Military News

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Shinseki Emphasizes Addressing Mental Health Issues Early

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2010 - Close collaboration between the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, plus proactive military screening policies, are helping to identify and treat mental-health issues in returning combat veterans before they escalate into more serious, long-term problems, Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki told American Forces Press Service. Shinseki credited Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' leadership in addressing mental-health concerns early, before they spill over into the VA health care system.

"We know that if we diagnose things like [post-traumatic stress] and treat it early, people generally get better," Shinseki said. "That's opposed to waiting until 20 years later, when a youngster comes in and says, 'I have a problem.'"

Nearly everyone returning from a combat deployment has at least some symptoms of post-traumatic stress, Shinseki said. The trick, he said, is to deal with it before it becomes PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.

"If we can diagnose and treat it, you never get to the 'd,' the disorder," he said. "Because that's what causes the problem. And the disorder oftentimes sets in later, after it goes ignored and unrecognized. That's what we are trying to get beyond."

Shinseki called the military's mental-health screening process a big step in the right direction.

Every servicemember about to deploy gets a medical readiness assessment that addresses any mental-health care services received in the year before their departure, explained Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman. During this predeployment assessment, troops are asked privately about any health concerns. Those with mental-health concerns or a history of receiving mental-health care get evaluated by mental health providers for their fitness to deploy.

Within seven days of returning from a deployment, servicemembers get a global health assessment that addresses mental-health as well as physical issues associated with the deployment. A medical provider reviews each assessment and refers troops to follow-on care, if needed.

Recognizing that some mental-health issues and physical symptoms may not develop for several months after redeployment, the Defense Department also instituted troop health reassessments three to six months after they return from combat theaters.

In addition, embedded mental health support teams provide immediate psychological first aid for troops who experience traumatic events, both in the combat theater and in garrison. Trauma patients routinely receive psychiatric consultations to detect and treat any related psychological difficulties.

Shinseki, who rose to become Army chief of staff during his 38-year military career, compared the principle behind this screening process to the one the military uses to protect its forces from everything from smallpox to the flu.

"When we want to ensure we protect our formations from the flu each year, we line everybody up and they all go through [the inoculation process] and get the flu shot," he said. "A company will go through, with the company commander leading and the first sergeant as the last person. And by 9 o'clock, everybody has been inoculated against the flu."

This may be a bit simplistic for addressing combat stress, traumatic brain injuries and other combat-related mental-health issues, Shinseki conceded. "But I think we ought to have the same attitude about protecting our people and making sure they have the early read," he said.

That early read "will begin to show us folks who would benefit from some early attention," he added.

One major hurdle, Shinseki acknowledged, is to get more troops and veterans to recognize when they need help, and to seek mental-health services available to them.

"I have sat in a room with 15 or 20 [combat] veterans and told them, 'You are carrying baggage,'" he said. "And I get the Heisman from them," a reference to the football player on the prestigious college trophy, his hand extended, palm out, in a defensive posture.

"'Not me'" Shinseki said the veterans tell him. "And I say, 'Yes, you are.' So I take them through the routine that all combat-experienced veterans have gone through. It's anger management. It's hyper-vigilance. It is less mental acuity during certain hours of the day, and it is super alertness during other hours of the day, ... such as the middle of the night.

"If that is the reality," he continued, "getting them to say, 'You know, I have probably got some of those issues' will go a long way toward helping them make the transition," Shinseki said. "If they accept that they are carrying baggage, they will do something about it. If they never accept that they are carrying baggage, then it becomes everybody else's problem."

Ultimately, Shinseki said, it's up to the system to ensure combat veterans "who went off and did the most unbelievable things" get the mental-health support they need after they've returned home.

There's "tremendous opportunity" for VA and the Defense Department to work together to provide that support, he said, noting promising strides already under way.

Both departments have worked to improve the quality, access and value of mental-health care for their members, and their fiscal 2011 budget requests provide for more mental-health staff and services.

"I just can't thank Bob Gates enough for the early commitments he's made, kept and continued to work at," Shinseki said.

Obama, Medvedev Sign New START Treaty

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2010 - President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Prague today, with both countries pledging to reduce their deployed, strategic nuclear weapons stockpiles. The so-called "New START" sets new limits on ready-to-use, long-range nuclear weapons and establishes comprehensive verification procedures for both countries to verify which weapons the other possesses.

"Today is an important milestone for nuclear security and nonproliferation, and for U.S.-Russia relations," Obama said at today's signing ceremony, where he was joined by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and National Security Advisor James L. Jones Jr.

While setting significant reductions in the nuclear weapons both nations will deploy and reducing their delivery vehicles by about half, the president said, the treaty recognizes the deterrent value these weapons play.

"It enables both sides the flexibility to protect our security, as well as America's unwavering commitment to the security of our European allies," he said in his prepared remarks.

Today's ceremony represents a step toward fulfilling the long-term goal Obama expressed a year ago in Prague of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and ultimately eliminating them.

"I believed then – as I do now – that the pursuit of that goal will move us further beyond the Cold War, strengthen the global nonproliferation regime and make the United States, and the world, safer and more secure," he said today in Prague.

Obama called the spread of nuclear weapons to more states and nonstate actors "an unacceptable risk to global security." New START, along with the new Nuclear Posture Statement released earlier this week, demonstrates the United States' commitment to stopping proliferation, he said.

The new treaty also makes good on his commitment to "reset" U.S. relations with Russia, Obama said, so the two countries can build trust as they work together for the benefit of both nations and the world.

"This day demonstrates the determination of the United States and Russia – the two nations that hold over 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons – to pursue responsible global leadership," he said. "Together, we are keeping our commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which must be the foundation of global nonproliferation."

The new START treaty sets the stage for talks about further reducing both countries' strategic and tactical weapons, including non-deployed ones, he said.

Obama and Medvedev agreed in Prague to expand their discussions about missile defense, including regular information exchanges about threat assessments and a joint assessment of emerging ballistic missiles.

"As these assessments are completed, I look forward to launching a serious dialogue about Russian-American cooperation on missile defense," Obama said.

Obama emphasized that nuclear weapons are not just an issue for the United States and Russia.

"They threaten the common security of all nations," he said. "A nuclear weapon in the hands of a terrorist is a danger to people everywhere."

He noted that representatives of 47 nations will meet in Washington next week to discuss concrete steps that, if taken, will secure vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years.

After Congress ratifies it, the New START treaty will replace the previous treaty that expired Dec. 5.

Africom Helps Nations Build Secure Future

By Judith Snyderman
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

April 8, 2010 - Supporting the work of African nations in creating African solutions for African challenges is the mission of the newest U.S. unified command, a senior official of the command said yesterday.

Navy Vice Adm. Robert T. Moeller, deputy for military operations at U.S. Africa Command, explained what the command does -- and what it does not do -- in a "DoD Live" bloggers roundtable.

"We do not lead or create policy," Moeller said. "Our programs are designed to respond to what our African partners have asked us to do." African nations want to provide for their own security, he added, but they welcome help in building strong, effective and professional forces.

Operations such as the Africa Partnership Station and an African maritime law-enforcement program address crimes carried out at sea, such as illegal fishing and drug trafficking, Moeller said, noting that maritime problems have a negative effect across the entire continent and are especially vexing for West African nations.

One of the ways U.S. Africa Command assists is by bringing together experts at events designed to build the capacity of defense forces, the admiral said.

"We send small teams to dozens of countries and offer our perspective on military topics such as leadership, aircraft maintenance, the importance of an inspector-general program, loading equipment onto aircraft for deployment [and] the finer points of air traffic control," he explained. The list of subjects also includes port security and military law, he added.

Africom also organizes multinational exercises that allow participants to practice working together to solve regional security issues. Last year's communications exercise, called Africa Endeavor, was so successful that it will be repeated this year and the number of nations taking part will increase from 25 to 30, Moeller said. Another exercise, called Flintlock, focuses on North and West African nations. It kicks off next month with participation from European nations.

Sometimes, Moeller said, the command assists with civil projects such as digging wells or building schools that are routed through the U.S. Agency for International Development or accomplished in response to requests from U.S. embassies.

While many positive aspects of the command go unnoticed in the media, Moeller said, some recent articles have speculated erroneously that the U.S. military is involved inside Somalia.

"We don't plan, nor direct, nor coordinate military operations in Somalia" for the country's transitional federal government, he said. "We have not and will not be providing direct support for any potential military offensives" by Somali government forces.

Africom has acted in an advisory capacity and in a training role for nations that provide peacekeeping forces throughout Africa, such as Burundi and Uganda, the main contributors to the African Union Mission in Somalia, the admiral said, and the command also listens to the needs of regional economic and political groups such as the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union.

Africom also supports the work of U.S. Central Command in U.S. counter-piracy activities in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Somalia, Moeller said. Overall, he added, the command shares expertise but doesn't proscribe how it should be applied.

"We are not imposing the U.S. way upon our partners, because it might not be the right way for them," he said.

Moeller said he envisions a time when the work of U.S. Africa Command contributes to the kind of sustained security and stability that allows economic development and better living conditions to flourish and to improve the lives of people across the continent.

U.S. Soldier MIA from Korean War is Identified

April 8, 2010 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Army Cpl. Stanley P. Arendt was buried on March 29 in Palatine, Ill. In early November 1950, Arendt was assigned to the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division occupying a defensive position near the town of Unsan in the bend of the Kuryong River known as the "Camel's Head." Arendt's unit was involved in heavy fighting which devolved into hand-to-hand combat around their command post. Almost 400 men of the 8th Cavalry Regiment were reported missing in action or killed in action from the battle at Unsan.

In late November 1950, a U.S. soldier captured during the battle of Unsan reported during his debriefing that he and nine other American soldiers were moved to a house near the battlefield. The POWs were taken to an adjacent field and shot. Three of the 10 Americans survived, though one later died. He provided detailed information on the location of the incident and the identities of the other soldiers. Following the armistice in 1953 and the release of POWs, the other surviving soldier confirmed the details provided in 1950.

In May 2004, a joint U.S.-North Korean team excavated a mass grave near the "Camel's Head" after receiving a report that an elderly North Korean national had witnessed the death of seven or eight U.S. soldiers near that location and provided the team with a general description of the burial site.

The excavation team recovered human remains and other personal artifacts, ultimately leading to the identification of seven soldiers from that site. Among the forensic techniques used in the identifications by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command was that of mitochondrial DNA, five samples of which matched the DNA of Arendt's brother.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

AF officials launch language program for Airmen

By 1st Lt. Gina Vaccaro McKeen
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

April 8, 2010 - Officials at the Air Force Culture and Language Center recently launched a program designed to identify Airmen with foreign language abilities and foster those skills throughout their careers.

The Language Enabled Airmen Program, or LEAP, is the first career-long program designed to offer language-sustainment training for Airmen in diverse career fields.

“We need Airmen across all our Air Force specialties with foreign language skills and cultural understanding so we will be able to interact with our coalition partners across the globe,” said Lt. Col. Brian Smith, the deputy director of the AFCLC Language Department at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. “The unique aspect of this program is that Airmen will devote time to maintaining and enhancing their language abilities while pursuing their normal operational assignments.”

The idea behind LEAP is to find Airmen who speak a foreign language and ensure they maintain their abilities through individual customized sustainment plans.

The Selection Process

Airmen will be selected based upon their demonstrated potential to achieve higher levels of foreign language proficiency as measured by their past performance in language courses, their Defense Language Proficiency Test and Defense Language Aptitude Battery scores, and their previous foreign language exposure.

The minimum score required on the DLAB, which measures an individual’s propensity for learning a language, is 85. The DLPT measures one’s reading, writing and speaking capability in a specific language; and Airmen are required to have a minimum score of 1+/1+ to be eligible.

While program officials prefer Airmen who speak a foreign language, they will allow exceptions. If an Airman has an exceptional DLAB score but has no specific language training, he or she may be accepted on a provisional basis. Provisional Airmen have time restrictions to meet the minimum eligibility requirements.

Applicants are considered by a board that includes representatives from the Air Force ROTC, U.S. Air Force Academy, Air Force Personnel Center, Air Force Language and Culture Program office, and AFCLC. A board will be held each spring and summer.

The date for the next board has not been set; however, a message will go out to Total Force Airmen at least 60 days before the board is scheduled to meet. Additionally, information on the program and application process is available at the AFCLC Web site, www.culture.af.edu. Interested Airmen may submit completed applications at any time.

All languages qualify; however, board members prioritize selections based on Air Force requirements.

Participating in LEAP

“Language is a perishable skill. We want to provide resources for Airmen who are interested in advanced foreign language development so they can maintain and enhance those skills throughout their careers,” Colonel Smith said.

The focus of this program, he added, is to find Airmen who are both willing and able to continue their language training.

