Military News

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

U.S., Georgia to Continue Strategic Partnership

By Air Force Master Sgt. Adam M. Stump
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 31, 2009 - The United States and Georgia will continue to work on a strategic partnership over the coming years, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here yesterday. Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright is visiting the former Soviet republic to meet with senior military and civilian officials, traveling to both Tbilisi and Gori.

During his visit to Gori, Cartwright toured an old tank battalion base and a field artillery base. At both locations, he was able to see first-hand destroyed buildings and military equipment from the Russia-Georgia war in August over the disputed South Ossetia province. Cartwright said seeing the damage up close was sobering.

"The tour of this base and seeing the destruction first-hand has been very informative, a stark reminder of the harsh realities of war," the vice chairman said. "I can see from the soldiers I have met that the Georgian military is very committed to protecting the sovereignty and integrity of their nation."

After touring the damaged area, Cartwright laid a wreath along with Georgian Chief of Defense Maj. Gen. Devi Tchonkotadze to honor the country's fallen servicemembers.

"It is a privilege to lay the wreath in honor of Georgian soldiers killed in the recent fighting," Cartwright said. "These men made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their life for their country and families. My thoughts are with their families and their loved ones."

Tchonkotadze said it was important for Cartwright to see "the results of Russian aggression." He said the visit overall was very important, as the Georgians continue the joint cooperation, the transformation of their military into NATO standards, and working on strengthening the warfare capacity of the army.

Cartwright said the joint cooperation will continue for years to come. "We look forward to continuing the strategic partnership in the months and years ahead," the vice chairman said.

Cartwright also met with Georgian Defense Minister David Sikharulidze and Georgian National Security Council Secretary Eka Tkshelashvili. During his meeting with Sikharulidze, Cartwright said the United States is committed to helping the nearly 29,000-strong Georgian military move forward in its modernization.

The vice chairman also had what he called a "productive and candid" meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. The general said the meetings throughout the day show Georgia is committed to a strong military and a strong partnership with the United States.

"It is clear from talking to the president and from my earlier meetings that Georgia is committed to peaceful relations with its neighbors and to working toward full NATO membership," Cartwright said. "The United States remains committed to the U.S.-Georgia charter on strategic partnership and to provide training and other assistance to the Georgian military in support of their reform efforts and continued independence."

The general said his visit was partly a fact-finding mission to view assessments that have been done regarding U.S. and Georgian military relations.

"My trip today allows me the opportunity to see the results of these assessments, talk to the people on the ground, and understand now where the priorities should be put," the general said. "I will go back to the United States and work very hard to take the assessments and the needs, put them together with the resources and try to move forward on this strategic partnership."

Cartwright said he foresees the strategic partnership including more training and equipment.

"The training will be focused on the defense of Georgia, on its self and internal defense," he said. "We will work hard to get both the skill levels that are necessary to do that and work as partners on the equipment necessary. These assessments have helped us understand what the priority should be on that equipment, both in what the Georgians have been able to put together on their own here from indigenous equipment, what equipment needs to be upgraded and then what new types of equipment that are necessary for their homeland defense."

(Air Force Master Sgt. Adam M. Stump serves in the Joint Chiefs of Staff public affairs office.)

Petraeus Emphasizes Shared Goals at Defense Chiefs Conference

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 31, 2009 - A meeting of chiefs of defense here re-emphasizes the shared commitments of Central Asia and the United States to security and stability in the region, the commander of U.S. Central Command said here today. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus told the defense chiefs from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan that the meeting will help all involved better address their common interests.

Combating extremism and the spread of extremism from Afghanistan and Pakistan is at the top of the list of priorities, the general said. "[This means] that all of us have to help our partners in Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said.

Further, he said, the chiefs all have a shared interest in countering the illegal narcotics industry. Opium and heroin production is the main money-maker in many parts of Afghanistan, and drug lords have caused a tremendous problem throughout Central Asia.

All concerned also need secure borders, and they also must protect their countries' infrastructure and respond to humanitarian crises, Petraeus said.

"Our effort to deepen our understanding of the challenges that each of us face will improve our ability to think and to address these challenges together," the general said.

