks With Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Holguin at the Fourth Annual U.S.-Colombia High-Level Partnership Dialogue
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
February 28, 2014

ASSISTANT SECRETARY JACOBSON: Well, good morning, everyone. Buenos dias, bienvenido. I hope that everybody’s here ready to work.

I’m delighted this morning to inaugurate, to kick off this next round of the high-level partnership dialogue that we have with Colombia in which we have many working groups today that will discuss everything from environment to energy to culture and education to human rights. This really demonstrates the breadth of our relationship with Colombia. And I’m also delighted to have Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin here to head the Colombian delegation.

So without further ado, I will turn this over to our headliners and introduce Secretary of State John Kerry.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, thank you. (Applause.) Thank you.

Buenos dias, good morning, everybody. Welcome. We are really very, very happy to have this bilateral meeting here today and this opportunity to continue the dialogue with ourselves and Colombia. And I am particularly happy to welcome Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin and the distinguished delegation that is accompanying her. We’re happy to have you all here.

Last summer I had the great pleasure of meeting Minister Holguin in Colombia and experiencing the incredible dynamism of the country, the generous welcome that they gave me visiting, a number of different activities. One particularly struck me. I went to a training center where physically challenged athletes, particularly veterans of their efforts against narcotics and also in the insurgency, were gaining new skills and learning how to train and work together as a team and deal with their new physical challenges. And it was really very, very moving, extremely professional, and fun. And I got to play a couple of games with them and it was a good exchange. So I really enjoyed it, and overall, could not have had a more generous welcome to a country that I know well by virtue of years of working in the Senate on Plan Colombia and going through a number of presidential races.

And I can remember going back in time to serious, serious security challenges. I mean, there are still challenges, but this was existential to the government. And it was great courage – great courage – leadership and courage by the Colombian people that really brought Colombia to a place now of incredible energy, growth, increased stability, and really playing a very significant role in the hemisphere and elsewhere. And we are very admiring of this journey, I must tell you.

So it’s a pleasure for me to be able to return the favor of that welcome and be able to host the delegation here today. President Obama spoke about Colombia’s bold and brave efforts to bring about a lasting and just peace. And I had an opportunity to see that courage firsthand. I met with the troops at the airport, saw how they deploy, what they do, got firsthand briefings, met with many of the Colombian people themselves. And so for me, it was a moving visit and one which really cemented in my mind the importance of what we’re doing here today and of this relationship.

I’m particularly proud of two major investments that the United States is announcing today to help transform all of our hopes into greater opportunities for Colombia’s citizens. And today, we are making a four-year, $15 million investment to some of the regions that are hardest hit by conflict in order to improve access to justice and to support local governments as they combat corruption and human rights violations. We’re announcing an additional $7 million in support to help implement Colombia’s landmark Victims’ Law, because we believe that addressing difficult issues like land restitution is absolutely essential for an enduring peace to be able to take hold.

Now, sometimes, when you talk about large investments like these, it’s easy to lose sight of the real people that this money will affect, the lives that it may have an opportunity to be able to transform, literally. So I want to give you an example.

Fanny del Socorro Valencia and her husband, Elid, who were some of the first Colombians to benefit from the Victims’ Law, years ago, because of the violence, they had to abandon everything that they held dear – their land, their livelihood, and even many of their loved ones. And because of the efforts that we are helping to support today, Fanny and Elid are back on their land. And Fanny said that years ago she stopped listening to the radio because all she heard was announcements of funerals for her friends and her neighbors. Now, she says, she can get back to listening to music, and like so many other Colombians, she can get back to living in peace.

As the lives of more Colombians change for the better, so does our partnership. No longer is that partnership defined solely by confronting criminality and subversion, but frankly, by working on the lasting prosperity that we are working to provide for people together in our efforts. And the kind of progress that we’re making on trade is really a preview of what is possible for a whole range of areas that we’re discussing today. I want you just to think for a moment about what we have accomplished. In the two short years of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, since it’s been on the books, trade has increased 18 percent. Today, because of the Andean Free Trade Preference Act, nearly all Colombian goods benefit from duty-free access to our markets, and 775 new Colombian companies are exporting to the United States.

We’re also creating new opportunities working together on energy and the environment. Since Colombia put forward its Copenhagen targets in 2010, we have collaborated on a strategy that has helped Colombia to meet ambitious targets for both emissions mitigation and economic growth at the same time. They don’t have to contradict each other. The truth is that moving to reduce emissions and moving to implement good environmental practices actually opens up enormous economic opportunity and can create jobs as well as new procedures, new technologies. And with our larger efforts to link energy markets and develop unconventional energy sources and deliver affordable power across the Americas, our partnership can actually prove what is possible when you take environment and energy and put them together and make the right choices.

We also show a shared commitment to preserving our resources for future generations with the MOU that we sign today linking our national park services. I think we can also look to the future by deepening our partnership in areas that are critical in a more interconnected and competitive global economy by expanding cooperation on information and communications technology. And launching a senior-level steering group today in order to advance those efforts, we are delivering on some of the most important commitments that Presidents Obama and Santos made last December.

As we expand our relationship in these new areas, the United States is also expanding our engagement with the Colombian people directly. Our Economic and Social Opportunities Working Group is reviewing how we can support that goal by reaching out to vulnerable populations, including Afro-Colombians, indigenous communities, and women. And we’re also deepening connections between our two peoples through the educational exchange with 100,000 Strong in the Americas, the Fulbright Scholarships, the Martin Luther King Fellow Program, and the English Access Microscholarships.

Underlying all of our cooperation is our shared commitment to protecting fundamental human rights. And today, we will continue our ongoing dialogue on strengthening democratic governance, combating impunity, protecting victims of conflict, and cooperating to affirm a human rights within the OAS and beyond our hemisphere.

The fact that Colombia is the only nation in South America which, like the United States, faces both the Atlantic and the Pacific, it really serves as a reminder of an important perspective and an important set of principles that we share in common. As we look on our sort of shared horizons – two of them – and the enormous opportunities that they present us for the future, there’s no question in my mind that this relationship has special value, special importance, has a special place in this hemisphere, and we really look forward to developing further this partnership and this friendship.

I think it’s my pleasure – am I introducing – well, without further ado, let me introduce my colleague and cohort and partner and friend, Maria Angela Holguin. (Applause.)

FOREIGN MINISTER HOLGUIN: Thank you very much, Secretary Kerry.

(Via interpreter) Thank you so much, Secretary Kerry. Ladies and gentlemen, delegates, officials of the Government of the United States, Mr. Ambassador of Colombia, dear friends – Mr. Secretary, the fact that I’m here starting this high-level dialogue is something very pleasant for me, for my delegation, and for Colombia. We have been able to diversify our bilateral agenda, including other topics such as technology, communications, telecommunications, the environment. We have been able to have an agenda with cooperation and securities.

We’re extremely thankful to the United States, thanks to the support it gave to Colombia in very difficult times. I am convinced that my delegation is in agreement when I say that we are very thankful to the United States, because today, we have a country full of opportunities, a country that opens up to the world, a country that wants progress, stability, the opportunities for all its inhabitants – it’s thanks also to that great effort that you made because you followed us during some very difficult times for us in Colombia during the government of President Santos.

We have promoted a very profound transformation in our country with growth, with equality and prosperity, and we have found reconciliation amongst Colombians. You talked about the law on land, of the victims, and I think that this is one of the most important steps that we have taken toward reconciliation. This is something that the state had to give its victims, and which fortunately, President Santos was able to make that necessary step and today, little by little. You mentioned a case, as many other thousands of cases. This is the path towards the reconciliation of all Colombians. We want a peaceful Colombia. We want opportunities for everybody with justice, equality, open to the region and the entire world.

The changes that we’ve had in the last few years have allowed us to find a position whereby we have greater investments. We have grown our production and our tourism. I would like to mention some of these attainments. We have created 2,300,000 jobs and 1,300,000 people have left extreme poverty, and as well as many other people – 2,500,000 have left poverty. Obviously, we have to give all this sustainability, and the government has created a series of programs that are focused on the generation of employment, training, education, health, and so on. We have had four of these high-level dialogues with the United States. We want to keep this high-level. And of course, we’ve had tangible results. We have also made our relationship even deeper.

