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By Debbie Gregory.

Retired U.S. Navy captain David Haas is the latest former or current Navy official to be caught up in the “Fat Leonard” scandal, a corruption scandal and ongoing investigation within the United States Navy involving ship support contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia, run by Leonard Glenn Francis.

Francis, known as “Fat Leonard” due to his six foot three inch, 350 pound frame, has admitted to bribing Navy officials with more than $500,000 in cash, prostitutes and more.  He used bribery to get classified information that helped his Singapore-based company retain lucrative contracts to resupply Navy vessels in the Pacific. Francis confessed to swindling the Navy out of $35 million and bribing scores of officers.

Haas has been indicted on federal charges of receiving at least $145,000 in bribes to steer ships to ports controlled by Francis’ company and otherwise advance Francis’ interests

Also charged this month were Master Chief Petty Officer Ricarte Icmat David  and Chief Petty Officer Brooks Alonzo Parks, both retired. David is awaiting possible extradition from the Philippines and Parks is awaiting possible extradition from Italy.

Haas is currently a Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinating officer in Hawaii, but FEMA representatives have declined to make any comment.

Dozens of former Navy officers and others have been charged in the scandal that the Justice Department called a betrayal of “epic proportions.”

So far, 32 defendants have been charged and 20 have pleaded guilty in the U.S. Navy bribery and fraud scandal.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark W. Pletcher and Patrick Hovakimian of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.

In February 2018, through Admiral Bill Moran, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, the Navy announced the implementation of increased oversight and other measures and policies to deter a repeat of  widespread corruption such as in the Fat Leonard case.

By Debbie Gregory.

Military spouse Toni Stinson was just 17  years old when she met her future husband Ben, and the couple would go on to raise three children, all in military service.

Toni has been very active in the military community over the course of her husband’s career, raising more than $140K for military dependent scholarships and grants, as well as starting two Our Community Salutes ceremonies, which honor high school seniors entering the military, now in their 7th and 5th years in Virginia and Michigan, respectively.

Toni been selected as one of 10 finalists to win a $40K event planning franchise from Event Prep, a full-service event planning and management company that was started by two Army veterans. Having a portable career is paramount to a military spouse’s vocational success due to the number of moves they make.

This incredible opportunity will be given to the top five vote recipients.  But your vote can vastly expand the number of military spouses that will be helped, as Toni plans to assemble a team of military spouses in her franchise, should she be one of the recipients.

While we know that all of the finalists are deserving of the franchise opportunity, we know that Toni’s goal will serve many military spouses. So we hope you will join us and cast your vote at eventprepfranchise.com/contestants/toni-stinson/.

There is one vote allowed per IP address, and voting ends September 14, 2018.

Securing Your Data

By Debbie Gregory.

When it comes to security breaches and hacks, it’s not just the Fortune 500 companies that are targeted.

In fact, smaller companies have become more attractive to hackers because they tend to have weaker online security. They’re also doing more business than ever online via cloud services that don’t use strong encryption technology. To a hacker, that translates into reams of sensitive data behind a door with an easy lock to pick.

Some of the most sinister hacking outfits operating today are “state-sponsored” groups supported, or at least loosely supervised, by governments. That includes the Russians who allegedly hacked into the Democratic National Committee and the North Korean team credited with unleashing the “WannaCry” malware as a moneymaking scheme.

Here are some tips to help you keep your information safe:

Put in place the best tech barriers you can afford, including cloud-based security apps, cybersecurity software and anti-virus software. Make sure that you keep these barriers up-to-date

Patch your biggest vulnerability: you and your people. Hold a training on “how to open email”. Sounds basic, perhaps, but the vast majority of attacks make their way into the office by someone opening an email. The virus reaches out to the network, the servers, and other computers and infects everyone it touches. Teach employees to devise smarter passwords, possibly using a password generator. Additionally, they should know how to think critically about their online actions.

Consider a secured, private network or server. Controlling your own server and private network ensures who can access it and decreases the chances of outside interference.

Put your security measures to the test. Consider bringing in an ethical hackers or cybersecurity expert to find any issues with your security. Run daily virus and malware scans on your work machines.

Don’t ever assume hacking won’t happen to you and your company. Complacency is the easiest way to become vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

By Debbie Gregory.

In a bid to expand Boeing’s satellite and space portfolio, talent and capabilities, the company announced it plans to acquire military contractor Millennium Space Systems. Both companies are based in El Segundo, California.

