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Saturday, June 28, 2014

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WEEKLY ADDRESS FOR JUNE 28, 2014

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

Weekly Address: Focusing on the Economic Priorities for the Middle Class Nationwide

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President discussed his recent trip to Minneapolis where he met a working mother named Rebekah, who wrote the President to share the challenges her family and many middle class Americans are facing where they work hard and sacrifice yet still can’t seem to get ahead. But instead of focusing on growing the middle class and expanding opportunity for all, Republicans in Congress continue to block commonsense economic proposals such as raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and making college more affordable.  The President will keep fighting his economic priorities in the weeks and months ahead, because he knows the best way to expand opportunity for all hardworking Americans and continue to strengthen the economy is to grow it from the middle-out.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
June 28, 2014
Hi, everybody.  This week, I spent a couple days in Minneapolis, talking with people about their lives – their concerns, their successes, and their hopes for the future.
I went because of a letter I received from a working mother named Rebekah, who shared with me the hardships her young family has faced since the financial crisis.  She and her husband Ben were just newlyweds expecting their first child, Jack, when the housing crash dried up his contracting business.  He took what jobs he could, and Rebekah took out student loans and retrained for a new career.  They sacrificed – for their kids, and for each other.  And five years later, they’ve paid off debt, bought their first home, and had their second son, Henry.
In her letter to me, she wrote, “We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.”  And in many ways, that’s America’s story these past five years.  We are a strong, tight-knit family that’s made it through some very tough times. 
Today, over the past 51 months, our businesses have created 9.4 million new jobs.  By measure after measure, our economy is doing better than it was five years ago.
But as Rebekah also wrote in her letter, there are still too many middle-class families like hers who do everything right – who work hard and who sacrifice – but can’t seem to get ahead.  It feels like the odds are stacked against them.  And with just a small change in our priorities, we could fix that.
The problem is, Republicans in Congress keep blocking or voting down almost every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.  This year alone, they’ve said no to raising the minimum wage, no to fair pay, no to student loan reform, no to extending unemployment insurance.  And rather than invest in education that helps working families get ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.
This obstruction keeps the system rigged for those at the top, and rigged against the middle class.  And as long as they insist on doing it, I’ll keep taking actions on my own – like the actions I’ve taken already to attract new jobs, lift workers’ wages, and help students pay off their loans.  I’ll do my job.  And if it makes Republicans in Congress mad that I’m trying to help people out, they can join me, and we’ll do it together.
The point is, we could do so much more as a country – as a strong, tight-knit family – if Republicans in Congress were less interested in stacking the deck for those at the top, and more interested in growing the economy for everybody.  
So rather than more tax breaks for millionaires, let’s give more tax breaks to help working families pay for child care or college.  Rather than protect tax loopholes that let big corporations set up tax shelters overseas, let’s put people to work rebuilding roads and bridges right here in America.  Rather than stack the decks in favor of those who’ve already succeeded, let’s realize that we are stronger as a nation when we offer a fair shot to every American.
I’m going to spend some time talking about these very choices in the week ahead.  That’s because we know from our history that our economy doesn’t grow from the top-down, it grows from the middle-out.  We do better when the middle class does better.  That’s the American way.  That’s what I believe in.  And that’s what I’ll keep fighting for. 
Have a great Fourth of July, everybody – and good luck to Team USA down in Brazil.
Thanks.

NEW LOOK AT EARTH'S CLIMATE RHYTHMS

FROM:  NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION 

Ancient ocean currents may have changed pace and intensity of ice ages
Slowing of currents may have flipped switch.

Climate scientists have long tried to explain why ice-age cycles became longer and more intense some 900,000 years ago, switching from 41,000-year cycles to 100,000-year cycles.

In a paper published this week in the journal Science, researchers report that the deep ocean currents that move heat around the globe stalled or may have stopped at that time, possibly due to expanding ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere.

"The research is a breakthrough in understanding a major change in the rhythm of Earth's climate, and shows that the ocean played a central role," says Candace Major, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research.

The slowing currents increased carbon dioxide (CO2) storage in the oceans, leaving less CO2 in the atmosphere. That kept temperatures cold and kicked the climate system into a new phase of colder, but less frequent, ice ages, the scientists believe.

"The oceans started storing more carbon dioxide for a longer period of time," says Leopoldo Pena, the paper's lead author and a paleoceanographer at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO). "Our evidence shows that the oceans played a major role in slowing the pace of the ice ages and making them more severe."

The researchers reconstructed the past strength of Earth's system of ocean currents by sampling deep-sea sediments off the coast of South Africa, where powerful currents originating in the North Atlantic Ocean pass on their way to Antarctica.

How vigorously those currents moved can be inferred by how much North Atlantic water made it that far, as measured by isotope ratios of the element neodymium bearing the signature of North Atlantic seawater.

Like tape recorders, the shells of ancient plankton incorporate these seawater signals through time, allowing scientists to approximate when currents grew stronger and when weaker.

Over the last 1.2 million years, the conveyor-like currents strengthened during warm periods and lessened during ice ages, as previously thought.

But at about 950,000 years ago, ocean circulation slowed significantly and stayed weak for 100,000 years.

During that period the planet skipped an interglacial--the warm interval between ice ages. When the system recovered, it entered a new phase of longer, 100,000-year ice age cycles.

After this turning point, deep ocean currents remained weak during ice ages, and ice ages themselves became colder.

"Our discovery of such a major breakdown in the ocean circulation system was a big surprise," said paper co-author Steven Goldstein, a geochemist at LDEO. "It allowed the ice sheets to grow when they should have melted, triggering the first 100,000-year cycle."

Ice ages come and go at predictable intervals based on the changing amount of sunlight that falls on the planet, due to variations in Earth's orbit around the sun.

Orbital changes alone, however, are not enough to explain the sudden switch to longer ice age intervals.

According to one earlier hypothesis for the transition, advancing glaciers in North America stripped away soils in Canada, causing thicker, longer-lasting ice to build up on the remaining bedrock.

Building on that idea, the researchers believe that the advancing ice might have triggered the slowdown in deep ocean currents, leading the oceans to vent less carbon dioxide, which suppressed the interglacial that should have followed.

"The ice sheets must have reached a critical state that switched the ocean circulation system into a weaker mode," said Goldstein.

Neodymium, a key component of cellphones, headphones, computers and wind turbines, also offers a good way of measuring the vigor of ancient ocean currents.

Goldstein and colleagues had used neodymium ratios in deep-sea sediment samples to show that ocean circulation slowed during past ice ages.

They used the same method to show that changes in climate preceded changes in ocean circulation.

A trace element in Earth's crust, neodymium washes into the oceans through erosion from the continents, where natural radioactive decay leaves a signature unique to the land mass from which it originated.

When Goldstein and Lamont colleague Sidney Hemming pioneered this method in the late 1990s, they rarely worried about surrounding neodymium contaminating their samples.

The rise of consumer electronics has changed that.

"I used to say you could do sample processing for neodymium analysis in a parking lot," said Goldstein. "Not anymore."

-NSF-


Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF

ScienceCasts: The Coolest Spot in the Universe

POLICE DEPARTMENT COMPUTER NETWORK HACKER PLEADS GUILTY TO HACKING AND CREDIT CARD THEFT

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Monday, June 23, 2014
Massachusetts Man Pleads Guilty to Computer Hacking and Credit Card Theft

A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty today to hacking into computer networks around the country – including networks belonging to law enforcement agencies, a local police department and a local college – to obtain highly sensitive law enforcement data and alter academic records.  He also pleaded guilty to obtaining stolen credit, debit and payment card numbers.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz of the District of Massachusetts, Special Agent in Charge Vincent Lisi of the FBI’s Boston Division and Colonel Timothy P. Alben of the Massachusetts State Police made the announcement.

