Thursday, February 25, 2010

DTN News: US Asks India To Raise Defence FDI Cap To 49%

DTN News: US Asks India To Raise Defence FDI Cap To 49% *Source: DTN News / Lalit K Jha/PTI / Washington (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - February 26, 2010: Buoyed by its armament majors securing multi-billion contracts, US has asked India to raise its cap on foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence sector to 49 per cent from existing 26 per cent.
Making a pitch for this, the Obama Administration also wants India to undertake more sweeping reforms to attract new investments, saying this will propel New Delhi to a higher growth rate. "Reforms to date have made Indian companies leaders in areas such as IT, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and now increasingly, in manufacturing as well as in clean energy. We hope India will seize the opportunity to undertake new reforms that will both attract new investment and propel higher growth," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake has said. He was more particular on opening up of the defence sector, saying, "we are urging the Indian government to raise the cap on foreign equity in Indian defence firms from 26 per cent to 49 per cent to provide more opportunities for US companies interested in defence sales in India." His comments at the Washington International Business Council meeting come as US defence majors Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other firms have bagged almost all the major Indian armed forces contracts worth more than $10 billion. These includes sale of Hercules C-130 J transport aircraft and Boeing P-8A maritime reconnaissance aircraft. US companies are in strong contention for sale of next generation fighter aircraft to the Indian airforce. Noting that the US recently had some important sales to India, Blake said there are significant new sales on the horizon, up to $18 billion worth of contracts, for which American companies are competing. Calling India as a rising global power, soon to be the world's most populous country, with a trillion dollar-plus economy, Blake said it is a model of a tolerant pluralistic society in the region. "And it is a country increasingly comfortable with working with the United States," Blake said. In July last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited India and launched a Strategic Dialogue which called for increased collaboration in a number of areas that fall under five pillars: strategic cooperation; energy and climate change; education and development; economics, trade and agriculture; and science, technology, health and innovation. In November, President Barack Obama hosted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the first state visit of his Presidency, calling India an "indispensable" nation. President Obama has also pledged to visit India in 2010, further underscoring the importance of India to the United States, he said. The State Department official said the strength of India's economy makes it the powerhouse of South and Central Asian regional growth. "The Indian economy has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world since 2003, averaging 8 to 9 per cent growth in recent years... India's economy grew about 5.6 per cent in 2009, and is expected to grow 7.7 per cent this year. If India can sustain its economic reforms, it has the potential to sustain close to double digit growth rates for many years to come," Blake said. One sign of India's prospering internal market is its growing middle class which now numbers about 300 million and is expected to double over the next 20 years to reach 600 million. To put that into perspective, that's roughly the size of the total population of the European Union right now, he noted. As part of the US-India Strategic Dialogue, the US government is working with India to expand business opportunities, he said, adding the economics, trade, and agriculture pillar of the Dialogue is particularly important for business. "Our trade has doubled just in the last five years. US exports to India were more than $28 billion in 2008. We expect that growth to continue into the foreseeable future as India's middle class continues to grow and as India's economy continues to open up. US investment also has grown very quickly, and now totals more than $16 billion," he said. "The strategic cooperation pillar also is expected to offer numerous business opportunities. Last year, our two governments agreed on an end-use monitoring arrangement that will help the process of technology transfer between our two countries, and I think there's scope for further progress in that area," Blake said.

DTN News: Boeing Receives US Army Production Contract For Brigade Combat Team Modernization Increment 1

DTN News: Boeing Receives US Army Production Contract For Brigade Combat Team Modernization Increment 1 *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS, - February 26, 2010: Boeing [NYSE: BA] yesterday (Feb. 25) announced that it received a contract from the U.S. Army on Feb. 24 for low-rate initial production of the initial brigade set of Brigade Combat Team Modernization (BCTM) Increment 1 capabilities. Under the $138 million, fixed-price contract, a team led by Boeing with support from Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) [NYSE: SAI] will equip the first Infantry Brigade Combat Team with these networked capabilities, along with associated system engineering and program management support. "These capabilities are needed today by soldiers conducting combat operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere," said Gregg Martin, Boeing Network & Tactical Systems vice president and BCTM program manager. "We are excited to begin production and look forward to working with our Army customer to get these capabilities, which reflect lessons learned from current operations, into the hands of soldiers as soon as possible." As the prime contractor, Boeing is responsible for the development and production of BCTM Increment 1. Low-rate initial production will allow for the capabilities to be fielded to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division for initial operational test and evaluation beginning in 2011. The contract award follows a successful production review by the Defense Acquisition Board in December. A key element of BCTM, Increment 1 will provide soldiers with enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, as well as increased survivability and lethality. The capabilities that will be produced under this contract award include: *Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle: a robotic system capable of reconnaissance missions in dangerous or difficult situations such as entering buildings, caves and tunnels *Class I Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV): a small, soldier-operated UAV that can hover for reconnaissance and surveillance while providing target acquisition *Unattended Ground Sensors: multi-mode surveillance sensors for target detection, location and classification, with an imaging capability for identification *Network Integration Kit: an integrated computer system that hosts the latest communications and radio systems and battle command software, providing the initial network connectivity needed to transfer sensor and communication data. SAIC is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering, and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health. The company's approximately 45,000 employees serve customers in the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. government civil agencies and selected commercial markets. Headquartered in McLean, Va., SAIC had annual revenues of $10.1 billion for its fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2009. For more information, visit SAIC: From Science to Solutions® A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space, & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.

