Military News

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today in the Department of Defense, Thursday, May 26, 2011

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates hosts an honor cordon to welcome Indonesian Minister of Defense Purnomo Yusgiantoro to the Pentagon at 10:30 a.m. EDT.  The cordon will be held on the steps of the Pentagon River Entrance.  Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the Pentagon River Parking Entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification.  Please call 703-697-5131 for escort to the cordon.

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

This Day in Naval History - May 25

From Navy News Service

1952 - USS Iowa (BB 61) bombards Chongjin, Korea.
1973 - Launch of Skylab 2 mission, which was first U.S. manned orbiting space station. It had an all Navy crew of Capt. Charles Conrad Jr. (commanding), Cmdr. Joseph P. Kerwin, and Cmdr. Paul J. Weitz.

Obama, Cameron Discuss Security Aspects of U.S., U.K. Ties

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 – The relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is the lynchpin for security for both nations, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron said in London today.

The two leaders conducted a news conference following meetings at No. 10 Downing Street -- the home and offices of the British prime minister -- and said they discussed some of the security concerns the two countries share.

The president and the prime minister discussed the progress in Afghanistan. The United Kingdom has the next largest military contingent in the country after the United States.

“We reaffirmed the importance of beginning the transition to Afghan lead for security this year and completing that transition by 2014,” Obama said. “We discussed the opportunity that exists for promoting reconciliation and a political settlement, which must be an Afghan-led process.”

Cameron agreed that 2011 is a vital year in Afghanistan. “We’ve broken the momentum of the insurgency, and even in the Taliban’s heartland -- in Kandahar and central Helmand -- they’re on the back foot,” he said. “Now is the moment to step up our efforts to reach a political settlement.”

Both men have stressed that military force cannot impose peace on Afghanistan. Obama re-emphasized that Afghan President Hamid Karzai will talk to anyone who is willing to end the violence, split with al-Qaida and accept the Afghan constitution.

Cameron and the president said they agree there is a long-term security interest in preventing extremists such as the Taliban from regaining power and again turning the nation into a terrorist haven.

Change is surging through North Africa and the Middle East. And the U.S. and U.K. support those who seek peaceful, democratic processes, the leaders said.

“We agree that the pursuit of self-determination must be driven by the peoples of the region and not imposed from the outside,” Obama said. “But we are both committed to doing everything that we can to support peoples who reach for democracy and leaders who implement democratic reform.”

Cameron addressed the notion that many people have that terrorism cannot be defeated.

“There are those who say that this terrorist threat is beyond our control, and we passionately believe that is wrong,” the prime minister said. “We can defeat al-Qaida, and the events of recent months give us an opportunity to turn the tide on their terror once and for all.”

Cameron congratulated the president on the May 1 operation that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. “This was not just a victory for justice, but a strike right at the heart of international terrorism,” he said.

The two leaders agreed that close cooperation with Pakistan is needed.

“People are asking about our relationship, so we need to be clear: Pakistan has suffered more from terrorism than any country in the world,” the prime minister said. “Their enemy is our enemy. So, far from walking away, we’ve got to work even more closely with them.”

Naval Base Coronado Opens New Child and Youth 24/7 Center

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dominique Pineiro, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- Naval Base Coronado officials hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony May 24 to unveil the new Child and Youth 24/7 Center on board Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, Calif.

The center is open all hours of the day and is intended to provide care to children of single and dual-military shift-working parents and children of Department of Defense employees. The center specifically seeks to help people who work rotating shifts on the weekends, or extended or non-traditional hours in support of the Navy's mission.

"About two to three years ago, we didn't even have a child development center," said Capt. Yancy Lindsey, commanding officer of Naval Base Coronado. "Opening this is an invaluable service for the families. We ask (parents) to work odd hours in the evening and the weekends so to have a facility where they can drop their kids off and get quality care on the same installation where they're working is very convenient."

Christine Swind, the Child and Youth 24/7 Center director, said the facility offers a much needed service to parents by combining the strengths of in-home care and traditional daycare centers.

According to Swind, the center has many staff members to supervise the children in a larger social environment to ensure each child is on the right developmental path.

"We use creative curriculum to help the children meet all their developmental milestones, and that's the primary goal," she said. "We're able to provide a service that you really can't find anywhere else."

In addition to the development services offered at the center, Swind said it gives the children a "home away from home" feeling.

"Each child will have their own bed, and we give the children three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, with snacks in between," said Swind. "We try to offer all the comforts of home."

The San Diego Child and Youth 24/7 Center houses up to 20 children, from ages 1 – 12, at any given time. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, groundbreaking took place April 15, 2010. The $2 million building is the first 24/7 center to open on the West Coast.

Family Forum: A Pledge to Remember

By Deborah Mullen
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 – Deborah Mullen, a Navy wife and mom and a military family advocate, has been married to Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for 40 years.

“Please don’t ever forget my son.”

That’s what a Mom -- a Gold Star mother -- said to my husband recently.

“He was my only son,” she continued, “and he died doing what he loved. But please don’t ever forget him.”

Michael promised her that he wouldn’t. He and I hear that same entreaty and make that same promise each and every time we have the privilege of being in the company of Gold Star families. These proud Americans have lost so much, have endured such pain. And yet they ask nothing for themselves. All they want is for someone, anyone, to remember the life and the service of a loved one.

And so we carry with us the photos and memory cards of their sons, daughters, moms, dads, brothers and sisters. We wear bracelets engraved with their names. We visit their graves when we can, and attend their funerals. We remember.

Monday is Memorial Day. In Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, the families of our recently fallen will spend another holiday weekend at the grave of a loved one. They will not be alone. They will be surrounded by other Gold Star families from these and other wars who share with them the same sacrifice and loss, the same pride and even some of the same stories. They will comfort one another, even as they grieve for themselves.

There isn’t much the rest of us can do to assuage that grief. The pain of such loss is incalculable. But we can, and we should, promise them that we will remember those who lived and loved and fought for this country -- a young man or woman who, when duty called, performed that duty nobly and with passion. We can -- and we should -- take pains to remember also the special needs of surviving family members, especially the children. Theirs will be an extraordinary life.

If it’s true that a nation defines itself by those it honors, let us also define ourselves by those we support.

Gates: Defense Cuts Must Be Prioritized, Strategic

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he is determined that the department not fall victim to the mistakes of the past, “where the budget targets were met mostly by taking a percentage off the top of everything, the simplest and most politically expedient approach both inside the Pentagon and outside of it.”

“That kind of ‘salami-slicing’ approach preserves overhead and maintains force structure on paper, but results in a hollowing-out of the force from a lack of proper training, maintenance and equipment -- and manpower,” Gates said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research here today. “That is what happened in the 1970s -- a disastrous period for our military -- and to a lesser extent during the late 1990s.”

In delivering his last major policy speech during his tenure as defense secretary, Gates laid out the department’s cost saving initiatives over the past few years, and outlined what he expects from a comprehensive review he launched last week.

Gates said the review should ensure that future spending decisions are focused on priorities, strategy and risks, and are not simply a math and accounting exercise.

“In the end, this process must be about identifying options for the president and the Congress, to ensure the nation consciously acknowledges and accepts additional risk in exchange for reduced investment in the Department of Defense,” Gates said.

Gates said the analysis will include going places that have been avoided politically in the past, such as re-examining military compensation levels, retirement, pay and pensions and spiraling health care costs.

The review also will examine force structure -- the military’s fighting formations such as Army brigades, Marine expeditionary units, Air Force wings, Navy ships and supporting aviation assets.

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

“I’ve said repeatedly that I’d rather have a smaller, superbly capable military than a larger, hollow, less capable one. However, we need to be honest with the president, with the Congress, with the American people, indeed with ourselves, about what those consequences are -- that a smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go to fewer places and be able to do fewer things,” he said.

Gates said that in considering cuts, some assumptions that historically have been used to guide defense funding should be questioned.

For example, the assumption behind most military planning since the end of the Cold War has been that the United States must be able to fight two major regional wars at the same time.

“One might conclude the odds of that contingency are sufficiently low, or that any eruption of conflicts would happen one after the other, not simultaneously,” the secretary said. “What are the implications of that with respect to force structure, and what are the risks? One can assume certain things won’t happen on account of their apparently low probability."

“But the enemy always has a vote,” Gates added.

Still, those are the kinds of scenarios the department and U.S. officials need to consider, he said.

“If we are going to reduce the resources and the size of the U.S. military, people need to make conscious choices about what the implications are for the security of the country, as well as for the variety of military operations we have around the world if lower priority missions are scaled back or eliminated,” Gates said.

America needs to understand that a smaller pool of forces could mean greater impacts on troops and families, should the United States find itself in another protracted war.

“To shirk this discussion of risks and consequences -- and the hard decisions that must follow -- I would regard as managerial cowardice,” Gates said.

In the end, the secretary said, the tough choices ahead are about the kind of role the American people -- accustomed to unquestioned military dominance for the past two decades -- want their country to play in the world.

“Since I entered government 45 years ago, I’ve shifted my views and changed my mind on a good many things as circumstances, new information, or logic dictated. But I have yet to see evidence that would dissuade me from this fundamental belief -- that America does have a special position and set of responsibilities on this planet,” Gates said.

“I share Winston Churchill’s belief, that ‘The price of greatness is responsibility … [and] the people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility.’ This status provides enormous benefits -- for allies, partners, and others abroad to be sure, but in the final analysis the greatest beneficiaries are the American people, in terms of our security, our prosperity, our freedom,” Gates said.

Gates acknowledged that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war.

“But there is no doubt in my mind that the continued strength and global reach of the American military will remain the greatest deterrent against aggression, and the most effective means of preserving peace in the 21st century, as it was in the 20th,” he said.

Navy Spouse Hosts Benefit Run for Tsunami Victims

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico
Commander Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (NNS) -- Emiko Coughlin, a Navy spouse from U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT), together with the COMPACFLT Officers' Spouses Club hosted the Kizuna 5K fun run/walk, May 21 to benefit those affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last March 2011.

More than 160 service members and families participated in the fun run and raised more than $4,000 in proceeds to be donated to the American Red Cross.

