Military News

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Budget Calls for Growth to Sustain Defense Department Programs, Gates Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 7, 2009 - Recommendations for the fiscal 2010 budget include a 2-percent growth requirement for the Defense Department to help sustain its programs, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today. "I believe we need at least 2-percent real growth going forward and I will make the best case I can," Gates said today during a Pentagon roundtable.

The topline, or the total amount of money the department can budget, for fiscal 2010 is $534 billion. Two-percent real growth is 2-percent growth on top of inflation.

The department cannot sustain its programs with flat growth. The department's budget must grow in the "out years," which in this case is beyond fiscal 2010, to keep the programs on track, Gates said.

The secretary also emphasized the need for warfighters to have a place at the budget and resources table. His recommendations put the warfighters needs in the base budget. Since 2001, these needs have been funded through supplemental budget requests.

These programs include intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities; and greater helicopter and special operations forces capabilities.

"All of those things being in the base budget rather than in the supplemental means they will be part of a service's budget," Gates said. "And we know how good the services are at defending their budgets."

Gates also has built into the base budget an increase in end-strength for the Army and Marine Corps and a halt to personnel reductions in the Navy and Air Force. These and other quality-of-life initiatives also had previously been paid through supplemental budget requests.

"By putting those in the base budget it becomes a permanent part of the [Defense Department] budget going forward rather than depending on whether we get a supplemental next year or not," Gates said.

The department then must ensure warfighters' needs are met in the future. Placing needed equipment and programs in the base budget is one way, but "maybe because I'm an old Kremlinologist," Gates said he thinks the real institutionalization comes through appointments.

Leaders such as Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr.; Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli; Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command; Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command; and Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of 18th Airborne Corps, all have served in places and positions that give them the experience and understanding of the warfighters.

"Their experience will allow them to institutionalize in the Army the lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said. "These are all warfighters. Their appointments were not accidents or happenstance."

An institution can always beat one or two people, Gates said. But "it's very tough to outlast four, five or six. It's very tough to outlast that many," he said.

These generals then will recommend appointments of those behind them. Gates used Petraeus chairing the Army brigadier general board last year as an example of this. The same situation holds true for the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy, the secretary said.

Turning to health care, the secretary said he would like a dialogue on Tricare with Capitol Hill as part of his fiscal 2010 budget recommendations. The department is fully funding the health care program in the 2010 request, but there must be an agreement between the Hill and the Pentagon on the program.

"We have gone up there three years in a row seeking an increase in premiums -- a very modest increase, I might add -- in a program where there has been no increase since it started," Gates said. "I think we need to lay out for Congress how health care is eating the department alive."

In the fiscal 2010 request, health care costs $47 billion. "We will spend on health care what the entire foreign affairs budget is," he said.

The secretary said he delayed making recommendations in some cases to either let the technology mature a bit or so a more complete review can be done as part of the Quadrennial Defense Review or the Nuclear Posture Review next year. "That work will go toward reshaping the fiscal 2011 budget," he said.

The secretary stressed that "all the debate and discussion and the decisions that were made really emanated from within this building. I got no outside 'steers' or direction of guidance."

President Barack Obama agreed with the unorthodox method of announcing the recommendations weeks ago, Gates said. He wanted to do this so people could put the recommendations in context.

New Capabilities Play Vital Role in Budget Recommendations, Gates Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 7, 2009 - New capabilities, which are playing a greater role in America's defense, are an integral part of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' recommendations for the fiscal 2010 budget request. Gates discussed some of these capabilities and his budget recommendations at a Pentagon roundtable this afternoon also attended by Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

To start, the secretary is recommending the Air Force retire 250 of its oldest aircraft next year and halt production of the F-22 Raptor at 187.

Part of the reasoning behind this is that the Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles are coming on line. These UAVs are starting to supplant some of the mission space that manned aircraft once dominated.

"Heretofore, they were not put into the missions that the F-18, F-16, F-15 occupied," Cartwright said. "Now you start to bring that capability on, especially with the Reaper."

The Reaper is like a Predator UAV on steroids. The aircraft can carry up to 1.5 tons of weapons and stay aloft for hours.

"Given that the conflicts that we are in or likely to be in in the next couple of years, are conflicts where being on station for extended periods of time and not carrying maximum loads every sortie -- those platforms really do give you a qualitative edge," the general said.

The secretary called the UAVs new pieces of the defense equations. "These are not just the Predators doing strikes; it is long distances and long dwells," he said. "An F-16 has a range of about 500 miles. The Reaper has a range of about 3,000 miles. This is going to be an increasing part of the Air Force arsenal."

On the F-22 Raptor, the secretary decided to halt the build at 187 -- a number the Air Force and combatant commanders agree on, Gates said. The emphasis will go to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. He said he does not see a risk in the decision.

"The intelligence I've gotten is the first [initial operating capability] for anything like a fifth generation fighter in Russia is 2016," Gates said. "In China it's about 2020."

The Army's Future Combat System was the last and toughest decision he made, Gates said. There is no argument that the Army needs new weapons systems.

"At the end of the day, the principal concern I had was that a program first designed nine years ago had not fully integrated the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan into the vehicle part," he said.

The FCS infantry fighting vehicle has a flat bottom and is 18 inches off the ground. The mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, called an MRAP, -- which has arguably saved many lives -- has a V-shaped hull and is feet above the roadbed.

"We needed to stop, take a deep breath and look at this thing freshly with an eye toward what we had learned," Gates said.

Cartwright said commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have three sets of vehicles at their disposal -- Humvees, Bradleys and MRAPs. "The question is, can one vehicle really cover that span?" the general said.

"I didn't think the program had integrated the operational experience that we have had in Iraq and Afghanistan where the commander has a menu of vehicles he can draw on in any given unit depending on what the mission is," Gates said.

Gates' decisions are meant to fill the gaps between capabilities. He said there are enemies who field a terrorist with an AK-47 assault rifle, but he is backed by a ballistic missile.

"One example is Hezbollah," Gates said. "Hezbollah has more missiles and rockets than most countries and some pretty sophisticated equipment to go with it. And yet, they also have a basic terrorist and irregular warfare capability."

And in Iraq, low-tech terrorists plant sophisticated explosive penetrating devices.

The secretary's recommendations recognize the increasing lethality of all portions of the combat spectrum. "It's not so much the specific capabilities of this budget, but the recognition that the irregular side of this threat has to be in the base budget along with the programs to deal with the more modern kinds of systems which has been in the budget forever," Gates said.

"I think there has been a lot of discussion between the nexus between an extremist organization and weapons of mass destruction, and the proliferation of that WMD in ways that, in the past, only sophisticated nation states could hope to field these kind of weapons," Cartwright said. "That time is coming to an end.

"What we acknowledge here is that the entire span of military operations is extremely lethal," he continued.

Gates said any procurement change has to begin with a professional acquisition cadre in the services and at the defense level. He has recommended hiring more government employees to oversee contractors, because "oversight of the acquisition process is inherently governmental," he said.

Gates said he believes his recommendations have a good chance at passage. "I am an optimist," he said.

The secretary said there is support for acquisition reform on the Hill and the package of changes needs to be seen as a whole rather than as parts.

"I think we will have a productive dialogue of the next couple of months, and I'm optimistic," he said.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 7, 2009

NAVY
BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $22,427,138 modification to a previously awarded cost plus fixed fee term, level of effort contract (N00421-06-C-0085) to exercise an option for maintenance, logistics, and life cycle services in support of communication-electronic equipment/systems and subsystems for various Navy, Army, Air Force, Special Operations Forces and other federal agencies. The estimated level of effort for this option period is 328,000 man-hours. These services are in support of the Special Communications Requirements Division of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. Work will be performed in Chesapeake, Va., (32 percent); Fayetteville, N.C., (28 percent); California, Md., (22 percent); San Diego, Calif., (6 percent); Fort Bliss, Texas, (4 percent); Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., (2 percent); Panzer Kaserne, Germany, (2 percent); Homestead, Fla., (2 percent); Tampa, Fla., (1 percent), and the District of Columbia, (1 percent); 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 Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md., is the contracting activity.

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $21,869,956 firm fixed priced modification to previously awarded delivery order #0007 under contract M67854-07-D-5031 for the purchase of the augmentation parts for the Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs) for Category (CAT) I and II Prescribed Load List; CAT I and II Authorized Stockage List; CAT I and II Battle Damage Repair List; and I and II Deprocessing Kit. Work will be performed in Detroit, Mich., and work is expected to be completed by Oct. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Corp., Integrated Systems, Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $19,999,000 modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-08-C-0027) for long lead material and support for two E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Low Rate Initial Production Lot 1 aircraft. Work will be performed in Syracuse, N.Y., (32.6 percent), various locations within the United States, (23.7 percent); Bethpage, N.Y., (15.5 percent); Dallas, Texas, (12.4 percent); Menlo Park, Calif., (9.8 percent); and Woodland Hills, Calif., (6 percent), and is expected to be completed in Aug. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $14,564,535 modification to a previously awarded cost plus fixed fee contract (N00019-06-C-0086) for H-1 Upgrade logistics products and services. This modification includes logistic management support, technical material for maintenance planning, design interface, supply /material support, support of support equipment, technical data, distribution and inventory management/packaging, handling, storage & transportation, configuration management, supportability analysis, aircraft acceptance discrepancies, and contractor logistics support/technical liaison. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in May 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded an $11,628,351 cost plus fixed fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) to conduct non-recurring engineering for the modification and improvement of the countermeasure transmitters and cabling associated with the Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures (SIRFC) system for the CV-22 aircraft. These improvements will increase transmitter output, expand countermeasure performance and improve the reliability of the SIRFC system. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, Pa., (94 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas, (6 percent) and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2012. 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.

