Military News

Friday, August 05, 2011

Military Writers Society of America Announces the 2011 book awards and Korean War Book Finalists

Military Writers Society of America Announces the 2011 book awards and Korean War Book Finalists

Chairman’s Corner: Happy Birthday to the U.S. Coast Guard

By Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2011 – Two hundred and twenty-one years ago today, Congress created the U.S. Revenue-Marine to protect a vulnerable young nation’s shores, on a date we now celebrate as the birthday of the United States Coast Guard.

Since then, generations of Americans have bravely served our oldest continuous seagoing service, keeping our homeland safe, protecting our maritime resources, and indeed benefitting every citizen regardless of whether we live on or near the water or far inland.

In fact, Admiral Bob Papp, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, recently observed that, “In the past year, our citizens have witnessed the Coast Guard in action like never before,” and

I would add that this service extends far beyond our Nation’s shores.

From the six cutters and 700 Coast Guardsmen who support operations in the Arabian Gulf, to the men and women fighting piracy off the coast of Africa, to counter-drug operations in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific, the Coast Guard’s global impact continues to grow, all the while keeping our people, our ports and our waterways safe, by responding to situations as diverse as the unprecedented oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the flood ravaged Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys this spring.

From humble beginnings, the United States Coast Guard has emerged as a model within our government and, indeed, around the world. I am so very proud to serve with you and your families who make possible everything their loved ones do for our Nation.

The Joint Chiefs and I salute the extraordinary men, women, and families of our United States Coast Guard, Reserve and Auxiliary. America is safer and more secure because of you.

Happy Birthday, and Semper Paratus!

Space systems give Australians, U.S. Soldiers edge in Talisman Sabre

By Army Master Sgt Corine LOmbardo
New York National Guard

AUSTRALIAN JOINT OPERATIONS CENTER, Canberra, Australia (8/3/11) - For American and Australian Soldiers taking part in Talisman Sabre, satellites can make the difference between winning or losing.

“Space Operations help the commanders visualize movement on the battlefield using commercial topographical imagery, but it isn’t just about terrain features and maps,” said Army Maj. Courtney Henderson, U.S. Army Pacific Command, Space Support Element, Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

“Space capabilities enhance the military’s ability to communicate, navigate terrain, engage the enemy with better accuracy and protect its forces,” Henderson stressed.

Space Operations Soldiers retrieve and interpret data and develop products that help commanders navigate on the battlefield. Whether they’re tracking convoys, establishing landing zones and distribution networks or mapping critical infrastructure to locate obstacles, bridges and crossings, to name a few, Henderson said.

Talisman Sabre is a biennial training exercise designed to bring the different branches of the U.S. and Australian military together in a combined environment to train and enhance their combined and joint war-fighting skills.

As a combined joint task force, roughly 14,000 U.S. and 9,000 Australian military personnel –

including National Guard members from multiple states – conducted maritime, land, and air operations exercises, July 11 to 29.

Satellite and space technologies have a wide range of application, not only as an asset to commanders on the ground in a combat environment and pilots in the air, but also for emergency and humanitarian assistance.

Before a commander can decide which contingent of troops will descend to the east or if they will fan out on a western ridge or which tank formation is chosen to mount a direct assault, he needs to ensure the terrain will support the movement.

Satellite imagery allows him to know in advance if a riverbed is flooding or an area is experiencing extreme drought conditions, both of which have a huge impact on a commander’s decisions.

A significant asset is the ability to use current imagery to visualize and assess battle damage using computer images rather than sending personnel and aircraft to determine how effective weapons systems’ were.

“These systems enhance timing, effectiveness and efficiency for commanders in the air as well as on the ground,” said Squadron Leader Steven Henry from the Australian Defence Forces Air and Space Operations Center, Headquarters, Joint Operations Command.

“Whether it’s the navigation system in a cockpit or a locator beacon during a search and rescue mission, they are critical to our success,” Henry said.

Understanding these capabilities and interpreting the data that’s collected is no easy task.

Army Space Support Teams, or ARSSTs, continually monitor satellite conditions, locations, atmospheric weather conditions and environmental factors, such as solar flares, that may impact their systems' ability to collect or send information.

Teams provide a tailored support package of personnel and equipment including six members, two officers and four enlisted Soldiers, each specializing in their own fields; from communications, intelligence and computer technology to topographic analysis.

Soldiers undergo months of additional training that focuses on space-related knowledge and skills.

“What makes us unique is that every one of our Soldiers can step in and perform any function on the team,” said Army 1st Sgt. Chuck Meens, 1158th SPACE Company, Colorado National Guard, Colorado Springs, Colo.

These highly trained teams use their skills and various systems to advise a commander on precision engagements, geospatial intelligence, and environmental effects on satellite communications and imaging capabilities, said Army Maj. Joseph Paladino, commander, Colorado Army National Guard’s 217th Space Company, Colorado Springs, Colo.

This is the first time Space Operations have been fully integrated in a Talisman Sabre exercise, with components from the U.S. Army and Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.

“The ARSST has been a huge benefit in demonstrating space operations capabilities,” Henderson said. “The exchange of this technology with our Australian counterparts through Talisman Sabre has helped demonstrate the need for this asset in a combined ground force campaign.”

“Theater security cooperation is a major initiative for U.S. Army Pacific Command, the relationships we are building and the exchange of information we receive is essential to providing Space Operations professional training and development, which we foresee going beyond this exercise,” Henderson said.

“Space Operations is relatively new to the Australian Defence Force. We have a limited number of personnel at this point, so the training and experience we gain from U.S. Army Pacific Command is critical to our development,” Henry said.

Navy Surgeon General Warns of Health Effects of Spice

By Shoshona Pilip-Florea, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy Surgeon General cautioned his commanding officers, medical providers and personnel on the negative health effects and legal consequences of using synthetic marijuana like Spice and other designer drugs in a message sent to all of Navy Medicine Aug. 2.

The purpose of the message was to educate and inform Navy and Marine Corps personnel about these drugs and the very real dangers associated with their use.

"It is paramount all Navy Medicine personnel are aware of the adverse health effects of these drugs," said Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., U.S. Navy surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. "Serious side effects have been reported after its use including tremors, panic attacks, delirium, impaired coordination, seizures, paranoid hallucinations, and psychotic symptoms that can last for days, even months in some cases."

Spice looks similar to marijuana or oregano and is used for its psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects. The products contain organic leaves coated with unregulated chemical compounds. Spice and other designer drugs are falsely marketed by manufacturers as a safe way to get high while avoiding drug testing.

The synthetic chemicals in Spice-type products have a more potent effect on the brain than traditional marijuana and the unregulated compounds are often mixed with unknown effects, according to Robinson. These products are not approved for human consumption and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process. Similar to other drugs on the street, experts warn that you never know what mixture of chemicals could be present in the drugs and users are experimenting with the combination of multiple products which can dramatically change or increase its effects on a case by case basis.

Robinson warns that rapid tolerance in some users can lead to increased dosage and addiction and the use of synthetic marijuana has led to a surge in emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers, according to the DEA. This spring, Navy Medicine treated multiple patients at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Calif., for Spice usage, some resulting in months of inpatient treatment for persistent psychotic symptoms.

"Commanding officers must be fully engaged in synthetic drug abuse prevention and do everything in their power to increase awareness within their commands of the serious health consequences and legal ramifications of its use," wrote Robinson.

Spice and other designer drugs fall under the Navy and Marine Corps' Zero Tolerance policy and Robinson further emphasizes that commanding officers do not need a positive urinalysis to begin administrative separation. Personnel found to be using, possessing, distributing or who observe an abuse and do not report the incident can be charged with violating the Navy's policies as well.

As the Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Robinson leads 63,000 Navy Medicine personnel that provide healthcare support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.

U.S. and Vietnam Co-host Military Medical Conference

From Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs


HANOI, Vietnam (NNS) -- U.S. and Vietnamese military officers participated in a bilateral military-medical conference Aug. 2 at Vietnam's Ministry of Defense guest house.

The conference was co-hosted by U.S. Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr., and Sr. Col. Vu Quoc Binh, director general of the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense's Military Medical Department. It brought government and civilian health industry leaders from both countries together to discuss ways to integrate efforts to bolster public health programs and areas of expanded military-medical cooperation.

The conference follows the signing of a statement of intent Aug. 1 by the two military healthcare leaders that builds on a long trend of cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnamese militaries.

"[The SOI] is a very important document between our two military departments and is fundamental to our future cooperation," said Binh. "Today's conference will map out the details of our future cooperation in many areas to include combating infectious disease, HIV infection, undersea medicine and others areas."

Conference attendees included medical and healthcare experts from the U.S. Embassy, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, as well as several Vietnamese military commands from throughout the country.

"This conference will go a long way to strengthening our growing medical work with the people of Vietnam," said U.S. Embassy's Health Affairs Attaché, Navy Capt. Charles Baxter. "It was significant for us to co-host such a noteworthy gathering of so many leading military experts in the field of force health, medicine and research from both our nations."

Many areas of common interest were discussed in depth during the conference including disease surveillance and ways of combating a multitude of public health issues including zoonotic infections, avian influenza, dengue, malaria, and HIV. Additional topics addressed best practices in Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response missions, search and rescue, as well as, aerospace and undersea medicine.

"These areas of discussion are of key interest to people throughout the world and our work in facing these health challenges will be of great benefit to our military personnel, our citizens and the world," said Robinson. "Our military-medical partnership with Vietnam is a good example of high-level diplomatic exchanges building stronger and enduring bilateral partnerships to advance the cause of global health."

As the Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Robinson leads 63,000 Navy Medicine personnel that provide healthcare support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.
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