Military News

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Face of Defense: Marine Armorers Stick to Their Guns

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Heather N. Johnson
Marine Corps Bases Japan

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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa  – Every Marine is a rifleman, so where would they be if their weapons did not function?

Armorers assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, work hard to ensure each weapon is accounted for and working properly.

“A normal day for an armorer begins at two in the morning,” said Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Michael D. Brown, a small-arms repair technician with MWSS-172. “We come in and get accountability of every piece of gear that we are responsible for.”

Marines like Brown who work at the consolidated armory here maintain and ensure accountability of thousands of weapons used for training by Combat Logistics Battalion 3 and 4, and others.

Aside from accounting for all of the firearms, Brown said, the armorers also have to inspect each weapon.

“During a deployment, Marines rely on their weapons to keep them safe from the enemy,” he said. “If they pull the trigger and no round [is fired], not only is their life in danger, but so is the life of the Marines to their left and right.”

The armory has always played a vital role in Marine Corps operations, said Marine Corps Sgt. Todd Kovach, the armory’s noncommissioned officer-in-charge with MWSS-172.

“This job is one of the most important in the Marine Corps,” Kovach said. “We are the keepers of the sword. Without us, the Marines can’t fight in the battles that are going on today.”

Kovach and Brown said they enjoy working at the armory.

“I enjoy my job a lot,” Kovach said. “I am an amateur gun collector, and I do my own gunsmith work. I enjoy the feeling knowing that I am providing quality weapons to Marines.”

Brown feels his job is important and necessary for unit readiness.

“It keeps me motivated to do the best I can,” he said.

Senate Committee Considers Special Operations Nominee

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON  – The Senate Armed Services Committee met yesterday to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflict.

Michael R. Sheehan told the committee that if he’s confirmed, he will “make every effort to live up to the … excellence demonstrated by our special operations forces around the world every day.”

Counterterrorism operations can involve cooperating with nations “that have less-developed systems of governance and less-developed judicial systems,” Sheehan said.

Military and intelligence organizations in such countries, he noted, often don’t maintain the same human rights standards as those in the United States.

“I feel that if we're working together with them, we can achieve both our intelligence collection objectives and work to professionalize those services so they work toward moving to the standards of professionalism and human rights that we expect of them,” Sheehan added.

He acknowledged that achieving those objectives require “patience and long work.”

Sheehan also responded to questions on whether Afghan forces are yet capable of conducting night operations without partnered U.S. forces.

Afghan special operations forces have greatly increased their ability to conduct a wide range of operations, Sheehan said, including night operations. Yet, the Afghans can benefit from more training, he added.

U.S. special operations forces’ ability to conduct night operations is a valuable capability in every theater, Sheehan said.

“As we train our local counterparts and give them the technology and expertise to work at night, it also gives them a great advantage,” he added. “The key here is transferring the lead of these night operations to the local special operations forces as they develop their capacity in conjunction with ours.”

U.S. forces in Afghanistan are “moving well in that direction” with partnered Afghan forces, Sheehan said.

“The key, as in all of counterinsurgency operations,” he said, “is shifting that primary burden to the local security forces that then can make that initial interaction in the villages in Afghanistan.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Sheehan will advise the defense secretary on special operations and low-intensity conflict matters. He also will be responsible for overall supervision of special operations and low-intensity conflict policy, resources and activities including counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, civil affairs, information and psychological operations, and counter-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Sheehan served as an Army infantry and Special Forces officer. He commanded a counterterrorism unit in Panama, was a counterinsurgency advisor in El Salvador, an infantry company commander in Korea, and served on peacekeeping duty in Somalia and Haiti. Also while on active duty, he was assigned to the White House National Security Council staff for former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

In 1998, he was appointed coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department with the rank of ambassador-at-large. Following an assignment as assistant secretary general at the United Nations in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Sheehan served as deputy commissioner of counterterrorism for the New York City Police Department. Currently, he is president of Lexington Security Group, an international consulting firm.

