Military News

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Red Team “Two sides to every Story”

By Lieutenant Colonel John Nelson, USA

Three years ago, I was one of the first graduates of the Red Team School at the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies (UFMCS), located at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. The Red Teaming course is relatively new to the Army, but the concept of an advisor to the commanding general has been around since the time of Napoleon. The concept of the Red Team requires members to see through multiple lenses; in the case of Iraq, looking at a situation from the perspective of the people or the Government of Iraq, as well as the enemy. The role has been effectively used in both government and business, but until recently, the Army had no doctrine or recognized education available to implement the capability in its operational and strategic units.

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www.military-writers.com/articles/red_team.html

Defining Leadership: Trying to Understand

By Darnell E. Patton, GySgt/USMC

You can ask ten different people what their definition of leadership is and you will probably get ten different answers. Leadership doesn’t have a specific definition. By giving it a definition, you are putting restrictions and limitations on the word and the true value of leadership. Leadership is something that is complicated to explain and understand. It is formless; it doesn’t take on a particular shape or form, nor does it go in one particular direction. A great leader can adjust to any situation at any given time, under any circumstance, and still come out successful.

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http://www.pokerleadership.com/defining_leadership_patton.html

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 17, 2009

NAVY
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a cost-plus fixed-fee, time and materials, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a not-to-exceed value of $75,000,000 to provide engineering, programmatic, and logistics services in support of investigations or studies to determine the feasibility, practicality, desirability, or supportability of the various Joint Strike Fighter F-35 air systems. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (85 percent); Orlando, Fla., (10 percent); and El Segundo, Calif., (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-D-0022).

Ace Builders*, LLC, Barrigada, Guam, (N40192-09-D-2700); AIC International, Inc.*, Hagatna, Guam, (N40192-09-D-2701); BME & Sons, Inc.*, Barrigada, Guam, (N40192-09-D-2702); Fargo Pacific, Inc.*, Hagatna, Guam, (N40192-09-D-2703); Keum Yang Corp.*, Tamuning, Guam (N40192-09-D-2704); Modern International, Inc.*, Tamuning, Guam (N40192-09-D-2705); Overland Corp.*, Ardmore, Oklahoma (N40192-09-D-2706); Reliable Builders, Inc.*, Tamuning, Guam, (N40192-09-D-2707) ; Serrano Construction and Development Corporation*, Dededo, Guam, (N40192-09-D-2708); and Tumon Corp.*, Tamuning, Guam, (N40192-09-D-2709), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, design build multiple award construction contract for new construction, renovation/modernization and routine repair/maintenance of government shore-based facilities in Guam. The dollar value for all 10 contracts combined is $50,000,000. The contract contains four unexercised option periods, which if exercised, would increase cumulative contract value to $400,000,000. Work will be performed in Guam, and work is expected to be completed in June 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 20 proposals received. These 10 contractors will compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas, Guam! , is the contracting activity.

TASC Corp., Andover, Mass., is being awarded a ceiling price $43,455,000 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for system sustainment of the U.S. Marine Corps's Topographic Production Capability (TPC) system. The TPC system is a transportable, highly mobile, modularized network of systems that allows the commander to exercise near real-time control, coordination, and direction of Marine Air Ground Task Force/Geospatial Information and Geospatial Intelligence. Work will be performed in Stafford, Va., and is expected to be completed by July 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Office website, solicited under a full and open competition, Request For Proposal No., M67854-08-R-7019, with one offer received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-09-D-7019).

The Columbia Group*, Washington, D.C., is being awarded a $10,626,000 firm-fixed-price contract for Pluto Plus Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). The Pluto Plus system is a high-performance underwater ROV intended primarily for military use in mine identification and destruction operations. The Columbia Group will provide three Pluto Plus systems and associated technical support and training to the Egyptian Navy under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Panama City, Fla., (51 percent) and Milan, Italy, (49 percent), and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-4214).

