Military News

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Barksdale Air Force Base Picked as New Home of Global Strike Command

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

April 2, 2009 - Barksdale Air Force Base, La., has been picked as the new home of the Air Force's Global Strike Command, which will oversee most of the military's nuclear bomber fleet and strategic ballistic missile operations, the Air Force announced today. Global Strike Command will include both the 8th and 20th Air Force, according to an Air Force news release. Eighth Air Force's headquarters is at Barksdale, and 20th Air Force's headquarters is at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.

The new command will manage B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress bomber operations. That capability was formerly managed by Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

The command also will maintain and operate the Air Force's intercontinental missile operations that previously were under the purview of Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

Management of B-1 Lancer bomber operations will still be conducted by Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base. The cyber and intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions will be removed from 8th Air Force's portfolio.

Other bases that were under consideration to be the command's headquarters included Minot Air Force Base, N.D.; F.E. Warren Air Force Base; Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.; Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.; and Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. Site surveys of all bases under consideration were completed March 6.

"All six candidate locations received a thorough evaluation in accordance with our basing process," said Kathleen Ferguson, the Air Force's deputy assistant secretary for installations.

An environmental impact evaluation at Barksdale is pending, according to the release.

An as-yet unnamed three-star general will command Global Strike Command.

The stand up of GSC came about from a reorganization of the Air Force's nuclear-mission organization ordered by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, following some highly publicized operational miscues committed by Air Force nuclear force managers.

The Air Force announced in October 2008 that a new major command would be formed to oversee the service's nuclear-deterrence mission. Bolling Air Force Base here has served as Global Strike Command's provisional headquarters since Jan. 12.

Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said last fall that the reorganization would address some long-standing, systematic problems in the Air Force's handling of nuclear assets. Donley said inspection of Air Force nuclear assets would now be conducted by the service's Inspector General Office.

The establishment of Global Strike Command, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norman A. Schwartz noted last fall, would put his service onto a "back-to-basics" path for nuclear-weapons-realm accountability, compliance, precision and reliability.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 2, 2009

ARMY

BAE Systems, Anniston, Ala., was awarded on Mar. 31, 2009, an $87,735,664.00 firm fixed price contract for the reset of 697 M113 Family of Vehicles. Work is to be performed at Anniston, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-05-G-0005).

BAE Systems, York, Pa., was awarded on Mar. 31, 2009, an $81,419,445.00 firm fixed price contract for production of 39 Army-configured M88A2 HERCULES recovery vehicles, and three sets of Authorized Stockage List Spares. Work is to be performed at York, Pa., (98 percent) and Aiken, S.C. (2 percent), with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Tank & Automotive Command Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0408).

Caterpiller Inc., Defense and Federal Products, Mossville, Ill., was awarded on Mar. 31, 2009, a $24,579,261.00 firm fixed price contract for 105 Heavy Loader Type I and II, with attachments (105 sweepers and 53 forklifts). Work is to be performed at Montgomery, Ill., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. Bids were solicited on FedBizOpps with five bids received. U.S. Army Tank & Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-05-D-L424).

Logos Technologies, Inc., Arlington, Va., was awarded on Mar. 31, 2009, a $19,628,192 cost plus fixed fee contract for research with the primary objective of the program to conduct Phase I of the BioJET program in the area of process development, process integration, fuel qualification, end-user testing, and economic planning. The ultimate objective of this program is to develop an end-to-end process for commercially viable production of BioJET – JP-8 spec jet fuel from biomass. The complete, multi-threaded process has a target of 70 percent efficiency and a target process cost of $2/gallon while using all of the biomass, including the lignin. Bids were solicited by Broad Agency Announcement and 17 bids were received. Defense Advanced Research Projects, Arlington, Va., is the contracting agency (HR0011-09-C-0075).

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Chantilly, Va., was awarded on Mar. 31, 2009, a $15,858,384 firm fixed price contract Global Geospatial Intelligence (GGI) Product Pricing Consolidated Task Order (PPCTO) for multiple geospatial data products to be procured at firm fixed price product pricing throughout the period Mar. 31, 2009 thru Jan. 13, 2010. Work is to be performed at Chantilly, Va., (43 percent) and St. Louis, Mo., (57 percent), with an estimated completion date of Jan. 13, 2011. National Geospatial – Intelligence Agency, ACSM, St. Louis, Mo., is the contracting activity (NMA302-03-D-0007).

J&S Construction Co., Inc., Cookeville, Tenn., was awarded on Mar. 31, 2009, a $12,824,050 firm fixed price contract for design and construction of Special Operations Forces Tactical Equipment Shop at Fort Campbell, Ky. Estimated completion date is Jul. 24, 2010. Solicited bids were posted on the Web with eight bids received. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0023).

Manhattan Torcon A joint Venture, Falls Church Va., was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009 a $333,000,000 firm fixed price contract for the replacement of the facility at Fort Detrick in Fredrick, Md. Work is to be performed at Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 5, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Baltimore, Md., is the contracting activity (W912DR-09-C-0026).

Raytheon Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009, an $114,864,781 firm fixed price contract to provide Patriot Pure Fleet Grow the Army (4Lot). Work is to be performed at Andover, Mass., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q07-C-0151).

General Dynamic Armament and Technical Production, Burlington, Vt., was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009, with a $37,876,787 firm fixed price contract for 158 Bradley Reactive Armor Tile Sets for the Bradley fighting vehicle system. Work is to be performed at multiple locations with an estimated completions date of Jul. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munition & Lethality, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-06-C-0143).

DATRON World Communications, INC., Vista, Calif., was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009 a $25,408,728 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for tactical very high frequency radios with ancillary items, spare parts and installation kits for Foreign Military Sales case. Work is to be performed at Vista, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 20, 2014. One sole source bid was solicited and one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J. is the contracting activity (W15P7T-09-D-D212).

CACI INC FEDERAL, Chantilly, Va., was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009, a $22,043,216 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with cost plus award fee with the purpose of Genesis III to acquire comprehensive engineering and logistics support for the intelligence community (IC) ground and air-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems at worldwide locations. Work is to be performed at multiple overseas and stateside locations with an estimated completion date of Mar. 27, 2013. Bids were solicited on the Web with two bids received. U.S. Army, Intelligence and Security Command, Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W911W4-09-D-0001).

Anderson Construction Co., of Fort Gaines, Fort Gaines, Ga., was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009, an $11,291,309 firm fixed price contract to design/build an Air and Space basic course. Work is to be performed at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery with an estimated completion date of Nov.13, 2009. Bids were solicited on the FedBizOpps with ten bids received. Contract Office Corps of Engineers, Mobile Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-09—0021).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009, an $11,265,660 firm fixed price contract with cost plus fixed fee, line items contract for the Viper Strike Munitions and engineering services. Work is to be performed at Huntsville, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 30, 2010. 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 (W31P4Q-07-C-0268).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif., was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009, a $9,933,420 cost shipping contract for Lockheed Martin to demonstrate a turbulence control method in order to improve power flux on target high speed flight. Work is to be performed at Sunnyvale, Calif., (13 percent) and Fort Worth, Texas, (87percent), with an estimated completion date of Nov. 8, 2011. One sole source bid was solicited and one bid received. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-08-C-0090).

Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., Arlington, Va., was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009, a $7,209,828 firm fixed price contract for architect engineering services for facility design, Consolidated Intelligence Center, Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Germany. Estimated completion date is Mar. 17, 2010. Information was not provided for bids solicited or received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, Wiesbaden, Germany, is the contracting activity (W912DR-08-D-0001).

Marsh Creek Environmental Services, LLC, Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009, a $6,122,382.00 firm fixed price contract for Federal Underutilized Defense Sites (FUDS) – Umiat Well #9, Umiat, Alaska. The Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for the decommissioning of Umiat Well No. 9. FUDS is responsible for cleanup of the contamination surrounding the well up to the well casing. Polychlorinated bi-phenol (PCB) soil contamination at Umiat Test Well No. 9 was introduced in the drilling mud, as PCBs and petroleum (POL) contaminated soil adjacent to the wellhead and in a nearby bum area. This estimated total has increased significantly. Work is to be performed at Prudhoe Bay, North Slope Borough, Alaska, with an estimated completion date of Sep. 29, 2009. Bids were solicited on the Web with one bid received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska, Contracting Division, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, is the contracting activity W911KB-08-C-0024).

Phil Howry Co., Austin, Texas, was awarded on Mar. 27, 2009, a $5,885,533 firm fixed price contract to provide construction of a 14,000 square foot one-story facility, consoling of a 60ft. X 60 ft. simulator bay, briefing rooms, conference room, mass briefing area and computer room. Work is to be performed at Curry County, New Mexico, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 19, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web and ten bids received. U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Albuquerque, N.M., is the contracting activity (W912PP-09-0006).

Tompkins Builders, Inc., Washington, D.C., was awarded on Mar. 26, 2009, a $56,700,000 firm fixed price contract for a design build project for the Training and Doctrine Command Headquarters (TRADOC HQ) at Fort Eustis, Va. The project includes construction of a New Headquarters Building of (263,676 square foot) and construction of a New TRADOC Band Building (18,841 square foot) and the required supporting facilities and site improvements. Work is to be performed at Fort Eustis, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sep. 15, 2011. 80 bids were solicited and four bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, Norfolk District, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (W91236-09-C-0035).

CAE USA, INC., Tampa, Fla., was awarded on Mar. 26, 2009, an $18,175,231 firm fixed price contract for modifications and upgrades needed for Special Operation Aviation. Work is to be performed at Tampa, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61339-01-D-0725-0003).

Olin Corp., East Alton, Ill., was awarded on Mar. 26, 2009, an $11,766,647.00, firm fixed price contract for 9mm Ammunition, 85,540,500 each. Work will be performed at East Alton, Ill., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and two bids received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-06-D-0031).

Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln Mass., was awarded on Mar. 26, 2009, a $10,476,451 firm fixed price contract for the provision of comprehensive education program services, grades preK-8, for eligible DoD family members residing on Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. Estimated completion date is Jun. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited on FedBizOpps with one bid received. DDESS, Peachtree City, Ga., is the contracting activity (HE1254-07-C-0005).

Watterson/Davis JV, Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded on Mar. 25, 2009, a $38,588,284 firm fixed price contract for which the procured service is the design and construction of the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserve F-22 squadron operations/aircraft maintenance unit (AMU)/6-bay hangar facility, (PROJ: ELM297/292) at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. Estimated completion date is Mar. 24, 2011. Eight bids were solicited with four bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, is the contracting activity (W911KB-07-D-0013).

Doyon-American Mechanical, JV, Fairbanks, Alaska, was awarded on Mar. 25, 2009, a $10,700,983 firm fixed price contract to construct a Stryker wash facility (PN63006) at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Estimated completion date is Sep. 21, 2010. Seven bids were solicited and four bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, is the contracting activity (W911KB-08-D-0010).

R.C. Heath Construction Co., DBA Heath Construction Co., Fort Collins, Colo., was awarded on Mar. 25, 2009, a $6,765,498 firm fixed price construction contract for renovation of historical dormitory 236, at FE Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. Estimated completion date is Oct. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited on the Web with 12 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W9128F-09-C-0004).

General Dynamics Information Technology, Needham, Mass., was awarded on Mar. 24, 2009, an $8,716,903 firm fixed price contract to furnish, install, test, document, and cutover a turnkey solution to upgrade the existing infrastructure and facilities at Picatinny Arsenal. Work is to be performed at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 23, 2010. Ten bids were solicited and five bids received. Army Contracting Command, ITEC4, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W91QUZ-06-D-0026).

Intersteel, Lexington, Ky., was awarded on Mar. 24, 2009, an $8,216,000 firm fixed price contract for the design build renovation of building 2369. Work is to be performed at Ft. Knox, Ky., with an estimated completion date of Sep. 15, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0021).

Jones Lang Lasalle Americas, Inc., Washington, D.C., was awarded on Mar. 14, 2009, a $6,409,402.41 firm fixed price contract for Privatization initiative to include: Residential Communities Initiative Survey, SOUTHCOM Feasibility Research, and support to the Army's Portfolio and Asset Management Process. Work is to be performed at Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sep. 30, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Contracting Center of Excellence, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W91WAW-09-C-0054).

NAVY

Raytheon Co., Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif., is being awarded a $54,481,204 firm fixed price contract for the procurement of 19 AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radars to be retrofitted into F/A-18E/F aircraft Lots 26-29. The radars will replace the APG-73 radars currently installed in the aircraft. Work will be performed in Forest, Miss., (43 percent); Dallas, Texas (29 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (27 percent); and Andover, Mass., (1 percent) and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2010. 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-0003).

USA Environmental, Inc.*, Oldsmar, Fla., is being awarded an $11,530,118 cost plus award fee task order modification JN03-01 under a previously awarded Munitions Response contract (N62742-05-D-1868) for Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) removal at former Vieques Naval Training Range (VNTR). The work to be performed provides for the removal of surface and subsurface MEC at the live impact area, surface impact area, eastern conservation area and the eastern maneuver area. The task order will be incrementally funded with the first increment of $7,000,550 being allocated at the time of award. The second increment will be funded later in FY09 at $4,529,568. Work will be performed in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and is expected to be completed by Apr. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One proposal was received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

NATO Brings Albania, Croatia Into Security Alliance Fold

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 2, 2009 - Ahead of the NATO 60th anniversary, the collective security alliance yesterday added Albania and Croatia as its newest members. The enlargement marks only the sixth time the organization has expanded its borders, and brings to 28 the number of allies that will celebrate six decades since a dozen nations endorsed the North Atlantic Treaty at an April 4, 1949, ceremony here.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer welcomed the alliance's newest members in a statement from the NATO headquarters in Brussels yesterday.

"In becoming NATO members, Albania and Croatia share the benefits and responsibilities of collective security," he said.

Further enlargement is expected to be one of the topics covered at the NATO summit to take place tomorrow and April 4 in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany, where the two Balkan nations will be ceremonially inducted into the alliance.

A flag-raising ceremony marking the inclusion of Albania and Croatia is scheduled at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on April 7.

Accession by the two Balkan nations follows the addition of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania in 2004; Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999; Spain in 1982; West Germany in 1955; and Greece and Turkey in 1952.

The founding NATO members were the United States, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Airman Missing In Action From The Vietnam War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. airman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Lt. Col. Earl P. Hopper Jr., U.S. Air Force, of Phoenix, Ariz. He is to be buried on April 3 at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.

On Jan. 10, 1968, Hopper and Capt. Keith Hall were flying an F-4D Phantom near Hanoi, North Vietnam, as part of a four-ship MiG combat air patrol. Before they reached the target, an enemy surface-to-air missile exploded slightly below their aircraft. Hall radioed that he and Hopper were ejecting. He told Hopper to eject, but when he heard no response, he repeated "Earl get out!" Hopper replied, "I've pulled on it and it [the ejection seat] did not go," followed by "you go!" Hall then pulled on his primary ejection handle but it failed to initiate, forcing him to use the alternate. Hall was captured and held as a prisoner of war until 1973, but Hopper was unable to get out of the aircraft.

Between 1993-1998, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted three joint investigations and five excavations at the crash site in Son La Province, west of Hanoi. The team interviewed four informants who had knowledge of the site. The excavations recovered numerous skeletal fragments and crew-related items which were ultimately used in the forensic identification process.

Among other forensic tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists used extensive dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169 or (703) 699-1420.

Face of Defense: Soldier Cooks His Way to Culinary Big Leagues

By Army Staff Sgt. Mike Pryor
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 2, 2009 - Army Sgt. Orlando Serna has a bone to pick with anyone who thinks cooking is nothing more than throwing a few ingredients together in a pot. "It's a science. Everything is a formula," said Serna, a cook with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

Serna's precision and attention to detail inside the kitchen enabled him to clean house at the 34th annual U.S. Army Culinary Arts Competition held at Fort Lee, Va., last month. Serna won three individual awards and helped the Fort Bragg team claim Installation of the Year honors. Additionally, Serna was selected to join the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team -- the culinary equivalent of the Olympic "Dream Team."

"It's huge," Serna, 32, of Atlanta, said. Serna and the rest of the Army's culinary team will face off against cooks from all over the world during the World Culinary Olympics in 2010.

Serna's recent accomplishments in the kitchen had humble beginnings. When he first joined the Army in 1998, the only thing he knew how to make was cookies, he said.

But after a three-year stint as a cook with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, during which he helped Fort Bragg to an Installation of the Year title in 2000, Serna knew he had found his calling. He left the Army to pursue an advanced degree in culinary technology. In 2008, armed with new skills and new techniques, Serna joined back up again, and he has been cooking his way to the top ever since.

Serna's area of expertise is baking. He sounds like a NASA scientist as he rattles off butter ratios, browning-point temperatures, caramelization differences between sugars, and the technique required to get the perfect consistency on a chilled chocolate mousse.

"I like the geek stuff," Serna said.

