Military News

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Navy Cancels Tsunami Warning in Hawaii; Ships Return to Pearl Harbor

American Forces Press Service

Feb. 27, 2010 - The commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific ordered the return of Pearl Harbor-based ships that sortied today.

USS Crommelin, USS O'Kane, USS Chafee and USS Chung-Hoon departed Pearl Harbor this morning in response to a tsunami warning for the Hawaii Islands issued in the wake of an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile today. No injuries or damage have been reported in Hawaii.

Access will be restored to previously evacuated areas. The Ford Island Bridge in Hawaii has reopened, and the Fleet and Family Support Center has stood down its family assistance center. Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai is returning to normal operations, also reported no injuries or damage related to the tsunami warning.

The U.S. 3rd Fleet also took precautionary measures by advising able San Diego ships to get underway and to take station in the Southern California operating area.

(Based on U.S. Navy news releases.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

U.S. Hopes NATO's Proposed Reforms Ready This Year

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 26, 2010 - U.S. officials hope a series of reforms envisioned for the 28-country NATO alliance will be available for review by member nations when they convene later this year, a senior defense official said today. Those reforms, spelled out broadly by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates this week, include sweeping changes to a 61-year-old institution suffering from deep problems in how it perceives and responds to threats in an era when its scope has widened beyond traditional Cold War boundaries.

Providing further clarity on the timeline of those expectations, Alexander Vershbow, assistant secretary of defense for international strategic affairs, said today he hopes proposed NATO changes would be ready ahead of a NATO meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, slated for November.

"We are hoping that allies will have the chance to approve a package of reforms that will help us meet the vision and the ambitions set out in the Strategic Concept," Vershbow told reporters at the Foreign Press Center here.

The remarks this week came as the alliance undergoes a self-assessment that will culminate in the Strategic Concept, a once-per-decade process of redefining and articulating the alliance's purpose and capabilities in light of the often mercurial security environment that frames the organization.

While Gates said the new concept would not attempt to "reinvent the wheel," he acknowledged dramatic changes in the security landscape since similar self-analyses in decades past. Threats such as transnational terrorism emanating from failed states, for instance, were mostly theoretical concerns when the collective security group outlined it in the 1999 concept paper.

In light of the altered security climate, senior defense officials have put under the microscope what has been characterized as shortfalls in NATO's level of commitment to its mission in Afghanistan and responsible budgeting.

Speaking to NATO representatives at the National Defense University here about the culture of pacifism that emerged in Europe following World War II, Gates this week said "the continent has gone too far in the other direction."

"The demilitarization of Europe -- where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it -- has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st," he said.

Expressing similar concerns, Vershbow today said he hopes NATO members use the forthcoming meeting in Lisbon to recalibrate the alliance's solidarity.

"We hope it will be an opportunity to recommit to one another's defense, to better understand the variety of new challenges the alliance is facing, and to prepare ourselves to face these challenges that lie ahead," he said. "We want this to be a vehicle to help our publics, our parliaments, especially the rising new generations, to better understand what NATO means, what it's for, [and] what it can do in the 21st century."

In his remarks this week, Gates praised the beefed-up troop commitment that member nations have pledged in Afghanistan, where non-U.S. troops will increase from roughly 30,000 last summer to 50,000. He urged NATO to muster the same commitment and willingness in its approach to a much-needed overhaul of its current institutional practices.

"All of this should be a wake-up call that NATO needs serious, far-reaching, and immediate reforms to address a crisis that has been years in the making," he said. "And unless the Strategic Concept spurs operational and institutional changes like those I just mentioned, it will not be worth the paper it is printed on."

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against Fresno County, California to Protect Employment Rights of Navy Reservist


February 26, 2010 - WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with the county of Fresno, Calif., on behalf of Navy Reservist Porotesano Faapouli. The complaint in this case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleged that the county violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by failing to promptly and properly reemploy Mr. Faapouli when he returned from active military duty with a service-related disability. The parties’ settlement is embodied in a consent decree which, if approved and entered by the court, will require Fresno County to pay Mr. Faapouli $57,000 in monetary relief, and will enjoin the county from committing future violations of USERRA.

USERRA, enacted to minimize disruption in the lives of returning service members by providing for their prompt reemployment following military service, recognizes the additional burdens faced by returning service members who suffer injuries in the line of duty. The law requires employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate service members who return with a service-related disability by locating a position for which the service member is qualified that is the nearest in seniority, status, and pay to the service member’s pre-service position.

Mr. Faapouli was a Senior Juvenile Correctional Officer in Fresno County’s Probation Department when he was called to active duty with the Navy in June 2004. During a training exercise, Mr. Faapouli suffered severe injuries requiring multiple surgeries and a long period of recuperation. Following his honorable discharge, Mr. Faapouli reported back to work for the County in September 2007. It took Fresno County over nine months to re-employ Mr. Faapouli, and the position in which the county re-employed him had a substantially lower status and pay than Mr. Faapouli’s pre-service position.

"The men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to serve our country deserve to know that they are not also risking losing their jobs when they return home," said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The department is committed to safeguarding the employment rights of our men and women in uniform."

The Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigated and attempted to resolve Mr. Faapouli’s USERRA complaint before referring it to the Department of Justice for litigation. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department’s Web site at www.servicemembers.gov and www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp.

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 26, 2010

NAVY

General Dynamics, National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, is being awarded an $824,642,437 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-02-C-2300) for construction of T-AKE 13 and T-AKE 14, which shall include design and construction, technical manuals, special studies, analyses and reviews, engineering and industrial services, and data. Work will be performed in San Diego, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2013 for T-AKE 13 and Nov. 2014 for T-AKE 14. Contract funds will not expireat the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $114,003,000 letter contract for long-lead time material in support of the anticipated construction of DDG 115 under the DDG 51 class destroyer program. Work will be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio (32.6 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (23.7 percent); Coatesville, Pa. (12.3 percent); Charlottesville, Va. (10.9 percent); Erie, Pa. (6.9 percent); Walpole, Mass. (5.4 percent); Bath, Maine (1.2 percent); Warminster, Pa. (1 percent); and various other locations (6 percent). Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 2012. 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, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-2311).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $67,308,982 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5301) for the fiscal 2010 Standard Missile II (SM-2) option for the production of 46 SM-2 Block IIIA and 16 SM-2 Block IIIB missiles and associated data. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (2.07 percent), and the governments of Korea (96.15 percent), Taiwan (1.16 percent), Japan (.19 percent) and Canada (.43 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (74 percent); Andover, Mass. (18 percent); Camden, Ark. (5 percent); and Farmington, N.M. (3 percent), and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2012. 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.

Lockheed Martin, Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $14,788,646 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5103) to exercise an option for fiscal 2010 Aegis Platform Systems Engineering Agent activities and Aegis Modernization Advanced Capability Build engineering. The Platform Systems Engineering Agent manages the in-service combat systems configurations as well as the integration of new or upgraded capability into the CG57 class of ships and the DDG 51 class of ships. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2011. 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.

Rogers, Lovelock & Fritz, Inc., Winter Park, Fla., is being awarded a $14,515,155 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract (N40080-10-C-0151) to increase the dollar value of the contract for the dental clinic replacement at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility. The work to be performed provides for engineering, architectural and comprehensive interior design services as necessary to support the design effort for the ambulatory care center which will be constructed in two phases. Phase I will provide a diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic services center, a parking structure, and ambulance shelter. Phase II will provide a primary and specialty care center and renovation of Building 1058 with a building connector between the new and renovated facility. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $15,529,753. Work will be performed in Camp Springs, Md., and is expected to be completed by April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Better Built + Clark, LLC*, Middletown, Ohio, is being awarded an $11,300,000 firm-fixed price contract for the design and construction of a new Armed Forces Reserve Center at the Akron-Canton Airport. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a concrete and steel facility. The project will be a replacement for both Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center Akron and Navy Reserve Center Cleveland. The contract also contains two unexercised options which, if exercised, would increase cumulative contract value to $12,050,000. Work will be performed in Akron, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by June 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site,with 17 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Midwest, Great Lakes, Ill., is the contracting activity (N40083-10-C-0021).

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, is being awarded a $10,400,000 modification under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N40085-07-C-1900) for the design-build and construction for the Academic Instruction Facility expansion at the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) complex, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a single-story building with reinforced concrete footings and floors, exterior stud walls with brick veneer, and standing seam metal roof. The work will include complete mechanical/electrical systems as well as paving and site improvements. The facility will consist of classrooms, offices, instructor workspace, library, instructor lounge, student break area, rest rooms, and staff locker room. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by May 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Progeny Systems Corp.*, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $10,394,565 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-6278) to exercise an option for Navy-wide implementation of portal technology for internal and external information sharing requirements and to design, prototype, and demonstrate a common technical architecture for a non-tactical data processing sub-system information automation and reduced manning system or engineering development models. The processes and prototype products developed will apply to submarines, surface ships, surveillance and air platforms. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va., and is expected to be completed by Feb. 2011. 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.

ARMY

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded a $640,122,400 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 1460 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles and 1460 basic issue items. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

KDH Defense Systems, Inc., Johnstown, Pa., was awarded a $87,000,003 firm-fixed-fee contract for 150,000 improved outer tactical vests. Work is to be performed in Eden, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eight bids received. U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-09-D-0049).

Alliant Techsystems Inc., Plymouth, Minn., was awarded a $53,542,304 firm-fixed-price contract for 30,000 M865 120mm cartridges; 15,000 M1002 cartridges; and container handling efforts for the M865 cartridge. Work is to be performed in Middletown, Iowa, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-08-C-0011).

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla., was awarded a $46,257,600 firm-fixed-price contract for 30,000 M865 120mm cartridges and 15,000 M1002 cartridges. Work is to be performed in Middletown, Iowa, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-08- Comtech Mobile Datacom Corp., Germantown, Md., was awarded a $13,750,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the satellite bandwidth, engineering, services and support for Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and Blue Force Tracking (BFT) systems. This is for the continued support of all FBCB2/BFT channels employed worldwide for six months, with one new channel spanning nine months, and support of new software version 6.5. Work is to be performed in Germantown, Md., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth., N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-07-D-J402).

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif., was awarded a $10,729,252 cost-plus-fixed fee contract. This contract is related to the TRUST in Integrated Circuits program to advance science and technology for ensuring integrated circuits can be trusted regardless of their origin and fabrication process. In Phase III, Raytheon will further refine their techniques to protect all stage of the application specific integrated circuits design process. Work is to be performed in El Segundo, Calif. (39 percent); San Jose, Calif. (3 percent); Lexington, Mass. (9 percent); Albuquerque, N.M. (25 percent); Burlington, Mass. (15 percent); and Santa Clara, Calif. (9 percent), with an estimated completion date of Feb. 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 29 bids received. Defense Advances Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-08-C-0005).

American Heroes Radio 100th Anniversary Show Update

American Heroes Radio will broadcast its 100th show, tonight, February 26, 2010, at 1700 hours Pacific. Guest for the Anniversary Show will include:

Former USMC Major Richard Botkin; Private Investigator Jimmie Mesis; former San Francisco Police Department Detective Linda Flanders, former Deputy Sheriff Brian Kinnard; former marine and Howard County Police Department police officer James H. Lilley; Vietnam Veteran Arthur Wiknik; former St. Louis County Police Department law enforcement official Ken Dye; the son of Colonel James R. Haun, a World War II fighter pilot; attorney and former police officer Sean Rogers; Senior Sergeant Martin Katz, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (ret.); Special Agent Bob Hamer, Federal Bureau of Investigation (ret.); Vietnam Veteran and former New York Police Department police officer Joe Sanchez; Vietnam Veteran and retired New York Police Department Detective Alan Sheppard; Retire New York State Correction Officer Al Bermudez Pereira; retired Sergeant Gregory Allen Doyle, Upland Police Department; Lieutenant Art Adkins Gainesville Police Department; Dr. Andrew J. Harvey, retired police captain, educator and author; Detective Don Howell, Huntington Beach Police Department (ret.); and, Captain Frank Root, Arizona Department of Public Safety (ret.).

Listen Live
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lawenforcement/2010/02/27/100th-anniversary-show

Mullen Discusses Marja, Personnel Policy Issues

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 26, 2010 - Progress in Afghanistan's Helmand province, the decision to allow women to serve on Navy submarines, and the year-long "don't ask, don't tell" review now under way are the topics the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff discusses in his latest podcast. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said the mission of Operation Moshtarak -- the anti-insurgent offensive in the former Taliban stronghold of Marja in central Helmand -- has transformed from the "clear" phase to the "hold" phase.

Yesterday's raising of the Afghan government flag at a ceremony in Marja symbolized the end of Taliban dominion in the region.

"The raising of the [Afghan] flag is a significant symbol that that's changed," Mullen said.

In a rare glimpse at their playbook, U.S. and NATO military officials for months before the offensive remarked publicly on the strategic importance of the southern Afghanistan region and the goal to clear the area of Taliban fighters. The rationale for such a declaration of intent was to allow low-level Taliban fighters the chance to flee, and to warn civilians of the impending attack, officials said.

"We clearly informed the population before the operation," Mullen said in his podcast, recorded yesterday. "One of the signature events, as far as I'm concerned, was a meeting of 450 Afghan elders from the area for almost two days, and they all signed up to this."

Speaking about the decision to allow women to serve aboard U.S. Navy submarines, Mullen called the move "a natural progression."

Officials previously had cited a lack of privacy and the cost of reconfiguring submarines as obstacles to allowing female crew members to serve aboard the vessels. But in a push that began late last year, senior defense officials began publicly advocating a reversal of the long-standing Navy policy.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has notified Congress of the Navy's intent to reverse the ban.

"I think it's a very positive step to be taken in terms of the further integration of women into combat roles," Mullen said.

On the current law that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the armed forces, Mullen said a year-long review now under way will seek objective data about the kind of impact a repeal of the law would create.

"Keeping military readiness and effectiveness is at the top of our priorities," he said. "The review seeks that kind of feedback -- done in a systematic way -- where we would understand objectively what the potential impact would be should this change go into effect."

In a congressional hearing earlier this month, Mullen embraced overturning the policy, calling it an issue that strikes at the integrity of the U.S. armed forces as an institution and that of individual servicemembers.

"Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do," Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee Feb. 2.

"No matter how I look at this issue," Mullen told committee members, "I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."

Flag Officer Announcement

February 26, 2010 - Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has made the following nominations:

Navy Reserve Capt. Thomas E. Beeman has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Beeman is currently serving as deputy chief of staff for wounded, ill, and injured, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Washington, D.C.

Navy Reserve Capt. Paula C. Brown has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Brown is currently serving as deputy chief of staff for engineering, U.S. Naval Forces Korea.

Navy Reserve Capt. Charles D. Harr has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Harr is currently serving as commanding officer for Medical Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, New Orleans, La.

Navy Reserve Capt. Gregory C. Horn has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Horn is currently serving as deputy chaplain, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Arlington, Va.

Navy Reserve Capt. Margaret A. Rykowski has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Rykowski is currently serving as reserve fleet surgeon, Third Fleet, San Diego, Calif.

