Military News

Friday, January 28, 2011

This Day in Naval History - Jan. 28

From the Navy News Service

1960 - The Navy demonstrates the value of moon communication relay, which is used in fleet broadcasts.
1962 - USS Cook (APD 130) rescues 25 survivors after a section of the Panamanian tanker SS Stanvac Sumatra broke in two in the South China Sea.
1986 - The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes, killing Cmdr. Michael Smith and six other astronauts.

IKE Completes PIA Halfway Review

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zach Martin, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) completed its planned incremental availability (PIA) halfway review Jan. 25, hosting several high-ranking members of its senior leadership.

In September 2010, the Eisenhower transited from Norfolk Naval Base to Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va. This transit marked the beginning of a six month planned incremental availability (PIA).

PIA involves upgrades, maintenance and habitability upkeep. Tiling, lagging and painting are the most basic tasks that are completed throughout the PIA evolution.

Making sure the Sailors have a comfortable living area and high grade equipment to effectively do their jobs is an important part of preparing for the upcoming workup cycle and a deployment in 2012.

Since PIA is at the halfway mark, senior IKE leadership met with high-ranking Navy officials and shipyard representatives for a fifty percent review meeting to discuss work results and coordination efforts.

"The crew and the ship's leaders presented the status of PIA to senior leadership," said Capt. Marcus Hitchcock, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower commanding officer. "We discussed where we've been, where we're going, and how we're going to get there."

The PIA fifty percent review is a critical step to brief stakeholders on progress of the availability and to identify key resource and support requirements to complete the availability on schedule. The meeting focused on the ship's force and shipyard team's current progress, and the team's ability to meet all major milestones as scheduled.

"The ship's crew is on track; the Sailors are dedicated to the work that needs to be done," Hitchcock said.

Hitchcock said that even with the impressive progress, the assembled senior leaders agreed there was still room for improvement.

"The ship did a great job presenting itself to the assembled leadership, but we can't forget cleanliness standards and properly maintaining our equipment," Hitchcock said.

PIA is scheduled for ships having completed a cruise to upgrade and repair ship's systems and equipment. Having returned in July 2010, after seven months out to sea and completing a five-month cruise the prior year from March to July, IKE was due for this maintenance period.

Hitchcock said he was confident IKE would continue its partnership with both Norfolk Naval Shipyard and the various civilian contractors completing jobs during PIA, and that such cooperation was vital to the success of the overall mission.

"[The shipyard and senior leaders] are as confident as I am that we'll be finished and out of the yards on time," he said.

Cmdr. Robert Bebermeyer, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower chief engineer, also commented on the ship's need to maintain professional relationships with the shipyard and contractor workforce.

"One of the keys to success in the availability has been, and will continue to be, the good working relationship between IKE, NNSY, and our contractors. This relationship between not only senior leadership, but throughout the chain of command, has allowed to us to focus on helping each other, and jointly driving towards a successful delivery of IKE."

Among the completed projects on the ship since the beginning of the PIA, Bebermeyer pointed out a successful catapult accumulator inspection, and workers are now working on a major piping replacement. Preservation of the ship's mast has been completed as well, and the combat systems department will be ready to get it back soon.

"The crew has executed well," Bebermeyer said. "This has been a challenging availability, with a significant workload for ship's force."

For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.

'Don't Ask' Repeal Plan Progressing Quickly, Officials Say

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2011 – The plan to end the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military is progressing quickly, senior Defense Department officials said here today.

Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to Pentagon reporters in the first of a series of briefings that will chart the department’s progress in implementing the repeal of the law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“My sense is [we have a] really good working relationship with the services as we do this, … not only the service chiefs, but the senior enlisted,” Stanley said. “You get good vibes about where we are in terms of cooperation [and] information coming forth.”

President Barack Obama signed the repeal into law Dec. 22, with provisions ensuring the repeal will not take place until 60 days after he, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, certify the military services are ready.

As part of today’s briefing, officials distributed copies of two memos containing the department’s guidance on repeal implementation. The first, signed by Gates, sets a planning deadline of Feb. 4. The second, which Stanley signed, outlines policy changes.

“Strong, engaged and informed leadership will be required at every level to implement the repeal … properly, effectively, and in a deliberate and careful manner,” Gates’ memo read in part.

“This is not, however, a change that should be done incrementally. The steps leading to certification and the actual repeal must be accomplished across the entire department at the same time,” the memo continued.

Gates’ guiding principles for implementation stress respect for individuals and common across-the-services standards, while prohibiting harassment, unlawful discrimination and policies based solely on sexual orientation.

Gates directed that a repeal implementation team lead the process to develop plans, update policies and train the force.

“What you're going to see as we move forward, we have actually three tiers as we get to the training part,” Stanley said.

The three levels of training begin with policy makers, chaplains, lawyers and counselors; continue with leaders including commanding officers, senior noncommissioned officers and senior civilians; and culminate with troops across the services.

Cartwright said the tiers don’t have to be sequential, and the services can conduct the levels of training as they see fit.

Present at today’s briefing were Virginia “Vee” Penrod, deputy assistant secretary for military personnel policy and chairwoman of the repeal implementation team, and Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Steven Hummer, the team’s chief of staff.

Penrod said the team has worked for several weeks with service representatives to develop training guidance, modules and plans.

“We expect to have those accomplished next week,” she said. “It’s been a joint effort, with not only the military departments but [also] the Joint Staff, to develop consistent training.”

Hummer said the team is developing a “standardized commander’s toolkit” for the training effort. The services can tailor the toolkit to ensure the training meets their specific needs, he added. The training packets will include videos featuring the service commanders, presentations outlining policy considerations, and a series of vignettes trainers can use to spur audience discussions.

The team also is charged with preparing progress reports and updating Gates every two weeks on policy development and training progress.

“We know, when you’re dealing with 2 and half million people and a new policy, that we’re probably going to have some discovery as we go,” Cartwright said.

The two-week updates provide a feedback mechanism that will allow defense and service leaders to track what they’ve learned, react, and then move forward, he added.

“That will all be considered in the so-called calculus of when we go to the secretary and the chairman to certify,” the vice chairman said.

Stanley’s memo detailed military policy changes that will happen when repeal takes place. Defense officials emphasized that any changes will not take effect until repeal is implemented, and that all current policies remain in force in the meantime.

Most policies will not change, including those covering standards of conduct, equal opportunity, personal privacy, military benefits, medical treatment and duty assignments. But recruiting, re-accesssions and separation policies will change. Sexual orientation will no longer serve as a bar to enlistment or a return to the military, or as a reason for dismissal.

Stanley said that while the department doesn’t see the need for many policy changes, there is a definite need for policy clarification.

“We are fundamentally focused right now on our leadership, professionalism, discipline and respect,” he said. “I have to underscore that every person who serves and who wears a uniform - and to include our civilians, who are working within the Department of Defense - they take an oath. And that oath breaks into that foundation of leadership, professionalism, discipline and respect.”

SECNAV, CNO Announce Flag Officer Assignments

From the Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) and the chief of naval operations (CNO) announced flag officer assignments Jan. 27.

SECNAV Ray Mabus and CNO Adm. Gary Roughead announced the following assignments:

Rear Adm. Donald P. Quinn will be assigned as commander, Naval Education and Training Command, Pensacola, Fla. Quinn is currently serving as commander, Navy Personnel Command, Millington, Tenn.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Margaret A. Rykowski will be assigned as deputy fleet surgeon, U.S. Fleet Forces Command/deputy director, Nurse Corps, Reserve Component, Norfolk. Rykowski is currently serving as fleet surgeon, 3rd Fleet, San Diego.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Troy M. Shoemaker will be assigned as commander, Carrier Strike Group 9, Everett, Wash. Shoemaker is currently serving as assistant commander, Navy Personnel Command for career management, PERS-4, Navy Personnel Command, Millington, Tenn.

Today in the Department of Defense, Saturday, January 29, 2011

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

Cairo riots not affecting Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers directly

The Multi-National Force Soldiers Are Located in Sinai, Egypt

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (01/28/11) - The Illinois Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 123rd Field Artillery Regiment currently deployed to Sinai, Egypt is not being affected by the riots in Cairo, Egypt, except for the interruption of commercial communication.

The nearly 440 Illinois Soldiers are part of the Multinational Force and Observers, an international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

The MFO's bases are hundreds of miles away from Cairo where the rioting is taking place.

The interruption of commercial communication is affecting ILARNG Soldiers' ability to quickly communicate via email and telephone with their loved ones here in Illinois.

Military communication channels between the MFO and the Illinois National Guard are still open and are being used to keep families abreast of the situation.

The rioting is not directed toward the MFO or the ILARNG Soldiers.

The Illinois National Guard Soldiers stationed in Sinai are professional, highly trained and able to respond to a variety of incidents.

 If the situation in Egypt changes the MFO and ILARNG is capable of taking appropriate measures to safeguard American troops.

The 123rd Field Artillery deployed to Sinai in May 2010 and will return home May 2011.

Defense, Energy Experts Aid China’s Nuclear Security

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2011 – The Defense and Energy departments are working under a government-to-government agreement signed Jan. 19 with China to establish a regional center of excellence there for nuclear security, a Pentagon official said.

Rebecca K.C. Hersman, deputy assistant secretary of defense for countering weapons of mass destruction, told American Forces Press Service the effort will allow the agencies to leverage their expertise and resources for “maximum effect to President Barack Obama’s nuclear security agenda.”

In April 2009, from
Hradcany Square
in Prague in the Czech Republic, Obama called for reducing the number of nuclear weapons in the world and building a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation. A year later at the Nuclear Security Summit here, the United States and China agreed to strengthen cooperation in nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security and the fight against nuclear terrorism.

Also at the summit, Chinese President Hu Jintao committed to building the Center of Excellence on Nuclear Security outside Beijing.

According to an Energy Department fact sheet, the agreement paves the way for its National Nuclear Security Administration and the Defense Department to work with Atomic Energy Authority representatives in China to create a central site for training in all aspects of nuclear security.

“In many ways, DOD is the supporting player here to the broader DOE objectives,” Hersman said, “but DOD brings strengths to table, particularly in … site security, transportation security, incident response [and] inventory management, as well as experience in developing and providing training and curricula for nuclear security.”

DOD and DOE have worked together in the past, she noted. “These are all things we have done on multiple occasions directly and in support of DOE,” Hersman said, “so we see this as a natural fit for the [Center of Excellence] effort, which is expected to incorporate all these elements.”

The center will serve as a forum for exchanging technical information, sharing best practices, developing training courses and promoting technical collaborations to enhance nuclear security in China and throughout Asia.

The two-story center will be financed through a U.S.-China cost-sharing arrangement and is expected to be complete by 2012, said Dave Huizenga, principal deputy assistant administrator for the office of defense nuclear nonproliferation in the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

“This cooperation is largely with the nonweapons side -- the Chinese Atomic Energy Authority, which runs their civilian research facilities and has a role in their nuclear power facilities,” Huizenga said. “But the hope is that if we share best practices and this information gets to [the nonweapons] part of the Chinese nuclear sector, the defense people will benefit from it indirectly.”

The National Nuclear Security Administration has had an ongoing partnership with the Chinese since 2005, Huizenga said.

“We’ve had a robust best-practices sharing exchange of information on physical protection and guard forces and materials control and accounting -- all the things you do to make sure that nuclear materials stay in the facility where they’re supposed to be and aren’t moved off illicitly,” he said.

The agreement has taken such cooperation to a new level, he added.

“We’ve had a small facility where we’ve been doing this training since 2005,” Huizenga said. “But we want to consolidate everything into one larger mock-up training center so we can bring Chinese and others in the region into a state-of-the-art facility where they can get hands-on experience understanding what a guard would do if an alarm went off on the fence on the perimeter of a nuclear materials storage site, for instance.”

The center, Hersman added, also likely will offer the following:

-- Training nuclear site personnel to measure and account for nuclear material and to design and install nuclear material security systems;

-- Training protective force personnel using scenario-driven threat-response exercises;

-- Training personnel on international nuclear safeguards requirements and inspection techniques; and

-- Environmental testing of nuclear security system components.

According to a White House fact sheet, the U.S. and Chinese governments have cooperated since April 2004 to enhance nuclear security under the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technology Agreement.

In 2005, the U.S. and China sponsored a joint technology demonstration at the China Institute of Atomic Energy outside Beijing that featured established nuclear security and international safeguards technologies and illustrated nuclear security best practices.

Since 2005, experts from the United States and China have conducted more than 15 workshops on nuclear security issues and activities.

China has always described the center as supporting regional and International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear security cooperation,” Hersman said, “and we strongly support that goal.”

This article was sponsored by Military Books.

Corona Warfare Center's Patented System Saves $65 Million, Wins Top Navy Award

By Troy Clarke, Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A team from Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Corona received a top Navy Information Management/Information Technology Excellence Award at the 2011 DoN IT Conference Jan. 25.

The team received the award for developing a calibration management system that is projected to save the Navy nearly $65 million by 2017.

The system, called the Metrology Bench-Top, or METBENCH, was praised by the Navy's chief information officer (CIO), who presented the annual award which recognized outstanding contributions by individuals and teams who are transforming the Navy and Marine Corps through information technology.

"The award Corona received is a great example of [innovation, efficiency and effectiveness]," said Navy CIO Terry A. Halverson. "Calibration of equipment is very important in the fleet. This system will increase mission effectiveness while decreasing our expense."

Calibrations are critical to nearly every aspect of naval operations and helps ensure equipment functions properly and accurately, ranging from a ship's propulsion plant to an F/A-18 Hornet's laser target designators to night vision goggles.

METBENCH program manager Richard Schumacher said the system seamlessly integrates more than 136 automated calibration procedures for 835 items across NAVSEA's calibration footprint. "This significantly increases calibration efficiency and improves equipment availability for the Navy's 1.85 million pieces of test equipment needed to conduct about 800,000 calibrations per year," Schumacher said.

He said Corona developed the cost-saving system in response to a fleet request in 2006 to address calibration systems that were ending their lifecycle. The METBENCH team took the unique system from concept to sea trial within 12 months and completed installation for the surface fleet last September. The system is currently aboard 144 surface ships.

Schumacher added that Corona's approach to shipboard calibration fully utilizes the Navy's distance support architecture to best support the fleet deployed anywhere in the world, and the METBENCH system makes these tasks as easy and transparent to the sailor as possible.

The new single system replaces five existing IT systems scheduled to be phased out and provides Navy information management for more effective decision making, improved efficiency of tasking, as well as enhanced mission effectiveness, program managers say.

The METBENCH system relies entirely on open-source and government off-the-shelf technology and consists of several integral components, such as automated procedure execution; advanced calibration procedure development; and both afloat and ashore calibration asset management. Program managers say these key elements complement one another and help align Navy systems commands, fleet users, technical agents, type commanders and ashore calibration activities.

In conjunction with the surface fleet roll-out of METBENCH, NAVSEA began to install the ashore portion of the system in fiscal year 2010 at several calibration laboratories. The full system capability, including the lab management function, will be up and running at all NAVSEA enterprise calibration laboratories during fiscal years 2012-2014. The ashore automated calibration capability has already improved efficiency for the Navy by $1.2 million.

Halverson says Corona's approach is exactly what the Navy needs and why the METBENCH team received the award.

"You've got more effectiveness, more efficiency. That's a win-win scenario." Halverson said. "And it's innovative. It's showing what can be done when people think a little outside the box. The NAVSEA example of that is a classic."

The award-winning Corona team members include John Griffith, advanced measurements program manager; Richard P. Schumacher, METBENCH/MCMS program manager; Juliusz Adamczuk; Zaide Figuerres; Jeff Walden; Rey B. Cheesman; Winston Y. Chou; Luis A. Cortes Jr.; Brett A. Currier; Stephen V. Frankini; Jeffrey M. Frappier; Michael L. Genung; Jeffrey M. Greene; Catherine F. Jose; Edvin Khanlarian; David G. Kinkade; Scott Jackson; Lawrence S. Lichtmann; Jeff Margosian; Vartan Nazarian; David B. Stice; Marisa Villasenor; Jove F. Yambot; Gary G. Yeakley; and Zarch Zakarian.

NSWC Corona, a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, is responsible for gauging the warfighting capability of weapons and integrated combat systems, through assessment of systems' performance, readiness, quality, supportability, and the adequacy of training.

For more news from NSWC, Corona Division, visit www.navy.mil/local/nswccorona/.

U.S., Canada Discuss Defense Cooperation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

OTTAWA, Canada, Jan. 27, 2011U.S. and Canadian defense officials discussed a range of bilateral military issues during meetings held here today.

Canadian National Defense Minister Peter MacKay hosted Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The two delegations spoke about strengthening and broadening an already strong alliance between the two nations. Gates and MacKay spoke at a news conference following their meeting.

Afghanistan is where the two countries’ militaries cooperate most closely, and Gates thanked the Canadian people for their sacrifices on the battlefield and continuing commitment to the struggle in Afghanistan.

“No country has suffered more fallen heroes proportionately than has Canada, and I extend our countries sympathy, prayers and admiration to their families,” Gates said.

The Canadian military is ending their combat mission in Regional Command–South, and will dedicate about 950 service members to training Afghan soldiers and police.

MacKay said the meetings help improve military coordination between the two countries.

Mexican Minister of National Defense Gen. Guillermo Galvan was to have attended the meeting, but illness forced him to cancel. Both MacKay and Gates said they wanted to re-schedule the so-called Tri-lateral meeting as soon as possible.

Gates and MacKay addressed threats to the Western Hemisphere, cooperation among the nations of the hemisphere and efforts to combat a range of international threats such as piracy, counterterrorism, narco-trafficking and human trafficking.

Gates said he and MacKay discussed expanded cooperation in the Arctic, coordinating maritime security assistance to the Caribbean region and sharing defense practices for supporting civilian authorities.

The two men also discussed the North American Aerospace Defense Command, especially the new maritime domain awareness mission assigned to the group.

They also discussed the decision to allow the Joint Permanent Board on Defense to continue looking at ways to examine a cyber defense role. Gates said the two nations will “examine together how the advanced defenses of our military networks might also be applied to critical civilian infrastructure.”

Gates reaffirmed America’s strong commitment to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Canada is an integral partner in the program and the new fighter will be the Canadian military’s aviation backbone for decades. Gates said the Pentagon has made adjustments to the program, and that the United States is expecting to have 325 aircraft built by 2016.

Canada wants the Air Force variant of the F-35, and Gates said that version is doing well, and not under probation like the short take-off, and vertical landing variant is.

“It is a true 5th generation fighter, it will continue to gives us significant capabilities, it will continue the interoperability that has been at the heart of our NORAD relationship for decades now,” Gates said. “Without getting into domestic affairs in Canada, I would just say my hope is that all of our partners continue to move forward with us in this program.”

Today in the Department of Defense, Friday, January 28, 2011

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates will make remarks at , at the change of command ceremony of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen will introduce Secretary Gates. The ceremony will be broadcast live on the Pentagon Channel.

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

Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright will conduct a press briefing at , in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973) to discuss the progress of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal implementation effort.  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.

USS La Jolla Departs for Deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge, Commander, Navy Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS La Jolla (SSN 701) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Jan. 27, for a scheduled six-month deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility (AOR) and the Western Pacific region.

Cmdr. Jeff Bernard, USS La Jolla commanding officer, said the crew is extremely excited and well prepared to get underway.

"The crew has worked very hard, and we have conducted extensive training during the deployment preparation phase and will continue to hone the lessons learned from that training as we transit to our operational areas," said Bernard. "There is a great deal of satisfaction within the crew to be finally finished preparing for this deployment and to begin operations at sea."

The deployment will be the first for the majority of the crew, where according to Bernard, they will conduct many training exercises and qualifications as well as being available for any tasking which comes their way.

"This deployment will provide an optimal time for a great deal of submarine qualifications, watch station and other divisional qualifications to be completed," said Bernard. "Our goal is to maximize operational readiness in support of the needs of the operational commander and above all else, bring the submarine and crew back safely from a successful deployment."

USS La Jolla is named for La Jolla, California, and is the first warship named after this township.

La Jolla, commissioned Oct. 24, 1981, is the fourteenth ship of the Los Angeles-class of nuclear attack submarines, is 360-feet long and displaces 6,900 tons. Attack submarines are uniquely capable because of their stealth and endurance, which is increasingly important as the Navy works to provide stability and security around the world. The submarine can be armed with sophisticated Mark-48 ADCAP anti-submarine torpedoes and Tomahawk guided cruise missiles.

For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/subpac/.