Military News

Thursday, April 23, 2009

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 23, 2009

NAVY
Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Tewksbury, Mass., is being awarded a $217,000,000 cost plus fixed fee modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) for the procurement of two Volume Search Radar (VSR) for the Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J. (95 percent) and Sudbury, Mass. (5 percent), and is to be completed by March 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. is the contracting activity.

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., is being awarded for $11,606,652 for modification to a fixed price delivery order #0041 under existing previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (M67854-06-D-5028). This delivery order is issued against exercised priced options for the purchase of an additional 30 Logistic Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) production cargo vehicles. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., and work for this delivery order is expected to be completed by June 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Corp., Integrated Systems Western Region, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded an $8,743,239 modification to a previously awarded cost plus fixed fee contract (N00019-05-C-0057) to provide additional operations and maintenance support for the Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration (GHMD), including operation and sustainment, logistics support and sustaining engineering throughout the demonstration. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. (90 percent) and San Diego, Calif. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $8,743,239 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Oswego, Oswego, N.Y., is being awarded a $5,553,093 cost plus fixed fee, firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for engineering and technical support in the integration of Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures (OAMCM) Systems into a MH-60S helicopter. The effort is in support of Carrier Battle Groups and Amphibious Readiness Groups. The five OAMCM systems to be incorporated in the MH-60S are the AN/AQS-20A Advanced Sonar System; Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS); Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS); Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS); and Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep (OASIS). This acquisition supports the fundamental effort of integrating this entire suite of Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) systems with the helicopter structurally and with the helicopter Command, Control, Communication, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) systems. Work will be performed in Oswego, N.Y. (50 percent) and Panama City, Fla. (50 percent), and is expected to be completed by April 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61331-09-D-0009).

ARMY
Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, Iowa was awarded on Apr. 22, 2009 a $ 10,200,000 firm fixed price with time and material CLIN contract for the upgrading for the functionality of the Stryker Hull Hots trainer and incorporating new upgrades on three (3) Infant Carrier Vehicle (ICV) configuration vehicles. Work is to be performed in Binghamton, N.Y. with an estimated completion date of Feb. 17, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. PEO Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Orlando, Fla. Is the contracting activity (N61339-01-D-0722).

The Boeing Co., Ridley Park, Pa. was awarded on Apr. 21, 2009 a $ 141,962,130 firm fixed price contract for CH-47F multiyear contract for second year, production lot 7, Seven (7) each CH-47F new build aircrafts. Work is to be performed in Ridley Park, Pa with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missiles, CCAM-CH-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0098).

BAE Systems information and Electronic Systems Integration, Washington DC was awarded on Apr. 21, 2009 a $ 15,984,010 firm fixed price indefinitzed contractual action with 12month period of performance contract for two (2) Bar Armor kits prototypes (1 each) for the RG-31 and Cougar CAT I Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles. This contract also includes 325 production Bar Armor Kits for the Cougar CAT I. Work is to be performed in Washington, DC with an estimated completion date of May 1, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received TACOM Contracting Center, Detroit Arsenal, Warren, Mich. Is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0311).

Raytheon Co., Andover, Mass. was awarded on Apr. 20, 2009 a $28,732,203 cost plus fixed fee contract that provides mission support and system sustainment for various configurations of Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) tower systems. Work is to be performed in Andover, MA with an estimated completion date of Dec, 31, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Contracting and Management Office, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. Is the contracting activity (W9113M-08-C-0153).

Ceres Environmental, Inc., Brooklyn Park, Minn. was awarded on Apr. 16, 2009 a $13,814,973 firm fixed price contract that the contractor will be primarily responsible for constructing a floodwall protection system, which will include gatewell, sluice, outlet, and four sandbag closures and riprap for erosion control. Work is to be performed in Munster, IN and Hammond, IN with an estimated completion date of Apr. 30, 2011. Proposals were solicited using the wed and 10 bid were received. USACE, Chicago District, Chicago, III is the contracting activity (W912P6-09-C-0003).

General Dynamics, Ordnance and tactical System (GD-OTS), St. Petersburg, Fl a.was awarded on Apr. 16, 2009 a $ 6,049,164 firm fixed price contract for 105mm M1130 High Explosives (HE), Pre-formed Fragmentation (PFF) Base Bleed (BB) Cartridge Production, quantity 1,500. Work is to be performed in St. Petersburg, Fl, Quebec, Canada, and South Africa with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. is the contracting activity (W15QKN-09-C-0055).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Florida Ordnance Corp., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.* is being awarded a maximum $7,017,384 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for cylinder head. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2014. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency (DSCC-ZG), Warren, Mich. (SPRDL1-09-D-0017).

L-3 Communications, Muskegon, Mich. Is being awarded a maximum $6,880,579 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for cylinder head. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. There were originally 2 proposals solicited with 2 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2014. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency (DSCC-ZG), Warren, Mich. (SPRDL1-09-D-0016).

DoD Announces Winners of the Commander In Chief''s Annual Award for Installation Excellence

Secretary of Defense Gates announced today the winners of the 2009 Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence. They are:

Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield, Hinesville, Ga.
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, N.C.
Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Yokosuka, Japan
Hurlburt Field, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Defense Distribution Depot San Joaquin, Tracy, Calif.

The Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence recognizes the outstanding and innovative efforts of the people who operate and maintain U.S. military installations. The five recipients of this highly competitive Presidential award were selected for their exemplary support of Department of Defense missions.

Excellent installations enable better mission performance and enhance the quality of life for military men and women and their families. Each winning installation succeeded in providing excellent working, housing and recreational conditions.

An award ceremony honoring the recipients of this year's award will be announced in the near future. The ceremony will be open for media coverage.

Tiger Woods Plans Fourth of July Weekend Treat for Troops

By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2009 - Golfer Tiger Woods vowed April 20 to dedicate his AT&T National PGA Tour event to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces for the third consecutive year. The AT&T National hosted by Tiger Woods will donate 30,000 tickets for retired veterans, active-duty troops, reserve-component servicemembers and their families to attend the tournament July 2-5 at Congressional Country Club.

Woods, who missed the tournament last year while recovering from knee surgery, will play the Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am on July 1 with a foursome completed by servicemen and women, as he did in 2007, the tournament's first year.

The Military Caddie Program again will feature troops serving as caddies for the pros on the seventh hole. Two years ago at that hole, Woods handed his putter to Army Sgt. Michael Woods, who knocked down a 12-footer for the play of the day at Congressional.

Wounded warriors will serve as honorary starters on the first tee box for the tournament's opening ceremony July 1 at 11 a.m.

"Hopefully people come out, not only to watch the players, but also to say thank you to all of the servicemen and women that are coming out here," Woods said. "If it wasn't for them, what they are doing overseas, things might be different here."

Early commitments to play in the 2009 AT&T National have been received from past tournament champions K.J. Choi and Anthony Kim, along with tourney newcomer Ernie Els, who won the 1997 U.S. Open at Congressional.

European Ryder Cup team member Paul Casey, Jim Furyk and Danny Lee also have committed, said Greg McLaughlin, president of the Tiger Woods Foundation.

"There are various other military initiatives we will be doing during the week," McLaughlin said. "Again, we want to continue our support of the military in this great community, and we plan on really making a nice showing here in 2009."

Woods said he hopes to bring the buzz back to the nation's capital.

"To have the military there and to have everyone support the event like they did the first year, ... having the players just rave about it, having all the fans rave about it, it was just such a huge success," he said. "We are just trying to build on that momentum that we created the first year."

(Tim Hipps works at the Army's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command public affairs office.)

Pentagon Begins New Quadrennial Defense Review, Nuclear Posture Review

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2009 - Pentagon officials today kicked off the Defense Department's 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and Nuclear Posture Review processes to determine what types of capabilities will be required to maintain U.S. national security now and in the coming years, senior officials said. "The QDR takes a long-term, strategic view of the Department of Defense and will explore ways to balance achieving success in current conflicts with preparing for long-term challenges," Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III stated in a Defense Department news release issued today.

The QDR "will also look at ways to institutionalize irregular warfare capabilities while maintaining the United States' existing strategic and technological edge in traditional warfare," Lynn said in the release.

The NPR establishes the nation's nuclear deterrence posture, policies and strategies for the next five to 10 years. It will be conducted in consultation with the U.S. departments of Energy and State.

Both reviews will be conducted over the summer into fall, officials said. Final reports from both reviews will be provided to Congress early next year. Recommendations provided by the 2010 QDR and NPR will be employed in developing the Pentagon's fiscal year 2011 budget.

The QDR is performed every four years; previous QDRs were conducted in 1997, 2001, and 2006. The most-recent NPR was completed in 2002.

Other senior defense officials today briefed reporters on QDR and NPR issues and procedures at a Pentagon news conference.

The 2010 QDR, a senior defense civilian official told reporters, will delve into questions such as, "What's the world going to look like? What are the challenges going to look like? What are the military missions going to look like?" in the near- and long-term.

Then, the civilian official continued, the QDR and NPR reports will identify the types of capabilities required to deter potential threats to U.S. national security.

"Throughout the QDR processes, we will be seeking to capture and institutionalize the lessons we've learned from Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere," the civilian defense official said, "and we're going to seek to further adapt our forces and capabilities to asymmetric and irregular forms of warfare."

The 2010 QDR and NPR will employ a "whole-of-government" approach, the civilian official said, noting that other U.S. government agencies, allies, as well as nongovernmental agencies and "think-tanks," would be consulted during the process.

The 2010 NPR will reflect the Obama administration's pledge to confront global nuclear weapons proliferation, the senior civilian defense official said. Consequently, the civilian official said, the United States will seek talks with the Russians to further reduce both countries' nuclear-weapons arsenals by reaching a follow-on agreement to replace the strategic arms reduction treaty of 1993, known as START II.

"In the NPR, we'll be seeking to ensure that our nuclear policies help deter our enemies, reassure our allies and also further our nonproliferation agenda," the senior civilian official said.

A key QDR challenge, the civilian official said, involves balancing investment for capabilities required by today's warfighters against investing in capabilities that tomorrow's troops might need.

"Sometimes we're lucky and there's good overlap between those two, and sometimes those things pull us in different directions and there's some hard tradeoffs and choices to be made," the civilian official said. "So, I think that is something we've been struggling [with], frankly, since the end of the Cold War."

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates addressed that issue during a March 10 appearance on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" program.

American military planning, going back at least two decades during the twilight of the Cold-War, has been predicated on fighting two major combat operations simultaneously, Gates said on the radio program.

"I think one of the central questions that this department will face in the Quadrennial Defense Review, which will begin shortly, is whether that model makes any sense in the 21st century, and whether what may have fit in a Cold War environment or an immediately post-Cold War environment really has application in today's world," Gates said.

Gates will provide direction for the QDR and NPR reviews, as well as Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a senior military official told reporters.

The purpose of the QDR, Cartwright said in the news release issued today, is "to assess the threats and capabilities the nation faces, and then integrate strategies, resources, forces, and capabilities necessary to prevent conflict or conclude it on terms that are favorable to the nation now and in the future."

Lynn will be paired with Cartwright to provide direct oversight for the QDR, the senior military official said. Service chiefs and combatant commanders, the military official added, will be consulted to provide input into the QDR and NPR.

Much of the 2010 QDR and NPR process, the senior military official said, could be described as finding balance "between near- and long-term risk" and achieving balance between procuring expensive, "exquisite" weapons systems and having "high-quantity, lower-cost-type" systems and equipment.

Army, Marine Corps Juggle High Demands for Ground Forces

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

April 23, 2009 - With U.S. military members serving in more than 120 countries throughout the world as well as meeting requirements for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, ground forces are stretched thin, senior military officials told Congress here yesterday. The Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli told the Senate Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on readiness and management that unless "tough decisions" are made, the Army cannot continue to meet current demands for deployed forces while maintaining the amount of time troops need to re-train and rest at their home station.

"What has to change for us is the demand for forces," Chiarelli said. "And right now, the demand for forces is as high as it's ever been with our continued commitment to Iraq and the increase in Afghanistan."

Currently, the Army is rotating troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on one-year rotations with one year of time at home. The Marine Corps deploys under a seven month cycle.

The past seven years have been extremely busy for military members and their families. Some soldiers have as many as five yearlong deployments between Iraq and Afghanistan under their belt. And despite consistently meeting their retention and recruitment goals, the demand for ground forces still surpasses the supply, he said.

"We are consuming our readiness as fast as we are building it," the general said.

Meanwhile, the overall numbers of available personnel for deployments consistently grows smaller. More than 30,000 troops across the Army are not able to deploy for medical conditions suffered on previous deployments or training events.

The effect that high demand and reduced numbers have on soldiers and their families has been increased deployments, shorter dwell time at home stations, and insufficient recovery time for soldiers, their families and their equipment, he said.

Also, despite the military's anticipated drawdown and eventual withdrawal from Iraq, military officials still remain concerned about the readiness of their ground forces and their ability to engage in future possible conflicts, the general said.

Chiarelli said if the drawdown and withdrawal efforts continue as planned, the Army can maintain its current tempo until mid-2010 and then begin to give soldiers more time at home. But if a sudden conflict arises and were to cause demand to remain as it is today or greater, "it becomes very, very difficult for the United States Army to meet those requirements," he said.

"My concern is we cannot fully predict what the derivative affects will be in the future," he said. "It is my personal opinion that we simply cannot continue to meet the current demands, expand our agility and focus, and sustain the force, including our soldiers and equipment, without making some corresponding adjustments."

Until recently, the Army was in the process of growing its forces to accommodate 47 brigade combat teams. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced recently that the Army would stop at 45 to ensure each brigade is fully manned and equipped. The Army currently has 43 brigade combat teams deployed or ready to deploy.

Chiarelli said he agrees with Gates' decision, and believes that for the Army to be ready for future conflicts while keeping focus on current ones, it needs to continue its growth plan.

"It's very important that we grow those brigades, because this is a question of supply and demand," he said.

The same supply-and-demand dilemma applies to Marine Corps ground forces, Assistant Commandant Gen. James Amos told the panel.

"This sustained effort does not come without cost to the institution, to our equipment, to our strategic programs and, most importantly, to our Marines and their families," Amos said.

Deployed Marine units in Iraq and Afghanistan are equipped with the best manpower, equipment and training available, he said. But those Marine units preparing to deploy or standing by for strategic responses, such as to a new war or conflict, aren't so fortunate.

For the Marine Corps to meet manning, equipment and training requirements for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade to deploy to Afghanistan next month, assets were taken from nondeploying units. Weapons, vehicles and even Marines were "cobbled up" from other units to meet President Barack Obama's request to build up forces in Afghanistan, Amos said.

"To ensure our deployed and next-to-deploy forces maintain this high state of readiness, we have taxed our nondeployed forces and strategic programs for equipment and personnel," the general said. "As a result, the majority of our nondeployed forces are reporting degraded readiness levels."

Like the Army, the Marines are not as ready as they'd hope to be to respond to other national security threats, he said. "This degraded state of readiness within our nondeployed forces presents risks to our ability to rapidly respond to other unexpected contingencies around the globe.

"It would be very difficult and challenging, in the case of the Marine Corps, if something happened in Iran or North Korea," Amos said.

However, responding to a North Korean or Iranian attack with ground forces would not be impossible, Amos said. He explained that forces already deployed would "freeze" in place, while new forces would be built at home stations. But it would take several months and global sourcing on the part of the Marines, and it would "emasculate" strategic reserves, he said.

"Is it possible? Yes," Amos said. "Your Marine Corps and your Army and Navy and Air Force would come together and make it happen. But it would be painful."

Coast Guard Adopts Environmental Initiatives

By Carlos Diaz
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2009 - Known around the world by its emblematic orange and blue, the U.S. Coast Guard added "green" to its operations as part of yesterday's celebration of Earth Day. Thomas Granito, from the Coast Guard's environmental management office, discussed ongoing green initiatives adopted by the service in a "DoD Live" bloggers roundtable April 21.

"I have been with the Coast Guard for more than 25 years, and I've seen how the service is becoming greener, as is much of the rest of the world these days," Granito said. "In the past, the Coast Guard was more concerned about maintaining compliance with federal regulations. Currently, the Coast Guard continues to shift from compliance to sustainability -- basically 'greening up' the Coast Guard."

Only environmental personnel participated in site cleanups in the past, Granito said, but today things are different. Changes in management, organization styles and a more responsive and flexible attitude, similar to what the Defense Department has done in recent years, have led to changes in the way the Coast Guard operates, he added.
Many of the Coast Guard's roughly 600 facilities are going green, Granito said.

"For example, the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Conn., developed a sustainability initiatives network for recycling and using electronics and related items," he said. "This initiative helped them win a White House award for reducing electronics materials. The Coast Guard Academy was also the first military academy to participate in a program called recycle-mania, in which colleges get together to come up with recycling initiatives."

Granito also cited initiatives adopted at Station Emerald Isle, N.C., where recycled products such as gypsum board have been used in the station's renovation project. This unit also has replaced traditional air-conditioning systems with more-efficient geothermal HVAC systems, he noted.

Other services have helped the Coast Guard in its search for green initiatives, Granito said.

"As far as following what some of the other agencies are doing, we've always got an eye out to see what they're doing," he said. "I know that our vessel folks are usually keyed in to what the Navy is doing, and our aviation folks are always clued in to Air Force and what they're doing."

(Carlos Diaz works for the U.S. Coast Guard.)

USO Metro Takes 'Home' to Troops with New Mobile Canteen

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2009 - The USO of Metropolitan Washington unveiled the newest addition to its arsenal in a brief ceremony at the Pentagon today. The USO Mobile Canteen is a 34-foot vehicle that will deploy throughout the Washington Metropolitan Region in support of community events and on military installations to support events and training exercises.

"I think this is an example, yet again, of Metro USO's commitment to support our troops and their families no matter where they're serving," said Deborah Mullen, wife of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "Having this is basically taking a little bit of home out to the troops. That's why it's so important."

The USO provides servicemembers a place to be comfortable and relax during their downtime, she added.

"It's, I think, one of the most important things that we do," she said. "From 1941 until now, the USO has always been the bridge between the American people and the U.S. military. That's an incredibly important role."

From the servicemembers' point of view, the new mobile canteen is a validation of military strategy.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Ralph J. Jodice II, commander of Air Force District Washington, said he looks forward to seeing the USO's new "urban assault vehicle" at many events around the region.

The chief of naval operations took his praise a bit further, and he added an endorsement from Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway, who cut the ribbon to dedicate the canteen.

"The Navy is particularly pleased that, after all these years, the USO has finally seen the light and they've gone expeditionary," Navy Adm. Gary Roughead said. "Jim Conway and I are thrilled that you're using our mode, but because of that, you're going to reach out and touch so many, many more people, and that's what it's all about."

With food preparation facilities onboard, as well as an audiovisual system, that's exactly what USO Metro hopes to accomplish with the help of Boeing Co., which sponsored the vehicle's construction and first three years' operating expenses.

"This is an amazing team effort," Elaine Rodgers, president of USO Metro, said. "This thing cost over $250,000 to build."

The defense contractor approached USO Metro asking for ways it could do more to support the troops. Rogers said USO Metro submitted its proposal for the mobile canteen and got the green light in September 2007.

The ceremony included a tour of the vehicle and a lunch typical of what servicemembers will get when the vehicle shows up to support a military events: hot dogs, chips and soda.

Obama Discusses Military's Role in Ending, Remembering Holocaust

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 23, 2009 - President Barack Obama today discussed the role American World War II veterans played in bringing about the end of the Holocaust and preserving its memory. Obama spoke at a Capitol Hill ceremony designed to mourn the 6 million who died and to honor the survivors and celebrate those who liberated victims of the Nazi regime. He noted the lasting impact of a decision by Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who oversaw the invasion of France and Germany in 1944 and 1945 as supreme commander of the allied forces in Europe.

"The story goes that when the Americans marched in, they discovered the starving survivors and the piles of dead bodies, and General Eisenhower made a decision," Obama said. "He ordered Germans from the nearby town to tour the camp so they could see what had been done in their name. And he ordered American troops to tour the camp so they could see the evil they were fighting against."

Eisenhower's next move, Obama said, was to invite congressmen and journalists to further document the moment in history.

"He ordered that photographs and films be made. Some of us have seen those same images. ... They never leave you," Obama said. "What Eisenhower did to record these crimes for history is what we are doing here today."

The president described his great uncle, a soldier in the Army's 89th Infantry Division, as traumatized by his experience in World War II.

"[He] returned from his service in World War II in a state of shock, saying little, alone with painful memories that would not leave his head," the president said. "He went up into the attic, according to the stories that I've heard, and wouldn't come down for six months. He was one of the liberators, someone who at a very tender age had seen the unimaginable."

Soldiers of the 89th Infantry Division were the first Americans to reach a Nazi concentration camp, and liberated Ordruf, part of the infamous Buchenwald camp, where tens of thousands perished, Obama said.

Given the gravity of his great uncle's experience, Obama said, he understands the impulse to remain silent, but he reiterated the importance of bearing witness to the horrors of the Holocaust.

"Eisenhower understood the danger of silence. He understood that if no one knew what had happened, that would be yet another atrocity, and it would be the perpetrators' ultimate triumph," Obama said.

Observing such injustice creates a moral obligation to take action, the president said. He cited 21st-century examples that show "evil has yet to run its course on Earth" -- mass graves, charred villages, child soldiers and the use of rape as a war tactic -- underscoring the need to "commit ourselves to resisting injustice and intolerance and indifference."

"That is my commitment as president," he said. "I hope that is yours as well."

Gates Presses to Boost Computer Network Security

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 22, 2009 - Defense Department officials are working to reduce vulnerability to cyber-attack attempts that occur regularly and are likely to continue for the foreseeable future, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said. "We are under attack virtually all the time, every day here," Gates told CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric yesterday during an interview broadcast on the show.

Attempts to attack DoD computer networks have more than doubled recently, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters yesterday. He declined to cite details, saying that to do so would only "make it easier for people trying to do us harm."

The perpetrators run the gamut, Whitman explained. The threats range from "that recreational hacker all the way up to self-styled vigilantes to nationalistic or ideological kinds of groups with various agendas," as well as nation states and transnational actors.

The Pentagon monitors its networks aggressively and investigates all incidences of intrusions or intrusion attempts, Whitman said. In addition, the department works closely with its industry partners to ensure they enforce the same stringent standards when working on defense programs, he said.

"We think we have pretty good control of our sensitive information, both with respect to intelligence and the equipment systems," Gates said on CBS Evening News. "But we, like everybody else, [are] under attack. Banks are under attack. Every country is under attack."

Gates declined to go into detail about news reports of a recent cyber-attack on a military weapons system program. He did offer, however, that he has no reason to believe the program's sensitive systems were compromised. "I believe we still have security of the sensitive systems," he said.

Tracking down cyber-thieves is a big challenge, Gates said, so he's proposed more resources in the fiscal 2010 budget to increase cyber-security capabilities.

"It's sometimes very difficult to figure out a home address on these attacks," he said. "So one of the things that I'm doing in this budget is significantly increasing the resources for cyber experts." That, he said, includes more than quadrupling the cyber-security force and exploring possible structural changes at the Pentagon.

The Defense Department currently trains about 80 cyberexperts each year, but Gates wants to increase that number to 250, Whitman told reporters.

"This is going to be an enduring problem, and it is going to be a challenge, not just for the Department of Defense, but for the entirety of the United States," Gates said.

Security in the cyber domain is critical to national security, Whitman said. "We view cyberspace as a warfighting domain," he said. "It is critical to our military operations, and we are going to defend it and protect it."

General Provides Insight into Joint, Bilateral Exercise

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Selby
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 22, 2009 - The U.S. military is building relationships as well as local infrastructure as it participates in Balikatan, a joint, bilateral exercise in the Philippines, the U.S. director for the exercise said. "This particular effort is the 25th in the series as far as U.S. and Philippine participation," Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey said during a "DoD Live" bloggers roundtable.

Bailey is deputy commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, commanding general of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and U.S. director of Balikatan 2009.

"The term Balikatan is a Tagalog term which means 'shoulder to shoulder,' and for us it characterizes the philosophy and intent of the exercise," the general said.

The exercise helps about 22,000 people in need, Bailey said, and involves humanitarian and civic assistance, a scenario-based staff exercise and field training activities.

"We've got six medical civil-assistance projects, six engineer civil-assistance projects, and 15 community-relations projects," Bailey added. "So that's what we, as joint forces, are doing in conjunction with the Philippine force."

The joint forces are installing two wells, building two schools, and creating two roads that will be finished by the end of the exercise, and they're providing medical, dental and veterinarian work for those in need, Bailey said.

Because of the size of the exercise this year, the general said, the joint forces have much more capability to accomplish their goals.

"There are about 4,700 sailors, soldiers, and Marines on the U.S. side involved in this, and roughly around 5,200 [Philippines armed forces members] involved," Bailey said. "This is one of the largest, in terms of scope and size of Balikatan, in the 25 years that we've been conducting this thing."

Bailey said another positive aspect of Balikatan is its cost-effectiveness.

"For example, two wells, two schools, and two roads -- it's about ... $340,000," he said. "We're seeing about 22,000 Philippine citizens from the medical perspective. That will cost us about $77,000." The money spent is a small investment for what the United States gets in return, the general added.

"The key [for the United States and the region is] to build relationships and friendships, so in case there is a problem or a time of need, you're not starting from ground zero," Bailey explained. "So I think we're getting a lot for our money and, most importantly, a lot of people in dire need in the Philippines are getting some wonderful support and service."

(Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class William Selby serves in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

New 'Operation Purple' Program Provides Family Retreats

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 22, 2009 - It's no secret that deployments put stress on a family, and the National Military Family Association has developed a new "Operation Purple" program at no cost to military families. The association created Operation Purple summer camps in 2004 as a way to help children of military families struggling with the stresses of war. A new program helps military family members re-establish their roles through family retreats.

"The intent of it was to bring the family together so that they could tell their deployment story as a family and really build on the experience of bringing the family back together after the deployment," Michelle Joyner, NMFA's director of communications said.

"This was just helping families [with] the reintegration piece of re-establishing the family roles, [which] was done through writing this deployment story as a family unit," she added.

Based on a six-week program that the FOCUS Project at the University of California at Los Angeles has been using with the Marine Corps, the first two Operation Purple family retreats were held in Port Angeles, Wash., and Sausilito, Calif., in March. NMFA worked with the FOCUS Project to come up with a concept that would be beneficial for military families and could be accomplished in a long weekend, Joyner said.

With support from the Sierra Club, military families bonded and enjoyed a number of outdoor activities in the national parks where the retreats were held. Activities were guided by four master's-degree-level clinicians experienced in working with families, said Patricia M. Barron, NMFA's director of youth services.

"Our collaboration with the FOCUS curriculum saw that the activities used at the retreats were centered on skill building and resiliency training," she said. "Families were taught to use specific skills to identify feelings that could impede communication and also spent time creating a family collage that told the story of their unique experience as a military family."

The camp staff also was well trained, Barron said. As field-science educators, each held at least a bachelor's degree, and many had a master's degree.

Eligibility for March's pilot program was limited to those who had returned from deployment within the past year, and despite limited outreach, the response was huge, NMFA officials said. Applications came in from 400 families, and 43 were accepted for the program. The participants' response to the retreats was very positive, Joyner said.

"They appreciated having the dialogue and the activities that sparked the conversations," she said. "It was nice, because you're never sure how group activities are going to go over when you do them the first time."

NMFA officials are planning at least two more retreats for the fall, to be held on the East Coast, and hope for a third, possibly to be held on the West Coast, Joyner said.

Registration takes place through the Operation Purple Web site, which also features information and updates on the program.