Military News

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chairman Calls U.S.-Poland Relationship 'Vital'

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

June 29, 2009 - Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said his visit today with his Polish counterpart, while "routine," also was one of great importance to the U.S. military. "It's a representation of the strength, commitment, and importance of the relationship to both countries," Mullen said following a military honors ceremony welcoming him to Warsaw.

"This is a vital relationship that from my perspective should continue," he said. "The Polish military has provided great capability and great results in Iraq and does so today in Afghanistan under the auspices of [the International Security Assistance Force.]"

The United States is very committed to its partnership with Poland and the modernization of that country's military, Mullen said.

"We've had good initial discussions today, and throughout the day those discussions will continue to do exactly what General [Franciszek] Gagor spoke of, which is to deepen the relationship," Mullen said. "Thank you for the partnership that is so strong. We look forward to it becoming stronger in the future."

Mullen also praised the "young people" who fulfill the commitments Poland has made in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. "I'm always reminded ... of the young people who make this possible, those who sacrifice and, in cases have ... given their lives, to support what we share in common and what we believe in," he said.

The chairman left here June 24 on a week-long trip that has already taken him to Russia where he spoke with his counterpart, Russian Gen. Nikolai Makarov. He spent today talking with Gagor before departing for his final stop in Germany where he and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will preside over the European Command's change of command ceremony.

Army Gen. John Craddock will turn over EUCOM's reigns to Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis at Husky Field on Patch Barracks tomorrow.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 29, 2009

AIR FORCE
The Air Force is awarding a firm-fixed-price contract to the Boeing Co., Wichita, Kan., for $750,000,000. This action is a follow on to the B-52 fleet support contract and will provide recurring and non-recurring engineering services, including drawing and technical data maintenance, systems engineering support, technical analyses, government furnished property maintenance, detailed design engineering system and subsystem integration, hardware and software support, technical order updates, flight safety analyses, reliability and maintainability analyses, ground and flight test support, engineering feasibility studies, material deficiency report analysis, field problem investigation, and in-flight emergency response. At this time, $9,605,869 has been obligated. 327th Aircraft Sustainment Group Contracting Division, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8107-09-D-0001).

The Air Force is awarding a firm-fixed-price contract to Harris Corp., Rochester, N.Y., for $14,820,060. This action provides for the procurement of ancillary items related to single channel handheld radios that are an integral part of the Air Force Joint Tactical Radio System. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. ELSG/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8726-09-F-0002).

NAVY
Sauer Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., (N69450-09-D-1277), The Haskell Co., Jacksonville, Fla., (N69450-09-D-1278), Caddell Construction Company Inc., Montgomery, Ala., (N69450-09-D-1279); Roy Anderson Corp., Gulfport, Miss., (N69450-09-D-1280), and PCL Construction Services, Inc., Orlando, Fla., (N69450-09-D-1281), are each being awarded a design-build indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract for general construction type projects at Department of Defense activities within the NAVFAC Southeast area of responsibility of northern Florida and southern Georgia. The maximum dollar value for all five contracts combined is $250,000,000. The work to be performed provides for general building type projects (new construction, renovation, alteration, and repair of facilities and infrastructure, roofing, demolition, and routine renovation) including but not limited to: (1) aviation and aircraft facilities, (2) marine facilities, (3) barracks and personnel housing facilities, (4) administrative facilities, (5) warehouses and supply facilities, (6) training facilities, (7) personnel support and service facilities, (8) security level facilities, and (9) abatement and handling of hazardous/regulated materials. Projects may also require comprehensive interior design and incorporation of sustainable features. Sauer Inc., is being awarded Task Order #0001 at $6,998,000 for the design and construction of a child development center at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. Work for this task order is expected to be completed by November 2010. All work on this contract will be performed in, but not limited to, the following locations: Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., (30 percent); Naval Station Mayport, Fla., (30 percent); Naval Support Activity Orlando, Fla., (5 percent); Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., (15 percent); and surrounding Supported Commands in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia, (15 percent). Work may be required in other areas in the area of responsibility of NAVFAC Southeast (5 percent), if deemed necessary. The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of June 2014. Contract funds for task order #0001 will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 29 proposals received. These five contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Atlantic Contingency Constructors, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a not to exceed $66,434,472 cost reimbursement task order #0011 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62470-06-D-6007) for installation of photovoltaic systems. Photovoltaic systems are intended to generate renewable energy at Navy shore facilities, and will be tied into the electrical distribution grid. Work will be performed in Fla., (50 percent), Miss., (20 percent), and Texas (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2010. Funds are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Atlantic Contingency Constructors, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a not to exceed $25,754,641 cost reimbursement task order #0012 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62470-06-D-6007) for installation of photovoltaic, solar ventilation preheat, and solar and lighting systems. These systems are intended to primarily generate renewable energy at Navy shore facilities, and will be tied into the electrical distribution grid. Work will be performed in the Norfolk, Va., area, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2010. Funds are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

