Military News

Friday, January 22, 2010

Airborne Base Becomes Go-To Spot for Disaster Relief



By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 22, 2010 - The U.S. military Humvee squeezes through the heavy traffic, the rubble and the throngs of pedestrians filling the city streets here. These roads were not made for the wide-bodied military trucks. "What's up? What's good?" shouts Army Staff Sgt. Joey Brumfield in slang Creole to the crowd of young men standing an arm's length away.

They laugh and shout back "What's up?" in English.

Brumfield is with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, out of Fort Bragg, N.C. He and his team are working the streets in the Del Mas area here tracking down leads on hospitals and medical clinics.

Just a week ago, the squadron landed here intent on establishing an operating base on a golf course and setting up a distribution point for food and water. There was little electricity, no water and no real plan.

Now, this country-club-turned-military-headquarters has become the go-to spot both for those needing relief and for those wanting to help.

Finding a spot on the ground to sleep at night is now more difficult, both in the refugee camp at the foot of the hill and up in the club that serves as the main post. Several hundred military and civilian relief workers now operate with this as their base. The squadron's staff officers now sleep on the roof to make room for the additional workers.

Catholic Relief Services, the United Nations' point agency for relief at the base is in place, and for the most part is directing the future distribution of the massive amounts of food and water flowing in.

The National Disaster Medical System, under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has sent medical teams from California, New Jersey and New Mexico. They set up a clinic capable of treating patients around the clock if needed.

Even actor Sean Penn made a stop at the base today to see what he could offer up with his own private disaster relief organization.

And military helicopters continue dropping more soldiers and supplies daily from dawn to dusk.

"From some respects, we're still getting the same thing accomplished, but it doesn't look anything like it looked six days ago," said Army Lt. Col. Mike Foster, the squadron's commander. "Just about everything has changed, except for the end state. The goal has not changed. It's still to get as much help to the Haitian people as rapidly as possible, focusing on those that need it first."

The squadron's first attempt to distribute food and water last week ended up sending the soldiers packing from the refugee camp below. The same day, a military helicopter dropped food and water from the air down to the camp, causing near-riotous conditions, and convincing the military to abandon that method of dropping relief.

Now, the distribution point here runs relatively smoothly, comparable to the lines at a major amusement park. Haitian volunteers distribute the food, help to secure the lines and carry the sick to the medical shelter. According to the last count, about 60 Haitians a minute were filtering through the lines.

Christian Relief Service's Donal Reilly is helping the squadron take the distribution to the next level. Reilly started working in Haiti in 1996 and has worked similar projects around the globe.

His plans are to issue tokens to the families living in the tent city below the base. The families will cash their tokens in at the distribution point for a two-week supply of food, as opposed to now, where the U.S. military hands out only a daily humanitarian meal.

"If we can get every family with two-week rations, then this stuff stops. The soldiers can maybe free up their focus for something else," he said. "You can't do this [distribution] every day. It's just going to burn people out."

Reilly acknowledged that the soldiers provided the needed first step in opening the door to relief here. His organization was looking for such a spot when they found this one.

"The Army has the logistics, the security to be able to come in and set up," he said. "It was very hard to find a large distribution site in Port-au-Prince because of security. And here we have it."

But Reilly also noted that he brings global resources to the table. As the lead agency for the U.N.'s relief efforts at the base, all relief organizations go through him, allowing him to channel all of the relief pouring from around the world.

"You bring in a helicopter. We're going to bring in a truck [that can carry] 10 to 15 times the relief," he said. "Cost-wise, it's much more efficient."

Foster said CRS taking on that piece of the distribution role is fine with him.

"We don't feel some compelling need to be involved in whatever anybody else can do," he said. "But anywhere there's a capability established, we won't back away from that until somebody else can do it as well as we're doing it right now."

