Military News

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

U.S. Committed to European Missile Defense, Gates Says

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

March 3, 2009 - If Iranian missile programs would cease production, the United States would not need more missile defense capabilities in Eastern Europe, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said during a press conference here today. "I told the Russians a year ago that if there were no Iranian missile threat, that there would be no need for the third site in Europe," Gates said in response to a reporter's query about a letter President Barack Obama sent last month to Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev.

"I don't think at all that this is trying to put the Russians on the spot," Gates continued. "I think it is trying to reopen a dialogue and say, 'we are open to talking with you about how we address this problem and how we can move forward.'"

Gates said he suggested using a previously discussed alternative of incorporating a full U.S.-Russian partnership in missile defense, citing a commitment to European missile defense. Iranian missiles are a potential threat to Russia, he added.

"The reality is that the missiles that the Iranians are testing can reach a good part of Russia, as well as Eastern Europe and part of Western Europe," he said. "These missiles cannot reach the United States at this point. This is part of our commitment to a European missile defense."

At a NATO defense leader meeting in Krakow, Poland, last month, NATO agreed to a ballistic missile defense that would protect against a launch from Iran. The Czech Republic will house a radar for the system, with the actual missiles based in Poland.

Gates said the Polish and Czech Republic Defense Ministries want NATO to push forward "quickly and strongly" with the program, which has been discussed since October 2007 under the Bush administration.

However, Gates said the missile defense issue is among several other critical matters on Obama's plate and will be managed as quickly as possible.

At a press conference earlier in the day with Great Britain's Defense Minister Gordon Brown, Obama said he had sent a lengthy letter to the Russian president discussing a whole range of issues from nuclear proliferation to terrorism.

Obama said the dialogue with Russia does not diminish his commitment "to making sure that Poland, the Czech Republic and other NATO members are fully enjoying the partnership, the alliance and U.S. support with respect to their security."

The president characterized the letter as a "quid pro quo" statement.

"It was simply a statement of fact that I've made previously, which is that the missile defense program, to the extent that it is deployed, is designed to deal with not a Russian threat, but an Iranian threat," he said.

Obama said he's had "good exchanges" with Russia on the matter so far. He said Russia needs to understand the U.S. commitment to the independence and security of countries like Poland and the Czech Republic, while recognizing other mutual concerns, such as nuclear nonproliferation and terrorism.

"My hope is, is that we can have a constructive relationship where, based on common respect and mutual interest, we can move forward," he said.

First Lady Advocates for Military Women, Families in Predecessor's Mold

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

March 3, 2009 - First lady Michelle Obama received a tip from a retired female Army general today: Keep modeling herself after her World War II-era predecessor, Eleanor Roosevelt. Retired Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, speaking today at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial here, drew a comparison between Obama and her first lady forebear.

"From the very beginning, she has made servicewomen and their welfare a priority on which she is focusing," Vaught said of Obama. "In doing this, she is following in the footsteps of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt's WWII fame."

Without Roosevelt's steadfast advocacy, women -- including African-American women -- might not have been allowed to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, said Vaught, president of the Women's Memorial Foundation.

The timing of today's event, which brought together several dozen current and retired military women of various rank and branch, coincided with the first week of Women's History Month. It also comes as the current first lady seeks to extend her campaign focus on military families, according to White House officials.

Stepping into Roosevelt's mold, Obama opened her remarks by accepting Vaught's challenge to revive a bygone tradition: hosting women troops in the audience to the White House for tea, a luxury that gained Roosevelt popularity among female servicemembers.

Obama said women have been contributing to the U.S. military since the Revolutionary War, citing their earliest antecedent Deborah Samson, who disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the 4th Massachusetts Regiment in 1782.

"Throughout our nation's history women have played an important role in the military as well as in organizations supporting the military during times of conflict," she said. "Our foremothers and our sisters today have joined our forefathers and our brothers today in securing our liberty and protecting our country."

Echoing remarks President Barack Obama made last week at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., the first lady said service doesn't end with the person wearing the uniform, adding that she's been honored and deeply moved to meet military families in recent years.

"They are mothers and fathers who have lost their beloved children to war; they are husbands and wives keeping the families on track while their wives and husbands are deployed on duty," she said. "They are grandparents, aunts and uncles, and sisters and brothers who are taking care of children while single moms or dads in uniform are away."

Obama recognized members of the audience who blazed the trail for female servicemembers, including Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody, the first female to receive the rank of four-star general; Coast Guard Vice Adm. Vivien Crea, the first woman to serve as a vice chief of a military branch; and Alyce Dixon, a 101-year-old former company clerk in the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion during World War II.

Dunwoody praised the generations of women servicemembers who paved the way for her.

"As you go through the history of our early beginnings and recognize the generations of women who have gone before us, their dedication and commitment has opened the doors for women today," she said.

Family Support Program Helps Navy Reserve 'Seabees' Perform Missions

By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicole Harmon
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 3, 2009 - Camaraderie and caring are among the reasons why Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 was honored by the Defense Department for superb support of its servicemembers' families, the reserve unit's senior noncommissioned officer said recently. "Our families continue to support us in our absence by being the foundation of our freedom, as without them we could not complete our mission," Master Chief Petty Officer John T. Bonaccorso said.

"The family readiness program and our ombudsman," Bonaccorso said, "allow us to provide support to those who we love, regardless of the miles between us."

Based at Huntsville, Ala., NMCB 24 was among seven National Guard and reserve units that received 2008 Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Awards during a Feb. 13 Pentagon ceremony.

"This award would not have taken place without the help and hard work of our nine detachment ombudsmen," Renee' White, the unit's top ombudsman, said.

All of the unit's ombudsmen are volunteers, White said, adding that most are spouses of servicemembers belonging to the command. The main purpose of the unit's ombudsman program is to ensure family readiness and to support the battalion's mission, White said. The program supports families and promotes camaraderie, she said, by providing information of interest at family-member gatherings and through publications.

"We strive to make sure our Seabees and their families are cared for," White said. "Our saying is: 'No family left behind.'"

The Navy's Seabees are skilled in all facets of construction, Bonaccorso explained, including dwellings and road and bridge building and repair.

"The Navy Seabee battalions are the construction team of choice, because we bring so much to the table," Bonaccorso said.

NMCB 24 is preparing for an upcoming deployment, Bonaccorso said. "Without families supporting us," he added, "we couldn't go forward and do this."

(Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicole Harmon serves with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24. Gerald J. Gilmore of American Forces Press Service contributed to this article.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 3, 2009

NAVY

General Electric Co., Aircraft Engines Business Group, Lynn, Mass., is being awarded a $438,138,755 modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract to exercise an option for the Fiscal Year 2009 full rate production of 90 F414-GE-400 engines and 90 F414-GE-400 device kits for U.S. Navy. In addition, this option provides for 26 F414-GE-400 engines and 24 F414-GE-400 device kits in support of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The F414-GE-400 engine powers the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. Work will be performed in Lynn, Mass., (50 precent); Madisonville, Ky., (22 precent); Hooksett, N.H., (13 precent); Albuquerque, N.M., (6 precent); Rutland, Vt., (5 precent); Dayton, Ohio (2 precent); Evandale, Ohio, (1 precent); and Bromont, Canada, (1 precent), and is expected to be completed in Apr. 2011. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($343,713,854; 78.4 precent) and the Government of Australia, ($94,424,901; 21.6 precent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. 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 (N00019-06-C-0088).

Northrop Grumman Corp. Electronic Systems, Linthicum Heights, Md., is being awarded a contract modification valued at $40,500,000. This contract modification is to establish an estimated cost ceiling for the Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) System Development and Demonstration (SDD) to reflect the anticipated cost overrun associated with the contractor's estimate to complete for an additional $36,000,000. Of this $36,000,000 the Government is incrementally funding $16,804,156 to support contract requirements for completing the Critical Design Review (CDR) scheduled in Mar. 2009 and up through mid-Apr. 2009. In addition, the contract modification also increases the contract value by $4,500,000 for engineering services and support over the life of the contract (through Jun. 2012). These engineering services are requested on an as needed basis for various engineering studies, analyses and reports at the Government's request. Of the $4,500,000 contract increase, the Government is funding $238,695. Approximately 69 precent of the work will be performed by Northrop Grumman Corp., in Linthicum Heights, Md., and approximately 31 precent will be performed by Northrop Grumman's subcontract, Sensis in Syracuse, N.Y. This modification increases the total funding to the contract by $17,042,851. Of the total funds obligated with this contract modification, $120,215 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract modification was not competitively procured, as the cost overrun is associated with the estimate to complete the G/ATOR System Development and Design is within scope of the current contract. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia is the contracting activity (M67854-07-C-2072 modification P00024).

SSFM International, Inc. (large business), Honolulu, Hawaii 96817, is being awarded a firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity architect-engineering contract with a maximum amount of $7,500,000 for design, engineering, specification writing, cost estimation and related services in the NAVFAC Hawaii area of responsibility (AOR). Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Hawaii AOR, and is expected to be completed by Mar. 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the NAVFAC e-solicitation website with eleven (11) proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii is the contracting activity (N62478-09-D-5006).

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services of Gaithersburg, Md., is being awarded a potential $5 billion indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with mixed payment provisions including firm fixed price, incentive arrangements and cost reimbursable arrangements for contractor logistics support services in support of U.S. Special Operations Command worldwide. The minimum amount guaranteed under the contract is $2.5 million. The work will be performed at Special Operations Forces Support Activity in Lexington, Ky., and other locations across the globe, and is expected to have a period of performance from Mar. 2, 2009, to Mar.1, 2018. This contract was awarded through full and open competition. The contract number is H92254-09-D-0001.

Guard Needs Full Spectrum of Capabilities, General Says

By Army Staff Sgt. S. Patrick McCollum
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 3, 2009 - Living up to the National Guard's motto of "Always Ready, Always There" requires a full spectrum of capabilities, a senior National Guard official told an audience at the Domestic Operations Conference here today. "How do you take things that work in our community and make them sustaining programs of record? That's the challenge," said Army Maj. Gen. Peter M. Aylward, director of the National Guard Bureau Joint Staff.

In addition to its traditional role responding to natural disasters, the Guard must be flexible enough to respond to threats such as weapons of mass destruction. And being flexible, he added, is key to fighting an enemy that fights unconventionally.

"The rules we use are written in black and white," Aylward said. "Our adversaries are not governed by those black-and-white rules. They hide in shades of gray."

He added that the Guard's citizen-soldiers and –airmen are uniquely suited for any mission.

Depending on the threat, he said, Guard members can ratchet up their readiness from traditional duty to being called up by their state and, if necessary, being federally activated.

Guard members from California, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas shared their experiences during recent state call-ups with their counterparts at the conference.

"The people of this nation depend on the Guard to help them, no matter what," said Army Maj. Gen. Stephen F. Villacorta, the U.S. Northern Command liaison to the chief of the National Guard Bureau. Northcom's main area of responsibility, he said, is the continental United States, and coordination with state and local authorities as well as the National Guard is essential for success.

"This coordination occurs every day," he said, "and with respect to Northcom, National Guard Bureau and the states, has significantly increased over the past two years."

Villacorta said this partnership will continue to grow. "Northcom is seeking to expand its partnership with NGB and the states to make our job easier when it comes time to respond to an event," he said.

Air Force Maj. Gen. William H. Etter, director of domestic operations for the National Guard Bureau, stressed the workshop aspect of the conference.

"You go to a conference and people speak at you, and they do that again and again and again," he said. "At a workshop, there is constant dialogue, and you solve problems."

(Army Staff Sgt. S. Patrick McCollum serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

West African Drug Trade Concerns U.S. Officials

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

March 3, 2009 - West Africa has seen an "absolutely shocking" increase in drug trafficking, U.S. Africa Command's top civilian said yesterday. Over the past several years, an estimated $2 billion of cocaine was channeled from Latin America to Europe via West Africa, which disrupts local communities and threatens the region, Mary Carlin Yates told reporters in Sekondi, Ghana.

"It is absolutely shocking what has happened -- the increase in drugs," said Yates, the former U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 2002 to 2005, who now serves as Africom's civilian deputy.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates at least 50 tons of cocaine transits through West Africa annually. Narcotics also are becoming more widely available in the region, as drug traffickers reportedly pay transport costs in cocaine instead of money.

The executive director of the U.N. agency characterized the situation in dire terms at an international conference in Cape Verde in October.

"This is more than a drug problem," Antonio Maria Costa said. "It is a threat to public health and security."

Meanwhile, the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau has been rocked by the recent assassinations of its army chief and its president, which the U.S. State Department condemned in a news release yesterday.

"The U.S. strongly condemns the violence that occurred in Guinea-Bissau over the weekend that resulted in the assassination of President Joao Bernardo 'Nino' Vieira and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces General Batista Tagmé Na Waï," the release said.

It's unclear whether West African drug trafficking played a direct role in the recent political instability, though a report published last year by the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center characterized Guinea-Bissau as "quickly developing into a narco-state."

The Army report also states that narcotics trafficking accounted for almost 20 percent of Guinea-Bissau's gross domestic product, and that the nation's soldiers "have been caught facilitat¬ing the transfer of narcotics to mostly European markets."

Furthermore, the CIA World Factbook cites Guinea-Bissau as an increasingly important transit country for South American cocaine en route to Europe. The country's "pervasive corruption" and archipelago-like geography around the capital facilitates drug smuggling, according to the CIA.

Yates emphasized that U.S. counternarcotics efforts require coordination among agencies and ministries, as well as international partnerships.

She told reporters yesterday that Africom is supporting Ghanaian counternarcotics and customs programs by funding drug screening equipment and upgrades at the country's international airport. It also is helping to fund a police facility to aid in the storage and processing of evidence related to drug cases.

The programs represent part of a larger U.S. government program aimed at stemming the drug trade, she said.

Mullen Notes Importance of U.S. Relationship With Brazil

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 3, 2009 - In his first visit to Brazil, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with top leaders here yesterday and emphasized the importance of military-to-military cooperation as part of the overall U.S.-Brazilian relationship. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen met with Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim and the leaders of the Brazilian armed forces. Brazilian officials said having the meetings here, in the heart of the Amazon rain forest, would give Mullen a good idea of the country's military capabilities and the challenges of defending areas such as the Amazon Basin.

Military-to-military contacts between the two nations are important to the overall relationship between Brazil and the United States, Mullen said at an impromptu news conference before meetings at the Amazon Military Command headquarters. He said he was impressed by the discipline and professionalism the Brazilian servicemembers displayed, and that he enjoyed meeting the leaders and servicemembers in the field.

"You learn a great deal more being in the field than being in the capital," the chairman said. "I can really see what the command does every single day, and how important the command is to the country of Brazil."

Brazil is at the heart of a region that is vital not just to South America, but to the United States and countries around the world, the admiral said. "We are greatly dependent and have a great deal of respect for the leadership of Brazil," he added.

Jobim echoed Mullen's emphasis on the importance of the U.S.-Brazil relationship, and noted that trust is essential to that relationship. The Brazilian defense minister turned to Mullen and said, "We trust Admiral Mullen."

Brazil is the fifth-largest nation in the world by population. The global economic crisis seems to have affected the country less than other nations, with an economy that experienced 5.8 percent growth in 2008. U.S. and Brazilian forces have worked together in United Nations peacekeeping operations in Haiti and elsewhere.

U.S. and Brazilian servicemembers conduct military exercises together, and military-to-military cooperation also includes an extensive exchange program. U.S. Army noncommissioned officers attend the Brazilian Jungle School, and Brazilian cadets attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Chairman Tours Brazilian Amazon Command

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 3, 2009 - A typical day at the office, or even on the road, usually doesn't entail meeting a jaguar or eating grubs. But it would if you were Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a visit to the Amazon River in Brazil yesterday.

Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim showed the chairman an unusual, but very informative, time during a visit with units of the Amazonia Military Command in Manaus, Tabatinga and this small outpost along Brazil's border with Colombia.

Mullen visited the region because Brazil is a valued friend, and because "from a military perspective, this relationship is absolutely vital," he said during a news conference in Manaus, the capital of Amazonia state.

The Amazonia Command had a full-honor welcome for the chairman, with all services represented. Part of the ceremony was a recitation of the Jungle Warrior Prayer, which includes the passage, "Give us from the forest: the sobriety to persist, the patience to ambush, the perseverance to survive and the faith to resist and win." More than 200 servicemembers recited the prayer as part of the welcome to the chairman. At the end of the prayer, they yelled the word "selva," Portuguese for "jungle."

Jungle dominates everything in Amazonia. The state is four times the size of Texas, and except for a small portion of grass-covered plain called pampas in the north, it is almost entirely covered by rain forest. Almost half of the state's 4 million residents live in Manaus.

The capital is where the Negro and Solimoes rivers come together to form the Amazon. The rivers are the main mode of transportation in the region, as roads are scarce. The Brazilian military patrols the rivers and the rain forest to protect the borders, contributing to local and national development and supporting law enforcement efforts. The command is more than just a warfighting endeavor; its troopers are soldiers, civil affairs personnel, engineers, counselors, environmental activists and protectors, and much else, a Brazilian government spokesman said.

Jungle is the heart of the command. U.S. Special Forces soldiers helped the Brazilians set up their Jungle School, a world-class facility near Manaus. The soldiers in the command are graduates of that school. Only about half of each class's 45 students make it to graduation.

Instructors briefed Mullen on their school and brought along a friend -- a 4-year-old jaguar soldiers found after poachers killed its mother. The chairman petted the 150-pound cat and then was introduced to a water buffalo. The soldiers use the beasts to carry provisions. The animals are adapted to the conditions in the rain forest, and the soldiers could not maneuver without them, a spokesman said.

A motto of the command translates to "Our Strength Comes from the Jungle," and the soldiers showed the chairman the river's bounty. In addition to fruit, vegetables, nuts and berries, the soldiers had gathered coconut grubs. Eaten live, they are a good source of protein, the soldiers said.

The chairman flew aboard a Brazilian air force C-99 to Tabatinga, where he switched to a C-105A for the flight to the Special Border Platoon. Iparanga is more an airfield and outpost in the jungle than a village. The Brazilian military established the outpost in 1980 on the river separating Brazil and Colombia. Fighting smuggling and drugs, promoting development and keeping control of the border are the main missions. Helping are Brazilian navy gunboats that patrol the river, and the chairman got piped aboard one of them on the shore at Iparanga.

Before Mullen left, the soldiers marched past in his honor. And yes, they did march with their water buffalos.

