Saturday, October 17, 2009

First Lady Embarks on Mission to Help Military Families

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 15, 2009 - First Lady Michelle Obama today vowed to make the voices of U.S. military families heard in the nation's capital, and called on Americans to recognize the sacrifices made by those in uniform and their loved ones. Addressing a crowd at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the first lady said she and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, have embarked on a fact-finding mission to determine the pros and cons of what military families experience today.

"We're working to make sure that your voices are heard in Washington and that we can figure out how to raise up best practices and make sure that our efforts in Washington are trickling down, to the folks who matter most," she said. "And that's our servicemen and women and their families."

Obama spoke mainly about the U.S. military at-large, but she also singled out one service branch: the U.S. Air Force, which has dedicated 2009 as the year of the Air Force Family. She also praised General Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, for carrying a mission similar to hers.

"That's a very important statement to make," she said of the Air Force's year-long salute to families. "And I was even more pleased when General Schwartz said the year would be devoted both to highlighting what's working for families and also figuring out what isn't working for families, so that we can take the steps to fix it."

The first lady mentioned policies her husband, President Barack Obama, has overseen since taking office in January: pay raises for the military, increasing the size of the forces in order to relieve stress, better housing, programs to help spouses advance their careers and initiatives to help military families recover from the financial strain caused by the economic downturn.

"I think it's pretty clear that our men and women in uniform and their families have more than done their duty to this nation, so I think it now falls upon us, as a grateful nation, to do ours in return," she said. "It's our turn to look out for you."

Obama also mentioned legislation being discussed in Congress that would allow spouses time off to spend with their servicemember husband or wife in certain instances.

"Congress has been working to extend Federal Family Leave protection to the family members of our regular active duty personnel so that they can take time off from work to be with their servicemember for deployment- related activities or to attend important family responsibilities," she said.

But providing the military and their families the support they've earned is a job that extends beyond government to everyday U.S. citizens, she said.

"Let's never forget that when our troops go off to war, they're protecting every single one of us and the freedoms that they fight for are ones that every single one of us as Americans enjoy," she said.

Finally, the first lady called on Americans to help relieve the burden borne by military families, suggesting they help in their community by carpooling, cooking, or performing pro bono services if they have a professional skill.

"At the very least, each of us can do one simple thing, and that is to take the time to say thank you, just take the time to say thank you," she said. "Thank you for the sacrifices that you are all making on behalf of this nation."

The first lady vowed to use her position to ensure the country doesn't overlook the sacrifices being made by the military and their families.

"There is no way that I can know intimately how hard it can be, but I am committed as first lady to spend every ounce of my platform trying to make sure that the country never forgets: that they don't forget our servicemembers, and they certainly don't forget those that are left here to keep it together," she said.

Mullen Asks Celebrities to Keep Supporting Troops

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 16, 2009 - Navy Adm. Mike Mullen drew quite the laughs at the expense of political elites here last night at the annual Alfred E. Smith Foundation dinner, but still managed acclaim for the 2.2 million military members in his charge. "I accept this kind of invitation for, and only, on behalf of the 2.2 million men and women serving in uniform today," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in his keynote address. "As we dine here tonight in comfort and fine company, more than 250,000 of them are deployed around the world, keeping peace and keeping watch over our freedom and our national interests.

"They are the finest military this or any nation has yet produced, and they are, after eight long years of war, still defending us magnificently."

Mullen, the services' senior officer and military advisor to the president and defense secretary, is in the forefront of the Afghanistan strategy debate. Despite increased violence there and waning American support for the war, he urged the gathering of business people, celebrity journalists and politicians to stand by their soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.

"Please continue standing up for them," the admiral said. "It is right that we do so. War is an ugly, messy, bloody business, and no one in uniform, no matter high or low in the chain of command, welcomes the task of waging it."

The chairman, who has spent 41 years in uniform, reflected on his early years of service as a Vietnam War veteran. He said he never wants another servicemember to experience humility and disgrace when wearing their uniform.