18th Annual DOD Photographer’s Workshop

February 26, 2010 - The workshop is hosted by the Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, MD. The purpose of the workshop is to improve professional knowledge, proficiency and qualifications of DOD Photographers and Photojournalists. Highly renowned workshop faculty members will provide technical instruction to increase the effectiveness, ability, and visual communication skills of attendees to provide the highest quality imagery to the Department of Defense.

Personnel from all Services specializing in Photography and Photojournalism, and DOD employed civilian photographers may apply. Selection for attendance will be competitive and limited to 25 Photographers / Photojournalists. To ensure maximum benefit, those attending the workshop are required to have a strong background and working knowledge in still photography. Attendees will be selected based on their portfolio and command recommendation, which must be received by 2 April 2010.

Details and guidelines for portfolio submissions can be accessed via the worldwide web at http://www.dinfos.dma.mil under special events.

Attendees will be notified the week of 30 April 2010 of their selection to attend. Pertinent details outlining the workshop schedule, TDY orders, funding, billeting and required equipment can be accessed via the worldwide web at http://www.dinfos.dma.mil under special events.

Please direct any questions to TSgt Larry Simmons; Comm. Tel: 301-677-7652 / DSN: 622-7652 / Email: dinfosphotographyworkshop@dinfos.dma.mil

Rohbock Finishes Sixth in Olympic Bobsled Event


By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 26, 2010 - Army National Guard Outstanding Athlete Program bobsled pilot Sgt. Shauna Rohbock teamed with Michelle Rzepka to finish sixth in the Olympic women's bobsled event Feb. 24 at the Whistler Sliding Centre here. Rohbock, of Park City, Utah, finished 1.78 seconds off the winning pace at the treacherous, 16-turn venue with a four-run time of 3 minutes, 34.06 seconds in USA 1.

Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse broke the track record in their first three heats en route to winning the gold medal in 3:32.28. Helen Upperton and Shelly-Ann Brown took the silver aboard Canada 2 with a time of 3:33.13.

Erin Pac, 29, of Farmington, Conn., and Elana Meyers, 25, of Douglasville, Ga., claimed the bronze with a time of 3:33.40 in the USA 2 sled.

"It wasn't the Olympics that I dreamed of for four years, but the U.S. got a medal today, and that's amazing," said Rohbock, a silver medalist at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. "That's awesome. That's all I want to see is the U.S. on that medal stand. I didn't drive the four runs to be on the medal stand and Erin did, so she deserves it. I didn't put together the runs to be on the podium anyway."

Bree Schaaf of Bremerton, Wash., and Emily Azevedo of Chico, Calif., teamed to finish fifth in USA 3 with a time of 3:34.05.

Although North Americans filled the podium and had five of the top six sleds, Team USA competitors struggled to find the fastest lines.

"I figured it out a little too late," said Rohbock, who held the women's track record of 53.53 seconds prior to the games. "It would have been nice to have more runs on this track. You have two of the best drivers in the world, Sandra Kiriasis and [Cathleen] Martini [of Germany] are probably the best drivers in the world, and Martini crashed. So it's a very, very difficult track. It's just a tough one."

Martini's driving mistake in the complicated 11-12-13 curve combination flipped Germany 2. Brakeman Romy Logsch was ejected from the sled and sent sliding down the track on her back. They were disqualified.

"I feel like if I had 10 more runs I could have figured a lot of stuff out," Rohbock said. "Every run I was just trying something different.

"That last run, I tried something different in 11 and almost dumped it," she added with a laugh. "It didn't work out, so I wouldn't do that again."

Team USA bobsledders estimated that they made about 40 runs down the Whistler track, compared to 160 or more by the Canadians.

"Definitely, home-field advantage gave them that edge, for sure," Rohbock said. "They drove four great runs. Every run, I was just trying something new, because what I did before wasn't working. We tried to figure some stuff out, and everybody put their two cents in during the week."

By the same token, Rohbock found it interesting that North Americans were the primary beneficiaries of the track the Europeans found too tough to tame.

"I think it speaks volumes how difficult the track was to have no Germans on the podium," she said. "They've dominated the sport since it started, really. For them not to be on the podium, I think, speaks volumes about the difficulty of the track."

Despite the track's degree of difficulty that drew media scrutiny, the lady bobsledders expressed little fear of one of the most exciting rides of their life.

"We're in the spotlight right now because of the Olympics, but there were 15 crashes when the World Championships were in Altenburg, Germany," Rohbock explained. "I separated my shoulder, and people were breaking their backs and stuff like that. It is in the limelight, and of course the tragedy that did happen here, that's horrible, but it does happen at other tracks, and nobody really hears about them.

"Because it is the Olympic Games," she continued, "everybody wants to build it up. Our sport is dangerous, that's the down part of it, and everybody is aware of it."

Rohbock represented the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program when she struck silver at the 2006 Winter Olympics. She delivered another worldwide boost of military morale from Whistler.

"I'm in the National Guard," she said. "I definitely would not have the silver medal without them, and I wouldn't have had such an amazing year. I had a great season this year, and I've had amazing seasons leading up.

"It's sad that one race defines you to the world, because this is all they really see," she added. "There are a lot of amazing drivers that didn't get on that podium today, and they've been amazing for years, and nobody will know this because they only see this one day."

Although these likely were Rohbock's last Olympic runs, she is not ready to slide off into the sunset just yet.

"I'd like to maybe end in Konigssee, Germany, next year," she said. "I race really well there. Maybe get a world championship, since I missed one in Lake Placid [winning silver in 2009]. It would be awesome to get a world championship on a German track, because I've won there before and I know I can drive very well there."

So she's not ready to park the sled.

"I don't think this year, no, but I don't know about four more," Rohbock concluded. "I don't want to say 'no,' because I don't want to be that person that says I'm done."

(Tim Hipps works in the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command public affairs office.)

Academy Women to Become First Female Submariners

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 26, 2010 - Female sailors will begin serving on submarines by the end of next year, with Naval Academy graduates leading the way, Navy leaders told a Senate committee yesterday. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Navy is in a good position to move forward with integrating women onto submarines.

"We think we learned a lot about integrating women in the services years ago, and those lessons are relevant today," Mabus said. Those lessons, he said, include having a "critical mass" of female candidates, having senior women to serve as mentors, and having submarines that don't require modifications: the SSBN ballistic missile and SSGN guided-missile subs.

Finally, Mabus said, "We have the lesson learned to make sure any questions are answered, ... and we're very open and transparent on how we'll do this. We think this is a great idea that will enhance our warfighting capabilities."

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates notified Congress on Feb. 19 of the intended change to Navy policy. Mabus had pushed for the change since taking office in May. Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, endorsed the change, saying in a statement released in September that his experience commanding a mixed-gender surface-combatant ship makes him "very comfortable" integrating women into the submarine force. The Navy changed its policy to allow women to serve on combatant ships in 1993.

"We have a great plan, and we're ready to go for the first women to come aboard in late 2011," Roughead told the Senate committee yesterday. In a prepared statement to the committee, he said the change would enable the submarine force "to leverage the tremendous talent and potential of our female officers and enlisted personnel."

Besides the incoming officers from the academy, the first women submariners will include female supply corps officers at the department head level, Roughead said. The change will be phased in over time to include enlisted female sailors on the SSBN and SSGNs, he said. Women will be added to the Navy's SSN fast-attack submarines after necessary modifications can be determined, he said.

"This initiative has my personal attention, and I will continue to keep you informed as we integrate these highly motivated and capable officers into our submarine force," Roughead told the committee.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Back Pay to Vet

New York City Department of Correction Agrees to Promotion and Back Pay for U.S. Army Veteran in Settlement of Civil Rights Suit


February 25, 2010 - PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that the New York City Department of Correction ("NYCDOC") has agreed to promote and provide back pay to EMILIO PENNES, a United States Army veteran and NYCDOC employee. In settlement of a suit filed by the United States under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act of 1994 ("USERRA"), and under the terms approved today by United States District Judge JED S. RAKOFF, NYCDOC has agreed to promote PENNES within 30 days and pay almost three years' worth of back pay.