On June 2, 2014, Cameron Lacroix, 25, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, was charged by a criminal information with two counts of computer intrusion and one count of access device fraud.  Lacroix entered his guilty plea today before U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf of the District of Massachusetts.   He pleaded guilty to both counts in the information and agreed to serve a four-year prison sentence.

According to the plea agreement, b etween May 2011 and May 2013, Lacroix obtained and possessed payment card data for more than 14,000 unique account holders.   For some of these account holders, Lacroix also obtained other personally identifiable information, including the account holders’ full names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers, email addresses, bank account and routing numbers and lists of merchandise the account holders had ordered.

Lacroix also admitted to hacking into a computer server operated by a local Massachusetts police department in September 2012, and then accessing an e-mail account belonging to its chief of police.   Additionally, Lacroix admitted to repeatedly hacking into law enforcement computer servers containing sensitive information including police reports, arrest warrants, and sex offender information, between August 2012 and November 2012.   Lacroix also admitted to using stolen credentials to access and change information in the servers of Bristol Community College on multiple occasions between September 2012 and December 2013.

Judge Wolf set Lacroix’s sentencing for Oct. 27, 2014.

The case was investigated by the FBI Boston Division Cyber Task Force.   The case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky from the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Bookbinder of the District of Massachusetts.   The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office would like to thank Bristol Community College for its cooperation during this investigation.

PRESIDENT'S REMARKS ON THE ECONOMY IN MINNEAPOLIS, MN

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

Remarks by the President on the Economy -- Minneapolis, MN

Lake Harriet Band Shell
Minneapolis, Minnesota
10:15 A.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Minneapolis!  (Applause.)  How is everybody doing today?  You look good.  (Applause.)  It is good to see all of you.  I miss Minneapolis.  I missed you guys.  Go ahead and have a seat, I’m going to be talking for a while.  (Laughter.) 
So we’ve got some wonderful folks here today.  I want to acknowledge a few of them.  First of all, your outstanding Governor, Mark Dayton.  (Applause.)  Your wonderful senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.  (Applause.)  Congressman Keith Ellison.  (Applause.)  Your Mayor, Betsy Hodges.  (Applause.)  And all of you are here, and that’s special. 
I want to thank Rebekah for not just the introduction and for sharing her story, but for letting me hang out with her and her family for the last couple of days.  I really like her.  (Laughter.)  And her husband is like the husband of the year.  Generally, you don’t want your wife to meet Rebekah’s husband, because she’ll be like, well, why don’t you do that?  (Laughter.)  Why aren’t you like that? 
I’ve been wanting to visit a place where all the women are strong and the men are good-looking, and the children above average.  (Applause.)  And this clearly is an example of what Minnesota produces.  So yesterday, Rebekah and I had lunch at Matt’s Bar, had a “Jucy Lucy” -- (applause) -- which was quite tasty.  We had a town hall at Minnehaha Park, although I did not take a kayak over the falls, which seemed dangerous.  (Laughter.)  We got ice cream at Grand Ole Creamery -- very good, very tasty. 
And then this morning, Al Franken and I and Secretary Tom Perez, our Secretary of Labor who’s here -- Tom, stand up -- (applause) -- we stopped by a community organization that helps with a lot of job programs and job placement programs.  And this program in particular was focused on young moms.  It was really interesting talking to them, because there are teenage mothers, 16 to 18, and it was a great pleasure for me to be able to say to all of them that my mom was a teenage mom, and she was 18 when she had me -- and to be able to say to all of them that here in this country, it is possible for the child of a teenage mom, a single mom, to end up being President of the United States.  (Applause.)  And I think that it maybe gave them something to think about. 
So you guys have been great hosts, Minnesota. 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you!
THE PRESIDENT:  You’re welcome.  (Laughter.) 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you!
THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Laughter and applause.) 
So I want to give you a sense of how this visit came up.  As some of you know, every day we get tens of thousands of correspondence at the White House.  And we have a big correspondence office, and every night the folks who manage the correspondence office select 10 letters for me to read. 
And the job of these letters is not to just puff me up -- so it’s not like they only send me letters saying, Mr. President, you’re doing great.  (Laughter.)  Sometimes the letters say thank you for something I may have done.  Sometimes the letters say, you are an idiot and the worst President ever.  (Laughter.)  And most of the stories, though, are stories of hardship, or hard-won success, or hopes that haven’t been met yet.  Some appreciate a position that I may have taken; some disagree with what I’m doing.  Some consider policies like the Affordable Care Act to be socialism; some tell stories about the difference that same policy may have made in folks’ lives.
So I’m getting a good sample of what’s happening around the country.  And last month, three young girls wrote to me that boys aren’t fair because they don’t pass the ball in gym class.  (Laughter.)  So there’s a wide spectrum -- and I’m going to prepare an executive order on that. 
But the letter that Rebekah sent stood out -- first of all, because she’s a good writer, and also because she’s a good person.  And the story that she told me reminded Michelle and I of some of our own experiences when we were Rebekah and her husband’s age.  And in many ways, her story for the past five years is our story, it’s the American story. 
In early 2009, Rebekah and Ben, her husband, they were newly married, expecting their first son, Jack.  She was waiting tables, he was in construction.  Like millions of middle-class families who got hammered by the Great Recession -- the worst recession since the Great Depression -- life was about to get pretty hard.  “If only we had known,” she wrote, “what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.” 
Ben’s business dried up.  But as a new husband and dad, he did what he had to, so he took whatever jobs he could, even if it forced him to be away from his family for days at a time.  Rebekah realized she needed to think about how her career would unfold, so she took out student loans and enrolled in St. Paul College, and retrained for a new career as an accountant. 
And it’s been a long, hard road for them.  They had to pay off debt.  They had to sacrifice for their kids and for one another.  But then last year, they were able to buy their first home, and they’ve got a second son.  And they love where they work, and Ben’s new job lets him be home for dinner each night.  (Applause.)  And so what Rebekah wrote was, “It’s amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to.  We’re a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.”