Alloy Surfaces Co., Aston, Pa., is being awarded $8,642,700 for firm-fixed-price, definite-quantity delivery order #0016 against a basic ordering agreement contract (N00104-05-G-0726) for manufacture of MJU-49/B decoy devices used on aircraft applications for terminal self-defense in combat situations. Work will be performed at Aston, Pa., and work is expected to be completed by July 2010. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

Ceradyne, Inc., Costa Mesa, Calif., is being awarded $8,289,163 for delivery order #0015 against a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-04-D-3116) for enhanced small arms protective inserts used as personal armor by Marines. Work will be performed in Costa Mesa, Calif., and is expected to be completed in September 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $8,289,163 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems Information & Electronic Solutions, Greenlawn, N.Y., is being awarded a $6,198,620 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the procurement of 26 AN/APX-111(V) combined interrogator transponders (-20 CIT), one acceptance test station and one burn-in station to support the F/A-18E/F. Work will be performed in Greenlawn, N.Y. (85 percent); Irvine, Calif.(10 percent); and Wayne, N.J.,(5 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $3,341,272 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0054).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $5,858,500 cost-plus-fix-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00421-05-G-0001) to conduct E-2 in-flight refueling risk reduction. Work will be performed in Bethpage, N.Y., and is expected to be completed in June 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE
The Air Force is awarding a requirements contract to Lockheed Martin Corporation, of Orlando, Fla., for $60,488,003. This contract action will provide the repair of various low altitude navigation and targeting infrared night system assets for Air Force and Foreign Military Sales countries. The funding will be obligated on the individual delivery orders. WR-ALC/448 Supply Chain Management Group, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity. (FA8522-09-D-0004)

The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Aerojet General Corporation, of Rancho Cordova, Calif., for up to $7,332,694. This contract action will provide for testing of Minuteman II Stage 2, SR19 motors to assure rocket motor reliability for use in rocket systems launch programs as launch targets. At this time, no funds have been obligated. SDTW/PKS at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., is the contracting activity. (FA8818-09-D-0024)

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus fixed fee contract to Emcore Corporation Photovoltaics Division, of Albuquerque, N.M., for $5,999,974. This contract action will demonstrate high efficiency solar cells for space and near space applications to seek and investigate advanced photovoltaic devices based on inverted metamorphic-like structure and/or crystalline semiconductor chemistry. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., is the contracting activity. (FA9453-09-C-0371)

ARMY
I.L. Fleming , Inc Midway, Ga., was awarded on June 16, 2009 a $17,200,000 firm-fixed-price contract to design/build dining facility reception station, Cent of Standardization Program. Work is to be performed in Fort Benning, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 23, 2010. Bids were solicited using FedBizOpps with two in phase II bids received. U.S. Army Corp of Engineer, Norfolk District, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (W91236-08-D-0065).

Q.B.S.., Inc, Alliance, Ohio was awarded on June 16, 2009 a $11,751,343 Indefinite Delivery Contract firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of an administrative company operations facility. Work is to be performed in Fort Eustis, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. Three bids received with three bids solicited. U.S. Army Engineer District, Norfolk Va., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-D-0038).

Sevenson Environment Services, Inc Niagara Falls, N.Y., was awarded on June 15, 2009 a $22,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the remediation Unit 1.1 general gas mantle property grouping at the Welsbach/General Gas Mantle Superfund Site, Camden, N.J. Work is to be performed in Camden, N.J., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 19, 2010. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-04-D-0023)

Municipality of Anchorage, DBA Municipal Light & power, Anchorage, Alaska was awarded on June 12, 2009 a utilities, firm-fixed-price, definite term contract to provide firm electric cervices to Fort Richardson. The service shall be one circuir of 34,5KV, three-phase, four wire, 60 Hertz, alternating current, delta connection and two circuit of 12,470V/2,000 volts. Three-phase, 60 Hertz, alternating current, wire connection. Work is to be performed in Fort Richardson, Alaska with an estimated completion date of June 14, 2019. Three Bids solicited and two bids received. U.S. Army Expeditionary Contracting Command, PARC Pacific, Regional Contracting Office, Fort Richardson, Alaska is the contracting activity (W912CZ-09-C-0014)

AM General, LLC South Bend, In., was awarded on June 12, 2009 a $ 27,683,285 firm-fixed-price contract to add 218 each of High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV). Work is to be performed in Mishawaka, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2009. One bid solicited and one bid received. TACOM Warren, AMSTA-AQ-ATCA, Warren, Mi., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S001).

Rome Research Corporation, Rome N.Y., was awarded on June 12, 2009 a $23,217,480 firm-fixed-price with time & material contract to provide non-personnel services to support the existing government work force in the operation and maintenance of the Defense Satellite Communications Systems standardized tactical entry point teleport, Regional Hub Node, Ka-band satellite transmit and receive system and deployable Ku Band earth terminals at the SATCOM facility located at Kirchberg Kaserne in Landstuhl, Germany. This support will consist of maintaining the satellite systems installing, operation, administrating, and maintaining various management and security monitoring systems, operating systems and network application systems. Work is to be performed in Gateway facility Landstuhl, Germany. with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2014. Bids were solicited using FedBizOpps with five bids received. Army Contracting Command, Information Technology, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center, West Fort Huachuca, Az., is the contacting activity (W91RUS-09-C-0030).

US Motor Works LLC, Cerritos, Calif., was awarded on June 12, 2009 a $14,599,500 firm-fixed-price contract for a retro-filled engines, engine components and related spare parts for CJ jeep vehicle. Acquired for the Egyptian Armament Authority in Cairo, Egypt, Foreign Military Sales, sole source Acquisition. Work is to be performed in Cerritos, Calif., (27.40 percent) and Grand Prairie, Texas (72.60 percent) with an estimated Jan. 11, 2011. One bid solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM LMCMS, AMSCC-TAC-ADBA, Warren, Mi., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0248).

TSS-AQ JV Lake Stevens, Wa. was awarded on June 12, 2009, a $12,871,534 firm-fixed-price for the dining facility based in the standard design. Project shall include design and complete construction as indicated in the request for proposal. The site design and construction outside the "five foot line" shall be performed by this contract. The contract is performance based the not definitive in type of construction or material unless otherwise indicated. The contract shall include site work to in integrate, facility, overall building construction, complete interior finishes, and kitchen and server equipment. A comprehensive interior design is required. Bids were solicited using FedBizOpps with eleven (11) bids received. U.S. Army Corp of Engineer, Norfolk District, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (W91236-09-D-0049).

CH2M Hill Construction, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska was awarded on June 12, 2009 a $5,702,672 firm-fixed-price contract to renovate/construct Alaska Command Headquarters. Work is to be performed in Elmendorf, Alaska with an estimated completion date of Feb. 15, 2010. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska is the contracting activity (W911KB-09-C-0017).

CHINA’S MARITIME QUEST

Dr. David Lai
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) turned 60 on April 23, 2009. China held an unprecedented celebration on this occasion. For the first time in its history, China invited foreign navies to the PLAN’s birthday event. Chinese President Hu Jintao and all the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) senior leaders reviewed a parade of China’s major warships from a Chinese destroyer. The column of PLAN vessels were headed by two nuclear-powered and armed submarines (the first-ever public appearance of China’s strategic submarine fleet) and 21 warships from 14 nations, including major naval powers such as the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France. The parade took place off the coast of Qingdao, the PLAN Beihai (northern seas) Fleet Headquarters. In addition, China invited many foreign navy chiefs, most notably the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations and the Russian Navy Commander, as well as over 200 foreign military and navy attach├ęs to the party.

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http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB923.pdf

Challenges and Opportunities for the Obama Administration in Central Asia


President Obama has outlined a comprehensive strategy for the war in Afghanistan which is now the central front of our campaign against Islamic terrorism. The strategy strongly connects our prosecution of that war to our policy in Pakistan and internal developments there as a necessary condition of victory. But the strategy has also provided for a new logistics road through Central Asia. The author argues that a winning strategy in Afghanistan depends as well upon the systematic leveraging of the opportunity provided by that road and a new coordinated nonmilitary approach to Central Asia. That approach would rely heavily on improved coordination at home and the more effective leveraging of our superior economic power in Central Asia to help stabilize the region so that it provides a secure rear to Afghanistan. In this fashion we would help Central Asia meet the challenges of extremism, of economic decline due to the global economic crisis, and thus help provide political stability in states that are likely to be challenged by the confluence of those trends.

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http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?PubID=921

Group Sponsors Annual Children's 'Freedom Art' Contest

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

June 17, 2009 - As it gears up for its 7th Annual Children's Freedom Art Contest, a North Carolina-based troop-support group is looking for patriotic drawings or paintings that signify the unyielding spirit of America after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "We initially started as a group that put up exhibits of patriotic photos sent to us," said Eileen A. Schwartz, founder of Flags Across the Nation. "About a year after the 9/11 attacks, we decided to launch a Freedom Art Contest for children. Throughout the year, we still do art-related exhibits and activities honoring our flag and America."

The children's artwork collected by Flags Across the Nation over the years has featured the U.S flag, the U.S. military, the American bald eagle and several national monuments. The artwork has been displayed in local galleries, military and veterans' locations and several airports across the country.

"We have sent the artwork overseas to troops and wounded warriors in Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany," Schwartz said. "The contest supports the creativity and the patriotic spirit of children. It also uplifts our troops. While participating in this contest, we hope the children think outside of themselves and think about how they can sweeten the lives of our military."

The required entry form is available on the group's Web site. The contest is open to children in grades 1 through 6 across America. They are allowed to use pencils, crayons, paint, makers and fabric -- but not glitter -- for their artwork. The piece should be on 8.5-by-11-inch paper and mailed to Flags Across the Nation, P. O. Box 78995, Charlotte, NC 28271-7045 by Aug. 7. None of the artwork will be returned.

The winner will be announced Sept. 11 on Flags Across the Nation's Web site. The grand prize winner's art will be featured on the Web site, and he or she will receive 13 note cards that feature the winning image. The grand prize winner also will receive a $50 U.S. savings bond. The art of 12 runners-up will be featured on the group's Web site and sent to deployed troops.

Schwartz said she is excited about this year's contest and believes the children will be inspired by their own artwork.

"The goal of this art contest is for children to express their love for freedom and America through art," she said. "It is our hope that they continue to value the freedoms that are bestowed to them in the USA. This contest supports the creativity and the patriotic spirit of children."

USNS Byrd Crew Gears Up for Pacific Partnership Mission

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 17, 2009 - A four-month humanitarian mission to the South Pacific led by the Navy's U.S. Pacific Fleet will begin this month as planned despite a switch in ships, the mission commander said. In a decision made to exercise an abundance of caution, officials chose to replace the Navy's USS Dubuque with the Military Sealift Command dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd for the Pacific Partnership 2009 mission after a small number of sailors aboard Dubuque were diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, Navy Capt. Andrew Cully said in a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable June 15.

"Dubuque was one of the first, and remains one of the few ships on the West Coast to report H1N1," Cully said.

Pacific Partnership will provide engineering support and medical, dental and veterinary care in Samoa, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

Byrd was selected as a replacement platform because its capabilities fit the needs of the mission, Cully said. The switch required reducing the medical staff from 180 to 50, but the "reduced staff won't affect the mission," said Cully, who helped to refocus the deployment plan to maximize its public health, dental, optometry and veterinary services.

"We're excited that even with the last-minute changes, we'll still deliver what we promised to a lot of high-impact areas," he added.

When members of the international groups that assist with the annual mission learned about the platform change, they offered to fly directly to the countries where Byrd will stop at ports.