"I am from Sendai," said Coughlin. "I continue to receive frequent phone calls from my parents who still live in the area. Sendai was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. Those who remain continue to face great hardship. I felt strongly that I wanted to help the people of Sendai. Not only did I want to raise funds for the recovery effort, I wanted to send hope and encouragement."

The fun run consisted of two laps around the old Ford Island runway. Participants received T-shirts after the run.

"I was able to reach out to our Hawaii Ohana," said Coughlin. She recruited several local sponsors including Dumbell Fitness; Hair Attitudes; Hakubundo; Kiewit Pacific; Runner's HI; Dr. Neil Furuta, DDS, Honolulu Peridontics; and Pacific Aviation Museum, Pearl Harbor.

James Campbell High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JCHS NJROTC) also volunteered 18 cadets for the event as they assisted in setting up and directing runners around the runway.

"We're coming out to help everyone run, basically falling in where we need to be, where they need help," said Michael David, 16. David is the JCHS NJROTC student leader, and he said he was happy to be at the fun run to benefit Japan.

Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Wischmeier, assigned to Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the first to finish the fun run. Wischmeier lived in Japan for three years, and he said the earthquake and tsunami was a devastating tragedy.

"It doesn't matter how I finished the race, it was good to run it," said Wischmeier. "It was for a good cause."

The COMPACFLT Officers' Spouses Club is a social organization designed to promote camaraderie among the officers' spouses in all branches of the military here in Hawaii. Membership is open to spouses of active duty, reserve and retired military officers. The club organizes a variety of special interest groups designed to introduce members to recreational and cultural opportunities in Hawaii.

Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: How Mental Health Concerns are Treated In-theater

By Dr. James Bender, DCoE psychologist

Dr. James Bender is a former Army psychologist who deployed to Iraq as the brigade psychologist for the 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Hood, Texas. During his deployment, he traveled through Southern Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad. He writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on psychological health concerns related to deployment and being in the military.

I talk to many civilian doctors and they sometimes ask me about treating psychological health concerns in-theater. Many are surprised to learn the extent of our mental health resources: we have psychologists and psychiatrists, provide medications and therapy, and even have programs to help service members quit smoking available. As combat theaters mature, more assets are available to help service members and their mental health. However, there are differences in how we manage mental health treatment in-theater compared to how we manage them at home. While managing care in-theater, because of limited time, importance of the mission and unit cohesion, we use the “BICEPS” model to guide mental health treatment instead of methods civilian providers may be more familiar with.

The “BICEPS” approach uses six components to help guide providers while they manage treatment of service members during intense situations, like being in a war zone:

■Brevity: Treatment is brief, usually a few sessions occurring over days. It's solution-based and future-focused.
■Immediacy: Treatment is provided immediately to keep problems from getting worse. This is when service members can’t wait weeks for a referral from a primary care doctor.
■Centrality: Treatment occurs where the service member is stationed and close to their unit’s medical clinic. Combat stress control clinics are set up to resemble a common doctor or dentist office.
■Expectancy: Service members who experience a psychological health concern are expected to get better with treatment. After reactions pass, the assumption is that the warrior will return to the fight.
■Proximity: Treatment happens on base. Service members aren’t sent miles away to see a psychologist. We don’t want to pull individuals away from their unit, reinforcing the idea that they’re sick or that something is permanently wrong with them. Also, this provides the people in their unit a chance to offer support.
■Simplicity: Treatment should be simple. We look for practical, real-world solutions to address individuals’ war-related psychological and emotional symptoms.
This model ensures deployed providers are able to deliver quality health care, including mental health care, to service members during military deployments.

For more on in-theater care, read the DCoE newsletter article, “BICEPS Model, Leader Support Mitigates Combat Stress.” Also, join us for the May webinar, Operational Stress and In-theater Care Thursday.

Thanks for reading and thank you for your service. Please post a question or comment if you have one.

Today in the Department of Defense, Wednesday, May 25, 2011

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

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen delivers remarks at 1:15 p.m. EDT at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Lee Hamilton Lecture Series at the Ronald Reagan Bldg, Washington, D.C.  Media interested in attending should contact JCS Public Affairs at 703-697-4272

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley will give the commencement address and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz will introduce Donley at noon EDT at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation ceremony, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.  Media interested in attending should contact USAFA media relations at 719-333-7731.

Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller Robert F. Hale testifies at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at 2:30 p.m. EDT on assessing efforts to eliminate improper payments in room SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

This Day in Naval History - May 24

By Navy News Service

1917 - First U.S. convoy to cross North Atlantic during World War I leaves Hampton Roads, Va.
1918 - USS Olympia anchors at Kola Inlet, Murmansk, Russia, to protect refugees during Russian Revolution.
1939 - First and only use of Vice Adm. Allan McCann's Rescue Chamber to rescue 33 men from sunken USS Squalus (SS 192).
1941 - Authorization of construction or acquisition of 550,000 tons of auxiliary shipping for Navy.
1945 - Fast carrier task force aircraft attack airfields in southern Kyushu, Japan.
1945 - Nine U.S. ships damaged by concentrated kamikaze attack off Okinawa.