Military News

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chairman Accepts Award on Behalf of Servicemembers

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2008 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff accepted the Gold Medal of the Union League of
Philadelphia here last night on behalf of the men and women of the U.S. military, who he said make America's freedom possible. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told the league members that he was honored and humbled to receive the award, but that the men and women of the armed forces are the real honorees.

"We should remember tonight those who serve around the world, particularly those who serve in harm's way," Mullen said. "It is their service that is the foundation for us as a nation. They make such a difference, and they make all of us proud."

The chairman told the black-tie crowd that, while the world is full of challenges, U.S. servicemembers have risen to surmount them. He told of a recent visit he made to Iraq and the fact that he walked through neighborhoods in Baghdad and northern Iraq. "This is something you couldn't do just weeks earlier," Mullen said. "It is like that in many places in Iraq, and it wasn't that way a year ago."

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, deservedly gets credit for turning the country around, the chairman said. "But the individuals who really get the credit in my book are the soldiers, the Marines, sailors and airmen who are on the streets making that happen," he added. "They're the ones who made the surge succeed. They're the ones that get the credit. They have done it with their blood, with their sacrifices and with the American spirit, which has tied them to those who first served when our country was formed."

Mullen said he spends a lot of his time trying to understand the pressure the ground forces are under. He said he has traveled to visit servicemembers stateside and overseas "to be in touch with what's on the ground," so he can use that input in the decisions he makes or when he recommends courses of action.

Servicemembers are not shy about telling him their feelings, especially when they are in a combat environment, he said. "I treasure that," he told the audience. He said he has seen that troops are under pressure, "but they are performing at an exceptional level."

"They are resilient, and they are proud of what they are doing," he added. "They are seeing themselves succeed in a way they weren't a year ago, and they have a skip in their step."

The chairman said that, although work remains to be done in Iraq and a growing insurgency in Afghanistan isn't going to go away, the
military must manage the conflicts in such a way that servicemembers have more time between deployments with their families.

"It is in getting it right for the immediate future that consumes a great deal of my time," he said. "But it is not just the immediate future that I am concerned about, because this war we're in, and the extremists that we are fighting, is going to be around for decades, not for months or years. And we're going to have to stay focused on this."

The United States has to build a
military for the future that can handle the unconventional enemies of today and conventional threats that may crop up, the chairman said, and the country cannot do it alone. "We've got to build relationships and partnerships with countries around the world," Mullen said.

During and after
World War Two, the admiral noted, U.S. leaders understood the need for allies in the struggle against fascism and communism, and the same is true today. "We need those partners. We need those relationships," he said.

The United States must continue to bolster on-going relationships and cultivate emerging relationships with other nations, Mullen said.

"We live in an incredible time, a time of great uncertainty, very unpredictable, and the only way I can see us moving ahead is together -- with allies and partners who have the same objectives in mind," he said.

Mullen stood in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln, who received the league's first Gold Medal in 1863. Since Lincoln received the honor at the height of the
Civil War, 35 Americans have been so honored, including Army Maj. Gen. George G. Meade in 1866, Secretary of War Elihu Root in 1915, President Calvin Coolidge in 1927, General of the Armies John J. Pershing in 1928, President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1962, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger in 1986, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in 2006.

Sesame Street Coaches Kids Through Parent's Deployments, Returns

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2008 - Following a workshop that helped children cope with a
military parent's deployment, the familiar, furry denizens of Sesame Street are starring in a new program focusing on multiple deployments and family adjustments upon a parent's return. Sesame Workshop, the makers of Sesame Street, today released "Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployment, Homecoming, Changes," a video workshop that aims to aid children in understanding and unbundling the tangle of complex emotions many feel in the midst of a mother's or father's tours of duty away from home, and even broaches the difficult subject of dealing with a parent's debilitating war injury.

"This follow-on DVD to talk about the changes, dealing with new medical injuries -- living in the 'new normal' -- is tremendously important,"
Army Col. Loree K. Sutton, chief of the newly created Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, said here during the workshop launch at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

More than 80 percent of those surveyed said the first installment of Sesame Workshop's
military outreach effort -- which covered all phases of deployment -- was incredibly effective, Gary E. Knell, president and chief executive officer of Sesame Workshop. "And they really wanted us to also go to the next step to deal with two issues," he added, referring to multiple deployments and changes, especially mental or physical injuries parents suffer while deployed.

To help keep the program authentic to children's experience, an advisory committee composed of members of
military families and advocacy groups, child psychologists, educators and other experts offered perspective to Sesame Street creators throughout production.

The show's creators also vetted the program through "real world"
military families and adapted it according to their feedback, said Jeanette Betancourt, vice president for content design at Sesame Workshop's education and outreach division.

In the original script, for instance, writers used broad strokes to paint an effusive reunion between Elmo, a red, furry and perpetually 3-year old character, and his fresh-from-the-front-lines father. After seeing a rough cut of the scene, the advisors recommended tweaking the script to reflect a greater emotional range.

Leslye A. Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for
military community and family policy, said the first treatment failed to capture the emotional complexity of the reunion.

"In the original version, they had [Elmo] all excited and enthusiastic and happy. It's sort of what you expect if you really don't know how hard it is when somebody's been gone for a while and you're so anticipating their returning," Arsht said in an interview. "And yet there's this (worry), 'Is he going to be the same?' You know, all those mixed emotions."

The creators heeded their feedback and re-wrote the scene to be more three-dimensional and true-to-life, through what she described as "powerful adjustments" in the script. The effects of such realism are evident, she said: "You cannot watch these DVDs without crying."

Arsht said the anxiety arises, in part, because children feel ambivalent about the growth and progress they make in the midst of their parent's absence.

"The child has been growing; they can do things they couldn't do before. They don't know whether to be proud about that, or to think that the dad's going to feel bad that he didn't get to see that happening," Arsht said, describing a common reaction of 3- to 5-year olds, the show's target demographic.

According to statistics, some 700,000 children of
military members are under the age of 5. Through Sesame Street's lovable characters, the program manages to teach young children about painful subjects in a medium that speaks to them.

In one scene, Rosita, a cheerful, bilingual blue monster from Mexico, sees her servicemember father return home in a wheelchair after an injury he suffered during deployment.

"Initially she's angry. Her emotions emerge. And what Sesame Street is able to do is turn the conversation to what is the same, what the parent can do," Arsht said. "If he can't kick the ball -- which he couldn't -- he can catch the ball.

"It's elementary," she continued. "But it carries a much bigger message than the words themselves convey."

Elmo and Rosita are the best venues for relaying such tender messages because they are trusted by young audience members, said Barbara Thompson, the director of DoD's
military community and family policy office and advisory board member.

"The children will listen and resonate with their message," she said. "Sesame Workshop captured the right message and how to say it in a very sensitive way. It's a well-done resource for our families."

Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit education effort, has been doing these special projects since its inception in 1968. The group has done outreach projects on subjects like early literacy, asthma, lead poisoning, going to the doctor and school readiness.

Performed in English and
Spanish, the workshop will not air on television but will be distributed free to schools, child care programs and family support centers, thanks to a gift from Wal-Mart stores and other sponsors. The DVD kit or downloadable video is available at the Military OneSource Web site, www.militaryonesource.com.

The previous Sesame Street workshop, a broader installment entitled "Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Families Cope with
Military Deployment," covered all phases of deployment, from predeployment to homecoming. A separate Sesame Street program, "When Parents Are Deployed," was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 29, 2008

NAVY

Raytheon Co., Portsmouth, R.I., is being awarded a $59,790,100 firm-fixed-price contract for the Fiscal Year 2008 Full Rate Production (Lot VI) procurement of 14 AN/AQS airborne low frequency sonar for the MH-60R helicopter. Work will be performed in Brest, France, (61 percent); Portsmouth, R.I., (30 percent) and Gaithersburg, Md., (9 percent), and is expected to be completed in Oct. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-08-C-0051).

McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $23,783,387 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0014). This modification provides for the procurement of ancillary mission equipment for the F/A-18 E/F and E/A-18G aircraft. Work will be performed in
Mesa, Ariz., (83 percent); and St. Louis, Mo., (17 percent) and is expected to be completed in Jan. 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.

Serco Inc., Vienna, Va., is being awarded an $11,400,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, time and material modification to a previously awarded contract (N65236-02-D-3712) for air traffic control systems engineering, installation, and technical support services. Work will be performed in Charleston, S.C., (57 percent); Vienna, Va., (37 percent); Yuma, Ariz., (1 percent);
Reno, Nev., (1 percent); and OCONUS (4 percent), and work is expected to be completed by Aug. 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured via the Space and Naval Warfare e-Commerce Central website, with two offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity.

ARMY

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded on Apr. 28, 2008, a $30,421,105 firm-fixed price contract for conversion of 9 UH-60 M Blackhawk helicopters into unique aircraft configuration for the Bahrain Defense Force, and to provide
training, technical publications, integrated logistics support, field service representative, warranty, and ferry flight technical shipping support. Work will be performed in Stratford, Conn., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Oct. 20, 2005. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

AM General LLC, South bend, Ind., was awarded on Apr. 25, 2008, a $11,601,414 firm-fixed price contract for 101 EA 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. O ne bid was solicited on Mar. 17, 2006. TACOM,
Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S001).

Kipper Tool Co., Gainesville, Ga., was awarded on Apr. 24, 2008, a $9,819,763 firm-fixed price contract for aviation maintenance armament and electrical shop set. Work will be performed in Gainesville, Ga., and is expected to be completed by Apr. 30, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Ten bids were solicited on Nov. 29, 2001, and one bid was received. TACOM, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAE20-03-D-0089).

AM General LLC, South Bend, Ind., was awarded on Apr. 25, 2008, a $5,789,443 firm-fixed price contract for 54 EA 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).

AIR FORCE

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of
Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a contract for $8,272,771. This program seeks to achieve a technology readiness level (TRL) of at least five by 2010 on an integrated mobility configuration I the areas of high lift, efficient transonic flight, and flight control, in order to support future technology development and acquisition activities. At this time $1,100,000 has been obligated. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-05-G-5503).

General Acknowledges Shortfall, Pledges Fixes for Fort Bragg Barracks

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2008 - A senior
Army officer responsible for soldiers' housing pledged remedial action in the wake of news reports citing some soldiers living on Fort Bragg, N.C., were housed in substandard quarters. "It is my responsibility for maintaining barracks throughout the Army," Brig. Gen. Dennis E. Rogers, deputy director of operations and facilities for U.S. Army Installation Management Command, in Arlington, Va., said today during a roundtable discussion with Pentagon reporters.

"Folks, we let our soldiers down, and that's not like us," Rogers emphasized to reporters. "That's not how we want America's sons and daughters to live, and there's no good excuse for what happened."

Earlier this month, the father of one of the Fort Bragg-based soldiers uploaded a video onto an Internet Web site that depicted a clogged bathroom drain and profuse peeling paint inside a 1950s-vintage barracks that housed his son and some other 82nd Airborne Division soldiers who recently redeployed to Fort Bragg after a duty tour in Afghanistan.

However, work orders had already been submitted to correct the barrack's discrepancies that were identified in the video, Rogers said. Most of the shortfalls, he added, had been corrected before the video's posting.

"The flaking paint condition was, in fact, ugly. ... We have scraped that paint off, and the surfaces are being repainted," Rogers said.

The clogged and flooded drain in the bathroom floor was reported and repaired immediately, he said.

Twenty-three other 1950s-style barracks are in use on Fort Bragg, and all of them are slated for demolition within the next five years as new barracks are constructed, Rogers said. There are no health or safety issues with those older barracks, he added.
There is a process in place at
Army posts worldwide in which older barracks in use are maintained until they are torn down, Rogers reported. That process failed at Fort Bragg, he acknowledged.

The older barracks used to house soldiers "are looking worse and worse, so we're getting the new barracks on line as soon as possible," Rogers said.

Senior Army
leaders directed garrison commanders worldwide to walk through and inspect their barracks April 26-27, Rogers said. The feedback is still being examined, and a report may be ready as early as sometime next week, he said.

"We got most of those barracks looked at," Rogers said, noting some rooms were unavailable for inspection until residents had returned from four-day passes.

Meanwhile,
Army garrison commanders and command sergeants major have made an assessment that soldiers are housed in accordance with Army standards, Rogers said. On-the-spot corrections have been made to bring unsatisfactory barracks living conditions into compliance with Army standards, he noted.

Installation Management Command's top enlisted person, Command Sgt. Major Debra L. Strickland, accompanied Rogers at the roundtable. Strickland will chair a noncommissioned officer forum that will provide an NCO perspective on
Army barracks issues, Rogers said.

Taking care of soldiers, including ensuring their living quarters meet
Army standards, is an NCO's primary task, Strickland told reporters.

"The noncommissioned corps has the basic responsibility for the welfare of our soldiers," Strickland pointed out.

More than 10,800 of Fort Bragg's 51,000 soldiers live in barracks or post family housing units, according to installation officials.

Mullen Asks Philadelphians to Embrace Wounded Veterans

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2008 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called on the citizens of
Philadelphia last night to embrace those who have lost loved ones or who have been wounded in service to America. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen received the Gold Medal of the Union League of Philadelphia during a ceremony at the 1862 building, right down the street from City Hall. The league was established during the Civil War as an organization to help restore the Union, and it has pursued its mission to uphold the nation for the 135 years since.

Mullen challenged the league to find ways to help the surviving spouses and families of servicemembers who paid the ultimate price, saying that communities have a moral responsibility to help returning wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many of these veterans face stark choices as they try to plan lives that changed in an instant. "A poll in this morning's news said some 70 percent of those veterans who have come back from this war don't think America is doing everything it can for those who are serving," Mullen said.

The admiral didn't comment on the poll, but said he is "extremely concerned that we figure out a way to take care of those who sacrificed so much."

Deborah Mullen, the admiral's wife, often meets and spends time with surviving spouses, the chairman said. They tell her that they want to stay connected to their service, and the admiral noted that significant support groups are helping them do so.

The Mullens have visited young men and women in wounded warrior clinics in Hawaii; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; the National Naval Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md.; and Walter Reed
Army Medical Center here. "As they recover from these life-altering wounds, my vision is that the Department of Defense, the [Department of Veterans Affairs] and the rest of America figure out a way to take care of these young people and their families for the rest of their lives," Mullen said. "In many cases, they are trying to figure out what they want to be for the rest of their lives, and their choices have changed."

Mullen said he wants to stop the focus on the disability side of the assessment and focus more on the abilities these wounded warriors still possess.

"I really believe that, in this great country, ... DoD, VA, but most importantly, the communities throughout the country can connect the sea of goodwill that is in this country, that I know is out there, with these young families," he said. "I would hope that we as a country reach out to them so their
American dream is still out there."

Though their dreams may change because of their circumstances, wounded warriors want to go to school, they want a family, they want to go to school, they want to have a family, they want their kids to go to school, and they'd like to own a home and have the income stream to support it, Mullen said.

"These are cases where young people sacrificed their all, and in other cases sacrificed their future -- certainly the way they saw it," the chairman said. "For them, we as a country must figure out how to best take care of them."

Mullen thanked the Union League members for their high honor. "If I could ask you to remember one thing about the evening, it would not be about who got the award," he said. "It would be about those who serve and, in particular, those have given so much in this war and those who will continue to do so."

In closing the ceremony, Union League President Frederick C. Haab said that one of the perks of his job "is to sit next to a gentleman like Admiral Mullen and talk with him and chat with him on a wide rage of topics. I wish you could all have that experience. It was wonderful, and I say in closing that there is a man who epitomizes our motto: 'Love of Country Leads.'"

America Supports You: Group Extends Scholarship Application Deadline

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2008 - Operation Homefront has extended the deadline for those interested in one of 25 American Patriot Freedom Scholarships the group offers to children of
military families for tuition and other education-related expenses. "The organization is extending its application date to allow the children stationed at military bases abroad additional time to submit their applications," Arthur Hasselbrink, founder and president of Homefront America, said.

With the change in deadline, applications must be postmarked by May 30.
Homefront America, with the help of the W. Daniel Tate family and Sara's Hope, which offers annual scholarships to high school students performing random acts of kindness, will award 25 $1,000 scholarships in June. This year's awards will bring the value of the scholarships awarded since the program's 2006 start to $70,000.
Military dependent children of retirees, disabled or fallen servicemembers or active-duty servicemembers stationed stateside or abroad are eligible to apply. This eligibility extends to activated or deployed Guardsmen and reservists, officials said.

Applications consist of an essay of 500 words or less on one of four pre-approved topics. They will be judged on originality, length, and relationship to the topic chosen, as well as grammar and spelling.

Complete guidelines, instructions and application materials are available on the Homefront America Web site, www.homefrontamerica.org.

Homefront America 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.

America Supports You: Guard Members Join 'Rebuilding Day' Projects

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2008 - At least 60 airmen, soldiers and civilians with the Air and
Army National Guard brought Christmas early to a disabled Maryland resident here April 26 by repairing her home on "National Rebuilding Day." Members of the National Guard Bureau, the Air Guard Readiness Center and the District of Columbia National Guard were among the volunteers who repaired the home of Michelle Samuel for what they called a "Christmas in April" event.

Known nationally as Rebuilding Day, the annual event's
community projects are planned and organized for the last Saturday in April. Orchestrated by the nonprofit Rebuilding Together organization, this was the 20th National Rebuilding Day since its inception in 1988.

Across the country, more than 200,000 volunteers planned 10,000 home and community center projects for the day. The volunteers rehabilitated homes for low-income residents at no cost. Many residents were elderly, disabled veterans or needy families.

Samuel, a disabled retired federal worker for the U.S.
Army, said her fixed, limited income did not allow her to make needed repairs. She was chosen by the county's chapter after a review of many applicants.

"It needed lots of attention, from top to bottom -- the roof, everything," said Samuel through the noise of pounding hammers and buzzing saws. "It's happening, and I'm so happy."

The Guard volunteers shingled her roof, repainted the interior and exterior, installed a new stove, washer and dryer, repaired the ceilings and bathroom, installed a new storm door and made many other repairs.

"It's a great cause," said
Army Sgt. 1st Class Eugene McDonald from the National Guard's inspector general's office in Arlington, Va.

It was McDonald's first time volunteering. She and her cleanup team helped plant flowers and picked up shingles and other construction debris from the yard, while other volunteers measured or painted or ran to the hardware store for materials in a rush to finish the home before sunset.

"I was telling everyone, if you want to see what angels look like and a blessing looks like, just drive by and see," Samuel said. "I could kiss and hug everybody all day long, but they have to work, so I have to leave them alone."

"We got started with this 14 years ago through our [Air Guard] civil engineering," said Ray Detig, a retired federal worker now employed as a contractor with the Air National Guard. "It's grown to include [National Guard] joint staff and many other units. When it's done, it is such a good feeling, and it's really good for the
community."

He added that Guard members in other states also volunteer in projects.

What some Guard volunteers here may have not known is that their support for National Rebuilding Day here indirectly supports fellow servicemembers.

"It's not just for folks who are over 65 and disabled," Detig said. "The organization helps servicemembers who are overseas, for instance, if some servicemember is deployed and his wife says, 'The roof is leaking. What do I do?'"

Thomas J. Cantwell, the organization's national director for veterans housing, said Rebuilding Together is assisting more than 150 veterans and their families this spring through their "Heroes at Home" program, and they hope to help many more in the years to come. This includes modifying veterans' homes to accommodate disabilities or making home repairs.

In the past, volunteers helped Minnesota
Army National Guard Sgt. Jonathan VanderWert. They renovated his family's home while he was deployed to Iraq and unable to make repairs. The organization also modified the home of Florida Army National Guard Staff Sgt. John Quincy Adams, who was severely injured in Iraq when a roadside bomb detonated near his Humvee.

"Rebuilding Together appreciates the support of the National Guard and all our servicemembers on our home repair and modification projects," Cantwell said. "The National Guard has shown they support our nation and their fellow soldiers, overseas and at home."

(
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves with the National Guard Bureau.)

Guard Enlisted Leaders Get Lesson in Nonlethal Weapons

By Army Master Sgt. Bob Haskell
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2008 - It was 20 times more painful, more debilitating, than any electrical shock she had ever experienced. Yet, a few minutes later, Arkansas National Guard state Command Sgt. Maj. Deborah Collins was walking and talking as normally as if she had never had a shocking encounter with one of the newest weapons available to the National Guard. Collins took part in a demonstration of nonlethal weapons during the National Guard Bureau's first Senior Enlisted
Leaders Conference here in mid-April. She let herself be zapped, or "tased," for a single second by a Taser X26, one of the devices the Guard now has for controlling unruly people without badly hurting them.

Nonlethal weapons, the
Army Guard's state command sergeants major and the Air Guard's state command chief master sergeants were told, give suitably-trained Guard personnel the ability to protect property after a hurricane or tornado, for example, without resorting to deadly force.

Every state Guard organization now has a nonlethal weapons kit that includes heavy plastic shields,
Tasers and weapons that can fire blunt-force rounds and tear-gas grenades designed to control crowds without inflicting serious injuries. The kits are stored in green, mobile containers.

"The policies and practices are still being developed, and our Guard people still need proper training," explained Maj. Tom White from the National Guard Bureau. "All but six states have nonlethal weapons instructors," added White, noting how seriously the Guard is subscribing to this idea of alternative force.

"Under United States law, the National Guard of each state is the only entity that can employ
military force in support of civil authorities unless the president declares martial law," the group was reminded.

"These nonlethal weapons are not a substitute for firearms. You don't take a
Taser to a gunfight," White observed. "But if they are used early enough, we can prevent the escalation to violence."

Collins discovered that for herself during the very long second that she was tased with the X26.

"I really didn't know what to expect. That's why I wanted to do it. It was immediate, intense pain," she explained. "For that one second, I don't remember anything but that pain. I had no thoughts about anything else. You know how you get shocked sometimes? Multiply that by at least 20 times."

The
Taser technology, which has been used since the late 1970s, is described as an electrical muscular disruption device. A one-second jolt will bring a grown man to his knees. The standard charge from an X26 lasts for five seconds, which can be administered in one- to two-second increments with a pistol grip to keep a subject under control.

Collins fared better than the three Guardsmen who also subjected themselves to the device, perhaps because women can withstand that kind of pain better than men, it was explained. She remained on her feet. The men fell to the ground.

"It's a good idea to use this equipment. You can control the situation without doing permanent damage to somebody, especially during a civil disturbance," she observed later. "The Guard is charged to help maintain order, but [those creating the disturbance] are citizens, too."

The nonlethal weapons are to be used with discretion by trained personnel, cautioned Command Sgt. Maj. David Ray Hudson, the National Guard Bureau's senior enlisted leader and a retired Alaska State Trooper captain.

"We have equipment out there that we are not adequately trained on," Hudson told the state enlisted leaders. "It's up to you to make sure your people get trained."

(
Army Master Sgt. Bob Haskell serves with the National Guard Bureau.)

PaCom Helps Establish Transnational Crime Unit in Micronesia

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 29, 2008 - A new transnational
crime unit U.S. Pacific Command is helping to establish in Micronesia will support a multinational crackdown on drug trafficking and other crimes that have the potential to destabilize the region, a senior military official said yesterday. The Micronesia Regional Transnational Unit opened April 23 in Pohnpei, Micronesia, to promote information sharing critical to stemming the flow of drugs, particularly methamphetamines, throughout Asia and the Pacific, Navy Rear Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, commander of Joint Interagency Task Force West, told American Forces Press Service.

JIATF West, U.S. Pacific Command's element focused on drug-related threats in the region, provided $460,000 to refurbish a 10,000-square-foot facility and equip it with communications and
computer equipment, Zukunft said.

The task force also is training operators at the new facility "to, in simplistic terms, connect the dots to look at emerging trends," Zukunft said. The Australian National Police will provide a full-time mentor to support the unit for the first year.

Operators in the unit represent not just the Federated States of Micronesia, but also the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and Palau. "So this unit is really transnational in its composition," Zukunft said.

The unit is the sixth in the region, all linked to the Australian Federal
Police's Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Center in Samoa. Other units are in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

Intelligence gathered through the new unit will support Micronesia's three patrol boats, provided through Australia's Pacific Patrol Boat Program to monitor against ocean-borne threats. "Absent acute information, it is very cost-ineffective to just send those patrol boats out at random without any advance knowledge of where the threats might exist in the ocean," Zukunft said. "Information is key."

Collectively, the network of facilities will build a more proactive
criminal intelligence and investigative presence in the Pacific that's critical in light of criminal elements who operate across borders, Zukunft said.

"What we are trying to do is support a network that will support the multinational sharing of information, since a lot of these transnational
crime activities are truly global enterprises," he said. In addition, many have nearly unlimited resources, which he said "puts law enforcement, obviously, at an extreme disadvantage."

Zukunft cited a strong correlation between areas with high drug-interdiction rates and those with strong information-sharing protocols that bolster
law enforcement capability.

This, in turn, supports good governance that discourages transnational criminals.

"The bad guys typically will look for paths of least resistance, where rule of law is weak," Zukunft said. "It is an opportunity for them to exploit, ... and that's what we are working to prevent."

JIATF West has been supporting the U.S. counterdrug effort since 1989, when it was established as Joint Task Force 5 with headquarters in Alameda, Calif. It was redesignated JIATF West in 1994, then moved four years ago to Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.

There, it is collocated
with the PaCom headquarters and focuses on drug-related threats in Asia and the Pacific.