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By Debbie Gregory

Potentia Labs, the developer of a unique interactive e-learning platform that teaches emotional wellness skills like resilience and mindfulness, has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to create a program specifically for veterans suffering from PTSD and depression.

Potentia Labs won the Department of Veterans Affairs Industry Innovation Competition.

Potentia works via an online platform and mobile app, concentrating on positive traits, such as resilience, confidence, optimism and mindfulness.

Dustin Milner, cofounder of Potentia, said that due to their military training, veterans often have trouble attending and sticking with traditional therapy.

Many veterans who are diagnosed with PTSD have trouble acknowledging weakness. By building on veterans’ existing strengths to help them become the best version of themselves, Potentia works on every area of psychological, social, and emotional well-being and performance. Backed by science, the tool is designed to provide experiences on a daily basis, and it only takes 3 to 5 minutes a day.

The connection to veterans is personal for the company, according to Milner. Cofounder Eric Lenhardt is an Army veteran who has undergone treatment for PTSD in the past.

Potentia’s first-of-its-kind app is packed with dynamic courses created by experts to help build skills like mental toughness and emotional agility—the tools everyone needs to navigate life, work, and family.

The company aims to customize and expand the platform by mixing together gaming technology, instructional design, and expertise from psychologists.

Beginning in July, 2018, the platform will begin an 18-month trial at a California VA center.

 

By Debbie Gregory.

As the result of a plea deal, Defense Contractor Philip A. Mearing, the former president of Global Services Corporation, will serve prison time for bilking the government out of more than $15.4 million.

In 2004, Mearing, along with his co-conspirators Kenneth Bricker and Ken Deines, made an agreement where fraudulent payments were made to Global Services Corporation to Bricker’s two corporations, Tempo and BPM, regarding hundreds of invoices for work and services done by Global that were never done by Tempo and BPM.

In a separate conspiracy, Mearing, Deines, and William Hutsenpiller, the former Comptroller for Norfolk Ship Support Activity, conspired to submit false claims to the government via false invoices that resulted in a loss of approximately $1.8 million.

Deines was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Bricker was sentenced to four years. Hutsenpiller, a former high-ranking civilian employee of the Navy, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison for his role in the case.

The combined loss amount to the government from the two separate conspiracies is $15,413,029.76.

Mearing pleaded guilty last June to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to Mearing’s defense team, Global Services, which was started Mearing’s uncle, was on the brink of failure when Mearing was hired, and it was Mearing who turned the company fortunes around, securing over $450 million in government contracts prior to his resignation.

A hearing has been scheduled for December 12th to determine the total amount of restitution that should be paid back. So far, $870,304.20 has been recovered. Under the plea deal arrangements, the maximum time Mearing will serve is five years.

By Debbie Gregory.

If Lockheed Martin is able to deliver on its laser weapon system in development, the U.S. Air Force may boast a fleet of fighter jets that can shoot lasers from a small, compact cannon.

As part of the Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments (LANCE program ) the $26.3 million contract with the Air Force Research Lab should result in a weapon system that is not only compact, but also light enough to be mounted on fighter jets.

Currently, most of these systems are limited to ground and sea use due to their weight and size. Such is the case for the ground vehicle–mounted system that Lockheed Martin just delivered to the U.S. Army that can burn through tanks and knock mortars out of the sky.

Lockheed Martin will be adapting the system it developed for the Army to address the challenge of self-protection against ground-to-air and air-to-air missiles.

The program’s work will be divided among three subsystems: the Shield Turret Research in Aero Effects (Strafe) includes the beam control system; the Laser Pod Research and Development (LPRD) will power and cool the laser on the fighter jet; and finally, the LANCE laser itself.

“The ability of a helicopter or bomber or fighter jet to shoot down or sufficiently damage or distract an incoming missile could allow them to operate in places they haven’t been able to operate recently,” said military analyst Peter Singer.

Raytheon became the first company to destroy a target with a laser fired from a helicopter at White Sands Missile Range when an Apache AH-64 shot a truck from more than a mile away. Raytheon is also building a laser-firing, drone-killing dune buggy. Boeing has its own anti-drone laser cannon.

Under the terms of the contract, Lockheed Martin plans to test a high-energy laser weapon mounted on a fighter jet by 2021.

 

By Debbie Gregory.

The Army has awarded a $10 million contract for the development of a device that can quickly diagnose a brain injury and determine how severe it is.

Neural Analytics will partner with the DoD to develop its Lucid System within the next 18 months to measure and monitor physiological parameters relevant to moderate-severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  The portable device will be used on the battlefield to assess combat-related traumatic brain injury at the point of injury.

“We are honored to continue our partnership with the U.S. Army to further advance point of care injury management of brain health,” said Leo Petrossian, chief executive officer of Neural Analytics.

The system is expected to operate as a single, portable unit with minimal required training and maintenance, so that any troop member could use the device with about a half hour of training.

The goal is to have the software do an assessment of a person’s brain condition and tell the user how severe it is so they can secure the appropriate treatment. Brain injury can be hard to diagnose immediately, and it’s best to get treatment sooner rather than later.

Since 2000, more than 370,000 service members have had a first-time diagnosis of TBI, according to data from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

According to a report by  advocacy group  Veterans Against Alzheimer’s, those who serve have a greater risk than civilians of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and TBI may be one of the factors that significantly increases the risk.

The estimated completion date for the work is March 2019.

“We believe our technology will be the first of its kind targeted for a military environment,” said Petrossian. “This work will also significantly impact civilian versions of the technology allowing for further advancement of our Lucid System in the pre-hospital or EMS setting.”

Following completion of the point of injury brain health assessment device, Neural Analytics plans to continue to supply the system to the DoD and commercialize the technology into its civilian brain health platforms.

The contract was awarded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

 

Events are scheduled nationwide as part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s annual National Veterans Small Business Week, Oct. 30-Nov. 3. The week aims to raise awareness of veteran business ownership and connect business owners to entrepreneurship resources administered through SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development. For more information, including a list of events nationwide, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

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