Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obama Lays Out America's Asia-Pacific Agenda

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 14, 2009 - The United States is a Pacific nation, and America wants to strengthen alliances and understandings in the region, President Barack Obama said in Tokyo today. Obama gave a major policy speech at Suntory Hall to 1,500 Japanese leaders. He met with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and with the emperor and empress of Japan.

The president praised the U.S-Japanese alliance as a partnership based on mutual interests and respect. The alliance has served both nations well in the past, and he expects it will change and deepen in the future, he said.

The United States pledged to defend Japan when a treaty was signed almost 50 years ago. Security is part of the overall relationship between the nations, and the two leaders agreed to move expeditiously through a joint working group to implement the security agreement on restructuring U.S. forces in Okinawa, Obama said.

While Japan is the anchor of American interests and commitments in the Pacific, "it doesn't end here," the president said.

"Asia and the United States are not separated by this great ocean; we are bound by it," he said. "We are bound by our past – by the Asian immigrants who helped build America, and the generations of Americans in uniform who served and sacrificed to keep this region secure and free."

Prosperity binds the regions together, the president said, and he noted that millions of Americans trace their ancestry to Asia. "So I want everyone to know, and I want everybody in America to know, that we have a stake in the future of this region, because what happens here has a direct effect on our lives at home," Obama said.

Japan and China are two of America's largest trading partners, and the nations of Southeast Asia – especially Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore – are growing in importance to the American economy.

But the United States is interested in the region not only for economics, Obama said, but also for security.

"This is a place where the risk of a nuclear arms race threatens the security of the wider world, and where extremists who defile a great religion plan attacks on both our continents," he said.

Obama said the United States will engage with old friends and seek new ones throughout the region. Alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines "continue to provide the bedrock of security and stability that has allowed the nations and peoples of this region to pursue opportunity and prosperity that was unimaginable at the time of my first childhood visit to Japan," he said.

"And even as American troops are engaged in two wars around the world," he added, "our commitment to Japan's security and to Asia's security is unshakeable, and it can be seen in our deployments throughout the region – above all, through our young men and women in uniform, of whom I am so proud."

The United States looks for nations such as Indonesia and Malaysia to play larger roles regionally, he said, and he stressed that the national security and economic growth of one country need not come at the expense of another.

"I know there are many who question how the United States perceives China's emergence," he said. "But as I have said, in an interconnected world, power does not need to be a zero-sum game, and nations need not fear the success of another. Cultivating spheres of cooperation – not competing spheres of influence – will lead to progress in the Asia-Pacific [region]."

This does not mean that China has a blank check, the president noted.

"America will approach China with a focus on our interests," he said. "It's precisely for this reason that it is important to pursue pragmatic cooperation with China on issues of mutual concern, because no one nation can meet the challenges of the 21st century alone, and the United States and China will both be better off when we are able to meet them together."

America welcomes China's effort to play a greater role on the world stage – a role in which their growing economy is joined by growing responsibility, he said.

"China's partnership has proved critical in our effort to jumpstart economic recovery," the president said. "China has promoted security and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And it is now committed to the global nonproliferation regime, and supporting the pursuit of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

The United States does not seek to contain China, nor does a deeper relationship with China mean a weakening of American bilateral alliances in the region, Obama said.

"On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations," he said. "So in Beijing and beyond, we will work to deepen our strategic and economic dialogue, and improve communication between our militaries.

"Of course, we will not agree on every issue," he continued, "and the United States will never waver in speaking up for the fundamental values that we hold dear – and that includes respect for the religion and cultures of all people – because support for human rights and human dignity is ingrained in America. But we can move these discussions forward in a spirit of partnership, rather than rancor."

The president said he also believes multilateral organizations can advance the security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific.

"I know that the United States has been disengaged from many of these organizations in recent years," he acknowledged. "So let me be clear: Those days have passed. As an Asia-Pacific nation, the United States expects to be involved in the discussions that shape the future of this region, and to participate fully in appropriate organizations as they are established and evolve."

The security of the 21st century in the area, the president said, is threatened by a legacy of the 20th century: the danger posed by nuclear weapons.

"In Prague, I affirmed America's commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons, and laid out a comprehensive agenda to pursue this goal," he said. "I am pleased that Japan has joined us in this effort, for no two nations on Earth know better what these weapons can do, and together we must seek a future without them. This is fundamental to our common security, and this is a great test of our common humanity. Our very future hangs in the balance."

But as long as nuclear weapons exist, Obama added, "the United States will maintain a strong and effective nuclear deterrent that guarantees the defense of our allies – including South Korea and Japan."

Still, he said, an escalating nuclear arms race in the region would undermine decades of growth and prosperity. "So we are called upon to uphold the basic bargain of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – that all nations have a right to peaceful nuclear energy; that nations with nuclear weapons have a responsibility to move toward nuclear disarmament and those without nuclear weapons have a responsibility to forsake them," he said.

The United States is pursuing a new agreement with Russia to reduce nuclear stockpiles and also is working to ratify and bring into force a nuclear test ban treaty. "And next year at our Nuclear Security Summit, we will advance our goal of securing all the world's vulnerable nuclear materials within four years," Obama said.

Strengthening the global nonproliferation movement is not about singling out individual nations, he said. "It's about all nations living up to their responsibilities," the president said. "That includes the Islamic Republic of Iran. And it includes North Korea."

North Korea has chosen a path of confrontation and provocation, Obama said, and is developing nuclear arms and the means to deliver them.

"It should be clear where this path leads," the president said. "We have tightened sanctions on Pyongyang. We have passed the most sweeping U.N. Security Council resolution to date to restrict their weapons of mass destruction activities. We will not be cowed by threats, and we will continue to send a clear message through our actions, and not just our words: North Korea's refusal to meet its international obligations will lead only to less security, not more."

North Korea can renounce these efforts and be welcomed into the community of nations, Obama said.

"Instead of an isolation that has compounded the horrific repression of its own people, North Korea could have a future of international integration," he said. "Instead of gripping poverty, it could have a future of economic opportunity – where trade and investment and tourism can offer the North Korean people the chance at a better life. And instead of increasing insecurity, it could have a future of greater security and respect. This respect cannot be earned through belligerence. It must be reached by a nation that takes its place in the international community by fully living up to its international obligations."

He called on North Korea to return to the six-party talks and uphold previous commitments including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He also called for the full and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

The United States will stand with Asian allies in combating the transnational threats of the 21st century: extremism, piracy, disease, poverty and modern-day slavery, the president said. "The final area in which we must work together'" he added, is in upholding the fundamental rights and dignity of all human beings."

The American agenda in the area is ambitious, and it will not be easy, Obama said. "But at this moment of renewal ... history tells us it is possible," the Hawaiian-born president said. "This is ... America's agenda. This is the purpose of our partnership with Japan, and with the nations and peoples of this region. And there must be no doubt: As America's first Pacific president, I promise you that this Pacific nation will strengthen and sustain our leadership in this vitally important part of the world."

Obama Orders Review of Fort Hood Prelude

American Forces Press Service

Nov. 14, 2009 - President Barack Obama used his weekly address today to call for a careful and complete review of what happened before the Nov. 5 tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas.

Here is the text of the president's address:

This was a week for honoring the extraordinary service and profound sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.

Every fall, we set aside a special day to pay tribute to our veterans. But this year, Veterans Day took on even greater poignancy and meaning because of the tragic events at Fort Hood.

On Tuesday, I traveled there to join with the Fort Hood community, the Army, and the friends and families of the victims to honor thirteen of our fellow Americans who died – and the dozens more who were wounded – not on some distant shore, but on a military base at home.

Every man and woman who signs up for military service does so with full knowledge of the dangers that could come – that is part of what makes the service of our troops and veterans so extraordinary. But it's unthinkable that so many would die in a hail of gunfire on a US Army base in the heart of Texas, and that a fellow service-member could have pulled trigger.

