Military News

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Report Concludes North Korea Sank South Korean Ship

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 20, 2010 - South Korean officials say they have proof that North Korea torpedoed the South Korean frigate Cheonan on March 26, killing 46 sailors.

Officials in the South Korean capital of Seoul said an investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan found residue of an explosive used in a North Korean torpedo, and also found other forensic evidence clearly implicating North Korea.

"The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine," a South Korean defense ministry statement said. "There is no other plausible explanation."

The report reflects an objective and scientific review of the evidence, South Korean officials said. "It points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that North Korea was responsible for this attack," officials said. "This act of aggression is one more instance of North Korea's unacceptable behavior and defiance of international law. This attack constitutes a challenge to international peace and security and is a violation of the Armistice Agreement."

Salvage experts raised the ship, which had broken in half, from the sea floor near Baengnyeong Island. The Cheonan had a crew of 104. Officials said the vessel was operating south of a disputed sea border on the western side of the peninsula in the Yellow Sea. The Cheonan, a 1,200-ton frigate built in 1989, was on a routine patrol mission.

A White House statement said President Barack Obama spoke with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and expressed his deep sympathy for the loss of the sailors. "The United States strongly condemns the act of aggression that led to their deaths," the statement said. "The president spoke with President Lee on May 17 and made clear that the United States fully supports the Republic of Korea, both in the effort to secure justice for the 46 servicemembers killed in this attack and in its defense against further acts of aggression."

The White House statement went on to say that North Korea must understand that belligerence toward its neighbors and defiance of the international community are signs of weakness, not strength.

"Such unacceptable behavior only deepens North Korea's isolation," the statement said. "It reinforces the resolve of its neighbors to intensify their cooperation to safeguard peace and stability in the region against all provocations."

An international team of investigators from Australia, Great Britain, Sweden and the United States assisted South Korean experts in examining the forensic evidence left in the ship.

"We have reached the clear conclusion that [the] Cheonan was sunk as the result of an external underwater explosion caused by a torpedo made in North Korea," said Yoon Duk-yong, of the investigation team. "The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine. There is no other further explanation."

South Korea formed the joint civilian-military investigation group after the sinking and carefully shielded the group from a rush to judgment on the cause of the sinking, South Korean officials said.

The group found that "a strong underwater explosion generated by the detonation of a homing torpedo below and to the left of the gas turbine room caused Republic of Korea Ship Cheonan to split apart and sink," the South Korean defense ministry statement said.

The group also collected parts of the torpedo, including a propulsion motor with propellers and a steering section from the site of the sinking.

"The evidence matched in size and shape with the specifications on the drawing presented in introductory materials provided to foreign countries by North Korea for export purposes," South Korean officials said. Markings on the torpedo in Hangul are consistent with the marking of a previously obtained North Korean torpedo, they added.

"The weapon system used is confirmed to be a high-explosive torpedo with a net explosive weight of about 250 [kilograms], manufactured by North Korea," officials said.

USS Texas Departs for U.S. 4th Fleet Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Virginia-class submarine USS Texas (SSN 775) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for a scheduled deployment to U.S. 4th Fleet Area of Responsibility May 19.

"USS Texas is flexible and ready to rapidly respond to a wide range of situations on short notice in support of national security," said Cmdr. Bob Roncska, USS Texas commanding officer. "I am extremely proud of my Texas crew. No doubt, the best crew I have had the opportunity to serve with in all my 20 years of naval service"

This is Texas' first deployment since changing homeports to Pearl Harbor in November 2009.

Commissioned Sept. 9, 2006, Texas was the second Virginia-class attack submarine constructed and the first submarine to be named after the Lone Star State. The state-of-the-art submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, irregular warfare, and mine warfare.

USS Denver Receives the 2009 Ship-Helicopter Safety Award

By Ensign Veronica Camiolo, USS Denver Public Affairs

May 20, 2010 - SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The forward-deployed amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) was selected for the second consecutive year for the annual Chief of Naval Operations Ship-Helicopter Safety Award in May, honoring the ship with the most outstanding aviation safety record for 2009.

Throughout the year, Denver conducted 3,544 mishap-free flight hours, 1,202 day landings, and 378 night landings. The ship also transferred 1,210 passengers and 344 tons of cargo, and responded on short notice to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to Taiwan following Typhoon Morakot and to Indonesia following a series of devastating earthquakes.

"I am extremely pleased and proud, but not at all surprised, to have Denver repeat as the best of our Navy's amphibious warships in ship-helo safety," said Rear Adm. Rich Landolt, commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet.

The annual fleetwide award recognizes sustained superior flight operations at sea with a commitment to aviation safety on deck and in the air.

"Communication is the key to flight deck safety," said Lt. Wesley Barnes, Denver's air officer. "Our flight deck personnel are trained not only to verify the indications of the deck status lights, but to also confirm their intentions with primary flight deck control via the radios before taking any action involving aircraft."

Barnes said Denver demonstrated her enduring commitment to safety and excellence in air operations by winning this prestigious award for the second consecutive year.

"The fact that we have received this award for two years straight is a testament to the continuous hard work and dedication demonstrated by all Denver flight deck personnel," he said.

Denver, commanded by Capt. Gregory Fenton, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan.

Gates Reports on Visit to Carson Warrior Transition Unit

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 20, 2010 - A visit to the warrior transition unit at Fort Carson, Colo., this week was worth the time, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said during a Pentagon news conference today. Gates visited the facility while he was in the area for the change of command ceremony at U.S. Northern Command.

The unit was the subject of stories alleging problems with care, with the bureaucracy and with support.

The secretary met with soldiers and family members without assistants or media present, an approach he often uses to encourage people to speak frankly.

"I didn't hear a single complaint about the warrior transition unit itself," he said. "And several of the soldiers spoke highly also of their rear detachments – in other words, the support back at their bases."

They did, however, speak to him about the process, the secretary said. "We still have work to do in terms of the medical disability boards and the amount of time that takes," he acknowledged.

The soldiers and their families also spoke to him about a successful vocational training program with the local community college that was canceled because of lack of funds, Gates said. "I want to see if we can't get those started again," he added.

The secretary he was reassured by what the soldiers and their families told him. "One of the wounded-warrior soldiers gave me a long op-ed that he has written that he would like to have somebody publish that has sort of his view of the WTU, which is a different one than has been discussed before," Gates said. "So I came away from that meeting very encouraged."

Gates next met with the cadre at the unit. The unit has its own psychiatrist, counselors, therapists and social workers. "They have a pretty robust staff," he said. "They still would like some more, but, frankly, we just hired about all there are available."

This doesn't mean everything is fine, the secretary said. "I came away encouraged, but also -- as I do from every one of these sessions -- with something of a to-do list," he said.

Editor’s Note: An interesting contrast to an earlier post:
Does the Army take care soldiers they injured?

'Taking Action, Measuring Results:' Navy, Marine Corps Address Combat, Operational Stress Control

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

May 20, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Navy and Marine Corps leaders, along with medical and mental health professionals, chaplains, combat veterans, and family members convened in San Diego for the start of the Combat and Operational Stress Control (COSC) Conference May 18. The three-day symposium, organized by the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control (NCCOSC) to address combat, operational and daily stress, marks the first time the Navy and Marine Corps have dealt with the issue from a joint perspective.

"Our country soon will enter a tenth year at war, and there is no abatement in the psychological challenges that come with the prolonged combat and highly demanding operational environments faced by our warriors," said Capt. Paul Hammer, NCCOSC director. "This conference delivers a clear bottom line: training for mental resilience and stress management are an essential part of military life."

With the theme "stress is not only a warfighting issue, but an everyday military issue," the NCCOSC has brought together individuals and organizations from around the world to discuss the new combined Navy/Marine Corps COSC doctrine, as well as new policies, programs, and interventions redarding combat and operational stress control.

