Monday, December 28, 2009

U.S. Will Strengthen Defenses, Obama Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 28, 2009 - In addition to strengthening defenses, the United States will seek out those who wish Americans harm "anywhere they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland," President Barack Obama said in Hawaii today. The president spoke about the steps the government will take in the wake of the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound U.S. commercial aircraft on Christmas Day. Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to blow up Northwest Flight 253.

"The American people should be assured that we will do everything in our power to keep you and your family safe and secure during this busy holiday season," Obama said.

The president directed the national security team "to keep up the pressure on those who would attack our country."

Information is still coming out about the incident. "Those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know that the United States will do more than simply strengthen our defenses: We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us," he said.

The president said as soon as he heard of the attempt he ordered enhanced screening of all flights. He also ordered more federal air marshals on flights entering and leaving the United States.

He also has ordered reviews of the incident. One on the so-called watch list and the other on all screening policies, technologies and procedures related to air travel. "We need to find out how the suspect was able to bring dangerous explosives aboard an aircraft and what additional steps we can take to deter future attacks," Obama said.

The president called for the American people to remain vigilant. A passenger stopped the suspect from blowing up the plane. "This incident, like several that have preceded it – demonstrate that an alert and courageous citizenry are far more resilient than an isolated extremist," he said.

The nation will do all it can to defeat these threats. "As Americans, we will never give in to fear or division," the president said. "We will be guided by our hopes, our unity and our deeply held values."



Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $98,000,000 modification to the previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for special tooling and special test equipment required for the manufacture of Joint Strike Fighter Air System low rate initial production aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in November 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-08-C-0028).

McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Co., St. Louis,Mo., is being awarded a $54,119,479 advance acquisition contract for long lead materials and effort associated with the full rate production and delivery of Lot 35 F/A-18 and E/A-18G aircraft. Work will be performed in El Segundo, Calif. (85 percent); Brooklyn Heights, Ohio (8 percent); Torrance, Calif. (3 percent); Ontario, Canada (3 percent); and St. Louis, Mo. (1 percent). Work is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-10-C-0017).

Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $29,387,585 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to support the Naval Rotary Wing Aircraft Test Squadron by providing on-site flight test management, flight test engineering, design engineering and related efforts to support the conduct of flight and ground testing for the MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. (70 percent); Philadelphia, Pa. (19 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas (11 percent). Work is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-07-G-0008).

Bell-Boeing Joint Program Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $25,862,655 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to exercise an option to a previously awarded delivery order placed against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This option provides engineering and technical services for the Navy and Air Force in support of the V-22 flight control system and on-aircraft avionics software. This effort supports configuration changes to the software of the V-22 aircraft for avionics and flight controls; flight test planning; coordination of changed avionics and flight control configurations; and upgrade planning of avionics and flight controls, including performance of qualification testing and integration testing on software products. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, Pa. (90 percent), and Fort Worth, Texas (10 percent). Work is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $6,079,429 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-07-G-0008).

DynCorp International, LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $16,902,377 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to exercise an option for maintenance services in support of the Kuwait Air Force F/A-18 program under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Kuwait (90 percent) and Fort Worth, Texas (10 percent). Work is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-06-C-0308).

Kalman and Co., Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a task order in the amount of $6,921,545, exclusive of options. The scope of this effort is to provide ongoing business and analytical support to Marine Corps Systems Command, program manager, infantry combat equipment, combat equipment support systems (CESS). Objectives of this initiative include specialized analysis supporting CESS as it develops and refines the Marine Corps' requirements for asset management and logistics support improvements through the consolidation of equipment. This requirement is an ongoing effort to assess current support practices, benchmark efficiencies, and validate course of action alternatives through applied analytical methods. Within this task area are requirements to support multiple program initiatives; documentation development; research; production and fielding decisions; logistics support; Naval Logistics Integration support; and on-site representation. Work will be performed at Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., and Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany, Ga., with field service representatives at I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), II MEF, III MEF, Hawaii and Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, Calif. Work is expected to be completed by Jan. 29, 2011. Contract funds will expire Sept. 30, 2010. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-03-A-5158-0026).


