Military News

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Education Activity Asks Parents, Students for Feedback

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 3, 2009 - The Defense Department Education Activity is asking parents and students to share their thoughts about what works and what doesn't in its schools through a customer-satisfaction survey. "DoDEA is firmly committed to continuous improvement and highest student achievement," said Sandra D. Embler, chief of research and evaluation for the activity. "The input of the students and parents is an essential component in identifying strengths and weaknesses in the system." Officials administer the survey every two years.

Parents and students in the fourth through 12th grades can expect to answer the same questions on the survey, Embler said. They'll have a chance to express their opinions on the schools and instruction, the level of emphasis on assessments, the use of technology for learning, and how their school's administrators communicate. They'll also be able to comment on student-support matters such as counseling, college planning and transition issues.

Embler said she and her team will work quickly to make the results of the survey public.

"The survey ends Feb. 28," she said. "Results will be available online the first week of March on the DoDEA Web site." Visitors to the site will find a link to the results from DoDEA's home page, she said.

Once the results have been analyzed, Embler said, it's just a matter of what level of action is involved to implement suggestions. Individual schools often take immediate action when they receive the results, she explained, while actions that involve DoDEA as a whole often take longer.

"For example," she said, "based on previous customer satisfaction survey results, DoDEA established a task group related to high school counseling. This task group spent last year researching and discussing issues and making recommendations."

Some of those recommendations are being implemented now, she added.

Traditionally, teachers, administrators and educational support staff also have participated in this survey. This year, Embler said, they will take a separate employee survey in March.

"While many surveys are administered and the results are never incorporated into actions, all levels of DoDEA – schools, districts and systemwide – will use the results to make improvements," she emphasized.

While the survey is voluntary, participation is encouraged, Embler said. DoDEA officials estimate it will take about 20 minutes to complete the survey, which can be found by clicking on the "2008 Customer Satisfaction Survey" link on the right side of DoDEA's home page.

Communication, Leadership Fundamentals Set Tone at Southcom

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 3, 2009 - Talk to just about anyone at the U.S. Southern Command staff, and they'll describe their commander, Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, as a renaissance man. He's a voracious reader, an author, a whiz on the tennis and squash courts and a linguist who, after mastering French and Spanish, now is studying Portuguese so he can communicate with his Brazilian counterparts in their native tongue.

Stavridis also has embraced technology, becoming the first combatant commander to use Facebook and a personal blog to convey the importance of partnership and cooperation to confront threats facing Latin America and the Caribbean. It's a message he shares every time he travels to the 45 countries and territories in his area of focus.

In a region highly unlikely to experience all-out war, Stavridis calls communication the most important tool in his arsenal. "In this hemisphere, we are in the business of ideas, not missiles," he said. "Our main battery, so to speak, is communication."

Stavridis' focus on communication begins in his West Miami headquarters. After 33 years of military service, he told American Forces Press Service, he's learned that being a leader demands being able to communicate vision and expectations.

"You have to be the 'writer in chief,' and you have to put your own pen to the paper -- or in these days, your own fingertips to the keyboard," he said. The bottom line, he said, is that a leader must "own the message" and be able to articulate it.

Stavridis solicits feedback, too, keeping the communication lines open in both directions. He holds near-weekly all-hands meetings with his headquarters staff and frequently updates and responds to his online blog report, "In the Americas." He also circulates routinely throughout the headquarters to check in with staffers at every level, and he schedules time with U.S. embassy country teams when visiting the region to hear directly from them.

His advice to U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduates at their commencement in June summed up his openness to feedback. "Do not be afraid to question your seniors," he told the class. "Even as the youngest member of the team, you need to have the curiosity, the commitment and the courage to stand up and be part of the leadership conversation."

"Few things are more vital to an organization," he added, "than young officers and leaders who have the moral courage to help shape the direction in which the organization is headed, and then the strength of character to see it through."

The message reflects the commander's philosophy Stavridis introduced when he became the first Navy officer to command Southcom in October 2006.

That philosophy, prominently posted on the command's Web site, spells his expectations of his staff as well as himself: civility, quiet confidence, creativity, teamwork and collaboration, determination, honesty and integrity.

They're the same qualities Stavridis began honing as a brigade leader during his senior year at the Naval Academy, and that earned him the Navy League's John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership in 1998 during Destroyer Squadron 21's deployment to the Arabian Gulf.

Today, this leadership style sets the tone for his command at Southcom.

"I would put civility at the top of the list," Stavridis said, emphasizing the benefits of a friendly, collegial workplace that brings out the best in its people.

"It's a word we don't use enough in our society," he continued. "It means taking an approach where you never lose your temper and you are polite and kind to everybody around you. You bring the best of yourself to the workplace and try to rise above the daily pressures. And you encourage everyone in your organization to take that same approach."

Stavridis also calls on his staff to demonstrate calm and steadiness without letting egos impede progress. He encourages a never-ending quest for improvement and a refusal to give up when the going gets tough. He urges teamwork, and demands that his people abide by the rules and tell the truth without flinching.

If these qualities sound straight out of a textbook on leadership, it could be from one Stavridis penned himself. Since his commissioning at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976, he has written or co-written "Command at Sea," "Watch Officer's Guide: A Handbook for all Watch Officers," "Destroyer Captain: Lessons of a First Command," and "Division Officer's Guide."

Stavridis said he took many of his leadership lessons from heroes in his own life. He counts among those heroes his father, retired Marine Corps Col. P.G. Stavridis; Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman who, as a lieutenant, served as Stavridis' company officer at the U.S. Naval Academy; and retired Navy legend Vice Adm. Cutler Dawson, Stavridis' long-term mentor.

Stavridis said he also takes inspiration from historical leaders. He considers Army Gen. George C. Marshall "a profoundly good leader who was interagency before interagency was cool." And he admires Winston Churchill, not just for his intellect and sheer energy, but also "for his ability to communicate and craft a message."

The biggest lesson he said he takes from these heroes is that a leader's job is to serve.

"If there is an absolute piece of bedrock" to his leadership philosophy, Stavridis said, "that's it."

"Leadership is about service," he explained. "The job of a leader is to understand what all of the people in his or her organization are seeking to achieve in their lives and how they are trying to reach their goals. The leader is the facilitator who, in this sense, is the servant to the crew."

The result, Stavridis said, is an organization that shares a common vision and works together to achieve it.

"I believe in the Wikipedia concept," he said, referring to the online encyclopedia that depends on the public for its entries. "The way Wikipedia was built was through millions and millions of people contributing together. And that's what a leader can facilitate, creating a Wikipedia-like thinking within the organization.

"Because none of us -- and no leader -- is as smart as all of us thinking together," he said.

Iran Satellite Launch Heightens Missile Development Concerns

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 3, 2009 - Iran's launch of a low-orbit satellite into orbit yesterday "is clearly a concern of ours" because it could lead to the development of a ballistic missile system, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today. Morrell responded to questions about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement that Iran had launched its first Iranian-built satellite into orbit. A domestically built Ambassador-2 or Safir-2 rocket reportedly carried the satellite into space.

Iran has "officially achieved a presence in space," Ahmadinejad declared as Iran observed the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. The launch heightened concern that Iran could take the next step of developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

"It is certainly a reason for us to be concerned about Iran and its continued attempts to develop a ballistic missile program of increasingly long range," Morrell said today. "Obviously, there are dual-use capabilities in the technology here which could be applied toward the development of a long-range ballistic missile."

The United States isn't the only country concerned about Iran's activities. "Everybody in the region," including Israel and its Arab neighbors, as well as U.S. allies in Europe and Russia, has raised concern, Morrell said.

During conversations with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, former Russian President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin referred to Iran's activities as Russia's "No. 1 security threat," Morrell said.

Yesterday's launch only reinforced these concerns about Iran, Morrell told reporters.

"We have long recognized ... that they pose a real threat, and it is a growing threat, and that they are determined to develop long-range ballistic missiles," he said. "And I think all of Europe has recognized that to be the case, and that is why they unanimously embraced a third site for missile defense in Europe."

NATO plans to put a European missile defense system in place to combat missiles fired from rogue states such as Iran. The radar for the NATO system will be in the Czech Republic, and the 10 interceptor missiles will be based in Poland.

Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood called today for increased pressure from the international community, including Russia and China, to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"Russia and China share our concern about what Iran has been doing, not only with regard to its nuclear program, but ... with regard to missile technology," he said.
"I think, frankly, everyone can do better with regard to trying to limit Iran's ability to act ... with regard to missile technology and its nuclear program."

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718 prohibits Iran from engaging in missile-related activities.

Mullen Spurs on American Youth to Face National Challenges

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 3, 2009 - In a speech aimed at American youth, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, encouraged the college-aged generation last night to help shape their country's future. In wide-ranging remarks, Mullen spurred on an audience comprised mainly of students at Grove City College here to consider contributing to the United States as it faces a financial crisis, national security threats and a "full spectrum" of challenges, including the health of the military.

"We live in extraordinary times," he said. "Our future is in your hands -- not in mine -- in these challenging times. ... This isn't just about national security or military security, this is about our nation."

Mullen said he is concerned that the global financial crisis could create a degree of instability and is going to have an impact on federal budgets.

Mullen characterized the "broader Middle East" as the world's most challenging region. He defined the area as encompassing everything from the Palestine-Israel conflict to Lebanon to Iran, and further east to include Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

"It's a very unstable part of the world, and there seemingly are crises after crises, and I think that we have to address it from a military standpoint as well as a national policy standpoint as a priority for our country," he said.

Mullen said the shifting U.S. focus from the conflict in Iraq to Afghanistan -- which he said "is not going well" -- is the right policy at the right time.

The admiral cited provincial elections that took place in Iraq on Jan. 31 as a measure of progress. There were no reports of deaths or major violence on the day Iraqis cast their ballots, military officials said.

Mullen said additional, nonmilitary resources should also be placed in Afghanistan to help bolster good governance and to help support its economy, in addition to the upwards of 30,000 U.S. troops that military officials expect to deploy there over the next 12 to 16 months.

Mullen said Afghanistan should be viewed as a regional issue that takes into account Pakistan and even India, both of which are nuclear powers.

"We have to focus on that part of the world well enough to ensure that the terrorist safe haven from which we were attacked is not reborn in Afghanistan and is eliminated in Pakistan," he said.

In a briefing in December, Mullen said safe havens in Pakistan played a role in allowing the terror group Lashkar-e-Toiba prepare for the Nov. 26 attack that killed 172 people in Mumbai and paralyzed India's largest city and financial center for three days. The admiral added yesterday that what concerned him most about the terrorist attack was the fact that it "literally moved two major nuclear powers closer to war."

"We are now, and will be for the foreseeable future, involved in this lengthy, determined effort to eliminate those terrorists as a threat to us," he said.

Mullen said Americans should be mindful of the sacrifices made by the roughly 220,000 U.S. troops deployed to the region and the families they leave behind. He said their service is exemplary of the contribution being made by the 2.2 million men and women in uniform.

"I am incredibly appreciative of their service, and I know the American people are as well," he said.

Speaking about the health of the force, Mullen noted recent Army statistics showing that suicide rates are "up dramatically from last year." The rate of suicide among soldiers exceeds the national norm, he said.

"Part of it has got to be the pressure of these constant deployments," he said. "And in constant deployments into combat -- where young individuals, as it has been the case throughout history, [and] whose lives change forever -- see things and do things that they had never imagined. And we have got to be able to support those individuals in ways that in some cases we haven't quite figured out yet."

Mullen also recommended that care be improved for families of servicemembers killed in action.

"Families whose principal military member has paid the ultimate sacrifice -- we are a wealthy enough country, even in these financially difficult times, to make sure they are taken care of their needs are met for the rest of their lives," he said.

Mullen voiced his confidence to the audience that the United States would get out of its economic crises "just fine."

Historically, such crises bring out "the best in us as a country," he said. "That's only because [a crisis] brings out the best in every single American, and we need that now, at a time when we've got to pull together to move forward and solve these hugely challenging problems we have."

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 3, 2009

ARMY

AM General, LLC, South Bend, Ind., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $510,781,157 firm fixed price contract to add 3,401 each High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to contract. Work is being performed at Mishawaka, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S001).