Petraeus addressed the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy that President Barack Obama announced last week. The regional approach to the problems of Afghanistan and Pakistan has enormous bearing on countering extremism, he said.

"All of us are concerned about the potential outflow of extremism from Afghanistan and Pakistan," Petraeus said. The nations of the region understand the problem in ways the United States doesn't, Petraeus said, so the dialogue among the countries is important to exchange strategies. "We all have to work together to achieve better control of the border areas," he said.

Counter-proliferation issues in the region cannot be ignored, Petraeus said. While Iran's nuclear ambitions obviously are the greatest challenge, he said, Pakistan is a nuclear power that has proliferated weapons technology in the past.

"We should be open and honest about that," the general said. "My view is that they are very well controlled, and there are exceptional safeguards. But we have to be concerned, because were extremists to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, it would obviously be potentially catastrophic."

At the heart of the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy is sustained, substantial commitment, Petraeus said, but he noted a trust issue among the nations of Central Asia and the United States. Relations among the countries have undergone ups and downs, he said. "We have completely forgotten these countries at times," the general acknowledged.

The United States cut off military aid to Pakistan for years, Petraeus said. But the Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy requires a substantial economic commitment to the nations, he noted, and he praised the current bill before Congress that commits $1.5 billion over five years to infrastructure in Pakistan.

"It also is a sustained commitment – one that is going to endure -- that has years attached to it, not months or a year," he said.

And all this must be coordinated not only between the coalition and local forces, but also across international lines, Petraeus said. The requirements on either side of the Durand Line separating Afghanistan and Pakistan are different and must be addressed, he added.

In Pakistan, established governmental agencies simply need aid, Petraeus said, and U.S. and international officials can work through governmental and nongovernmental organizations to channel aid to the region. Afghanistan, he said, has few governmental agencies.

"We are building, not just re-building, and the institutions are still very much works in progress," he said.

A comprehensive approach is necessary, Petraeus said. "It's not enough to just secure the village, or get rid of the miscreants," he told the defense chiefs. Troops and civilian workers also must take care of refugees, fund rebuilding, or create jobs for those who lose opium crops, he said.

The strategy recognizes that progress in the region will come along many lines of operations, not just security. These include governance, economics, informational, the rule of law and so on, Petraeus said.

"Particularly in Afghanistan, ... we have to provide an effort that will build capacity and capability so that the government can serve the people and be seen as legitimate in their eyes," he explained.

The general praised Pakistani officials for recognizing the challenges in the country's federally administered tribal areas and developing a counterinsurgency plan that involves its entire government. This is important, he said, because since its founding, Pakistan has focused on countering India in a conventional war. In western Pakistan today, he said, the fight is a counterinsurgency.

"These are not precise," Petraeus said. "These are large security-to-the-people operations, and forces must be trained, equipped and educated for these kinds of operations."

Al-Qaida operates in limited numbers in southern and eastern Afghanistan, but larger numbers of the terror group are in safe havens they have established in western Pakistan, Petraeus said. The group is a danger well beyond the region, he added, noting that it was from Afghanistan that al-Qaida planed the 9/11 attacks and attacks in Madrid, London, Bali and elsewhere.

"That has to have prominence, and there has to be a focus on them because of the threat that network poses to the region and the world," he said.

Value Engineering Achievement Award Winners Announced

The Department of Defense has announced the winners of the fiscal 2008 Department of Defense Value Engineering Achievement Awards. A ceremony will be held in June to recognize the recipients' outstanding achievements through the application of value engineering. A list of winners can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Value Engineering Awards.pdf

Value engineering is a systematic process of function analysis to identify actions that reduce cost, increase quality, and improve mission capabilities across the entire spectrum of DoD systems, processes, and organizations. The Department of Defense Value Engineering Program continues to be an incentive for government and our industry partners to improve the joint value proposition by promoting innovation and creativity. Innovative value engineering proposals seek best value solutions as part of a successful business relationship.

During fiscal 2008, 1,254 in-house value engineering proposals and 60 contractor-initiated value engineering change proposals were accepted with projected savings/cost avoidance in excess of $1.5 billion. The Value Engineering Awards Program is an acknowledgment of exemplary achievements and encourages additional projects to improve in-house and contractor productivity. Award winners from each DoD component are eligible for selection in the following five categories: program/project, individual, team, organization and contractor. Additional "special" awards are given to recognize innovative applications or approaches that expand the traditional scope of value engineering use.

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 31, 2009

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc., Malvern, Pa. is being awarded a maximum $267,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for radiology systems, subsystems and components. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The proposal was originally solicited on FedBizOps with 27 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM2D1-09-D-8314).

General Electric Company, Lynn, Mass. is being awarded a maximum $12,800,493 firm fixed price, sole source contract for engine exhaust frame units. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. There was originally 1 proposal solicited with 1 response. This award will be as an undefinitized contractual action against a basic ordering agreement. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is August 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Richmond (DSCR-ZCC), Philadelphia, Pa. (FA8122-09-G-0001 THA4).

NAVY
Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $207,297,746 firm fixed price contract for the procurement of 207 FY2009 Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round (AUR) missiles. The Tomahawk Block IV missile is capable of launch from surface ships equipped with the Vertical Launch System (VLS), submarines equipped with the Capsule Launch System (CLS), and submarines equipped with the Torpedo Tube Launch (TTL) System. This contract provides for 153 VLS missiles, 42 CLS missiles, and 12 Composite CLS capsules. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (32 percent); Walled Lake, Mich. (9 percent); Camden, Ark. (8 percent); Anniston, Ala. (5 percent); Glenrothes, Scotland (5 percent); Huntsville, Ala. (4 percent); Ft. Wayne, Ind. (4 percent); Minneapolis, Minn. (4 percent); Ontario, Calif. (3 percent); Spanish Fork, Utah (3 percent); Westminster, Colo. (2 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (2 percent); Middletown, Conn. (2 percent); Largo, Fla. (2 percent); Vergennes, Vt. (2 percent); Farmington, N.M. (.2 percent), and various INCONUS and OCONUS locations (12.8 percent), and is expected to be completed in July 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0007).

The Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Space and Strategic Missiles, Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a $63,575,679 modification P00027 under previously awarded cost plus incentive fee contract (N00030-07-C-0100) for the Trident II (D5) Life Extension (LE) SPALT Production. The work will be performed in Calif. (46.20 percent); Mass. (18.57 percent); Minn. (15.01 percent); N.M. (6.25 percent); Ga. (6.11 percent); Fla. (5.29 percent); Pa. (.77 percent); S.C. (.53 percent) and other (1.40 percent), and work is expected to be completed Sept. 30, 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting agency.

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $61,617,000 not-to-exceed order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) for Ice Protection System upgrades for 49 Marine Corps MV-22 and 8 Air Force CV-22 aircraft under the production and deployment phases of the V-22 Program. Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, Texas (99 percent) and New River, N.C. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $18,948,386 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Inc., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $39,998,237 not-to-exceed contract for Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 1B research and development, and production requirements. The SEWIP Block 1 provides enhanced Electronic Warfare capabilities to existing ship combat systems to improve Anti-Ship Missile Defense, counter-targeting and counter-surveillance capabilities, and improved battlefield situational awareness. This contract includes the continued design and development of SEWIP Block 1B3 with a specialized HGHS subsystem, and full rate production of SEWIP Block 1B2 units. Integration of a specialized HGHS subsystem into the SEWIP Block 1B3 upgrade will enhance detection capabilities for emergent threats. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Va. (60 percent) and Syracuse, N.Y. (40 percent), and is expected to be completed by July 2011. 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-5396).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., is being awarded a $33,338,448 modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N00019-07-D-0004) to exercise an option for the VH-3D/VH-60N Executive Helicopter Special Progressive Aircraft Rework. Efforts to be provided include security manpower, security maintenance support, VH-3D project engineering support, VH-60N project engineering support, VH integrated logistic support, VH on-site training, technical manuals, technical manuals contractor support, technical manuals travel, and program support. Work will be performed in Stratford, Conn., and is expected to be completed in September 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $33,348,448 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

