Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obama Honors Medal of Honor Recipients at Arlington National Cemetery

American Forces Press Service

March 25, 2009 - President Barack Obama made an unannounced visit to Arlington National Cemetery today, surprising about 30 of the 98 living Medal of Honor recipients attending a wreath-laying ceremony. Though it was first awarded some 150 years ago, only 3,448 troops have received the honor conferred for conspicuous courage at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.

Several hundred sightseers and tourists visiting the cemetery watched as the military heroes from World War II, Korea and Vietnam stood in two separate rows, facing the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Obama walked down the steps of the amphitheater toward the tomb, with two Medal of Honor recipients at his side, while two other recipients, using the aid of canes, followed down the steps.

The president was accompanied by retired Navy Lt. John W. Finn, a 92-year old veteran of World War II; retired Navy Capt. Thomas J. Hudner, an 84-year old Korean War veteran; retired Air Force Col. Joe M. Jackson, an 85-year old Vietnam War veteran; and retired Army Col. Robert L. Howard, a 69-year old Vietnam veteran.

Obama and the medal recipients walked together toward a large flowered wreath, bearing the words, "Medal of Honor Day," that soldiers carried on a stand and placed between them and the Tomb. Obama then placed his hands on the wreath. As a drum roll began, and Taps was played, the president the four heroes placed their right hands on their hearts.

The assembled medal recipients formed a receiving line as the president stopped to shake hands and talk briefly with each one.

In a White House statement released later in the day, the president praised all who wear the uniform of the nation's armed forces and singled out Medal of Honor recipients, who he characterized as the "bravest of the brave."

"Members of our Armed Forces hold themselves to the highest standards and set an example of responsibility to one another and to the country that should inspire all Americans to serve a purpose greater than themselves." Obama said. "Today we pay our respect to those who distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty - the recipients of the Medal of Honor.

"Since it was first awarded during the Civil War to the current battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, Medal of Honor recipients have displayed tremendous courage, an unfailing determination to succeed, and a humbling willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice," he said. "It is telling that so many Medal of Honor recipients received the award posthumously. These soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman embody the best of American values and ideals.

"Medal of Honor recipients are the foremost example of greatness in service and sacrifice," Obama continued. "Their bravery and humble strength continues to reassure our nation of the strength of its character and ideals even in these difficult times. We owe these heroes a debt of gratitude that our nation can never fully repay.

"So, it is on this day that we salute that fact and celebrate their lives and heroic actions that have placed them amongst the "bravest of the brave," he said. "We must never forget their sacrifice and will always keep the Fallen and their families in our thoughts and prayers."



Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $320,000,000 not to exceed modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-08-C-0028). This modification provides for long lead materials and efforts associated with the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Air System Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot III procurement of the required Special Tooling, Special Test Equipment and Technical Assistance. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom, (20 percent); Orlando, Fla., (10 percent); Nashua, N.H., (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in Nov. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Integrated Defense Systems, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a firm fixed price retirements type long term contract in the amount of $56,556,484 for repair/overhaul of various weapons replaceable assemblies used to support the HM-60R/S helicopters. Work will be performed at Farmingdale, N.Y., (60 percent); Phoenix, Ariz., (13 percent); Clearwater, Fla., (13 percent); and Salt Lake City, Utah, (14 percent), and work is expected to be completed by Mar. 2014. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00383-09-D-021F).

Team Logistics Joint Venture, Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $17,274,213 modification to a previously awarded cost plus fixed fee, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N00421-01-D-0239) to exercise an option for 433,937 hours of maintenance planning and design interface technical/management support services for the Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J. These services include evaluating initial designs and proposed design changes, maintenance planning, and sustaining maintenance plans. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md., (90 percent) and Lakehurst, N.J., (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in Mar. 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.

