Military News

Friday, March 06, 2009

Navy Names Littoral Combat Ship USS Fort Worth

Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter announced today that the newest littoral combat ship (LCS) will be named USS Fort Worth. The announcement continues the practice of naming the agile LCS vessels after American mid-sized cities, small towns and communities. For more than 150 years, the patriotic citizens of Fort Worth have supported the Navy and all of our men and women in uniform. Home to ranger outposts, training facilities, aviation depots, and defense manufacturing, Fort Worth has answered the call whenever our nation needed it.

Designated LCS 3, the future USS Fort Worth is designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in coastal waters for missions such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.

There are two different LCS hull forms – a semiplaning monohull and an aluminum trimaran – designed and built by two industry teams, respectively led by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. These seaframes will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly. Mission packages are supported by special detachments that will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors.

USS Fort Worth will be 378 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 57 feet, displace approximately 3000 tons, and will make speed in excess of 40 knots.

More information can be seen at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=1650&ct=4.

Defense Travel System Expands, Earns Greater Customer Approval

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

March 6, 2009 - The Defense Travel System has expanded its reach and gained ground in customer satisfaction, the director of the Defense Travel Management Office told a congressional panel yesterday. "In terms of improvements, the department has focused its efforts on expanding DTS usage, making DTS more user friendly, and improving customer satisfaction," Pamela S. Mitchell told the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation. "Currently, DTS operates at over 9,500 sites and organizations worldwide and fielding is 96 percent complete."

DTS is a travel management system enabling Defense Department travelers to create travel orders, make reservations, and create travel vouchers to generate payment of authorized charges to their government travel cards and per diem entitlement to their bank accounts.

The department is moving forward to field the system with reserve components and the National Guard, Mitchell said while reading from a joint statement prepared by herself and David M. Fisher, director of the Business Transformation Agency. Most of the sites fielded are Army and Air Reserve, and National Guard.

DTS also will be expanded to ships afloat, if technology allows, Mitchell said.

"This has been a challenge, particularly with respect to bandwidth concerns and the need for persistent connectivity," she said. "The Navy is currently conducting a pilot to determine the most feasible option to complete this transformation."

As system usage has grown, so has its usage for voucher processing. More than 5 million vouchers for temporary duty travel were filed in fiscal 2008. More than 3.2 million were processed through DTS -- a rate of 64.8 percent. That represents a 36.5 percent increase over fiscal 2007, Mitchell said.

The trend has continued this year with a year-to-date processing rate of 73.2 percent, Mitchell said. The average time between signing a voucher and receiving payment has averaged 8.7 days, more than three times faster than the requirement for reimbursement, she said.

The cost to process vouchers decreases as more vouchers are processed electronically. The Travel Management Department looked at the cost associated with manually processing Army and some defense agencies' paper vouchers through the Defense Finance Accounting Service and compared that with processing them electronically through DTS. The finding was that DTS processing resulted in a more than 40 percent cost reduction from fiscal 2007 to fiscal 2008.

The Defense Travel Management Office has taken steps in the last year to address customer concerns and make DTS more user- friendly, Mitchell said.

"The department is aware of traveler issues with using DTS, and increasing the system's usability remains a top priority," she said.

A DTS Usability Review, contracted by the department, focused on areas where users had the most difficulty and involved nearly 300 participants at 10 installations, including military and defense agencies.

Completed in September, several recommended changes are being implemented through a two-phase approach. The first phase, planned to start in February 2010, will revise DTS screens and navigation buttons to make the system more intuitive, Mitchell said.

The second phase, planned for May 2010, will include more expensive systemic enhancements to improve usability, such as easier interoperability with graphics, she said.

Updates in this phase are a result of direct input from the DTS user community, she added.

This kind of input will continue now that the travel community has access to what Mitchell described as a "meaningful customer satisfaction program." The 2008 results of the QuickCompass survey, a key component of that program, showed that more than half of all travelers found DTS easy to use when making airline or rental car reservations.

"The ease of use is expected to lead to increased preference for using DTS over other methods of reservations," Mitchell said.

DTS training also will undergo an overhaul, Mitchell said.

"The department is revamping all of its training programs to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for successful and efficient travel," she said. "Since July 2008, the department has launched five online training modules for DTS users. Over 24,000 travelers have taken advantage of this training since inception of these five modules."

As DTS continues to gain capability to support more defense travel, the number of legacy travel systems will decrease, resulting in cost savings, Mitchell said.

"The department's projected sunset date for all identified systems that can be shut down is 2013," she said. "DTS functionality will continue to be enhanced to support capabilities of the legacy systems through 2012."

While the Defense Travel Management Office presented many gains in DTS, the Government Accountability Office pointed out areas needing improvement.

The GAO made 14 recommendations in reports issued in January and September 2006 aimed at improving the Defense Department's management oversight and implementation of DTS and related travel policies. Based on the Defense Department's work, GAO considers seven of those recommendations unmet, Asif A. Khan, GAO's director of financial management told the subcommittee.

Of those seven recommendations, three relate to inadequacies in DTS' management and system testing and three to the system's underutilization.

Still, Khan acknowledged the daunting challenge in overhauling the Defense Department's financial management and business operations.

"With 3.3 million military and civilian personnel as potential travel system users at approximately 9,800 locations around the world, the sheer size and complexity of the undertaking overshadows any such project in the private sector," he said.

DoD Awards $52.5 Million To Universities For Research Equipment

The Department of Defense (DoD) today announced the awarding of $52.5 million to support the purchase of university research equipment. The 222 awards to 107 academic institutions are being made under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP). These fiscal 2009 DURIP awards are expected to range from $50,000 to $1 million and average approximately $235,000.

The DURIP is designed to fill a critical need of scholars by purchasing state-of-the-art equipment that augments current university capabilities or develops new capabilities to perform cutting edge defense research. Academic institutions generally have difficulty purchasing instruments costing $50,000 or more under most research contracts and grants.

These awards are the result of a merit competition for DURIP funding conducted by the Army Research Office (ARO), Office of Naval Research (ONR), and Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Each office requested proposals from university investigators conducting research of importance to the DoD. This includes research related to information technology, remote sensing, propulsion, electronics and electro-optics, advanced materials, and ocean science and engineering. The DoD research offices collectively received more than 700 proposals requesting $224 million in equipment support.

All awards are subject to the successful completion of negotiations between the academic institutions and the DoD research offices to include the ARO (http://www.aro.army.mil/), the ONR (http://www.onr.navy.mil/), and the AFOSR (http://www.afosr.af.mil/).

U.N. Command, North Korean Officers Meet to Reduce Tensions in Korea

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

March 6, 2009 - General officers from the United Nations Command today called North Korean assertions that its army could not guarantee the safety of commercial aircraft flying near North Korean airspace "entirely inappropriate" during another historic meeting with North Korean army officers. These statements "have raised great concern in the international aviation community and should be retracted immediately," the U.N. delegation told the North Koreans, according to a UNC statement released after the 45-minute session in Panmunjom, located on the border between North and South Korea.

The UNC military officers also reassured the North Koreans that the upcoming Key Resolve-Foal Eagle exercises in Korea are purely defensive and are in no way connected to mounting tensions in the region.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Johnny Weida and military leaders from South Korea, United Kingdom and New Zealand represented the command at the meeting held to discuss ways to reduce tensions. North Korean Maj. Gen. Kwak Chul Hui represented the Korean People's Army.

The meeting was the second this week between U.N. and North Korean generals, who previously had not met for more than six years.

The United States leads UNC, which monitors the armistice along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

The command's delegation emphasized during today's session that Key Resolve-Foal Eagle is an annual exercise and that North Korea is routinely notified when it takes place. This is done to ensure "transparency of purpose and to prevent miscalculation," they told the North Koreans, according to the UNC statement.

Meanwhile, preparations continue for the exercises, which Pentagon officials said will run from March 9 to 20.

The amphibious command and control flagship USS Blue Ridge arrived in Busan, South Korea, yesterday to participate.

Army Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, called Key Resolve-Foal Eagle "an excellent opportunity to improve [South Korea]-U.S. combat readiness and joint-combined interoperability."

Addressing participants in a message emphasizing safety during the exercises, he called the exercises "a key to our readiness and effective deterrence."

U.S. Maintains Commitment to South Korean Security, Commander Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

March 6, 2009 - The United States will provide South Korea missile defense against a "very real threat" from North Korea as the South Koreans boost their own ballistic defense capabilities, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea said in a published report. "The North Korean ballistic missile threat to [South Korea] and its allies is very real," Army Gen. Walter "Skip" Sharp said in a written interview published last week in The Korea Times, a daily, English-language newspaper published in South Korea. "They have 800 increasingly sophisticated missiles and have tested a missile that many think could reach the United States."

