Military News

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hero of Hudson River Crash Landing Got Start in Air Force

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - The pilot who crash-landed a crippled airliner in New York's Hudson River this afternoon, saving 155 lives on board, is an Air Force Academy graduate who received his pilot training in the Air Force. Chelsey B. "Sully" Sullenberger steered US Airways Flight 1549 toward the river when both engines failed less than five minutes after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. All 150 passengers and five crew members survived the incident. Sullenberger is an Air Force Academy graduate who served in the Air Force from 1973 to 1980, according to his resume posted on the homepage of his company, Safety Reliability Methods, Inc.

He was an U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom II fighter pilot who served as a flight leader and training officer in Europe and the Pacific. He was also the Blue Force mission commander during Red Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

President George W. Bush and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg were among the first to publicly laud Sullenberger for quick thinking and heroism that averted a catastrophe.

Bloomberg noted during an early evening news conference that Sullenberger did not leave the aircraft as it floated in the river until he had confirmed that every passenger had been safely evacuated.

"It would appear the pilot did a masterful job of landing in the river and making sure everybody got out," Bloomberg said. "I had a long conversation with the pilot. He walked the plane twice and made sure that everybody was out."

Bush, in a statement released by the White House, said his adminstration is coordinating with state and local officials to respond to the incident as it monitors the situation.

"Laura and I are inspired by the skill and heroism of the flight crew as well as the dedication and selflessness of the emergency responders and volunteers who rescued passengers from the icy waters of the Hudson," he said. "We send our thoughts and prayers to all involved in the accident."

Teasury Targets Taiwanese Proliferators

The U.S. Department of Treasury today designated two Taiwanese individuals and two Taiwanese entities pursuant to Executive Order 13382, an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their supporters, and at isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems.

"Proliferators depend on access to the international financial and commercial systems to support their dangerous trade," said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. "Our action today exposes a North Korean procurement channel, and we urge governments and companies worldwide to cut this channel off entirely."

Alex H.T. Tsai (Tsai) has been designated for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, technological or other support for, or goods or services in support of the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation (KOMID), which was identified as a proliferator by President George W. Bush in the June 2005 Annex to Executive Order 13382.

Tsai has been supplying goods with weapons production capabilities to KOMID and its subordinates since the late 1990s, and he has been involved in shipping items to North Korea that could be used to support North Korea's advanced weapons program. On June 19, 2008, Tsai was indicted by Taiwan's Taipei District Prosecutors Office for forging shipping invoices and illegally shipping restricted materials to North Korea.

Global Interface Company Inc. has been designated for being owned or controlled by Tsai, who is a shareholder of the company and acts as its president. Tsai is also the general manager of Trans Merits Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Global Interface Company Inc. that has been designated for being owned or controlled by Global Interface Company Inc.

Alex H.T. Tsai's wife, Lu-chi Su, has also been designated pursuant to Executive Order 13382 for acting or purporting to act on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Trans Merits Co. Ltd. Lu-chi Su is an officer in Global Interface Company Inc. and Trans Merits Co. Ltd. and is directly involved in the companies' operations.

Designations under E.O. 13382 are implemented by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and they prohibit all transactions between the designees and any U.S. person, and freeze any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

Decisions Loom for Joint Strike Fighter Program, Support Remains High

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 16, 2009 - Decisions about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor aircraft programs are expected early in President-elect Barack Obama's administration. The F-35 program manager said yesterday he sees strong support for the F-35 from the services, allied partners and, so far, on Capitol Hill.

Based on initial indications and inquiries from Obama's transition team, Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles R. Davis said he's confident the F-35 program begun during the Clinton administration will continue, even if budget restraints force scale-backs. Davis made the comments here as keynote speaker at a Brookings Institution forum, "The Joint Strike Fighter and Beyond."

"Support throughout what appears to be three administrations has been relatively consistent," he said. "As of yet, we see no reason that that support is going to change. There is nobody on Capitol Hill who has said they want to cancel the Joint Strike Fighter."

That doesn't mean, he acknowledged, that the program to develop the next-generation strike aircraft weapon system for the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and allied countries might not get scaled back.

Davis conceded he gets many questions about the F-35's cost -- expected to be $80 million to $90 million, depending on the variant -- and delivery schedule. And if fewer aircraft are built, each will cost even more.

"We lose two airplanes in our [fiscal 2009] appropriation, and every other one of the airplanes being bought in that year goes up $3 million," he said.

Another consideration, he said, is the cost of maintaining the aging legacy fleets the F-35 would replace if production is cut.

Earlier yesterday, William Lynn, Obama's deputy defense secretary nominee, told the Senate Armed Services Committee it would be "very difficult" for the Defense Department to keep all its weapons systems development programs on track in tight budget times.

Lynn said at his confirmation hearing he'll push for a speedy Quadrennial Defense Review to set priorities through fiscal 2015, and expects the tactical aviation force modernization issue to play heavily in those considerations.

In written responses submitted to the committee, Lynn recognized the capabilities of both the F-22 and F-35 aircraft -- particularly when considered together.

"The F-22 is the most advanced tactical fighter in the world and, when combined with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, will provide the nation with the most capable mix of fifth-generation aircraft available for the foreseeable future," he said.

The F-22, to replace the legacy F-15 fleet, brings "tremendous capability" and is a critical element of the department's overall tactical aircraft force structure, Lynn said. The F-35, on the other hand, "will provide the foundation for the department's tactical air force structure."

The F-35 is the first aircraft to be developed within the Defense Department to meet the needs of three services, with three variants being developed simultaneously.

It will replace the legacy F-16 aircraft for the Air Force and the F/A-18 and AV-8 aircraft for the Navy and Marine Corps, as well as numerous legacy aircraft for the international partners participating in the F-35 program, Lynn told the Senate committee.

So the big question, he said, is determining the appropriate mix between the two aircraft. "If confirmed, I would expect this to be a key issue for the early strategy and program-budget reviews that the department will conduct over the next few months," he said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has made no secret of his interest in reaching a decision and moving forward. During a June visit to Langley Air Force Base, Va., he told airmen at Air Combat Command the new administration will have to determine the proper balance between the two aircraft.

"End the debate, make a decision and move on," Gates said. "'Start getting stuff built' is just so important.'"

Gates told the airmen he had allocated enough money to keep the F-22 production lines open so the next administration could make its decision. He did not know at the time that he would be part of that decision-making process.

Davis told the Brooking Institution audience yesterday, "support from all three services has never been stronger" for the F-35 program.

The Marine Corps, slated to receive the "B" variant that has a vertical-lift capability, has been "the most vocal, avid and fervent customer," Davis said. The Marine Corps leadership expects the F-35 to become "the most effective air platform they have ever had," he said. "Looking at their history of how they have used airplanes, that is quite a bold statement."

Similarly, the Navy, to receive the aircraft's "C" variant designed for carrier launches, "has never been more supportive of the program," Davis said. He noted that the Navy has been "fighting aggressively" to keep its aircraft carriers fully outfitted.

In addition, the Air Force recognizes the need for a complementary mix of aircraft to meet its mission requirements, he said. Its "A" variant of the F-35 will provide conventional take-off and landing capabilities.

Meanwhile, nine partner nations continue to support the program, with other countries considering signing on, too, Davis said. The F-35 program represents the first time in military procurement history that the United States has partnered with another nation to build an aircraft from the ground up.

"We believe that the coalition that was put in place when they signed up for this program is probably stronger than ever now," Davis said.

This partnership, he said, brings the concept of coalition integration to a whole new level. In addition to funding and developing the F-35 together, the partners plan to use a single system to sustain it -- sharing spares and repair capabilities to reduce costs.

"There is something very unique that Joint Strike Fighter offers that other programs I have seen do not," he said.

The big challenge for now, Davis said, is to take advantage of the latest manufacturing processes to get the production line moving ahead.

"Even the manufacturing lines for some of our newest fighters, the F-22, started in the late '80s and early '90s," he said. "We have progressed almost two decades in manufacturing technology, but we have never really tried it out on a full-scale program."

General Counsel Nominee to Promote Collaboration

By Sara Moore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 16, 2009 - The nominee for the Defense Department's general counsel said in his confirmation hearing yesterday that he will foster collaborative relationships between himself and military lawyers at all levels to best advise the defense secretary. Jeh C. Johnson, whose legal career includes being a partner at a New York law firm, serving as the Air Force's general counsel under the Clinton administration and as the assistant U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York, is poised to become the chief legal officer for the department.

Johnson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he looks forward to bringing his experience to the department and working with military lawyers to provide the best recommendations to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

"My style of legal analysis, decision-making, putting together recommendations for the secretary is collaboration," he said. "I want all points of view. I'd want to hear from the two-star, now three-star judge advocate, as well as the major who works the issue who understands it better than anybody."

Johnson said he considers himself a "traditionalist" when it comes to the mission of the military, and he believes the military needs the ability to detain enemy combatants captured on the battlefield. However, when it comes to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay and the cases against them, he said he expects to be part of an interagency review that reconsiders how those cases are handled.

While he admitted he needs to learn more about the subject, Johnson said he tends to agree with President-elect Barack Obama that the Guantanamo detainees should be tried in U.S. civilian courts as opposed to military commissions.

"But I think that ... we need to also be mindful of the future, not just the 250 or so detainees at Guantanamo," he said. "We are certainly going to have detainees in the future. So we need do build a system that has credibility and survives legal scrutiny for the future as well as the people that are currently there."

Mullen Credits Bush, Obama for 'Smooth' Transition

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 16, 2009 - The transition from the Bush administration to that of President-elect Barack Obama has been remarkably smooth, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. In an interview today, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen credited the tone that President George W. Bush and Obama set for the ease, so far, of the transition.

Officials attribute the smooth transition, in part, to Obama asking Robert M. Gates to remain as defense secretary. The president-elect also moved quickly in announcing his choices for the national security team on Dec. 1.

Obama reached out to Mullen soon after the election. As chairman, Mullen is the principal military advisor to the president, the secretary of defense, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

"President-elect Obama called me and asked me to come out to Chicago shortly after the election," the chairman said. "That was a one-on-one and it was significant that he reached out."

Mullen called the first meeting with Obama on Nov. 21 a chance to get acquainted.

"I've also met with him on two or three other occasions and his national security team to look at the issues of the day and to discuss what those issues might be and where the new administration might be headed," the chairman said.

The conversations helped create deeper understanding of the issues confronting the department and nation, the chairman said.

"I'm encouraged by the engagement, I'm encouraged by the focus from that standpoint, and I've found those meetings to be very, very beneficial," he said.

More Than 10,000 National Guard Members to Support Inauguration

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 16, 2009 - More than 10,000 National Guard members will support President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration Jan. 20, the Guard's largest contribution to an inauguration in its 372-year history. "The National Guard will help to ensure a safe and secure environment for all attendees," Manny Pacheco, spokesman for the National Guard Bureau, said. "National Guard members are a force multiplier to a variety of federal and state agencies and military task forces."

National Guard members from several states and the District of Columbia are working for Joint Task Force District of Columbia. "The number of National Guard members that will be used is larger than we've ever had in history," said Army Brig. Gen. Barbaranette Bolden, task force commander.

Citizen-soldiers and –airmen are providing communications, transport, traffic control and medical and logistical support – as well as playing music and marching in the inaugural parade.

"Those National Guard personnel will help quite a bit," Cathy Lanier, the District of Columbia's police chief, said last week. "[They] help us ... keep law enforcement focused on law enforcement."

The Guard's support to civilian authorities works well because relationships already are well-established through previous events and shared training exercises. "They know that we will be there and that we will perform professionally, no matter what the situation," Bolden said.

Members of the 257th Army National Guard Band are among 250 troops on duty from the District of Columbia. The band is providing ceremonial and inaugural ball support. "We're so proud of them," Bolden said. "This has never happened before, our Army National Guard Band participating in an inauguration."

More than 2,000 National Guard members from Maryland and Virginia are working in support of their states' lead law enforcement and transportation agencies to assist with traffic flow into and out of the District of Columbia.

The Iowa National Guard is supporting an inauguration for the first time, sending about 1,000 soldiers from the 34th Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

More than 200 members of the New York National Guard are helping with communications and traffic control.

In addition to about 400 soldiers and airmen, the West Virginia National Guard is providing specialized homeland defense and security units, airplanes and helicopters, and mobile satellite communications equipment in support of federal and local agencies to help manage the large crowds expected at the event.

Tennessee's contribution includes airmen from the 228th Combat Communications Squadron and the 118th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and soldiers from the 117th Military Police Battalion.

The National Guard Bureau participates in Armed Forces Inaugural Committee efforts while coordinating the support provided by the National Guard with federal and state civil authorities. A joint operations center is being staffed around the clock through the inauguration.

The National Guard has a long history of supporting presidential inaugurations. Local militia units marched with George Washington as he proceeded to his first inauguration in New York on April 30, 1789, according to Guard historians.

"The National Guard is proud to continue this tradition of supporting and defending both the president of the United States, our constitutional form of government, and our American way of life," Pacheco said.

Guard members are proud of their role helping ensure a safe and secure environment for the event, Bolden said. "Every soldier and airman that comes here will be sharing this historic event with their families for many years to come," Bolden said.

(Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 16, 2008

NAVY

Integrits Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $38,695,701 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee contract to provide contractor support services for Combined Test Bed (CTB) development, operation and maintenance. This contract will support the efforts of the Tactical Systems Integration and Interoperability Division of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific). Work will include technical support of the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, the Multifunctional Information Distribution System, RF equipment, radios, networks, and AEGIS systems and equipment. This contract also provides technical support of equipment or software for U.S. military Tactical Data Link communications. This five-year contract includes no options. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and work is expected to be completed Jan. 19, 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured as an 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business Set-Aside, via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities web site and posting to the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central web site, with two offers received. SSC Pacific is the contracting activity (N66001-09-D-0072).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded an $ 18,769,117 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-5402) for the production of four Mk 49 MOD 3 Guided Missile Launcher Systems (GMLS) and associated equipment for the LPD 25 and CVN 78 platforms as well as 10 Mod 1 to Mod 3 GMLS Ordalt Kits. Work will be performed in Ottobrunn, Germany (50 percent), Louisville, Ky. (45 percent) and Tucson, Ariz. (5 percent) and is expected to be completed by Feb. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea System Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Sensors, Philadelphia, Pa., is being awarded a $9,876,491 modification to a previously awarded cost plus fixed fee contract (N00019-06-C-0300) to exercise an option for the maintenance, upgrade and development of Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System software for the U.S. Navy. Work will be performed in Valley Forge, Pa., and is expected to be completed in Jan. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $6,948,832 firm-fixed-priced contract for the purchase of eight Category III MRAP Buffalo Vehicles, On-Board Consumables Kits, and associated Contract Data Requirements Lists (CDRL's), in support of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Program. Work will be performed in Ladson, S.C., and delivery of the vehicles is expected to be completed by Sept. 1, 2009 with sustainment support continuing thru January 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-09-C-5000).

BAE Systems, Nashua, N.H.; ITT Corp., Clifton, N.J.; Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y.; and Raytheon Co., Goleta, Calif., are each being awarded firm fixed price contracts for research support in developing innovative concept solutions at the system level that address the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) requirements. The award for BAE Systems is $5,909,517; for ITT Corp. it is $5,748,082; for Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. it is $5,996,787; and for Raytheon Co. it is $5,538,028. Work will be performed in Nashua, N.H.; Clifton, N.J.; Bethpage, N.Y.; and Goleta, Calif., and work is expected to be completed in July 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. These contracts were solicited under an electronic Broad Agency Announcement and four offers were received. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0013; N00019-09-C-0082; N00019-09-C-0084; and N00019-09-C-0085, respectively).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is modifying a time and materials, firm fixed Price and Cost Reimbursable contract to Raytheon Technical Services Corp., of Vista, Calif., for $22,953,781. This contract provide for repair of various components for the AN/TPN-19 and GPN-22 Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems. At this time, no money has been obligated. 448 SCMG/PKBF, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8102-06-D-0001-P00017).

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to Florida Turbine Technologies of Jupiter, Fla., for a maximum of $10,000,000. This contact will provide for Phase II of the Versatile Affordable Advance Turbine Engines program Launch Operations Support program. At this time, $50,000 has been obligated. AFRL/PKPB, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8650-09-D-2932).

The Air Force is modifying a cost plus fixed fee contract to United Technologies Research Center of East Hartford, Connecticut for $5,679,970. This contract will provide fuel system life for Endothermic-Fuel-Cooled Scramjet Engines. At this time $450,381 has been obligated. AFRL/PKPA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8650-09-C-2901).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Petrol Ofisi, Maslak, Istanbul, Turkey is being awarded a minimum $11,220,908 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for aviation fuel deliveries. Other locations of performance are within Iraq. Using service is Army. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 5 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is February 28, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-1002).

Sage Energy Trading, LLC, Tulsa, Okla.* is being awarded a maximum $6,697,916 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for direct supply natural gas delivery. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are federal civilian agencies. There were originally 166 proposals solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-7501).

ARMY

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co., Oakbrook, Ill., was awarded on Jan. 15, 2009, an $11,149,750 firm fixed price contract for maintenance dredging for the Wilmington Inner Harbor, Smith Island Channel through Baldhead Shoal. Work will be performed in Brunswick County, N.C., and is expected to be completed by April 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Eight bids were solicited on Oct. 31, 2008, and two bids were received. Savannah Regional Contracting Center, Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-09-C-0006).

Marine Band to Provide Inaugural Pomp and Circumstance

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 16, 2009 - Not only is it fitting that the "President's Own" U.S. Marine Band play "Hail to the Chief" during the Jan. 20 inauguration ceremonies, it's tradition. "The U.S. Marine Band was created by an act of Congress signed by President John Adams on July 11, 1798," Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. D. Michael Ressler, the band's historian and 34-year member, said.

The law called for 32 drummers and fifers to be part of the Marine Corps. "The President's Own" -- dubbed such by President Thomas Jefferson -- now includes about 130 members, five officers, a drum major and 22 full-time professional support staff.

Besides the U.S. Marine Band, "The President's Own" also encompasses the Marine Chamber Orchestra and the Marine Chamber Ensembles. They perform regularly at the White House and conduct more than 500 public performances across the nation each year.

But the road to such prestige is a long one.

"The band moved to Washington, D.C., in 1800 when the Capitol moved there, and we performed our first concert in Washington on Aug. 21, 1800," Ressler said. "We were involved in events celebrating Thomas Jefferson's inaugural in 1801, the first inaugural held in Washington, D.C., and have been a part of every inaugural since then."

For the upcoming inauguration, however, everything old is new again.

As in the past, the band will play two traditional inauguration pieces honoring the first and third presidents, "Washington's Grand March" and "Jefferson's March," respectively, as well as "Hail to the Chief."

Paying homage to the history being made that day, an additional song will be performed that made its debut in 1861.

"This year, the band will perform a march written in 1861 by former Marine Band Director Francis Scala titled, 'President Lincoln's Inaugural March,'" Ressler said. "The Marine Band premiered this march at President Lincoln's first inaugural in 1861.

"I believe that this will be only the second time that this music has been performed at an inaugural ceremony," he added.

Ressler said inauguration days are always long and challenging, but the band cheerfully accepts the responsibility and sees it as an honor and a privilege.

"There is no better demonstration of our mission than our participation in inaugural events," he said. "Our inaugural history dates back to 1801, and we look forward to renewing this tradition every four years."

Marine Capt. Michelle A. Rakers, one of the band's two assistant directors, knows all too well the challenges and the pride of participating in an inauguration with "The President's Own." This will be her third inauguration since joining the band in 1998.

"It is a tremendous honor to be involved in such a groundbreaking historic event for our nation this year," she said. "As professional musicians, we will always have a certain amount of nerves involved in any performance ... because we always want to do our best."

Since practice makes perfect and helps calm nerves, practices have been frequent at the Marine Barracks Annex in Washington where the band is headquartered.

Because of the significance of the inaugural parade, and the fact that the band's marching unit for the parade is so much larger than usual, the band has been doing more "field drills," or marching rehearsals, Rakers said.

"This is to ensure that we are all comfortable with our respective roles on [Inauguration] Day," she added. "We also have a special rehearsal planned for the prelude music that takes place before the ceremony."

The band's role begins before Inauguration Day, however. The Marine Chamber Orchestra will perform at the opening ceremony on Jan. 18 at the Lincoln Memorial.

After playing before, during and after the ceremony, and leading the second division of the parade, the band will change into clean uniforms and play at two inaugural balls that night.

"It remains to be seen what the turnout may be for this year's inauguration," Rakers said. "But it seems as though the city is preparing for something that will remain in our memories for sometime as ... an event of far-reaching historical significance."

Lynn Vows to Reform Processes if Confirmed as Deputy Secretary

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 16, 2009 - The nominee to be deputy defense secretary promised the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday that he will do his utmost to improve processes in the "sometimes vast and unwieldy bureaucracy" of the Defense Department. The committee held hearings for four nominees to serve in the Defense Department as part of the administration of President-elect Barack Obama. They are Lynn; Robert Hale as undersecretary of defense for financial management; Michele Flournoy as undersecretary for policy; and Jeh Charles Johnson as the department's general counsel.

Lynn, who served as the department's comptroller in the Clinton administration, said he sees the deputy job as having co-equal responsibilities.

"On one hand, I'll work alongside the secretary to advance our national security strategy," he said. "On the other hand, as the chief management officer, I will have primary responsibility for ensuring the smooth functioning of a vast and sometimes unwieldy bureaucracy."

If confirmed, Lynn initially would focus on three challenges. The first is a smooth civilian transition, he said.

"I would work with the secretary and the Congress to assemble a top-quality cadre of civilian leaders," he said. "As part of that effort, I would also place a high priority on strengthening the capabilities of the career staff who are essential to address the many near-term challenges as well as the longer-term tasks of the department."

Lynn said he also would like to conduct at least three sets of major program and budget reviews in the next few months. These include a review of the 2009 supplemental appropriation, revisions to the draft fiscal 2010 budget and its timely submission to Congress, and the expeditious completion of the Quadrennial Defense Review.

Part of this will be to establish the right balance among capabilities for addressing "irregular and counter-insurgency warfare, potential longer-term threats from a high-end or a near-term competitor and the proliferation of threats from rogue states or terrorist organizations," Lynn said.

Another challenge, he said, is to reform Defense Department processes.

"If confirmed, I would devote considerable time and energy to improving the department's processes for strategic planning, program and budget development and acquisition oversight," he said. "At a time when we face a wide range of national security challenges and unprecedented budget pressures, acquisition reform is not an option; it is an imperative."

Lynn vowed to ensure that every tax dollar to the department is used wisely and effectively, adding that good processes would be key.

"The key to getting a handle on program costs is to ensure that we are able to establish the requirements up front and adhere to those requirements," he said.

An important part of reforming the system is to rebuild the acquisition workforce, Lynn said.

"We've had an increase in the program costs and not a corresponding increase in the acquisition workforce," he said. "There's also a bubble of retirement. Many of the current workforce is eligible for retirement. They're going to need to be replaced with expert personnel."

Workforce development is going to be an important part of improving and developing the future cadres of the defense acquisition workforce, he said.

Comptroller Nominee Pledges to Make Budget Reviews First Priority

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 16, 2009 - President-elect Barack Obama's choice to be the Defense Department's chief financial officer said his first priority, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, will be to review the department's fiscal 2009 supplemental budget request and the fiscal 2010 budget request. Robert Hale, who served as the Air Force comptroller in the Clinton administration, said his top priority will be to help the department obtain the necessary resources to meet the country's national security objectives. Hale was among four nominees to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.

"At a time when we have tens of thousands of Americans serving overseas and in harm's way, we all need to work together to be sure they have the resources that they need," Hale said.

Part of finding those resources will be ensuring the department does not waste taxpayer money. His job has the authority and responsibility for overseeing defense financial management and financial operations.

"We need to make continued improvements in how we pay our people and how we pay our vendors," he said. "We need to improve financial systems and improve the way we account for funds in the department."

Hale said this is crucial to continued progress toward auditable financial statements.

"The department also needs better financial information in order to spend the dollars that are appropriated to it efficiently and effectively," he said. "I think wise spending of defense dollars is always important, but it's especially important right now as the nation weathers this really serious economic crisis."

Hale, who served in the Navy on active duty and in reserves, said personnel is another priority.

"The department must have a capable and well-trained work force in order to accomplish defense financial management," he said. "We can have the best systems in the world. We can have the best accounting practices. If we don't have the people out there that are well-trained and in adequate numbers, it's not going to work."

If confirmed, he said, he plans to support the military departments and the agencies as they recruit, train and retain the right defense financial management work force.