Military News

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Defense Department Releases Roles, Missions Review

By Sara Moore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - Defense Department officials released a report to Congress today detailing its core competencies and missions and establishing a framework for similar reviews every four years. The 2009 Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report also reviews recent efforts across the force to improve joint operations in several evolving mission areas, officials said.

The report identifies the department's core missions as homeland defense and civilian support; deterrence operations; major combat operations; irregular warfare; military support to stabilization, security, transition and reconstruction operations; and military contribution to cooperative security. These are "missions for which [the Defense Department] is uniquely responsible, provides the preponderance of capabilities, or is the U.S. government lead as established by national policy," the report says.

The department identified its core competencies as force application, command and control, battlespace awareness, net centric, building partnerships, protection, logistics, force support, and corporate management and support. These competencies are meant to link the core missions with the Defense Department's capabilities-development process, according to the news release.

The QRM report also reviewed the evolving mission areas of irregular warfare, cyberspace operations, unmanned aircraft systems and intratheater airlift.

The report found that the Defense Department has achieved "some success" institutionalizing irregular warfare in recent years. The department's vision for the future is to equip the joint force with the capabilities, doctrine, organization, training, leadership and operating concepts needed to make it as proficient in irregular warfare as it is in conventional warfare, according to the report. Toward that end, Defense Department officials are continuing to define the role of special operations forces, balancing reserve- and active-component roles in irregular warfare, and working with interagency partners.

Cyberspace is a decentralized domain that presents the Defense Department not only with enormous challenges, but also with opportunities, the report says. Noting significant progress in defining the department's roles, missions and objectives in cyberspace, the report notes the department now has the capability to locate, tag and track terrorists in cyberspace; shape and defend cyberspace; and coordinate defensive and offensive missions in cyberspace.

In the future, the Defense Department seeks to achieve superiority in military-relevant portions of cyberspace, the report states. To do this, the department will develop "a professional cyberspace force able to influence and execute cyberspace operations with the same rigor and confidence as traditional department operations in other domains." Officials also intend to include more classes and information on cyberspace in Joint Professional Military Education curricula and increase basic training capacity for computer network operations specialists.

The department also will develop its unmanned aircraft and intratheater airlift capabilities, according to the report. Dedicated airlift capacity must be available and extremely responsive to meet the needs of commanders in the field, the report explains, so the Defense Department is assigning all significant fixed-wing airlift capability to the Air Force and Army to allow more flexibility in airlift missions.

For unmanned aircraft systems, the department's vision is to integrate these capabilities, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, into the intelligence enterprise. To achieve this, the officials will continue to provide direction and advocacy to coordinate development and acquisition of these technologies across the services, combat support agencies, combatant commands and interagency partners, the report says.

Army Works to Combat Rising Suicide Rates

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

Jan. 29, 2009 - The Army is committed to finding out why more soldiers committed suicide in 2008 than ever recorded, Army officials told reporters during a media roundtable today at the Pentagon. "[Suicide] is not just an Army problem," Army Secretary Pete Geren said. "It's a national problem ... we're committed to doing everything we can to address [the issues] better [and] put programs in place."

In past years, the Army, which consists of 1.1 million active and reserve troops, has been just below or on par with the national suicide rate, Geren said.

But this year, with 128 confirmed and 15 pending, an estimated 20.2 suicides occurred per 100,000 soldiers, the highest since the Army began recording the figure in 1980. The figure is higher than the national suicide rate, which is less than 20 victims per 100,000 people.

Also, the number of Army suicides increased for the fourth consecutive year, according to the Army's 2008 Suicide Data report released today.

Army researchers admitted that at least 90 percent of pending suicide cases turns out to be actual suicides. But they explained that there's no one cause or consistent formula for suicide prevention.

Multiple factors make up the risks and no two reasons are the same, Geren said.

A high mission tempo clearly can place strain on a military, and with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 12 months or longer deployment rotations and 12 months or less downtime at home, the Army certainly has been busy, Army Vice Chief Of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli said.

"We all come to the table believing stress is a factor," Chiarelli told reporters. But he added that 2008 statistics show 30 percent of suicide victims this year were deployed, 35 percent had recently redeployed and 35 percent had no deployment experience at all.

"I think those statistics have to be looked at, and more questions have to be asked," he said. "But there's no doubt in my mind that stress is a factor in this trend we're seeing."

