Military News

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pearl Harbor Shipyard Completes USS Chafee Availability

By Katie Vanes, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNSY) and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF) completed USS Chafee's (DDG 90) 14-week selected restricted availability (SRA) $200,000 under budget Dec. 3., returning the ship to the fleet as scheduled.

The SRA upgraded the ship's multifunctional towed sonar array, replaced a gas turbine engine, refurbished an anti-missile defense system and tested a cargo handling system.

"These work items were instrumental in Chafee's ability to be a part of the dominant, ready naval force that supports the nation's Maritime Strategy," said Cmdr. Chase Patrick, Chafee's commanding officer.

Eight contractors and 10 alteration installation teams (AITs) supported the SRA under a public-private partnership of maintenance services, giving the shipyard added flexibility to respond to surges in workload. Government or contractor teams comprise AITs and specialize in a particular maintenance job for increased efficiency. Significant contracted repairs included hatch refurbishment, maintenance on the helicopter recovery and traversing system and tank assessments.

The PHNSY and IMF sail loft fabricated safety nets on the helicopter and flight decks, the Ammunition Shop repaired the ship's 5 inch MK 45 gun and the Painting and Sandblasting Shop conducted corrosion control.

"Once again, the keys for a successful availability were the three "C's" - coordination, cooperation and communication," said Nelson Viernes, project manager for Chafee's SRA. "The alteration installation teams, prime contractor and subcontractors completed all the work assigned within the chief of naval operations' availability and cost was held within the given budget."

PHNSY and IMF is a full-service naval shipyard and regional maintenance center for the Navy's surface ships and submarines and is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command.

Manned Dive Bell Testing for New Diving System Completed

From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy successfully completed dive bell testing for its new Saturation Fly-Away Diving System (SAT FADS) Dec. 2., at Naval Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU), Panama City, Fla.

The testing is helping to make progress toward a critical saturation diving capability to support Navy salvage and recovery operations around the world.

Saturation diving is a diving technique that allows divers to avoid the deadly effects of decompression sickness, so they can work at great depths for long periods of time.

Pierside testing included transferring divers from the dive bell system to the ocean in preparation for a 1,000 ft. saturation dive scheduled for 2011.

The SAT FADS system is designed to support six divers for a period of 21 days, with an additional nine days of decompression in deep water sustained diving operations to depths of 1,000 feet sea water (fsw) for aircraft and ship recovery or salvage operations. The system will replace two decommissioned Pigeon-class submarine rescue which operated to 850 fsw.

"These tests prove the capability for the system to successfully launch the manned dive bell, exit divers from the bell on excursion dives, recover them and return safely to the surface," said Paul McMurtrie, SAT FADS program manager. "There were many procedural lessons learned from the testing which we'll use to streamline our processes and enhance diver safety."

The entire SAT FADs system measures 40 feet x 70 feet and includes the main deck decompression chamber, manned dive bell, bell handling system, command and control center, and two auxiliary support equipment containers, bulk helium storage racks. Living quarters are located in the deck decompression chamber.

System testing will continue through additional operational evaluations, a series of manned dives pier-side, and culminate with a 1,000 foot deep ocean saturation dive in 2011.

NEDU is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command.

NMCB 133 Officers, Chiefs Conduct Field Training Exercise

By Lt. Nathan Chenarak, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. (NNS) -- The chiefs and officers of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 completed their Khaki Field Training Exercise (KFTX) Nov. 8, in order to refresh their tactical skills, improve teamwork, and build camaraderie.

"In addition to providing us with a great team building experience, the Khaki FTX was a good opportunity for the senior leaders of the Command to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Wardroom and the Chief's Mess before the upcoming Battalion FTX in January," said Lt. Cmdr. Joe Pope, NMCB 133's executive officer.

The KFTX consisted of one week in class and one week in the field. The classroom portion of the training went over topics such as land navigation, communications, and weapons systems. These topics cover fundamentals that allow Seabees to execute their mission. Land navigation is necessary to relate planned patrol routes, location of defensive positions, and convoy destinations from the maps to the field.

Communication flow is vital to informing the chain of command of the situation outside of the camp lines. The types of communication equipment, how to use them, and how to take care of them were the highlights of this topic.

The weapons systems topic went over heavy machine guns, better known in the Seabees as crew serve weapons, how to place them, and how they are placed in certain locations to provide the most advantageous position against the enemy.

The classroom portion of the KFTX took place in Gulfport, Miss. The first week of this exercise presented challenges for the khaki leadership. The khaki were split into four squads consisting of 12 people broken into three groups of four, known as fire teams. Each squad had a leader and a grenadier who usually assisted the squad leader with communications equipment and the ability to launch grenades while on patrol or manning fighting positions.

The fire teams were constructed so that people of different rates who normally don't work together were forced to do so. The fire teams also had more junior chiefs and officers set as the fire team leaders. This combination was a good mix that allowed all people to get to know those they normally don't work with in the Battalion.

The field week of KFTX displaced almost all khaki in the Battalion, leaving the responsibilities for running the Battalion in the hands of the 1st & 2nd Classes. For most of the khaki leadership, breaking away from the Battalion for a period of two weeks was somewhat difficult due to the Battalion's shortened homeport and condensed schedule.

The purpose of this training exercise was to refresh the leadership's tactical skills, put new khaki in leadership positions, and most importantly, remind leadership what we will be asking of our troops during the upcoming Field Training Exercise (FTX) in January.

Each of the four squads participated in an evolution each day. The four evolutions were patrols, command operations, convoys, and defensive positions.

Patrols consist of a squad planning a route to walk, outside of their defensive lines in order to gather information about the terrain, and enemy location, provide security, and move personnel from one camp to another by foot.

The patrol routes from the camp's point of departure to different check points and back to the camp's entry point were plotted on a map using a magnetic compass. The patrols were equipped with rifles in case they encountered enemy threats. The squads encountered instructors dressed like the enemy who attacked the squads while on patrol, making it a very realistic and exciting training scenario.

The convoy evolution consisted of four vehicles moving out from camp to complete objectives, gather information, providing security, and taking personnel and supplies from one camp to another as a patrol would, but with the use of vehicles. The convoy routes and check points were plotted on the maps as well.

The convoys consisted of four High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle's (HMMWV's) armed with Browning M2 .50-caliber or M-240B 7.62 mm machine guns. A brief was given to convoy members to go over the immediate actions to take place in case they encountered enemy contacts such as the use of weapons and vehicle maneuvering.

Defensive positions were dug and manned to ensure the security lines of the camp were not crossed. This evolution showed each squad how to establish security around a perimeter by digging fighting positions and placing weapons and concertina wire in strategic positions that would corral enemy patrols into the weapon's most deadly line of fire in order to inflict the most damage on the enemy.

The command operations evolution consisted of a squad manning a tent that basically served as a hub of information for the patrols, convoys, fighting positions, and higher command. They kept records and passed information on everything going on inside and outside of the camp. Their job was to ensure information was passed to groups not directly involved with the action to ensure they heightened their awareness in case of another attack. The command operations squad also fulfilled supply and support requests for the other squads so that they could complete their missions.

The instructors from Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport's 20th Seabee Readiness Group taught the classroom portion and assessed the Battalion's performance during the field portion while continuously giving constructive feedback and making recommendations on what needed improvement.

The Battalion's "Tactical Standard Operating Procedures" (TACSOP) manual is a set of step-by-step instructions and guidelines for the Battalion to follow during any situation in order to be successful during war and peace time missions. The Battalion's knowledge of the TACSOP is evaluated during all FTXs.

This Day in Naval History - Dec. 09

From the Navy News Service

1938 - Prototype shipboard radar, designed and built by the Naval Research Laboratory, is installed on USS New York (BB 34).
1941 - USS Swordfish (SS 193) makes the initial U.S. submarine attack on Japanese ship.
1952 - A strike from Task Force 77 aircraft destroys a munitions factory and several rail facilities near Rashin, North Korea.

Guard Maintains Strong Bond With Services

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2010 – The relationship between the National Guard and its parent components has never been stronger, the Guard’s top officer said here yesterday.

“I don’t think I’ve seen relations between our parent services and the Guard be any better,” said Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau. He addressed representatives from various industries as part of a panel discussion at the Reserve Officers Association of America.

“Right now, the United States Army and the Army National Guard is as close as they’ve ever been in history, and the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard have always been close,” McKinley said.

That closeness has largely come from nearly a decade of the Guard supporting operations overseas, McKinley said, noting that maintaining strong relations between the reserve and active-duty components is a vital part of his job.

