Military News

Monday, April 06, 2009

New Fitness Program Helps Soldiers Maximize Potential, General Says

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

April 6, 2009 - The Army's newest resiliency training, Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, is a program designed to improve the emotional and psychological fitness of soldiers and their families, the program's director said. "Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is really a strategy that the Army is starting to use to ensure that each soldier has the opportunity to maximize his or her potential in each important aspect of their life and their health, which is not just physical, it is really part of the roadmap to arrive at 'Army Strong,'" Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Rhonda Cornum told "DotMilDocs" listeners April 2 on Pentagon Web Radio.

Cornum discussed the program's intent, which is to boost the resilience of soldiers and their families by increasing their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family strengths. She said the Army has historically concentrated on the physical fitness and physical health aspect of its soldiers.

"It's a preventative measure to not get people surviving, but thriving," Cornum said. "The idea is to make them more emotionally and psychologically fit."

Cornum added that the five domains -- mental, emotional, spiritual, family strength and fitness -- don't just happen, they have to be trained.

"We recognize now that those other domains are equally important, particularly in this time when the Army really is under a lot of stress," Cornum said.

"The program will start off with assessing where you are in those five domains and developing an ... individualized training program," Cornum continued. "It will link soldiers with what [is] needed prior to any problem developing."

Resiliency training will be initiated in all training schools, she added.

"Just like being able to do more push-ups or run faster, these aptitudes can be trained and they can be practiced and perfected and everybody can be improved," Cornum explained.

The Army's strength is its diversity, she said, but noted there are areas in which the Army can help soldiers do better.

"It's like changing your diet and your exercise and your blood pressure so that you don't get heart disease; not waiting until somebody has heart disease, has a heart attack and then doing CPR," Cornum said.

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

Ties Between U.S., Muslim World Important for All, Obama Says

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2009 - President Barack Obama addressed Turkey's Parliament today in Ankara, calling America's partnership with Turkey and the Muslim world critical in "rolling back the violent ideologies" and strengthening "opportunities for all its people." In his first visit to a predominantly Muslim nation as president, Obama said, "The United States is not, and will never be, at war with Islam."

He called Turkey a "critical" ally and an important part of Europe that must stand together with the United States to overcome "the challenges of our time."

Obama said the economic crisis, terrorist extremism and persistent conflicts, global energy constraints and nuclear weapon proliferation "are the greatest tests of our young century."

"No one nation can confront these challenges alone, and all nations have a stake in overcoming them," he said. "That is why we must listen to one another, and seek common ground ... build mutual interests and rise above our differences. We are stronger when we act together."

Americans and Turks can prosper from partnerships in expanded energy markets, which will create job, trade and investment opportunities for both countries, he said. Building on the U.S. clean technology fund will leverage efficiency and renewable energy investments, he added.

"This economic cooperation only reinforces the common security that Europe and the United States share with Turkey as a NATO ally and the common values we share as democracies," the president said. "In meeting the challenges of the 21st century, we must seek the strength of a Europe that is truly united, peaceful and free."

Obama emphasized the United States' strong support for Turkey's European Union membership bid. He called Turkey a "resolute ally" and responsible partner in transatlantic and European institutions, citing the democratic progress in political reform the country has made to strengthen freedom of the press and reform its penal code. In the past several years, Turkey also lifted bans on Kurdish teachings and broadcasts, he said.

"Turkish membership would broaden and strengthen Europe's foundation once more," he said. "Turkey has pursued difficult political reforms not simply because it's good for Europe, but because it is right for Turkey."

Obama said that peace in the Middle East is another common goal shared by the United States, Turkey and Europe. Israelis and Palestinians must live up to commitments they've made for peace, while Iran must forgo ambitions for nuclear weapons to improve relations in the region. Also, new dialogue must be forged between Iraq and its neighbors to reconcile disputes among Turkey, Kurdish people in Iraq and Iraq's government, he added.

He also addressed the common goal of denying safe havens to al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan and praised Turkish troops for their efforts as part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

"The world has come too far to let this region backslide, and to let al-Qaida terrorists plot further attacks," he said. "Turkey has been a true partner. Together we can rise to meet this challenge, like we have so many before."

The U.S. relationship with the Muslim world can't be shaped by its opposition to al-Qaida, Obama said. The U.S. commitment to improve partnerships with Islamic nations as well as to fight terrorism is demonstrated through their actions towards a better future, he said.

In the coming months, Obama said he will present specific programs to advance the two countries' mutual goals for expanded trade and investments. The programs also will address education and health care in Turkey and throughout the Middle East, he said.

"Our focus will be on what we can do, in partnership with people across the Muslim world, to advance our common hopes and our common dreams," he said. "And when people look back on this time, let it be said of America that we extended the hand of friendship to all people."

General Urges Servicemembers to Seek Help for Stress Disorder

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2009 - Servicemembers at war can be confronted with traumatic, sometimes shocking, events that can cause long-lasting emotional and psychological wounds. In some cases, servicemembers develop what is called post-traumatic stress disorder. In past wars, the disorder was known by other names. In World War I, the medical profession called it shell-shock. In World War II and Korea, it was called battle fatigue. During and after the Vietnam War, it became PTSD.

No matter the name, the devastating effects remain the same, and the disorder can manifest itself in many ways. For Army Brig. Gen. Gary S. Patton, the dreams are the worst. Patton, now the Joint Staff's director for personnel, served as a brigade commander with the 2nd Infantry Division in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2004 and 2005. As a colonel, he commanded 4,100 soldiers who deployed from Korea to Iraq, and then redeployed to Fort Carson, Colo.

"It was a very tough neighborhood," he said during an interview. "It was a very active terrorist threat."

Patton calls the dreams "sleep disturbances," and said that was one of the reasons he sought mental health help. "I'll wake up in the middle of the night with a loud explosion going off in my head," he said. "Not only do you have the sound, but the recreation of the smell and taste that you get from being right there in an [improvised explosive device] explosion.

"That effect has diminished, but it's disturbing nonetheless."

One of the dreams centers on Army Spc. Robert Oliver Unruh. Patton was observing actions on the north side of Ramadi when Unruh, a 25-year-old combat engineer, was hit in the torso by small-arms fire.

"We put him in an armored vehicle to [medically evacuate] him to our aid station," the general said. "I was the last person to talk to Specialist Unruh because he died before my eyes there."

Calling the sleep disturbances dreams doesn't really give them their due. The incidents unroll as they happened, he said. He smells the cordite, he feels the blood, he hears the conversations, and he sees the young specialist die.

Patton wears a bracelet with Unruh's name on it as part of remembering the 69 soldiers from his brigade who paid the ultimate sacrifice over a year in Iraq.

"No one is immune from the stresses of combat," Patton said. "It affects everyone, in all specialties."

When he returned from the deployment, Patton said, even driving became a challenge.. "When I first got back, I had what I call driver anxiety," he said. "It was very hard for me to drive or ride in my car. I found myself scanning to the front, to the side as we drove along."

It was a natural reaction in Ramadi as he looked for snipers, roadside bombs and rocket-propelled grenades, but it wasn't logical in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Patton sought mental health treatment.

"Servicemembers coming back need to understand that they are not alone," he said. "There are others who have experienced the same things and they can get help."

Sleeplessness, anxiety and rage are normal outcomes for human beings going through this, Patton said. Servicemembers need to understand that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, and it does not derail careers.

This is a change from the past. When Patton entered the service in 1979, he served with noncommissioned Vietnam veterans who suffered from the disorder, but did not seek help because it was widely believed that superiors considered those with the disorder shirkers.

"It was something that wasn't on our radar screens back then," he said. "It's pretty common knowledge that we have some ground to cover just in overcoming the stigma associated with PTSD, but we're doing it."

Superiors also recognize the disorder and are working to reduce the stigma. Patton made brigadier general. Army Gen. Carter Ham, the four-star commander at U.S. Army Europe, made two, three and four stars after seeking treatment.

When Patton's brigade left Iraq in 2005, every unit had lost people in Ramadi. The brigade and post leadership treated the screening process seriously and offered mental health services.

In his case, Patton found that counseling and conversation helped. "One of the best things for me is just communication with others who went through the same thing," he said. "Our family members, who love us dearly, have a hard time relating to what we went through. My greatest relief was just through talking over the experiences with others who had been there. I gained coping skills just by talking to other soldiers."

Counseling helps, but there are other treatments as well. The disorder often comes in tandem with traumatic brain injuries and military and Veterans Affairs researchers continue to make progress in treatments.

