Military News

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pentagon Staffers Bring Kids to Work for Fun, Learning

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 24, 2008 - As the children of Defense Department employees arrived in throngs for National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, they transformed the normally serene Pentagon courtyard into a veritable circus, replete with clowns, animals, and arts and crafts. And, as sometimes happens at a circus, a little boy overwhelmed by the festivities wandered away from his father.

One of the main attractions today in the balmy five-sided park was Alma, a German shepherd trained to sniff explosives for the Pentagon's
police department. Alma's handler, Officer Sean McDonnell, stood by with leash in hand as children swarmed his canine comrade.

"They ask me, 'What kind of dog is she?' 'What does she do?' 'What is she trained for?'" said McDonnell, listing questions he fields from young inquisitors.

But breaking the mold of typical questions was one young boy -- about 7 years old -- who approached McDonnell with a quivering lip and a worried look in his eyes that said, "I'm lost. Can you help me find my parent?"

McDonnell reassured the youngster as the boy staved off tears. After all, the child had chosen the safest park in the world to get lost, and now he was in good hands. The officer stowed Alma in his air-conditioned cruiser and set off with the lost boy in search of his missing soldier dad.

Attaching himself to the search party was 12-year-old Denzel, who had been petting Alma when the 7-year-old arrived. Denzel -- decked out in a Boston Celtics basketball jersey and with the swagger of a grown-up seventh grader -- now fixed his attention to the search-and-reunite mission.

"Is that him?" Denzel asked, pointing at each man in digital Army camouflage who shared the missing boy's dark complexion. "What about him over there?"

McDonnell, Denzel and the lost lad walked past a kiosk where kids were making foam toys, across the grass where a father and son tossed a ball, along a concrete slab where parents and children snacked on benches and soaked up sunrays.

The three continued in the direction of arts and crafts exhibits, scanning the hundreds of parents and kids creating sand art, T-shirts and other trinkets. After about five minutes, the young boy's eye met with his father's. The boy raced across the pavement and leapt into his dad's outstretched arms.

Meanwhile, 3-year-old Alex Kosinski was another child whose attention was captured by the 2-year-old German shepherd. Alex and his sister, Samantha -- who turns 2 next week -- accompanied their father, Leonard Kosinski, to his job at the Pentagon today.

Kosinski, the Japan country director for the strategic plans and policy division of the Joint Staff, hoped the children's visit would be educational.

"They always ask, you know, 'Where do you work? What do you do?" he said. "So it's a chance for them to come in, and I try to explain not just what I do, but what we all do here at the Pentagon -- it's important."

National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is a national public education program created by the Ms. Foundation in 1993. It began as Take Our Daughters to Work Day and evolved into its present format in 2003.

Sponsoring today's event was Connect and Join, which provides communication services to
military families, and the Defense Department's America Supports You program. America Supports You highlights citizen support for armed forces members at home and abroad.

Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison -- the architect of America Supports You -- commemorated the fourth annual festival with a volley of praise for the day's participants. She highlighted Quilts for Warriors, an organization on hand at the event that supplies wounded troops with quilts made by American volunteers.

Addressing children in the audience, Barber said, "The most important people in this courtyard are your moms and dads who work here at the Department of Defense."

One parent handing out T-shirts at a kiosk was
Army Sgt. Daniel Reed, who recently returned from serving in Afghanistan with 82nd Airborne Division. Joining Reed today was his wife, Kathleen, and daughters, Mary and Molly, ages 12 and 5, who also helped staff the exhibits.

"What it does is kind of gives them a chance to come and see what mom and dad do at work," said Reed, describing the value children take away from their visit. He added that volunteers at the event also gain from the experience.

"Everybody that works at the Pentagon here actually supports all of the
military services, and all of these organizations are giving back. We're just trying to do the same," he said. "They need to do more things like this more often."

America Supports You: Pentagon Parents Craft Day of Fun, Learning

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 24, 2008 - It was déjà vu in the Pentagon's center courtyard today, as children gathered with their parents for arts and crafts as part of 16th annual "Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day." Last year, about 500 children took part in the event. This year, about 1,000 children arrived at the nation's top
military headquarters.

For the second year, the event, hosted by the Defense Department's America Supports You program, featured Connect and Join and its sponsor. The family support and education services publishing company organized the day's activities, which included sand art, T-shirt painting and numerous other craft projects.

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

"We left last year totally exhausted but amazed at the response," said Linda Dennis, Connect and Join's founder.

But a repeat performance didn't mean it was a carbon copy of last year. Some of the activities were the same, but there were some new ones, as well.

"The sand art is real focused on America Supports You," Dennis said. "(Children) can actually make an America Supports You logo."

The new twist on the sand art project from last year was joined by new crafts, including sun-catcher painting, foam crafts and an expanded T-shirt painting station. "Everything that we coordinated today is kind of hot, big and things that the kids will love to use," Dennis said.

One of those items, the Klutz Build-a-Book Kit presented by Scholastic, features everything needed to create an original spiral-bound book. It seemed to be a favorite of some of the older kids.

"It comes in like a little kit, and you get a whole bunch of little foam stuff and textured backgrounds so you can put it all together," said Kayla Taylor, 14. "It's really cute."

In addition to a day off from school and some fun crafts, Kayla said, she was enjoying the building's atmosphere. "I just think it's really cool that I get to be here, because a whole bunch of important stuff happens around here," she said.

Kayla's mother, Neshe Taylor, handles budget issues for the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs' administration and management office.

Though the younger kids were just having fun decorating small tote bags or painting sun catchers, some also got an
education on the building itself.

Raylene Walls-Alston, an administrative assistant for the Joint Chiefs of Staff for eight years, decided her daughter, Jada, 5, was old enough to appreciate today's events and learn more about what happened here before she was even born.

"Being here on 9/11, my daughter just hears about the Pentagon and hears about 9/11, and she knows absolutely nothing about it," Walls-Alston said. "I'm telling her the history of the building, the new side vice the old side."

After a warm morning spent in the courtyard crafting, Walls-Alston took her daughter inside and gave her a tour of the building, including the 9/11 memorial.

