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White Press Office Feed

Saturday, May 17, 2014



Weekly Address: Working When Congress Won’t Act

WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s address, the President discussed actions to expand opportunity for more Americans, with or without the help of Republicans in Congress, including his Administration’s efforts to cut red tape for major transportation infrastructure projects. In the coming days, the President will meet with business leaders to highlight the importance of bringing jobs back to America and will also discuss the economic benefits of making it easier for tourists to visit and spend money at attractions in the U.S., which in turn helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone. The President has called 2014 a year of action, and he will continue to do whatever he can to continue to strengthen our economy, create jobs and restore opportunity for all.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
May 17, 2014
Hi, everybody. 
At a time when our businesses have created 9.2 million new jobs in just over four years, and more companies are considering bringing jobs back from overseas, we have a choice to make.  We can make it easier for businesses to invest in America – or we can make it harder. 
I want to work with Congress to create jobs and opportunity for more Americans.  But where Congress won’t act, I will.  And I want to talk about three things we’re doing right now.
First, we’re helping more businesses bring jobs to America from overseas.  Three years ago, my Administration created SelectUSA – a team of people in embassies abroad and agencies here at home focused on insourcing instead of outsourcing.  Today, they’re helping a Belgian company create jobs in Oklahoma. They’re helping a Canadian company create jobs in Kansas.  In my State of the Union Address, I asked more businesses to do their part.  And this week, business leaders from across the country are coming here to the White House to discuss new investments that will create even more jobs.
Second, on Thursday, I’ll be heading to Cooperstown, New York – home of the Baseball Hall of Fame – to talk about tourism.  Because believe it or not, tourism is an export.  And if we make it easier for more foreign visitors to visit and spend money at America’s attractions and unparalleled national parks, that helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone. 
Finally, we know that investing in first-class infrastructure attracts first-class jobs.  And I want to spend a minute on this, because it’s very important this year.
We know business owners don’t seek out crumbling roads and bridges and backed-up supply chains.  They set up shop where the newest, fastest transportation and communications networks let them invent and sell goods Made in America to the rest of the world as fast as possible.
Here’s the problem: If Congress doesn’t act by the end of this summer, federal funding for transportation projects will run out.  States might have to put some of their projects on hold.  In fact, some already are, because they’re worried Congress won’t clear up its own gridlock.  And if Congress fails to act, nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year.
That’s why I put forward a plan to rebuild our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way.  It would support millions of jobs across the country.  And we’d pay for it without adding to the deficit by closing wasteful tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.
Now, the Republicans in Congress seem to have very different priorities.  Not only have they neglected to prevent this funding from running out, their proposal would actually cut by 80% a job-creating grant program that has funded high-priority transportation projects in all 50 states. And they can’t say it’s to save money, because at the very same time, they voted for trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, weighted towards those at the very top. 
Think about that.  Instead of putting people to work on projects that would grow the economy for everyone, they voted to give a huge tax cut to households making more than $1 million a year.
So while Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’ll keep doing what I can on my own.
On Wednesday, I was in New York where workers are building the area’s first large new bridge in 50 years.  And they’re doing it ahead of schedule.  Three years ago, I took action without Congress to fast-track the permitting process for major projects.  Normally, it would have taken three to five years to permit that bridge.  We did it in a year and a half.  And I announced a new plan to cut red tape and speed up the process for even more projects across the country.
All these steps will make it easier for businesses to invest in America and create more good jobs.  All of them can be done without Congress.  But we could do a lot more if Congress was willing to help.  In the meantime, I’ll do whatever I can – not just to make America a better place to do business, but to make sure hard work pays off, and opportunity is open to all.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.



A sokol suit helmet can be seen against the window of the Soyuz TMA-11M capsule shortly after the spacecraft landed with Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Soyuz Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Wakata, Tyurin and Mastracchio returned to Earth after more than six months onboard the International Space Station where they served as members of the Expedition 38 and 39 crews. Image Credit: NASA-Bill Ingalls



The Securities and Exchange Commission today cautioned investors about the potential for fraud in microcap companies that claim their operations relate to the marijuana industry after the agency suspended trading in the fifth such company within the past two months.

The SEC issued an investor alert warning about possible scams involving marijuana-related investments, noting that fraudsters often exploit the latest growth industry to lure investors with the promise of high returns.  “For marijuana-related companies that are not required to report with the SEC, investors may have limited information about the company’s management, products, services, and finances,” the SEC’s alert says.  “When publicly available information is scarce, fraudsters can more easily spread false information about a company, making profits for themselves while creating losses for unsuspecting investors.”

Spearheaded by its Microcap Fraud Task Force, the SEC Enforcement Division scours the microcap market and proactively identifies companies with publicly disseminated information that appears inadequate or potentially inaccurate.  The SEC has the authority to issue trading suspensions against such companies while the questionable activity is further investigated.

As the markets opened today, the SEC suspended trading in Denver-based FusionPharm Inc., which claims to make a professional cultivation system for use by cannabis cultivators among others.  According to the SEC’s order, the trading suspension was issued “because of questions that have been raised about the accuracy of assertions by FusionPharm” concerning the company’s assets, revenues, financial statements, business transactions, and financial condition.

“Recent changes in state laws concerning medical and recreational marijuana have created new opportunities for penny stock fraud,” said Elisha Frank, co-chair of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Microcap Fraud Task Force.  “Wherever we see incomplete or misleading disclosures, we act quickly to protect investors.”

Other marijuana-related companies in which the SEC recently suspended trading are Irvine, Calif.-based Cannabusiness Group Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif.-based GrowLife Inc., Colorado Springs-based Advanced Cannabis Solutions Inc., and Bedford, Texas-based Petrotech Oil and Gas Inc.

Under the federal securities laws, the SEC can suspend trading in a stock for 10 days and generally prohibit a broker-dealer from soliciting investors to buy or sell the stock again until certain reporting requirements are met.  More information about the trading suspension process is available in an SEC investor bulletin on the topic.

“We know from experience that fraudsters follow the headlines,” said Lori J. Schock, director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, which prepared the investor alert.  “Given the attention that marijuana-related companies have attracted recently, we urge investors to exercise caution when looking at investments in this space.  Always thoroughly research the company – and the person selling the investment – before making a decision.”



Gulf Cooperation Council and Ballistic Missile Defense

Frank A. Rose
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
Peter Huessy Breakfast Series; Capitol Hill Club
Washington, DC
May 14, 2014

Thank you, Peter, for that kind introduction and for hosting me again at this series.
I’m very happy to be with you today to address our efforts in working with Gulf Cooperation Council to enhance Ballistic Missile Defense cooperation in the region, as I have just recently returned from the Middle East Missile & Air Defense Symposium in Abu Dhabi.
In my remarks this morning, I’d like to accomplish two things. First, I’d like to share with you a bit about my most recent discussions on missile defense with our partners in the Gulf. Second, I’d like to outline the key takeaways from my latest trip to the region, chief among them is the progress that has been made in developing regional missile defenses with the Gulf Cooperation Council. After that, I’m happy to take your questions.

U.S. Commitment to Gulf Security, Including Missile Defense

As you know, this is a time of profound change in that region. We are experiencing perhaps an unprecedented moment of engagement and dialogue with nations around the world. At the same time, we are also acutely aware of the daily threats and anxieties felt throughout the Gulf.
As you also know, security cooperation has long stood at the core of the U.S.-Gulf partnership. The United States is not only committed to enhancing U.S.-GCC missile defense cooperation – we see it as a strategic imperative.

As stated in the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review, a key objective of U.S. strategy is to expand international efforts and cooperation on ballistic missile defense. BMD cooperation contributes to regional stability by deterring regional actors, principally by eliminating their confidence in the effectiveness of their systems, and assuring allies and partners both of the U.S. commitments and by enhancing their ability to defend against these threats should they become necessary.

