Military News

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chairman Sets Course for Smooth Transition to Next Administration

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 26, 2008 - Recognizing that the transition to a new presidential administration could be "a time of great vulnerability," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today that his Joint Staff already is working to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible for the next commander in chief. "A lot of work is going into planning for the transition,"
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said while visiting the U.S. Africa Command and U.S. European Command headquarters.

Mullen also touched on the issue during a Pentagon town hall meeting earlier this week, saying he stood up a transition team on the Joint Staff "to look at planning and possibilities and [to] be able to be the very solid underpinning from a national perspective at a time of change in the country."

But while the team goes to work, Mullen emphasized, personal politics is off-limits for anyone in uniform. A recently updated Defense Department directive, "Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces," details limits placed on servicemembers to ensure they remain apolitical.

"It's important for us in the
military to remain neutral," Mullen said. "I am anxious to make sure that everybody in uniform stays out of politics."

Mullen stressed that doesn't mean
military people can't or shouldn't vote. "Please do vote," he said. "But understanding what the rules are, and not getting pulled in, even inadvertently, [to political activity] is really important."

Mullen conceded that the upcoming conventions and November elections will create an up-tick in political activity, and urged servicemembers to beware. "It's one of those things where, if a little red flag goes up, that's a big flag," he said. "And you ought to pay attention to it."

Asked directly how he will advise the next president, Mullen emphasized that he will continue carrying out his responsibilities to President Bush until the next president takes office. On Jan. 20, regardless of who wins the election, "I will give my best advice to whoever that may be," and carry out that president's orders, he said.

Even as the presidency changes, challenges facing the country won't, he said.

Mullen said he's had "tremendous opportunity to advise the current president," and expects to foster a similar relationship with the next president as well.

Guard Members Continue to Fight Floods, Fires

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 26, 2008 - National Guard soldiers and airmen continued to fight Midwest flooding and
California fires today. About 2,300 Guard members remained on duty in the Midwest, down from a peak of more than 5,700, National Guard Bureau officials reported.

Meanwhile, the
California wildfires called for fewer Guard members and more aircraft. UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters and C-130 Hercules aircraft dropped water and flame retardant, while OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and RC-26 Metroliner aircraft flew fire-spotting and reconnaissance missions. More than 90 Guard members responded to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's request for National Guard assistance.

In
Missouri, the National Guard was preparing for potential flooding downriver, Army Capt. Tamara Spicer, a public affairs officer, said. The Missouri Guard posted liaison officers to four lower Mississippi River counties in anticipation of flooding, she said.

One levee near Winfield, Mo. was considered to be in such a tenuous position that only life vest-clad National Guard members and
firefighters were allowed to stack sandbags, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

Army Spc. Daniel Maguire of the 1438th Engineer Company was one of hundreds of Guard members on duty from units across Missouri. "It's my job," he said. "I'm a National Guard soldier, and I help with state emergencies."

Missouri's adjutant general, Army Maj. Gen. King Sidwell said his the state's Guard members will remain on the job as long as they're needed. "The Missouri National Guard continues to work closely with state and local
leaders to ensure we have our citizen-soldiers and –airmen where they are needed to help Missourians," Sidwell said. "We will continue to support our communities until local officials release the soldiers and airmen."

Army Lt. Col. Tim Donovan, the Wisconsin National Guard's director of public affairs, detailed that state's experience, typical of the affected Midwest states. Unrelenting waves of heavy rain moved into Wisconsin on June 7, and by June 8 Gov. Jim Doyle declared 30 of the state's 72 counties disaster areas, Donovan said.

"The National Guard's Joint Operations Center beefed up its routine 24/7 staff to coordinate Guard response as flood waters covered most of the southern half of the state," Donovan said. "Wisconsin National Guard soldiers and airmen conducted evacuations, delivered sandbags, operated traffic control points, performed
security missions, completed engineer assessments and flew aerial assessment flights to assist in the state's multi-agency efforts."

Army Sgt. Jacek Gusciora, part of the Illinois National Guard's 341st
Military Intelligence Company based in Chicago, has been working sandbag operations along the Sny levee.

"This is the reason we signed up for the National Guard; this is our duty," Gusciora said. "We're honored to do it. We've received the training, and now we're doing our mission."

The Midwest flooding mission has seen Guard assistance to civilian authorities in five states since June 7. Troops have concluded flooding operations in Indiana, but remained at work today in four other states. While the numbers of troops receded with the water, they still were in the thousands:

-- Illinois: More than 1,100 Guard members monitored levees as farmland remained threatened from the burgeoning Mississippi. Troops also conducted security patrols in affected communities.

--
Missouri: With three dozen levees remaining at risk, more than 800 Guard members were on duty providing communications and command and control, monitoring levees, positioning sandbags, assessing damage, removing debris, providing security and distributing fuel.

-- Iowa: 200 troops continued mop-up operations.

-- Wisconsin: 200 troops remained in the field today, pumping water, supplying power and giving communications and command support in addition to security, debris removal, road repair and transportation missions.

Guard members are on duty in the United States 365 days a year. Yesterday, a National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter plucked an injured teenager from the side of a Colorado mountain after a car crash. The same day, Guard members assisted Border Patrol agents in four Southwest border states, ferried drinking water to residents of several New Mexico towns, supported Louisiana
police, provided critical infrastructure protection in Northeast states and California, flew critical air sovereignty missions nationwide and continued counterdrug operations.

In addition, Guard members remained on duty on numerous overseas missions, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.

(
Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves at the National Guard Bureau. Army Sgt. April McLaren of the Illinois National Guard contributed to this report.)

Aptitude Test Helps Students Find Strengths

By Meghan Vittrup
American Forces Press Service

June 26, 2008 - High school can be a challenging and sometimes daunting time for many teenagers who find themselves trapped between childhood and adulthood. But a program that uses the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery could help teens find their strengths and help them set goals for their future. The Defense Department created the ASVAB Career Exploration Program as a tool to help students figure out their strengths and better understand themselves while also motivating them and helping them plan their future.

The ASVAB program provides tools, including the test battery and interest inventory developed by the Defense Department to help high school and post-secondary students across the nation learn more about career exploration and planning, according to the program's Web site.

The ASVAB consists of eight tests that measure strengths in mathematics and in verbal, science and technical skills. The results of the interest inventory and the academic and vocational parts of the test will help students identify suitable career options and identify their strengths, officials said.

Many students, families, and school administrators think the ASVAB is a test for students interested only in
military careers, but that's not the case, a Pentagon official said.

"Parents as well as many teachers misunderstand the program and think that it's only focused on the
military, when, in fact, it isn't," said Jane Arabian, assistant director for enlistment standards for the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "The ASVAB Career Exploration Program links to something called 'O-net', which is sponsored by the Department of Labor, and it has all sorts of information about occupations and careers.

"It would be wonderful if parents had a better sense of what the ASVAB Career Exploration Program has to offer," she added.

Although the ASVAB does have the ability to help students interested in pursuing
military careers, it is not a strictly military test, and taking the test does not mean a student will be enlisting or pursuing a military career, Arabian said. The ASVAB test and Career Exploration Program are independent of Junior ROTC and ROTC programs found in many schools, she noted.

She also pointed out that although recruiters use the ASVAB, they do not administer the test. In fact, she said, officials try to keep recruiters away from the test as much as possible.

"We try to keep recruiters at arm's length from the test, because we are very careful about compromising the contents of the ASVAB," Arabian said. "The primary proctor for the test is a contracted person that we provide from the office of personnel management."

When a student takes the ASVAB, the results are not automatically sent to a
military recruiter, Arabian said, though sending the scores to a recruiter is an option the student can choose.

"The Career Exploration Program is a step removed from the actual recruit program," Arabian explained. "Certainly, recruiters can use the ASVAB scores that students have, and if that student is interested in the
military, can talk about military opportunities and money for college and the new GI bill and whatever incentives they're offering. But there is no requirement or commitment on the part of the student to even talk to the recruiter after they've participated in the ASVAB or CEP."

According to the ASVAB program Web site, last year about 14,000 schools administered the ASVAB test, and about 600,000 students took the test. Only about 9 percent of the students who take the test decide to enlist in the military based upon their ASVAB scores, Arabian said.

"The vast majority of students who participate have no intention of going into the
military," she said. "Approximately two-thirds of students who participate in the program will say that they are going to college, or they're going to a junior college or vocational program; the military is not in their plans, necessarily."