And that describes the American people.  We, too, are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.  And today, over the past 51 months, our businesses have created 9.4 million new jobs.  Our housing market is rebounding.  Our auto industry is booming.  Our manufacturing sector is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.  We’ve made our tax code fairer.  We’ve cut our deficits by more than half.  More than 8 million Americans have signed up for private insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)  So here in Minnesota, you can now say that the women are strong, the men are good-looking, the children are above average, and 95 percent of you are insured.  (Applause.) 
And it’s thanks to the hard work of citizens like Rebekah and Ben and so many of you that we’ve come farther, we’ve recovered faster than just about any other advanced economy on Earth.  More and more companies are deciding that the world’s number-one place to create jobs and invest is once again the United States of America.  (Applause.)  That’s the good news.  And you don’t hear it very often.
By every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office.  (Applause.)  You wouldn’t know it, but we are.  We’ve made some enormous strides.  But that’s not the end of the story.  We have more work to do. 
It wasn’t the end of Rebekah’s story, because she went on to write in her letter, “We did everything right.  The truth is, in America, where two people have done everything they can to succeed and fight back from the brink of financial ruin -– through job loss and retraining, and kids, and credit card debts that are set up to keep you impoverished forever, and the discipline to stop spending any money on yourselves or take a vacation in five years -- it’s virtually impossible to live a simple middle-class life.”  That’s what Rebekah wrote.  Because their income is eaten up by childcare for Jack and Henry that costs more each month than their mortgage.  And as I was telling Rebekah -- Michelle and I, when we were their age, we had good jobs and we still had to deal with childcare issues and couldn’t figure out how to some months make ends meet. 
They forego vacations so they can afford to pay off student loans and save for retirement.  “Our big splurge,” Rebekah wrote, “is cable TV, so we can follow our beloved Minnesota Wild, and watch Team USA in the Olympics!”  (Applause.)  They go out once a week for pizza or a burger.  But they’re not splurging.  And at the end of the month, things are tight.  And this is like this wonderful young couple, with these wonderful kids, who are really working hard.
And the point is, all across this country, there are people just like that, all in this audience.  You’re working hard, you’re doing everything right.  You believe in the American Dream.  You’re not trying to get fabulously wealthy.  You just want a chance to build a decent life for yourselves and your families, but sometimes it feels like the odds are rigged against you.   
And I think sometimes what it takes for somebody like Rebekah to sit down and write one of these letters.  And I believe that even when it’s heartbreaking and it’s hard, every single one of those letters is by definition an act of hope. 
Because it’s a hope that the system can listen, that somebody is going to hear you; that even when Washington sometimes seems tone deaf to what’s going on in people’s lives and around kitchen tables, that there’s going to be somebody who’s going to stand up for you and your family. 
And that’s why I’m here -- because I want to let Rebekah know, and I wanted to let all of you know that -- because you don’t see it on TV sometimes.  It’s not what the press and the pundits talk about.  I’m here to tell you I’m listening, because you’re the reason I ran for President.  (Applause.)  Because those stories are stories I’ve lived.  The same way that when I saw those young teenage moms, I thought of my mother.  And when I see Rebekah and Ben, I think of our struggles when Malia and Sasha were young.  And they’re not distant from me and everything we do.
I ran for President because I believe this country is at its best when we’re all in it together and when everybody has a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share.  (Applause.)  And the reason I believe that is because that’s how I came here.  That’s how I got here.  That’s how Michelle and I were able to succeed.  (Applause.)  And I haven’t forgotten. 
And so even though you may not read about it or see it on TV all the time, our agenda, what we’re fighting for every day, is designed not to solve every problem, but to help just a little bit.  To create more good jobs that pay good wages -- jobs in manufacturing and construction; energy and innovation.  That’s why we’re fighting to train more workers to fill those jobs.  That’s why we’re fighting to guarantee every child a world-class education, including early childhood education and better childcare.  (Applause.)  That’s why we’re fighting to make sure hard work pays off with a wage you can live on and savings you can retire on, and making sure that women get paid the same as men for the same job, and folks have flexibility to look after a sick child or a sick parent.  (Applause.) 
That’s what we’re fighting for.  We’re fighting so everybody has a chance.  We’re fighting to vindicate the idea that no matter who you are, or what you look like, or how you grew up, or who you love, or who your parents were, or what your last name is, it doesn’t matter -- America is a place where if you’re doing the right thing, like Ben and Rebekah are, and you’re being responsible and you’re taking care of your family, that you can make it.
And the fact is, we can do that.  If we do some basic things, if we make some basic changes, we can create more jobs and lift more incomes and strengthen the middle class.  And that’s what we should be doing.  And I know it drives you nuts that Washington isn’t doing it.  And it drives me nuts.  (Applause.)  And the reason it’s not getting done is, today, even basic commonsense ideas can’t get through this Congress. 
And sometimes I’m supposed to be politic about how I say things -- (laughter) -- but I’m finding lately that I just want to say what’s on my mind.  (Applause.)  So let me just be clear -- I want you think about this -- so far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every single serious idea to strengthen the middle class.  You may think I’m exaggerating, but let me go through the list.  They’ve said no to raising the minimum wage.  They’ve said no to fair pay.  Some of them have denied that there’s even a problem, despite the fact that women are getting paid 77 cents for every dollar a man is getting paid. 
They’ve said no to extending unemployment insurance for more than three million Americans who are out there looking every single day for a new job, despite the fact that we know it would be good not just for those families who are working hard to try to get back on their feet, but for the economy as a whole.  Rather than invest in working families getting ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans. 
AUDIENCE:  Booo --
THE PRESIDENT:  Don’t boo, by the way.  I want you to vote.  (Laughter and applause.)  I mean, over and over again, they show that they’ll do anything to keep in place systems that really help folks at the top but don’t help you.  And they don’t seem to mind.  And their obstruction is keeping a system that is rigged against families like Ben’s and Rebekah’s.
Now, I’m not saying these are all bad people; they’re not.  When I’m sitting there just talking to them about family, we get along just fine.  Many of them will acknowledge when I talk to them -- yes, I know, I wish we could do something more, but I can’t -- but they can’t be too friendly towards me because they’d be run out of town by the tea party.  (Laughter.)
 
 But sometimes I get a sense they just don’t know what most folks are going through.  They keep on offering a theory of the economy that time and again failed for the middle class.  They think we should give more tax breaks to those at the top.  They think we should invest less in things like education.  They think we should let big banks, and credit card companies, and polluters, and insurers do only whatever is best for their bottom line without any responsibility to anybody else.  They want to drastically reduce or get rid of the safety net for people trying to work their way into the middle class. 
And if we did all these things, they think the economy will thrive and jobs will prosper, and everything will trickle down.
 
And just because they believe it, it doesn’t mean the rest of us should be believing it -- because we’ve tried what they’re peddling, and it doesn’t work.  We know from our history that our economy does not grow from the top down, it grows from the middle out.  We do better when the middle class does better.  We do better when workers are getting a decent salary.  We do better when they’ve got decent benefits.  (Applause.)  We do better when a young family knows that they can get ahead.  And we do better when people who are working hard know that they can count on decent childcare at an affordable cost, and that if they get sick they’re not going to lose their homes. 
We do better when if somebody is stuck in a job that is not paying well enough, they know they can go get retrained without taking on huge mountains of debt.  That’s when things hum.  And with just a few changes in priorities, we could get a lot of that done right now if Congress would actually just think about you and not about getting reelected, not about the next election, not about some media sound bite, but just focus on you.  (Applause.)
So that’s why I’ve said, look, I want to work with Democrats and Republicans.  My favorite President, by the way, was the first Republican President -- a guy named Abraham Lincoln.  So this is not a statement about partisanship.  This is a statement about America and what we’re fighting for.  And I’m not going to let gridlock and inaction and willful indifference and greed threaten the hard work of families like yours.   And so we can’t afford to wait for Congress right now.  And that’s why I’m going ahead and moving ahead without them wherever I can.  (Applause.) 
That’s why I acted to raise more workers’ wages by requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour.  (Applause.)  That’s why I acted to help nearly five million Americans make student loan payments cap those payments at 10 percent of their income.  That’s why I made sure more women have the protections they need to fight for fair pay in the workplace.  (Applause.)  That’s why we went ahead and launched new hubs to attract more high-tech manufacturing jobs to America.
And, now, some of you may have read -- so we take these actions and then now Republicans are mad at me for taking these actions.  They’re not doing anything, and then they’re mad that I’m doing something.  I’m not sure which of the things I’ve done they find most offensive, but they’ve decided they’re going to sue me for doing my job.  I mean, I might have said in the heat of the moment during one of these debates, “I want to raise the minimum wage, so sue me when I do.”  (Laughter.)  But I didn’t think they were going to take it literally.
But giving more working Americans a fair shot is not about simply what I can do -- it’s about what we can do together.  So when Congress doesn’t act, not only have I acted, I’ve also tried to rally others to help.  I told CEOs, and governors, and mayors, and state legislatures, for example, they don’t have to wait for Congress to raise the minimum wage.  Go ahead and raise your workers’ wages right now.  And since I first asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, 13 states and D.C. have raised theirs, including Minnesota, where more than 450,000 of your neighbors are poised to get a raise.  (Applause.) 
When Gap raised wages for its employees, job applications went up through the roof.  It was good for business.  I even got a letter from a proud mom right here in Minneapolis who just wanted me to know that her son starts his employees at $15 an hour, at Aaron’s Green Cleaning here in town.  (Applause.)  There they are!  (Applause.)  So the letter said, “We are very proud of his people-centered business philosophy!  Three cheers for a decent living wage!” 
So we don’t have to wait for Congress to do some good stuff.  On Monday, we held the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, and we heard from a lot of other families like Ben and Rebekah.  They count on policies like paid leave and workplace flexibility to juggle everything.  We had business owners who came and told me they became more profitable when they made family life easier for their employees. 
So more companies are deciding that higher wages and workplace flexibility is good for business -- it reduces turnover, more productive workers, more loyal workers.  More cities and states are deciding this is good policy for families.  So the only holdout standing in the way of change for tens of millions of Americans are some Republicans in Congress. 
Because I just want to be real blunt:  If you watch the news, you just see, okay, Washington is a mess, and the basic attitude is everybody is just crazy up there.  But if you actually read the fine print, it turns out that the things you care about right now Democrats are promoting.  (Applause.)  And we’re just not getting enough help. 
And my message to Republicans is:  Join us.  Get on board.  If you’re mad at me for helping people on my own, then why don’t you join me and we’ll do it together?  (Applause.)  We’ll do it together.  I’m happy to share the credit.  You’re mad at me for doing some things to raise the minimum wage, let’s pass a law -- Republicans and Democrats giving America a raise. 
If you’re mad at me for taking executive action to make it easier for women to find out if they’re not getting treated fairly in the workplace, let’s do it together.  You can share the credit.  (Applause.)  You’re worried about me trying to fix a broken immigration system, let’s hold hands and go ahead and make sure that this country continues to be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.  I want to work with you, but you’ve got to give me something.  You’ve got to try to deliver something -- anything.  (Applause.) 
They don’t do anything -- (laughter) -- except block me.  And call me names.  It can’t be that much fun.  (Laughter.)  It’d be so much more fun if they said, you know what, let’s do something together.  If they were more interested in growing the economy for you, and the issues that you’re talking about, instead of trying to mess with me -- (laughter) -- then we’d be doing a lot better.  That’s what makes this country great, is when we’re all working together.  That’s the American way. 
Now more than ever, with the 4th of July next week, Team USA moving on down in Brazil -- (applause) -- we should try to rally around some economic patriotism that says we rise or fall as one nation and one people.  Let’s rally around the idea that instead of giving tax breaks for millionaires, let’s give more tax breaks for working families to help pay for childcare or college.  (Applause.) 
Instead of protecting companies that are shifting profits overseas to avoid paying their fair share, let’s put people to work rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our airports.  (Applause.)  Let’s invest in manufacturing startups so that we’re creating good jobs making products here in America, here in Minnesota.  (Applause.)  Rather than stack the deck in favor of those who have already got an awful lot, let’s help folks who have huge talent and potential and ingenuity but just need a little bit of a hand up so that we can tap the potential of every American. 
I mean, this isn’t rocket science.  There are some things that are complicated -- this isn’t one of them.  Let’s make sure every 4-year-old in America has access to high school -- high-quality preschool -- (applause) -- so that moms like Rebekah and dads like Ben know their kids are getting the best quality care and getting a head start on life.  Let’s redesign our high schools to make sure that our kids are better prepared for the 21st century economy.  Let’s follow the lead of Senator Franken and Secretary Perez and give more apprenticeships that connect young people to rewarding careers.  (Applause.)
Let’s tell every American if they’ve lost their job because it was shipped overseas, we’re going to train you for an even better one.  (Applause.)  Let’s rally around the patriotism that says our country is stronger when every American can count on affordable health insurance and Medicare and Social Security, and women earn pay equal to their efforts, and family can make ends meet if their kid get sick, and when nobody who works full-time is living in poverty.  We can do all these things. 
And so let me just -- let me wrap up by saying this.  I know sometimes things get kind of discouraging.  And I know that our politics looks profoundly broken, and Washington looks like it’s never going to deliver for you.  It seems like they’re focused on everything but your concerns.  And I know that when I was elected in 2008 and then reelected in 2012, so many of you were hoping that we could get Washington to work differently, and sometimes when I get stymied you’d think, oh, maybe not; maybe it’s just too tough, maybe things won’t change.  And I get that frustration.  And the critics and the cynics in Washington, they’ve written me off more times than I can count. 
But I’m here to tell you, don’t get cynical.  Despite all of the frustrations, America is making progress.  Despite the unyielding opposition, there are families who have health insurance now who didn’t have it before.  And there are students in college who couldn’t afford it before.  And there are workers on the job who didn’t have jobs before.  And there are troops home with their families after serving tour after tour.  (Applause.)  Don’t think that we’re not making progress. 
So, yes, it’s easy to be cynical; in fact, these days it’s kind of trendy.  Cynicism passes off for wisdom.  But cynicism doesn’t liberate a continent.  Cynicism doesn’t build a transcontinental railroad.  Cynicism doesn’t send a man to the moon.  Cynicism doesn’t invent the Internet.  Cynicism doesn’t give women the right to vote.  Cynicism doesn’t make sure that people are treated equally regardless of race. 
Cynicism is a choice, and hope is a better choice.  And every day I’m lucky to receive thousands of acts of hope -- every time somebody sits down and picks up a pen, and writes to me and shares their story, just like Rebekah did.  And Rebekah said in her letter -- she ended it, she said, “I’m pretty sure this is a silly thing to do to write a letter to the President, but on some level I know that staying silent about what you see and what needs changing, it never makes any difference.  So I’m writing to you to let you know what it’s like for us out here in the middle of the country, and I hope you will listen.” 
And I’m here because Rebekah wrote to me and I want her to know I’m listening.  I’m here as President, because I want you all to know that I’m listening.  (Applause.)  I ran for office to make sure that anybody who is working hard to meet their dreams has somebody in Washington that is listening.  And I’m always going to keep listening.  And I’m always going to keep fighting.  (Applause.) 
And your cares and your concerns are my own, and your hopes for your kids and your grandkids are my own.  And I’m always going to be working to restore the American Dream for everybody who’s willing to work for it.  (Applause.)  And I am not going to get cynical; I’m staying hopeful, and I hope you do too. 
Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.) 
END
10:50 A.M. CDT

DRONES OVER IRAQ

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
Armed, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Patrolling Skies Over Iraq
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2014 – Some of the manned and unmanned aircraft that the United States is flying over Iraq are armed to protect newly arrived American military advisers on the ground, Pentagon press secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.