Chiarelli said it's important to take a step backward to evaluate what the Army and research facilities already know about suicide and prevention and review them.

Army researchers have come together with the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase the nation's awareness and understanding in suicide prevention, Dr. Philip S. Wang, director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research at the National Institute of Mental Health, said.

The five-year partnership is the largest research initiative on suicide ever conducted in the civilian and military sectors, Wang added.

"The National Institute of Mental Health is honored and committed to working with the Army to understand the urgency, to identify risks and prevention factors, to develop new and better intervention," he said. "The knowledge will not only extend to soldiers and their families, but to the civilian population as well."

Army leaders and researchers agree that reducing the number of suicide victims is a long-term goal, but in the near term, they've initiated an Armywide "stand-down" to take place on a day between Feb. 15 and March 15, Col. Thomas Languirand, Army deputy chief of staff for personnel, said.

The stand-down day will offer an opportunity for individual units and soldiers to address problems head on, and will include the latest training videos, materials and methods to identify symptoms and prevent suicide, Languirand explained.

The stand-down will be followed by another 120 days of a "chain-teaching" program, which is intended to be leader-led suicide prevention training, cascaded across the entire Army, he said. The stand-down period and chain-teaching program are mandated training in addition to quarterly and other suicide awareness and prevention training that may occur at the unit level already.

"The Army is concerned regarding where we are with our numbers," he said. "Any loss of life, especially by suicide, is a tragedy. That tragedy impacts the unit, it impacts morale on that unit ... and it impacts the families. It's extremely important that we get out in front of this ... nobody in the Army is satisfied as to where we are with our [past] programs."

The Army will conduct its next suicide update in April.

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 29, 2009

NAVY

Maritime Helicopter Support Company, Woodbridge, Va., is being awarded a $326,596,424 firm fixed price, definite delivery, definite quantity Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract for support for Navy H-60 weapons repairables assemblies (WRAs) and shop replaceable assemblies covering various airframes and avionics systems in support of the H-60 series helicopters. Work will be performed at Stratford, Conn. (83 percent) and Owego, N.Y. (17 percent), and work is expected to be completed by January 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This announcement combines purchases with the U.S. Navy (98 percent), the U.S. Coast Guard (1 percent) and the Governments of Australia, Greece, Spain, Thailand, and Taiwan - 1 percent). This contract was not awarded competitively. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00383-09-D-010F).

Lockheed Martin Sippican, Inc., Marion, Mass., is being awarded a $35,774,572 cost plus incentive fee contract for design and development of a Communications at Speed and Depth (CSD) Family of Systems (FoS). SPAWAR awarded the contract on behalf of its organizational partner, the Navy's Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence systems. This contract includes options for Low Rate Initial Production and Full Rate Production quantities of CSD hardware, as well as options for engineering services and provisioning item orders, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $177,949,593. Work will be performed in Marion, Mass. (46 percent); DeLeon Springs, Fla. (18 percent); Braintree, Mass. (15 percent); Columbia City, Ind. (13 percent); Eagan, Minn. (8 percent), and is expected to be completed by Jan. 2011 (Sept 2017 with options exercised). Contractfunds in the amount of$6,469,857willexpire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract wascompetitively procured with one offer received via the Commerce Business Daily's Federal Business Opportunities website, and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, Calif. is the contracting activity (N00039-09-C-0017).

Sauer Incorporated, Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded $20,976,700 for firm fixed price task order #0003 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62467-05-D-0181) for construction of market style apartments (Bachelor Quarters) at Naval Air Station - Joint Reserve Base, Belle Chasse. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of market style apartments featuring multi-story design to incorporate anti-terrorism and force protection features. Each apartment will be comprised of two bedrooms (two personnel in each bedroom) with four closets, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, washer/dryer area, and living/dining area. The maximum number of constructed units (apartments) shall be 61 units. Work will be performed in Belle Chase, La., and is expected to be completed by Jan. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $17,816,580 modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-04-C-0569) to exercise an option for the procurement of 42 Tomahawk Composite Capsule Launching System (CCLS) Capsules. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed in October 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.

PPG Protective and Marine Coatings, Alexander, Ark., is being awarded a $9,515,570 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with firm fixed price orders for the supply of paint products and services worldwide to the Military Sealift Command fleet. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $47,260,200. Work will be performed worldwide and is expected to be completed by Jan. 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with four offers received. Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00033-09-D-8010).

