Military News

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pentagon Seeks to Fund University Research in National Security

By Navy Seaman William Selby
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 8, 2008 - The Defense Department is developing a proposal to finance university research on national
security-related issues, a senior Pentagon official said yesterday. The Minerva Consortia, as it's called, would have the academic and intellectual communities focus on certain physical and social sciences, Thomas Mahnken, deputy assistant secretary of defense for policy planning, said in a teleconference with online journalists and "bloggers."

"We, as a Defense Department, don't have the expertise that we really need," Mahnken said. "We, as a nation, need to cultivate that expertise."

While DoD already researches both basic and applied physical sciences, Mahnken said, research in social science needs beefing up.

Though some issues surround research of social sciences, Mahnken said, funding should not be one of them.

"One of the virtues of social science research, as opposed to the physical science research, is it's relatively inexpensive," Mahnken said. "This is an area where 2 or 3 million dollars actually goes a long way."

Mahnken said that although the government already uses organizations such as the National
Security Agency for social-science research, the goal in the DoD proposal is to bridge a fundamental gap between academia and the government in social sciences.

That gap, he explained, puts the government at a disadvantage in understanding some of the challenges the United States faces worldwide and as a nation, Mahnken said.

Mahnken said another motive is to help college students receive more funding for their education.

"We see this as being able to fund kind of a new generation of scholars," he said. "I've gotten a lot of letters of support from the university community."

To get the Minerva Consortia project to move forward, solid funding is a must, Mahnken said.

"This is the type of research that you don't just turn the crank and produce something overnight," he said. "So we want to provide a stable funding base."

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

Face of Defense: 15th-Generation Rabbi Helps Airmen Keep Faith


By Air Force Senior Airman Tong Duong
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 8, 2008 - The candle flame performed a slow, mesmerizing dance as it flickered from one side of the wick to the other. The light softly illuminated his face as his silhouette became a portion of the projection behind him -- images of Holocaust victims. Soft-spoken yet with a stern demeanor, Chaplain (Capt.) Raphael Berdugo's eyes glistened as he solemnly lead a prayer. More than 30 servicemembers bowed their heads to pay their respects during the Holocaust Remembrance Vigil held at a base in Southwest Asia on May 2 to remember the more than 6 million lives lost in the Nazis' genocide of Jews during
World War Two.

One of only nine rabbis in the
Air Force and the only one in the U.S. Air Forces Central region, Berdugo's area of responsibility extends far beyond the base.

"I once received a call in the middle of the night from the wing chaplain of a different base, asking me what would be appropriate to do as a memorial service for a fallen Jewish servicemember," said the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain from McGuire
Air Force Base, N.J.

A 15th-generation rabbi, he said one of his many tasks includes leading his people to a righteous path.

"First and foremost, [being a rabbi] means being a positive role model for others and a visible reminder of what's holy," Berdugo said. "It also involves being a representative -- almost like an ambassador -- for the Jewish people and helping them with their religious needs."

One of those religious needs is keeping a strictly kosher diet, which has been easy thanks to the efforts of the 379th Expeditionary Services Squadron members, Berdugo said, noting that he received several requests for kosher versions of the
military rations known as MREs: meals, ready to eat. With the help of the services squadron, he said, several cases of kosher MREs were sent to numerous locations in the area of operations.

Berdugo said he brings a different perspective to the table and that others enjoy asking questions about his religion and learning about Judaism.

"I am very often the first rabbi that most airmen have ever met," he said.

Some are curious about the significance of his camouflage-patterned yarmulke, the small, round cap he wears on top of his head. Its origination comes from a combination of two Hebrew words -- "Yare" and "Malka" -- meaning "fear of the king," he said. "Basically, we wear it to remind ourselves to be submissive to the one above."

Any servicemember whose faith requires the head to be covered is authorized to wear an item such as a yarmulke in uniform, the rabbi pointed out.

With a relatively small Jewish population here, Berdugo's religious services are only a small portion of the work he does, allowing him to focus on visitation and other aspects of a chaplain's ministry.

