Military News

Friday, December 05, 2008

Military Launches Most Complex Missile Defense Test to Date

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 5, 2008 - The military today shot down a mock enemy missile, employing a synchronized network of sensors in what officials called the largest and most complex test of the missile defense system to date. A mock target missile was fired from Kodiak, Alaska, at 3:04 p.m. Eastern Time. An interceptor missile was fired about 30 minutes later from a silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., with its launch directed by soldiers based at Fort Greely, Alaska. The two successfully collided off the coast of California minutes later.

This is the first time the Defense Missile Agency has synchronized its network of varied sensor types and frequencies to successfully track, report and intercept a single target, the agency's top officer said.

If the multiple radars did not work together, each would have reported a different target to the system.

"Overall, I'm extremely pleased, because ... the core of our missile defense system is the fact that we can operate in layers and have multiple systems working together," Army Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O'Reilly said. "The key to our protection and the effectiveness of the systems is to have all of these different sensors simultaneously tracking, and the system [knowing] exactly that it's not multiple objects, it's one object up there."

The test combined an early warning radar system south of Sacramento, Calif., a mobile radar system temporarily posted in Juneau, Alaska, two AEGIS ballistic missile defense ships off the Pacific coast and a sea-based radar system.

The test also marked the first time soldiers from the 49th Missile Defense Battalion based at Fort Greely were in control of the launch. On previous tests, a Colorado Springs-based unit was used.

Each of the systems was networked together, despite their varied sizes and frequencies, to form an accurate, single-target track, O'Reilly said.

Soldiers, airmen and sailors operated all parts of the system, and the USS Benfold, a Navy guided-missile destroyer equipped with the AEGIS air-defense system, went through all of the motions of a simulated intercept successfully, O'Reilly said.

"What we showed today is all those sensors working together," he said. "At any one time, the system knew which sensor was reporting ... and tracking it and it gave the warfighter a presentation of the target. It is the first time we have ever done that in an actual test and with our soldiers [and sailors and airmen] operating it."

Officials had hoped to deploy countermeasures during the flight that would test the system's reaction to multiple objects. Countermeasures could include the missile deploying chaff, decoys or replicas. The countermeasures did not deploy, however.

"Countermeasures are very difficult to deploy," O'Reilly said. "We have had trouble deploying them in the past."

Even though countermeasures didn't deploy, the upper stage of the mock enemy missile was still in the area. The interceptor saw two objects and had to understand the data sent from the sensors to discern which object to hit, O'Reilly said.

Pentagon officials said this test was "very realistic" and followed a trajectory and mimicked a launch similar to one the U.S. military believes could be a threat.

This test cost $120 million to $150 million. Thirteen similar tests have been conducted since 1999, seven successfully hitting their targets. The last previous test, in September 2007, was successful.

The ground-based midcourse defense program is designed to defend the United States against intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile attacks in the midcourse phase of flight, or while they are arching in the "exoatmosphere" -- the region of space just outside the Earth's atmosphere.

The 54-foot-6-inch interceptors look like missiles, but no explosive warheads are attached. The main body acts as a booster vehicle to propel into space the embedded kill vehicle, a 152-pound "smart bullet" that basically steers itself into the path of the oncoming warhead, causing an explosion on impact.

The U.S. military has 24 ground-interceptors in silos in Alaska and California, and 21 sea-based interceptors.

The Defense Department has spent about $100 billion on missile defense since 1999, officials said. Iran's pursuit of ballistic missiles and the recent nuclear and long-range missile tests by North Korea create an evolving threat to the United States, according to military reports.

In the last 20 years, the number of countries interested in having or actually having intercontinental ballistic missile capability has increased from six to more than 20, military officials said. The number of test launches has increased every year.

Hospital Robot Helps to Save Lives Off Battlefield

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 5, 2008 - Once confined solely to the pages of science fiction, remotely controlled robots are now commonplace on today's battlefield, extending the reach of bomb experts and being used extensively to search for and destroy booby traps intent on killing U.S. troops. Remotely piloted aircraft also have proven their worth in combat, and now are in high demand, allowing the U.S.
military to project its firepower and reconnaissance capabilities beyond its troops' reach.

And behind the scenes in a handful of
military hospitals, the use of remotely controlled robots is being explored as a means of projecting doctors' expertise beyond the walls of their own medical facilities and into places where troops need their specialty care.

"It takes a little bit of an imagination. It's hard for some people to grasp everything that you can do with this thing," said Dr. Kevin Chung, the medical director for the burn intensive care unit at the
Army's burn center at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. "The potential is limitless."

Chung is one of the
military's pioneers in robotic telepresence, and he regularly pilots a robot around the halls of the intensive care unit at BAMC. His RP-7 robot, made by InTouch Health, a robotics technology company based in Santa Barbara, Calif., is a wireless, mobile, robot that allows Chung to be in many places at once.

A laptop computer connected to a wireless signal serves as the control station for the robot, which brings to mind a souped-up, four-foot tall version of Disney's animated robot "WALL-E."

A computer screen serves as its head, with a camera that can pan, tilt and zoom. Two-way audio and video allows for interaction between doctor and patient or staff. Using the robot, Chung can interact with patients, check vital-sign monitors, examine X-rays and zoom in to read charts or examine a patient's wound. The system also can capture and share digital images and videos.

The RP-7 can move freely, guided remotely by Chung. Chung recently returned from a six-month deployment as a critical care doctor at a combat support hospital in Baghdad. While he was there, he said, he was able to log in via satellite to the robot at BAMC and make his rounds seeing patients there. Twice, Chung was able to see and direct treatment for patients he had seen first in Baghdad to follow up on their care after they were flown to BAMC.

Doctors long have used the telephone to call in and check on patients, but that limits them to information passed to them with no way to visually assess the patient. Teleconferencing has been used as well, but it often is static and isn't mobile.

Using the robot, Chung said, he is able to see wounds for himself, read body language, watch facial expressions and examine a patient. He can talk to the patient and staff, and even meet the family.

"It doesn't beat real presence, obviously," he said. "Being there is the best thing. But let's say you can't be there. Which would you rather have? A telephone or this?"
Also, using such a robot would allow specialists from other hospitals to project their expertise even though they cannot be there physically, Chung said. This could be helpful in areas within the military where there is a shortage of medical care providers, especially those with specific skills.

The program still is in its pilot stage, but the goal is to have robots stationed at all
military treatment facilities so that the experts can project their presence anywhere, Chung said.

The robots do have some limitations, Chung said. It doesn't have arms, so it can't open doors, and it is designed to stay in only one area. Also, "dead spots" in wireless connectivity can cause the robot to lose its signal momentarily. It then needs a gentle push by a staff member to move it out of the dead spot.

Chung acknowledged it also takes some time for the staff and doctors to get used to using and interacting with the robots. The patients, however, seem to like the robot, he added.

"It's not embraced by everyone," he said. "Ultimately, one of the things I see happening as
technology improves and as wireless is available globally, ... [is that] connection issues that we have now are not going to exist, and it's going to be something that is embraced."

Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command leased four robots in the pilot program. The robots cost about $250,000 each, or lease for about $80,000 a year, Chung said. BAMC is in the process of buying the robot Chung uses for about $100,000, he said.

Chung said he can see eventually deploying such robots into mass casualty situations, such as a biochemical attack, allowing experts from around the world to project their skills to the site quickly and safely.

Applications could expand into teaching as well, Chung said, with auditoriums full of medical students following along as a robot and doctor make their rounds.

"If you look at this simply, it is a video teleconference on wheels," Chung said. "As the
technology improves, I think this is going to become a very useful tool."

Already, though, the robot has proved its worth in Chung's eyes, as a tool that can be used to save lives. Since he has been using the robot, he said, a handful of his patients were dying, and he was able to direct their resuscitation from a different state.

Chung was at his wife's bedside after giving birth to their third child, Chung said, when he got a call from a surgeon who asked that he look at a soldier who was dying. Chung stepped out of the room, logged remotely into the robot, and examined the patient.

"It was like I was there," he recalled. "I was able to process the information very quickly. Look at the patient. Look at the monitor. Look at the vitals." He even met the wife of the injured soldier for the first time via the robot.

The patient lived, Chung said.

"That patient's alive. He was dying," Chung said. "The robot itself isn't going to save lives. It's just another tool you can use to help make your life more efficient and extend your capabilities as a physician."

Bush Establishes Pacific Theater Monument, Honors Pearl Harbor Anniversary

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 5, 2008 - President George W. Bush signed proclamations today establishing a
World War II monument to those who fought in the Pacific theater and commemorating the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument will serve as a reminder of the sacrifices "The Greatest Generation" made to protect the country, Bush said before signing the proclamation.

"But there's a broader purpose, as well," he said. "And that is to remind generations of Americans about the transformative effect of freedom.

"One of the great stories during
World War II was that people fought bitterly to defend our country and way of life, and then worked to help our enemies develop democracies according to their own cultures and their own history," Bush continued. "Today, I am so pleased to report that Japan is a strong ally of the United States."

The monument will include nine sites: five in Hawaii's Pearl Harbor area, three in Alaska's Aleutian Islands and one in northern California to honor Japanese-Americans who were held in internment at the Tule Lake Segregation Center National Historic Landmark and nearby Camp Tule Lake. The proclamation names the National Park Service as the general administrator of the monument.

On Dec. 7, the United States will mark the 66th anniversary of the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said "will live in infamy."

More than 2,000 servicemembers and many civilians were killed when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The attack marked the United States' official entrance into
World War II, and those serving in uniform sent a clear message to America's enemies, Bush said today in a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day proclamation: "If you attack this country and harm our people, there is no corner of the Earth remote enough to protect you from the reach of our nation's armed forces.

"On this anniversary, we honor the heroes who risked and lost their lives for our security and freedom," Bush said in the proclamation. "Their selfless dedication exemplifies the great character of America and continues to inspire our nation."

The proclamation encourages flying the American flag at half-staff Dec. 7 in honor of those who died as a result of service at Pearl Harbor.



Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, Cambridge, Mass., is being awarded a $157,342,752 cost plus incentive fee, cost plus fixed fee contract for services supporting the TRIDENT II (D-5) weapons system. The services provided will encompass the following: provide specialized tactical engineering services, logistics services, fleet support services, and guidance repair services to test, repair and maintain guidance subsystems, test equipment, and related support equipment; perform research in the application of technologies to support TRIDENT II (D-5) Guidance and Reentry Systems; perform failure verification, test, repair and re-certification of Inertial Measurement Units P/N 5807000, Electronic Assemblies P/N 6285900, electronic modules and MK 6 Guidance System related components; perform design, analysis and test of service life related upgrades of Inertial Measurement Units P/N 5807000, Electronic Assemblies P/N 6285900, electronic modules and MK 6 Guidance System related components. Work will be performed in Cambridge, Mass. (72 percent); Pittsfield, Mass. (21 percent); Clearwater, Fla. (3 percent);
El Segundo, Calif. (3 percent); and Andover, Mass. (1 percent), and work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $91,211,276 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00030-09-C-0008).

BAE Systems,
Technology Solutions & Services, Rockville, Md., is being awarded an $82,273,890 cost plus incentive fee, cost plus fixed fee contract to provide systems integration support for TRIDENT II (D5) Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Program and the SSGN Attack Weapon System (AWS) Program. Major tasks include: performance of FBM Weapon System Integration; implementing interface control programs; performing special technical investigations; providing Kings Bay and Bangor Supply Support; providing Systems Integration for the SSBN 734 and SSBN 735 Engineered Refueling Overhaul; supporting Shipboard Integration Increment I, Nuclear Weapons Security Systems Integration; US SWSMIN/EWL/AMIN Support and Maintenance; SSGN Attack Weapon System (AWS) Systems Integration; and TRIDENT II Strategic Weapons Systems Logistics Support. The effort will also include options for Tomahawk TLAM-N Support; Advanced Systems Development and Studies; D5 Missile Life Extension Program Systems Integration; and, TRIDENT Submarine Operation and, support for next generation platforms using the existing TRIDENT II missile. This contract contains four option years, which is exercised, will bring the contract value to $434,592,259. Work will be performed in Rockville, Md. (70 percent); Bangor, Wash. (15 percent); Kings Bay, Ga. (10 percent); Mechanicsburg, Pa. (5 percent), and work is expected to be completed September 2009 (Sept. 2013 with options exercised). Contract funds in the amount of $62,340,858 will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contact was awarded based on a sole source acquisition. The Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00030-09-C-0003).

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Tewksbury , Mass., is being awarded an $8,976,435 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for the non-recurring engineering effort to update selected Zumwalt Class Destroyer Mission Systems Equipment for initial integration efforts at Wallops Island, Va., and follow-on installation on board
Navy's Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS) to mitigate production and integration risk and conduct at sea testing in support of the Zumwalt TEMP (test and evaluation master plan). The SDTS test will include the first missile firing with this advanced Mission System from a remote controlled ship against the most stressing targets available. The purpose of this effort is to initiate the non-recurring engineering work required to make the selected Mission System Equipment (Dual Band Radar SPY-3 Array and REX; MK57 Vertical Launch System Electronics Module Controller Unit; Canister Electronic Units, and Total Ship Computing Environment) compatible with the Navy's Self Defense Test Ship. Work will be performed in Portsmouth R.I. (55 percent), Tewksbury, Mass. (25 percent), Andover, Mass. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed by August 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $8,976,435 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Air Force

Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo. for $106,933,360. This contract action is for 4,372 Joint Direct Attack Munition Lot 13 Guided Vehicle kits. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 678 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. is the contracting activity (FA8681-09-C-0057).

Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract with Northrop Grumman Missile System, San Jose, Calif. for $24,996,865. This action will extend the baseline contract to accommodate Global Hawk flight testing. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. AFMC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (F33657-03-C-4318, modification P00065).

Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz. for 16,298,964. This action will provide High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile Targeting Systems Contractor Logistics Support for a basic year and two one-year options. At this time, $2,716,494 has been obligated. 693 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. is the contracting activity (FA8675-09-C-0003).


Canadian Commercial Corp., Ottawa, Canada is being awarded a maximum $21,227,240 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for modern burner unit accessories and spare parts. Other location of performance is Richmond, British Columbia. Using service is
Army. This proposal was originally solicited as one approved source with 1 response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 6, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM3SD-09-D-0001).


Thales Raytheon Systems, Fullerton, Calif., was awarded on Dec 4, 2008 a, $5,586,627 firm fixed price contract. The work consists of maintenance dredging in Charleston Harbor, upper reaches and Pier PAPA,
Coast Guard Pier. Work will be performed in Charleston Harbor, Charleston County, S.C., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2009. Bids solicited were via the Web and two bids were received. Corp of Engineer/Charleston District, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity (W912HN-09-C-0003).

Thales Raytheon Systems,
Fullerton, Calif., was awarded on Dec. 4, 2008, a $48,585,028 firm fixed price contract. Award of a production buy for spare parts to support AN/TPQ-36(V) and AN/TPQ-37(V) FITEFINDER Radar Systems. Work will be performed in Fullerton, Calif., with an estimated completion date of May 1, 2012. Bids solicited were via Sole Source and one bid was received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-06-D-T001).

Duke Realty Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., was awarded on Nov 25, 2008 a, $300,000,000 firm fixed price contract. This procurement is for the purchase of a complete and usable administrative office complex to be sold to the
Army and developed on a turnkey basis by the contractor. Work will be performed in Alexandria, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 15, 2011. Bids solicited were via the FedBizOpps and two bids were received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore, Md., is the contracting activity (DACA31-7-09-0067).

Alutiiq International Solutions, LLC, Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded on Dec 3, 2008 a, $14,894,905 firm fixed price contract for design/construct a school age services center (PN60054), Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Work will be performed in Fort Wainwright, Alaska, with an estimated completion date of May 30, 2010. Bids solicited were solicited via RFP,8(a) Competitive Set Aside and three bids were received. USA Aviation & Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W911KB-09-C-0002).

Military Recruits Non-citizen Health Care Workers, Linguists

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 5, 2008 - The Defense Department has launched a year-long pilot program to recruit about 1,000 non-U.S. citizen health care workers and language and cultural specialists for service in America's
military, a senior DoD official said here today. The new program targets people who don't have "green cards" but do have visas and work permits. Those the military hopes to attract legally live and work in the United States and have capabilities highly valued by the military, Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, told Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters.

"These are going to be people that are legally present in the United States [and] have been here for years," Carr said.

People sought for the program include doctors, nurses, other health care professionals and those proficient in certain foreign languages and associated cultures, according to a DoD news release issued today.

The U.S.
military services sign up about 8,000 foreign nationals annually, Carr said, and about 29,000 non-citizens serve in the U.S. military today. Non-citizen servicemembers normally possess a State Department-issued green card that authorizes them to live and work in the United States.

The pilot program is designed to assist the Defense Department in maintaining its requirement of about 24,000 doctors, dentists and nurses for the military services, Carr said.

"In those areas, combined, we're short almost 1,000 [people] against that 24,000 base, divided equally between physicians and nurses," Carr said. All nursing specialties are needed, as well as neural surgeons, family practitioners, dermatologists and some other specialties.

Past accession programs failed to attract enough medical practitioners and linguists, Carr said, so the department decided to focus on foreign nationals.

"We observed there are tens of thousands of health professionals in the United States on a work visa who would be very interested in achieving green card status or, ultimately, citizenship," Carr said.

The pilot program provides successful applicants with a way to accelerate achievement of U.S. citizenship, Carr said, with the proviso that "they're willing to serve in our time of need to fulfill a vital national interest." Applicants are required to commit to specified periods of
military service.

Applicants also will undergo security screenings and meet the same high standards required for every other person entering the
military today, Carr said. Foreign nationals, he said, have provided exemplary military service throughout American history.

"If this program succeeds, it will leave us with a stronger medical care capacity, particularly in skills we're short of," Carr said, as well as providing much-needed linguists and cultural specialists.

New Jersey Guard Celebrates Alliance With Albania

Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 5, 2008 - The
New Jersey National Guard is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its alliance with the republic of Albania through the State Partnership Program. The State Partnership Program, launched by the National Guard Bureau and the U.S. State Department in the 1990s, was started to foster alliances between U.S. states and former Soviet countries, officials said.

Soldiers and airmen with the
New Jersey National Guard have worked with their counterparts in Albania since 1993 to modernize the former communist nation's defense forces and prepare it for membership in NATO.

Albania is scheduled to join the 26-nation alliance in April.

Albanian Defense Minister Gazmend Oketa said
New Jersey provided critical assistance to help it reach its long-standing goal of NATO membership.

"The Albanian armed forces are proud of our achievements, and we are proud to say we were not alone," Oketa told National Guard members who gathered at a luncheon held at the Lawrenceville Armory in his honor. "The Albanian armed forces welcomed your help -- and your friendship."

Army Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, the state adjutant general, said the soldiers and airmen from New Jersey watched the Albanian defense forces blossom in the past several years.

"The quality of the Albanian soldier is top tier," he said.

Many of the
New Jersey Guard members and former members, who deployed to Albania to serve as advisors, were honored at the event as well.

Among them was Dennis Bliss, a retired
Army National Guard colonel who served as a legal advisor to Albania during the early years of the partnership. He helped draft a constitution that incorporates some of the language and ideas found in the U.S. Constitution.

"It was exciting to help an emerging democracy learn from the experiences we had in the United States and allow them to cherry pick the best of what we had to offer," he said. "You're kind of a Johnny Appleseed for a democracy that can be lasting."

The State Partnership Program has spawned many friendships over the years, program participants said.

"We have more in common than what separates us," said Lt. Col. Bruce Protesto, a former program participant.

Maj. Judie Marranco, another program participant, said it was a gratifying experience.

"With this partnership, we bring friendship," she said. "And when you have a friend, you know they're going to do anything they can to help."

(From a
New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs news release.)

President Offers Thanks to Troops During Annual Pageant of Peace

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 5, 2008 - As they have for 85 years, Americans gathered in front of the White House on the area known as the Ellipse last night for a ceremony to light the national Christmas tree. President George W. Bush reminded the large crowd gathered for the 2008 Pageant of Peace that there's meaning behind the ceremony.

"During Christmas, we celebrate the blessings of the season and the blessings that surround us every day," Bush said. "And the greatest of these blessings is freedom. Today, we give thanks to the brave men and women who protect the American people by defending freedom around the world. Over the past eight years, my greatest honor as president has been serving as commander in chief of the finest
military ever known."

The nation's servicemembers and their families never are far from his thoughts, Bush said.

"And they're always in our prayers," he added. "America honors their service, and we are grateful to the sacrifice of the families who stand by their side."

Two representatives of the
military families Bush spoke of -- Kayleigh Kepler, 11, and Lindsey Van Horn, 9 -- were on hand to help the president and the first lady light the tree.

Kayleigh is the daughter of
Army Staff Sgt. Scott Kepler, who will deploy to Iraq next year with the 1st Infantry Division's 1st Brigade, 101st Forward Support Battalion, based at Fort Riley, Kan.

Lindsey's father,
Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Robert D. Van Horn, is deployed to Iraq with the 743rd Military Intelligence Battalion, which has its headquarters at Fort Carson, Colo.

The tree the girls helped to light is a 42-foot Colorado blue spruce lit with 50 strings of LED lights donated by General Electric Co.