Tuesday, February 07, 2012

USS Mustin arrives in Ishikari

By Ensign Margaret Morton, USS Mustin Public Affairs

ISHIKARI, Japan (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) arrived in Ishikari for a port visit Feb. 6.

Mustin's arrival corresponds with the start of the 63rd Annual Snow Festival held in Sapporo. While in port, Mustin Sailors will have the opportunity to join tourists from around the world to admire the amazing works of art the festival has to offer in the form of ice.

In addition to viewing the ice sculptures, Sailors also plan to partake in some of the many winter sports offered in the region such as skiing, snowboarding, and bushwalking.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the many statues and trying the regional cuisine. This is my first Japanese port outside of Yokosuka," said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 1st Class Hugo J. Perez. "I'm excited for an outstanding cultural and culinary experience. I especially want to try the seafood."

The Ishikari port visit gives the Mustin crew a chance to interact with the Japanese people in order to build upon the existing relationship with one of America's most important allies in the Pacific region.

"I anticipate the officers and crew to join in the many events associated with the festival and to gain an even greater understanding of the country and people that we partner to protect with the Japanese Self Defense Force," said Mustin's commanding officer, Cmdr. Scott A. Tait.

Mustin is one of seven destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, as part of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

Face of Defense: Military Spouse Enlightens, Educates

By T. Anthony Bell
Army News Service

FORT LEE, Va., Feb. 7, 2012 – You don't have to meet Latorial Faison to know her.

Her life and experiences -- the search for self-identity, the revelation of family secrets, her academic triumphs, motherly aspirations, spirituality, perspectives on African-American history and culture, and a number of other topics -- have all been offered up for public consumption in the poetry she posts at http://www.latorialfaison.com.

A Fort Lee military spouse and educator, Faison offers up her thoughts and feelings with such a naked and unadulterated truth that one might feel a form of intimacy with this native of rural Southhampton County.

"I tell people all the time that writing is risky," the 38-year-old mother of three said, "because you have to say what you feel, be truthful."

Raised by nonbiological grandparents who adopted her at a young age, Faison's being was formed in the church and is grounded in such values as hard work and family unity. She took up writing in grade school and eventually wound up studying English and religion at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, earning degrees from both.

She later went on to teach extensively in various parts of the country. She is currently an instructor at Virginia State University.

On her calling as a poet, Faison said the strength lies in her ability to ignore what people might think of her work.

"I don't look for the confirmation of others to tell me who I am, or that what I'm doing is worthy," she said. "If you're looking for confirmation, then you might not ever tell the story."

Confirmation certainly was not on her mind when she was invited to speak at her high school graduation years ago. Faison was warned to remove references to Christianity from her address, but she refused to do so.

"They told me two days before graduation, 'You have to take that out,'" recalled the deeply religious Faison. "Guess what? I left it in. That's the story of my life -- if others set a boundary and I feel like I need to cross it, I'm going to cross it."

Faison uses this trademark approach to share, teach and enlighten; especially when she's penning prose about black history and culture. She has written two books on the subject and many other separate works. Her efforts seems to subscribe to the notion that black history, although full of monumental achievements and celebrated as such during African-American History Month, also is fraught with inhumanity and heartbreak. These unpleasantries are worthy of acknowledgement, she noted.

Faison's poem titled "Tears for Freedom" is one of many that tackle events and issues in which the word "celebration" isn't quite the right fit.

They swallowed the great
Atlantic to loose the grip

Of shackles and chains
They leaped boldly from

Ships of inhumanity
To priceless freedom

Mother Earth was drenched
In blood and tears as one child
Enslaved another

Faison acknowledges such content may make some uncomfortable, but history can't be changed, she said, or sugar-coated. However, she added, she isn't interested in digging up the past to incite anger, inflict pain or cause guilt, but rather to use it to help all people understand the unique struggles of African-Americans and to support efforts to better race relations.

