Military News

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

FBI Seeking New Tips in Disappearance of Asha Degree

This story has been moved to the Criminal Justice Online Courses blog.

Official: Budget Request Keeps Navy, Marines ‘Expeditionary’

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON  – The Navy and Marine Corps will be leaner and smaller, but still rapidly deployable under the fiscal 2013 budget request President Barack Obama sent to Congress today, the Navy’s budget chief said.

Rear Adm. Joseph P. Mulloy, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for budget, told Pentagon reporters today the sea service, which also administers the Marine Corps’ budget, will trim spending by $58.1 billion by the end of fiscal 2017. The Navy’s proposed fiscal 2013 budget is down $9.5 billion from fiscal 2012.

“We think all of our investments here are aligned to the strategic priorities and goals as set out by the president,” the admiral said.

As required by the Budget Control Act, the Defense Department budget request includes $487 billion in spending cuts for fiscal years 2013 to 2017.

The budget request sets Navy active and reserve end strength for fiscal 2013 at 385,200 -- 1.7 percent less than fiscal 2012. In fiscal 2017, the end strength will be 376,600, a 3.9 percent reduction from fiscal 2012.

Marine Corps active and reserve end strength in fiscal 2013 is 236,900 under the proposal -- 2 percent less than fiscal 2012. In fiscal 2017 the end strength will be 221,700, an 8.3 percent reduction from fiscal 2012.

“The Navy has come down almost 6,000 people over the last 10 years,” the admiral noted. Marine Corps end-state reductions, like the Army’s, are in line with planned troop reductions in Afghanistan, he added.

Mulloy noted sailors and Marines will lose “not a dollar” under the budget request, though pay increases will slow after 2014.

In force structure changes through fiscal 2017, the Navy will eliminate seven cruisers and two dock landing ships. Next fiscal year, the service is slated to add seven and drop 11 from its list of combat-capable ships.

The Navy will gain a nuclear attack submarine, a transport dock, a dry-cargo ammunition ship, a littoral combat ship, two joint high-speed vessels and one mobile landing platform. The service will retire one aircraft carrier, six frigates and four cruisers.

Mulloy noted Navy officials don’t expect the fleet size to change much over time, though the number of ships will drop slightly for a few years.

“We’re forecasting that in 2017 we’ll have the same number of ships that we have now,” he said.

“We have 37 ships under construction … and nine more ships to award this year,” the admiral added.

The Marine Corps will eliminate an infantry regiment headquarters, five infantry battalions (four active and one reserve), an artillery battalion, four tactical air squadrons (three active and one reserve), and a combat logistics battalion.

Mulloy acknowledged the budget request call for delaying several Navy and Marine Corps programs and postponing some purchases. Operations and maintenance are essential, he said, and too-deep force cuts carry unacceptable risk, so “where do you take the cuts?”

Navy planners and leaders looked at long-term programs as the best source of cost reduction, he said, adding “The real driver here was, ‘What do we need to have?’”

The proposal delays for two years the planned “SSBN-X” ballistic missile submarine program, which will develop a replacement for the Ohio-class submarines.

The Ohio-class subs will begin to reach the end of their service life in 2027, according to Navy officials. A two-year delay in developing the multibillion-dollar replacement, which will form part of the nation’s nuclear triad, represents an “acceptable risk,” officials said.

The Navy also proposes reducing procurement of joint high-speed vessels from 18 ships to 10, and a scheduled MV-22 Osprey purchase by 24 aircraft through 2017.

The Navy will also slow buys of two joint strike fighter variants, deferring until after 2017 purchase of 69 of the aircraft. The service will terminate its Medium-Range Maritime Unmanned Aerial System, as Navy officials said other unmanned systems show demonstrated capability.

Spending for Navy and Marine Corps green energy initiatives will remain fairly steady, Mulloy said, calling them a key component for the department for “tremendous tactical reasons.”

For Marines on the ground and ships and planes afloat, minimizing fuel transport and fueling operations means reducing risk, he noted.

“Everything you can do to [reduce] energy use and drive the same tactical output … is important,” the admiral said.

The Navy and Marine Corps’ emphasis on renewable energy ensures more “safety for personnel and efficiency for our forces,” Mulloy added.

