Science and Technology News

Saturday, June 30, 2018

DoD Honors Value Engineering Achievement Award Recipients


WASHINGTON -- More than 30 individuals, teams and organizations were honored with the Fiscal Year 2017 Value Engineering Achievement Award in a ceremony in the Pentagon Auditorium today.

“With formal [Defense Department] programs for value engineering dating back to 1954 in the Navy’s Bureau of Ships, value engineering has played an integral and enduring role in accomplishing the DoD mission to provide a lethal joint force, to defend the security of our nation, and sustain American influence abroad,” said Kristen Baldwin, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for systems engineering, keynote speaker for the event.

National Defense Strategy

In the summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis identifies his top priorities to generate and sustain the U.S. military advantage, she said, which are: building a more lethal force, strengthening alliances and attracting new partnerships, and bringing business reforms to DoD.

In the area of DoD reform, Baldwin told the award recipients their personal and team initiatives in using value engineering have “kept pace with the direction to change our mindset, to change our culture and our management systems in the department, and to modernize our systems and capabilities, and create efficiencies while doing so. Your assured steps provide necessary functions to our forces while achieving those cost savings.”

Better Reliability, Quality, Safety

Value engineering efforts, she added, deliver improved reliability, quality and safety to augment the DoD objective to continuously deliver performance with affordability and speed. The awardees’ efforts also align with DoD’s warfighting and national security missions, Baldwin said.

As part of the DoD Honorary Awards Program, the DoD Value Engineering Achievement Award honors civilian and military organizations, teams, individuals, and programs/projects for demonstrating exemplary value engineering accomplishments. The winners are:

Army

-- Program/Project: Project manager, Combat Ammunition Systems.

-- Individual: Chester Marc Dalangin, program manager, Crew Served Weapons.

-- Team: Watervliet Arsenal.

-- Organization: U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.

-- Special: Apache Helicopter Project Manager’s Office, Apache Production and Fielding Product Office.

-- Special: Project manager, Armored Fighting Vehicles.

-- Special: U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Navy

-- Program/Project: Single Coat Paint Systems.

-- Individual: Charles Radvansky, Industrial and In-Service Systems engineer.

-- Team: Cumbersome Work Practices Resolution Team.

-- Organization: Naval Systems Engineering Directorate, NAVSEA 05.

-- Special: Phased Array Ultrasound Technology/Time of Flight Diffraction Program.

-- Special: Virginia Class Submarine Battery Replacement Team.

-- Special: Pressure Rescue Module Battery Improvement Team.

Air Force

-- Program/Project: Air Intercept Missile-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile.

-- Individual: Tracy L. Patrick, chief, Combat Systems Branch.

-- Team: Air Force Materiel Command Federal Acquisition Regulation 16.5 High Performance Team.

-- Organization: Air Force Category Management Program Support Office.

-- Special: Michael W. Sahlu, lead engineer, Detachment 3.

-- Special: Col. William Patrick, system program manager, B-2 Division.

-- Special: Col. Christopher B. Athearn, senior materiel leader, Long Range Systems Division.

Defense Logistics Agency

-- Program/Project: DLA Aviation, Aviation Engineering Flaps Project.

-- Individual: Donald O’Flaherty, equipment specialist, DLA Land and Maritime, Value Management and Engineering Division.

-- Team: DLA Aviation, Source Approval Request Team.

-- Organization: DLA Aviation, Engineering and Technology Division.

-- Special: DLA Land and Maritime, Reverse and Sustaining Engineering.

Defense Threat Reduction Agency

-- Special: DTRA Ground-Based Prompt Diagnostics Test Team.

Missile Defense Agency

-- Program/Project: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Ground Components Product Office.

-- Individual: Mark Murphy, systems engineer, Ground Components Product Office.

--Team: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Systems Engineering Directorate Value Engineering Team.

-- Organization: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Project Office

-- Special: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Logistics Support Value Engineering Team

-- Special Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Missile Production Value Engineering Team.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Building the Future, One RoboBoat at a Time


By Sierra Jones, Office of Naval Research

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Teams of students from 13 schools representing six countries tested their engineering skills by deploying autonomous boats during the 11th annual International RoboBoat Competition, held June 18-24 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation, RoboBoat is an annual robotics contest in which the next generation of engineers puts autonomous surface vehicles through a series of advanced water-based challenges that mirror real-world maritime operations.

“The challenges might seem simplistic, but before the boats even make it to the water to try and complete the course, there’s a lot complex engineering that goes into the ASVs’ development,” said Kelly Cooper, a program officer in ONR’s Ship Systems and Engineering Research Division and a RoboBoat judge. “This competition really showcases the technical ingenuity of the students.”

Transforming Logistics, Warfare

That ingenuity will be needed as the desire for autonomous systems continues to grow -- not only for the naval service, but across the commercial sector, as companies such as Dominos, Amazon and Uber all want to use autonomous vehicles for deliveries.

And while these companies are making strides toward autonomous services for the average consumer, the Navy is looking to use the technology to “create fundamental shifts” in the way the Navy and Marine Corps conduct future naval operations.

According to the recently released Navy Strategic Roadmap for Unmanned Systems, the goal is to “transform modern warfare” by seamlessly integrating unmanned systems into the naval services and across all domains.

This is something that ONR is already doing -- pushing the path forward for autonomous technologies such as swarming boats, aerial vehicles and unmanned surface ships and helicopters.

“RoboBoat showcases the talents of future engineers and serves as a basic introduction to some of what the Navy needs its autonomous systems to do,” Cooper said. “We know there will be a strong pull from the commercial sector to have these kids come work for them, but we want the participants to know that the future is bright with the naval services as well -- we have the jobs and we need their talent, too.”

Competition

As in the past, this year’s teams, largely composed of university students, were evaluated on their vessel design and performance. The design component focused on innovation, quality of engineering and craftsmanship. The performance component tested a vehicle’s ability to execute specific missions on the water without any human interaction.

As part of the performance challenge, the ASVs had to demonstrate their speed and navigation capabilities by passing through a set of gates before competing for any mission challenge points.

The mission tasks demonstrated the maritime systems’ autonomous behavior in different scenarios, including: speed; automated docking, which demonstrated the ability to launch and communicate with an aerial drone; finding a path in a crowded area; target identification; precise navigation; and, finally, return to dock.

Indonesia’s Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember was this year’s biggest winner, bringing home the top prize of $6,000. Georgia Institute of Technology won second prize and $5,000; Florida’s Hagerty High School took third and $3,000; and the team from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Florida campus came in fourth, earning $2,000.

Smaller awards of $500 and $1,000 in various special award categories went to Washington’s Nathan Hale High School, Mexico’s Tecnologico de Monterrey, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, India’s SRM Institute of Science and Technology, the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology and Hagerty High School.
The other participating institutions were Florida Atlantic University, Indonesia’s Universitas Diponegoro, University of Iowa, University of Michigan and Canada’s University of Ottawa.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Aruban Telecommunications Purchasing Official Sentenced to Prison in Money Laundering Conspiracy Involving Violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act


Conspirators Paid Over $1.3 Million to Influence the Official and to Secure Business with State-Owned Telecommunications Company

An Aruban official residing in Florida was sentenced to 36 months in prison today for money laundering charges in connection with his role in a scheme to arrange and receive corrupt payments to influence the awarding of contracts with an Aruban state-owned telecommunications corporation.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg of the Southern District of Florida and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan of the FBI’s Miami, Florida Field Office made the announcement.

Egbert Yvan Ferdinand Koolman, 49, a Dutch citizen residing in Miami, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno of the Southern District of Florida, who also ordered Koolman to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence and to pay over $1.3 million in restitution.  Koolman was an official of Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba N.V. (Setar), an instrumentality of the Aruban government.  He pleaded guilty on April 13, before Judge Moreno to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  

According to admissions made as part of his plea agreement, between 2005 and 2016, Koolman operated a money laundering conspiracy from his position as Setar’s product manager.  Koolman admitted that, as part of the scheme, he conspired with Parker and others to transmit funds from Florida and elsewhere in the United States to Aruba and Panama with the intent to promote a wire fraud scheme and a corrupt scheme that violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  Koolman was promised and received bribes from individuals and companies located in the United States and abroad in exchange for using his position at Setar to award lucrative mobile phone and accessory contracts.  He received the corrupt payments via wire transfer from banks located in the United States, in cash during meetings in Miami and in Aruba, and by withdrawing cash in Aruba using a bank card that drew money from a U.S.-based bank account.  In exchange for the more than $1.3 million in corrupt payments that he received, Koolman also admittedly provided favored vendors with Setar’s confidential information.

In connection with the scheme, Lawrence W. Parker, Jr., 42, of Miami, pleaded guilty on Dec. 28, 2017 before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga of the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA and to commit wire fraud.  He was sentenced on April 30, to serve 35 months in prison and was ordered to pay $701,750 in restitution.

The FBI’s International Corruption Unit in Miami is investigating the case.  Trial Attorneys Jonathan Robell and Vanessa Snyder of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lois Foster-Steers of the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, as well as law enforcement colleagues in Aruba and Panama, provided significant assistance in this matter.