Foster, the Army squadron commander, said he would like eventually to completely turn it over to the civilian agencies, but that his guys will continue to do what they're doing until they are called home. So Foster's soldiers have been busy stretching out beyond the base, scouring the tent city below for injured people who cannot make it up to the medical treatment facilities. Sometimes they partner with civilian volunteers. They also partner with local hospitals, providing a combat medic to help out for a day.

The patrols also are taking to the streets.

Army Capt. (Dr.) Mark Poirier treated four patients in one short patrol in the city this week. He said that overall, those in the tent city are healthy, and all of the serious injuries have been treated.

"I think the mission is going to be to push out," he said.

The patrols also provide intelligence for the squadron as they compile information on the surround areas. The military landed on this spot will little to go on. Now they are gathering information such as which gas stations have fuel, which clinics are open and which churches are providing services.

All of this paints a picture of the community that the commander needs as he tries to reach the pockets of those who still need relief that all believe are still out there.

But more than a picture, Foster needs a crystal ball for this job -- one that will tell him the problems he will encounter over the next few weeks as the crowd continues to grow. Massive crowds bring massive needs. Already, some of the structures are looking permanent by Haitian squatter standards. And the crystal ball could tell him how he will manage the flood of organizations that come knocking on his door to help, each offering good will, but also bringing their own personalities, rules and bureaucracies.

But he doesn't have a crystal ball, and the commander freely admits he has no idea what operations here will look like in another week.

"I wish I did," he said. "I know that it's going to look better. But a week ago, I couldn't have predicted it would look like this."

The only prediction Foster will offer is that the work here will not be finished quickly.

"Quite frankly, there is so much work to be done, some of it is never going to get done," he said. "Years from now, people are going to look around and they're going to say 'That's left over from the earthquake.'

"The scope of the work is massive," Foster said.

Lab Techs Enable Treatment for Haitian Patients



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 22, 2010 - Medics don't just slap patients on operating tables and begin cutting. Patients need tests to determine blood types, allergic reactions and drug sensitivities. They need X-rays and CT scans so doctors can see what damage there might be. Doctors also need to know what germs may be present, and patients need medications and test kits for specific conditions.

All these different orders go to the department of ancillary services aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort, deployed here for the Haiti earthquake relief effort. Anclillary services include the lab, the pharmacy, radiology and physical therapy.

The officers and corpsmen who staff the lab are as crucial to patients as anyone aboard the ship, but they are never seen. When they first see patients in casualty receiving, doctors make educated guesses about the diagnosis and order tests to confirm those educated guesses. "We're the ones who put the science in the diagnosis," said Navy Lt. (j.g.) Natalie Oakes from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Va., who runs the Comfort's laboratory section.

The ship has a full suite of equipment. "We're capable of providing the same service as we would upon shore," Oakes said. "Our only limit is supply." A Military Sealift Command ship arrived here today with supplies for the lab and the rest of the departments aboard the Comfort.

Some of the analyzer machines are down, and the Navy is flying in specialists to fix them. Still, the lab techs have found workarounds for the time being. The major loss is that of the CT scan. The manufacturer is sending a repair technician who should arrive today or tomorrow.

The main tests run are complete blood counts, the basic metabolic panel -- which gives the levels of electrolytes plus glucose -- and a lot of blood bank tests for cross-matching and transfusions, Oates said. The lab also does testing for sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, urinalysis and a lot of microbiology. "We can culture different bodily fluids for infections, including blood," she said.

The lab has 20 lab techs. A regular 250-bed hospital would have more than 50. The Comfort may fill 1,000 beds.

"We're managing," Oates said. "Being creative in a situation like this may save a life. We're just pulling things out as we go along to help these people."

Everyone has a real sense of mission, Oakes said.

"I miss my family like everyone else here, but I'm here for a mission," she said. "We're here to help."

