Military News

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Today in the Department of Defense, Friday, June 03, 2011

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is traveling.

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

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead will speak at 9 a.m. EDT at the National Capitol Region Battle of Midway Wreath Laying Ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial, Washington, D.C.  Media interested in attending should contact Cmdr. Charlie Brown at 703-692-5307.

This Day in Naval History - June 02

From the Navy News Service

1941 - First escort carrier, USS Long Island (CVE 1), commissioned.

NOSSA Employee Recognized for Career Achievements by SAIGE

From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- John Mario Harley, traffic management specialist, for Naval Sea Systems Command's (NAVSEA) Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity (NOSSA), will be recognized with the 2011 Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) award, June 13.

The organization's eighth annual training conference will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tulsa, Oka., June 13-17.

SAIGE awards recognize those who promote the recruitment, hiring, retention, development, and advancement; ensure equitable and fair treatment; foster communications; and establish employee associations of, and for, American Indians and Alaska Natives in the government workforce.

"Mr. Harley not only supports a myriad of Native American diversity programs," NOSSA Commanding Officer, Capt. Robert Fowler. "He's also a strong mentor within the Native American/Alaskan Native community, and has developed plans to target applicants for all areas of career opportunities to include Engineering, Science, Research and Development. We're very proud of his recognition."

In addition to his efforts as a youth mentor and counselor for his local tribe in the Southern Maryland area, Harley was instrumental in the establishment of the NAVSEA Native American Outreach Program and helped target the recruitment of Native Americans with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) skills. Harley's efforts also provided the opportunity for more than 1,000 Native American students to participate in hands-on STEM demonstrations at the 2010 United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY) forum in San Diego, Calif.

NAVSEA is an organization that values, and benefits from, a diverse workforce. Recognition of our workforce by organizations such as SAIGE helps the NAVSEA enterprise support the Chief of Naval Operations' objectives for the Navy to become increasingly diverse, to build an inclusive climate that retains talent, and have the Navy recognized as an employer of choice in the United States.

Yokosuka Increases Summer Safety Awareness for Sailors

By Mark Elrod, Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) hosted its 5th annual Safety, Health and Environmental Awareness Fair, May 25.

Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) hopes such events will help reduce, or thwart summer mishaps by raising awareness.

"With the arrival of summer, many of us are going to start working and playing outside a lot more in the heat and humidity," said CFAY Commanding Officer Capt. David Owen. "Last summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there were 28 Sailors and Marines, who, unfortunately died, and they all could have been averted in what they were doing.

"We need to refresh our memories on how to keep ourselves safe. We need to remember things like ORM (Operational Risk Management). It does not only apply at work, but also at home," Owen said.

The event marks the beginning of a concentrated, proactive stance that CFAY takes regarding the safety of its service members, civilians and family members.

"This is the kickoff of our 101 Critical Days of Summer campaign," said CFAY Safety Officer Kordeen Kor. "We brought people in from a series of different vendors to be able to provide information to the Sailors and civilians who are working here at CFAY to help them get through the summer safely."

During the event, attendees had an opportunity to receive free literature, American Red Cross CPR demonstrations, auto-impact airbag demonstrations by Japanese police, a demonstration on the effects of alcohol by CFAY Security, and CNFJ Regional Fire Department provided an earthquake simulator and offered fire prevention tips.

Providing the information is only the first elements in promoting safety, these elements rely on implementation by community members.

"[People should] make sure they are in shape for what they want to do," said Kor. "Make sure they have done their operational risk management; that they have gone through and identified any hazards or potential hazards; that they have assessed those; they've made a risk decision and that they've implemented any controls that are necessary to make sure they can be safe."

"I challenge you all to help each other by helping our families, our friends, and other members of our community, in preventing these tragedies that can occur when people don't manage a risk," said Owen. "Being safe is something we take seriously. Whether you're driving a vehicle, or playing softball… the last thing we want is to lose friends or family members to something that they could have avoided."

NAVSEA Participating in Bold Monarch 2011

From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is participating in Bold Monarch 2011, a NATO submarine rescue exercise, through June 10.

The exercise, held every three years, began May 30, off the coast of Spain near Cartagena.

The United States Navy's contribution to this year's Bold Monarch is the Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System's (SRDRS) Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM) Falcon, and the associated topside equipment and systems.

"Preparing for Bold Monarch 2011 has been a multi-month long effort that involved people from my office, NAVSEA's Naval Systems Engineering Directorate, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and the Deep Submergence Unit," said Capt. Gary Dunlap, Advanced Undersea Systems Program Office program manager.

One of the most important efforts during the exercise will be certifying the Russian Federation Navy's Kilo-Class submarine Alrosa (B-781).

"In April, NATO asked NAVSEA to send a team to Sevastopol, Ukraine, to conduct a rescue seat certification on the Russian Federation Navy's submarine Alrosa," said Dunlap. "This marks the first time that we have certified Falcon to mate to, and rescue submariners from, a Russian submarine and the first time that a Russian submarine will take part in a NATO exercise."

Bold Monarch 2011 brings together submarines and rescue capabilities from around the globe. During the exercise, submarines from Russia, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey, will bottom themselves on the ocean floor to allow rescue assets from the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, Sweden, France, Greece, the Netherlands, and Norway, to conduct rescue operations.

"With the addition of the Russian Navy to Bold Monarch, we are taking a great step in making submarine rescue truly international," said Capt. David Duryea, deputy commander, Undersea Warfare.

The SRDRS provides one of the most responsive and capable systems in the world for submarine rescue. Based at the Deep Submergence Unit located at the Naval Air Station in San Diego, Calif., the system is designed to be rapidly deployable and able to mate with a disabled submarine anywhere in the world in 72 hours.

The SRDRS consists of the Atmospheric Dive Suit 2000 (ADS2000) – manned, one-atmosphere dive suit that is used to inspect bottomed submarines and clear away debris that could cover an escape hatch, associated topside equipment and systems, and the PRM Falcon. Falcon is a tethered, remotely-operated submersible that is launched and controlled from the deck of a surface ship and transfers up to 16 submariners from a disabled submarine per dive.

Team Building Drove President’s Choices, Gates Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, June 2, 2011 – Building a team was the most important consideration as President Barack Obama made his choices for top national security positions, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.

While he wouldn’t give specifics about his advice to the president, Gates told reporters traveling with him to the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore that some reporting on the process of selecting Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey and Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld as the next chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was inaccurate.

Gates said he has been talking about the succession matters with the president for at least a year. Reporting that current vice chairman Marine Corps Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright was denied the chairmanship because he offered differing advice on Afghanistan is incorrect, the secretary said.

“I will tell you that some the negative things that have been reported as influencing the decision – for example, the Afghan piece – are completely wrong,” Gates said. “They had nothing to do with it whatsoever. Hoss Cartwright is one of the finest officers I’ve ever worked with. I think he is an outstanding vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I think he has made an enormous contribution, and I’ve enjoyed working with him for four years, and consider him a friend.”

The secretary said he talked with Obama about his own successor – the president chose current CIA Director Leon E. Panetta – as well as the whole range of positions that opened up as a result of his June 30 retirement and that of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen as chairman, whose second two-year term ends Sept. 30.

Building a good team was paramount in his mind in his discussions with the president, Gates said. “The cohesiveness we have had over the last two and a half years as a national security team, I think, has been an extraordinary asset for the president and for the country,” he added. “Foremost in my mind was how do I make recommendations to him, and how do we sustain the kind of teamwork that has been so critical?”

The relationships among those leaders – the president, vice president, secretary of defense, secretary of state, chairman, vice chairman and so on – is what drives these teams, the secretary said.

“Those were the kinds of considerations -- as we look to the challenges we will face in the future -- that were uppermost in my mind,” he said. “That’s the reality. This other stuff, … most of it’s garbage.”

Nations Want Better Relations with U.S., Gates Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, June 1, 2011 – Despite all of its problems and controversies, the nations of the world want better relations with the United States, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said during a news conference en route to Singapore, where he will attend his fifth and final Shangri-La Dialogue.

The secretary will meet with leaders of many Asian nations – including China – during the annual conference.

Gates, who is retiring at the end of the month, said he remembers being struck when he first took office that “despite all the controversies in recent years … there has been very broad interest on the part of many countries to strengthen the relationship with the United States and have a stronger partnership with the United States.”

“I don’t think this is true anywhere more than in Asia,” he added.

The United States military has made extraordinary progress strengthening the military-to-military relationships with Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as traditional allies in Australia, Thailand Japan and South Korea, Gates noted.

Though the China-U.S. military-to-military relationship has been through a rough patch, he acknowledged, his visit to Beijing in January and a reciprocal visit by Chinese leaders to America last month indicate it’s on track.

The relationship with China is going well, Gates said, but it needs more time to grow.

“We need more of what’s always in short supply when it comes to the United States and its government – and that is patience,” he said. “Relationships take time to develop, and we get very impatient because our timelines are always short.”

The secretary said much of the Shangri-La Dialogue’s focus would be on Southeast Asia and the general recognition on the part of all of the countries in the region over the past several years that their security environments are evolving, along with a recognition that they may desire to adjust their own positions accordingly.

Meanwhile, the United States must be flexible, the secretary said, noting that the U.S. military cultivates relationships in the region in a number of ways.

Gates will talk at the conference about the evolution and the changes of regional nations’ positions and what the future may hold. “The one thing that has been brought back to me in this job is how many countries around the world truly do consider the United States the indispensible nation,” he said.

The United States often is the catalyst for the development of multilateral cooperation. A decade ago, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia were reluctant to cooperate to counter piracy in the Straits of Malacca. But the United States was a friend to each, and ultimately the three nations did cooperate. The result virtually eliminated piracy in the region, making one of the most important sea lanes safer.

“I think that as the kinds of problems the world is facing make it more difficult to be successful with a unilateral approach, the opportunity to build these partnerships become even more important,” Gates said.

Military, Guam Leadership Gather to Prepare for Typhoon Season

By Anna-Victoria Crisostomo

ASAN, Guam (NNS) -- Leaders from military and the Government of Guam gathered at the JRM headquarters in Asan for the Exercise Typhoon Pakyo (PUHK-dzoo) Senior Leadership Seminar May 31.

The inaugural seminar was held in order to provide leadership a forum to review and discuss topics pertinent to typhoon preparation and recovery in recognition of the upcoming typhoon season on Guam. The island's typhoon season runs from June to December.

JRM Commander Rear Adm. Paul Bushong welcomed attendees. He stressed the importance of readiness and collaboration.

"It's been a long time since the island got hit by a typhoon, but be prepared for it," Bushong said. "We look forward to this seminar. We can talk about how we'd work together to make sure we're ready to respond to a storm."

Joint Region Marianas Training and Readiness Officer Timothy Moon echoed Bushong's sentiments. He added that the seminar was especially important because many of the leaders in the room have never experienced a typhoon either personally or in their current leadership roles.

"We look at the leadership at the table – the majority of us are new to typhoon season in our current position," Moon said. "This is an opportunity to align, standardize and synchronize topics important to everyone would be beneficial as we get into the typhoon season."

Topics discussed were divided into two categories – typhoon preparation and recovery. Throughout the seminar, leadership tackled issues including discrepancies with the current typhoon condition of readiness (TCCOR) warnings, heavy weather brief expectations, personnel accountability, immediate response authority (IRA), initial damage assessment, collaboration, communication, and mass care.

The seminar was also the initial meeting in preparation for Exercise Pakyo, or Exercise Typhoon, scheduled for June 10-17. The weeklong exercise will allow Guam's base installations and several government organizations to have real-time experience with preparing for an incoming typhoon and launching recovery efforts after the disaster.

Guam Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo said he was glad at the chance to meet with the military leadership. He added that the dialogue fostered an understanding of the different needs of the on- and off-base communities during a typhoon.

"I think this is good that we lay [these issues] out here now, because as we move forward in this exercise, we at least have a little advanced knowledge of how everybody's thinking here," Calvo said. "Then, when things do happen at the end of all this, we do some evaluation on what areas that we can correct certain deficiencies."

Moon said that was exactly what the seminar was set up to do.

"A typhoon is one example of our 'one Guam' approach to exercises," he said. "A typhoon doesn't affect just one entity. It doesn't affect just the Navy. It doesn't affect just the Air Force. It doesn't affect solely the Government of Guam. It affects all of us."

Pacific Partnership Departs Papua New Guinea after Helping Thousands

By MC1 (SW/AW) R. David Valdez, Pacific Partnership 2011 Public Affairs

LAE, Papua New Guinea (NNS) -- After 13 days of working with local medical, dental and engineering professionals in Papua New Guinea, serving close to 11,000 people, Pacific Partnership 2011 concluded its mission May 31 and got underway aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7).

When USS Cleveland arrived, the Pacific Partnership 2011 mission commander was greeted with loud chants and leaping dances designed to demonstrate the strength of the community's warriors. However, when it was time to depart, the people of Papua New Guinea sang songs, expressed their gratitude in dance, and provided tokens of appreciation to the multinational crew that came to their shores.

In addition to delivering medical care to 11,000 Papua New Guineans, the Pacific Partnership team completed three main engineering projects, treated 124 animals, delivered 45 pallets of donated goods, and finished 10 community service projects conducted in and around Lae.

"The Papua New Guinea mission was designed to provide as much basic health care as possible," said Cmdr. Michael Smith, director of medical operations for Pacific Partnership. "We worked with the Papua New Guineans to engage in meaningful, on-the-job, subject- matter-expert exchanges (SMEEs) that are sustainable after we depart."

Medical personnel working with Pacific Partnership routinely treated over 1,000 patients in a given day. The team dispensed over 9,000 prescriptions and provided people with over 6,000 pairs of glasses.

"On the whole, we were successful," Smith said. "We have a very good group. All of the countries participating in the mission, from the U.S. and Australia to Spain and France, gelled together very well and achieved the peak of efficiency."

Smith further explained how the culture of interoperability contributed to the success of the medical mission. While the majority of the participants are military, regardless of what nation they come from, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working as a part of the Pacific Partnership team are just as important as their military counterparts.

"Project Hope, World Vets and the other NGOs are a great asset, and they bring something different to the table," Smith continued. "They don't accept anything as impossible."

Smith also spoke to the expertise of the Australian Defence Force, which has been a part of the Pacific Partnership 2011 mission since the planning stages of the deployment.

"The Australians know this area," he said. "They know the diseases, the people, and the cultures. They have a lot of enthusiasm for this mission. I think it's kind of like our Army counterparts here. They are a little outside of their comfort zone, but they end up thriving in an unfamiliar environment like a U.S. Navy ship."

While the Pacific Partnership medical, dental and veterinary team worked together in a variety of locations, the engineering team, made up of U.S. Navy Seabees and Australian Sappers, worked with Papua New Guinean engineers.

"Our multi-national team built three classroom structures, two six-stall toilet facilities and installed roofs on two schools," said Lt. Michael Sardone, officer in charge of civil engineering for Pacific Partnership 2011. "Now the local children will have no need to miss hours of school because they have to go home to use the restroom. Now they can study without the need to feel embarrassed about going to the bathroom outside. Here, too, a small change – building a bathroom – will impact a generation of school children."

The impact of Pacific Partnership may not be a new experience for Papua New Guinea, but there is always a warm welcome for the joint, multinational crew and their NGO partners.

"Papua New Guinea is a welcomed and regular stop for the Pacific Partnership mission," said Capt. Jesse Wilson, Pacific Partnership 2011 mission commander and Commander, Destroyer 23. "We see our differences in culture and training as something to be celebrated, as anyone would appreciate the unique qualities of a friend. We are also seeing that the bond between us is growing stronger every time we come to these shores."

Since the first mission in 2006, Pacific Partnership has visited 15 countries, treated more than 230,000 patients and built over 150 engineering projects in 15 countries. During this year's mission, the Pacific Partnership team has treated more than 21,000 patients, participated in thousands of contact hours of formal SMEEs, and built classrooms and water catchment systems in all three of its mission ports.

Pacific Partnership is an annual humanitarian assistance mission sponsored by U.S. Pacific Fleet. This year, Pacific Partnership has completed its mission in Tonga, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea and will continue on to Timor-Leste and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Labor Department Grants to Provide Veterans Job Training

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2011 – As part of an interagency effort to support America’s veterans, the Labor Department today announced $37 million in grants to provide job training for about 21,000 veterans, many of them homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis announced the grants today, awarded to continue successful programs into their second and third years.

Twenty-two grants totaling more than $9 million will provide job training to about 4,000 veterans to help them succeed in civilian careers, Labor Department officials said.

Those funds, provided through the Veterans Workforce Investment Program, emphasize training in “green” jobs related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, modern electric power development and clean vehicles.

“Our veterans sacrifice so much for our country, so it is important that we provide assistance to them when they return home from active duty,” Solis said. “These grants will help veterans access the resources they need to find good jobs and build a bright future for themselves and their families.”

Solis also announced 122 grants totaling more than $28 million to provide job training to about 17,000 veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

These grants, awarded under the Labor Department’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, include $4.3 million for the Homeless Female Veterans and Veterans with Families Program and $3.9 million for the Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program that helps veterans who have served time in justice facilities, officials said.

Homeless veterans may receive occupational, classroom and on-the-job training, as well as job-search and placement assistance and follow-up services, through the programs.

“The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program is recognized as an extraordinarily efficient and effective program, and is the only federal program that focuses exclusively on employment of veterans who are homeless,” Solis said. “I am pleased that the department can assist these veterans and their families.”

The Labor Department grants are awarded to state and local agencies, boards and nonprofit organizations that have demonstrated through first-year funding their ability to administer effective programs to veterans within their geographic areas, officials said.

More information on the Labor Department’s unemployment and re-employment programs is posted at http://www.dol.gov/vets.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen has been a staunch advocate of programs to support veterans who have transitioned from military service.

“They bring home a potential that is unimaginable for the future of our country,” he said May 11 at Arizona State University’s Phoenix campus. “This is an exceptional group, and they will make a difference for a long time to come.”

Mullen recognized the Post-9/11 GI Bill as a big step in helping tens of thousands of veterans get the training and education many seek. But he also called communities a key part of helping combat veterans make a smooth transition following wartime service.

“If we can just open up our lens to be inclusive of them as they return home, with that little boost, I really believe they will take off and make a huge difference for the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki is leading President Barack Obama’s effort to eliminate homelessness among veterans by 2015.

“As the president has said, 'We're not going to be satisfied until every veteran who has fought for America has a home in America,'" Shinseki told the Marine Corps League in February. "If you wonder what I will be working on for the next several years, this is it. We will end veteran homelessness in 2014."

USS Missouri Sailors Aid Tornado Victims in Namesake State

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Submarine Group 2

GROTON, Conn., June 1, 2011 – Eight sailors assigned to the USS Missouri, a Virginia-class attack submarine, left their homeport here today to assist with recovery efforts after a tornado tore through their ship’s namesake state last month.

The sailors elected to take leave for a week to assist tornado victims and clean-up efforts in Joplin, Mo.

"The real story here is simply Americans helping Americans,” said Navy Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode, Missouri’s commanding officer. “I am so proud of our sailors, and I continue to find inspiration every day in the commitment of these young men to serve their nation, making a difference in the lives of others.

“The efforts of these sailors are consistent with what we see in these types of events,” he continued. “Our sailors are everyday people taking time away from work and spending their summer vacation budgets to help out where they can."

The sailors participating in this relief effort are Lts. j.g. Joe Innerst and Ryan Sullivan; Chief Petty Officers Mike Shea, C.J. Kohlhofer and Andy Scott; Petty Officer 1st Class Jason Fenley; and Petty Officers 2nd Class Travis Fitzgerald and "Pat" Patterson.

The Missouri sailors will be volunteering with Americorps, the American Red Cross and the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.

"Our crew's affiliation with the state of Missouri and its people is quite strong,” Rexrode said, “and we prize that affinity in the tradition of our ship's motto, 'United We Stand.'"

Rexrode and his crew sent their prayers and condolences to the people of Missouri on May 22.

Missouri is the fifth Navy ship to be named in honor of the people of the "Show Me State."