“When Air Force officials recognize skills you already have then encourage you and reward you for using them, it motivates you to continue,” Colonel Smith said. “We want to develop a core group of Airmen across all Air Force specialties who can effectively communicate in at least one language other than English.”

Participants in the program will be required to complete up to three hours per week of online language training and are expected to reach and maintain a proficiency level of 2/2 or better on the DLPT. The maximum score is 5/5.

LEAP participants will take part in a language intensive training event of some kind within their first year of the program, then every year or two thereafter depending on the language difficulty and the ability to schedule around other career requirements. Potential opportunities include classroom training, study abroad and simulated immersion programs. The events could be offered anywhere in the world and require participants to communicate solely in the language of study.

“Language skills are critical in today’s global environment. With LEAP, we are looking to utilize our Airmen’s natural abilities and marry those natural gifts with Air Force requirements,” Colonel Smith said. “LEAP invests in our people throughout their entire careers and potentially affects their professional development in a very positive way by increasing their effectiveness as expeditionary Airmen.”

LEAP officials seek to locate qualified Airmen early in their careers because of the length of time required to become proficient in a foreign language, Col Smith added. Ideally, program officials would like Airmen with at least 10 years of active service remaining to ensure program participants can receive effective training in conjunction with their career progression.

The program is limited to officers and ROTC and academy cadets for now; however, the ultimate goal is to have 5 to 10 percent of the force active in the program at any time. Officials at the AFCLC emphasize that it will take a few years to get to this point and have said they are encouraged by the positive response across the Total Force.

Utilizing LEAP Airmen

Personnel at the AFCLC have created a web-enabled tracking system for LEAP participants that contains in-depth information about an Airman’s cultural and language skills, including education, training and experience.

With this new tracking system, officials can identify individuals with language skills in advance and forecast which positions, locations and languages will be needed or available in the future. This database provides Air Force leadership greater knowledge of the language resources they have available at any given time.

LEAP will allow officials to plan several years in advance for positions with language requirements and adjust incentive and recruiting programs accordingly, Colonel Smith added.

“Now we can determine, for example, the specific number of Airmen the Air Force expects to get in a certain Air Force specialty in a given year, which of those Airmen have language skills, and which jobs related to those language skills might be available throughout an Airman’s career,” he said. “The tracking system will allow us to predict where gaps in our capabilities will surface so we can focus recruiting, scholarships and opportunities to shape the force for future Air Force demands.

“We have always had Airmen with remarkable talents and skills,” Colonel Smith continued. “Language and cultural understanding are valuable resources that can benefit the Air Force mission every day.”

To find out more about LEAP or to download an application, visit the AFCLC Web site.

Naval Medical Center San Diego Opens New Multidisciplinary Spine Center

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Craven Jr.
Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs

April 08, 2010 - The creation of the MDSC marks a significant collaborative effort between the departments of Orthopedics, Physical Therapy, Interventional Radiology, Anesthesia Pain Management and Primary Care Sports Medicine services at NMCSD. Through the combined efforts of these departments, patients receive comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for spinal disorders in one clinic visit. Patients can be seen by an orthopedic spine surgeon, a physical therapist as well as receive diagnostic and therapeutic treatments by interventional radiology and pain management specialists on the same day.

"The concept of a MDSC marks a new era in spinal care for the patients," said director of MDSC and NMCSD's Orthopedic Spine Surgeon Lt. Cmdr. Eric Harris. "By having all the players on the spine treatment team seeing patients in close proximity and communicating regularly about patient treatment plans, we have been able to more effectively manage our patients with a wide variety of spinal ailments. We have all the tools in place here to make the logistics of patient care seamless."

The typical injuries seen at MDSC include everything from low back pain to fractures of the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine. In addition, MDSC treats degenerative conditions of the spine as well as scoliosis and other complex deformities of the entire spine.

"Lt. Cmdr. Harris, Lt. Cmdr. Paul G. Shupe and the entire spinal surgery team, including the corpsman and nurses are top shelf," said Cmdr. Lawrence F. Guest, an NMCSD patient. "They really take care of you like mom and dad would and I appreciate being able to be seen by physical therapy and the surgeon in one visit."

MDSC currently has the capability to perform nearly 200 surgeries and accommodate approximately 5,000 outpatient encounters per year. NMCSD has the potential to more than double those numbers with two more spine surgeons joining the team and interaction with the sports medicine physicians at the SMART clinics.

"The multidisciplinary approach allows patients to begin care immediately from all angles," said Kirsten M. Wiley, a physical therapist on the MDSC team.

MDSC is made up of a staff surgeon, resident, nurse, 1-2 corpsman and a physical therapist. MDSC is located in the Physical Therapy Department in building three and open between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Friday along with every second and fourth Thursday's of the month.

Nuclear Posture Review

By Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

April 8, 2010 - As announced during an April 6 news conference, the chiefs and I fully support the findings of this Nuclear Posture Review.

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. We appreciated the opportunity to inform it and to be informed by it, as a very collaborative interagency process went forward.

While it reduces the role played by nuclear weapons, a reduction I wholly endorse, 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 also retains the strategic triad of bombers, submarines and missiles that have served us so well, the review further strengthens us. It improves the United States command and control, works to prevent nuclear terrorism and proliferation, and suggests new dialogues through which to improve transparency with Russia and China.

While it precludes nuclear testing and the development of new warheads, the review bolsters regional deterrence by fielding new missile defenses, improving counter-WMD capabilities and revitalizing our nuclear support infrastructure.

As Secretary Gates made quite clear, we must invest more wisely and more generously to preserve the life span and the effectiveness of our existing arsenal. We must hold ourselves accountable to unimpeachably high standards of nuclear training, leadership, and management. Finally, we must recruit and then retain the scientific expertise to advance our technological edge in nuclear weaponry.

I'm encouraged to see these requirements so prominently addressed in the Nuclear Posture Review, but I'm also mindful of the challenge. Without such improvements, an aging nuclear force supported by a neglected infrastructure only invites enemy misbehavior and miscalculation.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 8, 2010

ARMY

SRCTec, Inc., Syracuse, N.Y., was awarded on April 1 a $94,386,209 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 3,239 urgently required Duke V2 systems. Work is to be performed in Syracuse, N.Y., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2010. One sole source bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-05-D-S205).

BAE Systems, Ordnance Systems Inc., Kingsport, Tenn., was awarded on March 31 a $44,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract provides funding for the Area A to Area B acid facility relocation at Holston Army Ammunition Plant. Work is to be performed in Kingsport, Tenn., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Command, Rock Island, Arsenal, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAA09-98-E-0006).