"As a Vietnam vet, I have lived and served in a time when America walked away from her military, when wearing the uniform was the last thing you wanted to do in public," he said. "No returning warrior should ever feel that scorn again.

"The men and women of your armed forces are the best we have ever had, and they believe in what they are doing for you," he continued. "All I ask is that you continue to believe in them."

While Mullen expressed much appreciation and gratitude for servicemembers, he also offered a bit of good-natured humor -- a trademark of the annual dinner.

He poked fun at the similarities in his haircut and that of CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, and at the confusion most people have when he tries to explain his role at the Pentagon.

"To be fair, the position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is often misunderstood and more than a little confusing," Mullen said. "I am the nation's most senior military officer, but I do not command any troops ... and I am not responsible for any particular region of the world."

Mullen went on to say that his job is simply to give advice to the nation's leaders. "I make suggestions. I prod, and I poke. I advocate. I'm like a Fox News analyst," he joked.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan hosted the 64th annual dinner at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It honors Smith, the former four-term New York governor and the first Catholic presidential candidate selected by a major party.

Smith was the Democratic candidate who lost the 1928 election to Herbert Hoover. Smith died in 1944, and the foundation was established the next year. The dinner has raised millions of dollars for children's health care in New York.

Guard Called in for 'Balloon Boy' Rescue

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 16, 2009 - The Colorado Army National Guard joined rescue efforts for a 6-year-old boy believed adrift in a homemade hot air balloon yesterday. Colorado citizen-soldiers used UH-60 Black Hawk and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters to provide military assistance to civilian authorities who believed Falcon Heene was inside a silver Mylar balloon adrift over the northern Colorado plains, National Guard Bureau officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and sheriff's deputies were told that the experimental helium hot air balloon broke free from its tethers at the Heenes' home in Fort Collins with the boy inside.

The Colorado National Guard's Joint Operations Center responded to an Air Force Rescue Coordination Center request for assistance to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, Colorado National Guard officials said.

The Black Hawk, which had rescue capabilities in the event that an airborne rescue was required, carried observers and medical personnel, 1st Air Force officials reported.

The Colorado National Guard stood down from the mission after local authorities determined that the boy was safe in his home.

Located under 1st Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center is the agency responsible for coordinating on-land federal search and rescue activities in the 48 contiguous United States, Mexico and Canada. It directly ties to the FAA's alerting system.

(Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves with National Guard Bureau public affairs.)

New Command Helps Overseas Commanders

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 16, 2009 - The Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, just a year into existence, is going a long way to quickly provide command and control capabilities to joint headquarters commanders around the world, its commander says. Navy Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter Jr. assumed command of the JECC last summer. The organization, which stood up Oct. 1, 2008, is a subordinate of U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.

"The JECC brings a highly skilled team that rapidly increases command and control capability at the operational level of a newly formed joint headquarters and allows time to develop a permanent manning solution to meet that enduring requirement," Carter said yesterday during a telephone interview with reporters.

The Suffolk, Va.,-based JECC, Carter said, provides joint task force commanders with communications, public affairs, intelligence, operations, plans, knowledge management/information superiority and logistics.

The capabilities are provided by four organizations: the Joint Communications Support Element, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla.; the Joint Public Affairs Support Element, Suffolk, Va.; the Intelligence-Quick Reaction Team, Norfolk, Va.; and the Joint Deployable Team based at the Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk, Va.

The deployable team provides expertise in operations, plans, knowledge management and logistics, Carter explained. The Joint Warfighting Center, he said, works hand-in-glove with the JECC.

JECC deployments, Carter said, are envisioned not to exceed 120 days.

"We do not view ourselves as a permanent manning solution," he said, "but rather (as) a bridging solution until the joint manning requirements can be met by the service components or by the combatant commanders."

As one of its first tasks, the enabling command sent its public affairs assets to Kabul in support of U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

Last spring, the command deployed its communications personnel aboard the Navy hospital ship USS Comfort to support Continuing Promise 2009, an annual humanitarian mission that visited several Central and South American countries.

