PBN: Virgin Pulse expanding in R.I., to bring 300 jobs over next five years

PBN: Virgin Pulse expanding in R.I., to bring 300 jobs over next five years

BY PBN Staff

PROVIDENCE – Citing Providence’s “hip vibe” and talent pool, Virgin Pulse, which acquired ShapeUp Inc. earlier this year, plans to expand its Rhode Island presence and create nearly 300 new jobs in the city over the next five years.

David Osborne, president and chief operating officer of Virgin Pulse, said the company considered a Boston office, but selected Providence because of the “access to talent and supportive business climate.”

The company, which provides software and technology solutions that increase employee productivity by improving employee health, well-being and engagement, already employs 65 in Providence.

“Our growth strategy is centered on hiring high-potential, early-in-career talent. With its hip vibe, low cost of living and high density of college students, Providence was a great fit from both a business and cultural perspective,” Osborne said in a statement.

Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced Virgin Pulse’s plan to bring 300 jobs to the state at a press conference Thursday along with Virgin Pulse executives.

“When Virgin Pulse bought ShapeUp, the worst kept secret among business leaders was that they were looking to move north to Boston. Because of the great, talented people who live here and because of the economic tools we’ve created with help from the General Assembly, instead of losing 65 good paying jobs to Boston, we’re going to create nearly 300,” Raimondo said in a statement. “I am thrilled that Dave, Derek and the Virgin Pulse executive team took a fresh look at Rhode Island. I look forward to bringing a box of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to their offices to meet their new employees. We will continue to make the necessary investments in our people so that Rhode Islanders have the skills they need to compete for the jobs Virgin Pulse, GE Digital, CIC, Wexford and others are creating right here in Rhode Island.”

Virgin Pulse will begin hiring nearly 300 additional staff over the next three to six months and is already seeking applications for open positions. It is working with TechHire Rhode Island, a statewide initiative for delivering in-demand tech talent for Rhode Island employers, to fill positions.

“Not only does it make good business sense for us, growing our presence in Providence allows our employees to take advantage of the wide range of healthy lifestyle experiences that the city offers,” Chris Boyce, CEO of Virgin Pulse, said. “As a company that cares about the health and well-being of its employees, it was clear that this walkable city has an active living culture that is well aligned with our corporate mission and values.”

Virgin Pulse has applied for $2.5 million in Qualified Jobs Tax Credits and $3.2 million in Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits. The Qualified Tax Credit would not take effect until the jobs are created and those hired are paying state income tax. The Rebuild Rhode Island Tax Credits would support expanding Virgin Pulse’s current 29,000-square-foot space to a nearly 90,000-square-foot office in downtown Providence. The request for incentives will be discussed at the R.I. Commerce Corp. meeting on Dec. 19.

David Ortiz, a spokesman for Raimondo, said the company has not said where it plans to move in Providence. It currently is in the Jewelry District at 111 Chestnut St.

U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin said this announcement is important because it preserves existing jobs, adds hundreds more and promotes economic development.

“This is a signal to the rest of the country that Rhode Island is making strides to roll out the welcome mat for new and growing businesses,” Langevin said.

Dr. Rajiv Kumar, chief medical officer at Virgin Pulse, said prior to the acquisition by Virgin Pulse, ShapeUp “benefitted immensely from strong partnerships with the Rhode Island state government, local institutions and community leaders.”

“I’m thrilled that Virgin Pulse saw the potential that exists here and decided not only to stay, but to grow our footprint in this supportive and vibrant community,” Kumar said.

A third-party analysis projects that the expansion will generate $10.5 million in additional revenue to the state and nearly $60 million of additional gross domestic product, once Virgin Pulse completes its full hiring.

Virgin Pulse is the latest company that has announced plans to move to Rhode Island. GE Digital, which opened a temporary office on Dorrance Street this year, will move into a new spot at 75 Fountain St. next year.

On Dec. 13, the morning after the I-195 Commission voted on an $18.5 million incentive package, the governor announced that Wexford/CV Properties has secured key tenants – including Cambridge Innovation Center – for its anchor property in the I-195 Innovation and Design District.

MarineLink: First US Offshore Wind Farm Powers Up

Posted by Eric Haun December 15, 2016

Power developer Deepwater Wind said its Block Island Wind Farm has begun delivering electricity into the New England region’s grid, becoming the United States’ first commercially active offshore wind farm.

