Military News

Thursday, December 01, 2011

DOD Seeks to Boost Use of Alternative Fuels

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

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2011 – The Defense Department continues to seek ways to enhance energy security while investing in alternative fuel resources, a senior Pentagon official said here today during a conference at Georgetown University.

“Military operations are a fairly energy-intense undertaking, and energy security is particularly important to our ability to project military power and to protect the nation,” said Edward Thomas Morehouse Jr., principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for operational energy plans and programs.

“The availability of those transportation fuels is particularly critical,” Morehouse said. “Of all of the consumables, of all the commodities that we use in the Department of Defense, … energy and fuel have a particular [functionality].”

Morehouse participated in a seven-member panel that discussed alternative fuels and energy security during the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative Conference. He noted how critical fuel is on an operational level for the Defense Department.

“Without fuel, the airplanes don’t fly, the ships don’t steam and the tanks don’t roll, so this is a very important issue to us,” he said. “It was recognized in our 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and we have a number of energy-related risks within the department.”

Morehouse noted some of the longer-term risks are strategic, global and related to energy markets and price volatility.

“[These risks are] related to the increasingly concentrated sources of petroleum worldwide getting in the hands of actors who are not always necessarily friendly to our causes,” he said.

Morehouse also highlighted inherent risks the department faces while transporting fuel from the point where it is bought commercially to where it is used on the battlefield.

“First and foremost, our real near-term energy challenge is to reduce the amount of stuff we have to haul,” he said. “We buy it at a refinery, and we move it to forces that are forward deployed. Often times, we have to move that fuel through areas which are contested by our adversaries.”

Morehouse noted that the Defense Department now verifies that systems could use alternative fuels as they are developed.

“We were an early pioneer in certifying our own systems to use the fuel to provide confidence that the fuels were viable,” Morehouse said. “We have also continued that certification program to make sure that all the systems in our inventory are capable of using the fuels when they become available.

“We are also engaged in demonstration projects,” he added, “to buy fuels and to fly squadrons of airplanes, to sail fleets of ships and to demonstrate that these fuels have the potential to be used operationally.”

Morehouse shared some of the Pentagon’s future operational energy strategy.

“We’ve got a number of milestones laid in within our own programs about what we will certify by when and what we will demonstrate by certain time frames,” he said. “And those imply various purchases of fuel between now and 2016 and 2020.”

DOD officials expect investments in the alternative fuels industry “will get us to a place where alternative fuels are sustainable, scalable and affordable,” Morehouse said.

He praised the government-industry partnerships that address energy security and the need to development alternative fuels.

“I want to say thanks,” Morehouse said, “for all the great partnerships that we’ve had with the Department of Defense and our other agencies and with the civilian sector to move this issue along.”

Face of Defense: Navy Officer Donates Marrow, Saves Life

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Jared Marquis
Defense Information School

FORT MEADE, Md., Dec. 1, 2011 – During the holidays, people all over the country spend time with family, eating, watching football and enjoying the opportunity to reflect and give back.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. John T. Schofield, a 15-year military veteran, is doing much the same thing, save one difference. Three days before Thanksgiving, Schofield was in a hospital undergoing a procedure to extract his bone marrow.

While the procedure usually takes no more than two hours, Schofield’s path toward becoming a bone marrow donor started more than two years ago.

In July 2009, Schofield was stationed aboard the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, USS George H.W. Bush. The ship’s senior medical officer asked him to market a marrow-donor registration drive for the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program.

The goal was to add to the more than 622,000 people already in the system. Already a regular donor of blood and platelets, Schofield not only was willing to help publicize the event, he also registered. Nearly three years and two moves later, the instructor and Navy element commander at the Defense Information School here got the call he never expected.

“They called me early last month and told me I had been identified as a potential match for someone in need of a bone-marrow donation,” he said.

Until that call, Schofield said, he had forgotten he had registered in the system. But that did not change his willingness to give.

“From the second I received that call two and a half months ago until this very moment, it has been hard for me to think of anything else,” the Salt Lake City native said.

Schofield said donating a part of himself to someone for a lifesaving procedure is one of the most meaningful things he has done. He knew from the moment he got that phone call he wanted to donate, he added, and his only fear was not being able to. This fear followed him throughout the next couple of phases of the process.

Being matched in the database does not guarantee a donor’s marrow will work, Schofield explained. It takes several more tests before the donor is identified as both physically and medically capable of donating. Just getting a preliminary match to a nonrelative is a one in a million chance, said Schofield. It was still only a one in a hundred chance he would actually be able to donate.

But after all the follow-up tests, Schofield got the news he hoped for. The donation was a go.

A month passed from the time he got the first phone call to the time he went into the operating room. That didn’t give Schofield much time to worry, but he didn’t do a lot of worrying anyway, he said. His wife and children were a different story.

Susan Schofield, who also is on the registry, said she was concerned at first, because she wasn’t really sure what was involved. But, she added, her husband put her at ease with his assurances that the surgery was not dangerous and he would be fine.

With his wife’s fears calmed, it was time to focus on the children -- three boys, ages 3, 5 and 7 -- who were not particularly aware of what was taking place, Schofield said.

“They knew daddy was going to the hospital, and would be home in a couple of days,” Susan said.

“The only question they really had was, ‘Will it hurt?’” Schofield said. “Once I assured them it wouldn’t, they were fine.”

In addition to easing his family’s concerns, Schofield used the opportunity to teach his kids it is important to help out those in need.

“I feel that this transplant sets a good example for my kids in that I want them to see at a very early age that kindness and service are very good things,” he said. “It doesn’t take a lot of work. … Just being available and being willing is sometimes all it takes to save someone’s life.”

That lesson, and motivating people to do their part, is why Schofield volunteered for the registry. Now that he is out of the hospital, he said, he is humbled by all the appreciation he received from the doctors and nurses following the surgery. But as much as he appreciates it, he said, it was not necessary.

Schofield said the 57-year old patient needed his marrow for a chance at life. There never really was a choice for him, he said.

“[It] doesn’t seem to me that it’s something you should be thanked for,” Schofield said. “It is something you should do.”

Post-surgery, Schofield’s goal is to raise awareness for the marrow-donor program.

“The process is so simple,” he said. “It took mere minutes to register. There is nothing about this that was difficult." And the pain, said Schofield, who spent one night in the hospital, was minimal.

“At its worst, the pain was no more than what I would have after a day spent raking leaves,” he said. The average recovery time is about two weeks, but Schofield said he is able to do pretty much everything he could do before the surgery.

Schofield added that he hopes more people come forward to volunteer their marrow. The experience has affected him profoundly, he said.

“When you break it down, you are availing yourself to someone for a lifesaving procedure,” Schofield said. “I really don’t think I’ll have that opportunity to do something that special again.”

For her part, Susan said the experience has motivated her to be a donor. She already was on the registry, but after experiencing the process through her husband, she said, she hopes to get the same call. Her aunt was a marrow donor recipient, she noted, but they were never able to find a complete match, and she hopes to be that complete match for someone else.

Panetta Urges Leaders to Make Tough Choices

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2011 – National security, and even democracy itself, depends on leaders who can demonstrate statesmanship by making tough choices that will see the country through the current economic crisis, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said tonight.

The secretary spoke here during an annual event hosted by the nonprofit Stimson Center, which honors a notable leader each year whose career embodies pragmatism and idealism.

“I’ve often said … that we govern our democracy either through leadership or crisis, and if leadership is not there, then we let crisis drive policy in this country,” Panetta said. “Today I worry that in many ways we have lost the trust of the American people in our system of government, because they are not seeing the dedication, the hard work, the sense of sacrifice that is important to our democracy.”

Honoring Panetta tonight were an array of statesmen and celebrities.

Former President Bill Clinton, for whom Panetta served for three years as White House chief of staff, appeared in a video message. He thanked Panetta “for always being honest and straightforward with me … and for always being there for America and for all of us.”

Another video message featured actor and director Clint Eastwood, a neighbor of Panetta’s in Carmel, Calif., who was mayor of Carmel when Panetta was a member of Congress.

Speaking in person to laud the defense secretary were Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; William Perry, defense secretary for three years during the Clinton administration; and several others.

Accepting the honors, Panetta offered a tribute of his own.

“I could not do any of the jobs that I’ve been involved with in this town without the support of my family, and so let me pay tribute to them -- in particular, Sylvia,” the secretary said.

Next year Panetta and his wife will celebrate 50 years of marriage, and he called their proudest achievement their three sons and six grandchildren.

“All of us have a responsibility to help govern this country,” Panetta said.

That is what America’s forefathers intended when they established the country and the remarkable system of three separate but equal branches of government, each a check and balance on the other, he added.

“It is a wonderful formula for ensuring that power is never centralized in any one branch of government, but it also happens to be a perfect formula for gridlock,” the secretary said.

The key to breaking that gridlock rests with people who are willing to exercise leadership, find compromises and make sacrifices to find answers, Panetta said.

“That is at the very core of what our democracy is all about, and that is what is missing right now -- that need to work together to be able to make those sacrifices, to find those compromises, to take the risks that are inherent in leadership,” he added.

In the absence of leadership, Panetta said, the nation is governed by crisis, burdening citizens with bad government and bad policy.

The secretary said he’s been railing against the threat of budget sequestration because something is wrong when a country has to fall back on that sort of meat-ax mechanism of fiscal management.

Next week, Panetta said, the nation will mark the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a young boy in Monterey, Calif., during the war years, the secretary recalled, he felt the fear and uncertainty of those times.

“One of the great leaders of that era was Henry Stimson,” Panetta said, “ … and his words, I think, are always worth recalling: ‘The man who tries to work for the good, believing in its eventual victory, while he may suffer setback and even disaster, will never know defeat. The only deadly sin I know is cynicism.’”

It is a profound honor, the secretary said, to now be associated with that legacy.

“From this evening, I draw even more determination to fight against that kind of cynical view that somehow America is in decline and that we can’t overcome the crises that confront us.”

Panetta said he wishes American leaders today would take to heart “the inspiration of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day in battle for this country.”

Earlier today, he said, he visited wounded service members at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., as he often does. Their attitude, he told the audience, belies their war injuries.

“You talk to these kids and they have great spirit, they have great hope, they’re proud of the service that they gave this country, and they really believe that life is there and that they’re going to make the most of it,” he said.

“Now, dammit, if there are men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line in order to be able to defend this country, then surely there have to be elected leaders who are willing to make the tough choices that are important to solving the problems in this country,” Panetta added, to applause from the audience.

The fundamental strength of the United States “lies in the spirit of the American people, in the spirit of those [wounded warriors],” he said.

“If we can draw on that spirit, then I think the leadership of this country can ultimately make that American dream that my immigrant parents were all about -- that dream of giving our children a better life, much better,” the secretary said. “That’s what all of us have to be about.”

Overseas Navy Families To See School Meal Price Increase In January

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Monique K. Hilley, Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Beginning Jan. 3, students headed back to school at Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) after the holidays will face an increase in student meal prices mandated by The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (Public Law 111-296).

Students participating in the DoD Student Meal Program that pay full price for their lunches will begin paying 35 cents more per meal. The new prices will be $2.40 for elementary students and $2.55 for secondary students.

The January 2012 school meal cost increase marks the first time in more than seven years that prices have risen. The last price increase was ten cents per meal in 2004.

Households qualifying for the Free and Reduced Meal Program will not be impacted by the meal cost increases. The cost of a reduced-price meal will remain unchanged at 40 cents per meal through school year 2013-2014.

The DoD Student Meal Program is an overseas school program authorized under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act. It will remain a subsidized, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved and nutritious option for Navy families with school-age children.

"The Public Law requires a review and adjustment to student meal prices. This law, plus the fact that meal prices have not kept pace with the increased costs to provide meals during the past seven years, have led to an increase in prices," said Charles S. Clymer Jr., program manager for Child and Youth Programs for Commander, Navy Installations Command Headquarters' Fleet and Family Readiness.

"Just like everything else, the cost of quality food, labor and equipment increase each year, and this increase will help ensure school food authorities have funding available to support serving nutritious meals to all students," said Clymer.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, signed into law by President Barack Obama Dec. 13, 2010, mandates changes to school lunch and breakfast programs nationwide with a focus of improving child nutrition.

The legislation authorizes funding and sets policy for USDA's core child nutrition programs: the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Summer Food Service Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

For more information on DoD meal programs, families are encouraged to contact their local school's Navy Liaison School Officer.

Arlington National Cemetery Breaks Ground for Columbarium

By J.D. Leipold
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2011 – Arlington National Cemetery began its first major construction project in nearly eight years today with a ground-breaking ceremony for a 20,000-niche columbarium that will extend the life of the cemetery’s inurnment space to 2024.

A columbarium is a structure that holds urns containing cremated remains.

Construction on the cemetery’s ninth columbarium begins in January, with completion expected in June 2013, said Army Col. Victoria Bruzese, the cemetery’s chief engineer. The new structure will dwarf the previous eight columbariums, she added, the largest of which contains 8,000 niches and the smallest 3,000.

"This will be 540 feet long, 116 feet wide, and at its highest elevation about 11 feet tall," Bruzese said following the ground-breaking. "We'll have more than 20,000 niches, which gives us the ability to have three to four inurnments within each niche -- service member, spouse, children -- so we're looking at more than 60,000 inurnments, so that's significant."

The new columbarium will be almost the length of two football fields.

Kathryn Condon, executive director of the Army National Cemeteries Program, told the audience of mostly cemetery grounds-keepers and staff workers that construction of the new columbarium would "extend the life of our inurnment space out to 2024."

Officials also plan to expand the cemetery’s grounds on two sides by another 70 acres. That will further extend the cemetery's ability to handle inurnments, burials and possibly mausoleums out to the 2050s, Bruzese said. She noted the biggest challenge to overcome will be the lack of attention paid to the infrastructure over the years.

"There are two expansion opportunities here on the horizon -- our Millennium Project, which is a 30-acre combination of land we acquired from Fort Myer and the National Park Service, and already existing [cemetery] land that will increase our in-ground and niche burial capability," Bruzese said. The second expansion includes a 40-acre plot that's now occupied by the Navy Annex on the cemetery’s south side.

Bruzese said she requested the chief engineer position at the cemetery following a deployment to Afghanistan. One reason she cited was that her father and her grandfather are inurned there.

"But when I heard about the challenges going on here, I wanted to be part of the solution," she said. "I think that's what you'll find with anybody who's on the staff here. … They want to be part of the solution in returning the dignity and honor not only to the cemetery, but [also] to the veterans who lie here."

Pentagon Official Lauds Military Logistics System

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

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 30, 2011 – The military’s logistics system has performed “extremely well” on the front end of supporting warfighters these past 10 years, a senior Defense Department official said today.

“The department’s logistics system is actually performing extremely well for what it is designed to do, which is supporting forces engaged in combat,” said Alan F. Estevez, assistant secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness.

Estevez praised the defense logistics system during the 2011 Defense Logistics Conference which featured corporate sponsors such as IBM, Northrop Gruman, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins.

“If you look at what we have done in sustaining and redeploying our forces in Iraq, [and] in surging and sustaining our forces in Afghanistan -- all that going on simultaneously -- we’ve done a magnificent job,” he said.

Estevez noted people tend to look at logistics as the behind-the-scenes “tail” in the department.

“We really can’t look at logistics as ‘tail’ from the perspective of the Department of Defense,” he said. “That combat power that’s on the ground today in Afghanistan, putting the hurt on the Taliban, is there because of a logistics system that is capable of putting it into a landlocked country.

“And [it’s capable of] sustaining it there and doing likewise in another war,” Estevez continued. “Plus, [it is] capable of doing things like Haiti relief, tsunami relief, and earthquake relief across the globe.

“So I’d submit to you that logistics is not ‘tail,’” he added. “It’s not a back-end function inside the Department of Defense.”

Estevez cited the efficiency of the defense logistic system in Iraq. “In the next month we’ll be out of Iraq,” he said. “Your logistics system has just done a phenomenal job in posturing the force.”

A year or so ago, Estevez noted, the U.S. had about 500 bases in Iraq. Today, there are six bases operating in Iraq, aside from sites that will be used for the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, and the State Department.

Estevez compared the amount of U.S. equipment and forces in Iraq prior to the drawdown with the country’s current figures.

“Over the last year, since September of 2010, as we embarked on Operation New Dawn, there were about 2.15 million pieces of equipment in Iraq,” he said. “Today, there’s about 346,000 pieces in Iraq.”

“Not all of that will be coming out,” he added. “Some of that will remain in Iraq. It is no longer usable for U.S. forces, and on the other hand, it is usable for Iraqi forces.”

Today, there are about 13,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, with nearly 800 departing each day, compared to 46,000 troops as recently as midsummer of this year, Estevez said.

The assistant secretary noted as U.S. forces have drawn down, they’ve helped build up Iraqi capabilities, with about $400 million worth of gear, so they are capable of sustaining themselves.

