Military News

Friday, October 31, 2008

U.S. Troops Provide Filtered Water to Flood Victims in Honduras

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Joel Mease
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 31, 2008 - U.S. troops here are helping provide clean drinking to local communities hurt by flooding caused by a tropical storm that brought more than a week of rain. The flooding from the tropical storm had a devastating impact on the community. Not only were homes ruined, but their well water supply was affected from the flood waters making the water undrinkable, said
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shane Bolles, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, to serve as part of Joint Task Force Bravo.

Servicemembers assigned to the task force are currently involved in a 10-day water filtration project in a community near La Paz. The project is scheduled to end Nov. 5. In just a few days time, the team has been able to transform more than 2,500 gallons of undrinkable water into clean water available for the public in large containers known as "water buffaloes," Bolles said.

The impact on the community provided by the water team is seen instantly by the servicemembers, Bolles said.

"After the floods happened, the community had to have water trucked in at great expense to them," Bolles said. "I see them coming here with a smile on their face, knowing that for many of them their lives were destroyed by this flood. This small gesture means a lot to them."

Not only does the clean water mean a lot to the community, but it holds a special meaning for the team members who came to help.

"You see them come with just about everything imaginable to fill up with water to take back to their homes," said Tech. Sgt. Romano Cedillos, deployed from the Phoenix Air National Guard. "After being able to visit with them and seeing how their community was affected, I feel as if I have made an impact in their lives."

"We are able to make almost any water source potable water in just a few hours," said
Air Force Staff Sgt. Nick Luna, who also deployed from Dyess.

The machine the team uses relies on three filters that take out impurities at each stage and use a reverse osmosis system to bring the water back to its purest stage, Luna said.

"For every three gallons of unpotable water the machine pumps in we are able to pump out one gallon of potable water," Luna said. "The water that was not able to be transformed into pure water then is released back into the water source."

(Air Force Staff Sgt. Joel Mease is assigned to Joint Task Force Bravo public affairs.)

Iraqi, American Firefighters Combine Forces for Airfield Protection

By Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Davidson
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 31, 2008 - As senior government leaders hammer out a new Status of Forces Agreement that will set the path for future American and Iraqi
military policies, a group of American and Iraqi firefighters have already developed a working relationship that protects people, structures and aircraft here at Baghdad International Airport. U.S. Air National Guard firefighters from the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron are working with Iraqi air force firefighters from New al Muthana Air Base, learning how to collaborate to protect life and property in the event of any type of ground or in-flight emergency.

The most recent training paired the American and Iraqi
firefighters in an exercise where they practiced the procedures for rescuing the flight crew from a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft in the event of a fire in the cargo hold.

The training began with the
firefighters meeting for a briefing to discuss the objectives of the exercise including aircrew egress procedures and how to integrate their rescue and firefighting processes.

"We used an Iraqi air force C-130 for the training, and the Iraqi firefighters took the lead in entering the aircraft," said Chief Master Sgt. John Cinquemani, 447th Expeditionary
Civil Engineer Squadron. "It's important to learn about each other's capabilities and become familiar with the different equipment that's used so we can integrate into one team in the event of any type of emergency. We have to have one common goal and one common process in order to save lives and get the job done."

Working firefighting activities at an airport offers a unique set of challenges and dangers as compared to a regular city fire department, said Cinquemani, who is deployed from the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in New York where he serves as the full-time fire chief for the Guard Base as well as Stewart International Airport.

With more than 37 years as a firefighter and 23 years as a fire chief, Cinquemani understands those challenges and dangers, and pushes both the American and Iraqi
firefighters to learn how to work together.

To that end, the chief is planning weekly training and exercises that will encompass a vast range of crisis scenarios and push the firefighters to perform as a seamless team.

"If we have an emergency on the Iraqi air force side of the airfield or involving an Iraqi aircraft, then they will take the lead and we will back them up," he said. "If it involves an American aircraft, they have our backs—and it takes constant training be ready."

When the training began, the call went out over the radio announcing an emergency response to a simulated fire aboard the Iraqi aircraft. The Iraqi and American fire trucks rolled out across the taxiway and took staggered positions around the aircraft. With the Americans wearing silver protective suits and the Iraqis wearing black, they worked together to pull hoses off the Iraqi trucks and prepare to enter the aircraft.

The Iraqis manned the hoses and stood by as American
firefighters counted down and then yanked open the aircraft door. The Iraqis immediately pushed through the opening with their hoses and began clearing procedures, followed by their American back-up.

Once the aircraft was cleared, the teams gathered to discuss what they did well, and what they could do better.

"We still have to overcome the language barrier and do better in coordinating our actions so we all move and act together," said Staff Sgt. Jason Ankenbauer, 447th ECES firefighter, who is deployed from the 144th Fighter Wing at Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif.

"When you are dealing with an aircraft fire, there are lots of other things to consider including the fact that you have to work very quickly—not only to save lives but because it's a three-dimensional environment and there are always going to be other activities around the emergency area and multiple aircraft overhead that are waiting to land," he said.

Their training also will allow them to be better prepared to assist civilian Iraqi firefighters on the Baghdad International Airport side of the flightline in the event of a major civilian aircraft crash, fire or mass-casualty incident, Ankenbauer said.

Cinquemani praised the
firefighters for staying focused on their task, and doing their best to move as a team. He then explained that he is working on a project to make sure all American and Iraqi firefighters get the same self-contained breathing equipment so they can more effectively team-up while working and training together.

Cinquemani's plans for additional exercises and training include scenarios that will call upon American and Iraqi firefighters as well as medical personnel from the 447th Expeditionary Medical Squadron.

"The Iraqi air force
firefighters are obviously very proud of their accomplishments, and every step we take with them in training is another step towards their capability to take over all of the military emergency services activities here," he said. "Each of their accomplishments also brings them one step closer to becoming a fully independent and operational air force."

(Master Sgt. Brian Davidson serves with the 447th Air Expeditionary Group.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

SECNAV Names New Zumwalt-Class Destroyer USS Michael Monsoor

Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter announced last night at a Navy SEAL Warrior Fund Benefit Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, the name of the newest Zumwalt-class Destroyer will be USS Michael Monsoor. Designated as DDG- 1001, the name honors Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, on Sept. 29, 2006.

Winter discussed the qualities, values, and dedication to duty that Navy SEAL's exemplify, including the extraordinary acts of Michael Monsoor.

"Tonight I would like to single out one of those heroes from the community of
Navy SEAL's," Winter said. "Those who served with Michael Monsoor will remember him always as a consummate professional who faced terrorist enemies with aplomb and stoicism."

"The full extent of Michael's courage, gallantry, and self-less heroism were revealed on the 29th of September, in Ramadi. When his team was surprised by an enemy grenade, Michael could have escaped and saved himself," Winter said. "But he chose a different path, a path of honor that embodies the way of a
Navy SEAL. For having chosen that path, Petty Officer Michael Monsoor joined the ranks of those who have earned our nation's highest distinction, the Medal of Honor."

Winter concluded that Michael Monsoor's heroism and self sacrifice for his teammates and his nation epitomize the Navy's core values, and will forever provide prideful admiration for our sailors.

"Michael Monsoor's name will now be linked with one of our nation's most visible examples of military power, a U.S. Navy warship," Winter said. "His legacy will inspire the hearts of future Sailors who serve on the ship that bears his name."

The USS Michael Monsoor will be a multi-mission surface combatant tailored for advanced land attack and littoral dominance. The ship's mission is to provide credible, independent forward presence and deterrence and to operate as an integral part of naval, joint or combined maritime forces.

