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Today's News

Ridge Global names new principal for corporate strategy and growth

Washington, DC-based Ridge Global, an international provider of security and risk management services, has announced the expansion of the company’s executive team with the appointment of Steve Kohler as principal of corporate strategy and growth.  


Kohler previously served as president of Space Florida, a statewide Special District focused on economic development within the Florida aerospace economic sector.

 

Prior to joining Space Florida, Steve was the president of Winner Global Defense, a privately held company that focuses on military and non-military applications of aircraft countermeasures and laser-based detection technologies and, before that, served as senior vice president for Corporate Advisory Services for CB Richard Ellis/Pittsburgh.


In 1996, then-Governor Ridge appointed Kohler to lead the Pennsylvania Governor's Action Team, where he was responsible for the configuration of financial incentive proposals for industrial and business expansion projects.


“Steve Kohler has an exceptional and well-regarded background in economic development and business strategy,” Tom Ridge, formerly the first Secretary of DHS and now president and CEO of Ridge Global, said in a statement. “As we continue to see many opportunities ahead for both our clients and our company, Steve’s contributions will further enhance our ability to pursue them.”

EADS N.A. delivers UH-72A Lakota helicopters to Alabama Army National Guard

The Alabama Army National Guard's ability to perform homeland security operations and carry out support missions within the state will be significantly enhanced with the introduction of four UH-72A Lakota light utility Helicopters, delivered by EADS North America, the company says.


The aircraft will be based at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2, in Birmingham, AL.


The Alabama Army National Guard's Lakotas are assigned to Detachment 1, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment.
The UH-72As are to replace Detachment 1's aging OH-58 Kiowa helicopters, and are the first new aircraft coming directly to the Alabama National Guard in many years, according to EADS.


The unit's federal level missions include aerial command, control and reconnaissance in homeland security operations, and state-level support for Alabama's governor and community-based organizations, says EADS.


"It is particularly appropriate that the Lakota has come to Alabama, which has developed a very strong relationship with EADS," David Oliver, Jr., EADS North America's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "Our company has an important industrial presence in the state.”

GAO turns increasingly to Alternative Dispute Resolutions in bid protests

In an effort to cope with a rising number of bid protests being filed government-wide, the Government Accountability Office has relied increasingly on the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process during the past fiscal year, but has nonetheless seen a sharp increase in the number of fully developed cases in which it has had to conduct a full-blown hearing.

These are the trends that emerge from the GAO’s most recent presentation of its bid protest statistics, for the fiscal years 2005 through 2009, which were publicly released on January 26.

The GAO’s report indicates that bid protests have grown steadily for the past three years, showing a six percent increase in FY2007 (over the prior year), a 17 percent increase in FY2008 and a whopping 20 percent increase in FY2009, when a total of 1,989 bid protest cases were filed.

About half of the increased case load in FY2009 is attributable to the fact that the GAO has recently expanded its jurisdiction over task orders (139 filings), A-76 protests (16 filings) and Transportation Security Administration protests (13 filings), the report says.

The “Sustain Rate” – the percentage of cases in which the GAO agreed with the protester’s arguments – has dropped steadily for the past four years, declining from a 29 percent sustain rate in fiscal year FY2006 to an 18 percent sustain rate by FY2009. Nonetheless, the “Effectiveness Rate” – the rate at which a protester obtained some sort of relief from the procuring agency it had challenged – has risen for the past three years, reaching 45 percent by FY2009.

The GAO has turned to ADRs with increasing frequency in recent years. In FY2007, the GAO used ADRs 62 times, in FY2008 that number rose to 78 and in FY2009 the number zoomed to 149. By FY2009, the GAO had achieved an ADR “Success Rate” – defined as the percentage of ADRs that were resolved without requiring a formal GAO decision – of 93 percent, said the annual report, which was sent by the GAO’s Acting General Counsel, Lynn Gibson, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Even with its increased use of ADRs, the GAO has conducted an increasing number of formal hearings on bid protests in recent years. It conducted 41 such hearings in FY2007, 32 hearings in FY2008 and 65 hearings in FY2009, which represented 12 percent of all of its fully developed decisions.

Penalties could increase for going even slightly ‘postal’

Going even slightly ‘postal’ on the property of the U.S. Postal Service can now cost you more than the traditional maximum fine of $50, beginning today.

The postal service has issued a new rule, effective January 27, which says that anyone who violates a long lists of do’s and don’ts on postal property, as spelled out in the Code of Federal Regulations, is subject to a maximum penalty of “not more than that allowed under Title 18 of the United States Code” -- rather than a measly $50 -- or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both.

The long-standing rules prohibit such behavior on post office property as disturbances, gambling, drinking alcoholic beverages, drugs or smoking, taking dogs inside, carrying weapons and explosives, posting handbills, etc.

“The current regulations have not been changed for over 30 years,” says the postal service’s final rule, which was published in the Federal Register on January 27. “The current maximum fine does not reflect either the seriousness of some of the infractions, nor the effect that inflation has had over the past 30 years.”