The energy produced from the Block Island Wind Farm is linked to the New England grid via Block Island and mainland Rhode Island by National Grid (NGG)’s new sea2shore submarine transmission cable system.

The milestone concludes the two-year offshore installation of the wind farm, which Deepwater Wind said was completed on-time and on-budget with the help of more than 300 local workers.

“Our success here is a testament to the hard work of hundreds of local workers who helped build this historic project, and to the Block Islanders and the thousands more around the U.S. who’ve supported us every step of the way of this amazing journey,” said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski.

Technicians from GE Renewable Energy, which supplied the project’s five offshore wind turbines, put the wind farm through its paces during the four-month testing period. The project’s crew transfer vessel, the Rhode Island-built Atlantic Pioneer, transported technicians to the wind farm around the clock.

“Rhode Island is proud to be home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm – and I’m proud to be the only governor in America who can say we have steel in the water and blades spinning over the ocean,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “As the Ocean State, we’re motivated by our shared belief that we need to produce and consume cleaner, more sustainable energy and leave our kids a healthier planet – but also by this tremendous economic opportunity. With this project, we’ve put hundreds of our local workers to work at-sea and at our world-class ports and are growing this innovative industry. I applaud Deepwater Wind for leading the way.”

“It’s official: America’s first offshore wind farm is powering homes and businesses with clean, reliable energy,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This is a historic milestone for reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it’s happening here in the Ocean State. Congratulations to all of the many partners whose years of diligent planning and outreach have put Rhode Island at the forefront of clean energy innovation and positioned our offshore wind industry for growth.”

“The Block Island Wind Farm is a symbol of Rhode Island’s national leadership in one of the most innovative industries in the country,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline. “As a nation, we have an obligation to respond to the threats posed by climate change, and off-shore wind energy promises to help us reduce our carbon pollution and create good-paying, sustainable jobs right here in Rhode Island. The start of commercial operations at the Block Island Wind Farm is an important step that marks the beginning of a new era in America’s green energy industries.”

“Each step of the way, each milestone achieved in the life of the Block Island Wind Farm, has been building to this moment. This is a historic and groundbreaking project for Rhode Island and for our country. I am so proud and excited to see the blades of progress turning and the wind farm in operation,” said U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin.

“We’ve made history here in the Ocean State, but our work is far from over,” Grybowski said. “We’re more confident than ever that this is just the start of a new U.S. renewable energy industry that will put thousands of Americans to work and power communities up and down the East Coast for decades to come.

The Hill: Commerce survey: Cyber researchers fear legal repercussions

By Joe Uchill – 12/15/16 09:10 AM EST

A Department of Commerce survey shows that 60 percent of cybersecurity researchers fear legal repercussions for reporting security vulnerabilities they discover to a product’s manufacturers. 

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunication and Information Administration’s survey came through its role in a multi-stakeholder working group focused on increasing industry adoption of programs to allow researchers to report vulnerabilities — often called coordinated disclosure programs

“The more we can share information, the more prepared we can be in keeping the nation and the economy safe,” said Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.). A member of Langevin’s staff sits on the working group and was involved in creating the survey.

Until this year, copyright law prevented researchers from investigating many products.

A related vendor survey showed that industry split into two tiers on the topic — one that had fully embraced disclosure and another that had not. But despite growing adoption, few vendors expected disclosure programs from their suppliers. Less than a third of vendors expect third-party suppliers to have disclosure policies, and only a quarter worked with their suppliers to remediate vulnerabilities. “It was rewarding to see indications that both sides see the value of coordinated disclosure,” said Jen Ellis, vice president of community and public affairs at the security firm Rapid 7, and the head of the working group.

Ellis highlighted that researchers are largely more interested in helping vendors fix products that are not secure than in remuneration.

Only 15 percent of researchers expected payment for notifying a company of a bug, though 70 percent expected continued communication about patches.

One of the hold-ups in the adoption of coordinated disclosure programs is distrust between vendors and researchers. Notification of a fixable product flaw often comes only during lawsuits or bad press, and firms view researchers looking to help with skepticism.

Many companies do offer rewards — called “bug bounties” — to encourage researchers to investigate their products, however. With 85 percent of survey respondents not expecting compensation, that would cast bug bounties as more of a bonus than a full-time revenue stream for most researchers.