The message I delivered in the region was clear: the United States remains firmly committed to developing and deploying advanced missile defense capabilities around the world to protect our homeland, our deployed forces, as well as our friends and allies who depend on us for security.

It’s worth mentioning that U.S.-GCC security cooperation extends well beyond the topic of today’s discussion, or BMD. Maritime security is an important focus, given the massive commercial and energy resources that traverse the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. And U.S. and Gulf experts are now meeting as a group to exchange best practices on counterterrorism and border security, within which cyber security is becoming an increasingly prominent topic. Stated plainly, we are committed to working with our GCC partners to strengthen multilateral defense cooperation as an important complement to our strong bilateral partnerships in the region. To help reach that goal, in December 2013 President Obama designated the GCC eligible for Foreign Military Sales. Among other benefits, this designation helps lay the groundwork for the GCC states to address regional ballistic missile defense through multilateral procurement.
That’s the same designation we’ve given NATO, allowing the GCC to invest in shared systems for mutual defense, even as the United States continues a strong bilateral defense partnership with each individual GCC member state. And it demonstrates our commitment to the U.S.-Gulf Partnership, and our ultimate commitment to see the Gulf become a stronger, more capable partner in confronting the many challenges to our shared interests in the region. Earlier today, Secretary Hagel met with his Gulf counterparts in Jeddah for the first ever U.S.-GCC Defense Ministerial, which likewise signals U.S. intent to strengthen and deepen our bilateral and multilateral ties in this critical region.

Progress on Regional Missile Defense

The President’s address at the United Nations General Assembly last fall reaffirmed our continued commitment to Gulf security. Indeed, my principal takeaway from the trip was that our security commitments and partnerships in the Gulf are more extensive today than ever before.
As I discussed several weeks ago in Abu Dhabi, the March 2012 launch of the U.S.-GCC Strategic Cooperation Forum, or SCF, has enhanced our partnership on policies that advance shared political, security, military, and economic objectives in the Gulf, including intensified efforts on ballistic missile defense cooperation.

At his first Forum last September, Secretary of State John Kerry, my boss, made clear that a top U.S.-GCC priority would continue to be enhancing ballistic missile defense cooperation, including the eventual development of Gulf-wide coordinated missile defense architecture. And we can expect BMD to have been a primary focus at today’s inaugural U.S.-GCC Defense Ministerial.

Burden Sharing

It was clear from my discussions with our partners in the region that the GCC shares our goal of building an effective regional defense against the threat of ballistic missiles, and is willing and ready to defend its own security future.
Several of our Gulf state partners expressed an interest in buying missile defense systems, and some have already done so. For example, the United Arab Emirates has contracted to buy two THAAD batteries that, when operational, will enhance the U.A.E.’s security as well as regional stability. The U.A.E. also has taken delivery of its Patriot PAC-3 batteries, which provide a lower-tier, point defense of critical national assets.

Saudi Arabia is in the process of upgrading its existing Patriot PAC-2 batteries to the PAC-3 configuration. Kuwait also is upgrading its existing batteries to PAC-3, and in December 2013 signed an offer for two additional PAC-3 batteries.

These procurements demonstrate our GCC partners’ determination to provide for their own defense, and when combined with our regional BMD capabilities, represent a significant contribution to regional stability at a time when our own defense spending is under fiscal pressure.

Our GCC partners are investing billions of dollars in missile defense purchases. In today’s austere budget environment, these investments can help achieve greater economies of scale.

Military and Diplomatic Coordination

And I’ll close by looking ahead towards next steps on BMD in the region.
Effective ballistic missile defense is not based on military might alone. Advanced, interoperable systems to intercept and destroy attacking missiles must be combined with diplomatic cooperation and coordination.

Ballistic missiles can destabilize and weaken a region due to their short flight times and potentially devastating consequences. WMD armed missiles in particular can have broad consequences not only within a targeted country but within a region, as the effects of a successful attack are not always limited to that country. And even conventionally armed missiles can be a significant military threat.

But ballistic missiles are also a weapon of choice for an adversary that wants to gain political influence over its regional neighbors. We have seen ballistic missile test firings used as a tool to intimidate, blackmail, or coerce a country’s neighbors.

The nature of the ballistic missile threat means that the United States, and the GCC, must be prepared both diplomatically and militarily well before the first missile is launched.

The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense work as active partners in the Strategic Cooperation Forum to emphasize the need for planning, both diplomatic and military, when it comes to ballistic missile defense.

In fact, our dialogues within the SCF include representatives from the Defense Department and U.S. Air Forces Central Command for one clear reason: because ballistic missile defense requires a whole-of-government approach.

To facilitate further a dialogue with our Gulf partners on BMD issues, President Obama obtained authority from Congress expanding the authority of the U.S. Air Force to conduct integrated air and missile defense training at the U.S.-U.A.E. Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center, which is located in the United Arab Emirates. These integrated defense trainings are uniquely positioned to play a key role in advancing regional BMD policies, procedures, and cooperation.

At a strategic level, we must continue to encourage better planning and preparation among both our military leaders and our senior diplomats. It should also be our shared task with the Gulf to develop strategic communications plans and ensure close and effective consultations with regional partners to advance our joint security and prosperity.

The U.S.-Gulf partnership can therefore bring together the strength of our combined forces with the skill of our strategic planning. We will be much more successful in advancing our shared interests by working together than by going it alone.

Missile Defense Cooperation with Israel

And finally, I want to note that our cooperation with the GCC states will in no way detract from the separate, robust U.S.-Israel BMD cooperation program. Since 2003, the Department of Defense, with the help of Congress, has provided nearly $2.5 billion to Israel to help develop a number of missile defense systems including Iron Dome, Arrow, and David's Sling. This includes $440 million in FY 13 alone. Throughout the development of these systems, our goal has been to ensure there are no shortages in these important systems and that U.S. investments meet Israel's security needs and production capacity.

The President's budget requests $96.8 million in FY15 for Arrow and David’s Sling, and $176 million for Iron Dome. By the end of FY15, the United States will have provided over $875 million in funding for Iron Dome.


In conclusion, ballistic missile defense issues cross military and, most importantly for us at the State Department, diplomatic equities. Moving forward, we hope to encourage deepened understanding and engagement in the Gulf on the need to combine diplomatic and military knowledge and expertise to address the full range of issues on effective missile defenses and strengthen the larger strategic deterrent architecture.

The United States will continue to work closely with each of our partners in the GCC to help them strengthen their capacity. Enhanced missile defense capabilities among the GCC not only protect our partners from the growing regional threat, but strengthened regional deterrence architecture ultimately keeps our interests, and our homeland, secure.
Thank you very much, and I look forward to your questions.


California Central Valley groundwater depletion slowly raises Sierra Nevada mountains
Changes may trigger small earthquakes, scientists find

Winter rains and summer groundwater pumping in California's Central Valley make the Sierra Nevada and Coast Mountain Ranges sink and rise by a few millimeters each year, creating stress on the state's faults that could increase the risk of an earthquake.

Gradual depletion of the Central Valley aquifer, because of groundwater pumping, also raises these mountain ranges by a similar amount each year--about the thickness of a dime--with a cumulative rise over the past 150 years of up to 15 centimeters (6 inches), according to calculations by a team of geophysicists.

The scientists report their results in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

While the seasonal changes in the Central Valley aquifer have not yet been firmly associated with any earthquakes, studies have shown that similar levels of periodic stress, such as that caused by the motions of the moon and sun, increase the number of microquakes on the San Andreas Fault.

If these subtle seasonal load changes are capable of influencing the occurrence of microquakes, it's possible that they can sometimes also trigger a larger event, said Roland Bürgmann, a geoscientist at the University of California, Berkeley and co-author of the Nature paper.

"The stress is very small, much less than you need to build up stress on a fault leading to an earthquake, but in some circumstances such small stress changes can be the straw that breaks the camel's back," Bürgmann said. "It could just give that extra push to get a fault to fail."

