Military News

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Navy's First Playground for Children with Disabilities Opens at NAS Jacksonville

By Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Sylvia Morris, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs

June 2, 2010 - JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Patriots Grove Playground specifically designed for children with disabilities May 28.

This is the first of its kind to open on a Navy installation. NAS Jax is one of seven bases worldwide to receive the accessible playground equipment.

The equipment was purchased by Commander, Navy Installations Command with the overall project including equipment and installation costing $187,000. Base in-kind funds were also used to upgrade sidewalks, restrooms, lighting and the parking lot.

The project began March 8 with contractors removing the previous playground equipment, preparing the area and building the new play area.

"This is a really unique playground because it has two separate areas for different aged children. We've had a lot of military families stopping by asking when the playground is opening so I know they will definitely be using it quite a bit," said Jacob McKanna, site superintendent for Can't Be Beat Fence and Construction Company.

"Our new Patriots Grove Playground serves as an example of NAS Jacksonville's and the Navy's commitment to support our families," said NAS Jax Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Maclay. "It's been a great effort by the entire team. Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. [Jonathan] Greenert recently said our Sailors and families require a family support network that provides relevant services and links the unit, family and the Navy. Today's ribbon-cutting exemplifies his vision."

"This really was an all-hands effort from the initial concept of the project, getting the funding, and the support from MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) and the contractor," said NAS Jax Public Works Officer Cmdr. Bill Siemer. "We actually came in a little bit ahead of schedule and even acquired some extra funds and to make some extra improvements."

The playground features one continuous surface from the parking lot to the structures.

"The old playground really wasn't friendly for... children [with disabilities]. This one will accommodate them. There are specially designed ramps and the features are low enough so that a parent in a wheelchair can also come out and play with their children," said NAS Jax Public Works Construction Manager Ensign Matthew Ward.

One of the first to try out the new equipment with her children was Stephanie Melson, who also advocated for the project.

"NAS Jax and the Navy do a wonderful job of taking care of their families and those with special needs. I think this park is a testament to that and we're so excited to be a part of it and let our children play here. It's really beautiful," said Melson.

"My children aren't special-needs but there are a lot of them living on base and in the community. There aren't many parks around that are really accessible so to have this here on base is huge. It's also great for those with very young kids who are just learning to walk. I hope that parents with special needs kids will come out and play with the rest of us."

National Guard (in Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of June 1, 2010

June 2, 2010 - This week the Army, Navy, and Air Force announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Marine Corps and Coast Guard announced an increase. The net collective result is 3,303 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 93,698; Navy Reserve, 6,152; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 18,387; Marine Corps Reserve, 6,685; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 836. This brings the total National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been activated to 125,758, including both units and individual augmentees.

A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel who are currently activated may be found online at http://www.defense.gov/news/d20100601ngr.pdf

Guam Sailors Tour B-2 Spirit at Andersen AFB

By Oyaol Ngirairikl, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas Public Affairs
Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

June 2, 2010 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (NNS) -- More than a dozen Sailors from various commands on Guam toured a B-2 Spirit on Andersen Air Force Base (AFB) May 28.

The plane is one of six B-2s forward-deployed to Andersen AFB from the 509th Bomb Wing of Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. as the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. The B-2s have been on Guam since February as part of the continuous bomber presence on Guam, and participate in various training exercises around the local airspace.

Sailors from Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 15, U.S. Naval Base Guam, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 11, USS Frank Cable (AS 40), Joint Region Marianas and Naval Special Warfare Unit 1 were among those taking the tour. In addition, federal civilians and contractors, and Airmen from various divisions also took advantage of an opportunity to tour the bomber.

Logistics Specialist Seaman Larry Young, of USS Frank Cable (AS 40), said he felt the tour was a great way to learn more about the Air Force.

"It helps us continue to build a partnership, which is important because at the end of the day, we're one military, one nation and we have to be able to work together," he said.

Chief Master Sgt. Mark Funk, of 509th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit, which is attached to the 509th Bomb Wing, said Young's perspective of a working partnership between the two services is as true today as it was more than 60 years ago during World War II.

"The [military] history of Guam and the islands has always included the cooperation between the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps," he said. "We've been down to visit with our counterparts on Naval Base Guam and we've invited them out here to see what we do so it does help us to understand each other better."