Raytheon Co., Falls Church, Va., is being awarded a $16,528,945 modification to a previously awarded cost plus award fee, cost plus incentive fee contract (N00019-98-C-0190) to provide additional funds for the development of Tactical Control System (TCS), Block 2 Version 4 software product requirements in support of the Vertical Take-off Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAV). Work will be performed in Falls Church, Va., (82 percent), Dahlgren, Va., (10 percent), and San Pedro, Calif., (8 percent), and is expected to be completed in Mar. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air System Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Blue Rock Structures, Inc.*, Pollocksville, N.C., is being awarded a $14,471,095 firm fixed price contract for the renovation and upgrades to Hangar 130 at Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. The work to be performed provides for the renovation of Hanger 130 to accommodate two F/A-18 E/F squadrons. Renovations include reconfiguration of spaces to house maintenance, training, and administrative functions. The renovation will provide a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF), a classified vault, fire sprinkler/ suppression system, hangar floor resurfacing and coating, interior 400hz frequency distribution system for aircraft, anti-terrorism measures and site improvements, including replacement of deteriorated aircraft pavements immediately adjacent to the hangar. The parking apron will be restriped to accommodate twenty parking spaces for F/A-18 E/F aircraft. The contract contains two unexercised options, which if exercised, would increase the cumulative contract value to $19,225,395. Work will be performed in Havelock, N.C. area, and is expected to be completed by January 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with 11 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting! activit y (contract number N40085-09-C-3204).

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Raleigh, N.C., is being awarded a $7,940,000 firm fixed price contract for the construction of a Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) Battle Course near Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides for the construction of an urban training range for the Marine Corps at an area in Greater Sandy Run, an outlying area of Camp Lejeune. Undeveloped road will be improved by widening and drainage; traffic circles will be constructed; and other roads will be widened, improved, or constructed. Roads will be used as a mock up of various configurations that troops operating anywhere in the world might encounter and where improvised explosive devices could be set up to inflict damage to the passing vehicles. The contract will include the construction of 17 buildings resembling an urban setting along both sides of the road, with an overpass. A training compound, training bleachers, and a control tower with cameras and communications to observe and control targets will also be constructed. Work will be performed in the Jacksonville, N.C. area, and is expected to be completed by Mar. 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 22 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engi! neering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-3206).


The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Rockwell Collins, Inc., of Cedar Rapids, Iowa for $87,549,899. This contract modification is for the order of 53,920 Defense Advanced GPS Receiver units and assorted accessories through the exercise of 48 corresponding options on the receiver follow-on contract. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. GPSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8807-09-C0002, P00001).

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed contract to L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, Madison, Miss., for $15,563,895. This action will provide fleet maintenance and training support on twelve Cessna 173 aircraft and five Cessna 208B trainer aircraft owned by the Iraqi Government. At this time, $7,626,308 has been obligated. 727 ACSG/PKB, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-09-C-0004).


Derossi & Son Company, Vineland, N.J.*, is being awarded a maximum $6,567,684 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for coats. Other location of performance is in New Jersey. The proposal was originally Web solicited with five responses. Using service is Army. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract is exercising the fourth option year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 25, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SP0100-05-D-0449).

Flightline Group Inc/DBA Flightline Tallahassee, Tallahassee, Fla.*, is being awarded a maximum $5,768,898 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for jet fuel. Other location of performance is in Florida. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Mar. 31, 2013. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va.,



Lynden Air Cargo, LLC, of Anchorage, Ala., 99502-1809 is being awarded a $52,788,495.00 firm fixed price requirements contract to obtain air cargo service from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Ala., to Shemya and various points throughout the state of Alaska. The performance period is from Apr. 1, 2009, to Mar. 31, 2010, plus four one-year options. This contract was a competitive acquisition with one bid received. The contracting activity is United States Transportation Command Directorate of Acquisitions, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. 62225 (HTC711-09-D-0015). Both Lynden Air Cargo and Elmendorf Air Force Base are in Alaska vice Arkansas.

Navy Submariners Participate in Arctic Ocean Exercise

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

March 25, 2009 - A group of Navy submariners are practicing wartime operations off the coast of northern Alaska as part of Ice Exercise 2009, the commander of the exercise said today. Two Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarines, the USS Helena and the USS Annapolis, are participating in this year's ICEX, said Navy Captain Greg Ott, a submariner who is also the deputy operations director for Submarine Force Command, based in Norfolk, Va.

The USS Helena is home-based in San Diego, while the USS Annapolis is home-ported in Groton, Conn.

"We're maintaining our proficiency in arctic operations," Ott said today during a telephone interview with American Forces Press Service.

The submariners, Ott said, are testing torpedo and sonar systems, while practicing wartime operations in an arctic environment. The exercise, he said, is slated to end in early April.

The undersea sailors are working alongside a group of technicians and civilian scientists housed at a temporary base camp set up on the Arctic Ocean ice near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The scientists are collecting environmental data.

"It's going great, so far," Ott said of the exercise. "In fact, we got a nice, warm day today; it's only about minus 10 [degrees Fahrenheit]."

Different skills are required when operating submarines in Arctic water conditions, Ott said, noting the frigid water temperatures and tricky currents affect a submarine's buoyancy characteristics and sonar capabilities.

Additionally, he said, submariners also must take care to avoid ice when traveling in Arctic regions.

U.S. nuclear submarines have operated under the polar ice since 1958, Ott said, when the USS Nautilus became the first submarine to complete a submerged trip to reach the North Pole.

Arctic submarine operations are important to U.S. national defense, according to Navy documents. Accordingly, the Navy's submarine force must be highly trained in arctic-water operations to provide and ensure access to strategic areas worldwide.

Continents of the Northern Hemisphere -- Europe, Asia and North America -- all share the Arctic Ocean.

F-22A Crashes Near Edwards Air Force Base

American Forces Press Service

March 25, 2009 - An Air Force F-22A Raptor fighter jet crashed this morning about 35 miles northeast of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., defense officials confirmed. The incident occurred at about 10 a.m. in an area known as Harbor Dry. The aircraft, based at Edwards, was on a test mission when the incident occurred. Edwards is home of the Air Force Flight Test Center.

One pilot was on board, but the pilot's condition is unknown at this time, officials said.

A board of officers will investigate the cause of the crash.

Disaster Preparedness Exercise Trains 500 Guardsmen in Puerto Rico

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

March 25, 2009 - An underwater earthquake triggers a tsunami as a terrorist cell is discovered producing dangerous chemicals. If there was a time to call the National Guard, this is it. Fortunately, these scenarios are only a simulation at Vigilant Guard 2009, an exercise under way here that tests the capabilities of more than 500 Guard members from five states and territories to handle disasters and cooperate with federal, state and local partners.

The two scenarios are the main focus of the exercise. In the first, which began yesterday and ends today, Guard members from the civil support teams of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico assist civil authorities in identifying and containing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. The teams take turns arriving on the scene of a nonfunctioning oil refinery, stocked with suspected weapons of mass destruction by the 35th CST from West Virginia.

In the other scenario occurring today, Guard members from the Puerto Rico National Guard and Arizona Air National Guard Expeditionary Medical Support systems will assist in casualty evacuation and treatment in field hospitals.

"To be part of an exercise of this magnitude is an honor and exciting," said Capt. Aesha Rivers, acting commander of the 23rd CST from the Virgin Islands. "It's great to be able to come here in their home to help."

In the real-world-scenario feel of Vigilant Guard, Rivers saw the opportunity to help a neighbor in need, and with that the implied promise of help in return.

"If we have an incident in the Virgin Islands, we will call 22nd CST out of Puerto Rico," Rivers said. "We will call Florida. We will call Georgia. Those are our sister and brother states."

For the Guard members of Puerto Rico's 22nd CST, the exercise is a chance to improve upon training that so far has involved few of these large-scale exercises.

"This training is ... important for us," Army Staff Sgt. Edwin Rosa, a team chief with the 23rd CST from Puerto Rico, said. "It's realistic, and we will learn from this experience."

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

Servicemembers, Civilians Honored at Women's History Month Event

By C. Todd Lopez
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 25, 2009 - Ten servicemembers and civilians were honored last week as part of the Defense Department's Women's History Month Observance and Awards Program. The recipients were awarded the 2009 Foreign Language and Science, Engineering and Math Role Model Award on March 19 at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at the gates of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

"For generations, women across our great land have helped make our country stronger and better," Gail H. McGinn, deputy undersecretary of defense for plans, said. "They have improved our communities and played a vital role in achieving justice and equal rights for all our citizens.

"The [Defense Department] joins our nation to recognize the many contributions women make to our society and ensure that the history of American women is recognized."

Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Rhonda Cornum, director of the Army's comprehensive soldier fitness program, gave the keynote address.

The general said during her years as a junior officer, she was largely unaware of the challenges women had faced in military service prior to her arrival. She said it was those who came before her who carved the path.

"We really need to recognize and celebrate those ladies who just kind of went through uncharted territory with machetes," Cornum said. "People like me who come after that think that path has always been there -- and it just has not been. I really did not appreciate that until somewhat recently."

Many women are recognized as "firsts" in the military, Cornum said -- first female general officer, first female commander of a unit, first female four-star general. Cornum said she believes many women don't want to be firsts, but rather just hope to progress in their career.

"As a jockey in my other life, I didn't want to be the first girl on a horse to get across the finish line," she said. "I wanted my horse to get across. It didn't matter to me the gender of the jockeys behind me."

Cornum also said there are many who could be the best at what they do, but it is simply a matter of letting those people compete.

"We will then invariably get the best performance for the entire force," she said.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Andrea Lynn Sacchetti was one of the 10 servicemembers recognized at the ceremony. She has served in uniform for 13 years and has been a helicopter pilot for the Coast Guard for about a decade. She said that the women of the Coast Guard who came before her have paved the way, allowing her to progress in her own career.

"There are a lot of women who have done a lot of things before me, so it gave me the opportunities to do the things I want to do with my job," she said.

Sacchetti does mostly search and rescue for the Coast Guard, she said. She was nominated for the award in part for her service in the Arctic, where she was hand-picked to lead the Coast Guard's first land-based, forward-operating location in the region during Operation Salliq.

"I was chosen to be the senior aviator for the Coast Guard's first forward-operating location base up in Barrow, Alaska -- I ran an aviation detachment up there," she said. "We are doing research to see what kind of Coast Guard assets we may or may not need to place up in the Arctic as a result of sea ice moving away from the land."

In the Arctic, she said, dangers include both weather and indigenous animals.

"The weather can be unpredictable, and in the Arctic you have to worry about predators as well, if you do have to do an emergency landing," she said.

Sacchetti said she next expects to serve in a staff job or as an operations officer.

Army Lt. Col. Felicia Langel, another recipient, is a veterinary corps officer and holds a doctorate in biomedical research. She works at the Uniformed Services University, and previously served at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md. There, she studied both anthrax and Q fever.

Langel also worked to help grade school and high school students develop a better appreciation for science and math by bringing them into the laboratory and exposing them to science and technology that many students would not see until college-level courses.

"For the younger students it's very basic chemistry and biology," she said. "But what we try to do is put it in a real-world scenario so they can appreciate there is a value to learning science -- so it's not just science text books, but a real life application for science. In fact, we expose them to experimental procedures that usually people learn in college."

Sometimes the concepts are a little advanced for some young students, but the goal is not to teach them science, but to give them an appreciation for it -- to spark an interest and show them they can do it too, Langel said.

"It's not important to us if some is over their heads or not, what we are trying to do is excite them about the possibilities and to just see a glimmer of comprehension -- it is rewarding for us," she said.

Langel said she hopes to become a professor at the Uniformed Services University, and would like to continue working with youth as well.

The honorees include:

-- Army, Military: Langel
-- Army, Civilian: Christina Brantley
-- Navy, Military: Lt. Cmdr. Cheryll H. Hawthorne
-- Navy, Civilian: Camille Destafney
-- Marine Corps: Maj. Denise Garcia
-- Air Force: Maj. Ramsamooj J. Reyes
-- National Guard Bureau: Army Lt. Col. Susan I. Pangelinan
-- Coast Guard: Sacchetti
-- Defense Threat Reduction Agency: Irene Nehonov
-- Defense Contract Management Agency: Julie Harmon

(C. Todd Lopez serves at Army News Service.)

Commanders Cite Top Security Concerns

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

March 25, 2009 - What keeps the top U.S. commanders up at night? Three four-star officers from Europe and the Pacific got asked that question yesterday during a House Armed Services Committee hearing and shared their most pressing concerns. Army Gen. Walter "Skip" Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said his No. 1 concern lies directly north of his Seoul headquarters. "It's Kin Jong Il in the North Korea regime ... and his willingness to be able to do everything he can for his regime's survival," even at the expense of his own people, he told the panel.

For Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, commander of U.S. European Command, the biggest concern is making sure NATO has a force "ready and adequate" to respond to a threat or direct attack.

Meanwhile, at U.S. Pacific Command, Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating said he sees "the spread of radical terrorists and those who would support them" as the biggest threats in an otherwise stable region.

Sharp called North Korea "the primary threat to stability and security in northeast Asia."
"We continue to be concerned with the threat posed by North Korea's large conventional military, artillery, ballistic missiles and special-operating forces, all that are located very near the North-South Korea border," he told the panel.

In addition, North Korea is the world's leading supplier to ballistic missiles and related technology, and a major proliferator of conventional weapons, he said.

Sharp pointed to North Korea's most recent provocations -- including a planned satellite launch -- "an attempt to ensure the regime survival and improve its bargaining position at international negotiations to gain concessions."

Meanwhile, Craddock said his biggest issue is ensuring the 26-nation NATO alliance is ready to respond to "Article 4 or 5 directives" issued due to a direct threat or attack on a NATO ally.

"It's when they tell me to do it, I have something capable to do it with," Craddock told American Forces Press Service.

Russia's incursion into Georgia last summer shook some long-held assumptions, he said during yesterday's testimony.

"For years -- 15, 16 years -- the assumption made in our focus on Europe was that there would be no invasions of anyone's land borders," Craddock said. "Well, that turned upside down, and that created an angst, a sense of tension among many of the NATO nations."

The key in moving toward the future, he said, is to "find and strike a balance between Russia and the NATO members and NATO partners."

"I believe we need to open up a dialogue and an engagement both bilaterally, the United States with Russia, and also from an alliance perspective," Craddock said.
As the discussion turned to the Pacific, Keating told the committee, "We don't lose sleep over many things at our headquarters."

He called the threat of violent extremism a black mark in his area of operations that's otherwise characterized by "a remarkable level of stability."

Keating noted progress made in preventing its spread, particularly in Indonesia and the Philippines, during congressional testimony yesterday and last week. "I think we're making reasonable to good progress on our efforts to make life difficult for them, to reduce their number and to reduce their support base," he said.

Pacom currently has about 650 special operations forces in the Philippines, training the Philippine military, Keating told the panel. As a result of this type of cooperation, the Philippines' armed forces are "making great strides in reducing the vulnerability and the sustainability of the Abuy Sayyaf group and the Jamaah Islamiyah terrorists that have been trying to secure a foothold in the southern Philippines," he said.

China's Military Capabilities Continue to Grow, Report Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 25, 2009 - Transformation of the Chinese military has gained speed, but U.S. officials would like to see China become more transparent about military and security affairs, according to a report to Congress released today. The Defense Department report, called "Military Power of the People's Republic of China," provides some new details, "but there are no new, major strategic insights revealed or capabilities revealed," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

In the report, officials said that Chinese transparency has improved over the past year, "but much remains to be learned about China's national and military strategies, progress and trends in its military modernization, and the related implications for regional security and stability."