DTN News: Boeing And United Airlines Finalize 787 Order

DTN News: Boeing And United Airlines Finalize 787 Order
* United to expand international service with fuel-efficient Dreamliner *Source: DTN News / Boeing (NSI News Source Info) SEATTLE and CHICAGO, - February 26, 2010: Boeing (NYSE: BA) and United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA) have finalized an order for 25 787-8 jetliners. The agreement includes the opportunity to purchase another 50 Dreamliners. "Boeing and United Airlines share an 80-year partnership," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "United, which launched the Boeing 777, now begins a new chapter with the 787 Dreamliner, the most technologically advanced commercial jetliner ever built." The order is valued at $4.2 billion at average list prices. "United's Boeing 787 order represents a substantial investment in our future and will enhance the significant progress we are making in improving the global competitiveness of our company while providing the opportunity to open new profitable markets and serve a broader range of international destinations," said John Tague, president of United Airlines. United expects to take delivery of the 787s at the same time it will begin to retire its Boeing 747s and 767s operating on international routes. The 787 Dreamliner, currently in flight test, will provide greater fuel efficiency, allowing airlines to add new, nonstop city pairs and the additional frequencies that passengers prefer. The 787 also promises a more comfortable flying experience for passengers. Its innovations include a new interior environment with improvements in air filtration, higher cabin pressurization resulting in reduced physical fatigue, larger windows, more stowage space, improved lighting and other passenger-preferred conveniences. The technologically advanced 787 will also provide airlines with up to 45 percent more cargo revenue capacity Including United Airlines, 57 customers around the world have ordered 876 Dreamliners, making the 787 the fastest-selling new commercial jetliner in history. About United Airlines United Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UAL Corporation (Nasdaq: UAUA), operates approximately 3,300* flights a day on United and United Express to more than 230 U.S. domestic and international destinations from its hubs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Washington, D.C. With key global air rights in the Asia Pacific region, Europe and Latin America, United is one of the largest international carriers based in the United States. United also is a founding member of the Star Alliance, which provides connections for its customers to 1,077 destinations in 175 countries worldwide. United's 46,000 employees reside in every U.S. state and in many countries around the world. United ranked No. 1 in on-time performance for domestic scheduled flights for 2009 among America's five largest global carriers, as measured by the Department of Transportation and published in the Air Travel Consumer Report for 2009. News releases and other information about United can be found at the company's Web site at Follow United on Twitter@UnitedAirlines. * Based on United's forward-looking flight schedule for January 2010 to December 2010.

DTN News: Russia Will Respond To NATO Expansion, U.S. Missiles

DTN News: Russia Will Respond To NATO Expansion, U.S. Missiles *Source: DTN News / By Andrew Moran Digital Journalist (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 26, 2010: A top Russian military official and an Ambassador believe they must respond to NATO's eastward expansion in Europe and the US implementations of its missile defense system. However, the US Secretary of State said Russia has nothing to worry about. Moscow, Russian Federation - On Wednesday, Russia’s top military official General Nikolai Makarov said his country will most likely respond over their concern about NATO’s eastward expansion, despite members of NATO attempting to downplay the extension, according to Xinhua. Russia is also cautious about the United States' plans to install elements of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. The Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s armed forces said in an interview with Russia Today that nations around the world should tackle these issues together, work together and trust each other instead of creating and strengthening military blocs near the borders of Russia, “This means we have to take appropriate measures in response.” Makarov also stated that there are general concerns that the US missile defense system is directed against Russia, although the system was officially designed to defend air strikes from Russia, “Last year we withdrew more than 600 tanks, about 600 armored vehicles and about 600 pieces of artillery from the Kaliningrad region. In return we're getting a buildup of the missile defense system. Double standards alarm us.” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made assurances that Russia should not fear NATO’s eastward advancement but, according to Russia Today, Russian Ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said he wants more than just words. “While Russia faces challenges to its security, NATO is not among them. We want a cooperative NATO-Russia relationship that produces concrete results and draws NATO and Russia closer together,” said Clinton at a Washington hotel ballroom on Monday. However, Rogozin thinks Clinton failed to answer any of the key questions or concerns that Moscow has with the US and NATO, while addressing a list of complaints his country has against NATO, “A unilateral world, NATO-centrism, the alliance's spontaneous expansion eastwards and refusal to recognize the principle of integrity and security.” The Ambassador added that the US and NATO’s failures to address the interests of Russia and its allies are reminiscent to that of the Cold War, notes Xinhua.