Funk said increased understanding between the services will help service members meet new missions, which continue to expand and change in response to dynamic global conditions and threats.

The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions, according to the U.S. Air Force Web site. The bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. The revolutionary blending of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency and large payload gives the B-2 important advantages over existing bombers. Its low-observability provides greater freedom of action at high altitudes, thus increasing its range and allowing a better field of view for the aircraft's sensors. The plane's unrefueled range is approximately 6,000 nautical miles (9,600 kilometers).

Navy Counselor 1st Class (AW) Candice Abel, of COMSUBRON 15, said she was honored to have had an opportunity to see the stealth bomber up close.

"We see the B-2 Spirit flying around over Guam when they're doing exercises or at special events if they do flyovers, but not many people get to see it up close," she said. "We were able to climb in and see the cockpit and other areas on the plane, which was an awesome experience."

Lt. Col. Matthew Snyder, Commander, 509th Bomb Wing said Abel is one of the less than 1 percent of Americans who have had such a tour.

"It's a very unique airplane. They only have 20 of them in the Air Force right now, hence only 20 in the world. So it's not an opportunity people get to see everyday," Snyder said.

Snyder said the tour also provides his unit the opportunity to share their knowledge with other services, as well as other units within the Air Force.

"All of the different platforms have a certain common language and certain language that is unique to their platform and the folks they work with on a day-to-day basis. So when you wind up having these people together - whether it's a tour like this or an exercise where you're flying – that's just something that's part of getting everything smoothed out," he said.

Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Joel Spore, of NMCB 11, said the experience is an example of why he joined the Navy.

"It was a lot of fun. I know I probably won't get another chance to do it because you don't see a lot of those in the Seabees," he said.

'Critical Days' Safety Message Turns Personal for Airman

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2010 - The military services have geared up their summer safety campaigns, encouraging troops and their families to enjoy the season without becoming statistics during a period historically marred by a spike in off-duty accidents. Ninety-five servicemembers died last year during the "Critical Days of Summer" season that kicks off Memorial Day weekend and extends through Labor Day. One hundred fifteen troops were killed in off-duty accidents during the same period in 2008.

As in previous years, car, truck and motorcycle accidents claimed the heaviest toll.

This year, as servicemembers receive their unit safety briefings before being cut loose for the weekend, an airman at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, is imploring them to take heed.

Staff Sgt. Aron Lee, the 737th Training Group's unit training manager, remembers the days when his eyes would glaze over during safety briefings.

"I used to be like everybody else in the Air Force," he said. "When you get a safety briefing, it's usually on a Friday, and what you're thinking about is, 'When is this going to be over? I've got things to do.'"

"I used to be that person," he said.

That was before Lee's sister, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Audra Britt, and her husband, Tech Sgt. Maurice Britt, died at the hands of a drunk driver in April 2009.

Avid motorcyclists stationed at Lackland, they were returning home from a motorcycle rally in Austin when their lives were snuffed out by a drunk driver going the wrong way on a one-way street.

Lee remembers the early-morning call that there'd been an accident. Soon after, he received the crushing news that his brother-in-law had died instantly and his sister was in intensive care. He remembers rushing to her bedside as she fought for life, a steady stream of visitors from Lackland helping keep vigil with prayers and encouragement.

Six days later, Britt lost her battle. She left behind a 4-year-old son to grow up without his parents and a family that vowed to protect others from the kind of pain they'd endured.

"We know that our mission is to educate people on the effects of alcohol and drugs and to try to get people to turn their lives around," said Lee, who received a compassionate reassignment to Lackland to help his parents raise their grandson.

They founded EVADE 411 – for "Empowering Victory through Alcohol and Drug Education," followed by the date of Audra Britt's death, April 11, 2009. The whole family is taking steps toward becoming licensed chemical dependency counselors.

Now, when Lee sits through standard military safety briefings, he sees through the impersonal statistics displayed on PowerPoint slides. Each number represents a person who, just like his sister and her husband, left behind hopes and dreams and loving families to go on without them.

Lee has now set out to share that message with as many servicemembers as possible. He keeps one of his brother in law's old motorcycle helmets in his office to spark conversation, and volunteers to address groups to share his story. When he talks, he forgoes PowerPoint slides and speaks straight from the heart.

"My mission now is to touch as many people as I can," he said. "I want to make sure they are aware of how alcohol affects the body, what happens if they drink and drive, and how it has an exponential effect beyond the person injured."

As he delivers his safety message, Lee said he doesn't expect servicemembers to give up alcohol – just to drink responsibly. That includes having a designated driver and, should that person decide to imbibe, a Plan B.

"If you are going to drink, have a plan," Lee said. "Then, have a backup plan to your plan, and a backup plan to that."

And Lee's realistic enough to recognize that not everyone will be receptive to his message. "But if I talk to a group of 50 people and am able to impact one person, that is a success for me," he said. "My soul will be happy, because I would never wish on my worst enemy to go through one bit of what my family has been through."

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 2, 2010

AIR FORCE

United Launch Services, LLC, Centennial, Colo., was awarded a $90,215,060 contract which will provide launch services for a medium-plus lift launch vehicle, National Reconnaissance Office Launch 38 mission. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. LRSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8816-06-C-0004).

Sabreliner Corp., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $90,000,000 contract which will provide engineering and research activities covering a variety of structures to include aircraft, ships, tanks, ground support equipment, bridges, and other varieties of aging structures. At this time, $200,000 has been obligated. 10 CONS, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., is the contracting activity (FA7000-10-D-0014).

DLT Solutions, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $64,300,000 contract which will procure software maintenance and support for perpetual enterprise Oracle software licenses throughout the Air Force and the U.S. Transportation Command. At this time, $17,400,000 has been obligated. 754 ELSG/ESS, Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Ala., is the contacting activity (FA8771-10-F-8107).

BAE Systems, Nashua, N.H., was awarded a $27,000,000 contract which will provide systems sustainment of the armament circuits preload test set; stores system tester; enhanced diagnostic aid; Viper memory loader/verifier support equipment; and all future derivative systems that support all blocks of the F-16 aircraft. At this time, no money has been obligated. 448 SCMG/PKAB, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8251-10-D-0005).

Harris Government Communications Systems Division, Palm Bay, Fla., was awarded a $23,682,238 contract which will provide hardware and software upgrades for the counter communications systems Block 10 pre-planned product improvement. At this time, $10,823,924 has been obligated. SSSW/PK, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8819-08-C-0001).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $22,294,896 contract which will provide survivability and vulnerability analysis of the Air Force theater air control system. At this time, $1,537,698 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP700-03-D-1380).

Sierra Nevada Corp., Sparks, Nev., was awarded a $20,863,757 contract which will provide for interim contractor support for the modification to MC-130W aircraft to install a precision strike package in support of Project Dragon Spear, an urgent deployment acquisition to support U.S. Special Operations Command combat mission needs. At this time, $10,014,602 has been obligated. 580 ACSG/GFKAA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8509-10-C-0013).

Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Clearfield, Utah, was awarded a $18,678,676 contract which will provide for increases to the modification value and obligation to provide solids depot support equipment test stands. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 526 ICBMSG/PKE, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (F42610-98-C-0001).

McDonnell Douglas Corp., Long Beach, Calif., was awarded an $11,599,732 contract which will provide for increased funding for the Air Force fiscal 2008 material improvement projects as part of the C-17 Globemaster III sustainment partnership contract. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 516 AESG/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8614-04-C-2004).

Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, was awarded an $8,254,699 contract which will provide for technology assessments; situational awareness; systems integration; engineering test and evaluation; acquisition; logistics; training; information management; and program management of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear explosives defense systems. At this time, $1,537,458 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-00-D-3180).

International Business Machines Corp., Yorktown Heights, N.Y., was awarded a $6,029,082 contract which will provide wafer-scale grapheme nanoelectronics research to expand on epitaxial growth techniques for exploitation of device and circuit designs on quartz substances. At this time, $3,139,510 has been obligated. AFRL/PKDB, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-08-C-7838).

NAVY

BAE Systems Survivability System, Inc., Fairfield, Ohio, is being awarded a $52,670,022 firm-fixed-priced requirements contract for procurement of 6,000 improved turret drive system retrofit kits and field service representative support. The kits are expected to be delivered by Dec. 26, 2010. The production will be performed in Fairfield, Ohio, and the assembling will be done in Afghanistan. This contract is a sole-source procurement. Other procurement Navy and Army funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year; other procurement Air Force funds will expire at the end of this current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-10-C-5063).

