Military News

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Defense Secretary Meets With Obama Transition Team

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 20, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wrapped up his first session today with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team leaders, sharing insights about the initial challenges the new defense team will likely face, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said. Gates met for about 45 minutes this morning at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., with John White and Michele Flournoy, the transition team leaders, before boarding a flight for a meeting here on Afghanistan's Regional Command South.

Morrell characterized today's transition session, likely the first of regular meetings, as "very positive," and noted that it demonstrated mutual commitment to a smooth transition.

The far-ranging discussion touched on the nuts and bolts items such as how the Defense Department is organized and operates. But Gates also offered his personal assessment of how the department has changed, the impact of those changes, and the first major challenges the new administration is likely to confront, Morrell said.

Morrell emphasized that the transition process involves much more than briefings and briefing papers. "This transition is about working together to make sure that the new team is ready to assume the full responsibilities of this office," he said. "And reading briefing papers ain't gonna cut it."

The transition will require close cooperation between the outgoing and incoming team "about what the challenges are that we are dealing with and what the challenges are we expect to be dealing with," he said.

The transition team started working in the Pentagon earlier this week, and expressed appreciation today for the reception its members have received, Morrell said.

"We have been assisting them in every way possible, from making sure they have all the administrative support they could possibly need, to arranging initial meetings with senior defense leaders such as Secretary Gates," he said during yesterday's Pentagon news briefing.

"We are totally committed to ensuring the transition of
leadership in this department is as soon and seamless as it can be," Morrell said. "Our troops on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve it, and our nation's security demands it."

Multinational Exercise Sparks Change for Africa

By Maj. Eric Hilliard
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 20, 2008 - U.S. Africa Command wrapped up a 14-nation exercise here today that leaders say was a big step forward in increasing African nations' ability to manage their own security. The exercise, known as Flintlock 09, was developed as a joint multinational exercise to improve information sharing at the operational and tactical levels across the Saharan region while fostering increased collaboration and coordination. Effective
military-to-military training and multinational regional cooperation were the keys to success, Africom officials said.

The exercise's focus was on counter-
terrorism efforts, but it encompassed much more, organizers said.

"Flintlock brought the expertise and experience from each nation together so that the entire team could benefit," Gen. William "Kip" Ward, Africom commander, told participants in a video message. "By working alongside each other, you helped improve the security capacity and capability of all the participating nations."

Africom leaders consider the ability to work together, with Africans leading the way, as essential to ensuring the common goal of a stable and secure Africa. This includes stemming the flow of illicit arms, goods and people, preventing outlaws from establishing sanctuaries in the Trans-Saharan region, multinational efforts to respond to natural disasters and more, they said.

Niger Army Maj. Toure Seydou Abdel Aziz said his participation in the exercise would foster better relations for his country and its surrounding neighbors to protect the region.

"My main role as a
military officer is to keep Niger's territory safe," Aziz said. " On a larger scale, we also must help our neighbors keep their territories safe from terrorism. Flintlock helps Niger by creating a link with our partners and helping us learn about each other. This way, by us knowing each other now, we will be able to work better together in the future."

More than 200 people participated in Flintlock, a part of Africom's Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara, which provides
military support to State Department programs that, together, aim to enhance regional security in Africa by also addressing economic and social development, as well as things like disaster preparedness and medical emergencies.

The exercise consisted of small-unit combined training and activities involving U.S. special operation forces and partner nation militaries throughout the region. Among other things, the exercise included the first-ever deployment of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command's CV-22 Osprey to the African continent. It also included training in crisis response and medical and veterinary skills in the hopes of extending those skills to Africa's rural people.

The exercise included a Multinational Coordination Center where military leaders collaborated and developed concepts and plans with delegations from six African nations and five European nations. A religious lay leader was there to bridge cultural and language gaps.

"I'm especially impressed with some of the frank discussions taking place amongst the African partner nation representatives gathered here," said U.S. Navy Capt. Steve Wisotzki, commandant of the Multinational Coordination Center for the exercise. "We've really tried hard to foster an environment that emphasizes our core shared values and interests, while not allowing ourselves to be distracted too much by the changing political landscapes on all sides."

"The camaraderie we've shared during the exercise, both professionally and personally, has been refreshingly heartfelt," said Wisotzki, the commandant of the exercise. "There's no doubt that the seeds of change have been sown, and that the new energy that Africom brings to the continent is being absorbed by all. It's been a great exercise and incredibly rewarding for me to be a part of it. I look forward to continuing the effort."

"What we did here was to essentially design a framework for cooperation," Army Lt. Col. Peter Tate said of the center. "The MCC concept in this environment is a new model. We are all learning, together, how to make it work."

With multiple nations from various walks of life and several faiths participating in the exercise, the planners of the Flintlock 09 exercise listened to feedback from the previous exercise two years ago and dedicated a room in the multinational coordination center for prayer and reflection.

U.S. Army Capt. Michael Corley helped lead the religious services. "They welcomed my insights into what I felt were the best ways to extend the freedom to practice religion to our partner nations. I think providing this opportunity... was one of best things the command could have done. Feedback from those who took advantage of the prayer room was overwhelmingly positive. It went that extra effort to show that the U.S.... practices what it preaches when it comes to encouraging freedom of religious expression.

"Serving as a religious minority group lay-leader during Flintlock 09 was truly one of the best efforts I have ever had the pleasure of participating in during my
military career," Corley added.

During the closing ceremonies for the center yesterday, Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson, Africom director of operations and logistics, commented about the cultural differences between the United States and some of the other militaries.

"As many of you have expressed, and as I have heard on numerous occasions throughout my travels to Africa and other countries around the world, is that we Americans are very end-result oriented and will take the fastest route possible to achieve an objective," Jackson said. "We sometimes do not take the time to take into consideration the cultural sensitivities that could often hinder us from achieving that objective. I hope that during the course of this exercise, our team leaders spent as much time listening as they did leading."

Maj. Gen. Edward Leacock, deputy director of Africom's Intelligence and Knowledge Development Division, told participants he hoped the exercise "sets a strong precedent for future U.S. Africa Command engagements where the U.S.
military will actively seek the partnership of African stakeholders to meet common challenges."

Leacock added that he hoped a multinational force "will help our partner nations stand together to boldly confront the humanitarian crises in the Sahel and African Sahara regions."

(Maj. Eric Hilliard works in the U.S. Africa Command public affairs office).

MILITARY CONTRACTS November 20, 2008


Military Professional Resources Incorporated, an L3 Communications Co., of Alexandria, Va., was awarded a $75,000,000 maximum order amount increase to its indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for global media development, production and dissemination in support of U.S. Special Operations Command. The work will be performed in Tampa, Fla., and other locations and will expire Jun. 12, 2010. The ceiling increase will be accomplished by issuing modification P00010 to contract number H92222-05-D-0012 on an other than full and open competition basis.


General Dynamics Land Systems Division, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Nov. 18, 2008, a $63,658,800 firm fixed fee price contract for exercise option for contract funding for the labor to reset180 Abrams M1A2 System Enhanced Package (SEP) v1 to M1A2 SEP v2 tanks. Work will be performed in
Tallahassee, Fla., Anniston, Ala., Scranton, Pa., and Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-G-0006).


L-3 Services, Inc., Unidyne Division, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $46,670,682 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee contract for engineering services to operate and maintain the
Technology Center for Cables and Connectors (TC3) facility located at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division (NUWC), Newport. Efforts will include: TC3 facilities maintenance and operation, parts procurement and logistic services, fabrication services, research and development services, test and evaluation services, reliability maintainability availability services, programmatic support, and in-service engineering activity services in support of sensors and sonar systems. Work will be performed in Newport, R.I., (50 percent); New London, Conn., (20 percent); and Norfolk, Va., (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by Nov. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities and the NUWC contracts website, with one offer received. NUWC, Newport, R.I., is the contracting activity (N66604-09-D-0537).

Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $43,819,373 modification under previously awarded contract for planning yard, design, configuration management and logistics support for new construction, operational, conversion and decommissioning submarines, and modernization support for operational submarines to support SSN 688, SEAWOLF, VIRGINIA, SSBN, TRIDENT UK, and SSGN Class submarines. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $26,291,624 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington
Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-06-C-2105).

Raytheon Co.,
Tucson, Ariz., 85756 is being awarded a $40,000,000 cost plus fixed fee contract for engineering and technical services to support standard Missile Production Programs. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $334,400,000. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (64 precent) and the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program countries (36 precent). Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz.; and is expected to be completed by Nov. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-5303).

American Security Programs, Inc.,* Dulles, Va., is being awarded $29,737,877 to exercise option 2 under a previously awarded combined firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity regional security services contract (N69450-07-D-1261). The work includes guard and non-guard services and the work to be performed provides for, but is not limited to, entry control point (ECP) services such as identification checks, fixed vehicle inspections, commercial vehicle inspections, and emergency ECP closures; and roving guard services such as surveillance detection and mobile vehicle inspections. Work will be performed in the Southeast region at the following installations: NSA Orlando, Fla.; CBC Gulfport, Miss.; NAS Meridian, Miss.; NWS Charleston, S.C.; NSA Athens, Ga.; NAS
Atlanta, Ga.; NSA Panama City, Fla.; NAS Whiting Field, Fla.; and NAS Kingsville, Texas. The work is expected to be completed by Nov. 2009. The award of this option brings the total contract value to $60,039,396. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

W. M. Jordan Co., Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $27,058,406 firm fixed price contract for the design and construction of a Special Boat Team Operations Facility at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Norfolk, Va. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by May 2010. The contract also contains two unexercised options, which if exercised, would increase cumulative contract value to $27,606,860. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via
Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-5025).

Virtual Media Integration, Ltd.,* Pensacola, Fla., is being awarded an $8,319,720 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the procurement of 5 pre-production Computed Radiography System units and up to 100 production units. The Computed Radiography System is a portable nondestructive testing technique used for processing radiographic film. These systems will be used to inspect for defects and perform alignment measurements. Work will be performed in Pensacola, Fla., and is expected to be completed in September 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $430,720 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via electronic request for proposal, and five offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J. is the contracting activity (N68335-09-D-0007).

BAE Systems, Armament Systems Division,
Minneapolis, Minn., is being awarded a $7,500,000 modification to previously awarded contract to exercise an option for engineering services to support operations and capabilities of the MK 45 Naval Gun System, including system engineering and ammunition integration. Work will be performed in Minneapolis, Minn. (87.1 precent) and Louisville, Ky. (12.9 precent), and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $600,000 will 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-5407).

Team BOS Sigonella, Joint Venture of Gemmo/Del-Jen, Inc./LA.RA S.r.l., Vicenza, Italy, is being awarded a $6,748,021 firm fixed price contract for Base Operating and Support (BOS) services at Naval Air Station, Sigonella. The work to be performed provides for all labor, supervision, tools, materials, equipment and transportation necessary to provide BOS Services for the Naval Air Station Sigonella and supported installations. The contract also contains four unexercised options, which if exercised, would increase cumulative contract value to $46,944,564. Work will be performed in Sicily, Italy, and is expected to be completed by Nov. 2009 (Nov. 2013 with options). Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Naval Facilities Engineering Command e-solicitation website, with five proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Europe and Southwest Asia, is the contracting activity (N33191-09-D-0103).

Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors (MS2) – Maritime Security & Ship Systems, Baltimore, Md., is being awarded a $6,275,000modification to previously awarded contract for design agent engineering services to support the MK 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) Program. Work will be performed in Baltimore, Md., (84 precent) and
Ventura, Calif., (16 precent), and is expected to be completed by May 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-04-C-5453).

Reserve Affairs Chief Explains New Directive to Guard Leaders

By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 20, 2008 - Recent changes in how the military's reserve components are recognized are larger than any in recent history, a senior Defense Department official said here yesterday. Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, told the Air National Guard's top officers and command chief master sergeants at their annual senior
leadership meeting that a recent Defense Department directive recognizes the reserve components as operational reserves.

"It's an extremely important document," he said, explaining that the directive defines what an operational reserve is for future administrations, including how to fund, man and equip forces and how to support families and employers.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed DoD Directive 1200.17, "Managing the Reserve Components as an Operational Force," Oct. 29.

The new document states that the reserve components "provide operational capabilities and strategic depth to meet U.S. defense requirements across the full spectrum of conflict," and that the active and reserve components "are integrated as a total force based on the attributes of the particular component and individual competencies."

The directive also states that the service secretaries must ensure that their reserve components "participate across the full spectrum of missions at home and abroad in providing operational capabilities according to the national defense strategy, their service force management plans, and operational requirements."

They are further instructed to integrate the active and reserve components and execute resources to support a "train-mobilize-deploy construct."

In short, the directive outlines nine official policies that recognize the National Guard and the service's reserve forces and their state and federal missions as part of an integrated and operational total force.

Other policies set forth rules governing the use of the reserve components and address how Guard and reserve families are cared for.

Army Col. Doug Currel, chief of strategic plans and policy for the Army National Guard, said the directive shows how much DoD relies on the Guard and reserve.

"It's also a recognition of the quality that the Guard has provided to the
Army and the Air Force," he said. Hall called changes to family support for the reserve components one of the most important aspects of the directive, citing as examples the Yellow Ribbon and Center for Excellence programs, which provide deployment and reintegration support for reserve-component servicemembers and their families. "That kind of support needs to continue for the families," he said.

Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

Program Addresses Wounded, Ill, Injured Servicemembers' Needs

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 20, 2008 - More than 1,900 wounded servicemen and women have benefited from their enrollment in a specialized health program to meet their unique needs during their rehabilitative process. "As we began seeing more wounded servicemembers returning to our region, we identified some unique needs that they faced as they went on about the business of healing," Thomas Carrato, program officer for Health Net Federal Services, said in a Nov. 18 "Dot Mil Docs" interview on

This specialized care program was created in early 2007 when officials at Tricare, the Defense Department's health care program, recognized a real need to meet the needs of wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women, he said.

One of the issues they discovered while providing care was the discovery that the wounded, ill or injured servicemembers were receiving medical treatment at many different points without proper coordination.

"We found out that there was need to coordinate across those many systems to make sure that our warriors were getting all of the care they need to support their healing," Carrato said.

One need the program addresses, he said, is having a health care coordinator who serves as a single point of contact for wounded warriors or their families in coordinating care. This added benefit allows warriors and their families to focus on the healing process rather than dealing with administrative health related tasks, he said.

Other Health Net Federal Services programs that aid wounded, ill and injured servicemembers include the organization's support of the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

"In 2007, Health Net Federal Services partnered with the PVA to assist them in opening the first-of-its-kind vocational/employment counseling center for veterans with spinal cord injuries," Carrato said.

The center, located in the Richmond Veterans Affairs facility, increases employment opportunities for veterans with spinal cord injuries, Carrato said. "To date, 24 veterans have been employed through this program," he noted. "It is a very rewarding program, and Health Net is very proud to support it."

With 124,000 providers in its network, Health Net Federal Services is the managed support contractor for the Tricare North region, representing 23 states and the District of Columbia. Health Net is the longest-serving managed support contractor, supporting Tricare and DoD for the past 20 years.

Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg is assigned to the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Chairman Notes Military Family Appreciation Week

American Forces Press Service

Nov. 20, 2008 -
Military Family Appreciation Week begins tomorrow, and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a message today noting the observance. Here is the text of the chairman's message:

"This month, as we celebrate our blessings, and give thanks for our freedom to enjoy them, we take great pride in honoring November 21-28, 2008 as
Military Family Appreciation Week.

"Families serve just as their uniformed service members do. And the
Military family has rarely faced as many challenges as our families do today. After seven years of war, hundreds of thousands of families have served through multiple deployments in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as well as many other locations throughout the globe.

"But the love and support of our
Military families do more than allow us to serve abroad. Our families serve at the very center of American society. They are the bedrock of a free republic which provides for a common defense – and their commitment to the values of hard work, self-sacrifice, and moral virtue is a source of great pride and inspiration for us all.

"And, in this service, some families have suffered great loss – the kind of heart-wrenching loss that echoes for generations. We as a Nation owe the families of the wounded, and the fallen, a lifetime of gratitude and respect for a debt which we can never fully repay.

"On behalf of my family and those of the Joint Chiefs, to all our
Military families, past and present, we thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and your love. You truly are a wellspring of our Nation's honor, courage, and strength. With you by our side, we accomplish far more than we ever could alone."