Friday, December 21, 2012

Lt. Gen. Scott Black Joins Leonie Board of Directors

ARLINGTON, Va. — Leonie Industries, a U.S. government services provider specializing in communications and cultural advisory work, today announced that Lt. Gen. Scott Black (U.S. Army, Retired) has joined its Board of Directors.

"Leonie is honored to welcome Gen. Black as a member of its Board of Directors,” said Leonie President Ed Negrelli. “Gen. Black’s distinguished experience in the Army and business community will serve as an invaluable asset to the company and its continued growth moving forward.”

Lt. Gen. Scott Black commented, “I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to join the Leonie Board of Directors.  The Leonie Team has been a key contributor to our Nation’s success in overseas contingency operations, and is poised to continue that success in an evolving market space.  I look forward to working closely with the Directors and Company leadership to ensure that success.”

Lt. Gen. Scott C. Black (U.S. Army, Retired) is currently Chief Executive Officer, MagPly, Inc.  Previously, as Vice President and General Manager with BAE Systems, Inc., he led the company’s global mission solutions business unit. General Black served as the Judge Advocate General of the Army from 2005 to 2009, supervising the worldwide delivery of full-spectrum legal services in support of 1.2 million Soldiers and recruiting, training and leading 10,000 attorneys and paralegals in 650 offices in 19 countries. His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Army Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. He is also entitled to wear the Parachutist Badge, the Ranger Tab and the Army Staff Identification Badge.

General Black is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University; and holds an M.S. from the National Defense University as well as a J.D. from the California Western School of Law in San Diego.

About Leonie Industries

Leonie is a U.S. government services provider specializing in communications, performance analytics, and execution management. We assemble top-notch teams of subject matter experts who help our clients translate strategy into reality, and measure progress along the way. Founded in 2001, Leonie began as a subcontractor to larger companies before growing its business to meet U.S. government demands efficiently and effectively as a prime contractor.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Leonie Supports New “Access to Justice Program” in Iraq

Effective December 9, 2012, Leonie was notified to provide specialized expertise in support of the “Iraq Access to Justice Program.”

The purpose of this multi-faceted, social outreach program is to promote public awareness to enhance the practical knowledge of People With Disabilities in Iraq. The program will raise awareness regarding People With Disabilities, their responsibilities, rights and remedies under lraqi law, and to bring about needed improvements and amendments to the laws supporting people with disabilities inside Iraq.

The program will inform and assist Iraqi citizens with physical and mental disabilities, their families, caregivers, government officials, service providers, and the general public.

Through the creation, development and distribution of broadcast audio and video programs throughout Iraq, citizens will be informed about their legal rights and the formal system of redress.

Leonie is known for providing expertise in communicating with audiences in remote, hard to reach locations in Iraq, the Greater Middle East, and throughout the world. The company also specializes in evaluating and assessing the effectiveness of communications programs, enabling program sponsors to make effective campaign adjustments, applying scarce resources at the right place and at the right time. Expertise where you need it!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Leadership at the African Union

Leonie Industries would like to extend congratulations to Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was recently elected as The African Union Commission’s first ever female chairperson.

The African Union (AU) is an intergovernmental organization with a mission to drive African integration and development; encourage international cooperation; and promote peace, security and human rights across the continent.The administrative branch of the AU is the African Union Commission, which implements AU policies and coordinates the organization's meetings and other activities.

On 15 July at a summit of African leaders in Addis Ababa, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was elected for a four-year term. Having defeated the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon, she is also the first South African to hold the post.

Who is Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma?

She was born on January 27, 1949 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Aside from being an experienced diplomat and politician, Dlamini-Zuma is a medical doctor. She was health minister when Nelson Mandela served as president and Dlamini-Zuma was married to current South African President Jacob Zuma from 1982 to 1998.

Currently the South African Home Affairs Minister, Dlamini-Zuma is a member of the African National Congress Executive Committee and African National Congress Women's League National Executive Committee.

A statement released by the ANC Women's League said they were "beaming with pride" over the election of one of their own and expressed great confidence in her abilities to take the organization and the continent forward.

Dlamini-Zuma is tasked with making an organization that operates with a fairly small budget on issues of huge complexity, scope and importance, more efficient and more effective. The AU has faced criticism in the past for the pace of its decision-making process and the time it takes for action to be taken, such as in Libya last year. Moreover, Dlamini-Zuma has significant challenges to face in many parts of Africa: Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in post-Arab Spring North Africa - to name but a few.

