Military News

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Humphrey Mechanical, Inc., Jacksonville, N.C.; MechWorks Mechanical Contractors, Inc.,* Beaufort, N.C.; North State Mechanical, Inc.,* Jacksonville, N.C.; R & W Construction Co. Inc.,* Jacksonville, N.C.; T. A. Woods Company, Wilmington, N.C.; and Virtexco Corp., Norfolk, Va., are each being awarded an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity multiple award construction contract for mechanical construction type projects at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. The total contract amount for all six contracts combined, including the base period and four option years, is $300,000,000. The work to be performed provides for mechanical construction services including demolition, repair, replacement, modification, and new installation of various mechanical systems including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, boilers, high pressure steam distribution, electrical distribution, motors, generators, potable water distribution, sanitary sewer, storm water control, communications, and incidental work such as general construction, specialty trades, and removal of asbestos or lead contaminated materials. Work will be performed in Jacksonville N.C. (75 percent) and Cherry Point, N.C. (25 percent), and work expected to be completed April 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of this fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce! Online website, with 11 proposals received. These six contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (contract numbers N40085-09-D-5340/5341/5342/5343/5344/5345).

Bulltrack-Watts, A Joint Venture*, Marysville, Calif., is being awarded a $20,681,900 firm fixed price contract to repave runway, taxiway and aprons at Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. The work to be performed provides for sawcutting and cold mill planing the existing asphalt concrete pavement of the runway, taxiway, and aprons. Also, includes restriping the runway, taxiway and aprons, including runway threshold markings and other airfield pavement markings. Work will be performed in Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii and is expected to be completed by February 2010. Funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 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 bids received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii is the contracting activity (N62478-09-C-1486).

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to Northrop Grumman Corporation of Bethpage, New York for a maximum of $49,750,000. This action will provide for the Small Unmanned Aerial System Research and Evaluation program which will provide focus on the translation of promising basis and applied research into technology solutions for well-defined military needs and to affect rapid transition of small unmanned aerial system concepts and component improvements to warfighter applications. At this time, $5,000,000 has been obligated. AFRL/PKVC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8650-09-D-3940)

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to multiple contractors for a maximum $48,000,000. Mark G. Miller, Inc. of Layton, Utah, SoBran, Inc. of Dayton, Ohio,, White Dot Solutions, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah, Gauss Management Research and Engineering of Ogden, Utah, and Tybrin Corporation of Fort Walton Beach, Florida are the contractors. This action will provide engineering and related services in the development and sustainment of software engineering support for the 309th Software Maintenance Group. At this time, $5000 has been obligated. OO-ALC/PKES, Hill Air Force Base, Utah is the contracting activity. (FA 8224-09-D-0002, FA8224-09-D-0003, FA8224-09-D-004, FA8224-09-D-0005, FA8224-09-D-0006)

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee letter contract to the Utah State University Research Foundation of Logan, Utah for $48,000,000. This action will provide algorithm generation, implementation test and assessment for the Third Generation Infrared System program as well as the testing, characterization, and calibration of the Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload program. At this time, $1,148,050 has been obligated. SMC/XRC of El Segundo, California is the contracting activity. (FA8814-09-D-0001)

The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Lockheed Martin Corporation of Marietta, Georgia for $29,190,170. This modification will exercise an option to purchase equipment. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. ASC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity. (FA8625-06-C-6456)

Signature Flight Support Corp., Savannah, Georgia is being awarded a maximum $19,614,659 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of is in Georgia. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2013. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-0125).

82nd Airborne Does Team-Building with a Few Twists

By Spc. Benjamin Watson
Special to American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2009 - How does this sound for your morning physical training session? Begin by carrying a canoe over muddy slopes in the dark, race in two-man teams through the forest to a river bank; then paddle your canoe nearly six miles down a cold and muddy river; next, put on your body armor, full rucksack and advanced combat helmet and push a tire up and down three-and-a-half miles of hills as the sun rises above the trees and out of the morning fog.

You could call it adventurous. Lt. Col. Robert J. Neitzel, chief of operations for the 82nd Airborne Division, does. He described the workout as "adventure PT," or a series of team-oriented challenges meant to work the upper body and test the overall physical fitness of his paratroopers.

On April 23, soldiers assigned to the Division's operations team found out exactly how exhausting and beneficial Neitzel's "adventure PT" could be.

"First and foremost, most people don't have a lot of experience canoeing," Neitzel, a native of Horicon, Wisc., said, "so just the simple fact of going straight down a river that's got a current and has a lot of twists to it, these guys have to talk to each other."

"Canoeing isn't something that we do on a regular basis," said Capt. Evan Hessel, battle captain with "The Team" and Portland, Ore. native, "so really for the first 30 minutes, you're really getting to know your teammate and basically getting in sync. It was not easy right off the bat."

Hessel's teammate was Staff Sgt. Kenneth J. Ciszek, a communications sergeant with "The Team."

"He's a good guy," Hessel said, "and he's from New York so he's got a little bit of experience outdoors – New York upstate, not the city."

Hessel said he hadn't been in a canoe since he was 12 years old.

"The river's a different animal, especially before the sun comes up," he said. "We ran into the bank a couple times, into a few branches, even a few trees that had fallen down. Luckily, I was not in one of the canoes that had, you might say, taken a swim. But I know a couple of the guys did just that."

One challenge few had planned for was a short, but intimidating waterfall. Teams could either try their hand at going through it, or disembark on the bank and walk their canoe around it before returning to the river.

Almost all of the teams chose to go around, taking the lost time in stride.

However, 1st Lt. Yonel Charles, a Miami native and battle captain with "The Team," and teammate, Maj. Charles D. Bovey, native of Everett, Wash., and shift director for the headquarter's Joint Operations Cell, elected to proceed right on through the falls.

To their surprise, they kept their canoe afloat. They were so surprised, in fact, they started cheering and high-fiving each other. Then their canoe flipped and they were suddenly shoulder-deep in the cold water of Fort Bragg's Little River.

But despite their spill at the waterfall, Bovey and Charles finished in second place.
Capt. Ben Salt, a native of Crantock, Cornwall, England, a captain in the British Army attached to "The Team," and his teammate, Capt. Jose. J. Hernandez, battle captain with "The Team" and native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, finished the day's events in third place, but not before having to rally from an early last place position.

"We were second in the water," Salt said, "then we went to last and had to learn how to steer. At one point, we were about 300 meters behind everyone."

Once the teams exited the river, their positions were established. Teams did not pass each other on the long, tiresome push to the finish line.

After letting the tire fall at the end, Salt announced, "It feels like I just did one-thousand push-ups."

The team of Hessel and Ciszek came in fourth place, appearing more than happy to be done taking turns pushing their heavy, awkward tire up and down hills.

"This was definitely a team-building, cohesion event," Hessel said, referring to the persistence and communication "adventure PT" requires, "because everybody's done a ruck-run, but not everybody's done a ruck-run while pushing a tire."

Neitzel and his teammate, Capt. James G. Repshire, a battle captain on "The Team," finished first, crossing the line at almost exactly 8 a.m.

"Both of them are kind of woodsmenesque, so they've got it going on," Bovey said of Neitzel and Repshire.

As a trophy, Neitzel and Repshire – or "Team Awesome" – were given a customized ping-pong paddle with the words "The Team" written across its face with a marker.
"In everything we do, we always focus on team work," Neitzel said, wrapping up the morning with a few words for his paratroopers – nearly all of whom are deploying together very soon to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"We're more than one person or just an entity," he said as everyone stood in a huddle, sore but pleased with what they'd accomplished as a team. "If you look at what we are, we are 'The Team.' It's everybody and what they contribute."

(U.S. Army Spc. Benjamin Watson serves with 49th Public Affairs Detachment (Airborne)

Nominees Look Forward to Supporting Defense Department, Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2009 - President Barack Obama's nominees for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs and General Counsel of the Department of the Army said they are looking forward to executing their new positions if confirmed. "If I am confirmed ... I look forward to continuing to work with the members of the Senate and House and their staffs to solve problems, implement legislation and provide needed information in a timely fashion," Elizabeth King, the nominee for assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, told the Senate Armed Services Committee during her nomination hearing today.

"I hope to foster a strong partnership between Congress and the Defense Department so that together we can reach the common goal of meeting the needs of the men and women in uniform who tirelessly serve our nation."

King currently serves as counsel and senior policy advisor on defense, foreign affairs and veterans for Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island.

In introducing King, Reed said she had an extraordinary grasp of the legislative issues and process. "She is also outstanding in terms of her intelligence, her integrity, her judgment, and her commitment to the men and women who serve in the military forces," King said.

Donald Remy, nominated for general counsel of the department of the Army, served in the Army and as a civil servant in both the Department of the Army and the Justice Department.

"I want to assure the committee that I am committed to working cooperatively with the judge advocate general to provide expert, timely, value-added advice to the Army secretary and the Army staff," Remy told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing this morning.

Remy said he is also dedicated to assisting the department's efforts to assure that the acquisition process for materiel and services is efficient, effective and compliant with laws and regulations.

"I am committed to making certain that the Army's transformation is accomplished consistent with the rule of law and a practical understanding of the issues affecting our all-volunteer force and their families," Remy added. "America's army is pivotal to the strength of our nation.

"In an ever-changing global dynamic, the Army continues to adapt its aim to achieve and maintain balance for the 21st century," he added. "The issues – particularly legal issues – are complex, challenging and, in some instances, unprecedented."

Remy, a cum laude graduate of Howard University Law School, is a former Army officer whose father is a retired Army master sergeant. While serving in the Army, Remy was assigned to the Pentagon where he advised senior Army officials on legal and policy issues related to major weapons acquisition systems.

When he worked for the Justice Department, Remy served as senior counsel for policy and as deputy assistant attorney general for torts and federal program branches in the civil division.

General Retires, Readies to Become Ambassador to Afghanistan

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2009 - Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry retired here today, 24 hours before being sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. Until today, Eikenberry served as the deputy chairman of the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium. Tomorrow he will be sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as ambassador.

"I'll make this very brief. [My wife] and I are very eager to enjoy our 24-hour vacation," the general joked during his retirement ceremony held at the Hall of Heroes in the Pentagon.

Eikenberry has spent more than 35 years in the Army and recently served two tours in Afghanistan. In his job at NATO, Eikenberry was heavily involved in the NATO international security assistance force mission and regularly traveled to Afghanistan.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, who presided over the ceremony, said Eikenberry was the right man for the job.

"Karl Eikenberry's talents are ideally suited to the president's new comprehensive strategy, in which we must get the civilian piece of our efforts right," Mullen said. "To plan real seeds of success in this region: opportunity, education and hope."

In Afghanistan, Eikenberry served as the commander of Combined Forces Command and as the security coordinator and chief of the office of military cooperation in Kabul.

In other political-military roles he served as the defense attaché at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, and as the Defense Department's senior country director for China and Taiwan.

Eikenberry is a U.S. military academy graduate and holds master's degrees from Harvard University in East Asian studies and from Stanford University in political science. He also earned an advanced degree in Chinese history from Nanjing University in the China. He has authored several articles on military training and tactics, history, and Asia-Pacific security issues.

"Karl's experience as a soldier-scholar will be crucial to fostering the strong civil-military relationship required to tip the balance, enable good governance to take root and hold," Mullen said. "He knows the enemy, he knows our allies, and he knows himself."

Mullen said Eikenberry's appointment comes at a critical time when civil-military operations have become more vital to success in Afghanistan.

Mullen, who just returned from a trip to the region, said that the challenges there will not be fixed my military solutions alone.

"Our success, which is really the success of the people, truly hinges upon our ability to build civilian capacity," Mullen said.

Eikenberry praised the new strategy for Afghanistan and expressed confidence it its ability to bring stability there.

"I look forward to working with old and with new teammates as we move forward to implement the president's new strategy under extraordinarily difficult conditions," he said.

Agencies Team Up to Improve Missile Defense Training

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2009 - A group of U.S. military organizations are teaming up to develop improved, better-integrated missile defense training, senior civilian officials said today. The in-progress initiative is called, "All Things Missile," Patrick A. McVay, joint exercises and training director at U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, Neb., told reporters during a telephone interview.

The goal, McVay said, is to develop new missile defense simulated training exercises that are more realistic, efficient and joint. One of U.S. Stratcom's missions is to synchronize global missile defense plans and operations.

The envisioned new system, McVay said, will consolidate training capabilities for integrated tactical warning/attack assessment, ballistic missile defense systems and tactical engagement simulations.

"I don't want to call 'All Things Missile' a system; it is a system of systems, if you will, or a single training capability that will go across all those capabilities," McVay explained.

McVay said current planning calls for introduction of the new training capability in about two years.

The new capability will employ the internet and the global information grid, McVay said, to enable distribution "to any training requirement from anyone in the 'All Things Missile' community of interest."

Today's missile defense training system also lacks cross-organizational capability, McVay said.

"If I'm using it, then (U.S.) Northcom can't train on it, or the guy on the Aegis (guided-missile) cruiser can't train on it," McVay said of the current system.

McVay co-hosted the interview with Gregory F. Knapp, executive director of U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Warfighting Center and Joint Training Directorate in Suffolk, Va.

U.S. Joint Forces Command, based at Norfolk, Va., is supporting Stratcom's "All Things Missile" training initiative, Knapp said. Jfcom is the defense department's joint-force training and capabilities-development organization.

"No (training) task happens in isolation; it's always done in some kind of global context," Knapp said. "The way we build the training environment allows us to bring in scenarios with very complex, multi-dimensional context, like what happens in the real world."

Introducing a better-integrated, more-realistic training system, Knapp added, should also improve the missile defense community's operational capability.

Other participants in the training initiative include the Missile Defense Agency at the Pentagon, several combatant commands and the military service branches. The MDA's mission is to develop and field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces and allies.

Air Force One Flight Opportunity Causes New York City Confusion

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2009 - The White House expressed regret yesterday over a photo opportunity involving Air Force One that stirred up confusion and fear in New York City. The Presidential Airlift Group flew the VC-25 presidential aircraft, escorted by an F-16 fighter jet, over the city between 10 and 10:30 yesterday morning, said Gary T. Strasburg, chief of the Air Force's Environmental Public Affairs.

The mission was conducted "in conjunction with normally scheduled continuation training for assigned aircrew members," and coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration, Strasburg said.

This mission was coordinated for the Upper New York Bay, south of the Holland Tunnel and in the Newark Bay north of the Staten Island Expressway, he said.

But New Yorkers who observed the flight found it all too reminiscent of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that took down both World Trade Center towers.

Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, expressed regret yesterday over approving the mission.

"I take responsibility for that decision," he said in a written statement.

"While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption," he said. "I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused."

DoD Announces Additional $835 Million in Recovery Act Projects

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today details of more than 850 facility improvement projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The $835 million allocated to these new projects represents the balance of the ARRA funds provided to the DoD for construction and repair projects, and is in addition to the approximate $6.1 billion contained in the first infrastructure investment list announced on March 20, 2009.

All of the new projects will be conducted at Army and Army National Guard facilities in 37 states and the District of Columbia. More than half of the $835 million will be spent in five states: Texas ($155 million), Kentucky ($83 million), North Carolina ($83 million), Oklahoma ($66 million) and Hawaii ($59 million). In addition to making much-needed improvements to military installations, an additional $346 million will be spent on energy-related projects enabling the DoD to lead the way in the national effort to achieve greater energy independence.

Representing less than 1 percent of the entire $787 billion ARRA package, the overall $7.4 billion investment in defense-related projects will further the legislation's stated goal of stimulating the American economy through job creation, while improving the quality of life for service members, their families, and DoD civilian workers.

The DoD intends to spend ARRA funds as quickly as possible with full transparency and accountability. To view a complete list of the specific projects announced today, please visit and . The DoD will continue to use these websites to post future announcements related to ARRA funding.

Nominee for Navy Secretary Vows to Support Sailors, Marines

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2009 - President Barack Obama's nominee for Navy Secretary pledged to address the service's acquisition process to ensure sailors, Marines, and taxpayers aren't shortchanged. Former Mississippi Gov. Raymond Mabus Jr., acknowledged the Department of the Navy faces complex challenges.

"One of the important [challenges] is gaining control of an acquisition process which, far too often, overpromises and under prices; breaks, sometimes spectacularly, budgets and schedules; ups requirements while lowering quantities; and resists accountability," said former Mississippi Gov. Raymond Mabus Jr.

Mabus told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing this morning that if confirmed, that would be one of his areas of concentration.

"I look forward to working with the members of this committee to make sure we don't shortchange our sailors, Marines and taxpayers because of an out-of-control process," he said.

Mabus noted the contributions made by the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps. "Thousands of brave Marines and sailors are engaged, in Iraq and Afghanistan, while courageous thousands more carry out hazardous duties around the globe," he said. "These incredible, wonderful young Americans all volunteered to serve and are defending and representing the United States and all of us."

He also outlined the importance of the department to the nation's interests around the world.

"The Navy and the Marine Corps play critical roles in our nation's service, fighting America's wars, projecting power where needed, protecting the sea lanes, delivering disaster relief, cooperating with other countries, in efforts to multiply force, trying and preventing conflicts from arising or from turning into things which are larger, more dangerous and harder to control, providing training and other assistance, to nations around the globe, and doing many of these things in a sea-based, minimum-footprint way," he said.

The nominee said the office for which he is being considered has many facets, ranging from "making sure that the Navy and Marine Corps recruit, train and retain exceptional forces, to ensuring that those forces have enough of the right equipment, to do their job, to caring for them and their families daily and especially in times of crisis, to working with Congress and the other services and the larger Department of Defense."

Mabus, a former naval surface warfare officer, called the experience one of the most profound of his life. "It helped me so much in the other things that I have undertaken," he said.

He also served as Mississippi's state auditor and U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. It was his stint as governor, however, that taught him that one person can't do everything alone.

"Cooperation and collaboration, especially with the legislative branch, is crucial if anything is to be accomplished," he said.

Robert O. Work also addressed the committee today. Work, who is nominated to be the next undersecretary of the Navy, said he looks forward to helping Mabus lead the Navy and Marine Corps and working with members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, if they are both confirmed.

"If confirmed, I believe that my life-long experience – first as an active-duty dependent, then a military officer ... a father of a military family; and leader, strategist, and analyst – well-prepares me to contribute to these decisions," Work said.

"I will also work hard with the secretary of the Navy to ensure that our nearly 11,000 wounded warriors receive the best care possible, and that the families of our fallen are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve," he said.

The retired Marine, who followed in his father's footsteps and served in the Corps for 27 years, said that he's mindful of what looks to be an especially challenging fiscal and budgetary environment.

"The incoming secretary and undersecretary will be forced to make hard decisions about the future of the Navy and Marine Corps," he said. "However, I pledge not to enter this important job with any preconceived notions or positions.

"I'll listen to the best available civilian and military advice and, when asked, give ... honest, pragmatic advice and counsel to the secretary of the Navy [and] the secretary of Defense, and the president," he added.

The Senate Armed Services Committee also heard testimony from nominees for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, General Counsel of the Department of the Army, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.