Military News

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Leadership Seminars

All leadership seminars are unique and were developed by Dr. Andrew J. Harvey and Raymond E. Foster. The training can include PowerPoint presentations, course workbooks, film clips, and interactive discussion, all presented in a friendly and fun atmosphere conducive to learning. Each course is customized to the degree specified by the client. Classes can have as much or as little custom content as desired. Attendees will come away with practical skill and knowledge that can be immediately put to use within the organization.

Examples of training seminars include:

Action
Leadership:

If a player doesn't realize it's his or her turn to play, the dealer will say, “Your action.”
This one-day course is designed to help current and aspiring leaders to fulfill their ultimate potential in the realm of
leadership by realizing it’s always your action. The course is based on the book Leadership: Texas Hold em Style; and, covers the keys to good leadership through a variety of engaging and entertaining instructional methods.

Made Hand Career Development:

In poker, a made hand is one that does not need to improve to win. As an example, in draw poker, if you had two pairs and another player is drawing for a straight or a flush, you have a made hand because you win even if you don’t draw a card that improves your hand. Conversely, your opponent has a drawing hand, they must draw into a winning combination.

Made Hand Career Development is designed primarily for public sector professionals. The course teaches you how to develop your career to the fullest. Giving you the tools and resources to develop your career into a winning made hand. An organization benefits from this one-day seminar through developing their employees to view their career as journey for which they must be prepared.

More Information:
www.pokerleadership.com/leadership_seminar.html

Crescent City Crime

Editor's Note: The author is former servicemember.

June 28, 2008 (San Dimas, CA) On July 5, 2008, Conversations with Cops at the Watering Hole will feature a conversation with
O’Neil De Noux, a police officer-turned-writer. He has worked as a homicide detective and organized crime investigator. He has also been a private investigator, U.S. Army combat photographer, criminal intelligence analyst, newspaper writer, magazine editor, computer graphics designer and creative writing instructor.

Program Date: July 5, 2008
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Crescent City Crime
Listen Live:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement/2008/07/06/Crescent-City-Crime

About the Guest
As a police officer,
O’Niel De Noux received seven commendations for solving difficult murder cases. In 1981, he was named ‘Homicide Detective of the Year’ for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. In 1989, he was proclaimed an ‘Expert Witness’ on the homicide crime scene in Criminal District Court, New Orleans, LA.

O’Niel De Noux’s published novels include: Grim Reaper, The Big Kiss, Blue Orleans, Crescent City Kills and the Big Show. His short story collections include Hollow Point/The Mystery of Rochelle Marais and Lastanza: New Orleans Police Stories; which received an “A” rating from Entertainment Weekly Magazine. O’Niel De Noux adapted one of the Lastanza stories “Waiting for Alaina” into a screenplay, which was filmed in New Orleans and broadcast on local TV in 2001.

In March 2006, New Orleans Confidential, a collection of 1940’s noir private-eye short stories was published by PointBlank Press. According to Weekly, “Former homicide detective De Noux turns out an engaging, fast-paced collection of stories featuring private eye and womanizer extraordinaire Lucien Caye as he tracks philandering husbands, possible murderers and missing cats. Set predominantly against the rich backdrop of 1940s New Orleans, these stories-abounding with ample bosoms and willing women-are fun, and the author knows his stuff when it comes to the Big Easy.” Another Lucien Caye story, The Heart Has Reasons, won the Private Eye Writer’s of America’s prestigious Shamus Award for Best Short Story 2007.

Besides his novels,
O’Neil De Noux has had over 200 short stories published. Until Hurricane Katrina, he taught creative writing and mystery writing courses at the University of New Orleans and Delgado Community College and McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA, from 1993 to 2005. He is the founding editor of two fiction magazines, Mystery Street and New Orleans Stories.

Currently, O’Neil De Noux has two original short stories Guilty of Dust and Sin and Maria’s Hand available on Amazon Shorts, an audio story “Ankle Biters of Old Arizona; or, Attack of the Wild Chihuahuas (on Sniplits.com) and stories forthcoming in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, as well as a number of anthologies.

After his home was seriously damaged by Hurricane Katrina,
O’Neil De Noux re-settled on the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain in 2006 and returned to law enforcement. He is currently a Police Investigator with the Southeastern Louisiana University Police Department in Hammond, LA.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the
Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Army Accelerates Delivery of Future Combat Systems Technology

By Lindy Kyzer
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2008 - The
Army is accelerating the delivery of key Future Combat Systems technologies to the field, officials announced yesterday. Infantry brigade combat teams will receive the technology, called "spinouts," sooner than previously planned, officials said.

The spinouts include
tactical and urban unattended ground sensors; the non-line-of-sight launch system, the Class I, Block 0 unmanned air vehicle; the small, unmanned ground vehicle; and network kits for Humvees.

Lt. Gen. Michael A. Vane, director of the
Army Capabilities Integration Center, discussed the accelerated fielding of cutting-edge equipment in a teleconference with bloggers and online journalists.

"This decision reflects the need to move more aggressively to support current operations across both our active and reserve-component capabilities with the Future Combat Systems capabilities," he said.

Commanders and soldiers in the field, as well as members of Congress and Defense Department and Army
leaders have been asking for future combat technology to be used for the current fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, Vane said.

Operational needs statements from infantry brigade commanders in 2007 and 2008 were double the number from heavy brigades, and accelerating the fielding of FCS spinouts addresses many of those capability gaps,
Army officials said.

Vane pointed out that FCS is not being developed to provide "perfect information."

"We recognize that soldiers will always fight for information," he said. "But the soldier on the battlefield and the commander is the best decision maker, the best sensor, the best shooter, the best communicator, the best negotiator with both allies and potential enemies.

"What we want to do is we want technology to enable that soldier and that commander to better understand the battlefield," he continued. "And sometimes people think we're building something that's a fantasy or that
technology is the answer to everything, and we absolutely are not. What we are doing is trying to leverage that technological advantage that American industry and Americans' allies help us bring to the battlefield."

(Lindy Kyzer works for the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Department of the
Army.)

Berlin Airlift Veterans Return to Germany for Anniversary

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2008 - For 50 years, Dub Southers recalled the grueling hours he worked at an air base in northern Germany at the start of the Berlin Airlift, not the historical significance of what he helped to achieve as a flight engineer and crew chief. He remembered well the coal being shipped in from local coal fields, the 196 missions he flew over Berlin and being a 20-year-old
Air Force staff sergeant keeping the C-54 Skymaster aircraft flying.

"Coal was our basic cargo," said Southers, now 81 and living in
Texas. "Occasionally, we flew flour, but I can't recall anything other than coal."

It wasn't until 1998 that Southers started really thinking about the importance of the airlift mission, which lasted from June 1948 to May 1949 and provided vital resources to the German city cut in half by Soviet rule, he said.

As the anniversary approached, he asked his daughter to search online for activities happening in Berlin. Her search found the Berlin Airlift Veterans Association, and he became its secretary.

He ended up visiting Germany that year for the 50th anniversary, and he and seven other association members have returned to take part in 60th anniversary observances.

They will re-enact the first flight of the airlift, he said, and visit the memorial at Rhein-Main Air Base, get on a C-47 and fly the corridor from Frankfurt to Templehof Air Base in Berlin, where there will be another memorial service.

"I was amazed [in 1998] how much progress had been made in the Western sector of Berlin, and how little had been made in the Eastern Zone at that time," he said. "By the time I went again in 2004, it was better, though, and quite a bit more had been done."

In November 1948, Germany was much different. Southers arrived at Celle Air Base from his duty station at McChord Field, Wash., as part of the initial group of airmen sent in for the airlift mission. The
Memphis, Tenn., native said he couldn't believe the amount of fog that blanketed the area.

"That was really surprising to me," he said. "It was actually a very nice area. After a few months, when we had enough people, we were allowed to go off base into the town, where there were actually some good places to eat and catch a show."

The area hadn't been bombed. "I heard that the British monarchy actually owned a castle in the area," Southers said, "and they didn't want that destroyed."

Those short trips to the city were a brief respite from the busy work hours that dominated Southers' time at Celle Air Base. The base was located near coal fields, which were connected to the base. A platform was built right onto the bays along the flightline so the coal could be stacked and supplied to the aircraft right away. The team of airmen was very short of personnel, especially mechanics, Southers recalled.

"When I first got over there, we were working around the clock, 12 [hours] on, 12 off, seven days a week. They eventually hired local German aircraft mechanics who worked alongside us. I remember them being very good, as they were older and more experienced."

Southers returned to the United States in July 1949. He left the
military after three years, earned a degree in chemical engineering and settled down with his family. He now works as part-owner of a small software company.

"I didn't even think about [the Berlin Airlift] much," he said. "I'm not even sure that my family knew I was involved in it until a few years before the 50th anniversary. Of course, the history books didn't have much about it either."

He said by observing the anniversary and remembering the 31 Americans who died in aircraft accidents during the mission, Americans learn about the importance of the Berlin Airlift.

"At this point, I'm very proud of being a part of it," he said. "I know that we affected history big-time. We call it the first victory of the Cold War. Because of the Berlin Airlift, Europe is free. All of Europe would have ended up communist if we were run out."

He said during his first return to Germany, Germans actually approached him with appreciation.

"We were wearing caps that identified us as Berlin Airlift veterans, and I don't know how many times we were stopped and thanked for what we did," he said.

He also pointed out that the
Air Force today and the way it does business is shaped by the Berlin Airlift mission.

"The cargo aircraft today was designed based upon lessons we learned," he said. "At least, that's what they tell us. The
technology has changed, but a lot about the airlift mission today is based upon what we learned back then."

Today's
Air Force senior leaders agree the Berlin Airlift was a huge moment for the service.

"The Berlin Airlift was a seminal moment for airpower and a pivotal event in world history," said Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, the
Air Force vice chief of staff, during a recent ceremony honoring another Berlin Airlift airman, retired Col. Gail Halvorsen, also known as "the Candy Bomber" for his drops of candy and chocolate for local children. "It showed the deep compassion of the American people and sent a message of hope and liberty to Berliners and to freedom-loving people around the world."

Southers said he does not feel like a hero, despite the pride he and fellow airmen share about their role in the mission.

"The real
heroes were the German people in Berlin who suffered the things they put up with in the Eastern Zone," he said. "People just disappeared under the communist rule, because they were speaking out for freedom. We provided what they needed to get by. They are the ones who held out and persevered."

(
Air Force Staff Sgt. Julie Weckerlein serves in the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office.)

America Supports You: Wounded Soldier Gets Canine Companion

By Army Spc. Andrew Orillion
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2008 - On Aug. 19, 2006, the life of
Army Capt. James Barclay IV changed forever. He was in the lead vehicle of a convoy in a remote area of Afghanistan when a roadside bomb tore through his vehicle. Barclay survived, but suffered burns over 40 percent of his body.

Barclay's life changed again June 24, but this time for the better.

Marc Illman, owner of The Pet Resort at Greensprings here, reunited Barclay with Bryant, a chocolate Labrador retriever specially trained for hunting. Illman spent the last three months training the dog while Barclay underwent treatment for his injuries.
Bryant and Barclay's story began shortly after Barclay started his recovery at the Wounded Warrior Center at the Brooke
Army Medical Center in San Antonio. A long-time outdoorsman, Barclay was eager to return to hunting, his favorite pastime. He adopted Bryant in August, but soon found that his injuries prevented him from properly caring for the pooch.

"I had him for about three weeks," he said. "Due to the surgeries, I wasn't going to able to do what I wanted to do with him, and spend as much time as I should with him, so I sent him to my dad's house."

In March, Barclay's father,
Army Brig. Gen. James Barclay III, former director of U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Center for Operational Analysis, brought Bryant and another pet to Illman for boarding. When Illman found out about the situation, he volunteered to help train Bryant free of charge.

"I'm thrilled to do this, and I hope the dog works out for him and his family," Illman said. "These young men in the armed services really don't have a choice. They're where they're told to go, when they're told to go there, and no matter what your political ideals are, they're committed to serve the armed services, and it's important they know that when they come home, as opposed to other wars we've had, that they have some support."

Bryant's training began with basic obedience training and socialization. Illman then moved on to more hunting and outdoor-specific training such as running through deep undergrowth and proper reaction to gunfire. He specifically trained the pup to hunt both water fowl and upland birds such as quail and pheasant. Illman said Bryant took easily to the training.

"What makes him really special is that, sometimes you have a dog that's great around people [and] becomes a great house dog. We call them 'couch potatoes,' Illman said. "But he also has the ability to switch that off and become a great field-trial hunting dog."

The elder Barclay, who recently left JFCom to become commanding general at Fort Rucker, Ala., said he's grateful not only for Illman's help, but also for everyone who reaches out to wounded servicemembers in need.

"It's great to have Americans who support our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and he is prime example of that kind of support that is willing to give and do things for these kids," the general said. "We've got great Americans out there that show their support in different ways for our kids. I think it's wonderful, and folks like that need recognition."

As Barclay reunited with his old friend, the two recognized each other right away and were inseparable from the moment they were reunited.

"It really means a lot to see that people here support me and the soldiers out here," Barclay said. "Hopefully, [Bryant will] be my right-hand man."

In addition to Bryant, Barclay received a free one-year supply of dog food and a weekend hunting trip at a resort in
Montana.

With Bryant in tow, Barclay will head back to
San Antonio to continue his recovery. He said he hopes to be better in time for the bird-hunting season in the fall.

"Once I get back, I'll start working with him right away to try and create that bond you need in a hunting dog," Barclay said.

(
Army Spc. Andrew Orillion serves in the U.S. Joint Forces Command Public Affairs Office.)

Editor's Note: To find out about more individuals, groups and organizations that are helping support the troops, visit www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil. America Supports You directly connects
military members to the support of the America people and offers a tool to the general public in their quest to find meaningful ways to support the military community.

USS Boxer Concludes Latin-American Humanitarian Mission

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2008 - USS Boxer returned to port yesterday after a two-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission to Latin America. During the deployment, Boxer visited Guatemala, El Salvador and Peru as part of the Pacific phase of Continuing Promise 2008.

"This mission is something that the
Navy is starting to do more of," Navy Capt. Peter Dallman, commander of Amphibious Squadron 5, said in a conference call with online journalists and bloggers yesterday.

Dallman said the mission reflects the new national maritime strategy signed by the chief of naval operations, the commandant of the
Marine Corps and the commandant of the Coast Guard.

"In that strategy, [it] basically outlines the idea that we want to get involved with this type of mission more, and we want to reach out to partner nations just like these three," he said.

He added that his crew benefits from these types of missions because it provides essential training that will benefit future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

The Boxer's most recent deployment to Latin America was shorter than the crew's previous missions, such as their last eight-and-a-half-month deployment to the Persian Gulf and Western Pacific.

On April 28, the Boxer crew left San Diego accompanied by medical professionals from 25 different commands from around the world. In addition to the augmented medical team, personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service and the nongovernmental organization Project Hope accompanied the crew on the two-month humanitarian mission.

Also accompanying the Boxer crew were 60 Seabees from
Navy Seabee Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 303, who performed a variety of construction projects in the three countries. Their work included plumbing and electrical work, as well as roof repairs and upgrades. "We worked in 12 project locations; eight of them were schools," Dallman said.

The medical professionals aboard Boxer saw more than 14,000 patients, completed 127 surgeries, dispensed 40,000 medications and saw nearly 4,000 optometry patients, distributing about 3,500 pairs of eyeglasses. They also completed 14,000 dental procedures and 66 repairs to biomedical equipment in the various clinics and hospitals where they worked, the captain said.

A veterinarian team saw about 2,900 animals, he added.

The Boxer crew also provided valuable training, such as CPR, nutrition, basic sanitation techniques, and first aid to 18,000 students in 123 classes, and took time to educate patients standing in line for medical treatment.

"We did also provide training to people standing in line and in dedicated training sessions to medical professionals across a wide array of topics -- everything from how to brush your teeth to waste disposal to [obstetrics and gynecology] issues," Dallman said.

These kinds of deployments have a positive affect on sailors' attitudes toward having a career in the Navy, the captain noted.

"It certainly benefits our people to be more training on expeditionary-type missions like this, where we're going out into the field and working under conditions like this," he said.

(
Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media Directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

USNS Mercy Provides Relief in Southeast Asia

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2008 - After a floating hospital known as USNS Mercy steams away from ports across Southeast Asia, the ship's presence will live on in the host countries it helped along the way. The ship is about halfway through a four-month humanitarian mission that, once complete, will have taken the crew to the Philippines, Vietnam, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Mercy now is wrapping up a 10-day stay in Vietnam, where
Navy Capt. Bill Kearns, commander of the Mercy Pacific Partnership mission, and Navy Vice Adm. Doug Crowder, the U.S. 7th Fleet commander, today held a news conference via video teleconference with Pentagon reporters.

"The lasting impact," Kearns said, "is in the people-to-people exchanges that we've had -- the interaction with the people of the port where we're operating.

"I believe that the infrastructure improvements that we're making at the clinics will have a lasting effect," he continued, "or at the orphanages or at the children's rehabilitation center."

Prior to helping the Vietnamese, the Mercy spent two weeks providing aid to the Philippines, where the official death toll from the June 21 Typhoon Fengshen stands at 163, with about 800 more missing after a ferry capsized off Sibyauan. The typhoon also damaged more than 600,000 acres of farmland.

Medical personnel and other crewmembers aboard the ship already have seen tens of thousands of patients, performed hundreds of surgeries, and also have trained doctors and nurses, and assisted in rebuilding infrastructure.

In addition to training local medical practitioners, the crew of Mercy is helping to repair hospital equipment in host nations, the captain said.

"We have biomedical equipment technicians in hospitals conducting repairs of equipment that might just be sitting in a pile, broken," Kearns said. "And so they're able to restore them to operation, and it increases the capacity of that local hospital or clinic."

The crew's composition -- with representatives from more than 50 nations aboard -- is an example of effective multilateralism, as U.S. personnel operate alongside their counterparts from Australia, Canada, India, South Korea and Singapore, to name a few.
Crowder said that the Mercy's Pacific Partnership mission also is a cornerstone of the Defense Department's overall maritime strategy.

"Building relationships and trust, understanding each other, these are the underpinnings to ensuring security and stability in Asia-Pacific," he said. "That's why this mission is so very important."

Echoing Crowder, Kearns highlighted the importance of partnership in humanitarian assistance.

"That partnership really pays off when the disaster occurs and we need to come together and we need to understand each other, so that we can get the job done and help people," he said.

Soldier Missing In Action From The Korean War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Sgt. Edward J. O'Brien, U.S.
Army, of Omaha, Neb. He will be buried July 2 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Representatives from the
Army met with O'Brien's next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.

In late November 1950, O'Brien was assigned to E Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, then deployed north of the Chongchon River, along the main road running south out of Unsan, North Korea. On Nov. 26, the Chinese army struck the U.S. and Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) forces during the Battle of the Chongchon River. As a result, U.S. and R.O.K. forces, including the 35th Regiment, were forced to withdraw to the south. O'Brien was last seen when opposing forces overran his company's position about 10 miles southwest of Unsan.

In 1998, a joint U.S./Democratic People's Republic of Korea team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated a site containing the remains of a U.S. soldier who died south of Unsan in the general vicinity where O'Brien was last seen. The team found human remains and two
military identification tags with O'Brien's name on them. A North Korean national told the team that he first uncovered the remains while constructing his house, and that he buried them at the nearby site which was excavated.

Among other
forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of O'Brien's remains.

Guard Bureau Chief Praises Efforts in Fighting Fires, Floods

By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith and Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 27, 2008 - Assessing the National Guard's
California fire and Midwest flood-fighting efforts first-hand yesterday and today, the chief of the National Guard Bureau visited adjutants general and troops in affected states. "They're handling very difficult and complex issues in a very competent and professional manner," Army Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum said during a stop in Iowa. "The National Guard response has been generally superb, a benchmark case study in cooperation among the states for mutual support and cooperation during an emergency. They've achieved the correct balance between local, state and federal response in a coordinated and synchronized manner."

