Military News

Thursday, May 19, 2011

NYT: A Victory for Veterans

NYT: A Victory for Veterans

A must read article about PTSD

How Can I Solve My Problem?The answer is "information" ...... and the information is here!

Gates Budget Review to ‘Force Discussion’ of Risk Analysis

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today announced the framework for a comprehensive review of military spending designed to put national security needs ahead of arbitrary budget cuts.

“We must reject the traditional approach of applying across-the-board cuts -- the simplest and most politically expedient approach, both inside this building and outside of it,” Gates said at a Pentagon news briefing. “That kind of an approach preserves overhead and maintains force structure on paper. But it results in a hollowing out of the force from a lack of proper training, maintenance and equipment. We’ve been there before in the 1970s and in the 1990s.”

President Barack Obama, in an April 13 speech on the nation’s fiscal challenges, set a goal of saving $400 billion over 12 years, mostly from the Defense Department and beyond savings already identified. To do that, he directed Gates and other Pentagon leaders to conduct a “fundamental review of America’s military missions, capabilities, and security role around the world,” Gates noted.

Defense leaders have worked for more than two years to find cost savings in the department, Gates said. The effort began in acquisitions, with more than 20 weapons systems being curtailed or cancelled, then moved to cutting overhead costs and redirecting the savings to support warfighters and help to reduce the federal deficit.

“The overarching goal of these efforts was to carve out enough budget space to preserve and enhance key military capabilities in the face of declining rates of budget growth,” he said.

The goal of the new review, Gates said, is “to preserve a U.S. military capable of meeting crucial national security priorities, even if fiscal pressure requires reductions in the force’s size.”

The review will be guided by the National Security Review, the National Defense Strategy, the National Military Strategy, the Chairman’s Risk Assessment and the Quadrennial Defense Review to ensure it is focused on “strategic policy choices, first, and corresponding changes in the DOD budget, second,” the secretary said. The director of cost assessment and program review, the undersecretary of defense for policy, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will lead the effort jointly, he added.

The review will provide a strong analytical link currently missing between the QDR and the present makeup of the forces, the secretary said. Once competing strategy options are identified, only then should the review consider fiscal implications and options, he said.

The secretary outlined a four-step process for saving money in the department that would start with identifying additional efficiencies to be gained from eliminating bureaucratic excess and overhead. But that alone won’t generate enough savings, Gates said, so examiners should then move on to looking at programs, processes and mandates that drive up costs, “to include the way we deliver health care, compensate military personnel, provide retirement benefits, sustain our infrastructure and acquire goods and services.”

In the third category, officials will review missions and capabilities of marginal scope against overall strategy. “They represent missions that the department carries out today that, while of value, are not central to our core mission or are of lower priority,” Gates explained.

Gates cited the long-standing U.S. strategy that calls for the military to be able to fight two major, regional conflicts simultaneously as an example of reviewing strategic alternatives.

“If you were to tell yourself the likelihood of having two such fights simultaneously is low, and you could therefore plan to fight sequentially, that would have huge implications in terms of the size of force that you need to maintain,” he said. “But the other side of that is the risk involved if you’re wrong.”

The final area for consideration – “the hardest category, strategically, and I would say intellectually,” Gates said – is to consider alternatives to the QDR strategy that translate into options for reductions in force structure or capability needed to execute the strategy, Gates said. Such consideration would be informed by all the other activities in the framework, he added.

“In the end, this process must be about identifying options for the president and the Congress where the nation is willing to accept risk in exchange for reduced investment in the Department of Defense,” Gates said.

No matter what happens in the review process, the secretary said, leaders must make tough decisions and avoid the “hollowing out” of the forces.

“I want to force that kind of discussion,” he said. “If we’re going to cut the military, if we’re going to reduce the resources and the size of the U.S. military, people need to make conscious choices about what the implications of that are for the security of the country, as well as for the operations that we have around the world.”

USS Theodore Roosevelt Officer Judges Contest at Theodore Roosevelt High School

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Kayla Thompson, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The assistant combat direction center officer aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) served as a judge for the second annual public speaking contest at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Washington, D.C., May 12.

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Rogers judged the contest that was sponsored by the D.C. chapter of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and aimed at improving self expression.