The study, based on GPS measurements from California and Nevada between 2007 and 2010, was led by scientists Colin Amos at Western Washington University and Pascal Audet of the University of Ottawa.

The detailed GPS analyses were performed by William Hammond and Geoffrey Blewitt of the University of Nevada, Reno, as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. Hammond and Blewitt, along with Amos and Audet, are also co-authors of this week's paper.

"Other studies have shown that the San Andreas Fault is sensitive to small-scale changes in stress," said Amos.

"These appear to control the timing of small earthquakes on portions of the fault, leading to more small earthquakes during drier periods of the year. Previously, such changes were thought to be driven by rainfall and other hydrologic causes."

This work ties overuse of groundwater by humans in the San Joaquin Valley to increases in the height of nearby mountain ranges and possible increases in the number of earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault, said Maggie Benoit, program director in NSF's Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research.

"When humans deplete groundwater," said Benoit, "the amount of mass or material in Earth's crust is reduced. That disrupts Earth's force balances, causing uplift of nearby mountains and reducing a force that helps keep the San Andreas fault from slipping."

Draining of the Central Valley

Water has been pumped from California's Central Valley for more than 150 years, changing what used to be a marsh and extensive lake, Tulare Lake, into fertile agricultural fields.

In that time, about 160 cubic kilometers (40 cubic miles) of water was removed--the capacity of Lake Tahoe--dropping the water table in some areas more than 120 meters (400 feet) and the ground surface 5 meters (16 feet) or more.

The weight of water removed allowed the underlying crust or lithosphere to rise by so-called isostatic rebound, which may have raised the Sierra as much as half a foot since about 1860.

The same rebound happens as a result of the state's seasonal rains.

Torrential winter storms drop water and snow across the state, which eventually flow into Central Valley streams, reservoirs and underground aquifers, pushing down the crust and lowering the Sierra 1-3 millimeters.

In the summer, water flow into the Pacific Ocean, evaporation and ground water pumping for irrigation, which has accelerated because of drought, allows the crust and surrounding mountains to rise again.

Bürgmann said that the flexing of Earth's crust downward in winter would clamp the San Andreas fault tighter, lowering the risk of quakes, while in summer the upward flexure would relieve this clamping and perhaps increase the risk.

"The hazard is ever so slightly higher in the summer than in the wintertime," he said. "This suggests that climate and tectonics interact, and that water changes ultimately affect the deeper Earth."

High-resolution mapping with continuous GPS

Millimeter-precision measurements of elevation have been possible only in the last few years. Improved continuous GPS networks--part of the NSF EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory, which operates 1,100 stations around the western United States--and satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar have provided the data.

The measurements revealed a steady yearly rise of the Sierra of 1-2 millimeters per year, which was initially ascribed to tectonic activity deep underground, even though the rate was unusually high.

The new study provides an alternative and more reasonable explanation for the rise of the Sierra in historic times.

"The Coast Range is doing the same thing as the Sierra Nevada, which is part of the evidence that this can't be explained by tectonics," Bürgmann said.

"Both ranges have uplifted over the last few years and both exhibit the same seasonal up and down movement in phase. This tells us that something has to be driving the system at a seasonal and long-term sense, and that has to be groundwater recharging and depletion."

In response to the current drought, about 30 cubic kilometers (7.5 cubic miles) of water has been removed from Central Valley aquifers between 2003 and 2010, causing a rise of about 10 millimeters (2/5 inch) in the Sierra over that time.


Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF

Friday, May 16, 2014



70th Anniversary of Crimean Tatar Deportation

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 16, 2014

The 70th anniversary of Joseph Stalin’s forcible deportation of more than 230,000 Crimean Tatars from their homeland in Crimea weighs especially on our minds today.

The suffering caused by this mass expulsion is almost inexpressible. Those who survived the horrific transit to Central Asia, the Urals and Siberia faced hunger, disease, and repression on arrival. Nearly half of those deported, mostly women and children, perished between 1944 and 1947. Many Crimean Tatars and their descendants remain in exile today.

For many Crimean Tatars, these abuses are still fresh in their minds and Russia’s occupation and illegal attempt to annex Crimea has reopened old wounds.

The list of human rights abuses committed today in Crimea is long and grows longer with each passing week. Murder, beatings, and the kidnapping of Crimean Tatars and others have become standard fare. Local “authorities” announced that Crimean Tatars will have to vacate their property and give up their land. Crimean Tatars have been assaulted for speaking their language, and Tatar community leader Mustafa Dzhemilev has been banned from returning to his home in Crimea for five years. Thousands of Tatars and others have fled their homes in Crimea, fearful for their safety. Those who remain face a future of repression, discrimination, censorship, limits on freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and the criminalization of dissent.

We commemorate the tragedy of 1944 with heavy hearts, even as we stand in solidarity with Crimean Tatars today against a new threat to their community. We reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and our deep commitment to the human rights of all citizens of Ukraine, including those in Crimea. 


Statement from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki
May 16, 2014
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WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki made the following statement:

“Today, I accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"As we know from the Veteran community, most Veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care.

"I am committed to strengthening Veterans’ trust and confidence in their VA healthcare system.

"I thank Dr. Petzel for his four decades of service to Veterans.”



Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Hurst, Texas, is being awarded a $337,772,560 modification to definitize a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-13-C-0023) for the manufacture and delivery of 12 Lot 11 UH-1Y Build New Aircraft and 12 Lot 11 AH-1Z Build New Aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps to a fixed-price-incentive for the aircraft and firm-fixed-price for the auxiliary fuel kits. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (60 percent) and Amarillo, Texas (40 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2017. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 aircraft procurement, Navy funds in the amount of $337,772,560 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training, Moorestown, New Jersey, is being awarded a $92,610,784 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-11-C-5106) for Aegis Weapon System and Aegis Combat System combat systems engineering, in-country support services, and staging support to fulfill Aegis lifetime support requirements for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. This contract modification involves foreign military sales to Japan (100 percent). Work will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey (95.1 percent), Kumi, South Korea (1.5 percent), Chinhae, South Korea (1.4 percent), Kongsburg, Norway (.86 percent), Tokyo, Japan (.5 percent), Sasebo, Japan (.23 percent), Maizuru, Japan (.14 percent), San Fernando, Spain (.12 percent), and Yokohama, Japan (.1 percent), and is expected to be completed by November 2014. FMS funds in the amount of $47,013,917 will be obligated at the time of award, and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin, Mission Systems and Training, Manassas, Virginia, is being awarded a $20,490,657 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-13-C-5225) to exercise options for AN/SQQ-89 engineering services, advanced capability build, technical insertion development and integration. The AN/SQQ-89 is an undersea warfare/anti-submarine warfare combat system that provides surface warships with a seamlessly integrated undersea/anti-submarine warfare detection, localization, classification and targeting capability. This contract involves foreign military sales to Japan (63 percent). Work will be performed in Manassas, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by May 2015. Fiscal 2011, 2012, and 2013 shipbuilding and conversion, Navy; fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Navy; fiscal 2014 research and development; fiscal 2014 other procurement, Navy and FMS funding in the amount of $20,490,657 will be obligated at the time of the award. Contract funds in the amount of $300,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), Tewksbury, Massachusetts, is being awarded a $10,271,042 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for the execution of Phase II CVN 78 Dual Band Radar, test and evaluation engineering support at the Raytheon IDS Software Development Laboratory and Wallops Island Engineering Test Center Land Based Test Site. Work will be performed in Sudbury, Massachusetts (90 percent), and Moorestown, New Jersey (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2014. Fiscal 2011 shipbuilding and conversion, Navy contract funds in the amount of $10,271,042 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of this fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

ManTech Systems Engineering Corp., Fairfax, Virginia, is being awarded an $8,852,349 cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-only contract to provide specific systems operation, sustainment and support services for the Navy Ship Maintenance and Logistics Information Systems (SMLIS) program. This contract provides uninterrupted enterprise support to the SMLIS program, including engineering support in the areas of information technology life cycle planning, operations and sustainment, documentation, program management, application technical refresh, testing, training, and deployment. This contract contains options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $39,603,500. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia (55 percent), Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (10 percent), Rocket Center, West Virginia (9.1 percent), Kittery, Maine (7.1 percent), Washington, District of Columbia (6 percent), San Diego, California (5 percent), Fairfield, California (2 percent), Mayport, Florida (2 percent), Indian Head, Maryland (1 percent), and other locations less than 1 percent (2.8 percent) and is expected to be completed by May 2015. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Navy and fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funding in the amount of $8,852,349 will be obligated at time of award, and funds in the amount of $8,352,349 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00024-14-C-4110).


