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NEWS EXTRA

This segment provides the viewer / reader with news they might have missed and focuses on key issues related to current and past events. These articles are provided courtesy of our many contributing sources. We ask that you enjoy these stories and continue your support of beenetworknews.com, our contributing sources and publishers.

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

mcconell

McConnell | Many questions about Iran deal

Op-Ed Courier-Journal Sen. Mitch McConnell

August 25, 2015

Earlier this summer, President Obama announced a deal had been struck between Iran and the United States and other countries that purports to curtail, but not end Iran’s nuclear program. Kentuckians have the right to know whether this deal will actually make America and her allies safer. I want to assure those in the Commonwealth that America’s safety will be my foremost concern when the U.S. Senate takes up this issue and gives the proposed deal a thorough and fair review in the coming weeks.

The agreement inked by the White House seems to be the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than one that might actually end Iran’s nuclear program. Ending Iran’s nuclear program was supposed to be the point of these talks in the first place. But this agreement won’t even come close to achieving that original purpose.

Instead, the Iranians get to maintain thousands of centrifuges and entrench their threshold nuclear capability rather than end it. They reap a multi-billion dollar windfall. The president admits that a portion of this will be spent on terrorism and other nefarious activities that threaten stability in the Middle East as sanctions are lifted. And Iran remains a threat to our close partner in the region, Israel.

Along with others, I warned that the administration’s negotiating stance would lead to poor results, both for America and for allies such as Israel. In 2012, I said that the only way the Iranian regime could be expected to negotiate to preserve its own survival, rather than to simply delay as a means of pursuing nuclear weapons, was if the administration imposed the strictest sanctions while at the same time enforcing a firm policy that reflected a commitment to the use of force.

But the administration never did that, and now we find ourselves with the deal we have today. It appears we’ve lost the chance to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that they never gain access to a nuclear bomb. An Iran that pursues a nuclear weapon will be a challenge for President Obama’s successor to face, whether he or she is a Democrat or a Republican.

Congress fought to make sure we had a voice in approving this deal, despite the hopes of the administration to go it alone. We passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act to ensure Congress had the power to review this deal and give it an up or down vote. Some of the important questions I’ll be asking during that review include:

Why doesn’t the agreement contain “anytime, anywhere” inspections of Iran’s military installations and research and development facilities?

Will the administration submit to the Senate the secret deals made between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran? Recent—and troubling—reports about the IAEA’s secret side deals indicate the Iranians will be allowed to perform their own inspections of the Parchin nuclear site.

Will the agreement compel the Iranians to disclose the details of their nuclear program?

Will the agreement make any real impact on Iran’s ability to continue researching and developing advanced centrifuges, ultimately to be used for a nuclear weapons program?

Does the agreement ensure that the lifting of sanctions against Iran be tied to that country’s strict adherence to the terms of this deal, and will we have any real way to verify their compliance?

What challenges would this agreement pose to our key allies in the region, including Israel and our moderate Sunni Arab allies?

The answers to these questions will help us determine just what kind of a deal the Obama administration has secured with the Iranians. Rather than entering this agreement, the president could have worked with Congress to increase the economic sanctions against the Iranian government that have effectively depressed its economy and brought it to the negotiating table in the first place. The administration chose a different course.

Kentuckians should remember that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and has been determined to increase its ballistic missile and conventional military capabilities. The Iranian regime has been working to expand its sphere of influence in the Middle East region and undermine America’s security and standing. It has even said it would wipe Israel off the map. A bad deal with Iran won’t solve these problems or make us—or our allies—any safer.

SOURCE:  DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity

Army Depot Explosion in Japan Remains Under Investigation

By Terri Moon Cronk

WASHINGTON, August 24, 2015 — The cause of an explosion and the resulting large fire at a storage building early today at the Army’s Sagami General Depot in Sagamihara City, Japan, remains under investigation, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt.Department of Defense Jeff Davis said.

Davis told reporters that no indications of injuries exist, and the building was not designated as a hazardous material storage facility, as some initial reports had suggested.

“The Sagami General Depot does not store ammunition or radiological materials,” Davis said, adding that the building contained canisters of compressed gasses such as nitrogen, oxygen, Freon and air.

No U.S. military personnel live at the Sagami General Depot, and about 200 personnel work at the depot during the day, officials said.

Fire Died On Its Own

The explosion reportedly triggered a blaze that burned through the night, but the fire died on its own about six hours after it started, shortly before 1 a.m., Japan time, with firefighters standing by, according to U.S. Army Japan reports. By about 5:30 a.m., smoldering was still evident inside the building, but the fire did not spread beyond the building, the reports said.

The concrete single-story building is about the size of a large residence, said Pentagon press operations spokesman Navy Cmdr. William Urban. “The walls of the building remain intact, but the windows and doors are damaged, and about half of the roof collapsed,” he added.

First Responders Arrived Quickly

About 14 Sagamihara City fire department vehicles and 50 firefighters responded to assist Army emergency services with additional assets from the Sagamihara City police, the reports noted.

“The appreciates the quick reaction and support from the local emergency services of our Japanese ally,” Davis said.

