Military News

Monday, January 10, 2011

This Day in Naval History - Jan. 10

From the Navy News Service

1847 - U.S. Naval forces occupy Los Angeles during the Mexican-American War for the first time.
1917 - The Navy places the first production order for aerial photographic equipment.
1934 - Patrol Squadron 10F flies the first non-stop formation flight from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, arriving Jan. 11.
1946 - The first Navy nuclear power school is established at Submarine Base New London, Conn.

Gates’ China Trip Aims for Lasting Military-to-Military Relationship

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ official visit to China next week is designed to lay the foundation for a lasting military-to-military relationship between the two nations, a Defense Department official said here today.

The “on-again, off-again” relationship the United States has had with China is harmful and it is in both countries’ interests to develop better and enduring military-to-military relations, Michael Schiffer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, said at a National Press Club forum hosted by the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

Gates is scheduled to leave Jan. 8 for his first official visit to China since 2007. Chinese officials suspended military relations with the United States early last year in protest of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

U.S. officials are optimistic that military-to-military relations with China can get back on track, Schiffer said, noting that representatives of both sides talked about moving forward during the Defense Consultative Talks held here in December. Also, he said, officials of China’s Peoples Liberation Army have been quoted in the Chinese media about the “dangers” of not having military ties with the United States.

In building a durable framework for lasting relations, Schiffer said, Gates and his Chinese counterpart must show their nations’ mutual respect and trust of each other, have reciprocity in areas such as military cooperation and trade, work for the countries’ mutual interests, work to reduce security risks in Asia, and continue to talk even when there are disagreements.

Gates’ goals for his meetings with Chinese officials include creating clear and open channels for dialogue and having greater transparency into each other’s militaries, Schiffer said.

“These need to be substantive engagements,” he said. “Not engagements for engagements’ sake.”

“We have an important opportunity here to recast military-to-military relations,” Schiffer added. “We believe these relations are too important to let them lag.”

Still, Schiffer said, Gates also plans to discuss specific military issues that could be contentious, including nuclear missile defense, space and cyber operations, and containing threats from North Korea.

DOD Directs Army, Marine Drawdowns for 2015, 2016

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 – Budget pressures that have proven greater than anticipated mean the Defense Department will trim end strength in its ground forces beginning in four years, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.

“Under this plan, the U.S. Army's permanent active-duty end strength would decline by 27,000 troops, while the Marine Corps would decline by somewhere between [15,000] and 20,000, depending on the outcome of their force structure review,” Gates said.

The secretary and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to reporters at the Pentagon on the results of defense efficiencies initiatives begun in May to trim support costs and ensure funding for military modernization.

“The projected reductions are based on an assumption that America's ground combat commitment in Afghanistan would be significantly reduced by the end of 2014, in accordance with the president's strategy,” Gates said. The Army also will lose the 22,000 troops it added in a temporary end-strength increase approved in July 2009, he added.

“Ever since taking this post, now more than four years ago, I have called for protecting force structure and for maintaining modest, but real, growth in the defense topline over the long term,” Gates said. “I would prefer that this continue to be the case, but this country's dire fiscal situation and the threat it poses to American influence and credibility around the world will only get worse unless the U.S. government … gets its finances in order.”

Gates said even after force reduction, both services would remain larger than they had been when he became secretary -- the Army almost 40,000 troops larger, and the Marine Corps anywhere from 7,000 to 12,000 troops larger.

Both services support the decision, the secretary said, noting Marine Corps leaders have spoken of trimming back the increases their force structure has seen in recent years.

“I think [the Marines] see this as … more of an organic process within the Marine Corps in terms of their priorities and their needs,” Gates said. “In the case of the Army, this is a situation where the Army is supportive of this decision. I think … that support derives from understanding the importance of this in terms of their other priorities, as well.”

Defense Department to Prune Senior Ranks, Freeze Staffing

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 – The Defense Department will reduce its senior ranks and freeze civilian staffing levels, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.

“The monetary savings from … reductions in senior personnel will be relatively modest, and mostly consist of the extra staff and amenities that, by tradition, follow high rank,” Gates said.

The secretary and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to reporters at the Pentagon on the results of defense efficiencies initiatives begun in May to trim support costs and ensure funding for military modernization.

The primary purpose of reducing senior rank structure is “to create fewer, flatter, more agile -- and thus, more effective -- organizations,” Gates said.

In announcing the second set of initiatives in August, Gates said he would appoint a senior task force to assess the number of positions for general and flag officers and Senior Executive Service employees. As a result of that assessment, the department will eliminate more than 100 general officer and flag officer positions from the 900 it currently authorizes, the secretary said today.

“Of those, 28 are billets that were created after 9/11, primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Gates said. “They will be reduced as appropriate, as major troop deployments wind down.”

More than 80 other flag or general-officer positions spread among the services, the Defense Department and the combatant commands “will be eliminated or downgraded,” Gates said.

Defense will also eliminate nearly 200 of the 1,400 civilian positions from the department’s Senior Executive Service or equivalent positions, Gates said.

As the department prunes its senior ranks, it also will put a check on overall staff numbers by freezing the number of employees at current levels for the next three years, Gates said.

“Since the beginning of this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, we've been operating under a freeze in the number of positions, with very limited exceptions … within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the defense agencies and field activities and the combatant commands,” the secretary said.

Gates said he instructed those organizations to “conduct a clean-sheet review” to rebalance resources, staff and functions within and across their components to reflect the department's most pressing priorities.

“The resulting review produced a number of opportunities to trim the size of the work force, yielding more than $4 billion in savings over the next five years,” he said. “I will recommend to the president that we hold to these limits in overall DOD staff levels for the next three years.”

While new requirements may emerge that require further staff support, the secretary said, those needs should be met by shifting personnel from other, less important activities within the organization.

Joint Chiefs Fully Agree With Gates’ Efficiencies

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 – The members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are fully behind Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ proposed efficiencies for the military, the nation’s top military officer said today.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference that “the chiefs and I are in complete support of these decisions.”

The military leaders were integral to the process that looked for and found $154 billion in savings over the next five years, Mullen said.

“This is the second time we’ve been through this kind of review with the secretary, and it has been managed in the most inclusive, detailed and deliberate way,” he said. “He gave us broad guidance. We helped craft the specifics, and these are our decisions, too.”

The services will be able to reinvest the savings they found in higher-priority programs. All services will invest in more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. The Navy will disestablish the 2nd Fleet and will use those savings and more to fund additional ships. The Army will cancel a missile system and use the funds to refurbish armored vehicles and fund suicide prevention activities. The Air Force will consolidate three numbered Air Force staffs and use the savings to ensure U.S. access to space.

The secretary restructured the F-35 joint strike fighter program and agreed with the recommendation to eliminate the Marine Corps’ expeditionary fighting vehicle. The plan in the out years calls for a reduction in the size of the Army and Marine Corps.

The chairman often has said he sees the growth of the national debt as a security threat to the United States. The secretary’s efficiencies, reforms and budget proposals help the Defense Department to attack the debt situation, he said today.

“We can’t hold ourselves exempt from the belt-tightening,” he said. “Neither can we allow ourselves to contribute to the very debt that puts our long-term security at risk.”

The efficiencies aren’t solely about cutting or savings, the chairman said, but rather are about readiness.

“Not only do these reforms preserve essential capabilities – which is the highest priority of this process -– but it will improve this process,” Mullen said. “We will do things smarter, more efficiently and more in line with the challenges we face and the fiscal environment we are in.”

NORAD Flight Exercise Planned for Washington, D.C.

North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its geographical component, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct a three-day exercise -- Falcon Virgo 11-04 -- beginning Tuesday in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.

Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s flights are scheduled to take place between and    Thursday’s flights are scheduled to take place between and

In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will take place the next day, until all training requirements are met.  If bad weather continues, officials will then make a decision to postpone or cancel the exercise.

For more information on Falcon Virgo exercises, please contact CONR Public Affairs at 850-283-8080, or the NORAD Public Affairs Office at 719-554-6889.

Today in the Department of Defense, Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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 Staff of the Army Gen. George Casey delivers remarks at at the Rest and Recuperation Leave Program's one millionth R&R passenger milestone commemoration at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.  Media interested in attending should contact Army public affairs at 703-693-4961.

Enterprise Strike Group to Deploy

By Commander, Second Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK , Va. (NNS) -- Commander, Second Fleet announced Jan. 7, that Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (ENT CSG) will deploy for operations in the U.S. Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas Jan. 13.

This deployment is part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe. Working with allied and partner maritime forces, ENT CSG units will focus heavily on maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts which help establish conditions for regional stability.

"I'm extremely proud of the men and women of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group," said Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, commander of ENT CSG. "These sailors and Marines have exceeded all expectations in a very short amount of time. We are trained and ready to go over the horizon and support our joint and coalition partners in the execution our nation's maritime strategy."

ENT CSG consists of approximately 6,000 sailors who, over the last four months, have successfully completed refresher training and certifications to ensure they operate effectively and safely together.

"Enterprise returned to the waterfront last spring ready to tackle her upcoming deployment. The strike group spent most of October at sea training during a challenging Composite Training Unit Exercise, and after a successful Joint Task Force Exercise in December, we spent our time ensuring the ship, our Sailors, and our families were ready for this deployment," said Kraft.

This is the third deployment leading an aircraft carrier into combat operations over the last three years for Capt. Dee L. Mewbourne, who assumed duties as commanding officer of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Tuesday. Mewbourne most recently commanded USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and while in command he completed two successful combat deployments supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

"It is clear Team Enterprise is trained and ready to accomplish the missions that lay ahead. I am honored to be joining such a professional crew and to be a part of the legacy and heritage of Enterprise," Mewbourne said.

ENT CSG is made up of Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), and USS Mason (DDG 87). The squadrons of CVW 1 embarked in Enterprise are Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 "Red Rippers," VFA 136 "Knighthawks," VFA 211 "Fighting Checkmates," Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 "Thunderbolts," Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 "Screwtops," Carrier Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 137 "Rooks," Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 40 "Rawhides," and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11 "Dragonslayers."

For news regarding ENT CSG's deployment, log onto www.navy.mil/local/cvn65.

Gates Recommends Dempsey as Next Army Chief of Staff

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has recommended to President Barack Obama that he nominate Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey to be the next Army chief of staff.

Gates made the announcement at a Pentagon news conference.

The Army chief of staff is the highest-ranking soldier and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

If nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, Dempsey would succeed Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who has served as Army chief of staff since April 2007 and will retire after more than 40 years of service.

Dempsey, 58, is commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, based at Fort Monroe, Va.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Dempsey a “creative thinker and a terrific soldier” who has his unequivocal support.

Dempsey served as the acting commander of U.S. Central Command upon the retirement of Navy Adm. William Fallon in 2008. He took up the Training and Doctrine Command’s reins in December 2008.

Dempsey commanded the 1st Armored Division in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, and he served as commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq from 2007 to 2008.

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant following graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1974. He was assigned to Germany as an armor officer, and he served with the 3rd Armored Division during Operation Desert Storm.

Navy Intel Chief Discusses China’s Military Advances

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2011 – Though China has demonstrated its ability to field advanced military prototypes speedily, how soon it can put those capabilities to use remains a key question, the Navy’s intelligence chief said yesterday.

Vice Adm. David J. “Jack” Dorsett, director of naval intelligence and deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, spoke to defense writers about China’s emerging military capabilities.

“They’ve entered operational capability quicker than we frequently project,” Dorsett said.

“We’ve been on the mark on an awful lot of our assessments,” he added, “but there have been a handful of things we’ve underestimated.”

Dorsett’s remarks were delivered on the same day that Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan e-mailed reporters about the Defense Department’s annual report to Congress on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China.”

The report, Lapan wrote, states China “continues to make investments to support a comprehensive military modernization program which includes advanced aircraft.”

Specifically, Lapan noted, the China report references the Quadrennial Defense Review report.

"China is developing and fielding large numbers of advanced medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles, new attack submarines equipped with advanced weapons, increasingly capable long-range air defense systems, electronic warfare and computer network attack capabilities, advanced fighter aircraft and counter-space systems," he wrote.

The latest Chinese military technology has been widely reported in recent weeks. In December, high-resolution photos surfaced of a Chinese aircraft that appears to be a large stealth fighter. The previous week, Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, was quoted in a Japanese newspaper as saying a Chinese anti-ship ballistic missile, the Dong Feng 21D or DF-21D, has been extensively tested and now is considered to be at initial operational capability.

Amid growing global attention to China’s growing military inventory, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will travel to China on Jan. 9 for long-planned meetings, the first between the two nations’ defense leaders since China suspended military-to-military contact early last year.

During his meeting with reporters, Dorsett said Chinese advances should be viewed in perspective. Their stealth fighter, he said, will not be fully operationally capable for years, and the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile system has been test-fired over land, but is not believed to have been tested over water against maneuvering targets.

But recent developments in ballistic-missile technology have increased the probability that China could hit a maneuvering target -- such as an aircraft carrier -- with a missile salvo, Dorsett said.

“How proficient they are, or what that level of probability is, we don’t know,” he said. “And frankly, I’m guessing that they don’t know.”

China’s stealth aircraft, he said, likely is in early development. Based on pictures he has seen of the Chinese so-called J-20 stealth aircraft, Dorsett said, it’s not clear when it will be fully tested and operational.

“Over the years, the Chinese military doctrine was ‘hide and bide’ –- hide your resources and bide your time,” Dorsett said. “They now appear to have shifted into an era where they’re willing to show their resources and capabilities.”

While China is providing more insight, Dorsett said, “Still, the lack of transparency into what they’re doing, the lack of openness, remains a concern for us.”

Another concern is China’s ability to become operationally proficient in a joint, sophisticated combat environment, he said.

“I don’t see China [with] those capabilities right now. I see them delivering individual components, individual weapons systems,” Dorsett said. “So one of the areas that I focus on is how good are they at developing their operational proficiency to manage across the spectrum of warfare.

“That’s one [area] where I don’t want to get the assessment wrong,” he continued. “I want to get it pretty right on about when we think they’re going to become operationally proficient.”

It’s clear the Chinese are modernizing across a broad array of weapons systems, Dorsett said. “Their economy is such that they can invest, and have been able to invest this decade, quite heavily in a military buildup,” he added.

China’s advances in procuring modern military equipment should not be a surprise, Dorsett said, but the speed of their progress has been.

“I am intrigued by the developments. I am quite interested in the quantities and different types of technology that have been developed that we either didn’t expect or we underestimated,” he said.

Still, Dorsett said, fielding a prototype is just the first step toward integrating it into routine military operations.

“For example, while they’re developing technology and capabilities, it has just been [during] the last year and a half, two years, that we’ve seen the Chinese navy deploy out of area for any period of time,” he said.

“In … late 2008, when they deployed a three-ship task group to the Gulf of Aden to conduct counterpiracy operations, that was a big step for them,” Dorsett added. “Three ships to the Gulf of Aden, compared to what the U.S. Navy does on a daily basis, … you can’t contrast the two, because the difference is so great.”

China lacks some basic components of advanced military power, Dorsett said: integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability, anti-submarine warfare capability, a level of sophistication in joint warfighting, and mature operational proficiency across the board.

“So what would be dangerous for us is to overestimate them today but underestimate [the] timeline of trying to synchronize these various elements together,” he said.

The Chinese “game plan” is to gradually build to global power, Dorsett said, offering their planned aircraft carrier capability development as an example.

“They’ve got a used, very old Russian carrier that they’re going to probably start conducting sea trials with later this year,” he said. “They are planning on building indigenous aircraft carriers that will come into their order of battle later on, over the next decade.”

But by 2020, Chinese aircraft carrier proficiency and capability will still be very limited, Dorsett said, because integrating flying aircraft into not just flight deck operations but battle group operations “takes a fair amount of time.”

“The U.S. Navy has had … 100 years of flight activity. So it’s going to take time for them to build that capability,” he said. “They’re pragmatic; they’ve got a game plan that deals in decades.”

Dorsett said in his view, China is trying to build a navy that becomes a near-term regional power, with long-term significant global implications in support of their nation.

“They want a naval force that can be deployed to protect their resource flow or their vital national interests, such as the anti-piracy operations,” he said.

While the Chinese plan to build a massive military infrastructure is long-range, their pursuit of technological capability is much quicker, Dorsett said, noting that over the last 10 years, China has developed a “competent capability” in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems and over-the-horizon radars.

“Ten years from now, we expect a much greater increase in the number of satellites they have in orbit and their capability to fuse information,” he said.

The Chinese are maturing in their use of capabilities, Dorsett said. “But have you seen them deploy large groups of naval forces?” he added. “No. Have we seen large, joint, sophisticated exercises? No. Do they have any combat proficiency? No. That’s what I’m saying –- they are at the front end of developing that military capability.”

While developments in Chinese maritime, ballistic missile and stealth fighter capability deserve attention, Dorsett said, “The area and the technology that I’m most concerned about is China’s focus and attention on trying to develop capabilities to dominate in the electro-magnetic spectrum, to conduct counter-space capabilities, and clearly to conduct cyber activities.”

The Chinese write about what they call joint informationalized operations and attempting to dominate the electromagnetic environment, Dorsett said.

“In fact, you see throughout their training, their exercises, they attempt to employ a wide range of electronic warfare and electromagnetic control mechanisms,” he said. “They try to really use space –- so all of these things that are nonkinetic are pretty crucial to warfare for China. But guess what? In the Information Age, they need to be critical elements for all nations.”

Nonkinetic and information warfare and dominating the electromagnetic spectrum are key components of warfighting for the future, Dorsett said. “We really shouldn’t focus excessively on China,” he added. “We should focus on information capabilities and how nations might employ those in the future.”

Dorsett said the United States and China are focused on a new area of warfare that other nations also are looking at and developing.

“We’re going through a transformation, if not a revolution, in military capabilities these days -- and it’s more toward the information, the nonkinetic, the cyber side of the house,” he said.

The United States military is in the midst of that paradigm shift, Dorsett said.

“We don’t want to shoot behind the target,” he said. “We don’t want to prepare for the last war. We don’t want to prepare for ground activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a relatively benign environment in terms of sophistication of warfare.”

Roadside bombs and insurgents on the ground pose a great threat to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Dorsett said, but the present war shouldn’t prevent defense experts from planning for future conflicts.

“I do think [in future conflicts] we’ll use advanced technologies, advanced capabilities, and [be] much more nonkinetic than we’ve ever seen in the past,” he said. “So [the Defense Department] is, in fact, preparing for that.”

The U.S. military must also maintain its combat capability and proficiency in irregular warfare, such as the fight in Afghanistan, he said.

“We really need to commit the right resources to win in Afghanistan, to be successful there, but at the same time, … we are looking at other elements of warfighting, especially on the information side, where we need to make improvements,” Dorsett said. “It’s not either-or. It’s both, and at the same time, we’re going through a significant transition.”

National Guard Prepares for Southeast Storm Support

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2011 – As a winter storm rolls through the southern United States, some governors have placed their National Guard on state active duty.

The Arkansas National Guard is providing 10 Humvees and 24 soldiers for state active duty to conduct safety and wellness checks along Interstate 30 between Little Rock and Malvern. They also are scheduled to open the Malvern and Benton armories for shelter opportunities to accommodate stranded motorists.

The Alabama National Guard has activated two soldiers as liaison officers for the State Emergency Operation Center, and will continue to monitor the situation, officials said. Meanwhile, the Georgia National Guard is preparing equipment and issuing plans to support communities if the governor orders their mobilization.

“Soldiers and airmen of the Georgia National Guard stand ready to do our part to help local communities recover, if we are needed,” said Army Maj. Gen. William Nesbitt, Georgia’s adjutant general.

Guardsmen already conducting their monthly drills yesterday prepared Humvees, loaded equipment, pre-positioned supplies and updated plans to mobilize should the governor call upon them, officials said.

The Georgia Guard’s Joint Forces Headquarters also brought its Joint Operations Center staffing up to operating capacity yesterday to monitor the storm and manage any potential National Guard response.

Korean-American Carl Vinson Sailors Returning Home For Busan Port Visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher K. Hwang, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- A handful of Korean-born Sailors assigned to USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) will be returning home for the first time in several years when the Nimitz-class carrier pulls into Busan Jan. 11.

From the beach city of Busan to the streets of Seoul, several Korean-American Vinson Sailors will venture back into a familiar part of their lives and some will spend time with family they have never met.

"I didn't expect (to go to Korea) at all and when I heard we were going, I was really excited," said Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Kathleen Brigham, attached to Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1. She is an Irish-Korean-American who was born in the states and will visit her mother's family in Korea for the first time.

Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Jun Sin, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25, is returning to a place he calls home. This is his first deployment and the opportunity to reunite with family literally keeps him up at night. "I really miss my family and I can't wait to see them," said Sin.

While some Korean-American Sailors are enjoying time with their relatives, others will be using their bilingual capabilities and cultural familiarities to be an ambassador in both professional and personal capacities.

Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Katherine Kim, assigned to Supply Department S-2 Division, will fly to the Busan beach detachment to help the ship prepare supply items and merchandise pier side. She is also providing tours for interested personnel and acting as a translator between Vinson Sailors and South Korean citizens. Kim said she is looking forward to helping and sharing the great pride she holds in her Korean heritage.

"Korea is as much my country as the United States," said Kim.

Sin is helping as a translator for Vinson's soccer team, who will play against a Korean team on the Republic of Korea Navy Base. Sin said he is excited to translate and also play with the Vinson team in his home country.

In addition to providing support through community relations, Korean-American Sailors also plan to share their culture with shipmates on liberty.

"I plan to take my coworkers from the shop and show them around," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Leilani Morton, assigned to Vinson's Combat Systems Department, CS-3 Division. Morton said she wants to use this opportunity to promote diversity and educate her peers that have never experienced Korean culture, including the country's cuisine.

"I can't wait to finally have authentic Korean food," said Morton, who plans to enjoy several Korean dishes not only served in restaurants. "Street vendors provide a variety of different meal options, ranging from vegetarian to pork ribs, stir-fried beef and buckwheat noodles," she said.

Sin sees this to be an "unbelievable" opportunity to reconnect with his family. "When I first heard we were going to Korea, I didn't think it would happen. But once the captain announced it, it was like living a dream."

Opening Statement by Secretary Robert Gates during Joint Press Conference with General Liang Guanglie from Beijing, China

“It is a pleasure to be back in Beijing.  I’d like to thank the government and people of China for their gracious hospitality, which I’ve greatly enjoyed since my first visit almost 30 years ago.  Much has changed since then.

“I also want to thank Gen. Liang for his hospitality.  He and I had a great deal to discuss in our meetings earlier today.  Both President Obama and President Hu have stressed that building a sustained and reliable relationship between our two militaries is an indispensible part of strengthening our two nations’ broader relationship -- a relationship that consists of deepening economic and cultural ties that touch the lives of virtually all our citizens.

“Among these are:
Improving maritime security; Addressing the challenges posed by the spread of nuclear-, space-, cyber-, and missile technology; Maintaining peace and security on the Korean Peninsula by facilitating engagement between the two Koreas and towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; Preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon by continuing to work through the dual-track approach; and finally continuing to cooperate generally to diffuse global conflicts and tensions.

“I’ve stressed several times the importance of maintaining an ongoing military-to-military dialogue between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.  Mechanisms such as the Defense Consultative Talks, the Defense Policy Coordination Talks, and the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement can serve as important channels of communication in this regard.

“As Gen. Liang mentioned in his statement, we have agreed to pursue now seven priority areas of cooperation which were agreed to in October 2009.  The general and I have also agreed to establish a working group that will develop a new framework for improving ties between the U.S. and Chinese military establishments.  This group will meet several times during the coming year, and will present the framework during the 2011 Defense Consultative Talks.  We also agreed to hold working group meetings under the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement to discuss future operational safety and to build cooperation in the maritime domain.

“As Gen. Liang mentioned in his statement, we agreed to look into a number of joint military activities ranging from maritime search and rescue to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-piracy, counterterrorism, and more. Not only will joint exercises improve certain key capabilities on both sides they also will lead to safer practices for our sea and air forces, and, over time, cultivate trust and lead to more opportunities for defense cooperation.  We are in strong agreement.  In order to reduce the chances of miscommunication, misunderstanding, or miscalculation, it is important that our military-to-military ties are solid, consistent, and not subject to shifting political winds.

 “Finally, I was pleased that Gen. Liang noted and said that the Chinese side would consider and study the beginning of a strategic security dialogue -- as part of a broader Strategic and Economic Dialogue -- that covers nuclear, missile defense, space, and cyber issues.

 “Cultivating personal relationships can be an important part of improving understanding and cooperation.  In that vein, Adm. Mullen and I will be pleased to welcome the Chief of the General Staff of the PLA to visit the United States in the first half of this year.  And, of course, we are very much looking forward to President Hu’s state visit to Washington next week.

 “The next two days will provide further opportunities for dialogue with my Chinese colleagues.  They include:

Meetings later today with Vice President Xi, the Vice Chairmen of the Central Military Commission followed by an official banquet tonight; Discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and with President Hu Jintao tomorrow; and on Wednesday, a visit to the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps, the latter providing a key opportunity to advance our discussion of nuclear strategy.

 China and the United States are two of the world’s great powers and we both recognize the responsibilities and opportunities that status entails -- including showing the rest of the world the benefits that arise when great nations cooperate on matters of shared interests.  Our two nations now have an extraordinary opportunity to define the relationship not by the obstacles that at times divide us, but by the opportunities that exist to foster greater cooperation and bring us closer together.”

U.S. Coast Guard and the World Maritime University

Posted by: LT Connie Braesch
Post Written by Lt. Cmdr. Mark Sawyer, Instructor at the World Maritime University

Few are aware of the Coast Guard’s contributions to the success of the World Maritime University (WMU). In fact, it wasn’t until my assignment to the University as a U.S. Coast Guard Instructor that I fully understood the unique, positive relationship the Coast Guard and WMU have shared for 27 years. Further, I gained a better understanding of the immense importance the WMU plays in the international maritime community.

“WMU benefits from the professional and operational expertise of the presence of the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Dr. Björn Kjerfve, president of WMU. “As a mutually beneficial outcome, both WMU alumni and Coast Guard are better equipped for the future to communicate, develop and implement global initiatives to enhance international maritime safety, security and environmental standards and also support maritime commerce.”

Recognizing the need for well qualified, educated maritime professionals, the International Maritime Organization established WMU on July 4, 1983 in Malmö, Sweden. The University is considered the center of excellence for advanced maritime education and the January 2010 revised charter puts emphasis on the particular mission of capacity building in developing countries. Over the last quarter century, the WMU international faculty has educated over 3,000 maritime professionals from over 162 countries.

“WMU graduates hold key maritime leadership positions around the world. They lead as mariners, shipping executives, energy and transportation specialists, heads of Coast Guards, and UN policy makers,” said RADM James Watson, deputy commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area. “U.S. Coast Guard instructors at WMU enhance international maritime operations through their interaction with WMU students. Ultimately our access to WMU graduates strengthens U.S. Coast Guard operations through industry collaboration to facilitate commerce, maintain law and order on the high seas, and for life-saving emergency response cooperation.”

Currently, the University offers postgraduate degrees including Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Science (MSc) and Postgraduate Diploma (PGD). In addition to its facility in Malmö, Sweden, World Maritime University operates two satellite campuses in China, Dalian and Shanghai with both master’s and doctoral degree programs as well as professional development courses and seminars.

“The World Maritime University greatly appreciates the support from the U.S. Coast Guard since the inception of the University in 1983. WMU has built up an impressive network of alumni [as of today 3,040] who occupy influential maritime positions in most countries around the globe.” said Kjerfve.

New Navy Reserve Force Master Chief Selected

By Capt. Robert Durand, Commander, Navy Reserve Force Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The next Navy Reserve Force master chief was announced by the chief of the Navy Reserve Jan. 6.

Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. Dirk Debbink announced that Command Master Chief Christopher T. Wheeler was selected as the next Navy Reserve Force master chief.

Wheeler will relieve Navy Reserve Master Chief (FMF) Ronney Wright as Navy Reserve Force master chief in June 2011.

"Command Master Chief Wheeler was chosen for this important job from a group of highly motivated, professional and qualified candidates," said Debbink. "I will rely on his insight and counsel to ensure that our Sailors, their families and their civilian employers have what they need to carry out our mission and to live up to our Navy Reserve Force motto - 'Ready Now. Anytime, Anywhere.'"

Wheeler's focus as force master chief will be taking care of the Navy Reserve Sailors he works for.

"Taking care of Sailors is what this job is all about, and Master Chief Wheeler is a deckplate leader who knows and cares deeply for our Sailors," said Wright. "Serving in this job is a tremendous honor and an awesome responsibility. Command Master Chief Wheeler is eager to take on this challenge."

Stewardship to the citizen-Sailors who man the Reserve Force is high on Wheelers priorities.

"I believe this job is about being an honest steward for the Navy Reserve Force, and I pledge my stewardship to Vice Adm. Debbink and all of our Navy Reserve Sailors," said Wheeler.

Wheeler currently serves as the command master chief of Naval Air Force Reserve and as staff command master chief for Naval Air Force.

The Navy Reserve Force master chief is responsible for advising the chief of Navy Reserve on matters affecting the morale, retention, Sailor development and general well-being of the 53,000 enlisted personnel of the Navy Reserve. The force master chief is also charged with ensuring active communications throughout the force and instilling a sense of heritage and active support of Navy core values to all Sailors.

Wheeler will be the 14th Navy Reserve Force master chief. The mission of the Navy Reserve is to provide strategic depth and deliver operational capabilities to our Navy and Marine Corps team, and Joint forces, from peace to war.

Flags are to be flown at half staff through the evening of January 14, 2011.

President Obama has ordered that the United States flag be displayed at half-staff until sunset, January 14, 2011, as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona

Presidential Proclamation--Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Tucson, Arizona
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 14, 2011.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
ninth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.