Military News

Monday, January 26, 2009

Officer Survival Mindset: Becoming a 15th Century Samurai in a 21st Century World

On February 6, 2009, Conversations with Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a discussion Senior Sergeant Marty Katz, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (ret.), about his program - Officer Survival Mindset: Becoming a 15th Century Samurai in a 21st Century World.

Program Date: February 6, 2009
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Officer Survival Mindset: Becoming a 15th Century Samurai in a 21st Century World
Listen Live:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement/2009/02/07/Officer-Survival-Mindset-Becoming-a-15th-Century-Samurai-in-a-21st-Century-World

About the Guest
Senior Sergeant
Martin Katz, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (ret.) has more than 30 years of multifaceted experience in the criminal justice system in New Jersey and South Florida. His assignments encompassed administrative functions, as well as commanding uniformed patrol and criminal investigations units. Senior Sergeant Martin Katz served more than 23 years with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, with progressive advancement through the ranks, supervising Patrol Officers, Field Training Officers and Detectives. He has extensive experience with police training programs, both in-service and academy level, as Instructor and Administrator responsible for development of various courses and curriculum in all areas of police work and law enforcement.

In addition to his law enforcement career, Senior Sergeant
Martin Katz has been involved in Martial Arts since 1958. He has received his Seventh Degree Black Belt in Japanese Karate and trained in Japan on 2 occasions with the Tokyo Metropolitan Riot Police and various senior martial arts instructors. Based on his law enforcement career and his martial arts training and experiences he has developed a survival course entitled Officer Survival Mindset: Becoming a 15th Century Samurai in a 21st Century.

Additionally, Senior Sergeant
Marty Katz is the author of the semi-autobiographical look at the inside of police work: Past the Uniform.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is
police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in
Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement/2009/02/07/Officer-Survival-Mindset-Becoming-a-15th-Century-Samurai-in-a-21st-Century-World

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Surviving Boot Camp

On February 20, 2009, Conversations with Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a discussion Sergeant Michael Volkin, USA, the author of The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, on Surviving Boot Camp.

Program Date: February 20, 2009
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Surviving Boot Camp
Listen Live:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement/2009/02/21/Surviving-Boot-Camp

About the Guest
Sergeant
Michael Volkin is a U.S. Army veteran. He served in Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom as a Chemical Operations Specialist and received an Army Commendation Medal for his efforts and for the fitness programs he designed to help his fellow soldiers. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Science from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. In addition to being in the Army Reserves, Michael works as a Real Estate Broker in California. Michael Volkin is the author of The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is
police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in
Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement/2009/02/21/Surviving-Boot-Camp

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 26, 2009

NAVY

Elcan Optical Technologies, Richardson, Texas, is being awarded a ceiling $180,000,000 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the procurement, delivery, maintenance, and logistical support of the Medium Range Thermal Bi-Ocular (MRTB). The MRTB is capable of providing an individual thermal imaging capability to the Marine Rifle Squad, Machine Gun Squad, and other Marine Corps units, engaging in offensive and defensive operations. This contract will buy a minimum of 25 MRTB systems within the first year. Work will be performed in Richardson, Texas, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 2014. Contract funds in the amount of$43,292,469 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with proposals solicited via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with five offers received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-09-D-1017).

CH2M Hill, Englewood, Colo.; Shaw Environmental, Irving, Texas; and Weston Solutions, West Chester, Pa., are each being awarded a firm fixed price, indefinite indefinite, quantity, multiple award bridge contract, utilizing the same terms and conditions as the recently expired contracts (December 2008) with the same firms. The maximum dollar value for all three contracts combined is $36,000,000. This work is in support of the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) Sustainment, Restoration, and Modernization (SRM) program for Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricant (POL) facilities and systems at various locations, worldwide. These contracts are to ensure uninterrupted support to the DESC SRM Program to avoid delay in award of critical projects which must be in place prior to the projected award date of the follow-on contract in mid March 2009. Once the award of the follow-on contract is made, the use of these contracts will be immediately discontinued. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. These three contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Specialty Center Acquisitions, Port Hueneme, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62583-09-D-0038/0039/0040).

National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., (NASSCO), San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $26,309,890 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-4200) for the repair and alteration for the Extended Dry-Docking Chief of Naval Operations Scheduled Availability Supplemental Proposal on the USS Germantown (LSD-42). NASSCO furnishes the material, supports (electrical, crane, and rigging), and facilities necessary for the maintenance and modernization of the LSD class ships. This availability includes the complete overhaul of the Ship's Service Diesel Generators and the upgrades to the Power Distribution, SCD LSD-3290.2k. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by August 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $23,372,517 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

L-3 Services, Inc., Marlton, N.J., is being awarded a $16,432,260 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee contractto provide for Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems; Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) motion imagery software development; remote sensing; multispectral exploitation; imagery analysis; intelligence operations; digital production; knowledge management; virtual reality systems; signal exploitation; surveillance activities; information assurance, network security, emergency preparedness planning, technology validation, and mission training. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $87,424,534. Work will be performed in Washington, D.C., (65 percent) and Charleston, S.C., (35 percent), and is expected to be completed by January 2010 (January 2014 with options exercised). Contract funds in the amount of $50,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with an unlimited number of proposals and one offer received via the Federal Business Opportunities website and the SPAWAR e-commerce website. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic is the contracting activity (N65236-09-D-6814).

CDI Marine Company, Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded a $16,283,438 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee with provisions for firm fixed pricing contract for ship alteration installation and marine mechanical engineering design services. This contract contains a base period with four one-year option periods, which if exercised, bring the total value of the contract to $85,378,043. Work will be performed at Virginia Beach, Va., and work is expected to be completed by Jan. 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was awarded through full and open competition, with three offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk is the contracting activity (N00189-09-D-N002).

AMSEC LLC, Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a $15,316,776 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee with provisions for firm fixed pricing contract for ship alteration installation and marine/mechanical engineering design services. This contract contains a base period with four one-year option periods, which if exercised, bring the total value of the contract to $80,549,113. Work will be performed at Virginia Beach, Va., and work is expected to be completed by January 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was awarded through full and open competition, with three offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk is the contracting activity (N00189-09-D-N001).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to The Boeing Company of Seattle Washington for $11,718,500. This contract will provide the C-40 communication equipment subscription service for CY09. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. ASC/655 Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (F33657-01-C-0013).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Bell Boeing Joint Program Office, Amarillo, Texas is being awarded a maximum $11,295,863 firm fixed price, sole source contract for procurement of items used in support of the CV-22 helicopter. Other location of performance is in Pennsylvania. Using service is Air Force. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 31, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Richmond (DSCR-ZC), Philadelphia, Pa., (N00383-03-G-001B-0298).

Face of Defense: Louisiana Guard Member Finds Fulfillment Later in Life

By Army Sgt. Tresa L. Allemang
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 26, 2009 - At 38 years old and with a 15-year-old daughter, Angela Fry took on the challenge of basic training and the possibility of deployment. She already had a degree, so it wasn't for college. She had a job, so it wasn't for the money. Now 41 years old, Fry said she enlisted in the Louisiana Army National Guard because she felt as if something was missing in her life.

She said she wanted to make a difference, and knew she could if given the opportunity.

"I know people say this a lot, but I really wanted to serve. Enlisting in the Guard gave me an opportunity to not only serve my country, but also my state, and most recently, my own family," the Eros, La., resident, said.

Fry said she first thought of joining when she was volunteering with the American Red Cross in New Orleans after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"I think, after an event like that, anyone who has compassion wonders if there is more that can be done," Fry said, "if there is something they can do to help. Joining the military was something I always wished I had the courage to do, but I thought the opportunity had passed. I thought I was too old."

A colonel from the Michigan National Guard told her about the Guard and assured her she still met the age requirement. That was all she needed to know.

Susan J. Avery, Fry's sister, said that when Fry began to talk about joining the military, her family thought she was crazy.

"We would have never thought she would join the military, especially at 38 years old, but we should have
known better," Avery said. "She is a very determined person."

Many may think that going through the rigorous training at 38 would be more difficult than going through it at 18, but Fry disagrees.

"It was difficult, but I felt like I had an advantage over the younger soldiers," she said. "I had life experience. I had already been out on my own for a while, and I knew many people in the Guard who warned me that a lot of the training was psychological."

