News Briefs – March 28, 2016

Navy captain sentenced to 46 months for accepting bribes

A federal judge in San Diego has sentenced a Navy captain who oversaw operations in the U.S. Pacific Fleet to 46 months in prison for providing classified information to a Malaysian defense contractor in exchange for luxury hotel stays and the services of prostitutes.
Capt. Daniel Dusek is the highest-ranking officer to be charged in one of the military’s worst bribery scandals.
Also March 25, U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino ordered Dusek to pay a $70,000 fine for giving ship and submarine schedules to help Leonard Glenn Francis carry out a scheme in which his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., or GDMA, overbilled the maritime branch by more than $34 million.
Dusek told the court he will never forgive himself for his actions that spanned a seven-month period. AP

Stealthy destroyer completes trials ahead of Navy delivery

The stealthy Zumwalt destroyer has completed builder trials and is on track for the next milestone before delivery to the Navy — acceptance trials and inspection starting next month, officials said March 25.
The 600-foot destroyer, the largest ever built for the U.S. Navy, spent three days in the rough North Atlantic before returning late afternoon March 24 to Bath Iron Works in Maine, where the Zumwalt and two sister ships are being built.
More than 200 defense contractor workers and Navy personnel participated in the outing aimed at ensuring everything is shipshape before delivery to the Navy.
Lt. Amber Lynn Daniel, a Navy spokeswoman, said the trial “served as a unique opportunity for the crew to train side-by-side with representatives from industry.”
Propulsion, steering and auxiliary systems were checked in seas that ranged from 5 to 10 feet, and gusts up to 40 mph for part of the week, officials said.
The Zumwalt is the first in a class of three destroyers being built in Bath.
After the Navy takes delivery, there will be further assessments, including rough-weather tests to determine the ship’s operating parameters. The ship is scheduled to be commissioned in October in Baltimore, Md. AP

Russian military plans buildup from West to Pacific

Russia is to beef up its military forces all the way from its western border to the Pacific islands amid ongoing strains with the West, the military said March 25.
No financial details were disclosed but the buildup will likely be costly and takes place at a time when the Russian economy is in recession under the dual impact of low oil prices and Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its role in the Ukrainian crisis.
While announcing the buildup, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the deployment of NATO’s forces near Russia’s borders has caused concern. As part of a response, he said new units in the Western Military District, including two new divisions, will be formed.
The military forces in western Russia will receive 1,100 new weapons systems, including warplanes, helicopters, tanks and other armored vehicles.
In the Far East, the military will deploy state-of-the art Bal and Bastion anti-ship missile systems and new drones to the southern Kurils, a group of islands that Japan calls the Northern Territories and claims as its own.
The dispute over the islands, which were seized by the Soviet army in the closing days of World War II, has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a peace treaty to formally end their hostilities.
The anti-ship missile systems to be deployed on the disputed islands are capable of hitting targets more than 300 kilometers (over 185 miles) away.
Shoigu said Russia is also mulling the possibility of setting up a naval base on the islands. Ships of Russia’s Pacific Fleet will visit the area in the summer to study possible locations, he said.
The defense minister said the military will also continue to strengthen its presence in the Arctic region. As part of efforts to build military facilities on Wrangel Island and Cape Schmidt, the Defense Ministry delivered 9,500 metric tons of equipment and materials during last year’s brief navigation season, he said.
The Kremlin has made expanding Russia’s military presence in order to protect the country’s national interests in the Arctic a top priority in light of increasing international interest in the region’s vast oil and other resources.
Across Siberia, the military will focus on deploying top-of-the line air defense missile systems to protect the vast region, Shoigu said. AP

Pentagon investigates claim of favoritism in space contracts

The Defense Department is investigating after a former executive of space contractor United Launch Alliance allegedly said the Pentagon showed favoritism toward his company.
The department’s inspector general announced the investigation March 23. United Launch Alliance, based in Denver, is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The company puts military and national security satellites into orbit.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain requested the inquiry March 17, citing comments about Pentagon favoritism attributed to a United Launch Alliance executive.
The company identified the executive as Brett Tobey, a vice president for engineering. CEO Tory Bruno disavowed Tobey’s comments and said Tobey had resigned.
Tobey didn’t immediately respond to a telephone message March 23.
United Launch Alliance spokeswoman Jessica Rye said the company would cooperate with the investigation. AP

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