Military News

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wounded Warrior Web Site Upgraded

February 23, 2010 - The Department of Defense announced today that its National Resource Directory (NRD) Web site for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families and those who support them, recently received a comprehensive system upgrade to provide users with easier access.

This Web site is a collaborative effort between the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs (VA) and Labor (DOL), and compiles federal, state, local and non-profit resources for wounded warriors, veterans, family members and caregivers in a single, searchable site.

"We worked closely with users of the National Resource Directory to find out how to make the information they need easier to find," said Noel Koch, deputy under secretary of defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy. "The resulting re-design is easier to navigate and adds useful new features."

The upgrade makes the latest wounded warrior and veteran issues easier to locate and follow. A new "bookmark and share" application helps visitors alert others to the content they've found most helpful through social bookmarking, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking tools. Visitors can also subscribe to Really Simple Syndication (RSS) or e-mail updates to receive new content, events and features based on their specific interests and needs.

"There are thousands of programs and benefits available to wounded warriors and their families, from healthcare and housing to education and employment assistance," said Koch. "Our people must have an easy way to sift through it all to find the resources that are most helpful for their circumstances, especially while they're dealing with what can be overwhelming challenges. That's why we've partnered with the VA and Department of Labor to offer the National Resource Directory. And with the feedback mechanisms we've added in the re-design, we'll be able to keep improving our service to our wounded warriors and families."

The faster, enhanced search engine ranks information based on the popularity of the sources among other site users, so the most valuable resources rise to the top of the search results. Visitors can tailor searches for resources in specific states and territories, and apply filters to narrow their searches.

The re-designed site also highlights resources to assist homeless veterans. NRD users can also recommend additional resources. All resources are thoroughly vetted prior to inclusion on the National Resource Directory, and as always, content is updated and reviewed daily by a content management team which includes veterans and subject matter experts.

More information is available at http://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov/.

Air Force Seeks to Balance Current, Future Needs

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 23, 2010 - The Air Force's budget request for fiscal 2011 provides the right balance between supporting the war efforts and other current-day commitments while posturing for future challenges, the top Air Force civilian and military leaders told Congress today.

The $119.6 billion request is designed to ensure the Air Force has what it needs to support four strategic priorities outlined in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley told the House Armed Services Committee.

"First, we must prevail in today's wars," Donley told the panel. "Your Air Force understands the gravity of the situation in Afghanistan, and as we continue to responsibly draw down the forces in Iraq, we are committed to rapidly fielding needed capabilities for the joint team."

This, Donley said, includes surging intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets into the theater and maximizing air mobility to accelerate the flow of forces into Afghanistan.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz noted that in addition to providing critical air and space power for the joint and coalition team, airmen are providing battlefield medical support and evacuation, ordnance disposal, convoy security and other missions.

"The reality is, the country's at war," he said. "And if there is a demand, if there is a need for us to serve a wartime function, we will do so."

Preventing and deterring conflicts across the spectrum of warfare is another priority in the budget request, Donley told committee members.

Continuing to strengthen the nuclear enterprise is a top Air Force priority, Schwartz said.

"The rigor of our nuclear surety inspections demonstrates a new commitment to the highest levels of performance," he said. "But we must and we will do even more to ensure 100 percent precision and reliability in our nuclear operations and logistics 100 percent of the time."

Donley pointed to the standup last year of Air Force Global Strike Command and the realignment of the Air Force intercontinental ballistic missile and bomber wings under a single commander. In addition, the Air Force stood up a nuclear weapons center to consolidate management of all nuclear weapons sustainment activities.

Meanwhile, the Air Force is increasing its engagement around the world, building partner capability in Afghanistan and Iraq while developing a training framework that emphasizes light attack and mobility capabilities that can benefit other nations as well, Donley said.

Another priority driving the budget request is the need to be prepared to defeat adversaries and succeed in a wide range of contingencies. "We need to ensure that we are providing the right capabilities with our strategic airlift and ISR platforms and ensure our space-based assets continue to deliver needed capabilities for the future," Donley said.

At the same time, the Air Force must ensure its weapons systems – strained by two decades of sustained operations – are up to the task, the Air Force secretary said. This involves modernizing some aircraft and retiring and recapitalizing many of the legacy fighters and tankers, replacing them with F-35 Lighting II joint strike fighters and KC-X next-generation aerial tankers.

"Awarding a new aerial refueling aircraft contract remains our top acquisition priority," Schwartz said. He called the F-35 program another imperative, noting that it will be the workhorse driving much of the Air Force and the joint force forward.

Both Schwartz and Donley emphasized the importance of long-range strike capability, supporting development of a family of systems that will provide penetration as well as standoff capabilities for the next 20 or 30 years.

"We need to get on with a long-range strike capability to replace the legacy bombers that we're operating today, and to get ahead and stay ahead of evolving threats in that area," Donley said.

Another principle driving the budget request is the need to preserve and enhance what Donley called the Air Force's most valuable resource: its airmen.