"For instance, in the workplace and various places in the community," she explained, "you might see a black, or any person for that matter, and you might not understand what their motives are -- why they do what they do. If you knew something about their history, you will understand that person better."

Faison might have been thinking along those lines when she wrote these verses in her poem "Celebrate”:

Celebrate freedom's long road,
Every man and woman who bore the load.

Recognize every black institution.
Celebrate every black contribution.

Know the pride of black power.
Stand together in the final hour.

Acknowledge black history on any day.
Allow freedom to ring in the noblest way.

Faison's poetic range runs the full spectrum of emotion, from rage to pride. She said when she was younger, she wrote to "get things off my chest." As a result, many of those works are stinging, and even startling.

Faison said she still has the ability to alarm, but her expressions have evolved into something beyond her emotions. That ability is displayed in "Time to Be Set Free," a social and historical indictment that black people need "to let that past die and learn how to move beyond it," she said.

"I don't mean that we should forget it, that we don't honor it, that we don't teach it, but we don't sulk in its tragedy so much so that it deters us from prospering individually or collectively":

On this day we must recognize
That misconstrued fate has been baptized
Thrown from wretched slave ships capsized

To revisit the land of the living
Where we stare at one another
Half-way forgiving

For a past we never were meant to see
One so full of history
Let it be … just simply be

A time to kill
that negative
get-us-nowhere noise
And be set free.

Faison said she will continue to use verse to move people beyond the pain of the past, but she concedes that much work has to be done.

"People are still uncomfortable with our history," she said. "We need to get to a place where we can comfortably and honestly talk about things. And I don't think we are where we need to be."

Faison said she plans to support her husband in his retirement, complete her doctorate, write fiction and nonfiction books, work full-time at a public institution and become a dean.

Breeding Program Turns Puppies Into Troops

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, Feb. 7, 2012 – Bernadine Green stands tall amid a group of young military recruits in training, assessing their behavior for signs of future excellence.

In the coming months, some of these troops will “wash out” of training, while others will go on to serve their nation, saving lives and ensuring security in locations around the world.

But for the moment, Green is content to just stand back and watch. These future troops are, after all, just a few weeks old and of a much different sort -- or, to put it more accurately, breed -- than their military training counterparts.

While Lackland is known for its basic military training -- a grueling eight-and-a-half week program that turns young men and women into airmen -- it’s also home to the Defense Department’s Military Working Dog Breeding Program, which provides working dogs to every service branch and numbers among the largest military breeding programs in the world.

Green, the program’s deputy director and a former Maryland State Police canine handler, is among a team of dog experts that breed, train and raise Belgian Malinois to serve alongside other military working dogs, a select group used by DOD and other government agencies for patrol, drug and explosive detection, and in specialized missions both stateside and overseas.

The breeding program, administered by the 341st Training Squadron, is an important DOD asset, Green told American Forces Press Service as she cradled an 11-week-old Belgian Malinois named Donja in her arms. “We can provide a product that’s specially tailored for our needs,” she said. “We can start these puppies from birth … and really start guiding them along the DOD training path.”

At the heart of the program are the breeders -- known as stud dogs and brood bitches -- which are selected for their outstanding performance as military working dogs. Experts select only Belgian Malinois for this purpose, Green explained, because that breed tends to make outstanding working dogs, able to carry out their mission equally well on an installation or in a combat zone.

Once a litter is born, the puppies progress through three phases that help determine their suitability to become a military working dog. The first phase, called whelping, takes place from until the puppies are 8 weeks old. This early on, whelping care attendants mainly are getting a feel for the puppies’ personalities and exposing them to a variety of sounds.

Meanwhile, trainers and development specialists are keeping an eye out for the attributes that bode well for a successful working dog, Green said as she gestured toward a litter of puppies -- fourth-generation DOD -- tumbling over each other in a small playhouse. She ticked off a list of those qualities: not afraid of noises, inquisitive, eager to check out new places, sociable, not overly aggressive, and eager to play with objects, such as toys and balls.

