Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Navy's Environment and Energy Programs Sail to Inner Harbor for Baltimore Navy Week

From Chief of Naval Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness Division

BALTIMORE (NNS) -- The Navy's energy and environmental programs will be on display during Baltimore's Star-Spangled Sailabration and Navy Week activities from June 14-17.

The event is one of a series of activities planned to commemorate the War of 1812 bicentennial.

The Chief of Naval Operations Energy and Environmental Readiness Division (N45) will have an exhibit aboard USS San Antonio (LPD 17) in the Baltimore Inner Harbor June 14-15 and at Fort McHenry during the air show June 16-17.

Visitors to the N45 exhibits can learn about Navy initiatives such as marine mammal protection, waste management at sea, and energy conservation. The exhibit aboard San Antonio will highlight specific environmental systems on Navy ships, including a plastic waste processor disk.

Information on how the Navy manages waste at sea and on base, along with free copies of Currents, the Navy's energy and environmental magazine; posters; worksheets for kids, and other free educational materials will be available to the public. The Navy's environmental quality mascot, EQ Pelican, will provide free photo opportunities for families during the weekend events.

"The War of 1812 was the conflict in which the U.S. Navy came of age, serving notice to the world that it was a force to be reckoned with. In the two centuries since, the U.S. Navy has become the world's preeminent naval power, not only in combat capability, but also in commitment to protect the natural environment," said John Quinn, N45's acting director. "Baltimore Navy Week is a wonderful opportunity for Baltimore visitors to learn about our nation's naval heritage and to discover the many things their Navy does every day to protect and preserve the environment for future generations."

To learn more about Baltimore Navy Week, visit http://www.navyweek.org/baltimore2012/index.html.

When is One Drink, One Drink Too Many?

By USPHS Lt. Cmdr. David Barry, DCoE clinical psychologist

Lt. Cmdr. David Barry is a subject matter expert on alcohol and substance abuse/misuse at DCoE.

For many, drinking alcohol in moderation isn’t a problem. For others, keeping within appropriate limits can be challenging. So what’s appropriate drinking? And how do you know when your drinking is excessive or risky? Many have misconceptions about the answers to these questions. Primarily young adults believe that as long as they don’t get too sick, black out or drive while intoxicated, their drinking is appropriate. However, not remembering events from the night before, experiencing hangovers and getting sick are all signs of excessive, unhealthy drinking.

Whether at a party or at a bar, it’s easy to unintentionally engage in excessive drinking, since the alcohol content is not always apparent. A standard drink is equal to one 12-ounce beer (5 percent alcohol), five ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol), or a 1.5-ounce shot of 80 proof alcohol. So, drinks like a “large” 20-ounce beer from a restaurant, the microbrew with a kick, or the strong-mixed drink from the bar are greater in alcohol content than one standard drink.

Binge and heavy drinking are problematic drinking behaviors within the military. Binge drinking is consuming five or more drinks (four or more for women) during a typical drinking period, usually more than two hours. Heavy drinking is consuming more than four (three for women) drinks on a single day and no more than 14 (seven for women) drinks per week. According to the most recent health behaviors survey, within a 30-day period, 46 percent of service members binge drink and 20 percent drink heavily. Research is uncovering that combat exposure and deployment-related psychological stress is associated with an increase in frequency of binge and heavy drinking.

Engaging in binge or heavy drinking can place your safety and health at risk. Approximately 80,000 Americans die each year because of alcohol-related medical conditions or alcohol-related accidents. Nearly one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States result from alcohol consumption. Moderate drinking increases your risk for heart disease, liver disease, depression, sleep disorders, stroke, bleeding stomach ulcers and cancer. Additionally, those who binge drink regularly are nearly twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to those who drink moderately. Although the media has reported health benefits for drinking limited quantities of alcohol, the risks associated with light to moderate alcohol drinking may outweigh any positive health effects.

After a decade of war and significant advancements in medical and behavioral health, the military has launched several prevention strategies and campaigns to deglamorize alcohol, educate service members and promote healthy lifestyles. As alcohol remains a problem for many service members, it also remains an ongoing concern within the military.