"[I am] readily accessible to the airmen in all squadrons," he said. "After all, I am a pastoral caregiver for people of all faiths."

Ordained 15 years ago, Berdugo said being a Jewish religious leader was something he felt he was born to do.

"Becoming a rabbi was something I grew into," the father of three boys and two girls said. "Even at the young age of 12, while my parents ministered to the adults, I would minister to the children."

Born a British citizen in Dublin, Ireland, to Moroccan parents, Berdugo said he always has felt that a higher power had intervened and guided his path to becoming an ordained minister and ultimately joining the U.S.
Air Force.

"My education led to my becoming an ordained rabbi," he said. "After receiving my rabbinical ordination from Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, N.J., I applied for and received my green card. I started out as a middle school teacher, and for 10 years I taught the Torah and Judaic subjects at a private Jewish school."

Berdugo said he thought he would end his career as a school principal, but after becoming a naturalized American citizen in 1999, he was recruited for the
Air Force chaplaincy.

"Although I joined as a reservist, I knew that one day I would become active duty," he said.

Military service is not new to Berdugo's family; his uncle is serving as a chaplain in the French army. Berdugo said he would like for his children to follow in his footsteps.

"My wish is for at least one of my five children to carry on the family tradition," he said.

(
Air Force Senior Airman Tong Duong serves in the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs Office.)

Waiver Recipients Take Advantage of 'Second Chance' in Army

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

May 8, 2008 -
Army recruits who joined the ranks on conduct waivers are slightly more prone to misconduct, but also are promoted faster, re-enlist in higher numbers and represent higher-quality recruits than recruits who enlisted without needing a conduct waiver, an internal Army study revealed. The analysis, conducted late last year, compared the re-enlistment rates, performance and effects on recruiting standards of soldiers who didn't need a conduct waiver to enlist to those whose prior malfeasance was waived.

"For the most part, the individuals that we're bringing in [on waivers] are not the folks that are dabbling in
crime," said Army Maj. Jake LaPorte, who works in the strength forecasting division of the Army's personnel, policy and guidance office. "I think they're the ones who have had a mistake, and we're giving them a second chance."

The
Army runs potential recruits convicted of a felony or of both serious and minor offenses through a 10-person review. Before a waiver is granted, a general officer must approve the enlistment.

The study sample was made up of first-time recruits from fiscal 2003 to 2006, allowing time for re-enlistment figures to emerge. Findings that reflect positively on waiver recipients include:

-- The conduct-waiver population from fiscal 2003 re-enlisted at a higher rate -- 28.4 percent -- compared to a rate of 26.7 percent for soldiers who didn't need conduct waivers;

-- The infantry conduct-waiver population was promoted to sergeant faster, at 34.7 months of service vs. 39;

-- The conduct-waiver population had a higher ratio of valorous awards, 13.87 percent vs. 12.73 percent; and

-- The conduct-waiver population represented higher-quality recruits, producing a higher percentage of high school graduates -- 86.58 percent vs. 84.2 percent -- and higher Armed Forces Qualification Test scores, 61.2 vs. 60.1.

However, the conduct-waiver population had higher losses in six of nine "adverse loss" categories:

--
Misconduct: 5.95 percent vs. 3.55 percent;

-- Pattern of
misconduct: 1.78 percent vs. 1.35 percent;

-- Alcohol rehabilitation failure: 0.27 percent vs. 0.12 percent;

-- Desertion: 4.26 percent vs. 3.59 percent;

--
Military prisoner, bad conduct discharge or dishonorable discharge: 0.5 percent vs. 0.4 percent;

-- Discharge in lieu of courts-martial: 2.58 percent vs. 2.04 percent.

In 2007, the
Army granted 511 felony waivers, an increase from the 249 it granted the previous year. Despite this spike, a senior officer said, the Army's standards have not wavered.

"I would say they're probably more stringent," Lt. Col. Val Siegfried, the
Army branch chief for enlisted accessions, said of today's requirements for enlistment compared to those in recent decades.