Let’s talk about some of our attainments in the energetic field. We signed the Memorandum of Agreement between the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Department of Energy, where we have tried to make sure that the exploitations of hydrocarbons is very important, the nonconventional ones. This is a work plan that is important to us because we want to be more competitive in terms of energy, and what better than having you with us in this undertaking? Colombia is totally convinced of the importance of the electrical interconnection in the Americas – we’ve talked about this with your delegation – to diversify our energetic forces. We want to take electricity, hydro-electricities from our Andean Mountains to California, going through Central America and the Caribbean. We do not want a single one of our citizens to live without energy in their home. This is one of our attainments. In the 21st century, we have to make sure that this never happens.

In terms of the environment – the environment and the climate change – we want to remember the memorandum of cooperation in 2013. As you were saying, the climate change has been terrible and we have had severe damage that we’ve all lived through. We have to take the necessary measures. We’re working in a very committed fashion and we want to make sure that we collaborate with you.

In terms of opportunities in order for our third dialogue at – high-level dialogue, the United States presented a small business network program, SBNA. This is an initiative that the United States shared with us, and it has a very positive repercussion in our country. We also signed a memorandum in 2012 and 2013. We created the Center for Development and Job Creation in Aguablanca in Cali. This is a model that also included the small- and medium-sized industries with the community, academia, the private enterprise with an investment of about $1 million with the ministry of commerce, industry and tourism, and the town administration of Cali.

These are the efforts that we have to continue with so that we can help our small businessmen and businesswomen. We also have to create techniques whereby we can train a number of people. We want to replicate the model of the 400 units for business creation in our country so that they can become centers for small businesses.

In terms of human rights, we also had a memorandum which was signed in the Presidential Program for Human Rights, USAID, and this – and we were able to use – we were able to do this with the observatory for the national system of information in Colombia. In the next few years, we know that we still have quite a lot to do in terms of making sure that this moves ahead. Our country was also part of the Cancer Research Network with the United States and Latin America as part of its commitment, and the – with our National Institute of Health and the Ministry of Health.

These are the type of projects that we hope to be able to take forth because these are all of great help for Colombia. This version of the high-level dialogue brings to fruition many of the initiatives that were discussed by President Santos and Obama – in particular, technologies, information technology, and telecommunications.

Today, I would like to talk about the launch of the executive committee for the plan of action and the group of – the work group between Colombia and the United States in terms of technologies, the information technologies and telecommunications. This is an initiative that started during the meeting between our presidents in December. Through this committee, we know that we will have the participation of big companies, technological companies, academia, and so on. We hope to be able to have this type of exchange so that we can reach the development of better applications and digital solutions so that the Colombian population, especially those people that have lower incomes, are able to have access to this technology.

We also have signed an agreement whereby 15 percent of our natural parks are protected, and we have great potential here because our natural parks can promote tourism. Mr. Secretary, we have to work so that there is more and more people – there are more and more people from the United States that come to visit Colombia and its national parks. The 2014 science, technology, and innovation plan will be the roadmap for our scientists, and linking up our scientists, the research centers and universities between our countries so that they can focus on the sector of agriculture and health. We want to become a totally bilingual country in terms of education, where English is taught in all of our schools. We also want to attract Colombians that come to Colombia to learn Spanish. We want to make sure that we can simplify all the procedures for us to be able to do this. We want to make sure that there are quite a few student exchanges between students in Latin America.

I would also like you to take advantage of this wonderful meeting so that we can follow up on all the activities that we started, so that we can promote new areas where we can strengthen our cooperation. Colombia is undoubtedly an example of how a country that has lived through decades of violence, yet we have been able to maintain and strengthen our institutions. We have kept a solid democracy, and we have found a way to grow, overcoming poverty. This has been done thanks to the cooperation of the United States. We have been able to recover our national security.

Mr. Secretary, thank you kindly for your hospitality. Thank you to all the officials who made this meeting possible. I would like to reiterate my conviction that this will only make our bilateral relationship deeper. Thank you. (Applause.)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY JACOBSON: I thank the Secretary and the Foreign Minister, and I think with those words of inspiration we all need to get to work. Thank you all very much, and good luck today.

SECRETARY KERRY: I’d like to just mention very quickly – I have a feeling we’re going to be talking about visas and things. I don’t know. (Laughter.) Anyway, I want you to know that the foreign minister has a good judgment – or her son has a great judgment – to be studying in Boston. He’s part of the 100,000 Strong – (laughter) – so we’re in great shape. (Applause.)