“That relationship has to be strong and it has to be enduring,” he said. “My role is to make sure that the secretaries of the Army and Air Force and the National Guard are synchronized.”

That includes support for the Guard’s domestic mission, McKinley said.

Expected budget tightening over the next few years means constrained resources and finding new ways to accomplish the mission, including the domestic one, the general said.

“In this new budgetary climate, it’s going to be difficult for all of us to have the kind of support that we’ve had over the last eight to 10 years,” McKinley said. “So, we’re going to have to learn to live within a new set of means. We really haven’t seen what that new bottom line is going to be.”

However, those budgetary changes largely are not going to affect the way in which the Guard is equipped, he said, adding that in years past the Guard and reserve often got outdated or cast-off equipment from the active components.

“We know that the big savings … is not going to come from weapons systems or equipment,” McKinley said. “We do have to have a degree of modernization for all our services.”

That is going to mean revamping the way daily business is done within the Guard, he said.

“I’ve suggested to the adjutants general that we take a deep dive just to see how efficient we in the National Guard are, how much more efficient we can become, and how much more value we can bring to the United States of America, to our governors and to our Department of Defense,” he said.

Ensuring that the domestic response mission is met, McKinley said, may mean a greater partnership with other agencies.

“It takes everybody -- all of our voices -- to make sure that we have adequate resources expended on the types of things we are going to be expected to perform,” he said.

Cybersecurity Must Balance ‘Need to Know’ and ‘Need to Share’

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2010 – Commanders in the field understand the advantage that comes from sharing intelligence and information and they do not want to give up that capability, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber and space policy said in an interview here today.

Robert J. Butler said sharing information within the military, with coalition partners and even with outside agencies will continue, but there will be more controls placed on the information.

The WikiLeaks posting of stolen classified information has highlighted the tension between the strategy of “share to win” and the necessity to enforce “need to know.”

Share to win refers to the idea of getting information and intelligence out to the personnel who need it.

“Commanders in the field recognize … it’s really about coalition war-fighting, and it’s about sharing information with partners,” Butler said. This is true whether the military is involved in humanitarian operations or warfighting.

Sharing information can range from the intelligence and information sharing the United States has with traditional military allies to non-governmental agencies.

“They are part of the fight, they are part of the recipe for success,” Butler said.

Need to know is the shorthand for how the department thinks about security, Butler said. “It’s about how information is shared, who has the information, for what purposes and for what period of time,” he said.

Butler does not see share to win and need to know as mutually exclusive. “We need to share information to win and we also have to be conscious of the need to know,” he said.

Afghanistan is an example of both concepts. There are 48 countries in the coalition under NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. The United States has the largest number of troops in the country and the largest intelligence/information-sharing network. “We share information at different levels, based on the need,” Butler said.

Information sharing networks range from local to national in Afghanistan, he said. All are governed by policies that seek to balance share to win with need to know.

“Based on our agreements with countries and their mechanisms for how they control information, we look for ways we can bridge accountability within their workforce and commanders with what we’re doing,” Butler said. “In Afghanistan, where we have a joint task force and we’re working on common objectives, it’s clear what information needs are. Those needs are transmitted down to subordinate units and those will include coalition partners with information requirements that need to be satisfied.

“We need to link the effects we want to achieve with an information-sharing approach,” he added.

The future will be more of the same, Butler said. “What I see happening is an absolute recognition that we have to share information, and at the same time recognizing an increasing challenge from the cyber threat,” he said.

DOD is taking near-term steps to address that threat. Some of those steps include examining the content on the networks and examining the tactics, techniques and procedures used. “A broader and longer-term perspective is an education program –- one that helps them understand what classification means, how information is classified,” he said. “Beyond the classification scheme, who has access to information?”

Butler also spoke about role-based access.

“You have this position, you have this mission, and we expect your access to stay open through this time,” he said. “There are re-visit decision points and there is accountability up the chain [of command].

“There are also ways to look for anomalies,” Butler continued, “so if something happens and we expect this individual to have access to this information and that person is looking at something else, that should set off a flag to look at the situation. There may be a perfectly valid reason for the anomaly. But it could be another WikiLeaks situation.”

DOD is closing the window against potential threats and potential adversaries, Butler said, through technical retro-fitting, and through educational and accountability programs.

“This is part and parcel of what it means to be a soldiers, sailor, airman or Marine in the field protecting yourself, your comrades and your entire operation,” he said.