Official Highlights Reserves' Role in Haiti Response

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 22, 2010 - With the number of U.S. forces in Haiti expected to rise to more than 18,000 in coming days, a top military reserve official yesterday reflected on reservists' role in the immediate aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation. Badly needed C-130 Hercules aircraft belonging to the Air National Guard were among the first planes to fly U.S. humanitarian assistance missions to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in the wake of the magnitude 7 quake, said Dennis M. McCarthy, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs.

"The most immediate response was Air National Guard personnel and aircraft who were already on duty in support of [U.S. Southern Command] in a standing commitment," McCarthy said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel. "They were able to respond within hours of the beginning of the Southcom response, and were among the first people into Port-au-Prince."

Some estimate the quake killed between 100,000 to 200,000 people, and the Red Cross estimates some 3 million people have been affected. As of yesterday, the United States had delivered 1.4 million bottles of water, 700,000 meals and 22,000 pounds of medical equipment, which are being disbursed from some 100 distribution sites.

Soon after the dust settled in Haiti, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates recommended that President Barack Obama exercise what's known as the Presidential Selected Reserve Call-Up Authority. The order provides the president a means to activate, without a declaration of national emergency, certain members of the selected reserve to meet additional requirements if they arise.

On Jan. 16, Obama signed the order, which then permitted the Defense Department to activate reserve-component servicemembers such as reserve medical personnel, to backfill for those deployed aboard the USNS Comfort, and authorized the and Homeland Security Department to activate a Coast Guard unit for port security.

The prerogative largely hasn't been invoked to tap additional forces for Haiti operations, McCarthy said, but it does provide the department added flexibility.

"Frankly, it hasn't been used very much yet," he said, "but it is an authority available to the secretary should he need it later on."

While the bulk of the reserve contribution has come in the form of C-130s, C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft and helicopters, the reserve components also have contributed to the medical side of the U.S. relief effort.

Medical response is another way the reserve component is contributing. The hospital ship USNS Comfort, for example, has many naval reserve personnel aboard on its humanitarian deployment to Haiti -- "again, supplementing the active component response, not replacing it," McCarthy said.

Though reserve elements don't bring to the mission any capabilities that aren't already present in their active-duty counterparts, McCarthy said, military reserves "thicken" the assets that exist.

"The reserve component is an essential complementary aspect of this all-volunteer force that we're fortunate to have in the United States," he said.

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 22, 2010

AIR FORCE

Boeing Co., Seattle, Wash., was awarded a $323,945,933 contract which will provide the French airborne warning and control system mid-life upgrade. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 551 IA/PKA, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (F19628-01-D-0016/DO 0067).

Vinnell Brown and Root, LLC, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $37,535,776 contract which will provide consolidated base operations and maintenance contract for base facilities located in Turkey and Spain. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 700 CONS, APO, AE, is the contracting activity (FA5613-10-C-5400).

Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas, was awarded a $27,537,127 contract which will provide 17 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems Model B production units. At this time, $4,444,490 has been obligated. 703'd ASG, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-06-G-4041).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., was awarded a $16,712,105 contract which will provide full complete funding of the non-recurring effort for delivery of an engineering change proposal for the replacement of the C-130J Star VII mission computer. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 657 AESS, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-06-C-6456).

NAVY

Wright's Engineering and Design, Portsmouth, Va.* (N50054-10-D-1007); LPI Technical Services, Chesapeake, Va.* (N50054-10-D-1008); and Virtual Technology Services, LLC, Midwest City, Okla.* (N50054-10-D-1009), are each being awarded a combined maximum value $24,330,000 time-and-material, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract to furnish the necessary firewatch in support of work performed by Norfolk Naval Shipyard on-board various Navy vessels. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by January 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $153,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site with six offers received. These three contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Norfolk Ship Support Activity, formerly the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center, Portsmouth, Va., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $15,899,702 firm-fixed-price, sole-source, undefinitized contract for audio management computer and inertial navigation units. There are no other locations of performance. 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. The date of performance completion is March 2013. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPRPA1-09-G-002Y-5003).