Joseph J. Henderson and Son, Inc., Gurnee, Ill., was awarded on March 31 a $24,306,000 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is to construct an advanced waste water treatment plant at Fort Riley, Kan. Work is to be performed in Fort Riley, Kan., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 22, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eight bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Kansas City District, CECT-NWK-M, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-10-C-4014).

L-3 Fuzing and Ordnance Systems, Cincinnati, Ohio, was awarded on March 31 a $24,069,912 firm-fixed-price contract for M762A1. Work is to be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, CCJM-CA, Picattinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-09-C-0050).

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems-Scranton Operations, Scranton, Pa., was awarded on March 31 a $23,888,512 firm-fixed-price contract. The contract shall provide the facilities, personnel, and equipment for the manufacture of the 15mm M795 metal parts with flexible rotation band covers. Work is to be performed in Scranton, Pa., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, CCJM-CA, Picattinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-08-C-0244).

BAE Systems National Security Solutions, Inc., San Diego, Calif., was awarded on March 31 a $23,405,241 cost-plus-award-fee contract. This contract is for the baseline scope of efforts including application of capabilities-based acquisition and disciplined program management, systems engineering, software engineering, hardware engineering, systems integration and testing, and other processes, practices, and resources. Work is to be performed in Newington, Va., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Reston, Va., is the contracting activity (HM1572-07-C-0002).

Trumbull Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa., was awarded on April 1 a $17,659,363 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is part of the major rehabilitation project for the stabilization of Emsworth Dams. This project involves stabilization of the back channel dam left abutment and installation of permanent scour protection consisting of grout filled bags downstream of the existing dam apron at Emsworth Locks and Dam, Ohio River, Pennsylvania. The work to be performed under this contract consists of furnishing all plant, materials, equipment, supplies, and labor for the installation of micropiles and rock anchors for stabilizing the existing abutment wall; a pipe pole and sheet pile combination wall installed riverward of the existing abutment to facilitate grade separation for the scour protection; dredging the river; and installation of new grout bag scour protection across and downstream of the existing channel dam. Work is to be performed in the Ohio River at the Emsworth Locks and Dam, back channel dam on Neville Island, Pittsburgh, Pa., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 23, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with five bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Pittsburgh, Pa., is the contracting activity (W911WN-10-C-0012).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Grand Prairie, Texas, was awarded in April 1 a $16,660,000 firm-fixed-price contract for recertification of 48 PAC-3 missiles, teardown of 12 PAC-3 missiles, and repair of missiles as necessary. Work is to be performed in Grand Prairie, Texas (66 percent), and Huntsville, Ala. (34 percent), with an estimated completion date of January 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal., Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-007-C-0135).

Northrop Grumman Information Technology, McLean, Va., was awarded on March 31 a $15,998,775 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Army-Defense integrated human resource system, personnel and pay system, and IT services. Work is to be performed in Alexandria, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. National Capitol Region Contracting Center, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (NOOO39-02-C-3238).

SGS, LLC, Oklahoma City, Okla., was awarded on March 31 a $15,282,126 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for the construction of a 60,395 square foot simulation center, access control facility, tactical operations pad, and antenna tower at Fort Bliss, Texas. Supporting facilities include utilities, electric service, parking, paving, walks, curbs, gutters, storage space, storm drainage, information systems, landscaping, site improvements, and fire protection and alarm systems. Anti-terrorism measures include laminated glass, exterior lighting, and stand-off distances. Accessibility for individuals with disabilities will be provided. Air conditioning is estimated at 210 tons. Sustainable design, development, and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 will be provided. The simulation center is required to support increases in virtual and live training. Work is to be performed in El Paso, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2011. One hundred and fifty-six bids were solicited with eight bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-10-C-0034).

Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was awarded on March 31 a $14,890,341 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This contract is under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Phase II of the Emissive Micro-Display (EMD) program. Rockwell Collins will continue to optimize the EMD system to meet final program metrics based on the quantum photonic imager devices. Work is to be performed in multiple cities across the United States, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2012. Bids were solicited via Broad Agency Announcement with four bids received. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-10-C-0098)

Techni Graphic Systems, Inc., Fort Collins, Colo., was awarded on March 31 a $13,192,724 contract for a production program consolidated task order to include negotiated firm-fixed-pricing which will be utilized to acquire global geospatial data products during the Award Term Five ordering period. Work is to be performed in Wooster, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2011. Nine bids were solicited with six bids received. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, ACMS, St. Louis, Mo., is the contracting activity (NMA302-03-D-0003).

General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on March 31 a $9,750,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for modification P00143, exercising an option for system technical support for the Abrams tank program. Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 19, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM-Warren, AMSCC-AHLC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0028).

Harris Corp., Melbourne, Fla., was awarded on March 31 a $9,280,000 contract for a production program consolidated task order to include negotiated firm-fixed-pricing which will be utilized to acquire global geospatial data products during the award term 5 ordering period. Work is to be performed in Melbourne, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 31, 2011. Nine bids were solicited with six bids received. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, ACMS, St. Louis, Mo., is the contracting activity (NMA302-03-D-0006).

Raytheon Systems Co., McKinney, Texas, was awarded on March 31 a $6,076,246 firm-fixed-price contract for 11 improved target acquisition sub-systems. Work is to be performed in McKinney, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM Contracting Center, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contacting activity (W31P4Q-06-C-0290).

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., was awarded on March 31 a $5,669,300 firm-fixed-price contract. This procurement is for issuance of an undefinitized contract action for the purchase of performance-based logistics in support of Foreign Military Sales customer United Arab Emirates for the AH-64 Apache modernized target acquisition designation sight/pilot night vision sensor. Work is to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2012. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center, CCAM-AP-B, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-10-C-0028).

TKC Integration, Anchorage, Alaska, was awarded on March 31 a $5,631,715 firm-fixed-price contract for Segovia dedicated radio frequency bandwidth 8.7 aggregate outroute; Optical Carrier Level 3 direct access terrestrial network link, inside the contiguous United States; and Segovia premium light shared. Work is to be performed in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with one bid recived. Mission and Installation Contract Center, U.S. Army Reserve, Fort Dix, N.J., is the contracting activity (W911S1-10-F-0048).

NAVY

Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $49,999,051 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract providing operation and maintenance services for the combined tactical training ranges. Combined tactical training ranges provide live and virtual environment to support a broad range of mission essential tactical training requirements throughout the Navy aviation training continuum. Services will be required at shore sites, land-based test facilities, and aboard ships in ports and at sea. Work will be performed in Fallon, Nev. (40 percent); Yuma, Ariz. (25 percent); Cherry Point, N.C. (17 percent); Oceana, Va. (10 percent); Key West, Fla. (4 percent); and Beaufort, S.C. (4 percent). Work is expected to be completed by April 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $3,600,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Port Hueneme Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme, Calif., is the contracting activity (N63394-10-C-5006).

Logistics Services International, Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded a $48,000,000 ceiling priced indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to conduct site surveys; training plan and curriculum development; aircrew and maintenance training; publications review/update; logistics technical assistance; program management; and other support services for the P-3 aircraft for the government of Taiwan under the Foreign Military Sales program. Designed after Navy training standards, inside and outside the continental United States, training/support will provide Taiwan's Navy aircrew and maintenance personnel with technical proficiency in their respective positions. Work will be performed in Taiwan (95 percent) and Jacksonville, Fla. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61339-10-D-0001).

Synexxus Inc.*, Arlington, Va., is being awarded a $7,292,774 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-incentive-fee, performance-based contract to provide research, development, engineering, test, operations, maintenance, and sustainment of the Oberon data distribution system architecture; total system engineering; and quantitative analytics. The contract includes (1) one-year option period which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to an estimated $11,497,036. Work will be performed in Afghanistan (70 percent) and Iraq (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by April 2011. If all options are exercised, work could continue until April 2012. Funds will not be obligated at this time. The contract is being awarded on a sole source basis. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity (N65236-10-D-6070).

The Boeing Co., Lanham, Md., is being awarded a $7,148,440 firm-fixed-price order via the General Services Administration schedule for the procurement of 929 Combat Survivor Evader Locator radios (P/N 4866112101), including supporting equipment for the Navy. Work will be performed in Palmdale, Calif., and is expected to be completed in March 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to DFAR 206.302-1(a))(1)(i). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-10-F-0006).

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems., El Segundo, Calif., is being awarded a $5,792,324 cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued Basic Order Agreement (N00019-05-G-0008) for the procurement of two AN/APG-79 active, electronically scanned array test radars to support the F/A-18 and EA-18G programs. Work will be performed in Forest, Miss. (45 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (35 percent); Andover, Mass. (15 percent); and Dallas, Texas (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 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.

The Boeing Co., Seattle, Wash., is being awarded a sole-source cost-plus-award-fee modification for $32,713,529. Under this contract, Boeing will continue post flight experiment Laser - 01 work with additional missile engagement scenarios and flight testing to include all required support. The work will be performed in Seattle, Wash., and at three California locations: Edwards Air Force Base, Sunnyvale, and Redondo Beach. The performance period is through May 2010. Fiscal 2010 research, development, test, and evaluation funds will be used for this effort. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity (F29601-97-C-0001).

AIR FORCE

Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $6,808,382 contract which provides for the research, test, development, and delivery of communication and technical recommendations, technical studies, network operations reports, version updates, engineering studies, and requirements traceability matrices. At this time, $371,461 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005).

Ellwood National Forge Co., Irvine, Pa., was awarded a contract which will exercise an option to procure 108 BLU-121 bombs to be used on precision guided air-to-surface weapons and Joint Direct Attack Munitions for the F-15E, F-16, and B-2 platforms. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 685 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8677-10-C-0063, P00002).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Pierce Manufacturing, Inc., Appleton, Wis., is being awarded a maximum $5,240,275 firm-fixed-price, long-term contract for fire-fighting vehicle, structural pumper. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. 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. 28, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM500-01-D-0062-0072).

Air Force Services officials launch Month of the Military Child programs

by Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

4/8/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Services officials are highlighting a variety and scope of programs in partnership with base agencies for Month of Military Child and Year of the Air Force Family in recognition of military children and their families.

"Stay Connected" is among several Air Force-wide initiatives designed to help parents and children stay in touch during deployed members' time away from home.

The Air Force Stay Connected Deployment Kit contains items such as stuffed animals, pens and disposable cameras.

"The kit provides young people and parents an avenue to keep a connection during the deployed members' time away from home," said Eliza Nesmith, an Air Force family member programs specialist. "The items in the kit come in pairs, so that the young person and parent can have an item that will help them remember each other."

Active duty, Guard and Reserve locations received the kits for assembly and use during Month of Military Child and Year of the Air Force Family. So far, in 2010, deploying families received 8,000 Stay Connected Deployment Kits, with more than 20,000 kits distributed since the program's inception in 2007.

During MOMC, bases throughout the Air Force are hosting special activities at installation libraries, bowling centers, fitness centers, and enlisted and officer clubs. Organizations such as outdoor recreation, security forces and family advocacy are collaborating to promote parades, concerts, book fairs, cookouts, family bingo, block parties and art auctions and more.

The month also includes health and wellness parental education activities such as car seat inspections, pet safety, speech and hearing screenings and brown bag lunch seminars.

"These events combine fun, education and recognition to celebrate military children and continue in our mission of taking care of Airmen and their families," Ms. Nesmith said.

Air Force officials honor top Public Affairs communicators

4/8/2010 - Air Force Public Affairs Agency officials here announced the results of the 2009 Air Force Media Contest in writing, photography and broadcasting April 7.

Winners in writing and broadcast categories advance to represent the Air Force in the annual Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson Awards Program later this month.

Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski of the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs staff is the Air Force Print Journalist of the Year.

The Air Force Photographer of the Year is Staff Sgt. Clay Lancaster of the 1st Combat Camera Squadron from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.

Staff Sgt. Kurtis Villavicencio of American Forces Network Korea is the Air Force Broadcast Journalist of the Year.

The contest is sponsored by the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs and is conducted by members of the Headquarters Air Force Public Affairs Agency in Arlington, Va.

Winners in the other print categories are:

- Outstanding new writer: Airman 1st Class Joe McFadden from the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

- News article: Staff Sgt. Jake Richmond from the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

- Feature article: Sergeant Buzanowski.

- Sports article: Staff Sgt. Eydie Sakura from the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

- Commentary: Master Sgt. Russell Petcoff from SAF/PA.

- Series: Senior Airman Emerald Ralston from the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild AFB, Wash.

- Art/graphics: Staff Sgt. Chris Ingersoll from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.

- Photojournalism: Senior Airman Marc Lane from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, S.D.

- Web-based publication: the 100th ARW.

Winners in other photography categories are:

-- Outstanding new photographer: Senior Airman Nathanael Callon from the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

-- Combat documentation photograph: Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock from the 1st CTCS.

-- News photograph: Tech Sgt. Jeff Wolfe from the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Ariz.

-- Feature photograph: Staff Sgt. Larry Reid from the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis AFB, Nev.

-- Sports photograph: Sergeant Lancaster.

-- Portrait/personality photograph: Staff Sgt. Hueming Mui from the 439th Airlift Wing at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass.

-- Illustrative photography: Airman 1st Class Corey Hook from the 28th BW.

-- Pictorial photograph: Staff Sgt. Jason Robertson from the 1st CTCS.

-- Picture story: Staff Sgt. Jason Lake from the 18th Wing at Kadena AB, Japan.

-- Best Stand-Alone Photograph: Sergeant Reid.

Winners in other broadcast categories are:

-- Outstanding new broadcaster: Airman Ryan Lis from the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota AB, Japan.

-- Radio entertainment program: Senior Airman Jarid Watson and Airman 1st Class Lauren Lagudi from AFN Aviano at Aviano AB, Italy.

-- Radio spot production: Master Sgt. Christopher Eder from Headquarters AFN South/Network Production Center at Vicenza, Italy.

-- Radio news report: Sergeant Eder.

-- Radio feature report: Staff Sgt. Trevor Pedro from the Defense Media Activity Regional News Center-Europe at Ramstein AB, Germany.

-- Radio sports report: Staff Sgt. Robert Joswiak from AFN Kaiserslautern, Germany.

-- Radio newscast: AFN Aviano.

-- TV spot production: Senior Airman Zach Vaughn from Air Combat Command at Langley AFB, Va.

-- TV news report: Staff Sgt. Todd Kabalan from AFN Aviano.

-- TV feature report: Nick Tovo from DMA Hawaii at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

-- TV sports report: Staff Sgt. Jason David from DMA RNC-Europe.

-- Local Television Newscast: AFN Misawa at Misawa AB, Japan.

-- Regional TV newscast: AFN Tokyo, Japan.

-- TV newsbreak: Senior Airman George Solis from AFN Incirlik at Incirlik AB,Turkey.

-- Video documentary: Senior Airman Zacharia Lopez from the 1st CTCS.

-- Video field production: 3rd CTCS from Lackland AFB, Texas.

In photography, only the best stand-alone photo advances to the Thomas Jefferson contest as DOD officials have a separate competition for photography.

This year's contest, which featured nearly 300 entries, was judged at the agency's headquarters by 10 civilian print, broadcast and photography professionals.

Defense Department Launches Open Government Plan

American Forces Press Service

April 8, 2010 - The Defense Department today released its Open Government Plan, which articulates how the department seeks to make its operations and data more transparent to the public, officials said. Available online at http://www.defense.gov/open, the plan outlines the department's efforts to expand opportunities for citizen participation, collaboration and oversight. It is the latest major milestone for the department in its focus on openness and transparency, as envisioned in a directive issued in December by President Barack Obama.

"The Department of Defense has demonstrated its commitment to improve transparency, participation and collaboration," since the directive was issued, Elizabeth A. McGrath, assistant deputy chief management officer, said in a news release. "Improved transparency can enable the public to better understand goals and activities of the department and facilitate analysis of data never before shared publicly. Broader participation can serve to lower barriers between the federal government and public citizens."

Together with public input, the Open Government Plan includes material from across the department, drawing on the expertise of management, public affairs, the technology sector, security and legal professionals. The collaborative nature of the process is symbolic of its goals: an agency that is more efficient and collaborative at accomplishing its key mission and is more transparent and open to taxpayers, officials said.

"Embracing open government at the Department of Defense will generate new ideas benefiting both the warfighter and U.S. citizens," McGrath, head of the Defense Department's Open Government project, said. "The department looks forward to strengthening the pillars of Open Government in the months and years to come."

In the past four months, the department has created an open government Web page, added high-value data sets to http://www.data.gov and has begun to create a governance structure for a long-term commitment to these goals.

In February and March, the public was invited to submit ideas for the plan on an Open Government Web site. Citizens suggested 92 ideas, cast more than 600 votes and wrote 111 comments.

Defense officials reviewed all of the suggestions and comments in drafting the Open Government Plan document, and specifically committed to acting on several of the most-popular ideas.

The plan, posted online today, aims to continue the dialogue by allowing the public to comment on individual sections, officials said.

Defense Officials Clarify Nuclear Review

By Ian Graham
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

April 8, 2010 - The Nuclear Posture Review has laid out a roadmap for the United States to follow in future nuclear dealings, and it also has raised a lot of questions in the public forum.

Bradley H. Roberts, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense, and Navy Adm. John E. Roberti, deputy director for strategy and policy for the Joint Staff, spoke with journalists on a DoDLive Bloggers' Roundtable yesterday to clarify the particulars of the review.

"It is intended to take concrete steps now to reduce our reliance – to reduce the number and role of nuclear weapons -- while at the same time ensuring that we maintain a safe, secure and effective deterrence, so long as nuclear weapons remain relevant," Roberts said.

"We are seeking to increase our reliance on non-nuclear means of deterrence, principally missile defense, non-nuclear strike capabilities, and what we're calling countering-WMD, or combating-WMD capabilities," he said, referring to weapons of mass destruction.

The review will provide a modern perspective on nuclear deterrence policy, not a removal of nuclear weapons from the United States arsenal, as some have interpreted. Only one weapon, the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile-Nuclear or TLAM-N, is being retired, Roberti said.

The policy is by no means a reduction of capability, Roberts said, but more of a repackaging that will allow the United States to respond to threats appropriately and, ideally, to avoid the disastrous repercussions of using nuclear weapons.

"A nuclear weapon would be perfectly thorough in dealing with the military threat," Roberts said. "We'd like to have other means; we think that would be more credible as a threat in the eye of [an enemy] that we might actually employ that other means.

"Our desire is to have the niche capability that we think is credible in the eyes of the Kim Jong-Ils of the world," Roberts said, referring to the North Korean dictator, "but not to go so far down this pathway that we're preventing further nuclear reductions by Russia or generating concerns in Russia and China about the destabilizing impact of these capabilities."

But it also uses what Roberts called "calculated ambiguity" to allow the president to call for a nuclear strike if needed.

"The president chose a middle ground because he was not persuaded that the conditions exist today to enable us to safely say that the only purpose of our nuclear weapons is to deter nuclear attack," Roberts said.

Primarily, the report has provided a "roadmap," as Defense Secretary Robert Gates put it, to work multilaterally to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles around the world.

"Those who wanted a concrete, pragmatic war plan to actually reduce nuclear dangers and to identify an agenda of activities that can be accomplished cooperatively internationally, see a lot in this report," Roberti said.

The global security situation is drastically different than it was 20, 40, or 60 years ago, and requires different methods of defense, Roberts said.

"In this environment, we have some clear nuclear dangers in front of us -- dangers posed by defiant states seeking nuclear weapons in defiance of the international community and in violation of their treaty commitments, and for these states we need strong and effective deterrence postures," he said. "So long as nuclear threats remain from these states, the nuclear umbrella will remain as part of this overall regional deterrence architecture."

Although the situation is different, Roberts said, it's no less dire. North Korea and Iran have both made efforts to develop nuclear weapons programs. The leaders of al Qaida also have stated their intent to obtain and use nuclear weapons.

"These are all alarming indicators," Roberts said. "They are not proof that there is a nuclear weapon being smuggled today or tomorrow, but there are alarming indicators that require our serious attention."

According to the review and current nuclear policy, that attention could mean very bad results for anyone posing a threat to the United States. While the plan is to lower the number of nuclear weapons, it is not to shrink the United States' ability to respond to aggression, Roberti said.

"Our declaratory policy says that if you're a non-nuclear-weapon state, as defined by the non-proliferation treaty, and you are in good standing, you're honoring your non-proliferation obligations, you are at no risk," he said. "If you are not in good standing with your nuclear non-proliferation obligations, the United States rules out nothing."

U.S. Soldiers MIA from Vietnam War Identified

April 8, 2010 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of four U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

A group burial for U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth L. Stancil, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Chief Warrant Officer Jesse D. Phelps, Boise, Idaho; Spc. Thomas Rice, Jr., Spartanburg, S.C.; and Spc. Donald C. Grella, Laurel, Neb., as well as Rice's individual remains burial will be tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery. Stancil, Phelps and Grella were buried individually last year.

The four men were aboard a UH-1D Huey helicopter which failed to return from a mission over Gia Lai Province, South Vietnam to pick up special forces soldiers on Dec. 28, 1965. The exact location of the crash site was not determined during the war, and search and rescue operations were suspended after failing to locate the men after four days.

From 1993-2005, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command attempted unsuccessfully to locate the site. But in April 2006, a joint team interviewed two local villagers, one of whom said he had shot down a U.S. helicopter in 1965. The villagers escorted the team to the crash site where wreckage was found. In March 2009, another joint team excavated the area and recovered human remains and other artifacts including an identification tag from Grella.

JPAC's scientists employed traditional forensic techniques in making these identifications, including comparisons of dental records with the remains found at the site.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

Sailor Overcomes Much to Compete in Warrior Games


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

April 8, 2010 - When Navy Seaman Judi Boyce toes the archer's line at the inaugural Warrior Games next month, she intends to overcome her disabilities and set the tone for the next chapter of her life. Boyce is no stranger to adversity. She grew up in foster care, and now is learning to live with a rare brain condition that caused her to have a stroke around Thanksgiving 2008.

Boyce said in an interview with American Forces Press Service that she is approaching the Warrior Games with a no-nonsense attitude.

Boyce also is eager to crush any doubt people may have about her abilities and in particular silence her harshest critic: herself.

"I still can't do a lot of things without a doctor present, so a lot of these events are going to be a great opportunity to just go out and do them," the 21-year-old New Jersey native said. "I am nervous, but I just need to prove to myself that I'm still capable."

Along with archery, Boyce is set to compete in track and field and swimming events, she said. She's one of 25 sailors and Coast Guardsmen who make up the Navy team participating in the games slated May 10-14 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The games will feature track and field, as well as swimming, cycling, marksmanship, and wheelchair basketball and wheelchair volleyball. Two hundred disabled veterans and wounded warriors from all branches of the military are expected to compete.

At first, Boyce was hesitant about taking part in the games, she said. Moyamoya disease, a condition that restricts blood flow to certain arteries in the brain, has left the culinary arts specialist with blurred vision, short-term memory loss and numbness throughout her body. She's also prone to "mini-strokes," she explained.

But when she learned archery would be part of the competition, memories of some of the happier times in her life came racing back. As a child, Boyce spent several summers at camp, where she took a liking to archery. As she became older, she started teaching archery to the younger kids, she said.

"Archery is the big thing I'm looking forward to at the Warrior Games," she said. "I loved it at camp, growing up. It was such a blast.

"The [Warrior Games] is a good way to get back into the swing of things and still be competitive," Boyce added, noting that she hasn't been very physically active since being diagnosed with Moyamoya disease. "It's also going to be fun, because we're starting something new. It's the first Warrior Games, and we're the group that's starting it off."

The games will likely be Boyce's last hoorah in the military. She expects to be medically retired from the Navy a few weeks after the games, something she's not looking forward to, she said.

Learning to live with the condition has been difficult. She's learned to channel her frustrations into cooking and other activities, but leaving the military is the last thing she ever wanted. She loves being a cook, and is grateful for the friends she has made. But the truth is, Boyce's three years of Navy service has been one of the few constants in her life, she said.

Boyce's parents were deemed negligent by the state when she was 7 years old, and she and her six siblings were placed in foster care. She was adopted at 14, but after high school graduation, she was pretty much kicked out of her home because the state child-care checks stopped, she said.

Boyce enlisted in the Navy shortly after, finally finding the family she longed for. Despite the hardships, she has managed to keep a positive outlook. She always seems to find the silver lining during stressful times, she said.

"Navy boot camp was easy, because of my childhood in foster care," she said. "Foster care made me who I am, and I'm very happy with the kind of person I've grown into. Without those hard experiences, who knows where I'd be right now?"

Living with Moyamoya may be a new misfortune in her life, but it's nothing but another hurdle, she said.

"There's always going to be a reason to give up on life, but you just have to stay optimistic and ready to pick yourself up when you have to," she said. "I'm a very strong-willed person, and my disabilities are not going to stop me. I've lived a lot of my life proving a lot of people wrong."

Boyce is undergoing evaluations and occupational therapy in Bethesda, Md., at the National Naval Medical Center. Twice a week, she cooks at the Pentagon for the Joint Staff.

First Virginia-class Dry Dock Conducted

April 8, 2010 - PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF), a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) field activity, dry docked USS Hawaii (SSN 776), March 30.

Hawaii is the first U.S. Pacific fleet Virginia-class submarine to go into dry dock at Pearl Harbor, one of NAVSEA's four public shipyards playing a major role in maintaining America's fleet. The ship will undergo routine inspection and maintenance in the shipyard until early May.

"The entire shipyard was very excited to dry dock USS Hawaii, and validate the hard work and dedication of the many people involved in this evolution," said Shipyard Commander Capt. Greg Thomas. "The successful execution was the fruit of their labor, earned from careful and relentless preparation."

The shipyard has been researching, planning and training for dry-docking evolutions since June 2008. Because Virginia-class submarines pose unique challenges that make docking the modern vessels more complicated than Los Angeles-class ships, the shipyard put together a special project team strictly dedicated to Hawaii's dry docking.

The project team underwent extensive preparations to safely and efficiently dry dock Hawaii. First, the shipyard conducted a realistic Virginia class mock docking availability in August 2008, followed by an evaluation session to capture lessons learned from the exercise. Several weeks prior to the docking, two all-trades conferences were held, instead of the usual single conference.

"The extra pre-trades conference was an above-and-beyond effort put forth for Virginia-class docking," said Cmdr. Leonard Laforteza, PHNSY & IMF's Virginia-class program manager. "It was important to address all the potential issues."

Dry docking Hawaii also provided a model for future repair work in the shipyard on Virginia-class submarines.

Hawaii, which arrived at Pearl Harbor last July, is the first submarine to be homeported in Pearl Harbor, and the first commissioned U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name of the Aloha State. Hawaii represents the very latest in submarine technology and capability, featuring an advanced combat control system; sensors; improved surveillance, reconnaissance capabilities; and special operations forces capabilities.

Smoking To Be Extinguished On Submarines

From Commander, Submarine Forces Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Commander, Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR) has effected a policy April 8 banning smoking below decks aboard all U.S. Navy submarines.

The smoking ban, announced via naval message, will become effective no later than Dec. 31, 2010.

The impetus behind the change of policy is the health risks to non-smokers, specifically exposure to secondhand smoke.

"Our Sailors are our most important asset to accomplishing our missions. Recent testing has proven that, despite our atmosphere purification technology, there are unacceptable levels of secondhand smoke in the atmosphere of a submerged submarine. The only way to eliminate risk to our non-smoking Sailors is to stop smoking aboard our submarines," said Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly, COMSUBFOR.

According to a 2006 Surgeon General's report on involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing heart and lung disease.

Subsequent to the 2006 Surgeon General report, the Submarine Force chartered the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory to conduct a study on U.S. submarines. The study indicated that non-smoking Sailors were exposed to measurable levels of Environment Tobacco Smoke (ETS), also called secondhand smoke. The year-long study was conducted in 2009 on nine different submarines, including at least one from each class of submarines in the force.

In conjunction with the policy change, cessation assistance to Sailors is being offered. The program will incorporate education techniques and nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches and nicotine gum, to assist in kicking the smoking habit. In keeping with current submarine policy, drugs such as Zyban and Chantix are not authorized.

"To help smokers minimize the effects of quitting, nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches and gum, will be readily available along with an extensive cessation training and support program on every boat. What we want to discourage is smokers turning to alternative methods of tobacco use such a chewing tobacco," said Capt. Mark Michaud, Submarine Force Atlantic surgeon.

"While submarine duty is a dynamic and demanding job, the Submarine Force is dedicated to mitigating unnecessary risks to our Sailors. Exposure to a harmful substance that is avoidable, such as secondhand smoke, is unfair to those who choose not to smoke," said Donnelly.

AAFES Wants to See Your Story

April 8, 2010 - DALLAS – They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words but a mere 50 describing a picture could fetch a digital camera and a $500 shopping spree in the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s latest contest.

Authorized exchange shoppers can send a photo and story of their military service, either active-duty or civilian, along with a 50-word description, for a shot to take home a piece of the Patriot Family “My Story” contest prize packages.

“We anticipate receiving photos that are both historic and current with stories ranging from deployments abroad to shopping at the exchange,” said AAFES’ Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Jeffry Helm. “Anything that can tie in with military service and support, we’re anxious to see and read about.”

The “My Story” grand prize winner will take home a Casio Exilim EX-H1 digital camera valued at approximately $300, $50 worth of digital print services at RitzPix.com and a $500 AAFES gift card. First place will receive a $300 AAFES shopping spree, second place will snap up $200 and $50 will be given to two runners-up.

The AAFES photo contest will run from through April 31 and authorized shoppers may enter online by sending a photograph plus a 50-word-or-less story about the photo to PatriotFamily@aafes.com. Entrants must include name, address, daytime phone number, rank or occupation plus photo information (location, date, person in photo). Submissions will be judged on the basis of uniqueness, quality and effectiveness in the conveying the story. Judging will be conducted in May.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is a joint command and is directed by a Board of Directors which is responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force through the Service Chiefs of Staff. AAFES has the dual mission of providing authorized patrons with articles of merchandise and services and generating non-appropriated fund earnings as a supplemental source of funding for military Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs. To find out more about AAFES' history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/pa/default.asp.

Naval Station Mayport Hosts Author in Recognition of Child Abuse Prevention

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leah Stiles Navy Public Affairs Support Element East Detachment Southeast

April 8, 2010 - MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport invited Dave Pelzer, author of "A child called "IT", to deliver remarks and sign books, April 6.

According to his Web site, www.davepelzer.com, the #1 New York Times and #1 International Best Selling Author has experienced a truly extraordinary life. He nearly died several times at the hands of his mentally disturbed alcoholic mother. Years later it was determined that his case was identified as one of the most gruesome and extreme cases of child abuse in California's then history.

"I am not about abuse, I am about resilience. I am about doing what I have to do with a sense of honor," said Pelzer during his remarks to a crowd gathered at NAVSTA Mayport's Ocean Breeze Conference Center.

At age 12 he was finally rescued and placed in several foster homes until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18.

What he would like to say to young folks with a similar situation is "You came from a bad background and God saved you, now you have a mission. Find your mission, and accept your mission. You deserve the very best."

Child Abuse Prevention is something that's taken seriously by Naval Station Mayport.

"Nothing can impact a Sailor from doing an effective job more so than having family issues," said Capt. Aaron Bowman, NAVSTA Mayport's commanding officer. "By recognizing and having programs that reduce incidences of child abuse, we are not only trying to put an end to a senseless and horrific act, we are also taking care of our most prized asset, the Navy family."

After delivering a touching speech, Pelzer answered questions from the audience. He also signed books and posed for photos with service members and civilians.