Friday, April 11, 2008

Research Agency Celebrates 50 Years of Technological Evolution

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 11, 2008 - When Russia surprised the world a half century ago by launching the Sputnik satellite through Earth's atmosphere, the ripple effect spurred the White House into action. In response to the Russian gambit, President Dwight D. Eisenhower in February 1958 commissioned the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Fifty years later, the agency's mission remains clear: prevent future technological surprises for the United States and create them for the nation's enemies.

"The man in the White House, Dwight Eisenhower, didn't scare easy," Vice President Richard B. Cheney said here last night at a dinner honoring 50 years of DARPA. "He had complete, justified confidence in this nation's ability to reclaim the technological edge and to hold it from then on."

Several hundred past and present DARPA employees gathered to celebrate a half century of success that produced the Saturn V rocket that enabled U.S. Apollo missions to fly to the moon, stealth aircraft, guided munitions, body armor, and an early version of today's Internet, to name some of the agency's mainstays.

"If you've been associated with this agency, you're the kind of person who lives and breathes technology, and you have a place in the story of the past 50 years," said Cheney, the evening's keynote speaker. "It's a story of boldness and excellence; of visionary, high-yield projects; and of service above self.

"And all of these have been directed to the highest purposes that a citizen can assume: the safety of our people, the security of our nation, and the survival of freedom itself," he said.

Cheney, who served as secretary of defense under President George H.W. Bush, remarked that there was a shortage of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, during Operation Desert Storm. Thanks to DARPA, the
technology advanced through the 1990s, and unmanned aircraft now play a vital role in current U.S. operations, he said.

"We've been able to use it all the time in both Afghanistan and Iraq -- for reconnaissance, for remote sensing, and to strike the enemy," said Cheney, noting that
Marines in Iraq refer to the small-scale UAVs overhead as "guardian angels."

DARPA's responsiveness is possible because technological innovation is its sole guiding principle. To maintain an entrepreneurial atmosphere and the flow of new ideas, the agency hires program managers for only four to six years, frequently replenishing the organization with fresh perspective, according to DARPA's Web site.

In contrast to the private sector, program managers understand their short timelines at DARPA and therefore are willing to pursue high-risk technical ideas, even those with a reasonable chance of failure, the Web site said. Without bureaucratic distractions and with few institutional interests, the agency pursues a largely unabated mission: radical innovation for national

"DARPA is the Department of Defense's only research agency not tied to a specific operational mission," said Anthony Tether, the agency's director. "DARPA supplies technological options for the entire department, and is designed to be a specialized 'technological engine' for transforming DoD."

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England told audience members that the United States depends on the agency to continue providing state-of-the-art
technology to the nation's servicemembers.

"The nation is relying on DARPA to dramatically move the frontier of
technology rapidly forward in a way that we can put it into work in the field," he said.

While the next half century holds uncertainty, the continuing success of DARPA will remain constant, England said.

"We can only imagine what the next 50 years will bring," he continued. "But we can be assured that DARPA will continue to ensure that America retains its technological edge."

Research Agency Showcases Robot-Driven Vehicles at Pentagon

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

April 11, 2008 - Defense Department employees got a glimpse of the automobile of the future at a display of robot-driven vehicles in the Pentagon's center courtyard today. The small four-door sedan, compact station wagon and four sport utility vehicles in the exhibit can navigate themselves without human drivers through a combination of servo-devices and radar- and laser-enabled sensors, said Anthony J. Tether, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

DARPA, now 50 years old, is a Defense Department agency that develops new
technology for military use.

"Imagine if we had convoys being driven by robots," Tether said.
Military use of autonomous vehicles would nullify the human impact of roadside bombs used by terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, he explained.

The vehicles on display at the Pentagon had vied for honors during a DARPA-sponsored competition called Urban Challenge that was held Nov. 3 on a closed course at the former George
Air Force Base, in Victorville, Calif. A modified 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe entered by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh won first place, earning a $2 million cash award for its Tartan Racing design team.

computer brain that "rides" in the back of the General Motors-donated Tahoe takes the place of human thinking to drive the truck, said "Red" Whittaker, leader of the Tartan Racing team.

The much-modified, gasoline-powered truck incorporates a mix of radar- and laser-operated sensors to "see" where it is going, Whittaker said. Its multiple sensors collect data "and then the
computer blends those into a complete model of what is going on," he explained.