The ASVAB program Web site says two-thirds of the students who participated in the ASVAB program found it to be useful, helping them find career options they had not considered.

"This program will offer something to every student," Arabian said. "I think it will help the student identify the skills they need to improve in high school, depending on what they elect to do after they graduate, but it's really designed to be a useful program for students of all skill levels."

America Supports You: Elmo Visits Military Kids to Help With Deployment Stress

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

June 26, 2008 - Sunny days will be just around the corner when Elmo and his friends bring "The Sesame Street Experience" to 43
military installations to help children trying to cope with parents' deployments. Excited youngsters from the Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and Fort Belvoir, Va., child development centers who couldn't wait to meet their TV friends got a sneak preview when the program launched here today.

The new live program adds a new dimension to Sesame Workshop's "Talk, Listen, Connect," DVDs for
military children facing deployments, said Gary Knell, the Sesame Workshop's president and chief executive officer. He compared the 60-minute program to an adult concert featuring "The King."

"It's sort of like an Elvis concert for 2-year-olds," Knell said. "We'll have Elmo and Rosita and Grover and Cookie Monster [and Zoe]."

While the show promises to be fun for all, it also has a serious purpose: to help young
military children learn how to better handle a parent's deployment. Few are better qualified to put that message into terms kids can understand than Sesame Street characters, said Leslye Arsht, deputy under secretary of defense for military community and family policy.

"The muppets have a way of talking to 3- to 5-year olds and their parents that talks right to the heart," she said. "Nobody could do it like they can do it."

When parents and children attend "The Sesame Street Experience," the children learn and be entertained, and the parents will walk away with new tools to help their children.

"The packages that are going to come with the [performance] include both [Talk, Listen, Connect] DVDs, and some additional materials ... that can guide the conversation that they need to have with their children," Arsht said. "The real opportunity here is for
military families to see that Sesame Workshop, like America, really cares about them and knows that being separated is really hard.

"And it is no matter how old you are, and we all need to learn strategies for coping and being strong and having courage around those difficulties," she added.

While the Defense Department and corporations have lent support so that the Sesame Workshop could provide the content, it's the partnership with United Service Organizations that will help get the muppets in front of their adoring fans.

"The way that we help is with our relationship with the
military and our access to the bases," said Ned Powell, USO president and chief executive officer.

"The Sesame Street Experience" is the second time USO has partnered with Sesame Workshop. "We did do the 'Talk, Listen, Connect,' program with Sesame Street earlier this year, and now we're rolling out the tour," he said.

It's an exciting partnership, Powell added, explaining that working with Sesame Street has expanded its breadth of volunteers. "We go from [comedian] Robin Williams and [country singer] Toby Keith all the way to Elmo and Rosita," he said.

But it's all in a day's work for both Sesame Street, which has educated children for 40 years, and USO, which supports troops.

"That's our job, to help foster that peace of mind, as well as say thank you," Powell said. "Why not say thank you to the littlest members of the armed forces."

The USO 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.

Defense Department Celebrates 35 Years of All-Volunteer Force

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

June 25, 2008 - On July 1, the nation will mark 35 years of an armed
military made up soley of volunteers. Until July 1973, the military operated under an involuntary draft policy to produce manpower to fight the country's wars. Draftees served during both world wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Opposition to the war in Vietnam brought extreme scrutiny to the draft, and the public's increasing dissatisfaction took its toll during President Richard Nixon's administration. Congress eventually approved the institution of the all-volunteer force, and although the framework for selective service remained in place, the armed forces stopped drafting people to serve.

For the past 35 years, volunteers manned 100 percent of the armed forces during the nation's times of need, including the Cold War as well as conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. They filled the ranks and fought in the Persian Gulf, Panama and Grenada.

Retention flourishes among the services – in both the active duty and reserve components – as they continue to operate in Iraq and Afghanistan and conduct humanitarian missions at home and throughout the world, a senior Defense Department official said.

Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for
military personnel and policy, said the nation and its armed forces are stronger in many ways, thanks most notably to the aptitude and experience today's volunteers bring to the table. Carr said about 20 percent of servicemembers in the draft era were in the bottom third of the aptitude-test scoring range. Today, only 2 percent of the force is in the bottom third, and more than 66 percent are in the top half.

"One thing that characterizes today's recruits is that they're so smart relative to average," he said. "Two-thirds are in the top half in math and verbal aptitude, and they can figure out what to do in ambiguous situations. You can see it in their performance, and they're just a remarkable group of people."

Experience is evident in today's armed force's retention statistics. Nearly one out of every two servicemembers re-enlists. During the draft, only one-eighth of the force re-enlisted, leaving an average of less than 20 percent with more than a few years of service, Carr said.

"Although, the [draft-era] force was valiant, they didn't have the attributes of the all-volunteer force," he said. "Frankly, today's force is a lot more seasoned, experienced and smarter."

For the first time, the all-volunteer
military has been taken to war for a protracted period of time, he said. Considering the current endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan, Carr reflected on performance and retention concerns senior leaders had expressed.

"There were concerns about how today's fight would affect retention, and yet, retention has been as strong as any period in our history," he said. "Volunteers want to serve; their performance is strong, their behaviors are strong, and their discipline is high."

Their choice to become members of the armed forces "speaks volumes for the dedication and loyalty of our nation and its volunteers," Carr added.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 26, 2008

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a $144,041,340 modification to definitize a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-08-C-0005) to a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. This modification provides for the system design and development of the MH-60R Advanced Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination System, to include design, development, integration and test. Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y., (51 percent) and Farmingdale, N.Y., (49 percent), and is expected to be completed in Sep. 2013. 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, Rockville, Md., is being awarded a ceiling priced $94,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed price and cost task orders. The contract will provide the essential complementary operational test and evaluation managerial and technical support resources required by the
Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity. The minimum dollar amount to be ordered under this contract is $1,000,000 per each period of performance year. The contract contains four one-year options. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., with other locations specified in each individual Task Order and may include sea and land locations within the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS), and work is expected to be completed Dec. 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured through full and open competition via Navy Electronic Commerce Office, with five offers received. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-08-D-6040).

BAE Systems, Electronics and Integrated Solutions, Nashua, N.H., is being awarded a $31,923,195 firm-fixed-fee contract for the low rate initial production Lot IV of the Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures AN/ALE-55(V) Subsystems and associated technical support for the U.S.
Navy F/A-18E/F aircraft. The AN/ALE-55(V) subsystem consists of an electronic frequency converter (EFC) and a fiber optic towed decoy (FOTD). This contract provides for a total of 54 EFCs and 150 FOTDs. In addition, this contract provides for non-recurring and sustaining engineering for production support, first article test analysis, and physical configuration audits for the EFCs and FOTDs. Work will be performed in Nashua, N.H., (92 percent) and Mountain View, Calif., (8 percent), and is expected to be completed in Oct. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-08-C-0044).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $20,472,101 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-03-C-0057) for spares for three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Pilot Production Aircraft, One Lot. Work will be performed in Syracuse, N.Y., (52.02 percent); Bethpage, N.Y., (19.49 percent);
Woodlawn, Calif., (5.82 percent); Greenlawn, N.Y., (5.60 percent); Springville, Utah, (2.90 per Cincinnati, Ohio, (2.14 percent); Ronkonkoma, N.Y., (2.06 percent); and at various locations within the United States, (9.97 percent), and is expected to be completed in Sep. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Base-X, Fairfield, Va., is being awarded a $7,998,375 firm-fixed-price delivery order against Federal Supply Schedule Contract GS-07F-0173J for Ultra Light Camouflage Net System (ULCANS) in both Desert Marpat and Woodland patterns. ULCANS will aid in the concealment of
military ground equipments when tactically deployed. It will also provide visual, elctro-optical, radar, and infrared signature reduction characteristics. It is a Type IV system for a general purpose radar scattering concealment. Work will be performed in Fairfield, Va., and work is expected to be complete in Dec. 2008. Contract funds in the amount of $7,998,375 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is awarded as a result of a full and open competitive unrestrictive solicitation. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-08-F-3024).

Advanced Acoustic Concepts, Inc., Hauppauge, N.Y., is being awarded a $6,522,462 cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract to procure developmental and production hardware supported by engineering and technical services for two Phase III Small Business Innovative Research topics for the Sparsely Populated Volumetric Array (SPVA) and Torpedo Detection, Classification, and Localization System (TDCL). This contract will provide developmental and production hardware supported by technical and engineering services for SPVA sensors, SPVA installation kits, and a prototype TDCL system. The contract includes options, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $28,841,385. Work will be performed in Hauppauge, N.Y., (35 percent); Columbia, Md., (35 percent); and Lemont Furnace, Pa., (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by Jun. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington
Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-08-C-6252).

ARMY

Benham Constructors, LLC,
Oklahoma, Okla., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2008, a $55,117,614 firm-fixed price contract to construct an advanced metal finishing facility building with various plating equipment. Contract includes relocating a ground support equipment maintenance and other functions. Work will be performed at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., and is expected to be completed by Jul. 29, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. 16 bids were solicited on Jan. 19, 2007, and four bids were received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-C-0031).

O'Brien & Gere Crowder, Charlotte, N.C., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2008, a $23,552,000 firm-fixed price contract for design and construction of an industrial wastewater treatment plan with 600,000 gallon per day capacity. Work will be performed at Anniston
Army Depot, Ala., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Aug. 14, 2007, and four bids were received. Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-08-C-0037).

M.A. Mortenson Co., Minneapolis, Minn., was awarded on Jun. 12, 2008, a $20,091,453 firm-fixed price contract for all work required to design and construct a division headquarters
tactical equipment maintenance facility and an engineering squadron. Work will be performed at Fort Carson, Colo., and is expected to be completed by Jul. 7, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Mar. 4, 2008, and four bids were received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-07-D-0053).

Raytheon Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded on June 25, 2008, a $16,856,000 firm-fixed price contract for PATRIOT pure fleet 12-lot add-on items. Work will be performed in Andover, Mass., and is expected to be completed by Sep. 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on April 10, 2008. U.S.
Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-07-C-0151).

Red Sled, Inc.,
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2008, a $6,480,640 firm-fixed price contract for sling assemblies. Work will be performed in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 24, 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Jan. 11, 2008, and four bids were received. U.S. Army Joint Munitions & Lethality, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-08-D-0448).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Interconn Resources, Inc., Birmingham, Ala.*, is being awarded a maximum $31,012,233 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for natural gas delivery. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force and Federal Civilian Agencies. There were originally 166 proposals solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Sep. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-08-D-7506).

MxEnergy, Inc., Stanford, Conn.*, is being awarded a maximum $28,319,548 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for natural gas delivery. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force and Federal Civilian Agencies. There were originally 166 proposals solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Sep. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-08-D-7516)

Bethel Industries, Inc.,
Jersey City, N.J.**, is being awarded a maximum $13,730,220 firm fixed price, total set aside contract for airmen battle uniform coats and trousers. Other location of is in Tennessee. Using service is Air Force. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 26 responses. This contract includes a base and four one-year options. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is June 25, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-07-D-1502).

AIR FORCE

The
Air Force is increasing a fixed priced award fee and cost plus incentive fee contract with McDonnell Douglas Corp., A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Boeing Co., of Long Beach, Calif., for $273,320,007. This contract action exercises the FY08 fourth quarter option for the continued performance of the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership. The C-17 fleet sustainment and product support will be managed through a long term performance-based partnership between Boeing and the Air Force, which places performance risk on the contractor to provide sustainment support at continuously, raised benchmarked levels. In addition, the contractor logistics support for the palletized seat system for Air Material Command and the Air National Guard will be exercised and funded. At this time $273,320,07 has been obligated. 516 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8614-04-C-2004, P00250).

America Supports You: 'Angels' Deliver Music to Wounded Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

June 25, 2008 - Some troops recovering from injuries at Brooke
Army Medical Center in San Antonio and their families will receive the gift of music July 5, when they are presented with Gibson guitars. "Soldiers' Angels," a group that supports troops in various ways such sending as care packages, has partnered with the famous guitar manufacturer to provide guitars for wounded musicians, said Jeff Bader, husband of the organization's founder, Patti Patton-Bader.

"We will be presenting a minimum of 20 donated guitars to wounded, guitar-playing soldiers, and one to each of the seven local Fisher Houses for anyone to play," he said.

Fisher Houses, run by the Fisher House Foundation, provide free or low-cost lodging to veterans and
military families receiving treatment at military medical centers.

