Military News

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today in the Department of Defense, Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta hosts an honor cordon to welcome Australian Minister of Defense Stephen Smith to the Pentagon today at 3 p.m. EDT.  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.

Army Col. Sean Jenkins, commander of Regional Command East’s Task Force Currahee drawn from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, will brief the media live from Forward Operating Base Sharana in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, at 10:30 a.m. EDT in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973) to provide an update on current operations.  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.

Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert F. Hale; Deputy Chief Management Officer Elizabeth A. McGrath; Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management and Comptroller) Mary Sally Matiella; Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller) Gladys J. Commons; and Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Financial Management and Comptroller) Jamie M. Morin testify at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on financial management and business transformation at the Department of Defense at 2 p.m. EDT in room SR-232A, Russell Senate Office Building.

A National Capital Region Flyover of Arlington National Cemetery occurs at 9:45 a.m. EDT with four F/A-18E’s.

This Day in Naval History - July 26

From the Navy News Service

1812 - Frigate Essex captures British brig Leander.
1912 - First airborne radio communications from naval aircraft to ship (Lt. John Rodgers to USS Stringham).
1942 - Capt. Joy Bright Hancock appointed director, Women's Naval Reserve.
1948 - President Harry S. Truman orders desegregation of the Armed Services.
1954 - Three aircraft from USS Philippine Sea (CVA 47) shoot down two Chinese fighters that fired on them while they were providing air cover for rescue operations for a U.K. airliner shot down by a Chinese aircraft.

Golden Knights Lead Team USA at Military World Games

By Tim Hipps
U.S. Army Installation Management Command

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 26, 2011 – The U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team won four medals, including gold in the women’s overall country competition, to lead Team USA athletes at the 5th Conseil International du Sport Militaire Military World Games here.

Two Air Force women’s soccer players flew their teammates and track and field athletes to Brazil aboard a KC-10 Extender, but a parachute team of soldiers skydiving from planes triumphantly brought home more than half of Team USA’s medals.

Golden Knights Sgt. 1st Class Elisa Tennyson, Sgt. 1st Class Angela Nichols, Staff Sgt. Laura Dickmeyer, Staff Sgt. Danielle Woolsey and Staff Sgt. Jennifer Schaben combined to win gold in women’s formation skydiving and silver in team accuracy -- giving them CISM gold in the women’s overall country competition for the first time in program history, according to the U.S. Army Golden Knights website.

Team USA’s quartet of Golden Knights Sgt. 1st Class Brian Krause, Sgt. 1st Class Kurt Isenbarger, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Davidson, and Staff Sgt. Sean Sweeney took the bronze medal in men’s formation skydiving on July 22. Belgium won the gold and Germany took the silver.

As the Army’s official aerial demonstration team, the Golden Knights perform parachute demonstrations at air shows, National Football League and Major League Baseball games and other special events to connect the Army with the American people.

The Golden Knights also have competition teams that travel the world to events. The team was founded in 1959 and is stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Sesame Street Live Visits NSA Naples

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Felicito Rustique, Navy Public Affairs Support Element–East Detachment Europe

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- The Sesame Street Live children's show performed two free shows at the community center gym aboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Naples, July 22.

The Uniformed Services Organization (USO) and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) aboard the facility organized the shows to entertain children and their parents while addressing military family concerns such as separation during deployments and being a new student at school.

"The USO's core mission has always been to support the troops until everyone comes home, and this Sesame Street show give us the ability to reach beyond that and serve the families of our troops as well," said Lonne Cooper, USO tour manager with Sesame Street Live.

The performances featured a pre-recorded video message by first lady Michelle Obama and second lady Dr. Jill Biden

"When one family member goes to serve, the entire family is serving, and we feel it's really important to be able to give support to that entire family," said Cooper.

Following the video message, music began and one by one, starting with Elmo, six Sesame Street characters came out on a set stage to dance, sing, and spread their messages aimed at bringing cheer to the target audience of military children and their parents.

Cooper said tying Sesame Street together with the military in Italy has been a three-year project.

"Nobody does education and entertainment together better than Sesame Street," said Cooper. "It's just worked out so well, and it's a natural fit."

