Wednesday, October 19, 2016

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Pleads Guilty in Expanding Bribery and Fraud Investigation

 October 13, 2016 - A U.S. Navy lieutenant commander pleaded guilty today to a bribery charge in federal court and admitted to accepting cash, luxury hotels and prostitutes from a foreign defense contractor in exchange for proprietary Navy information.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Director Dermot O’Reilly of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) made the announcement.
Gentry Debord, 41, who is based in Singapore, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard G. Skomal of the Southern District of California.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 13, 2017.
In pleading guilty, Debord, who served in several logistical and supply positions in the Western Pacific, admitted that he instructed Glenn Defense Marina Asia (GDMA) executives to inflate their invoices to the Navy to cover the cost of various illicit gifts provided to him.  From November 2007 to January 2013, Debord provided former GDMA CEO Leonard Glenn Francis and others with internal and proprietary U.S. Navy information.  This information included inside Navy information about competitors’ bids and information about an investigation into GDMA’s billing practices.  Debord also admitted to misusing his position and influence in the Navy to advocate for and advance GDMA’s interests, including by approving inflated invoices for services never rendered that he directed Francis to submit.
According to admissions made in connection with his plea, as part of this conspiracy, Debord, Francis and others attempted to conceal the bribes given to Debord as well as the nature and extent of his relationship with Francis.  This was done by, for example, using coded language in communications referring to prostitutes as “cheesecake” or “bodyguards.”  Debord also requested that GDMA executives provide him with an apartment for a port visit.
In addition, Debord admitted to asking a GDMA executive to provide him with three hotel rooms, two cell phones, a van and 2,000 Singapore dollars.  Debord instructed the executive to recover the value of these items by inflating the amount that GDMA would invoice the U.S. Navy for potable water and trash removal service for the U.S.S. Essex port visit to Singapore, which GDMA proceeded to do.
So far, a total of 16 individuals have been charged in connection with the GDMA corruption and fraud investigation.  Of those, 11 are current or former U.S. Navy officials, including Debord, Admiral Robert Gilbeau, Captain (ret.) Michael Brooks, Commander Bobby Pitts, Captain Daniel Dusek, Commander Michael Misiewicz, Lt. Commander Todd Malaki, Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, Petty Officer First Class Daniel Layug, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau and Paul Simpkins, a former DoD civilian employee who oversaw contracting in Singapore.
Gilbeau, Dusek, Misiewicz, Malaki, Beliveau, Sanchez, Layug and Simpkins have pleaded guilty.  On Jan. 21, 2016, Layug was sentenced to 27 months in prison and a $15,000 fine; on Jan. 29, 2016, Malaki was sentenced to 40 months in prison and to pay $15,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $15,000 fine; on March 25, 2016, Dusek was sentenced to 46 months in prison and to pay $30,000 in restitution to the Navy and a $70,000 fine; and on April 29, 2016, Misiewicz was sentenced to 78 months in prison and to pay a fine of $100,000 and to pay $95,000 in restitution to the Navy.  Beliveau is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow; and Gilbeau, Sanchez and Simpkins also await sentencing.  Brooks and Pitts were charged in May 2016 and their cases are pending.
Also charged are five GDMA executives: Francis, Alex Wisidagama, Ed Aruffo, Neil Peterson and Linda Raja.  Wisidagama has pleaded guilty and was sentenced on March 18, 2016, to 63 months in prison and $34.8 million in restitution to the Navy. Francis and Aruffo have pleaded guilty and await sentencing; Peterson’s and Raja’s cases are pending.  An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

DCIS, NCIS and the Defense Contract Audit Agency are investigating the case.  Assistant Chief Brian R. Young of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Patrick Hovakimian of the Southern District of California are prosecuting the case.

