Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Expeditionary Warfare Conference Speakers Focus on Challenge

By Dan Broadstreet, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division Public Affairs

PANAMA CITY, Fla (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, presented his opening night speech Oct. 4, at the Expeditionary Warfare Conference illustrating how America's expeditionary forces could be crippled without adequate mine countermeasures support.

Adm. John C. Harvey described the losses during the U.S. Navy's attempt to conduct a forcible entry into North Korea's port of Wonson in 1950, and then quoted the Commander of Task Force 95, Rear Adm. Alan E. Smith from his after-action report.

"Rear Adm. Alan E. Smith wrote, 'We have lost control of the seas to a nation without a navy, using pre-World War I weapons, laid by vessels that were utilized at the time of the birth of Christ.'"

Harvey went on to further characterize the United States' adversaries.

"So in 2010, sixty years later, what do we learn from our Navy's experiences at Wonson in 1950? The Wonson incident is just one grim reminder that our enemies are truly thinking enemies. Like us, they will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals limited only by the technology available to them and their moral code," Harvey said.

The conference's theme was titled, "Expeditionary Operations – What's Next?" And with presentation titles such as "Resourcing Expeditionary Warfare in a Decade of Shrinking Budgets," keynote speakers challenged industry and military to consider every feasible solution to maintain America's forward presence and sustain America's access to the world's sea lanes.

Special guest speaker, Under Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Robert O. Work, delivered a presentation on "Amphibious Landings in the 21st Century" and discussed the importance of the Navy and Marine Corps team. Work said the Department of the Navy has a major role in winning "the battle for access" in the 21st century. He also explained that the Department needs to rethink its approach to amphibious assaults due to changes in anticipated threat tactics and available technologies.

"It's as important to our Navy as it is to our Marine Corps," Work said.

Work also spoke about how America's advances in unmanned and automated systems are going to change the look of the future.

"A lot will depend on the exploration and the discoveries that we have," Work said. "But without question, we are going to have more unmanned systems in the future and more automated battle systems. But we never, never want to lose the human element in our thinking about our war fighting because that is what I believe makes this force so special; the capability of our Sailors and Marines."

Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James T. Conway acknowledged that his audience was, in fact, made up of the very scientists, engineers and researchers responsible for the development of such modern advances. Hence, he did not hesitate to present attendees with four specific challenges.

"I'll give you three to four areas where you can help us," said Conway. "First, we need light weight. Now you fill in the blank. It can be armor, vehicles, personal equipment, weapons systems. Secondly, think energy. Energy self sufficiency is increasingly important to us."

Conway's third concern was finding an innovative way for Marines to manage waste.

"What is there about a base camp that is considered excess? asked Conway. "Take a look at what we consider waste and ask yourself, 'Can we miniaturize it or convert it into a catalytic gear to heat our tents at night?'"

And finally Conway concluded by challenging attendees to try and reverse what he called a disturbing trend he said he was detecting in public opinion polls.

"I'm starting to see where, in the general public, there appears to be a growing loss of support for our great young Marines and Sailors, Airmen and Soldiers in our current fight," said Conway. "Talk to your fellow Americans and point out to them what it's going to look like if we simply walk away. Because, I don't think the world can afford for us to do that in this day and age."

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Riverine Sailors Provide Realistic Training for Strike Group

By MC2(SW) Michael R. Hinchcliffe, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Riverine Squadrons 1 and 3 participated in the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) Oct 5.

COMPTUEX is a scenario-driven tactical exercise designed to train the embarked staffs, ships, and air wing of a CSG to function as one highly effective fighting force.

Designed to train and assess, COMPTUEX prepares the Strike Group for the execution of strike, expeditionary, and other naval missions in Joint, Coalition, and Interagency environments. The exercise consists of two distinct phases and is evaluated by Commander, Strike Force Training, and U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

Two Riverine Command Boats (RCB), acting as opposition forces, simulated a small boat attack on ships from the Enterprise Strike Group, which included USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81), three miles off shore in Cape Henry.

While the simulation tested the skills of the strike group it also allowed the Riverine Sailors to test the capabilities and handling of the RCBs in rough seas.

"We got the RCB to speeds of about 18-20 knots," said Chief Quartermaster Jerry Morgan, the riverine boat officer in charge during the exercise. "The RCB's purpose was to give a realistic view of an inbound fast moving small boat threat and help train the ship's personnel on engagement of force and counter measures."

According to Cmdr. Peter Berning, chief staff officer of Riverine Group 1, the 6 foot seas created a rough training environment for the RCB and the crews.
"The weather we had was a good test for the RCBs because we're looking to use them in an off shore green water environment," said Berning. "Today we learned a lot about the boat and what it could do in rough seas."

The Riverine Sailors will continue to support Enterprise CSG COMPTUEX as the opposition force throughout the month of October, simulating attacks on different ships in the Strike Group.

"I think the exercise went pretty well, the things we learned and the runs we made on the ships, I think we supported the exercise well," said Berning. "It's the first time those Sailors have seen two riverine boats of that size coming towards them at that speed. We presented a new dynamic profile to support the exercise."

