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US lead coalition target ISIL power centers in Syria

September 22, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: Iraq, Syndicated Industry News 

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ISIS Launches attacks in Baghdad

September 18, 2014 by · Comment
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Strategy to defeat ISIS

September 15, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial, Iraq, Syndicated Industry News 

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Congressman Garamendi on ISIS: Congress Should Vote on Military Action — Press Release

September 10, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: Congress, Countries, Events, Iraq, Press Releases 

WASHINGTON, DC – Following a classified briefing in the House Armed Services Committee and a briefing by President Obama to Congressional leadership, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) renewed his call for a Congressional vote on military action against the brutal terrorist group self-identified as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Congressman Garamendi will carefully analyze the strategy the President presents tomorrow, and he wants Congress to vote to authorize any extended action as required by the War Powers Resolution and U.S. Constitution.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of U.S. Constitution vests in Congress the power to declare war. This responsibility was clarified under the War Powers Resolution, which authorizes the President to engage in military action for 60 days to respond to immediate obligations before seeking Congressional approval. An additional 30 day period is authorized under the War Powers Resolution to give the military adequate time to withdraw. Congressman Garamendi believes the 60-day window in our military campaign against ISIL ends on October 7th, although the precise date is subject to some interpretation.

Garamendi issued the following statement:

“The U.S. Constitution and War Powers Resolution are clear: Congress is obligated to weigh in on extended U.S. military actions. No matter how noble the cause, no matter how just the engagement, Congress’ voice and vote are required within a 60-90 day window.

“Following a reign of barbaric terror that included the horrific murder of two American journalists, it is clear that the Islamic State is a serious threat – most immediately to the people of the Middle East. ISIS’s recruitment of American and European fighters is also threatening to America and our allies. After examining the classified reports, I believe that a coordinated multi-national and multi-ethnic response to this terrorist group can be an effective option for us to pursue. U.S. air support has already helped Yazidis, Christians, Kurds, and other persecuted groups escape an ethnic cleansing campaign. With our help, the critical Mosul Dam is once again controlled by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, preventing unspeakable calamity.

“When it comes to matters of war and peace, we must be deliberative and careful. I opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq precisely because I thought it would destabilize the region, strengthen Iran, and empower stateless extremists to gain a foothold. I’ve been a leading voice in Congress in trying to end the dangerously vague and open-ended post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, and I’ve introduced amendments that would require Congressional votes before further military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was one of the first Members of Congress to urge caution and a vote of Congress before bombing Syrian President Assad’s chemical weapons. Such action in Syria’s complex civil war could have strengthened ISIS’s position in the region.

“Our current limited air strikes and special operations missions against the Islamic State have a clear purpose and are narrow and targeted in scope. We also continue to build regional support and our actions are being accompanied by the establishment of a more inclusive Iraqi government. There is no military solution to the ISIS threat, but I think a comprehensive plan to isolate and marginalize them will be effective.

“I look forward to hearing the President’s longer term strategy against the self-described Islamic State in his address before the American people tomorrow, but it’s incumbent on Congress to vote on that strategy if it involves military action. To do otherwise ignores our Constitutionally-required duty. The people we represent and our brave men and women in uniform deserve better than that. They deserve a vote.”

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Jordanian Fighter Jets Attack Repel Terror Raid from Syria, Iraq?

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Israel Sizes a Gaza-Bound Shipload of M-302 Heavy Rockets

March 5, 2014 by · Comment
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Iraq to get the Russian Night Hunter Helicopters

June 29, 2013 by · Comment
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U.N. Report Estimates the Death Toll in Syria Has Exceeded 60,000

January 2, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Iraq, Syndicated Industry News 
A U.N. study concluded the death toll of the Syrian domestic war has exceeded 60,000 people killed between 15 March 2011 and 30 November 2012. The death toll estimated by the U.N. is a third more than the figure of 45,000 previously given by activists opposed to the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Iraq Discussing Buying More U.S. Weapons

The Iraqi government is in discussions with the U.S. about purchasing more weapons systems for its Army. The new talks reportedly focus around getting up to 30 Stryker vehicles optimized for nuclear, biological and chemical weapon detection. The Stryker is an 8 wheeled armored vehicle manufactured by General Dynamics (GD). While the base vehicle provides troop transport it is made with a variety of weapon systems and equipment attached.

The value of this contract is estimated at $25 million.

The Stryker is based on a vehicle originally designed for the Canadian military and many parts of the current version are made in that country.

Iraq has purchased quite a bit of U.S. equipment in the last few years. The largest contract has been for 18 F-16 fighters made by Lockheed Martin (LMT). Iraq has also looked to other suppliers including Russia for some of their new systems which makes sense due to their historical usage of that nation’s hardware.

The Strykers are part of an overall $7 billion in new military equipment that supposedly will be sent to Congress for approval in the near term.

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KBR Receives Further Iraq Contract

President Obama may have announced that the U.S. will be withdrawing all of its troops from Iraq by the end of this year but that does not mean the U.S. is leaving the country that it invaded almost 9 years ago. The State Department and other Government agencies will still maintain a presence and provide support to the Iraqi Government.

This means that those entities will still require logistical support themselves. Under the existing Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) IV run by the U.S. Army a task order was awarded to KBR (KBR) to provide housekeeping services for that personnel. The TO has a value of over $500 million for its two years if both are executed.

The size of the award indicates that the U.S. Government will need a great deal of support during those two years. KBR will provide basic services such as facilities, utilities, food service, laundry, transport as well as other types of support.

The LOGCAP contracts have been controversial as they have had billing problems and issues since their inception. They have had the ability though to allow the U.S. to get the necessary services they need to support thousands of troops and other personnel across Iraq in very trying conditions. They are omnibus service contracts allowing what type of support needed to be bought.

Because of the nature of the U.S. armed forces today and their structure they are now reliant on contracted support for most housekeeping services and contracts like LOGCAP are inevitable. Combined with the fast changing nature of requirements in Iraq which quickly went from invasion to stabilization to counter insurgency operations the LOGCAP needed to be awarded quickly and executed.

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Is There a Market in Afghanistan and Iraq for U.S. Defense Contractors?

Now that the U.S. is beginning to seriously drawdown troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and scale back their missions the focus will move to building up those countries internal security and armed forces. Much of their training and equipment so far has been provided through the U.S. either by direct transfer, sales or funding. The removal of U.S. forces will accelerate these kinds of deals. Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, has its own funding available through its oil production which gives it a little more leeway in deciding what to buy.

The U.S. is committed right now to withdraw the last of its 47,000 troops from Iraq in this year. The two governments are in discussion of whether to extend the presence but no decision has been made yet. The British have already removed all of their forces. The end of that mission would mean security of the entire country of Iraq would belong to its Army and Ministry of Interior forces.

The U.S. has provided large amounts of equipment and training to Iraq. Much of this has been of Russian design although produced all over the world. Alliant Techsystems (ATK) for instance has been given contracts to provide “non-standard” ammunition. The company is the largest producer of ammunition in the U.S. and makes different types of bullets and shells for the U.S. military. “Non-standard” in this case means in the former Soviet Union sizes for use by Iraq and Afghan forces that tend to be equipped with AK-47 and Russian support weapons. ATK will use sources in Eastern Europe to provide them.

Afghanistan has also recently signed contracts with two U.S. companies for training helicopters and aircraft. MD Helicopters received a $186 million contract to build six light helicopters to train new Afghan rotary wing pilots. Initially six aircraft will be purchased but up to fifty-four could be. Cessna Aircraft, part of Textron (TXT), just won a fixed wing training contract worth about $88 million. This will be for six Cessna 182T and 26 208B aircraft for basic training.

One of the largest current contracts is through the U.S. State Department with DynCorp, privately held by Cerberus Capital. This is for training support to the Afghan military and police. The contract was controversial in that it was protested by then Blackwater who felt the billion dollar deal should have been awarded to them. This provides an example of the amount of money that is out there for these kinds of contracts.

The next step will be to determine what future opportunities are there. The Iraqi military will be buying much more heavy equipment then a nation like Afghanistan. It already has purchased tanks, armored vehicles, aircraft and helicopters. Many of these while not American made are bought through the U.S. military or with financial aid. Further contracts like this may be expected. For example last week the U.S. Army negotiated a contract with Russian company, Mil, to provide 21 Mi-17 helicopters to Afghanistan at a cost of up to $300 million. U.S. companies while they won’t be supplying hardware will be able to provide training, maintenance and program support to both the U.S. and the Iraq and Afghan users of these kinds of items.

