Military News

Friday, July 23, 2010

GTMO Gears Up For National Night Out

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Bill Mesta, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- The 27th National Night Out (NNO), sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, will be held at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (GTMO), Cuba's Downtown Lyceum Aug. 3.

NNO is a yearlong community building campaign, and GTMO personnel are scheduled to celebrate with special events and cookouts.

"National Night Out is a program set on promoting police-community partnerships, crime, drug and violence prevention, safety, promoting energy efficiency, and building community unity," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Henry Alderete. "NNO is an important event because it creates an opportunity for all personnel in our community to stand up as one against any illegal activity."

Alderete also said different military organizations will be represented during the GTMO NNO.

"When you come to our National Night Out celebration you will see many faces from various branches of military and civilian service, but all with a common goal and united voice speaking out against crime, stating to the bad guy 'not in our neighborhood,'" Alderete said.

Information about crime prevention will also be available. They will also have the opportunity to interact with the base's emergency first responders.

"Here in GTMO we are blessed with numerous entities that play a very important role in the management of our installation," said Alderete. "This event creates an opportunity for all entities in our community to educate each other on the various services they provide."

"We are looking forward to having numerous booths, displays, informational handouts, and demonstrations being provided by our endless list of volunteers," said Alderete.

The community will have an opportunity to meet with a wide variety of the GTMO community's key players in crises management and emergency first response.

Some of the organizations providing support for NNO include the Naval Station (NAVSTA) Security Department, Marine Corps Security Force Company GTMO, Navy Criminal Investigative Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, GTMO Fire Department, NAVSTA GTMO's Brig and the Child Youth Program and USNH GTMO.

"MWR is providing bouncy houses, the rock wall, and have food and beverages for purchase," Alderete said. "There will be a parade for the whole community to observe. Radio GTMO volunteered and will broadcast live. There will also be a concert featuring the band "Retread" who volunteered for this event."

The event is free of charge and the entire GTMO community is invited.

SPS 2010 Departs Guatemala

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kim Williams, HSV Swift Public Affairs

PUERTO QUETZAL, Guatemala (NNS) -- High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) and Southern Partnership Station 2010 (SPS 2010) departed Guatemala after three weeks of subject matter expert exchanges July 23.

Several U.S. military organizations including Maritime Civil Affairs Security Training Command, Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group and Navy Criminal Investigative Service participated in information exchanges with service members and civilians from the Guatemalan Defense Force.

Topics of discussion included boarding team operations, land navigation and port and physical security.

While in country, the crew of HSV Swift also worked in conjunction with Guatemalan Navy to rescue seven Guatemalan Special Forces sailors when their vessel capsized during a drug interdiction.

"One of the highlights of our visit to Guatemala was the search and rescue mission we conducted with the Guatemalan Navy," said Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Creameans, SPS 2010 deputy mission commander. "It showed the excellent coordination of communications, navigation and the ability of our crew to excel in a crisis situation."

Swift's crew participated in a community relations event at Escuela De Las Pampas in Escuntila, Guatemala and according to Capt. Kurt Hedberg, SPS 2010 mission commander, had the opportunity to build relationships and provide a lasting, positive impact for the local community.

"As with every port we visit, we have had several unique opportunities to engage with the Guatemalan community through our volunteer efforts," said Hedberg. "In our ongoing community relations, we take away with us the rich experiences gained from the one-on-one interaction working alongside host country nationals. Our crew members build bonds with the people that they encounter which may stay with them a lifetime."

Throughout the Guatemalan subject matter exchanges, Swift crew members welcomed many distinguished visitors aboard including Alvaro Colom, the president of Guatemala and U.S. Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander, U.S. Southern Command.

"It was an honor and privilege to welcome both Gen. Fraser and President Colom on board," said Creameans. "It was our pleasure to have them tour our ship and see how military and civilian crewmen work together to make this venture on board Swift a success."

HSV-SPS 2010 Guatemala concluded with a parade and reception hosted by the crew of the Swift at the Guatemala Navy Base. The Guatemalan Defense Forces hosted the opening ceremony parade and reception.

The ship is deployed in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010, a deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) in the Caribbean and Central America, with the primary goal of information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the region.

Swift is operated and navigated by 17 civilian contract mariners working for a private company under charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.

Mullen Seeks to Continue Good Relations With Indian Military

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

July 22, 2010 - The military-to-military relationship between the United States and India has grown dramatically in the past 20 years, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wants to keep the process on track.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen will arrive in New Delhi shortly to begin a visit that will have him meeting a number of Indian military officials including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Mullen's counterpart, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik, is hosting the visit. Naik is new at his post. The two men met for the first time when the air chief marshal traveled to Washington earlier this year. Mullen says he looks forward to deepening the friendship and understanding.

The relationship between India and Pakistan dominates the region. The two nations have fought five wars since both gained independence from Great Britain in 1947. Both still argue over the partition of the state of Kashmir, and both countries still have a significant number of troops on the border between them.

Mullen will speak to his counterpart about military exercises between the nations. The program has grown in scope and complexity in the past 20 years, the admiral said. Military-to-military cooperation is enhanced by a robust and challenging exercise program, Mullen said. "It's not a big new step to the next level, but it has seemed to evolve to more complicated exercises," he said.

Maritime exercises predominate, but there have been air exercises and last year saw the first U.S. Army unit training with the Indian army in India.

"The United States and India have shared interests that are tied specifically to counterterrorism," Mullen said. "We've both been attacked and lost precious citizens."

Working together to blunt and to end the terrorist threat is one impetus to working together. Indian military leaders "are also very focused on how we share what we have learned," the chairman said.

So counterterrorism will be the main discussion with Indian leaders. Mullen said he was in New Delhi a few days after the terror attack in Mumbai in November 2008. He said he was impressed by Indian restraint during and immediately after the attack.

The chairman worries a great deal about a possible repeat of the attack. "One of the things that struck me then and is still a great concern is how 10 terrorists could drive two nuclear-armed nations closer to conflict," he said. There is the possibility of some kind of miscalculation in response to an attack such as the one in Mumbai.

Laskar-e Taib is a terror group that concerns Mullen. The group operates in Kashmir and in the federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan. "I see them starting to emerge as a larger, regional, global threat," the chairman said. "One of the things I've watched in the FATA, in the region between Pakistan and in Afghanistan is the merging of these terrorist organizations."

Mullen says that he discusses the importance of the cyber domain with every counterpart he meets with, and he expects to do the same with India – a rising cyber power.

The chairman will follow his visit to India with one to Pakistan. The United States has military-to-military contacts with both India and Pakistan. While the U.S. military is not a bridge between the two nations, "it is important that we remain engaged," Mullen said. "Certainly there is an opportunity to have discussions across the region and we will work our way through to a much more stable future."

CNO Highlights Partnership with French Navy During Visit to France

By Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs Office

PARIS (NNS) -- Chief of naval operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead praised the naval forces of France and cited the shared interests and capabilities of the US and French navies during a visit here July 17-21.



"The French Navy and the US Navy have many common interests," said Roughead. "We both exist to provide for the safety, security and prosperity of our countries."

During his visit, CNO met with Sailors and senior military leadership of France in recognition of the strong maritime partnership between the two nations and to discuss the issues that navies with global interests have in common.

At the Toulon Naval Base, CNO met with the French Navy Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, Vice Adm. Yann Tainguy, and visited the newest ship to the French Navy, the amphibious ship BPC Tonnerre, as well as the air defense frigate FDA Chevalier Paul and the aircraft carrier PA Charles de Gaulle.

"This is where the US Navy and the French Navy share a very common capability, and that is our capability to operate very advanced aircraft from aircraft carriers," Roughead said, pointing out that US and French navies are the only ones in the world to operate nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that use catapult assisted take-offs and arrested landings.

He noted that the French Navy recently announced that Charles de Gaulle will deploy later this year to support operations in Afghanistan, where US Navy aircraft also provide air support to coalition forces on the ground.

"It's important that we look at ways that our airpower complements one another, and we look forward to being able to operate with Charles de Gaulle," Roughead said.

"The capability and capacity that Charles de Gaulle brings is very appreciated."

CNO was accompanied throughout the visit by his counterpart Adm. Pierre-Francois Forissier, Chief of Staff of the French Navy, and Roughead said he valued the opportunity to discuss with Forissier areas of increased cooperation and support between the two navies.

Roughead also praised the French Navy's role in countering piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa and helping to guard the free flow of commerce at sea.

"France was a leader in bringing many navies into the fight against piracy in the Somali basin," Roughead said. "The presence of the navies in that region have contributed to bringing down the number of [piracy] incidents, and this is all part of why countries with global interests have global navies – to be present, to be able to influence, and to ensure that the mechanisms of the world economy are uninterrupted."

In Paris, Roughead also met with Adm. Edouard Guillaud, Chief of Staff French Armed Forces and other French officials, and participated in a Ravivage Ceremony at the iconic Arc de Triomphe where he and Forissier laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and met with French veterans of past wars.

Gates Recaps Discussions with Indonesian Leaders

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

July 22, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said discussion of "broadening, deepening and elevating ties" between the United States and Indonesia highlighted meetings he had here today with the country's president and defense minister.

Gates met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro shortly after arriving here from Seoul, South Korea.

"We discussed a broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues," the secretary told Indonesian and American reporters after the meetings. "Our nations share a large number of interests, and we spent some time talking about those and how we can work together to address our common security challenges."

In addition to sharing views on international disputes involving the South China Sea, Gates said, he and the Indonesian leaders talked about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' expanded meeting scheduled for October in Hanoi, Vietnam. Vietnamese officials invited Gates to attend the October meeting during last month's "Shangri-La Dialogue" Asian security conference in Singapore.

In the bilateral relationship arena, Gates said, discussions included programs in maritime security cooperation and humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping operations.

"These are areas where the government of Indonesia has clearly defined a role for the Indonesian armed forces, and we are already cooperating closely in these areas," he said. "Minister Purnomo and I were able to discuss where we could increase and improve this cooperation so that Indonesia can expand its leadership in the region and globally."

For example, the secretary said, Indonesia has vast experience in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and the United States is committed to improving the Indonesian armed forces' related mobility and airlift capabilities. In fact, he said, an Indonesian C-130 transport plane is getting a complete overhaul at a U.S. military maintenance depot in Oklahoma City.

Indonesia sits astride or along key sea lanes of transportation and commerce between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, Gates noted, so it also has an important role in maritime security.

"We discussed how we could support each other in terms of providing for better security and surveillance of Indonesia's waters and exclusive economic zone," he said. "I would also note that Indonesia is one of the largest contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, and has a significant deployment in Lebanon right now."

Defense reform and professionalization of Indonesia's armed forces also figured prominently in today's discussions, Gates said, noting that important military reforms have taken place over the last decade since the fall of former Indonesian President Suharto.

"Most recently," the secretary said, "the ministry of defense has publicly pledged to protect human rights and advance human rights accountability and committed to suspend from active duty military officials credibly accused of human rights abuses, remove from military service any member convicted of such abuses, and cooperate with the prosecution of members of the military who have violated human rights."

As a result of those steps and other Indonesian military reforms, Gates said, the United States will begin "a measured and gradual program of security cooperation activities" with Kopassus, the Indonesian army's special forces unit, within the limits of U.S. law. The process, he added, could begin with staff-level discussions "to build common understanding of how each of us operates and trains."

"Subsequently," the secretary continued, "the cooperation could include such activities as participation in select conferences and events involving nonlethal subjects such as rule of law, human rights and the military decision-making process."

Gates said he noted to the president and the defense minister that these initial steps don't signal a lessening of the importance the United States places on human rights and accountability, and that expansion of cooperation will be based on continued implementation of reform in Indonesia's armed forces, and he rejected the notion that the United States is dictating to Indonesia.

"A lot of the initiative for the improvement in human rights here in Indonesia has come from within Indonesia and from within the Indonesian government," Gates said, "and I would say that President Yudhoyono has played an important part in these reforms. All over the world, we make known our interest in human rights, but what is required for action is the initiative and the will of governments around the world to legislate these reforms and to implement them.

"So this isn't something the United States dictates," he added. "This is something that comes from within, and it is, I think, a measure of the extraordinary progress here in Indonesia over the past 10 or a dozen years."

Gates said the question of engaging with nations that have spotty human rights records boils down to how best to further advance human rights.

"My view is that, particularly if people are making an effort to make progress, recognizing that effort and working with them further will produce greater gains in human rights for people than simply standing back and shouting at people," the secretary said. "There are expectations that we have. ... We laid out a path [for re-engaging with Kopassus] early in the year of what it would take. The commitments that I described ... have been undertaken. They are fulfilling those commitments. We anticipate they will continue to fulfill them.

"We think this is a pathway to greater human rights," he continued, "rather than a lessening of interest or priorities."

Gates said the visit has shown him how far the relationship between the United States and Indonesia has come.

"What has struck me during this visit is that this is no longer a relationship that is focused on how the United States can assist Indonesia," he said. "It is a relationship that is built on how two countries can assist the region and the world. As Indonesia takes on even greater roles in providing leadership in the region and beyond, this becomes an even more important relationship for the United States, and our bilateral relationship becomes even more important to effectively addressing broader regional and global issues."

Iwo Jima Hosts Continuing Promise Reception

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Morgan E. Dial, USS Iwo Jima Public Affairs

MIAMI (NNS) -- USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) hosted distinguished visitors for a reception and tour July 19 in honor of commencing Continuing Promise 2010.

Continuing Promise is an annual humanitarian civic assistance operation that provides the opportunity to establish partnerships with other government agencies, nongovernment organizations (NGO) and international partners.

More than 30 NGOs are contributing to Continuing Promise 2010, many of which were represented at the reception.

"The real scouts and Soldiers of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief are indeed our non-government organizations," said Lt. Gen. P. K. Keen, deputy commander, U.S. Southern Command. "We have the privilege to enable them to get where they need to be to provide their services."