Both Soldiers' Angels the the Fisher House Foundation are supporters of America Supports You, a Defense Department program that connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Bader said the group hopes to also present guitars to wounded troops at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and at Walter Reed
Army Medical Center here at some later point.

Bader, a musician, said the guitars can bring more than the joy of music.

"Being a guitar player makes this new program and the gifts to our soldiers something very special," he said. "Music truly has a healing power, and guitar-playing soldiers who have suffered from traumatic brain injury have improved their short-term memory capabilities by remembering songs they used to play."

He recalled a conversation with a
military wife whose husband had suffered just such an injury, which caused severe short-term memory loss.

"The guitar I gave him helped him, because he remembered an entire song, and that gave him the confidence that he could get better," he said.

Soldiers' Angels and Fisher House volunteers, as well as representatives and instructors from Gibson, will attend the July 5 event at Brooke
Army Medical Center, which will culminate in a barbecue for about 1,200 wounded servicemembers and their families at the Fisher Houses' "quad" area.

"The band Angels and Airwaves has donated [its] time to play an acoustic show for everyone," Bader said. "We will additionally have games, coloring books, prizes, clowns and balloon sculptures [and other activities] for the kids.

"Afterward, we are transporting any soldiers and their family members who would like to attend the Vans Warped Tour at the Verizon Center in San Antonio," he added. The Warped Tour, sponsored by BMX and skateboard shoe manufacturer Vans, is a music and extreme sports festival.

Servicemembers and their families arriving from the BAMC event will be admitted at no charge and will watch the show from a specially built viewing area near the stage, Bader said.

Official Praises Proposed Education Benefits

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

June 25, 2008 - A Defense Department spokesman today expressed satisfaction that a proposed GI Bill allowing servicemembers to transfer their education benefits to family members passed the first round of congressional voting. But he also expressed concern that a possible provision of the bill could hurt the department's efforts to retain servicemembers.

The U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a version of the bill that would provide
military members a more generous education package, which for the first time could be passed to family members if troops opt not to use it themselves.

"The No. 1 priority of this department was that any enhanced benefit coming out of the Congress provide for the ability for servicemembers to transfer any unused benefit to their family members," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said during a Pentagon news conference.

But while the Defense Department is pleased the House version incorporates transferability, Morrell said, officials have voiced concern that the amount of time before the benefits become available -- after 36 months of service -- may hurt retention rates.

"That -- we've said from the beginning -- we believe, is too soon," Morrell said. "But if that's the way the Congress ultimately chooses to go, ... we will work with it."

The bill will next appear before the Senate, where it must receive approval before being enacted. Meanwhile, the Defense Department intends to study what effects the bill would have on military retention if it passes in its present form, Morrell said.

"If we find that it's having an adverse affect on retention, we're going to have to figure out other ways to entice men and women in uniform to stay in the service," he said.

Morrell suggested that bigger financial bonuses for re-enlistment could be offered if servicemembers become "lured out" of uniform by taking advantage of the new package, which would double the education benefit from about $9,000 to about $18,000 per year and kick in during the first enlistment.

The spokesman added that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is more pleased that the bill includes transferability than he is disappointed that it could adversely affect retention.

In other Defense Department news, Gates was scheduled to hold a meeting this afternoon to discuss an investigation by the Government Accountability Office – the investigative arm of Congress -- that found improper practices related to an
Air Force tanker contract.

The GAO last week recommended the
Air Force reopen the bidding process for the service's aerial refueling aircraft contract. The recommendation came after a review of the contract process that in February selected the Northrop-Grumman/EADS/Airbus consortium as the winner of the $35 billion contract. Boeing Co., which had submitted a competing bid, protested the decision.

Morrell said Gates would meet with representatives of the Pentagon's acquisition, technology and logistics office, the
Air Force, and with Defense Department lawyers.

"It will be the first time he has had a chance to hear from them about the GAO's recommendations, as well as the preliminary analysis that's been done within the department on how those recommendations would potentially impact the
Air Force's February decision to award the new tanker contract to Northrop Grumman and EADS," he said.

The Defense Department has 60 days from the release of the investigation report to respond to the GAO, Morrell said. He added that the secretary -- who is "intimately involved" in the issue -- hopes to move as quickly as possible.

"The secretary is just about to begin reviewing the various options available to him, and will chart a course as to the way ahead as soon as possible," he said.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 25, 2008

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Pepco Energy Services, Arlington, Va., is being awarded a maximum $92,532,366 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for the direct supply of approximately 4,194,116 Dekatherms of Direct Supply Natural Gas to various DoD and federal civilian agencies in the Northeast and Central regions of the United States. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force and other federal agencies. The original proposal was web solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance is Oct. 1, 2008, through Sep. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-08-D-7502)

Carter Industries, Inc., Olive Hill, Ky.*, is being awarded a maximum $24,026,000 firm fixed price contract for coveralls. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army, Navy and Air Force. There were originally 3 proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Aug. 30, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-08-C-0027).

Sanofi Pasteur Inc., Swiftwater, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $11,782,359 firm fixed price contract for influenza vaccine. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. There were originally eight proposals solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Jun. 25, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM2DP-08-D-0003).

NAVY

Bell Boeing Tiltrotor Team, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $28,473,442 ceiling priced delivery order #0274 under previously awarded contract (N00383-03-G-001B) for spare components of the CV-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in Hurst, Texas, and work is expected to be completed by Dec. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not awarded competitively. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

Progeny Systems Corp.*, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $16,264,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-6256) to analyze, design, fabricate, and integrate hardware and/or software solutions for Commercial-Off-The-Shelf electronics-based subsystems, which collectively provide C3I functionality to submarines, surface ships, surveillance and air platforms. The contract modification is for Phase III engineering services in support of Small Business Innovative Research Topic No.N96-278 "
Technology Infusion Methodology". The Phase III SBIR effort addresses systems and subsystems ranging from simple single processors to highly complex multi-processor network architectures. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $9,398,794 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-03-C-0057) for non-recurring engineering efforts for the production of required subsystems and components for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Pilot production Aircraft, one lot. Work will be performed in Bethpage, N.Y., (28.23 percent);
Torrance, Calif., (14.47 percent); Dallas, Texas, (10.80 percent); Pomezia, Italy, (8.74 percent); Cleveland, Ohio, (8.36 percent); New Port Richey, Fla., (8.13 percent), Owega, N.Y., (6.71 percent); Freeport, N.Y., (3. 20 percent) and various locations within the U.S., (11.54 percent), and is expected to be completed in Sep. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Inc., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $9,234,251 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for continued efforts in support of the Common Network Interface (CNI) systems engineering effort under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. The CNI System improves situational awareness for Expeditionary Strike Group Commanders by fusing stove-piped battle management systems into a single integrated
tactical picture. The contract requirements for CNI will include engineering and design agent services and integrated logistic services. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $28,876,834. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Va., and is expected to be completed by Jul. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is being awarded on a sole source basis as a Phase III SBIR. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-08-C-5205).

ARMY

SUMMA
Technology, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded on Jun. 23, 2008, a $26,092,635 firm-fixed price contract for the container roll in/out platform. Work will be performed in Cullman, Ala., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 30, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Dec. 21, 2005, and six bids were received. U.S. Army TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-D-0269).

Talbert Manufacturing, Rensselaer, Ind., was awarded on Jun. 24, 2008, a $19,853,925 firm-fixed price contract for semi-trailers and supporting vehicle system side kits, stockage list kits and carwell rust protection. Work will be performed in Rensselaer, Ind., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Mar. 19, 2003. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-03-D-S067).

AIR FORCE

The Boeing Co., of
Seal Beach, Calif., is being awarded a cost plus fixed fee contract for $35.3 million. The contract action provides for system engineering, program management, and contract operations support for ground operations and readiness start-up activities for the Space Based Surveillance System Block 10 program. These activities are necessary to insure sustainment capabilities are in place to support the system 61 days after launch of the SBSS Block 10 Space Vehicle. This contract will run concurrent with the Space Vehicle Development contract, from the date of issuance of this letter contract through Dec. 31, 2008. At this time $9.2 million has been obligated. USAF HQ Space and Missile Systems Center/SYSW/PK, Los Angeles AFB, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8819-08-C-0001).