"This robot with computers is very good at seeing what's occurring now and what it projects will happen in the future," Whittaker said.

The current leading markets for robot-operated vehicles include farming and surface-mining operations, Whittaker noted. Yet, the automotive market could be the "blockbuster" of all potential markets for autonomous vehicles, he said. The U.S. government has long studied the feasibility and potential benefits of so-called "automated highways" featuring vehicles that drive themselves, he noted.

Future use of such highways would likely reduce automobile accidents and provide more efficient traffic management, Whittaker predicted.

"The automotive industry believes in the vision of driving automation," Whittaker pointed out. "And, that's a big change from how things were a year ago."

Maj. John A. Moberly of the
Army Staff was impressed with the robot-driven vehicles on display.

"It is amazing
technology that can save lives for us in the Army," Moberly said. "There is still definitely work to do and obstacles to overcome, but it is very promising."



Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding – Newport News, Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $453,263,184 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the accomplishment of the fiscal year 2008 Extended Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) of USS Enterprise (CVN 65). The CVN 65 FY08 EDSRA is a ship depot availability of approximately 16-month duration. EDSRAs are similar to overhauls in that they restore the ship, including all subsystems that affect combat capability and safety, to established performance standards. Additionally, an EDSRA provides an opportunity to perform hull inspections and recoating, radiological surveys, and other maintenance related evolutions below the waterline that cannot be accomplished while the ship is waterborne. The EDSRA provides sufficient time to perform more extensive propulsion plant repairs and testing than is possible during an Extended Selected Restricted Availability (ESRA). Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and work is expected to be completed by August 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-08-C-2100).

Northrop Grumman Corp. Integration Systems, Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $101,900,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the Fiscal Year 2007 full rate production (LOT III) of seven AN/ALQ-218 Tactical Jamming System Receivers (TJSRs), a component of the EA-6B Airborne Electronic Attack Aircraft. In addition, this contract provides for spare Shop Replacement Assemblies and Weapons Replacement Assemblies. Work will be performed in
Baltimore, Md. (57 percent), Bethpage, N.Y. (30 percent); various locations throughout the United States (8 percent); Nashua, N.H. (2.5 percent); and San Diego, Calif. (2.5 percent), and work is expected to be completed in November 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity (N00019-08-D-0002).

ITT Communications & Countermeasures Systems, Thousand Oaks, Calif., is being awarded a $45,194,148 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-6311) for the production and support of 586 JCREW 2.1 Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare (CREW) systems to meet urgent Department of Defense (DoD) requirements in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Vehicle mounted CREW systems are one element of the DoD's Joint Counter RCIED Electronic Warfare program. Spiral 2.1 CREW systems are vehicle mounted electronic jammers designed to prevent the initiation of RCIED. This contract is for the urgent procurement and support of CREW systems, to be used by the
military service of the Air Force for the Global War on Terror. The Navy manages the joint CREW program for Office of the Secretary of Defense. Work will be performed in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (87 percent) and Lancaster, Calif. (13 percent) and is expected to be complete by November 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. is the contracting activity.


Foster Fuels, Inc., Brookneal, Va.* is being awarded a maximum $55,000,000.00 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for providing complete ground fuel support. Other locations of performance are in Texas, Louisiana, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. Using services are Federal Civilian Agencies. This proposal was originally solicited on FedBizOps with one response. This contract has a one year base period and two one-year option periods. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is April 10, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-4000).

Link-Belt Construction Equipment Co., Lexington, Ky., is being awarded a maximum $21,233,151.00 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for 50 ton rough terrain crane, manuals and spare parts. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is
Army. There were originally seven proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is Oct. 31, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM500-01-D-0103-0012).

Eaton Aeroquip, Jackson, Mich. is being awarded a maximum $16,553,445.15 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract for aircraft parts. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. There were originally 21 proposals solicited with six responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is April 7, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Columbus, Columbus, Ohio (SPM7AX-08-D-9002).

Adams Brothers Produce Co., Inc., Birmingham, Ala.* is being awarded a maximum $7,616,239.00 fixed price with economic price adjustment, total set-aside contract for fresh fruit and vegetables support. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and U.S. Department of Agriculture. This proposal was originally DIBBS solicited with two responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is Oct. 10, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM300-08-D-P044).


Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio, is being awarded a contract for $26,092,199. This action will provide chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense concepts, capability integration and development for the Joint Requirements Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense. At this time $7,469,280 has been obligated. Offutt
Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-00-D-3180, Delivery Order: 0537).

Rockwell Collins, Inc., Government Systems of Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded a modified firm fixed price contract for $21,765,082. This contract modification exercises production options for the purchase of 9,746 Defense Advanced GPS Receivers (DAGRs) and accessories. The DAGR will provide authorized Department of Defense (DoD) and Foreign
Military Sales (FMS) users of GPS User Equipment (UE) a Precise Positioning System (PPS), hand-held, dual-frequency (L1/L2), lightweight receiver (less than one pound) that incorporates the next generation, tamper-resistant GPS "SAASM" (Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module) Security module. The DAGR will serve as a replacement for the Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver (PLGR) in integrated platforms as well as for the advanced and basic GPS user. At this time $21,765,082 has been obligated. El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-02-C-0011; Modification No. P00061).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems of San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a modified fixed price incentive firm contract for $21,332,347. This contract will provide for long lead associated with five Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload Sensors to be procured in conjunction with Global Hawk Lot 8 Air Vehicles. At this time $21,332,347 has been obligated. Wright-Patterson
Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-08-C-3001 P00001).

L3 Communications Cincinnati Electronics Corp. of
Mason, Ohio, is being awarded a firm fixed price price incentive firm contract for $10,747,021. This action provides for Sensor Unit (SU) Upgrade for AN/AAR-44 program: Sensor Unit Modification Kit 210 each; Unit Test Set 23 each; Channel Acquisition Circuit Card Assembly (CCA) 20 each; Controller CCA 20 each; Distribution CCA 20 each; Communication Controller CCA 20 each; Test Set Interface CCA 20 each; Test Set Interface CCA 1 LO; Data 1 LO; Travel 1 LO. At this time $10,747,021 has been obligated. Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8509-08-C-0011).

Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio, is being awarded a contract for $6,156,138. This action will provide nonclinical, preclinical and drug delivery studies of MMB4 Dimethanesulfonate. At this time $90,676 has been obligated. Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-00-D-3180, Delivery Order: 0540).


DRS Sensors & Targeting Systems, Optronics Division, was awarded on April 10, 2008, a $23,300,110 firm-fixed price contract for 7,991 driver's vision enhancer b-kits and associated spares for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Program. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 30, 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Nov. 21, 2003, and three bids were received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-04-C-J202).

Systems Research & Application Corp., Fairfax, Va. was awarded on April 9, 2008. a $20,712,791 cost-plus award fee and firm-fixed price contract for the deployment of all National Geospatial Intelligence Agency's East Mission and Personnel to New Campus East facility. Work will be performed in Sterling, Va. and is expected to be completed by March 12, 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Sept. 20, 2007, and two bids were received. National Geospatial Intelligency Agency, Reston, Va., is the contracting activity (HM0140-08-C-0004).

I.L. Fleming, Inc., Midway, Ga. Was awarded on April 10, 2008, a $10,249,500 firm-fixed price contract for design and construction of the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center. Work will be performed at Fort Jackson, S.C., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 9, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Jan. 2, 2008, and seven bids were received. U.S.
Army Engineer District, Savannah, Ga. Is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-C-0021).


Presidential Airways, Inc., an Aviation Worldwide Services Company of Moyock, N.C., is being awarded a $16,346,186 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for rotary wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger and cargo air transportation services. Work will be performed in Afghanistan and is expected to start May 01, 2008 to be completed by Nov. 30, 2008. Contract funds will expire at the end of this current fiscal year. This contract was a sole-source acquisition. The contracting activity is United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) Directorate of Acquisition, Scott
Air Force Base, Ill. (HTC711-08-D-0021).

Two States Sign Compact on Education Transition for Military Children

American Forces Press Service

April 11, 2008 -
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed legislation into law this week that will ease the transition for military children as their servicemember parents move from assignment to assignment during their careers. Twenty-one other states are actively considering the measure, known as the Compact on Education Transition for Military Children, and 14 of those state legislatures have bills submitted in one or both chambers. Kansas adopt the compact April 9, and Kentucky followed suit yesterday. Adoption in 10 states makes the compact operational, Defense Department officials said.

