Military News

Friday, January 30, 2009

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 30, 2009

NAVY

The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., Cambridge, Mass., is being awarded a $146,156,130 cost plus incentive fee contract for a Trident II (D5) MK6 Life Extension Guidance System. Work will be performed in Clearwater, Fla., (35 percent); Plymouth, Minn., (27 percent); Bloomington, Minn., (16 percent), Cambridge, Mass., (12 percent); Pittsfield, Mass., (10 percent), and work is expected to be completed Dec. 2011. Contract funds will not 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-0011).

Pave-Tech, Inc.*, Carlsbad, Calif., is being awarded $13,995,000 for firm fixed price task order #0002 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-09-D-1605) for concrete and lighting repairs of Runway 13R-31L at Naval Air Station, Fallon. Work will be performed in Fallon, Nev., and is expected to be completed by Nov. 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

IAP World Services, Inc., Cape Canaveral, Fla., is being awarded a $13,352,747 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for base operating support services at Naval Support Activity Annapolis. The work to be performed provides for all labor, supervision, management, tools, materials, equipment, facilities, transportation, and other items to provide services included, but not limited to, operation and maintenance of the Central Heating Plant, Water Treatment Plant, Waste Water Treatment Plant, utility systems, sustainment of site utilities, infrastructure, building structures and systems, and transportation. The contract also contains eight unexercised options, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $179,829,122. Work will be performed in Annapolis, Md., and work is expected to be completed Nov. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Online Website, with five proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington D.C., Public Works Department Annapolis, Annapolis, Md., is the contracting activity (N40080-09-D-0512).

Eastern GCR, LLC, JV*, Pinehurst, N.C., is being awarded a $9,461,295 modification under a previously awarded firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N40080-05-D-3002) to exercise Option 3 for small business base operating support services at the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River Complex. The work to be performed provides for all managerial, supervision, labor, tools, materials, equipment and transportation necessary to provide janitorial, portable toilets, pest control, grounds maintenance, snow removal, street sweeping and transportation services. The current total contract amount after exercise of this option is $34,181,276. Work will be performed primarily at the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md., (79 percent); Webster Outlying Field, St. Inigoes, Md., (19 precent); and Solomons Recreation Center, Solomons, Md., (2 percent), and work is expected to be completed Jan. 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineer Command, Washington, Public Works Department, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

T. B. Penick & Sons, Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $7,625,101 for firm fixed price task order #0004 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-08-D-8612) for design and construction of a Combined Child Care and Youth Center at the Naval Air Facility, El Centro. The contract also contains two unexercised options, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $8,223,724. Work will be performed in El Centro, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Jul. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $6,490,441 cost plus fixed fee order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-05-G-0026) to assess and define the static structural and fatigue capabilities of the LITENING Targeting Pod to support a Fleet flight clearance for carriage on weapons station four of the F/A-18A-D aircraft. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., (60 percent); Patuxent River, Md., (20 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (10 percent); and Rolling Meadows, Ill., (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in Apr. 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $2,743,444 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Propper International, Inc., Mayaquez, Puerto Rico is being awarded a maximum $74,293,980 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army Combat Uniform, coats and trousers. Other locations of performance are in Puerto Rico. Using service is Army. The proposal was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is Jan. 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM100-05-D-0408).

American Apparel, Inc., Selma, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $34,782,000 firm fixed price, partial set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army Combat Uniform coats. Other locations of performance are in Alabama. Using service is Army. The proposal was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is Jan. 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM100-05-D-0406).

D.J. Manufacturing Corp., Caguas, Puerto Rico is being awarded a maximum $32,114,016 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army Combat Uniform, coats and trousers. Other locations of performance are in Puerto Rico. Using service is Army. The proposal was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is Jan. 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM100-05-D-0407).

Golden Manufacturing Inc., Golden, Miss., is being awarded a maximum $19,942,920 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army Combat Uniform coats. Other locations of performance are in Mississippi. Using service is Army. The proposal was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is Jan. 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM100-05-D-0409).

Woolrich, Woolrich, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $13,004,376 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army Combat Uniform trousers. Other locations of performance are in Ga, Texas and Illinois. Using service is Army. The proposal was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is Jan. 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM100-05-D-0410).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., is being awarded a maximum $8,913,246 firm fixed price contract for runway snow broom/blowers. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. There were originally two proposals solicited with 1 response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Jan. 15, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM500-01-D-0066-0021).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed contract to Northrop Grumman, Palmdale, California for $35,150,555.00. This contract action will provide for B-2 Flexible Acquisition and Sustainment Team Contract, Performance Based Logistics, and CY09 Contract Depot Maintenance. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. 448 SCMG/PKBF Tinker AFB, Oklahoma is the contracting activity (F33657-99-D-0028).

The Air Force is awarding a contract modification to Lockheed Martin Co., Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems of Marietta, Ga., for $29,087,742.00. This modification will exercise options to purchase initial spares for the Global War on Terror aircraft, support equipment and other items. The work will be performed in Marietta, Ga. USAF/AFMC, Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-06-C-6456).

The Air Force is awarding a contract to BAE Systems Electronic Intelligence Support of Nashua, N. H., for $6,275,262. This contract will provide a three-year technology development program to develop a radio frequency detection and space warning receiver system for satellites. The work will be performed in Nashua, New Hampshire. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M., is the contracting activity. (FA9453-09-C-0335)

The Air Force is awarding a contract to L3 Communications Corp., Integrated Systems Joint Operations of Lexington, Ky., for $6,156,863. This contract is to exercise the remaining option for the production and installation of dual rails applicable to the MC-130P. The work will be performed in Crestview and Fort Walton Beach, Fla. WR-ALC/580th ACSSG/Contracting, Robins AFB, Ga., is the contracting activity (USZA22-03-D-0006-RJ31-03).

Alaska Army Guardsman Prepares for Iditarod

By Army Sgt. Karima Turner
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 30, 2009 - An Alaska Army National Guardsman is one step closer to competing in the Iditarod, Alaska's famous 1,150-mile sled-dog race. Staff Sgt. Harry Alexie finished ninth with a time of 59 hours, 8 minutes, and was named "Rookie of the Year" in the Copper Basin 300 Dog Sled Race here last week.

The 300-mile race is the second qualifying race for Alexie before the 2009 Iditarod and is considered to be the toughest mid-distance sled-dog race in the world.

The first qualifying race Alexie completed was Alaska's Gin Gin 200 Dog Sled Race in December, in which he placed fifth in the men's division with a time of 10 hours, 48 minutes, after battling 40 mph winds and temperatures that reached minus 40.

In line with National Guard recruiting and retention efforts, the National Guard Bureau is sponsoring Alexie to race in the 2009 Iditarod, to be held in March.

As part of this sponsorship, Alexie asked veteran musher Lance Mackey, a two-time Iditarod champion, to be his trainer, and will use one of Mackey's dog sled teams to run in the upcoming race.

Alexie has been training since October at Mackey's Comeback Kennel training facility in Fairbanks.

"Up to this point, Staff Sgt. Alexie has been doing quite well," Army Sgt. Maj. Clinton Brown II of the Alaska Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention office said. "Given the experience that he has accumulated and the trainer that is preparing him, Staff Sgt. Alexie has the ability to finish in the top 20 of the Iditarod.

"Anything can happen on the trail, but Staff Sgt. Alexie is determined to show that he has what it takes to compete in the Last Great Race."

Alexie, a Yupik Alaska native of Kwethluk and resident of Bethel, has been mushing for about 15 years. He has competed in such races as the Fur Rondy World Championship Sled Dog Race and several sprint races.

"My [race] times have been surprising," Alexie said. "I'm very pleased and surprised for our finishes. Before I started racing distance races, I didn't know it would be so challenging.

"But every race I've competed in, I've learned something, and the Iditarod is something I'm up for. I've completed all of the qualifying races -- the Gin Gin and the Copper Basin 300, and now I'm looking forward to the Iditarod. I can't wait 'till it kicks off."

(Army Sgt. Karima Turner serves in the Alaska National Guard public affairs office.)

Army-issued Body Armor Safe, Effective, Official Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 30, 2009 - Soldiers should have full confidence in the quality of a particular series of Army-issued body armor plates that has come under recent scrutiny, Army officials said.
Scores of Army tests and an independent evaluation have determined the effectiveness of three types of ceramic plates manufactured by Armor Works of Chandler, Ariz., said Army Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, one of the officers who oversees equipment as part of the Army's Program Executive Office Soldier.

"Those plates being worn on the backs and fronts of soldiers all around the world are quality product," Fuller said in an interview today.

An audit published today by the Defense Department's Inspector General concluded the Army did not adhere to contract requirements in the first phase of tests performed on three designs submitted by Armor Works, and recommended the 16,413 sets of these plates in the field be returned.