When choosing to drink, it’s important to recognize why you’re drinking (stress relief, social occasion, to unwind, etc.), have a plan and set a drinking limit. Alcohol in moderation can be appropriate, but when misused it can have devastating effects on your life and those around you. Learn more about improving your health by visiting the resources listed below and if you have a problem, speak with your provider today.

Africom Will Maintain ‘Light Footprint’ in Africa

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

STUTTGART, Germany, June 12, 2012 – The United States has no plans to seek permanent bases in Africa, and, in the spirit of the new defense strategic guidance, will continue to maintain a “light footprint” on the continent, the top U.S. Africa Command officer said.

“In Africa, I would say a light footprint is consistent with what we need and consistent with the defense guidance,” Army Gen. Carter F. Ham told the House Armed Services Committee in February.

With no troops directly assigned to it, Africom relies heavily on its service components: U.S. Army Africa based in Vicenza, Italy; U.S. Air Forces Africa, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; U.S. Marine Forces Africa and Special Operations Command Africa, both based here.

“It is that proximity to the theater that enables the agility we require,” Ham told Congress.

Africom has had its headquarters here since it initially stood up in 2007 as a subcommand of U.S. European Command before reaching full operational capability in 2008. Then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the first Africom commander, Army Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, agreed to defer any decision on its permanent location until 2012.

A congressionally directed review of alternate basing plans is under way, and is expected to be delivered sometime this year. None of the plans being developed involves relocating the headquarters to the African continent, Ham said.

While not expressing his own preferences, Ham said he believes Africom has “been very well served” by its Stuttgart headquarters. In addition to good facilities and proximity to an international airport with direct links to Africa, he noted, Stuttgart offers the operational advantage of being in the same time zone as many of Africom’s African partners. “We are on the same daily rhythm,” the general said.

In addition, he said, collocating Africom with U.S. European Command makes sense, promoting their tradition of working together as they share forces, resources and capabilities.

Ham also underscored the importance of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the only permanent U.S. base in Africa. With about 2,000 U.S. personnel deployed there as part of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, many from the Army National Guard, it provides a stable platform for U.S. military operations in a critical part of the world, he said.

“It’s a great strategic location,” he told American Forces Press Service. “It facilitates not only our operations for U.S. Africa Command, but also U.S. Central Command and U.S. Transportation Command. It is a very key hub and important node for us, a good location that allows us to extend our reach in East Africa and partner with the countries of East Africa.”

Ham said he recognizes concerns among some African countries about an increased U.S. presence on the continent, but emphasized that cost alone would preclude the United States from establishing more permanent bases there.

Meanwhile, a new initiative that Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno announced last month could increase Africom’s engagement opportunities with no uptick in permanent staffing.

The Army plans to implement a regionally aligned force concept next year to better support combatant commanders, Odierno said. Africom is expected to be the first to receive these rotational forces as part of the pilot program to begin next year, followed by U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command.

Panetta, Peres Meet on Security Issues, Defense Relationship

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta met with Israeli President Shimon Peres yesterday at the Pentagon to discuss security issues of mutual concern and the nations’ strong defense relationship, Press Secretary George Little said.

The leaders “consulted on … many areas of cooperation and the common challenges faced by the United States and Israel in the Middle East,” Little added, “to include the ongoing violence in Syria, Iran's nuclear ambitions, the Middle East peace process, and the U.S. commitment to preserving Israel's qualitative military edge.”

Panetta welcomed Peres to the Pentagon and congratulated him on being nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, the highest honor awarded to civilians in the United States

“It is a fitting recognition of your life’s work, [which] has been to advance peace, human dignity and freedom. These basic values are at the core of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Panetta told Peres. “We greatly admire your commitment to these values and we greatly admire your commitment to our relationship.”

The secretary noted that cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli militaries is stronger than ever and that the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security is “rock solid and enduring.”

Panetta added that he looked forward to hearing Peres’ “views on the many challenges we face together. But our goal remains the same for both of our nations: peace, prosperity, and the dream of giving our children a better life.”

After a brief handshake in the meeting room and smiles before the cameras, according to a pool report, Panetta and Peres sat down at a table along with 12 senior officials.

Among them, on the U.S. side, was Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.