Military News

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gates Gets Update on Army Special Ops Capabilities, Challenges

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 24, 2008 - With arguably the most heavily stressed troops anywhere, the commander of Army Special Operations Command updated Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday about ongoing missions and progress in growing the force to keep pace with ever-increasing requirements.
Army Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner briefed Gates during his visit here about ongoing operations and progress in boosting manpower across the Army special operations community. This elite force includes Special Forces, Ranger, special operations aviation, psychological operations, civil affairs, signal and combat service support soldiers.

Wagner said he and Gates talked about the "quality of the people and their dedication to what they are doing," and the contributions they are making in the global war on terror. They also discussed improved coordination between the intelligence communities and the
military – an initiative Wagner told reporters is "enabling us to do things much more effectively and efficiently, and saving the lives of soldiers."

Army special operations forces are deployed to 45 countries around the globe, with about 80 percent of those troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We're heavily deployed ... [and have been] continuously engaged since the beginning of the war," Wagner said.

In fact, most of his troops have been deployed 30 to 70 percent of the time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks – more than even the most heavily taxed conventional forces. So, as he talked with Gates yesterday about ongoing missions, the discussion moved to the critical next question: How can
Army Special Operations Command keep up the pace of operations without driving this highly skilled force into the ground, or out of the Army altogether?

A saving grace -- one Wagner said he credits Gates with supporting -- has been authorization to grow the force 43 percent by 2013. "That's pretty significant," he said, noting that he has 5,000 more people now than in 2001.

All five active-duty Special Forces groups will receive an additional battalion, beginning with the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Ky. In addition, each Ranger battalion will get an extra company. Reconnaissance and intelligence forces will be upgraded from detachments to companies. A new special operations aviation battalion, at Fort Lewis, Wash., brings additional capability to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

Meanwhile, Wagner cited "dramatic increases" in the command's
civil affairs and psychological operations forces. Historically, the lion's share of both organizations has been in the Army Reserve, but Wagner said both the active and reserve components are boosting their numbers.

The 95th
civil Affairs Brigade, the only active-duty civil affairs unit, went from 208 soldiers in 2001 to almost 900 today. In addition, plans call for an additional civil affairs battalion dedicated to U.S. Africa Command, and one or two more 32-man companies within each other battalion. Ultimately, Wagner said, he expects the number of active-duty civil affairs troops to increase to more than 1,400 by 2013 or 2014.

Psychological operations also have experienced "phenomenal growth," Wagner said, from just under 1,300 troops in 2001 to more than 2,132 authorized today. That number will increase by almost 150 in fiscal 2009, but Wagner said it could go as high as 2,740.

Even while adding 5,000 authorized slots in the last seven years, Army Special Operations Command increased its unit strength from 97 percent in 2001 to more than 100 percent today, Wagner said.

"The recruiting piece is not a problem," he said. "There are lots of people who are fully qualified and want to join the force. We still are very selective in who we allow to come into the force, and we are able to grow and still meet all those standards."

Gates got firsthand exposure to the force's capabilities yesterday as he talked with the troops about their experiences, their training and their missions.

He told reporters he was particularly struck by the level of questioning he received when he had lunch with about 10 Special Forces noncommissioned officers. "They talked about problems," he said. "They asked me about my view of the challenges they were going to face down the road in different countries. The meeting was very geopolitical."

Also impressive, he said, was the depth of their language capabilities. One soldier Gates met speaks both Korean and Arabic. Another speaks three different Arabic dialects. "All of that is really impressive," the secretary said.

While he is gratified to be able to attract new recruits, Wagner said, he's far more interested in retaining the highly skilled, combat-experienced ones he already has.

"Our job is not recruiting," he said. "It's the retention of senior-grade people, because our force is about senior people."

Special Forces troops are typically more senior than those in other
Army units, he explained. Soldiers typically join the force at the sergeant first class or captain levels. The typical Special Forces NCO is 33 years old with 12 years of service; the typical warrant officer is 39 years old with 18 years of service. A full one-third of Special Forces soldiers are eligible to retire.

