Military News

Friday, February 06, 2009

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 6, 2008

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to McDonnell Douglas Corporation of Long Beach California for an amount not to exceed $2,950,000,000. This is an undefinitized contract action for the procurement of 15 C-17 aircraft. At this time, $114,550,000 has been obligated. 516 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8614-06-D-2006).

The Air Force is modifying a fixed price economic price adjustment contract with Lockheed Martin Corporation of Marietta, Ga. for $299,848,783. This action exercise options for Lot 3 for the C-5M reliability enhancements and re-engining program. At this time $25,272,726 has been obligated. 716 AESG/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8625-07-C-6471, P00011).

The Air Force is modifying an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract with Lockheed Martin Corporation of Marietta, Ga., for a maximum of $86,200,000. This contract action is for interim contractor support for the C-5 reliability enhancements and re-engining program. At this time $25,272,726 has been obligated. 716 AESG/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8625-09-C-6485)

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

River Trading Co., LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio* is being awarded a maximum $26,906,000 firm fixed price contract for bituminous coal. Other location of performance is West Virginia. Using services are Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally 167 proposals solicited with seven responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is May 31, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-0653).

Wellstone Apparel, Greenvile, S.C.* is being awarded a maximum $15,622,332 firm fixed price, partial set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army combat uniform coat and trousers. Other location of performance is in Texas. Using service is Army. This contract was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract is exercising the fourth option period. The date of performance completion is Feb. 8, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM100-05-D-0420).

Tullahoma Industries, Tullahoma, Tenn.* is being awarded a maximum $14,981,538 firm fixed price, partial set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army combat uniform coat and trousers. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. This contract was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract is exercising the fourth option period. The date of performance completion is Feb. 8, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM100-05-D-0427).

Fox Apparel, Asheboro, N.C.* is being awarded a maximum $12,542,508 firm fixed price, partial set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army combat uniform trousers. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. This contract was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract is exercising the fourth option period. The date of performance completion is Feb. 8, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM100-05-D-0421).

Bethel Industries, Inc., Jersey City, N.J.* is being awarded a maximum $8,840,700 firm fixed price, partial set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army combat uniform coats. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. This contract was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract is exercising the fourth option period. The date of performance completion is Feb. 8, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM100-05-D-0418).

Bremen Bowden Investment Co., Inc., Bowden, Ga.* is being awarded a maximum $8,778,000 firm fixed price, partial set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for Army combat uniform coats. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. This contract was originally Web solicited with 36 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract is exercising the fourth option period. The date of performance completion is February 8, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM100-05-D-0419).

Unionvale Coal Co., Ligonier, Pa.* is being awarded a maximum $5,017,500 firm fixed price contract for bituminous coal. Other location of performance is W.Va. Using service is Navy. There were originally 167 proposals solicited with two responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is May 31, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-0656).

NAVY

Barnhart Inc.*, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $22,990,658 for firm-fixed price task order #0002 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award construction contract (N62473-08-D-8608) for design and construction of the Berthing Lima Conversion at Naval Base Coronado. The work to be performed provides for the complete design and construction of buildings and facilities upgrades to Berth Lima to accommodate CVN planned incremental availabilities (industrial maintenance activities) and cold-iron berthing. Project includes the construction of a security building, a restroom/payphone building, pump house building, two steel watch towers, two guard houses, security fencing, high mast security lighting, and surveillance infrastructure. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by March 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Five proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Fluke Electronics Corp., Everett, Wash., is being awarded a $14,632,600 firm-fixed-price requirements contract for manufacture of voltage standards to support the general purpose electronic test equipment weapons system. Work will be performed at Everett, Wash., and work is expected to be completed by January 2014. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with eight companies solicited and one offer received. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00104-09-D-D006).

Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GMBH, Neuenburg, Germany, is being awarded an $8,235,924 firm-fixed-price, delivery order under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-06-D-1020) for the procurement of 49,614 units of Grenade, 66mm, Smoke Screening IR, Vehicle Launched MK1 Mod 0, DODIC GG24. Work will be performed in Germany; and is expected to be completed by Sept. 11, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with two proposals solicited and two offers received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Hydraulics International, Inc.*, Chatsworth, Calif., is being awarded a $7,172,371 firm-fixed-price contract for 30 electric hydraulic carts for the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 aircraft (26) and the U.S. Air Force CV-22 aircraft (4). In addition, this contract provides for the procurement of 31 diesel hydraulic carts for the U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 aircraft (24) and the U.S. Air Force CV-22 aircraft (7). Work will be performed in Chatsworth, Calif., and is expected to be completed in March 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $5,637,946 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Marine Corps ($5,854,975; 82 percent) and the Air Force ($1,317,396; 18 percent). This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-09-C-0125).

Alliant Techsystems Inc., Mesa, Ariz. is being awarded a $7,015,100 modification to previously awarded contract (N00164-05-C-0026) for production of a quantity of 58,000 each MK266 30mm high explosive incendiary-trace (HEI-T) ammunition to support the LPD class ships. The requirements are for manufacture of the MK266 HEI-T ammunition in support of Navy 2T conventional ammunition systems, Navy Picatinny Detachment, through the Joint Special Operations Department of Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division. Work will be performed in Elk River, Minn., and is expected to be completed by August 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity for contract N0016405-C-0026.

ARMY

L3 Communications Corp., Arlington, Texas, was awarded on Feb. 5, 2009, an $8,857,563 mixed line items/primarily fixed price incentive fee contract for aviation combined arms tactical trainer engineering change proposals for synthetic environment (SE) core support tasks, SE core v1.0 spiral upgrade, king pin replacement and Longbow Lot 6.1/10 retrofits. Also establish calendar year 2009 crew day travel rates. Work is to be performed at Arlington, Texas (75 percent), and Orlando, Fla. (25 percent), with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. Fifteen bids were solicited and two bids received. Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting office (N61339-00-C-0002).

Kipper Tool Co., Gainesville, Ga., was awarded on Feb. 5, 2009, a $6,668,856 firm/fixed/price requirements contract for vehicle mounted mine detector tool set, quantity is 1 for delivery order 0098. Work is to be performed at Gainesville, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2014. Ten bids were solicited and one bid received. Tank & Automotive Command (TACOM) Rock Island, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAE20-03-D-0089).

AM General, LLC, South Bend, Ind., was awarded on Feb. 4, 2009, a $15,253,377 firm/fixed/price contract converting line item 9014BN from a M1165A1 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle to a M1165A1B3 High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle. Work is to be performed at Mishawaka, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Tank & Automotive Command (TACOM) Warren, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S0001).

General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), Needham, Mass., was awarded on Feb. 4, 2009, a $10,044,924.82 IDIQ firm/fixed/price contract in which the project manager, network service center performance work statement addresses the installation information infrastructure modernization program effort to engineer, furnish, install, secure, test, document, migrate and cutover a turn-key solution to upgrade the existing infrastructure and facilities at Fort Knox. Work will be performed at Fort Knox, Ky., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2011. Ten bids were solicited and seven bids received. Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Commercial Contracting Center, ITEC4, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W91QUZ-06-D-0025).

Southern Command Builds Latin American Capacity Through NCOs

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 6, 2009 - The nation's senior military officer emphasized the importance of Latin America to U.S. security interests yesterday, and U.S. Southern Command's top noncommissioned officer is busy promoting that effort where the rubber hits the road: within the NCO ranks. The days of "looking east and west more than north and south" to promote U.S. security are gone, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said yesterday at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. "We need to pay more attention to our neighbors and the security issues and the economic issues that are associated with not just Mexico, but with [all of] Latin America."

Navy Adm. James Stavridis, Southcom's commander, and his staff work tirelessly to promote security cooperation Stavridis called critical to security, stability and prosperity in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

A big part of that equation is helping partner nations build capacity within their militaries so they're better able to confront threats ranging from illicit trafficking to narco-terrorism.

As Southcom's top NCO, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael M. Balch supports that effort by helping militaries maximize what for many was a virtually untapped capability: their NCO corps.

The concept of a professional NCO corps wasn't always universally embraced in the region, he conceded. Some countries feared that it would undermine officers' authority over enlistees and conscripts. But Balch and his predecessors, along with the Southcom staff, pointed to the U.S. military as an example of the strengths NCOs can bring to the force.

"If you want to have a strong military, you have to have a strong noncommissioned officer corps," Balch said he explains during visits through the region. "The noncommissioned officer corps doesn't take power from the officer corps. It complements the officer corps so you can accomplish things together."

No country within Latin America demonstrates that complement as convincingly as Colombia.

"If you go back and look at Colombia in the mid-90s, it was a state in crisis," Balch said. The drug trade and guerilla insurgencies such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia terrorist group, or FARC, had taken siege. President Alvaro Uribe was elected in 2002, promising to apply military pressure to crack down on the FARC and other outlawed groups.

But at the time, Colombia's NCO corps had little authority and played only a minimal role in preparing and leading troops. Gen. Carlos Ospina, Colombia's defense chief at the time, turned to Southcom for help.

The Colombians created the new rank of command sergeant major, and U.S. Army Special Forces troops helped set up a pilot sergeants major course to train them. The instruction didn't focus on tactical-level skills such as weapons firing and maintenance and map-reading. "Those skills are pretty fundamental to the military," Bacher said.

"As you transition to higher levels of leadership, the question becomes: 'How do you become an asset and a multiplier to your military institution, your command and your commander?'" he said.

"So we are trying to teach senior NCOs the skill set to become stronger noncommissioned officers, to complement the officer corps, to then in turn help make the army stronger overall," he said. "What we are doing is really focused at the operational and strategic level, rather than the tactical level, of leadership in managing and leading forces."

The initial course proved so successful that the Colombians eventually took it over themselves. With ongoing support and mentorship from Southcom, the Colombian military runs two 11-week classes every year.

Hoping to build on this success when he joined the command in 2004, Balch encouraged the Colombians to expand the course to include Colombian navy, marine and air force NCOs. From there, he helped Colombia involve other countries.

"We took the course and made it joint, and then went back and asked if they would be willing to invite international partners to attend the course," he said.

Today, every 45-member class includes three to four NCOs from Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, El Salvador, Honduras or other partner nations.

The dynamic brought an unanticipated bonus, Balch said. Partner nations hand-picked their best, brightest and most experienced NCOs to send to Colombia's course. The Colombians reciprocated by raising their own standards -- bringing new prestige to its NCO corps and the program overall.

"So it was a win-win for everyone," Balch said.

The Colombians experienced a dramatic improvement in their NCO corps. "And they have a lot of good reason to want to improve their NCO corps," Balch said. "They are a nation that has been at war for a long time. On any given day, the Colombian army is led by hundreds and hundreds of platoons that don't have platoon leaders. So the strength in their NCO corps has been vitally important to them."

Meanwhile, the Colombian army made major reforms as it improved its effectiveness against the FARC.

"Through planned assistance, we began to help them build their capabilities, and they have been highly successful," Balch said. "Colombia is the finest example of a nation helping itself. They have really helped themselves, and they are in a better way than they have been in many, many years. They are on the verge of success."

Meanwhile, international students who attended Colombia's sergeants major course took the concepts they learned back to their own militaries. This, Balch said, created a ripple effect throughout the region.

For example, Honduras started its own senior NCO academy, modeled after Colombia's, to develop its NCOs. The Ecuadoran defense minister was so impressed with what he heard that he created a senior enlisted advisor position on his staff to focus on NCO issues.

Southcom continued offering assistance and support to countries that requested it, and sponsoring conferences and other forums to promote NCO professionalization.

U.S. Army South will sponsor the fifth annual conference for senior enlisted leaders of Caribbean and Central and South American armies in June in Santiago, Chile, Balch said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force has provided NCO development in Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras. A session at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras that delivered leadership training to NCOs from 16 countries proved "very, very successful," Balch said.

Relationships forged through these courses and conferences -- but more importantly, the professional leadership skills they provide -- go a long way toward training and professionalizing a new breed of NCOs, Balch said.

"Colombia is probably the model of how to accomplish U.S. government objectives without the employment of a force on force," he said. "We work very hard on building partnership capacity in the NCO corps in the region, and it's been very successful."

