Thursday, December 04, 2008

Service Programs Strive to Strengthen Military Marriages, Curb Divorce

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 4, 2008 - Servicemembers and their spouses are flocking to a broad array of programs to help them strengthen their family relationships as the services step up efforts to curb divorce rates.
Military divorce rates rose by .1 percent -- to 3.4 percent -- during fiscal 2008, with 492 more divorces than the previous year, Army Lt. Col Les' Melnyk, a Pentagon spokesman, reported. Military-wide, 25,750 marriages ended in divorce last year.

Marine Corps, with 3,077 divorces last year, experienced the biggest increase, from 3.3 percent in fiscal 2007 to 3.7 percent.

Army rate also increased -- to 3.5 percent -- with 10,200 divorces last year. The Army reported a 3.3 percent rate in fiscal 2007, with 9,134 divorces.

Meanwhile, divorce rates dropped .2 percent last year in the Navy and remained stable in the Air Force. The Navy reported a 3 percent rate in fiscal 2008, with 5,441 divorces representing a 618 decrease from the previous year's number.

Air Force reported a 3.5 percent divorce rate in both fiscal 2007 and 2008, but the actual number of divorces dropped by 618 -- to 7,032.

Comparing these statistics to civilian divorce rates is difficult, officials said, but most sources agree that about 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce in the United States. The highest incidence of civilian divorces is within the 20- to 29-year-old population, which also makes up the largest percentage of the military.

Recognizing the hardships
Military life often imposes -- and the challenges it can place on family relationships -- the military services are working to buck societal trends through a full range of outreach programs. The programs are offered through the services' family support, chaplain and mental health counseling networks and range from support groups for spouses of deployed troops to weekend retreats for Military couples.

Army program, the largest, aims to build resiliency in soldiers -- 58 percent of them married -- and the families who stand by them, Lt. Col. George Wright, an Army spokesman, told American Forces Press Service.

The programs focus on communication, intimacy and conflict management, which research shows increases marriage satisfaction and reduces marital challenges.

"Military families have to adjust to more transitions than the typical family," Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Carleton Birch, from the Army's Chief of Chaplains Office, said. "These programs strengthen the bonds that build resiliency in
Army families."

The centerpiece of the
Army program is "Strong Bonds," a program initiated by commanders and led by chaplains that helps soldiers and their families build strong relationships. Strong Bonds has four parts: a general couples program, programs tailored for couples preparing for or returning from deployments, and programs for families and single soldiers.

Much of the training is provided in a retreat-style format so soldiers and their families can get away from their daily routines "to focus on their important relationships," Wright said.

Participation in the program has doubled every year since the program started five years ago, Birch reported. So far, more than 60,000 couples have participated in the training.

The National Institutes of Health, which recently completed the first year of a five-year study evaluating the program's effectiveness in building family resiliency, found "encouraging early results," Birch said.

Meanwhile, an attendee gave a full-fledged endorsement of the program's value after attending a recent Strong Bonds session at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

"This is the first time since getting back from Iraq in April where I have felt that I am capable as well as confident enough to lead my family in a loving and caring environment," he said. "The tools that I have learned will serve us a lifetime. This should be mandatory training for all married couples."

While praising the benefits these programs offer families, officials said they recognize that strong marital and family relationships make better soldiers.

It also has an important impact on a soldier's decision to re-enlist, Birch said. Quoting other
Army leaders, he said, "The Army recruits soldiers, but it retains families."

DoD Education Activity Encourages Nominations for Teacher Awards

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 4, 2008 - Department of Defense Education Activity officials are encouraging parents, students, school administrators and others to nominate worthy science and mathematics teachers for a prestigious presidential award. Michael Kestner, branch chief for mathematics for DoDEA headquarters, said the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Testing began in 1983 and recognizes educators for their dedication to teaching math and science at the 7th- to 12th-grade level.

The award is open to teachers from all 50 states and four jurisdictions, including DoDEA, who have been teaching science or math for at least five years.

"It's the presidential award, so it's a prestigious award," Kestner said. "It puts [recipients] in a network of other master teachers across the country ... so they create a network of master teachers who can share ideas and bring them back to their own schools."

Kestner said DoDEA teachers may have a bit of an edge because of their circumstances.

"We have teachers all around the world, so they're picking up techniques and experiences from the cultures they're in as well as things that are happening in this country," he said. "That's one advantage that we have."

Teachers are notified of their nominations and must then complete an application process that requires videotaping a lesson and then critiquing it. DoDEA teachers will get help with that, Kestner said.

"We try to support them going through the application process ... to get their application complete," he said. "It is a process that takes some time."

In addition to recognition, recipients -- potentially 108 of them -- receive a trip for two to Washington, a citation signed by the president and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. The monetary award is theirs to do with as they see fit, Kestner said, but he predicted that most would put at least a portion of it back into their schools.

The National Science Foundation will select the final winners from nominees who go forward from their jurisdiction.

Recipients also have the opportunity to attend recognition events and professional development programs during their trip to the nation's capital.

DoDEA officials ask that nominations be submitted before Jan. 8. Forms are available on the awards program's Web site,



McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $66,629,940 fixed price incentive fee contract for advanced acquisition funding to provide for long lead material and associated efforts, required for the Lot 34 Full Rate Production of the F/A-18 and EA-18G aircraft. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0019).

Navistar Defense LLC, Warrenville, Ill., is being awarded a $53,578,907 firm fixed priced modification to delivery order #0004 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5032) for sustainment items needed to support Category I Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Low Rate Initial Production vehicles in theater. This order will also be used to support the renewal of Field Service Representative support within the Central Command area of responsibility. Work will be performed in WestPoint, Miss., and work is expected to be completed Nov. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured. The
Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Engineering Remediation Resources Group, Inc.*, Concord, Calif.; Sealaska Environmental Services LLC*, San Diego, Calif.; and AIS-TN&A JV*, Wilmington, Calif., are each being awarded a firm fixed price, indefinite delivery indefinite quantity environmental multiple award contract for environmental remediation services on
Navy and Marine Corps installations at various locations within the NAVFAC Southwest area of responsibility (AOR). The maximum dollar value for all three contracts combined is $50,000,000. The work to be performed provides for environmental remedial actions; removal actions; remedial design; expedited and emergency response actions; pilot and treatability studies; remedial action systems operation and maintenance; groundwater monitoring and other related activities associated with returning sites to safe and acceptable levels of contamination. Work under these contracts will be performed at various sites within the NAVFAC Southwest AOR including, but not limited to, Calif., (90 percent), Ariz., (4 percent), Nev., (3 percent), and N.M., (3 percent). Engineering Remediation Resources Group, Inc., is being awarded the initial task order in the amount of $160,971 for Installation Restoration Program work at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Calif. Work for this task order is expected to be completed by May 2010. The term of the contract is not to exceed five years, with an expected completion date of Dec. 2013. Contract funds for task order 0001 will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under the eight (a) Business Development Program via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 14 proposals received. These three contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-09-D-2608/2609/2610).

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, Portsmouth, R.I., is being awarded a $17,136,007 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery indefinite quantity long term contract for repair overhaul of various weapons replaceable assemblies used on the Airborne Low Frequency Sonar utilized on the MH-60R helicopter. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, R.I., (10 percent), and Brest, France, (90 percent). Work is to be completed by Dec. 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00383-09-D-009F).

Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, New Orleans, La., is being awarded a $16,801,209 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-2217) for Life Cycle Engineering and Support services on the LPD 17 Class Amphibious Transport Dock Ship Program. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, Miss. (60 percent) and New Orleans, La. (40 percent), and work is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., McLean, Va., is being awarded a $10,737,434 modification to a previously awarded cost plus fixed fee contract (N00421-06-C-0003) to exercise an option for technical, engineering, professional and management support services for the Special Communications Requirements Division of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in support of the Department of Defense, Joint Service, and Federal Agencies programs. The estimated level of effort for this contract is 149,760 man-hours. Work will be performed in Lexington Park, Md., (50 percent); and St. Inigoes, Md., (50 percent), and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md., is the contracting activity.

Canadian Commercial Corp., General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada, London, Ontario, Canada, is being awarded an $8,420,174 firm fixed priced modification to delivery order #0003 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028) for the purchase of Battle Damage Sustainment Kits and associated Non-Recurring Engineering costs. Work will be performed in London, Ontario, Canada, and work is expected to be completed no later than 29 July 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The base contract was competitively procured. The
Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Guam Industrial Services Inc., Santa Rita, Guam, is being awarded a $7,423,380 firm, fixed price contract for a regular overhaul of
Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7). Rainier is one of four fast combat support ships that provide one-stop shopping to the U.S. Navy's fleet for fuel, ammunition, food and other cargo. These ships are especially valuable because of their speed and ability to carry all the essentials to replenish Navy ships at sea. Work performed will include dry-docking the ship, cleaning and painting the underwater hull, inspecting tanks and conducting numerous inspections and certifications. The contract includes options that, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $9,907,055. Work will be performed in Santa Rita, Guam, and work is expected to be completed within 55 calendar days from award. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with two offers received. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Fleet Support Command, a field activity of Military Sealift Command, is the contracting authority (N40442-09-C-2025).

Air Force

Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract with Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas for $29,144,714. This effort is for the incorporation of CCP 0184, F-22 Depot Activation Equipment for fiscal years 2007 and 2008. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 878 SESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8611-08-C-2897, modification P00006).

Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract with ITT Corp., Patrick AFB, Fla., for $5,819,931.84. This action will modify the contracts to add award fee which was earned by the contractor for Period 8. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. SMC/LRSW/PK, Los Angeles AFB, Calif., is the contracting activity F04701-01-C-0001, modification P00524).


RAX International Corp., La Vegas, Nev., was awarded on Dec. 2, 2008 a,
$222,365,344 cost plus award fee contract for non-personal test upport services in support of the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground Arizona. Work will be performed in Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., and Cold Region Test Center, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2013. Bids solicited were via Solicitation posted on website and five bids were received. Mission & Installation contracting Command, Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., is the contracting activity (W9124R-09-C-0003).

'Sentinels of Freedom' Scholarships Help Wounded Veterans

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 3, 2008 - Thanks to a recommendation from the
Army Wounded Warrior Program at Fort Riley, Kan., retired Army Sgt. Victor Thibeault of San Ramon, Calif., will study general education with the help of a "Sentinels of Freedom" scholarship that also benefits his family. "The Sentinels of Freedom scholarship has helped me to secure gainful employment [and] a rent-free living space and a minivan for my family, not to mention the unwavering support of the local community," Thibeault said.

The Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation provides four-year "life scholarships" to help severely wounded veterans become self-sufficient.

Scholarship recipients receive assistance with rent-free housing adapted for physical needs, new furniture and other household supplies, career-placement and training, new adaptive vehicles based upon need, educational opportunities, and financial and personal mentorship. To date, the program has awarded 31 scholarships, with 20 more in the pipeline.

Mike Conklin of Danville, Calif., the father of three
Army Rangers, started the Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation. Conklin said he was inspired to reach out to severely injured veterans after one of his sons was wounded in Iraq in 2003.

"Impressed by the level of care my son received in military hospitals and wanting to do something tangible to support U.S. troops, I created the nonprofit Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation," Conklin said. "The four-year program is meant for veterans with severe service-related injuries who have the aptitude, attitude and drive to become independent and successful members of society."

Scholarship recipients are called 'Sentinels' in honor of their sacrifice and commitment to guarding America's freedoms, Conklin added.

While in Afghanistan in 2003, Thibeault was injured when he was ambushed driving through a crowded market place. A Taliban militant threw a grenade through the driver's side of his vehicle, and it landed under his partner's seat.

"I grabbed it and put it in the center console of the vehicle, mitigating the effects of the blast," Thibeault said. "As a result of the blast, I suffered multiple shrapnel injuries and lost all the fingers on my left hand, except my pinky. I suffered damage to a large portion of my left side and leg."

For his wounds and for saving his fellow soldier's life, Thibeault received the Purple Heart and a Silver Star. Because of his heroism, he also was nominated to receive this scholarship.

"The scholarship has helped enforce a seamless transition from active duty to the civilian work force through a committed community dedicated to the welfare of severely disabled veterans," Thibeault said.

Thibeault is a senior support services technician for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. Along with his expecting wife, Maleney, and 2-year-old daughter, Delilah, he moved from Kansas to California to accept the scholarship and start working.

Any member of the
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard who suffered severe injuries - amputation, blindness, deafness, paraplegia or severe burns, for example - in the line of duty since Sept. 11, 2001, can apply for the scholarship. Qualified candidates also must have "the skills, experience and attitude that employers look for" in filling available positions and must successfully complete all interview processes, Conklin said. Once they become Sentinels, he added, they'll receive support from a variety of sources.

"Sentinels succeed because whole communities come forward to help," he said. "Local businesses and individuals not only give money, but also time, goods and services, housing and transportation."

Thibeault agreed.

"This has created a nearly stress-free environment where I can focus on my life, education and family goals," Thibeault said. "The Sentinels of Freedom have exceeded my expectations of what a nonprofit veteran service organization can do and be."

New Social Media Platform Helps Military Members With Relocation

By Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 3, 2008 - From a civilian perspective, it may be hard to understand the challenge of constant relocation that comes with
military service. Finding new schools, identifying new organizations to join and tracking down a safe neighborhood can be an overwhelming process. As a result, many military families turn to others in the military community for information and resources. "What one person doesn't know, someone else usually does," retired Army Col. Dale Kissinger said. "The problem is finding that person."

Kissinger is co-founder of, a military-oriented Web site that offers moving, travel and lifestyle services and discounts. The site recently launched a new online platform for relocation information exchange.

"MilitaryAvenue Answers" is a community-based question and answer platform that allows the
military community to seek information and assistance directly from other military members, the local base community and industry experts.

To access the online forum, visitors can go to, type in a question and get answers from a variety of sources. The forum is organized so users can either ask general questions such as "What moving company offers a military discount?" or more specific area-based questions such as "What is the best pizza place near Fort Bliss?"

Once a question is asked, it is forwarded to a stable of volunteer experts and posted online so anyone with relevant information can respond.

"The platform allows for multiple responses to help ensure a well-rounded answer for each question," Dan Kissinger, the company's chief executive officer, said. "All information will be permanently catalogued and available to assist other
military members with similar questions and concerns."

The new tool empowers members of the military community to help one another by tapping into others' individual knowledge and experience, he added.

" began as a way to disseminate information about local base communities and the
military life to its highly mobile members," the CEO said. "MilitaryAvenue Answers is empowering those members to disseminate their own information."

Dan Kissinger said he hopes the platform will be a useful resource not only for military members and their families, but also for
military "outsiders" interested in better understanding the life and sacrifices made by military families or who may have access to additional information and resources.

The interactive nature of the site is geared to assist younger military families who have grown up with the Internet and rely on community forums like this regularly for information exchange, Dan Kissinger said. "With this flexible and easily updated platform, is providing a much-needed resource for younger
military members accustomed to seeking information from social media communities," he explained.

Looking forward, he said he is hopeful that this tool will set a precedent in how military members access and share information with one another.

"The goal is to move the entire site toward an exchange of information, rather than the display of information," he said. "There needs to be more than a one-way conversation."

(Jamie Findlater works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Military Financial Road Show Heads to Washington State

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 3, 2008 - As headlines scream news of an economic recession, a Defense Department team is heading to the Pacific Northwest tomorrow to help drive home the point that financial readiness is a big part of mission readiness. Fort Lewis, McChord
Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Bremerton in Washington state will host the next in a series of Financial Readiness Challenge events.

The program brings financial experts to
military bases, where they present seminars and one-on-one sessions to help servicemembers and their families better manage their finances, explained Navy Cmdr. Dave Julian from the Pentagon's new Office of Personal Finance and Transition.

The events have been received "very, very well" at bases that have hosted them in the last month, Julian said, with participants calling the information they received practical and worthwhile.

Air Force Base, Okla., offered the first all-day session, which consisted of general discussions about budgeting, spending and savings. Participants who wanted individual assistance also got the opportunity to meet with financial experts to discuss their situations.

Larry Winget, a best-selling author and television personality known as the "Pitbull of Personal Development," was a featured speaker.

Air Force Base, Ariz., hosted another major program, expanding the offerings to two days that included a Saturday. One session used games and other fun activities designed to introduce military children to the concepts of saving money and spending responsibly.

Although every installation's program is tailored to its specific priorities and needs, all build on what Julian calls the "pillars of personal financial readiness." These are:

-- Establishing and maintaining a good credit record;

-- Living within one's means and resisting the "buy now, pay later" mentality;

-- Establishing a routine savings plan that includes an emergency savings fund;

-- Planning for the future through a Thrift Savings Plan or Savings Deposit Plan;

-- Investing in Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance and other insurance plans critical to financial security;

-- Borrowing, when necessary, with lower-percentage loans offered through military aid associations and base banks or credit unions;

-- Taking advantage of discounted tickets, gear and services offered through morale, welfare and recreation activities; and

-- Recognizing that seeking financial counseling won't cause a security clearance to be lost or denied -- but that getting buried under in debt could.

Julian said the economic downturn that's devastated many Americans hasn't hit most
military families quite as hard. That's largely because servicemembers have secure full-time jobs, commissary and exchange privileges, free medical care and cash for housing if the military doesn't provide it.

military families aren't immune to what's going on in the economy," he said. "They are feeling the pinch just like everyone else."

The Financial Readiness Challenge events don't replace the free financial counseling and other services installations already provide, Julian noted. They augment those services. "We're an additional resource to help them reach out to servicemembers and their families," he said.

The goal, he explained, is to help them cope with the financial crisis so they don't face financial hardships that ultimately can become a readiness issue.

Worrying about whether they are going to be able to pay their bills or are about to lose their homes distracts troops from concentrating on the mission. That can put them and their buddies at risk, Julian said.

"We want to keep our men and women overseas, especially the ones in harm's way, concentrating on the mission at hand and the important tasks they have to accomplish, rather than their financial situation at home," he said.

Additional Financial Readiness Challenge event are slated for Fort Belvoir, Va., Jan. 24; Naval Base Kitsap, Wash., Feb. 23;
Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., week of Feb. 25; San Diego region, Calif., week of Feb. 25; Norfolk, Va., Feb. 25; and Fort Polk, La., March 7.

U.S. Commits to Reducing Collateral Damage from Cluster Bombs

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 3, 2008 - The United States shares the concerns of some 100 countries who gathered in Norway today to sign a treaty banning cluster bombs, but believes that the best forum for such agreements is within the organization of the nations that produce them, a Pentagon spokesman said today. Bryan Whitman explained to reporters why the United States isn't signing the treaty, emphasizing that this doesn't mean U.S. officials aren't concerned about the issue.

"We are obviously concerned about unintended harm to civilians as a result of the whole range of munitions out there that are used in war," he said. "It is for that reason that we have taken a leading role in the negotiations on cluster munitions, but within the framework of the [United Nations] Convention on Conventional Weapons."

The CCW, he explained, includes all nations that produce cluster munitions, including China and Russia. Like the United States, these countries declined to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions agreement today in Oslo.

Whitman emphasized that the United States is committed to protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure from the unintended consequences of unexploded munitions.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signed new standards for cluster bombs in early July that aim to strike a critical balance between operational requirements and safety concerns. The goal, officials explained, is 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. It sets new safety standards that, by 2018, would require 99 percent of all bomblets to explode on contact.

The new policy is aimed at eliminating the chance that the bombs could remain active and pose a potential threat to civilians on the ground after the hostilities, Whitman explained.

Defense officials have expressed concern that an outright ban on cluster munitions would create a critical capability gap.

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, officials said. Under circumstances like that, officials said, cluster bombs would cause fewer civilian casualties and damage than other, far more destructive weapons.

In addition to improving its cluster munitions, the United States has spent $1.4 billion since 1993 to clean up land mines and other explosives, Whitman said.

Gates Will Lead New Obama Team at Defense Department

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 3, 2008 - While Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will stay in office in President-elect Barack Obama's administration, other Bush administration political appointees will move on, a Pentagon spokesman said today. More than 600 political appointees work in the Defense Department, 49 of them in positions requiring Senate confirmation. The Senate confirmed Gates in December 2006, and he does not have to go through that process again.

During a news roundtable yesterday, Gates said the vast majority of political appointees will leave Jan. 20 as planned. Others will remain until their successors are named and confirmed, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters today.

"There may be a very small number of folks that are asked to stay beyond that," Whitman added.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England announced yesterday that he will leave Jan. 20 or upon confirmation of his replacement. The defense undersecretaries for policy, personnel and readiness, intelligence, comptroller, and acquisition, technology and logistics -- as well as most of the assistant defense secretaries -- are expected to leave then also. "I would expect to see a new team," Whitman said.

Some positions will be "gapped" – meaning that the incumbent will leave the position Jan. 20 and it will be left vacant until the Senate confirms the nominee. Some positions are so important, however, that the secretary may ask the incumbent to remain in place, Whitman said.

"At this point, I am not aware of any that he has asked to do that," Whitman said. "We will see in the days ahead whether that becomes necessary and how quickly the new team gets aligned and is ready to come into position. If there are some positions that the secretary feels he cannot gap and instead [needs to] bridge with somebody, [he will see] if those individuals are willing to do that."

Those bridging the gaps will not have definite dates for departure, and therefore would not be able to make plans with potential new employers, Whitman explained. But he expressed confidence they would remain until their successors are in place if necessary. "The people in these positions have a tremendous sense of duty," he said.

Gates will be involved in the president-elect's DoD staffing process, Whitman said, interviewing the senior people and giving his opinion to the Obama.

"Still, the people nominated will serve at the pleasure of the president, and Obama will have the final say," Whitman said.