He said that society judges petty theft and in-school fighting more harshly now than in the past. "If you get in a fight in school as a 14-year-old and kick somebody, it's aggravated assault with a deadly weapon," he said, adding that the
Army takes a "whole person" look at each recruit, examining the context in which they committed their crime.

"Should that [person] not be brought into the
Army and serve his country simply because he got in a fight in school?" he said. "Those are a lot of the kind of people that have been given a waiver for a felony offense in the juvenile life."

Gates: U.S. Military Ready to Help, Ships, Air Support Staged

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 8, 2008 - The tragedy following a devastating cyclone in Burma is compounded by the fact that the U.S.
military and others are ready to help, but can't without the ruling military junta's approval, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today. Gates pointed to the huge U.S. military responses following the December 2004 tsunami in Indonesia that left 225,000 people dead, and an October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan that killed more than 74,000, as examples of what can be offered in Burma.

"The tragedy is compounded by the fact that that, if you look at what our
Navy was able to do both with the tsunami and the Pakistan earthquake, there is a lot of opportunity here to save a lot of lives," Gates told reporters during a Pentagon briefing. "We are fully prepared to help and to help right away. And it would be a tragedy if these assets, if people didn't take advantage of them."

The
Navy is dispatching helicopters from the USS Essex strike group to a staging area in Thailand, where they will be able to reach Burma with relief supplies "in a matter of hours," Gates said.

In addition, six C-130 aircraft also are available to provide humanitarian support and could airdrop food and water if granted position, he said.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States honors Burma's sovereignty and would not enter its airspace without approval. "It is all tied to sovereignty, which we respect whether it's on the ground or in the air," he said. "Right now we just don't have any way to get into that airspace with permission."

As the international community pressures the military junta to accept help, the
Navy's three ships in the Gulf of Thailand -- USS Essex, USS Juneau and USS Harper's Ferry -- are steaming toward Burma's waters to be available to help if the government concedes. Mullen said the ships should be in a position within about five days.

The ships were in the region conducting Exercise Cobra Gold when the cyclone hit May 1 and 2.

Asked if the presence of U.S. ships nearby might be viewed by the
military junta as an aggressive act, Gates said he would be "surprised if they misinterpreted our intentions that badly."

News accounts place the latest death toll in Burma at 80,000 or even higher.

Gates said the United States will work with other countries, if necessary, to help. "Our interest here is totally nonpolitical," he said. "It's to try to help the people of Myanmar," he said.

The United States does not officially recognize Burma by the name bestowed by its
military junta, Myanmar.

Pentagon Ceremony Fetes Superlative Defense Installations

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

May 8, 2008 - The premier installations from each
military service and the Defense Logistics Agency were recognized at a Pentagon award ceremony today. John J. Young Jr., undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, presented the Commander in Chief's Annual Awards for Installation Excellence.

The highlighted installations have distinguished themselves through effective
leadership and management as well as being good stewards of tax dollars, Young said at the ceremony.

"Installations are the backbone to our armed forces," Young said, noting that
military posts provide training, billeting, maintenance, research and development, and other valuable facilities, and also serve as U.S. power-projection platforms.

Military installations also "provide a safe place for our
military members and their families to live, to work and play," Young said.

This year's awardees are: Fort A.P. Hill, Bowling Green, Va.;
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Naval Base Coronado, San Diego; Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Del.; and the Defense Supply Center Richmond, Va.

Wayne Arny, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, served as the event's master of ceremonies.

"This prestigious award recognizes the best of the best," Arny told the Pentagon auditorium audience before the awards were presented.

President Ronald Reagan created the Commander's in Chief Annual Award for Installation Excellence in 1985. The Defense Logistics Agency was added to the competition in 1988. Cited organizations receive a trophy, an "Installation Excellence" flag, and a letter signed by President Bush.

Department Begins Roles, Missions Review

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 8, 2008 - Work has begun on a review of the U.S.
military's roles and missions, senior defense officials said here today. The congressionally mandated study looks to ensure the department is organized effectively and in ways to make it easier for the warfighter, a senior military official, speaking on background, said.

He and a senior defense official said the report will be finished in November and must be turned in to Congress before the fiscal 2010 budget is submitted in February.