The USS Michael Monsoor will be the 2nd Zumwalt-class destroyer. She will be 600 feet in length, have a beam of 80.7 feet, and displace approximately 15,000 tons. Michael Monsoor will have a crew size of 148 officers and sailors, he will make speed in excess of 30 knots.

Additional information about Monsoor and Winter is available online at
http://www.navy.mil/moh/Monsoor/ and
http://www.news.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=325 .

Navy Reserve Maintenance Group Saves Time, Money, Manpower

By Navy Chief Petty Officer David Votroubek
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Miriam Verbarg, a boatswain's mate, watched over a young sailor as he sewed panels on a foul-weather hatch cover. Known as a "dogshack," the small shelter was being made at the Navy Reserve Intermediate Maintenance Activity here to help protect fleet submarine watch standers from the elements.

While the group and what they do may be unfamiliar to many, the RIMA program provides products that have been used by thousands of sailors out in the fleet. RIMA shops manufacture items such as cofferdams, damage-control plugs, podiums, award plaques and bunk curtains to support fleet operations around the world and improve shipboard quality of life.

"The support from RIMA for manufacturing submarine rack curtains has allowed all Norfolk-area submarines to deploy with a full load of rack curtains in excellent repair," said Chief Petty Officer John W. Johnson, a fire control technician who helps to initiate RIMA projects.

One of the most successful RIMA products is a man-movable submarine brow with a counter-balance that allows it to be placed and removed without the aid of a crane. Eliminating crane dependency reduces costs, improves operational flexibility and saves valuable time required to place and remove brows during arrival or when getting underway.

Johnson added that RIMA sailors respond to the needs of the fleet and can change their products to meet those needs.

"RIMA personnel have been very flexible in customizing products such as dogshacks to meet the operational submarine force needs for a portable and rugged product," he said.

Although RIMAs usually support commands within the submarine force, they also can provide services to any fleet asset. The RIMAs charge the requesting command only for the cost of the production materials, while the balance is funded by
Navy Reserve Force via Submarine Group 2.

This arrangement saves money on products and services while sustaining a high level of technical and production proficiency within the Navy Reserve. Occasionally, the RIMAs become the only source for repair parts and equipment that are no longer available in the military supply system.

Each activity is manned by reserve-component expeditionary maintenance detachment sailors who work on the projects during their monthly drill weekends. For that reason, projects that can be finished over several drill periods are best suited for RIMA support.

"The key to receiving a requested product within a desired timeframe is advanced planning and scheduling," said
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tony Marrero, Submarine Group 2 operational support officer.

In addition to the unit here, the RIMA program comprises maintenance activities in Washington, D.C.; Cincinnati; Denver; Great Lakes, Ill.; Eleanor, W.Va.; Louisville, Ky.; and Tucson, Ariz.

"The unit pulls together as a team to produce a final product that directly benefits the fleet," Verbarg said.

After it was finished, several RIMA sailors assembled the dogshack under the gray
Spokane skies. Soon, it will protect submarine sailors from worse weather around the world.

(
Navy Chief Petty Officer David Votroubek serves with Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific Detachment Northwest.)

Army, National Institute of Mental Health Begin Suicide Study

By J.D. Leipold
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - The
Army and the National Institute of Mental Health have begun a five-year, $50 million research program into the factors behind soldier suicides and how to prevent them, Army Secretary Pete Geren told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday. Geren said the new partnership with NIMH, the Army Science Board and the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs would build on work that already is under way to conduct the most far-reaching and comprehensive research project ever undertaken on suicide and its prevention.

"It's a five-year study to examine the mental and behavioral health of soldiers, with particular focus on the multiple determinants of suicidal behavior and resiliency across all phases of Army service," Geren said. "Family members and family relationships, including parents and siblings, will also be included in the study where it's appropriate."

The study also will include the National Guard and Army Reserve.

This effort will be followed by an
Army Science Board study with the goal of identifying correlated risk factors and recommending mitigation strategies and practices to prevent suicide. At the same time, the secretary said, the Army would not wait for the end of the study to implement mitigation strategies, but would put those strategies into practice as they make themselves clear.

According Dr. Thomas R. Insel, NIMH director, the study will give NIMH a bigger picture on the suicide risk factors of the nation's population, critical information that he said affects the entire United States because the
Army is a "microcosm of the nation."

"There are more than 30,000 suicides in the U.S. each year, actually 32,000 in 2006, the most recent year for which we have numbers," he said. "That's almost twice the number of homicides in the country. Suicide is really a significant public health problem. If we can reduce the rate in the Army, it will ultimately reduce the rate in the nation. Those are really the goals for this collaborative effort."

Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said that "suicide rates aren't exactly plummeting."

"Half the suicides we can't figure out what happened, so that's why we need the NIMH's help," he said.

Geren said that of the 115 suicides the
Army confirmed in 2007, 36 of the soldiers were deployed at time of death, 50 had been deployed prior to their deaths, and 29 never had been deployed. The secretary said he expects suicide rates for 2008 will be up compared with 2007 rates.

(J.D. Leipold works at
Army News Service.)

Face of Defense: Company Commander Exemplifies Warrior Ethos

By Sarah Maxwell
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - In most ways,
Army Capt. Alex Houston is like any other Army commander. He comes to work here every day ready to lead and set the standard for the soldiers who work for him. He diligently performs all of his administrative duties as the 21st Signal Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, and he gets down and dirty with the unit during company physical training. He jokes with his staff, and even has been known to sing off-key for them.

And he does this all as a wounded warrior. As a platoon
leader in Iraq, Houston lost his left hand when his convoy was attacked during a night mission.

The electricity was going on and off while his 1st Cavalry Division unit was on patrol, Houston recalled. "It was so dark -- the kind of dark that you can't even see your hand in front of your face," he said.

As the lights flickered off, the unit's battalion commander came under fire from enemy forces. Although others were in the area, Houston said, he was trained to step up as the ranking officer on the mission, and he headed into the battle to support his commander. He took charge, and while on the radio, he also took a hit.

"There was melted metal all around my hand, and shrapnel went through my arm," he said, "but I was still on the radio giving information to headquarters."

His duty came before the pain, he said, and his faith in God allowed him to remain calm and accomplish the mission of getting the convoy through the area.

"After everyone came over to see how I was, I kept saying, 'I'm OK.' And I was," he said.

He was rushed to the combat support hospital, and doctors later told him they couldn't save his hand. The division commander presented his Purple Heart while he was still sedated in the combat hospital.

"I just said 'Hooah,'" said Houston, "and they saw the soldier in me."

Houston was given the choice of going back to Fort Hood,
Texas, or to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Having heard the Army's best care was at Walter Reed, he said, he spent about a year recovering there.

While at Walter Reed, he had access to many programs that helped wounded warriors transition into the civilian job market, but he said when the
Army asked him if he wanted to stay in, he knew his answer was yes. Houston, who started out as an enlisted soldier, already had made a commitment to a career in the Army. "I made a decision a long time ago that I'm going to give 100 percent," he said.

Before he deployed to Iraq and before he attended Officer Candidate School, Houston was a chaplain's assistant for the 21st Signal Brigade.

Army Col. Theresa Coles, the brigade commander, said Houston was an easy choice to take command of the headquarters company, since he desired to lead and already had strong connections to the unit and Fort Detrick.

"I thought he was a committed officer and soldier — committed to his profession," she said. "He went to OCS, became an officer and hadn't gotten a chance to fulfill his goals. He wants to be a
leader and is not letting the injury stop him."

Coles said she couldn't be happier with her decision, as Houston has been an outstanding company commander.

