Thursday, September 03, 2009

MILITARY CONTRACTS September 3, 2009

McDonnell Douglas Corp., doing business as Boeing Aerospace Operations, Incorporated, San Antonio, Texas, was awarded a $102,333,333 modified contract for the KC-10 and KDC-10 contractor logistics support for Oct. 1, 2009 through Jan. 1, 2010. At this time, no funds have been obligated. 727 ACSG/PKA, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (F34601-98-C-0125/P00318).

EADS Defense Security Systems EADS DS, Elancourt, France was awarded a $99,600,000 contract for support and sustainment of the Eagle Vision data acquisition segment. At this time, $100,000 has been obligated. 950ELSG/PK, Hanscom AFB, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8707-09-D-0004).

Wyle Laboratories, Incorporated, Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $25,984,999 contract for the Reliability Information Analysis Center to research, test , develop test plans and/or procedures, investigation reports, analysis reports, evaluation reports, and test reports for the Corrosion Prevention and Control Office/Corrosion Capability Improvement Program. At this time $77,295 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt AFB, Neb., is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005; D.O. 0095).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $19,263,760 contract to provide NORAD and USNORTHCOM maritime mission development. At this time, $613,527 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt AFB, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380, D.O. 1380).

Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, was awarded a $9,665,073 contract to analyze critical infrastructure planning and readiness issues associated with chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events. At this time, $5,125,000 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt AFB, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-00-D-3180, D.O. 0609).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $9,661,653 contract to provide joint functional component command for Space J3/J5/J7 survivability/vulnerability analyses. At this time, $347,826 has been obligated. 55CONS/LGCD, Offutt AFB, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380; D.O. 0319).

Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $9,661,616 contract for the Reliability Information Analysis Center to research, test, develop, and deliver engineering/analysis reports, test procedures/test reports, technical and management work plans, integrated master schedules, safety assessment reports, and data accession list for the Special Operations Forces/Combat Search and Rescue Reliability Maintainability & Sustainability Program. At this time, $869,565 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt AFB, Neb., is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005; D.O. 0125).

BAE Systems National Security Solutions, Inc., Burlington, Mass., is awarded a $6,649,056 contract for the Passive InfraRed Exploitation Technology program to explore novel approaches to sensing in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. At this time $2,238,740 has been obligated. AFLR/PKDA, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is contracting activity (FA8650-09-C-7942).

J.K. Hill and Associates, Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded a $5,786,753.88 contract to provide base supply and fuels services to include supply, fuel, and logistics material control activity services for the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, Calif. At this time no funds have been obligated. 95 CONS/PKA, Edwards AFB, Calif., if the contracting activity (FA9301-08-D-0010).

DTC Engineers & Constructors, LLC, Hamden, Conn., is being awarded $16,869,531 for firm-fixed price task order #0002 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-08-D-2108) for the complete renovation of building 9 at Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg. The work to be performed provides for converting a warehouse into modern office space, the installation of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, fire suppression system transformer electrical, lighting, plumbing, roofing and other incidental related work included in this contract. The task order also contains two unexercised options, which if exercised would increase cumulative task order value to $19,369,531. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, Pa., and is expected to be completed by Mar. 2011. 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.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC, Oak Brook, Ill., is being awarded a $9,584,080 firm-fixed price contract for dredging services at the Naval Submarine Base New London. The work to be performed provides for dredging services for pier side slips along the waterfront quay wall. Work will be performed in Groton, Conn., and is expected to be completed by Feb. 2010. 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 two proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-7046).

NCS Technologies Inc.*, Manassas, Va., is being awarded an $8,716,770 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity modification under a previously awarded contract (N00039-09-D-0001) to exercise an option for the purchase of workstations, laptops and printers in support of the Navy's Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $26,999,999. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2010. If all options are exercised, work could continue until Sept. 30, 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Commerce Business Daily's Federal Business Opportunities website and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems e-Commerce Central website, with unlimited proposals solicited and four offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

RQ Construction, Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., is being awarded an $8,511,813 modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N62473-08-C-3533) to exercise option 0001 which provides for the furniture, fixtures and equipment/collateral equipment for Marine Special Operations Corps/Special Operations Command headquarters operations facility, supply facility, paraloft, academic instruction facility and supporting facilities at Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $65,164,836. Work will be performed in Oceanside, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Jun. 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

BAE Systems, Land & Armaments L.P., U.S. Combat Systems, Minneapolis, Minn., is being awarded a $7,776,370 firm-fixed-price contract for the FY09 canister production requirements for MK-21 MOD 2 canisters to support integration of the STANDARD Missile into the MK 41 vertical launching system (VLS). The MK 41 VLS provides a missile launching system for CG 47 and DDG 51 class surface combatants of the Navy, as well as surface combatants of allied navies. Work will be performed in Aberdeen, S.D. (79 percent); Odessa, Mo., (11 percent); and Minneapolis, Minn., (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by Jun. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-5317).

Kalman & Company, Inc., Va., Beach, Va., is being awarded $7,521,660 for task order #0023 under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (M67854-03-A-5158) to provide business and analytical support to the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) systems. Objectives of this initiative include risk analyses supporting enterprise-wide efforts and current programs of record, leading to concise business case analyses that identify cost and performance projections, schedule impacts, and sustainment/ lifecycle considerations. This effort will require applied use of decision support tools to conduct comparative analyses of costs, quantify benefits and attendant risks, and fully vet each alternative through appropriate stakeholder business forums. The expected outcome of this effort is to assist the JPEO-CBD in continuing best business practices and effective course of action selection criteria for the management of their portfolio of acquisition programs, efforts, and initiatives. Ancillary efforts will include subject matter expertise representation at stakeholder sponsored forums, POM and budget planning, preparing congressional testimony and briefings, and ensuring a comprehensive program of technology insertion (e.g., R&D-based investment) is established and maintained. Work will be performed in Marine Corps Command organizations Falls Church, Va., and work is expected to be completed in Mar. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. – Sperry Marine, Charlottesville, Va., is being awarded a $5,628,913 firm-fixed-price contract for fabrication and delivery of nine Navigation Data Distribution Systems (NAVDDS), four installation and check out (INCO) spare kits, and 10 hours of engineering, technical and logistics support. This contract is being funded by the government of Taiwan, (100 precent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Taiwanese government requested a replacement for their WRN-7 Global Positioning System and legacy navigation distribution system that supports the WSN-5 mechanical gyrocompass with a standard WSN-7B ring laser gyrocompass on board four Taiwanese Navy DDG-1801 Keelung Class Ships. The NAVDDS is one element within an integrated upgrade to the Taiwan DDG-1801 class combat systems and are specifically replacing the current obsolete navigation and associated distribution systems on those ships. Work will be performed in Charlottesville, Va., (95 percent), Kaohsiung, Taiwan, (5 percent), and is expected to be completed by March 2012. 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 is the contracting activity (N00178-09-C-1003).

Dynamics Research Corp., Andover, Md., was awarded a $11,550,964.00 Task Order to provide creative services support to the OASD-PA, Defense Media Activity Headquarters in Alexandria, Va. This contract was awarded for a base plus 4 option years. The date of performance for the base period is Aug. 1, 2009 – Oct. 31, 2009. Funds were available and obligated for the base period. The contracting activity is Defense Media Activity-Riverside, Contracting Office, Riverside, Calif., (HQ0028-09-F-0197).

General Dynamics Information Technology of Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $10,116,177 contract. The contract has a 12-month base period and four 12-month option periods for the Trans Regional Web Initiative in support of U.S. Special Operations Command Joint Military Information Support Command. The work will be performed in multiple locations and is expected to be an ongoing requirement. The contract was awarded through full and open competition in accordance with FAR Part 15. The contract number is H92222-09-C-0045.

Civilian Surgeon Flies With Air Force Medevac Team

By Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff
Special to American Forces Press Service

Sept. 3, 2009 - Air Force medical evacuation airmen had the benefit of flying with a leading U.S. trauma surgeon during a recent mission to Iraq as part of a program to link military and civilian medical professionals. Thomas Scalea, physician in chief at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, flew aboard a C-17 Globemaster III transport jet on an Aug. 19 and 20 aeromedical evacuation mission to help to shape future training for military medical teams worldwide, Air Mobility Command officials said.

Scalea served as a lead contributor to the Air Force's Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills, or C-STARS, a medical service training program that links military medical personnel with select civilian trauma care centers across the country to prepare them for the types of cases they'll see while caring for warfighters.

"The goal of this trip was for Doctor Scalea to observe the often difficult conditions Air Force teams are faced with while aeromedically evacuating our troops from the theater," said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Lawrence Riddles, U.S. Transportation Command surgeon, who served as Scalea's escort.

"He's already an advocate for our programs and is deeply involved in our military health-care training, Riddles said. "Our operations tempo is the highest I've seen in my career, and with that, our training has to be the best. Giving our C-STARS partners the chance to see these missions will make our training programs more effective."

Results of the training speak for themselves. Since April 1, 2003, Air Force aeromedical evacuation personnel have flown more than 136,000 patient movements worldwide, including more than 8,700 this year. During operations in Vietnam, it took an average of 45 days to return an injured troop to U.S. soil. Today, it takes an average of three days.

Additionally, wounded troops have a 95 percent chance of survival when they make it to into the hands of the military's aeromedical evacuation experts, who are deployed all over the world. Command officials attribute those successes to the joint en route care system and to C-STARS, and similar training programs.

"This trip was very eye-opening, and I was honored to be included," Scalea said upon his return to the United States at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

"In trauma centers, we are often working in good conditions with the lighting we need and enough space to move around," he said. "In the back of an airplane, the [aeromedical evacuation] crews work with flashlights strapped to their bodies and have to maneuver in and out of cramped spaces to care for multiple trauma patients at a time. But that does not impact the results. Each patient was cared for with the highest standards, and the care was top-notch."

And that care isn't only reserved for U.S. troops. In late July, Air Force aeromedical teams evacuated a British soldier out of Afghanistan to life-saving care after being shot in the upper abdomen and chest. The move took two airplanes to get the right medical equipment and personnel in place, and a third plane to fly the patient to further care.

"Because of C-STARS, our medical experts get hands-on experience with gunshot wounds, stab wounds, internal injuries and much more, and they experience those situations with world-renowned experts such as Doctor Scalea as an instructor," Riddles said. "That prepares our teams for a lot of what they'll see in the theater of operations, and it enables them to make those often fast-paced, life-saving decisions."

Many aeromedical evacuation personnel have more than a couple stories to back up the importance of programs like C-STARS.

"After attending C-STARS, I was deployed to launch and recover aeromedical evacuation missions as part of the aeromedical evacuation operations team in Southwest Asia," said Air Force Maj. Suzie Dietz, chief of aeromedical evacuation operations at the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center here, and a flight nurse with more than 15 years of experience.

"I can definitely say that C-STARS helped prepare us for the types of situations we faced in the area of responsibility, and you can't put a price tag on the life-saving results you see every day," Dietz said.

It takes an average of 6.6 hours for the most severely injured patients to be flown out of Iraq and Afghanistan, according to command records. The 618th is responsible for planning the missions and staying in close contact with aircrews to accomplish the worldwide aeromedical evacuation mission.

All planning is closely coordinated with U.S. Transportation Command through the Global Patient Movement Requirements Center, which provides worldwide oversight and synchronization of patient movement, integrating medical regulating, evacuation service, and centralized command and control.

"Doctor Scalea is in internationally recognized expert in the field of trauma care and his expertise is an amazing resource for the training of our [aeromedical evacuation] personnel," said Steve Dugger, deputy chief of the 618th's aeromedical evacuation branch.

"Our role is to plan and execute all of AMC's aeromedical evacuation missions worldwide, and we have a number of people on our staff who've attended C-STARS," he said. "By having this first-hand training experience, and knowing what our teams will face in the field, we're better prepared in our role to coordinate aeromedical evacuation movements around the world."

C-STARS was created to help prepare Air Force medics to care for critically injured military members and safely evacuate them for follow-on care. The program is well worth the time and effort, participants say.

"Seeing what these people do to care for others is amazing, and the fact that they're doing it in the back of an airplane at 35,000 feet paints the picture of what the U.S. is willing to do to save lives," Scalea said. "I'd be honored to work with these teams any day of the week, and look forward to applying what I've experienced to support the C-STARS program."

(Air Force Capt. Justin Brockhoff serves with the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center public affairs office.)

Keating to Seek More U.S.-Sino Military Engagement

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 3, 2009 - The top U.S. commander in the Pacific said yesterday he's "cautiously optimistic" last week's Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks in Beijing have opened the door to closer military-to-military engagement between the United States and China. Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters during a three-day visit to Australia that he wants to see progress in moving the military relationship forward. "We are anxious to engage with them," he said.

The engagement will help to promote understanding between the two countries, particularly in light of China's military buildup, Keating said. "We want to understand much better than we do now China's intention," he added.

Keating said during a news conference in Wellington, New Zealand, that he doesn't consider China to be a threat in the region, and that more engagement will help prevent it from becoming one.

"We want to engage with them on a more frequent basis," he said. "We want to have them participate in bilateral [and] multilateral exercises. We want to send personnel to their military schools."

Australia could play a pivotal role in encouraging more openness on China's part and in strengthening U.S.-Sino ties, he said. Australian Defense Force Chief Angus Houston, who Keating met with in Sydney, reportedly will approach the Chinese as well, to pitch unprecedented three-nation military exercises.

Keating's visit to Australia and New Zealand follows a special session of
the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks in Beijing. The session,
held Aug. 26 and 27, focused on the safety of sailors and airmen who
sometimes operate in international waters near China.

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Randolph Alles, Pacom's director of plans and policy, and Michael Schiffer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, led the U.S. delegation. Navy Rear Adm. Guan Youfei, deputy director of the Chinese National Defense Ministry's foreign affairs office, was the senior Chinese representative.

The Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks were "frank and cordial," and both the United States and China agreed to a schedule of follow-on meetings to continue the discussion, Air Force Maj. Maureen Schumann, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told American Forces Press Service.

Then-Defense Secretary William Cohen and Chinese Defense Minister Gen Chi Haotian signed the agreement in 1998 to strengthen military maritime safety.

The agreement's framework is one of many that promote bilateral discussions with China. Collectively, they contribute to a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship, Schumann said. While the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement focuses on increasing safety, the Defense Policy Consultative Talks and Defense Consultative Talks provide a venue for discussing policy issues, she explained.

Attendees Leave Family Conference With Wealth of Resources

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 3, 2009 - Participants in the Defense Department's three-day Joint Family Readiness Conference that wraps up here today are going back to their installations better equipped to give military families the kinds of support they need. More than 1,500 people involved with military family support gathered to hear speakers and participate in workshops focusing topics such as on finances, education, health care, and how to help families, especially children, cope with deployments.

"Multiple deployments and separations are taking a toll on the children. They affect everyone from infants to teens, as well as the spouses left behind," said Karen White, the director of the child development center at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. "A parent may deploy when a child is 3 months old, and now is back, and the child is over a year [old] and doesn't recognize the parent. That can result in reconnection issues."

Deployments affect the co-workers left behind too, she added. If half of a unit deploys, the military members left behind work more hours, which can affect their family lives as well, she noted.

Olivia O'Neal, site manager at Fleet and Family Support Center in Sasebo, Japan, made the long trip to learn more about deployment issues. Having worked for the Army before taking her current position with the Navy, she said, she also likes to see the grand view.

"I really like to know what's going on in the services," she said. "I'm one of those people who likes to see the big picture, and I know [the Defense Department] is big picture."

She'll said she'll use what she's learned here for in-house training for her 25-member staff to ensure her team has the latest information and resources.

In addition to tools to help families with deployment and reintegration, some participants said they're taking away good solid information on relationships.

"I really enjoyed the class on marriage enrichment," said Elizabeth Diaz, family readiness officer for the 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, Calif. "I'll be able to take back solid tools to families."

Air Force Master Sgt. Donald Gonsalves, the Airmen and Family Readiness Center noncommissioned officer in charge at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., faces some different issues.

"The base that I'm at up there is very heavily involved with taking care of the Guard and reserve folks," he said. Though the base deploys 300 to 350 people a year, deployment isn't business as usual for many of the active-duty airmen at Hanscom, he said.

"This is kind of a first-time experience for most of these people," he said. "They've never been down that road. It's kind of an education factor, them being informed as to what to expect during the deployment, or before deployment."

Gonsalves said he gained greater insight into programs he previously knew little about, such as the Military Child Education Coalition, a nonprofit organization that works for quality educational opportunities for military children affected by mobility, family separation and transition. He added that the conference made him more familiar with what various organizations and programs can provide. "That's a huge part of it," he said.

In addition to acquiring information, resources and tools to take home to their military families, many participants found the networking opportunity valuable. They connected with one another about everything from deployment to employment.

"I came here to network with other services and to learn about how operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom affect families who are relocating," said Connie Silk, who helps Fort Campbell, Ky., families with relocation issues. "There are many, many resources out there, but the trick is how to put them in a format so families know where to go for help or support."

Kristen Geist, who helps Fort Campbell family members find jobs, said she also found the conference valuable. "I also came to network and see how the other services are doing," she said. "Spouses are seeking jobs as well as education and training."

The participants' enthusiasm wasn't lost on the organizers. Barbara Thompson, director of the Defense Department's Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth Military Community and Family Policy – the office that organized the event – said she's pleased with the results.

"We're really excited about the outcome of this conference," she said. "It was at the right time, with the right people and the right information to give to them."

Services' Top Enlisted Members Discuss Family Support

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 3, 2009 - The top enlisted servicemembers from each of the four services offered their appreciation to those who support military families before fielding some tough questions during a town hall-style meeting here Sept. 1. The meeting was part of the Defense Department's three-day Joint Family Readiness Conference, the first of its kind since 2000.

"There's a lot of emphasis by this administration on family support," said Arthur J. Myers, the Defense Department's principal director of military community and family policy, who moderated the meeting. Each of the services is emphasizing family support, as well, he added.

The Army's top enlisted soldier said he was pleased to have had a part in improving the service's support for families.

"I'm really proud of and very proud to have been a part of the process in designing and implementing the Army Family Covenant," Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston said. "Up until the implementation of the Army Family Covenant, the programs really weren't resourced at the levels they needed to be."

The covenant has improved many aspects of family support. Its components, including child care and youth services, housing, access to health care, and family readiness support assistance at the battalion level all across the Army, has had a huge impact, Preston said.

The Army is continuing to grow and modify the family covenant to make it even more effective, he said.

Preston also touted the Army Community Covenant, which allows for the sharing of best practices in family support between the Army installation, local communities and state governments. The hope, he explained, is that best practices that work in one area can effectively be used in the communities surrounding other Army installations. As an example, he cited the Interstate Education Compact, which allows military students' schoolwork to be recognized as compatible and earned credits to transfer from one school to another, across states.

Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Carlton W. Kent passed along the heartfelt thanks of Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway before reassuring the audience that the commandant truly understands the need for an emphasis on family support programs.

"He has taken it to a wartime footing," Kent said. "Prior to 2001, we were deployed constantly, but it was not a deployment like seven months back in the rear and seven months forward deployed. We're doing that now."

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West called for interservice cooperation in the approach to family support, and he asked for input of the family support personnel attending the conference.

"I hope you take the energy from today and bring that to something for us to work on the table," he said, "because I saw a lot of good energy over there in that [gathering in the ballroom]," West said. "We can all be individuals or individual services, but if we're not working together, some of our families are going to fall through the cracks, and we can't have that."

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy, who has been in his job for only two months, said he's learned much from working with the other services while he served in various other roles.

"Each of us [does] something kind of unique, and in our own unique ways, and they all seem to fit our own service," he said. "What I try to tell people is, 'Let's garner that from each one of the services and try to figure out, Does it work for us?' And if not, we don't need to use it. We can give it back. But for the most part, it's going to work."

The Air Force has designated July 2009 to July 2010 as Year of the Air Force Family. Preston's description of the Army Family Covenant sounds much like the plans for the Air Force initiative, Roy said, which focuses on the needs of the families and then fine-tuning the programs to meet those needs.

One of those needs is for more child care for military families, Marla Talley, the director of child, youth and teen programs at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., said during the question-and-answer period.

"I'm sure that we're not unique at Lejeune -- that there are other places that have problems finding child care outside the installation," she said. "I can't tell you the number of times I've had a young wife call me up in tears because she can't get hourly child care just to go take care of her own basic medical needs.

"I can't put them in a family child care home," she added. "And not everybody has a good support system of friends where they can call someone up and say, 'Can you keep my kid for a few hours while I have a doctor's appointment?'"

The solution, Talley said, is more facilities, more options and more programs. These solutions also may be an answer to another conundrum, she added.

"There's an incredible number of chaplains at Camp Lejeune who are doing wonderful marriage retreats during the day with units," Talley said. "The problem is [that] when they do them, there's no child care available. I have no spaces to put them in.

"I realize you can't fix this overnight," she said, "but please don't forget the fact that we have got to keep these child-care centers coming, and we've got to find a way to support everybody, regardless of what their need is."

Kent thanked her for making good points and assured her child care is one of the top priorities he included in his recent testimony before Congress. Navy officials are working the same problem in a similar manner, West noted.

Nancy Cosgrove, a Navy spouse and ombudsman, said one of the biggest problems with her ombudsman position is that it's not funded. Ombudsmen on Navy installations -- spouses of servicemembers within the command who serve as a point of contact for all family members connected to the command -- are volunteers.

"I can't tell you how many deployment briefs I've done for the Navy that have come out of my own pocket because there's no funds for it," Cosgrove said. "I just wanted to ask Master Chief West if there's a plan in the future for the Navy to be following the Marine Corps, because it's a great program."

West replied that changes are in place to prevent such problems. "We have reviewed and put some other things in the instruction to provide more structure so you don't have to dig into your pocket for things like that," he said. "Our commanding officers and leadership teams have that available to them. There should not be a time when our ombudsmen are digging into their pockets to perform their duties. If that's happening, let me know."

The Navy is looking at all the options for structuring the ombudsman program, West said, but he added that leaders are not sure they want to completely fully follow the Marine Corps' model, which provides for family readiness officer positions. "At this point in time, we're not going to make any drastic changes overnight," he said.

The Air Force's Key Spouse program is facing similar financial challenges, Roy said.

"One of the challenges that we're running against is just that: the funding of it," he said. "I'll be working with the ... gentlemen up here, as well, to learn more about that, because we already know that there's a challenge there. [Ours is] a brand new program, per se, even though it's been out there for awhile. Trying to get the money for it is certainly a challenge."

Coast Guard Commandant Considers Alaska Presence

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service

Sept. 3, 2009 - Global climate change is a hotly debated topic, and the U.S. government is looking to Alaska to assess how it may affect the nation. White House and federal agency officials participating in the new Ocean Policy Task Force traveled throughout Alaska and the Arctic from Aug. 17 to 21 to observe activities in the region and meet with local leaders and industry representatives.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad W. Allen, who took part in the trip, discussed in a Sept. 1 "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable how the increasingly accessible and active Arctic region has significant security, environmental, scientific, and economic challenges with broad implications for the nation.

"It was an extraordinary opportunity ... to assess the implications of climate change, to talk to the local towns and communities that are being impacted by it [and] get a sense of the types of issues that are going on up there," Allen said. "All in all, there's a lot of activity going on up there [to assess the impact of climate change]."

Allen is using the assessment to determine the need for a Coast Guard presence along Alaska's North Shore. The Coast Guard intends to stabilize its ice-breaking capabilities, assess the need for more people and equipment north of the Bering Strait or off the North Shore and acquire the funding to make any necessary changes, he said.

One major result of climate change will be the recession of Arctic ice and subsequent opening of transportation channels in areas not previously accessible by sea. More cruise ships, oil tankers, fishing boats and other watercraft will be using these areas, increasing the need for Coast Guard manpower and equipment in the region, Allen said.

"The two most problematic things in my mind are a large search-and-rescue case or a large mass-disaster response," he said. "You can have an incident at sea, and evacuate everyone from a sinking ship, but then you're sitting 700 miles north of Alaska, and you don't know what to do with the people in the life boats.

"My big concern is, once an incident like that began, [is] the ability to forward deploy, to get out there and help those folks. We can get aviation assets up there pretty quickly, but aside from some summer deployments, the nearest ships are down by Kodiak, from 900 to 1,100 miles away," he said.

The Coast Guard has no permanent facilities or personnel on the North Slope of Alaska, though Allen said some aircraft operate out of Point Barrow and Nome, including H-60 helicopters and Alaska National Guard Black Hawk helicopters. These have been used primarily to carry doctors, veterinarians, optometrists and dentists to outlying towns.

"People rely on their dogs and their livestock up there," he said. "People were lining up to get shots for their dogs before they were seeking medical help for themselves."

Establishing bases in the area is not a high priority, the admiral said. Until then, said he added, the Coast Guard will continue its operations with the equipment it has in the area.

"We have no permanent footprint up there," he said. "That's one of the decisions we're going to have to make on completion of the high-latitude study. That being said, we will continue to deploy to the North Shore every summer, and we continue to get feedback from people on more things we can do with the assets we have."

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

Face of Defense: Soldiers Enjoy Chance to Mentor in Africa

By Rick Scavetta
Special to American Forces Press Service

Sept. 3, 2009 - Just 15 months ago, when Army Pfc. Daniel Bateson was hanging drywall with his family's home improvement business, the Connecticut native never dreamed he would visit Africa. Even during the weeks and months taking temperatures and handing out Band-aids at an Army health clinic here, Bateson wondered if he'd get a shot to take part in the Africa Command partnership with African militaries to promote stability on the continent.

Then, a few weeks back, Bateson, 21, got tapped to mentor in Djibouti -- making him the most junior U.S. Army Africa soldier to deploy to the continent. He accompanied Army Sgt. 1st Class Roddy Rieger to Camp Lemonier in early August when the team led a week-long course on how first aid and medical evacuations work in hostile zones, similar to the Army's combat lifesaver training.

"I know this material by heart. As medics, we know this as the simple stuff, and it's not hard to teach it to others," Bateson said. "The Djiboutians were eager to learn and absorb this."

The team mentored 29 students from Djibouti's military, ranging from junior enlisted troops to company-grade officers. The five-day course included classroom instruction, hands-on exercises and a day-long test of skills in a simulated hostile environment.

Rieger, 35, of Bismarck, N.D., a senior U.S. Army Africa noncommissioned officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, knew that understanding both cultural and language issues would be the key to success. Rieger also relied on lessons learned from previous assignments in Tunisia and Morocco when building his lesson plans.

"It's all about how you communicate with individuals, no matter if they speak broken English, no English or even use hand signals," Rieger said. "It's great when you see them nodding 'yes' and giving you the thumbs up."

Navy and Air Force personnel from Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa augmented the Army team. The mentoring is part of U.S. Army Africa's ongoing effort to support African partners with teams of soldiers with niche capabilities such as logistics, legal affairs and medicine.

"This is my job, I'm an NCO, and medicine is my passion," Rieger said. "If we helped just one Djiboutian, and he later uses that knowledge to save a life, that's what it's all about."

Now, Bateson is back in garrison reflecting on an experience he sums up with one word: "Cool."

"We were building a relationship between their country and ours -- that's a big thing," he said. "So much of this was about breaking down barriers and opening communication. I think we left them with a good impression."

(Rick Scavetta works in the U.S. Army Africa public affairs office.)