Military News

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Club reciprocal privileges extend to Army, Navy

By Maj. Belinda Petersen
Air Force Services Agency Public Affairs

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Air Force Services Agency officials recently changed club policies to extend member benefits to all U.S. armed forces personnel with a valid dues-paying club membership card.

“As part of the joint basing initiative, we reviewed our club membership policies with regard to reciprocal privileges offered to other branches of the U.S. armed forces,” said Col. Sandra Adams, commander of Air Force Services Agency.

“In the spirit of ‘one team one fight,’ current Air Force guidance was revised to extend club privileges and benefits to all dues-paying club members regardless of branch of service,” Colonel Adams said. “Personnel from the other services who pay club dues are offered the same pricing as Air Force club members.”

Full access to Air Force club facilities and services is also available for non members and club members not paying dues. However, these individuals will be charged non-member prices.

The Army and Navy have also agreed to provide reciprocal privileges commensurate with the member’s rank to all U.S. armed forces presenting a valid dues-paying club membership card.

Furthermore, non members, DOD civilians, and their family members may also utilize Army and Navy club facilities, but non-member pricing applies in these situations.

For more information on reciprocal privileges, contact the Air Force membership office at (800) 433-4834.

Singapore Led Flagship Intercepts Somali Pirates in Gulf of Aden

April 20, 2010 - MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- USS Farragut (DDG 99), flagship of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, intercepted suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden April 15, while undertaking tasking as part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

The Thailand-flagged bulk carrier MV Thor Traveller came under attack in the early morning of April 15, 240 km east of Aden by a skiff with seven suspected pirates on board.

During the attack, the suspected pirates fired rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at the vessel for 10 minutes in an attempt to force her to stop.

The master of the vessel immediately radioed for assistance. Farragut was in the area and immediately closed to the merchant vessel at maximum speed. In the darkness, the USS Farragut and its embarked helicopter located the suspected pirate skiff as it was attempting to escape. The helicopter used spotlights and smoke floats to warn the skiff to stop and observed the suspected pirates throw items overboard. A boarding team then confiscated further items of pirate paraphernalia. To prevent the suspected pirates from conducting any more attacks, the skiff was instructed to head back to the Somali Coast.

"This attack took place at 3:00 a.m. on a moonless night. It simply shows that the pirates do not take a day off and they are always looking out for opportunities to attack. The quick response from USS Farragut is testament to the operational readiness of the CMF. The alert lookouts and prompt reporting from MV Thor Traveller also contributed greatly to the successful disruption," said Republic of Singapore Navy Rear Adm. Bernard Miranda, commander of CTF 151.

The master of MV Thor Traveller, Capt. Nakrob Ngoenmuen, praised the actions by the CMF.

"I am impressed by the quick response, and I really appreciate USS Farragut's kind assistance to help my ship in the piracy attack," said Ngoenmuen.

The Republic of Korea Navy will take over command of CTF 151 from Singapore April 21.

"The coalition has so far made good progress in the counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. The attacks have increased recently, but the overall rate of success has dropped. This is due to intervention by coalition warships and the shipping industry following recommended guidelines to help prevent successful pirate attacks. I am sure that after I hand over command to the Republic of Korea Navy, they will continue to achieve even greater success in their fight against piracy," said Miranda.

CTF 151 is a multinational task force established by CMF in January 2009 to conduct counter-piracy operations under a mission based mandate to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations. It operates in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia. CMF patrols more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters to conduct both integrated and coordinated operations with a common purpose to increase the security and prosperity of the region by working together for a better future.

New AF dining program opens doors for retirees

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

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFRNS) – Thanks to the Air Force’s Food Transformation Initiative, retirees at six bases will soon be able to use military food service establishments previously reserved for active-duty Airmen.

Retirees will pay the same market price as everyone else, and there will not be an added surcharge on top of the menu price.

The six Air Force bases participating in the initiative are Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, Patrick AFB, Fla., MacDill AFB, Fla., Fairchild AFB, Wash., Little Rock AFB, Ark., and Travis AFB, Calif.

This pilot program not only opens food establishments to all members of the base community, but customers will also see changes to food and beverage options, resulting in greater quality and variety, said Air Force Services Agency officials.

Diners will see an overall increase in the variety and availability of healthy menu options on base.

With FTI, the Air Force is changing the way it delivers food in order to meet the needs of today's Airmen. For the past 60 years, the Air Force has been feeding Airmen based on a much larger, more stationary force. With the transition to a smaller, expeditionary force, Air Force leaders are looking to make dining programs more flexible, available, and efficient.

"FTI is about Airmen and for Airmen," said Brian Floyd, the deputy director of the force support squadron at Travis Air Force Base, one of the pilot bases for this initiative. "We have heard loud and clear what our Airmen want, and FTI is all about offering them better quality food, more variety and a sense of community when dining."

FTI will reinvigorate Air Force dining by hiring a contractor to transition to hybrid facilities on bases that will be open to the entire base populace, much like common business and university campuses, services officials said.

Many base dining facilities have use rates of less than 50 percent. Instead of closing these facilities, Air Force plans call for transforming operations. This transformation will preserve the mission of providing meals to Airmen and bringing positive changes to the way Airmen are fed on base, services agency officials said.