The budget proposal will mean “a leaner, smaller force, but we’re still rapidly deployable and expeditionary, and we’re manned and led with the highest quality of individuals,” he said.

USS Frank Cable Arrives in Portland

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Chris Salisbury, USS Frank Cable Public Affairs

PORTLAND, Ore. (NNS) -- Submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) arrived in Portland, Ore., for a regular overhaul and dry-docking Feb. 10.

"I'm excited to be back in the States," said Personnel Specialist Seaman Apprentice Deven Gonzales, a Sailor assigned to Frank Cable. "I'm hoping to do a lot of cycling and sightseeing in Oregon."

During their four week passage from Guam to Oregon, Sailors on board the Frank Cable enjoyed a week in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; worked on qualifications; and participated in many fire, flooding, man-overboard and abandoned ship drills.

"The Sailors' primary mission in Portland is to support the shipyard to ensure a smooth yard period, providing force protection for the ship," said Master Chief Hull Technician Kenneth Wagner, repair master chief on board Frank Cable. "Sailors, on their off time, will have opportunities to take in the sites here in the Northwest region."

Wagner said the purpose of the ROH is to conduct engineering repair, hull preservation and provide material upgrades to the ship.

"The dry-docking availability should result in a significant improvement in the material condition of the ship," said Capt. Pete Hildreth, Frank Cable's commanding officer. "As a result of this maintenance period, Frank Cable should not need to go back in dock for scheduled maintenance for eight years. This will allow Frank Cable to focus on its primary mission of conducting submarine repair in the Western Pacific."

Submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) is temporarily relieving Frank Cable from conducting maintenance of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Following the dry-docking and maintenance, sea trials will be conducted prior to Frank Cable transitioning back to Guam.

Films on famed Tuskegee Airmen prompts diversity discussion

By 1st Sgt. Vaughn R. Larson
Wisconsin National Guard

Lights, camera ... discussion.

While the movie "Red Tails" soars across cinema screens nationwide, an earlier dramatization of the 332nd Fighter Group - the famed Tuskegee Airmen - and its battles in the skies over Europe as well as against discrimination by fellow Americans was viewed by Wisconsin National Guard members and civilian Department of Military Affairs employees Tuesday (Feb. 7). The 1995 movie "The Tuskegee Airmen" was part of a professional development session on diversity, led by Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin.

"It's interesting to see the parallels from back then and today," said Col. Julie Gerety, manpower and personnel director for the Wisconsin National Guard's Joint Staff. "'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' - same kind of concept. And females in combat, same thing - let's address it after the war."

Col. Julio Barron, a senior member of the Wisconsin National Guard's staff judge advocate office, agreed.

"What will define our time when history looks back at us?" he said, noting the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s. "I think it's going to be sexual orientation."

Dunbar said the movie stressed the importance of seeing someone from an individual's particular community in a leadership role.

Wisconsin National Guard members and civilian Department of Military Affairs employees watch the 1995 movie "The Tuskegee Airmen" at Joint Force Headquarters' Witmer Hall on Tuesday (Feb. 7) as part of a professional development session on diversity. Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, led a discussion following the movie. Wisconsin National Guard photo by 1st Sgt. Vaughn R. Larson

"It wasn't too long ago that we had very few women in the military," Dunbar said. "Now we have [women as] senior leaders in the military, so young women joining the military today can look at an organization and see a senior leader and say, 'Okay, that could be me.'"

Dunbar related a scene from the movie in which Lt. Hannibal Lee informs the cadet pilots that he has numerous combat missions under his belt, and how the cadets suddenly see him not as a black officer and novice instructor, but a combat leader and someone to look up to.

"So when we talk about having someone from a diverse population join our ranks, and we grow from within, the importance of future generations being able to look into the Wisconsin National Guard and not only see the things we stand for, but that piece of you that comes from your community," Dunbar said, "I think that's important."

Barron, now an Air National Guard officer, recalled joining the military as an Army second lieutenant and immediately encountering bigotry with his unit commander.

"He used racial slurs toward me ... because I'm Hispanic," Barron said. "Frankly, it angered me so much that I said, 'After my four-year tour, I'm going to get out of the Army and I really don't want anything more to do with it.' But I didn't get out, and I made a commitment to try and change perceptions from within the organization."