But this won't help if personnel don't seek aid. "My advice is to go seek mental health care as you would for a physical ailment," Patton said.

Airmen Cover the Fallen With Dignity, Honor, Respect

By Air Force Capt. Shannon Collins
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2009 - For some, it means red, white and blue. It means 13 stripes for the original colonies and 50 stars for the states. For the families of the fallen, the American flag means so much more. Because of this, two airmen assigned to the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center here take their mission very seriously.

"These men and women who gave their lives for their country for the sake of freedom deserve the utmost dignity, honor and respect," Air Force Tech. Sgt. Willard Rico, a shipping specialist here, said. "I'm very privileged to be a part of that, especially for the families left behind."

Rico is deployed from the 60th Force Support Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. His co-worker, Air Force Staff Sgt. Star Samuels, a shipping specialist deployed from the 43rd Force Support Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, N.C., echoes his sentiment.

"We're taking care of someone's child, mother, father, husband, wife. They passed away protecting this country; we try to make everything perfect to give them and their families the utmost respect," Samuels said.

The shipping specialists are part of the final process for fallen heroes prior to beginning their journey home to their loved ones. The mortuary staff prepares the remains of fallen U.S. servicemembers, as well as government officials and their families stationed abroad in Europe and Southwest Asia. Since 1955, the remains of more than 50,000 servicemembers have arrived here for identification and funeral preparations.

The shipping specialists, Rico and Samuels, inspect the caskets, as well as perform a final check to make sure the dog tags, ribbons, flag and more are correct and up to standards. They are the final "eyes" before the fallen are sent to their loved ones.

"We make sure everything is perfect," Samuels said. "Our mission is to send them out the way they're remembered, not how they came in."

Before any fallen come through the doors of the mortuary, the airmen prepare the flags. They remove the flags from their protective packaging, unfold them and then slowly feed them into an industrial steamer for pressing. As the airmen gently unfurl the 5-by-9 foot flag and feed it into the steamer, they spray a mist of water on it. The machine folds the flag over as it presses so that the flag never touches the ground.

The airmen slowly take the freshly pressed flag and put it on a frame for later use. The flags will gently caress the caskets of the fallen as they return to their families. Ultimately, these same flags will be folded by an honor guard at the funeral and presented to the family as a final remembrance of their fallen hero's service and ultimate sacrifice.

For Samuels, pressing the flags brings home the experience and importance of what they mean.

"When I'm pressing a flag, I'm pressing a flag for someone who hasn't died yet," she said. "Today, we pressed 12 flags. Those flags could be here until next weekend, then all of a sudden, we're pressing 12 more flags."

The flags drape over a rack until needed. Once a flag is needed, the two airmen, standing on either side of the casket, slowly pull the pressed flag off of the rack and onto the casket. One of them stands at the foot, one at the head, working in harmony, making eye contact, as they carefully and delicately drape the flag to embody the casket with the fallen soldier, sailor, Marine or airman.

The movements are slow, deliberate and in sync. Their eyes roam around the casket, making sure everything is perfect.

"I have so much respect for my fallen heroes," Samuels said. "These heroes have families, loved ones, who could've talked to them just a couple of hours ago. Just one mistake, one trip down the road, anything can happen. I take nothing for granted."

The airmen perform this mission day in and day out for the families.

"We're here for the families," Rico said. "I'm privileged to be working here, giving dignity, honor and respect to the fallen for their families. It's the most rewarding job I've ever done so far in my career."

As the red, white and blue is secured around the casket, the stars and stripes drawn taunt, the airmen prepare to send the fallen home. They render the slow salute as the American flag passes by.

(Air Force Capt. Shannon Collins serves with the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center public affairs office.)

North Korean Missile Launch Requires 'Strong' U.N. Response, Official Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2009 - The United States and its allies want the U.N. to issue a robust response to North Korea's April 4 missile launch, a U.S. State Department official told reporters here today. "We're going to continue to go forward in discussions with our partners in the council to see and to seek a strong, coordinated and effective response to the North Korean missile launch," spokesman Robert Wood said at a State Department news conference.

Despite international diplomatic urging not to do so, the North Koreans launched a three-stage missile on April 4. The missile, which the North Koreans say carried a communications satellite as its payload, failed to achieve orbit and fell back into the Pacific Ocean without incident, according to the U.S. military.