While services officials are excited about the forthcoming changes, they emphasized things will not happen immediately and that each base will be different. The first phase of the program is about improving menu options, they said, and the total transformation will take time.

Opening the transformed dining venues to retirees and base employees will restore a sense of community because everyone will be able to eat together, Mr. Floyd said.

"Now all of these groups of people will be able to share quality food in a family type of atmosphere at the dining hall as well as at other food venues on base," he explained.

Gates Hosts Paralympic Team at Pentagon

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 20, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today told the members of the U.S. Paralympic team that they are inspirations to all members of the armed forces.

Gates hosted the team that competed at the Vancouver, British Columbia, winter games at his Pentagon office.

The Paralympic movement began after World War II, when returning GIs -- many wounded in combat -- looked for ways to continue competing. "It's important in healing injured servicemembers," said Charlie Huebner, secretary general of the U.S. Paralympic Committee.

"My transition from a disabled veteran to a disabled athlete was aided by the Defense Department," said Heath Calhoun, a squad leader with the 101st Airborne Division who lost both legs after his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq. "For me, it is a personal thing. It's the power of sport in my life and knowing how it's helped me rehabilitate, and I just want to say, 'Thank you very much.'"

The team left the Pentagon to visit with servicemembers undergoing treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

"I can't tell you how much it means to me personally, but also to the wounded men and women in uniform to have you visit them in the hospitals," Gates said. "You are an inspiration to them and an example of what they can do. That aids their healing process."

Gates told the team he was honored to host them at the Pentagon.

"The courage and determination that Olympians and Paralympians demonstrate is an example not just for everybody in uniform, but for everybody in this country," Gates said.

"All of you make all Americans proud."

Gates Proposes Revamp of Export System

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 20, 2010 - The United States must totally revamp the Cold War-era export control system, because as currently configured, it actually harms national security, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today. Gates told members of Business Executives for National Security that the export control system does not adequately protect crucial American capabilities and makes it nearly impossible to quickly share needed capabilities with allies and partners.

Gates said his proposal for a new export control process would make it more difficult for critical technologies to get into the hands of rogue states and terrorists while facilitating the transfer of technology to U.S. allies.

"The United States is thought to have one of the most stringent export regimes in the world, but stringent is not the same as effective," Gates said. "A number of lapses in recent years – from highly sensitive materials being exported to vital homeland security capabilities being delayed – have underscored the flaws of the current approach."

The current export-control system is a Cold War artifact, the secretary noted. "As a result," he said, "its rules, organizations and processes are not set up to deal effectively with those situations that could do us the most harm in the 21st century – a terrorist group obtaining a critical component for a weapon of mass destruction, or a rogue state seeking advanced ballistic missile parts.

"Most importantly," he added, "the current arrangement fails at the critical task of preventing harmful exports while facilitating useful ones."

Gates proposed a tiered approach to export control that he said would allow the United States to build higher walls around truly crucial technologies while lowering walls around others. One flaw of the current system, he said, is that it makes no differentiation among technologies, and the lists are endless.

"The real-world effect," he told the group, "is to make it more difficult to focus on those items and technologies that truly need to stay in this country."

Gates is joined by the secretaries of state, commerce and homeland security, the director of national intelligence and the national security advisor in pushing for changes. The proposal Gates announced today grew from a study President Barack Obama directed last summer.

"Our plan relies on four key reforms: a single export-control list, a single licensing agency, a single enforcement/coordination agency and a single information technology system," the secretary said.

The nation currently has two export-control lists: one maintained at the State Department and one by Commerce. "The single list, combined with a single licensing agency, would allow us to concentrate on controlling those critical technologies and items – the 'crown jewels' – that are the basis for maintaining our military technology advantage, especially technologies and items that no foreign government or company can duplicate," Gates said.

It would be a tiered system, the secretary explained, with truly critical technologies at the top cascading down to lesser technologies. Items could move from one group to another as their sensitivity changes, he said.

A single licensing agency would have jurisdiction over both munitions and dual-use technologies. This, Gates said, would streamline the licensing process and reduce confusion. Obama will decide where this agency would be located later this spring, the secretary added.

Consolidating enforcement also will strengthen the system, Gates said. "Those who endanger our troops and compromise our national security will not be able to hide behind jurisdictional uncertainties or game the system," the secretary said. "Violators will be subject to thorough investigation, prosecution and punishment severe enough to deter lawbreaking."

A single information technology system, he said, is a no-brainer that will save money and stop confusion.

It's expected that the initial steps required in reforming the present export system will begin immediately, Gates said.

"We will turn these principles and proposals into action through a three-phased process that will unfold over the course of the next year," he said. The first phase will see the transition to a single list and the single licensing agency. The second phase will transition to a single information technology system and implement the tiered control list.

"These changes, which can be made through executive action, represent substantial progress and momentum towards reform," he said. "But they are by themselves insufficient to fully meet the challenge at hand. We need a final, third phase."

That phase will require congressional action, Gates said, adding that he looks forward to working with senators and representatives to craft the right approach.

USNS Mercy To Deliver Antiquities to Cambodia

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Martin, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

April 20, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Three Cambodian antiquities were delivered to hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) April 15 in San Diego, after being recovered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

The recovered items, including an intricately carved bas-relief sandstone sculpture and a sandstone bust and torso, were estimated by archaeologists to have been created between 1000-1500 A.D.

"I am happy to be able to facilitate the return of these antiquities to the people of Cambodia," said Matthew Bush, Mercy's chief mate, a civil service mariner. "It's a privilege to be a part of our continuing good relations with the Cambodian people."

The sculptures have both historical and religious significance, and their return to Cambodia is especially noteworthy. The items were smuggled to Thailand and then to India, where they were intercepted by Indian authorities and delivered to the United States. The U.S. Customs Service and Border Protection Agency estimates the total antiquity black market trade to be $10 billion annually.

A cooperative effort between the U.S. Navy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency made the delivery to Mercy possible.

The items will be returned by Mercy to Cambodia this summer during the ship's involvement in Pacific Partnership 2010.

Looting remains an issue of national concern for Cambodia, but the return of the artifacts will be a highlight of Pacific Partnership 2010.

Mercy's mission in Pacific Partnership 2010 is aimed at strengthening regional relationships with host and partner nations in Southeast Asia and Oceania. It is designed to enhance these relationships through medical, dental, veterinary and engineering outreach projects that reinforce the mutually supporting roles between participants. Pacific Partnership also improves the ability of the U.S. and regional countries to prepare for and better respond to disasters, such as pandemic illness, typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis.

While Mercy's shipboard hospital is staffed by Navy medical personnel, the ship is maintained by about 70 federally employed civilian mariners like Bush.

Northwest Sailors, Students 'Green Up' NBK

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lawrence Davis, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest

April 20, 2010 - SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- Pacific Northwest Sailors teamed up with local elementary school students to "green up" Trident Lakes Park in Bangor, Wash., near Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) April 20.

Volunteers contributed approximately 75 man-hours to clear nearly an acre of old, dying trees and invasive shrubbery and in their place planted 200 Grand Fir and 100 Western Red Cedar trees.

Walter Briggs, a forester from Navy Region Northwest, explained to the Sailors and students how clearing sick and intrusive vegetation promotes the health and growth of natural forest species and enhances wildlife habitat.

Students also toured the park, learned about storm water impact to the environment, how to identify wetlands and watched contractors re-stock the lakes with 1,000 rainbow trout.

Cmdr. Jim Travers, NBK's executive officer, said the Navy takes environmental conservation seriously.

"Naval Base Kitsap is committed to environmental stewardship, and as responsible stewards, it is important that we understand the environment and the impact we have on it. Events like this demonstrate our continued commitment to our environment and our community," said Travers.

The event provided a fun way to raise Sailor, student and community awareness on human impact to the environment, said Senior Chief Builder (SCW) Eric Davis, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest senior enlisted leader and event coordinator.

Elizabeth Joncas, a student at Clear Creek Elementary, said she enjoyed planting the trees.

"Trees present oxygen for us to breathe in, and if there weren't enough trees, we wouldn't be able to breathe," said Joncas.

"I'd like to do this again sometime. It was actually really fun," said Joncas.

Wounded warrior to compete at Warrior Games

by Deborah Silliman Wolfe
502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - In December 2005, Tech. Sgt. Israel Del Toro Jr. laid in a hospital bed at Brooks Army Medical Center after an improvised explosive device left 80 percent of his body covered in third degree burns.

He was missing fingers from both hands and had severe inhalation burns when doctors told his wife, Carmen, three times that they didn't expect him live. But she knew better.

"Every time they told me he wouldn't make it, I would say, 'Yes, he can!'" Mrs. Del Toro remembered. "I know him. I knew he could pull through; he is so strong."

And pull through he did.

Sergeant Del Toro, 342nd Training Squadron Tactical Air Control Party instructor and recruiter defied the doctors' expectations and has not only returned to his career field, but will be competing in the Warrior Games to be held May 10 through 14 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"It is pretty cool to be participating in the games," he said. "I hope I do good! I'm going to go out there and give it as much as I can. I will keep pushing -- you know -- even if I am last, I will finish. I always finish. It doesn't matter if I am last, first, second or third."

An estimated 200 athletes from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard who have been injured, wounded or are ill will be competing at the inaugural Warrior Games. The games have been a joint effort between the Department of Defense and the U.S. Olympic Committee and are part of an effort to inspire recovery, capitalize on physical fitness, and promote new opportunities for growth and achievement, according to the U.S. Olympic Committee Web site.

"Leadership from the DOD and Ride to Recovery approached the U.S. Olympic Committee about creating a competition due to the competitive nature of our members of the armed forces," said Charlie Huebner, U.S. Olympic Committee, chief of paralympics. "Daily, we see the impact of physical activity on people who become physically disabled. Something as simple as returning to the norm, such as skiing with your friends or riding your bike with your family, provides a significant physical and emotional transition in the rehabilitation process."

Huebener said the Warrior Games are an extension of that emphasis on living an active lifestyle and competing, whether that competition is in sports or in life. Events at the games will include shooting, swimming, archery, sitting volleyball, cycling, track, wheelchair basketball, discus and shot put. There will also be an Ultimate Warrior competition, which Sergeant Del Toro is looking forward to competing in.

"From my understanding, the Ultimate Warrior includes biking ten miles, a 1,500 meter run, a rifle shooting event, shot put and a 50-meter swim," Sergeant Del Toro said. "I am good with everything, but I am not sure about the swim. I am going to get with a swim coach this week since I haven't swum since I was injured. I don't know how I'll do, but you know -- it's only a lap there and back freestyle. I am going to see how I do."

