Military News

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NATO Commander Urges Unity Within Alliance

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 17, 2009 - NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe stressed the need for international cooperation and partnership to members of the alliance's Parliamentary Assembly here yesterday. During discussions with the assembly, Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock emphasized the assembly members' role in advocating for NATO's political will to rise and strengthen into one, which matches the alliance's mandate for addressing collective security.

"The importance of your role as a forum for dialogue and consensus-building on matters of defense and security is becoming increasingly important," he told assembly members.

The general invoked sentiments expressed by alliance political leaders at the Feb. 7-8 Munich Security Conference: renewed partnership, increased international cooperation, NATO as the central anchor of the transatlantic alliance and the need to do more in existing operations.

While the threats and challenges the alliance should address are agreed upon, "we do not necessarily agree on the who, the what, the where, the when and the how," the general said.

"As we go forward, we will need to resolve the seeming disconnect between our level of ambition and our political will, which is at the crux of Allied Command operations' ability to deliver security," Craddock said

He congratulated assembly members on their resolution urging nations to redouble efforts to fill shortfalls and eliminate caveats -- restrictions some countries place on how NATO can use its forces -- but he further exhorted them to take on other immediate challenges he assesses are critical to progress.

"The current and evolving security environment -- both within and beyond the Euro-Atlantic area -- calls for expeditionary capabilities rather than widespread permanent military presence," he said. "Whether operating 'in area' or 'out of area,' the requirements are consistent. We must be capable of rapid response in times of crisis."

While acknowledging the need to improve and develop military capabilities, Craddock emphasized that policies and processes also had to evolve from those created during the Cold War -- policies and processes that hamper nations' -- and therefore NATO's -- ability to invest in expeditionary capabilities.

"To be truly expeditionary, truly capable of rapid response, our internal processes and headquarters elements must function more effectively and efficiently," he said.

"Our alliance continues to operate with a 'costs lie where they fall' policy," said Craddock, explaining that deployment costs fall to those nations committing and deploying troops. "That means nations choosing to
bear the burden militarily are the same nations bearing the burden monetarily."

An expeditionary alliance must find a better way, he said. NATO needs to explore using common funding, in which deployment costs are shared among all nations, thereby reducing the strain on national defense budgets, he said.

Craddock wrapped up by commending the assembly's 2009 agenda, which will address cyber defense, missile defense, energy security, NATO-Russia relations, NATO-European relations and civil-military cooperation in Afghanistan, among others.

"I see you have not opted for the easy road," Craddock said. "I applaud your willingness to meet these challenges head-on."

(From a Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe news release.)

Arizona Guardsmen Take on NBA Stars

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Angela Walz
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 17, 2009 - Arizona Army and Air National Guardsmen were honored for their combat service Feb. 15 with an opportunity to score against National Basketball Association greats Shaquille O'Neal and David Robinson during the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend here. But this competition didn't take place on a basketball court. Instead, the troops vied for a chance to play the pros one-on-one via an Xbox Live video-gaming system.

Army Spc. Aaron Patten, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, climbed his way to the top of the brackets in the EA sports NBA Live 09 game to play against O'Neal, a Phoenix Suns all-star, in the finals.

Army Staff Sgt. Steven Barrett took second place and played against David Robinson, former star of the San Antonio Spurs, who is among this year's finalists for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

O'Neal and Robinson signed autographs, posed for photos and shook hands with the troops. Robinson also played a wounded warrior recovering from his injuries in Iraq live via satellite.

O'Neal played deployed Air Force Master Sgt. Anthony James and his family live via satellite, as well. O'Neal hoisted Trey James, the sergeant's son, up to the Web camera for a surprise appearance and conversation with his dad.

The father and son have been separated for two years due to James' deployment in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Greg and Addie Zinone, co-founders of "Pro vs. GI Joe," came up with the concept of matching professional athletes with returning and deployed troops.

Addie, who twice deployed with the Army Reserve, realized first-hand the importance of maintaining morale for deployed troops.

"So many of them are gamers on their down time anyway," she said. "We were able to team up with the USO to enable deployed troops to play against celebrities who are stateside."

