Military News

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Top Pentagon Official Reflects on His Immigrant Roots

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 15, 2008 - A day after more than 20
military immigrants became naturalized U.S. citizens at the Pentagon, a top Defense Department official reflected on his family's journey to the United States. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, who delivered the keynote speech at yesterday's ceremony, spoke today about the American roots his grandmother planted when she emigrated from Germany in 1873.

"She came to America when she was 17 years old. Of course in that era, when you left, you were never going home again," he said. "Her parents knew she was never coming home again, which is absolutely remarkable to me."

England's grandmother met her husband in the United States, and the couple had eight children, including England's mother. After his maternal grandfather -- also a German immigrant -- passed away, England's grandmother raised the eight children alone.

"She raised eight children by herself in a time when there was no support structure, which was probably typical of a lot of immigrants to America who worked extraordinarily hard to survive here in America," said the deputy secretary, who previously served as secretary of the
Navy.

On the other side of the family tree, England's father's biological parents died young, leaving England's father an orphan at age 4.

"His father had died early on, so when his mother died he was 4 years old," England said. "So he moved down the street to a family that decided they would take him in, literally. It was a different era; you wouldn't do that these days."

The family down the street comprised two other children and a widow named Mary England, a British immigrant, as the surname suggests. Upon adoption, England's father lost touch with his biological family and began using the name England.

"I think what is remarkable about all of this," England said, "is if you had asked my grandmother when I was a young boy that her grandson would be secretary of the Navy or deputy secretary of defense -- that was not even conceptual in her mind."

England said America affords immigrants opportunities that are unavailable in their birth nations, which drives their work ethic. "It is, I think, indicative of the United States of America that people come to this country and vast opportunities are available to them if they care to take advantage of those opportunities," he said.

"I think immigrants are even more successful than people who have been here for a while, because they recognize that and they work very hard to take advantage of that," he said. "Therefore, our nation is enhanced and blessed by immigrants who come to our country, because they bring enormous energy with them to take advantage of these wonderful opportunities."

England presided over a ceremony yesterday in which 22 uniformed immigrants, representing 15 nations, took the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and became naturalized American citizens.

"The countries you hail from, your names, your cultures, and unique experiences reflect the diversity that is this nation's hallmark and vitality," he told the new citizens yesterday. "The country's strong fabric is woven from the richly varied contributions of citizens from around the entire world."

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 15, 2008

ARMY

AM General, LLC, South Bend, Ind., was awarded on Apr. 11, 2008, a $650,079,405 firm-fixed price contract for 4,526 high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicles. Work will be performed in Mishawaka, Ind., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Mar. 17, 2006. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S0001).

Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln, Mass., was awarded on Apr. 11, 2008, a $10,357,772 firm-fixed price contract for the provision of comprehensive education program services, grades pre-K through 8th, for eligible Department of Defense dependents residing on Hanscom
Air Force Base. Work will be performed in Lincoln, Mass., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Nov. 27, 2006, and one bid was received. Department of Defense Education Activity, Peachtree City, Ga Is the contracting activity (HE1254-07-C-0005).

General Atomics Aeronautical System, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Apr. 11, 2008, an $8,959,146 cost-plus fixed-fee contract to acquire two ground control stations, two ground data terminals, and three lots of spares to support the quick-reaction capability unmanned-aircraft systems deployment initiative. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. and is expected to be completed by May 15, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Aug. 14, 2007. U.S.
Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. is the contracting activity (DAAH01-03-C-0124).

SUMMA
Technology, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded on Apr. 11, 2007, a $6,200,944 firm-fixed price contract for the container roll-in/roll-out platform. Work will be performed in Cullman, Ala., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 30, 2011, with deliveries possible through Jun. 30, 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Dec. 21, 2005, and six bids were received. U.S. Army TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-D-0269).

Phillips Contracting, Inc., Columbus, Miss., was awarded on Apr. 14, 2008, a $5,548,283 firm-fixed price contract for the
Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway Mooring Facility. Work will be performed in Columbus, Miss., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 22, 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Feb. 15, 2007, and four bids were received. Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-08-C-0026).

Bristol Environmental & Engineering Services Corp., Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded on Apr. 11, 2008, a $5,016,463 firm-fixed price contract for the design and construction of the F22 infrastructure Phase II, and F22 taxiway, taxi lanes, and arm/de-arm. Work will be performed at Elmendorf
Air Force Base, Alaska, and work is expected by be completed on Oct. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Nov. 8, 2007, and three bids were received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska, is the contracting activity (W911KB-08-C-0007).

