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Saturday, December 6, 2014

U.S. DOD REPORTS REACTION TO LUKE SOMERS DEATH

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 
Senior U.S. Leaders Condemn Murder of Luke Somers
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2014 – President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel condemned yesterday’s murder of U.S. photojournalist Luke Somers in Yemen by al Qaeda terrorists as U.S. and Yemeni commandos attempted a rescue.

Somers, 33, was taken hostage in Yemen in September 2013 by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an al Qaeda splinter group.

Somers, who reportedly held U.S. and British citizenship, was shot by the terrorists as Special Operations forces moved in. Another hostage, South African teacher Pierre Korkie, was also fatally shot during the rescue attempt.
A Nov. 25 raid by U.S. special operations forces to rescue Somers freed some other al Qaeda-held hostages, but Somers wasn’t present.

President’s Statement

“The United States strongly condemns the barbaric murder of Luke Somers at the hands of al Qaeda terrorists during a rescue operation conducted by U.S. forces in Yemen in partnership with the Yemeni government,” Obama said in a statement issued today. “On behalf of the American people, I offer my deepest condolences to Luke’s family and to his loved ones. I also offer my thoughts and prayers to the family of a non-U.S. citizen hostage who was also murdered by these terrorists during the rescue operation. Their despair and sorrow at this time are beyond words.”

The president added, “It is my highest responsibility to do everything possible to protect American citizens. As this and previous hostage rescue operations demonstrate, the United States will spare no effort to use all of its military, intelligence, and diplomatic capabilities to bring Americans home safely, wherever they are located. And terrorists who seek to harm our citizens will feel the long arm of American justice.”

After Somers was captured in Yemen, Obama said, “the United States has been using every tool at our disposal to secure his release. Earlier this week, a video released by his terrorist captors announced that Luke would be killed within 72 hours. Other information also indicated that Luke’s life was in imminent danger. Based on this assessment, and as soon as there was reliable intelligence and an operational plan, I authorized a rescue attempt yesterday. I also authorized the rescue of any other hostages held in the same location as Luke.”

Obama described Somers as “a photojournalist who sought through his images to convey the lives of Yemenis to the outside world. He came to Yemen in peace and was held against his will and threatened by a despicable terrorist organization. The callous disregard for Luke’s life is more proof of the depths of AQAP’s depravity, and further reason why the world must never cease in seeking to defeat their evil ideology.”

The president expressed his gratitude “to the U.S. forces who carried out this mission as well as the previous attempt to rescue Luke, and to the dedicated intelligence, law enforcement, and diplomatic professionals who supported their efforts. I also deeply appreciate the support and assistance provided by President Hadi and the Yemeni government, and reiterate our strong commitment to combating the shared threat posed by AQAP.

“We remember Luke and his family, as well as the families of those Americans who are still being held captive overseas and those who have lost loved ones to the brutality of these and other terrorists,” Obama added. “We remain determined to do our utmost to bring them home, and to hold those who have done them harm accountable.”

Secretary of State’s Statement

Somers’ murder “is a reminder of the brutality of the terrorists of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. They have again demonstrated their cruelty and their disdain for human life, freedom, and the Yemeni people whom they terrorize daily,” Secretary of State Kerry said in a statement issued today.

There was reason to believe that Somers’ life was in immediate danger, Kerry said, “and so we recommended that the president authorize an attempt to rescue Luke. Tragically, Luke and a foreign national hostage were killed by their captors during the course of that operation.”

Kerry said he’s “proud of the brave men and women of the U.S. military who twice risked their lives in operations to try and bring Luke home safely. We also appreciate the efforts of the dedicated intelligence, law enforcement, and diplomatic professionals who supported these operations, and we are particularly grateful to the Yemeni government, under the leadership of President Hadi, for their critical and supportive role in trying to liberate this young American from unfathomable captivity, and for their enduring partnership in combating the scourge of AQAP.”

The AWAP terrorists know “how to hate, they know how to murder, and now they have robbed a family of an idealistic young photojournalist who went to Yemen to practice his calling and document the lives of ordinary Yemenis,” Kerry said.

“As a parent, I know there are no words that can assuage the loss that Luke's family has suffered, or the anguish of the family of the second hostage who was killed,” the secretary of state said. “There's no way to wipe away their pain. But Teresa and I both pray that they can find some small solace in knowing that the United States government and all of our people grieve with them, and that there were brave Americans in uniform willing to lay down their own lives so that they had a chance to live.

“We also pray for the families of all the innocents who are held against their will, whose safe return we work towards every day,” Kerry said.
Secretary of Defense's Statement

There were “compelling reasons to believe Mr. Somers' life was in imminent danger,” Defense Secretary Hagel said in a statement issued today. Somers and a second non-U.S. citizen hostage, he said, “were murdered by the AQAP terrorists during the course of the operation. On behalf of the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, I extend our condolences, thoughts, and prayers to their families and loved ones.”

Several of the AQAP terrorists holding the hostages captive were killed in the mission, Hagel said, who noted yesterday’s rescue attempt took place in central Yemen and was conducted in partnership with the government of Yemen.

“I thank President Hadi, the Yemeni government, and Yemen security forces for their assistance and cooperation,” the defense secretary said. “Yesterday's mission is a reminder of America's unrelenting commitment to the safety of our fellow citizens -- wherever they might be around the world.

“I commend the troops who undertook this dangerous mission,” Hagel said. “Their service and valor are an inspiration to all of us.”

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO: Weekly Address: Ensuring Americans Feel the Gains of a Growing Economy

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS ON DEATH OF LUKE SOMERS DURING ATTEMPTED RESCUE

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Death of Luke Somers
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 6, 2014

The murder of Luke Somers by his captors during a rescue operation is a reminder of the brutality of the terrorists of Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). They have again demonstrated their cruelty and their disdain for human life, freedom, and the Yemeni people whom they terrorize daily.

Earlier this week, AQAP released a video announcing that Luke would be murdered within 72 hours. Along with other information, there was a compelling indication that Luke’s life was in immediate danger, and so we recommended that the President authorize an attempt to rescue Luke. Tragically, Luke and a foreign national hostage were killed by their captors during the course of that operation.

Even in our grief, we couldn't be more proud of the brave men and women of the U.S. military who twice risked their lives in operations to try and bring Luke home safely. We also appreciate the efforts of the dedicated intelligence, law enforcement, and diplomatic professionals who supported these operations, and we are particularly grateful to the Yemeni government, under the leadership of President Hadi, for their critical and supportive role in trying to liberate this young American from unfathomable captivity, and for their enduring partnership in combating the scourge of AQAP.

AQAP knows how to hate, they know how to murder, and now they have robbed a family of an idealistic young photojournalist who went to Yemen to practice his calling and document the lives of ordinary Yemenis. As a parent, I know there are no words that can assuage the loss that Luke's family has suffered, or the anguish of the family of the second hostage who was killed. There's no way to wipe away their pain. But Teresa and I both pray that they can find some small solace in knowing that the United States government and all of our people grieve with them, and that there were brave Americans in uniform willing to lay down their own lives so that they had a chance to live. We also pray for the families of all the innocents who are held against their will, whose safe return we work towards every day.

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO: PRESIDENT OBAMA ADDRESSES 2014 WHITE HOUSE TRIBAL NATIONS CONFERENCE

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO: PRESIDENT OBAMA'S REMARKS AT NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING

PRESIDENT'S STATEMENT ON NOMINATION OF ASHTON CARTER TO BE DEFENSE SECRETARY

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 
December 05, 2014
Remarks by the President in Nominating Ashton Carter as Secretary of Defense
Roosevelt Room

10:24 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Please have a seat.  It is wonderful to be able to announce not the creation, but at least the filling of one new job.  (Laughter.)  But before we do, I wanted to make a somewhat broader statement about the economy.  And Ash is willing to indulge me.

Last month, America's businesses created more than 300,000 jobs.  This keeps a pace so far this year that we have not seen since the 1990s.  So far this year, over the first 11 months of 2014, our economy has created 2.65 million jobs.  That’s more than in any entire year since the 1990s.  Our businesses have now created 10.9 million jobs over the past 57 months in a row.  And that’s the longest streak of private sector job growth on record.

We also know that the pickup in the pace of job growth this year has been in industries with higher wages.  And overall, wages are rising -- a very welcome sign for millions of Americans.  So we've got an opportunity to keep up this progress if Congress is willing to keep our government open, avoid self-inflicted wounds, and work together to invest in the things that support faster job growth in high-paying jobs.  That means exports, infrastructure, streamlining our tax code, immigration reform, giving minimum wage workers a raise.

It’s been a long road to recovery from the worst economic crisis in generations, and we still have a lot more work to do to make sure that hardworking Americans' wages are growing faster.  But the United States continues to outpace most of the world.  Over the last four years, we’ve put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all other industrialized advanced countries combined.  And we’re going to keep at it until every single American who is willing and able to work can find not just any job, but a job that pays a decent wage and allows them to support their families.

But it's worth us every once in a while reflecting on the fact that the American economy is making real progress.  And if we can continue in this trajectory, if we can continue to grow robustly, and if we make sure that those companies who are seeing profits -- they’re probably higher than any time in the last 60 years -- that they’re also making sure that their workers are sharing in that growth, then we can get a virtuous cycle that's really going to make a difference and be a critical component of strengthening our national security, because national security starts with a strong economy here at home.
 