At last week’s summit, the AU approved a budget of $280 million to fund next year’s operations and it is being reported that 96% of this will be financed by the institution's global partners. The US is the majority contributor, dedicating over $100 million towards development programs alone.

The US also supports the African Union through its Unified Combatant Command dedicated to the African continent: U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM). USAFRICOM supports the delivery and sustainment of security cooperation programs and helps African countries with their own capacity building as they work towards long-term stability and security as a the basis for political and economic growth. For example, last month the AU and USAFRICOM participated in the annual ‘Exercise Africa Endeavor’, the continent's largest joint communications exercise focusing on the interoperability of equipment and information-sharing between African states.

Leonie Industries congratulates Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on her prestigious appointment, and wishes her great success with the important tasks that lie ahead.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

7 Principles of Successful Communication Campaigns

Leonie, an international firm that specializes in communicating with local people in diverse and often inaccessible areas around the world through innovative, culturally-attuned global strategic communication solutions, has been able to craft successful client campaigns based on seven principles. The first principle of our communication strategy is the ability to amplify credible voices through customized communication campaigns. We believe in authenticity and integrity. Because of this, you can be assured all of our messages are trustworthy.

The second principle of a successful communication campaign is understanding local cultures and their opinions. Leonie was founded on the belief that all cultures deserve respect. We employ local cultural advisers to study local cultures and ensure our message is being delivered in an effective, respectful way.

The third principle we implement is a wide array of communication products designed to enhance communication effectiveness. In fact, we have designed, developed and distributed over one million multimedia messages internationally.

The fourth critical element of effective communication is having a timely and accurate monitoring capability with an effects assessment process and tool set, such as the "Media Battlespace Awareness" assessment capability that was developed and implemented by Leonie Industries in concert with our customer.

The fifth principle of effective communication involves in-depth research, the foundation of any effective communication campaign. We have experience in conducting research including polls, focus groups, analytic reporting, and qualitative research in over 60 countries around the globe.

The sixth way we foster effective communication is through providing multiple digital communication mediums including social media, blogs, podcasts and more. Leonie uses the most innovative communication channels to communicate with locals in a form that resonates with them.

The seventh way we promote effective communication is by using quantitative analysis in close proximity to local problems, complex issues and evolving social landscapes.

By using these seven principles of effective communication Leonie is able to produce highly effective campaigns for its clients.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What is Media Battle-Space Awereness?

Jeff Brown, Senior Operations Research Systems Analyst at Leonie Industries. Jeff will be presenting at the London IO Global conference, 26-29 June 2012, along with Bill Balkovetz and Ronald Walters. ( Next week is the IQPC's annual London Information Operations (IO) Global Conference. The theme of this year's gathering of IO experts and in the field practitioners is ‘Delivering Effects through Influence Activity’. Leonie is a co-sponsor and in accordance with this theme, will be presenting on the subject of 'Media Battle-Space Awareness' to answer the question: “What role should the Information Operations community play in combating the influence of extremist groups and how can progress in this area best be monitored?”

What is MBSA and how did the concept come about? 

Leonie Media Battle-Space Awareness (MBSA) Teams enhance the existing Information Operations (IO) process by combining Operational Visualization with Geospatial Analytics in order to empower IO planners and leaders with more effective planning, dissemination and assessment of their engagement campaigns. MBSA was developed in response to challenges the Task Force faced while trying to measure the effects of their information battle-space operations in response to queries from highest leadership and funding decision makers. Prior to MBSA, the main source of assessments were surveys that measured perceptions and attitudes on a variety of subjects related to the task force goals but provided little quantifiable evidence of effect. MBSA provided a coherent geospatial and temporal display of a variety of data sources in order to examine interactions that were not previously discernible. The MBSA process showed immediate significant value-added, not only during assessment, but also in planning and dissemination. MBSA was quickly adopted and incorporated into these aspects across Task Force operations.

What do Leonie's MBSA teams do? 

