Adam Reiser: Trump administration struggles to enforce ‘Buy American’ EO 13788

Nearly eight months after President Donald J. Trump signed his executive order “Buy American and Hire American,” an expert on certifying whether goods are made in the United States shared with Big League Politics the challenges in certification and enforcing Trump’s intentions.

 

 

 

Adam Reiser, the CEO and founder of Certified, Inc., told Big League Politics he is seeing no action in the executive branch to move the president’s executive order forward.

A source familiar with how the White House drafted the executive order told Big League Politics: “There are zero teeth in it, you know? Let’s of fanfare, lots of publicity, back-slapping and hand-shaking with Trump–and now, it is getting resisted, like as if it meant nothing.”

According to the president’s directive, all agencies were supposed to have turned into both the Department of Commerce and the Office of Management and Budget how they plan to comply. These plans are to include, searchable databases of certified vendors, storage arrangements for the documents and simplifications of their internal procurement procedures.

Reiser said Trump’s executive order was the president’s attempt to bring federal procurement back in synch with the law.

The Buy American Act of 1933 was signed by President Herbert Hoover the day before he handed over the White House to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Act was championed by Rep. Joseph W. Byrne, (D.-Tenn.), then the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and later Speaker of the House.

Byrne’s idea was that given support by the Hearst newspapers and by Hoover’s Commissioner of Customs Francis F.A. Eble, who would go on to start the Buy American Club.

“The law says that the U.S. government has to show preferential treatment to U.S. manufacturers,” Reiser said. “It is so the government has to buy from its own.”

Reiser said that from the 1970s, the federal government has been providing waivers to the 1933 law. “In the 1980s and 1990s, it has picked up big-time.”

When the president signed Executive Order 13788, the White House was optimistic.

President Donald J. Trump holding his Executive Order 13788 at the April 18, 2017 Kenosha, Wis., signing ceremony. (White House photo)

A senior administration official speaking on background on Easter Monday, the day before the executive order was signed in the headquarters of the tool company Snap-On in Kenosha, Wisconsin, said the executive order would correct the abuse of the Buy American Act waiver process.

“Okay, so the culture immediately changes across the agencies.  We have a lax enforcement, lax monitoring, lax compliance,” the official said. Read more of this post

Buy American Act and Executive Order 13788 plans due today

Buy American Act

Buy American Act

NOVEMBER 15, 2017 Individual agency compliance plans must be submitted to the Director of the Office and Management and Budget (OMB) and Secretary of Commerce due today for the Buy America Act.

April 18, 2017, President Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order #13788 to reduce Federal waiver applications, support the US economy, and hold government agencies responsible for initiatives regarding procuring Made in USA goods. This executive order reinforces the 1933 Buy American Act which was enacted to protect America’s interest by requiring government agencies to prefer Made in USA goods, products, and vendors for government procurements.

Timeline- for Buy America Act

The General Services Administration (GSA), which oversees $66 billion in annual government procurement, will be accountable for securing Made in USA goods and products for their scheduled procurements. Additionally, the GSA will have to provide annual implementation reports to the Secretary of Commerce and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regarding ‘Buy American’ initiatives starting this November of 2017. The Secretary of Commerce must submit these November reports to President Trump annually every January starting in 2019.

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Source Data: http://baac.certified.bz/

World’s Biggest Surveillance Camera Maker Sending Footage to China


Security cameras in front of the giant portrait of former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, Nov. 11, 2012.

Security cameras in front of the giant portrait of former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Nov. 11, 2012.

Imagine a world where almost everyone can be tracked, and everything can be seen by cameras linked directly to the Chinese government.

The rapid growth of a little known Chinese manufacturer of high-powered surveillance technology has some people concerned that it’s no longer a theory.

Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, a company controlled by the Chinese government, is now the world’s largest supplier of video surveillance equipment, with internet-enabled cameras installed in more than 100 countries.

