Military News

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Support to Navy Spouses Topic of Latest Family Gram

From Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

June 9, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Educational and information resources, as well as support information for spouses are the subject of the latest "Family Gram," NAVADMIN 195/10 released June 2.

Navy spouses, often called the Navy's unsung heroes, endure frequent moves to unknown towns, long deployments and wartime fears.

The Navy provides an array of programs and resources to prepare spouses and family members to meet the unique challenges of military life.

Spouses who are new to the Navy, far from home or starting a new chapter in their life, may be unsure about what support is available or how to take advantage of it.

"Just call your nearest Fleet and Family Support Center," Kathy Turner, a program analyst at Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), said. "Even if you're too far from a base to come in, just call. The staff will be happy to answer your questions. In fact, when you're sure that there's no help available, that's a good time to call us. We'll get you headed in the right direction."

The Navy's goal is for spouses to be resilient, well-informed and adaptable to the Navy environment.

CNIC helps spouses reach this goal with its Child and Youth Program, Ombudsman Program and Fleet and Family Support Centers (FFSCs).

FFSCs assist military spouses in obtaining employment and maintaining a career.

They teach personal financial management, with topics ranging from car and home buying to the financial impact of deployments.

They provide guidance on making permanent change of station moves, helping a family learn about their new duty station, the cost of living, availability of housing, even the cultural changes they will encounter.

FFSCs also offer clinical counseling and classes on a variety of topics, including anger management, stress management and couples communication.

"A spouse may have effectively dealt with anger, sadness or stress when they lived in a familiar town with family and friends they have known their whole life," Turner said. "But, leaving this personal support system may be stressful and require adjustment. Fleet and Family Support Centers offer life skills classes and services that show how to adjust and even thrive in these situations."

Short-term clinical counseling helps Sailors and families obtain the tools necessary to cope with the challenges of daily living. The courses and the counseling are free. People are welcome to come in anytime, without an appointment or a referral from the command.

For children and youth ages four weeks to 18 years, the Navy's Child and Youth Programs provide high quality educational and recreational programs. Teams of caring, knowledgeable professionals provide developmentally appropriate programs that respond to the unique needs, abilities, and interests of children.

"Military children face more than the usual challenges of growing up, such as moving every few years and establishing new friendships, while worrying about family members who have been deployed," Chuck Clymer, of the Navy's Child and Youth Programs, said. "We provide children and families with trusted programs and services that assist in coping with these challenges, making the difference between stress and success."

Child development homes offer quality care in a loving, learning home environment for children ages 4 weeks to 12 years. The flexible hours, 24/7 care, low child-to-adult ratios and convenient locations make this a viable option for families whose "normal" workday is anything but normal.

School-age care programs provide quality before and after-school programs and camps for children ages six to 12 years in 86 centers worldwide.

Youth and teen programs offer developmental and recreational programs that provide a safe place to learn and grow.

The Navy's Family Ombudsmen are Navy spouses who volunteer to serve as a vital two-way communication link between the command and Navy families. They offer support and guidance to families in their role as the official liaison between the command and its families.

When families respond to the challenges of deployments, natural disasters or family emergencies, ombudsmen are there to provide guidance and to help them regain a sense of normalcy. Ombudsmen help families find the answers to their questions, promoting their resiliency and self reliance. Ombudsmen serve families of Active duty and Reservists, whether they deploy as a unit or as an individual augmentee; whether they live right on a base or hundreds of miles from any base.

"They serve with a genuine desire to help," Kathy Rock, manager of the Navy Family Ombudsman Program, said. "These are extraordinary times for spouses. Whether it is for surge or individual augmentee deployments, or even natural disasters, ombudsmen keep the information moving."

Airmen Participate in Unified Engagement 2010

By Air Force Capt. Tony Wickman
U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs

June 9, 2010 - U.S. Air Forces in Europe officials joined representatives from seven other countries here to participate in Unified Engagement 2010, which started June 7 and continues through June 11. The Unified Engagement seminar is the fourth Building Partnership Seminar USAFE officials have conducted with European partners as a transformation war game to explore future combined warfighting concepts and capabilities.

The U.S. delegation, led by Gen. Roger A. Brady, the USAFE commander, is working with counterparts from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden to strengthen relationships, and improve interoperability and future cooperation.

"These meetings have been good for us and our allies and have proven productive and valuable," Brady said. "These sessions serve as effective discussions and are opportunities to share ideas, and for military professionals, particularly air forces, to share their perspectives."

Brady said the relationships established and the work accomplished at the seminar will allow everyone to come together quickly in crisis and effectively face the challenge.

"Because of training seminars like Unified Engagement, the U.S. Air Force and our partners worldwide are better prepared for future operational challenges," the general said. "Estonia is a great NATO partner and they are graciously hosting this meeting." The seminar was an important opportunity to talk about operational endeavors, military advice and skills, said Brig. Gen. Valeri Saar, the Estonian air force commander, and the event co-host along with Maj. Gen. Jack Egginton, the USAFE Director of Air and Space Operations.

"The purpose of the meeting will address what role Estonia's air force should have, how to keep security in our region and how to be good neighbors," Saar said. "We will also look at new issues such as cyber security and energy, and the threats to them." An example of working closely with allies for interoperability and future missions is the training between U.S. aircraft and Estonian joint terminal attack controllers.

"We brought in a couple of F-15E Strike Eagles from [Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England] to Estonia to train with Estonian JTACs who are on their way to Afghanistan," Egginton said. "They are training and using the same procedures as used in Afghanistan that will ultimately protect the Afghan people and NATO troops on the ground."

During the Unified Engagement seminar, participants act in the role of a multinational military staff, and consider possible requirements and concepts for operating together to meet potential future challenges. The participants look through the spectrum of operations from peace enforcement and humanitarian relief situations to cooperative security and stability operations.

Wisconsin Guard Marathon Team runner-up at national meet

June 9, 2010 - Five of the seven Wisconsin National Guard members to take part in a National Guard marathon last month qualified for this year's All-Guard team - a first for Wisconsin.

Attending the National Guard-Lincoln Track Club Marathon in Lincoln, Neb. on May 1 were: Capt. Mike Western of Waverly (Iowa), 128th Air Control Squadron; Capt. Seth Kaste of Sun Prairie, 128th Air Control Squadron; Staff Sgt. Jason Kirch of Prairie du Sac, 106th Engineer Detachment; Tech. Sgt. Melanie Peters of Windsor, 115th Fighter Wing; Tech. Sgt. Mike Zeigle of Sun Prairie, team captain, 115th Fighter Wing; Master Sgt. LeRoy DePas of Kaukauna, 115th Fighter Wing; and Spc. Nathan Lee of Eau Claire, 106th Engineer Detachment.

Forty-seven states and territories sent Guard teams to this year's race, the National Guard marathon championships and the qualifying race to select the All-Guard Marathon Team. Western, Kirch, Kaste, Zeigle, and Peters all qualified for this year's All-Guard team, which competes in race events throughout the country and participates in recruiting and retention activities.

Western was the top Wisconsin finisher with a time of 2:53:33. Kirch came in at 3:02:48, followed by Kaste at 3:05:16. The combined finish times of Western, Kirch and Kaste put the Wisconsin team in second place overall out of the 47 states and territories competing. Wisconsin won the event in 1988.

Peters finished fourth in the 35-39 age group at 3:34:32; Lee finished in 4:17:00, and Ziegle took first place in the 55-59 age group with a time of 3:07:07. DePas competed in the half-marathon event.

