Military News

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

SECNAV Announces Flag Officer Assignments

April 6, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced April 6 the following assignments:

Rear Adm. (lower half) John E. Jolliffe will be assigned as deputy reserve commander, U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Central Command, Bahrain. Jolliffe is currently serving as Joint Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer, Navy Region Southwest, San Diego, Calif.

Rear Adm. (lower half) William F. Moran will be assigned as deputy director, Air Warfare Division, N88, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Moran is currently serving as commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Norfolk, Va.

Rear Adm. John C. Orzalli will be assigned as vice commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. Orzalli is currently serving as fleet maintenance officer, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Va.

Airmen complete month-long training in 2 continents


by Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young
Defense Media Activity-Hawaii

4/6/2010 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Airmen from the 19th Fighter Squadron from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, recently completed two back-to-back training exercises in Thailand and Hawaii.

The squadron interacted with Thai and Singaporean air forces at Cope Tiger in Korat, Thailand, while also training here with the 199th Fighter Squadron of the Hawaiian Air National Guard.

The training in these two places differed from what they do on a daily basis in Alaska because of weather.

"We are able to do a lot of different things in Hawaii compared to Alaska," said Capt. Tyler Marsh, of the 19th FS. "The terrain for one is different because we fly over mountains (Alaska) daily compared to Hawaii where we can fly a 1,000 feet off the water,"

The 19th Aircraft Maintenance Unit staff is depended on heavily to keep the aircraft flying in hot or cold weather conditions.

"When we're in Alaska, our maintenance folks are out in the snow and ice all day to get out jets running, so keeping a good relationship with them is vital because we realize without them a lot of the stuff we do won't happen," Captain Marsh said.

Weather is a major challenge for the maintenance members in Alaska because when they have to fix something on the jet during the winter months, they have to evaluate the problem on the spot and then move the jet inside to begin work on it. This adds time to their processes.

"It's easier to maintain the jets in Thailand and Hawaii because we can handle any problems right away without moving them inside first," said Senior Airman Matt Pujanauski, an F-15 Eagle electrician with the 19th AMU.

Despite the challenges involved in working in the Alaskan weather, the maintainers were still able to keep the jets flying resulting in top recognition for the 19th FS.

"Being a nation at war, our Air Force is tasked at a high level, so it's been challenging to do some of the things that we've done," said Lt. Col. David Graff, the 19th FS commander. "This was the last deployment for the 19th FS and 19th AMU and it has been a great year for us."

The 19th FS is one of the squadrons closing its doors due to the fighter reduction program.

"Although it doesn't feel good to close down a squadron, it does feel good to finish off our last full year as a Raytheon Trophy winner, said Lt. Col James Suhr, director of operations for the 19th FS commenting on the award to the best air-to-air fighter squadron in the Air Force. I'm confident that no matter where the men and women of the 19th FS and 19th AMU go, they will continue to do good things."

Airmen keep servicemembers healthy through preventative measures


by Senior Airman Wes Carter
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

4/6/2010 - JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (AFNS) -- Every day thousands of Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and contractors walk through the doors of Dining Facility Two here to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can do this without worrying if the food they are consuming is safe to eat, because of the efforts of the 332nd Expeditionary Aerospace Medical Squadron's Public Health Flight staff.

While the flight members conduct health-related functions dealing with sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and animal bites, the largest part of their job is the inspection of the food servicemembers and contractors consume daily.

"We check how the food is stored, what temperature it is cooked at and what the environment it is stored in looks like among other things," said Staff Sgt. Jennifer Ledward, a 332nd EAMS public health technician. "Our No. 1 priority is to ensure people aren't susceptible to food poisoning or other food-borne illnesses. Anything that affects the whole population involves us."

The Public Health Flight staff is responsible for inspecting Dining Facility Two, deemed the establishment well above satisfactory during a detailed check in March. Each monthly inspection is unannounced in order to prevent the facility to prepare.

"We gave the dining facility a rating of 'excellent,'" Sergeant Ledward said. "In order to receive this high of a mark, the facility has two satisfactory ratings in a row. This ensures they are being consistently conscious of potential health issues."

It's important to remember that public health Airmen aren't just trying to keep a few people from a trip to the clinic. In a deployed location the health of every Airman is vital.

"It gives me a good piece of mind that when I come in here I won't get sick," said Tech. Sgt. Brian Jackson, a 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron member. "My unit already has a high mission tempo right now, for me to be out of the picture because I am sick would cause them to have to grab someone else, it would affect the whole mission from the top down."

Holding the DFAC accountable is a big part of keeping Airmen at Joint Base Balad healthy, but there are some things each Airman should do to help stay fit to fight, according to the public health staff, such as washing their hands regularly, covering their mouth when they sneeze or cough, and keeping work and living areas clean to keep germs under control.

U.S. Naval Academy Museum Features Award-Winning Maritime Art

April 6, 2010 - ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- An exhibition of the award-winning maritime art of Patrick O'Brien is currently on view at the newly renovated U.S. Naval Academy Museum.

The exhibit of artist Patrick O'Brien's work features naval subjects of ships and battles, including two historic views of the Naval Academy itself with training ships departing under sail for summer cruises: the USS Constellation in 1871 and the USS Severn underway in 1908. Several of the children's books that O'Brien illustrated and a number of the original watercolor sketches for the illustrations are also part of the exhibit.

The exhibition will continue through April 30. The U.S. Naval Academy Museum is free and open to the public Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

O'Brien, who lives and works in Baltimore, began his career as a draftsman in a naval architectural firm and earned a degree in biology from the University of Virginia. Since 1985, he has worked as an illustrator and painter. His clients have included National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, the Smithsonian Institution, ExxonMobile, and the U.S. Naval Institute. O'Brien is also the author and illustrator of eleven non-fiction books for children.

Visitors to the Naval Academy may walk through Gate 1 (King George St.) and Gate 3 (Maryland Ave.) and will be required to show valid, government issued picture identification. Vehicles without Department of Defense decals are not permitted on the Naval Academy grounds. Handicapped visitors with proper decals are permitted through Gate 1 after a vehicle inspection. All bags are subject to search.

USS Monterey Sailor Saves a Life

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Scott Boyle, Naval Surface Force Atlantic Public Affairs

April 6, 2010 - NORFOLK (NNS) -- A Sailor from the Norfolk-based Guided Missile Cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) saved a young boy from drowning April 4.

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Dustin Kilgore was talking to a friend on his balcony at the Holly Point Apartment complex in Chesapeake, Va., when he heard a scream and splashing coming from the large canal and pond outside his apartment.