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems of Woburn, Mass., is being awarded a $400,000,000 (maximum) indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to support the design, development, and activation of a European-based mid-course radar. The effort will be accomplished through task orders, each with distinct scope and pricing. The first task order will obligate $5,283,817 and will be limited to site surveys, studies, analysis, planning, design, and similar activities specifically permitted in section 226(d) of the FY08 National Defense Authorization Act. Additional activities necessary to this deployment will be conducted by or through the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers. Work will be performed at the contractor’s facility and Europe and is expected to be complete by Feb. 2013. This is a sole source award. The contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Missile Defense Agency, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (HQ0147-08-D-0001). The first task order will use FY 08 research and development funds of $5,283,817.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Propper International, Inc., Mayaguez, PR., is being awarded a maximum $13,416,479 modification to a firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract for
Marine Corps combat utility uniforms. Other locations of performance are Cabo Rojo, Lajas and Las Marias, PR. Using service is Marine Corps. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 10 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is Apr. 18, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SP0100-06-D-0332).

American Apparel, Inc., Selma, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $19,963,861 modification to a firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract for
Marine Corps combat utility uniforms. Other locations of performance are Fort Deposit and Opp, Ala. Using service is Marine Corps. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 10 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is Apr. 18, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SP0100-06-D-0331).

East Coast Fruit Co.,
Jacksonville, Fla.*, is being awarded a maximum $6,207,134 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fresh fruit and vegetable support in the Georgia Zone. Other locations of performance are Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., and Gainesville, Fla. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and USDA schools. This proposal was originally DIBBS solicited with three responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is Oct. 15, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM300-08-D-P040)

AIR FORCE

Schafer Corp., of Chelmsford, Mass., is being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee (predominant), cost, and firm-fixed price contract for $7,583,381. This contract procures no personal advisory and assistance services (A&AS) and non A&AS to support Headquarters
Air Force Space Command’s organize, train, and equip responsibilities in the Space Control mission area. The contract services includes, but are not limited to, a life-cycle support approach for: Space Control planning (near and long range) to include strategic master plans, mission area plans, mission area plans, roadmaps, and investment strategic; functional, enabling, and operational concept; Space Control operational and capabilities-based functional, enabling, and operating concepts; Space Control operational and capabilities-based requirements; Space Control operational architecture/Department of Defense architectural framework development; Space Control mission architecture; assessing military effectiveness and utility of Space Control operational and enterprise architectures; integrating information operation with future acquisitions; modeling and simulations and result analysis; Space Control test, training, and exercise support; major command Space Control policy and guidance; operational, requirements, intelligence, logistical, and communications support to programmed and operational Space Control capabilities and systems coordination and integration with missions partners’ programming, planning, and budget execution; and Space Control integrated master schedule. At this time $2,761,372 has been obligated. 21st Contracting Squadron, Colorado Springs, Colo., is the contracting activity (FA2517-08-C-8000).

America Supports You: Program Gets Wounded Vets Outdoors, Active

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 15, 2008 - Wounded veterans who once enjoyed sports and being outdoors have the opportunity once again, courtesy of a program in
Alabama. "Lakeshore Foundation's 'Lima Foxtrot Programs for Injured Military' help servicemen and women adapt sports and recreation activities so they may get back to living healthy, active, independent lives," said Susan Katz, the foundation's communications coordinator. "These programs are open to military personnel who have sustained severe service-related injuries in recent warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations in the world."

For more than 20 years, the Lakeshore Foundation has worked to enable people with physical disability and chronic health conditions to lead healthy, active and independent lifestyles through physical activity. It offers its clients a chance to participate in outdoor activities such as water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, scuba diving and shooting sports, to name a few.

"Participants generally have injuries that include amputation, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment or blindness, burns, or other severe orthopedic injuries," Katz said.

The recently created Lima Foxtrot Programs are specifically for wounded veterans. Composed of different "operations," the programs offer injured servicemembers the opportunity to get back to nature.

"Our signature event, Operation Rise and Conquer, is a four-day outdoor adventure experience held each fall that is open to servicemen and women with a variety of physically disabling conditions," Katz said.

Injured servicemembers and one guest also may take part in Operation Night Vision and Operation X-Sports. The first is for those suffering vision impairment. The second is for servicemembers who want to push the limits and try a variety of extreme sports.

Operation Endurance, the fourth Lima Foxtrot program, focuses on providing injured servicemembers from
Alabama with a daily fitness program.

"All programs are provided at absolutely no cost to the servicemen and women, and each participant is allowed to have one guest attend at no cost as well," Katz said. "Lakeshore Foundation covers the cost for all air and ground transportation, lodging, meals and activities."

The foundation also recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

"Lakeshore Foundation is pleased to [be affiliated] with America Supports You, as we are hoping to raise the general awareness of our Lima Foxtrot program on a national level," Katz said. "We hope this helps build the credibility of the programs we are offering, as well as helps us find and recruit injured servicemen and women to participate."

