Military News

Friday, February 27, 2009

Face of Defense: Veteran Submariner Garners Coveted Neptune Award

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 27, 2009 - Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Korey Ketola recalled that he was uneasy when he embarked on his first submarine patrol in 1983. "I was scared," Ketola told reporters at Naval Submarine Base King's Bay, Ga., Feb. 18.

Yet, today, Ketola is the current holder of the coveted Neptune Award for having completed 35 strategic submarine patrols -- the most patrols among active-duty officers and enlisted members in the U.S. Navy.

Ketola, now the senior noncommissioned officer at the Trident submarine training facility at King's Bay, will retain the award until someone else surpasses his total or he retires.

All 35 of his patrols, Ketola said, were made aboard Trident strategic missile submarines.

Tridents are nuclear-powered, Ohio-class submarines. At 560 feet long and 42 feet wide, Tridents are the largest submarines in the U.S. Navy's inventory.

A Trident crew consists of about 160 officers and enlisted sailors. The original ballistic missile versions are nicknamed "Boomers," and they feature the designator SSBN. The Boomers are capable of carrying as many as 24 Trident II D-5 nuclear missiles. The vessel also carries Mark-48 torpedoes.

Ketola completed his first patrol aboard the USS Michigan. Later, he went on to serve aboard the submarines USS West Virginia, USS Wyoming and USS Maine.

The veteran submariner also earned the Neptune Award in 2005 by accruing 29 completed Trident submarine patrols.

The Trident submarine "is a fantastic machine, probably the second-most complex machine you have, next to the space shuttle," Ketola told reporters.

New Pentagon Channel Podcast Brings Troops, Entertainers Together

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 27, 2009 - The Pentagon Channel is giving troops a chance to get to know their favorite entertainers a little better with a new video podcast called "Command Performance." The podcast consists of an interactive session with popular entertainers, using questions submitted online by military members and their families.

"'Command Performance' is designed to reach more of our audience members and is one of the many products the Pentagon Channel produces to keep servicemembers and their families informed and entertained," Brian Natwick, the channel's general manager, said.

The broad range of questions submitted and the entertainers' answers will define common ground between the two groups. For example, the rock band The Killers will provide insight into how they stay close to their families while on tour, and one artist will tell of a personal struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Available through iTunes or directly from the Pentagon Channel's Web site, "Command Performance" gives the audience a chance to submit questions online for the roster of upcoming shows, which will be available in early spring when the program officially launches. Two podcasts are available now for download.

Channel officials said they hope the interactive format of the new video podcast will keep servicemembers engaged not only with the show, but also, by extension, with military news available on the Pentagon Channel site.

The "Command Performance" playlist offers something for everyone, with a range of entertainers from rock to jazz scenes and pop to blues. Current episodes feature interviews with jazz trumpeter Chris Botti, indie rock singer Cat Power and members of the rock band 3 Doors Down.

"Going behind the scenes and watching the process of how a concert is put together is really fascinating," said Pentagon Channel anchor Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Liz Murray. "But being able to sit down and talk to the artist while all that is going on is even better!"

The program puts the spotlight on the servicemember, Marine Sgt. Ted Macdonald said. "A big part of what makes 'Command Performance' so special is the fact that artists seem just as interested in learning about the military as we are in getting to know them," he said.

Multinational Exercise to Test Interoperability in Caribbean

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 27, 2009 - An initiative aimed at boosting capacity among Central and South American security forces will get put to the test next week when 18 countries come together for a national security exercise in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.
The United States and Great Britain will join 16 Caribbean countries during the 25th annual Tradewinds exercise that kicks off March 4 and runs through March 18.

Marine Corps Forces South will take the lead in the U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise focused on maritime interdiction and search-and-rescue operations with an emphasis on command and control.

Representatives of every military service, the Coast Guard, Joint Interagency Task Force South and the Drug Enforcement Agency will be among about 500 participants in Tradewinds 2009.

During the exercise, they'll conduct boarding party operations training, evidence processing and hazardous material identification and handling during realistic scenarios in Nassau and the Dominican Republic, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. David Hercher of Marine Corps Forces South said.