Enterprise Strike Group is conducting COMPTUEX as part of its work-ups in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Sailors, Marines Enjoy San Francisco Fleet Week Barbecue Engagement

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Fairbanks, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs

SAN FRANCISCO (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines participating in San Francisco Fleet Week 2010 (SFFW 10) enjoyed a pierside barbecue hosted by the Bay Area Law Enforcement Associations, Alameda County Superior Court Judges, the Oakland Navy League and The Oakland A's Oct. 10.

In honor of their service, the Sailors and embarked Marines were treated to food, drinks and entertainment.

"We did this for the first time 11 years ago, and we've been doing it ever since," said Lou Lozano, president of Oakland Navy League. "It's our way of saying thank you to the troops."

Lozano said he plans to continue this tradition and hopes service members continue to participate in the barbeque in 2011.

"It's great to know we, as service members, have this sort of support and appreciation from the local community," said Yeoman 3rd Class Elijah Ford, from USS Makin Island (LHD 8). "Knowing they support us helps us support and protect them."

Makin Island is serving as the flagship for SFFW 2010, which features more than 3,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. The five-day event showcases the equipment, technology and capabilities of the sea services while highlighting their history within the San Francisco area.

Operated by a crew of more than 1,000 Sailors, Makin Island is a multimission platform that is equipped to meet the needs of the country, from supporting national objectives to providing much needed relief to a disaster area. Makin Island's revolutionary technology is estimated to save the Navy $250 million throughout its 40-year lifecycle and is a model for future ship designs.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Parade of Ships Makes Grand Entrance During San Francisco Fleet Week

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason J. Perry, USS Makin Island Public Affairs

SAN FRANCISCO (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines celebrated San Francisco Fleet Week 2010 (SSFW) with the parade of ships Oct. 9.

Several ships participated in the procession, including USS Pinckney (DDG 91), USS Pioneer (MCM 9), HMCS Brandon (MM 710), HMCS Whitehorse (MM 705), USCGC Active (WMEC 618), USS Chief (MCM 14), USS Curts (FFG 38), PTF-26 Liberty, and SS Jeremiah O'Brien, a World War II liberty ship.

"I think it was really incredible that these ships came here today," said Sea Cadet James Williams. "I even saw some Canadian ships, and the whole thing was really cool."

San Francisco Fleet Week 2010 (SFFW 10) took place Oct. 7-12 and showcased more than 3,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and their equipment, along with advanced military technology and capabilities, while highlighting the history these services have with San Francisco.

"Our Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are a rapidly deployable, technologically advanced team that is poised for action in a variety of roles as part of our nation's joint force," said commander, U.S. Third Fleet, Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt. "We continue to provide America persistent and decisive combat power wherever called upon."

Fleet week is an annual event that gives members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard an opportunity to share their operational capabilities with the local community.

Operated by a crew of more than 1,000 Sailors, Makin Island is a multi-mission platform that is equipped to meet the needs of the country, from supporting national objectives to providing much needed relief to a disaster area.

Makin Island's revolutionary technology is estimated to save the Navy $250 million throughout its 40-year lifecycle and is a model for future ship designs.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

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.

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 sponsored by Police Books.

Gates Spotlights Maritime Security in Hanoi Forum

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

HANOI, Vietnam, Oct. 12, 2010 – Disagreements over territorial claims and the appropriate use of the maritime domain pose a challenge to stability and prosperity in Southeast Asia, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told a group of regional defense ministers meeting here today.

Gates is one of eight defense leaders from nonmember nations invited to participate in the first “plus” defense ministers meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The 10-member association includes Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei.

In his remarks at the conference, Gates urged a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes that have beset the region, most notably in the South China Sea.

“The United States does not take sides on competing territorial claims, such as those in the South China Sea,” Gates said. “Competing claims should be settled peacefully, without force or coercion, through collaborative diplomatic processes, and in keeping with customary international law.”

The secretary applauded initial steps by nations with competing claims in the South China Sea to discuss development of a full and binding code of conduct on the matter, and he said the United States stands ready to help in facilitating such initiatives.

“We have a national interest in freedom of navigation, in unimpeded economic development and commerce, and in respect for international law,” he said. “We also believe that customary international law, as reflected in the [United Nations] Convention on the Law of the Sea, provides clear guidance on the appropriate use of the maritime domain, and rights of access to it. By adhering to this guidance, we can ensure that all share equal and open access to international waterways.”

Gates noted that the United States always has exercised its rights and supported the rights of others to transit through and operate in international waters. “This will not change,” he said, “nor will our commitment to engage in exercises and activities together with our allies and partners.”

Those activities, Gates said, are a routine and critical component of demonstrating the U.S. commitment to maintain peace and stability and promote freedom of navigation in the region.

“They are also essential to building habits of strong security cooperation,” he said, “which is necessary as we move forward to address common security challenges together.”

This article was sponsored by Police Books.