LB&B Associates Inc., Columbia, Md., a HUBZone business, is being awarded a minimum $14,104,128 firm-fixed-price contract for fuel services to include aircraft refueling, bulk storage and distribution, ground fuel delivery, etc. Other location of performance is California. Using service is Navy. The original proposal was web solicited with four responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is April 2018. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-C-5024).

Resource Center*, Jamestown, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $5,058,802 firm-fixed-price, total set-aside, long-term contract for lap belt restraints. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. The original proposal was web solicited with one response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract is exercising the second option year period. The date of performance completion is Dec. 26, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Richmond, Richmond, Va., is the contracting activity (SPM4A7-08-D-0074).


Northrop Grumman Corp., Rolling Meadows, Ill., has been awarded a $5,910,145 contract, option exercise, to provide contractor logistics support for the LITENING advanced targeting pod. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 647 AESS/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (F33657-98-C-2020).


Miltec Corp., Huntsville, Ala., is being awarded a sole-source modification to continue performing work under its competitively awarded, cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (HQ0006-07-D-0004). Miltec will continue the planning and preparation of flight test payloads for the Missile Defense Agency Producibility and Manufacturing Directorate's Flight Experiment #2. The work will be performed in Huntsville, Ala. The performance period is being extended to March 21, 2012. The contract amount is being raised to $9,809,673 from the previous contract amount of $4,809,673. Obligations will be made using fiscal year 2010 research, development, test and evaluation funds. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.

Marines Serve in Afghanistan With Pride

By Marine Lance Cpl. Walter Marino
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 28, 2009 - Marines of 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion are serving in southern Afghanistan with pride, despite the hardship of being away from their families during the holidays. The Marines are working hard, building observational posts, searching for improvised explosive devices and providing route clearance.

"I didn't join the Marine Corps during a time of war not to fight," said Cpl. Aaron A. Bennet, a heavy equipment operator.

"It was time to do my part," he said.

Marines deploy to Afghanistan knowing they may not see loved ones for up to a year. Yet, the positive is found.

"My wife and I say it's not going to kill us, only make us stronger," Bennet said. "Some relationships get stagnant. But we know what it's like to truly miss each other."

Bennet said he got married knowing the possibility of spending long periods of time away from his wife.

"My wife understood why I wanted to deploy," the Spring, Texas, native said. "She told me, 'I know you joined the Marine Corps to fight. Who am I to tell you not to fight?'"

Some Marines subscribe their own meaning to the word sacrifice.

"Sacrifice isn't a real sacrifice unless you believe in the people you're with and the mission at hand," said Cpl. Jonathan Lehman, a combat engineer.

No doubt the Marines in Afghanistan will miss their families this holiday season. But, they are with a different kind of family in Afghanistan, said Col. Randall P. Newman, Regimental Combat Team 7's commander.

"My fellow Marines get me through this, along with mail from home," Newman said.

Receiving mail from home, Newman said, "makes me feel closer to my family."

Lehman has his plans set for next year's holiday season, he said.

"Next year's Christmas will be quite the experience," he said. "It will be me and my wife's first Christmas as a family."

Lehman also said he looks forward to next Christmas as a time to spoil his 4-year-old daughter.

(Marine Lance Cpl. Walter Marino serves with 1st Marine Division's Regimental Combat Team 7 public affairs.)

DoD Looks at Long-term Health Effects of Burn Pits

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 28, 2009 - The Defense Department has launched a study on the possible long-term effects of the smoke emitted from burn pits used in overseas locations such as Iraq. Armed services medical officials are conducting studies on the health outcomes of individuals that have been deployed to identify any health conditions associated with smoke exposure.

Burn pit smoke can cause some acute health effects in some people, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today. These can include eye irritation, upper respiratory ailments and coughing.

"To date, we don't have any information on any longer-term health risks that may be associated with burn pit smoke inhalation," Whitman said.

This is the second study of the effects inhaling burn pit smoke may have. The first study used an Environmental Protection Agency risk assessment method to determine what effects the smoke at Balad Air Base, Iraq, had on personnel exposed to it.