If confirmed, Sheehan would succeed Michael D. Vickers, who served as assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict from July 23, 2007, to March 17, 2011. Vickers now is the undersecretary of defense for intelligence.

U.S., Canadian Defense Leaders Call F-35 Crucial

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Calling it crucial to the defense of North America, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Canadian Defense Minister Peter G. MacKay today emphasized that both nations are committed to developing the F-35 joint strike fighter.

At a news conference here in conjunction with the Halifax International Security Forum, the defense leaders said budget pressures should not stand in the way of fielding the next-generation fighter jet.

Panetta said he’s seen media reports that the United States is not committed to the joint strike fighter.

“Let me make very clear that the United States is committed to the development of the F-35, and to a cooperative relationship with the F-35 with our Canadian friends,” he said. “The F-35 is going to be an essential fighter that will help in [the North American Aerospace Defense Command] and will be the future in helping us with security challenges that we face.”

Despite looming budget cuts, Panetta said, the F-35’s capabilities are essential.

“I feel very confident that we’ll get funding for the F-35 program,” he said. “This is the fighter plane for the future, and in some ways, we really have no alternative. This is the plane that is going to be able to provide the technology [and] the capabilities for the future.

“We need to have this [aircraft],” Panetta continued. “It’s true for us. It’s true for our partners -- not only Canadians, but others -- who are going to work with us and participate with us in the development of the F-35.”

Making budget decisions involves looking for savings, the secretary said, citing areas such as procurement reform.

“But we also have to look at areas where we continue to invest in the future, and the F-35 is one of those areas,” he added.

MacKay said the “eye-watering technology aboard the F-35” is why Canada has chosen to participate in the program.

“It’s the ability to dominate and own the airspace over continental North America,” he said. “There is no fifth-generation aircraft other than the F-35 available to Canada and the United States, so all of the hypothetical discussions -- and quite negative discussions, quite frankly -- about this program are really just clatter and noise.

“This program is going ahead,” he continued. “Clearly, budgetary pressures are going to lead to speculation. We are dealing with our budgets, as all countries are dealing with this budget, but we are not wavering on our commitment to this program.”

Every defense department has certain pillars, MacKay said.

“This is one of those pillars: having the ability to protect your sovereignty. And there is a direct link -- a direct link -- between our national sovereignty and our ability to protect our airspace,” he said.

Pacific Engagement Fosters Better Understanding

By Ian Graham
Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON  – Senior U.S. military leaders met recently with their counterparts from across the Asia-Pacific region to discuss how military-to-military agreements and increased security cooperation can foster better relationships and bolster commerce and trade.

The leaders gathered Oct. 17-20 in Honolulu to attend the 14th annual Chiefs of Defense Conference. Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael A. Keltz, U.S. Pacific Command’s director of strategic planning and policy, discussed the conference at a Nov. 16 DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable.

With operations in Afghanistan drawing down and troops leaving Iraq this year, Keltz said, the U.S. military is strengthening its relationships in the Asia-Pacific region, and Pacom is repositioning its forces.

A major part of that mission, Keltz said, is the movement of U.S. Marines to Australia for training. Next year, rotations of 200 to 250 Marines will begin deploying to Australia’s Northern Territory. Over the next several years, the number of Marines deployed there will grow to 2,500.

Moving troops to Australia, the general said, demonstrates America’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

Until now, Northeast Asia -- primarily Korea and Japan -- have been U.S. focal points in the region, he added.

“It’s a rotational concept in which we will just not focus on the northeast Asia portion,” Keltz said, “but [also] start to spread out through all of Asia as we have been doing quietly, but a little bit more openly now.

“A lot of our partner nations, he continued, “have asked us for more specific help in certain areas” such as maritime securities, fishery problems, and enforcing exclusive economic zones.

Solving long-standing issues in the region will help curb international crime, including terrorism, and enable the U.S. military to help allies quickly should disaster strike, Keltz said.

