Military News

Friday, July 16, 2010

MILITARY CONTRACTS July 16, 2010

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Science Applications International Corp., (SAIC), Fairfield, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $241,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity contract to provide support for industrial line items. Other locations of performance are Ala., and Texas. Using service is Army. There were originally five proposals solicited with four responses. The date of performance completion is July 2018. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Columbus, Columbus, Ohio (SPM7LX-10-D-9006).

Woolrich, Inc., Woolrich, Pa., * is being awarded a maximum $24,829,825 firm fixed price, sole source contract for trousers. Other locations of performance are Beaumont, Texas, Yazoo City, Miss., and Jersey Shore, Pa. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is July 16, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-10-D-1076).

Bremen-Bowdon Investment Co., Bowdon, Ga., ** is being awarded a maximum $13,600,263 firm fixed price, sole source contract for coats. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is July 16, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-10-D-1069).

Sinclair Oil Corp., Salt Lake City, Utah is being awarded a maximum $10,333,350 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for fuel. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. There were originally nine proposals solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is November 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-10-D-0488).

AIR FORCE

Toland & Mizell Architects Inc. of Atlanta, Ga., was awarded a $47,500,000 contractwhich will provide architectural and engineering services in support of the Air Force Reserve Command mission. At this time, $50,000 has been obligated. AFRC/A7KA, Robbins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA6643-10-D-0004).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., of Sunnyvale, Calif., was awarded a $34,804,061 contract modification which will exercise the fourth option for Space Based Infrared Systems Highly Elliptical Earth Orbit payload three Launch and Early On-Orbit Support. At this time, $548,174 has been obligated. ISSW/PKF, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8810-08-C-0002; P00012).

United Technologies Corp., of San Antonio, Texas was awarded a $16,562,574.42 contract which will provide 324 remanufactured F-100/220/220E engine combustion chambers for F-15 and F-16 aircraft. At this time no funds have been obligated. 448 SCMG/PKBB, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8121-10-D-0011).

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Corp., Akron, Ohio, is being awarded a $16,735,867 undefinitized ceiling priced order #0006 under previously awarded contract (N00104-07-G-0726) for manufacture of various components for the MK54 vertical launched ASROC (anti-submarine rocket) missile. Work will be performed in Akron, Ohio. Work is to be completed by August 2012. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively awarded. The Naval Inventory Control Point, Mechanicsburg, Pa., is the contracting activity.

Country, Rock Bands Perform Aboard Nassau

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jonathan Pankau, USS Nassau (LHA 4) Public Affairs

USS NASSAU, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Nassau (LHA 4) Sailors were treated to live music performances while the ship transited in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) July 10.

This event was the final stop for country music artist Natalie Stovall and alternative rock band SafteySuit.

They performed at 30 military bases stateside and overseas and signed autographs for Sailors and Marines.

"I don't think we've ever played a cooler venue than overlooking the flight deck of a Navy warship surrounded by the ocean," said Doug Brown, SafetySuit's lead singer. "While we were touring with 3 Doors Down, they told us that the most important thing is to take time out of our schedules to support the military. Playing on the huge flight deck with three Harriers facing us really put the military's hard work and effort into perspective."

Stovall was impressed when Nassau Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald Reis explained to her how the ship's AV-8B Harriers from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 (VMM 162), the "Golden Eagles," take off from the flight deck.

"After he was done I asked him why the jets and helicopters were facing the opposite direction," Stovall said. "He said it was so we had something awesome to look at while we performed. I was really choked up by that because we came out to play for you guys, who sacrifice everything for our country, and you still take the time to do little things like reposition Harriers and Ospreys to let us know how much you appreciate us too."

Stovall and SafetySuit agreed the military shows they played are the best venues, citing the energy level from the crowds.

"When Stovall played 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' I just had to get up and line dance," said Marine Cpl. Travis Cruse.

"I was impressed at how approachable the rock stars were," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Jeremy Wilson, from Cleveland. "One of the guitarists from SafetySuit even wrestled around with the Marines during the MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) demonstration. You could tell they really wanted to be here, and they supported everything we do."

The Nassau Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) were relieved by the Pelileu ARG and 15th MEU July 14 and are returning to their homeport of Norfolk.

NAS ARG is comprised of ships from Amphibious Squadron 8, including Nassau, USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) and USS Ashland (LSD 48). Marines from the 24th MEU complete the group.

Norfolk Ships Partner, Marines, Coast Guard, Rescue Eight Mariners

From U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Two Norfolk-based ships partnered with Marines and Coast Guard to rescue eight civilian mariners after receiving a distress signal from a civilian fishing vessel July 16.

Coordination between multiple organizations led to the successful rescue of all personnel, which occurred approximately 15 miles off the coast of Cape Lookout, N.C.

The fishing vessel reported it was taking on water and capsizing at approximately 9:30 a.m.

The guided-missile frigate USS Hawes (FFG 53), patrol coastal ship USS Tempest (PC 2), U.S. Coast Guard cutter Albacore (WPB 87309) and a Marine Corps helicopter participated in rescue efforts.

First on scene was a search and rescue helicopter from the Marine Corps Base at Cherry Point, N.C., which deployed a rescue swimmer and retrieved the first of the eight survivors from the water.

Next, Tempest arrived and deployed a small boat with rescue swimmers who recovered five survivors. The final two mariners were rescued by Albacore, stationed at Fort Macon, N.C.