Army Secretary Pete Geren disputed this finding, but agreed to order the withdrawal of the nearly 33,000 components from the total armor plate supply of about 9 million, as a precautionary measure.

Fuller said reactions to the audit have caused a "perception issue" being fueled by a characterization of the protective components as being unsafe. But a battery of tests performed throughout the life cycle of Army equipment ensures the effectiveness of soldiers' gear, he added.

"The [news] organizations are saying we are doing a recall because we have defective armor," he said. "That is not the case."

While the Army concedes there were "anomalies" in its initial evaluation process, known as first article tests, repeated follow-up analyses by the Army and a separate review by the Director of Operational Test & Evaluation office, validate the equipment's safety, Fuller said.

The test and evaluation office, the Defense Department's premier ballistics testing shop, functions independently of the Army.

"That's why we're standing behind these three sets of designs of body armor," Fuller said. "We've tested it, we've validated it -- in this case, we've even had someone else validate the same information."

The Army, meanwhile, has asked the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense to adjudicate its disagreement with the Inspector General – the first time a mediation request of this kind has been invoked, Fuller said.

Asked what message he sends troops in the field wearing Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts, which entails the Armor Works designs, Fuller said, "Wear them --you've got the best thing on ... It'll stop that round."

Army Sgt. Maj. Tom Coleman, who has had four tours of duty and also works in the Program Executive Office Soldier, said he has full confidence in the plates that are being returned, adding that he has seen them withstand a bullet round in combat.

"I've seen plates that have been hit, and I've seen what happens; it's primarily bruising," Coleman said. "I have never seen the skin get broken on a round that hit the armor.

"I have never seen it fail," he added. "And there are no reports that I've seen or that I'm aware of that are out there of any body armor failing to stop the round it was designed to stop."

Stavridis Praises U.S.-Honduran Cooperation in Confronting Mutual Threats

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 30, 2009 - The commander of U.S. Southern Command arrived here yesterday to reaffirm the United States' strategic partnership with Honduras and praise the solid bilateral and interagency cooperation that is delivering tangible success. Navy Adm. James S. Stavridis met with President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales, Defense Minister Aristides Mejia Carranza and Defense Chief Maj. Gen. Romeo Orlando Vasquez Velasquez to discuss security challenges of mutual concern: primarily illicit drug, arms and human trafficking.

These, he said, threaten not just national, but also regional stability.

Stavridis also met with U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens and his embassy country team, as well as U.S. Military Group Honduras to explore ways to improve military-to-military training, education and other support to the Honduran government.

Declaring an "excellent state of cooperation between our two militaries," Stavridis lauded tremendous progress within Honduras' 11,000-member military.

The Honduran military is the country's most respected government institution, with only the Catholic Church garnering higher public respect, Air Force Col. Ken Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Military Group Honduras, told Stavridis.

That respect follows a decade-long leadership emphasis on excellence, integrity and professionalism within the ranks, coupled with a close military-to-military relationship with the United States, officials here said.

Stavridis' noted Honduras' "extremely full pallet of exercises" to build on those gains. Within the next few months alone, the Honduran military will join the United States and other regional partners to exercise maritime security operations, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, medical readiness and other critical capabilities.

The admiral credited those efforts, along with growing cooperation between the U.S. and Honduran governments, with making big headway against narcotics trafficking and other regional threats.

An example of that success took place the day before Stavridis arrived, when Honduran police seized 1.5 metric tons of cocaine with an estimated street value of $25 million, an aircraft and two "go-fast" boats used by drug runners. Tipped off by intelligence from Southcom's Joint Interagency Task Force South counterdrug operation based in Key West, Fla., Honduran authorities closed in on the traffickers in their first aircraft interdiction. The Honduran navy also supported the operation.

Stavridis said he congratulated Honduran leaders on the "extraordinary operation" in which their government took the lead in a cooperative arrangement.

The arrival of four U.S.-funded "fast boats," slated for delivery today, will further enhance Honduras' drug-interdiction capabilities, Rodriguez explained. The United States is providing the boats, as well training and equipment to operate and maintain them, through the Enduring Friendship security assistance program.

By 2010, the United States plans to buy four light observation aircraft for the Honduran military to augment the four the Hondurans recently bought to support counter-trafficking, he said.

Stavridis noted the long history of friendship and cooperation between the United States and Honduras that he said has paved the way for important security successes.

He thanked Honduran leaders for their support for Joint Task Force Bravo, Southcom's only permanently deployed U.S. forces in the region, which has operated in Honduras since 1983.

Based at Soto Cano Air Base, Joint Task Force Bravo stands as Southcom's "911 force," prepared to respond to natural disasters such as severe flooding and landslides that ravaged much of Costa Rica and Panama in late November and early December. In addition to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the task force supports counternarcotics and other missions in the region.

Stavridis asked both Honduran and U.S. leaders here for advice on ways to build on the already-strong U.S.-Honduran relationship. He also emphasized throughout his sessions that confronting transnational challenges demands close interagency cooperation like that already in place here.

"The future of national security is the interagency, all working together," he said.

Stavridis' visit here underscored the value the United States places on its strategic partnership with Honduras in promoting regional security and stability, Rodriguez said.

"We in the United States get as much out of this relationship as [the Hondurans] do," he said. "What we have is a relationship of comrades in arms, working together to confront mutual threats."

Health System Site Helps Troops, Spouses Launch Medical Careers

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 30, 2009 - A major health care provider in the suburbs here is teaming up with the Defense Department to help military members and spouses pursue medical careers. The Fairfax, Va.-based Inova Health System is expanding its partnership with the department to provide training for military spouses and severely injured servicemembers seeking jobs in the health care industry, Daniel Nichols, director of Inova recruitment, said.

Inova plans to launch a virtual career center on their Web site by March that will "help address the busy lives of military spouses and families by offering free, online training that leads directly to jobs inside a long-term career track in a growing industry," Nichols said.

Not only will the center attract military talent into the health care profession, but it also will help retain that talent by assisting in job transition and providing guidance to clarify career steps along the way, Nichols said.

The free training in a virtual setting will free up other Inova organizations to help the effort in other ways, such as awarding scholarships and certifications, he said.

The virtual career center will reserve 1,000 openings for military spouses to take classes in computer literacy skills and Microsoft Office software training that could lead to careers in health administration, health information technology or clinical technology, Nichols said.

The center is adding career guidance information, skill gap analysis and, by the end of the year, will have a talent-exchange section where transitioning military families will be able to connect with affiliated employers to secure jobs prior to their moves, he said.

Inova is funding the initial classes, building the content and overseeing operations of the center.

Late last year, Inova launched a regional initiative called CareerSTAT, which combines the military spouse efforts with training geared toward wounded warriors and, more specifically, those with traumatic brain injury.

Obama, Top Pentagon Officials Send Super Bowl Message to Troops

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 30, 2009 - Deployed troops watching the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 will be greeted with messages from their new commander in chief and top Defense Department officials. Instead of commercials, part of the content carried between downs on the American Forces Network will be public service announcements recorded by President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"As we all take this time to watch the big game, I wanted to be sure to send all of our military men and women a special greeting," the transcript of Obama's salutation reads. "You are tuning in from all over the world. But no matter where you are and no matter which team you're rooting for, this event is bringing you a little closer to home."

Obama, who recorded his video message this week during his first visit to the Pentagon as commander in chief, tells troops that American events like the Super Bowl are possible only because of the sacrifice and duty paid by servicemembers and their families.

"I am honored to be your commander in chief, I thank you for your courage and sacrifice during these trying times, and I promise to do everything in my power to help you accomplish your mission," he said. "You make us proud each and every day."

Obama, who appears clutching a football and without his suit jacket -- a "sign of solidarity" with Gates who was unable to wear a jacket due to bandaging on his injured left arm -- saw the message as a "an incredible opportunity," Pentagon Spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

"I think the president recognized this is a great platform, an incredible opportunity, in his early days on the job, to send the message to hundreds of thousands of troops deployed around the world," he said. "This is everybody getting a rare break from work, huddled around a TV set watching the most popular program on television."

Gates injected history and humor into his message that will air during breaks in the gridiron action between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, which he noted, used to be one team.

"During World War II, because so many men were serving overseas, the Chicago Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers actually merged for a season," he said. "They were called the Card-Pitt Combine, and they went 0-10, earning a less-than-flattering nickname: 'the carpets' -- because everyone walked all over them.

"This game is a little more exciting. Wherever you are, I hope that you have a chance to kick back and relax for a few hours -- you have certainly earned it," Gates said. "As always, I thank you for your service, and for the sacrifice you make every day in defense of our nation. Enjoy the game."

Mullen thanked military men and women and their families for their service at this "critical time in our nation's history."

"I know many of you won't be able to watch tonight's game at home with your loved ones, but I also know you are proud of the work you are doing and the difference you are making," Mullen said. "Whatever team you're cheering for tonight, all of America is cheering for you."

Entertainers Join Elmo to Help Military Families Find 'New Normal'

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 30, 2009 - Sesame Workshop will air a PBS special April 1 aimed at helping military families cope with changes. Actor/singer Queen Latifah and singer John Mayer will join Elmo to present, "Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change." The special carries a message for children whose parents suffered a physical or psychological wound in combat.

"Rosita's father is in a wheelchair and [she] talks to Elmo about her feelings," Barbara Thompson, director of the Defense Department's Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth, said. "Elmo very graciously says, 'You need to talk to your dad about that.'"

Rosita does talk with her dad and learns that even though they can't do all the things they used to, they can do other things.

"It gives this sense of relief that I can talk about the change. That my dad is still my dad [and] my parent is still my parent," Thompson said. "It's very powerful for ... parents to see ... what it's like from a child's perspective, what they're feeling and experiencing."

Having celebrities participate also adds value, beyond the "cool" factor, Thompson said.

"I think it ... draws a larger [portion] of the population to the issues that military families [face]," she said. "It shows, I think, people's interest."

The half-hour special, which will air at the beginning of the "Month of the Military Child," is a part of Sesame Workshop's "Talk, Listen, Connect" initiative, which began two years ago.

The first phase of the TLC program addressed the issues of multiple deployments and their impact on young children. It included the half-hour TV special, "When Parents Are Deployed," hosted by Cuba Gooding Jr.

The second phase, which includes the upcoming TV special, addresses the issues of changes, both physical and psychological, and the impact those changes can have on a family. It does this, in part, by telling the stories of servicemembers with challenges like post-traumatic stress disorder, and the struggles these families face in finding the "new normal," Thompson said.

To help parents communicate better with their children on these topics, the Sesame Workshop has created an informative kit in both English and Spanish. Defense Department employees served as subject matter experts for the Sesame Workshop kit, which contains two DVDs and printed materials.

"Of course [the Sesame Workshop is] the creative force behind it," Thompson said. "They know how to craft those messages so that children really benefit from the comfort of the Sesame characters."

More than 1.3 million kits are being distributed through Military OneSource, an online resource available to families 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The materials also are available through various military organizations. The Sesame Workshop Web site also offers a variety of resources, including printed material, and videos and music to help military families communicate about issues affecting them.

"The range of media tools available through 'Talk, Listen, Connect' truly provides fundamental ways for each family member to support each other through all stages," Gary E. Knell, president and chief executive officer of Sesame Workshop, said. "The deep impact of this project continues to inspire us, which is why we are excited to create [this] new special that will further champion the needs of the military community and will help these families ... find ways to be there for each other."

Sesame Workshop produced the special in association with Lookalike Productions and David Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated.

"The men and women of our military have made indescribable sacrifices," Letterman said. "The very least we can do is tell their stories, and to honor the bravery and strength of both the soldiers and their families."

The special is scheduled to air April 1, at 8 p.m. EST.

President to Meet with Senior Enlisted Advisors at White House

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 30, 2009 - President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet this afternoon with the U.S. military's senior enlisted advisors at the White House, a senior Defense Department official said. The armed services' enlisted advisors are the senior noncommissioned officers for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The president also will greet the Coast Guard's top enlisted leader, spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters today.

Obama is slated to meet with Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton W. Kent and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Charles W. Bowen.

The senior enlisted leaders serve as personal advisors to their respective civilian service secretaries and military chiefs of staff or commandants on matters concerning enlisted-force welfare, readiness, morale and utilization.

The meeting is a way for Obama to gain insight and perspective about the enlisted force through the accumulated experience of the military's most senior enlisted leaders, Whitman said.

Just as Obama met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon Jan. 28, Whitman said, the commander in chief also "feels that it's important to talk" to the armed service's senior enlisted advisors.

Navy Task Force, Partner Nations Deter Pirate Attacks

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

Jan. 30, 2009 - The presence of partner nations and the newly formed task force to reduce the number of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden seem to be working, the commander of Combined Task Force 151 said. "I think the combination of the coalition working together [with] the maritime community has decreased the pirate activity over the last couple of months," Navy Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, also the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2, told bloggers and online journalists during a Defense Department bloggers roundtable yesterday.

The task force was formed earlier this month and comprises three ships -- USS San Antonio, USS Mahan and HMS Portland -- that are collaborating with other nations to deter future pirate attacks.

While a number of factors -- even the weather -- can impact the number of attacks, McKnight gave credit to the European Union and the nations involved in anti-piracy operations, as well as the task force, with helping to decrease attacks since early December.

"Some things have changed that have helped us in this case to combat piracy," McKnight said. "The United Nations has come out with several resolutions ... that give us more authority to combat piracy."

U.N. Resolution 1846, approved by the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 2, authorizes states and regional organizations cooperating with the Somali transitional government to enter Somalia's territorial waters and use "all necessary means" to combat piracy. Two weeks later, U.N. Resolution 1851 was approved, and calls for those states and organizations to "actively participate in defeating piracy and armed robbery off Somalia's coast by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, and through seizure and disposition of boats and arms used in the commission of those crimes."

The other recent change that has assisted in combating piracy is the maritime community itself, McKnight said.

"We have tried very hard to say to the maritime community, there are just not enough Navy ships out there to cover 1.1 million square miles," he said.

McKnight added that creating a safe corridor allows the nations involved in combating piracy to offer protection to the maritime vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden.

In standing up Combined Task Force 151, McKnight said, he hopes to "make it unpleasant to be in the pirate business."

"Right now, we have about 14 nations out here with about 20 ships," he said. "We've had some encouraging signs from other ships and other nations to join the task force. I expect that by the spring we will have quite a few ships joining."

McKnight said these and other nations involved and those interested in participating in the future all share the same goal of "free commerce."

"We have to make sure that we have free commerce throughout the open seas and throughout the world," McKnight said.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media Directorate of the Defense Media Activity)

Navy Hydrographers Provide Critical Mapping of Ocean Floor

By John Ohab
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 30, 2009 - Advanced ocean-bottom mapping technologies have enhanced the Navy's ability to navigate safely throughout the world and have helped support disaster assistance and humanitarian relief operations, the Navy's oldest active diver said. Michael Jeffries, a Navy hydrographer and technical director of the Fleet Survey Team, spoke with bloggers and online journalists on "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" on BlogTalkRadio.com Jan. 28 about the science of hydrography and the tools and techniques used to develop precise nautical navigation charts.

Hydrography focuses on measurements and descriptions of the physical characteristics of oceans, seas and coastal areas, including lakes and rivers. The primary purpose of collecting hydrographic information is to support the production of nautical charts, graphical representations of the maritime environment and adjacent coastal regions.

The most important information contained on a nautical chart is the depiction of soundings, or the water depths.

"Whether the user is a fisherman or a captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, knowing the depths of the water you are navigating is paramount to maintaining the safety of the vessel and all of its crew," Jeffries, a hydrographer for more than 30 years, said.

The Fleet Survey Team, a subordinate command to the Naval Oceanographic Office at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, supports Navy and Marine Corps global operations by conducting hydrographic surveys that provide critical nautical information, including water depth, tide levels, and the location of navigational aids like buoys, lighthouses, beacons, shipwrecks, rocks and reefs.

The team also conducts expeditionary hydrographic surveys using personal watercraft called "expeditionary survey vessels," or ESVs, to identify underwater hazards during amphibious landing exercises.

"Teams conduct surveys in advance of our amphibious landing forces to determine the most suitable beach landings for the military exercise," Jeffries said.

An estimated 89 percent of Earth's waters have not been adequately charted, and some nautical charts still contain source data from the 19th century, Jeffries said. Furthermore, the marine environment and seafloor are constantly changing due to natural events like hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes, and manmade events like shipwrecks and construction. For these reasons, emerging navigation and positioning equipment play an important role in developing the most accurate and up-to-date nautical charts, he said.

"One of the most remarkable technological advances for the science of hydrography is the use of satellites for positioning and navigation," Jeffries said. "With our current technology, we can refine [positioning] to less than 1 centimeter."

The Fleet Survey Team employs a variety of high resolution sonar systems to define the topographic characteristics of the seafloor. Portable sensors known as "single beam echo sounders" can be outfitted on ESVs to provide depth information. A specialized sensor called "side-scan sonar" is the main tool used by the Naval mine warfare community to locate mine-like objects and other obstructions on the seafloor.

"The key to accurate hydrographic surveying is precise positioning of your vessel and the sensors that collect information about the seafloor," Jeffries said.