"They break you down as a civilian, but build you back up as a soldier," she said.

After returning home, she began drilling with the 527th Engineer Battalion's 1022nd Engineer Company in West Monroe, La., as a nuclear biological chemical specialist before transferring to the 528th Engineer Battalion in Monroe, La.

"Most new soldiers are younger than 38, but her age did not stand out in her physical appearance; it did in her maturity level," Army Command Sgt. Maj. Brent D. Barnett, the battalion's senior enlisted advisor, said. "She is just one of those individuals who will jump right in and take charge."

Fry enlisted as a specialist, but soon was promoted to sergeant. With her diverse skills, she was confident that she would be able to serve as an officer. "I not only wanted to be a part of the everyday lives and events that our soldiers participate in, but I also wanted to lead them," she said.

She submitted her direct commission packet and anxiously waited to find out what her future held.

"I, as well as many others, immediately saw the leadership potential that she had and encouraged her to become an officer," Barnett said.

Fry's life was struck with tragedy when the house she was sharing with her sister burned down in February 2007. Everything was destroyed, including her computer, and the homeowners insurance covered very little. She also found herself jobless, since she worked out of her home in Monroe, La., as an independent medical consultant.

She did not stay down for long, though. Within a month of losing everything, she learned that the Louisiana National Guard had started a public affairs program and was looking for journalists. She said she was ecstatic at the news. Fry had earned her bachelor's degree in liberal arts, specializing in public relations and journalism, from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1995.

"Not only did I want to be part of such a great team when I enlisted, but now I would be able to tell the soldiers' stories. I would have a chance to tell everyone about the great things they do," she said. "Sometimes there is so much negativity about the military, but I wanted people to see what I saw when I was working with the American Red Cross during hurricanes Katrina and Rita ... and what I still see today."

Though she saw much of what the Guard did while she was volunteering, she gained even more appreciation of their efforts when her own family was rescued by the Guard after Hurricane Ike in September 2008.

I knew the night before the storm hit that my aunt's house was starting to flood as she, my uncle and his father left with my cousin to ride out the storm in my cousin's house, which is on higher ground," Fry said. "But I began to get nervous when I lost phone contact with them."

The next morning, as soon as the weather permitted, the National Guard teamed up with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to begin search and rescue missions with boats and high-water evacuation vehicles.

"I was riding in a Humvee on my way to cover some of the search and rescue missions, hoping that I would hear from them, when amongst the many evacuees, I saw a familiar dog on the back of a high-water evacuation vehicle, and then began to see familiar faces," she said smiling. "Sure enough, it was them.

"I felt immense pride being able to help not only the residents of Louisiana, but by circumstance, my own family," she said. "This time I had the opportunity to make an immediate impact with the full force of the Louisiana National Guard behind me."

Fry's direct commission was finalized Oct. 25, and she was promoted to second lieutenant.

"I think she'll polish her leadership skills as she goes along," Barnett said. "She will always lead from the front, and she'll never ask anyone to do something that she hasn't done, or can't willingly show them how to do."

Fry's co-worker, Army Sgt. Rebekah L. Malone, of Pineville, La., spoke highly of the newly commissioned officer.

"She exemplifies the highly regarded journalistic quality of 'going after the story,'" she said. "She works extremely long hours to write well-rounded stories that highlight the hard-working Louisiana National Guardsmen."

Fry said there are times when, as a soldier-journalist, she needs to put down her camera and help to fill sandbags. "I gladly do both," she said.

Fry said this is exactly where she wants to be.

"I plan on staying in the Guard for as long as they will let me," she said, "and I am ready to face any challenges that may come, even deployment."

"Joining the military and becoming an officer were both dreams I thought were out of reach," she continued. "But I've learned that it's not what is pushing against you that matters, it's how hard you push back."

(Army Sgt. Tresa L. Allemang serves in the 199th Brigade Support Battalion.)

President's Defense Budget Submission Delayed

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 26, 2009 - President Barack Obama's 2010 defense budget request will be delayed, possibly until April, White House and Defense Department officials said. The president's annual budget request usually is submitted to Congress the first Monday in February. However, with only a week in office, the new administration will need more time for a substantial review of the submission, officials said.

Office of Management and Budget officials projected the delay in April and sent a memorandum delaying the budget submission.

Despite the delay, work has not halted on the fiscal 2010 baseline budget submission. Civilian and military financial experts have prepared a draft budget for review by administration officials. They will issue budget guidance via the Office of Management and Budget, which will guide the department.

Officials said they expect this guidance to come to the Pentagon "shortly," and Defense Department finance officials are prepared to move quickly to apply the guidance to the submission.

It is possible that the total Defense Department request, known as the "topline" number, may be released earlier than April, but that must wait on the more detailed submission, officials said.

Africa Command Aids in Rescue Operation

By Air Force Capt. Corinna M. Jones
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 26, 2009 - In an effort to save three Americans from a capsized sailboat, servicemembers from U.S. Africa Command's Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa participated in a three-day international rescue operation 260 miles off the coast of Madagascar. One of the three Americans was found alive, spotted by servicemembers aboard a U.S. Air Force HC-130P -- a search-and-rescue version of the C-130 Hercules transport. The 69-year-old man had been in the water for 18 hours.

Searchers included teams from the United States, South Africa, France and civilian vessels in the region.

"We were notified by the [defense attache at the U.S. Embassy] in Madagascar that a boat registered to an American had capsized," Air Force Capt. John Brunner, director for the task force's Personnel Recovery Coordination Center, said.

Brunner said center officials immediately contacted the Joint Personnel Recovery Center at the Combined Air Operations Center in Southwest Asia.

"We asked them to look at their system to see if they picked up an emergency locator beacon, and they said they did," Brunner said.

Brunner's team coordinated with the CAOC; the Pacific Command's Joint Recovery Personnel Center in Hawaii; Africom's Joint Personnel Recovery Center in Stuttgart, Germany; the French Rescue Coordinator in Paris; and the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Rescue Coordination Center in Norfolk, Va.

"We contacted the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Rescue Coordination Center to see where they were receiving the emergency beacon and who it was registered to," he said.

Africom then issued the order for the task force to support the French Maritime Rescue Coordination Center on Reunion Island, east of Madagascar, to the best of their ability.

"We made the decision to launch one C-130 combat crew with the 'Guardian Angel' pararescue team both from the 449th Air Expeditionary Group and our joint combat search and rescue team on board that aircraft -- 17 crewmembers total," Brunner said.

Because the rescue effort was for civilians, the task force also coordinated with the U.S. Embassy.

"We go through the embassy, in this case Madagascar, because it was the closest embassy," he said.

In coordination with the French Maritime Rescue Coordination Center, it was decided South Africa would have the morning search block. The South Africans launched a C-130 from Victoria to search from sunup Jan. 21 to 1 p.m.
the following day. The U.S. HC-130P launched from Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, at 1 a.m. for an eight and a half hour flight to Reunion Island. After a refueling, the team picked up the search again at 1 p.m.

"That crew had a 16-hour-plus day. They searched in conjunction with a civilian motor vessel, the Auto Banner, and the South African C-130 and a couple of other civilian ships," Brunner said. "The Auto Banner and our aircraft found the vessel. One American had tied himself to it."

According to Brunner, the Auto Banner was directed to pick up the victim and stand off the capsized 43-foot sailboat until the FSS Nivos, a French navy vessel, arrived.

The U.S. HC-130P crew returned to Reunion Island at 5 p.m. and flew the next day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to search in conjunction with the South Africans, the Auto Banner and the FSS Nivos for the other two Americans.

The rescue was called off by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center on the evening of Jan. 23.

"The other two Americans are presumed missing," Brunner said.

How the men came to be so far from shore is still unknown, Brunner said. "Perhaps they were on vacation, on an around-the-world sail. We have no idea," he said.

"The rescue coordination worked exactly like it was supposed to," he continued. "We provide the forces whereas the joint personnel rescue coordination centers provide the coordination," he said. "We were outside of [Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa's] operational area, and the French didn't have forces to support. When they ask for the United States to help, we go help. It's all about a combined effort."

Air Force Col. Gregory Petrequin, commander of the 449th Air Expeditionary Group, said for the United States to expend this level of effort characterizes Americans' value of human life.

"The fact that American airmen and folks from all the services are willing to go out and fly incredibly long hours and expend the level of effort we did and get there as quick as we got there says something about our military, and it says something about our commitment by Americans to look out after fellow Americans," he said. "They put their airplane in a situation that they normally don't put their airplane in, though they are highly trained to do so."

Petrequin said he's proud of his team, and that although he knows they did everything they could, the general consensus is they wish they could have done more.

"I'm incredibly proud of the support of CJTF-HOA and what the 449th Air Expeditionary Group did to pull off this mission," he said. "Naturally we're very excited that one member was found alive, and our hearts definitely go out to the families of the other two sailors who are missing.

"We wish we could have done more, but we really want them to know that a lot of Americans worked really hard over the last couple of days to try and find their loved ones," he said.

(Air Force Capt. Corinna M. Jones serves with U.S. Africa Command's Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.)

Program Improves Patient Safety through Enhanced Teamwork, Communication

By John Ohab
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 26, 2009 - A Defense Department program is transforming military health care during deployment by enhancing communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals, a master trainer in the program said. Developed by the Defense Department's Patient Safety Program, Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety, or TeamSTEPPS, is an evidence-based teamwork system aimed at improving patient safety through a "shared mental model."

Using the program, health care teams work together to establish situational awareness, solve problems and resolve conflicts.

"The tools and strategies were designed to establish a culture of patient safety and quality health care for the military health system," Dr. Shad Deering, an Army physician from Tacoma, Wash., deployed to Iraq, said Jan. 22 during a "Dot Mil Docs" audio webcast on BlagTalkRadio.com.

"[TeamSTEPPS] is a very rational approach that doesn't drag in the person," he continued. "It drags in the problem and lets you address the real issues. It allows both sides to focus on patient safety rather than emotions."

Effective medical teams continually have a shared care plan for all patients accomplished through planning, problem solving and process improvement. TeamSTEPPS offers three communication tools: brief, huddle and debrief.

In the briefing session, teams assign roles, delegate responsibility and identify potential outcomes and barriers to success. Throughout patient care, teams huddle in ad hoc meetings meant to re-establish situational awareness, assess the needs of team members and develop a cohesive treatment plan. Huddles often take place at the bedside, where team members can engage patients and include them in the plan. A final debriefing gives team members an opportunity to communicate their experiences and identify areas that can be improved in the future.

"You are trying to provide a safety net for your team by maintaining situational awareness," Deering said. "You're not calling anybody's performance into question. It's really about watching out for each other and making sure you're doing the right thing for the patient."

Army Maj. Amber Pocrnich, a labor and delivery nurse from Fort Riley, Kan., now deployed to Iraq, said TeamSTEPPS provides new avenues to communicate more effectively and enhances her ability to work in teams.

"It's a tool bag to help with communication and to work more effectively. Everybody comes with a different level of experience, communication style or personality. It's a way to help build a team," Pocrnich said.

During their work at the 86th Combat Army Support Hospital in Iraq, Deering and Pocrnich had the opportunity to observe the positive impact of the TeamSTEPPS in action.

"We saw a significant decrease in the number of errors due to communication issues and the number of medication errors that happened," Deering said.

TeamSTEPPS can be adapted to meet the challenges of a combat support hospital, including multiple casualties, unique patterns of injury, language and cultural differences and long-distance travel through the combat environment. Because health care teams often are assembled after deployment, it is critical that newly formed teams quickly develop their technical and communication skills through simulation exercises, refresher training and practice in theater.

"Medical care in the deployed environment is challenging. We all come from different areas to this one unit, and usually teams haven't worked together for very long when they get into theater," Pocrnich said.

More than 100 specialty units and clinics have received some level of TeamSTEPPS training and are in various stages of implementation in military treatment facilities. Also, more than 1,200 trainers and coaches have been trained in teamwork principles.

Deering and Pocrnich expressed optimism that TeamSTEPPS ultimately will be integrated into all military medical systems before deployment to minimize subsequent errors and foster a safer and more effective medical environment.

"Health care is our practice, but our mission is patient safety," Pocrnich said.

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