“On the backside of that, we’ve saved $700 million by not having to haul that stuff out of Iraq and back home where we, the U.S. military, have no use for it,” he said.

However, unit duty gear comes back with the units, Estevez said.

Meanwhile, the Defense and State departments are working closely in a “whole-of-government” approach to sustain Iraqi capabilities, he said.

Holidays Apart From Family Can Lead to Increased Stress

By Dr. Vladimir Nacev, DCoE clinical psychologist

Holidays are often a wonderful time for families to gather, reconnect and celebrate. But for families experiencing a military separation, holidays can be yet another reminder that a deployed family member is not at home to share in the festivities. The November DCoE webinar, “Holidays Apart From Family: Coping with Increased Stress,” provided ways deployed parents can connect with their children and discussed approaches to help individuals manage stress during the holiday season.

Deployed service members may experience a range of feelings while away during the holidays—loneliness, depression, homesickness, frustration, stress or guilt. Sometimes they may find it necessary to temporarily distance themselves from their own family because hearing about holiday festivities may be too painful. Additionally, some service members may find it emotionally uncomfortable to be around their buddies and choose to isolate themselves. However, being around others and socializing with friends and family are important steps for maintaining your well-being and future reintegration.

Non-deployed family members face similar challenges during this time such as experiencing higher levels of stress. During the webinar, I emphasized the importance of continuing family traditions associated with the holidays and the idea of incorporating new ones deployed family members can take part in. Maintaining consistency and structure helps everyone who is affected by the separation, particularly families with younger children. If you’re a deployed parent, you might try these ideas:

 ■Write your child a brief letter about all the different ways they’re loved and appreciated, consider several letters to be read on different days
■Create a holiday ornament with your child’s name on it
■Record a reading of a favorite holiday book or story and send it to your child, which can be part of a holiday or year-round bedtime routine
■Stay in touch through email, Skype or social media as often as possible to communicate and participate in some of the holiday activities in real time, remotely

Holidays are like a coin; happy times on one side and stressful times on the other. To cope and enjoy the holidays I encourage you to take time out for yourself. When you are rested and free of stress, it actually helps those around you. Here are a few ideas:

 ■Engage in activities to help recharge your batteries and reduce stress such as exercising, going to the movies, shopping with family or friends, or getting a massage
■Consider doing something fun as a family for your service member, like assembling a care package containing their favorite goodies and pictures or mementos from home
■Get involved in volunteer opportunities in your community as this can be emotionally and spiritually rewarding

We also need to remember to have realistic expectations and understand that no holiday celebration is perfect—we should stay focused on what’s really important to us and why the season is meaningful. The constant barrage of holiday advertising can make us forget what the holiday season is really about and negatively impact our stress levels.

Dealing with a deployment at any time of the year poses difficulties. Talk with others about feelings of loneliness or missing a family member. Getting things out in the open can help you navigate your feelings and work toward a solution to successfully manage your stress. The webinar highlighted resources that service members and their families can reach out to for support including: DCoE Outreach Center; Military OneSource; Military Homefront; Military Families Near and Far; Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program; and FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress™).

For more information and resources, both the audio and slide presentation from the November webinar are on the DCoE website.

Pacific Fleet's Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics Visits Frank Cable

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Gabrielle Blake, USS Frank Cable Public Affairs

POLARIS POINT, Guam (NNS) -- The deputy chief of staff for logistics, Commander Pacific Fleet visited the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), Nov. 30.

Rear Adm. Glenn Robillard's primary focus for the visit was to familiarize himself with the various logistic commands on Guam. This included Fleet Logistics Center Yokosuka Detachment Marianas, Defense Depot Distribution Guam, Marianas and Andersen Air Force Base logistics personnel and leadership.

Frank Cable's supply officer, Cmdr. Philipe Grandjean, said the visit offered Robillard a chance to see the result of Military Sealift Command's (MSC) integration into Frank Cable's crew.

"This visit was an excellent first exposure for him to our unique hybrid supply operations which combine the effort of both civilian service mariners (MSC) and Navy personnel to provide logistic support."

While on board, Robillard met and had lunch with local Supply Corps officers and shared his views about current Pacific Fleet issues that are relevant to this part of the area of responsibility. He also visited at some of the supply spaces, such as the ship's store and the vending machine area.

"Rear Adm. Robillard was able to see the firsthand work and dedication of USS Frank Cable's crew," said Grandjean.

Frank Cable conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.