General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc., Woodbridge, Va., is being awarded a $22,256,798 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed fee contract for the MK46 MOD 2 gun weapon systems (GWS) and associated hardware, spares and services in support of the landing platform dock and littoral combat ship class ships. The MK46 MOD 2 GWS contains a 30mm single barrel, open bolt, dual feed, electrically powered, chain-driven automatic cannon. The system uses a forward-looking infrared sensor, a low-light television camera, and eye-safe laser range finder with a closed-loop tracking system to optimize accuracy against small, high-speed surface targets. Work will be performed in Woodbridge, Va. (69 percent); Tallahassee, Fla. (12 percent); Lima, Ohio (12 percent); Westminster, Md. (4 percent); Scranton, Pa. (2 percent); and Sterling Heights, Mich. (1 percent). Work is expected to be completed by May 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $812,412 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-5438).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., McLean, Va., is being awarded $9,476,595 for task order #0098 under previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9000) to provide business and analytical support to the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense's Transformational Medical Technologies Initiative program. Objectives of this initiative include the development of acquisition documentation that support the development of medical systems and therapeutics, and the development of risk analyses that support current and planned programs of record that lead to concise business case analyses that identify cost and performance projections, schedule impacts, and sustainment/lifecycle considerations. Work will be performed at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va., and is expected to be completed in June 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

L-3 Communications, Inc., Mount Laurel, N.J., is being awarded $7,784,090 for task order #0105 under previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9010) to provide programmatic acquisition, logistics, and administrative support to the program manager, Training Systems (PM TRASYS), located at the Central Florida Research Park, Orlando, Fla., in response to the internal reorganization of PM TRASYS and expanding training systems requirements for individual and collective training systems, and program and administration support. As part of PM TRASYS's increasing role supporting Marine Corps Systems Command's and the operational forces' training needs, PM TRASYS requires additional technical support services to plan, field and sustain training systems Marine Corps-wide. This effort will help to ensure planned and unplanned funding allocations are effectively and efficiently utilized through a programmatic approach with improved investment strategies to obtain the highest quality training available. Administrative, logistics and acquisition initiatives are in response to the increasing support requirements centered on simulated and virtual training environments' infusing of new technologies with established procedures. PM TRASYS support includes providing added program, logistics and administrative support for the determination of training methodologies, implementation and technical documentation for acquisition of training and training systems. Work will be performed in Marine Corps Command organizations in Orlando, Fla., and is expected to be completed in June 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $6,483,751 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

AAI Corp., Hunt Valley, Md., is being awarded a $6,045,979 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of universal test sets used in supporting operational-level testing of Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Electronic Warfare systems currently in use in Iraq and Afghanistan. Work will be performed in Charleston, S.C., and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $6,045,979 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity (N00174-10-C-0026).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Carter Enterprises, LLC*, Brooklyn, N.Y., is being awarded a maximum $6,318,000 firm-fixed-price, total set-aside contract for universal camouflage pattern, mechanics coveralls. Other location of performance is Brooklyn, N.Y. Using services are Army, Navy and Air Force. The original proposal was Web-solicited with eight responses. The date of performance completion is Nov. 1, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-09-D-1079).

Air Force Pilot Missing From Vietnam War Identified

June 2, 2010 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. Elton L. Perrine of Pittsford, N.Y., was buried last week at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On May 22, 1967, Perrine and Capt. Kenneth F. Backus completed a nighttime strike against the Cao Nung Railroad Yard near the town of Kep in North Vietnam. Seconds after the bomb run, a nearby aircrew reported seeing an isolated explosion approximately three miles east of the target, thought to be Perrine's F-4C Phantom aircraft crashing. Search and rescue attempts were not initiated due to heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area.

Analysts from DPMO developed case leads with information spanning more than 28 years. Through interviews with eyewitnesses and research in the National Archives, four locations in Lang Son Province were pinpointed as potential crash sites, separated by as many as 10 miles.

Between 1999 and 2008, U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, further analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, conducted two surveys and four excavations. The teams recovered small pieces of aircraft wreckage, human remains, personal effects and life-support equipment from the four locations.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Perrine's mother – in the identification of his remains. No remains connected to Backus were recovered at the locations.

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

SECNAV Celebrates Memorial Day in Italy

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Kevin S. O'Brien, Office of the Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs

June 2, 2010 - NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) commemorated Memorial Day and met with Sailors and Marines at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, May 31 to June 1.

Mabus began his Memorial Day trip by paying tribute to those who served and died on the shores of Anzio and Nettuno during a commemoration ceremony at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial outside Rome.

During the ceremony, Mabus talked about the sacrifice and heroism between both the Italian and U.S. service members.

"It is because of all those that fought here that we sit today in shared camaraderie. It is because of them that we all remain free to think as we wish and live as we do," said Mabus. "It is because of the world that they created for us that for the past 60 years young Americans and young Italians in uniform have stood together against terror and those who would send the world back into darkness."

The ceremony also included remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Italy David Thorne, Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and U.S. World War II veteran Clyde Easter. At the conclusion of the commemoration, Mabus commented on the veterans he met and how their service impacts Sailors and Marines today.

"The veterans that are here today who fought on the shores of Italy during World War II have created an everlasting legacy. We cannot hope to know every individual act of heroism that occurred here," said Mabus. "Today thousands of Italians stand shoulder to shoulder with our forces in Afghanistan as part of NATO and the International Security and Assistance Force. Today almost 12,000 Americans are stationed here in Italy. We are brothers and sisters in arms. We are family."

On his final day in Italy, Mabus toured Naval Support Activity Naples. He met with Fitzgerald and Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, to discuss current operations in Europe and the Horn of Africa, regional relations and issues impacting Sailors and Marines and their families.

After the brief, Mabus received a tour of the Fleet Command Center and watch floor where he got a firsthand look at the daily operations supported by the commands based in Italy. Later, Mabus had lunch with Sailors and Marines, participated in an award and promotion ceremony for both enlisted Sailors and officers and spoke to the command during an all-hands call.

"The reason I am here today is that I wanted to say thank you for the work you're doing here in Naples. When you are doing your job, you are always a long way from home," said Mabus. "The level of commitment you have, and the quality of work you do for America is always appreciated by me, your families and the American people. Thank you again and God bless you and your families."

USS Columbus Returns to Pearl Harbor

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

June 2, 2010 - PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Los Angeles-class fast-attack nuclear powered submarine USS Columbus (SSN 762) returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam May 28, following a six-month deployment to the western Pacific region.

"This was an incredibly successful deployment with every mission accomplished superbly." said Cmdr. Dave Minyard, commanding officer, Columbus. "The crew's performance was outstanding and they executed exactly as trained."

"This deployment was challenging from beginning to end," said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Hill, executive officer, Columbus. "I am extremely proud of the professionalism the crew demonstrated while conducting missions."

Columbus is the 51st Los Angeles-class submarine and the 12th improved version of this class, which includes a vertical launch system for Tomahawk cruise missiles and an improved hull design for under-ice operations. The ship completed a post shipyard availability in June 1994 in Groton, Conn. after initial construction and shakedown operations. In September 1994, the ship conducted an interfleet transfer to Pearl Harbor and joined the U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force.

All-Navy Triathlon Team Set For Repeat at Armed Forces Championship

From Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

June 2, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Men and Women of the All Navy Triathlon teams will push themselves through a 1500-meter swim, a 10-kilometer run and a 40-kilometer bike ride at the Armed Forces Championship at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, Calif. June 2-6.

Last year the men's team took first place while the women's team finished third. Ensign Derek Oskutis won the overall race making it Navy's seventh in a row. Although Oskutis will not be participating this year, Coach Jim Felty believes the team won't miss a step.

"We expect to win the men's team title with a talented and very deep team," said Felty, who has 26 years of combined experience in competing in and coaching for triathlons. "We have potential to place in the medals with the women, but will need to have perfect team execution. Expect Tommy Brown, Kyle Hooker and Brad Pigage to compete for the men's over-all champion position. Also expect Laura Springer to challenge for a podium spot."

The particular challenges triathletes face are much different than an athlete competing in only one sport.

"Not only do these elite athletes need to be proficient and excel in three sports, they have to find the time to train in three sports," said Kent Blankenship, Armed Forces Triathlon Project Officer who has 20 years experience as a race director. "The physical strain can be enormous on the body."

The physical battle is only part of the race. Blankenship says that these athletes also must be mentally strong and become so in part because of the nature of their military duties.