"This budget request supports these airmen and our continuing efforts to rebalance the force, make difficult decisions on what we buy and sustain our needed contributions to the joint team," Schwartz said.

Officers Down - Oakland

Editor's Note:  The information will be of interest to those serving in a military police function.

On March 25, 2010, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a conversation between Assistant Chief Howard Jordan, Oakland Police Department and Detective Jamie Duigan, Chicago Police Department, about the murder of four Oakland Police Officers on March 21, 2009.

Program Date: March 25, 2009
Program Time: 1700 Hours Pacific
Topic: Officers Down - Oakland
Listen Live: www.americanheroesradio.com/officers_down_oakland.html

About the Murders
On Saturday, March 21, 2009, the suspect, who was recently released from prison, murdered four Oakland Police Department (OPD) veteran personnel. This was the deadliest occurrence in the history of OPD and one of the most significant law enforcement losses in the State of California and the nation. Acting Chief of Police Howard Jordan ordered that an independent review be conducted to understand how this happened and what can be done to prevent a future recurrence.

About Assistant Chief Howard A Jordan
Assistant Chief Howard A. Jordan is a veteran of the Oakland Police Department, having served for more than 20 years in a range of assignments including patrol, investigations, internal affairs and administration.

Managing a staff of more than 800 police officers and 370 non-sworn personnel, Chief Jordan is a consensus builder who motivates others towards better performance. He considers all possible solutions while making decisions and stays calm in crisis. Chief Jordan saw the Department through the difficult hours of March 21, 2009, when four officers were gunned down in less than 3 hours. His goal is to forge a stronger Department and healthier community under his watch.

In 2007, Chief Jordan was promoted to the newly created position of Assistant Chief, managing daily operations under then-Chief Wayne Tucker. When Chief Tucker resigned in February 2009, Chief Jordan stepped in to lead the Department as Acting Chief. He continues the crime reduction policies put in place by Chief Tucker, including geographic and community policing, and supports the changes prescribed by the NSA. In October 2009, the Mayor hired Chief Anthony Batts to replace Chief Tucker. Assistant Chief Jordan remained on as the Assistant Chief and is currently in-charge of the day to day operations of the department.

Born in the West Indies and raised in Brooklyn, NY, by a single mother with a powerful work ethic, Chief Jordan savors Oakland’s mélange of peoples and cultures, and is proud of the fact that the Oakland Police Department is the most diverse in the Bay Area. Chief Jordan has a Master’s in Public Administration from Cal State Hayward. He is a graduate of the 219th FBI National Academy and the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute in Policing. Chief Jordan serves as the president of the SF Bay Area Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement and is a member of the California Police Chiefs Association (which appointed him to the Attorney General’s Task Force to Address Human Trafficking in California) and the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).

Now “an average dad on the sidelines,” Chief Jordan has managed and coached youth soccer and baseball teams in Contra Costa County for many years. He volunteers for community outreach programs with Valley Bible Church in Hercules. Chief Jordan is married and has two daughters.

About the Guest Interviewer
Jamie Duignan is a detective with the Chicago Police Department, and is proud to be approaching her tenth anniversary as a law enforcement officer. Detective Duignan volunteers her time, as a member of the Chicago Police Department’s Peer Support Program, to support and counsel fellow officers in the wake of traumatic incidents. Prior to beginning her career in law enforcement, Jamie was an active civilian in Chicago’s community policing initiative. She holds a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Chicago, and a Master of Science in Communication from Northwestern University. Her current interests are education, leadership, morale, decision-making and supervisory communications within law enforcement. As such, she is currently administering an on-line group, “Law Enforcement Leadership and Morale,” through Linkedin. Detective Duignan is honored to be a guest on the show, along with Chief Howard Jordan and Lieutenant Raymond Foster.

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/officers_down_oakland.html
Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Women to Serve on Subs, Gates Tells Congress

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 23, 2010 - The Navy plans to repeal its ban on women serving on submarines, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has informed Congress. Gates signed a letter Feb. 19 informing Congress of the Navy's plan to lift the policy, which it intends to do through the phased-in assignment of women to submarines, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell confirmed today.

The secretary endorsed the plan, the brainchild of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Morrell said.

No change can take effect until Congress has been in session for 30 days following the notification, Navy Lt. Justin Cole, a Navy spokesman said.

Mabus, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and other Navy leaders have looked closely at the issues involved with integrating women into the submarine force, including close working conditions and accommodations, he said.

No funds will be spent to reconfigure submarines to accommodate female crew members until the Navy Department presents the phased-approach plan to Congress.

Mabus has been a strong proponent of the policy change since being confirmed to his post in May.

"I believe women should have every opportunity to serve at sea, and that includes aboard submarines," he told reporters in October. Roughead, in a statement issued in September, said his experience commanding a mixed-gender surface combatant ship makes him "very comfortable" with the idea of integrating women into the submarine force.

"I am familiar with the issues as well as the value of diverse crews," Roughead said.