Officials Urge Congress to Protect Recruiting, Retention Incentives

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

March 3, 2009 - Recognizing the likelihood of defense budget cuts, senior defense and military leaders urged Congress today to protect incentives they call critical to recruiting and retention. Curtis Gilroy, the Pentagon's accessions policy director, emphasized the importance of bonuses and other enticements that help to attract qualified candidates from the 25 percent of the recruitment-age population that qualifies for military service.

As the Defense Department and military services look for ways to pare recruiting and retention programs, Gilroy urged the House Armed Services Committee's military personnel subcommittee to resist wholesale cuts that would have a negative long-term impact.

Gilroy conceded that the bleak labor market and flailing economy are likely to help the military fill its ranks with quality recruits. "As the economy continues to dip and unemployment rises, recruiting should be somewhat less difficult. We know this," he said. "But the economy is not the only driver of our recruiting and retention programs. We have other significant challenges that are facing us today."

Adult influencers are less likely to recommend military service to young people than four, three, or even two years ago. The propensity of young people to join the military has dropped. Meanwhile, there's been a declining pool of eligible, qualified young people who want to serve.

Gilroy pointed to shortcomings he said disqualify about three-quarters of all recruitment-age youth: obesity and other health problems, physical fitness deficiencies and lack of a high school diploma or equivalent, among them.

"We have a crisis in this country," he said. "When we add up all these disqualifiers, we find that only 25 percent of our young people today ages 17 to 24 are qualified for military service."

Lt. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman, deputy Marine Corps commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, joined Gilroy in emphasizing the importance of incentives that help the military recruit from this select group. Coleman called these incentives key to the Corps' success in growing its end strength to 202,000 Marines by the year's end, two years ahead of schedule. "Enlistment incentives make these achievements possible," he said.

Likewise, he called the Marines' selective re-enlistment bonus program "the foundation of our retention efforts." Coleman noted that 36 percent of first-time Marines re-enlisted in fiscal 2008, up from the previous year's historical high of 31 percent.

"Increased funding and flexibility authorities that you provided are essential to the strength that your Marine Corps enjoys today," he told the subcommittee members. "We will continue to rely on them as we grow and maintain [the Marine Corps end strength of 202,000] and work to shape the Marine Corps for the 21st century."

Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel, agreed that recruiting and retention incentives have helped the Army fill its ranks with quality soldiers despite the longest period of conflict in U.S. history.

"As a result, for the past two years, we met or exceeded our recruiting and retention goals for the total Army," he said.

But Rochelle said those successes can't be taken for granted. "The eligible population to serve in the armed forces has declined, and we must continue to work hard to attract and retain the very best," he said.

Gilroy urged the subcommittee to avoid a repeat of the late 1970s, mid-1980s and late 1990s. When the economy weakened and recruiting and retention became less challenging, recruiting budgets got axed, with long-term consequences.

"These lessons from the past showed us it is easy and quick to cut budgets during times when recruiting and retention are successful," he said. "But we also learned from those lessons of the past how difficult and how time-consuming and how expensive it is when we need to ramp up when recruiting and retention failed as a result of those budget cuts."

Task Force Seeks Impressions of Response From Sexual Assault Victims

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

March 3, 2009 - The Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services is interested in talking with victims of sexual assault worldwide to gain understanding about their experience with the military's response to the incident. These interviews are a critical part of the task force's yearlong, worldwide assessment of response to sexual assault throughout the Defense Department, said Jenny Holbert, a task force spokeswoman.

"We need to understand their experiences at the individual level," she said. "We want to focus on the response by [whomever the assault was first reported.]

"What happened? Were the services needed to help them appropriate? Were the services on installation or off the installation?" she said, explaining what kinds of information the task force was trying to discern.

The task force is interested in hearing both from members of the military who were victims of sexual assault and civilians who were victimized by servicemembers, she said.

Those willing to talk with the task force can do so by calling 888-325-6640 or sending an e-mail to assist@wso.whs.mil, and leaving a message. Someone from the task force will call to set up an interview, Holbert said. Interviews also can be conducted in person if the task force happens to be visiting an installation.

Because victims often feel more comfortable talking confidentially, the task force's final report to Congress will not identify individuals or installations. This is especially important, because the members also want to hear from victims who never reported their assaults, Holbert said.

"We need to maintain their privacy and their confidentiality in order for them to have enough confidence in us to come talk to us," Holbert said. "It's their choice. It's their option. They are in control, [and] they decide how they want to do this."

The military's goal is to eradicate sexual assault, she said. In the interest of determining best practices to work toward that goal, the task force is honing in on three specific areas through these interviews.

The first is prevention of sexual assault.

"One of the best ways to eradicate sexual assault is [through] training -- making people aware ... what is sexual assault and how to prevent it in the first place," Holbert said. "The second piece to that is response.

"[The task force wants to know] what resources are in place, the legal process, the spiritual process, how that all takes place," she said.

The third piece is accountability. The members want to know whether the judicial process is working, and that everything needed to investigate, conduct courts-martial and convict the guilty is in place.

The other side of that is the victim, Holbert added. The task force is looking at the resources available to victims to ensure they are the best available.

The military has a tremendous opportunity to reduce the problem of sexual assault, based on its past handling of social issues such as gender and racial integration, she said.

"They've led the nation, they've led our culture, in changing the way people deal with each other," Holbert said. "I think this is another opportunity for the Department of Defense to take care of one of this nation's greatest assets, and that's our military personnel."

Once the assessment phase is complete at the end of June, the task force will prepare its report and present it to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for his comments before it goes to the House and Senate armed services committees.

Mullen Seeks to Strengthen U.S. Military Ties to Latin America

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 3, 2009 - The "umbrella crisis" in the financial world is complicating an already complicated world, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen shared his top three priorities with students at the Chilean War College.

The global financial crisis will affect all security priorities, Mullen said. "It may not affect them immediately, meaning in weeks or months, but it will affect them dramatically in the year or two or three we all face," he told the students.

The chairman is visiting Latin American countries to help improve and maintain military-to-military contacts. He arrived here last night from Brazil.

Mullen said one reason he is traveling to Latin America is "to make sure the relationships that are strong get stronger ... and other relationships that need to get stronger are recognized," he said.

Latin America is every bit as important as any other part of the world, the chairman said. "That it is not in a crisis, as the Middle East is, is a credit to an awful lot of people," he said. "What I want to make sure is that we are participating in a way that we can participate, connect, strengthen so that it never is in a crisis."

No one has been particularly good at predicting world crises, the chairman said, but he added that he feels safe saying that no matter where a crisis erupts, the financial meltdown will exacerbate it. The financial uncertainty will affect the Middle East, making the "constant turmoil, constant churn" in the region even more unpredictable, he said.

At the top of the chairman's priority list is the greater Middle East, including everything from the Mediterranean shore to Pakistan. "At the top of this is Afghanistan and Pakistan," he told the students.

While conditions in Iraq are getting better and the United States will withdraw troops from the country, a lot of diplomatic and governance work remains to be done, he said. Al-Qaida is diminished in Iraq, he added, but is increasingly active in other parts of the world.

The admiral said another major priority is the state of the American military. He told the students he recently visited Fort Campbell, Ky., the home of the 101st Airborne Division. Many of the soldiers there have served four long deployments, he said, and the stress of those repeated deployments on servicemembers and their families is a concern.

"There are very few places I go to now where spouses aren't talking to my wife about their own version of post-traumatic stress and that the kids, who have not seen their mothers or fathers a lot for the last five or six years, are having pretty significant mental health challenges as well," he acknowledged.

The military has to do right by the men and women in uniform, Mullen said. The U.S. military is a combat-hardened force, he noted, and the captains and sergeants "make decisions to stay."

"No matter what I buy, where I operate, or how I operate in the future, if I can hang on to them and have them be the 'seed corn' for the United States military, it will continue to be the best its ever been," the admiral said.

The Army and Marine Corps are growing, and the Navy and Air Force are contributing forces on the ground to help relieve the stress on the Marines and Army, he told the students.

The other top priority is the rest of the globe, Mullen said. He told the Chilean students he wants to make sure the U.S. military is engaged in this part of the world. He noted that he grew up in Southern California, not far from Mexico.

"But I was trained to look east and west, and we have to get better at looking north and south," he said. "We have to pay attention to each other. We have wonderful personal ties. We have economic ties. We've got to figure out how to pull together."

During economic crises, countries want to withdraw or isolate themselves, Mullen said. "Leaders just have to understand that is not acceptable," he added. "Leaders have to reach out and ensure these relationships get stronger so we can depend on these relationships."

Coast Guard Rescues Missing Boater, Continues Search for Three Others

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

March 2, 2009 - The Coast Guard today rescued a boater whose vessel capsized in the Gulf of Mexico, and continues a high-profile search and rescue mission for three others who were onboard. Rescuers found former University of South Florida football player Nick Schuyler about 35 miles off the coast of Florida, clinging to the hull of a 21-foot fishing boat that reportedly overturned during a storm Feb. 28.

The Coast Guard continues to search for three others: Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, Detroit Lions free agent Corey Smith and former University of South Florida player William Bleakley.

Schuyler was flown via Coast Guard helicopter to Tampa General Hospital. Coast Guard Petty Officer Robert Simpson told CNN that Schuyler said he had been wearing a life vest at the time of the capsizing; it's unclear whether the other three were wearing preservers.

Coast Guard aircraft from Clearwater, Fla.; Miami; and Mobile, Ala.; and helicopters and a C-130 Hercules from the Air Force provided an aerial search, Coast Guard Capt. Timothy M. Close said at a news conference today in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Several Coast Guard ships covered the 16,000-square-mile area from the sea. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard has narrowed its area of focus as it continues to search for the three other men. Four Coast Guard cutters and two Air Force helicopters are searching a 30-mile radius around where the boat was found.

"The search is ongoing," Close said. "We're continuing to hit this hard."

The four reportedly left Clearwater Beach, Fla., on a fishing trip the morning of Feb. 28 and were expected to return that afternoon. A cold front struck that evening, causing strong winds and seas that reached an estimated 14 feet.

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 2, 2009

ARMY

Sundt Construction, Inc., Tempe, Ariz., was awarded on Feb 27, 2009, a $123,028,658 firm fixed price contract for Project 71200 and Project 71206; Fort Bliss, Texas, that includes the design and construction of a 159,870-SF Vehicle Maintenance Shop; a 2,820 SF Oil Storage Building; and a 42,300 SF Organizational Storage Building. Additional primary facilities include; 1,399,598 SF Organizational Vehicle Parking; a 2,820 SF HAZMAT Storage Building; a 9,000 SF Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Hanger; an 8,000 SF Distro Company Storage; and 4,005 SF Distro Open Secure Storage. Supporting facilities include, but are not limited to: electrical, water, sewer, gas and storm drainage service; paving, walks, curb and gutter; site improvement and anti terrorism measures. Special foundations are required due to soil conditions. Provide for connection to future mass notification system. Site improvements will minimize impact on undeveloped land and promote the use of renewable and recycled resources. Work will be performed at Fort Bliss, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Mar 7, 2011. Fourteen bids were solicited and six bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District Tulsa, Tulsa, Okla., is the contracting activity (W912HN-09-D-0020).

Raytheon Co., AMDS, Andover, Mass., was awarded on Feb 27, 2009, a $71,607,301 firm fixed price (Letter Contract Modification) contract for procurement, installation, and testing of 6 PATRIOT Radar Enhancement Phase 3/Classification, Discrimination, and Identification Phase 3 modification kits for Kuwait radars. Work is to be performed at Andover, Mass., with an estimated completion date of Oct 30, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Aviation and Missile Command Contracting Center, Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-07-C-0151).

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, INC., San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Feb 26, 2009, a $35,062,604 cost plus incentive fee, definitization of a letter contract to acquire 8 extended range multi-purpose Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAV) and associated support equipment. This acquisition is directed by the Joint Chief of Staff to accommodate a surge of UAV's. Work is to be performed at San Diego, Calif. (46%); Adelanto, Calif. (14%); Palmdale, Calif. (8%); Salt Lake City, Utah (18%); and Hunt Valley, Md. (14%), with an estimated completion date of Jan 15, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0069).

PBS&J Constructors, Tampa, Fla., was awarded on Feb 27, 2009, a $32,373,000 firm fixed price contract to design and construct whole barracks complex and upgrade central energy plant for Fort Hood, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Jun 24, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-09-C-0016).

Bradley/Nason JV LLC, Wilmington, Del., was awarded on Feb 27, 2009, a $22,275,000 firm fixed price contract with the requirement for this project to consist of design and construction of a new general administrative facility (75000 SF) for Chemical Biological Defense activities. The facility will include flexible general administrative space, intrusion detection system (IDS), anti-terrorism measures, building information systems, fire protection and alarm systems, and connection to Energy Monitoring and Control System (EMCS). Supporting facilities include electrical service, water, sewer, and gas; parking with access roads, paving, walks, curbs and gutters; storm water management; site improvements; information systems and exterior lighting, force protection measures. Work is to be performed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., with an estimated completion date of Aug 30, 2011. Bids were solicited with two bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Baltimore, Md., is the contracting activity (W912DR-09-C-0020).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Missile and Fires Control (LMMFC), Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded on Feb 27, 2009, a $14,589,480 firm fixed price contract to upgrade six (6) each Government Furnished Equipment M270 Launchers to the M270C1 configuration for the Kingdom of Bahrain. Additionally provided is 1 Lot of Unique Spare Parts, special test equipment, New Equipment Training, and Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETMs). Work is to be performed at Grand Prairie, Texas (40%), and East Camden, Ark. (60%), with an estimated completion date of Sep 30, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-09-C-0311).

General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Feb 26, 2009, a $9,789,645 firm fixed price, firm fixed price level of effort, cost plus fixed fee contract to provide parts for the reset material necessary to allow Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) to reset 05 Battle Damaged Systems Enhanced Program Version One (SEPv1) Tanks to a SEPv2 configuration with a 100% option. Work is to be performed at Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Aug 31, 2010. Tank & Automotive Command (TACOM) LCMC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-G-0006).