"I yelled to a woman screaming and asked what happened," Kilgore said. "She yelled that her nephew was in the water and couldn't swim."

Kilgore immediately dropped the cell phone and ran out of his apartment to the edge of the murky pond. He jumped in and began swimming to the boy, about 300 feet away.

"My instincts kicked in, and I just wanted to get the child out of the water," Kilgore said.

By the time he reached him, the boy had sunk to the bottom of the canal. With his hands wide, he crouched down, dredging the bottom. A few frantic minutes passed when Kilgore's foot touched something.

"I reached down and felt his thigh," he said. "Then, I yanked him out of the water and started carrying him to the edge."

"The edge" was a concrete ramp another 75 feet from where the boy fell in the water. The boy didn't have a pulse and wasn't breathing. Kilgore immediately started Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

"It was instinct, being a parent; whatever it was, I just reacted and used my training," he said.

Kilgore repeated the process - 15 chest compressions, a breath, cleaning the murky water from the boy's mouth - he repeated the process over and over. Then, there was a pulse. Kilgore didn't stop.

"We're taught to always continue until relieved, so I did until the paramedics came," he said.

Paramedics arrived and took over. A few minutes later, the boy was breathing again, and he was rushed to the hospital.

"I'm not surprised at all by what he did," said Lt. j.g. Christopher Apt, Kilgore's division officer on Monterey. "He is such a great guy."

Two days later, the local news media interviewed Kilgore at the same location about the events of Easter afternoon. Standing in his service dress blue uniform just yards from the concrete ramp he knelt on a few days before, he tells the story again.

A few witnesses to the events come up and smile.

"That boy saved his life," one says.

"No way he survives if that kid doesn't do what he did, what a hero," says another.

As the interviews end, a woman walks up to hug him. She tells him her grandson, two years old, happy and full of life is okay and coming home from the hospital.

"That was all I cared about," Kilgore said. "I just wanted to know he was going to be alright."

After all that happened, Kilgore reflected on the events of Easter Sunday.

"A twist of fate, spiritual, whatever you want to call it, I was just in the right place at the right time," he said.

Child and Youth Program Expanding by 7,000 Child Care Spaces

By Bruce Moody, Commander, Navy Installations Command, Fleet and Family Support Program

April 6, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy is expanding its Child and Youth Program by more than 7,000 child care spaces fleetwide for children ages 12 and under.

The expansion will reduce a child's time spent on waiting lists to three months or less to meet 80 percent of the potential need across the Navy by the end of 2011.

"Reaching the OSD goal of providing access for 80 percent of the potential need has been elusive," John Baker, Commander, Navy Installation Command's Director of Fleet and Family Readiness, said this month during testimony to members of the House Armed Services Committee. "With strong financial support from the president, congress, OSD and Navy, we have been able to launch an aggressive expansion plan that will allow us to meet our space requirements."

Commander, Navy Installations Command's Child and Youth Program is achieving the expansion through a variety of measures to include the construction of 31 new child development centers. Classrooms are being converted to accommodate children under the age of three, the age group in highest demand. Also, the Navy has also partnered with the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) to subsidize high-quality civilian care for military families off-base through an effort called Military Child Care In Your Neighborhood and Operation Military Child Care, provides subsidies to deployed families using licensed child care.

During fiscal 2009, Navy programs cared for more than 49,000 children ages six weeks to 12 years of age in 128 child development centers, 86 school-aged care programs and 3,115 on- and off-base licensed child development homes.

Beyond merely providing child care spaces, the Navy's Child and Youth Program provides services that significantly enhance the ability of our families to cope with the many demands of military life. Navy Child and Youth Programs partnered with NACCRRA last April to launch a new program that provides these Navy families up to 40 hours of respite care a month.

To date, over 240 Navy families received respite care for their children with special needs enrolled in categories four and five of the Exceptional Family Members Program (EFMP).

"The respite care program allows the parent to leave their child, knowing that the provider is equipped to deal with their child's particular needs, and allows them some much needed time to take for themselves," Greg Young, Navy Child and Youth Program manager, said.

Cadets, McCool Students Tour USNS Amelia Earhart

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Corwin Colbert, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

April 6, 2010 - SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6) invited students for an underway tour in the waters off U.S. Naval Base Guam April 5.

More than 100 children from Commander William C. McCool Elementary/Middle School, U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps of Guam and Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) of Father Duenas Memorial School spent approximately nine hours on the Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship.

"The purpose of bringing the children out was to teach the children patriotism," said Cecilio Gonzales, U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Corps regional director and a McCool history teacher. "As for the cadets, even though there is no obligation to join, we want to show them what the high-tech and diverse Navy and merchant marines can do."

Throughout the tour, the group was briefed on the mission of the ship, MSC and the Navy. USNS Amelia Earhart is the sixth ship of nine in the Navy's T-AKE class. As part of MSC's Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, these ships deliver ammunition, provisions, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to the Navy's carrier strike groups at sea and other naval forces worldwide, allowing them to stay at sea, on station and combat ready for extended periods of time.

"The children had an exhausting tour," said Senior Chief Operations Specialist (SW) Phillip Heldt, the senior enlisted advisor for the military detachment of the ship. "We gave them a tour on mostly every space we have on board."

The children witnessed a damage control and chemical, biological and radiation display and an underway replenishment and vertical replenishment static display as well as toured medical spaces. They also had the opportunity to drive the ship on the bridge.

"I learned a lot about how the ship transfers cargo to other ships so that those ships do not have to go into port," said Brenna Leadingham, a McCool eighth-grader. "My step-dad is in the Navy. I can appreciate what he does more."

The tour ended with flight quarters and the group had a chance to witness a Puma HC1 helicopter land on the ship's flight deck.

"I liked the helicopter landing," Leadingham said. "Now I can tell sea stories of the tour and how the whole lunch line shifted when the ship was rocking."

Cmdr. Dawn Richardson, officer in charge of the military detachment of the ship, was pleased at how well the underway tour went.

"The tour was successful," Richardson said. "It was a great opportunity for the merchants and Sailors to interact with the youth. The children may be the future of the Navy or MSC. Hopefully they will remember the positive experience they had during this underway."

Retired Navy Senior Chief Willie Pizarro, naval science instructor for Father Duenas Memorial School, said hopefully the students understand some concepts of shipboard life.

"This doesn't happen very often," Pizarro said. "The kids are very excited. I just hope the children can take back a positive experience and a feeling of teamwork and camaraderie like Sailors on board who are home away from home."