As if on cue, Donja -- whose birth name is Ddonja, in keeping with the program’s official double-letter naming convention -- wiggled out of Green’s arms and began gnawing on a rope. DOD-bred dogs’ names all start with double letters, she explained, to distinguish them from other military working dogs.

At about eight weeks, the puppies are placed in a foster home, where they stay for about five months. Foster families are volunteers from San Antonio and outlying communities. Some are service members or veterans, while others have military affiliation, but all share a common desire to serve.

“Families love to do it,” Green said. “It’s their way of giving back to the community and the military, and also for the sheer pleasure of caring for a puppy.”

The foster phase serves several purposes, she explained. By living in a home versus an austere kennel, they learn social skills and are exposed to a variety of environments. “Families take them everywhere -- to school, playgrounds, stores, work,” Green said. “It broadens the puppy’s horizon.”

Having foster homes also keeps the program’s costs manageable, she added.

“This phase is probably the most integral part of the program,” Green noted. “Without these foster parents raising puppies, … we don’t get well-rounded dogs.”

At about 7 months old, foster families return the puppy to Green and her colleagues, a challenging time not just for the puppy, but also for the families who have grown attached to their now-beloved family member.

“We have a lady who fostered 13 puppies and one of the brood bitches,” Green said. Each time she returns a puppy, she added, “she cries a blue streak.”

The transition also can be tough on the puppy, Green noted, which now must adjust to sleeping in a kennel instead of their home. “They’re taken care of, but it’s not the same as being with their family,” she said.

Some puppies don’t recover from the loss, which is a strong indicator the dog isn’t suited for military work. In that case, the dog is put up for adoption, Green said, noting there’s a long list of people waiting to adopt DOD dogs.

The puppies that adjust well enter adolescent training, an intensive phase that lasts about five months and serves as a precursor to working dog training. Trainers use this time to expose the dogs to situations and environments they may encounter on an installation or in a combat zone, such as aircraft, vehicles and strange buildings, and to sounds such as gunfire.

“We evaluate how they are environmentally, their object drive, how long they’ll play or interact with us,” Green said. “This all leads to the ability to train as a detection dog.”

When they’re about 12 months old, the dogs are evaluated for entry into the 341st Training Squadron’s Military Working Dog Training Program here, which is about 120 days long and teaches the dogs how to patrol and detect drugs and bombs worldwide. The squadron also trains all handlers, kennel masters and specialized mission function dog teams for the Defense Department.

Puppies that enjoy biting on balls, rags and “bite sleeves” tend to make good patrol dogs, Green explained, which are dogs tasked with security. They work with a handler to protect government assets, to track and apprehend, and to search buildings, among other tasks. Dogs that prefer to use their nose versus their teeth most likely will excel at detection work, she added, such as sniffing out explosives.

The program’s goal is to produce about a third of DOD’s working dog requirement, or about 270 dogs militarywide, Green noted.

While most of these dogs are assigned to military installations worldwide, based on demand, some may be sent to another government agency, such as the Transportation Security Administration. The 341st supports the TSA canine detection program with shared training facilities and working dog procurement.

“Right now, the need is great for detection dogs,” she said, noting that the demand for these dogs skyrocketed after 9/11 and continues with the ongoing dangers posed to troops by homemade bombs. “These puppies will save more people with their nose than they ever will with their teeth.”

Army Sgt. 1st Class Russell Minta, the program’s senior noncommissioned officer, credits his former military working dog for his safe return from two deployments in Iraq. “He took care of me downrange,” he said. “No one ever got within a leash length of me, and I was never worried about running into a bomb of any type. He cleared thousands of homes and roadways and fields.”

As Green headed back to a private room to check on a new litter of puppies, she noted her pride at taking part in a mission that saves lives and protects troops in places such as Afghanistan.