At the same time a parallel event, also sponsored by the Lincoln Track Club, took place at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. National Guard runners in that race were also eligible to qualify for this year's All-Guard Team using their finishing times at that race.

Western, Kaste and Kirch are carrying on a tradition of running together as a team. Western and Kaste ran together on their high school team in Cadott, Wis. In college, Western, Kaste and Kirch ran as members of the University of Wisconsin-Stout team.

Obama Applauds New U.N. Sanctions on Iran

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 9, 2010 - President Barack Obama today lauded the U.N. Security Council's decision to impose new sanctions on Iran for violating its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations.

"This resolution will put in place the toughest sanctions ever faced by the Iranian government, and it sends an unmistakable message about the international community's commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons," Obama said in the Diplomatic Room at the White House.

Obama noted strong international support for the sanctions, supported in a 12-3 vote by nations from the United States, Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America, including Russia and China.

"These sanctions show the united view of the international community that a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is in nobody's interest, and that nations must be held accountable for challenging the global non-proliferation regime," he said.

"Today's sanctions are yet another signal that if the Iranian government continues to undermine the NPT and the peace that it protects, then Iran will find itself more isolated, less prosperous and less secure," Obama said.

The new sanctions restrict Iran's nuclear activities, its ballistic missile program, and, for the first time, its conventional military, the president noted. They also will put a new framework in place to stop Iranian smuggling and to crack down on Iranian banks and financial transactions.

Obama emphasized international resolution to ensuring the sanctions are "vigorously enforced."

"Yet this day was not inevitable," the president said, emphasizing his administration's efforts to use diplomatic channels and engagement to address Tehran's "deeply troubling" activities.

"We offered the opportunity of a better relationship between Iran and the international community -- one that reduced Iran's political isolation, and increased its economic integration with the rest of the world," he said. "In short, we offered the Iranian government the prospect of a better future for its people, if -- and only if -- it lives up to its international obligations."

Obama emphasized Iran's right to access peaceful nuclear energy. "But with those rights come responsibilities," he said. "And time and again, the Iranian government has failed to meet those responsibilities."

The president expressed hope that Iran will change course and live up to its NPT obligations. "These sanctions do not close the door on diplomacy. Iran continues to have the opportunity to take a different and better path," Obama said. "I would like nothing more than to reach the day when the Iranian government fulfills its international obligations -- a day when these sanctions are lifted, previous sanctions are lifted, and the Iranian people can finally fulfill the greatness of the Iranian nation."

USS Princeton Deploys in Support of Counterpiracy and Maritime Presence

From Naval Surface Force, U. S. Pacific Fleet, Public Affairs Office

June 9, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) will depart San Diego on an independent deployment to the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility in the North Arabian Gulf June 10.

During deployment, Princeton will conduct operations in support of counterpiracy efforts, engage in oil platform defense, and project maritime power in the Gulf.

"We're looking forward to the upcoming challenges of deployment across the whole spectrum of warfare areas," said Capt. Rich Haidvogel, commanding officer. "The crew has been training hard, and we are ready to go."

Princeton will deploy with a crew of approximately 30 officers and 300 enlisted Sailors. The crew will be augmented by Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 45, Detachment 2, who will provide aerial support with two SH-60B helicopters.

The ship last deployed in 2008 to the Persian Gulf with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group. Upon return, Princeton underwent a scheduled maintenance availability for the remainder of 2008. In 2009, the ship was certified in all warfare areas through an engaged training cycle, successfully establishing the ship and crew as ready for deployment.

Princeton helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within 3rd Fleet's 50-million square mile area of responsibility in the eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the nation's Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.

Citadel Protect 2010 Training Reinforces Force Protection Importance

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristin L. Grover, Navy Public Affairs Element East

June 9, 2010 - NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy continues to improve its force protection posture at home and overseas through series of training events, tabletop exercises, conferences and major exercises.

These efforts will culminate Oct. 12 - the 10-year anniversary of the attack on USS Cole (DDG 67) - with the Anti-Terrorism Flag Summit action plan led by Adm. J.C. Harvey Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

"We are committed to conducting training and exercises throughout the year to identify any gaps or seams in our force protection at home and overseas," said Capt. Sam McCormick, director for fleet antiterrorism at U.S. Fleet Forces Command. "We are working this issue all the way down to bare metal. It's across everything; it's manning, resourcing, technologies, command and control, policies and doctrine - the entire spectrum is being looked at."

One such event, held recently at Naval Station Norfolk, is Citadel Protect 2010 (CP10). CP10 is a U.S. Fleet Forces Command and Navy Installations Command-led training event designed to asses the Navy's capability to protect ships against various potential threats in Navy ports.

"This exercise was a tactical-level exercise specifically focused at testing our tactics, techniques and procedures at the waterfront scene," said McCormick.

The training presented Sailors with different scenarios, which required them to respond quickly and effectively. The use of realistic simulations and Hollywood-style special effects, including pyrotechnics, added to the authenticity of the training experience.

"The exercise was extremely beneficial," said Capt. Kelly M. Johnson, commander, Naval Station Norfolk. "Any time training is conducted using realistic scenarios, first responders learn to adapt and overcome in an ever-changing environment."

CP10 successfully determined the Navy's capabilities for identifying both strengths and weaknesses in ashore/afloat integration.

"Ultimately, prevention of future attacks will come down to the individual Sailor and their ability to recognize and respond to a threat.," said McCormick. "It is important that we make the training as realistic and authentic as possible."

"Having the opportunity to utilize learned skills and test reaction time not only benefits the Navy, but it also benefits individual Sailors," Johnson said. "They gain the confidence necessary to act in stressful situations."

Since the attack on Cole, the Navy is making significant strides in improving its force protection.The attack took place in a non-Navy port outside the U.S., making it slightly different than the scenarios presented during CP10. However, important lessons were learned from both situations.

Advanced training programs like CP10 help the Navy as it constantly strives to enhance its readiness, and the lessons learned will help shape future planning. This month, Harvey also hosted the annual Executive Agent for Antiterrorism Conference. The conference drew a cross-section of experts on security within the Navy. Teams were assigned to different portions of the findings from the various scenarios exercised throughout the year to collaborate and produce an action plan, which Harvey will brief to flag officers in October.

SecAF impressed with Airmen, B-2

by Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

6/9/2010 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley met with Airmen, and base and community leaders, and received a first-hand look at the B-2 Spirit mission during his visit here June 8.

"I've been looking forward to this for many years, wanting to see the B-2 at its home here at Whiteman," Secretary Donley said. "It's been a great visit, seeing some great examples of total force collaboration between the active and the Air Guard personnel here, operating side-by-side to support this aircraft.

"There is such a great sense of teamwork here and ingenuity that has kept this aircraft at a high state of readiness," Secretary Donley continued. "(The B-2) has undertaken lots of innovative modifications driven by Airmen with good ideas and implemented by Airmen with great skill at a good cost to the tax payers."

Secretary Donley was impressed with not only the quality of the Airmen, but also the aircraft.

"The aircraft has improved, even from the great capability that it provided when it was first fielded," Secretary Donley said. "It has continued to evolve over the years and remains a cutting-edge capability for our Air Force and the nation."

Secretary Donley said he was pleased with Air Force Global Strike Command's growth thus far.

