Military News

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Mullen Stresses Value of Joint Warfighting

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - As Chile works toward building a joint force, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff yesterday shared insights from U.S. history and emphasized the importance of the joint process. "The U.S. military is the best in the world" partly because leaders and servicemembers have embraced joint warfighting, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told students at the Chilean War College here.

The chairman is visiting Latin American countries to help improve and maintain military-to-military contacts.

The Chilean military is working to transform its national defense structure. Legislation is in the works to make the force more joint and to speed the force's decision-making cycle.

Mullen attributed the United States' success in the process, in part, to finding incentives. The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 grabbed servicemembers' attention by affecting promotions. The law mandated that officers with joint experience would be favored in the promotion process.

"I know of no other way to change a service more rapidly than to affect promotions," Mullen noted.

Before the legislation, the services tended to keep their best people on service staffs or in service-specific jobs. After Goldwater-Nichols, the best people went to joint assignments.

The 1990s were a period of growth and experimentation in joint use and doctrine. The U.S. military participated in operations Desert Shield and Storm, Bosnia and Kosovo. Each provided lessons on the way forward. It wasn't until Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 that the services became a real joint fighting force and "not just checking the box," the chairman said.

"While we were nominally joint in Desert Storm and Desert Shield, there was way too much service parochialism, way too much turf protection."

The military was more of a joint force than in the past, but it took wars to speed up the process and make joint warfighting the standard in the American military, he said. Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq pushed the military because "we were losing lives and everything depended on making sure that didn't happen," Mullen explained.

The services discarded their parochialism and "whatever [warfighters] could reach for, you could, in order to enhance the joint fight," the chairman said.

The services did everything they could to make sure those young men and women going into harm's way "had the best possible outcome in front of them based on our joint capabilities," he said.

Navy capabilities suddenly became important to infantrymen trying to locate improvised explosive devices. Air Force officers commanded joint units on provincial reconstruction teams. Marines and soldiers developed ways of working together in Fallujah and Hit in Iraq and in Kandahar in Afghanistan.

"There is something very, very real when people are dying that makes you look differently about how you are arrayed, and it opens your lenses up to examine something from a different attitude," Mullen said.

The results speak for themselves, he said. Between the early 1990s and today, "it is night and day" for joint capabilities. The changes allow servicemembers to work closely together, all reading from a common playbook. All services work together to support successful combat, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

In the United States, the idea of jointness has gone beyond the Defense Department, Mullen said.

"I have people assigned to the Treasury Department, to Agriculture, to the State Department, and those tours will be valued in terms of future promotions and command assignments," he said.

The chairman told the students that he does not favor having just a U.S. Defense Force in place of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. The services bring history and various insights to approaching challenges that are beneficial to America's common defense, he said.

Budget to Reflect Key Defense Priorities, OMB Director Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - The 2010 defense budget being finalized by the Obama administration will maintain priorities such as quality-of-life improvements and acquisition reform as it caps other defense spending, the Office of Management and Budget director said yesterday. Peter R. Orszag told the House Budget Committee the $533.7 billion defense budget provides funding to increase Army and Marine Corps end strength, provide servicemembers a 2.9 percent pay raise, improve military housing and other defense facilities and provide better medical treatment for wounded troops.

Meanwhile, the budget will set realistic requirements and incorporate "best practices" to control cost growth and schedule slippage of weapons programs, he said.

Orszag told the committee the White House will leave the details of that plan to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, a staunch advocate of acquisition reform.

The budget represents greater growth than the 2.9 percent average following the Cold War, but less than the 7 percent annual growth during the last eight years, Orszag said.

But at 4 percent over the enacted 2009 budget level, excluding funds authorized in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the 2010 request will be sufficient to maintain a strong Defense Department as it enforces a new acquisition framework, he told the committee.

One source of savings, he said, will be the redeployment of combat brigades from Iraq. Those savings will offset increased costs of sending more troops to Afghanistan.

"Under the president's budget, as troop levels decrease, the combined cost of Iraq and Afghanistan operations would decrease by about $50 billion in 2009 and $65 billion in 2010," Orszag said. This compares to the 2008 level of $187 billion, adjusted for inflation.

The president's 2010 budget request also calls for increasing funding for the Veterans Affairs Department by $25 billion over the next five years, he reported. That request would provide a "dramatic increase" in funding for VA health care and, for the first time since 2003, restore health-care eligibility for non-disabled veterans earning modest incomes.

This initiative will bring more than 500,000 additional veterans into to the VA health-care system by 2013, Orszag said. At the same time, he said, it will maintain high-quality and timely care for lower-income and disabled veterans who already rely on VA medical care.

Latin American Engagement Requires New Thinking, Mullen Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - U.S. military-to-military engagement in Latin America will require a change in thinking and in the culture within the armed services, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen spoke with American Forces Press Service on his way here during a trip that also has taken him to Brazil and Chile and will include visits to Colombia and Mexico.

In Brazil and Chile, the chairman emphasized that the United States has to rid itself of the vestiges of the Cold War to be effective in dealing with Latin America. He said Americans have been accustomed to looking east and west rather than north and south. To change that thinking, he added, military planners first must admit that's what they do.

"I grew up in a polarized world that was basically East-West. That's the Cold War," Mullen said. "Here it is 20 years later, and we're still breaking out of that." The Cold War dominated U.S. military thinking for generations, the chairman added, and military planners still look to Europe and Asia before looking to Latin America.

The need for the United States to focus on Latin America is obvious, Mullen said. South America is the United States' largest trading partner. Brazil, alone, is the fifth-largest country and 10th-largest economy in the world.

Latin America does have problems, the admiral said. The main threat to the region is narco-trafficking and the insidious problem of drug money. But challenges also exist with migration, ungoverned spaces, economic inequities and corruption. The U.S. government must engage with the leaders of Latin America across the spectrum, and military-to-military relationships can be the catalyst for much of this engagement, Mullen said.

The chairman also said he wants to capitalize on the ties between the United States and the various countries of the region.

"When you look at the percentage of Hispanics in the United States and the Hispanic continent of Latin America, there is a great natural affinity that draws our peoples' together," he explained. "I just think there are tremendous opportunities and really important imperatives for our future."

U.S. Southern Command is an important part of this engagement with Latin American and Caribbean nations. Mullen said the command -- based in Miami -- is doing well with limited resources to listen to and engage with leaders in the region.

"There's a whole range of aspects that go with engagement," he said. "It's economics, it's education, it's security, it's climate [and] environment that are globally challenges. Doing this consistently is key to progress."

The global financial crisis presents more problems, Mullen said. The U.S. military will feel the effects of this crisis and must be careful with how programs are cut.

"There are some relatively inexpensive investments on the 'soft-power' side that have huge leverage," he said. "So engagement investments on the military side -- exercises, exchanges, military education, staff trips, all the things we do -- even in a time of financial crisis, we need to be thoughtful about cutting those."

The chairman said he views engagement as a long-term investment. Cutting those programs might mean a short-term financial gain, he said, but could end up costing more in the long run.

"I think that's where leaders must be really thoughtful about how we adjust to financial increased budget pressures," he said.

Engagement requires tangible "deliverables" – equipment, training, exercises and exchanges, Mullen said. He used U.S. military-to-military relations with Chile as an example.

"There have been plenty of deliverables with Chile over the years," he said. "The total has produced a really solid relationship. Chile's military is much more interoperable with us than other partners." The same process must happen with other nations in the region, he added.

"One of the messages I took from meeting with my counterpart in Brazil is we must make sure we have a list like that and that we work it very hard," the chairman said. "There has been great improvement in that in the last few years, and they are excited about that. There are great opportunities. We have to have a good pace and rhythm with Brazil, which is such an important part of South America and wants to be a good partner with the United States."

The bottom line in U.S. engagement with countries in the region is the security risks the area presents, Mullen said.

"This really is a global risk," he said, "and I think engagement and attention does an awful lot to mitigate and reduce that risk so we don't get into a big crisis."

Chairman Connects with Latin American Friends

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with Peruvian defense leaders and defense attaches from many nations during a reception at the U.S. ambassador's residence here last night. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen is using his trip to Latin America as a way to connect with defense leaders and further military-to-military contacts in the region.

Ambassador P. Michael McKinley welcomed Mullen and his party and said that the visit by the highest-ranking U.S. military official signifies the importance the United States places on the region.

In a short speech, Mullen said one purpose of his trip is to ensure U.S. friends understand America's commitment to strong, mature and equal consultations among the nations of the Western Hemisphere, just as officials in the region are committed to strong partnerships with the United States.

Mullen said he wants to look at the challenges of the region with their perspectives. "When I visit great friends, one of the things I try to do is listen and try to see how you view things from your positions and how we might help," the chairman said.

The U.S.-Latin American relationship has never been more crucial, not only in the hemisphere, but also globally, Mullen said. "We are at a time in history when regionally and globally we must look for ways to work together," he said. "We must work together to solve these great challenges that face us."

Mullen said he will discuss military equipment with Latin American friends, "but at its heart, [the relationship] is not about equipment, but people." All countries of the region must work together to give all people a better life, he added.

In Peru, Mullen is meeting with President Alan Garcia and Defense Minister Antero Flores. Mullen started his swing through Latin America in Brazil, and then moved on to Chile. After Peru, the chairman will visit Colombia and Mexico before returning to Washington.

Foundation Gives Spouses Chance to Become Financial Counselors

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - Through its investor education foundation, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, is helping military spouses become accredited as financial counselors. The foundation's "Military Spouse Fellowship Program" has been providing military spouses the means to earn the accredited financial counselor designation since 2006, John Gannon, the foundation's president, said.

Military spouses who are accredited financial counselors can be a wealth of financial information for servicemembers and military families as the country faces a challenging economy, Gannon noted.

"What we're trying to achieve with our spouse fellowship program is ... [to] provide an additional resource for military families to go to get counseling on financial matters," he said. "A secondary thing is it helps military spouses, who have historically been underemployed, take on skills that may lead to future employment in the financial services area."

The fellowship program, which the FINRA foundation administers in partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education and the National Military Family Association, is offered at no cost to the participants.

"We cover the costs associated with becoming an accredited financial counselor, and in turn, [we] ask the spouse who receives the fellowship to provide a certain number of hours of financial counseling to other military families," Gannon said. "To date, participants in the program have logged more than 95,000 hours of service back to the military community. That's all pro bono."

The program is competitive; more than 2,000 military spouses applied for 200 openings in 2006. The second year saw only slightly fewer applicants, Gannon said.

The online program is appealing to military spouses because it can be tackled wherever they're living, as long as they have access to a computer and the Internet, he said. In fact, 33 percent of the 189 spouses who began the program last year were overseas.

While the program is self-paced, it's designed to be completed in two years. But foundation officials realize that situations can change, Gannon said.

"Because of the combination of the self-paced nature of the course work [and] the need to get a certain number of pro bono hours, it can take a couple of years to complete the program," Gannon said. "We've tried to be lenient with spouses, because we realize that due to changes in their situation, ... sometimes things come up that make it much more difficult to complete the program."

FINRA officials try to make it easier by helping fellows find opportunities to fulfill their pro bono requirements. Sometimes those opportunities are with FINRA.

When fellows do complete all the requirements and become accredited financial counselors, they are equipped to help educate servicemembers and their families, Gannon said.

"One of the things that we've tried to do to our overall military financial education program is to really provide resources for the military on credit issues, especially now because of the tightening of the markets," he said. "It's even more important than it was just a short time ago that people have really good credit scores so that they can get a mortgage to buy a house, or even a car loan.

"[Fellows] can help on that issue by working with military families to understand the importance of good credit and a good credit score," Gannon added.

They're also qualified to fill positions in defense federal credit unions, financial aid offices and community centers.

Officials try to maintain service diversity among the fellows, Gannon said -- Army spouses represented 33 percent of all the fellows, the Air Force 23 percent, the Navy 22 percent and the Marine Corps 11 percent -- but also try to give the fellowships to the best-qualified candidates.

The application process for the 2009 Military Spouse Fellowship Program has not yet opened. When the information does become available, it will be posted on the FINRA Investor Education Foundation's Web site, http://www.saveandinvest.org, Gannon said.

The program is open to spouses of active duty, reserve or retired Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Army and Air National Guard servicemembers. The spouses of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration professionals also are eligible, Gannon said.

Air Force Reserve Unit Strives to Support Family Members

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - An Air Force reserve unit in Massachusetts does its utmost to support family members of deployed servicemembers, a noncommissioned officer assigned to the unit's family readiness center said today. "We keep connected with the families while their loved ones are deployed," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Margaret Sullivan, one of five military members who work at the 439th Airlift Wing's Airman and Family Readiness Center. The center, Sullivan said, also has a student hire and a full-time volunteer.

Based at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Mass., just north of Springfield, the 439th Airlift Wing was among seven National Guard and reserve units that received 2008 Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Awards during a Feb. 13 Pentagon ceremony.

"We're kind of like an extended family," Sullivan said of the mission of the family readiness center, noting it provides answers to families' questions and sponsors family-centric programs and events.

"We have a Family Day coming up in August," Sullivan said. Such gatherings, she said, serve to keep servicemembers' families together and connected while their loved ones are deployed.

"Operation Pillowcase" is another example of the 439th's family-support operations, Sullivan said. The initiative involves taking photos of deploying servicemembers, transferring their images onto pillows, and mailing them to their families.

"We got a thank-you card recently from a young man who said he was so happy ... and he sleeps on that pillow every night," Sullivan said.

The unit's family readiness center supported more than 21,000 servicemembers and their families in 2008, including deployment and reintegration programs for more than 900 activated and deployed unit members and their families, according to unit documents. The center also provides important information to the families of new servicemembers attending initial training and technical training schools.

Local Boy and Girl Scouts chapters, schools, and other organizations have been generous in providing donations used to help fund programs for servicemembers' families, Sullivan said.

"We really do tie in with the community," Sullivan said. "We have this wonderful working relationship in this area, and everybody just comes through for us."

Army, Air Guard at Full Strength, Directors Tell Congress

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - The Army National Guard is over strength and the Air National Guard has met its target end strength for the first time since 2002, the directors told Congress yesterday. "This is a new era for us," said Army Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, the director of the Army National Guard. "We've never been in this position with this kind of strength. This is the strongest Army Guard we've ever had."

But recruiting and retention success, combined with budget cuts, mean some programs that have improved recruitment are being reduced. For example, many bonuses are being cut.

"I just hope we don't let the air completely out of the tires on recruiting and retention," Vaughn told the lawmakers. "I would ask that you watch that very closely."

Vaughn and Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, director of the Air National Guard, testified before the military personnel subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee at a hearing on recruiting, retention and end strength.

Airmen and their families need to remain the Air Guard's top focus, Wyatt said.

"We're in a position for the first time to shape our force in a way it hasn't been in years," Vaughn said. "We're all about readiness."

The Air National Guard currently has 106,700 members; the Army Guard has 366,500.

Vaughn said Army Guard recruiting and retention could improve further by reducing "cross-leveling," in which soldiers are brought in from outside units to boost the numbers in deploying units, by cutting the time it takes from swearing in a recruit to having the recruit fully trained, and by further improving the predictability of deployments.

Wyatt noted the Air Guard's high retention rate and told the legislators that future success depends on strong recruiting and retention programs.

"Air National Guard recruiting and retention programs play a critical role in supporting today's fight and how we posture our force for the future," Wyatt said. The Air Guard's 96.9 percent retention rate is the highest of all the services and components, he added.

(Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

Obama Pledges to Ensure Security While Reforming Defense Contracting

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - President Barack Obama today pledged to ensure the security of the American people while trimming fat from the Defense Department budget and reforming government contracting. Obama's remarks here came a week after unveiling his proposed budget summary, which allocated $534 billion for the Defense Department's base operating budget in fiscal 2010 -- a 4 percent, or $20 billion, increase from the previous year.

"As commander in chief, I will do whatever it takes to defend the American people, which is why we've increased funding for the best military in the history of the world," he said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

"We'll make new investments in 21st-century capabilities to meet new strategic challenges, and we will always give our men and women in uniform the equipment and the support that they need to get the job done," he added.

Obama cited a report last year by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' independent watchdog, that found cost overruns of $295 billion on 95 major defense projects. He praised Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for taking steps toward reform, and he requested that Gates work with Congress to help in shaping legislation.

Regarding Iraq, Obama said too much money has been paid for services that were never performed, buildings that were never completed and companies that skimmed off the top. He added that too many contractors in the United States have been allowed to get away with extended delays in developing unproven weapon systems.

"It's time for this waste and inefficiency to end," the president said. "It's time for a government that only invests in what works."

The president said he rejects the "false choice" between securing the nation and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars, and he vowed to reform a government contracting system he characterized as "broken."

"In this time of great challenges, I recognize the real choice between investments that are designed to keep the American people safe and those that are designed to make a defense contractor rich," he said.

Obama signed a presidential memorandum instructing his administration to dramatically reform the way it does business on contracts across the entire government, and he tasked budget director Peter Orszag to produce new contracting guidelines by September.

Despite Economic Uncertainties, Coast Guard Looks to Modernize

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

March 4, 2009 - The Coast Guard is used to being in high demand, overworked and underequipped, but the pursuit to modernize in the midst of fiscal ambiguity is the real challenge, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad W. Allen said yesterday. "The fact that demand for Coast Guard services exceeds our capacity has always been the case," Allen said during his State of the Coast Guard address at the National Press Center here. "But as the nation faces fiscal uncertainty, we'll have to make difficult financial choices and manage resources to buy down risk in the most critical areas."

In his third annual address, Allen said the Coast Guard is strong, but not without challenges, calling the service a "capital-intensive organization" with a fleet that has "well documented" deteriorating conditions.

The Coast Guard's diverse missions around the world and in the United States require "adroit planning, savvy resource allocation and risk-informed decision-making," the admiral said.

"We are experts at managing an aging fleet to meet mission requirements, but time is a merciless thief, and it is stealing readiness with each passing year," he said.

The Coast Guard was allocated $98 million in stimulus funds to restore its fleet and improve some facilities. The service's ability to plan and operate must be optimized, using every dollar responsibly despite the limited funding, Allen said.

But regardless of budget growth or deficit, modernization is the "best way to operate the Coast Guard," he said. It's a change in business process and command and control, he added, driven by a need to adapt to ensure readiness despite the size of the budget.

The Coast Guard's increased use of cyberspace is an increasingly vital aspect of modernization, he said, noting the service's partnerships with Google, YouTube and Facebook, as well as regular participation in blogger roundtables.

"In a world where the business day never ends, but merely follows the sun, you almost get the sense that time and space are on the verge of becoming irrelevant," he said. "And on the Internet, that's true. We know our global physical reach must be accompanied by effective and secure presence in cyberspace."

The demand of emerging challenges will require the Coast Guard to balance modernization with its maritime missions abroad, Allen said, describing the global need for the Coast Guard as somewhat bitter-sweet.

"The good news is there's never been a greater demand for our services," the admiral said. "The bad news is there's never been a greater demand for our services. The nation values what we do, but the collective set of demands on the nation and the Coast Guard is considerable, and it will continue to be."

Allen said the Coast Guard remains focused on current operations and mission execution in support of homeland security and the nation's interests around the globe. He addressed piracy in the Gulf of Aden, multi-year ice in the Arctic and hurricane relief stateside as different, but equally important, challenges. He also recognized the cutters Dallas and Boutwell, among other air and sea vessels in the fleet, for recent successes the ships have had, demonstrating their "multi-mission value."

The cutter Dallas conducted joint law-enforcement operations with the African island nation Cape Verde last year. It also deployed to the Mediterranean to deliver humanitarian assistance to the former Soviet republic of Georgia following its conflict with Russia, he said. Since then, the Dallas has been taken out of service for severe repairs.

The cutter Boutwell is circumnavigating the globe with a Navy expeditionary strike group, training other nations' navies and coast guards.

"This is not the same Coast Guard that existed even one year ago," the admiral said. "Your Coast Guard is employing an astoundingly diverse set of capabilities and competencies."

The key to current and future success lies in the Coast Guard's ability to modernize so it can effectively and efficiently allocate resources, support its personnel and sustain operational capability, Allen said.

"We are a small service, but we have a large impact on the daily lives of our citizens and the citizens of the world," he said.

Chairman Drops in on Navy Medical Research Lab in Peru

By Jim Garamone and Air Force Master Sgt. Adam Stump
American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited an unheralded Navy medical research unit that is working with Peruvian military and civilian leaders and agencies to benefit the country, the region and the globe. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen deviated from his schedule to visit the medical researchers at the Naval Medical Research Laboratory Detachment here.

The detachment is one of five Navy facilities around the globe dedicated to the prevention of infectious diseases. The other facilities are in Indonesia, Kenya, Indonesia and Thailand. Though it's a Navy facility, doctors from all U.S. services work there.

After the admiral visited with Peruvian officials as part of his trip to Latin America, he dropped by the facility, located at the Peruvian Naval Hospital.

"I visited your colleagues in Djakarta last year, and came away enormously impressed," Mullen said to the staff. After he landed in Peru, the admiral remembered that another Navy lab detachment was in Lima and asked to visit.

The researchers are specialists who track dangerous diseases in an effort to stop the spread of those diseases and by finding vaccinations or cures for them. The detachment is working with Alerta, a new software package that makes it easy for physicians and other health care providers to report sicknesses. The Peruvian navy and the detachment worked together to put the system in place, and it has tracked outbreaks of infectious diarrhea, dengue fever and malaria.

The detachment also is working with the Peruvian armed forces to inoculate all servicemembers with a universal flu vaccine. This would mean a vaccine that wouldn't have to be modified each year to account for different strains, officials explained.

The lab also is working on leishmaniasis – a disease transmitted by the bite of the sand fly. American troops stationed in the Middle East have gotten the parasitical disease, which troops often call the "Baghdad Boil." Still, it is primarily a disease of the developing world and the researchers have developed a topical cream that is more effective and safer to use than the current treatment.

Mullen praised the doctors and other workers at the lab for their enthusiasm for the work and their commitment to relieving suffering. "You represent so much of what is good about America and the American military," he said.

(Jim Garamone is an American Forces Press Service reporter. Air Force Master Sgt. Adam Stump serves in the Joint Staff public affairs office.)

Guard, Northcom Relationship So Good It's Boring, Renuart Says

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 4, 2009 - The commander of U.S. Northern Command said he got one question repeatedly during recent rounds at the U.S. Capitol. "Almost at every stop that I made, members of Congress asked me, 'So, how's your relationship with the National Guard?'" Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart said. "The good news in this is it's getting, actually, pretty boring."

Renuart, who also commands North American Aerospace Defense Command from headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., spoke at the National Guard's 2009 Domestic Operations Workshop here today.

"We work in routine collaboration so much ... that we just get the job done," the general said of the relationship between Northcom and the National Guard. "It's boring, because we're working so well together."

The National Guard is the nation's oldest military force, its largest community-based force, and its first military responder. Northcom's mission includes safeguarding the homeland.

Speaking on the 220th anniversary of the day the U.S. Constitution went into effect, Renuart said Americans don't care what uniform anyone is wearing -- they want teamwork from the people who protect them and respond to natural and manmade crises.

"We've built a collaborative effort between Northcom and the National Guard Bureau that I'm proud to say is kind of boring," Renuart said. "We won't always be able to approach a problem the same way, but we will always approach a problem together."

About 10 percent of Northcom's full-time positions are filled by reserve-component servicemembers, with the majority in the Guard. "That's the highest percentage of any of the combatant commands," he said, and includes eight of his 16 flag officers, including Northcom's deputy commander, Army Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, who previously was chief of the National Guard Bureau.

"I would like to add another 100-plus full-time National Guard positions in my headquarters," Renuart said.

Renuart stressed a theme common to leaders since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005: collaboration among different federal, state and local agencies, and especially within the military.

"It requires us to have this community of interest -- a mega-community of sorts -- that allows us to pull together our local, our state, our federal, military, civilian, active and reserve-component experts to be able to provide unity of effort to ensure that your families, my families are protected," Renuart said.

The National Guard's Domestic Operations Workshop, which concludes March 6, brings together Guard leaders from across the United States and representatives from other agencies to discuss crisis response, policy, funding, capabilities, civil support, communications and numerous other issues.

"The combined team of teams, which is your joint state force headquarters, has been really successful across the country in preventing property loss, saving lives and minimizing human suffering," Renuart said.

The impact of hurricanes, wildfires and ice storms has been lessened by the teamwork led by state joint force headquarters, he noted.

"We've seen some very significant events this year," he said, referring to hurricanes Gustav and Ike and other 2008 challenges. Planning, coordination and teamwork have resulted in successful responses to crises, he said.

"It's not luck," the general said. "It's the collective 'we' -- it's not 'me,' it's not 'you,' it's all of us. ... Combined planning, combined execution, integrated planning -- all of that is ... where we want to continue to go.

"We're finding new and better ways to continue to integrate," he continued. "No arguments out there about who's in charge, no arguments about what needs to be done. But the muscle to get that done doesn't always just come from one source. "

Key national players in response to major events include the National Guard, Northcom and other military components, and civil responders such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said.

"You really don't want to hand out a business card at the scene of a disaster," Renuart said. "While it has become almost trite, it is true: That's not the place where you figure out how we work together, and the good news is our federal partners all understand that."

Among further improvements Renuart suggested is integrating situational awareness tools used by different agencies so everyone has the best information and the same picture.

Among other practical aspects of the relationship between Northcom and the National Guard Bureau, the combatant command provides training for Guard personnel such as the Joint Task Force Commanders Course, and Northcom and the National Guard participate in national-level joint exercises.

"The people of our country don't care who's there," Renuart said. "We want to make sure that the integration of our efforts doesn't show a seam, but rather shows seamless support."

Northcom and the National Guard Bureau are working together, Renuart said, and he noted the elevation last year of the office of chief of the National Guard Bureau to a four-star position with the appointment of Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley.

"We both understand that our two organizations have to be totally integrated, totally collaborative, totally transparent," Renuart said.

"In the end," he added, "the people of our country want to have the best capability possible to respond to them when they're in need. We've got to team together to make sure that the citizens of our nation are protected, defended and cared for when disaster strikes."

(Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 4, 2009

NAVY

EDO Communications and Countermeasures Systems, Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., is being awarded a $316,848,122modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-6311) for the production and support of 4,501 JCREW 2.1 Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare (CREW) systems to meet urgent Department of Defense (DoD) requirements in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Vehicle Mounted CREW systems are one element of the DoD's Joint Counter RCIED Electronic Warfare program. Spiral 2.1 CREW systems are vehicle mounted electronic jammers designed to prevent the initiation of Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Devices. Work will be performed in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Apr. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Management Services Group, Inc.*, (doing business as Global Technical Systems*), Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a $95,000,000 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the Navy's new Common Processing System (CPS). Initial funding to be placed on this contract is $4,754,597. The contract provides for the design, development, qualification, and production of a COTS-based, Grade A shock-qualified, processing system in support of Navy platforms. Efforts may include development of logistics support products, spares, and support services. The CPS equipment procurement provides a processing system that supports the Navy's planned implementation of Open Architecture (OA) for Navy combat systems. The CPS will be designed around commercially available hardware and software and will provide computer processing and memory, data storage and extraction and I/O interfaces to support host software applications of Navy combat systems. The CPS will meet the computing requirements of other programs of record, including Aegis Modernization. Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, Va., (54.3 precent); King George, Va., (16.3precent); Chesapeake, Va., (16.0 precent); Gaithersburg, Md., (10.6 precent); and Johnstown, Pa., (2.8 precent), and is expected to be completed by Jan. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured as a total small business set-aside. The requirement was solicited through the Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities websites with 6 small business offers received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-D-5212).

Choctaw Manufacturing Defense Contractor, Antlers, Okla., is being awarded a $55,835,557 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to replace the current M105 Cargo Trailer, M149 Water Bull, and the M353 General Purpose trailer with trailers capable of augmenting the MTVR's increased mobility without degrading its operational capabilities. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $56,417,641. Work will be performed in Antlers, Okla., and is anticipated to be completed by Mar. 2014. Contract funds in the amount of approximately $38.4 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. One offer was solicited and one offer was received from a tribally–owned 8(a) firm that has been certified by the Small Business Administration. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

AT&T Government Solutions Inc., Vienna, Va., Computer Sciences Corp., Falls Church, Va., and Synectic Solutions Inc.*, Oxnard, Calif., are being awarded an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity multiple award contract for the acquisition of integrated logistics support for the Naval Facilities Expeditionary Logistics Center located at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Calif. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and four option years, for all three contracts combined is $30,000,000. All work on this contract will be will be performed in Port Hueneme, Calif. The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of March 2014. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website. The three contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. Specialty Center Acquisition NAVFAC, Port Hueneme, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62583-09-D-0061/0062/0063).

Teledyne Brown Engineering, Huntsville, Ala., is being awarded a $6,178,103 cost plus incentive fee contract to design, engineer, build, test, and deliver ocean Littoral Battlespace Sensing-Gliders (LBS-G) as well as associated support equipment as part of the Littoral Battlespace Sensing, Fusion, and Integration (LBSF&I) program. LBS-G will provide a low-observable, highly persistent ability to characterize ocean volume properties that influence sound propagation and acoustic weapon and sensor performance predictions within an area of interest. This contract includes firm fixed priced, cost plus fixed fee options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $52,576,722. Work will be performed East Falmouth, Mass.,(80 percent); Pocasset, Mass., (11 percent); Huntsville, Ala., (5 percent); New Brunswick, N.J., (4 percent), and is expected to be completed by Jul. 2010 (Nov. 2014 with options exercised). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract wascompetitively procured, with four offers received via the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N00039-09-C-0019).

Correction: Contract awarded Mar. 2, 2009, to ATK Alliant Tactical Systems Division should have stated the location as Keyser, W.V. vice Leyser, W.V.

AIR FORCE

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, Tenn., 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, California 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 1 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 Corp., 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).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Wolverine World Wide, Rockford, Mich., is being awarded a maximum $13,228,034 fixed price with economic price adjustment, partial set aside, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for temperate weather, Army combat boots. Other locations of performance are in Ariz., and Mich. Using service is Army. There were six responses to the original proposal solicited. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Mar. 3, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-09-D-0033).