"We determined at that time, that there was no long-term health effects that were expected due to inhalation of burn pit smoke to the personnel assigned there," Whitman said.

However, there has been persistent concern about the possible effects, prompting the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center study. "The department's No. 1 priority is the health of our servicemembers," Whitman said. "Whenever concerns of this nature are raised we want to make sure they are being addressed properly and when appropriate studied for any long-term effects."

The Defense Department recognizes that some individuals may be more susceptible to the effects of burn pits because of genetics or pre-existing health conditions. Other factors may contribute to long-term effects including smoking, inhaling dust particles and working around heavy machinery.

The health centers expect a preliminary report out early next year.

Soldier Aims to Scale Earth's Highest Peak

By Army Pfc. J. Princeville Lawrence
Special to American Forces Press Service

Dec. 28, 2009 - Toward the end of every soldier's deployment comes the time to decide what's next. Army Staff Sgt. Daniel Bari, a medic serving with the 34th Infantry Division here, plans to climb mountains after he departs Iraq.

Bari intends to start small as part of his ultimate goal of scaling the world's highest peak: 29,029-feet-high Mount Everest in Nepal.

Bari found his calling in the woods of northern Minnesota last fall.

"I started rock climbing up in Duluth in the summer and fall of 2008," the St. Louis Park, Minn., native said. "And really, I instantly fell in love with rock climbing."

A trudging expedition along the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States soon followed.

"I really enjoyed the terrain, the angles that you take going up and down hills, especially wearing a pack," Bari said.

Bari and his friends began to talk about taking a rock-climbing trip, but a different kind of challenge interrupted his plans: a deployment to Iraq.

Bari's pre-deployment training brought him to Fort Lewis, Wash., where the looming, white specter of 14,411-feet-high Mount Rainier sat teasingly on the horizon.

"The first time I saw Mount Rainier, I had that instant when I was like: 'Wow, I'd really like to see what it's like on top of that thing,'" Bari said.

While at Fort Lewis, Bari immersed himself in books on mountaineering and its myriad dangers: frigid cold, glaciers, crevasses, high-altitude sickness and falling. It wasn't until Bari's four-day pass that he was able to attempt to climb the mountain. Because of inclement weather, he only was able to reach 8,000 feet up Mount Ranier. Nevertheless, he remained undeterred for future challenges.

Bari continues to train for future mountain-climbing expeditions while deployed in Iraq by running 35 to 45 miles a week.

Leg strength, he said, is "the power that's going to get you up the mountain."

Once his Iraq deployment ends, Bari plans to climb Pikes Peak located near Colorado Springs, Colo. Pikes Peak, which tops off near 14,115 feet, is Bari's warm-up exercise prior to scaling 14,505-feet-high Mount Whitney in California.

After climbing Mount Whitney this summer, Bari said he plans to tackle Alaska's 20,320-feet-high Mount McKinley in the summer of 2011, where he can gain experience working with ropes amid ice and glaciers.

Scaling Mount McKinley "will be the last major training piece before making an attempt at Everest," Bari pointed out.

Ever since New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay first scaled Everest's craggy summit in May 1953, more than 2,700 adventurers have crawled their way up the peak. The mountain is so high, and the trail is so long, that to climb straight through is both foolhardy and dangerous.

"You don't start right at the base camp and go straight to the top," Bari explained. "You go up a little bit, set up a camp and get used to that elevation."

While Bari currently has "absolutely zero" mountain-climbing experience, he noted that he also lacked any serious long-distance running experience before participating in his first 26-mile marathon.

Bari has "kinda lost track" of how many marathons he has run since his first, although he estimates the total to be somewhere close to 20.

Bari hopes that his mountain-climbing plans blossom similarly.

And while there are many things Bari cannot control over the next two years during his mountain-climbing quests, his plan appears to be rock-solid: start at the bottom, and through hard work and effort and sweat, climb your way to the top.

(Army Pfc. J. Princeville Lawrence serves with the 34th Infantry Division public affairs office.)