Now, I know that some people think that I announce Cabinet positions on fake Twitter accounts.  (Laughter.)  This is not the case.

A year ago, when Ash Carter completed his tenure as Deputy Secretary of Defense, Secretary Hagel took to the podium in Ash’s farewell ceremony and looked out at the audience of our civilian and military leaders, and he said, “I’ve known Ash Carter for many years.  All of us here today have benefited from Ash’s hard work, his friendship, from his inspiration, and from his leadership.”  And Chuck then went on to express his gratitude to his partner for “what Ash has done for this country and will continue to do in many ways.”  Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Today, I’m pleased to announce my nominee to be our next Secretary of Defense, Mr. Ash Carter.      

Now, with a record of service that has spanned more than 30 years -- as a public servant, as an advisor, as a scholar -- Ash is rightly regarded as one of our nation’s foremost national security leaders.  As a top member of our Pentagon team for the first five years of my presidency, including his two years as deputy secretary, he was at the table in the Situation Room; he was by my side navigating complex security challenges that we were confronting.  I relied on his expertise, and I relied on his judgment.  I think it’s fair to say that, Ash, in your one-year attempt at retirement from public service, you’ve failed miserably.  (Laughter.)  But I am deeply grateful that you’re willing to go back at it.    

Ash, as some of you know, brings a unique blend of strategic perspective and technical know-how.  As a student of history, he understands the United States -- and I’m quoting him now -- is “the single most [important] provider of security in the world,” and he played a key role in devising our defense strategy to advance that security.  He’s also a physicist, which means that he’s one of the few people who actually understands how many of our defense systems work.  (Laughter.)  And that has also allowed him to serve with extraordinary breadth and also depth in a whole range of work that we’ve had to do.  

In one way or another, Ash has served under 11 Secretaries of Defense.  He’s an innovator who helped create the program that has dismantled weapons of mass destruction around the world and reduced the threat of nuclear terrorism.  He’s a reformer who’s never been afraid to cancel old or inefficient weapons programs. He knows the Department of Defense inside and out -- all of which means that on day one, he’s going to hit the ground running.

Ash is also known by our allies and our friends around the world.  Having served both Republican and Democratic Secretaries, he’s respected and trusted on both sides of the aisle.  He’s been a close partner with our military leaders.  And he’s admired by civilian leaders across the department because he’s a mentor to so many of them.  

There’s one other quality of Ash’s service that I think often gets overlooked, and that is his true regard, his love for the men and women in uniform and their families, his relentless dedication to their safety and well-being.  When he cut outdated, unneeded systems, he did it because he was trying to free up money for our troops to make sure they had the weapons and the gear that they needed and the quality of life for themselves and their families that they deserve.

When our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan were struggling to defend against roadside bombs, he moved heaven and earth to rush them new body armor and vehicles.  It’s no exaggeration to say that there are countless Americans who are alive today in part because of Ash’s efforts.  When our forces sat down for Thanksgiving dinner far from home, or as our wounded warriors recovered in the hospital, or when our fallen heroes returned to Dover, Ash was there, often on his own time, without any publicity or fanfare.  And I know that Ash will be there for them now as Secretary of Defense.

We face no shortage of challenges to our national security. Our combat mission in Afghanistan ends this month, and we have to transition to a new mission of advising and assisting Afghan forces and going after remnants of al Qaeda’s core.  We have to keep degrading, and ultimately destroying, ISIL in Iraq and Syria.  We have to build counterterrorism partnerships and new platforms.  We have to continue the fight against Ebola in West Africa.  We have to continue to strengthen our alliances, including NATO, and continue rebalancing our defense posture in the Asia Pacific.

Going forward, our armed forces are, necessarily, going to need to be leaner, but as Commander-in-Chief, I’m going to make sure that we have a military that is second to none, that continues to be the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.

That means, though, we're going to have to bolster some new capabilities, our cyber-defenses, how we deal with our satellites and how we're adapting our military, and investing in new capabilities to meet long-term threats.  We're going to have to work with Congress on a more responsible approach to defense spending, including the reforms we need to make the department more efficient.  That's how we're going to preserve readiness.  That's how we're going to keep faith with our forces and our families.  That's how we're going to deliver world-class care to our wounded warriors.

And Ash is going to be critical to all these efforts.  When we talked about this job, we talked about how we're going to have to make smart choices precisely because there are so many challenges out there.  And we're going to have to squeeze everything we have out of the resources that we have in order to be as effective as possible.  And I can't think of somebody who’s more qualified to do that.

In his career, Ash has been confirmed by the Senate three times.  If it were entirely up to my dear friend, Carl Levin, who’s sitting here, I suspect it would happen really quickly because that's the kind of guy Carl is, and Carl, I know, has had a chance to work with Ash in the past.  My hope is, is that in the new Congress, we get similar speed and dispatch.

By the way, we will miss Carl Levin.  I just wanted to mention that.  (Applause.)

One last piece of critical information that may have tipped the scales in me wanting to promote Ash.  Ash is a big Motown fan.  (Laughter.)  And one of his favorites is a classic by the Four Tops, “Reach out, I’ll be there.”  So, Ash, I’m reaching out to you.  (Laughter.)  You have been there for us, our troops, our families, our nation.

I also know that he’s been there for his lovely wife, Stephanie, sometimes by Skype because he’s been traveling.  But the sacrifices that Stephanie has been willing to make -- this is a team effort, as it is true for our military families.  And so we're very grateful to Stephanie.  She joined Ash on a lot of those Thanksgiving trips to see our troops and at the bedside of wounded warriors.  She knows the sacrifices they're going through.

Stephanie, we thank you for your service.  We thank Will and Ava, who couldn’t be here, but we know that they couldn’t be prouder of their dad.

And with that, I want to let, hopefully, our soon-to-be-new Secretary of Defense say a few words.  (Applause.)

MR. CARTER:  Thank you, Mr. President.  And, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, it’s an honor and a privilege for me to be nominated for the position of Secretary of Defense.  General Scowcroft, my longtime mentor, thank you for being here.  And thanks to another longtime mentor, Bill Perry, who can't be here today.  And thanks to you, Chairman, and many other friends and colleagues, past and future, for coming out today.

I accepted the President’s offer to be nominated for Secretary of Defense because of my regard for his leadership.  I accepted it because of the seriousness of the strategic challenges we face, but also the bright opportunities that exist for America if we can come together to grab hold of them.  And I accepted the offer because of the deep respect and abiding love that Stephanie and I have for our men and women in uniform.

As we talked together in the past weeks, Mr. President, we discussed the challenges and the opportunities, and the need both to keep America safe and to make a better future for our children.  If confirmed in this job, I pledge to you my most candid strategic advice.  And I pledge also that you will receive equally candid military advice.

And finally, to the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, to you, I pledge to keep faith with you and to serve our nation with the same unflinching dedication that you demonstrate every day.  (Applause.)

END          
10:50 A.M. EST

EPA ASKS INDUSTRY FOR INFORMATION ON SAFER CHEMICALS

FROM:  U.S. EPA

The EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) is announcing an initiative to expand the Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL) with chemicals in new and existing functional component classes.  We are inviting chemical manufacturers to submit information on their safer chemicals to EPA for review and listing on the SCIL. Adding more chemicals to the SCIL should foster innovation and growth in safer products, increase markets for business, and help protect people and the environment.

The SCIL contains chemicals that meet DfE’s rigorous safer chemical criteria and are eligible for use in the DfE Safer Product Labelling program. To date, SCIL-listed chemicals have been primarily used in cleaning and detergent products. The SCIL currently contains chemicals from the ingredient classes typically found in cleaners and detergents (surfactants, solvents, chelants, colorants, etc.).  Numbering over 650 discrete substances, SCIL chemicals have played an important role in enhancing the transparency of and increasing participation in the Safer Product Labeling Program.  Product manufacturers and many others use the SCIL as they develop or enhance formulations to earn the DfE Safer Product Label, qualify for retailer sustainability programs, meet company innovation goals, or learn more about the ingredients used to make safer products. Retailers have used the Safer Product Label to qualify products for their sustainability programs.

Today’s announcement opens the door for the expansion of safer chemicals and functional-use classes on the SCIL.  EPA has posted a “Steps to SCIL Listing” . The Agency is asking manufacturers with candidate chemicals to work with a DfE-qualified third party to prepare a profile on the chemical, based on the program’s safer chemical criteria.  EPA will use the profile and Agency criteria and expertise to make the listing decision.  The presence of safer chemicals in new component classes, and with new functionalities, on SCIL will create opportunities to label and promote new types of safer products, potentially bringing the benefits of the Safer Product Label to new markets and populations of workers and consumers.

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS AT THE U.S.-EU ENERGY COUNCIL

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks at At U.S.-EU Energy Council
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
European External Action Service
Brussels, Belgium
December 3, 2014

Well, thank you very much for that, Federica. I’m delighted to be here with the high representative and pleased to be in the company of Vice President Sefcovic and Commissioner Canete and Vice-Minister De Vincenti. I’m glad to be back here in this room where we’ve had a couple of meetings already. Last year we were here and we had a good session.