National Security Archive Update, June 25, 2008

THE SHOOTDOWN OF MAJOR ANDERSON

New Book One Minute to Midnight Reveals U.S. Intelligence Tracked Activation of Soviet Air Defenses During Missile Crisis

For more information contact:
Michael Dobbs - dobbsm@washpost.com - 202/334-4399

http://www.nsarchive.org

Washington, DC, June 25, 2008 - American signals intelligence collectors tracked the activation of Soviet air defenses prior to the shootdown of a U.S. spy plane at the peak of the Cuban missile crisis, according to documents published on the Web today by the National Security Archive.

A new book by Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs shows that the destruction of the U-2 piloted by Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr. on October 27, 1962, was closely connected to the deployment of Soviet nuclear cruise missiles in the vicinity of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo. Soviet generals feared that the spy plane had uncovered the forward launch position of the cruise missiles, just 15 miles from Guantanamo.

This is the fourth of five postings looking at the new material in One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War, which draws on the National
Security Archive's long-standing documentary work on the Cuban missile crisis. The book provides new details about U.S. SIGINT (signals intelligence) activities in and around Cuba at the height of the missile crisis.

Next week, in the final installment from One Minute to Midnight, the National
Security Archive will publish key primary sources behind the "Eyeball to Eyeball" confrontation between U.S. and Soviet ships that never happened.

Visit the Web site of the National
Security Archive for more information about today's posting.

http://www.nsarchive.org

THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

Defense, Education Departments Sign Pact on Military Children

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

June 25, 2008 - Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Deputy Education Secretary Raymond Simon signed a memorandum of understanding between their agencies at the Pentagon today that addresses the quality of education and the unique challenges faced by children of
military families. Hundreds of thousands of students in military families will be affected by moves precipitated by recent Base Realignment and Closure Act decisions and the relocation of military units from overseas bases to stateside installations as part of global defense posture realignment moves, England said.

Children of U.S. military members who have sacrificed so much for the nation "deserve to have to a good education," England said during his remarks before the signing ceremony.

"And so, we have an obligation, both as a department and as a nation, to make sure not just the children in our
military, but all of the children in the United States of America get absolutely the finest education that they can," the deputy defense secretary said.

The failure to provide a good education for America's children could result in the forfeiture of the United States' premier position in the world, England pointed out, as well as the loss of freedom for its citizens.

"So, I'm an extraordinary strong proponent of anything we do to improve the education of our children, especially the children of our
military," England said.

The memo of understanding generally defines how the Defense and Education departments will work together with local educational organizations to strengthen and expand school-based efforts to ease student transitions and help military students develop academic skills and coping strategies during parents'
military deployments.

Simon hailed the agreement, noting that its implementation will "honor the sacrifice that these families make every day."

The agreement supports defense and education department efforts to:

-- Promote and enhance policies that will improve
military children's education and overall well-being;

-- Advance the quality of educational opportunities for all military children;

-- Provide research-based academic, social-emotional and behavioral supports to facilitate seamless transitions for military children;

-- Provide
leadership and advocacy programs to help military students cope with issues surrounding deployments;

-- Support foreign language education, including programs for strategic languages;

-- Explore legislative options to address transition issues for military students;

-- Extend opportunities for student learning through support of online, virtual and other research-based teaching models;

-- Provide research-based teacher and administrator professional development programs;

-- Forge effective partnerships with local schools and districts;

-- Coordinate Defense Department and Education Department impact aid programs;

-- Communicate with
military families and organizations to show appreciation for their contributions; and

-- Increase awareness of resources and tools available from the Education and Defense departments.

Congress has provided financial assistance to local school districts through the impact aid program since 1950. Current legislation provides financial assistance to school districts with concentrations of children residing on military bases who have parents in the military.
Military families that reside in government-provided quarters do not pay local property taxes, a portion of which are used to manage and operate public schools.

More than 1.1 million students who belong to active duty and reserve-component military families are expected to benefit from activities outlined in the agreement.

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael J. Naquin, a security forces noncommissioned officer posted at Bolling Air Force Base here, and his 6-year-old son, Aaron, were among several military families personally greeted by England and Simon at signing ceremony.

"Progress is being made, and it is nice that our two communities can come together as one," Naquin said of the bi-departmental education agreement.

"It is one less worry, not having to worry about the education my children are getting," Naquin pointed out, noting education is a "very, very important" component of quality of life. A special panel will now begin work to implement the initiatives, David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said.

"We all have just one goal in mind, and that is to provide a quality education for the children of all
military families," Chu said.