Military News

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Multinational Task Force Targets Pirates

American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2009 - A new multinational task force is focusing solely on counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, the commander of the combined maritime forces in the region said. The force created the Maritime Security Patrol Area in the Gulf of Aden in August to support international efforts to combat piracy. Coalition efforts included Combined Task Force 150, which conducted maritime security operations -- such as the deterrence of drug smuggling and weapons trafficking.

"Some navies in our coalition did not have the authority to conduct counter-piracy missions," Navy Vice William E. Gortney said. "The establishment of [Combined Task Force] 151 will allow those nations to operate under the auspices of CTF 150, while allowing other nations to join CTF 151 to support our goal of deterring, disrupting and eventually bringing to justice the maritime criminals involved in piracy events."

Gortney commands U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, the U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces.

Establishing Combined Task Force 151 to focus on the counter-piracy mission enables Combined Task Force 150 to remain focused on security operations, officials said.

The admiral cautioned that although the new task force is a positive step, the efforts of coalition and international navies won't solve the problem of piracy. Proactive measures by merchant mariners and efforts ashore by the international community also must be part of the equation, Gortney said.

"The most effective measures we've seen to defeat piracy are nonkinetic and defensive in nature," he said. "The merchant ships have been doing a great job stepping up and utilizing these methods to defeat piracy attempts. That's a great first step.

"But the problem of piracy is and continues to be a problem that begins ashore and is an international problem that requires an international solution," he continued. "We believe the establishment of CTF 151 is a significant step in the right direction."

Navy Rear Adm. Terence E. McKnight has been named the commander of the new task force, which will become fully operational in mid-January.

(From a Combined Maritime Forces news release.)

Obama to Nominate Deputy Secretary, Three Other Top Defense Officials

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2009 - President-elect Barack Obama today announced his choices for four key Defense Department positions: deputy defense secretary, two undersecretary positions and general counsel.

William J. Lynn III was named as Obama's nominee for deputy defense secretary. The president-elect also announced his intention to nominate:

-- Robert F. Hale as undersecretary of defense (comptroller);

-- Michèle Flournoy as undersecretary of defense for policy; and

-- Jeh Charles Johnson as general counsel.

"I am confident that these distinguished individuals have the expertise and commitment needed to help me implement a sustainable national security strategy that combats 21st century threats and keeps the American people safe," Obama said of the nominees.

"They share with me the utmost respect for our brave men and women in uniform, and will work day and night to support our troops, strengthen our military, and advance our capacity to carry out 21st century missions," he said.

Obama said he recognizes the challenges ahead. "Together with [Defense] Secretary [Robert M.] Gates and our military, we will work to responsibly end the war in Iraq, defeat al-Qaida and the Taliban and renew America's strength and standing in the world," he said. "I am honored that they have joined me in this mission, and I trust that they will serve the American people well."

Gates has been "intimately involved" in the process of identifying and interviewing appropriate candidates for various vacancies throughout the department, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

Morrell said this afternoon, before Obama made his announcement, that Gates has been busy working with the transition team to identify appropriate candidates for various vacancies throughout the department and interview them personally.

"I think he feels as though ... we've made some good progress toward identifying some very capable candidates to fill some very big jobs within the department," Morrell said.

Lynn brings decades of experience and expertise in reforming government spending and making the tough choices necessary to ensure that American tax dollars are spent wisely, Obama's transition team said in its announcement. He was the Pentagon comptroller from 1997 to 2001, serving as the department's chief financial officer and the defense secretary's principal advisor for all budgetary and fiscal matters.

From 1993 to 1997, Lynn oversaw all aspects of the department's strategic planning process as director of program analysis and evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

He was awarded three Defense Department medals for distinguished public service: the Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and awards from the Army, Navy and Air Force. He also received the 2000 Distinguished Federal Leadership Award from the Association of Government Accountants for his efforts to improve defense accounting practices.

Lynn currently serves as senior vice president of government operations and strategy at Raytheon Company.

Before entering the Defense Department in 1993, Lynn served for six years on the staff of Sen. Edward Kennedy as liaison to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He also has been a senior fellow at the National Defense University, on the professional staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses, and served as the executive director of the Defense Organization Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

A graduate of Dartmouth College, N.H., Lynn has a law degree from Cornell Law School in New York and a master's in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University in New Jersey. He is married with a daughter.

Hale, Obama's nominee as comptroller, currently serves as executive director of the American Society of Military Comptrollers.

Hale served as assistant secretary of the Air Force for financial management and comptroller from 1994 to 2001. In that capacity, he was responsible for the Air Force budget and all aspects of Air Force financial management. Hale also spearheaded creation of the first-ever certification program for defense financial managers.

Hale spent 12 years leading the Congressional Budget Office's defense unit. Earlier in his career, he was an active-duty Navy officer assigned to the Center for Naval Analyses.

Hale holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Stanford University, Calif., as well as a master's degree from Stanford and a master's of business administration from George Washington University, D.C. He also is a fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration.

Hale has served on the Defense Business Board and recently completed service on a congressionally mandated Task Force on the Future of Military Health Care. He is a former national president of the American Society of Military Comptrollers and is a certified defense financial manager with acquisition specialty.

Flournoy, Obama's choice for undersecretary of defense for policy, cofounded and was named president of the Center for a New American Security in January 2007. She previously was a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she worked on a broad range of defense policy and international security issues.

Previously, Flournoy was a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. There, she founded and led the university's Quadrennial Defense Review working group, chartered by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop intellectual capital in preparation for the Department of Defense's 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review.

Before joining NDU, Flournoy was dual-hatted as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and threat reduction and deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy. In that capacity, she oversaw three policy offices in the Office of the Secretary of Defense: Strategy; Requirements, Plans, and Counterproliferation; and Russia, Ukraine and Eurasian Affairs.

Flournoy was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000.

In addition to several edited volumes and reports, she has authored dozens of articles on international security issues.

Flournoy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social studies from Harvard University, Mass., and a Master of Letters degree in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University in England, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.

Johnson, Obama's general counsel nominee, is a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, based in New York City.

An experienced trial lawyer in a successful law practice, Johnson also has demonstrated distinguished public service as a federal prosecutor and presidential appointee.

At age 47, he was elected a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. Johnson's career as a trial lawyer began in 1989, prosecuting public corruption cases as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. He served three years as a federal prosecutor.

In 1998, Johnson left his firm for 27 months when President Bill Clinton appointed him the Air Force's general counsel. In that position, Johnson was awarded the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service.

From 2007 to 2008, Johnson served as a foreign policy advisor to Obama's campaign.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a graduate of Morehouse College in Georgia and Columbia Law School in New York.

Nuclear Weapons Management Panel Recommends Changes at Pentagon

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2009 - Pentagon officials need to bolster internal management systems that address nuclear weapons issues, the leader of a special task force appointed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today. Since the Cold War ended, the nuclear deterrence force "has sometimes been neglected within the Department of Defense, as a whole," James R. Schlesinger, chairman of the Task Force on Nuclear Weapons Management, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

To better assist Gates with oversight of nuclear weapons issues, the department should have an assistant secretary of defense for deterrence to work in the Pentagon's policy shop, Schlesinger said.

That new assistant secretary, according to the report, would "provide a single [Office of the Secretary of Defense] voice and a single point of engagement for Joint Staff, U.S. Strategic Command, the military services, and other combatant commands on nuclear and weapons of mass destruction matters."

The assistant secretary, the report continued, would be assigned a deputy from the military acquisition realm.

The report also recommends that the purview of the Nuclear Weapons Council be expanded to include nuclear weapons, weapons systems, delivery systems, infrastructure, policy implementation and resources.

The NWC was established by Congress in 1986 to facilitate and coordinate activities between the Defense Department and the Energy Department as part of their dual responsibilities in maintaining the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

The Defense Department also should expand the staff that oversees nuclear deterrence issues within the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and place a general officer in charge of that effort, Schlesinger said.

The Pentagon and the armed services visibly reduced resources for nuclear deterrence missions following the end of the Cold War in 1991, Schlesinger told reporters. The resultant effect, he said, caused a perception among some leaders and rank-and-file servicemembers that the nuclear deterrence mission wasn't so important any more.

"We emphasize that deterrence must start from the top -- that the services, indeed, have picked up clues over the years since the end of the Cold War, that the interest in deterrence at the highest levels of DoD has diminished," said Schlesinger, in explaining why the U.S. military's interest in nuclear weapons matters had waned.

However, the U.S. nuclear deterrence mission remains a paramount endeavor that's of vital importance to the nation's national security and the welfare of America's allies, Schlesinger said.

"And if deterrence is in the eye of the beholder," Schlesinger said, "it is a political statement that must come from the very highest offices of the government, not only here in the DoD, but from the White House, from the Department of State and the like."

Schlesinger also took time to praise the Navy's nuclear deterrence mission.

"We were quite satisfied, generally, with the Navy's performance," Schlesinger said, noting that sailors who work in the nuclear-deterrence realm –- including submariners -- exhibit high morale.

The enormous power and destructiveness of nuclear weapons creates "the desire to avoid the actual use of those weapons in combat, and is, therefore, a different kind of deterrent," Schlesinger said.

"Nuclear forces, we hope, would not have to be used," Schlesinger said. However, he said, many of America's allies depend on U.S. nuclear deterrence capabilities for protection.

Therefore, America's allies "must retain confidence in the U.S. nuclear 'umbrella,'" Schlesinger said. If that confidence evaporates, he said, some U.S. allies are quite capable of building their own nuclear weapons, which could ignite a nuclear arms race.

The strength and credibility of America's nuclear umbrella "is a principal barrier to proliferation," Schlesinger said.

In a statement issued today, Gates thanked Schlesinger and the panel members "for their very thorough and detailed report."

"The U.S. nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and reliable; no one should doubt our capabilities or our resolve to defend U.S. and allies' interests by deterring aggression," Gates said in the statement.

"The report identified numerous trends, both recent and long-term, that may warrant corrective actions," Gates' statement continued. "The department will continue to review the panel's recommendations while ensuring the long-term credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent forces and sustaining allied confidence in U.S. security commitments well into the future."

Gates appointed the Task Force on Nuclear Weapons Management in June 2008, following two events involving the Air Force that indicated a deterioration of that service's nuclear weapons management and control systems. The secretary tasked the panel to report back to him on Air Force-related issues in 60 days and on departmentwide nuclear weapons management measures in 120 days.

Some Air Force ballistic missile parts were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan in 2006. In August 2007, an Air Force B-52 bomber armed with nuclear missiles flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

In September 2008, the panel released a Phase One report that criticized the Air Force's management of its nuclear weapons management programs.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters later today that Defense Department officials would thoroughly review the Schlesinger panel's latest recommendations. Officials of the incoming Obama administration, Morrell added, also would study the report.

Schlesinger served as CIA director in the Nixon administration, as well as secretary of defense in the Nixon and Ford administrations. In the Carter administration, he served as the first energy secretary.

The task force chairman was accompanied at today's news conference by fellow panel members Jacques S. Gansler, retired Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., Christopher A. Williams, retired Air Force Gen. Michael P.C. Carns, and Franklin C. Miller. Other panel members not present included J.D. Crouch II, and John J. Hamre.

Wounded Warriors, Other Gates Priorities to Continue in Next Administration

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is pleased by "great progress" in improving care and support for wounded warriors, but believes these developments "are still not good enough" and plans to implement more, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today. Morrell said the Jan. 20 administration change won't deflect Gates' focus on key initiatives he championed during the current administration. These include getting more mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to warfighters and overhauling the acquisition and procurement system.

But particularly high on his radar screen, Morrell said, is improved care for wounded warriors. Problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center arose just months after Gates assumed his post in December 2007, and he ordered an all-out overhaul of the system.

"I think you will see this take even more of the secretary's time in the coming year -- years, whatever it ends up being -- than even it has over the past couple of years," Morrell said. "And I can tell you, it's occupied a significant portion of his time."

Gates "is not done in that realm," Morrell said. "He has many more things he wishes to accomplish. He thinks we've made great progress but ... [believes it is] still not good enough. And so look for more in that realm."

Another top Gates priority – getting more MRAPs to the combat theater – will continue into the next administration with an emphasis on getting more of the vehicles to Afghanistan, Morrell said. About 1,100 MRAPs are currently in Afghanistan, and more of these as well as the new, lighter models are likely to be needed in the future, he said.

Gates moved the MRAP program into high gear, creating the first major equipment procurement to go from concept to industrial production in less than a year.

The MRAP program "is now almost an institutionalized program," Morrell said. "And in fact, we have nearly built all the MRAPs that have been identified as needed."

Similarly, Morrell said, the ISR effort will remain a top priority, although he conceded that with Gates' emphasis, it already has become "pretty well institutionalized."
Gates announced in April that he had created a task force to give the ISR issue the same emphasis as the MRAP program.

"My concern is that our services are still not moving aggressively in wartime to provide resources needed now on the battlefield," the secretary said during an April speech to Air War College students. "While we have doubled this capability in recent months, it is still not good enough."

That's changing, Morrell said. "There are now people who appreciate, as the secretary does, how important this is to our warfighters," he said. "And so I think they are committed to seeing his vision through to reality."

Gates will continue his efforts to improve defense acquisition and procurement while dealing with major budget issues, Morrell said.

The next defense budget will go to Capitol Hill shortly after the Obama administration takes office. Other issues on the horizon include the Quadrennial Defense Review, a new National Defense Strategy and a new nuclear posture statement.

"So there are a lot of budget and policy matters that are going to eat up a lot of his time, but have the potential to really impact the direction of this department for years to come," Morrell said. "I think you'll see, in the first several months of this administration, a great deal of the secretary's time devoted to dealing with those issues."

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 8, 2009

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is modifying an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with four contractors for a maximum of $64,000,000. ECSI International, Inc. of Clifton, New Jersey (F19628-03-D-0011, P00021), Abacus of Chevy Chase, Maryland (F19628-03-D-0012, P00023), Northrop Grumman Space and Mission System of Carson, Calif. (F19628-03-D-0019 P00025), L-3 Communications Gov Services, Inc, of Chantilly, Virginia (F19628-03-D-0011 P00021). The purpose of the modification is to increase the Integrated Based Defense Security System contract ceiling by $64,000,000 from $498,000,000 to $562,000,000 and update contract B-Tables for Equipment Prices for fiscal year 2009 and Labor Rates for fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2010. At this time, no money has been obligated. HQ Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts is the contracting activity.

The Air Force is modifying a cost plus incentive fee contract with Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Clearfield, Utah for $36,959,911. The contract will provide the Minuteman III Safety Enhanced Reentry Vehicle full rate production option. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 526 ICBMSG/PKE, Hill Air Force Base, Utah is the contracting activity (F42610-98-C-0001).

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus award fee contract with Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, San Diego, California for $13,474,949. This contract is for engineering, manufacturing and development activities in support of the Global Hawk Program. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. 303 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (F33657-01-C-4600, P00288).

NAVY

L3 Communications Corporation EOS, Garland, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $48,864,799 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for Submersible Binocular Night Vision Systems (SBNVSs). The SBNVSs will be used by U.S. Navy Personnel to provide night vision capability. Work will be performed in Garland, Texas, and is expected to be completed by January 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities, with four offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-09-D-JQ69).

BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $19,587,085 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-4403) for the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) FY09 docked phased maintenance availability. The following work items will be accomplished: repair bilge keel; accomplish underwater hull inspection; repair salt water ballast tank; repair/replace underwater hull sea chest; replace distilling plant brine pump overboard discharge piping; accomplish underwater hull preservation; inspect and repair impressed cathodic protection system; and other work items to support those mentioned above. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Va., and is expected to be completed by October 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $19,587,085 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

PKL Services, Inc.*, Poway, Calif., is being awarded a $17,023,049 firm fixed price contract for Lots 3 and 4 for selected organizational-level maintenance (Reset) on the Marine Corps AH-1W, UH-1N, CH-53D/E, and CH-46E aircraft platforms. Work will be performed in Camp Pendleton, Calif. (30 percent); New River, N.C. (25 percent); Iraq/Afghanistan (22 percent); Miramar, Calif. (18 percent); and Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $17,003,249 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Lot 3 was competed as a 100 percent small business set-aside; Lot 4 was a competitive 8(a). Lot 3 received two offers and Lot 4 received three offers. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00421-09-C-0023).

EMCOR Government Services, Inc., Arlington, Va., is being awarded $13,598,904 to exercise the second option period under a previously awarded combination firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract (N40080-07-D-0374) with award options for base operations support services in the Washington, D.C. area. The work to be performed provides for, but is not limited to, general management and administration services; facilities maintenance, repair, and management; restoration/modernization; contingency/disaster recovery services; and base support services. The current total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $48,902,927. Work will be performed at various installations within a hundred mile radius of Washington, D.C., and work for this option is expected to be completed Dec. 15, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Wash., D.C., is the contracting activity.

Progeny Systems Corporation, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $13,563,474 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee contract for engineering services in support of the MK54 torpedo systems. The contractor will be required to perform engineering efforts including technology assessment, mechanical and electrical component analysis, hardware/software development, critical item testing, hardware/software integration, certification and test, and life cycle logistics studies necessary for the testing and evaluation, prototype and engineering development model components of torpedo systems. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va. (80 percent), and other locations including Newport, R.I. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed by January 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, R.I., is the contracting activity (N66604-09-D-0002).

Adaptive Methods, Inc.*, Centreville, Va., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $9,750,000 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Project under Topic N02-152 entitled "Environmental Mission Planner – The Total Solution." The contractor will provide services and materials for the design and development of an innovative total system solution for the tactical antisubmarine warfare (ASW) environmental mission planner that provides universal compatibility with minimal impact on existing and future aircraft and tactical support cent-based systems. Work will be performed in Centreville, Va., and is expected to be completed in December 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using SBIR Program Solicitation under Topic N02-152 and nine offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J. is the contracting activity (N68335-09-D-0089).

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Inc., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $7,580,899 cost plus fixed fee contract for system engineering efforts to integrate improved algorithms for the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 Surface Ship Undersea Warfare combat system. The contractor will leverage state-of-the-art commercial engineering designs as intrinsic technology enablers to improve sonar processing technology. Work under this contract will build upon prior efforts and investments previously made under SBIR topics for the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15/(V)15 Surface Ship Undersea Warfare (USW) combat system. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to $24,660,428. Work will be performed in Anaheim Hills, Calif., and is expected to be completed by December 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract is being awarded as a Phase III SBIR effort, resulting from a competitive proposal under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-5205).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Integrys Energy Services, Inc. DePere, Wis. is being awarded a $7,656,429 firm fixed price contract for electricity. Other locations of performance are in Pennsylvania. Using services are Federal Civilian Agencies. There were originally 100 proposals solicited with 14 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the third one-year option. The date of performance completion is December 31, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-8036).

Navy Names Virginia Class Submarine USS John Warner

The secretary of the Navy announced today that the next Virginia-class attack submarine will be named in honor of recently retired Virginia Senator John Warner. Warner retired Jan. 3, 2009, after 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.

The USS John Warner, honors Warner's lifetime of service to the nation and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Sen. Warner's career in public service began in Jan. 1945, the last year of World War II, when he enlisted at the age of 17 in the U.S. Navy, where he earned the rank of Petty Officer 3rd class. In the Fall of 1949, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve. At the outbreak of the Korean War in Oct. 1950, he volunteered for active duty and was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps and served with the 1st Marine Air Wing as a ground communications officer in Korea. He continued his affiliation with the Marine Corps Reserve, reaching the rank of captain. In Feb. 1969 he was appointed and confirmed by the Senate as under secretary of the Navy, and succeeded Secretary John Chafee as the 61st Secretary of the Navy in 1972 following Senate confirmation during the height of the war in Vietnam. During this period, Warner was designated as chief negotiator for the conference between the U.S. and Soviet navies which led to the Incidents at Sea Agreement which is still in effect today. Entering politics in 1978, he was elected to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia in the U.S. Senate. He served five consecutive terms becoming the 2nd longest serving U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia in the 218-year history of the Senate.

During his 30 years of service in the Senate, Warner was a leader in national defense issues serving continuously on the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He held leadership roles as chairman or ranking member for half of his tenure on this committee and also served many years on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In this capacity, and throughout his career, he has shown unwavering support for the men and women of the armed forces, and has been a champion of modernizing the structure and operations of the military to ensure its effectiveness in the 21st century.

This next-generation attack submarine will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. It will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.

The USS John Warner will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping. It is also designed for special forces delivery and support, a subject Warner worked on throughout his career in the U.S. Senate.

The Virginia-class is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship – reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time. The USS John Warner will be built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., in partnership with General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corporation. Warner was instrumental in developing this construction teaming arrangement concept which was later codified into law.

Foundation Preserves Memories for Families Experiencing Deployments

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2009 - Having a loved one go off to war or return from war can be very emotional for families. Many are so overwhelmed that taking pictures of these cherished milestones can be forgotten or just put to the side. A former military spouse has created a foundation of photographers to help military families capture these unforgettable images. Operation: Love ReUnited offers free photography sessions to deploying and deployed families. Each family gets two free sessions in which photographers agree to send photo albums to deployed servicemembers at no cost.

"This movement is touching millions of lives nationwide and around the world," said Tonee Lawrence, founder of Operation: Love ReUnited, whose husband served with the Air Force in Operation Iraqi Freedom. "The Operation helps those long months go by a little faster. It's designed to capture moments that you will long remember and always treasure.

"The soldiers will have a little keepsake with them while at their duty stations," she continued. "It's art. It's love. It's all made possible by artists wanting to give something back to those who make the United States what it is."

And Lawrence is not the only military family member involved in the program.

"As a military wife, I understand how hard it is to be away from your spouse for a long time," said Stefanie Burt, a photographer with the program. "Photos play a very important role. I love to capture real-life moments and emotions. When my husband was deployed to Iraq, he constantly asked for new photos. I think my photos will make the deployment a little bit easier for the families."

Lawrence agreed. "We have three children," she said. "When my husband returned from his deployment, I wasn't able to capture the long-awaiting faces of my little boys when they saw their father for the first time in months. I started thinking about what I could do to make it so families had images of this very special time in their life."

Operation: Love ReUnited helps families find participating photographers in their area through its Web site database at http://www.oplove.org. Families simply type in their ZIP code, contact the photographer and make an appointment for photos.

Jose de Jesus Rocha, whose son, Jose Rocha, returned home from Afghanistan after serving 12 months with the U.S. Army there, was grateful for the photographs.

"The photos were emotional," Rocha said. "The way the [photographer] captured our emotions, expression. The photos were beautiful, fantastic."

The Operation: Love ReUnited Web site is set up only to help deploying or deployed families locate a photographer for two free sessions, Lawrence said, and the families are not obligated to purchase anything. More than 600 photography businesses are registered with the site, some with multiple photographers working on their behalf, she added.

Alaska Guardsmen Save 167 Lives in 2008

American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2009 - The men and women of the Alaska National Guard are credited with saving 167 lives in Alaska and around the world in 2008. The Alaska Guard was awarded 79 "saves" and 10 "assists" in Alaska, in addition to 72 saves in Afghanistan and 16 on the Gulf Coast while providing hurricane-related support to Texas and Louisiana, officials said. A save is credited when Guardsmen rescue a person who likely would not have survived otherwise, officials said.

"Members from the Alaska National Guard were called on for their skills in Afghanistan, the Gulf Coast and here in Alaska because they are recognized for their professionalism and expertise in search and rescue," Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig E. Campbell, Alaska's adjutant general, said.

Alaska National Guardsmen support search and rescue year-round in Alaska, with September reportedly the busiest month for search and rescue missions in the state. The Alaska Guard was credited with 20 saves in September, three times the number of saves recorded in September 2007, officials said.

"We were literally busy almost every day with something going on," Air Force Maj. Guy Hayes, public affairs officer, said.

In addition to performing day-to-day support in Alaska, Guardsmen from the 176th Wing's 210th, 211th and 212th rescue squadrons at Kulis Air National Guard Base deployed to multiple locations in 2008.

In January, Guardsmen deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, to support combat search and rescue missions in the global war on terrorism. During their six-month deployment, Alaska Guardsmen were credited with saving 72 lives, officials said.

In early September, Guard members were deployed under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a program that allows Guard units to mobilize upon request to render assistance to other states. Supporting search and rescue efforts in Louisiana and Texas, Guardsmen were awarded 16 saves during hurricanes Gustav, Hannah and Ike.

The 11th Rescue Coordination Center, the sole Alaska representative responsible for all aeronautical search and rescue cases in Alaska, released its end-of-year statistics Dec 31.

(From an Alaska National Guard news release.)

Mounted Color Guard to Ride in Inaugural Parade

By Bill Armstrong
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 8, 2009 - Troopers of the 1st Infantry Division Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard here will perform their duties at the ultimate change-of-command ceremony when they ride in the presidential inaugural parade for President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C. Fourteen troopers will ride on horseback down Pennsylvania Avenue on a parade route about two and a half miles long, Army 1st Sgt. Dean Stockert of the color guard said. Although the route will take only 30 minutes to complete, the parade tops all others the color guard participates in regarding crowds and noise level, he said.

"We do lots of events and lots of crowds around Kansas. However, our crowds usually fall under the 10,000 people area," Stockert said. "This one will be in the area of about 4.5 million along the parade route. We'll have people lined on each side of the road, plus sirens, plus aircraft, and everything else, so it's going to be a lot more activity for the horses than what they're generally used to."

But although noise will be a factor, Stocker said, he has great confidence in the troopers and their mounts.

"Our horses are pretty disciplined, because they're used to cannon fire, gunfire," he said. "They're probably more disciplined than your average horse out in the community."

The color guard is preparing for the event by getting its wardrobe of Civil War-period uniforms ready and its sabers polished. The blades will remain in their scabbards during the parade. Their horses will wear special shoes made with a layer of borium on the bottom.

"Borium's a hard metal, like tungsten steel, so it will stick to the asphalt," Stockert said. "It won't slip and slide. It will stick to the subway grates and the manhole covers, and keep the horses from sliding."

Despite the stress of the event with live television coverage and the world watching, Stockert said, he looks forward to the parade.

"It's definitely an honor to be able to welcome the new president in and to show our support for the continuing democracy in this country," Stockert said. "We're glad that the inauguration committee selected us to represent Fort Riley, the United States Army and the state of Kansas."

Army Capt. Richard Martinson, color guard commander, echoed his first sergeant's sentiments.

"I think it's a huge personal honor for all of us who are going to be able to go out in front of our president and salute him and really celebrate his coming to office," Martinson said.

This won't be the first time the Fort Riley unit has welcomed a new president. It participated in inaugural parades in 2001 and 2005 for President George W. Bush. The color guard will be one of more than 70 participants in the 2009 parade.

(Bill Armstrong is a staff writer for the Fort Riley Post.)

SecDef Releases Statement on the Task Force on Nuclear Weapons Management

"I want to thank the review panel, led by James R. Schlesinger, for their very thorough and detailed report on the 'Secretary of Defense's Task Force on Nuclear Weapons Management,'" said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates today. "I really appreciate the tremendous effort that went into the phase two review of the DoD nuclear mission and commend all of the task force members on the thoughtful recommendations made with respect to these complex and serious issues."

"The U.S. nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and reliable; no one should doubt our capabilities or our resolve to defend U.S. and allies' interests by deterring aggression. The report identified numerous trends, both recent and long-term, that may warrant corrective actions. The Department will continue to review the panel's recommendations while ensuring the long-term credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent forces and sustaining allied confidence in U.S. security commitments well into the future," said Gates.

For a copy of the report of the Secretary of Defense Task Force on DoD Nuclear Weapons Management Part II go to: http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs/PhaseIIReportFinal.pdf

Global Health Key to Security Improvements, Official Says

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

Jan. 8, 2009 - The Defense Department's increasing role in global health is essential in improving security in troubled nations and minimizing conflict in others, the Pentagon's top medical official said yesterday. "Just as good health is an integral part of a person's well-being, a good health sector is vital to a nation's," Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said to an audience at the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here.

Department studies show that diverse and opposing cultural backgrounds and poor human development are key contributors to social unrest, violent conflicts and state failure, Casscells told the group, explaining the Defense Department's global health role.

Poverty, natural disasters, violence, destruction of infrastructure and conflict are fundamental causes of civil strife, poor health and lack of vital services, he said. That can lead to restricted water, food, sanitation and health care access, all of which promote disease, he said.

Therefore, Cascells, said, the military's role is much more sophisticated than security and war, just as global health is much more sophisticated than medicine alone.

When health in a region is poor, "it doesn't mean that you go in and vaccinate people," he said. "You obviously have to go in and try to get the electricity up, the clean water running, the sewage working, the roads. You have to have stability. You have to protect people's lives."

Casscells, an Army Reserve colonel, said he saw all of the previously described scenarios during his tour in Iraq in 2006. He also has first-hand experience with humanitarian relief efforts, having assisted the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"The long-term outcome of humanitarian activity produces a safer, more secure world," he said. "Security, stability, transition and reconstruction operations [are] intended to enhance infrastructure and improve practices where they didn't exist before. The idea is that by enhancing stability, we will reduce conflict.

"The building part of a soldier's profession is far more important than the breaking part," he continued.

Kathleen Hicks, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies international security program, said global health and national security are inexorably tied together. Global health initiatives help with overseas populations and can affect nearly every aspect of American safety and prosperity from the stability of foreign governments and populations to the physical well-being of U.S. citizens.

"The United States must have a strategy for global health that's nesting with security elements," Hicks said.