Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mullen Says Meetings in Pakistan Strengthen Military Relationships

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 5, 2008 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff returned today from an overseas trip that included meetings with Pakistani
leaders in an effort to reinforce the military-to-military relationship between the two countries. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen met twice with Pakistan's Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and with Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman Gen. Tariq Majeed in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

Mullen and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson also traveled to Peshawar, where they boarded Pakistani helicopters and overflew training camps for the government's Frontier Corps.

"We had good meetings with [Kayani] and discussed a wide range of topics," Mullen said in an interview with reporters traveling with him today. "We clearly are continuing to look across the full range of
military-to-military issues." The chairman would not comment further, saying his discussions with Pakistani leaders are best kept private.

Mullen praised the work of
Army Maj. Gen James R. Helmly, the U.S. defense representative in Pakistan, who is leaving the post soon after two years on the job. As a lieutenant general, Helmly volunteered to revert to major general to take the crucial position.

"He's done extraordinary work in relationship building, and in setting up a near-term and long-term strategic approach to partnership," Mullen said. "I think we will reap the benefits of his efforts for years to come, and I am really indebted to him."

In a statement issued in Pakistan, Mullen said that Pakistan has made strides in its efforts against extremists, but that much work remains.

"The United States
military stands ready to assist in any way the Pakistani government finds appropriate," he said in the statement. "Pakistan and the United States remain steadfast allies, and Pakistan's military is fighting bravely against terrorism."

This was Mullen's third trip to Pakistan since February, and it came at a touchy time in U.S.-Pakistani relations. Pakistan held elections in February, but the new government – installed in March – still has internal divisions.

"Pakistan is still in the nascent stages of setting up a new government," Mullen said. The government is "trying to push its way through some pretty good challenges."

Pakistan remains a good friend in the
war on terror, Mullen said. "In all my conversations, they are very focused in going after the extremist threat," he said.

Mullen received an aerial view of the training bases that the Pakistani government will use to train its Frontier Corps. The corps patrols and maintains peace inside the federally administered tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. It is made up of local tribesmen.

"They are making progress in getting the facilities in shape," the chairman said. "They have a plan for the forces, and there is a train-and-equip aspect to this."

But the bottom line, he noted, is that it is the Pakistani government's initiative.

"We're supportive of it, but it's their business," Mullen said. "We've engaged with them, and they are looking at a very positive result. But it's going to take time."

The Frontier Corps is a paramilitary force that includes regular army officers. The government has put in place proposals to improve the training of the force, make it more professional and expand it to about 100,000 members. Most of the rank-and-file Frontier Corps personnel are members of Pashtu tribes and have ties on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The famous Khyber Rifles is part of the Frontier Corps.

America Supports You: Group Takes Team Approach to Troop Support

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

June 5, 2008 - In
Ohio, a new team is taking a community approach to supporting troops and military families. "Our mission is to empower communities to support military members and their families through the deployment cycles," said PamelaJune Banks-Anderson, founder of the Ohio-based National Restoration to Military Families Team.

The team, which operates as "National Restoration Team," takes a three-pronged approach to helping servicemembers and their loved ones.

First, the team works to encourage faith- and community-based
leaders and organizations to build servicemember- and veteran-friendly communities. It also helps servicemembers with readjustment and reunion issues while remembering the fallen and assisting their families with grief management.

"The threefold effort is ongoing and dynamic," said Banks-Anderson, a veteran of the Gulf War. "We are connecting with community-based organizations like United Way, the American Red Cross, [Department of Veterans Affairs] centers and faith-based organizations to partner with the National Restoration Team to make
military members' and their families' transitions as smooth and healthy as possible."

These community connections are made through "Caring 4
Military Family Community Conferences and Workshops," the first of which will be held July 10 in Dayton, Ohio.

National Restoration to
Military Families Team is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

"We anticipate National Restoration Team becoming as much a household name as 'America Supports You,'" through ASY networking, visibility and connectivity, Banks-Anderson said.

Walter Reed Rolls Out Safer, Smoother Transport for Wounded

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

June 5, 2008 - Walter Reed
Army Medical Center rolled out a sophisticated new vehicle today that will make wounded soldiers' ride to the Army hospital safer and smoother. The Patient Evacuation Vehicle, a semi-trailer-sized hospital on wheels that will phase out buses currently used to transport wounded troops to Walter Reed from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., was unveiled in a ceremony here.