"Passage of this interstate compact will have a lasting, positive impact on our
military families," said David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "Quality education is a primary quality-of-life concern. In fact, education is so important that that it directly impacts military recruitment, satisfaction with assignments, readiness, and ultimately, retention.

"We ask a lot of our
military families," Chu continued. "Easing this burden is the right thing to do. We appreciate all the support and effort to implement the compact. We look forward to more states signing on."

The compact, developed by the Council of State Governments, education experts and the Defense Department, addresses common problems that affect
military students as a result of frequent moves and deployments. States that sign on to it agree to work collectively with other compact states to create uniform standards of practice, including the transfer of records, course placement, graduation requirements, redundant or missed testing, entrance-age variations and other transition issues.

"We are thrilled that
Kansas and Kentucky are leading the nation in seeking uniform standards for school transition for military children," Leslye A. Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy, said.

About 1.5 million children of
military families attend schools other than those sponsored by the Defense Department, and military families move about three times as often as their civilian counterparts, Arsht said. This legislation will positively affect the 19,000 school-age children of military families residing in Kansas and 30,834 school-age children in Kentucky, she noted.

"This compact really means a lot to military families," Arsht said. "Once in force, it means that a move to a new school will no longer prevent students from taking the classes they want or deny them extra-curricular activities. They won't have to repeat a class or delay graduation because they are completing a new state's requirements. The compact creates consistency and certainty for families as they move from one school to another.

"Our families also serve our nation," she continued. "We are grateful for this tangible way states are showing their appreciation."

(From a Defense Department news release.)

Pentagon to Host Special All-Military Naturalization Ceremony

American Forces Press Service

April 11, 2008 - Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England will join U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Emilio Gonzalez and deliver the keynote address at a special
military naturalization ceremony April 14, at the Pentagon. Twenty-five service members from 14 countries are scheduled to take the Oath of Allegiance and become citizens of the United States during a rare all-military naturalization ceremony slated to begin at 1 p.m.

The new citizens represent are from Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines and the United Kingdom. The servicemembers are from the
Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, and include members of the National Guard and Reserve.

PaCom, Indonesia Recommit to Shared Security Interests

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 11, 2008 - The top U.S. officer in the Pacific met today with Indonesian President Bambang Yudoyono to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the region and applaud Indonesia's role in maritime
security, peacekeeping and other security initiatives. Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, wrapped up his two-day visit here praising Indonesia's role in promoting maritime security in the strategic Straits of Malacca.

During a joint news conference with Yudoyono, Keating noted the close cooperation among Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines that is improving their collective maritime domain awareness and
law enforcement capabilities. This cooperation, Keating said, is paying off through enhanced security in the busy Malacca Straits, a transit point comparable to the Suez and Panama canals in terms of ship traffic.

Keating said he congratulated Yudoyono on the Indonesian Defense Force's peacekeeping operations around the world, and urged a closer
military-to-military relationship so both countries' armed forces are better prepared to work together to promote their shared security interests.

Citing violent extremism as the greatest threat to the region, Keating said he and Yudoyono pledged to promote information and intelligence sharing,
military and law enforcement engagement, and "whatever else is required" to prevent terrorists from operating here.

"We want to make it very difficult for those committed to violent extremism to move in Indonesia or anywhere in our area of responsibility for which I am in charge," he said.

Echoing sentiments expressed yesterday during his meetings with Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono and Gen. Djoko Santoso, chief of defense, Keating encouraged greater
military-to-military engagement through exercises, leadership development programs, and more personnel exchanges.

Yudoyono, who has attended several U.S.
military schools through the U.S. International Military Education and Training Program, supported the idea and told Keating he welcomes the opportunity for troops to learn from each other.

Yudoyono expressed particular interest in cooperating in humanitarian assistance and disaster response preparedness -- a key focus here after a magnitude 9.1 underwater earthquake in December 2004 caused a tsunami that leveled much of Indonesia's Aceh province.

Keating assured Indonesian leaders yesterday that PaCom will continue helping Indonesia develop disaster response plans to ensure it's ready to jump into action should disaster strike.

As today's news conference concluded, Keating reaffirmed his great respect for the Indonesian armed forces and said he looks forward to building on the strong bonds that already exist between the Indonesian and U.S. militaries.

