Homeland Security exercises slated at Port of Tacoma
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks with reporters May 11 at Port of Tacoma headquarters. Federal, state and city officials gathered to announce the Port has been selected as the site for a testing center aimed to scan and detect intermodal cargo for traces of radiation. The first set of exercices will occur July 24.
A full-scale homeland security training exercise will take place at the Port of Tacoma July 24. Tideflats-area businesses and residents with views of the Port area may observe emergency response vehicles, simulated explosions and smoke and limited on-water activity on Commencement Bay.
According to officials from the Center for Asymmetric Warfare (CAW), a federally-funded, national center aimed at protecting U.S. forces, citizens and property, this activity will not disrupt normal business activity and should not create visual or audible distractions outside the immediate Port area.
The Port of Tacoma exercise is expected to begin at 8 a.m. and will conclude by early afternoon. There will be no public or media access to the exercise.
The CAW exercise launches Friday with the simulated seizure of a ferry in Steilacoom and concludes a few days later with disasters and mock terrorist attacks around the Puget Sound. In all, more than 50 agencies will participate in the two-phase exercise, including participants from the Department of Defense and federal, state, county, local and private entities.
The Asymmetric Warfare Initiative exercise is designed to challenge local, state and federal agencies to assemble rapidly and establish a coordinated response to multiple terrorist attacks. Participants will practice specialized tactics, techniques and procedures aimed at preventing an attack and lessening human, social and economic impacts.
Funded by the United States Congress through the Asymmetric Warfare Initiative, the exercise is the fifth of its kind to be conducted in the Puget Sound region.
The objective of the exercise is to provide demanding, scenario-driven events that prompt agencies to assemble rapidly and establish a coordinated response using procedures mandated by the National Incident Management System. It is also designed to challenge agency participants’ technical capabilities, as well as communication and coordination of efforts for responding to multiple, serious events.
The Center for Asymmetric Warfare (CAW) is a national center dedicated to protecting U.S. forces, citizens and property against asymmetric threats. CAW provides testing, training and experimentation for Department of Defense expeditionary forces to prepare them to counter the effects of asymmetric warfare, both outside of the United States and in concert with federal, state and local authorities in a homeland security environment.
Activities will begin at the Steilacoom Ferry Dock, July 19 and 20, and will include a hostage situation on a ferry. Ferries are the second largest transit system in Washington State, servicing about 25 million riders per year. The Anderson Island ferry will be used in the exercise.
Exercise activities will continue the following week at the Port of Tacoma on July 24, the location of last year's exercise. Scenarios will include both terrorist and non-terrorist activities and the distinction between the two could be ambiguous, further challenging participants.
The United States Coast Guard Sector Command, USCG District 13, the Captain of the Port of Seattle, Pier 90/91 Facility Security, Port of Seattle Police, Seattle Fire, U. S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement will have a concurrent exercise to validate their Alien Migrant Interdiction Operation (AMIO) plan. This scenario involves a fishing vessel that arrives with people aboard who do not have proper identification and a civil disturbance with an attempt to enter secured areas.
Port Commission Candidate Gael Tarleton's SAIC Backers Could Soon Be Asking Her For Business
SAIC has had numerous contracts with the Port in the past
Port Commission candidate Gael Tarleton now works in the University of Washington's office of Global Affairs as a special assistant. But she once worked for one of the heavyweights in port security technology—a company that's had more than $7 million in contracts at the Seattle port in the past and may vie for more in the future. And her campaign has been generously supported by some of her former colleagues at the company.
In her bid to unseat commissioner Bob Edwards, Tarleton has raised more than $78,000 to date (compared to just $32,000 for Edwards). About $12,000 of her total has come from current and retired executives at Science Applications International Corporation (commonly known as SAIC). That includes $2,800—the limit for an individual—from the company's founder and former CEO, Robert Beyster.
Asked if she actively solicited her SAIC connections, Tarleton says, "Absolutely. I worked at that place for 12 years. They were on my 'friends and family' list from day one."
SAIC is a research and engineering firm that provides information technology and security products and services for government customers. According to Fedspending.org, SAIC had more than $24 billion in federal contracts in fiscal 2005, the last complete year for which numbers are available. The company's top customers include the Defense, Homeland Security, and Energy departments.
In the port security realm, SAIC is best known for its Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System, a machine that uses gamma rays instead of the traditional X-rays to scan the insides of cargo containers through their metal walls.
According to a list obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and provided to Seattle Weekly, the Port of Seattle had 11 contracts with SAIC between 2002 and 2004, totaling more than $7 million. Details on the contracts are sparse, but all appear to be security and "safe commerce" related. A 2002 Seattle P-I article said the Port obtained one of the $1.2 million vehicle and cargo inspection machines in 2002 and intended to purchase another.
Spokesman David Schaefer says the Port of Seattle has no current contracts with SAIC, and he declined to say whether the Port is currently considering future contracts with the company. SAIC also declined to comment about current or future business at the Port of Seattle.
Edwards, first elected to the post in 1999, says "I've tried not to pay too much attention to what [my opponents] are saying and doing. I'm sticking to the record of what I've done as Port commissioner," when asked about Tarleton's ties to SAIC.
The commission only holds sway over contracts that total $200,000 or more, says Edwards. But he notes that when it comes to federal money coming into the Port, the commission has no say over who gets what, but acts in more of an administrative role. (According to commission minutes, SAIC led a $2.7 million demonstration project funded by the Transportation Security Administration in 2003, though no details were available about what the project entailed.)
"We are going through our ethics policies right now to make sure there isn't any way that commissioners can personally profit by knowledge that they have or by direct award of contracts or business," Edwards says.