Second Navy Family Gram Focuses on Deployment Resources for Families

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

April 6, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy released its second monthly Family Gram April 1 describing resources available to assist families of deployed Sailors, demonstrating Navy's continuing commitment to fostering a family support structure which proactively prepares families for Navy life.

"The Navy is committed to providing our families the same high-quality support they provide our Sailors," said Rear Adm. Michael Browne, director of Navy's personal readiness and community support branch. "One way we are meeting that goal is by providing our families with the tools necessary to successfully manage life during deployments and other prolonged separations."

While the Navy has always offered support to families, its programs and services have evolved in recent years to meet the needs of today's deployment cycle to include Sailors serving around the globe as individual augmentees (IAs).

NAVADMIN 120/10 describes and provides information to access about a dozen resources from traditional support structures such as command leadership and ombudsmen to more progressive resources such as the IA Web site and the Family Handbook.

Ombudsmen are an all-volunteer force and serve as the first line of support for Navy families, according to the message. The program has offered an official two-way communication tool among families, Sailors and their commands for 40 years and is often led at each command by a Navy spouse selected by the commanding officer and trained for the position.

The IA Family Handbook provides practical information concerning support services, finances and family coping suggestions, according to the Family Gram. For more personalized needs, each command also offers a command individual augmentee coordinator (CAIC) who mentors, advocates and provides professional sources of information for IA Sailors and their families.

Stigma of Suicide

Navy Works to Reduce Stigma of Discussing Suicide


By Electronics Technician 2nd Class Mark A. Moore, Submarine Group Two Public Affairs

April 6, 2010 - GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) hosted a Suicide Awareness and Prevention Summit at Naval Submarine Base New London on March 30 and March 31.

The goal of the summit is to provide leadership with available resources and assistance to institutionalize fleet requirements regarding implementation and execution of suicide prevention and awareness policies.

Each year, the Navy loses Sailors to suicide. Many of these Sailors are our own shipmates, and most, if not all, of these tragedies can be prevented. The stigma that some Sailors face with seeking help for their problems can stand in the way of preventing suicide.

Relationship issues, drug abuse, financial problems, legal issues and mental health problems can increase a person's suicide risk, according to experts. Eric Hipple, former Detroit Lions quarterback and author of "Real Men Do Cry", has dedicated his life to suicide prevention after losing his 15 year-old son, Jeff, to suicide in 2000. He's now the Outreach Coordinator for the Depression Center for the University of Michigan. He spoke about his experiences during the summit.

"Ninety percent of all suicides are due to some type of untreated or undiagnosed mental illness, depression being one of those," said Hipple. "If someone suffers from depression and does not get treatment, the chance of them taking their own life is greater than someone who is treated."

So, what is the stigma of seeking help in the military? According to Marie Parker, USFF Suicide Prevention Coordinator, some Sailors fear losing respect from shipmates or vice versa. Also, some Sailors mistakenly believe that getting help will make them lose their security clearance. That, however, is a myth.

According to the Navy's suicide prevention website, "less than 2% of revoked or denied clearances are for psychological problems. In the vast majority of situations, getting counseling or treatment an indicator of the good reliability and judgment required for clearances. Failure to seek help and allowing problems to get worse and start to impact performance, conduct and finances, is more likely lead to clearance loss."

The next USFF Suicide Awareness and Prevention workshops will be held in Gulfport, Miss. on April 20 - 21, Sigonella, Italy on May 10 - 11, Naples, Italy on May 13 - 14 and Rota, Spain on May 17 - 18. The workshops are intended to provide leadership with available resources and assistance to institutionalize fleet requirements regarding implementation and execution of suicide prevention and awareness policies.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 6, 2010

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Air BP, Warrenville, Ill. is being awarded a maximum $124,754,182 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation turbine fuel. Other locations of performance are Texas and Louisiana. Using service is the Defense Energy Support Center. The original proposal was Web solicited with 27 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is April 30, 2011. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0474).

Goodrich Corp.*, West Hartford, Conn., is being awarded a maximum $20,589,102 firm-fixed-price, sole-source, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for jet engine fuel pump. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. 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 April 2013. The Defense Logistics Agency (DSCR-ZBAB), Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (SPRTA1-10-D-0053).

Avfuel Corp.*, Ann Arbor, Mich., is being awarded a maximum $5,212,150 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other location of performance is Washington. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. There were originally two proposals solicited with two responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is March 31, 2014. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-0026).

ARMY

JLG Industries Inc., McConnellsburg, Pa., was awarded on April 1 a $85,737,655 firm-fixed-price contract for 492 All Terrain Lifter Army Systems 10,000 pound lift capacity variable reach rough terrain forklifts. Work is to be performed in McConnellsburg, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with four bids received. TACOM Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-A001).

Combat Support Associates, Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded on March 31 a $46,000,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract is a six-month extension of the combat support contract for Kuwait. This procurement is for base operations support services, including security and logistics for supplies and services, which are critical to accomplishing the mission and functions of assigned and tenant units moving into, out of, and within the country of Kuwait. Base operation services also support the Coalition/Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration mission; promotes security and stability within the region; and provides operational support for Operation Iraqi Freedom, while simultaneously fulfilling international security commitments and theater deterrence in support of the Defense Cooperative Agreement between the United States and Kuwait. Work is to be performed in the Kuwait area of responsibility with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. O ne bid was solicited with one bid received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., is the contracting activity (DASA02-99-C-1234).

Olin Corp., Winchester Division, East Alton, Ill., was awarded on March 30 a $43,442,000 sole-source indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm-fixed-price orders. This procurement is for the manufacture and delivery of caliber .50 M903 sabot light armor penetrator; M962 Sabot light armor penetrator tracer bulk; and the 4:1 linked configuration of the M903/M962. Delivery order #0001 will be issued at contract award. Work is to be performed in East Alton, Ill. (50 percent); Towanda, Pa. (26 percent); Jonesborough, Tenn. (8 percent); Independence, Mo. (6 percent); Hopkins, Minn. (4 percent); Wood Dale, Ill. (4 percent); and St. Marks, Fla. (2 percent), with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2016. One sole-source bid was solicited with one bid received. Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-10-D-0010).

Science Application International Corp., McLean, Va., was awarded on March 30 a $39,999,302 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract will be issued under the Army Geospatial Center (AGC) Broad Agency Announcement in support of the Business Transformation Agency (BTA). This action is titled "Shared Approach for the Design, Development and Operation of Federated Information Systems/Services, Database and Dissemination." The contractor will provide basic and applied research in the field of database development and will provide technical support to BTA's business systems for service-oriented architecture implementation. It will also develop a federated architecture based on a common vocabulary and the primitives and patterns concept. These efforts, in support of the BTA and business mission area, will be applicable and transferable to AGC's database development efforts and similar efforts across the Department of Defense. Work is to be performed in Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 28, 2015. Bids were solicited via Broad Agency Announcement with one bid received. Army Geospatial Center, Contracts Office, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W5J9CQ-10-C-0009).

Science Application International Corp., Mclean, Va., was awarded on April 1 a $32,815,507 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. The war fighter analysis and integration contract provides the Army, other services, and the Department of Defense an advanced capability for analysis and integration of defense issues. These defense issues include investigation of battlefield and battle space systems and technologies; impact of changes to force structures; analysis of training, tactics, procedures, and hardware-software; including specific efforts for simulation design; simulation engineering, implementation, integration, and maintenance; parametric modeling; data collection, reduction, and first- level analysis; and design, engineering, and integration of simulations and modeling to support evacuation of potential threats, doctrine and requirements, technologies, design and performance, manufacturing processes, logistics and manpower, and defense system interface architectures. Work is to be performed in McLean, Va., with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (DASG60-02-D-0006).

Donjon Marine Co., Hillside, N.J., was awarded on March 30 a $30,932,000 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract consists of deepening of the existing 47-foot Federal Navigation Channel System to a depth of 52 feet. The project consists of dredging and disposal of non-rock, and possible drilling, blasting, dredging and disposal of rock. Work is to be performed in New York and New Jersey Harbor Channel Navigation with an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers, CECT-NAN, New York, N.Y., is the contracting activity (W912DS-10-C-0006).

Science Application International Corp., McLean, Va., was awarded on March 30 a $24,097,263 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract will be issued under the Army Geospatial Center Broad Agency Announcement. The contractor will develop the human resources architecture to align with the set of Web Ontology Language (OWL) ontologies and resources description framework data describing the operational requirements, domain concepts, and systems of the distributed Department of Defense human resources community. The foundation of this effort includes ontology architecture for modeling; processes on the Object Management Group/Business Process Management Notation standard; domain vocabularies based on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) OWL standard; information systems and mapping to those systems based on database-to- resource description framework query; an open framework; and rules based on the draft W3C rule interchange format standard. These models will be collaboratively developed by a group of ontology experts, human resources subject matter and system experts, and business process engineers. Work is to be performed in Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 18, 2013. Bids were solicited via Broad Agency Announcement. Army Geospatial Center, Contracts Office, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W5J9CQ-10-C-0007).

FLIR Systems, Inc., Portland, Ore., was awarded on March 30 a $12,516,015 firm-fixed-price contract. This requirement is for the purchase of 25 FLIR Star Safire II systems; three turret FLIR units; three central electronics units; and three hand control units. Work is to be performed in Portland, Ore., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-10-F-0004).

Robertson Fuel Systems, LLC, Tempe, Ariz., was awarded on March 30 a $10,347,180 firm-fixed-price contract for 14 fuel tank kits for the UH-60 Blackhawk. Work is to be performed in Tempe, Ariz., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2015. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aviation & Missile Commands Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-10-D-0029).

The Ross Group, Tulsa, Okla., was awarded on March 30 a $10,225,685 firm-fixed-price contract for electrical work at multiple locations in Fort Sill, Okla. Work is to be performed in Fort Sill, Okla., with an estimated completion date of April 11. Three bids were solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Tulsa, Okla., is the contracting activity (W9126G-06-D-0043).

World Technical Services Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded on March 30 a $9,363,352 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for logistics support services. Work is to be performed in Fort Sill, Okla., with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2010. One sole source bid was solicited with one bid received. Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Sill., Okla., is the contracting activity (W9124-10-C-0002)

DQSI, LLC, Covington, La., was awarded on March 30 a $7,666,836 firm-fixed-price contract for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 8(a) multiple-award task order contract for Atchafalaya Basin Floodway, Bayou Sorrel Lock, 2010 northwest guide wall replacement and new dolphins, Iberville Parish, La., (ED 09-140) (ED9140-10-M-0001). Work is to be performed in Plaquemine, La., with an estimated completion date of April 21, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-08-D-0047).

Capco, Inc., Grand Junction, Colo., was awarded on March 30 a $7,063,501 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of the M192 light-weight ground mount. Work is to be performed in Grand Junction, Colo., with an estimated completion date of July 24, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions and Lethality Contracting Center, Picatinny, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-09-D-0027).

AeroVironment., Simi Valley, Calif., was awarded on March 30 a $6,781,162 firm-fixed-price contract. This effort exercises a priced option for 51 Marine Corps digital data link systems; 51 initial spares packages; and contractor logistics support. Work is to be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., with an estimated completion date of March 29, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command/CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-05-C-0338).

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Productions, Inc., Burlington, Vt., was awarded on April 1 a $6,760,000 firm-fixed-price contract for 8,000 barrels for the M2 machine gun. Work is to be performed in Saco, Maine, with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. TACOM Rock Island, CCTA-AR-SA, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52H09-04-D-0108).

Sabre Defense Industries, LLC, Nashville, Tenn., was awarded on April 1 a $6,720,000 firm-fixed-price contract for 8,000 barrels for the M2 machine gun. Work is to be performed in Nashville, Tenn., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. TACOM Rock Island, CCTA-AR-SA, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52H09-04-D-0107).

NAVY

Lockheed Martin, Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown N.J., is being awarded an $85,000,000 definitization modification to previously awarded letter contract (N00024-09-C-5103) for Aegis platform systems engineering agent activities and Aegis modernization advanced capability build engineering. This modification includes FY10 research, development, test, and evaluation incremental funding of $54,613,863 and the definitized contract with options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $450,000,000. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Canadian Commercial Corp., General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada, London, Ontario, is being awarded a $28,578,333 firm-fixed-priced modification to delivery order #0007 under contract (M67854-07-D-5028). The procurement is for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle engineering change proposal upgrades and associated non-recurring engineering costs to support the 250 low-rate initial production 17 MRAP RG-31A2 vehicles ordered. Work will be performed in Centennial, Colo., and Boston, Mass., and is expected to be completed no later than Dec. 31, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $20,395,814 contract which provides for the trainers software development effort and the urgent response effort and to increase the not-to-exceed amount for the depot partnering effort. At this time, $20,395,814 has been obligated. 478 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity. (FA8611-08-C-2897,P00044).

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Clearfield, Utah, was awarded a $15,459,507 contract which provides for the Minuteman enhanced reliability accelerometer engineering and feasibility study, Phase III, prototype. At this time, $10,990,902 has been obligated. 526th ICBMSG/PKE, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (F42610-98-C-0001).

McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $10,264,377 contract which provided for the purchase of 89 carriage load crew trainers and 356 weapons load crew trainers to support F-16 Block 40/50, F-35, and F-22 integrations and training requirements. 681 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8672-10-C-0013,P00004).

EDO Corp., Lancaster, Calif., was awarded a $8,520,662 contract which will provide for standard high-power radar signal simulators (AN/PLM-4), 85 production units (AN/PLM-4) with millimeter wave option, and 6 production units. Two percent of this effort will support Foreign Military Sales efforts to Morocco. 542 CBSG/PKT, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8540-07-C-0004).

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Clearfield, Utah, was awarded a $7,476,242 contract which provides for detailed vendor technical data used during the production of the Minuteman missile propulsion replacement program. This data will help identify potentially significant future use to support age degradation analysis, and sustainment anomaly or failure investigations. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 526 ICBMSW/PKE, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (F42610-98-C-0001).

L-3 Communications Corp., Bristol, Pa., was awarded a $5,500,000 contract which provides for National Security Agency-certified telemetry support device products that will be used for both encryption and decryption of critical flight test data. At this time, no money has been obligated. AFFTC/PKEE, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA9302-10-D-0010).

Vice Chairman Expresses Comfort With Nuke Production Freeze

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2010 - The nation's second-ranking military officer said today that he's comfortable with a new U.S. policy that halts future production of nuclear weapons.

The freeze on developing new nuclear platforms, save for extraordinary cases requiring presidential approval, is an element of the Nuclear Posture Review, the first overarching look at U.S. nuclear strategy since the end of the Cold War.

"I don't feel constrained in the least, really," Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters during the nuclear policy unveiling at the Pentagon today. "I think we have more than enough capacity and capability for any threat that we see today or might emerge in the foreseeable future."

The Nuclear Posture Review, which culminates a year of Defense Department-led efforts involving top interagency officials, articulates a roadmap for cutting America's nuclear arsenal, edging the U.S. toward President Barack Obama's stated long-term goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. The NPR ceases U.S. testing of nuclear weapons and the development of new nuclear weapons platforms.

Asked for the military's view about the cessation of new nuclear warhead development, Cartwright -- a former commander of U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the country's global strategy -- said he is comfortable with the current U.S. arsenal, and that Stratcom's current commander, Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, agrees.

"Both for myself, as a previous commander at Stratcom, and also for General Chilton, we both feel very comfortable with these numbers and with these descriptions of reuse, replace, refurbishment," the vice chairman said.

Instead of developing new capabilities, the policy states that the United States will attempt to extend the lives of warheads currently in use. Refurbished weapons will use only nuclear components based on previously tested designs and will not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities, officials said.

In an effort to rebuild an aging nuclear infrastructure and invest in related facilities and personnel, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates requested that $5 billion be transferred from the Defense Department to the Energy Department over the next several years. On specific nuclear warhead platforms, Gates said, the United States will study options for ensuring their safety, security and reliability on a case-by-case basis.

"In any decision to proceed to engineering development, we will give strong preference to options for refurbishment or reuse," Gates told Pentagon reporters. "Replacement of any nuclear components, if absolutely necessary, would require specific presidential approval."

The terms laid out in the Nuclear Posture Review reflect the reality of the current security environment, Cartwright said, noting that the policy does not muzzle military leaders who identify a need for testing or for developing new capabilities pending changes.

"Nobody has ever removed from the commander or anyone else in that chain the ability to stand up and say, 'I'm uncomfortable; I believe that we're going to have to test, or I believe that we're going to have to build something new,'" he said. "That's not been removed here."

The provisions engendered in the policy have been embraced by the top uniformed commanders, said Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the nation's military leaders were allowed to submit their input during the process.

Mullen said even while it precludes nuclear testing and the development of new warheads, the review bolsters regional deterrence by fielding new missile defenses, improving capabilities to counter weapons of mass destruction and revitalizing the nuclear support infrastructure.

"The chiefs and I fully support the findings of this Nuclear Posture Review," Mullen said, "because we believe it provides us and our field commanders the opportunity to better shape our nuclear weapons posture, policies and force structure to meet an ever-changing security environment."

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said American laboratory directors and a host of other outside technical reviews have been very clear that life-extension programs can maintain the safety, security and effectiveness of the stockpile without testing.

"In any decision to proceed to the engineering development for warhead life-extension programs, the United States will give strong preference to the options of refurbishment or reuse," he said, adding that proposals for new developments would be sent to the president "only if critical stockpile-management program goals cannot otherwise be met."

Review Provides Deterrence, Arms Reduction Roadmap

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2010 - The Nuclear Posture Review is a roadmap for reducing America's nuclear arsenal while maintaining an effective deterrent, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said at the Pentagon today. The congressionally mandated review charts the steps toward reducing nuclear risks to the United States, U.S. allies and partners, and the international community.

"This review describes how the United States will reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons with a long-term goal of a nuclear-free world," Gates said.

Gates – accompanied by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen – explained some of the changes the review recommends.

New declaratory policies have taken the place of intentionally vague policies of the past, Gates said. For example, if a state that does not have nuclear weapons is in compliance with the nonproliferation treaty and its obligations, the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against that state. If such a state were to use chemical or biological weapons against the United States or its allies or partners, however, "it would face the prospect of a devastating conventional military response," the secretary said.

Gates said the United States will adjust its policy if circumstances dictate the need. "Given the catastrophic potential of biological weapons and the rapid pace of biotechnology development," he said, "the United States reserves the right to make any adjustment to this policy that may be warranted by the evolution and proliferation of biological weapons."

The Cabinet secretaries and the chairman stressed that the Nuclear Posture Review was a collegial interagency and international effort.

"The consultations that supported this process included more than 30 of our allies and partners," Clinton said. "For generations, the United States' nuclear deterrent has helped prevent proliferation by providing our non-nuclear allies in NATO, in the Pacific and elsewhere with reassurance and security. The policies outlined in this review allow us to continue that stabilizing role."

Officials said this is the most comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear strategy since the end of the Cold War, and that it places the prevention of nuclear terrorism and proliferation at the top of the U.S. nuclear policy agenda.

"Given al-Qaida's continued quest for nuclear weapons, Iran's on-going nuclear efforts and North Korea's proliferation, this focus is appropriate, and indeed,... an essential change from previous reviews," Gates said.

Gates stressed that the review has strong messages for Iran and North Korea.

"Whether it's in declaratory policy or in other elements of the [Nuclear Posture Review], we essentially carve out states like Iran and North Korea that are not in compliance with [the nonproliferation treaty]," he said. "And basically, all options are on the table when it comes to countries in that category, along with nonstate actors who might acquire nuclear weapons."