"The mental toughness comes from all different aspects in life," Blankenship said. "Working on a carrier, being a naval aviator, by being a leading chief petty officer or in command, it all helps to prepare these men and women for the tough day ahead."

Asia Summit to Kick-Off Five-Nation Gates Trip

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today embarked on a five-nation trip that will begin with his participation in a major Asian security conference in Singapore.

In addition to Singapore, the secretary will travel to Azerbaijan, England, Belgium and Germany. The International Institute for Strategic Studies Asia Security Summit – known as the "Shangri-La Dialogue" for the Singapore hotel where it's held -- is the ninth annual conference since its 2002 inception. A senior defense official speaking on background called it "the pre-eminent security conference in Asia."

"The secretary and a lot of his counterparts are able to gather and talk freely about a range of issues and introduce a range of security issues for the Asia-Pacific region," the official said, "but [he] also will have an opportunity to have bilateral discussions with many of his counterparts."

Gates will articulate certain U.S. strategic interests - both publicly and privately - in Asia, the official added, including through a speech he'll deliver June 4.

"Given where we are in the defense cycle," the official said, "[this] allows the secretary to talk for the first time about the implications of the reviews that have happened, especially the Quadrennial Defense Review, and the implications for our security posture and presence and policies in Asia."

The secretary will emphasize the importance the United States places on its role in Asia, the official said, as well as the need for mutual responsibility for all countries in the region.

Gates also will thank nations that have been contributing to efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the official said.

A June 4 bilateral meeting with Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro will be the first between the two men, and the senior defense official said it's hoped their talk will be a precursor to higher-level U.S.-Indonesia visits. Gates is expected to discuss defense cooperation and how the United States can help to bring Indonesia to a leadership position in Southeast Asia on a range of issues, including maritime security and international peacekeeping.

Gates also will meet briefly with New Zealand's defense minister, Wayne Daniel.

"This will be the first time that they will have met since we did a re-evaluation of our approach toward defense cooperation with New Zealand, which allowed for some broader level of defense engagement, ... albeit still not a return to the alliance that we used to have with New Zealand before they implemented anti-nuclear legislation," the official said. "But it will be a good chance for the secretary and the minister to discuss how to move forward with this new policy and where we can explore cooperation."

New Zealand's role in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province is one such topic, the official said. "They're looking at refining their contribution based on the situation on the ground and our policy," the official said. "Since Bamiyan is arguably one of the safer provinces, [we're] looking at how we can adjust that so that it can be turned over to Afghan security forces when appropriate."

Gates also will have a bilateral meeting with Shiv Shankar Menon, India's national security advisor. The secretary visited India early this year, the senior official noted, and this meeting will be a chance to press forward with the U.S. defense engagement with India. The meeting between Gates and Menon will take place just after a strategic dialogue here between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Indian Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna in Washington, the senior defense official noted.

Another bilateral meeting is scheduled between Gates and his Vietnamese counterpart, Lt. Gen. Phung Quang Thanh Sr. "The engagement with Vietnam is a real focus that we're trying to build," the official said. "It's going at its own measured pace." Gates and Thanh have met in Washington and at last year's Shangri-La Dialogue, he noted, and the meeting this week will seek to continue that momentum and to "see where this can go and where we can really both benefit together as Vietnam is becoming an even larger player in the region." With Vietnam's emergence as a leading proponent for multilateralism in the region, the official added, it's expected that Gates and Thanh will discuss Asian security issues at large as well as bilateral matters.

Another senior defense official briefing reporters on background said a bilateral meeting in Singapore with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young will give Gates and Kim an opportunity to discuss the apparent North Korean sinking of the South Korean frigate Cheonan on March 26, which killed 46 sailors.

"The secretary will convey to the minister our full support for the way in which the Korean government has been handling the crisis, that our commitment to the defense of Korea is and remains unequivocal, and that we're committed to continuing to work with Korea and our other allies and partners in the region to try to lessen the threat that North Korea poses to regional stability," the official said.

On June 5, Gates will meet briefly with Mongolian Defense Minister Luvsanvandan Bold, in part to thank him for Mongolia's contributions as "resolute and good partners in Afghanistan," the official said. Later, he'll meet with Singaporean Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. Gates always appreciates getting Singapore's views on what's going on in the region and sharing the U.S. perspective, the official said.

"In addition to being a good regional player, [Singapore also is] a contributor to Afghanistan," the official said. "So that's something they'll talk about as well."

Gates also will participate in a trilateral meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, a practice that began at last year's Shangri-La Dialogue.

On June 6, Gates will fly to Baku, Azerbaijan, where he'll meet with President Ilham Aliyev, and the next day, he'll meet with Defense Minister Col. Gen. Safar Abiyev. About a quarter of the supplies bound for U.S. forces in Afghanistan pass through Azerbaijan.

"The secretary has not really had a chance to engage with them," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said, "and this is an opportunity for him to express our appreciation, and also to figure out how we can work better together to maintain the level of support that is now flowing through Azerbaijan."

After meeting with his counterpart in Azerbaijan, Gates will travel to London, where he'll meet with leaders of Britain's new government. The secretary will meet with Prime Minister David Cameron on June 7 and with Defense Minister Liam Fox and Foreign Secretary William Hague the next day.

On June 9, Gates will travel to Brussels, Belgium, for a meeting of NATO defense ministers. When the NATO meetings conclude June 11, the secretary will fly to Germany, where he'll visit wounded warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and speak at the Kaiserslautern High School graduation ceremony before heading back to Washington.

General Officer Assignments

June 2, 2010 - The chief of staff, Air Force announced today the following assignments:

Maj. Gen. William A. Chambers, vice commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to assistant chief of staff, strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Maj. Gen. Douglas J. Robb, command surgeon, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., to joint staff surgeon, J-4, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Brig. Gen. Bart O. Iddins, command surgeon, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla., to command surgeon, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Col. Linda R. Urrutia-Varhall, who has been selected for the rank of brigadier general, senior military assistant to the under secretary of defense for intelligence, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., to deputy, deputy chief of staff, intelligence, Headquarters International Security Assistance Force, Kabul, Afghanistan.

23rd Annual Fleet Week New York Ships Out

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Richard J. Stevens, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Norfolk

June 2, 2010 - NEW YORK (NNS) -- Fleet Week New York came to a close June 2 as ships departed from the Empire State.

The 23rd annual Fleet Week New York welcomed more than 76,000 visitors, with an estimated 47,000 visiting Manhattan's Pier 88, where multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) was moored.

"I want to thank all of those who represent this fine city," said Capt. Jeffery C. Amick, commanding officer, USS Iwo Jima. Amick said it was an incredible visit for himself and the nearly 2,000 Sailors and Marines embarked aboard Iwo Jima.

"It was a very eventful week," said Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Monica R. Martinez, Navy Reserve Naval Security Force and Naval Medical Center San Diego. Martinez guarded the ship in port at the pier.

"This was my first time in New York and I met a lot of hospitable people," said Martinez. "I loved it and I had a great time. It was a good vacation from San Diego. I will come back to visit."

Some of the events this year included; the Parade of Ships entering the Hudson River, the kick-off Hard Rock Party, Iwo Jima Sunset Parade, Greenpoint Veterans Parade, closing bell for the NASDAQ and NYSE Markets, Memorial Day Parades and a Ground Zero Memorial Run.

Service members participated in several television shows including CBS Early Show, The View, NBC Today Show, and ABC's Good Morning America.

Manhattan resident Matthew Sheller said the military presence in town is good for the city.

"I think it's encouraging having the [Sailors and Marines] here in town," said Sheller. "I think sometimes New York needs a rejuvenation of American spirit."

"Fleet Week in New York City is a big deal, not just in New York City, but all around the country," said Rear Adm. Mark Boensel, commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic." This means that all the exposure that the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard get country-wide this week is really significant."

"The city gets to see the Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have been doing the job for this nation, this country, this city and around the world for the last 234 years," said Adm. J.C. Harvey Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces.

"I think I speak for everyone hear, when I say it is our fervent wish that all our men and women serving overseas return home safely and soon," said New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

2010 DACOWITS Committee Members Announced

The Department of Defense announced today selection of the new chairwoman and nine appointees to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS).

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services has provided invaluable insight into the issues facing women in the military services," said Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley. "Their work is vital to development of informed department policy."

Previously comprised of 15 members, the 2010 charter authorizes a total of 35 committee members. "This committee will be more robust to better address emerging and existing issues concerning our women in uniform, and Secretary Gates and I look forward to their continued efforts in this important endeavor," said Stanley.

The committee, established in 1951 during the Korean War by Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall, is an independent advisory committee that provides the department with advice and recommendations on matters and policies relating to the recruitment and retention, treatment, employment, integration, and well-being of highly qualified professional women in the armed forces.

"The department has made great progress in recognizing the contributions and concerns of women in military service. However, there is still work to be done," said Stanley. "The face and capability of our military has changed greatly, not just since the creation of DACOWITS almost 60 years ago, but in the last 10 years. I am thankful for the service of these new committee members and the wise counsel they will provide me and the secretary, to continue to identify and enhance the service of our female service members and as a result, our total force."

The initial incoming members are as follows; additional committee members will be appointed as approved:

• Retired Army Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy, Hilton Head Island, S.C. (chairwoman)
• Retired Army Reserve Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, Langley, Wash.
• Nancy D. Campbell, Washington, D.C.
• Retired Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Julia J. Cleckley, Springfield, Va.
• Ruby DeMesme, Oakton, Va.
• Retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada, Orlando, Fla.
• Deborah L. James, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
• Retired Army Brig. Gen. Maureen K. LeBoeuf, Cary, N.C.
• Retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Roberta Santiago, Castro Valley, Calif.
• Retired Marine Corps Col. Felipe "Phil" Torres, Helotes, Texas

DACOWITS members include prominent civilian women and men representing a distribution of demography, academia, industry, public service and other professions. Selection is on the basis of experience in the military, or with women's-related workforce issues.

Members are selected for a three-year term, without compensation, to perform a variety of duties including visiting military installations each year, conducting a review and evaluation of current research on military women, and developing an annual report with recommendations on these issues to service leadership and the secretary of defense.

More information about DACOWITS, including the newly-revised charter, can be found at http://dacowits.defense.gov .

DoD Certifies 6 Programs Under Nunn-McCurdy Law Breaches

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 2, 2010 - The Department of Defense has certified that six acquisition programs – including the Joint Strike Fighter and the DDG-1000 destroyer – should continue under Nunn-McCurdy legislation. The systems also include the Block 3 upgrade program for the Apache AH-64 helicopter, the advanced threat infrared countermeasures/common missile warning system, the wideband global satellite communications program and the remote mine hunting system.

Nunn-McCurdy legislation requires DoD to constantly estimate the cost of programs and compare it to the estimate of the cost when the program started.

When a program grows more than 50 percent beyond the original estimate, the legislation requires the DoD acquisition executive to certify to Congress "that the program is essential to national security, that there are no alternatives to the program which will provide acceptable capability," a senior defense official speaking on background said yesterday.

None of the programs on the Nunn-McCurdy list are surprises to the department or to Congress, the official said. DoD notified Congress that the programs were in Nunn-McCurdy breach 90 days ago.

The Apache Block 3 program is on the list because the department added new aircraft to a program that was refurbishing existing aircraft. "We're very satisfied with the program, but the additional aircraft pushed it into Nunn-McCurdy breach," the official said.

The satellite system is in breach because the department developed the system, then changed its mind and interrupted the buy. Now the system is moving forward again, but that has pushed the program into a Nunn-McCurdy breach, the official said.

The principle factor pushing the DDG-1000 destroyer over the Nunn-McCurdy threshold was the department reduced the buy from 10 ships to three.

The Joint Strike Fighter program began in 2001. Officials then estimated the per plane cost at $50 million. The program has had problems and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates restructured it last year. The cost per aircraft has risen to $92.4 million, triggering Nunn-McCurdy. Other aspects contributed to the breach: the Navy reduced its buy by 409 aircraft. Also, contractor labor, overhead rates and fees have increased significantly. This last is the single-largest contributor to cost growth, officials said. They called this cost growth unacceptable and vowed to drive those costs down.

DoD cannot wait until a program is in Nunn-McCurdy breach before acting. "We should know and do know ... well before it gets to 50 percent cost growth," the senior official said.

Officials, he said, must know early on when program costs exceed estimates, ask questions, and then act on what they learn.

"The Nunn-McCurdy 'bell' rings well after the managers of the enterprise should know about what is happening and should be acting," the senior official said. "It comes along late."

The legislation is good for taxpayer transparency, but there are other ways to do that, the official said.

"We need and are building better tools," he said.