Friday, May 02, 2008

Bikers, Enthusiasts Gather for Motorcycle Safety Event

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

May 2, 2008 - A few hundred bikers and enthusiasts gathered in the Pentagon's north parking lot today for the second annual National Capital Region Joint Services motorcycle safety event. The event brought together an assortment of guest speakers including members of Congress, and department secretaries,
Hollywood stars and military commanders, all avid bikers.

Probably the biggest head-turner at the event, though, was Catherine Bell, an actress known for her role of
Marine Lt. Col. Sarah MacKenzie on the television show "JAG," and who recently has starred in the Lifetime Television hit series "Army Wives" as Denise Sherwood.

A self-described tomboy and risk taker, Bell has always had a passion for fast cars, motorcycles and boats, she said. But, she told the group, there has to be a balance of risk and reward.

"As much as I am addicted to the thrill of riding, there is definitely a balance as to how much I am willing to risk when I ride a motorcycle or I'm out on the track," she said.

Bell said her roles in her acting career have given her some insight into the
military life. She said she understands servicemembers' need to blow off some steam, especially after a deployment, but said the onus is on leaders to ensure troops make the same smart decisions at home as they do in the field.

"We have to find ways to help our soldiers make smart decisions when they're back home, especially when they're away from the control and structure of on post," Bell said. "It's understandable they would want to cut loose, ... but our challenge ... is to find ways to reinforce the mindset that balances risk with reward -- and not choosing a motorcycle as a vehicle of choice to let totally loose, so that once they're home safely they will stay in one piece.

"Above all, we have to instill the mindset that riding a motorcycle to take out pent-up energy after months of working under such controlled circumstances is a formula for disaster," she said.

The United States has more than 6 million registered bikers, according to Department of Transportation officials. Motorcycles represent 2 percent of vehicles on the road, but represent 10 percent of crashes. Motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled since 1997, officials said.

This past week, the U.S.
Army lost its 25th soldier this year to a motorcycle fatality, Army officials said. Last year, DoD had nearly 100 fatalities in motorcycles accidents.

Maj. Gen. James W. Nuttall, deputy director for the
Army National Guard and an avid motorcycle rider, has been riding for four decades. In his younger days, he said, he did his share of unsafe riding.

"Quite frankly, the only reason I'm standing here before you today is because I'm lucky," he said.

He now rides a Harley Davidson Screaming Eagle Ultra II, which cost more than his first house, Nuttall joked.

Nuttall said safe biking is all about getting soldiers to do the right thing, even when they're not around

"The hardest thing we have to get our soldiers to wear is the safety vest. Why? Quite frankly, you look stupid. It's all about fashion when you get on a motorcycle," Nuttall said.

The general said sport bikers are typically better dressed with safety gear, but they are also the highest risk for accidents and fatalities because of the speed of the bikes.

"You get in an accident at 50 miles an hour, you're still going to die. You'll have a good looking corpse though," he said.

There have been 13 deaths of Guard members this year, Nuttall said. Nearly all of those were on sport bikes. Ten of those were servicemembers younger than 26, he said. Already the death toll is twice as high as this time last year, he said.

He attributed the majority of accidents to inexperience and a lack of training, saying soldiers were coming back from combat deployments with "more money than brains" and buying new motorcycles.

"You'd be amazed at the amount of accidents that occur within the first few hundred miles. People who have no business being on motorcycles -- no training, no nothing," he said.

To ensure servicemembers are trained, U.S.
Army Installation Management Command is expanding its support by ramping up a mobile surge capability of trainers, motorcycles and portable classrooms. When units return home from deployment and there is a demand for the training, groups of trainers and equipment "deploy" to the unit.

Army Maj. Gen. John MacDonald, deputy commanding general of Installation Management Command, said proper training and safety gear for a motorcycle is the equivalent to protection worn in combat.

"You wouldn't ask a soldier to go outside the wire without an
Army combat helmet on. We don't let them go without [body armor]. We don't let them go without a weapon," he said. "When you talk to youngsters, it really is the same thing as when you go into combat."

Vans with eight motorcycle simulators deploy as part of the "surge." They can take as many as six vans. Also, for those who are buying more powerful bikes, his group has a computer simulator with all the power of a large motorcycle. A soldier rides the simulator motorcycle and uses three wide-screens to get a feel for how the bike would handle.

"The nice thing is you can go in there and test turns and braking power, and you can crash and just hit restart," MacDonald said.

Together, the
Army combines hands-on training, Web-based course work, and simulators to improve soldiers' odds on the road, he said.

"All that experience is what we need youngsters to learn before they go out and crash and can't hit restart," MacDonald said.