Agland, Inc., Lucerne, Colo.*, is being awarded a minimum $14,726,369 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for fuels. Other locations of performance are New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado. Using services are Army, Air Force and federal civilian agencies. There were originally 48 proposals solicited with 25 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is June 30, 2012. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-09-D-4526).

Grove U.S., LLC, Shady Grove, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $6,355,346 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for material handling cranes. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. There were originally seven proposals solicited with one response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Sept. 30, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM500-01-D-0101-0052).

War Trail

On February 5, 2010, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a discussion with retired US Army Warrant Officer and Vietnam Veteran Charles A. McDonald on his book The War Trail.

Program Date: February 5, 2010
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: The War Trail
Listen Live: www.americanheroesradio.com/war_trail.html

About the Guest
Charles A. McDonald, USA is a personal protection specialist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a retired U.S. Army chief warrant officer and served with the 101st Airborne Division and the 1st, 5th and 7th Special Forces Groups (ABN.) While serving in Vietnam, he was assigned as an advisor to the Vietnamese 7th Airborne Division, Project Delta, and as an advisor in the MACV Recondo School. Charles A. McDonald is the author of The War Trail.

According to the book description of The War Trail, “The Eastern French Frontier, 1754. The French and Indian War is about to begin. The War Trail is a rich and electrifying account of one early American coping with the new world. Wolfgang Steiner is a young German Redemptioner hired out to the Ohio Company as a hunter. He finds himself stranded in the wilderness and pursued relentlessly by the Iroquois. He crosses the brutal Northwest Frontier into French, then Spanish and Indian-dominated lands of North America. In the midst of his pursuit for freedom, he finds companionship with a young wolf. The plot complicates with the appearance of a mysterious and feared Algonquin Indian woman, Dark Moon, a medicine woman and sorceress. Wolfgang and Dark Moon journey in rough stages, trying to elude the creeping encroachment of other tribes allied with the French. Told with brilliant historical accuracy, this is a harrowing tale of hardship and courage in early America as it was. Those looking for the right blend of drama and realistic detail will find this novel an exciting read.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Public Safety Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
www.americanheroesradio.com/war_trail.html
Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Coordinators Work to Facilitate Relief Flights

By Judith Snyderman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 22, 2010 - U.S. military officials are working across organizational boundaries in a concerted effort to keep supplies and people flowing into Haiti's main airport, Air Force officers said yesterday. "Port-au-Prince is the center of gravity for the relief effort currently in Haiti," said Lt. Col. Brad Graff of the 601st Air and Space Operations Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable. "If something happens to that airfield, we are in trouble to get supplies there until the sea pods are open."

Graff said he's aware of frustration expressed by relief groups requesting flight landing slots, but he noted the Port-au-Prince airport is running "24/7" and is averaging 140 flights a day.

"We've tripled the flow through that field, so your chances of getting in are better now than ever," he said. "You just do need to follow the procedures that are in place."

Graff said the procedures aren't meant to limit the airfield. "We like to think of ourselves as facilitators that are allowing people to get in there in a more-timely manner," he said.

Air Force Col. John Romero, chief of the air mobility division for the 612th Air and Space Operations Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., also participated in the discussion. He explained that the command structure brings the full breadth of U.S. military expertise to the table to keep operations in Haiti running quickly and safely.

Due to the emergency, Romero said, his organization -- which usually supports U.S Southern Command, is supported by the 601st, which normally handles U.S. Northern Command's area. U.S. Southern Command is in charge of the Defense Department's Haiti mission.

"We are working in concert with the 601st air operations center, who really has the role of the Haiti flight operations coordination center," Romero said. "They are really the individual entity that is managing the slot times into Port-au-Prince airport."

Air Force Maj. David Smith, who reports to Graff, added that the 601st flight operations coordination center was set up from lessons learned in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Smith said having a single point of coordination is a strategy that proved effective during recent relief efforts for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

During those hurricane missions, the 612th established liaisons with the Federal Aviation Administration. Romero said he has brought those relationships to bear in support of the Haiti mission to ensure safety at the Port-au-Prince airport.