USERRA was enacted in 1994 to protect service members from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to serving in the uniformed services. Subject to certain limitations, USERRA provides that an employer cannot deny an employee employment benefits, including promotional opportunities, on account of military status.

According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:

PENNES has been a member of the United States Army Reserves since 1985 and has worked for NYDOC since 1987, where he currently holds the position of Assistant Deputy Warden. PENNES has been called to active military duty on multiple occasions, including a one year period in 2004 and 2005, during which time he served in Iraq, near Tikrit.

On February 6, 2007, the Army ordered PENNES to report to active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; he commanded an administrative unit in Orlando, Florida, whose purpose was to provide medical and psychological support to soldiers returning from Iraq.

Before PENNES was activated to Florida, he had applied to NYCDOC for a promotion to the position of Deputy Warden. While he was on active duty, NYCDOC contacted him and informed him that he would be interviewed for the position on March 29, 2007. PENNES explained that he was unable to attend an interview on that date because he was on active duty with the military in Florida. Although PENNES offered to do the interview on any date from March 23 to March 26, 2007, or by telephone or videoconference, NYCDOC refused to interview PENNES unless he appeared in person on March 29, 2007, a date when NYCDOC knew that PENNES' military duties took him out of state.

Consequently, PENNES was not interviewed for the position nor offered a promotion to Deputy Warden, even though a selection memo ranked him first among the 13 candidates for the position prior to the interviews. The Commissioner of the Department instead skipped over PENNES and selected the next seven applicants for the promotion.

Under the terms of today's settlement, NYCDOC agreed to promote PENNES to Deputy Warden within 30 days, with such promotion being retroactive to June 20, 2007, the date he would have become Deputy Warden had he been permitted to interview. In addition, NYCDOC agreed to provide PENNES with the full back pay and benefits that he would have received had he been promoted to Deputy Warden on that date. NYCDOC made the agreement without admitting fault.

"We are pleased that the New York City Department of Correction has recognized the importance of Mr. Pennes' service to his country." Mr. BHARARA said. "A patriot who is willing to risk everything for our safety should not have to worry about losing his or her place in line for opportunities in civilian life. We are committed to redressing discrimination against our nation's veterans, to whom our country owes a deep and lasting debt."

Assistant United States Attorneys DAVID J. KENNEDY and BRIAN K. MORGAN are in charge of the case.

DOD Announces Fubini Award Recipient

February 25, 2010 - Secretary of Defense Robert Gates presented today the Eugene G. Fubini Award for 2009 to James R. Schlesinger in the ceremony at the Pentagon. The award was established in 1996 by then-Secretary of Defense William J. Perry to recognize each year an individual from the private sector who has made highly significant contributions to the Department of Defense in an advisory capacity over a period of time. Eugene Fubini, the first recipient of the award, was known for his innovation, willingness to tell leadership what they needed to hear, and fearless and powerful perseverance in providing independent advice.

Over the years, Schlesinger has given freely of his time to DoD advisory activities, including a longstanding tenure as a member the Defense Policy Board and service on several DSB task forces.

He compiled a long standing history of work with the DSB including notable work on the Task Force on the Future of the Global Positioning System. The study resulted in the revitalization of the DoD's GPS program.

Military Must Better Prepare Against Internal Threats, General Says

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2010 - The Defense Department must "plan more diligently" and "seek to envision" internal threats to prevent tragedies like the mass shooting at Fort Hood last year from happening again, an independent military panel told Congress members today.

Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe, told the House Appropriations Committee's Defense Subcommittee the panel "was very impressed with the military and civilian response" to the Nov. 5 shootings. Ham is an advisor to the DoD Independent Review Related to Fort Hood, co-chaired by retired Navy Adm. Vernon E. Clark, a former chief of naval operations, and former Army Secretary Togo D. West Jr. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates created the panel and received its report Jan. 15.

Initial responders to the shooting were "prompt and effective" and prevented deaths, Ham said in a prepared statement that was released to the public. The subcommittee hearing was closed.

The alleged shooter at Fort Hood, Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, is believed to have adopted a radicalized version of Islam leading up to the shooting in which 13 people were killed.

"DoD needs to develop a better understanding of the forces that cause a person to become radicalized, commit vulnerable acts, and make us vulnerable from within," Ham said. "DoD must exercise the foresight necessary to identify the looming menace – self radicalization and its often resultant violence – and act preemptively."

The panel's review revealed "shortcomings in the way DoD is prepared to deal with internal threats, and in particular, the threat posed by troubled and potentially dangerous individuals and groups," Ham said.

Commanders are the key to monitoring such threats, but policies must be changed to acknowledge the threat and help identify and address those likely to become violent, the general said. Current policies only address active and visible participation in groups that may pose a threat to good order and discipline, he said.

"This lack of clarity for comprehensive indicators limits commanders' and supervisors' ability to recognize potential threats," Ham said. Detecting potential violence from within "requires observation and assessment of behavioral cues and anomalies," he said.

Because no senior official is given overall responsibility for force protection policy, it is hard to synchronize the process of gathering, evaluating and disseminating indications of a potential threat, Ham said. Furthermore, some policies inside and outside of the department and between agencies do not support detecting problems, he said.

"The time has passed when concerns by specific entities over protecting 'their' information can be allowed to prevent relevant threat information and indicators from reaching those who need it – the commanders," Ham said. "Robust information-sharing is essential."

While every state has complied with federal requirements to synchronize crisis response through the National Incident Management System, there are "no established milestones to define Defense Department capability," Ham said.

"Using common emergency management principles, we can prepare our military communities to respond to emergencies from the smallest incident to the largest catastrophe," he said.

Gates, Israeli Counterpart Discuss Security Issues

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

February 25, 2010 - WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was slated to host Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack at the Pentagon today to continue their ongoing discussions about a broad range of security issues, including Iran, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

Morrell called the afternoon session, their fourth over the past year, an opportunity for Gates to reaffirm the United States' "unshakable commitment to Israeli security."

The two were expected to discuss issues related to bilateral security cooperation, particularly ballistic missile defense, and the Middle East peace process.

Part of the discussion likely will address Army Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton's work overseeing training of Palestinian Authority security forces in his role as U.S. security coordinator for the Israel-Palestinian Authority. The intent, Morrell explained, is to build confidence in Israel that the Palestinian Authority is able to maintain security within its boundaries and prevent attacks from the West Bank or Gaza that threaten innocent Israelis.

Iran's nuclear program also was expected to be a major agenda item at today's meeting. Israel and the United States share concerns about Iran's activities, particularly its "failure to respond to a year of sustained and genuine outreach," Morrell said.

This "has left the international community no choice" but to pursue robust sanctions, he added.

Morrell emphasized that the United States has not given up on its attempts to engage with Iran, despite past efforts he conceded have been "largely spurned."

"Even as we go down the pressure track, even as we go around the world trying to solicit support from our allies to bring sanctions against Iran to make them compliant with international strictures on their nuclear program, we keep that door open to engagement," he said. "Just because we're down the pressure track doesn't mean the engagement track is closed off."

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 25, 2010

AIR FORCE

Raytheon Co., Aurora, Colo., was awarded an $886,440,679 contract which will provide for command, control and mission support for the Block II and Block III family of satellites; support existing and new interface; and support the evolution of the systems to a net-centric paradigm. At this time, $300,000 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (N61339-03-D-0300).

Northrop Grumman Defense Mission Systems, Inc., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $77,915,492 contract which will provide a modification to an existing undefinitized contract action. It authorizes the maintenance and support of the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node System in support of overseas contingency operations through fiscal year 2010. At this time, $58,436,619 has been obligated. 653d ELSG/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8726-09-C-0010,P00008).