Right:  Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti on the sidelines of meetings for NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Feb. 26, 2014. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett.

Hagel Meets With Defense Ministers of Spain, Italy, Denmark
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Feb. 27, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met here yesterday with defense ministers from Spain, Italy and Denmark on the sidelines of the two-day NATO defense ministers conference, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

Today, on the final day of the meeting, the ministers will discuss defense capacity building, cyber defense and maritime security, along with NATO’s Connected Forces Initiative, which involves improving operational collaboration with other military forces, according to NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu.
Also today, the defense ministers will meet with International Security Assistance Force contributing partners and Afghanistan’s defense minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, she said.

During Hagel’s meeting with Spanish Defense Minister Dr. Pedro Morenes, they discussed the strength of the U.S.-Spain military relationship and opportunities to broaden the relationship bilaterally and through the NATO alliance, Kirby said.
The defense secretary thanked Morenes for Spain's hosting of U.S. ballistic missile defense-capable ships at Rota and for support Spain has provided for U.S. Marines at Moron.

Hagel also expressed appreciation for Spain's ongoing commitment to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

Both leaders talked about security challenges in Africa, pledged to continue the dialogue and expressed interest in improving bilateral training opportunities, especially in the maritime environment, the Pentagon spokesman said.
In the secretary’s meeting with Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti, the defense leaders discussed a range of mutual security issues, including political unrest in Ukraine and ongoing operations in Afghanistan, Kirby said.

Hagel thanked Pinotti for her leadership and Italy’s strong contributions to the NATO alliance, including the ISAF mission. He also pledged to continue to seek ways to deepen the bilateral relationship with Italy.

During his meeting with Danish Defense Minister Nicolai Wammen, Hagel thanked the minister for his leadership and for helping the United States and Denmark maintain a close military-to-military relationship. The secretary expressed gratitude for Denmark's leadership and capabilities in the future transfer of chemical materials out of Syria, Kirby said. The two leaders discussed the importance of the Arctic and promised to continue consulting as both nations explore ways to deal with the challenges of climate change in that region, he added.

Hagel and Wammen also discussed regional challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, political unrest in Ukraine, and the NATO ISAF mission in Afghanistan, the Pentagon spokesman said.


Thursday, February 27, 2014
Three Philippine Nationals Sentenced for Importing High-powered Weapons into the U.S.

Three Philippine nationals were sentenced in the Central District of California for illegally importing machine guns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, a mortar launcher and military-grade ballistic vests into the United States, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

S ergio Syjuco, 27, Cesar Ubaldo, 28, and Arjyl Revereza, 27, each of Manila, the Republic of the Philippines, were found guilty by a federal jury on March 4, 2013, of conspiring to import military-grade weapons illegally into the United States and aiding and abetting the importation of those weapons.   On February 26,Ubaldo was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, and Revereza was sentenced to serve 51 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.   On Feb. 25, 2014, Syjuco was sentenced to serve 84 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.

According to information presented in court, the defendants conspired to sell high-powered military and assault weapons to a buyer interested in bringing weapons into the United States to arm drug dealers in Mexican drug cartels and Mexican Mafia gang members.   Ubaldo met with a prospective weapons buyer, who was actually an undercover FBI agent, and offered to introduce the agent to suppliers of high-powered firearms.   Ubaldo subsequently introduced the undercover agent to Syjuco, who supplied the weapons, and Revereza, who was a police officer in the Philippines Bureau of Customs who facilitated the movement of illegal weapons through Philippines customs and eventually into the United States.   The weapons included a rocket propelled grenade launcher, a mortar launcher, a single-shot grenade launcher and 12 Bushmaster machine guns, as well as explosives including mortars and grenades.   The defendants also illegally imported into the United States the highest level military body armor.

The weapons, which were tracked and safeguarded by the FBI during their shipment, landed on June 7, 2011, in Long Beach, Calif., where they were seized by the FBI.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, Secret Service and the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation.   Trial Attorney Margaret Vierbuchen of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section (OCGS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Dammers, who is on detail to OCGS from the Northern District of Georgia, prosecuted the case.