Romero said the 612th is controlling U.S. military aircraft carrying military supplies and personnel into Haiti, and that those missions follow the same procedures as everyone else to request time slots for landing, with no special priorities.

Options for bringing relief to Haiti are expanding, Romero said. Canada is operating a small Haitian airstrip at Jacmel, and officials of the U.S. Air Force's Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., coordinated two successful air deliveries yesterday.

"They did a fantastic job; on time, on target - 40 bundles for each aircraft at two different locations, delivering humanitarian relief supplies to the people there in Haiti of water and meals," he said.

Graff has reached out to Haiti's neighbor, the Dominican Republic. "They have been more than helpful in opening up other areas that we can now flow relief supplies into," he said. Dominican Republic officials are expected to allow use of San Isidro Airport outside Santo Domingo and Maria Montez airport in Barahona.

"We are doing the best we can, working with the individuals on the ground, to make sure that the right priorities are identified and that we can flow those priorities [into Haiti]," he said. "But I want everyone to know we want to do that safely."

(Judith Snyderman works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Utah, Morocco still learning from each other



By Sgt. First Class Scott Faddis
Utah National Guard

(1/20/10) - Utah and the Kingdom of Morocco have shared experiences and learned lessons from each other throughout the past six years of their alliance through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program (SPP). In 2009, Utah and Morocco supported six different activities to include medical, engineering, disaster, and pandemic disease control.

Morocco is currently in the process of purchasing 24 F-16s from the U.S. government, and the Moroccan Air Force requested air-refueling training missions with the Utah Air National Guard (ANG).

“We need practice with the boom,” said Moroccan Maj. Gen. Ahmed Boutaleb, inspector of the Royal Air Force. “We need some help from (Utah ANG) in terms of air refueling with the KC-135.”

About 80 percent of what the unit’s KC-135 crews do is boom operations, Air Force Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, the Utah National Guard’s adjutant general.

“When you get new airplanes in 2011,” Tarbet said to his Moroccan counterparts, “I hope they are following a Utah tanker across the Atlantic.”

The National Guard’s State Partnership Program links U.S. states with foreign nations to promote and enhance bilateral relations. The Guard has forged partnerships with more than 60 countries worldwide. Within the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) area of responsibility, Utah is one of eight U.S. states partnered with an African nation’s military.

The program promotes regional stability and civil-military relationships in support of U.S. policy objectives, according to AFRICOM officials. State partners actively participate in activities that include familiarization and training events, exercises, fellowship-style internships, and civic leader visits.

The partnership with Morocco has not only experienced aircraft-related training missions, but also medical ones as well.

Utah’s partnership brought technology to Moroccans that allowed tracking of pandemic diseases and availability of up-to-the-minute information on the spread of disease at a time when Morocco had six confirmed cases of H1N1 and was concerned about the possibility of a widespread pandemic flu outbreak.

Dr. Don Wood, from Utah’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Service and Preparedness, recently discussed the latest information on H1N1 flu to the Moroccan Military’s Medical Department, including the inspector of Medical Services, Brigadier General Ali Abrouk. The Moroccan military and the Utah National Guard share the similar responsibility of providing disaster response support, and their experiences have allowed them to share their knowledge and strengthen their relationship.

“I hope we are acting as good listeners and good students,” said Tarbet. “We have a lot to learn from our Moroccan partners.”

Former U.S. Army Officer Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison for Bribery and Weapons Conspiracy

January 22, 2010 - Michael Wheeler, a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, was sentenced late yesterday to 42 months in prison for his participation in a wide-ranging bribery conspiracy involving the U.S. government, the Republic of Iraq and the Coalition Provisional Authority - South Central Region (CPA-SC) in Al-Hillah, Iraq, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. Wheeler was also sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mary L. Cooper for the District of New Jersey - Trenton Division to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term and to pay $1,200 in restitution.