The study is a joint effort by the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Congress specifically asked DoD to look at eliminating unnecessary duplication of capabilities and efforts across the services. However, the department and the Joint Staff will take the opportunity to examine six other specific issues: unmanned aerial systems, intratheater airlift, cyber operations, irregular warfare, internal department organization and responsibilities, and interagency roles and missions capabilities.

In the unmanned aircraft system area, the department may include some larger intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance issues. The U.S. government also sees the cyber world continuing to grow in importance, and the study will look at ways the department should posture itself for the future.

A senior Senate-confirmed civilian and a three- or four-star general or flag officer will lead each of the seven roles and missions teams, the senior defense official said.

Expertise from around the department will inform the groups. U.S. Strategic Command will be heavily involved, for example, in the
cyber team, and U.S. Special Operations Command will be heavily involved in the team looking at irregular warfare.

The teams will look at what the core mission areas are, what key
military activities are required to support the strategic objectives in the various strategies, and how the department should best organize itself to accomplish these activities and goals, the senior military official said.

Many of the civilians involved with this effort are political appointees and will depart in January when the next administration takes office, "so we want to make sure we're looking at what is achievable in the timeframe of the report," the senior defense official said. The exercise also will help the next administration as it works on the next Quadrennial Defense Review.

The department will look at these questions from every angle and determine what joint capabilities are needed, the responsibilities of the services, and how the services fit together. Officials want to determine "how to best organize and govern to get those capabilities out there and develop future capabilities," the senior
military official said.

The team looking at the interagency roles and missions will draw on the realities of the
war on terror and the need for help from civilian agencies. The review is not an interagency effort, nor will any conclusions be binding on any department outside defense. Still, the study can point the way ahead both for core mission areas -- where other government agencies support DoD -- and in noncore areas in which DoD acts in support of other lead agencies.

Marines in Afghanistan to Redeploy as Scheduled, Gates Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 8, 2008 - The 24th
Marine Expeditionary Unit will redeploy from Afghanistan in November as scheduled, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said today. The unit deployed from Camp Lejeune, N.C., in March. It is operating in Regional Command South under NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

"Just to reemphasize what the secretary said, ... this deployment of Marines is seven months, and they're going to come out toward the end of the year," Mullen said.

As the drawdown of surge forces in Iraq continues, Gates said, the time may come to consider shifting more troops into Afghanistan. Despite his repeated calls on NATO to send more combat troops, the alliance has not come through with forces in the numbers needed and without restrictions on how they can be used.

"We are still going to be looking at what the options are in terms of augmenting our presence during 2009," Gates said. "(But) at this point, as far as I know, there's no specific planning going on along those lines."

Mullen conceded that the Marines "have been on a very challenging rotation," particularly with forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Concentrating their forces in Afghanistan is viewed by some
Marine Corps leaders as a way to more effectively manage force rotations.

Also during today's briefing, Gates said he supports an enhanced educational benefit, including a provision that would allow servicemembers to transfer unused benefits to family members.

However, he said, he takes issue with legislation that would enable troops to tap into their benefits after just three years of service. The Defense Department wants the service requirement to be six years.

"Our desire is to keep soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines in the
military as long as possible," Gates said. "And so our hope would be and our preference would be that the period of service be long enough to, in essence, require at least one re-enlistment."

Gates emphasized that, with those provisions, he fully supports an educational benefit enhancements. "The notion that we're against a better education benefit is just totally nonsense," he said. "The veterans deserve it. It's probably needed. But we're trying to balance the benefit to veterans also with maintaining an all-volunteer force and having as experienced a force as we can."

The secretary opened the briefing noting the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Senate's declaration of
Military Appreciation Month to honor servicemembers and their families. "And even as we mark Military Appreciation Month with two wars ongoing, it is important to remember the sacrifices and service of our troops and their families every day throughout the year."

Gates noted "amazing acts of citizen support," especially through the Defense Department's America Supports You program. More than 370 citizen groups have joined that program and are augmenting the Defense Department's work to provide assistance and support to the
military community, he said.

Gates said he is "deeply grateful to the American people who continue to show their support for our men and women in uniform."

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 8, 2008

AIR FORCE

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems of Clearfield,
Utah, is being awarded a modified firm fixed prices contract for $50,130,567. This contract action will provide a procurement of 280 ICBM Security Modernization Program (ISMP) launch facility secondary door or Fast B-plug element. At this time $50,130,567 has been obligated. Hill AFB, Utah, is the contracting activity (F42610-98-C-0001).

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Archbald, Pa., is being awarded a $19,927,908 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-05-D-0020) for the procurement of 11,466 laser guided training rounds. Work will be performed in Archbald, Pa., and work is expected to be completed in Sept. 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $881,166 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., is being awarded a $9,977,168 modification to delivery order #0014 under their existing indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-04-D-5016) task order 0014, modification 17. This modification will extend armor installation and retrofit of Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement vehicles in Iraq. Work will be performed in Iraq, and work for this delivery order is expected to be completed by Jan. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The
Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

ARMY

Navistar Defense, LLC, Warrenville, Ill., was awarded on May 6, 2008, an $11,083,714 firm-fixed price contract for liter fuel truck, liter water trucks, and spares for the trucks, all with radio frequency identification tags. Work will be performed primarily in Warrenville, Ill., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Eight bids were solicited on Sept. 7, 2007, and one bid was received. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-G089).

Raytheon Missile Systems Co.,
Tucson, Ariz., was awarded on May 7, 2008, a $9,395,581 firm-fixed price contract with cost-plus-fixed fee items for griffin munitions and engineering services. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Feb. 5, 2008. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-08-C-0252).

Thales-Raytheon Systems Co., LLC,
Fullerton, Calif., was awarded on May 7, 2008, a $7,067,435 firm-fixed price contract for the firefinder AN/TPQ-37 operations control group obsolete parts replacement program. Work will be performed in Fullerton, Calif., and is expected to be completed by May 6, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Nov. 20, 2007.CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J. is the contracting activity (W15P7T-06-D-T001).

Navy Secretary Names New Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Michael Murphy

Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter announced today at a ceremony in Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., the name of the newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be Michael Murphy. Designated as DDG-112, the name honors Lt. Michael Murphy who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wing in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.

Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) Lt. Michael P. Murphy lead a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan, when they came under fire from a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position. Mortally wounded while exposing himself to enemy fire, Murphy knowingly left his position of cover to get a clear signal in order to communicate with his headquarters. While being shot at repeatedly, Murphy calmly provided his unit's location and requested immediate support for his element. He returned to his cover position to continue the fight until finally succumbing to his wounds.

Michael Murphy will be one of the U.S.
Navy's most advanced, state-of-the-art warships in the fleet. With the combination of Aegis, the vertical launching system, and advanced anti-submarine warfare system, advanced anti-aircraft missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles, the Arleigh Burke-class continues the revolution at sea. Utilizing a gas turbine propulsion system, Michael Murphy will be able to operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups.

Michael Murphy will be the 62nd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The 9,200 ton ship is being built by Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics Company and will be 509.5 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 59 feet, a crew size of 323 (23 officers and 300 enlisted) and she will make speed in excess of 30 knots.

New Names Etched Into Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

May 7, 2008 - The names of four U.S. servicemembers were etched into the glossy black walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial this week alongside more than 58,000 of their fallen comrades. Finishing the addition today was the name of Raymond C. Mason, a
Marine lance corporal who died a year ago as a result of ailing health stemming from a bullet wound that paralyzed him in February 1968 during the Tet Offensive.

In a ceremony at the wall here, Mason's widow, Priscilla Mason, watched as an engraver inched a sandblaster over the
Marine's stenciled name with surgeonlike precision.

Priscilla got on bended knee, held a sheet of paper up to the bright, new inscription, and rubbed a crayon in diagonal strokes until "RAYMOND C MASON" was embossed against the white paper. She said she plans to have the outline tattooed onto her skin, and she has promised to make dozens of rubbings for friends back home in
Riverside, R.I., when she returns here on Memorial Day.

