Wednesday, January 28, 2009



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

National Guard Responds in States Hit by Ice, Snow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama Thanks Troops, Pledges Support Following Meeting with Joint Chiefs

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By William Prokopyk
Special to American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love of Cats Leads Volunteer to Troop-support Efforts

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Army Program Offers Recreation Outlet for Combat-tested Soldiers

By Ken White
Special to American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Army Command Expands Role in Promoting Stability, Security in Africa

By John Ohab
Special to American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Military Legal Resource Update

The Federal Research Division (FRD) of the Library of Congress is pleased to announce that the FRD "Military Legal Resources" Web site, sponsored and funded by the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center & School (TJAGLCS) Library, has just been updated.

Two attachments were referred to on the last page of the December 13, 1946 "Report of the War Department Advisory Committee on Military Justice to the Honorable, the Secretary of War" (also known as "the Vanderbilt Report")

These documents were located in the National Archives, scanned, converted to full text, and linked on the Military Legal Resources site. They are now linked on the last page of the Vanderbilt Report. These documents are: A cover letter from Dean Vanderbilt and the report "The Administration of Military Justice: A Survey of Constructive Criticisms Received by the War Department's Advisory Committee on Military Justice), and the 71-page "Topical Outline -- Compilation of Answers -- Generals, Judge Advocates, Enlisted Men.

These two documents can also be accessed from the "New" section on the home page.

President to Meet With Defense Secretary, Joint Chiefs at Pentagon

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 28, 2009 - Iraq and Afghanistan likely will be among the discussion topics when President Barack Obama makes his first visit to the Pentagon this afternoon to meet with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a senior Defense Department official said here today. "This meeting is part of the ongoing process of the new commander in chief getting briefed and having the opportunity to get some perspective from his senior military advisors," spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters.

Gates "likes to create the opportunities for the commander in chief to hear from a wide variety of his senior uniformed personnel," Whitman said.

Today's meeting, Whitman said, will be held inside the Pentagon's secure conference room, known as the "tank." Adm. Thad W. Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard, also will attend, he added.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff consists of the senior military representatives from each of the armed services. They are responsible for recruiting, training and equipping U.S. military forces for the combatant commanders. The Joint Chiefs possess a "unique perspective, and they all are seasoned warfighters," Whitman said.

The Joint Chiefs are led by Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the organization's chairman. Mullen, who reports to Gates, is the uniformed military's principal advisor to the commander in chief. Mullen is assisted by Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The service chiefs are Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway.