Military News

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 10, 2009

NAVY

TEC, Inc., Charlottesville, Va., is being awarded a maximum $30,000,000 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, architect/engineering contract for preparation of Navy and Marine Corps Environmental Planning Documentation primarily in the NAVFAC Southwest area of responsibility (AOR); however, work may be located any where in the United States. The work to be performed provides for National Environmental Policy Act documents such as Categorical Exclusions, Environmental Assessments, and Environmental Impact Statements. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Southwest AOR including, but not limited to Calif., (80 percent); Ariz., (5 percent); Nev., (5 percent); Colo., (1 percent); N.M., (1 percent); and Utah, (1 percent). Work may also be performed in Ala., (1 percent), Hawaii, (1 percent), and remainder of the U.S., (5 percent), and work is expected to be completed by Feb. 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $5,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website,with seven proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-09-D-2603).

Rockwell Collins Government Systems, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded a $6,293,181 firm fixed priced order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-08-G-0016) for services in support of the FY 2009 ARC-210 Radio software changes to evolve the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Satellite Communication (SATCOM) waveform capability in the Next Generation Tactical Networking Radio, RT-1939(C) radio system. Tasking includes program management, system engineering, hardware design, and data deliverables. Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is expected to be completed in Sept. 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.

ARMY

The Ross Group Construction Corp., Tulsa, Okla., was awarded on Feb 9, 2009, a $17,460,000 firm fixed price construction contract to construct a Digital Multipurpose Training Range at Fort Bliss, Texas consisting of one lane with two course roads with cross over capability. Primary facilities include the Range Operations Control Area that includes Range Operations Center, After Action Review Building, Operations and Storage Building, General Instruction Building, Latrine, Covered Mess Shelter, Ammo Loading Docks, Unit staging area, Bleacher Enclosure, site development improvements, information systems, security lighting and fencing. Downrange target systems include, stationary armor and infantry targets, moving armor and infantry targets, battle positions, course roads, target maintenance access roads, site development, improvements and drainage, electrical power and target data cabling. Supporting facilities will include an electric service, access road and associated site development and improvements. Work is to be performed at Fort Bliss, Texas with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2010. Two bids were solicited and two bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Fort Worth, Texas is the contracting activity (W912G-08-C-0008).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to CaZador LLC of Anchorage, Ala., for $10,000,000. This action will provide for demountable walls, high density shelving, and other furnishings. At this time, $6,609 has been obligated. 10 Contracting Division, United States Air Force Academy, Colo., is the contracting activity (FA7000-09-D-0014).

Proof Is in the Pudding That Lejeune Students Have Right Stuff

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 10, 2009 - For the second consecutive year, the high school culinary arts team from Camp Lejeune, N.C., placed first in the annual Carolina ProStart Student Invitational. A serious commitment, including late nights and weekend practice made perfect, said Shirley Bryan, a culinary arts teacher at Lejeune High School who supervises the team.

"This year's team has many qualities that you may find only in serious adults. Their work ethics are beyond belief, and they work as a team," she said. "Every one of the team members must know how to prepare each item on the menu.

"The students take pride in whatever they do, accept the challenge, and they just persevered," she said, adding that a first place two years in a row is rare.

The team of four student chefs took first place in the invitational's Culinary Competition by displaying their creativity in preparing a three-course meal in only 60 minutes. Their carrot slaw with vinaigrette and green onions; seared baby back ribs with sweet barbecue sauce with a kick; collard medley stir fried with onions, garlic, and seasoning; pork on a bed of candied sweet potatoes; and turnip roots got the judges' attention. The meal was topped off with a homemade banana split martini for dessert.

That dessert earned them a rather catchy moniker, too. "They were referred to as the 'Ice Cream Team,' because they shared the duty of hand churning the ice cream maker," Bryan said.

They also snagged a second in the Recipe Contest.

To accomplish this feat, the team had to come up with a use for Coach's Low Country Boil Seasoning. What they created was a "Clucking Yeast Roll," that used chicken stock in place of the water of the basic preparation method, along with the required seasoning.

The management team of four took third in the Case Study portion of the event, which tests students on their communication skills and their ability to apply their knowledge of the restaurant and food service industry to practical situations.

"Their success is what keeps me here, because I feel the numbers [of talented students] are enormous, and I want to facilitate as many as I can to realize their dreams and goals," Bryan said.

The invitational, held in Myrtle Beach, S.C., gives students with proven skills and a commitment to the food service industry a chance to showcase their talents. It's presented by the South Carolina Tourism and Hospitality Educational Foundation, and the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, in association with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The winners of the 2009 Carolina ProStart Student Invitational went home with medals. The trophy, which goes home with each winning team, ended up making a round-trip from Camp Lejeune to Myrtle Beach and back. The team also earned a chance to compete in the National ProStart Invitational in San Diego from April 24 to 26.

Joint Self-Nomination System Achieves Success, General Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 10, 2009 - A Web-based self-nomination system officers can use to have their war zone or other experiences evaluated for joint-service qualification has proven to be highly successful, a senior U.S. military officer said here today. "We are truly a joint warfighting force now, and this [self-nomination system] broadens the pool for joint-officer qualification," Army Brig. Gen. Gary S. Patton, director of manpower and personnel for the Joint Chiefs of Staff office, said during a Feb. 9 interview with American Forces Press Service.

Since October 2007, active duty and reserve component officers have been able to have their war zone and other experiences evaluated for joint-service credit through a JCS-sponsored Web site, Patton said. The system has helped to provide the military with 40 new joint-service-qualified officers over the past year, he noted.

"That's 40 more joint-qualified officers we have produced this year that we wouldn't have produced in any previous year by virtue of the experience they have had," Patton said.

The self-nomination system, he added, provides junior officers the opportunity to have their experiences rated for joint-service credit.

Before implementation of the self-nomination system, Patton said, joint-service credit and qualification was achieved only by serving in authorized billets and completing the necessary military education. Most U.S. units serving in Iraq or Afghanistan today are provisional organizations, he said, that wouldn't be reflected as joint assignments for people who were not in joint positions at their home stations. Reserve-component members also couldn't qualify for joint officer duty, he added.

That's all changed, Patton said.

"We don't want to exclude anybody that feels that they're out there and are performing joint duty," the general said, noting that National Guard members and reservists also can apply to become joint-service officers.

Joint-service experiences must achieve unified action, Patton said, with respect to national military strategy, national security, planning, contingency planning, command-and-control operations under a combatant commander, and combined operations with the military of another nation.
Experience can be accumulated in separate joint-service categories, he said, or in conjunction with others.

A flag-officer-staffed review panel, he said, evaluates submitted experiences according to whether or not they truly reflect work with other U.S. military services, agencies or coalition members.

Submitted experiences are graded on a point scale, Patton said, with the accumulation of 36 points being the threshold for full joint-service experience qualification under the self-nomination system. However, he added, joint-service officer aspirants still must complete the necessary education to be fully qualified.

A mission's intensity or challenging nature also is evaluated by panel members, Patton said. For example, he said, war zone work in instructing Iraqi or Afghan soldiers would carry greater weight than some other overseas duties.

Humanitarian and disaster-relief missions also may qualify for joint-service experience, Patton said. Eligible experiences submitted for evaluation are to have taken place after Sept. 11, 2001.

The panel may validate an experience, disapprove it, or take no action at all, Patton said.

"This is a process that all of our officers can take advantage of, by virtue of self-nominating themselves," Patton said. "Your service will let you know if you just don't meet the criteria."

The self-nomination process applies only to officers in the grades of O-6 and below. General and flag officers are handled separately through their respective services' general- and flag-officer matters offices.

Officers usually begin their joint-service careers as majors, Patton said. Some joint-service officers, he said, may later serve at the general- or flag-officer level. Since Oct. 1, officers have been required to be fully joint qualified to be appointed to the grade of O-7.

Whether officers obtain joint-service experience by serving in traditional joint-service billets or through the self-nomination process, they still must successfully complete the necessary education for full qualification, Air Force Col. Darlene M. Roquemore, chief of the Joint Officer Management Branch at the Pentagon, explained in a recent interview.

Such courses of instruction, Roquemore said, are offered at the Joint Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va., and at senior-level service schools and other senior-military educational institutions, such as the National War College at Fort McNair here.