The aircraft are being flown with the Iraqi government’s permission, the admiral said during a regular Pentagon briefing.

“The reason that some of those aircraft are armed is primarily for force protection reasons now that we have introduced into the country some military advisers whose objective will be to operate outside the confines of the embassy."
There are 90 U.S. service members on six teams assessing conditions in and around Baghdad. Another 90 Americans are setting up the joint operations center in Baghdad.

All told, there are around 500 American service members in the country sent by President Barack Obama to help the Iraqi military as it faces advances by Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant who have overrun much of the country’s northern and western provinces.

The aircraft are flying between 30 and 40 missions a day in and around Baghdad, Kirby said. The information gathered will feed into the team assessments and the information is being shared with Iraqi forces.

The president has made no decisions about the use of kinetic force, Kirby said, “but it would be irresponsible for us not to be planning, preparing and thinking and to be ready in case he should make that decision.”

Obama has however, decided to ask Congress for $500 million for fiscal year 2015 to help train and equip moderate elements of the opposition battling the Assad regime in neighboring Syria, where the civil war is being blamed for sending Sunni extremists across the border and destabilizing Iraq.
“That opposition, mind you, still has to be vetted,” Kirby said.

Defense officials say it’s imperative that such aid does not end up arming extremists. “But that doesn't mean that you stop the effort to try to enable and build the capacity of partners in a very tough part of the world,” Kirby said. “You don’t just turn it off because there’s a risk that … some of it may fall into the wrong hands.”

Friday, June 27, 2014

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR JUNE 27, 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 

CONTRACTS

NAVY

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, is being awarded a $275,434,620 modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-13-C-5407) for fiscal 2014 Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) all-up rounds, and SM-6 and Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) spares and containers. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, (33.7 percent); Camden, Arkansas (28 percent); Wolverhampton, United Kingdom (11.6 percent); Andover, Massachusetts (8.6 percent); Middletown, Ohio (2.7 percent); San Jose, California (2.6 percent); Huntsville, Alabama (2.3 percent); Dallas, Texas (2.1 percent); Anniston, Alabama (1.4 percent); Clarkston, Georgia (1 percent); San Diego, California (1 percent); Warrington, Pennsylvania (1 percent); Wichita, Kansas (1 percent); Middletown, Connecticut (1 percent); Thousand Oaks, California (1 percent); and Anaheim, California (1 percent); work is expected to be completed by March 2017. Fiscal 2014 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $260,548,374 (94.8 percent), fiscal 2012 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,852,887 (2.9 percent), and fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $6,437,000 (2.3 percent) will be obligated at the time of award. Contract funds in the amount of $14,289,887 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, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, is being awarded a $33,176,807 modification to previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract N00024-12-C-4223 for research and development activities associated with integrated power systems power load modules to be used for electromagnetic railgun pulse power containers design, and for the fabrication and testing of prototypes. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by December 2016. Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation contract funding in the amount of $8,503,020 will be obligated at 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.
Serco Inc., Reston, Virginia, is being awarded a $31,244,653 cost-plus-fixed-fee/firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) waterfront installation support. This contract will provide support in performing the functions of an Alteration Installation Team with the installation of Ship Alterations, Ship Change Documents, and Ordnance Alterations as related to the CIWS on U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard vessels. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia (41 percent); San Diego, California (30 percent); Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (5 percent); Everett, Washington (6 percent); Mayport, Florida (6 percent); and various overseas ports (12 percent); work is expected to be completed in June 2017. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $114,000 will be obligated at time of award and will 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, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Indian Head, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00174-14-D-0028).

Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas, is being awarded a $19,679,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00164-12-G-JQ66) for Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (MTS-C) and provision item order spares for Navy special projects aircraft. The MTS-C is an airborne, electro-optic, forward-looking, infra-red, turreted sensor system which provides long-range surveillance. This requirement supports Naval Air Systems Command PMA 290 Special Projects Aircraft. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed by May 2016. Fiscal 2013 and 2014 aircraft procurement (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $19,679,000 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity.

Exelis Inc., Clifton, New Jersey, is being awarded a $15,262,451 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the design, engineering analysis, program, manufacture and test of the universal exciter upgrade (shop replaceable assembly redesign) to support the AN/ALQ 99 tactical jamming system used on the EA-6B Prowler and EA-18G aircraft. This procurement is to design and manufacture three components of the universal exciter: the modulation direct digital synthesizer, the direct digital synthesizer and the oscillator switch to eliminate the use of obsolete parts. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (10 percent), and the government of Australia (90 percent), under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Amityville, New York (97 percent), and Clifton, New Jersey (3 percent), and is expected to be completed by June 2017. FMS and fiscal 2014 aircraft procurement (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $15,262,451 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N00164-13-G-WM01).

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, Moorestown, New Jersey, is being awarded a $13,561,788 modification to a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide training material, development and maintenance, instructor services, program management, administration and training systems in support of the Center for Surface Combat Systems. This contract modification involves foreign military sales to Australia. Work will be performed in Dahlgren, Virginia (50 percent), and Moorestown, New Jersey (50 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2016. FMS funding in the amount of $3,412,547 will be obligated at time of award. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with FAR 6.302-4 and DFARS 206.302-4. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N00178-13-C-1022).
BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Inc., Rockville, Maryland, is being awarded a $10,737,652 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the design, development, integration, test and evaluation, installation, fielding, certification, maintenance and logistics support of the cooperative identification, non-cooperative target recognition, air traffic control equipment, systems and subsystems. These efforts are in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s Identification Systems Division. Work will be performed in St. Inigoes, Maryland, and is expected to be completed in April 2015. Fiscal 2014 Navy working capital funds in the amount of $7,281,808 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00421-14-C-0040).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Integrated Systems Sector, San Diego, California, is being awarded an $8,465,734 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-12-C-0126) for the extension of engineering and software sustainment services in support of the Vertical Take-off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Fire Scout MQ-8B. Work will be performed in San Diego, California, and is expected to be completed in November 2014. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $8,465,734 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, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Maersk Line, Ltd., Norfolk, Virginia, is being awarded a $7,103,568 modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00033-13-C-2505) to exercise a 92-day option for the operation and maintenance of five U.S. Navy ocean surveillance ships and one U.S. Navy missile range instrumentation ship. Work will be performed worldwide and is expected to be completed by September 2014. Working capital funds in the amount of $7,103,568 are obligated for fiscal 2014 and will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

ARMY

CUBIC APPLICATIONS, INC., San Diego, California, was awarded a $78,197,073 modification (P00158) to a cost-plus-award-fee contract (W911S0-07-C-0007) supporting the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, providing theatre specific combat training, mission rehearsal training, foreign security training team training and other combat forces training to prepare units for combat operations or deployment to combat theatre of operations, as determined by the U.S. Army and Department of Defense. Operations and maintenance (Army) fiscal 2014 funds in the amount of $44,043,547 and fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the amount of $5,928,009 were obligated at the time of the award. Work will be performed Fort Polk, Louisiana, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2015. Army Contracting Command, Fort Polk, Louisiana, is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Company, Tucson, Arizona, was awarded a $51,787,884 modification (P00056) to a firm-fixed-price contract (W15QKN-08-C-0530) to acquire a total of 757 projectiles under the Option 5 Excalibur 155mm increment lb production option for the U.S. Army. Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the amount of $50,898,528 and fiscal 2013 other procurement funds of $889,356 were obligated at the time of the award. Work will be performed at Anniston, Alabama( 2.87 percent); Tucson, Arizona (15.15 percent); Phoenix, Arizona, (.05 percent); East Camden, Arkansas (7.34 percent); Chino, California (.01 percent); Corona, California (.01 percent); Healdsburg, California (19.19 percent); Inglewood, California (.01 percent); Santa Ana, California (1.1 percent); Valencia, California (.04 percent); Woodridge, Illinois (.54 percent); Cedar Rapids, Iowa (8.27 percent); Cincinnati, Ohio (6.37 percent); Lowell, Massachusetts (3.37 percent); Minneapolis, Minnesota (.02 percent); Joplin, Missouri (2.60 percent); Farmington, New Mexico (1.42 percent); McAlester, Oklahoma (1.14 percent); McKinney, Texas (.47 percent); Kariskoga, Sweden (15.84 percent); United Kingdom (7.82 percent); Glenrothes, Scotland (6.01 percent), with an estimated completion date of Feb. 29, 2016. Army Contracting Command, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, is the contracting activity.