"He walks the walk, and talks the talk," she said. "He and his family are committed to the unit and soldiers. His injury has not been an impediment at all. He's a true testament to the Warrior Ethos — a testament to what the folks at Walter Reed and he have done."

(Sarah Maxwell works at Fort Detrick Public Affairs.)

Runners Tackle Marine Corps Marathon to Support Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - As they have for the past 32 years, nearly 20,000 runners gathered at the
Marine Corps War Memorial here to tackle the 26.2 miles of the 33rd Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 26. Among the runners were many individuals and teams who participated as a show of support for servicemembers. Marie Campbell, who lost her husband in the 1996 attack on Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, ran as her way of helping the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

"I do this to give back to others who need grief and recovery support, so TAPS can continue to support the many surviving families who've lost someone serving in the
military and are walking the road I once walked down," she said. "TAPS helped me so much in those early years, and I ran the Marine Corps Marathon as part of my own healing."

Campbell, director of the TAPS "Run and Remember Team," ran her eighth
Marine Corps Marathon this year. TAPS provides care for the families of America's fallen servicemembers.

While many, if not all, of the participants who ran as part of a troop-support group's team were running in support or memory of a loved one, they had another important purpose. They helped to raise funds that will be used to support servicemembers and their families. And not all of them were civilians.

Two injured Marine veterans joined together to overcome their injuries, help each other make it across the finish line and help out MarineParents.com in the process.

Lance Cpl. Josef Lopez suffered a sudden illness while serving in Iraq in 2006 that left him paralyzed. He spent months recuperating in the hospital. On the day of the race, however, Lopez faced the challenging course with a customized hand cycle and the encouragement of Cpl. Neil Schalk. The corporal earned a Purple Heart after being injured by a homemade bomb while serving in Iraq in 2005.

The money the two veterans raised will support two outreach programs offered by MarineParents.com. Purple Heart Family Support and Operation PAL provide meals to patients and families at the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., and "adopt" injured Marines, sending cards, letters and prayers.

MarineParents.com provides education and support for
Marine Corps families, provides support for Marines, and provides community awareness programs for troop support.

Homes for Our Troops also had a 15-person team running to raise funds to build adapted houses to meet the needs of injured veterans.

"We had a couple of people from Massachusetts travel [to run in the marathon], and really, they're just supportive of the mission ... and they're looking for a way to give back," Dawn Teixeira, the organization's vice president, said. "We raised about $20,000. It'll go a long way toward something in one of the houses."

As the race concluded less than three hours after it began, it was two first-time runners who took first place in the men's and women's open divisions.

Andrew Dumm, 23, of Washington, won the men's race with a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, 42 seconds. He was recruited by his brother, an Air Force first lieutenant who won the armed forces division, but finished behind his younger brother.

Cate Fenster, the daughter of a former
Army Ranger, won the women's race with a time of 2:39:32. The 37-year-old teaches neurobiology and physiology at the College of Wooster in Ohio but is currently on assignment at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

At the end of it all, however, the big winners were the troops who saw the support of the individual runners as well as that of the troop-support organizations.

Commissaries to Promote Warrior Care in November

By Kevin L. Robinson
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - The Defense Commissary Agency will join other Defense Department organizations in observing November as Warrior Care Month. The observance is designed to inform military members and their families about the many programs that are, and will be, available to assist wounded warriors.

In a memorandum announcing this initiative, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he wants to focus DoD's efforts in drawing attention to improvements for the support of wounded warriors.

Through Warrior Care Month, Gates said, he also intends to send "a clear message to our servicemembers and the public that there is no higher priority for this department than caring for those who have made personal sacrifices in the defense of our nation."

Throughout November, commissaries will display posters to emphasize wounded warriors and the programs that exist for their care and support. Throughout the year, personnel from DeCA's human resources and equal employment opportunity offices have teamed to recruit wounded warriors, along with civilians with targeted disabilities and veterans with a 30 percent or more disability rating.

"Our men and women in uniform who have been wounded or injured deserve more than our spoken gratitude," said Philip E. Sakowitz Jr., DeCA director and chief executive officer. "During Warrior Care Month, the Defense Commissary Agency will do its part to focus more attention on the resources to support our troops in their recovery and rehabilitation." Article sponsored by
leadership seminars online.

In addition to posters in commissaries to raise awareness, DeCA will use its Web site, www.commissaries.com, to highlight programs and initiatives being provided through the warrior care system and to direct visitors to the agency's job opportunities for wounded warriors.

To further help wounded warriors and their families with any questions, concerns or problems during their recovery process, DoD created a Web site, www.warriorcare.mil, to provide a lasting gateway for resources and ongoing programs. The site includes a directory to find information throughout DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs about the military health system and existing service programs. Over time, warriorcare.mil will grow as new programs are introduced, officials said.

The term "wounded warrior" applies to all wounded, ill and injured military members and veterans. Each military service has specific units to address the needs of these troops. The Marines and the Army, for example, have established wounded warrior battalions and warrior transition units, respectively, to assist their servicemembers as they receive medical treatment.

Military OneSource also has created a 24-hour Wounded Warrior Resource Center that can be reached by telephone at 800-342-9647 and by e-mail at wwrc@militaryonesource.com. The center is staffed with trained consultants who will direct callers to the military or federal agency that can best help them. The consultant is expected to maintain contact with the caller until their question or concern is resolved, officials said, though the center is not designed to replace existing military units that support wounded warriors.

(Kevin L. Robinson works at the Defense Commissary Agency.)

Office Readies Defense Department for Transition to Next Administration

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - No matter who wins the election Nov. 4, Defense Department officials will work to ensure a smooth and efficient transition to the new administration, DoD officials said today. "There is a ... rather robust structure to deal with transition," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

Robert Rangel, special assistant to the secretary and the deputy secretary of defense, is in charge of the process in the department. Marine Brig. Gen. Frank McKenzie reports to Rangel in leading the effort for the Joint Staff.

How the transition moves forward will depend largely on the president-elect, Whitman said, noting there is an added emphasis on the transition this year because it will occur as the United States is involved in two wars and operations around the world.

"There is a recognition that ... given that we are a nation at war, that energy and effort [should] be sufficiently placed to ensure that we don't drop any balls, because national security and supporting our fielded forces that are engaged in combat is of paramount importance to this country," Whitman said. "We are preparing to make this as smooth a transition as we can."

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued principles to guide the transition. The first is that the department must maintain its continuity of operations. The second is to ensure efficient and effective transition between the out-going political leaders and the incoming administration.

The department also will "facilitate quality transfer of information to the new administration [and] sustain focus on our existing programs and processes while allowing the in-coming administration to establish its governance processes," Whitman said.

AFPS Presents 15-Part Series on Warrior Care

American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - From the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Iraq, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are returning home, some with wounds so serious that they would not have survived in wars past. Remarkably, modern medicine, changing policy and pure grit have allowed many to recover and return to active duty.

These wounded warriors are hard to discern from the ranks of others. Often their prostheses are covered by combat boots and their scars by their uniforms. Their post-injury jobs vary, from returning to combat to serving as trainers, but all are driven to overcome their physical limitations by a common motivation - they are simply not ready to take off the uniform.

American Forces Press Service writer Fred Baker followed a handful of these servicemembers and chronicled their stories. He also interviewed top general officers in charge of each service's wounded warrior programs and updated each program's progress. These stories will be sent out starting Nov. 5 as part of DoD's Warrior Care Month.

To see all of the stories written by Baker and other DoD reporters on this topic, visit our Warrior Care Web special, "Staying Power," which will be posted Nov. 5 on Defenselink.mil.

