France’s Safran completed a $1 billion purchase of U.S. face-recognition software maker L-1 Identity Solutions after hiring a top former U.S. intelligence official to allay security concerns. Safran received approval for its purchase from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS).
The $1 billion cash deal gives the French state-owned company control of a Connecticut company which specializes in biometric recognition systems, passports and finger-printing as well as background checks for public and private clients.
Safran said on Tuesday it had agreed to set up a three-person proxy board to manage sensitive U.S. contracts that make up about 80 percent of L-1′s business.
The proposed proxy board would include Barbara McNamara, Deputy Director of the National Security Agency from October 1997 until June 2000, and William Schneider Jr, a former undersecretary of state under President Ronald Reagan. The presence of McNamara and Schneider is designed to ensure L-1 can keep open its lifeline of U.S. contracts while having the French government as its largest single shareholder.
The French aerospace and defense company said on Tuesday that L-1 would join Safran’s existing Morpho security business and would be renamed Morpho Trust.
Formed through the 2006 merger of Viisage, Identix, and Stamford, L-1 combines face and other biometric recognition technologies with credentialing and access control systems for protecting identity. Its main customers are U.S. government agencies, which use its products for improving homeland security and border security.
L-1’s secure credentialing solution has been used to produce more than two billion government-issued IDs to date. These include driver’s licenses, passports and Visas, the U.S. Passport Card and Border Crossing Card, international voter registration and national ID cards, as well as the production platform for the U.S. DOD Common Access Card (CAC).
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is an inter-agency committee of the US Government that reviews transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign person (“covered transactions”), in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States.
CFIUS includes representatives from 16 US departments and agencies and is chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury. Established by Gerald Ford under Executive Order 11858 in 1975, the committee gained additional authority after Ronald Reagan delegated Presidential oversight to CFIUS under Executive Order 12661 in 1988.
In February 2006, Richard Perle related to CBS News his experience on the CFIUS panel, “The committee almost never met, and when it deliberated it was usually at a fairly low bureaucratic level.” He also added, “I think it’s a bit of a joke if we were serious about scrutinizing foreign ownership and foreign control, particularly since 9/11.“
The following information has been copied from official US Army sites as well as the Army Times and only scratches the surface. Our forefathers warned against a standing Army in the US, never mind the Posse Comitatus Act (based on common law and codified in 1878).
Over 80,000 US Army troops have been trained and held ready to “respond to” civil unrest conditions in the United States. As part of this mission a massive exercise is scheduled for next month.
The Vibrant Response 12 and 12A military exercise is scheduled for Aug. 16-28 at various venues in southern Indiana and northern Kentucky.
The exercise will be the fourth field training event in the Vibrant Response series, which trains federal military forces on their role in supporting civilian consequence managers in responding to catastrophic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear – or CBRN – incidents.
The event will be the first confirmation exercise for the 5,200-person Defense CBRN Response Force (DCRF). They are among the more than 7,000 active and reserve Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians who will train in the exercise.
The DCRF replaces the 4,500-person CBRN Consequence Management Response Force.
“We have forged a strong training partnership with the Indiana National Guard and the people who run Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex,” said Paul Condon, Army North’s lead Vibrant Response exercise planner.
“We’ve worked with them to add several new venues at both Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex in order to accommodate the larger DCRF,” Condon added.
Participating organizations include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army’s 9th Area Medical Laboratory, the Fort Knox Fire Department, and National Guard elements from Indiana, California, West Virginia, Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota.
“Even Verizon Wireless will participate,” said Clark Wigley, Army North joint exercise planner.“They also are providing some of their mock equipment for the military to transport.”
The DCRF was created as part of DOD’s transformation of the nation’s tiered CBRN response enterprise. The units will assume their mission on Oct. 1 as federal military initial CBRN response forces.
For the next 12 months, the 1st BCT was under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or man-made emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
This new mission marked the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a [new] force every year.”
The 1st BCT’s soldiers learned how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it,” Cloutier said.
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets along with pepper spray and tasers.
“If we go in, we’re going in to …restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier.
This new mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package where active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction & Civil Support Teams.
“I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier added.
10 U.S.C. (United States Code) 375
Sec. 375. Restriction on direct participation by military personnel:
The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to ensure that any activity (including the provision of any equipment or facility or the assignment or detail of any personnel) under this chapter does not include or permit direct participation by a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps in a search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity unless participation in such activity by such member is otherwise authorized by law.
18 U.S.C. 1385
Sec. 1385. Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus:
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of
Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to
execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
NOTE: The only exemption has to do with nuclear materials (18 U.S.C. 831 (e))
The table below is a list of Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) copied from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website. The twenty-two restrictions are all for “Security” and are in effect during the last week of July, 2011.
This is an unusually large number of TFRs. Previously, between March 2008 and the current period there have been only nine other Security TFRs; and those were general in nature covering Washington, DC and airspace over large sporting events.
What is happening this week that requires these measures?
One thing stands out. Grand Forks Air Force Base is slated to receive 10 of the new Global Hawk Block 40 aircraft. Maj. Gen. Thomas Andersen, who oversees acquisition of weapons systems for the Air Force, said the first one could arrive by July.
The Global Hawk is an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft (drone) with advanced capabilities and range.
NOTE: The chart below was created on July 26. Please click on the FAA link to see that additional TFRs have been added to extend into August!
DATE DESCRIPTION (click on descriptions below to see full data)