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, LLC, Oak Brook, Illinois, was awarded a $19,914,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the North Carolina Highway 12 Protection Project, Dare County, North Carolina. Work will be performed in Ocracoke, North Carolina, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2014. Bids were solicited via the Internet with three received. Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the amount of $19,914,000 are being obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Wilmington District, Wilmington, North Carolina, is the contracting activity (W912PM-14-C-0009).

Dynamic Technology Systems, Inc.*, Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded a $14,337,620 modification (P00012) to firm-fixed-price contract (W91WAW-12-C-0018) to extend information technology related operations and maintenance tasks under the current contract for a period of 12 months. Services include software and hardware support, application programming support, and custom application configuration support for the entire Enterprise Content Management System. Work will be performed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of June 28, 2015. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $14,337,620 are being obligated at the time of the award. Army Contracting Command – Tank and Automotive (Warren), Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Land and Armaments, York, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $10,783,000 modification (P00007) to a firm-fixed-price contract (W56HZV-13-C-0103) for 61 fire support sensor systems and seven authorized stock-age list spares sets. Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the amounts of $10,783,000 were obligated at the time of the award. Work will be performed at York, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of May 22, 2015. Army Contracting Command – Tank and Automotive – Warren, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity.

Johnson Construction Co.*, Dover, Pennsylvania, was awarded a $9,599,509 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a modern wastewater treatment plant to replace the existing wastewater treatment plant, and construct an influent screening building, two sequencing batch reactors for wastewater treatment, an aeration sludge holding tank, ultraviolet disinfection system, chemical storage, and a water pumping system. Work will be performed in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 8, 2015. Bids were solicited via the Internet with four received. Military construction funds in the amount of $3,784,295 from fiscal 2010; $946,073 from fiscal 2011; and $4,869,140 from fiscal 2013, are being obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Baltimore District, Baltimore, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W912DR-14-C-0029).

Cayo, LLC*, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $9,359,797 firm-fixed-price contract for the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District, STPBS-07 Saint Bernard Parish Pump Stations, number 2 and 3 seepage repairs, Saint Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Work will be performed in Chalmette, Louisiana, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 25, 2015. Bids were solicited via the Internet with 10 received. Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds in the amount of $9,359,797 are being obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – New Orleans District, New Orleans, Louisiana, is the contracting activity (W912P8-14-C-0042).

RAYTHEON IDS, Tewksbury, Massachusetts, was awarded an $8,335,410 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile Systems sustainment and maintenance, for the base year with option up to four years. This is a new follow-on service contract for the missile system, an interim air defense capability deployed in the Homeland Defense Area 1. Work will be performed at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of June 27, 2014. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $8,335,410 are being obligated at the time of the award. Army Contracting Command – Redstone Arsenal – Missile, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-14-C-0114).

Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, Kongsberg, Norway, was awarded a $7,898,000 modification (P00103) to contract (W15QKN-12-C-0103) to exercise contract line number 0100 on the base contract for depot support for the Common Remotely Operated Weapon System. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $7,898,000 were obligated at the time of the award. Work will be performed at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 16, 2017. Army Contracting Command – Picatinny Arsenal, Pennsylvania is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

BAE Systems, Phoenix, Arizona, has been awarded a maximum $89,460,000 modification (P00103) exercising the second option period on a one-year base contract (SPM1C1-12-D-1025), with two one-year option periods. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for enhanced small arms protective inserts. Location of performance is Arizona with a July 1, 2015, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

TW Metals, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois, has been awarded a maximum $15,000,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, prime vendor bridge contract for various types of metals, metal products, and related services in the North East region of the United States. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. Locations of performance are Illinois and New Jersey. Period of performance is June 30, 2014 through Oct. 29, 2014. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2009 through fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPM8EG-09-D-0009/P00068).

Federal Resources Supply Company,* Stevensville, Maryland, has been awarded a maximum $9,900,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for respirator air filters, mask harness assemblies, respirator cartridges, breathing face-pieces and other replacement parts. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. Location of performance is Maryland with a June 26, 2015, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPM8EH-14-D-0008).

Sysco Hampton Roads, Suffolk, Virginia, has been awarded a maximum $9,750,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, prime vendor bridge contract for food and beverage support. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. Location of performance is Virginia. The period of performance is June 30, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2014. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE300-14-D-3023).

Wolverine Services, LLC,* Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded a maximum $8,237,534 modification (P00035) exercising the second option period on a one-year base contract (SP3300-12-C-5001) with four one-year option periods. This is a fixed-price-incentive-firm with cost-reimbursement and labor-hour line items contract for warehouse and distribution support services. Location of performance is Colorado and California with a June 30, 2015, performance completion date. Using service is Defense Logistics Agency Distribution, Barstow, California. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

UPDATE: Wright & Wright Machinery Company Incorporated,* Monticello, Kentucky (SPE8EC-14-D-0024), has been added as an awardee to the multiple award contract issued against solicitation #SPM8EC-11-R-0001 announced Aug. 1, 2011.

AIR FORCE

Raytheon Co. Missile Systems, Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded an $80,768,012 firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Lot 7 Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer (MALD-J) missile (200 each) to include: data, mission planning, process verification program, and operational flight software. Work will be performed at Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2016. This award is a result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2012, 2013 and 2014 procurement and operations and maintenance funds are being obligated in the amount of $79,112,476 at time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBJM, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA8682-14-C-0004).

LinQuest Corp., Los Angeles, California, has been awarded a $29,164,259 cost-plus-incentive- fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (P00014) on FA8808-13-C-0009 for additional System Engineering & Integration Support Services (SE&I) to increase the face value of the contract to $154,820,575. The contractor will provide and maintain enterprise SE&I services for the current MILSATCOM Systems Directorate, execute and evolve standardized enterprise processes, control and manage the technical baseline and interface(s), perform system integration across the enterprise and within identified programs, develop and implement key systems engineering processes, developing tools and techniques (as necessary) to predict issues and enable timely action, and develop and maintain performance metrics. Work will be performed at Los Angeles Air Force Base, El Segundo, California, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2019. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. No funds will be obligated at the time this modification is executed. The Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, El Segundo, California, is the contracting activity.
Alion Science and Technology Corp., McLean, Virginia, has been awarded a $19,623,009 delivery order (0070) on the Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Testing Information Analysis Center (AMMTIAC) indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost-plus-fixed-fee sole-source contract (FA4600-06-D-0003) for Advanced Materials, Redesign and Testing for Support Equipment and Vehicles. AMMTIAC's objective is to analyze and assess fundamental material, manufacturing, and testing requirements to support extension of the operational life of the support equipment and vehicle fleet. The work will be performed at Rome, New York, and various Air Force locations, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 29, 2016. Fiscal 2014 Air Force operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $104,934 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency/KD, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.