It’s a mission she expects to continue, particularly since it ensures a steady supply of quality working dogs to the military.

“We have a homegrown source right here,” she said.

U.S., Japanese Officials Discuss Military Realignment

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2012 – U.S. and Japanese representatives met at the State Department yesterday to discuss changes under consideration to agreements on realignment of U.S. forces in the Pacific.

Specifically, the discussions centered on the 2006 Roadmap to Realignment and the 2009 Guam International Agreement, said Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

Participants reaffirmed their governments' commitment to maintaining and enhancing a robust security alliance dedicated to Japan’s security and to maintaining peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region, Hull-Ryde said.

“The [U.S. government] remains committed to enhancing the U.S.-Japan alliance and strengthening operational capabilities while significantly reducing the impact of U.S. bases on the Okinawan people,” she added.

These and related longstanding agreements, negotiated over many years, describe the linkage between the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma relocation, the Marine Corps move to Guam and land returns on Okinawa, the commander said.

During the meeting, she added, “representatives reaffirmed their support of the principles of the 2006 Realignment Roadmap and pursuit of a military presence in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region that is operationally resilient, geographically distributed and politically sustainable.”

The two countries remain fully committed to the implementation of a Futenma replacement facility and the relocation of the Futenma air base to Camp Schwab, she added.

Guam remains an essential part of the larger U.S. Asia-Pacific strategy, which includes developing Guam as a strategic hub and to establishing an operational Marine Corps presence on Guam by relocating some Marines there from Okinawa.

No decisions were made at yesterday’s meeting, Hull-Ryde said.

Obama Nominee Could Become Air Force’s First Female General

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON  – President Barack Obama has nominated Lt. Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger to the rank of general, and as commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced today.

The promotion would make Wolfenbarger the Air Force’s first female four-star general.

“The secretary strongly supports the president's nomination, and he believes that General Wolfenbarger is an outstanding Air Force officer,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today. “The fact that she would be the first woman to wear a fourth star in the Air Force, if confirmed, is a testament to her skills, experience and dedication.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Wolfenbarger would become the military’s second female officer to receive four stars behind Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, commander of Army Materiel Command, who was promoted to general in 2008.

As the military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition in the Pentagon, Wolfenbarger is responsible for research and development, test, production, and modernization of Air Force programs worth more than $40 billion annually.

A 1980 Air Force Academy graduate, Wolfenbarger began her career in acquisitions as an engineer at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. She has held a variety of assignments at headquarters Electronic Security Command and Air Force Systems Command.

Wolfenbarger has had oversight of the F-22 program at Wright-Patterson and in the Pentagon, and was program director for the B-2 aeronautical systems at Wright-Patterson. She commanded the Aeronautical Systems Center’s C-17 Systems Group, Mobility Systems Wing.

Wolfenbarger was director of the Air Force Acquisition Center of Excellence at the Pentagon, then served as director of the Headquarters AFMC Intelligence and Requirements Directorate at Wright-Patterson. She was the vice commander of Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson before taking her current position.

Wolfenbarger holds master’s degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in national resource strategy from the National Defense University.

Bold Alligator Exercise Takes Fight to the Shore

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/FMF) Chad V. Pritt, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

USS KEARSARGE, At Sea (NNS) -- Four months to the day before the 68th anniversary of the landing at Normandy, the Navy and Marine Corps team conducted another historic amphibious operation.

Exercise Bold Alligator 2012, the largest amphibious exercise in the past 10 years, culminated Feb. 6 with a D-Day landing on the beaches of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Amphibious craft and thousands of U.S. Marines and British and Canadian commandos deployed from multiple ships to the shores of North Carolina following a week at sea practicing all facets of amphibious operations. The exercise's scope and scale were last seen during the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"This type of an amphibious operation occurred at the start of the war as we brought forces over into the [Arabian] Gulf off the coast of Kuwait, in about this size of a task force," said Marine Col. Scott S. Jensen, commanding officer of Marine Air Group (MAG) 29. "The difference being, is once we got there we offloaded onto the shore and our command and control shifted into a friendly country, and we reset ourselves land-based and were ready to support the combatant commander."