One issue that hangs over all of this is the need for U.S. contractors to gain more overseas businesses. The U.S. defense budget will decline in the near future. In order to maintain the current level of sales and earnings more business will be needed from foreign sources. The Iraq and Afghanistan markets should favor the U.S. but due to the needs of those countries, their familiarity with Russian types of weapons, and the low level of technology they are buying it might be difficult. Certainly in a few years Iraq might be looking at American fighters such as the F-16 or F/A-18 but not in the immediate future. Technology transfer rules also affect the ability of these types of sales.

U.S. contractors have already made a great deal of money supporting the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Much of this has been through logistics and training support rather then providing hardware directly to these two new governments. There may be opportunities in the future for larger, more complex contracts but it may take several years as the two militaries are built up. In the short term though it will be contracts for supply, maintenance and training where the market will be. Much of the money for those efforts will still be provided by the U.S. taxpayer either directly or through foreign aid. The time when Afghanistan and Iraq place large orders with their own tax money is still a ways off.

Photo from Photo from Christian Brigg’s Flickr photostream.

Article first published as Is There a Future Market in Afghanistan and Iraq for U.S. Defense Contractors? on Technorati.

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DOD Announces Units for Upcoming Rotation in Iraq

DOD Announces Units for Upcoming Rotation in Iraq
May 25, 2010

The Department of Defense announced today the alert of replacement forces scheduled to deploy in support of Operation New Dawn. Effective Sept. 1, 2010, the U.S. mission in Iraq is renamed from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn to coincide with U.S. forces' shift to an advisory, assistance, training, and equipping role. The alert announcement involves one infantry brigade from the Army National Guard consisting of approximately 2,700 personnel.

Specific unit alerted for Operation New Dawn is:

1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard

The unit will replace a redeploying unit, with no increase in overall force levels. They are currently scheduled to begin their deployment in the summer of 2011 and are receiving alert orders now in order to provide the maximum time to complete preparations. It also provides a greater measure of predictability for family members and flexibility for employers to plan for military service of their employees.

DoD will continue to announce major unit deployments as they are identified and those units are alerted.

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U.S. Navy Awards Northrop Grumman JCREW 3.3 Development Contract

U.S. Navy Awards Northrop Grumman JCREW 3.3 Development Contract
May 3, 2010

SAN DIEGO –− Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has received a $28 million award to continue developing the Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare (JCREW) 3.3 System of Systems.

JCREW is a multifunctional electronic jammer which could be carried by troops, mounted on a vehicle or boat, or used in a fixed location to prevent the detonation of RCIEDs. Systems used now in Iraq and Afghanistan to counter IEDs provide either dismounted, mounted or fixed-site capability, but not all three.

The contract option exercised by the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., on April 9 funds Northrop Grumman for system development and demonstration through the critical design review. CDR began April 9 and is scheduled to continue through October 10.

"Northrop Grumman is pleased, and very proud, to be selected to continue our development of the next-generation variants of IED jammers. We consider the CREW mission of protecting our soldiers from this pervasive threat among the company's highest priorities," said Jim Byloff, vice president of advanced systems and products with the network communications systems business of Northrop Grumman Information Systems sector.

Northrop Grumman successfully completed the most recent major milestone – the preliminary design review – which demonstrated the technical maturity and integrated performance of its JCREW 3.3 design was on track to proceed through prototype verifications.

The cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus award fee, cost-only, firm-fixed-price option is a modification to the contract awarded in October 2009.

JCREW 3.3 is the first generation system to be developed using a common open architecture across all three capabilities, which will provide for system flexibility, extensibility, ease of upgrades and a reduced lifecycle cost. The system's open architecture also will allow it to be easily modified to provide protection for worldwide military operations.

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Editorial: New York Times article, “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint”


Editorial: New York Times article, "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint"
April 27, 2010
Although the focus of the article was on the use of Microsoft PowerPoint as a briefing tool, I found the article in the April 27, 2010 edition of the New York Times ("We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint") poignant.

Although the focus of the article was on the use of visualisation through PowerPoint perhaps the article missed the nuance of what was actually being viewed.

The application of system dynamics (pioneered by Jay Forrester of MIT in his work 'industrial dynamics') in the 1950s was adopted by the scientific advisory (Operational Research) branches of armed forces in the US and Britain - applying math and logic to military strategic planning.