Department Works to Improve Absentee-Voting Procedures, Boost Participation

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 15, 2008 - The Defense Department has made great strides over the past four years to ensure servicemembers, particularly those stationed and deployed overseas, have greater opportunity to vote, a senior defense official told Congress today. Michael L. Dominguez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told the House Administration Committee the department is working closely with the U.S. and
military postal services and other entities to ensure no servicemember wishing to vote misses out on the opportunity.

The Defense Department's Federal Voting Assistance Program works cooperatively with state and local elections to carry out provisions of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. This 1986 law safeguards absent servicemembers' and their families' right to vote for federal offices, and also protects voting rights of other U.S. citizens overseas.

In 2005, the department simplified two forms used for absentee voting: the Federal Post Card Application, a registration and ballot request form, and the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, a back-up federal ballot used when a state ballot doesn't arrive on time.

Dominguez said the revisions not only make the ballots easier to use, but also safeguard the voter's private information.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department continues to reach out to citizens covered by the UOCAVA law and to federal, state and local officials and to advocate the greatest use of existing or emerging
technology into the voting process, he told the panel.

"We have made progress, but more remains to be done," he said. "The Internet holds promise."

The department also encourages states to adopt Federal Voting Assistance Program legislative initiatives, he said. Its top priorities are to get states and territories to mail ballots at least 40 to 45 days before their due date and to allow election officials to send out state write-in absentee ballots three to six months before elections.

The program's other initiatives include expanding the distribution of voting materials through electronic transmissions and to give state chief election officials emergency authority to alter election procedures in limited circumstances -- from extending ballot return deadlines to allowing blank or voted ballots to be transmitted electronically.

"The department takes extraordinary steps to ensure that members of the uniformed services, their family members and overseas citizens have an opportunity to vote," Dominguez said in prepared testimony submitted to the panel. "Expediting ballots through any and all media accepted by state and local officials is a very important aspect of the absentee process."

One initiative introduced in 2004 allows eligible absentee voters to request and receive absentee ballots via the Internet. To take advantage of this system, voters must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, be covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, and be registered to vote in a state and county participating in the DoD program.

Meanwhile, the Defense Department continues working to educate servicemembers and other citizens covered under the absentee-voting law about the absentee-voting process, Dominguez told the committee. Between September 2007 and September 2008, the Federal Voting Assistance Program staff will conduct 155 workshops for voting assistance officers.

Dominguez hailed an "extensive outreach program" these voting assistance officers provide as they educate their units about absentee-voting requirements and procedures. Meanwhile, the Federal Voting Assistance Program maintains a Web site of voting information.

While conceding that it's impossible to know exactly how many citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act actually vote, Dominguez said survey results showed more voted in 2004 than in 2000. Among uniformed servicemembers both overseas and statewide who responded to the survey, 73 percent voted in 2004, compared to 57 percent in 2000, he said. In addition, 77 percent of federal civilian employees overseas voted in 2004, up from 55 percent in 2000.

Dominguez expressed confidence that these rates will continue to climb. "Through our collective efforts to improve ballot transit time and promote and implement expanded electronic transmission alternatives, voters will continue to reap the benefits of these improvements and in this and future elections," he said.

America Supports You: Country Star to Help 'Toast Troops' at Quantico

American Forces Press Service

April 15, 2008 -
Military spouses and United Service Organizations volunteers will have a chance to join the Jack Daniel's Distillery in offering a "Toast to the Troops" and enjoy a performance by country music star Craig Morgan at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., April 19. The event will be the third year Jack Daniel's and the USO have conducted the "Toast to the Troops" campaign. The goal this year is to assemble 10,000 USO Care Packages for troops serving overseas.

But the day won't be all work for those participating. They'll also enjoy a special barbecue and a concert by Morgan.

The "stuffing party" for care packages will begin at noon, and the concert, which is free and open to servicemembers and others with access to the base, will begin at 5 p.m.

Morgan, who has performed at every Jack Daniel's/USO Toast to the Troops event, is a 10-year Army veteran. During that time, he participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama, and he completed tours in Korea among other assignments.

As a country singer, Morgan has entertained troops in Iraq on the USO and sergeant major of the
Army's holiday tour. He's had back-to-back No. 1 hits with "That's What I Love About Sunday" and "Redneck Yacht Club." His current album, "Little Bit of Life," produced three top-10 hits including the title track, "Tough," a tribute to breast cancer survivors, and "International Harvester."

Morgan also is a recipient of the USO Merit Award, presented by the USO of Metropolitan Washington.

USO is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program, connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.