The areas of focus at the conference include combat and operational stress control challenges for leaders, caregivers, clinicians, researchers and families.

One highlight was the presentation of the potential new COSC doctrine. This doctrine promotes effective leadership in enhancing the mission capabilities of caregivers and empowers all leaders to perform the five core functions of combat and operational stress control: strengthen, mitigate, identify, treat and reintegrate.

Psychological stress, according to this new concept, is plotted and measured on a continuum of severity, duration and impairment. This paradigm ranges from "ready" to "reacting" to "injured" to "ill."

"The COSC doctrine clearly outlines the responsibility that leaders, individual service members, their health care providers and their families must share in order to promote psychological wellness," said Hammer. "It is now the job of each of us to take these concepts, develop them to successfully reach the many different communities in which our Sailors and Marines serve and incorporate them into all facets of our everyday work."

NCCOSC is a Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery program created to improve the psychological health of Navy and Marine Corps forces by helping to build and promote resilience. Its goals are to provide service members, combat veterans and their families with educational programs to effectively address combat, operational and daily stress, reduce the stigma in seeking mental health treatment and facilitate research in psychological health.



Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on May 17 a $72,686,593 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 1,460 rocket propelled grenade kits, 45 prescribed loads lists and eight deprocessing spares for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded on May 17 a $68,914,367 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 509 explosively formed penetrator protection kits and 12 month of a field service representative in the continental U.S. for the M-ATV. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

BAE Systems, Sealy, Texas, was awarded on May 17 a $37,403,500 firm-fixed-price contract for 181 improved cab protection cabs and 181 applique kits for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. Work is to be performed in Sealy, Texas, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Aviation and Missile Commands Contracting Command, CCAM-TM-B, Redstone Arsenal., Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-09-C-0623).

GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, JV, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on May 18 a $30,655,831 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for logistics engineering support for the Stryker Family of Vehicles. Work is to be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bids received. TACOM Contracting Center, CCTA-AI, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-D-M112).

L-3 Communications, L-3 Fuzing and Ordnance Systems., Camden, N.J., was awarded on May 17 a $19,132,762 firm-fixed-price contract. The proposed add-on quantity is for the award of 367,971 M935 point detonating fuzes, National Stock Number 1390-01-268-9155,part number 9395584, purchased at a unit price of $52 each, which is the proposed unit price without first article. First article test is waved since L-3 Fuzing and Ordnance Systems is the current producer of the M935 fuze. Work is to be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of May 18, 2012. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web with two bids received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-07-C-0005).

Boeing Co., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded on May 18 a $14,634,116 firm-fixed-price contract for 94 explosive ordnance disposal mini-robots. Work is to be performed in Huntsville, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 16, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with one bids received. Research, Development and Engineering Command Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-09-D-0023).

Airborne Systems North America, Santa Ana, Calif., was awarded on May 17 a $12,469,065 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 3,185 complete T-11 personnel parachute systems, and 420 T-11 personnel parachute systems without the reserve assembly. Work is to be performed in Santa Ana, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Dec 7, 2011. Three bids were solicited with three bids received. U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command Contracting Center, Natick Contracting Division, Natick, Mass., is the contracting activity (W911QY-10-D-0003).

General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc., Needham, Mass., was awarded on May 17 a $12,089,352 firm-fixed-price contract for an acquisition in support of the Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program for Fort Carson, Colo. Work is to be performed in Fort Carson, Colo., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. Ten bids were solicited with four bids received. Army Contracting Command, National Capital Region Contracting Center, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W91QUZ-06-D-0025).

Kipper Tool Co., Gainesville, Ga., was awarded on May 17 an $11,723,560 firm-fixed-price contract. The small arms shop set provides the necessary tools to perform small arms field-level maintenance requirements for heavy machine guns and small caliber weapons. The small arms shop set has 164 tools in the set. This contract is a one-year requirements contract with two possible option years. Work is to be performed in Gainesville, Ga., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2013. Fifteen bids were solicited with three bids received. TACOM-Rock Island, CCTA-AR-TB, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAE20-03-D-0089).

Aerostar International, Sioux Falls, S.D., was awarded on May 17 an $8,366,440 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 1,983 complete T-11 personnel parachute systems, and 280 T-11 personnel parachute systems without the reserve assembly. Work is to be performed in Huron, S.D. (80 percent), and Madison, S.D. (20 percent), with an estimated completion date of Sept. 8, 2011. Three bids were solicited with three bids received. U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command Contracting Center, Natick Contracting Division, Natick, Mass., is the contracting activity (W911QY-10-D-0002).

McKellar Corp., Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded on May 18 a $7,055,929 firm-fixed-price contract to construct Combined Arms Collective Training Facility Phase 1B, to include: seven new buildings, guard tower, traffic circles, new asphalt paving, shanty town units, and cemetery vaults; as well as renovations of existing buildings. Work is to be performed in Butlerville, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 30, 2011. Thirteen bids were solicited with 13 bids received. National Guard Bureau, USPFO for Indiana, Indianapolis, Ind., is the contracting activity (W912L9-10-C-0004).

Eyak Technology, LLC, Dulles, Va., was awarded on May 17 a $5,818,339 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract will provide materials in support of the 550th and 57th Regional Network Operations and Security Center technology refresh, in support of Project Manager Network Service Center, Project Director Defense Communication Systems-Southwest Asia. This requirement was completed amongst the 16 contractors under the Rock Island Contracting Center Southwest Asia telecommunications blanket purchase agreement. Work is to be performed in Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2010. Sixteen bids were solicited with seven bids received. Rock Islands Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-09-A-0021).

ITT Advanced Engineering & Sciences, Herndon, Va., was awarded on May 18 a $5,777,832 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for competitive strategies group services in support of the Joint Improvised Explosive Devices Defeat Organization. Work is to be performed in Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of April 25, 2013. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. Research Development and Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-09-D-0058).

BAE Systems, Herndon, Va., was awarded on May 18 a $6,246,735 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for strategic interplay exploration systems, simulation and scenario development in support of the Joint Improvised Explosive Devices Defeat Organization. Work is to be performed in Arlington, Va., with an estimated completion date of May 3, 2013. Sixteen bids were solicited with one bid received. R esearch, Development and Engineering Command Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91QUZ-07-D-0003).


Raytheon Network Centric Systems, St. Petersburg, Fla., is being awarded a $31,922,634 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-5202) for the design agent and engineering services for the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) program. CEC is a sensor netting system that significantly improves battle force anti-air warfare capability by extracting and distributing sensor-derived information such that the superset of this data is available to all participating CEC units. This modification combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (96 percent), and the governments of Australia (3 percent) and Canada (1 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Largo, Fla. (80 percent), St. Petersburg, Fla. (19 percent), and Dallas, Texas (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $3,014,168 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Fluor Intercontinental, Inc., Greenville, S.C., was awarded on May 19 a $13,111,531 modification to cost reimbursement task order #0005 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62470-06-D-6008) for flood recovery at Naval Support Activity Mid-South. The work to be performed provides for flood damage clean-up and restoration in impacted areas of affected buildings. After award of this modification, the total cumulative task order value will be $14,611,531. Work will be performed in Millington, Tenn., and is expected to be completed by February 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Information Technology, Fairfax, Va., is being awarded $10,880,437 for task order #0017 under previously awarded contract (M67854-09-D-4726) to integrate and deliver enterprise IT capabilities through the Marine Corps Enterprise Information Technology Services (MCEITS) program based on a primarily commercial off-the-shelf design delivered and accepted at the critical design review. This task order provides the delivery and integration of the design for the classified and unclassified enclaves within the Kansas City Enterprise IT Center (EITC) as well as the unclassified systems integration environment (SIE) in Kansas City. The integration effort shall include the data center facility infrastructure, application infrastructure, and the initial enterprise services to enable the Marine Corps to host production applications and systems within the EITC and support the testing, integration, and engineering of applications and systems within the SIE. Additionally this task order shall support the initial MCEITS Operations Center capability and the initial operational capability (IOC) testing activities for the unclassified EITC and SIE as the program office prepares to achieve IOC and move towards a Milestone C decision. Work will be performed in Kansas City, Mo. (70 percent), Needham, Mass. (25 percent), and Quantico, Va. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $8,023,302 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $7,216,103 fixed-price incentive-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5305) for incorporation of long-lead material for SM-6 Block I missiles fiscal 2010 all up rounds production. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2012. 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.


Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded an $18,661,244 contract which will provide 2,180 Paveway II and 46 Paveway III guided bomb conversion kits. At this time, $18,639,872 has been obligated. 784 CBSG/PKB, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8213-10-C-0036).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., was awarded a $14,338,234 contract which will provide for efficient linearized all-silicon transmitters integrated circuits program to enable ultra-high power efficiency, ultra high linearity, microwave silicon-based transmitter integrated circuits for next generation radar and communications application. At this time, $14,338,234 has been obligated. Det 1 AFRL/PKDB, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-10-C-7027).

The Gyro House, Auburn, Calif., was awarded a $6,507,187 contract which will provide for personnel, equipment, tools, materials, vehicles, supervision and other items and services necessary to perform civil engineer tasks and functions at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. At this time, no money has been obligated. 448 SCMG/PKBD, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8117-10-D-0007).

Skils'Kin, Spokane, Wash., was awarded a $5,649,067 contract which will provide mess attendant services for the dining facility at Malmstrom Air Force Base. At this time, $292,241 has been obligated. 341 CONS of Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., is the contracting activity (FA4626-10-C-0017).

Camp Lejeune Military Working Dogs Get Energy Efficient Home

May 20, 2010 - CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (NNS) -- The Officer In Charge of Construction Marine Corps Installations East (OICC MCI East) completed the construction of the $10 million Military Police Company Interim Facilities Project in early May, as part of the $56 million USMC Grow the Force Construction Program at Camp Lejeune.

This project, completed by Blue Rock Structures, Inc., of Pollocksville, N.C. was one of 20 contracts awarded to implement a directive from the commandant of the Marine Corps to provide interim facilities for Marine units affected by the 202k initiative to incrementally increase overall Marine Corps end strength to approximately 202,000 Marines by fiscal year 2011.

The interim facility project consisted of erecting pre-engineered buildings and installing modular units; with the exception of the permanent kennels constructed for the military police working dogs. The contract provided for construction of five working dog kennels that can hold more than 100 dogs, two storage buildings, a central kitchen, and 1.5 acres of fenced obedience courses to support military working dog operations for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and II Marine Expeditionary Force.

Additionally, three modular classrooms and 12 modular administrative buildings were installed to house kennel master, handler and trainer activities.

"This project provides rather stately kennel facilities for II MEF and Marine Corps Base working dogs with energy conservation in mind. The kennels maximize creature comfort by utilizing in-slab radiant floor heat systems fed by a farm of geothermal well points," said Cmdr. Cheryl Hansen, commanding officer, OICC MCI East, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic.

The structure was also built with selected heating system, which is projected to realize more than 30 percent efficiency over conventional gas or oil-fueled heat systems.

Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony earlier this month, signifying the official opening of the complex.

Also in attendance were the ranks of police dogs and their handlers who say they are delighted with their new facilities.

"The new kennels are a significant improvement from our former home," said John Salvetti, Camp Lejeune kennel master.

He added that the secluded location of the kennel complex keeps the dogs in a tranquil mood and the size of the facilities provides more living and training space.

A future military construction project slated for next year provides 14,500 square-feet of permanent administration space to replace the interim modular units.

CID Sailor Receives Top Honors for 2009 CFC Fundraising Efforts

May 20, 2010 - PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- A Sailor from Center for Information Dominance (CID) is one of 10 people nationwide to be selected as a Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Hero for the 2009 campaign.

Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Miller will be honored June 28 at the Eisenhower Executive Building in Washington, D.C.

Annually, thousands of dedicated federal employee's help their area campaigns with what is known as the world's largest workplace campaign, raising thousands of dollars for non-profits locally, nationally and internationally.

Miller was assigned as the activity chairperson (AC) for the Center for Information Dominance (CID) Corry Station in Pensacola, Fla., during the 2009 campaign.

CID is directly responsible for more than 1,300 of the 19,000 federal employees within the Escambia and Santa Rosa (EscaRosa) Counties of Florida. The EscaRosa Campaign heavily relies on CID as one of the three largest military training schools in the area.

Miller's most challenging effort during the campaign was educating new Sailors and Soldiers, who are typically reporting directly to the schoolhouse after basic training and who have little exposure to the importance of charitable support.

"Our staff and students are quite extraordinary," CID Commanding Officer Capt. Gary Edwards said. "Most of them volunteered to serve their country during a time of war. And, if that wasn't enough of a sacrifice, they are now giving up part of their paycheck to help support charitable organizations through CFC. I am constantly amazed by their selflessness."

Miller was responsible for recruiting, screening and training volunteers to act as key people (KP) during the campaign.

"We planned for success from top down. We selected the right key people and ensured they believed in and understood the campaign," Miller said. "We educated everyone within the command daily and demonstrated our support in everything we did. Through command support, our people saw that CFC was not just another ask, it was a passionate responsibility.""

"Miller hand-selected five of the most professional, motivated and creative KPs that we have ever seen," EscaRosa CFC Director Ron Denson said.

Miller and his KPs planned weekly events, creating constant awareness of the campaign starting from day one to the end of the campaign. He coordinated an agency presentation opportunity for his people and invited other commands from the base to participate.

"When I first met Chief Miller I knew he was the right person for the job," Denson said. "He asked the questions to understand what his roles and expectations were. He quickly realized that it is not about getting donors to contribute large amounts of money, it is simply to educate them about the CFC program and ask them to participate to whatever level they can afford." Military and civilian employees of CID surpassed their goal of $38,000 in the first two days of the drive. However, Miller and his staff did not stop their efforts. They moved the bar up and set a new goal to surpass that which was only seen immediately after 9/11.

In total, CID raised $82,074.66, reaching 216 percent of their intended goal. CID increased participation to more than 50 percent of the command's personnel.

Most of the command is made up of junior enlisted personnel and it was important to CID that Miller and his staff did not encourage contributions which would result in a service member's financial hardship. He educated CID personnel about the integrity of the CFC program and the importance of participating and donating to a cause.

Naval Education Training Command Chief of Staff Capt. Markus Hannan also serves as the EscaRosa Local Federal Coordinating Committee (LFCC) chairperson. He had high praise for Miller and his crew from CID.

"Given the state of the economy, CTTC Miller's efforts are that much more extraordinary and appreciated," Hannan said.

Miller's efforts were not only applauded locally. They were also noted by the Office of Personnel Management, Washington, D.C., Department of the Combined Federal Campaign, which lead to his selection as a CFC Hero for 2009.

With a staff of more than 700 military, civilian and contracted staff members, CID Corry Station oversees the development and administration of more than 225 courses at 17 learning sites throughout the United States and in Japan. CID Corry Station provides training for more than 16,000 members of the United States Armed Services and allied forces each year.

Nimitz Begins Preparing for INSURV

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) James Mitchell, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

May 20, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) sent its Inspection and Survey (INSURV) Department Head underway aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) May 18 to begin preparing for Nimitz' INSURV later this year.

Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Milligan, Nimitz' INSURV department head, departed with Reagan to gain first-hand knowledge as they conduct their scheduled INSURV.

"The best thing he will bring back is the knowledge and lessons learned from their INSURV," said Chief Warrant Officer John Penick, Nimitz' INSURV command trainer. "We will benefit first-hand by looking at how they are inspecting [Reagan]."

Learning from another ship's INSURV is a key training tool for succeeding in the upcoming INSURV.

"INSURV is a tremendously large and important inspection of the ship's overall material condition readiness," said Senior Chief Gunner's Mate (SW/AW) Greg Smiler, Nimitz INSURV Department's leading chief petty officer. "We're starting out early because we plan on doing above average."

Nimitz has established an INSURV Department to conduct training periods to teach personnel how to "recognize space discrepancies and know what to look for," said Smiler.

Additionally, the INSURV department is reviewing lesson's learned from previous INSURV'S and putting together a do's and don'ts training program, said Penick.

Milligan's observations on board Reagan, combined with INSURV Department's training program, will help Nimitz establish "a focused mission to get everything done right the first time with no re-work," said Penick.

Nimitz' INSURV is scheduled for October.

Nimitz is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 11. Nimitz returned home to San Diego March 26 after completing a successful eight-month Western Pacific deployment.

Stavridis Expands on NATO Strategic Concept's Aims

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 20, 2010 - The new NATO strategic concept looks to build on the alliance's obvious strengths, the alliance's supreme allied commander for Europe said yesterday.

Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis said NATO is looking at a comprehensive approach to security for the future.

"I would argue that the future of security in this 21st century is not an on-and-off switch between hard power and soft power, between combat and peace," he said during a presentation at the Atlantic Council here. "It's a rheostat -- you've got to dial it in."

The imaginary rheostat runs from pure hard power to pure soft power, he said, and while the alliance remains militarily capable, more often than not, security will need elements of both hard and soft power.

Stavridis talked about the newly released strategic concept drawn up by a broadly based group of experts. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright chaired the group, and she introduced Stavridis at the Atlantic Council. Albright said her work was a starting point for discussion on a strategic concept that NATO leaders are expected to approve at the alliance's summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in November.

People who say NATO is an outdated relic have not looked at its history or its present, and have not tried to look at its future, the admiral said.

"When we talk of this alliance, we need to recognize the wealth of it, the reach of it, the power of it," he said. "No nation has ever attacked a NATO nation, and no NATO nation has ever attacked another NATO nation."

Stavridis likened the alliance to a bridge between North America and Europe that bridges cultures and is a bridge in time. "It bridges the Cold War past to the present, and leads us in to the 21st century," he said.

It also is a large alliance, now containing 28 member states and more partners. This creates a challenging environment to get decisions made, but it is doable, the admiral said.

"We have 130,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines on missions on three continents," the admiral said. "Those are hard decisions, but they've all been made at [the NATO] table among 28 different states. I maintain we've done a good job of getting 28 [nations] together."

The alliance also makes good use of the cultural, linguistic, military, economic and political strengths of 28 nations, Stavridis added.

Alliance leaders need to focus on a comprehensive approach, Stavridis said, and NATO has learned much from its experiences in Afghanistan.

"Fundamental to succeeding there is the idea of a comprehensive approach – combining military and civilian organizations as one," he said, adding that civilian government agencies, the United Nations, the World Bank, various government aid organizations and private-sector entities all will have to work together to succeed in Afghanistan. NATO needs to understand this, he said, and devise ways to include these entities in planning and execution.

The new strategic concept also calls for increased engagement with Russia, and Stavridis acknowledged that two views of Russia exist within the alliance. On one side are countries that still worry about aggression or intimidation from Russia, while another set of countries wants to engage with the nation, he explained.

"We must reassure one set of allies and we must continue to find a dialogue and find zones of cooperation with Russia," the admiral said. Potential areas of cooperation include arms control, counterpiracy, counterterrorism, missile defense and Afghanistan, he added.

The concept also calls for NATO to develop cybersecurity defenses.

"We need to come to grips about what is a cyber attack," he said. "We need centers that can focus on it. We need procedures to provide defensive means in this world of cyber."

Combating terrorism is not the primary mission of the alliance, the admiral said, but he noted that more than 400 terror attacks took place in Europe in 2009. "It's not a direct mission for the military or for NATO," he said, but there are support functions we can provide."

International piracy is a laboratory for cooperation in the 21st century, Satvridis said, noting that the European Union is the lead agency addressing piracy off the coast of Africa. "That's fine," he said. "NATO is there with a complementary operation. The EU has the lead, and I see that as a comfortable situation. NATO does not always have to be the lead agency in every security dimension."

The long-range ballistic missile threat already is real and will get worse in the years ahead, Stavridis said. Iranian missiles can reach some of Europe's capitals, he said, and this challenge requires missile defense.

"The United States is moving forward with a phased, adaptive approach," he said. "Much of the discussion before the Lisbon summit will be how NATO wants to be a part of that."

NATO also needs to do a better job of communicating what the alliance is and why it still is important to a new generation, the admiral said.

"We're very good at launching missiles," he told the group. We need to get better at launching ideas."

Nimitz Sailors Volunteer at St. Vincent DePaul's

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Peter Merrill, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

May 20, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) volunteered to help the San Diego community by serving hot meals at St. Vincent DePaul's at Father Joe's Villages May 18.

Nimitz' Junior Enlisted Association (JEA) crew members wanted to conduct an event to help support the ship's surrounding community of San Diego.

"This helps build morale between the Navy and San Diego," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Ashlea Churchill, JEA president. "This lets junior Sailors get involved and experience the environment they are living in."

St. Vincent DePaul's once a small center that only handed out peanut butter sandwiches, now it has turned into a mission-style campus in the heart of downtown San Diego that houses more than 900 families and single men and women who need a place to stay until they are able to start rebuilding their lives.

Rico Espinoza, the facility's kitchen shift supervisor said, having volunteers spend their time at the shelter is a great thing. "They get to see what's going on and see how people are affected. It's awesome to have volunteers."

The staff of Father Joe's Villages appreciates volunteers as the shelter is funded strictly by donations. The real help is in the form of the people who volunteer in the kitchen, which is responsible for serving more than 1,000 meals at lunch every day to those who need it.

Espinoza said volunteering becomes even more special when it is a service member dedicating their time to help.

"You guys are doing your duty and then you come and serve. It's just an amazing thing you do," said Espinoza.

Churchill said coming out to help was a very rewarding experience, "You'll get a lot of thanks because a lot of these guys are veterans," she said.

Espinoza said it's the simple things that help out. "It's neighbors helping neighbors. A smile or even a simple 'Hi' makes some of these guy's days."

Nimitz is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 11. Nimitz returned home to San Diego March 26 after completing a successful eight-month Western Pacific deployment.

Naval Special Warfare Personnel Train with Elite Brazilian Unit

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Kathryn Whittenberger, Naval Special Warfare Group 4 Public Affairs

May 20, 2010 - RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (NNS) -- Seven operators from Naval Special Warfare (NSW) worked with the Brazilian Marine Corps Special Operations Battalion (Tonelero) April 19 – May 13. This was the first time the United States has engaged with this unit in more than 25 years.

"We requested this training to exchange tactics with special operations troops who have combat experience. The SEAL operators are the best choice to provide that training," said Brazilian Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Tunala, the Marine Corps Special Operations Battalion operations and logistics officer. "We focused on urban operations. My Marines are more prepared to conduct these operations now. Our only experience is in Haiti, which is not as complicated as Iraq or Afghanistan. With this training we can improve our operations in Haiti as well as be more prepared to host the World Cup and the Olympics."

This Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) is part of a series requested by the Brazilian government. Topics covered included land warfare, close quarters combat, trauma medicine, over-the-beach missions, and movement through urban and rural environments. The course was taught by the U.S. Navy's amphibious assault expert SEALS, as well as the maritime mobility experts known as Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC).

"Brazil is one of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) priority countries, and we are privileged to be strengthening our relationship here," said Special Operations Liaison Officer U.S. Air Force Col. John Poast, who facilitates communication directly between SOCOM and the Brazilian military. "Exercises like this one provide an opportunity for tactics exchange and partner nation capacity building that is vital to maintaining security and stability on a global scale."

NSW operators who traveled to Brazil for the training enjoyed the chance to work with the Tonelero.

"When we teach our guys, it's from scratch. For these guys, they already have their base tactics, so we could focus on the smaller things, like the differences and why do things a certain way," said a SWCC facilitator. "This was not as much 'this is the only way', but more, this is why we do it this way, and this is how. If they did it a better way, we took that on board as well. I was impressed that they were so keen to take our tactics on board because they are combat proven."

This exercise was one of many planned to focus on capacity building. This exercise fell under the Theater Security Cooperation Program, which is a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense to build rapport between the United States and partner nations.

As part of that effort, NSW Seabees, or combat constructionmen, built a new 25-yard marksmanship range and upgraded the shoot house with an additional 6,800 square foot area to allow for more viewing areas for safety observers and more realistic training scenarios.

"Naval Special Warfare wants to continue training alongside the Brazilian special forces, and we consider working alongside the Brazilians to improve their training facilities an investment in our partnership."

Although all the men, both Brazilian and American, put in long hours, it was well worth the effort to see what they accomplished.

"I found these guys particularly motivated and locked on to learning what we are putting out here," said a SEAL instructor. "I think our biggest success is that we've really exchanged some good skills, and it really surprised me how quickly we formed a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect."

This training was also a learning experience for U.S. participants.

"The main challenge was the language barrier, and learning how to train through an interpreter, but we worked through that," said another SWCC. "This was not a one-sided conversation. Their tactics definitely have their application, and I think if I had to fight in a jungle, this is the unit I would want to work with."

Air Force directs immediate inspection of advanced combat helmets

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

5/20/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials here directed an immediate service-wide inspection, recall and reporting of defective advanced combat helmets May 19.

Logistics officials said evidence indicates some helmets were produced using unauthorized manufacturing practices, defective materials and improper quality procedures that could potentially reduce ballistic and fragmentation protection.

"When it comes to the safety and protection of our Airmen, we act swiftly and we take no chances," said Col. Steven Morani, the Air Force Directorate of Logistics materiel support division chief. "The importance of the recall warrants not only immediate action, but ongoing follow-up as we complete a one-for-one exchange of defective helmets."

Colonel Morani said major commands must complete a 100-percent inspection of advanced combat helmets, manufactured by Rabintex and Armorsource, and identified by a designated Army procured contract number. In cases in which the contract number can't be determined, units are using specific visual inspection criteria to ascertain whether or not the helmet is affected by the recall.

The colonel emphasized that deployed and pre-deployment Airmen are the first priority for the exchange that will occur from stock in theater. As more helmets are made available, the remainder of Airmen also will make the exchange.

"Any affected helmets that units discover will be immediately removed from service and if shortfalls occur, we'll work diligently with Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, the Air Force's source of supply, to close the gaps," Colonel Morani said.

The exchange timeline is contingent upon the swiftness of the mandated inspections, the colonel said.

"Inspections are underway right now," Colonel Morani said. "Once we know the total number of helmets affected, we can better estimate a completion timeline."

U.S., Japanese Airmen train for Red Flag-Alaska

by Airman 1st Class Sean Martin
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

5/20/2010 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Loadmasters from the 36th Airlift Squadron recently trained six members of the Japan Air Self Defense Force in the process of Joint Air Delivery Inspection here.

The two-day training focused on the specifics of preparing and inspecting cargo for air delivery scenarios like the ones that will take place during Red Flag-Alaska 2010.

"For Red Flag-Alaska, we are using different types of equipment and platforms, so we wanted to know the usage of them for the air delivery," said 1st Lt. Kazunori Takahara, a JASDF C-130 Hercules pilot.

U.S. loadmasters trained their JASDF counterparts while loading two C-130 aircraft with one container delivery system and two heavy equipment bundles each.

The CDS is a commonly-used method of air delivery that allows Airmen to quickly and safely deliver supply loads too heavy for the individual jumper to carry. The bundles are used to deliver supplies, food, water and other materials to Airmen in the field. The heavy equipment bundles are used to deliver Humvees and other large equipment needed for airbase stand-up and maintenance.

"It was a privilege to get to work with and learn from each other and to demonstrate how to inspect and use our equipment," said Master Sgt. Dale Nyhus, a 374th Operations Support Squadron joint air delivery inspector and C-130 loadmaster.

Once the cargo was inspected and signed off, the crews loaded up and flew to the nearby Camp Fuji drop-zone to deliver their payloads.

The bilateral training event was the first time JASDF airmen were able to work with Yokota AB's loadmasters to learn the details of this specific type of cargo distribution.

"The loadmasters were very kind to teach us how to perform the JAI and how to use the equipment of the United States," Lieutenant Takahara said. "I'm very satisfied with this event and would like to do it again next year."

33rd Rescue Squadron crew earns MacKay Trophy

by Maj. John S. Hutcheson
18th Wing Public Affairs

5/20/2010 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Four members of the 33rd Rescue Squadron here were named the 2009 MacKay Trophy winners.

Capt. Robert Rosebrough, 1st Lt. Lucas Will, Master Sgt. Dustin Thomas and Staff Sgt. Tim Philpott, the crew of an HH-60G Pavehawk combat search and rescue helicopter "Pedro 16", have been recognized for their efforts saving the crew of a downed Air Force aircraft and three Soldiers in Afghanistan.

The MacKay Trophy dates back to 1912 and is awarded annually by the National Aeronautic Association for the most meritorious flight of the year. The award comes on the heels of the Kadena-based crew being honored by the Jolly Green Association for the most outstanding rescue mission of the year.

The crew of "Pedro 16" and "Pedro 15" came under enemy fire July 29, 2009 during a medical evacuation mission as part of the 129th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan. Three Soldiers had been wounded near Forward Operating Base Frontenac when their convoy was hit with an IED. During the recovery operation, the crew of "Pedro 15" was downed and the "Pedro 16" crew, along with Army OH-58 Kiowas crews, helped return the wounded Soldiers and downed aircrew back to safety.

"It could have been any crew in our place that day, and they would have performed the same," Captain Rosebrough said. "(The honors) are a testament to the Air Force rescue community as a whole."

The crew will be recognized by Air Force leaders this fall when the MacKay Trophy is officially presented in Washington, D.C.

The MacKay Trophy and the Jolly Green Association awards bring even more acclaim to the 33rd Rescue Squadron, which was honored last year with the 2009 Verne Orr Award for most effective use of people and resources in pursuit of the mission.

Gates Vows to Focus on Reform, Reducing Overhead

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 20, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today vowed to take the time necessary to reform the Defense Department and eliminate unnecessary overhead expenses.

At a Pentagon news conference, Gates said he has made fighting this fight the goal of his remaining time a defense secretary.

"I intend to spend every day, for as long as I remain secretary of defense, doing all I can to implement these reforms that are so critical to sustaining our military in the years ahead," he said.

The secretary also threw down the gauntlet to Congress, saying that if the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill includes funds for an alternative engine for the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, he will ask President Barack Obama to veto the whole bill. If Congress includes an additional half of a percentage point to the military pay raise over the administration's recommendation, however, he said he will not recommend a veto.

"I believe the defense budget process should no longer be characterized by business as usual within this building or outside of it," the secretary said. "We in [the Defense Department] must make tough choices and decisions to ensure that current and future military combat capabilities can be sustained in a time of budget stringency."

Gates has the full support of the uniformed military in the building, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the news conference.

"The proper stewardship of the taxpayers' dollars is high on absolutely everybody's list," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said. "I don't underestimate the challenge that is here. But I think being able to get at overhead and shift it ... and do so inside the force structure that we have right now is absolutely critical."

Gates unveiled his goal of eliminating overhead and shifting the savings to more critical mission-oriented programs during a speech at the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kan., May 8. "I have challenged this department to become more efficient in the way it is organized, staffed and operated and, in so doing, find the savings necessary to sustain essential military force structure and capabilities," he said.

The secretary met with defense and service leaders earlier this week to establish a plan and process for attaining this goal.

"Getting this done will require the priority attention of our entire leadership team and include all services, commands, components and elements of America's defense establishment," Gates said.

The department also will work with Congress, think tanks, academia and others for "specific and workable proposals on how to change the way this department does business," he added.

Gates stressed that he is not asking for cuts in the defense budget. As the department fights two wars and as planners anticipate an unsettled future, he said, the department needs a certain amount of yearly real growth.

"The president's budget proposal ... proposes such a real growth path," he said. "However, the department will face very difficult choices with regard to sustaining needed military capabilities in the years ahead unless it is able to shift resources away from excess management structure or lower-priority areas and towards current and future combat capabilities."

His intent in shifting funds is to protect the required budget growth in areas most important to the defense of the United States, Gates said. These include force structure, uniformed personnel or future combat capabilities.

The secretary told reporters he is worried about congressional actions on the joint strike fighter program and the desire of some in Congress to buy more C-17 Globemaster III transport jets that he says the Defense Department doesn't need.

The House Armed Services Committee has passed its version of the authorization bill, he said, and "it appears that the committee continues to insist that the department add an extra engine to the joint strike fighter.

"In addition," he said, "the detailed conditions they have imposed on the overall [joint strike fighter] program would make it essentially unexecutable and impose unacceptable schedule and budget costs."

The joint strike fighter program is the largest and most important acquisition project over the next decade. It has been through some tough times, and Gates personally intervened in an attempt to get the program back on track.

"Our team has taken aggressive steps to restructure and manage it through this critical phase in development," he said. "I am therefore determined to ensure that it remains on track. Accordingly, as I have stated repeatedly, should the Congress insist on adding funding for a costly and unnecessary JSF extra engine or direct changes that seriously disrupt the JSF program, or impose additional C-17 aircraft, I will strongly recommend that the president veto such legislation."

South Korea Must Determine Attack Response, Gates Says

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

May 20, 2010 - It is up to South Korea, not the United States, to determine how it will deal with a North Korean attack on one of its ships, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.

Gates was asked by reporters at a Pentagon news conference whether a recent determination that North Korea sank the South Korean frigate Cheonan, killing 46 sailors on March 26, was an act of war.

"This was an attack on South Korea, and South Korea needs to be in the lead on the way forward," he said.

Gates said the Defense Department supports the findings of a multilateral investigation into the attack that found a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo that sank the ship. "They've laid out some paths forward, and we will be consulting closely with them as they move forward."

The military has not changed its normal readiness status in light of the findings, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the news conference. Mullen said he spoke with his South Korean counterpart yesterday, as well as with Navy Adm. Robert Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, and Army Gen. Walter "Skip" Sharp, commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

"We're all focused on the stability of that region," Mullen said. "Certainly, we're concerned. They are a great friend and a great ally."

Asked if U.S. forces are stretched too thin to increase operations in the area if needed, Gates said "absolutely not."

"We've known for a long time that if there were problems in Korea, our main arms would be the Navy and the Air Force, and they are not stretched the way the Army and Marines are."

Gates and Mullen also took questions on several other hot spots around the world.

Asked about the latest NATO military campaign in Afghanistan, Mullen said the Kandahar campaign already is under way, and that leaders are not surprised at the increasing insurgent violence there.

"We expect this to be a tough year," Mullen said. "The poppy season is over, and they've gone back to get their weapons. That violence would rise doesn't surprise me at all."

The admiral added that he is optimistic about the Kandahar outcome. "We've got the right strategy and the right leadership," he said.

Turning to Pakistan, Gates and Mullen said Pakistani leaders are fully on board with fighting terrorist groups in the country, and recognize they share that interest with the United States. Pakistan is planning to execute a mission in the volatile North Waziristan region, and has seven divisions and 140,000 troops there, they said.

"We now have a mutual interest in trying to stop this group, to stop them from carrying out attacks outside of Pakistan, especially in the United States," Gates said.

On Iraq, Gates said the military is on track to complete President Barack Obama's plan to reduce troop strength there to 50,000 by Sept. 1. Some of the drawdown was postponed due to the delayed national election in March, but, Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, "has total flexibility" with how he wants to manage it, he said.

Asked about the recount of Iraq's election results, Gates said it was "a positive development, in that it reaffirmed the original count and the legitimacy of the election."

Finally, on the United Nations resolution for sanctions against Iran, Gates said it is "somewhat stronger" than he expected. The resolution is important, he said, because it is a reminder of Iran's isolation, and it provides a legal platform for countries and organizations such as the European Union to take more stringent actions of their own against Iran. There is evidence that the resolution is making an impact inside Iran, Gates said, noting the extent to which Iran is trying to keep it from passing. The resolution, coupled with any action by individual countries, "has the ability to change behavior" in the Iranian government, he said.

Departments Collaborate to Combat Sexual Assault

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

May 20, 2010 - The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have made significant strides in assisting sexual assault victims, but more work remains to be done, the director of the Defense Department's sexual assault prevention and response office said today. Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in society, presenting a challenge to both departments, Kaye Whitley said in prepared remarks to the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's subcommittee on disability assistance and memorial affairs.

Defense Department studies indicate that about eight of 10 sexual assaults in the military go unreported, Whitley noted.

"Victims are concerned about losing their privacy, fearful about being judged, fearful of retaliation and afraid that people will view them differently," she said. "Female and male military victims alike mistakenly believe their victimization somehow makes them weak and less of a warrior.

"They worry that their career advancement will be disrupted and their security clearances revoked," she added.

To encourage more victims to come forward, Whitley said, the department offers restricted and unrestricted reporting options. Restricted reporting enables victims to access medical care and advocacy services confidentially, she explained.

Since the restricted reporting option was introduced in 2005, the department had received 3,486 restricted reports through the end of fiscal 2009, Whitley said.

"We believe that number represents 3,486 victims who would not have otherwise come forward to access care," she said. "Restricted reporting is having the desired effect."

Whitley said she's encouraged that reports of sexual assault have been increasing by about 10 percent annually over the past three years. Still, the department would like see more victims come forward to report sexual assault, she added.

She acknowledged that the prevention of and response to sexual assault are demanding undertakings and shouldn't be tackled alone. She pointed out the Defense Department's collaboration with other federal, state and nonprofit agencies to maximize the effectiveness of the department's program. One of the department's key collaborations is with the Veterans Affairs Department, she noted.

This collaboration recently has paid off with regard to documentation, Whitley said. Officials developed the Victim Preference Reporting Form, called DD 2910, to explain reporting options and to indicate the servicemember's choice of an unrestricted or confidential report.

VA's Veterans Benefits Administration has agreed to accept a copy of this form, she noted, signed by both the victim and the sexual assault response coordinator or victim advocate, as evidence of sexual assault. The document can be used as part of the paperwork for a service-connection determination, she explained.

The goal is to ensure victims have proof of sexual assault, even if the member never reported the incident or made a restricted report and opted not to receive medical care, Whitley said.

"Just as the DD 214 is the main basis for proof of military service, we would like the DD 2910 ... to be universally accepted as proof that a victim made a report of sexual assault," she said.

The departments also work together to ensure sexual assault victims are connected with appropriate services, she said, and a VA representative participates on the Defense Department's Sexual Assault Advisory Council, the main oversight body for the department's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program.

While the departments have made progress, more work remains to be done, Whitley acknowledged, starting with one of the existing barriers to collaboration: state mandatory reporting laws.

Servicemembers in a number of states, including California, who wish to access medical care for sexual assault do not have the restricted reporting option, she explained. California's Penal Code, for instance, requires health care practitioners to make a report to law enforcement if they suspect crimes of a sexual nature have been committed. Once they notify civilian law enforcement, there's no guarantee that military law enforcement won't be the next step, she said, and they're obligated to investigate and notify the command.

"If our active-duty members could make restricted reports in federally funded facilities, such as a VA Medical Center – no matter where it is located – we believe this would allow us a wider variety of options to offer victims for care," Whitley said. "We do not know how many more reports we would have received had the restricted reporting option been available in California. This is a challenge we need help in resolving."

Whitley reiterated the importance of collaboration in combating sexual assault.

"Each day, our servicemembers dedicate their lives to protecting our country and deserve no less than the very best care and support in return," she said. "That is why it is so very important that we work together to make this program the best it can be."

NORAD, US NORTHCOM Welcomes New Commander

By Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher, U.S. Northern Command Public Affairs

May 20, 2010 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo (NNS) -- North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) from Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart held a change of command ceremony on Peterson Air Force Base May 18.

Navy Adm. James Winnefeld took command from Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart in a ceremony on Peterson Air Force Base May 18.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Canadian Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk, were on-hand to oversee the passing of the commands' colors to Winnefeld.

"It is a tremendous honor to have taken command of NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM," Winnefeld said. "I can think of no greater responsibility or honor than protecting our people and our way of life, and I take this to be a sacred trust."

Introducing the new commander, Gates said America and Canada were fortunate to be receiving a NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM commander like Winnefeld.

"It is our nations' good fortune to have another proven leader and warrior ready to lead this vital organization," Gates said. "He led the USS Enterprise through Operation Enduring Freedom immediately after the attacks on 9-11. As a carrier strike group commander, he supported Operation Iraqi Freedom and conducted maritime security missions in the Persian Gulf. With this singular resume, I can think of no better officer to assume the vital duties of defending our nation, responding to natural disasters when called upon and partnering with Canada, Mexico and our Caribbean neighbors in securing our borders and our sovereignty."

Coming from an assignment as Director for Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff, Winnefeld has also commanded the U.S. 6th Fleet and the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group.

Winnefeld took the opportunity to talk about the strong relationship between the U.S. and Canada and NORAD as part of the bedrock of that relationship.

"Canada and the United States have an exceptional partnership," Winnefeld said. "Most recently seen in places like Afghanistan and Haiti, and I've always considered it a privilege to serve with the Canadian armed forces. I look forward to serving shoulder-to-shoulder once again with Canadians in this command and to forging as strong personal partnership with you."

In recognition of senior Mexican military officers present at the ceremony, Winnefeld expressed his desire to strengthen the relationship between U.S. and Mexican military forces.

"Your presence here today is symbolic of the vital partnership between the U.S. and Mexico, and between our two militaries," Winnefeld told the officers in Spanish.

Winnefeld recognized the accomplishments of the commands and said he was looking forward to becoming part of the team.

"While I know I need to listen and learn, I join this great team with a lot of energy and ideas," Winnefeld said. "There are any doors of opportunity open to these two commands, and we will step through them in due course. In so doing, we will not forget our American and Canadian colleagues serving together overseas. They and others from like-minded nations are our first line of defense."

Citing a connection between those who serve on the front lines and the mission of NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM, Winnefeld recognized two Fort Carson Soldiers in the audience who were recovering from wounds they suffered in combat as well as "Gold Star" family members, people who've lost loved ones on deployment, who were at the ceremony.

"When one of these devoted young men and women is wounded or lost in action, it's not an isolated event far away," he said. "There's a clear connection between what these very special people did and do over there and what we do over here."

Winnefeld ended his remarks by making those Soldiers and Gold Star families a promise.

"We at NORAD and U.S. NORTHCOM pledge to you, who have given so much to our country, that in the brief moment in time that we are privileged to serve in this place, we will give it our very best effort," he said.

Does the Army take care soldiers they injured?

Retiring is difficult enough. Leaving behind the life you learned to love and the comrades with whom you walked the walk is difficult. Indeed, there’s a saying among retired service personnel, “when you’re in you’re the best, when you’re gone you’re a pest.” Retirement and separation are even more difficult when the circumstances are forced on you by injury.

Injury is not a choice; injury is not a date you look forward to; injury isn’t retirement. A debilitating injury necessitating your medical retirement from your service, your comrades and your life is an emotional roller coaster almost always ending in a train wreck. Everyone knows this - certainly, the US Army Command knows this.

The medical retirement system is a labyrinth of unintended consequences. It is a maze of dead-ends, each with a clerk seated at a desk whose sole function seems to be to pass the buck. For the Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman or Coastguardsman, who finally make it through the labyrinth and are granted a medical retirement the trauma doesn’t end. In many ways, the fight for recognition that the service injured you and forced your retirement is a hollow victory. It’s not what you wanted, it’s not what you enlisted for, it’s not how your dream was suppose to end. It is relief, sadness and uncertainty mixed together and churning within you. Moreover, surrounding this hollow victory is the ever present debilitating injury.

The good news is that you will get through it. Whatever drove you to enlist, to service, to excel will be what carries you through and into your new life. It would be, nice, however, if the Army was helpful.

What is wrong with the rear detachment of the 1st Armored Division? They must know how difficult these transitions are for their soldiers. Why is my daughter, a soldier in good standing who was injured by the Army’s actions, asking me for rent money? Why is the transition from soldier to “Command Sponsored Spouse” so difficult? Why would they place this extraordinary stress on her husband who is deployed to the field of battle? Or, her family who has worried every day for more than six years?

The Army was able to deploy her to Korea, Iraq and Germany. The Army was able to send her into harms way. She has fought our enemies and served our Country. Now, the Army ought to be able to manage the paperwork and ease the transition.

It’s more than just the paperwork - it is what all retired servicemembers know - “when you’re in you’re the best, when you’re gone, you’re a pest.”

The “Rear D” needs to get it’s shit together.

Guard's Shoreline Barrier Construction Progresses

From a Louisiana National Guard News Release

May 20, 2010 - The Louisiana National Guard's construction of the Tiger Dam shoreline protection system near in the southwest pass of the Mississippi River Delta continues to move ahead as an oil spill threatens the Gulf Coast. "Our engineers continue to work to complete this project to protect coastal areas and provide a layered defense to lessen the impact of shoreline oiling," said Army 1st. Lt. Rebekah L. Andersen, platoon leader with the 1023rd Vertical Engineer Company, 528th Engineer Battalion.

The 1023rd, with headquarters in Oak Grove, La., has built nearly two miles of the 7.1-mile barrier to protect the natural marshlands across a beach in the southwest pass as a secondary line of defense to the boom line.

The work site's location requires soldiers to be airlifted in and out daily by UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the 1st Battalion of the 244th Aviation Regiment, based in Hammond, La.

All of the inflatable barrier material and equipment was sling-loaded and dropped in place.

"By being out here day to day and seeing the sand washed up against the dam, we can tell it's working," said Army Spc. Benjamin K. Davis.

This water diversion system, normally used for flood control, replaces sandbags and is made up of a series of interlocking flexible tubes inflated with water to form a temporary dam or levee.

As work crews lay out the Tiger Dam material for assembly and inflation, other crews work pumps to fill the tubular sections with water.

"We just want everyone to know that we're here to do our mission, and we will do it as effectively as possible," Andersen said. "We know that the community is in support of our activities overseas, but it seems a bit more personal when they see us working stateside."

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Completes CVN 76's Planned Incremental Availability

From Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs

May 20, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Norfolk Naval Shipyard successfully completed USS Ronald Reagan's (CVN 76) six-month Planned Incremental Availability May 19 at San Diego's Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) under budget.

This project came in under budget and marked both Norfolk Naval Shipyard's (NNSY) largest off-site availability as well as the largest public sector work package ever performed on an aircraft carrier berthed at NASNI.

While NNSY was the project lead, its partners Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF), Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (SWRMC) and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding (NGSB) also accomplished significant amounts of work.

