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3-Day Islamabad International Counter Terrorism Forum 2018 (IICTF-2018) Concluded

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 6, 2018 -The National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), Government of Pakistan, organized a three-day conference titled Islamabad International Counter Terrorism Forum (IICTF-2018), envisaged on the theme Pakistan's Endeavours and Achievements in Countering Extremism/Terrorism (PEACE). The theme for 2018 symbolizes Pakistan's long struggle in bringing peace back to its nation after facing a multitude of challenges on national and international fronts.

The IICTF-2018 was held during April 3rd to 5th, 2018 here at Islamabad. Experts from all across the world were invited to attend the conference, including representatives from China, Russia, France, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Scholars, experts, policy makers and politicians from Pakistan also partook in the IICTF-2018; making it a two-way communication and learning experience for scholars from within Pakistan, and beyond. The concluding session was devoted to Pakistan's journey from a victim to a victor, as held today on April 5thApril, 2018.

The IICTF-2018 was concluded with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, as Chief Guest. He delved into the issue of how terrorism invaded the borders of Pakistan, recalling a time when Pakistan was safe from terrorists and the infiltration of drugs. He said that the Afghan invasion brought major changes in the region, particularly impacting Pakistan. He then discussed the journey Pakistan has had in overcoming said challenges that penetrated Pakistan's borders in the decades that followed the Afghan war. The Prime Minister further observed that no country wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan, countering all claims to the contrary. Pakistan suffers the most, he articulated, from instability in its bordering regions.

On the issue of terrorism in the South Asian region, the Prime Minister called special attention to the terrorism permeating the Indian occupied Kashmir. He called upon the international community to accept the reality prevailing in Indian occupied Kashmir, whereby 17 young innocent lives were claimed in cold blood last Sunday. Mr. Abbasi stressed that the Kashmir issue can only be resolved through the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution calling for a plebiscite in the area.

Noting that terrorism has now become a global challenge, the Prime Minister took pride in the fact that Pakistan has been victorious in defeating a monster, where the rest of the world has failed. Cities like Karachi that were once declared as one of the most dangerous cities in the world, have recovered from the catastrophe with courage and grace. Finally, The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to all the participants for their invaluable contributions, and to NACTA for taking such a brave and essential initiative.

Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, the Interior Minister of Pakistan, who also graced the occasion, noted that although Pakistan has suffered from terrorism for a considerable time, it has also fought against the same with great valour and spirit. Remembering notable sacrifice of Aitzaz Ahsan Bangash, he paid a tribute to the unsung heroes of Pakistan who laid their lives in the cause of countering terrorism and extremism. Referring to the National Action Plan, the National Internal Security Policy 2014-2018, and the National Counter Extremism Policy Guidelines, he said that Pakistan has been engaging all factions of state in its devotion to countering terrorism and violent extremism. Looking forward, Mr. Iqbal noted that Pakistan is now looking towards stabilizing its future, relying on economic opportunities such as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), enabling development not just in Pakistan, but in the whole region.

The Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Khawaja Asif discussed Pakistan's vision for a democratic Pakistan, remarking that Pakistan was built upon the values of democracy, justice and fair play, as envisioned by Qauid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Referring to the nation's fight against terrorism, Mr. Asif stressed on the need for a regional strategy to overcome the scourge of terrorism that is impacting the south Asian region of the world. He called for cooperation with neighbouring countries, particularly in the field of countering terrorism to ensure long term peace and development on a regional and global level.

Ms. Sherry Rehman, Leader of the Opposition, Senate of Pakistan, gave valuable insights on the need for inclusion of women in all settings of society for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan; presenting the remarkable notion that it's not just a few good men that are needed to undo the effects of terrorism, but a lot of women involved in the process as well.

Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Member National Assembly and former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, discussing Pakistan'smarch towards stability, shed light on the internal and external challenges faced by Pakistan. Despite such challenges however, he noted, Pakistan remains a resilient nation willing to fight back and reverse the effects left by terrorism and extremism.

The National Coordinator NACTA, Mr. Ihsan Ghani, who led this monumental effort for calling an international conference on the momentous subject of counter terrorism, thanked the participants and the speakers for honouring the occasion. He recalled some of the highlights of IICTF-2018 over the preceding two days, observing that the discussions were holistic and had far-reaching implications. Albeit, he regretted, that each point could not be addressed in more detail due to constraints of time. Mr. Ghani further noted that the IICTF would be a recurring annual event with fresh themes allocated for each year, hoping that the process of learning, sharing and cooperating would only continue on a regional and global level.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Requires All Federal Civilian Agencies to Deploy DMARC

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2018 -- More than 95 percent of email domains managed by the Executive Office of the President (EOP) are in danger of being used in a large-scale phishing attack. Only the Max.gov email domain has fully implemented the top defense against email phishing and spoofing, according to research released today by the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA). Seven of the domains have implemented the Domain Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) protocol at the lowest level "none" which monitors email but does not prevent delivery of spoofed emails. Further, GCA found that 18 of the 26 email domains under management haven't started the deployment of DMARC.