Defense Department Offers Tax Preparation Help

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 6, 2009 - With April 15 looming, the Defense Department is on call to take the sting out of tax return preparation for servicemembers. "Each of the legal offices provides some form of tax preparation assistance," Air Force Lt. Col. Don Svendsen, executive director for the Armed Forces Tax Council, said. "People that are doing the return preparation have been trained [and] certified by the [Internal Revenue Service].

"Usually we can prepare the return right there on the spot," he added.

To make sure that a return can be finished in one visit to a tax center, Svendsen suggests making sure to bring certain documents to the appointment.

"For starters, we need them to bring their Social Security cards," he said, adding that all family members' cards need to be present to ensure accuracy. "They need their W-2s, and they need any other documents that are going to be tax related that they may have gotten in the mail.

"There is nothing more frustrating to the member than to visit the tax center and then realize he or she forgot a document," he said.

To keep those occurrences to a minimum, the tax centers on military installations have packets to help servicemembers get organized and think through what they need to bring with them, Svendsen said.

As fast and easy as the tax centers aim to make the process, situations arise that can make filing a tax return difficult. Deployments, for instance, don't always happen conveniently with the normal tax-filing season, Svendsen said.

Congress, however, has authorized a filing extension for troops serving in a combat zone. It also has granted troops a certain amount of time after leaving the combat zone in which to square away any tax issues.

"Fortunately, Congress has given us an extension. When you go ... into that combat zone, the clock stops for tax purposes," Svendsen said. "Let's say a member enters a combat zone on the 14th of April, one day before the tax-filing deadline. They're down there for an entire year [and] ... come back out the following April 14.

"They get a minimum of 180 days to file the earlier tax return, plus they get 180 days, probably more, for the current tax return," he added.

The stop on the tax clock also can apply to IRA contributions for servicemembers and spouses, Svendsen said.

And, all pay for noncommissioned officers – and much of the pay for officers -- while serving in a combat zone in 2008 is tax-free, he said.

"If the member is an enlisted member, all pay is going to be tax-free," Svendsen said. "In this case, all really does mean all. If a member is in the combat zone, and they re-enlist and receive a re-enlistment bonus, the entire amount of the bonus is going to be tax-free."

For officers serving in a combat zone, pay up to the maximum enlisted amount will be tax-free, he added.

However, service in a combat zone can affect a servicemembers' ability to claim the Earned Income Credit. The tax credit is for low- to moderate-income working people and families. Recent changes continue to make this credit a possibility for servicemembers who have served in a combat zone, Svendsen said.

Those tax changes and others of interest to military members may be found in IRS Publication 3, "Armed Forces' Tax Guide," available on the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov.

Military tax center volunteers can help answer any questions about those changes, including a first-time homebuyer credit and economic stimulus checks, Svendsen said.

For those servicemembers who want to prepare their own tax returns, MilitaryOneSource.com provides online tax return software.

Mullen: Investing in Military Members Critical

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 6, 2009 - Investing in servicemembers and keeping them "whole" is a critical defense expenditure, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told members of the Princeton University ROTC here yesterday. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen spoke about the health of the U.S. forces and its importance to him during open lectures to the ROTC "Tiger Battalion" and with faculty at the university's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs.

"They are the most combat-hardened force we've ever had," Mullen told the cadets who will join the 2.2 million military men and women upon graduation. "If we get it right with them, the future will be fine."

The U.S. financial crisis and expected cuts in the defense budget will affect equipment procurement, Mullen said. "We may not get the stuff – the equipment -- as rapidly as we want," he said. "But at the center of all that is the people. Investing there and keeping that whole is critical."

The department is making investments now that will offer significant defense capabilities in 20 years, but will have to make tough choices in the years ahead, he said.

"Part of my job is to tell the American people, in addition to the president, 'This is what I need for national security,'" Mullen said. "I take that responsibility seriously. If I'm unable to do what I'm asked to do, you'll be the first to know."

The strain on the force is a concern, Mullen said, recounting a visit to Fort Stewart, Ga., where about half of a brigade had just returned from their fourth deployment.

"These are young people who would like to meet someone and start a family, or if they have a family would like to spend time with them," the chairman said. "The pressure we put on them has been extraordinary. And yet their resilience has been unmatched.

"They know they have made a difference and they are very proud of what they have done. What we need to do is give them the time they need at home."

Active duty military units spend a year deployed and a year at home. Reserve units are spending a year deployed and three years home. The plan is to increase the time spent at home, Mullen said.

Young men and women in the military are asked to shoulder a lot of responsibility quickly. "I am fond of reminding people -- even those in the military -- that when you go anywhere in the military, whether an aircraft squadron, a battalion or a ship, the average age is about 21," he said.

Mullen pointed out another asset of U.S. forces -- their diversity.

"There's a tremendous amount of strength in our diversity as a military, across every aspect -- geographically, ethnically, gender-wise," Mullen said. That diversity is an example to the world, he said.

The chairman also emphasized the responsibility Americans have to those wounded in action and the families of those killed.

"Their American dream has not changed. Their path to that may have been modified, but the dream hasn't changed," he said. "We need, as a country, to ensure that those dreams are realized. They are the ones who have sacrificed so much, and they are the face of these wars that I see all the time. It is part of who we are as a military."

Military Meals for Storm Victims Are Safe, Officials Say

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 6, 2009 - Though some of them contain peanut butter, the 660,000 packaged military meals the Defense Logistics Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency are shipping to Kentucky and Arkansas storm victims are safe, officials here said. The meals -- known as "Meals, Ready to Eat," or "MREs" -- will replace the commercial meal kits that have been distributed to the storm victims.

DLA's Defense Distribution Center in New Cumberland, Pa., is arranging shipment of the meals, scheduled for delivery today.

A recent Food and Drug Administration recall of some products containing peanut butter has prompted the Defense Logistics Agency and its industry partners to increase surveillance of the peanut butter suppliers to ensure the products are safe to consume, DLA officials said in a statement released today.

"All military MREs are safe," the statement said. "While many of the meals contain peanut butter, they do not contain peanut butter products recalled by the Food and Drug Administration, according to the manufacturers of the MREs."

In addition, 1.5 million self-contained packaged meals, a commercial version of the military MREs, are being readied for distribution to FEMA. Although some of these meals also contain peanut butter, officials said, the manufacturers have certified that the meals do not contain products recalled by the FDA.

Many residents of Kentucky and Arkansas have been without power for prolonged periods since a late-January storm.

Mullen Addresses Need for 'Whole Government' Approach

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 6, 2009 - All portions of the U.S. government have a role in dealing with any instability that results from the world's financial crisis, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here yesterday. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen gave a public talk sponsored by Princeton University and the Woodrow Wilson School, visited with the college's ROTC detachment and participated in a roundtable discussion with the faculty.

In his remarks, the chairman expressed concern about the militarization of U.S. foreign policy.

"What is overarching is the global financial crisis," Mullen said. "I worry a great deal as we work our way through this – and I think it's going to take longer rather than shorter to do that. I worry about the effect that will have on instability throughout the world."

The chairman noted that throughout history, the United States hasn't been good about predicting where instability will occur. "As this crisis really takes hold, there will be places that become unstable that we haven't anticipated," he said. "We need a whole-of-government approach."

The United States military is a force for freedom and good in the world, Mullen said, but it's not the solution to every problem. "The United States military is necessary, but it is not sufficient alone," Mullen said. He pointed out that the American military is stretched and is doing missions that servicemembers have not been trained to do.

"They are an incredible group of young people who are incredibly adaptive and creative and innovative, and they do this unbelievably well," he said. "But we need to back off of that over time."

Other Cabinet-level departments – State, Treasury, Commerce, Justice – have the proper expertise for "soft-power" missions and need to have personnel able to deploy to address these problems, Mullen said. "But in my opinion," he added, "we are a good decade away from creating a capability in our other departments."

For example, he said, employees in the Agriculture Department do not expect to deploy to Afghanistan. "So I've got soldiers in the [National] Guard who are farmers in Texas and Missouri and Iowa, and they are going to Afghanistan to work on agriculture because it is what we need, because that's the economic base of the country," he said.

In a later interview, the chairman used Iraq as an example. One of the lessons of that conflict, he said, has been the multiplying effect that State Department officials serving at joint security stations have had on the situation. State officials are experts in governance and negotiation in a way that military personnel are not, the admiral said, yet in the first call for civilian volunteers to serve in Iraq, "half of them were from the Department of Defense, which is another extension of the military, and these are people who are available and accept orders and go do it."

Mullen said the government must work to generate the necessary capacity to bring soft-power expertise into implementation of U.S. foreign policy. "And we're going to need it right now," he said. "The president, the leaders of agencies, everybody has to be committed to generating this capacity down through the agencies."

Mullen told the Princeton audience that there are plenty of places to serve, and that the world needs the expertise and commitment of Americans.

"In my view, it is at the base of who we are -- when we are in trouble, to be able to rise up and serve and make a difference," he said. "You can serve in our own country or globally, but you are needed."

Toys for Tots Successful Despite Slow Economy

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 6, 2009 - Sixteen million new toys were distributed to 7.6 million children over the Christmas holiday through the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The program's aim is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to children in communities where campaigns are conducted.

The 2008 campaign took place in 657 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

"This was a very successful campaign," retired Marine Corps Maj. William J. Grein, vice president of marketing and development for the Toys for Tots Foundation, said. "We were very pleased with the outcome. We feel we touched a lot of needy families over the holidays."

The American people and the campaign's corporate sponsors are to be applauded for their compassion and generosity during tough economic times, he said.

"Toy donations were slightly down, but we did see an increase in cash contributions," Grein said. "This was a very interesting year. Our feelings were, maybe folks couldn't afford to buy a $20 toy, but still were willing to make a $10 or $15 donation."

Despite the economy, the campaign was successful because of outstanding efforts on the part of local Toys for Tots campaign coordinators, the Marine Forces Reserve and the staff of the Toys for Tots Foundation, campaign officials said.

"We are dealing with children that don't often understand the result of a bad economy," Grein said. "They just can't rationalize it. All they know, all they see is Christmas is a time when Santa comes and when good things happen. They want to be a part of that. As a parent, I would be crushed if I was not able to give a gift to my child at Christmas. This program brings hope and smiles to parents and children."

New Navy Ship's Cost Overstated in News Reports, Official Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 6, 2009 - The projected unit cost of the next-generation U.S. Navy destroyer is much lower than the figures being cited in some news reports, a senior Defense Department official said here yesterday. The DDG-1000 is a high-tech, guided-missile destroyer that is envisioned to eventually replace the Arleigh Burke class of warships developed 30 years ago.

The Pentagon would pay between $2.2 to $2.5 billion for each new DDG-1000 ship after the regular production line is up and running, John J. Young Jr., undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told reporters at the Pentagon.

Young said he disagrees with news reports that say DDG-1000 vessels would cost up to $7 billion per copy.

"There's no basis for any [cost] projection that this ship is going to cost 5 or 6 or 7 billion dollars," Young said.

The cost of a first prototype, or lead, DDG-1000 ship is about $3.3 billion because the government pays for the initial drawings and production set-up, Young said. The unit cost of follow-on ships would decrease due to industrial economies of scale, he said.

Conversely, unit production costs can rise if the number of items to manufacture is reduced from the original schedule, Young explained.

The DDG-1000 series is designated the Zumwalt class, named after late Navy Adm. Elmo Zumwalt Jr. The new ships feature computer-aided design, modular construction, high-tech armaments and radar, as well as a unique, streamlined hull design.

Originally, 32 DDG-1000 vessels were to be built at shipyards in Maine and Mississippi. Recent production plans called for two ships to be built.

However, the DDG-1000 is on hold for now, as Pentagon and interagency officials re-examine the project, Young said.

"Aside from the warfighting analysis, we do need to do some producibility analysis, manufacturing analysis and cost analysis," he said.

Some officials suggest that modifying Arleigh Burke class ships would be a less expensive way to create a new vessel, Young said. That approach, he said, wouldn't produce as much cost savings as imagined, and would result in a vessel possessing undesirable mass without the capabilities of the DDG-1000.

"You cannot do that without significant changes in that ship," Young said of proposals to rework Arleigh Burke ships to create a new vessel. "You will have to add cooling capacity; you will have to add electrical generating capacity," as well as upgraded radar equipment.

And, the Arleigh Burke class destroyer "has already gained weight because it is 30 years into its service life and ships are designed with a certain amount of weight-carrying capacity," he said.