FMW Composite Systems Inc., Bridgeport, W.V., is being awarded an $8,636,047 firm fixed price delivery order #0008 under previously awarded contract (M67854-05-D-5004) for 100 Small and 100 Medium Ground Expedient Refueling Systems (GERS) and one OCONUS training session. Work will be performed in Bridgeport, W.V., and work is expected to be completed by January 2010. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), San Diego, Calif., is being awarded an $8,388,383 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-4402) for the repair and alteration for Non-Docking Scheduled Availability for the USS Dubuque (LPD-8). NASSCO furnishes the material, supports (electrical, crane, and rigging) and facilities necessary for the maintenance and modernization of the LSD/LPD class ships. This availability includes replacement of labyrinth seals, high power, low power turbine No. 2 and the 5-Year Strength and Integrity Inspection of the Auxiliary Boiler No. 1 and No. 2. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by April 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $8,388,383 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier, LLC., Bethesda, Md., is being awarded a $7,636,500 firm fixed price contract for the six-month time charter of the U.S.-flagged, contractor-owned roll-on/roll-off vessel MV Liberty. The contract includes one six-month option that, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $15,272,500. MV Liberty will be operated primarily between the U.S. East Coast and the Persian Gulf in support of the U.S. Central Command and the war on terrorism. Work is expected to be completed in Sept. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website and the Military Sealift Command website, with three offers received. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command is the contracting activity (N00033-09-C-5501).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is modifying a contract with M7 Aerospace, San Antonio, Texas for $59,000,000. The extension is necessary to continue Contractor Logistics Support for the C-20 program opening the resolution of the corrective action on contract FA8106-08-C-0010. At this time $10,400,008 has been obligated. 727 ACSG/PKB is the contracting activity. (FA8106-04-C-0003)

The Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract with Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems, San Diego California for $29,000,000. This action will add contingency operations for FY09 and additional Incentive Fee Metrics into the Performance Plan. 560 ACSG/GFKAB is the contracting activity. (FA8528-09-D-0001-P00001)

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to DRS Sustainment Systems Inc., St. Louis, Missouri for $18,178,220. This action will provide Service Life Extension Program for the APQ-170 Radar Systems, supporting the MC-130H Combat Talon II (CT-II) Aircraft. At this time, $18,178,220 has been obligated. 580 ACSG/GFKAA is the contracting activity. (FA8509-09-C-0012)

The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Northrop Grumman Guidance and Electronic Company, Navigation System Division, Woodland Hill, California for $10,862,060. This action will provide for one hundred ninety-four EGI Production Units for the European Participating Aircraft Countries. At this time $10,862,060 has been obligated. 647 AES/PK is the contracting activity. (FA8626-06-C-2066 P00043)

The Air Force is modifying a fixed price contract with Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Navigation Systems Division for $10,302,160. This action will provide for one hundred and eighty-four EGI Production Units for the USAF F-16. At this time $10,302,160 has been obligated. 647 AESS/PK is the contracting activity. (FA8626-06-C-2066 P00045)

The Air Force has awarded a cost plus fixed fee contract to Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus , Ohio for $7,724,695. This action will determining in place destruct, initial morphology, and aerodynamic breakup, of chemical/biological agent payloads to advance the state of art in representation of source term from the missile intercept events. At this time $309,179 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD is the contracting activity. (SP0700-00-D-3180)

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

American Apparel, Selma, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $20,209,824 firm fixed price contract for airmen battle uniforms, coats and trousers. Other locations of performance are Excel Manufacturing, El Paso, Texas, and Warmkraft, Taylorsville, Miss. Using service is the Air Force. The proposal was originally Web solicited with 12 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is January 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Pa. (SMP1C1-07-D-0009).

Propper International, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, is being awarded a maximum $13,274,520 firm fixed price contract for airmen battle uniforms, coats and trousers. Other locations of performance include Cabo Rogo, Las Marjas, Lagas, and Lajas, Puerto Rico. Using service is the Air Force. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 6 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is January 31, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Pa. (SPM1C1-07-D-0008).

Epic Aviation dba Air BP, Salem, Ore.* is being awarded a maximum $6,754,424 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for jet fuel distribution. Other location of performance are Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, Johnstown, Pa. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and other Federal agencies. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2013. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-0038).

Anticipating Threats Key to Success, Northcom Commander Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - Anticipating threats is the key to readiness, the chief of the combatant command responsible for the military role in homeland defense said. Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said that when he took over the reins two years ago, he modified the Northcom mission statement to reflect this notion.

"I added the word 'anticipate' in there, and that really changed the culture of our command," Renuart told an audience at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University here this week. "We anticipate each day what we might be asked to do."

He said his commands monitor 35 to 40 daily "events" across the country that potentially could require assistance.

"If you wait to be a responder, you will always be late -- you will always be playing catch-up. We can't afford to do that in our country," Renuart said.

Northcom, which was established about a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is responsible for an area of operations that includes the United States, Canada and Mexico. It serves as a "one-stop-shopping" point for military support in case of an attack on American soil.

Last week, Northcom served as one of the elements supporting the U.S. Secret Service in providing security for the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Barack Obama. Some 6,000 active-duty military and 9,300 National Guard members participated in the event that boasted between 2 and 3 million attendees.

"All of it required detailed planning across a variety of agencies to ensure that we had the right capability in the right place in the event we needed it," the general said. "The good news is we didn't."

But one advantage of such preparation and anticipation is that Northcom personnel were able to administer medical treatment to some 300 people. "We happened to be in the right place," Renuart said.

The general emphasized that Northcom fastidiously adheres to the rules outlined in the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law that restricts the government from using the military for law enforcement.

"There are specific roles for the military, and specific roles when the military should not be involved," he said. "Our art form is to navigate amongst those to ensure that we do respect the laws of our country, that we do respect the rights of individuals, and that we ensure that we only provide support to the agencies that are tasked by our Constitution to enforce the laws of our nation."

Renuart added that cyber warfare -- acts of aggression carried out over computers or the Internet -- is making the definition of war more ambiguous.

"It's harder to define what an act of war might be in the cyber world," he said.

Kenyan Government Agrees to Try Pirates Seized by U.S. Forces

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - The Kenyan government has agreed to try pirates captured by the U.S. military, a senior Defense Department official said here today. The agreement came about earlier this month through a memorandum of understanding signed by U.S. State Department and Kenyan government officials, spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters. Britain also has a similar agreement with Kenya.

Kenya is an east African nation that faces the Indian Ocean. Kenya's neighbors include Ethiopia and Somalia to the north and northeast, Uganda and Sudan to the northwest and Tanzania to the south.

Seagoing pirates operating off the coasts of Somalia and Yemen have lately preyed on commercial shipping, often holding captured vessels, cargo and crews for millions of dollars in ransom money. The problem seemed to worsen until the recent stand up of a multinational, anti-pirate consortium known as Task Force 151.

The U.S.-Kenyan memorandum "adds to the range of possibilities in terms of being able to attack this problem," Whitman said. And, "having a place to prosecute these people," he added, should help to discourage pirate activity in the region.

Task Force 151 includes support provided by the British, Chinese and Russian navies.

Air Force Fighters to Patrol Over Super Bowl

American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - Some Air Force fighter pilots may miss out on watching Super Bowl XLIII, but for a worthy cause. They will be flying to protect the skies around Raymond James Stadium during the Feb. 1 game in Tampa, Fla. Airmen flying fighter jets may be visible enforcing the Federal Aviation Administration's temporary flight restriction over the greater Tampa area during the National Football League's championship game, officials said.

"America's [air operations center] will be closely monitoring all air activity while the FAA temporary flight restriction is in place," Air Force Col. David Kriner, commander of the 601st Air and Space Operations Center, said. "The men and women of this [air operations center] monitor the sky 24/7, 365 for the entire continental U.S., and Sunday's special event is another part of our mission set."

Air Force fighters and Customs and Border Patrol assets will be airborne during the game. This interagency partnership helps ensure safety in the sky over the stadium, officials said.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Henry C. "Hank" Morrow, commander for the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, said command officials provide air defense for the protection of the entire continental United States, including for special events such as this year's Super Bowl.

"As America's air defenders, we have a total team mindset," Morrow said. "Special events like this world-renowned sporting event take precise coordination with all mission partners, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Border Patrol, FAA and local law enforcement."

Continental U.S. NORAD Region flights will have minimal impact on aircraft in the area during the Super Bowl and are not in response to any specific threat, officials said.

"We want citizens to know that we are always on the job, and defending our homeland from air threats is our No. 1 priority," Morrow said.

NFL, Military Continue Super Bowl Traditions

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

Jan. 29, 2009 - From fighter jet flyovers to military performances at halftime shows, the National Football League and U.S. military have shared more than 40 years of Super Bowl history. The tradition continues Feb. 1 in Tampa, Fla., during Super Bowl XLIII, with Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, performing the ceremonial coin toss for the Arizona Cardinals' and Pittsburgh Steelers' team captains.

"It is a privilege to represent our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen in the coin-toss ceremony," Petraeus told American Forces Press Service today in an e-mail. "And it is an honor to thank the NFL commissioner and the teams and players for all that they have done in recent years to recognize the service of our troopers and their families."

The Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration squadron is set for a pregame flyover, and an all-service U.S. Special Operations Command color guard is planned to present the nation's colors during the game's national anthem.

Air Force Tech Sgt. Holly Bracken will be on the field in the color guard formation, presenting the Air Force colors. She's privileged to represent her service and the military, she said, adding that it just wouldn't be a Super Bowl without military support.

"It's such an honor to go there and present the colors," said Bracken, who grew up near Pittsburgh rooting for the Steelers. "You can't have the presentation of the colors without [military] representation."

The NFL-military Super Bowl partnership stems from the first Air Force flyover in 1968 over Miami's Orange Bowl for Super Bowl II. Ever since, flyovers have become a staple of the Super Bowl, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, citing military flyovers as "an unbelievable experience" to watch from the football field.

Since then, the military has supported flyovers for nearly every Super Bowl, he said. Also, military choirs have performed the pregame national anthem twice, with the U.S. Air Force Academy Chorale singing for Super Bowl VI in 1972, and a combined chorus from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy singing for Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performed at halftime for Super Bowl VI in 1972, and the U.S. Air Force Band did the same in 1985 for Super Bowl XIX.

The military even has taken on its normal role as peacekeeper and protector for past Super Bowls, with the Florida Army National Guard taking part in security efforts in 2005 and 2007 along with other federal and state agencies.

"The NFL has had a longstanding tradition of supporting the military," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told American Forces Press Service during a phone interview. "We have a great appreciation for what the military does and feel honored to include the military in the Super Bowl."

Throughout the years, the Super Bowl has become one of the most highly rated televised events of the year. This year, Super Bowl XLIII will be broadcast to more than 230 countries to a potential worldwide audience of more than 1 billion viewers, including military members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

McCarthy said the NFL is working with NBC, which has the broadcast rights for Super Bowl XLIII, to coordinate a "look-in" from some of those military members serving abroad. A live satellite feed will show military football fans watching the big game from a military post in the Middle East, he explained.

The NFL wouldn't give specifics on whether the feed would air from Iraq or Afghanistan, but McCarthy said the "look-in" has generally become another staple of Super Bowl broadcasts and tradition, as it's occurred regularly throughout recent years.

"[The NFL] feels that the 70,000 fans attending the Super Bowl this year should be cheering louder for the military than the two teams playing," he said. "It is, indeed, very important for the NFL to look for every opportunity to support the troops."

Official Thanks Military Blood Donors

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 29, 2009 - As Armed Services Blood Program officials join with the rest of the nation in observing National Blood Donor Month, the program's director expressed gratitude for the more than 165,000 donations from Defense Department military, civilians and their families in 2008. "January is designated every year as a special time when the Armed Services Blood Program, as well as the other blood donor programs, commemorates our blood volunteer donors; they are actually the core of our program," Army Col. (Dr.) Francisco J. Rentas told "Dot Mil Docs" audio webcast listeners Jan. 27 on BlogTalkRadio.com.

"It means a time to officially say thanks for what [blood donors] are doing," he said.

The blood program is a joint Army, Navy and Air Force operation, and includes 23 donor centers worldwide and many components among the services to collect, process, store, distribute and transfer blood.

Rentas encouraged people to get involved, not just in January, but all year long.

"Give blood as often as you can," he said. "You can donate blood every eight weeks. One donation can actually save three lives."

Blood is critically important and always needed for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the doctor said, and a recent advancement is helping wounded servicemembers survive by enabling deployed medical teams to store blood in special containers that maintain the proper temperature under austere environments.

"We have been using small containers for special missions that can keep blood at the right temperature for three to five days," the doctor said. "What is really unique about this is no ice, no electricity, no batteries [are required], but you can keep blood at the right temperature for a few days."

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media directorate of Defense Media Activity.)