Without DMARC implemented, scammers and criminals can easily "hijack" an email domain to steal money, trade secrets or even jeopardize national security. DMARC weeds out fake emails (known as direct domain spoofing) deployed by spammers and phishers targeting the inboxes of workers in all sectors of society.  According to the 2017 Symantec ISTR report, 1 in 131 emails contained malware, the highest rate in 5 years.

"Email domains managed by the EOP are crown jewels that criminals and foreign adversaries covet," said Philip Reitinger, president and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance. "The lack of full DMARC deployment across nearly every EOP email address poses a national security risk that must be fixed.  The good news is that four new domains have implemented DMARC at the lowest level, which I hope indicates that DMARC deployment is moving forward.  The EOP domains that have recently deployed DMARC at its lowest setting includes WhiteHouse.gov and EOP.gov, two of the most significant government domains.  I hope that the government will move rapidly to block phishing attempts across all EOP domains."

Domains under the control of the EOP include Budget.gov, OMB.gov, WhiteHouse.gov, USTR.gov, OSTP.gov and EOP.gov – all well-known email domains that are valuable for phishers looking to trick government employees, government contractors, and U.S. citizens.

The weak DMARC deployment by the EOP is surprising after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security mandated that all federal agencies implement DMARC last year. Security experts praised DHS and Senator Ron Wyden, who called for agencies to implement DMARC, for pushing government agencies to quickly implement DMARC at the highest level possible.

Using GCA's DMARC tools, the researchers scanned the 26 EOP email domains:

 

DMARC Count

Effect at this level of implementation

Domains Tested

26

(The email domains of the Executive Office of the President)

Reject

1

The highest level of DMARC protection. If reject is in place, incoming messages that fail authentication get blocked.

Quarantine

0

The second highest level of DMARC protection. With quarantine in place, emails that don't meet the policy are sent to the spam or junk folder.

None

7

None means that the DMARC policy is in place, but the only thing that's happening is monitoring. No action is being taken to block spoofed emails.

No Policy

18

No policy means that DMARC is not in place. 

GCA has published five reviews of DMARC implementation – two looking at organizations in cybersecurity, one looking at banks, one examining public and private hospitals, and most recently a look at the top tax software providers. When Agari looked at Fortune 500 companies last August, they found 8 percent protected their companies' domains with DMARC.

For more details about DMARC or to check if an organization is using DMARC, visit: dmarcguide.globalcyberalliance.org.

About the Global Cyber Alliance
The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) is an international, cross-sector effort dedicated to eradicating cyber risk and improving our connected world. We achieve our mission by to uniting global communities, implementing concrete solutions, and measuring the effect. GCA, a 501(c)3, was founded in September 2015 by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, the City of London Police and the Center for Internet Security. Learn more at www.globalcyberalliance.org.

Coalfire Assesses Google Cloud Platform for FedRAMP JAB Authorization

WESTMINSTER, Colo., April 3, 2018 -- Coalfire, a trusted provider of cybersecurity advisory services, announced that is has performed a Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Moderate Assessment of the Google Cloud Platform. The FedRAMP assessment confirms that the systems and security controls of the Google Cloud Platform adhere to the specifications required for moderate impact systems.

Google Cloud Platform is a suite of cloud computing products, including computing, networking, storage, big data, machine learning, identity, security, management, and development tools that runs on Google's global infrastructure. Through Coalfire's comprehensive technical testing and examination process, Google Cloud Platform achieved a recommendation that the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB) issue a Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) to the platform and 49 of its associated products.

"Coalfire is proud to have been the assessor for Google to achieve this landmark authorization," said Matt Houy Director, FedRAMP & Authorization Services for Coalfire. "Google Cloud Platform customers can be confident that Google Cloud Infrastructure and authorized Google products have been properly validated to meet all of the necessary security requirements for FedRAMP."

FedRAMP is a national, government-wide program that offers a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. Benefits of this authorization include access to the resources and expertise of the FedRAMP JAB, which includes representatives from the General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

Coalfire is the leading FedRAMP Third Party Assessment Organization (3PAO) in the industry, providing FedRAMP advisory or assessment services for CSPs that are interested in expanding into government markets.

About Coalfire
Coalfire is the cybersecurity advisor that helps private and public-sector organizations avert threats, close gaps and effectively manage risk. By providing independent and tailored advice, assessments, technical testing and cyber engineering services, we help clients develop scalable programs that improve their security posture, achieve their business objectives and fuel their continued success. Coalfire has been a cybersecurity thought leader for more than 16 years, and has offices throughout the United States and Europe.

For more information, visit Coalfire.com.

Posing as CSRA Executives, Thieves Conduct Fake Interviews and Solicit Banking Information from Job Applicants

FALLS CHURCH, VACSRA Inc. (NYSE:CSRA) is cautioning members of the public, particularly those in the job market, to be on the lookout for fraudulent activity targeting prospective job applicants. CSRA has reported this scam to law enforcement and federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and is fully cooperating with them.

Fraudsters posing as company executives and board members of CSRA have been soliciting victims to apply for jobs at CSRA. The perpetrators use fake gmail accounts to communicate with victims, and then conduct interviews while posing as a CSRA executive, often using the name of a real executive at the company. The scams solicit personal information and send applicants what appear to be checks in order to obtain their financial information.

Such nefarious practices are a common tactic; however, there has been a steady uptick in activity over the past few weeks and CSRA wants to protect the interests of future hires. These scam artists often prey on people as a cold call, although CSRA has not observed any issues with candidates who have applied for jobs. The scheme appears to be a global operation that has evolved over the years, with countless victims.

For the public, and especially those interested in applying for jobs with CSRA:

Use caution when approached by individuals you don’t know.

Never provide banking information during the interview process. 

CSRA will always provide a formal offer letter when offering employment.  

All CSRA electronic communications contain email addresses with the domain of @csra.com.

Members of the public are advised to report these fraudulent solicitations to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their website, which can be found here or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Victims can also report the incident to their state attorney general. See this list of attorney generals by state for more information.

 

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About CSRA Inc.

CSRA (NYSE: CSRA) solves our nation’s hardest mission problems as a bridge from mission and enterprise IT to Next Gen, from government to technology partners, and from agency to agency.  CSRA is tomorrow’s thinking, today. For our customers, our partners, and ultimately, all the people our mission touches, CSRA is realizing the promise of technology to change the world through next-generation thinking and meaningful results. CSRA is driving towards achieving sustainable, industry-leading organic growth across federal and state/local markets through customer intimacy, rapid innovation and outcome-based experience. CSRA has over 18,000 employees and is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia. To learn more about CSRA, visit www.csra.com. Think Next. Now

Researchers used patterned stimulation of neural activity to facilitate encoding of episodic memories for military personnel suffering from the effects of brain injury or illness

DARPA launched the Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program in November 2013 with the goal of developing a fully implantable, closed-loop neural interface capable of restoring normal memory function to military personnel suffering from the effects of brain injury or illness. Just over four years later, the program is returning remarkable results. Today, RAM researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the University of Southern California published in the Journal of Neural Engineering that they have demonstrated the first successful implementation in humans of a proof-of-concept system for restoring memory function by facilitating memory encoding using the patient’s own neural codes. Volunteers in the study demonstrated up to 37 percent improvement in short-term, working memory over baseline levels.

“DARPA’s cumulative investments in neurotechnology over the past two decades have brought us to an extremely exciting point today where we’re testing tangible technologies that have the potential to alleviate some of the worst effects of brain injury and illness,” said Justin Sanchez, the director of DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office and the program manager for RAM.

RAM researchers focused on episodic memory, which includes information a person need only remember for brief periods, such as where a car is parked, what was served for dinner on a previous evening, or when he or she last took medication. Episodic memory loss is the most common type of memory loss in people with brain injury or Alzheimer’s disease.

To improve episodic memory, the RAM team limited its study to the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is central to memory formation. The hippocampus includes sub-regions called CA3 and CA1 that function together to support memory encoding and retrieval. When the brain registers new information to be encoded as a memory, neurons in the CA3 region fire, marking the input of information into the hippocampus, which triggers a subsequent sequence of neural activity in the CA1 region, marking the output from the hippocampus.

Working with neurosurgical patient volunteers who were being treated for epilepsy—a condition that often causes memory loss—the RAM researchers used surgically implanted electrodes to record neuronal activity in the volunteers’ CA3 and CA1 regions as the volunteers performed a visual memory test. The study participants were shown a simple image such as a color block and then, after a brief delay during which the screen was blank, were asked to identify the initial image out of four or five others shown on the screen.

By analyzing the recordings associated with correct responses, the researchers were able to construct what’s known as a multi-input multi-output (MIMO) nonlinear, mathematical, spatiotemporal model that predicted the transformation of neuronal firing patterns in the CA3 region into neuronal firing patterns in the CA1 region during successful memory formation. The “codes” that the model produced did not directly reference specific memories, but instead correlated to the CA1 firing patterns that occur when CA3 encodes information properly, thus correcting for any naturally occurring errors in transformation between CA3 and CA1 firing. When during subsequent image-recall tests the researchers used patterned, spatiotemporal electrical stimulation of CA1 to play back MIMO-based codes—derived from real-time neuronal activity recorded in CA3—the volunteers showed an average of 37 percent improvement in episodic memory performance over baseline.

To explore whether MIMO-predicted stimulation patterns would have a similar effect on long-term memory, the researchers adapted the image-recall test. In this second iteration, the volunteers were shown a highly distinctive photographic image, followed by a short delay, and then asked to identify the first photo out of four or five others on screen. Again, the researchers recorded neural activity and delivered MIMO-derived CA1 stimulation for a subset of images.

After another, longer delay of up to 75 minutes, the volunteers were shown sets of three images at a time, including the original image and new photos, and asked to identify the original photo. When stimulated with the correct spatiotemporal codes, the volunteers showed a 35 percent improvement in memory on average over baseline.

Notably, the stimulation did not replace normal CA1 activity in the volunteers’ brains, but supplemented it, giving a boost to natural memory function. According to researchers, stimulation delivered via the MIMO-based model was effective in activating a pattern of neuronal firing that corresponded to correct memory performance—a marked improvement over control trials conducted without stimulation.

The new results from the Wake Forest and USC RAM investigators follow a recent announcement made in February by a DARPA-funded team led by the University of Pennsylvania. The Penn research team developed a closed-loop recording and stimulation system that evaluates brain state and delivers efficacious electrical stimulation only when the system predicts poor memory performance. Using a memory task in which participants recalled lists of words, the researchers demonstrated a 15-percent improvement in overall memory function.

“We’re closing in on our goal of an implantable, closed-loop memory prosthesis,” Sanchez said. “The RAM program continues to achieve and integrate amazing breakthroughs in neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and neural interface device development for clinical use, which makes me confident DARPA can ultimately deliver our Service members and veterans powerful technologies for countering memory loss.”

Image Caption: DARPA-funded researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the University of Southern California have demonstrated the first successful implementation in humans of a proof-of-concept system for restoring memory function by facilitating memory encoding using the patient’s own neural codes. The stimulation did not replace normal activity in the volunteers’ brains, but supplemented it, giving a boost to natural memory function. Using the RAM technology, volunteers in the study demonstrated up to 37 percent improvement in short-term, working memory over baseline levels. (DARPA image courtesy of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center)

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Human-computer interaction technologies that can adapt to the state of the user

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., March 27, 2018 -- A joint effort between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and DCS Corporation recently won the Neurally Augmented Image Labelling Strategies, or NAILS challenge, at an international machine learning research competition in Tokyo.

Dr. Vernon Lawhern, ARL mathematical statistician and Amelia J. Solon, DCS scientist, led the joint research project. Other team members included Drs. Brent Lance, ARL and Stephen Gordon, DCS.

The team presented its paper, Deep Learning Approaches for P300 Classification in Image Triage: Applications to the NAILS Task, at the 13th National Institute of Testbeds and Community Information Access Research Conference on evaluation of information.

Teams participating in the NAILS challenge developed machine learning methods to detect – through brain activity – whether an image that a person was seeing was a task-relevant image or not. In performing the research, the researchers calibrated an in-house tool called EEGNet, which is a deep convolutional network capable of learning robust representations of specific brain responses using relatively sparse training sets. Using this approach, they trained a unique instantiation of EEGNet for each subject and subsequently obtained the highest classification performance, averaged across all subjects, of the participating teams.

"EEGNet allows researchers to train models for different neural responses using examples of those responses collected under a wide variety of conditions and from multiple individuals," Gordon said. "In this way, EEGNet provides both a 'common framework' for analyzing disparate data sets as well as a tool for extrapolating results from simplified to more complex domains."

The team participated in conference discussions focused on the state of brain computer interface technology and how it can be leveraged for information retrieval applications; future directions for the NAILS task; assessing models with IR oriented evaluation metrics, and encouraging the development of general BCI algorithms that are not calibrated per-subject or task and hold greater potential for measuring human state in complex, real-world, environments.

"This work is part of a larger research program at ARL that focuses on understanding the principles that govern the application of neuroscience-based research to complex operational settings," Lawhern said. "By competing in this competition we were able to showcase our expertise in this area to the broader scientific community. Ultimately, we are interested in using neuroscience-based approaches to develop human-computer interaction technologies that can adapt to the state of the user."

The researchers conducted the work as part of DCS's Cognition and Neuroergonomics Collaborative Technology Alliance contract with ARL. The CaN CTA is the U.S. Army's flagship basic science research and technology transition program in the neurosciences.

More information on the winning research is available on Google Scholar Citations.

DCS offers advanced technology and management solutions to Government agencies in the DoD and national security sector. The transformative ideas, commitment to quality and entrepreneurial spirit that characterize our 1,100 employee-owners allow us to ensure the success of each customer's mission and actively contribute to the well-being of the Nation. For more information, visit: https://www.dcscorp.com.

CONTACT: [email protected], 571-227-6000

SOURCE DCS Corporation

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http://www.dcscorp.com

General Dynamics to Proceed With All Cash Offer to Acquire CSRA

FALLS CHURCH, Va., March 18, 2018 -- General Dynamics intends to proceed with its tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of CSRA Inc. (NYSE: CSRA) for $40.75 per share in cash. General Dynamics continues to believe that this combination creates a premier provider of high-tech IT solutions to the Government Technology Services market and that its proposed acquisition of CSRA offers superior value for CSRA's shareholders.

On February 12, 2018, General Dynamics and CSRA announced that they had entered into a definitive agreement under which General Dynamics would acquire CSRA for approximately $9.6 billion in cash, including the assumption of $2.8 billion in CSRA debt. The tender offer for CSRA shares commenced on March 5, 2018, and is scheduled to expire on April 2, 2018, at 11:59 p.m., New York City time, with the acquisition of CSRA expected to close shortly thereafter. As previously disclosed, the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act with respect to the tender offer has expired.