During the planning phase, the MBSA Team assists the Task Force with clarifying objectives, determining the desired effects from those objectives and developing an initial set of indicators, or measures of effectiveness (MOEs), to inform the effects. Additionally, the MBSA team helps to identify the right data needed to analyze the MOEs, identify any data gaps and recommend alternative indicators based on existing data or additional data collection efforts. The output of the planning phase is a baseline visualization of the indicators regarding the intended target audience.

Dissemination has two key components: target audience and medium. During the dissemination phase, the MBSA Team creates geospatial overlays of the engagement campaign (5Ws) and media monitoring in order to gain knowledge of support for and against the issues, themes and messages. Knowing who does not support the issues, themes, messages and how to counter and/or shape their messaging also helps to achieve the desired effect(s). Geographic display of stations, their allegiances/affiliations and where they stand on supporting or disrupting desired effects serves as an overlay to compare or evaluate current engagement strategies. The media monitoring overlay when viewed with the baseline and engagement overlays provides easy ability to confirm or deny the success of the dissemination strategy as well as enable the selection of new dissemination channels. The geospatial visualization of the dissemination plan, MOE and impact indicator data enhance assessments.

During the assessment phase, the MBSA Team conducts geospatial analysis of the various overlays to determine, in relation to the desired effects, the current status of the engagement and the operational environment. From this analysis, the MBSA Team provides conclusions and recommendations as thoughtful, logical guidance back into the Command’s planning efforts and as an input to the Command’s periodic assessment reports.

How does MBSA enhance the current IO process?

MBSA enhances the current IO process by improving situational awareness of the battle-space to a level that enables effective Information Operations and Effect(s) Assessments. MBSA aids in maintaining current knowledge of adversarial and non-adversarial target audiences and what it takes to create an effect within a selected audience. MBSA currently enables Information Operations leaders and planners in countering the influence of extremist groups and in monitoring that progress by combining Geospatial Analysis with rich Operational Visualization, promoting more comprehensive planning with visualization layers, focused target audience characterization and dissemination, and objective assessment of the measured effects of planned operations.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Response to Camille Chidiac’s Suspension

On May 30, the U.S. government suspended Camille Chidiac, a minority owner of Leonie Industries. The government placed Mr. Chidiac on the “Excluded Parties List” (“EPL”) of individuals and corporations suspended or debarred from U.S. government contracting. This action followed Mr. Chidiac’s May 24 disclosure of involvement in an online “misinformation” campaign, which in turn prompted his announcement that he would sell his shares in Leonie.

Mr. Chidiac’s placement on the EPL relates to him as an individual. Leonie has not been placed on the EPL, and the government has not indicated that Leonie has done anything that would warrant placement on the list.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation ("FAR"), which governs federal contractors, states that an individual’s suspension from contracting does not affect the corporation unless the individual’s conduct is in conjunction with their performance of duties for or on behalf of the contractor, or with the contractor's knowledge and approval. Neither of these conditions is present here.

Since resigning as an officer and employee of Leonie in 2008, Mr. Chidiac has not been involved in any way with the operation, management or performance by Leonie under its contracts with the federal government. Leonie was not aware of and did not authorize Mr. Chidiac’s online activity.

Mr. Chidiac has made it clear he acted as an individual and independent of the company. And, as he said on May 24, he is “in the process of completely divesting my remaining minority ownership from Leonie." The divestment process is not yet completed.

Leonie continues to operate as a responsible government contractor.

Leonie has successfully competed for and won multiple contracts based on the company’s performance record and the high quality of the teams we deliver. Our record of success is evident based on the consistently positive performance reviews and employee commendations the company has received, as well as the individual civilian service awards made to Leonie employees for their work.

It is also worth noting that since Leonie began government contracting in 2004, the government has conducted routine audits of the company on several occasions and has found Leonie’s systems and operations to comply with all government’s requirements.

Leonie’s employees and partners continue to work hard to meet and exceed the requirements and expectations of our customers and we remain honored to support the national security mission of the U.S. government.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Development: Winning USAID Essay

Glen Scott Allen, PhD, Director of International Development Projects, Leonie Michael Joseph, Chief of Staff, Business Development, Leonie

Mrs. Khan awakens at 4:00 am on a cold morning in her modest house in a remote province of Pakistan. This is the day she makes her monthly trek to a distant market to spend her husband’s remittance check. It’s a difficult journey with a long list of possible obstacles. Will the bus arrive on time? Will it break down on the road to the market? Will there be papers to fill out that she cannot read? If any of a dozen things go wrong, she will be struggling to survive until the next month, and the next journey.

