Military News

Monday, January 23, 2012

SECDEF Tours Enterprise, Addresses Crew

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Scott Pittman, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Leon E. Panetta visited the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, Jan. 21 and 22.

Following his arrival on the carrier's flight deck via helicopter, Panetta was greeted by Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter, commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, and Capt. William C. Hamilton Jr., Enterprise commanding officer.

Following a brief meeting, Panetta ate lunch with enlisted Sailors on the mess decks and held an All Hands Call for more than 1,700 Sailors and Marines.

"Even after 50 years of service, because of your tireless work on the Big E, there is no other nation that can match this ship," Panetta told the crew. "This is a great ship, and all of you are a great crew."

Twenty-one of the Sailors gathered in the ship's hangar bay had the privilege of being reenlisted by Panetta, who also presented awards to 10 additional Enterprise Sailors.

"It's an amazing feeling, and it's something I never thought would happen," said Senior Chief Navy Counselor Ramous K. Fleming, one of the Sailors who reenlisted Jan. 21. "It fills me with pride to get to stand in front of someone as high ranking as the Secretary of Defense and renew my commitment to my country."

Following the all hands call, Panetta presented 200 Sailors with his personal coin.

"It was one of the coolest things I've done in my military career," said Machinist's Mate 1st Class James Holman, the Reactor Labs leading petty officer. "It'll be cool to show my parents the SECDEF coin I received and the picture I took with Mr. Panetta, because how many people can say they've met the Secretary of Defense?"

That evening, the SECDEF ate dinner in the Enterprise wardroom with junior officers before heading to the flag bridge to watch evening flight operations.

"I've had a really good tour," said Panetta. "I enjoyed every aspect of the ship, but the greatest thrill was watching the aircraft takeoffs and landings; a thrill I will never forget."

"Carriers play a major role in our military, not only today, but they will play a role in our future," said Panetta. "You are part of what keeps our force agile, flexible, quickly deployable and capable of taking on any enemy anywhere in the world."

Enterprise is currently underway conducting training exercises and evolutions as part of a composite training unit exercise in preparation for the ship's 22nd and final deployment following 50 years of Naval service.

For news regarding USS Enterprise or the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, visit www.enterprise.navy.mil or the USS Enterprise Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USS.Enterprise.CVN.65 and follow us on Twitter @TheCVN65.

New Concept Emphasizes Joint Force’s Speed, Synergy

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2012 – With military budgets shrinking as threats grow in number and complexity, the Defense Department still must ensure the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps can defend national security in the coming decades.

“The Joint Operational Access Concept is an important first step,” a senior Pentagon officer told reporters here Jan. 20.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. George Flynn, the Joint Staff’s director of joint force development, said the concept -- which Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey released last week -- provides a framework for developing forces for future wars.

“This concept describes, in broad and general terms, how the joint force will operate in response to what we see as a growing challenge to our ability to achieve and maintain operational access … in the various domains [of sea, land, air, space and cyberspace],” Flynn said.

The 64-page concept focuses on defeating enemy “anti-access and area-denial” capabilities -- getting U.S. forces into places and then moving them around within those places against enemy opposition.

That opposition can include “mines, missiles, cyber threats -- but complicated by the threat that a lot of those capabilities could be available to nontraditional [actors], just because of the proliferation of technology,” Flynn said.

The general offered as an example nonstate actors -- groups that aren’t aligned with national governments -- who can pose a disproportionate threat in the cyber domain.

“That’s why it’s important, as we do force development, that we don’t get myopic on a specific threat,” he added.

The concept’s authors say there are three reasons why gaining access against armed opposition is the “essential problem” for future joint forces: potential enemies are acquiring dramatically improved anti-access and area-denial capabilities; the number of U.S. troops permanently based overseas is declining, which will mean deploying troops for combat from the United States; and space and cyberspace are becoming increasingly important and contested domains.

The concept lists 30 critical capabilities, divided among command and control, intelligence, fires [which the document’s glossary defines as “the use of weapon systems to create a specific lethal or nonlethal effect on a target”], movement and maneuver, protection, sustainment, information and engagement.

It’s too soon to tie those capabilities to platforms or tactics, techniques and procedures, Flynn said, but the 30 objectives will serve as a guide to the military services in their spending plans.

“Those capabilities … can be provided by one service, or it could be the collective capability of the joint force,” he said. “The existing force development processes [will] bring those capabilities to reality.”

The concept emphasizes joint operations, synergy and cooperation starting at a much lower level than they do now, the general noted. DOD’s existing air-sea battle strategy and upcoming concepts detailing entry, littoral (seas, lakes and rivers close to shore), and sustained land-based operations will align under the joint access concept, Flynn said.

When Dempsey released the new concept document, initial response within the Pentagon to its emphasis on “cross-domain synergy” was that it’s nothing new, Flynn said.