"This was definitely a morale booster," Patten said. "These athletes have a lot of time to do so many other things, and taking time out to play with us is so cool."

Although Robinson competed against the troops, he also took time to honor the Guardsmen who are still deployed overseas: "Hang in there," he said. "We really appreciate what you're doing. It means a lot to us, and it doesn't go unnoticed. When you come back, we'll give you a hero's welcome."

Robinson is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Navy veteran. O'Neal's father is an Army veteran. O'Neal was named co-Most Valuable Player at the all-star game later in the evening.

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Angela Walz serves in the Arizona National Guard.)

Military Students Nominated for Presidential Scholars Program

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 17, 2009 - More than a dozen Department of Defense Education Activity students are among the 3,000 U.S. high school students chosen as candidates for the 2009 Presidential Scholars Program. "It's a huge program, because any senior who has taken the SAT or ACT is eligible," Frank X. O'Gara, the activity's educational communications officer, said. "This year we had 14 candidates. That isn't uncommon in this first round."

Though no DoDEA students were selected for the program last year, two military students became presidential scholars in 2006 and 2007. These exceptional students are afforded many opportunities during their visit to Washington to receive the Presidential Scholars medallion, O'Gara said.

"Scholars are provided opportunities to wrestle with issues that concern America and the world," he said. "[They] participate in volunteer activities ... to benefit those in need and make a difference in our nation's capital, attend recitals, receptions and ceremonies held in their honor, and visit area museums and monuments.

"But perhaps the greatest benefit to the scholars, and the one they most often remark on, is the chance to exchange ideas with similarly motivated and accomplished peers and to forge friendships that last a lifetime," O'Gara said.

The Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964 through a presidential executive order. It was created to recognize and honor some of the country's graduating high school seniors who display broad academic achievement.

Beginning in 1979, the program extended its recognition to include seniors who excel in visual, creative and performing arts. Since then, up to 20 students who demonstrate exceptional talent in these areas are chosen for the program in addition to those chosen strictly on academic achievement.

By early April, the candidate group will be narrowed to just 500 semifinalists. The Commission on Presidential Scholars then will make the final selections. One young man and woman from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. students living abroad, 15 students-at-large, and up to 20 students from the creative and performing arts will be selected.

The Education Department will announce the 2009 scholars in May.

The scholars traditionally are invited to Washington in June to receive the Presidential Scholars medallion during a recognition ceremony. They also have the opportunity to participate in special events and activities.

All 3,000 candidates were chosen from the nearly 2.8 million high school seniors looking forward to graduation this spring. They were chosen for their exceptional performance on either the SAT or the ACT tests. Additional consideration is based on students' essays, self-assessments, activity descriptions of, school recommendations and school transcripts.

This year's DoDEA candidates are:

-- Patrick A. Bush, Ramstein American High School;

-- Lauren E. Dunn, Patch American High School;

-- Sarah D. Johnson, Brussels American High School;

-- Christopher B. Mittuch, Allied Forces Central Europe School;

-- Jared A. Taylor, Patch American High School;

-- Christine E. Ashton, H. H. Arnold High School;

-- Kelsey M. Collier, Ramstein American High School;

-- Stuart Gujral, Heidelberg American High School;

-- Michael E. Newman, Osan American High School;

-- Audry Padgett, Kadena High School;

-- Amy E. Schafer, Patch American High School;

-- William C. Lennard, Kadena High School;

-- Bruce W. Pfirrmann, Nile C Kinnick High School; and

-- Keith G. Yeager, E. J. King American High School.

A complete list of 2009 presidential scholar candidates can be found on the Education Department's Presidential Scholars Program Web site.

Pirates Could Be Prosecuted Outside of Kenya, Official Says

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

Feb. 17, 2009 - The 16 suspected pirates captured recently in the Gulf of Aden by American military ships could face separate prosecutions in countries other than Kenya, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters here today. The governments of Kenya and the United States have signed a memorandum of understanding under which Kenya would prosecute pirates interdicted by U.S. forces in the region. But there are other options, Whitman said.

"[Kenya is] not the only place where prosecution could take place," he said. "It's possible that prosecutions could take place in other venues, to include the states that have been associated with the victims of these attacks."

The suspected pirates currently are being held by Task Force 151 -- the anti-piracy group operating in the gulf -- aboard the USNS Lewis and Clark supply ship. Officials have confirmed pending evidence and information about the individuals, eliminating any possibility the suspects were "displaced mariners" and not pirates, Whitman said.

The crew of the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf captured the first seven suspected pirates Feb. 11 after responding to a distress call from a nearby merchant ship, the Marshall Islands-flagged motor vessel Polaris. The following day, the Vella Gulf apprehended nine more pirates for trying to board the motor vessel Premdivya, an Indian-flagged vessel.

"Piracy is a universal crime under international law, and many states have implemented domestic legislation criminalizing piracy," Whitman explained, noting that the disposition of the alleged pirates' prosecution may be known within the week.

Anti-piracy American forces in the region are operating under a United Nations Security Council resolution. Countries and organizations from around the world are contributing to this effort.

General Calls for More Troops in Europe to Meet Changing Missions

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 17, 2009 - More troops will be needed to adapt to U.S. Army Europe's evolving missions, the top Army officer in Europe said during a Pentagon news conference today.
The command, based in Heidelberg, Germany, once comprised 300,000 soldiers. Today, the command has about 42,000 soldiers, and its primary mission is to provide properly trained and equipped forces for global operations, Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army, said.

If current plans move forward, that number is set to dip to around 32,000 soldiers, and Ham said he thinks that's too few. The general has recommended that two heavy brigades now based in Germany remain in Europe.

The command's soldiers deploy like those of any other unit in the Army. At any given time, the command has about one-third of its soldiers deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo or other areas of the globe. The command also supplies personnel and expertise to the newly established U.S. Africa Command.

A second mission is to work with partner countries to build their military capacity, Ham said. "That's a real and vital mission for us," the general said.

Ham, who visited Europe many times in his career before assuming this post, said that the biggest change he noticed in the command was "how just about everything we do has a multinational flavor to it."

For example, he said, American forces train constantly with their Bulgarian and Romanian counterparts.

"We've got a major training scheme set up for this coming summer that is larger in scale than it has been in previous years, and we think that's an important consideration," he said. NATO uses the U.S. Army facility is Hohenfels, Germany, to train the operational mentoring liaison teams that have been so successful in Afghanistan.

Another command mission is to continue the transformation from the Army Europe of the Cold War to a more nimble joint task force headquarters. The command would be the joint task force headquarters for any major land operation in the U.S. European Command area of operations, he said.

Ham said he wants to ensure the right force posture is in place in his command to accomplish the missions.

"We're at about 42,000; by about 2013 or '14, the current plan is that we would get to 32,000, based principally on two brigade combat teams, one Stryker and one airborne, that we'd retain in Europe," he said. "There are also presently two heavy brigade combat teams. Those are currently scheduled to come back to [the continental United States] in 2012 and 2013.

"I've recommended to my operational boss, [Army] Gen. John Craddock, commander of European Command, that we revisit those decisions," he continued. "It is my estimation that in order to accomplish the missions that we have, we need a different force posture in Europe than is currently proposed."

The two brigades -- one based in Baumholder, Germany, and one in Schweinfurt, Germany, -- are remaining in place for now, and Ham has recommended they stay there.

Ham said the Army presence on the continent is a visible commitment of America's commitment to the NATO alliance and to European allies.

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 17, 2008

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Metals USA, (DBA) I-Solutions Group, Fort Washington, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $230,100,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, prime vendor contract for metals. Other locations of performance are in Pennsylvania. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally five proposals Web solicited with three responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract has a two year base period and three one-year option periods. The date of performance completion is Feb. 13, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM8EG-09-D-0001).

Ram Dis Ticaret A.S., Beykoz, Istanbul is being awarded a maximum $119,591,221 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for diesel fuel. Other locations of performance are at various locations within Iraq. Using service is Army. The original proposal was Web solicited with seven responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract has a two year base period. The date of performance completion is Feb. 28, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-08-D-1022).