Watterson Construction Co., Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded a $44,334,530 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of the mechanical-electrical building, missile field number one in Fort Greely, Alaska. Estimated completion date is March 1, 2016. Fiscal 2013 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $53,658; fiscal 2014 reserarch, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $1,442,369 and fiscal 2014 military construction funds in the amount of $42,838,502 are being obligated at award. Bids were solicited via the Internet with seven received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Elmendorf, Alaska, is the contracting activity (911KB-14-C-0016).
Conti Federal Services Inc., Edison, New Jersey, was awarded a $26,560,022 firm-fixed-price, contract for a design-build construction contract for buildings, utilities and infrastructure at Shivta Artillery Base, Israel. Fiscal 2014 other appropriations in the amount of $26,560,022 are being obligated at award. Work will be performed in Israel, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 15, 2016. Bids were solicited via the Internet with three received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Europe District, is the contracting activity (W912GB-14-C-0016).
MOCA Systems Inc.*, Newton, Massachusetts, was awarded a $7,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract for architect-engineer services to support the construction management activities for the Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Funding and performance location will be determined with each order. Estimated completion date is May 15, 2019. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 36 received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W91278-14-D-0012).


CORRECTION: The contract announced on Dec. 17, 2013, for Nacco Materials Handling Group Inc., Greenville, North Carolina (SPM8E8-14-D-0002), for $28,725,000 was announced with an incorrect award date. The correct award date is May 16, 2014.

Science Application International Corp., Fairfield, New Jersey, has been awarded a maximum $21,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, prime vendor bridge contract for maintenance, repair, and operations for Southwest zone two region of the United States. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. Location of performance is New Jersey with a Sep. 18, 2014 performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPM500-04-D-BP08/P00029).

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a maximum $19,459,507 firm-fixed-price, definite-quantity contract to provide airframe structural support components. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. This is a five-year base contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Missouri, with a May 31, 2019 performance completion date. Using service is Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Richmond, Virginia (SPM4A1-14-G-0007-00YH).

Graybar Electric Company Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a maximum $18,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, prime vendor bridge contract for maintenance, repair, and operations for Southwest zone one region of the United States. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. Location of performance is Missouri with a Sept. 18, 2014 performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPM500-04-D-BP07/P00031).
Paramount Packaging*, Haddonfield, New Jersey, has been awarded a maximum $18,000,000 modification (P00104) exercising the first option period on a two-year base contract (SPM8EF-12-D-0001) with three one-year option periods. This is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the supply of tote boxes used for shipping. Locations of performance are New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with a June 14, 2015 performance completion date. Using service is Defense Logistics Agency supply depots. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ultra Flightline Systems, Victor, New York, has been awarded a maximum $9,990,280 firm-fixed-price contract for gyroscopes which support helicopter flight controls. This contract was a sole source acquisition. Location of performance is New York, with a March 2016 performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 Army working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland (SPRBL1-14-C-0004).


AAR Airlift Group, Inc., Palm Bay, Florida, is being awarded an $8,529,906 indefinite- delivery/indefinite- quantity, fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for dedicated rotary wing services in the Central Africa Region (Uganda, Central Africa Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan) with an expected completion date of April 23, 2015. Funds will be obligated on individual task orders and are operations and maintenance, Army funds. This contract was a competitive acquisition, and seven proposals were received. The U.S. Transportation Command, Directorate of Acquisition, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity (HTC711-14-D-R059).
*Small Business


Readout of the President’s Call with President Hollande of France

President Obama spoke with French President Hollande today about the situation in Ukraine.  The Presidents underscored that Russia will face significant additional costs if it continues its provocative and destabilizing behavior.  President Obama praised the Ukrainian government’s efforts to unify the country by holding free and fair presidential elections on May 25 that will lead to an inclusive constitutional reform process.  The two Leaders also discussed the situation in Nigeria and the upcoming May 17 regional conference in Paris that aims to improve regional cooperation to combat the terrorist threat posed by Boko Haram.



Readout of the President’s Call with Prime Ministerial Candidate Narendra Modi of India

The President called Prime Ministerial candidate and Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi today to congratulate him on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s success in India’s historic election.  The President noted he looks forward to working closely with Mr. Modi to fulfill the extraordinary promise of the U.S.-India strategic partnership, and they agreed to continue expanding and deepening the wide-ranging cooperation between our two democracies.  The President invited Narendra Modi to visit Washington at a mutually agreeable time to further strengthen our bilateral relationship.



Readout of the President’s Call with President Gul of Turkey

President Obama called President Abdullah Gul of Turkey today to offer his heartfelt condolences on behalf of the American people to the Turkish people on the tragic accident at the Soma mine.  President Obama expressed that our prayers are with the families and loved ones of those suffering from this accident.  The President offered that the United States stands ready to provide any assistance that could help those affected, and he reaffirmed the importance we place on our relationship with Turkey, a strong friend and NATO ally. 


Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, right, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chinese Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of China’s General Staff, walk together during a full-honors arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, May 15, 2014. DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen.  

Dempsey, Fang Meet to Strengthen U.S.-China Military Relations
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2014 – U.S. and Chinese military leaders had good discussions on subjects they agreed upon – such as North Korea – and subjects they didn’t – such as the South China Sea – during meetings at the Pentagon today.
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted his counterpart, Chinese Gen. Fang Fenghui, the chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army.

The meetings are designed to deepen the developing military-to-military relationship between the two nations.

Signs of progress abound. China is sending a ship to participate in this year’s Rim of the Pacific naval exercise. The exercise “fosters and sustains cooperative relationships, which of course, help avoid miscalculations and prevent conflict,” Dempsey said during a joint news conference with Fang. “The global maritime environment is simply too large, and too complex for any one nation,” the chairman added.

The two military leaders also discussed tensions in the South China Sea, and how provocative actions can lead to confrontation. “These issues need to be resolved through dialogue and international law,” Dempsey said. “We had a refreshingly frank and open discussion on our mutual concerns and differing opinions about the East China Sea, as well as the destabilizing effects, in our view, of North Korean actions.”

Dempsey said it is important for China to model great power by contributing to stability in the region. “And we committed to work with each other toward that end,” he added.

Fang vowed to continue building the relationship along a sound and stable track.
“It’s very important that we should all abide by the principle of nonconflict and nonconfrontation,” he said through a translator. “At present, the China-U.S. bilateral relations and military relationship have reached an important historical stage. In this context, it’s very important to further our bilateral ties and military relations.”

The men spoke about cooperation on counterterrorism and counterpiracy operations. They also discussed establishing a mechanism for mutual notification of major military activities and devising standards of behavior for air and sea military safety in a maritime domain, Fang said.

The two militaries also will conduct more humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises.

At the headquarters level, the U.S. and Chinese militaries will establish a dialogue between their strategic planning departments and continue advancing the army-to-army dialogue mechanism. Both Dempsey and Fang mentioned an upgrade to the defense telephone they use to allow secure video teleconferencing with each other. In addition, they agreed to explore the possibility of conducting joint exercises and training in a third country, Fang said.



On the Occasion of Norway's National Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 15, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Norway on the 200th anniversary of the adoption of your constitution.

I hold a special appreciation for Norway, having lived there for a couple years when my Dad served in the Embassy. I’ll never forget my first hike through the majestic fjords of Norway as a young boy. Ever since, I have felt a deep, personal connection with the people of Norway and their forests.

The U.S.–Norway alliance is grounded in our shared history. On May 17, 1814, in a year known as the “Year of Miracles,” Norway courageously forged a new path towards self-determination and freedom. Today, your great nation has emerged as a world leader, an indispensable partner of the United States, and our steadfast ally in the fight for global peace, prosperity, and security.

The powerful bond between our nations is sealed not only by the 4.5 million Americans of Norwegian heritage, but also through the shared democratic ideals and values enshrined in our Constitutions. Our commitment to free enterprise, European security, and our common defense as members of the NATO Alliance will continue to unite us in the future.

As you celebrate your national day with family and friends, the United States stands with you as a partner and friend. I wish all Norwegian people continued peace and prosperity in the coming year.


SEC Charges Unregistered Securities Salesman for Selling Millions of Dollars in Oil-And-Gas Investments

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a Tiburon, California based securities salesman who received over $16 million in sales commissions with failing to be associated with an SEC registered broker-dealer.

Behrooz Sarafraz has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying disgorgement of his commissions, prejudgment interest, and a penalty for a total of more than $22 million.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco, Sarafraz acted as the primary salesman on behalf of TVC Opus I Drilling Program LP and Tri-Valley Corporation, which were based in Bakersfield, Calif. From February 2002 to April 2010, these companies raised more than $140 million for their oil-and-gas drilling venture. While Sarafraz was raising money for these entities, he was not associated with any broker-dealer registered with the SEC.

The SEC's complaint charges Sarafraz with violating Section 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which requires securities salesmen to be associated with broker-dealers that are registered with the SEC.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Sarafraz worked full-time locating investors for the Opus and Tri-Valley oil-and-gas ventures. He described the investment program to investors and recommended they purchase Opus partnership interests or securities of Tri-Valley and its affiliated entities. In return, Sarafraz received commissions that ranged from seven to 17 percent of the sales proceeds that he and members of a sales network generated. The SEC alleges that Opus and Tri-Valley paid Sarafraz approximately $18.3 million in sales commissions. He paid approximately $1.9 million to others as referral fees and kept the remaining $16.4 million for himself.

Sarafraz has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by consenting to entry of a final judgment ordering him to pay a total of $22,482,318.87 without admitting or denying the allegations. The sum consists of $16,406,459 in disgorgement, $6,075,859.87 in prejudgment interest, and a $50,000 penalty. The final judgment will also permanently enjoin him from violating Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act. The settlement is subject to court approval.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by William Fiske and Marc Blau of the Los Angeles Regional Office.



Statement by the Press Secretary on Housing Finance Reform

The Administration welcomes today's strong bipartisan vote in support of the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014 through the Senate Banking Committee. Today’s vote is an important step toward achieving a more sustainable housing finance system that helps protect the American dream of homeownership, and we applaud Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member Crapo and Senators Corker and Warner for their leadership on this issue.  Today’s vote marks important progress toward completing one of the biggest remaining pieces of post-Recession reform of the financial system. 
The President has been clear about his commitment to preserving the American dream of sustainable homeownership for all creditworthy borrowers.  That means ensuring that affordable rental options are widely available, and preserving access to mortgage credit during severe downturns while protecting taxpayers from substantial losses in the housing sector.  We have worked closely with the Senate Banking Committee to provide policy, technical, and analytic support throughout the process to achieve these goals, and going forward, we will continue to work with the Senate to address affordability and access to broaden support for reform.



U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left center, meets with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, right center, in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 15, 2014. Hagel met with the defense leader to discuss issues of mutual importance before he visited American and Israeli troops in the area. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo  
Hagel Meets With Israel’s Minister of Defense
By Claudette Roulo

American Forces Press Service

TEL AVIV, Israel, May 15, 2014 – Israel has had no closer ally or better friend than the United States, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today after meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon at the Israeli defense ministry here.
Since taking office, Hagel has met with Yaalon six times

“Our defense relationship is as strong as it’s ever been,” the defense secretary said.

The two defense leaders discussed the ongoing P5+1 negotiations in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear weapons program and President Barack Obama’s commitment to ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.

“We also discussed America’s unwavering pledge to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge, including the provision of some of America’s most advanced capabilities,” Hagel said.

The defense secretary said he also spoke with Ya’alon about the need for continuing negotiations with Palestine and reaching a viable two-state solution.
“The frequent meetings that minister Yaalon and I have had, and the visit by President Obama’s national security advisor last week, speak clearly to the strength of our nations’ friendship,” Hagel said. “They speak clearly to the strength of America’s commitment to defend Israel.”

But, the defense secretary said, nothing speaks more clearly of America’s commitment than the concrete support it provides to Israel and its defense.
“That includes $3.1 billion per year in foreign military financing,” Hagel said. That’s more than the U.S. provided this year to any other nation, he noted, and more than the U.S. has provided to any other nation in American history.
“Our support also includes unparalleled military cooperation,” the defense secretary said, noting as an example the joint U.S.-Israel missile defense exercise Juniper Cobra, which starts later this month.

The five-day exercise involves more than 4,000 American and Israeli troops, with more than 700 American soldiers, sailors and airmen deploying to Israel. The exercise provides training in ballistic missile defense and humanitarian response. Two U.S. Navy Aegis-class ships will also participate while off the coast of Israel, the defense secretary noted.

Israel’s entire rocket and ballistic missile defense architecture is employed during Juniper Cobra, Hagel said, including Iron Dome, Arrow and David’s Sling. All three are platforms that the U.S. is “proud to have helped Israel finance and develop,” he added.

“This will be our European Command’s largest exercise this year, and it will be the seventh in the Juniper Cobra series, which began in 2001,” the defense secretary said.

Two months ago, the U.S. reached a milestone co-production agreement with Israel, raising its investment in the Iron Dome program to a total of nearly $900 million, he said. This will support additional batteries and interceptors.
Following Hagel’s meeting with Ya’alon, the two defense leaders traveled to Hatzor Air Base, about 30 miles south of Tel Aviv. There, they again stressed the strength of the bilateral relationship while speaking to U.S. and Israeli troops preparing for the start of Juniper Cobra.

Military-to-military cooperation between the two nations is stronger than ever, Hagel said, adding that he and Ya’alon are dedicated to ensuring the relationship grows even stronger.

“Israel’s security is -- and always will be -- non-negotiable,” the defense secretary said.

Thursday, May 15, 2014



Paraguay's Independence Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 15, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Paraguay as you commemorate 203 years of independence on May 15.

The people of the United States and Paraguay share many binding ties: our commitment to provide access to quality education and healthcare for all, our respect for human rights and rule of law, and our belief that all people should enjoy equality and justice. Your example offers hope to the world that the path to lasting peace and prosperity can happen without violence.
As you celebrate your independence with asados and guaranias, the people of the United States rejoice with you.

Vy’apave penereta ara rehe. Felicidades a ustedes en el Día de la Patria!



Statement by the Press Secretary on Net Neutrality

The President has made clear since he was a candidate that he strongly supports net neutrality and an open Internet.  As he has said, the Internet’s incredible equality – of data, content, and access to the consumer – is what has powered extraordinary economic growth and made it possible for once-tiny sites like eBay or Amazon to compete with brick and mortar behemoths.
The FCC is an independent agency, and we will carefully review their proposal. The FCC’s efforts were dealt a real challenge by the Court of Appeals in January, but Chairman Wheeler has said his goal is to preserve an open Internet, and we are pleased to see that he is keeping all options on the table. We will be watching closely as the process moves forward in hopes that the final rule stays true to the spirit of net neutrality.
The President is looking at every way to protect a free and open Internet, and will consider any option that might make sense.



Remarks With Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
London, United Kingdom
May 15, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we had a very constructive meeting today with all of the London 11, but I want to particularly thank Jordan. His Majesty King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Judeh have been just terrific partners in not only the efforts to deal with the crisis of Syria in the region, but particularly, also they are stakeholders and critical partners in the Middle East peace process. And we continue always to work at that, even quietly. It’s an issue that doesn’t go away.

So I express my gratitude for the friendship and the tremendous working partnership that we have.

FOREIGN MINISTER JUDEH: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. It’s always great to see you and always I’m happy to maintain our constant consultation, and that comes in the spirit of the true friendship and partnership between our two countries and the relationship – the special relationship that His Majesty the King has with President Obama and with your good self. And I think that as we meet here today on the margins of the London group, the core group, discussing Syria (inaudible) developments there, I hasten to remind of the humanitarian spillover of that crisis, of which Jordan bears perhaps the biggest brunt. It is time that we continue our consultations.

On the peace process, Mr. Secretary, I know that in over 60 years of this conflict, we’ve had many ups and downs. We’re certainly going through what looks like a down, but we shouldn’t give up. And as you mentioned, we’re a stakeholder. Peace in the Middle East, peace between Palestinians and Israelis, is peace of mind for the rest of the world. And I think this is the root cause of many problems in our part of the world. We salute you for your personal efforts, for your dedication, for your commitment, and we hope that we will find ways and means to revive this very, very soon. Thank you.




Press Availability in London

Press Availability
Foreign Commonwealth Office
London, United Kingdom
May 15, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon, everybody. First of all, let me just thank Foreign Secretary William Hague for his terrific hosting today, convening all of us together to be able to talk about a number of challenging issues that we’re facing together, and I think after today, with an even better sense of direction.

We gathered here, I think it’s safe to say, frankly more united than we have been in some time. And we, all of us, unanimously, remain committed to changing the dynamics on the ground in Syria.

Since we last met, the opposition has itself taken some significant steps forward to expand their leadership, to expand their reach into Syria, to become more effective. And we know, as you know, we just hosted President Jarba and his delegation in Washington for a number of days and a series of meetings, including meetings with the State Department, the White House, and the President.

The truth is we all know that the grave humanitarian crisis is growing more dire by the day, notwithstanding the best efforts of people to date. And the bloodshed and the suffering of the Syrian people have not stopped. So today in one unified voice we made it clear that we remain committed, even more so, to taking steps that could in fact make a difference. Most importantly we start in one unified voice with rejecting any notion whatsoever that the elections that the Assad regime has called somehow have any legitimacy whatsoever. There is no way for this illegitimate effort, for this impossible set of circumstances for an election to somehow give legitimacy where there is none. Together we are unified in saying that Assad’s staged elections are a farce, they’re an insult; they are a fraud on democracy, on the Syrian people, and on the world.

And the fact is that the cynical political theater that he is engaged in will not change one thing the day after it happens. His status in the world, his position with respect to future leadership in Syria, and in fact, the potential of any resolution will be exactly where they were the day before the election – although perhaps even slightly worse because of the fraud of this effort. It just – I mean, ask yourself: How do you have a legitimate election when half the people in your country are displaced and not able to vote? How do you have a legitimate election when another several million people are in refugee camps unable to vote? How do you have it when hundreds of thousands of people, literally – almost a million perhaps – are scattered in various countries in the region, seeking safety from Assad? It is just impossible to believe that under those circumstances, where people are hunkered down in their homes, intimidated and afraid to be able to come out, afraid of being forced to do one vote or another – you just have no climate, no framework within which you can talk about legitimacy.

We also agreed today that we have to redouble our efforts, all of us, in support of the moderate opposition in order to bring about a peaceful resolution that the people of Syria want. And that requires the full support of the international community, and that was really the focus of our discussions today. I’m sure your question would be: So what’s different today? Well, look at the length of the communique. It’s short and it’s purposefully short. It purposefully points to the election and then to the renewed efforts, and the most important sentence, I think, is the last sentence in which it points out that our teams are going to come together in very short order now to lay out a specific set of steps that we can and will take together in order to have a greater impact here.

There isn’t anybody who didn’t come together today with the realization that there have been hurdles over the course of the last year, from the time when Foreign Minister Lavrov and I announced the possibility of a Geneva conference in Moscow last year – about a month earlier than now. Things changed on the ground. Hezbollah entered the fight. IRGC – Iranian forces entered the fight on the ground. And more terrorists were attracted to the fight against Assad, regrettably, thereby creating a framework where some of the opposition was fighting the terrorists, not Assad.

So that is a very clear and simple reality of what has taken place over the course of the year. That has changed. And now I think there’s a greater level of coordination, a greater level of unity, a greater level of understanding of purpose, and over the next days as those teams meet, there will be a serious definition of steps that can be taken in order to have a greater impact. The United States is committed to doing our part. Each country today sat there and sort of discussed what they felt they could do to grow the effort. And that is what is different.
Just last week, we announced that the Syrian Opposition Coalition representative offices are now foreign missions. And we’re also working to provide new nonlethal assistance and to speed up the delivery of assistance to the Free Syrian Army. The Treasury Department has imposed new sanctions and restrictions against members of the regime, and we will continue to strengthen our ties with the Syrian opposition, as I think you’ve seen firsthand in the visit to Washington this past week.

On behalf of the United States, I want to extend our deep concern for the two British journalists who were shot and who were beaten while trying to share with the world the real story of what is happening in Syria. And this is not the first time that courageous reporters have been part of the heartbreaking story of Syria. Far too many journalists and innocent civilians have been hurt, killed, or held hostage in Syria. And just two days ago in Washington, we met with one of the families – with many of the families, actually – of those being held in Syria. And we’re keeping up a very focused effort to try to secure their release. We reiterate our respect and our admiration for the reporters who put their lives and their liberties on the line to tell the stories to the world that otherwise people would never learn.

Let me also say a quick word about two other issues that we touched on this week, here, today, in the early part of our meeting this morning: that is Ukraine and Libya. We had a very good discussion this morning with the British, French, German, Italian foreign ministers, our counterparts – on Ukraine. We welcome the successful National Dialogue roundtable in Kyiv that took place yesterday and the very good conversation there on decentralization, constitutional reform, and the protection of minority rights. And we hope that the separatists, we hope the Russians, we hope that others who are disgruntled by what has taken place will take note of a legitimate effort to try to reach out, bring people to the table, and find political compromise.

We are absolutely committed to the notion that there must be a protection of these minority rights, and we support the government in Kyiv’s efforts to reach out with serious, concrete plans for increased autonomy and decentralization. I would note that the level of decentralization and autonomy that Prime Minister Yatsenyuk has articulated far exceeds any level of autonomy or decentralization that exists anywhere in Russia. And I think it’s important for everybody to note that.

We believe that the process of the roundtables coupled with the election provides the people with Ukraine with an opportunity to be able to heal the divide. And that will now be encouraged through a second meeting of a roundtable that will take place in eastern Ukraine in a few days.
This morning, we also underscored the vital importance of a free and fair presidential election across Ukraine on May 25th, including, importantly, the eastern provinces. And we’re also working with the Ukrainians and the OSCE to protect the rights of all Ukrainian citizens and to make their voices heard through the ballot box in a legitimate election.

We call on the separatists and Russians to respect this election process, to help to make it happen, even; to encourage Ukrainians to be able to define their future. That’s the best way to de-escalate this situation.

We believe that this effort to legitimize an election and move to have a broad-based election according to the constitutional process of Ukraine is in stark contrast to the agenda of the pro-Russian separatists and their supporters, who are literally sowing mayhem in communities like Slovyansk. Far from defending the rights of the people in the east, they are seeking to speak for everybody through the barrel of a gun and through their own narrow sense of what they want for an outcome.