"No matter which way you look at it -- by virtue of traditional path [or] experience path - the end result is a joint-qualified officer," Patton said.

Joint-service experience just "makes officers better," Patton said, regardless of their service branch.

"For now and in the future, we're always going to fight jointly, in many cases with coalition forces," Patton said.

Stimulus Bill Includes Military Construction Projects

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 10, 2009 - White House officials asked for a list of Defense Department programs that could be part of the $800 billion stimulus bill now under Senate consideration, defense officials said. The guideline was for projects that could "be started or accelerated within a matter of months," officials said.

The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill, which includes about $10.9 billion in defense-related spending, Jan. 28. The Senate version calls for $7.2 billion in defense spending. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure today.

Once the Senate passes its version, members of both houses of Congress will meet to reconcile the differences. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for a bill he can sign by the weekend.

Military construction projects make up most of the request, defense officials said. These include funding for medical clinics, child care and housing facilities for the troops, improvements to military bases' energy efficiency and research into renewable energy.

Pentagon officials said they welcome any funding that would help to improve the quality of life for servicemembers and their families.

Program Helps Veterans Transition From War Zone to Campus

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

Feb. 10, 2009 - Military veterans transitioning from service to the classroom face challenges more complex than simply memorizing dates, learning theories and mastering equations. Adjusting to the college environment, in general, often is the most difficult part of the transition from military life, said John Schupp, who recently launched the Supportive Education for the Returning Veteran program at Cleveland State University in Ohio, specifically designed to help veteran students make those adjustments.

The program is open to veterans only and is geared to ease them into student life rather than let them become overwhelmed, Schupp said. Campus life and the bureaucracy of a university can be a difficult transition for anyone, especially someone coming from a military background, he noted.

The idea for the program came in 2006 after Schupp, a chemistry professor, received a call from a student who'd been having trouble with her course work. The student was a military veteran who spent nearly three years in Kosovo in the late 1990s and had been in and out of college for the eight years since, Schupp said.

The student explained how, after eight years, she finally felt like a student and felt like she fit in as a member of the university, he added.

"Listening to her talk about her experiences in Kosovo, then [thinking about] her having to listen to a teacher and freshman students discuss their issues and trying to make that kind of adjustment, ... I thought to myself that this is a problem that's going to happen time and again, and I want to know what can I do about it," he said.

Schupp began researching veterans' use of educational benefits such as the Montgomery GI Bill with the local and state Veterans Affairs offices. He said he learned that although money for college is one of the most appealing reasons people join the military, fewer than 10 percent of veterans actually take advantage of their educational benefits. He interviewed Vietnam and Gulf War veterans over a six-month period, asking why they didn't use their GI Bill and what would have kept them in school, he added.

Most veterans claimed to have difficulty concentrating in class, Schupp explained.

"So, my experiment was to change the environment," he said. "It's either the building or the people, so let me take the civilians out of the equation."

Schupp convinced university officials to permit a test class to find out how veterans would do and react, he said. A pilot class of 14 chemistry students took the first exam of the program last spring, and the results were "remarkable," he said.

"It wasn't just circling or matching the answers," Schupp said. "They actually had to know and write out the answers. They handed it in -- no one tore it up or walked out -- and when I graded them, they had a higher average than my civilian classes."

The program's learning environment is much more comfortable, because the veterans-only classes are much smaller than classes open to the whole student population and the students know everyone else in the classroom understands them and has similar experiences.

"By taking the civilians out of the environment, it allows [the veterans] to relax and focus on what they have to do as well as give them the confidence to ... take the test and not worry about the environment," he said.

The veteran classes also have turned into "mini-counseling sessions," Schupp said. Because the classes are composed entirely of veterans, the students speak openly about their experiences and what they've been through.

"I didn't realize what was happening, but they get to class about 15 minutes prior and talk about their issues," he explained. "So what's happening is they're having these mini-counseling sessions four times a day, two days a week. We've disguised counseling sessions with English 101, Math 101 and Science 101."

Schupp also identified the issues veterans were having during their first day on campus. Under the program, veterans meet with someone one-on-one rather than dealing with "long, confusing lines and the bureaucracy of university registrations and admissions," Schupp said.

Of the 14 original students, 10 went on to the summer semester. By fall semester, 25 veteran students participated, and 41 are enrolled for the current spring semester, he said.

The program offers 12 credit hours of veterans-only classes for the students' first semester, then nine credit hours for the next, so full-time students have to take three credit hours of civilian course work, Schupp said.

Universities and colleges and Veterans Affairs systems across the country have taken interest in CSU's veteran-student program, Schupp said. So far, 23 universities and colleges are considering offering the SERV program as early as the fall semester, he added.

Guard Bureau Chief Visits Soldiers in Balkans

By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 10, 2009 - The National Guard's support of NATO peacekeeping operations in southeastern Europe is making an important contribution in helping the citizens of Kosovo, the chief of the National Guard Bureau said here Feb. 4. Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley visited Missouri National Guard soldiers deployed to Multinational Task Force East at Camp Bondsteel after walking the streets of downtown Pristina, the capital city.

"I can't tell you how impressed I was walking through those streets and seeing the faces of the men and women of Kosovo who appreciate what you are doing here," McKinley said in a town hall meeting.

American forces have conducted peacekeeping operations in Kosovo following Operation Allied Force in 1999. Nearly a year ago, the United States and other European nations formally recognized Kosovo as an independent nation.

As McKinley walked a few miles in a presence patrol with the Missouri military police soldiers, he was greeted by Kosovars as he passed markets, shops and schools.

"It's a great thing when our leaders come out here to talk to the soldiers," Army Capt. Shannon Dean Holiday, commander of the task force's Thunder Bravo battery. Holiday, who is deployed from Bernard, Mo., said the soldiers who make up the American task force serve nine-month deployments to ensure a safe and secure environment and assist in a transition to civil authority.

Missouri's soldiers patrol one of the more populated areas of the American missions in Kosovo. Holiday said they have a great relationship with the Kosovo police forces, which are growing.

"We come from so many walks of life back home," he said. "Whether you are in education or law enforcement, we can directly relate to some of the same problems they are dealing with. That's one of the great things the Guard brings here."

The Guard assumed command of the task force in November 2007. The Missouri Guard members here will return from their deployment shortly and hand their mission over to citizen-soldiers from California.

McKinley thanked the Guard members who have supported the NATO peacekeeping operations and asked them to extend his thanks to their families as well.

(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

Military Services Meet or Exceed January Recruiting Needs

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 10, 2009 - All active duty U.S. military services and reserve components met or exceeded their January recruiting needs, Defense Department officials reported today.
The Army signed up 9,658 new active-duty soldiers, 107 percent of its target number of 9,000 enlistees.

The Navy signed up 2,948 new active-duty sailors, 100 percent of its target number.

The Marine Corps signed up 3,720 new active-duty Marines, 109 percent of its target number of 3,406 enlistees.

The Air Force signed up 2,600 new active-duty airmen, 100 percent of its target number.

The active Army, Marines, Air Force and Navy also met or exceeded their retention goals for January, officials said.

Guard and reserve forces met or exceeded their January recruiting needs.

The Army Reserve signed up 3,223 new soldiers for 103 percent of its target number of 3,128 enlistees.

The Navy Reserve signed up 712 new sailors, meeting 100 percent of its goal.

The Marine Corps Reserve signed up 879 new Marines, for 155 percent of its target number of 567 enlistees.

The Air National Guard signed up 896 new airmen, for 127 percent of its target number of 703 enlistees.

The Air Force Reserve signed up 683 new airmen, meeting 100 percent of its goal.

The Army National Guard signed up 4,913 new soldiers in January. Although that number is listed as 88 percent of the monthly goal, there's more to the story, a National Guard Bureau official said.

"It's not just about the monthly recruiting goal," Randy Noller, a Guard Bureau spokesman, said. "Right now, we are over our end strength and can slow down on recruiting."

The Army National Guard now has 366,200 soldiers in its ranks, which exceeds its authorized end strength of 358,200 troops, Noller said.

Since the Army National Guard is recruiting fewer new soldiers each month, it can "increase the quality of people coming in," Noller said.

Attrition losses in all reserve components are within acceptable limits, officials said.