The integration of women into the submarine force increases the talent pool and therefore, overall submarine readiness, Cole said.

"We know there are capable young women in the Navy and women who are interested in the Navy who have the talent and desire to succeed in the submarine force," he said. "Enabling them to serve there is best for the submarine force and our Navy."

The policy change and the Navy's ability to work through the issues involved -- is not without precedent, he noted. In 1993, the Navy changed its policy to permit women to serve on surface combat ships.

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 23, 2010

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

McKesson Corp., San Francisco, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $977,318,000 firm-fixed-price, prime vendor contract for replenishment pharmaceuticals and other authorized supplies. Other location of performance is Arizona. Using service is Department of Defense. The original proposal was solicited on the Federal Business Opportunities wb site with two responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Feb. 28, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM200-03-D-1666).

UNICOR, Washington, D.C., is being awarded a maximum $23,991,000 firm-fixed-price, sole-source, total set-aside, indefinite-quantity/indefinite-delivery contract for cold weather trousers. Other locations of performance are South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida. Using service is Army. 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 March 31, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-10-D-F012).

NAVY

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $19,400,942 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2100) for planned and growth supplemental work for the accomplishment of the fiscal year 2008 extended drydocking selected restricted availability (EDSRA) of USS Enterprise (CVN 65). EDSRAs are similar to overhauls in that they restore the ship, including all subsystems that affect combat capability and safety, to established performance standards. Additionally, an EDSRA provides an opportunity to perform hull inspections, recoating and other maintenance related evolutions below the waterline that cannot be accomplished while the ship is waterborne. The EDSRA provides sufficient time to perform more extensive repairs and testing than are possible during an extended selected restricted availability. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by March 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $19,400,942 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Canadian Commercial Corp., Ontario, Canada, is being awarded an $18,210,720 basic long term requirements contract for repair support of exhaust frames on the F404 engine. This contract contains a three-year base period and two option years which, if exercised, bring the estimated value of the contract to $32,005,920. Work will be performed in Ontario, Canada, and work is expected to be completed by February 2013. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with two proposals solicited and one offer received. The Naval Inventory Control Point, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N00383-10-D-005M).

Bell Helicopter, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $14,067,100 for ceiling priced order #7001 under previously awarded contract (N00383-09-G-002N) for repair for items to support the H-1 aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed by May 2011. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the fiscal year. This contract was not competitively awarded. The Naval Inventory Control Point, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity.

SyQwest, Inc., Warwick, R.I., is being awarded a maximum $9,650,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the repair, restoration and replacement of large spherical array (LSA) and wide aperture array (WAA) outboard electronic bottles (OBE). The OBE is an integral part of the submarine sonar system. Each LSA and WAA OBE contains electronics to provide amplification, filtering, analog-to-digital conversion, and input signal encoding. Digital acoustic data for all hydrophone channels processed within the OBE are transmitted via serial data lines to the inboard system. Work will be performed in Warwick, R.I., and is expected to be completed by February 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $50,000 will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities Web sites, with one offer received. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, R.I., is the contracting activity (N66604-10-D-1170).

AIR FORCE

ALION Science and Technology Corp., Chicago, Ill., was awarded a $14,492,749 contract which will provide for research for the Naval Operational Logistics Support Command integration and modernization of logistic support systems which provide data feeds to modeling and simulation software products for distribution optimization programs and ship loading. At this time, $300,000 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (N61339-03-D-0300).

Science Applications International Corp., McLean, Va., was awarded a $639,452 contract which will provide research for the development of XPAtch radar simulation code and development of innovative signature database development and signature analysis methods for recognition applications. At this time, $639,452 has been obligated. AFRL/PKSR, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-10-C-1700).
February 23, 1010 - Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced the following Department of Defense Senior Executive Service appointments:

Jerilyn B. Busch has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as director of military compensation, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness), Military Personnel Policy, Washington, D.C. Busch previously served as head, Military Pay And Compensation Policy Branch (program analyst), U.S. Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

John Graveen has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as director, program & financial control, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), Washington, D.C. Graveen previously served as supervisory program manager, U. S. Navy, Washington, D.C.

Former U.S. Army Master Sergeant Convicted of Converting Public Funds and Making False Statements

Defendant Found Guilty as Charged by Federal Jury

February 23, 2010 - CHARLOTTE, NC—Dyrrle Gene Osborne, 60, of Charlotte, and a former U.S. Army Master Sergeant, was convicted today by a jury in U.S. District Court of criminal charges that include converting public funds and making false statements to the FBI, to a U.S. Army Board, and to a U.S. Major General. The jury convicted the defendant after a day-long trial and an hour of deliberations. The defendant was charged in four criminal counts in a federal bill of indictment in October 2009. Today’s announcement is made by U.S. Attorney Edward R. Ryan for the Western District of North Carolina, and Owen D. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of FBI.

According to U.S. Attorney Ryan and the evidence at trial, Dyrrle Gene Osborne received approximately $100,000 in active duty payments after he separated from the U.S. Army and was no longer on active duty. Trial testimony and evidence showed that Osborne was overpaid from June 2005 through December 2006 and further, that he neither returned nor saved the money but rather that he spent it. The jury found the defendant guilty on all counts: Count One, converting public funds; and Counts Two through Four, making false statements to the FBI, to the Board of the U.S. Army conducting his separation hearing, and to a Major General of the U.S. Army.

Osborne faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison on the converting public funds count (Count One), alone. In addition, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison as to each of the three counts of making a false statement. There is no parole in the federal criminal system.

Evidence presented at trial also showed that the investigation was handled by the FBI. The case was prosecuted for the government by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt W. Meyers from the Charlotte U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina.

Defendant Dyrrle Gene Osborne currently awaits sentencing in U.S. District Court on a $25,000 appearance bond. Osborne’s sentencing date has not yet been set.

State, military officials dedicate new Truax fire station

By Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

February 23, 2010 - One of Wisconsin National Guard's newest facilities serves more than just military assets by providing continuous emergency support to more than 1.5 million passengers who fly in and out of the Dane County Regional Airport every year.

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, along with Dane County and Wisconsin National Guard officials, formally dedicated a newly renovated, $6 million fire station at the airport Feb. 19.

The 12-month renovation provided much-needed space - increasing the station from 9,300 to 23,500 square feet. The increase makes room for state-of-the-art vehicles and equipment, recently purchased by the National Guard Bureau, and also for better training and quality-of-life facilities for "around-the-clock" emergency responders.

Kohl was a motivated catalyst behind acquiring the funds for the project, securing the funds as part of the Department of Defense's Future Years Defense Program to support the fighter wing's increased role following Sept. 11. At the ceremony, Kohl again voiced his support for the project.

"You provide a service that is really important, really useful, really critical and absolutely necessary," Kohl said. "So when we had an opportunity to make a decision to expand this facility ... it was, for me, an easy decision, as well as for Rep. [Tammy] Baldwin, with the full participation of [Dane County Executive] Kathleen Falk. It's in that spirit that we got that done."

The emergency responders on Truax Field provided emergency response capabilities for more than 95,000 incoming and outgoing flights at DCRA in 2009, despite the fact only 9,000 of those flights can be attributed to Army and Air National Guard aircraft.

"The airport is incredibly proud of the cooperation and the agreement that we have amongst the airport and the military," said Dave Jensen, DCRA deputy director. "We take great comfort in knowing the service that you provide not only the military but every single user of this airport. It's incredibly comforting for us to know that you are here for us."

The Truax Fire and Rescue Station responds to more than 250 calls each year, some of which go to many of the 14 local communities they share a mutual-aid agreement with, including Madison, Maple Bluff, Blooming Grove, Sun Prairie, DeForest, Waunakee, Cottage Grove, McFarland, Marshall, Stoughton, Middleton, Deerfield, Cambridge and Monona.

"With the current airport-joint agreement we have with Dane County and Dane County Regional Airport, it's a huge benefit to the county and to the community for us to be here," said Master Sgt. Gary Peck, Truax Field fire chief.

Peck also said a civilian airport of this size typically maintains about four to six full-time personnel, compared to the 31 full-time and 27 traditional Guard members that the Truax Field fire and rescue station currently employs. Of the full-time employees, only four are funded through Dane County.

"Personally, as the fire chief, I am so grateful for everything that we have," Peck said. "With this new facility, I promise that our airport fire department will continue to be dedicated to excellence and will continue to provide the highest level of service possible to all that we serve."

Soldiers, Families Top Army Priorities, Leaders Say

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 23, 2010 - Funding programs to support soldiers and their families is the Army's top priority in the new fiscal year, the service's secretary and chief of staff told a Senate panel today. Army Secretary John M. McHugh, a former Congress member who served on the House Armed Services Committee, returned to Capitol Hill today to give his assessment of where the Army stands and where it needs to go.

"I found an Army clearly fatigued by nearly nine years of combat," McHugh told the Senate Armed Service Committee. "But through it all, they are more resilient."

To sustain and improve that resilience, McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. spoke for the need to improve soldiers' "dwell time" at home between deployments, as well as Army family support and mental health programs.

"We remain out of balance," McHugh said. "Our all-volunteer force is a national treasure. If we wish to sustain it, soldiers and their families must be our top priority. For those of us in the Army family, it is the top priority."

The Defense Department's fiscal 2011 budget request includes $1.7 billion to fund what McHugh called "vital" family programs such as those to provide respite care and spousal employment, and to open some 50 child-care centers and seven youth centers.

"We sign up the soldier, we re-sign up the family," McHugh said.

Casey agreed that keeping families happy is critical. "Keeping our families understanding that we really are committed to them over the long haul is essential to holding this force together," he said.

The most important element for putting the Army "back in balance," Casey said, is to increase the time soldiers are home between deployments.