Influence diagramming, of the style shown in your article, sought to show how factor A influences factor B etc. As computing power increased complex algorithms enabled an influence diagram to be used as a model for identifying outcomes. During the Vietnam conflict the Pentagon applied this thinking, and as Col. David Hackworth noted during an interview, "the Pentagon found that using the model they had already won the war in 1963".

General Macrystal’s comment, “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” is particularly prophetic.

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DOD Announces Replacement Unit for Iraq Rotation

DOD Announces Replacement Unit for Iraq Rotation
April 26, 2010

The Department of Defense announced today a replacement unit mobilized to deploy as part of the force rotation in support of Operation New Dawn. Approximately 2,700 soldiers from the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Boise, Idaho, with elements in Montana and Oregon, will deploy in the fall of 2010.

DoD will continue to announce major unit deployments as units are identified and alerted. For information about the units announced today, please contact the Idaho Army National Guard at 208-422-5268, the Oregon Army National Guard at 503-584-3885 or the Montana Army National Guard at 406-324-3009.

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Ceradyne To Manufacture Armor For New Iraqi Navy Ships

Ceradyne announced that it was awarded a contract to provide armor plates for new naval vessels being built for Iraq. The sub-contract is with Turner Strategic Technologies who is actually building the ships. If all parts of the main contract is exercised Ceradyne’s part could be worth $6 million.

Iraq has slowly been investing in new and more modern equipment over the last few years. This has included helicopters and some basic fixed wing aircraft. The Iraqi Navy especially has languished since the First Gulf War and these new ships will be a welcome upgrade to its capability.

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House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Statement on Anniversary of Iraq Invasion

March 18, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Iraq, Syndicated Industry News 
House Armed Services Committee: Skelton Statement on Anniversary of Iraq Invasion
Ike Skelton, Chairman
March 18, 2010

Skelton Statement on Anniversary of Iraq Invasion

Washington, D.C.—House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the statement below in advance of the seven year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq tomorrow:

“As we begin the eighth year of conflict in Iraq, it is only appropriate to recognize how much progress has been made this past year. I am so proud of our brave men and women in uniform for their dedication, skill, and sacrifice, and I am proud of the Iraqi people for their resolve to overcome the many challenges they have faced.

“Iraq’s determination to stand on its own without large numbers of U.S. troops, as well as the ongoing transition to a capable and largely democratic government, will bring to a close our long deployment in Iraq. U.S. troops have helped build the foundation for a better Iraqi future, and now the future of Iraq rests in the hands of its own people. The recent Iraqi elections, although far from a guarantee of stability and democracy, give us hope for the days ahead. Success and stability in Iraq are not certain—and it is possible that the country could return to violence—but I am optimistic that we will reach our target date to close this mission by the end of next year.”

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Deputy Commanding General (Support) to Brief Live from Iraq

Deputy Commanding General (Support) to Brief Live from Iraq
March 16, 2010

Army Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, deputy commanding general (support), U.S. Forces Iraq, will brief the media live from Iraq at 10 a.m. EDT, March 16, in the DoD Briefing Room, Pentagon, to provide an update on ongoing security operations in Iraq.

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Defense Solutions Holding Hits The Big Time

There are lots of little defense contractors who are started by people wanting more then just working for another company. They usually start with one or two small sub-contracts and work to establish a reputation or an opportunity to bid as a prime on a larger contract. This business model has been highly successful for the last thirty years. Of course for every company that makes it several do not.

The small defense contractor, Defense Solutions Holding, Inc, has had some luck in winning logistic support contracts in Iraq and other countries. Revenue in 2009 was on track to be under $2 million. They just announced that they have won a contract to provide foodstuffs to the Iraqi Government in a deal worth over $60 million if all options are exercised.

This is a major growth for a company this size and illustrates well how the business can work.

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General Dynamics Awarded $198 Million to Build 140 Iraqi Tanks

January 4, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Iraq, Syndicated Industry News 
General Dynamics Awarded $198 Million to Build 140 Iraqi Tanks

January 4, 2010

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich., Jan 04, 2010

The U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command has awarded General Dynamics
Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), a contract
worth $198 million to build 140 M1A1 SA (Situational Awareness) tanks for Iraq.