On March 18, 2018, CACI International Inc announced an unsolicited offer proposing to acquire CSRA for a combination of CACI common stock based on a fixed exchange ratio of 0.184 shares of CACI stock for each share of CSRA common stock and $15.00 per share of cash. The offer implies current CSRA shareholders will own approximately 55 percent of the resulting entity.

General Dynamics believes strongly that its proposed acquisition of CSRA offers both superior and certain value for the CSRA shareholders for the following reasons:

  • We believe the nominal price of CACI's offer to CSRA overstates the real value to the CSRA shareholders and understates the risk attendant to it.
  • CACI's offer is comprised of $15.00 per share of cash, less than 35 percent of the purported value.
  • Over 65 percent of CACI's proposed consideration consists of a fixed exchange ratio of CACI stock, which is subject to daily market fluctuations and an estimated four-month delay at a minimum before its real value can be ascertained with certainty.
  • CACI's nominal $44.00 per share offer depends upon the all-time closing high share price of CACI's volatile common stock.
  • We believe that CACI's proposal would burden the resulting entity with approximately $6.8 billion of debt, which would result in leverage of approximately 5.7x debt to EBITDA, one of the highest in the Government Technology Services sector.
  • CACI's proposed offer would appear to be approximately 25 percent dilutive to CACI's GAAP earnings on a pro forma basis pre-synergies and also dilutive to CACI's GAAP earnings on a pro forma basis even assuming the elevated level of CACI's estimated cost synergies.
  • CACI's estimated synergies are, we believe, aggressive at best.
  • With CSRA shareholders owning 55 percent of the combined company, CSRA will bear the burden of 55 percent of the termination fee payable to General Dynamics as well as 55 percent of the transaction expenses, which we estimate for CSRA alone at a total potential after-tax cost of approximately $0.66 per share for each CSRA share. Assuming CACI's transaction expenses approximate CSRA's, the estimated total potential after-tax cost could be approximately $0.82 per share for each CSRA share.
  • Based on CACI's statement that it could close the acquisition of CSRA by July 31, 2018, the time value of money for an investor between early April and the closing of a CACI/CSRA combination would represent a significant opportunity cost.
  • Using the average trading price of CACI's stock over the past 30 trading days and taking into account the 55 percent of the transaction expenses and termination fee to be borne by the CSRA shareholders and the time value of money opportunity cost due to the significant delay in the closing of a proposed CACI transaction, we estimate the value of CACI's unsolicited offer to be less than the General Dynamics offer.
  • On this basis, we believe the CACI offer is inferior to our cash offer of $40.75 per share even prior to factoring in the significant market risk associated with a CACI transaction closing many months in the future with a fixed exchange ratio.

General Dynamics has a long history of successfully executing acquisitions in a timely and efficient manner and firmly believes that its offer is in the best interest of CSRA's shareholders, employees and customers.

About General Dynamics 
Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) is a global aerospace and defense company that offers a broad portfolio of products and services in business aviation; combat vehicles, weapon systems and munitions; C4ISR and IT solutions; and shipbuilding. The company's 2017 revenue was $31 billion. More information is available at www.generaldynamics.com.

Notice to Investors 
This press release is not a recommendation, an offer to purchase or a solicitation of an offer to sell shares of CSRA stock. On March 5, 2018, Red Hawk Enterprises Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics ("Merger Sub"), commenced a tender offer to purchase all of the shares of common stock, par value $0.001 per share of CSRA, that are issued and outstanding, at a price per share of $40.75, in cash, without interest and less any applicable withholding of taxes. The tender offer expires at 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on Monday, April 2, 2018, unless extended. If the tender offer is extended, we will inform the depositary of that fact and will make a public announcement of the extension no later than 9:00 a.m., New York City time, on the business day after the day on which the tender offer was scheduled to expire. On March 5, 2018, Merger Sub filed a tender offer statement and related exhibits with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") and on the same date CSRA filed a solicitation/recommendation statement with respect to the tender offer. Investors and shareholders of CSRA are strongly advised to read the tender offer statement (including the related exhibits) and the solicitation/recommendation statement, as they have been amended and may be amended from time to time, because they contain important information that shareholders should consider before making any decision regarding tendering their shares. The tender offer statement (including the related exhibits) and the solicitation/recommendation statement are available at no charge on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. In addition, the tender offer statement and other documents that Merger Sub files with the SEC are available to all shareholders of CSRA free of charge at www.generaldynamics.com. The solicitation/recommendation statement and the other documents filed by CSRA with the SEC are available to all shareholders of CSRA free of charge at www.CSRA.com.