"The establishment of Global Strike was one of the most important decisions that General (Norton) Schwartz and I made when we first came into these leadership positions in 2008," he said. "We are very pleased with the results so far, and I know (Lt. Gen. Frank) Klotz is very pleased with the integration of the bomber and missile forces that he has brought together in Global Strike Command.

"We are on the right path, and we are looking forward to continuing to gain the benefits of this focus on the nuclear mission as we go forward," he concluded.

U.S. military participates in Berlin air show

by Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/9/2010 - BERLIN (AFNS) -- Approximately 90 U.S. military aircrew and support members from bases in Europe and the U.S. are participating in the International Aerospace Exhibition 2010 Berlin Air Show, here June 8.

Air Force officials are showcasing the B-1B Lancer, C-130J Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, C-5 Galaxy, KC-135 Stratotanker and B-52 Stratofortress to an expected 200,000 visitors to this year's air show.

"Our participation here contributes to a number of U.S. security and foreign policy interests," said Col. Steve Vlasak, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe director of safety. "It promotes standardization and interoperability of equipment with our NATO allies and other potential coalition partners, and highlights the strength of the U.S. commitment to the security of Europe. The U.S. participation enhances the U.S. and German military-to-military relationship as well as fosters good relations and better understanding among nations."

Touted as having the largest participation in its 100-year history, the Berlin air show features 1,153 exhibitors from 47 countries, including the U.S., presenting advanced technology.

"We are excited to be here," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Ernst, the European Command J-5 Security Cooperations Branch Trade Show coordinator. "This is an opportunity for us to showcase some of our aircraft as well as our sharp servicemembers. It will allow us to provide a glimpse on what the American military is all about."

Preparation for this event includes pooling resources, such as people, aircraft and equipment from U.S. military units from around the world.

"We worked really hard in ensuring we showcase the best of the best," Commander Ernst said. "The teamwork is really topnotch. As soon as we landed here, our people worked around the clock, from taxiing aircraft to setting up the displays, and ensuring security of our airplanes. "

Colonel Vlasak said he is excited about the event and hopes that the Berlin air show visitors will gain appreciation and knowledge about the U.S. military.

"We hope to provide an enjoyable show for everyone," he said. "Today is only the beginning. We expect the Berlin air show visitors to come and see our finest aircraft and meet the great men and women of the U.S. military."

Reservists talk to Congress about aerial spray mission

by Col. Bob Thompson
Office of Air Force Reserve

6/9/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Six reservists fresh from the fight to save the Gulf of Mexico coast from one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history briefed congressional members and staffers here June 7 and 8.

As part of the military's only fixed-wing aerial spray team, the Airmen flew specially configured C-130 Hercules aircraft 100 feet above the water and sprayed an oil dispersant to break the oil slick into smaller droplets. Then, the detergent-like dispersant pushed the droplets down to the microorganisms that eat the oil.

"On April 28 at 10:30 p.m., we got the call," said Maj. Drew Tancer, a pilot and the operations officer who led the first-responders from Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio. "Fourteen to 15 hours later, we were on scene."

Major Tancer led a team of about 60 reservists and two C-130 aircraft from the 910th Airlift Wing. Working in careful coordination with the Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the Reserve aerial spray team covered more than 30,000 acres with oil dispersant in the six weeks they were engaged.

The congressional staffers listened to the reservists' brief, and then asked questions about the oil dispersant and the aerial spraying equipment.

"An oil dispersant is used to mitigate the environmental disaster," said Maj. Mark Breidenbaugh, an entomologist from the 910th AW. "It is like a detergent soap that breaks the oil up and moves it under the water so it stays in the water column. This speeds up the natural process that breaks down the oil."

From May 1 until the reservists left Mississippi on June 4, they flew 92 missions and sprayed nearly 150,000 gallons of oil dispersant on the Gulf of Mexico's spill area.

"It comes down to do you want to fight it on the beach or fight it on the water?" said Col. Fritz Linsenmeyer, the 910th AW commander. "The products we use are pre-approved by the EPA and Coast Guard. And, although this spray is like a soap, you wouldn't put it in the water unless you had to. We want to do anything we can to protect the coast as much as possible from this disaster."

For nearly two decades, members of the 910th AW have participated in oil-spill cleanup exercises with the Coast Guard in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Aerial spray is a unique mission conducted by members of the Air Force Reserve, and the Youngstown Airmen have developed close partnerships with other first-responders and insight into disaster response operations.

"After providing the first response, our military aerial spray operators have now returned to home station," Colonel Linsenmeyer said. "This is normal for these situations."

Rear Adm. Mary Landry, the federal on-scene coordinator for the oil spill response, signed a memo releasing the Air Force Reserve planes and people from the spray mission.

Under a transition plan, civilian planes are taking over the delivery of oil dispersant in the gulf waters.

"The military gets things started and now civilian contractors are flying the continuing operations," Colonel Linsenmeyer said. "But, if we're needed to go back, our team is ready at a moment's notice."

"We're proud of what we have contributed to our nation and our communities," Major Breidenbaugh said.

(Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr., of the 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office, contributed to this story.)

U.S., Bangladesh prepare to kick off Pacific Angel mission

by 1st Lt. Chris Hoyler
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/9/2010 - JESSORE, Bangladesh (AFNS) -- More than 55 servicemembers from the active-duty, Air Guard and Reserve components arrived here June 10 to begin preparation for the third iteration of Operation Pacific Angel, a U.S. and Bangladesh humanitarian operation scheduled here through June 16.

Operation Pacific Angel is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance operation conducted in the Pacific area of responsibility to support U.S. Pacific Command's capacity-building efforts. This humanitarian and civic assistance program is aimed at improving military civic cooperation between the United States and countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

"Our U.S. joint team is very excited to build a long-lasting relationship with the Bangladesh air force and the entire nation through these civic assistance programs," said Lt. Col. Scott Long, the Pacific Angel mission commander from 13th Air Force at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. "The Pacific Angel 10-3 mission will consist of several concurrent civil-military assistance activities, in addition to medical care for local citizens, and engineering projects for a local school. We'll also conduct medical subject-matter expert exchanges to improve the knowledge and processes for U.S. and Bangladesh military personnel."

A Hawaii Air National Guard KC-135 Stratotanker arrived at Dhaka International Airport, Bangladesh, with civil engineers and medical officials including doctors, dentists, optometrists, primary care and women's health specialists and subject-matter experts in the fields of hospital administration and neonatology.

The U.S. military, the Bangladesh air force, the nongovernmental Smiling Sun Clinic and the local healthcare community here will work together during the mission.

Operation Pacific Angel missions were previously conducted in the Philippines in February and Vietnam in May. The final iteration will take place in Sri Lanka in August.

The U.S. and Bangladesh militaries have a long history of working in partnership for humanitarian assistance and medical training, and have also conducted air, land and sea exercises.

Operation Pacific Angel is a Pacific Air Forces operation led by 13th Air Force officials.

SURFPAC and ATG Present Training Manual Updates at Waterfront Symposium

By Lt. Alec Zirkenbach, Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs

June 9, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) presented several innovative updates to the Surface Force Training Manual (SFTM) at a waterfront symposium hosted by staff from Afloat Training Group San Diego (ATGSD) June 8.

The familiarization seminar, the third in a series held in fleet concentration areas throughout the Pacific Fleet, introduced SFTM 1E revisions to more than 250 San Diego-based Surface Warfare leadership and training team members. ATGSD staff briefed the advancements to mission training and certification areas throughout the day.

"The Surface Force Training Manual revisions started with inputs from mission area subject matter experts and the ATG trainers—the most knowledgeable about the training and certifications at the deckplate level," said Capt. Mike Taylor, commanding officer, ATGSD, who delivered opening remarks. "This revision was not an individual effort. The improvements were an accumulation of contributions from commands across the fleet, outside agencies and staff from ATG commands around the world."

SFTM revision 1E is the product of a comprehensive two-year review of all 22 training mission areas designed to reduce the administrative burden on ships while increasing the rigor of certification assessment during shortened training phases. Significant updates include extending most certification periodicities and lowering the continuous certification requirement to 80 percent (previously 100 percent by applying single point of failure criteria.

"As operational requirements for Surface Warriors continue to grow, it is becoming increasingly important to optimize shipboard training," said Capt. Kurush Morris, Naval Surface Force, Pacific Fleet training and readiness officer and Surface Warfare Enterprise training lead. "These new updates enable the Surface Fleet to execute the nation's maritime strategy, meet combatant commander's tasking and achieve necessary efficiencies while maintaining the highest level of proficiency across all warfare areas."

SFTM revision 1E rollout is expected to begin force-wide in August.

"This revision should shorten our administrative overhead period and let us focus on training areas that need remediation, instead of just 'trying to get a check in the box'," said Gas Turbine System Technician Senior Chief James Ashton, USS Halsey (DDG 97) Engineering Department leading chief petty officer. "I'm looking forward to seeing the published changes."

USS Mahan Participates in SUBFAM Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Daniel Gay, Naval Public Affairs Support Element East Detachment Southeast

June 9, 2010 - USS MAHAN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Mahan (DDG 72) participated in a submarine familiarization (SUBFAM) exercise June 5 as part of the Southeast Anti-Submarine Warfare Integration Training Initiative (SEASWITI) exercise 10-3, held June 4-11 off the eastern coast of Florida.

The exercise gave watchstanders a chance to see and track a submarine in a variety of conditions.

"This is an opportunity for our watch standers to become familiar with what they might see if there really was a submarine out there," said Cmdr. Kurt Mondlak, Mahan's commanding officer.

Mahan's watchstanders routinely train for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) but getting up close and personal with a real submarine doesn't happen too often.

"This kind of training is pretty cool," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Robert Dannheim. "We actually got to see a sub come to the surface and watch it submerge and that's not something we see very often."

Mondlak said that the exercise is about more than just seeing the submarine. "This is definitely not something we get to do every day, and it's important because this lets the lookouts see a sub in many different configurations, periscope up, operation of different antennas, and it also shows them what to look for when the sub submerges."

Mahan's commanding officer also explained why this type of training is important.

"This is valuable training and is better training for the lookouts than studying pictures," said Mondlak "There are different dynamic properties involved, like seeing the different wakes the sub makes, which is something that you just can't get from pictures."

The importance of the SUBFAM training was not lost on the lookouts.

"I feel confident that if I was standing a watch, this training would definitely help me know what I was looking for so I could respond faster and in the right way," said Dannheim.

The SUBFAM exercise was part of SEASWITI 10-3, an exercise where ships from several different countries are working together to improve their ASW readiness and proficiency.

Preparation Aids Financial Stability During Deployments

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

June 9, 2010 - Preparation and a detailed spending plan can help servicemembers and their families dodge the financial pitfalls that can spring up during and after a deployment, the Pentagon's personal finance director said.

"A deployment is a very demanding and intense time, and the servicemember and family need to be focused on their specific missions," Dave Julian said today in an interview with American Forces Press Service. "It's hard to do that if there's a big financial situation lurking."

The most important step military families can take prior to a deployment is to sit down together and develop a spending plan, Julian said. The plan should include what the existing bills are, who will pay them, how they'll be paid and where the money needs to be sent. Installation personal financial managers and Military OneSource consultants can offer help with developing a plan, he added.

To facilitate financial transactions, Julian recommended both spouses be listed on all accounts with equal access and suggested they share usernames and passwords prior to a deployment. For single servicemembers, powers of attorney can give a family member permission to handle some types of financial transactions. The legal office is the best place to go for help with these documents, he noted.

In any case, servicemembers and their families should notify their financial institutions and creditors of an upcoming deployment. They may be able to get a break on car insurance or on interest rates, Julian said.

Another avenue for financial relief is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This act has provisions that can, for instance, cap interest rates for some debts incurred prior to being activated for duty at 6 percent or prevent court actions from taking place during a deployment. Certain provisions, such as the 6 percent cap, apply only to reserve component members, Julian noted, so it's important to be aware of the guidelines.

The pre-deployment discussion also should include how pay will change in conjunction with a deployment, Julian said, noting that in many cases servicemembers will receive a "sizeable increase" due to imminent danger pay and combat zone tax exclusion, which makes pay in theater tax-free.

"The plan should address what should be done with the extra money," he advised.

An increase in pay, while fortunate, can turn into a liability if families change their spending habits during a deployment without taking a post-deployment drop in pay into account, Julian noted.

"There's a temptation to adjust spending behaviors to accommodate the increase," he said. "People may make purchases that have monthly payments that are based on the increased deployment pay. That can present a problem later on."

To avoid overspending, Julian suggested people maintain their pre-deployment standard of living during the deployment and earmark extra money to pay down debt or stockpile money for the future in programs such as the Thrift Savings Plan or the Savings Deposit Plan. Deployed servicemembers in a tax-free combat zone are able to contribute up to $49,000 to the TSP, which includes an annual limit of $16,500 in tax-deferred contributions.

"Most servicemembers are young, which is the best time to invest," Julian said. "There's no better investment/savings vehicle than the Thrift Savings Plan, a 401K-style plan. I strongly encourage families to invest in that. Make the money you make while deployed work for you."

The Savings Deposit Plan enables deployed servicemembers to earn a guaranteed 10 percent annual return on up to $10,000 invested.

"It's a great deal," Julian said. "You can't find a guaranteed 10 percent return anywhere."

Pre-deployment servicemembers also should broach the difficult topic of what to do in the event of an injury or death, Julian advised. Families could be the recipients of sizeable lump-sum amounts -- $100,000 to $400,000 or even greater -- in the event of traumatic injury or worse to the servicemember. It's important to understand what those benefits are and what the expectations are in regards to the money, he said.

And to ensure money ends up in the right hands, servicemembers should check with their personnel office to ensure beneficiaries are up to date, Julian stressed, particularly if there's a new spouse or family member in the household.

Julian also emphasized the need to establish an emergency fund with a minimum of $500. "You can have the best plan in the world, but some contingencies may happen on deployment that you didn't anticipate," he said, noting that unexpected incidents, such as a car breaking down or a basement flooding, can arise during a deployment.

This contingency money should help eliminate the need for high-interest, short term loans such as pay day loans. Instead, if needed, Julian suggested servicemembers and their families seek assistance from a service relief society, such as Air Force Aid, Army Emergency Relief, or the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society. On-base banks and credit unions are trusted agents as well.

"There are places to go for help that are inside the gate," he said.

Julian said the best advice he can give deploying servicemembers is to attend any and all pre-deployment briefings.

"They're the best one-stop shopping to get connected with the right resources and people," he said.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 9, 2010

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY

Gray Research, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., is being awarded a sole-source modification to continue performing work under its previously competitively awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (W9113M-05-D-0003). Gray Research will continue providing data management services for the Missile Defense Data Center. The work will be performed in Huntsville, Ala. The contract period of performance is being extended by six months to March 31, 2011; the contract face value is being increased to $134,587,798 from the previous value of $105,026,313. Obligations will be made using fiscal 2010 and 2011 research, development, test and evaluation #0400 funds. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.

ARMY

L-3, Fuzing & Ordance Systems, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, was awarded on June 4 a $62,357,259 firm-fixed-price contract for M734A1 and M783 fuze production option quantity. Work is to be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 24, 2015. Two bids were solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command AMSCC-JML-CA, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-10-C-0015).

GM GDLS Defense Group, LLC, JV, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on June 7 a $45,780,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to increase contractor logistics support delivery order #0019 via Modification E4. The contractor shall provide additional material support for contractor logistics support for Stryker family of vehicles in the garrison locations. The period of performance is from March 1, 2010 through Feb. 28, 2011. Work is to be performed in Fort Lewis, Wash. (28 percent); Auburn, Wash. (20 percent); London, Canada (20 percent); Sterling Heights, Mich. (8 percent); Shelby, Mich. (7 percent); Germany (6 percent); Fort Wainwright, Alaska (5 percent); Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. (3 percent); Schofield Barracks, Hawaii (2 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas (1 percent), with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center., CCTA-IL, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZ-07-D-M112).

R.C. Construction Co., Inc., Greenwood, Miss., was awarded on June 4 a $37,517,930 firm-fixed-price contract to construct a new taxiway extension to include expansion joints, sealants, lighting, etc.; a new aircraft parking apron to include expansion joints, lighting, electrical, communications, etc.; and a new load area to include expansion joints, lighting, electrical, communications, etc. The project will also include a load crew shelter, flare facility, and a munitions holding area. Work is to be performed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., with an estimated completion date of July 15, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with eight bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-10-C-0075).

Contrack International Inc., McLean, Va., was awarded on June 4 a $21,648,891 firm-fixed-price contract to design/construct fiscal 2009 strategic airlift apron & fy 2010 tactical airlift apron. Work is to be performed in Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 13, 2011. Thirty-seven bids were solicited with 14 bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-10-C-0034).

Navistar Defense, LLC, Warrenville, Ill., was awarded on June 2 a $20,028,670 firm-fixed-price contract for 77 general tank trucks and 80 water tanker trucks. Work is to be performed in West Point, Miss., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army TACOM LCMC, CCTA-ADBA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-D-G097).

American International Contractors, Inc., Arlington, Va., was awarded on June 3 an $18,097,116 firm-fixed-price contract to construct a munitions storage area with eight concrete igloos, four storage pads, and related site improvements and utilities. Work is to be performed in Al Udeid Air Force Base, Qatar, with an estimated completion date of July 12, 2011. Thirty bids were solicited with seven bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District, CETAM-CT-M, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-10-C-0033).

Colt Defense, LLC, West Hartford, Conn., was awarded on June 3 a $17,578,848 firm-fixed-price contract for 3,108 M240B machine guns. Work is to be performed in West Hartford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 28, 2012. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with two bids received. T ACOM Contracting Center, Warren, CCTA-ASA-A, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0175).

NCI Information Systems, Inc., Reston, Va., was awarded on June 2 a $12,794,520 time-and-material contract. The contractor shall provide a wide range of diverse services in the areas of management, logistical and technical engineering support to Program Executive Office Soldier; Project Manager (PM) soldier protection and individual equipment; PM Soldier sensors and lasers; PM Solider warrior; and PM Solider weapons with performance through Oct. 31, 2010. Work is to be performed in Middle River, Md. (50 percent), and Fort Belvoir, Va. (50 percent), with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-07-D-0014).

L3 Communications Aerospace, LLC, Madison, Miss., was awarded on June 1 a $9,246,999 time-and-material contract for logistical support in the areas of aircraft workers, aircraft painters, and other areas. Work is to be performed in Corpus Christi, Texas, with an estimated completion date of July 26, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with one bid received. Corpus Christi Army Depot, Corpus, Christi, Texas, is the contracting activity (GS-10F-0328N).

Knight's Armament Co., Titusville, Fla., was awarded on June 4 a $9,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for 803 M110 semi-automatics sniper weapon systems. Work is to be performed in Titusville, Fla., with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2011. One bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52H09-10-C-0061).

FED-CON A, JV, Marysville, Calif., was awarded on June 3 an $8,740,000 firm-fixed-price contract. The Seattle district of engineers has a requirement to provide the Army with all labor, materials, tools, equipment and construction services for modification of an existing levee; the construction of a detention pond; construction of an 800 linear feet pump channel; installation of a motor control center with four sections and 1000 amp rating; construction of levee ramps; and other related features. All the requisite work is part of the Elwah River restoration projects in Port Angeles, Wash. Work is to be performed in Port Angeles, Wash., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 11, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with nine bids received. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, Seattle, Wash., is the contracting activity (W912DW-10-C-0016).

Grandis, Inc., Milpitas, Calif., was awarded on June 7 an $8,611,519 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This program relates to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, spin-torque-transfer random access memory technologies program. The goal of this program is to develop materials and process to fully exploit the spin-torque-transfer phenomenon for creating universal memory elements, which exhibit scalability for high capacity of storage per unit volume; high read/write speed; compatibility with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor processes; and non-volatility. Work is to be performed in Milpitas, Calif. (86.1 percent); Charlottesville, Va. (9.3 percent); and Tuscaloosa, Ala. (4.6 percent), with an estimated completion date of Oct. 20, 2012. Bids were solicited via broad agency announcement with nine bids received. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-09-C-0023).

Old Veteran Construction, Inc., Chicago, Ill., was awarded on June 1 an $8,024,837 firm-fixed-price contract to design and construct a new Armed Forces Reserve Center in Muscatine, Iowa. Work is to be performed in Muscatine, Iowa, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited through the Army Single Face to Industry Web site with 40 bids received. U.S. Property and Fiscal Office for Iowa, Johnsonville, Iowa, is the contracting activity (W912LP-10-C-0003).

BAE Systems National Security Solutions, Inc., San Diego, Calif., was awarded on May 28 a $7,727,893 firm-fixed-price contract for base surfaces and reflective surface high resolution terrain elevation date. Work is to be performed in Pennsylvania (83 percent); Maryland (12 percent); Virginia (1 percent); Wisconsin (3 percent); and Alabama (1 percent), with an estimated completion date of May 27, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with six bids received. National Geospatial Agency, ACSM, Arnold, Mo., is the contracting activity (NMA302-03-D-0004).

Turtle Reef Holdings, LLC, Alexandria, Va., was awarded on June 1 a $7,599,869 firm-fixed-price contract to provide all personnel, equipment, tools, materials, supervision, and other items and non-personal services necessary to perform technical and functional expert support for aspects of establishing and maintaining the Army Resource Management Tool operations. Work is to be performed in Alexandria, Va., with an estimated completion date of June 1, 2013. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with one bid received. National Capitol Region Contracting Center, Alexandria, Va., is the contracting activity (W91WAW-10-C-0056).

MDT Armor Corp., Auburn, Ala., was awarded on June 4 a $7,188,615 firm-fixed-price contract for 50 Armored Land Rover Combat Defenders. Work is to be performed in Auburn, Ala., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 21, 2011. One sole-source bid was solicited with one bid received. TACOM-Warren, CCTA-ADB-A, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-C-0389).

