Military News

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Back Pay to Vet

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


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

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

According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DOD Announces Fubini Award Recipient

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

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

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

Military Must Better Prepare Against Internal Threats, General Says

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gates, Israeli Counterpart Discuss Security Issues

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 25, 2010

AIR FORCE

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

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

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

ARMY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NAVY

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

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

Rolls Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a $45,137,679 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0020) to exercise an option for contractor logistics support and technical engineering support services for the KC-130J aircraft propulsion system for the Marine Corps, which includes the AE 2100D3 turboprop engine and the R 391 propeller. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Ind., and is expected to be completed in February 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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

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

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

Harris Corp. Government Communications Systems Division, Melbourne, Fla., is being awarded a $7,160,530 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced contract (N00019-06-C-0087) to exercise an option for the full rate production of 148 fiber channel network switches, a component of the advanced mission computer and display for the F/A-18 E/F, E/A-18G and E-2D aircrafts, and 4 mounting kits for the E-2D. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Fla., and is expected to be completed in December 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

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

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $37,660,756 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for C-2 aircraft outer wing panel sets. Other location of performance is in Florida. Using service is Navy. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is a two-year long term requirements contract. The date of performance completion is Feb. 1, 2014. The Defense Logistics Agency Philadelphia (DSCR-ZCC), Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPRPA1-10-D-001Z).

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

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

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

Military Steps Up Battle Against Sexual Assault

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Navy to Christen USNS Charles Drew

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cardiologist Shares Ways to Maintain Healthy Heart

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Military Saves is About Readiness

By Carol Kando-Pineda

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

Military Saves – during Military Saves Week and beyond.

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

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

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

Philippine Forces Challenge Children to be 'Heroes'


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Care Packages for Guard Families


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gates Calls for Building Foreign Troops' Capacity

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bobsledding Soldiers Turn to Four-man Event



By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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