The SA enhancements to the M1A1 for Iraq include a second-generation
forward-looking infrared (FLIR) thermal sight, a driver's vision-enhancer thermal viewer and Tank Urban Survivability Kit (TUSK) improvements, which provide better crew protection in urban warfare environments. In addition, engines developed through the Army's Total Integrated Engine Revitalization (TIGER) program will be installed and pulse-jet filter cleaning systems added to improve performance while reducing maintenance requirements and costs.

Work will be performed in Lima, Ohio; Scranton, Pa.; Anniston, Ala.; and
Tallahassee, Fla. The completion date for the contract is May 31, 2011.

General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 92,300 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies.

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Agility Awarded $1.4 billion Option Year on Contract to Feed U.S. Forces in Iraq — Press Release

Agility Awarded $1.4 billion Option Year on Contract to Feed U.S. Forces in Iraq

Defense Logistics Agency extends Agility to December 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 9, 2009 – Agility Defense & Government Services (DGS) announced that the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has exercised the third option period on its contract for the supply and distribution of food and non-food products to U.S. forces in Iraq.

The contract, known as the Subsistence Prime Vendor contract, requires Agility DGS to handle procurement, shipping, warehousing and distribution of food and non-food products for all branches of the U.S. military. The maximum value of the 18-month extension is $1.4 billion.

“We welcome news of the extension. It’s another indication that we’ve been able to maintain exceptional performance under the most challenging conditions,” said Dan Mongeon, president and CEO of Agility DGS. “We’ve delivered with accuracy, efficiency and dependability, ensuring that U.S. troops eat properly as they perform their mission.”

Agility DGS originally won the Subsistence Prime Vendor contract in Dec. 2005. The extension covers the third and final option year. The company’s performance on the competitively bid contract has earned it recognition and awards from DLA and other agencies.

“Through advanced logistics and extensive quality assurance measures, we’ve been extremely successful in delivering food and other items into a warzone,” Mongeon said.

About Agility Defense & Government Services

Agility Defense & Government Services is the public sector arm of Agility. It provides complete supply chain management, logistics services and commodity services to meet the needs of defense and government customers. With more than 550 offices in 120 countries, Agility DGS and its parent offer a vast network of global land, sea and air transportation capabilities, including warehousing and storage.

For more information, contact Jim Cox, Agility DGS vice president of public affairs and marketing, at 703 417-6050 or at [email protected], or visit www.agilitylogistics.com.

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Iraq Reopens Arms Buying With France

In the past France sold substantial amounts of military equipment to Iraq when it was ruled by Saddam Hussein. These included military vehicles, aircraft and missiles. The most notable use of this equipment was the attack on the USS Stark (FFG-31) by a Mirage F1 jet firing Exocet surface-to-surface missiles. Since the liberation of Iraq by the Americans that country has tended to sell the most equipment to it. This has included aircraft, vehicles and support equipment. AFP writes that France and Iraq have now signed a contract for twenty-four EC 635 helicopters. The article also states that further deals are being explored by the two countries. Iraq will need to rebuild its military and will utilize its rather large oil funds for this meaning that several major contracts will probably be announced over the next few year. This contract is estimated at almost $500 million and includes parts and support.

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Navistar wins contract to build trucks for US Allies

The US Army awarded Navistar a contract for 7,000 odd trucks for the Afghan and Iraqi governments. The value of the contract is over $1B. See the press release here. This is on top of a previous award for vehicles and support for the US Army. Navistar is also bidding as part of one of the teams for the JLTV.

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Bad reporting leads to bad news on the MRAP

January 25, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Force Protection, Iraq, production program, U.S. Army 

This story, along with many others over the last week, has pretty much been proven wrong. It seems the Pentagon wants to continue it though. See the work at Badgers Forward for more information. I guess it all depends on your definition of what a MRAP is. Also, the poor soldier may have died due to the roll over, not the explosion as he was in the turret at the time. The rest of the crew were unhurt.

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Defense Authorization Act rewritten in response to President’s veto

January 17, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Congress, Federal Budget Process, Iraq 

Congress has adjusted the language in the Defense Authorization Act to remove Iraq from a list of countries that can be sued by the victims of terror. The concern stated by the President was that these suits would freeze Iraq’s assets in the US, making it harder for the new Iraqi Government to function. The Hill has the story here.

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