Comprising 65 military and civilian personnel, the Fleet Survey Team plays a critical role in support of disaster assistance and humanitarian relief operations. After the 2004 tsunami that struck the coastal town of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, teams surveyed for underwater hazards and cleared waterways for relief ship traffic. Recently, it conducted joint hydrographic surveys with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that waterways were clear in Texas and Louisiana after hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

"Whether here in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world, our 'fly-away teams' comprised of three or four Fleet Survey Team members hand-carry suites of sonar sensors with them," Jeffries said. "Upon arriving at their mission location, the teams install these sensors onboard any platform that is made available to them."

The Fleet Survey Team also supports joint hydrographic survey operations with more than 20 international partners.

"Partnership building with other countries contributes to the security and stability of the maritime domain, and this most certainly benefits all of us," Jeffries said.

(John Ohab holds a doctorate in neuroscience and works for the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Defense Department Releases Roles, Missions Review

By Sara Moore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - Defense Department officials released a report to Congress today detailing its core competencies and missions and establishing a framework for similar reviews every four years. The 2009 Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report also reviews recent efforts across the force to improve joint operations in several evolving mission areas, officials said.

The report identifies the department's core missions as homeland defense and civilian support; deterrence operations; major combat operations; irregular warfare; military support to stabilization, security, transition and reconstruction operations; and military contribution to cooperative security. These are "missions for which [the Defense Department] is uniquely responsible, provides the preponderance of capabilities, or is the U.S. government lead as established by national policy," the report says.

The department identified its core competencies as force application, command and control, battlespace awareness, net centric, building partnerships, protection, logistics, force support, and corporate management and support. These competencies are meant to link the core missions with the Defense Department's capabilities-development process, according to the news release.

The QRM report also reviewed the evolving mission areas of irregular warfare, cyberspace operations, unmanned aircraft systems and intratheater airlift.

The report found that the Defense Department has achieved "some success" institutionalizing irregular warfare in recent years. The department's vision for the future is to equip the joint force with the capabilities, doctrine, organization, training, leadership and operating concepts needed to make it as proficient in irregular warfare as it is in conventional warfare, according to the report. Toward that end, Defense Department officials are continuing to define the role of special operations forces, balancing reserve- and active-component roles in irregular warfare, and working with interagency partners.

Cyberspace is a decentralized domain that presents the Defense Department not only with enormous challenges, but also with opportunities, the report says. Noting significant progress in defining the department's roles, missions and objectives in cyberspace, the report notes the department now has the capability to locate, tag and track terrorists in cyberspace; shape and defend cyberspace; and coordinate defensive and offensive missions in cyberspace.

In the future, the Defense Department seeks to achieve superiority in military-relevant portions of cyberspace, the report states. To do this, the department will develop "a professional cyberspace force able to influence and execute cyberspace operations with the same rigor and confidence as traditional department operations in other domains." Officials also intend to include more classes and information on cyberspace in Joint Professional Military Education curricula and increase basic training capacity for computer network operations specialists.

The department also will develop its unmanned aircraft and intratheater airlift capabilities, according to the report. Dedicated airlift capacity must be available and extremely responsive to meet the needs of commanders in the field, the report explains, so the Defense Department is assigning all significant fixed-wing airlift capability to the Air Force and Army to allow more flexibility in airlift missions.

For unmanned aircraft systems, the department's vision is to integrate these capabilities, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, into the intelligence enterprise. To achieve this, the officials will continue to provide direction and advocacy to coordinate development and acquisition of these technologies across the services, combat support agencies, combatant commands and interagency partners, the report says.

Army Works to Combat Rising Suicide Rates

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - The Army is committed to finding out why more soldiers committed suicide in 2008 than ever recorded, Army officials told reporters during a media roundtable today at the Pentagon. "[Suicide] is not just an Army problem," Army Secretary Pete Geren said. "It's a national problem ... we're committed to doing everything we can to address [the issues] better [and] put programs in place."

In past years, the Army, which consists of 1.1 million active and reserve troops, has been just below or on par with the national suicide rate, Geren said.

But this year, with 128 confirmed and 15 pending, an estimated 20.2 suicides occurred per 100,000 soldiers, the highest since the Army began recording the figure in 1980. The figure is higher than the national suicide rate, which is less than 20 victims per 100,000 people.

Also, the number of Army suicides increased for the fourth consecutive year, according to the Army's 2008 Suicide Data report released today.

Army researchers admitted that at least 90 percent of pending suicide cases turns out to be actual suicides. But they explained that there's no one cause or consistent formula for suicide prevention.

Multiple factors make up the risks and no two reasons are the same, Geren said.

A high mission tempo clearly can place strain on a military, and with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 12 months or longer deployment rotations and 12 months or less downtime at home, the Army certainly has been busy, Army Vice Chief Of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli said.

"We all come to the table believing stress is a factor," Chiarelli told reporters. But he added that 2008 statistics show 30 percent of suicide victims this year were deployed, 35 percent had recently redeployed and 35 percent had no deployment experience at all.

"I think those statistics have to be looked at, and more questions have to be asked," he said. "But there's no doubt in my mind that stress is a factor in this trend we're seeing."

Chiarelli said it's important to take a step backward to evaluate what the Army and research facilities already know about suicide and prevention and review them.

Army researchers have come together with the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase the nation's awareness and understanding in suicide prevention, Dr. Philip S. Wang, director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research at the National Institute of Mental Health, said.

The five-year partnership is the largest research initiative on suicide ever conducted in the civilian and military sectors, Wang added.

"The National Institute of Mental Health is honored and committed to working with the Army to understand the urgency, to identify risks and prevention factors, to develop new and better intervention," he said. "The knowledge will not only extend to soldiers and their families, but to the civilian population as well."

Army leaders and researchers agree that reducing the number of suicide victims is a long-term goal, but in the near term, they've initiated an Armywide "stand-down" to take place on a day between Feb. 15 and March 15, Col. Thomas Languirand, Army deputy chief of staff for personnel, said.

The stand-down day will offer an opportunity for individual units and soldiers to address problems head on, and will include the latest training videos, materials and methods to identify symptoms and prevent suicide, Languirand explained.

The stand-down will be followed by another 120 days of a "chain-teaching" program, which is intended to be leader-led suicide prevention training, cascaded across the entire Army, he said. The stand-down period and chain-teaching program are mandated training in addition to quarterly and other suicide awareness and prevention training that may occur at the unit level already.

"The Army is concerned regarding where we are with our numbers," he said. "Any loss of life, especially by suicide, is a tragedy. That tragedy impacts the unit, it impacts morale on that unit ... and it impacts the families. It's extremely important that we get out in front of this ... nobody in the Army is satisfied as to where we are with our [past] programs."

The Army will conduct its next suicide update in April.

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 29, 2009

NAVY

Maritime Helicopter Support Company, Woodbridge, Va., is being awarded a $326,596,424 firm fixed price, definite delivery, definite quantity Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract for support for Navy H-60 weapons repairables assemblies (WRAs) and shop replaceable assemblies covering various airframes and avionics systems in support of the H-60 series helicopters. Work will be performed at Stratford, Conn. (83 percent) and Owego, N.Y. (17 percent), and work is expected to be completed by January 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This announcement combines purchases with the U.S. Navy (98 percent), the U.S. Coast Guard (1 percent) and the Governments of Australia, Greece, Spain, Thailand, and Taiwan - 1 percent). This contract was not awarded competitively. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00383-09-D-010F).

Lockheed Martin Sippican, Inc., Marion, Mass., is being awarded a $35,774,572 cost plus incentive fee contract for design and development of a Communications at Speed and Depth (CSD) Family of Systems (FoS). SPAWAR awarded the contract on behalf of its organizational partner, the Navy's Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence systems. This contract includes options for Low Rate Initial Production and Full Rate Production quantities of CSD hardware, as well as options for engineering services and provisioning item orders, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $177,949,593. Work will be performed in Marion, Mass. (46 percent); DeLeon Springs, Fla. (18 percent); Braintree, Mass. (15 percent); Columbia City, Ind. (13 percent); Eagan, Minn. (8 percent), and is expected to be completed by Jan. 2011 (Sept 2017 with options exercised). Contractfunds in the amount of$6,469,857willexpire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract wascompetitively procured with one offer received via the Commerce Business Daily's Federal Business Opportunities website, and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, Calif. is the contracting activity (N00039-09-C-0017).

Sauer Incorporated, Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded $20,976,700 for firm fixed price task order #0003 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62467-05-D-0181) for construction of market style apartments (Bachelor Quarters) at Naval Air Station - Joint Reserve Base, Belle Chasse. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of market style apartments featuring multi-story design to incorporate anti-terrorism and force protection features. Each apartment will be comprised of two bedrooms (two personnel in each bedroom) with four closets, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, washer/dryer area, and living/dining area. The maximum number of constructed units (apartments) shall be 61 units. Work will be performed in Belle Chase, La., and is expected to be completed by Jan. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $17,816,580 modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-04-C-0569) to exercise an option for the procurement of 42 Tomahawk Composite Capsule Launching System (CCLS) Capsules. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed in October 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

PPG Protective and Marine Coatings, Alexander, Ark., is being awarded a $9,515,570 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with firm fixed price orders for the supply of paint products and services worldwide to the Military Sealift Command fleet. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $47,260,200. Work will be performed worldwide and is expected to be completed by Jan. 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with four offers received. Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00033-09-D-8010).

FMW Composite Systems Inc., Bridgeport, W.V., is being awarded an $8,636,047 firm fixed price delivery order #0008 under previously awarded contract (M67854-05-D-5004) for 100 Small and 100 Medium Ground Expedient Refueling Systems (GERS) and one OCONUS training session. Work will be performed in Bridgeport, W.V., and work is expected to be completed by January 2010. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), San Diego, Calif., is being awarded an $8,388,383 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-4402) for the repair and alteration for Non-Docking Scheduled Availability for the USS Dubuque (LPD-8). NASSCO furnishes the material, supports (electrical, crane, and rigging) and facilities necessary for the maintenance and modernization of the LSD/LPD class ships. This availability includes replacement of labyrinth seals, high power, low power turbine No. 2 and the 5-Year Strength and Integrity Inspection of the Auxiliary Boiler No. 1 and No. 2. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by April 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $8,388,383 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier, LLC., Bethesda, Md., is being awarded a $7,636,500 firm fixed price contract for the six-month time charter of the U.S.-flagged, contractor-owned roll-on/roll-off vessel MV Liberty. The contract includes one six-month option that, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $15,272,500. MV Liberty will be operated primarily between the U.S. East Coast and the Persian Gulf in support of the U.S. Central Command and the war on terrorism. Work is expected to be completed in Sept. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website and the Military Sealift Command website, with three offers received. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command is the contracting activity (N00033-09-C-5501).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is modifying a contract with M7 Aerospace, San Antonio, Texas for $59,000,000. The extension is necessary to continue Contractor Logistics Support for the C-20 program opening the resolution of the corrective action on contract FA8106-08-C-0010. At this time $10,400,008 has been obligated. 727 ACSG/PKB is the contracting activity. (FA8106-04-C-0003)

The Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract with Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems, San Diego California for $29,000,000. This action will add contingency operations for FY09 and additional Incentive Fee Metrics into the Performance Plan. 560 ACSG/GFKAB is the contracting activity. (FA8528-09-D-0001-P00001)

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to DRS Sustainment Systems Inc., St. Louis, Missouri for $18,178,220. This action will provide Service Life Extension Program for the APQ-170 Radar Systems, supporting the MC-130H Combat Talon II (CT-II) Aircraft. At this time, $18,178,220 has been obligated. 580 ACSG/GFKAA is the contracting activity. (FA8509-09-C-0012)

The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Northrop Grumman Guidance and Electronic Company, Navigation System Division, Woodland Hill, California for $10,862,060. This action will provide for one hundred ninety-four EGI Production Units for the European Participating Aircraft Countries. At this time $10,862,060 has been obligated. 647 AES/PK is the contracting activity. (FA8626-06-C-2066 P00043)

The Air Force is modifying a fixed price contract with Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Navigation Systems Division for $10,302,160. This action will provide for one hundred and eighty-four EGI Production Units for the USAF F-16. At this time $10,302,160 has been obligated. 647 AESS/PK is the contracting activity. (FA8626-06-C-2066 P00045)

The Air Force has awarded a cost plus fixed fee contract to Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus , Ohio for $7,724,695. This action will determining in place destruct, initial morphology, and aerodynamic breakup, of chemical/biological agent payloads to advance the state of art in representation of source term from the missile intercept events. At this time $309,179 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD is the contracting activity. (SP0700-00-D-3180)

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

American Apparel, Selma, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $20,209,824 firm fixed price contract for airmen battle uniforms, coats and trousers. Other locations of performance are Excel Manufacturing, El Paso, Texas, and Warmkraft, Taylorsville, Miss. Using service is the Air Force. The proposal was originally Web solicited with 12 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is January 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Pa. (SMP1C1-07-D-0009).

Propper International, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, is being awarded a maximum $13,274,520 firm fixed price contract for airmen battle uniforms, coats and trousers. Other locations of performance include Cabo Rogo, Las Marjas, Lagas, and Lajas, Puerto Rico. Using service is the Air Force. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 6 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is January 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Pa. (SPM1C1-07-D-0008).

Epic Aviation dba Air BP, Salem, Ore.* is being awarded a maximum $6,754,424 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for jet fuel distribution. Other location of performance are Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, Johnstown, Pa. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and other Federal agencies. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2013. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-0038).

Anticipating Threats Key to Success, Northcom Commander Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - Anticipating threats is the key to readiness, the chief of the combatant command responsible for the military role in homeland defense said. Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said that when he took over the reins two years ago, he modified the Northcom mission statement to reflect this notion.

"I added the word 'anticipate' in there, and that really changed the culture of our command," Renuart told an audience at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University here this week. "We anticipate each day what we might be asked to do."

He said his commands monitor 35 to 40 daily "events" across the country that potentially could require assistance.

"If you wait to be a responder, you will always be late -- you will always be playing catch-up. We can't afford to do that in our country," Renuart said.

Northcom, which was established about a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is responsible for an area of operations that includes the United States, Canada and Mexico. It serves as a "one-stop-shopping" point for military support in case of an attack on American soil.

Last week, Northcom served as one of the elements supporting the U.S. Secret Service in providing security for the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Barack Obama. Some 6,000 active-duty military and 9,300 National Guard members participated in the event that boasted between 2 and 3 million attendees.

"All of it required detailed planning across a variety of agencies to ensure that we had the right capability in the right place in the event we needed it," the general said. "The good news is we didn't."

But one advantage of such preparation and anticipation is that Northcom personnel were able to administer medical treatment to some 300 people. "We happened to be in the right place," Renuart said.

The general emphasized that Northcom fastidiously adheres to the rules outlined in the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law that restricts the government from using the military for law enforcement.

"There are specific roles for the military, and specific roles when the military should not be involved," he said. "Our art form is to navigate amongst those to ensure that we do respect the laws of our country, that we do respect the rights of individuals, and that we ensure that we only provide support to the agencies that are tasked by our Constitution to enforce the laws of our nation."

Renuart added that cyber warfare -- acts of aggression carried out over computers or the Internet -- is making the definition of war more ambiguous.

"It's harder to define what an act of war might be in the cyber world," he said.

Kenyan Government Agrees to Try Pirates Seized by U.S. Forces

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - The Kenyan government has agreed to try pirates captured by the U.S. military, a senior Defense Department official said here today. The agreement came about earlier this month through a memorandum of understanding signed by U.S. State Department and Kenyan government officials, spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters. Britain also has a similar agreement with Kenya.

Kenya is an east African nation that faces the Indian Ocean. Kenya's neighbors include Ethiopia and Somalia to the north and northeast, Uganda and Sudan to the northwest and Tanzania to the south.

Seagoing pirates operating off the coasts of Somalia and Yemen have lately preyed on commercial shipping, often holding captured vessels, cargo and crews for millions of dollars in ransom money. The problem seemed to worsen until the recent stand up of a multinational, anti-pirate consortium known as Task Force 151.

The U.S.-Kenyan memorandum "adds to the range of possibilities in terms of being able to attack this problem," Whitman said. And, "having a place to prosecute these people," he added, should help to discourage pirate activity in the region.

Task Force 151 includes support provided by the British, Chinese and Russian navies.

Air Force Fighters to Patrol Over Super Bowl

American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - Some Air Force fighter pilots may miss out on watching Super Bowl XLIII, but for a worthy cause. They will be flying to protect the skies around Raymond James Stadium during the Feb. 1 game in Tampa, Fla. Airmen flying fighter jets may be visible enforcing the Federal Aviation Administration's temporary flight restriction over the greater Tampa area during the National Football League's championship game, officials said.

"America's [air operations center] will be closely monitoring all air activity while the FAA temporary flight restriction is in place," Air Force Col. David Kriner, commander of the 601st Air and Space Operations Center, said. "The men and women of this [air operations center] monitor the sky 24/7, 365 for the entire continental U.S., and Sunday's special event is another part of our mission set."

Air Force fighters and Customs and Border Patrol assets will be airborne during the game. This interagency partnership helps ensure safety in the sky over the stadium, officials said.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Henry C. "Hank" Morrow, commander for the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, said command officials provide air defense for the protection of the entire continental United States, including for special events such as this year's Super Bowl.

"As America's air defenders, we have a total team mindset," Morrow said. "Special events like this world-renowned sporting event take precise coordination with all mission partners, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Border Patrol, FAA and local law enforcement."

Continental U.S. NORAD Region flights will have minimal impact on aircraft in the area during the Super Bowl and are not in response to any specific threat, officials said.

"We want citizens to know that we are always on the job, and defending our homeland from air threats is our No. 1 priority," Morrow said.

NFL, Military Continue Super Bowl Traditions

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - From fighter jet flyovers to military performances at halftime shows, the National Football League and U.S. military have shared more than 40 years of Super Bowl history. The tradition continues Feb. 1 in Tampa, Fla., during Super Bowl XLIII, with Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, performing the ceremonial coin toss for the Arizona Cardinals' and Pittsburgh Steelers' team captains.

"It is a privilege to represent our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen in the coin-toss ceremony," Petraeus told American Forces Press Service today in an e-mail. "And it is an honor to thank the NFL commissioner and the teams and players for all that they have done in recent years to recognize the service of our troopers and their families."

The Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration squadron is set for a pregame flyover, and an all-service U.S. Special Operations Command color guard is planned to present the nation's colors during the game's national anthem.

Air Force Tech Sgt. Holly Bracken will be on the field in the color guard formation, presenting the Air Force colors. She's privileged to represent her service and the military, she said, adding that it just wouldn't be a Super Bowl without military support.

"It's such an honor to go there and present the colors," said Bracken, who grew up near Pittsburgh rooting for the Steelers. "You can't have the presentation of the colors without [military] representation."

The NFL-military Super Bowl partnership stems from the first Air Force flyover in 1968 over Miami's Orange Bowl for Super Bowl II. Ever since, flyovers have become a staple of the Super Bowl, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, citing military flyovers as "an unbelievable experience" to watch from the football field.

Since then, the military has supported flyovers for nearly every Super Bowl, he said. Also, military choirs have performed the pregame national anthem twice, with the U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale singing for Super Bowl VI in 1972, and a combined chorus from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy singing for Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performed at halftime for Super Bowl VI in 1972, and the U.S. Air Force Band did the same in 1985 for Super Bowl XIX.

The military even has taken on its normal role as peacekeeper and protector for past Super Bowls, with the Florida Army National Guard taking part in security efforts in 2005 and 2007 along with other federal and state agencies.

"The NFL has had a longstanding tradition of supporting the military," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told American Forces Press Service during a phone interview. "We have a great appreciation for what the military does and feel honored to include the military in the Super Bowl."

Throughout the years, the Super Bowl has become one of the most highly rated televised events of the year. This year, Super Bowl XLIII will be broadcast to more than 230 countries to a potential worldwide audience of more than 1 billion viewers, including military members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

McCarthy said the NFL is working with NBC, which has the broadcast rights for Super Bowl XLIII, to coordinate a "look-in" from some of those military members serving abroad. A live satellite feed will show military football fans watching the big game from a military post in the Middle East, he explained.

The NFL wouldn't give specifics on whether the feed would air from Iraq or Afghanistan, but McCarthy said the "look-in" has generally become another staple of Super Bowl broadcasts and tradition, as it's occurred regularly throughout recent years.

"[The NFL] feels that the 70,000 fans attending the Super Bowl this year should be cheering louder for the military than the two teams playing," he said. "It is, indeed, very important for the NFL to look for every opportunity to support the troops."

Official Thanks Military Blood Donors

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

Jan. 29, 2009 - As Armed Services Blood Program officials join with the rest of the nation in observing National Blood Donor Month, the program's director expressed gratitude for the more than 165,000 donations from Defense Department military, civilians and their families in 2008. "January is designated every year as a special time when the Armed Services Blood Program, as well as the other blood donor programs, commemorates our blood volunteer donors; they are actually the core of our program," Army Col. (Dr.) Francisco J. Rentas told "Dot Mil Docs" audio webcast listeners Jan. 27 on BlogTalkRadio.com.

"It means a time to officially say thanks for what [blood donors] are doing," he said.

The blood program is a joint Army, Navy and Air Force operation, and includes 23 donor centers worldwide and many components among the services to collect, process, store, distribute and transfer blood.

Rentas encouraged people to get involved, not just in January, but all year long.

"Give blood as often as you can," he said. "You can donate blood every eight weeks. One donation can actually save three lives."

Blood is critically important and always needed for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the doctor said, and a recent advancement is helping wounded servicemembers survive by enabling deployed medical teams to store blood in special containers that maintain the proper temperature under austere environments.

"We have been using small containers for special missions that can keep blood at the right temperature for three to five days," the doctor said. "What is really unique about this is no ice, no electricity, no batteries [are required], but you can keep blood at the right temperature for a few days."

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media directorate of Defense Media Activity.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 28, 2009

NAVY

General Dynamics—Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, is being awarded a $37,750,000 basic ordering agreement for Post-Shakedown Availability (PSA) on the Littoral Combat Ship, USS Independence (LCS-2). The orders to be issued will encompass services which support the total PSA effort which include, but are not limited to, program management, advance planning, engineering, material kitting, liaison, scheduling and participation in PSA planning conferences and design reviews, and preparation of documentation as required by the Contract Data Requirement List. The orders will also encompass material and labor to perform the PSA for LCS 2, all testing, including post repair trials required to verify the accuracy and completion of all shipyard industrial work, non-standard equipment when approved, and technical manuals for non-standard equipment. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. (53 percent); Norfolk, Va. (24 percent); and Mobile, Ala. (23 percent), and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-G-2301).

Environmental Tectonics Corporation, Southampton, Pa., is being awarded a $19,517,027 firm fixed price contract for a Disorientation Research Device in support of the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory (NAMRL). Work will be performed in Southampton, Pa., and work is expected to be completed by July 2011. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was awarded competitively through Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with two offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk, Philadelphia Division is the contracting activity (N00189-09-C-Z025).

Q.E.D. Systems, Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity cost plus fixed fee with provisions for firm fixed pricing contract in the amount of $13,868,023 for ship alteration installation and marine/mechanical engineering design services. This contract contains a base period with four one-year option periods, which if exercised, bring the total value of the contract to $68,041,545. Work will be performed at Virginia Beach, Va., and work is expected to be completed by Jan. 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was awarded through full and open competition, with three offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk is the contracting activity (N00189-09-D-N003).

AMSEC LLC, Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded an $8,403,169 modification (P00029) under a previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity with cost plus fixed fee pricing contract (N00189-02-D-0037) for engineering, technical, and maintenance services in support of aircraft carrier maintenance and modernization advance planning, work package development and integration, and work package execution associated with U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and battle groups. Work will be performed at Norfolk, Va. (20 percent); San Diego, Calif. (20 percent); Bremerton, Wash. (10 percent); Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Philadelphia, Pa., and Jacksonville, Fla. (15 percent combined); onboard aircraft carriers and associated battle groups (15 percent); and other areas, including outside the U.S. (20 percent), and work is expected to be completed by Jan. 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was awarded competitively, with two offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk is the contracting activity.

Alion-BMH Corp., Norfolk, Va., is being awarded an $8,061,692 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee modification to a previously awarded contract (N65236-04-D-3831) for engineering and technical services to support modeling and simulation, experimentation, exercises, and training. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va. (55 percent); Newport, R.I. (30 percent); and Charleston, S.C. (15 percent), and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured through the Space and Naval Warfare Systems e-Commerce Central website, with three offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, is the contracting activity.

L-3 Communications, Randtron Antenna Systems, Menlo Park, Calif., is being awarded a not-to-exceed ceiling price $7,085,480 delivery order under previously awarded contract (N00383-06-G-072B) for repair of TRAC-A rotodome antenna assemblies in support of the E2-C aircraft. Work will be performed at Menlo Park, Calif., and work is expected to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not awarded competitively. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

Innovative Technical Solutions, Inc.*, Walnut Creek, Calif., is being awarded $6,059,349 for firm fixed price Modification 02 to Task Order #0002 under a previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity environmental multiple award contract (N62473-08-D-8813) at to exercise Options 0001 and 0002 which provides for the removal of an additional 16,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil at the Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, Morris Dam Facility. The total task order amount after exercise of this option will be $7,571,710. Work will be performed in Azusa, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 2012. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

ARMY

Janssen Contracting Co., Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded on Jan 26, 2009, a $6,360,752 firm fixed price contract for the design and construction of the U.S. Air Force F-22 aerospace ground equipment (AGE) shop & storage facility at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. Work will be performed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, with an estimated completion date of Feb 10, 2010. Bids were solicited on FedBizOpps with two bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska, Elmendorf Air Base, Alaska, is the contracting activity (W911KB-09-C-0004).

National Guard Responds in States Hit by Ice, Snow

By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 28, 2009 - National Guard troops were activated in two states yesterday as a major winter storm spread ice and snow from Texas to Maine. In Kentucky, state officials said about 500 Army National Guard soldiers have been activated to provide generator support, operate shelters in 24 armories and remove downed trees.

In Arkansas, more than 40 Guard members have been activated to provide power in four counties, shelter in four armories and cots and blankets to the armories and other shelters being established around the state.

"The Guard presence is growing," said Army Col. Phil Miller, public affairs officer for the Kentucky National Guard. "People just can't move."

Supporting the Kentucky Department of Transportation, a 12-person team with three chainsaws was sent to Hopkins County, and a 10-person team with three Humvees and six chainsaws is working in Breathitt County to help in clearing roadways for transportation and power crews.

"The power outage is the biggest issue," said Miller, who added that priority for generator support is being given to shelters and critical-care facilities.

Establishing warming centers is another priority in Kentucky due to the power outages and low temperatures.

Miller said heavy snow started in northern Kentucky counties today, with two to five inches in the forecast.

"As of right now, we're still watching our weather closely," Army Capt. Chris Heathscott, public affairs officer for the Arkansas National Guard, said. "We don't see it easing up any time soon. We continue to be available to move troops and equipment whenever we receive the call."

With the 39th Brigade Combat Team back from Iraq, "we are fully manned and equipped to handle pretty much anything this storm can push in our direction," he added.

In Fulton County, two airmen from the 188th Fighter Wing and two soldiers from the 87th Troop Command deployed with generators. Soldiers also are helping out in Jackson, Franklin and Clay counties.

In Siloam Springs, Harrison, Mountain Home and Berryville, the local armory is being used as a shelter. Soldiers from the 142nd Fires Brigade are at the Harrison, Berryville and Siloam Springs armories providing 24-hour operations.

Also yesterday, an incident-support unit provided 350 cots and blankets to the Harrison armory and the Springdale Fire Department for their emergency sheltering operation.

At least 165,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas are without power, according to the Associated Press. Kentucky state officials reported more than 174,000 customers with no electricity. The governor declared a statewide emergency yesterday.

The Associated Press also reported that Arkansas utilities warned customers that their power could be out for at least three days in what is expected to be one of the largest outages the state has ever had.

Ice and winter storm warnings are still in effect today from Arkansas to Maine, according to the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, in North Dakota, the National Guard was called out Jan. 22 to remove snow in wind-chill conditions that have hit 40 below zero.

"[They're] clearing roadways to allow two-lane traffic," Bill Prokopyk of the North Dakota National Guard public affairs office said. "[They're] clearing not only the road, but pushing the snow up to 150 feet on both sides." This will help to prevent the wind from blowing the snow back onto the road after the Guard members leave, he explained.

Winter storms are nothing new for the North Dakota troops. In 2005, their last major response to a winter storm, soldiers and airmen worked their way west along I-94 and cleared roads and rescued motorists, Prokopyk said.

"The North Dakota National Guard is always planning for anticipated missions," he said, "whether it's winter storm assistance in the form of rescue or snow removal on roads for travel, fighting floods, primarily in the spring, or firefighting."

Army Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, the state adjutant general, told the Minot Daily News earlier this week that the Guard also will help get feed to cattle for ranchers who make their requests through their county emergency management offices.

(Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

Obama Thanks Troops, Pledges Support Following Meeting with Joint Chiefs

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 28, 2009 - In his first visit to the Pentagon as commander in chief, President Barack Obama today thanked U.S. servicemembers and pledged to provide troops the resources they need to accomplish their missions. Obama spoke to reporters here after meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to discuss military readiness, "difficult decisions" on Iraq and Afghanistan and other national security threats and objectives.

"I want to first of all thank all of the men and women in uniform who are represented here. They are the best that this country has to offer," Obama said after he and Vice President Joe Biden shook hands with a row of troops from all service branches who lined an E-ring Pentagon hallway.

"All of you who are serving in the U.S. armed forces are going to have my full support, and one of my duties as president is going to be to make sure that you have what you need to accomplish your missions," he said.

Obama said the first point he addressed with the Joint Chiefs -- the senior-ranking officers of each military service branch -- was gratitude for the service and sacrifice of troops and military families, who he said were responsible for national freedoms that sometimes are taken for granted.

He also suggested that he would relieve some of the pressure placed on the military by more evenly distributing responsibility among other U.S. government elements.

"We have for a long time put enormous pressure on our military to carry out a whole set of missions, sometimes not with sort of strategic support and the use of all aspects of American power to make sure that they're not carrying the full load," he said. "And that's something that I spoke to the chiefs about and that I intend to change as president of the United States."

The president added that those involved in this afternoon's meeting in "The Tank," the secure area in the Joint Chiefs of Staff wing of the Pentagon, agreed to make sure "the health of our force is always in our sights." Participants included Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps. The commandant of the Coast Guard, though not a member of the Joint Chiefs, also participated.

"I know [they] are constantly thinking about what we need to do to make sure that people who are in uniform for the United States are getting the kinds of support that they need and that [their families need], and that's something that I absolutely am committed to, and I know that Vice President Biden is as well," he said.

Some of the most urgent issues facing White House and Pentagon officials include ways forward in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We're going to have some difficult decisions that we're going to have to make surrounding Iraq and Afghanistan most immediately," Obama said. "Obviously, our efforts to continue to go after extremist organizations that would do harm to the homeland is uppermost in our minds.

"I have every confidence that our military is going to do their job, and I intend to make sure that the civilian side of the ledger does its job to support what they are doing," he added.

Obama added that he a "wonderful discussion" with the Joint Chiefs about short- and long-term threats facing the United States.

"We talked about some of the broader, global risks that may arise, and the kind of planning and coordination that's going to be required between our military and our civilian forces in order to accomplish our long term national security agendas," he said.

The president has been engaged with Defense Department and military officials since taking office Jan. 20.

During a meeting at the White House on his first full day in office, Obama directed key defense and military officials to plan for a "responsible military drawdown in Iraq." The participants included Gates and Mullen, as well as Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command.

Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, also joined the Jan. 21 meeting via teleconference. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker, key Cabinet members and senior national security officials also participated, collectively providing what Obama called "a full update on the situation in Iraq."

Face of Defense: Vietnam Veteran, Former Steeler Shares Lessons With Guard

By William Prokopyk
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 28, 2009 - A Vietnam War veteran who overcame great odds to become a successful National Football League player shared his message of strength, attitude and optimism during the North Dakota National Guard's 2009 Safety Conference here Jan. 24. Former Pittsburgh Steeler Rocky Bleier was the conference's keynote speaker, and his message to the Guardsmen was clear and simple: "Never give up, no matter how badly the odds are stacked against you."

Although his football career is truly noteworthy -- he has four Super Bowl rings from his years with the Steelers -- it was the Army veteran in Bleier that was most appreciated by the Guardsmen who listened to him speak.

"We chose Rocky Bleier as our keynote speaker because of his inspirational story of never quitting," Army Chief Warrant Officer Bradley Hoines, North Dakota National Guard state safety officer, said. "His ability to overcome obstacles with hard work coupled with good personal choices fits well with our objectives in our commander's safety program.

"Safety encompasses the myriad of choices that an individual makes, which can either prove to be a positive or negative influence on their life," he said.

In 1968, Bleier was drafted by both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the U.S. Army. After playing sparingly with the Steelers, Bleier headed for basic training and deployed to Vietnam in May 1969. He served as an infantryman
with the Americal Division's 196th Light Infantry Brigade.

In August of that same year, Bleier was twice wounded in the legs by gunfire and a grenade during the same battle.

It would be a long, arduous journey back to professional football. Military doctors told Bleier that he would probably be able to walk, but that he would never play football again. Bleier refused to believe it.

"I talk a lot about structure and fundamentals and what happens in changing environments," Bleier said. "It's really those basic fundamentals that football teaches you and life teaches you. The military teaches you the same thing."

Through personal devotion and hard work, he rehabilitated himself and finally won a starting position with the Steelers in the 1974 season, playing in the same backfield with Hall of Fame members Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris.

Bleier was destined to play with the "Super Steelers" of the 1970s that won Super Bowls IX, X, XIII and XIV. He retired from football after the 1980 season.

Bleier's enthusiasm and energy engaged the Guardsmen throughout his talk, and he remained open and gracious throughout the conference. He signed autographs when requested and was quick to offer all four of his precious Super Bowl rings for his fans to proudly wear as they posed for pictures alongside him.

"Rocky Bleier's comments were right on the mark," Army Capt. Doug Larsen said. "I think his refusal to accept his destiny as a disabled veteran and his persistence to achieve his dream most likely had a very positive impact on
his teammates. It will certainly have that impact on me."