Sagami Depot is about 25 miles southwest of Tokyo and has several functions. It stores equipment — primarily medical supplies for crisis or contingency missions for Army pre-positioned stocks– and serves as headquarters of the 35thSustainment Support Battalion, a logistics unit prepared to support the Pacific theater. It also is home to both the Mission Training Complex — a simulation center — and elements from the 403rd Army Field Support Brigade, which manages the Army pre-positioned stocks and maintenance activities, the reports said.

The Army and Sagamihara City conduct bilateral emergency response exercises to prepare for such events, officials noted.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)

SOURCE:  NASA

300px-NASA_logo.svgNASA Extends Contract for Training Facility Support at Johnson Space Center

NASA has signed an extension of its contract with Raytheon Company in Houston to provide support for training facilities at the agency’s Johnson Space Center, also in Houston.

This is a cost-plus-award-fee/incentive fee, plus indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity extension that runs through Sept. 30, 2017. It has two one-year option periods for a total potential value of $122.8 million.

The contract provides for continuity of services to the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory and the Space Vehicle Mockup facilities at Johnson in support of NASA’s operations, training, mission planning and maintenance of the International Space Station, Commercial Crew and Orion Programs.

SOURCE: Small Business Administration

SBA Announces Funding to Boost Export Opportunities for Small Businesses

STEP Program Awards $17.4 Million to Promote Small Business Global Trade

sba-logo-op_original_cropWASHINGTON – Small businesses across the country will have access to $17.4 million in funding to help them enter and compete in the global marketplace, as the Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced that 40 awards from the agency’s State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program will be made to states and territories to support activities to increase exporting by small businesses. Nevada has been awarded $300,000. (For a list of all FY 2015 awardees, visit https://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/oit/resources/14315.)

“Exports are a central part of America’s economic growth; with export-supported jobs paying 15-18% more. Yet less than one percent of small businesses export; and of those that do, 58 percent of them export to only one country. Unlocking trade opportunities for small businesses is key to continued growth and expansion. SBA’s STEP program ensures local resources are available to help small businesses tap global markets. By funding states and their export development partners, the SBA is delivering the tools and resources required for small businesses to launch their services and products abroad. With 95% of the world’s consumers living outside of the United States, SBA’s STEP program ensures that America’s small businesses can succeed in the 21st century global economy,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

The purpose of the 2015 awards is for states to assist small businesses with export related activities or other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program. These objectives include participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as design of international marketing campaigns, export trade show exhibits, training workshops and more.

The STEP program is designed to increase both the number of small businesses that begin to export and the value of exports for small businesses currently exporting.  Expanding the base of small business exporters and making the process as easy as possible is a key component of the Administration’s National Export Initiative.

Recipients in the first two rounds of STEP awards, in FY 2011 and FY 2012,  reported a strong return on investment of over 19:1.

For additional information on the STEP program, visit https://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/oit/resources/14315.

SOURCE:  Department of Defense

Flag Officer Assignment

The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert announced the following assignment:

Capt. William W. Wheeler III, selected for promotion to rear-admiral (lower half), will600px-US-DeptOfNavy-Seal.svg be assigned as deputy commander, Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa, Djibouti, Africa.  Wheeler is currently serving as executive assistant to commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe/commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Africa/commander, Joint Allied Forces Command, Naples, Italy.

SOURCE:  Department of Defense

Senior Executive Service Announcements

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has announced the following Department of Defense Senior Executive Service appointments:

600px-WHS_Insignia.svgCheri A. Tyner has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and has been assigned as director, Acquisition Directorate, Washington Headquarters Services, Washington, District of Columbia. Tyner previously served as deputy director, Office of Acquisition Management, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, District of Columbia.

Maureen B. Higgins has been assigned as the assistant director, Human Capital and Resource Management, Defense Contract Audit Agency, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.  Higgins previously served as the deputy director, Center for Leadership Development, Office of Personnel Management, Washington, District of Columbia.

PHOTO(s) OF THE DAY

SOURCE:  Department of Defense /Defense News Lead Photo

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Nicole Malachowski reviews aircraft logs during a preflight inspection on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., May 8, 2013. Malachowski commands the 333rd Fighter Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John Nieves Camacho

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Nicole Malachowski reviews aircraft logs during a preflight inspection on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., May 8, 2013. Malachowski commands the 333rd Fighter Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class John Nieves Camacho

050903-N-5526M-012 New Orleans (Sept. 3, 2005) Ð An Army National Guard air crewman direct Hurricane Katrina victims as they exit the back of an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter during relief efforts in New Orleans. The Army National Guard have been mobilized to take part in Joint Task Force Katrina, a humanitarian assistance operation in a joint effort led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in conjunction with the Department of Defense. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Robert McRill (RELEASED)

050903-N-5526M-012
New Orleans (Sept. 3, 2005) Ð An Army National Guard air crewman direct Hurricane Katrina victims as they exit the back of an Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter during relief efforts in New Orleans. The Army National Guard have been mobilized to take part in Joint Task Force Katrina, a humanitarian assistance operation in a joint effort led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in conjunction with the Department of Defense. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Robert McRill (RELEASED)

 

Service members and civilian guests attend the 17th annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Women In Military Service For America Memorial in Arlington Va., May 20, 2014. Photo by: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Alejandro Sierras

Service members and civilian guests attend the 17th annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Women In Military Service For America Memorial in Arlington Va., May 20, 2014. Photo by: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Alejandro Sierras

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