Sergeant Del Toro will be well prepared for the event seeing that he has been running in 5Ks, and biking has been a major part of his rehabilitation. But no matter how he places in any of the events he competes in, his positive attitude is more important than any trophy.

"When I speak to other Airmen I tell them, if you already have it in your head you aren't going to make it before you try, you have already quit," Sergeant Del Toro said. "I never had that mentality. I wanted to get out of the hospital and see my little boy. I wanted to give him an example like my dad did for me. No matter what, take care of your family, and never quit."

"I never wanted my son to grow up and wonder, 'Why is dad sitting in a chair, staring out a window hating life?' I am not teaching my son anything doing that. I want him to be able to see that his dad got blown up, but he is still doing all this stuff, he is not quitting. I want to show him that no matter what obstacles are in front of you, you are not going to give-up; you are going to pull forward."

Rota Receives Diverted Military Flights

By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Cage
Naval Station Rota

April 20, 2010 - Naval Station Rota and Moron Air Base in Spain have absorbed many U.S. military flights diverted from northern European routes by ash being spewed from an Iceland volcanic eruption.

Rota typically averages eight to 13 flights a day, but saw double that amount over the weekend. Moron Air Base usually averages one or two flights a day, but had about 10 times that number. Navy Cmdr. Tom Eberhard, executive officer for Naval Station Rota, expressed confidence in the station's ability to handle the challenge. "Because of the incredible teamwork between our Navy and Air Force personnel, ... we are able to meet this increased demand," he said. "We have some of the best sailors and airmen in the world. They are always focused on accomplishing the mission."

Volcanic ash creates a cloud that is hazardous to engines. When absorbed into the engine, it can cause the engine to flame out. Air Mobility Command flights that usually traverse the northern European air route were diverted to the southern, Mediterranean route via Rota and Moron to avoid the hazard.

Air Force Lt. Col. Mike Cannon, deputy commander of the 521st Air Mobility Operations Group, said AMC has a fixed route infrastructure to handle its aircraft, and although it is a fixed route, it is very flexible.

"We are meeting U.S. Transportation Command requirements by flexing our capability to our fixed locations to handle the air flow," he said. "The men and women here at the 725th Air Mobility Squadron have adapted to meet the workload by increasing the work shifts and duty hours to handle the increase in traffic."

A team of mechanics from bases not affected by the ash cloud was sent to Moron in conjunction with the 496th Air Base Squadron to work on planes as they transit from Europe and the United States.

"We love it when there are a lot of [aircraft] tails on the ramp," Cannon said. "Air mobility professionals take a lot of pride in the fact they are pushing a lot of cargo and men through the system to the fight and back to the states. The work load has doubled; we rolled up our sleeves and did the work."

Cannon said the Navy is a wonderful partner in Rota. Naval Facilities Engineering Command provided a bus and driver to transport maintainers from Rota to Moron. "The support from the Navy at Rota, as usual, is phenomenal," he said.

Airmen deliver new Army helicopter to war zone


by Senior Airman Jacob Corbin
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

4/20/2010 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- A C-17 Globemaster III loaded new Army light utility helicopters for delivery to the warfighters April 12 here.

This marked the first time UH-72 helicopters were transferred directly overseas via Air Force transport. The C-17 assigned to the Mississippi Air National Guard's 172nd Airlift Wing in Jackson, Miss., and it's payload of five UH-72 departed Columbus Air Force Base after several days of on-site preparation.

Traditionally, after being accepted by the Army, pilots will self-deploy the helicopters from their manufacturing area to locations around the contiguous United States, said Army Chief Warrant Officer Five John Jones, the acceptance pilot for the Army light utility helicopter program. The UH-72 is used for medical evacuation, wartime support and field training and is stationed at locations worldwide.

Mr. Jones said this group of UH-72s was different because they were being sent directly to their service locations overseas due to a combination of timing and need.

"Fortunately, there is an Air Force base close by, and everyone has come out to help us with this," Mr. Jones said.

He said the help of the Air Force and other services is crucial for some missions.

"(The mission) flat can't be done if all the services don't work jointly," he said.

Air Force officials unveil new rescue aircraft model


by Airman 1st Class Brigitte Brantley
23rd Wing Public Affairs

4/20/2010 - MARIETTA, Ga. (AFNS) -- A new model of an aircraft used in Air Force rescue efforts since 1956 was formally presented to the Air Force in a ceremony April 19 here.

The HC-130J Super Hercules combat rescue tanker is configured to provide support to special operations missions and will become a backbone of Moody Air Force Base's mission upon reaching its scheduled initial operating capability in 2012.

The geographically separated 563rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., as well as Kirtland AFB, N.M., will be the first bases to receive the new model for training purposes once it has undergone initial testing, which typically takes about a year.

"The unveiling of this new model is the dawn of a new day in personnel recovery," said Ross Reynolds, the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company C-130 programs manager. "There are few missions as honorable or challenging, and we are extremely proud to present our oldest customer with this vastly more capable version of the C-130."

The aircraft was designed with mission flexibility in mind. It's capable of combat delivery, air-to-air refueling, special operations and humanitarian and disaster relief missions, all of which equate to increased ground and air combat effectiveness.