Austal Awarded Armidale Class Remediation Work

HMAS Glenelg prior to launch from the Austal shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia 2007 (Picture: Austal)
October 10, 2016 - Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Austal Australia will deliver an important mid-life remediation program to the Royal Australian Navy’s Armidale Class Patrol Boat (ACPB) fleet.
Austal will undertake a number of hull remediation and configuration changes as well as planned and corrective maintenance work on up to seven (7) ACPB’s at the company’s Henderson, Western Australia shipyard from October 2016.
The activity, won in a domestic and international environment, will provide immediate, ongoing work for over 120 Austal employees and provides continuity of work between the completion of two Cape-class Patrol Boats for the Royal Australian Navy and a major export contract for Mols Linien, commencing April 2017.
The work on the ACPB’s adds to the company’s growing service and sustainment business. Austal is already delivering in-service support to the Australian Border Force’s fleet of eight Cape-class patrol boats (designed and constructed by Austal) and has been contracted to provide in service support for nineteen steel Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) vessels, as they enter service from late 2018.

HMAS Larrakia during sea trials off Henderson, Western Australia, 2005 (Picture: Austal)
Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton commented “As the original designer and builder of the Armidale Class, Austal is in an ideal position to deliver this important, mid-life enhancement work to a proven naval platform. Our inherent knowledge base and practical experience building and servicing the hard working Armidale fleet will ensure the vessels depart Austal in 2017 as a fully operational and effective capability.”
“This order is indeed timely for Austal and ensures that key skills in naval shipbuilding and repair are maintained in Henderson during the lead up to the placement of the Offshore Patrol Vessel contract.
“Once again, by winning this competitively bid contract, we have demonstrated that Australian shipbuilding can be internationally competitive.”

The Armidale Class Patrol Boat (ACPB) is a 56 meter all-aluminum monohull patrol boat designed and constructed by Austal for the Royal Australian Navy. Fourteen ACPB’s were delivered from 2005 to 2007 and the vessels continue to play an integral role in Australia’s naval capability in the lead up to the arrival of the new Offshore Patrol Vessel fleet from 2020.

Nimitz Successfully Completes Sea Trials

Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) conduct flight deck training with an F/A-18C mockup October 7th. Once Nimitz completes sea trials, the ship will begin a training and qualification cycle in preparation for an upcoming 2017 deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Cody M. Deccio/Released)

October 11, 2016 - Aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) pulled into San Diego, Oct. 10, after completing a successful six-day sea trials and officially marking the completion of a 20-month extended planned incremental availability.
Nimitz got underway for the first time since January 2015 when it pulled away from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Oct. 5, to begin the sea trials phase.
Sea trials is intended to assess the ship's readiness by evaluating the crew's performance, and testing the operability of the ship's equipment and upgrades using various system checks and drills.
"I would say sea trials was an overall success," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Matthew Searer, leading chief petty officer of navigation department.
Searer added every department ran into a few problems of their own, but overall the ship performed well mechanically.
Some of the major evaluations included the execution of high-speed turns, an activation of the ship's countermeasure wash down and aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) systems, sea and anchor and precision anchoring exercises, testing of the ship's self-defense weapons, and man overboard drills.
"Sea trials, for us, is a lot like a normal underway cleaning and maintaining the hangar bays," said Seaman Tyven Mcelhinny. "We got the opportunity to deep clean all the hangar bays after lighting off the AFFF. It was something I have never gotten to do, and it was actually really fun."
While underway, the ship's MK-38 25mm machine gun, MK-15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System, and .50-caliber machine guns were tested.
Among the many successes of the underway, the certification of the ship's catapults, which received extensive work and upgrades during the maintenance period, is the first step in allowing Nimitz to launch aircraft once it returns to sea.
"The certification is critical to the safe launch of aircraft," said Ensign Lester Quinlin, air boatswain in charge of V-2's maintenance program. "More than 45,000 man-hours were put into the catapult maintenance. It feels great to be able to go to sea and know we have the ability to take CVN 68 to the fight."
With sea trials successfully completed, the ship and crew can look forward to the next milestone. Nimitz will soon be joined by Carrier Strike Group 11 and Carrier Air Wing 11 to begin conducting flight operations and begin working on flight deck certification upon returning to sea.
This will be the crew's first time underway with new Strike Group Commander Rear Adm. William D. Byrne, and the strike group staff, since he took command in September.