Warwick Beacon: Constituents dish out concerns Langevin lunch

Warwick Beacon: Constituents dish out concerns Langevin lunch

By John Howell
Pizza isn’t on the regular menu at the Greenwood Inn in Warwick. But when pizza is a staple at Congressman Jim Langevin’s luncheons and more than 80 people show up, the chef makes pizza.

A good deal more than pizza was served up Saturday as a steady stream of constituents poured in, hoping to tell Langevin what’s on their minds or to seek his help. Some were still crestfallen over the election results and, as Meg Geoghegan, communications director, said, there’s not much to say.

“We’re not happy about it either,” she said.

But such a fatalistic outlook wasn’t the case when it came to issues raised by Jim and Katie Bonner of Cranston, Roger Morin of Warwick, Marie Hennedy of East Greenwich and Paul Kelley of Warwick.

Langevin went from table to table engaging in one-on-one conversations. Following were staff members who recorded constituent contact information and the particulars of the issue being raised.

The Bonners attended because they were told by the City of Cranston that concerns over the reactivation of a rail spur leading to the former Ciba Geigy plant was a federal issue. The rail line has been inactive for at least 25 years. Neighboring homeowners have improved the area over the years, clearing brush and planting trees and shrubs. Jim Bonner said Safety Kleen, a company that collects and stores used motor oils from service stations, cut down their plantings. Safety Kleen is clearing the tracks so that they can contract with the Providence Worcester Railroad to transport the oil. To date, they’ve used tanker trucks.

Bonner said people are concerned about contaminated soil and safety, and more than 80 people attended a meeting at Park View School last week to discuss the issue. He said the company didn’t have answers. His wife said there have been a high number of cancer deaths in the neighborhood, something she attributes to Ciba Geigy being in the neighborhood years ago. The pharmaceutical company ceased operations in the 1980s.

Langevin’s office didn’t have an immediate answer for the Bonners. Seth Klaiman, the congressman’s district director, said the office would follow up with the City of Cranston and examine what jurisdiction the federal government has in the matter.

Langevin’s office will also follow up with Roger Morin, who said the Veterans Administration denied payment for medication his doctor prescribed to fight multi-myeloma, a cancer that Morin believes resulted from his exposure to Agent Orange. Morin is a veteran Air Force pilot who served in Vietnam. His exposure to Agent Orange happened stateside, he said.

While Morin’s doctor prescribed the generic drug, Celecoxib, he said the VA refused to cover its cost because it is “too expensive.” He said he is living off ibuprofen and it is “tearing up my liver.”

“It’s outrageous to say it’s too expensive,” he said.

A veteran submariner, Paul Kelley came to lunch to impress upon Langevin how important Electric Boat operations are to the state.

“If we lose Electric Boat, we have lost the only lead yard for the construction of submarines,” he said. “No one knows how to build subs like we do.”

Marie Hennedy, who led the West Bay League of Women Voters for years, attended to urge Langevin to do whatever he could to address the problem of homelessness.

Justin Oakley attended in hopes that the congressman, who he pointed out understands the issue better than most because of his disability, would help spread the word that home aids, such as grab bars and chair lifts, can prevent falls and other accidents that end up costing Medicare thousands of dollars. He advocates that such aids should qualify for Medicare funding and speculates it could save millions in medical payments while improving the quality of life for seniors.

“A $150 grab bar can save a fall and a $35,000 hip replacement,” he said.

Bernard Rimmerman of East Greenwich was there to tell Langevin he believes House Representatives should be limited to three terms or six years.

“I feel there should be some new thinking,” he said.

Katie Albert, who fields constituent calls in Langevin’s office, was one of the staff keeping tabs on the issues raised. She said that soon after the election the office received a flurry of calls over President-elect Trump’s selection of Steve Bannon as executive chairman of management and strategy. Since then, the political calls have simmered down.

Informed that the Greenwood Inn doesn’t usually have pizza on the menu, Albert thought she better sample it. She gave it a thumbs up. However, by the time Langevin reached the last of the tables, the pizza was gone. His staff ordered him a BLT to go.

RIFuture: RI delegation is concerned about Rex Tillerson

RIFuture: RI delegation is concerned about Rex Tillerson

By Bob Plain on December 13, 2016

It’s fair to say Rhode Island’s congressional delegation is concerned with President-elect Donald Trump tapping ExxonMobile chexecutive Rex Tillerson to serve as secretary of state.

Senator Jack Reed said he has “serious concerns.” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said he has “deep concerns.” Congressman Langevin said he has “significant concerns” and Congressman David Cicilline said, “The American people have a right to be deeply concerned.”