"The recapitalization of the C-130 fleet is a big deal and the new model represents a quantum leap in technology which allows us to continue completing the mission," said Maj. Gen. Thomas K. Andersen, the Air Combat Command director of requirements. "Right now, the C-130 has one of the lowest availability rates in the Air Force and the introduction of the J-model will increase that rate by 46 percent as well as decrease needed crewmembers from seven to five."

The increase in capability comes from a slew of new features that differ greatly from those in the first operational model of the C-130 that debuted in 1956 and has the longest continuously-running military production line in history.

"The ability to complete the mission is improved because of several innovations with the J-model," General Andersen said. "There is an improved diagnostic system, a universal air refueling receptacle on top of the aircraft and enhanced generators which enable us to power more equipment.

"There is also a 34 percent increase in space, which allows more pallets to be loaded," he said. "Fuel capacity and efficiency are also greatly improved and allow us to fly for longer periods of time."

In addition to the operational features, there are also improvements to the quality of life for crewmembers while on board. These include an improved air conditioning system, flushable toilet and a microwave.

"The new features of this aircraft are great and will definitely make life easier for anyone who works with them," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Schlauderaff, who will be one of the first loadmasters to be assigned to the HC-130J. "One thing extremely notable is the improved diagnostics system and how computers are now used to find out what is wrong much quicker.

"Before, it was having one thing go wrong with four or five possible solutions," he said. "Now, it is much quicker to find out what is wrong and maintenance needed between flights decreases sharply from 30 hours to eight hours."

Other features on the aircraft include an internal winch, built-in roller, faster ramp, electronic locks for loading and a built-in tow plate for air drops, all aimed at saving man-hours without compromising mission capabilities.

"The increase mission capability makes this model quite valuable to the Air Force," said Lt. Col. Janet Kasmer, the ACC HC/MC-130J recapitalization program manager. "Right now, we have authorization to buy five more J-models, with four of those aircraft being purchased in the next fiscal year."

Other variants of the C-130J include models specialized for aerial and ground refueling, weather reconnaissance, electronic warfare, special operations and combat delivery.

Senior Executive Service Appointments and Reassignments

April 20, 2010 - Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced the following Department of Defense Senior Executive Service appointments and reassignments:

Appointments

Alan A. Aldwell has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as deputy director, Defense Technology Security Administration, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Integration and Chief of Staff, Arlington, Va. Aldwell previously served as foreign affairs specialist, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs, Arlington, Va.

Robert G. Bell has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as defense advisor to the U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Brussels, Belgium. Bell previously served as account manager, NATO and European Command, Science Applications International Corp., Brussels, Belgium.

Erin R. Mahan has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as chief historian, Office of the Director of Administration and Management, Washington, D.C. Mahan previously served as associate research fellow, Center for the Study of Weapons Mass Destruction, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.

Steven L. Schleien has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as director of cyber policy, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs, Arlington, Va. Schleien previously served as supervisory foreign affairs specialist, ODASD(SP), OASD(GSA), Arlington, Va.

Jennifer C. Walsh has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as principal director of Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense RUE, Arlington, Va. Walsh previously served as supervisory foreign affairs specialist, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Strategy, Plans, and Forces), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Arlington, Va.

Jennifer N. Zakriski has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as principal director of force development, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Strategy, Plans, and Forces), Arlington, Va. Zakriski previously served as supervisory management analyst, ODASD (FD), ODUSD (SPF), Arlington, Va.

Reassignments

Edward Frothingham III, has been assigned as deputy director, Defense Prisoner of War (POW)/Missing Personnel Office and principal director, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ODASD(DPMO)), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Arlington, Va. Frothingham previously served as principal director for counternarcotics and global Threats, ODASD (CN>), Arlington, Va.

Inaugural warrior and survivor care conference held

By Maj. Belinda Petersen
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

“Care beyond duty” was the theme for this year’s warrior and survivor care conference hosted by Air Force Personnel Center officials here April 6 - 9. The goal for this conference was to bring three major groups together - the recovery care coordinators, base level community readiness consultants, and the wounded warrior staff at AFPC,” said Lt. Col. David Bringhurst, chief of the Air Force wounded warrior program at AFPC. “By bringing everyone together as a team, we focused on identifying family-centered solutions and early family involvement in the member’s recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration.”

More than 130 people, represented from almost every stateside plus a few overseas Air Force bases, attended the first-ever conference.

“This is where the rubber meets the road. We need to focus on what we can do better to serve our wounded warriors,” said John Beckett, warrior and survivor care program manager from the Air Force Manpower and Personnel.

“Life-altering events affect the entire family and we can’t expect to understand what the family is going through without taking it personally,” Mr. Beckett said.

“This was one of the best conferences I have ever attended in the 20 years I’ve worked in the Family Support Center and the Airman and Family Readiness Center,” said Bob Sayer, a community readiness consultant from the 7th Force Support Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

The four-day conference was filled with informative briefings including DOD policies, the Air Force Wounded Warrior program, the Warrior and Survivor Care program, the wounded warrior programs from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves, as well as policies with law and medical processes.

Noel Koch, deputy under secretary of defense for wounded warrior care and transition policy, spoke at the conference on the mission of WWCTP which was created in November 2008.

“We needed as a nation, as an institution, a way to take care of wounded warriors and their families,” Secretary Koch said.

