Military News

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Today in the Department of Defense, Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is traveling.

Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn has no public or media events on his schedule.

Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen delivers the keynote address at at the Navy Energy Forum at the Ronald Reagan Building,
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
  Media interested in attending should contact Christina Adams at 703-697-7371.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead addresses University of Chicago conference “The Future of Terrorism and U.S. Grand Strategy” at at the Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz provides remarks and takes audience questions at a National Press Club Luncheon at EDT at the National Press Building,
529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
  Media interested in attending should contact Lt. Col. Sam Highley, Strategic Communication Advisor, at 703-695-8723 or samuel.highley@pentagon.af.mil.

Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford L. Stanley will address the media at , in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973), to provide an end of fiscal year update on recruiting and retention in the military services.  Representatives from the services will be available to respond to questions.  Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification.  Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

This article was brought to you by Police Books.

Today in the Department of Defense, Monday, October 11, 2010

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is traveling.

Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn has no public or media events on his schedule.

Postal Service Sets Holiday Mail Deadline

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2010 – The recommended mailing deadline for sending economy-priced holiday packages to servicemembers in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places around the world is Nov. 12, officials at the U.S. Postal Service say.

“Shipping holiday packages early helps ensure that they arrive in time for the holidays," Pranab Shah, vice president and managing director of global business at the Postal Service, said in a press release this week. “They are a great morale boost for those men and women serving their country in places far from home.”

Other deadlines for arrival by Dec. 25 are Nov. 26 for space-available mail; Dec. 3 for parcel airlift mail; Dec. 10 for priority mail and first-class mail, letters and cards; and Dec. 18 for express mail military service.

Holiday packages and mail headed for Iraq and Afghanistan must be sent a week earlier than the deadlines above, Postal officials say. Express mail military service is not available to those destinations.

The Postal Service offers a discount on its largest priority-mail flat-rate box -– a 12-inch by 12-inch by 5.5-inch carton that can accommodate laptop computers, small conventional ovens, and military care packages.

Mail sent to overseas military addresses costs the same as domestic mail and the usual price for the large flat-rate box is $14.50. But for packages heading to APO/FPO addresses, the Postal Service charges $12.50 or $11.95 for those who print the priority-mail postage label online.

Priority-mail flat-rate boxes are free at any Post Office and can be ordered online at shop.usps.com. Postage, labels and customs forms can be printed online at the Postal Service website.

APO/FPO addresses usually require customs forms, Postal officials say, and each country has customs regulations that apply to all mail, including U.S. military mail, coming into the country.

Mail addressed to military and diplomatic post offices overseas is subject to restrictions in content, preparation and handling.

Each five-digit military and post office ZIP code [APO/FPO] has specific restrictions but the following are prohibited in the regions of Operation New Dawn in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan:

-- Horror comics and obscene articles like prints, paintings, cards, films and videotapes;

-- Anything depicting nude or seminude persons, pornographic or sexual items, or unauthorized political materials;

-- Bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith, though items for personal use are permitted, and,

-- Pork or pork by-products.

For specific restrictions and mailing prices to an APO/FPO address, visit the Postal Service’s online price calculator or a local post office or call 1-800-ASK-USPS.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Gates Arrives in Vietnam for Bilateral Meetings, Conference

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

HANOI, Vietnam, Oct. 10, 2010 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here today to meet individually with Vietnamese leaders and some of his counterparts in the region and to participate in the first “plus” conference of defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

During his visit, Gates also will speak at Vietnam National University.

Vietnamese Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Phung Quang Thanh invited Gates to the inaugural ASEAN Plus conference in June while both were attending the annual “Shangri-La Dialogue” regional security conference in Singapore.

Gates will have bilateral meetings tomorrow with his counterparts from Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines and China. He’ll also meet informally with Australian Defense Minister Stephen F. Smith.

The meeting with Gen. Liang Guanglie – one of three Gates counterparts in the Chinese military structure -- marks a breakthrough in the military-to-military relationship between the two powers, which China put on hold early this year over U.S. military sales to Taiwan and other issues.

“We look forward to what we hope will be a very constructive discussion that will help us to move forward as we work to re-establish a stable and reliable military-to-military relationship between the United States and China,” a senior defense official told reporters traveling with Gates.

Gates has said on numerous occasions that such a relationship and an ongoing military security dialogue are in both countries’ best interests, the official added.

The secretary’s meeting with Thanh and a subsequent meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, another senior defense official said, will underscore the long-term U.S. commitment to a strong bilateral relationship with Vietnam, which he called “a very important country in the region.”

“We hope that we will be able to advance our defense ties with Vietnam, and we hope to establish a broader set of more practical cooperation activities with the Vietnamese military and defense establishment,” he said.

This will be the fourth meeting between Gates and Thanh over the last year and a half, the official noted, a period he said has been marked by considerable progress.

“This visit coming during the year of the 15th anniversary of normalization of relations [between the United States and Vietnam] is especially important,” he said, “and also coming after the first-ever bilateral policy dialogue with the Vietnamese – where we talked about a range of global, regional and bilateral security issues – really does elevate the relationship to a new level in our bilateral ties.”

The discussion between Gates and Thanh is expected to touch on continuing dialogues and building cooperation in such areas as peacekeeping, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the official said.

Gates’ meeting with Philippine Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin, the official said, will be a chance to discuss the two nations’ longstanding alliance and ways to continue and expand cooperation. Topics also may include terrorism in the southern Philippines, defense reform, maritime security and other regional security issues, he added.

The informal meeting with Smith – who had been Australia’s foreign minister when the two men last met and has been on the job as defense minister for about two months – will give Gates a brief opportunity to touch base on important issues affecting the two nations, the official said.

“Obviously, Australia has a large commitment to Afghanistan,” he said, adding that the two defense leaders probably also will discuss details of upcoming ministerial meetings in Australia.

Noting the “strength and vitality” of the alliance between the United States and Japan, a senior official said the bilateral meeting between Gates and Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa will reflect Japan’s role as a cornerstone of U.S. security policy in the region as the defense leaders discuss areas of mutual interest, including North Korea’s effect on regional security.

Gates has made a point, both publicly and privately, of characterizing the inaugural ASEAN Plus conference as “an incredibly valuable forum,” and has been looking forward to attending, the official told reporters. ASEAN’s defense ministers decided last year to involve their counterparts from other key nations in “a broader regional dialogue to build patterns of cooperation, mutual trust and respect, and really get to some concrete cooperative activities building everybody’s ability to deal with regional security issues,” he said.

“We’re hoping to get a lot of good discussion on the range of regional security issues, broaden communication among all of these key nations, and try to figure out how we can build multilateral capacity to address some of these big challenges,” he added.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.