Continuing Promise 2010 is a U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) directed operation implemented by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet.

"This is just such a great start here in Miami with SOUTHCOM," said Capt. Thomas Negus, Commodore Amphibious Squadron 6. "This is truly a very inclusive mission where we gain our strength from the diversity and character of everyone involved."

During the scheduled four-month surge, relief operations will be conducted in Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Panama, Nicaragua and Suriname.

"We planned this deliberately during the hurricane season," said Keen. "It will be this ship, if a nation is unfortunate enough to be impacted by a hurricane in the Caribbean or Central America. The response will be as quickly as we can get her there to provide aid and assistance."

Swift Crew Volunteers at Guatemalan School

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kim Williams, High Speed Vessel Swift 2 Public Affairs

ESCUNTILA, Guatemala (NNS) -- The crew of High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) 2 participated in a community relations event at a local school July 19.

Sailors, Marines and Airmen are embarked aboard HSV 2 as part of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010.

Service members from Swift and members of the Guatemala Paracadistas painted the walls of three classrooms at Escuela de las Pampas and played a game of basketball with children from the school.

"The time our Sailors, Marines and Airmen spent at the school today is invaluable and gives the crew the opportunity to positively influence the lives of children in this community," said Capt. Kurt Hedberg, SPS 2010 mission commander. "Events like these also boost morale, allowing everyone an opportunity to affect the mission outside of their daily responsibilities."

Members of the event's working party worked alongside volunteers from the Guatemalan military and teachers from the school in a joint effort to revitalize the building.

"The local community expressed the need to have their school painted and we were able to answer that call," said Hedberg. "It is our responsibility to assist the countries we visit, in whatever ways we can, that are aligned with our overarching mission of strengthening cooperative partnership. Building relationships and providing a lasting, positive impact for the local community definitely fits that description."

SPS 2010 provides a highly visible, positively engaged, self-sustaining sea base to conduct regional operations, through tailored and adaptive packages, and to launch a variety of engagements with partner nations within a regional area of interest.

Guatemala is the fifth stop for HSV Swift and SPS 2010, which has also visited El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Panama during the mission.

Swift is operated and navigated by 17 civilian contract mariners working for a private company under charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.

Gates Notes Growth of Partnership With Indonesia

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

July 22, 2010 - In a commentary appearing in today's edition of the Indonesian newspaper Kompas, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates noted the growth of the U.S. relationship with Indonesia, as well as Indonesia's emergent role as a regional and global leader.

Gates met here today with Indonesian government leaders to discuss enhancement of the military relationship between the two countries.

"During my last visit to Indonesia two years ago, I remarked on this country's transition from decades of military-dominated rule and its emergence as 'one of the world's newest and most vital democracies,'" Gates wrote. "On the eve of my second visit as United States secretary of defense, I have had the opportunity to reflect on how much the U.S.-Indonesia relationship has deepened since then, and how much more we can do together on behalf of security and prosperity for both our countries, the region and beyond."

The secretary wrote that the countries' bilateral relationship has matured from focusing on U.S. support for Indonesia's democratic transition to furthering a strategic partnership and addressing common challenges -- for example, cooperation on issues ranging from terrorism and piracy to environmental degradation and disaster response.

The U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership that President Barack Obama discussed with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the G-20 Summit in Toronto last month and the recently signed U.S.-Indonesia Defense Framework Arrangement are important elements in that cooperation, Gates noted, adding that he would reiterate Obama's commitment to broaden, deepen and elevate bilateral relations, with a focus on defense ties, during his visit to the Indonesian capital.

"Our two nations have a long history of military cooperation, born of our common values and the common threats we face," the secretary wrote. "Many observers underestimated the potential of our bilateral relationship because of the challenges Indonesia faced during the 1990s. Indonesia proved these observers wrong and now seeks to use its experience as a model for other countries. Further, Indonesia's transition to democracy and commitment to military reforms have enabled the United States to resume and deepen our defense cooperation."

The Indonesian government has enhanced its capabilities to monitor and protect the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's most important shipping lanes, and other critical waterways, Gates wrote, adding that the United States has targeted much of its assistance for the development of a maritime surveillance system to combat terrorism, piracy and other threats.

In addition, the secretary wrote, Indonesia has vast humanitarian assistance and disaster relief experience, and the United States is committed to assisting with improving the Indonesian armed forces' mobility and airlift capabilities in this area.

"I believe Indonesia can be an international leader when it comes to disaster relief," Gates wrote, "as Indonesia's successful deployment in response to Haiti's earthquake demonstrates."

Indonesia is the 18th-largest contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping mission, with a sizable contingent in Lebanon, the secretary wrote, and the United States and Indonesia are working together in development of a new peacekeeping training center for the Indonesian military. "Further," he added, "the government of Indonesia has led by example through its counterterrorism success, which combines expert police with experienced prosecutors."

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Gates wrote, the United States and Indonesia share a commitment to investing in building the next generation of military and defense professionals.

"To this end, we have collaborated with the new Indonesian Defense University, which is educating Indonesia's civilian and defense leaders," the secretary wrote. "I believe that education and training will enhance the substantial progress the [Indonesian military] has already made in military professionalization and respect for human rights. In my view, establishing relationships at all levels is the key to further building mutual trust and understanding between our two defense departments."

Gates closed his commentary with an expression of optimism for the future of the U.S.-Indonesian relationship.

"I believe under the auspices of the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership and the Defense Framework Arrangement," he wrote, "the next generation of our two nations' military leaders will appreciate the importance of this relationship and will be adequately prepared to address together the complex security challenges of tomorrow."

Relationships Build a Force Multiplier Among Community

By Zona T. Lewis, Navy Safe Harbor

FAIRFAX, Va. (NNS) -- Members of the Country Club of Fairfax, Va., made time to get to know Wounded Warriors, their families and caregivers during the club's second annual Warrior Appreciation Day July 20.

"We want everyone to feel at home, to show our appreciation for what they do and to establish relationships," said Jim O'Donnell, past president of the Country Club of Fairfax and event co-chair. "The entire day's focus is on the guest."

The day was packed with events for the entire family including a golf scramble, tennis, swimming, volleyball, access to the fitness center and children's games. There was also a special appearance by golf trick shot artist Brad Denton.

For the members of the Country Club of Fairfax, the day was more than just an annual event.

"It's about building relationships," said O'Donnell. "Members are still playing golf and going to dinner with guests they met at last year's event."

The event is as much for the members as the Wounded Warriors.

"As a retired Navy commander, I wanted members of the club who had not been previously involved with the military this opportunity," said Aileen Whitaker, an event co-chair.

Whitaker acknowledged that many people in the community want to support military families but are hesitant due to a lack of understanding about military life, what military families need and want in the way of support and how to reach out to them.

Building relationships through this event allows the club members to have a greater understanding of the military's mission, military service and the sacrifices service members and their families make.

Whitaker said that after the 2009 Warrior Appreciation Day many participants told her that they learned so much about military service and the sacrifices service members make that they were inspired to continue to reach out to our service members throughout the year.

"Many members describe it as the best day they have ever had at the club," said Whitaker.

With 106 volunteers supporting 103 Wounded Warriors, families and caregivers, the personal, one-on-one attention and fellowship allowed members to meet and really get to know their guests.

"Community events like this let us know, despite our illness or injury, that there are people out there that care for us," said Personnel Specialist 1st Class Gloria Sebastian, assigned to Naval Recruiting District (NRD) Philadelphia. "And, gives us a since of family for those of us that don't have family here."

Sebastian is a breast cancer survivor enrolled in Navy Safe Harbor, the Navy and Coast Guards' Wounded Warrior support program.

"Our mission is to establish relationships with all Wounded Warriors [in attendance], but most especially with Wounded Warriors with families not near here. We will take care of our Warriors; that is our goal," said O'Donnell.

Legacy of Deterrence - Our Boomers

From Commander Submarine Group 10 Public Affairs

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- Atlantic Fleet ballistic missile submarines continue the legacy of strategic deterrence. July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the Navy's first fleet ballistic missile submarine launching the first fleet ballistic missile.

The Ballistic missile submarine mission is to preserve world peace by remaining an undetected, battle ready presence as the most reliable deterrent against attack.

Ballistic missile submarines maintain a 70 percent operational availability in order to remain ready and vigilant, always in a secure and survivable posture to respond rapidly.

"The old Teddy Roosevelt moniker 'speak softly but carry a big stick' has never been more appropriate," said Rear Adm. Barry Bruner, commander Submarine Group Ten. "The submarines in Kings Bay and Bangor are our country's big sticks. The crews that man them, the families and commands that support them are critical to their success."

Gold (at sea) and Blue (stay behind) crews are essential to maintain this operational availability and provide quality of life for the Sailors and their families.

USS West Virginia (SSBN 736)(Gold) departed to begin its 63rd strategic deterrent patrol to conduct its mission. The West Virginia (Blue), or off-crew, will remain ashore to undergo refresher training period requiring a minimal turn-over period when the boat completes its patrol.

When the crew rotates, the submarine begins a refit period. USS Maryland (SSBN 738)(Blue) will complete a refit period of major system upgrades and preventive maintenance. The submarine will also undergo hull maintenance upkeep.

Peruvian Submarine Arrives in Norfolk

By Kevin Copeland, Commander, Submarine Forces/Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va (NNS) -- The Peruvian submarine BAP Angamos (SS 31) arrived at Naval Station Norfolk July 22 for a scheduled port visit as part of a Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) deployment.

Commanded by Capitan de Fragata Luis Del Carpio Azalgara, Angamos is partnering with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready group and participate in a Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX), occurring off the East Coast of the United States. COMPTUEX provides realistic training environments for participating naval forces, which closely replicates operational challenges routinely encountered during military operations around the world.

"This is an excellent opportunity for the Angamos to receive some realistic training with the U.S. Navy," said Del Carpio. "It not only benefits the Peruvian submarine force in receiving valuable anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training with a nuclear force, it also benefits the U.S. Navy in combating the capabilities of a diesel-electric submarine."

In partnering with South American navies to employ diesel-electric submarines in support of fleet readiness events off the East and West coasts, the DESI program was established in 2001 by U.S. Fleet Forces Command. DESI is executed by Commander, Submarine Forces and serves to enhance the ability of the Navy's fleet to counter the growing diesel-electric submarine threat.

During a typical DESI deployment, U.S. and South American units work together to engage in various ASW training scenarios. The participation of South American submarines in fleet training and certification events adds an additional degree of difficulty and reality to fleet ASW training exercises, as diesel submarines have proven to be elusive and difficult to track.

The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group which is comprised of Commander, Amphibious Squadron 4, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), and amphibious platform dock ship USS Ponce (LPD 15).

Security Team Critical Aboard Enterprise

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tiger Martinez, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) performed an at-sea gun shoot to train new members of its security force July 20 as part of the crew's training leading up to the ship's 21st deployment.

Enterprise is equipped with stationary and reaction security forces on watch 24/7 while in port or at sea. The stationary security force are positioned around the ship and on the pier as a deterrent.

"This training is extremely important, because it gives our security force the experience of safely handling firearms," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Eugene A. McBride, firearms instructor for Weapons department. "These Sailors have to defend the ship in case of an emergency, and this training prepares them for threats or attacks against our ship."

All security force team members are required to qualify with the M9, the standard Navy sidearm, before standing their first watch.

"Learning to become a security task force member is an awesome experience," said Logistics Specialist Seaman John P. Bannasch, a future security force team member. "The protection of the ship and its crew is an integral part of the success of the mission, and I'm honored to be a part of it."

Security team members also receive training on lethal and non-lethal weapons.

"We constantly train and re-qualify our security members so that these guys have the knowledge and experience to pull from in the event of an emergency," said McBride.

Security Team Critical Aboard Enterprise

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Tiger Martinez, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) performed an at-sea gun shoot to train new members of its security force July 20 as part of the crew's training leading up to the ship's 21st deployment.

Enterprise is equipped with stationary and reaction security forces on watch 24/7 while in port or at sea. The stationary security force are positioned around the ship and on the pier as a deterrent.

"This training is extremely important, because it gives our security force the experience of safely handling firearms," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Eugene A. McBride, firearms instructor for Weapons department. "These Sailors have to defend the ship in case of an emergency, and this training prepares them for threats or attacks against our ship."

All security force team members are required to qualify with the M9, the standard Navy sidearm, before standing their first watch.

"Learning to become a security task force member is an awesome experience," said Logistics Specialist Seaman John P. Bannasch, a future security force team member. "The protection of the ship and its crew is an integral part of the success of the mission, and I'm honored to be a part of it."

Security team members also receive training on lethal and non-lethal weapons.

"We constantly train and re-qualify our security members so that these guys have the knowledge and experience to pull from in the event of an emergency," said McBride.

USS George Washington Welcomes Guests of All Ages

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Danielle A. Brandt, USS George Washington Public Affairs

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Sailors from USS George Washington (CVN 73), welcomed aboard a variety of guests for public tours of the 100,000-ton nuclear aircraft carrier July 22 as part of the ship's port visit to Busan.

The tours helped continue the strong alliance between the U.S. Navy and the citizens of the Republic of Korea. Among the visitors were children ages 8-14 from families of the Port Authority, members of the American Embassy and students from a local university.

"It's a good learning experience," said Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class Michael Scott. "I've seen a lot of smiles."

For many of those touring the ship, the opportunity was a first, and one they will remember.

"It's very exciting getting to show someone their first Navy warship," said Lt. Jared Wolcott, one of the tour guides for the day. "It makes you remember how incredible our jobs really are."

The tour groups visited several spaces on the ship including the hangar bay, flight deck and navigation bridge where visitors got the chance to sit in the captain's chair.

"I thought the tour was absolutely spectacular," said Lila Nieves-Le whose father is retired from the U.S. Army. "I have a newfound respect for those who serve at sea".

While in the port of Busan, Sailors from USS George Washington will also host a reception for distinguished members of the community and volunteer their time to participate in various community service projects.

GW is the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier and operates from Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) in Yokosuka, Japan. It is currently on its summer patrol ensuring security and stability in the western Pacific.

DoD, VA Committed to Wounded Warrior Care

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

July 22, 2010 - Caring for wounded and injured servicemembers is among the highest priorities within the Defense Department, the acting deputy assistant defense secretary for clinical and program policy told Congress today.

Jack Smith, a medical doctor, testified before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, providing insight on the care severely injured military members receive after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of the 2.1 million servicemembers who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 40,000 were wounded in action. More than 60,000 were evacuated for medical care.

"Beyond waging the wars we are in, treatment of our wounded, their continuing care and eventual reintegration into everyday life is my highest priority," Smith said, quoting Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

"We who work in military medicine completely agree with Secretary Gates," Smith said in his written testimony.

Smith outlined the various types of medical care available for injured and recovering war veterans. He noted the Defense Department's establishment of specialty centers of excellence, as well as the department's ongoing partnership with the Veterans Affairs Department.

Key components of military health care for severely injured troops include three amputee care centers, the Brooke Army Medical Center Burn Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, he said.

Smith also noted the Military Advanced Training Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center; and the Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care Center at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.

Each of these facilities offers state-of-the-art care in orthopedic surgery, reconstructive plastic surgery, prosthetic care and treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, he said.

"DoD has long been a leader in research on improved treatments for traumatic injuries," Smith said.

Also, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury serves as a coordinating hub for psychological and mental health activities, which validates the Defense Department as a leader in the field, he said.

The Defense Department also has become a leader in vision, hearing and spinal cord care, Smith said.

Providers at these facilities treat and assist injured servicemembers to function as close to normal as possible, improving their overall quality of life, he said.

The Defense Department also is proud of its family support efforts, Smith said. Wounded servicemembers unable to return to duty, he said, may qualify for non-medical support through the Recovery Coordination Program. The program provides resources to severely injured troops, veterans and their families to determine the best road to recovery, assisting them with milestones and how to meet them, he added.

"The [program] makes sure the plan meets the servicemember's and the family's goals, and works with the individual's commander to coordinate the services included in the plan," Smith explained.

"We encourage servicemembers and families to seek help from these programs to ensure to most complete recovery possible," he added.

Smith also noted Military One Source and the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy wounded warrior programs, which assist and advocate for ill and injured troops, veterans and their families.

The department's partnership with VA, he said, ensures that severely wounded troops and their families continue receiving the care they need after they leave the military.

"DoD and VA are working together to improve their coordination of medical care for servicemembers and veterans," Smith said. "The key objectives of our coordinated transition efforts include ensuring continuity of medical care ... [and] providing clear and comprehensive information about available support programs to servicemembers and their families.

"We are committed to continued and more expansive collaboration and coordination with VA," he continued, "because we believe it is essential to our ability to provide servicemembers, veterans, and their families with consistently superior medical care and support services as well as continuity of care in the most comprehensive way."

Navy Capabilities Showcased in Twin Cities

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean P. Gallagher, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

MINNEAPOLIS (NNS) -- Sailors in Minneapolis are showcasing the U.S. Navy capbilities during Twin Cities Navy Week July 17-25.

Local Sailors, a Navy SEAL (Sea, air, land) team and the U.S. Navy Parachute Jump Team, the "Leap Frogs," provided demonstrations to the public.

The U.S. Navy SEAL team at the Minneapolis Air Expo demonstrated their accelerator, which communicates real life stories through print, video and online interaction. Attendees also got a chance to engage in an F-18 flight simulator.

"I really think Twin Cities Navy Week is going great," said Lt. j.g. Mike Sheehan, primary field public affairs officer for Twin Cities Navy Week. "We've gotten some very positive responses from people, such as the St. Paul Saints, the Minnesota Twins and local business leaders."

Twin Cities Navy Week has many naval activities and community projects. Commander Submarine Force Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly and Commander Navy Reserve Forces Rear Adm. Lothrop S. Little are attending as leading U.S. Navy representatives.

Sailors have interacted with many Minneapolis residents at various events, including service projects with Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), model rocket building with the Ronald McDonald House and leaders in both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Minnesota.

The Saint Paul Saints had a Navy Day July 20. The "Leap Frogs" jumped into Midway Park. The Minnesota Twins also hosted a Navy Day July 20 with Vice Adm. Donnelly throwing the first pitch.

"This Navy Week is great," said Sheehan. "It lets people know the Navy has a presence in their community and are working hard every day. It also gives us a great opportunity to interact with local Sailors, community leaders, business leaders and the local citizens."

MILITARY CONTRACTS July 22, 2010

AIR FORCE

Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Clearfield, Utah, was awarded a $140,173,508 contract modification which will design, fabricate and modify production of two complete test sets under the intercontinental ballistic missile re-entry field support equipment engineering, management and development program. At this time, $8,974,611 has been obligated. 526 ICBMSW/PKE, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (F42610-98-C-0001).

Raytheon Co., Missile Systems, Tucson, Ariz., was awarded a $21,093,096 contract which will provide 508 Enhanced Paveway II guided bomb kits. At this time, $21,093,096 has been obligated. OO-ALC GHGKB, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8213-10-C-0067).

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded a $556,762 contract for the survivability/vulnerability analysis of Air Force Combat Command intelligence transformation. At this time, $556,762 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP-0700-03-D-1380; Delivery Order 356).

International Business Machines Corp., Yorktown Heights, N.Y., was awarded a $9,602,474 contract for the gratings of regular arrays and trim exposures for digital design program. At this time $2,961,321 has been obligated. AFRL/PKD, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-10-C-7038).

Tybrin Corp., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded an $11,446,277 contract modification which will add 70 man-years of software engineering support for guided weapons systems evaluations, simulations and other services supporting research and development for the principals and customers of the Air Armament Center. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. AAC/PKET, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (F08635-02-C-0034/P00057).

Northrop Grumman Corp., Bethpage, N.Y., is being awarded an undefinitized modification to a previously awarded fixed-price-incentive-fee contract (N00019-08-C-0027) for the procurement of one additional E-2D Advanced Hawkeye low-rate initial production Lot 2 aircraft. The not-to-exceed price for the additional aircraft is $136,000,000. Work will be performed in Syracuse, N.Y. (32.6 percent); Bethpage, N.Y. (15.5 percent); Dallas, Texas (12.4 percent); Menlo Park, Calif. (9.8 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (6.3 percent); Woodland Hills, Calif. (6 percent); Aire-sur-l'Adour, France (2.7 percent); Brentwood, N.Y. (2.6 percent); Owego, N.Y. (2.6 percent); Greenlawn, N.Y. (2.2 percent); Irvine, Calif. (1.7 percent); Marlboro, Mass. (1.6 percent); Clemmons, N.C. (1.6 percent); Windsor Locks, Conn. (1.2 percent); and various locations throughout the U.S. (1.2 percent). Work is expected to be completed in December 2012. 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.

Watermark Environmental, Inc.*, Lowell, Mass. (N40085-10-D-9448); Vetco Contracting Services, LLC*, Watertown, N.Y. (N40085-10-D-9449); P&S Construction, Inc.*, Lowell, Mass. (N40085-10-D-9450); Wu & Associates, Inc.*, Cherry Hill, N.J. (N40085-10-D-9451); Williams Building Co., Inc.*, West Yarmouth, Mass. ( N40085-10-D-9452); Viteri Construction Management, Inc.*, Newport News, Va. (N40085-10-D-9453); and LaRosa Building Group, LLC*, Meriden, Conn. (N40085-10-D-9454), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award design-build, design-bid-build construction contract for general building type projects - new construction, renovation, alteration, and repair of facilities and infrastructure, roofing, demolition, and routine renovations - in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Mid-Atlantic Northeast area of responsibility (AOR). The maximum dollar value, including the base period and four option years, for all seven contracts combined is $100,000,000. Watermark Environmental, Inc., is being awarded task order #0001 at $9,090,995 for the design and construction of an indoor small arms range at Submarine Base New London, Groton, Conn. Work for this task order is expected to be completed by February 2012. All work on this contract will be performed within the NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Northeast AOR including, but not limited to: Pennsylvania (20 percent), Rhode Island (15 percent), New Jersey (15 percent), Connecticut (15 percent), New York (14 percent), Maine (10 percent), Massachusetts (5 percent), New Hampshire (2 percent), Vermont (2 percent) and Delaware (2 percent). The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of July 2015. Contract funds for task order #0001 will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with 25 proposals received. These seven contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc., Plymouth Meeting, Pa. (N62583-09-D-0128); Innovative Technical Solutions, Inc., Walnut Creek, Calif. (N62583-09-D-0129); Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., Irving, Texas (N62583-09-D-0130); Weston Solutions, Inc., West Chester, Pa. (N62583-09-D-0131); and Willbros Government Services (U.S.), LLC, Tulsa, Okla. (N62583-09-D-0132), are each being awarded a modification to exercise option year one under previously awarded firm-fixed-price multiple award contracts in support of the assessment, repair, and construction for petroleum, oils and lubricant (POL) fuel systems at various locations worldwide. The work to be performed provides for support of the sustainment, restoration, and modernization requirements managed by the Engineering Service Center, Port Hueneme. The work is to access and repair various POL facilities and systems at various locations, worldwide. Projects may involve design/build, engineering, inspection, testing and construction of POL fuel systems and its various components. The combined total value for all five contractors is $70,000,000. No task orders are being issued at this time. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $140,000,000. Work will be performed at various Department of Defense facilities worldwide including, outside the contiguous U.S. (65 percent) and within the contiguous United States (35 percent). Work for this option is expected to be completed July 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Specialty Center Acquisitions, Port Hueneme, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Rockwell Collins, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded an undefinitized contract action with a not-to-exceed value of $38,759,632 to provide labor, facilities, equipment, and material required to develop and produce an A-kit and B-kit for Block I modification on one low-rate initial production E-6 aircraft, as well as associated training and support systems to achieve initial operational capability. Work will be performed in Richardson, Texas (70 percent); Waco, Texas (20 percent); and Oklahoma City, Okla. (10 percent). Work is expected to be completed in July 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-2. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-10-C-0067).

Alloy Surfaces Co., Aston, Pa., is being awarded a three-year $38,300,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to manufacture MJU-49/B decoy devices. Work will be performed in Aston, Pa., and is expected to be completed by December 2013. 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 (N00104-10-C-K092).

iRobot Corp., Bedford, Mass., is being awarded a $20,468,812 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of Man Transportable Robotic System (MTRS) production systems, depot level repair parts, spare kits, and depot repair services. The MTRS is a small robotic vehicle used by explosive ordnance disposal technicians to conduct remote reconnaissance, render safe and/or dispose of explosive devices. Work will be performed in Bedford, Mass., and is expected to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity (N00174-10-C-0030).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Raytheon Co., Andover, Mass., is being awarded a minimum $6,989,539 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, sole-source contract for power supply assemblies. 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 Aug. 31, 2014. The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (SPRRA2-10-C-0015).

U.S. Army Soldier Charged with Threatening to Kill Knox County Chancellor

KNOXVILLE, TN—A federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tennessee returned a one-count indictment on July 21, 2010, charging Franklin Delano Jeffries II, 36, a U.S. Army soldier stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with transmitting in interstate commerce, via the publicly-available Internet website “YouTube,” a communication containing a threat to injure and kill Knox County Chancellor Michael W. Moyers.

The indictment alleges that, on or before July 9, 2010, Jeffries threatened to kill Chancellor Moyers. Using the Internet website “YouTube,” Jeffries posted a video of himself conveying this threat to Chancellor Moyers.

If convicted, Jeffries faces a term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

This indictment is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly A. Norris will represent the United States.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Rolling Thunder, American Legion Bring Christmas in July to NMCP Patients

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Riza Caparros, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth Public Affairs

Portsmouth, Va. (NNS) -- A loud rumble shook the ground as a group of motorcycle riders drove through the front gate of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth July 18.

Santa Rick and 35 leather-clad and tattooed men and women, representing motorcycle riding groups Rolling Thunder (chapter 5) and American Legion (posts 284, 146, 5 and 83) showed their soft side when they arrived with toys for the young patients of the medical facility for Christmas in July.

Christmas in July has been a collaborative tradition between NMCP's Pediatric Ward Child Life Specialist Chris Brogan, NMCP's American Red Cross and Rolling Thunder for about 10 years.

"This is such a great event for the hospital staff, the children and their families," Brogan said, "because what would be a long day at the hospital turns into a fun and happy one with Santa and other special visitors coming with gifts and wishing them well."

Rear Adm. Alton L. Stocks, NMCP's commander, met the group as they arrived and thanked them for their kind gestures.

"I can't thank Rolling Thunder and the American Legion enough for their tireless efforts throughout the year to provide toys to our veteran's children who are being treated here," Stocks said. "What a great way to teach our children the value of helping our own and other kind gestures to others."

The group made its way to the Pediatric Ward, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency Room and met with quite a few young patients and even some parents. Chief Petty Officer Karen Cozza was with her daughter, Caroline, when the group stopped by Caroline's room with a surprise armful of toys for her and her sisters at home.

"I am with Caroline as she undergoes her chemotherapy treatments, and the days tend to be very long and tiresome because we can't leave the room," Cozza said. "This was a nice change for both of us, and it was a great way to get Caroline to smile again.

"It's nice to get a gift, but it's nicer to see the faces and smiles of the people who come with it," she continued. NMCP American Red Cross chairperson Charlotte Beard said collaborating with the motorcycle groups has been a great part of a great cause.

"Most of them are veterans of the Vietnam War," said Beard. "They selflessly give back to the children of their fellow veterans, collecting money and toys to give to them with the single hope of bringing a smile to a sick child's face. They are great tough-love, soft-hearted men and women."

Rolling Thunder traditionally visits NMCP twice a year. In addition to "Christmas in July", they also come for "Operation Bright Light" in December. The bikers travel from various cities across the state, some more than one hundred miles away, and gather at Bayside Harley Davidson in Portsmouth before parading together to the medical facility to visit the children. Any toys and stuffed animals not given out during the Rolling Thunder visits are donated to the Pediatric Ward to give to patients throughout the year.

Devastator, Pioneer Hunt Hawaii Mines for RIMPAC

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Two San Diego-based Avenger-class mine countermeasure ships arrived at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercise, from June 28 to Aug. 1.

USS Devastator (MCM 6) and USS Pioneer (MCM 9) conducted a 10 to 12 nautical square mile minesweeping exercises off the coast of Hawaii.

"It's great to show this side of the Navy especially with the foreign services that are here to see our mine sweeping capability," said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Gilbertson, the commanding officer of Devastator. "It's been a great success for these two ships to get out here."

During the exercise, each ship designated a mine threat area and laid out a surface area into grids. Each ship was assigned a grid to sweep and clear for mines.

Pioneer located and performed a mechanical sweep of a moored mine, cutting the mine's anchoring cables and subsequently neutralizing the target. Devastator, on the other hand, was successful in identifying several contacts on the sea floor.

"It was a little difficult, to be honest," said Mineman 1st Class Alberto Torres. "Even though the water is pretty clear out here, it took a little bit to find a couple of them. It's a little surprising because usually with water like this, we would be able to find them rather quickly."

Devastator's executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. Wayne Liebold said that so far, Devastator has successfully identified 15 to 20 simulated mine shapes around the waters of Hawaii.

"Mine hunting is very slow," said Liebold. "Some people say that anti-submarine warfare is slow, but they have never been on a mine warfare ship before."

Liebold explained that during an underwater warfare operation, a ship would cruise at three to four knots. During a mine warfare operation, a mine countermeasure ship would move at only one to two knots.

"Really the difficult thing that people never really account for is when you throw something over the side of the boat, for example a used refrigerator, it looks a lot like a mine," said Liebold.

Liebold said in situations like that, the crew would deploy a mine neutralization vehicle, an unmanned mini-submarine equipped with mine-hunting sonar and two television cameras. The vehicle carries two packages: a cable cutter for moored mines, and a droppable charge for bottom mines.

Liebold said that the crew is happy to be part of RIMPAC 2010.

"A typical mineman has been to two or three ports," said Liebold. "So when the crew came to Hawaii, about 70 percent of them said that this was their first port visit. For them, it was a great chance to see the rest of the Navy. For a mineman, a mine countermeasure ship is the only class of ship that they embarked on."

The RIMPAC 2010 exercise brought together units and personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

RIMPAC is the world's largest multinational maritime exercise, and takes place in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands. The exercise is themed "Combined Agility, Synergy and Support," and marks the 22nd exercise in the series that originated in 1971.

Clinton Announces New Sanctions for North Korea

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

July 21, 2010 - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced new measures designed to bolster efforts to prevent North Korean weapons proliferation, curb the illicit activities that fund its weapons programs and discourage further provocative actions.

Clinton announced the measures here during a news conference following today's "2-plus-2 Talks," in which she and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Defense Minister Kim Tae-young to discuss a broad range of issues. The sanctions, Clinton said, strengthen enforcement of two United Nations Security Council resolutions by taking aim globally at individuals and entities that fund or facilitate North Korea's proliferation activities.

"Let me stress that these measures are not directed at the people of North Korea, who have suffered too long due to the misguided and malign priorities of their government," she said. "They are directed at the destabilizing, illicit and provocative policies pursued by that government."

Clinton said North Korea can achieve the security and international acceptance it seeks by halting its belligerent and threatening behavior and by taking irreversible steps to fulfill its commitment to jettison its nuclear arms program and comply with international law. In that case, she said, sanctions would be lifted, North Korea would receive energy assistance and other economic help, U.S.-North Korean relations would be normalized, and a permanent peace agreement would replace the current armistice on the Korean peninsula.

"But as long as the North Korean leadership takes a different choice – continuing provocation, defiance and belligerence – it will continue to suffer the consequences," Clinton said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, speaking through an interpreter at the news conference, said today's talks were "far-reaching and in-depth," touching on security, the strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance, North Korea, and regional and global cooperation.

The talks included a briefing on progress in developing a plan for operational wartime control of all forces on the Korean peninsula to transfer to the South Korean military by December 2015, Yu said. The final plan will be produced in time for a U.S.-South Korean consultative meeting scheduled in October, he added.

The four leaders also approved a plan for upcoming military combined exercises involving U.S. and South Korean forces, Yu said, and they observed that the U.S.-South Korea alliance is emerging as a global partnership, as evidenced by close cooperation in reconstruction and stabilization in places such as Afghanistan and Haiti.

"Both sides noted that today's meeting was very productive and useful in furthering the development of a strategic [U.S. South Korean] alliance," Yu said, "and decided to consider holding further foreign and defense ministers meetings as necessary."

Asked if he believes new North Korean attacks are imminent and whether the upcoming military exercises might provoke North Korea rather than deter it from aggression, Gates said the potential succession process for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who reportedly is seriously ill, is a factor, and he noted North Korea's sinking of the freighter Cheonan in March that killed 46 South Korean sailors as one example that shows vigilance is necessary.

"There has been some indication over the last number of months that as the succession process gets under way in the North that there might be provocations," Gates said, "particularly since the sinking of the Cheonan. ... I think taking steps that further strengthen deterrence and also demonstrate our determination not to be intimidated are very important.

"Yesterday we briefed in some detail on the first exercise that will take place beginning in a week or so," he continued, "and we have re-committed to the fact that we will continue these bilateral exercises, that we will conduct them both in the East Sea and the West Sea."

The exercises also send a message that the U.S.-South Korean alliance is very strong and very close, and that the two nations will act together going forward in deterring further provocations, the secretary added.

Later, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak hosted a dinner for Clinton and Gates at the Blue House, his official residence.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits Key to Recruiting and Retention

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

July 21, 2010 - Proposed changes to the post-9/11 GI Bill would improve military readiness, a senior Pentagon official said today at a Capitol Hill hearing.

Robert E. Clark, assistant director for accessions policy in the office of the defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness, also said education benefits are crucial to military recruiting and retention efforts during his testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Clark discussed the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvement Act of 2010 and how it would affect the Department of Defense.

One of the more notable options in the bill is transferability. It gives career servicemembers who've served on active duty or in the selected reserve on or after Aug. 1, 2009, the option to transfer their education benefits to family members, Clark said. Transferability was approved in the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvement Act of 2008, which became law in June 2008.

Panel members are debating that option for the 2010 bill. Some say transferability shouldn't be available for every servicemember, because of budget constraints. Rather, the option should be reserved for specific military specialties that are difficult to fill, they said.

"We had concerns about the generous benefit being more of a draw for first-term members to leave [the military] in order to use this benefit," Clark said. "[But] we were very pleased to see the transferability ... to share this benefit that [servicemembers] have earned with their family members.

"We did not believe this benefit for family members was to be limited to any specific targeting," he continued. "We believe that every soldier, sailor, airmen and Marine who chooses to stay should have the same opportunity to share their earned benefits with their family members."

Money for education remains a top reason for young Americans to join and stay in the military, Clark said. Transferability and the 9/11 GI Bill will help the Pentagon meet its recruiting and retention goals, he added.

"There is no doubt that the Post-9/11 GI Bill will continue to have this impact, and we are seeing that happen with unprecedented recruiting success," he said in his written testimony.

Other proposed changes include new rules for entitlement, modifications of the amount and types of assistant covered, methods of education payment and transferring unused benefits. The proposed bill would enhance provisions of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as make improvements in other Veterans Affairs Department education programs, Keith M. Wilson, director of education service for VA, said at the hearing.

The proposed bill also clarifies eligibility for reserve component troops. Troops activated for training and other purposes in support of reserve component forces or in support of contingency operations qualify for the bill benefits, Wilson said. Also full-time citizen-servicemembers and members activated for national emergency responses are eligible, he added.

Individuals released from active duty for medical or hardship conditions must be released under honorable conditions, Wilson continued.

"The amendments regarding qualifying Title 10 service and extending coverage to Guard members ... would be consistent with qualifying active service under the Montgomery GI Bill and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program," he explained in his written testimony. "The proposed amendment clarifying that certain service must result in an honorable discharge is similar to the honorable discharge requirements applicable to other covered individuals."

Regarding tuition payment under the proposed bill, VA would pay fees based on charges reported by the institution. That would include out-of-state tuition, as well, Wilson said.

For foreign or private institutions, VA would pay fees according to statistics obtained from the Department of Education. The figures used would be of the "average of established charges at all institutions in the U.S. for a baccalaureate degree for the most recent year," Wilson explained.

Meanwhile, he said, the housing stipend will be calculated based on attendance in school. This means, for example, students enrolled in 50 percent of a full course load will receive 50 percent of the stipend.

Also, housing stipends under the proposed 2010 bill will expand to vocational schools, correspondence training, on-the-job training and apprenticeships and flight schools. Stipends are based on the area's housing allowance rates for an E-5 with dependents, Wilson said.

VA supports streamlining the tuition-and-fee benefits for students attending public institutions and establishing a maximum payment cap private school students, he said.

"The manner in which institutions assess charges varies widely from state to state and from school to school," Wilson said. "VA also does not object to expansion of the program to permit payment for vocational, flight, correspondence ..., subject to Congress identifying appropriate [cost savings]."

Additional amendments in the proposed bill include the types of methods VA uses to pay various institutions and training facilities. Although VA supports the intent to improve the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the department does not support some of these provisions, Wilson said.

These provisions would "severely hamper" payment methods, Wilson said, as the bill's amendments would take effect as if the 2008 bill never existed. VA proposes to postpone "significant changes" to the law until Aug. 2011 to ensure the improvements don't have negative impact on service delivery, he explained.

Since the inception of the 2008 legislation, VA has awarded nearly $4 billion to more than 295,000 veterans and their education institutions, Wilson said.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits Key to Recruiting and Retention

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

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2010 - Proposed changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill would improve military readiness, a senior Pentagon official said today at a Capitol Hill hearing.

Robert E. Clark, assistant director for accessions policy in the office of the defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness, also said education benefits are crucial to military recruiting and retention efforts during his testimony before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Clark discussed the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvement Act of 2010 and how it would affect the Department of Defense.

One of the more notable options in the bill is transferability. It gives career servicemembers who've served on active duty or in the selected reserve on or after Aug. 1, 2009, the option to transfer their education benefits to family members, Clark said. Transferability was approved in the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvement Act of 2008, which became law in June 2008.

Panel members are debating that option for the 2010 bill. Some say transferability shouldn't be available for every servicemember, because of budget constraints. Rather, the option should be reserved for specific military specialties that are difficult to fill, they said.

"We had concerns about the generous benefit being more of a draw for first-term members to leave [the military] in order to use this benefit," Clark said. "[But] we were very pleased to see the transferability ... to share this benefit that [servicemembers] have earned with their family members.

"We did not believe this benefit for family members was to be limited to any specific targeting," he continued. "We believe that every soldier, sailor, airmen and Marine who chooses to stay should have the same opportunity to share their earned benefits with their family members."

Money for education remains a top reason for young Americans to join and stay in the military, Clark said. Transferability and the 9/11 GI Bill will help the Pentagon meet its recruiting and retention goals, he added.

"There is no doubt that the Post-9/11 GI Bill will continue to have this impact, and we are seeing that happen with unprecedented recruiting success," he said in his written testimony.

Other proposed changes include new rules for entitlement, modifications of the amount and types of assistant covered, methods of education payment and transferring unused benefits. The proposed bill would enhance provisions of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as make improvements in other Veterans Affairs Department education programs, Keith M. Wilson, director of education service for VA, said at the hearing.

The proposed bill also clarifies eligibility for reserve component troops. Troops activated for training and other purposes in support of reserve component forces or in support of contingency operations qualify for the bill benefits, Wilson said. Also full-time citizen-servicemembers and members activated for national emergency responses are eligible, he added.

Individuals released from active duty for medical or hardship conditions must be released under honorable conditions, Wilson continued.

"The amendments regarding qualifying Title 10 service and extending coverage to Guard members ... would be consistent with qualifying active service under the Montgomery GI Bill and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program," he explained in his written testimony. "The proposed amendment clarifying that certain service must result in an honorable discharge is similar to the honorable discharge requirements applicable to other covered individuals."

Regarding tuition payment under the proposed bill, VA would pay fees based on charges reported by the institution. That would include out-of-state tuition, as well, Wilson said.

For foreign or private institutions, VA would pay fees according to statistics obtained from the Department of Education. The figures used would be of the "average of established charges at all institutions in the U.S. for a baccalaureate degree for the most recent year," Wilson explained.

Meanwhile, he said, the housing stipend will be calculated based on attendance in school. This means, for example, students enrolled in 50 percent of a full course load will receive 50 percent of the stipend.

Also, housing stipends under the proposed 2010 bill will expand to vocational schools, correspondence training, on-the-job training and apprenticeships and flight schools. Stipends are based on the area's housing allowance rates for an E-5 with dependents, Wilson said.

VA supports streamlining the tuition-and-fee benefits for students attending public institutions and establishing a maximum payment cap private school students, he said.

"The manner in which institutions assess charges varies widely from state to state and from school to school," Wilson said. "VA also does not object to expansion of the program to permit payment for vocational, flight, correspondence ..., subject to Congress identifying appropriate [cost savings]."

Additional amendments in the proposed bill include the types of methods VA uses to pay various institutions and training facilities. Although VA supports the intent to improve the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the department does not support some of these provisions, Wilson said.

These provisions would "severely hamper" payment methods, Wilson said, as the bill's amendments would take effect as if the 2008 bill never existed. VA proposes to postpone "significant changes" to the law until Aug. 2011 to ensure the improvements don't have negative impact on service delivery, he explained.

Since the inception of the 2008 legislation, VA has awarded nearly $4 billion to more than 295,000 veterans and their education institutions, Wilson said.