Wheeler, 50, of Amherst Junction, Wis., was charged in a 25-count indictment unsealed on Feb. 7, 2007, along with former U.S. Army Colonel Curtis G. Whiteford, former Lt. Col. Debra M. Harrison, and civilians William Driver and Seymour Morris Jr., with various crimes related to a scheme to defraud the CPA-SC. Wheeler was an adviser and project officer for CPA reconstruction projects.

According to testimony at trial, Wheeler, along with Whiteford and Harrison, conspired from December 2003 to December 2005 with at least three others—Robert Stein, at the time the comptroller and funding officer for the CPA-SC; Philip H. Bloom, a U.S. citizen who owned and operated several companies in Iraq and Romania; and former U.S. Army Lt. Col. Bruce D. Hopfengardner—to rig the bids on contracts being awarded by the CPA-SC so that more than 20 contracts were awarded to Bloom. In total, Bloom received approximately $8 million in rigged contracts. Testimony revealed that Bloom, in return, provided Whiteford, Harrison, Wheeler, Stein, Hopfengardner and others with more than $1 million in cash, SUVs, sports cars, a motorcycle, jewelry, computers, business class airline tickets, liquor, promise of future employment with Bloom and other items of value.

Bloom admitted he laundered more than $2 million in currency that Whiteford, Harrison, Wheeler, Hopfengardner, Stein and others stole from the CPA-SC that had been designated for the reconstruction of Iraq. Bloom then used his foreign bank accounts in Iraq, Romania and Switzerland to send some of the stolen money to Harrison, Stein, Hopfengardner and other Army officials in return for them awarding contracts to Bloom and his companies.

"These defendants betrayed the trust and confidence placed in them by both the U.S. government and the people of Iraq," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. "By using their positions to line their own pockets, they made it more difficult for others to carry out the legitimate goals of rebuilding and reconstruction. We will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute this kind of corruption, wherever it occurs and no matter who commits it."

At trial, Wheeler was convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services wire fraud, the interstate transport of stolen property (ITSP) and the possession of unregistered firearms. Whiteford was convicted at trial of conspiracy to commit bribery and ITSP, and Driver pleaded guilty to money laundering on Aug. 5, 2009. Morris was acquitted.

"This sentence illustrates that even military officers are not above the law and will be brought to justice for their participation in defrauding efforts to support Iraqi reconstruction, no matter how complex the fraud scheme," said Acting Assistant Director in Charge John G. Perren of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

"The sentencing of Michael Wheeler marks the culmination of SIGIR’s lengthy investigation into a wide-ranging bribery, contract fraud, and kickback scheme that occurred in Hilla, Iraq, during 2003-2004" said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). "In concert with our partner law enforcement agencies, SIGIR will continue to pursue vigorously its many other ongoing cases to hold accountable those who took advantage of the Iraq reconstruction program to criminally enrich themselves."

"Wheeler and the others abused their positions of trust to line their own pockets," said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton. "We hope these sentences deter others from attempting to scheme the government for their own advantage ."

"As a project officer of government contracts, Mr. Wheeler was entrusted to oversee contractors and ensure taxpayer money was spent wisely," said Victor S.O. Song, Chief, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. "He broke that trust to enrich himself at the expense of the American taxpayers. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to exposing public corruption at any level by following the money from the crime to the criminal."

On Jan. 29, 2007, co-conspirator Stein was sentenced to nine years in prison for related charges of conspiracy, bribery and money laundering, as well as weapons possession charges, for his role in the same scheme. Stein was also ordered to forfeit $3.6 million for his role in the bribery and money laundering scheme.

On Feb. 16, 2007, co-conspirator Bloom was sentenced to 46 months in prison for related charges of conspiracy, bribery and money laundering for his role in the scheme. Bloom was also ordered to forfeit $3.6 million for his role in the bribery and money laundering scheme.