Barron said that today he sees members of underrepresented groups in senior leadership positions.

"I am personally proud that we have made such strides in the armed forces," he said.

Dunbar noted that new people groups in the United States historically met with prejudice and discrimination at first. President Harry Truman overcame his own prejudices to integrate the armed forces, he added.

"[Truman] said, 'There's no way we can treat these Americans that way after they've served our country,'" Dunbar said.

1st Lt. Ron Adams, the Wisconsin National Guard's diversity officer, pointed out that diversity is bigger than race and gender.

"If you noticed throughout the movie, when they started meeting each other, they were all different," Adams said. "That one guy was from the city, and the other guy was from a rural area. You had the two pilots who were on a bomber, from Texas and California. We're all different in some kind of way. We need to be mindful of that."

Gerety said that everyone has some level of prejudice.

"This movie just reinforces that sometime you've got to open your mind and listen to what people have to say," she said. "No matter who it is and what prejudice you have, everybody does bring something to the table."

The first of the Wisconsin National Guard Diversity Council's four tenets is mission readiness. Dunbar asked how diversity applies.

"You have to draw from every age in your ranks, their background - whether they're rural or from the city - and capitalize on their life experiences, the deployments they might have," replied Maj. Max Brosig, executive officer with the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation.

"The second [tenet] is change management," Dunbar said. "Our country's changing, there's no doubt about that. Cultural awareness is the third tenet. And then there's respect - everyone has something to offer.

"Things will continue to change and evolve in our country, and that's a good thing," Dunbar continued. "But I believe the foundation remains the same. So no matter who they are or where they come from, if we're not doing our job right, you'll see the breakdown in the National Guard - not because they're not capable, but because we don't lead them well. If we do our job as leaders, we'll always have a great National Guard."

Budget Proposal’s Tough Cuts ‘Absolutely Necessary,’ Obama Says

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

WASHINGTON  – President Barack Obama today called his fiscal 2013 budget proposal a blueprint to an economy built to last that will require tough cuts and shared responsibility.

“The main idea in the budget is … at a time when our economy is growing and creating jobs at a faster clip, we've got to do everything in our power to keep this recovery on track,” Obama said.

Speaking to students at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., Obama talked about tough choices regarding the budget designed to help in reducing the country’s deficit.

“Part of our job is to bring down our deficit,” he said. “And if Congress adopts this budget, then along with the cuts that we've already made, we'll be able to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion by the year 2022.”

According to documents released today, the details of the president’s budget request reflect the $487 billion in reductions the Budget Control Act set for defense spending over the next 10 years. The president acknowledged he is proposing difficult cuts, and added that he wouldn’t have proposed them if they weren’t “absolutely necessary.”

“But they are, and the truth is we're going to have to make some tough choices in order to put this country back on a more sustainable fiscal path,” he said. “By reducing our deficit on the long term, what that allows us to do is to invest in the things that will help grow our economy right now. We can't cut back on those things that are important for us to grow. We can't just cut our way into growth.”

Obama said the country can cut back on things that it doesn’t need, but everyone has to pay their “fair share.”

Pentagon officials said the Defense Department is on path to save $259 billion over the next five years and $487 billion over the next 10. The Pentagon’s top-line budget request is $525 billion for fiscal 2013, with $88.4 billion more for overseas contingency operations, mostly in Afghanistan. This is down from $531 billion and $115 billion for fiscal 2012.

Obama called the budget request released today a “reflection of shared responsibility.”

“It says that if we're serious about investing in our future and investing in community colleges and investing in new energy technology and investing in basic research, well, we've got to pay for it, and that means we've got to make some choices,” he said.

“And if we work together in common purpose, we will build an economy that lasts, and remind people around the world why America is the greatest country on earth,” Obama said.

USS Carl Vinson Awarded 2011 Battle "E"

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Byron C. Linder, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Air Forces awarded the 2011 Battle Efficiency (Battle "E") for West Coast-based aircraft carriers to Sailors of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Feb. 10.

Vinson Commanding Officer Capt. Kent D. Whalen congratulated the Vinson Sailors who made the award possible.