Changing the allowable fine from a maximum of $50 to whatever Title 18 of the U.S. Code allows for a particular infraction will give federal judges more “flexibility” in determining the appropriate penalties, said the postal service notice.

 

Telecom advisory panel to meet via teleconference on February 9

The President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting, via a teleconference call, on February 9 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM, during which its members will vote on a recommendation from the panel’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Task Force.

The task force plans to recommend that data be collected to support the nation’s information sharing policy. “The data collection effort will involve a private sector-to-private sector information sharing pilot exercise,” said a notice published by the advisory committee in the Federal Register on January 25.

For access to the teleconference bridge and meeting materials, interested parties may contact Sue Daage at 703-235-5526 by February 2.

The panel advises the President on issues related to implementing national security and emergency preparedness telecommunications policy.

Home planet security: report calls for ‘constant vigilance’

A new report from The National Academies’ National Research Council warns that passing asteroids and other near earth objects (NEOs) could devastate the planet, as they have in the past, and calls for “constant vigilance in monitoring the skies.”

The report also calls for such civil defense plans and measures as “evacuation, sheltering in place, providing emergency infrastructure.”

Civil defense is a “cost-effective mitigation measure for saving lives from the smallest NEO impact events and is a necessary part of mitigation for larger events.”

One of those “larger events,” an estimated 10-kilometer asteroid or comet strike approximately 65 million years ago, most likely wiped out the dinosaurs and “caused global devastation,” the NRC report warns, estimating that smaller NEO strikes, down to approximately 140 meters in diameter, would cause “regional damage.” Those impacts occur on average every 30,000 years, according to the report.

Currently, nuclear explosions are the only “practical means for dealing with large NEOs (diameters greater than 1 kilometer) or as a backup for smaller ones if other methods were to fail.”

CBP records trade name of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced that it has recorded the trade name “Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB” for the Swedish based company of the same name, which was founded in 2001 and sells mobile multimedia devices, including cell phones, throughout the world.

“Trade names that are being used by manufacturers or traders may be recorded with CBP to afford the particular business entity with increased commercial protection, explained CBP in a notice published in the Federal Register on January 25.

CBP published the proposed trade name last November and had received no comments on the trade name by the closing date for comments, which was January 11, 2010.

Accordingly, the name is recorded as a trade name and “will remain in force as long as this trade name is in use by this manufacturer,” said the CBP.

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB has already trademarked the names of many of its individual products, including Aino, Akono, BeJoo, BestPic, Equinox, GreenHeart, Kita, PlayNow, QuickShare and many others.

The company said it lost approximately US $235 million during the fourth quarter of 2009.

Tyco takes the majority slice in the residential alarm monitoring market

Just one company -- Tyco International, and its security business ADT -- will now account for over half of the residential alarm monitoring services market in North America, according to Wellingborough, UK-based IMS Research

Tyco amasses that majority slice of the residential-alarm-monitoring pie as a result of its acquisition of Broadview Security.
 
The Broadview deal is worth $1.9 billion, according to IMS.

Furthermore, IMS Research estimates that ADT now will command a market share more than ten times the size of its nearest competitor in the North American market.

John Bray, Jr. named VP of Concentric Security

Sykesville, MD-based Concentric Security, LLC, has named John Bray, Jr. vice president of its security service division.

Concentric Security Service holds between 30 and 40 accounts, maintaining more than 200 barrier units throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, according to the company.

Most recently, Bray served as general manager of Blue Ember Technologies, a sister company.

In addition to his new responsibilities, Bray will maintain Blue Ember post, according to the Concentric statement.

Bray is an 11 year veteran at the company and has served in various capacities, including IT Director.

DNI a ‘work in progress closer to the beginning of reform than the end,‘ says ex-9/11 Commissioner Kean

In their testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last week, former 9/11 Commission Chairman and Vice Chairman Tom Kean [left] and Lee Hamilton [right], now co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) National Security Preparedness Group, declared that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who oversees the entire Intelligence Community, needs to find ways to deal with “information overload.”


"As we've seen from the recent terrorist incidents at Fort Hood and in the skies above Detroit, there is still work to be done," said Hamilton, who noted also that, “in the five years since the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, the U.S. government has made significant strides to correct the shortfalls and mistakes evident on September 11, 2001.”


As part of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which was passed five years ago, created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the two men noted.


"The DNI has achieved a meaningful measure of success in its first years," said Kean. "But is a work in progress closer to the beginning of reform than the end."


And Hamilton observed that the "DNI has been hobbled by endless disputes over its size, mission and authority."


Kean pointed to “ambiguities in the law” that created the DNI. “These ambiguities can contribute to mission confusion and lack of clarity about lanes in the road.”


Kean also called on the President to “be clear on who is in charge of the Intelligence Community and where final authority lies on budget and personnel matters.”


The bottom line from the two men, who were widely praised for their bipartisan style as heads of the 9/11 Commission: “We must reject complacency and recognize we still face a serious threat from organizations like Al-Qaeda.”

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