In the coming months, Nimitz will undergo a series of inspections and multi-ship exercises as a part of a work-up cycle that will test the ship's proficiency and capabilities in preparation for her upcoming 2017 deployment.

Qwaltec earns $19 million deal with U.S. Navy

3D model of a MUOS satellite used to support United States military communications globally.
Qwaltec, Inc. is pleased to announce that the United States Navy has awarded them the Satellite Operations and Maintenance Services (SOMS) contract located at the Navy Satellite Operations Center (NAVSOC) in Pt Mugu, CA. The Qwaltec team consists of Qwaltec, Inc., a Tempe, AZ based Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) and LJT & Associates, Inc., based in Columbia, MD. The $19 Million contract covers a 5-year period of performance and is set to begin in October of this year.
The team will provide support services for NAVSOC to operate, manage, and maintain ground systems, providing continuous, reliable and endurable global space communication in direct support of the Fleet, the Joint Warfighter and Interagency Users. The work is to be performed at NAVSOC HQ located at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), Point Mugu, California; NAVSOC Detachment Delta located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado; NAVSOC Detachment Alfa located in Prospect Harbor, Maine; and Detachment Charlie located in Finegayan, Guam.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to support the US Navy in their critical US defense mission. It is an honor to be part of the NAVSOC team” said Shawn Linam, Qwaltec CEO.

Norwegian MOD Photos of Admiral Kuznetzov Deployment


Monday, October 17, 2016

RNZN 75th Anniversary Fleet Review

Welcome readied for visiting nations to Navy’s 75th celebration

US Navy photo
At least 15 countries will participate in the International Naval Review next month in Auckland to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has today released a list of defence and security forces that are sending ships, personnel or aircraft to the International Naval Review and preceding exercises.
The Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral John Martin, said the RNZN and the NZDF were looking forward to welcoming the ships and personnel from the countries taking part.
The International Naval Review starts on Thursday 17 November, with the entry of the fleet into Waitemata Harbour. Vessels will then berth either at Ports of Auckland or Devonport Naval Base.
“This year the Royal New Zealand Navy is celebrating 75 years of service to our nation and contributing towards the prosperity and security of New Zealand,” said Rear Admiral Martin.
“We celebrate the nation’s commitment to its Navy, honour and acknowledge the service of New Zealanders who have served at sea and look forward with confidence and excitement to the next 75 years.
“The Navy is committed to advancing New Zealand’s interests and making a difference at home and abroad.”
The biggest single event of the birthday celebrations is the International Naval Review in Auckland. As well as the entry of the fleet into Waitemata Harbour on 17 November, a “1000-sailor” march down Queen Street is planned for 18 November. Then on 19 November the formal International Naval Review will be held, during which the Governor-General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, will review the assembled ships, in a centuries-old naval tradition.
“It’s a significant exercise to host such an event; one that will showcase the Navy, the NZDF and New Zealand,” said Rear Admiral Martin.
On Sunday 20 November, an open day will be held, during which the public will be able to board participating naval vessels.
“The Royal New Zealand Navy appreciates the attendance of our allies, friends and partners at our celebrations,” said Rear Admiral Martin. “They have come a long way, and we look forward to welcoming them to New Zealand.”

BAE Systems Meets with Australian SMEs for Type 26 Program Supply Chain Opportunities

BAE Systems
September 27, 2016 - BAE Systems has met with an estimated 150 small and midsize enterprises in Australia to discuss supply chain opportunities on the Australian Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship program, ExecutiveBiz reported Monday.
The company said Monday it seeks to partner with local SMEs as BAE Systems Australia and 20 major suppliers work to mature ship design for the Type 26 program.