All eight people were reported to be in good condition and transported back to Fort Macon, N.C., for further treatment and evaluation.

Hawes and Tempest are participating in the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX). COMPTUEX, which is scheduled by Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet and conducted by a training team led by Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic, is a joint/combined exercise conducted off the East Coast of the United States July 7-30.

Seven WWII Airmen buried at Arlington National Cemetery

by Michael Tolzmann
Defense Media Activity

7/16/2010 - ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. (AFNS) -- The remains of seven Airmen missing in action from World War II were buried July 15 at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

The Airmen are Capt. Joseph M. Olbinski, Chicago; 1st Lt. Joseph J. Auld, Floral Park, N.Y.; 1st Lt. Robert M. Anderson, Millen, Ga.; Tech. Sgt. Clarence E. Frantz, Tyrone, Pa.; Pfc. Richard M. Dawson, Haynesville, Va.; Pvt. Robert L. Crane, Sacramento, Calif.; and Pvt. Fred G. Fagan, Piedmont, Ala.; all U.S. Army Air Forces.

According to information provided by the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, the Airmen were aboard a C-47A Skytrain that departed Dinjan, India, May 23, 1944, on an airdrop mission to resupply Allied forces near Myitkyina, Burma. When the crew failed to return, air and ground searches found no evidence of the aircraft along the intended flight path.

Fifty-eight years later, a missionary provided U.S. officials a data plate from a C-47 crash site, located approximately 31 miles northwest of Myitkyina. And in 2003, a Burmese citizen turned over human remains and identification tags for three of the crewmembers.

A Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command team excavated the crash site in 2003 and 2004, recovering remains and equipment. Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA, which matched some of the crewmembers' families, as well as dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

Two caskets were used. Lieutenant Auld's remains were individually identified and buried separately in a gravesite adjacent to a group burial site for all of the others. Another casket contained remains that were positively identified to be Anderson along with co-mingled group remains that could not be individually identified. A marker with the names of all crewmembers will be placed at the gravesite.

Family members from six of the seven Airmen were present for internment that took place in Section 60, an active burial section of Arlington National Cemetery. The section is approximately two-thirds full, with burials taking place there almost daily. Veterans from many different eras, including World War II, Korea and Vietnam, are buried in this section, alongside the servicemembers killed in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

ACC hosts MWD training seminar at Langley

by Airman 1st Class Jason J. Brown
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

7/16/2010 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFNS) -- Military working dogs and their handlers from across Air Combat Command assembled here June 28 through July 2 for the first military working dog training seminar.

The handlers and dogs attended the five day course, hosted by the 633rd Security Forces Squadron, to receive intensive education and training, including dog psychology and behavior, decoy training, and ways to improve working dog performance.

The seminar provided the upgrade training for security forces MWD teams to be successful at home and while deployed, said Staff Sgt. Gary Cheney, a 633rd SFS MWD handler.

"These dogs are safeguards on the front lines, at the gates finding bombs and drugs, supporting our sister services outside the wire," he said. "This training ensures that dogs and handlers can perform in the real world."

Master Sgt. Antonio Rodriguez, the 902nd Security Forces Squadron law enforcement operations superintendent from Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and Chris Jakubin, a U.S. Air Force Academy kennel master, administered the course, which began with a classroom session before handlers and dogs began hands-on decoy and prey training.

The instructors designed the program to enhance the dogs' abilities and educate handlers who, in turn, return to their respective units and share the training with other handlers.

Training activities included catching and "reading dogs," avoiding being bitten and interpreting a dog's behaviors and mannerisms.

Much of the training focused around gauging a dog's willingness to engage a suspect, known as a dog's "drive," Sergeant Cheney said.

"Learning the dog's psychology and doing decoy training allows me and the dog to do better patrol work," he said.

In addition to testing the dogs' behavior during decoy training, handlers donned tactical bite suits for dogs to apply their training as realistically as possible.

"Getting bit by your dog allows you to understand what the suspect is going through, just like when we use tasers and pepper spray on one another in training," Sergeant Cheney said. "The tactical bite suit made it more realistic. The dog recognizes the suspect is in pain and knows what to do."

In addition to hands-on training, handlers took advantage of the wealth of knowledge the kennel masters and more experienced handlers brought to the seminar.

"It was humbling to be around veteran kennel handlers," said Senior Airman Jonathan Bourgeois, a 633rd SFS military working dog handler. "I asked a lot of questions, trying to pull as much information as possible, because it's so rare to be around that much experience."

Guard members respond to brush fires in California

by Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
National Guard Bureau

7/16/2010 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Two Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems 2 aircraft from the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing at Channel Island ANG Station, Calif., responded to a fire July 15 in Riverside County, Calif.

Guard officials said the unit was requested by the U.S. Forest Service through the National Interagency Fire Center after lightning caused a brush fire near Temecula.

The two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft flew one sortie for almost two hours and dropped 3,000 gallons of fire retardant on what the Riverside County Fire Department dubbed the "Skinner fire."

More than a dozen fires broke out in the county, as powerful thunderstorms rolled across the region, National Weather Service officials said.

The fire had burned about 711 acres and was about 15 percent contained by late July 15, according to local news reports. Full containment was estimated for July 16.

Assistance by the military is normally requested when national civilian resources are committed to fires and more resources are needed, guard officials said. The 146th AW was called to respond to this fire, because it needs 13 drops on actual fires for certification on the new MAFFS 2 system.

The unit was the first to transition to the MAFFS 2 system in 2008, and it remains the only unit flying the new system on the C-130J Super Hercules.

MAFFS 2 systems incorporate new design features and technology that provide a number of advantages over the legacy MAFFS systems, including improvements in fire retardant coverage level, improved safety features, reduction of corrosion of the aircraft and an on-board compressor.

MAFFS is a portable fire retardant delivery system that is rolled into the back of the C-130J Super Hercules cargo compartment. The system is capable of dropping up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant or water on wildfires. They can discharge their entire load in under five seconds.

Along with the 146th AW, there are three other MAFFS units, including the Wyoming ANG's 153rd AW, the North Carolina ANG's 145th AW, and the Air Force Reserve Command's 302nd AW, based in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Since 1974, National Guard and Air Force Reserve pilots have flown 6,500 firefighting missions, dropping 167 million pounds of fire retardant around the western U.S., officials said.

AF Personnel Center news service keeps Airmen informed

by Staff Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

7/16/2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- An electronic news service featuring the latest Air Force manpower, personnel and services information is available to help Airmen make informed decisions about their careers.

More than 15,000 members subscribe to the Manpower, Personnel and Services News Service. However, Air Force leaders encourage all Airmen to subscribe in order to ensure they keep aware of key program updates, initiatives and other news from the Air Force Personnel Center, the Air Force Manpower Agency and the Air Force Services Agency.

"One of the best ways to stay current on Air Force personnel, manpower and services programs is through this news service," said Paige Hughes, the AFPC, AFMA and AFSVA chief of public affairs. "It allows subscribers to receive timely e-mails with the latest news releases and articles related to a variety of Air Force-level programs that affect many aspects of Airmen's lives."

For the past six months, the news service has been used to distribute vital information on force management updates, civilian employment and career development opportunities, Air Force-level awards and the new fitness program.

Army Spouse Shares Deployment Tips

By Lee McMahon
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

July 15, 2010 - Sheet protectors, a frank discussion ahead of time and an 8x10 photo taped to the car seat -- these are a few of the tips Army spouse and mother Rebekah Sanderlin has come up with to help cope with family separations after more than a half-dozen deployments.

First: the sheet protectors.

"It is absolutely essential that the spouse at home has all the important documents in one, easy to find, place," the 28-year-old mother of two said during an interview with the Defense Media Activity.

Sanderlin points to sheet protectors and a three-ring binder as her go-to resource for birth certificates, Social Security cards, shot records, DEERS (Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System) enrollment forms, physical forms, her marriage license, and photo copies of passports, driver's licenses and military ID cards.

Another tip she recommends: start early.

"Several months before the deployment" Sanderlin said, "the servicemember-spouse should begin transitioning chores over to the at-home spouse. She [or he] will be the one doing everything and it's best that all the kinks get worked out ahead of time."

It does not hurt to try and be a mind-reader either, she noted.

"Try to foresee possible problems," Sanderlin said. "I think it would be helpful for soldiers to pass a list around where they could give the names and numbers of plumbers, electricians, and handy men that they have had good experiences with. When it's the middle of winter and the wife comes home late at night to find burst pipes, she's not going to have time to check the references on a plumber."

While no military family wants to talk about it, Sanderlin recommends not putting off the uncomfortable discussions. Like those around planning a spouse's final wishes.

"Do not write that you want Guns N' Roses played at your funeral unless you really, truly, do. I've seen exactly that happen and it is not pleasant," she said.

"My advice is for the military couple to do this packet together; that way the spouse already knows all the wishes. My husband and I managed to lighten the mood on this a bit by discussing my wishes at the same time. That made the conversation a little less awkward. We also discussed what we would want to happen to our children in the event of both of our deaths," she said.

When it comes to children, Sanderlin said, it is all about advance planning.

"If you have kids, try to think about the deployment from their perspective," she said. "What events will the deployed parent miss? Can you celebrate those or make accommodations before hand? We have had years where my son has had two birthdays – one way in advance, so that his dad could be there."

Sanderlin gave birth to both her son and her daughter shortly before two separate deployments. That doesn't mean her husband returned home as a stranger, though.

"Another thing I did with both of my children when they were infants was to enlarge a picture of my husband to 8 x10 size, basically a headshot, and put it in a sheet protector that I taped to the seat of the car," she explained. "That way, every time we were in the car they were looking at him. It worked! When he came home our kids instantly recognized him!"

There are also finances to consider, Sanderlin said. Whether one or both spouses manage the family finances when together, she said, it is a different situation during deployments.

"As for being organized, set a budget," she recommended. "Look at your normal monthly expenses and use that as a guide. The spouse at home will spend more money during a deployment. Expect it, accept it, and budget for it. If you create a new deployment budget - and stick with it - you can still save a lot of that extra money."

On a lighter note, Sanderlin said she has also "learned that deployments can be a great time to lose weight because I have more time to exercise and don't have to worry about cooking the foods my husband likes."

Overall, a military spouse's deployment is a difficult situation to understand unless you have experienced one, said Sanderlin.

"I don't think soldiers, for the most part, really get what a deployment is like for the family," she said. "When we give you that last hug before you leave, we are thinking that it might be the last time we ever see you alive. As casualties begin to occur during the deployment, we constantly wonder if you will be the next one.

"We freak out every time a strange car slows down on our street or an unexpected guest knocks on our door," Sanderlin continued. "It never gets easy, but all of these feelings are even stronger for young spouses or spouses enduring a deployment for the first time. There's nothing a soldier can do about any of this except to be aware and be sensitive."

With that in mind, she said, deployed troops should not tell their spouses about their near-death experiences.

"When you call home, do not tell your spouse about how you almost hit an IED or got shot at," Sanderlin advised. Such "what ifs," she said, will upset an already-anxious spouse.

"Try to imagine how you'd feel if she told you someone in the neighborhood was trying to kill her and you were helpless to prevent it," Sanderlin said. "In many ways, ignorance can be bliss."

Deployments put huge stresses on military families, Sanderlin acknowledged, adding, there is "just no avoiding it."

"Do not lose sight of the big picture. What really matters is that you come home, safe and sound, to an intact family," she said. "Keep your eye on that prize and make sure that all the choices you make help you get to that goal."

While such tips may be similar or the same, every military family is different, Sanderlin said.

"What works best, in my opinion, is for the spouse at home to look at her personality, her lifestyle and her responsibilities and make the best decision she can," Sanderlin said. "There are no awards given to spouses and no one will think higher of her for enduring more than she can handle, especially if the price of that endurance is her own sanity."

And, after years of deployment separation experience, Sanderlin has perceived one constant.

"Deployments suck, that's the main lesson and it has not changed from the first deployment to the most recent one, but there are some life lessons that I would not have learned without having my husband deployed," she said. "I am definitely a much-stronger person because of what I have endured and my confidence soars with each deployment.

"I also know that when the history of this war is written, I – and all the people reading this – will have done more than my part to help our nation and the world."

(Editor's Note: Sanderlin writes the "Operation Marriage" blog for The Fayetteville Observer. You can read her latest entries at: http://blogs.fayobserver.com/operationmarriage.)

Gates Plans Visit to South Korea for '2-plus-2 Talks'

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

July 16, 2010 - Sending North Korea a strong message of deterrence and underscoring the strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance are key aims of an upcoming visit to South Korea by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Pentagon officials said here yesterday.

Gates leaves this weekend for a visit that will include high-level talks with South Korean officials and a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said.

Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will meet with their South Korean counterparts in the first "2-plus-2 Talks" between the two nations. Among other topics, Morrell said, they will discuss upcoming military exercises involving U.S. and South Korean forces.

The visit and the discussion of military exercises come as world reaction continues to North Korea's March 26 sinking of the frigate Cheonan, which killed 46 South Korean sailors.

"There are a number of messages that we're trying to send," a senior Defense Department official speaking on background said. "We're trying to send a clear message of deterrence to North Korea, which we hope will have an effect of impressing upon them that they need to reconsider the sort of behavior they've been engaged in, including the Cheonan [incident]. We're also seeking to work with [South Korea] to increase and enhance the alliance's capabilities -- readiness, flexibility and our operational capacity. So I think there's a real purpose to these exercises."

Also on the agenda for the talks is the transfer of wartime operational control of forces on the Korean peninsula to the South Korean military by December 2015. President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak announced a delay in that transfer – originally scheduled for April 2012 – after they met during June's G-20 Summit in Toronto.

"This gives us appropriate time ... within the existing security context to do this right," Obama said in Toronto, "because this alliance is the linchpin of not only security for the Republic of Korea and the United States, but also for the Pacific as a whole."

The senior defense official explained that the new target date allows time to "synchronize all of the different moving pieces" of the operational control transfer.

"If we had gone forward with the April 2012 date, [South Korea] would have been fully militarily prepared to take over wartime operational control at that point," the official said. "But we have an opportunity to do an even better job, and to make sure that all of the different pieces that are associated with the [operational control] transition and with our security and defense relationship are locked up."

With both Gates and Clinton on hand to meet with their South Korean counterparts, the official added, the format provides for high-level discussions of not only the military alliance, but also the diplomatic and economic relationships between the two countries.

News service keeps Airmen informed

By Staff Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – An electronic news service featuring the latest Air Force manpower, personnel and services information is available to help Airmen make informed decisions about their Air Force careers.

More than 15,000 members subscribe to the Manpower, Personnel and Services News Service, however Air Force leadership encourages all Airmen to subscribe to ensure they keep aware of key program updates, initiatives and other news from the Air Force Personnel Center, Air Force Manpower Agency and Air Force Services Agency.

“One of the best ways to stay current on Air Force personnel, manpower and services programs is through this news service,” said Paige Hughes, AFPC, AFMA and AFSVA chief of public affairs. “It allows subscribers to receive timely e-mails with the latest news releases and articles related to a variety of Air-Force level programs that affect many aspects of Airmen’s lives.”

Over the past six months, the news service has been used to distribute vital information on force management updates, civilian employment and career development opportunities, Air Force-level awards and the new fitness program. To subscribe, visit the Air Force “subscribe” Web page at www.af.mil/subscribe and click the radio button next to “Manpower, Personnel, and Services News.” Then, enter your name and e-mail address to complete the subscription form.

For more information visit the AFPC website at http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/

The USO to Carry Out “Operation Thriller” on U.S. Troops Stationed in Persian Gulf

Five of Today’s Most Celebrated Thriller Writers to Embark on Week-Long USO Tour to Combat Zone in Fall 2010

WHAT: USO Tour Featuring Bestselling Authors from International Thriller Writers (ITW), the nation’s first and only professional organization devoted solely to thriller authors:

• Steve Berry (The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit and The Venetian Betrayal, among others)
• David Morrell (First Blood, in which Rambo was created, and The Brotherhood of the Rose)
• Doug Preston (The Monster of Florence and Relic, which later became a number one box office hit)
• James Rollins (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the Sigma Force series including The Devil Colony)
• Andy Harp (A Northern Thunder)

WHEN: Fall 2010

WHERE: Washington, D.C. and Persian Gulf Note: Due to security reasons, the countries and tour dates cannot be released at this time.

WHY: In Fall 2010, some of the nation’s New York Times best-selling thriller authors will deploy to the Persian Gulf on a week-long USO tour to visit and uplift troops. The tour, fittingly entitled Operation Thriller, will kick off with a special visit to Washington, D.C., where the group will visit with troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center. The group will then fly to the Persian Gulf to talk fiction, inspire, spread cheer and, most importantly, show their heartfelt gratitude.

Participating in what will be their first USO tour, the authors will visit multiple posts, sign autographs, pose for photos and distribute advance copies of their upcoming novels.

From July 7-10, 2010, the authors attended ThrillerFest V, a four-day celebration of thriller books organized

CONTACTS:
Oname Thompson, USO, 703-908-6471
othompson@uso.org
Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc. 203-226-0199
meryl@mediamuscle.com

Naval Weapons Station Charleston NEX Brings Home Bingham Award

By Eric Sesit, Naval Weapons Station Charleston Public Affairs

CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Charleston's Navy Exchange (NEX) management and employees were presented the prestigious Bingham Award at a ceremony held at the NWS Charleston NEX in Charleston, S.C., July 15.

Charleston placed first in the 20 to 40 million dollar category with more than 24 million dollars in sales for 2009.

Rear Adm. Steven J. Romano, commander, NEX Service Command, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

"This award demonstrates that you are one of the best Navy Exchanges in the world; only nine other stores out of 103 can claim this award," said Romano, to the crowd of NEX employees. "This is like winning an Olympic gold medal."

Romano added that as he walked through the facility, he noticed four qualities that led to the Charleston NEX's success.

"You do the basics right, you make a mature facility look great; you are managed by extraordinary leadership and you have great training," said Romano.

NWS Charleston NEX General Manager Beth Munoz gave credit to the employees who operate the store on a daily basis.

"This team has always had the necessary skill and teamwork in them to win this award, and they show it every day," said Munoz.

The team includes long-time employees Willie Ellis and Bernice Mac. Mac has been working at the NEX for 20 years, while Ellis has been with the company for 37.

Looking to retire in the near future, Ellis was thrilled to see all the hard work put in by him and his fellow employees has paid off.

"It's a very prestigious award for us," said Ellis.

"This took a lot of team effort, but in the end, it was worth it. This award is just great for morale and makes us want to keep working hard," said Mac.

The Bingham Award recognizes NEXs that have demonstrated excellence in customer service, operations and management. The award is named after the late Capt. W.H. Bingham, who was the chief executive of the R.H. Macy's Company and in 1946 was appointed by the Secretary of the Navy to lead an advisory board for the establishment of the NEX system.

Navy Signs MOU Agreeing to Partner with Government of Guam on Utility Solutions

By Catherine Cruz Norton, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas

HAGATNA, Guam (NNS) -- The Navy signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Consolidated Commission on Utilities (CCU), Guam Waterworks Authority (GWA) and the Guam Power Authority (GPA) July 16 in Hagatna, Guam.

By signing the MOU, the Navy is agreeing to collaborate on solutions to improve utilities on Guam in preparation for the Marine relocation from Okinawa, Japan.

During a signing ceremony in the conference room at the Governor's complex both military and government of Guam officials convened in the spirit of partnering to formalizing months of technical meetings and cooperative discussions.

"This is a great day," said Capt. Peter Lynch, commanding officer, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas. "This MOU is a historic document which signifies many months of technical discussions to identify utility requirements and solutions. We are extremely pleased to agree in principal to a collaborative approach to solutions for power, water and waste water requirements."

The intent of the partnering sessions was to ensure capability and capacity of government of Guam assets and resources to handle impending impacts due to the additional demand based on military surge in the realignment effort.

"These MOUs provide the conceptual framework to address viable solutions to insure that GPA and GWA can serve the energy, water and waste water needs of the proposed military build-up without compromising or adversely affecting the quality or cost of service to meet all future needs of Guam – both civilian and military," said CCU Chairman Simon Sanchez II.

Sanchez said DoD and GWA are already working collaboratively with the University of Guam's Water and Energy Research Institute (WERI), the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to determine how best to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Northern Guam lens aquifer. In addition, a civilian-military advisory group is proposed to help provide long-term aquifer management.

As it concerns electricity requirements, the MOU states the DoD and local team will work together to identify ways to meet the projected power demand of the military buildup. The projected demand is 30 mega-watts, according to the CCU. The MOU provides an agreement that the team will work toward upgrades and reconditioning of three or more of GPA's combustion turbines to meet the additional load at no cost to ratepayers. The group has also agreed to explore opportunities to work together on renewable energy projects.

"We expect this to be a mutually beneficial arrangement for the entire community, both our civilian neighbors, military service members and their families," said Rear Adm. Paul Bushong, commander, Joint Region Marianas. "We are committed to minimizing the impact on the island's utilities and protecting our natural resources."

While infrastructure improvements or construction associated with the military buildup will not take place until the record of decision is signed, this team of DoD and local government representatives continue to work on technical solutions to ease the impacts associated with population growth.

Northwest Sailors, Marines Test Their Battle Readiness

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Dagendesh, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Northwest

SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- More than 150 Sailors and Marines attached to Marine Corps Security Force Battalion (MCSFB) Bangor from Bravo Company participated in an all-day super squad competition, consisting of seven events, in Silverdale, Wash., July 13. The competition challenged Bravo Company with a mental and physical competition, testing their ability to comprehend and execute security skills while building espirit de corps with their company.

"Today's super squad competition event is composed of Sailors and Marines arranged into nine squads of 10 Sailors and 10 Marines each and split up to do seven different events," said Master-At-Arms 1st Class Virginia Horton, event coordinator.

Included were an obstacle course, weapons disassemble station and a recapture and recovery drill spread throughout Naval Base Kitsap Bangor.

"The experience was a one-of-a-kind because being in the Navy we don't do a lot of the training the Marines do and so we have to work with the Marines, become one team, get along and follow one order," said Master-At-Arms Seaman Lindsey Zwaagstra, a member of MCSFB, Squad 3.

Events like this competition prepare the Sailors and Marines for real-life situations, said Horton.

"With the obstacle course and anything that is physical, it just steps up their physical ability," said Horton. "The goal is to raise the level of esprit de corps within the Navy and Marine Corps so that we can all work hand-in-hand together."

Horton also said the competition will help prepare the Sailors and Marines to respond to real-life scenarios.

"It was pretty fun and motivating. I think most of it is in your attitude," said Master-At-Arms Seaman Eric Rock, a member of MCSFB, Squad 4. "I think this training is important in a teamwork aspect because Sailors and Marines are working together building good camaraderie with each other."

"Although our hump back was approximately five miles and was probably the hardest part because of trying to keep up with each other, we made it," said Zwaagstra. "I learned that hard work and a good attitude will get you through anything, and I would definitely do this again."

Acquisition Reform Plays Key Role in Pentagon's Cost Savings

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

July 15, 2010 - The Defense Department has the opportunity to save billions of taxpayer dollars through acquisitions reform, but only if it grows its workforce with the right federal workers in place to oversee contracts, a senior Pentagon official said today.

"There is a significant opportunity to save billions of dollars, but only if we have a well-trained and sufficient workforce," Shay Assad, the acting director of the department's procurement and acquisition policy, said during a Senate Budget Committee hearing.

Assad called acquisitions reform and improved efficiencies a top priority of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, with a goal of $100 billion in savings over five years, starting in fiscal 2012. He said the secretary ordered his staff to consider two questions with regard to old-style contracting procedures: Is this respectful of the American taxpayer at a time of economic and fiscal duress? And, is this the best use of limited dollars?

With cost savings derived from better efficiencies, Assad said, department officials hope to attain 2 to 3 percent net growth in warfighting capabilities without a mirrored budget increase.

Earlier this month, Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for logistics, "directed all echelons of the department to take a hard look" at ways to cut costs, Assad said. Carter's directive, he said, "really was about increasing the buying power of the department and in getting a better deal for taxpayers."

"We need to examine not only what we acquiring, but how we are acquiring it," Assad added.

The department procured three million contracts in fiscal 2009, amounting to $375 billion, Assad said. It spent $372 billion in contracts last year, he said. About 53 percent of those costs, he said, go to contracted services, while 47 percent go to products, such as equipment.

Overall, the entire federal government, including defense, spent $560 billion in fiscal 2009, according to Daniel I. Gordon, administrator of federal procurement policy in the White House's Office of Management and Budget, who testified alongside Assad. That compares to $535 billion the government spent in fiscal 2008, Gordon said, adding that this year's amount would have been much larger without major cost-cutting initiatives.

Agencies are now pooling their purchases, using more fixed-price contracts, having Internet-based "reverse auctions" for contracts, and paying more attention to contract management, Gordon said. The result, he said, is a drop in annual contract growth that averaged 12 percent every year between 2001 and 2008, to an average of 4 percent since then.

During that time, Gordon said, there was no expansion of the federal workforce to oversee the "tsunami" of contracts coming through. Over the next several years, the Obama administration is investing in hiring thousands of new federal procurement officers, the "lifeblood" of acquisition reform, he said.

To improve the procurement of services, Assad said, the defense department also must expand competition, move away from longstanding "incumbent" contractors, ensure that work statements are understood, and use proper contracts.

With regard to weapons systems, Assad said, "It's all about properly defining the requirements." Contractors now are "spending a lot of time up front" to ensure that contracts are realistic to avoid future add-on costs, he said.

In the past, defense procurement officials spent too much time measuring processes rather than outcomes, Assad said. And that, he said, is where expanding the workforce with highly trained acquisition professionals comes in.

The Pentagon plans to add 20,000 federal procurement workers over the next five years, Assad said. Among other things, he said, the additional workers are needed to properly oversee contracts "from an arm's length."

The department is making good progress, having already hired 4,600 acquisitions and procurement workers, Assad said. Many of the workers, he said, are former servicemembers who'd used the equipment and services they will now help to procure.

Officials Commit to Disabled Veterans' Businesses

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

July 15, 2010 - Defense Department officials are committed to providing service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses with contracting opportunities, and are closer to its goal of awarding 3 percent of department contracts to such businesses, the acting director for the Pentagon's Small Business Programs Office said today.

Testifying before the House Small Business Committee, Linda B. Oliver said the department has seen a steady increase in its annual contract awards to such businesses since 2003, when $300,000 was awarded to disabled-veteran-owned small businesses.

In 2009, $4.3 billion in contracts was awarded to disabled-veteran-owned small businesses.

"We are proud of this progress, one that shows a 14-fold increase," Oliver said in her written testimony, which also noted the number of contracts awarded also has increased. "It is good for [veterans] when the percentages are increasing in an upward trend and also when the total dollars are increasing at an even faster pace.

"While these trends are positive and encouraging, we cannot and will not relax our efforts until we achieve the government-wide goal of 3 percent," she continued.

Also, the number of firms awarded defense contracts has steadily increased from 751 in 2003 to more than 3,000 in 2009. Of the $7.4 billion appropriated to the Defense Department in Recovery Act funds, $157 million was awarded and being worked by disabled-veteran small businesses, she said.

Oliver credits the Pentagon's Mentor-Protégé Program and other training opportunities geared toward such contractors for the positive trend. The program helps "protégé" companies learn from established "prime" contractors through a three- or four-year agreement, Oliver explained.

"As a result, protégé firms that graduate from the program are generally valuable additions to the department's supplier base," she added.

The Pentagon also has undergone research to better understand the characteristics of disabled-veteran contractors, she said. Oliver's office monitors the Central Contract Registration, which has received registrations from 500 businesses this year, she said.

Analysis shows that more disabled-veteran contractors each year want to do business with the federal government, Oliver said. Also, a majority of these contracts are awarded to businesses in specific categories. These areas include professional, scientific and technical services, construction and administration specialties, she explained.

"I believe that we are gaining insights that will help us develop mechanisms that will, in turn, allow us to make even greater use of [service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses] in our contracting program," Oliver said.

Another initiative to help service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses attain federal contracts is eliminating fraud and enhancing participation among deserving business owners, said Timothy Foreman, executive director of the Veterans Affairs Department's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, who also testified before the committee.

"Small business enterprise can best serve as an engine of ingenuity and creativity with favorable impact on both business and government when it is free of fraud and enthusiastically engaged in its work or mission," Foreman said in his submitted remarks. Foreman is set to become chairman of VA's newly-formed Suspension and Debarment Committee for non-federal acquisition regulation debarment actions, he said. The committee will be a tool to deter fraud from companies posing as service-disabled, veteran owned businesses, he added.

"Keeping the pretenders out of the competitive process will prevent them from stealing the statutory and regulatory rights due only to real [veteran-owned small businesses] and [service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses]," he said. "[The committee] will prevent them from stealing the valor of those who are entitled to meaningful procurement advantages."

VA awarded 16 percent of its fiscal 2009 contracts to disabled-veteran businesses, exceeding its goal of 7 percent. Still, the VA stands to improve, he said.

Foreman pointed to VA's current lack of tracking veteran subcontractors as one such area. Also, he noted shortfalls in verifying veteran- and disabled-veteran owned businesses as another reason for fraud.

Currently, businesses appear in VA's data base as "VA-verified or self-verified," he said. But by 2012, he added, only VA-verified businesses will be visible in the database.

VA hopes to accomplish this through the Suspension and Debarment Committee. VA's robust framework to identify fraud may be mirrored by other government agencies, Foreman said, with hopes of deterring fraud throughout the government.

As VA programs grow, "our veteran clients will continue to receive quality services and products from increasing numbers of service-disabled veteran suppliers who, as fellow veterans, better understand the needs of the community VA serves," Foreman explained. "This symbiotic aspect of VA's program is a win-win."

NAVFAC Midwest Finishes Decade-Long Boot Camp Modernization

By Bill Couch, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Midwest Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- The Navy officially accepted its completely overhauled boot camp during a ceremony in Great Lakes, Ill., July 14, after more than a decade of constant demolition and construction zones.

Leaders from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Recruit Training Command (RTC), Naval Station Great Lakes, Navy Region Midwest and Naval Service Training Command, along with more than 200 attendees, including representatives of more than a dozen design and construction companies who had been involved in the 12-year, $770-million program, celebrated the milestone.

"Today is a special day for many of us who have supported and participated in this significant undertaking and a chance to say thank you for all you've accomplished as a team," said guest speaker Rear Adm. Kevin Slates, commander of NAVFAC Atlantic. "It's also a milestone event where we transition from a recruit training vision that was created nearly two decades ago to actual facilities that proudly serve as the training platform for the best recruits our country has to offer."

Following the Navy's consolidation in the mid-1990s of its basic training facilities into RTC Great Lakes, the Navy began a complete rebuilding of boot camp infrastructure to better meet the training requirements of 21st-century Sailors.

Beginning in 1998, the Navy built 13 new barracks - each with dining and computer classroom areas - three new drill halls and other new training facilities, steadily replacing 1950s-era buildings with state-of-the-art facilities for training, feeding and housing new recruits during their eight-week indoctrination into Navy life.

Each new barracks can accommodate 12 recruit divisions of up to 88 recruits each. These 172,000-square-foot buildings support a much more efficient training day for recruits by reducing their transit time between classes, meals and other activities.

"This phenomenal recapitalization has allowed us to dramatically change the way that we train men and women to become Sailors," said Capt. John Peterson, commanding officer of RTC. "The recapitalization has allowed us not only to be more efficient, but also to do much more in the time we have the recruits under our charge."

"To the Naval Facilities Engineering Command team, well done, shipmates," added Peterson. "Contractor or government, small or large, senior or junior, we, today's custodians of the recruit training mission, owe you a great debt. Thank you each for your superb teamwork - your execution of a vision that is RTC today."

NAVFAC Midwest Commanding Officer Capt. Jake Washington, in turn, praised the men and women of RTC, saying, "This magnificent training complex we have today could not have come together so successfully if not for the patience and flexibility of RTC, working around the barriers and the cones, putting up with the noise, dust and the many other challenges we asked your team to endure so that this day might come."

Washington, who also helped start the recapitalization program in 1998 when he was then a lieutenant commander on the staff of Engineering Field Activity Midwest, also noted his personal connection to the construction program.

"One of the reasons I wanted to return to Great Lakes was to see finished what was started back then," said Washington. "Between then and now stretches a chain of engineer custody I am honored to be a part of."

Washington also noted how then-Naval Training Center Great Lakes evolved over the intervening years, with the creation of Naval Service Training Command to oversee virtually all of the Navy's accessions training, the stand-up of Navy Region Midwest as Navy Installations Command's land owner in the Midwest and now-Naval Station Great Lakes providing support services for Great Lakes' tenant commands, including RTC.

"Organizationally, a lot has changed, NAVFAC notwithstanding," said Washington. "But there has been one constant, and it is the reason why we have done what we have done - and why we come to work every day at Great Lakes - to make civilians into U.s. Sailors.

They deserve our collective best, and in this effort, we can all be justifiably proud that we have given it to them," continued Washington.

Year of the Air Force Family promotes sense of community

7/15/2010 - LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force's top uniformed officer and his wife welcomed the Air Force's newest Airmen into the service during a visit here July 8 and 9.

The Basic Military Training graduation at the "Gateway to the Air Force" was the perfect backdrop for Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and his wife Suzie to reflect on the efforts of the service's leaders over the past 12 months during the Year of the Air Force Family campaign. The initiative runs through July.

"The year really referred to a larger audience than just families," General Schwartz said. "It referred to family members, single Airmen, retirees, civilian employees of the Air Force and so on. In a broader sense, what we really were seeking to do is rekindle that sense of community we have had as an Air Force."

The general said the initiative largely was to focus on assessing what the service was doing right, and what it could be doing better, in supporting the entire Air Force family.

Through feedback from leaders and Airmen across the Air Force, General Schwartz said there were several issues brought to light.

"A couple of them were somewhat surprising," he said. "Some of them were not. One thing that we are not as good at as we need to be is how we assist our family members and families with special needs children. Another area of concern is, not surprisingly, education."

"Education came out as the number one issue affecting our families," Mrs. Schwartz said.

She said that information led Air Force officials to move forward more aggressively with a plan to establish primary points of contact across the service to help families navigate local school systems.

"The Air Force has been able to put some funding behind more school liaisons...and we now have a school liaison office at almost every Air Force base," she said.

Along those same lines, officials at each Family Readiness Center identified a single individual to serve as an information resource for Airmen with special needs family members, Mrs. Schwartz said. Air Force leaders had identified that the Exceptional Family Member Program needed to evolve from an assignment-focused program into a more comprehensive and proactive family support program.

Another program that gained momentum for mobile military families this year was the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

The general said the intent of the Interstate Compact is to facilitate transitions between school districts so that when families move "the whole process of integrating into a new school will be much, much easier and more standardized."

The Interstate Compact spans 35 states nationwide "and we continue to encourage the other states to enact the agreement," the general said.

Simply put, the Year of the Air Force Family has been about connecting Airmen with the resources they need. In some cases, that simply meant doing a better job about making sure Airmen know what programs are already available, Mrs. Schwartz said.

"To me, I think it was even more about communication than anything else," she said. "We think we communicate really well, but sometimes we don't.

To bolster communication, Mrs. Schwartz said Air Force leaders reached out in new ways, such as hosting the first Single Airmen Summit, and worked to enhance programs already in place, like the Key Spouse program, which equips spouse representatives at bases to help spread the word about support resources available at the base.

"We really put some time and effort in to the Key Spouse Program," Mrs. Schwartz said.

The goal was to harness the speed and efficiency of the spouse network to better communicate with families and "use it more as a communication tool for all times and not just for deployments."

The Year of the Air Force Family programs not only helped Air Force leaders get their messages to Airmen, but allowed Airmen to voice their concerns to Air Force leaders as well.

"We held an annual Caring for People conference," Mrs. Schwartz said. "In that forum, instead of getting information out, we were able to get information back in. It was really a great tool to find out what works and what doesn't for Airmen and their families."

A goal of the Year of the Air Force Family was to focus on such a dialogue. Follow-on efforts will build upon the knowledge and momentum gained from the Year of the Air Force Family, especially in the area of feedback, she said.

"For me the number one event is the Caring for People forum," Mrs. Schwartz said. "I really see that as a lasting forum that will continue each year, bringing out people from across the bases and telling us what's working and what isn't."

She said getting such feedback from the base level is best, and armed with that feedback "we will continue working to improve family satisfaction."

(Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes contributed to this story)