JK Hill & Associates, Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a $13,500,000 fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for comprehensive aircraft maintenance and technical support services for Marine Light Attach Helicopter Training Squadron (HMLA/T-303) located at Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, Calif. Platforms supported are AH-1, HH-1, and UH T/M/S aircraft. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $67,700,000. Work will be performed at Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 30, 2014. Contract funds allocated at time of award will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with two offers received in response to the request for proposals. The Regional Contracting Office – MCI-West, Camp Pendleton, Calif., is the contracting activity (M00681-09-D-0009).

Atlantic Contingency Constructors, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a not to exceed $8,590,312 cost reimbursement task order #0010 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62470-06-D-6007) for installation of photovoltaic systems. These systems are intended to generate renewable energy at Navy shore facilities, and will be tied into the electrical distribution grid. Work will be performed in the state of Maryland, (70 percent) and in Washington, D.C., (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2010. Funds are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Quality Roofers and Guttering, Inc.*, Jacksonville, N.C., is being awarded $7,308,437 for firm-fixed-price task order #0052 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-09-D-7106) for facility and photovoltaic energy upgrades and photovoltaic roofs on Buildings 1116, 1211 and 1212 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides for reroofing warehouse buildings with white reflective coatings complete with flashings, walkways and new roof drains; and asbestos abatement of existing roofing materials. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by July 2010. Funds are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Lifecycle Construction Services*, Washington, D.C., is being awarded $7,085,756 for firm-fixed price task order #0008 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-09-D-5322) for repair HVAC (heating ventilating and air conditioning), mechanical, electrical, roofs and windows at various administration facilities; major interior/exterior repairs to Building 312 and Building 313 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides complete interior and exterior repairs to include new layouts, HVAC systems, electrical and fire protection systems, removal of lead and asbestos and incidental related work. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Six proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Rockwell Collins Government Systems, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded a $6,460,382 firm-fixed-priced order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement (N00019-08-G-0016) for services in support of the FY 2009 tactical secure voice cryptographic equipment application implementation, as part of the RT-1939(C)/ARC-210 radio system. Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is expected to be completed in July 2010. 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.

North State Mechanical, Inc.*, Jacksonville, N.C., is being awarded $6,274,035 for firm-fixed price task order #0008 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-09-D-5341) for repair of HVAC (heating ventilating and air conditioning), mechanical, electrical, roofs and windows at various administration facilities; and major interior/exterior repairs in Building 205 and Building 213 at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides complete interior and exterior repairs to include new layouts, HVAC systems, electrical and fire protection systems, removal of lead and asbestos and incidental related work. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by March 2012. Funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va. is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., Hurst, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $44,900,000 firm-fixed-price, sole source contract for depot level reparables in support of the CV-22 aircraft. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Oct. 31, 2012. The contracting activity is the DLR Procurement Operations (DSCR-ZC), DLA Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (N00383-03-G-001B-THM4).

ARMY
Raytheon Co., Network Centric Systems, Fort Wayne, Ind., was awarded in Jun. 26, 2009 a $ 21,746,737 cost-plus-fixed-fee and fixed-price contract for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the generation Network Centric Radio System (NCRS), with additional capabilities and an assured affordable price to the user. DARPA envisions two critical technologies for achieving these new goals: 1) a backbone radio architecture that enables a versatile IP networks and a radio gateway that enable legacy analog and digital communications systems to be internetworked. As with NCRS, the MAINGATE enables heterogeneous groups of radios to be integrated into a heterogeneous network tolerant to high latency and packet loss. The technology development for the program will permit affordable, tactical, real-time, high fidelity video, data, and voice services to be deployed in a network environment to support tactical operations in either maneuver or dismounted operations. A MAINGATE node consists of the gateway hoc network (MANET) IP radio, WAN port, LAN port, and operator console for a recurring production unit cost target (sell price to government) of $ 60, 000 (constant FY09$) per unit for a volume purchase of 1,000 units after the successful satisfaction of the base program objectives. Work is to be performed in Fullerton, Calif., (19.54 percent), Fort Wayne, Ind., (25.88 percent), Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., (7.19 percent), Vienna, Va., (3.20 percent), ! Cambridg e, Md.,(7.02 percent), Columbia, Md., (22.45 percent), and Melbourne, Fla., (14.72 percent), with an estimated completion date of September 2012. Bids solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-09-C-0083).

Science Applications International Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Jun. 26, 2009 a $ 12,431,184 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for threat detection alongside or approaching a roadway. Work is to be performed in San Diego, Calif., (26.4 percent) and OCONUS (73.6 percent) with an estimated completion date of Dec. 09, 2011. Bids were solicited using FedBizOpps with one bid received. U.S. Army Corp of Engineer, ERDC Contracting Office, Vicksburg, Miss., is the contracting activity (W912HZ-09-C-0073).

Kipper Tool Co., Gainesville, Ga., was awarded on Jun. 26, 2009 a $ 5,897,268 firm-fixed-price requirement contract for an engineer construction electrician tool kit. Work is to be performed in Gainesville, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Jun. 30, 2014. Ten (10) bids solicited with three bids received. TACOM- Rock Island, AMSTA-LC-CTC, Rock Island, Ill. is the contracting activity (DAAE20-03-D-0089).

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded on Jun. 26, 2009 a $ 5,738,424 cost-plus-fixed-fee, level-of-effort- contract for FY09 PATRIOT engineering services contract option award for 37,822 man-hours of effort. Work is to be performed in Andover, Mass., (1.05 percent), Huntsville, Ala., (6.18 percent), and Tewksbury, Mass., (92.77 percent) with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2014. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-09-C-0057).

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Burlington, Vt., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2009 a $ 34,404,153 firm-fixed-price contract for 280 Bradley reactive Armor Skirt Sets for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System. Work is to be performed in Haifa, Israel (58 percent), Burlington, Vt., (26 percent), Lyndonville, Vt., (13 percent), Stoughton, Mass., (1 percent), St. Paul, Minn., (1 percent), and Saugerties, N.Y., (1 percent) with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2009. One bid solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command Joint Munitions-MA, Picatinny, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-06-C-0143).

Army Armaments Incorporated, Hunt Valley, Md., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2009 a $32,079,407 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the modification exercises options for additional engineering services hours for tactical command data link in support of the Shadow 200 unmanned aircraft systems. Work is to be performed in Hunt Valley, Md., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 30, 2010. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command/CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0033).

Honeywell International, Albuquerque, N.M., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2009 a $12,685,932 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for 12 months of contractor logistics support (CLS) with options for unit training and additional 12 months of CLS for the Gasoline Micro Air Vehicle. Work is to be performed in Albuquerque, N.M., with an estimated completion date of Jul. 3, 2011. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0094).

Alcatel-Lucent, USA, McLeansville, N.C., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2009 a $ 11,733,246 IDIQ Fair Market contract for the effort to furnish, install, secure, test, document and cutover a turn-key solution to upgrade the existing infracture and facilities at Fort Benning, Ga. Work is to be performed in Fort Benning, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Jul. 1, 2013. Ten bids solicited with four bids received. Army Contracting Command, National Capitol Region Contracting Center, Information Technology, E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4), Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W91QUZ-06-D-0026).

Interstate Highway Construction, Inc., Englewood, Colo. was awarded on Jun. 25, 2009 a $8,192,258 firm-fixed-fee contract to design/build for F-35 ramp and security upgrades and main base runway, Phase 4, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Services consist of (1) design and construction of a concrete aircraft parking ramp for eight aircraft to support operational testing of the F-35C aircraft. The parking ramp will include grounding points, tie downs, standard aircraft marking and asphalt shoulders; and (2) main base runway, Phase 4, which completes the repair to the main base runway, approximately 2,000' by 150' at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Work is to be performed in Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Jun. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited using fbo.gov and ASFI with four bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Los Angeles, Calif., is the contracting activity (W912PL-09-C0017).

Ultra Electronic, ProLogic, Inc., Fairmont, W.V., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2009 a $6,656,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for effects based operations support systems. Work is to be performed in Fairmont, W.V., (60 percent) and Arlington, Va., (40 percent) with an estimated completion date of Mar. 25, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-09-C-0054).

Lifecycle Construction Services, LLC., Washington, D.C., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2009 a $ 6,289,999 firm-fixed-price contract to construct a modified standard design 323 childcare development center and playground to support a full range of daycare, after care, and other associated child support programs. The work will include playgrounds, canopy over sidewalk between facility and bus drop-off, parking, sidewalks, site preparation for surveillance camera system, electrical, natural gas, water and sewer utilities, air conditioning, grading and storm water management structures, tele-communications support, fire and safety alarm systems, and anti-terrorism and force protection measure as appropriate. Work is to be performed in Fort Gordon, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 26, 2010. Six bids solicited with four bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-09-D-0012).

Alliant Tech Systems, Plymouth, M.N., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2009 a $5,773,379 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for 155mm M549 system development and demonstration award. Work is to be performed in Plymouth, M.N., with an estimated completion of June 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with five bids received. The Army Contracting Command Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, CCJM-CA, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-06-C-0130).

Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc., Niagara Falls, N.Y., was awarded on Jun. 25, 2009 a $5,284,409 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the remediation of the Blackwater Branch Stream and floodplain, Vineland chemical superfund project, Operable Unit 3, Phase III and IV stream diversion channels, Vineland, N.J. Work is to be performed in Vineland, N.J., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. One bid solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-04-D-0023).

IAP Worldwide Services, Irmo, S.C. was awarded on Jun. 24, 2009 a $25,381,780 MATOC firm-fixed-price IDIQ contract for the line haul transportation within Kuwait and Iraq. Work is to be performed in Kuwait/Iraq with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2009. One bid solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command-RICC-CCRC-FJ, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W912D1-05-D-0011).

LCC-MZT Team 1, Homedale, Idaho was awarded on Jun. 24, 2009 a $8,191,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of an Army Reserve Center, operational maintenance shop and unheated storage building at Hyden Lake, Idaho. Work is to be performed in Hayden Lake, Idaho with an estimated completion date of Dec. 21, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with seven bids received. Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-09-C-0043).

Defense Department and National Institutes of Health Take on Substance Abuse in the Military

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 29, 2009 - Improved recognition, treatment and prevention of substance abuse among servicemembers is the focus of a recent collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a senior defense official said. "Readiness for the military mission is always our primary reason for existence," said Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, the Military Health System's director of strategic communications. "The health of our men and women in uniform is really critical to sustain that readiness."

Kilpatrick spoke about department programs to prevent substance abuse, provide counseling and study the causes for substance abuse in the military during a June 24 audio webcast, "Armed With Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military."

Dr. Timothy Condon, deputy director of NIDA, joined the show to discuss a NIDA initiative to study substance use and abuse in U.S. military personnel, veterans and their families.

NIDA hosted a public, multi-agency meeting in January to assess understanding and knowledge of substance abuse in the military environment. The agencies identified knowledge gaps, opportunities and possible complications regarding behavioral research and study in the military, Condon said.

"I think this was a very enlightening experience for both those who were part of the armed forces as well as those who were part of the academic community," he said. "There really was a meeting of the minds."

NIDA plans to release a Request for Applications in the next few months, hoping to attract partners interested in studying abuse prevention in the military and among veterans and their families. The request also aims to determine best practices for prevention and treatment of substance abuse and other conditions that may accompany it, such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. Substance abuse includes alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and misuse of prescription drugs.

Over the past six years, the military has seen an increased operational tempo and increased health screenings before and after deployment. As a result, Kilpatrick said, there is "a larger number of servicemembers taking all types of medications, ... so we have to be very focused on how to prevent misuse" of those drugs.

Each service has its own program tailored to work best for its members. For example, the Army has Army Substance Abuse Program, or ASAP; the Air Force has Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment, or ADAPT. Both programs emphasize the importance of readiness and servicemembers' personal responsibility to their mission.

Condon noted that because of large number of National Guard and reserve troops being deployed to combat zones, treatment programs offered to active-duty members aren't always available to those returning from war.

A larger problem, he said, is those seeking help often don't share the "whole picture" with their doctor because of stigmas and fear attached to seeking help.

In response to those stigmas, Kilpatrick said, the department has introduced "Real Warriors," a program designed to encourage people to reach out when they need help, rather than hide their problems for fear of being considered weak or unfit for duty.

"One of the issues we need to move past is the stigma that we associate with people who become addicted to drugs," Condon said. "We need to recognize that it's not just weak will and moral fiber, but that there may be some underlying vulnerabilities there."

Kilpatrick stressed the importance of early detection of health issues, both mental and physical. Early detection leads to better outcomes, he said, because it circumvents the desire to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

"What [self-medication] does is delay the individual from getting to appropriate treatment for the underlying medical problems," Kilpatrick said. "It certainly complicates the situation for everyone."

But the effort is one to be shared by all members of the military – leadership, families and individuals.

"Because the military is a community, medical readiness is a shared responsibility of the military commanders, the military medical personnel and the individual servicemembers," Kilpatrick said. "I like to call it a partnership for health. Each person, each side of that partnership, needs to play its role and work together."

(Ian Graham is attached to the Emerging Media Directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Honduras-Based U.S. Troops Not Involved in Coup, Remain Safe

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

June 29, 2009 - American forces stationed in Honduras were not involved in the military coup yesterday and remain safe, a Pentagon official said. Some 50 miles northwest of the capital city of Tegucigalpa, where President Manuel Zelaya was apparently ousted, the situation is calm at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras -- home to a 600-strong U.S. contingent, Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters today.

"The U.S. military is not involved in any of the activities down there and the situation is calm where those forces are located," he said.

In a statement yesterday, President Barack Obama expressed concern at reports of the Honduran military detaining and expelling Zelaya from the country. News reports said the military ouster came in response to Zelaya's attempts to extend his presidential tenure beyond the four-year term limit outlined in the Honduran constitution.

"I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of President Mel Zelaya," he said. "As the Organization of American States did on Friday, I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

"Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference," Obama added.

The U.S. forces at Soto Cano comprise Joint Task Force Bravo, which supports joint military exercises, enhances regional security initiatives and coordinates humanitarian relief efforts. Whitman said commanders there have taken "force protection measures."

"As the United States is monitoring the situation, (the U.S. forces are) essentially holding fast where they're at," he said.