“It is something we have to explore in greater detail,” he added. “Traditionally, we used to talk about combined arms … [in] the same domain. … What we’re saying in the Joint Operational Access Concept is we’re going to have multiple-domain operations going on that have to be sequenced in a way that they’ve never been sequenced before.”

The military understands the traditional domains of land, sea, air and space very well, Flynn said. “You have this new domain, cyber -- man-made, that changes all the time -- that now has to be thrown into the mix,” he added.

That’s one challenge, he said, and another challenge is the level at which future conflicts will need to “go joint.”

“We think that this is going to have to be operated … [and] coordinated at lower levels than we’ve ever had to do this before,” he explained. Lower-level operational synergy among services is core to the concept, and so is integrating cyber into the battle space, Flynn said. Both ideas need more exploration before they can be realized, he added.

The concept is in line with the guidance he got from Dempsey to “take jointness and push it deeper, sooner in our force development,” Flynn said.

Earlier emphasis on joint operations will allow the nation’s military to achieve its objectives more effectively, more efficiently and more affordably, he added.

Warfare will become more complex as threats in the cyber domain mature, Flynn said, and equipment, doctrine, tactics, training and organization will have to adapt to that reality.

The Capstone Concept for Joint Operations, last updated in 2009, details the main security challenges facing the joint force: winning the nation’s wars, deterring adversaries, developing cooperative security, defending the homeland and responding to civil crises.

“This month, we just completed the review of the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations,” Flynn noted. “[We’re now] undertaking a revision of that document, and we’re on a pretty aggressive timeline.”

In the hierarchy of documents, Flynn said, the revised capstone concept will bridge the Joint Operational Access Concept and further development of joint doctrine.

The current version of the capstone concept doesn’t address the speed at which future operations will have to happen, Flynn said, adding that the new concept serves as a guide to the services and the joint force in managing development changes already under way and still to come.

“It’s really easy to say, ‘I have a concept. I have to be able to operate fast. I have to be able to do this at levels lower than I ever have before,’” Flynn noted.

“Will we be able to field that tomorrow?” he asked. “No. What we’re doing is identifying the challenges, identifying in general terms the capabilities, so that we can get to where … [we can] operate at speed [and] integrate at lower levels, and … do that in a joint context.”

Sailors Enjoy Port Visit in Rota, Spain

By Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan Miles, USS Bataan Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- More than 2,500 Sailors and embarked Marines aboard multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) completed a port visit to Rota, Spain, Jan. 19.

The crew experienced the culture and sights of the city, and participated in tours in Rota and the surrounding area.

"The city was beautiful," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class (SW) Steven Ray, a native of Hickory Grove, S.C. "I especially liked the old look of the cobblestone streets, and the people were really helpful and kind."

The ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office provided a variety of tours for the crew including Sevilla, ancient Ronda and the Rock of Gibraltar.

"The tours were a great way for everyone to relax," said Airman Juan Cardona, a native of New York. "It was also a good way for people to see parts of Spain they wouldn't normally have been able to experience on their own."

Several Sailors and embarked Marines attended community relation events while in port. Musicians aboard Bataan performed at a retirement home, and sports fans were able to play a game of soccer against a Division Two Team from Rota.

"I think the community relations were a great idea," said Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class (AW/SW) Evan Droegemueller, a native of Greeley, Co. "Not only did we help people, but it gave us a chance to relax and interact with the people of Spain."

Bataan is currently deployed as the command ship of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

Panetta Touts Carrier’s Agility in Visit to Enterprise

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Scott Pittman
Enterprise Carrier Strike Group

ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE, Jan. 22, 2012 – Aircraft carriers will continue to be important to U.S. military strategy, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told the crew of the USS Enterprise yesterday.

Enterprise is underway in the Atlantic Ocean in preparation for the ship's 22nd and final deployment following 50 years of naval service.

"Carriers play a major role in our military, not only today, but they will play a role in our future," Panetta said. "You are part of what keeps our force agile, flexible, quickly deployable and capable of taking on any enemy anywhere in the world."

Following his arrival on the carrier's flight deck via helicopter, he was greeted by Navy Rear Adm. Walter E. Carter, commander of Carrier Strike Group 12, and Navy Capt. William C. Hamilton Jr., Enterprise commanding officer.

Following a brief meeting, Panetta ate lunch with enlisted sailors on the mess decks and held an all-hands call for the more than 1,700 sailors and Marines aboard the ship.

"Even after 50 years of service, because of your tireless work on ‘the Big E,’ there is no other nation that can match this ship," Panetta told the crew. "This is a great ship, and all of you are a great crew."

The secretary administered the re-enlistment oath to 21 sailors and presented awards to 10 more in the ship’s hangar bay.

"It's an amazing feeling, and it's something I never thought would happen," said Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Ramous K. Fleming, one of the sailors who re-enlisted. "It fills me with pride to get to stand in front of someone as high-ranking as the secretary of defense and renew my commitment to my country."

Following the all-hands call, Panetta presented 200 sailors with his personal coin.

"It was one of the coolest things I've done in my military career," said Petty Officer 1st Class James Holman, the reactor labs leading petty officer. "It'll be cool to show my parents the SECDEF coin I received and the picture I took with Mr. Panetta, because how many people can say they've met the secretary of defense?"

In the evening, Panetta ate dinner in the Enterprise wardroom with junior officers before heading to the flag bridge to watch evening flight operations.

"I've had a really good tour," Panetta said. "I enjoyed every aspect of the ship, but the greatest thrill was watching the aircraft takeoffs and landings -- a thrill I will never forget."

Navy, EPA Negotiate on Kitsap Underground Storage Tanks Inspection

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Scott A. McCall, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest

SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) negotiated a settlement resolving violations of the Washington State Underground Storage Tank (UST) regulations at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK)-Bangor, Jan. 11.

During an EPA inspection in March 2010, the EPA noted record keeping deficiencies by EJB Facilities Services over the 12 months prior to the inspection. EPA also identified concerns with equipment. The total negotiated fine was $161,000. EJB will pay more than $127,000 of the fine.

EJB Facilities Services is responsible for maintaining and operating the USTs on NBK-Bangor along with maintaining compliance with environmental regulations.

"The EPA and Navy were working for over a year to agree to the facts of the situation, and we have recently come to an agreement and what an appropriate settlement would be," said Greg Leicht, NBK environmental director. "We did so in concert with legal counsel, technical staff and EJB."

Washington State UST regulations require that records for underground fuel storage tanks be kept on file for 12 months. The records are required to show the tank systems are monitored every month for possible leakage. In Washington, the Department of Ecology issues regulations implementing the underground storage tank amendment to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976.

Leicht described the settlement saying that the Navy was forceful in asserting the facts of the case during the negotiation process. "We spent a lot of effort to ensure EPA was using the correct facts. For example, we dug up two fueling stations to take pictures to prove to EPA they were constructed properly," said Leicht.

"The number one fact is that we did not have any leaks," said Leicht. "The other was, with few exemptions, the systems functioned as intended. The largest collective limitation was a lack of record keeping.

Leicht added that EJB was monitoring the USTs; it was that EJB did not properly document the monitoring by keeping adequate records.

"We were aware of the lack of record keeping prior to [inspection]. We, within the Navy, had taken action to identify the lack of record keeping to EJB management," said Leicht. "They took action and their record keeping improved prior to the inspection. But the (EPA) inspection window was 12 months, and they did not have 12 months of records for each tank."

According to a press release by the EPA, the Navy had the appropriate monitoring equipment in place at most of the sites, but failed to check the monitors on a monthly basis and document that the tanks and pipes were not leaking.

Brian Zimmerman, the Tank and Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Program Manager for NBK and Naval Magazine Indian Island said that was a key point that the EPA saw differently during the negotiations of the fine.

"The EPA takes a stance that if you don't document the monitoring, then it did not occur," said Zimmerman.

"The monitoring systems indicate leaks by setting off alarms. Anybody near the tanks would hear the alarms,"said Leicht.

"We conducted all the required maintenance on the monitoring systems, over and above what is required, and the tanks had people near them frequently," said Zimmerman. "If there ever was an alarming condition, assuming there was a leak, then we absolutely would have known about it and taken the appropriate action."

Zimmerman added that EJB has a fuel truck driver that checks the emergency generator fuel tanks weekly, and the fuel tanks have the levels checked weekly.

There were several other equipment deficiencies also identified by the EPA during the inspection that were included in the fine. These deficiencies were related to piping overfill alarms and release prevention equipment.

Zimmerman said the overfill alarm issue was not a risk to the environment in any way. In the pipeline issue, the pipe was in compliance with Coast Guard regulations, but a small section of the pipe that did not meet EPA regulations.

"There was another issue were the pipeline did not meet regulations because they are very specific about what equipment you must have, and we had alternate equipment that functions in a more conservative manner than they require," said Zimmerman. "It is not exactly what they require, but it functions in the same manner and they fined us for that as well, despite the fact that our set up offered enhanced environmental protection."

Naval Base Kitsap operates 53 regulated UST at 31 sites on NBK-Bangor. These tanks contain diesel fuel, gasoline and recycled oil. All are equipped with monitoring systems that provide audible and visual alarms if the tanks leak.

All the underground tank monitoring systems at NBK-Bangor are certified by an independent laboratory to provide protection to EPA standards, said Zimmerman. Technicians certified by the manufacturer annually inspect these monitoring systems.

