Military News

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gates Outlines Administration's Asia Security Strategy

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

May 30, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates opened the "Shangri-La Dialogue" Asia security summit here today outlining a broad set of regional security issues and promising continued support from the U.S. administration. The annual conference gathers defense, senior military and other officials from across the region to discuss mutual security challenges.

"America has paid a significant price in blood and treasure to fight aggression, deter potential adversaries, extend freedom, and maintain peace and prosperity in this part of the world," Gates said. "Our commitment to the region is just as strong today as it has ever been, if not stronger, since our own prosperity is increasingly linked with yours."

Gates said the challenge now is to fashion defense policies that adapt to the new realities of the region. He cited the long-standing treaties with Japan and South Korea, both formed in the early years of the Cold War "when both nations were impoverished and virtually destroyed." Now, Gates said, the countries are economic powerhouses with modern, well-trained and well-equipped military forces.

"They are more willing and able to take responsibility for their own defense and assume responsibility for security beyond their shores," Gates said.

As a result, the United States is making adjustments in its policies to maintain a posture that is more like that of a partner, Gates said. South Korea will take the lead role in its own defense in 2012. The U.S. military presence in the Pacific is growing, Gates added, noting increased relationships with India and China.

The secretary said the changes represent a shift in the defense strategy in the region, placing more emphasis on building the capacity of its allies and less on solely conventional military deterrence. The shift will represent a more balanced mix of "soft" and "hard" power, he added, with military, diplomatic, economic and humanitarian elements integrated seamlessly.

"It is an approach intended to further strengthen and deepen security in the Pacific Rim through maintaining our robust military presence, but also through strengthened and deepened partnerships," Gates said.

The secretary noted the unity in the global responses to the economic crisis, the threat of a pandemic flu and piracy. Despite occasional differences of opinion, he said, nations overall have come together to develop unified responses.

Gates said that stronger relationships among countries in the region are the key to facing security challenges such as piracy, weapons proliferation and terrorism, and that the U.S. administration promises a more collaborative and consultative foreign policy.

"What these challenges all have in common is that they simply cannot be overcome by one, or even two countries, no matter how wealthy and powerful," Gates said. "While the United States has unparalleled capabilities, we also recognize that the best solutions require multiple nations acting with uncommon unity."

Gates Calls North Korea's Actions 'Reckless, Ultimately Self-destructive'

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

May 30, 2009 - In some of his strongest words on the subject to date, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today said the United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state and promised to defend U.S. allies in the region. "We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region – or on us," Gates said at the opening of the "Shangri-La Dialogue" Asia security summit here.

This comes on the heels of yet another reported missile test by North Korea yesterday. North Korea reported conducting both nuclear and missile tests this week and threatened to attack U.S. and South Korean warships.

The secretary called North Korea's quest for nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles "reckless, and ultimately self-destructive." The United States, he said, would not bend under the pressure or provocation of North Korea.

"North Korea's nuclear program and actions constitute a threat to regional peace and security," Gates said. "The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or nonstate entities would be considered a great threat to the United States and our allies. And we would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of such action."

On the military flight here, Gates told reporters traveling with him that there are no plans for military action against North Korea and that diplomatic measures are the first option for dealing with the country's developing nuclear threat. He said he hopes any sanctions, however, would target the country's leaders and not strike at its impoverished people.

Next week the United States will send senior officials to talk with leaders of South Korea, China, Japan and Russia. All are original members of the Six-Party Talks, put in place to attempt a peaceful resolution to the security concerns of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The talks have been stalled since the United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea in April for a failed missile test. Following the condemnation, North Korea expelled U.N. inspectors from the country.

Next week's talks will center on developing a unified approach to North Korea's actions, and will include discussion of military posturing should diplomatic sanctions fail, a senior defense department official said, speaking on background.

Gates met today with top defense officials from Japan and South Korea, the first time he's met with them simultaneously. Customarily, Japan and South Korea have met with the United States separately, but Gates is reaching out for more multilateral approaches to security issues in the region.

He also met briefly with a senior military official from China, the country that Gates says has the most influence on North Korea.

Significant international cooperation is needed to pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear weapons program, and the consequences of a military conflict in region are "enormous to contemplate," the secretary said. At this point, however, North Korea's nuclear program does not pose a direct military threat to the United States, he added.

"I think what is central to multilateral efforts ... is to try and peacefully stop those programs before they do in fact become ... a clear and present danger," Gates said during the question and answer session after his speech.

"If they continue on the path they're on," he said, "I think the consequences for stability in the region are significant, and I think it poses the potential ... for some kind of an arms race here in this region."

Gates Delivers Keynote Address to Open Asia Security Conference

American Forces Press Service

May 30, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates delivered the keynote address today to open the "Shangri-La Dialogue," an annual Asia security conference in Singapore sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Here is a transcript of the secretary's remarks:

Thank you for that kind introduction, John. And, as always, let me thank the International Institute for Strategic Studies, our Singaporean hosts, and everyone else who has helped put together this event. As with all IISS forums I attend – whether in Manama or here in Singapore – the opportunity to speak about global issues in settings like these is unparalleled.

Last year when I spoke here, I emphasized that the United States has enduring interests in Asia as a resident power – and thus everyone could expect continuity in our engagement with the region, even if a new administration brought changes in specific policies, or new initiatives and areas of emphasis. Little did I know that the "continuity" I spoke of would end up being quite so personal. I have now failed retirement from government service for the second – and hopefully final – time.

It is an honor to stand here before you once again, this time as part of the administration of President Obama. President Obama is the eighth president I have worked for, and in all my years in government – beginning some 43 years ago – U.S. engagement with Asia has been a mainstay of our foreign policy.

This is the first time, however, we've had a president with such a personal connection to the region. As you know, the president spent some of the early years of his childhood in Indonesia, and he has written about how it impacted him – how it demonstrated that citizens of a vibrant, pluralistic society could live together in harmony. I believe this is part of the reason the president has shown such energy and optimism when discussing his policies toward Asia.

And it is no accident that Secretary of State Clinton's first trip abroad was to this region. As she said just before her trip, "America cannot solve the problems of the world alone, and the world cannot solve them without America." Surveying the international landscape, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that few, if any, of the world's problems can be resolved without the support and ideas of the nations of the Pacific Rim. And so, with that in mind, I want to use my remarks today to discuss three main points:

-- First, the strategic reality of Asia and America's role in this order;

-- Second, the kinds of challenges we face in an interconnected world and how our dependence on one another yields unprecedented opportunities for cooperation; and

-- Finally, the type of leadership you can expect to see from the Obama administration.

Since the end of the Cold War, Asia's security environment has undergone remarkable change – spurred in part by globalization and the technological revolution of the last two decades and inspired by the dynamism of the peoples of Asia. In recent years, the nations of Asia have, for the most part, achieved unprecedented wealth and stature as they have forged more mature political, economic, and military institutions. All of this has demonstrated the correlation between economic prosperity and stability, and the need to ensure that Asia is appropriately represented in the global economic order.

All the while, the strategic landscape of Asia continues to evolve:

-- New and re-emerging centers of power – from China and Russia, to India and Indonesia – combined with other shifts, give impetus to the search for a new security architecture in the region;

-- When it comes to freedom, or standards of living, or security, the peoples of Asia are expecting more from themselves – and from their governments. Civil societies and democratic reforms have taken root, and, with them, we have seen a profound effect on domestic politics and national-security policies;

-- Military modernization has continued apace – with rising states seeking forces commensurate with their economic power, and smaller states trying to preserve their position in the regional order; and

-- The emergence of multiple transnational challenges – some new, some old, which I will discuss shortly – calls for greater cooperation between all of our nations.

The United States has welcomed Asia's rise over the last few decades, and, indeed, our continued presence in this part of the world has been an essential element enabling that rise. America has paid a significant price in blood and treasure to fight aggression, deter potential adversaries, extend freedom, and maintain peace and prosperity in this part of the world. We have done so over many generations and across many presidential administrations. Our commitment to the region is just as strong today as it has ever been – if not stronger since our own prosperity is increasingly linked with yours.


The challenge for the United States has been to fashion defense policies that adapt to the new realities – but do so in a way that preserves and protects our fundamental, and enduring, interests and values on the Pacific Rim, which includes the security and stability of the region as a whole.

Consider our relationships with long-standing treaty allies Japan and South Korea – cornerstones of our foreign policy. We entered into these alliances in the early years of the Cold War when both nations were impoverished and virtually destroyed.

The Republic of Korea and Japan have since become economic powerhouses with modern, well-trained and equipped military forces. They are more willing and able to take responsibility for their own defense and assume responsibility for security beyond their shores. As a result, we are making adjustments in each country to maintain a posture that is more appropriate to that of a partner, as opposed to a patron. Still, though, a partner fully prepared and able to carry out all – and I repeat, all – of our alliance obligations.

On the Korean Peninsula, we will transition wartime operational control in 2012, a historic moment when the Republic of Korea will take the lead role in its own defense. The United States will continue to maintain its firm commitment to security on the peninsula, even as we seek to broaden the alliance to address other security challenges in the region and beyond.

Similarly, our relationship with Japan is evolving. Just a couple weeks ago, Japan's Diet ratified the Guam International Agreement that Secretary Clinton signed during her trip. This agreement is a significant step in the implementation of our plan to strengthen our alliance, modernize our posture, and maintain our engagement in Asia over the long term.

So, in the central and western Pacific, we are actually increasing our military presence, with new air, naval, and marine assets based over the horizon in Guam and throughout the region – prepared as always to respond to a number of contingencies, natural or man-made.


At the same time, we are seeing developments with other nations and other friends:

-- Australia remains a steadfast ally whose cooperation is critical on a broad array of issues. We welcome Australia's new Defense White Paper reaffirming its role regionally and globally, and continue to seek ways to advance common interests together.

-- Last year we celebrated the 175th anniversary of U.S.-Thailand relations. And we look to expand our cooperation in coming years.

-- Our alliance with the Philippines has deepened as we tackle challenges ranging from terrorism to disaster relief to defense reform. And I look forward to visiting Manila soon.

-- Earlier this year, the administration announced that we are seeking to build a new comprehensive partnership with Indonesia. We congratulate Indonesia on the significant steps it has taken to strengthen its democracy – and its role in the region.

-- Our partnership with Singapore remains strong and we are working to increase cooperation with Malaysia, Vietnam, and others.

-- We are also looking to forge new partnerships in places long disregarded. This includes our emerging dialogue with Cambodia, as well as developments with Laos.

When it comes to India, we have seen a watershed in our relations – cooperation that would have been unthinkable in the recent past. As Admiral Keating, commander of United States Pacific Command, recently wrote, it is a "genuine convergence of national interests." In coming years, we look to India to be a partner and net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond.

And we are working with China on common challenges – from economic matters to security issues such as regional areas of tension, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, energy security, piracy, and disaster relief. It is essential for the United States and China to find opportunities to cooperate wherever possible. This includes maintaining a defense relationship marked by consistent and open channels of communication and contact. The United States, for its part, will remain committed to this goal. Likewise, it is essential that we are transparent – both to each other and to the rest of the world – about our strategic goals, political intentions, and military development.

What we have seen in the U.S. approach to Asia in recent years – and what I believe we will see in the future – is a very real shift that reflects new thinking in U.S. defense strategy overall. A shift that, while continuing to fulfill our commitments to the permanent presence of, and direct action by, U.S. forces in the region – places ever greater emphasis on building the capacity of partners better to defend themselves. A shift away from solely conventional military deterrence as traditionally understood – think of mechanized divisions poised along the Korean demilitarized zone or the central plains of Germany. A shift toward a re-balanced mix of the so-called "hard" and "soft" elements of national power – where military, diplomatic, economic, cultural, and humanitarian elements are integrated seamlessly.

It is an approach that brings together various parts of the United States government to work more closely with diverse partners with a range of shared interests – from old allies such as Australia to former adversaries like Vietnam. It is an approach intended to further strengthen and deepen security in the Pacific Rim through maintaining our robust military presence but also through strengthened and deepened partnerships.

These new strategic realities will play a central role as the United States undergoes a number of policy reviews this year, including the Quadrennial Defense Review and the Nuclear Posture Review. These documents will lay out our view of the threats and challenges to our nation, and how that will be reflected in our future defense procurement and spending strategies. While it is at times a messy process, it will be an open and transparent exercise – so that no one will get the wrong idea about our intentions. We will consult with key allies and partners. And we will articulate our strategy clearly. It is our hope that this effort can be an example of the power of openness and its ability to reduce miscommunication and the risk of competitive arms spending.

I believe these documents will help us pursue whole-of-government approaches that offer the only solution to the vexing security challenges of the modern era. Which brings me to my second point: the nature of the threats we face.

As in the rest of the world, in Asia the traditional dilemmas posed by rising, resurgent, or rogue nation states coexist with a range of diverse, unconventional threats that transcend national borders. Some are ancient – such as piracy, ethnic strife, and poverty. Others are of more recent vintage: terrorist networks harnessing new technologies; weapons proliferation; environmental degradation; drug and human trafficking; cyber security; climate change; economic turmoil in the global markets; and the emergence of deadly and contagious diseases that can spread more rapidly than ever before in human history.

It has become clear in just the last two decades that "security" encompasses far more than just military considerations. An economic crisis can become a security crisis. A lack of good governance can undermine order and stability. Under pressure from criminals or disease, weak states can become failed states.

What these challenges all have in common is that they cannot simply be overcome by one, or even two countries, no matter how wealthy or powerful. While the United States has unparalleled capabilities, we also recognize that the best solutions require multiple nations acting with uncommon unity.

I have been heartened in recent months by the global response to the economic crisis, the threat of a pandemic flu, and piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa. While there have been some differences of opinion, overall our nations have shown the willpower to come together and develop unified responses.

One of the areas in which we are most engaged is maritime security – and the efforts to combat piracy and proliferation. United States Pacific Command works closely with a number of nations – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and more – to provide the training and equipment, from radars to patrol craft, enabling them to assert control over waterways that have been used by drug smugglers, weapons smugglers, and terrorists.

The United States has also provided assistance to help nations work together: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and others are securing and improving transit routes in the region. And of course, Asian countries have played a major role off the Horn of Africa – with Malaysia, India, Singapore, Korea, Japan, and China all taking part in anti-piracy efforts.

In addition to improving the capabilities of friends, we are encouraging them wherever possible to partner and cooperate more with their neighbors and other nations. Here we are trying to overcome the conventions and habits of the Cold War. For decades after World War II, Asia's security architecture mostly reflected a "hub and spokes" model, with the United States as the "hub" and the "spokes" representing a series of bilateral alliances with other countries that did not necessarily cooperate much with each other. To be sure, Asia already has a number of formal and informal multilateral institutions:

-- ASEAN, for example, has for decades been the foundation for prosperity and stability in Southeast Asia – relying upon the idea that a broader dialogue spreads trust and stability.

-- Similarly, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum plays an important role in regional development and trade.

-- And there are also ad hoc arrangements, such as ones centered on efforts to combat piracy and illegal trafficking.

Moving forward, we would like to see a good deal more cooperation among our allies and security partners – more multilateral ties in addition to hubs and spokes. Let me be clear: This does not mean any weakening of our bilateral ties, but rather enhancing security by adding to them multilateral cooperation.

These kinds of efforts have faced no shortage of obstacles. Countries have sometimes found it hard to work with us, or with each other. But we believe that the nations of the region must move in a more multilateral direction in order to deal with the most pressing threats in this era.

One of the greatest challenges, and one that cannot be overcome without close cooperation between and among countries, is of course terrorism – as an ideological movement, as a criminal enterprise, as a scourge that transcends borders, peoples, and religions. Working together, we have made substantial progress in suppressing terrorism in Asia and reducing the conditions under which it thrives.

I know some in Asia have concluded that Afghanistan does not represent a strategic threat to their countries, owing in part to Afghanistan's geographic location. But the threat from failed or failing states is international in scope – whether in the security, economic, or ideological realms. Extremists in Asia have engaged in terrorist acts such as in Bali, terrorist activity and guerilla warfare in Mindanao, and they have plotted attacks in several Southeast Asian nations. They are inspired by, and at times received support directly from, groups operating along the Afghan-Pakistani border – the ungoverned space from which this threat ultimately emanates.

Failure in a place like Afghanistan would have international reverberations – and, undoubtedly, many of them would be felt in this part of the world.
The United States has unveiled a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan – with new leadership, new resources, and a new sense of urgency. I am optimistic that we will gain momentum over the next year – but it will require hard work.

I thank the countries here that have contributed to this mission. Among them:

-- Australia continues to be in the thick of some of the toughest fighting;

-- Japan has made great financial contributions;

-- India continues infrastructure projects throughout Afghanistan; and

-- New Zealand and Singapore continue to help man Provincial Reconstruction Teams.


But Afghanistan needs more. To establish a sustainable and effective government in Afghanistan, it needs additional:

-- Aid and expertise to help build infrastructure;

-- Funding to expand and maintain the Afghan National Army and police;

-- Experts in a variety of fields, such as prison reform, civil service, health care, agriculture, engineering, and education; and

-- Assistance to ensure that the presidential and provincial elections this year – and next year's parliamentary and district council elections – are free, fair, and credible.

The challenge in Afghanistan is so complex, and so untraditional, that it can only be met by all of us working in concert. All must contribute what they can to a cause that demands the full attention of the international community – a cause that is worthy of sacrifice and in everyone's national interest.

Other developments pose challenges to the long-term stability, security, and peace of Asia. Whether on the sea, in the air, in space, or cyberspace, the global commons represents a realm where we must cooperate – where we must adhere to the rule of law and the other mechanisms that have helped maintain regional peace. Only by committing to openness and transparency – by adhering to standard operational practices and international law – can we prevent misunderstandings, accidents, and even open conflicts.

We also have to contend with the problem of Burma, one of the isolated, desolate exceptions to the growing prosperity and freedom of the region. We saw Burma's resistance to accept basic humanitarian aid last year following the cyclone – a decision indicative of that country's approach to the rest of the world. We need to see real change in Burma – the release of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and the institution of meaningful dialogue between the junta and the opposition.

And then there's North Korea. Dependent on the charity of the international community to alleviate the hunger and suffering of its people, North Korea's leadership has chosen to focus the North's limited energy and resources on a reckless and ultimately self-destructive quest for nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

These programs have isolated North Korea globally and, quite literally, starved its people.

The policy of the United States has not changed: Our goal is complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. North Korea's nuclear program and actions constitute a threat to regional peace and security. We unequivocally reaffirm our commitment to the defense of our allies in the region. The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States and our allies. And we would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of such action.

President Obama has offered an open hand to tyrannies that unclench their fists. He is hopeful, but he is not na├»ve. Likewise, the United States and our allies are open to dialogue, but we will not bend to pressure or provocation. And on this count, North Korea's latest reply to our overtures isn't exactly something we would characterize as helpful or constructive. We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region – or on us.

At the end of the day, the choice to continue as a destitute, international pariah, or chart a new course, is North Korea's alone to make. The world is waiting.
There are no easy solutions to the challenges I have outlined this morning. And that brings me to my final point: the type of leadership you can expect from President Obama and the United States in coming years.

When Secretary Clinton visited the region, she said that this administration is committed to listening to the views of friends and partners across the globe. For example, we are now beginning to negotiate accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation – which demonstrates our willingness to take regional norms into account as we consider our relationships across the globe.

The President, similarly, has spoken of a more collaborative and consultative foreign policy – one committed to forging common solutions to common problems. Do not get me wrong: The United States will continue to be assertive on the international stage. We will protect our allies and our interests. We are, as a former secretary of state said, an indispensable power – but we are also one that is aware of our own limitations, aware that the world and nearly all the challenges we face are simply too complex to go it alone.

Let me close with a final thought. Throughout more than two centuries, the United States has been a beacon of freedom. In our efforts to protect our own freedom – and that of others – we have from time to time made mistakes, including at times being arrogant in dealing with others. But we always correct our course, and our willingness to do so is one of our most enduring strengths. In the end we know that our own democracy's strength ultimately depends on adhering to our nation's values and ideals – and on the strength and independence of other democracies and partners around the world. Those remain the guiding principles of our foreign policy today.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gates Downplays Rhetoric on North Korea

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2009 - As the plane flying him to a security conference in Singapore travels into a storm of regional unrest stirred up by this week's North Korean nuclear tests, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today downplayed the swirling rhetoric and said he sees no need to adjust U.S. military forces levels in the region. "I don't believe that anybody in the administration thinks there is a crisis," Gates told reporters traveling with him to this weekend's "Shangri-La Dialogue" Asia security summit.

"What we do have, though, are two new developments that are very provocative, that are aggressive, accompanied by very aggressive rhetoric," Gates said. "I think it brings home the challenge that North Korea poses to the region and to the international community."

North Korea reported conducting both nuclear and missile tests this week and threatened to attack U.S. and South Korean warships. Nations of the region have denounced North Korea's actions, with a strong reaction coming from China, the country's longtime ally.

Gates said North Korea's actions actually may work for the United States as it goes into the security talks in Singapore hoping to build on and strengthen relationships in the region. For the first time, Gates will sit down with his counterparts from both Japan and South Korea at the same time. He also will meet briefly with a senior military official from China.

"I think ... it may create opportunities for multilateral cooperation to try and persuade the North Koreans to change that behavior," Gates said. "My impression is that [China was] surprised by the nuclear test. I think there may be some opportunities here."

At the Shangri-La Dialogue, Gates said, he hopes to articulate the U.S. administration's commitment to the region, a point he said was underscored by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's recent visit to the region.

Gates will meet with defense ministers, senior military officials and other senior officials from across the region. He said that although North Korea likely will dominate the discussion, the participants also will discuss other security issues. The secretary said the meetings are critical as the countries move ahead together to form a response to North Korea's actions, and that they'll need "to be on and stay on the same page."

"I think that there is a general agreement that whatever responses there are need to be multilateral, preferably under the auspices of the U.N.," he said, "but perhaps there are other means as well."

China probably has more influence on North Korea than any other country, Gates said, though he conceded that even China's sway has limits. Still, it is important for the Chinese to be a part of any dealings with North Korea, he said.

Gates said plainly that there are no plans for U.S. military action against North Korea unless the country does something that requires a military response. The secretary said that international diplomatic measures are the first choice to curb further development of nuclear and missile capabilities in the north, while avoiding destabilizing the country.

"I would say that what we're talking about principally would be diplomatic and economic measures," he said. "But also, are there ways potentially to help strengthen our military cooperation and perhaps [defensive] military capabilities?"

Whatever sanctions are agreed upon, the secretary said, he hopes they will strike at the heart of North Korea's government without hurting the country's people.

"The North Korean regime has already done enough damage to the North Korean people," gates said. "I think we should be cautious in the way we look at reactions in terms of doing something that would be further damaging and harmful to the North Korean people."

About 25,000 U.S. military troops serve in South Korea. Some 250,000 -- or nearly one-fifth of total U.S. military strength -- are assigned to U.S. Pacific Command.

Army Reserve Offers Military, Civilian Return on Investment

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2009 - When Army Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz assumed his post as chief of the Army Reserve three years ago, he brought a mindset of focusing on the bottom line, a perspective he forged over 28 years in the private sector. That focus, he said, has become more important than ever.

"Especially now, as we are going into a Quadrennial Defense Review, and with a new administration, we as a nation are looking at what we want our military to be," Stultz told American Forces Press Service yesterday. "And we are asking, 'What are we getting as taxpayers for what we are investing?'"

So whenever Stultz talks about his Army Reserve soldiers -- whether within the defense establishment, with Congress or to the troops themselves – he peppers the discussion with the term, "return on investment."

"The theme I want to get across is that the Army Reserve is a great investment for America because of what you are getting in return," he said.

Stultz pointed to the "huge" impact Army Reserve soldiers are making as they support national security missions stateside as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Europe, Kosovo and elsewhere around the world. They work side by side with their active-duty counterparts, he said, demonstrating the same military competencies as they carry out the mission.

But, Stultz said, they bring something more to the table: their civilian-acquired job skills and education.

Every time he visits the combat theater, Stultz said, he looks for examples of how deployed Army Reservists are "applying some kind of civilian skill you would never expect in a soldier, that he is using on the battlefield."

He said he never has to look far, and he rattled off just a few examples. A reservist who is a building demolition expert in civilian life advised his commander in how to take down a bombed-out structure without causing additional damage. Soils engineers and hydrologists deployed with their units to Afghanistan are putting their civilian know-how to work making infrastructure improvements. Carpenters and masonry workers deployed to Afghanistan set up a school in Afghanistan to share their skills and help to build a local labor force.

Perhaps one of the most striking examples is Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, who served as an engineer for Multinational Division Baghdad, leading efforts to improve sanitation and restore essential services for the local people. In carrying out the mission, Talley drew heavily on his background as an engineering professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Stultz said he's awestruck by the quality of soldiers serving in the Army Reserve.

"I continue to run across soldiers on the battlefield who have great civilian educations, great civilian occupations, and they are willing to walk away from all that and put it on hold, and risk their lives to serve their country," he said. "This is the added value of the Reserve. We are getting a return on investment as a military."

But the return on investment isn't limited to what the Army Reserve brings to the force, Stultz said. He pointed to a frequently overlooked part of the equation: what the Army Reserve brings to civilian communities and businesses.

"We develop talent. We develop capability," he said. "And we give that back to America."

Stultz introduced several soldiers he said exemplify the "value added" the Army Reserve delivers during a March hearing of the Senate Appropriation Committee's defense subcommittee.

Among them was Army Sgt. Jason Ford, an Army Reserve drill sergeant who molds basic trainees into soldiers at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. While deployed to Iraq, he applied that expertise to train Iraqi soldiers. Now home in Brockton, Mass., he's applying the professional experience he's gained as a member of his community police department.

Meanwhile, the popular Army Reserve Employer Partnership Initiative that links Army reservists with civilian employers soon will sign on its 400th partner. As Stultz began sitting down with employers to hammer out details of the program, he said, he realized how much it would benefit employers as well as reservists.

"What became very quickly evident is that the employers of America are still starved for talent in a lot of areas," he said. "Not starved for applicants, but starved for the talent they need.

"We've been thinking about the burden that the Army Reserve is putting on employers, because we are taking their employees away from them," he continued. "What we ought to be thinking about is the value we can become to an employer if they tell us what their needs are. We can bring trained, talented individuals to go to work for them."

The program has snowballed, with employers from the health, law enforcement, transportation and other sectors clamoring to be included. "They say they really value the skills we have taught soldiers," Stultz said. "They're asking, 'How do we get involved in this?'"

Stultz talked about the program during a Senate hearing in March that focused on the fiscal 2010 budget request. "That's a return on investment for this nation," He told the senators. "That's taking capability that we're building, that we provide for our military in uniform, but we bring back to the communities of America."

Yet for all this capability, Stultz noted that the Army Reserve represents a "very minimal" percentage of the defense budget. Stultz told the Senate Armed Forces Committee's personnel subcommittee in March he's committed to building on this investment.

"The Army Reserve is giving this nation a great return on investment," he said. "The dollars that we're given in our budget are used wisely, and we're returning back to America, not only in terms of the military capability, but the civilian capability."

Obama Announces Cyber Security Office

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 29, 2009 - The nation's computer network infrastructure will be defended as a national strategic asset, President Barack Obama said here today. In a White House announcement, Obama said he will appoint a cyber security coordinator for the critical infrastructure that all Americans depend on.

"We will ensure that these networks are secure, trustworthy and resilient," he said. "We will deter, prevent, detect and defend against attacks, and recover quickly from any disruptions or damage."

The cyber security office will orchestrate and integrate all cyber security policies for the government, the president said. It will work closely with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure agency budgets reflect those priorities, and, in the event of major cyber incident or attack, it will coordinate government response.

The cyber security coordinator will be a member of the national security staff and will serve on the president's national economic council.

"To ensure that policies keep faith with our fundamental values, this office will also include an official with a portfolio specifically dedicated to safeguarding the privacy and civil liberties of the American people," Obama said. "Clear milestones and performance metrics will measure progress."

The cyber infrastructure is not limited to the federal government. The office will work with state and local governments and international partners to combat cyber attacks, and also will work with the private sector to ensure an organized and unified response to future cyber incidents.

"Given the enormous damage that can be caused by even a single cyber attack, ad hoc responses will not do," Obama said. "Nor is it sufficient to simply strengthen our defenses after incidents or attacks occur. Just as we do for natural disasters, we have to have plans and resources in place beforehand, sharing information, issuing warnings and ensuring a coordinated response."

The problem is spreading. Obama said cyber criminals launched attacks worldwide last year that cost consumers $1 trillion.

America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cyber security, which also affects public safety and national security, the president said. "We count on computer networks to deliver our oil and gas, our power and our water," he said. Computers help run public transportation networks from the skies to subways, he noted, and hackers have launched attacks on electrical grids.

"Our technological advantage is a key to America's military dominance, but our defense and military networks are under constant attacks," he said. "Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups have spoken of their desire to unleash a cyber attack on our country, attacks that are harder to detect and harder to defend against. Indeed, in today's world, acts of terror could come not only from a few extremists in suicide vests, but from a few keystrokes on the computer – a weapon of mass disruption."

Part of the program is a national campaign to promote cyber security awareness and digital literacy. The effort also will be part of the president's initiative to build a digital work force for the 21st century.

"The task I have described will not be easy," he said. "Some 1.5 billion people around the world are already online, and more are logging on every day. Groups and governments are sharpening their cyber capabilities. Protecting our prosperity and security in this globalized world is going to be a long, difficult struggle, demanding patience and persistence over many years."

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 29, 2009

AIR FORCE
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a cost-plus fixed fee contract for an amount not-to-exceed $1,487,400,000. This contract action is for the production of the 3rd Space Based Infrared Systems Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite 3, the production of Highly Elliptical Earth Orbit payload 3 and modification of the Space Based Infrared Systems Ground systems to accommodate operations of three payloads simultaneously. At this time, $1,115,550,000 has been obligated. SMC/ISSW, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8810-08-C-0002, P00002).

Raytheon Co., of McKinney, Texas, is being awarded a firm fixed price contract for an amount not-to-exceed $87,327,441. This action will provided 35 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems Model A, 25 Preproduction Units including one retrofit gyro and one retrofit imager, and associated replaceable unit spares and containers to support the predator/reaper. At this time $14,094,649 has been obligated. 703rd ASG, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-06-G-4041).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a cost-plus fixed fee requirements contract for an estimated $19,322,673. This action will provide Technical Area tasks to provide the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration/Department of Defense Chief Information Officer with state of the art technologies and innovative solutions to ensure they are incorporated into all components of the Global Information Grid. At this point, $49,662 has been obligated. 55CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002).

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a contract for $14,492,056. This action will provide Information Assurance and full spectrum defensive network warfare operations, analytical and techniques, and procedures for the Air Force Network Warfare Wing. At this time, $966,184 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a cost-plus fixed fee contract for $11,593,313. This action will provide Information Assurance Research & Development/Scientific & Technical analysis for the Air Force Communications Agency in order to ensure IA compliant secure communications for the warfighter. At this time, $966,184 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a cost-plus fixed fee contract for $10,014,409. This contract action will provide International Affairs Research and Development Scientific and Technical analysis of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers remote sensing geographic information systems networks and capabilities. At this time, $154,589 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., for is being awarded a cost-plus fixed fee contract for $6,521,436. This contract action will provide Technical Area Task to provide the Office of Naval Operations with sound, unique International Affairs solutions for transforming the Navy's enterprise architecture capability for Office of Naval Operations to ensure development of an assured secured information solution for naval, joint, and coalition environments. At this time, $74,396 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
BAE Systems, Specialty Group, Jessup, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $114,034,530 firm fixed price contract for modular lightweight load-carrying equipment. Other locations of performance are in Ky., Penn., Tenn., Ariz., Wis., and Puerto Rico. Using service is Army. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is for the first term option period with one one-year option period remaining. The original proposal was Web solicited with six responses. The date of performance completion is May 28, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-08-D-1080).

World Fuel Services, Inc., Miami, Fla., is being awarded a maximum $5,263,420 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of performance is District of Columbia. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is Mar. 31, 2013. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0114).

NAVY
Caddell Construction Co., Inc., Montgomery, Ala., is being awarded a $91,600,000 firm fixed price contract for construction of a new 3rd Army Headquarters Complex to be located at Shaw Air Force Base. The work to be performed provides for the construction of an Army Central (ARCENT) Headquarters Complex. The project will include the design and construction of the ARCENT Headquarters Complex which includes the Command and Control Facility (C2F Facility), the Headquarters, and a Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility exterior covered equipment hardstand area and staff parking. The contract is incrementally funded with the first increment of $58,079,920 being allocated at the time of award. The second increment will be funded in fiscal 2010 at $33,520,080. Work will be performed in Sumter, S.C., and is expected to be completed by April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 18 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N69450-09-C-1756).

W.F. MaGann, Corp., Portsmouth, Va., is being awarded a $24,550,000 firm fixed price contract for repairs to the floor and walls of Drydock 8 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The work to be performed provides for demolition, concrete installation, dewatering and removal, replacement, reinstallation of existing utilities, equipment, structures and appurtenances within the dock as well as incidental civil sitework. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Va., and is expected to be completed by June 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-5040).

EFW, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $15,131,483 not-to-exceed undefinitized contract action (UCA) for the procurement and installation of 90 Tactical Video Data Links, 10 spares, and associated non-recurring engineering and technical data for the U.S. Marine Corp AH-1W helicopters. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, (50 percent), Camp Pendleton, Calif., (25 percent); Afghanistan, (10 percent); Patuxent River, Md., (5 percent); China Lake, Calif., (5 percent); and Iraq, (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in January 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $7,565,742 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.301-2. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0057).

Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc., Monroeville, Pa., is being awarded an $11,657,866 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-2100) for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, Pa., (90.5 percent) and Schenectady, N.Y., (9.5 percent). Contract funds in the amount of $233,157 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. No completion date or additional information is provided on Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program contracts. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Healy Tibbitts Builders, Inc., Aiea, Hawaii, is being awarded $8,723,483 for firm-fixed price task order 0024 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62742-04-D-1300) to provide repairs to V-1 Dock in Naval Station Pearl Harbor. The work to be performed provides for repairs to concrete piles and concrete wharf, superstructure; replace damaged mooring hardware; replace deteriorated timber fender systems with new concrete piles; plastic wales, chocks and blocks; install oil spill containment flotation device; install pneumatic floating fenders; upgrade safety deficiencies; and miscellaneous mechanical and electrical work. Work will be performed in Pearl City Peninsula, Oahu, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by July 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., is being awarded a $7,929,028 firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-08-G-0010) for 22 Armed Helo Weapons System Fixed Provision Armament Retrofit Kits for the retrofit of the MH-60S Block 2A aircraft to Block 3A configuration. The kits will allow the installation of Removable Mission Equipment which includes the Integrated Self Defense Countermeasures Dispensing System, Forward Looking Infrared and Armor, and various weapons. Work will be performed in Stratford, Conn., (21.8 percent); Ontario, Calif., (13.1 percent); Ronkonkoma, N.Y., (11.3 percent); Milford, Conn., (8.6 percent); Tallassee, Ala., (6.7 percent); Mineola, N.Y., (5.9 percent); Wallingford, Conn., (5.4 percent); Sylmar, Calif., (5.3 percent); Vernon, Conn., (4.1 percent); Berlin, Conn., (3 percent); Orange, Conn., (2.7 percent); Coxsackie, N.Y., (1.7 percent); Shelton, Conn., (1.2 percent); Yaphank, N.Y., (1.1 percent); Tempe, Ariz., (1 percent); and at various locations across the United States, (7.1 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2011. 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.

Virtxeco Corporation, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded $7,369,000 for firm-fixed-price task order #0003 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-09-D-5033) for the construction of Navy Cargo Handling Operations Training Center at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex. The work to be performed provides for construction of a two-story facility of instructional and administrative space. The task order also contains two unexercised options, which if exercised would increase the cumulative contract value to $7,489,900. Work will be performed in Williamsburg, Va., and is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Seven proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Army Investigates Misconduct Allegations

The Department of the Army announced today that the Army's Criminal Investigation Command and Multi-National Force – Iraq are investigating allegations of serious misconduct involving members of the 266th Military Police Company, Virginia Army National Guard, which allegedly took place during the unit's pre-deployment mobilization training at Fort Dix, N.J., in fall 2008.

The allegations state that several soldiers of the unit inappropriately photographed and filmed female soldiers while showering.

Commanders in Iraq learned of the allegations on May 21 and initiated an Army Regulation 15-6 investigation on May 22. The Criminal Investigation Command initiated a criminal investigation on May 23.

For more information regarding the investigation, please contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 697-2564.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 28, 2009

NAVY
Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded an $87,208,599 cost-reimbursable letter contract to procure long lead material in support of the FY09 Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIB all up rounds (AURs) production. This contract will provide long lead material to support the procurement of 50 domestic SM-2 Block IIIB AUR's, 104 Block IIIB ordalt missile rounds and 69 SM-2 Block IIIA/B AUR's for international customers. Work will be performed in Andover, Mass., (37 percent); Camden, Ark., (36 percent); Netherlands, (14 percent); St Petersburg, Fla., (5 percent); Middleton, Conn., (3 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (3 percent); and Reisterstown, Md., (2 percent), and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2011. 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 Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-5301).

Orbital Sciences Corp., Chandler, Ariz., is being awarded a $41,756,065 modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-fee contract (N00019-07-C-0031) for the full-rate production of 14 GQM-163A supersonic sea skimming target air vehicles, including associated hardware, kits, booster kits and sustaining engineering. Work will be performed in Chandler, Ariz., (98 percent); and South Bend, Ind., (2 percent), and is expected to be completed in Mar. 2012. 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.

Raytheon Technical Services Co., Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $15,501,285 firm-fixed-price award fee requirements contract for performance based logistics support of the MK 57 NATO Seasparrow surface missile system and MK 23 target acquisition system. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., (55 percent) and Chula Vista, Calif., (45 percent), and work is expected to be completed by May 2014. Contract funds will expire before the end of the fiscal year. This announcement includes foreign military sales to the countries of Canada, (2 percent); Germany, (2 percent); Australia, (1.25 percent); Netherlands, (1.25 percent); Belgium, (.5 percent); Denmark, (.5 percent); Greece, (.5 percent); Norway, (.5 percent); Portugal, (.5 percent); Spain, (.5 percent); and Turkey, (.5 percent). This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00104-09-D-ZD41).

Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded a $14,493,164 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a cost-plus-award-fee pricing arrangement for logistics services in support of the Maritime Prepositioning Ships Program, the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program-Norway and operational logistics support to engaged Marine Corps and Department of Defense operating forces. This contract includes nine one-year options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $707M. Work will be performed at the Blount Island Command in Jacksonville, Fla., (86 percent); aboard 16 maritime prepositioning ships (12 percent); and in six locations in Norway, (two percent), and work is expected to be completed Sept. 2009 (Sept. 2018 with options exercised). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities web site (solicitation number M67004-08-R-0001), with five offers received. The Contract Support Management Office, Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (M67004-09-D-0020).

Reliable Builders, Inc.*, Tamuning, Guam, is being awarded a $10,502,576 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction to repair and modernize Bachelor Quarters Building 580, Camp Covington at U.S. Naval Base Guam ($4,200,000); and repair and modernize Bachelor Quarters Buildings 581 and 584, Camp Covington at U.S. Naval Base Guam ($6,302,576). The work to be performed provides for the repair and alteration of Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) to comply with BEQ construction standards as outlined in MIL-HDBK 1036A Bachelor housing standards to increase the quality of life and safety of personnel. Project provides for seismic strengthening to resist major earthquakes, meet the 170-mph wind resistance criteria for Guam, and upgrades the fire protection system. Renovation will utilize energy efficient plumbing, mechanical, and electrical fixtures/ equipment. Work will be performed in Santa Rita, Guam, and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2010. Funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured utilizing the Small Business Administration's 8(a) Program with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas, Guam, is the contracting activity (N40192-09-C-1322).

AMSEC LLC, Fairfax, Va., is being awarded an estimated $9,386,061 modification to previously awarded contract (N65540-02-D-0042) for engineering and technical services for alteration installations, engineering research, design, computer programming and logistics on hull, mechanical, electrical and electronics systems onboard Navy ships. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., (50 percent); San Diego, Calif., (25 percent); Mayport, Fla., (10 percent); Annapolis, Md., (10 percent); Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, (3 percent), and Yokosuka/Sasebo, Japan, (2 percent), and is expected to be completed by Mar.h 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $251,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Ship Systems Engineering Station, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded an $8,236,771 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the repair and post production services for the sustainment of the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). Raytheon will be required to repair, modify, calibrate, test, certify and evaluate HARM missiles, missile sections, assemblies, subassemblies and related equipment and provide related technical data for the Navy, Air Force and Foreign Military Sales customers. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed in May 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $8,236,771 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. This contract combines purchase for the U.S. Navy ($1,638,487; 19.8 percent) and the U.S. Air Force ($6,598,284; 80.2 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-D-0005).

Solpac Construction Inc., dba Soltek Pacific Construction, Co., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $7,597,500 for firm-fixed-price task order #0009 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-08-D-8615) for construction of ordnance storage facilities at the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, Calif. The task order also contains four unexercised options, which if exercised would increase cumulative task order value to $18,989,500. Work will be performed in China Lake, Calif., and is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Five proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Atlas Technologies, Inc., Charleston, S.C., was awarded a $5,717,706 indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract on May 27, 2009, for C41SR integration and engineering support. The contract includes four one-year option periods which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to an estimated $29,983,584. Work will be performed in Charleston, S.C., (75 percent); Norfolk, Va., (20 percent); and San Diego, Calif., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed by May 2010. If all options are exercised, work could continue until May 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities web site and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command e-commerce web site, with an unlimited number of proposals solicited and two offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic is the contracting activity (N65236-09-D-5821).

Progeny Systems Corp.,*, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $5,512,863 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-6297) for the development of the AN/WLY-1 system, Archival Media Center and Active Intercept and Ranging (AI&R) System. The AN/WLY-1 AI&R System developed under SBIR topic N00-049 provides for the modernization of existing Active Intercept Acoustic Signal Processing Systems onboard all U.S. Submarines in order to satisfy the functional requirements for acoustic intercept capability in the Va., Class SSN. Work will be performed in Charleroi, Pa., (95 percent) and Manassas, Va., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

ARMY

Akima Intra-Data, LLC, Anchorage, Ala., was awarded on May 27, 2009 a $19,600,000 firm-fixed-price with award fee contract for the base operation services to support the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency-West. Work is to be performed in St. Louise, Mo., with an estimated completion date of Jun. 30, 2014. Thirty-One (31) bids were solicited with six (6) bids received. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, ACSS, St. Louise, Mo., is the contracting activity (HM1575-09-C-0009).

Science Applications International Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded on May 27, 2009 a $6,362,555 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide support for contingency planning operations and exercises for the prevention of potential incidents involving nuclear weapons. Work is to be completed in Fort Belvoir, Va., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2010. One bid solicited with one bid received. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (HDTRA1-04-D-0021).

The Korte Co., St. Louise Mo., was awarded on May 26, 2009 a $14,342,700 firm-fixed-price contract to design, build, and construction of medical and dental clinic located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Work is to be performed in Fort Campbell, Ky., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with Four (4) for Phase II bids received. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0034).

AIR FORCE
The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed-price contract with Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc. of El Segundo, Calif., for $6,289,303. This contract action will exercise the third three-month storage option for the third wideband global satellite communication. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. HQ SMC/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-00-C-0011, P00182).

The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Lockheed Martin Corp., of Marietta, Ga., for $7,297,950. This contract action will provide installation of a quantity of six C-5 aircraft with the C-5 Avionics Modernization Program kits and the consolidated load panel under a firm fixed price effort; and under a time-and-material effort acquiring rapid response and repair for potential legacy issues which may arise during the Avionics Modernization Program kit installation. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 716 AESG/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (F33657-98-C-0006, P00223).

U.S. Continues to Monitor North Korean Situation, Official Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

May 28, 2009 - The United States government -- including the Pentagon -- is "very closely" monitoring the situation regarding North Korea's recent nuclear device and missile tests, a senior Defense Department official said here today. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is employing diplomacy and international pressure through the United Nations to persuade North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program.

Obama "has made clear the path in which the United States is going to take to try to resolve these issues," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

"The record is clear: North Korea has previously committed to abandoning its nuclear program," Obama told reporters at a May 25 White House news conference, following reports that North Korea had conducted an underground nuclear-device test earlier that day. North Korea, Obama told reporters, "has chosen" to ignore its commitment to jettison its nuclear weapons program.

As a result of North Korea reneging on its pledge, Obama continued, it will face stronger international efforts to persuade it to comply with U.N. resolutions.

It is believed that North Korea carried out its first underground nuclear test in October 2006.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday condemned North Korea's May 25 underground test of a nuclear device, as well as its recent missile tests. The United States, she said, is working with the United Nations to convince North Korea to adhere to its pledge not to develop nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, to include ballistic missiles.

Whitman said more-definitive knowledge whether North Korea had, indeed, conducted a nuclear-device test on May 25 could become available during the next several days.

Troop Support Group Hits Target's Charity Bullseye

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

May 28, 2009 - Operation Gratitude will receive $232,948 from Target as part of the company's first online giving campaign. The California-based troop-support group was one of 10 charities selected by Target to receive a percentage of $3 million based on votes cast in its online "Bullseye Gives" contest, hosted by the social-networking Web site Facebook.

"I would like to thank everyone who voted for Operation Gratitude," Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude founder, said. "Each vote paid to send an additional care package to our deployed troops. Target and our voters have truly made a difference to the men and women of the U.S. military who are in harm's way, far from home and their loved ones. I am forever grateful for their dedication to this cause."

From May 10 through May 25, Operation Gratitude's Facebook fans, volunteers, donors and supporters joined forces to cast 22,627 votes, earning the organization 7.8 percent of the $3 million charitable donation pledged by Target.

Target invited all Facebook members to visit its Facebook page to make a choice on how 10 national charities would receive a portion of its $3 million in weekly charitable giving. The charities Target selected included the American Red Cross, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Feeding America, HandsOn Network/Points of Light Institute, Kids In Need Foundation, Operation Gratitude, Parent Teacher Association, National Park Foundation, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Salvation Army.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital received the most votes -- 77,427 -- and earned $797,123.

Laysha Ward, president of Target's community relations department, said the company is grateful to the online voters for their "passionate" response to "Bullseye Gives" and their willingness to share personal stories about why these charities are important to them.

"We're excited that all 10 amazing charities will receive a generous donation, as well as increased awareness through social-networking platforms," Ward said.

In return, Blashek said, she thanks Target for its generous support and creative vision in embracing the social-networking world for good causes.

"My attitude has completely changed about Facebook and other social-networking tools," Blashek said. "This is a very powerful thing. It is a wonderful way to reach out to people and for people to reach out to you."

Blashek said the donation comes at a good time. "Operation Gratitude is in the midst of its annual Patriotic Drive, during which a total of 40,000-plus care packages will be assembled for U.S. servicemembers," she said. "These funds will carry us a long way. All of it will go toward care packages for our troops."

In addition to earning Operation Gratitude a financial windfall, "Bullseye Gives" also resulted in a windfall of "fans" for the organization during the two-week voting period.

"Our fans on Facebook increased from 472 on May 9 to 5,131 on May 26," Blashek said. "We are so excited about this new base and members wanting to learn more about us and how they can support our troops."

Overall, more than 167,000 Facebook members voted for the charity of their choice.

Top Pacific Commander Embraces Early Leadership Principles

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 28, 2009 - As young Tim Keating was growing up just outside Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, his parents taught him to treat other people the way he'd like his children, one day, to be treated, and as if all those other people outranked him. It's a philosophy he embraced as he attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and he never lost sight of it as he rose through the ranks to become the senior U.S. military officer in the Pacific.

"Dad tried to make sure we understood that he thought it important to treat everybody the way he would have them treat his kids. That kind of stuck with me," Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating told American Forces Press Service. "But my parents also taught me that if you figure everybody is senior to you, and regard them that way and give them that respect – whether they are or not isn't so important – it will allow you to develop the capacity to listen, to pay attention and to learn."

Approaching his third year at the helm of the largest U.S. combatant command, Keating said he strives to draw on the strengths of his people while providing them opportunities to grow.

"There isn't anybody in United States Pacific Command who doesn't have a good idea and isn't eager to do their job," he said. "And when given a certain amount of latitude and authority and responsibility, in an extraordinarily high percentage of the cases, they rise to the occasion.

"So you drive the authority down to the appropriate level," he continued. "Give some general guidance, and then kind of get out of the way and let people do their jobs at the level at which they are capable, capitalizing on the training and equipment they've received."

When forced to make tough decisions, Keating said, he strives to ensure they're "firm, fair, consistent and honest."

"You don't always have the blessing of sufficient time to explain every decision you make," he said. "Sometimes they're hard, and have to be made in a split second."

But whenever possible, Keating said, he seeks advice and counsel from what he calls "an immensely dedicated, smart group of men and women" at Pacom.

"If you give them the time to make their recommendation, sort through the facts and decide to do what you think is best for our nation, your command and the men and women who are going to have to do the heavy lifting, most times it turns out to be a pretty good decision," he said.

Shortly after taking command of Pacom in 2007, Keating declared it "the best job in the Department of Defense." Time on the job has reinforced that initial impression.

"It sounds trite and hokey, but I walk into the headquarters every morning happy to be there, and anxious to get up to the office," he said. "It's the best job in the world."

Now, as he expects to pass his command to his successor this fall, Keating said he feels positive about the state of U.S. Pacific Command. He credits the recently revised Pacom strategy, built on the tenets of partnership, readiness and presence, with promoting peace and stability.

One measure of that success, he said, is the fact that the region continues to enjoy a relative peace, with no significant military incidents and no state-on-state conflict. "In a way, it's what hasn't happened," he said. "Some of that is good fortune. But a lot of it is due to a concerted effort by a lot of people, including those at Pacific Command."

Keating calls Navy Adm. Robert M. Willard, whom Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced yesterday President Barack Obama has nominated to become the next Pacom commander, the right man for the post. Willard currently commands the Navy's Pacific Fleet.

"There is no one as qualified in the department as Bob Willard," Keating said.

In the meantime, as he looks back over his 38 years of commissioned service, Keating said, he considers his time at Pacom the crescendo to a career punctuated with high points.

That career path was all but sealed when Keating was just 8 or 9 years old and his father took him to the annual air show at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Two military air demonstration teams, the Air Force Thunderbolts and the Navy Blue Angels, alternated years at the show. As it turned out, it was the Navy team's turn to perform. Keating was smitten as he watched the Navy pilots scream through the air, leaving white smoke in their wake.

Suddenly, the young Keating had an alternative to his life-long dream of becoming second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds. Maybe he'd become a Navy fighter pilot instead.

Keating ended up following the latter dream to Annapolis, calling his Naval Academy experience "one of the very great things that happened to me."

"I'm eternally grateful for that opportunity," Keating said of the lessons he learned there and the lifelong friendships he made.

Keating said his Naval Academy experience reaffirmed many of the leadership lessons he learned at his childhood dinner table. But he also pointed to several major figures he said influenced him and his leadership style during his career.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Thomas A. Mercer laid the groundwork as Keating's first fleet squadron commanding officer.

Navy Adm. William J. Crowe, the former Pacom commander for whom Keating served as a military aide while a flag lieutenant, gave Keating wide exposure to the Asia-Pacific region and new approaches to addressing the challenges there. Crowe later served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"He expanded my horizons and exposed me to processes and thoughts and ways of thinking that I didn't know existed at the time," Keating said.

Another former Pacom commander, retired Adm. Joseph Prueher, became Keating's close friend and advisor.

Retired Rear Adm. Jack Zerr, who assumed command of Keating's squadron after its commanding officer died in a tragic accident, provided a "spectacular" model of leadership as he looked out for the health and welfare of everyone in his charge, Keating said. "I try to live those lessons every day," he said.

Retired Marine Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left a deep impression, Keating said, citing his "towering integrity and abiding interest in the men and women in uniform."

But perhaps one of the most profound influences on Keating came early in his career, when he was serving with Attack Squadron 122 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. That's where Keating met the future Wanda Lee Keating, the head-turner he jokes was attracted more to his "fancy-pants Corvette convertible" than to the hot-shot fighter pilot behind the wheel.

Turning serious, Keating called his wife "the best thing that has ever happened to me," and a never-ending source of support and encouragement that has sustained him throughout his military career.

"Wanda Lee is a perfect example of the strength you can draw from a partner who understands the importance of what you are doing and makes every sacrifice to help you achieve your command and personal goals," he said. "She is every bit as dedicated to faith, family and friends and country as anyone in uniform."

Together, the Keatings raised two children: a son now serving as executive officer of a Navy F/A-18 squadron, and a daughter who's married to an F/A-18 pilot. Both Keatings hope to relocate closer to their children and grandchildren after retirement.

"We'll probably go to the East Coast, take a couple of minutes and figure out what we are going to do next," he said.

But in the meantime, Keating made it clear he has no intention of taking his eye off the ball at U.S. Pacific Command.

"We are going to do our level best to give everyone a very clear impression that we are going to sprint right to the finish line," he said. "There is plenty to do out here. And this is, and has been, the best job a man and women can have, so we will relish every moment of it."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Obama Touts Solar Power at Air Power Hub

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2009 - President Barack Obama today held up Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., as an example for America to follow toward energy independence. The air base – a huge facility outside Las Vegas best known as the "Home of the Fighter Pilot" – also is the site of the largest solar electric plant of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, and the president would like to see more such facilities around the country.

The array has more than 72,000 solar panels built on part of an old landfill. The facility provides about a quarter of the electricity for the 12,000 people who live and work at the base. "That's the equivalent of powering about 13,200 homes during the day," Obama said. "It's a project that took about half a year to complete, created 200 jobs, and will save the U.S. Air Force, which is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, nearly $1 million a year."

The Nellis facility reduces harmful carbon pollution by 24,000 tons a year – the equivalent of removing 4,000 cars from the roads, Obama noted. "Most importantly, this base serves as a shining example of what's possible when we harness the power of clean, renewable energy to build a new, firmer foundation for economic growth," he said.

Nellis' system covers 140 acres of land, including 33 acres of capped landfill. The array comprises more than 72,000 solar panels that track the sun to maximize renewable solar energy.

Obama said he would like to see this technology – and others that harness wind and geothermal energy – duplicated around the United States "because in this case, what happens in Vegas should not stay in Vegas."

"We'll invest in the development and deployment of solar technology wherever it can thrive," he said, "and we'll find the best way to integrate solar power into our electric grid."

The Nellis solar power system is a joint venture among the Air Force, Renewable Ventures, SunPower Corp. and N.V. Energy.

Biden Calls on Air Force Academy Graduates to Shape History

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2009 - Vice President Joe Biden today called upon the newest graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy to shape a new history for the country as they said goodbye to academia and welcomed their new challenges as second lieutenants in an ever-changing U.S. military and world. Biden delivered the academy's commencement address at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Today marks the end of one chapter and [begins] what for many of you will be a long and proud career of service to the United States of America," he said. "You take your place as leaders in the premier military not only in the world, but in the history of the world."

Biden thanked the 1,046 graduates for surviving the rigors of higher learning while simultaneously enduring the physical and mental stresses of becoming Air Force officers.

"While your friends across the country were heading to campus bars, you were [conducting military training]," he said. "We want to express our gratitude for the service you've yet to perform, the risks you've offered to take and the many sacrifices that will be asked of you in the coming years."

The class of 2009 is graduating into a moment in history where the state of the world is constantly changing, Biden said, setting a course for a future that past generations didn't have to act upon. The vice president cited the global financial crisis and food, water and energy scarcities. He talked about the proliferation of nuclear weapons by "unstable" countries and called the world a planet in peril "set in a direction that must be altered." Today's challenges are daunting, he acknowledged, but they present immense opportunities.

"This is a moment that requires us to act or face the consequences of our inaction," Biden said to the class. "Other generations have had the luxury of not acting, knowing that the status quo would not in any fundamental way be altered. You don't have that choice.

"This is your moment to bend history towards a service of a better day," he continued. "It's a moment that will be defined by you and your civilian counterparts – by a generation that I'm convinced has the intellect, the character and the judgment to ensure that America will lead the 21st century as it has the 20th century."

Biden said he envies today's generation for its opportunity to rewrite history. Each graduating class and every cadet has had unique challenges, Biden said, and every class enters history which, up to that point, was written for them. But the opportunities to rewrite history and make the world a better place are far greater today than ever before, he added.

"It's not going to be easy," the vice president said. "The history that you can write is monumental, and I'm absolutely confident that you can do it."

Biden stressed that it's not just a time for the newest generation of college graduates. It's America's time too, he said, as the country strives to invest in education opportunities for lesser fortunate children and make health care more affordable and available for its citizens.

On a day when President Barack Obama held up Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., as an example for the nation to follow in the pursuit of solar energy, Biden said America has a responsibility to make the planet greener by developing ways to improve the environment. Americans also should support improving the quality of life for Third World countries, which Biden said will greatly reduce the recruiting pool for terrorists and extremists.

"All this while you, the future military leaders of America, are guaranteeing our security and promoting peace and stability the world over," Biden told the Air Force Academy graduates. "We have learned that peace without military strength is an illusion, but military strength without wisdom is insufficient."

Biden urged the graduates not to listen to those who doubt the relevance of today's Air Force and those who may not believe their generation is up for the many challenges ahead of them. Superiority in the air, in space and in cyberspace can't happen without the Air Force and the technological intellect of today's generation of military leaders, he said.

"How can you protect my son and all the sons and daughters of Americans who are on the ground in the theaters of combat without you flying the skies over Afghanistan and Iraq?" he asked. "All other nations combined in the world do not have the capacities that our Air Force alone possesses."

Without the United States Air Force, he asked, who could be trusted with nuclear stewardship, and who would be there at a moment's notice to deliver humanitarian aid to countries in need?

"There's no security in the United States without a strong, robust, vibrant [and] growing United States Air Force," he said.

The only way the United States can make good on its many promises to nations around the world is because of its Air Force and strategic military capabilities, he said.

"You are relevant," he told the graduates. "You are the essential element in fulfilling America's leadership in the world. You have the character, the training and the motivation unlike any other generation before you to fulfill your missions. And while you do, ... you will change the course of history."

VA Studies Advanced Prosthetic Arm

American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2009 - The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced a three-year study of an advanced artificial arm that easily allows those with severe limb loss to pick up a key or hold a pencil. "This arm is a high-tech example of how VA researchers are continually modernizing the materials, design and clinical use of artificial limbs to meet veterans' lifestyle and medical needs," said Dr. Joel Kupersmith, VA's physician and chief research and development officer.

In collaboration with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the study marks the first large-scale testing of the arm, which allows those who have lost a limb up to their shoulder to perform movements while reaching over their head, a previously impossible maneuver for people with a prosthetic arm.

The study is under the direction of Dr. Linda Resnik at the VA Medical Center in Providence, R.I. Veterans fitted with the arm will provide feedback to guide engineers in refining the prototype before it is commercialized and also made available through the VA health care system, VA officials said.

A unique feature of the advanced arm is its control system, which works almost like a foot-operated joystick. An array of sensors embedded in a shoe allows users to maneuver the arm by putting pressure on different parts of the foot. The current version uses wires to relay the signals to the arm, but future versions will be wireless.

The arm also can be adapted to work with other control systems, including myoelectric switches, which are wired to residual nerves and muscles in the upper body and respond to movement impulses from the brain, shoulder joysticks or other conventional inputs.

Frederick Downs Jr., director of VA's Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service lost his left arm during combat in Vietnam. He said he was "brought to tears" recently when the prosthetic arm allowed him to smoothly bring a water bottle to his mouth and drink.

"Learning to use the controls is not difficult," he said, due in part to a sensor in the artificial hand that sends a vibration signal that tells how strong the grip is. A stronger grip causes more vibration.

VA prosthetics research also includes vision and hearing aids, wheelchairs and propulsion aids, devices to help people with brain injuries to become mobile, and adaptive equipment for automobiles and homes -- "everything that's necessary to help veterans regain their mobility and independence," Downs said.

(From a Department of Veterans Affairs news release.)

Gates Leaves for Asia Security Talks

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates left here today for two days of security talks with defense counterparts and other senior officials from across Asia. The Asia Security Summit, known as the "Shangri-La Dialogue" for the Singapore hotel at which it's held annually, is sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. It opens May 30, and comes on the heels of a week of provocative acts by North Korea, including reported nuclear and missile tests and rumors of threats to attack U.S. and South Korean warships.

Senior U.S. officials have denounced the acts, calling them "provocative and belligerent," and senior defense officials say that while the talks in Singapore will not focus entirely on North Korea, it is likely the subject will occupy much of both the formal and aside conversations.

"It's obviously got to be addressed," a senior defense official, speaking on background, said. "It's a potential game-changer. ... I think it's fair to say that our approach is going to be that it's hard to affect North Korea directly, but we can certainly shore up and reinforce and deepen our relationships with our allies and our friends out there."

For the first time, Gates will sit down with the defense ministers from both South Korea and Japan. He also will meet briefly with a senior military official from China. All three countries have expressed alarm at North Korea's recent actions.

"We're looking to have a dialogue with our allies and our friends and work jointly together on what the proper responses should be," the defense official said. "We want to work with Asia on Asia's problems."

As he did last year, Gates will open the conference's first session. He will discuss a broad set of security issues and will promise continued support from the new U.S. administration, the official said. This underscores Gate's intent behind the trip, the official added, which is to reaffirm commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

About 250,000 servicemembers, or nearly one-fifth of total U.S. military strength, serve in the region, with Navy and Marine forces making up the largest elements.

"We're committed to the region, even though there is a lot of other stuff going on," the defense official said. "The United States is going to continue to be focused on Asia."

VA Web Site Helps College Counselors Aid Veterans

American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2009 - The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new Web site to strengthen the connection between college and university mental health professionals and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts studying on their campuses. "Many of our newest veterans are beginning their post-service lives by furthering their educations," said Dr. Gerald M. Cross, VA's acting undersecretary for health. "This initiative is designed to ensure that colleges and universities are able to assist with any special mental health needs they may have."

The Web site, http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/College, features recommended training for college and university counselors, with online modules including "Operation SAVE" for suicide prevention, "PTSD 101" and "Helping Students Who Drink Too Much." It also will feature a resource list that will be updated regularly.

Although the Web site is designed primarily for counselors, it also serves as a resource for veteran-students who wish to learn more about the challenges they may face in adjusting to their lives after leaving the military.

"We hope counselors and our returning veterans find this site helpful and easy to use," Cross said. "As the site grows, we expect it will become an increasingly valuable resource."

The new site is one of several Web-based tools VA has developed to assist veterans in dealing with mental health issues. Others include a guide for families of military members returning from deployment and information about a suicide prevention hotline for veterans.

(From a Department of Veterans Affairs news release.)

Gates Urges High School Alma Mater's Graduates to Lead, Serve

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2009 - Service, leadership and goals were the main themes of a graduation speech Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates delivered today to students of his alma mater, Wichita East High School in Wichita, Kan. "A Kansas upbringing imparts qualities that have been a source of strength for me over the years: an enduring optimism and idealism, a love of country and dedication to citizenship and service," Gates told the graduates. "In many ways, for all the places I have gone, and all the jobs I have held, and all the notable people I have worked with and met, I will always consider myself first and foremost just a kid from Kansas who got lucky."

The secretary said he is gratified by the number of graduates in the audience who will attend the service academies or have earned an ROTC scholarship. "Some of you will enlist right away in our armed forces," he said. "I admire and thank you all, on behalf of the American people."

Gates admitted he can't remember who spoke at his own graduation from East High, but he said he clearly remembers six teachers at the school who played great roles in his life.

"They opened my eyes to the world and to the life of the mind, and they were role models of decency and character," he said. "I only hope that half a century from now you will look back on your time at East High with such fond memories and, above all, remember amazing teachers who played a similarly major role in shaping your life."

The secretary told the students he got a "D" in calculus when he attended the College of William and Mary in Virginia. "Years later, as president of Texas A&M, I would tell university freshmen that I learned two lessons from that 'D,'" he said. "First, even if you're fairly smart, you will not succeed if you don't work hard. Second, I am standing proof that you can survive a 'D' as a freshman and still go on to make something of yourself."

He also told the graduates that it is all right to change majors in college, and that all should be "prepared to take your lives in directions you hadn't necessarily planned for," he said.

The secretary also spoke about his CIA intelligence training. "My efforts were less James Bond and more Austin Powers – and I don't mean that in a good way," he said. "One of my first training assignments was to practice secret surveillance with a team following a woman CIA officer around downtown Richmond, Va.

"Our team wasn't very stealthy," he continued, "and someone reported to the Richmond police that some disreputable-looking men – that would be me and my fellow CIA trainees – were stalking this poor woman. "My two colleagues were picked up by the Richmond police, and the only reason I didn't get arrested was because I had lost sight of her so quickly."

So instead of being a spy, the secretary became an analyst. "That led me into a career that allowed me to witness amazing moments in American history," he said. "So it may take you a few missteps and even embarrassments before you find the thing you're really good at, whether you go to college or not. But, keep at it."

Gates spoke about being a good leader and cited integrity as the core of good leadership. Good leaders have the courage to do what is right, not what is popular, the secretary said.

"You may be called to stand alone, and say 'I disagree with all of you and, because I have the responsibility, this is what we will do,'" he said. "Don't kid yourself – that takes courage."

The secretary also said real leaders treat other people with common decency and respect. "Too often, those who are in charge demonstrate their power by making life miserable for their subordinates, just to show they can," he said. "President Truman had it right when he said, 'Always be nice to all the people who can't talk back to you.'"

America needs leaders, and it needs people to step up and be of service to their communities and their country, Gates said. "No life is complete without such service," he told the graduates. "There are many ways to do this. Some of you do this already at school, in your community, through your church or elsewhere."

As secretary of defense, Gates said, he leads an organization in which "dedication, patriotism, and sacrifice are on display every day – by people who in many cases are your age or not much older," he said. "It is their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of so many others in every generation, that has made it possible for you and for me to live free and secure – to be able to make the choices about our own lives that I've been talking about.

"Our democracy is not just about our rights," he said. "It's also about our responsibilities and obligations."