Africa Command Headquarters to Remain in Stuttgart

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - U.S. Africa Command's headquarters will remain in its current location in Stuttgart, Germany, for the foreseeable future, a Pentagon spokesman said today. The decision by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates allows the newest unified command to gain greater operational experience and develop and foster relationships with both African and European partners, Bryan Whitman said.

"We certainly looked at a number of alternatives," Whitman said. "But at the end of the day, it was determined that for now, and into the foreseeable future, the best location was for it to remain in its current headquarters."

AfriCom, which became operational this month, eventually will be composed of some 1,300 personnel. About half will be members of the U.S.
military, with the other half from civilian agencies such as the departments of State, Commerce, Homeland Security and Treasury, among others, said Eric Elliott, an AfriCom spokesman.

"Our primary focus is on
military-to-military programs," said Elliott, describing AfriCom's mission. "[It's] building partnership capacity, defense capacity, security capabilities with our African partners."

Whitman said that the decision to keep the headquarters in existing facilities at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart will not have any specific, unanticipated impact as AfriCom continues to develop and add staff members.

"Whenever you're embarking on building an enterprise such as a new combatant command, ensuring that all the partners in the region understand the purpose and the intent and how the command is designed to develop and foster relationships with these friendly nations is important," he added.

Echoing comments by
Army Gen. William "Kip" Ward, AfriCom commander, Elliott noted that Stuttgart shares the same time zone, which affords easy communication with partners in Africa, and its proximity allows for easy air travel to and from the continent.
In addition, the command has inherited from the three regional commands that previously coordinated U.S.
military activities in Africa a "small, but meaningful, U.S. military presence in several African nations," according to a Defense Department information sheet. This includes Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, as well as department personnel assigned to U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions to coordinate Defense Department programs in support of U.S. foreign policy.

Locating a command headquarters outside its area of operations is not an unprecedented move, as U.S. Central Command, which oversees the Middle East, has its headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., and the headquarters for U.S. Southern Command, which oversees South America, is located in Miami.

MILITARY CONTRACTS October 30, 2008

Navy

Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., is being awarded a $605,030,234 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-2102) for additional naval nuclear propulsion components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, Pa. (68 percent) and Schenectady, N.Y. (32 percent). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. No completion date or additional information is provided on contracts supporting the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington
Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Oshkosh Corp, Oshkosh, Wis., is being awarded a $45,919,820 fixed-price delivery order (0066) under their existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, M67854-04-D-5016. This delivery order is for the purchase of 173 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) variants, 172 Ready to Accept Armor kits (ECP 68R1), and 63 Sliding 5th Wheel kits (ECP 73) for MTVR vehicles. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., and work for this delivery order is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The
Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace LLC, Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $28,745,380 modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract (N00019-06-D-0011) to exercise an option for logistics services in support of the E-6B Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) aircraft fleet. Work will be performed at Tinker
Air Force Base (AFB), Okla. (70 percent); Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md. (10 percent); Travis AFB, Calif. (10 percent); and Offutt AFB, Nebraska (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $2,427,875 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

L3 Services, Inc., Marlton, N.J., is being awarded a $17,429,154 modification to a previously awarded cost plus award fee contract (N00421-05-C-0009) to exercise an option for engineering and technical support services and supplies to design, develop, procure, prototype, modify, integrate, test and evaluate, install and provide logistics support for telecommunication and related communication-electronic (C-E) systems for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Special Communications Requirements Division. The estimated level of effort for this option is 184,000 man-hours. Work will be performed in Lexington Park, Md. (80 percent) and St. Inigoes, Md. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md., is the contracting activity.

Systems Application & Technologies, Inc.*, Oxnard, Calif., is being awarded an $11,233,629 cost plus award fee contract for operational, maintenance, and technical support services for the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Ranges Department. These requirements include preparation of land targets and target areas, operations and maintenance of range instrumentation/communication systems, frequency monitoring, field power systems (fuel-powered generators and photo-voltaic systems), photo-electronics (maintenance and repair of video equipment, cameras, tracking mount trailers, and domes), land targets, range scrap removal, ordnance removal and cleanup, range scheduling and billing, meteorology, operational support, stand-by maintenance, and post-operation analysis of test data. The estimated level of effort is 215,433 man-hours. Work will be performed in China Lake, Calif. (70 percent), and Point Mugu, Calif. (30 percent) and is expected to be completed in April 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif. is the contracting activity (N68936-09-C-0003).

Science Applications International Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $9,933,738 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, firm fixed price contract for the acquisition of various quantities of Digital Video Surveillance Systems (DVSS) for installation on U.S.
Navy Surface Combatant Ships and technical support. The required Digital Video Surveillance Systems is one of four core DDG Modernization alterations designed to reduce workload in the Central Control Station and Bridge on DDG 51 Class Destroyers. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities, with three offers were received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Ship Systems Engineering Station, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N65540-09-D-0002).

L-3 Communications Corp., Arlington, Texas, is being awarded a $9,600,000 modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract (N00019-05-D-0012) to exercise an option for training support and up to 2,000 flight instructor hours on a Boeing 737 next-generation aircraft to serve as an E-6B in-flight trainer. Work will be performed at Tinker
Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Okla., and is expected to be completed in October 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $9,500,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

LINXX Security Services*, Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a $9,037,024 ceiling priced modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract (N61339-07-D-0003) to exercise an option to procure the services of instructors for the Non-Compliant Boarding Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (NCB VBSS) and Visit, Board, Search and Seizure Boarding Officer (VBSS BO) courses in support of the Center for Security Forces, Little Creek, Va. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va.(30 percent); San Diego, Calif.(30 percent); Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (20 percent); and Mayport, Fla.(20 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity.

McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $6,499,998 modification for delivery order #0004 under a previously awarded contract (N00383-06-D-001J) to purchase repair-of-repairables support for the E/A-18 G Growler. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and work is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Inventory Control Point, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity.

Correction: Contract awarded Oct. 24, 2008, to Atlas Elektronik UK Ltd., Newport Great Britain, had an incorrect contract number. The correct contract number is N61331-09-D-0003.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Herndon Products, Inc., Maryland Heights, Mo.* is being awarded a maximum $274,400,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, total set-aside contract for total supply chain management and customer direct initiative to provide equipment delivery support. Other location of performance is Chambersburg, Pa. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps. There were originally 10 proposals Web solicited with 5 responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is October 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC), Columbus, Ohio (SPM7LX-09-D-9002).

Hess Corp., Woodbridge, N.J. is being awarded a maximum $16,639,153 firm fixed price contract for electricity supply. Other locations of performance are in New York. Using services are
Air Force and Federal Civilian Agencies. There were originally 50 proposals solicited with 4 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 31, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-8006).


Air Force

General Atomics of San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a cost plus fee term contract for $177,082,588. This contract includes all programs management, urgent repairs and services, logistics support, configuration management, technical manual and software maintenance, engineering technical services, contractor engineering technical services, contractor engineering technical specialists (formerly field support representatives), contractor inventory control point (formerly depot supply support) and spares management, depot repair, flight operations support, reliability/maintenance enhancements, CAMs/REMIS/CEMS data collection/entry and numbered Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) for the Predator/Reaper MQ-1 and MQ-9 Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) programs. At this time $163,082,588 has been obligated. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-05-G-3028 003502).

