Military News

Friday, November 04, 2011

Services Have Learned Irregular Warfare, Leaders Say

Discover some of the best books on guerrilla warfare and unconventional warfare.

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2011 – The military has institutionalized lessons learned from the past decade of nonconventional warfare and will work to maintain doctrine and skills that allow the services to balance readiness for traditional defenses as well as irregular fighting, service leaders told a congressional committee today.

“In 2002, the nation effectively went to war with two armies,” Maj. Gen. Peter Bayer, the Army’s director of strategy, plans and policy, told the House Armed Services Committee. “One, comprised of general-purpose forces, was prepared to excel against traditional adversaries in direct combat. The second, comprised largely of special operations forces, was prepared to prevail in an irregular environment.

“The Army quickly learned that success on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq required adaptation in both general-purpose and special operations forces,” Bayer said. The Army has adapted since then by institutionalizing irregular warfare capabilities and capacity across the force, he said.

Bayer was joined by Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris, director of the Navy irregular warfare office; Brig. Gen. Daniel O’Donohue, director of the Marine Corps’ capabilities development directorate; and Brig. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez, director for joint integration in the Air Force’s directorate of operational capability requirements. All four said readiness for irregular warfare is critical to future operations, and they described how each of the services has blended conventional and irregular warfighting doctrine and skills.

The Navy has leveraged its Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and established maritime partnership stations and maritime headquarters with maritime operations centers to meet demands, Harris said. “The evolution of intelligence and strike capabilities has enabled the Navy to meet urgent combatant commander requirements for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations,” he said.

The Navy Irregular Warfare Office, created in 2008, has led the institutionalization of irregular capabilities, Harris said.

The Marine Corps has designed a readiness force for post-Afghanistan operations – beyond 2014 – “that mitigates this hybrid threat, creates options and provides decision space for senior leadership” that considers joint, interagency and allied responses, O’Donohue said.

That force will be fundamentally different from the current or pre-9/11 force, O’Donohue said. “It draws on a rich history of innovations in irregular warfare, but is recast as a scalable crisis response force ready to counter complex irregular, conventional and hybrid threats – and the gray areas in between,” he said.

“Above all,” O’Donohue added, “we prepare to operate in and adapt to unpredictable, uncertain, complex environments at a moment’s notice.” He noted that irregular warfare is not new, and had the same definition in the Marines’ Small Wars Manual of 1940 as it does today.

As for the Air Force, Martinez said, the service is part of a larger, joint, coalition effort, and that works to supplement or improve host-nation and regional capabilities. “Air power directly contributes by establishing a secure environment in which the partner nation can flourish, ultimately without direct assistance,” he said.

By assessing, training, advising and equipping a troubled partner air force, airmen can contribute to that nation’s sovereignty and legitimacy while creating opportunities for economic growth, political development and stability, he added.

Like his counterparts at the hearing, Martinez said the Air Force’s challenge going forward will be how to balance the requirements for irregular warfare with those of traditional fighting, although he added that an increase in capabilities in one area usually helps the other.

The most important thing the Army can do to advance the institutionalization of irregular warfare is to continue educating its leaders, Bayer said.

“By developing adaptive and creative leaders, the Army ensures its ability to respond to a wide range of future tasks,” he said. “Maintaining a highly professional education system is crucial to institutionalizing the lessons of the past decade and ensuring that we do not repeat the mistakes of post-Vietnam by thinking that these kinds of operations are behind us.”

Future battlefields will be populated with hybrid threats, Bayer said, with combinations of regular and irregular tactics against enemies that include terrorists and criminal groups. The Army must remain flexible to operate against “whatever the threat” and in all types of settings, he said.

“As pressures for cuts in defense spending and force structures increase, the Army must assess which capabilities to emphasize, how many of each, and at what level,” he said. “Finding the right mix will be a challenge.”

The key to advancing the Army’s ability to respond to irregular threats will be to ensure the necessary force structure to support a versatile mix of capabilities in an uncertain future, he said.

The Army demonstrated flexibility in Iraq and Afghanistan with modular brigades that included a host of irregular warfare specialties, including information operations, public affairs and civil affairs, Bayer said.

All of the officers said foreign language and cultural training will grow as a requirement for service members.

Japanese-American Vets Earn Highest Civilian Honor

The best World War II books are those written by real World War II veterans!

By C. Todd Lopez
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2011 – Hundreds of former soldiers wearing blue and red caps bearing the names of their World War II units walked, shuffled or were wheeled into the Capitol Visitors Center here yesterday to witness the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded for their bravery and contribution to country more than 66 years ago.

The Japanese-American soldiers are the American-born sons of parents who emigrated from Japan to the United States from Japan. In Japanese, they are called Nisei -- the second generation.

But those soldiers are all American, and fought for the United States during World War II as part of segregated, all-Japanese-American units that included the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the 100th Infantry Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service. The three units together were the most decorated units of that war.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese-Americans had been rounded up and were forced to live in internment camps inside the United States. They were branded enemies of their own country.

"For Japanese-Americans, the days and months after Pearl Harbor must have seemed like a giant and painful step backward," said U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio. "Removed from their homes and placed in camps, these loyal Americans endured years of discomfort and disgrace. But out of this story of prejudice comes another story that reaffirms America's worth and America's exceptionalism. Today, we honor the thousands of Japanese-Americans who served in the Army's three units we honor today, most of whom were recruited during their internment."

These Japanese-American soldiers, Boehner said, distinguished themselves in nearly every operation in every theater of World War II.

"On behalf of my colleagues and the American people, thank you for fighting to make this the greatest nation on Earth, and God bless all of you for all of your work," Boehner said.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, a Medal of Honor recipient, was among the Congressional Gold Medal recipients. As a Nisei himself, he served as part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.

After Pearl Harbor, Inouye said, Japanese-Americans like himself were not satisfied to sit and do nothing while America fought. They petitioned the government for an opportunity to demonstrate their love of country and patriotism. Today, those soldiers are recognized for their commitment to the United States, Inouye said.

"This has been a long journey, and a glorious one," the senator said. "We wish to thank all of you, all Americans, for this recognition. It's heartwarming, and I am certain that I speak for all assembled here. But more importantly, I'm certain that those resting in cemeteries are pleased with this day."

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California participated in getting the legislation passed to allow the medal to be presented to the veterans.

"Granting this medal is a long-overdue honor which recognizes and expressed our long-overdue appreciation for your dedicated service during World War II," Boxer told those in attendance. She said those service members fought the war on two fronts: the enemy in combat and prejudice at home.

"While we can never repay the debt that we owe you, we can and we must recognize your valor and your patriotism, and that is what we are doing here today," Boxer said.

U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona said America's Nisei veterans of World War II did "everything that was ever asked of them, and more.”

“And what is most remarkable,” he added, “is that they did so despite the fact that our nation at times fell short of its responsibilities to them and Americans like them."

McCain said he and his fellow legislators are appreciative and proud of the Japanese-American veterans’ World War II service and patriotism.

"It's not every day that the leaders and members of Congress have an opportunity to put aside our usual difference over the impending business of the day to join together with bipartisan unanimity to pay tribute to fellow citizens who have served a just cause greater than their own self-interests," McCain said. "When it comes to honoring those among us who have given everything to protect our nation, Americans have always and will always stand as one, just as we do today."

U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California noted that the gathering to award the Congressional Gold Medal was not complete, as many of the soldiers who served were killed in combat or have died since the end of World War II.

"We remember those for whom today came too late, and we particularly honor those who never came home," Pelosi said. "In battle, today's awardees proved that they were great fighters. In their service, they proved they were great patriots. Your cause was not just the end of fascism, but promoted the end of discrimination -- the American ideal of equality, which is our heritage and our hope."

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award that’s bestowed by the U.S. government. Veterans in attendance at the ceremony receive a bronze replica of the medal. A single gold medal will be placed in the Smithsonian Institution for all Americans to see.