In addition to stage performances by the life-sized Sesame Street characters, audience members were also treated to free handouts, toys, and photo opportunities afterward.

Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Aaron Isaac brought his wife and children to the show.

"My daughter loves Elmo, so I figured we'd come and bring her out to see if she'd have fun and she actually did," said Isaac. "I used to watch Sesame Street when I was a kid, and it's a good feeling to see my daughter dancing with all the other kids, having fun to the same thing I used to watch also."

This year's Sesame Street Live was the second time the show has come to NSA Naples.

For more information about Sesame Street Live and its upcoming schedule, contact your local USO.

Mullen Addresses Transnational Crime, Military Relations

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2011 – Steps to curb transnational organized crime, as addressed in a White House initiative announced today, are important to severing funding to terrorists, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

Transnational organized crime was one of several questions Navy Adm. Mike Mullen answered as part of a news briefing with the Foreign Press Center here. The foreign journalists’ questions touched on U.S. military relationships around the world, NATO actions in Libya and missile defense.

Asked by a Moroccan journalist about transnational crime in Africa, Mullen said, “If I was going to pick one area in Africa, it’s been the flow of drugs, literally across the Atlantic [Ocean] that lands in North Africa and flows into Europe. The envelope, if you will, around it is transnational crime, and it’s something I’ve been concerned about for years.”

Such organized crime, Mullen added, “is not just about drugs, … it’s immigration, it’s people, it’s weapons.”

Transnational organized crime has been a multitrillion-dollar per year business “that ties in very nicely with the support of terrorists,” he said. “I’m extremely concerned about that. Taking steps to try to address that trend is an incredibly important step forward.”

White House officials today sent to Congress a report, “Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime: Addressing Converging Threats to National Security.”

In answer to questions about the NATO military campaign in Libya, Mullen said many countries are working together in a way he believes will lead to the removal of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from power.

Mullen acknowledged that Gadhafi’s forces have adjusted to NATO’s opposition tactics, “and that’s not a surprise.”

But, the chairman said, “In the long run, it’s a strategy which will work” with respect to removing Gadhafi from power.

There has been no decision by the United States to arm the Libyan opposition movement, Mullen said, and NATO forces have succeeded in chipping away at Gadhafi’s forces through attrition.

Asked about U.S. military-to-military relations with China, and how it is affected by U.S. support for Taiwan, Mullen said he expects a presidential decision by Oct. 1 as to whether the United States will again sell arms to Taiwan, risking its relationship with China. It’s an issue he has discussed recently with his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Chen Bingde, he said.

“Clearly, the Chinese would strongly prefer we stop doing this,” he said. “My point is, we have a relationship and a responsibility, and there are legal responsibilities in my country to support the Taiwan Relations Act. … I would hope that in the future when we come up against these very difficult issues, we are able to sustain the military relations that have been renewed and have the ability to communicate with each other. Terminating that, even temporarily, has a significant downside for stability in the region.”

Asked by a Pakistani journalist about U.S. military relations with Pakistan, the chairman said there is a “recalibrating” of relations there, as reflected in a recent decision to defer $800 million in U.S. funding to the Pakistani military.

Still, he said U.S. funding continues to flow freely for civilian assistance in Pakistan and he believes both sides want to continue their relationship to sustain stability in the region.

“We are in a very difficult time right now,” he said. “That said, I don’t believe we’re close to severing [relations], and we shouldn’t do that. Sustaining this relationship is critical. We’ve been through difficult times with them in the past and we should see this difficult time through in sustaining this relationship over time.”

Asked about missile defense in Europe, the admiral said, “We’re in discussions with an awful lot of countries,” and much is unresolved in terms of time, place and cost.

Also, he said, “vigorous discussion” between U.S. and Russian officials over missile defense is ongoing. “There are areas where we agree and disagree, but we’re going to continue to work on it.”

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Reading and studying organized crime books often helps law enforcement and military leaders 
to combat organized crime.

U.S., Danish Sailors Begin Second Hub in APS East

By Lt. Cmdr. Suzanna Brugler, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (NNS) -- U.S. Sailors joined forces with the Danish to kick-off the second training hub to take place in Tanzania this year as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East, July 25.

The first hub in Tanzania also took place in Dar Es Salaam from Feb. 22 to March 3. APS East, and the Tanzania cadre of instructors demonstrates U.S. and international commitment to African maritime safety and security.

U.S. Navy Sailors from Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command (MCAST), based out of Dam Neck, Va., and U.S. 6th Fleet Director of Regional Engagements and Intelligence Partnerships, out of Naples, Italy, joined officers from the Danish Task Group International Maritime Capacity Building, at Naval Base, Sylowsvej, to hold various professional training courses, including small boat operations and maintenance; maritime intelligence workshop, and fisheries.

Tanzanian Navy Col. J. E. Karia, commandant of Tanzania Naval Training School, an ardent supporter of the APS mission, has seen first-hand direct results of the training provided to his students.

"I´ve seen a lot of benefit come from the APS training our students have received, especially in the area of maritime domain awareness," Karia said. "Our students come together and join students from other African partnership nations and they study and learn from each other, learning different skills more effectively. They make friends, and you bring the whole East African region together by knowing."

Karia further explained APS offers a lot of knowledge to a large group of people in a short amount of time, making for both an efficient and effective training environment. Much of the knowledge acquired by the African students is gained from experienced instructors, knowledge that cannot be learned from books, he added.

At-sea training such as small boat operations and the APS "shiprider" program provide experiences many Tanzanian students had not had prior to taking APS East.

"Shipriders embedded on U.S. Navy ships are able to study how other people conduct their business; how they do their work. You cannot teach that in a classroom," said Karia.

Over 70 students from Tanzania and Uganda are enrolled in APS East, Tanzania hub classes this week. More students from Djibouti are also expected to enroll in following classes.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

APS promotes partner building activities such as maritime training, community relations projects and cultural exchange activities, and is led by the U.S. Navy in conjunction with international partners from Africa, Europe and South America.

Abraham Lincoln Arrives in Los Angeles for Navy Week

From USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

LOS ANGELES (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and several other ships arrived in Los Angeles, Jul. 25, bringing several thousand Sailors to visit the city and surrounding areas as part of L.A. Navy Week 2011.

Navy Week is an opportunity for the officers and crew of the visiting ships to help the Navy showcase the quality of its personnel to local citizens. Lincoln's participation in L.A. Navy Week will demonstrate to area leaders and the general public that the Navy remains an effective and vital tool of national defense and a viable career opportunity for young men and women.

The Navy conducts approximately 20 Navy Weeks each year, reaching out to communities across the country to showcase the investments Americans have made toward their national defense.

Rear Adm. Troy M. Shoemaker, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 9, said the visiting ships and personnel are eager to interact with the people of Southern California.

"We're excited to be here in Los Angeles to participate in Navy Week," Shoemaker said. "We're looking forward to showing the people here how much pride we have in our Navy and what we do in defense of our country."

Shoemaker said the visit to L.A. would highlight two complementary aspects that make the United States great. "The L.A.-Long Beach port is one of the biggest in the world. It's an incredibly important part of America's economy, and the Navy ensures sea lanes remain secure, open and free for trade and travel."

While in Los Angeles, Sailors will contribute to the local economy by taking part in a variety of Southern California activities, from attending L.A. Dodgers baseball games to visiting Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. Lincoln Sailors are also scheduled to participate in community relations projects building houses for local residents in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity.

Capt. John D. Alexander, Lincoln's commanding officer, said he expects Lincoln Sailors to make a favorable impression on the people of L.A.

"We have some incredibly talented and hard-working personnel serving aboard this ship," Alexander said. "Every day, our Sailors positively contribute to the American way of life by serving in this great organization. No matter how remarkable the people of Southern California find our ships, they'll be even more impressed by the pride and professionalism of our people."

Participating in L.A. Navy Week 2011 are Lincoln, guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), mine countermeasures ship USS Champion (MCM 4), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, and personnel from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, Maritime Expeditionary Security Group (MESG) 31, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 3 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit 1.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is in Los Angeles between at-sea training and certification periods and prior to a deployment scheduled for the end of the year.