Northrop Grumman Information
technology of Herndon Va., is being awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for $177,082,588. This effort will accomplish the delivery of Joint Enterprise DoDIIS Infrastructure (JEDI) software and DoDIIS Trusted Workstation (DTW) software. This effort will include requirements definition analysis, systems engineering, development, integration management, quality control, requirements definition analysis, systems engineering, development, integration management, quality control, familiarization, integration/interoperability testing, security and system operation and administration. This effort will result in the delivery of several software releases (approximately one release every 6 months) to the DTW/JEDI user community, to include computer software, technical documentation, and as required, the installation and maintenance of the current systems located at existing intelligence sites worldwide. At this time $3,500,000 has been obligated. Rome, N.Y., is the contracting activity (FA8750-08-D-0001 (Umbrella) and Order 0001).

Honeywell International Inc. of
Clearwater Fla., is being awarded a firm fixed price modification contract for $15,433,853. This action will provide one hundred eighty-one EGI production units, thirty EGI retrofit units, twenty-one EGI contractor depot repairs and one EGI mount. The Embedded GPS/INS Unit is a non-development item being procured to meet the navigation requirements of Tri-Service and Foreign Military Sales platforms. This is a modification to exercise options for the aforementioned efforts. At this time $15,433,853 has been obligated. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8626-06-C-2065 P00058).

Boeing Co., Integrated Defense Systems of Wichita, Kan., is being awarded a firm fixed price modification contract for $8,220,600. This contract modification will provide additional contract funding in support of the fourth year of a five year Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) for contract the VC-25A aircraft. At this time $8,220,600 has been obligated. Tinker AFB, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-04-C-0006 / P00081).


Army

General Tactical Vehicles, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded Oct. 29, 2008 a $45,061,720 cost share contract for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle Family of Vehicles technology development phase. Work will be performed in Livonia, Mich., Sterling Heights, Mich., Muskegon, Mich., and South Bend, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Web with seven bids received.Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity ((W56HZV-08-C-0430).

BAE Systems Land & Armaments-Grounds System Division, Santa Clara, Calif., was awarded Oct. 29, 2008 a $40,493,203 cost share contract for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Family of Vehicles technology development phase. Work will be performed in Santa Clara, Calif., Warrenville, Ill., Johnson City, N.Y., and Troy, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Web with seven bids received. Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity ((W56HZV-08-C-0426).

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, N.Y., was awarded Oct. 29, 2008, a $35,942,059 cost plus fixed fee contract. The contract is for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Family of Vehicles
technology development phase. Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y., and Sealy, Texas with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Web with seven bids received.Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0431).

Gates' Nuclear Message Resonates in Research, Engineering Community

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' concerns raised this week about a "serious brain drain" at laboratories that design and develop nuclear weapons is resonating within the research and engineering community – and giving hope that the program, which some thought had lost its luster, is regaining its priority status. Gates raised concern during an Oct. 28 speech at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace that veteran nuclear weapons designers are retiring or leaving the work force. "Since the mid-1990s, the National Nuclear Security Administration has lost more than a quarter of its work force," he said.

"Half of our nuclear lab scientists are over 50 years old, and many of those under 50 have had limited or no involvement in the design and development of a nuclear weapon," he said. "By some estimates, within the next several years, three-quarters of the work force in nuclear engineering and at the national laboratories will reach retirement age."

Gates' observation was music to the ears of Robin Staffin, a veteran nuclear physicist who served as director for basic research within the Office of Defense Research and Engineering.

"If a secretary of defense makes a speech like this, this sets national priorities," Staffin said. "Students and practicing scientists pick this up, and it is vitally important those you wish to attract and retain believe that it is nationally important that they are devoting their talents to a career which the nation values."

Staffin said he remembers when the best and brightest minds flocked to the highly specialized field: nuclear engineers, nuclear physicists and material scientists. He spent 12 years himself at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, one of three major labs dedicated to nuclear weapons programs; the others, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories, are in New Mexico.

"The importance of nuclear weapons to the U.S. defense mission was very important to me and my colleagues," Staffin said. "We were attracted into this field, not just by the very interesting and challenging science, but also by its implications on the national security side. ... These were highly important national priorities, and critical toward the national defense, through deterrence, and the maintenance of peace in the world."

Gates emphasized the importance of the nuclear weapons programs to U.S. national defense during his Carnegie Institution speech, declaring that the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile is safe, reliable and secure.

"The problem is the long-term prognosis, which I would characterize as bleak," he said. "No one has designed a new nuclear weapon in the United States since the 1980s, and no one has built a new one since the early 1990s."

In fact, Gates said, "the United States is the only declared nuclear power that is neither modernizing its nuclear arsenal nor has the capability to produce a new nuclear warhead."

This has been a deep source of concern within the scientific community, Staffin said, leaving the impression that the program had slipped in national importance.

"We were in it because it was of great national significance, and appreciated," he said. "And if it did not appear that the national
leadership – the government, the system – appreciated it, some of us would ask, 'Why are we doing this?'"

Meanwhile, opportunities appeared to be drying up and more and more technical know-how left the work force for retirement or jobs in the private sector. Last spring, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's layoff of more than 400 workers made national headlines. Many of those who received pink slips weren't involved in nuclear weapons or proliferation work, but about 100 engineers, physicists and chemists were affected.

"It has had a significant impact on the morale at Lawrence Livermore," Staffin said, and it confirmed some people's perceptions that the nuclear mission had "decreased in perceived importance."

But Gates made clear this week that he believes otherwise. He said the current nuclear stockpile was built on the assumption that it would be replaced as weapons approached their shelf life. "Sensitive parts do not last forever," he said.

Gates said it's time to re-evaluate the current program.

"To be blunt" he said, "there is absolutely no way we can maintain a credible deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our stockpile without either resorting to testing our stockpile or pursuing a modernization program."

The department re-engineers its current stockpile to extend its lifespan, Gates said, but recognizes the risk of overstepping the narrow technical margins used to design and build them. "With every adjustment, we move farther away from the original design that was successfully tested when the weapon was first fielded," he said.

Gates also raised concern about the Stockpile Stewardship Program the United States has used to maintain nuclear weapons and evaluate their reliability since the United States unilaterally stopped nuclear testing in 1992.

"No weapons in our arsenal have been tested since 1992, so the information on which we base our annual certification of the stockpile grows increasingly dated and incomplete," Gates said. "At a certain point, it will become impossible to keep extending the life of our arsenal – especially in light of our testing moratorium. It also makes it harder to reduce existing stockpiles, because eventually we won't have as much confidence in the efficacy of the weapons we do have."

Staffin said the Stockpile Stewardship Program offers scientific, engineering and systems challenges that the work force finds "stimulating."

"It presents the challenge of, 'How do you maintain nuclear weapons without testing?'" he said. "And it requires a deeper understanding of the science and engineering of nuclear weapons, because you do not have new data from nuclear weapons tests."

That takes a highly specialized work force – something Staffin said the Defense Department has worked to maintain through a variety of education programs, internships and recruiting programs.

The National Defense Education Program, for example, invests in science, engineering and math education from middle school through post-college graduation with the goal of developing a new generation of scientists and engineers at the national defense laboratories.

The National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship program supports about 8,000 graduate students every year in fields important to national defense needs.

The National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship program provides extensive, long-term financial support to distinguished university faculty scientists and engineers who conduct unclassified, basic research on topics of interest to the department.

Other Defense Department programs target high school students "to channel interest into those areas of science and engineering which are critical to supporting these defense missions," Staffin said.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department is expanding its use of flexible hiring authority and internships to bring the best possible people on board, reported Alan R. Schaffer, the Defense Research and Engineering Office's principal deputy director.

"The Defense Department recognizes the importance of generating and recruiting talent," he said. "There are a myriad of opportunities for students – from high school to graduate programs – to intern at Department of Defense laboratories, and we encourage people to take advantage of the opportunities."