Landing craft air cushions and amphibious assault vehicles delivered Marines and coalition forces from the United Kingdom and Canada from amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) to the beach in a mock amphibious landing. The exercise is a revitalization of amphibious capabilities and re-investment in the Navy-Marine Corps team.

Marines from Regimental Landing Team 2, MAG 29, 2nd Marine Regiment, and British and Canadian commandos embarked Kearsarge Jan. 23 through Feb. 3 in preparation for the landing. The combined nature of the exercise allowed the U.S. and its partners to share amphibious tactics.

"A lot of times we say, 'oh they're coming to learn our tactics, techniques and procedures,'" said Jensen. "But I think these are smart people from great countries who bring a lot to the table from what they've learned, and we're seeing a lot of that sharing."

While the exercise is the largest in 10 years, the ability to launch an aggressive amphibious assault has always been a capability the Navy and Marine Corps have maintained.

"What a lot of people don't realize, is that the assault on Afghanistan was launched from the sea, to 700 miles inland," said Capt. Peter Pagano, commander, Amphibious Squadron 4. "Those initial forces from amphibious ships and aircraft carriers, kicked off OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom)."

The importance of amphibious capability lies not only with a tactical edge, but also a logistical need to provide from the sea. Sea basing, the maritime services' revolutionary power projection doctrine, provides American and coalition forces the ability to sustain a fighting force anywhere in the world.

"There are a lot of places around the world that just don't have the infrastructure or the political position to allow a huge American force to fly in and operate," Jensen said. "There aren't many places with capabilities in the world that can match what we see in this team."

Bold Alligator began Jan. 30 and will continue until Feb. 12 afloat and ashore, in and around North Carolina and Virginia.

NETC Excellence in Safety Award Winners Announced

By Ed Barker, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) announced the winners of the Fiscal Year 2011 NETC Excellence in Safety Awards Feb. 6.

The award recognizes outstanding performance in the areas of safety and risk management in a training and education environment.

"Safety is a fundamental enabler of combat readiness," said Rear Adm. Don Quinn, NETC commander. "Instilling good safety and risk management habits during initial training makes our training more effective and prepares Sailors for their introduction to the fleet. The efforts of our winners have set the standard for the domain and have directly contributed to fleet combat readiness."

- The NETC domain activity excellence in safety award recipient is Trident Training facility, Kings Bay, Ga.

- The NETC domain individual excellence in safety award recipient is Steven George, Naval Construction Training Center, Port Hueneme, Calif.

- The individual excellence in safety (collateral duty) award recipient is Senior Chief Machinist's Mate (SS) Richard Hicks, Trident Training Facility, Bangor, Wash.

"The contributions that these safety professionals have made, both on the organizational and individual level, have greatly contributed to the present and future success of our most valuable assets, our Sailors," said Donald J. Leavens, NETC special assistant for safety. "Their attention to detail and willingness to adapt to a changing environment have made a direct and tangible improvement in all areas of safety."

The three overall winners will receive a certificate and trophy which will be presented during the NETC breakout session at the Naval Safety Center's Professional Development Conference March 12.

White House to Honor Iraq War Veterans, Families

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

WASHINGTON  – President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will honor Iraq War veterans and their families at the White House later this month, White House officials announced in a statement today.

The president and first lady will host a dinner Feb. 29 to honor troops who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn and their families.

“This dinner -- an expression of the nation's gratitude for the achievements and enormous sacrifices of the brave Americans who served in the Iraq War and of the families who supported them -- will include men and women in uniform from all ranks, services, states and backgrounds, representative of the many thousands of Americans who served in Iraq,” the statement said.

Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, welcomed the final group of U.S. troops home from Iraq on Dec. 20.

Dempsey today praised troops and their families for their service and sacrifice while serving in two operations during the Iraq War.

“We will be honored to be a part of 'A Nation's Gratitude' hosted by President and Mrs. Obama to recognize the significant contributions of the U.S. military and military families to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn,” the chairman said in a Facebook post earlier today.

“These heroes and those they represent have sacrificed to defend our nation and provide the Iraqi people an opportunity for a peaceful and secure future,” he continued. “I'm proud of their courage and appreciate this appropriate recognition of their service.”

The White House has been working with military and civilian leaders across the Defense Department on this tribute, the statement said, and will release more details regarding the dinner as they become available.

CNIC Welcomes New Commander

By Patrick Foughty, Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTONN (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) held a change of command ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard Feb. 3.

Vice Adm. William D. French relieved Vice Adm. Michael C. Vitale.

Vitale has served as the chief officer leading the Navy's entire shore infrastructure for nearly three years and was the third commander in the history of CNIC. This infrastructure, also known as the CNIC enterprise; includes 11 Navy regions, 70 installations, and 127 Naval Operations Support Centers, and is responsible for 31 business lines and 122 critical shore capabilities across three major categories; operations, quality of life, and facilities management.

Throughout his tenure Vitale led efforts to standardize, align, synchronize and innovate new methods and processes that furthered CNIC's mission to deliver effective and efficient readiness from the shore that sustains the fleet, enables the fighter, and supports families.

Vitale praised the numerous accomplishments of the personnel under his command and of the entire CNIC Enterprise; from molding the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) into the model Personnel Accountability System used across the services, to the development of new shore integration methods and a Total Workforce, capable of continuously supporting operations and services.

"The personnel here at the headquarters, and throughout the entire enterprise have faced growing numbers of issues and challenges," said Vitale, "I've had the pleasure of witnessing this Enterprise solve complex and dynamic problems, some self-imposed, some caused by outside forces, and forge a way ahead toward a model of shore integration that has forever changed how we do business and provide service the Fleet, fighter and family."

Vitale also thanked the many Navy communities throughout the world that support and allow the Navy to operate in close proximity to their homes and livelihoods, acknowledging the importance of maintaining close ties from the smallest Installation to the Headquarters level.

"It's the communities, both in the U.S. and abroad, that invite us to live and operate in their backyard, and it's the communities, both within the Navy and outside, that are the anchor of our ability to maintain and operate the best Naval force in the world, and I want to thank each one for their support, patience, and welcoming spirit," said Vitale.

French thanked Vitale for his wisdom and guidance and spoke briefly about his optimism and vision for the future of CNIC.

"During the last six years I have been with the CNIC enterprise I have learned that we have some of the best, brightest, and most talented professionals in the Navy," said French. "Under Vice Admiral Vitale's leadership the CNIC team has set the example for how an enterprise should function and have established immense credibility on how you are meeting customer needs. I'm honored to be taking command at this point in the history of the command."

French was promoted shortly before the event after having a successful tour at Navy Region Southwest in San Diego, Calif., where he accomplished major milestones toward energy and water conservation and numerous other green initiatives. French, the son of an Air Force officer and native of San Antonio, is a graduate of Vanderbilt University where he received commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program in May, 1979. He earned a Master of Science degree from Naval Postgraduate School in 1985 and a Master of Arts from the Naval War College in 1999.

A career submarine officer, French has served on a number of submarines and commanded USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716) and Submarine Squadron 3 in Pearl Harbor. His prior flag officer commands include tours at Navy Region Northwest, Navy Region Marianas in Guam, and Navy Region Southwest.

"I am proud to be part of such a superb organization, and look I forward to working with you over the next few years," French said.

CNIC oversees a $10 billion budget, more than 83,000 facilities and 58,000 personnel, all managed from a single unified enterprise.