Ecology & Environment, Inc., Lancaster, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum amount $7,500,000 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity architect/engineering contract for preparation of Navy and Marine Corps Environmental Planning Documentation primarily in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest area of responsibility (AOR); however, work may be located any where in the United States. The work to be performed provides for National Environmental Policy Act documents such as Categorical Exclusions, Environmental Assessments, and Environmental Impact Statements. Environmental studies and documents include, but are not limited to, historical, cultural, archaeological, traffic, acoustic (e.g., sound in water and on land), geotechnical, air quality and biological assessments for threatened and endangered species, and protected species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, wetlands surveys and Section 404 permitting, and agency consultation and permitting documentation for the California Coastal Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service and other miscellaneous environmental studies, and cost estimates and sketches for the preparation of Architect-Engineer (A-E) Documents and reports. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Southwest AOR including, but not limited to Calif., (80 percent), Ariz., (5 percent), Nev., (5 percent), Colo., (1 percent), N.M., (1 percent), and Utah, (1 percent). Work may also be performed in Alaska, (1 percent), Hawaii, (1 percent), and remainder of the U.S., (5 percent). The contract is expected to be completed by Apr. 2014. Contract funds ($5,000) will 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, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-09-D-2601).

MN3M, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $6,890,653 firm fixed price architect/engineering contract for the replacement of Pier 5 at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The work to be performed provides for design services, preparation of specifications, design calculations, cost estimates, field investigations, geotechnical services, topographic surveys, hazardous material testing, renderings, post construction award services, and National Environmental Policy Act Planning. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Va., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 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 seven proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-5070).

AIR FORCE
Today the Air Force is modifying a fixed price incentive contract to Boeing Satellite Systems, Incorporated, El Segundo, Calif., for an estimated $8,105,000. This action will provide sustaining engineering for Post-Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the Wideband Satellite System for Wideband Global Satellite (WGS)-25. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC/MCSW), Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. is the contracting activity (FA8808-06C-0001, P00044).

Today, the Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract to Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe Enterprise, Samson, Ala., for an estimated $6,900,806. This action will provide non-personal services contract for Facility Technical Engineering Support Services. At this time $698,805 has been obligated. AFDW/AF7KM-S, Brooks City-Base, Texas, is the contracting activity (FA7014-09-C-0037).

Vice President to Visit Fort Bragg, Welcome Home 18th Airborne Corps

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

April 7, 2009 - Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Fort Bragg, N.C., tomorrow to welcome home Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III and his 18th Airborne Corps soldiers during a ceremony marking the end of their 15-month deployment to Iraq. Biden and Austin are expected to speak at the Main Post Parade Field on Fort Bragg.

About 200 soldiers from 18th Airborne Corps headquarters flew into Green Ramp on Pope Air Force Base, N.C., on April 4. Austin and 40 more soldiers flew in the following day after officially relinquishing command of Multinational Corps Iraq to 1st Corps from Fort Lewis, Wash.

The 18th Airborne Corps was the operational headquarters in charge of the Iraq military theater from February 2005 to January 2006 and then again from February 2007 until April 4. The corps was responsible for nearly 160,000 coalition troops within three Army divisions, one Marine expeditionary force, three coalition divisions and numerous separate brigades.

Their mission was to manage and oversee full-spectrum operations to counter extremist groups, provide security for the Iraqi people, and to develop Iraqi security forces as well as the government's capacity.

Under 18th Airborne Corps' watch, security and violence drastically improved throughout the country. Following redeployment of the "surge" brigades in June and July 2008, insurgent attack levels fell by 400 percent and remained increasingly low, Austin said in a Pentagon news conference last month.

Austin said he knew going in that his corps' main responsibility would be to build on the success of the surge. The trend continues today with little violence and steadily decreasing attack levels throughout the country, which has allowed U.S. forces to shift focus to Afghanistan -- including more Fort Bragg soldiers.

The Fort Bragg-Fayetteville, N.C., community has been a revolving door of deployments and continuous combat training since 9/11. The community is home to more than 60,000 soldiers, airmen and their families from Pope Air Force Base, the 82nd Airborne Division, 18th Airborne Corps and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division headquarters, 82nd Aviation Brigade and 4th Brigade Combat Team are all scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan this spring and summer. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team is deployed to Baghdad.

Airmen from Pope Air Force Base and Special Forces soldiers from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command as well as 3rd and 7th Special Forces Groups have been rotating back and forth to Afghanistan since 9/11.

Budget Recommendations Provide 'Home' for Warfighters, Gates Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 7, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says the changes to the budget that he proposed yesterday will provide a "home" for warfighters that doesn't currently exist in the Pentagon's institutions. The Defense Department has a set of institutions arranged largely to prepare for conflicts against other modern navies, armies and air forces.

"Programs to directly support, protect and care for the man and woman at the front have been developed ad hoc and ... funded outside the base budget," Gates said during a Pentagon news conference announcing his fiscal 2010 budget recommendations. "Put simply, until recently, there has not been an institutional home in the Defense Department for today's warfighter."

The most likely scenarios American servicemembers will face in the coming years is warfare such as that in Iraq and Afghanistan in which both conventional and unconvential, or irregular, tactics are used, Gates said.

"Our contemporary wartime needs must receive steady long-term funding and a bureaucratic constituency similar to conventional modernization programs," the secretary said. "I intend to use the fiscal 2010 budget to begin this process."

Conventional weapons systems have advocates for their long-range needs and points of view -- within the department and in industry, Gates said. For example, the F-22 Raptor has built-in advocates pushing for the program. There are Army offices specializing in the Future Combat System. But if warfighters need a capability like the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle or new protective gear, there isn't a home for that.

Trying to put the Defense Department bureaucracy on an unconventional war footing has "revealed underlying flaws in the priorities, cultural preferences and reward structures of America's defense establishment," Gates said.

Gates said the Defense Department budget, with his recommendations incorporated, would break into roughly "10 percent for irregular warfare; about 50 percent for traditional, strategic and conventional conflict; and about 40-percent dual-purpose capabilities."

The decisions are not about irregular warfare putting the conventional capabilities in the shade. "This is just a matter ... of having the irregular-war constituency have a seat at the table for the first time when it comes to the base budget," he said.

The debate between conventional and irregular capabilities is artificial, Gates said. Most experts talk about "a spectrum of conflict in which you may face at the same time an insurgent with an AK-47 [assault rifle] and his supporting element with a highly sophisticated ballistic missile," he said.

They call this threat spectrum "complex hybrid warfare," he said.

The budget recommendations the secretary made strengthen the ability of the department to meet these threats. He said he does not want to supplant conventional capabilities with irregular capabilities.

"I'm just trying to get the irregular guys to have a seat at the table and to institutionalize some of the needs that they have so that we can get what they need to them faster, and so that we don't have go outside the Pentagon bureaucracy every time there's a need for the warfighter that has to be met in a relatively short period of time," he said.

The secretary said his conclusions were the result, in part, of a lifetime of experience in national security.

"I set out here to develop a budget and a program, really, that I thought best served the national security interests of the United States," Gates said. "And I, frankly, decided that I would not take the political issues associated with any of these programs into account. I would just do what I thought was best for the country.

"And my hope is that in the months ahead that, first, the president will approve this budget, and then second, that the Congress, after careful deliberation, will support as much of it as possible."

Air Guard Fighters Intercept Suspicious Aircraft

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

April 7, 2009 - Air National Guard fighter aircraft from two states intercepted a suspicious aircraft as it flew into U.S. airspace yesterday afternoon. North American Aerospace Defense Command directed F-16C aircraft assigned to the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., to initially intercept the Cessna 172 single-engine aircraft near Michigan's Upper Peninsula, before handing off the mission to F-16s assigned to the 115th FW of Madison, Wis.

Pilots attempted to notify the pilot to establish communications with local Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers and land safety for further follow-on action, according to a Wisconsin National Guard news release.

The Cessna pilot acknowledged the fighters, but was unresponsive to specific nonverbal commands, according to a NORAD press release.

Mike Kucharek, a NORAD spokesman, said the Cessna was reported as stolen from an aviation school in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, and departed without Navigation Canada authority.

The pilot was flying erratically and did not communicate with fighter pilots, the spokesman told national news agencies.

The Wisconsin fighters were about to hand the mission over to aircraft from the 159th FW of the Louisiana Air National Guard when the Cessna ran out of gas over southern Missouri. U.S. Customs and Border Protection aircraft intercepted the Cessna as well, but the F-16s followed the aircraft until it landed in an area 23 miles northwest of Poplar Bluff, Mo., at 9:45 p.m. EDT. The aircraft landed on Highway 60 near Ellsinore, Mo., and was apprehended by local authorities.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Don Dunbar, the adjutant general of the Wisconsin National Guard and the homeland security advisor to the state, ordered the evacuation of the Capitol building in Madison as a precautionary measure, according to a state-issued press release. At 5:45 p.m., the evacuation was terminated based on the aircraft's proximity to the building.

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