NSWC Crane leader recognized throughout Navy for driving rapid innovation

These events establish an environment for the technologists to work directly with operators to obtain feedback on emerging technologies enabling the …

CRANE, Ind. – A Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) leader was recognized with the Department of the Navy (DoN) Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his contributions to the Navy and Marine Corps.

Andrew Brough, the NSWC Crane Expeditionary Warfare Lead across Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), has led initiatives to pursue Expeditionary Warfare rapid prototyping development to address operational gaps and needs identified by the Navy, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) operational forces.

Brough has spent his career at NSWC Crane and has led Expeditionary Warfare efforts for the past seven years.

“It’s an honor to be recognized with the Meritorious Civilian Service Award,” says Brough. “The threats and problems the warfighter faces changes rapidly. This requires collaboration with leadership and different organizations in order to tackle challenges effectively. I am proud of the work we’ve done across NAVSEA to provide efficient, technical solutions for service members around the world.”

Brough leads a group that facilitates efforts to advance Expeditionary Warfighting capabilities. The Expeditionary Warfare Community of Practice was established on May 9, 2018 to provide a forum for collaboration across NAVSEA to streamline efforts to evaluate emerging technologies. The group facilitates experimentation events such as Advanced Naval Technology Exercises (ANTX), Expeditionary Advanced Operating Base exercises, and other rapid prototyping events and demonstrations to assess the technologies that are the best fit to enable the next generation expeditionary warfighter. These events establish an environment for the technologists to work directly with operators to obtain feedback on emerging technologies enabling the technologist to expedite the capability to the fleet faster. Brough has been designated by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development (DASN R&D) to co-lead two ANTX events, both in support of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.

At Crane, Brough has been integral in the success of the Warfighter Driven Challenge, which is a process that consists of events where warfighters bring problems they are experiencing to Crane to find a collaborative solution. During the week-long events, several warfighters travel to Crane to work with a diverse, multi-disciplined team to thoroughly understand the problem and brainstorm solutions.

“There are many concepts that provide a platform for warfighters to come together with industry and academic experts to solve their problems,” says Brough. “What’s unique about the Warfighter Driven Challenge is at the end of the week, they get a physical prototype. Servicemen and women come to Crane with a problem and work directly with our technical experts to create a tailored solution.”

Within the last two years, five Warfighter Driven Challenge events have been conducted, and two more are currently scheduled to take place. As a result of these events, thirteen prototypes have been developed, with one being fully fielded, one in operational use in the acquisition process, and five being evaluated further by operational forces.

Brough explains the event provides significant outcomes for the warfighter.

“Warfighters get a prototype, they are able to refine requirements, and the acquisition process is accelerated by putting solutions in their hands,” says Brough. “But the experience is mutually beneficial to Crane as well. The process helps us develop our workforce, helps us better understand the operational environment, builds their external and internal network, grows Crane’s patent portfolio, and develops the Innovation Ecosystem.”

Brough says it’s important to know what value NAVSEA provides.

“I try to build awareness of the technical expertise that NAVSEA brings to the table. Making sure warfighters get the technology they need to execute their mission and come home safe…that’s what these efforts are all about.”

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s Warfighter.

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FinCEN Announces Penalties for Crypto Trader Accused of Violating AML Rules

… statement on the FinCEN website, the regulatory body said that Powers was operating as a “peer-to-peer exchanger of convertible virtual currency” …

Posted on Apr 20, 2019

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced this week that it has penalized an individual cryptocurrency trader for alleged violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). That trader, California resident Eric Powers, reportedly failed to properly register as a money services business, take the necessary steps needed to comply with the Act’s provisions, or properly report suspicious transactions.

In a statement on the FinCEN website, the regulatory body said that Powers was operating as a “peer-to-peer exchanger of convertible virtual currency” – which, in the agency’s view, made him a ‘money transmitter’ subject to the provisions of the BSA:

As “money transmitters,” peer-to-peer exchangers are required to comply with the BSA obligations that apply to MSBs, including registering with FinCEN; developing, implementing, and maintaining an effective AML program; filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs); and maintaining certain records.

The agency determined that Power advertised his activities, and completed transactions using in-person exchanges, mail transactions, or wire transactions. He reportedly filed no SARs and did at least some of his business on the “Silk Road” darknet. He also apparently conducted some transactions using The Onion Router (TOR), without any know-your-customer precautions.

His more than 200 transactions included transfers involving more than $10,000 in value, an amount that triggers an obligation to file a CTR with regulators. He filed no CTRs throughout the course of his trading activity.

The agency noted that Powers was cooperative and has agreed to pay a $35,000 fine and accept a ban that prevents him from engaging in any type of money services business in the future. While the enforcement action is a first for individual peer-to-peer traders, FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco suggested that regulators have previously issued warnings about this type of activity:

“Obligations under the BSA apply to money transmitters regardless of their size. It should not come as a surprise that we will take enforcement action based on what we have publicly stated since our March 2013 Guidance—that exchangers of convertible virtual currency, such as Mr. Powers, are money transmitters and must register as MSBs.

In fact, there were indications that Mr. Powers specifically was aware of these obligations, but willfully failed to honor them. Such failures put our financial system and national security at risk and jeopardize the safety and well-being of our people, as well as undercut responsible innovation in the financial services space.”

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Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at ‘premature …

… technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill’s newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Jacqueline Thomsen (@jacq_thomsen), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig) and Emily Birnbaum (@birnbaum_e).

SUBPOENA TIME: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerNadler: We will subpoena the entire Mueller report early FridayNadler wants ‘the boss of everybody’ Stephen Miller to testify before CongressGiuliani slams Nadler for ‘diarrhea of the mouth,’ ‘lack of judiciousness’MORE (D-N.Y.) on Friday issued a subpoena to compel the Department of Justice to turn over special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probeMORE‘s full report.

His order comes one day after Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrEx-FBI official: ‘Links and coordination’ with Russia happen everydayDem lawmaker: Mueller report shows ‘substantial body of evidence’ on obstructionNew normal: A president can freely interfere with investigations without going to jailMORE publicly released a redacted version of the Mueller report.

“I have issued a subpoena to the Department of Justice for the full version of the Mueller report and the underlying evidence. The Department is required to comply with that subpoena by May 1,” Nadler said in a statement.

“I am open to working with the Department to reach a reasonable accommodation for access to these materials, however, I cannot accept any proposal which leaves most of Congress in the dark, as they grapple with their duties of legislation, oversight and constitutional accountability,” he added.

Nadler’s deadline is one day before Barr is slated to testify before the Judiciary panel next month.

Read more here.

FIGHTING WORDS: The Justice Department on Friday called House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s (D-N.Y.) decision Friday to issue a subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report “premature and unnecessary.”

Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in an emailed statement that Attorney General William Barr had released Mueller’s report with only “minimal redactions” and already made arrangements for Nadler and other lawmakers to review a less-redacted version of Mueller’s report.

“In light of this, Congressman Nadler’s subpoena is premature and unnecessary,” Kupec said. “The Department will continue to work with Congress to accommodate its legitimate requests consistent with the law and long-recognized executive branch interests.”

Read more here.

EVEN MORE DRAMA: Top congressional Democrats on Friday rejected Attorney General William Barr’s offer to let a select group of lawmakers review redacted sections of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative report.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D’Alesandro PelosiBoth sides were wrong about Mueller report, and none of it will likely matter for 2020Elijah Cummings: ‘I am begging the American people to pay attention to what’s going on’Angus King: ‘Mueller passed the obstruction question to the Congress and Barr intercepted the pass’MORE (D-Calif), Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDem legal analyst says media ‘overplayed’ hand in Mueller coverage Former FBI official praises Barr for ‘professional’ press conferencePelosi: Barr press briefing a ‘staggering partisan effort’MORE (D-N.Y.) and the

top Democrats on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees in both chambers argued in a letter on Friday that Barr’s offer is too rigid. They said the number of lawmakers who can review the redacted text is too small, and they took issue with not being able to see all the information, including grand jury material.

“Unfortunately, your proposed accommodation — which among other things would prohibit discussion of the full report, even with other Committee Members — is not acceptable,” the Democrats wrote in their letter to Barr.

“Given the comprehensive factual findings presented by the Special Counsel’s Report, some of which will only be fully understood with access to the redacted material, we cannot agree to the conditions you are placing on our access to the full report. Nor can we agree to an arrangement that does not include a mechanism for ensuring access to grand jury material,” they added.

Their letter comes after Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd notified House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamJudiciary chairman issues subpoena for full Mueller reportThe Hill’s Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now?Barr to allow some lawmakers to review less-redacted Mueller report as soon as next weekMORE (R-S.C.) on Thursday, following the release of a redacted version of the 448-page report, that Barr has agreed to provide their committees and the Gang of Eight access to details in Mueller’s report that were restricted in the public version.

Barr’s offer would allow the lawmakers to review sensitive information uncovered during Mueller’s 22-month probe, including matters related to national security and details that relate to ongoing criminal investigations.

Read more here.

WHO DOESN’T LOVE A SPIN-OFF:President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald TrumpTrump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking TripoliDem lawmaker: Mueller report shows ‘substantial body of evidence’ on obstructionMORE‘s reelection campaign is running Facebook advertisements based on the newly released Mueller report.

The campaign on Thursday started running posts that included several videos saying special counsel Robert Mueller’s report exonerated Trump and criticizing Democrats’ previous discussions of the report.

“Witch hunt investigation concluded: No collusion. No obstruction. Complete exoneration,” one video said. “Now we fight back! Contribute now.”

“Dems hyped collusion with no evidence,” another video said. “Mueller proves them wrong.”

The video then showed prominent Democrats including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffMueller’s done, and Dems should be too — because Trump is no NixonTrump blames Obama for ‘anything the Russians did’ in 2016 electionMueller report poses new test for DemsMORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellThe Hill’s Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now?Bernie Sanders calls on Congress to investigate after Mueller report release2020 Dems call on Mueller to testify about redacted reportMORE (D-Calif.) talking about collusion with the word “wrong” placed over their faces.

“After more than 2 YEARS, and $25 MILLION taxpayer dollars spent, the Mueller Report proves what I have been saying since Day One: NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION — COMPLETE EXONERATION,” text accompanying the videos said.

Read more here.

OH COME ON: Partial videos taken from the livestream of last month’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, are reportedly still appearing on Facebook more than 30 days after the company said it had taken down the Facebook Live video recorded by the suspect in the deadly attacks.

A Motherboard investigation published Friday found that short clips depicting the murder of multiple civilians still appear on Facebook as well as the company’s Instagram platform, some of which have been flagged for violent content and contain warnings about graphic violence but have otherwise not been restricted or removed.

All of the clips found by Global Intellectual Property Enforcement Center (GIPEC), which reported the videos initially, were on Arabic-language pages discussing the attack, which killed dozens of Muslims worshiping at two mosques in the city.

A Facebook spokeswoman told Motherboard that the videos are against company policy, and one video provided to Facebook by reporters was later removed from the platform.

“The video did violate our policies and has been removed. We designated both shootings as terror attacks, meaning that any praise, support and representation of the events violates our Community Standards and is not permitted on Facebook,” the spokeswoman reportedly said.

Read more here.

SO YOU *WOULD* DOWNLOAD A CAR: Authorities in Chicago announced charges against 21 people after 100 cars were stolen from a car-share service.

Car-sharing company car2go found Wednesday that 100 vehicles, including 50 Mercedes-Benz cars, were missing in Chicago, ABC News reported Friday, citing a statement from the Chicago Police Department. Police said that those behind the heist may have first rented the cars while using car2go’s mobile app.

A city police officer told ABC that all of the cars have been found.

The 21 individuals were charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to vehicles, and one of them was also charged with felony financial identity theft, Chicago Police spokeswoman Sally Bown told the news outlet.

The company tweeted Thursday that it was “actively recovering” its vehicles and working closely with police.

Read more here.

VROOM VROOM: Uber announced Thursday night that its self-driving car unit received a $1 billion investment ahead of the tech giant’s upcoming debut on the stock market.

The ride-sharing company said in a statement that Japanese tech group Softbank’s Vision Fund and car maker Toyota together injected the cash, boosting the value of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group to $7.25 billion.

“This investment and our strong partnership with the Toyota Group are a testament to the incredible work of our ATG team to date, and the exciting future ahead for this important project, alongside great partners. The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.

“Today’s announcement … will help maintain Uber’s position at the forefront of that transformation.”

Read more here.

A LIGHTER CUT: A deep cut.

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

I tweeted like a member of the #Resistance on Mueller report day. (Motherboard)

Netflix is testing a ‘random episode’ feature for TV shows. (The Verge)

Hacker dumps thousands of sensitive Mexican embassy documents online. (TechCrunch)

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Observations From the Enforcement Directors at SEC’s Annual Conference

The Enforcement Division referenced the February 2019 action against Gladius Network LLC for conducting an unregistered initial coin offering.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

OVERVIEW


Enforcement Co-Directors Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin recently addressed notable enforcement decisions, actions and trends affecting public companies and regulated entities.

IN DEPTH


On April 8 and 9, 2019, the US Securities and Exchange Commission held its annual SEC Speaks conference in Washington, DC. Division of Enforcement Co-Directors Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin, and their colleagues outlined notable enforcement decisions, actions and trends. The speakers addressed the recent Lorenzo Supreme Court decision, the Division’s focus on retail investors, the Wells process and cooperation credit.

Lorenzo

The Enforcement Division highlighted the recent Supreme Court decision, Lorenzo v. SEC. In Lorenzo, the Supreme Court held that that the dissemination of false or misleading statements with the intent to defraud can fall within the scope of SEC Rules 10b–5(a) and (c), even if the disseminator cannot be held liable under Rule 10b–5(b). Previously, in Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders, the Court limited fraud liability to individuals or entities with ultimate authority for the statement. In Lorenzo, a director of investment banking at a brokerage firm knowingly sent false statements to prospective investors. The director claimed he could not be held liable because his supervisor directed and controlled the statements. The Court found that, even though the director did not “make” the statement, he nevertheless could be held liable under the other two prongs of Rule 10b-5. Reading Rule 10b-5 broadly, the Court reasoned that an individual who knowingly disseminates a false statement “employ[s]” a “device,” “scheme” or “artifice to defraud” under Subsection (a) and “engage[s] in a[n] act, practice, or course of business” that “operate[s] . . . as a fraud or deceit” under Subsection (c).

The Enforcement Division believes that the decision clarifies the scope of Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and Section 17(a)(1) and (a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933. From the SEC’s perspective, the decision vindicates its view of the separate provisions of Rule 10b-5 as mutually supportive, rather than mutually exclusive.

The Enforcement Division anticipates defense arguments that Lorenzo is limited only to dissemination and attempts to narrow the definition of dissemination. The Enforcement Division cautioned that these arguments would be met with skepticism by the staff.

Takeaway: Expect the Enforcement Division to interpret Lorenzo broadly. In particular, in the eyes of the SEC, the decision expands the liability of individual officers and directors.

Retail Investors

The SEC emphasized its focus on protecting retail investors. As part of this focus, the staff expressed the intent to continue investigating fraud that targets the most vulnerable investors, including senior citizens and members of certain ethnic communities. The staff also continues to address conflicts of interest involving investment advisers, such as conflicts related to undisclosed commissions or expense avoidance practices. The SEC will focus on revenue streams for investment advisers.

Takeaway: Investment advisers should consider conducting an inventory of revenue sources and analyzing each source for potential undisclosed conflicts of interest.

The Wells Process

The Enforcement Division shared what it considers the best and worst practices when making a Wells submission. Among other suggestions, the panel explained that practitioners should (1) prioritize and focus on the most important issues rather than disputing every alleged violation and (2) be realistic about goals of the submission. For example, without conceding the ability to argue more broadly in litigation, defense counsel might challenge an element such as scienter rather than argue that the SEC should not bring charges at all. Expert reports can be helpful during the Wells process, so long as they are of the caliber that would be admissible in court. The staff welcomes white papers and factual presentations because the background information can be useful and advance investigations.

In terms of worst practices, the panel noted that defense counsel should not use a white paper or factual presentation to tout professional background or success as a means to intimidate the SEC; successful presentations focus on how defense counsel will win at trial, rather than saying that defense counsel will win at trial.

Takeaway: Wells submissions should be tailored and address the most vulnerable portions of the staff’s case. Expert reports are welcome when the reports present focused factual analysis and would be admissible in court.

Cooperation Credit

Co-Directors Peikin and Avakian went into significant detail regarding the importance of cooperation. They observed that “high quality” cooperation can advance investigations in a meaningful way and lead to reduced charges and penalties, or can result in the SEC not bringing a case. In raising this topic, Director Avakian identified the four Seaboard factors for cooperation credit: self-policing, self-reporting, cooperation and remediation.

In discussing how to best message to the public the benefits of cooperation, given the lack of uniformity in cooperation credit, the Enforcement Division strives to state in its orders the types of actions that the SEC deems important. The Enforcement Division referenced the February 2019 action against Gladius Network LLC for conducting an unregistered initial coin offering. Ultimately, in what the Division of Enforcement highlighted as a successful invocation of cooperation credit principles, Gladius self-reported and agreed to return funds to investors and to register its tokens as securities. The SEC imposed no penalty for the unregistered coin offering. The order contains language that the Enforcement Division believes provides details regarding when to credit a company with substantial cooperation.

Cooperation can take many forms, but “forthrightness” was emphasized. Examples included steps that meaningfully advance an investigation, such as reformatting search terms or alerting the staff of new custodians for a document review or proactively identifying witnesses. The Division of Enforcement explained that such actions help a party build credibility and obtain cooperation credit. The Division of Enforcement highlighted that developing a good relationship with the staff at the outset of the investigation through proactive and helpful dialogue is critical. A privilege waiver, or waiver of other legal rights, is not necessary to receive cooperation credit, nor are “cooperation points” deducted for not waiving privilege.

Takeaway: The SEC continues to emphasize the benefits of cooperation. Proactive efforts and a positive working relationship are essential to earning credit.

Conclusion

This year’s SEC Speaks provided guidance by the SEC’s leadership and staff regarding its enforcement trends and goals. It remains to be seen how these trends and goals play out in the remaining months of 2019.

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H-1B program receives more than 200K petitions, increase from FY2019

Companies long-reliant on the H-1B program are finding alternatives to continue doing business in the U.S. Indian consulting firm Infosys Limited had …

Dive Brief:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the cap for the FY 2020 H-1B filing period, receiving more than 200,000 petitions, the agency said Friday.

  • On April 5, USCIS announced it filled the regular cap of 65,000 visas. It received enough visa petitions to fill the 20,000 master’s cap on April 10. This was the first year USCIS reversed the order the H-1B lottery was drawn to prioritize those educated in the U.S.

  • Though H-1B visa adjudication has changed, making it more difficult to navigate the system, USCIS had an uptick in petitions for FY 2020, a 6% increase from the 190,000 received last year.

    USCIS

Dive Insight:

Once the cap is filled, petitioners are not guaranteed a visa. As USCIS goes through the applications, many petitioners will likely receive requests for evidence, which have spiked in recent years. In FY18, 38% of processed H-1B petitions had a RFEs, a 77% increase from FY17.

Some H-1B visa holders up for renewals are choosing to leave the program rather than navigate the adjudication process, turning to Canada, which is eager for talent.

Companies long-reliant on the H-1B program are finding alternatives to continue doing business in the U.S. Indian consulting firm Infosys Limited had the third-most of initial and continuing H-1B approvals in FY 2018, with almost 6,000 visa holders, but the company is shifting its reliance on the program.

This is in part because the company has had to. Though Infosys filed fewer petitions in FY 2018, its approval rate has gone down, according to data from USCIS. In FY18, 74% of Infosys visas were approved, including initial applications and continuing approvals.

By comparison, in FY16, 97% of applications were approved and in FY17, 95% were approved.

In 2017, Infosys announced plans to hire 10,000 workers in the U.S. and four technology centers in places like Raleigh, North Carolina and Providence, Rhode Island within 24 months. Since announcing its plans, Infosys has hired more than 7,600 U.S. workers.

Demand for talent is strong and its availability is “constrained across the board,” especially in the U.S. with some changes to regulation, said Salil Parekh, CEO and managing director of Infosys, speaking Friday on the Q4 2019 earnings call, in response to a question on H-1B policy.

“Having said that, we’ve been able to fulfill the demand through fairly aggressive recruitment. We had over 50,000 new hires join us in fiscal 2019,” Parekh said.

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