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Made in America? 5 charged with fraud in alleged boot scheme

Made in America? 5 charged with fraud in alleged boot scheme

boot-fraud
September 16, 2016 (Photo Credit: Spc. Stephanie Ramirez/Army)
Executives and employees at Tennessee defense contractor for years assured the U.S. military that the boots they made for troops came from America when in fact they’d been shipped from China, the U.S. government alleges.

Five employees and principals of the former Wellco Enterprises Inc. were indicted this week in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, Tennessee. They appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifton Corker, pleading not guilty.

The defendants: Vincent L. Ferguson, 65, of Knoxville; Matthew L. Ferguson, 40, of Lenoir City; Kerry J. Ferguson, 35, of Houston; Matthew H. Martland, 32, of Knoxville; and Stephanie L. Kaemmerer, 44, of Knoxville.

The five are free on bond pending trial. Counts against them include wire fraud, major fraud against the United States and smuggling goods into the U.S.

The charges allege the defendants conspired from December 2008 to August 2012 in a scheme to sell thousands of bogus boots to the U.S. government for troops. From 2006 through 2012, the Defense Department paid Wellco more than $138 million for military footware, according to the indictment.
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Chinese Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing US Military Aircraft Data

 

Chinese Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing US Military Aircraft Data

In this Sunday, April 17, 2011 file photo, Chinese Air Force crew members inspect a J-20 stealth fighter in Chengdu, in southwest China’s Sichuan province. (Color China Photo via AP, File)

A Chinese man has pleaded guilty in a “years-long” conspiracy to hack into U.S. networks to steal sensitive information, including data on the C-17 cargo plane and fighter jet aircraft, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. Read more of this post

Sneaker makers want Pentagon to buy American

By: Austin Wright – reposted from Politico
September 30, 2013 05:06 AM EDT

110928_pentagon_aerial_ap_605

Domestic shoemakers are going toe to toe with the Pentagon over its footwear policies.

New Balance is leading a charge to force the military to buy U.S.-made running shoes for recruits, meeting with members of Congress and the Obama administration to press its case.

The company sees a $50 million opportunity in a population for which running is mandatory — and a cause that might be difficult for any flag-waving politician to oppose.

The military sees a regulatory headache.

The issue is significant for the Pentagon, which today allows the services to decide for themselves how best to buy running shoes. But a provision making its way through Congress could lead to a militarywide shoe policy — and another example of the transfer of power from the services to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, which has expanded in recent years despite pledges to downsize by leaders past and present.

“We tend to grow by congressional fiat,” said one Pentagon official, requesting not to be identified to offer a candid take.

The standoff with shoemakers is also significant for the Defense Department because of the industry’s aggressive public relations push. Defense officials are accustomed to dealing with often deferential contractors, which depend on the Pentagon for a substantial portion of their sales and rarely disagree with the brass in public.

With New Balance, however, the shoe is on the other foot.

“We have not been quiet about our desire to see the department follow its own rules,” said company spokesman Matt LeBretton, referring to a 1941 statute called the Berry Amendment that requires the Pentagon to buy food, clothing and other items from producers inside the United States.

“Soldiers don’t have a choice for most of the gear that they’re given, so I don’t know why it would be different for athletic footwear,” LeBretton said. “The administration talks a lot about supporting domestic manufacturing — here’s an opportunity to do it.”

Each of the services has a different policy for equipping recruits with running shoes as they enter boot camp. The Army, for example, provides soldiers a one-time cash allowance to buy shoes from military exchanges, which stock a number of brands.

Men are given $75 for shoes and white socks, and women are given $347 for shoes, socks, black dress pumps, stockings, underwear and a black purse. The brass says it’s easier to handle this kind of purchase this way.

“For the Army to maintain those items in inventory, it would have to be quite a large inventory,” said Army spokesman Wayne Hall.

The Air Force, meanwhile, gives recruits $75 to purchase athletic shoes, also at military exchanges, following foot exams to determine the right brand and fit. The service spends about $2.3 million on the program each year, according to Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Laurel Tingley.

Domestic shoemakers — and their allies on Capitol Hill — consider these policies a violation of the Berry Amendment because recruits are allowed to pick brands such as Nike, which produces most of its shoes outside the U.S.

