Osama bin Laden is dead, gas prices up
Crude oil rose above the $114 mark on Monday morning, just mere hours after the government reported the death of Osama bin Laden by a navy seals agent. Friday’s oil price was at $113.93 per barrel, according to TheStreet, and has been around the $113 mark for the last few weeks. There’s speculation that the death of bin Laden could raise the premium of oil due to fear that al Qaeda will be targeting the production in a way to refute against the U.S.
However, analysts also believe it may be mere coincidence that oil prices went up today:
Ian Bremmer, the president and founder of Eurasia Group, which advises financial firms on Middle East politics and energy policy, said in a statement emailed to TheStreet, "Despite the initial market impact on oil prices, there's really no significant impact here on oil production or transit. Al Quaeda's prominence in Yemen and Saudi Arabia never meaningfully threatened Saudi oil production; so no change with Bin Laden's death."
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National security concerns and terrorist threats generally lead to higher commodity prices and this has definitely rung true in recent months – especially as the violence in Libya continues.
Matt Smith, commodities analyst at Summit Energy, tells the website that "the first week of the month is conducive to oil prices testing new limits, with the release of the ISM manufacturing data and, later in the week, the monthly jobs reports from ADP (on Wednesday) and the government (on Friday)."
Gas pump prices are still climbing with the national average for a gallon of regular rose by a penny on Monday to $3.95. However, if you’re living in California, you’re well aware that gas prices have gone far beyond the $4 mark, which is also up more than $1 than the same time last year.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”