The message to Iran and North Korea is if they play by the rules, then they will be covered by the new recommendations, Gates said. "But if you're not going to play by the rules, if you're going to be a proliferator, then all options are on the table in terms of how we deal with you."

The review has the full support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mullen said.

"We believe it provides us and our field commanders the opportunity to better shape our nuclear weapons posture, policies and force structure to meet an ever-changing security environment," Mullen said. "This Nuclear Posture Review reaffirms our commitment to defend the vital interests of the United States and those of our partners and allies with a more balanced mix of nuclear and non-nuclear means than we have at our disposal today."

The review's conclusion that the United States can maintain deterrence with half of its current nuclear arsenal served as the basis for U.S. negotiations for the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia that President Barack Obama is scheduled to sign April 8. The United States also will continue an on-going and high-level dialogue with Russia and China aimed at fostering more stable, resilient and transparent strategic relationships, Gates said.

Some aspects of the posture will remain static. The United States will continue to field its triad of nuclear-capable missiles, aircraft and submarines.

"The United States will continue to hold accountable any state, terrorist group or other nonstate actor that supports or enables terrorist efforts to obtain or use weapons of mass destruction, whether by facilitating, financing, or providing expertise or safe haven for such efforts," Gates said.

The United States will continue to develop and improve non-nuclear capabilities – including regional missile defenses – to strengthen deterrence and reduce the role of nuclear weapons, Gates said. "Finally, the United States will continue abiding by its pledge not to conduct nuclear testing," said he added.

Review Reduces Weapons, Maintains Deterrence, Obama Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2010 - The Nuclear Posture Review recognizes that nuclear terrorism by violent extremists and nuclear proliferation to more states – not a nuclear exchange between nations – pose the greatest threat to U.S. and global security, President Barack Obama noted in a statement issued today.

Obama called the review, released today, a major step toward fulfilling his pledge to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security strategy while sustaining a safe, secure and effective deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist.

While acknowledging the threat of nuclear weapons getting into the wrong hands, the review recognizes that the national security of the United States and its allies and partners "can be increasingly defended by America's unsurpassed conventional military capabilities and strong missile defenses," the president said.

He noted concrete steps the United States has taken to reduce the role of nuclear weapons, while preserving its military superiority, deterring aggression and safeguarding U.S. security:

-- Moving the prevention of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism to the top of its nuclear agenda for the first time, and aligning its policies and funding for programs to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and encourage international cooperation toward that goal.

-- Promoting international responsibility in meeting nonproliferation treaty obligations, and promising not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are parties to the treaty and comply with their nonproliferation obligations.

-- Pledging not to conduct nuclear tests, develop new nuclear warheads or pursue new missions or capabilities for nuclear weapons, and pressing for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

While reducing the role of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal, Obama said, the Nuclear Posture Review also recognizes their important deterrent value as the United States works to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, prevent nuclear terrorism and pursue the day when these weapons no longer exist.

Meanwhile, he vowed to press for substantial investments to improve the safety and effectiveness of the existing nuclear stockpile while also strengthening conventional capabilities.

"So long as nuclear weapons exist, we will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal that guarantees the defense of the United States, reassures allies and partners, and deters potential adversaries," he said.

Obama called these measures important steps toward the comprehensive agenda he laid out in Prague last year to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to pursue world peace and security without them.

He said he looks forward to advancing this agenda in Prague on April 8, when he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the new strategic arms reduction treaty that commits both countries to substantial nuclear arms reductions.

Vinson Arrives After Unified Response, Refueling

April 6, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and its 3,500 crew members expect to arrive at their new homeport at Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) April 12.

Carl Vinson departed Norfolk, Va., Jan. 12 and participated in Operation Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command Partnership of the Americas operation, which provided U.S. and international forces the opportunity to operate in a multinational environment.

During the transit, the Carl Vinson conducted several engagements and exercises with regional partner nations including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico. Vinson also conducted air wing at-sea exercises with Brazil, Argentina and Peru. The crew enjoyed port visits in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Lima, Peru.

Prior to Operation Southern Seas, Carl Vinson led initial U.S. Navy efforts in Operation Unified Response, an interagency humanitarian aid and disaster relief effort to Haiti following a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. The carrier and its embarked helicopters delivered almost 3 million lbs of cargo ashore. Specifically, the ship delivered 1,095,442 lbs of food; 147,591 gallons of water; and over 40,000 pounds of medical supplies. The ship's medical team treated 60 patients, while the air wing flew 1,299 sorties and conducted 1,152 medical evacuations.

The Navy took re-delivery of USS Carl Vinson in July 2009, following the successful completion of its refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) in Newport News, Va. Vinson began its RCOH in November 2005, during which more than 20 million man-hours of work were conducted, divided between refueling the propulsion plant, upgrading ship's infrastructure to last another 25 years, and modernizing combat systems and their effectiveness.

In October 2009, the Navy announced that Carl Vinson would be the flagship of the newly established Carrier Strike Group 1, based in San Diego and commanded by Rear Adm. Ted Branch.

Also aboard the aircraft carrier are elements from Carrier Air Wing 17 including the "Red Lions" of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron 15, the "Sunliners" of Strike Fighter Squadron 81, the "Rawhides" of Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 and the "Tigertails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125. San Diego-based Destroyer Squadron 1 embarked aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), escorted the carrier around South America and participated in Haiti relief efforts.

Flag Officer Assignments

April 6, 2010 - Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the following assignments:

Rear Adm. (lower half) John E. Jolliffe will be assigned as deputy reserve commander, U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Central Command, Bahrain. Jolliffe is currently serving as Joint Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer, Navy Region Southwest, San Diego, Calif.

Rear Adm. (lower half) William F. Moran will be assigned as deputy director, Air Warfare Division, N88, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Moran is currently serving as commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Norfolk, Va.

Rear Adm. John C. Orzalli will be assigned as vice commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. Orzalli is currently serving as fleet maintenance officer, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Va.

Senior Executive Service Appointments and Reassignments

April 6, 2010 - Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced the following Department of Defense Senior Executive Service appointments and reassignments:

Appointments

Linda N. Allen has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as director, Acquisition and Procurement Office, Washington Headquarters Services, Washington, D.C. Allen previously served as director, Enterprise Services Division, Acquisition and Procurement Office, Washington Headquarters Services, Washington, D.C.

Reassignments

Michael L. Rhodes has been assigned as director, Office of the Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. Rhodes previously served as deputy director, Office of the Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense/director, Washington Headquarters Services, Washington, D.C.

Nuclear Posture Review Announced

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen will conduct a press briefing on the new Nuclear Posture Review at noon EDT, in the DoD Briefing Room, Pentagon 2E973.

Immediately following, at approximately 12:30 p.m. EDT, there will be a press briefing by Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher and Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration Thomas D'Agostino, together who coordinated the NPR, to discuss in further detail the Nuclear Posture Review in the DoD Briefing Room, Pentagon 2E973.

Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only. Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification. Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

VA's Claims Backlog

Shinseki Vows to Reduce VA's Claims Backlog

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2010 - Prioritizing the work ahead shortly after his first anniversary on the job, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said his focus for the year ahead is on reducing the disability claims backlog.

"We are going to break the back of the backlog this year," Shinseki said during an interview with American Forces Press Service.

He's counting on four pilot programs under way to help VA identify and break long-standing obstacles in providing veterans the benefits they've earned.

One, launched in Pittsburgh in January, seeks to fundamentally change the relationship between veterans and the VA, Shinseki said. VA gives the veteran a checklist of what's needed to file the claim, and does its own digging to produce whatever documentation the veteran can't find. This, Shinseki said, reduces dead time in putting together the claims package.

Once the paperwork is intact, VA then will "work with the veteran to put together the best and strongest argument to win the case," he said.

That's a major change, Shinseki noted, making VA the veteran's advocate rather than adversary as the claim makes its way through the system.

"This is VA going to bat with itself – because we are then going to turn around and argue the case as it is being adjudicated," he said.

"This is significantly different, and it changes our relationship with the veteran," he continued. "So this, in the long term, could have a significant impact on how we are perceived by veterans and what our relationship with veterans is. It is about advocacy."

Shinseki said he's impressed by what he's seen since the pilot program kicked off in January, and credits the self-named "Delta Team" there with showing solid progress in improving the claims process.

"Their processing time is collapsing, because they are putting together good arguments," he said. "And the good arguments are having great outcomes."

Another pilot program, under way in Little Rock, Ark., is focused on making claims processing more efficient.

"It's a re-engineering process," Shinseki said. "How do we simply the claims process? How do we get this down to the minimal number of keystrokes?"

And it aims to improve communication among the entities that process a claim to reduce procedural delays.

"How do we make sure that people working on each claim are looking at each other, rather than saying, 'I've done my part,' then putting it in transit?" Shinseki said. "It takes four days to get to the next site, and the guy sits there and looks at it and goes, 'I wonder why they did that?' So he puts the question on [the claim] and sends it back."

A pilot under way in Providence will introduce new automated tools to make claims processing faster and more accurate, efficient and secure.

Shinseki emphasized, however, that he wants to get the bugs out of the claims process before increasing automation.

"We didn't want to automate bad processes and just get lousy decisions faster," he told the Paralyzed Veterans of America last month. "So we broke the complex, convoluted claims process down into its component pieces to improve each part before putting them back together again."

Another promising pilot program, being tested in Baltimore, is taking best practices from the others to create what Shinseki called the "virtual VA regional office of the future." Ultimately, he said, he expects it to be a model for 57 VA regional offices nationwide.

That effort, being conducted in cooperation with the Social Security Administration, is focused on creating a paperless claims process and bringing the new joint virtual electronic record that President Barack Obama announced online last spring. The new electronic record is designed to follow a servicemember from induction in the military, through retirement or discharge, and into the VA system.

Ultimately, Shinseki said, it will improve care and services to transitioning veterans by smoothing the flow of medical records between the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments. "Our long-term solution to claims processing is to operationalize the concept of 'seamless transition' between the two departments," he said.

As he assessed initiatives to improve claims processing and eliminate backlogs, Shinseki conceded that no initiative will solve the problem overnight. VA completed 974,000 claims last year, he noted, but received about 1 million new claims during the same period.

Shinseki attributed the increase to two factors. VA rendered decisions this year that qualify more veterans suffering the effects of Agent Orange exposure to claim benefits. In addition, VA has expanded its outreach to veterans who didn't know about or hadn't previously taken advantage of the benefits they'd earned. Shinseki noted, for example, that only 8.1 million of 23 million U.S. veterans are enrolled in the VA health care system.

Shinseki said he's committed to creating a disciplined, high-performing and transparent organization tailored being more responsive to the needs of these and other veterans.

He cited progress made over the past year, but said there's more work ahead. "We still have a lot of deliveries to achieve," he said.

Disabled Vet Finds New Ways to Represent Country


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

April 6, 2010 - Army veteran Patrick McDonald loved serving his country, but after a tragic training accident in South Korea in 1991, his four-year military career came to an end. A broken neck and back left McDonald paralyzed from the waist down. He was medically retired from service, and without the Army and the ability to walk, his livelihood began to fade. Never serving his country again was a devastating thought, he said.

"I worked hard to wear a uniform and in representing my country during my military career," the former cavalry scout said in an interview with American Forces Press Service. "It's what I wanted to do, and things were going great."

McDonald began rehabilitation at the Pal Alto Veterans Affairs hospital in northern California, near his home in Orangevale. He was introduced to adaptive sports, and discovered what a powerful and positive impact sports could have. He also found a way to serve his country again.

McDonald took part in his first international competition last month at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, on the curling team.

"Being a Paralympian means a lot," he said. "Learning about wheelchair sports, that's where I knew I could represent my country again, but this time in sports."

The U.S. wheelchair curling team was edged out 7-5 by Sweden in the bronze medal round. Another adaptive sports accomplishment McDonald holds is the U.S. Golf Association record for longest drive from a chair -- 358 yards. He also shoots to a 1.7 USGA handicap, he said.

McDonald also is training for the 2012 Paralympic Summer Games in London as an air rifle marksman.

Winning a medal in both the summer and winter Paralympics is a very important goal for him, he explained, but he noted that his life isn't all about winning and glory. Living a happy life, whether you're a hard-charging soldier or a disabled veteran, means setting goals and believing in your ability to accomplish them, he said.

Thousands of wounded warriors and disabled veterans have been down similar roads. And for more than 20 years, they've been taking advantage of the healing power of sports, whether in international play, at the VA summer and winter sports clinics or in their local communities. Adaptive sports can have a truly positive impact on everyone trying to overcome disabilities, McDonald said.

McDonald was in good company at the Paralympics. He was among five disabled veterans on the 50-member U.S. Paralympic team in Vancouver, all have probably thought at some point in their rehabilitation that competing in high-level athletics and representing their nation in the Olympic Games was a bit of a long shot, he said.