We agreed this morning that if Russia or its proxies disrupt the election, the United States and those countries represented here today in the European Union will impose sectoral economic sanctions as a result. Our message is really quite simple: Let Ukraine vote. Let the Ukrainian people choose their future and let them do so in a fair, open, free, accessible election.
Finally on Libya, the United States and our quintet of partners reiterated today our shared commitment to the stability and security for the Libyan people and for the region. We agreed that we need to do more, and we understood that there is this challenging moment in Libya. We need to try to accelerate the effort to bring about stability and security and the governance that is necessary to provide the time and the space for Libyan authorities to be able to confront the threat from extremism and the challenges that their country faces of just providing governance to their people.

In that light and in support of the Libyan Government, we are working collectively through a number of different envoys. The Arab League has an envoy, the – Great Britain has an envoy, we have an envoy – we will work in concert, and we task them, literally, to be working as one entity – not as individuals out there in opposite directions. And we’re going to do all we can to help the Libyans in these next days to try to be able to gain control over their revenues and begin to forge the kind of coalition that can actually begin to build the offices of governance that are necessary. This is a small country – six and a half million people – smaller than the state that I represented in the Senate – privileged to represent for almost 29 years. I know something about what you can provide when you want to. Libya is a country rich in resources, rich in people with talent and capacity. And we hope that in the days ahead we’re going to be able to tap into that and find a way to help the Libyan people to move forward to have the kind of stability and peaceful governance that they aspire to.

So with that I thank you, and I’d be happy to take a couple questions quickly.

MS. PSAKI: The first question will be from Karen DeYoung of The Washington Post.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. On Syria, I think you correctly put your finger on what the question is, which is: What’s different after today? In terms of U.S. policy, could you tell us whether the United States is prepared to do what Britain has done, which is to change the way its aid is sent into Syria and start sending it through NGOs or other means instead of through the United Nations?

And also on the expanded aid that you’ve talked about to both the military and political sides of the opposition, President Jarba has publicly called for increased weapons assistance, specifically portable surface-to-air missiles to stop the Syrian Government’s air attacks against civilians, including the barrel bombs that you personally have denounced. Are you now prepared to take this step or allow your allies to take this step? And if not, why not?
And finally on Syria, Foreign Minister Fabius said in Washington this week that France has seen credible evidence of at least 14 chemical attacks by the Syrian Government since October. Secretary Hagel said in Saudi Arabia yesterday that the United States has seen no such evidence. Is this because you haven’t seen what the French have seen, or that you’ve seen it and don’t find it conclusive? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me take them one, two, three. We are open to the idea of providing aid through any means that will get to the people who need it. And while the decision has not been categorically made, I’d just repeat: We are open to anything that will get the aid to the people, and we are very frustrated with the current process. It is not getting to people. It’s going through one gate, one entryway, and it’s going through Damascus and/or controlled by the Assad regime. That’s unacceptable. We need to be able to get aid more directly and we’re going to work to do that. That’s a certainty.

We are in addition that, Karen, we are going to in the United Nations Security Council challenge the appropriate level of follow-through that is necessary to be able to fulfill what was passed in the resolution previously a few months ago in order to guarantee the delivery of aid. It is not being fulfilled. It has to be fulfilled and our patience is gone. We’re going to join with other countries in an effort to try to guarantee accountability through the UN in making that happen. We are determined that people will be able to get aid.

The people who left Homs, for instance, did so because they were literally under siege. They were being starved to death – civilians and others. And that is against the laws of war – not to mention anybody’s fundamental values and decency, but obviously not Assad’s. So we intend to press this issue in every way possible in the days ahead.

On the issue of weapons, I’m not going to discuss what specific weapons, what country may or may not be providing or not providing – as you know, we’re providing nonlethal aid. But I will say that out of today’s meeting every facet of what can be done is going to be ramped up. Every facet, and that includes political effort. It includes the aid to the opposition. It includes economic efforts, sanctions. Today we announced, as I told you, additional sanction. There will be ramped up effort to make it clear that despite the fact that Assad may think today he’s doing better and this process is somehow going to come to a close with him sitting pretty, the answer is: no. It’s not going to suddenly – we’re not going away. The opposition is not going away.

We are determined to reach a political settlement that protects all of the people of Syria, and I want to make it clear: Alawite, other minority, all can be protected here. Assad’s just protecting himself. The fact is that he, in doing so, he is making partnership with terrorist elements, attracting terrorists, engaging in terrorist activities against his own people, and I don’t think that anybody today felt deterred one iota in the notion that there might be a better route, another route, other than a political settlement, which can only be brought about when he is prepared to negotiate.

As everybody looks at Lakhdar Brahimi’s resignation and makes a judgment about it, it’s not that – I mean, he performed valiantly against great odds. But if the parties aren’t prepared to perform according to the standards that they have accepted to negotiate on, there’s nothing that a negotiator or an intermediary can do. So we remain committed to try to find that solution and I’m not going to discuss specific weapon systems or otherwise except to say that every possible avenue that is available is going to be pursued by one country or another.
One the third issue – the issue of evidence, I suspect – I haven’t talked with Secretary Hagel about what was in his mind or what he was referring to with respect to that. Chlorine is not listed on the list of prohibited items by itself freestanding under the Chemical Weapons Convention. But chlorine, when used and mixed in a way that is used as a chemical weapon in the conduct of war, is against the chemical weapons treaty. And I have seen evidence, I don’t know how verified it is – it’s not verified yet – it’s hasn’t been confirmed, but I’ve seen the raw data that suggests there may have been, as France has suggested, a number of instances in which chlorine has been used in the conduct of war. And if it has, and if it could be proven, then that would be against the agreements of the chemical weapons treaty and against the weapons convention that Syria has signed up to.

MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Mina Al-Oraibi.

QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Kerry, to follow up on your last point, if it is proven that chlorine was used as a chemical in war, which is prohibited, what will the Syrian Government face? What steps can be taken?

And I want to go back to the point of military aid. I know you won’t go into details of the assistance, however, what I’d like to ask you is: are you more confident now in the Free Syrian Army and after the meetings you’ve had with the Syrian opposition linked to the use of weaponry by the FSA and the SNC in general.

SECRETARY KERRY: I think the Free Syrian Army – I’m going to give you the second part first. The Free Syrian Army has clearly improved. It has clearly gained in its capacity. It has gained in its command and control. It is also now being supported in a more coordinated way than it was over the last year as one country or another may have been supporting one group or another, now that is much more concentrated.

So we think that they’re making progress. Are they a trained army in the context of nation-states that we measure things by in many places? No, not yet. But they are improving and under very difficult circumstances holding their own, in fact making gains in certain parts of the country. Now, we have – we are committed to continue to be helpful to them and give them greater capacity in many different respects. And everybody there today shared in that commitment.
With respect to the CW and what the consequences are, it has been made clear by President Obama and others that use would result in consequences. We’re not going to pin ourselves down to a precise time, date, manner of action, but there will be consequences if it were to be proven, including, I might say, things that are way beyond our control and have nothing to do with us. But the International Criminal Court and others are free to hold him accountable. And as you know, we have a resolution that will be in front of the United Nations with respect to culpability for crimes against humanity, atrocities in the course of this conflict. So one way or the other, there will be accountability.

MS. PSAKI: The next question will be from Indira Lakshmanan from Bloomberg.

QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, you just told us that you and the four EU foreign ministers agreed today that sectoral sanctions will be imposed on Russia if Russia or its proxies disrupt the May 25th elections. Foreign Minister Hague earlier referred specifically to Russia’s specific interference. So I want to know – Russia has denied Western reports of supplying weapons, personnel, and coordination to the separatists. Will Russia be held accountable and responsible for actions of the separatists even if they cannot be proved as a link to Russia itself, or what’s the criteria that you and the EU and are going to use?

And second part of that question: We understand that the approach for sanctions is going to be a scalpel, not a hammer. So does that mean it won’t be Iran-style bans on entire sectors of commerce, and does that mean that it’ll be a ban on future deals with an exemption for existing contracts?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, I’m not going to get into announcing today what the precise sanctions are except to say to you we have completed our work. We know what they are. We’re ready. And last week we had State Department and Treasury personnel here in Europe working with our European allies in order to define precisely what that road ahead should be. And indeed, our hope – I’m not going to get into characterizations of scalpel or sledgehammer or whatever except to say to you that they’re effective, and if they have to go into effect they will have an impact.

Now, obviously, the purpose of it is to have a greater impact on the target than it is on the people imposing it, and so we will be thoughtful and we are being thoughtful and we’re being very, I think, deliberative in trying to make determinations about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.

Let me emphasize our hope is not to do this. Our hope is not that we have to go to a next stage. I say to the Russians and everybody our hope is to de-escalate. We appreciate that President Putin made a statement about the elections and sort of acknowledging that they would take place and probably a good thing, I think was his language. We acknowledge that he said that the referendum should be stopped but didn’t stop the referendum.

And so what we need to make certain is that people aren’t trying to have everything both ways. William Hague a few moments ago told you that it’s in the attitude and behavior that you make this judgment about what is being done. And I’m not going to start laying out the whole series of definitions except to say to you that it is clear what proxies mean. If Russia or its proxies disrupt the elections, stand in the way of the Ukrainian people being able to exercise their vote, that is when and if there would be additional sanctions.

But our hope is that Russia will join in to encouraging the vote, that Russia will encourage pro-Russian separatists to say that they should work through the process that has now been opened up that Russia has helped insist on, that that process now be given a chance to work through the OSCE and otherwise. That’s our preference. That is what we want to have happen here. And our hope is that in the eight days, between now and the election, there can be a concerted effort to try to put the confrontation behind us and put the effort to build Ukraine in front of us and to try to do it together. That makes a lot more sense and that would be our hoped-for direction.

MS. PSAKI: Thank you, everyone.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, all. Appreciate it.




Beacon Point Associates LLC,* Pembroke Pines, Florida, has been awarded a maximum $8,000,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for the distribution of a wide range of medical surgical items to facilities within and outside the United States that participate in the electronic catalog program. This contract was a competitive acquisition with six offers received. This is a seventeen-month base contract with three one-year options and one six-month option period. Location of performance is Florida, with an Oct. 31, 2015 performance completion date. Using 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, Pennsylvania (SPM2DE-14-D-7602).

Vinyl Technology,* Monrovia, California, has been awarded a maximum $9,287,082 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the manufacture and delivery of advanced technology anti-gravity suit. This contract was a competitive acquisition with two offers received. This is a one-year base contract with three one-year option periods. Location of performance is California, with a May 14, 2015 performance completion date. Using service is Air Force. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-14-D-1042).


CasePro Inc., San Antonio, Texas (N62645-14-D-5019); Professional Performance Development Group Inc., San Antonio, Texas (N62645-14-D-5020); Chesapeake Educational Services LLC,* Vienna, Virginia (N62645-14-D-5021) and InGenesis Arora Healthcare LLC, San Antonio, Texas (N62645-14-D-5022), are each being awarded a six-month base period and three-month option period for physician services and 12-month base period and three-month option period for ancillary services under a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award task order bridge contract in support of the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia. The aggregate not-to-exceed amount for these multiple award contracts combined is $70,000,000. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Virginia, and its associated branch clinics located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2015. No funding will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. Funding will be 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 issued as sole-source requirements in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) - only one responsible source or only a limited number of responsible sources. The Naval Medical Logistics Command, Fort Detrick, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training, Owego, New York, is being awarded $38,530,708 for delivery order 4003 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-14-G-0019) for non-recurring engineering in support of the MH-60 integration and testing of the Advanced Data Transfer System, including mission system and common cockpit suite. These services are in support of the U.S. Navy, and governments of Australia and Denmark. Work will be performed in Owego, New York (95 percent) and Farmingdale, New York (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2017. Fiscal 2014 aircraft procurement, Navy and foreign military sales funds in the amount of $38,530,708 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($34,850,684; 91 percent); and the governments of Australia ($3,190,012; 8 percent); and Denmark ($490,012; 1 percent) under the Military Sales Program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Astro Machine Works Inc.,* Ephrata, Pennsylvania, is being awarded a $25,162,500 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-price delivery orders to provide for the delivery of gun weapon systems (GWS) components in support of the battle management systems programs. Specific tasking includes fabricating and delivering GWS components in accordance with a government qualified technical data package. Manufacture, assembly, inspection and delivery of GWS components such as: ammunition handling system, gun mounts, trainable gun mounts, gun computer cabinets assemblies, and all future redesigned and upgraded assemblies that derive from research, prototyping, and development stages of battle management systems. Work will be performed in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and is expected to be completed by May 2019. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 procurement, Defense-wide contract funds in the amount of $572,350 are being obligated for the first delivery order, and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with three offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N00178-14-D-1003).

PAE Applied Technologies LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $20,712,232 modification to previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee level of effort contract (N00421-13-C-0007) to exercise an option for range engineering and operations and maintenance services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Divisions’ Atlantic Test Range and Atlantic Targets and Marine Operations Division. The estimated level of effort for this option is 228,767 man-hours. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland, and is expected to be completed in September 2014. Fiscal 2014 Navy working capital funds in the amount of $18,275,000 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.


EADS-NA, Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a $55,361,816 sole-source modification (P00780) to contract W58RGZ-06-C-0194 to procure ten UH-72A Lakota helicopters with ARC-231 radios. Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the amount of $55,361,816 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is June 30, 2015. Work will be performed Columbia, Mississippi. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.


Global Ground Support LLC, Olathe, Kansas, has been awarded a $38,073,233 firm-fixed-price requirements type contract for truck mounted and extended reach deicers. This requirement is for a best estimated quantity of 52 truck mounted deicers and 22 extended reach deicers over the course of six years. The requirement includes pre-production units, production units, testing, and associated data deliverables. Work will be performed at Olathe, Kansas, and is expected to be completed by July 13, 2020. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition. Small business offers were solicited, and one offer was received. Foreign military sales may be fulfilled by order under this contract, but the origin of the sale is unknown at this time. No funding is obligated at this time. Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds will be obligated upon availability of funds. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WNKBBB, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8533-14-D-0003).

Jacobs Technology Inc., Bedford, Massachusetts, has been awarded a $23,547,235 cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-reimbursable contract to provide engineering and technology acquisition support services which consists of disciplined systems/specialty engineering and technical/information assurance services, support, and products using established government, contractor, and industry processes. Work will be performed at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, Lackland AFB, Texas, Schreiver AFB, Colorado, Eglin AFB, Florida, and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and is expected to be complete by Nov. 30, 2015. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. Fiscal 2012, 2013 and 2014 procurement, aircraft procurement, missile procurement, and foreign military sales (for Oman and Taiwan) funds in the amount of $2,826,951 will be obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/PZM, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity (FA8721-14-C-0016).

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Florida, has been awarded a $10,330,445 modification (P00003) to FA8682-14-C-0084 to exercise option contract line numbers 3101(cost-plus-fixed-fee) Lots 12 and 4 systems engineering joint air to surface standoff missile baseline and extended range program support, and 9101 (firm-fixed-price) JASSM BL Lot 12 and JASSM-ER Lot 4 program tooling and test equipment. Work will be performed at Orlando, Florida, and Troy, Alabama, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2017. Fiscal 2014 missile procurement funds in the amount of $10,330,445 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBJKK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.


Xtera Communications, Inc.*, Allen, Texas, was awarded a $31,220,394 firm-fixed-price contract for the delivery of an undersea fiber optic cable. This contract has an 18-month base period and five one year option periods. Work will be performed in the Southern Command area of responsibility, with an estimated completion date of December 2015. The solicitation was issued as a competitive, total small business set-aside, and eight offers were received. Defense Working Capital Funds in the amount of $31,220,394 are being obligated at award. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization-National Capital Region is the contracting activity (HC1047-14-C-4018).

*Small Business