Military News

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hollywood Films 'Battleship' Aboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- A Universal Pictures production crew was aboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) Sept. 7-24 to film the new action-adventure movie "Battleship," based on the Hasbro board game.

Directed by Peter Berg, Battleship will feature the U.S. and Japanese navies stumbling upon the point of an alien invasion. Berg's previous directorial works include "The Kingdom," "The Rundown" and "Hancock."

"I've always been a huge fan of the Navy," said Berg. "My father was a Marine and a naval historian. I was brought up learning about Pearl Harbor, the campaign of the Pacific, and the Battle of Midway. He was particularly obsessed with World War II. The idea of making a film about naval warfare was something that was always interesting to me. What better place to set it than Pearl Harbor?"

The film is set in modern day, during a Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. RIMPAC is the largest real world multinational maritime exercise that occurs every two years in and around the Hawaiian islands. This year, seven nations participated in RIMPAC, showcasing more than 30 modern naval ships, with the goal of building relationships, increasing interoperability and improving readiness among allied countries.

Berg said there have been a number of films with old battleships like the USS Missouri.

"I thought it would be interesting to introduce the audience to the modern surface warfare," he said, "and some of the current destroyers, missile cruisers and some of the other things that the Navy has now, that they didn't have back in the old days."

One of the modern U.S. Navy destroyers featured on "Battleship" is USS Hopper (DDG 70), where the film crew shot several action scenes on the ship.

"The movie gives the Sailors a chance to see what Hollywood is like, and believe it or not, they are not unlike us," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jim Dewitt, USS Hopper. "It brings a lot of different people out to see what the Navy is all about. All the people who are in the background, and all the people who are working for Hollywood themselves probably never got to do some of the stuff that we get to do."

When the casting call was announced for scenes aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Dewitt signed up to play an extra in the film. More than 300 Sailors and actors playing Sailors signed up to participate in the filming aboard Missouri.
The scenes shot aboard the Missouri included actors Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard, Rihanna and Liam Neeson.

"I met most of the actors and actresses, and they are all very nice," said Dewitt. "They are very approachable individuals. A lot of people were kind of 'should I talk to them, should I not?', but they are as excited about being here as much as we are."

JBPHH Chief Staff Officer Capt. Lawrence Scruggs, showed his support for the movie by signing up to be an extra as well.

"The real value of having Sailors as part of that production is that we could "Sailorize" the actors who have no military affiliation," said Scruggs. "With Battleship, this is an opportunity for the Navy to reach out to the civilian population and say, 'Hey, look at us and look at what we do.'"

Scruggs said it is important to depict U.S. Sailors accurately.

"Somebody is going to see Battleship and see those actors and extras, and that's going to be their only impression of the Navy," said Scruggs. "You want that to be a good impression, because there are 330,000 Sailors and Marines out there right now who are just doing great stuff for the country. We want to portray those individuals accurately as well as those Sailors who have come before us."

Berg said he believes in research and authenticity, citing his previous movies "Friday Night Lights" and "The Kingdom," in which he used actual football players and FBI agents.

"As an actor, I like taking people who have never acted before and helping them find their inner actor," said Berg. "We all have an actor inside of us. To have the guys and gals on board ships like the Hopper, Shoup, Ronald Reagan, and some of the other ships that we have been on, do what they do…we could not teach an actor to do as well as they do it. They have a lot of fun. They're good at it, and it is fun to put real Sailors in the movie."

Dewitt said he hopes that he could at least be seen in the movie.

"There were a few scenarios where we had some close-ups done, but you just never know," said Dewitt. "It was still a fun experience. I expect that we will have a good portrayal of the Navy. They've done a lot of good Navy shots, incorporating a lot of the Sailors and service members around Hawaii. I also think that we are going to see a lot of action in this movie. They're pulling off a lot of different stunts and a lot of different things. They're going to show what the Navy is all about."

Battleship is scheduled to be released May 18, 2012.

Iwo Jima Sailors, Marines Revitalize Nicaraguan Park During Continuing Promise 2010

By By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Zane Ecklund, USS IWO JIMA Public Affairs

BLUEFIELDS, Nicaragua (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines embarked aboard USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) gave their time and effort to revitalize Las Carmeles Park in Bluefields, Nicaragua, Sept. 21.

A new backboard for the basketball court, new playground equipment, trash removal, and a fresh coat of paint were the benefits provided by service members participating in the project as part of Continuing Promise 2010.

Cmdr. Tim Oswald, Iwo Jima command chaplain, emphasized the importance of participating in charitable activities as a way to connect with one's fellow man abroad.

"The direct impacts you have on individuals are long lasting," said Oswald. "It (charitable work) creates a greater sense of our global community and shared humanity."

Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Shane Hotzenbiler, of Wilmington, N.C., took pride in knowing his efforts in improving the park made it a better place for children to play.

"Our work gives the children a better soccer field, and the playground gives the small children somewhere to play," said Hotzenbiler. "Seeing the smiles on the childrens' faces, makes my work fulfilling and doing projects for children has made the Continuing Promise 2010 mission worthwhile for me."

Cryptologic Technician Interpretative 2nd Class Alicia Williamson, of Arlington, Texas, said she understands that cleaning up a park can have a larger impact than some may realize.

"It's good to have a positive presence in Latin America," said Williamson. "Some of these Latin American countries are undecided about their opinions on the United States, and projects like these show we have friendly intentions."

Community relations projects have provided an opportunity for approximately 500 servicemembers aboard Iwo Jima to participate in the Continuing Promise 2010 mission.

The humanitarian mission has provided an opportunity for ship's company to interact with, and have a lasting impact on residents of host nations.

"I hope the mission reinforces a volunteer spirit," said Oswald. "They'll (service members) want to give their time, their energy, and their resources in service to others. I think volunteering is one of America's virtues, and its one of those things that makes us special."

Continuing Promise 2010 is a humanitarian civic assistance (HCA) mission. The assigned medical and engineering staff embarked aboard Iwo Jima will work with partner nations' teams to provide medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering assistance to eight different nations to improve mutual understanding of current medical issues.

USS Shoup Adds Realism to Egress Training

By Lt. Jacquelyn R. Bengfort, USS Shoup Public Affairs

USS Shoup, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Shoup (DDG 86) conducted a series of shipboard emergency egress training sessions Sep. 20-25 during its current deployment with Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9.

Egress training is required every six months for all Sailors assigned to sea commands, to ensure they can escape from workspaces and berthing areas in the event the ship sustains major damage.

Under close supervision, Sailors are typically blindfolded and tasked to find their way to safety without sight, sometimes travelling hundreds of feet in the process.

In order to add more intensity to the training, the USS Shoup Damage Control Training Team used smoke machines, strobe lights, and sound effects to heighten the sense of urgency to evacuate.

Shoup Sailors were also required to locate and don Emergency Escape Breathing Devices before making their way out of darkened spaces.

"Now that we are on deployment and heading toward uncertain waters, it is extremely important that we be creative in our damage control training to make it as realistic as we possibly can," said Lt. Elisabeth Erickson, USS Shoup damage control assistant.

The overall goal of the training is to make certain all Sailors know both the fastest and alternate routes in case the ship suffers damage leading to fire or flooding, and to increase their confidence in their ability to egress safely in darkness or heavy smoke.

"Egress training will save the lives of our Sailors if the ship takes damage," added Erickson.

USS Shoup is currently underway on a scheduled deployment to the 7th and 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility with Abraham Lincoln Strike Group.

USS Abraham Lincoln is the flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, which consists of embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, San Diego-based guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), and the embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, which includes the Everett-based destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Shoup, as well as the San Diego-based destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

Carrier Strike Group Twelve Conducts Change of Command on Big "E"

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (EXW) Stacy D. Laseter, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) held a change of command ceremony for the embarked Commander, Carrier Strike Group Twelve (CCSG-12) Sept. 17.

Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft relieved Rear Adm. David H. Buss as Commander, Carrier Strike Group Twelve. Buss had commanded the strike group since Oct. 20, 2009.

"Bringing Enterprise strike group together and through the first part of the work-up cycle was a great experience," said Buss. "I'm confident I'm turning a great strike group and staff over to a great commander."

"Dave Buss and the Enterprise team have done a fantastic job getting ready for integrated training," said Kraft. "It's great to be back in the fleet."

CCSG-12 is embarked aboard USS Enterprise and is participating in workups as the strike group prepares for its upcoming 21st deployment.

Buss has been confirmed to become the Director, Naval Warfare Integration Group, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington.

Kraft was previously the Director of ISR Capabilities on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.

For more information about USS Enterprise, Carrier Strike Group 12, or Carrier Air Wing One, visit www.Enterprise.navy.mil, www.ccsg12.surfor.navy.mil, or www.cvw1.navy.mil.

Whidbey Island Search and Rescue Crew Receives Commendation

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Maebel Tinoko, Commander, Navy Region Northwest Public Affairs

SHELTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The Mason County Sheriff's Office recognized Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel at the Little Creek Casino Resort, Sept. 24 for saving the life of a teenager in August.

"I would like to take this opportunity to commend all of you for your heroic and spectacular rescue," said Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury. "Your conduct during this operation reflects favorably on the United States Navy; during this mission you all demonstrated the highest standards of dedication, bravery, and professionalism to the mission of public safety.

"Because of the brave rescue you accomplished that day, Ruth Powell is alive and expected to recover fully from the injuries she sustained that day. Accordingly, I am awarding you this commendation on behalf of the citizens of Mason County, the Mason County Sheriff's Office, and Mason County Fire Districts number four, number six, and number nine."

The SAR personnel responded to a call for assistance from the Mason County Sheriff's Office Aug. 17 after 16-year old Powell fell off a cliff and into the river in Skokomish River Canyon while hiking with her family.

SAR launched an MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter with a crew of six personnel. Ground rescue teams reached the injured hiker and rendered first aid.

Once on location, the SAR crew analyzed the situation and began conducting basic operational risk management, taking everything into consideration in order to embark on a safe and successful extraction mission.

During the awards ceremony, the SAR crew, which included Lt. Brandon Sheets, pilot and mission commander; Lt. Scott Zenner, pilot; Chief Naval Aircrewman (NAC) Jeremiah Wilkins; Naval Aircrewman (NAC) 1st Class Andrew Worth; Naval Aircrewman (NAC) 2nd Class Brian Casey and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (NAC/AW) Richmond Roy, each were given a challenge coin from Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury and a letter of commendation.

"This is a huge honor to be recognized by the community," said Roy. "They were working just as hard as we were, and for them to recognize us means a lot. It is personally rewarding to be able to get a chance to build a great relationship with the community and help save those who get stuck in bad situations."

"I am proud of the SAR crew for what we do as a unit, and it's nice to be recognized," said Zinner. "This job is very rewarding, and any chance we get to help people who need us; we are there, trained and ready to help."

Naval Medical Center San Diego Hosts 'Theater of War' to Heal

From Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) hosted the 114th performance of "Theater of War" - a dramatic reading of two ancient Greek plays followed by a town hall discussion about the challenges faced by combat service members and veterans for approximately 150 members of the community Sept. 20.

A project of the Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), Theater of War is conducting performances and town hall meetings in military communities across the nation in an effort to reduce stigma and encourage service members to seek needed assistance for psychological health concerns.

"No one returns from combat without being affected," said Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego, Rear Adm. C. Forrest Faison III. "War can expose many of our staff and patients to horrific things, but this is a safe place to talk about it, seek care, and start to heal."

The production began with a performance from professional actors who read a modern translation of two plays written by Sophocles, a Greek general officer and renowned playwright from 400 B.C.

Cast members participating in the performance, included Reg E. Cathey, Josh Hamilton, Erica Tazel and Frank Harts.

"Ajax" tells the story of a Trojan War hero who is driven to madness by the same habits that made him a legend on the battlefield. "Philoctetes" is about a warrior whose men abandon him on an island because of an injury.

The follow-on town hall session started with comments from a panel of members who responded without prepared or rehearsed remarks about what they saw and heard in the plays that connected with their own experiences at war and at home.

The panel featured Capt. Paul Hammer, director, Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control; Lisa Marcolongo, a Marine Corps spouse; Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. David Rhode, a Purple Heart recipient; and Jack Lyons, a Vietnam veteran. All panel members offered their personal insights on deployment and reintegration into society, which helped facilitate audience discussion.

"One of the things I got from the plays was when the character Tecmessa (Ajax's wife), asked for help from Ajax's friends and comrades," said Marcolongo. "After my husband's second deployment to Iraq his buddies traveled from all over to be with us in Texas and help him."

Doerries, the New York based writer, translator, director, educator and founder of Theater of War remarked, "These events offer powerful opportunities for the audience to safely discuss and constructively reflect on physical and emotional injury, death and life-threatening experiences; stigma, grief and loss, supportive relationships and the timeless relevance of these lessons in prolonged combat."

Working with producing partner Phyllis Kaufman, Doerries has been presenting readings of his translations to military communities since 2008.

For more information on Theater of War, visit: http://www.theater-of-war.com/about.html.

Inside the California Guard's border security mission

By Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Inigo
California National Guard

SAN DIEGO (9/21/10) - In the month since becoming fully operational on the U.S.-Mexico border, the California National Guard members assigned to Joint Task Force Sierra have launched a three-pronged attack to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in its mission.

Watching over the land and sea make up the first two avenues of approach, and then criminal analysts bring up the rear by ensuring all available data is pored over to remain one step ahead of the game.

In all avenues of approach, the Soldiers and Airmen act as a stable force, leaving ample time and space for Border Patrol agents to focus on their mission of stopping illegal activity of all sorts on the border between the two countries, said Capt. Daniel R. Fox, the task force company commander.

The land watchers are made up of small groups of Entry Identification Team (EIT) members who are placed at strategically selected spots throughout San Diego County. While positioned toward the south, these teams train their eyes to notice any movement across the vast, rolling hills between them and the Mexico border. 

Operating 24 hours per day, these teams ensure that when Border Patrol agents move to make an apprehension, that there are no gaps in detection coverage.

Depending on the time of day, service members use binoculars, infrared sensing devices and stationary truck-mounted cameras to determine exactly what is on their radar.

“You really have to remain aware of all movements, even when it seems like nothing is going on — there is no room for complacency,” said an EIT member who wishes to remain anonymous because of mission safety reasons.

Known as the “coast watchers,” these groups of EIT members have the same basic mission as those who watch the land, but they have the added obstacle of monitoring at an ever-moving object. Instead of training the eye for movement, they look for specific shapes through highly advanced optics provided by Border Patrol.

“The Guardsmen provide added personnel, giving CBP an additional layer to our detection capability,” said Border Patrol spokesman Justin M. De La Torre. “This directly increases our likelihood of apprehending anything that illegally enters our country in-between the ports of entry.”

Along with the already combined efforts of the California National Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Border Patrol also joins forces with the Coast Guard for the maritime mission, reporting any suspicious activity to be halted on the sea or detained on land.

Intercepting Mexican panga boats crossing illegally into country makes up the bulk of the activity, according to De La Torre. These boats can carry a large load for human or drug trafficking. 

“There really is a different look to the pangas than anything else we’re seeing out there. It’s different than other vessels and it’s different than wildlife,” said a coast watcher, who also requested anonymity.

Working along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, the criminal analysis mission remains largely classified by officials. However, according to the agency’s website, ICE is the largest investigative agency in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

It was formed in 2003 as part of the federal government’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and its primary mission is to protect national security, public safety and the integrity of the U.S. borders through the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration.

Electronic databases, including fingerprint identification, remote video surveillance and mobile surveillance systems, enhance detection. The handful of military analysts assisting CBP and ICE also utilize more low-tech human intelligence capabilities. The specifics of their gathering methods, exactly what they are viewing and how they are viewing it cannot be discussed in detail, according to De La Torre, but he emphasized that the mission is going smoothly.

Being plugged in on the intelligence side ensures that the California National Guard is not only acting as an extra set of eyes and ears, but that the CNG is actively involved in future operations to protect California from activities that could be detrimental to Americans, according CBP leadership. 

With all the various angles to the mission come different skill sets, as well as numerous hurdles the troops must overcome. According to leadership, service members are learning the ins-and-outs of their mission working alongside Border Patrol agents.

The three approaches, coupled with what Border Patrol agents were already doing, have kept illegal entry numbers down 42 percent from last year, according to Border Patrol statistics.

Plus, many of the natural skill-sets needed for the mission are already possessed by military members, according to Fox, making them vital to the on-going mission.

Though the majority of the criminal activity continues to be human and narcotic trafficking, there is another side: Officials anticipate that terror groups could also try this avenue of approach to get into the United States.

According to De La Torre, more than 95 percent of illegal border-crossing is done by Mexican nationals, with the remainder coming from anywhere else in the world. As a sort of regional war on terror, both military and CBP officials said this joint partnership is helping to “disrupt, dismantle and ultimately defeat” illegal smuggling and entrance of all sorts between the two countries.

As an added bonus, the Southwest border mission acts as a nice transition for those recently returning from missions in Iraq or Afghanistan. This Homeland Security deployment on California soil is a more gradual introduction back into the American day-to-day, according to veterans currently serving on the task force.

Of course, the mission also brought troops who are normally dispersed throughout California into San Diego County, sometimes keeping them away from families. However, the mission is worth it, said Fox.

“We have established a good working relationship with CBP and we will continue to build that relationship for whatever the future holds,” he said.

Fox added that part of mission success is ensuring home-life happiness remains. “We couldn’t do this mission without the support of our families. We make every effort to make sure the Soldiers and Airmen get home to see their families on a frequent basis.”

California’s portion of the Southwest border mission requires about 260 Guardsmen to support CBP, which will give CBP time to train and hire new officials. This is part of a larger tasking from President Barack Obama, who asked this year for an additional 1,200 troops to be placed along the four border states.

California was the first to become fully operational and has maintained a reserve of trained Soldiers and Airmen to fill in as needed throughout the yearlong mission.

Senegal president praises Guard partnerships

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

BURLINGTON, Vt., (9/22/10) - The National Guard State Partnership Program is increasing understanding between African countries and the United States, the president of Senegal said here Sept. 19.

“Each country can learn something from another,” President Abdoulaye Wade said in an interview here at the end of a two-day visit to Vermont. “The National Guard … will know better Africa, because to know a country is to know the people. You should have contact with the people.

“We have invited the National Guard to Senegal. At any time, they would be welcome.”

The West African country is paired with Vermont in the almost 20-year-old, 62-nation National Guard State Partnership Program.

The SPP initially focused primarily on former Soviet Bloc countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has expanded into Africa with the establishment of U.S. Africa Command and Defense Department emphasis on building partnership capacity.

Wade’s visit here en route to the United Nations in New York included cultural visits and meetings with Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas; Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie, the adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, and other elected and appointed state and local leaders, business executives and private citizens.

It was Wade’s second visit to the United States and his first to his nation’s partner state.

“I did not know where was Vermont,” Wade said, speaking in English, a second language after his native French, the official language stemming from 19th century French colonization. Senegal gained independence in 1960.

“I am very, very happy to be here,” Wade said. “I regret only to have not been here before. … Now I think that beyond the [official partnership], we have an opportunity to establish relations between the Vermont private sector and Senegalese private sector.”

The SPP has enriched Wade’s understanding of the United States, he said. “Generally, … we talk only to the federal people,” he said. “I had the opportunity to meet the governor. … I met also the mayor [of Burlington] and the [state legislative] representatives.

“From this … I note that the officials of Vermont are very interested in knowing more about Senegal and to establish very good cooperation.”

The warmth of Vermont Guardmembers and residents, the green landscape and the prosperity of the about 208,000-resident Burlington-South Burlington Metropolitan Statistical Area were all striking to Wade, who quizzed civic leaders about the state’s economic model.

“I was wondering how [this] number of people … could create this city which has the same level of development as the great cities of the states,” Wade said.

Leaders explained the contribution of business, services and tourism to Vermont’s quality of life, Wade said.

“I’m sure that coming back to my country I’ll take benefits from this short experience,” he said.

Ambassadors have said that one of the benefits of the SPP – one program among combatant command and State Department tools – is that it establishes long-term relationships at the more personal state level, giving partner nations a better understanding of the United States.

An individual state with one or two partnerships can develop closer relations than at the federal level, where government must juggle contacts with 193 sovereign states and additional states with de facto or emerging sovereignty.

Vermont’s relationship with Senegal started as a purely military-to-military partnership that Wade characterized as very strong and based on mutual cooperation.

Until the partnership, the president was unaware of the National Guard. “This was for me a surprise,” he said. “I did not know that the governor had the National Guard. …

“I was very impressed by the people. … I was impressed by the presence of women in this army, and the size of [the Guard’s] … military capacity. Senegal’s army will really benefit from cooperation with the [Vermont] National Guard.”

Since it’s pairing with Vermont, the Senegalese military has introduced females into the noncommissioned officer ranks and also increased the profile of NCOs, for example by including NCOs in leadership meetings they previously were not invited to attend.

The Vermont National Guard has contributed training and experience to Senegal’s army, Wade said.

Among the president’s goals, which he said the SPP can help:

“First of all, the strengthening of the cooperation with our army,” he said. “We need many things. We need arms, we need trucks … we need training of our soldiers. We need also cooperation between the two armies for military exercises.”

Wade expressed interest in sending members of the Senegalese armed forces to U.S. military schools and in pilot training.

The president wants to improve the education of all Senegal residents.

“Education is the most important thing we have to do,” he said. “It’s the basis of development. Senegal is the one country in the world that spends 40 percent of its budget on education. … This is to win long-term development.”

The level of education spending might not be sustainable because of the need to invest in health and other sectors, he said.

The president said he is interested in exchanges between Vermont professors and students and their Senegalese counterparts, academic research and medical assistance and education.

“I believe in research,” he said, especially related to agriculture, industry and production.

Wade wants to establish stronger relations between Senegal’s emerging private sector and the United States and increase Senegalese exports and U.S. business investment.

The president talked with Vermont leaders about the African Growth Opportunity Act, a decade-old U.S. initiative that offers tangible incentives to African countries to continue opening their economies and building free markets.

Although Senegal is included, “We have not exported to the United States because of the state of our economy do not allow us,” Wade said. “We have not the capacity. … I call Americans … to come to Senegal, to invest in Senegal, to benefit from the [AGOA] advantages given by their own government.”

Wade invited Vermont business leaders to visit. Senegal, whose president called the nation “the jewel of Africa,” is geographically the closest African country to the United States, a seven-hour flight to the capital city of Dakar.

Unlike many African nations, Senegal has a convertible currency pegged to the Euro, Wade said. It is a member of the 15-nation, 300-million population Economic Community of West African States.

Senegal, a 94-percent Muslim nation, is one of the most stable democracies in Africa, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Today in the Department of Defense, Monday, September 27, 2010

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn have no public or media events on their schedules.