On her way to the bus stop, Mrs. Khan passes a concrete shell of a building. Originally intended to be a local market and exchange, a place where people like her could reliably receive remittance checks, its construction was halted years ago. Its demise was the result of a tangled web of shrinking budgets of foreign aid agencies, the corruption and inertia of the national government, and the local innate distrust of projects created and managed by foreigners.

In ways numerous but not always obvious, Mrs. Khan’s stressful journey and that unfinished building are two symptoms of the same problem.

Mrs. Khan is just one of the millions of people in developing countries who depend for their very survival on remittances. The process of sending, receiving, and using these funds is fraught with difficulties. And while these remittance and Diaspora networks have existed for hundreds of years, the technology supporting them really hasn’t changed. In most cases, a husband or brother or child still puts hard currency into a postal system and hopes for the best.

There are alternatives. The hawala (“transfer of financial obligation”) networks that exist primarily in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia are more flexible but fraught with their own problems. The strength of hawala networks is that they don’t depend on the actual transfer of hard currency; rather, a remitter may simply establish an “obligation” with a local hawaladar (hawala broker), who then “transfers” that obligation to another hawaladar in the remitters’ native country. The in-country representative can then “pay out” that obligation to the recipient through cash, goods, or services. These networks are especially dependent on trusted ties between families and neighbors, and can sidestep barriers such as governments, banks, and currency transfer fees. However, precisely because they sometimes operate outside the boundaries of governments and businesses, they are unregulated, and therefore come under suspicion of trafficking in illegal transactions—especially as funding for terrorist organizations.

The advantages and challenges of diaspora/remittance/hawala networks are deeply related to the issues faced by any international development agency that seeks to deliver basic health, education, sanitation, or other services to remote populations. However, new technologies could prove key to solving not only Mrs. Khan’s problems, but also those of development agencies working to improve the quality of life for her and millions of people like her.

It is clear that diaspora networks play an important role in the support of their families and communities. According to recent World Bank studies, reported remittances from diaspora networks reached $351 billion in 2011, with untold additional billions in goods and services.[1]

Recognizing the power of such networks, USAID recently established the Diaspora Networks Alliance (DNA), which it describes as a framework that enables partnerships—between USAID, other donor organizations, the private sector, and diasporas—built on “knowledge-generation, engagement, and operational work, with the purpose of promoting economic and social growth in the countries of origin.” The financial potential of these networks is explicitly recognized by USAID as one that could potentially change the very nature of international development models: “Of all of the capital that flows abroad from the United States, an estimated twenty-five percent or more are recorded remittances, which makes them second only to private capital flows ….”[2]

Currently, however, diaspora support programs are generally unorganized, informal, and disconnected from long-term, sustainable development strategies, and none suggest a link between family remittances and local development goals. Many of the diaspora engagement models rely on existing international financial infrastructures, such as brick-and-mortar banks, national ministries of finance, and large international monetary agencies. Each of these enabling structures brings with it a set of limitations and distrusts. Additional problems include lack of grass-roots engagement, discontinuity between micro- and macrodevelopment planning, insufficient knowledge of local needs, research data that is never shared with local professionals, and even local attempts to malign or undermine projects by forces hostile to “foreign intervention.”

Recent innovations in communications technologies offer an excellent opportunity to effectively engage diaspora networks in these larger issues of development programs while maintaining their local authenticity. The goal is creation of a self-sustainable, long-term model that can be replicated for different diaspora networks across the globe—a model that leverages pre-existing streams of money, information, technology, and, most important, trust. We call such a model the Facilitated Diaspora Network, enabled by the latest Internet and telecommunications technology, initiated by international development entities, but then handed off to members of the specific diaspora network to manage and maintain.

The first step in creating a Facilitated Diaspora Network is the establishment of a web-based “hub”—a clearinghouse website to be used as a central point of entry and information for current remitters, including family, community, and third-party donors. Such a website would include background information about a community, forums for discussions about local issues, a catalogue of local development needs, links to international development agency efforts and resources, and tools to enable contributions directly to specific family recipients and development projects.

The second step involves utilizing the hub as a centralized link between remitters/donors and receivers/projects, and would draw on innovations in mobile communications that enable direct monetary transfers, by-passing many of the obstacles encountered not only by Mrs. Khan, but by the aid agencies as well. An estimated 5.5 billion people in the world already have cell phones, and recent innovations in microcell technology, smartphone capabilities, and mobile- money support have demonstrated that mobile device-based approaches are effective even in some of the most remote areas of the world. The GlobalGiving and Aceh Besar “Midwives with Mobile Phones” programs are examples of this success.

In its simplest form, such a network would allow a remitter to sign into an account at a “hub” website, make a payment to the network’s central fund, and designate a family recipient. The recipient would receive notice of the transfer, and their mobile device would store the information, which could then be used at a market or with a local agent to pay for goods and services. The facilitating entity would handle the actual transfer of funds. As an option, the family remitter could designate a portion of the donation to a particular local aid project which, depending on the project’s scale, might be overseen by an international or a local entity. For community-based remitters and third-party donors, the hub would serve as a convenient portal for making contributions (similar to GlobalGiving) and accessing real-time information about development progress. For the remitter and receiver, the process would be painless, efficient, and reliable. For donor and recipient countries, and the facilitating international entities, it would be centralized, accountable, and transparent.

Still, even with such a streamlined remittance/donor process in place, one might ask how the remitters can be convinced to divert even a small portion of their limited funds to local rather than family aid. The key will be making a clear case for how local development is aid to their families: a market that makes Mrs. Khan’s long trek unnecessary, a clinic that improves her health security, or a school that educates her children. For many remitters, such contributions will fulfill religious obligations for charitable giving. In other cases, the donations might go to local businesses, serving as investments offering future returns. Additionally, a portion of the facilitating entity’s revenue would be re-invested in the development projects, providing a sustainable base of funding. Taken together, these factors result in diaspora participants who are invested in aid efforts as their projects—to an extent they never have been for projects conceived and financed entirely by foreign donors.

Admittedly, there are challenges to this approach, such as concerns about the diversion of funds, and the differing monetary exchange, as well as the security policies of the donor and recipient countries involved. However, there are several reasons both types pf nations would welcome and even actively support such networks. Diaspora “hubs” will allow for much greater oversight and transparency than currently exists, particularly with the essentially invisible hawala networks. Money that enters the facilitated network is not available for the illegal networks. Perhaps most important, many nations have declared their desire to dramatically increase remittances and are fully aware that they receive no taxes or fees from the invisible transfers, suggesting they will be highly motivated to work with facilitating agencies to overcome these and other regulatory and security challenges.

Ultimately, diaspora and hawala networks survive on the trust they engender among their constituencies:
  • They comprise relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances.
  • They are granted credibility by word of mouth among networks of people who know one another.
  • They are often a source of pride among the people from the village, town, or region they serve.

Therefore, any model that seeks to capture their dynamism and flexibility must recognize the importance of maintaining their specific and local authenticity. By tapping into the philanthropic potential of diaspora networks, enabling them with innovative technologies, and coordinating their efforts with those of international aid entities, we believe it is possible to expand and strengthen community relationships, engender local and sustainable development efforts, increase the funds available for such efforts, and create a new and stable model of international development.

[1] Sanket Mohapatra, Dilip Ratha, and Ani Silwal, “Outlook for Remittance Flows 2012–2014: Remittance Flows to Developing Countries Exceed $350 Billion in 2011,” World Bank Migration and Development Brief 17,

[2] USAID fact sheet, “Diaspora Networks Alliance: Framework for Leveraging Migrant Resources for Effective Development & Diplomacy,”

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Winning USAID/DEVEX Contest

From Leonie’s Director of International Development Projects, Scott Allen

Winning the USAID/Devex essay contest was one of the most satisfying writing successes of my life. To be able to contribute to USAID’s formation of a new vision for the future of international development is a rare and exciting opportunity. I hope the essay inspires conversations about how everyone involved in international development can move to a new paradigm full of new possibilities.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Statement on “Misinformation Campaign”

The following is a statement from Leonie Industries regarding the investigation of a “misinformation campaign” against USA Today:

When Leonie Industries learned in April of a “misinformation campaign” against two USA Today reporters who had recently reported on the company, Leonie immediately launched an internal investigation to determine whether any employee was involved and Leonie strongly condemned the activity described in the article. In addition, Leonie has since engaged an independent digital forensics firm to augment its internal investigation.