"It is terrific to see this ship and crew receive this kind of recognition. It is a testament to their hard work and dedication and very appropriate for the announcement to come while forward deployed conducting combat operations," he said. "The spirit and enthusiasm on Carl Vinson amazes me every day. I couldn't be prouder of what these Sailors have accomplished."

The annual award was the culmination of 2011's 365 operational days, of which Vinson Sailors spent 235 at sea. This is Vinson's sixth Battle "E" overall, having previously earned the distinction in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2001 and 2004. This marks the first Battle "E" since returning from a refueling complex overhaul in 2009.

"I am very proud of our crew and honored to be a part of the team. I see their dedication and professionalism every day, and I am thankful they are being recognized for their accomplishments in 2011," said Executive Officer Cmdr. Paul Spedero. "I know our Sailors will wear the Battle "E" with pride and continue to serve our Navy with honor, courage and commitment."

The Battle "E" is designed to measure and recognize a command's sustained superior performance and battle efficiency in an operational environment through the calendar year.

Command Master Chief April Beldo noted the importance of teamwork in the achievement.

"This is something I'll remember the rest of my career and long after. Look back at what this crew has accomplished, and there can be no doubt as to whether they deserved the "E"," she said. "Their spirit has been overwhelming and their will to succeed is the reason we're celebrating this. Individually, these Sailors are outstanding. Collectively, they are unbeatable."

Vinson earned 14 departmental efficiency awards for 2011 as part of the assessment - the Air Department Yellow "E," Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department Black "E," Combat Systems Green "CS," Damage Control Red "DC," Deck White Crossed Anchors with Black "D," Engineering Red "E," Medical Blue "M," Navigation White Ship's Wheel, Operations Green "E", Safety Green "S", Security Black "S", Supply Blue "E", Weapons Black "W", and Carrier Maintenance Purple "E".

"Our Sailors answered every bell with enthusiasm, technical expertise, an eye on safety and great pride in service. You don't win a Battle "E" on appearances. You have to excel in every area," said Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon, commander, Carrier Strike Group 1 (CSG 1). "Carl Vinson Sailors clearly demonstrated sustained superior performance, operational effectiveness and continuous readiness above all others. I couldn't be more proud."

Lt. Cmdr. Amy Hunt, Vinson's training officer, noted despite the different criteria for earning a departmental award, one common factor ran through the individual successes.

"We earned it because the Sailors worked really hard all year long," she said. "There were a lot of competitive exercises the departments had to perform. Whenever we had a graded general quarters drill, those went into the overall ship's grade."

Vinson Sailors were charged with completing 110 graded exercises throughout the year. These evolutions were spread out over nine departments.

"We trained very well and very hard, and our grades for those exercises were very good. We had two back-to-back combat deployments, and we demonstrated we were the go-to ship," Hunt said, citing Vinson's service in the 2011 Quicken Loans Carrier Classic NCAA basketball game. "Any time we were tasked with something, we did it. And we have a very good reputation as a ship because of our hardworking Sailors."

Carl Vinson, embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97), and guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) comprise CSG 1. CSG 1 is conducting maritime theater security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

The USO Awarded National Medal of Arts for Sharing the Sights and Sounds of Home with Troops Around the Globe

Event Marked the Only Time in the Medal’s 28-Year History the U.S. Government’s Highest Arts Honor Ever Bestowed Upon a Military Charity
USO Extends Gratitude to President Barack Obama, the National Endowment for the Arts, All of its Celebrity Friends and the American Public for Making Honor Possible 

Twitter Pitch: @the_USO thanks @BarackObama, @NEArts, the American public and all its celebrity friends for Natl Medal of Arts in excellence in troop entertainment!

ARLINGTON, Va. (February 13, 2012) – President Barack Obama presented the USO with the National Medal of Arts – the U.S. government’s highest arts honor – for sharing the sights and sounds of home with troops stationed around the world.  The ceremony, which took place in the East Room of the White House this afternoon, is an annual event recognizing exemplary individuals and/or organizations for their encouragement of the arts and delivery of inspirations to others through their achievement, support and patronage.  The USO is the only military charity to receive the National Medal of Arts in the medal’s 28-year history.  To download photos of the event, view USO tour imagery and more, visit https://uso.box.com/s/zz3sljqzmvdax4sejn2n.