Garco Construction, Inc., Spokane, Wash., was awarded on June 1 a $6,609,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the replacement of the aviation fuel system at Fairchild Air Force Base, Spokane, Wash. Work is to be performed in Spokane, Wash., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 15, 2010. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site with six bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, Seattle, Wash., is the contracting activity (W912DW-10-C-0018).

The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., dba Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, Mass., was awarded on June 4 a $5,784,973 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for an inertial doppler radio locator (IDRL) project. The IDRL is a time space position system for dismounts and land vehicles. The project includes research, development, demonstration and delivery of a highly accurate IDRL prototype system, specifically directed towards dismounted soldiers and ground vehicles. Project is awarded under the broad agency announcement for advanced instrumentation systems technology in support of the Test Resource Management Office/Office of the Secretary of Defense RDT&E/S7T program. Work is to be performed in Cambridge, Mass., with estimated completion date of March 3, 2013. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with nine bids received. Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (W90066-10-C-0025).

NAVY

BAE Systems, Technology Solutions & Service, Rockville, Md. (N65236-10-D-6824); Science Applications International Corp., San Diego, Calif. (N65236-10-D-6825); and SkillStorm Government Integrated Services, dba SGIS, Tampa, Fla. (N65236-10-D-6826), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price multiple award contract for Marine Corps Mass Notification System support services. Each contractor will be awarded $8,500 at the time of award. Services and materials that may be ordered under these contracts include site surveys, integration, installation and technical support. These contracts are for a base period of one year and four additional option years. When combined, the aggregate value of all task orders awarded over the life of these three contracts will be approximately $45,329,303. These three contractors will compete for the task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. Work will be performed in Japan (33 percent); California (20 percent); North Carolina (16 percent); Iraq (6 percent); South Carolina (5 percent); Hawaii (4 percent); Virginia (4 percent); Arizona (2 percent); Korea (2 percent); Georgia (2 percent); Washington, D.C. (2 percent); Florida (2 percent); Guam (2 percent); and is expected to be completed by June 2011. If all options are exercised, work could continue until June 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The multiple award contracts were competitively procured by full and open competition via the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command E-commerce and the Federal Business Opportunities Web sites, with six offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic is the contracting activity.

Alion Science and Technology Corp., Washington, D.C., is being awarded a $7,434,716 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the continued professional support services to Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems 1.0, 4.0, 7.0, and system integration program managers highly interrelated product lines in the task areas of program management services; foreign military sales services; business financial management services; acquisition management services and configuration management/integrated logistics support services. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $25,989,678. Work will be performed in Washington, D.C. (96 percent); San Diego, Cailf. (2 percent); Mount Laurel, N.J. (1 percent); Norfolk, Va. (1 percent); and is expected to be completed by June 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $743,213 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-5130).

Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $6,346,710 cost-plus-incentive-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) for the continued development of technical data products associated with integration of the Comprehensive Automated Maintenance Environment Optimized (CAMEO) system into the V-22 aircraft. The CAMEO will provide an adaptable joint service technical capability that supports continuous integration of technical data and automation of operational, maintenance and logistical processes to improve aircraft readiness and reduce sustainment costs for the war fighter community. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pa. (50 percent); Fort Worth, Texas (40 percent); New River, N.C. (10 percent); and is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., received a $14,734,298 contract modification which will provide for the Reliability Information Analysis Center to research, test, develop and deliver architectural drawings; system/subsystems/infrastructure/prototype assessments; system alternatives recommendations; feasibility studies; interoperability testing results; surveys; and infrastructure implementation designs, schedules and summary reports. At this time, $500,000 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005, DO 0142).

Wyle Laboratories, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded an $8,977,332 contract which will provide for research, test, development and delivery of program schedules/updates; engineering configuration change proposals; feasibility studies; and site survey analysis and recommendations. At this time, $28,950 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (HC1047-05-D-4005, DO0131).

Specpro Technical Services, LLC, San Antonio, Texas, was awarded a $7,000,000 contract which will provide non-personal services purchase request and financial management requirements for the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment Budget Office. Tasks will consist of task order execution oversight; preparation of contract data requirements; utilization of various data systems; investment funds financial data services; and administrative support to the purchase request and financial management processes. At this time, $1,200,000 has been obligated. AFCEE/ACX, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, is the contracting activity (FA8903-10-D-8001).

National Guard (In Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of June 08, 2010

This week the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Navy and Coast Guard announced an increase. The net collective result is 664 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 93,476; Navy Reserve, 6,225; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 18,359; Marine Corps Reserve, 6,193; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 841. This brings the total National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been activated to 125,094, including both units and individual augmentees.

A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel who are currently activated may be found on line at http://www.defense.gov/news/d20100608ngr.pdf

Wyoming Guard Called Up For Fremont County Flooding

Wyoming National Guard

June 9, 2010 - In the largest state activation of the Wyoming National Guard in more than 10 years, more than 200 soldiers and airmen are working around the clock to protect residents and their property against floods in Fremont County.

The Wyoming National Guard has been filling and placing sandbags in the county since June 7. Fremont County requested the Guard's assistance through the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security.

Gov. Dave Freudenthal has signed three authorizations to increase the number of soldiers and airmen since June 7. The original authorization was for 40 National Guard troops. The most recent authorization, signed today, brings the total to 223 Army and Air Guard personnel in Fremont County by this evening.

"The Wyoming National Guard is proud of its dual state and federal mission and our soldiers and airmen are ready and able to assist Wyoming residents when the call comes," said Maj. Gen. Ed Wright, Wyoming's adjutant general.

"The call came Monday," Wright said, "and we are diligently working to ensure Fremont County residents remain safe. We also are monitoring other areas of the state and are prepared to assist other Wyoming residents, if needed."

Having the state's National Guardsmen on the job "allows us to let our volunteers go back to focusing on protecting their own homes and families, instead of worrying about the bigger picture," said Craig Haslam, incident commander for the Fremont County Flood 2010. "We have been nothing short of impressed with their work ethic, attitude, and respect for the situation and for the other volunteers."

NSPS Transition Well Under Way, Official Tells Congress

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 9, 2010 - The transition of Defense Department civilian employees from the National Security Personnel System is proceeding, with 75 percent of the workforce expected to be transferred into the General Schedule classification and pay system by late September, the defense official overseeing the effort told Congress today.

More than 53,000 defense civilian employees who had been enrolled in the NSPS system have been shifted to the GS system, John H. James, Jr., director of the Pentagon's NSPS Transition Office, told a subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

About 170,000 remaining NSPS employees will transition to the GS or other pay and personnel systems by Jan. 1, 2012, the congressionally mandated deadline, James reported.

Congress directed a repeal of the NSPS system in the 2010 Defense Appropriations Act and set the timeline for its completion.

Congress also mandated that no employee lose pay due to the transition.

Of transitions completed so far, 71 percent of the employees actually received pay increases – an average of almost $1,400, James told the committee. That's because their NSPS pay levels put them between steps on the GS pay scale, which qualified them for the higher step, he explained.

Eight percent of the employees maintained the same pay level because their NSPS salary matched a step within their new GS grade, James said.

The other 21 percent of the employees earned salaries under NSPS that exceeded the Step 10 pay level for their GS grade. They, too, retained their full pay level as they converted to the GS system, James explained. However, they will receive only one-half of any future pay raises until their pay reaches parity with the high end of their GS pay level.