On June 25, 2007, Hopfengardner was sentenced to 21 months in prison for conspiracy and money laundering related to this scheme. Hopfengardner was also ordered to forfeit $144,500.

On Dec. 8, 2009, Whiteford was sentenced to 60 months in prison for conspiring to commit bribery and ITSP. He was also ordered to forfeit the things of value he received from Stein and others, including a Breitling watch, a Toshiba laptop computer and $10,000 in cash.

On June 4, 2009, Harrison was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $366, 640 in restitution. Harrison pleaded guilty on July 28, 2008, admitting that she took more than $300,000 from the CPA-SC while she was deployed there and that she used some of the stolen money to make improvements at her home. Harrison also admitted that she received a Cadillac Escalade from Bloom and that she helped to move unregistered firearms from a hotel in North Carolina to Stein’s home.

On Dec. 10, 2009, Driver was sentenced to six months home confinement and ordered to pay $36,000 in restitution for his role in laundering portions of stolen CPA money brought from Iraq back into the United States by Harrison, his wife.

These cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys John P. Pearson and Kevin Driscoll of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, as well as Trial Attorney Ann C. Brickley. The cases are being investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation; the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction; ICE; and the FBI-Washington Field Office.

Defense Department Official Sentenced to 36 Months for Espionage, False Statement Charges

January 21, 2010 - James Wilbur Fondren Jr. was sentenced today to 36 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, for charges involving espionage and making false statements to the FBI. David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and John Perren, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.

Fondren, 62, worked at the Pentagon and, from August 2001 through Feb. 11, 2008, was the Deputy Director, Washington Liaison Office, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). He held a top secret security clearance, worked in a Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) and had a classified and unclassified computer at his cubicle.

On Sept. 25, 2009, Frondren was convicted by a jury of unlawful communication of classified information by a government employee and two counts of making false statements. According to court documents and evidence at trial, Fondren provided certain classified Defense Department documents and other information to Tai Shen Kuo, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Taiwan from approximately November 2004, to Feb. 11, 2008. Fondren was aware that Kuo had maintained a close relationship with an official of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), to whom Kuo introduced Fondren during a trip the two took to the PRC in March 1999. As Kuo well knew, this individual was an official of the PRC government. Fondren and the PRC official exchanged more than 40 e-mail messages between March 1999 and November 2000.

Fondren was found to have provided classified information through Kuo, under the guise of consulting services, using a business that had Kuo as its sole customer. Fondren would incorporate this information into “opinion papers” that he sold to Kuo. He would also provide Kuo with sensitive, but unclassified Defense Department publications.

The jury also found Fondren guilty of falsely representing to the FBI that everything he wrote to Kuo in his opinion papers was based on information from press and media reports and from his experience and that he had not given Kuo a draft copy of an unclassified document on military strategy.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) provided substantial assistance and cooperation throughout the course of the investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil Hammerstrom and James P. Gillis from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Ryan Fayhee from the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Gates Reaches Out to Future Pakistani Military Leaders

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 22, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates took his message of shared challenge and commitment today to Pakistan's rising military leaders attending the prestigious Pakistan National Defense University. "The main reason I'm here today is to have a conversation – to hear your thoughts and to answer any questions you may have about us – about our goals and future plans concerning this region," Gates said in opening his remarks.

Gates noted the far-ranging strategic relationship between the United States and Pakistan, but focused his remarks on the two countries' military relationship – one he conceded the United States mistakenly cut off in the early 1990s due to short-sighted U.S. legislative and policy decisions.

"Perhaps the greatest consequence of these choices was the severing of military-to-military relations," he said.

The result, he said, was a "very real and very understandable trust deficit – one that has made it more difficult for us to work together to confront a common threat of extremism."

The United States is ready to invest "whatever time and energy is takes" to change that, he said, and forge a genuine, lasting partnership with Pakistan.

