Military News

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Wounded Warrior Regiment's Founder Retires

By Pfc. Jahn R. Kuiper
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Timothy Maxwell stood stoicly silent as the crowd at his retirement ceremony rose to their feet and applauded. For those in crowd who knows of his incredible journey they can't help but let their emotions flow. Maxwell, one of the founders of the Wounded Warrior Regiment, retired after 22 years of dedicated service on June 26 in a ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps here.

Maxwell deployed six times and on his final deployment, in Iraq, he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury during an Oct. 7, 2004, mortar attack on the forward operating base where he was stationed. Shrapnel tore though the left side of his brain.

While recuperating, Maxwell discovered that his recovery was made easier when he was around other wounded warriors. He began advocating for wounded warriors and their families and worked diligently to establish the Wounded Warrior Barracks.

After all he has accomplished, Maxwell feels its time to step down.

"I've decided its time to go because a year ago I went for surgery to pull out piece of shrapnel near my brain stem," said Maxwell. "It crippled me on my right side. Now I can't represent the Marine Corps like I should. Marines are known for looking good in their uniform and when I can't look good in my camies it's time to go."

"[Assistant Commandant] General Amos approved the idea, Col. Kelly (a friend and fellow WW advocate with Maxwell) was the one who developed the idea, but it was Lt. Col. Maxwell who planted the seed for the Wounded Warrior Regiment," said Lt. Col. David J. Lofgren, the Executive Officer for the Wounded Warrior Regiment. "He got the wounded warriors together so they can heal together. The worst thing for a wounded warrior is the isolation. You feel like you're sandbagging it when the rest of your unit is out there fighting."

At the Wounded Warrior Barracks leaders are able see the problems of recovering wounded and help prevent them from happening again, said Lofgren.

"There are 10,000 plus people who can attest to how the [Wounded Warrior] Regiment has affected them positively," said Master Sgt. Kenneth R. Barnes, taff NCO for the regiment. Barnes called Maxwell "the biggest hero of my life ... It amazes me the way he has fought and persevered and still coming up with great ideas."

Lofgren said Maxwell has achieved icon status because his wounds are visible and people know him and know what he's accomplished on behalf of wounded warriors.

"He's a real person to relate to. He's a walking miracle," Lofgren said.

Even in retirement, however, Maxwell does not feel his job is complete. He has more goals for wounded warriors in all services.

"I want to expand it to the entire [Defense Department]," said Maxwell. "The solutions are out there. The problem is that wounded guys don't know about it. I have to spread the word."

MILITARY CONTRACTS July 2, 2009

NAVY
Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $441,938,182 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. In addition, this modification provides for common and unique performance based logistics support and hardware for the sustainment of seven U.S. Air Force and one Government of the Netherlands Conventional Take-Off and Landing aircraft; seven U.S. Marine Corps and two United Kingdom (UK) Short Take-Off Vertical-Landing aircraft; material necessary to support activation of JSF bases; two Aircraft Systems Maintenance Trainers; one Weapons Loader Trainer; two Full Mission Simulators; one USMC and one UK Deployable Mission Rehearsal Trainer; sixteen LM-STAR avionics test stations; hardware and software for the Integrated Training Center; CVN Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) shipboard certification and deployment; ALIS depot trade study; and associated technical and financial data. Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla. (42 percent); Fort Worth, Texas, (37 percent); El Segundo, Calif., (9 percent); Warton, United Kingdom, (4 percent); Nashua, N.H. (2 percent); Baltimore, Md., (1.5 percent); Cleveland, Ohio, (1.2 percent); Cheltenham, United Kingdom (1.2 percent); Rolling Meadows, Ill., (1.1 percent) and San Diego, Calif., (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $58,009,282 firm-fixed-priced modification to previously awarded delivery order #0012 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) for the purchase of Field Service Representative Support, Equipment, Consumables, Bench Stock, and Training for the Installation of the Independent Suspension Kits on the MRAP Cougar Vehicles. Work will be performed at the MRAP Sustainment Facility in Kuwait, and work is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

The Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, Calif., is being awarded a ceiling $31,635,782 cost-plus-fixed-fee term contract for Design Agent engineering services support for the AN/USQ-82(5) system as a part of DDG Modernization. Work will be performed in Huntington Beach, Calif., 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 not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Va., is the contracting activity (N00178-09-C-2005).

Soltek Pacific Construction Co., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $17,595,000 for firm-fixed price task order #0010 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-08-D 8615) for design and construction of a Combined Arms Military Operations in Urban Terrain training facility at the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms. Work will be performed in Twentynine Palms, Calif., and is expected to be completed by January 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Five proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Technical Services Co. LLC, Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a $13,173,440 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 188 AN/ALE-47 Forward Firing/Dual Dispenser Pod shipsets for rapid installation on CH-53D/Es. In addition, this contract provides for the procurement of a 3D Product Technical Data Package on the CH-53D/E AN/ALE-47 Forward Firing/Dual Dispenser Pod system. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be completed in September 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-2. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0065).

Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $7,000,000 modification to previously awarded contract N00024-04-C-5144 for Japan Aegis Modernization Lifetime Support efforts for ATAGO and KONGO class ships under the Foreign Military Sales Program (100 percent for Japan). Lockheed Martin will provide planning, scheduling, and execution support for Japan Aegis Modernization in support of ATAGO and KONG class ships. This work will include preparing for and responding to price and availability request, conducting studies, supporting USN in development of a technology control plan to address product protection, computer program modifications, and future cooperative development and interface between US and Japan baselines. This modification includes options which if exercised would increase the cumulative value of the contract by $41,000,000. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J., and is expected to be completed by March 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Krempp Lumber Co.*, Jasper, Ind., is being awarded $5,530,000 for firm-fixed price task order #0009 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40083-06-D-4018) for construction of a Crane Army Ammunition Activity Ready Service Magazine Complex at Naval Support Activity Crane. Work will be performed in Crane, Ind., and is expected to be completed by March 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Midwest, Great Lakes, Ill., is the contracting activity.

Tiger Woods Honors U.S. Troops at Golf Tournament

By Air Force Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo
American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - Golfing great Tiger Woods spent the week leading up to the nation's birthday honoring those men and women serving in the military during the Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am golf tournament at the Congressional Country Club here. The tournament was named after Woods' father, a former Army officer who served during the Vietnam era. During the tournament, 26 active-duty servicemembers, representing each service, were given the opportunity to caddie for professional golfers.

"It felt great! I should buy a lottery ticket because the way my luck is going, I might just hit the jackpot," said Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Michael Barrett, who caddied for Woods and last year's tournament winner, Anthony Kim.

At the end of the 174-yard, par 3 hole, Woods passed the putter to Barrett for the final putt. Although he missed that putt, along with a second putt to end the hole for Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo, Barrett said it was still a memorable moment.

"I know I'm gonna get it from my boys back home because I missed both putts, but it was still a great experience." Barrett is a 16-year Marine Corps veteran, with two tours in Iraq, who was injured by a roadside bomb.

Two Army wounded warriors, Staff Sgt. Ramon Padilla and Maj. Ken Dwyer, were a part of the ceremonial first shot with Woods to begin the tournament.

"The fact that Tiger wanted to include ... servicemembers in something he feels very emotional about means a lot to me," said Dwyer, who is assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group based on Fort Bragg, N.C.

In addition to tournament ticket discounts and complimentary tickets for military members, the USO set up a care package tent for deployed troops.

During the opening ceremony, the Navy's Ceremonial Guard Drill Team and singer Jessica Simpson performed the national anthem. A precision parachute demonstration team from the 101st Airborne Division based on Fort Campbell, Ky., descended over the first hole in a four-man formation to present the golf balls used during the ceremonial "tee off" that would begin the competition.

Woods summed up the military's special role during a press conference: "To see what they deal with on a daily basis and what they have to go through by putting their lives on the line for us ... Everyone in this room should thank these servicemembers ... for what they do."

Partnership Opens Door for Army Reserve, Guard Construction Jobs

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - A partnership forged today with the Helmets to Hardhats organization promises to translate into construction careers for reserve-component soldiers. Helmets to Hardhats officially joined the Army Reserve's Employer Partnership Initiative during a Pentagon signing ceremony today. The arrangement will open the door for the Army Guard and Army Reserve to share the same talent pool with about 80,000 civilian employers in the construction industry.

Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, who launched the Employer Partnership Initiative in April 2008, said today's ceremony took the effort to a new level in two ways. It will create a pathway to apprenticeships and training programs leading to a broad range of construction jobs – all through an organization that "has been a great friend to the military," he said.

For the first time, the partnership also will include the Army National Guard. Stultz called the new partnership agreement a first step toward eventually broadening the program to include every service's reserve components.

Helmets to Hardhats is a national program that connects National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty members with career training and employment within 15 building and construction trades unions and nine leading construction contractor associations.

Darrell Roberts, a former sailor and National Guardsman who serves as the initiative's executive director, said the new partnership benefits civilian employers, too.

"It will help us get the word out [to members of the Reserve and Guard] about these quality careers in the construction industry," he said.

Meanwhile, he said, it will help employers tap into employees who "bring a can-do attitude and a sense of responsibility, who arrive on time, who understand the chain of command and who are there to work.

"They make great employees, and give 100 percent," Roberts continued. "Everybody I work with can't get enough of them."

Stultz called the new partnership with Hardhats to Helmets a natural fit because it takes advantage of the skill sets many soldiers already have – and that employers are looking for.

"Our vision in the Army Reserve is to become an organization that is looked upon as one of the premier organizations that develops talent and capability for America," he said.

The Employer Partnership initiative allows reserve-component soldiers to apply their civilian training and experience to their military jobs, Stultz said. "And we, in turn, will return them back to you with more confidence, more leadership, and hopefully, a better work ethic that you, in turn, get to take advantage of," he told the employer representatives.

Meanwhile, the partnerships help generate the employer support Stultz called critical to the reserve components' success.

"You really are providing this nation a strategy of how to maintain a well-trained and ready military for the future," he told the employer representatives. "I look forward to collaborating with our newest valued partner to achieve mutual goals to attract, develop and retain a quality workforce."

Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard, said he's excited about the opportunities the program will open up to Guard troops.

"The men and women of the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve are highly motivated, seasoned professionals, and some of the highest-caliber potential employees for private industry," Carpenter said. "This program is good for our soldiers, local communities and the nation."

Female World War II Pilots Receive Overdue Honors

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - President Barack Obama yesterday signed a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Air Force Service Pilots of World War II, the first women in American history to fly military aircraft. More than 60 years ago, they piloted fighter, bomber, transport and training aircraft with the primary mission of flying noncombat military missions in the United States, thus freeing their male counterparts for combat missions. But their contribution went largely unrecognized for years; they were not even acknowledged with veteran status until 1977.

"The Women Air Force Service Pilots courageously answered their country's call in a time of need while blazing a trail for the brave women who have given and continue to give so much in service to this nation since," Obama said. "Every American should be grateful for their service, and I am honored to sign this bill to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve."

From 1942 to 1943, more than 1,000 women joined the unit, and 38 of them made the ultimate sacrifice in performing its mission. This legislation, which passed the Senate and House in recent months, confers proper recognition on the women's achievements, its sponsors said.

"The Women Air Force Service Pilots of World War II are trailblazers and true patriots," U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, said. "They risked their lives in service to our nation, but for too long their contribution to the war effort has been undervalued or under recognized."

After the Senate passed the bill May 20, Mikulski issued a news release hailing its successful journey on Capitol Hill. "I am so pleased both houses of Congress have now come together to right this wrong, and to finally give these courageous women the proper recognition they deserve," she said in the release.

The female pilots faced overwhelming cultural and gender bias against women serving in nontraditional roles and overcame injustice to serve their country, the Senate bill states. Enduring through adversity, the bill continues, these pilots became a catalyst for revolutionary reform in the integration of women pilots into the U.S. military.

The Women Air Force Service Pilots, known collectively as WASPs, participated in instructor piloting, towing targets for air-to-air gunnery practice, ground-to-air anti-aircraft practice and transporting personnel and cargo, among other tasks. In total, the women flew more than 60 million miles on American missions.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, a co-sponsor of the House version of the bill, said the legislation recognizes the women's sacrifice.

"Today, this Congress has recognized their sacrifice and considers them all heroes because these trailblazers and true patriots served our country without question and with no expectations of recognition or praise," she said following the June 16 House passage. "That is what being a true hero is all about.

"This bill honors mothers, grandmothers, teachers, office workers, nurses, business women, photographers, [and] dancers. One was even a nun," she added. "But before that, they were pilots for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II."

The groundbreaking steps taken by the WASP unit paved the way for hundreds of U.S. servicewomen to serve as combat pilots and fly fighter aircraft in recent conflicts, a White House news release states.

Chairman Evokes Lincoln in Independence Day Message

American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - In his annual Independence Day message to members of the U.S. armed forces worldwide, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff evokes a speech Abraham Lincoln delivered in Chicago in 1858. Here is Navy Adm. Mike Mullen's holiday message:

"The Fourth of July in America perpetually binds us to the birth of our Nation – and the spirit of a revolution.

"Eighty-two years after Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, another future President, Abraham Lincoln, eloquently defined the Fourth as an annual celebration of his listeners' enduring connection with their previous, heroic generation. But, he added, 'There is something else.'

"Lincoln then turned the Chicago crowd's attention toward the millions drawn to and born in America since the Declaration was signed, and their critical bond to its timeless truths.

"When they first read its words, and 'realize they are our equals in all things,' Lincoln said, 'they feel [it] is the father of all moral principle in them. ... That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together ... as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.'

"Today, that same electric cord links us to those truths which, while self-evident, have never been self-endowed. They are forever worth our defending – in days of peace, and, as now, in times of war.

"More than 240,000 men and women deployed in harm's way are defending our rights, and those of mankind, this very minute. They, and especially their families, know this: as long as our Nation continues to raise sons and daughters to sacrifice their individual cares for the greater good of all, the revolutionary spirit of Jefferson, Lincoln, and our Republic lives on.

"Happy Birthday, America."

U.S. Limits Contact with Honduran Military

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - The American military contingent in Honduras has limited its contact with Honduran forces as the U.S. government evaluates the situation in the Central American country, a Pentagon spokesman said. Roughly 600 U.S. forces are stationed at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, 50 miles northwest of the capital city of Tegucigalpa, where President Manuel Zelaya was removed from office earlier this week.

"Our activities have largely been postponed with the Honduran military forces while our government has a chance to evaluate the situation and determine the way ahead," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters today.

But the U.S. forces that make up Joint Task Force Bravo, meanwhile, will continue "sustainment activities" such as flight operations from Soto Cano in support of the hospital ship USNS Comfort operating in Nicaragua.

"We have a lifesaving rescue capability there that we continue to sustain," Whitman said. "But we have limited our contact dramatically, to what I would call minimal contact, with the Honduran military as the United States continues to evaluate and make judgments about the way forward."

Whitman added that Joint Task Force Bravo continues to provide regional and interagency support in various capacities, and participates in counter-narcotic efforts.

Defense officials have underscored that U.S. forces in Honduras remain safe.

DoD Announces New Director Of DARPA

The Department of Defense (DoD) today announced the appointment of Regina E. Dugan as the 19th director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). DARPA is the principal agency within the DoD for research, development, and demonstration of concepts, devices, and systems that provide highly advanced military capabilities for the current and future combat force. In this role of developing high-risk, high-payoff projects, DARPA compliments and balances the overall science and technology program of the DoD.

"Regina Dugan is precisely the dynamic leader DARPA needs to open new technology frontiers and transition revolutionary technologies to serve our nation's interests," said Zachary J. Lemnios, director, Defense Research and Engineering. "I am delighted she will be leading this agency and look forward to working closely with her."

Prior to this appointment, Dugan held several key positions in industry, most recently as president and chief executive officer of RedXDefense, LLC, which she co-founded in 2005, a company that develops defense against explosive threats. She has also served in senior executive positions in several additional companies in roles ranging from global sales and marketing to research and product development.

During her first tour at DARPA from January 1996 to May 2000, Dugan received the program manager of the year award for her leadership of the "Dog's Nose Program", which was focused on the development of an advanced, field-portable system for detecting the explosive content of land mines. She is also the recipient of the deFleury Medal, the office of the secretary of defense award for exceptional service, and the award for outstanding achievement. She has participated in wide-ranging studies for the Defense Science Board, the Army Science Board, the National Research Council and Science Foundation, and currently sits on the Naval Research Advisory Committee and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency Science and Technology Panel.

Dugan earned her doctorate in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and her master's and bachelor's degrees from Virginia Tech. She is the co-author of "Engineering Thermodynamics," 1996, sole inventor on one issued patent and inventor or co-inventor on nine additional patents pending.

Media may contact DARPA external relations at 571-218-4512. Additional information on DARPA is provided at http://www.darpa.mil .

North Korean Missile Launch 'Not Unexpected,' Official Says

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - North Korea's launch of four short-range missiles yesterday didn't surprise Defense Department officials, a Pentagon spokesman said today. "What's fair to say is that North Korea, [and its] behavior, continues to be unpredictable," Bryan Whitman said, noting the activity "was not unexpected."

Whitman said he doesn't know of any specific violations of a June 12 United Nations Security Council nonproliferation resolution on North Korea associated with the launch.

North Korea has been the subject of near-universal condemnation since conducting a nuclear test in April. It also has tested intercontinental and intermediate-range missile technology.

A defense official, speaking on background, said he sees the reason for the launches as two-fold. The first is increased capability due to the improvement of North Korea's missile systems. The second is that the country is using the actions to improve its position when dealing with the international community, which by all indications, he said, is having the reverse effect.

While this hypothesis isn't unfounded, he said, it doesn't negate the fact that the act should be cause for concern.

"I think that North Korea is looking for attention, and this is one of the ways that they seek to get attention," the defense official said. "I don't want to give the sense that there isn't concern. There's great concern about this unpredictable and dangerous activity that's taking place."

In fact, the country's development of its nuclear program, as well as its continual improvement, testing, and exercising of ballistic missile capabilities and its proliferation activities, should be cause for concern, the official said.

"It's the combination of all of these things," he said. "It's the direction in which North Korea continues to head that should cause not only the United States, but [also] the international community at large, some concern."

Program Aims to Deliver Unprecedented Surveillance Capability

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - A giant, unmanned airship capable of hovering at about 70,000 feet promises to give future warfighters an unprecedented eye on the battlefield. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Integrated Sensor is Structure program, ISIS for short, will provide a detailed, real-time picture of all movement on or above the battlefield, explained program manager Timothy Clark.

As envisioned, the ISIS airship will be able to track troop movements – friendly as well as enemy – up to 180 miles away and track the most advanced cruise missiles from about 370 miles away.

It also will be able to watch ground targets through heavily forested areas, a capability not possible without the huge ultra-high-frequency antenna ISIS will provide.

Operating outside of controlled air space and out of the range of most surface-to-air missiles, Clark said, the system will bring a capability not possible with satellites: the ability to maintain watch over a huge, fixed position without blinking.

ISIS is expected to have a 10-year lifespan, although engineers estimate it could last even longer. When it's no longer needed in one location, it can be moved to watch another. "We should be able to get it to anywhere the services would need it in about 10 days," Clark said.

Since the program's inception in 2004, its focus has been on developing technologies needed to create extremely large, super-sensitive, but also super-lightweight phased-array radar antennas. That's been accomplished, Clark said, with 6,000 square meters of X-band and UHF antenna condensed onto a 40-by-46-meter cylinder – about the size of a 15-story apartment building.

Meanwhile, the antenna's weight has been cut 90 percent, from 20 kilograms per meter to about 2.

Powering the system so it can stay aloft was another challenge. Batteries were too heavy, so engineers tried something else. They opted to use solar rays during the daylight hours and to electrolyze water, storing the hydrogen and oxygen separately so they could be run through a hydrogen fuel cell at night.

"Then we collect the water and run it again," Clark said. "It's a fully regenerative system."

The next step is to incorporate these technologies into the hull of a non-rigid, pressurized airship.

A demonstration program already is under way to see how this will work, Clark said.

Large pieces of the system are being put together at various locations around the country, and if all goes as planned, they'll be put together in a Lockheed-Martin hangar in Akron, Ohio.

Flight tests are expected to begin in late fall 2012, likely in the Florida Keys. Initially, DARPA will conduct 90 days of tests worldwide against air, ground and surface targets at known positions and sizes to ensure the radar is operating properly.

From there, the Air Force will take over the program, conducting its own additional testing before taking the ISIS operational.

Because DARPA is building a demonstration model, it will be prepared to hand the Air Force not just the technological capability, but also the manufacturing capability to move the program ahead, Clark said.

"To produce the demo, we're also producing a large amount of the components, including much of the antennae and transmit-receive modules, the hull material, significant portions of the power system," he said. "It's going to go through a lot of manufacturing development just to be able to produce the demo in an affordable manner."

Once operational, ISIS will bring not only new capabilities, but also new approaches to how the military conducts reconnaissance and surveillance, Clark said.

"It's going to provide an affordable persistence," he said.

Clark recalled the post-Gulf War years, when U.S., British and French military aircraft regularly patrolled two no-fly zones designated over Iraq to protect humanitarian operations in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south. ISIS could monitor the same areas without the wear and tear on flight crews and equipment, and at a fraction of the cost of manned patrols, he said.

"So you are talking about enormous change in how we do things," he said. "You are also talking about rethinking forward basing and crew rest. All those things change in how you execute what you do on the battlefield."

But the biggest gratification, Clark said, is knowing what ISIS will bring to warfighters.

"There's a lot of excitement about this program," he said. "That's because having that precise knowledge of what's out there is an extremely valuable piece of information."

Stavridis Becomes First Admiral to Head NATO Military Operations

American Forces Press Service

July 2, 2009 - Navy Adm. James Stavridis today became NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, assuming command of allied command operations from retiring Army Gen. Bantz J. Craddock. The change of command, presided over by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, marks the first time in NATO history that a navy admiral assumed the post, which originated in 1951 with Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Stavridis is the 16th American officer to hold the post.

"Today I am lucky enough to find myself standing on the bridge, ready to take the watch, but I know I am not taking the watch alone," Stavridis said after assuming command.

"With me are over 70,000 shipmates – military and civilian – in three continents from the populated plains and coasts of Europe to the bright blue of the Mediterranean Sea, from the high mountain passes of Afghanistan to the distant Arctic Circle," Stavridis said.

"You stand in a long line of heroes who stood and delivered across this continent for decades in both war and peace," the admiral continued. "I honor your service, I pledge my support and loyalty to each of you, and I will continue to strengthen the pillars of our transatlantic bridge as we build new ones. That is my mission, and I will do my best."

Stavridis is responsible to NATO's highest military authority, its Military Committee, for the overall direction and conduct of NATO military operations. He also serves as commander of U.S. European Command.

(From a Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe news release.)