According to Zimmerman, the Navy has completed more than $600,000 worth of projects on fueling systems since the EPA inspection.

The Navy has upgraded the monitoring systems for 15 tanks, installed new leak detection and overfill prevention equipment, upgraded pipeline monitoring for five tanks, installed five new fuel dispensers with remote leak monitoring, installed improved high level alarms, and installed five new mechanical pipeline leak detectors. The Navy has recently awarded an additional $375,000 worth of fuel system upgrade contracts. These projects address EPA concerns as well as installing voluntary upgrades.

"We're paying attention to this stuff and we're doing a good job of protecting the environment and the health of the Puget Sound and Hood Canal," said Zimmerman.

Bataan Participates in Community Relations Projects

From USS Bataan Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) volunteered for community relations (COMREL) projects while in Rota, Spain, Jan. 17.

Sailors and embarked Marines participated in two separate COMRELs during the ship's visit. Volunteers chose to give up some of their liberty to visit a local home for the elderly, while another group played a soccer game against a local Spanish team. A total of 17 Sailors and Marines of all ranks attended the events, which help to forge stronger bonds with the local community.

"COMREL events give our Sailors and Marines a chance to interact with people from another country," said Cmdr. Russell Graef, a Navy chaplain, Religious Ministries department head and coordinator of the COMRELS. "This helps to create good will between the U.S. and the international community. It builds bridges of understanding between people who would otherwise never get a chance to meet."

At the first COMREL, Sailors played guitar and sang for the residents at one home run by a Spanish convent.

"That put a smile on their faces," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Randy Howe, a participant in the music COMREL. "We let them know that people really care. It makes me proud seeing my fellow sailors give up a little of their liberty to help others."

Residents at the retirement home thanked the volunteers with a standing ovation.

A second group of 13 volunteers also played a soccer game against a local Divisional Two team from Rota. Although the American team lost to the more experienced Spanish team, Sailors agreed the game was still an excellent way to let off steam from a long deployment, and to have some fun.

"We had a chance to meet and play against some really great soccer players," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handler) Morden Joyles, who participated in the game. "We usually don't get a chance to practice onboard ship, so this was an excellent outlet."

Both of the COMRELs were considered a success by those who gave their time.

"We do COMREL projects because it gives all interested personnel a great opportunity to interact with civilians and military members from foreign countries in a venue that may not otherwise be available," said Graef. "There are many people on Bataan who want to give of themselves. They want to do things for others."

Bataan is the command ship of the Bataan Amphibious Ready group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

Navy Misawa CPO 365 Program Hosts Chili Cook-off Fundraiser for Adopted School

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Hueming Mui, Naval Air Facility Misawa Public Affairs

MISAWA, Japan (NNS) -- Members of the Navy Misawa Chief Petty Officer (CPO) 365 program hosted a chili cook-off fundraiser at Cumming's Elementary School at Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan, Jan. 18.

Chief petty officers and first class petty officers (FCPOs) joined together to raise money for the elementary school they adopted as part of the Navy's CPO 365 Program. With all proceeds going directly back to the school toward funding future CPO 365 service projects, the combined efforts of these Sailors helped raise more than $700.

"We'll be utilizing these funds immediately," said Chief Navy Counselor Todd Wean, who serves as the Navy Misawa CPO 365 community relations coordinator. "The school has asked us to build shoe "cubbies" (cubicles) for the children, so they will have an organized area to put their wet snow boots when they arrive each morning."

Wean said volunteers will begin building the cubbies next and week, and will place them in classrooms soon after.

Navy Misawa Chief Petty Officer Association members adopted Cummings Elementary last year and have already organized several school-assistance projects along with Misawa FCPOs.

"We appreciate the Navy for helping out by putting together this wonderful event which will help raise money to support our children," said Cummings Elementary School Principal Scott Sterry.

Of the 15 chili entries that took part in the cook-off, Naval Air Facility Misawa Safety Officer Jeff Wilson took home the top prize: "The Golden Ladle."

"I was surprised I won," he said. "My secret for the chili is pork, beef, very few beans, lot of sugar, and then I smoke it."

NAF Misawa Executive Officer Cmdr. Dave Cotts took the second place prize, while Chief Mineman Scott Kopelwitz took home the third place award, "The Bronze Spork."

"It was wonderful that so many people came out to support the school and enjoy themselves tonight," said Sterry. "It was for a good cause, and I think our staff and children will really appreciate the cubbies."

CPO 365 is a program which provides CPO mentorship to first class petty officers, while also introducing greater aspects of senior enlisted leadership, responsibility and accountability.

For more news from Naval Air Facility Misawa, visit https://www.cnic.navy.mil/misawa/index.htm or check out our Facebook page at Facebook.com/nafmisawa.