Rebuilding relationships with this current generation of Pakistani officers will take years rather than months, he said, and require openness, transparency and continuous engagement on both sides.

"You cannot rebuild trust through a speech or rhetoric," but rather, through actions, Gates told Pakistani print journalists earlier today.

The two militaries have a lot to learn from each other, Gates told the officers. They're already starting these lessons, through expanded joint training exercises, and operationally, as they cooperatively deal with extremism along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

The troop surge in Afghanistan is intended to put more pressure on the Taliban and reverse what Gates conceded is a "deteriorating security situation" there. He acknowledged concern within Pakistan that the increased U.S. presence will lead to more attacks there.

But confronting the terrorist syndicate that threatens the region requires pressuring all the associated groups on both sides of the border.

"We have a regional problem here," Gates told Pakistani reporters earlier today. "It is going to take a regional level of cooperation to deal with it."

This reality, he told the military officers, will require Pakistan's military to do even more in the coming years.

"As uniformed leaders, you will be responsible for preparing the military for the future," he told the officers, sharing some of the lessons the U.S. military has learned about reshaping and reforming itself to meet new and evolving threats.

Just as the U.S. military transformed to face these new challenges, rather than fight a conventional conflict, Gates said Pakistan's will have to change, too, to ensure it has the proper skill sets and equipment to fight along the Afghan border and in the tribal areas.

"As the future leaders of the military, you have a tremendous responsibility – to your fellow troops, and most important, to all your countrymen," he challenged the officers.

The United States is committed to doing all it can to assist this process through a variety of means, as Pakistan desires, he said throughout his two days of sessions here.

"We are in this car together, but the Pakistanis are in the driver's seat and have their foot on the accelerator," he told Pakistani print journalists today. "And that is fine with me."

One important way to share capabilities is through solid military-to-military ties, Gates said.

These will strengthen the other elements of the two countries' broad strategic relationship, he said, providing a foundation on which to "renew, reinforce and strengthen the bonds of trust between our people and our nations."

Ater presenting his prepared remarks, Gates dismissed the media from the room so he and the Pakistani officers could have an open exchange.

Their questions ran the gamut, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters after the session.

One officer asked Gates to explain his statement earlier this week in New Delhi, where he said India demonstrated "great restraint and statesmanship" following the 2008 Mumbai bombings, but could be hard-pressed not to react more strongly – even violently-- if a similar incident occurred again.

Another asked Gates if the United States would be willing to intervene to relieve long-simmering Indian-Pakistani tensions – something Gates said both countries have expressed they'd rather deal with themselves.

Several of the questions concerned Afghanistan – from Gates' thoughts about reconciliation with the Talban, to how to grow and sustain the Afghan national army despite lack of Afghan resources to support the effort.

One of the more provocative participants challenged Gates about the difficulties "the American war" in Afghanistan has put on Pakistan. "The tone of it was, ... 'We are in this mess because of you,'" Morrell said.

Gates "took great exception" to the comment, telling the officer problems created by the Taliban government in Afghanistan, as well as al Qaida and its affiliates, were going to impact Pakistan.

"It was only a matter of time before they were dragged into it as well, because al Qaida had designs on a caliphate" that inevitably included Pakistan, Morrell said. "The notion that you could be immune from them – that grand plan – is not realistic," he said.

Morrell characterized the session as "very cordial and respectful," but also "very candid," with a "no-holes-barred question and answer."

These, he said, are the kind of engagements Gates seeks out to promote clearer communication and understanding about the United States and its intentions.

"This is all part of his effort to sort of dispel myths, debunk conspiracy theories, puncture rumors and try to be as open and honest as he can be in hopes of trying to get through some of the nonsense," Gates said. "And I think it's appreciated."

Gates was particularly looking forward to his National Defense University visit during his Pakistan visit, Morrell told reporters before leaving Washington.

Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani received military education at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. However, as Gates noted during his NDU address, most of the Pakistani forces he leads have had little or no personal interaction with the U.S. military.