The challenge, Wagner said, is to keep these soldiers in the Army despite repeated deployments and heavy operational demands.

"These people have put their lives on hold for seven years," Wagner said. "Most Americans are at home every night. These people have spent between 30 and 70 percent of their time deployed since the towers were struck."

Another challenge is the big dollars the private sector is willing to pay for their skills. Wagner called financial incentives the
Army offers "very important to retaining the force," but said he'd like to see them raised even higher.

"Take a warrant officer pilot with 25 years flying," he said. "How much is he worth to you? How much would you pay to keep that guy from his 25th to his 30th year, and how much does it cost to replace him?

"The cheapest thing you can do, and the most right thing, would be to pay him enough to make him stay from the 25th to the 30th year," Wagner said. "He deserves it. And we need him."

Whatever incentives the
Army pays its special operators, Wagner said, it's less than they deserve – and not really the reason they stay on duty.

"Ultimately, they stay with the force because they believe in what they are doing and they think it's important," he said. "And if we think what they are doing is important, we ought to recognize it."

Department Salutes Best Anti-Drug Programs at Red Ribbon Week Observance

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 24, 2008 - The Defense Department recognized
military agencies for their outstanding anti-drug programs at a Pentagon ceremony today. Hosted by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, this year's event is the department's 18th observance of Red Ribbon Week, an annual campaign that runs through Oct. 31.

Red Ribbon Week advocates youth drug abstinence. It was established in 1988 in honor of fallen U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Enrique "Kiki" S. Camerena, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by drug traffickers in Mexico in 1985.

Combating drugs is important for the Department of Defense and for the nation, England said.

"Abuse of drugs and alcohol and tobacco ruins people's lives," England said, noting that adolescents and young people in particular are highly susceptible to using drugs.

Through random testing and anti-substance abuse education campaigns the Defense Department has achieved great success against drugs during the past 25 to 30 years, England said.

In 1980, he said, nearly 30 percent of servicemembers used drugs, and today the percentage of drug users in the
military has dropped below 1 percent.

This year's Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award recipients are:

-- The 3rd Corps and Fort Hood, Texas,
Army Substance Abuse Program;

-- The Camp Pendleton, Calif., Drug Demand Reduction Campaign;

-- Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic, Norfolk, Va.

-- 319th Air Refueling Wing, Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.

-- The Alabama National Guard Counterdrug Program, Drug Demand Reduction, Montgomery, Ala.

-- Defense Logistics Agency's Defense Supply Center, Columbus, Ohio

Since 2001, DoD also has presented the Fulcrum Shield Award for Excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Programs to
military-affiliated youth organizations. This year's winner is the Douglas County Young Marines, Douglas County, Colo.

Established in 1958, the Young Marines is a nonprofit youth organization that teaches young people from ages 8 to 18 how to gain self-confidence and be responsible. The Young Marines is the U.S.
Marine Corps' official community youth program, as well as the focus of its youth drug demand reduction efforts.

Healthy, drug-free troops and young civilian citizens "win the nation's battles" and prevent societal decay, England said.

Yet, "just because we've made great progress doesn't mean that we can rest on this" war against drugs, England said. "The Red Ribbon campaign is critical to our success."

The event also featured Geneva Camarena, the the widow of fallen
Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who was the inspiration for Red Ribbon Week, as one of the guest speakers. She praised her late husband's work, noting that the former Marine gave his life to safeguard young people against drug traffickers.

Geneva Camerena now heads the Enrique Camarena Educational Foundation, which is pledged to eradicate drug abuse among the nation's youth and to honor fallen and injured heroes in the fight against illegal drugs.

"We must take care of our children," she said.

John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, noted that the nation's drug-enforcement agencies have had a long partnership with the Defense Department. Youth drug use in the United States has declined nearly 25 percent over the past six years, Walters said.