That painstaking attention to detail is what separates Serna from the rest of the pack. At the Culinary Arts Competition, a dessert centerpiece he created portraying the Muppet character "Animal" took 36 hours of work to craft, but in the end it won the "Most Artistic Exhibit in Show" award.

Despite his individual achievements, Serna was quick to give credit to the soldiers at his unit dining facility.

"At the end of the day, it's not just you, it's your whole [dining facility] behind you picking up the slack that allows you to succeed," he said.

Serna also was proud of the performance of his teammate Army Sgt. Michael Williams, who was his apprentice during the competition and won a Bronze Medal.

"He has a long future out there," Serna predicted.

Like any soldier, Serna said he knows he will be judged on how well he passes on what he knows to his subordinates.

"You can't keep that knowledge to yourself," he said.

The one group that won't be benefitting from Serna's expertise in the kitchen is his family. At home, he said, he keeps the cooking simple. What does he mostly eat there?

"A lot of cereal; quick and easy, you know?" he said.

(Army Staff Sgt. Mike Pryor serves with the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.)

Obama Praises U.S.-South Korea Alliance at London Summit

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

April 2, 2009 - South Korea is a vital ally and firm friend of the United States, President Barack Obama said today while attending the Group of 20 international economic conference in London. Officially known as the Republic of Korea, South Korea "is one of America's closest allies and greatest friends," Obama told reporters just before he met with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

And, under Lee's leadership, Obama said, the friendship between the United States and South Korea "has only grown stronger."

The annual G-20 economic summit is a venue for consultation on the global financial system. It features participation by the world's 19 largest economies, plus the European Union.

South Korea has the fourth largest economy in Asia and boasts one of the world's fastest-growing advanced economic systems.

The United States, Obama said, is keen to discuss issues related to the current global economic downturn at the London conference.

Yet, there are other important issues at hand, Obama said before meeting with Lee, including the topics of defense, peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, South Korea's contributions in Afghanistan, and it's global leadership role on climate change.

Afterward, a senior U.S. administration official told reporters that the two chief executives enjoyed a "warm meeting," and that Obama invited Lee to visit him in Washington in June.

There also "was a fair amount of discussion of the North Korean issue," the official said. North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, recently announced its intent to test-launch another ballistic missile within the next few days.

A North Korean missile launch would be a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1718, the U.S. official said, noting that the United States and South Korea would consult closely about how to respond firmly at the U.N. if the launch occurs.

Meanwhile, the official said, there is a "general expectation" that the North Koreans will proceed with the launch.

"But, we have been making maximum efforts to try to dissuade them, and still hope that they may change their minds," the U.S. official added.

Obama and Lee also had discussed ongoing efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, the official said. North Korea, according to the official, would not be able to drive a wedge between the United States and South Korea.

Obama praised Lee's "calm resolve and restraint and steadfastness" in the face of North Korea's recent actions, the U.S. official said.

North Korea invaded U.S. ally South Korea in June 1950. The ensuing Korean War, in which United States and U.N. combat troops deployed to the Korean peninsula to drive out the North Koreans, eventually brought the People's Republic of China into the conflict on the side of the North Koreans. A truce was signed in 1953.

Bataan Memorial Death March Honors World War II Soldiers

By Army Staff Sgt. Anna Doo
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 2, 2009 - The resounding boom of cannon fire broke the sound of thousands of participants talking as they waited in anticipation March 29 for the start of the 2009 Bataan Memorial Death March. This year, the 26.2-mile event at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., included more than 5,300 participants from 50 states and eight countries, including the Philippines, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom.

While individuals marched for their own reasons, they all came together for the same purpose: to honor the soldiers, who were part of the Bataan Death March during World War II.

The Bataan Death March occurred in 1942 after the Japanese attacked the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines, where American and Filipino soldiers were stationed. After three months of fighting the Japanese with insufficient weapons and dwindling supplies, the American and Filipino soldiers were ordered to surrender April 9, 1942.

The Japanese forced the soldiers to march more than 60 miles with nearly no food or water. The prisoners were subjected to heinous acts of torture and many were killed or perished while marching. Some of the soldiers who survived the march spent the next three years in Japanese prisoner of war camps until freed in 1945.

The opening ceremony for the march included a roll call of the New Mexico National Guard survivors, who were members of the 200th and 515th Coast Artillery units.

One by one, the names of those living and deceased were called out as a reminder of what's called America's "Greatest Generation."

Some of the Bataan survivors lined up along the starting line and shook hands with the racers as a show of gratitude to those who were marching in their honor.

Young and old marched side by side on the rugged terrain with runners, military personnel carrying rucksacks weighing at least 35 pounds, and wounded warriors marching on prosthetic limbs.

Each participant was determined to finish the march and could be heard inspiring others no matter how much their body ached and feet hurt.

Tabitha Baker recalled the moment she crossed the finish line. "The proudest moment was ... seeing the survivors waiting there to commemorate the participants for completing the march. As I shook the survivor's hand I said, 'It is an honor to meet you.' He looked at me, held my hand and answered, 'No, it is an honor to meet you.'

"It is amazing to see these men ... have so much pride and admiration for the soldiers of today."

As each year passes, there are fewer living Bataan veterans, but the responsibility to keep the memory alive
will never perish.

(Army Staff Sgt. Anna Doo serves with the New Mexico National Guard.)

Defense Department Celebrates Military Children in April

American Forces Press Service

April 2, 2009 - The Defense Department and communities throughout the world will continue the 23-year tradition of recognizing the importance of military children in the month of April. The Month of the Military Child, first celebrated in 1986, is especially important today, said Arthur J. Myers, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.

"Children are our nation's unsung heroes," Myers said. "This month-long recognition is a time set aside to acknowledge the important role that children play in the lives of their military parents and express appreciation for their service. This is our chance to thank them for being so supportive of their parents."

About 1.9 million children are part of the military family, and more than two-thirds have had a parent deploy, Myers said. Their role is unique and quietly significant.

"The military lifestyle is tough for kids," he said. "Multiple moves, new schools, saying goodbye to old friends, needing to make new friends -- none of this is easy. And there are many missed special occasions and developmental milestones because of military duties.

"While military parents know this and respect the sacrifices their children make, the nation is largely unaware," he continued. "This is why April is such an important month in military communities. The activities and special recognition help to express gratitude for these contributions."

Military installations, schools and local communities around the world will host ceremonies and special activities throughout the month. Myers encourages families to participate.

"We are grateful to our many community partners who join in this salute," he said. "Let's remember that kids serve, too."

(From a Defense Department news release.)

NATO Prepares for Historic Anniversary, Summit

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 2, 2009 - NATO leaders are slated to focus on a broad range of issues at the summit in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany, this week against the backdrop of the alliance's 60th anniversary. President Barack Obama will lead the U.S. delegation during meetings in which the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan is expected to take center stage. The United States worked closely among NATO allies on an Afghan-Pakistan strategy review the Obama administration unveiled last week.

"We believe that we are going to be able to ensure that the NATO members who've made so many sacrifices and have been working so hard already are reinvigorated, and that the coordination that's going to be taking place will make it even more effective for us as we complete a successful NATO mission," Obama said after meeting at the White House last week with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Ahead of the summit's formal start tomorrow, the alliance today officially added two new members -- Albania and Croatia -- raising to 28 the number of allies that will celebrate six decades since a dozen nations endorsed the North Atlantic Treaty at an April 4, 1949, ceremony here.

De Hoop Scheffer noted that the anniversary would be a time not only to reflect on past successes, but also to look ahead.

"The summit must be more than a celebration," he said in a statement on the NATO Web site. "It must also deliver results in order for our alliance to be able to meet current and future challenges."

The summit's agenda comprises issues beyond the scope of the NATO mission in Afghanistan, as Obama noted after his meeting with the NATO secretary general.

"We have a set of challenges that require NATO to shift from the 20th century to the 21st century; issues of terrorism, failed states, nuclear proliferation, a whole host of new challenges as well as the traditional role that NATO has played in preserving the territorial integrity of NATO members," he said.

Topics of interest include NATO's stabilization operation in Kosovo, NATO-Russia relations, arms control and future expansion.

Today's enlargement of the alliance marks only the sixth time in NATO history that the collective security organization has expanded its borders. Accession by the two Balkan nations follows the addition of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania in 2004; Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999; Spain in 1982; West Germany in 1955; and Greece and Turkey in 1952.

The founding NATO members were the United States, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

De Hoop Scheffer welcomed the alliance's newest members in a statement from the NATO headquarters in Brussels today.

"In becoming NATO members, Albania and Croatia share the benefits and responsibilities of collective security," he said.