Staffin expressed hope that Gates' words foretell broader challenges and opportunities in store for the nuclear weapons community.

"Just to have this kind of recognition makes a strong statement and goes a long way to demonstrate the importance the national
leadership holds for this field," he said.

Deadline Nears to Help Retailer Make Wishes Come True

American Forces Press Service

Oct. 30, 2008 - The deadline is tomorrow for servicemembers to apply for the Sears "
Heroes at Home Wish Registry." In consultation with the Defense Department, Sears has expanded the popular program, enabling America to fulfill holiday wishes for up to 20,000 servicemembers and their families.

military personnel can log on to www.sears.com/wish through tomorrow to apply for the Wish Registry. Between Nov. 2 and Dec. 25, Sears will invite America to help fulfill their wishes with a Sears gift card.

"Since 1916, Sears has been committed to America's servicemen and women with programs to employ veterans, reserve pay differential and benefits for full-time associates called up for active duty," said Don Hamblen, chief marketing officer for the retailer. "Last year, Sears launched
Heroes at Home to help military personnel renovate and rebuild their homes. Today, we are pleased to expand the Heroes at Home Wish Registry to incorporate elements to make the wishes of our military come true for the holidays and enable our customers provide a direct 'thank you' to members of the military."

The first 20,000 servicemembers who apply and can be validated with an active duty military status can become part of the Wish Registry. Active service personnel who participate will remain anonymous to ensure compliance with the military's standards of conduct regulations.

Ultimately, all 20,000 registrants will be granted Sears gift cards in equal amounts, which will be determined based on the number of entries and donations. The gift card denominations will not exceed $550, officials said.

Sears officials said they created the Wish Registry to thank servicemembers and their families at home and abroad for their service. Sears worked with the United Service Organizations to help communicate the Wish Registry to
military members, and will make a $250,000 donation to support USO programs and services around the world.

"The
Heroes at Home Wish Registry allows us to connect with the military community on a very personal level, and gives Americans the opportunity to fulfill their wishes," said Bill Kiss, divisional vice president of program development for Sears Holdings Corporations. "It's an extremely powerful program, with the potential to produce extremely meaningful results."

The program starts with the Sears family, not just their customers, officials said, noting that the first donations the registry received were from Sears associates, senior executives and vendors featured at the retailer.

The
Heroes at Home program also provides support to servicemembers, veterans and their families through joint efforts with various nonprofit organizations. Sears Holdings has spearheaded nationwide fundraising efforts in the spring and holiday seasons over the past year, officials said, and has raised more than $5 million through the Heroes at Home program for Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates homes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

USS Kearsarge Demonstrates Navy 'Soft Power' Capabilities

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 29, 2008 - In what could serve as the model for the Navy's "soft power" efforts in the future, the USS Kearsarge has cruised the Atlantic for the past few months delivering disaster relief and humanitarian aid to a handful of countries in that region. The fact that it is a 40-ton U.S. military expeditionary strike group flagship delivering supplies and medical, dental and veterinary care makes no difference to those on the receiving end in these impoverished countries, the mission commander for Kearsarge's humanitarian and civic assistance mission said.

"The host nation doesn't care what the number is, or the color [of the ship]," said Navy Capt. Frank Ponds, commander of the mission dubbed "Continuing Promise." "All [it] cares about is that this ship is bringing a critical capability by sea, air and shore to their citizens. And you know what? That's all we care about. We are no threat to any host nation down here, because we are here on a humanitarian assistance mission."

Speaking to a group of bloggers yesterday via conference call from the ship, Ponds called the Kearsarge "the perfect platform" for carrying out the mission. In fact, the same features that are designed into the ship that allow it to deliver critical military supplies, troops and equipment ashore are the same capabilities that make it right for the job of delivering humanitarian aid and disaster relief, he said.

In its combat mission, the 844-foot Kearsarge can transport and land ashore troops, tanks, trucks, artillery, ammunition and other supplies necessary to support an assault.

And the ship's medical capabilities are second only to the USNS hospital ships Comfort and Mercy, Ponds said. The Kearsarge can support up to 600 patients while still providing routine care to crewmembers and embarked troops. Its facilities include four main and two emergency operating rooms, four dental operating rooms, X-ray facilities, a blood bank, laboratories and intensive-care ward facilities.

Ponds said the primary purpose of the mission is to reinforce security, stability and prosperity within the region, but that it also provides valuable training for the ship's crew.

The crew is made up of members of all branches of service, Ponds said. The mission allows development of interagency and international relationships, as the crew works closely with other U.S. federal agencies and international aid groups. Ponds said the crew works "shoulder to shoulder and scalpel to scalpel" with physicians and experts from the Netherlands, Canada, Brazil and France.

"So this has been a true interagency, joint, multinational operation delivering much-needed services ... in the Central America, South America and Caribbean region," Ponds said.

The ship is now docked off the shores of Trinidad and Tobago and has about another five weeks left before it heads to its home port in Norfolk, Va.

In the first three countries Kearsarge visited -- Nicaragua, Colombia and the Dominican Republic -- the ship's medical teams screened more than 107,000 patients, treating more than 34,000 patients, and dispensed 64,000 pharmaceuticals, Ponds said. Doctors have performed 104 medical procedures on the ship, and they likely will perform another 60 before it leaves Trinidad and Tobago.

The crew also delivered thousands of pairs of glasses, and its veterinary teams treated more than 4,000 animals, he said.

The ship was pulled off its stop in Colombia three days early to respond to disaster relief requests by Haiti that felt the brunt of hurricanes Hannah, Ike and Gustav. In 18 days, the ship's crew delivered 3.3 million pounds of relief supplies and more than 30,000 gallons of water. Medical teams provided assessments of the storm-ravaged areas, and the civil engineers assessed critical infrastructure needed to deliver aid by roads, Ponds said.

"What we did in Haiti was no small feat, only because we were able to do a sea-based mission with a minimum footprint ashore, delivering some much-needed supplies to the folks in Haiti," he said. "We took to Haiti an invaluable asset in the form of lift, aviation and service lift, to those remote areas that could not be normally accessible by the roadways."

Ponds said the military staff has learned a lot from this mission and has adjusted its operations with each lesson.

"It's been about humbling ourselves to deliver what they think that they need, not what we think that they need, and working with them to deliver these critical capabilities," Ponds said.

Many times, as the crews work to rebuild schools, clinics and other infrastructure, they find themselves partnering more, and taking the lead less, depending on the capabilities of the host nation.

"We've come away with some valuable lessons learned," Ponds said. "And we've used those lessons in stride to adjust our mission as we have gone along."

The Kearsarge is the second Navy amphibious ship to deploy to Latin America and the Caribbean this year for the "Continuing Promise" mission. The USS Boxer wrapped up the first phase in June after visiting three countries.

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MILITARY CONTRACTS October 29, 2008

NAVY

Navistar Defense LLC (ND), Warrenville, Ill., is being awarded a $56,440,112 firm fixed priced delivery order #0007 modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5032) to procure several engineering changes and sustainment items to support the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Category I (CAT I) vehicles currently in theater. Work will be performed in WestPoint, Miss., and work is expected to be completed by the end of November 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Applied Technologies, Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $25,401,782 modification to a previously awarded cost plus fixed fee contract (N00421-07-C-0013) to exercise an option for approximately 394,000 hours of engineering and technical services. These efforts are in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division's Special Communications Requirements Division's Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) communications-electronics program. Work will be performed in California, Md. (80 percent), and St. Inigoes, Md. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

ManTech Systems Engineering Corp., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $16,203,677 modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract (N00421-08-D-0008) to exercise an option for the procurement of warfare analysis, modeling and simulation (M&S), software development, and analytic program support for the Naval Air Systems Command's Warfare Analysis and Integration Department. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. (85 percent) and Lexington Park, Md. (15 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 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.

Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $12,646,800 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00421-05-C-0048) to exercise an option for 200 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) Command Launch Computer (CLC) systems in support of F/A-18E/F and EA-18G platforms. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed in November 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $1,707,318 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Canadian Commercial Corp., Ontario, Canada is being awarded a $12,439,765 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity long-term contract for repair of the Advanced Imaging Multi-spectral Sensor used on the P-3 Aircraft. This contract contains a 2-year base period and three one-year option periods -- FY 2009 is $6,038,249; FY 2010 is $6,401,516; FY 2011 is $6,595, 291; FY 2012 is $6,822,033; FY 2013 $7,056,270 -- which if exercised, the total contract value will $32,913,359. Work will be performed by Wescam, a subcontractor, in Ontario, Canada, and work is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. On a competitive basis, Canadian Commercial Corporation was the sole responsible and responsive offeror. The Naval Inventory Control Point, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity.

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded an $11,820,775 firm fixed priced modification to previously awarded delivery order #0007 under contract M67854-07-D-5031 for the purchase of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle EOD cages, increased quantities of prescribed load lists, authorized stockage list, Battle Damage Assessment repair kits, deprocessing kits. Work will be performed in, Ladson, S.C. and in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom area's of responsibilities. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Navistar Defense LLC (ND), Warrenville, Ill., is being awarded $8,289,394 for firm-fixed-priced delivery order #0006 modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5032) to fund additional Maintenance Workshop Blocks to support MRAP Category I (CAT I) vehicles currently in theater. Work will be performed in WestPoint, Miss., and work is expected to be completed by the end of February 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

ARMY

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, N.Y., was awarded Oct. 29, 2008, a $35,942,059 cost plus fixed fee contract. The contract is for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Family of Vehicles (FoV) Technology Development Phase. Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y., and Sealy, Texas with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Web with seven bids received. Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0431).

General Tactical Vehicles, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded Oct. 29, 2008 a $45,061,720 cost share contract for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Family of Vehicles (FoV) Technology Development Phase. Work will be performed in Livonia, Mich., Sterling Heights, Mich., Muskegon, Mich., and South Bend, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Web with seven bids received. Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity ((W56HZV-08-C-0430).

BAE Systems Land & Armaments-Grounds System Division, Santa Clara, Calif., was awarded Oct. 29, 2008 a $40,493,203 cost share contract for Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Family of Vehicles (FoV) Technology Development Phase. Work will be performed in Santa Clara, Calif., Warrenville, Ill., Johnson City, N.Y., and Troy, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Web with seven bids received. Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity ((W56HZV-08-C-0426).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with DTS Aviation Systems of Fort Worth, Texas, for $11,456,736. This action will provide for contractor logistics support for the C-21 Aircraft, consisting of maintenance, repair and support functions. At this time all funds have been obligated. OC-ALC/727 ACSG/PKA, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-05-C-0001/P00125).

Officials Urge TSP Participants to Stay Calm Amid Market Turbulence

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 29, 2008 - Defense Department civilians and
military members who participate in the Thrift Savings Plan should try to stay calm after recent stock market gyrations have reduced many retirement account balances, senior officials said. "The last few weeks have been difficult times for all of us," Gregory T. Long, executive director of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board,wrote in an Oct. 7 letter addressed to TSP participants.

Long also is the chief executive officer and manager of the TSP that serves federal civilians and
military members. The TSP is similar to 401(k) retirement plans used by private-sector enterprises.

Amid the global economic crisis, the TSP's stock-market-invested C, S, and I Funds "have experienced sharp declines," Long acknowledged in the letter. However, TSP participants should view the present situation "as a time for prudence, not panic," he wrote.

Many participants, both those nearing retirement and people with years to serve until retirement, have transferred their TSP assets from C, S and I Funds into the more-stable G Fund, which is backed by the U.S. government, said Tom Trabucco, director of external affairs for the Thrift Investment Board, which oversees TSP.

Echoing Long's belief that TSP participants should not panic, Trabucco said people shouldn't constantly switch their TSP funds back and forth according to stock market conditions.

"It's unfortunate, because what happens is, as people are running away from the stock funds, they are missing the potential for when those stock funds snap back, as they did yesterday with a 10-percent return," Trabucco said, referring to the Dow Jones' recent near 900-point rally.

A much-better course is to develop a balanced, long-range retirement investment plan, Trabucco said, instead of routinely switching TSP monies between various funds.

"If you don't think that you're capable of putting together a long-term investment plan, you are exactly the type of person who we had in mind when we created what we call our 'L' Funds, or life-cycle funds," Trabucco said. The L Funds represent a good choice for both younger and older employees, he said, because they use risk strategies that are weighted according to the participant's age and proximity to retirement.

Trabucco acknowledged that the stock market has been very volatile, "with very big swings" over the past two months. However, regardless of economic conditions, it is imperative that TSP participants develop long-term retirement-savings investment plans, he said.

"You just can't get overwhelmed with these short-term ups and downs" in the stock market, Trabucco said. "If you have a long-term plan, stick with your long-term plan. If you don't have a long-term plan, maybe it's time to start thinking about putting one together."

Air Force 'Moving in Right Direction' on Nuclear Program, Gates Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 29, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates pointed yesterday to broad initiatives within the
Air Force he said are helping to return its nuclear mission to "the standards of excellence for which it was known throughout the entire Cold War." Speaking at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace, Gates credited airmen with helping the Air Force recover from problems that came to light over the past year regarding its handling of nuclear weapons and related material.

Those issues involved a mistaken shipment of sensitive missions parts to Taiwan in 2006, and an unauthorized transfer of munitions from Minot
Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., in August 2007.

Gates responded by ordering the resignations of then-
Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and then-Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley. Another 15 officers, including six generals, received disciplinary action in connection with the nose-cone shipment.
Gates said yesterday he's confident in measures the new
leadership -- Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz -- is taking to turn the situation around. "The Air Force is now moving in the right direction," Gates said, expressing confidence that headway will continue in what he said "will undoubtedly be a long-term process."

Gates noted several measures that aim to, in Donley's words, "refocus the nuclear enterprise."

That effort, described in the Air Force's recently released "Nuclear Enterprise Roadmap" calls for a new Global Strike Command and a Headquarters Air Force staff agency to handle nuclear assets, a nuclear weapons center and a single process for inspections.

"This roadmap will enable the
Air Force to effectively secure, maintain, operate and sustain our nation's nuclear capabilities and expertise," Donley said last week in releasing the plan. "It is the foundation for reinvigorating the Air Force nuclear enterprise to reestablish the confidence in our ability to provide nuclear deterrence to our nation and our allies."

Donley told airmen at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., the roadmap "will provide focus to the nuclear mission so that it will not get confused with other business, missions and functions across the
Air Force."

Gates said the standup of a new agency within the Air Staff focused exclusively on nuclear policy and oversight is a positive step in that direction.

He said the proposed Global Strike Command, which will bring all the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear-coded bombers together under one organizational chain, also will help to bring better focus to the nuclear enterprise.

This command will include 8th Air Force, with headquarters at Barksdale and now under Air Combat Command; and 20th Air Force at F.E. Warren
Air Force Base, Wyo., currently under Air Force Space Command.

Gates cited other signs that the Air Force is taking action. The Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., has been "revitalized and expanded, with clearly understood chains of command to prevent repeats of pass problems," he said.