Rogers served on a five-judge panel, which included prominent people in the community, including Anne Roosevelt Mason, a great granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt; the U. S. Senate Sergeant at Arms, Terrance Gainer; an executive for a local television channel; a lawyer; and an educator. The school is predominantly African American and Rogers, an African American himself, volunteered his time because of his desire to help at-risk youth. Rogers regularly donates his time to efforts like these in the community.

The judges were introduced to the contestants, who drew names to decide the order in which they would speak. They were given five minutes to speak on any aspect of Theodore Roosevelt's life.

"All nine students were well studied and prepared for the stiff competition, but there was one young man who really stood out," said Rogers. "The winner, Jonathan Rucker, was very articulate and eloquent and tied his research of Theodore Roosevelt to his personal decision to join the Navy. He had me with that declaration. He just really stood out among the competitors."

Once all the students were done and the judges finished their deliberation on who the winner should be, they provided feedback on things that impressed them and areas they could improve upon. The judges also had the opportunity to speak to the students on a personal level after the contest was done.

"I was able to speak to the winner about things to expect when he hits the deck plates as a Sailor," said Rogers. "The event overall was as rewarding for me as it was for the kids because it was an opportunity for me to mentor them. Some children didn't have parents there to cheer them on, and it was an opportunity to be a good role model for them."

Service members, employers recognized during Armed Forces Week

By Tech. Sgt. Thomas Sobczyke
128th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Two Wisconsin National Guard members were among five Richard Bong Award recipients honored at the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) breakfast, held May 16 at the Wisconsin Club in downtown Milwaukee.

Master Sgt. Mike A. Schmaling, of New London, Wis., of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Refueling Wing, Milwaukee, and Sgt. 1st Class Richard P. Gerard, Franklin, of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 132nd Army Band, Madison received awards alongside Staff Sgt. Edel A. Rojas, U.S. Air Force; Boatswain's Mate (Petty Officer) 1st Class Adam Kraft, U.S. Coast Guard; and Sgt. Ryan M. Lackey, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

Hydro-Thermal Corporation, of Waukesha, Wis., was recognized at the breakfast for its support of service members.

Bong Award recipients are chosen by their commanders for outstanding service and dedication. The award commemorates Maj. Richard Bong, a Medal of Honor recipient born in Superior, Wis., in 1920 who remains the top American ace fighter pilot with 40 enemy aircraft destroyed in aerial combat.

The ESGR breakfast, organized by the Milwaukee Armed Forces Committee and the Wisconsin Committee for ESGR, kicks off Armed Forces Week in Milwaukee.

IKE Sailors Prepare for Ship's Return to the Fleet

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Albert Jones, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)(IKE) Sailors are preparing for the ship's return to the Fleet by attending damage control courses, such as the Advanced Shipboard Fire Fighting Course at the Farrier Fire Fighting School Center for Naval Engineering in Norfolk, May 10.

The four-day course is designed to prepare firefighter Sailors to combat casualties they may encounter aboard a ship. It covers a wide range of topics, from proper battle dress to rescue and assistance team procedures, and even how to set up a P-100 pump for firefighting if the ship were to lose fire main pressure.

"Be open-minded, because you're going to learn something," said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Anthony Trujillo, an instructor at the school.

The first day of the course takes place in a classroom, while the remaining three days are spent between the classroom and a live fire trainer. On the trainer, students get hands-on experience with setting up a Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), hose handling, setting up a ram fan for smoke control, plotting in a repair locker, working as the on-scene or team leader and setting up a P-100 for firefighting. The students also watch demonstrations on how to set up and use some equipment, such as the Portable Exothermic Cutting Unit (PECU).

Trujillo said while the controlled fires in the trainer aren't as hot as an out of control shipboard fire, the students still get that sense of urgency, because they are dealing with high heat and a charged hose.

Hull Technician 1st Class Michael Kubicki, who recently attended the course, agreed with Trujillo, adding that the trainer creates that feeling because it is not like a general quarters or inport emergency team drill. He said during these drills there is not a charged hose, and there is not any extra heat because it's a person waiving a flag, whereas the heat and smoke at the trainer makes it feel more like an actual emergency.

The Farrier Fire Fighting School also has a one-day firefighting course, as well as other courses designed to augment training.

Navy Names Ship for Civil Rights Activist Cesar Chavez

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the selection of the USNS Cesar Chavez as the 14th Lewis and Clark class of dry cargo/ammunition ships.

Continuing the Lewis and Clark-class tradition of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers, the Navy's newest underway replenishment ship honors the memory of Mexican-American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.  Chavez served in the Navy from 1944-1946 after which he became a leader in the American Labor Movement and a civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.

"Cesar Chavez inspired young Americans to do what is right and what is necessary to protect our freedoms and our country," said Mabus. "The Cesar Chavez will sail hundreds of thousands of miles and will bring support and assistance to thousands upon thousands of people. His example will live on in this great ship."

Designated T-AKE 14, Cesar Chavez is being built by General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.  Eleven of the T-AKEs are slated to serve as combat logistics force (CLF) ships, and three are slated to be part of the maritime prepositioning force (MPF).  Cesar Chavez will serve the CLF missions, helping the Navy maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel and other dry cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea.

Cesar Chavez will be designated as a United States Naval Ship (USNS), and operated by the Navy’s Military Sealift Command with a crew of civil service mariners (129 in CLF mode, 75 in MPF mode).  For CLF missions, the T-AKEs’ crews include a small detachment of sailors.  Like her sister dry cargo/ammunition ships, T-AKE 14 is designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea and can carry two helicopters and their crews.  The ship is 689 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 105 feet, displaces approximately 41,000 tons, and is capable of reaching a speed of 20 knots.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342.  Additional information about the T-AKE class of ship is available at http://www.msc.navy.mil/factsheet/t-ake.htm.

Navy Chaplain Teaches Soldiers about Suicide Prevention

By Robin Holland, Training Support Center Hampton Roads Public Affairs

Norfolk (NNS) -- A Training Support Center Hampton Roads (TSCHR) Navy Chaplain taught the importance solidarity plays in suicide prevention to soldiers at the Army School of Music in Norfolk, Va., May 5.

TSCHR Chaplain Lt. Leo O'Boyle began his briefing by telling a story about baseball legends Jackie Robinson and Peewee Reese.

O'Boyle spoke of Robinson who was the first African-American to break the color barrier as a player for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In one particular game in Cincinnati, Robinson played and endured racial slurs while one irate fan threw a beer bottle at Robinson. In this particular incident, Reese, who played shortstop, walked over to Robinson and put his arm around his shoulder.

"Now you might say this wasn't anything extraordinary, but remember the time, climate and the tension; Peewee Reese was making a stand both as an individual and as a teammate," said O'Boyle. "Later in life, Jackie Robinson commented in his biography that if it wasn't for Reese's actions, he would have hung up his spikes forever. This just goes to show you, we never know, at times, the impact a measure of solidarity has in another person's life."

Additionally, O'Boyle showed a clip from the movie "A Scent of a Woman," starring Al Pacino who plays Frank Slade, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. Frank is blind and impossible to get along with. Chris O'Donnell plays the role of Charlie Simms, who agrees to look after Frank during the Thanksgiving holiday. Since Charlie is trying to save up a little money so that he can make it home for Christmas, he agrees to look after Frank only to learn that Frank has plans of committing suicide.

After the video, O'Boyle and the students analyzed the clip, and then listed the target audiences for suicide. Men are four times more likely to kill themselves or to die from suicide than women, and yet women attempt suicide more often than men. The number one target audience is between the 15-25 age range in which suicide is the third leading cause of death. Retirees, just like character played by Pacino, are also very likely to commit suicide. In closing O'Boyle shared with the soldiers a two minute video called "Just Ask," which teaches that by just asking if someone is ok, one could help save a life.

"You might notice alterations in personal behavior or changes in attitude that are just very different from how you know that person," said O'Boyle. "If you sense something is wrong, one of the greatest things you can do is say, 'Hey, how are you doing? Or you don't seem yourself?' Just Ask is our motto. That may open an opportunity for a person to express what's going on in their life, and the last thing you want to do is to think you missed that opportunity."

"Chaplain O'Boyle's suicide prevention brief was very effective," said Staff Sgt. Freddie Valenzuela, Army School of Music platoon sergeant. "He engaged the students by showing them video clips they could relate to. We will definitely invite him back."

For those who would like a copy of the "Just Ask" DVD, contact O'Boyle at (757) 492-6648.

Obama Salutes Devotion to Duty at Coast Guard Commencement

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 18, 2011 – The smallest U.S. military service has vast responsibilities in protecting thousands of miles of coast, securing hundreds of ports and patrolling millions of miles of ocean, President Barack Obama said today.

The president addressed 228 graduating cadets and 1,500 military personnel and their families during a commencement speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

Obama praised the cadets’ commitment and dedication to service.

“I've seen your devotion to duty all along the Gulf Coast when the Coast Guard, including members of this class, worked day and night tirelessly as you led the largest environmental cleanup in our nation's history,” the president said.

“In you we see the same spirit that has made your service ‘always ready’ for more than two centuries, invoking the English translation of the Coast Guard’s Latin motto, “Semper Paratus.”

“In you we see the readiness that has made the Coast Guard one of our nation's first responders, leading the evacuation of Lower Manhattan on 9/11 and often being the very first Americans on the scene, from the earthquake in Haiti to the oil spill in the Gulf,” Obama said.

Coast Guardsmen pulled stranded Americans from the rooftops during Hurricane Katrina, the president added, saved desperate migrants clinging to rafts in the Caribbean and even today rescue Americans from the surging Mississippi River.

The Coast Guard Academy, founded in 1876, is the smallest of five federal service academies, with 1,030 cadets enrolled. Like the other academies, it is highly selective and charges no tuition. The academy's curriculum emphasizes leadership, physical fitness and professional development.

With the impending retirement of the academy’s superintendent, Coast Guard Rear Adm. J. Scott Burhoe, Obama noted that the incoming superintendent, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sandra L. Stosz, “will become the first woman to lead one of our nation’s military academies.”

This is a tribute to the admiral, the president said, but also “to the opportunities that the Coast Guard affords women of talent and commitment, including the class of 2011, which has one of the largest numbers of women cadets in the history of this academy.”

He commended the class of 2011 on earning the highest grade-point average of any class in the academy’s history and noted the academy’s acceptance of a range of international applicants.

“This academy welcomes cadets from all over the world, including two dedicated young men in your class from the Marshall Islands and Romania,” he said. Obama also acknowledged President Jurelang Zedkaia of the Marshall Islands and King George Tupou from Tonga, who were in the audience.

“They are two of America's closest partners among the Pacific island nations,” Obama said. “Their citizens serve bravely alongside our forces, including in Afghanistan, and we are very, very grateful.”

Obama told the cadets that the nation, for its “enormous investment” in transforming them into leaders, has great expectations.

“Here at home, we need you to stop those smugglers and protect our oceans and prevent terrorists from slipping deadly weapons into our ports,” he said.

In congratulating the Class of 2011, Obama told the cadets that if they stay true to the academy’s lessons, he is confident that “future historians will look back on this moment and say that when we faced the tests of our time, … we passed our country, safer and stronger, to the next generation.”

Today in the Department of Defense, Thursday, May 19, 2011

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

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Ashton B. Carter; Director, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation Christine H. Fox; Director, Operational Test and Evaluation J. Michael Gilmore; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition David M. Van Buren and Program Executive Officer F-35 Lightning II Program Navy Vice Adm. David J. Venlet testify at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal 2012 and the future years defense program at 9:30 a.m. EDT in room SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

British Maj. Gen. Phil Jones, director of the Force Reintegration Cell, International Security Assistance Force headquarters, will brief the media live from Afghanistan at 10:30 a.m. EDT, in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973) to provide an update on the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program.  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

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will speak at 4:30 p.m. at the Deloitee Energy Conference at the Omni Shoreham, Washington, D.C.  Media interested in attending should contact Lt. Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, SECNAV’s public affairs officer at 757-343-4230.

This Day in Naval History - May 18

From the Navy News Service

1775 - Benedict Arnold captures British sloop and renames her Enterprise, first of many famous ships with that name.
1798 - Appointment of Benjamin Stoddert as first Secretary of the Navy.
1969 - Launch of Apollo 10, dress rehearsal for first lunar landing mission. Navy Cmdr. John W. Young was the command module pilot and Navy Cmdr. Eugene A. Cernan was the lunar module pilot.