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 25, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated February 25, 2010 *Source: U.S. DoD issued February 25, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - February 26, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued February 25, 2010 are undermentioned;
AIR FORCE ~Raytheon Co., Aurora, Colo., was awarded an $886,440,679 contract which will provide for command, control and mission support for the Block II and Block III family of satellites; support existing and new interface; and support the evolution of the systems to a net-centric paradigm. At this time, $300,000 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (N61339-03-D-0300). ~Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems, Inc., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $77,915,492 contract which will provide a modification to an existing undefinitized contract action. It authorizes the maintenance and support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node System in support of overseas contingency operations through fiscal year 2010. At this time, $58,436,619 has been obligated. 653d ELSG/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8726-09-C-0010,P00008). ~IAP Worldwide Services, Inc., Cape Canaveral, Fla., was awarded a $17,311,273 contract which will exercise option 2 to perform civil engineering services for Hanscom Air Force Base. At this time, $1,232,959 has been obligated. 66 CONS/LGCA, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA2835-08-D-0001, P00011). ARMY ~Cajun Constructors, Inc., Baton Rouge, La., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $237,680,048 firm-fixed-price contract for the preconstruction services and construction option(s) for levee improvements to the Chalmette Loop Levee-Hwy 46 to River (Verret to Caernarvon), Reach 148.02, in St. Bernard Parish, La. Work is to be performed in St. Bernard Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of June 1, 2011. Bids were solicted on the World Wide Web with five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0047). ~GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, JV, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $71,814,501 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract is for contractor support to field services representatives and system support parts. Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2011. One bid was solicted with one bid received. Tank Automotive & Armament Commans, SFAE-GCS-BCT-P, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-M112). ~Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $46,903,107 firm-fixed-price contract option for four UH-60M aircraft for the Air Force. Work is to be performed in Stratford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicted with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, CCAM-BH-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0003). ~AAI Corp., Hunt Valley, Md., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $23,698,842 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System performance based logistics incremental funding. Work is to be performed in Hunt Valley, Md., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2010. One bid was solicted with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation & Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-10-C-0006). ~Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $21,022,094 firm-fixed-price contract for an undefinitized contract action for Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan for Javelin FY 09-11 hardware production. Work is to be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (50 percent), and Orlando, Fla. (50 percent), with an estimated completion date of Jan. 17, 2011. One bid was solicted with one bid received. Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Command, CCAM-TM-H, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-09-C-0376). ~ITT Corp., Systems Division, Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $15,365,387 cost-plus-fixed-fee for a task order awarded under the Field & Installation Readiness Support Team multiple award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity for Army pre-positioned stocks (APS-5) maintenance, supply and transportation services in support of APS-5 and direct theater support, Southwest Asia Mission. Location of services is 2-401st Army Field Support Brigade, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Work is to be performed in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2014. Bids were solicted on the World Wide Web with five bids received. Army Contracting Center, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W911SE-07-D-0006). ~S.M. Wilson & Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, an $11,599,000 firm-fixed-price contract for project number 149652, digital training facility, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. This project will construct an automated-aided instructional facility to support digital education for professional military educational courses. Work is to be performed in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 15, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 10 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CECT-NWK-M, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-10-C-4006). NAVY ~Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Raleigh, N.C., is being awarded a $136,331,000 firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of multiple facilities at Wallace Creek Phase II, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Work provides for the design and construction of Yhe Wallace Creek Regimental Complex Phase II which consists of a total of eight FY10 military construction appropriations, including 12 new major structures. These projects will construct the necessary administrative headquarters, operational, maintenance, mission support, and bachelor enlisted quarters facilities to support the U.S. Marines stationed at Wallace Creek. These projects will also construct the necessary supporting facilities; demolition and site clearing; pavements; landscaping and other site improvements; grading and drainage; and utilities. Phase II will provide parking for 1,582 personally-owned vehicles and heavy-duty pavements for parking up to 226 tactical vehicles. The contract contains one option which, if exercised, would increase the cumulative contract value to $145,076,000. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by October 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with 16 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-10-C-5312). ~Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Annapolis, Md., is being awarded a $49,099,073 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for services and materials for depot level repair and maintenance of airborne mine countermeasures systems. Systems include: AN/AQS-14A sonar detecting set; AN/AQS-24 mine hunting system; AN/ALQ-141 acoustic minehunting/minesweeping system; CP-2614/T common post mission analysis; and USM-668 intermediate level test equipment and swivel slip-ring assembly. Work will be performed in Panama City, Fla., and is expected to be completed by February 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $100,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61331-10-D-0009). ~Rolls Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a $45,137,679 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0020) to exercise an option for contractor logistics support and technical engineering support services for the KC-130J aircraft propulsion system for the Marine Corps, which includes the AE 2100D3 turboprop engine and the R 391 propeller. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be completed in February 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. ~Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $25,599,500 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-10-C-5124) for technical and engineering support and related operation and maintenance of the Navy’s combat systems engineering development site and technical engineering support of the SPY-1A test lab and Naval Systems Computing Center. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (57 percent), and the governments of Japan (34 percent) and Norway (9 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J., and is expected to be completed by October 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity. ~General Dynamics Information Technology, Needham, Mass., is being awarded $13,699,434 for delivery order #0013 under previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-09-D-4726) to provide capability for the fielding of Marine Corps enterprise IT services, a Marine Corps enterprise transformation and modernization initiative. Work will be performed in Stafford, Va. (50 percent); Kansas City, Mo. (20 percent); Quantico, Va. (12 percent); Camp Lejeune, N.C. (12 percent); Cherry Point, N.C. (5 percent); and Norfolk, Va. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity. ~Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC, Thousand Oaks, Calif., is being awarded a $7,413,715 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for the design, fabrication, integration, calibration and testing of the flight sensor chip assembly, a principal component of the Joint Milli-Arcsecond Pathfinder Survey satellite. Work will be performed in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and is expected to be completed February 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $250,000 will expire at end of current fiscal year. The contract was procured under other than full and open competition request for proposal number N00173-10-R-SE01. A synopsis was posted in Federal Business Opportunities, with one offer received. The Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N000173-10-C-6005). ~Harris Corp. Government Communications Systems Division, Melbourne, Fla., is being awarded a $7,160,530 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced contract (N00019-06-C-0087) to exercise an option for the full rate production of 148 fiber channel network switches, a component of the advanced mission computer and display for the F/A-18 E/F, E/A-18G and E-2D aircrafts, and 4 mounting kits for the E-2D. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Fla., and is expected to be completed in December 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. ~INTEVAC Photonics, Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., is being awarded a $6,852,700 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity supply contract for high resolution low light camera systems (HRLLC) configured as monoculars, binoculars, and goggles. The HRLLC system is for electronic imaging cameras that operate in the near infrared to the short wave infrared region of the spectrum. The camera is composed of an objective lens, low light focal plane array (electron bombarded), electronic display and eyepiece optics. Work will be performed in Carlsbad, Calif., and is expected to be completed by March 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $431,400 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, with one offer received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-D-JQ53). DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY ~Bell Helicopter Textron, Hurst, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $43,612,765 firm-fixed-price, sole-source, undefinitized contract action for procurement of 51 individual line items of interim supply support of the AH-1Z helicopter system. There are no other locations of performance. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia (DSCR-ZCBB), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-06-G-0003-THPX-THPY). ~Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $37,660,756 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for C-2 aircraft outer wing panel sets. Other location of performance is in Florida. Using service is Navy. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is a two-year long term requirements contract. The date of performance completion is Feb. 1, 2014. The Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia (DSCR-ZCC), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPRPA1-10-D-001Z). ~Ameriqual Group, LLC, d/b/a Ameriqual Packaging, Evansville, Ind. is being awarded a maximum $37,520,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE). There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally three proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM3S1-06-D-Z103). ~The Wornick Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, is being awarded a maximum $30,730,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE). There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally three proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM3S1-06-D-Z105). ~Sopakco, Inc.*, Mullins, S.C., is being awarded a maximum $24,890.000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE). There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally three proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM3S1-06-D-Z104). *Small business

DTN News: Australian Report ~ Israel Warned In Past About Fake Passports

DTN News: Australian Report ~ Israel Warned In Past About Fake Passports
* Ex-foreign minister: Israel was warned in past against forging passports for intelligence missions *Source: DTN News / Jonathan Weber Published: 02.25.10, 20:19 / Israel News (NSI News Source Info) - February 26, 2010: Australia had warned Israel in the past not to use forged Australian passports for intelligence missions, The Australian reported Thursday. Former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer confirmed that the Australian government warned Israel, at least once, against using such fake passports. "I'm not 100 per cent sure that I didn't myself raise it with the Israelis," Downer was quoted as saying. "We have raised the issue of Israeli intelligence officers using foreign passports and that they should not consider using Australian passports." A diplomatic source told the newspaper that Australian authorities approached the Israeli government during the 1990s to seek guarantees that Jerusalem will not be misusing Australian passports. The inquiry was made in light of fears that Israeli intelligence officials were showing interest in using the passports of New Zealand. According to the report, Australian representatives met with Israeli officials, which responded with "enraged self-righteousness." Meanwhile, the passport affair has stirred a row in Australia. Opposition leader Tony Abbott has already said that the Australia government must ensure that its passport system is safer. Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke out about the affair, saying that “We will not be silent on this matter”

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY February 26, 2010 ~ What Lies Behind Pakistan's Taliban Arrests?

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY February 26, 2010 ~ What Lies Behind Pakistan's Taliban Arrests? *Source: DTN News / BBC By M Ilyas Khan (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - February 26, 2010: A succession of senior Afghan Taliban leaders have reportedly been seized in Pakistan in recent weeks. The world has been left guessing as to what might lie behind these arrests. But answers will take time in coming. At least four Taliban "shadow governors" of provinces in Afghanistan were arrested in Pakistan in February, reports say. But for the moment the Pakistani military has only confirmed one arrest: that of the Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was detained in the southern city of Karachi. Yet they have not issued any categorical denials about the other alleged arrests. And the US media has been quoting unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials when reporting them. Shift in attitude? It is normally unlikely that such leaks could occur without discreet authorisation. Pakistan's policy of ambiguity when it comes to confirming these arrests could be down to the sensitivity of being seen to follow a US agenda. Indeed analysts have long suspected senior Taliban leaders of finding shelter and sympathy in Pakistan, although the Pakistani authorities have consistently denied this. So what are Pakistan's reasons for this sudden stream of arrests? One group of analysts is of the view that the Pakistanis have finally started seeing the Taliban as a threat to their society and have decided to co-operate with the West's efforts to contain the movement. Some say it is partly a quid pro quo for the US drone strikes that eliminated the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban, responsible for hundreds of bomb attacks in recent years. But whether this amounts to a shift in Pakistan's security paradigm is unclear. The arrests also coincide with the onset of a major military offensive in Afghanistan's Helmand province, long considered a Taliban stronghold. Many believe that Pakistan's powerful security establishment, which is widely perceived to be a supporter of the Taliban movement, has come under considerable pressure from the US to make adjustments in its policy. The Pakistani military heavily depends on the US for funds and equipment. President Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan is also an issue for Pakistan. Analysts say that in the event of non-cooperation, Pakistan fears losing the chance of salvaging its "legitimate" interests in Afghanistan. Countering India The Pakistani move to arrest top Taliban leaders has also come as the first peace talks between India and Pakistan were held. India halted all talks with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which India says was carried out by Pakistan-based militants. Pakistan, which already disputes India's territorial claim to the northern part of Kashmir, is wary of its growing influence in Afghanistan. Over the last 20 years, the Pakistani military is believed to have backed a number of militant groups launching attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir. In this time it has also been accused of training and funding the Afghan Taliban with a view to having a pro-Pakistan regime in Kabul. In the years since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, the Pakistani military has been repeatedly blamed for "double-crossing" the Americans - protecting the Taliban and other militants while at the same time playing its role as the frontline state in the US-led "war on terror". Since 2008, Pakistan has also resisted mounting Western pressure for more troops to be deployed in its north-western tribal badlands, on the Afghan border. It has said it needs troops on the eastern border with India. The arrests coincide with the US-led offensive in southern Afghanistan With the Indians finally coming to the dialogue table and the US going for a troops surge in Afghanistan, options for Pakistan may well be shrinking. And affirming its own influence in a new Afghan order will be important. Reduced Afghan role? But there is another interpretation of the latest events. The argument goes that the recent arrests are part of an American strategy to drive a wedge in the Taliban movement and engage the more "moderate" elements for some kind of a power-sharing deal. The arrests of top Taliban leaders will hurt the morale of their foot soldiers, and minimise their ability to regroup if they disperse in the wake of the US-led offensive. These leaders could then be set free as part of a deal with the Taliban, and allowed to lead the movement into a process of integration with the wider Afghan society. If peace is held and reconstruction begins quickly, analysts say the influence of Taliban may shrink drastically as they would be forced to compete with tribal, regional and political entities. If that happens, Pakistani influence in Afghanistan will also decline. Is Pakistan ready for this? Others argue that the leaders reportedly arrested so far have all been close to Pakistan's ISI intelligence service, and as such are more pragmatists than ideologues. If they have not been arrested with negotiations in mind, their detention may not only close down crucial channels of communication with the Taliban, they may also leave the movement in the hands of more rigid and brutal second-generation leaders. The fine print here is that Pakistan is unlikely to be naive enough not to see that by eliminating their proteges in the Taliban movement, they will be cutting off their influence over the only group they can hope to befriend in an otherwise hostile, pro-India Afghanistan. The arrests may just be indicative of a Pakistani decision to settle for a reduced role in Afghanistan. The fate of the detained Taliban leaders and a close watch on any further arrests may cast some light on Pakistan's strategy - in the absence of official comment.

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY February 26, 2010 ~ C.I.A. And Pakistan Work Together, Warily

DTN News: Pakistan TODAY February 26, 2010 ~ C.I.A. And Pakistan Work Together, Warily *Source: DTN News / NYTimes By By Mark Mazzetti & Jane Perlez (NSI News Source Info) ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - February 26, 2010: Inside a secret detention center in an industrial pocket of the Pakistani capital called I/9, teams of Pakistani and American spies have kept a watchful eye on a senior Taliban leader captured last month. With the other eye, they watch each other.
The C.I.A. and its Pakistani counterpart, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, have a long and often tormented relationship. And even now, they are moving warily toward conflicting goals, with each maneuvering to protect its influence after the shooting stops in Afghanistan. Yet interviews in recent days show how they are working together on tactical operations, and how far the C.I.A. has extended its extraordinary secret war beyond the mountainous tribal belt and deep into Pakistan’s sprawling cities. Beyond the capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, C.I.A. operatives working with the ISI have carried out dozens of raids throughout Pakistan over the past year, working from bases in the cities of Quetta, Peshawar and elsewhere, according to Pakistani security officials. The raids often come after electronic intercepts by American spy satellites, or tips from Pakistani informants — and the spies from the two countries then sometimes drive in the same car to pick up their quarry. Sometimes the teams go on lengthy reconnaissance missions, with the ISI operatives packing sunscreen and neon glow sticks that allow them to identify their positions at night. Successful missions sometimes end with American and Pakistani spies toasting one another with Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky, a gift from the C.I.A. The C.I.A.’s drone campaign in Pakistan is well known, which is striking given that this is a covert war. But these on-the-ground activities have been shrouded in secrecy because the Pakistani government has feared the public backlash against the close relationship with the Americans. In strengthening ties to the ISI, the C.I.A. is aligning itself with a shadowy institution that meddles in domestic politics and has a history of ties to violent militant groups in the region. A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment for this article. Officials in Washington and Islamabad agree that the relationship between the two spy services has steadily improved since the low point of the summer of 2008, when the C.I.A.’s deputy director traveled to Pakistan to confront ISI officials with communications intercepts indicating that the ISI was complicit in the bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. The spy agencies have built trust in part through age-old tactics of espionage: killing or capturing each other’s enemies. A turning point came last August, when a C.I.A. missile killed the militant leader Baitullah Mehsud as he lay on the roof of his compound in South Waziristan, his wife beside him massaging his back. Mr. Mehsud for more than a year had been responsible for a wave of terror attacks in Pakistani cities, and many inside the ISI were puzzled as to why the United States had not sought to kill him. Some even suspected he was an American, or Indian, agent. The drone attack on Mr. Mehsud is part of a joint war against militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas, where C.I.A. drones pound militants from the air as Pakistani troops fight them on the ground. And yet for two spy agencies with a long history of mistrust, the accommodation extends only so far. For instance, when it comes to the endgame in Afghanistan, where Pakistan hopes to play a significant role as a power broker, interviews with Pakistani and American intelligence officials in Islamabad and Washington reveal that the interests of the two sides remain far apart. Even as the ISI breaks up a number of Taliban cells, officials in Islamabad, Washington and Kabul hint that the ISI’s goal seems to be to weaken the Taliban just enough to bring them to the negotiating table, but leaving them strong enough to represent Pakistani interests in a future Afghan government. This contrasts sharply with the American goal of battering the Taliban and strengthening Kabul’s central government and security forces, even if American officials also recognize that political reconciliation with elements of the Taliban is likely to be part of any ultimate settlement.
Tensions in the relationship surfaced in the days immediately after Mullah Baradar’s arrest, when the ISI refused to allow C.I.A. officers to interrogate the Taliban leader. Americans have since been given access to the detention center. On Wednesday, Pakistani and Afghan officials meeting in Islamabad said that a deal was being worked out to transfer Mullah Baradar to Afghan custody, which could allow the Americans unrestrained access to him. Besides Mullah Baradar, several Taliban shadow governors and other senior leaders have been arrested inside Pakistan in recent weeks. A top American military officer in Afghanistan on Wednesday suggested that with the arrests, the ISI could be trying to accelerate the timetable for a negotiated settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan government. “I don’t know if they’re pushing anyone to the table, but they are certainly preparing the meal,” the officer said. In the three decades since the C.I.A. and the ISI teamed up to funnel weapons to Afghan militias fighting the Soviets, the two spy services have soldiered though a co-dependent, yet suspicious relationship. C.I.A. officers in Islamabad rely on the Pakistani spy service for its network of informants. But they are wary of the ISI’s longstanding ties to militants like the Taliban, which Pakistani spies have seen as a necessary ally to blunt archrival India’s influence in Afghanistan. The ISI gets millions of dollars in United States aid from its American counterpart (which allowed the Pakistan spy service to develop a counterterrorism division), yet is suspicious that the Americans and the Indians might be playing their own “double game” against Pakistan. In Islamabad, officials are nervous about the intensification of the C.I.A.’s drone campaign in North Waziristan against the network run by Sirajuddin Haqqani, whom the ISI for years has used as a force to carry out missions in Afghanistan that serve Pakistani interests. C.I.A. officials believe that Mr. Haqqani’s group played a role in the killing of seven Americans in Khost, Afghanistan, in late December, and since then have carried out more than a dozen drone strikes in the Haqqani network’s enclave in North Waziristan. The ISI, an institution feared by most Pakistanis, is used to getting its way. It meddles in domestic politics and in recent months has been suspected by Western embassies in Islamabad of planting anti-American stories in Pakistani newspapers. It has also been criticized in reports by international human rights organizations of using brutal interrogation tactics against its prisoners, though the same could certainly be said of the C.I.A. in the period of 2002 to 2004. The annual human rights report of the State Department in 2007 said “there were persistent reports that security forces, including intelligence services, tortured and abused persons.” The head of the Pakistani military, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said in a recent briefing that it was doubtful that a centralized government would work in post-conflict Afghanistan, making it more important for Pakistan to continue to influence the Taliban in the years to come. As a result there remains a belief among American intelligence officials that Pakistan will never completely abandon the Taliban, and officials both in Washington and Kabul admit that they are almost completely in the dark about Pakistan’s long-term strategy regarding the Taliban. “We have a better level of cooperation,” said one top American official who met recently in Islamabad with General Kayani. “How far that goes, I can’t tell yet. We’ll know soon whether this is cooperation, or a stonewall and kind of rope a dope.” Pir Zubair Shah contributed reporting.

