Military News

Friday, March 20, 2009

Brain Awareness Week Launched at Museum of Health and Medicine

By John Ohab
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 20, 2009 - Hundreds of middle school students have passed through the halls of the National Museum of Health and Medicine here this week to learn about brain anatomy and pathology, as well as military medical history, as part of National Brain Awareness Week. The students got to hold a human brain, view the bullet that killed President Abraham Lincoln, and learn about the role the museum has had in military and civilian medicine since its Civil War beginnings, Tim Clarke Jr., the museum's director of communications, said during a March 18 "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" audio Webcast on Pentagon Web Radio. The museum is an element of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and is located on the campus at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here.

"The idea is ... to have young people really inspired about neuroscience and to understand a little more about the brain in a context that they might not be able to get in the classroom today," Clarke said.

Established in 1996 by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a private philanthropic foundation, Brain Awareness Week connects government agencies, universities, scientific societies and other partners to bring neuroscience-based education to young audiences. This year's Brain Awareness Week is March 16 to 22.

Since 1999, the Dana Alliance has worked with the museum and other partners including the National Institutes of Health, George Washington University, Howard University, the Society for Neuroscience, the Tug McGraw Foundation, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, and the Army Audiology and Speech Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

"We want to find a way through Brain Awareness Week to connect many of the various disciplines that are involved in neurosciences," Clarke said. "And work with those groups to put together very compelling, persuasive, hands-on demonstrations for young people."

The museum maintains the world's largest and most comprehensive neuroanatomical collection, which offers Brain Awareness Week participants a unique, first-hand opportunity to learn about brain anatomy and pathology. Students, chaperones and parents all have a chance to handle actual human brains.

"The look of awe and wonder on a young person's face when they are holding an actual human brain is something you really have to see to believe," Clarke said. "Nothing they had ever done compares to being able to hold a brain with the spinal cord still attached."

This year's Brain Awareness Week includes a new partnership with The Tug McGraw Foundation, which was created by professional baseball player Tug McGraw in 2003 to facilitate research that will improve the lives of those suffering from brain tumors. The foundation taught kids how to start their mornings with brain exercises designed to increase blood flow.

Clarke noted that Brain Awareness Week also highlights the variety of federal agencies conducting important basic and clinical neuroscience research. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism stages an obstacle course that students traverse while wearing "fatal vision goggles," which distort eye-muscle coordination and simulate the loss of balance induced by alcohol intoxication. In addition, the Army Audiology and Speech Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center informs students about how the center works with soldiers, veterans and their families to treat communication disorders.

"We try to find ways to engage the students on their level," Clarke said. "They are starting and ending the day with a lot of very interesting and compelling scientific information."

Students who participated in Brain Awareness Week also had the opportunity to view the museum's newest exhibition, "Abraham Lincoln: The Final Casualty of War," which features several of its most popular artifacts. The exhibit honors the nation's 16th president with various items associated with his last hours and the Army doctors who cared for him. On display is the actual bullet that took Lincoln's life and fragments of hair and skull that were gathered during his autopsy in the White House.

"We are able to tell a really interesting story that people know about, but we tell a different side of the story than you might get in the history textbooks," Clarke said.

The museum was founded in 1862 during the Civil War to collect anatomical specimens that could be used to develop new treatments for injuries sustained during battle. The museum, once led by Walter Reed, also played a role in shaping modern germ theory and an understanding of infections, as well as helping to found the Army Medical School and various clinical libraries focused on treating soldiers.

"It was Army Medical Museum staff, curators and scientists over the latter half of the 19th century that worked with partners all over the world to indoctrinate those types of practices into Army medicine," Clarke said.

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

Mission Develops African Partners in Maritime Safety, Security

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 19, 2009 - Improving the maritime capabilities of West and Central African navies is just one of the key focus areas for the ongoing Africa Partnership Station, a senior officer involved in the effort said yesterday. "I think one of the critical benefits to working here is the involvement of partner nations in the planning process," Navy Capt. Cynthia Thebaud, commodore of the APS staff aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Nashville told bloggers and online journalists taking part in a bloggers roundtable discussion hosted by the Defense Department's Emerging Media directorate.

Nashville is in the Gulf of Guinea on a large-scale APS mission. Thebaud said the APS initiative has evolved into several maritime security conferences that U.S. Navy leaders have attended.

"[We are] trying to develop some concepts of ways forward in helping to enhance and develop maritime safety and security capability, and capacity in West and Central Africa is really the genesis of this initiative," Thebaud said.

Africa Partnership Station began in the fall of 2007 with the deployment of USS Fort McHenry to West Africa. The ship included an international staff and acted as a floating schoolhouse, offering a variety of maritime courses and training. The initiative has continued with deployments of other Navy and Coast Guard ships, aircraft and small training units. In early March, USS Robert G. Bradley completed the first Africa Partnership Station mission to East Africa.

Thebaud said the APS mission covers four areas: "Helping them develop maritime professionals; helping them to develop a maritime domain or a special regional awareness; helping to develop response capability and capacity; and helping to develop the infrastructure," she said.

As APS has continued its mission, it also has matured, Royal Navy Cmdr. Mark Fitzsimmons, staff director for APS Nashville, added.

"One of the things that I think we are the most proud of this year versus past is that we really feel like we are responding to the needs of the ... country teams and the host-nation navies, and we're supporting their navy outreach efforts," Fitzsimmons said.

He added that APS continues to push its knowledge forward for the benefit of future ships and future missions.

"The main mission is maritime safety and security," Fitzsimmons said. "But a by-product of that and a real tertiary benefit is our ability to do community outreach, while at the same time building maritime safety and security."

Thebaud added that the critical component to the success of APS is the involvement of partner nations in the planning process.

"One of the things that we hear said the most frequently is the ... opportunity to come and work in a collaborative and cooperative environment with members of other West and Central African navies," Thebaud added.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg serves in the Defense Media Activity's Emerging Media directorate.)

Army Reserve Employer Partnership Unfazed by Flagging Economy

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

March 20, 2009 - A program that links Army reservists with civilian employers is going strong -- despite record unemployment and gloomy hiring predictions -- as more employers sign on every month so they can hire qualified reservists. The American Trucking Association and INOVA Health Systems of Northern Virginia broke new ground in April 2008 as the first formal members of the Army Reserve Employer Partnership Initiative. Within six months, 65 employers had joined, and the program hit a milestone in February with its 200th employer partner.

Now Army Reserve officials are laying plans for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to sign on in mid-April at the program's first anniversary. That ceremony will bring the partnership to almost 300 employers.

"We have a huge success here," Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz said of the program he introduced to help the Army Reserve and civilian employers share the same talent pool. "We've got more than 200 companies that have signed up, and another 200 that want to talk to us," he said.

The partners run the gamut, Stultz told about 200 reservists during a recent Pentagon town hall meeting. They include Fortune 500 companies like Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and General Electric Company, the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C., mom-and-pop companies and everything in between.

Stultz called the partnership a win-win for everyone involved. Reservists get a leg up in a competitive job market. Employers who understand their military obligations guarantee interviews for qualified reservists, as well as priority placement for openings.

Meanwhile, the employers have a way to tap into a pool of trained, motivated workers. "With the skill sets we have in our force -- medical, law enforcement, transportation, engineering to name a few -- there's a good demand out there," Stultz said.

Even in a tight labor market, employers are clamoring for workers trained in these skills. One of the program's big selling points is that employers can piggyback on training the military already provides.

INOVA Health System, for example, agreed to hire reservists the Army trains in radiology, respiratory therapy and surgical specialties. The arrangement is helping the company fill critical job shortages, while offering career opportunity to Pfc. Jason Black and other Army reservists.

Black, the first reservist INOVA hired through the partnership, is attending the yearlong Army radiology course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. After he graduates this fall, he'll start working as a radiology specialist at INOVA. At the same time, he'll be assigned to the Army Reserve's 48th Combat Support Hospital at Fort Meade, Md.

Enthusiasm for the employer partnership extends even to industries that have been particularly hard-hit by the financial crisis.

Kenneth Crowley, president and CEO of the Crowley Auto Group in Bristol, Conn., said he's so impressed with the mechanics, accountants, information technology specialists and administrative staff he's hired through the program that he'd like to expand it beyond his nine dealerships.

"We're still involved with the program and will hire good, qualified people, absolutely," he said. "This downturn in the economy isn't going to last forever, and before you know it, we will be needing people and we won't be able to find them."

Fewer people may be buying new cars, but Crowley said that means they're maintaining the ones they already have. That, in turn, drives up the demand for qualified mechanics he's able to hire through the partnership program. "So it's been a lifesaver to us, actually, because what we are lacking in sales, we are making up in maintenance," he said.

Crowley's such a fan of the partnership that he hopes to build on it to benefit the industry as a whole. He's set up a meeting for early next month so representatives of the Army Reserve and a major auto maker can explore ways to award manufacturer-level diesel-technician certification to qualified Army Reserve mechanics.

This, Crowley said, would short-cut what's typically a two-year process before mechanics can work on warranty claims and other specialized tasks.

Reservists would benefit from the arrangement, too. "My thought was, if I got the Army to work with the manufacturer, now these guys get trained while they are serving," Crowley said. "I can hire them right away and start them at a much higher level of pay because they're already certified."

Like other partnership members, Crowley said he knows what he's getting when he hires a reservist. "What makes me like hiring them so much is that they are serious, and they are there to do the job and do it properly and in a spirit of team effort," he said.

Army Sgt. Maj. Nelson Ildefonso, noncommissioned officer in charge of the partnership program, said reservists have characteristics that make them particularly good employees.

"They're skill-rich, but they're also good leaders," Ildefonso said. "They're good followers. They're drug-tested, and a lot of them have security clearances. They're disciplined. They accept leadership and want to move ahead.

"In a nutshell, they've got the characteristics that an employer looks for in an employee," he said. "And that's why the Army Reserve Employer Partnership Initiative has been such a success."

But echoing sentiments of many fellow partners, Crowley said another big attraction of the program boils down to good, old-fashioned patriotism.

"Being an employer partner is more than just having access to great employees," he said. "It is also a way for me to give back and say thank you to individuals who have dedicated themselves to serving our nation."

Stultz got an indication of the demand for his soldiers, and the partnership's reach, during a recent visit to Camp Bonsteel, Kosovo. A reservist who used the Employer Partnership Initiative Web site to seek out and apply for jobs told Stultz he'd hit pay dirt -- even while deployed thousands of miles from home.

"He went on the site and got three different job offers," Stultz told the Pentagon town hall session. "So his big challenge was deciding which of those offers to accept."
"So it's working," Stultz said of the program. "There's no question about it. We get anecdotal evidence every day."

Face of Defense: NCO Teaches Bistro Cooking in Barracks

By Minnie Jones
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 20, 2009 - When it comes to cooking, Army Sgt. Edmund Perez knows how to prepare a healthy, affordable meal in about 30 minutes. Perez, a native of San Antonio, is assigned to Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison here, as the operations noncommissioned officer. And as a professional chef, he brings his cooking talents to a new TV cooking series, "Microwave 101," on The Pentagon Channel.

The show teaches soldiers how to save money and eat healthy, even when that means using a microwave in their barracks to cook meals.

Drawing from his own soldier experiences, Perez creates meals that are good, healthy, affordable and, his fans say, are unbelievably mouth-watering, considering they come from a microwave.

Equally important in his show, Perez tries to get young soldiers to save money. "I want soldiers to quit going to the Macaroni Grill to eat and invest in a [bank account] instead," he said.

Perez's cooking segments range from the quick and easy, like his two-minute breakfast taco, to complete meals like meatballs in sweet chili sauce, chicken with pineapple salsa, and chicken parmesan with glazed carrots and rice. Most of his meals include desserts, such as his molten chocolate cake.

Perez's passion for cooking came at an early age, and he credits his mother for sparking his interest. "I think growing up and watching my mom decorate cakes and staying up late with her to help, intrigued me," he said. "It set a challenge in front of me, the need to be challenged.

"Every time you cook, bake or decorate, it's different. You can be making the same dish repeatedly and it will still be different every time. I think that's why I like cooking. It's a new experience every time."

Perez's passion is molding cooks into chefs and preparing them for competition. He has competed in the All-Army Culinary Arts Team in 2005, 2007 and 2008; the competition only has seven slots a year, earning him the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team badge that he wears proudly.

"I love to train soldiers to compete and becoming skilled chefs," he said. "I like changing their thinking process of being just a cook, to begin taking pride in what they do and transforming them into loving what they do."

Throughout his career, Perez has helped 28 soldiers become certified chefs or higher through the American Culinary Federation. Four work at the Pentagon in various messes and one works for the Army chief of staff as his personal aide.

"There is nothing more rewarding than having a soldier, no matter the rank, come up to you and tell you, 'I have learned something from you,'" he said.

Perez also is popular with those he trains. "He is very thorough," Army Spc. Mary McKoy, Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison, said. "Instead of throwing something at you and telling you to execute, he actually shows you what to do, and how to do it."

When Perez is not taking care of daily business at the garrison, you can find him with the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, where he serves as the president and program manager for the installation.

Perez, due to a compassionate move, no longer actively works in his military occupational specialty. He has begun to channel some of his motivation of molding cooks into chefs into molding Advanced Individual Training and Initial Entry Training trainees in the BOSS program, into more responsible soldiers.

"I try to have a high standard in everything I do," he said. "And I hold my soldiers to that same standard. Some of them hate it along the way, but in the end, they respect it, understand it and will use it in their own leadership style."

(Minnie Jones works in the Fort Sam Houston public affairs office.)

Pay Incentives Help Military Avoid Nursing Shortage

By Sara Moore
American Forces Press Service

March 20, 2009 - The Army, Navy and Air Force nurse corps are highly trained, capable and critical to the wartime mission of each service, the corps' leaders told a congressional committee this week. The Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee heard testimony March 18 from the services' nursing chiefs. Each reported a healthy force that plays a vital role in maintaining the health of America's servicemembers and saving lives on the battlefield.

Despite a nationwide nursing shortage, all three services have had success in recruiting and retaining nurses, the leaders said. New incentive and training programs will help boost those numbers even further, they noted.

The active-duty Navy nurse corps is staffed at 96 percent and made its accession goal for the third year in a row, Navy Rear Adm. Christine M. Bruzek-Kohler, director of the Navy nurse corps, told the committee. The Reserve component met 107 percent of its recruiting goal in 2008, she noted, but deficits from the three previous years have led to challenges filling junior officer billets.

Several new initiatives, including incentive pay for critical specialties, targeted recruiting efforts, and professional development programs for federal civilian nurses will help maintain its success and bolster retention, Bruzek-Kohler said.

"Built upon a solid foundation of clinical skills, Navy nursing encompasses clinical specialization via advanced education and certification, operational readiness, and leadership development," she said. "When combined, these yield clinical nursing leaders and future executives for Navy medicine who are business savvy, operationally experienced, and clinically adept. These nurses can and will impressively lead our people and organization into the future."

After establishing a brigade in 2007 to focus on recruiting nurses, the Army last year exceeded its goal for active-duty nurses by 147 percent, Army Maj. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, chief of the Army nurse corps, told the committee. Incentive pay also has helped to encourage nurses to stay on active duty, she said.

The Army deploys 400 to 500 nurses a year, so maintaining a robust force focused on specialties like emergency care and intensive care unit skills is important, Horoho said.

"Army nurses are a corps of seasoned combat veterans that are highly trained, highly skilled and highly committed," she said.

The Air Force also has had success in recruiting nurses, particularly novice nurses, Air Force Maj. Gen. Kimberly A. Siniscalchi, chief of the Air Force nurse corps, told the committee. Accession bonuses, loan repayment programs, scholarships and incentive special pay programs will help the Air Force continue its recruiting success and boost retention, where it has been lacking, she said.

"The key to successful peacetime and wartime nursing operations is a robust nursing force, a force with the right numbers, right experience and the right skills," Siniscalchi said. "Recruiting experienced nurses continues to be a significant challenge."

All three leaders praised their nurses' performance during deployments. Bruzek-Kohler noted the many Navy nurses she has spoken to after they return from deployments who talk about how positive their experiences were and express a desire to go back.

"A maturity, sense of personal fulfillment, and confidence of having done something that their peers have not done is readily identifiable among my nurses returning from these unique deployments," she said. "From the way they act, talk and perhaps even the swagger in their walk, one can tell that they have returned with experiences far and ... many, accomplished goals unrealized in the past, and matured in a way years could never have provided."

Through their many deployment experiences, Army nurses have been able to apply lessons learned and improve services, Horoho said. She cited the example of flight nurses who have decreased the incidents of hypothermia among medical evacuation patients from 20 percent to fewer than 5 percent.

"On my recent trip to Iraq, I was absolutely humbled to see the level of care that is provided to not only our servicemembers, but to coalition forces, contractors and the detainee populations that we served," Horoho said.

Army nurses are partnering with Iraqi nurse leaders to rebuild their profession, she noted, and the nurse case management program at Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca has provided specialized care for more then 1,000 detainees.

Siniscalchi recalled several stories of heroics by Air Force nurses, including one who treated a colleague's son and was able to let him speak to his father on the phone before undergoing surgery, and the delivery of the first Afghan baby at Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram, Afghanistan.

"Our warriors and their families deserve the best possible care we can provide," she said. "It is the nurses' touch, compassion and care that often wills a patient to recovery or softens the transition from life to death. There has never been a better time to be a member of this great Air Force nursing team."

Quintets From Army Band, Russian Orchestra Perform Royal Music

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 20, 2009 - As a group of leading diplomats, military officials and scholars made its way into the Russian Embassy here March 17, none of them quite knew what to expect. They had been invited to see a joint performance by brass quintets from the U.S. Army Band and the Russian National Orchestra. That evening, amid a collection of traditional Russian pieces, the two quintets were to perform music from the private collections of Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II, much of which is believed to have been played only in the private company of the Russian royal family and possibly the czar's entourage.

For a musician, said Col. Thomas Rotondi, commander of the Army Band, it's incredibly exciting to think of hearing music that hasn't been played in more than 100 years.

"Anybody can go to the Library of Congress and view the sheet music, but nobody can hear it," he said. "The exciting thing about this, from a musician's perspective, is that you're bringing art back to life."

The Library of Congress bought the original manuscripts in the early 1930s, when the library was trying to expand its foreign holdings.

The library's full Russian Imperial Collection contains books, jewelry, religious artifacts and artwork from five of the czar's palaces in St. Petersburg, in addition to the musical manuscripts.

Kevin LaVine of the Library of Congress's music division said the beauty of the manuscripts is that they provide a look at the cultural life of the Russian royal family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The artwork on the manuscripts represents the artwork that was popular at the time, and the music, which was popular among Russian aristocrats, even hints at some of the royal family's private hobbies.

"You see a lot of piano solos, or piano and vocal duets," Lavine said. "So these were likely arrangements made for the imperial family to perform at home."

The music also represents aspects of the czarist Russian military; some of the pieces are military marches. One of the more interesting books, LaVine said, is a collection of infantry calls, marches and signals, akin to bugle calls still used in modern militaries.

Vladislav Lavrik, principal trumpet player for the Russian National Orchestra, said the concert is a very special occasion for him because the music represents such a significant time in Russia's history.

"This is part of our culture," he said. "It's an honor to get to be the first people to play it for an audience. It means a lot to me."

Sgt. Maj. Dennis Edelbrock, a trumpeter in the Army Band quintet, said it was a great pleasure to play with members of the Russian National Orchestra, which recently was ranked No. 15 of the top 20 orchestras in the world by Gramophone, a British music magazine.

"It was quite a treat to take part in this," he said. "It's been a lot of hard work in a short time, but those guys are pros and I feel good about how we played."

The bands met only the day before at Brucker Hall on Fort Myer, Va., to rehearse their collaborative pieces and get to know each other. But within minutes of meeting, the two groups were playing as if they'd had weeks of practice time, despite any language barriers.

"Those Army guys, they're very professional," Lavrik said.

Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, opened the concert with a quick introduction of the groups and the international friendship the joint performance represents. He said the importance of the night was not only to hear good music, but also to take a lesson in history.

"These musicians are providing for us not only music, but they share something with us that isn't known, even by those who closely follow and study the evolution of music," he said.

The ambassador added that the tone of relations between America and Russia is changing, and that joint efforts like this concert help to establish that tone.

Blair A. Ruble, director of the Kennan Institute, which focuses on Russian studies, said the concert illustrates the strengths of both nations and the power they have when cooperating.

"Tonight shows the capacity of Russia and the United States, when working together, to bring beauty to the world," Ruble said. "This is not a symbolic 'new start.' This is our example of what things have become: a normal relationship. If we should celebrate anything tonight, we should celebrate how normal things have become between us."

A joint ensemble opened with "Quintet," a piece by Russian composer Alexander A. Aliabev. Aliabev was a rising star in Russian music when a gambling dispute led him allegedly to kill a man.

Both full quintets joined on "Suite from the Czar's Library," an arrangement of selections from the Library of Congress's collection, and "Rossiya," a musical glimpse at the many facets of Russian culture, from aristocrats and city life to poor farmers in the Ukraine by Anton Rubinstein.

"That piece, it represents so much about Russia," Lavrik said. "As a Russian, you feel so connected to that music, because it's about you and your family and your history."

The bands concluded the night with encores of Duke Ellington's "Caravan" and a salsa rendition of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff's famous "Flight of the Bumblebee."
Both featured virtuosic solos by Army Band trombonist Sgt. 1st Class Harry Watters, who gave "Bumblebee" -- a song made famous by its adaptation for trumpet in the "Green Hornet" TV theme song -- a new tone with his fluid trombone runs.

After the concert, the members of both bands are ready to continue their collaboration. There has been some talk of bringing the joint performance back to Moscow, said Mary Ann Allin, an American liaison for the Russian National Orchestra and the organizer of the joint concert.

"We'd like to support this partnership; it's really fantastic," Rotondi said. "To have two countries come together to perform works like this, it's the best way to do it. This is a great event to bring these two communities together."

As to whether Edelbrook is ready to give it another go, he said he needs to sleep on it after two whirlwind days of long rehearsals.

"Not tonight," he laughed. "I'm ready to go to bed."

(Ian Graham is a staff writer for the Pentagram newspaper.)

Defense Department Officials List Stimulus Act Projects

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 20, 2009 - Defense Department officials today announced 3,000 projects that the economic stimulus legislation signed last month will fund. A complete list of the projects is available at http://www.defenselink.mil/recovery and at http://www.recovery.gov. Defense officials will continue to use those Web sites to post future announcements.

The two biggest projects are hospitals at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Fort Hood, Texas, Defense officials said.

The projects are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law last month. The Defense Department received $7.4 billion under the law, with $5.9 billion going for construction and repair projects.
The funds are to be spent at Defense Department facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. The primary purpose of these funds is to create jobs and stimulate economic activity, officials said.

Total funding for the act is $787 billion, with the $7.4 billion Defense Department portion aimed at projects that could be accelerated or started at once. Department officials can obligate stimulus funds for military construction projects through the end of fiscal 2013, and the rest through the end of fiscal 2010.

These projects will provide much-needed improvements to military installations, and include hospitals, child development centers, barracks projects, family housing, community centers, gymnasiums and other facilities for troops and their families.

The act also funds needed infrastructure repairs including water projects, electrical grids, steam lines and sewers.

The hospitals at Camp Pendleton and Fort Hood are examples of this need. Both bases have sent thousands of soldiers and Marines to combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. The current hospital at Fort Hood was built in the 1960s to service a far smaller community. The base hospital now can accommodate a community of roughly 30,000 beneficiaries, but it serves a beneficiary community of 50,000. The Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton is a 123-bed hospital, and it needs to expand to handle the Marines and retirees in the area.

Another focal point of the bill is $555 million for a temporary expansion of the Homeowner's Assistance Program benefits for private home sale losses of both military and civilian Defense Department personnel. The program reimburses those who lose money on a home sale due to a forced relocation.

The program allocates roughly $300 million for military energy research programs.

Officials said the ARRA funds would be spent as quickly as possible, with full transparency and accountability.

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 20, 2009

AIR FORCE
The Air Force is modifying an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to Honeywell International Incorporated of Phoenix, Ariz., for a maximum of $70,000,000. The Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engine Program is a joint effort to develop revolutionary and innovative technologies by 2017. At this time, $416,200 has been obligated. Det 1 AFRL/PKPB, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8650-09-D-2925)

The Air Force is awarding an undefinitized with firm fixed price contract to Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, Ariz., for an amount not to exceed $23,000,000. This action provides for production quantities of 70 Maverick Missiles and 1Guidance and Control Section for a Maverick Missile. At this time, $17,250,000 has been obligated. OO-ALC/LHKC, Hill Air Force Base, Utah is the contracting activity. (FA8217-09-C-0046)

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee contract with Raytheon Company of Andover, Mass., for $10,996,388. This contract action will design, fabricate, and test the integrated self-healing core circuits and integrated self-healing full receiver-on-chip circuit to demonstrate the Go/No-Go metrics for government evaluation. At this time, $2,036,370 has been obligated. AFRL/PKDB, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8650-09-C-7950)

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee contract to BAE Systems Information and Electronics of Nashua, N.H., for $10,581, 297. This contract action will design, fabricate, and test the integrated self-healing core circuits and integrated self-healing full receiver-on-chip circuit to demonstrate the Go/No-Go metrics for government evaluation. At this time, $2,533,898 has been obligated. AFRL/PKDA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8650-09-C-7926)
NAVY

Lockheed Martin Corp., Maritime Systems and Sensors, Integrated Defense Technologies, Baltimore, Md., is being awarded a fixed price type contract not-to-exceed $49,877,689 for FY08 MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) production and delivery requirements. The MK41 VLS program is integral to the navies of nine allied and friendly foreign nations. Release of this highly capable and sophisticated launching system under this contract will prevent unnecessary duplication of research and development and production efforts, thereby freeing allied resources to pursue other mutually beneficial programs. Furthermore, the FMS requirements will reduce the overall unit price of hardware due to economies of scale. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (43 percent), and the governments of Turkey, (56 percent) and Australia, (1 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Baltimore, Md., (64 percent); Minneapolis, Minn., (19 percent); Fort Walton Beach, Fla., (14 percent); Eagan, Minn., (2 percent); and Virginia Beach, Va., (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-5392).

Computer Sciences Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $28,889,625 firm fixed price with cost reimbursable other direct costs contract for support services for the operation, maintenance, support and management of the OCONUS Navy Enterprise Network (ONE-NET), Far East Region. Work will be performed at Yokosuka, Japan, (67 percent); Sasebo, Japan, (3 percent); Misawa, Japan, (4 percent); Atsugi, Japan, (4 percent); Okinawa, Japan, (4 percent), Korea, (4 percent); Singapore, (2 percent) and NCTS Guam, (12 percent), and work is expected to be completed by March 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This requirement was issued under limited source justification and competition was waived. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N00189-09-F-0096).

Wackenhut Services Inc., Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is being awarded a $16,348,889 modification under a previously awarded firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N40080-00-D-0043) for continuation of services under the contract for Regional Base Operating Support Services for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington. The work to be performed is janitorial, heating ventilation and cooling control, preventive maintenance, pest control, grounds maintenance, snow removal, and facility support services. The current total contract amount after exercise of this modification is $204,885,793 ($143,516,568 FFP and $61,369,225 IDIQ). Work will be performed in the District of Columbia (52 percent); Suitland, Md., (18 percent); Quantico, Va., (12 percent); Fort Washington, Md., (7 percent); Clinton, Md., (4 percent); Bethesda, Md., (3 percent); Arlington, Va., (2 percent); and Indian Head, Md., (2 percent), and work is expected to be October 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineer Command Washington, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Science Applications International Corp., (SAIC), Bloomfield, Ind., is being awarded a cost-plus fixed-fee contract not to exceed $10,998,830 for non-personal professional engineering, technical and management support services, scientific/engineering analysis and studies, test and evaluation, technical data support, field engineering, integrated logistics support, configuration management, and data management support for the H-60 Helicopter Project and Aviation Support Equipment. Work will be performed in Crane, Ind. (40 percent), and Indianapolis, Ind. (60 percent), and is expected to be completed by March 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $100,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-09-C-JM32).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Rick Aviation, Inc., Newport News, Va.* is being awarded a maximum $11,660,905 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of performance is Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport. There were originally 131 proposals solicited with 96 responses. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Federal Civilian Agencies. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2013. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-0107).

Army and Air Force Exchange Service Asks Shoppers to Make a Scene

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

March 20, 2009 - Aspiring filmmakers in the military community have the chance to flex their creative muscle and play a part in "It's My Benefit 2," the sequel to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's inaugural 2008 video contest. With a theme of "Rediscover the Values of AAFES," this year's contest is looking for commercials, of 30 to 60 seconds, demonstrating what AAFES value means to the filmmaker. It could mean a shopping spree valued at $1,000, $500 or $250 if the commercial is chosen as one of the top three winners.

"Beyond the prizes, AAFES is also offering budding directors, producers and actors major exposure as winning entries will eventually make their way to an international audience via the BX/PX's proprietary in-house network, EXTV," Mat Dromey, AAFES chief marketing officer, said. "Today, EXTV programming is seen ... around the world, including locations throughout Iraq and Afghanistan."

As with last year's contest, the commercials can be shot in the stores, Lisa Moak, AAFES' strategic marketing manager, said.

"All the store managers should be aware of this," Moak said. "All [filmmakers] have to do is maybe just mention it to a manager that, 'Hey, I'm filming a video for the contest.' They'll be happy to help."

The contest may give customers a chance to tell the world that they find value at AAFES by shopping the sales or using coupons, and it's also a chance for AAFES to educate customers about the store.

"The average shopper can save 20 percent shopping at AAFES," Moak said. "It's to get them to start looking a little more at the value of AAFES and how they're spending their money."

Rules for the contest, which opens today to military identification card holders 18 and over, can be found through the AAFES Web site. They'll have until June 20 to upload their 100 megabyte or smaller video to the Web site indicated. It should be in one of several formats indicated in the rules, including MPG or WMV.

It's important to note that as soon as the video is submitted to AAFES, it belongs to them and therefore cannot be posted to other sites like YouTube or Facebook, Moak said.

The field of entries will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists before the announcement of the winners, which is scheduled for the end of July.

Like last year's 28 entries, this year's will be judged on "creativity, accuracy of information and how it promotes the value of AAFES," Moak said.

The winning videos are anticipated to begin airing about a month after selection.

Combat Veteran Provides Insight at Guard Bureau Women's History Event

By Army Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 19, 2009 - Each woman serving in the military has broken barriers, so now there are fewer to overcome, an Iraq war veteran, helicopter pilot, and double amputee said this week at a Women's History Month event sponsored by the National Guard Bureau. "Those of us females who have been in the military for a few years have our own stories of being the first this or the first that," said Army Maj. Tammy Duckworth of the Illinois National Guard, President Barack Obama's nominee to be assistant secretary of veterans affairs for public and intergovernmental affairs. "In some ways, we each had to break through in our own way, proving we were just as good as the men."

Duckworth was the keynote speaker at the National Guard Bureau's Women's History Month program this week. "Women Taking the Lead" highlighted the accomplishments of women in the military, and was hosted by Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

The program also highlighted the accomplishments of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, an Army unit composed largely of African-American women who sorted and delivered mail to about 7 million American troops stationed in Europe during World War II.

While it was a daunting task, there were perks to the job, including the ability to see Europe and interact with those from other areas, said Alice Dixon, a veteran of the unit, who attended the event.

Duckworth said women such as Dixon made t possible for her to have a successful military career.

"I recognize that I am here today because I stand on the shoulders of the women before me who broke through," Duckworth said. "It's taken us a long time, but more and more women are taking up leadership positions that would not have been possible 20 years ago."

But it wasn't only the women who went before her that helped her along her career, Duckworth noted. "I also want to make sure and emphasize that my greatest supporters in my career were men," she said.

"I was often the only female in an [otherwise] all-male unit. It was the male officers above me who reached out and guided me. It was the male [noncommissioned officers] who dragged me behind the hangar and smacked me on the side the head and said, 'What do you think you're doing L-T?'"

The program noted that women have broken down barriers in the military as far back as 1775 and the founding of the U.S armed forces.

"During the American Revolution, it was not uncommon for wives, mothers and daughters to follow their male loved ones into battle," said McKinley, who added that it wasn't until the Spanish-American War and the founding of the Army Nurse Corps that women formally became a part of the military. "The significant role of nurses and women serving in other roles during World War I firmly established the importance of women to the armed forces."

And much has changed since then. "How far has our nation come? [Today], women serve at every level of the military and in almost every career field," McKinley said.

"Frankly, it's really time to stop being surprised that America's daughters are fully capable of doing their jobs and fighting for freedom," Duckworth added.

Duckworth is one of many military women who have served overseas. In Iraq, where she flew combat missions in a UH-60 Black Hawk, her work really came down to one thing, she said: supporting the mission.

"In that cockpit, it didn't matter if I was male or female; it only mattered that I supported the mission," she said. "In that cockpit, it didn't matter if I was from Illinois and the pilot in command was from Missouri, or if he was a first Gulf War veteran and had been in 20 years and I had only been in 15. It was about the mission."

And on Nov. 12, 2004, while supporting the mission, Duckworth and her Black Hawk crew were brought down by enemy fire.

"That day in my aircraft, bleeding, knowing that I was dying, when people came to rescue me, at no time did I check [whether] they were male or female before allowing them to carry me out," she said.

But that day, which resulted in Duckworth losing the bottom portion of both legs, also brought other points to light. She paid tribute to others whose courage helped them survive.

"The day that I was shot down, I started out as the highest-ranking person of my crew. The lowest-ranking person in that aircraft was Spc. Kurt Hanneman," she said. "He wasn't the crew chief, he wasn't in charge of that aircraft, [and] he wasn't the pilot in command.

"At the end of that day, Kurt Hanneman was the most important person in our crew," she continued. "At the end of that day, after we had been shot down and Kurt had taken AK-47 rounds into his back, it was Kurt who grabbed his weapon and maintained rear security to make sure the rescue could happen. Bleeding, going into shock [and] scared out of his mind, he was not going to quit his post," she said.

And there were others in her unit who were equally as dedicated, including another female pilot, who stayed by Duckworth's side.

"The day I was shot down, she volunteered to accompany me to Landstuhl" Regional Medical Center in Germany, Duckworth said. "And you have to understand what it's like to one minute be flying missions and to know that a buddy has been hit and may be dying, and then to volunteer to accompany that person. And she went to Landstuhl solely to sit next to my bed in case I woke up, so that I would see a friendly face. She ... continued to fly combat missions during the day, studied for the bar exam at night, came home, and three weeks [later] ... passed the bar exam. That's a warrior woman."

And though many may say that the day Duckworth was shot down was tragic, she said it brought out one point for her.

"That day taught me, more than anything else, that it doesn't matter who you are or what you are. All that matters is that you don't let your buddies down and that you stick with the mission and you never quit. You never give up."

(Army Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy serves with the National Guard Bureau.)

More Work Needed in Military Relationship With China, Admiral Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

March 19, 2009 - The United States has made "some real headway" in improving relations with China, but "the relationship isn't where we want it to be," the top officer at U.S. Pacific Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee today. Pacom also is keeping close tabs on North Korea in light of its nuclear weapons program, and working with partners including India and Indonesia to help stem the spread of violent extremism in the region, Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating told the senators.

Keating cited solid progress in the U.S.-Sino relationship since the Chinese denied port access to the USS Kitty Hawk battle group during the 2007 Thanksgiving weekend.

"Since then, we've installed a hotline, [and] we've provided several immediate-response efforts" that included two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft providing cold-weather and earthquake relief in the region, he said.

In addition, the U.S. and Chinese militaries have conducted senior-level officer exchanges. One, led by Pacom's senior enlisted advisor, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jim Roy, took a delegation of senior enlisted leaders to China. The Chinese reciprocated with a similar visit to Pacom's Honolulu headquarters.

"All that said, the relationship certainly isn't where we want it to be," Keating told the senators. He noted that the Chinese suspended military-to-military activity in response to the U.S. announcement of arms sales to Taiwan. And just two weeks ago, five Chinese ships surrounded and harassed the USNS Impeccable surveillance ship as it operated in international waters.

"The Impeccable incident is certainly a troubling indicator that China, particularly in the South China Sea, is behaving in an aggressive, troublesome manner and [is] not willing to abide by acceptable standards of behavior or 'rules of the road,'" he said.

These events "cause us significant concern," Keating said.

"Those are vivid reminders that a mature, constructive mil-to-mil relationship is hardly the reality of the day," he said, and that the People's Republic of China's "behavior as a responsible stakeholder has yet to be consistently demonstrated."

China hasn't responded to Pacom's proposal for a direct link between Keating and his Chinese counterpart, Keating said. He noted, however, that Navy Adm. Gary Roughhead, chief of naval operations, recently used the Washington-Beijing hotline, and that he has used it as well from his Hawaii headquarters.

"But it is not a direct link from me to my counterpart," he said.

Keating called the "slight warming" of relations between China and Taiwan an encouraging development. "We think that warming is a good sign that China and Northeast Asia are somewhat stable and are willing to consider alternatives," he said.

As the discussion turned to North Korea's nuclear program, Keating told the senators there's a "high probability" that the United States could take out any North Korean missile. The United States is watching North Korea's actions closely, Keating told the panel, so it can respond as required to a missile launch.

Pacom also is heavily focused on working with partner nations to combat violent extremism in the region, Keating said.

The command went forward with planned counterterrorism training for Indian special operations forces following November's Mumbai terror attacks, as well as a scheduled military exercise, he told the senators. "And we have increased dialogue with senior levels of the Indian leadership, during which we discussed aspects of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency," he said.

Similarly, Indonesia has become an increasingly important partner, Keating said.

He cited the benefit of "1206 funding," named for the section of the National Defense Authorization Act that authorizes Pacom to help Indonesia work with its regional partners to crack down on terrorism.

"Incidents of terrorism and piracy in the Strait of Malacca have gone from 45 or so three years ago, in 2006, to two in 2008," he said. "And we think that's a direct reflection of the support provided by the 1206 money, amongst other reasons, including cooperation and collaboration by those countries."

Keating said Asia and the Pacific are vitally important to the United States, particularly in light of current and projected economic, energy and demographic trends.

In an effort to maintain peace and security in the region, Pacom employs a strategy based on partnership, readiness and presence. "We think this is a blueprint for enhancing United States relationships," Keating said, capitalizing on U.S. allies' and regional partners' capabilities.

"We want to enhance our position as the indispensible partner with all of those in the region through sustained and persistent collaboration and cooperation, and by employing those forces that are necessary to strengthen the partnerships and support all those conditions which preclude a necessity for combat operations," he said.

Thrift Savings Plan Provides Retirement Nest Eggs

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

March 19, 2009 - About 614,000 servicemembers are saving for retirement in the federal Thrift Savings Program, which was opened to military members in 2002, a senior Pentagon official said here today. The TSP, explained Chuck Witschonke, assistant director of military compensation for economic analysis, is a U.S. government-managed, 401(k)-type payroll-deduction program designed to provide tax-deferred retirement nest eggs for servicemembers and federal civilian employees.

"You can contribute pre-tax dollars, and all the money in your plan earns money, tax-deferred, until you take the money out when you're nearing retirement," Witschonke said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel.

Federal civilians have been eligible to use TSP since 1986, when Congress established the program, Witschonke said.

Today, about 614,000 servicemembers, he said, have money distributed among the TSP's investment-fund programs. They include:

-- Government Security Investment, or G Fund, which consists of treasury bonds and other federal-backed investments. It is considered among the most stable of the five TSP investment choices.

-- Common Stock Index Investment, or C fund, which consists of stocks of major established corporations. This option, along with the Fixed Income Index Investment, or F fund; the Small Capitalization Stock Index Investment, or S fund; and the International Stock Index Investment, or I fund, offer riskier investment strategies, but higher potential yields.

-- The Lifestyle Fund option, or L fund, which allocates money among the five funds and changes how they're distributed over time. The L fund automatically places money in the more risky, but higher potential yield funds early on, and later moves them to more secure, conservative investment options as the participant nears retirement.

TSP participants may change their investment options at any time, Witschonke said, noting changes can be made on the system's Web site.

Participants may withdraw some TSP savings, and then pay it back with interest, into the account, Witschonke said. However, he emphasized, participants should view TSP as a way to save for future retirement.

"This is long-term retirement savings. It's not savings for something that you might need in the near future," Witschonke said. "It's not where you should put money if you're saving for a car, or saving for a vacation."

Funds invested in TSP accounts "is money that you can afford to put away now that will be available to you in 20, 30, maybe even 40 years, when you're reaching retirement age and want some money to supplement your income," Witschonke said.

Deterrence Still Key to National Security, General Says

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

March 19, 2009 - Deterrence remain as central to America's national security as it was during the Cold War, U.S. Strategic Command's top officer told the Senate Armed Services Committee today. "Our unique global perspective has given us a good platform for advocating for the nation's needs for missile defense; information operations; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities; and the things we need to both enhance our information operations and our planning for combating weapons of mass destruction," Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton told the senators. "Your support is critical to enabling successful execution across the command's assigned missions."

Part of that mission is a strategic deterrence plan, which Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates approved last year, Chilton said. The plan depends on many pieces, including a safe, secure, reliable and sustainable nuclear enterprise, command and control systems, ISR platforms and people.

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has substantially reduced its deployed nuclear weapons, dismantled production capability and ceased nuclear testing, he said. Despite the nation's steps to reduce its nuclear arsenal, other states still seek nuclear weapons.

"Many of our closest allies continue to rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella," he added. "This reliance should be considered as we look forward to address nuclear proliferation issues."

The most urgent issues surrounding the country's nuclear enterprise lie with the aging stockpile, infrastructure and human capital, Chilton said. Relieving the growing uncertainty about the stockpile's reliability and sustainability is critical in the upcoming year.

Space-based capabilities also are a concern for Stratcom, but the command has made progress on this front in regard to its mission of deterrence.

"Space-based capabilities provide our nation and our forces essential, but often unnoticed, abilities to act and operate," Chilton said. "The satellite constellations that carry these capabilities, however, require more careful attention to eliminate delays that can leave us just one launch failure away from an unacceptable gap in coverage in the future."

Computer network communications has emerged as a key warfighting domain as well, and it's one on which all other domains in the warfighting environment depend, he said.

"We remain concerned about growing threats in cyberspace, and are pressing changes in the department's fundamental network, culture, conduct and capabilities to address this mission area and share our best practices," Chilton said. "Still, the adequate positioning of the cyber mission ... remains our greatest need."

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 19, 2009

ARMY

Caterpillar, Inc, Mossville, Ill., was awarded on Mar 4, 2009, a $73,196,648 cost plus, no fee, firm fixed price contract with options to service the Life Extension Program for Program Executive Office (PEO) Combat Support/Combat Service Support, Caterpillar equipment, using the D7F Dozer, 130G Grader and 621B Scraper. The work is to be performed with each task order, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 20, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. TACOM Warren, W56HZV, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0027).

Suffolk Construction Co. Inc., Boston, Mass., was awarded on Mar 5, 2009, a $40,836,807 firm fixed price contract for the design and construction of the Department of logistics motor pool facilities relocation of United States Military Preparatory School, United States Military Academy. Work is to be performed at West Point, N.Y., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 20, 2010. Fifty bids were solicited and nine bids received. U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, CENAN-CT, New York City, is the contracting activity (W912DS-09-C-0005).

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., LLC, Oak Brook, Ill., was awarded on Mar 6, 2009, a $5,362,690 firm fixed price contract for hopper dredging in open water placement areas, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 10, 2010. Six bids were solicited and four received. U.S. Engineer District, Galveston, Texas, is the contracting activity (W912HY-09-C-0012).

TASC, INC, Chantilly, Va., was awarded on Mar. 5, 2009, a $9,499,706 cost plus fixed fee (CPFF) contract. This contract will be issued under the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Topographic Engineering Center (TEC), FY 2008 Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Emerging Technologies and New Concepts in support of the Army Space Program Office/TENCAP. The objective of the contract is to identify and exploit the potential of scientific discoveries or improvements in technology, materials, processes, methods, devices or techniques to improve and advance the intelligence processing, exploitations, and dissemination capabilities of ASPO/TENCAP systems. Work is to be performed at Alexandria, Va., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2009. Bids were solicited by a Broad Agency Announcement with one bid received. Engineer Research and Development center (ERDC), Topographic Engineering Center (TEC), Major System Branch, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W9132V-09-C-0012).

GENERAL DYNAMICS LAND SYSTEMS, INC., Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Mar. 5, 2009, a $33,182,318 a no Fee cost contract for material for the Iraq program to purchase 140 M1A1 Abrams vehicles, with an estimated completion dates of Sept. 1, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. TACOM Contracting Commands, Warren, AMSCC-TAC-AHLC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-G-0006).

GENERAL DYNAMICS OTS (GARLAND) LP, Garland, Texas, was awarded on Mar. 4, 2009, a $34,854,177 firm fixed price requirements type contract for MK80 Series Bomb Bodies. The work is to be performed at Garland, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Headquarters, Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-06-D-0006).

Longbow Limited Liability Co., Orlando, Fla., was awarded on Mar. 4, 2009, a cost plus fixed fee contract for the procurement of Special Test Equipment (STE) and Limited User Testing (LUT) support for the Radar Electronics Unit (REU) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA) program. Work is to be performed at Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0239).

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., LLC, Oak Brook, Ill., was awarded on Mar. 4, 2009, a firm fixed price contract for maintenance dredging, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, vicinity of Venice, La., Tiger Pass FY 09, approximately Mile 7.3 to approximately Mile 14.0, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Work is to be performed at Jefferson Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 12, 2009. Bids were solicited via FedBizOpps and three bids were received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-09-C-0028).

Evolution Enterprises, San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Feb. 28, 2009, a $5,979,695.98 firm fixed price contract to provide support with acquisition life-cycle planning, support, implementation and guidance for compliance with guidelines and requirements concerning outsourcing in support of Naval Medicine Research & Development (NAVMEDRAD) via the Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, Calif. Work is to be performed at San Diego, Calif. (90 percent) and Silver Spring, Md., (10 percent), with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with one bid received. U.S. Army Research, Development & Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Natick Contracting Division, Natick, Mass., is the contracting activity (W911QY-09-C-0051).

GENERAL DYNAMICS LAND SYSTEMS, INC., Sterling Heights, Md., was awarded on Feb. 27, 2009, a $22,000,000 cost plus fixed fee contract for System Technical Support (STS) for the Abrams Tank Program to include a continuation of the Abrams Evolutionary Design Effort to define the preferred system concept for the improved Abrams Tank. Work is to be performed at Sterling Heights, Md., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Tank and Automotive Command (TACOM) – Warren, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-C-0046).

Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc, Hurst, Texas, was awarded on Feb. 27, 2009, a $18,522,982.50 firm fixed price, 3-year infinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the upgrade of 27 OH-58-D Kiowa Warrior Aircraft Control Display System Version 2 (CDS2) to the current CDS4 configuration. Work is to be performed at Hurst, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 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 (W58RGZ-09-C-0065).

Kiewit Pacific Co., Vancouver, Wash., was awarded on Feb. 27, 2009, a $17,945,435 firm fixed price contract to construct rock revetment for coastal erosion control at Unalakleet, Alaska, which includes: obtaining, delivering, and placing approximately 15,000CY of Core Rock, 16,000CY of B rock, and 18,000CY of A rock for the revement, remove and dispose of existing wood and other debris within the project footprint prior to rock placement, remove/relocate a six-inch outfall line, and other miscellaneous earthwork in the project area. There is no Government furnished rock source for this project. Work is to be performed at Unalakleet, Alaska, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 4, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with seven bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District Alaska, Contracting Division, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, is the contracting activity (W911KB-09-C-0011).

NAVY

Airborne Tactical Advantage Co. LLC*, Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $35,166,056 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for contractor owned and operated type III High Subsonic and Type IV Supersonic aircraft (approximately 1,099 and 359 flight hours, respectively) in support of the Commercial Air Services (CAS) program for the U.S. Navy. Efforts to be provided include a wide variety of airborne threat simulation capabilities to train shipboard and aircraft squadron weapon systems operators and aircrew how to counter potential enemy electronic warfare and electronic attack operations in today's electronic combat environment. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., (45 percent); Point Mugu, Calif., (35 percent); and various locations outside the Continental United States (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $11,778,105 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals and four offers were received. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-D-0021).

URS-IAP, LLC, Austin, Texas, is being awarded $12,352,251 for cost reimbursement task order #0010 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62470-06-D-6009) for design and construction of aircraft parking apron at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. Work will be performed in Djibouti, Africa, and is expected to be completed by September 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Ocean Systems Engineering Corp., Oceanside, Calif., is being awarded a $6,354,638 task order #0054 under previously awarded firm fixed price contract (M67854-02-A-9020) to provide ongoing engineering, technical, acquisition, administrative and management support to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Command and Control (C2) Systems (MC2S) Program Management Office (PMO) and to provide a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Command and Control (C2) Systems (PM MC2S) Program Office, Liaison Representative on-site at Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications Tactical, Project Manager Battle Command. This Statement of Work includes Combat Operations Center (COC), MAGTF C2 COC Capability Blocks 2010 and 2012, Joint Tactical Common Operational Picture Workstation, Target Location Designation Handoff System, Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, Blue Force Situational Awareness Family of Systems, Joint Interface Control Officer Support System and potential technology insertion opportunities under the Science and Technology Transition Office. Programs require support through all phases of the acquisition cycle. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and work is expected to be completed in March 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $3,947,195 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Rolls-Royce Marine International Inc., Walpole, Mass., is being awarded a $5,672,842 cost plus fixed fee contract for a Compact High-Power High-Density Waterjet. The objective of this contract is for research to implement the waterjet technology developed in Phase I to resolve the anticipated cavitation erosion issues. This includes the preparation of the detailed design and fabrication of two full-scale waterjet prototypes for demonstration. The work will be performed in Walpole, Mass. (90 percent); Pascagoula, Miss. (7 percent); and Sweden (3 percent), and work is expected to be completed September 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $2,217,410 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under the Office of Naval Research Broad Agency Announcement 06-011. The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00014-09-C-0511).

Omnitec Solutions, Inc.*, Bethesda, Md., is being awarded a $5,652,280 modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N00421-06-D-0037) to exercise an option for the procurement of research and analysis, strategic initiatives, executive leadership management, and Sigma program support for the Naval Air Systems Command. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md., and is expected to be completed in May 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.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Mercury Air Center, Inc., DBA Atlantic Aviation, Charleston, S.C., is being awarded a maximum $8,425,893 fixed price with economic price adjustment, into-plane contract for fuel. Other location of performance is South Carolina. There were originally two proposals solicited with two responses. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Federal Civilian Agencies. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2013. T he contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0098).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis. is being awarded a maximum $5,513,798 firm fixed price contract for snow plows. There are no other locations of performance. There were originally two proposals solicited with 1 response. Using service is U.S. Air Force. The date of performance completion is March 1, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Va., (SPM500-01-D-0066-0033).

Obama Drops Proposal to Bill Insurance for Vets' Combat Injuries

American Forces Press Service

March 19, 2009 - President Barack Obama has dropped a proposal to bill veterans' private health insurance for combat-related injuries, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday. The Obama administration proposed authorizing the Department of Veterans Affairs to bill private insurers for treatment of combat-related injuries. VA officials estimated the proposal would have saved the government more than $500 million.

VA already recoups money from vets insurance for noncombat-related treatment.

Strong opposition from Congress and veterans groups caused the administration to rethink the proposal. In a written statement, Gibbs said Obama "is committed to working with veterans on the details of the 2010 VA Budget Proposal."

The president understands the sacrifices American veterans have made, and that is why the administration has asked for "the largest increase in the VA budget in 30 years," the spokesman said. The proposed VA budget for fiscal 2010 is $113 billion, up from $98 billion this year.

"In considering the third-party billing issue, the administration was seeking to maximize the resources available for veterans; however, the president listened to concerns raised by the [veterans service organizations] that this might, under certain circumstances, affect veterans and their families' ability to access health care," Gibbs said. "Therefore, the president has instructed that its consideration be dropped."

The press secretary added that Obama wants to continue working with all concerned.

Navy Stabilizes Force as it Nears End-strength Goal, Admiral Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

March 19, 2009 - After years of downsizing, the U.S. Navy has nearly achieved its end-strength goal of 329,000 sailors, a senior naval officer said here today. "For the Navy, force stabilization marks a transitional period, where we are now finished downsizing," Rear Adm. Daniel P. Holloway, director of the Navy's military personnel, plans and policy division, told Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters.

The Navy has been reducing its ranks by 8,000 to 10,000 servicemembers a year for the past six to seven years, Holloway said, noting his service now is close to reaching its designed end-strength goal of about 329,000 sailors.

"We're currently halfway through the fiscal year within 1 percent of that goal in stabilizing the force," the two-star admiral said.

And, as the Navy stabilizes its force, Holloway said, it wants to recruit and retain only the best and brightest sailors to support the nation's maritime strategy and the joint warfighter.

Holloway said he hears positive feedback about today's "excellent" sailors. The Navy's Perform-to-Serve program that's been in place for years, he said, evaluates sailors' duty performance to ascertain their capability for continued service.

Qualified sailors also may have the opportunity to switch to high-demand jobs at re-enlistment time, Holloway said. Today's sailors are serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, he said, as members of provincial reconstruction teams and improvised explosive device suppression crews, with civil affairs groups, and in security and detention operations.

"We're getting a record number of volunteers now" to fill such billets, Holloway said, adding that he's hearing "that the Army and Marine Corps" appreciate the sailors' contributions.

The Navy employs two types of assignment categories while providing sailors to serve in overseas slots, Holloway said. The individual augmentee process, he said, is used to fill positions on a very short notice.

Global war on terrorism support assignments are known by the acronym GSA, Holloway said. They involve "predictable" overseas assignments of a year's duration, he said, that would be repetitively filled.

"We can, in advance, look at that requirement," Holloway said of GSA-system sourced assignments, while in the meantime, assignment managers scan the force to see who'd be ready to deploy after completion of their present assignment.

Career managers don't pull sailors out of their present duty assignments when filling GSA billets, he noted, which results in less disruption to sailors' lives.

Meanwhile, Holloway said, the Navy continues to attract high-quality recruits.

"We are a world-class outfit and we do require world-class performance," Holloway said. "So, the standards are high."

Stimulus Package to Fund New Hospital at Fort Hood

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

March 19, 2009 - The federal economic stimulus package will provide $621 million to build a new military hospital at Fort Hood, Texas, President Barack Obama said today.
Obama announced that $621 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment funds will be allocated to the new hospital, which is to serve about 55,000 soldiers, 67,000 military families and about 52,000 military retirees.

"This is the kind of critical investment we must make to support our brave soldiers and veterans who have sacrificed so much for us," Obama said in a White House statement.

Obama's announcement of a new hospital was met with jubilation at Fort Hood, which has deployed the largest number of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and has outgrown its Vietnam-era Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

"Let the construction begin!" exclaimed Army Col. Casper P. Jones III, the hospital commander, upon hearing of the president's announcement.

"A new medical center improves services, access and the quality of health care for our family members and retirees, but especially for our wounded troops returning from combat with visible and invisible wounds," Jones said.

Among these wounds, he said, are traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The original five-story Darnall hospital was built in 1964 to serve 17,000 troops, and an addition built in 1984 expanded its capacity to accommodate 30,000 troops.

However, the hospital now serves the post's almost twice that many soldiers, as well as about 67,000 family members and 52,000 retirees.

The biggest need, Jones said, is for a facility to house the post's behavioral health programs and the professional and administrative staff to support them. These assets are currently scattered across Fort Hood, which Jones said creates difficulties for both patients and their health care providers.

"A new hospital at Fort Hood would mean better access to care, more health care services at Fort Hood, and pride in the work place, which translates to better customer service," Jones said.

"Every patient, whether it is a soldier, family member or retiree, will receive the highest quality of health care."

Fort Hood is home to the 1st Cavalry Division, 4th Infantry Division, 13th Sustainment Command, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, and the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and numerous tenant units.