Jacksonville Jet Port LLC., Jacksonville, Fla.*, is being awarded a maximum $23,030,832 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for jet fuel. Other location of performance is in Jacksonville, Fla. Using services are Navy, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally 131 proposals solicited with 96 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2013. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0059).

ARMY

Harper Construction Co., San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Feb. 13, 2009, a $42,377,265 firm fixed price contract to design/build an Armed Forces Reserve Center, Unit Storage Building and operational vehicle parking at Fort Sill, Okla. Estimated completion date is Apr. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited by FedBizOpps with three bids received. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0001).

Military & Federal Construction Co., Inc. was awarded on Feb. 12, 2009, a $14,524,514 firm fixed price contract in support of the Center Of Standardization for General Instruction Buildings for the South East Region. This project consists of the site design and construction of a primary facility approximately 68,470 sf, two-story, General Instructional Building. Work is to be performed at Fort Benning, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2011. U.S. Army Engineer District, Norfolk, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (W91236-09-C-0025).

Bighorn - HC Contractors, Joint Venture, Fairbanks, Ala., was awarded on Feb. 12, 2009, an $11,905,584 firm fixed price contract to design/construct organizational vehicle parking (Stryker Maintenance Hardstand) (PN 63080), at Fort Wainwright, Ala. Estimated completion date is Jul. 15, 2010. Bids were solicited on the Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Ala., Elmendorf Air Force Base, Ala., is the contracting activity (W911KB-09-C-0009).

T.W. LaQuay Dredging, Inc., Port Lavaca, Texas, was awarded on Feb. 12, 2009, a $6,080,600 firm fixed price contract for work consisting of dredging approximately 4,000,000 cubic yards of maintenance material with a deep draft pipeline dredge. No Levee work required. Work will be performed at Matagorda and Calhoun Counties, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Jul. 31, 2009. Eight bids were solicited and five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Galveston, Galveston, Texas, is the contracting activity (W912HY-09-C-0011).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed price contract to Lockheed Martin Corp., of King of Prussia, Penn., for $25,579,895. This contract action is for the procurement of six Low Frequency Instrumentation Consoles and one Radio Frequency Instrumentation Console. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 526 ICBMSG/PKA, Hill Air Force Base, Utah is the contracting activity (FA8204-09-C-0005).

The Air Force is modifying a cost plus fixed fee with performance incentive contract with Raytheon Co., of Tucson, Ariz., for $21,695,993. This contract action is for the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Processor Replacement Program, Phase II. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 695 ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8675-07-C-0055, P00022).

NAVY

The Haskell Co., Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded $14,504,000 for firm fixed price task order #0002 under a previously multiple award construction contract (N40085-09-D-9737) for an Engineering Product Support Facility at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The work to be performed provides for construction of a two-story engineering product support facility, to include administrative office space, engineering laboratories and a telecommunications support center. Built-in equipment will include a 400 Hz. frequency converter and noise reduction measures required due to the facility's proximity to an adjacent runway, elevator, and fire pump. Work will be performed in Craven, N.C., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk Va., is the contracting activity.

PC Mechanical LLC., Santa Maria, Calif., is being awarded an $8,000, 000 firm-fixed-price contract modification to increase the maximum dollar value of an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the repair/overhaul of Civil Engineering Support Equipment and Mobile Utilities Support Equipment (MUSE) in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Completed work shall provide a professional appearance, reliable operation at rated capacity, structural integrity, and corrosion control. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract amount will be $37,850,234. Work will be performed in Santa Maria, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Specialty Center Acquisitions, NAVFAC, Port Hueneme, Calif., is the contracting activity (N47408-04-D-8516).

Marotta Controls, Inc.*, Montville, N.J., is being awarded a $5,518,316 modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N00019-06-D-0021) for the production of up to 338 Pure Air Generating Systems (PAGS) for integration into the LAU-7 and LAU-127 Missile Rail Launchers, special test equipment, and Engineering and Technical support services. Work will be performed in Montville, N.J., and is expected to be completed in Mar. 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.