Walters also highlighted the recent decline in opium production in Afghanistan, noting this event represents the liberation of Afghans and others from a poisonous substance. Heroin is made from opium-producing poppy seeds that are grown by some farmers in Afghanistan. The war against drugs, Walters said, also is a battle against false information being spread by those who profit from the drug trade.

Walters also praised the Defense Department as a model employer that has a zero-tolerance attitude regarding drug use.

Another guest, Michele M. Leonhart, acting administrator of the
Drug Enforcement Administration, said DoD's efforts are "making a difference" during the war on drugs. A number of key Afghan and Colombian drug kingpins, she said, are being extradited to the United States for trial on drug-trafficking charges.

Drugs are a menace that threatens America's youth, Leonhart said. Young people shouldn't experiment with drugs, she said, because drug use negatively affects their still-developing brains.

Retired
Army Maj. Gen. Arthur T. Dean, chairman and chief executive officer of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, also said a few words at the Pentagon awards ceremony. CADCA is a nonprofit group that works with local communities and the federal government to promote anti-drug awareness among the nation's youth.

"Coming back to the Pentagon and being a part of this special Red Ribbon event is truly an honor," Dean said, noting his organization encourages young people to live drug-free lifestyles.

"Zero-tolerance in young people, as it relates to illegal drugs, is the standard," Dean said.

Air Force to Establish New Nuclear Major Command

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 24, 2008 - The
Air Force will stand up a new major command specifically to manage its nuclear assets, the service's top official announced today. Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said the new command will fold into its ranks thousands of airmen and all of the Air Force's domestic nuclear capabilities in response to what he called "painful lessons learned" during a series of senior oversight reviews of the Air Force's nuclear program.

This change is part of a broader sweep of changes Donley introduced today as a roadmap to improving the
Air Force's stewardship of its nuclear program.

"This is a critical milestone for us. It's a new starting point for reinvigoration of this enterprise," Donley said at a Pentagon media roundtable to introduce the plan.

"The changes we make today will help us focus on this enterprise regardless of other changes in Air Force missions along the way, and regardless of how big or small the nuclear enterprise is," he said.

The new command, called Global Strike Command, will include both the 8th and 20th Air Force. Eighth
Air Force, currently within Air Combat Command, is made up of the force's B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress bombers. The 20th Air Force, currently under Air Force Space Command, maintains and operates the service's arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Eighth Air Force's headquarters is at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and 20th Air Force's headquarters is at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.

An additional squadron of B-52s, mandated by Congress, also will fall within the new command.

This change effectively splits the Air Force's bomber force, leaving its B-1 Lancer bombers with Air Combat Command. It also moves the cyber and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance responsibilities out of 8th Air Force.

"It was our conclusion that a major command that did space, cyber and nuclear perhaps was too much for a single organization to address with the necessary focus,"
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norman A. Schwartz.

Management of nuclear-capable aircraft assigned to Europe will not fall under the new command, officials said.

A three-star general will lead the new command, Donley said. Officials have not yet picked a location for the command's headquarters or identified who its commander will be, but said they plan to name a provisional commander in the next few months. Donley said he plans to have the command operational by September.

This plan, designed by the Air Force Nuclear Task Force, comes on the heels of major turmoil for the force in the past few years. In 2006, nuclear missile nose cones were inadvertently shipped to Taiwan, and in August 2007 the Air Force mistakenly flew nuclear weapons from Minot
Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

The force's top two
leaders resigned, and 15 senior officers, including six generals, were disciplined.

This roadmap, Donley said, addresses longstanding, systemic problems in the force's handling of nuclear assets. The plan addresses structural changes within the force, changes in its processes and procedures and a change within its culture, he said.

One of the problems identified in recent reports was in the force's nuclear inspection process. The secretary said the Air Force did not have consistent policies in place with consistent interpretations across commands, and needed a stronger oversight of the inspection process.

"We were not getting out of our inspection process what we need," Donley said, noting he has moved those responsibilities under the force's inspector general, who will oversee all inspector training and certification. Also, a new
Air Force headquarters staff directorate will be formed to provide oversight of nuclear issues within the force, Donley said.