The four Democrats’ concern stems from either Tillerson’s ties to Russia and/or his ties to corporate America. Trump announced this morning he will put Tillerson up for nomination. Because Tillerson has ties to Russia and the CIA suspects Russia meddled with the election in an effort to benefit Trump, Tillerson could face a difficult Senate confirmation process.

Below are the full statements from each member of the delegation.

Senator Jack Reed:

“I have serious concerns about Mr. Tillerson’s nomination, and it serves as a reminder of the need to quickly and thoroughly investigate Russia’s campaign to subvert our election and our country’s interests.

“Our nation’s top diplomat should be someone who stands up for America’s best interests, but Mr. Tillerson’s profession has been putting Exxon Mobil’s bottom line above all else. He even opposed U.S. sanctions against Russia after the country’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 because his multinational oil company stood to lose Russian contracts.

“It is troubling that the President-elect continues to fill his cabinet with people who will blur the lines between corporate interests and America’s national interests, and put profits ahead of people.

“Mr. Tillerson deserves a fair confirmation process and I am sure he’ll face some tough questions from both Democrats and Republicans. I look forward to learning more about his views, background, and plans to prevent his personal conflicts of interest from interfering with his role as Secretary of State.”

Congressman David Cicilline:

“Once again, Donald Trump is revealing that his campaign for the presidency was nothing more than a long con of the American people. Rather than ‘draining the swamp,’ he is stocking his Cabinet with the same Wall Street billionaires and wealthy special interests he condemned over the last two years.”

“What’s worse is that, just days after it was revealed that Russian intelligence operatives are apparently still in possession of stolen Republican campaign emails, President-elect Trump has selected a Secretary of State with deep ties to Vladimir Putin’s regime and zero foreign policy experience.”

“Rex Tillerson advanced Exxon business interests in Russia, he opposed President Obama’s sanctions after Russia invaded Crimea, and Putin personally awarded him one of Russia’s highest honors for foreigners – the Order of Friendship.

“We are in uncharted waters. The American people have a right to be deeply concerned about potential Russian influence over the decision-making of the incoming administration.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:

“Donald Trump pledged to ‘drain the swamp’ of corporate insiders in Washington to ensure that our government serves the American people, not massive corporations like ExxonMobil. That’s why it’s disturbing to see operatives of the Koch brothers, Exxon, and other special interests fill the ranks of the transition team, and the biggest swamp alligators floated as nominees to run federal agencies. I also have deep concerns about this nominee’s ties with Russia at a time when our allies in Europe depend upon international economic sanctions to deter Russia’s further violations of international law.”

Congressman Jim Langevin:

“Another day, another alarming Cabinet pick from President-elect Trump. I have significant concerns about the selection of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Not only does he lack any policy or diplomacy experience, but he has extensive business interests in Russia and a friendly relationship with Putin, having been awarded an Order of Friendship in 2013. At the same time we are discussing Russian interference in our electoral process – interference in our very democracy – Mr. Trump puts forth a candidate with documented ties to Moscow. It is a disconcerting choice, to be sure, and I hope that my colleagues in the Senate fully explore his background and his vision for our nation’s foreign policy.”

PROJO: Reed, Langevin: CIA assessment points to need for cyber-scrutiny

PROJO: Reed, Langevin: CIA assessment points to need for cyber-scrutiny

By Jennifer Bogdan

U.S. Rep James Langevin on Saturday said he was “deeply disturbed” by the CIA’s assessment that Russia intervened in the election to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

The CIA’s assessment, in part, relied on information that people with connections to the Russian government provided WikiLeaks with hacked emails. Langevin, D-R.I., is a longtime proponent of increased cybersecurity.
“It is imperative that our intelligence agencies continue to conduct a thorough review of Russian information-warfare activity to confirm the extent of the operation and the motives of those involved,” Langevin said.

“This incident continues to underscore the immediate need to improve our nation’s cybersecurity as it represents a new front in nation-state conflicts.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the committee will conduct an inquiry next year into Russia’s cyberthreats that could help shed light on Russia’s suspected interference in the election.
Reed, D-R.I., said he hopes the results of any review by the committee could be made public “without jeopardizing intelligence sources or methods.”

Last month, Reed was one of seven U.S. senators on the committee who sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to declassify and release more information about Russia’s involvement in the election.

“We shouldn’t allow any attack on our democratic system to go unchecked,” Reed said.

Warwick Beacon: RI to receive $6M for early education

Warwick Beacon: RI to receive $6M for early education


U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, announced Wednesday that Rhode Island preschool programs will receive $6,043,131 from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services through the Preschool Development Grant Program. Rhode Island is one of 18 states awarded funds to expand access to preschool for children from low- to moderate-income families.  

In a press release the state Congressional delegation lauded the grant.

“Early childhood education programs benefit families, communities, and our economy.  We want every child to have a chance to start off strong and achieve their full potential.  I am proud to have helped deliver these funds.  Because we stood firm and staved off the elimination of funding for the Preschool Development Grant, more kids are going to get an opportunity to learn,” said Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who helped successfully provide $250 million to continue support for Preschool Development Grants in the fiscal year 2017 Appropriations bill.

“Every mom and dad wants their kid to have the chance to do well in school right from the start,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  “These federal resources will help open the doors of quality early education centers to more of Rhode Island’s littlest learners.”

“Early education is the foundation upon which student success is built, especially for low-income and at-risk children,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “By increasing access to preschool and other early learning opportunities, that foundation is strengthened for hundreds more young people, giving them the skills, confidence, and support they need to perform in kindergarten and throughout their educational experience.”

“This funding is great news for Rhode Island’s families. Ensuring high-quality early education is one of the most effective ways we can help Rhode Island children do better in school,” said Congressman David Cicilline, who advocated for this funding. “All of Rhode Island’s children deserve access to preschool educations that set them up to succeed in school and compete for the high-paying jobs of the 21st Century. This report clearly demonstrates that our state is meeting its goals for improving access in high-needs communities, and this funding will help us continue to close the achievement gap and ensure all our children have the opportunities they deserve to build necessary skills and thrive academically.”

Over the past three years, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have invested $750 million nationwide to expand access to early education in 230 high-need communities. Rhode Island is one of six states that met or substantially exceeded enrollment targets. Between the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years, the state increased the number of classrooms served from 17 to 33, representing 594 students.

Dredging News Online US: CRMC celebrates Ninigret Pond salt marsh restoration project

Environmental Issues // December 6, 2016
The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) recently celebrated the impending start of work on the Ninigret Pond Salt Marsh Restoration and Enhancement project in Charlestown with project partners and town officials at a ceremony at the breachway.

“We’re all in this together, and thank goodness, because this is critical. We know that the sea levels are rising, all across the world, but in Rhode Island, it has a huge impact on us,” said Senator Jack Reed, (D-RI). “It has an impact on our way of life, our economy, on maintaining our homes. We have to take positive action, and this is positive action.”

Reed was chair of the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies at the time the funding was awarded for the project, and was instrumental in securing the funds for Rhode Island.

Starting the first week of December, crews will be dredging within the Charlestown Breachway, and will then reuse that material on the adjacent Ninigret salt marsh to increase its elevation to make it more resilient to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise. The goals of the project are to preserve the functions of the existing salt marsh making it more resilient to future sea level rise, to slow the entry of sediment into the pond and to improve navigation by creating a deeper breachway channel.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI), said the project was a great one, bringing together many state and local partners, as well as non-governmental agencies to protect one of the state’s many beautiful natural resources.

“What a gem we live in – look at this,” he said, gesturing to the marsh behind him. “But it’s also got a little hint of a warning in it. What we’re seeing now is sea level rise accelerating…and now the pace of sea level rise has gone ahead of the ability of our marshes to keep up naturally, so now we have to do it ourselves. And it’s great work, but we should take away from this a warning that the basic operating systems of our environment are starting to go haywire, and we have a short window of opportunity to try to resolve that.”

The CRMC has contracted with JF Brennan Company Inc., an environmental services and marine construction firm that specializes in waterway remediation and habitat restoration to dredge two sedimentation basins within the breachway channel.

Most of the material that is dredged will be discharged from pipes onto the marsh to the west of the channel. The discharged material will then be spread and graded to elevations that are appropriate for salt marsh plants. Some of the material dredged from the basins will be discharged along the shore, in the intertidal area to the east of the breachway. This will help to re-nourish the beach along the shoreline.