"I'm very pleased that most of these organizations stayed with us and are intimately involved in the planning, as well as the execution, of this mission," Cully said.

Project Hope, the Loloma Foundation, International Aid, and the Shriners are among the groups that will participate in Pacific Partnership 2009.

The crew members aboard Byrd are eager to begin their mission, Cully said.

"Helping other nations in a deployment like this is one of the most professionally and personally rewarding career experiences for all of us," he said.

In addition to medical aid, Pacific Partnership will provide engineering support. Engineers from New Zealand, Australia and Canada will refurbish buildings such as schools and clinics and will execute water catchment projects.

"Every project we have -- whether refurbishing the clinic [or] refurbishing the schoolhouse -- we have taken great strides to increase ... their water catchment to provide fresh water," Cully said.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg serves in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Stavridis Reflects on Southcom Success Ahead of New European Post

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

June 17, 2009 - Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis reflected on the security achievements and humanitarian relief efforts he oversaw during his tenure as commander of U.S. Southern Command in a Miami Herald opinion article yesterday. The admiral emphasized how international partnerships and the so-called "whole-of-government" approach that complements military efforts with diplomacy, economic aid and other instruments of state power, helped to foil narco-terrorism in Colombia and fostered humanitarian relief for thousands.

"We dedicate the majority of our resources to building the security capabilities of our partners while encouraging an environment of cooperation among the nations in the region," he said. "The mutual benefits of these partnering efforts are profound."

Stavridis is slated to assume duty as NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command this summer, having received Senate confirmation.

In his Miami Herald article, the admiral underscored the importance of regional cooperation in his time at Southcom, which comprises 19 nations in Central and South America and 13 in the Caribbean.

"Complex opportunities and persistent security problems -- like illicit trafficking, criminal activity, gangs, terrorist financing and recruitment, natural disasters -- do not stop at a nation's border," Stavridis wrote. "These challenges require cooperative solutions and partnerships, and therein lay the opportunities."

Stavridis said Colombia's mounting success against illegal armed groups illustrates how building partner capacity pays dividends. Southcom's role in the relationship has been to provide training, logistical and technical support to bolster Colombian crackdowns on narco-terrorists.

"For the first time in decades, the Colombian government is providing services in all of its municipalities, and the Colombian people have a renewed confidence in their future," he wrote. "As Colombia 'wins its peace,' the entire region benefits, because the narco-terrorists lose capacity to grow and transport drugs."

In addition to security programs and military exercises, Southcom also supports humanitarian assistance missions, Stavridis said.

"As an example of our commitment to the people of the region, our medical personnel treated almost 700,000 patients in the past three years, varying from routine prevention to the most serious emergency cases," he said. "A key aspect of the mission is the partnership of military personnel with other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations."

Stavridis, who will become the first naval officer to hold the command in Europe when he replaces Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, will face a host of separate issues there.

As the top NATO commander, he will be responsible for overseeing the alliance's military contingent in Afghanistan. Stavridis also is likely to figure prominently in coordinating NATO members' war contributions, which in the past have been criticized as disproportionate to the size and scope of U.S. efforts.

American troop levels in Afghanistan are slated to rise to about 68,000 when a current wave of deployments is completed, compared to about 33,000 other NATO forces there.

At his June 2 confirmation hearing, Stavridis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that upon assuming his new role, he would urge European allies to continue standing with the United States in Afghanistan.

"I hope to be a positive force ... in convincing our allies to continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with us in important missions throughout the world, and in particular, in Afghanistan," he said.

On the European continent, Stavridis will be greeted by a relationship with Russia that is complicated by several hot-button issues. Russia's conflict with Georgia last year put NATO and Moscow at odds, and tension appears to have increased between the neighbors this week, as Russia ordered international peacekeepers to leave the breakaway Georgian provinces that served as flashpoints in the August war. Moscow also has been reluctant to accept U.S. plans to deploy missile defense equipment in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Stavridis has vowed to take the same tack in Europe that yielded security gains and forged relationships at Southcom.

"My approach will be, as it has been at Southern Command for the last three years, to be collegial, to be oriented toward international solutions, multilateral approaches and, above all, interagency and whole-of-government," he said at his confirmation hearing. "These are challenging times in Europe; they're challenging times in Afghanistan and the world. If confirmed, I will do my best."

Trade Commission Site Helps Identify Scams Targeting Military

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 17, 2009 - With the economic downturn causing a spike in consumer scams, the Federal Trade Commission is encouraging servicemembers and their families to report their complaints to an online site so it can better target its investigations. The FTC's Consumer Sentinel/Military provides a secure online database for the military community to report concerns about identity theft, deceptive lending or mortgage practices, debt collection, phone fraud or other scams, said Carol Kando-Pineda in the FTC's consumer and business education division.

"Filing via Consumer Sentinel/Military helps us follow the trends of how many military complaints we're getting and from what branches," Kando-Pineda told American Forces Press Service. "We can target investigations better and plan our consumer education efforts more precisely, too."

The Consumer Sentinel/Military site is part of a larger FTC database that includes millions of consumer complaints. The information collected is shared only to appropriate civil, criminal and military law-enforcement authorities.

Military users and their families who access the site designate their service affiliation, then follow the prompts to complete the online complaint form – a process officials say takes only about five minutes.

By doing so, Kando-Pineda said, the military community can help authorities target cases for prosecution, shut down scammers, spot patterns of fraud before they become widespread and alert fellow servicemembers and military families to scams.

Military members and their families can be particularly vulnerable to fraud due to nonstandard work schedules, lengthy absences from home, frequent relocations, the privacy of personal information and remote duty locations far from normal U.S. consumer protection channels, defense officials report.

In addition, some scam artists have begun padding their own pockets using the premise of soliciting charitable donations to support military families and veterans, FTC officials said.

The FTC offers consumer education to teach the military community and public at large about these and other fraudulent practices. These Web-based products are posted on the FTC Web site.

Face of Defense: Soldier Pushes Self, Inspires Others

By Roger Teel
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 17, 2009 - When the Army became her vehicle seven years ago, Sgt. Gabrielle M. Martinez got behind the wheel, fastened her seat belt and ignited the engine. Then she put her foot on the gas. She didn't just come along for the ride. Now assigned as an information systems analyst and operator with a 20th Support Command weapons-of-mass-destruction coordination element, Martinez makes an impact on nearly everyone she meets.

"She doesn't shy away from challenges," said Army 1st Sgt. Tamiko Bogad, her former unit first sergeant. "She meets them head-on."

Martinez is matter-of-fact about her duties: "Whatever needs to be done," she said. She exhibits more enthusiasm for her "additional duties."

Since arriving in October, Martinez has helped to fine-tune the unit's physical fitness program and assumed leadership of the unit color guard. During her limited free time, she earned a college degree.

By many accounts, she is a role model for other soldiers.

"She is an example of what the Army can provide to our young citizens," Bogad said. "She realizes all the opportunities the Army has to offer and allows the Army to challenge her and realize the potential within."

Martinez derives great pleasure from helping Army Sgt. Jason Bedoya to run the unit PT program.

"Motivating others to achieve their fitness goals and improve their health and overall well-being is rewarding," Martinez said. "To see other soldiers succeed -- especially when they thought they wouldn't, or couldn't, or have given up and gotten discouraged -- that's very rewarding.

"It's good to give back especially in an area where I have natural ability," she added, emphasizing that Bedoya leads the PT program.

"It's his program," she said. "My support provides an even return for having his support on the color guard."

"She keeps everybody going," Bedoya said. "She's outgoing. She makes it fun, always cracking jokes. She challenges me as well, always throwing out new ideas, new ways we can do things, new exercises. And she really helps a lot of our soldiers."

Martinez's endeavor into drill and ceremony, calling cadence for the color guard, came at the recommendation of her supervisor, Army Master Sgt. Charesse Blood.

"The first sergeant was asking for volunteers, and Master Sergeant Blood said it would probably be a good idea for me. She said she had similar responsibilities when she was coming up and said it's a great learning experience and also a challenge. She inspired me, and I volunteered," Martinez explained.

"The challenging part is keeping everyone motivated to perform and coordinating with the community for rehearsals," she said. "I'm currently searching for more volunteers. I've also been looking for incentives to make it lucrative for high quality volunteers because they are very much needed. But the people we have are very dedicated."

Honor and tradition are being preserved under Martinez's charge, Bogad said. "She effortlessly lives and breathes our Army Values and the Noncommissioned Officer Creed," he added.

"I have to juggle all these things carefully so I don't miss training and still provide leadership to the color guard and be there for the PT program," Martinez said. "There's a lot of juggling of responsibilities as an NCO."

Martinez grew up in Pottstown, Pa., about a two-hour drive north of here.

"My father is still there," she said. "I have 15 brothers and sisters; I'm in the middle."

The lessons she learned growing up in a large family are apparent.

"I always felt like I was a member of a team," she said, smiling at the memory. Her siblings range in age from 4 to 43. "It's hard to keep a relationship with a sister who is 40 years old. I'm 27. She was ready to move out of the house by the time I came along."

Martinez said her father coordinates an annual family gathering.

"Whoever shows up shows up," she said. "We never get everybody there together at once."

None of her brothers or sisters served in the military.

"I'm the first in my family to graduate from college," she added, proud of achieving an academic goal. She graduated in May from American Military University, earning a bachelor's degree - with honors -- in information technology.

"My mom was there for my graduation," she added, re-emphasizing the importance she attaches to family ties. "I'd like to complete my master's program in an in-your-face, traditional classroom," she continued, having earned her bachelor's degree online. "I'm taking a break now and identifying future endeavors."

It's been seven years since Martinez visited a Miami recruiting center. At that time she was working as a certified nurse's assistant, going to school and trying to become a model -- and things weren't working out.

So, she raised her hand.

Martinez has since traveled around the world. After completing basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and advanced individual training at Fort Gordon, Ga., she was assigned to Mannheim, Germany, for two years, which included a short tour to Kuwait with the 7th Signal Brigade.

She took a follow-on overseas assignment to South Korea for 13 months, and then re-enlisted for retraining in her current job specialty. She then ramped up at the National Training Center and deployed to Iraq for 15 months with the 3rd Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

"It's worked out for me. I've developed a lot of pride in what I do. I'm glad I did it, and I now plan to be a career soldier," Martinez said, thumbing the Officer Candidate School packet she was almost ready to submit.

"Airborne school has to come in there somewhere," she added, underscoring her desire to remain a "Hooah!" soldier.

"I believe in myself," she explained. "As I continue to create and explore opportunities, I know things will work out."

Her professional development is clearly evident to others.

"She has been diligent about requesting increased responsibility, and has consistently performed above and beyond her grade," Blood said. "She's focused on accomplishment of the mission and the welfare of her soldiers."

Her former first sergeant agreed. "As senior NCOs, we provide opportunities for our soldiers to succeed," Bogad said. "It is our duty to help them realize their own potential, which is usually more than they thought they had. Sergeant Martinez inspires others through her example. She sets the standard for excellence. She achieves all you put before her, and all she puts her mind to."

"She's definitely got her mind in the right place," added Bedoya, a young and newly promoted NCO. "She can do so much more. I look at her and think, 'That's someone I could emulate.'"

Martinez takes the praise in stride. "I just want to positively influence people," she said. "I feel like I owe that to soldiers, my peers and anybody I can motivate to go to school, to work on their PT, or just try a little harder in whatever situation they're in. I feel like I owe that to people because leaders have given that to me so freely.

"Besides," she added, "who am I not to share?"

(Roger Teel works at 20th Support Command.)