IAP Worldwide Services, Inc., Cape Canaveral, Fla., was awarded a $17,311,273 contract which will exercise option 2 to perform civil engineering services for Hanscom Air Force Base. At this time, $1,232,959 has been obligated. 66 CONS/LGCA, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA2835-08-D-0001, P00011).

ARMY

Cajun Constructors, Inc., Baton Rouge, La., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $237,680,048 firm-fixed-price contract for the preconstruction services and construction option(s) for levee improvements to the Chalmette Loop Levee-Hwy 46 to River (Verret to Caernarvon), Reach 148.02, in St. Bernard Parish, La. Work is to be performed in St. Bernard Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of June 1, 2011. Bids were solicted on the World Wide Web with five bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-10-C-0047).

GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, JV, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $71,814,501 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract is for contractor support to field services representatives and system support parts. Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2011. One bid was solicted with one bid received. Tank Automotive & Armament Commans, SFAE-GCS-BCT-P, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $46,903,107 firm-fixed-price contract option for four UH-60M aircraft for the Air Force. Work is to be performed in Stratford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One bid was solicted with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, CCAM-BH-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

AAI Corp., Hunt Valley, Md., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $23,698,842 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System performance based logistics incremental funding. Work is to be performed in Hunt Valley, Md., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2010. One bid was solicted with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation & Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-10-C-0006).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Fla., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $21,022,094 firm-fixed-price contract for an undefinitized contract action for Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan for Javelin FY 09-11 hardware production. Work is to be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (50 percent), and Orlando, Fla. (50 percent), with an estimated completion date of Jan. 17, 2011. One bid was solicted with one bid received. Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Command, CCAM-TM-H, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-09-C-0376).

ITT Corp., Systems Division, Colorado Springs, Colo., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, a $15,365,387 cost-plus-fixed-fee for a task order awarded under the Field & Installation Readiness Support Team multiple award indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity for Army pre-positioned stocks (APS-5) maintenance, supply and transportation services in support of APS-5 and direct theater support, Southwest Asia Mission. Location of services is 2-401st Army Field Support Brigade, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Work is to be performed in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2014. Bids were solicted on the World Wide Web with five bids received. Army Contracting Center, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W911SE-07-D-0006).

S.M. Wilson & Co., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded on Feb. 22, 2010, an $11,599,000 firm-fixed-price contract for project number 149652, digital training facility, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. This project will construct an automated-aided instructional facility to support digital education for professional military educational courses. Work is to be performed in Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 15, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 10 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CECT-NWK-M, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-10-C-4006).

NAVY

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Raleigh, N.C., is being awarded a $136,331,000 firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of multiple facilities at Wallace Creek Phase II, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Work provides for the design and construction of Yhe Wallace Creek Regimental Complex Phase II which consists of a total of eight FY10 military construction appropriations, including 12 new major structures. These projects will construct the necessary administrative headquarters, operational, maintenance, mission support, and bachelor enlisted quarters facilities to support the U.S. Marines stationed at Wallace Creek. These projects will also construct the necessary supporting facilities; demolition and site clearing; pavements; landscaping and other site improvements; grading and drainage; and utilities. Phase II will provide parking for 1,582 personally-owned vehicles and heavy-duty pavements for parking up to 226 tactical vehicles. The contract contains one option which, if exercised, would increase the cumulative contract value to $145,076,000. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by October 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with 16 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-10-C-5312).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Annapolis, Md., is being awarded a $49,099,073 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for services and materials for depot level repair and maintenance of airborne mine countermeasures systems. Systems include: AN/AQS-14A sonar detecting set; AN/AQS-24 mine hunting system; AN/ALQ-141 acoustic minehunting/minesweeping system; CP-2614/T common post mission analysis; and USM-668 intermediate level test equipment and swivel slip-ring assembly. Work will be performed in Panama City, Fla., and is expected to be completed by February 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $100,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61331-10-D-0009).

Rolls Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a $45,137,679 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0020) to exercise an option for contractor logistics support and technical engineering support services for the KC-130J aircraft propulsion system for the Marine Corps, which includes the AE 2100D3 turboprop engine and the R 391 propeller. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be completed in February 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.

Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $25,599,500 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-10-C-5124) for technical and engineering support and related operation and maintenance of the Navy's combat systems engineering development site and technical engineering support of the SPY-1A test lab and Naval Systems Computing Center. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (57 percent), and the governments of Japan (34 percent) and Norway (9 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J., and is expected to be completed by October 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Information Technology, Needham, Mass., is being awarded $13,699,434 for delivery order #0013 under previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-09-D-4726) to provide capability for the fielding of Marine Corps enterprise IT services, a Marine Corps enterprise transformation and modernization initiative. Work will be performed in Stafford, Va. (50 percent); Kansas City, Mo. (20 percent); Quantico, Va. (12 percent); Camp Lejeune, N.C. (12 percent); Cherry Point, N.C. (5 percent); and Norfolk, Va. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC, Thousand Oaks, Calif., is being awarded a $7,413,715 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for the design, fabrication, integration, calibration and testing of the flight sensor chip assembly, a principal component of the Joint Milli-Arcsecond Pathfinder Survey satellite. Work will be performed in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and is expected to be completed February 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $250,000 will expire at end of current fiscal year. The contract was procured under other than full and open competition request for proposal number N00173-10-R-SE01. A synopsis was posted in Federal Business Opportunities, with one offer received. The Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N000173-10-C-6005).

Harris Corp. Government Communications Systems Division, Melbourne, Fla., is being awarded a $7,160,530 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced contract (N00019-06-C-0087) to exercise an option for the full rate production of 148 fiber channel network switches, a component of the advanced mission computer and display for the F/A-18 E/F, E/A-18G and E-2D aircrafts, and 4 mounting kits for the E-2D. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Fla., and is expected to be completed in December 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.

INTEVAC Photonics, Inc., Carlsbad, Calif., is being awarded a $6,852,700 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity supply contract for high resolution low light camera systems (HRLLC) configured as monoculars, binoculars, and goggles. The HRLLC system is for electronic imaging cameras that operate in the near infrared to the short wave infrared region of the spectrum. The camera is composed of an objective lens, low light focal plane array (electron bombarded), electronic display and eyepiece optics. Work will be performed in Carlsbad, Calif., and is expected to be completed by March 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $431,400 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, with one offer received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-D-JQ53).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Bell Helicopter Textron, Hurst, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $43,612,765 firm-fixed-price, sole-source, undefinitized contract action for procurement of 51 individual line items of interim supply support of the AH-1Z helicopter system. There are no other locations of performance. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia (DSCR-ZCBB), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-06-G-0003-THPX-THPY).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $37,660,756 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for C-2 aircraft outer wing panel sets. Other location of performance is in Florida. Using service is Navy. 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 a two-year long term requirements contract. The date of performance completion is Feb. 1, 2014. The Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia (DSCR-ZCC), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPRPA1-10-D-001Z).

Ameriqual Group, LLC, d/b/a Ameriqual Packaging, Evansville, Ind. is being awarded a maximum $37,520,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE). There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally three proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM3S1-06-D-Z103).

The Wornick Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, is being awarded a maximum $30,730,000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE). There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally three proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM3S1-06-D-Z105).

Sopakco, Inc.*, Mullins, S.C., is being awarded a maximum $24,890.000 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE). There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. There were originally three proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM3S1-06-D-Z104).

Military Steps Up Battle Against Sexual Assault

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2010 - The military is addressing the problem of sexual assault, but more needs to be done, officials acknowledged in testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday. Kaye Whitley, chief of the Defense Department's sexual assault prevention and response office, Louis Iasiello, the co-chair of the Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services, and Brig. Gen. Sharon K.G. Dunbar, Air Force director of force-management policy and deputy co-chair and member of the task force, briefed the committee on progress to date and what remains to be done.