WWCTP was established to develop policy and conduct oversight of programs such as the Transition Assistance Program, Recovery Coordination Program, and Disability Evaluation System.

One process he discussed was the new DES Pilot, an evolutionary standardized process that will replace the legacy system, ensuring wounded warriors have veteran’s benefits in place upon separation.

DES is used to determine servicemembers’ fitness for duty in an equitable, consistent, efficient and timely manner. It provides an avenue for those who can no longer serve by separating, compensating and transitioning them to the care of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Another important topic discussed was post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. “Maj. David Tharp was the highlight speaker on Friday morning,” said Colonel Bringhurst. “His topics created an outpouring of frank discussions among all the attendees which added real value to the conference.”

One highlight of the conference was meeting two wounded warriors and their spouses during a panel session with conference attendees.

The hour and a half panel session provided the audience first-hand account of what wounded warriors and their families experience from the beginning of their injuries to recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration.

Tech. Sgt Christopher Ramakka, explosive ordnance disposal instructor with the 342nd Training Squadron, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, his wife Sonja Ramakka, Senior Airman Colton Read from the 59th Medical Wing Patient Squadron, Lackland AFB, Texas, and his wife Jessica Read inspired the audience with their courageous story and positive outlook on life.

“We are stronger than his injury. It didn’t beat us and that’s the most important thing,” said Mrs. Ramakka.

At the end of the panel session, Steph Page, Air Force program manager for recovery care coordination program, presented acoustic guitars to Sergeant Ramakka and Airman Read on behalf of Ted Nugent, an American hard rock guitarist.

Four conference attendees were also recognized for their work with Air Force wounded warriors.

“Retired Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Fritz, recovery care coordinator in the national capital region and four community readiness consultants from A&FRCs across the U.S., Tonya McGough, Diane Keays, and Angela Teixeira received a ‘Care Beyond Duty’ certificate and letter of appreciation for their exceptional commitment to Air Force wounded warriors and their families,” said Colonel Bringhurst.

The conference culminated in a tour of the Center for the Intrepid at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The facility provides servicemembers with severe extremity injuries and amputations the opportunity to maximize their ability to live and work productively.

This four-story 65,000 square foot facility includes clinical, research, and administrative space, a gait lab, a computer assisted rehabilitation environment, a pool, an indoor running track, a two-story climbing wall, and a prosthetic fabrication lab.

“I enjoyed everything about the conference, including the tour of the CFI. The facility is amazing and the leadership and staff here are phenomenal,” said Anthony Pope, community readiness consultant from Robins AFB, Ga.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley designated July 2009 to July 2010 as the Year of the Air Force Family, a period to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of the diverse Air Force family including active duty, Reserves, Air National Guard, single Airmen, civilians, spouses, children, retirees, and community partners.

“As part of our commitment to Airmen, we, in collaboration with the rest of the Department of Defense, are strengthening our focus on wounded warrior care. The importance of ensuring that our wounded warriors receive the service and support they need throughout the recovery process cannot be overstated,” Secretary Donley said.

For more information on this and other Air Force personnel programs, visit the AFPC personnel services Web site or call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

Missile Review

Official Details Results of Missile Review


By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

April 20, 2010 - Ballistic missiles are an increasing threat to the United States, and the Defense Department must keep up with them, the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy said today.

James N. Miller, speaking about the department's Nuclear Posture Review before the Senate Armed Services Committee, said several nations are developing nuclear, chemical or biological warheads for their missiles.

The threat to the U.S. homeland is most acute from states such as North Korea and Iran, Miller said. "Neither has yet acquired ICBMs that could reach the United States, but both are working to acquire and/or develop long-range ballistic missile capabilities – including space-launched vehicles – which include many of the necessary technologies," he said.

Short- and medium-range missiles have proliferated rapidly over the past decade. Iran and North Korea are the primary troublemakers, Miller said, and represent significant regional missile threats.

Miller listed six policy priorities for U.S. missile defense. The first is to continue to defend the homeland against the threat of limited ballistic missile attack.

"The top priority for U.S. missile defense efforts is to defend the United States from the threat of missile attack by regional actors such as North Korea or Iran," he said. "The United States does not intend for missile defense to affect the strategic balance with Russia or China."

The second priority is to defend against regional missile threats to U.S. forces while protecting allies and partners and helping to enable them to protect themselves. One part is a new phased adaptive approach for missile defense in Europe. The United States has concluded agreements with Romania and Poland to host the two planned land-based sites for interceptors in 2015 and 2018, respectively.

"The Ballistic Missile Defense Review concluded that the United States should pursue a phased adaptive approach not only in Europe, but also in other regions, particularly Northeast Asia and the Middle East," Miller said. "And this approach will be tailored to the threats appropriate to those regions."

The third priority, Miller said, is realistic and tough testing before fielding any new technologies.

A fourth is that new capabilities must be fiscally sustainable over the long term. "Our investments in [ballistic missile defense], as in other areas, must be managed to ensure that there are sound capability improvements at reasonable cost and in overall balance with other defense priorities," he said.

Ballistic missile defense also must be flexible to evolve as the threat evolves, Miller said.

Finally, he continued, the United States will lead expanded international efforts for missile defense. "We are working with allies and partners to strengthen deterrence and build regional security architectures, through improved missile defense and through other measures," he said.

The review informed budget decisions, Miller said, and President Barack Obama asked for a $700 million increase in ballistic missile defense funding in fiscal 2011 over 2010.

Mullen Asks Communities to Assist Veterans

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

April 20, 2010 - Integrating veterans into society is a challenge not only for the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, but for the communities they're transitioning into, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen spoke to hundreds of students, veterans and community leaders at West Virginia University and asked for a continued reaching out to military veterans to ensure their needs are met. Mullen also spoke to local residents at a town hall event at a nearby hotel.

The talks were part of Mullen's "Conversations with the Country," an initiative he is undertaking to raise awareness in American communities about the value of veterans.

Mullen was in New York at Columbia University April 18, and in Pittsburgh yesterday to meet with academics, community leaders and veterans.

Education and employment opportunities for veterans were among the topics discussed here. Several veteran-friendly business executives and university officials talked about ways they're reaching out to veterans, to create those opportunities.

The university is well known for being a veteran-friendly community. And its many veteran programs have helped greatly, Mullen said. Faculty members noted the institution's use of the Yellow Ribbon program, which provides information and services to veterans about their benefits.

A panel of business executives attested that it makes sense for them to employ well-trained military veterans. Numerous businesses here actively recruit veterans for their workforce, they said.

When employers employ veterans they're getting mature, team-centric and trainable employees with great leadership potential, Mullen said.

"This group of young people will enrich [society] for decades to come," he said. "And we have to look for ways to invest in them."

However, Mullen remains concerned that available programs and initiatives affect too few veterans.

The admiral said he also is concerned that other communities throughout the nation aren't reaching out to veterans because they simply don't know how.

"I've seen [the military] transition our people from active duty to VA [and] back to the communities," Mullen said. "At a time when so many have given so much -- those tens of hundreds of thousands who've been wounded and those who've made such a difference and gone off and done what their country has asked -- having three different systems just isn't adequate anymore."

The Pentagon, VA and local communities can't solve the issue alone, the chairman said. He called for a need to streamline efforts between the two departments and communities. Through teamwork and networking, he said, communities can better meet the needs of veterans.

"[Needs] can't be met by the Pentagon, [and] it can't be met by the VA," Mullen said. "It can only be met, I believe, by communities throughout the country joined together with the Pentagon and VA to get it right for those who've sacrificed so much."

Mullen said he'll outline the best practices that assist veterans during his travels to local communities. Whether they've served in combat or not or in the reserve component or active duty, veterans deserve a chance at a happy life, he said.

Although veterans have the potential to greatly "enrich" their communities, hiring them and meeting their needs will present challenges, Mullen said, noting the psychological effects that war can have on veterans.

Mullen pointed out that "there's not a troop who's seen combat who doesn't have post-traumatic stress."

And, even if veterans return home without physical or mental injuries, Mullen said, they've still made sacrifices for the nation, such as experiencing time away from their homes and families. Also, he added, in the case of citizen-servicemembers in the National Guard and reserve, deployment time affects their civilian careers.

Veterans' experiences in the military and at war may have changed their lives, but "their dreams center around education, raising their kids, getting their kids to school, having jobs and owning [homes]," Mullen said. "Without employment and education there isn't much of a future."

Mullen reflected on the early years of his military service at the height of the Vietnam War. As in the past, people today join the military "to improve their lives," he said.

"We must give them that opportunity," the admiral said.

Mullen praised today's generation of servicemembers and veterans, calling them the finest military the world has ever seen. It's America's responsibility, he said, to ensure that its veterans get the opportunities they deserve.

Eisenhower Raises More Than $100,000 for Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amy Kirk, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

April 20, 2010 - USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) raised more than $100,000 for Navy Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) after a fund drive that ended April 18.

Eisenhower Sailors bested last year's fundraising efforts by more than $20,000. Additionally, according to officials at Commander Naval Air Force Atlantic, Eisenhower was the top fundraising ship in the fleet, said Lt. Sarah McPeek, Eisenhower NMCRS campaign co-chairperson.

This year's annual fund drive began March 1 aboard the aircraft carrier, boasting events such as raffles, the winner of which could be commanding officer, executive officer or command master chief for a day, and a 3-point shoot-out competition.

"The fund drive was extremely successful," said Chief Electrician's Mate Stephen Jolly, Eisenhower NMCRS campaign co-chairperson. "We raised a good amount of money for a great cause, and the crew had fun while doing it."

McPeek said all money raised for NMCRS goes directly to Sailors by providing loans or grants for emergent needs.

"They also offer a great $300 no-interest quick loan, which helps prevent Sailors from going to get payday loans, which are typically very high interest," said Jolly. "Plus, new moms and dads can get layettes for their newborn babies for free."

Other programs NMCRS offers which benefit Sailors and their families include the Budget for Baby program, thrift shops, food lockers and educational programs offering scholarships and no-interest loans.

According to nmcrs.org the NMCRS received $10.1 million in donations from active duty service members, and $2.5 million from retired Sailors and Marines in 2009. This past year, NMCRS assisted 91,418 Sailors, Marines and their families with financial support, a 17 percent increase from previous years.

Additionally, NMCRS provided more than $47.4 million in interest-free loans and grants.

The NMCRS has been helping Sailors and Marines with financial emergencies since its inception in 1904. Eisenhower Sailors have assisted this cause, ensuring help is available for other Navy and Marine Corps families in times of need.

Eisenhower is underway as part of a regularly scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR). Operations in the 5th Fleet AOR are focused on reassuring regional partners of the coalition's commitment to help set conditions for security and stability. U.S. forces maintain a naval and air presence in the region that deters destabilizing activities while safeguarding the region's vital links to the global economy.

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 20, 2010

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla. is being awarded a $44,414,000 firm-fixed-price supply contract for production of 18 AN/AAQ-30 thermal sight system (TSS) and associated data. The AN/AAQ-30 TSS provides detection, identification, and targeting capability in day/night operations for the U.S. Marine Corps AH-1Z Super Cobra helicopter. AN/AAQ-30 TSS is fully integrated into the AH-1Z fire control system, providing range and optical line-of-sight data for all weapons including the 20mm gun, Hellfire missile, 2.75 inch rockets, and sidewinder missile. TSS has an automatic video tracker and includes a laser rangefinder/designator which provides classified coded designation of targets for laser-guided munitions of the tri-service arsenal. Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla. (90 percent), and Ocala, Fla. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by October 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-10-C-JQ84).

Complex Solutions, Inc., Kailua, Hawaii, is being awarded an $18,947,160 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity time-and-material contract modification for technical and educational support services to the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Civil Military Relations education and training program. Work will be performed in Kailua, Hawaii, or Huntsville, Ala. (4 percent); Monterey, Calif. (9 percent); Tampa, Fla. (2 percent); various locations inside the contiguous United States (17 percent); and various locations outside the contiguous United States (68 percent). Work is expected to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the fiscal year. This announcement combines services for the U.S. Navy (99 percent) and the governments of Austria, Egypt, Indonesia, and Singapore (1 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. This contract was competitively awarded through Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with two offers received. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N00244-07-D-0035).

Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $16,769,544 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-2116) for procurement of additional long lead time materials in support of the construction preparation efforts for the second aircraft carrier of the Gerald R Ford class (CVN 79). Work to be performed will provide all services and material in preparation for construction of CVN 79 including: necessary research studies; engineering; design; related development efforts; advanced planning; advanced procurement for detailed design and procurement of long lead material; logistics data; and other data to support the anticipated fiscal 2013 ship detail design and construction of CVN 79. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by March 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $15,000,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-5115) for management and engineering services to maintain and modify, as necessary, the design of DDG 51 class combat system compartments and topside arrangements, in support of the Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J. (37 percent); Bath, Maine (25 percent); Pascagoula, Miss. (22 percent); San Diego, Calif. (6 percent); Washington, D.C. (5 percent); Norfolk, Va. (3 percent); Port Hueneme, Calif. (1 percent); and Syracuse, N.Y. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $15,000,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-5115) for engineering services for DDG 51 class and CG 47 class Aegis Combat System installation, integration and test, and fleet life-cycle engineering support in support of Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems. The required services for DDG 51 class ships and CG 47 class ships include program management and operation support; quality assurance; configuration management; ship design integration; fleet life cycle engineering support; installation support; firmware maintenance; combat system test and evaluation; Navy-furnished material support; special studies; and future-ship integration studies. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J. (50 percent); Baltimore, Md. (25 percent); Norfolk, Va. (8 percent); Washington, D.C. (5 percent); Akron, Ohio (5 percent); Mayport, Fla. (2 percent); San Diego, Calif. (1 percent); Oxnard, Calif. (1 percent); Bath, Maine (1 percent); Pascagoula, Miss. (1 percent); and Dahlgren, Va. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Bristol Design Build Services, LLC*, Anchorage, Alaska, is being awarded a $14,834,512 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a multi-purpose machine gun (MPMG) range at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Work also includes relocation of an engineering training area (ETC) and explosive ordinance disposal site. The MPMG consists of 24 firing positions on an eight-lane raised firing line; 144 stationary infantry targets, 10 infantry moving targets; and 15 hostile flight simulators. Primary facilities for MPMG include: breakdown building, covered bleacher enclosure, target storage building, covered mess, vehicular holding areas, and bivouac area. Primary facilities for ETC include: administrative, classroom, sort and maintenance buildings, bleacher and mess areas, and magazine shelter. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by November 2011. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured as an 8(a) set-aside via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site with six proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-10-C-5300).

U. S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

FLIR Systems, Inc., North Billerica, Mass., was awarded an estimated $35,209,784 one-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the purchase of long range ground mobility visual augmentation system in support of U.S. Special Operations Command procurement division. The work will be performed in Billerica, Mass., and is expected to be completed by 2011. U. S. Special Operations Command is the contracting activity (H92222-10-D-0013).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Porter Manufacturing Corp.*, Lubbock, Texas, is being awarded a maximum $9,155,256 firm-fixed-price contract for diesel engine blocks. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. There were originally two proposals solicited with three responses. The date of performance completion is April 20, 2011. The Defense Logistics Agency Warren, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (SPRDL1-10-C-0063).

Buckeye Fire Equipment*, Kings Mountain, N.C., is being awarded a maximum $7,312,620 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, long-term, indefinite-quantity contract for support of Defense Logistics Agency direct deliveries only. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. There were originally seven proposals solicited with six responses. This contract has a two-year base period. The date of performance completion is April 20, 2012. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM8EG-10-D-0004).