General Electric Co., Aircraft Engines
Business Group, Lynn, Mass., is being awarded a $321,694,248 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0088) to exercise an option for fiscal 2008 Lot 12 full rate production of 84 each F-414-GE-400 engines and device kits and 10 engine fan modules for the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft. Work will be performed in Lynn, Mass. (50 percent); Madisonville, Ky. (22 percent); Hooksett, N.H. (13 percent); Albuquerque, N.M. (6 percent); Rutland, Vt. (5 percent); Dayton, Ohio (2 percent); Evandale, Ohio (1 percent); and Bromont, Canada (1 percent), and work is expected to be completed in December 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Land & Armaments, LP, Ground Systems Division, York, Pa., is being awarded a $53,190,513 firm-fixed-priced delivery order #0008 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5025) for the purchase of 40 Category I U.S. Special Operations Command armored utility variant vehicles. Work will be performed in York, Pa., and work is expected to be completed by February 2009. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The
Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Nova Group/Tutor-Saliba, a joint venture,
Napa Calif., is being awarded a $39,000,000 firm-fixed-price design-build contract for CVN maintenance pier replacement at Naval Base Kitsap. The work to be performed provides for all labor, materials, and equipment to demolish the existing Pier Bravo and construct a new ship repair wharf, including the replacement of approximately 300 lineal feet of quay wall (Structure 729), the strengthening of the sheet pile wall west of the Dry Dock 6 mole, and the demolition of Pier 8. An additional $83,877,000 will be funded subject to the availability of FY09 and FY10 funds making the total contract amount $122,877,000. Work will be performed in Bremerton, Wash., and work is expected to be completed by April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Naval Facilities Engineering Command e-solicitation website with two proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest, Silverdale, Wash., is the contracting activity (N44255-08-C-6000).

Sealift, Inc., Oyster Bay, N.Y., is being awarded a $21,913,900 firm-fixed-price contract for the 12-month charter of the U.S.-flagged, contractor-operated, high speed vessel, HSV Swift. HSV Swift will be operated worldwide in support of U.S. Fleet Forces Command and the war on
terrorism. The vessel will also be used for emerging operational concepts such as seabasing and the Global Fleet Station. The contract contains four options, which include three 12-month options and one 11-month option, which if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $93,076,577. Work will be performed worldwide, and work is expected to be completed Sept. 2009 (Aug. 2013 with options exercised). Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with more than 80 proposals solicited and one offer received. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting authority (N00033-08-C-3315).

International Systems LLC, DBA L-3 Communications Advanced Systems Division, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $20,036,760 cost plus fixed fee contract for the Sea Fighter Vessel modification. The purpose of this research is to design, integrate, and implement modifications to Sea Fighter that will improve ship survivability features and improve various hull, mechanical and electrical capabilities. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and work is expected to be completed Apr. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at end of current fiscal year: This contract was competitively procured under Office of Naval Research Broad Agency Announcement 08-001. Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00014-08-C-0625).

Vanguard Contractors, LLC, Paducah, Ky., is being awarded $9,477,000 for firm-fixed-price task order #0003 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract (N40085-07-D-7019) for design and construction of a mobile user objective system installation (MOUS) at Naval Support Activity, Northwest Annex. The project will install a MUOS ground site and supporting facilities. The ground site consists of three earth terminals, one radio access facility, and an operations facility including incidental related work. Work will be performed in Chesapeake, Va., and work is expected to be completed by May 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.


EG&G Technical Services of
Las Vegas, Nev., is being awarded a contract for $37,156,339. This contract action will provide operation and maintenance of the 781st Test Squadron, National Radar Cross Section Test Facility, which delivers accurate, timely, cost-effective and secure radar cross section (RCS) and antenna test data to the DoD and industry low observable and electronic combat communities. The operation and maintenance includes a complex facility consisting of two geographically separated sites. Services required under this contract are in support of planning, provisioning, conducting, analyzing and reporting of Radar Cross Section and antenna testing to include associated maintenance of all equipment and property, engineering, security management, configuration management, environmental and safety management, and facility upgrade and technology insertion. At this time no money has been obligated. Eglin AFB, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA9200-08-C-0179).

Kovatch Corporation of Nesquehoning, Penn., is being awarded a modified firm fixed price contract for $15,336,664. This requirement contract will exercise an option for 77 R-11 aircraft refueling tank trucks. At this time $15,336,664 has been obligated. Robins AFB, Ga., is the contracting activity (F09603-03-C-0141-P00023).

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of
Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a modified contract for $12,000,000. This action will provide incorporation of configuration changes to the Peace Drive II (Pakistan) Modernization Program. At this time $4,800,000 has been obligated. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8615-07-C-6032 P00006).

Cubic Defense Application, Inc. of
San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a firm fixed price contract for $9,504,568. This action provides for 16 P5 combat training systems pods modified, 2 transport ground subsystem with live monitor, 1 transport ground subsystem with out live monitor, 2 site prep/installation/integration, 2 control display units kits, 1 portable ground subsystem, 1 common support equipment, 1 lot of spares and 6/5 months contractor logistics support option. This action is the initial purchase. At this time $8,793,302 has been obligated. Eglin AFB, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8678-08-C-0051).

University of Dayton Research Institute of Dayton, Ohio, is being awarded a contract for $5,665,000. This effort will focus on the understanding of the fundamental physical phenomena of thermal management technologies and the demonstration of the technologies. Such physical phenomena and those associated with high heat flux heat removal, heat spreaders, thermal energy storage, loop heat pipes, thermal siphons and high heat flux two-phase transport will be investigated. The demonstration of these technologies at the subsystem level will be demonstrated so that the technologies can easily transition to an aircraft and/or directed energy weapon system level demonstration. At this time $215,217 has been obligated. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-04-D-2403, Delivery Order 0017).


Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Hurst, Texas, was awarded on April 30, 2008, a $30,377,024 firm-fixed price contract for supplies and services for application of safety enhancement lot program into the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior aircraft. Work will be performed in Hurst, Texas, and is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on March 24, 2004. U.S.
Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-04C-0123).

Telford Aviation Inc.,
Bangor, Maine, was awarded on April 30, 2008, a $26,376,525 time and materials contract for nine months of continued multi-sensor airborne reconnaissance surveillance system support. Work will be performed in Iraq and Afghanistan and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on March 11, 2008. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J. is the contracting activity (W15P7T-07-C-W009).

Genetic Chemistry, Inc.,
Palo Alto, Calif., was awarded on April 29, 2008, a $6,058,153 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research to develop countermeasures to an intercellular bio threat agent. Work will be performed in Palo Alto, Calif., and is expected to be completed by July 28, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Multiple bids were solicited in Oct. 2006 and one bid was received. Research, Development & Engineering Command Acquisition Center, Research Triangle Park, N.C. is the contracting activity (W911NF-08-C-0023).

First 100 Days of Combat Focus of New Army Handbooks

American Forces Press Service

May 2, 2008 - The U.S.
Army has published three new handbooks to help soldiers prepare for the first 100 days of combat, officials said on a teleconference with online journalists and "bloggers" yesterday. Army Col. Steven Mains, director of the Center for Army Lesson Learned, and Milton Hileman, a senior military analyst, explained that there was a small but clear rise in the number of casualties early in a combat deployment, concentrated in the first 100 days.

"It's not a new phenomenon that ... we just figured out and nobody had ever seen before, but it's something we could clearly show was the case in Iraq," Mains said.
"And so it drove us to say, well, what do they know at day 250 that they really need to know during those first 100 days?"

After an extensive interview process with approximately 1700 soldiers, Mains and Hileman said that there were three key elements to surviving the first three months; avoiding complacency, good decisions made by junior
leaders, and the efficient staff processes at the battalion and brigade level for commanders.

"When we interviewed the soldiers one on one, we asked them to respond back to us as if they were talking to a fellow soldier," Hileman said.

Overall, the soldiers said they need to stay alert and stay attuned to the environment in order to survive, Hileman said. Avoiding complacency was a reoccurring theme among the soldiers interviewed, he added.

"Soldiers said that complacency in one way or another contributed to every casualty they saw," Hileman said. "It was little things like not following (standard operating procedures), not having all of your kit when you went out the gate on a mission,
leaders not doing their pre-combat inspections, and leaders not being adaptive in the way they plan their mission."

Mains explained the original idea was to write one handbook for soldiers, but based on what soldiers told them, it grew into another handbook for junior

"The decisions the junior leaders make clearly affect survivability and mission accomplishment," said Mains. "And of course, they're not used to making those decisions because they're new in theater as well."

Soldiers expect to have good
leadership at every level, Hileman said.

Hileman explained that to a soldier good
leadership means willingness to lead from the front and having tactical experience.

"They certainly expect their
leaders to share that same level of risk that they shared everyday when they went out on a mission," said Hileman. "They expect their leaders to set standards and enforce the standards every day."

Furthermore, Hileman said the soldiers told him that when they identified a weak leader, they tended to create their own informal chain of command.

The soldiers were also asked if they had the right training, and more than 70 percent said their unit was trained and ready to go.

Mains said that while most
military handbooks would publish approximately 20,000 copies, the "First Hundred Days" soldiers handbooks have published more than 200,000 copies.

"We know that four countries are translating it for their own soldiers," said Mains. "And the other two handbooks are really close behind that."

Mains also said the
Army is going to publish a handbook focused on transition teams. Transition teams are "not quite as focused on going on patrol and staying alive as a junior soldier might be, but they need to come in quickly and gain rapport with ... the guy that they're advising," he said.

Navy Seaman William Selby works for the New Media branch of American Forces Information Service.)