"This project really encompassed the 'One Shipyard' concept," said Curt Hart, the Project Superintendent. "NNSY, PSNS & IMF, SWRMC, and NGSB worked hand-in-hand every day to achieve a common goal."

During peak manning, approximately 1,400 people worked the project each day. This included approximately 625 NNSY personnel, 165 PSNS & IMF employees, and 600 from SWRMC/NGSB.

A Lean Release Assessment using a combined NNSY/PSNS & IMF team was conducted in January 2010 to determine how well project management Lean initiatives were used to improve project processes and results on board Reagan. Results of the assessment were positive and the project team developed several best practices to share with other shipyards for future carrier availabilities.

Under the 'One Shipyard' concept, the naval shipyards level the workload and mobilize the work force across the yards to best ready the fleet and stabilize a vital industrial base for America's defense. NAVSEA's four shipyards include NNSY in Portsmouth, Va.; Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine; and PSNS & IMF in Bremerton, Wash. Naval Shipyards perform logistic support and work in connection with ship construction, conversion, overhaul, repair, alternation, dry docking, outfitting, manufacturing research, re-development and test work.

Air Force to release master sergeant promotion list

Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - Air Force officials selected 5,424 of

21,829 eligible technical sergeants for promotion to master sergeant for a selection rate of 24.85 percent.

The average score for those selected was 341.18, with an average time in grade of 4.49 years and an average time in service of 15.88 years. The average score was based on the following point averages: 134.27 for enlisted performance reports, 11.40 for decorations, 79.69 for the promotion fitness examination and 63.59 for the specialty knowledge test.

The master sergeant promotion list will be released publicly May 27 at 8 a.m. CDT on the Air Force Personnel Center's public website. Airmen also can access their score notices at the same time on the Virtual Military Personnel Flight and the Air Force Portal.

Those selected for master sergeant will be promoted according to their promotion sequence number beginning in August 2010.

As a reminder, selections are tentative until the data verification process is complete, which is no later than 10 days after the promotion release date. AFPC officials will notify Airmen through their military personnel sections if their selection is in question.

The promotion release using the Web is one of the many technological initiatives AFPC has taken to effectively deliver personnel services, allowing Airmen around the world 24-hour access.

For more information, visit the AFPC public website or contact the 24-hour Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

Cancer Survivor Ready to Fly

By Air Force Capt. Joseph Knable
19th Airlift Wing

May 20, 2010 - One year ago, Air Force Senior Airman Brian Petras was flying C-130 Hercules missions around the world. Since then, the flight engineer was diagnosed with cancer, underwent extensive surgery, recuperated, returned to all duties except flying and passed his physical fitness test with no score adjustments.

And he passed with just one foot. Petras, 24, has 700 deployed flying hours from two deployments, and he's a cancer survivor.

Last summer, after icing his sore foot for a month and seeing no improvement, he went to the doctor. "It started out as kind of like a lump on my foot, like a swelling," he said, "and I just thought it was a sprained muscle or something."

After a month and a half of tests and treatments, Petras learned he had a malignant tumor and said that doctors would have to amputate his right foot.

"I was shocked," he said. "But since I ... knew it was definitely going to happen, I just decided I could either stay positive or feel sorry for myself. I've just been trying to go on as normal as possible."

Before his surgery, Petras enjoyed biking, running and snowboarding. Since his surgery, he not only enjoys all of the same activities, but also has become even more active.

He recently rode his bicycle 350 miles across Texas in six days, and later this month he will begin a two-month, 4,000-mile coast-to-coast bike ride from San Francisco to Virginia. The trip, organized by World Team Sports, is called "The Face of America: Sea to Shining Sea Ride."

In the ride, Petras will join about a half dozen injured servicemembers from each of the military branches, along with a few civilians, to raise money for charities.

Petras said his desire to returning to flying was a major factor that motivated him to recover and return to work so quickly.

"I just enjoy flying," he said, "I can't stand sitting around. I like traveling. I like just being on the flight, and I like the challenge of it.

"As of right now, I'm 95 percent back to normal," he continued. "There's really not much holding me back. I can run, snowboard, ride a bike, pretty much do anything. I can do everything I could before. I feel 100 percent confident I can go back and do my job without any problem."

Despite his unshakable positive attitude, the road to recovery hasn't been easy.

"The first couple of months were pretty rough," he acknowledged. He healed for six weeks after the Aug. 24 amputation before he got a prosthetic leg. In the middle of September, he started the first of four rounds of chemotherapy that spanned three months.

"It was one week on, then three weeks off to recover," he explained.

He got his prosthetic leg shortly after his first round and began rehabilitation between subsequent rounds.

"That was pretty rough," he admitted. "The chemo pretty much knocked me out. I had almost no energy. I felt sick. I really couldn't do much. I could barely take care of myself. Luckily, I was able to get a prosthetic [leg] and walk around without crutches and still do certain things, but I was still really tired."

Petras went home for Christmas after his final chemotherapy session, and in January he went to the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

"It specializes in care for amputees and burn victims," he said, "It's mostly guys coming from Iraq and Afghanistan that are there. But they do a really good job."

His time at the center gave him perspective, Petras said.

"Here's me with a below-the-knee amputation, rehabbing and getting done in three months, and there are guys who've been there for years," he said. "They're missing both of their legs, they're missing [legs] above the knee, they're missing arms and hands, or 90 percent of their body is burned, and me coming in there is like a scratch. It's not a big deal at all.

"Those guys are very inspiring," he continued. "Some of the guys, with the stuff they're going through, have just as good an attitude as I have, so we all kind of helped each other. To [the other patients], you're no different; you don't get treated any different."

Petras said he was very pleased with the care he received at the center. "The people who worked at the [Center for the Intrepid], they're just really good at their jobs, from the physical therapists, to the occupational therapist to the psychologist there. Everybody cared about us and made sure we got the best training possible or the best rehabilitation possible. They did a really good job."

He added that he's especially grateful for the care he received from John Wood, his recovery care coordinator, and Lauren Palmer, his medical case manager. They were "two people who helped me out immensely. Not even just medical stuff, but anything," he said.

"I don't like to consider myself handicapped. ... I feel normal," he added.

The Bloomsbury, N.J., native said he continues to look to the future.

"The biggest thing I want to convey is that I don't see it as a serious problem right now," he said. "I see it as a minor inconvenience, and I want other people to treat me like that. I think of this thing as a pair of glasses. For me, it's something that takes me five extra minutes to get out of bed in the morning. ... The biggest challenge for me is taking a shower standing on one leg. ... Some people have injuries that are not as visible as mine, yet they're not even as mobile as me. I don't limp, I can run, I can do whatever.

"I don't want my accomplishments to be thought of as 'Brian the amputee' did something," he added. "I don't like that. I want it to just be 'Brian' did something. I want to be treated like it's not that big of a deal. I don't feel handicapped. ... As far as I'm concerned, I was ready to [return to flying] in January."

How our Government can put 17,000 folks to work today and have someone else pick up the tab.

Seems the U.S. is more concerned with protecting the shores from an oil spill rather than protecting our borders. Don’t get me wrong; both are serious conditions needing to be addressed.
There are 17,000 U.S. troops involved with helping protect the beaches due to the massive oil leak currently taking place off the coast of Louisiana. The Feds are not too concerned about the cost because eventually BP will be picking up the tab. Why not hire that many unemployed folks who desperately need the money and put them to work in place of our troops? I’m sure their experience level in this type of situation matches the militaries. I don’t seem to remember oil clean up being part of my curriculum when I went through Army basic training. Lets then send those US troops over to help control the border situation in AZ. This entire BS about the cost to do this (estimated at 225 million dollars) seems kind of miniscule considering OUR Government spend billions of dollars bailing out mismanaged banks and fat-cat Wall Street investors. And don’t our troops get paid regardless of what type of job they do? Politicians should use their heads for more things than looking into other orifices of their bodies.