"If you believe in what you do, just do it," McDonald said. "It doesn't matter if you have a disability or not. Victory belongs to those who believe in it the most and who believes the longest."

Veterans who competed in the 2010 Paralympic Games along with McDonald are:

-- Army Staff Sgt. Health Calhoun, who lost both legs to a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq and competed in alpine skiing. He also served as the U.S. flag bearer during the opening ceremonies.

-- Army Sgt. Andrew Soule, who won a bronze medal in the 2.4-kilometer sitting pursuit biathlon and competed in cross-country skiing. Both of Soule's legs were amputated above the knee after a roadside bomb struck his Humvee in Afghanistan in 2005.

-- Chris Devlin-Young, a Coast Guard veteran, who competed in his fourth Paralympics as an alpine skier. He won four medals – two gold and two silver – in his previous games.

-- Sean Halsted, an Air Force veteran who became paralyzed from the waist down after falling 40 feet from a helicopter during a training accident in 1998 and competed in alpine skiing.

All five of the athletes were introduced to adaptive sports at their VA hospitals and VA summer and winter sports clinics, a recognition the VA is very proud of, said L. Tammy Duckworth, VA assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs and disabled Iraq war veteran, in an interview with American Forces Press Service.

"It's something that's been a long-standing tradition in VA, rehabilitating combat-wounded veterans [with sports]," Duckworth said. "And for the athletes themselves, it's such an incredible part of their rehabilitation."

Duckworth lost both of her legs and partial use of an arm after the helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq in 2004. She was introduced to adaptive sports at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here, she said.

Just months into her in her recovery, she found herself in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the VA Winter Sports Clinic. Learning to ski without legs gave her an edge and confidence she thought she'd lost forever, she said.

"It really gave me something to work towards," she said. "From the first moments of my injury, it set my standards really high, and keeping [disabled veterans'] expectations high is really critical to their rehabilitation."

Adaptive sports do more than just make Paralympic teams better, Duckworth said. Disabled veteran athletes are raising the bar throughout the country. Either through setting standards and motivating disabled civilians or through "bringing new blood" to the games themselves, the veteran community is going to continue to have an impact on the Paralympics, Duckworth said.

"When you can see somebody who's in the Paralympics nine or 18 months after he was blown up in Iraq, that's extremely motivating four our country as a whole," she explained. "It can quickly be motivating for a young kid who was in a car accident and lost his legs.

"People are going to be able to see these warriors achieving and excelling even with devastating injuries," she continued. "It's just good for the country as a whole."

Nuke Review Takes Comprehensive Look at Strategy

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 6, 2010 - The Nuclear Posture Review, released today, is the first overarching look at U.S. nuclear strategy since the end of the Cold War, a senior defense official briefing reporters on background said yesterday.

The review builds on President Barack Obama's promise to take concrete steps toward the goal of achieving the safety and security of a world free of nuclear weapons, the official said.

A second element, the official added, was to maintain a nuclear deterrent as long as those weapons remain, and ensuring the safety, security and effectiveness of that deterrent while they remain.

The Nuclear Posture Review provides the basis behind many moves in the nuclear arena in the coming months, the official said. Obama will travel to Prague to sign the new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia on April 8. The treaty mandates further reductions to the U.S. and Russian arsenals, and officials looked to the Nuclear Posture Review guidance as they negotiated the treaty.

The review also will influence U.S. thinking in the nonproliferation treaty, the nuclear security summit and the nonproliferation review conference.

The review is a "concrete, pragmatic work plan for moving forward this agenda," the official said.

Congress mandated the review, and it is the third since the end of the Cold War. The Clinton administration conducted the first review in 1994, and the Bush administration the second in 2001. The scope of the review is broader than in the past, officials said.

That scope includes the roles of missile defense, conventional strike, force levels, the weapons complex and the role of arms control in shaping U.S. nuclear posture, the senior official said.

Specifically, Congress asked officials to look at seven elements pertaining to the role of nuclear forces in U.S. military strategy, planning and programming. They looked at how the United States would maintain a safe, reliable and credible nuclear deterrence posture, as well as the relationship among U.S. nuclear deterrence policy, targeting strategy and arms control objectives.

Officials also examined the role missile defense and conventional strike capabilities play in determining roles and sizes of nuclear forces. They looked at the levels and composition of nuclear delivery systems and what the nuclear complex required. Finally, officials studied the nuclear stockpile required to implement U.S. strategy.

Senior officials said the current review is Defense Department-led, but has strong interagency participation. Officials worked with international partners, the State Department, the Energy Department and various U.S. government agencies.

The review had intense scrutiny at the highest level of the government.

"It's shorthand in the nuclear business that nuclear weapons are the president's weapons," the official said. Obama has been directly engaged in the process in a deliberative and thoughtful way, he added.

The key objectives of U.S. nuclear policy are to prevent nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, the official said, and the government also wants to reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons. An objective, the official added, is to maintain effective deterrence with fewer weapons.

Another objective, he said, is to strengthen regional deterrence and reassurance of U.S. allies and partners. The United States provides a nuclear umbrella for NATO allies, Japan and South Korea, for example, and the review looks at changes in those relationships.

Hopper Helps Local School During Thailand Visit

By Ensign Jessica L. Fitzgerald, USS Hopper Public Affairs

April 6, 2010 - PHUKET, Thailand (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) conducted a community service project at the Baan Para School in Phuket, Thailand during their visit March 31 to April 2.

Eighteen volunteers from the ship participated in repainting Baan Para School in Phuket, which provides education to 250 Thai primary students. Sailors worked side-by-side with the school's parents, teachers and students to restore the building.

"They did a great job. The school's director was delighted," said Alasdair Forbes, board member for the Phuket Community Foundation. "They seemed to have fun and the kids and parents were delighted to meet them."

After the project, students showed their appreciation by putting on a Thai dance. The school also provided a traditional lunch for the Sailors.

"It is great to have Navy Sailors pull into Phuket because each ship is more than willing to help Thailand out in some type of community project," said Brad Kenny, a Patong Rotary Club member who helped organize the activities. "I would like to personally thank all of the participants for their hard work; they truly made a difference and were great ambassadors of the United States."

Community participants included the Patong Rotary Club, Phuket Community Foundation, and Phuket Navy League. Glen Defense Marine Group donated light blue paint as well as new filters for the schools' water source.

Community service projects are a long standing tradition in the U.S. Navy and are performed to help others in need and build relations in ports of call. "Interacting with other cultures and giving back is my favorite part of this job. Today was a great opportunity to do both," said Ensign Tyler Lloyd, Hopper's electrical officer.