Sailors More Responsible; Less ARIs and DUIs in 2011

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrea Perez, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- With Navy-wide decreases in alcohol-related incidents (ARIs) and driving under the influence (DUI) reports in 2011 over past years, Sailors are reminded to stay responsible in 2012, officials said Feb. 6.

"Responsible alcohol use is knowing how much alcohol your body can handle," said Dorice Favorite, Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (NADAP) director. "Some people aren't aware of how much alcohol is in a particular drink and those who aren't educated on how much alcohol they can consume and still function, might drink too much and make irresponsible decisions."

Per OPNAVINST 5350.4D, alcohol and drug abuse undermines combat readiness and is incompatible with the maintenance of high standards of performance and military discipline. It is a severe detriment to the Navy's overall mission readiness.

"Alcohol abuse impacts the Navy's mission because every time we lose a Sailor, that means someone else has to pick up their responsibilities," said Favorite. "Our current campaign, 'Who Will Stand Your Watch,' talks about responsible use of alcohol and how someone's poor decisions have an effect on everyone else. Everybody is accountable and Sailors need to understand that when we lose them, it has an impact on everyone."

OPNAVINST 5350.4D defines responsible use as the application of self-imposed limitations of time, place, and quantity when consuming alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol shall not be consumed to the extent that it:

* Impairs rational and full exercise of a member's mental and physical faculties while in a duty status or in the performance of military duties;
* Reduces member's dependability and reliability;
* Reflects discredit upon the member personally or upon Navy;
* Results in behavior that is in violation of this instruction and/or the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

"Sailors who make poor choices and receive a DUI are subject to non-judicial punishment," said Favorite. "They also may be processed for administrative separation and receive counseling, and if the DUI happened in town, they will have court costs. So, there are great ramifications to a poor decision."

Violation of policies set forth in OPNAVINST 5350.4D subjects military members to the full range of administrative and disciplinary actions available. These include informal counseling, comments in fitness reports and evaluations, punitive measures, and administrative separation as required by the UCMJ.

"If a Sailor needs assistance for alcohol or drugs, we recommend that they refer themselves to their command Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor (DAPA), the chaplain or the Fleet and Family Support Center," said Favorite.

According to Favorite, to qualify as a valid self-referral, disclosure of alcohol abuse must be made to a qualified referral agent with the intent of acquiring treatment, and there can be no credible evidence that the member was involved in an ARI. If a member's chain of command initiates a referral, it may be based on any credible factor, including hearsay, personal observation, or noticeable change in job performance. Disclosure of alcohol abuse made to any person who is not a qualified self-referral agent may not shield the member from disciplinary action.

NADAP's mission is to support Fleet readiness by fighting alcohol abuse and drug use. For more information and resources visit the NADAP web page located under the Support and Services tab at NPC.navy.mil.

New DOD Rule Supports Independent Research, Development

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2012 – A new rule published Jan. 30 that modifies the way major defense contractors report to the Defense Department on their independent research and development projects enhances communication between government and industry, a senior Pentagon official said last week.

Independent research and development, known as IR&D, is a contractor’s own investment in basic and applied research and development and some kinds of studies that DOD will reimburse the company for making.

Every year the Defense Department invests about $4 billion in defense firms’ IR&D. From this investment come new and improved devices, materials and other products, and advances in technology that ultimately benefit the department and its warfighters, said Ronald J. Kurjanowicz, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering

The rule, published in the Federal Register, applies to defense contractors that claim more than $11 million in a year on IR&D and bid and proposal costs, Kurjanowicz said.

“It’s asking firms to submit project data on their IR&D projects to the government [through a secure website] called the Defense Innovation Marketplace,” he explained. The site is an industry portal that offers answers to frequently asked questions, contracting news, information about the new rule and other industry resources.

DOD contracting officials can search the site, he said, “and see where the innovation is, and then communicate back with industry the areas that we think are very strong and the areas where there are probably gaps that we can work with. So it will be a communication mechanism.”