The upcoming Indonesia-U.S. Security Dialog, scheduled for next week in Washington, is expected to be the next major step in that direction.

Face of Defense: Loadmaster Helps War Effort, Provides Humanitarian Aid

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Shawn J. Jones
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 10, 2008 - A Fort Mill, S.C., native contributes to the war on terror by transporting cargo -- everything from hand grenades to bottled water -- all over the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Air Force Airman 1st Class Joshua Weston is serving a four-month deployment as a loadmaster with 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. He is responsible for managing the vast cargo compartment of a C-17 Globemaster III, and his unit transports cargo and passengers that directly facilitate U.S. goals of bringing stability to the region.

"Initially, I joined the
Air Force to travel and see the world," Weston said. So far, the 2006 graduate of Fort Mill High School has achieved that goal. Despite having less than two years of Air Force service, he has accumulated an extensive travel history. He's part of a crew that has flown missions to more than 10 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Germany and Kenya.

Senior members of his crew say Weston is making a favorable impression.

"Airman Weston is a new, young loadmaster that brings enthusiasm and new, refreshing perspectives to C-17 operations," said fellow crew member Capt. Travis Elliott, a C-17 pilot.

The versatility of C-17 operations makes it a popular choice to transport troops, equipment and humanitarian supplies all over the globe. Weston and his fellow crew members displayed that versatility during a mission last month. In the first leg of the mission, the crew delivered ammunition and grenades to coalition troops serving in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. Before leaving, the crew uploaded a team of
Navy construction specialists and 100,000 pounds of equipment bound for a humanitarian well-drilling project in northeast Kenya.

"It is always extremely rewarding to see our efforts pay off," he said. "In this case, we were able to supply machinery so that people under drought conditions could receive water, a basic need of life."

Weston said he has also transported coalition troops, vehicles and ammunition in and out of combat zones.

"I continually see new things taking place in the world," he said. "If there is a big event in the world, I am always somehow a part of it."

Air Force Staff Sgt. Shawn J. Jones serves with U.S. Air Forces Central Public Affairs.)

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. Virgil L. Phillips, U.S.
Army, of Columbus, Ind. He will be buried on April 19 in Loogootee, Ind.

Representatives from the
Army met with Phillips' 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 November 1950, Phillips was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division then operating in Unsan, North Korea, near a bend in the Kuryong River known as the Camel's Head. On Nov. 1, parts of two Chinese Communist divisions struck the 1st Cavalry Division's lines, collapsing the perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. In the process, the 3rd Battalion was surrounded and effectively ceased to exist as a fighting unit. Phillips was one of the more than 350 servicemen unaccounted-for from the battle at Unsan.

In 2003, a joint U.S.-Democratic People's Republic of Korea team (D.P.R.K.), led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated a burial site near the Camel's Head. The team recovered human remains and other material evidence. Information from the D.P.R.K. indicated that the remains were initially buried near the battle site, but were later moved to a location nearby because of construction in the area.

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

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at or call (703) 699-1169.

PaCom Chief Lauds U.S.-Indonesian Ties, Urges Closer Cooperation

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 10, 2008 - The top U.S.
military officer in the Pacific pledged today to continue working to build on the United States' solid military-to-military relationship with Indonesia through exercises, military exchanges and information sharing. Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, met with Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono, Defense Chief Gen. Djoko Santoso and other officials during his second visit here since taking PaCom's helm in March 2007.

The visit "highlights the importance we attach to the relationship we enjoy between the United States Pacific Command and Indonesia," Keating told reporters following today's sessions.

Throughout the meetings, Keating said, he emphasized the importance the United States attaches to Indonesia in its theater
security cooperation plan.

"Indonesia plays a prominent role in the goals we have for our entire region," he said. "We have had great discussions with the leaders of Indonesia and look forward to continued warm relations with our partner here in Indonesia for decades and decades to come."

Keating noted the key role of Indonesian defense forces -- known as "TNI," for Tentara Nasional Indonesia -- in maritime
security. TNI's operational area includes the strategic Malacca Strait, which is considered one of the world's most important waterways.

Keating urged greater multilateral cooperation to support this effort, with all countries with a vested interest in the region's maritime
security cooperating and sharing both information and best practices. These include not just the United States and Indonesia, but also Malaysia, the Philippines, India and other neighbors.