In addition to being a four-time Super Bowl winner, Bleier also was named by Parade magazine as an All-American high school player, was a member of Notre Dame's 1966 national championship football team, was selected as team captain the next year, and was named to the "Steelers All-Time Team."

Despite his lengthy list of football accomplishments, Bleier is quick to point out that he is just as proud of his military service and the service of his Army buddies during the Vietnam War. He received a Bronze Star and
Purple Heart for his time in combat.

Bleier said he is extremely appreciative that today's military members returning home from war are greeted as the heroes they truly are.

(William Prokopyk serves in the North Dakota National Guard.)

Love of Cats Leads Volunteer to Troop-support Efforts

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 28, 2009 - Gayle Lucas' extensive volunteer efforts began when she opened her home to two cats in need. The Darien, Conn., resident offered to take in the cats, Boots and Scooter, when their owner, a soldier, was called to active duty in Kuwait in October 2004.

She volunteered through Operation Noble Foster, a nonprofit organization that connects servicemembers with individual foster homes for their cats until they return home from deployment. At the time Lucas took Boots and Scooter in, she already had five cats.

"I love all animals, but I definitely have a fondness for cats, primarily because they fit my lifestyle," Lucas said. "I was amazed that Boots and Scooter adjusted to my home and to my other cats within a few hours of being let out of a carrier. By evening, they were sitting on my lap, being brushed and running around the house with the other cats. They became the alpha cats."

Within months of taking the two cats in, Lucas started sending "I Care" packages to the pet owner in Kuwait. Soon, she was sending packages to three other soldiers, then 21, then the whole battalion of 450 Wisconsin soldiers.

"She has been able to bring smiles, laughter and comfort to these soldiers in what can otherwise be an overwhelming situation," Army Staff Sgt. Jeffery Goldfarb, one of Lucas' "adopted" soldiers, said. Boosting our morale as a 'combat multiplier,' she enables us to do our job more effectively and efficiently."

Lucas had the opportunity to meet the battalion soldiers when they returned to the United States in November 2006.

"Gayle has shown gratitude and appreciation to young servicemembers, far away from home and in harm's way, who are risking their lives every day to protect people they do not even know, and doing so willingly and proudly," Goldfarb said.

Lucas said there are no limits to her work. She is teamed with her fifth and sixth units in Kuwait now. Her second unit in Iraq recently returned home. In total, Lucas has supported more than 1,000 soldiers.

Lucas has sent turtle and fish food to "Myrtle," one of the Army's "Artillery Reaction Force" turtles in Kuwait. She also has sent Koi – a type of carp -- which, at the request of her soldiers, she named Bella, Lexi, Sake, Sumo and Tex.

Acting as a liaison in her community for soldiers, Lucas has delivered numerous presentations to community groups, and helped school children in sending their handmade cards and drawings to troops deployed overseas.

In December, members of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, Dealey Division -- a youth organization in Connecticut -- joined forces with Lucas to send holiday cards and goodies to the soldiers. As a result of this partnership, she was asked to give a "Support the Troops Project" speech to the Naval League of the United States, of western Connecticut. The keynote speaker was Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary.

In addition to the many accolades Lucas has received over the years, one of her soldiers presented her with his personal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal in 2006 for the support work she continues to do.

"I never really thought I would be doing this," Lucas said. "Now, I wish I could do it full-time. I love supporting the troops. My love for cats, I believe, helped me find my true calling."

Lucas initially was supposed to keep Boots and Scooter for 16 months while the soldier was deployed to the Middle East, but because of his housing uncertainty after returning home, she ended up providing a permanent home for the cats.

"I was asked by the soldier if I would keep the cats when there was a lot of uncertainty in his life upon his return," Lucas said. "He did not have an apartment to go back to, so he stayed with family members and friends. He did not want to cause any more traumas to his cats by taking them back and moving them from one house to another until he found a permanent residence."

Scooter became ill in April and was diagnosed with a large tumor in her abdomen. She later died.

"Even though Scooter was mine, knowing she was a very special soldier's cat made it even more traumatic for me," Lucas said. "I miss her, but believe she continues to live on in the work I do for the troops."

Army Program Offers Recreation Outlet for Combat-tested Soldiers

By Ken White
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 28, 2009 - The first of about 8,000 soldiers began cycling through Installation Management Command Europe's high-adventure, adrenaline-pumping Warrior Adventure Quest recreation program earlier this month. The U.S. Army Europe troops recently returned from deployments with the 2nd Striker Cavalry Regiment, the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade and the 1st Armored Division.

"This amazing program combines leadership training with lifetime leisure-skill development by exposing soldiers to activities such as paintballing, ski touring, snowboarding, ski rappelling, rock climbing, mountain biking, high ropes courses, canoeing and even bungee jumping," Kelly Nebel, outdoor recreation program manager for IMCOM Europe, said.

Small, platoon-sized groups of soldiers, based in Germany with Ansbach's 12th CAB and Vilseck's 2nd SCR, began participating in intensive, one-day activities at various German sites as part of an initiative designed to help troops readapt to a "new normal" after returning from combat duty. Members of Wiesbaden's 1st AD will begin cycling through the program in February.

Grafenwoehr is hosting the largest number of participants in the overall servicewide program.

Warrior Adventure Quest signifies the Army's full commitment to helping soldiers effectively transition from a combat to home-station environment during the 90-day period after redeploying and completing block leave, officials said. It does so by combining existing outdoor recreation activities with "Battlemind," the Army's psychological resiliency building program. As part of the Battlemind blueprint, Soldiers hold group discussions after each outing, sharing their thoughts on the experience as well as being home.

During the program, participants are exposed to one of a number of high-adventure activities depending on location and time of year.

"Plus, it aims to spark a long-term interest in soldiers to pursue lifelong, positive outlets for their energies and to relieve stress and anxiety," Nebel said. "By doing so, we hope to discourage soldiers from engaging in risky choices -- which some do in an effort to amplify adrenaline levels they may have grown accustomed to in the combat environment -- during their everyday lives."

(Ken White serves in the Installation Management Command Europe public affairs office.)

Army Command Expands Role in Promoting Stability, Security in Africa

By John Ohab
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 28, 2009 - The U.S. Army Southern European Task Force officially has assumed its new role as the Army component for U.S. Africa Command, an effort to build and strengthen relationships with African army organizations and national and international partners. Army Maj. Gen. William "Burke" Garrett III, the commander of SETAF, U.S. Army Africa, spoke with online journalists and bloggers yesterday about SETAF's expanded role in promoting security and stability in Africa.

"Our transformation symbolizes America's enduring commitment to Africa," Garrett said during a Defense Department bloggers roundtable. "As U.S. Army Africa, we are America's premier Army team dedicated to achieving positive change on the continent."

For more than 50 years, SETAF has deployed throughout Europe, Southwest Asia and Africa, providing command and control for contingency operations, crisis response, disaster relief and humanitarian missions. Since the 1990s, SETAF has worked with African nations to conduct military training and provide humanitarian relief in countries such as Liberia, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo and the former Zaire.

In the coming years, SETAF, operating as U.S. Army Africa, will continue to grow and build capacity to meet the requirements needed to coordinate all U.S. Army activities in Africa.

"Instead of simply responding to crises, we will seek out opportunities to strengthen the capacity of African land forces and their institutions, so they can prevent conflicts and contribute to peace," Garrett said.

Garrett said he will spend 50 percent of his time stationed in Africa along with about 600 Army personnel engaged across the continent. U.S. Army Africa will use all aspects of the Army, including the Guard and Reserve, which offer important "niche capabilities" such as civil-affairs coordination and well-drilling units.

Because of the enormous cultural diversity across African nations, U.S. Army Africa has teamed with U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to provide soldiers with the requisite skills and cultural awareness to work effectively with African partners.

Garrett described U.S. Army Africa as a 21st-century organization focused on small units, effective cooperation programs and sustained security engagement.

"[U.S. Army Africa] is not an episodic, flash in the pan, noncombative evacuation operation," Garrett said. "It's sustained day-to-day engagement with our African partners. That's never been done in Africa."

Currently, U.S. Army Africa leads a number of efforts focused on military education in Rwanda, Liberia, Ethiopia and Ghana. The National Guard heads the State Partnership Program, which links U.S. states with African nations to promote regional stability and civil-military relationships. In the future, U.S. Army Africa seeks to build lasting relationships with nongovernmental organizations and businesses operating in Africa.

U.S. Army Africa's mission to provide a sustained security engagement marks a departure from the United States' traditional approach to promoting peace and stability in Africa. Garrett considers this to be "America's acknowledgement that Africa is rising in strategic importance."

"We share a bond of humanity with their people," he said. "And, from our point of view, by investing in that common humanity, we can advance our common security."

(John Ohab holds a doctorate in neuroscience and works for the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)