Sunday, October 24, 2010

ESG 5 Officers Earn Information Dominance Corps Warfare Qualifications

From Expeditionary Strike Group 5 Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- During a ceremony at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, all eligible members of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 5's staff officially became part of the Information Dominance Corps (IDC), Oct. 20.

After completing the qualification standards and passing a required exam, 12 members of ESG 5 were welcomed into the IDC as Information Dominance Warfare Officers (IDWO) and presented with the new warfare insignia.

"It is an exciting time to be in the information business," said Lt. Linda Laws, ESG 5's communications officer. "By combining all the information gathering communities into one organization we are increasing our capability to provide a clear picture of the operational environment to commanders."

The community, consisting of information professionals, intelligence officers, meteorological officers and information warfare officers, was established in Nov. 2009 to streamline the information sharing process within the Navy.

"In this new era the cyber domain has become increasingly dominant and it is vitally important to have individuals who are specialized in information dominance," said Rear Adm. Sinclair Harris, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 5. "This ESG 5 team of cyber warriors is leading the fight."

The community, led by Vice Adm. Jack Dorsett, deputy chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance, was established to empower a corps of professionals to improve Navy capabilities in the information domain.

"The awarding of the IDWO pin provides the same kind of visible recognition as other warfare-qualified officers," said Lt. Ryan Tashma, ESG5's knowledge manager. "It identifies IDC members as warfighters with basic proficiency in a critical warfare area."

ESG 5 was re-established in Nov. 2009 to support amphibious forces deployed to the region, mine warfare, contingency response missions and maritime humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations within the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Amos Succeeds Conway as Marine Commandant

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2010 – In a sun-drenched ceremony here today, Gen. James F. Amos received the battle flag of the U.S. Marine Corps from Gen. James T. Conway and became the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who presided at the ceremony, praised both Amos and Conway for their military careers and their dedication to America.

“As commandant, Jim made the health of the force a top priority, ensuring his Marines had the right tools for the job and new Marines were of the highest quality,” Gates said. He noted that on Conway’s watch, the Marine Corps grew to 202,000 members exceeding both DOD and Marine Corps standards. Gates gave the service five years to increase by 27,000 Marines and they accomplished the mission in less than half that time.

Conway also put aside the resources needed to care for ill or injured Marines, Gates said.

“He established the Wounded Warrior regiment to provide state-of-the-art care and outreach to wounded or sick Marines and their families, and to do so long after they had left the service,” the secretary said.

Gates called the Marine Corps “one of America’s most-cherished institutions and one of the world’s most feared and respected fighting forces.”

The Marine Corps, the secretary noted, has spent the last eight years essentially as an army force, without employing its famous amphibious skills.

“They need to preserve both their maritime soul and the hard-won counterinsurgency skills they've developed during this past decade,” Gates said. “Doing this will demand an intellectual capacity similar to that of Marine Corps forebears who developed novel amphibious warfare concepts in the years leading up to World War II.”

Gates said that Amos, the first Marine aviator to be commandant, is the man to tackle the challenge.

“He will, I'm confident, find the right balance to create what is needed to win the wars we're in, while ensuring Marines remain the expeditionary force in readiness for the 21st century,” Gates said.

Conway thanked the secretary and praised his successor. The outgoing commandant also spoke of American servicemembers in harm’s way.

“There’s lots of work still to be done, and a close fight still to be won,” Conway said. It’s important, he added, that Americans “understand the important job” performed by the Marines and other U.S. servicemembers deployed in war zones.

“We want them to win and come home safe. So I ask you to continue to provide that support. And I think you'll be pleased with the outcome,” Conway said.

Today in the Department of Defense, Monday, October 25, 2010

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

Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey deliver opening remarks at Association of the United States Army Annual Symposium followed by press briefing at in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.  Media interested in attending should contact AUSA at 202-249-4161.

Pentagon Prepares for Possible WikiLeaks Publication

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2010 – The Defense Department is preparing for an additional publication by WikiLeaks of classified military documents from Iraq operations, DOD officials said here today.

A DOD task force has been combing through the Iraq data base to assess the damage that a proposed WikiLeaks publication of 400,000 significant activity reports could pose to the U.S. military, Iraqi allies, and on-going operations.

“We strongly condemn the unauthorized disclosure of classified information and will not comment on these leaked documents other than to note that ‘significant activities’ reports are initial, raw observations by tactical units,” Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters. “They are essentially snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane, and do not tell the whole story.

“That said, the period covered by these reports has been well-chronicled in news stories, books and films and the release of these field reports does not bring new understanding to Iraq’s past,” Morrell added.

In a note to news organizations, Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan said the department does not know for sure what Wikileaks will publish, but officials expect the same type of documents the organization put on the Internet in July about the Afghan conflict. WikiLeaks put 77,000 documents from the Afghan data base on line in that breach of national security.

“If the release of documents is four times what it was for the Afghan logs, this is larger in that sense,” Lapan said. “But in view of the types of information, the two are very similar.”

Task force officials, he said, concluded that WikiLeaks might release the names of Iraqis who cooperated with the coalition and information that could aid enemies in operations.

The potential breach is dangerous, but not fatal, Lapan said, noting neither the Iraq, nor Afghanistan data bases contain intelligence sources and methods.

“That’s a different level, and that’s not what is in these documents,” he said.

The data bases contain reports of every company level significant activity, Lapan said.

“These are raw observations from the tactical level of combat operations,” he said. “They could be casualty incidents; they could be IED incidents, information on working with Iraqis –- any number of things that units use this database to report.”

WikiLeaks should not publish anything, the colonel said.

“The problem with WikiLeaks is it goes beyond just taking out names of people,” Lapan said. “There is lots of other information that could be damaging, and they don’t have the expertise to know what they are.”

Lapan said if WikiLeaks does publish the documents on the Web, servicemembers and DOD civilians should steer clear of the site.

“The information remains classified even if it is released publicly,” Lapan said. DOD personnel should not access that website from their government computers, he said, lest they create a security breach.

“We deplore WikiLeaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies,” Lapan continued. “We know terrorist organizations have been mining the leaked Afghan documents for information to use against us, and this Iraq leak is more than four times as large.”

WikiLeaks’ actions are putting the lives of troops and civilians at risk, Lapan said.

“The only responsible course of action for Wikileaks at this point is to return the stolen material and expunge it from their websites as soon as possible,” he said.