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Military | Force Protection

Coast Guard to regulates movements around U.S. subs in Hood Canal in Washington State

Sub in Hood Canal, WA

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a final rule on May 18 that would enable it to establish a “regulated navigation area” in the vicinity of the Hood Canal in the State of Washington, whenever a U.S. submarine is operating in that area in an effort to safeguard the subs, the Coast Guard’s security escorts and the public.

Because the submarines in this area often operate near shore and in very restricted areas, the Coast Guard often provide security escorts for the underwater vessels.

“Security escorts of this type require the Coast Guard personnel on-scene to make quick judgments about the intent of vessels operating in close proximity to the submarines and decide, occasionally with very little information about the vessels or persons on board, whether or not they pose a threat to the submarine,” explains a final rule posted by the Coast Guard in the Federal Register on May 18.

Under its new authority, the Coast Guard will be empowered to order persons or vessels to “stop, move, change orientation, etc.,” says the notice.

The Coast Guard security escort will attempt to notify persons or vessels of the restricted area via VHF Channel 16, the notice adds.

Further information is available from LT Matthew Jones, a Coast Guard staff attorney, at 206-220-7155 or [email protected].

 

On the front lines of terrorism: An interview with Thomas Locke (Part Three)

Locke

After 32 years battling terrorists with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), retired agent Thomas Locke knows more than most about the past, present and future threats the United States confronts in the global war.

Now serving as the managing director if BGR Government Affairs – a bipartisan lobbying firm – Locke sat down to talk exclusively with GSN: Government Security News about the evolution of terrorism in the 20th century and how America can defeat the threat in the 21st.

In part three of our interview series, Locke discusses the current threat of terrorism and how the FBI, as an organization, is working to confront it, the role of the Department of Homeland Security, the most pressing American foreign policy objectives, what the future of terrorism will look like and how he believes we can eventually win the war on terror (read part one here and part two here).

“The FBI has undergone some very difficult times,” Locke told GSN. “Prior to my retirement, the average career of an FBI agent was 14 years. Now it’s five and a half. The brain drain is very severe. But I have to give the FBI credit; they are very resilient.”

A constant rotation of staff is just one problem the FBI faces when it comes to finding the right kind of man or woman for the job.

“It’s hard to hire FBI agents. We are getting a lot of people who changed careers. Really smart kids -- doctors, lawyers, teachers -- but they don’t have street smarts,” Locke adds. “After Vietnam, we got a lot of veterans who knew how to get out there and handle themselves on the streets. And that’s important, because 95 percent of what we do is talking to people. We need to know how to talk to them, whether it’s the CEO, the drug dealer or the terrorist.”

And it is not just the field office agents who are coming and going; so too is Director Robert Mueller and his yet-to-be-determined successor.

“The biggest thing that is happening for the FBI right now is getting a new director. Mueller’s 10 years are up,” he said.

Locke strongly believes that a new director of the FBI must be, “a law enforcement type with the experience that those type of individuals will bring.

“It could be Bill Bratton,” Locke added, referring to the former chief of police for Los Angeles and New York City. “But the smart money is on [New York City Police Commissioner] Ray Kelly.”

Staff is not the only difficulty the FBI faces. Since 9/11, the Bureau has had its jurisdiction slowly and steadily encroached upon by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). When asked about how well he thought DHS was handling its job -- especially in light of the recent attempted terror attack in Times Square -- Locke told GSN, “Taking all those people and standing up a new agency is a Herculean task. I can’t even imagine getting my arms around it, it is too big for any one person to oversee.

“When Janet Napolitano got selected for the job of DHS Secretary, I thought thank God it isn’t me,” Locke added.

Being a long-time government servant, Locke has an insider’s insight into the working of the relatively young agency and its third appointed secretary.

“What I hear is Napolitano is easy to get along with, she listens to her advisors and she lets them do their job. But when you’re put in the national spotlight, like the president, every word is hung on. She hasn’t had national exposure and she doesn’t always know the right thing to say at the right time. Her misspeaks are receiving all the play. It’s hard with the 24-hour news cycle.

“She must be held responsible for every world that comes out of her mouth,” Locke said. “But it is a fast-paced, fast-moving, monumental task, and she deserves some credit for simply taking the position.”

Locke says he was not surprised when the arrest of the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, was announced so soon after the incident occurred.

“The network of sources and information-gathering tools that they have is incredible. I knew that by tomorrow we would have somebody, and sure enough it happened.

“But he did leave his keys in the car and I’m sure that made it a bit easier for law enforcement,” Locke added.

Locke doesn’t believe that the two recent attempted terrorist attacks -- both Shahzad and the “Christmas Day bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab -- are the fault of the current administration.

“The two attacks are not President [Barack] Obama’s fault. The fundamentalists are going to do something and at some point, heaven help us, they may be successful. We have stopped countless conspiracies,” Locke said.

“It’s just a question of time before it happens,” he added. “The only thing we have going for us is a very alert law enforcement community and every day they are getting better. And the American people are really starting to get engaged in ‘if you see something, say something.’ Hopefully the attack, when it happens, won’t be overwhelming.”

Like most experts in the security field today, Locke is most fearful of those who have yet to pop up on law enforcement’s radar.

“I worry about the lone gunman who walks into the school, or shopping mall or a sports events. It doesn’t have to be a plane,” he said.

“I think it has gotten to the point where we have foiled so many attempts that the terrorists will do whatever they can now to have a successful attack.” Locke tells GSN. “They will do whatever they can get away with. I think we’ll see more firearms because they’re easy to obtain, but there has also been a lot of theft of dynamite over the years, so we might have an incident like what we saw in Spain.

“These guys have dreams of grandeur and if they are truly won over and converted by Islam and willing to give their life – which is a defining moment for them – eventually someone will be successful,” he believes.

The lone gunman is not Locke’s only concern.

“I also worry about prison radicalization,” he tells GSN, “because it’s more extensive then people think it could be. The former director of the Maryland Bureau of Prisons spoke with me about it and exposed me to some of these stories. It was literally making the hair on the back of my neck stand up. We need to take better care of the information that comes out of our prisons.

“There are losers in this country that will attach themselves to any figure who is charismatic because they want to be a part of something,” he continues. “Everyone needs to be needed, and prison opens up an incredible opportunity for radicalization and recruitment.”

“All we can do is stay on top of things and it doesn’t matter what administration is there,” Locke added. “The career professionals in the Bureau will keep fighting the good fight. The government just has to give the FBI, the CIA, the NSA the tools they need to do the job, and I believe that they are. In 2002, the FBI budget passed $1billion. The government is pouring resources into the Bureau and rightfully so.”

“Still,” he said, “a paradigm shift in our thinking that needs to take place, and the government needs to realize how tough a job it is for the FBI.”

Despite the threat to the homeland, Locke also worries about what is going on overseas, especially in North Korea, Pakistan, Iran and Syria – the countries he names as America’s greatest potential threats.

Locke believes the U.S. faces a serious problem when it comes to the often neglected or overlooked Muslim nation of Syria.

“In my experience,” Locke said, “Syria remains a real problem for us. They are sneaky and they maintain a low profile. As long as [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is in Iran, the Syrians don’t worry about the microscope being on them. But, we cannot lose sight of what they are doing, especially in Lebanon.

“We need to make sure we have a firm foreign policy in place,” Locke tells GSN. “I don’t think coddling a place like Iran, is a good idea. We are not going to win them over on persuasive talk. They are from a different time -- they have this 12th to14th century thinking. Shariah law and Muslim fundamentalism is all about getting back to the basics for them. They are never going to be our friend. We are -- and will always be -- the infidels. And nothing is going to happen at the United Nations. We just have to deal with them with a firm hand.

“Iran is not going to stop because we want them to,” Locke added, “because it’s the nice thing to do.”