“Our challenges deal more with building partnerships and partnership capacities,” he said, “as they deal with illicit trafficking, drug trafficking, counterterrorism, being able to help our partners in the Pacific with maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief.”

Pacom has special capabilities thanks to its area of responsibility, Keltz said. It covers a wide region and requires land, air and sea forces to carry out its mission. New agreements to have a Navy presence in Singapore and the new Marine station in Australia increase its versatility, he added.

“We do have … quite frankly, the luxury of being able to react very quickly being able to move forces internally within the Pacom area of responsibility,” Keltz said. “Being able to have Marines in the southeastern Asia area, especially when it comes to both humanitarian response, disaster response, a presence or need, or in conjunction with exercises with our allies or other partner nations, having them there gives us incredible flexibility.”

Recent natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, the general said, have shown how important it is for regional governments to work together. Diplomacy isn’t limited to departments and ministries of state, he said, adding that having processes and people in place to provide aid following earthquakes, floods and other contingencies benefits the region culturally, militarily and economically.

Military-to-military, diplomatic and economic engagement between the United States and Asia-Pacific nations is important, Keltz said, “so that we can understand each other better, which decreases the potential for a misunderstanding or a miscalculation.”

Such an approach, “just reinforces how important mil-to-mil engagements are,” he added.

Panetta Cites Progress, Warns of Remaining Threats

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

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GROTON, Conn.  – After 10 years of war, the United States is at a turning point in its national defense, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said today while visiting sailors and shipyard workers here.

 “The reality is that after 10 years of war, we’re beginning to see the results of a lot of sacrifice on the part of our men and women in uniform, [and] on the part of all the people that are part of our national defense,” Panetta said.

As the military draws down its remaining forces in Iraq, with all out by year’s end, the secretary said, the United States met its goals there.

“The mission there was to establish an Iraq that could govern and defend and secure itself, and we have accomplished that mission,” he said. “Now it’s up to Iraq to be able to secure and govern itself. We’ll give them assistance; we’ll continue to work with them. The reality is that they’re on the right track.”

Progress also is being made in Afghanistan, Panetta said.

“In Afghanistan, we’re hoping that we can move in the same direction,” he said. “We’ve weakened the Taliban; we’ve had the lowest violence levels in Afghanistan in five years.”

“We’re beginning to secure key areas of that country,” he added, noting the growth of the Afghan army and police.

“We are moving in the right direction,” Panetta said. There remains “a lot of work to be done” before all security reverts to the Afghans in 2014. Hopefully, he said, “we’ll be able to, again, have an Afghanistan that can govern and secure itself.”

Addressing terrorism, Panetta stressed the importance of keeping pressure on the enemy.

“The reality is, we’ve decimated al-Qaida’s leadership … [and] we have taken down key people, including bin Laden and others,” he said. “The result of that is that this country is safer by virtue of what we’ve been able to do.”

“We need to keep the pressure on; we need to make sure that we don’t give up,” Panetta said. “These guys are still at it – whether it’s Pakistan, whether it’s Yemen, whether it’s Somalia … we have got to keep the pressure up and make damn sure that they never again are able to attack this country, and that’s what we’re doing.”

U.S. national security is moving in the right direction because of the sacrifices of many people, he said, but still faces threats, namely from North Korea and in cyberspace. “This is a whole new world in which cyber warfare is a reality. It’s the battlefield of the future,” he said.

Panetta also noted the “rising powers” of China and India. He said his and President Barack Obama’s recent visits to the Pacific region were to ensure “we always have sufficient force protection out there in the Pacific to make sure they know we’re never going anywhere.”

“So when you look at the world that we’re dealing with, we still have a lot of threats,” he said. “And add to that, the challenge of now having to reduce the defense budget – we’ve got a huge deficit in this country.”

Despite fiscal challenges, Panetta vowed to “not break faith” with the military and prevent a hallowing out of the force.

“We have the strongest military in the world today, and we’re going to remain the best military in the world,” he said.

Panetta Visits ‘Submarine Capital of the World’

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

GROTON, Conn.  – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta visited sailors and shipyard workers today while getting a firsthand look at construction of the Virginia-class attack submarine to be commissioned the USS Mississippi.

“I can’t tell you what an honor it is for me to have a chance to come up here to Groton and recognize the fact that this is the submarine capital of the world,” the secretary said.

Speaking to a group of workers from General Dynamics Electric Boat, sailors and a state delegation, the secretary praised the local industrial base’s shipbuilding expertise.

“It’s the home of our submarine force, it’s the original home of the Nautilus and it is, from my point of view, one of the very important elements of our national defense that you guys are doing,” Panetta said.

“The work that you’re doing is absolutely essential to our ability to keep our country safe,” he noted.

Panetta thanked the group for their contribution. “I thank you for your service, for your work, for your dedication, for your commitment,” he said. “This kind of work simply could not happen without your skills and your dedication.”

Representing the local defense industrial base, one of its leaders lauded Panetta’s commitment during times of fiscal austerity.

“As the nation’s defense budget comes under increasing scrutiny, we’re fortunate to have such a capable and experienced secretary of defense,” said John P. Casey, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat.

“Secretary Panetta has toured [the] Mississippi behind me with members of our EB team and the ship’s crew,” Casey said. “We’re working together to deliver this ship about one year ahead of schedule, and about $50 million dollars under its target cost.”

Panetta cited the state delegation’s efforts to ensure the future of the defense industrial base in Groton.

“The reality is that your delegation has put up a good fight,” he said. “You’re talking to somebody that went through the [Base Realignment and Closure] process.”

The secretary noted the challenges of BRAC on local communities and the economy. He recalled serving as a congressman in California when Fort Ord, Calif., closed due to BRAC. The installation represented about 25 percent of his district’s economy.

“I went through the hell of having to figure out what do I do to try to protect the economy of my local community,” Panetta said. “Fortunately, we were able to do it. We located a campus there and it’s doing fine. But I wouldn’t wish going through BRAC on anybody.”

Panetta commended the delegation for fighting to preserve “something that is very important to our national defense.”

“Especially looking at it from my point of view as secretary of defense, this is absolutely essential,” he said. “So I want to thank the delegation for their support and for their willingness to go to bat when it’s important to try to protect a facility like this.”

Obama Says U.S. Will Maintain Pacific Presence

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON  – Cost-cutting initiatives to impact the armed forces won’t come at the cost of the U.S. presence in Asia and the Pacific, President Barack Obama said today in Canberra during an address to the Australian Parliament.

“My guidance is clear,” the president told the assembly during his two-day visit to Australia. “As we plan and budget for the future, we will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region. We will preserve our unique ability to project power and deter threats to peace. We will keep our commitments, including our treaty obligations to allies like Australia.

“And we will constantly strengthen our capabilities to meet the needs of the 21st century,” he continued. “Our enduring interests in the region demand our enduring presence in the region. The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.”

Obama praised plans to expand the U.S.-Australian alliance, citing new initiatives he said will bring their two militaries closer together.

“We’ll have new opportunities to train with other allies and partners, from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean,” he said. “And it will allow us to respond faster to the full range of challenges, including humanitarian crises and disaster relief.”

Obama said the expanded U.S. presence will have impact throughout the region: in Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea and Indonesia, and against threats such as North Korea.

The president said the United States will continue efforts to build a cooperative relationship with China.

The United States and Australia have maintained a decades-long security alliance evident today in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.

“From the trenches of the First World War to the mountains of Afghanistan, Aussies and Americans have stood together, we have fought together, we have given lives together in every single major conflict of the past hundred years,” Obama told the assembly. “Every single one.”