DTN News: India TODAY February 26, 2010 ~ China Welcomes India-Pakistan Talks

DTN News: India TODAY February 26, 2010 ~ China Welcomes India-Pakistan Talks *Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) BEIJING, China - February 26, 2010: China on Thursday welcomed and supported foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan, hoping the momentum of dialogue and cooperation could be sustained.India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao (L) shakes hands with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir before their meeting in New Delhi February 25, 2010. The top diplomats of India and Pakistan began on Thursday their first official talks since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, but hopes of progress remain limited as the rival neighbours seek to end a diplomatic freeze.
"We are delighted to know that foreign secretary level consultations between India and Pakistan have taken place. We hope the talks can deliver substantial results," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.
The improvement and progress of India-Pakistan relations are conducive to the peace, stability and development not only in South Asia, but also in the Asian region as a whole.
The India-Pakistan foreign secretary level talks began in New Delhi on Thursday afternoon. This is the first secretary level meeting between the two countries since the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack.
The Indian delegation headed by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao met with the Pakistani delegation headed by Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir at Hyderabad House in central Delhi.
Leaders of the two countries have met prior to this meeting after the Mumbai attack. Pakistani Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met in Yekaterinburg on Jun. 16 on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.
One month later, the two leaders met again in Sharm el-Sheikh on Jan. 17 during the 15th summit of Non-Aligned Movement.

DTN News: GM To Shut Down Hummer After Deal Collapses

DTN News: GM To Shut Down Hummer After Deal Collapses * Analyze: GM started to work with Chinese counterpart for sale of Hummer at approx. $ 600 million, negotiation took over 2 years and revised counter-offer was made at $ 150 million. In the interim, during negotiation period Chinese counterpart (Sichuan Tengzhong) were able to grasp info on Hummer and felt GM Hummers are a white elephant (gas guzzler vehicles) and they (Chinese/Sichuan Tengzhong) can produce similar vehicle with better mileage, technology and at half the price of GM HUMMER, no binding of agreements and territories, meaning Sichuan Tengzhong can produce and sell similar vehicles around the globe competitively and R&D costing minimal. China is a sleeping dragon and has cornered foreign exchange reserves of $ 2.4 trillion with its SAR territories Macao and Hong Kong would have one third ($ 3 trillion) of the global total foreign exchange reserves of $ 9 trillion. In conclusion, WATCH OUT FOR THE GIANT SLEEPING DRAGON in the year of the TIGER. By Roger Smith ~ Defense-Technology News/DTN News. *Source: DTN News / AP (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 25, 2010: Hummer, the off-road vehicle that once symbolized America's love for hulking SUVs, has hit a dead end after its planned sale to a Chinese heavy equipment maker collapsed late Wednesday. Heavy equipment maker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co. pulled out of the deal for Hummer, known for its military-like SUVs, because it was unable to get clearance from Chinese regulators within the proposed deal timeframe, the manufacturer said in a separate statement. GM said it will continue to honour existing Hummer warranties. "We are disappointed that the deal with Tengzhong could not be completed," said John Smith, GM's vice-president of corporate planning and alliances. "GM will now work closely with Hummer employees, dealers and suppliers to wind down the business in an orderly and responsible manner." GM has been trying to sell the loss-making brand for the last year and found a suitor in Tengzhong, but resistance from Chinese regulators created difficulties from the start. As recently as Tuesday, private investors were trying to set up an offshore entity in a last-minute effort to complete the acquisition ahead of a Feb. 28 deadline. Hummer, which traces its origins to the Humvee military vehicle built by AM General LLC in South Bend, Ind., acquired a devoted following among SUV lovers who were drawn to the off-road-ready vehicles. But they drew scorn from environmentalists and sales never recovered after U.S. gasoline prices spiked above $4 US a gallon in the summer of 2008. Sales peaked at 71,524 in 2006. But in December 2009, only 325 Hummers were sold, down 85 per cent from the previous year, according to Autodata Corp. Hummer is the second brand after Saturn that GM has failed to sell as part of its restructuring. GM sold Swedish brand Saab to Dutch carmaker Spyker Cars NV earlier this year. Pontiac is being discontinued. GM is focusing its efforts on its four remaining brands: Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac and Buick.

