Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Harris Corp., RF Communications Division, Rochester, N.Y., was awarded on Apr. 3, 2009, a $149,732,819 firm fixed price contract for AN/PRC-117 tactical satellite radio systems, associated spare parts, and support services. Work is to be performed in Rochester, N.Y., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 3, 2013. Twenty seven sole source bids were solicited and one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-09-K-K002).

Hansel Phelps Construction Co., Phoenix, Ariz., was awarded on Apr. 3, 2009, a $47,615,000 firm fixed price contract to construct a new three-story replacement medical/dental clinic totaling approximate 171,000 square feet, and incidental related work. Work is to be performed in Midwest City, Okla., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 09, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web and six bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Tulsa, Okla., is the contracting activity (W912BV-09-C-2001).

Hansel Phelps Construction Co., Phoenix, Ariz., was awarded on Apr. 3, 2009, a $ $47,615,000 firm fixed price contract to construct a new three-story replacement medical/dental clinic totaling approximate 171,000 square feet, and incidental related work. Work is to be performed in Midwest City, Okla., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 09, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web and six bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Tulsa, Okla., is the contracting activity (W912BV-09-C-2001).

Kidde Dual Spectrum, Goleta, Calif., was awarded on Apr. 2, 2009, a $35,226,899 firm fixed price contract to procure an additional 8,617 safety enhancement retrofit kits to the automatic fire extinguisher system/fire suppression system that is equipped on fielded up-armored high mobility multi-purpose wheeled vehicle. Work is to be performed in Wilson, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 23, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Tacom LCMC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-D-0116).

Alliant Ammunition and Powder Co., LLC, Redford, Va., was awarded on Mar. 30, 2009, an $ 18,490,700 firm fixed price contract to support operations at Redford Army Ammunition Plant. Work is to be performed in Redford, Va., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 31, 2010. One bid solicited and one bid received. HQ, Field Support Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAA09-03-E-0001).

Joint Tech Services Inc., Kailua, Hawaii was awarded on Apr. 1, 2009, a $7,568,128 firm-fixed-price contract for four months of technical consulting/field support for Iraq defense network. Work is to be performed in 41 sites in Iraq with an estimated completion date of Jul. 31, 2009. One sole source bid was solicited and one bid received. CECOM Acquisitions Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity.

Danahee Tool Group, Sparks, Md., was awarded on Apr. 06, 2009, a $6,649,109 firm fixed price contract for TK2171 Optical Tool and equipment kits. Work is to be perfumed in Sparks, Md., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web and one bids received. Tacom-LCMC-Rock Island, Ill is the contracting activity (DAAE20-03-D-0086).

Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Va., was awarded on Apr. 3, 2009, a $6,200,000 labor hour any fixed price task order contract to provide support for casualty support and survivor outreach services. Work is to be performed in Alexandria, Va., and Fort Knox, Ky., with an estimated completion date Mar. 13, 2014. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web and two bids received. Contracting Center Excellence, Alexandria Va., is the contacting activity (W91WAW-09-C-59).

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $158,113,017 firm fixed priced delivery order #0012 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) for the purchase of independent suspension kits for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles. Work will be performed in, OIF/OEF areas of responsibilities, and various locations within the United States, and work is expected to be completed by Dec. 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Applied Signal Technology, Inc., Torrance, Calif., is being awarded $23,834,009 to perform a five year follow on effort to previously awarded contract N00014-05-C-0476, to support the Submarine Security & Technology Program to assess and refine existing and potential threat technologies. Work will be performed in Torrance, Calif., and is expected to be completed Apr. 2014. Contract funds will not expire at end of current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured under ONR BAA 08-021, dated Sept. 16, 2008. The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00014-09-C-0355).

Today the Air Force is awarding an Iindefinite delivery/indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee, cost sharing, and cost reimbursement contract to EO&T-Boeing Research and Technology, Seattle, Washington not to exceed $30,000,000. This action will provide support for the Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engines (VAATE) program. The VAATE program is a joint DoD/NASA/DOE/Industry effort to develop revolutionary and innovative technologies by the 2017 timeframe that will provide a 10X increase in turbo-propulsion affordability over the year 2000 state-of-the-art technology. At this time, $110,776 has been obligated. Det. 1 AFRL/PKPB, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8650-09-D-2928; Task Order 0001).