This solidarity, he said, has sustained the two countries through a difficult decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

“In the United States, we will never forget how Australia invoked the [Australia-New Zealand-U.S.] Treaty for the first time ever, showing that our two nations stood as one,” the president said. “And none of us will ever forget those we’ve lost to al-Qaida’s terror in the years since, including innocent Australians.”

Obama noted that Australia is the largest troop contributor outside of NATO to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Australia’s commitment in Afghanistan, he added, is a key component in achieving success there.

A transition is taking place in Afghanistan, Obama said, with Afghans assuming increasing responsibility for their security so coalition forces can return home.

“With partners like Australia, we’ve struck major blows against al-Qaida and put that terrorist organization on the path to defeat, including delivering justice to Osama bin Laden,” the president said.

Obama also emphasized the two countries’ commitment to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

“As two global partners, we stand up for the security and the dignity of people around the world,” he said. “This is the alliance we reaffirm today, rooted in our values, [and] renewed by every generation.”

Obama said the U.S.-Australia alliance has never been stronger.

The president visited the Royal Army Air Force Base in Darwin later in the day to thank Australian military members and a contingent of U.S. Marines who he called the backbone of their two countries’ 60-year alliance.

Internet Safety: Cyberbullying, Sexting and Social Networks

The December 1, 2011, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with former Detective Keith Dunn on Internet Safety: Cyberbullying, Sexting and Social Networks.

Program Date: December 1, 2011
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Internet Safety: Cyberbullying, Sexting and Social Networks
Listen Live: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lawenforcement/2011/12/01/internet-safety-cyberbullying-sexting-and-social-networks

About the Guest
Keith Dunn, KDCOP, has been warning and training parents, teachers, law enforcement and other community organizations nationwide about online dangers since 1999. KDCOP has worked closely with Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement as well as public and private investigative teams along the East Coast.

Keith has his degree in Criminal Justice and Computer Forensics. As a former member of the United States Air Force, Keith represented his Country during Operation Desert Storm. During his tour on active duty, Keith performed as a singer and dancer for “Tops in Blue”, a USO type military performing group started and operated by Bob Hope. After an honorable discharge from the Air Force in 1997 Keith immediately became a Police Officer for a local department. In 1999 Keith received a position as a Detective for the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office as an active member of the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Thanks to being proactively involved in the arrest and prosecution of internet predators and internet offenders, Keith began speaking on National TV and Radio. Keith still has time to appear for speaking engagements and has been seen on many shows like CNN with Paula Zauhn, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, The Montel Williams Show and has worked with the production staff for the Judge Hatchett Show and Maury Povich Show. Keith has talked to over 50,000 students and 10,000 parents around the Country and has recently partnered with DARE NJ as their internet safety expert and trains all NJ DARE Officers about internet crimes.

Keith has been involved with or trained with nationally accredited organizations such as the FBI, Police Training Commission, and the FBI Crimes Against Children Unit — Online Child Pornography/Child Sexual Exploitation. He also attended the Online Crimes Against Children Unit Commander Course and was certified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

KDCOP FOUNDATION
The KDCOP Foundation, a NJ Nonprofit Corporation, was created to provide little or no cost cyber safe assemblies to schools in order to keep their students safe in the digital world. The foundation brings together some of the greatest minds when developing cyber safety curriculum and then executes a dynamic, interactive, educational and inspirational school assembly. The mission of the KDCOP Foundation is to procure sponsorship and grant money to limit the financial stress that already plagues our school systems in order to perform assemblies at every school across the country.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lawenforcement/2011/12/01/internet-safety-cyberbullying-sexting-and-social-networks

Listen from the Archive:
http://www.hitechcj.com/americanheroesradio/internet_safety_cyberbullying_sexting_social_networks.html

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Blog Entry:
http://criminal-justice-online.blogspot.com/2011/11/internet-safety-cyberbullying-sexting.html

Facebook Event:
http://www.facebook.com/events/193327700749585

LinkedIn Event:
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