Because South Korea doesn't currently have a robust missile defense capability in place, the United States likely will provide it as a "bridging capability" until they do, Sharp said.

"In this regard, both [South Korea] and [the] U.S. would benefit greatly with interoperability and exchange of data between missile defense systems," he said. "We encourage [South Korea] to develop a layered and robust defense that provides protection at all levels."

Sharp's assurances came as Stephen W. Bosworth, the Obama administration's special envoy for North Korea, is slated to visit Seoul this weekend in an effort to restart the stalled Six-Party talks.

Those talks, which include North and South Korea, Russia, China and Japan, are viewed as critically important in light of wide speculation that North Korea may soon test fire a long-range ballistic missile.

Further flaming the situation is North Korea's recent statement that it cannot guarantee the security of civilian aircraft flying through its airspace during the upcoming Key Resolve-Foal Eagle exercises.

A United Nations Command delegation met today with North Korean army officers to help reduce mounting tensions on the peninsula.

Sharp emphasized the longstanding and unwavering U.S. commitment to South Korea, and said it will continue to provide capabilities needed to ensure the republic's defense.

"My top priorities as commander are to ensure we are ready to fight and win should we be called upon to do so in the defense of the Republic of Korea and to strengthen the alliance," he said. "That first priority has been the primary mission of the ... alliance for more than 55 years and will remain our top priority."

Sharp offered assurance that sending F-16 aircraft to Korea as a battalion of Korea-based Apache attack helicopters deploy to Afghanistan won't leave a security vacuum on the Korean peninsula.

"The key consideration for the F-16 deployment to Korea was ensuring there was no gap in capability when the Apaches departed," he said. "The F-16 is a highly capable aircraft that adds additional precision firepower to the ... alliance."

The F-16s can conduct a broad range of missions, including close-air support, precision strike and counter-air defense, he said. "So they add significant capability in several areas," he said.

Sharp said he would not rule out that the Apache battalion could return to South Korea when it's no longer needed to support the war on terror. But "there are no plans for that to take place at this time," he said.

The decision to normalize tours in Korea is a key initiative for strengthening the countries' alliance, Sharp said.

"Bringing our families over here strengthens the alliance in signaling our national commitment to the Republic of Korea," he said. "Tour normalization signals a strong and visible commitment by [the United States] to [South Korea], reaffirming our intention to remain here for the long-term."

Also key, Sharp said, is U.S. Forces Korea's Good Neighbor Program that encourages friendship and engagement between U.S. and South Korean citizens. This program helps forge "lifelong friendships at the family level" that personalize a national-level commitment, he said.

Tour normalization will require support from both countries to be successful, Sharp said. While the initiative is already being implemented, he said it will require additional housing, schools and other support facilities.

A longstanding bilateral cost-sharing agreement signed Jan. 15 will help move these efforts forward while supporting long-range alliance planning and the continuity of operations, he said.

Sharp conceded that numerous variables will affect the timeline for relocating U.S. forces to Pyeongtaek. "But we are making real progress in preparing for the future," he said.

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 6, 2009

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is modifying a firm-fixed price contract to General Electric Aircraft Engines of Cincinnati, Ohio for an estimated $214,971,549. This contract action is for F101, F110, and F118 General Electric Sol source replenishment spare requirements during the period of FY09 through FY17. At this time, no money has been obligated. 448 SCMG/PKBC, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma is the contracting activity. (FA8122-09-D-0001)

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation of El Segundo, California for a maximum of $30,000,000. This contract will fund the VAATE Program, a joint DoD/NASA/DOE/industry effort. Funds will be obligated on individual delivery orders. AFRL/PKPC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8650-09-D-2927)

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus award fee contract to Spain AFS of Madison, Alabama for $14,896,698. This action will provide Base Operating and Maintenance Services using government-furnished facilities at Moron Air Base and Zaragoza, Spain. At this time, no money has been obligated. 496 ABS/LGC, Air Postal Office, Europe is the contracting activity. (FA5613-07-C-5400, A00026)

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation of Boulder Colorado for a maximum of $12,000,000. This action will develop methodologies, tools, and techniques for producing adaptive, distributed sensing architectures in support of the Air Force Research Laboratory multi layered sensing vision. At this time, $299,956 has been obligated. AFRL/PKSE, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8650-09-D-1500)

NAVY

Raytheon Company, Integrated Defense Systems, Tewksbury, Mass., is being awarded a $57,000,000 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for the procurement of selected Zumwalt Class Destroyer mission system equipment (MSE) which will be integrated at Wallops Island, Va. MSEs are required to mitigate production and integration risk, and conduct at-sea testing in support of the Zumwalt Class of destroyers Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) aboard the US Navy Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS). The equipment is being checked out at Wallops Island before being shipped to the SDTS. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, Mass. (40 percent); Andover, Mass. (40 percent), Wallops Island, Va. (10 percent) and Portsmouth, R.I. (10 percent), and is to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $27,500,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. is the contracting activity.

Construction & Cabling Specialists, Incorporated* , Portsmouth, Va., is being awarded an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract with a maximum amount of $17,460,942 for construction maintenance, roofing repair and replacement on federal activities in the Hampton Roads region. Work on this contract will be performed in Norfolk, Yorktown, Virginia Beach and Portsmouth, Va. The term of the contract is not to exceed 36 months with an expected completion date of March 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 12 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-D-5012).

Hourigan Construction Corp., Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded $9,230,000 for firm-fixed price task order #0002 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-07-D-7022) for the construction of an E2/C2 Aircrew Training Facility, Naval Station Norfolk. The work to be performed shall construct a two-story building. The functional requirements include two high-bay trainers and associated development, brief/debrief, administration, and security spaces. The contract contains two options, which if exercised, would increase the cumulative contract value to $9,393,000. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by July 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured on the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with four proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded an $8,000,000 ceiling-priced delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00421-05-G-0001) to support design requirements for Phase I of the E-2 aircraft core open architecture common component mission computer. Work will be performed in Bethpage, N.Y., and is expected to be completed in March 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Ocean Systems Engineering Corporation, Oceanside, Calif., is being awarded $5,591,880 for task order #0052 under previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9020) to provide sustained programmatic, financial, technical, logistics, and administrative services in support of Marine Corps Systems Command, program manager autonomic logistics. Duties and tasks include, but is not limited to, development of required acquisition documentation to establish and execute an Integrated Logistics Support Plan, develop briefings and presentations, conduct required analysis, participate in various meetings, conferences, and seminars, review and comment on various contract deliverables, develop and execute test plans, develop cost and budget estimates, draft reports, and advise the government program manager and other designated Government personnel across a board range of programmatic, technical and logistic issues over the course of the program and associated contracts. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and work is expected to be completed in March 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

GE Datex Obmeda, Inc., Madison, Wis. is being awarded a maximum $19,847,688 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for medical system parts and training. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were 17 proposals originally solicited with 9 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 5, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM2D1-09-D-8348).

Petro Air, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico* is being awarded a maximum $13,256,751 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of performance is Puerto Rico. Using service is Air Force. The proposal was originally solicited on FedBizOps with 8 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-1006).

Total Petroleum Puerto Rico Corp., San Juan, Puerto Rico is being awarded a maximum $12,739,664 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of performance is Puerto Rico. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and federal civilian agencies. The proposal was originally solicited on FedBizOps with 8 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-1008).

Army Creates Suicide Prevention Task Force During 'Stand Down'

By Gary Sheftick
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 6, 2009 - The Army has created a suicide prevention task force as part of its month-long "stand-down" to address suicides among soldiers, the service's vice chief of staff said yesterday. Maj. Gen. Colleen McGuire, the Army's director of senior leader development, has been selected to head up the task force, Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli told military bloggers and online journalists at a Blogger's Roundtable hosted by the Defense Media Activity.

"Suicide is a multi-dimensional problem and, as such, will take a multi-disciplinary approach to dealing with it," Chiarelli said.

In keeping with the complexity of the problem, the task force will have members from a range of staff sections and functional areas. "My charter is ... to look across all disciplines so... commander[s] can have a menu of tools and training programs and experts and know how to best deploy them," McGuire said.

The task force will include representatives from the Army's offices of personnel and human resources, the provost marshal's office, and the medical department, and it will coordinate closely with the chief of chaplains, Lt. Col. Leo Ruth, a task force member, said in an interview with Army News Service.

The task force will examine all of the Army's recent suicides and try to find commonalities, Ruth said.

"The whole idea ... is to identify a common theme," he said. "We may not find a trend," but he added that the task force "owed it to leadership" to examine demographics such as age and deployment history to see if any trends exist.

The task force will report to Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. Its recommendations first will be looked at by a senior officer steering group, Ruth explained. The ultimate product, he said, will be a suicide prevention campaign plan.

The task force will only form the genesis of the campaign plan, Ruth said, stressing that the task force is a temporary organization. The Army also has partnered with the National Institute of Mental Health for a long-range study to determine the causes of suicide in the Army.

An Armywide "stand down" for suicide prevention training continues through March 15 whereby commands and individual units take part in four-hour training sessions on how to recognize and try to prevent suicides.

The centerpiece of the training is an interactive video called "Beyond the Front" that Chiarelli told online journalists is "some of the best facilitation for training that I've seen in 36 years in the Army." He said the purpose of the video is to reduce the stigma of seeking help, to teach soldiers to recognize the signs of suicide and how to provide help to a buddy.

It's especially important for junior officers and noncommissioned officers to train with the video and be able to offer intervention to soldiers at risk, Chiarelli said.

The stand-down will be followed by a "chain" teaching program, which is intended to be leader-led training, cascaded across the entire service and completed by July 15.

"Unfortunately, suicide is touching every segment of our force -- active, reserve and National Guard, officer and enlisted, deployed and non-deployed, and yet-to-be-deployed," Chiarelli said.

In the last fiscal year, 138 soldiers committed suicide, Chiarelli said, and five additional cases are being reviewed as possible suicides. In January, 12 soldiers committed suicide with another 12 cases under review. In February, two soldiers committed suicide and another 16 cases are being reviewed.

"As a soldier and a leader, I'm deeply saddened every time a soldier loses his or her life," Chiarelli said, "but it's especially troubling when a soldier commits suicide."

About a third of those soldiers were deployed, Chiarelli said. Another third had returned from a deployment, and the last third had never deployed.

"The rational person might think, the more deployments, the more likely you are to commit suicide," Chiarelli said. "But we saw just the opposite."

"A certain resiliency" seems to grow in soldiers that have completed multiple deployments, he said.

Chiarelli said the task force will look across multiple disciplines – from personnel to medical – to try and discern the root causes of suicide and synchronize solutions.

There's no single solution to the problem, he said, characterizing it as "very, very complicated."

About half of the soldiers who committed suicide last year sought treatment from mental-health care providers, Chiarelli said.

Only 5.4 percent of the suicide victims had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, said Col. Elspeth C. Ritchie, a psychiatrist who serves as director of strategic communications for the Army Medical Department. She said 17 percent had problems with substance abuse.

At least 60 percent of those who committed suicide had relationship problems, said Col. Thomas Languirand of Army G-1. Some also had compounded legal problems, financial problems, or work problems, he said.

On Wednesday, Chiarelli participated in a two-hour video teleconference with commanders across the Army whose units have been affected by suicides. Commanders in Iraq, Korea and other locations shared feedback. The video teleconference is to be followed by a written report.

Also on Wednesday, Chiarelli spoke to more than 100 chaplains from across the Army who gathered for a suicide-prevention "summit" meeting.

Many of the chaplains came from brigade level and lower and deal with soldier problems on a daily basis, said Col. Dave Reese, director of ministry initiatives for the Army's Chief of Chaplains Office, and a planner of the summit.

Reese said the chaplains broke into four groups to discuss suicide prevention across four domains: life skills training, intervention and crises, fostering hope, and engaging grief and recovery. The initiatives will eventually comprise what Reese termed a renewed "holistic approach" to suicide prevention for chaplains.

(Gary Sheftick writes for the Army News Service).

Technology, Threats Accelerate Army Focus on Ground Electronic Warfare

By John Ohab
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 6, 2009 - Portable electronic devices such as iPods and cell phones have provided U.S. adversaries in Iraq and Afghanistan with lethal capabilities, the Army's chief of electronic warfare said this week. "They may be living in rough terrain and may not have all the comforts that we do, but they have the same access to technology," said Col. Laurie Moe Buckhout, chief of the Army's Electronic Warfare Division in the Operations, Readiness and Mobilization Directorate. She explained the Army's efforts to increase ground electronic warfare capabilities during a March 4 "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" audio webcast on Pentagon Web Radio.

In 2006, Buckhout stood up the Army's Electronic Warfare Division with the goal of reducing the number of casualties caused by improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It was really the IED fight that raised our attention on it, because we had remote-controlled, radio-controlled IEDs killing soldiers and Marines," Buckhout said. "[We] had to do something about it."

The Army's first step was training soldiers to maintain and operate the Counter Remote Control Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare, or CREW, systems. These systems disrupt communication between an insurgent's transmitter and the detonating device, effectively creating a protective radio frequency bubble around a vehicle or a soldier on foot. Buckhout reported that CREW systems have saved thousands of lives.

"You've seen the casualty rate and the IED rate just go down in huge numbers as a result," she said. "That's kind of the tip of the iceberg on what we're doing."

In combating future threats, the Army's electronic warfare requirements will extend beyond counter-IED measures alone, she explained. Soldiers often face the challenges of complex urban terrain, including hills, trees, buildings, and radio signals, all of which cause electromagnetic interference. In Iraq, for instance, the ground environment includes other U.S. military forces, coalition forces, Iraqi police, civilians, and emergency response networks. In the air, U.S., coalition, and commercial aircraft use their own geo-positioning, targeting, and navigation capabilities.

Buckhout explained the importance of precisely tailored electronic warfare capabilities that can neutralize threats and protect soldiers without disrupting land and air operations.

"It makes us sort of unique in that we have to operate inside that environment, but we have to do it without knocking out our own communications, without knocking out the communications of the people we're there to protect, and without knocking out emergency response networks," she said.

The Army leverages the electronic warfare expertise of the Air Force, Navy, and Marines, training more than 2,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines to function as experts in electronic warfare and CREW technologies. In addition, they've trained more than 55,000 soldiers on the employment of CREW devices. The Army recently approved a new force structure of more than 1,600 electronic warfare specialists that includes enlisted soldiers and warrant and commissioned officers, providing the Army with the largest electronic warfare capability in the U.S. military.

"This shows, really the commitment of senior leaders to this mission, and it shows that we're ushering in a new era of technology," Buckhout said.

The services are conducting a requirements analysis of all electronic warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as efforts globally. In April, officials expect to release a list of solutions to counter the global threat and expand future electronic warfare capabilities.

"Afghanistan and Iraq are microcosms of what could be going on globally," Buckhout said. "We need to prepare ourselves not just for that, but for what may be happening in the years ahead."

(John Ohab holds a doctorate in neuroscience and works for the Defense Media Activity's Emerging Media directorate.)

Pentagon Plans Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign

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

March 6, 2009 - Just as the armed forces paved the way for integration more than 60 years ago, the Defense Department is working to prevent sexual assault, not only in the military, but also throughout the nation, the department's top prevention expert said here today. "It is our goal to develop a sexual assault prevention program that can be a benchmark for the nation," Kaye Whitley, director of the department's sexual assault prevention and response program, told members of the House Armed Services Committee's military personnel subcommittee.

The department's prevention efforts really only began in 2007, and its success will take more than just good ideas, Whitley said. Through joint efforts with private-sector experts and collaborative studies, the department realized that programs supported by legitimate research will ensure the best results, she added.

Those experts, Whitley said, have determined three points from the past year's research they think will improve prevention and response:

-- Implementing lasting prevention measures by using a framework that takes action at all levels of military society;

-- Using social marketing campaigns to link all of its efforts to prevent sexual assault; and

-- Focusing on using bystander intervention techniques to complement its efforts.

"The department believes that prevention can only occur with an organized, comprehensive approach that is based on research," Whitley said, noting that each of the services used these points to develop their own sexual assault prevention programs.

The department's strategy is built on what officials call the "spectrum of prevention," she said, a nationally recognized framework that has been used in other campaigns throughout the country.

"The spectrum of prevention suggests that social harm can only be prevented by taking multiple actions at every level of society," she explained. "The levels range from improving individual skills at the lowest levels to influencing policy at the highest."

The department will launch a marketing campaign featuring two public service announcements in April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Whitley said she hopes the campaign will persuade people to "behave in ways that improves their own personal welfare and that of society."

"The campaign makes it very clear that each military member has a moral duty to step up and take action to prevent sexual assault," she added.

The initial campaign is designed to inform military members about the sexual assault prevention and response programs and to demonstrate key points in the bystander intervention approach. The strategy will require commitment, cooperation, time and patience, she said.

Whitley said she hopes the sexual assault prevention strategy will have similarly positive effects as that of campaigns against drunken driving. As the program progresses, she added, she expects the number of reports to increase as bystander intervention improves and culture changes.

"As the comprehensive strategy takes hold over the years," she said, "we look forward to the day that those numbers decrease, not because of fear or stigma of reporting, but because sexual assault is being systematically prevented."

Today's hearing was the second in a three-part series the House Armed Services Committee is holding on sexual assault prevention, awareness and response programs and strategies in the Defense Department. The first occurred in January, and the third will take place later this year.