Blum had been scheduled to talk with officers participating in a Joint Task Force Commanders' Training Course at U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs today. With more than 280 citizen-soldiers and –airmen and 23 National Guard helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft helping California firefighters, and more than 2,100 troops and an abundance of equipment tackling Midwest floods, Blum adjusted his itinerary to assess both missions.

"It's important to get eyes-on so that we have a comprehensive operating picture of exactly what is being done and we have a clear understanding of what other personnel or equipment may be necessary to move to the area so that we don't leave the adjutant general or the governor short of any capability presently required or foreseeable to deal with the emergency in the future," Blum said. "We like to stay ahead of the emergency."

Blum's questions for the
California and Iowa adjutants general as he visited their states included whether they have what they need, how efforts could be improved and what results they are achieving.

"In order to save lives, minimize destruction and assist recovery, we need the right capability, in the right quantity, where and when it's needed," Blum said. "The adjutants general assess the situation, identify immediate requirements and send the National Guard's critical capabilities to meet our communities' needs."

California faces hundreds of lightning-sparked wildfires. Parts of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin have been inundated with historic Mississippi River flooding. The National Guard has played vital roles in both domestic disasters.

The Guard's key contribution to the fires comes from above: OH-58 Kiowa, UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters spot fires and drop water to support civilian firefighters. RC-26 aircraft give state
fire managers vital reconnaissance that improves their ability to effectively focus firefighting efforts. C-130 Hercules aircraft drop flame-retardant that halts advancing fire dead in its tracks.

In the Midwest, the Guard's contribution is on the ground – sometimes knee-deep in flood water. The Associated Press reported that one Missouri levee was so tenuous that only Guard members and
firefighters in life vests could continue sandbagging efforts.

Blum's visit to California yesterday included a Sacramento stop for a face-to-face meeting with Maj. Gen. William Wade, the adjutant general. Then, the chief and the adjutant general met with troops and the state
firefighters they are assisting at Chico Municipal Airport.

The general thanked and debriefed citizen-soldiers and –airmen and their Cal
Fire-Butte County counterparts.

During Blum's visit, two C-130 Hercules planes were loaded with retardant and took off toward Whiskeytown, Chico's Enterprise Record newspaper reported. Four of eight firefighting C-130s that exist in the United States are now in the Chico area. More are expected to arrive in the next week, Blum told crews.

"The MAFFS were pre-positioned and ready," Blum said. "All they need is favorable weather conditions, and they will make a significant impact on the fires. This will not be a case of piecemieling the capabilities – they'll be able to mass the systems against the fire with good effect."

MAFFS are Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems. Initially, air crews were grounded by smoke that obscured visibility. When crises happen, Guard states team up to respond. C-130s from North Carolina and Wyoming have joined
California's own aircraft to suppress the flames, and the adjutant general was delighted to see the planes and their crews ready to roll.

"These planes are as good as gold," Wade said. "They really earn their money for what they do. The same combat skills these pilots accrue in combat are the same skills they use to suppress wildfires – so their techniques, skills and abilities are absolute gold in an environment like this."

"There's a lot of
fire out there," said Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Christian, 156th Airlift Squadron. "We love to get out here and fly every day and fly as much as we can. That's why we're here."

After Chico, it was on to Colorado Springs for Blum, the only stop he had originally planned, where he assessed Joint Incident Site Communications Capability equipment of exactly the kind vital to firefighting and flood responses before addressing officers who are training to command the joint task forces also so critical to domestic disaster responses.

"The National Guard is the first
military responder during natural disasters in the homeland," Blum said. "The National Guard's unique capabilities enhance the synchronization with Northern Command and the Department of Defense's partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, ensuring a unity of effort."

Blum spoke to 80 officers being certified and trained to lead National Guard joint task forces on domestic missions like the
California fires and Midwest floods.

He continued to Iowa today, where he planned to ask Maj. Gen. Ron Dardis, the adjutant general, the same sorts of questions as those he raised in California – only this time targeted at containing water rather than fighting fire.

(
Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith and Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serve with the National Guard Bureau. Army Lt. Col. Robert Ditchey and Army Master Sgt. Katherine Perez, both of the National Guard Bureau, and the Chico, Calif., Enterprise Record contributed to this report.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 27, 2008

AIR FORCE

The
Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., of Littleton, Colo., for $1,383,886,398. The purpose of this modification is to modify the Evolved Expendable Launch Capability (ELC) contract to procure continual support for the last two months of FY08. Additionally, this procurement will also extend the period of performance of the ELC contract through 30 Sep. 2009, and incorporate a one year priced option for FY10. This will ensure continuous services in providing standard and mission unique integration and development, systems engineering, program management, transportation, and launch and range operations for Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Vandenberg Air Force Base necessary to launch our nation’s space assets. At this time $144,649,237 has been obligated. Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), Space Launch and Range Systems Material Wing (LR), El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8816-06-C-0002, P00076).

American Government Services of McLean, Va., is being awarded a firm fixed price contract for $65 million. This action will host an experimental
military sensor on a commercial spacecraft manifested for launch in 2010; the contractor shall also provide associated validation and assessment services to access the utility of the experimental sensor. The Demonstration Phase shall assess the sensors utility to warfighters in terms of data, performance validation, and interoperability. At this time $6,080,000 has been obligated. SMC/XRC, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8814-08-C-0001).

Softchoice Corp. of Reston, Va., is being awarded a firm fixed price contract for $29,831,446. This action will procure Microsoft software assurance on perpetual licenses in addition to the purchase of some new license and software assurance for members of the
Military Health System. This enterprise agreement members include Navy Medical Services, DoD Medical Evaluation Requirements Board (DoDMERB), Force Health Protection (FHP), Joint Medical Information Systems (JMIS), and the TRICARE Management Activity (TMA). At this time $9,943,815 has been obligated. HQ 754th ELSG/ESS, Maxwell AFB – Gunter Annex, Gunter, Ala., is the contracting activity (FA8771-08-F-8105).

Raytheon Co., of McKinney, Texas, is being awarded a firm fixed price contract not to exceed $11,471,959. This action will provide Multi-Sensor System (MTS-A) and Multi-Sensor System-B support at CONUS and OCONUS locations consisting of Depot OEM spares and repairs, depot configuration management, technical manual OEM system source data and software maintenance, depot level contractor Field Services Representative (FSR) support and other functions. At this time $9,962,675 has been obligated. 658th Aeronautical Systems Squadron, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-06-G-4041, DO 0007).

The
Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Lear Siegler Services Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md. for $11,450,000. This action is a contract modification to extend an OCONUS deployment in support of the Air National Guard for three months. At this time $11,450,000 has been obligated. Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, 727 ACSG/PKC, Tinker AFB, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-07-C-0004-P00028).