But Locke had kinder words for the Obama administration in terms of what the president and his team are doing in regards to the fight on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We must secure Pakistan and win in Afghanistan,” Locke said. “Waging war while minimizing civilian casualties is such a difficult thing. The United States doesn’t have the stomach for war.

“But the Obama administration has increased the drone strikes which I think is fantastic,” he adds.

GSN asked Locke what the eventual outcome of the war on terror would be for the United States. He believes victory is within reach, although it might take some time.

“We’ll win the global war on terrorism,” Locke said. “And not because we do everything the right way or because democracy is the right way to go. People are going to get tired of terrorism. And the terrorists are going to continue to make mistakes. And there will be a backlash. Like you’re seeing in politics in the U.S. today. People are getting fed up with certain things. We are going to get better at what we do…and win.

It will never really end,” Locke tells GSN. “There will always be pockets of resistance, but I do believe we will eventually be victorious.”

Information sharing is valued at all levels

Local and national law enforcement agencies across the nation are undertaking measures to makes sure more information is shared more broadly.

By the beginning of April, the Secure Communities initiative – a program developed by the Department of Justice (DoJ), in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to promote information-sharing efforts to identify, capture and deport criminal aliens from the U.S. -- announced it had spread to 17 states and 135 jurisdictions across the nation, vastly increasing the initiative’s capabilities.

The system allows local law enforcement access to the biometric database of both the FBI and DHS, and then automatically notifies the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit of DHS when there is a match.

“Our goal with Secure Communities is to use biometric information sharing to prevent criminal aliens from being released back into the community, with little or no additional burden on our law enforcement partners,” said executive director David Venturella.

The program’s success can be measured in the numbers. Since its creation in 2008, more than 40,000 criminal aliens have been identified and almost 30,000 have been kicked out of the country.

But Secure Communities isn’t the only actively growing information-sharing program the government is using to interact with local law enforcement. The DoJ also announced plans at the end of April to launch a federated identity management program that would expand the breadth of access that local law enforcement has to Justice Department’s data.

Working with the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services, DoJ said that a limited multi-year pilot program had been successful, and that the goal of the agency would be to take the program nationwide by the end of the year.

Even the U.S. military has begun to publicly emphasize the need for information sharing – not only between U.S. Government agencies in the military and those agencies at the federal level – but also between coalition troops overseas fighting in the war against terror.

Taking a page from the national playbook, the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, said at the 2010 Joint Warfighting Conference on May 14, the responsibility to improve information sharing falls squarely on the shoulder of U.S. troops.

“In this age, I don’t care how technologically or operationally brilliant you are,” said Mattis, “if you cannot build trust [across multiple participants], you might as well go home.”

Air Force Maj. Gen. David Edgington, who serves as the Joint Forces Command’s chief of staff, also spoke at the conference and agreed with Mattis’s assessment. Edgington noted that the military is supporting a cultural change in the information-sharing paradigm from a “need-to-know” to a “will-to-share.”

$1.5 billion contract awarded for supporting special ops. command

CACI International Inc., of Ballston, VA, announced that the company has been awarded one of four contracts to support the United States Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) Global Battlestaff and Program Support (GBPS) effort. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract has a ceiling value of $1.5 billion and a period of performance that consists of a three-year base period and a two-year option period.

“Our selection as one of only four primes on this contract is a significant win for CACI,” said Bill Fairl, president of U.S. Operations. “By providing USSOCOM with operations and intelligence, acquisition and logistics, and business operations and financial management support services, we’re able to help the Special Operations Forces with their critical missions worldwide.”

USSOCOM supports Special Operations Forces in their defence of America and its interests, through the synchronized planning of global operations against terrorist networks. CACI will provide the command with integrated security and intelligence solutions for USSOCOM’s force sustainment, equipping, and modernization efforts, especially those focused on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.

In addition to winning the ID/IQ contract award, CACI also won one of four task orders  that were bid with the overall contract proposal. The $4 million order for intelligence production support for the USSOCOM integrated survey program, has a five year period of performance and will provide USSOCOM with multimedia intelligence production, publication, and dissemination support services over the life of the task order.