As the participants rehearse critical skills, they'll also help Southcom assess the effectiveness of its Enduring Friendship program. The program provides select partner nations with high-speed interceptor boats with extensive communication and surveillance capabilities, operation and maintenance training, and command and control systems, Southcom spokesman Jose Ruiz said.

By providing a common operating picture and improving maritime domain awareness and interoperability, the program builds or improves partner nations' ability to detect and interdict illicit trafficking along their shores.

The Tradewinds exercise will offer one of the first opportunities for Enduring Friendship program participants to exercise the standardized equipment and training offered through the program, Ruiz said.

"The goals of Tradewinds 2009 are to better coordinate partner nations' search-and-rescue and maritime interdiction operations, increase maritime domain awareness, and better coordinate end-game seizure of illicit-trafficking vessels that can be used to smuggle terrorists, weapons, explosives or narcotics," said Marine Corps Maj. Landon Hutchens, exercise coordinator for U.S. Marine Corps Forces South.

"The U.S. and the Caribbean share common interests, and regional challenges require cooperative solutions," Hutchens said. "Illicit trafficking is a threat faced by all nations in the region. We are all committed to building lasting partnerships that will enhance our ability to work effectively together."

In addition to the United States and Great Britain, participants in the exercise are the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, St. Kitts-Neves, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad-Tobago.

President's Budget Proposal Includes 2.9 Percent Pay Raise for Troops

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 27, 2009 - President Barack Obama's fiscal 2010 budget proposal includes a 2.9 percent pay increase for U.S. servicemembers. The figure is lower than pay raises requested the past two years, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday. But he noted that Congress has a precedent of increasing the amount initially requested.

"Two years ago, we went to the Hill with about the same request; it was 3 percent. And last year, we went with a request for 3.5 percent," Gates told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. "In both cases, the Congress added to it."

Gates cited the "constrained economic environment" for the smaller proposed pay raise, but said the request is "not all that different from what we submitted in the past."

The bump in pay is part of the Defense Department's $534 base operating budget for fiscal 2010, which represents a 4 percent, or $20 billion, increase from the previous fiscal year.

At a news conference yesterday, Gates expressed confidence that the department's budget share will be enough to sustain its requirements, including personnel needs.

"I'm confident that this funding level will allow the department to meet its long-term institutional priorities of taking care of the troops and their families, rebalancing our capabilities for conventional and irregular warfare, completing the growth of the Army and Marine Corps and preserving essential modernization programs," he said.

The budget summary released by the White House yesterday says the military pay increase reflects the administration's commitment to caring for troops and increases servicemembers' purchasing power.

"After years of asking more and more from our troops and their families, this budget reflects the priorities of an administration that is committed to caring for the servicemembers who protect our security and the families who support them," the summary states.

Defense Schools Raise Age Requirements for Early Childhood Education

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 27, 2009 - Young military children who thought the first day of school was imminent may not have to worry about reading, writing and arithmetic until next year because of a change in entrance age requirements. The new rule, which goes into effect this fall with the start of the 2009-2010 school year, requires that students reach the pre-established age by Sept. 1. Students must be 4 years old to enroll in pre-kindergarten or the Defense Department's Sure Start program. Kindergartners must be 5, and first graders, 6. Under current rules, children have to reach the above ages by Oct. 31.

The Department of Defense Education Activity made the change after research showed that 36 states require kindergartners to be 5 by Sept. 1 or earlier, Marc Mossburg, chief of curriculum for DoDEA, said.

"This was done nationally for a variety of reasons, but it basically gives most kids a sure start in kindergarten and first grade," Mossburg said. "We did make the choice to align ourselves with the nation. We're trying to keep pace with the nation and trying to make sure our military kids have that advantage."

DoDEA's decision to implement the change also was, in part, an effort to ease the transition of students who start in a defense school, but then transfer to a public school, Mossburg said.

"We wanted to make sure that our kids, if they go to kindergarten and they transfer to a first grade in the States, that they are ready to enter that first grade," he said.

Consequently, students who have completed a year at an accredited kindergarten and then transfer to a DoDEA school can enroll in first grade regardless of whether they meet the age requirement, Mossburg said. There are considerations for kindergartners who transfer after starting school but before completing kindergarten, as well.

"We realize we deal with the military population. Our exceptions are based upon those families who [transfer] here and they've already started kindergarten," he said. "They're enrolled in kindergarten. They're going to kindergarten for a week, or a month, or six months and they're younger and they come into our [program], we don't say, 'Oh, you don't meet our [age requirement].'

"We accept them, but that's where the exceptions are; those students whose parents are [transferring] during the school year," he added.

Mossburg knows that some parents and students eagerly awaiting that first day of school may be disappointed in DoDEA's decision, but he's confident the change was made in the best interests of the students.

Lori Pickel, DoDEA's acting early childhood coordinator, who has already encountered this situation, agrees. Her son didn't meet North Carolina's age requirement to start kindergarten when the military family was stationed in the state. But, she said, how that realization affects students is really up to the parents.

"We all know that our kids' first teachers are parents," she said. "We set the stage in our attitude and the way we're going to accept it.

"You ... as the parent, have to choose: Is it going to be a positive or a negative?" she said.

Parents whose students don't meet the age requirements by Sept. 1 have options for their children, including the Defense Department's child development centers, Mossburg said. The centers teach a developmental program like that used in DoDEA's preschools.

In addition, if a parent feels their student can handle some advanced work, regardless of their age, DoDEA offers parent guides by grade on its Web site. The guides provide grade-appropriate standards and activities.

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 27, 2009

Missile Defense Agency Contract Award

The Computer Sciences Corp., Federal Sector of Falls Church, Va., is being awarded a cost plus award fee contract modification under contract HQ0006-03-C-0003 for $108,011,668. After award of this modification the cumulative contract value will be $736,989,348. The work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama. This sole source award is a modification to extend the existing contract through Jan. 2010. This is a bridge modification to provide continuity of support until the competitive award of the Missile Defense Agency Advisory and Engineering Support Services contracts. The amount obligated on this action is $40,129,330 using fiscal year 2009 Research, Development, Test and Evaluation funds. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity (HQ0006-03-C-0003).

The Air Force is modifying a contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., for $175,000,000. This action is to procure the congressionally mandated advance procurement of long-lead parts in FY08 and FY09 for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency Satellite Vehicle four. At this time $104,450,000 has been obligated. MCSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-02-C-0002 POO347).

The Air Force is modifying a contract with Jacobs Technology, Incorporated, Tullahoma, Tennessee for $22,801,396. This action will provided operational support required by the Air Force Research Laboratory for design, construction, reconfiguration, modification, test operations and maintenance of experimental and support facilities used to perform research and development of rocket propulsion, space systems and their components. At this time $9,250,909 has been obligated. AFFTC/PK, Edwards AFB, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04611-99-C-0003 P00115).

The Air Force is modifying a contract with IAP Worldwide Services, Incorporated, Cape Canaveral, Fla., for $16, 512,251. This contract will exercise option one to perform Civil Engineering Services for Hanscom AFB to include customer support services, infrastructure maintenance, facility maintenance, physical plant operations, utilities management, civil engineer services, environmental compliance, engineering support services, repair, some construction, property management and financial management. At the time$7, 736, 473 has been obligated. 66 CONS/LGCA, Hanscom AFB, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA2835-08-D-0001 P00005).

The Air Force is modifying a contract with the Science Applications International Corporation, El Segundo, Calif., for $12,737,017. This modification will modify the system Engineering and Integration services contract to expand the Modernized Global Positioning System User Equipment program. At this time $69,368 has been obligated. GPSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FAA807-07-C-002/P00019).

The Air Force is awarding a contract to Lockheed Martin Corp., King of Prussia, Pa., for $9,725,522. This contract action will design, fabricate, integrate, and test the Payload Delivery Vehicle for flight demonstration of the Conventional Prompt Global Strike Capability. SMC/XRC, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8814-08-C-0003).

The Air Force is modifying a contract with Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Marietta for $8,419,000. This contract action is for the C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-engineering Program estimate at completion growth and cost overrun. At this time $6,419,126 has been obligated. ASC/516 AESW/716 AESG, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio is the contracting activity (F33657-02-C-2000 P00172).

The Air Force is modifying a contract with Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems, San Diego, Calif., for $5,857,128. This action will provide Engineering, manufacturing and development infrastructure activates in support of the Global Hawk Program. At this time $5,362,526 has been obligated. 303 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio is the contracting activity (F33657-01-C-4600 P00304).

ARMY

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla., was awarded on Feb. 26, 2009, a $46,257,600 firm fixed price contract for 30,000 each, M865 (Target Practice Cone Stabilized Discarding Sabot-Tracer) 120mm Cartridges. The M865 is the Kinetic Energy Training round. This round has inert projectiles and is used in live-fire training for M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams Tanks; 15,000 each, M1002 (Target Practice, Multipurpose Tracer TP-T) Cartridges. Load, Assemble and Pack (LAP) will take place at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Middletown, Iowa, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2010. Two bids were solicited and two bids received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center – Tank & Automotive Command (TACOM), Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-08-C-0010).

Cubic Simulation Systems, Inc., Orlando, Fla., was awarded on Feb. 26, 2009, a $16,169,357 mixed line items primarily firm fixed price contract for which the delivery order is for the procurement of up to 255 Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) 2000 systems, and supporting weapons and spares. Work is to be performed at Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Program Executive Office, Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (W900KK-07-D-0720).

Parker Hannifin Corp., Minneapolis, Minn., was awarded on Feb. 25, 2009, a $34,322,920 firm fixed price UCA contract for the procurement of 1,354 each, Door Assistant Mechanisms for the Frag Kit 6. Work is to be performed at Minneapolis, Minn., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Tank & Automotive Command Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52H09-09-C-0062).

Alutiiq International Solutions, LLC, Aurora, Colo., was awarded on Feb. 25, 2009, an $11,510,573 construction firm fixed price contract for construction of a Tactical Equipment Maintenance Facility at Fort Riley, Kan. Estimated completion date is Sept. 2, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-D-0032).

NAVY

Rolls Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a $39,085,141 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for logistics support, technical engineering support services, and spare engines and associated parts for the U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J, which includes the AE2100D3 turboprop engine and R391 propeller. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind. and is expected to be completed in Feb. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-D-0020).

McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a not to exceed $26,500,000 modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-04-C-0014) for non-recurring engineering and recurring effort associated with Engineering Change Proposal 6359 in support of Australian F/A-18 aircraft. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., (40 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (30 percent); Bethpage, N.Y., (25 percent); and Mesa, Ariz., (5 percent) and is expected to be completed in Aug. 2011. 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.

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $24,505,932 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) to support the Naval Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron by providing on-site and off-site flight test management, flight test engineering, design engineering, and related efforts to support the conduct of flight and ground testing for the MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md., (70 percent); Philadelphia, Pa., (19 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas, (11 percent) and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2009. 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.

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz., is being awarded a $15,883,079 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, firm fixed price, commercial contract to provide Very High Frequency Ultra High Frequency (VHF/UHF) transmitter and receiver radio equipment and VHF/UHF multi-frequency transceiver radio equipment, amplifiers, remote heads, and ancillary accessories to support Air Traffic Control. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $99,008,749. Work will be performed in Scottsdale, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by Feb. 2010 (Feb. 2016 with options exercised). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured with an unlimited number of proposals solicited and one offer received via the Federal Business Opportunities web site, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command E-commerce web site. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity (N65236-09-D-3532).

Solpac Construction Inc., dba Soltek Pacific Construction, Co., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $15,868,171 for firm fixed price task order #0007 under a previously award multiple award construction contract (N62473-08-D-8615) for design, construction and repair of Bldg. "A" and Bldg. 730, at the Naval Air Station, Lemoore, Calif. The work to be performed provides for design and construction to Training Building "A" which includes Wings 1 through 6, and Building 730 which includes Wing 7. Work will be performed in Lemoore, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Chesapeake Technology International Corp.*, California, Md., is being awarded a $9,866,703 cost plus fixed fee, indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract for engineering, technical and program services in support of the design, development, integration, testing and Fleet distribution of communications jamming and receiver operational flight program simulations for EA-6B, EA-18G, and other advanced electronic attack derivatives. Work will be performed in California, Md., (50 percent); Cherry Point, N.C., (20 percent); Point Mugu, Calif., (20 percent); Whidbey Island, Wash., (2 percent); China Lake, Calif., (2 percent); Patuxent River, Md., (2 percent); Iwakuni, Japan, (2 percent); and Yuma, Ariz., (2 percent), and is expected to be completed in Feb. 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, Point Mugu, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-09-D-0017).

Raytheon Co., Electronic Warfare Operations, Goleta, Calif., is being awarded a $9,866,703 cost plus fixed fee contract for products and engineering services in support of the AN/ALR-67(V)3 F/A-18 A-F operational flight programs for U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F aircraft and the F/A-18 A-D and E/F aircraft owned by the Governments of Canada, Australia, and Switzerland. The estimated level of effort for this contract is 57,686 man-hours. Work will be performed Goleta, Calif., (80 percent) and Point Mugu, Calif., (10 percent); and China Lake, Calif., (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in Feb. 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $1,152,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy, ($5,426,688; 55 percent) and the governments of Canada, ($1,480,005; 15 percent), Australia, ($1,480,005; 15 percent); and Switzerland, ($1,480,005; 15 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-09-C-0029).

BAE Systems Land & Armaments, LP, Ground Systems Division, York, Pa., is being awarded a $5,583,600 firm fixed priced modification to previously awarded delivery order #0007 under previously awarded firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (M67854-07-D-5025) for spare vehicle effector boxes. Work will be performed in York, Pa., and is expected to be completed by Jul. 2009. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Woodward Governor Co., Rockton, Ill., is being awarded a maximum $22,374,542 fixed price with economic price adjustment, sole source, requirements type contract for various spare aircraft parts. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. There was one original proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the third two-year option period. The date of performance completion is Jan. 30, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Richmond, Richmond, Va., (SPM400-03-D-9402).

'Reach Out and Read' Expands Literacy Message on Military Bases

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 27, 2009 - "Reach Out and Read," an early childhood literacy organization, has secured more than $1 million in Defense Department funding to expand its military initiative on military bases across the country. The national, nonprofit program promotes early literacy during routine pediatric care by having volunteers read aloud in waiting rooms. Providers also offer tips to parents about the importance of reading aloud to children.

"Our first military site started in 1999," said Stacie D. Fredriksson, manager of military programs and special initiatives at the Reach Out and Read National Center. "Today, we present a unique opportunity to support and strengthen even more military families with young children."

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, called the program "a proven success."

"It helps doctors and nurses at military treatment facilities encourage parents to read to their children and gives them the tools to get started," Reed said while touring Naval Health Clinic in Rhode Island, a pilot site where he saw the program in action. "I am particularly pleased to see the excitement of the kids on base."

The program was launched at the clinic last fall. It, like all military bases participating in the program, has created a literacy-rich waiting room, complete with child-sized furniture and bookcases where trained volunteers model reading with the children while they wait for appointments.

"I don't think you can say enough about the positive effects," Anthony Amaio, a pediatrician at the clinic, said. "When children and parents share books that deal with deployment, it encourages discussion and provides an opportunity to determine how well the child is dealing with their parent's absence. Reading books together that deal with deployment opens up dialogue, and lets the child know that they're not the only one going through this."

As part of the initiative, pediatricians at 27 U.S. military bases across the country and three outside the United States, send their young patients home with a free book. Currently, children at the military sites receive the book, "While You Were Away," by Eileen Spinelli. The organization plans to provide the book, "Over There," by Dorinda Silver Williams, to all Reach Out and Read sites.

The group's military initiative is funded by the Defense Department and jointly administered with Strategic Resources Inc.