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November 8, 2013

News Briefs November 8, 2013

Lockheed Martin laying off 145 in upstate New York

Lockheed Martin is laying off 145 workers in two upstate New York plants.

The company notified 80 employees Nov. 6 at its Electronics Park plant in the Syracuse suburb of Salina and another 65 at its facility in Owego, near Binghamton. The layoffs are part of a nationwide cutback of 587 people.

Most of the layoffs will be effective in two weeks. Affected employees will be offered undisclosed severance benefits and outplacement services.

Most employees in Owego will work their last shift on Nov. 20. The facility, which handles electronic systems, mission systems and sensors, and ship and aviation systems, will have 2,600 employees once the layoffs are complete.

The company said in both instances the cuts were necessary to address unclear program funding, delays in contract awards and a competitive marketplace. AP

Governor calls special session to keep 777X in Washington

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is calling the Legislature back to Olympia in hopes of swiftly approving a package of bills to appease Boeing.

Inslee said Nov. 5 he wants lawmakers to approve the bills in just one week in hopes of getting Boeing to construct the 777X in Washington. It includes a massive transportation spending bill that lawmakers have spent the better part of a year debating. It would also extend tax breaks all the way to 2040.

Inslee says the jobs are set for Puget Sound if the state acts now.

Similarly, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said its members will soon vote on an eight-year labor agreement that would guarantee construction of the new 777X in the Puget Sound. That agreement also includes concessions, such as the establishment of a different retirement plan. AP

U.S. may split command of spy, cyber agencies

The White House is considering a proposal to split the job now held by one military commander who oversees both the National Security Agency and cybersecurity operations.

Gen. Keith Alexander is top officer at U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA, and he’s retiring next spring. White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden says it’s a natural pointî to consider a change.

The concentration of power over two such different missions has been controversial.

Hayden says Alexander’s joint leadership was designed so the two organizations complement each other.

But she says while no final decision has been made, the administration wants to ensure current and future security needs are being addressed.

The consideration was first reported Nov. 7 in The Washington Post. It comes as the NSA’s sweeping spy powers are under increasing scrutiny. AP

Navy nominee ensnared in fight on military policy

President Barack Obama’s nominee for a top civilian job in the Navy is in the crosshairs of female senators determined to overhaul the military justice system to stanch the increasing number of sexual assaults.

Jo Ann Rooney, tapped to be undersecretary of the Navy, responded to a Senate panel last month and offered her opinion on a proposal to remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial. That judgment would rest instead with seasoned trial lawyers who have prosecutorial experience and hold the rank of colonel or above.

A judge advocate outside the chain of command will be looking at a case through a different lens than a military commander,î Rooney said. I believe the impact would be decisions based on evidence rather than the interest in preserving good order and discipline.î

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., chief proponent of that far-reaching change, was furious and is blocking Rooney’s nomination.

The United States legal system is based on evidence, justice and due process. Why isn’t this good enough for our service members who risk everything to protect those freedoms?î Gillibrand said, adding, Jo Ann Rooney’s testimony should send chills down the spine of any member of the armed services seeking justice.î AP

Three Navy officials now charged with taking bribes

The number of senior U.S. Navy officials accused of swapping secrets for bribes that included cash, prostitutes and high-end travel has grown to three.

Federal authorities Nov. 6 arrested Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez in Tampa, Fla. and will seek to have him sent to San Diego to face allegations that he accepted $100,000 in cash, visits from prostitutes and other bribes from a Malaysian contractor.

Prosecutors allege that in exchange for the bribes, the 41-year-old Sanchez passed on classified U.S. Navy information to Leonard Glenn Francis, known in Navy circles as Fat Leonard,î the CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., or GDMA.

The two other senior officials arrested in recent weeks in the case are Navy Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz – who like Sanchez, is accused of giving Francis’ company confidential information about Navy ship routes – and a senior Navy investigator, John Beliveau II.

Prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint that Beliveau, 44, kept Francis abreast of the bribery probe and advised him on how to respond in exchange for such things as prostitution services.

GDMA overcharged the Navy millions of dollars for fuel, food and other services it provided, and invented tariffs by using phony port authorities, prosecutors say.

Misiewicz and Francis moved Navy vessels like chess pieces, diverting aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships to Asian ports with lax oversight where Francis could inflate costs, the criminal complaint alleges.

Francis, 49, was arrested in San Diego in September. A few weeks later, authorities arrested his company’s general manager of global government contracts, Alex Wisidagama, 40.

Misiewicz, Beliveau, Francis and Wisidagama have pleaded not guilty. Their defense attorneys declined to comment. AP




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