Military News

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Soldier Missing In Action From Korean War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) 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 Cpl. Steven Lucas, U.S.
Army, of Johnson City, N.Y. He will be buried July 11 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

Representatives from the
Army met with Lucas' 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, Lucas was assigned to the Heavy Mortar Company, 31st Infantry Regiment making up part of the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), then engaging enemy forces east of the Chosin Reservoir near Kaljon-ri, South Hamgyong Province, North Korea. On Nov. 29, remnants of the RCT began a fighting withdrawal to more defensible positions near Hagaru-ri, south of the reservoir. Lucas never made it to the lines at Hagaru-ri and was last seen on Nov. 30.

Between 1991-94, North Korea turned over to the U.S. 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. North Korean documents turned over with one of several boxes in 1993 indicated that the remains from that box were exhumed near Kaljon-ri. This location correlates with Lucas' last known location.

Among other
forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of Lucas' remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169

America Supports You: Fund Assists Severely Injured Veterans

By Meghan Vittrup
American Forces Press Service

July 9, 2008 - An organization that focuses on helping severely injured veterans channels its efforts toward providing the kinds of assistance they don't otherwise get. The Independence Fund provides "the tools, therapies and guidance that they are otherwise not receiving," said Steve Danyluk, the organization's president.

The Independence Fund, he explained, is built upon three pillars of support. These pillars, according to the Independence Fund Web site, include providing specialized tools and therapies to troops and veterans, promoting the overall well-being of severely injured veterans through physical and leisure activity, and providing advocacy and guidance through veterans and family members who have experienced similar events and injuries.

For example, the Independence Fund provides assistance such as iBot wheelchairs and sports equipment that has been modified so disabled veterans can take part in athletic pursuits or leisure sports.

The fund also provides two different types of therapies to injured troops.

"Sports and art therapy are the two big programs we champion," Danyluk said. "Some of the art has become part of our traveling art exhibit, which is steadily growing and been displayed, most recently at the Indianapolis [Veterans Affairs] hospital, and next at the Arlington Art Center in Virginia."

Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans can apply for funding through the Independence Fund's Web site, where a downloadable document also is available, Danyluk said.

Once an application is accepted, an Independence Fund case director conducts an interview, and a grant funding board then reviews the application to determine whether the candidate receives a grant, Danyluk explained. The funding for grants distributed through the Independence Fund comes mostly in the form of donations, he added.

The Independence Fund is a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Face of Defense: Paralegal Succeeds in Army

By Army Spc. Allison Churchill
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 9, 2008 -
Army Spc. Matthew Duras decided to join the Army because he wanted to serve his country. Since becoming a soldier, he balances helping his fellow soldiers and reaching out to the community. Duras brought a diverse educational and working background to the table when he joined the Army.

After earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies from Harcum College, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., in 1994 and a bachelor's degree in the same field from Widener University, in Wilmington, Del., in 2001, Duras held a variety of jobs. He worked as a paralegal for DuPont and the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, but he didn't initially consider the legal field for his
Army career. Instead, after working at a truck assembly plant as a fire marshal -- a combination of being a security guard and a fire inspector -- and volunteering as a firefighter, Duras intended to use that experience and join as an Army firefighter.

"It seemed like the next step," said Duras, who's deployed with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 41st Fires Brigade.

But his recruiter looked at his educational background and told him about a different option, recommending that Duras join the
Army as a paralegal.

"I was fortunate to have a really good recruiter," the West Deptford, N.J., native said. "I've always been the type of person who likes to help someone out. The Army has helped me reach that goal."

Before the brigade deployed, Duras' normal day included preparing paperwork for nonjudicial judgments and separations from the
Army and helping brigade lawyers during courts-martial. During his deployment here, he also writes power-of-attorney documents and processes damage claims from Iraqi citizens.

Duras' superiors said they're impressed with his work.

"He is a dedicated soldier with an incredible heart and an excellent paralegal," said Army Capt. Patrick Gilman, the 41st Fires Brigade's command judge advocate. Gilman administered the oath of enlistment when Duras re-enlisted in November.

When Duras isn't in the office helping soldiers, he's often representing them in public arenas. He said he was especially happy to take part in a Veterans Day ceremony before a race at Texas Motor Speedway.

"It was like Christmas morning," the NASCAR fan recalled about getting to walk up and down "Pit Road" before the race.

Duras also took time during his pre-deployment leave to reach out to his hometown. He was invited by a friend to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a Lakewood (N.J.) Blue Claws professional baseball game May 5. He said seeing his
Army combat uniform sparked patriotism in the fans.

"A bunch of people thanked me, and a [father] and his daughter shook my hand," Duras said.

Duras also made a video for the congregation of Gloucester County Community Church, which will be played over Veterans Day weekend.

When the 41st Fires Brigade completes its deployment, Duras is scheduled to relocate to Germany.

(
Army Spc. Allison Churchill serves in the 41st Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office.)

Pentagon Reopens Bidding on Tanker Contract

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

July 9, 2008 - The Defense Department has reopened the bidding process for a multibillion-dollar midair refueling tanker contract, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today. The announcement comes after the Government Accountability Office last month found improper practices related to the $35 billion contract awarded in February to the Northrop-Grumman/EADS/Airbus consortium, which prompted a protest from rival bidder Boeing Company.

"Industry, Congress and the American people all must have confidence in the integrity of this acquisition process," Gates said at a Pentagon news conference. "I believe the revised process will result in the best tanker for the
Air Force at the best price for the American taxpayer."

Replacing the Air Force as the "source selection authority" is John J. Young Jr., undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. He is tasked with appointing an advisory committee to oversee the selection of a bidder to supply the modified commercial aircraft fleet that will phase out the current KC-135 tankers, which are 47 years old, on average.

The Defense Department has ordered Northrop-Grumman to stop work on its contract, and a modified request for proposal could be issued as early as this month. The tanker request will remain in "open competition" until a new contract is awarded, which Gates said he expects will happen before year's end.

"It is important to remember that this decision does not represent a return to the first step of a process that has already gone on far too long," the secretary said, referring to the tanker contract as one of the department's most "time-critical."

The Boeing protest filed early this year alleged more than 100 violations of proper contracting practices, eight of which were sustained by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

After reviewing the GAO's decision, Michael B. Donley, acting secretary of the
Air Force, said he concluded that the Air Force's acquisition system is not "fatally flawed."

"However, the GAO did sustain the protest in eight areas, and this has been sufficient to cast doubt on the Air Force's management of the overall process," he said.

While re-bidding the contract will add months to the process, Donley said, it offers "the most direct route to complete the competition, achieve a final decision and field the tanker that represent the best value for the warfighter and the taxpayer."

Donley, who joined Gates at today's briefing, became the Air Force's acting secretary last month following a shakeup at the top levels of the service branch. The 67-page GAO report that cited "significant errors" in
Air Force recruiting practices became public nine days into his tenure.

Donley's predecessor, Michael W. Wynne, and
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley resigned in the wake of a report detailing the accidental shipment of four non-nuclear missile trigger components rather than the intended helicopter batteries to Taiwan in August 2006. The erroneous delivery came on the heels of another Air Force incident in which a B-52 bomber flew across the United States carrying six armed nuclear cruise missiles.

"The Air Force needs to rapidly apply the lessons learned from this experience and move forward," Donley said of the tanker contract, pressing the need to rebuild confidence in the Defense Department acquisition process. "Other
Air Force acquisition decisions are on the horizon.

"GAO's conclusions show that even in a large, complex procurement with considerable staff resources and oversight, work accomplished by our contracting personnel, our warfighters and our engineers is not always adequately prepared to withstand the detailed audits and the legal challenges that we can now expect," he said.

Asked how the Defense Department will mitigate the chance of a future protest, Gates said the department will carry out the new process with transparency, open communication, clear expectations and fairness.

"My hope would be that when we reach the end of this process we will have a solution, will be able to reward a contract and get moving with the contract," he said.

Young, who will head up the source selection committee, entertained the possibility that new proposals from industry bidders could come with a smaller price tag than their original offers.

"We'll see what the industry teams propose," he told reporters here. "I think that would probably be the only silver lining in this, is the possibility that both teams decide to sharpen their pencils and offer the taxpayer and the warfighter an even better deal."

New Cluster Bomb Policy Aims to Reduce Collateral Damage

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

July 9, 2008 - The Defense Department today announced new standards for cluster bombs to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure from the unintended consequences of unexploded munitions. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed the policy that aims to reduce collateral effects of cluster munitions used to pursue legitimate
military objectives.

The new policy is designed to eliminate the number of bomblets dispersed by cluster bombs that don't explode on impact, explained
Air Force Lt. Col. Almarah Belk, a Pentagon spokeswoman. It sets new safety standards that, by 2018, would require 99 percent of all bomblets to explode on contact.

The
military will begin reducing its inventory of cluster bombs that don't meet that standard as soon as possible, and will stop using them altogether by 2018, the policy notes.

The new policy is designed to eliminate the chance that the bombs could remain active and pose a potential threat to civilians on the ground after the hostilities, Belk said.

A State Department white paper attributed fewer than 400 casualties to cluster bombs in 2006. Intent on reducing these numbers, the Defense Department launched a year-long review of its previous cluster munitions policy, Belk said.

The new policy strikes a critical balance between operational requirements and safety concerns, she said. "The United States believes that the new cluster munitions policy will provide better protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure following a conflict, while allowing the retention of a legitimate and useful weapon," she said.

Belk noted that cluster bombs offer distinct advantages against a range of targets while reducing risks to U.S. forces and saving U.S. lives.

Defense Department officials view the new policy as a viable alternative to a complete ban on cluster bombs, as proposed last month by the Oslo Process in Dublin, Ireland, she said. With no alternative to cluster munitions, she said, eliminating them altogether would create a critical capability gap.

"This would make the wholesale elimination of cluster munitions unacceptable," Belk said.

Future adversaries are likely to use civilian shields for
military targets — for example, by placing a military target on the roof of an occupied building, she noted. Under circumstances like that, she said, cluster bombs would cause fewer civilian casualties and damage than other, far more destructive weapons.

The United States will use the policy in its negotiations toward an international agreement at the U.N. Convention of Conventional Weapons that began July 7. The United States hopes to see a new cluster bomb policy completed by the year's end.

MILITARY CONTRACTS July 9, 2008

AIR FORCE

ITT Systems Division of Colorado Springs, Colo., is being awarded a fixed price, cost plus award fee with const reimbursable line items contract for $33,697,369. The Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS) is a counterdrug program funded by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counter
Narcotics, Counter Proliferation, and Global Threats. It provides a radar surveillance capability able to detect low-level targets in the United States – Mexico border, the Florida Straits, and southwest Puerto Rico regions in support of USNROTHCOMs and USSOUTHCOM's Counterdrug/Counter-Narco Terrorism (CD/CNT) missions. In addition to the CD/CNT mission, TARS surveillance data also supports North American Aerospace Defense Command's (NORAD) air sovereignty mission for the Continental United States (CONUS). This contract requires operating, maintaining, and supporting eight operational TARS sites 24 hours a day/seven days per week (24/7). Additionally, a key element of this contract is for the contractor to provide life-cycle management (cradle-to-grave) support for the entire TARS network. At this time $1.5 million has been obligated. ACC AMIC/PKC SunTrust Building, Newport News, Va., is the contracting activity (FA4890-08-C-0005).

NAVY

MEC Earth & Environmental, Inc.*,
San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $13,727,945 for firm-fixed price Task Order #0002 under an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity environmental multiple award contract (N62473-08-D-8816) for remedial design and remedial action at Installation Restoration Site One at Alameda Point. The work to be performed provides for architect-engineer environmental services for Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Underground Storage Tanks Programs. The contract contains ten options totaling $7,106,256 which may be exercise within 696 calendar days, bringing the total contract amount to $20,834,201. Work will be performed in Alameda, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Mar. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities engineering Command Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Massa Products Corp. Hingham, Mass., is being awarded a $12,066,819 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-price provisions for procurement of DT-574 Hydrophones. Twelve First Article units and up to 2,500 DT-574 Hydrophones (with 25 ft. and 50 ft. pigtails) and up to 600 DT-574 Hydrophones (with 100 ft. pigtail) per year could be procured. Work will be performed in Hingham, Mass., and is expected to be completed by Jul. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with proposals solicited via Federal Business Opportunities, with two offers received. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, R. I., is the contracting activity (N66604-08-D-0513).

Tesoro Corp., Beaufort, N.C., is being awarded a $5,663,496 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of armories and interim facilities for
Marine Aviation Support Squadron 1 (MASS-1), Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, N.C. The work includes foundations for and erection of two pre-engineered buildings, utilities and site improvements for the MASS-1, foundations for and assembling of modular armory units, utilities and site improvements for the interim armory compound; and incidental related work. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, N.C., and is expected to be completed Apr. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the General Multiple Award Construction Contract for the N.C. area with six proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-07-D-1912-0027).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

General Electric Co., Lynn, Mass., is being awarded a maximum $18,447,224.32 fixed price with economic price adjustment, sole source contract for combustion chamber frame. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is
Air Force. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response from a qualified source only. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is May 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Richmond, Richmond, Va. (FA8104-05-G-0004-UN01).

Texican Natural Gas Co., Charlotte, N.C.*, is being awarded a maximum $41,457,901.54 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for natural gas. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army 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-7511).