More than 33,000 Japanese-Americans served in World War II. Together, the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team earned seven Presidential Unit Citations, two Meritorious Service Plaques, 36 Army Commendation Medals, and 87 Division Commendations. Individually, soldiers earned 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, more than 354 Silver Stars, and more than 4,000 Purple Hearts.

Chile Operates with US Naval Forces as part of Submarine Rescue Exercise CHILEMAR III

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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Karolina A. Martinez, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Chilean submariners from CS Carrera (SS 22) along with the U.S. Navy's Deep Submerging Unit (DSU), participated in exercise CHILEMAR III of the coast of Southern California Nov. 3.

CHILEMAR is an annual bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Chile, which is designed to demonstrate interoperability between U.S. submarine rescue systems and Chilean submarines. The exercise also promotes greater understanding and cooperation between the U.S. and Chile.

"This exercise is important because you cannot serge friendship," said Rear Adm. Robert J. Kamensky, vice commander, Submarine Force. "You build that over time. Here's a demonstration of friendship being built so that whenever we have to exercise it, we already know each other. We can trust each other in that we'll be able to operate as a team."

A personal relationship between the U.S. commander of DSU and Chilean submarine commanders provide the genesis for CHILEMAR. Assigned together as classmates Chile's Naval War College, the commanders continued to engage beyond that duty assignment and convinced their respective higher headquarters that a bilateral rescue exercise served beyond both countries' interests. This highlight the importance of personal relationships gained during international programs.

The exercise included a practice rescue scenario in which DSU's pressurized rescue module (PRM), mated with Carrera for a transfer of personnel from the simulated distressed submarine to the rescue vessel.

"We actually went down and mated at 480 feet with the Chilean submarine Carrera," said Navy Diver 2nd Class Joe Olin, a PRM attendee assigned to DSU.

Once the hatch was opened and personnel climbed the ladder safely onto the submarine and up to the PRM, they exchanged gifts, greetings and even a few crewmembers were exchanged between the two nations, before resurfacing.

"We went down and met the captain and the crew," said Olin. "We shook hands and exchanged gifts with them and let them know that submarine rescue is real and that we can deploy all over the world within 72 hours and be on station and ready to do our jobs and provide a real rescue if needed."

CHILEMAR is also designed to prepare and train both nations to perform Submarine Escape and Rescue (SER) which is an international humanitarian aid discipline that requires cooperation across national and alliance boundaries.

"It was an excellent experience all around, not only because we got to see action and be part of it, but we got to watch the interaction between sailors from Chile and Sailors from the United States," said Kamensky, who was one of the personnel who rode in the PRM to witness the evolution. "Watching how they interact was extremely heartening to me as one of the leads in the submarine force because it speaks for how well our coalition can cooperate and make things happen. It was extremely rewarding."

MCPON Visits Everett

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jerine Lee, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick D. West visited Naval Station Everett to speak with Sailors of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, Naval Station Everett Sailors and civilians during an all hands call in the ship's hangar bay, Nov. 3.

West spoke to Sailors about changes in the Navy such as budgeting, warfare pins, retirements and manpower in the Navy. Afterwards, he answered questions from the audience.

"We are a Navy on the go," said West. "Overall, we are doing well but the Navy is constantly changing and we need to stay focused, communicate with each other and keep moving."

In his remarks, he also recognized the dedication of the Sailors and support from their families by thanking them for their service and appreciation for their sacrifices.

"Nothing would get done if it wasn't for the hard work of the Sailors on this great warship," said West. "All those ships out there are just hunks of metal and technology floating in the sea. The engine that truly runs the Navy is you, our Sailors."

Personnel Specialist 1st Class Kathryn Benjamin met and spoke with West and said he brought inspiration to the ship.

"It was really nice to have a senior enlisted leader speak to us so we can relate," said Benjamin. "He is a good person and an even better role model that brought motivation to the crew before the upcoming deployment."