TJ Drafting and Design, Inc., Christmas Fla., is being awarded an estimated $20,979,174 firm fixed price contract to advance the training capability, operational readiness, and tactical proficiency of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC's), Joint Forward Observers (JFO's), and Forward Air Controllers (FAC's). The personnel shall use training scenarios that require the placement of tactical ordnance on selected targets using Joint Close Air Support (JCAS) procedures and observed fire procedures for Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS), artillery and mortar fire to perform destruction, neutralization, suppression, illumination/coordinated illumination, interdiction, and harassment fire missions. Work will be performed at multiple Marine Corp bases worldwide, and work is expected to be completed August 31, 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $12,300.000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with four offers received. The Marine Corps System Command, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (M67854-09-C-8031).

W.F. MaGann Corporation, Portsmouth, Va., is being award a $15,299,406 firm fixed price contract for repairs to W306 and W305 Bulkheads at Naval Station Norfolk. The work to be performed provides for bulkhead repair consisting of the provision of sheet pile installation, seawall repairs by concrete replacement and/or shotcrete, cleat replacement; and demolition of the existing timber fender system. The option includes demolition of existing seawall. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by April 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 five bids received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-5058).

RBC, Inc.*, Alexandria, Va., is being awarded a $13,339,000 modification to a previously awarded cost plus fix fee contract (N00421-09-C-0034) to exercise an option for program management and technical services for the U.S. Navy and the Government of Taiwan, Norway, South Korea and Portugal in support of the P-8A and the P-3 Aircraft. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md., and is expected to be completed in September 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This modification combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($7,344,248; 79.4 percent); and the Governments of Taiwan ($1,518,417; 16.4 percent); Norway ($171,100; 1.8 percent); South Korea ($135,000; 1.5 percent); and Portugal ($83,500; .9 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

The Haskell Company, Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded a $12,492,000 firm fixed price contract for sewage treatment plant upgrades at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head. The work to be performed provides for design/build upgrades of the existing sewage treatment facility to comply with Maryland Department of the Environment water quality standards for nitrogen and phosphorus levels and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration memorandum of understanding between the United States Department of Defense and the State of Maryland, which seeks to remove the Bay from the Section 303(d) Clean Water Act list of impaired waters by January 1, 2011. Combined renovation and new construction to the sewage treatment plant includes a post equalization tank, a chemical feed system for phosphorus removal, a supplemental carbon feed system, a biological nutrient removal system, a control/laboratory building and a denitrifying sand filtration system. Work will be performed in Indian Head, Md., and is expected to be completed by October 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, Wash., D.C., is the contracting activity (N40080-09-C-0159).

Wilson Okamoto Corporation, Ltd., Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded a maximum amount $7,500,000 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity architect-engineering contract for preparation of plans and specifications for structural projects in the NAVFAC Hawaii area of responsibility (AOR). The work to be performed provides for preparation of plans, specifications, cost estimates, bidding information including preparation of design-build request for proposal contract documents, functional analysis and concept development, economic analysis, DD1391 project documentation, and investigations of various structural engineering and other types of projects. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Hawaii AOR, and is expected to be completed by March 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with six proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (N62478-09-D-5003).

Harris Corp., Melbourne, Fla., is being awarded a $7,426,550 modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-05-C-0044) to for the procurement of 95 Tactical Aircraft Moving Map Capability (TAMMAC) Digital Map Computers (DMC) for the U.S. Navy; 83 TAMMAC Digital Video Map Computers (DVMC) for the U.S. Navy (68) and the Royal Australian Air Force (15); and 132 Extension Housings for U.S. Navy (120) and the Royal Australian Air Force (12). These computers are used in F/A-18C/D/E/F, EA-18G, AV-8B, UH-1Y/AH-1Z aircraft. Work will be performed in Malabar, Fla. (80 percent) and Palm Bay, Fla. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($6,657,908; 89.65 percent) and the Government of Australia ($768,642; 10.35 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Virtexco Corporation, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded firm fixed price Task Order 0002 at $5,951,000 under a multiple award construction contract for the construction of Naval Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit 2 Replacement Facility at Naval Station Norfolk. The one-story building will house operations, administration, laboratories and support functions. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by August 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Six proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-D-5033).

AIR FORCE
The Air Force is awarding a requirements contract to Lockheed Martin Corporation, Owego, New York for $40,623,549. This action provides for remanufactured B-2 Defense Management System. At this time, no money has been obligated. 448 SCMG/PKBF, Tinker Air Force Base is the contracting activity. (FA8119-09-D-0007)

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee contract to the Scitor Corporation of El Segundo, California for $18,000,000. This contract will provide advisory and assistance services to the Space Base Infrared Systems Wing for a period of nine months starting April 1, 2009. At this time, $5,553,000 has been obligated. SMC, El Segundo, California is the contracting activity. (FA8810-09-C-002)

The Air Force is modifying an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with Lockheed Martin Corporation of Marietta, Georgia for $13,271,411. This contract action is for the C-5 Reliability Enhancements and Re-engining Program System Development and Demonstration, Contract Change Proposal. At his time, the entire amount has been obligated. ASC/716/AESG, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (F33657-02-C-2000, P00175)

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to Science Applications International Corporation of San Diego, California for a maximum $12,000,000. This contract action develop methodologies, tools, and techniques for producing adaptive, distributed sensing architecture cures in support of the AFRL/RY Multi-Layered Sensing vision. At this time, $100,000 has been obligated. AFRL/PKSE, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8650-09-D-1509)

The Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract with Northrop-Grumman Space and Mission of Clearfield, Utah for $10,374,341. This contract action provides support for the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Minuteman III Weapons System. At this time, $8,601,910 has been obligated. OO-ALC/526th ACMBSG/PKE, Hill Air Force Base, Utah is the contracting activity. (F42610-98-C-001).

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to Cubic Defense Application, Inc., of San Diego, California for $9,451,735. This contract action will provide the Saudi Arabia Kingdom Training Systems Contractor Logistical Support Program with Operations and Maintenance Capability at several locations in Saudi Arabia. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 675 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida is the contracting activity. (FA8678-09-D-0123)

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to Camber Corporation of Huntsville, Alabama for $7,278,049. This action will provide AETC the Air Force Chief of Staff tasked redesign of the current Navigation/Electronic Warfare Officer training pipeline in order to produce aviator's skills in advance navigation systems, electronic warfare, weapons deployment, and able to operate the complex systems critical to the Air Force mission. 663 AESS/SYKA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8617-09-C-6162).

Language Emerges as Element of National Security

By Tim Kilbride
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 31, 2009 - Language and culture are "almost inextricably intertwined," and military personnel must be knowledgeable in both to be fully effective when operating overseas, the director of a military language school said. Army Col. Sue Ann Sandusky, commandant of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, told bloggers and online journalists during a March 30 "DoD Live" bloggers roundtable that the DLI directly supports military commanders by instructing servicemembers in the foreign languages that regional combatant commands identify as mission-essential.

"We are the primary deliverer of military culturally-based language training," Sandusky said of the Monterey, Calif., school.

The school was established in secret just prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1941. Since then, it has been perceived as a resource specific to the intelligence and translation military career fields, but in fact it also serves the needs of the "general-purpose forces," Sandusky said.

Educating the general service has been a major growth area for DLI since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, she noted.

DLI teaches 24 foreign languages in Monterey, Sandusky said. Instruction in additional languages is available elsewhere through contracted programs.

A separate school, the Defense Language Institute English Language Center in San Antonio, teaches English mostly to foreign officers who come to train in U.S. schools. The Air Force administers that program.

"We're driven by the requirements of the services," Sandusky said. "They come up with their requirements based on the assessments of the different areas of operation, ... coming up with what you might call a strategic language list, and then passing specific requirements for training down to DLI."

For mission success, learning about the cultures they will be operating in is as important to servicemembers as learning the languages, Sandusky said.

"Culture is both implicit and explicit in our curriculum," Sandusky explained. "[It is] explicit in the sense that we have area studies and culture courses ... delivered in the target language, so they're learning about the history, politics, geography, culture, ceremonies, art [and] literature in the target language in the course. ... And the implicit part is our instructors come from the cultures where the language is used."

Having native speakers from the target countries work as instructors means they bring into the classroom "culture at many different levels, from the behavioral dos and don'ts to food, film, music, art, artifacts, up to the more abstract sort of frames of reference: definitions of culture, the understanding of beauty and evil and authority and obligation - all of those deep-culture concepts that are arising from the same sort of impulses that the language itself arises from," Sandusky said.

"We see language and culture as very intertwined -- almost inextricably intertwined -- and we handle them together right from Day 1," Sandusky said.

At any one time, about 3,000 students are served by about 1,700 civilian faculty and staff, Sandusky said. In addition to language instructors, staff members are involved in test, curriculum and faculty development, among other supporting functions. Ninety-eight percent of the instructors are native speakers of the languages they teach.

Students are instructed and tested in three major areas: reading, listening and speaking. Writing is also taught, but not tested. Listening and reading proficiency are graded with the Defense Language Proficiency Test, and speaking is tested with the Oral Proficiency Interview.

As a measure of effectiveness, Sandusky explained, graduates of a six-month Spanish course at DLI will typically speak better than a graduating Spanish major at a four-year university. An 18-month Arabic course at DLI equates to roughly 10.5 full-load semester hours of language and area studies at a university.

While students attending the school for immersion courses achieve the best results, DLI also works with the military services and commands to offer introductory familiarization and training in a variety of capacities, Sandusky said.

"We've got what we call 'language survival kits,' which are kind of what you would need if you are going in on a humanitarian mission - just a very basic familiarization: Stop. Don't shoot. Take me to your leader. Where does it hurt? Is this water clean? All kinds of very basic survival-oriented phrases," Sandusky explained. "It's not a language-learning course at all, but they certainly would serve you well if you were going into an unfamiliar setting."

Pre-deployment training for large units is done through mobile training teams, Sandusky said. About 80,000 servicemembers have been trained in practical, military-oriented words and phrases using language survival kits, as well as other DLI programs and materials.

Sandusky noted that DLI has the capacity to embed instructors with deployed units.

DLI makes available a variety of other language and culture tools to servicemembers and members of the public wishing to maintain or enhance their foreign language skills, Sandusky said.

Among the materials available on the DLI Web site, the Global Language Online Support System offers prepackaged lessons at various proficiency levels for autonomous students. These are available at http://gloss.lingnet.org/.

DLI offers "Countries in Perspective" and "Field Support" multimedia downloads that give overviews of language and culture, broken down by country and language, Sandusky said. These are available at http://fieldsupport.lingnet.org/index.aspx.

Also, the Army offers online language training via the commercial Rosetta Stone program for any soldier wishing to take part, Sandusky said.

While the DLI serves the specific mission of preparing servicemembers for overseas operations, it also is part of a wider U.S. government initiative to encourage and enable foreign language education for Americans.

The National Security Language Initiative, begun in 2006 under President George W. Bush, has three main goals:

-- Expand the number of Americans mastering critical-need languages and start teaching them at a younger age;

-- Increase the number of advanced-level speakers of foreign languages, with an emphasis on critical-need languages; and

-- Increase the number of foreign language teachers and necessary resources.

In addition to the Defense Department, the State and Education departments and the National Intelligence Directorate were directed to participate in the program.

For its part, DLI maintains collaborative relationships with colleges and universities, participates in conferences, and shares materials with some of the flagship programs that are part of the National Security Education Initiative, Sandusky said.

"About 85 percent of our students are right out of basic training," she said. "They come to us ... with all the strengths and weaknesses that the 'millennial' generation brings to the table, and they're mostly strengths. But one thing that we see is that they've not always had opportunities to be exposed to foreign language learning in the public schools."

The National Security Language Initiative is "aimed at trying to encourage public schools across the country to invest in greater amounts of foreign language education from an early age," she said.

(Tim Kilbride works in the Defense Media Activity's Emerging Media directorate.)