Military News

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Brenau University Receives Seven Seals Award for Support of Guard and Reserve

ATLANTA (Aug. 15, 2017) – The U.S. Department of Defense organization that nurtures the support of military reservists from their private- and public-sector employers presented Brenau University on Friday, Aug. 11, with a Seven Seals Award for its encouragement and support for reservists.
Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Melissa Tavilla, who is human resource adviser for the 134th Air Refueling Wing at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base near Knoxville, Tennessee, nominated the university for the prestigious Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve award. Tavilla is also office manager and administrator for the Brenau physical therapy doctoral program in Gainesville, Georgia. 

"I'm glad that Brenau was recognized with this award,” Tavilla said. “I hope we continue to acknowledge the unique contributions that veterans can add to the classroom and work environment.”
Tavilla, who first came to Brenau as an undergraduate, said she frequently had to ask professors for accommodations for some aspect of her military duty. 

"They always worked with me without any difficulty,” she said. “Now that I've been an employee for four years while continuing my military service, I can speak for two groups of veterans that Brenau is supportive of men and women of service.”

Tavilla, a 26-year military veteran, completed her undergraduate degree in conflict resolution and legal studies with honors, which earned her the Cora Anderson Hill Award for the Brenau Women’s College graduate with the highest grade point average at the 2015 commencement ceremony. A few months later, she was promoted to the Air National Guard’s highest enlisted rank
At the ceremony Aug. 11, Brenau President Ed Schrader accepted the Seven Seals Award – named for the collection of emblems of the various U.S. military reserve organizations the ESGR organization represents. 

"Brenau University is grateful for this recognition,” said Schrader, “but we are extremely grateful for all  our men and women  – students, faculty and staff – who serve their country through active military duty and duty in reserves and National Guard units around the country. Just as they are doing their duty to the country, so are we doing our duty by providing any measure of assistance to them that we can provide.”  

Maj. Gen. Joe Jarrard, a Gainesville native who serves as Adjutant General of Georgia overseeing the state’s National Guard programs, said following the award ceremony that it is important for all employers in the state to support Guard and Reserve personnel as Brenau does.

"It is especially important because the National Guard personnel live in our state,” Jarrard said. “We have somebody that lives in every county in our state. We are hometown America, and we want the opportunity to make a good living. Those opportunities reside in the companies and institutions right here in our communities. We appreciate Brenau setting a great example and taking care of those that serve.”

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve was established in 1972 to develop and maintain employer support for Guard and Reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers.

Recognizing supportive employers is part of ESGR’s mission. These Department of Defense awards honor the sacrifices made by employers year after year.

It is not the first recognition Brenau has received for its support for military personnel. Last year, Tavilla nominated Kathye Light, chair of the physical therapy department, for ESGR’s Patriot Award, which Light received in December. And, the university is ranked one of the Best Colleges for Veterans in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and was designated as a Military Friendly School by Victory Media this year for the third consecutive year.

Founded in 1878, Brenau University is a private, not-for-profit, nationally prominent comprehensive institution of higher education that enrolls students in graduate and undergraduate studies on campuses and online. Gainesville, Georgia-based Brenau includes the residential Women’s College, which represents the academic and philosophical liberal arts underpinnings of the university. Brenau also provides coeducational opportunities through the doctoral level, including on-ground programs in Georgia locales Gainesville, Augusta, Norcross and Fairburn as well as in Jacksonville, Florida. Brenau University offers doctorates in nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy, a terminal M.F.A. in interior design, specialist in education, master’s, bachelor’s and associate’s degrees as well as professional certifications. The Women’s College boasts 14 nationally competitive intercollegiate Golden Tigers sports teams, national honor societies and national sororities with dedicated residential facilities on campus. The university provides outlets for artistic expression and community service for all students. Brenau possesses an extensive and distinctive permanent collection of art and presents year-round programming that includes art exhibitions, lectures, debates and literary readings, and theatrical and musical performances. For more information, please visit the website at

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Defense Contractor Employee Pleads Guilty to Selling Satellite Secrets to Undercover Agent Posing as Russian Spy

Today, Gregory Allen Justice, 49, of Culver City, California, pleaded guilty to federal charges of one count of attempting to commit economic espionage and one count of attempting to violate the Arms Export Control Act. The charges are related to Justice’s selling sensitive satellite information to a person he believed to be an agent of a Russian intelligence service. Justice was an engineer who worked for a cleared defense contractor. Specifically, he worked on military and commercial satellite programs.

The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana J. Boente and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown for the Central District of California.

According to a plea agreement filed in this case, Justice stole proprietary trade secrets from his employer and provided them to a person he believed to be a Russian agent – but who in fact was an undercover FBI employee.

In addition to their proprietary nature, the documents contained technical data covered by the U.S. Munitions List and therefore were subject to controls restricting export from the U.S. under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

In exchange for providing these materials during a series of meeting between February and July of 2016, Justice sought and received thousands of dollars in cash payments. During one meeting, Justice and the undercover agent discussed developing a relationship like one depicted on the television show “The Americans,” and during their final meeting, Justice offered to take the undercover agent on a tour of his employer’s production facilities where Justice said all military spacecraft were built, according to the plea agreement.

Justice faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Justice pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge George Wu, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for September 18. Justice has been in custody since his arrest in July 2016.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Attorneys from the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Israeli Executive Pleads Guilty to Defrauding the Foreign Military Financing Program

A former executive of an Israel-based defense contractor pleaded guilty for his role in multiple schemes to defraud a multi-billion dollar United States foreign aid program, the Department of Justice announced today. 

Yuval Marshak pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud and one count of major fraud against the United States in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut today.  He was previously charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Connecticut on Jan. 21, 2016, and then extradited from Bulgaria in October. 

According to court documents, Marshak carried out three separate schemes between 2009 and 2013 to defraud the Foreign Military Financing program (FMF).  Marshak and others falsified bid documents to make it appear that certain FMF contracts had been competitively bid when they had not.  Marshak further caused false certifications to be made to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) stating that no commissions were being paid and no non-U.S. content was used in these contracts, when, in fact, Marshak had arranged to receive commissions and to have services performed outside the United States, all in violation of the DoD’s rules and regulations.  Marshak arranged for these undisclosed commission payments to be made to a Connecticut-based company that was owned by a close relative to disguise the true nature and destination of these payments.

“Today’s guilty plea marks the successful culmination of a complex investigation that required us to work closely with the Israeli government, the DoD and the Office of International Affairs to gather foreign-located evidence and to secure Marshak’s extradition,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “This result reflects the division’s deep commitment to identifying and prosecuting schemes to defraud American taxpayers.”   

“This conviction is the result of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service's (DCIS) ongoing effort to identify and investigate fraudulent activity targeting the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and its programs that support America's national security and foreign policy objectives,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey of the DCIS Northeast Field Office.  “DCIS will continue to aggressively investigate allegations of fraud and abuse threatening the DoD and the Foreign Military Sales Program.”

The United States spends billions of dollars each year through the FMF program to provide foreign governments, including Israel, with money which must be used to purchase American-made military goods and services.  The rules and regulations of the FMF program require the disclosure of and approval for any FMF-funded commissions and require that all goods and services be of United States origin to qualify for FMF funding.  These same rules also strongly encourage the use of competitive bidding in the award of all FMF contracts.  American vendors who receive FMF funded contracts are required to certify their compliance with these regulations to the DoD.