The company’s president and CEO Paul Cofoni, said, “Winning this contract partners us with a customer whose mission sets are expanding and whose contributions to national interests are becoming more important as threats by non-nation states increase. Working with USSOCOM will enable us to make meaningful contributions to national interests as well as support warfighters serving in harm’s way.”

CACI works with a variety of federal agencies to deliver enterprise IT and network services; data, information, and knowledge management services; business system solutions; logistics and material readiness; C4ISR integration services; cyber solutions; integrated security and intelligence solutions and program management.

GAO rejects DynaLantic’s protest of Army simulator contract

A DynaLantic simulator

DynaLantic Corp., of Sayville, NY, wasn’t happy with the way the U.S. Army issued a small business set-aside contract to a rival company to supply a counter-terrorism flight training simulator for a Russian medium-lift helicopter used in Iraq by Iraqi pilots. So, DynaLantic formally protested the Army’s award last November.

On March 15, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) tossed out DynaLantic’s protest, deciding that the Small Business Administration -- not the Army or the GAO -- makes the final determination on whether a company is -- or is not -- considered to be a small business.

The GAO also concluded that Army procurement agency’s evaluation of DynaLantic’s proposal, as well as that of its competitor, Fidelity Technologies Corp., of Reading, PA, “was reasonable and supported the conclusion that the awardee’s proposal was technically superior to the protester’s,” said the GAO’s decision memorandum.

The prices the two companies had proposed were quite close – DynaLantic wanted $10,455,000, while Fidelity sought $10,360,426 – but their technical proposals were viewed quite differently. “DynaLantic’s proposal had four noted strengths and two weaknesses under the technical factor,” said the GAO, “while Fidelity’s proposal had nine noted strengths and no weaknesses under this factor.”

The two companies were among a total of seven bidders seeking to supply the U.S. Army with MI-17 CT flight training device simulators, which is a “virtual simulator” designed to teach flying and maneuvering skills. “The MI-171 CT helicopter is a Russian manufactured medium lift aircraft that has been configured with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (not Russian) avionics unique to the Iraq and Afghanistan missions,” explains the GAO’s document.

DynaLantic is a 26-year-old company dedicated to the military and commercial markets for training and simulation devices. Thirteen years ago, it challenged the Defense Department’s awarding of an 8(a) set-aside contract, but a U.S. Court of Appeals determined that DynaLantic did not have legal standing on the matter. (Interestingly, the U.S. Attorney on that 1997 case was Eric Holder, who went on to become the current Attorney General of the United States.)

Lynn Gibson, Acting General Counsel of the GAO, signed the March 15 decision, which was released publicly on May 14.

 

General Dynamics awarded $12 Million to lead development of airborne network node for WIN-T

GD's WIN-T

General Dynamics C4 Systems has been awarded a $12.4 million contract modification to the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 3 contract by the U.S. Army to lead a defense-industry team in the development of a line-of-sight communications payload for Extended Range/Multi-purpose (ER/MP) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

Once aboard the UAS, the WIN-T communications payload will use the Highband Networking Waveform (HNW) to serve as a radio repeater while the UAS is in flight. This capability is critical in an urban environment or on rugged terrain where there are barriers to ground communication. HNW is a key technology on the WIN-T program, providing automation in establishment of a communication link that results in increased robustness of the communication network. WIN-T enables warfighters to communicate and collaborate on the move, in urban areas, mountains or isolated locations where there is no communications infrastructure.

Bill Weiss, Vice President of Tactical Networks for General Dynamics C4 Systems, said, “Implementing the airborne relay for WIN-T Increment 3 is a highly efficient and cost-effective approach to a complex problem that will pay great dividends for the warfighter. It will bring U.S. forces unfettered access to information, communications and collaboration wherever they happen to be.”

General Dynamics will lead the WIN-T Increment 3 team that includes Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Harris Corporation. The teammates will work closely to design the Communications Payload B-kit with General Atomics, makers of the ER/MP platform.