TW and Company of Lanham, Md., is being awarded a firm fixed price contract for $5,905,235.16. This requirement contract is for certified armed security guard services for installation entry control, commercial vehicle inspection and visitor control center at 17
Air Force CONUS locations. At this time $5,905,235.16 has been obligated. AETC CONS/LGCD, Randolph AFB, Texas, is the contracting activity (FA3002-07-D-0024-0002-02).

NAVY

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $37,988,612 firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00421-05-G-0001) to upgrade one E-2C Aircraft A-119 from the current Group II configuration to a Hawkeye 2000 export configuration in support of the Egypt E-2C Foreign
Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in St. Augustine, Fla., (70 percent) and Bethpage, N.Y., (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in Jun. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $36,330,140 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-03-C-0057) for T-56-A-427A engines and spares in support of three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Pilot Production Aircraft. Work will be performed in
Indianapolis, Ind., (82%) and Bethpage, N.Y., (18%), and is expected to be completed in Sep. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

General Electric Aircraft Engines, Lynn, Mass., is being awarded a $21,948,825 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0088) for engineering services and integrated logistics services in support of the F/A-18E/F F414-GE-400 Engine Component Improvement Program. Work will be performed in Lynn, Mass., (78 percent); Evendale, Ohio, (13 percent); Lemoore, Calif., (5 percent), and
Jacksonville, Fla., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2008. Contract funds in the amount of $810,401 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $19,220,000 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-05-C-0025) for non-recurring engineering services for incorporation of Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) 242R1 and ECP-242R2 Required Avionics Modernization Program (RAMP) into T-45 aircraft and T-45 simulators. In addition, this modification provides for two simulator retrofit kits, 23 spares to support the retrofit kits, integrated logistics support; packaging, handling, storage and transportability program and date; support equipment and data; technical manuals and associated data. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., (75 percent) and Kingsville, Texas, (25 percent), and is expected to be completed in Sep. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Dynamic Flowform, Billerica, Mass., is being awarded a $10,544,156 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to procure rocket motor cases for the MK6 Polar Cat Rocket Motor Program. The Polar Cat Rocket Motor program is an
Air Force JATO program that supports a military transport aircraft, LC130. The Navy is funded by the Air Force to research, develop, and procure Polar Cat Rocket Motors. Work will be performed in Billerica, Mass., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunties website, with one offer received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity (N00174-08-D-0012).

Aeroflex Powell Inc dba Aeroflex Cupertino, Cupertino, Calif., is being awarded a $9,995,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Arbitrary Waveform Generators (AWG) ) in support of Expeditionary Electronic Warfare Systems. An AWG is a piece of electronic test equipment used to generate electrical waveforms. These waveforms can be either repetitive or single-shot, in which case some kind of triggering source is required (internal or external). The resulting waveforms can be injected into a device under test and analyzed as they progress through the device, confirming the proper operation of the device or pinpointing a fault in the device. Work will be performed in Cupertino, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $2,737,680 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-08-D-WQ07).

The Joint Venture of ITT Avionics and Northrop Grumman Corp., ITT Electronic Systems, Electronic Warfare Systems, Clifton, N.J., is being awarded a $9,932,792 cost-plus-incentive-fee/cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-06-G-0011) for essential repair, support, calibration, and repackaging necessary to restore the U.S.
Navy AN/ALQ-165(V) weapons replaceable assemblies (WRAs) and shop (SRAs) to a ready-for-issue (RFI) condition. In addition, this order provides for engineering technical assistance to respond to technical queries on system function, operation, modification, software services, maintenance, and training. Work will be performed in Clifton, N.J., (50 percent) and Baltimore, Md., (50 percent), and is expected to be completed in Jun. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Caterpiller, Inc., Mossville, Ind., is being awarded a maximum $15,836,939.00 firm fixed price contract for multi-terrain loaders and tools. Other location of performance is in N.C. Using service is
Marine Corps. There were originally six proposals solicited with four responses. This contract includes a delivery order on long-term contract. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Mar. 26, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM500-01-D-0059-0177).

Total France, Paris La Defense Cedex, France is being awarded a maximum $5,314,814.50 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for aviation fuel. Other location of performance is in Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Using service is
Air Force. There were originally six proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Aug. 31, 2011. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-08-D-1016).

ARMY

MBH Ventures,
San Antonio, Tex., was awarded on Jun. 26, 2008, a $9,400,777.00 Firm Fixed Price contract for construction of organization parking lots for Brigade Combat Team, two Complex. The work includes grading, asphaltic and concrete pavement structures, signage, storm drainage, pavement markings, lighting, site utilities, erosion control. Work will be performed at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Tx., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 30, 2009. Bids were solicited on the Web with two bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District Galveston, Tx.., is the contracting activity (W912HY-07-D-0004).

Acc Construction, Augusta, Ga., was awarded on Jun. 26, 2008, a $45,242,184.00 Firm Fixed Price contract for design and construction of a
tactical equipment maintenance facility. Work will be performed at Fort Campbell, Ky., and is expected to be completed by Apr. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited on FedBizOpps with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912HN-07-D-0042).

Lakeshore Engineering Services, Inc.,
Detroit, Mich., was awarded on Jun. 26, 2008, a $21,480,778.00 Firm Fixed Price Task Order (0003) for providing materials, equipment, and labor for the construction of the Engineers Battalion Unit Operations Facility Infrastructure which includes clearing and grubbing, earthwork, sitework, concrete paving, asphalt paving, storm drainage systems, water distribution system, sanitary sewer collection system, medium pressure natural gas system, electrical distribution system and duct banks, communications duct bank system, erosion control and other items related to the work at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Work is expected to be completed by Oct. 1, 2009. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District, Fort Worth, Tx., is the contracting activity (W9126G-06-D-0055).

Chrysler International Corporation, Auburn Hills, Mich., was awarded on Jun. 26, 2008, a $6,149,750.00 firm fixed price contract for the commercially acquired vehicle, Wrangler, TJ-L Jeep, one lot of spare parts; for the Egyptian Armament Authority in Cairo, Egypt. Foreign
Military Sales, Sole Source Acquisition. Work will be performed in Auburn Hills, Mich., with an expected completion date of Feb. 10, 2009. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army – Tank & Automotive Command (TACOM), Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0438).

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2008, a $76,463,030.98 firm fixed price / cost-plus-fixed-fee, level of effort contract for upgrad of six (6) PATRIOT Rader Sets to Configuration 3 (Kuwait). Work will be performed at Andover, Mass., with an expected completion date of Jul. 31, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S.
Army Aviation & Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-07-C-0151).

Caelum Research Corp., Rockville, Md., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2008, a $13,237,185.39 firm fixed price, level of effort contract for information technology support services – option period six; services include database management, network support and
computer programming. Work will be performed at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, with an expected completion date of Feb. 28, 2011. Forty (40) bids were solicited with forty (40) bids received. U.S. Army Contracting Agency, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico is the contracting activity (DABK39-03-C-0053).

Navistar Defence, LLC, Warrenville, Ill., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2008, a $15,124,743 firm fixed price contract for the procurement of three Mine Resistance Ambush Protected (MRAP) air conditioner sustainment spare parts including 1,426 each air conditioner compressor, NSN 4120-01-555-5459, with 100 percent option priced at $556.11 each; 1500 each condenser, refrigeration, NSN 4130-01-562-3925, with 100 percent option priced at $1,653 each; and air conditioner blower, NSN 6105-01-562-3922, with 100 percent option priced at $4,378 each. Fifty-nine percent of the option for both the condenser and blower are being exercised at time of award and were considered part of the base award calculating the contract totals above. Work will be performed at Dallastown, Pa., with an expected completion date of Aug., 29, 2008. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S.
Army Tank & Automotive Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0483).

Navistar Defence, LLC, Warrenville, Ill., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2008, a $6,777,410.96 firm fixed price contract for wheel, pneumatic tire, 2,000 each, NSN 2530-01-555-5456, PN 2596798C91L; starter, engine, electric, 18 each, NSN 2920-01-555-5458, PN 3610516C92; generator, alternating current, 16 each, NSN 6115-01-555-5460, PN 3819829C91. Work will be performed in Trenton, N.J., and Belvidere, Ill., with an expected completion date of Aug. 29, 2008. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S.
Army Tank & Automotive Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0500).

Hamilton Sundstrand, Windsor Locks, Conn., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2008, a $7,925.644.00 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quanity contract for delivery of 187 each CP-1446/A advanced flight control
computer. Total maximum quantity available for purchase under this contract will be 950 each. Work will be performed in Phoenix, Ariz., with an expected completion date of Jun. 19, 2014. One bid was solicited and one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-08-D-B411).

TRICARE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITY

Express Scripts, Inc. of St. Louis, Mo., has been awarded the TRICARE Pharmacy Program Services (TPharm) contract. This contract provides for the delivery of mail order pharmacy dispensing services to begin on Sep. 1, 2009. Retail pharmacy dispensing services are scheduled to begin Dec. 1, 2009. This contract consolidates two current contracts: the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy (TMOP) contract and the TRICARE Retail Pharmacy contract (TRRx). The contractor is expected to process more than 78 million prescriptions during the first year of operation. The contract also provides required beneficiary support services, including monthly pharmacy explanation of benefits and new specialty pharmacy services for DoD identified specialty drugs. The contract award is for a phase-in base period and unexercised options. The phase-in base period is Jul. 27, 2008 through Aug. 31, 2009. The options provide five full years of prescription services at both mail order and retail pharmacies. If exercised, delivery of mail order pharmacy dispensing services will begin on Sep. 1, 2009. Network retail pharmacy dispensing services will begin Dec. 1, 2009. This contract was competitively procured via the TRICARE Management Activity e-solicitation Web site with five offers received. The Department of Defense, TRICARE Management Activity, is the contracting activity. The contract number is H94002-08-C-0003. The value of the awarded phase-in base period is $10,600,000. The total estimated contract value for the base period and all unexercised options is $2,789,723,926 (excludes cost of pharmaceuticals).

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

SRATS, Inc., of Mapleton, Utah, is being awarded a not to exceed $5,950,000 firm fixed price letter contract for 18 enhanced logistics support off-road vehicles, spares, and field representative services in support of U.S. Special Operations Command Procurement Division. The work will be performed in Mapleton. This contract number is H92222-08-C-0028.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Supreme Court to Review Rulings on Navy's Use of Sonar

By Navy Seaman William Selby
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 26, 2008 - The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a series of lower court rulings that restrict the
Navy's use of sonar in training exercises off the coast of Southern California, a U.S. military official said June 24. "We welcome the Supreme Court's decision to review the case," Navy Rear Adm. Lawrence S. Rice, director of the Chief of Naval Operations Environmental Readiness Division, said in a teleconference with online journalists and bloggers. "As you know, the Navy's been unhappy with the district courts' series of crippling restrictions that they've given us on the use of mid-frequency active sonar."

The restrictions expand the 200-yard "shutdown zone" that the Navy uses to 2,200 yards, Rice said. "Our 200 yards is based on a number of scientific experiments that were performed on dolphins and belugas out in San Diego," he explained. "The 2,200-yard number that the court is using isn't based on anything."

As a result of a stranding event in the Bahamas in March 2000, Rice said,
Navy officials realized that certain conditions negatively affect beaked whales: steep bathymetry areas such as the continental slopes and sea canyons, the number of vessels operating mid-frequency sonar in the same area over extended periods, limited egress routes and the historical presence of a surface duct, a layer of air in which temperature and humidity changes cause microwave energy originating within the layer to be refracted and trapped along the surface.

The
Navy has spent more than $100 million over the past five years on marine mammal research, Rice said, and has taken 29 measures to ensure the safety of the marine mammals.

"Since we've been employing those protective measures, there have been zero strandings associated with Navy sonar despite a number of attempts [by nongovernmental organizations] to pin them on the
Navy," Rice said. "So the Navy's position is those 29 protective measures are working."

One measure is conducting aerial reconnaissance before large exercises, looking for big whales that might be in the way. "[We] have the ability to adjust that on the fly," the admiral said.

Rice added that the Navy also uses a protective-measures assessment protocol, a planning tool to prevent a stranding incident.

And since 2000, Rice said, the Navy has run a submarine commanders course in the Autec Range in the Bahamas every other month in which sonar is used in the presence of beaked whales. No strandings have been reported, he said.

"All the destroyer, cruiser, and frigate commanding officers will tell you, when they turn sonar on, all the dolphins head their way and start bow surfing," he added. "In the case of beaked whales, lots of times they'll leave the area and as soon as the sonar stops, they'll come back."

Since being sued by the National Resource Defense Council, the
Navy has complied with all the restrictions sanctioned by the courts, Rice said. Now, he said, all the Navy can do is wait on the Supreme Court ruling.

"In the meantime, we'll continue complying with the restrictions that the courts and the 9th District have levied on us," the admiral said.

(
Navy Seaman William Selby works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Mullen Offers Encouragement as New Africa Command Takes Shape

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 26, 2008 - The top U.S.
military officer challenged the U.S. Africa Command staff today to seize the opportunities presented as they stand up a new, uniquely organized command that brings more focus to a vital part of the world. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited the AfriCom headquarters at Kelley Barracks here to assess progress leading up to Oct. 1, when the command reaches full operational capability.

AfriCom stood up Oct. 1, 2007, but currently operates as a sub-command of U.S. European Command. As it prepares to reach full operational capability, AfriCom's staff is integrating responsibilities and missions previously carried out by EuCom, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command.

Mullen told about 400 AfriCom staffers during a town hall meeting today they're laying important groundwork that will have a far-reaching impact on the way the United States engages with the African continent.

"I can't overstate the importance of this command," he told the group. "[You're] laying the groundwork for what will become, 10 or 20 years from now, an institution that has great relevance and great impact."

Fast-forwarding one or two decades, Mullen said, he envisions AfriCom engaging in close, comfortable relationships with African nations the way PaCom and other geographic commands engage today with countries in their operating areas.

In the meantime, Mullen said, AfriCom will bring renewed focus to a region that three regional combatant commands couldn't properly address.

"I believe strongly in the mission," Mullen said after opening up today's session to questions from the audience. "It is certainly due and overdue to have this kind of focus on Africa."

Mullen said he's excited about the work AfriCom is doing and will build on in the future. "This is a huge new mission for us in terms of focusing on a continent that we need to focus on in ways we haven't done in the past," he said. "It's critical that we get it right."

The chairman challenged the group to ensure that happens. "We are relying heavily on you," he said. "You are literally the center of gravity for us as a
military and a government for what's going on in Africa."

Looking out at the audience, a mix of military and civilian employees who reflect the command's unique interagency makeup and the diverse missions it will carry out, Mullen said they're a sign of things to come.

"I think you, in many ways, represent the face of the future with respect that our combatant commands," he said. "You may be leading what we are doing in our government."

Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward serves as AfriCom's first commander, with two deputies. Navy Vice Adm. Robert T. Moeller is the deputy for military operations, and Ambassador Mary Carlin Gates, a State Department employee, is the deputy for civil-military activities. The staff includes representatives of the State, Treasury, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce and Justice departments, as well as the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Agency for International Development.

The command structure represents "a much more integrated effort" as the United States increases its engagement with Africa and builds or strengthens relationships across the entire spectrum, Mullen said.

"It's an exciting time standing up a new command," Mullen said, noting the tremendous possibilities it will open up. The work of AfriCom will "make a difference" in the lives of the African people and create opportunities for them that didn't exist in the past, he said.

But Mullen also acknowledged the challenges as well as inconveniences involved in standing up a command able to have that kind of impact. New arrivals at the command are squeezed into temporary workspaces and shuffled from one building to another as old 7th U.S.
Army headquarters facilities that will house them undergo renovation.

Forces of change – common throughout the military – are in hyperdrive here as AfriCom stands up a brand-new command with a new composition and new type of strategic mission. "I can't think of anywhere things are changing more rapidly than here in this command," Mullen said, noting that the phenomenon is likely to continue as AfriCom increases its regional engagements.

Mullen said he's not concerned that the AfriCom headquarters is in Europe, and said the Defense Department has committed to keeping it here for several years. "It is my view that it is much more important to emphasize projects and engagement than it is footprint," he said.

Once countries in the region or with ties to it begin to fully understand AfriCom's focus, Mullen said, he's confident any misconceptions they might have about it will be resolved. For now, it's the newness of the concept that causes some concern, he said.

Mullen emphasized the need to "constantly repeat the message about what the intent is: ... to have an engagement plan for a really vital continent in a way to meet the challenges that are clearly there."

As he toured the makeshift facilities at Kelley Barracks, shaking hands with every staffer he met and presenting his
military coin, Mullen promised that AfriCom will get the funding and personnel it needs to face those challenges.

"We are committed to making sure you have the resources you need to stand up this command," both funding and people, he said. "You just can't move forward without those two. We understand that."

Ward called Mullen's visit a great opportunity to reinforce to his people the importance the Defense Department
leadership places on AfriCom.

"When the admiral comes here and expresses his support for the command, his support for the mission and his efforts in ensuring we get what we need to get this thing started, it just reinforces all the things I've been saying," Ward said.

But Ward said he also hopes the visit will give Mullen a personal perspective of AfriCom, its mission and the dedication of its people that will help him be an advocate for the command as it stands up. He said he purposely steered clear of PowerPoint presentations to give Mullen the opportunity to "meet and talk with the men and women who are doing the work and seeing their commitment to it."

Ward said he shares Mullen's excitement about standing up a new unified command. "It is a once-in-a-lifetime venture that I am very happy to be a part of," he said.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Ripka said Mullen's visit validates the work under way at AfriCom and assured the staff that they're on the right path.

"I think it was tremendous for all of our people to come together today and listen to our chairman talk about the United States Africa Command how important it is, ... and the value that we will have in sustained security cooperation in the future," he said.

Ripka said he's found the African nations he engages with "very receptive" to strengthening existing relationships or building new ones. It's a slow process that will take time, Ripka said, bute he added that he sees great value in the personal-level interactions AfriCom will advance. "It is all about people and relationships," he said.

Like Ward, Ripka said he's excited by the possibilities as he helps build the new Africa Command from the ground up. "For me it is tremendous," he said. "I wouldn't trade this for the world."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chairman Sets Course for Smooth Transition to Next Administration

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 26, 2008 - Recognizing that the transition to a new presidential administration could be "a time of great vulnerability," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today that his Joint Staff already is working to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible for the next commander in chief. "A lot of work is going into planning for the transition,"
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said while visiting the U.S. Africa Command and U.S. European Command headquarters.

Mullen also touched on the issue during a Pentagon town hall meeting earlier this week, saying he stood up a transition team on the Joint Staff "to look at planning and possibilities and [to] be able to be the very solid underpinning from a national perspective at a time of change in the country."

But while the team goes to work, Mullen emphasized, personal politics is off-limits for anyone in uniform. A recently updated Defense Department directive, "Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces," details limits placed on servicemembers to ensure they remain apolitical.

"It's important for us in the
military to remain neutral," Mullen said. "I am anxious to make sure that everybody in uniform stays out of politics."

Mullen stressed that doesn't mean
military people can't or shouldn't vote. "Please do vote," he said. "But understanding what the rules are, and not getting pulled in, even inadvertently, [to political activity] is really important."

Mullen conceded that the upcoming conventions and November elections will create an up-tick in political activity, and urged servicemembers to beware. "It's one of those things where, if a little red flag goes up, that's a big flag," he said. "And you ought to pay attention to it."

Asked directly how he will advise the next president, Mullen emphasized that he will continue carrying out his responsibilities to President Bush until the next president takes office. On Jan. 20, regardless of who wins the election, "I will give my best advice to whoever that may be," and carry out that president's orders, he said.

Even as the presidency changes, challenges facing the country won't, he said.

Mullen said he's had "tremendous opportunity to advise the current president," and expects to foster a similar relationship with the next president as well.

Guard Members Continue to Fight Floods, Fires

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 26, 2008 - National Guard soldiers and airmen continued to fight Midwest flooding and
California fires today. About 2,300 Guard members remained on duty in the Midwest, down from a peak of more than 5,700, National Guard Bureau officials reported.

Meanwhile, the
California wildfires called for fewer Guard members and more aircraft. UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters and C-130 Hercules aircraft dropped water and flame retardant, while OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and RC-26 Metroliner aircraft flew fire-spotting and reconnaissance missions. More than 90 Guard members responded to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's request for National Guard assistance.

In
Missouri, the National Guard was preparing for potential flooding downriver, Army Capt. Tamara Spicer, a public affairs officer, said. The Missouri Guard posted liaison officers to four lower Mississippi River counties in anticipation of flooding, she said.

One levee near Winfield, Mo. was considered to be in such a tenuous position that only life vest-clad National Guard members and
firefighters were allowed to stack sandbags, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

Army Spc. Daniel Maguire of the 1438th Engineer Company was one of hundreds of Guard members on duty from units across Missouri. "It's my job," he said. "I'm a National Guard soldier, and I help with state emergencies."

Missouri's adjutant general, Army Maj. Gen. King Sidwell said his the state's Guard members will remain on the job as long as they're needed. "The Missouri National Guard continues to work closely with state and local
leaders to ensure we have our citizen-soldiers and –airmen where they are needed to help Missourians," Sidwell said. "We will continue to support our communities until local officials release the soldiers and airmen."

Army Lt. Col. Tim Donovan, the Wisconsin National Guard's director of public affairs, detailed that state's experience, typical of the affected Midwest states. Unrelenting waves of heavy rain moved into Wisconsin on June 7, and by June 8 Gov. Jim Doyle declared 30 of the state's 72 counties disaster areas, Donovan said.

"The National Guard's Joint Operations Center beefed up its routine 24/7 staff to coordinate Guard response as flood waters covered most of the southern half of the state," Donovan said. "Wisconsin National Guard soldiers and airmen conducted evacuations, delivered sandbags, operated traffic control points, performed
security missions, completed engineer assessments and flew aerial assessment flights to assist in the state's multi-agency efforts."

Army Sgt. Jacek Gusciora, part of the Illinois National Guard's 341st
Military Intelligence Company based in Chicago, has been working sandbag operations along the Sny levee.

"This is the reason we signed up for the National Guard; this is our duty," Gusciora said. "We're honored to do it. We've received the training, and now we're doing our mission."

The Midwest flooding mission has seen Guard assistance to civilian authorities in five states since June 7. Troops have concluded flooding operations in Indiana, but remained at work today in four other states. While the numbers of troops receded with the water, they still were in the thousands:

-- Illinois: More than 1,100 Guard members monitored levees as farmland remained threatened from the burgeoning Mississippi. Troops also conducted security patrols in affected communities.

--
Missouri: With three dozen levees remaining at risk, more than 800 Guard members were on duty providing communications and command and control, monitoring levees, positioning sandbags, assessing damage, removing debris, providing security and distributing fuel.

-- Iowa: 200 troops continued mop-up operations.

-- Wisconsin: 200 troops remained in the field today, pumping water, supplying power and giving communications and command support in addition to security, debris removal, road repair and transportation missions.

Guard members are on duty in the United States 365 days a year. Yesterday, a National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter plucked an injured teenager from the side of a Colorado mountain after a car crash. The same day, Guard members assisted Border Patrol agents in four Southwest border states, ferried drinking water to residents of several New Mexico towns, supported Louisiana
police, provided critical infrastructure protection in Northeast states and California, flew critical air sovereignty missions nationwide and continued counterdrug operations.

In addition, Guard members remained on duty on numerous overseas missions, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.

(
Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves at the National Guard Bureau. Army Sgt. April McLaren of the Illinois National Guard contributed to this report.)

Aptitude Test Helps Students Find Strengths

By Meghan Vittrup
American Forces Press Service

June 26, 2008 - High school can be a challenging and sometimes daunting time for many teenagers who find themselves trapped between childhood and adulthood. But a program that uses the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery could help teens find their strengths and help them set goals for their future. The Defense Department created the ASVAB Career Exploration Program as a tool to help students figure out their strengths and better understand themselves while also motivating them and helping them plan their future.

The ASVAB program provides tools, including the test battery and interest inventory developed by the Defense Department to help high school and post-secondary students across the nation learn more about career exploration and planning, according to the program's Web site.

The ASVAB consists of eight tests that measure strengths in mathematics and in verbal, science and technical skills. The results of the interest inventory and the academic and vocational parts of the test will help students identify suitable career options and identify their strengths, officials said.

Many students, families, and school administrators think the ASVAB is a test for students interested only in
military careers, but that's not the case, a Pentagon official said.

"Parents as well as many teachers misunderstand the program and think that it's only focused on the
military, when, in fact, it isn't," said Jane Arabian, assistant director for enlistment standards for the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "The ASVAB Career Exploration Program links to something called 'O-net', which is sponsored by the Department of Labor, and it has all sorts of information about occupations and careers.

"It would be wonderful if parents had a better sense of what the ASVAB Career Exploration Program has to offer," she added.

Although the ASVAB does have the ability to help students interested in pursuing
military careers, it is not a strictly military test, and taking the test does not mean a student will be enlisting or pursuing a military career, Arabian said. The ASVAB test and Career Exploration Program are independent of Junior ROTC and ROTC programs found in many schools, she noted.

She also pointed out that although recruiters use the ASVAB, they do not administer the test. In fact, she said, officials try to keep recruiters away from the test as much as possible.

"We try to keep recruiters at arm's length from the test, because we are very careful about compromising the contents of the ASVAB," Arabian said. "The primary proctor for the test is a contracted person that we provide from the office of personnel management."

When a student takes the ASVAB, the results are not automatically sent to a
military recruiter, Arabian said, though sending the scores to a recruiter is an option the student can choose.

"The Career Exploration Program is a step removed from the actual recruit program," Arabian explained. "Certainly, recruiters can use the ASVAB scores that students have, and if that student is interested in the
military, can talk about military opportunities and money for college and the new GI bill and whatever incentives they're offering. But there is no requirement or commitment on the part of the student to even talk to the recruiter after they've participated in the ASVAB or CEP."

According to the ASVAB program Web site, last year about 14,000 schools administered the ASVAB test, and about 600,000 students took the test. Only about 9 percent of the students who take the test decide to enlist in the military based upon their ASVAB scores, Arabian said.

"The vast majority of students who participate have no intention of going into the
military," she said. "Approximately two-thirds of students who participate in the program will say that they are going to college, or they're going to a junior college or vocational program; the military is not in their plans, necessarily."

The ASVAB program Web site says two-thirds of the students who participated in the ASVAB program found it to be useful, helping them find career options they had not considered.

"This program will offer something to every student," Arabian said. "I think it will help the student identify the skills they need to improve in high school, depending on what they elect to do after they graduate, but it's really designed to be a useful program for students of all skill levels."