Certain statements made in this press release, including any statements as to future results of operations and financial projections, may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements about the potential benefits of the proposed transaction; the prospective performance and outlook of the combined company's business, performance and opportunities, including the ability to deliver more innovative, leading-edge solutions; the ability of the parties to complete the proposed transaction and the expected timing of completion of the proposed transaction; as well as any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Forward-looking statements are based on management's expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual future results and trends may differ materially from what is forecast in forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors. The following are some of the factors that could cause actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements: (i) uncertainties as to the timing of the tender offer and the merger; (ii) the risk that the proposed transaction may not be completed in a timely manner or at all; (iii) uncertainties as to the percentage of CSRA's shareholders tendering their shares in the tender offer; (iv) the possibility that competing offers or acquisition proposals for CSRA will be made; (v) the possibility that any or all of the various conditions to the consummation of the tender offer or the merger may not be satisfied or waived, including the failure to receive any required regulatory approvals from any applicable governmental entities (or any conditions, limitations or restrictions placed on such approvals); (vi) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstance that could give rise to the termination of the Merger Agreement; (vii) the risk that shareholder litigation in connection with the proposed transaction may result in significant costs of defense, indemnification and liability; and (viii) other factors as set forth from time to time in General Dynamics and CSRA's filings with the SEC, including their respective Annual Reports on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, as well as the tender offer statement, solicitation/recommendation statement and other tender offer documents that will be filed by General Dynamics, Merger Sub and CSRA. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof.

All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they were made. General Dynamics and Merger Sub do not undertake any obligation to update or publicly release any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events, circumstances or changes in expectations after the date of this press release.

 

SOURCE General Dynamics

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http://www.generaldynamics.com

Chief Executive and Four Associates Indicted for Conspiring with Global Drug Traffickers by Providing Encryption Services to Evade Law Enforcement and Obstruct Justice

Vincent Ramos, the chief executive of Canada-based Phantom Secure, and four of his associates were indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges that they knowingly and intentionally participated in a criminal enterprise that facilitated the transnational importation and distribution of narcotics through the sale and service of encrypted communications.

This is the first time the U.S. government has targeted a company and its principals for knowingly and intentionally conspiring with criminal organizations by providing them with the technological tools to evade law enforcement and obstruct justice while committing transnational drug trafficking.

“With one American dying of a drug overdose every nine minutes, our great nation is suffering the deadliest drug epidemic in our history,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Incredibly, some have sought to profit off of this crisis, including by specifically taking advantage of encryption technologies to further criminal activity, and to obstruct, impede, and evade law enforcement, as this case illustrates.  The Department of Justice will aggressively prosecute not just drug traffickers, but those who help them spread addiction and death in our communities. I want to thank the FBI, DEA, Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, Washington State Police, the Bellingham and Blaine Police Departments, and all of our law enforcement partners around the world, including Australia, Canada, Panama, Hong Kong, and Thailand for their hard work on this case. Today's indictment sends a clear message that drug traffickers and criminals cannot hide, because we will hunt them down and find them wherever they are.”

“When criminals go dark, and law enforcement cannot monitor their phones or access evidence, crimes cannot be solved, criminals cannot be stopped and lives can be lost,” said U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman. “As a result of this groundbreaking prosecution, we will disable the communication infrastructure provided by a criminal enterprise to drug traffickers and other violent criminals. Phantom Secure was designed to profit off of criminal activity committed by transnational criminal organizations around the world. We are committed to shutting these criminals down.”

“The indictment of Vincent Ramos and his associates is a milestone against transnational crime,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.  “Phantom Secure allegedly provided a service designed to allow criminals the world over to evade law enforcement to traffic drugs and commit acts of violent crime without detection. Ramos and his company made millions off this criminal activity, and our takedown sends a serious message to those who exploit encryption to go dark on law enforcement. I want to thank our partners at the Department of Justice, as well as our Australian and Canadian law enforcement partners, for their incredible work on this case.”

Ramos was taken into custody in Bellingham, Washington, on March 7.  Ramos made his first appearance in the Western District of Washington and will face charges in San Diego. The remaining four defendants are fugitives.

According to court documents, Phantom Secure advertised its products as impervious to decryption, wiretapping or legal third-party records requests. Phantom Secure also guaranteed the destruction of evidence contained within a device if it was compromised, either by an informant or because it fell into the hands of law enforcement.  

The indictment alleges that as a result of its efforts to facilitate international crime, Phantom Secure has generated approximately $80 million in annual revenue since 2008 and facilitated drug trafficking, obstruction of justice, and violent crime around the world. 

The international operation to arrest the company’s chief executive and seize Phantom Secure’s infrastructure involved cooperation and efforts by law enforcement authorities in the United States, Australia, Canada, with additional assistance from U.S. and foreign law enforcement in Panama, Hong Kong, and Thailand. 

Over the past two weeks, in cooperation with Australian Federal Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, more than 250 agents around the globe conducted approximately 25 searches of houses and offices of Phantom Secure associates in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, and in Australia and Canada, seizing Phantom Secure devices, assets, and evidence of the charged crimes.  The coordinated effort led to the seizure of servers, computers, cell phones, and Phantom Secure devices used to operate the Phantom Secure network, as well as drugs and weapons. 

Ramos and the others - Kim Augustus Rodd, Younes Nasri, Michael Gamboa and Christopher Poquiz - are charged with participating in and aiding and abetting a racketeering enterprise and conspiring to import and distribute controlled substances around the world. The defendants have been charged with Conspiracy to Commit RICO in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962 and Conspiracy to Aid and Abet the Distribution of Controlled Substances in violation of 21 U.S.C.  § 841 and 846.

Authorities have seized Phantom Secure’s property, including more than 150 domains and licenses which were being used by transnational criminal organizations to send and receive encrypted messages. Authorities also seized bank accounts and property in Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.   

This case stems from an investigation in the Southern District of California of a Phantom Secure client who used Phantom devices to coordinate shipments of thousands of kilograms of cocaine and other drugs throughout the globe.  According to court documents, there were an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 Phantom devices in use worldwide before the authorities dismantled the company. This coordinated action means Phantom Secure’s clients can no longer use these devices to commit crimes.

According to Timothy O’Connor, Executive Director of the Criminal Investigations Division New South Wales Crime Commission, “The disruption of the Phantom Secure platform has been one of the most significant blows to organized crime in Australia.”    

In addition to our foreign law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office further recognizes the support and assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; Customs and Border Protection; the Department of Homeland Security; Seattle and Las Vegas field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Washington State Police Department; the City of Bellingham, Washington Police Department; the City of Blaine, Washington Police Department; and the Canada Border Services Agency, among others, without whose help this prosecution could not have been possible.

Speaking on behalf of Australian law enforcement authorities, Australian Federal Police (AFP) Assistant Commissioner Organised Crime, Neil Gaughan said today Australia’s role in this complex and unique investigation began in early 2017 following an exchange of intelligence with the FBI and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

As a result, Australian authorities executed 19 search warrants across four states last week as part of the international action, where more than 1,000 encrypted mobile devices were seized.

“The action taken in the U.S. directly impacts the upper echelons of organized crime both here in Australia and offshore, who until now have been able to confidently control and direct illicit activity like drug importations, money laundering and associated serious criminal offending,” said Assistant Commissioner Gaughan.

“Our thanks go to our international partners – the FBI and RCMP – who have been outstanding in working methodically around the clock together with us on this unique investigation. Without their cooperation, commitment and shared singular drive, Australian law enforcement agencies would not be announcing this significant result today.”

Australian agencies involved in this investigation include the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the New South Wales Crime Commission, state police from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, the Australian Tax Office and financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC.

“This investigation is a prime example of law enforcement agencies from around the world working together to identify, investigate and charge people involved in transnational criminal activity,” says Assistant Commissioner Jim Gresham, RCMP Criminal Operations Officer, Investigative Services and Organized Crime. “We remain committed to investigating and disrupting these illegal activities that adversely affect each of our communities.”

This case is the result of ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.

The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.


DEFENDANTS                                

Vincent Ramos (1)                              Richmond, British Columbia Canada
   aka “CEO”
   aka “Business”

Kim Augustus Rodd (2)                      Phuket, Thailand
   aka Visith Vongthai
   aka “Snowstar”
   aka “Global”

Younes Nasri (3)                                 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
   aka “Maestro”
   aka “Jesse”

Michael Gamboa (4)                           Los Angeles, CA
   aka “Chino”

Christopher Poquiz (5)                       Los Angeles, CA
   aka “Caddy”
   aka “Cad”


SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Racketeering Conspiracy to Conduct Enterprise Affairs (RICO Conspiracy), in violation of 18 USC §1962(d)
Maximum Penalty: Life in prison

Conspiracy to Aid and Abet the Distribution of Narcotics, in violation of 21 USC §841 and 846; Title 18 USC §2
Maximum Penalty: Life in prison

President Donald J. Trump is Taking Immediate Actions to Secure Our Schools

President Donald J. Trump is making sure our schools are safe and secure, just like our airports, stadiums, and government buildings.

  • President Trump’s Administration will assist States to train specially qualified school personnel on a voluntary basis.
    • • Department of Justice (DOJ) assistance programs will be leveraged to enable schools to partner with State and local law enforcement to provide firearms training for school personnel.
    • • The Administration will support the transition of military veterans and retired law enforcement into new careers in education.
  • • The Administration will encourage States’ Attorneys General to audit school district compliance with State emergency preparedness activities.
  • • Federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, will partner with States and localities to support a public awareness campaign modeled on “See Something, Say Something” to encourage awareness and reporting of suspicious activity.

STRENGTHENING BACKGROUND CHECKS AND PREVENTION: President Trump supports legislation and reforms to strengthen background checks and law enforcement operations.

  • • President Trump’s Administration is calling on every State to adopt Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs).
    • • The President is directing the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to States, at their request, on establishing and implementing ERPOs.
    • • ERPOs allow law enforcement, with approval from a court, to remove firearms from individuals who are a demonstrated threat to themselves or others and temporarily to prevent individuals from purchasing new firearms.
    • • ERPOs should be carefully tailored to ensure the due process rights of law-abiding citizens are protected.
  • • President Trump supports improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The President supports the legislative framework introduced by Senators Cornyn and Murphy that will help improve the accuracy and effectiveness of NICS.
    • • The Cornyn-Murphy bill will hold Federal agencies more accountable for reporting information to NICS and will incentivize States to improve their reporting to the system.
  • • The President supports the framework of the STOP School Violence Act, which provides for State-based grants to implement evidence-based violence prevention programs.
    • • Grants will provide States with funds for training, technology, and technical assistance to help schools identify and prevent violent acts.
  • • The Administration requests that Congress provide funding in 2018 to jump start implementation of this evidence-based program in middle and high schools nationwide.
  • • The President’s Administration will audit and make accountability improvements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) tip line, and will promote its use.
  • • DOJ will provide emergency and crisis training for local law enforcement.

MENTAL HEALTH REFORM: President Trump is proposing an expansion and reform of mental health programs, including those that help identify and treat individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others.

  • • The President is proposing increased integration of mental health, primary care, and family services, as well as support for programs that utilize court-ordered treatment.
  • • The President is calling for a review of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other statutory and regulatory privacy protections.
    • • Reviews will determine if any changes or clarifications are needed to improve coordination between mental health and other healthcare professionals, school officials, and law enforcement personnel.

INVESTIGATION: In addition to these immediate actions, President Trump is establishing a Federal Commission on School Safety chaired by Secretary Betsy DeVos and will recommend policy and funding proposals for school violence prevention. 

  • President Trump’s Administration will establish a Federal commission, chaired by Secretary DeVos, to address school safety and the culture of violence.
  • While the Administration is taking immediate action on school safety, the Federal commission will develop a process to evaluate and make recommendations on school safety.
  • The commission will study and make recommendations on the following areas of focus:
    • • Age restrictions for certain firearm purchases.
    • • Existing entertainment rating systems and youth consumption of violent entertainment.
    • • Strategies to advance the science and practice of character development in youth and a culture of connectedness.
    • • Effects of press coverage of mass shootings.
    • • Repeal of the Obama Administration’s “Rethink School Discipline” policies.
    • • Best practices for school buildings and campus security from Federal Government components, including the Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and also from other State, local, and private sector sources.
    • • A plan for integration and coordination of Federal resources focused on prevention and mitigation of active shooter incidents at schools.
    • • Opportunities to improve access to mental health treatment, including through efforts that raise awareness about mental illness and the effectiveness of treatment, reduce barriers to the recruitment of mental health professionals, and provide training related to violence prevention.
    • • Best practices for school-based threat assessment and violence prevention strategies.
    • • The effectiveness and appropriateness of psychotropic medication for treatment of troubled youth.
    • • Ensuring that findings are sufficiently supported by existing and additional Federal, State, and local funding sources.

ATA President Urges Congress to Act on Infrastructure Funding

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2018 -- Today, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear called on Congress to set aside ideological partisanship and put forward a bold infrastructure investment package to address our nation's deteriorating roads and bridges.
"While ATA recognizes how difficult it is for Members of Congress to commit to, or even openly discuss, the types of spending needed to address our ailing roads and bridges, as well as the revenue raisers necessary to get there, it is very clear that doing nothing will impose a much higher cost on the American people and on the industry I represent," Spear told the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "Each year motorists spend more than $1,500 due to lack of infrastructure investment—$500 spent repairing their vehicles and nearly $1,000 more wasted sitting in traffic. The trucking industry loses more than $63 billion every year because of congestion on our highway system. That's 362,000 truck drivers sitting idle for an entire year. And as much as we liked the tax cut we got last year, we're going to give it all back because that $63 billion is like a 9% tax on our industry. These are the costs of doing nothing."

In his testimony, Spear cited ATA's proposed "Build America Fund," a 20-cent user fee collected on wholesale purchases of motor fuel, as a solution for paying for needed road and bridge repairs and improvements.

"Unlike tolls or mileage fees, it's extremely inexpensive to collect. More than 99 cents of every dollar will be spent on transportation projects and programs, not paying for new bureaucracies or lining the pockets of foreign banks," he said. "It doesn't grow the budget deficit and it is real money—$340 billion in new, additional revenue over the first 10 years."

Spear highlighted the cost of inaction: a national transportation network broken up by tolls, or paid for by borrowing from foreign governments.

"Doing nothing costs drivers 15 times more than they'd pay under our proposal. Borrowing money from China just passes the buck to future generations, with interest. Some states, in desperation, are resorting to tolls. Look at I-66, just a stone's throw from Capitol Hill. You have toll rates up to $47 for just one 10-mile trip.  Rhode Island is using a loophole in federal law to discriminate against trucks by charging a truck-only toll on more than a dozen bridges," he said. "And some are promoting the idea of selling off public infrastructure to the highest bidder, leaving the people who rely on those facilities to hold the bag for the multinational corporations who will reap the profits for decades after the short-term infusion of cash that states and cities get in return is spent."

In concluding his testimony, Spear pointed out that, in the past, transportation was not a partisan issue, highlighting the fact that, as president, Ronald Reagan raised the user fee twice.

"Roads and bridges are not Republican or Democrat; they aren't free or cheap. It's time to stop pointing fingers and making excuses and start investing in our future," he said.

To read Spear's full testimony, click here, and for more on ATA's Build America Fund, click here.

American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation's freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward 

SOURCE American Trucking Associations

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