Joint Enabling Capabilities Command is in demand, Carter said, because of its ability to deliver speedy, efficient service worldwide.

"Speed plus capability does equal efficiency and effectiveness -- and that's what we strive for," he said.

The Joint Deployable Team left for Afghanistan in August to support the standup of the International Security Assistance Force's Joint Command, a three-star intermediate NATO headquarters commanded by Army Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez in Kabul.

"The JECC capabilities in the areas of operations, plans and knowledge management were specifically requested by Lieutenant General Rodriguez to act as a bridging mechanism," Carter said, until the new international command reaches full operational capability.

Gates Receives Marshall Foundation Award

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 16, 2009 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates accepted the prestigious Marshall Foundation Award today, calling George C. Marshall his hero and inspiration as defense secretary. Gates said he was humbled to accept the award that memorializes his personal hero at a State Department event celebrating Marshall's life and legacy on the 50th anniversary of his death.

Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., all currently serving in posts Marshall once held, participated in the ceremony, along with Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor for Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.

Clinton praised Gates for applying the same principles and ideals Marshall embodied to face modern-day challenges.

"General Marshall knew that our national interests are inseparable from the interests of people everywhere, that we best bolster our security by advancing our values, and that we best protect ourselves by looking beyond ourselves," she said.

Marshall's ideals are perhaps best exemplified in the European Recovery Program, a plan that restored the economy of war-ravaged Europe after World War II and is better known as the "Marshall Plan."

"The Marshall Plan was as bold and visionary a demonstration of American leadership as any in our history," Clinton said. "And it is a model today, as we face up to our own vast responsibility."

Clinton praised Gates for demonstrating "a Marshall view of the world" at the Defense Department. Gates is committed to "a brand of American leadership that draws on all sources of our strength, fostering cooperation and spreading prosperity, while keeping our military strong and ready," she said.

She called Gates "a statesman who shares General Marshall's judgment that the only way to truly win a war is to prevent it in the first place."

Scowcroft said he could think of few people who so closely emulate Marshall. He cited Gates' "quiet, but determined, and nonpartisan dedication to country," and his "deeply analytical approach to problem-solving" and advancement of U.S. interests above all else.

Citing Gates' history of performance and dedication throughout his public service career, Scowcroft said Marshall "would look down with pleasure" in seeing Gates honored with the Marshall Foundation Award.

Gates said he felt honored to have his name tied to Marshall's, noting that Marshall's portrait hangs behind his Pentagon desk.

In talks to students at U.S. war colleges and military academies, Gates said he invokes Marshall as "an example of the kind of leader everyone should aspire to be: the apotheosis of unshakeable loyalty, combined with the courage and the integrity to tell superiors things they didn't always want to hear."

Along with his skills as secretary of state, Marshall demonstrated as defense secretary an ability to get the two departments to work together more closely toward common goals, Gates said.

"Marshall's strategic vision yielded profound wisdom -- about his country, about the world and about the nature of man," Gates said.

His call to adopt a sense of responsibility for world order and security remains as valid today as when Marshall first issued it to Princeton University students in 1948, he said.

Marshall's service to his country and the world in some of its most challenging days "affirmed the worth of these musts and the purposes to which he devoted his life," Gates concluded. "He made of himself an ideal that we should all aspire to emulate."

Marshall served as Army chief of staff during World War II, then as secretary of state when he became the architect of the Allied victory, then the Marshall Plan. President Harry Truman coaxed him out of retirement to become special envoy to China, after which Marshall served as defense secretary during the Korean War, then president of the American Red Cross.

Gates joked that he and Marshall share at least one trait: "our repeated failures to retire from public service." When Marshall agreed to take on the job of defense secretary, "it was pitched as a six-month deal," Gates said. "He stayed twice as long, and it sounds familiar."

Marshall died Oct. 16, 1959, and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Missing F-16 Pilot's Crash Debris Found in Ocean

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 16, 2009 - Coast Guard searchers today found crash debris believed to belong to a missing Air Force pilot's F-16 jet that collided yesterday with another F-16 near the South Carolina coast during a night-training exercise, an Air Force spokesman said today. "The Coast Guard has found some debris in the ocean that is apparently from our missing F-16," Robert Sexton, chief of public affairs at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C., said during a telephone interview with American Forces Press Service. Shaw Air Force Base is the home of the 20th Fighter Wing, to which the jets belong.

The two F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft collided about 40 miles east of Folly Beach, S.C., over the Atlantic Ocean around 8:30 p.m. yesterday, according to an Air Force news release. The pilot of one plane, Capt. Lee Bryant, was able to safely land his damaged jet at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.

The other pilot, Capt. Nicholas Giglio, is missing.

"They have not yet found any sign of the pilot and the search continues," Sexton said. No one, he said, witnessed what happened to Giglio after the collision.

The incident, he said, occurred during a routine night-training mission.

Foul weather, including rain and fog, has hindered the Coast Guard's search for Giglio, Sexton said.

"The Coast Guard is doing an absolutely incredible job of running the search and rescue mission," he said. "We're just tremendously grateful for the assistance of the Coast Guard, the Navy, Charleston Air Force Base [and] all of the other agencies that are participating in the search and rescue."

Shaw Air Force Base is about 90 miles west of Charleston Air Force Base along the South Carolina coast.

The F-16s are "CJ" models optimized for suppression of enemy air defenses, Sexton said.

A board of officers will investigate the incident and details will be released as they become available, he said.


Lockheed Martin Corp., of Marietta, Ga., was awarded a $827,400,000 contract which will provide for the advance procurement funding for three FY10 Air Force C-130J aircraft, four FY10 HC-130J aircraft, and four FY10 MC-130J aircraft. This option is being established for acquisition of one HC-130J aircraft to be bully funded with FY10 funds. At this time, $8,274,000 has been obligated. 657 AESS/SYKA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8625-06-C-6456, P00087).

Wintec, Arrowmaker, Inc., of Fort Washington, Md., was awarded a $85,000,000 contract which will provide advisory and assistance services to Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command. At this time, $3,000 (per awardees) will be obligated on initial task orders upon contract meeting minimum requirements. HQ AFSOC/A7KZ, Hurlburt Field, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA0021-10-D-0001; FA0021-10-D-0002; FA0021-10-D-0003).

International SOS Assistance, Inc., Trevose, Pa., is being awarded a fixed price requirements contract to provide health care support services to the Department of Defense TRICARE Overseas Program. The total potential contract value, including the approximately 10-month base period and five (5) one-year option periods for health care delivery, plus a transition-out period, is estimated at $269,052,427. The contractor will support the Chief, TRICARE Overseas Program Branch, TRICARE area office directors, and military treatment facility (MTF) commanders in operating an integrated health care delivery system which combines the resources of the military's direct medical care system with the contractor's health care support services. Among other features, the new contract includes the establishment of host nation provider networks around MTFs. This contract was competitively procured via the TRICARE Management Activity e-solicitation Web site with three offers received. The TRICARE Management Activity, Aurora, Colo., is the contracting activity. The contract number is H94002-10-D-0001.

Raytheon Co., Andover, Mass., was awarded on Oct. 15, 2009 a $77,859,999 firm-fixed-price contract for Taiwan PATRION hardware upgrade program. Work is to be performed in Andover, Mass., (85 percent), and Burlington, Mass., (15 percent), with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2015. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-09-G-0001).

KBE Ventures A Joint Venture of KBE Bldg Corp & Derita Construction Co., Farmington, Conn., was awarded on Oct. 15, 2009 a $51,464,506 firm-fixed-price construction contract for the design and construction of an Armed Forces Reserve Center at Middletown, Conn. Work is to be performed in Middletown, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 15, 2011. Bids were solicited via FedBizOpps with 14 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-10-C-0004).

Propper International, Inc., Mayaguez, Puerto Rico is being awarded a maximum $22,031,932 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery contract for improved load bearing equipment system and components. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Marine Corps. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the third option period. The date of performance completion is October 20, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-05-D-0012).

SNC Telecommunication, LLC, Comerio, Puerto Rico* is being awarded a maximum $15,376,000 firm fixed price, total set aside contract for duffel bags. Other location of performance is Orocovis, Puerto Rico. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the first option year period. The date of performance completion is Sept. 28, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-09-D-0014).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $7,674,946 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5454) to increase the ceiling amount for the additional guidance section design verification testing to the System Design and Development of the Block 2 upgrade to the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Guided Missile Weapon System. The RAM Guided Missile Weapon System is co-developed and co-produced under a NATO cooperative program between the United States and Federal Republic of Germany. RAM is a missile system designed to provide anti-ship missile defense for multiple ship platforms. This ceiling increase is for additional guidance section design verification testing to ensure the Software interfaces with the Hardware guidance section of the missile. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by August 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea System Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Agencies Work to Field, Support M-ATVs

By Kathleen T. Rhem
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 16, 2009 - With the first shipment of the newly designed all-terrain mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles fielded in Afghanistan, several government agencies are now working with the manufacturer to ensure proper maintenance of the critical vehicle. Defense Logistics Agency officials were among those who met here yesterday with Oshkosh Defense leaders to get a closer look at the M-ATVs, as the vehicles are known, and the way forward in keeping them operational.

The Defense Logistics Agency will provide parts for the new all-terrain version of the armored vehicles designed to protect troops from deadly roadside-bomb attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan.

DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Alan Thompson and several other senior agency officials visited Oshkosh Defense, a branch of the Oshkosh Corp., here yesterday. The company has been tasked with building several thousand of the new vehicles.

Thompson noted during the visit that senior defense leaders -- including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, "view this program as so important to the safety and operational effectiveness of forces in Afghanistan."

M-ATVs are lighter and more maneuverable than standard MRAPs so they can better traverse Afghanistan's rugged terrain and keep servicemembers off more-established routes that make them more vulnerable to attacks.

DLA is working to ensure the vehicles can be sustained with repair parts throughout the lifecycle of the platform. Most of this coordination is going on through the agency's Defense Supply Center in Columbus, Ohio. DSCC Commander Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Richardson and several officials from DSCC met Thompson here for the daytrip.

The first seven M-ATVs arrived in Afghanistan earlier this month, and 10 others are in Europe for testing and training of crew, Oshkosh officials said.

Kenneth Juergens, M-ATV program director for Oshkosh Defense, explained to Thompson and the other visitors that the new vehicles had to meet three key performance parameters:

-- Weight. Each of the vehicles needed to be less than 25,000 pounds;
-- Seating. Each had to fit four troops in the cabin plus a gunner; and

-- Survivability. They needed to meet the same survivability specifications as full-sized variants of MRAP vehicles.

Juergens also outlined some of the vehicles' other features. For instance, the C-7 370-horsepower engine "works great on slopes," he said.

This engine power was demonstrated a short while later when Thompson and Richardson drove M-ATVs up and down 50-degree slopes in the rain at the company's test and development center.

Richardson praised the vehicle's power in comparison to the stalwart Humvees, long used as the military's tactical workhorses. But as roadside bombs became the weapon of choice for insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, the need to weigh Humvees down with armor made them sluggish in rough terrain.

"The key here is the ability to punch it and get out of there," the general said as he put the vehicle through its paces on a hilly, muddy and rutted test range. "If you hit an ambush or something else, the responsiveness is key."

Meanwhile, Thompson marveled at the vehicle's relative comfort compared to other tactical vehicles.

The M-ATV also features an environmental control unit that includes heat and air conditioning, as well as separate automated fire-extinguishing systems for the crew and engine compartments, Juergens said.

The composite armor of steel and Kevlar is mounted in bolt-on panels, which has several benefits, said Army Lt. Col. Coll Haddon, M-ATV program manager with the Joint Program Office for mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, in Warren, Mich.

The vehicles can be repaired in the operational theater with no need to send them to a maintenance depot in the United States, he said. "And if technology improves -- let's say a new composite comes out -- instead of buying a new vehicle, you can replace the panels," he added.

The MRAP's signature V-shaped hull was carried forward in this newer version. That and blast deflectors near the wheels direct the power of explosions away from the "protective cocoon" of the crew compartment, Haddon said.

Other features inside the vehicle are dual-purpose. They provide protection and add comfort both in the event of a blast and also while bouncing along Afghanistan's rugged terrain. The seats are suspended with straps from the ceiling instead of being bolted to the floor, so the energy from blasts or hard bumps goes to the straps, not to troops' spines and hips. And pads under the feet of back-seat passengers absorb blows and jarring from terrain.

"When the vehicle comes down, this dissipates the energy to reduce foot and knee injuries," Haddon said, adding that research indicates this was more of a problem in the back of vehicles.

The M-ATV also was designed with "logistics commonality" in mind, Haddon said. For example, it uses the same independent suspension as the Marine Corps' medium tactical vehicle replacement. The dashboard also is identical to that on the MTVR, which limits the training needed, Haddon said.

In addition, the engine is the same as that used in Stryker combat vehicles and the Army's family of medium tactical vehicles.

"Because of this commonality across the board, we already have many of the parts in the system," he said.

Still, providing for the vehicle's sustainment poses several challenges, officials said. Planners across multiple agencies are using lessons learned from the rapid fielding of earlier MRAP variants to build a supply pipeline for both consumable and repairable spare parts.

"Now we're trying to determine what the diameter of that [supply] pipeline needs to be," said Scott Bannach, Oshkosh's manager for MRAP logistics support.

He said Oshkosh officials and the MRAP program manager have worked closely to determine these needs. "We had, right from the get-go, an open and clear discussion about what the expectations were for the M-ATV," he told visiting DLA officials in a briefing.

And as testing and fielding progress, changes are being made to the vehicle even as more are being built.

A very recent change added two additional batteries to the two existing ones, allowing for a separate battery to handle communications and jamming equipment, Haddon explained as he showed Thompson how placement of all the batteries also changed.

"That's an additional demand that will come through DLA," Bannach said later. "More parts are being added as the platform matures."

In July, 1,594 parts were associated with the M-ATV, he said. Today there are 2,301.

This rapid fielding – roughly 90 days from the time the contract was awarded until the first vehicles were delivered to the Defense Department – and continuous changes to the specifications are made possible through close cooperation and synergy among all parties, said Army Col. Jose Baez, commander of the Ground Systems and Munitions Division at the Defense Contract Management Agency's Chicago branch.

"Some people may think this looks easy, but it's all because of synergy," he said. "There's a lot of team playing."

Thompson agreed.

"There's a long-standing and very positive relationship between DLA and Oshkosh," Thompson said at the end of the visit. "I think it's a particularly important time for all of us to be aligned on effort and focus."

(Kathleen T. Rhem works in the Defense Logistics Agency's strategic communications office.)

Command Completes Behavioral Health Facilities Probe

American Forces Press Service

Oct. 16, 2009 - The commander of Multinational Corps Iraq has approved the findings of an internal investigation into the security of behavioral health facilitiesafter a May 11 shooting at the Camp Liberty combat stress clinic here in which five soldiers were killed. The investigation concluded that policies and procedures designed to prevent such a tragedy were adequate, but could be improved.

Multinational Corps Iraq already has implemented several of the investigation's recommendations, officials said, including a commandwide review of behavioral health care services, updates to all suicide-prevention programs, the training and appointment of two behavioral health advocates per battalion, and new procedures for dealing with servicemembers attempting or threatening suicide.

An investigation by the Army's Criminal Investigative Command continues, officials said.

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)