The U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command (CECOM), Fort Monmouth, NJ, is the contracting authority.

The WIN-T program is comprised of three increments. Increment 1 is currently fielded to a number of deployed U.S. Army units. Increment 2 equips tactical vehicles with broadband communications, enabling commanders to see and command from anywhere in the battlespace. Increment 3 provides increased network reliability and capacity, smaller and more tightly integrated communications and networking gear needed for the Army’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization.

 

Air passenger terminal at Ramstein Air Base in Germany needs security guard firm

Terminal at Ramstein AFB

The U.S. Air Force is looking for a commercial security firm to provide 100 percent screening of approximately 750 military and dependent air travelers who pass through the Air Mobility Command’s Passenger Terminal at Ramstein Air Base in Germany each day.

The selected company also will be expected to monitor the alarm room, access control and surveillance systems on a 24/7 basis to prevent unauthorized access to certain terminal areas and the aircraft, according to a sources sought notice posted online by the Air Force on May 10.

“The contractor will also respond appropriately to security alarm activations to prevent unauthorized access to areas (maximum two minute response time) and general terminal security functions,” explains the notice.

Passengers are screened in accordance with TSA requirements as well as directives and commercial practices prescribed by the 721st Aerial Port Squadron, which oversees the passenger terminal’s operations. The passenger terminal at Ramstein, which calls itself “the Department of Defense's premier air passenger facility,” is located southwest of Frankfurt.

According to the Air Force’s solicitation, an average of 650 passengers use the terminal between 3:00 AM and 11:00 PM each day, while another 100 travelers pass through between 11:00 PM and 3:00 AM. “Each flight shall take no more than 30 minutes to screen,” says the Air Force’s solicitation.

The incumbent contractor for this security work is Pond Security Services Gmbh of Allison Park, PA, and whose current contract at Ramstein is valued at 1,152,000 Euros (approximately $1.5 million at current exchange rates).

Further information is available from Peter Atkins, a contract specialist at Ramstein, at (49) 631-536-6919 or [email protected].

 

AS&E continues to lead the pack for government-ordered X-ray technology

Mobile X-ray

American Science and Engineering, Inc. (AS&E) of Billerica, MA, announced the receipt of another multi-million order from the U.S. government for multiple Z Backscatter Van (ZBV) X-ray screening systems.

“We continue to receive outstanding field performance reports from ZBV customers,” said president and CEO Anthony Fabiano. “With its exceptional speed and versatility, the ZBV has proven to be a valuable tool for customs, law enforcement, and military officials for the detection of drugs, explosives, contraband, and stowaways. We have worked very closely with U.S. government officials to meet their requirements, and we are very proud to continue to assist them in their important mission.”

The contract – which will cost the government $13.9 million – comes on the heels of similar contract announced at the end of April for $48.8 million and one announced at the end of March for $2.5 million.

Government means big business for small business owners

Lani Hay

In part two of our discussion with Lani Hay at the GSN: Government Security News headquarters in New York City, Hay spoke about the role of small business in providing security-related services to the government (read part one, about the future of biometrics, here).

“I focus on not only trying to be a good service provider for my clients, but also finding ways to help them achieve their objectives,” Hay tells GSN.

Hay is the president and CEO of Lanmark Technology, Inc. of Vienna, VA, a company that works primarily with the government in providing a full range of information technology services and telecommunication solutions.

“One of the reasons why I chose the government as a client,” Hay tells GSN, “was because they have so many goals that support woman-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses and small businesses in general. Also, this is an industry that is mandating that work go to a company like mine.

“I think diversity is the key to finding better solutions and the fact that they are mandating diversity,” Hay said, “I don’t think that it is a bad thing. What I have found is that if you give somebody the opportunity, they generally rise to the occasion.”

Hay also spoke about the nature of the relationship between small, privately-owned businesses and big government.

“I knew that I would always have a customer, the government is not getting any smaller, so even during this recession, my company hasn’t suffered,” she said.

Hay also spoke about the challenges of getting government contracts in the government’s highly competitive space.

“The biggest challenge being a small business is convincing clients that they can get the same or better quality work from us, as a small business, at a fraction of the cost and to not be scared about it,” Hay said. “We have costs low because we don’t have a bloated infrastructure.”

Hay, who has worked with the current administration to advise them on issues concerning small businesses, says, “The government can always do more.”

“I would recommend that the government, instead of having small business goals, has small business mandates. They have goals for contracting with woman, vets and small businesses, but I would rather have that be a mandate than a goal.”

She also had a few words for advice for small businesses looking to emulate Hay’s success.

“To get the contracts, you have to go out there and meet the end-user,” she told GSN. “Every government agency has a small business office, and that is where I started.

“The offices will introduce small businesses to the people that can use and need their services. But, most of the time, it literally means knocking on as many doors as you can, meeting as many people as you can, and in a matter of time, you’ll land a contract.

“It also helps to work with the Small Business Administration,” Hay adds. “They have worked with me over the years in helping to get my name out and they have been a really great advocate for my company.”

Biometrics essential to winning war on terror

Lani Hay

In a conversation with GSN:Government Security News at our headquarters in New York City, Lani Hay spoke about the future of biometrics in fighting the global war on terror.

“We used to have, in conventional warfare, a line where the bad guys were on one side and we were on the good guys’ side,” she said. “But now we are fighting in urban environments, so the lines aren’t as defined as they used to be. We are helping the armed forces re-think how they approach warfare.”

Hay is the president and CEO of Lanmark Technology, Inc., of Vienna, VA, a company that works primarily with the government in providing a full range of information technology services and telecommunication solutions.

“And the most exciting work we are doing right now is in the biometrics space,” she added.

“Right now, we have a terrorist watch list based on people’s names. If you have your name on the watch list what are you going to do? Change your name? So, we are trying to develop the watch list based on biometrics.

“We have success stories in capturing biometrics from Iraq and Afghanistan, but we’re trying to expand the program, so it covers all parts of the world because the terrorists aren’t just coming from Afghanistan and Iraq, but also from Africa, South America and Asia.”

Hay believes biometrics will play a huge role in winning the fight against terrorism in the future.

“First of all, biometrics is going to help us consolidate our resources. For instance, we had a guy that the FBI, CIA and State Department (DoS) were all chasing. But he actually had 33 different identities, so we had all our resources chasing 33 different people. When we actually captured the person, we were able to cross-reference all intelligence and biometrics data and find out that it was actually one person.

“It happens a lot. It’s so easy to pick up someone else’s identity, so the only way you can have a positive match is through biometrics. So that is your unique individual tracking.

“I think biometrics is going to have a lot to do with how we fight wars in the future. It will help us consolidate the information we have on people and consolidate bits and pieces into one master profile for people,” Hay told GSN.

“It’s all about taking information, bringing it together and streamlining it,” she noted.

But the biggest problem with biometrics, Hay told GSN, is getting lawmakers interested and involved.

“The interesting thing is a lot of people say, ‘Don’t we have this kind of technology already?’ Yes, it’s out there, but there are other programs taking precedence. We only have the program funded for the Iraq and Afghanistan region, so what my company is trying to do is help the Defense Intelligence Agency go to Congress and say, ‘Hey, this is really important. We need to build this worldwide global biometrics database of all the bad guys.’

“If Congress was funding biometrics, things like the attempted Christmas Day bombing wouldn’t have ever happened,” Hay believes. “If we were properly analyzing the biometrics data and feeding it to the right agencies -- like DHS and DoS -- that guy would have never even been given a visa from the State Department to enter the United States in the first place,” she added.

But biometric data does not just help the troops overseas. It also aids local and state law enforcement agencies in the United States. Hay described a situation in which her company was able to get processed biometric data to the border patrol in California, allowing authorities to apprehend the suspect as he crossed into the U.S.

“We have had a lot of success from this really minimally-funded program, so I believe we should expand it. Then we could catch a lot more people before an incident happens.”

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