Military News

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ghana continues partnership with tour of North Dakota


(4/20/10) -- A group of top ranking officials from the Ghanaian Armed Forces in Ghana, Africa, explored North Dakota last week as part of the North Dakota National Guard’s State Partnership Program with the country.

Since 2004, the North Dakota National Guard has developed a professional relationship with Ghana as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. This program aligns states with partner countries to encourage the development of economic, political and military ties.

“This was a tremendous opportunity to exchange ideas and build upon our strong partnership with the Ghanaian officials,” said Army Maj. Gen. Dave Sprynczynatyk, adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard.

In June 2009, Sprynczynatyk traveled to Ghana along with other NDNG leadership as part of the SPP, where he learned about training and military programs.

Among the seven Ghanaian officials taking part in the exchange was the commanding general of the GAF, Lt. Gen. Peter Blay, chief of defense staff. Blay also brought along his wife, Edna, and daughter, Dilys, to lend their perspective on family programs.

North Dakota leadership escorted their guests around the state to see the various facilities and capabilities that the state has to offer, as well as to discuss future opportunities for the partnership. The group made stops in Fargo, Grand Forks and Devils Lake and interacted with Guard troops as they conducted training.

When Ghanaian officials visited North Dakota this past week, Lt. Gen. Peter Blay wanted to share the experience with his wife and daughter. His decision to have his family on the journey proved to be a great learning experience for his wife and daughter and the people lucky enough to spend time with them.

During their stay, Edna and Dilys got the opportunity to experience the American way of life. Although they were the ones traveling to a new land, it proved to be an even greater learning experience for the NDNG members involved during the family and officers’ stay.

The first stop on Dilys and Edna’s tour was the capitol building of North Dakota. There, they saw how the local government system works and how old-time architecture in North Dakota compared to newer construction. Next, the group had a chance to peruse the Heritage Center. Edna and Dilys were able to see the various birds and animals that roam the North Dakota landscape in comparison to the wildlife they frequently see in Ghana.

Ghana is roughly the same size as North Dakota, but its population is in the millions. While driving from place to place in Bismarck, the Blays were surprised by how light the traffic was.

“I’m not used to the cold weather, but I appreciate the quiet, so I like it here,” said Edna Blay. She explained that in Ghana they have one rainy season a year, which is their cold season; they do not have seasons like fall and winter. When she heard North Dakota can have snow six months out of the year, she was astonished.

During their stay in North Dakota, Edna and Dilys ate at most locally-owned restaurants. “The atmosphere of our restaurants is about the same. We still have fries and chicken. It’s just the taste that is a little different,” explained Dilys.

While eating, the family discussed what they call “grass cutters” in some restaurants in Ghana. Grass cutters are large rats, about the size of a football, which are wild and eat grass. In contrast to most families in North Dakota, Dilys said that in Ghana, most children around 15 years of age are sent to a boarding school for high school.

At the schools, they wear uniforms quite similar to uniforms some schools require students to wear in America.

Teens in Ghana, just like in the U.S., enjoy music and video games. Dilys said most teens in Ghana listen to hip-hop and play video games such as Playstation 3 and Wii.

“We are just like you. We wear the same clothes, listen to the same music. We are the same,” said Dilys.

Dilys was also able to go shopping at local stores, eat local food and even go bowling. Bismarck State College teachers allowed her to sit in on a literature and biology class so she could witness first-hand how colleges in America operate.

“I really like science and math, so the biology class was fun,” said Dilys. “It’s nice to see how local colleges work.”

Overall, Dilys was able to get a taste of North Dakota’s culture while teaching her North Dakota counterparts about her native country. Taking part in another culture doesn’t have to involve travel to a different state or country. Sometimes a journey is just a conversation away.

EHR Lessons Learned: Week 4

by: Navy Capt. Michael Weiner
DHIMS Deputy Program Manager and Chief Medical Officer

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For a few weeks now, I have been blogging about the biggest lessons learned regarding electronic health records from the perspective of a military doctor and officer. I’ve stressed the work flow as possibly the most important consideration, whether you are looking at work flow in general, the software to acquire or the hardware to make it all work smoothly. This week, the simplicity of use is our topic because intuitive tools are much easier to promote adoption.

EHRs should be intuitive.

Learning a new EHR as a practicing clinician should take no longer than the time it takes a teenager to master a video game. Purchasing an intuitive system helps promote work flow to aid with quick adoption and deliver immediate benefits. The goal of any EHR adoption is to leverage modern technologies for greater clinical efficiency, higher quality and safer delivery of care.

Intuitive systems still require training, but the “ah-ha” moment shouldn’t take years to achieve. Anytime a new system is installed, whether it is word processing software, a new phone or something as mechanically simple as a bicycle, it shouldn’t take a long time to figure out if it is similar to what someone is already used to dealing with. Intuitive systems are critical but so is how you communicate this change to your employees and beneficiaries. Can you succeed in using a new bicycle without knowing it was coming and then hop on to discover that you now have to pedal with your hands, the wheels are square and the brakes are part of the seat? How can this be maneuvered? If you allow a software genius to design an EHR system that is easy and intuitive for him or her, that is how difficult it may seem for an everyday user. Instead, the system has to be intuitive to the users and act like other software they would normally deal with at home or at work, and you have to help them understand and appreciate why this change is for the better. For the MHS, our initial dive into a robust EHR wasn’t as bad as my bicycle analogy, but it wasn’t as easy as walking into your local super electronics store and purchasing the most common software for word-processing and expecting for everyone in your house to be able to use it without extensive training either.

Finding an EHR that is easy for medical providers to understand, use and operate would go a very long way in increasing adoption and satisfaction among the users. Regardless of how intuitive a system is, training is still important to ensure everyone has at least the same baseline knowledge and additional functions are revealed to them. Next week, I will discuss the type of training that I know makes MHS providers the happiest with EHRs.

Navy Week Opens Door to Opportunities for Students

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist L.A. Shively, Navy Office of Community Outreach

April 21, 2010 - SAN ANTONIO (NNS) -- Scientists from the Naval Medical Research Unit (NMRUSA) discussed cutting-edge biotechnologies such as cell and organ printing, and opportunities in the Navy, with students at the Northside Health Careers High School (HCHS) as part of San Antonio Navy Week.

Cell and organ printing is computer-aided, jet printer-based, 3D tissue-engineering of living human organs, offering a possible solution to the organ transplantation crisis.

HCHS's curricula focuses primarily on health care. Although a public school, students must apply for admission to a limited number of spots.

The presentations offered students interested in pursuing careers in the health professions a door to opportunities in the Navy.

"My buzz word is options – you always want to have options in life," said Capt. Vincent DeInnocentiis, NMRUSA commanding officer.

"I want to be a cardiologist," said 11th grader Michael Collier, a student in the Diagnostics Services class, adding that he decided on his career in the third grade.

He said listening to Navy scientists discuss their work was intriguing.

"There are more branches to Navy medicine than I thought," said Collier. "I was always interested in the Navy, so now I am seriously considering it."

"It's nice to know there are opportunities out there for us," said Rebecca Moreno, also an 11th-grade student in the Diagnostics Services class.

Moreno said she is interested in pursuing a career in plastic surgery, perhaps in the Navy.

"Whether it's for combat or regular medical purposes," Moreno said, "it can change peoples lives and that's what I want to do."

Navy medical research also helps change lives through partnerships with high-volume trauma centers such as those in Los Angeles County, the University of California, Davis and in Baltimore, Md., where experience with military medicine is used in the civilian world to treat patients injured in street-level violence such as in gang wars, DeInnocentiis said.

"Things they found out we can use on the battlefield, and things we see on the battlefield we bring back and they use right away. It's a great avenue and collaboration with the civilian community."

DeInnocentiis also said that he and his researchers' presence on the HCHS campus is the start of a partnership between his unit and the school that could lead toward future internships.

"Getting them exited about careers in Navy medicine, in math and science – we're going to get them thinking and hopefully going to college, becoming the next researcher – the next person coming into the Navy."

Warrior Games approaching fast

by Maj. Belinda Petersen
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

April 21, 2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – With less than three weeks to go, the Air Force team is making preparations for the Department of Defense’s inaugural Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10 – 14.

What started as an e-mail from one athlete asking questions about the upcoming event turned into an unforgettable moment of team bonding with inspirational responses from other athletes providing encouragement and support.

“I don’t want to let my team down,” said retired Staff Sgt. Stacy Pearsall from Charleston, S.C.

Just moments later, retired Staff Sgt. Jeanne’ Goldy-Sanitate from Medford, N.J., responded with reassurance. “Hi Stacy, what an honor it is to be your teammate,” she said.

“Do your best and you will be surprised that just competing and the camaraderie will carry you through,” Sergeant Goldy-Sanitate said.

Other Warrior Games athletes responded as well. “I read about your struggles and feel mine are minor but just as real to my family and me. The despair comes with each bad day and the exhilaration comes with the good ones,” said Chief Master Sgt. Damian Orslene, superintendent of the 81st Training Support Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.

“Going to these games, I can’t lose. Because right this second, typing this and reaching out to you, I feel like an athlete again,” Chief Orslene said.

“You have all 20 of us,” said retired Staff Sgt. Ricky Tackett from Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. “We will bond and grow together. When the competition begins, we will adjust and represent our team with honor, discipline, heart, and maybe some tears.”

Wounded, ill and injured active duty, Guard and Reserve members, as well as retired personnel and veterans, from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard will participate in Warrior Games hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Paralympic Military Program at the Olympic Training Center.

The Air Force team consists of a diverse group of 20 athletes from all over the U.S. coming together for the first time.

Events will include shooting, swimming, archery, sitting volleyball, cycling, track, wheelchair basketball, discus, and shot put.

Sergeant Pearsall will participate in the shooting and track events; Sergeant Goldy-Sanitate will participate in the swimming, hand-cycling, shooting, and wheelchair basketball events; Chief Orslene will participate in the swimming events; and Sergeant Tackett will participate in the track and seated volleyball events.

Sergeant Pearsall, who was a combat photographer and two-time winner of the Military Photographer of the Year award, reflected on her time during her last deployment where 60 soldiers were killed within the span of four months. Of those casualties, seven were her close friends.

“As a combat photographer, I had the honor of being the last person to ever document their lives. Their sacrifice was the ultimate one,” Sergeant Pearsall said.

Even though running is physically painful for Sergeant Pearsall, she is inspired to run for those who died or were wounded and can no longer run themselves.

“I run for Specialist Trussel, Corporal Nguyen, Specialist Russell, Specialist Camacho, Sergeant Ross, Sergeant Shaw, Captain Belser, and Sergeant Robinson,” Sergeant Pearsall said.

Running is no longer an option for Sergeant Goldy-Sanitate. She lost both her legs in a vehicle accident while on duty for an exercise.

“I would love to run but since I am now a wheelie, I can crank it out on my hand cycle,” she said. “I need to learn how to swim the back stroke again without using my legs, but I am up for the challenge.”

“Regardless of where you are at in your training and rehabilitation, we will meet you where you are,” said Cami Stock, head coach for the Air Force team. “For some of you, this may be the first time in a long time that you’re experiencing sport and competition. Know that wherever you are, you are an incredibly valuable member of this team.”

For some, three weeks is not soon enough. “I can’t wait to meet and greet you all,” Sergeant Tackett said. “With the strength in all of us, we will all have a winning experience and also pass the torch to the next group in the upcoming years.”

For information on the Air Force Wounded Warrior program, go to http://www.woundedwarrior.af.mil. For information on Warrior Games, go to http://usparalympics.org/pages/8330.

General Officer Assignments

April 21, 2010 - The chief of staff, Army announced today the following assignments.

Maj. Gen. James E. Chambers, commanding general, Sustainment Center of Excellence and Fort Lee, Fort Lee, Va., to director for logistics, J-4, U. S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Maj. Gen. Kenneth S. Dowd, director for logistics, J-4, U. S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., to commanding general, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Maj. Gen. James L. Hodge, commanding general, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., to commanding general, Sustainment Center of Excellence and Fort Lee, Fort Lee, Va.

Maj. Gen. Kevin A. Leonard, deputy chief of staff for logistics and operations, U. S. Army Materiel Command, Fort Belvoir, Va., to commanding general, Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Maj. Gen. James E. Rogers, commanding general, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, to commanding general, U. S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

Brig. Gen. Robert M. McCaleb, deputy director, program analysis and evaluation, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U. S. Army, Washington, D.C., to director of resource management, Third Army/U. S. Army Central, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Fort Hood, Texas, to deputy chief of staff, G-4, U. S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.

Brig. Gen. Larry D. Wyche, commanding general, Joint Munitions Lethality, Life Cycle Management Command/Joint Munitions Command, Rock Island, Ill., to deputy chief of staff for logistics and operations, U. S. Army Materiel Command, Fort Belvoir, Va.

Airman Sets Sights on Armed Forces Boxing Championship


By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class William Selby

April 21, 2010 - Senior Airman Mathew McCoy gets in a few jabs before stepping into the ring. The war at Warfield gym is about to get underway with members of the military set to go toe to toe in the Armed Forces Boxing Championship from April 20 to April 23 at Naval Base Ventura County in California.

Today on the naval base I decided to travel over to the “Bee Hive,” a gym where each team is training. As soon as I walked in the door, I couldn’t see the fighters, but I knew exactly where they were thanks to the grunts and sounds of punching bags being abused by the fighters. After they finished, one of the smaller fighters bounced gracefully toward me, as if he was dancing around the ring.

The fighter’s name is Senior Airman Mathew McCoy, and he is fighting at 141 pounds.

McCoy joined the boxing team shortly after joining the Air Force in 2007. Originally, he said he wanted to become part of Special Forces but he was injured and is now assigned to supply.

After his first AFBC, McCoy was deployed to Belad, Iraq for four months. He went right back to boxing after he returned. But now, McCoy said this will be his third – and final- championship fight, and he is motivated to win it.

To do that, McCoy will have to beat last year’s 141 pounds champ, and Navy team captain, Justin Diaz, but that doesn’t bother him.

“I’m giddy,” he said. “I feel good and ready to go. It’s my time,” he added.

Navy Steers Hundreds in Environmental Bike Path Sweep

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico, Commander Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- More than 200 Pearl Harbor-based Sailors joined forces with the community to remove over fine tons of burnable trash and bulky recyclables in the Fourth Annual Pearl Harbor Bike Path Cleanup April 17.

Sponsored by the city and county of Honolulu's Department of Environment Services, the effort targeted several key areas along the nearly 14-mile bike path, which runs through three communities along the Pearl Harbor Basin, to include Aiea, Pearl City and Waipahu.

U.S. Navy volunteers from numerous commands in Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam stretched out along the bike path as they gathered bulky debris and litter, including old tires, metals, car batteries and other debris. In addition, Sailors worked alongside students from Waipahu High School to plant native plants in place of invasive weeds along Kapakahi Stream in Waipahu. Navy personnel and students also stenciled about 150 storm drains to deter illicit dumping.

"We've been having positive feedback, as far as participation," said Jerry Nagatami, a member of the Pearl City Lions Club. "Hopefully, this will be something good for the future, especially here in Waipahu. This [Kapakahi Stream] used to be a waste land. Then we started a project to clean up the whole area. Right now, it's starting to look a little decent."

There were 11 locations along the bike path that were targeted for the cleanup: McGrew Point, Pearl Kai Shopping Center, Best Buy, Neal Blaisdell Park, Hawaiian Electric Company, Lehua Avenue, Leeward Community College, Waipahu High School, Ted Makalena Golf Course, Kapakahi Stream and Pupuole Street Mini Park.

At the Kapakahi Stream location, Sailors like Information Systems Technician 2nd Class (SW) Bri Gamiao dredged up large bulky items like plastic buckets, tires and televisions.

"Why would anybody put a TV in the river in the first place?" asked Gamiao, who is assigned to USS O'Kane (DDG 77). "But it's cool taking stuff out that doesn't below there."

Chief Fire Controlman (SW) Rito Baca, also assigned to O'Kane, also enjoyed giving back to the community, as he brought his family to the community project three years in a row.

"I like it a lot," said Baca, as he planted papyruses along Kapakahi Stream. "I think it is good for all the military members to come and show support. It was pretty easy, and it was actually pretty fun."

"The annual Pearl Harbor bike path cleanup is the largest cleanup effort of the year for the Navy and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam," said Grace Hew Len, environmental public affairs officer for Navy Region Hawaii.

"By partnering with the City & County and other members of the community, we instill a respect for the waters that flow into Pearl Harbor and the importance of an environmental ethic that promotes action and long-term environmental stewardship," said Len.

The Navy has been active partners with the city since 2005 and participates in several Adopt-a-Block and Adopt-a-Stream projects throughout the year.

Since 1970, April has been traditionally observed as Earth Month and designated as a time for many to become more environmentally conscious. The Navy has been involved in several environmental stewardship efforts, both ashore and at sea.

Doolittle Raiders reunite at Air Force Museum

by Gabriel Myers
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/21/2010 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- Four of the remaining eight Doolittle Raiders, known for their nearly impossible bombing raid on Japan during World War II, reunited for the 68th year at the National Museum of the United States Air Force April 16 through 18.

Retired Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, 94, of Comfort, Texas; Maj. Thomas C. Griffin, 92, of Cincinnati; Lt. Col. Robert L. Hite, 90, Nashville, Tenn., and Master Sgt. David J. Thatcher, 88, of Missoula, Mont., came together again to share memories, sign autographs and be recognized once again as an iconic piece of American history that helped propel the allies to victory in World War II.

Col. Jimmy Doolittle led a group of 80 men to fly B-25 Mitchells from the deck of an aircraft carrier more than 600 miles to drop bombs on Japan April 18, 1942. At the time getting a bomber airborne from an aircraft carrier's deck had barely been tested.

The reunion kicked off April 16 with the men at the museum signing autographs on books, airplanes, photos and even clothing with hundreds waiting their turn to meet the aviators.

Those who attended were eager to hear their story and talk about the importance or their mission in shaping the outcome of World War II.

"Well I'm an aviation historian and it's also an opportunity to meet the great heroes of American history," said Bob Jaques who drove to the event from Alabama.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, who attended a dinner in their honor, said the men continue to be an inspiration to Airmen today.

"The Doolittle Raiders have a very special place in the history of the Air Force," Secretary Donley said. "They've provided such great examples to us of leadership, of audacity, of innovation and personal courage, in some of the darkest days of World War II."

The men were honored April 17 by a fly-in of 17 privately owned replica B-25s from all over the country onto the museum runway to help celebrate the occasion.

Museum officials said it was one of the largest gatherings of B-25s since World War II.

The Raiders also participated in a ceremony April 17 to toast and honor their fellow colleagues who have died. Following the toast the last survivors overturned the goblets of those who have died since the last reunion.

The event concluded with the B-25s taking off from the museum runways with thousands of patrons lining the streets and fence lines to attempt to get a glimpse of the aircraft and ensuing fly over by all 17 aircraft for a memorial service in the early afternoon.

The word "hero" is overused in this country and broadly applied to sports figures, rock stars and others, said Ret. Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, the museum director. "Today, in the truest sense of the word, we are among heroes."

Ombudsman Program Enters its 40th Year

By Darren Harrison, Naval District Washington Public Affairs

April 21, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Whether assisting families moving to a new area, or providing support during a deployment, Navy spouses have been volunteering for almost four decades through the Navy's Ombudsman Program.

"When families respond to the challenges of deployments, natural disasters or family emergencies, ombudsmen are there to provide guidance and to help them regain a sense of normalcy. They help families find the answers to their questions, promoting their resiliency and self reliance," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy(MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West in a recorded statement recognizing the contribution of the ombudsmen as part of U.S. National Volunteer Week, which began Sunday. "Mission readiness is directly tied to family readiness, and family readiness is directly tied to the selfless dedication of our extraordinary ombudsman," said West.

The Ombudsman Program was introduced to the U.S. Navy on Sept. 14, 1970, by then-Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Elmo Zumwalt. Zumwalt adapted the program from a 19th century Scandinavian custom originally established to give private citizens an avenue to express their concerns to high government officials.

"The program started on a small and informal scale and has since moved to a very formal, standardized training," said Ombudsman Program Manager for Commander, Naval Installations Command (CNIC) Kathy Rock. "The policies and instructions are constantly being revised to meet the needs of the Navy family at a set period of time."

There are presently 63 ombudsmen in Naval District Washington and more than 4,000 ombudsmen worldwide. The Navy requires there be at least one ombudsman per 250 service members.

The Ombudsman Program is a command-based program with each commanding officer tailoring the program to meet the needs of the families. The commanding officer officially appoints an ombudsman who then undergoes 25 hours of basic initial training.

Following their initial training each ombudsman is then required to do six, three-hour advanced training sessions a year on topics such as child abuse prevention and sexual assault intervention.

Additionally, ombudsmen are expected to attend monthly assembly meetings where ombudsmen are provided current information on programs or referrals that can benefit families and training.

Services provided by the Ombudsman Program are designed to steer families in the right direction so that issues can be resolved.

"Information and referral is a big part of what the ombudsman does, really trying to create this resilient family that can be self-sustaining and not rely on others," said Rock.

For the majority of issues ombudsman are bound by confidentiality and cannot discuss information disclosed to them.

"Confidentiality is perhaps the biggest thing I have to stress with my ombudsman because once you break confidentiality your credibility to your command and your command families is gone," said Ombudsman Program Manager for Naval District Washington (NDW) Sharleen Riddle.

However, there are some issues that the ombudsman are required to report including suspected child abuse or neglect, alleged domestic abuse, suspected or potential homicides, violence or life endangering situations, suspected potential suicide risks and other issues identified by the commanding officer as reportable.

"It is important to recognize ombudsmen because they are the direct line between the command and the command families," Riddle said. "A lot of times they deal with issues that are very personal and very emotional and they have to help those family members at that time of need and yet still be able to maintain their own professionalism and care for their own families."

According to Rock, for this year as of April 14, the Navy has already saved $523,464 by having volunteer ombudsman. In 2009, the Navy saved an estimated $1.4 million based on if the service had to pay the volunteers a wage of $18.77 an hour.

"Each ombudsman spends about 800 hours a year through volunteering which calculates out to an equated savings of about $15,000 per ombudsman," said Riddle.

"Having an ombudsman allows the service member to focus on their job while they are away because they know their families are being taken care of," said Riddle.

Outstanding Food Service Ney Award Winners Recognized

April 21, 2010 - MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (NNS) -- More than 600 people gathered in Reno, Nev., April 17, to recognize the winners, runners-up and honorable mention ashore and afloat activities of the 2010 Capt. Edward F. Ney Memorial Awards for outstanding food service.

Counterpart winners from the Army and Military Sealift Command were also recognized.

The awards ceremony was co-sponsored by the joint military and the International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA). IFSEA is a nonprofit food service association dedicated to enhancing the professional image and growth of persons serving the food service industry. The awards encourage excellence in food service programs, with the objective of improving the quality of life for military personnel.

The awards were presented by Rear Adm. Mike Lyden, commander, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP); Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, director, ordnance/supply and fleet supply officer, U.S. Fleet Forces Command; Capt. Jonathan A. Yuen, deputy chief of staff for logistics, fleet supply and ordnance, U.S. Pacific Fleet; and Rogers Patrick, deputy fleet and family readiness director, Commander, Navy Installations Command.

Cmdr. Thomas Dailey, NAVSUP's director of Navy food service, announced the winners.

The Navy awards are named in honor of Capt. Edward F. Ney, head of the subsistence division of the Bureau of Supplies and Account from 1940 until 1945.

Congratulations to the following outstanding food service teams representing the Navy's warfare enterprises:

Submarine category:
First place: USS Providence (SSN 719)
Runner-up: USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) (Blue)
Honorable mention: USS Ohio (SSGN 726) (Blue)

Small afloat category:
First place: USS Vandegrift (FFG 48)
Runner-up: USS Doyle (FFG 39)

Medium afloat category:
First place: USS Tortuga (LSD 46)
Runner-up: USS The Sullivans (DDG 68)
Honorable mention: USS James E. Williams (DDG 95)

Large afloat category:
First place: USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19)
Runner-up: USS Wasp (LHD 1)

Aircraft carrier category:
First place: USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)
Runner up: USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)

Continental U.S. General Mess category:
First place: Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.
Runner-up: Naval Station Norfolk

Overseas General Mess category:
First place: Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy
Runner-up: Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan

NAVSUP's primary mission is to provide U.S. naval forces with quality supplies and services. With headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP oversees logistics programs in the areas of supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation and security assistance. In addition, NAVSUP is responsible for quality of life issues for our naval forces, including food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges and movement of household goods.

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against Troy University of Montgomery, Alabama, to Enforce Employment Rights of U.S. Army Reservist

April 21, 2010 - WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into a consent decree with Troy University of Montgomery, Ala., to resolve the department’s complaint alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

The department’s complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, alleges that

Troy University violated USERRA by terminating Cleopatra Jones from her position in the human resources department while she was on military leave, and then by failing to reemploy her at the conclusion of her military leave. The consent decree obtained by the department, if approved by the court, will require that Troy University pay Ms. Jones $36,960.00 in monetary relief, and will enjoin the university from committing future violations of USERRA.

Enacted by Congress in 1994, USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees or applicants for employment because of past, current or future military obligations. Subject to certain conditions, USERRA also requires employers to promptly reemploy returning service members in the position they would have held had their employment not been interrupted by military service, or in a position of like status, seniority and pay.

"By enacting USERRA, Congress recognized the importance of protecting the employment rights of the men and women who serve our country in uniform," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "

The department commends Troy University for working cooperatively with us to resolve this matter without the need for contested litigation."

The Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigated and attempted to resolve Ms. Jones’ USERRA complaint before referring it to the Department of Justice for litigation.

DFAS begins recouping separation pay soon

by Defense Finance and Accounting Service

4/21/2010 - CLEVELAND (AFNS) -- Recouping military retirees' voluntary separation incentive special separation benefit and other separation payments by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service will resume in August.

Separation payments and others, such as severance pay, were offered to active-duty servicemembers to reduce manpower in certain career fields, primarily during the 1990s.

Because federal law prohibits servicemembers from receiving both separation and retirement payments for the same period of service, provisions of these programs included repayment if members join the ready Reserve or return to active duty and earn status as a military retiree.

DFAS officials temporarily stopped deducting these repayments from retirement pay June 1, 2009, in response to retirees' concerns, while the DOD conducted a formal review of the recoupment program.

Before the review, the federal statutes governing these programs didn't allow the DOD or DFAS to alter repayment rates or provide alternative repayment plans regardless of the financial hardships a retiree may be experiencing.

The DOD review is complete and Congress has amended statues to help limit the financial strain on military retirees as they repay their outstanding balances.

The new statutes allow DFAS more flexibility to accommodate for financial hardship and modify payment plans. As a result, DFAS has reduced the maximum recoupment rate from 90 percent to 40 percent. DFAS will also consider more lenient repayment plans for retirees who are experiencing financial hardship.

Affected retirees will receive notification letters at least 90 days before recoupments resume. If they feel the rate of recoupment will create a financial hardship, they may request a more lenient repayment plan by providing financial information on the financial statement of debtor form enclosed with the notification letter.

Monthly recoupment may also affect former spouses who receive Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act payments from such retirees. Former spouses affected by this recoupment also will receive a notification letter before the resumption of recoupments.

(Courtesy of Air Force Retiree News Service from a DFAS release)

U.S. Army Contracting Official Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Unlawful Salary Supplementation in Off-Post Housing Scheme

April 21, 2010 - A U.S. Army contracting official pleaded guilty today to bribery and unlawful salary supplementation in connection with two schemes to solicit more than $17,000 in bribes and other payments from an Egyptian businessman in Kuwait, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia.

William Rondell Collins, 46, of Bartlett, Tenn., pleaded guilty today before Judge Liam O’Grady in U.S. District Court in Virginia to one count of bribery and one count of salary supplementation. Collins was originally charged in an indictment filed on Feb. 18, 2010. Collins’ sentencing is set for July 16, 2010.

According to court documents, Collins was employed by the U.S. Army Area Support Group-Kuwait (ASG-KU). ASG-KU is responsible for maintaining Camp Arifjan, a U.S. military installation providing support for operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations in the Southwest Asian Theater. As part of those responsibilities, ASG-KU maintains an off-post housing office, located in downtown Kuwait City, which procures, leases and supervises off-post housing for government employees and military service members stationed at Camp Arifjan. According to court records, Collins worked in ASG-KU’s off-post housing office as a housing specialist responsible for supervising private contractors and procuring off-post apartment rentals.

In his guilty plea, Collins admitted that between July and December 2009 he solicited more than $11,000 in bribes from an Egyptian businessman in exchange for submitting an inflated off-post apartment lease for approval. Collins also admitted that between July and December 2009 he received at least $5,600 from the Egyptian businessman as compensation for Collins’s services in connection with a fixed-price U.S. government contract awarded to the Egyptian businessman’s company. The government contract was for maintenance services for off-post housing managed by Collins and the ASG-KU off-post housing office.

At sentencing, Collins faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve A. Linick, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Fraud Section Trial Attorneys James J. Graham and Ryan S. Faulconer. The investigation is being conducted by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division, and members of the National Procurement Fraud Task Force (NPFTF) and the International Contract Corruption Task Force (ICCTF).

The NPFTF, created in October 2006 by the Department of Justice, was designed to promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with the increase in government contracting activity for national security and other government programs. The ICCTF is a joint law enforcement agency task force that seeks to detect, investigate, and dismantle corruption and contract fraud resulting from U.S. Overseas Contingency Operations worldwide, including in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

VCNO Talks to Seabees About Family Support Programs

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Jesse Sherwin

April 21, 2010 - NAVAL BASE VENTURA COUNTY, Calif (NNS) -- Seabees, Sailors and family members from Naval Base Ventura County were paid a visit by Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, vice chief of naval operations, April 19 and 20.

The main purpose of his visit was to assess and discuss quality of life and Family Readiness programs at the base and in the Southwest Region.

During his visit Greenert toured both the Port Hueneme and Point Mugu bases, talked to ombudsman from various commands and had an all hands call in the Port Hueneme theater.

During the all hands call he emphasized that top flag officers in both Iraq and Afghanistan have been very impressed with the naval construction and naval aviation support to those regions.

"I have deep respect for what you do," he said to the standing room only crowd.

Greenert said that he wants to ensure that as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq draw down that Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) programs do not draw down as well.

He talked about a new planned-modular-training program that will teach and refresh Sailors about the many support programs available to them and to their families. The program is set to begin in August and be fully implemented in the Navy by December. From the time the Sailor enters the Navy at their Military Entrance and Processing station throughout each milestone in their career, Sailors will receive formal training about the programs available to them and their families.

After talking about Family Readiness and FFSC programs he opened the floor up for questions.

Questions during the all hands call focused on existing FFSC programs with some questions regarding to the Perform to Serve program, new uniforms and current medical programs and benefits.

Greenert concluded the all hands call by reminding everyone that April is Sexual Assault Prevention month. He stated that everyone needs to display the courage to stop a situation that is conductive to sexual assault.

"We must step in, be intrusive and be a good shipmate," he said.

VCNO Praises Family Readiness Programs at Naval Base Ventura County

By Teri Reid, Public Affairs Officer, Naval Base Ventura

April 21, 2010 - NAVAL BASE VENTURA COUNTY, Calif (NNS) -- Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert visited Naval Base Ventura County April 19-20 to learn about the base's family readiness programs from the people who use them - the Sailors and their families.

The admiral has toured several naval bases recently, focusing on the family support programs and encouraging awareness among the Sailors of the available support. In doing so Greenert has been impressed with the quantity and quality of the family support services.

"I expected to find between three to five programs at each support center," he said. "Instead I was impressed by the extensive range of programs the Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSCs) provide, the spectrum of support available and the ability of the FFSCs to adapt to a rotational, expeditionary culture."

Greenert also noted the dedication and skill set exhibited by the FFSC counselors.

At NBVC Greenert's lesson began shortly after he arrived on April 19 with an hour and a half meeting with more than 150 command ombudsmen, Family Readiness Group leaders and command leadership. The focus of the evening's discussion was how to improve and increase communication to family members so that they know about and utilize the many support services available to them.

Greenert was very impressed with the people who support the families at NBVC, calling it one of the "most squared-away group we've run across" during his family readiness tours.

"They are articulate, direct and know their programs," he said. "It is encouraging to know the military and the families have that kind of readiness group supporting them."

The next day began with an all hands call attended by more than 800 NBVC Sailors. A quick briefing on the current status of the Navy and family readiness programs was followed by almost an hour long question and answer session. Topics discussed ranged from child care, uniforms and PT, to over-manning, release authority and Reserve issues.

After the all hands, Greenert toured the Naval Mobile Processing Center at Port Hueneme and then held a roundtable discussion with FFSC counselors, command individual augmentee coordinators and school liaisons.

Greenert emphasized that family readiness is important in order for the service member and their unit to succeed.

"A successful unit has a good foundation at their homeport, comprised of FFSC and ombudsmen," he said. "If you look deeply at any unit that has failures, you will find a failure of the family base—and by failure I mean not prepared, poor morale.

"The CNO and I share the responsibility to enable the unit commanders with the ability to assess their family readiness, to keep their troops informed, so they can be prepared and resilient to the dynamics of the Navy culture," he added.

National Guard (in Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of April 21, 2010

April 21, 2010 - This week the Army, Navy and Marine Corps announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Air Force and Coast Guard announced an increase. The net collective result is 1,688 fewer reservists activated than last week.

At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. The total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 102,469; Navy Reserve, 6,272; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 16,991; Marine Corps Reserve, 6,386; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 831. This brings the total National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been activated to 132,949, including both units and individual augmentees.

A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel who are currently activated may be found at http://www.defense.gov/news/d20100421ngr.pdf

MILITARY CONTRACTS April 21, 2010

ARMY

Federal Program Integrators, LLC, Indian Island, Maine, was awarded on April 16 a $73,999,215 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for one transmission test system to test systems and gearboxes on AH-1, AH-64, CH-47, OH-58, UH-1N, and UH-60 aircraft. Work is to be performed in Corpus Christi, Texas (80 percent), and Indian Island, Maine (20 percent), with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2013. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Corpus Christi Army Depot, Corpus Christi, Texas, is the contracting activity (W912NW-10-C-0015).

Rizzani de Eccher USA, Inc., Bay Harbor Island, Fla., was awarded on April 19 a $50,454,230 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of facility replacement at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Work is to be performed in Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, with an estimated completion date of April 23, 2012. Thirty-two bids were solicited with eight bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District, CETAM-CT-M, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-10-C-0026).

Smith's Detection, Edgewood, Md., was awarded on April 16 a $24,499,555 firm-fixed-price contract to purchase 5,353 joint chemical agent detectors with warranties. Work is to be performed in Edgewood, Md., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command Acquisition Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground Contracting Division, Edgewood Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W911SR-07-C-0054).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Carson, Calif., was awarded on April 16 an $18,254,115 firm-fixed-price contract for Type 1 encryption provided by the programmable inline encryption device. The contract will have a period of performance of five years and a ceiling of $300,000,000. Work is to be performed in Rochester, N.Y., with an estimated completion date of April 16, 2015. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with two bids received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-10-D-B205).

CNH America LLC., Racine, Wis., was awarded on April 16 a $12,346,504 firm-fixed-price contract for the production of the skid-steer loaders Type II and Type III, and miscellaneous hardware and services. Work is to be performed in Racine, Wis., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2012. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with one bid received. TACOM-Warren, CCTA-ADEC, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-0173).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on April 19 an $11,051,827 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 1,037 Remote Weapon System / Crew Remote Operated Weapons System final production configuration for the Mine Resistant Ambush All Terrain Vehicle. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2010. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, CCTA-ADC-A, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

Norfolk Dredging Co., Chesapeake, Va., was awarded on April 16 a $6,943,200 firm-fixed-price contract for removal of shoaling from the entrance channel to Canaveral Harbor. Work is to be performed in Brevard County, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 13, 2010. Thirty-seven bids were solicited with four bids received. U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (W912EP-10-C-0026).

NAVY

Tactical Air Operations*, Coronado, Calif., is being awarded a $49,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the acquisition of turn key training support for Navy static line and free fall parachute training in support of the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command in Coronado, Calif. Work will be performed in Otay, Calif., and is expected to be completed in April 2015. Contract funds in the amount of $171,274 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured through an electronic request for proposals and two offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61339-10-D-0008).

AIR FORCE

Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., was awarded a $12,784,439 contract which will provide for the purchase of C-130J peculiar spares for existing base requirements. The bases being supported in this modification include Dyess Air Force Base and Cannon Air Force Base. Additionally, C-130J readiness spares packages and C-130J support equipment for inventory control point are being acquired. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 657 AESS, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-06-C-6456).

Troops Take Advantage of GI Bill Transferability

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 21, 2010 - More than 100,000 requests from troops desiring to transfer their unused education benefits to family members have been approved under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, a defense official said today.

Signed into law in June 2008, the new GI Bill is a Department of Veteran Affairs-sponsored program that provides the most comprehensive educational benefit package for veterans since the original GI Bill -- the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 -- was authorized toward the end of World War II.

A provision in the new bill, which permits servicemembers to transfer their unused educational entitlement to a spouse or child, has transferred "months of benefit eligibility to over 240,000 family members," Robert E. Clark, assistant director of accession policy for the office of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told lawmakers today.

"To date, over 105,000 requests from career servicemembers have been approved," Clark said in a prepared statement to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, "transferring months of benefit eligibility to over 240,000 family members."

Clark said the Defense Department plays two main roles in the joint effort with the Department of Veterans Affairs in addition to allowing for transferability.

"The department's first role in the successful implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill is the sharing of service data with VA," he said. "We recognize the road to becoming a veteran always entails passage through service in the military. Accurate reporting of that service is vital to the determination of eligibility for all post-service education benefits."

The other role, he said, centers on the ability to offer supplemental educational benefits, commonly called "kickers." But while kickers are authorized under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the statute as written does not allow the department to use them, Clark noted, so officials have asked for an amendment to rectify the situation.

"To allow the services to use Post-9/11 GI Bill kickers, we requested a technical amendment in our 2011 legislative proposal package for the [fiscal] 2011 National Defense Authorization Bill to allow the service to make deposits into the [Education Benefits Fund]," he said, "and for VA to draw reimbursement from the EBF for kickers associated with the Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits."

Clark said the Defense Department recognizes its duty to staff the all-volunteer military with high-quality, motivated and well-trained men and women.

"As we move through the 21st century," he said, "we must continue to build upon the remarkable legacy of the visionaries who crafted the original and preceding versions and improvements to the GI Bill."

Speaking about the GI Bill last year, President Barack Obama said it was designed "to renew our commitment to ensure that the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America get the opportunities that they have earned."

The Post-9/11 GI Bill, Obama said in August, is as important as the original, and likewise recognizes servicemembers for their wartime service and represents "an investment in our own country."

NAS Jacksonville Participates in Green Dot Campaign

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Leah Stiles, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East Detachment Southeast

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville celebrated Sexual Assault Awareness Month by inviting the director of the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIPC) at the University of Kentucky to speak about the "Green Dot Campaign" at the All Saints Chapel in Jacksonville, Fla., April 20.

The "Green Dot Campaign" is an innovative campaign created by Dr. Dorothy Edwards, the director of VIPC, to reduce sexual violence.

Green dots are positive actions that fight negative behavior. The negative behaviors are represented by red dots. Red dot behavior includes sexual assault and interpersonal violence or any behavior that ignores, justifies or perpetuates sexual assault.

"All Sailors have a part to play in violence reduction and must have a sense of possibility that it could actually happen," said Edwards.

The prevention strategy is built on the premise that engaging the bystander can alter the outcome of power-based personal violence. It capitalizes on the power of peer and cultural influence.

"We can't just be bystanders, if you see something that's wrong you have got to intervene, you have got to stop it," said Capt. Jack Scorby Jr., NAS Jacksonville's commanding officer.

According to the VIPC Web site, a Green Dot is built on the premise that in order to measurably reduce the perpetration of power-based personal violence, a cultural shift is necessary. In order to create a cultural shift, a critical mass of people will need to engage in a new behavior or set of behaviors that will make violence less sustainable within any given community.

"One person can make a change, one person can make a difference and therefore by one person making a change we can change society," said Cmdr. Gerald Felder, NAS Jacksonville's command chaplain.

As the VIPC's Web site states, "the power of the Green Dot Campaign is simple: Red dots bad, green dots good, you decide."

Sesame Workshop Show Visits Bolling


By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chyenne A. Adams
11th Wing

April 21, 2010 - Few would dispute that children sometimes don't listen. But military parents have a new friend to help, and he's traveled all the way from Sesame Street.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, partnered with USO to deliver special performances to military youth as part of its award-winning "Talk, Listen, Connect" outreach initiative. Currently appearing here, the summer performance tour began last week and continues into September at military installations across the country. It provides resources and emotional support to military families with children ages 2 to 8 who are coping with challenging transitions in their lives, such as deployments and when a parent comes home with a combat-related injury. The program uses Sesame Street character performances to aid communication between adults and children through strategies and language that are child-appropriate and family-friendly.

"There is no one more famous than Elmo to a youngster, so who better to deliver a message to these military children?" said Lonnie Cooper, Sesame Workshop tour manager. "Elmo and his friends give credibility to the messages we're trying to deliver to these military children. He provides a connection for the parent to talk about these things in a way the children can relate to."

More than 350 parents and children at one performance here saw Elmo talk to his friends Rosita, Zoe, Grover and Cookie Monster about being sad because his "daddy had to go away for his job again for a long while." The Sesame Street friends talked about ways Elmo could keep in touch with his dad and activities to help him feel better.

Crowd participation was encouraged from the gym floor full of children, who sang and danced along with their favorite characters. Kids received a keepsake from the show, while parents were able to pick up special resource packets that included a DVD and printed materials.

"I've spent more than 25 years in entertainment, and nothing has been as fulfilling as this," Cooper said. "The whole idea is really amazing. Kids understand these guys, and they feel supported when their friends from Sesame Street understand what they're going through and what they're feeling.

"Another great part is secondary though – the entertainment value provided," he continued. "These kids are having fun, and that is so great to watch!"

Darrilyn Young, Bolling's child and youth program manager, agreed that the entertainment value was high.

"This is pure magic!" she exclaimed. "Look at these kids; they're completely enthralled with everything these characters are saying. They deserve this – getting back to the basic joy of things. I even had parents telling me they enjoyed it more than their children."

One such parent was Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michelle Frisby, 579th Medical Group, who brought her 8-year-old daughter, Alyssa, and 4-year-old son, T.J.

"My husband is deployed to Afghanistan until the end of July, so I wanted to bring them to this to see what they would get out of it," she said. "There were some really good moments when I could see that they really understood about their daddy being gone and why. Overall, they really enjoyed it, and that's what matters to me."

T.J. said his favorite part was getting to give Elmo a hug at the end, because "he's so soft!"

"We're on our fourth leg of the tour and closing in our 100th base," Cooper said. "The looks, the smiles, the pure joy is tremendous, and there's nothing else we'd rather be doing."

The initiative launched in 2006, and the show visited 46 bases in the United States last year before touring through Europe in the fall and Asia in the winter.

Almost a million free bilingual resource kits are being distributed worldwide, and can be ordered through the Military OneSource website at http://www.militaryonesource.com.

AAFES Makes ‘Green Exchanges’ the ‘LEED’ in its Sustainability Efforts

April 21, 2010 - DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is doing its part to be a good environmental steward and “green” leader in the Department of Defense as the oldest and largest exchange service takes steps in building and renovating exchanges worldwide to have a smaller impact on the environment.

AAFES opened its first exchange designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, March 5. The Base Exchange (BX), designed to use energy-saving materials, more efficient lighting and improved recycling processes, is expected to receive LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council within the year. The LEED certification program is an internationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

“We take very seriously the impact our facilities have on the environment,” said Col. Virgil Williams, AAFES chief of staff. “Using excess energy and failing to recycle is not only wasteful and costly but also a burden on the Earth. AAFES is doing its part to set high ‘green’ standards for the Department of Defense and the next generation of exchange shoppers.”

Some of the key energy saving features of a LEED certified exchange includes:

--- Light emitting diodes (LED) in showcases use less energy and generate brighter lighting

--- Food court restaurants with energy-efficient walk-in coolers that use 27 percent less energy

--- The energy management system coordinates heating, ventilating, air conditioning and lighting systems in unison to improve energy efficiency and reduce overall costs

--- Low “gallons per flush” toilets and waterless urinals

--- Roofing membranes reflect 78 percent of light/ultraviolet rays to keep buildings cooler and reduce energy costs

In 2009, AAFES designed 30 construction projects to meet LEED standards. Projects range from BXs/Post Exchanges (PX), shoppettes (convenience stores), to mini-malls and restaurants. Not only does the environment benefit from the high “green” standards at which the facilities will operate, but thousands are saved in utility costs. LEED shopping centers, like the Randolph AFB BX for example, save 25-30 percent in annual energy costs.

AAFES will celebrate the Army’s first LEED PX at a grand opening ceremony at Fort Polk, La., April 29, followed by the first LEED shoppette at Fort Bragg, N.C., in June and lifestyle center at Fort Bliss, Texas, in October.

Navy Week Kicks Off in Des Moines

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Kat Smith, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

April 21, 2010 - DES MOINES, Iowa (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy is participating in the Des Moines Navy Week from April 19-24 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sailors from the local recruiting district, fleet squadrons and the USS Constitution are gathering in Iowa's capitol to celebrate what the Navy means to Iowa and what Iowa means to the Navy.

Des Moines Navy Week started April 19 when Chief Navy Counselor Joseph Kicinski appeared on WHO-TV's morning news show. Kincinski, a former mess specialist, gave a culinary demonstration and discussed what it's like to prepare meals aboard a submarine.

Cmdr. Anthony Savage, executive officer aboard Constitution and a native of Des Moines, also appeared on WHO-AM radio's "Van & Bonnie" show.

"When I grew up here, I didn't have a strong knowledge of the Navy or what they did," said Savage. "I think sharing the Navy with the students and community is extremely valuable because it expands their scope. When I grew up here, I knew about agriculture and Iowa. I didn't know New England or any other state many of the Sailors I've met are from. With events like this the community gets to interact with us, and I think we enrich their education."

Crew members from Constitution joined Savage on his trip back to Iowa and visited students at Meredith Middle School.

Lt. Chris Yost, a Sailor from Helicopter Maritime Squadron (HSM) 71 and another Iowa native, was one of the Sailors to visit Meridth Middle School.

"It's really great being back after having done what I've done and seen the places I've seen in the Navy," said Yost. "It's great seeing the familiarity of home, and everyone is always so appreciative of what I do."

Sailors educated students and civilians on the "Old Ironsides" ships and aviation at the Iowa Hall of Pride April 20. During the event, Savage accepted a proclamation from Des Moines Mayor Pro Tem Bob Mahaffey on behalf of the Navy. Savage, in turn, presented Mahaffey with a canon shell from the Constitution as a thank you for the support during Des Moines Navy Week.

Future scheduled events for Des Moines Navy Week include performances by the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team, public concerts by Navy Band Great Lakes "Horizon" and visits from senior Navy leaders, such as Rear Adm. Gregory Timberlake, assistant deputy surgeon general for Total Force Integration, and Rear Adm. Randall Hendrickson, deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency.

"I think it's important to give people exposure to the Navy because everyone benefits from it whether they know it or not," said Yost. "I think this interaction makes people more likely to consider service in the Navy even though they may not see ships in the Midwest."

The Des Moines Navy Week is one of 20 weeks planned across the country for 2010. Navy Weeks are designed to bring awareness to communities that don't have a significant Navy presence.

Additional resources online to support NSPS conversion

by April Rowden
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs Office

April 21, 2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – New online training courses are now available to help smooth the upcoming transition of more than 40,000 current Air Force NSPS employees into non-NSPS personnel systems.

To facilitate the conversion, multiple resources have been added to the National Security Personnel System’s official Web site, including two new training courses: “Classifying Positions under GS: A Primer for Supervisors” and “Performance Management: A Tool to Achieve Results.”

In “Classifying Positions under GS: A Primer for Supervisors,” supervisors are shown how to write and certify the duties and responsibilities of a position, as well as how to explain the classification process to employees.

To assist with writing the core documents, supervisors can use the Air Force Standard Core Personnel Document library, located in the Air Force Portal. The growing SCPD library currently includes more than 1,000 standardized classification documents, as well as templates for supervisors.

“Performance Management: A Tool to Achieve Results” is designed as a guide for supervisors to effectively involve their employees in accomplishing the agency’s mission. From setting proper goals to rating and rewarding performance, this training course sets the foundation for evaluating employee performance.

Two companion resources to the Performance Management module are also available: “Managing My Performance: A Guide for Employees” and “Managing Employee Performance: A Guide for Supervisors.”

All courses provide an overview of the General Schedule, or GS, personnel system that can benefit all federal employees, regardless of their personnel system, supervisory level or service branch.

Employees are also encouraged to review “GS101,” an introductory training course that provides information on the structure and features of the GS system, covering topics from pay and promotion to appraisals and career development.

After finishing the training courses, employees should update their training record in MyBiz using the self-service module in the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System, and provide a copy of their training certificate to their supervisor.

To enhance transparency in operations, the Web site also incorporates a transition section that includes news, timelines, resources and training tools, and a modified feedback area where viewers can submit brief comments to help shape the site’s content.

Training courses can be found on the NSPS Web site (http://www.cpms.osd.mil/nsps/). Click on the “NSPS Transition” button and look in the “What’s New” box.

The transition out of NSPS is a result of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The NDAA contained a provision that repealed NSPS and required the transition of employees out of NSPS no later than Jan. 1, 2012.

For more information, visit www.cpms.osd.mil/nsps/ or contact the local civilian personnel section.

Nurse Earns Patients' Confidence



By Air Force Staff Sgt. J. Paul Croxon
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

April 21, 2010 - A joint medical team recently deployed to a remote village in northern Alaska, where earning trust often is the first step to getting patients through the door. Air Force Maj. Emily Cerreta, a reservist assigned to the 433rd Airlift Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, was able to earn that trust from her patients here.

"Because I'm a woman, many of the female villagers are much more willing to come in for well-woman exams," said Cerreta, a nurse practitioner. "Some of the female villagers, especially young mothers, are also more open during their children's well-baby checkups as well."

Deployed to Alaska as part of Operation Arctic Care, a joint medial readiness training exercise, Cerreta works as part of a mixed team of medical professionals, from surgeons to veterinarians, deployed to more than a dozen villages in the region. In Noorvik, her team of dental, medical and pharmacy airmen, soldiers and sailors have taken up practice in a clinic normally staffed by villagers trained only in the basics of medicine.

The joint military team provides an opportunity for the small community to get caught up on preventive medical needs.

"Much of what we've done is preventive medicine," Cerreta said. "We went to the school and performed physicals. I see a lot of women for well-woman exams, as well as well-baby exams."

When the word got out that the military was bringing doctors into Noorvik, it caused a stir in the village, which is accessible only by air or snowmobile for much of the winter.

"The military was here a few years ago, and everyone looks forward when they come back," said Laura Ballot, a village resident whose son, Hikerr Snyder, got his two-year well-baby check-up from Cerreta. "It's needed a lot, especially in the winter."

Hikerr got a full exam and was vaccinated against common childhood diseases. However, the clinic was out of the H1N1 flu vaccine, and it had to be ordered from a larger town in time for Cerreta to administer it to the child.

"The villagers are all very interested in their health despite being in a remote location like this," the major said. "This has been the most rewarding annual tour I've been able to do yet. I get to train while helping people."

The visit has made a lasting impact on the village – in fact, a 12-year-old girl put a note in Cerreta's pocket, apologizing for having to leave with her family to Anchorage and being unable to be around when the team leaves.

Official Explains Need for Export-control Reform

By Ian Graham
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

April 21, 2010 - Economic controls have a direct relationship to national security, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says it's time some of those controls got a makeover. In a speech yesterday to the Business Executives for National Security, Gates proposed revamping the nation's Cold War-era export-control system to 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.

James A. Hursch, director of the Defense Technology Security Administration, spoke later in the day about the Defense Department's position on export controls – the regulations that determine what is and isn't allowed to be sold abroad by U.S.-based entities – in a "DoD Live" bloggers roundtable.

The export controls in place now were written more than 50 years ago, he explained, in a fundamentally different security environment.

"It was a system designed for the Cold War, bipolar world, and is not sufficiently focused on the most critical threats we face today," Hursch said.

And because of innovations in technology and the ever-more-global economy, products on the cutting edge aren't always American any more, he noted. Often, he explained, the U.S. military uses off-the-shelf commercial systems, because the defense industry can't keep up with the global consumer market.

"There's a need for a fundamental change to the system we have in place today," Hursch said. "We have a secretary of defense who realizes the overwhelmingly positive implications of the export control reforms that he advocates, and [understands] that he is doing them for national security reasons."

Hursch enumerated four essential pieces of the reform effort he called "singles." The first is a single export control list that clarifies which exports require a license and which do not, as well as the steps to obtain a license to export a product.

"This would be an aggregation of the current United States Munitions List and the current Critical Items Control List that the Commerce Department administers," he said. "This would be tiered according to the sensitivity or criticality of an item or the technology associated with it."

The second is a consolidated licensing agency that will help to streamline the review and export processes and make consistent decisions made regarding licenses. Currently, the departments of State and Commerce both have licensing bodies, and they often conflict, Hursch said.

"We spend a lot of time fighting over which of these two authorities should actually control the export of certain items, rather than fighting over how critical or sensitive the item actually is, and therefore whether it should be controlled or not," he said.

The third part of the proposed reform is a lone agency that would coordinate enforcement efforts and help to monitor, investigate and prosecute violators of export control laws. Many law enforcement organizations now assist in this task, from the FBI to the U.S. Coast Guard and border patrols. This new agency would not replace them, Hursch said, but would ensure those agencies don't duplicate each others' efforts.

The fourth aspect of the proposed reform is a unified information technology system to maintain license information and other data pertinent to export control and review license data efficiently across the government. The Commerce, Defense and State departments each have their own network in place now; Hursch said the Defense Department's system is the newest and likely will form the backbone of the new interdepartmental system.

Making the proposed reforms a reality won't be a simple task, Hursch acknowledged.

"We realize that fundamental reform requires extensive coordination and consultation with Congress and other interested groups," he said. "Achieving reform will not be quick or easy."

As the reform is developed and a package is put together to submit to Congress – Hursch estimated that would happen by the end of the year – Gates and his colleagues at the State Commerce departments will begin making policy changes within their executive-decision purview.

The creation of tiered restrictions, defining which currently controlled items need to be placed among those tiers, determining enforcement techniques and ensuring penalties for violators are appropriate are on the "to do" list, Hursch said. Though many of the reforms will be made along the way through executive orders, he said, the four "singles" will require congressional approval, Hursch said.

The end system would create "higher walls around fewer items," Hursch explained. Weaponry -- specifically items that could be used to build weapons of mass destruction -- will be very tightly controlled, as would items or information such as schematics or blueprints that could hurt domestic economic interests if exported.

Control won't necessarily be more lax over certain items, Hursch said, but the tiered system will aid in prioritizing enforcement and in helping agencies differentiate between, for example, export of a controlled food item and a controlled chemical with potentially harmful uses, Hursch said.