"It is of very high strategic, operational and tactical importance to us that all of us do everything that we can to enhance maritime
security in ... the area in which Indonesia is located," he said.

Toward that end, Indonesia is working with the Philippines and Malaysia to improve intelligence sharing to safeguard vessels' passage through the Malacca Strait. In addition, it is joining with Singapore, Malaysia and, most recently, Thailand to improve maritime domain awareness and
law enforcement capabilities vital to the strait.

Keating said he thanked Sudarsono today for Indonesia's contribution to United Nations peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and Darfur, Sudan. "This is a significant commitment by Indonesia's
military, and we applaud that effort," he told reporters.

Pointing to the growth in exchanges between the U.S. and Indonesian militaries, from mid-grade enlisted members to senior officers, Keating said he'd like to see even more. Less than 10 years ago, fewer than a dozen people took part in these exchanges. This year, that number has jumped to more than 125.

"So it is a significantly expanded range of opportunities for us, and it is not just quantity we are emphasizing," he said. "It is quality and technological advance where we will share our best practices with the TNI."

Keating introduced
Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Jim Roy, his senior enlisted advisor, who is working with the Indonesians to promote exchanges for enlisted members and noncommissioned officers.

Roy said the exchanges promote
leadership as well as technical skills, benefiting both countries' militaries. "We are very excited about those opportunities," he said. "There are some to come this year and many more to come in the years ahead."

military-to-military relationship between the United States and Indonesia continues to develop, reaching its highest level since 1999. This relationship not only helps Indonesia build capacity, but also promotes interagency and international cooperation and information sharing, which PaCom officials called key to confronting regional challenges.

Keating said it's in PaCom's and the entire U.S.
military's interest "to develop, maintain and even improve the military-to-military relations we have enjoyed for many years."

"And I promise you, we will do everything we can to enhance them in the future," he said.

Keating's visit reinforced the message Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates brought here in late February, when the secretary called Indonesia "an important regional
leader with global reach."

"Our relationship with Indonesia has made great strides in the past few years, and I have every expectation that it will continue to do so in the near and far future," Gates said during a speech at the Indonesian Council on World Affairs.

The secretary's discussions here centered on ways the United States can work more closely with the Indonesian
military, helping it continue its reformation effort and improve its air and maritime capabilities.

Asked by reporters today about Indonesia's intent to buy F-16 aircraft from the United States in 2010, Keating confirmed general Defense Department endorsement. "We at Pacific Command are all for that," he said.

PaCom Commander Visits Marine Security Detachment in Jakarta

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 10, 2008 - Three months into his job as detachment commander,
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. James Sturla said he's hard-pressed to find a more interesting or gratifying job than overseeing his fellow Marines who guard the U.S. Embassy here. Sturla commands Marine Security Guard Detachment Jakarta, where eight Marines are charged with protecting embassy property and personnel while safeguarding classified material.

Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, paid the Marines a call today on his way to a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Cameron Hume.

Keating, here for visits with Indonesian government and
military leaders to discuss mutual security interests and promote closer cooperation, thanked the Marines for their service and presented each his PaCom commander's coin. "Thanks," Keating told the Marines. "You make us proud."

Sgt. Gregory Rodriguez, a seven-year
Marine serving his first security guard posting here, called Keating's visit a special treat, one day before his 29th birthday. "It's like a birthday gift," he said. "It feels good that he took time out of his busy schedule to say thanks. That means a lot."

Duty with a Marine
security guard detachment is light years apart from just about any other duty a Marine might pull, Sturla said. Instead of serving within a military unit, the Marines become part of the diplomatic community, living and working among U.S. State Department employees and their families.

"This duty is a lot different than being in the fleet," Sturla said. "There's a lot less stress here, especially compared to being deployed (to a combat zone). But that said, you always have to be on guard, ready to respond to an actual event at the embassy."

All but one of the guards has deployed into combat at least once. Sturla was wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade during combat near Iraq's border with Syria in September 2004. Despite serious arm and torso injures and severe burns to his hand, he went on to serve another deployment.

Sturla and the rest of the guard detachment agree that combat experience pays off here, where they're required to be on their toes and ready to respond in an instant. "You have to be flexible, real flexible," said Sgt. Jesse Spears. "You have to be able to think on your feet."

