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Senate NDAA bill erases acquisition undersecretary
by Geoff Ziezulewicz
Washington (UPI) May 13, 2016

US Navy officer to stand trial on espionage charges
Washington (AFP) May 13, 2016 - A US Navy officer will stand trial on espionage charges for allegedly handing military secrets to Taiwan and China, an official said Friday.

Prosecutors say Lieutenant Commander Edward Lin committed a string of offenses including espionage, mishandling classified information and failing to follow lawful orders. He was also accused of adultery and using a prostitute.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Tim Hawkins told AFP the commanding admiral in the case, Philip Davidson, this week ordered Lin to stand trial at a court-martial.

Lin must answer to all the original charges -- except the adultery and prostitution allegations.

The charges of "prostitution and adultery were dismissed without prejudice, meaning further punitive or administrative action may be taken," Hawkins said.

According to his charge sheets, Lin communicated "secret information relating to the national defense to representatives of a foreign government."

Officials have said he gave secrets to China and Taiwan, and potentially other countries.

Lin's defense lawyer Larry Youngner has said his client was entrapped in a "nefarious scheme" by government officials. Youngner did not immediately return a call Friday.

Prior to his arrest, Lin, 39, was assigned to a special squadron based out of a Marine Corps air base in Hawaii that flew special intelligence-gathering planes.

Lin will be arraigned Tuesday at a naval station in Norfolk, Virginia.

The Senate Armed Services Committee's proposed Fiscal 2017 defense bill would eliminate the Pentagon's undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, divvying up that office's responsibilities in the name of greater efficiency.

The bill proposes $602 billion in funding for the Defense Department and the Department of Energy's national security programs, according to Thursday's National Defense Authorization Act announcement.

The bill would erase the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics position and divide its duties among a new research and engineering office, as well as a management and support undersecretary office, the release states.

"Whereas all acquisition oversight and execution for everything that the Department of Defense buys is centralized in one office, the NDAA seeks to divide that into two parts," the release states. "The new (research and engineering undersecretary office) would be a staff office focused on innovation, oversight, and policy for the development of national security technology and systems," according to the release. "The revised Undersecretary for Management and Support would be a line office focused on running defense agencies that perform critical business operations."

The proposed legislation seeks to continue "comprehensive reform" of the acquisition system in a way that drives innovation and ensures accountability, according to the release.

As the Pentagon faces a variety of threats around the world, the five undersecretary array continues to reflect a Cold War-era mindset, the committee states.

"DOD has struggled to innovate and tap into the technological advancements that are increasingly being driven not by large defense contractors, but by commercial technology firms that generally choose not to do business with the DOD (and have largely been deterred from doing so) due to the complex, costly, and unique demands of the defense acquisition system," according to the committee announcement.

The NDAA contains provisions designed to drive acquisition innovation and cease the decline of the American military's technological advantage, the committee states.

"The provisions seek to improve acquisition outcomes by focusing on establishing accountability, accessing new sources of innovation, removing unnecessary processes and requirements and adopting best acquisition practices," the release states.

The bill also seeks to modernize the military health system, said Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

"The NDAA contains the most sweeping reforms of the organization of the Department of Defense in a generation," McCain said.

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