Iasiello, a retired Navy rear admiral, said the task force visited 60 installations around the world and interviewed more than 3,500 people, including 61 victims of sexual assault. The people ranged from military police to prosecutors to victim-rights advocates to medical personnel. The task force also spoke with leaders and commanders at all levels. The group presented its report to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Dec. 1.

"The report recognizes the progress [the Defense Department] has made in victim response since it inaugurated its sexual assault prevention and response program in 2005," Iasiello said.

He detailed some of the task force's conclusions and how they affect the Defense Department. The group recommended that the deputy secretary of defense take responsibility for the sexual assault prevention and response office for at least a year or until the defense secretary assures Congress that the office is meeting its goals. The task force also recommends that the office become permanent and that reporting requirements, terminology and treatment be standardized across the services.

Another recommendation calls for victim advocates to receive training to meet national accreditation standards. The advocates should be Defense Department civilians or uniformed personnel, and not contractors, Iasiello said.

The task force also recommended more research into sexual assault prevention and response to ensure the best practices are in place throughout the services.

Dunbar stressed that prevention should be the No. 1 priority for the sexual assault prevention and response office. She complimented the Army for its program and said the rest of the services are following that lead. "Treatment of victims has demonstrably improved, but much more needs to be done in that area," she said.

The general called for more consistency among the services, given the prevalence of joint operations. She said more consistency is needed between the active and reserve components, but admitted that not enough research or data are available to prove that need.

And the sexual assault prevention and response office itself needs to expand, Dunbar said. "It was founded to address victims' issues," she explained, "but it needs to address prevention and data accountability and consistency."

Prevention is key, and it needs to include bystander intervention and community awareness, Dunbar said. She said training to prevent sexual assault needs to be a continuum, and that military personnel should receive this training at various key points in their careers. Prevention, she said, needs engaged leadership and increased awareness and candid discussion at all levels.

This is an important initiative, Whitley said. "Sexual assault levies a tremendous human toll, disrupts lives and destroys the human spirit," she said. "We have made progress, but we know we have much more to do."

Navy to Christen USNS Charles Drew

February 25, 2010 - The Navy will christen and launch the dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Charles Drew, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, during a 7 a.m. PST ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.

Surgeon General Vice Adm. Regina Benjamin, U.S. Public Health Service, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Bebe Drew Price, the eldest daughter of the ship's namesake, will serve as ship's sponsor. The ceremony will include the time-honored Navy tradition of the sponsor breaking a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship.

Continuing the Lewis and Clark-class (T-AKE) tradition of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers, the Navy's newest underway replenishment ship recognizes Dr. Charles R. Drew (1904-1950), a physician and medical researcher whose ground-breaking work led to the discovery that blood could be separated into plasma. The model for blood and plasma storage developed by Drew has saved untold lives and is the same process used today by the Red Cross. In the early 1940s, he became one of the first African-American surgeons to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

Designated T-AKE 10, Charles Drew is the tenth ship of the class, a program of 14 ships. As a combat logistics force ship, Charles Drew will help the Navy maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel, and other cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea.

T-AKE 10 is the first Navy ship named after Drew. As part of Military Sealift Command's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, Charles Drew is designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS) and will be crewed by 124 civil service mariners and 11 Navy sailors. The ship is designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea and can carry two helicopters. The ship is 689 feet in length, has an overall beam of 106 feet, has a navigational draft of 30 feet, displaces approximately 42,000 tons, and is capable of reaching a speed of 20 knots using a single-shaft, diesel-electric propulsion system.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. Additional information about the T-AKE class of ship is available on line at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4400&tid=500&ct=4.

Cardiologist Shares Ways to Maintain Healthy Heart

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2010 - Almost every minute, someone dies of a heart-related cause in the United States. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in this country, killing more than 400,000 people a year. "A healthy diet and an exercise program can significantly reduce someone's risk of developing heart disease," Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Scott Moore, chief of cardiology for the 59th Medical Wing at Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, told listeners during a "Dot Mil Docs" interview today.

A heart attack is a sudden blockage that forms in one of the blood vessels that supplies the heart. "It's usually a clot that happens on top of existing plaque," Moore said. This prevents oxygen from getting to the heart, he explained, and can cause failure of heart muscles or abnormal heart rhythms, which could potentially be fatal.

Diet is an important part of having a healthy heart, Moore said. Consuming a variety of vegetables and fruits on a daily basis and choosing lean meat can help in preventing heart disease. Eating unrefined whole grains can help to reduce cholesterol, along with fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout and herring.

"If you do that twice a week, that can significantly lower your risk of death from a heart-related cause," Moore said.

The American Heart Association also recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week as a part of leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. Moderate exercise can include brisk walking, running, bicycling and the treadmill. "Getting 30 minutes of a brisk aerobic routine in really meets that need," he said.

Risk factors for heart disease include a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and tobacco use.

"It's important for all of us to continue to see our doctor on a regular basis to get screened for these [so] that these risk factors are appropriately being addressed."

A variety of symptoms warn when a heart attack is occurring. One of the main symptoms is chest discomfort that begins in the center of the chest, Moore said. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating and a radiating pain in the arm, neck, jaw or stomach. Women commonly have the symptoms outside of chest pain which sometimes make their diagnosis less straight-forward, he added.

When experiencing these symptoms, Moore said, the best thing to do is to call 911. "Time is very important in treating heart attacks," he said. By calling the emergency medical service most patients receive life-saving treatment up to an hour sooner than someone going to the hospital by car, he explained.

Another benefit in calling 911 is that hospitals in many cities coordinate with the paramedics to activate heart attack treatment teams before patients even leave their homes. In those cases, a team is waiting at the hospital when the patient arrives and can begin treatment immediately.

(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Military Saves is About Readiness

By Carol Kando-Pineda

February 25, 2010 - A firm financial footing certainly helps service members – but it’s also a big boost to the armed forces as a whole. Financial readiness helps the military stay focused on its mission. But financial stability takes knowledge plus consistent action over time. So DoD and its non-profit partner, Consumer Federation of America, sponsor Military Saves Week to focus service members’ attention on saving and investing. The Federal Trade Commission is one of DoD’s partners in Financial Readiness and encourages all service members and their families to participate in

Military Saves – during Military Saves Week and beyond.

Military Saves Week runs from Feb 21 through 28. This year’s theme — Start Small, Think Big — encourages everyone in the military community to save – at whatever ever level they can. The goal for this year’s campaign is to give service members and their families the tools to avoid common financial pitfalls — overreliance on credit, spending beyond their means, and not being able to retire comfortably.

Ultimately, Military Saves Week is meant to ensure that service members and their families are financially stable and prepared to support military operations.

Visit www.militarysaves.org and register to take the “saver pledge” to develop a personal savings plan, establish an emergency fund and enroll in the Thrift Savings Plan. And stop by the Financial Readiness Fair at the Pentagon until February 26. The office of Military Community and Family Policy sponsors this informative exhibit – on the 2nd Floor at the 9th and 10th Apex. The FTC and many other DoD financial readiness partners will be there with free information to increase your financial fitness.

Philippine Forces Challenge Children to be 'Heroes'


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

Feb. 25, 2010 - Philippine national police here are working to forge a better future by teaching young people what it means to be a "hero" in their community. Operation Junior Hero began a little more than six months ago here in the southern Philippines. Police teach grade-schoolers about their legal rights as children in the Philippines and to be drug free. Children also learn about the dangers of terrorism and improvised explosive devices in their neighborhoods.

But above all, the police stress the importance of leading honest lives for the good of the nation.

"Children are the future of our country, and they can be heroes by being good citizens, good students in school and good members of their families," Police Capt. Ramil Lluisma, said Feb. 23 during a program at Francisco L.L. Laya Memorial School here. "Someday they will become adults, and we want them to be good citizens for our country."

Among the many challenges that trouble the Philippines, especially in the southern provinces, are violence, drug trafficking, terrorist safe havens and, in some areas, complete lawlessness, Lluisma explained.

And although Philippine security forces focus much effort on reducing those problems, it's important for the children to understand the issues as well. The program's hope is that empowering the youth through knowledge and education will help them become respectable citizens in their adult lives and prevent them from falling into corruption and criminal conduct, he said.

The program is based around a series of lectures, which include anti-drug talks and information about child abuse. Although sitting through lectures may seem dull to most children, the students Lluisma speaks to always seem to respond well, he said, perhaps because they also receive comic books, crayons, coloring books, T-shirts and Operation Junior Hero bracelets.

But before the children can take their new goodies and play, the police lecturer explains the contents of the comic and coloring books. The coloring book is a story about a boy who loses one of his legs to a roadside bomb, and the comic book depicts a super hero who fights terrorism and practices being a good citizen of the Philippines.

The highlight of the program is giving the children the novelties, Lluisma said. "They love to learn," he added, "and they want to make our country better."

The novelties also are meant to inspire the children to report wrongdoings they may see in their community, Lluisma explained. Children who do report criminal activities or roadside bombs, he said, are recognized for their support.

The program ends with the children taking a sworn oath of good citizenship. They raise their right hands and pledge to be drug-free, to report criminal activities and to try their best in school. More than 10 schools have participated in the program so far, with 150 to 300 children taking the oath.

"With this program, we want to give the children the moral values, the knowledge to be junior heroes," he said. "Be a law-abiding citizen who stays away from drugs, makes good in school and does not associate with terrorists, and to be a professional someday. That's what we want from these kids."

U.S. forces from Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines and Philippine soldiers also attend the Operation Junior Hero events. The troops help to create the novelties and assist in the program's development. U.S. soldiers often speak to the children as well to show their gratitude for Philippine security forces.

Care Packages for Guard Families


By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2010 - Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, joined USO volunteers here Feb. 23 in putting together care packages for the families of 3,000 Florida National Guard servicemembers who will deploy in the coming weeks. "The items in these packages will make life just a little bit easier for them," Biden said, "whether it's a disposable camera, a grocery store gift card or a pre-paid phone card. For the servicemembers serving abroad and missing their loved ones, these packages will bring some comfort, knowing that their families have not been forgotten."

The event at the District of Columbia National Guard Armory was the first of its kind, USO officials said, because the care packages are for family members rather than for servicemembers.

"It's really a message to all of our military families," said Sloan Gibson, president and chief executive officer of the USO. "It's really a reminder to all Americans of the profound sacrifice that our families are going through at the very same time that their loved ones are serving and sacrificing in harm's way."

Biden, whose son is a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, understands how much these packages mean to the troops.

"I have seen firsthand just how much a small act of kindness can mean to a servicemember," she said. "When my son, Beau, touched down on U.S. soil after a yearlong deployment to Iraq, he was greeted by veterans and volunteers who shook his hand, handed him a cell phone to call home and said, 'Thank you for your service.'

"He said, 'Mom, you have no idea how that meant to every member who was on that plane returning home.'"

Cheryl McKinley, the wife of Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said she was excited that the USO wanted to include the National Guard in this inaugural event.

"I thought that was a great idea," she said.

As they filled the care packages, volunteers said they hoped that the items would make some aspect of daily life a little easier for the family members of deploying Guardsmen.

"Today is about our military families," Gibson said. "And it's an opportunity for all of us to say 'thank you' to the several thousand National Guard families that are going to receive these packages."

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy works with the National Guard Bureau.)

Gates Calls for Building Foreign Troops' Capacity

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 24, 2010 - The United States should devote more energy and overseas aid dollars towards developing the local security forces of other countries, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said tonight in a speech advocating an overhaul of U.S. foreign capacity building. With the prospect of grand scale nation-building projects like Afghanistan and Iraq unlikely in the near future, Gates said, the U.S. should narrow its focus to smaller projects geared towards training indigenous troops and foreign security sectors to maintain their own national defense concerns.

"I believe our ability to help other countries better provide for their own security will be a key and enduring test of America's global leadership in the 21st century, and a critical part of protecting our own security," he said during an event sponsored by the foreign policy think-tank the Nixon Center, which bestowed on Gates its Distinguished Service Award.

The remarks amplified Gates' familiar refrain that the U.S. should seek to identify developing problems abroad and assist foreign governments through nonmilitary means, a tack that represents a departure from what the secretary has referred to as a "creeping militarization" in American foreign policy.

Gates, who has received praise for his role as an outspoken advocate of non-military functions like diplomacy and development, underscored his awareness that interagency partnership can tend towards lopsidedness, with the Defense Department's massive top-line budget and resources sometimes dwarfing those of other government agencies.

"As a career CIA officer who watched the military's role in intelligence grow ever larger, I am keenly aware that the defense department -- by its sheer size -- is not only the 800-pound gorilla of our government," he said, "but one with a sometimes very active pituitary gland."

In a gesture of interagency equity, the secretary last year sent a policy proposal to the State Department that would pool a portion of the two departments' funding and require both Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to authorize projects for foreign capacity building, stabilization and conflict prevention. Unlike Cold War-era structures and processes, Gates said, his proposal would "incentivize collaboration" between agencies.

While Gates seemed to have no particular fealty to the specific capacity-building policy he sent to Clinton in 2009, he highlighted a series of principles that he said should guide a reshaping of the interagency approach. Funding to grow indigenous security forces overseas and other similar projects aimed at global hotspots should be outside of conventional budgetary channels, he said.

"For predictable, ongoing requirements this is appropriate and manageable," he said. "But as recent history suggests, it is not well suited to the emerging and unforeseen threats -- or opportunities -- coming most often from failed and fragile states."

Charting American capacity building projects since before the outbreak of WWII, Gates cited the milestone U.S. lend-lease policy that shipped some $31 billion worth of U.S. supplies -- in 1940s dollars -- to Great Britain over the course of the war, and pointed to Cold War assistance sent to Western Europe and elsewhere.

The U.S. military now recognizes the value of building local security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, he said, which represents a significant transformation since the U.S.-led wars began there.

"Efforts to train the Afghan and later the Iraqi security forces were not an institutional priority within the military services -- where such assignments were not considered career enhancing for ambitious young officers -- and relied heavily on contractors and reservists," he said "More recently, the advisory missions in both the Afghan and Iraq campaigns have received the attention they deserve in leadership, resources and personnel."

The secretary said the U.S. would be unlikely in the near-term to carry out missions on the scope of the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he said the department concluded recently that it would probably face similar but smaller threat scenarios.

"We are unlikely to repeat a mission on the scale of Iraq or Afghanistan anytime soon -- that is, forced regime change followed by nation-building under fire...but we are still likely to face scenarios calling on a similar tool-kit of capabilities, albeit on a smaller scale," he said.

Gates referred to threats emanating from fractured or failing states, which he called "the ideological and security challenge of our time." He added: "It is the primary institutional challenge as well."

Bobsledding Soldiers Turn to Four-man Event



By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 25, 2010 - As the four-man bobsled event draws closer here, Vermont National Guardsman and Army World Class Athlete Program bobsled pilot Sgt. John Napier said he feels more at home with WCAP brakeman 1st Lt. Chris Fogt in his Olympic four-man sled at the Whistler Sliding Centre here. The pair began training together aboard USA II on Feb. 23 with civilian teammates Chuck Berkeley of Clayton, Calif., and Steve Langton of Melrose, Mass., aboard for the Olympic four-man event scheduled for tomorrow and Feb. 27.