As they serve at U.S. Embassies around the world, Marine
security guards recognize the trust placed in them -- a trust that sometimes comes at a huge price. Marine Sgt. Nathaniel Aliganga was killed during the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1997. The Marine security guard residence there is dedicated in his memory.

Marines volunteer for the security guard program, agreeing to serve three consecutive one-year tours at different embassies. All except the detachment commander are required to certify that they're unmarried and won't tie the knot any time during their three-year assignment.

Sturla, who as commander serves 18 months at two different embassies, was permitted to bring his wife and two children here to Jakarta, where they live in embassy housing. "It's pretty nice," Sturla said. "They like it a lot."

While the duty is considered a "B" billet, meaning a hardship tour, the
Marines pulling it give it an "A" for career opportunity and personal enrichment. Security guard duty not only improves their promotion potential, but also gives them experiences beyond anything they ever expected.

When signing up for the program, they specify their choice of assignments, ranking them 1 through 12. Spears specifically requested duty in Jakarta, figuring it was "one of those countries you normally wouldn't get to see if you weren't posted to it."

Spears served a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, followed by a year in Abuja, Nigeria, before arriving here. Sgt. Carlos Melendez spent a year in Kampala, Uganda, followed by a coveted assignment in Milan, Italy. Harmon served a year each in Valletta, Malta, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

"You get to travel. You get experience. This is the world's best-kept secret," Harmon said. "It's a great program."

Beyond those experiences, he called the duty a learning experience that offers lessons about how other U.S. government agencies operate and the contributions they make. "It opens a lot of doors, brings you in and gives you insight about what they actually do," he said.

"It helps give you the big picture," agreed Sgt. Jeff Gordon, a fellow guard. "Not only do you get to travel a lot, but you get to see how different parts of the government work."

As they digest those insights, the Marines heartily endorsed their assignment at the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia. "There's a lot to do here," Sturla said. "You just can't get bored in Jakarta."

America Supports You: Community Sends Girl Scout Cookies to Troops

American Forces Press Service

April 10, 2008 - It's reasonable to think servicemembers deployed the world over might be missing Girl Scout cookies again this year, but that's not necessarily the case. More than 150 soldiers, sailors, airmen and
Marines soon will be enjoying Girl Scout cookies and other goodies thanks to the Thank You Foundation and several members of the greater Cincinnati community.

"This was a real community effort," said John Guinn, president and founder of the Thank You Foundation. "Students from St. Margaret of York [School] collected items, and several Girl Scout troops donated cookies. Senior citizens from the Lebanon Country Manor helped pack up the boxes."

Seventh-grade students at St. Margaret of York in Loveland, Ohio, spent two weeks last month collecting care package items for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Our U.S. troops in Iraq have sacrificed so much for our country's freedom so it was a wonderful feeling for me to have the opportunity to be able to give back to them," said Marisa Pike, one of the seventh-graders who participated. "It's great to be part of a school that encourages students to serve others in their need."

Her classmates agreed the project has given them a new appreciation and perspective for the sacrifices servicemembers make, as well as the importance of volunteerism.

"This project really helped me understand that one person can really make a difference," said Sarah Wandtke, also a seventh-grader at the school. "It feels really great to know that you are helping someone. I hope we can do this again next year."

In addition to the items collected by the school, Girl Scout Troop 8238 in Landen donated 300 boxes of cookies, and Troop 41865 of Bethany School in Glendale added at least another 50 boxes, Guinn said.

Kim Robinson, a Lebanon Country Manor employee, has both a son and son-in-law in Iraq. She, along with the seniors from the manor and her daughter and daughter-in-law, helped pack the boxes for the Thank You Foundation.

"I know personally what it means to the men and women serving over there to get these packages from home," Robinson said. "We try to do all we can to let them know they are loved and in our thoughts and prayers."

Over the last several months, the Thank You Foundation has sent several hundred care packages to troops and has worked with other groups in the
Cincinnati area to send clothing, school supplies, and toys to children in Iraq.

In addition, the foundation has focused efforts on providing financial support for the families of wounded and disabled soldiers in
Cincinnati and across the country. In January that support helped a disabled Vietnam veteran visit his dying mother in Texas.

"We do what we can to help where other organizations can't," Guinn said. "Care packages are really just a small part of the many things we try to do to say thank you."

(From a Thank You Foundation news release.)