Contracts awarded on or after Jan. 30 are subject to the new requirements, a senior procurement analyst in Kurjanowicz’s office said.

Major contractors must comply with the new rule, Kurjanowicz said, but the rule also allows other contractors to submit IR&D project data to the website for greater visibility by government contracting officials.

“We in the government have to know what [defense contracting firms] are working on, because as we build acquisition programs we want to get a sense of what’s available out there,” he added.

Defense officials decided on a rule rather than a voluntary move to the website “because we wanted to level the playing field and give everybody a chance to submit the information,” he said.

“Industry wants to know where we’re going, particularly now in this era, at this inflection point, … so we have to communicate with industry the sort of capabilities we’ll need for that environment,” Kurjanowicz said.

With that communication, he added, “industry will begin to vector their IR&D in that direction.”

IR&D communication mechanisms between DOD and contractors have evolved over the years. “In the 1980s,” Kurjanowicz said, “we actually sent people on site” to contracting firms.

“We called them tri-service reviews, and they would review a contractor’s entire portfolio,” he added. They then would take the information back to their organizations, and based on their findings, the reviewers determined a company’s reimbursement rate, he explained.

In that scenario, Kurjanowicz added, major contractors who could afford to do more IR&D than smaller contractors had an advantage. Today, he said, administrative contract officers do the reviews.

“Firms submit their IR&D projects every year, and everyone does it differently,” Kurjanowicz said. “Some firms submit detailed reports, and others send in a list with dollar values, and the administrative contract officer is supposed to look through that and come up with a rate.”

The problem, he added, is that the administrative contract officers don’t always have the technical expertise to evaluate the submissions, “so we’re losing insight into what the industry is working on.”

Defense contracting officials thought that the easiest and fairest way to fix it for all was to update the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations with a rule, Kurjanowicz said.

“The fundamental word in IR&D is independent,” he added. “We want to communicate our needs, but the firm has the option as to what technology they pursue. The leadership is very keen on that, because we can’t say that we have all the good ideas, and … we rely on industry to give us alternatives. So it’s about capabilities, and [defense contractors] determine the technology.”

Abraham Lincoln Visits Bahrain

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zachary S. Welch, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) departed Bahrain, Feb. 5, following a four-day port visit.

While in Bahrain, Abraham Lincoln hosted a reception and Sailors participated in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)-sponsored tours and volunteered for several community relations events (COMRELs).

"It's always good for the crew to take a few days to relax in port and recharge their batteries," said Capt. John D. Alexander, Lincoln's commanding officer. "Our Sailors do outstanding work when we're out to sea, so it's important they get the opportunity to take a break, see new places and experience a wide range of cultures with our partners in the region."

Abraham Lincoln hosted a pierside reception for U.S. and partner nation dignitaries and distinguished guests, Feb. 2, including Vice Adm. Mark Fox, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

Sailors assigned to Abraham Lincoln and guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) experienced the local culture by partaking in MWR tours and events, including guided tours to Bahrain's Grand Mosque and the Tree of Life. Crew members also swam with dolphins, fished and raced go-carts.

"I really loved swimming with the dolphins," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Airman Larry R. Manning. "It's always been a dream of mine, and it's finally happened."

Engineman Fireman Alisha K. Owens said she appreciated the opportunity to visit with the locals and participate in a COMREL at the Kingdom of Bahrain Filipino Women's Club.

"It's a wonderful thing that we had time to give back to the community," Owens said. "We were only there for a short time, and it really shows that-no matter where we are-we can lend a helping hand."

Bahrain marks the second port visit of Abraham Lincoln's 2012 deployment following a visit to Pattaya, Thailand. The ship departed Everett, Wash., Dec. 7, on a cruise that will take the ship around the world and to its new homeport of Norfolk, Va.

Lincoln and Cape St. George are part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ALCSG), which also includes embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and Destroyer Squadron 9, comprised of guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104). ALCSG is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.