I am not accompanied today by Secretary Moniz. This is not the secretary of energy. He is the acting assistant secretary of energy, and I don’t know how he got here and Moniz did not. (Laughter.) But Secretary Moniz’s flight was canceled, and so he’s gone promptly to the President and he’s asked to be secretary of transportation instead. (Laughter.) Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it, and I’m sorry for that, because as good as the assistant secretary will be, he really knows his stuff, and frankly, he’s got enormous expertise so he will be missed.

But I’m pleased to be here with all of you, and let me begin by applauding the tremendous leadership of the EU in helping to reach a gas deal with respect to Ukraine. That is a very important deal, and it is very successful with respect to the long-term situation. It’s important. And part of our meeting today is really to talk about providing a sustainable energy plan for Europe – for actually more than Europeans – so that all of us can deal not just with issues like climate change, but the economy and the stability of the economy and the stability of the supply. And obviously, it’s not a good idea to depend anywhere in the world on one source. There are disruption and vast implications.

We support major U.S.-EU energy sector reform. That’s part of what we’re going to talk about here today. We think there can be increased domestic production. There’s much to be done on energy efficiency. There’s also an enormous amount to be done in the transformation to a clean energy economy. In fact, the clean energy economy represents the single largest market in the world. And the market that made America particularly wealthy – and I say that advisedly and measured against the 1920s when we didn’t have income tax and people made a lot of money – we actually saw more people make more money in the 1990s from a $1 trillion market that had one billion users. It was the high tech market. The energy market that we are looking at today globally is a $6 trillion market today with 4 to 5 billion users today, and it will rise to some 9 billion users over the course of the next 30 years. It is the largest – you can call it the mother of all markets if you want. And its future is not in coal unless somebody can figure out how to burn it absolutely cleanly. Its future is going to be in clean energy.

So that’s what we’re here to talk about. We want to, obviously, deal with the question – a more prosaic question of how we deal with Ukraine, how we deal with the energy demands of the moment to get through a certain crisis. We want to talk about long-term energy security, which depends on investment in the future. We clearly want to meet our responsibility with respect to climate change. The United States has tried to exhibit leadership together with China as a beginning, as a first step to lay some markers down to encourage people to make the most out of Lima in the next days, and then to make the most out of Paris next year. Because it is clear from all of the scientific evidence that we are behind where we need to be, and catching up is not easy.

So this is our challenge. Technology and our collaboration within the technology sector could be an enormous kick-start to both of our economies and obviously bring us all long-term stability and significant rewards.

I’d just close by saying that I’ve been in public policy now most of my life, 30 – almost 30 years in the U.S. Senate, and now serving as Secretary, and before the Senate, lieutenant governor of a state. I’ve seen many, many debates over public policy issues, and many of them present you with a tension. There’s an up and there’s a down, and you try to fight your way through that tension. When it comes to energy choices, I have never seen an issue that presents as many upsides and as little downside.

People keep saying, well, it’s going to be too expensive to do this, or this may dislocate the economy. It’s just not true. The fact is that the benefits to health, the benefits to – the benefits to health, the savings of hospitals and hospitalization for particulate-imbued diseases or other enhanced diseases as a result of breathing capacity, the enhancement to the environment, the preservation of long-term environment, the diminishment of carbon dioxide, the diminishment of the damaging effects of acidification on the oceans and the impact that is incalculable on species, on coral reefs, on spawning grounds – I mean, you could run the list – the impact on energy security for nations, the lack of conflict as a consequence, the impact on populations that don’t have to move – all of these things are key.

So when you add it all up, the pluses of what we’re talking about here today are just enormous, and we hope that that becomes more and more self-evident as we go forward. And Federica, thanks for hosting us. We appreciate it.

ASSISTANT AG CALDWELL MAKES SPEECH AT CYBERCRIME 2020 SYMPOSIUM

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell Speaks at Cybercrime 2020 Symposium
Washington, DCUnited States ~ Thursday, December 4, 2014

Good morning and welcome to the Criminal Division’s inaugural symposium on cybercrime.  Before we start, I would like to thank Dean Treanor and the Georgetown Law Center for being such gracious partners in planning and holding this event.  

I would also like to thank the moderators and panelists for traveling from across the country to contribute their expertise to today’s discussions.  We have assembled an impressive array of experts from the private sector, academia, privacy groups, and all three branches of government, and I am looking forward to the diverse perspectives they will be sharing with us today.

A special welcome and thanks to Troels Orting, our keynote speaker, who has traveled the farthest to be with us today.  Troels is the Director of Europol’s European Cybercrime Center or “EC3,” which is headquartered at the Hague in the Netherlands.  In recent months, the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, federal investigators, and private companies have executed some of the most elaborate law enforcement operations ever attempted in the cybercrime arena.  Troels and EC3 have been instrumental to the success of those operations.

You’ll hear more about that in a moment, but I wanted to make sure I expressed my personal appreciation to him and EC3.  I believe that such robust cooperation within the international law enforcement community is the necessary future of cybercrime investigations.  I anticipate that the Department of Justice and EC3 will be allies for years to come.

Today’s symposium is focused on the future of technology and online crime, so I expect that you will be hearing a lot about “change” and “evolution.”  I want to briefly discuss the state of affairs today, and how I see cybercrime evolving over the coming years.

I also want to take this opportunity to talk about changes within the Criminal Division and our evolving efforts to deter, investigate, and prosecute cyber criminals and to protect the country’s computer networks from cyber threats in the first instance.

In that regard, I will highlight two ways in which we are addressing the growing threat:

First, we are mounting increasingly innovative and cooperative, international law enforcement operations to disrupt cyber criminal organizations across the globe;

Second, we are increasing our efforts to prevent cyber attacks by providing resources for our public and private partners to enhance cyber security across the board.  In furtherance of this effort, we are creating a dedicated Cybersecurity Unit within the Criminal Division, which I will discuss more in a moment.

As I mentioned, I will start with a few words about the Internet and technology, how they are influencing the crimes we see today, and how we anticipate they will shape the crimes of tomorrow.

By now it has become obvious not only to those of us who gather at events like this but to the entire world:  the Internet and related technologies have changed the way we work, play, and live.  Everyone in this room is carrying a cell phone, tablet, or some other device that is connected to the Internet right now.  The vast majority of Americans have made technology part of their everyday lives.

This boom in Internet-driven technology brings with it new opportunities for innovation, productivity, and entertainment.  It is helping people connect locally and globally through email, social networking, and various other forms of communication.  It is helping our businesses compete in expanding markets.  It is giving us ready access to a seemingly endless stream of information, resources, and services unlike anything that preceded it.  From big companies to tiny start-ups, innovation is taking place around the world at a dizzying pace.

Unfortunately, there is also a flip side to these advances.  A tool that has become so vital to families, consumers, businesses, and governments was also bound to become a target for criminals.  Not surprisingly, cyber criminals are taking advantage of the same advances in technology to perpetrate more complex and extensive crimes.  Indeed, according to data from the 2013 Norton Report, there will be more than 14,000 additional victims of online crime by the time I have finished this speech.

For the foreseeable future, cybercrime will increase in both volume and sophistication.  By exploiting technology, the most skilled cyber criminals will be capable of committing crimes on a scale that will result in more lost data, greater damage to the security of networks, and greater risk to Internet users.  We are already getting glimpses of this new criminal tide.

Last year, two cyber intrusions targeting the banking system inflicted $45 million in losses on the global financial system in a matter of hours.  Let me emphasize, that figure is not a speculative estimate or a projection.  That is the sum total of money that the perpetrators withdrew from banks around the world by breaking into bank computers and removing limits on the amount of money they could withdraw from ATM machines.  That crime dwarfed the biggest bank heists in U.S. history several times over, and the masterminds never had to worry about security guards, dye-packs, or silent alarms.  In fact, they never had to leave home.

Our dependence on technology is also ushering in a new era of online breaches.  Ever larger networks are processing more consumer data in an effort to make our purchases simpler and less time consuming.  These networks transmit vast amounts of personal and financial data, and enterprising hackers are targeting them to produce data breaches that dwarf anything we’ve seen before.  Individual breaches regularly put at risk the financial information of tens of millions of consumers.  This threatens consumer confidence and has devastating consequences for companies who have fallen victim.  

We have also witnessed the rise of another type of intrusion that causes harms less simple to quantify.  Rather than stealing money or valuable financial data, these breaches have robbed people of their privacy.  Some hackers have become virtual home invaders, using malware to tap into personal webcams located in homes around the world so they can spy on our most intimate moments.  Other hackers have broken into online storage accounts and personal devices to snatch personal photos or communications for money or prurient thrills.

So, how is the Department responding to these new types of online threats and challenges?  In the case of the $45 million dollar cyber heist I mentioned, we were able to promptly find, arrest and prosecute some of those responsible.  Thus far, 13 defendants have been convicted for their participation in the scheme.  The Criminal Division and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices are bringing the lessons of this successful prosecution and others to the investigations of recent breaches that have been in the news.