Their message: Follow the lead of the Navy, which provides recruits only one brand option: New Balance.

The company was selected in part because its shoes “are assembled in the U.S.,” said Kristine Sturkie, a spokeswoman for the Navy Exchange Service Command. The service spent about $3 million last fiscal year to equip about 41,490 recruits with New Balance running shoes, she said.

A provision in the House version of this year’s defense authorization bill would force all the services to adopt a policy similar to the Navy’s — requiring military recruits to be equipped with U.S.-made shoes as they enter boot camp. The bill is expected to be taken up by the Senate before the end of the year.

The measure, championed by Democratic Reps. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts and Michael Michaud of Maine, would take effect only once the Pentagon certifies there are two suppliers capable of producing shoes compliant with the requirements of the Berry Amendment.

“Innovative companies, such as New Balance right here in Massachusetts, are able to provide our service members with quality products and keep business here on American soil,” Tsongas said in a statement. “It is time for the Department of Defense to treat athletic footwear like every other uniform item, including boots, and buy them from American manufacturers.”

LeBretton said New Balance doesn’t produce Berry-compliant shoes today; it uses some foreign-made materials. But he said New Balance and at least one other company could produce shoes made from start to finish in the United States — if there was a military-scale demand for them.

“The ‘Field of Dreams’ analogy applies,” he said. “If you build it, they will come.”

And Steve Lamar, executive vice president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said his group has been lobbying hard to get the Tsongas provision included in the final version of this year’s defense authorization bill.

“We’ve been talking to folks in both the House and the Senate to urge them to include this in the final package,” Lamar said. “It’s important, and obviously for the firms involved it’s a huge economic impact.”

To learn more about Made in USA Certification: www.USA-C.com

Made in USA Certified

US Swipes at China for Hacking Allegations

chinese

The U.S. has taken its first real swipe at China following accusations that the Beijing government is behind a widespread and systemic hacking campaign targeting U.S. businesses.

Buried in a spending bill signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday is a provision that effectively bars much of the federal government from buying information technology made by companies linked to the Chinese government.

It’s unclear what impact the legislation will have, or whether it will turn out to be a symbolic gesture. The provision only affects certain non-defense government agency budgets between now and Sept. 30, when the fiscal year ends. It also allows for exceptions if an agency head determines that buying the technology is “in the national interest of the United States.”

Still, the rule could upset U.S. allies whose businesses rely on Chinese manufacturers for parts and pave the way for broader, more permanent changes in how the U.S. government buys technology.

“This is a change of direction,” said Stuart Baker, a former senior official at the Homeland Security Department now with the legal firm Steptoe and Johnson in Washington. “My guess is we’re going to keep going in this direction for a while.”

In March, the U.S. computer security firm Mandiant released details on what it said was an aggressive hacking campaign on American businesses by a Chinese military unit. Since then, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has used high-level meetings with Beijing officials to press the matter. Beijing has denied the allegations.

Congressional leaders have promised to push comprehensive legislation that would make it easier for industry to share threat data with the government. But those efforts have been bogged down amid concerns that too much of U.S. citizens’ private information could end up in the hands of the federal government.

As Congress and privacy advocates debate a way ahead, lawmakers tucked “section 516” into the latest budget resolution, which enables the government to pay for day-to day operations for the rest of the fiscal year. The provision specifically prohibits the Commerce and Justice departments, NASA and the National Science Foundation from buying an information technology system that is “produced, manufactured or assembled” by any entity that is “owned, operated or subsidized” by the People’s Republic of China.

The agencies can only acquire the technology if, in consulting with the FBI, they determine that there is no risk of “cyberespionage or sabotage associated with the acquisition of the system,” according to the legislation.

The move might sound like a no-brainer. If U.S. industry and intelligence officials are right, and China is stealing America’s corporate secrets at a breathtaking pace, why reward Beijing with lucrative U.S. contracts? Furthermore, why install technical equipment that could potentially give China a secret backdoor into federal systems?

But a blanket prohibition on technology made by the Chinese government may be easier said than done. Information systems are often a complicated assembly of parts manufactured by different companies around the globe. And investigating where each part came from, and if that part is made by a company that could have ties to the Chinese government could be difficult.

Depending on how the Obama administration interprets the law, Baker said it could cause problems for the U.S. with the World Trade Organization, whose members include U.S. allies like Germany and Britain that might rely on Chinese technology to build computers or handsets.

But in the end, Baker says it could make the U.S. government safer and wiser.

“We do have to worry about buying equipment from companies that may not have our best interests at heart,” he said.

———

Follow Anne Flaherty on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AnneKFlaherty.

Also Read

 

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/us-swipes-china-hacking-allegations-193407762.html

China in world’s top five arms exporters

By Michael Martina | Reuters

China Arms

(Reuters) – China has become the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, a respected Sweden-based think-tank said on Monday, its highest ranking since the Cold War, with Pakistan the main recipient.

China’s volume of weapons exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent compared with the previous five-year period, with its share of the global arms trade rising from 2 percent to 5 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.

China replaces Britain in the top five arms-dealing countries between 2008 and 2012, a group dominated by the United States and Russia, which accounted for 30 percent and 26 percent of weapons exports, SIPRI said.

“China is establishing itself as a significant arms supplier to a growing number of important recipient states,” Paul Holtom, director of the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, said in a statement.

The shift, outlined in SIPRI’s Trends in International Arms Transfers report, marks China’s first time as a top-five arms exporter since the think-tank’s 1986-1990 data period.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked about the report, said China was a responsible arms exporter which strictly adhered to international law.

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Cyberattacks, N. Korea, jihadist groups top U.S. threats

Cyberattacks

By Chelsea J. Carter, Pam Benson and Mariano Castillo, CNN

Washington (CNN) — Cyberattacks pose more of a threat to the United States than a land-based attack by a terrorist group, while North Korea’s development of a nuclear weapons program poses a “serious threat,” the director of national intelligence told Congress on Tuesday.

The warning by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper came in his annual report to Congress on the threats facing the United States.

“Attacks, which might involve cyber and financial weapons, can be deniable and unattributable,” Clapper said in prepared remarks before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “Destruction can be invisible, latent and progressive.”

The Internet is increasingly being used as a tool both by nations and terror groups to achieve their objectives, according to Clapper’s report.

However, there is only a “remote chance” of a major cyberattack on the United States that would cause widespread disruptions, such as regional power outages, the report says. Most countries or groups don’t have the capacity to pull it off.

While Clapper emphasized possible cyberthreats, committee members raised questions about the potential nuclear dangers posed by North Korea and Iran, the increasing prevalence of al Qaeda in Syria and the effect of cuts to the U.S. budget on intelligence activities.

President Obama cracks whip on cybercrime

‘Belligerent rhetoric’

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Intel’s First Factory Customer Touts Made-in-USA Chips

Wall Street Journal

By Don Clark

A chip company called Achronix on Wednesday is announcing that the first fruits of Intel’s new build-to-order service are emerging from the factory. That’s a milestone for both companies, and a surprising sidelight could play into the story–worries about dependence on non-U.S. manufacturers.

The Silicon Valley startup in 2010 turned to Intel, which opted to break from long-standing practice and use its sophisticated factories and manufacturing processes to serve customers beyond Intel’s own chip-design groups. Achronix became one of two publicly announced users of the new Intel foundry business, as such services are called.

Intel believes it can make smaller and more sophisticated transistors than other foundries. Achronix, which makes a variety of programmable chips that use lots of transistors, says its bet on Intel has paid off as advertised.

The chips, which include models with a whopping six billion transistors, consume half the power of competing chips and cost about half as much, Achronix says. It is shipping sample quantities to customers now and, when extended testing is completed, will be shipping them in volume in the third quarter, says Robert Blake, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

Most foundry factories are in Taiwan or other parts of Asia. Achronix is quick to point out that the entire process of making its chips is handled in the United States.

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