BAE Systems, Tactical Vehicle Systems Limited Partnership, Sealy, Texas, was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $107,357,779 firm fixed price and cost reimbursement contract to incorporate engineering changes that add additional armor (B Kits) to 5,108 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) Long Term Armor Strategy (LTAS) A1P2 cabs. Work is being performed at Sealy, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0460).

The Walsh Group DBA Archer Western Contractors, Atlanta, Ga., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $49,988,000 firm fixed price contract to construct and install a security booth, truck canopy, guard shack, truck control office, access roads, vehicle parking lots, and truck scale. Work is to be performed at El Paso, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited on the Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Sacramento, Calif., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-D-0036).

Specialty Defense Systems, Dunmore, Pa., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $43,665,849 firm fixed price contract for 75,000 Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV's). Work will be performed at Jefferson City, Tenn., with an estimated completion date of Jul. 31, 2009. Two offerers were solicited and two bids/offerers were received. U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-07-C-0084).

AeroVironment, Incorporated, Simi Valley, Calif., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $39,003,452 firm fixed price and cost plus fixed fee contract to definitize not-to-exceed FY 09 Systems, initial spares packages, and contractor logistics support for the Raven RQ-11B Unmanned Aircraft System. Work is to be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0338).

South Carolina Commission for the Blind, Columbia, S.C., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $17,718,631 firm fixed price contract. Contractor provides food services post-wide for 13 dining facilities for Soldiers at Fort Jackson, S.C. Work is performed at Fort Jackson, S.C., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Directorate of Contracting, Fort Jackson, S.C., is the contracting activity (DABT47-02-C-0003).

Booz, Allen Hamilton, McLean, Va., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $14,831,468 Multiple BPAs, firm fixed price Task Order 0001 and an additional four BPAs with no Task Order Awards at this time. Work is to be performed at McLean, Va., (58 precent), Fairfax, Va., (17 precent), Rockville, Md., (17 precent), and Huntsville, Ala., (8 precent), with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2013. Bids were solicited on the Web with eight bids received. Washington Headquarters Service, Roslyn, Va., is the contracting activity (HQ0034-09-A-3010).

Halbert Construction Co., Inc., El Cajon, Calif., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $9,452,670 firm fixed price contract for construction of a new emergency generator to work in parallel with the existing generators in Sacramento, Calif. Work is to be performed at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Sacramento, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 21, 2010. Bids were solicited on the Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Sacramento, Calif., is the contracting activity (W91238-09-C-0004).

Spartan Motors, Inc., Charlotte, Mich., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $9,305,381 firm fixed price contract for axle retrofit kits for the Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicle, 151 each. Work is to be performed at Charlotte, Mich., with an estimated completion date of May 18, 2009. One sole source bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0122).

BAE Systems, Tactical Vehicle Systems Limited Partnership, Sealy, Texas, was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $7,295,385 firm fixed price and cost reimbursement contract for 38 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System Launcher Chassis for Foreign Military Sales customers. Work is to be performed at Sealy, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2010. U.S. Army Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0460).

General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $5,887,946 firm fixed price contract change order issued to procure improved ammo racks to support the Improved System Enhanced Package (SEPv1) to SEPv2 RESET of 90 each Abrams M1A2 tanks. Work is to be performed at Lima, Ohio, (75 precent), Tallahassee, Fla., (10 precent), Annison, Fla., (9 precent), Scranton, Pa., (3 precent), and Sterling Heights, Mich., (3 precent), with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. U.S. Army Tank & Automotive Command (TACOM), Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-C-0006).

GENERAL ATOMICS AERONAUTICAL SYSTEM, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Jan. 29, 2009, a $21,710,228 cost plus fixed fee four month extension to current contractor logistics support contract for I-GNAT Warrior Alpha, and Sky Warrior Block O Unmanned Aircraft Systems at multiple OCONUS locations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Work is to be performed at San Diego, Calif., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0082).