The military services and Defense Department components have launched information and education campaigns to ensure their workers understand how the NSPS transition will affect them, James told the committee. In addition, the NSPS Web site is updated regularly to provide employees the most up-to-date reference materials and training modules on the GS system and performance management basics.

James noted the challenges associated with transferring employees between two fundamentally different classification and pay systems.

NSPS is based on broad pay bands that encompass a broad range of duties and responsibilities and allows employees to advance within a single pay band based on performance. In contrast, the GS system tightly defines duties and responsibilities in discrete pay grades based on a position's difficulty, responsibility and qualification requirements.

While overseeing the NSPS transition, James' office also is charged with coming up with a plan for an enterprise-wide performance management system that provides hiring flexibilities and a workforce incentive fund.

He assured the committee the Defense Department will make the process as open, transparent and inclusive as possible. "We have a strong desire to build an effective relationship and fully participative process with labor organizations in developing these new authorities," he said.

"Transitioning approximately 226,000 employees from NSPS to the appropriate statutory non-NSPS pay and personnel system is a very high priority for the department," James said.

The Defense Department, he said, is "committed to open, ongoing communication about NSPS transition and development of the DoD-unique performance management and hiring authorities" provided in the 2010 National Defense Appropriations Act.

Midshipmen Embark Ballistic Missile Submarine

By Ensign Charles Guire, USS West Virginia Public Affairs

June 9, 2010 - USS WEST VIRGINIA, At Sea (NNS) -- USS West Virginia (SSBN 736)(B) welcomed 49 midshipmen for Career Orientation and Training for Midshipmen (CORTRAMID) 2010 June 2.

Midshipmen from NROTC units across the East Coast embark for 48-hour underway periods designated to indoctrinate the midshipmen into life at sea aboard a ballistic-missile submarine.

Twenty-seven of the midshipmen are females, a first for the crew of West Virginia since the April 29 announcement that female officers may now serve aboard submarines. The initial integration plan will have three female officers assigned to ballistic missile and guided-missile submarines, like West Virginia.

From the moment the midshipmen arrive, they assimilate into the daily routine of life aboard a submarine. Following a safety brief and tour, the midshipmen are provided orientation cards and encouraged to get out and experience living and working conditions aboard an SSBN by shadowing West Virginia crew members.

As part of the submarine indoctrination, midshipmen experience activities such as battle stations missile, time at the helms and planes, angles and dangles, and damage control demonstrations. Overall, the CORTRAMID embark is an all hands event that showcases the best of the ship and crew.

"I was thoroughly impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of the midshipmen and the crew. It was evident during my discussions with the midshipmen that they were extremely impressed by the knowledge, experience and maturity of our crew," said Cmdr. Michael Katahara, West Virginia (SSBN 736)(B) commanding officer. "It is a real testament to our ship, the submarine force and the Navy that the people who operate this ship were the true highlight of the event."

Throughout the cruise, midshipmen remain by the side of their "Mountaineer" shipmates to experience firsthand every compartment, forward and aft, from the galley to the bridge – and to ask questions. The Mountaineers proudly show the boat – and explain the operations of systems and the importance of the watchstations.

"I was impressed at their energy and enthusiasm toward all things submarine. All the midshipmen were eager to learn about not just what we do, but what our lives were like living and working underwater for extended periods of time," said Electronic Technician 1st Class Justin Tarbox.

West Virginia anticipates hosting more than 250 midshipmen throughout the summer cruise season with the goal of showcasing the Navy, and the Submarine Force.

Multiple Nations Participate in SEASWITI 10-3

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Daniel Gay, Naval Public Affairs Support Element East Detachment Southeast

June 9, 2010 - ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Ships from various regions of the world gathered off the eastern coast of Florida to participate in the Southeast Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Integration Training Initiative (SEASWITI) exercise 10-3 held June 4-9.

Capt. Aaron Jacobs, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 24 and his staff embarked USS Mahan (DDG 72) to coordinate and execute the training exercise.

Ships from different countries including the U.S., the United Kingdom and Peru were involved in the weeklong exercise. The overall mission of SEASWITI was to provide a learning forum in the Southeast region to enhance the effectiveness and quality of anti-submarine warfare training by coordinating assets, knowledge and technology.

"SEASWITI is exactly what it sounds like," said Lt. Matthew Maples, DESRON 24's submarine operations officer. "It is a weeklong coordinated multi-platform ASW exercise which also incorporates non-ASW events such as gunnery exercises, counter piracy and more. The main goal of SEASWITI is to increase ASW readiness and proficiency throughout the fleet, helping to ensure that we are ready to counter any threats, should they arise."

During the week, ships from three different nations worked together to perform ASW and other warfare tasks, including having a chance to spot and track real submarines.

"This is a very valuable training opportunity that allows our Sailors to get a chance to work with the real thing," said Cmdr. Kurt Mondlak, Mahan's commanding officer. "This training is better than just looking at pictures because you have different properties involved when you track a real sub."

The lookouts involved in the training were also satisfied with the realism.

"If I was standing a watch and a situation like this came up, I would feel more confident in my ability to know what to do and how to do it thanks to this training," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Robert Dannheim.

Although SEASWITI incorporated many areas of warfare, its primary focus was on ASW, and the sonar control room of Mahan was a very busy place during the exercise.

"I think this type of training is very effective," said Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SW/SS) Thomas Smith. "This method of training is great because of how in-depth it is, we are out here working with other ships, including ships from other countries, we have actual submarines out there and we are getting to work with all of them."

Maples said that the importance of SEASWITI should not be downplayed.

"This particular exercise is of great importance because it benefits the Navy on multiple levels. Not only are the U.S. ships getting several days of multi-platform ASW training, but they are getting the chance to interact with other NATO forces to include British ships and helos as well as Canadian P-3 aircraft," said Maples.

Jacobs explained the importance of the SEASWITI training.

"SEASWITI provides valuable training in a realistic environment for ships, submarines and aircraft. Conducting focused undersea warfare operations training ensures the U.S. Navy along with our allied and multinational partners continue to develop and refine the tactics, techniques and procedures that are necessary to control the maritime domain in light of an ever increasing worldwide submarine threat," Jacobs said.

During this training, the Navy also worked with marine biologists from different agencies.

"On this SEASWITI we have four civilian marine mammal observers aboard Mahan who are conducting observations on the impact of our active sonar training on the local marine life. This observation is important because it helps us better plan our events and procedures to ensure minimum impact to marine life," said Maples.

Jacobs also commented on the Navy's dedication to protecting the marine ecosystem.

"The U.S. Navy and Destroyer Squadron 24 are committed to preserving the environment and protecting Marine Mammals," explained Jacobs. "U.S. Navy policies to mitigate any interference or harm to the environment and Marine Mammals are always fully considered throughout the planning process and utilized in the conduct of each exercise event."

While SEASWITI 10-3 has come to an end, the chances to participate and train are not over.

"SEASWITI is a training event that usually occurs three times a year with a specific reason," said Maples. "Training programs and simulators help us train efficiently and with less overall expense, but there is no replacement for real-world training against a live target."

In addition to Mahan, units that participated in SEASWITI 10-3 were USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49), USS Carr (FFG 52), USS Barry (DDG 52), USNS Leroy Gruman (T-AO 195), HMS Ark Royal, HMS Liverpool, HMS Sutherland, RFA Fort George and The Peruvian submarine BAP Angamos. U.S. and Canadian P-3s contributed to ASW operations as well as SH-60Rs from Bradley and HSM 70.

Mildenhall Pilot 'Hits Wall,' Keeps Running

By Karen Abeyasekere
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

June 9, 2010 - It is common among runners to talk of “hitting the wall" of exhaustion, whether it's a 10K race, half marathon or full marathon. But some runners, like U.S. Air Force Capt. Danny Franz, take it to the extreme. Instead of "hitting" the wall, he ran it - all 84 miles of it.

The "wall" in question was Hadrian's Wall, which spans England's peninsula between Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne in the east, and Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast.

Franz, a 29-year-old C-130 pilot with the 67th Special Operations Squadron here, completed the run in 19 hours, 24 minutes. He hails from Sierra Vista, Ariz., and has served seven years in the Air Force, the last four years at RAF Mildenhall.

Built in 122 A.D., Hadrian's Wall, at 73 miles long, is the largest ancient Roman monument in northern Europe. However, its national trail, known as Hadrian's Wall Path, stretches 84 miles.

"A couple of years ago, I started to feel the itch again for long distance running," Franz said. "I'd already done a couple of 100-mile marathons [in Colorado], and heard the wall was really cool to hike. But when someone mentioned that some British guys had run it, I figured, 'Why not do that?'"

Franz heard someone had run the route in a little more than 23 hours. He decided to try to beat that time.

"When I finished, I was told I'd beaten the unofficial record," he said. "When I saw my time was under 20 hours, I was really happy, though I had originally wanted to do it in under 17 hours."

Franz took the first steps of his trek at 1 a.m. and he finished just before 8:30 p.m. that night.

"I had a backpack with three liters of water, six muffins, some energy shots of caffeine and a guidebook," he said. "I also had another pouch with an extra liter of water, my phone and wallet."

The pilot said he ran most of the time, but would walk for a few minutes every so often, to give himself a break.

"I set a target pace of 12 minutes a mile, and kept checking to make sure I was keeping to it," he said. "In some places I was running a 10-minute mile, so every mile or two I allowed myself to walk for a couple of minutes, to take the load off my legs.

"But I was constantly moving the whole time - if you have a break, you don't tend to keep going afterwards, you kind of just stay there. So it's better, for me at least, to just keep going," he said.

Franz said his legs were sore and started to cramp up around the 50-mile mark, which was made worse by the constant stopping and starting when going through farm gates.

Running such a long distance requires strict advance training. For Franz, that means running almost every day, allowing himself one day off a week.

"If I'm not training, I'll run 3 to 6 miles a day," he said. "On weekends, I'll go for a 12-mile run. When I'm training, I do sprints and run farther."

Running 84 miles alone gives a person plenty of time to reflect, the captain said.

"There's so much to think about - what's coming up next week or next year, your past, memories or imagining yourself in an event," Franz said, adding that he likes running without headphones most of the time so he can take it all in and enjoy the scenery.

Pushing yourself to run such a distance certainly takes a toll on your mind, as well as body, he explained.

"To do that distance is more of a mental game you have to play," Franz said. "Physically, as long as I stayed at my 12-minute mile and drank lots of water, I was OK."

The daytime portion of his run featured warm weather, Franz recalled, noting there were no trees along the route. He also was running into the wind most of the way, which he said slowed him down a little.

"I like the feeling you get miles, and hours, into the run. You get such an adrenalin rush, and it's a pretty euphoric feeling," Franz said, adding that he likes doing long runs by himself or with a handful of people, rather than with huge crowds.

"It was a pretty good experience," he continued. "The last five miles I was hurting pretty bad. And with three miles to go I started feeling dizzy and found it tough to keep focused on the road, because I'd run out of water several miles back."

Franz said the feeling of having finished the run was wonderful, though he felt physically drained.

"It was such an awesome feeling of relief and accomplishment; I couldn't really take it all in at first - it hits you more the next day," he said. "I was aching pretty bad in the morning, and found it pretty hard to climb the stairs." Franz also does triathlon training. "My plan is to do an Iron Man competition fast enough to qualify for the one in Hawaii," he said. An Iron Man contest involves a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run.

The Army’s Disorder Switch

They were fine the years before they left, but now they are the trouble makers, the alcoholics, and even the drug addicts. There are fights, divorces, spousal abuse, DUIs, marijuana being grown at the bottom of the barracks, and of course loss of rank. We came home planning to drink the country dry; what a ball we had blocking all of life’s troubles. But somewhere we left our fallen comrades… they weren’t getting better… they were self medicating.

PTSD is becoming a fact of life for all Soldiers who have deployed or experienced sexual assault within the ranks. The Army uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) to diagnose all psychiatric disorders and PTSD is described as:

…the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or other threat to one's physical integrity; or witnessing an event that involves death, injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of another person; or learning about unexpected or violent death, serious harm, or threat of death or injury experienced by a family member or other close associate

The Army requires a strong case for a “stressor” in order to receive treatment for PTSD especially after service. Fortunately the Army in December 2009 decided that the Soldier need not prove the incident happened. Previously a Soldier would have to re-live the event over and over by gathering sworn statements and writing their own account of the events. These would be submitted to a psychiatrist the Soldier had never met or spoken with. Then the determination of whether PTSD was in fact the correct diagnosis would be made. However, even today the PTSD diagnosis will suddenly get downgraded to either a Personality Disorder or Adjustment Disorder. Neither one of these disorders provides compensation or medical care from the Army and VA system upon leaving service.

The DSM-IV provides this for Adjustment Disorder:

…difficult adjustment to a life situation than would normally be expected considering the circumstances. While it is common to need months and perhaps even years to feel normal again after the loss of a long time spouse, for instance, when this adjustment causes significant problems for an abnormal length of time, it may be considered an adjustment disorder.

Personality Disorders are described by the DSM-IV as:

… mental illnesses that share several unique qualities. They contain symptoms that are enduring and play a major role in most, if not all, aspects of the person's life. While many disorders vacillate in terms of symptom presence and intensity, personality disorders typically remain relatively constant.

While the DSM-IV leaves a small gate open that the army often uses to excuse a PTSD diagnosis by stating:

In Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, the stressor must be of an extreme (i.e., life-threatening) nature. In contrast, in Adjustment Disorder, the stressor can be of any severity. The diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder is appropriate both for situations in which the response to an extreme stressor does not meet the criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (or another specific mental disorder) and for situations in which the symptom pattern of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder occurs in response to a stressor that is not extreme (e.g., spouse leaving, being fired).

The Army has decided to hire civilians who have never deployed into combat to decide whether a stressor is extreme in nature. If you have an imagination I am sure you can see that anyone going into combat, even those who stay on base, has experienced, witnessed, or heard of extreme bodily harm to numerous people. In 2008 President Obama wrote a letter to the VA expressing dismay at the switch in diagnosis for thousands of Soldiers. This is not a new occurrence for the Army and VA system as their goal is to save money at experience of our brave men and women.

As much of a travesty as the diagnosis switch is, it’s only half of the problem. The other half is the thousands of Soldiers who go undiagnosed who end up in jail, dishonorably discharged, or who end up taking their own life.

Did the unit not realize that these Soldiers who were once functioning humans were now destructive? Did anyone think to ask if these Soldiers were always trouble makers? No, they didn’t. They put these brave men and women through the army system, punishing them, labeling them with personality disorders, and eventually kicking them out with no benefits.