"What we continue to see across the force is the cumulative effects of these deployments," he said. Army studies show two to three years of dwell time is needed to recover from one year of deployment, he added.

The Army has increased dwell time from 12 to 18 months and plans that by the end of next year all soldiers would have two years at home following one year of deployment, Casey said.

"When you're only home for a year, you barely have time to finish your leave before it's time to go back," he said. "We've discovered that the difference between 18 months at home and 12 months is significant."

Casey went on to say a two-year dwell time will be even more significant to help soldiers and families, and also to train units more broadly for various operations.

The proposed budget builds on increases this year in funding for base operations, and the Army is conducting a mid-year review to assess base programs, McHugh said, adding that funding will not be cut for family programs.

"As our installations look for ways to operate more efficiently, our family programs will be sacrosanct they will not be touched," he said. "That doesn't mean we won't ask questions about whether things are operating efficiently."

As an example of efforts to improve soldier resilience, Casey introduced Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Lawson, one of four soldiers he introduced to the committee. Lawson is one of 600 soldiers sent to a University of Pennsylvania program to become a "master resiliency trainer." The training is part of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program that began in October and is designed to balance and strengthen soldiers' physical and mental resilience, Casey said.

Under the program, the Army increased its mental-health specialists-to-soldiers ratio to 1-to-600 -- though regulations require only a 1-to-700 ratio -- to provide treatment in combat theaters, McHugh said. Still, the Army is 600 mental health providers short of its overall requirement of 4,304, he said.

"The way you get people to understand it's OK [to get treatment] is by acting like it's OK by providing that type of care," McHugh said. "I don't want to suggest we have this perfect; we don't. But it's something we work on every day and are improving every day."

The proposed budget also completes the realignment of bases ordered by the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Act, Casey said. The service is halfway through re-stationing that should be complete next year, affecting 300,000 soldiers and their families, but also improving their quality of life, he said.

The budget also restructures the force to prepare for changing operational needs. Those changes include standing down some jobs, including 200 tank companies, and standing up others such as police and Special Forces, Casey said.

"We are converting, retraining and equipping 150,000 soldiers for new jobs," he said. "This will be the largest organizational transformation of the Army since World War II, and we have done it while fighting two wars."

The Army has completed 90 percent of its goal that began in 2004 of changing its 300 brigades from Cold War to modular formations, Casey said, adding that the changes follow the Navy and Marine Corps operational models that give sustained land forces to combatant commanders while allowing for unexpected contingencies.

Another priority in the proposed budget is acquisition reform. "We have an Army that is strong in spirit, strong in ability and strong in results," McHugh said. "We need to recognize, too, that this is an Army that is tired, stressed and burdened by the inefficiencies of bureaucracy."

To that end, the budget would revamp the acquisitions process to improve how quickly equipment and services can be purchased and put into the hands of warfighters, McHugh said. Among other things, the reforms would add thousands of acquisitions positions to the service.

"The long pole in the tent is in bringing in more contract expertise," McHugh said, noting that the Army has brought 900 functions back in-house, created 4,000 positions and saved $40 million in the process.

Flag Officer Assignments


February 23, 2010 - Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the following assignments:

Rear Adm. (lower half) Thomas A. Cropper will be assigned as commander, Strike Force Training Pacific, San Diego, Calif. Cropper is currently serving as deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Central Command, Bahrain.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Kevin M. Donegan will be assigned as director for operations, J3, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla. Donegan is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Five, Yokosuka, Japan.

Rear Adm. Kenneth E. Floyd will be assigned as director, Air Warfare Division, N88, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Floyd is currently serving as commander, Strike Force Training Pacific, San Diego, Calif.

Rear Adm. (lower half) William R. Kiser will be assigned as commandant of the Medical Education Training Campus, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. Kiser is currently serving as commander, Navy Medicine East/commander, Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Va.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Anthony M. Kurta will be assigned as director, Military Personnel Plans and Policy Division, N13, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Kurta is currently serving as commander, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, Camp Lemonier, Djibouti.

Capt. Michael W. Hewitt, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral (lower half), will be assigned as commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Norfolk, Va. Hewitt is currently serving as assistant deputy director for information operations, J3, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. David L. Philman will be assigned as director, Warfare Integration/senior national representative, N8F, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Philman is currently serving as director, Air Warfare Division, N88, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Thomas C. Traaen will be assigned as commander, Defense Distribution Center, Defense Logistics Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va. Traaen is currently serving as vice director for logistics, J4, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

Gates Voices Concern Over NATO Shortfalls

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 23, 2010 - After underfunding NATO for more than a decade, the Western security bloc now faces a budget crisis by an order of hundreds of millions of euros, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.

Going a step further, Gates said the shortfall, with a vast majority of alliance members failing to meet budget goals, is symptomatic of a larger flaw: deep problems in how NATO perceives and responds to threats in an era when its scope has widened beyond traditional Cold War boundaries.