DTN News: U.S. Sells Arms To South Asian Rivals

DTN News: U.S. Sells Arms To South Asian Rivals
* Washington Increases Weapons Transfers to India and Pakistan to Maintain Neutrality, Aid Industry *Source: DTN News / WSJ By Yochi J. Dreazen & Amol Sharma (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI, India - February 25, 2010: The Obama administration is sharply expanding American weapons transfers to both India and Pakistan, longtime rivals about to sit down for peace talks Thursday. The U.S. has sought to remain neutral in the thorny relationship between the nuclear-armed neighbors. But Washington hasn't been shy about pursuing weapons deals in the region, which officials say will lead to closer ties with each country while creating new opportunities for American defense firms.The U.S. has made billions of dollars in weapons deals with India, which is in the midst of a five-year, $50 billion push to modernize its military. At the same time, American military aid to Pakistan stands to nearly double next year, allowing Islamabad to acquire more U.S.-made helicopters, night-vision goggles and other military equipment. The aid has made it easier for Pakistan to ramp up its fight against militants on the Afghan border, as the U.S. tries to convince Islamabad that its biggest security threat is within the country, not in India. During a late January trip to Islamabad, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. would for the first time give Pakistan a dozen surveillance drones, a longstanding Pakistani request. But India and Pakistan have each been irked when the U.S. made big-ticket weapons sales or transfers to the other. India lobbied against recent U.S. legislation giving Pakistan billions of dollars in new nonmilitary aid; the measure passed. A top Pakistani diplomat warned last week that a two-year-old civilian nuclear deal between the U.S. and India could threaten Pakistan's national security by making it easier for India to covertly build more nuclear weapons. Washington's relationships with the two nations are very different. India, which is wealthier and larger than its neighbor, pays for weapons purchases with its own funds. Pakistan, by contrast, uses American grants to fund most of its arms purchases. A new U.S. counterinsurgency assistance fund for Pakistan is slated to increase from $700 million in fiscal year 2010 to $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2011. "We do straight commercial deals with India, while Pakistan effectively uses the money we give them to buy our equipment," said a U.S. official who works with the two countries. "But we think that's ultimately in our national interest because it makes the Pakistanis more capable of dealing with their homegrown terrorists." India is one of the largest buyers of foreign-made munitions, with a long shopping list which includes warships, fighter jets, tanks and other weapons. Its defense budget is $30 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, a 70% increase from five years ago. The country is preparing its military to deal with multiple potential threats, including conflict with Pakistan. Tensions have recently flared between India and China over territorial claims along their border. China defeated India in a short war in 1962. "For 2010 and 2011, India could well be the most important market in the world for defense contractors looking to make foreign military sales," said Tom Captain, the vice chairman of Deloitte LLP's aerospace and defense practice. Russia has been India's main source of military hardware for decades, supplying about 70% of equipment now in use. Moscow is working to keep that position, with talks ongoing to sell India 29 MiG-29K carrier-borne jet fighters, according to an Indian Defense Ministry spokesman. The Obama administration is trying to persuade New Delhi to buy American jet fighters instead, a shift White House officials say would lead to closer military and political relations between India and the U.S. It would also be a bonanza for U.S. defense contractors, and has dispatched senior officials such as Mr. Gates to New Delhi to deliver the message that Washington hopes India will choose American defense firms for major purchases in the years ahead. Shortly after a late January visit by Mr. Gates—on the same tour that took him to Islamabad—In late January, the administration signed off on India's request to purchase 145 U.S.-made howitzers, a $647 million deal.Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Mr. Gates's visit didn't affect the substance or timing of the howitzer purchase. That came days after India formally expressed its intent to purchase 10 cargo transport aircraft from Boeing Co. in a deal analysts say could be worth more than $2 billion. Last year, India spent $2.1 billion on eight Boeing long-range Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft for the Indian navy. Still in the pipeline is India's planned $10 billion purchase of 126 multirole combat aircraft for its air force. U.S. firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp. are vying with Russia and European companies for that deal, which would be a near-record foreign sale for the firms. An agreement last summer allowing the U.S. to monitor the end-use of arms it sells to India is expected to facilitate such deals. "That's the biggest deal in the world right now," said Mr. Captain. "If it goes to an American firm, that would be the final nail in the coffin in terms of India shifting its allegiance from Russia to the U.S." Successive U.S. administrations have worked hard to build closer military, economic and commercial ties with India. In its final days in office, the Bush administration signed a civilian nuclear pact with India which has cleared the way for American firms to build two nuclear plants in India in deals worth billions of dollars. The Obama administration, which sees India as a valuable counterweight to China, is negotiating new export control and communications security agreements with New Delhi that would make it easier for American firms to sell more arms and high-technology equipment to India. There have also been symbolic U.S. efforts to build warmer ties with India. When President Barack Obama threw his first state dinner recently, it was held in honor of visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Arvind Kadyan, a researcher at India's nonprofit Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, said India was likely to continue to do big deals with Russia. "That situation can't change overnight, because we have such a long association with them," Mr. Kadyan said. Write to Yochi J. Dreazen at and Amol Sharma at