In addition, he said the Air Force is undergoing a top-to-bottom review of what items to place under the Nuclear Weapons Center's control. Gates explained that many nuclear-related components – including the nose cones that inadvertently were shipped to Taiwan – had been migrated into the regular
Air Force supply chain during the 1990s as a streamlining measure.

Gates also pointed to efforts within the Air Force to develop "a stronger, more centralized inspection process to ensure that nuclear material is handled properly." This measure, he said will be bolstered by expanded training and career development for security personnel assigned to nuclear duties.

Meanwhile, Gates said, he looks forward to recommendations from a task force he formed to review the way the
Air Force, and the Defense Department overall, ensure proper leadership and oversight of the nuclear enterprise. The so-called Schlesinger Panel, named because it is chaired by former Energy and Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, is expected to report its findings in December.

Mullen Cites Culture of Change During Air War College Address

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 29, 2008 - Change is the cornerstone and is at the heart of every aspect of today's
military, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told more than 800 Air War College students at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., yesterday. I see it in technology. I see it in people. I see it in missions. I see it in the joint world, and I see it in the coalition world," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said. "I see change spanning the full spectrum of what we're required to do right now."

Speaking to a crowd of mostly senior U.S.
Air Force officers, Mullen spoke about some changes occurring in their pilot ranks, citing new requirements and advancements in unmanned aerial vehicles. The remotely controlled UAVs gather imagery intelligence and even launch attacks on enemy forces, minimizing the risks pilots need to face.

"When you look at the requirements, we have to fly unmanned vehicles," Mullen said. "That's hard stuff, because you want to fly a jet, but now, all of a sudden, your career path gets ventured into sitting behind a console."

Though it may not be exactly the excitement pilots signed up for, the UAV mission is as critical as any other during today's fights in Iraq and Afghanistan, the admiral said. Mullen added that in the foreseeable future, more and more pilots will be operating UAVs.

"You may not like that, but I'm telling you that's a vital mission, and we are going there," Mullen said.

The focus on change in today's
military is visible in its efforts in the Middle East, Mullen said. Improvised explosive devices once were almost too much for U.S. forces, he said, but vigilance and the ability to learn their enemy allowed U.S. troops to adapt. Today, a high percentage of roadside bombs are discovered before they even have the chance to detonate.

"We have dramatically closed the gap in the IED war," he said. "In 2004, we were a far second in that war. We were months down the road to adjustment. But now we are adapting more quickly than [the enemy]."

Mullen challenged the students to share their ideas and experiences during their year in school as they spend time away from today's heavy operational tempo. He assured them that changes, advancements and progress aren't stopping, and reminded them that the
military will expect them, as leaders, to adapt whenever necessary to ensure national security.

"We live in a time of enormous change, and it will continue to change," he said. "And you, by virtue of your seniority, are at the heart of that change."

Center Serves as Hub for Air Mobility Operations

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 29, 2008 - There is more to flying a mission than just hopping on the aircraft and cranking the engines. Air Mobility Command's 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center here is the nexus for the global air mission for the U.S.
military.

"We plan missions, resource the crews and the aircraft, task the missions to the wings and command and control the missions from here,"
Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Solo, the center's commander, said.

The 618th reports to 18th
Air Force and is the hub for planning and directing tanker and transport aircraft operations. The air operations center is responsible for around-the-clock centralized command and control of both Air Force and commercial-contract air mobility aircraft.

When fully mobilized, Air Mobility Command has 1,322 aircraft it can call on. "We're not at full mobilization right now," Solo said during an interview. "On a typical day, we command and control about 450 aircraft all over the world, flying 6,000 passengers a day and 2,000 tons of cargo."

The center plans about 900 sorties a day, including alert missions that often don't have to launch. Aircraft are affected by weather and by maintenance, and the enemy gets a vote. "We typically fly about 80 percent of those [900 sorties] day in and day out," Solo said.

The command is always leaning forward, the general said. "There are days when I wake up and see something on the morning news and I say, 'Oh, boy. We're going to be busy for the next few days,'" he said. This happened most recently during hurricane season when, Gustav and Ike were bearing down on the United States.

In August, Air Mobility Command had to move Georgian troops from Baghdad to Tbilisi when Russia invaded their homeland. Solo said an agreement with the Georgian
leadership included a quick move back to the capital if necessary. "The move was something we knew was possible ever since they deployed with us," he said.

Georgia's nearly 1,800 troops in Iraq were serving in several locations around the country. In the agreement, the United States promised to redeploy the troops within four days at Georgia's request should the troops be needed for an emergency.

When the Russians invaded, "it was pretty safe to assume that Georgia would be recalling their troops," Solo said. "So we started looking at what we might do, should that call come, and it did come."

Launching that mission was a display of
Air Force know-how, Solo said. Planes and crews came from around the area. They needed fuel to fly the mission. An air field needed to be identified in case a mission needed to be diverted. Crew rest, security, overflight privileges and more went into flying the Georgian troops home. Meanwhile, Russian troops were near the Georgian capital, and it was an active combat zone. The Georgian troops and their personal gear loaded aboard the C-17s, and all the troops were delivered within the four-day deadline.

Hurricane season also provides challenges. Airmen participate in planning conferences throughout the winter and spring with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Transportation Command, state officials and others to ensure everyone is in the loop. During the past hurricane season, the command helped plan missions for aeromedical evacuation, pre-positioning supplies and getting people out of the path of the storms.

Solo said an operation the size of the control center comes with its fair share of worries for its boss, but "I have such great folks working here that I'm rarely surprised to a large degree and a large scale."

"The folks are very good at what they do," he said. "The people who are here are here because they love this mission and because we are launching our nation's airlift and air refueling and see the impact that it makes. I don't have many sleepless nights."

The air refueling mission is crucial to the American
military's global reach and success, Solo said. The command off-loads an average of 5 million pounds of fuel a day. The KC-135 Stratotanker still is the workhorse of that effort, though the average KC-135 in the fleet is 48 years old.

"In order to accomplish that mission, you have to do an awful lot to maintain and upgrade the aircraft ... so that they're certified to fly in the international air traffic environment we're in today and they are able to deliver the fuel that we need in the volume that we need it," Solo said.

The maintenance personnel have so far been up to the job, he said, "but it is a tremendous effort."

The
Air Force wants a new tanker, and though the contract has been mired in controversy, that doesn't mean the aircraft isn't needed. A new tanker not only would improve the fleet's reliability, but also would give Air Mobility Command more capability, Solo said.

"The tanker we're asking for would not only have 'stiff boom' capability that we require for [refueling] Air Force fixed-wing assets, but would provide the basket refueling for
Navy and Marine partners and our foreign partners," he said.

Any new tanker not only would haul gas, but also would be designed to carry a good amount of cargo, and could be fitted to carry wounded servicemembers home. Any new aircraft also would have to have the legs to make a flight from Afghanistan to Washington without refueling, the general said.

The work at the center doesn't stop. "We have a mission that we've got to support every day," Solo said. "There are two wars that we must support, plus hotspots around the world. We're providing support to theater engagement plans to combatant commanders around the world, and support to exercises."

But in addition to caring for the command's aircraft, the general said, Air Mobility Command leaders also must remember that the mission tempo also results in wear and tear on people.

"After so many years of conflict now, that tends to take a toll on people over time," he said. "We need to be concerned with their needs and make sure they have their needs -- the family and professional development."

Finally, Solo said, the command has to keep an eye on the future.

"I know darn well that how we do things in 10 years is going to be different than what we are doing today," he said. "I have to look out there and see what's available technology-wise that will help us better be able to command and control and execute this mission in the future."