"The problem is not just underfunding of NATO," Gates said at the National Defense University here. "Since the end of the Cold War, NATO and national defense budgets have fallen consistently, even with unprecedented operations outside NATO's territory over the past five years."

Gates' remarks to NATO representatives come 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 28-member organization.

While the defense secretary said the new concept would not attempt to "reinvent the wheel," he acknowledged dramatic changes in the security landscape since similar self-analyses were conducted 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 addition to financial considerations, Gates focused his comments on Article 5 -- the NATO charter's backbone that stipulates an attack against one member is an attack against all. Al-Qaida terrorists launched the 9/11 attacks against the United States after training in Afghanistan as hosts of the Taliban-led government that ruled there at that time.

"It was the attacks of Sept. 11 and the Afghanistan campaign that turned what had been theoretical analysis into reality," Gates said. "Few would have imagined that the first invocation of Article 5 in the alliance's history would follow an attack on the United States homeland by a nonstate entity based in a nation far beyond NATO's traditional borders -- a desperately poor country scorned and ignored by the international community."

But nearly a decade after the Taliban were toppled from power in Afghanistan, Gates expressed concerns about NATO member nations' level of commitment, suggesting that the political and cultural climates in Europe have caused the credibility of Article 5 to be called into question -- an aspect of NATO's identity that the new concept should go further to restore, he added.

"I believe we have reached an inflection point, where much of the continent has gone too far in the other direction," Gates said of contemporary Europe's view of its security needs.. "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."

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."

Wyoming Airmen plan medical exercise with Tunisia

By Master Sergeant Jim Fisher
17th Air Force

(2/22/10) - A group of Tunisian officers traveled here Jan. 20-25 to work with U.S. Air Forces Africa on preparations for an upcoming medical exercise focusing on potential response to mass casualty weapons or incidents. The Tunisians met with partners from U.S. Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA), the Wyoming Air National Guard and Army Guard, the U.S. Army Reserve from Nevada, the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, and other exercise planners. The group was putting the finishing touches on Exercise MEDLITE 2010, said Chief Master Sgt. Kristen Maurer, chief of clinical services for the 153rd Medical Group of the Wyoming Air National Guard.

"We are focusing this exercise on the operational readiness level," Maurer said. "So it will be almost like an ORE."

She also explained that exercise evaluation team members on hand would serve as advisors, as well as evaluators, providing instruction on disaster response-related topics.

The exercise is the latest in a series of training engagements between the U.S. and Tunisia, but the first to include the WYANG since Wyoming began a state partnership with Tunisia in 2007, Maurer said.

"Previously, the exercises were conducted through AFAFRICA and USAFE with the Reserve. Now we've stepped in because of our state partnership," she said. While Wyoming's Army National Guard has been conducting bilateral affairs activities, this is the first major engagement for the Air Guard.

Maurer and her Wyoming ANG comrades have been involved in several previous planning meetings, and are building relationships with their Tunisian partners.

Tunisian Col. Kahled Lemine said one of the main objectives for the exercise is familiarity, and this is already being achieved through the planning process.

"These exercises improve our medical readiness and make Tunisian and U.S. troops very friendly and very familiar," Lemine said. "We have been conducting them for some years and they improve our proficiency to operate in certain cases, such as CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive)."

Tunisian Lt. Col. Khaled Baltaji said that the scope of this year's exercise is wider in terms of participation, and in terms of employing lessons learned.

"The level of participation is higher this year," Baltaji said. "Our last exercise of this type took place in 2008, and this was the first time we had CBRNE in [the scenario]. We've taken the lessons learned from the last MEDLITE and tried to use them to improve this exercise. It's going to be more hands on. MEDLITE is the most successful exercise for us. It's an opportunity for us to analyze special techniques and to see how the U.S. works."

Maurer anticipates that the exercise will be a learning experience for everyone taking part.

"My people will end up getting some training from the Tunisians and their field surgical unit," she said. "We are conducting joint training on their equipment versus our equipment and we are going to involve our decontamination unit as well."

After hosting representatives from numerous partner nations in Africa in 2009, the first visit in 2010 is the latest chapter in AFAFRICA's partnership-building efforts.

Capt. Terrence Kilgore, the U.S. Embassy Air Force liaison officer, said the exercise is "an excellent opportunity for the two nations to come together, to expand upon our understanding of CBRNE, and to build upon our partnership. It's also a great opportunity to strengthen security in the Maghreb region."

Holcomb Leads Team USA in Olympic Bobsled Event


By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 23, 2010 - After finishing sixth in the two-man Olympic bobsled competition Feb. 21, former Army World Class Athlete Program bobsled driver Steven Holcomb said he looks forward to the upcoming four-man event and ending the U.S. drought of 62 years with no gold. Holcomb was in fourth place after the first two of four heats Feb. 20 in the Olympic two-man bobsled competition. He teamed that night with Curt Tomasevicz for a two-run cumulative time of 1 minute, 43.93 seconds, just .62 seconds off the pace set by reigning Olympic champions Andre Lange and Kevin Kusge in Germany-1, who took the gold medal.