Congressman James Langevin lauded his fellow legislators for their continued steadfast work in Washington, as well as the CRMC and project partners for their hard work on the project. “This really is an excellent example of what a successful partnership is, when the federal, state and local governments work to preserve our natural resources,” he said. “You are having an impact for generations to come. I know that we cannot fight Mother Nature, but hopefully we can work with her to mitigate the effects of sea level rise and super storms. We can’t let up on the effort, and we’ll have to get smarter and more resilient.”

“Sea levels in Rhode Island have been rising at an increasing rate, particularly over the last 30 years. Observations in many of Rhode Island’s salt marshes – including the marshes in Ninigret Pond – confirm what our models are telling us: that salt marshes are beginning to drown in place, converting to mud flats or open water.

“Salt marshes perform many important functions, including acting as a natural buffer to storms and providing protection for communities along our shorelines. Within the Charlestown breachway in Ninigret Pond, sand has been accumulating as it is swept in by shoreline currents. As it enters the pond it covers eelgrass beds—an important habitat—and makes navigation difficult for the many boaters who enjoy the pond.”

“We know that in Rhode Island, our marshes are under considerable stress from accelerated sea level rise, so the goal is to enhance the marsh and improve its resilience to sea level rise,” said Caitlin Chaffee, CRMC coastal policy analyst. “We hope this project will serve as a win, win, win – one, to restore the important ecological habitats we have here. The second win is protecting our coastal communities – by restoring these habitats, we can really improve the resilience of this coastal barrier system, thereby protecting our coastal communities. The third win is the other community benefits this project represents – the dredging will improve navigation for people who recreate on the pond…and those [sedimentation] basins will trap sediment that would otherwise smother those eelgrass beds.”

The JF Brennan crew is currently mobilizing the dredges, barge, and other equipment near the RIDEM state boat ramp and campground to the east of the breachway. Boat ramp access will be temporarily blocked while a crane is used to move equipment into the channel. Visitors should use caution and heed signage to avoid the active construction areas and equipment. Dredging was scheduled to begin on 5 December. Once equipment is deployed, access to the boat ramp will remain open. Boaters should use caution when navigating the breachway channel while the dredging machinery is in operation.

Dredging will occur six days a week, 24 hours per day until the project is complete. Dredging is anticipated to be completed by the end of January. Work on the salt marsh will begin shortly after dredging begins, and will continue through January. The salt marsh work will be done using a lightweight, amphibious excavator, and is anticipated to be completed no later than mid-April. Planting of the marsh will occur in the mid to late spring. Ecological monitoring of the site is ongoing and will continue after the project is completed.

Immediately after the dredged material is spread and graded, the marsh will look much like a mud flat—a bare area of exposed sediment. Over time, salt marsh grasses will begin to recolonize the covered areas.

Save The Bay will be working with CRMC to plant a portion of the restored area to ‘jump start’ the natural recolonization process. Many of the plants to be planted will come from seeds collected here in Rhode Island with the help of the New England Wildflower Society. Over the next few years, it is anticipated that healthy salt marsh grasses will again cover the restored marsh. The breachway channel will be deepened significantly to create basins where sediment can accumulate over time.

Warwick Beacon: Langevin, Ratcliffe cybersecurity legislation passes House

Warwick Beacon: Langevin, Ratcliffe cybersecurity legislation passes House

Posted Tuesday, December 6, 2016 12:52 pm
Legislation introduced by Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) has passed the U.S. House to strengthen collaborative cybersecurity research and development efforts between the United States and Israel. The two bills were introduced in July, after the lawmakers returned from a congressional delegation trip to Israel that focused on key cybersecurity issues facing both countries.

The United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2016 (H.R. 5843) and the United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act of 2016 (H.R. 5877) both passed unanimously out of the House and now await action in the Senate.

“My trip to Israel with Congressman Ratcliffe was an illuminating experience and reinforced my belief that our countries have much to learn from one another when it comes to cybersecurity,” said Langevin, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus.

“This belief has only been reinforced in the intervening months as we saw cyber-attacks that targeted the very foundation of our nation, our electoral system. Nations share many cybersecurity problems with the private sector, but they do have distinct national security challenges in cyberspace that they must address. Our legislation will further strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship and drive innovative, collaborative thinking about homeland security priorities. I am so pleased that my colleagues in the House recognize that cybersecurity is the security challenge of our time, and I urge the Senate to act without delay.”

The United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act will create a cybersecurity grant program for joint research and development ventures between Israeli and American entities. The Secretary of Homeland Security will determine research requirements with help from an advisory board made up of members from successful U.S.-Israeli partnerships, such as the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation and the United States-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation.

The United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act expands a successful binational research and development program at the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency to include cybersecurity technologies. This collaboration between DHS and the Israeli Ministry of Public Security helps new products through the “valley of death” between basic and early-phase applied research and successful commercialization, and will help both countries develop solutions to the unique security problems found in the cyber domain.

PROJO: R.I. defense industry a big winner in spending bill

The $619-billion National Defense Authorization Act, approved by the U.S. House and expected to pass in the Senate this week, contains funds for submarine construction and a new National Guard headquarters in East Greenwich.

By Katherine Gregg
Journal Political Writer

PROVIDENCE – With $5 billion included for the construction of two Virginia-class attack submarines, another $1.9 billion for ballistic-missile submarines and $20 million for construction of a new National Guard headquarters in East Greenwich, the Rhode Island defense industry stands to benefit big-time from a spending bill headed for final votes in Washington, D.C., this week.

The $619-billion National Defense Authorization Act was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday by a vote of 375 to 34. It will be taken up by the full U.S. Senate this week and is expected to pass with bipartisan support.
On the national level, the 2017 defense-spending bill “supports ongoing operations overseas and gives troops a 2.1-percent pay raise, the biggest increase since 2010,” according to an aide to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who, as the top Democrat (or “ranking member”) of the Senate Armed Services Committee, helped write and negotiate the package.

It also earmarks millions for two submarine programs at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyards in North Kingstown and in Groton, Connecticut.

In a telephone interview on Saturday about the stakes, Reed said: “It is important for Rhode Island in multiple ways.

“First, it fully funds the two-ship-a-year construction of the Virginia-class submarine, which is literally thousands of jobs at Quonset Point and at Groton…. Second, it continues to fund the development of the next ballistic submarine, the Ohio class replacement, which also is on track to bring thousands of additional jobs to Quonset Point.”

Attack submarines are designed to hunt and sink surface ships and other submarines, as well as carry out surveillance and special-operations missions. Ballistic-missile submarines are designed to hide deep in the sea, each with more than a dozen nuclear missiles to deter a nuclear strike by enemies who wouldn’t be able to prevent a devastating counterstrike from the submarines.

“These two programs alone are absolutely critical … to national security and jobs in Rhode Island,” Reed said.

“We also have increased the authorization for applied research at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center down in Newport,” he said. “We want to maintain our technological advantage on any adversary, particularly under these new domains, like cyber and under-sea … There’s a lot of emphasis on remote or autonomous vehicles, and that research can be done now with more resources.”
Added U.S. Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I., after the bill cleared the House: “If there is one issue on which bipartisanship prevails, it is national security, and I am proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to support our military, care for our veterans, invest in innovation and protect American interests at home and abroad.”

Earlier Saturday, Reed joined Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and others, in Groton for the christening of the new PCU Colorado Virginia-class submarine, the fifth and newest addition to the Block III Virginia-class submarines. The construction, which began in March 2012, was completed by General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries-Newport News Shipbuilding.

Reed’s office provide this breakdown of some of the direct impacts on Rhode Island’s defense industry, which, according to the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance (SENEDIA), employs about 33,000 Rhode Islanders:

R.I. construction

$20 million for the construction of a new headquarters facility for the Rhode Island Army and Air National Guard in East Greenwich.

The $20 million would cover two-thirds of the cost of the state-federal construction project, which will build the new 80,000-square-foot Readiness Center to support training, administrative and logistical requirements for the Rhode Island Army and Air National Guard. According to Gov. Gina Raimondo’s budget, a construction contract should be awarded in January.

The stated reason for the project: the current Command Readiness Center lacks adequate administrative space, classrooms, locked storage space, and an assembly hall for unit formations – all of which hinder the Command’s ability to meet readiness, retention and training objectives.
Shipbuilding and naval innovation

$5 billion for the Virginia-class submarine program, including an additional $85 million above the president’s budget request in advance procurement. The bill supports the 10-boat, multi-year contract that the Navy and Electric Boat signed in April 2014.

$1.9 billion to fully support the Ohio-class replacement program.

$271.7 million for the DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer program. The ships are built in Maine, but a lot of the “smart technology” that goes into them is worked on in Rhode Island.

$126.3 million to accelerate undersea warfare applied research.

$10 million for the procurement of additional sensor systems that detect stealth submarines, a priority for the Navy.