But Jack Block Jr., another challenger for Edwards' post, says he's alarmed at Tarleton's backing by SAIC employees. He quotes a March 2007 Vanity Fair article about the company that says: "No Washington contractor pursues government money with more ingenuity and perseverance than SAIC. No contractor seems to exploit conflicts of interest in Washington with more zeal."
"With all the problems we're having with accountability and transparency at the Port, it scares the hell out of me that SAIC has taken an interest in this race," Block says. "Obviously SAIC is moving into the port security business. With their emphasis on security and sensors this is a big market for them."
Tarleton says she'll recuse herself from any future Port Commission decisions that have to do with her former employer, "and I will do it in the open."
"I think first of all our ports are a target, we all know that, for potential terrorists," says Diane Archer, a former SAIC contracts manager from Great Falls, Va., who gave Tarleton's campaign $200 earlier this month. "The Port of Seattle is as vulnerable as any other. I've worked with Gael in the past and she's a very dynamic individual. Her knowledge in security would serve the Port very well."
Tarleton worked as a vice president and director at SAIC from 1990 to 2002, and was responsible for building the company's business with Russia, she says. "I managed 60 employees in Russia and 20 [in the United States]. The business was science and technology for environmental cleanup, environmental monitoring, nuclear reactor safety and earthquake detection systems."
Her financial affairs statement with the state's Public Disclosure Commission lists an SAIC retirement account worth $75,000 or more—the highest category. Tarleton says she doesn't know how much SAIC stock is in the account, "but it's less than 1 percent of my retirement profile."
When SAIC went public in 2006, former employees were restricted from selling off their shares until January 2008, she says. "I will make a decision about what I'm going to do with the stock then."
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
Empire Challenge 07 exercise focuses on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
(CHINA LAKE, Calif. – July 16, 2007) – Empire Challenge 07 (EC07), an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) demonstration, kicks off here today, at Naval Weapons Station China Lake.
EC07 will be headed up by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) with U.S. Joint Forces Command’s Intelligence Directorate’s ISR Division (J28) providing operational support.
"This is the joint and coalition ISR experiment for the year," said Chris Jackson, J28 division chief "This is kind of a proving ground where we test out emerging ISR technologies and concepts. The question we look to answer is do these new capabilities actually help the operational commander or do they hurt? Empire Challenge is where we try to find that out."
Jackson said EC07 will be a live demonstration with a primary focus on ISR integration, the ability to fuse together information from a variety of different sources of in order to inform a commander’s decision-making process. EC07 will also be used to assess exploitation management, the ability of a system to discern usable information from unprocessed intelligence data.
The demonstration will consist of a variety of scenarios, from border enforcement to combat search and rescue operations. Unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the Predator and Scan Eagle, as well as ground and acoustic sensors, such as ShotSpotter, will be among the ISR capabilities tested during these scenarios. These sensors will be integrated into the demonstration using the Joint Battlespace Awareness/ISR Integration Capability (J-BAIIC), an ISR test bed managed by the Naval Post-Graduate School (NPS).
In addition to supplying some of the ISR technology for EC07, J28 coordinated the establishment of both the opposing force and the blue force.
Jackson said that the combination of actual forces on the ground and information gathering technology in the field will help to provide insight into ISR capabilities across the operational spectrum and the various services’ Distributed Common Ground Systems (DCGS), a group of systems that combine and collect intelligence data.
"We want to find out early on if there are technical and procedural with one services’ DCGS talking to another service’s DCGS because these different systems are all tied together", said Jackson. He said that the main audience for EC07 will be ISR and intelligence professionals.
"The goal is to experiment with and to demonstrate that we can bring these different sources of information and ISR data together," said Jackson.
EC07 will have more than 700 participants, including NGA, USJFCOM’s Joint Transformation Command- Intelligence, and the Joint Systems Integration Command. Representatives from the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia will also participate in EC07, bringing their own technologies and concepts to the event.
Other organizations partcipating include the Distributed Ground Station – eXperimental (DGS-X) at Langley Air Force Base, Va., and the NATO Command and Control and Consultation Agency (NC3A), which will be using information generated by EC07 to improve and assess information sharing with coalition partners.
When EC07 wraps up, the results will be assessed and recommendations developed and provided to the Joint Staff on ways to improve ISR across the spectrum of operations.
"The goal is that we get ISR to the point where the warfighter doesn’t have to worry about where his information is coming from, he just knows that we have the capability to "plug and play" ISR capabilities in to the mix so that his information needs are met – with timeliness and precision.," said Jackson.
U.S. Army to Acquire Future Combat Systems Spin Out and Manned Ground Vehicle Technology
"Future Combat Systems is the primary Army modernization program consisting of a family of manned and unmanned systems and sensors, connected to a common network that will enable the modular force by providing Soldiers with leading-edge technologies and capabilities that will allow them to dominate in complex environments."
Lockheed Martin awarded 1.1 bln usd training contract from US Air Force
July 18, 2007: 09:14 AM EST
LONDON, Jul. 18, 2007 (AFX International Focus) -- The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) a 1.1 bln usd 10-year Aircrew Training and Rehearsal Support II (ATARS II) contract, providing Air Force Special Operations Command crews with training on a variety of weapon systems. (cont..)
Look at the flow of $$$$ ( this is just one page of Google News from a few hours!)
NJ sees increase in federal homeland security funds
Metro Detroit gets $14.6 million in Homeland Security grants
Dallas-Fort Worth area to get nearly $21 million in Homeland Security money
Vermont receives $6.68 million in homeland security funds
Colorado gets $19.8 million in homeland security grants
State sees big jump in federal security funding
$1 Billion for Emergency Radios