Science and Technology News

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fleet Cyber Command Recognizes NCTS Guam


By Shaina Marie Santos, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

DEDEDO, Guam (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet, applauded U.S. Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station (NCTS) Guam Dec. 13, for being the first in the Pacific to pass the Command Cyber Readiness Inspection (CCRI).

Vice Adm. Mike Rogers addressed NCTS Guam during an all-hands call.

"I want to thank you for your hard work that generated a successful CCRI," Rogers said. "That didn't just happen; you had to make it happen. I thank you for the hard work that went into it, and I thank you for your commitment"

NCTS Guam Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Randal Fuller said the CCRI, which was conducted Dec. 3-7, is an intensive look at every aspect of an operation in terms of network reliability and resiliency against possible threat.

"The inspection itself is a means of proving readiness," Fuller said. "Given the intensity of the inspection and the grading system, achieving a passing grade requires several thousand things to go right all at the exact same time while the inspector is looking. No amount of last minute preparation can achieve this. Only a long-term, sustained drive toward rigid and disciplined network management can produce these results."

The configuration of every device on the Non-classified and Secret Internet Protocol Router Networks is evaluated to ensure that it is in its most resilient configuration, according to Fuller. In addition, inspectors reviewed the security of information-sensitive items such as common access cards and compact discs.

Rogers said passing the inspections displays NCTS Guam's exceptional standard of mission readiness.

"Excellence in cyber (warfare) is going to be an important part of warfighting in the future for our service," he said. "That inspection represents the opportunity to show just what our true cyber readiness is, and we have got to be every bit as ready in the cyber arena as we are in - pick any other mission. NCTS, like the rest of the Navy, always needs to be ready to execute the mission we're given."

Though the installation passed the inspection, Rogers reminded the staff that readiness is more than a task, it is a duty that must be constantly upheld.

"You don't achieve excellence by just waiting until somebody tells you to go do something, you achieve excellence by being ready every day," he said.

NCTS Guam provides multispectral connectivity, network operations and information assurance to Navy, joint and coalition forces on Guam and the Western Pacific, and Indian Ocean.

Naval Aerospace Medical Institute Flight Surgeon Awarded National Scholarship



From Navy Medicine Operational Training Center Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- A Flight Surgeon from the U.S. Navy's premier aeromedical training facility was awarded a $2,000 scholarship by one of the most recognizable aerospace medical organizations in the United States, the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute announced Dec. 28.

Cmdr. Chris Orsello, a Flight Surgeon at NAMI in Pensacola, Fla., was notified by the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) that he was selected as the 2012 AsMA Fellows Scholarship Competition Winner for his research, manuscript, and presentation titled "Height and In-Flight Low Back Pain Association Among Military Helicopter Pilots."

According to AsMA scholarship committee members, the award was based on the high scientific value, originality, quality, and relevance of Orsello's work.

Orsello, currently assigned as the Chief Resident Assistant within the NAMI Aerospace Medicine Residency has also been selected to assume command of the medical department of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), in 2013. A 14-year Navy veteran specializing in Preventive Aerospace Medicine and Family Medicine, Orsello said the recognition in his community underscores the significant work and advances naval aerospace medicine has made.

"Flight Surgeons, physiologists, nurses, and aviation med tech corpsmen are ensuring that aviators and aircrew in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, as well as from other branches, are provided the best possible care," he said. "This award is the direct result of their expertise and continues to highlight how important Navy Medicine readiness is to aviators and aircrew called to engage in highly challenging operations under austere conditions."

AsMA, the largest, most-representative professional membership organization in the field of aviation, space and environmental medicine, serves as an umbrella, providing a forum for numerous disciplines to share their expertise for all individuals involved in air and space travel medicine. Approximately 25 percent of the membership is international.

The AsMA Fellows Scholarship is designed to offset the costs of registration fees, transportation, hotel accommodations or other expenses incurred by attending a scholarly meeting on a topic related to aerospace medicine.

Orsello said he plans to use the funds to create a NAMI Aeromedical Award for Excellence designated specifically for local eligible corpsmen ranked E5 and below, by holding a scholarly competition to foster their innovative ideas toward aerospace preventive medicine.

Funding will also be used to attend the 2013 Scientific Meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association in Chicago in May 2013, for which he and colleagues have been selected to present three new key research projects that target aeromedical injury prevention. The new research will be the first to analyze 15 years of hearing loss incidence across all branches of aviators in the Department of Defense, 30 years of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps ejection injury patterns and is designed to capture the prevalence, predictors and mission impact of neck pain among Navy helicopter pilots.

Aerospace medicine concerns the determination and maintenance of the health, safety, and performance of persons involved in air and space travel. As a broad field of endeavor, aerospace medicine offers challenges and opportunities for physicians, nurses, physiologists, bioenvironmental engineers, industrial hygienists, environmental health practitioners, human factors specialists, psychologists and other professionals. Those in the field are dedicated to enhancing health, promoting safety, and improving performance of individuals who work or travel in unusual environments.

NAMI is a component command of the Navy Medicine Operational Training Center (NMOTC), the recognized global leader in operational medicine. NMOTC, in turn, reports to Navy Medicine Education and Training Command (NMETC), an organization maintaining oversight of Navy Medicine education and training.

NAMI, NMOTC and NMETC are all part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of Navy medical professionals around the world who provide high-quality health care to more than 1 million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Operation Deep Freeze 2012

by Captain Christina C. Shelton and Second Lieutenant Bill Battles
Army Sustainment


12/26/2012 - FORT EUSTIS, Va. -- Editor's Note: For the first time, the Army and its only modular causeway system company provided logistics-over-the-shore support to resupply research stations in Antarctica.

The mission of the 331st Transportation Company, 11th Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade, located at Fort Eustis, Virginia, is to provide a mobile pier powered by small Army vessels for the discharge of cargo and equipment from watercraft to an unimproved shoreline or degraded fixed-port facility. It also provides floating facilities for the rapid discharge of rolling stock from roll-on-roll-off cargo ships and other vessels.

The 331st Transportation Company has a long history in the Transportation Corps and a very unique place in the Department of Defense (DOD) inventory. It carries the DOD's only modular causeway system (MCS). Its Soldiers train year round for worldwide deployment in support of wartime and humanitarian aid missions.

Operation Deep Freeze

In 2012, the 331st Transportation Company displayed its capabilities during Operation Deep Freeze 2012 in Antarctica. Operation Deep Freeze is the annual resupply mission to research stations on the continent of Antarctica, including McMurdo Staion, Palmer Station, and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

The Army had not participated in Operation Deep Freeze in nearly 20 years, and this was the first time Army watercraft were used for the mission. Regular participants in this mission are the National Science Foundation (NSF), the parent organization of the U.S. Antarctic Program; the U.S. Air Force; the U.S. Navy; the Military Sealift Command (MSC); the New Zealand Defense Forces; and Raytheon Polar Services, a civilian agency contracted by the NSF.

Army Watercraft Support

In the past, a large man-made ice pier was used to discharge the resupply vessel, but an unusually warm winter prevented the pier from reaching the structural integrity required for the operation. A suitable alternative was needed. The NSF discovered the capabilities of the MCS, requested MCS support, and entered into discussion with the Army to determine its feasibility.

Since the 331st Transportation Company trains for logistics-over-the-shore missions year round and employs its mobile piers in various environments, Operation Deep Freeze was exactly the type of real-world mission for which the MCS was designed.

Operation Deep Freeze required a pier able to sustain 24-hour crane and truck operations and a crew to build and maintain the pier. After a thorough analysis of the problem set, a T-shaped pier measuring 160 feet long (from ship to shore) and 144 feet wide was designed and a crew of 41 Soldiers was designated to build and maintain the pier.

Getting to Antarctica

Fifty-three trucks transported the cargo, which included two modular warping tugs and auxiliary gear, to Port Hueneme, California. [A modular warping tug is a section of causeway powered by two diesel motors and manned by a five-person crew.] In California,
the cargo was loaded onto the Merchant Vessel (MV) Green Wave, which MSC contracted to deliver both the causeway and the supplies for McMurdo Station. A crew of eight Soldiers flew out to California to assist in the upload of equipment onto MV Green Wave.

In early February, 331st Transportation Company Soldiers flew to Christchurch, New Zealand (a U.S. Antarctic Program launch point for Antarctic missions). There the crew received specialized cold-weather gear designed for manual labor during the ship offload in
Antarctica. Once outfitted, the Soldiers boarded a Boeing 757 operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force and flew to McMurdo Station, landing on the Ross Ice Shelf runway atop 1,000 feet of solid ice.

The first few days in Antarctica were consumed by in-processing, site surveys, moving into dormitories, and getting familiar with the area.

Winter Quarters Bay, where the operation was going to take place, is the site where the first Antarctic expeditions to the South Pole began more than 100 years ago. MSC contracted a Russian ice-breaker vessel, the Vladimir Ignatuk, to break up ice within the channel so
that MV Green Wave could gain access to the bay. The old, unstable ice pier was disconnected, with the help of a few hundred pounds of dynamite, and moved to a temporary location south of the offload site.

The Mission Begins
The mission began in earnest on 14 February, when MV Green Wave arrived and was moored to the old ice pier. With MV Green Wave in position, the first step was to offload the two warping tugs. Once the tugs were in the water and fully operational, Navy Cargo
Handling Battalion 1 (NCHB-1) and the pier crew from the 331st Transportation Company began assembling causeway sections off the side of MV Green Wave.

Within 72 hours, the pier was fully assembled and secured to the ice wharf, where two bulldozers held it in place with steel cables and winches. In addition, several lines were tied to bollards (strong posts on the wharf), and the tugs were positioned on either side to
provide support.

Logistics Over the Shore Operations
Once the pier was in place, the offload began. Over the next 8 days, NCHB-1, Raytheon Polar Services, and drivers from the New Zealand Defense Force unloaded across the causeway more than 8 million pounds of cargo to be used by research stations and field camps across the continent.

Drivers returned to the ship with 7 million pounds of ice, rock, trash, recycling, and unneeded equipment that was then back-loaded onto the vessel. This effort involved every
major organization at McMurdo Station, including the fire marshal, the maintenance facility, ground operations, port operations, and supply operations. It was truly a joint and
multinational effort.

The Return Mission

Breaking down the causeway took only 36 hours. As soon as the last warping tug was loaded onto MV Green Wave, the ship departed for California. The Operation Deep
Freeze crew out-processed McMurdo Station and boarded a U.S. Air Force C-17 for New Zealand a day later.

By 5 March, all personnel were back at Fort Eustis. A crew was sent to California to meet MV Green Wave and facilitate the return of equipment to Virginia by rail using 22 DOD-owned railcars. The cargo was delivered on 25 April.

Soldiers from the causeway crew were recognized on 10 April by U.S. Air Force General William Fraser, the Transportation Command commanding general, who visited Fort Eustis and presented crewmembers with Joint Service Achievement Medals for their historic efforts.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Walking into the new WOC

by 432d Wing/432d Air Expeditionary Wing

12/21/2012 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The 432d Air Expeditionary Wing Operations Center recently made its move back to Creech Air Force Base, after a temporary stay at Nellis AFB.

Col. James Hecker, 432d Wing/432d Air Expeditionary Wing commander, and Lt. Col. Jeff, 432d Operations Group WOC director, cut a ceremonial ribbon to officially open the new operations center Dec. 19, 2012.

"The WOC was temporarily located at Nellis during the renovation process," Jeff said. "It was located there for about a year and a half to allow for the project's completion."

The WOC's mission is to provide a single point of contact for remotely piloted aircraft combat operations to a number of Combined Air and Space Operations Centers. The newly renovated work center will streamline support to joint warfighters and combatant commanders around the globe.

"The WOC maintains a 24/7 operations tempo to provide combat capabilities for over 40 combat air patrols, nine launch and recovery elements and 12 squadrons," said Lt. Col. Joseph, former 432d OG WOC director.

The $4 million Secretary of Defense-directed project will enable personnel and assets assigned to the WOC to better facilitate the 432d AEW's mission as the Air Force expands to support 65 combat air patrols.

"Being here allows us to have more face to face time with our customers and enhances the mission capability," Joseph said.

The return to Creech is expected to increase the efficiency of personnel and resource support provided to each RPA crew. The WOC will be fully operational in the upcoming weeks as functions migrate from Nellis AFB.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Free Search Engine Connects Classrooms with Science and Technology



By Eric Beidel, Office of Naval Research

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- An educational search engine funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has gone mobile just in time for the holidays with the Dec. 16 release of an iPad app.

Gooru (www.goorulearning.org) a free search engine for learning that brings together science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational materials on the web-developed the Gooru Collections iPad app to bring thousands of assorted multimedia resources to teachers and students on the go.

Launched with initial investment from ONR, Gooru provides a one-stop shop for fifth- to 12th-graders and their teachers to discover and share high-quality videos, games, digital textbooks, quizzes and other interactive products related to STEM and eventually other subjects.

"ONR's STEM efforts are looking for ways to inspire, engage and educate current and future STEM leaders," said Cmdr. Joseph Cohn, ONR's deputy director of research for STEM. "This technology promises to have a broad reach and would facilitate millions of students and teachers in developing a deeper understanding of a range of STEM disciplines."

Last year, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced plans to strengthen the service's future workforce by doubling the investment in STEM education over the next five years. The secretary shared this vision at a conference sponsored by ONR, which coordinates the Navy's STEM efforts and offers a collaborative website at STEM2Stern.org.

ONR's expertise in a variety of STEM initiatives has had a profound influence on Gooru's development, said Dr. Prasad Ram, founder and CEO of Gooru.

"We view our partnership with ONR as going beyond a funding relationship, to leveraging all of ONR's experience in the STEM space to help define, develop and continuously innovate on Gooru," Ram said. "Continued funding from ONR has helped to get us to this point and will allow us to fulfill our mission to bring the highest quality STEM education to every American student."

Gooru curates, auto-tags and contextualizes millions of STEM related web resources to get the most out of searches. It ranks and suggests items for students and teachers based on usage data, user input, search query logs and social signals.

"The Gooru platform has virtually eliminated many of the obstacles my teachers encounter that prevent significant technological integration to occur [in] today's classroom," said Gregory Green, principal of Clintondale High School in Clinton Township, Mich. "Through Gooru, my teachers can immediately have an extensive online digital resource bank without having to spend countless hours researching and organizing sharable classroom content."

Gooru is a free search engine for learning developed by a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to honor the human right to education. Teachers and students can use Gooru to search for rich collections of multimedia resources, digital textbooks, videos, games and quizzes created by educators in the Gooru community.

For more information, visit http://about.goorulearning.org.

ONR provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

Space Fence program moving forward

by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


12/21/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center here recently put out a request for proposal to move the Space Fence program forward.

Space Fence will be a system of up to two land-based radars, the first site located at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, to track objects entering Earth's orbit. According to program officials, it will form the foundation of improved space situational awareness by expanding the ability to detect, track, identify and characterize orbiting objects such as commercial and military satellites, smaller objects, maneuvering satellites, break-up events and lower inclination objects.

"Space situational awareness is a continual concern and challenge for U.S. and ally nations," said Ken Francois, Space Fence program manager. "The Space Fence program will increase the capability to provide predictability in reducing the chance of a collision or attack."

The RFP is for the final development and construction of the Space Fence Operations Center, Site 1, and an option for Site 2. It is a full and open competition that will conclude with a contract award, currently anticipated in spring 2013. The award will bring the program forward to final system development, fielding and initial operational capability.

During a Defense Acquisition Board held in August, some changes were made to the program's acquisition strategy.

"The most significant change is that we are moving to an incremental approach. Increment 1 includes the Space Operations Center and Site 1 facilities construction and radar build," said Francois. "Increment 2 includes Site 2 and system integration. This approach maximizes our efficient use of resources and will allow us to reduce costs to the Defense Department and the Air Force, ultimately saving money for the taxpayer."

A lot of previous work got the program to this point.

In early 2011, awards were made to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for an 18-month period of performance to develop preliminary system designs and prototypes and conduct radar performance analyses, evaluations and other technical activities.

As part of that, two preliminary design reviews for the Space Fence program were completed with final events demonstrating working radar prototypes capable of detecting and tracking a resident space object.

"The PDRs were conducted through a series of four detailed incremental reviews, leading up to the two-day final events," said Francois. "This approach was used so the government could review various aspects of the designs over time and provide timely feedback on any issues."

The incremental reviews included overall system design and architecture, radar hardware and software configuration items, allocated baseline, logistics, facilities, test, modeling and simulation along with the radar prototype demonstration. Following the reviews, the contractors worked on risk reduction activities and design maturation.

"All the work up to now and as we go forward is so we can ensure the mature technologies that are needed are available and to reduce risks associated with the program," said Francois.

Initial operational capability for Space Fence is anticipated in 2017 and full operational capability in 2020.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Robot to Serve as Future Military’s ‘Pack Mule’

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2012 – The warfighter who carries up to 100 pounds of equipment on his back is expected to get relief from the cumbersome weight, officials at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency say.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Legged Squad Support System will relieve troops of their 100-pound equipment load, take voice commands and maneuver around obstacles, in addition to numerous other tasks in the field. DARPA photo
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Enter the robot.

It’s not just any robot. DARPA’s semiautonomous Legged Squad Support System -- also known as the LS3 -- will carry 400 pounds of warfighter equipment, walk 20 miles at a time, and act as an auxiliary power source for troops to recharge batteries for radios and handheld devices while on patrol.

Now in trials, the “pack mule” robot might have numerous functions, but its primary responsibility is to support the warfighter, said Army Lt. Col. Joseph K. Hitt, program manager in DARPA’s tactical technology office.

“It’s about solving a real military problem: the incredible load of equipment our soldiers and Marines carry in Afghanistan today,” Hitt said. The consequences of that kind of load can be soft-tissue injuries and other complications, he added.

And as the weight of their equipment has increased, so have instances of fatigue, physical strain and degraded performance, officials have noted. Reducing the load warfighters carry has become a major point for research and development, DARPA officials say, because the increasing weight of equipment has a negative effect on warfighter readiness.

DARPA’s five-year, $54 million LS3 project began in September 2009, and now is undergoing trials in the field. The LS3 must become familiar with different types of terrain, from wooded areas to deserts, and with varying weather conditions such as rain and snow, Hitt explained.

The LS3 prototype completed its first outdoor assessment in January, demonstrating its mobility by climbing and descending a hill and exercising its perception capabilities.

Following a “highly successful” trial at Fort Pickett near Blackstone, Va., earlier this month, Hitt said, the robot worked with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory there and developed additional behaviors.
The robot’s sensors allow it to navigate around obstacles at night, maneuver in urban settings, respond to voice commands, and gauge distances and directions. The LS3 also can distinguish different forms of vegetation, Hitt said, when walking through fields and around bushes. With the ability to avoid logs and rocks, the LS3’s intelligent foot placement on rough terrain is a key element, he said.

The next trial will challenge the robot with the desert terrain at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base in California, and subsequent trials will follow every three months, Hitt said.

“The vision is a trained animal and its handler,” he said, adding that a squad leader would learn 10 basic commands to tell the robot to do such things as stop, sit, follow him tightly, follow him on the corridor, and go to specific coordinates.

“The technology of the robot focuses on mobility, perception and human-robot interaction,” Hitt said.

With the expectation of delivering the first LS3 to a Marine Corps squad in two years, the program culminates a decade of research and development. Yet it still needs some tweaks, Hitt acknowledged.
“We have to make sure the robot is smart like a trained animal,” he said. “We need to make sure it can follow a leader in his path, or follow in its own chosen path that’s best for itself. The interaction between the leader and the robot [must be] intuitive and natural.”

Reserve experience called on to fine-tune new technology

by Dana Lineback
940th Wing


12/18/2012 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Master Sgt. Alan Carlson first glimpsed the Caterpillar heavy equipment simulator while on a temporary duty assignment to Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. The shiny new trainer immediately piqued his curiosity.

The traditional reservist from the 940th Civil Engineer Squadron here was attending an advanced training course for equipment operators last summer when he encountered the prototype trainer, the only one of its kind in the Air Force.

Composed of five stations, the new simulator is designed to provide training on dozers, graders, excavators, dump trucks and front-end loaders.

"The graphics and controls are very good, and the seats shake to add realism of going over terrain," said Tech. Sgt. Alexes Abrams, Air Force Reserve Command Expeditionary Combat Support Training Certification Center instructor. "CAT will also be adding a three-degree tilt feature to these sims."

Carlson jumped at the opportunity to take the new trainer for a spin.

"The trainer had just been installed, and the instructors asked if we wanted to try it," said Carlson, a heavy equipment operator with 30 years of experience under his belt. "I wanted to test myself to see just how realistic this thing was."

To his surprise, the veteran operator failed every task.

"I knew it wasn't my skill level. I can operate all of those machines," Carlson said. "The trainer wasn't simulating real-world testing."
Carlson had hit the nail on the head. The testing process installed on the simulator at the factory needed tweaking. And Carlson had the real-world experience needed to accomplish those adjustments.

In November, he and two other reservists from the 940 CES, Senior Master Sgt. Scott Marler and Master Sgt. Robert Burt, returned to Dobbins ARB to assist instructors there with setting parameters on the new trainer that would mirror testing standards on the actual pieces of heavy equipment.

"This simulator is going to provide quality training for our operators. It not only allows us to increase the technical level of training incrementally, but it gives us the flexibility to train year round, even in inclement weather," Carlson said. "We'll be able to increase the number of people we can get trained, while at the same time cutting the cost of training, with substantial savings in fuel and maintenance costs."

"There are significant savings for the Air Force here," said Abrams. "We're not wasting fuel as students become familiar with the equipment. We could be using 150 gallons of fuel a week per piece of equipment."

Abrams said the simulator also provides a much safer environment, providing a way for operators to gain familiarization with the equipment's controls and master operation techniques before operating actual equipment.

"We spend less time going over basic controls because the students can learn quickly with the simulators - and it's fun."

Increased training capacity is particularly important to the 940th CES, according to Carlson, because of the squadron's upcoming conversion to a RED HORSE unit.
RED HORSE units deploy rapid-response civil engineering forces anywhere in the world. They are able to operate independently from other units in remote, high-threat, bare-base locations.

With their heavy equipment, these units can build and repair facilities and infrastructure when requirements exceed normal base civil engineer capabilities. They can also carve out airstrips to launch and recover aircraft in remote areas.

"Everyone in our squadron will become a heavy equipment operator. Their primary job may be medic or cook or whatever, but they'll have to learn how to operate dozers and graders, too, because that's what a RED HORSE unit does."

Carlson said this new simulator will help ensure his civil engineering squadron is the best trained in the Air Force.

"Second place isn't good enough for where we're going. As a RED HORSE unit, we want to lead the way."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

AU Optronics Corporation Executive Convicted for Role in LCD Price-fixing Conspiracy

WASHINGTON – Following a three-week trial, a federal jury in San Francisco today convicted an executive of the largest Taiwan liquid crystal display (LCD) producer for his participation in a worldwide conspiracy to fix the prices of thin-film transistor-liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels sold worldwide, the Department of Justice announced.
 
Shiu Lung Leung, AU Optronics Corp.’s former senior manager in the Desktop Display Business Group, was found guilty today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, of participating in a worldwide TFT-LCD price-fixing conspiracy from May 15, 2002 to Dec. 1, 2006.
 
AU Optronics Corp., based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and its American subsidiary, AU Optronics Corp. America, headquartered in Houston, were found guilty on March 13, 2012, following an eight-week trial. Former AU Optronics Corp. president Hsuan Bin Chen and former AU Optronics Corp. executive vice president Hui Hsiung were also found guilty at that time. A mistrial was declared against Leung after that trial. Today’s verdict is the result of Leung’s retrial.
 
“This international price-fixing conspiracy impacted countless American consumers by raising the price of computer monitors, notebooks and televisions containing LCD panels,” said Scott D. Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. “Today’s guilty verdict demonstrates that the Antitrust Division will continue to hold executives accountable for crimes that undermine a competitive marketplace.”
 
The indictment charged that AU Optronics Corp. participated in the worldwide price-fixing conspiracy from Sept. 14, 2001, to Dec. 1, 2006, and that its subsidiary joined the conspiracy as early as spring 2003. Today a jury found that Leung, along with the previously convicted companies and former executives, was guilty of fixing the prices of LCD panels sold in the United States. The conspirators fixed the prices of LCD panels during monthly meetings with their competitors, which were secretly held in hotel conference rooms, karaoke bars and tea rooms around Taiwan.
 
LCD panels are used in computer monitors and notebooks, televisions and other electronic devices. By the end of the conspiracy, the worldwide market for LCD panels was valued at $70 billion annually. The LCD price-fixing conspiracy affected some of the largest computer manufacturers in the world, including Hewlett Packard, Dell and Apple.
 
The company and its U.S. subsidiary were sentenced on Sept. 20, 2012, before Judge Susan Illston, to pay a $500 million criminal fine, matching the largest fine imposed against a company for violating U.S. antitrust laws. Chen and Hsiung were each sentenced to serve three years in prison and to each pay a $200,000 criminal fine.
 
As a result of this ongoing investigation, eight companies have pleaded guilty or been convicted to date and have been sentenced to pay criminal fines totaling more than $1.39 billion. Of the 22 charged executives, 13 have pleaded guilty or have been convicted and seven remain fugitives.   The executives who have been sentenced have been ordered to serve a combined total of 4,871 days in prison.
 
The maximum penalty for a Sherman Act violation for an individual is 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory fine.
 
Today’s charges are the result of a joint investigation by the Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Field Office and the FBI in San Francisco. Anyone with information concerning illegal conduct in the TFT-LCD industry is urged to call the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Field Office at 415-436-6660 or visit

Saturday, December 15, 2012

PACAF Airmen share best practices with ROK space team

by Capt. Brian Ladd
PACAF Space Branch


12/15/2012 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- Members of Pacific Air Forces' space forces met with visiting members of the Republic of Korea, Deputy Chief of Staff Planning team, to discuss space successes and challenges, Dec. 7, 2012.

Maj. Gen. Kyeong-Doo Jeong, DCS for Planning Republic of Korea Air Force headquarters, led the group during the visit on Dec. 7, which also marked the 71st anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Jeong said he witnessed the 71st commemoration ceremony and that the sacrifice made by the U.S. was tremendous, but today is the basis for world peace.

"The U.S. is the foundation for space, and a lead nation for global nations," he said. "They have built a foundation to make American leaders for global peace."

During the visit, Jeong and his staff received a space mission brief and 613th Air Operations Center tour to assist in establishing best practices for their developing space program and approaching space launch.

During the meeting Jeong showed interest in the U.S. space acquisition process,

"The ROK is very interested in how the U.S. conducts space operations and how the U.S. would be able to assist them in their emerging space program," said Capt. Brian Ladd, Deputy Chief, PACAF Space Branch.

The ROK is placing a greater emphasis on developing their civil and military space programs. Currently, they are in the later stages of preparations for an indigenous satellite launch and early in the development of their military space cadre.

"This meeting presented the opportunity to display the successes and shortfalls that PACAF has experienced with space and how, through a continued and expanded partnership, the shortfalls can be turned into successes," said Ladd.

This is the first meeting of U.S. and ROK space forces since the signing of the terms of reference agreement on Oct. 23, 2012, by the U.S. Department of Defense and Korea Ministry of National Defense Space Cooperation Working Group.

DoD will seek to expand space-related cooperation with international partners, building and sharing space capabilities with these partners to the extent practicable and leading combined space operations, including space-support operations.

"As the ROK expands their space capabilities, the cooperation with the U.S. in areas such as space situational awareness space-support operations will display to the other foreign nations our dedication to the responsible and peaceful use of space", said Capt Ladd.

The PACAF territory comprises approximately a third of the globe and has seen an impressive increase in nations adding space capabilities. "The responsibility to identify all of the threats to space assets in the Pacific is a responsibility that needs to be shared by all of our partner nations, to include the ROK," said Ladd.

This working group will identify the areas that the two nations can come together to enhance operations and capabilities.

"As the ROK increases their space capabilities the working group will enable the U.S. to share our lessons learned on space operations," said Ladd.