"I love four-man," said Napier, 23, of Lake Placid, N.Y. "I don't know why, I can't explain it, but it's just so much easier. In a four-man sled, I just feel like I'm at home. My only [World Cup] win was in a two-man, so I know it doesn't add up, but the feeling of driving four-man is indescribable. My sled and I get along really well on this track."

Napier gained a lot of confidence by finishing 10th in the Olympic two-man event Feb. 20 and 21 on the world's fastest bobsled track. His four-man crew feels fortunate to have Napier at the helm.

"I wasn't nervous about training, because our pilot, John, drives four-man really well," said Fogt, 26, of Alpine, Utah. "I never doubt him. We're ready to roll and we feel confident as a team."

Langton was Napier's brakeman for the Olympic two-man event.

"We had two really great runs today," Langton said. "You can tell John loves driving four-man. I think we can be in medal contention. We're a great team together. We can reel them in this week."

Berkeley also said he feels comfortable behind Napier, who began bobsledding at age 8.

"I was a little curious to see what would happen today because there's been a lot of hype about the track and the speed," Berkeley said. "I was curious, but I wasn't worried. I've got John Napier driving me, and that's always a good thing and a safe bet."

Army National Guard Outstanding Athlete Program bobsled pilot Mike Kohn, 37, of Chantilly, Va., will drive the USA III sled in the four-man event. He teamed with Nick Cunningham of Monterey, Calif., to finish 12th in the two-man competition aboard USA III. Jamie Moriarty of Winnetka, Ill., and Bill Schuffenhauer of Ogden, Utah, will join them in the four-man sled.

"I feel good," Kohn said. "The first run felt better than the second, but I tried some different stuff. Training lets you figure out what works for you. The first run was quick.

"Nick and I are tired after two-man, and I'm sure all the two-man guys are tired going into this, but Billy and Jamie picked up the slack for us today. I'm looking forward to another great day of training."

Cunningham already has a second wind for his second Olympic event.

"Mike is driving like he's been down the track a bunch of times," he said. "He's still finding the perfect line and every run gets a little bit better. He's tinkering here and there, but it feels smoother. Usually four-man is a rougher ride in the back of the sled than two-man, but he's driving amazingly. We are so happy to be in the back of his sled and hopefully we can push among the top five teams."

Schuffenhauer said he can't wait to get his competitive Olympic experience started.

"This is game time," he said. "We've come together as a team at the last minute and put together some great focus as a team. Our race is at the end of the Olympics, so the anticipation of watching the two-man has gotten us excited.

Now it's our opportunity to come out and shine."

Former WCAP driver Steve Holcomb will lead the parade of Team USA sleds by driving USA I with push athletes Justin Olsen of San Antonio, Steve Mesler of Buffalo, N.Y., and Curt Tomasevicz of Shelby, Neb.

(Tim Hipps works in the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command public affairs office.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

National Guard (in Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of February 23, 2010

February 24, 2010 - This week the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Air Force announced an increase. The net collective result is 137 fewer reservists activated than last week.

At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. The total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 110,806; Navy Reserve, 6,574; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 16,790; Marine Corps Reserve, 6,399; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 762. This brings the total National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been activated to 141,331, including both units and individual augmentees.

A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel who are currently activated may be found at http://www.defense.gov/news/d20100223ngr1.pdf.

Tanker Solicitation Seeks Fair Competition, Best Value

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 24, 2010 - The final request for proposals to solicit bids for a new aerial tanker was designed to promote fair, open competition that provides the best warfighting capability for the best value, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said here today.

Meanwhile, the process will serve as a model for the Defense Department's acquisition reform effort, Lynn said, eliminating requirements added after the contract award that drive up costs and delay delivery.

Lynn joined Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley and Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, in unveiling details of the solicitation for a new KC-X aerial tanker. The new tanker will replace the Air Force's aging KC-135 Stratotanker fleet that refuels other aircraft in flight to extend their reach and warfighting capability.

The highly detailed request for proposals released today -- which includes 372 mandatory requirements and incorporates 230 mostly technical changes in response to comments on a draft document issued in September stays true to three guiding principles, Lynn told reporters.

"This is going to be an objective completion. It is going to be fair, it is going to be open," he said, recognizing the high stakes in the determination in terms of jobs as well as revenues and "buffeting" from both primary competitors, Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp.

"We are resisting that buffeting, and we are going to play this straight down the middle," Lynn said.

The Defense Department has rejected going for a low-bid contract in favor of a "best-value competition" that considers other factors as well, the warfighting contribution and lifecycle costs among them.

"Price is very important," Lynn emphasized, but will be weighed along with other variables during the selection process. "The reason you can be sure this is not a price shootout is it is actually possible to have a higher price and to win this competition," he said.

Lynn expressed hope that the tanker selection process will serve as a flagship for the department's broad acquisition reform agenda.

It's highly detailed with 10 times the mandatory requirements that were in the last bid proposal that was withdrawn almost immediately after being issued. Laying out all the requirements up front rather than tacking them on midstream, Lynn said, will guard against cost overruns and program delays.

The Air Force's solid understanding of its requirements, along with the maturity of the technology involved and the contractors' well-established industrial bases set the stage for what Lynn called another major acquisition reform initiative: fixed-price contracts.

"We can't do fixed-price development in every case," Lynn said, but he called the tanker solicitation the perfect opportunity do so.

Incorporating technical changes in response to 350 comments on the draft request for proposals, the final solicitation maintains the focus on providing critical military capability, Lynn said.

"Where we haven't changed things is in the basic requirements of the airplane," he said. "The warfighter has set out what they need. We think the 372 requirements that we've laid out will bring the Air Force the plane it needs to bring to the war fight on Day One."

Ultimately, "this is about what the Air Mobility Command needs to meet the warfighting needs of the nation," Lynn said. "We think that the structure in this RFP is going to get us that, and we're going to proceed in that direction."

The contractors vying for the contract, worth an estimated $35 billion, will have 75 days to submit their bids. The Defense Department will evaluate the proposals for 120 days, then the Air Force will award a contract in the mid-September timeframe, Lynn said.

He expressed hope for a "robust competition" that delivers "the best value for the taxpayer and the best airplane for the warfighter."

Donley echoed that sentiment, expressing hope that both Boeing and Northrop Grumman will bid on what he called "a very strong RFP."

"We believe that both offerors are in a position to win this competition," Donely said. "We think both offerors can meet the mandatory requirements that we have laid out. And we hope and expect to have a good competition."

Regardless of which contractor wins the contract, Carter said, the "clarity and precision" used in the solicitation will leave no one wondering how the decision was made.

"The source selection strategy is crystal clear," he said. "Everybody will know, when a winner is picked, exactly why they won. And up front, both offerors know exactly what they need to do to win."

Officials are hopeful this will eliminate the challenges and acrimony that have plagued the aerial tanker process to date.

The Air Force initially awarded the contract to build up to 179 new KC-45A tankers over the next decade to a consortium of Northrop Grumman and European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., the parent company of Airbus.

The award drew a protest from rival Boeing. General Accounting Office auditors upheld the protest, identifying irregularities in the awarding of the contract.

The Air Force reopened the bidding process for the tanker contract in July 2008, but Gates announced two months later that he had decided to cancel it for fear it could not be awarded before he planned to leave his post along with the Bush administration.

"It has now become clear that the solicitation and award process cannot be accomplished by January [2009]," he said in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee. "Thus, I believe that rather than handing the next administration an incomplete and possibly contested process, we should cleanly defer this procurement to the next team."

Still serving as defense secretary as part of the Obama administration, Gates is leading the team that will oversee the new tanker acquisition.