Thursday, July 09, 2009

Honduras v Nicaragua

Events in Honduras have given Hugo Chavez an excuse to meddle in Central America; with the tacit approval of President Obama.

For the record, former Honduran president, Mel Zelaya, was not ousted in a coup. He was removed by the army which was executing an order issued by the Honduran supreme court, unanimously backed by the congress.

Pajamas Media has a man in Honduras who reports that almost all of Honduras is united behind the government. PJM also reports that the violence there is being fomented by Venezuela's socialist dictator, Hugo Chavez, who hopes to us the unrest there as en excuse to send troops into the country. To that end, there are reports of Nicaraguan troops massing on the border with Honduras. Nicaragua is of course run by communist Daniel Ortega.

The military of Nicaragua numbers about 14,000 men divided into five military regions, apparently for internal security operations.

In contrast the Honduran army is organized into five infantry brigades (each of two battalions and usually a third with a specialty, armor, recon, etc...) plus a special operations brigade. They also receive American weapons, and officer training in the US.

Will's book about the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the Battle of 73 Easting, is called A Line Through the Desert. It may be purchased at Amazon.

Pacom Nominee Pledges to Keep Watchful Eye on North Korea

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

July 9, 2009 - The United States is right to keep a watchful eye on North Korea, the president's nominee to be the next commander of U.S. Pacific Command said today. "We should be concerned about North Korea and continue to be vigilant in watching over their behavior and prepare to defend against a provocation should [the North Korean leader] follow up on one of his threats," Navy Adm. Robert Willard, the now commander of the U.S Pacific Fleet, said during his confirmation testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"We've been looking at this country for 50 years," Willard said. "We pay a lot of attention to what's going on in North Korea."

Willard said he is confident about U.S. intelligence on North Korea's capabilities, but the motivations for some of its actions, such as the latest round of provocative missile launches, remain a mystery.

In May, North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test, prompting the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution on June 12 banning all weapons exports from the country and the import of all but small arms. Just last week, North Korea launched a series of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, and a Taepo Dong II missile was launched some weeks ago, Willard said.

North Korea wouldn't be the only challenge Willard would face if confirmed as the leader of Pacific Command. China, upset by U.S. authorization of weapons sales to Taiwan, had severed military-to-military interaction, Willard noted.

"The military-to-military dialogue with China has just, in recent weeks, recommenced beginning with an international fleet review that was held in China," he said. "I think it's incumbent first on both nations to realize the value, the benefit of military-to-military dialogue and to sustain it."

Willard said he is looking forward to seeking new venues through which to engage the Chinese military if he is confirmed.

Another important challenge is the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command, part of Pacific Command, which doesn't have enough scientific personnel to increase the number of identifications of remains recovered.

"If confirmed, I'll look forward to understanding fully the resourcing requirements for JPAC," Willard said. "I think resourcing is part of this answer. I think being able to access that level of scientific expertise and the availability of scientists of that caliber to perform this ... work is the other [part]."

Willard, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, has extensive experience in the Pacific region and a thorough knowledge and understanding of the region's history. An F-14 aviator, he was operations officer and executive officer for the "Top Gun" Navy Fighter Weapons School, and he commanded the "Screaming Eagles" of Fighter Squadron 51 and the USS Abraham Lincoln before becoming commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet.

If confirmed, Willard would succeed Navy Adm. James Stavridis as Pacom commander. Stavridis recently took over as commander of U.S. European Command and as NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe.


Fluor Intercontinental, Greenville, S.C., is being awarded a $1.5 billion task order cost plus award fee contract for the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program IV (LOGCAP IV) services in Afghanistan. Work is to be performed in Greenville, S.C. (5 percent), and Afghanistan (95 percent) with an estimated completion date of July 1, 2010. Three bids solicited with three bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-07-D-0008).

DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas is being awarded a $1.5 billion task order cost plus award fee contract for the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program IV (LOGCAP IV) services in Afghanistan. Work is to be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (5 percent), and Afghanistan (95 percent) with an estimated completion date of July 1, 2010. Three bids solicited with three bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-07-D-0007).

Alliant Ammunition and Power Co., LLC, Radford, Va., is being awarded a $22,468,063 requirements firm-fixed-price contract for TRINITROTOLUENE (TNT) Type I, Flake: TNT procured to MIL-DTL-248, Revision D, May 14, 2002, with amendment 1, June 27, 2007. Quantity: 5,225,131. Work is to be performed in Radford, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012. Bids were solicited using World Wide Web with three bids received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, CCRC-AR, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-D-0017).

Nicholson Construction Co., Cuddy, Pa., is being awarded a $8,445,000 firm-fixed-price contract for Howard Hanson Dam, Right Abutment Interim Measure. Work is to be performed in Howard Hanson Dam, Green River, Palmer, Wash., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 1, 2009. Bids were solicited using World Wide Web with five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, Seattle, Wash., is the contracting activity (W912DW-09-C-0011).

Day & Zimmerman, Camden Operations, Camden, Ark., is being awarded a $6,600,711 firm-fixed-price contract. This award is a sole source re-procurement of the MK-45 Electric Primer under the authority of FAR clause 25.249-8 Default, (Fixed Price Supply and Services) as a result of the termination of contract W52P1J-05-C-0076. Work is to be performed in Camden, Ark., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2011. One bid solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-C00021).

Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., Cambridge, Mass., is being awarded a sole-source, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract HQ0006-09-C-0004 for $24,832,170. Under this contract, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory will provide technical services in support of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and other government agencies, in the areas of research, design, development, program management, engineering, analysis, prototyping, test, demonstration, and evaluation of Guidance, Navigation and Control Technologies. The work will be performed in Cambridge, Mass. The performance period is from June 30, 2009 through June 29, 2014. The amount obligated on this action is $150,000 using fiscal year 2009 research, development, test and evaluation funds. MDA is the contracting activity (HQ0006-09-C-0004).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a $15,725,252 modified contract for the Advanced EHF Satellite program in the MILSATCOM Systems Wing to increase the level of interim contractor sustainment activities. At this time, $14,566,254 has been obligated. Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-02-C-0002).

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Incorporated, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $12,052,945 cost plus fixed fee contract to support the NightLighter program, which is an optical change detection system with full day/night capability. At this time, $11,540,000 has been obligated. Detachment 1 AFRL/PKSE, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-09-C-1636).

Superior Electric Company, Farmington, Conn., is being awarded a $20,421,400 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity firm-fixed-price contract for the acquisition of various quantities of 15 Kilovolt and 30 Kilovolt Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR's). Work will be performed in Farmington, Conn., and is expected to be completed by June 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $1,890,400 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured utilizing unrestricted full and open competition with two offers received via the Federal Business Opportunities website. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Ship System Engineering Station, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N65540-09-D-0021).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a $14,811,181 modification to previously awarded contract to increase the ceiling amount for Systems Engineering and Systems Software/Firmware support for the various Electronic Warfare Systems for the AN/SLQ-32 System, the threat detection system aboard Navy ships. Work will be performed in Goleta, Calif., (75 percent), Buffalo, N.Y., (10 percent), Dahlgren, Va., (10 percent), and Hollywood, Md., (5 percent) and is expected to be completed by December 2014. No funds will be placed on the contract at time of award. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-05-D-8718).

Sauer Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded $7,021,100 for firm-fixed price task order #0004 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract for the design and construction to expand and renovate three facilities at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction for renovation and expansion of building 3205 and a new stand alone Buoy Blast & Paint Facility for the National Data Buoy Center, a tenant organization of the Space Center. The task order also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised would increase the cumulative task order value to $8,999,800. Work will be performed at Stennis Space Center, Miss., and is expected to be completed by January 2011. 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, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N62467-05-D-0181).

EDO Communications and Countermeasures Systems, Inc., Thousand Oaks, Calif., is being awarded a $5,672,111 modification to previously awarded contract for the production and support of six Automated Test Units (ATEs) and support services provided by eight Field Service Representatives (FSRs) and one Subject Matter Expert (SME) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Work will be performed in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and is expected to be completed by January 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-07-C-6311).

Combat Camera Teams Document Military at War

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 9, 2009 - From the use of newspapers and pamphlets to stoke the American Revolution to embedded journalists in the War in Iraq, the media has played a major role in every American conflict. A story often lost in the mix is that of military journalists -- men and women in uniform whose weapon of choice isn't an M4 carbine with a laser sight, but a D3 with a 17-to-200mm lens. Members of the Air Force's Combat Camera team spoke in a July 7 "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable about their role in documenting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By shooting photographs, recording video and writing news articles, Combat Camera airmen provide a unique view inside the military during wartime.

Air Force Capt. Phil Ventura, officer in charge of an Air Force Combat Camera team; Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller, a photojournalist; Staff Sgt. Stacia Zachary, the team's print journalist; and Senior Airman Brian Economides, the team's videographer, spoke about their work and training.

"Our job is to document, but our job is also to tell a story and to tell a compelling story," Weismiller said. "And throughout my career in the military, I've been taught, as well as rest of the photographers in the military, that our job is to tell a story and to tell it with emotion and to tell it in the best light possible -- not to just strictly look through the viewfinder and click the shutter. Every time we take a picture, there's a purpose and there's a direction."

A Combat Camera team can be attached to one of many kinds of units, from combat engineers in the mountains of Afghanistan to infantrymen in Baghdad, so the members have to be ready to act as wartime airmen to defend themselves at any time.

"As far as what kind of equipment we take for protection, you need your helmet. You need your body armor. You need to be able to carry a combat load, which [consists of] seven M4 magazines and two M9s," Zachary said. "And then you also carry your sidearm. So at any given point -- I weigh 110 pounds -- I'm carrying 150 pounds on me. So we travel with a lot of gear."

Ventura said his team's look and training when they go into a mission help them to be accepted by the unit they're covering.

"We focus very much on being an asset and not a liability to those that we work with, and our gear lends ourselves to that, as does the training we show up with," he said. "So that is a huge enabler to our mission."

Zachary said his team's recent missions include a humanitarian airlift to Pakistan's Swat Valley, operational missions with the search and rescue teams embedded with provincial reconstruction teams and patrolling a Baghdad neighborhood with security forces airmen.

Sometimes, those missions hamper what they can do with their equipment, so the team members have to improvise to get the shot they need. Weismiller said he's come to prefer using natural light, due in no small part to the fact that using a flash during night missions can affect night-vision equipment users and give away a group's position.

Economides said until he got a special lens called an Astroscope to get night video, he had to make do with what he had.

"There have been instances where I simply took night-vision lenses that you use to see, and I have rigged it to the front of my lens and taken pictures that way," he said.

For airmen with training in reporting, photography or videography, one of the most gratifying experiences is seeing their work distributed globally alongside that of veteran journalists working for major news outlets, as well as within the military for mission-related purposes, they said.

"It's humbling to see how many outlets use our products, not just for news media," Zachary said. "Operational commanders and leaders throughout the Department of Defense rely on it to make informed decisions. Our pictures, videos and stories can often be used for intelligence, reconnaissance, engineering, legal and other operations involving the military services."

The team's imagery and stories appear internally on department Web sites such as, and, and externally on blogs, international newspapers and television news programs.

(Ian Graham works for the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)