Military News

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Today in the Department of Defense, Thursday, April 07, 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.

Commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Air Force Gen. Duncan J. McNabb and Commander, U.S. Africa Command, Army Gen. Carter F. Ham testify at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee in review of the defense authorization request for fiscal 2012 and future years' defense program at in room SD-106, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz testifies at a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee on Military Construction and the Veterans Administration at in room H-140, Capitol.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead; Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos; Chief of Staff U.S. Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz and Vice Chief of Staff U.S. Army Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli testify at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on repeal of the law commonly known as Don't Ask-Don't Tell at 1 p.m. EDT in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building.

Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert F. Hale and Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment) Dorothy Robyn testify at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee on the fiscal 2012 budget request for DoD at 2 p.m. EDT in room SD-124, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey; Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz; Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert; Marine Corps Assist Commandant Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., and Coast Guard Vice Commandant Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara deliver remarks at 6 p.m. EDT at Operation Homefront's 2011 Military Child of the Year reception at the Ritz Carlton, Crystal City, Va.  Media interested in attending should contact Aaron Taylor at 202-744-1326.

This Day in Naval History - April 06

From the Navy News Service

1776 - Sloop-of-war Ranger, the frigate Queen of France and the frigate Warren capture the British vessel Hibernia and seven other vessels.
1862 - Naval gunfire from the warships Tyler and Lexington help save Union Troops at the Battle of Shiloh.
1909 - Cmdr. Robert E. Peary reports reaching the North Pole.
1917 - The United States declares war on Germany.
1945 - The first heavy kamikaze attack occurs on ships at Okinawa.
1961 - USS Lake Champlain (CVS 39) brings oxygen to aid stricken passenger of British liner Queen of Bermuda.
1968 - USS New Jersey (BB 62) is recommissioned for shore bombardment duty in Vietnam.
1989 - The President orders Department of Defense to assist in the Exxon Valdez oil spill cleanup.
1993 - Branch Navy Hospital Adak, Alaska, responds to crash of civilian Chinese airliner by providing lifesaving treatment and medical evacuation of 89 injured passengers. Only one passenger out of 265 passengers died.

Task Force Energy Architect Recognized as Energy Leader

From Chief of Naval Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness Division (OPNAV N45)

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The director of the Navy's Energy and Environmental Readiness Division and architect of Task Force Energy, was recognized by the Algal Biomass Organization (ABO) during an April 6 ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. Philip Cullom was recognized for his leadership in addressing energy security issues and his support for the development of biofuels.

"I am honored by the Algal Biomass Organization's recognition of what the Navy Energy Program has achieved in two short years," said Cullom. "Frankly, it reflects the effort of many individuals not just one; hundreds of uniformed Sailors and civilians, and the relationship forged with those innovators in industry who walk point with us in achieving a more energy secure future."

"Energy security for the Navy is not merely sustained access to energy. It is about being energy smart: a Spartan ethos to our operations, afloat and ashore, that requires both energy efficiency and a new flexibility to use multiple sources of energy to meet our mission… in perpetuity," said Cullom. "By having reliable and diverse alternate sources of energy, we will no longer be held hostage by any one source of energy, such as petroleum. Most importantly, it will ensure this maritime nation has a strong Navy for the long haul."

In 2010, the Navy conducted several successful tests of alternative fuels engineered to serve as drop-in replacements for petroleum-based fuels, including powering a riverine command boat on a 50/50 algae-based biofuel blend.

"These tests are key milestones to the Secretary of the Navy's energy goals, which include deploying a 'Great Green Fleet' powered entirely by alternative fuels by 2016," said Cullom.

Also recognized at the reception were Representatives Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and Jay Inslee (D-WA), who have been leaders of the House Algae Caucus, and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) for his efforts and support of algae-based biofuels policy.

The Navy is leading the country's efforts to achieve energy independence.

USS City of Corpus Christi Awarded Meritorious Unit Commendation

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David R. Krigbaum, USS Frank Cable (AS 40) Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- The Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN 705) was awarded its fifth Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) in a pierside ceremony on Naval Base Guam April 4.

Capt. John Russ, Commander, Submarine Squadron 15, presented City of Corpus Christi the MUC for operations the submarine conducted in 2009. The submarine also received the Navigation Red and Green 'N', Damage Control Red 'DC' and Supply Blue 'E' during the ceremony.

"The crew absolutely deserves the MUC for our operations in 2009," said Cmdr. Rob Gaucher, City of Corpus Christi's commanding officer. "Commander, Task Force 74 called our mission period the 'poster child for SSN operations' due to the versatility we demonstrated in responding to many changes in operational tasking, as well as the number of different missions we completed."

In addition to its missions supporting national and regional security, the submarine completed four multinational exercises, four theater security cooperation port visits, and responded to eight unplanned mission changes.

"Proficiency-wise, they're on top of their game," said Master Chief Machinist's Mate Terry Fuller, City of Corpus Christi's Chief of the Boat. "They work together, back each other up. When it comes down to it, I think they're the best crew in the Pacific Fleet."

Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces; carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; and conduct battle group operations. City of Corpus Christi is forward deployed in the 7th Fleet area of operations.

Service Members Would Earn Pay During Shutdown

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2011 – Military members would continue to earn wages in the event of an April 8 shutdown of the federal government, but they’d have to wait to collect them until Congress agrees on a budget, a senior administration official said here today.

During a telephone briefing administered by the Office of Management and Budget, a senior administration official detailed the consequences of a possible federal government shutdown that will occur April 8 if Congress doesn’t agree on a budget.

Service members, the official said, “will continue to earn money” in the event of a shutdown.

But because there wouldn’t be any money to pay out to service members during a shutdown, the official said, they would have to wait to be reimbursed.

“They will be paid once we have money again to pay them,” the official said.

Some members of the Defense Department’s federal civilian work force would be exempted from a shutdown because of their work in critical areas, or because they are funded through sources outside the federal budget, the official said.

However, “a significant number of DOD civilian employees, unfortunately, would be furloughed if the government shuts down,” the official said.

Activities necessary to protecting life and property, or those whose funding comes from someplace other than the federal budget, will continue if the government shuts down April 8, the official added.

Army Reserve Chief: Have Reservists Do Homeland Missions

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2011 – The Army Reserve’s top officer made the case today for legislative changes that would allow his troops to respond to homeland disasters or attacks when federal military capabilities are needed.

Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz made clear during a roundtable discussion at the Heritage Foundation here that he has no interest in undermining state governors’ authority or stepping on the toes of the National Guard that currently provides homeland support under their state governors’ orders.

But in light of budget constraints and vast improvements in the Army Reserve’s readiness and capabilities during the past decade, Stultz said it doesn’t make sense to be able to use these capabilities only during overseas missions.

“The primary focus of the Title 10 reserve has always been on the expeditionary,” he said. “We have been saying for some time is: ‘We should be playing a role in the homeland.’ But it is going to require legislative change.”

Current law, he said, allows an involuntary call-up of the Title 10 reserve for a homeland mission only for crises involving weapons of mass destruction.

In the event of natural disasters such as hurricanes or floods or an outright attack on the homeland, local first responders -- police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians -- are likely to be the first on the scene, Stultz said.

State governors also have authority to mobilize their National Guard forces if needed.

“But at the point where that governor, that state says, ‘We need federal assistance now. This is beyond our capability,’” Stultz said. Current law, he added, requires the active component to be employed as the default federal force.

Testifying March 30 before the House Appropriation Committee’s Defense Subcommittee, Stultz used his home state of Florida as an example of how the current law requires that federal assistance be provided during a homeland emergency.

“It makes no sense to me when Hurricane Andrew hits and we have to have federal response, that the 82nd Airborne comes from Fort Bragg, North Carolina,” in light of vast Army Reserve resources already in Florida, he told the panel.

“The Army Reserve has an engineer battalion sitting in Miami with scrapers, with bucket-loaders, with bulldozers, with dump trucks … I've got [military police] units in Ocala and Tampa and Fort Lauderdale… I've got hospital units in the south Florida area, Jacksonville and Tampa area… I've got a [medical evacuation] unit … with Blackhawk helicopters sitting in Clearwater, Florida. And I've got transporters, trucks sitting around the state,” he said.

These units are made up of “citizens of Florida … who want to help, and yet we don't have the authority,” he said.

“Now, we do not want to try to take the job of the National Guard,” Stultz said. The National Guard, he told the House panel, responds “magnificently” when called to the scene.

“What we're saying is when the federal response is needed,” he continued, “currently you go to the active force, when you have Title 10 Reserves sitting there inside the state that are ready, available, and in a lot of cases, more capable.”

