Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hagel Praises New Defense Cooperation Agreements With India

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2015 –
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a statement today applauding agreements on defense cooperation between the United States and India, announced by President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Hagel's statement reads as follows:

"Today, on his historic visit to India, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi announced new, ground-breaking agreements on defense cooperation between India and the United States that promise to open a new chapter in our defense relationship and mark an important milestone in the U.S.-India strategic partnership.

"By finalizing the renewal of our 10-year framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship, we will continue to build on the growing momentum in our defense cooperation over the last decade. This renewed framework will support stronger military-to-military engagement, including deeper maritime cooperation and increased opportunities in technology and trade.

"By establishing a new military education partnership, we will help shape the next generation of military leaders in both our nations, fostering relationships that will draw our defense establishments closer together for years to come.

"And by agreeing under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) to focus on four 'pathfinder' projects; form a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology sharing and design; and explore possible cooperation on development of jet engine technology, we will begin to realize the enormous potential of the U.S.-India defense industrial partnership. We have further strengthened this partnership with an agreement that will allow us to continue science and technology collaboration for the next 15 years.

"Taken together, the president's announcements signal a new depth and sophistication in our defense and security cooperation, ensuring that it continues to be one of the strongest pillars of our nations' broad strategic partnership - a partnership that will help forge security and stability in Asia and across the globe."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

`Air Force BMT introduces innovative Capstone Week

By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Strang, Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs / Published January 23, 2015

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph-Lackland will soon restructure its current eight-and-a-half-week course to make room for a new five-day program called Capstone Week, beginning Jan. 27 with trainees entering BMT.

"Our basic military training today does a tremendous job developing young men and women into Airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody. “But as we looked at the current structure, we saw an opportunity to further enhance those Airmanship skills with a final week focused entirely on character development. These are core skills every Airman needs to be successful in our Air Force."

The first Capstone Week, which will culminate the BMT experience, begins March 23.

Capstone week’s purpose is to give the Air Force one more critical tool to further develop professional, resilient Airmen who are inspired by heritage, committed to its core values, and motivated to deliver airpower. While BMT will still provide new Airmen the same high level of military and physical training, Capstone Week serves to specifically concentrate on character building.

"We developed Capstone Week to better prepare Airmen for their first assignments by reinforcing our core values of integrity, service and excellence through an interactive environment emphasizing character development, the profession of arms, and our Air Force heritage,” said Gen. Robin Rand, the Air Education and Training Command commander. “The course focuses on the importance of every Airman treating each other with respect and dignity, better preparing them to become skilled warriors ready to do our nation's business."

Capstone Week will provide instruction and promote discussion among Airmen in a more interactive forum than the highly-structured BMT curriculum, according to Kevin Adelsen, the AETC Capstone Week program manager. Some key areas that Capstone Week will cover, include wingmanship, resiliency, leadership and followership, sexual assault prevention and response, the warrior ethos, and how Airmen can balance their personal and professional lives.

Adelsen said BMT schedule adjustments allowed for condensing the current training to make room for the Capstone transition period.

"We'll retain all current BMT requirements in the first seven-and-a-half weeks and use the Capstone Week to reinforce and expand on previous training," Adelsen said.

Following the traditional Airman's parade at the end of BMT’s first seven-and-a-half weeks, trainees will transition that weekend to a Capstone squadron. Airmen will move into a revamped training facility on Lackland and experience Capstone Week in an environment far different from that of the first part of BMT, according to Adelsen.

Capstone will be a BMT graduation requirement, Adelsen added. Immediately following Capstone, Airmen will travel to their designated technical training locations across the United States.

"BMT's Capstone Week will ensure Air Force basic training remains a center of excellence and our Airmen remain the best fighting force in the world," said Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, the AETC command chief. "It's a fantastic and innovative way to ensure we prepare Airmen to become men and women of character - great wingmen, leaders, citizens and warriors. This is not going to be the 'last' week of BMT, but rather the first week of the rest of their Air Force careers.

Friday, January 23, 2015

AMC command surgeon visits Fairchild Airmen

by Airman 1st Class Taylor Bourgeous
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

1/23/2015 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Kory Cornum, Air Mobility command surgeon, visited the base to tour the clinic and present command-level annual awards to Team Fairchild Airmen.

Cornum visited a number of clinics including: physical therapy, public health, flight medicine and family health.

During the visit, Cornum also held an all-call to present the following AMC awards to Fairchild Airmen:

-Physical Medicine Non-Commissioned Officer: Staff Sgt. Sean Devereaux

-Excellence in Nursing Leadership: Lt. Col. James Stryd

-Team Award- Small Dental Clinic of the Year: Fairchild Dental Clinic

During the all-call, Cornum emphasized that small improvements can make major organizational change. He encouraged Airmen by stating, "keep looking for better ways of doing things; we do not need to solve world hunger to decide that what we are doing is better for the organization."

Cornum said he enjoyed visiting the base, "(Visiting Airmen is) fun for me, I get to travel around and see different groups and see (the) ...great innovations that you all are making happen," he said. "I look around, I look at you and you're smiling; I look at the patients in the hall and they are smiling and that's (the way) it should be."

According to Master Sgt. Dawn Traurig, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron superintendent, it is important for senior leaders to view or experience the mission.

"An electronic picture can only take you so far into how we complete the mission," she said. "Senior leaders can only get a true sense of our daily operations by visiting the Airmen that make it all happen."

DoD Decides Against Sending Four Guard and Reserve Units to West Africa

By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2015 – Army National Guard soldiers who were set to replace forces in Senegal and Liberia fighting West Africa’s devastating Ebola outbreak will not be needed in that effort, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Adm. John Kirby said today.

Soldiers from four guard units would have joined more than 2,300 U.S. military personnel now serving in Liberia and Senegal in support of the U.S. whole-of-government response to the ongoing pandemic, he added.

“The decision has now been made that the ongoing work of Operation United Assistance does not require several National Guard units that were initially considered for deployment,” the admiral said. “We are confident that we can meet the continuing needs of this mission without activating these reserves.”

Kirby said roughly 350 guard troops from four states had been notified to prepare to deploy – about 280 from Minnesota, 14 from Ohio, 16 from Texas and 40 from Iowa.

Guard Troops from Four States

In November Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signed an order authorizing the involuntary mobilization of about 2,100 Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers to support Operation United Assistance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, as of Jan. 23 the total number of confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are 21,797 with 8,675 deaths.

Outbreaks in Senegal, Nigeria, Spain, the United States and Mali have ended, the CDC says, adding that a national Ebola outbreak is considered to be over when 42 days have elapsed since the last patient in isolation became laboratory negative for the viral disease.

At the Pentagon, Kirby said DoD is providing critical support for the U.S. government Ebola virus disease response, bringing unique capabilities – specifically, speed and scale -- to support the civilian-led response in West Africa.

U.S. Whole-of-Government Approach

“At the request of the Liberian government, as part of this whole-of-government approach led by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense has mobilized and adapted its resources in a very austere environment, supporting a critical mission,” Kirby said.

The rapid deployment of military personnel, from engineers to logisticians, provided for the international civilian response by nongovernmental organizations, USAID and the United Nations to grow their capability and capacity on the ground, the admiral said.

“The United States is now backing more than 10,000 civilian responders on the ground in the various Ebola-affected areas,” he added, providing direct and indirect health-care support and many other functions that were being handled by Operation United Assistance.

Kirby added, “We will have more to say about the next phase of the operation in the weeks ahead, as more work is completed and as we press for additional progress against this epidemic.”