Elkins Constructors, Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., was awarded on Feb 27, 2009, a $6,153,055 firm fixed price contract for construction of Phase II Dormitory at the 165th Airlift Wing, Savannah, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Dec 22, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. National Guard Bureau, USPFO for Georgia, Atlanta, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912JM-09-C-0003).

NAVY

GE Aviation Systems, LLC, Grand Rapids, Mich., is being awarded a $12,149,557 ceiling-priced indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the procurement of 27 V-22 Crash Survivable Memory Units (CSMU); 120 E-2D Crash Survivable Flight Information Recorder (CSFIR) Voice and Data Recorders (VADRs); 2 T-6A CSFIR Integrated Data Acquisition and Recorder System and CSFIR supply system spares. In addition, this contract provides for engineering and product support; CSFIR and CSMU hardware; software upgrades, repairs, and modifications for CSFIR/Structural Flight Recording Set (SFRS) common ground station software. Work will be performed in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is expected to be completed in March 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-0017).

ATK Alliant Tactical Systems Division, Leyser, W.V., is being awarded a $9,863,461 firm fixed price, definite delivery, definite quantity contract for mechanical (laser) actuated initiators used on the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) aircraft. Work will be performed at Leyser, W.V., and work is expected to be completed by June 2012. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00104-09-C-K065).

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz., is being awarded an $8,859,480 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity delivery order with an ordering quantity of 106 Integrated Trailer ECU Generators (ITEGs) and a quantity of 106 support packages. Work will be performed in Scottsdale, Ariz., and work is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The base contract was done on a competitive basis. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity. (M67854-06-D-5079)

Bay Electric Co., Inc.*, Newport News, Va., is being awarded $6,853,830 for firm fixed price task order #0004 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-06-D-6006) for construction of EODOSU TEN Ordnance Operation Facility at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek. The work to be performed shall construct a two-story building. The functional requirements include private offices, open work stations, conference rooms, muster/briefing room, platoon/company workspaces, restroom/shower and locker facilities. The contract also contains two unexercised options, which if exercised would increase the cumulative contract value to $7,909,731. Work will be performed at Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by August 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.

Scientific Research Corp., Atlanta, Ga., is being awarded a $6,545,965 modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee, performance based contract to provide services for systems engineering, software integration, configuration management, test, fleet introduction, product improvement, quality assurance, and life cycle management support of various C4ISR requirements, programs, and projects. Work will be performed in Charleston, S.C., (52 percent) and Lexington Park, Md., (48 percent), and is expected to be completed by November 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with unlimited proposals solicited and two offers received via the Commerce Business Daily's Federal Business Opportunities web site and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central web site. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic is the contracting activity (N65236-05-D-6854).

Lockheed Martin Corp. – Maritime Systems & Sensors, Baltimore, Md. is being awarded a modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-2311) for LCS program continuation efforts necessary to preserve production capability at its industry team shipyard facility. As this award represents efforts integrally related to Phase I of a competitive two-phased acquisition approach to procure FY09/FY10 LCS, with Phase II including potential award of up to three additional LCS Flight 0+ Class ships, the award amount is considered source selection information (see FAR 2.101 and 3.104) and will not be made public at this time. LCS Class ships are networked, agile, and high-speed surface combatants with versatile warfighting capabilities optimized for littoral missions. LCS is optimized for flexibility in the littorals as a system of systems that are both manned and unmanned, and mission reconfigurable. LCS focuses on three primary mission areas: Littoral Surface Warfare operations emphasizing prosecution of small boats, Littoral Anti-Submarine Warfare and Littoral Mine Countermeasures. LCS also possesses inherent capabilities to execute other missions such as: Joint Littoral Mobility; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; Joint Special Operations Force support; Maritime Interdiction Operations; Homeland Defense; and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection. Work will be performed in Marinette, Wis. (56 percent); Moorestown, N.J. (13 percent); Clearwater, Fla. (11 percent); Brunswick, Ga. (10 percent); Washington, D.C. (8 percent) and Baltimore, Md. (2 percent), and is expected to be completed by April 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. is the contracting activity (N00024-03-C-2311).

Correction: Contract awarded on Feb. 25, 2009, to General Dynamics C4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz.,(M67854-02-C-205) should have stated the dollar amount as $7,886,032.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

County of Augusta-Richmond dba Bush Field Airport, Augusta, Ga. is being awarded a maximum $6,593,454 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for jet fuel. Other location of performance is Georgia. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies . There was originally 1 proposal solicited with 1 response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2013. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-0045).