Stultz told reporters today the Army Reserve’s makeup, which includes a major percentage of the Army’s medical, engineering and transportation units, makes it the more logistical federal choice.

“The capabilities that you really need for the homeland response reside in our force much more than they reside in the active Army,” he said.

Stultz’ concept isn’t new. Legislative changes needed to use the Army Reserve stateside have been proposed at least twice on Capitol Hill, only to get push-back from governors and others who Stultz said didn’t fully understand the intent.

“They are looking at it as the federal government trying to usurp the state,” he said.  “This is not about the federal government taking over the state’s authority. This is not about the state having the authority to call up the federal reserve [forces], either. This is about when the state requires federal assistance, what force do we employ?

“Do we employ that active force that comes from Fort Bragg with a bunch of infantry soldiers,” the general continued, “or do we employ the Army Reserves who happen to be present within the state with the capability [needed]?”

Stultz said he’s seeing more openness today to legislative change. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the administration are interested, he said. Paul N. Stockton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and Americas’ security affairs; and Richard Reed, special assistant to the president for homeland security, are exploring the issue.

And in a promising development, Stultz said the National Governors’ Association has expressed an interest in moving the measure forward.

“I don’t think it is going to happen overnight,” Stultz said of legislative change. “But I think you have both sides now, from the state and federal level, saying, ‘Why aren’t we doing this? What is getting in the way?’”

USS Bremerton Departs for Western Pacific Deployment

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

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Los Angeles-class submarine USS Bremerton (SSN 698) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam April 5 for a scheduled six-month deployment to the Western Pacific region.

Bremerton's commanding officer, Cmdr. Caleb Kerr, commented that the crew is enthusiastic and motivated to deploy.

"The morale of the crew is the best that I have observed during my 18 years in the Navy," said Kerr. "The submarine is in top material condition from bow to stern due to their professional work efforts."

For many crewmembers of Bremerton, this deployment will be their first where according to Kerr; they have a robust plan for both submarine operations and strengthening ties with allied foreign nations.

"This will be the first deployment for over half of the crew and our first and foremost goal is to safely complete all of our assigned tasking," said Kerr. "The officers and crew performed extremely well during the pre-overseas movement certification period and I have no doubt that they will perform brilliantly on deployment."

Bremerton is named in honor of the city of Bremerton, Wash., home to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and a city with a long association with both the Navy and the Submarine Force. She is the tenth ship of the Los Angeles-class. Her keel was laid by General Dynamics' Electric Boat Division in Groton, Conn. in May 1976. She was commissioned March 28, 1981.

Pacific Glory Makes 3946 Military Books

With the addition of Captain P. T. Deutermann's USN (ret), latests miliary novel, Military-Writers now lists 3946 books authored by 1239 current, former and retired US Servicemembers.

Captain P. T. Deutermann, USN (ret.) “was commissioned in 1963 at Annapolis into the surface line, where he was ordered to the new destroyer USS Morton (DD-948). He served in Morton for two years, and was onboard for the second Gulf of Tonkin incident in September,1964, which precipitated the first significant aircraft carrier strikes against North Vietnam.


Following his tour in Morton, Captain P. T. Deutermann was assigned to class 13 of the destroyer department head school in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon graduation he was diverted from the destroyer forces to Coronado, California, to train in the new Swift class gunboats. Upon completion of training, he went to Manila, Philippine Islands, as officer in charge of a mobile training team which trained Philippine navy crews to use Swift boats against the pirates plaguing Manila Bay and the waters off Corregidor. From Manila, he went in-country Vietnam as officer in charge of PCF-39, based at the mouth of the main Mekong river channel that led up to Saigon. After a year there, he was assigned as operations officer in USS Hull (DD-945), which operated intermittently for the next two years off the coasts of North and South Vietnam providing naval gunfire support for Army and marine forces ashore.”

Between 1972 and 1976, Captain P. T. Deutermann attended the Naval War College and was assigned to the Pentagon. For the next thirteen years he would work in a variety of assignments, including in 1985 “command of Destroyer Squadron 25, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for two years, during which he made one deployment to the Indian Ocean, where he visited Kenya, Pakistan, Singapore, and Japan.” Captain P. T. Deutermann “retired from active duty after 26 years in 1989 with nineteen military awards and decorations.”

Captain P. T. Deutermann is the author of The Firefly; The Moonpool; Hunting Season; The Edge of Honor; Scorpion in the Sea; The Cat Dancers; Sweepers; Spider Mountain; Zero Option; Official Privilege; Train Man; Darkside; Nightwalkers; and, Pacific Glory.


Booklist said of Pacific Glory, “Savo Island, Midway, and the Battle of Samar, three of the defining naval battles of WWII in the Pacific, will draw history buffs to this riveting novel. It’s largely the story of Annapolis friends Marsh Vincent, who barely survives the Savo debacle, and Mick McCarty, whose dive bombing at Midway sinks a Japanese aircraft carrier that helped devastate Pearl Harbor, and Glory Hawthorne, a woman both love who has become a navy nurse. Having seen the savagery of naval war, Marsh fears he may not have the courage to face it again. Mick, an Annapolis football hero, has problems with alcohol and authority. He fears that he may be grounded. Ultimately, both are off Samar when a small group of tiny escort carriers and destroyers finds itself facing an overwhelming force of cruisers—and the Yamato, the largest battleship ever built. The Japanese are there to wipe out the American landing in the Philippines. Deutermann, known primarily as a writer of suspense novels, was a destroyer captain, and his evocation of naval life and naval war seem virtually note perfect. Battle scenes are filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of horrific chaos. The love triangle might seem a bit familiar, but he makes it work, and he’s completely faithful to the remarkable history that is his subject.”

Transcom Stays on Schedule Through Contingencies

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 – U.S. Transportation Command remains on schedule with the drawdown in Iraq and continued operations in Afghanistan, despite near monthly contingencies that challenge the focus of its operations, its commander told a congressional committee today.

“2010 was a banner year,” Air Force Gen. Duncan J. McNabb told the House Armed Services Committee. “Whether delivering combat power to Afghanistan through logistics, or humanitarian relief to the people of Pakistan, Haiti and Japan, our team kept our promises and delivered on time, on target and at the best value to the taxpayer.”

The 145,000 people who make up Transcom “overcome colossal obstacles” to do their job, McNabb said. “This is the best performance I’ve seen in my nearly 37 years of service.”

McNabb called Transcom the U.S. military’s “greatest asymmetric advantage” in its ability to move people and equipment and deliver supplies to troops anyplace in the world.

“We view our success through the eyes of the warfighter,” the general said, referring to the Transcom’s focus on supporting the combatant commands.

Transcom is successful because of “the power of the total force team,” he said, noting the command’s joint use of active and reserve military members, federal civilians and contractors to accomplish its missions.

“If we do this right, our warfighting commanders do not worry about their distribution pipeline,” he said.

In its service to U.S. Central Command, Transcom brought together partners throughout government and industry “to make logistics magic” in drawing down from Iraq, while surging in Afghanistan, McNabb said.

The command met President Barack Obama’s Aug. 31 deadline for having 30,000 additional troops in place in Afghanistan, McNabb said, while responding to a “record-breaking pace” of events last year, including disaster relief in Haiti, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

“Daily, I’m amazed and humbled by what our people accomplish,” he said.

The command met its requirements while also saving money, McNabb said. It has saved $110 million per month by using a combination of commercial surface and military air transport to move mine resistant, ambush-protected vehicles into Afghanistan, he said.

Expanding capacity in surface networks that supply Afghanistan is a focal point, the general said, and the Northern Distribution Network -- the main artery for traversing 30,000 containers last year into Afghanistan through other countries -- remains a priority. Transcom added two additional routes to the network last year, he added.

Transom delivered more than 60 million pounds of equipment and supplies into Afghanistan last year, nearly double the amount from 2009, the general said.

Transcom’s “ultimate ace in the hole,” however, is air, McNabb said. About 35 percent of what is delivered to Afghanistan -- and everything of high value -- is taken by air, he said.

Acquiring a new aerial tanker, McNabb said, is Transcom’s No. 1 acquisitions priority. “The faster we can get a tanker on board, the better for us,” he said.

Transcom air assets delivered 60 million pounds of supplies into Afghanistan last year -- compared to 2 million in 2005 -- and is on its way to dropping 100 million pounds there, McNabb said.

General Officer Announcements

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has made the following nominations:

Army Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, for the appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as chief of engineers/commanding general, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C.  Bostick is currently serving as deputy chief of staff, G-1, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

Air Force Maj. Gen. David S. Fadok, for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as commander and president, Air University, Air Education and Training Command, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.  Fadok is currently serving as commander, Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education, and vice commander, Air University, Air Education and Training Command, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

Air Force Col. Timothy J. Leahy, for appointment to the rank of brigadier general.  Leahy is currently serving as director, knowledge and futures, J-7/J-9 Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

General Officer Announcements

The chief of staff, Army announced today the following assignments:

Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, commanding general, U.S. Army Military District of Washington/commander, Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region, Washington, D.C., to chief of staff, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Maj. Gen. Patricia E. McQuistion, commanding general, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany, to commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Ill.

Brig. Gen. Edward F. Dorman III, commanding general/commandant, U.S. Army Transportation School, Fort Lee, Va., to deputy chief of staff, logistics, C/J-4, International Security Assistance Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.

Brig. Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, deputy chief of staff, logistics, C/J-4, International Security Assistance Force, Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, to director for operations and logistics readiness, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

Brig. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee, deputy assistant chief of staff, C-4/J-4, U.N. Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea/deputy commanding general (Support), Eighth U.S. Army, Korea, to commanding general, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.

Brig. Gen. Bryan G. Watson, commandant, U.S. Army Engineer School/deputy commanding general, concepts, doctrine and organizations, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Miss., to director, J-7, engineering, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Afghanistan.

Brig. Gen. Mark W. Yenter, director, J-7, engineering, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, New Kabul Compound, Afghanistan, to commandant, U.S. Army Engineer School/deputy commanding general, concepts, doctrine and organizations, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Fort Leonard Wood, Miss.

Chaplains, Religious Program Specialists Hold First Joint Graduation

By Cmdr. Yolanda Gillen, Naval Chaplaincy School and Center

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (NNS) -- The inaugural group of chaplains and religious program specialists (RPs) to be trained together graduated during a ceremony held at the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center (NCSC), on board Fort Jackson, S.C., Mar 30.

Guest speaker, Capt. Michael White, chief operating officer, Naval Education Training and Education Command, encouraged the students to realize the impact of their position as chaplains and RPs.

"As you arrive at your first command, you will be introduced to the routine - meetings, office hours, services," said White. "My advice is to make sure you break free and walk the deck, the flight line, the post, a few minutes with 'Chaps' or 'RP' will make their day."

The 20 chaplains who graduated from the basic leadership course (BLC) and the 17 RP's who graduated from RP 'A' school are the first group of students to be introduced to NCSC's concept of religious ministry team (RMT) training.

While at NCSC the chaplains and RPs experienced more than 100 hours of learning together, including working as a team during field expeditionary training.

"I thought the training was helpful because it put us in the real world of learning how to work with chaplains before we get to the fleet," said Seaman Recruit Donald Bishop."

Prior to arriving at NCSC, the RPs spent eight weeks in Great Lakes, Ill. for basic training, while the chaplains completed five weeks of basic military instruction at the Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, R.I.

The joint training at NCSC is designed to have chaplains and RPs acquire basic knowledge of military chaplaincy, fundamental RP skills, and formalize the importance of the religious ministry team concept before going to the fleet.

The RP's were also the first to qualify on the weapons range before going to their first command. Three of them earned their expert medal and six shot sharpshooter.

In October 2009 the Naval Chaplains School located onboard Naval Station, Newport, R.I. and the RP School located at Naval Technical and Training Center Meridian, Miss. moved to Fort Jackson.

The school was renamed Naval Chaplaincy School and Center to reflect chaplains and RPs training in the same location. Having the chaplains and RPs train together at the same location is a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, chaplain of the Marine Corps, concluded the ceremony by leading the chaplains in the re-affirmation of the officer's commissioning oath.

Capt. Michael Langston, NCSC's commanding officer gave his closing remarks saying, "Wherever the Navy sends you, be strong and courageous for the Lord will be with you wherever you go."

"It was inspiring to look around the auditorium and see graduating chaplains and RPs, who came to NCSC as a bunch of individuals, but were now graduating to the fleet with a new identity of what it means to be a religious ministry team," said NCSC graduate Lt. j.g. Travis Coffey.

Pentagon Makes Plans in Case of Shutdown

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 – Defense officials believe that a government shutdown can be avoided, but they are making prudent plans in the event one does occur, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III is formulating guidance for the military services and defense agencies in the event that Congress does not approve a fiscal 2011 budget by the deadline April 8.

“While the administration believes that a government shutdown will be averted, the department, including the service leadership, is engaged in prudent planning so that we will be ready if one were to occur,” Morrell said during a news conference. “While a shutdown would be extremely disruptive to the department and those who work here, I want to underscore that we would still have the authority and the ability to continue key national security activities, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, operations in Libya, and humanitarian assistance in Japan, to name a few.”

The Obama administration is working with congressional leaders to avert a shutdown. “I think negotiations are clearly at a very sensitive point, so I don't think it is wise for me to delve too much into this,” Morrell said. “But it is certainly our hope here that we can avoid a shutdown come midnight on Friday evening.”

Lynn is in the process of putting out guidance to major DOD components about how they should go about planning for a possible shutdown. This would include guidance on what would constitute an exempt or essential operation or mission, and who would be needed to man those missions.

Morrell said there has been no determination yet on how a potential shutdown would affect military pay.

“We have not been able yet to arrive at a conclusive determination about how everyone’s pay would be impacted by this,” he said. “We are still working through that. So I don’t have a definitive answer for you to relay to our forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. Unfortunately, that’s still an issue that's being worked.”

Emergency Operations Training Essential to Guantanamo Personnel

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Leona Mynes, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Personnel assigned to Naval Station (NS) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and its tenant commands began their second day of Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Incident Management Training, April 5.

Commander, Navy Installations Command's (CNIC) Shore Training Group is instructing 23 service members and civilians on how to operate an EOC during an incident.

Preparedness for incidents that affect the base is imperative, said Kevin Robarge, NS Guantanamo Bay's installation training officer.

The training is especially important aboard Guantanamo as local resources are limited because the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with the base's host country.

"We are isolated from many resources and need to be able to manage the resources and personnel we have on-hand until relief and support can reach us," said Robarge. "Because of that, we must continually train our personnel to prepare, manage and respond to any type of situation in order to save lives, property, and to restore quality of life services to our residents as quickly as possible."

Guantanamo Bay's location near a strike-slip fault line, called the Oriente Fracture, and its location in the Caribbean increases the likelihood that the base may experience an earthquake or hurricane, said Robarge. Additionally, all personnel should be prepared if an active shooter incident occurs.

"Last year's Haiti relief effort, recent and past active shooters, and a number of recent catastrophic events, to include what Japan is currently going through, are examples of why we need to train and prepare to better handle incidents," said Robarge.

The training is scheduled to conclude April 7 with an EOC exercise.

U.S. Forces Show Reach in Crises Response

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 – The U.S. military demonstrated its global reach and effectiveness in the past month of crises, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

The U.S. military is probably the only organization in the world that could have handled the demands of providing assistance to the people of Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami while also preventing a massacre in Benghazi, Libya.

The earthquake struck off Japan’s northern coast on March 11. The tsunami followed soon after. “From the moment the earthquake struck … American military forces were ready to respond with whatever assistance was needed by Japan, our close friend and stalwart ally,” Morrell told reporters at the Pentagon.

So far, more than 20,000 U.S. military personnel, about 140 aircraft and more than 20 U.S. ships have provided humanitarian assistance, and supported disaster relief and consequence management efforts in Japan.

A week later, U.S. service members joined an international coalition to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Libya that could have destabilized nascent democratic movements in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia. Operation Odyssey Dawn began with an American-led strike on Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi’s military, designed to prevent him from killing large numbers of Libyan civilians in Benghazi and sparking a refugee crisis.

“All told, since operations began on March the 19th, the U.S. has flown approximately 1,600 sorties, which includes more than 600 strike missions,” Morrell said of U.S. military efforts in Libya. “The U.S. strike mission ended yesterday evening …, but we will continue flying support missions under NATO leadership, and we will remain on alert for emergency strike missions, if requested by NATO.”

Meanwhile, about 100,000 American troops are fighting a war against extremism in Afghanistan. Another 46,000 are deployed to Iraq, training Iraqi security forces.

“That we have been able to respond to these crises without missing a beat in either of those efforts is a testament to the strength and versatility of our forces and, most of all, to the men and women in uniform who are prepared to take on any mission assigned to them,” Morrell said.

Today in the Department of Defense, Wednesday, April 06, 2011

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

Commander, U.S. Pacific Command Navy Adm. Robert F Willard and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea Army Gen. Walter (Skip) Sharp testify at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea budget request 2012 at 10 a.m. EDT in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building.