Military News

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Navy Aircraft Joins Search For Missing Air France Aircraft

American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2009 - A U.S. Navy aircrew today joined the international search for survivors and debris from an Air France aircraft that went missing yesterday off the Brazilian coast, U.S. Southern Command officials announced. A U.S. Navy P-3C Orion and its 21 crewmembers reported to Augusto Severo Airfield in Natal, Brazil, yesterday and joined search operations for Air France Flight 447 today, officials said.

The crew deployed from its forward operating location in Comalapa Air Base, El Salvador, where it was supporting regional illicit trafficking detection and reporting operations, officials said.

U.S. Southern Command dispatched the aircraft and crew after Brazilian officials accepted the command's offer to assist with the search.

Southcom also directed a combat rescue officer from Joint Task Force-Bravo, located at Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, to Recife, Brazil. There, he will help the Brazilian Rescue Coordination Center coordinate rescue assets, officials said.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the Air France Airbus A330-200 aircraft during a severe lightning storm after takeoff from Rio de Janiero. The aircraft, bound for Paris, disappeared with 228 passengers aboard.

A Brazilian air force crew reported today that they had spotted debris floating in the South Atlantic that could have come from the aircraft.

Pakistani Battle for Malakand


Via Bill Roggio, we learn that the Pakistani Army continues to pound Taliban fighters in Swat Valley and other areas of Malakand, claiming to have killed more than 1200.


American intelligence sources dismiss these numbers as 'wildly exaggerated'.


But these numbers may be accurate. The Taliban has been standing their ground, with large firefights raging up and down the Swat Valley. They have also counterattacked. on 31 May the Taliban struck a Pakistani paramilitary camp in South Waziristan, suffering as many as 50 dead. The recent spate of suicide bombings, and kidnappings suggest the Taliban may be desperate to turn the tide.


Also, the Pakistani Army is a very well armed and trained professional force, they are as capable of laying down an artillery barrage or overlapping fields of fire as anyone.


History shows it is possible to kill insurgent forces in large numbers. During Operation Cast Lead, the Israelis killed more than 700 Hamas gunmen in more than three weeks of fighting in Gaza. More than 700 Hezbollah gunmen were killed during the 2006 Lebanon War.


There are also reports that the Taliban is pulling out of the Swat Valley.
Only time will tell. Whatever the success of this operation, it does not change the fundamental conflict in Pakistan between the Islamist Taliban and the moderate intelligentsia, formerly represented by the late Benazir Bhutto. The army stands in the middle. Right now they fight the Taliban.


Gates Gets Up-close Look at U.S. Missile Defense

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates stepped down inside a missile silo here yesterday to get an up-close look at the system he says will protect the United States from an intercontinental ballistic missile threat. Gates stopped here on his way back from an Asia security summit in Singapore, where North Korea's recent nuclear and missile tests dominated the discussions of defense ministers from countries across the region.

Fort Greely, about 100 miles into the Alaskan interior from Fairbanks, is home to one of two ground-based, midcourse defense units housing missile interceptors on the West Coast. The other is at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The stop was planned before North Korea's recent actions that have caused alarm across the international community, Gates said. But now, he said, the hour-long stop here took on greater importance.

Gates acknowledged on the way here today during a stop in the Philippines that there are signs the North Koreans are "doing something" with another ballistic missile, but said it is unclear what they are doing. But he expressed confidence that this system could stop any potential threat from North Korea.

"If there were a launch from a rogue state such as North Korea, I have good confidence that we would be able to deal with it," Gates said.

The unit here is the same one that successfully intercepted a mock enemy missile in a December 2008 test, employing a synchronized network of sensors in what officials called the largest and most complex test of the missile defense system to date.

"We have a good capability here," Gates said after a tour of the site. "I think knowing that we have this and that it becomes more effective in each passing day should be a source of comfort to the American people in an uncertain world."

Sixteen interceptors are in the ground here, with plans to add two more. Combined with those at Vandenberg Air Force Base, the United States will have 30 such interceptor systems. More could be added if needed, Gates said.

In a brief meeting with reporters, Gates said he has planned nearly $1 billion in the 2010 budget for the development of ground-based interceptors. The budget also allows for developing other missile technologies that protect troops in the field, ships at sea and provide theater defense, he added.

The secretary also said he would like to develop a defense system in Europe with radars in Russia and interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic.

A robust missile defense system for the United States at least should take care of tactical and theater needs and also offer protection against a limited intercontinental ballistic missile threat, Gates said.

North Korea's recent actions have boosted support for the missile defense system, Gates said.

"In the past, there have been a number of skeptics of missile defense on Capitol Hill," he said, "and I haven't heard much out of those folks lately. If anything, I think what the North Koreans have done has won more adherence to the importance of our having at least a limited missile defense capability in the Congress."

Work began on the missile defense installation at Fort Greely in the summer of 2002, originally planning for up to 30 anti-ballistic missiles there by 2010.

The missile defense system is designed to defend the United States against intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile attacks in the midcourse phase of flight, or while they are arching in the exoatmosphere -- the region of space just outside the Earth's atmosphere.

The 54-foot-6-inch interceptors look like missiles, but no explosive warheads are attached. The main body acts as a booster vehicle to propel into space the embedded kill vehicle, a 150-pound "smart bullet" that basically steers itself into the path of the oncoming warhead, causing an explosion on impact.

Gates, a former Air Force officer who more than 40 years ago worked with nuclear missiles, was asked by a local journalist what he thought of the interceptor he'd seen in the silo here.

"You know, a missile looks like a missile," he joked. "You just make sure the pointy end is up."

Gates Stops in Alaska to Talk with Troops

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates stopped here briefly yesterday on the final leg of a week-long trip to the Asia-Pacific region. In one of the base's new C-17 Globemaster III hangars, flanked by F-22 and F-15 fighter jets, Gates met with about 300 airmen, soldiers, Marines and even a few sailors in his trademark town-hall fashion.

Going into the meeting, the secretary predicted he might have to field some tough questions about his recent proposed cuts to some Air Force programs in the fiscal 2010 defense budget.

"Given the maintenance problems on my plane the last week, I'm really happy to be here today," the secretary joked, referring to a mechanical delay in Singapore. "I'm confident that there was absolutely no connection between those maintenance problems and my decisions on the Air Force budget."

On the more serious side, Gates told those gathered that he wanted to hear what they need to do their jobs that they're not getting now, and what the Defense Department leadership can do better for families.

"What I'm here for, as I am at every military facility I visit, is for field-ground truth, as opposed to the slides that I get at the Department of Defense," Gates said.

Before taking questions, though, the secretary praised the work of those serving in Alaska, calling the mission vital for North America and the Pacific.

"I believe that as the polar ice cap continues to melt, competition for arctic resources will intensify, potentially raising new unprecedented economic, political and perhaps even security problems," Gates said. "I think your role here will become even more important as time goes on."

The first question at the secretary's town hall sessions typically comes slowly, but there was an even longer pause than usual when he opened the floor here.

"The first one's the hardest," the secretary joked again.

Finally, a Marine sergeant from an antiterrorism battalion opened with a question on the fighting in Pakistan and how it would effect deployments to Afghanistan.

Gates said the actions of the Pakistanis over the past few weeks have been encouraging, as they fight to regain control of ground gained recently by the Taliban.

"As is so often the case, the extremists overplayed their hand, and when they occupied a district that was only a few dozens of miles from Islamabad, I think it really got the attention of the Pakistani government," Gates said. "So now we're seeing the Pakistani army and its political leaders acting in harmony and really taking the fight to the enemy, and I think they've really made some significant progress. I'm more encouraged about he situation in Pakistan than I have been in quite a while."

Gates said the fighting in Pakistan would not affect U.S. deployments to Afghanistan.

The wait for a second question took even longer, as many of the troops simply grinned at each other.

"Your commanders are just going to be overwhelmed to know that everything here at Elmendorf and Fort Richardson is just perfect," Gates said and laughed.

Finally, the question came out about cuts to the Air Force budget. An Air Force officer asked if the United States would be ready for a more conventional fight, as opposed to the counter-insurgency operations it is running in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the proposed cuts take effect.

Gates said that his proposed budget actually added money to some programs while cutting or stopping those that did not provide the greatest possible versatility for the greatest range of conflict.

He said that even a future conventional conflict likely would involve some kinds of asymmetric fighting, and that with the current funding programs in place, the United States will remain dominant in the air for at least the next two decades.

"In 2020, the United states will have roughly 1,200 fifth-generation combat aircraft. The Chinese will have zero," Gates said. "In 2025, the Chinese will have a few hundred. We will have 1,700, ... plus another 1,000 fourth-generation aircraft. So both our numerical and our technological edge will remain extremely strong and far superior to that of any potential competitor for at least the next 15 to 20 years.

"I'm confident we will have the country protected and prevail wherever along that spectrum of conflict we end up fighting," Gates said.

Only a few other questions were asked about a tactical transport system, the fielding of improved personal weapons and the need for predictability in returning from deployments. Gates then finished the town hall by shaking hands, presenting coins and having his photo taken by every troop there.

Before the town hall session, Gates lunched privately, as is customary, with about a dozen airmen and soldiers.

After the brief stop, the secretary flew from here by C-17 to Fort Greely, about 100 miles into the Alaskan interior from Fairbanks, and home to one of two ground-based midcourse defense units housing missile interceptors on the West Coast.

Senior Veterans Set to Compete in Golden Age Games

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

June 1, 2009 - Nearly 700 American military veterans from conflicts ranging from World War II to the Persian Gulf war arrived here today to prove that their best days are still ahead of them as they prepare to compete in the 23rd Annual National Veterans Golden Age Games. The games are the world's largest sports and recreational competition for veterans ages 55 and older. They will begin tomorrow and will run through June 5. Athletes compete in swimming, bicycling, shuffleboard, air rifle and many other events in various divisions based on their ages and handicaps. Separate divisions include ambulatory, visually-impaired and wheelchair.

"The Golden Age Games are a marvelous way to get out of the house and get some fellowship and camaraderie," said Kenneth Kenney, a 70-year-old retired airman. "You really miss the team-building and camaraderie you experience in the military once you're away from it."

Kenney said before he began training for the games two years ago, there wasn't a whole lot to keep him busy at home in Cheyenne, Wyo. But that changed after he learned about the games from some fellow veterans at his local Veterans Affairs hospital. Since then, the Vietnam War veteran has been swimming, walking and lifting weights regularly in anticipation of this year's competition. Training is a part of his every day life again, he said.

"The games keep us active and gives us something to look forward to and shoot for," he said. "I'll be a part of these games every year until I just can't compete anymore."

"Rolling" Joe Velasquez, 60, said the games are specifically geared towards veterans like Kenney and himself. Having the games to look forward to and train for each year has made drastic improvements in the lives of elder veterans, Velasquez said.

"Just look around the room and at the field of competitors," said the California native and retired Navy senior chief. "They're healthier, they're working out and training and they're happier than they've been in years.

Also, many of the competitors don't have a lot of family and live in convalescence homes. So even though the competitors are trying to outdo one another, when they compete, they're forging important bonds and friendships, he added.

After 21 years of involvement and three years of competing in the Veterans Golden Age Games, Velasquez said he's seen first-hand the positive impact the games have on his fellow veterans. But what he looks forward to the most is the smiling faces of the competitors.

"People tell me every year that the two things they look forward to in life as they get older are: waking up in the morning and competing in the Golden Age Games in the summer," he said. "You know their lives are better because of these games."

The Golden Age Games are open to all U.S. military veterans ages 55 and older who receive care at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility. The games are co-sponsored by the VA, the Help Hospitalized Veterans non-profit organization and the Veterans Canteen Service. The Games are also a qualifying event every other year for the National Senior Olympic Games.

U.S.-Turkish Relationship 'Exceptionally Strong,' Mullen Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2009 - The United States and the Republic of Turkey remain steadfast allies and friends in a modern-day relationship that stretches back decades, the U.S. military's top officer said here yesterday. The U.S. and Turkish governments worked together during the Cold War to surmount "some big, big challenges," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during his keynote remarks at the 28th Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkish Relations dinner held at the Gaylord resort and convention center at National Harbor, Md.

The annual conference provides a forum for U.S. and Turkish government, military, commerce and academia leaders to discuss issues and opportunities in the two nations' mutual interest.

Turkey fought on the allied side with the United States during World War II and joined the United Nations after the war. The then-Soviet Union's demands to place military bases in the Turkish Straits prompted U.S. President Harry S. Truman to establish the Truman Doctrine in 1947, which spelled out America's intent to preserve Turkey's sovereignty, and that of Greece, which was then experiencing communist-inspired civil strife. Turkey joined NATO in 1952 and its soldiers fought alongside U.N. troops during the Korean War.

The relationship between the United States and Turkey today is "exceptionally strong" and "vitally important," Mullen said. Turkey has deployed troops to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom since 2001.

Turkey is a secular Muslim republic of some 70 million citizens. U.S.-Turkish relations soured in March 2003 after Turkey's parliament declined to allow U.S. forces to pass through southern Turkey into northern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

However, Mullen said, the United States in recent years has provided more support to Turkey in its fight against Kurdistan Workers' Party terrorists, known by the acronym PKK. The PKK wants to establish a socialist, Kurdish state, parts of which would include southeastern Turkey and northeastern Iraq; both regions have majority-Kurdish populations.

The increased American support for Turkey in its battle against the PKK, Mullen pointed out, has contributed toward a vast improvement of U.S.-Turkish relations.

Mullen also cited President Barack Obama's early April visit to Turkey's capital of Ankara, where he addressed the Turkish parliament.

Obama told Turkish legislators that he supports Turkey's desire for membership in the European Union and that he appreciates Turkey as a partner in the fight against terrorism. The president also praised Turkey for enacting many societal reforms, including the lifting of prohibitions on Kurdish teachings and broadcasts.

Turkey also has good relations with Pakistan, Mullen said, noting that he has discussed that issue with senior Turkish military leaders, including Gen. Ilker Basbug, the chief of the Turkish General Staff.

The Pakistani military is currently engaged in an offensive against Taliban militants that operate in Pakistan's northwestern region near its border with Afghanistan.

Basbug, too, hailed U.S.-Turkish relations during remarks he made prior to Mullen's speech.

"Turkish-United States' cooperation in various areas has become a 'must,'" Basbug said, for resolving thorny regional issues. Terrorist-inspired violence, he said, constitutes the key threat that all peace-loving nations must confront together.

Turkey's strategic location amid Europe and the Middle East, Basbug said, means that the United States could benefit from Turkey's "soft power" diplomatic credentials to help settle problems in its "immediate neighborhood."

Wrapping up, Mullen recounted his first experiences with the "open and warm" Turkish people during a military assignment in the early 1970s.

"We need your friendship," Mullen told the mostly-Turkish audience. "We need your support."

Mullen Fights for Mental Health Funding on Capitol Hill

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2009 - With increasing pressure on the defense budget, the top military officer called increased mental health care services for returning combat troops a priority that can't be allowed to fall by the wayside. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told a forum of congressional staffers today the military has made big strides in providing more and better mental health support for servicemembers suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries and other mental health challenges.

"But this continues to be an enormously challenging issue," he said, noting the stigma too many still attach to seeking care.

Mullen cited the "exceptionally high" military suicide rate as a sobering gauge of challenges facing the force. Early statistics indicate the Army's suicide rate continues to rise, topping what Mullen conceded in 2008 was a "record year."

"But it's not just the Army," he told the group. "The suicide rate is up in every single service."

Mullen acknowledged there's no hard-and-fast analytical data that cites a direct correlation between combat deployments, combat stress and suicide rates. "But I just can't believe that it is not very much related," he said.

Mullen called suicide prevention a leadership issue and said it's up to leaders, buddies and families to recognize the first signs of problems in their fellow soldiers or loved ones and steer them to get help.

"The leadership in all the services is addressing this issue very strongly," he said. "When leaders apply themselves, we can make a big difference."

Pointing to new and recently enhanced mental health services, Mullen said the emphasis now is to get more people who need help to seek it without fear of being stigmatized.

One way to do that, he said, might be to institute mandatory baseline screening. "I think we need to get to a point where everyone is screened," he said. "Baselines can go a long way toward removing the stigma."

The military has hired more mental health professionals to provide this care, but Mullen said it's still short of what it needs.

"We have taken significant steps to improve those numbers," he said. In light of a nationwide shortage of these professionals, he said, the military needs to be more creative in finding ways to attract them, possibly through tuition assistance programs or by tapping into volunteers willing to work pro bono.

"I am just not one who says that because we are short in America, we ought to be short in the military," Mullen said. "If that is the case, then there is no way I can close that gap, and I just don't accept that.

"We have to be more creative about how we incentivize individuals ... to help us reach out to these young people who have mental health challenges and provide that type of service to them."

As he emphasized the importance of mental health services, Mullen also described efforts aimed at reducing stress on the force by increasing "dwell time" at home between deployments.
Many troops currently have as little 12 months at home between 12-month deployments.

"I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel over the next 18 to 24 months where we are going to move toward twice as long at home as when ... deployed," Mullen said.

When he refers to "home time," Mullen said he means time troops spend at home with their families – not off at a military school or in the field training for their next deployment. "Home tempo means, 'How many nights am I sleeping in my own bed?'" he said.

Mullen called these and other initiatives to reduce stress on the force and provide the mental health support services many of its members need an obligation that can't be compromised.

"We have to stay on this issue," he said. "We have to continue to look to support those ... who we are asking to do so much, who have done so much, sacrificed so much, made such a difference, and figure out a way to make sure we are taking care of them."

Obama Picks McHugh as New Army Secretary

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2009 - President Barack Obama today announced that Congressman John McHugh is his choice to become the next Secretary of the Army. Obama praised McHugh as "a distinguished public servant who will help keep us safe and keep our sacred trust with our soldiers and their families."

McHugh, a Republican who represents constituents in far-northern New York State, which includes the Army base at Fort Drum, is the senior member of his party on the House Armed Services Committee.

"John has proven himself a dedicated representative of the people in northern New York," Obama said. The 10th Mountain Division that's based at Fort Drum, he said, is the most-deployed division in the U.S. Army.

McHugh "is committed to keeping America's Army the best-trained, the best-equipped (and) the best-led land force the world has ever seen," Obama said.

The president noted that McHugh's father served with distinction aboard a B-17 bomber during World War II, while his mother cared for wounded servicemembers through the Nurse's Corps.

McHugh said he is "enormously moved and deeply proud" to be nominated as the next Secretary of the Army.

The Army has "always had a special place in my heart," McHugh said.

McHugh's nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 2, 2009

NAVY
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $2,106,525,040 modification to definitize the previously awarded Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) air system low rate initial production Lot III advance acquisition contract (N00019-08-C-0028) to a cost-plus-incentive-fee/award-fee contract. This modification provides for the procurement of 7 Air Force conventional take off and landing (CTOL), 7 Marine Corps short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL); 1 CTOL for the Netherlands, and 2 STOVLs for the United Kingdom. In addition, this modification provides for the associated ancillary mission equipment and technical/financial data. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom, (20 percent); Orlando, Fla., (10 percent); Nashua, N.H., (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force ($857,116,227; 40.7 percent); the U.S. Marine Corps, ($877,797,887; 41.7 percent); and the Governments of the Netherlands, ($119,666,120; 5.7 percent) and United Kingdom, ($251,944,806; 11.9 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

MKI Systems, Inc. is being awarded $6,294,200 for task order 0074 under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (M67854-02-A-9008). The scope of this effort is to provide programmatic acquisition, logistics, and administrative support to the program manager, Training Systems (PM TRASYS), located at the Central Florida Research Park, Orlando, Fla., in response to the internal reorganization of PM TRASYS and expanding training systems requirements for individual and collective training systems, and program and administration support. As part of PM TRASYS's increasing role supporting Marine Corps Systems Command's and the Operational Forces' training needs, PM TRASYS requires additional technical support services to plan, field, and sustain training systems Marine Corps wide. This effort will help to ensure planned and unplanned funding allocations are effectively and efficiently utilized through a programmatic approach with improved investment strategies to obtain the highest quality training available. Administrative, logistics, and acquisition initiatives are in response to the increasing support requirements centered on simulated and virtual training environments infusing of new technologies with established procedures. PM TRASYS support includes providing added program, logistics, and administrative support for the determination of training methodologies, implementation, and technical documentation for acquisition of training and training systems. Work will be performed< name="OLE_LINK1"> in Orlando, Fla., and work is expected to be completed in Jun. 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $4,381,959 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Correction: Contract awarded to Raytheon Technical Services Co., Norfolk, Va., for $15,501,285, should have stated that the contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year.

AIR FORCE
The Air Force is terminating for convenience the System Development and Demonstration Contract for the HH-47 Combat Search and Rescue Recovery Vehicle Program with the Boeing Co., of Ridley Park, Pennsylvania for $712,156,535. This contract termination is a result of the CSAR-X program cancellation directed by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (FA8629-07-C-2350).

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Northrop Grumman Space & Mission systems Corp., of Herndon, Va., for a maximum of $49,900,000. This contract action will operate, maintain and enhance existing capabilities; and design, implement, and integrate new capabilities based on new technologies to meet an ever-increasing challenge to provide the timely, accurate and actionable intelligence products and information required by our warfighters in a reliable, responsive, efficient and cost effective manner as specified in each Performance Work Statement for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. At this time $199,394 has been obligated. AFRL/RIKE, Rome, New York is the contracting activity (FA8750-09-D-0182).

ARMY
Smiths Detection, Inc., Edgewood, Md., was awarded on May 29, 2009, a $77,635,232.15 commercial firm-fixed-price contract for Joint Chemical Agent Detector (JCAD) Increment I-Power communications adapter kits. Work is to be performed at Edgewood, Md., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command, Acquisition Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground Contracting Division, Edgewood Division, APG, Md., is the contracting activity (W911SR-07-C-0054).

Korte Construction Co., dba The Korte Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded on Jun. 1, 2009, a $15,122,000 firm-fixed-price contract to design/build a Base Realignment and Closure Armed Forces Reserve Center at McAlester, Okla., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited on the web with ten bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0039).

Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services, Tinton Falls, N.J., was awarded on Jun. 1, 2009, a $11,256,860 time and materials contract for a period of performance extension (1 Jun. 2009 through 30 Nov. 2009) for necessary Global Command and Control System – Army (GCCS-A), maneuver control system, and joint convergence software support. The additional time is needed to provide time for the competitive follow-on acquisition's task orders and all necessary transition efforts. There were significant delays in the award of the competitive follow-on, which was awarded five months later than initially anticipated. Work is to be performed at Tinton Falls, N.J., (about 60 precent), and Springfield, Va., (about 40 precent), with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2009. One sole source bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-06-C-N401).

Manson Construction Co., Seattle, Wash., was awarded on May 29, 2009, a $23,485,000 firm-fixed-price contract for 2009-2011 transitional and maintenance dredging for Port of Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska. Contract is to perform transitional dredging of an estimated 2,450,000 cubic yards of virgin materials, including removal of boulders and other unknown obstructions for the barge facility and north and south extension. Perform maintenance dredging of approximately 4,000,000 cubic yards of shoal materials for the existing Port, Barge facility and North and South Extension of Anchorage Harbor. Work is to be performed at Fort Detrick, Md., with an estimated completion date of May 22, 2011. Bids were solicited on the Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Alaska, Contracting Division, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska is the contracting activity (W911KB-09-C-0022).

John C. Grimberg Co., Inc., Rockville, Md., was awarded on May 29, 2009, a $21,087,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the Navy Medical Biological Defense Research Laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md. The requirement is for the construction of a new biomedical research laboratory at the National Interagency Bio-Defense Campus. These facilities will support special laboratory systems, specialized mechanical and bio-waste areas, and administrative space. Estimated completion date is May 22, 2011. There were 180 registered on the vendor's list with 10 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Baltimore, Md., is the contracting activity (W91238-09-C-0038).

Raytheon Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded on June 1, 2009, a $6,515,375 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide mission support and system sustainment for various configurations of rapid aerostat initial deployment tower systems. Work is to be performed at Andover, Mass., 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 Acquisition Management Office, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting office (W9113M-08-C-0153).

Alliant Tech Systems, Plymouth, Minn., and Textron Defense Systems, Wilmington, Mass., were awarded on May 29, 2009, in a Joint Venture, a cost-plus-incentive-fee/firm-fixed-price (Hybrid) contract for the procurement of the Spider XS-7 networked munitions low rate initial production phase three materials with long vendor production times. Work is to be performed at Wilmington, Mass., (50.1 precent), and Plymouth, Minn., (49.9 precent), with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command JM&L Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-06-C-0154).

BAE Systems, Tactical Vehicle Systems Limited Partnership, Sealy, Texas, was awarded on May 28, 2009, an $11,520, 423.98 firm-fixed-price and cost-reimbursement contract for a modification for the procurement of fuel tank fire suppression as a ceiling priced charge order for 5,300 vehicles on contract and obligating 49.5 precent of the ceiling price. Work is to be performed at Sealy, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0460).

BBN Technologies, Cambridge, Mass., was awarded on May 27, 2009, a $10,316,561 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to exercise Option 1 for research in quantum information science. Work is to be performed in Cambridge, Mass., (61.2 precent), Arlington, Va., (29.1 precent), and Yorktown Heights, N.Y., (9.7 precent), with an estimated completion date of May 27, 2009. Six bids were solicited and six bids received. Defense Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-06-C-0051).

CCI Group, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded on May 28, 2009, a $6,250,598 firm-fixed-price contract to repair airfield payments at Bangor Air National Guard Base, Bangor, Maine, by replacing the remaining portion of an existing aircraft parking apron and repairing the apron in front of Building 542. The project includes installation of approximately 4,200 cubic yards of Portland Cement Concrete, 37,300 tons of Bituminous Cement Concrete, drainage structures, deicing system piping and controls. Work is to be performed at Bangor, Maine, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 5, 2009. Bids solicited: One offeror eight (a) sole source; Bids Received: One offer received. National Guard Bureau is the contracting activity (W912JD-09-C-0002).

AeroVironment, Inc., Monrovia, Calif., was awarded on May 28, 2009, a $5,437,556 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract in which AeroVironment, Inc., (AV) offers DARPA the Stealthy, Persistent, Perch and Stare Air Vehicle System (SP2S). The (SP2S) system fills the need for close-range surveillance and reconnaissance missions. This system also combines the strategic capability of stealthy operations with mission-adaptable perch and stare observation modes. The current SP2S Phase 11B program ends with delivery quantity five (5) Block 0 systems and the initial military user evaluation (LTE). The purpose of the LTE is to verify the utility of such a small VTOL perch and Stare system (currently no such system exists). It is also the first opportunity to identify the shortfalls and areas within the system that require improvements or design changes to meet the needs of the users. The additional work was required to take the military users feedback and refine/upgrade the system to meet diverse requirements of a wide group of users. This task would then result in the delivery of ten (10) upgraded systems for a second LTE. Work is to be performed at Simi Valley, Calif., (85 precent), and at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., (15 precent), with an estimated completion date of May 3, 2010. Bids were solicited by Broad Agency Announcement with over 100 bids received. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Contracts Management Office, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-07-C-0075).

Tyonek Fabrication Corp., Madison, Ala., was awarded on May 28, 2009, a $5,698,500 firm-fixed-price contract for the OH-58 KIOWA airframe for 340 each, control box, Elec., (AEU), NSN: 1055-01-H97-5411, part number 635107M100. Work is to be performed at Madison, Ala., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation and Missile Command, Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-04-D-0061).

Missile Defense Agency Contract Award
The Microtechnologies, LLC of Vienna, Va., is being awarded a sole-source, cost-plus-award-fee contract modification under contract HQ0006-08-C-0004 for $15,515,314. The services are to operate and maintain existing and planned video teleconferencing facilities in multiple Missile Defense Agency locations. This sole source award is a modification to extend the existing contract through Nov. 15, 2010, with a six-month option. The amount obligated on this action is $2,069,500 using fiscal year 2009 Research, Development, Test and Evaluation funds. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity (HQ0006-08-C-0004).

Nominee Promises to Continue Interagency Approach at Southern Command

American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2009 - President Obama's nominee to lead U.S. Southern Command promised today to continue the interagency approach that has been successful in the region. Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Fraser told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the interagency approach must be the template for Southern Command. "As I've studied what SouthCom is already doing, I think they already have a very robust program that lets us do that, a very interagency, very cooperative program," Fraser said. The general is currently the deputy at U.S. Pacific Command.

If the Senate confirms Fraser as the commander of U.S. Southern Command, he would become a full general and replace Navy Adm. James Stavridis, who has been nominated to be the commander of U.S. European Command. Southern Command headquarters is in Miami.
The issues in Central and South America cannot be solved by the military alone, Fraser said. Many countries need financial, economic and governmental expertise to move ahead. The U.S. military can work with nations in the region to improve security and increase the professionalism of the militaries, but it is only part of what is needed, he said.

"It's a whole-of-government approach; it's an interagency approach; it's an international approach," the general said.

Fraser said he sees two basic issues that U.S. Southern Command needs to work on. The first is to defend the southern approaches to the United States. "It is and will remain a key effort," he said. The second, he said, is to develop "an international and interagency approach. The issues that are resident there require us to take that approach."

Fraser said he is honored and humbled to be nominated by the president and the secretary of defense for the command. "I am no stranger to Latin America," he said. "I spent three years in high school in Bogota, Colombia, graduating there in 1971. During this time, I gained a life-long appreciation and affection for Latin America."

The general has not served in the region before, but has visited. "I will spend all my time and energy enhancing the role that United States Southern Commander plays with our partner armed forces in the region and continue Admiral Stavridis' dedicated efforts to enhance the interagency cooperation and coordination," he said.

"I've not had the pleasure of directly serving with Admiral Stavridis. As I've looked more closely at Southern Command, I'm impressed by what Southern Command has accomplished under his leadership, by his foresight and his innovation," Fraser said. "And I look forward to the opportunity to build on his distinguished accomplishments."

Army Announces BCT Stationing Decision

The secretary of the Army announced today that in accordance with the President's budget, the Army has halted the plan to build three additional brigade combat teams (BCTs) at Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Carson, Colo., and Fort Stewart, Ga. This decision will not affect the Army's authorized end strength of 547,400. The Army will reach its target of 45 BCTs in fiscal 2010 with the activation of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss.

Today's announcement does not involve the restationing of the two heavy BCTs scheduled to return from Europe in fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013, which is being examined as part of the ongoing Quadrennial Defense Review. The Army also announced today that White Sands Missile Range, N.M., will no longer receive a BCT from Europe in ficsal 2013 as originally planned.

Halting the three additional BCTs ensures that the Army retains its ability to support future requirements and maximizes: the ability of brigades to deploy for contingency operations and major exercises; opportunities and access to training facilities, battle command centers, and training support centers to provide ready units to meet Army Campaign Plan missions; and quality of life for soldiers and families.

Additionally, this course of action is the least disruptive to affected communities and facilitates the best use of taxpayer dollars and current and planned fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010 military construction projects. These projects play an essential role in supporting the growth to 547,400 and ensuring our Army soldiers and families have the quality facilities they deserve.

Today's announcement will allow Congress to make time-sensitive and important authorization and appropriations decisions. The Army will provide Congress shortly a detailed, project-by-project list that specifies which facility requirements have changed and which remain valid.

"I understand the tough economic impact this decision will have on the communities that have worked so hard to prepare for the arrival of the three brigades," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. "They are great partners with the Army, and we will need their continued support as we work on the growth that is underway at these locations."

With this announced change, the population at Fort Bliss is projected to grow from 13,742 in 2003 to 36,069 in 2013; Fort Carson from 15,199 to 25,003; and Fort Stewart from 20,512 to 24,970.

The Army leadership is committed to properly informing all members of the American public, Congress, soldiers and families as developments occur.

For more information please call LTC Lee Packnett, Office of Public Affairs, Media Relations Division, (703) 614-2487.

West Point Grad Leads Charge on Denali Despite Combat Injuries

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2009 - Summiting the highest peak in North America, will make Marc Hoffmeister's other challenges, like earning his commission as an Army officer by graduating from West Point, seem like a mole hill, by comparison. Mount McKinley, known simply as 'Denali,' in Alaska's Denali National Park, challenges even the most expert climbers. Hoffmeister and three other veterans will face those difficulties, as well as others resulting from their combat injuries, but he's not letting anything deter him from attaining his goal.

"I started planning this [climb] very early in my recovery and it's been both all-consuming and rehabilitative," said the team leader for 'Operation Denali.' "The drive to complete this 'mission' set the conditions for me to develop the skills I've always yearned to possess."

Nearly 15 years after graduating from West Point, the now-Lt. Col. Hoffmeister found himself in Iraq conducting a combined patrol with the Iraq army as an embedded trainer.

It was April 22, 2007, when the patrol was hit by a roadside bomb just north of Hillah, along alternate supply route Jackson. The blast severely damaged Hoffmeister's left arm, causing broken bones and nerve damage. He also suffered a traumatic brain injury and, as he puts it, "The pleasure of accompanying shrapnel popping out on odd occasions."

"I have more titanium than bone in my left arm now, and my elbow is more a collection of plates and screws than an elbow," Hoffmeister said.

He said he considers his rehabilitation ongoing because of slow nerve growth and recovery. He had a nerve transplant from his left leg and was initially hospitalized for two months. He then received home health care for an additional two months, during which his brigade commander in Iraq called and asked him to take over the brigade's rear detachment.

"He stated to me very simply that he figured, 'Anyone with two arms is still only half as good as Hoffmeister with one arm, so would [you] mind taking command of the brigade rear detachment?'" Hoffmeister said. "How do you say no to a question like that?

"So after a brief pity party, I got back to work and assumed command of the brigade rear detachment [with] the catheter line still in my arm [and] oxycodone and Lyrica tempering the pain," he added. "It was a godsend."

The duties gave him a purpose and a focus, and he could relate to the large population of wounded in the brigade's rear detachment, he said. It kept him looking beyond his personal obstacles and moving forward.

Hoffmeister's injury has forced him to figure out how to modify equipment so he can return to activities he enjoyed before his injury. For instance, all the gears that once resided on the left side of his bike have found a new home on the right. He also uses a padded glove and a wrist strap on his left hand to compensate for hypersensitivity and reduced grip strength.

His injuries also affected his climbing techniques. "It's forcing me to learn how to become a much more technically adept climber, as I can't rely on the strength or dexterity of my left arm or hand," he said. "So my lower body technique and positioning must change to reduce the strain and extend my endurance."

The injury, which causes constant pain, has provided Hoffmeister with a new perspective on life, as well.

"I embrace life's experiences far more than in the past because I am far more aware of the blessings that each new day brings," he said. "I've also realized that the combined virtue of my experiences being severely wounded and my rank and position have enabled me to assist other wounded warriors experiencing similar challenges.

"I feel a personal responsibility to assist, motivate or support my fellow wounded warriors in any way that I can," he added.

When asked what has been his greatest triumph since being injured, he's hesitant to provide a concrete answer, mainly because he's hoping that answer will change in a few weeks.

"I'll tell you after the climb!" he said.

Hoffmeister has served on active duty since graduating from West Point 17 years ago. He's the chief engineer for Alaskan Command/Joint Task Force Alaska at Elmendorf Air Force Base and lives in Eagle River, Alaska, with his wife, Gayle, and two Jack Russell terriers, Max and Bailey.

Gayle also will make the climb with the Operation Denali team as a peer mentor. The group set out for base camp on June 1 and expects to complete their trek by June 22.