ITT Industries Systems Division, Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded on Jan. 29, 2009, a $7,827,473 cost plus incentive fee cost plus fixed fee contract to provide for Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) Operations Control System (DOCS) Site Support and Services (DOCS4) and defines the requirements to provide U.S. Army Space Command with the site support and services for the DSCS Operations Control System IDOCS), Wideband Gap filler System and Commercial Satellite Network Control (CSNC). To provide on-site coverage and technical assistance; on-call coverage and technical assistance; depot and supply services; logistic services; communications analysis; hardware maintenance services; software, firmware, and database support services; and computer system administration for the equipment, organizations. Work is to be performed at Colorado Springs, Colo., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited on the Web and competition information was received from two sources. Space and Missile Defense Command/ARSTRAT, Director of Contracting, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity (DASG62-02-C-0002).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee contract to Johns Hopkins University of Laurel, Md., for $50,000,000. This contract will provide engineering, research, and development capability support for the Space superiority mission areas in Space Superiority System Wing. At this time $495,735 has been obligated. SMC/SSSP, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8819-09-D-0001).

The Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract with ITT Corp., of Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., not to exceed $10,570,000. This contract will ensure the Antenna group is Level III tested and ready for operator acceptance or Force Development Evaluation by Aug. 15 2010. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. SMC/LRS/PK, El Segundo, Calif. is the contracting activity (F04701-01-C-0001, P00540).

The Air Force is modifying cost plus award fee contract with ITT Corp., of Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., for an amount not to exceed $8,991,000. This action will replace all equipment needed for the Central Command Remote System. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. SMC/LRS/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-01-C-0001, P00542).

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee contract to Northrop Grumman Systems of Linthicum Heights, Md., for $7,751,678. This contract will develop a multi-functional, reconfigurable space qualified Advance Space Digital Receiver Exciter, which will allow for a rapid development process to get space prove performance. At this time $950,000 has been obligated. Det 8 AFRL/RVKS, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. is the contracting activity (FA9453-09-C-0334).

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee contract to Ball Aerospace and Technologies Systems Engineering Solutions of Albuquerque, N.M. for $5,718,465. This contract will address using single and multiple wavelength, continuous and pulsed laser receiver and transmission technology to provide detection, angle of arrival, range and range rate of objects in Low Earth Orbit. At this time, $1,000,000 has been obligated. Det 8 AFRL/RVKS, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. is the contracting activity (FA9453-09-C-0336).

NAVY

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $17,282,920 firm fixed priced modification to previously awarded delivery order #0010 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) for the purchase of 41 Joint Program Office, South West Asia ITC instructors for a six month period of performance and 55 Mobile Red River Army Depot training instructors for a six month period of performance. Work will be performed in OIF/OEF Area's of responsibilities, and various locations within the United States, and work is expected to be completed by Jun. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

The Institute of Advanced Technology at University of Texas, Austin, Austin, Texas, is being awarded a $9,129,778 cost plus fixed fee contract to perform railgun assessment including laboratory testing and scalability between small and medium scale launcher, pulsed power assessment and conceptual prototyping and assessment of electromagnetic railgun contractor development items including advanced containment launcher and pulsed power systems. This contract contains options, which is exercised, would bring the contract value to $12,063,851. Work will be performed in Austin, Texas, and work is expected to be completed Jan. 31, 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $10,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under the Office of Naval Research Broad Agency Announcement Number 08-001. The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00014-09-C-0187).

UNITED STATES TRANSPORTATION COMMAND

TransAtlantic Lines LLC of Greenwich, Conn., 06830, is being awarded a $15,078,334 (base year with 2 options), fixed price requirements contract for dedicated sealift services to transport lawful cargo by U.S. flag ships between points in the Continental United States of America (CONUS) and the terminal in Praia da Vitoria, Azores. This contract is expected to be completed by Feb. 29, 2012. Orders placed against this contract will be funded at the time the cargo is booked. This contract was a (100 precent) Small Business Set Aside acquisition with two bids received. The contracting activity is United States Transportation Command Directorate of Acquisition, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., 62225, (HTC711-09-D-0006).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Burlington Apparel Fabrics, Greensboro, N.C., is being awarded a maximum $9,668,120 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fabrics. Other locations of performance are in North Carolina. Using service is Navy. This proposal was originally Web solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract contains four one-year option periods. The date of performance completion is Jul. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-09-D-0030).