To date, the investigation indicates that no Leonie employee was engaged in anonymous online activity directed against the reporters. However, on Sunday, May 20, Leonie’s management was informed by Camille Chidiac, who owns a minority interest in Leonie and who was personally referenced in the USA Today coverage, that he was involved in the online activity.

In 2008, Mr. Chidiac resigned as an employee of Leonie, and since then, he has not been involved in any way with the operation and management of the company and its contracts. Accordingly, Mr. Chidiac does not have access to Leonie's bank accounts and other financial resources, derived from government contracts or otherwise, and he used non-Leonie funds to participate in the online activity.

This was the act of an individual, not the company. Leonie was not aware of and did not authorize Mr. Chidiac’s online activity concerning the reporters.

Mr. Chidiac is being removed as an owner of the company. In addition, Leonie has contacted government officials to inform them of the situation and will continue to work with government officials on this matter.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Leonie Industries Responds to Allegations

Leonie Industries' formal response:

An April 21 USA Today article describes a “misinformation campaign” against two of the newspaper’s reporters who have recently covered Leonie. Although Leonie was not named in the story (or contacted by the reporter who wrote it), the article implies that the company was somehow involved in the activities described therein. Other media outlets have subsequently repeated the essence of the story, but have gone further by explicitly naming Leonie as being responsible for the campaign.

To be clear, Leonie condemns the activities described in the article. While Leonie has no reason to believe that any employee was involved in this activity, an internal investigation is being conducted to determine whether any employee was so involved. If that investigation determines that there was such involvement, appropriate action will be taken.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Leonie Industries Employees Win USAID/DEVEX Development Essay Contest

In December of 2011, USAID and DEVEX launched an essay contest, putting out a call for innovative and insightful ideas on the future of development. They received hundreds of submissions from development professionals on topics including the role of democracy, using technology to improve service delivery, and environmental pressures on the planet. Two of Leonie Industries ’ employees, Glen Scott Allen and Michael Joseph, submitted an essay entitled “Global Tech + Local Trust: A Formula for Sustainable Development” which was chosen as one of only six winners.

Their essay will be published in the May issue of USAID’s Frontiers in Development, to coincide with the high-profile USAID Frontiers in Development conference at Georgetown University in June, 2012. The conference and publication aim to strengthen the analysis, design, and implementation of programs and policies aimed at fostering development and reducing poverty in developing countries.

Other contributors to the publication will include Bill Gates (co-founder of Microsoft and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation); Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberian President); Paul Collier (Oxford University professor, economist and author of “The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It”); Admiral James Stavridis (NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander and Head of U.S. European Command); and Indra Nooyi (Chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo Inc).

We congratulate Scott and Michael, and are pleased with the ever-increasing recognition of Leonie's capabilities in this area.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wounded Warrior Project 2012

At the end of March the Board President of the Wounded Warrior Project, Dawn Halfaker, a Wounded Warrior himself, testified before the joint House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees about WWP's 2012 legislative priorities.

You can read the full testimony here.

It is well worth a read. The Wounded Warrior Project exists to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members. They also help injured service members aid and assist each other, and provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members. You can read more about their programs here. For example, there are programs to keep wounded vets connected with each other through peer mentoring. They have programs to support body and mind, was well as those directed towards economic engagement which help wounded warriors who are looking for opportunities to pursue a meaningful career or own their own business.

In 2012, the WWP is advocating for policy and legislative improvements that:
  • Close gaps and eliminate barriers to improved mental health of warriors, their families, and caregivers;
  • Foster the economic empowerment of Wounded Warriors through policy initiatives to eliminate educational and employment barriers;
  • Help ensure access to optimal, long-term rehabilitative care for severely Wounded Warriors, and needed supports for their caregivers;
  • Improve the effectiveness of programs that were established to help Wounded Warriors and their families transition from active duty to successful community reintegration.

Here at Leonie Industries we wish them all the best with the wonderful work that they are doing. As they say, "The greatest casualty is being forgotten." We will not forget them. Click here if you would like to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Afghan Women Fighting to the Olympics

Despite the horrifying news from Afghanistan this past weekend, there are still positive stories to be told. For example, did you know that there is an Afghan women's boxing team hoping to compete in the Olympics?

A group of 20 inspiring Afghan women are looking to teach the world a little about boxing, and a lot about courage, determination and women’s rights.

They train and compete wearing in the traditional hijab beneath their tracksuits and are determined to make it to the London Olympics in 2012.

Meet one of the Olympic hopefuls, a young lady intent on showing the world that Afghan girls can fight.

Sadaf Rahimi, is just 17 years old. She is determined to win honor and dignity for herself and other women in Afghanistan, improving their image across the world. The 17-year-old told Reuters: “The difference between me and others is I want to show other countries that an Afghan girl can fight".

In an ironic, triumphant twist of fate, the Afghan women’s team now train in the infamous Ghazi Stadium in Kabul, a notorious spot, that was used in the 1990s by the Taliban as a place to publically stone women accused of adultery.

Sadaf has said she fears the return of the Taliban, "I hope the Taliban don't come back and take over… if they do, I urge them to let women engage in sports and go to school," She said.

Sadaf has spoken out about how her father, a taxi driver, regularly gets threatening letters because he allows his daughters to do sport, but she says that if she or any of the other young women make it to the Olympics, they will be sending out a message to the whole world about the women of Afghanistan.

It appears that she will be able to deliver this message personally. Her coach, Mohammad Saber Sharifi, a former professional boxer himself, and advocated of Afghan women’s rights, has announced that Sadaf has been granted a wild card to compete at the Olympics, meaning she can sidestep further qualifying rounds.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leonie's Response to USA Today Article

Updated: Recent coverage in USA Today looked at the issue of outstanding tax obligations on the part of Leonie’s owners. As of March 23, 2012 all tax obligations for Leonie’s owners have been met.

As background: in the last few years, Leonie experienced some financial challenges not unusual for a government contractor of its size. Because of those challenges, Leonie’s owners deferred their shareholder compensation so that the company would have the funds available to meet its contractual obligations. As a result, the owners were unable to meet their personal tax obligations on time.

At no time did Leonie’s owners seek to avoid their responsibilities as taxpayers. Both owners have been faithfully paying their tax liabilities through installment plans with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including substantial late fees and penalties. The remaining federal tax liabilities were paid in March 2012. They would have been paid much sooner, but for the fact that Leonie was awaiting a significant client payment, which was ultimately paid in March, 2012. Thus, this matter has been fully resolved.

The issues described above relate solely to the owners’ personal tax obligations and have no bearing on the company or the important work it does. Leonie is an LLC, and as such, the tax obligations flow through to the owners. Leonie is up-to-date on all of its federal and state corporate tax obligations.

Monday, February 13, 2012

First Female US Air Force Four-Star Nominee

 A profile of Lt. Gen. Wolfenbarger

Last week the President nominated Lt. Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger for appointment to the grade of General, with assignment as Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

If her nomination is approved by the Senate, Lt. Gen. Wolfenbarger will be the first female four-star General in the U.S. Air Force. She follows in the footsteps of US Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody, who, on November 14, 2008, became the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve the rank of four-star General.

Air Force Materiel Command, where Lt. Gen. Wolfenbarger is currently Vice Commander, is the largest command in the Air Force with a yearly budget of $60 billion. At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base they conduct research, development, test and evaluation, and provide acquisition management and logistics support necessary to keep Air Force weapon systems ready for war.

Lt. Gen. Wolfenbarger has held a variety of assignments at headquarters Electronic Security Command and Air Force Systems Command. She is a 1980 graduate of the Air Force Academy where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering sciences. She began her career in acquisition as an engineer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. In 1985 she earned a Master of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in 1994, she received a Master of Science degree in national resource strategy from National Defense University.

Lt. Gen. Wolfenbarger has received a number of major awards and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Pentagon officials have praised her nomination and a spokesman for Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, said: “General Wolfenbarger is an outstanding Air Force Officer. The fact that she is the first woman to wear a fourth star in the Air Force, if confirmed, is a testament to her skills, experience and dedication.”

This announcement took place in the same week that the Pentagon unveiled plans for expanded roles for women in combat, allowing them to fill thousands of frontline jobs - approximately 14,000 posts - including as medics, helicopter pilots, intelligence and communication analysts.