The
Air Force secretary also announced establishment of a nuclear oversight board at the headquarters level that he will chair with Schwartz.

Schwartz joined the roundtable via teleconference from Iraq, where he is visiting deployed airmen.

"While today's fight is vitally important to our Air Force, the capabilities that we provide in support of our nation's nuclear deterrent force is just as, if not more, important," he said. "The nation trusts us to provide them safely and securely."

Schwartz said the roadmap provides a "back to basics" approach for accountably, compliance, precision and reliability.

The Air Forces also plans to rebuild its nuclear expertise within its ranks of airmen through training and career development, and officials said they plan to invest more heavily in the mission as it modernizes its nuclear capabilities.

The
Air Force spent about $85 million in the last fiscal year revamping its nuclear program. It expects to spend about $270 million in fiscal 2009, officials said.

Language Institute Remains Responsive, Adaptable to Nation's Needs

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 24, 2008 - After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Defense Department's premier language school, like many of the more visible elements of national security, underwent major changes. As it became clear that future U.S. foreign policy would become increasingly linked to the Middle East, the area where the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives germinated, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center here responded to the nation's need for regional experts and linguists.

"For years, we taught the same languages; we had a pretty steady population, our budget was flattening," said Clare Bugary, deputy chief of staff for operations at the institute. "And all that changed in 2001."

Post-9/11 restructuring at the Defense Language Institute, or DLI, turned the institute from a basic language school for professional linguists into a closed
military post. It boosted the number of Arabic and Dari students and instructors and began implementing rigorous training that would aid those deploying as part of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

DLI also established the Emerging Language Task Force, which is responsible for adapting to national security directions as dictated by the Defense Department and the service branches, and dropped some less-critical languages from its course offerings.

"There was a sense over the years that we were a sleepy little school on the hill in
Monterey in our Ivory Tower," Bugary said. "And the truth is that we are pounding the pavement."

One of the more conspicuous changes is the influx of funding the institute received. Its fiscal 2001 budget was $77 million. It now boasts a projected fiscal 2015 budget of $345 million, an increase of more than 400 percent.

Currently, the institute trains about 3,000 students representing all
military services and employs more than 1,700 international faculty members, 98 percent of whom are native speakers, and with about half holding advanced degrees. DLI generally teaches 24 languages at any given time – a figure that is subject to change depending on department requirements.

The precursor to DLI began in 1941 as a Japanese language school with a flagship training program that taught native- and heritage-speakers of Japanese, known as the Nisei linguists. This select group of Japanese-Americans trained at the
military Intelligence Service's Language School near San Francisco. There, they learned how to interrogate prisoners, intercept messages, translate captured documents and infiltrate enemy lines during World War II.

The school moved to
Monterey in 1946 and began teaching Russian and Eastern European languages, plus German, French and Spanish -- tongues that were deemed valuable during the Cold War. This ability to adapt to national security needs continues to be one of the school's hallmarks, said Army Col. Sue Ann Sandusky, commandant of the institute.

"DLI is requirements-driven with regard to the languages we teach," Sandusky said. "That's how we keep up with the changing, geo-strategic times."

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Eastern European and Warsaw Pact language programs shrunk and made way for languages essential to the Persian Gulf War, the current operations in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, which demands mainly Dari and Pashto. The institute also added languages of South and Central Asia, and continues to maintain robust Korean training that began with the Korean War.

Sandusky said DLI anticipates that the U.S. Africa Command, which recently stood up as the newest combatant command, will generate its own language requirements, which it will pass to the service branches and eventually become institute curriculum.

A former Africa foreign area officer, Sandusky said she expects these requests to come in the form of the "big three" languages on the continent: Arabic, French and Portuguese. Though Africans speak thousands of languages and dialects, 95 percent of African nations use at least one of those languages as their official language, she said.

Another change that occurred at DLI in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent budget increases was a ramped-up effort to develop cutting-edge technology to administer the institute's unique curriculum.

One major contrast between DLI and academia is that courses taught at the institute deal in some languages that are obscure to native English speakers, so often no training materials exist. This is where DLI's department of curriculum development, in an arrangement with instructors, steps in to create the coursework from scratch.

"This is much more difficult than in academia, because you can't go out and buy the books," said Steve Koppany, dean of curriculum development. "You need the buy-in from the professors."

The nature of the training at DLI emphasizes instruction that is geared toward job-specific language and relevant cultural exposure that will assist graduates as they pursue defense-related jobs after leaving the institute. This philosophy helps to drive the way curriculum is developed.

"So if you have literature on advanced crocheting or transporting weaponry," Koppany said, "you are going to take the latter and push the other aside."

In courses beyond the basic level, lessons are administered through electronic media instead of textbooks. This format offers the obvious advantage of reducing overhead, but it also provides the added benefit of allowing the material to stay fresh by letting instructors update it regularly with relevant material.

One of these digitally based programs is the Global Language Online Support System, or GLOSS, which is accessible to both students and the general public. This Web-based technology comprises more than 5,000 hours of language training, conveyed in hour-long chunks. Sessions can be organized by topic, difficulty, modality -- speaking, listening and writing -- and by specific areas of language.

Other curricula offered include language survival kits: pocket-size booklets with audio CDs in more than 30 languages that outline common greetings,
military commands, medical vocabulary and other useful phrases in the native tongue of the students' destination. DLI has shipped a million of these products to troops overseas.

The institute also offers Headstart language DVD programs that use cutting-edge technology and computer animation to teach 80 hours of self-paced lessons and are designed to teach survival phrases in Iraqi Arabic and in Afghan Dari and Pashto.

"With these things, they can put their DVD into a laptop and get basic greetings and basic interactions," said Donald Fischer, provost of DLI. He added that the institute is working on similar products for Chinese,
Spanish, French and others.

"Once you have that," he said, referring to basic language foundation, "you can be empathetic to the people you're dealing with."

Face of Defense: Soldier Leads Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team

By Army Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 24, 2008 - Looking like an astronaut in a green space suit, the soldier carried on his shoulder a contraption that might have been a moon rock pulverizer, for all anyone knew.
A fellow soldier stood by to supervise. He told a group of people watching to give the man in the suit some room.

"You may want to stand back," he said to the small crowd. "That thing's actually loaded, and it can blow."

That "thing" was a percussion-actuated neutralizer, a tool used to disarm explosive devices by destroying components that allow bombs to explode. The suit was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal 9 bomb suit, which weighs around 50 pounds. The man inside the suit was
Army 1st Lt. Ryan Fisher, and this was his final test to earn his certification as an EOD team leader.

This test, which included searching a suspect vehicle and disarming the explosive threat, was one of about 40 tests Fisher had to pass to prove he's fit to lead.

"It's relieving and satisfying at the same time," Fisher said of completing his certification after two months of testing. "It's nice to know I'll be moving into a position where I'll have a greater opportunity to employ the EOD skills that I've been practicing the last six months."

Six months is how long it took Fisher, a Pittsburgh native, to prepare for all the testing. The biggest challenge, he said, was that he's not in a training environment; he's in Iraq, completing real missions that affect lives of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers and citizens.

Fisher is deployed as an EOD technician with the 760th EOD Company here, which operates in the regions of North Babil, just south of Baghdad.

When patrolling soldiers come across improvised explosive devices, or roadside bombs, EOD soldiers are the people they call, and the company sends a three-person team to either destroy or disable the explosive threat. The logo above the EOD company's entrance boasts, "They make 'em, we break 'em."

With his certification, Fisher now will be able to go out on those missions and supervise the team.

"That's probably the best part about it," Fisher said of the certification. "It's satisfying to know that I'll be moving into a position that's more hands-on ... and going on more EOD missions."

The training and the testing for this position took so long and covered so much ground because of everything team
leaders must handle once they arrive at the threat site, Fisher said. Team leaders manage more than just their two teammates; they also must take charge of soldiers already on the scene and ensure they cordon the area and keep watch for secondary threats.

With lives at risk, the EOD team leader is personally responsible for the safety of everyone in the area, so disposing of the device properly is vital. Each task requires attention to detail and a thorough knowledge of all EOD skills, from disposing of ammunition to employing a remote-controlled robot.

Typically, soldiers of the rank of sergeant and staff sergeant become team
leaders after spending time as EOD team members. As a lieutenant, Fisher didn't have the benefit of that exposure, so he said he relied heavily on the help of senior noncommissioned officers in his company to help him get up to speed.

"I think the certification process, for me, really gave me a lot of faith and taught me to really rely on the knowledge and experience of my senior NCOs," Fisher said. "A lot of these guys have been working in the EOD field for six, eight, 10 years, and they've basically taken me and imparted all their knowledge and all their experience into the training process."

Fisher has been in the EOD field for 11 months, and has spent most of that time serving in Iraq. He said the deployment has given him a chance to truly appreciate the training, because here is where it really counts.

"It was actually a great jump-start to my EOD experience, and I think the learning curve has been a lot steeper as a result," he said. "But I think that's a good thing. I think it's really provided me an opportunity to learn a lot faster than I would have, maybe, back in the States."

Fisher now has seven months left in his deployment to put his new certification to work.

"We're responding to actually serve the local populace here to ensure any explosive hazards that they discover are handled in a safe fashion," he said. "So it's very satisfying being able to help these people and basically eliminate these dangerous devices. ... That's our responsibility."

(
Army Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret serves with the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)

New Organization to Help Combatant Commanders Manage Acquisition

By Jonathan Stack
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 24, 2008 - A new organization housed by the Defense Logistics Agency here will provide acquisition support for joint operations involving the Defense Department and other government agencies. The Joint Contingency Acquisition Support Office officially stood up with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 20.

"In 2007, Congress directed that DoD implement a programmatic approach to fix problems which exist in contingency contracting and contingency acquisition management," said Tim Freihofer, the office's director. "The JCASO is one of the elements prescribed to implement and carry out that mission."

The office will oversee expeditionary contracting conducted during combat, post-conflict and contingency operations, Freihofer said.

"If you go out to the combatant command logistics directorates, you find that they don't have the expertise available to them to manage the level, size and scope of contracted support and services that are currently in their plans," Freihofer explained.

"In order to both train and provide that acquisition expertise, the decision was made to stand up JCASO, as opposed to providing the five combatant commanders [their own] acquisition staff," he said.

By and large, he said, it's more economical to make this 28-member unit available when needed than to maintain a staff element in each of the regional commands.

DoD officials were considering three organizations to host the JCASO: U.S. Joint Forces Command, the Defense Contracting Management Agency and DLA.

"After looking at all the pros and cons, DLA was the best choice," Freihofer said.

DLA was selected because the agency currently supports all the combatant commands and geographical areas, and already has a mission of sustainment and support. The agency also has acquisition management expertise.

"The whole package of the things that would be required to successfully stand up and field this capability for the combatant commanders is resident in DLA," Freihofer said.
The JCASO's staff will include 17
military members and 11 civilians.

"The staff will provide functional expertise required, as well as two deployable teams of five personnel each," he said.

The teams are organized and split so they will provide dedicated support to the combatant commands. They will plan, train, exercise and fight with their respective combatant commands.

"This organizational approach provides the COCOM acquisition staff continuity and the bench strength to support high-intensity operations when required," Freihofer said.

The U.S. government depends on contractors now more than ever before, Freihofer said, employing about 200,000 contractors. Local nationals hired overseas increase that number significantly, he added.

"If contractors are in a joint operating area, the commander is responsible and must oversee their work in theater," Freihofer said. "In the past, much more was done with our
military troops; there were not near as many contractors involved."

Now the JCASO will oversee and manage that, Freihofer said.

Army Lt. Gen. Robert T. Dail, DLA director, lauded the new organization during a briefing Oct. 22. He explained to DLA employees that the JCASO will provide a contract management synchronizing capability from DLA overseas to the regional combatant commanders and provide contract management oversight, synchronization, transition planning and strategy.

"That's contract excellence," Dail said.

(Jonathan Stack works at the Defense Logistics Agency.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS October 24, 2008

Army

Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company Inc,
Kansas City, Mo., was awarded Oct. 22, 2008, a $53,504,000 firm fixed price contract. The project consists of construction of a 145,000 square foot office/laboratory building for the Air Force. Work will be performed in Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., with estimated and completion date of July 10, 2010. Ten bids were solicited and four bids were received. US Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque, N. M., is the contracting activity (W912PP-09-C-0001).

Alliant Ammunition and Power Company LLC, Radford, Va., was awarded Oct. 23, 2008, a $18,095,000 firm fixed price contract. This award is in support of the modernization effort at Radford
Army Ammunition Plant. Work will be performed in Radford, Va., with estimated and completion date of March 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. Headquarter Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAA09-03-E-0001).

AM General LLC, South Bend, Ind., was awarded on Oct. 22, 2008, a $6,878,864 firm fixed price contract for theses kits and kits parts provide for essential improvementof the Frag 5 kit, resulting in overall survivability enhancements from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Work will be performed in Mishawaka, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 20009. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. TACOM, Warren, Mich is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S0001).

Global Fleet Sales Inc, Charlottesville, Va., was awarded Oct. 22, 2008, a $6,540,749 fixed-price contract for 323 quantity for Cargo Transport II trucks. Work will be performed in Laem, Chabang, Sriracha, and Chonburi, Thailand, with estimated and completion date of Feb. 04, 2011. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-D-G002).

NAVY

Atlas Elektronik UK Ltd., Newport Great Britain, is being awarded a $12,864,929 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for services and materials for the development and fabrication of tow cables to support organic airborne mine countermeasures systems. Work will be performed at Atlas' facility in Great Britain, and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61331-08-D-0037).

EaglePicher Technologies LLC, Joplin, Mo., is being awarded a $6,000,000 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for battery and manufacturing improvements. This contract will provide the Missile Defense Agency and its prime contractors with improved batteries from EaglePicher Technologies, which is the supplier of many specific oxyhalide and thermal battery designs. These improvements will include updated manufacturing processes, procedures, techniques and demonstrations of these improvements in batteries. Work will be performed in Joplin, Mo., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $591,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-09-D-GS16).

Newly Wrapped Trailers Display 'Guard on the Move'

By Army Sgt. Tresa L. Allemang
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 24, 2008 - Along with the variety of camouflaged
military vehicles that rolled along Louisiana's roadways during hurricanes Gustav and Ike, two newly wrapped trailers, covered with an American flag design and National Guard logo, rushed to distribution points to make deliveries to soldiers and residents in need of supplies. The moving billboards recently were added to the Louisiana Army National Guard's fleet, and they made their first runs hauling water, ice, meals and cots.

The National Guard distributed more than 15 million bottles of water, 13.4 million pounds of ice, 11.6 million packaged meals and 55,000 tarps during its response to the hurricanes,
Army Capt. Marc E. Prymek, deputy director of military support at the Joint Operations Center at Camp Beauregard, La., said.

"The fact that [the trailers] are wrapped draws attention and gives people the opportunity to see that the Guard is working not only during disasters, but constantly, to ensure readiness for any given mission," said
Army Master Sgt. John D. Jewell, a Louisiana Guardsman.

The vehicles' regular mission of supplying armories was put on hold for about a month to assist with hurricane response, he said.

Jewell, who has been a truck driver for 25 years at the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office on Camp Beauregard, said the vehicles are used to haul equipment ordered by armories across the state and are called the "Big D" -- for "delivery" -- by Guardsmen.

The trucks could be seen just about anywhere during the hurricanes, but this was just the beginning for them, as they now assume normal duties, Jewell said.

Supplies come in to the central warehouse on Camp Beauregard, then the two trucks spend about three weeks to deliver them to all of the states' 79 armories.

(
Army Sgt. Tresa L. Allemang serves with the 199th Brigade Support Battalion.)

At DLI, the Faculty that Works Together Plays Together

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 24, 2008 - Curriculum development is taken very seriously at the Defense Language Institute's Foreign Language Center here, and rightly so. It shapes what and how students learn languages. But that's not to say the staff doesn't know how to shake off the pressures of creating new curricula where none existed before. Actually, they're quite good at "Extra Curriculum," the band formed by members of DLI's curriculum development division.

"[It's] a clever play on words, and ... with the exception of one member, everybody was from the curriculum development division, so we thought that, at least internally, it made sense," said Steve Koppany, dean of curriculum development, recalling when the band formed in 2004.

"It just came out of a kind of a latent need for people to interrelate on a different level -- not just on work projects, but also something that's a little bit different," Koppany said.

Deb DiMaggio started singing for the band when she still worked for Koppany.

"I have had much singing experience and band experience, and was hoping I could join the 'cool kids,'" said DiMaggio, who currently works as DLI's staff action control officer and first performed in fourth grade for Vaudeville actor Jim Chambers. "It's a really great way to still be able to fulfill our musical needs and get together and be friends all at the same time."

Though the band croons a couple of original tunes, Koppany said, it mostly covers classic rock songs. It's that fact, combined with the appearance of some of the band members, that shocked their co-workers and sealed their popularity with the DLI audience.

"It was funny," Koppany said. "The first time we played, I think people had opened eyes. They didn't realize that people like John Lett, who has a nice, big 'Santa Claus' beard, would be playing drums in a rock and roll band. I think that was actually at least 50 percent of the success -- the shock effect."

The band's weekly rehearsals on an abandoned stage in an old elementary school that houses the curriculum development department also may have something to do with that success, along with playing what the audience -- mostly DLI faculty and staff members -- wants to hear: ZZ Top, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Aretha Franklin, to name a few. And the band performs a couple of what DiMaggio described as "groovy" Hungarian tunes, as well.

What they play, the band members said, depends on who's playing with them. For now, the once seven-member band is down to five members.

"Right now, we're going through a little bit of a crisis with our lead guitar player having left," Koppany said. "We're slowly climbing back.

"Even our provost [Donald Fischer] has considered playing with us, and he's a mean guitar player," he added. "He was a big surprise to us, because in professional settings he doesn't come across as a guitar virtuoso, but he's very, very good."

Regardless of what the band looks like, Extra Curriculum has a grand time playing, mostly at ceremonies for retiring DLI faculty or staff. Occasionally, they get a gig off post at an outdoor arts and crafts festival and have even played for a Naval Post Graduate School audience.

"We also had at least one event that I would describe as a semi-success, where we had two people in the audience," Koppany said. "It's worse than that. The two people were my friends from Hungary!"

Be that as it may, fans pepper Extra Curriculum members with thanks and e-mails requesting show schedules, something Koppany saw last when he played with a band as a teen.

Growing up in Hungary, Koppany performed mostly in classical choirs when he got into a rock band for a reason many teen boys get into rock bands -- "to get girls," he said. The regular Saturday night and occasional Sunday night gigs lasted until June 1971, when a choir performance took him and his sister to Austria.

"We went to Austria with the choir, [and] that's when I escaped," he said. "The bus pulls in and my dad had everything organized already.

"He had left before us. I knew where to go. I just had to grab my sister, who was in the same choir," Koppany said. "We had a couple of undercover cops on the bus, which made it very interesting. They were supposed to be watching."

So the Koppany siblings met their father and started the trek that would lead them to the United States.

"I was actually 18 when I left Hungary, and there was kind of a hiatus between then and the time we formed this band," he said.

And this band, Extra Curriculum, has shown a diverse group of co-workers who have more in common than their work.

"It's sort of our little world, and it's kind of our way of sort of being in a spotlight of some sort," DiMaggio said.