While arrests and prosecutions are our primary goal, we recognize that it is increasingly common for sophisticated cyber criminals to base themselves overseas in countries where they are not so easily reached.  Consequently, we have adjusted our tactics in two significant ways.  We are engaging in larger, international law enforcement operations to target criminals around the globe.  And, we are acting up front to stop the harm that these cyber criminals are causing, even before we can get them into custody.  A prime example of this has been our approach to “botnets.”

“Botnets” are networks of computers that have been secretly infected by malware and controlled by criminals.  Some botnets are millions of computers strong.  Once created, they can be used without a computer owner’s knowledge to engage in a variety of criminal activities, including siphoning off personal and financial data, conducting disruptive cyber attacks, and distributing malware to infect other computers.

One particularly destructive botnet—called Gameover Zeus—was used by criminals to steal millions of dollars from businesses and consumers and to extort additional millions of dollars in a “ransomware” scheme.  Ransomware is malware that secretly encrypts your hard drive and then demands payments to restore access to your own files and data.  Ransomware called “Cryptolocker” was distributed through the Gameover Zeus Botnet, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers, approximately half of which were located in the United States.  It generated more than $27 million in ransom payments for its creators, including Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev, in just the first two months after it emerged.

But through carefully choreographed international law enforcement coordination, we not only identified and obtained a 14-count indictment against Bogachev, but also obtained injunctions and court orders to dismantle the network of computers he used to orchestrate his scheme.  The Justice Department, U.S. law enforcement, numerous private sector partners, and foreign partners in more than 10 countries, as well as EC3, mounted court-authorized operations that allowed us to wrest control of the botnet away from the criminals, disable it, and start to repair the damage it caused.

This afternoon, you will hear from David Hickton, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, whose office worked with CCIPS to spearhead this effort.  This case serves as a model of both international cooperation and our ability to mitigate the damage caused by cyber criminals even before making an arrest.

In another international operation, just a few weeks ago, we targeted so-called “dark market” websites selling illegal goods and services online.  These websites were operating on the “Tor” network, a special network of computers on the Internet designed to conceal the locations of individuals who use it.  The websites we targeted traded in illegal narcotics; firearms; stolen credit card data; counterfeit currency; fake passports and other identification documents; and computer-hacking tools and services.  Using court-authorized legal process and mutual legal assistance treaty requests, the Department, the FBI, and international partners from approximately 16 foreign nations working under the umbrella of EC3 seized over 400 Tor addresses associated with dozens of websites, as well as multiple computer servers hosting these websites.

Once again, international cooperation among the world’s law enforcement agencies was pivotal to the success of this global operation.  And, once again, we were able to disrupt cybercrime in manners other than traditional arrest and prosecution.

In addition to undertaking these innovative international operations and takedowns, the Criminal Division is also re-orienting itself to better address the complex nature of cyber threats on multiple fronts.

High-tech crimes are not new to the Criminal Division.  We have been investigating and prosecuting computer crimes since the Division created the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, or “CCIPS,” in 1996.  As I have already described, CCIPS prosecutors have led complex computer crimes investigations for years, and this work will continue.

Through CCIPS, the Criminal Division has also supported and expanded our U.S. Attorneys’ Offices’ expertise and capacity to tackle the most complex cybercrimes.  CCIPS has worked over the last 12 years to build the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property or “CHIP” Network with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the nation, which is now over 270 prosecutors strong.  That network has fostered a close partnership between CCIPS and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in addressing the nation’s most sophisticated computer crimes.  In addition, over the last two years, the CHIP Network was used as the model for the National Security Cyber Specialists’ network, a partnership among the National Security Division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and CCIPS that focuses on cyber threats to national security.

As the threats increase daily, however, I want to make sure that cyber security is receiving the dedicated attention it requires.  It is important that we address cyber threats on multiple fronts, with both a robust enforcement strategy as well as a broad prevention strategy.  I am, therefore, announcing today the creation of the Cybersecurity Unit within CCIPS.  The Cybersecurity Unit will have responsibility on behalf of the Criminal Division for a variety of efforts we are undertaking to enhance public and private cyber security efforts.

Given the growing complexity and volume of cyber attacks, as well as the intricate rubric of laws and investigatory tools needed to thwart the attacks, the Cybersecurity Unit will play an important role in this field.  Prosecutors from the Cybersecurity Unit will provide a central hub for expert advice and legal guidance regarding the criminal electronic surveillance statutes for both U.S. and international law enforcement conducting complex cyber investigations to ensure that the powerful law enforcement tools are effectively used to bring the perpetrators to justice while also protecting the privacy of every day Americans.  The Cybersecurity Unit will work hand-in-hand with law enforcement and will also work with private sector partners and Congress.  This new unit will strive to ensure that the advancing cyber security legislation is shaped to most effectively protect our nation’s computer networks and individual victims from cyber attacks.

As you know, the private sector has proved to be an increasingly important partner in our fight against all types of online crime, but particularly cyber security-related matters.  Prosecutors from the Cybersecurity Unit will be engaging in extensive outreach to facilitate cooperative relationships with our private sector partners.  This is a fight that the government cannot and will not wage alone.

As just one example of the kind of outreach we can do, earlier this year, we heard concerns expressed by communications service providers about uncertainty over whether the Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits sharing certain cyber threat information.  This uncertainty limited the lawful sharing of information that could better protect networks from cyber threats.  In response, we produced a white paper in May to address these concerns and publicly released our analysis of the issue.  We will continue to engage in this open dialogue about emerging issues and to clear roadblocks like this one.

Finally, we will be engaging with the public at-large about cyber security issues.  Over the past several years, but especially this past year, I have noticed a growing public distrust of law enforcement surveillance and high-tech investigative techniques.  This kind of mistrust can hamper investigations and cyber security efforts.  Most of this mistrust, however, comes from misconceptions about the technical abilities of the law enforcement tools and the manners in which they are used.  I hope to engage the public directly on these issues and to allay concerns.

CCIPS already plays an important role in this regard, and I expect that to expand with the Cybersecurity Unit.  CCIPS’s manuals on laws governing searching and seizing computers, electronic surveillance, and prosecuting computer crimes are probably the most comprehensive materials on those topics you will find anywhere.  To ensure transparency and wide access to this helpful information, those manuals are publicly available on CCIPS’s website, cybercrime.gov.  

I would like to start the public dialogue, however, by briefly addressing an overarching misconception:  the apparent belief that privacy and civil liberties are afterthoughts to criminal investigators.  In fact, almost every decision we make during an investigation requires us to weigh the effect on privacy and civil liberties, and we take that responsibility seriously.  Privacy concerns are not just tacked onto our investigations, they are baked in.  Privacy concerns are in the laws that set the ground rules for us to follow; the Departmental policies that govern our investigative and prosecutorial conduct; the accountability we must embrace when we present our evidence to a judge, a jury, and the public in an open courtroom; and in the proud culture of the Department.

We not only carefully consider privacy implications throughout our investigations, but we also dedicate significant resources to protecting the privacy of Americans from hackers who steal our financial and credit card information, online predators that stalk and exploit our children, and cyber thieves who steal the trade secrets of innovative American entrepreneurs.  As just an example our efforts, we recently announced the conviction of a Danish citizen who marketed and sold StealthGenie, a spyware application or “app” that could remotely monitor calls, texts, videos and other communications on mobile phones without detection.  This app was marketed to individuals who wanted to spy on spouses and lovers suspected of infidelity.

Additionally, earlier this year, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced charges against the owner of “Blackshades,” which sold the Blackshades Remote Access Tool.  EC3 again played a substantial role in this worldwide takedown, which resulted in the arrests of more than 90 people across the globe.  The Blackshades tool was used by hackers to gain access to victims’ personal computers to secretly steal files and account information, browse personal photos, and even to monitor the victims through their own webcams.  This software tool illustrates one of the scariest capabilities of hackers to date, as the Blackshades product or a similar tool was used by one hacker to secretly capture naked photos of teens and young women, including Miss Teen USA.  The hacker then used the photos to extort his victims—with threats that he would post the photos on the Internet—into sending additional nude photos and videos.

These are just two examples of our work to investigate and prosecute criminals who invade the privacy of unsuspecting citizens.  We hope that continuing to host symposiums like this one—and other outreach efforts—will help combat misconceptions about the Department’s efforts to protect the privacy of Americans.  Outreach allows us to participate in the growing public debate about evolving technology.  The open debate will benefit from the information that we can contribute about how technology is being used by criminals, how we are leveraging technology to investigate and disrupt criminal activity, and how technology can be leveraged in the public and private sectors to enhance cyber security.  Without that information, misconceptions and inaccuracies can take root and hamper enforcement efforts as well as cyber security programs.

Georgetown and the Department designed today’s event to bring diverse viewpoints together.  Our aim is to make sure that a range of perspectives are presented.  Of course, there will be limits to what Department representatives can publicly discuss for a variety of reasons, including the potential of harming an ongoing investigation, the need to protect individuals who are the subjects of investigations, and statutory and Departmental restrictions on disclosure of certain information.  Regardless, we are excited to add our voice to the debate and grateful to Georgetown and to all of you for supporting this event.  We hope it will be the first of many.

Thank you.

U.S. OFFICIAL'S REMARKS AT CONNECTING THE AMERICAS 2022 INVESTMENT SUMMIT

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks at the Opening of the Connect 2022 Investment Summit
December 3, 2014

By Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Scott Nathan

As Prepared

Good morning. Buenos dias.

It is a privilege to be here today with so many distinguished representatives from Mesoamerican nations, regional and development organizations, and leaders from the private sector.

I want to thank President Otto Perez Molina, Minister of Energy and Mines Erick Archila, and the Republic of Guatemala for hosting the first Connecting the Americas 2022 Investment Summit. I also thank the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank for their support and for bringing their expertise to help inform our discussions today.

The Western Hemisphere is on a clear trajectory of greater opportunity, greater democracy, and greater prosperity. We see the consolidation of democratic values and freer and more inclusive societies. We see some of the world’s biggest and fastest growing economies. We see a growing middle class that today is nearly 300 million strong. And we know the Americas is vital to global energy markets. The Hemisphere is endowed with a significant portion of the world’s oil, gas, and coal, and a rich and diverse array of renewable energy sources, from geothermal in El Salvador and Guatemala, to wind in Mexico and Nicaragua, to hydropower in Colombia and Panama, and biomass in Honduras and Costa Rica. The Americas is a model of energy cooperation and of high renewables penetration.

Today we look to the future of our Hemisphere not with trepidation about looming conflicts and crises, but with confidence that together -- as equal partners -- we can achieve sustainable economic growth and development.

Last year the United States launched one of the most active periods of American engagement with our Hemispheric partners in a very long time, with trips to the region by President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and Secretary Kerry, as well as visits to the White House this year by the Presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Next week our Vice President and the IDB will convene high-level officials from regional governments, the private sector, the international community, and non-governmental organizations to discuss how to address the complex issues that impact Central America’s security and prosperity.

This engagement demonstrates a conscious effort by the Obama Administration to define a shared vision for the future of our Hemisphere and outline a practical and concrete agenda for action. Today we gather here in Guatemala City to advance an important piece of that agenda – our need to transition to a more reliable, affordable, interconnected, commercially viable, and sustainable electricity network.

The Challenges

We will not reach our full potential as a region – not in economic competitiveness, not in job creation, not in education, and not in healthcare – if tens of millions of people in our hemisphere are off the grid and hundreds of millions more are limited to unreliable and expensive electricity.

The scope of the challenge is clear.

First, thanks to booming economies and a growing middle class, energy demand in our region is skyrocketing. Studies suggest that Central American countries will need to double its energy supply in the next 10 years to keep up with demand – an endeavor that will require $25 billion in power sector investment by 2030. We know public finance alone cannot close the energy investment gap, particularly as it needs resources to improve citizen security.

Second, increased demand is driving up the cost of energy. Central America pays very high prices for electricity – ranging from two to five times what we pay in the United States. Expensive electricity hurts competitiveness, undermines investment, slows job growth, and ultimately undercuts the welfare and security of households.

Third, climate change is putting us all at risk. In those countries where clean hydroelectric power has met most needs, climate change is affecting patterns and levels of water availability. Droughts and flood are driving those nations to diversify energy sources, including renewable sources of power. In other countries, continued reliance on conventional, imported heavy oil and diesel, is releasing toxins into communities and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Climate change also puts the region’s biodiversity at risk – and Central America is the source of 40 percent of global biodiversity.

No country can confront the energy and climate challenge on its own. It is not viable from a technical perspective, it is not viable from a business perspective, and it is not viable from a political perspective.

The Response

This is why the United States supported Colombia’s launch of the Connecting the Americas 2022 initiative at the Sixth Summit of the Americas. The goal of this initiative is clear: universal access to reliable, clean, and affordable electricity in one decade, so that families and businesses have the energy they need at a price they can afford.

To achieve this goal, we all pledged to work together to create a modern, commercially viable electricity network in the Western Hemisphere that attracts private investment and transforms power markets to incorporate cleaner, renewable, and more efficient sources of energy. Underlying this commitment is a profound vision of how we bring prosperity to this hemisphere. The leaders of the Western Hemisphere did not endorse Connect 2022 out of a commitment to energy, but rather because they recognize that energy means jobs, education, and health care for their citizens.

This same vision has to inform our continuing political determination to achieve Connect 2022 goals. There will be times when prospects for low-cost and clean energy come up against legacy investments that are dirty and expensive. The right choices for society may be clear. But that is not always how powerful interests function. And that is why the leadership of policymakers, informed by sound technical analysis, is so very important as we make choices for posterity.

This Mesoamerican region has made important progress over the past two years. My government sees this region as the leader on Connect 2022, and we encourage you to celebrate your success when leaders meet at the 2015 Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Permanent regional market rules have been in place since June 2013. These rules are essential for creating a business and legal climate that encourages investors to take capital and development risks. You need look no further than regional electricity trade statistics to see how setting clear rules can unleash powerful growth. The volume of electricity trade over the past twelve months, at 1,316 gigawatt-hours, is more than triple what it was in the twelve months ending in June 2013.

Just over a month ago, the Electrical Interconnection System of Central America, or SIEPAC completed its regional transmission line, connecting 37 million consumers in, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Power grids are now connected from Canada to Panama.

And each government has shown a commitment to diversification with cleaner sources of electricity. From Mexico’s historic energy reform, to Nicaragua’s impressive and diverse renewables portfolio, Guatemala’s utility scale solar project and potential gas resources, to wind energy in Honduras and Costa Rica, which the U.S. Export-Import Bank helped finance, Mesoamerican energy transformation and integration is well underway.

We must build on this momentum by addressing several important challenges.

The first is, by far, the most straightforward: ensure that the physical infrastructure of the SIEPAC line is strong and resilient, that the company operating the line has the resources it needs to maintain and expand the line, and that the Regional Electricity Market develops robust interconnections with Mexico to the north and Colombia to the south. Ensure that there is non-discriminatory access to national transmission systems in order to take full advantage of power systems. As in any business, you must have a product to sell. The new Central American line is there but it is not sufficient to support the volume of trade required to meet the region’s full power needs. The market is growing. Let’s work together to achieve its potential.

The second challenge is contractual. If you are going to make a 20-year investment in power generation, then you need to know that you have access to the power line for 20 years to amortize your investment. If you need bank financing, banks need to understand the contracts. The more that contracts are built around a common model, the more competition you’ll get from financial institutions and the lower the cost. Long term financing that reduces the cost of capital will enable leaders to meet their growing electricity demand without necessarily increasing electricity prices. Interest rates reflect risk, but development banks have instruments to mitigate risk. And of course in any business that cuts across national lines, you need mechanisms to resolve disputes. These are issues we know how to solve. And that is why we are gathered here today.

The third challenge is financial. We need to leverage private capital to support the Connect 2022 initiative. Governments have their role in creating business opportunities. But the $25 billion we need in the region is not going to come from the collective Treasuries of the countries in this region. And it does not need to if we create conditions that allow businesses to make a return on capital.

This is an area where the United States can help. The Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation are able to provide excellent terms for projects that include an element of U.S. industry. Our development, energy, commerce, and trade agencies all stand ready to assist and support your efforts however and wherever we can.

Demand is real. Just last year EXIM finalized direct loans of $220 million for wind power projects in Central America. OPIC has committed $1.2 billion in support for renewable energy projects worldwide, 53 percent of which were in Latin America. Central America’s share, while small today has enormous potential. If we open the doors with the right enabling policy environment and financial conditions, private capital is ready to come in.

The IDB, World Bank and IFC, and other finance partners are equally committed to help finance these investments.

Conclusion

Now is the time for definitive action – to clear the outstanding technical, contractual, and financial hurdles…to finalize the legal, regulatory, operational, and market conditions required for greater investment… and to diversify our energy supplies.

We have the knowledge and the means to do all of these things. All we need is political will, leadership, and courage. Political will to focus our governments on this effort in the midst of competing and often urgent priorities. Leadership to change the way our governments and industries do business. And courage to innovate, take risks, and transcend our differences for the common good.

Let’s challenge ourselves to have a productive and successful day of discussions.

Thank you very much.

Friday, December 5, 2014

President Obama Speaks to Newly-Elected Governors

12/5/14: White House Press Briefing

U.S. CONGRATULATES PEOPLE OF FINLAND ON THEIR NATIONAL DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
On the Occasion of Finland's National Day
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 5, 2014

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Finland as you celebrate your Independence Day on December 6. The bond between our nations is strong and founded on our shared democratic principles and the lasting contributions of Americans of Finnish heritage.

Your “sisu” and vigorous entrepreneurial spirit are integral to your success and an inspiration to others. We look forward to continuing to deepen our commercial ties and the broad cultural and political bonds that exist between our nations. We are proud to work closely with you to advance energy security; global climate, health and education initiatives; and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Finland is a valued partner in advancing global peace and security, including in Africa and other regions.

As you celebrate this day, please know that the United States will always stand with you as a faithful friend and partner. I wish all Finnish people continued peace and prosperity in the coming year.

NASA VIDEO: LIFTOFF OF ORION

TYPHOON HAGUPIT'S RAINS AND WINDS TO HIT PHILIPPINES ON SATURDAY DECEMBER 6. 2014

FROM:  NASA 
NASA Analyzes Super Typhoon Hagupit's Rains and Wind on Philippine Approach

Super Typhoon Hagupit is forecast to make landfall in the eastern Philippines bringing heavy rainfall, damaging winds and storm surge. NASA/JAXA's TRMM satellite and the RapidScat instrument provided rainfall and wind data, while NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided a visible image of the storm. In the Philippines, Hagupit is known locally as "Typhoon Ruby."
The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM satellite caught a good view of Super Typhoon Hagupit on December 4, 2014 at 1721 UTC (12:21 p.m. EST) when its sustained winds were estimated at over 145 knots (166.8 mph). TRMM's Microwave Imager (TMI) showed that the heaviest rainfall was just southwest of a well-defined eye.

About three hours later the International Space Station-RapidScat instrument captured data on Hagupit's winds. The RapidScat image showed sustained winds of at least 30 meters per second (67 mph/108 kph) around the eye of the storm.
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite flew over Super Typhoon Hagupit on Dec. 5 at 4:22 UTC (Dec. 4 at 11:22 p.m. EDT) and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite or VIIRS instrument aboard captured a visible image of the storm. The VIIRS image showed a symmetric ring of intense thunderstorms surrounding the 12-nautical-mile-wide eye.

VIIRS is a scanning radiometer that collects visible and infrared imagery and "radiometric" measurements. Basically it means that VIIRS data is used to measure cloud and aerosol properties, ocean color, sea and land surface temperature, ice motion and temperature, fires, and Earth's albedo (reflected light).

At 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST) on Dec. 5, Super Typhoon Hagupit's maximum sustained winds were near 130 knots (149.6 mph/241 kph), down from 150 knots (172 mph/277.8 kph). Typhoon-force winds extend out 40 nautical miles (46 miles/74 km) from the center, while tropical-storm-force winds extend out to 120 miles (138 miles/222 km).

Hagupit was centered near 12.1 north longitude and 128.2 east latitude, about 465 nautical miles (535 miles/861 km) southeast of Manila, Philippines. Hagupit continued moving in a west-northwesterly direction. The storm is generating very rough and dangerous seas with wave heights to 45 feet (13.7 meter).
According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) forecast, Super Typhoon Hagupit will "maintain intensity until it starts interacting with land near 24 hours (1500 UTC/10 a.m. EST on Dec. 6) then the system will begin rapidly weakening."

Many warnings are in effect throughout the Philippines. Public storm warning signal #2 is in effect in the following provinces: Visayas: Northern and eastern Samar, Samar, Biliran, Leyte, southern Leyte, northern Cebu and Cebu City, Bantayan Island and Camotes Island. In Luzon, signal #2 is in effect for: Albay, Sorsogon, Ticao Island and Masbate.

Public storm warning signal #1 is in effect in the Province of Visayas including: Capiz, Iloilo, Antique, Guimaras, Aklan, Negros Oriental & Occidental, rest of Cebu, Siquijor and Bohol. Signal #1 is also in effect in the Mindanao Province for Surigao del Sur, & Norte, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Sur & Norte, Dinagat Island and Camiguin Island; and in the Province of Luzon, including: Catanduanes, Camarines Norte & Sur, Burias Island and Romblon.

On Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC) the latest update from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration known as PAGASA called for expected landfall on Saturday evening (Dec. 6) or Sunday morning (Dec. 7) over the Eastern Samar – Northern Samar area and it will be associated with strong winds, storm surge (up to 4 meters) and heavy-intense rainfall.

PAGASA noted:

• "Estimated rainfall amount is from 7.5 – 20 mm per hour (heavy – intense) within the 600 km diameter of the typhoon.

• Ruby (Hagupit) and the Northeast Monsoon will bring rough to very rough sea conditions over the seaboards of Northern Luzon, eastern seaboard of Central and Southern Luzon, seaboards of Visayas and over northern and eastern seaboards of Mindanao. Fishermen and those using small seacraft are advised not to venture out over the said seaboards."

For more information and updates visit: www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph or http://meteopilipinas.gov.ph/map.php.

Hagupit is tracking generally westward along the southwestern edge of a subtropical ridge (elongated area) of high pressure which is located south of Japan. Over the next three days, Hagupit is forecast to track west to west-northwest under the influence of that area of high pressure.    
Rob Gutro

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

West Wing Week: 12/05/14 or, "Multiparameter Flow Cytometer"

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS AT LONDON CONFERENCE ON AFGHANISTAN

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks at the London Conference on Afghanistan
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Lancaster House
London, United Kingdom
December 4, 2014

Thank you very much, all of you, for being here. And thank you for the privilege of being part of this very important conference. And I want to thank Prime Minister Cameron for hosting and, you, President Ghani for cohosting this effort. We saw each other in Brussels. You’ve been on a whirlwind tour, and I will tell everybody here that everywhere that he Chief Executive Abdullah are going they are impressing people. And I will tell you this is one person who is not surprised.

I had the privilege of spending quite a few hours in Kabul during the post-election period, prior to the creation of the unity government. And during that time, I saw two men, both of whom were convinced, and took steps to prove it, that Afghanistan was far more important than them personally. And we are here today at a very different kind of meeting than might’ve taken place because they were both willing to exhibit enormous leadership, statesmanship, and were prepared to put their own political interests, as manifested through many of their supporters, behind the interests of unity and of country. And I will tell you, I think that augurs enormously well for the future. That’s why I think we can come to this conference with considerable confidence.

At the Tokyo conference two years ago, we all agreed that we would meet this year here in London and take stock. And we are taking stock in a very different place than we might have been were it not for their choices. Since the time of Tokyo, Afghanistan has obviously made enormous progress. It’s just a transformation taking place, and you have to go there to see it and feel it, notwithstanding the difficulties of security, the difficulties of an insurgent force that still chooses to kill people randomly rather than offer a platform for progress and for the future. So Afghan forces have now assumed responsibility for security across the country, with the United States and our international allies shifting to a supporting role.

Politically, Afghans achieved something incredible. They achieved the first democratic transfer of power from one elected leader to another in their entire history. And they have continued to work to improve governance. They have committed not just to maintaining but to building on the progress that was made in the last decade, including continued advances in respect to the rights of women and girls. I was there last year and met with 10 women entrepreneurs, who were among the most remarkable women I’ve ever met, each of whom were taking extraordinary risks to be leaders, but they were making a remarkable difference. Their voices and their votes gave Afghans the clarity that they will not tolerate any backsliding, and nor should we. This is a country whose leaders and whose people are wisely focused on the future.

In Tokyo, Afghanistan and its partners pledged to go forward based on mutual accountability and sustainability. That framework remains the touchstone for gauging progress. President Ghani and CEO Abdullah have presented a reform agenda that commits to these principles, and they’ve begun backing up these words with action already. During their short time in office, they’ve taken steps to combat money laundering and corruption, improve the country’s fiscal situation, and foster better relations with their neighbors, including importantly – perhaps most importantly – Pakistan.

One specific area where the new Afghans’ Government’s engagement has made a meaningful impact is in expanding economic connectivity across the region. I welcome the agreement yesterday between Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan on the CASA-1000 electricity transmission project. Advancing this project to completion would make real the idea of a regional energy market connecting South and Central Asia. This project is important because Afghanistan’s economic future depends on improved connectivity with regional and international markets. And to facilitate that broader goal, I am pleased to report that the United States and Afghanistan have agreed to improve private sector links between our countries by issuing visas that will be valid longer and will allow for multiple entries for eligible business travelers, students, exchange visitors, and tourists.

The United States has met the commitments that we made in Tokyo to support Afghanistan’s development, and we are convinced that this extraordinary commitment of U.S. support serves our long-term national security interests in Afghanistan, in the region, as well as assists Afghanistan to stand on its own two feet. And we are committed to ensuring that Afghanistan can never again be used as a safe haven from which terrorists can threaten the international community. We know that the most effective way to advance this objective is to support Afghanistan’s political unity and its security. Between 2012 and 2015, we will have provided more than 8 billion in civilian assistance, and the Administration will continue to request from Congress extraordinary levels of assistance through 2017 and gradually declining levels beyond that date, consistent with the terms of the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed by our two governments in 2012. And we will continue, clearly, to invest in Afghanistan’s growth and development.

Looking ahead, we will engage regularly and constructively with Afghan leaders both in government and civil society to assist where and when we can. And we are confident that the policies outlined today by President Ghani and CEO Abdullah will result in a more stable and prosperous Afghanistan. So this is really an extraordinary moment of transition. It’s a moment of transformation, and the possibilities are so enormous. It’s hard to think that those who want to go backwards have the ability to interrupt progress in the way that they do, but what is clear to me is the majority of the people of Afghanistan by vast proportions – 85, 90 percent – are supporting this president and supporting the current direction of Afghanistan. While recognizing this progress, we also need to be realistic and remain conscious that there are these threats. And we need to recognize the urgency, therefore, of continuing to back the Afghan people, which is what brings us here to London for this conference.

My friends, we have a government in Kabul that merits our confidence and our support. And never before has the prospect of a more fully independent and sustainable Afghanistan been more clear than it is at this moment as we assemble here in London. The Afghan people should be very proud of this progress. And as they continue to move forward, they can be confident of the support of the international community. The many countries represented here today have been and must continue to be generous in our financial commitment. We must all help the Afghan people to build the future that they deserve through sustained assistance, but also with the determination to respond to Afghan reforms with private investment, improved market access, and deeper economic engagement. A stable and a peaceful Afghanistan that is at peace with its neighbors is in the interests of all of us, and we all expect and hope for sure that the authorities in Kabul will make good on their promises.

One thing I have learned about this region is it’s a region of unbelievable guts and grit and determination. There’s no question in my mind that the pride of the people of Afghanistan, the people of Pakistan, the people of India could have a very different future facing them. This can be a powerhouse of an economic region, and with our help, with our ability to help this government to deliver the promises it has made, we can, I think, write a very different future for all of us for the long term. We have to be faithful to our commitments as our part of that bargain, and I’m confident that everybody here will do so, and together we will write a very different history for South Central Asia. Thank you. (Applause.)

USFWS VIDEO: SECRETARY SALLY JEWELL DISCUSSES URBAN WILDLIFE REFUGE

BILLION-DOLLAR INVESTMENT SCAMMER SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON

FROM:  U.S. COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION  
Paul Greenwood Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Billion-Dollar Investment Scam

Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced that Paul Greenwood of North Salem, New York, who operated a $1.3 billion investment scam where he and a co-Defendant misappropriated at least $554 million from commodity pool participants, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for charges related to his participation in the scam. Earlier, on July 28, 2010, Greenwood pled guilty to a six-count criminal indictment on the charges, including a commodities fraud charge in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

The criminal charges arose from Greenwood’s solicitation fraud and misappropriation of pool participant funds, as charged in a Complaint filed by the CFTC on February 25, 2009 (see CFTC Press Release 5621-09) and a companion Complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to findings in Consent Orders entered earlier in the CFTC case, from at least 1996 to 2009, Greenwood and a co-Defendant solicited more than $7.6 billion from institutional investors, including charitable and university foundations and pension and retirement plans through Westridge Capital Management, WG Trading Investors, LP, and other entities. The Defendants defrauded victims by falsely depicting that all pool participants’ funds would be employed in a single investment strategy that consisted of index arbitrage. However, pool participants’ funds were transferred to another entity from which Greenwood and the co-Defendant siphoned funds.

Of the approximately $554 million in pool participants’ funds misappropriated, over $130 million was used for Greenwood and the co-Defendant’s personal expenses, including purchasing rare books, horses, and Steiff teddy bears for as much as $80,000.

In a sentencing letter filed with the Court in the criminal proceeding, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York acknowledged that Greenwood had cooperated and had provided substantial assistance to the government and the court-appointed receiver in the CFTC and SEC cases. The receiver’s efforts to marshal assets to date have resulted in the recovery of over $900 million dollars, or close to 90 percent of investors’ claims.

Aitan Goelman, the CFTC’s Director of Enforcement, stated: “The sentence in this case should serve as a warning that those who willfully violate the CEA face the very real chance of a significant term of imprisonment. The CFTC will continue its vigilance in protecting commodities and derivatives investors from fraud and other forms of financial crime.”

The CFTC greatly appreciates the assistance of the National Futures Association, the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The following CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members are responsible for this matter: Patricia Gomersall, Kyong Koh, JonMarc Buffa, Peter Haas, Joan Manley, and Paul Hayeck.

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS AT OSCE

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks at OSCE Ministerial Plenary Session
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Basel, Switzerland
December 4, 2014

Thank you, President Burkhalter, for hosting us, and thanks to you and your team for chairing the OSCE during a very turbulent year. Your excellencies, when this ministerial last convened, tens of thousands of Ukrainian citizens were on the Maidan. And they were not intimidated by police violence, the threat of further repression, or the freezing weather. They were warmed by a simple desire: to live in a country with an honest government. The people of Ukraine continue to persevere. Through – tested by external aggression, they are casting off the shackles of repression and opening a new and promising chapter in their nation’s history. Twice in the past year, they have chosen new leaders through genuine democratic elections, and President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk have pledged to implement a robust agenda of reforms designed to make Ukraine more secure, just, inclusive, prosperous, and free.

As the people of Ukraine have fought for their country, the OSCE has played a pivotal role. The organization has proven to the world the value of collective security and human rights instruments that we have built there, and underlined how important it is that these tools be allowed to work. In Ukraine, the OSCE has deployed the Special Monitoring Mission and used the Vienna Document to send inspection teams. The High Commission on National Minorities and Representatives on Freedom of the Media have supported civil society, documented abuses, and defended the voiceless in Crimea and other parts of Ukraine. ODIHR and the Parliamentary Assembly organized the largest election observation effort in OSCE history, and the list goes on.

The international community is united in condemning the violence that has led to so much needless suffering in Ukraine, but the violence continues. Regrettably, Russia continues to supply new weapons and increase support for armed separatists. In doing so, it fails to meet its international and OSCE obligations and to live up to an agreement that it actually negotiated and signed. The result is damage to its credibility, and its own citizens wind up paying a steep economic and human price, including the price of hundreds of Russian soldiers who fight and die in a country where they had and have no right to be.

So let me emphasize: The United States and countries that support Ukraine’s sovereignty and rights do not seek confrontation. It is not our design or desire that we see a Russia isolated through its own actions. In fact, we are convinced that Moscow could rebuild trust and relationships if it simply helps to calm turbulent waters, if it takes steps now to implement the Minsk protocol in letter and spirit, end support for violence in eastern Ukraine, withdraw Russian weapons and fighters, use its influence on the separatists to release all hostages, guarantee safe and unfettered access for OSCE monitors, cooperate in securing and respecting the entire internationally-recognized Ukrainian-Russian border, and end the illegal occupation of Crimea. No one gains from this confrontation. The nations around this table have too much work to do, too many common challenges, from terrorism and nuclear proliferation to epidemic disease and climate change.

My friends, more broadly, the crisis that we have experienced in Europe this past year is not the fault of the international system. It stems from the unwillingness of individual actors to abide by the rules and the principles of that system. When rules are broken, they need to be enforced, not rewritten. Despite numerous violations of Helsinki this year, the timeless wisdom of the final act – that sustainable security can only be achieved when fundamental freedoms and human rights are protected – has been reaffirmed. To build a more secure OSCE area, we need to acknowledge the serious failure of some member states to live up to their responsibilities, and these failures affect us all. In too many of the countries gathered here, the space for independent civil society and media is shrinking, breeding abuses of power and corruption. Laws have been enacted that repress religious freedom and unfairly punish legitimate political dissent. We have seen a rising tide of intolerance across the OSCE region, including hate crimes targeting Roma, Jews, Muslims, the LGBT community, and others. This organization is at its best when it sheds light where there is darkness and when it stands up against repression and for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including internet freedom. It is at its best when it speaks out, when we speak out, when society and independent activists and journalists – wherever people’s rights are denied or in jeopardy.

In closing, I thank President Burkhalter once again for his stewardship, the people of Switzerland for their hospitality, and we look forward to working with Prime Minister Vucic and Foreign Minister Dacic during Serbia’s chairmanship next year. And you will be sure that you will have our support as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act. Thank you.

DOD REPORTS ON PREVENTING SKIN TRANSPLANT REJECTION USING STEM CELLS

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
Research Team Finds Promising Way to Prevent Skin Transplant Rejection
Story Number: NNS141203-03Release Date: 12/3/2014 10:02:00 AM   Email this story to a friend    Print this story
By Doris Ryan, Naval Medical Research Center Public Affairs

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NNS) -- A team of Navy researchers and collaborators working at the Naval Medical Research Center may have found a way to stop skin tissue rejection and published their results in the latest issue of STEM CELL Translational Medicine.

The research team developed and tested a laboratory skin transplantation treatment strategy model that supports the indefinite survival of donor transplanted skin grafts without use of long-term immunosuppression drug therapy.

This novel approach entails the intravenous injection of a small number of donor bone marrow cells and human stem cells.

"We demonstrated in the laboratory that a single infusion of adipose-derived stromal cells (ASC), stem cells taken from human body fat in a minimally invasive procedure, from an unmatched donor combined with an extremely low dose of bone marrow cells resulted in stable long-term tolerance of the skin graft without rejection for 200 days after the initial graft," said Thomas Davis, Ph.D., lead author on the paper and a contractor from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. Davis is working at the Naval Medical Research Center's Regenerative Medicine Department.

Researchers still have a lot of work to do. From these preliminary studies, the next step is to test this strategy in preclinical studies to determine safety and efficacy. With promising results, this research will provide important knowledge about new ways to prevent rejection of transplanted organs.

"As we move forward, we are cautiously optimistic, appreciating that the transition from a laboratory model to proof-of-principle preclinical studies is challenging and not straightforward. If successful, this technology has diverse therapeutic applications in clinical transplantation in both military and civilian settings," Davis said.

Capt. Eric A. Elster, professor and chairman at Norman M. Rich Department of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, helped lead the study.

"ASC constitutively produced high levels of anti-inflammatory immunoregulatory factors," Elster said. "While further work is needed to validate this approach in other laboratory models before clinical trials can begin, the ability to use ASC, which are non-donor specific and clinically feasible, to induce tolerance opens a new horizon in transplantation."