Senior world leaders including President Barack Obama and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have denounced the missile launch, citing it as a violation of Security Resolution 1718, which prohibits North Korea from making such missile launches or conducting nuclear-weapons research.

Some observers believe that North Korea tested a nuclear-type device in 2006. Also that year, the North Koreans test-fired another missile that also flew over Japan.

The U.N. Security Council met in New York yesterday to discuss the North Korean missile launch, but it didn't issue a statement.

Yesterday's U.N. Security Council session "was trying to deal with the aftermath of this launch," Wood said, noting it is early in the process and the issue is "very complicated."

Consultations at the U.N. over the North Korean missile launch continue, Wood said.

The bottom line, Wood said, is that any missile launch by North Korea is "provocative" and "not in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718."

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on ABC-TV's "This Week" with host George Stephanopoulos yesterday that the United States is "in close consultation with our allies in Asia, in particular, Japan and South Korea about the appropriate response" to the North Korean missile launch.

Rice also told Stephanopoulos that the U.S. has discussed the North Korean missile launch issue "with the Russians and the Chinese" as well.

"We're working very closely with China," Rice said. "China shares the same goal that we do, which is a denuclearized Korean peninsula."

Gates Lays Out Budget Recommendations

American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today laid out his recommendations for the 2010 budget during a Pentagon press conference. The secretary said he included his experiences in national security to make the decisions.

To start, Gates plans to significantly restructure the Army's Future Combat Systems program. "We will retain and accelerate the initial increment of the program to spin out technology enhancements to all combat brigades," he said.

But he said there are unanswered questions about the program's vehicle design strategy. "I am also concerned that, despite some adjustments, the FCS vehicles -- where lower weight, higher-fuel efficiency and greater informational awareness are expected to compensate for less armor -- do not adequately reflect the lessons of counterinsurgency and close-quarters combat in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.

The current vehicle program, developed in fiscal 2000, does not include the recent $25 billion investment in the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles that have saved so many lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gates also noted problems with the current fee structure, which he said gives the government little leverage to promote cost efficiency.

"Because the vehicle part of the FCS program is currently estimated to cost over $87 billion, I believe we must have more confidence in the program strategy, requirements and maturity of the technologies before proceeding further," he said. "Accordingly, I will recommend that we cancel the vehicle component of the current FCS program, re-evaluate the requirements, technology and approach -- and then re-launch the Army's vehicle modernization program, including a competitive bidding process."

The Army needs a vehicle modernization program to meet the needs of the full spectrum of conflict. "But because of its size and importance, we must get the acquisition right, even at the cost of delay," the secretary said.

The secretary recommended halting the F-22 Raptor procurement at 187, and investing instead in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The secretary also would like to end other under-performing programs, such as the VH-71 presidential helicopter. "This program was originally designed to provide 23 helicopters to support the president at a cost of $6.5 billion," he said. "Today, the program is estimated to cost over $13 billion, has fallen six years behind schedule, and runs the risk of not delivering the requested capability."

Gates said the military will develop options in fiscal 2011 for a follow-on program.

The secretary also would like to terminate the Air Force Combat Search and Rescue X helicopter program. The program has a troubled acquisition history and raises the question of whether this important mission can only be accomplished by yet another single-service solution with single-purpose aircraft.

"We will take a fresh look at the requirement behind this program and develop a more sustainable approach," he said.

Gates said he is recommending an end to the $26 billion transformational satellite program, and instead would like to purchase two more advanced, extremely high frequency satellites as alternatives.

Turning to missile defense, he recommended restructuring the program to focus on the rogue state and theater missile threat, meaning the United States will not increase the number of ground-based interceptors in Alaska.

"But we will continue to robustly fund continued research and development to improve the capability we already have to defend against long-range rogue missile threats -- a threat North Korea's missile launch this past weekend reminds us is real," he said.

The secretary said he would like to cancel the second airborne laser prototype aircraft, and shift the existing aircraft and program to a research and development effort. Under his recommendation, the multiple kill vehicle program also would end "because of its significant technical challenges and the need to take a fresh look at the requirement," he said.

Overall funding at the Missile Defense Agency would drop by $1.4 billion.

The recommendation also calls for the purchase of two destroyers in fiscal 2010. "These plans depend on being able to work out contracts to allow the Navy to efficiently build all three DDG-1000 class ships at Bath Iron Works in Maine and to smoothly restart the DDG-51 Aegis destroyer program at Northrop Grumman's Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi," Gates said.

The secretary also will delay or re-evaluate the next generation cruiser, amphibious landing and sea-basing programs.

Acquisition workforce changes also are imperative for the process to get on the right track.

"Under this budget request, we will reduce the number of support service contractors from our current 39 percent of the workforce to the pre-2001 level of 26 percent and replace them with full-time government employees," he said.

"Our goal is to hire as many as 13,000 new civil servants in fiscal 2010 to replace contract employees, and up to 30,000 new civil servants in place of contractors over the next five years," he said.

These are just a portion of the recommendations Gates will make. The secretary stressed that his recommendations reflect lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I know that in the coming weeks we will hear a great deal about threats, and risk and danger to our country and to our men and women in uniform associated with different budget choices," he said.

"Some will say I am too focused on the wars we are in and not enough on future threats," he continued. "The allocation of dollars in this budget definitely belies that claim.

"But, it is important to remember that every defense dollar spent to over-insure against a remote or diminishing risk -- or, in effect, to 'run up the score' in a capability where the United States is already dominant -- is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in, and improve capabilities in areas where we are underinvested and potentially vulnerable. That is a risk I will not take."

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he fully supports Gates' decisions.

"None of them was easy to make; all of them are vital to the future," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said in a written statement.

In his statement, Mullen said it is imperative that the U.S. military invest more in the counterinsurgency mission. Gates' budget recommendations preserve traditional U.S. strengths while investing in this vital mission.

"The secretary presided over a comprehensive and collaborative process to arrive at his decisions," Mullen said. "Every service chief and combatant commander had a voice, and every one of them used it. I know I speak for all of them when I say we are prepared to execute each and every one of these recommendations."

Gates Says People Take Top Priority in Budget Recommendations

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2009 - Personnel needs are at the heart of his proposal to reshape the priorities of America's defense establishment, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said. Gates laid out his budget recommendations today during a news conference at the Pentagon.

The secretary's recommendations will eliminate some high-cost, under-performing programs, but will "fully protect and properly fund" the growth in the Army and Marine Corps and halt reductions in the Navy and Air Force, Gates said.

The secretary's second priority is to rebalance Defense Department capabilities to fund programs that are most needed today and most likely needed in the future. His third priority, he said, is to reform the acquisition process.

Gates said his proposed changes are interconnected and cannot be properly communicated or understood in isolation from one another.

"Collectively, they represent a budget crafted to reshape the priorities of America's defense establishment," he said. "If approved, these recommendations will profoundly reform how this department does business."

Taking care of the all-volunteer force is the secretary's first priority in the budget. In the past, funding for growing the force and other quality of life initiatives was often done on an ad hoc basis in the yearly supplemental. The secretary said he believes these are too important not to include in the base budget.

Growing the land services and halting reductions in the Navy and Air Force will add $11 billion to the fiscal 2010 base budget.

The secretary also would like an extra $400 million to continue growth in military medical research and development.

The secretary noted the importance of recognizing the critical and permanent nature of programs for the wounded, ill and injured, as well as traumatic brain injury and psychological health programs.

"This means institutionalizing and properly funding these efforts in the base budget and increasing overall spending by $300 million," he said. "The department will spend over $47 billion on health care in fiscal 2010."

The department also will increase funding by $200 million for improvements in child care, spousal support, lodging and education.

Since he took office, the secretary has been critical of the lack of a "home for warfighters" in the institution. The budget changes seek to build that home.

"Our struggles to put the defense bureaucracies on a war footing these past few years have revealed underlying flaws in the priorities, cultural preferences and reward structures of America's defense establishment -- a set of institutions largely arranged to prepare for conflicts against other modern armies, navies and air forces," Gates said.

Programs to directly support, protect and care for warfighters have been developed and funded outside the base budget.

"Put simply, until recently there has not been an institutional home in the Defense Department for today's warfighter," he said. "Our contemporary wartime needs must receive steady long-term funding and a bureaucratic constituency similar to conventional modernization programs. I intend to use the fiscal 2010 budget to begin this process."

The U.S. military must maintain support for current wars, but must be ready to contend with the security challenges posed by the military forces of other countries -- from those actively hostile to those at strategic crossroads, he said.

"Last year's National Defense Strategy concluded that although U.S. predominance in conventional warfare is not unchallenged, it is sustainable for the medium term given current trends," Gates said. "This year's budget deliberations focused on what programs are necessary to deter aggression, project power when necessary, and protect our interests and allies around the globe."

Maintaining America's technological and conventional edge requires a dramatic change in the way the department acquires equipment.

"This department must consistently demonstrate the commitment and leadership to stop programs that significantly exceed their budget or which spend limited tax dollars to buy more capability than the nation needs," Gates said. "Our conventional modernization goals should be tied to the actual and prospective capabilities of known future adversaries -- not by what might be technologically feasible for a potential adversary given unlimited time and resources."

The department also must ensure requirements are reasonable and technology is mature enough to allow the department to successfully execute the programs.

"Again, my decisions act on this principle by terminating a number of programs where the requirements were truly in the 'exquisite' category, and the technologies required were not reasonably available to affordably meet the programs' cost or scheduled goals," he said.

The secretary also aimed to realistically estimate program costs, provide budget stability for programs, adequately staff the government acquisition team and provide disciplined and constant oversight.

"We must constantly guard against so-called 'requirements creep,' validate the maturity of technology at milestones, fund programs to independent cost estimates and demand stricter contract terms and conditions," he said.

Every defense dollar is precious, Gates said. Money spent to "over-insure against a remote or diminishing risk is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in and improve capabilities in areas where we are underinvested and potentially vulnerable," Gates said.

Gates Addresses NATO Summit, North Korean Missile Launch

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the recent NATO summit, in which allies pledged additional support to Afghanistan, exceeded his expectations. In a news conference today that centered mainly on the Pentagon budget, Gates fielded questions regarding commitments by NATO allies and a missile launch by North Korea -- both of which took place two days ago.

"I think that what came out of the NATO summit in terms of commitments was for me a pleasant surprise," Gates said. "I think the summit was actually more successful than I expected in what we were able to get."

The April 3 to 4 NATO summit in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany, culminated with allies offering more finances and personnel to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.

NATO members promised to finance and provide more security -- including 3,000 more personnel -- for the Afghan election in August, to send 300 additional military trainers and mentors, and 70 NATO embedded training teams to help grow the Afghan National Army. Other pledges include $500 million for civilian assistance and $100 million in support of the Afghan army.

"For the Europeans to have pledged an additional 3,000 or so troops plus the trainers I think was a significant achievement," said Gates, who did not attend the summit due to defense budget obligations here.

On North Korea, Gates said the decision by the government in Pyongyang to launch a missile serves as a reminder that long-range rogue missile threats are real.

Pyongyang had maintained the launch was "peaceful" and intended only to send a satellite to orbit, but military officials characterized it as a step toward increasing North Korean weapons technology. President Barack Obama denounced the move as a provocation that violated United Nations international security rules.

The three-stage missile North Korea launched April 4 failed to achieve orbit and fell back into the Pacific Ocean without incident, according to the U.S. military. But a successful launch would not have affected his budget recommendations, Gates said today.

The United States was prepared to use a hit-to-kill technology had the missile threatened Hawaii, and ground-based interceptors in Alaska, he added.

"I think ...we're in a pretty good place with respect to the rogue country missile threat in terms of midcourse and terminal phase," he said. "What we're looking at and doing is continuing the [research and development] on the boost phase."

The midcourse phase allows the longest window of opportunity to intercept an incoming missile up to 20 minutes, whereas the terminal phase occurs when the warhead falls back into the atmosphere -- a process that lasts about 30 seconds to a minute. The boost phase is the part of a missile flight path from launch until it stops accelerating under its own power, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

Regarding the launch, Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States was gauging North Korea's ability to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a weapon of mass destruction, and Pyongyang's desire to proliferate and sell the technology.

"The technology they were seeking after the first two failures was the ability to stage -- in other words, transition from one stage of boost to the next. "They failed," Cartwright said during the joint news conference with the defense secretary today.

"On the idea of proliferation," he continued, "would you buy from somebody that had failed three times in a row and never been successful?"

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 6, 2009

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, Joint Operations Group, Lexington, Ky., is being awarded a $200,000,000 ceiling increase modification to an existing indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract for contractor logistics support services, supporting the United States Special Operations Command, Special Operations Forces Support Activity. The work will be performed in various locations and is expected to be completed by Oct. 24. This increase is required to sustain operations pending the results of a protest filed with the Government Accountability Office.

AIR FORCE
The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed priced contract to United Launch Services, LLC, Centennial, Colo., for $184,000,000. This action will provide launch services for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) mission, NROL-15; the undefinitized contract will ensure that the current launch schedule is maintained. At this time, $138,000,000 has been obligated. LRSW/PK, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8811-09-C-003).

NAVY
Northrop Grumman Space & Mission Systems Corp., (NG), San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $27,305,848 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee contract for systems engineering and technical support services in support of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific), Command Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) programs. Specific efforts include standards engineering and analysis, test support, configuration management of tactical information design standards, fleet support engineering services, and network design facility operation. These efforts ensure interfacing Navy, joint service, and allied nations air, surface, subsurface and land C4I systems are interoperable. This two-year contract includes one, three-year option, which, if exercised, would bring the potential, cumulative value of the contract to $73,506,359. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and work is expected to be completed Apr. 7, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities website and posting to the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central web! site, wi th four offers received. SSC Pacific is the contracting activity (N66001-09-D-0077).

Lockheed Martin Services, Inc., Cherry Hill, N.J., is being awarded a $26,324,675 firm-fixed-price task order #EX03 under previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N00189-08-D-Z003) to perform non-guard security functions, which include Armory and ready-for-issue services, Pass and ID Office services, vehicle inspection services, and working dogs services. Work will be performed in Guam (3 percent); Hawaii (4 percent); and various CONUS locations (93 percent); and work is expected to be completed by Sept. 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The basic contract was awarded under competitive conditions. Two offers were received in response to the solicitation. One contract was awarded as a result of the solicitation. This requirement is a task order under that contract. The Fleet & Industrial Supply Center Contracting Department, Philadelphia Office, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity.

Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $9,248,723 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for fabrication of production rate tooling in support of the UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, (70 percent) and Amarillo, Texas, (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in Dec. 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-0023).

T.B. Penick & Sons, Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $9,123,862 for firm fixed price task order #0005 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-08-D-8612) for design and construction of a new combat training tank complex at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The work to be performed provides for construction of a new outdoor combat training tank complex, which includes a swimming pool with a dive tower, lighted concrete pool deck, and a single-story masonry and steel pool building with an attached mechanical equipment building. The site infrastructure improvements include perimeter walls and gates, utilities, parking, and roadwork. The contractor shall provide all labor, supervision, materials, and equipment necessary to complete the work as described in the request for proposal. The task order also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised would increase the cumulative task order value to $10,323,862. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Five proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a $7,787,221 modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-04-C-0028) for the procurement of 18 MH-60S Mission Computers for the MH-60S helicopter. In addition, this modification provides for components for MH-60R/S Common Cockpit Trainers. Work will be performed in Owego, N.Y., and is expected to be completed in Apr. 2010. 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.

Special Tactical Services, LLC*, Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a $5,764,496 modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N61339-07-D-0016) to exercise an option for course instructors for various crew-served weapons courses in support of the Center for Security Forces, Little Creek, Va. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., (53 percent); and Chesapeake, Va., (47 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $5,764,496 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Triumph Structures, Westbury, N.Y.*, is being awarded a maximum $7,056,225 firm fixed price contract for UH-60 Blackhawk spare parts. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is the Army. There were originally two proposals solicited with two responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Mar. 20, 2014. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Huntsville, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., (SPRRA1-09-D-0005).

DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY
Marshall University Research Corp., Huntington, W. Va., is being awarded a $6,834,506 modification to a previously awarded cost-reimbursement grant for the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing. Work will be performed in Huntington, W. Va., and is expected to be completed in Jun. 2010. Funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contracting activity is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., (HR0011-06-1-0028, P00003).

SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif., was awarded on Mar. 23, 2009, a $9,843,152 cost plus fixed fee contract for the Panoptic Analysis of Chemical Traces program. Work will be performed in Menlo Park, Calif., (71 percent); Minneapolis, Minn., (20 percent); Poway, Calif., (8 percent); Newark, Calif., (1 percent); and is expected to be completed in Mar. 2010. Funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. DARPA issued a solicitation in Federal Business Opportunities on Aug. 19, 2008, and 15 proposals were received. The contracting activity is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., (HR0011-09-C-0049).