In the end, Gatlin Edmonds, 5, summed the up what the day was all about in one simple phrase: "[I'm] working with my daddy," he said.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is a national public education program created by the Ms. Foundation in 1993. It was originally set up to introduce girls to career options, but evolved to include sons in 2003. This is the fourth year the Pentagon has recognized the day.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 24, 2008

NAVY

Rockwell Collins, Government Systems, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded a $22,327,539 order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0016) for the non-recurring engineering, installation and test of the internet protocol and bandwidth expansion phase 3 on one E-6B aircraft. Work will be performed in
Richardson, Texas (76 percent); Wichita, Kan., (16 percent); Cedar Rapids, Iowa, (4 percent); and Oklahoma City, Okla., (4 percent), and work is expected to be completed in Mar. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

L-3 Services, Inc., Marlton, N.J., is being awarded a $17,083,954 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee/cost-plus incentive fee, performance based contract with the option to issue fixed-price task orders as appropriate to provide support services for engineering, technical, logistical, sustainment and administrative requirements for Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems/equipment. The contract services to be acquired include technical and systems engineering, analytical design, system/equipment sustainment/repair, training support, surveys and corrective action, and Intranet/Extranet web based support. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $89,958,520. Work will be performed in Charleston, S.C., (70 percent) and Havelock, N.C., (30 percent), and work is expected to be completed by Apr. 2009 (Apr. 2013 with options exercised). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract wascompetitively procured by full and open competition and twooffers were received via the Federal Business Opportunities website, and the Space and Naval Warfare e-Commerce Central website. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity (N65236-08-D-5802).

American Science & Engineering, Billerica, Mass., is being awarded $14,834,433 firm-fixed-priced order #P00006 under previously awarded contract (M67854-06-C-5163) for the purchase of sustainment items in support of the Z-Backscatter X-ray Van (ZBV) inspection system, including field service representatives, maintenance and warranty. The ZBV is a highly maneuverable, effective, high-throughput X-Ray imaging device built into a commercially available delivery van. It is used in the detection of vehicle bombs, explosives, weapons, radioactive threats, stowaways, and illegal narcotics. The ZBV allows for immediate deployment in response to security threats, and its high throughput capability facilitates rapid inspections - without impeding the flow of commerce. Work will be performed in Billerica, Mass., and work is expected to be completed Apr. 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Computer Sciences Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a potential $10,082,762 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for airborne and tactical data link systems support for the E-2C aircraft platform for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) San Diego's command and control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) programs. This award represents a modification to a previously awarded contract of Jul. 10, 2006. The original three-year base award and the one, two-year option have been contractually modified into an overall, five-year period of performance. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and work is expected to be completed Jul. 2011. This contract was competitively procured via the Commerce Business Daily's Federal Business Opportunities website, and the Space and Naval Warfare e-Commerce Central website, with one offer received. SSC San Diego is the contracting activity (N66001-06-D-0079).

Compass Systems, Inc.*, Lexington Park, Md., is being awarded a $9,955,179 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-07-C-0011) to exercise an option for research and development for various Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Targeting (C4ISR&T) programs, sensors, mission and targeting systems, communication suites, and small aircraft vehicle systems. These efforts are in support of the Roll-On Roll-Off Sensor System for the Contingency Airborne Response Program. Work will be performed in Yuma, Ariz., (45 percent), Washington, D.C., (25 percent), Reston, Va., (25 percent), and Patuxent River, Md., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in Apr. 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.

Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc., Federal Way, Wash., is being awarded a $7,903,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the six-month charter of SS Westward Venture - a U.S.-flagged and U.S.-built, contractor-owned, self-sustaining, roll-on/roll-off vessel - in support of the war on
terrorism and the U.S. Central Command. The contract includes one six-month option that, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $15,765,000. Work will be performed primarily between the U.S. East Coast and the Persian Gulf, and work is expected to be completed May 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website and the Military Sealift Command's website, with more than 80 proposals solicited and three offers received. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting authority (N00033-08-C-5507).

Lockheed Martin, Syracuse, N.Y., is being awarded a $7,132,580 modification to previously awarded contract N00024-07-C-5202 for engineering support to the Navy's AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 Undersea Warfare System. The AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 is a surface ship combat system with the capabilities to search, detect, classify, localize and track undersea contacts and to engage and evade submarines, mine-like small objects, and torpedo threats. This contract combines purchases for the U.S.
Navy (97.9 percent) and the Government of Spain (2.10 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Syracuse, N.Y., and work is expected to be completed by Dec. 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $300,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C. is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

McDonnell Douglas Corp., A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of the Boeing Co., of
Long Beach, Calif., is being awarded a modified contract for $8,641,109.98. This contract modification exercises options for the installation of large aircraft infrared countermeasure retrofit kits at the Boeing Support Support - San Antonio location and Warner Robins (WR) - Air Logistics Center. The contractor shall perform five installations at BSS-SA and six installations at WR-ALC. At this time $8,641,109.98 has been obligated. Robins AFB, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8614-04-C-2004 P00244).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. of Herndon, Va., is being awarded a cost plus fixed fee contract for $7,985,581. This contract action will provide research and development analysis, modeling and simulation deliverables for U.S.
Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, Program Analysis and Integration Office. At this time $2,705,314 has been obligated. Offutt AFB, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380, Delivery Order: 0251).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Cardinal Health, Inc., Dublin, Ohio is being awarded a maximum $12,939,007.00 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity, prime vendor contract for pharmaceutical supplies. Other locations of performance are in Virginia, Calif., Wash., Fla., Maine, Texas, Miss., and N. J.. Using service is
Navy Fleet and Hospital Ships USNS Comfort and Mercy. There were originally 11 proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is May 31, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM200-04-D-7020).

ARMY

JLG Indistries, Inc., McConnellsburg, Pa., was awarded on Apr. 23, 2008, an $8,702,747 firm-fixed price contract for all-terrain lifter and army system rough terrain forklifts. Work will be performed in McConnellsburg, Pa., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 30, 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Feb. 18, 2005. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV05-C-0229).

General Atomics, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Mar. 31, 2008, an $8,472,000 contract for four months of operational and support services to the highlighter systems operating in Iraq. Work will be performed in Iraq, and is expected to be completed by Jul. 31, 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Feb. 25, 2008. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-08-C-T205).

Correction: Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Meadows, Ill. was awarded on Apr. 16, 2008, a $6,030,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to further develop, fabricate, demonstrate and leverage a two-color uncooled, mid-wave, lead selenide passive infrared cueing system. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Ill., and is expected to be completed on Apr. 18, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Jul 20, 2007, and two bids were received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-08-C-P001).

U.S. Mission in Colombia Impresses Civic Leaders

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2008 - As a senior vice president of investments for UBS in
Cincinnati, Steve Lee never gave much thought to Colombia. "Not really at all," said the easy-going executive, who is touring here as part of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, a program for America's civic and business leaders interested in expanding their knowledge of the military and national defense, sponsored by the secretary of defense.

Yesterday, Lee had a front-row seat to a dramatic show of the capabilities of the country's special forces. He toured its drug eradication headquarters, saw a mockup of a jungle cocaine lab and watched in awe as a team of urban counterterrorist commandos rescued a mock hostage with precision fire, speed, explosions and smoke.

"I have opened my eyes to a whole new part of the world that I haven't thought too much about," Lee said at the end of the day.

This is the first time a JCOC has toured the U.S. Southern Command area of operations since the program began in 1948. And while most of the previous conferences have focused on shows of
military might and have even featured trips to combat zones, this JCOC group is seeing more of the U.S. military's humanitarian assistance and other aid-oriented missions, known as "soft power."

Lee and the 47 others in the group were guided through the tour by members of the U.S.
military group assigned here to help Colombia build its capabilities to fight its narco-terrorism problems. Terrorist groups in Colombia are heavily involved in narcotics production and trafficking. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, is believed to be responsible for more than half of the cocaine entering the United States, according to U.S. State Department documents.

Colombia is the size of Texas and California combined, with about 45 million people spread out over its diverse terrain. It has deserts in the north, tropical jungles in the south, high mountain ranges and two oceans on its borders.

The United States has its third-largest contingent of such
military troops here, about 500, whose strategic objectives are to defend a fellow democracy, stop the flow of drugs to the United States and build a regional partnership, Army Col. Kevin Saderup, the military group commander here.

The U.S. servicemembers serve in an advisory role, mostly helping Colombian troops to allocate the $150 million in annual U.S. assistance to ensure they get the right equipment and training.

Many Colombian
military personnel receive training in the United States or from U.S. instructors in Colombia. The United States provides equipment to the Colombian military and police through the military assistance program, foreign military sales and the international narcotics control program, according to the State Department.

U.S. troops are prohibited by law from participating in actual combat operations here. They use an indirect approach to help the Colombian forces rid the country of narco-
terrorists, Saderup said.

"If we are successful here in the defense of our nation's interest in working with our Colombian partners, no U.S. soldier, sailor airman or Marine will have to give up his life in defense of U.S. interests here in Colombia," Saderup said.

The JCOC group started the day flying to Tolemaida Air Base, the training site for the Colombian's special forces – the Lanceros – and its air assault and airborne troops. Located west of Bogota, the base trains about 22,000 troops at a time, and is the largest training installation south of Fort Hood, Texas. The JCOC participants watched as the Lanceros showed off their capabilities, rappelling down towers and firing their weapons, swooping along ropes and demonstrating extractions of hostages and troops from simulated enemy territory.

Afterward, participants were given the chance to try their hand at rappelling.

Lee, who had never rappelled before and who said he is so afraid of heights he wouldn't even change the security lights on the outside second story of his house using a ladder, decided to give it a try.

"I've been scared of heights forever. I just said 'I'm going to do this,'" he said afterward.

The first step, he said, was the scariest.

"You take that first step and there's no turning back," Lee said. "It was a heck of a lot of fun. I was thrilled to get to do that."

After a flight back to Bogota, a brief lunch and briefings at the U.S. Embassy, the group got to see up close what a cocaine lab that's typically hidden in remote parts of the country looks like. The Colombian
police force unit that flies eradication missions spraying coca fields with weed killer briefed the JCOC group, and the participants talked with the troops who provide security for the missions.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration estimates that more than 80 percent of the worldwide cocaine supply and as much as 90 percent of the cocaine smuggled into the United States is produced in Colombia.

But, between 2004 and 2007, Colombian
security forces interdicted almost 700 metric tons of cocaine, coca base and heroin, according to U.S. State Department records. Coca cultivation decreased by 10 percent from 2001 to 2007, while opium poppy cultivation decreased by 67 percent from 2001 to 2007.

The finale for the day was a stop at the Colombian urban counterterrorist special forces headquarters. After a briefing by the troops on the tactics, gear and weapons they use, the JCOC group donned helmets and flak vests for an up-close look at the team's commando-style house-clearing and hostage-rescue procedures.

The group gathered on a catwalk above the four-room mock house for a bird's eye view of the action. The scenario was a hostage situation with about 20 "bad guys." Once the order was given, a sniper "took out" the guard and an explosion breached the entrance of the house.

With precision and speed, the four-man group went room to room, shooting targets that represented
terrorists. Real ammunition was used – no blanks. More explosions rattled the helmets nearly off the heads of some JCOC participants. The hostage was recovered, and afterward the participants were able to go into the rooms and see where the rounds hit the targets.

"Those 10 minutes were worth the entire trip," said Dirk Beveridge, president of 4th Generation Systems in Barrington, Ill. "You see it in the movies, you read about in the papers, but to experience it like that, hearing that, feeling that -- it was awesome."

Beveridge, like Lee, said that before yesterday's events he never thought a lot about Colombia. Now, he said, he sees a direct tie between what the U.S. forces are doing here and security in the United States for his children.

"Having a 19-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter, I am so very much appreciative of what they're doing to help us in the United States to curb drug trafficking," Beveridge said. "You don't think of Colombia. You don't know about the presence that the United States has here in Colombia. Thank God that we've got individuals that we met out here today to put themselves on the line to protect my 19-year-old and 17-year-old."

Beveridge said he was most impressed by the commitment of the Colombian forces and their willingness to risk their lives to stop narco-
terrorism and make their country a better place.

"These guys said they want to make Colombia a better place to live, and they are wiling to give their life for that. They are special people," he said. "What these Colombian forces are doing [is that] they're making the United States a better place."

Roslyn Brock, vice chairman of the Baltomore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored Poeple's national board of directors, said most of her previous impressions of Colombia were based on movies.

"You see the movies about Colombia and the drug trade, and you think it's just a country full of a bunch of drug dealers," she said. "But ... there are people who are citizens who just every day want to go to work, who are concerned about their security, concerned about quality of life and they want to do the right thing."

Brock said that before the JCOC visit she thought mainly of the U.S.
military in terms of security and defense. But now she sees that building partnerships with other agencies to help other countries and providing a variety of aid is more of a comprehensive strategy for U.S. military forces.

"Colombians are always looked at as the bad guys. But to see that we're working together to secure our borders, to eradicate narcotics, it's just awesome, and I think we need to do more of this," Brock said.

JCOC is the oldest existing Pentagon outreach program, and the current tour is the 75th in the series.

Commentary: Army Reserve Celebrates 100 Years of Constants and Change

By Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2008 - The
Army Reserve's 100th anniversary acknowledges our nation's enduring need for such a force, and it gives us an opportunity to recognize the contributions of hundreds of thousands of men and women who sustained the organization for a century. Further, this anniversary recognizes that the force has changed over 100 years from a small reserve force of about 160 medical professionals into a much more capable force that provided all types of combat-arms, combat-support and combat-service-support capabilities to what it is today: a CS/CSS-focused operational, expeditionary, and domestic force that is an essential piece of the Army.

What hasn't changed in 100 years is the commitment, selfless service, and personal courage of our men and women who voluntarily put their lives on hold – and on the line – to defend our country and our freedoms.

Since
terrorists slammed hijacked airliners into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001, more than 182,000 Army Reserve soldiers have mobilized to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and more than a dozen other countries. Today, about 23,000 Army Reserve soldiers serve on active duty in support of the war on terrorism. About 17,000 serve overseas, while another 6,000 support homeland defense missions at training centers, mobilization sites, and medical centers. About 15,000 serve in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Three
Army Reserve soldiers have earned the Silver Star Medal for valor in action:

-- Spc. Jeremy Church, April 9, 2004;

-- Sgt. James Witkowski, Oct. 26, 2005; and

-- Staff Sgt. Jason Fetty, Oct. 15, 2007.

Today, I lead 205,000 heroes, and I see those heroes step up every day to serve our nation. Our Army Reserve soldiers are part of the next greatest generation of Americans who have served their nation in the
military.

The Army Reserve I joined was a strategic reserve, a source of manpower should our nation need us. We were not highly trained, we were not well equipped, we were not ready to deploy immediately, but the Army knew our numbers and our locations.

Our expectation was to devote one weekend a month and two weeks each summer to soldiering. The men and women in my unit didn't expect to be called up unless World War III broke out and the Russians were coming across the Fulda Gap – and we never thought that would happen.

Today, as we mark our 100th anniversary, our transformation to an operational force continues. It has resulted in the most dramatic changes to Army Reserve structure, training and readiness since
World War II.

The days when Army Reserve soldiers committed one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer to soldiering duties are gone. The "weekend warrior" is no more.

Today's
Army Reserve is no longer a strategic reserve; instead, it is an operational force and an integral part of the world's greatest Army. Today's units are prepared and available to deploy with a full complement of trained soldiers and equipment when the nation calls. Today's Army Reserve soldier is a member of the best trained, best led, and best equipped fighting force our nation has ever fielded.

As we continue to adjust to current needs, we support other enduring missions at home and around the globe.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Army Reserve provided institutional support to the
Army. Our units provided trainers on annual training to expand the capability of training bases to deal with the annual summer surge of young men and women who graduated from high school and entered basic and advanced training. At the same time, Army Reserve medical professionals augmented the capabilities of Army hospitals and clinics at home during their two-week "summer camp."

Although today's
Army Reserve continues to supplement the institutional base, trainers who once expanded training-base staffs now instruct members of the Iraqi and Afghan armies. In 2006, for example, Army Reserve mobile training teams developed and executed a program of instruction to train Afghan National Army noncommissioned officers.

Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who once merely augmented
military hospitals in the states now command the hospitals in our war zones. In August, Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Ron Silverman completed a year as commander of all medical troops in Iraq, the first major general to command echelons above division level medical forces in a combat zone in the history of the U.S. Army. Today, one Army Reserve combat support hospital serves in Iraq, and another is ready to deploy there in the spring.

Throughout its century of existence, the Army Reserve has answered the nation's call to serve during times of emergency, both in war and in peace. The biggest deployment of Army Reserve soldiers overseas since the
Korean War took place during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990-1991. Almost 84,000 Army Reserve soldiers and 647 units answered our country's call. Thousands of Army Reserve soldiers have served in the Balkans to conduct peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, and later in Kosovo, since 1995.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks on our nation, the men and women of the Army Reserve have served on the front lines of the
war on terror abroad and at home. Units and individual soldiers responded immediately and performed a variety of missions that supported rescue and recovery operations and secured federal facilities across the country.

Peacetime emergencies have included a variety of disaster relief and humanitarian operations at home and abroad. In 1997,
Army Reserve soldiers fought a flood, a dam break and a typhoon. Two years later, thousands of Army Reserve soldiers participated in the Central America relief effort that followed Hurricane Mitch.

In 2004, the Army Reserve supported Hurricane Katrina recovery operations by providing all of the CH-47 aircraft support, two truck companies and more than 90 vehicles. The following year, when a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck Pakistan and killed 86,000 people, injured 69,000 and left an estimated 4 million homeless, Company B, 7th Battalion, 158th Regiment mobilized in less than 30 days to provide relief. The unit's Chinooks logged more than 2,000 flying hours and moved more than 5,000 passengers.

Today, the
Army Reserve remains the Title 10 first-responder to support civil authorities during a domestic emergency. It provides 2/3 of the Defense Department's rapid response capabilities and is prepared to deploy to conduct chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive consequence management operations in support of U.S. Northern Command or the lead federal agency at the incident site.

To a lesser extent,
Army Reserve soldiers provided a forward-deployed presence when their units participated in exercises in Europe and Korea and other countries or security cooperation operations in Central and South American countries.

Today, Army Reserve soldiers are continuously deployed to more than 20 countries around the world, and indicators point to increased Army Reserve requirements in Africa, especially now that U.S. Africa Command has been established.

Throughout the history of the force, Army Reserve soldiers who served our nation brought with them unique added values. When Army Reserve units mobilize, during both war and peacetime, they bring significant support and concern from communities with them. Like our National Guard counterparts, Army Reserve soldiers provide an enduring connection between the
military and local communities across our nation.

At the same time, each time Army Reserve soldiers deploy overseas, they bring part of America with them. They also often deliver the best of America to the children of that country as they demonstrate our country's generosity and concern for them and people in other nations around the world.

A case in point is a small town in Kosovo, where our civil affairs soldiers worked with the Virginia National Guard to completely renovate a soccer and basketball court and build a classroom and conference building. The soldiers acquired donated computers so the children can study English and other subjects. The local city council meets in the conference room, and the building has become one of the centerpieces of this small town.

Things like this happen when reserve component soldiers who have experience in civilian life, and who know how to make things happen and how to make things work, tackle a mission. They bring an added value, a different dimension, to the fight, and they leave a little bit of America behind everywhere they go.

Another constant is the value of civilian-acquired skills
Army Reserve soldiers bring to help make the U.S. Army the most powerful and sophisticated military force in the world. Often, these skills are unrelated to their normal military duties. For instance, a military policeman who is a teacher at home may be exactly the right soldier to help train Iraqi policemen. His civilian-acquired skills help him understand how people learn, how to teach, and how to interact with people and motivate them to learn.

During our first 100 years, we were characterized as "citizen-soldiers." When Army Reserve soldiers wore combat patches, they were typically from active duty units the soldiers had served with in Vietnam. Today's Army Reserve soldiers are warrior-citizens. They are warriors who fight for our nation, and they are also citizens, but their involvement in military operations has been tremendously expanded.

Today, we see evidence of their involvement in the combat patches worn by soldiers who served on active duty with their Army Reserve units. We see it in the reserve-unit patches worn by active-component soldiers who served in combat under a reserve headquarters.

Young men and women serve in today's
Army Reserve because they want to defend our country. They fully expect that they will be called upon – on a regular basis – to do just that. They know they must maintain a high state of readiness, both physically and mentally. They know they will be asked to make great sacrifices – to leave their families and their civilian jobs – to serve our nation.

Today's Army Reserve soldiers represent the values upon which our country was founded. They are citizens who are willing to lay down their plows and pick up their rifles when called upon. They're proud of their service. They're proud to say they're part of the
Army Reserve.

(Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz is chief of the U.S. Army Reserve.)

Voluntary Protection Programs Continue to Make Strides

By William Murray
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2008 - Defense Department officials participated in a conference here this week with an eye on reducing the department's estimated $10 billion in annual losses caused by preventable injuries and accidents. Keith Eastin, assistant secretary of the
Army for installations and environment, kicked off the Voluntary Protection Programs conference April 21 with remarks that emphasized the importance of safety to the Defense Department.

"What you do is important," he told the conferees. "It is important to our secretary, and it is important to the Defense Department."

Voluntary Protection Programs not only are good for the health and safety of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and DoD civilians, but also are good business for the department, he added.

A highlight of this year's VPP conference was the announcement that two DoD installations attained VPP Star status. Cathy Oliver, director of the Office of Partnerships and Recognition with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, announced that
Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., and Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., met the stringent requirements to become VPP Star sites.

VPP sets performance-based criteria for management commitment, employee involvement, hazard recognition and mitigation and employee training. OSHA's verification process includes an application review and a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts.

Marine Corps Col. Kenneth Enzor, base commander of Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, and Ron Cooke, safety manager for Naval Air Station Key West, spoke about their path to their installations becoming VPP Star sites and the significant improvements that VPP has made in driving down their mishap rates.

This is the third year that DoD is participating in the Voluntary Protection Programs. VPP was created by OSHA to recognize industries that exhibit the best safety programs for their business sector. DoD already has shown VPP improves safety records and readiness of its civilian and
military personnel, officials said, but they acknowledged that more needs to be done.

The idea that accidents are a cost of doing business is a mindset that is intolerable, Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Readiness Joseph J. Angello Jr., told the conferees, emphasizing that a cultural change toward a goal of "zero preventable accidents" is the ultimate goal.

Angello, who is also the executive secretary of the Defense Safety Oversight Council, said safety and readiness are closely intertwined, and that the VPP is the cornerstone for addressing workplace safety in DoD. One of the goals of the DSOC is to keep safety at the forefront for DoD
leadership, he noted.

"[VPP] gives us the tools in DoD to make sure we preserve our assets, our people, our equipment," Angello said. "It gives us the tools to be the best we can be."

Addison D. Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the
Army for environment, safety and occupational health, echoed Angello's emphasis on culture change in DoD, speaking to a need to make safety a natural part of daily activity.

Angello and Davis also emphasized that safety is directly linked to readiness, and said readiness is the bottom line for senior leaders at DoD.

The focus of the two-day conference, hosted by the VPP Center of Excellence, was to learn about the progress made by installations and also to encourage participants to share lessons learned and best practices, officials said. One of the most common themes was the importance of employee participation in VPP. Many presenters noted that their progress and successes could not have happened without participation by the work force.

By incorporating
leadership and employees into worksite analysis, hazard prevention, and safety and health training, officials said they hope ultimately to prevent injuries, preserve productivity and save DoD billions of dollars, thus enhancing readiness across the board.

(William Murray works in the Office of the Director for Readiness Programming and Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense.)

DoD, VA Leaders Chart Way Forward for Wounded Care

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2008 - The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs are diligently working together to solve problems for America's wounded warriors, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee today. The two departments are working to "improve support of wounded, ill, and injured service members' recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration," England said.

England testified with Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Gordon Mansfield. The two men chair a joint senior oversight committee designed to improve cooperation between the two departments.

The effort and committee grew out of revelations last year that processes for America's wounded warriors were still operating under peacetime conditions. Congressional panels, blue-ribbon commissions and in-house investigations all said the two departments had to work more closely together.

The two departments have significantly improved their cooperation, England said, although more needs to be done.

"Specifically, we have endeavored to improve the disability evaluation system, established a Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, established the Federal Recovery Coordination Program, improved data-sharing between the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, developed housing facility inspection standards and improved delivery of pay and benefits," he said in prepared testimony for the committee.

DoD and VA are in the process of implementing more than 400 recommendations of five major studies, as well as implementing laws that were part of the fiscal 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.

England spoke about the disability evaluation system pilot test at the major
military hospitals in and around Washington. "The pilot is a servicemember-centric initiative designed to eliminate the often confusing elements of the two current disability processes of our departments," the deputy secretary said. "Key features include both a single medical examination and single disability rating for use by both departments."

The goal is to halve the time required for servicemembers to receive benefits.

No servicemembers have completely transitioned via the pilot program to veteran status yet. England said he expects enough servicemembers will have done so by June to enable officials to analyze the process.

The deputy secretary said that the two departments have made improvements in addressing issues concerning psychological health and traumatic brain injury.

"The focus of these efforts has been to create and ensure a comprehensive, effective and individually focused program dedicated to prevention, protection, identification, diagnosis, treatment, recovery and rehabilitation for our service members, veterans, and families who deal with these challenging health conditions," he said.

DoD and VA have also partnered in the development of standard clinical practice guidelines for post-traumatic stress disorder, and they are working to develop treatments for mild traumatic brain injury, he said.

"Collaboration between VA and DoD gained substantial momentum over the past year, as we partnered to establish a seamless continuum to meet the needs of U.S. wounded, ill and injured servicemembers and their families in transition to continued
military service or to veterans," England said. "Our dedicated, selfless servicemembers, veterans, and their families deserve the very best, and we pledge to give our very best during their recovery, rehabilitation, and return to the society they defend."

Army Reservists Re-enlist to Mark 100th Anniversary

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2008 - One hundred
Army Reserve soldiers representing every state in the union raised their hands today and re-enlisted on the U.S. Capitol steps during a ceremony marking the Army Reserve's 100th anniversary. Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, Army Reserve chief, and Command Sgt. Maj. Leon Caffie, his top enlisted soldier, administered the re-enlistment oath, marking the Army Reserve's century of service.

Later in the day, they'll lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the contributions and sacrifices
Army Reserve soldiers have made. Afterward, they will honor today's Army Reserve soldiers by planting a tree and dedicating a plaque at Arlington.

Stultz noted the service
Army Reservists have contributed since it was founded April 23, 1908, as a small strategic force. He called today's Army Reserve is an operational, expeditionary and domestic force that's an essential part of the Army.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the Army Reserve has mobilized more than 216,000 soldiers. Today, more than 26,000
Army reservists are deployed around the world, he said.

This weekend, Stultz will further honor the sacrifices they have made when he attends the funeral of
Army Reserve Sgt. Matt Maupin. The 20-year-old soldier went missing outside Baghdad April 9, 2004, when his convoy came under attack. He had been listed as a prisoner of war after a videotape was released showing him in captivity.

The
Army announced March 31 that Maupin's remains had been positively identified through DNA.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates expressed condolences to Maupin's family. "Every single one of these (deaths) is a tragedy, both for the individual and for their families, but this has been especially difficult for the Maupin family because of not knowing for almost exactly four years," Gates told reporters traveling with him the day of the announcement.

Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured. He was a member of 724th Transportation Company, from Bartonville, Ill., but was assigned to the 88th Regional Readiness Command for the deployment. He was promoted to staff sergeant in August 2006, his third promotion since his capture.

Stultz expressed appreciation for the commitment, selfless service and personal courage
Army reservists have demonstrated as they put their lives on hold – and on the line – to defend the United States and its freedoms.

America Supports You: Festival Queens Undertake 'Operation Rhinestone'

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2008 - In celebration of
Military Appreciation Month, more than 100 festival queens will gather in Opelousas, La., on May 10 for "Operation Rhinestone." The ladies, ages 7 to 23, will record messages of support for a DVD the Thank You Foundation will send to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan throughout May. In addition to their verbal messages, each festival queen will write a note of support to be included with the discs.

"We are very excited to be a part of this project," said John Guinn, president and founder of The Thank You Foundation. "These girls spend so much of their own money and time to serve their communities, and now they are going above and beyond to help say 'Thank you' to those who have given so much for our freedom."

The foundation, which expresses appreciation and gratitude for those who serve or have served in the
military, found inspiration for Operation Rhinestone in someone just barely old enough to participate in a pageant herself.

Morgan Landry, 7, grew up in a
military family and wanted to do something special for Louisiana soldiers.

Her parents, Miranda and Michael Landry Sr., wanted to encourage her and began searching for help. Their quest led them to The Thank You Foundation, which orchestrated a similar project with professional athletes in
Cincinnati last year. It also worked with Pennsylvania Online Learners to produce and send a special multimedia presentation to troops serving overseas earlier this year.

"I am so touched and proud of this young girl," said Robin Abshire, director of Louisiana's Spice and Music Festival. "She realizes that her daddy spent much of her life away and has learned he did it not only for us to be free and safe but to keep his baby girls free and safe.

"Our soldiers have given so much for total strangers and as we all know, here in Louisiana, we find just about anything to celebrate with our festivals, and our soldiers are missing out," Abshire added. "This is Morgan's way of sending our festivals to our soldiers."

Once the DVDs are produced, volunteers from the Thank You Foundation will pack them into care packages along with items such as soap, toothpaste and food. Each box also will include the cards signed by the festival queens.

The Thank You Foundation, a supporter of the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program, has sent more than 25,000 cards signed by school children to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and to veterans in the states.

America Supports You connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Petraeus-Odierno Team Nominated to Lead in CentCom, Iraq

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2008 - The White House will nominate
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, currently commander of Multinational Force Iraq, to be the next U.S. Central Command commander, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced today. "I recommended him to the president because I am absolutely confident he is the best man for the job," Gates told reporters. He cited Petraeus' in-depth understanding of the situation in Iraq as well as counterinsurgency operations, and the successes seen in Iraq under his leadership.

"The kinds of conflicts we are dealing with not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan and some of the challenges that we face elsewhere in the region in the CentCom area, are very much characterized by asymetric warfare," he said. "And I don't know anybody in the United States
military better qualified to lead that effort."

Gates also announced today that the White House will nominate
Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who commanded Multinational Corps Iraq until just two months ago, to succeed Petraeus as Multinational Force Iraq commander.

Odierno served as Petraeus' right-hand man in Iraq, Gates said, and like Petraeus, has the experience required for the job.

"I believe in most parts of the world, especially the Middle East, personal relationships make a difference," Gates said. "And General Odierno is known recently to the Iraqi
leadership, he's known to the Iraqi generals, he's known to our own people. He has current experience, so the likelihood of him being able to pick up for this baton-passing to be smooth – the odds of that are better with him than with anybody else I could identify."

Odierno had been nominated as
Army vice chief of staff. That nomination will be withdrawn, with Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, currently Gates' senior military advisor, to be nominated for a fourth star and to serve in that position, the secretary announced.

Gates said
Navy Adm. William J. Fallon's decision in March to step down as CentCom commander came unexpectedly, creating a big hole at "one of our most important combatant commands, one engaged in two wars and on many fronts and perhaps the most sensitive part of the world."

Gates said he turned to the person most up to speed on the region to fill the post quickly without losing momentum.

Petraeus said he is "honored to be nominated for this position and to have an opportunity to continue to serve with America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians."

Gates said he expects the Petraeus-Odierno team to work together to continue building on progress taking place in Iraq. "I think the course ... that General Petraeus has set has been a successful course, so frankly I think staying that course is not a bad idea," he said. "I would say it's a good idea."

Because Odierno served directly under Petraeus for the past year, his assumption of the Iraq command with Petraeus at CentCom "probably preserves the likelihood of continued momentum and progress," Gates said.

The secretary urged the Senate to move quickly on the nominations, confirming them by Memorial Day, if possible, to pave the way for Petraeus to take the CentCom helm. Gates cited the "high respect" many Senate leaders have for Petraeus and said he expects a fairly smooth confirmation process.

Meanwhile, Petraeus will remain in the Multinational Force Iraq job through late summer or early fall to ensure a smooth hand-off to Odierno. Gates said he expects Petraeus to be on site to evaluate ground conditions following a 45-day pause to begin after the final surge forces withdraw from Iraq.

"I would expect that General Petraeus would carry out not only the evaluation, but that first decision in terms of are we able to draw down another brigade combat team or not, depending on conditions on the ground," Gates said.

At CentCom, Petraeus will broaden his responsibilities to address challenges not only in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region. Gates said he expects Petraeus to follow in Fallon's footsteps building relationships throughout the region.

Gates said he believes Petraeus, Odierno and Fallon all share the same views about the dangers of Iranian interference in Iraq. "What the Iranians are doing is killing American servicemen and women inside Iraq," he said.

The secretary expressed special appreciation to Odierno for his willingness to accept another tour in Iraq so soon after returning home, and to his family for supporting the decision.

"I think his extraordinary sense of duty that has led him to accept this tough assignment," he said. "I am personally very grateful to him and to his family for their remarkable service to this country."

Army Lt. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who was Fallon's deputy commander, has served as acting CentCom commander since Fallon handed over the reins March 28.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 23, 2008

NAVY

Tatitlek Support Services, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, is being awarded a $319,246,604 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide civilians on the battlefield foreign language specialist role players to support United States
Marine Corps pre-deployment training at Twentynine Palms, Calif. The preponderance of the work will be performed at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Marine Corps Base Twentynine Palms, Calif., and work is expected to be completed Mar. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (M67854-08-D-8029).

Bell Boeing Tiltrotor Team, Amarillo,
Texas, is being awarded $14,396,743 for ceiling priced delivery order #0264 under previously awarded contract (N00383-03-G-001B) for spare components of the V-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pa., and work is expected to be completed by Jul. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

Maine Secure Composites, LLC,* Orono, Maine, is being awarded a $12,970,884 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for development and prototyping of Composite Anti-Tamper Containers (CATM). CATM will be used for increasing container security under the Department of Homeland Security Advanced Container Security Device program. Work will be performed in Orono, Maine, and work is expected to be complete April 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured because the initial development of CATM performed by Maine Secure Composites, LLC, provides for unique qualifications. Maine Secure Composites, LLC, is the only source that would not result in the duplication of cost, which because of the short-term development schedule would not be recovered through competition. A sole-source justification and approval was signed in accordance with FAR Subpart 6.302-1 and 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) for Only One Responsible Source. The sole-source synopsis was published on the Federal Business Opportunities web site and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command e-Commerce web site. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N66001-08-D-0010).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Lexington Park, Md., is being awarded a $9,861,283 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-04-C-0058) to exercise an option for technical and engineering services for Communications-Electronics Advanced Technologies (CEAT), supporting the Special Communications Requirements Division of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland. These services and supplies shall provide research, design, development, integration, test and evaluation, installation, fielding, analysis, maintenance, material procurements, training, and logistics of CEAT Systems. The estimated level of effort for this option is 79,361 man-hours. Work will be performed in Lexington Park, Md., (60 percent); Tampa, Fla., (20 percent); and Crystal City, Va., (20 percent), and work is expected to be completed in Oct. 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Ocean Systems Engineering Corp.,
Oceanside, Calif., is being awarded $9,360,439 for task order #0043 under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (M67854-02-A-9020) to provide Marine Corps Systems Command's SIAT (Systems Engineering, Interoperability, Architectures and Technology Support) staff the detailed technical and analytical support required to define, integrate, certify, plan and oversee the development and delivery of Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) systems. This effort consists of four areas: MAGTF Systems Engineering and Integration; Program Engineering and Technology; Joint Certification; and Architecture Design and Development. Work will be performed in Stafford, Va., and work is expected to be completed in Apr. 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $6,835,439 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

ARMY

Yellowstone Electric Co., Billings, Mont., was awarded on Apr. 22, 2008, a $6,039,049 firm-fixed price contract for transformers for the garrison dam. Work will be performed in Riverdale, N.D., and work is expected to be completed by Apr. 22, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Five bids were solicited on Nov. 28, 2007, and two bids were received. U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, Portland, Ore., is the contracting activity (W9127N-08-C-0011).

Future Leaders Must Follow Conscience, Gates Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 22, 2008 - Success on today's and tomorrow's battlefields requires
military leaders guided by conscience who refuse to be "yes men," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in a speech last night to future Army officers at the U.S. Military Academy. Gates told the cadets at West Point, N.Y., that he considers principled dissent a sign of a healthy organization, but he also encouraged loyalty among the dissenters.

The
Army will need leaders of "uncommon agility, resourcefulness and imagination, leaders willing and able to think and act creatively and decisively in a different kind of world and a different kind of conflict than we have prepared for over the last six decades," Gates said.

But one factor remains constant, Gates continued. "We will still need men and women in uniform to call things as they see them and tell their subordinates and superiors alike what they need to hear, not what they want to hear."

Gates pressed his point to the cadets, some to become commissioned officers next month.

"Listen very carefully," he said. "If, as an officer, you don't tell blunt truths or create an environment where candor is encouraged, then you've done yourself and the institution a disservice."

Gates noted that during 16 months as defense secretary, he's changed his stance on several key issues because general officers disagreed with him and persuaded him of better courses of action.

He said he also seeks ground truth from junior- and mid-grade soldiers and officers during his travels to the front lines.

"Their input has been invaluable and shaped my thinking and decisions, as well," he said. "All in senior positions would be well advised to listen to their enlisted soldiers, (noncommissioned officers), and company- and field-grade officers. They are the ones on the front line, and they know the real story."

Telling the real story has never been easy, Gates conceded. He drew an example from history, sharing the story of George C. Marshall -- an
Army captain in late 1917 -- telling Gen. John J. Pershing directly that his headquarters hadn't provided the training manual the U.S. military staff in France needed to succeed.

Rather than firing Marshall from his staff and sending him to the front lines as many expected, Pershing came to rely on him as a trusted advisor, Gates said.

General Marshall showed the same audacity 20 years later when he became the lone voice telling President Roosevelt he disagreed with plans to place building the
Army an a back burner. Roosevelt's Cabinet was sure Marshall would go, but instead, he became Army chief of staff.

And even when the two men clashed, Roosevelt could always count on Marshall's candor and commitment to making a decision work, even if he disagreed with it, Gates said.

This leads to another lesson by example, Gates said. When Roosevelt made a decision regarding support for Britain that Marshall disagreed with, the general didn't go behind the president's back, trying to curry favor for his own viewpoints.

"There were no overtures to friendly committee chairmen, no leaks to sympathetic reporters, no ghostwritten editorials in newspapers, no coalition building with advocacy groups," Gates said. "Marshall and his colleagues made the policy work."

Gates conceded that in the years since, senior offices often have been tempted to "do end runs around the civilian
leadership," particularly regarding major weapons-system purchases.

"This temptation should and must be resisted," he said.

Marshall represented "the textbook model for the way
military officers should handle disagreements with superiors," he said. "Your duties as an officer are: to provide blunt and candid advice always, to keep disagreements private, and to implement faithfully decisions that go against you."

Gates called these principles "a solid starting point for dealing with issues of candor, dissent and duty." But he acknowledged that applying them can be pretty complicated, especially during irregular and difficult conflicts like those seen today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In these conflicts, the American public must be able to rely on its military
leaders' candor and credibility to gauge how a conflict is going and if it should continue.

Gates said he's been impressed that the
Army's professional journals provide a forum in which some of the brightest, most innovative officers can critique the way the Army operates or decisions by its civilian or military leaders.

"I believe this is a sign of institutional vitality and health and strength," he said.

He encouraged the cadets to "take on the mantle of fearless, thoughtful but loyal dissent when the situation calls for it." Senior
leaders, in turn, should "embrace such dissent as a healthy dialogue" and protect those willing to express divergent views.

West Point focuses on teamwork, consensus building and collaboration. "Yet make no mistake, the time will come when you must stand alone in making a difficult, unpopular decision," Gates warned the cadets.

That may mean challenging superiors' opinions, telling them it's not possible to get a job done with the available time and resources, or standing up to inaccuracies when hearing them uttered.

"There will be moments when your entire career is at risk," Gates said. "What will you do? What will you do?"

The answers aren't easy, he said. "but if you follow the dictates of your conscience and the courage of your convictions, while being respectfully candid with your superiors while encouraging candor in others, you will be in good stead for the challenges you will face as officers and
leaders in the years ahead," he said.

Gates noted that the cadets will soon be in leadership positions, making decisions in a "captain's war" in which junior officers' judgment and initiative can have strategic ramifications. He urged them to draw on their consciences as they face that huge responsibility in challenging circumstances.

"Defend your integrity as you would your life," Gates said. "If you do this, I am confident that, when you face those tough dilemmas, you will, in fact, know the right thing to do."

Mom Sees What Navy Life Could be Like for Son

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

April 22, 2008 - Since the fourth grade, Wendy Wachtell's son, Jameson, has wanted to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. She thought his desire would wane with age, like wanting to be a fireman in the fourth grade. But it soon became clear that was what he wanted, she said. Now, with Jameson a sophomore in high school, conversations and considerations for his future are taking a more serious tone.

Naturally, she conceded, as a mother, Wachtell is concerned about her son joining a
military force while the nation is at war.

But, yesterday, as part the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, Wachtell stood on the deck of the USS George Washington about 80 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and watched some of the
Navy's finest at work.

Wachtell is vice president and program director of the Joseph Drown Foundation, which distributes $7 million annually to non-profit groups in the
Los Angeles area. She is among 48 business, civic and educational leaders participating in the 75th Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, a secretary of defense-sponsored program for America's leaders interested in expanding their knowledge of the military and national defense.

"It gives me more confidence," Wachtell said of her visit to the ship. "It is clear that everybody there understands their mission, understands their role, does their job well.

"They are impressive. They are confident. They are remarkable young men and women given incredible opportunities at very young ages," she said. "If that is what [my son] chooses to do, as a mother I would support that entirely."

A bit of bad luck turned around for her and about a dozen others who were to visit the ship on the second day of their journey. The Joint Civilian Orientation Conference group of about 50 was divided, with most leaving early in the morning after landing here from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

They flew to the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier on planes used to shuttle mail, parts and personnel. But Wachtell and her group of about a dozen were left stranded when their delivery plane suffered electronic problems. While the problems didn't affect the plane's flight capabilities, the safety standards of the maintenance staff wouldn't allow it off the ground.

As the crew worked to fix the problem, Wachtell and her group experienced another common aspect of military life: They sat in the airport and waited. And waited. And waited.

Because of logistics conflicts, no other planes or helicopters could return to retrieve the stranded crew. Late in the day, a deal was struck by the
leaders of the ship and conference. The remaining participants could catch a ride to the ship via the same plane that took the others out.

But, the group would have to bypass their night's stay and fancy dinner plans in a resort hotel to sleep in quarters on the ship for the night and dine with sailors in the galley. They would return to port when the ship docked the next day.

The group also was to get a front-row seat to watch the dangerous night takeoffs and landings on the aircraft carrier. It was a rare treat for civilians.

There was no hesitation. The group jumped at the opportunity.

As a result, Wachtell ate where
Navy officers eat, slept where Navy officers sleep, and saw firsthand what life in the Navy would be like for her son. She and the others were able to talk with many sailors, enlisted and officer alike, and were given a rare glimpse at some of the more intimate details of sailors' work and living conditions.

"Do I wish for my son to be like those young men and women? Absolutely," Wachtell said yesterday after her night on the ship. "As a mother, there will be nothing that will take away the fear. These are men and women who choose to put themselves in harm's way to defend their country. That doesn't mean that I don't understand that it is critically important role and would be really proud of my son to do that.

"I would be extraordinarily proud if he chose to join these men and women," she said.

Though, after standing on the flight deck only feet from where some the nation's fastest and fiercest jets come screaming in for a landing and are yanked to a screeching halt in only 180 feet, Wachtell said she wasn't sure if she wanted her son to become an aviator.

"They may be crazy," she said with a laugh. "It takes a very particular personality to be able to do what those men and women do. It's pretty extraordinary."

Mullen Receives Atlantic Council's Military Leadership Award

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 22, 2008 -
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen was one of four leaders spotlighted last night during a who's who of policymakers and policy enforcers that included scores of former heads of state, department secretaries, ambassadors and high-ranking military officers. Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, media magnate Rupert Murdoch and Russian piano virtuoso Evgeny Kissin in accepting the Atlantic Council's award for Distinguished Military, International, Business and Artistic Leadership, respectively, in a gala here.

"Let there be no doubt that Adm. Mike Mullen is the right man in the right job at the right time for our nation, and his entire career has contributed to leading him to this point," retired
Marine Gen. James L. Jones, chairman of the Atlantic Council, said before presenting the chairman the award.

Mullen, one of few senior naval officers to hold four four-star assignments, oversaw one of the most transformative eras in naval history while serving as vice chief of naval operations, Jones said. The period recognized that family readiness was critical to the
Navy's readiness.

"The policies put in place under his watch ... led to historically high retention rates and significantly higher operational readiness rates Navywide," Jones said, describing Mullen's tenure from August 2003 to October 2004, as he served under then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vernon E. Clark.

Jones added that Mullen also showed exceptional
leadership serving as commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command, in Naples, and U.S. Naval Forces Europe, and as the 28th chief of naval operations.

"Ladies and gentleman, we can all be thankful Mike Mullen is at the helm," Jones said. "He's calm; he's thoughtful; he's reasonable; he's insightful; and he fully understands the magnitude of that task before him."

Apparently, he also has a sense of humor and humility.

Mullen, the last speaker to address the high-caliber international audience, began his remarks, "Good evening. I certainly recognize my place in the order tonight." But as the laughter subsided, the top
military officer tempered the revelry by honoring deployed servicemembers of the United States and its allies.

"As we are here this evening enjoying this celebration, I am mindful of all those men and women who are serving in all of our countries around the world," he said. "Many of them are in harm's way this evening so that we might enjoy the freedom, the privileges, the opportunity that their service, in fact, provides."

The chairman then provided a sweeping assessment of global
security, including countries where troops are stationed currently and where he expects they'll be needed in future operations.

Echoing comments made this month by
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Mullen said security there is improved but fragile. Furthermore, he said, security is a necessary condition, but not sufficient, as diplomatic, political and economic progress is imperative for long-term stability.

Mullen said Iran routinely pushes its way into "realms of instability," and advocated that allied countries address Iran's variform influence in the Middle East: in Hezbollah, Hamas and in southern Iraq.

"I think for the ability to create stability in that part of the world, that not just this alliance but those who are allied will have to deal with Iran in the very near future," he said.

Afghanistan is "front and center" for allied Atlantic countries, Mullen said. He added that NATO countries must ensure that their contributions are sufficient in helping establish security in Afghanistan. In related comments, he stressed the need for allied countries to address threats emanating from Pakistan.

"We also must work hard, I think, to build non-NATO relationships," he added. "And there are those countries, those allies, who have joined us in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They represent the best of those relationships," he continued, "countries who are responsible and who recognize in that responsibility that we can meet these challenges head on together much better than we can meet them individually."

In closing, Mullen said, the strength of international partnership lies in nations' shared hope for the future.

"As a community of nations, we've elected to lead, and we've chosen to work together to create a future where parents can raise their children without fear, with dignity and with hope," he said.

The Atlantic Council of the United States promotes constructive U.S.
leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century, according the organization's official Web site.