Traumatically injured warfighters often undergo complex tissue and limb reconstruction that includes procedures involving skin, muscle, bone, joint, cartilage and nerve. Preservation and reconstruction is critical to long-term rehabilitation related to daily activities such as walking, eating, bathing and dressing. Doctors are using reconstructive surgery to treat devastating combat wounds and burns and that includes tissue transplantation combined with long-term immune-suppression medications. Rejection of transplanted tissue from an unmatched donor can lead to critical complications.

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS AT COUNTER-ISIL MEETING

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks at the Counter-ISIL Meeting
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Brussels, Belgium
December 3, 2014

Good morning, everybody. Thank you very, very much for being here. Can everybody hear?

Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. Prime Minister, Excellencies, welcome everybody. I just want to begin the meeting by stressing that despite the location, this is not a NATO event. And as you noticed, there are no signs or any evidence other than the location, which is purely a matter of logistics but nobody is meant to misinterpret.

This is the first ministerial-level meeting of the anti-ISIL coalition, and we’re very, very grateful for everybody finding the time to be here. Many have traveled some significant distance to be here. Frankly, this impressive turnout reflects a shared determination to degrade and defeat ISIL, or to use the Arab term, Daesh.

Two and a half months ago, this didn’t exist. This is the work of two and a half months, and it reflects an extraordinary rapid coalescing of effort. And frankly, it is important that everybody reflect on the fact that this is not cosmetic; this is a reflection of actions that have taken – have been taken by more than 62 countries and entities in order to respond to the challenge of Daesh.

I’m very pleased that we’re going to have a chance to hear from Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi, whose government and citizens are on the front lines of this battle. And we’re very grateful for the steps that he has taken. Just yesterday he announced a significant agreement on the oil revenues. As everybody knows who’s been involved with Iraq, for years now that has been a long-sought goal and it’s a very significant achievement among many. In addition, there have been significant visits in recent days. Abdullah bin Zayed, Foreign Minister of the Emirates, Prime Minister Davutoglu of Turkey, others have visited Iraq and begun to indicate a new moment in the relationship with Iraq and indeed within the region.

We’ll also hear from General Allen, our special envoy, who will update us on the five public lines of effort that we are engaged in. And we will hear from many of you and we want to hear from people. We don’t want this to be a speechifying session. We would really like to have a dialogue so that we can digest the best thoughts about ways to do things better, things that haven’t been done that should be, or things that could be done differently. We want to plan carefully for the months ahead. And we will hear, including from representatives from Kuwait, Bahrain, Morocco, who have sponsored key gatherings themselves on key issues like communications, money, foreign fighters. These gatherings are just one indication of the dynamic leadership role that the Arab states are playing in the work of this coalition. The Arab states are taking leadership, and this leadership is both necessary and appropriate given that the geographic center of gravity of our global effort is in the Middle East.

One outcome of this meeting will be a statement that encompasses our message that we are united in moving ahead on all fronts and that we will engage in this campaign for as long as it takes to prevail. And there’s a reason that we are confident that we will, and that is all of you around this table, the members of this coalition. Our countries differ in geography, history, background, culture, but we all recognize a common threat, and Daesh is a danger and a threat to the interests and the values of all of us.

In opposing these terrorists, our diversity is, in fact, a source of remarkable strength because it gives us the credibility and the breadth of reach to move against Daesh not only in Iraq and Syria, but to counter any support that might exist for it around the world. Our coalition has been together now for less than three months, as I mentioned, so we recognize the hard work that remains to be done.

Our commitment will be measured most likely in years, but our efforts are already having a significant impact. The roughly 1,000 coalition air missions that we have flown have reduced Daesh’s leadership and inflicted damage on its logistical and operational capabilities. In much of Iraq, Daesh’s earlier momentum has dissipated. With coalition support, Iraqi forces have regained ground at Mosul and Haditha dams. They have retaken territory in the vicinity of Tikrit and expanded the security perimeter around the Baiji oil refinery. In the north and west, Kurdish troops are battling bravely and Sunni tribal fighters are beginning to come on board.

We also continue to strike targets in Syria, where Daesh has seen its command facilities attacked, its oil infrastructure damaged, and its siege of Kobani blocked. It is much harder now than when we started for Daesh to assemble forces in strength, to travel in convoys, and to launch concerted attacks. No large Daesh unit can move forward aggressively without worrying about what will come down on it from the skies.

In coming weeks, the coalition’s train, advise, and assist missions for Iraqi Security Forces will expand. Air strikes will continue as necessary. Step by step, Iraqis are mobilizing to reclaim the land that they have lost, and as the prime minister will attest, to develop the kind of broadly representative government they must have in order to succeed.

We are therefore encouraged by the significant progress this government is making to implement its national program and to unite against Daesh. Just yesterday, the government reached a breakthrough agreement with the Kurdistan region on managing oil exports and revenue that I mentioned earlier. It also issued an order to release detainees being held without formal charges. These initiatives take strong leadership, as exhibited by Prime Minister Abadi, and they will help the work of our coalition.

Meanwhile, there are many ways to contribute to the work of this coalition. The United States is constantly looking for the means to enhance the effectiveness of our actions, and I am confident that each of the coalition members represented here is going to do the same. This matters because the rise of Daesh was rapid, but it, in fact, has left those terrorists very exposed. What was relatively easy for them last summer has become more difficult. Daesh casualties are going up by the day. Muslim leaders across the globe are speaking out against the killers who have sought to hijack a whole faith, and Daesh’s repellent nature is becoming more evident with every ugly execution and every former recruit’s admission of being duped into believing Daesh is something that it most clearly is not.

The leaders of Daesh recently asked their followers to unleash volcanic eruptions of hate in every country. Our own rallying cry is not so dramatic, but it is far more responsive to the needs of people everywhere, and especially in the Middle East where suffering and violence have gone on for far too long. Our coalition does not summon hate, but rather the courage to build a future that is based on shared interests, shared values, and a shared faith in one another. That contrast in goals marks the dividing line between barbarism and civilization, and it explains both why we dare not fail and why we will succeed.

TECH AND NEW IDEAS SOUGHT BY DOD FOR RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT PLAN

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
DoD Seeks Future Technology Via Development Plan
By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2014 – The Defense Department seeks technology and innovative ideas as part of its Long Range Research Development Plan within the Defense Innovation Initiative, a broad effort that examines future capabilities, dominance and strategy, a senior DoD official said Nov. 24.

The newly-released LRRDP Request for Information will provide a way for DoD technology scouts to collaborate with industry, academia, and the general public to explore topics and ideas to better identify the “art of the possible,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering Stephen P. Welby.

“We’re interested in getting the broadest set of folks, the brightest minds we can find, to come help us on this effort,” Welby said. “We’re hoping that by casting this wide net, we’ll be able to harness the creativity and innovation going on in the broader ecosystem and help us think about the future department in a new way.”

Domains of Interest

Specific military domains of interest, he said, include space, undersea technologies, affordable protective systems against precision-guided munitions threats, air dominance and strike capability possibilities, ecologically and biologically inspired ideas and human-computer interaction.

“We expect the topics and ideas that come back will inform our science and technology planning and we’re mining that whole space,” Welby said.

He described a “small, agile team” of bright government officials who’ve been charged to engage industry, academia, not-for-profits, small businesses and the general public to help the department explore future possibilities. Inputs will also be accepted from allies and international partners who may have unique perspectives or contributions to the effort.

Officials expect the seven-month study to yield results in time to brief the defense secretary by mid-2015 and influence future budget and offset technology decisions, Welby said.

DoD’s Future

“The key opportunity out of this whole effort is to start a discussion,” he said. “We’re asking questions about people, business practices, but particularly … about technology, what we need to drive the future of the department.”
Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work will oversee the program as part of the overall effort to explore how technology can be incorporated with future DoD strategy and capabilities.

Pentagon officials noted a justified urgency in reviewing the future systems and architectures to maintain dominance over competing investments around the globe.

“There is no better time to look at the long-range strategy we’re taking to invest in technologies that will make a difference,” Welby said.
Capability Breakthrough in the 1980s

During the 1980s, Welby said, DoD found itself facing the Soviets and recognized there was a better way to confront the issue rather than a “tank-versus-tank” military buildup.

“The big breakthrough in that time period was introduction of precision weapons … and technology that allowed us to replace quantity with very precise technology-driven capabilities,” Welby said.

That, he said, has been the key driver in the way the nation has conducted itself in the national security environment for more than 40 years.

“People have understood our playbook,” Welby said. “Adversaries are now building systems that look to blunt particular United States’ advantages and we’d like to revisit that.”

Efforts in 1973 included the original Long-Range Research and Development Plan, which ushered in nascent digital technologies, early iterations of global positioning systems and the beginnings of the future Internet.

Today, he said, DoD faces challenges posed by globalization and technologies driven by both the military and commercial sectors.

“We’re now asking broader questions like, ‘How does the United States maintain its … lead against the entire path of technology and innovation going on globally?’” Welby said.

Maintaining a compelling U.S. advantage in technology is critical, he said.
DoD’s long-range plan, Welby said, will focus on “near-peer competitors,” state actors and a broader scope of conventional deterrence, namely key technologies that will enable the protection of U.S. interests and freedom of movement, and deter future aggression into the 2025 timeframe.