Military News

Friday, May 15, 2009

Inspiring Alliance - Military Support Network

Inspiring Alliance is a nonprofit service organization offering emergency care and long-term support to military service members, veterans, and their families. Our audience includes the active or retired service member or a veteran, who is in need of transitional assistance for medical, financial, education or employment support. The programs we refer clients to are supported through a variety of qualified nonprofit organizations and federal agencies whose web links are located on our Military Support Links landing page. In addition, we offer assistance through our own self-funded programs at Inspiring Alliance.

MORE INFORMATION
http://www.inspiringalliance.org

The 3 Cs of Ethical Leadership

Unfortunately, all supervisors or managers are not leaders. A good cop is genuinely a leader to the community they serve. But everyone in a position of authority is not really a leader. A well rounded leader possesses the 3 Cs: character, charisma, and compassion. These are the core foundation of ethical leadership.

http://www.police-writers.com/articles/ethical_leadership.html

Leadership Philosophy: Expand Your Mind

Leadership comes in many different shapes and forms. As leadership comes in different shapes and forms, so does leadership philosophies. There are people from all walks of life who have their own philosophy on leadership. Who's to say which is right and which is wrong? But if you expand your mind and allow your leadership to grow, you will benefit any organization.

READ ON
http://www.pokerleadership.com/leadership_philosophy.html

Bomb Threat Stand Off Distance Chart

The Bomb Threat Stand Off Distances Chart was developed by the National Counterterrorism Center and provides evacuation distances for various types of bomb threats.

Download the Chart
http://www.hitechcj.com/homelandsecurity/bomb_threat_stand_off_distances.html

GI Film Festival Puts Military in Focus

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2009 - The works screened at the GI Film Festival, the only American cinema expo dedicated to honoring U.S. troops, represent a wide-lens view of the military that goes beyond the narrative angles commonly pursued by Hollywood. Far from sugar-coating the realities of human conflict, the assortment of independent, international, mainstream and short films aim to represent a more rounded depiction of war and the people affected by it, according to the festival co-founder.

"This range of films is important, not only for the American G.I.s, but for the public to see our warriors' story from a variety of perspectives -- from the active-duty servicemember inside the arena of war, to the military spouse at home waiting for their loved one to return," said Maj. Laura Law-Millett, U.S. Army Reserve, who started the festival with her husband three years ago.

This year's lineup includes 16 feature-length documentaries, two major studio feature films and 30 short films covering the Civil War, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Festival organizers expect more than 1,000 guests over the next three days, including active and retired military, their families, as well as military and history buffs and film aficionados.

Audience members here last night watched Valkyrie, a 2008 release that tells the tale of Claus von Stauffenberg, a colonel in the German army during WWII who becomes disillusioned with his role as the military face of Adolph Hitler's inhumanity. The officer's dilemma is established early and Stauffenberg spends little time computing the moral calculus, quickly deciding to tie his fate to an anti-establishment movement bent on overthrowing the Third Reich and installing a new German government.

Valkyrie Producer Gilbert Adler said that while the movie's creators were shooting the historically-based film on location in Berlin, he steeped himself in the culture of WWII-era Germany.

"In so doing, I realized how great it is to live in this country," he said of the United States. "And when I realized who was going to be in this audience tonight, I felt compelled to come and say how honored I am to be invited to this, and how much I appreciate the military's involvement in protecting the Constitution."

Before the film reaches its crescendo, with Stauffenberg botching an assassination attempt on the fuhrer's head that leads to the swift dissolution of the coup, the audience sees the young colonel suffer wounds in a pitched battle in Northern Africa. The physical changes the character undergoes as a result of his injuries resonated with last night's audience, which included wounded warriors from two local military hospitals.

Stauffenberg loses his right hand above the wrist, two digits on his left and an eye after allied war planes strafed his Army unit with bullets. A sub-plot of Valkryie focuses on the colonel adapting to his new life: Stauffenberg fumbles with his uniform coat while dressing, he struggles to recognize the face in the mirror staring back at him with one eye, and he can no longer salute.

Marine Sgt. Jack Eubanks, a member of last night's audience who was decked out in dress blues, shared his own tale of rehabilitation. The cane he clutches to help balance him is a visible cue that his path to recovery is ongoing.

During his first deployment to Anbar province, Iraq, in October 2005, Eubanks was thrown from his vehicle when it rolled over an improvised explosive device. Two months later, again his vehicle drove over a roadside bomb and he was ejected a second time. Two years later while deployed to Habaniyah, Iraq, Eubanks was struck with a mortar.

Eubanks now works as an enlisted advisor and medical liaison at the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury and receives treatment at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

The sergeant suffered both physical and mental wounds, injured his spine and experienced post-traumatic stress. But like many junior enlisted troops returning home a changed person, Eubanks exudes resilience and humility in describing his own great courage.

"It took its toll," he said of his battle wounds. "But I don't consider myself seriously injured – I'm in one piece. I've got a spinal injury; it hurts. But I'm not missing legs like some of these guys. I consider myself extremely fortunate. I'm able to do most daily things myself. I just feel bad for those who can't."

Army Lt. Col. Michael Jasmin, a soldier recovering from surgery for injuries to his rotator cuff and bicep tendon that he sustained while on his second deployment to Iraq, expressed his admiration for those troops more severely injured than he.

Jasmin is part of the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Belvoir, Va., but receives treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here, the Army's main, U.S. military hospital.

"I go to Walter Reed, I talk to these guys, and they have higher spirits than people I know outside," he said.

Jasmin told of when he shared an elevator in the hospital with an injured solder who noticed the Iraq war patch on Jasmin's uniform and asked, "You heading out anytime soon, sir?"

"Well, actually, I'm here to get fixed,'" Jasmin recalled telling the soldier, who replied: "You let me know when you do, I wanna go with you." Jasmin added, "He wanted to get right back in the fight."

Jasmin said he appreciates that the GI Film Festival showcases the duty, honor and sacrifice displayed by American servicemembers – aspects of service that are sometimes glossed over or ignored by blockbuster movies that use war as a backdrop.

"I think a lot of guys, me in particular, feel abandoned by mainstream Hollywood," he said. "So I really appreciate what they're doing here. They're showing the sacrifice and the service of America's sons and daughters."

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 15, 2009

NAVY
Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $259,904,116 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5444) for MK15 Phalanx Close-In-Weapon System (CIWS) Block 1B upgrades and conversions, system overhauls, and associated hardware. Phalanx CIWS is a fast reaction terminal defense against low and high flying, high-speed maneuvering anti-ship missile threats that have penetrated all other ships' defenses. The CIWS is an integral element of the fleet defense in-depth concept and the Ship Self-Defense Program. Phalanx CIWS is currently installed on approximately 187 USN ships and is in use in 20 foreign navies. The Phalanx Block 1B CIWS weapon systems are also being installed on low-boy trailers with self contained diesel electric power and cooling water. This configuration of the Phalanx CIWS is the MK 15 MOD 29 land-based Phalanx Weapon System and has been deployed to Iraq. Work will be performed in Louisville, Ky., (30 percent), Andover, Mass., (19 percent), Tucson, Ariz., (16 percent), Syracuse, N.Y., (7 percent), Long Beach, Calif., (6 percent), Radford, Va., (6 percent), Burlington, Vt., (6 percent), Palm Bay, Fla., (2 percent), Pittsburg, Pa., (2 percent), Bloomington, Minn., (2 percent), Salt Lake City, Utah, (2 percent), Norcross, Ga., (1 percent), and New Albany, Ind., (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $8,756,580 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

ITT Corp., Fort Wayne, Ind., is being awarded a $22,928,426 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for single channel ground and airborne radio system waveform software support for the Network Enterprise Domain under the Joint Program Executive Office, Joint Tactical Radio System. Work will be performed in Fort Wayne, Ind., and is expected to be completed by 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract wascompetitively procured and offers were received via the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N00039-09-D-0020).

Harris Corp., Melbourne, Fla., is being awarded a $12,357,161 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-05-C-0044) for the obsolescence redesign of the Lot 10/11 tactical aircraft moving map capability common map card, and will include test asset deliveries of the digital map computer (9) and the digital video map computer (2). Work will be performed in Palm Bay, Fla., and is expected to be completed in Apr. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Land & Armaments, Ground Systems Division, York, Pa., is being awarded a $7,063,712 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity delivery order #0010 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5025) for the purchase of eight United States Special Operations Command Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Category I vehicles including technical insertion engineering change proposals. Work will be performed in York, Pa., and is expected to be completed by the Nov. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
McDonnell Douglas Corporation, St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a maximum $84,611,624 firm fixed price, sole source contract for parts. Other location of performance is in Texas. Using service is Navy. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was originally one proposal solicited with 1 response. The date of performance completion is May 30, 2014. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia (DSCR-ZC), Philadelphia, Pa., (N00383-06-D-004H-THA2).

Graybar Electric Co., Inc., Saint Louis, Mo., is being awarded a maximum $74,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity, maintenance, repair and operation contract for supplies. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was solicited on FedBizOps with seven responses. This contract is exercising the fourth one-year option period. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is May 18, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM500-04-D-BP07).

Science Applications International Corp., Fairfield, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $60,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity, maintenance, repair and operation contract for supplies and related services. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was solicited on FedBizOps with seven responses. This contract is exercising the fourth one-year option period. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is May 18, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM500-04-D-BP08).

McRae Industries, Inc., Mt. Gilead, N.C.*, is being awarded a maximum $21,014,297 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery, total set aside contract for Army combat boots. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. The original proposal was Web solicited with nine responses. This contract is exercising the second option year period. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is May 16, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-07-D-1521).

Veyance Technologies, Inc., Fairlawn, Ohio is being awarded a maximum $11,614,374 firm fixed price contract for track pads. Other location of performance is in Ohio. Using service is Army. There were originally two proposals solicited with two responses. The date of performance completion is May 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Warren (DSCC-ZG), Warren, Mich., (SPRDL1-09-D-0024).

RKA/dba Leemon Oil Co., Romulus, Mich.*, is being awarded a maximum $5,394,155 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are throughout Michigan. Using services are Army and federal civilian agencies. There were 48 responses to the original proposal solicited. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Jun. 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0217).

AIR FORCE
The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed Price and Cost Plus Fixed Fee contract with McDonnell Douglas Corp., of Long Beach, Calif., for$144,527,500. This contract modification is for the C-17 Globemaster III sustainment partnership contract to incorporate the CY09 Global Reach Improvement Program Non-Block, Block 14-16 and Block 17 Follow-On retrofit projects for the Air Force and United Kingdom aircraft. At this time, $62,077,406 has been obligated. 516 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8614-04-C-2004, P00298).

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Computer Sciences Corp., of Falls Church, Va., for $48.3 million. This contract action will provide supplies and services necessary to sustain the current deliberate and crisis action planning and execution segments operational capabilities. At this time, no money has been obligated. 754 ELSG of Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Ala., is the contracting activity (FA8771-07-D-0001).

The Air Force is modifying a cost plus fixed fee contract with Lockheed Martin Corp., of King of Prussia, Pa., for $18,300,000. This contract action will perform major design, trades and segment definition through completion of a preliminary design review for the Conventional Strike Missile Payload Deliver Vehicle. At this time, $9,150,000 has been obligated. SMC/XRC, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8814-08-C-0003, P00006).

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Hawaiian Rock Products, of Mangilao, Guam for a maximum of $7,606,395. This contract will provide furnishing all labor, materials, tools, equipment, transpiration, quality control and supervision necessary to complete paving, marking and rubber removal, and basewide paving. At this time, $5,931,000 has been obligated. 653 ELSG/KCK, Bedford, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8726-09-0006).

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee contract to Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., of Herndon, Va., for an estimated $6,763,156. This contract action will provide technical area tTask to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with analysis for secure, robust ENGLink that will operate on the Corps of Engineers enterprise information system and satellite communications connected to mobile command vehicles and USACE's new ACE-IT environment. At this time, $25,000 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (FASP0700-98-D-4002).

The Air Force is awarding a requirements contract to Cornejo and Sons, Inc., of Wichita, Kan., for an estimated $6,744,306. This contractor shall furnish all plant, labor, material, supplies, testing, supervision, transportation and incidentals necessary to accomplish pavement removal. At this time, no money has been obligated. 22 CONS/LGCA, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., is the contracting activity (FA4621-09-D-0003).

Shaw Environmental, Inc., Norfolk, Va. is being awarded a minimum $6,750,000 firm fixed price contract for environmental remediation and assessment services. Other location of performance is in South Carolina. Using services are federal civilian agencies. There were 13 responses to the original proposal solicited. The date of performance completion is Jun. 30, 2014. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-5917).

ARMY
Lockheed Martin Corp., Grand Prairie, Texas was award on May 13, 2009 a $31,930,257 cost-plus-fixed-fee-service contract for PAC-3 Guidance Processor Unit Redesign. Work is to be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2011. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-07-G-0001).

The Boeing Co. Saint Louis, Mo. was awarded on May 14, 2009 a $ 18,699,999 cost reimbursement contract for the procurement of all long lead items, to include all non-recurring test item, tooling and facilitization needs to meet the projected Low Rate Initial Production requirements for the Future Combat Systems Spin Out Early- Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Work is to be performed in Bloomington, M.N., (24 percent), Wayne, N.J., (3 percent), Wilmington, Ma., (19 percent), Burlington, Ma., (17 percent), Albuquerque, N.M., (9 percent), Huntington Ceach, Calif., (24 percent), St Louis, Mo., (1 percent), Huntsville, Ala., (1 percent), El Paso, Texas, (2 percent) with an estimated completion date of Jan. 15, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. TACOM Warren, AMSCC-TAC-AB, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0452).

Argon ST, Fairfax, Va., was awarded on May 14, 2009 a $ 6,435,021 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Robust Surface Navigation (RSN) program seeks to develop technology for geospatial location and navigation using "signals of opportunity" (SoOP). These SoOP's are primarily envisioned to be man-made radio emitters not originally intended for location and navigation (such as commercial communications satellites, commercial radio and television broadcast towers, or mobile telephone towers), but may be extended to active beacons purposefully deployed in a tactical military situation. Phase 1 of RSN presented analyses that showed the expected positioning performance using SoOps and beacons in various environments, including open-sky line of sight, urban canyons of varying density, inside buildings of varying complexity, and under dense foliage. Work is to be performed in Fairfax, Va., (84.33 percent), Plymouth, Minn., (9.95 percent), Austin, Texas, (3.09 percent), and Cambridge, Ma., (2.63 percent) with an estimated completion date of Feb. 12, 2010. Bids were solicited using a Broad Agency Announcement with twelve (12) bids received; two performers selected for Phase 1; 1 performer selected for Phase 2. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-09-C-0079).

Bidens Thank Sailors Aboard USS Ronald Reagan

By Navy Seaman Alexander Tidd
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2009 - The vice president and his wife visited USS Ronald Reagan here yesterday as part of a familiarization tour of naval facilities in southern California. While aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, Vice President Joe Biden announced the Defense Department's plan to expand its housing assistance program with $555 million for servicemembers forced to sell their homes at a loss during the country's struggling housing market.

During their tour, Biden commented on the Ronald Reagan Strike Group's successful 2008 deployment, which included humanitarian assistance in the Philippines and combat operations in Afghanistan.

"You are agile, capable in a variety of missions, and you're brave enough to succeed every time you are deployed," Biden told the 2,000 sailors.

"A grateful nation owes you," he said.

Much to the delight of the crew, the vice president and his wife, Jill Biden, sat down for lunch with Ronald Reagan sailors after his speech.

"It's exciting, a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate Airman Elizabeth Irby. "I was speechless when he sat down with us. He was intriguing and inspirational."

"Having the vice president visit is something I wouldn't get to do in any other job," added Machinist's Mate Fireman Alecia Guerrera. "It's nice to hear his support for the military and Reagan in particular."

The vice president posed for hundreds of photos with sailors, thanking them individually for their service.

"I hope you all realize how much we support you," he said.

Jill Biden, who along with First Lady Michelle Obama advocates for military families, met later with area ombudsmen to discuss family readiness issues.

"Your loved ones will not be alone when you deploy," she told the Ronald Reagan crew. "Your country appreciates your courage and strength."

USS Ronald Reagan is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 7 and the ninth of 10 Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The ship is named for the 40th president. Its motto, "peace through strength," was a recurring theme during the Reagan presidency.

(Navy Seaman Alexander Tidd writes for Navy News Service).

California Group Packs Church, Packages, to Recognize Military Appreciation Month

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2009 - For the last five years, the California-based troop-support group, Their Angels, have met every first Saturday, monthly, to pack civilian care packages and write letters of support to send to deployed troops. On May 2, the volunteers brought together 100 people in honor of Military Appreciation Month. "We decided to extend an invitation to our active-duty military personnel, their families and veterans to come and be our honored guests," said Marva Lyons, president of Their Angels. "We also offered a special prayer on behalf of those that have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. We just wanted to salute them all for their service."

Nearly 100 people gathered at the Hilltop Church of Christ in Richmond, Calif., for the celebration. Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia spoke to the group about the importance of being involved with troop-support groups.

Students from Tara Hills Elementary in San Pablo recited a poem, "The Pride of Our Country." Military families gave updates on their deployed family members and veterans had the opportunity to introduce themselves and tell when and where they served.

"I really enjoyed the event," said Denise Marshall-Thomas, whose son participated. "It was a good learning experience for the students – to meet the troops and the veterans, to hear about their experiences. I was so happy the event included young people. My son, Isaiah, loved it."

Army Sgt. First Class Luis Green, who served a tour in Iraq, along with others, was welcomed with hand shakes, tears, hugs and thanks as the guests waited in line to express personal gratitude for their service.

"As a special surprise, we prepared special notes of thanks that were distributed to the veterans," Lyons said.

Following the reception, about 80 attendees gathered to pack 500 care packages, each with a special note tucked inside. The packages included razors, Band-Aids, wet wipes, pencils, candy, Kool-aid, cookies, crackers and granola bars, among other things.

"We work tirelessly each month to continue this tradition," Lyons said. "While the work we do on behalf of our troops is appreciated, we continue to look for ways to fund our monthly packing."

For the groups' efforts in arranging the Military Appreciation Month program, the Diablo Corvette Club presented them with a $750 check for their continued support of deployed troops.

Their Angels has assembled and shipped more than 14,000 care packages to deployed troops since 2004, according to the group's Web site.

Guard 'T-bird' Pilot Wheels Enthusiasm at Air Show

By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2009 - As acrobatic aircraft buzzed overhead as part of the run-up to the annual air show here this weekend, Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Routt paid more notice to the parked, baby-blue and white business jets on the ground -- aircraft used by the nation's elected and military leaders. The first Air National Guard officer to serve with the Air Force Thunderbirds was enjoying his time outside the nation's capital, his eighth event since joining the team.

A trim, operations officer in his late 30s, Routt wore the dark-blue flight suit of the Thunderbirds with nary a thread out of place. He likes to make sure there is "no distinguishing between a Guard, reserve or active-duty Thunderbird," he said.

"This is a true-to-form, total force team," he said. "When I tell people that I am a Guardsman it brings a lot of questions, and that allows me to talk about the Air Guard. But it really doesn't matter what service or what capacity, to serve is the No. 1 goal."

Even as a Guard member, Routt flew the F-15 Eagle in Nevada with what officials call the "most diverse wing in the Air Force" – the 57th at Nellis Air Force Base. The Thunderbirds are based just down the street.

"I had some people approach me about applying for the position, and I applied and went through the process," he said. He made the grade.

It is Routt's first time working as an operations officer, and he is doing it as the second-in-command of the nation's premiere F-16 Fighting Falcon squadron.

"I run the operations business, which means I put aircraft in the air, put pilots into aircraft and make sure that their training is done. During the show, and all the way through our season, my No. 1 job is safety," he said.

Routt will travel with the team – 11 officers and 120 enlisted airmen – on a schedule of air shows across the nation and as far as Hawaii until November. Then he will prepare for his second, and final, 2010 season.

Routt flies Thunderbird No. 7 to and from shows. The plane is used as a spare and in support missions. "You can think of the operations officer as more of a producer of the show, who controls the air space, people, communications and gear," he said. "While the guys are flying, I'm controlling the airfield and ensuring the team is doing it safe and properly."

Routt is overseeing operations of a squadron constantly under the public eye, where its ground-air movements are highly coordinated, planned and synchronized. He supervises the safety of pilots who fly near supersonic speeds within feet of each other.

But he was looking around the flight line yesterday morning, more a spectator than a participant. He said his status and schedule has not dulled his childhood excitement for air shows and airplanes.

"Wouldn't it be great to take that up," he said, smiling and pointing toward a vintage, World War II fighter aircraft. "Now that would be awesome."

(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves with the National Guard Bureau).

Marine Corps Ready for Review's Scrutiny, Commandant Says

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2009 - The Marine Corps is lean and built for a fight, including the scrutiny of the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, its commandant said during a military strategy forum here today. "We think that ... as a Marine Corps, we're going to be scrutinized during the QDR but in the end, we think we'll be OK," Marine Gen. James T. Conway said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Military Strategy Forum. The QDR is a study the Defense Department conducts every four years to analyze strategic objectives and potential military threats.

"The Marine Corps pulls down about 6 percent of the department's budget," Conway said. "For that 6 percent, you get about 15, 16 percent of the maneuver battalions; you get 15 percent of the attack aircraft [and] you get 19 percent of the attack helicopters. The average Marine costs the country about $20,000 less than the next closest service man in other services."

The Corps also defines the kind of service Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is seeking: a balanced force oriented toward the hybrid, but able to counter surprises that sometimes develop around the globe, Conway said.

"One hundred percent of our Marine Corps procurement can be used in both the hybrid kind of environment or in major combat," he said. "It's a record we're proud of and we think that's certainly going to continue on downrange."

The QDR most likely will bring up three issues involving the Marine Corps, the commandant said. The first is the lay down of forces as it relates to the Corps' pending move to Guam.

The second is the shortfall in the Corps' attack aircraft procurement. It hasn't purchased such a craft in 11 years, but with good reason, he said.

"We chose not to buy the F-18 E and F when the Navy did, so that we could await the arrival of a fifth-generation fighter called the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35B," Conway said. "Interestingly, we are the first of all the services to get initial operation capacity out of that aircraft."

That capacity won't be a reality until 2012. Until then, the Marine Corps has taken steps to make sure its fleet of F-18 A through D fighter jets are viable resources, including extending the jets to 10,000 hours of flight time, Conway said.

The third issue focuses on the need for amphibious capability and how much is necessary.

"That is a major player as far as Marines are concerned, of course ... because it talks about that niche capability that we provide," Conway said. "I would rephrase the question a little bit and [ask], 'How much does this maritime nation and world superpower need for purposes of security cooperation and theater engagement? If you ask that question of the combatant commanders, they will tell you almost uniformly that's their No. 1 requirement."

Conway said he believes the chief of Naval Operations would say the amphibious ships are the best for that particular job.

They provide a great range of capabilities including training, air, medical and dental.

"We think that the value on a day-in and day-out basis is really the engagement that this nation has to be able to accomplish over time and [be able to do it] from the sea," Conway said.

The military is seeing more nations request the aid the U.S. military has brought them, but they don't necessarily want them creating a footprint ashore, he said.

Vice President's Wife Meets with San Diego Military Spouses

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class David L. Smart
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2009 - The wife of the vice president spoke with military family members and support group representatives at the Island Club on Naval Air Station North Island here yesterday. President Barack Obama, his wife, Michelle, and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have made support for military members and their families a priority since taking office. Joe and Jill Biden met with sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in San Diego yesterday after the vice president announced the Defense Department's plan to expand its housing assistance program with $555 million for servicemembers forced to sell their homes at a loss during the national housing crunch. Afterward, Jill Biden met with local military spouses and community volunteer groups to discuss issues facing military spouses.

"A few months ago I did something similar," Biden said. "I went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and I had the chance to hear from spouses and talk about some of the things that they were facing as military spouses.

"We talked about child care," she said. "We talked about problems they were having at the local schools, and I also heard from some of these ladies that the community came together and supported these families.

"I'm also pleased that so many volunteer organizations are here today and look forward to hearing from you because your work is really critically important."

The Bidens had lunch with sailors aboard USS Ronald Reagan, carrying their message of support and appreciation to the crew. The vice president then visited other Navy commands, giving Jill Biden the opportunity to meet with spouses and volunteers.

"I'm here to listen. That's my job today," she told the group. "I'm a teacher and you know I'm a mom, so one of my strengths is that I'm a good listener."

This is the first time the Bidens have been to San Diego since the inauguration.

"I'm very excited about it. I can't wait to meet her," said Twanya Brass, an Operation Homefront volunteer and military spouse. "This lets me know they really care about what's going on with the military and the military spouses."

Christi Carr, chairman of volunteers at the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society said, "I think it means a lot. Her background as a college professor and taking the time out to help with the military, I think is wonderful. We should be honored that she is here."

(Petty Officer 3rd Class David L. Smart serves with Navy Public Affairs Support Element West).

DoD, OPM Announce Defense Business Board NSPS Review

Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III and Director of the Office of Personnel Management John Berry asked the Defense Business Board yesterday to establish a task group to conduct a review of the National Security Personnel System.

The task group should deliver recommendations aimed at helping the Department determine (1) if the underlying design principles and methodology for implementation are reflected in the program objectives; (2) whether the program objectives are being met; and (3) whether NSPS is operating in a fair, transparent, and effective manner," wrote Lynn in his instructions to the Defense Business Board.

The task group will seek public input over a series of opportunities to be announced at a later date, and present its findings and draft recommendations to the Defense Business Board during a public meeting later this summer. The board will provide its final report to the secretary of defense and to the director, Office of Personnel Management, shortly thereafter.

The task group will be chaired by Rudy deLeon, the senior vice president of National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. The other members of the group will be Michael Bayer, chairman of the Defense Business Board, and Robert Tobias, a professor at American University and director for the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation.

The Defense Business Board, an independent advisory body that operates under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, was established to provide the secretary of defense independent advice and recommendations on effective management of the Department of Defense.

On March 16, 2009, the Department of Defense and the Office of Personnel Management had announced that they will undertake a review of the National Security Personnel System, including policies, regulations, and practices.

Chairman Issues Statement in Support of Armed Forces Day

American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2009 - Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a statement released in support of Armed Forces Day that today's military is "as united in common purpose, spirit and understanding" as he has ever seen. Here is the entirety of Mullen's statement:

On Saturday, May 16th, we pause to commemorate Armed Forces Day and pay tribute to all active duty Service members, National Guardsmen and Reservists, who, through the thickest of wars and greatest of crises, have raised their hands high to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The theme of this year's Armed Forces Day, "United in Strength" – seems especially fitting to me, personally – for in my nearly 45 years of wearing the uniform, I have rarely seen our Nation and our military as united in common purpose, spirit, and understanding as I do, right now.

For that commitment and that unity, I am grateful to our civilian leadership, as well as our hometowns and local communities. The virtue of serving a cause greater than self is a public virtue, one which is still just as revolutionary as it was during our Nation's founding.

In now our eighth year of war, our Armed Forces stand as one of the most combat-hardened forces in our history. Yet their uplifting enthusiasm and resilience never cease to inspire. I know – we all know – that this spirit has everything to do with your support. It is a sea of goodwill which lifts the spirits of every military Service member and family, in times difficult and good. It is that same support and encouragement we cannot do without.

To the more than two million Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and their families, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and I extend our heartfelt thanks for your service. And to the Nation we serve – we humbly thank you for your unstinting devotion – and for the opportunity to represent the spirit you share so generously, all across the globe.

Sincerely,

M.G. MULLEN
Admiral, U.S. Navy

Air Force Names Lackland Alternative for Cyber Numbered Headquarters

American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2009 - The Air Force announced today that Lackland AFB, Texas, is the preferred alternative for the permanent location of 24th Air Force, a new numbered Air Force headquarters focused on the cyber mission. A final basing decision will not be made until the environmental process required under the National Environmental Policy Act is completed, military officials said.

Air Force officials announced in October the creation of a cyber-NAF under Air Force Space Command. The Air Force announced the six candidate bases for the NAF headquarters on Jan. 21, then began site surveys that teams completed on March 6. The six candidate bases were: Barksdale AFB, La.; Lackland AFB, Texas; Langley AFB, Va.; Offutt AFB, Neb.; Peterson AFB, Colo.; and Scott AFB, Ill.

"Site survey teams used previously approved criteria to gather information, assess capabilities, and refine initial data to thoroughly evaluate all candidate locations in accordance with our basing process," said Kathleen Ferguson, deputy secretary of the Air Force for installations.

"These basing selections were made using a measured and deliberate process to ensure that the final decision is the best possible outcome for national defense and is in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act," Ferguson said. "This information was then evaluated during a headquarters Air Force-level review to select the preferred alternative."

In selecting a preferred alternative for the cyber mission, Air Force officials considered cyber NAF mission synergy, including proximity to other cyber operational missions and access to scientific and technical expertise, as well as communication and bandwidth capabilities, officials said.

Other criteria included facilities and infrastructure, support capacity, security and transportation and access considerations. Following the completion of the environmental impact analysis, Air Force officials intend to make a final base selection this summer.

Business Leaders to Review DoD Personnel System

American Forces Press Service

, May 15, 2009 - The Defense Department has turned to a group of senior executive business leaders to review its newest system of hiring and compensation. Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III, along with Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, has asked the Defense Business Board to form a task group to review the National Security Personnel System.

The board is made up of about 20 private sector executives with a range of business management experience. It is tasked with providing the Defense Department independent advice and recommendations.

"The task group should deliver recommendations aimed at helping the department determine if the underlying design principles and methodology for implementation are reflected in the program objectives, whether the program objectives are being met, and whether NSPS is operating in a fair, transparent, and effective manner," Lynn wrote in his instructions to the board.

The task group will seek public input, but venues have not been announced. The group is slated to present its findings and draft recommendations to the board during a public meeting later this summer, officials announced.

The board is to provide its final report to the Defense Department shortly thereafter.

Defense Department and OPM officials on March 16 announced a review of the personnel system, including policies, regulations, and practices.

The department has put a hold on any further conversions of organizations into NSPS until at least October, pending the outcome of the review.

NSPS implementation began in 2006, changing the way DoD civilians are hired, compensated, promoted, and rewarded. The system covers about 205,000 DoD employees.

President Issues Armed Forces Day Proclamation

American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2009 - President Barack Obama signed and issued a proclamation yesterday designating tomorrow as Armed Forces Day. Here is the presidential proclamation:

On Armed Forces Day, 1961, President Kennedy connected civic engagement and our Nation's security. He stated, "The strength of our armed forces rests not alone upon their active and reserve members, our industrial productivity, and our human resources, but also upon the understanding and support of an informed American people." Based on this perspective, I call upon all Americans to learn more about, and express gratitude for, the heroic efforts of our men and women in uniform.

Today, the United States military serves across the world to keep us safe. They are working here at home to protect America from threats foreign and domestic; they are risking their lives in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan; and they are also serving bravely in many other parts of the world to ensure our security and provide humanitarian assistance. Members of the Armed Forces are forging a better future for our Nation and the world.

As they carry out their missions, military families endure the sacrifice of their absence. Worrying about their safety, moving to new duty stations, and managing a home without a loved one, these families shoulder great burdens as they help sustain our men and women in uniform. I thank military families for their vital contributions.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coastguardsmen who have answered the call to service deserve recognition and gratitude. They have endured the most difficult of conditions to protect America and her highest ideals. Today, I ask all Americans to know their sacrifice and join me in humble thanks.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, continuing the precedent of my predecessors in office, do hereby proclaim the third Saturday of each May as Armed Forces Day.

I direct the Secretary of Defense on behalf of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and the Secretary of Homeland Security on behalf of the Coast Guard, to plan for appropriate observances each year, with the Secretary of Defense responsible for soliciting the participation and cooperation of civil authorities and private citizens.

I invite the Governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to provide for the observance of Armed Forces Day within their jurisdiction each year in an appropriate manner designed to increase public understanding and appreciation of the Armed Forces of the United States.
I also invite national and local veterans, civic and other organizations to join in the observance of Armed Forces Day each year.

Finally, I call upon all Americans to display the flag of the United States at their homes on Armed Forces Day and urge citizens to learn more about military service by attending and participating in the local observances of the day. I also encourage Americans to volunteer at organizations that provide support to our troops.

Proclamation 7562 of May 16, 2002, is hereby superseded. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.