China's increased military ability stems from the nation's emergence as an economic superpower. With 8 percent per year economic growth, the Chinese have been able to invest significant sums in military modernization.

Morrell said the United States continues to ask for "more dialogue and transparency in our dealings with the Chinese government and military, all in an effort to reduce suspicions on both sides."

The Chinese still look at transparency as "a transaction to be negotiated." U.S. officials would like the Chinese to see transparency as a responsibility that accompanies the accumulation of national power. Without this transparency, conclusions in the report are subject to best guesses by U.S. experts.

To begin, the Chinese need to be more transparent in budgeting, the report says. The People's Liberation Army budget has more than doubled since 2000 -- from $27.9 billion to $60.1 billion. Officials believe the Chinese are underreporting the amount they spend on security. The real budget in 2008 is probably between $105 billion and $150 billion.

The limited transparency might even be dangerous and could contribute to instability. The Chinese reluctance creates uncertainty and increases the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation. "The United States continues to work with our allies and friends in the region to monitor these developments and adjust our policies accordingly," the report says.

Chinese military capabilities have increased tremendously. People's Liberation Army officials have invested in the acquisition of advanced foreign weapons, and they have fueled hothouse growth in domestic defense industries. The Chinese military also has poured money into research and development. On top of this, there is a far-reaching organizational and doctrinal reform of the People's Liberation Army.

"China's ability to sustain military power at a distance remains limited, but its armed forces continue to develop and field disruptive military technologies, including those for anti-access/area-denial, as well as for nuclear, space and cyber warfare, that are changing regional military balances and that have implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region," the report says.

China continues to put military pressure on Taiwan. "China's armed forces are rapidly developing coercive capabilities for the purpose of deterring Taiwan's pursuit of de jure independence," the report says. More advanced missiles, more equipment and better-trained troops have deployed to the military regions opposite the island. The military balance in the region continues to shift in Beijing's favor, the report says, and Taiwan no longer enjoys "air dominance" over the Taiwan Straits.

The capabilities the Chinese are putting in place "could in the future be used to pressure Taiwan toward a settlement of the cross-Strait dispute on Beijing's terms while simultaneously attempting to deter, delay or deny any possible U.S. support for the island in case of conflict," the report says.

Some of the Chinese capabilities have allowed the military to contribute to peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and counter-piracy. "However, some of these capabilities, as well as other, more disruptive ones, could allow China to project power to ensure access to resources or enforce claims to disputed territories," the report says.

The Chinese assert that the People's Liberation Army is purely defensive in nature, and aimed solely at protecting China's security and interests. "Over the past several years, China has begun a new phase of military development by beginning to articulate roles and missions for the PLA that go beyond China's immediate territorial interests," the report says. But these statements have not cleared up international community questions about the purposes and objectives of the PLA's evolving doctrine and capabilities.

China has modernized its intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal with the deployment of DF-31 and DF-31A missiles, the report says. They also are readying to launch a new class of ballistic missile submarines soon.

The Chinese military has worked to develop anti-access and area-denial weapons, the report says. This capability goes beyond the nation's borders. China has developed the capability to hold surface ships, including aircraft carriers, at risk. The weaponry includes quiet submarines, advanced anti-ship cruise missiles, wire-guided and wake-homing torpedoes, or anti-ship ballistic missiles. They are working to deny use of shore-based airfields, secure bastions and regional logistics hubs via conventional ballistic missiles with greater ranges and accuracy, and land-attack cruise missiles.

The Chinese also can project air power using new advanced aircraft, advanced long-range surface-to-air missile systems, air surveillance systems and ship-borne air defenses, the report says. China's space-based reconnaissance and positioning are leading to a precision-strike capability.

China still lags in developing an amphibious and airborne capability, airborne, air-to-air refueling, at-sea replenishment and in joint integration, the report says.