Alion Science and Technology Corp., McLean, Virginia, has been awarded an $18,009,823 delivery order (0071) on the Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Testing Information Analysis Center (AMMTIAC) indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost-plus-fixed-fee sole-source contract (FA4600-06-D-0003) for Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel recovery aircraft materials, manufacturing and testing. AMMTIAC's objective is to extend the operational life of Air Force SOF and personnel recovery aircraft. The work will be performed at McLean, Virginia, and various Air Force locations, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 29, 2016. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $405,138 are being obligated at time of award. Air Force Installation Contracting Agency/KD, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, is the contracting activity.

WASHINGTON HEADQUARTERS SERVICES

Aecom-Parsons JV, Arlington, Virginia, is being awarded a $7,848,425 task order (0023) to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (HQ0034-12-D-0007) to provide construction management technical support services for the Washington Headquarters Services, Acquisition Directorate, Facilities Services Directorate. Work will be performed in Arlington, Virginia, with an expected completion date of June 30, 2015. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $7,848,425 are being obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with five proposals received. Washington Headquarters Services, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nevada is being awarded a maximum $10,500,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a four-year ordering period in support of U.S. Special Operations Command. The results of this contract will allow ground-based forces to digitally provide overhead aircraft with Personal Location Information and designate targets digitally to on-board aircraft computer systems allowing pilots to see where friendly forces are located on the aircraft Common Operating Picture as well as the GPS location of the target. Work will be performed in Sparks, Nevada and other locations on an as needed basis as determined by the government. This was a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $1,984,252 are being obligated at time of award. U.S. SOCOM/Directorate of Procurement, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity (H92222-14-D-0023).

*Small business

SECRETARY KERRY MAKES STATEMENT REGARDING GEORGIA, MOLDOVA, UKRAINE AGREEMENTS WITH EU

FROM: U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

Congratulating Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine on the Signing of Agreements with the European Union

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 27, 2014


The United States congratulates Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine on signing Association Agreements and establishing Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with the European Union.

The agreements signed today mark a major step toward integrating these Eastern Partnership countries more closely with the European Union and realizing a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

It is not just that these agreements link the EU’s eastern neighbors into its single market and unlock new opportunities for trade and assistance. Today, Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine have signaled their readiness to undertake important economic and legal reforms that will make them stronger, more vibrant democracies.

We continue to support the territorial integrity of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The decision on the best path to security, prosperity, and a better future for their citizens is one that can and should be made by these sovereign nations, and by them alone. We applaud the hard work and determination that has brought them to this point, and we will continue to stand with them as they work to implement key reforms and build more prosperous, stable, and democratic societies.

REMARKS: SECRETARY KERRY, SYRIAN OPPOSITION COALITION PRESIDENT AL-JARDA

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Remarks With Syrian Opposition Coalition President Ahmad al-Jarba During Their Meeting

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
King Abdulaziz International Airport
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
June 27, 2014




SECRETARY KERRY: It’s my pleasure to meet with President Jarba. And obviously in light of what has happened in Iraq, we have even more to talk about in terms of the moderate opposition in Syria, which has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back against ISIL’s presence. They have been, not just in Syria but also in Iraq. President Jarba represents a tribe that reaches right into Iraq. He knows the people there, and his point of view and the Syrian opposition’s will be very important going forward.

So we’re also at a moment of increased effort with the opposition, so I look forward to a chance to speak with President Jarba and to share some thoughts.

MR. JARBA: (In Arabic.)

MR. JARBA: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. I’m delighted to meet with you, Mr. Secretary, here to discuss several important issues, especially in light of the critical times in Syria and Iraq alike. There’s great confusion in the region, and now the war against terrorism has to be even stronger than before.

The situation in Iraq is slightly different than it is in Syria. The policies of Prime Minister Iraqi – Nouri Maliki, after eight years in power, have resulted in greater division. Now the situation is very grave and there are sectarian militias ruling the country, so we have to have greater efforts on the part of the U.S. and regional powers to address the situation in Iraq, especially also on the part of its neighbors, and Saudi Arabia in particular. The borders between Iraq and Syria are now practically open, and Daesh, or ISIL, has made – has just occupied Albu Kamal, and it’s launching a very strong, severe war in Deir al-Zour.

And in spite of the opposition, we still need greater assistance. And President Obama just announced that the U.S. will be giving the moderate opposition in Syria another half billion dollars, and this is very important. We hope for greater cooperation with the U.S., and General Abdul Ilah al Bashir is ready to cooperate with the U.S. side.

Once again, we welcome you and we welcome the (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: Shukran. Thank you, all.

U.S. SENDS BEST WISHES TO PEOPLE OF DJIBOUTI ON THEIR NATIONAL DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Djiboutian National Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 27, 2014


On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send my best wishes to the people and the Government of Djibouti on your National Day.

Djibouti is an anchor of peace and security in the Horn of Africa. As our partnership deepens, I look forward to working together on energy, workforce development, education, healthcare, and security cooperation in the years to come. A secure, stable, and prosperous Djibouti is essential to the well-being of the entire region.

As you celebrate your independence, the government and people of the United States stand beside you.

Curiosity Rover Report (6/24/2014): Curiosity Completes Its First Marti...

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS ON INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ILLICIT TRAFFICKING

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

On the Occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 26, 2014


This is more than a moment to focus on drug abuse and addiction. It’s a time to connect the dots between the global flow of illicit drugs, violence that destroys communities and even nations the world over, and 21st century challenges, from human trafficking to elephant poaching to transnational crime and corruption. In short: Illicit trafficking doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part of a web of crime that threatens our security. It’s all connected.
I got my education on this insidious, connected network more than twenty years ago when I investigated and helped uncover a common international infrastructure for transnational crime, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. Drugs were at the very center. It was a wakeup call about the clandestine interconnected world of money launderers, drug traffickers, arms merchants, and terrorists. We witnessed just how dirty drug money and narcotics and corruption and violence flow together. It is no less true today. In fact, it is more true. We live in the age of narco-trafficking 2.0 that funds an underworld of evil.

These issues don’t stop at any border. That’s why the men and women of the State Department are on the front lines promoting citizen security in a vastly more complicated world where change is coming at us faster than ever before. We work with our partners to counter sophisticated supply chains that produce, distribute, and market illicit drugs and fuel transnational criminal organizations. And we are committed to sharing our experience and expertise with other countries wrestling with these challenges. Today of all days, we need to plot a national strategy to counter this global scourge.

TREATING AIDS WITH SUPERCOMPUTERS

FROM:   NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION 
Computing a cure for HIV
Nine ways NSF-supported supercomputers help scientists understand and treat the disease

HIV/AIDS has caused an estimated 36 million deaths, according to the World Health Organization, and remains a major menace worldwide. Today, approximately 35 million people are living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), including more than a million individuals in the United States.

The tendency of HIV to mutate and resist drugs has made it particularly difficult to eradicate. Some treatments have shown progress in slowing or even stopping the progress of the virus, but no cure or vaccine has been discovered that can truly stamp out the disease.

In the last decade, scientists have begun using a new weapon in the fight against HIV: supercomputers.

Scientists harness the power of thousands of computer processors simultaneously to better understand how the HIV virus interacts with the cells it infects, to discover or design new drugs that can attack the virus at its weak spots and even to use genetic information about the exact variants of the virus to develop patient-specific treatments.

Among the researchers using supercomputers to study HIV is Klaus Schulten, the keynote speaker at the 2014 International Supercomputing Conference, held earlier this week in Leipzig, Germany. Schulten, a professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, invented the Nanoscale Molecular Dynamics (NAMD) software program, one of the most widely used tools for understanding diseases at a molecular level.

Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and using some of the nation's most powerful supercomputers, teams of researchers are pushing the limits of what we know about HIV, and how we can treat it.

Below are nine examples of how scientists are applying massive computing power and computational know-how to combat the disease.

1) Modeling HIV: from atoms to actions

In order for HIV to infect non-dividing cells, the HIV virus must enter the cell and entice cellular proteins to act as chaperones, ushering the virus towards the cell nucleus and helping it integrate its genes into the cell's genome. This infection process offers opportunities for medical intervention and may suggest new HIV treatments. However the dynamics of the process can only be "observed" through computational modeling and simulation.

The size of the HIV capsid or shell, combined with its irregular shape, had long prevented scientists from simulating the full capsid structure with adequate resolution. But researchers from Klaus Schulten's group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, using the NSF-funded Blue Waters supercomputer, observed how the capsid interacts with drugs and host proteins at the atomic level. The model, consisting of about 1,300 proteins and 4 million atoms, is currently the largest entry in the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics Protein Data Bank, a repository for the three-dimensional structural data of large biological molecules.

2) Discovery of hidden pocket in HIV protein leads to ideas for new inhibitors

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego; the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the National Cancer Institute collaborated on an effort to discover new drug candidates to combat HIV.

With the help of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the scientists ran molecular simulations to capture the movements of a small pocket on the virus's surface that they believed could be targeted by drugs to prevent the replication of the virus. Using the pocket as a target, they virtually screened thousands of compounds and tested 16 for their ability to block HIV infection in human tissue cultures. Ultimately, they discovered two compounds that inhibit HIV replication and block the activity of reverse transcriptase as effectively as a leading FDA-approved drug, nevirapine. The researchers believe these compounds have the potential to develop into future drugs and are exploring them further.

3) Preventing HIV from reaching its mature state

The mature capsid of the HIV virus is comprised of thousands of interlinked proteins that act like a suit of armor around the virus's genetic material. If this armor-like structure does not form, then the virus is unable to infect cells.

Researchers from the University of Chicago used the Kraken supercomputers at the National Institution for Computational Science (NICS) to study how the mature HIV capsid formed. They found that the seemingly complicated behavior of the capsid's self-assembly was relatively simple once they understood the shape and behavior of the proteins that made it up. The work advanced our understanding of the HIV life cycle and is inspiring the development of new drugs to disrupt the virus's growth. Results appeared in the Biophysical Journal in October 2012.

4) Crowdsourcing a cure

After scientists repeatedly failed to piece together the structure of a protein-cutting enzyme that plays an important role in HIV, they called on the players of FoldIt, an online puzzle video game, to find a solution. Using FoldIt, "citizen scientists" were able to determine how the enzyme folded and solved the mystery of its structure. With further help from the game-players, researchers were able to identify target drugs to neutralize the enzyme.

FoldIt is part of an experimental research project supported by NSF and developed by the University of Washington's Center for Game Science in collaboration with the UW Department of Biochemistry. The case of the crowdsourced protein structure serves as a critical example of how games with a purpose can solve real-world problems.

5) Virtual screening of HIV inhibitors

A team of researchers from Pennsylvania used computer modeling and virtual screening, powered by supercomputers, to identify novel inhibitors of HIV and better understand how they react with the HIV virus. They focused on small molecules that block the interaction between the receptors on the surface of human cells and an important protein on the surface of the HIV envelope.

Using the Blacklight system at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, the researchers virtually screened more than 10 million compounds to find small molecules that would be a good molecular fit for the protein that they were targeting. From the 10 million, they identified six, small-molecule, HIV surface protein complexes that display unique modes of binding. Taken together, they constitute what the researchers believe is a potent class of entry inhibitors against HIV.

6) Membrane effects

Some proteins that anchor HIV to cell membranes are thought to promote the development of the virus. Researchers have found that combining experimental methods with computer simulations can reveal much about the cell-binding dynamics.

Hirsh Nanda of the National Institute of Standards and Technology leads a research team that studies the initial stages of the formation of new HIV virus particles in an infected cell. During these first steps, HIV proteins latch onto cell membranes.

Using the Kraken supercomputer at NICS, Nanda's team was able to study the forces that govern protein assemblies on membranes in far greater detail and much faster than if they were using their lab's computers. Kraken also greatly accelerated the analysis of experimental neutron scattering data that they used to compare with simulations.

The simulations revealed that an important HIV surface protein simultaneously binds to the cell membrane and to viral RNA in order to change shape. Also revealed was how another HIV protein transitions between compact and extended structures upon anchoring to the cell membrane. These discoveries are inspiring new treatment approaches that center on membrane interactions.

7) Computing patient-specific treatment methods

Doctors know that there are many different strains of HIV and that drugs for the disease do not have the same effects in all people. Subtle genetic differences between strains and among individuals lead to a range of treatment outcomes. Using the NSF-supported Kraken and Ranger supercomputers, researchers from University College London and Rutgers University determined the shape of a key protein involved in HIV infection in an individual patient, and then ranked the drug molecules most likely to block the activity.

The project demonstrated how researchers might use genetic sequencing techniques and massive computations to design patient-specific treatment protocols in near-real-time. In the future, it is expected that this type of patient-specific drug selection will become routine.

The research was reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was published in the Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation.

8) Preparing the next generation to continue the fight

At Merrimack College in Massachusetts, students are learning how to conduct virtual screening using the Stampede supercomputer. Virtual screening uses computational methods to identify small molecules that are likely to bind to a known drug target, often a protein. The method has become a valuable tool for many biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

The activity exposes students to massive computing resources and shows them a method of conducting science that few previously knew existed. It's one of many ways that educators around the nation are beginning to prepare students for the workforce of the future by incorporating computational techniques into their curriculum.

9) A boy and the BEAST

When Armand Bilge was a 10th-grader at Lexington High School in Massachusetts, he created a map and timeline that identified when HIV arrived in the Americas, and where and when HIV spread across these continents. To do so, Bilge used a combination of molecular sequencing software and NSF-funded high-performance computing resources.

As a member of an after-school computer club, Bilge used a software program called BEAST to create a detailed evolutionary tree, based on similarities and differences in the 3,000 nucleotide subunits of a gene among 400 known HIV strains. The software ran on the CIPRES (CyberInfrastructure for Phylogenetic Research) science gateway, a public resource developed by the San Diego Supercomputer Center and supported by NSF that allows those interested in evolutionary relationships to study virtually every species on Earth.

Bilge's conclusions support previously published results of HIV experts that suggest that "a single introduction of the virus in Haiti in the mid-1900s resulted in its dispersion across the American continent." The project won first place in biology for the 2012 Massachusetts Science and Engineering Fair.

-- Aaron Dubrow, NSF
Investigators
John Towns
Dan Stanzione
Ralph Roskies
Philip Andrews
Gregory Peterson
Patricia Kovatch
Nancy Wilkins-Diehr