"[This is] the latest innovation in our ongoing efforts to promote and preserve the health and strength of the world's finest servicemembers,"
Army Maj. Gen. Carla G. Hawley-Bowland, commander of North Atlantic Regional Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, told the crowd on hand for the event.

Hawley-Bowland called the Patient Evacuation Vehicle, or PEV, an "incredible leap forward" in the care and transport of injured soldiers. The PEV fits up to 12 ambulatory and 16 nonambulatory patients, more than three times the capacity of the buses currently in use.

By the end of summer, the fleet is expected to grow to three PEVs, which boast smoother suspension than their Blue Bird bus counterparts, and allow hospital personnel to administer medical oxygen, air or suction to patients in need.

"They can transform this PEV into an intensive-care unit," Hawley-Bowland said. "This capability can save countless lives during the ride from Andrews to Walter Reed."

Army Secretary Pete Geren praised the leaders of industry and medicine who cooperated to help "make this dream a reality."

"Today, so much of medicine – when you get outside of the
military – is all about business," he said. "But in the Army, medicine is all about service; it's all about taking care of soldiers, taking care of their families.

"Every day we pledge to do better than we did the day before," Geren continued, "and this is one more example of
leadership at Walter Reed stepping forward to do more for the men and women who bear the battle for all of us in the United States."

Army Col. Patricia Horoho, commander of the Walter Reed Health Care System, said fielding the PEV is another example of the
Army hospital's dedication to serving wounded warriors.

"This new Patient Evacuation Vehicle shows our commitment and the commitment of the
Army to providing the best care for our patients before they arrive at the hospital [as] we welcome them home," she said.

In addition to transporting injured from military installations, Walter Reed will make its PEV fleet available to the National Capital Region if a mass-casualty event or other medical emergency occurs.

"[The PEV] also shows that we take our responsibilities to our neighbors in Washington very seriously in order to improve emergency medical preparedness, and to medically support the many special events that take place regularly in the national capital region," Horoho said.

Officials Break Ground for Brain Injury Center of Excellence

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

June 5, 2008 - Just inside the gates of the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., officials today ceremoniously turned the dirt at the site of what will become the
military's premier institute for the study and care of psychological health and traumatic brain injuries. Defense Department Secretary Robert M. Gates, alongside two other department secretaries, top military leaders, recovering wounded warriors and the namesakes of the Fisher House Foundation joined to break the ground for what will become the National Intrepid Center of Excellence for psychological health and traumatic brain injury.

Construction of the $70 million, 75,000-square-foot facility is being funded by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a not-for-profit agency that raises funds to support
military servicemembers and families. The project mirrors the organization's funding and construction of a physical rehabilitation facility – The Center for the Intrepid -- built at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio last year.

This facility will serve as the clinical research and educational arm of the DoD Center of Excellence for psychological health and TBI -- a collaborative network of military, private and public health care and educational organizations linked to discover and promote best practices in the care of treatment of psychological health and TBI.

Gates said the need for such a facility has "never been more pressing or more important."

He said that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have presented DoD with a unique mix of injuries, stress and strains on its
military force.

"As in every conflict in America's history, many of our troops have returned bearing the scars of war – scars both seen and unseen," Gates said. "These invisible wounds are in many ways more pernicious, more grievous, because they are not readily apparent and have not always received the attention they should."

Gates said advancements in armor protection and battlefield medicine have led to more troops surviving what would have been otherwise fatal injuries. As result, though, there has been an increase in cases of TBI. The secretary conceded that although much about the condition still is not understood, $150 million has been dedicated to the injury's prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Also, the
military has implemented better reporting mechanisms for those potentially affected, and DoD has launched departmentwide efforts aimed at reducing the stigma attached with receiving mental health services in the military.

"That change in our culture represents our biggest challenge, and we know it will not happen overnight," Gates said.

Last month, DoD changed a longstanding question on its
security questionnaire that asks if servicemembers have received mental health counseling. Now, the question excludes counseling for combat-related stress and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"We hope that with this change, more will be willing to come forward and seek help," Gates said. "The main point is to do everything we can to ensure that the inevitable anxiety and stress from combat does not turn into something tragically worse."

Gates said that the new center symbolizes that the United States is keeping its contract with servicemembers and their families to provide care should they be injured on the battlefield.

"After the wars themselves, I have no higher priority. And this superb new center will be a living reminder that America honors that contract and keeps faith with those who have sacrificed so much for all of us," Gates said.

The honorary chairman of the Intrepid Fallen
Heroes Fund, Arnold Fisher, said that the contributions provided for the center were not charity, but a duty by Americans to care for its troops.

"This is not charity work. This is our duty to give back to this country, especially to the
military," Fisher said. "We are no longer embarrassed to talk about mental health of our brave warriors. They deserve the best care, and this center will be the core of that effort."

The Fisher family's Fisher House Foundation raises money to build homes on
military installations and at Veterans Affairs medical centers across the United States. Families of those recovering at the hospitals are allowed to live in the homes for free. So far, the foundation has built 38 such homes. It plans to build more at the Bethesda campus, officials announced.

Once complete, the building will be turned over to the Defense Department for resourcing and management. The building is planned to be finished by November 2009.

The center is another example of the ever-expanding partnership between VA and DoD and other governmental agencies. So far, the two agencies have collaborated on revising policies and procedures that have been sticking points for servicemembers transferring their care between the agencies. They've also joined to hire federal recovery coordinators who will oversee the management of the cases of the most severely injured. VA, DoD and the National Institutes of Health will collocate at the new center. The deputy director of the DoD Center of Excellence for psychological health and TBI is a VA employee.

"This Intrepid Center of Excellence will play an absolutely essential role in a unwavering commitment to continue that forward movement in getting it right in caring for those who have borne the battle," VA Secretary Dr. James B. Peake, a retired lieutenant general who served as
Army surgeon general, said.

Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the collaboration of the political administration, the military and the private sector shows long-term commitment toward servicemember care.

"We all are committed to making sure this is not just a short-term flash in the pan," Cartwright said. "We are committed to making this work, to addressing every problem that we can find and we can go after. This is absolutely essential. This is our duty."

The director of the DoD Center of Excellence for psychological health and TBI said the center will put in one place the partnerships that her office has been working to cultivate and will serve as a hub of global efforts to provide evaluation, diagnosis, and treat those suffering from PTSD, TBI and other psychological issues.

"We've always worked together to some extent, but this center will provide that galvanizing focus that will bring the VA, the National Institutes of Health, and bring the Department of Defense and the private and public sectors together, all united in one great effort," said
Army Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, who also serves as the special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

Sutton added that the center will benefit not only
military medicine, but also civilian medicine in terms of its findings in research and diagnosis.

"Whatever we can find in terms of best practices around the world, we're bringing it here. Whatever we learn here, we'll push it out," Sutton said.

The groundbreaking is the first of many changes to the landscape of the historical naval hospital campus, as it prepares to merge with the Walter Reed
Army Medical Center by 2011 to become the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

New Task Force to Examine Nuclear Weapons, Parts Control, Accountability

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 5, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today announced a new task force to recommend improvements needed to ensure top-level accountability and control of U.S. nuclear weapons, delivery vehicles and sensitive components. Gates announced the task force after removing
Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley over the accidental shipment of four non-nuclear ballistic missile nose-cone assembly components to Taiwan in August 2006.

While citing efforts under way in the
Air Force, Navy and Defense Logistics Agency, Gates said he believes "an outside perspective is required to ensure sufficiently far-reaching and comprehensive measures are taken."

James Schlesinger, former Defense Department and Energy Department secretary and CIA director, will head up the task force. The task force itself will be made up of experts from the Defense Policy Board and Defense Science Board.

The task force will operate under tight deadlines. Within the first 60 days, it will recommend organizational, procedural and policy improvements involving the Defense Department and
Air Force, Gates said. For its second phase, it will report within 120 days on management and oversight of nuclear weapons and related materials and systems across the entire department.

Citing a report on the nose-cone mishandling incident, Gates said no one was put in danger and the integrity of the nation's nuclear deterrent force was not risked. The investigation showed no evidence that the parts were compromised while out of U.S. custody, and no nuclear materials were ever compromised.

"Having said that, this incident represents a significant failure to ensure the security of sensitive
military components, and, more troubling, it depicts a pattern of poor performance," he said.

While holding the Air Force
leadership accountable, Gates called on the task force to support other initiatives under way to identify and and fix the structural, procedural and cultural problems that led to the incident.

In a memo to Schlesinger, Gates said he urges the entire department to cooperate with and provide any relevant documents and information the task force needs to do its job.

"Your advice should focus on enhancing the department's ability to sustain public confidence in the safe handling of Department of Defense nuclear assets and bolster a clear international understanding of the continuing role and credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent," he wrote.

Top Air Force Leaders Resign Following Nuclear Component Mishandling

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 5, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today announced the resignations of
Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley following an investigation revealing a decline in the Air Force's nuclear program focus, performance and effective leadership. Gates announced the resignations in the wake of a report detailing the accidental shipment of four non-nuclear ballistic missile nose-cone assembly components rather than the intended helicopter batteries to Taiwan in August 2006.

The report, prepared by
Navy Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, director of naval nuclear propulsion, detailed what Gates called a shift of the Air Force leadership's focus from, and degraded performance related to, its most sensitive mission.

Air Force leaders focused on the problem only after two internationally sensitive incidents -- one involving Taiwan and another in which an Air Force B-52 bomber flew across the United States carrying six armed nuclear cruise missiles, Gates said.

Both incidents could have been prevented if the Air Force had applied proper inspection and oversight, he said. He blamed a "lack of a critical self-assessment culture" within the
Air Force nuclear program that might have identified and fixed systemic weaknesses.

Gates noted that he had to intervene personally to ensure a thorough investigation of what went wrong and how.

In the nose-cone incident, the secretary blamed the
Air Force and Defense Logistics Agency for using supply system procedures designed to move large amounts of low-value material for shipping the sensitive classified parts.

"The specific cause of this event was the
Air Force and Defense Logistics Agency's sole reliance on, and lack of compliance with, existing supply system procedures to provide positive control of the four forward-section assemblies," he said.

But Gates said the incident signals far deeper problems.

"During the course of the investigation, other issued indicating a decline in the
Air Force's nuclear mission focus and performance became apparent," he said. "Rather than an isolated occurrence, the shipment... was a symptom of a degradation of the authority, standards of excellence and technical competence within the nation's ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) force."

At a broader level, Gates cited declining expertise in the entire Air Force nuclear program – the result, he said, of lack of top-level focus and emphasis.

None of these problems happened overnight and some have root problems dating back a decade, he said. But Gates cited "contemporary failures and lack of effective oversight."

In addition to removal of the top Air Force
leadership, Gates announced a senior-level task force to recommend improvements needed to ensure accountability and control of nuclear weapons, delivery vehicles and components.

James Schlesinger, a former Defense Department and Energy Department secretary and CIA director, will lead the task force, Gates said. The task force will recommend organizational, procedural and policy changes needed within 60 days. Within 120 days, it will address defense-wide management and oversight of nuclear weapons and related materials and systems.

Gates said he plans to recommend a new
Air Force secretary and chief of staff soon. Once they are confirmed, he said he will leave it to them to determine proper disciplinary actions for others identified in the Donald report.

The secretary expressed personal sadness about today's decision, calling Wynne "a dedicated and honorable public servant" and noting Moseley's decades of "courageous and devoted service."

"They both deserve their gratitude for their service," he said. "I have enjoyed serving with them and deeply regret that the issues before us require the actions I have taken."

In his resignation letter, Wynne took accountability for the incidents and said he must live up to the same standards he expects of his airmen. Moseley said he takes "full responsibility for events which have hurt the Air Force's reputation or raised a question of every airman's commitment to our core values."

Gates called today a sad day for the
Air Force, the Defense Department and him personally, but said it also marks a return to the Air Force's standards of excellence and accomplishment.

Noting his own Air Force roots, Gates said he stands in solid support of all airmen. "They have my respect, my support and my commitment to do everything I can in my remaining time to work with them and to sustain the tradition of service and excellence that has been the hallmark of the United States
Air Force since its inception," he said.

Mullen Says Trip Provides Insight on Ground Conditions

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 5, 2008 - Back today from a 10-day, around-the-world trip designed to foster relationships with allies and emerging countries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said it also gave him insight into the way U.S. government agencies are beginning to work together.
Navy Adm. Mullen spoke to reporters today aboard his plane over the Atlantic Ocean while en route to Washington. Earlier in the day, he had met with Pakistani leaders and viewed the country's Frontier Corps training camp near Peshawar. Mullen and his party left Andrews Air Force Base, Md., on May 27. The trip took him to Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Korea, Pakistan, Germany and back to Andrews.

The admiral noted that for the last couple of years he has said that no one country – much less one department of one country -- can fight extremism alone. Traveling to places like Indonesia and the Philippines reinforces that fact in his mind, he said.

The countries of Southeast Asia are blessed with great natural resources and lie along the sea lanes of communication from Europe and the Middle East to China, Japan and the West Coast of the United States. That this is an important region, "is not a new discovery," the chairman said.

Mullen's trip was meant to reinforce relationships with old allies – the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea – and to engage emerging nations – Indonesia and Pakistan. This important external country-to-country,
military-to-military aspect is important and includes bilateral and multilateral relationships among nations and militaries, he said.

But the trip also highlighted a "we can't do this alone" portion of the equation that applies within the U.S. government, he told reporters. The chairman saw and spoke with representatives from many non-defense U.S. agencies who are doing their parts in places like Indonesia, the Philippines and Pakistan, he said.

Mullen got a first-hand look at this in Zamboanga, Philippines. "I saw how representatives from many agencies work together in the Philippines," he said. "I've seen the same thing in the drug task force in Key West. I see it in places like Pakistan and Iraq and Afghanistan – the interagency aspect of it. It continues to evolve and mature and make itself evident in everything. I also think that's best for the long-term aspect of what we're doing."

During his visit to Singapore, the chairman attended the Shangri-La Dialogue – an Asia security conference named for the hotel where it is held. Mullen met with defense representatives from other nations and also made time to meet with Singaporean officials to thank them for their help and to understand how they want to move forward. "We have an incredibly robust
military-to-military relationship there," he said.

In addition to the inter-governmental and interagency effort in the Philippines, Mullen said, he was struck by the maturation of the Philippine

"I lived in the Philippines in the early 1980s – I left in 1983," he said. "They have matured tremendously." He said he was very impressed with Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano, a Philippine
army officer who leads the island nation's armed forces.

"He's got the right demeanor, the right approach," Mullen said. "He's highly regarded in his country, and he is highly regarded in the region.

"I also want to take my hat off to the U.S. ambassador and the country team in the Philippines," he continued. "They have come a long way as well."

And it shows at the basic level, the admiral said, noting stability in the country has allowed the nation's gross domestic product to grow by 6 to 7 percent a year for the past few years.

Indonesia is an emerging relationship, Mullen said. It has the largest Muslim population in the world, and since 1998, has come a long way. "The government has been freely elected, [and] the police are now totally separate from the defense establishment," the chairman said. Stability has led to an average of 6 percent annual real economic growth per year. National and military
leaders in Indonesia are focusing on human rights.

"Do they still have a ways to go?" Mullen asked, "Certainly. Is the leadership aware? They are. I think in another 10 years that Indonesia, being well-led and taking aggressive steps, ... will have moved that much further down the road."

Mullen said he still worries about the decades over which U.S.
military officers had no contact with their Indonesian counterparts because of sanctions imposed on Indonesia. The Indonesians are worried about whether the United States will maintain a military-to-military relationship.

Mullen recalled a visit to Indonesia while he served as chief of naval operations. "The first question my navy counterpart ... asked me was, 'Are you going to do it again?'" Mullen said. "We have got to rebuild the trust between the countries."

The Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore face an extremist threat that is far more complicated when viewed close-up than from an office in Washington, Mullen said. Al-Qaida affiliates split and form and coalesce with other extremist groups constantly.

"Nice, clean solutions just don't happen in counterinsurgencies," the admiral said.

Assets Still Available for Burma Aid Distribution, General Says

American Forces Press Service

June 5, 2008 - The United States continues to extend its offer of cyclone relief support to the government of Burma, even as the USS Essex group and the 31st
Marine Expeditionary Unit move away from the Burmese coast, the Marine Corps general in charge of the military's role in the effort said today. Officials announced yesterday that the four ships of the USS Essex group that had been positioned off the Burmese coast awaiting the OK from Burma's ruling military junta to deliver relief supplies in the wake of a devastating May 2 cyclone, would resume their normal operations today.

"While the USS Essex group ships are in transit, the U.S. maintains its offer to support the distribution efforts of the Burmese government and the international community," said Lt. Gen. John Goodman, commander of U.S.
Marine Forces Pacific and commander of Joint Task Force Caring Response. "This distribution support includes the use of helicopters currently in Thailand, and if requested, the landing craft from the amphibious ships to assist the world community in the distribution of relief supplies to relieve suffering."

Goodman noted the value of the capabilities the USS Essex group could provide.

"As demonstrated in past humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, helicopters and landing craft are the most expeditious means to move relief supplies into difficult-to-reach sites without placing an additional burden on the affected region," he said.

As the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations work to establish an air bridge for delivery to the hubs such as Rangoon, the Burmese capital, a tremendous number of Burmese cyclone victims have yet to receive any assistance, as insufficient quantities of relief are being distributed from hubs to the most critically affected regions of the Irrawaddy delta, where hundreds of thousands still await help.

Goodman said the United States has on numerous occasions offered Burma's
military government the use of helicopters and surface craft to support humanitarian relief efforts in the most difficult-to-reach areas of the Irrawaddy delta. Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, made one of those offers face to face when he accompanied the first planeload of relief supplies the junta allowed to land in Rangoon.

"Following Admiral Keating's visit, Ms. [Shari] Villarosa, the charge d'affairs, and I have met twice with a ranking member of the
military government in Rangoon," Goodman said. "Our offer has been without strings, and it has never included bringing U.S. Navy ships into their ports. Unfortunately, those offers of support have yet to be accepted, resulting in the ships being repositioned to the Gulf of Thailand."

In addition to continuing offers of support to the distribution efforts from the hubs to those areas where the aid will be distributed to those in need, the United States will continue to deliver relief support from Thailand, primarily using U.S.
military C-130s to deliver U.S. Agency for International Development and other supplies to the hub at Rangoon, supporting U.N. and ASEAN delivery network efforts. Through today, the United States will have flown 116 flights, delivering more than 2.2 million pounds of needed relief supplies to the Rangoon hub.

(From a Joint Task Force Caring Response news release.)

Mullen Meets with Pakistani Military Leaders

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 4, 2008 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with his Pakistani counterparts here yesterday to discuss
military-to-military relations between the two countries. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen met with Joint Chiefs Staff Committee Chairman Gen. Tariq Majeed, National Security Advisor Maj. Gen. Mahmood Ali Durrani and Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan's chief of the Army staff.

"They discussed Pakistani-U.S. strategic relations, the war on terror and cooperation in this regard, and
military-to-military cooperation," said Elizabeth Colton, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman.

This is Mullen's third trip to Pakistan since becoming chairman in October. He also has met Pakistani officials in Washington and, earlier this week, at the Shangri-La Dialogue summit on Asia
security in Singapore. The trip has been planned for some weeks, Joint Staff officials said.

U.S. and Pakistani military
leaders have much to talk about. The new Pakistani government -- elected in February -- has begun truce talks with extremists in the country's federally administered tribal area on the border with Afghanistan. The then-NATO commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Dan K. McNeill, said in May that every time the Pakistani government reaches an accord with extremist groups in the tribal area, incidents inside Afghanistan go up.

"Over time, when there has been dialogue or peace deals, the incidents have gone up," McNeill said during a news conference in Kabul on May 30. "What you see right now is the effects of no pressure on the extremists and insurgents on the other side of the border."

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in Guam on May 30 that Pakistan needs time for its new government to establish itself. "I think until they get their feet on the ground and get a full appreciation of the nature of the threats that they face and their approach to it, I think we just have to give them a little time," Gates said.

Officials said Mullen's discussion topics in Pakistan included U.S.-Pakistani training opportunities, the
military exercise program, military equipment issues, and other military-to-military contacts and exchanges. Officials said they didn't expect a concrete result from the meetings -- there will be no equipment deals or such, for example -- but the meetings are important because they show the close, continuing military discussions between the two nations.

Navy Ships Off Burmese Coast to Resume Operational Schedule

American Forces Press Service

June 4, 2008 - U.S.
Navy ships that have been positioned off Burma's coast since May 13 with urgently needed humanitarian assistance for the victims of Cyclone Nargis will resume their previously scheduled operations tomorrow. Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, recommended to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that the USS Essex group and the Marine Corps' 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit should continue with their previously scheduled operational commitments, and Gates approved his recommendation, U.S. military officials said.

Burma's ruling
military junta refused to let the ships or its helicopters deliver relief supplies.

"Over the past three weeks, we have made at least 15 attempts to convince the Burmese government to allow our ships, helicopters, and landing craft to provide additional disaster relief for the people of Burma, but they have refused us each and every time," Keating said. "It is time for the USS Essex group to move on to its next mission. However, we will leave several heavy-lift aircraft in place in Thailand so as to continue to support international-
community efforts to deliver aid."

The Essex ships will now head to the coast of Thailand to backload their remaining helicopters and personnel on June 11. But Keating left the door open for the ships to return to Burma. "Should the Burmese rulers have a change of heart and request our full assistance for their suffering people, we are prepared to help," he said.

The United States government quickly responded after the cyclone hit Burma on May 2. Since then, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Defense Department -- working closely with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the United Nations and other nongovernmental organizations -- have completed 106 airlifts carrying more than 2 million pounds of emergency relief supplies, benefiting at least 417,000 people.

Keating flew to Rangoon, Burma, on the first U.S.
military relief flight May 12, along with Henrietta Fore, director of U.S. foreign assistance and USAID administrator. While there, Keating hand-delivered a letter to Burma's leaders offering additional humanitarian assistance with heavy-lift helicopters and landing craft capable of reaching areas inaccessible by road, as well as water-purification capability and medical assistance. He also extended an offer to the military junta to visit U.S. ships in international waters and to fly on U.S. military relief flights in an effort to help ease any concerns they might have regarding U.S. humanitarian assistance and intentions.

But to date, the forces and assets of Joint Task Force Caring Response, including the four-ship Essex group, 22 medium- and heavy-lift helicopters, four landing craft, and more than 5,000 U.S.
military personnel remain idle as the military junta in Burma ignores diplomatic offers of expanded humanitarian assistance to its people.

"I am both saddened and frustrated to know that we have been in a position to help ease the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people and help mitigate further loss of life, but have been unable to do so because of the unrelenting position of the Burma
military junta," Keating said.

In a statement released this morning, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino lamented the Burmese government's unwillingness to accept the U.S. offer of aid and urged the ruling junta to reconsider.

"The generosity and compassion of the United States and the wider international community are impeded by the unwillingness of the Burmese authorities to provide full access to the cyclone-affected areas, despite their commitments to do so," she said. "Over a month after the cyclone hit the shores of the Burmese delta, tens of thousands have died and over a million victims have yet to receive any assistance. The Burmese regime must permit all international aid workers the access necessary to provide the urgently needed assistance. There is no more time to waste."

(From a Joint Task Force Caring Response news release.)

Soldier Missing In Action From Korean War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Pfc. Milton Dinerboiler Jr., U.S.
Army, of Elkhart, Ind. His burial date is being set by his family.

Representatives from the
Army met with Dinerboiler's next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.

In late November 1950, Dinerboiler was assigned to the Heavy Mortar Company, 32nd Infantry Regiment, then attached to the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 7th Infantry Division. The team was engaged in battle against the Chinese People's Volunteer Forces near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, from late November to early December 1950. Dinerboiler was captured by the Chinese and marched on a route north of the Chosin Reservoir. He died in mid-to-late April 1951, from poor health and the lack of medical treatment. He was buried beside a hill along the route.

In 2002, a joint U.S./Democratic People's Republic of Korea team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), recovered human remains from an isolated grave north of the Chosin Reservoir. The site correlates to a route that American POWs were taken while being moved north to a POW camp.

Among other
forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of Dinerboiler's remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at or call (703) 699-1169.