"This is wonderful. He's finally home," she said when asked how she felt upon seeing the finished product on Panel 41E, Line 64 of the memorial.

The names of Richard M. Goosens, a
Marine lance corporal, and Dennis O. Hargrove and Darrell J. Naylor, both Army specialists fourth class, were inscribed here yesterday. The Defense Department determined that their deaths, which occurred years after the end of U.S. operations in Vietnam, resulted from wounds suffered in a combat zone there.

The wall's 58,260 etched names bear testament to the ultimate sacrifice paid by those U.S. troops, said R. James Nicholson, former secretary of Veterans Affairs.

"It's also a tangible expression of the gratitude of the American people for those who served and died there," he said in an interview today. "The hope is that more and more Americans will learn and grow to appreciate the sacrifice and the price that was paid to perpetuate our freedom."

Designed by architect Maya Lin and built in 1982, the memorial consists of two black walls sunken into the ground, with a rolling mound of earth behind it sloping toward a heavily trafficked street.

"It was Maya's vision for the memorial that it appear as a rift in the earth," said J.C. Cummings, architect of record for the memorial. "At the same time, the wall serves a practical purpose of separating the visitor from the noise and the traffic of Constitution Avenue and the noise of the city."

As a result, the architecture creates a quiet and contemplative atmosphere, he said, a design that allows visitors to have a respectful experience.

Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said adding the names this week completes the healing process for surviving friends and family members. The additions also reflect America's solidarity with its servicemembers of past and present, he said.

"When you join the service, you can feel comfortable that the service is going to stand behind you," Scruggs said in an interview today. "Especially the people who are serving today in Iraq and Afghanistan in combat, they need to know that we're behind them and we appreciate what they're doing."

America Supports You: CinCHouse.com Wins Webby Award

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

May 7, 2008 - A troop-support organization's Web site earned top honors in the annual Webby Awards competition as the top lifestyle site of 2008. The CinCHouse.com Web site -- which derives its name from
military shorthand for "commander in chief of the house" -- beat out such corporate giants as Epicurious and Reebok to take top honors in the 12th annual awards.

CinCHouse.com is Operation Homefront's online community for
military wives and women in uniform.

"We are completely thrilled," said Regina Galvin, the site's editor in chief. "This really validates all the hard work we put in last year to create a better product for our readers. I can't thank our staff enough for the excellent work they did and continue to do every day."

Shortly after Galvin joined the organization, a creative overhaul of the previous site produced a sleeker, more innovative version. Chad Myers, director of Web development, said the prestigious award will bring much-needed attention to the plight of
military families struggling as deployments continue.

"I'm excited to win, but the real benefit will be the exposure to the organization and the ability to help more people because of it," Myers said.

In 1999,
Navy wife and author Meredith Leyva created the site as a virtual gathering place for military families frequently on the move. Part of Operation Homefront, CinCHouse includes forums as well as an online magazine that covers such issues as post-traumatic stress disorder and parenting.

"We are extremely honored," she said. "This award really speaks volumes about how important our services are to our members and how important our members are to the larger Internet community."

Operation Homefront 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.

Hailed as the "the Internet's highest honor" by the
New York Times, the Webby Awards are the leading international awards honoring excellence on the Internet, including Web sites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile Web sites. They are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 550-person judging academy whose members include Internet co-inventor Vinton Cerf, R/GA's chief Bob Greenberg, "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, Arianna Huffington and Harvey Weinstein.

"The Webby Awards honors the very best of the Internet," said David-Michel Davies, executive director of the Webby Awards. "CinCHouse's win is a testament to the skill, ingenuity and vision of its creators."

Founded in 1996, the Webby Awards program is known worldwide for its famous five-word speech limit. Past headline-grabbing speechmakers include Al Gore ("Please don't recount this vote."), Beastie Boys ("Can anyone fix my computer?") and Prince ("Everything you think is true.")

This year, the Webby Awards received a record 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries and all 50 states. The winners will be honored at two star-studded ceremonies in New York City. The Webby Film and Video Awards ceremony takes place June 9, and the 12th Annual Webby Awards Gala will be held June 10.