Today the Air Force is modifying a fixed price award fee contract with McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Boeing Co., Long Beach, Calif. for an estimated $10,211,900. This action is based on performance on the Globemaster III sustainment Partnership (GSP) program. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 516 AESG/PKS, Wright-Patterson Air force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8614-04-C-2004, P000286).

Gates, Lebanese Defense Minister Explore Expanding Bilateral Relationship

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates hosted Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr today at the Pentagon as the two leaders assessed the way ahead in the two countries' military-to-military relationship and U.S. support to the democratically elected Lebanese government. The visit, two months after Lebanese Gen. Jean Kahwaji became the first Lebanese armed forces commander to visit the United States, underscores U.S. efforts to meet the needs and requests of Lebanon's military, which are considered critical to stability in Lebanon and the region, a senior defense official said.

"The Defense Department sees the Lebanese armed forces as a critical institution to a free and independent and sovereign Lebanon," Colin Kahl, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy, told the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.

The United States isn't alone in internationally recognizing the importance of strengthening Lebanon's state institutions, including its military. "U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 basically enshrines the sense of the international community that a free and independent Lebanon that exercises sovereignty over all its territory is something we share as an interest, not just in the region, but more broadly," Kahl said.

But Lebanon has long faced threats from outside as well as within its borders, he said. Sunni and Shiite extremist groups operate within the country. Hezbollah's heavily armed militia provides a direct challenge to Lebanon's sovereignty.

"Lebanon faces a whole array of challenges," Kahl said. "But both in terms of their international and external relations, we see the Lebanese armed forces as playing an important stabilizing and moderating influence."

Toward helping it fulfill that role, the United States has provided more than $410 million in military assistance to Lebanon since 2006. That support has included Humvees, trucks, M-198 howitzer artillery pieces, M-4 and M-16 rifles, body armor vests, MK-19 grenade launchers, shoulder-fired rockets, spare helicopter parts and millions of ammunition rounds.

More recently, the Defense Department has been working with the Lebanese government to expedite delivery of Cessna close-air-support aircraft with precision Hellfire missiles and Raven unmanned aerial vehicle systems. The United States is also working to transfer M60 Abrams tanks to the Lebanese military from other countries in the region, Kahl said.

These systems, expected to be delivered by June, will strengthen the Lebanese armed forces' ability to conduct counterterrorism missions, protect its borders, maintain law and order and confront threats to its internal security, he said.

Kahl called this capability a hallmark of a sovereign state, and critical to stability in Lebanon and the region.

"In Lebanon, this is particularly important where you have a number of groups outside the state that attempt to have militias or engage in forceful activities," he said. "We really think standing up the Lebanese armed forces is an important symbol, and actually a material indication of Lebanon's sovereignty."

Defense Schools Earn A's, B's on Early Survey Results

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - Preliminary results of the Department of Defense Education Activity's months-long customer-satisfaction survey of military parents or guardians and students have been announced. "Because we just closed it, we don't have all the details of it yet," said Shirley A. Miles, director of DoDEA. "We'll be doing that within the next few weeks, question by question, section by section.

"I'm anxiously looking forward to looking at the results and comparing them to what they were from two years ago," she added.

About 18,000, or 25 percent, of all parents, guardians or sponsors participated in the survey, which is conducted every two years. That is up slightly from the last survey, in which 23 percent of parents and guardians participated. Student participation stayed level at 75 percent of students in the 4th through 12th grades.

Overall, DoDEA schools received an A or B grade from both sponsors and students. The survey showed 74 percent of participating sponsors were satisfied with the education their children were receiving through DoDEA schools. Overall student satisfaction was at 72 percent.

"I'm pleased that parents are, for the most part, pleased with the education their children are getting," Miles said. "We certainly appreciate their input."

Miles said she'd also like parents to know that DoDEA is focused on improving, and that officials are aware the organization sometimes lacks accountability. "That needs to be shored up, and we will do that," she said.

Changes resulting from suggestions made by task forces convened to address issues the last survey raised are beginning to be implemented. Task forces soon will convene to address issues discovered through the just-concluded survey, Miles said.

Once a task forces is formed, Miles explained, it takes about a year for its recommendations to take shape. "If there are any areas that are, of course, glaring, we address them right away," she added. "We don't wait for a task force to do that."

DoDEA officials are prepared to look at a range of issues, just as they did with the last survey, Miles said. This survey asked sponsors and students about their overall satisfaction with education, educational assessments, technology, student support and communications.

Though the survey results available so far are preliminary, Miles said, two areas will get attention from task force groups.

"I can tell you two areas we're going to focus in on next year already: block scheduling ... and seminar classes [at the high school level]," she said.

Block schedules consist of alternating class schedules of 90-minute classes. Seminar classes also are 90-minute sessions during the school week.

"It's a chunk of time, and I would like to know how efficiently that time is used," Miles said.

It will be a several weeks before all of the data from DoDEA's three areas -- Europe, the Pacific and stateside schools -- will be available, Miles said. When that's finished, task forces will begin analyzing the data in earnest.

Families of Missing Find Comfort, New Information at Briefings

By Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Chlosta
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - More than 120 people whose family members never returned from military service gathered here recently for an update from officials of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office. "A bright orange flash in the sky," James P. McGarvey said as he described a pilot's report of how his father, Marine Corps pilot Lt. Col. James M. McGarvey, went missing during a bombing run off the northeastern coast of Vietnam on April 17, 1967.

A pilot reported from eight miles away that he saw an orange flash, but he didn't think it was an airplane, McGarvey said.

McGarvey and his wife, Alice, were among at least 122 people who gathered at a conference center here March 28 to take part in a Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office family update briefing. Their search for McGarvey's father was among 71 cases represented: 32 from the Korean War, 19 from the Vietnam War, 17 from World War II and three from the Cold War.

The office conducts briefings for family members of Americans missing from the nation's past conflicts near major U.S. metropolitan areas about eight times a year. Senior personnel from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, known as JPAC, are featured speakers.

"We have family update briefs to stay connected with the families so they know that the government is still interested in their cases," Ambassador Charles Ray, deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs, said. "A second reason is [to have] a venue to tell not only the families, but [also] the wider public that we as a government keep our promise to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that their sacrifices won't be forgotten."

"For JPAC, it keeps the families' plight in our face," Steve Thompson, the command's external affairs officer, said. "A lot of family members come to every meeting."

Families of servicemembers missing in Southeast Asia have been coming for years, and they know their cases well, Thompson said. But more and more attendees are relatives of Korean War MIAs, and a lot are first-timers, which Thompson said is an "indicator that more and more folks are learning about what we do."

During the meetings, family members attend separate sessions tailored to the conflict in which their loved ones were lost.

"You know that time is our greatest enemy," Johnie Webb, JPAC's deputy to the commander for public relations and legislative affairs, said to the family members of MIAs from the Korean War. Webb updated the relatives on JPAC's operations in their ongoing searches for MIAs and the challenges they face.

"Every day that passes, witnesses that could lead us to burial sites and crash sites are dying, sites are being scavenged, sites are being lost because of ... land reformation [or] development. So time is our biggest enemy, without a doubt," Webb said.

Later, during a Korean War brief, Webb cited examples of the extent that JPAC investigation teams went to in South Korea last year to get leads on missing Americans.

"Witnesses are important, especially in this type of warfare with a lot of ground losses," Webb said. "Our investigation team went in and knocked on ... door[s] to talk to 403 individuals. Out of those 403 individuals, 11 had information that might be related to American losses. As a result of that, three sites were added to our excavation list; that is, we believe Americans are there. We need to go excavate the site."

In another Korean War mission, Webb said, a team talked to more than 1,700 people. Of those, team members believe 40 may have information about missing Americans. Two more excavation sites were added to the list because of those interviews, he said.

During breaks throughout the day, Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory personnel swabbed the inside of several attendees' cheeks to get DNA family reference samples. Lab analysts can use the samples to match remains recovered in the future or current unidentified remains stored in JPAC's lab. They also can use the DNA to exclude a person from group or comingled remains.

"This is really the whole thing that makes the IDs for us," Chris Johnson, a DNA analyst, said. "Without these family reference samples, we have nothing else in these situations, sometimes, to make an ID for these families."

One family member who had her cheek swabbed, Amy L. Goyne, said she found the meeting "very comforting." Goyne is the daughter of Air Force pilot Capt. John S. Walmsley Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient, who was killed during a mission over North Korea during the Korean War.

"They're very informative, and they make you feel like you're important, Goyne said. "It makes you feel like you're part of a family, because that door is still open."

Goyne said she attended to find out what progress is being made on her father's case, which has been limited because JPAC is not currently allowed into North Korea.

"It is truly a global mission," Webb said, during his World War II family update. "We travel all over the world doing this."

JPAC has conducted or planned for 39 recovery missions, 13 investigation missions and three underwater investigation missions in the fiscal year that runs through September. JPAC identifies about 70 MIAs per year.

Sometimes people think that the U.S. government doesn't care, Alice McGarvey said. "I think today shows that is far from the truth. You can hear the sincerity in [the speakers'] voices."

McGarvey was 6 years old when his father's plane went down.

"I remember him," he said. "I can remember how he was towards my sisters. He was just goofy. I thought about [how] we would bury him and then [we'd have] someplace to take our kids and say, 'This is your grandfather.'"

"You just don't forget," Alice McGarvey said.

The McGarveys said they're going to review the information they were given, formulate more questions, and attend the annual DPMO Southeast Asia Government Brief scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., in July.

Tears streamed down Alice McGarvey's face as her husband explained why it is so important to him that his father's remains are returned home.

"Just to know he is back where he should be, it would give final closure," McGarvey said.

(Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Chlosta serves in the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command public affairs office.)

NATO Ceremony Marks Entrance of Albania, Croatia

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - A NATO flag-raising ceremony yesterday punctuated the entrance of Albania and Croatia into the 60-year old collective security alliance. Attending the event at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, was NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the heads of state of the newly added member countries.

"The accession of Albania and Croatia demonstrates that the idea of freedom is irresistible," de Hoop Scheffer said. "It demonstrates that nations and peoples across the Atlantic come together when they are given the chance to make their own free choice. This is the clearest demonstration that in today's Europe, geography no longer is destiny."

The enlargement, which became official April 1, marks only the sixth time the organization has expanded its borders, and brings to 28 the number of members now in the alliance, six decades after a dozen nations endorsed the North Atlantic Treaty at an April 4, 1949 ceremony here.

De Hoop Scheffer said membership for Albania and Croatia marks the well-deserved reward for many years of hard preparation.

"It is a full vindication of the vision of those who have, for years, seen their countries' future in NATO," he said. "Both countries will now have a seat at the table where key decisions are made to shape Euro-Atlantic security. And both countries can now enjoy the ultimate security guarantee of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty."

Article 5 stipulates that an attack against one NATO member is tantamount to an attack against the whole alliance.

Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha expressed pride in raising his nation's flag alongside those of other alliance members.

"For this flag and the nation it represents, this day is the greatest day after the declaration of independence of Albania," he said.

Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said the day was one of joy and celebration for Croatians.

"We have raised the Croatian flag at NATO Headquarters, which will represent, alongside the other 27 allied banners, the shared values, such as freedom, peace, democracy, rule of law, human rights, and social market economy," Sanader said. "After many testing years and despite all difficulties, we can proudly say that we have succeeded."

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.

Official Cites Value of Cyberspace to Warfighting Operations

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - Maintaining and protecting the U.S. military's worldwide computer network is a vital component of national security, a senior official said here today. "For the United States military, cyberspace is a warfighting domain and it is critical to our operations," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters. "And so, we do have to aggressively protect our networks and our ability to work in cyberspace."