There is an ongoing investigation into this terrible tragedy. That investigation will look at the motives of the alleged gunman, including his views and contacts. As I said in Fort Hood, I am confident that justice will be done, and I will insist that the full story be told. That is paramount, and I won't compromise that investigation today by discussing the details of this case. But given the potential warning signs that may have been known prior these shootings, we must uncover what steps – if any – could have been taken to avert this tragedy.

On the Thursday evening that this tragedy took place, I met in the Oval Office with Secretary of Defense Gates, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Admiral Mullen, and FBI Director Mueller to review the immediate steps that were necessary to support the families and secure Fort Hood. The next morning, I met with the leadership of our military and the intelligence community, and ordered them to undertake a full review of the sequence of events that led up to the shootings.

The purpose of this review is clear: We must compile every piece of information that was known about the gunman, and we must learn what was done with that information. Once we have those facts, we must act upon them. If there was a failure to take appropriate action before the shootings, there must be accountability. Beyond that – and most importantly – we must quickly and thoroughly evaluate and address any flaws in the system, so that we can prevent a similar breach from happening again. Our government must be able to act swiftly and surely when it has threatening information. And our troops must have the security that they deserve.
I know there will also be inquiries by Congress, and there should. But all of us should resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater that sometimes dominates the discussion here in Washington. The stakes are far too high.

Of all the responsibilities of the presidency, the one that I weigh most heavily is my duty as Commander-in-Chief to our splendid service-men and women. Their character and bravery were on full display in that processing center at Fort Hood, when so many scrambled under fire to help their wounded comrades. And their great dignity and decency has been on display in the days since, as the Fort Hood community has rallied together.

We owe our troops prayerful, considered decisions about when and where we commit them to battle to protect our security and freedom, and we must fully support them when they are deployed. We also owe them the absolute assurance that they'll be safe here at home as they prepare for whatever mission may come. As commander in chief, I won't settle for anything less.

This nation will never forget the service of those we lost at Fort Hood, just as we will always honor the service of all who wear the uniform of the United States of America. Their legacy will be an America that is safer and stronger – an America that reflects the extraordinary character of the men and women who serve it.

Guard Members in Three States Respond to Flooding

By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 13, 2009 - More than 160 National Guard members in three states have responded to flooding caused by heavy rains from Tropical Storm Ida today. Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey have called up Guard members to evacuate residents in high-water areas as well as provide cots, sandbags and potable water.

In Virginia, almost 100 Guardsmen have deployed high-water vehicles in support of the Portsmouth, Va., fire department.

The governor of New Jersey has declared a state of emergency for the Cape May and Atlantic counties due to flooding. The New Jersey National Guard has provided 18 Army Guardsmen with 10 5-ton trucks to help civilian authorities with evacuations, Guard officials reported.

About 40 members of the Delaware National Guard have provided support to civilian emergency relief agencies in Kent and Sussex counties.

On Nov. 12, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell placed 32 Army Guardsmen on state active duty. They reported to readiness centers in Georgetown, Seaford, Dagsboro, and Milford to serve as crew for 16 large M1078 trucks, known as light-medium tactical vehicles.

These four teams will provide a quick response if needed for evacuation or use by emergency personnel, Guard officials said.

According to Army 2nd Lt. Nathan Bright, a Delaware Guard spokesman, the Guard has so far:

-- Provided transport for a medical evacuation in the Oaks Orchard area;

-- Provided and transported 50 cots to the evacuation center in the Indian River area and 1,000 sandbags to affected communities; and

-- Prepared and staged seven 400-gallon water "buffalos" and a 4,000-gallon water tanker for distribution of potable water if needed after waters recede.

A second shift of 33 soldiers began processing at the readiness centers early this morning to relieve those activated last night, Bright said. All 65 soldiers will remain on alert in shifts.

The Delaware National Guard's Joint Operations Center and military support directorate continue to coordinate with and assist the Delaware Emergency Management Agency in providing assistance to state and local agencies, Bright said.

The National Hurricane Center reports that the rain is fading along the mid-Atlantic coast. Flood warnings and advisories will remain in effect for portions of the central Gulf Coast, the southeastern United States and the Mid-Atlantic States.

(Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

Army Reports Possible Increase in Suicides for October

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 13, 2009 - The Army is investigating 16 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers in October, about twice the number reported among the same population in September, Army officials said. Of the seven reported in September, three have been confirmed as suicides, and four still are under investigation to determine the manner of death.

From January through October, the Army reported 133 potential active-duty suicides. Of those, 90 deaths have been confirmed as suicides, and the other 43 remain under investigation. For the same period in 2008, there were 115 suicides among active-duty soldiers.

"Stigma continues to be one of the most difficult challenges we confront," said Army Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director of the Suicide Prevention Task Force. "The more we educate our Army community about the need to get help, the need to get it early, and that full recovery is often possible, the less stigma we'll see."

Suicide is not absent from the reserve components, as 69 potential suicides were reported among reserve-component soldiers not on active duty for the first 10 months of 2009. Of those, 41 have been confirmed as suicides. For the same time period in 2008, there were 47 suicides. October accounted for eight of the potential suicides in 2009.

In an effort to curb suicides, the Army in March chartered the multidisciplinary task force McGuire heads up. Its mission was to make rapid improvements across the full spectrum of health promotion, risk reduction and suicide prevention programs. It has made more than 170 improvements to these programs, Army officials said.

Army leaders took it a step further when they announced the formal start of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program on Oct. 1. The holistic program is designed to emphasize psychological, emotional and mental strength. The new program uses a balanced, multifaceted approach and a lifelong learning model that includes individual assessment, tailored virtual training, classroom training at all levels of Army education, and embedded resilience experts.

The goal of the program is to provide soldiers the critical skills then need to face any and all of life's challenges, officials said.

Army leaders can access current health promotion guidance in the newly revised Army Regulation 600-03.

Soldiers and families in need of crisis assistance can contact Military OneSource or the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. Both organizations provide trained consultants around the clock, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

All Services Meet or Exceed October Recruiting Goals

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 13, 2009 - All active-duty and reserve-component military branches met or exceeded their recruiting goals for October, Defense Department officials said. October's results – the first for fiscal 2010 -- continue a successful military recruiting mission that experienced a banner year in fiscal 2009.

Active and reserve military components notched record recruiting numbers in fiscal 2009 and also signed up the highest-quality recruits since the all-volunteer force began in 1973, Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, told Pentagon reporters at an Oct. 13 news conference.

Active-duty military recruiting continued its winning ways in October:

-- The Army signed up 6,914 active-duty soldiers in October, making 101 percent of its 6,858 goal.

-- The Navy signed up 2,926 active-duty sailors in October, making 100 percent of its 2,926 goal.

-- The Marine Corps signed up 2,851 active-duty Marines in October, making 100 percent of its 2,843 goal.

-- The Air Force signed up 2,198 active-duty airmen in October, making 100 percent of its 2,198 goal.

All four active-duty services also met or exceeded their retention goals for October.

All six reserve components met or exceeded their recruiting goals in October:

-- The Army National Guard had 4,425 accessions, making 112 percent of its 3,947 goal.

-- The Army Reserve had 3,348 accessions, making 125 percent of its 2,675 goal.

-- The Navy Reserve had 671 accessions, making 100 percent of its 671 goal.

-- The Marine Corps Reserve had 1,132 accessions, making 144 percent of its 787 goal.

-- The Air National Guard had 698 accessions, making 124 percent of its 562 goal.

-- The Air Force Reserve had 1,083 accessions, making 100 percent of its 1,083 goal.

Attrition losses for the reserve components are not available, pending corrections and resubmissions from services, officials said.

Carr acknowledged that the current economic downturn probably is having a positive effect on recruiting, but he also pointed to the efforts of military recruiters for the results in fiscal 2009, noting that the military deployed a robust bonus program in which 40 percent of recruits received an average bonus of $14,000.

And last year's success should positively affect the military's recruiting mission in fiscal 2010, Carr added.

"You just don't start recruiting from zero. ... You would start with the number [of recruits] that are under contract to report for training in the months ahead," Carr pointed out.

For example, the Army's active-duty recruiting goal for fiscal 2010 is about 74,500 soldiers, Maj. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., chief of Army Recruiting Command, told Pentagon reporters at the Oct. 13 news conference.

However, Campbell said, the Army had signed up about 30,000 new active soldiers through delayed-entry programs. And these troops, he said, will count toward the Army's fiscal 2010 recruiting goal.

Joint Typhoon Warning Center Marks 50 Years of Service

By Bob Freeman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 13, 2009 - This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, a joint Navy and Air Force office that provides tropical cyclone reconnaissance and forecasting to support the safety of military and other government assets in the U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility. "The Joint Typhoon Warning Center was established by the United States Pacific Command in 1959. It actually formed out of the consolidation of several smaller tropical forecast centers that were scattered throughout the Pacific region, and those were actually created in the wake of what's known as Typhoon Cobra," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Callahan, operations officer at JTWC, in a Nov. 10 interview on Pentagon Web Radio's audio webcast "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military."

Callahan described Typhoon Cobra, which hit vessels of the Pacific Fleet in 1944, as one of the worst naval disasters in U.S. history. According to a fleet letter from Navy Adm. Chester Nimitz, the Pacific Fleet's commander in chief at the time, 790 sailors were lost and 80 were injured, three ships sank and nine suffered serious damage, and 146 aircraft on various ships were lost or damaged beyond repair.

Callahan explained that a typhoon is a western Pacific version of a hurricane. Both constitute the most developed and severe form of tropical cyclones, which are large storms that form over warm tropical waters.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center ensures that today's military forces in the Pacific will never again experience a disaster like Typhoon Cobra. Callahan said the center, which is composed of a mix of Navy, Air Force and civilian meteorologists and analysts, provides tropical cyclone guidance, advisories and warnings to U.S. military and government assets throughout the Pacific region.

The center's actual forecasting responsibilities are in the western Pacific and Indian oceans. Callahan explained that the civilian National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center share tropical cyclone forecasting responsibilities for the Atlantic and the Pacific region east of the International Dateline.

"We actually only do the forecasting west of the dateline," Callahan noted, "but our area includes both the northern and southern hemispheres." Since the seasons are reversed in the southern hemisphere, that means the center is kept busy throughout the year.

"So it's a year-round job here, and with both hemispheres in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, we actually cover about 89 percent of the world's tropical cyclones," Callahan said. He explained that JTWC provides forecasts to military bases and ships, U.S. embassies, and U.S. territories such as Guam that fall under their area of responsibility.

"Our main products are the storm track, the horizontal extent of the winds and the intensity of the systems," Callahan said. "These forecasts are very complex, so we use very large numerical models that are run on super computers. We actually have a large suite of these computer models. Some are run here at Joint Typhoon Warning Center, but most are run elsewhere.

"For instance," he continued, "the Navy has some models that are being run at the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center. The National Center for Environmental Prediction, which is [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's] computing center, runs some of these models. The Air Force Weather Agency runs a model for us."

He added that the center also uses computer models operated by Japan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts.

Callahan noted that the models all have their strengths and weaknesses. Some are global in scope, depicting the atmosphere over the entire Earth, and some are regional, providing a higher-resolution look. He explained that the larger models are useful for overall atmospheric flow and forecasting a storm's track.

"But we need the smaller regional models to be able to determine the structure of the cyclone, what the winds are, and how the system is actually behaving within the local environment," he added.

"We are getting excited about the Navy's global model called NOGAPS, which is starting to do a new four-dimensional data assimilation," Callahan said. "Instead of just getting a static picture, it's able to identify trends in the data and, hopefully, get a better initialization before the model starts to run.

"We have also just implemented the Navy's regional model, COAMPS," he continued. "It has a specialized tropical cyclone tracker that we're currently evaluating, and the Air Force Weather Agency is running a regional model called WRF that also is starting to implement a tropical cyclone tracker. So there's a lot of good model development right now, and some other research that we're starting to get excited about."

As for tropical cyclone reconnaissance, Callahan said JTWC monitors storms through a suite of remote sensing technologies set on geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites, along with shore and ship observations and surface radar imagery.

"The No. 1 tool we use is called the scatterometer, and that's able to give us a direction and wind speed of winds at the surface over the ocean," Callahan explained. "It does this through the polarization of microwave energy reflected off the little capillary waves, the tiny one- and two-millimeter waves that are being caused by the wind as it goes over the surface of the ocean."

In addition to traditional weather satellites normally used to track storm movement, Callahan described the use of such space-based sensing devices as microwave imagers and sounders, infrared and water vapor imagers, and radar altimeters. All combine to provide an understanding of the shape, structure, size, intensity and movement of the storm.

Callahan noted that the center has a public-facing Web site that offers regular tropical cyclone warnings, text and graphical products, satellite imagery, and significant weather bulletins. He cautioned, however, that JTWC services are primarily for the Defense Department, and while it may be useful to review the products, viewers should consult their local national meteorological agency for products pertinent to their locality.

(Bob Freeman works in the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS November 13, 2009

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Tewksbury, Mass., is being awarded a $46,735,245 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5346) to exercise an option for the next phase of verification of the production design for the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer Program. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J. (48.2 percent), Tewksbury, Mass. (38.3 percent), Portsmouth, R.I. (7.8 percent), Sudbury, Mass. (4.3 percent), Minneapolis, Minn. (1.2 percent), and Marlborough, Mass. (0.2 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Terex Corporation, Fredericksburg, Va., is being awarded a $7,025,575 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide interim contract logistics services to support for the Terex 50 ton all terrain crane in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The contractor will provide maintenance and supply support for the crane and provide technical assistance to units operating the crane outside the continental United States and will provide all/specified personnel, material, services and necessary support documentation needed to complete the tasks, field service representatives, maintenance and parts. This contract contains an option, which if exercised, will bring the total contract value to $8,918,449. Work will be performed in Bagram, Afghanistan, and Balad, Iraq. Work is expected to be completed in December 2011. This was a sole source contract. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-10-D-5024).

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $6,000,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2100) for the accomplishment of the fiscal year 2008 Extended Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) of USS Enterprise (CVN 65). EDSRAs are similar to overhauls in that they restore the ship, including all subsystems that affect combat capability and safety, to established performance standards. Additionally, an EDSRA provides an opportunity to perform hull inspections, recoating and other maintenance related evolutions below the waterline that cannot be accomplished while the ship is waterborne. The EDSRA provides sufficient time to perform more extensive repairs and testing than are possible during an Extended Selected Restricted Availability. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by January 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $6,000,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc., East Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a maximum $18,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for environmental research and development on CO2 emission problems. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was web solicited with 39 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Sept. 1, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency, Philadelphia, Pa., (SP4701-10-C-0001).

Falcon Fuels, Inc., Paramount, Calif., is being awarded a minimum $11,337,376.65 fixed-price with economic price adjustment for fuel. Other locations of performance are in various locations in California. Using services are the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was web solicited with 48 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Sept., 30, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SPO600-10-D-4513).

American Apparel, Inc., Selma, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $8,133,585 firm-fixed-price with indefinite-quantity for Navy apparel. Other locations of performance are in Alabama and Mississippi. Using service is the Navy. The original proposal was web solicited with 10 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Nov. 18, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-07-D-1551).

Volunteers Reach Out to Military Families

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 13, 2009 - An army of volunteers wrote letters of thanks and assembled care packages for delivery to military families during Operation Appreciation, held Nov. 11 at George Washington University here. The Veterans Day event was sponsored by military-support organization Blue Star Families and by ServiceNation, a national campaign that encourages volunteer service, in partnership with Target and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Volunteers in the university's Marvin Center packed about 500 care packages containing games, lip balm, popcorn, movies, digital cameras and key chains, said Claire Woodward, executive director for Blue Star Families. Other volunteers, she said, wrote letters and thank you notes to military families.

The packages and notes, Woodward said, will be distributed among military families with the Kansas Air National Guard; at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and at Little Creek Navy Base, Va.

"Military families are very proud of their service," Woodward said, noting that such events help to make servicemembers and military families feel appreciated.

Bank of America also partners with ServiceNation to support servicemembers, veterans and their families, said former Army captain Babette Oltmanns, now a senior vice president at the bank's corporate headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.

"As a veteran, I understand the sacrifices that military and family members make," Oltmanns said as she watched volunteers from her company writing thank you letters to troops and their families. "It is so critical that the family members be recognized for the sacrifices that they make to support our servicemembers."

Bank of America also supports the hiring of military veterans, with a special focus on recruiting wounded warriors, Oltmanns said.

Constance A. Burns, a Blue Star Families volunteer and president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit National Association of American Veterans Inc., wrote letters to military families.

"Today is a day that we give thanks to them, and we're reaching out, letting them know that America cares about them," Burns said.

Some of the letters, Burns said, are going to grieving families at Fort Hood, Texas, who suffered from the Nov. 5 shootings there. "We're trying to give support, and we're trying to say, 'We love you and we care about you,'" Burns said.

Army Orders Probe at Arlington National Cemetery, Releases Investigation Findings

Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced today that he has ordered an investigation into allegations of lost accountability of some graves, poor record keeping and other issues at Arlington National Cemetery.

"This is the place where valor rests, a place of reverence and respect for all Americans," McHugh said after signing an order directing the Army's Inspector General to begin an investigation into allegations regarding cemetery operations. "As the final resting place of our nation's heroes, any questions about the integrity or accountability of its operations should be examined in a manner befitting their service and sacrifice."

McHugh's order comes on the heels of revelations that cemetery workers inadvertently buried cremated remains at a gravesite already in use. The error was discovered in May 2008, and cemetery officials immediately took corrective measures, moving the cremated remains to another gravesite and remarking the original grave. Since then, questions have been raised over whether cemetery officials used proper procedures to correct the mistake, including notifying the next of kin.

McHugh's announcement of the probe follows completion of separate internal investigation by the Military District of Washington (MDW) - which the Army released today - over the discovery of an unmarked grave. Cemetery officials conducted an extensive search of both internal and Department of Veterans Affairs records, followed by the MDW investigation and additional efforts by the cemetery, which employed ground penetrating radar and a team of geoarchaeologists.

"Cemetery records, the MDW investigation, and the non-invasive geophysical analysis of the grave sites strongly indicate that a husband and wife, who died years apart and should have been buried in the same gravesite, were instead buried in adjacent graves," said MDW spokesman Col. Dan Baggio.

Cemetery officials have ordered new grave markers for the site. While exhuming the remains and conducting DNA testing would provide a 100 percent assurance of the cemetery's findings, the family has declined taking such invasive action. The Army is abiding by their wishes.

While the unmarked grave was first discovered in 2003, cemetery officials took no action until 2009. McHugh is now directing the Inspector General to examine accountability and policy issues in that case. The Inspector General is also in the midst of a management review of Arlington National Cemetery, begun under former Army Secretary Pete Geren, to make overall recommendations on how better to operate the facility, including possible changes in policy, procedures and regulations.

"A thorough investigation, and transparency in its results, can help correct whatever may be wrong, and ensure America's confidence in the operation of its most hallowed ground," McHugh said, adding, "We will take appropriate action as the facts dictate."

A copy of the Article 15-6 investigation can be found at:

For more information regarding this release, media may contact Gary Tallman of Army public affairs at 703-614-1742.