The Germany-2 duo of Thomas Florschuetz and Richard Adjei won the silver medal in the two-man bobsled event. The Russia-1 sled manned by Alexandr Zubkov and Alexey Voevoda took the bronze.

"We're medal hopefuls," said Holcomb, who spent eight years in the World Class Athlete Program. "We're just going to go out there and do the best we can."

The Olympic four-man bobsled event begins Feb. 26. Holcomb is the 2008-2009 World Cup champion pilot in the four-man event.

Holcomb and Tomasevicz began their 2010 Olympic journey by bursting off the start in 4.79 seconds, the fifth-fastest of the first heat, despite having trouble getting off the block.

"I was a little disappointed in the first run only because the sled popped out of the groove," Tomasevicz said. "But the time wasn't bad compared to the rest of the field."

The "Night Hawk" team gained momentum, clocking the fastest split times down the challenging course before Holcomb had trouble navigating Corner 12. The duo was on the verge of rolling, but Holcomb regained control and led his sled to the finish in 51.89 seconds, putting USA I in sixth position after the first heat.

"We were to a point where the alarms were going off in my head," Holcomb said. "Fortunately, we made it, but anything can happen. I named that curve, so it almost came back to bite me, but that is part of the sport."

Curve 13 is known as the "50/50," a reference Team USA athletes make to the probability of pilots making it through the corner without turning their sleds.

Team USA I posted a start time of 4.82 seconds in the second heat before twisting and turning its way down the 16-curve course to the finish in 52.04 seconds. Holcomb and Tomasevicz clocked a two-run total of 1:43.93, just 0.12 seconds from the Olympic podium, in fourth position.

"There's a different energy in the air," Holcomb said. "It's kind of a different feeling, but at the same time we're just doing the best we can out here. But you've got to know that everybody's giving 100 percent, so you can't expect to be a decorated slider and just go through. You need to fight for every spot you can."

World Class Athlete Program bobsled driver Army Sgt. John Napier of Lake Placid, N.Y., teamed with Steve Langton of Melrose, Mass., in USA II to finish 11th after the first day of competition, with a combined time of 1:44.73. They powered off the block with identical start times of 4.89 seconds for runs of 52.28 and 52.45 seconds.

"There's so much excitement and anxiety out here," Napier said. "The first run didn't really take a hold of me. I didn't expect it. There's no way to prepare for the Olympics and the atmosphere here. There are so many people, so many fans, a million people watching. There's no way to prepare for that or no words to describe this environment right now and how I'm feeling.

"The second run, I said, 'Hey, it's just another bobsled run.' I push hard, I go down, and I get to the finish line. We drove a lot better," Napier said of his best run of the week that featured six practice runs on the fastest bobsled track in the world.

Napier comes from a family of bobsledders and began driving when he was 8 years old, while Langton hails from a track-and-field background and was recruited into the sport only two years ago.

"I got a little nervous and made a few mistakes, but hopefully tomorrow I can make improvements," said Napier, who is competing in his first Olympics. "This track is very tough and very technical, but I didn't grow up on a kinder-bobbing easy track, I grew up on a difficult track -- Lake Placid, N.Y., where I learned how to drive. I just love the toughness; I love the speed. Give me more speed tomorrow."

Napier also is ecstatic about representing troops worldwide at the XXI Olympic Winter Games.

"I got an e-mail yesterday from a troop I didn't know and I've never met in my life," Napier said. "He said, 'Hey, I just want to commend you on what you're doing. I notice you're an athlete, you're an Army athlete, and you're a Christian athlete.'"

The troop, Napier said, noted that he was out of the Army now, having been injured by an improvised explosive device during military duty.

"The only way I can lose," Napier said, "is if I don't try my hardest ... and I'm going to represent the Army for that soldier and many other soldiers overseas right now."

Former World Class Athlete Program and current Army National Guard Outstanding Athlete Program bobsled driver Mike Kohn of Chantilly, Va., and Nick Cunningham of Monterey, Calif., are in 12th place with a cumulative time of 1:45.18.

"I think we caught about three people, and that was pretty cool," Kohn said. "We've just got about 11 more to catch tomorrow, so that would be nice. I wish I had more training time, but it is what it is. I've just got to get video tonight and start to figure things out and do the best we can with what we've got."

Kohn, a 2002 Olympic bronze medalist, teamed with first-time Olympian Cunningham for push times of 4.91 seconds. Kohn navigated his BoDyn sled to the finish in 52.47 and 52.71 seconds.

Cunningham was announced as Kohn's two-man partner Feb. 18, following the first day of official training.

"I have to thank USA 1, 2 and 3, and even the guys who didn't make this team," Cunningham said. "I'm out there representing everybody. I'm kind of the little guy, but I couldn't be there without them. Coming from an alternate position and kind of learning the ropes so quickly, it's absolutely a dream come true."

The first heat of the four-man bobsled event is scheduled for 4 p.m. PST, Feb. 26.

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

Teela Finishes 29th in Olympic Biathlon Event


By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 23, 2010 - Army World Class Athlete Program biathlete Sgt. Jeremy Teela of the Vermont National Guard battled illness to finish 29th in the Olympic men's 15-kilometer mass start Feb. 21 at Whistler Olympic Park here. Russia's Evgeny Ustyugov shot cleanly throughout the race and won the gold medal with a time of 35 minutes, 35.7 seconds. France's Martin Fourcade took the silver in 35:46.2. Slovakia's Pavol Hurajt claimed the bronze with a time of 35:52.3

Teela missed two of 10 targets from both the prone and standing shooting positions and finished in 38:36.1. He was 3:00.4 behind the champion.

"I'm tired," said Teela, who missed the 20-kilometer individual race Feb. 16 because of illness. "I felt really good yesterday and did some training. I even felt pretty good today, but maybe I'm still a little sick. A couple days ago maybe took a little more out of me than I thought, but I'm not far away.

"I had four days of rest and I did not go out for a ski during that time," he continued, "so I just jumped into the race today. My shape was a little bit off. After the second loop, I was zapped; I hit a wall. It's not the race I wanted. I've just got to review it in the next couple hours, then forget about it and prep for the relay."

Teela said he is confident that another day of rest and some speed training will prepare him for the Feb. 26 4x7.5-kilometer relay, the last of five Olympic races in the cross-country skiing and shooting event.

Teela led Team USA's four competitors in the first two races, sat out the third, and finished 29th in his fourth race. He remains hopeful about the relay, his final competition in the 2010 games.

"It's a race where anything can happen, but it's a four-man race, so all four guys need to be on their 'A' game," he said. "Sometimes it's difficult to put that together, but I think the other two guys [who didn't compete in the mass start] will be rested up pretty well, and hopefully I'll figure out myself."

Tim Burke, the fourth man scheduled to race in the relay, also competed in the mass start, finishing 18th, 1:09 behind Ustyugov. He missed four shots from the standing position.

Burke thinks the relay race will be Team USA's best shot at winning a medal.

I think it will be our best chance that we've had," he said. "Jeremy's had some really good races here, and Lowell [Bailey] has had some super shooting races. The relay is really mostly about shooting so anything can happen.

"There are a lot of teams who can be up there," Burke added, "and we're definitely one of those teams. We're going to do everything that we possibly can. Our top result is a fifth on the World Cup and we've been within striking distance of the podium a few times. We'll give it our best."

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

Observations From Middle East Trip

By Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 23, 2010 - I just returned from a trip to the Middle East where I visited with civilian and military leaders in Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. It was a trip I wanted to make for some time now, given the scope of our security commitments in the region and the mutual challenges we all still face. At each stop and in each meeting, I was encouraged to find, though perspectives certainly vary, the desire for stability and security is as common as it is vigorous.

I was also struck by two other overarching themes.

First, where the United States has military relationships in the region, they are strong and getting stronger. Our partners want to engage, exercise, and operate with us. They also want to pursue new and innovative ways to tackle common challenges there and around the world.

The Egyptians were proud of their participation in this year's Bright Star exercise, and want to make it even more vibrant in the future. The Israeli's, of course, remain a vital ally and a cornerstone of our regional security commitments. I was delighted to meet with more than 100 Israeli doctors and nurses who deployed to Haiti to help with international relief efforts. To a person they were proud of the impact they made and of the speed with which they made it.

In similar fashion, the Jordanians, long a key contributor to UN peacekeeping missions, walked me through the medical support they continue to provide in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also showed me a Special Operations Training Center that has tremendous potential for how modern militaries can best prepare for counter-terrorism operations in a harsh environment.

The Saudi's shared with me valuable lessons they learned working with the Yemeni government to deal with the Houthi issue and in the UAE I was very impressed to see an air coordination and advanced training center that not only provides virtually unimpeded training opportunities to regional air forces, but also improves real-world tactical air coordination issues.

The second overarching theme was, of course, Iran.

If there is one great concern shared by all the nations I visited, it is over the direction they believe Iran is going and what that means for them and for their citizens. I maintain my conviction that Iran remains on a path to achieve nuclear weapons, and that even this very pursuit further destabilizes the region. Like us, it isn't just a nuclear-capable Iranian military our friends worry about; it's an Iran with hegemonic ambitions and a desire to dominate its neighbors. This outcome drives many of the national security decisions our partners are making, and I believe we must be mindful of that as we look to the future post-Iraq and post-Afghanistan.

Let me be clear: we owe the Secretary and the President a range of options for this threat. We owe the American people our readiness. But as I have said many times, I worry a lot about the unintended consequences of any sort of military action. For now, the diplomatic and economic levers of international power ought to be the levers first pulled. Indeed, I would hope they are always and consistently pulled.

No strike, however effective, will be in and of itself decisive.

(Navy Adm. Mike Mullen is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.)