Boeing is already well known for its work in assembling school bus-sized satellites. Once the deal closes, Millennium Space Systems will report to the general manager of Boeing’s Phantom Works research division.

The privately-owned company, whose main customer is the U.S. Air Force, develops and manufactures military satellites with expertise in complex systems engineering.

One of Millennium Space Systems’ satellites developed for the Air Force is expected to launch next year. It will host an experimental missile-warning sensor as part of a larger Air Force effort to develop next-generation overhead persistent infrared technologies.

“I am proud of the talented and dedicated team we’ve built at Millennium Space Systems over the past 17 years,” said Stan Dubyn, CEO of Millennium Space Systems. “By combining our tools, talent, technologies and culture, we’ll be able to do even more incredible things as part of Boeing.”

Millennium Space Systems was founded in 2001 and has approximately 260 employees. It has developed satellites ranging from 50 kg to more than 6,000 kg.

Small satellites, which are cheaper to make and launch, are increasingly being used for commercial purposes, such as capturing Earth imagery and providing broadband internet.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a challenge that would reward commercial companies that can launch smaller rockets, at a moment’s notice, that give tiny satellites a dedicated ride to space.

Once finalized, Millennium Space Systems will become a Boeing subsidiary, operating under its current business model and reporting to Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Phantom Works.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of third quarter 2018.

An online services company that connects businesses with local professionals surveyed 7,500 small business owners nationwide to determine where the best places to start, operate and grow a business for entrepreneurs are. The survey included all industries from A to Z. Ninety four percent of these small businesses had five employees or less.

The business owners’ major priorities to focus on in determining the best places for their businesses included:

•Greater support and focus on small business over large corporations. It is small businesses that are the engine that drive the nation’s economy. Seventy percent of small business entrepreneurs feel that local governments are more interested in attracting and supporting new, large corporations than making the support of small businesses a priority.
•Access to affordable healthcare. This is a policy issue that impacts their ability to be viable and stay in business.
•Rising housing and transportation costs. These costs make it more difficult than ever for small businesses to work where they live and travel to customers. This will impact training for new technologies.

In the survey, participants addressed eight key factors, including the level of support of local governments provide small businesses and the difficulties in beginning a new business for entrepreneurs in various locations. All fifty states were given a grade from A+ to a failing F.

The five states that scored an A+ were:

• South Dakota
• Tennessee
• Alaska
• Michigan
• Utah

California, which is the home of more Veteran Small Businesses than any other state earned a “D” rating, along with Wyoming, Kentucky and New Mexico. The only two states that failed and earned an “F” were Hawaii and Illinois.

Below are some of the ratings from this survey of 7,500 small business entrepreneurs:

State Rating:
South Dakota: A+
Tennessee: A+
Alaska: A+
Michigan: A+
Utah: A+
Georgia: A
Texas: A
South Carolina: A
North Dakota: A-
Maine: A-
Arizona: A-
Alabama: A-
North Carolina: A-
Minnesota: A-
Massachusetts: A-
Arkansas: A-
Idaho: A-
Montana: A-
Indiana: A-
Maryland: B+
Nebraska: B+
Ohio: B
New Hampshire: B
Mississippi: B
Virginia: B
Louisiana: B
Delaware: B-
Iowa: C+
Florida: C+
Colorado: C+
Washington: C+
Kansas: C
Oklahoma: C
Oregon: C
Wisconsin: C
Pennsylvania: C
Nevada: C
Connecticut: C-
Vermont: C-
Missouri: C-
West Virginia: C-
New York: D+
New Jersey: D+
California: D
Wyoming: D
Kentucky: D
New Mexico: D
Rhode Island: D
Hawaii: F
Illinois: F

The Cities that received an A ranking include the following:
Fort Worth, Texas: A+
San Antonio, Texas: A+
Columbus, Ohio: A+
Colorado Springs, Colorado: A+
Jacksonville, Florida: A+
Nashville, Tennessee: A+
Charleston, South Carolina: A
Manchester, New Hampshire: A
Raleigh, North Carolina: A
Charlotte, North Carolina: A-
Salt Lake City, Utah: A-
Minneapolis, Minnesota: A-
Boston, Massachusetts: A-
Atlanta, Georgia: A-
New Orleans, Louisiana: A-

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