It also is important, Whitman said, that the Defense Department dedicate the resources necessary to maintain its cyberspace capabilities. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has indicated he'd like to bolster the Pentagon's cyberspace capability, he noted.

During an April 6 Pentagon news conference in which he discussed the proposed fiscal 2010 defense budget, Gates told reporters he wants to increase the number of cyber experts who can be trained for departmental service from 80 students per year to 250 per year in fiscal 2011.

Maintaining cyberspace assets is increasingly important to warfighters, Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told members of the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on strategic forces March 17. Chilton also told the House legislators he's concerned about growing threats against military computer networks.

Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pointed out that times have changed, as he sat at Gates' side during the April 6 Pentagon news conference. In the past, Cartwright said, conventional-warfare adversaries "knew exactly" who they were fighting and where the threat emanated.

However, "that's not the case anymore in cyber warfare and weapons of mass destruction," Cartwright said, "because there are venues without attribution that we have to deal with as we move to the future."

Uniform Registration Process to Promote Seamless Military-to-Veteran Transition

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - The best way to ensure servicemembers transition seamlessly from the Defense Department to the Department of Veterans Affairs when they leave the military is to start the process at the swearing-in ceremony, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki told American Forces Press Service. "Seamless transition really has to begin when that servicemember is still serving, puts on the uniform, raises a right hand and takes the oath of allegiance," said Shinseki, who spent 38 years in uniform before retiring in 2003 as Army chief of staff. "We need to begin the transition then."

Shinseki said he's had several conversations with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates about ways to continue improving the transition process between the two departments.

One concept, called "uniform registration," would enroll servicemembers automatically in a single Defense-VA management system when they join the military. As envisioned, the system would have two components: one for personnel files and another for medical files.

Shinseki explained the benefits of uniform registration last month during a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. "Uniform registration will push both of us, both the VA and the [Defense Department], to create a single, electronic record that would govern how we acknowledge, identify, track and manage each of our clients," he said.

"That way, we could begin to track them throughout the course of their service in uniform – whether it's two years, four years, 10 years, 30 years," he told American Forces Press Service.

"And when the change in their status occurs and they take the uniform off and return to civilian life, the transition has already been done," he continued. "They are already a member of our department, we know who they are, and we have been watching their development."

The initiative, he said, would result in better, faster, more consistent management decisions, with less chance of lost files or destroyed claims and fewer backlogs in processing claims. Servicemembers leaving the military would come to VA as known entities, and their entitlements would be clear, Shinseki said. Meanwhile, VA could better project veterans' needs.

Shinseki told the Senate committee both VA and the Defense Department "are in agreement about the goodness of such a system and have people working toward making this a reality."

Uniform registration is really just an extension of other VA-administered programs that cover those in uniform, Shinseki said. These include Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, educational loans and guaranteed home loans.

"So this idea that your benefits begin when you take off the uniform is misleading," he said. "Those benefits are there in those categories from the time they begin serving."

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments have been working diligently to eliminate gaps as servicemembers – particularly wounded warriors – transition from military to civilian life. Congressional panels, blue-ribbon commissions and in-house investigations all have pointed to the need for the two departments to improve their coordination and cooperation to better serve transitioning troops.

Shinseki told the Senate panel progress being made will help ensure better care and support for veterans. "Through a cooperative effort, we seek to improve the delivery of benefits and assure the availability of medical data to support the care of patients shared by VA and [the Defense Department]," he wrote in his written testimony. "This will enhance our ability to provide world-class care to veterans, active-duty servicemembers receiving care from both health-care systems, and our wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan."

Cyber Defense Cost Pentagon $100 Million in Six Months, Officials Say

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - Defending the Defense Department's global information grid from attacks cost the U.S. military more than $100 million over the past six months, U.S. Strategic Command officials said yesterday. Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, Stratcom commander, and Army Brig. Gen. John Davis, deputy commander of Joint Task Force Global Network Operations, spoke from a cyber security conference in Omaha, Neb.

Chilton said Stratcom – charged with overseeing cyber operations – needs to treat computer network operations just as commanders treat operations on the land, in the air or on the sea. Defense Department networks are attacked thousands of times a day, he said. The attacks run the gamut from "bored teenagers to the nation state with criminal elements sandwiched in there."

The motives of those attacking the networks go from just plain vandalism to theft of money or information to espionage. Protecting the networks is a huge challenge for the command, Chilton said.

"Pay me now or pay me later," Davis said in assessing how to handle the threat. "In the last six months, we spent more than $100 million reacting to things on our networks after the fact. It would be nice to spend that money proactively to put things in place so we'd be more active and proactive in posture rather than cleaning up after the fact."

Davis' command is responsible for defensive and offensive operations in cyberspace. The expenses were in manpower, time, contractors, tools, technology and procedures, he said.

Training is needed for personnel to launch both defensive and offensive operations, Chilton said. "We need to train all our folks and we need high-end skill training," he said.

Stratcom operates the Defense Department's global information grid, Chilton noted. "We also have the responsibility to plan for and when directed to conduct offensive operations," he said. "As in all domains, a good defense relies on a good offense."

As in land, sea and air domains, the United States wants to retain freedom of action in the cyber domain, Chilton said. "We need to have the tools, skills and expertise in a time of conflict so we can maintain our freedom of action," he said.

Chilton said Defense Department personnel need to change the way they think about cyberspace. "It's not just a convenience. It's a dependency that we have," he said. "We need to change the way we conduct ourselves in cyberspace and hold our military folks to the same high standards that we hold our air, land and sea operators to."

A prohibition on using so-called "thumb-drives" and other portable data storage devices on Defense Department computers will remain in effect, Davis said. "I don't think anybody realizes how much better shape we'd be in if we just did the basics right," he said. "People need to just apply the basic rules and procedures that have been put in place to protect ourselves."

While this won't stop the more sophisticated threats, "it sure will get rid of the thousands of things that clutter the environment," Davis said.

Group Donates Easter Baskets for Month of Military Child

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - A California based troop-support group has collected and mailed more than 600 Easter baskets as part of April's observance of the Month of the Military Child. "Because the Easter bunny and children go hand-in-hand, our Easter project was directly targeted to the children," said Karla Davis, Pennsylvania state coordinator for Soldiers' Angels. "We were blessed enough with support for sending out over 610 Easter baskets this year. There were also several hundred gift cards sent with the baskets to help the parents in purchasing Easter dinner."

The majority of the baskets went directly to Fisher Houses and military bases to be distributed to military children.

"Fisher Houses and military bases have contacted me already, to say, 'Wow, we received the Easter baskets,'" Caren Vink, vice president of Soldiers' Angels, said. "They say, 'This was awfully nice of Soldiers' Angels outreach to honor our families.' This mission focused on supporting military families with children here at home for the Easter holidays."

Soldiers' Angels collected Easter items by posting a letter of invitation on the group's Web site several months ago, asking Americans to support military families with children for the Easter holiday. Americans were asked to drop off Easter baskets at different Soldiers' Angels locations.

"We had such a great outpouring by our donors and angels," Vink said. "We had many donors that were prepared to send pre-filled Easter baskets, sealed bags of Easter candy and gift cards across the country to these kids."

Military families not at Fisher Houses or military bases were able to request Easter baskets via e-mail.

In the past, Davis said, Soldiers' Angels had received many requests for help with purchasing Easter baskets and felt honored to reach out to military families during the Month of the Military Child.

"These children are making as many sacrifices for our country as our heroes," she said. "They are lending their hero to the entire world. Soldiers' Angels has always paid particular attention to military children during this month and every month."

Face of Defense: Army's NATO Brigade Commander Blazes Trail

By Kristen Marquez
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - As a cadet in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., Leah R. Fuller-Friel became her battalion's first female commander. Now, 25 years later and a colonel, she's the first female commander of the U.S. Army NATO Brigade, headquartered at Tompkins Barracks in Schwetzingen, Germany.

Fuller-Friel's military interests started in high school when, she says, a "diligent recruiter" told her of the opportunities the Army could offer her through ROTC. Back then, she admits she didn't really even know what the letters R-O-T-C stood for.

Today, she's the commander of all U.S. soldiers serving in three NATO battalions and 10 companies scattered throughout 33 locations in 13 countries.

"My husband and I served in NATO as majors and we really didn't know this opportunity was there," Fuller-Friel said. She was serving with the Army's Training and Doctrine Command as the Adjutant General, she said, when she was asked to take over the U.S. Army NATO brigade.

"I thought 'there's no such thing,'" she said.

Sgt. 1st Class Larry Gray, the brigade's equal opportunity advisor, said having Fuller-Friel take command as the first female in that role is noteworthy not only for the women in the brigade, but for the Army as a whole.

"I think it's really good that other nations know that in our country, females are getting the opportunity to lead troops and can do it just as well as the men," Gray said. "They get those opportunities to train and lead, and having her in that role is very significant."
The Friel family, overall, is making a significant contribution to the military. Fuller-Friel and her husband, retired Army Maj. Jack Friel, a field artilleryman, met and married on Fort Leavenworth, Kan. They have three sons: John, a company commander on Fort Hood, Texas, who is serving his third tour in Iraq; Mark, a captain in the Indiana National Guard; and Matthew, a sixth-grader, whom Fuller-Friel says "can't wait to be in uniform."

As an Army retiree, Jack Friel serves as the senior family readiness advisor for the brigade and, according to his wife, is "working harder than he ever has worked. He's a very busy man."

"We always do a command team charter, my husband and I, what expectations we are going to do - we are going to balance faith, profession and family," she said. "[With] that trio, we are in sync, and usually the kids or the soldiers will let us know if we are not."

The couple has served five tours in Europe - 12 of the 25 years of service so far for Fuller-Friel. She's held all of her levels of command in Europe as well.

Fuller-Friel said her favorite job so far has been being a company commander, a job that allowed her to get to know each soldier and spouse in her company on a more personal level. In her current role, it's a little harder to get to know every soldier, though she tries.

Her favorite part of her current job, she said, is "going to see the soldiers, in their environment, with their issues, and letting them show us what they actually do in support of NATO. We try to get into their element as opposed to them coming here."

With March being Women's History Month, Fuller-Friel reflected on some of the women of her past who have made an impact on her life and helped her get to where she is today.

"First, my mother," she said. "She just instilled a great work ethic, and (encouraged me to) give everything that you do 110 percent and it will show. People will notice and you'll go far.

"And then I got over here in Europe and worked for Maj. Gen. Pat Hickerson and Maj. Gen. Dee Anne McWilliams, and basically those two [made me think] 'Wow, women can be general officers?' They were just absolutely professional subject matter experts in their field, and they're in my field, too. As they retired, they just passed on the torch and said 'you need to go on and do the jobs that we were never able to do.'"

She also mentioned Gen. Ann Dunwoody, commander of Army Materiel Command, with whom she worked when Dunwoody was a two-star general on Fort Lee, Va.

"She's absolutely a master logistician," Fuller-Friel said. "She just said 'know your field, know your Army, and you'll go far' and kept that philosophy."

The military's diversity is something Fuller-Friel said is unique and should be celebrated.

"I think that's one of the reasons why the Armed Forces is considered to be one of the most prestigious institutions - because of the diversity," she said. "We need the diversity. I don't see that in the civilian life, I don't see it in my hometowns, I didn't see it in college, but the Army absolutely gives everyone the opportunity. You just have to seize it, become experts in your field and go from there, whether you are a man or woman."

(Editor's Note: Kristen Marquez works in the USAG Baden-Wuerttemberg public affairs office.)

Pirate Attack Foiled by Ship's Crew, Defense Officials Say

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2009 - A ship taken by pirates off the coast of Somalia this morning is now presumed to be under the control of its crew again, Defense Department officials said. The cargo ship Maersk Alabama was attacked by pirates early this morning and presumed hijacked, according to information provided by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. The vessel was en route to Mombasa, Kenya, when it was assaulted about 300 miles off Somalia's coast, officials said.

The Maersk Alabama is home-ported in Norfolk, Va., and has a crew of about 20 U.S. nationals, John Reinhart, president and CEO of the ship's owner, Maersk Line Ltd., told reporters today.

Reinhart said his company is contacting the crew's family members. He declined to confirm the ship's retaking by its crew, or to release the names of crew members.

The Maersk Alabama's crewmembers were trained to deal with pirate attacks, Reinhart said.

Pentagon officials noted there were four would-be hijackers, at least one of whom was captured by the ship's crew.

Pirates who attack merchant ships traveling off the coast of Somalia are difficult to deter because of the large area in which they operate, according to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters today that he didn't want to comment on possible actions that could be taken in response to the Maersk Alabama's apparent hijacking.

However, Whitman said the piracy issue "is not going to be something that is solved in a purely military way or in international waters."

"This is going to have to be something that is addressed broadly by the international community," Whitman continued, "It's going to have to be addressed diplomatically, militarily (and) legally."

The complexity of the piracy issue requires taking "a very broad approach to addressing it," Whitman added.

Pirates operating off the coast of Somalia have attacked five vessels over the past week, according to news reports, not including today's attack on the Maersk Alabama.

Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of Combined Maritime Forces based in Bahrain that oversees anti-piracy efforts in the region, provided an updated advisory notice to regional merchant shipping in a news release issued yesterday.

"We synchronize the efforts of the naval forces deployed to the region," Gortney said in the release. "However, as we have often stated, international naval forces alone will not be able to solve the problem of piracy at sea."

Piracy "is a problem that starts ashore," Gortney added.

And, despite the increased naval presence in the region, Gortney's notice said, because of an area of water that's four times the size of Texas, ships and aircraft are unlikely to be close enough to provide support to vessels under attack.

In view of the pirates' activity, merchant mariners should be highly vigilant when traveling through Somalia's coastal region, the release stated.

The release noted that a number of merchant vessels transiting the waters off Somalia have successfully employed evasive maneuvers and other defensive tactics to thwart attempted pirate attacks.

For example, a Panamanian-flagged vessel employed evasive maneuvers and fire hoses to thwart an attempted pirate attack, according to the release.

Interviewing Sexually Motivated Offenders

Editor's Note: Given the DOD's recent announcements regarding sexual assaults committed against servicemembers, this information is likely useful to military CID personnel.

On April 17, 2009, Conversations with Heroes at the Watering Hole will explore interviewing sexually motivated offenders with author, expert and retired police detective
Don Howell.

Program Date: April 17, 2009
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Interviewing Sexually Motivated Offenders
Listen Live:

About the Guests
Don Howell, Huntington Beach Police Department (ret.) “graduated with honors with a degree in Police Science and Administration. He spent 25 years as a police officer for two different agencies in Southern California cities. As a detective for more than 15 years, he specialized in the investigation of sexual assaults and child abuse. Don Howell is a court certified expert in these areas and is a highly sought after consultant to agencies on complex cases. As a consultant to the California Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards and training (P.O.S.T.), Don was considered to be one of the best in his field and was selected to assist in making a teleconference course on rape investigations.” Detective Don Howell is the author of Interviewing Sexually Motivated Offenders and Interviewing Sex Crime Victims.

According to the book description of Interviewing Sexually Motivated Offenders, “
Sex offenders are the most fascinating criminals law enforcement deals with. Taking the mystery out of interviewing them isn't difficult. Replacing the complex psychological definitions with a working understanding of how sex offenders think and act is the key to improving your interviewing skills. Combine this with the five trademarks of the actual interview and you have a new interviewing strategy that will increase your confession rate. This is not magic. Instead it approaches interviewing the sex offender from a different direction or perspective, to allow you to identify the offender's behavior and use it to your advantage.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is
police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in
Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Law Enforcement Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA