Military News

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vice Chairman Addresses Defense Program Reviews

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Monique Randolph
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 25, 2009 - The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stressed relevance, adaptability and affordability as top concerns for programs ranging from nuclear weapons to satellites during the Space and Missile Defense Conference here Aug. 19. Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright emphasized the importance of striking a balance between "the exquisite and good enough," as reviews of several defense programs -- prompted by the new administration -- are under way in Washington.

The Quadrennial Defense Review, Nuclear Posture Review, Ballistic Missile Defense Review and Space Posture Review give defense and government officials a chance to relook at these programs and make sure they are "doing the right things," the general said.

The QDR outlines the national defense strategy for force structure, acquisitions and long-term budget planning. The unique advantage of this QDR is that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates stayed on after the administration changed, an unusual but fortunate decision, Cartwright noted. With the United States engaged in two wars and the challenges facing the U.S. and global economies, the secretary's decision cut out much of the acrimony typically associated with QDR discussions.

During his speech, Cartwright posed several questions arising from the review.

"Are the tools that we're procuring relevant to the reality of the wars that we're in and to anybody's best estimate of the wars that we're likely to go to?" he asked. "Is that strategy adaptable? Because if we've learned anything over the last eight years of this conflict, it's that the enemy has a vote in where we're going to go and where this fight's going to go.

"And the third is -- although sometimes it doesn't seem like it when we talk about trillions of dollars -- affordability is a huge issue," he said.

Cartwright also touched on nuclear posture and ballistic missile defense, stating that the current "one-size-fits-all" approach to nuclear deterrence is in question. These strategies have worked for the past 50 years, he said, but the question is whether they will work for the next 50. With emerging threats in North Korea and Iran, and non-nation state actors suxch as al-Qaida and the Taliban, the United States has to ensure nations under its extended deterrence "umbrella" feel secure enough that they don't proliferate nuclear weapons of their own.

The United States must look at its relationships with nations in a different way, encourage neighboring countries to band together to form a regional, extended deterrence construct that is not weapons-of-mass-destruction centric, and convince those nations that there are credible alternatives to nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for their safety and security, he said.

"These are the kinds of thoughts that we're trying to understand as we start to look at the synergies between the Ballistic Missile Defense Review and the Nuclear Posture Review," Cartwright explained. "How do these things fit together? And it's not one size fits all."

The general tied his three themes to the Space Posture Review as well, underscoring the importance of developing space capabilities similar to current missile defense capabilities, before the United States loses its competitive edge in space.

"Right now, the enemy is imposing cost on us. We react with exquisite, very expensive, long-time-to-discover systems. We've got to turn that around. We've got to be in front of it," Cartwright said. "We've gone the right direction in missile defense. We have proliferated; we have so many choices, the adversaries just plain don't know where to go.

"We've got to do the same with the capabilities we have in space, integrating them across domains, so it doesn't matter what [the enemy does] to my air, ground or my space," he continued. "There's always another answer, and we can adapt faster than you can change."

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Monique Randolph serves in the Joint Chiefs of Staff public affairs office.)

Defense Business Board Issues Final NSPS Report

The Defense Business Board delivered its final report last Wednesday on the National Security Personnel System to Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III and Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, completing an independent review of NSPS, a Department of Defense civilian personnel management system under which more than 200,000 DoD employees currently operate.

"I would like to thank the Defense Business Board task group for their broad and detailed review of the National Security Personnel System" said Lynn. "I look forward to reviewing their report as part of the department's comprehensive review of this important issue. I commend the task group for taking on such a complex and important issue. As we work towards a final decision this fall, I plan to meet with the director of the Office of Personnel Management, senior leaders in the department, and outside stakeholders to discuss the findings and recommendations in the report."

"I also thank the task group for their hard work on the review" said Berry. "I expect this review will provide a thoughtful foundation for our deliberations on the next steps for NSPS."

Lynn also stated that employees currently covered by NSPS will continue to follow existing NSPS regulations, policies, and procedures, and that the moratorium on further conversions of organizations to NSPS will remain in effect.

DoD and the Office of Personnel Management jointly announced the review of NSPS on March 16. A task group of the Defense Business Board was subsequently created in May and, met with union leaders and DoD stakeholders, and conducted two public hearings in June. During the three month period of their review, the task group received more than 900 comments from the public. The task group presented their findings to the full Defense Business Board for deliberation and approval in a public session on July 16, 2009.

The final report is available on the "Reports" page of Defense Business Board Web site at: http://www.defenselink.mil/dbb/2009.html

Blog Offers Support to Military Families

American Forces Press Service

Aug. 25, 2009 - The Defense Department has launched a blog called "Family Matters" that is dedicated to providing resources and support to military families. The blog – which can be found at http://afps.dodlive.mil – features tips from experts, and military-related topics that run the gamut from deployments and separations to education benefits and child care.

"Our goal is to touch on topics that are important and relevant to military families," said Elaine Wilson, the blog's author and an editor for American Forces Press Service. "Military families confront unique challenges and issues, and we're hoping people can turn to this blog for information and support."

Wilson served for nearly eight years in the active-duty Air Force and three years in the Air Force Reserve before becoming a defense civilian, experience she brings to the blog.

"I remember those early morning PT runs, the late-night calls and the constant juggling of mission and family," she said. "It was tough. I was married to a military member and, one day, became a divorced single parent of two. Balancing that with military life, particularly overseas, presented some tough challenges."

Wilson said she will share many of her stories in hopes of starting a dialog with others who are dealing with the same types of issues. This two-way communication will be vital to the blog's success, she said.

"We read every comment, and respond when appropriate to the person writing in," she said.

Many comments are forwarded to defense experts for response, she said. "A great aspect of this blog is that many readers will have the opportunity to have their comments and ideas viewed by defense officials."

Wilson noted that a recent comment was elevated to the desk of the Army secretary. "A military spouse made some great suggestions and comments, and we felt they could make an impact, so we forwarded them to higher-level officials," she said. "Anyone can make a difference, and it can start with something as simple as a blog comment."

A heartfelt comment can make more of an impact among the blog's readers than the blog entries themselves, Wilson said.

"We had a reader make a comment about suicides among family members," she said. "That sparked other comments on the same topic that offered everything from support to helping resources. I then dedicated a blog to helping resources. It had a positive snowball effect."

The blog has received numerous comments since its launch in early August, including some positive feedback. "Thanks for the new blog, looks great and useful," a comment says. And another: "This is another great resource by [the Defense Department]."

Perhaps most importantly, Wilson said, the blog is aimed at letting people know they're not alone in their everyday struggles.

"Whether dealing with the after-effects of a deployment or the challenges of home life, we're hoping this blog will help create a common bond among military family members," Wilson said. "And also convey the ongoing caring and concern defense officials have for our military families."

MILITARY CONTRACTS August 25, 2009

AIR FORCE
Aerospace Testing Alliance, Tullahoma, Tenn., was awarded a $199,313,211 modified contract for the operation, maintenance, information management, and support of Arnold Engineering Development Center for FY2010. At this time no funds have been obligated. AEDC contracting office, Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., is the contracting activity. (F40600-03-C-0001)

Azimuth Corporation, Dayton, Ohio was awarded a $49,998,000 contract to conduct hardening and survivability research of sensors against directed energy threat. At this time, $80,000 has been obligated. Air Force Research Laboratory Detachment 1, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (FA8650-09-D-5434)

Intelligent Software Solutions, Inc., Colorado Springs, Co. was awarded a $8,000,000 contract to leverage the current Joint Forces Command and Control Space Integrated Prototype System to provide a comprehensive suite of services that provide Joint Space Operations Center operators more accurate space situational awareness and support timely decision-making in a net-centric environment. At this time $1,502,106 has been obligated. Air Force Research Laboratory Detachment 8, Kirtland AFB, NM is the contracting activity. (FA9453-09-D-0355)

NAVY
Aeroflex Wichita, Inc., Wichita, Kan., is being awarded a maximum $40,486,010 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for ground radio maintenance automatic test Systems. A delivery order with a value of $16,344,870 will be issued concurrently with the contract award. Work will be performed in Wichita, Kan., and is expected to be completed in September 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $16,344,870 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is awarded as a result of a full and open competitive solicitation, with three offers received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-09-D-3002).

BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $30,146,172 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for technical services and supplies for the rapid design, development, customization, manufacturing, fabrication, integration, test and evaluation, installation, certification, maintenance and upgrade, logistics and life cycle support of new and/or existing communication-electronic platform, equipment, systems and subsystems in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division's Special Communications Requirements Division. The estimated level of effort for this contract is 346,000 man-hours. Work will be performed in California, Md. (90 percent) and St. Inigoes, Md. (10 percent), 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 competitively procured through an electronic request for proposals and one offer was received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md., is the contracting activity (N00421-09-C-0102).

Core Tech International Corporation, Barrigada, Guam, is being awarded a $13,892,789 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of a wastewater collection system upgrade at NAVBASE Guam. The work to be performed is for the design and construction to replace and rehabilitate sewer lift stations and sewer pipelines in the collection system of the Apra Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant (AHWWTP). Antiquated sewage lift stations shall be replaced with new facilities that facilitate operations and maintenance activities. Upgrade facilities to provide increased capacity and system reliability. Pump station controls and emergency generators shall be placed in structures hardened for typhoons. Add supervisory control and data acquisition system that feeds back to the base system at the AHWWTP to all stations. Work will be performed in Agana, Guam, and is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with six proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, is the contracting activity (N62742-09-C-1306).

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $7,259,305 cost plus incentive fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) for the continued development of technical data products necessary for the integration of the Comprehensive Automated Maintenance Environment Optimized (CAMEO) System into the V-22 Osprey. The CAMEO will provide an adaptable joint service technical capability that supports continuous integration of technical data and automation of operational, maintenance and logistical processes to improve aircraft readiness and reduce sustainment costs for the war fighter community. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pa. (50 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas (40 percent); and New River, N.C. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 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.

Solpac Construction Inc., dba Soltek Pacific Construction Co., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $5,759,720 for firm-fixed-price task order #0011 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-08-D-8615) which provides for the construction of an indoor fitness facility and demolition of existing buildings 53302 and 53569, in the Horno (53) Area at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Work will be performed in Oceanside, Calif., and is expected to be completed by September 2010. 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.

Doctors, Scientists Team Up to Improve Wound Care

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 25, 2009 - Army Spc. Adonnis Anderson said he knew the pain was coming. After a bomb blew off much of his left forearm in Iraq in 2003, nurses came to his room daily to wash out his wounds. He described the treatment as two minutes of torture. They would swab the open wound as Anderson gritted his teeth and white-knuckle gripped the hospital bed railing.

"On a [pain] scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a 15. It hurt really bad," Anderson said.

But the pain was a necessary evil. After being evacuated from the battlefield, Anderson's new fight was against dangerous infections that could destroy his chances of keeping his arm.

Anderson's story is not unique. Many soldiers evacuated from today's war zones suffer complex wounds from their injuries.

Bones are broken, and skin is burned or ripped by searing shrapnel. Mud, metal and fuel are fused into the wound. Harmful bacteria and other organisms are at work in the troops' bodies before they can be carried from the battlefield.

For the first time within the Defense Department, military doctors and scientists are working hand in hand to understand and improve the treatment of these complex wounds.

As part of an overarching, interservice combat wound initiative, scientists at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology are researching the makeup of complex wounds to help doctors in military hospitals better individualize and chart a course of care.

Dubbed "translational research," this partnership breaks down traditional barriers between the scientists who study the medical intricacies of the wounds and the clinicians who provide the care for the wounded. Now, each supports the work of the other, basically taking the science from "the bench" to the "bedside."

At the core of their work, scientists and doctors hope to discover why some wounds heal and others resist treatment.

Army Col. (Dr.) Alexander Stojadinovic, a surgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here, heads the combat wound initiative program. He said that while two wounds may look similar, they don't always react to treatment the same.

"We were perplexed. Why, when you close one [wound] it heals uneventfully, and when you close the other it has a complication that impairs healing? When by all criteria that we traditionally use you would have expected it to heal," Stojadinovic said.

Since early 2008, Stojadinovic has spearheaded efforts to merge the actions of military and private hospitals to address complex wound care.

He now has a staff of Army and Navy doctors that operates out of Walter Reed's Military Advanced Training Center. They deliver all of the needed specialists to the patients to collaborate on care.

"The nature of battlefield wounds today is complex. These are difficult medical problems that really challenge our creativity, our knowledge base and bring to bear teams," Stojadinovic said. "There's no single individual that can address all the problems that result from blast injuries."

When Stojadinovic decided to add a research arm to his program, he did not have to look far. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology sits right in his back yard, situated on the same complex as Walter Reed.

About a year ago, Stojadinovic began talking with officials at the institute about research that can help doctors decide how to treat a wound and determine when it can be closed without further risk of infection. Many wounded troops are forced to endure several additional operations solely to remove infection. According to officials at the institute, the average soldier with complex wounds takes nine trips to the operating room.

Now, using troops enrolled in clinical trials at Walter Reed, doctors provide the scientists with wound fluids, blood and tissue that otherwise would be discarded. Scientists at the institute study the wound and provide feedback to the attending physicians. Scientists also study metal and other fragments that are taken from the wounds.

Depending on the study, scientists work to determine the number of bacteria in the sample, and characterize them genetically. The degree of bacterial contamination in a wound affects how it heals. Providing doctors with the number and type of bacteria allows them to avoid treatments that won't work and target treatments that will.

Officials also plan to use the data gathered in the studies to develop tools, such as a computer program, that will help doctors make faster, more tailored treatment decisions.

About 150 wounded troops are participating in clinical trials now. Their samples are stored in a repository at the institute of pathology. They are frozen and can be stored indefinitely.

This repository also can be to provide wound data for conflicts generations from now, said Dr. Mina Izadjoo, a microbiologist and the division chief of the wound biology and translational research at the institute.

Besides providing research for the clinical studies and maintaining the repository, Izadjoo's division also tests promising treatments that will advance wound care.

Already, a field deployable "dipstick" kit that can detect types of bacteria in a wound is being tested. This will allow doctors in the combat hospitals to identify which antibiotic to use first, she said.

"The bottom-line goal is [quickly] providing enough background information that leads to faster recovery of the wounded soldiers," she said.

(If you would like to comment on or have questions about this story, contact Fred Baker at fred.baker@osd.mil.)

Business Board Calls for Changes to Personnel System

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 25, 2009 - In its final report, a Defense Business Board task group has recommended a "reconstruction" of the National Security Personnel System. Former Deputy Defense Secretary Rudy DeLeon chaired the group. Defense Department officials will use the board's recommendations as they ponder the system's future.

"We'll take the findings of the business board under advisement and study and work toward a decision on NSPS in the fall," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today.

The system, in place since 2003, must be rebuilt, the report says. "A 'fix' could not address the depth of the systemic problems discovered," according to the report. "The Task Group does not recommend an abolishment of the NSPS because the performance management system that has been created is achieving alignment of employee goals with organizational goals."

Any reconstruction needs to include input from the work force in making the needed changes, the report says.

The task group called on the department to re-establish a "commitment to partnership and collaborating with employees through their unions." It also called on the department to invest in its civilian career work force.

The task group recommended that the Defense Department halt any more transitions from legacy personnel systems to NSPS.

Specifically, the Defense Department must address pay pools and their lack of transparency. The department also must examine pay bands, especially Pay Band 2, which has a large portion of the defense work force. The group said that pay band lacks "clear linkage to career progression."

NSPS is eroding trust between supervisors and employees, the report says. The task group calls on the department to create a "collaborative process for [Defense Department] managers and employees currently in the General Schedule system to design and implement a performance management system that ties individual employee performance goals to organizational goals." Part of this is to explore the replacement of the current General Schedule classification system.