Fellow honorees include actor/director Al Pacino; country music singer/songwriter Mel Tillis; poet/author Rita Dove; pianist/teacher Andre Watts; painter, printmaker and teacher Will Barnet; curator, art collector and philanthropist Emily Rauh Pulitzer; and sculptor Martin Puryear.  Established by Congress in 1984 as a way to recognize outstanding contributions to excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the U.S., more than 250 patrons have been presented with this lifetime achievement award with hundreds of nominations being submitted by citizens across the country each year.

“We are humbled by the President’s recognition of our mission to lift the spirits of troops and their families through exceptional entertainment around the world,” said Sloan Gibson, USO President and CEO.  “Most importantly – we have never done this alone.  From our celebrity friends who have worked with us over the years, our military and corporate partners, and our hard working Entertainment staff – we all share in this honor.  We celebrate this award with all of you and with more than 1.4 million service men and women and their families who currently serve our nation.”

Since just before the United States entered World War II, the USO has been the bridge between the American people and our men and women in uniform – extending a much-needed touch of home.  In times of peace and war, the USO’s mission has remained the same - to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families wherever they serve.  USO entertainment remains essential to fulfilling this mission and does so by sending out well known actors, athletes, musicians, comedians and entertainers each year to visit and spend time with America’s armed forces and their families.  Whether performing a USO show in a remote location in the Middle East, visiting a military hospital in Europe, hosting an autograph signing in the Pacific or screening the latest film stateside, the USO has lifted the spirits of millions of service men and women and their families over its 71-year lifetime.

“Throughout our history, the USO has been taking American celebrities we see in our living rooms to entertain live on the battlefield for America’s troops serving around the world,” said General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the USO Board of Governors and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  “We are truly honored to receive this year’s National Medal of Arts.  We consider it a priviledge to support our nation’s troops and military families, and will continue to serve them as well as educate the American public about the unique issues they face.”

In 2011, the USO deployed 136 celebrity entertainers on 83 tours to 25 countries and 19 states, entertaining more than 296,000 troops and military families.  Nineteen of these tours were to a combat zone in the Middle East.  That same year, the USO delivered more than 500 special entertainment events to include concerts, autograph signings, hospital visits and movie screenings.  Entertainers who recently toured with the USO include Toby Keith, Carlos Mencia, Gary Sinise, Jon Stewart, Babyface, Train, NFL coaches Gary Kubiak, Jim Mora Jr., Jim Mora Sr., Ken Whisenhunt and other NFL greats, NBA legend Karl Malone, Jillian Michaels, Kellie Pickler, NASCAR drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, Anna Kournikova, and Jordin Sparks. In 2012, the USO will again deploy some of our nation’s most beloved entertainers.

Setting the stage for USO entertainment is the legendary Bob Hope, who traveled the globe in times of war and peace entertaining service men and women for nearly six decades.  Nicknamed “America’s No. 1 Soldier in Greasepaint” and “G.I. Bob,” Hope’s early support of the U.S. military led to a formal relationship with the USO during World War II.  Over the course of his career, Hope appeared in or hosted hundreds of USO tours, including 35 consecutive Christmas tours.  Befriended by virtually every U.S. President since Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hope was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton in 1995 for his lifetime achievements as a comedian, actor and fundraiser for the USO, among other charitable causes.

Recipients of the National Medal of Arts are personally selected by the President of the United States.  Each year, the National Endowment for the Arts initiates the selection process by soliciting nominations for the Medal from the public and various arts fields. Nominations are reviewed by the National Council on the Arts, composed of Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed individuals.  The National Council's list of nominees is then forwarded to the President for consideration with candidates of the President's own choosing.  Past honorees include such notable artists as Quincy Jones, Meryl Streep, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, Dolly Pardon, George Strait and Smokey Robinson, among others.

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About the USO
The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops and their families, wounded warriors, military families and the families of the fallen.

The USO is a private, nonprofit organization, not a government agency. We rely on the generosity of our volunteers and donors. In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President’s Circle Partners: American Airlines, Kangaroo Express, Kroger, Northrop Grumman Corporation and TriWest Healthcare Alliance and Worldwide Strategic Partners: AT&T, Inc., BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Clear Channel Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation and Procter & Gamble. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this patriotic mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov.