Military News

Monday, July 23, 2012

DOD Approves NATO Medals for Operations in Africa and Libya

The Department of Defense announced today the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Medal for NATO Operations and Activities in Africa and the NATO Medal for Operations and Activities in Libya have been approved for acceptance and wear by eligible U.S. service members and DoD civilian personnel.

NATO awards the NATO Medal for NATO Operations and Activities in Africa for service in direct support of one of the following operations or activities:
  • North Atlantic Council-approved NATO support activities in relation to the African Union
  • Operation ALLIED PROVIDER
  • Operation ALLIED PROTECTOR
  • Operation OCEAN SHIELD
NATO awards the NATO Medal for NATO Operations and Activities in Libya for service in direct support of the following operation:
  • Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR
Individuals awarded the NATO Medal for NATO Operations and Activities in Africa or for Libya should consult with their personnel offices for more information on eligibility or to update their personnel files.

For a list of the NATO medals that have been authorized for acceptance and wear by U.S. service members, see DoD Manual 1348.33, Manual of Military Decorations and Awards, Volume 3. 

Redesigned Transition Assistance Program Announced

Today President Obama announced the launch of the redesigned Transition Assistance Program developed by an interagency team from the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Labor, Education, and Homeland Security as well as the Office of Personnel and Management and the Small Business Administration.

The revamped program, called Transition GPS, is the first major overhaul of the transition assistance program for military members in nearly 20 years. The effort began in response to a call from President Obama in August 2011 to ensure all service members are “career ready” when they leave the military.

“I applaud the leadership of President Obama to bring together government agencies around the goal of enhancing career opportunities for service members,” said Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta. “Our personnel have developed extraordinary technical expertise and world-class leadership skills that are in high demand. Transition GPS will help military members apply their experience to additional training, formal education, and develop successful civilian careers.”

“One of our fundamental responsibilities as a government is to properly prepare and support those serving in our military so they are career ready as they transition back into civilian life. With this new initiative, we can better ensure veterans receive the care, benefits and employment services they have earned,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This collaborative effort will have an impact well beyond this current generation of individuals returning from combat.”

Creech Airman saves Canadian lives, awarded medal at Vandenberg

by Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello
30th Space Wing Public Affairs


7/19/2012 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A former Air Force staff sergeant was ceremoniously awarded a Canadian medal by the deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command in the Pacific Coast Club here July 18.

Lt. Gen. Tom Lawson, North American Aerospace Defense Command deputy commander, awarded Scott Knight, a former senior mission intelligence coordinator at the 42nd Attack Squadron at Creech AFB, Nev., the Chief of Defense Staff Commendation medal on behalf of Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Chief of Defense Staff of the Canadian forces, for actions that resulted in saving Canadian lives during a deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2008.

According to the award citation, during several incidents involving troops in contact during his deployment, Knight provided fire support that saved Canadian lives. However, there is much more to the story that may never be heard.

"Even as I read the medal's very carefully developed script, it is going to leave out a lot of information that can't be shared with us today," Lawson said. "So, the Chief of Defense Staff said on an unclassified phone to just, 'let Scott know that for everything he did that was not included in this citation, we thank him."'

Airmen are commonly deployed to work side by side with military personnel from other nations. Some believe the relationships fostered because of this inter-operational capability directly result in saved lives.

"We have, as nations, been battle buddies in wars that date back 100 years," Lawson said. "Through many conflicts we have been each other's strongest ally and, most recently in the past 10 years, we have been engaged very directly in inter-operational campaigns in Afghanistan. In doing that, we have now created a generation of young Canadian and American officers and non-commissioned officers who are going to serve us very well for their entire careers, remembering how closely we were integrated with our American and Canadian buddies. There are American lives and Canadian lives that were saved as a result of those inter-operational capabilities."

According to the Canadian Chief of Defense Staff, that joint functional war-fighting synergy is what allowed mission success during Knight's deployment to Afghanistan.

"What is not included in the script is that lives were saved, operations became successful and the awareness of where we could go after these operations were all heavily supported by the direct actions of the staff sergeant I have beside me here," Lawson said.

As Knight accepted the medal, he thanked his Canadian counterparts.

"I'm honored to have been nominated for this award and even more honored to receive it."

Military leaders reflect on fallen warriors

460th Space Wing Public Affairs

7/23/2012 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Buckley leadership expressed their sympathy for everyone affected by the July 20 Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting.

Among the victims were two Buckley members, Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse Childress and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Thomas Larimer.

"This tragic event has affected everyone here at Buckley Air Force Base and our local community friends and neighbors. We are deeply saddened by the loss of each and every loved one," said Col. Daniel Dant, 460th Space Wing commander.

Childress, 29, was a cyber systems operation technician with the Air Force Reserves assigned to the 310th Force Support Squadron on active duty orders. Childress entered the enlisted in 2002 with the Army, where he trained as a satellite systems operator. He then joined the Reserves in 2010.

According to friends and family he was an avid sports fan, often participating in multiple intramural sports offered on the installation. He rooted for his Denver Broncos, L.A. Clippers and L.A. Kings and was a big fan of comics and superheroes.

Larimer, 27, was a cryptologic technician assigned to the Naval Information Operations Command. He joined the Navy in 2011.

"I am incredibly saddened by the loss of Petty Officer John Larimer," Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski, Larimer's commanding officer, said in a statement. "He was an outstanding shipmate. A valued member of our Navy team, he will be missed by all who knew him. My heart goes out to John's family, friends and loved ones, as well as to all victims of this horrible tragedy."

A memorial service is expected to be held for both service members, more information on dates and times will be posted on Buckley's website when available.

Message on the Shootings in Colorado

Message on the Shootings in Colorado
As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, The Pentagon, Washington, DC, Monday, July 23, 2012

To all Department of Defense personnel:
Flags at Department of Defense installations across the world are being flown at half-staff to honor the victims of last week’s tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. All of us in the Department of Defense community are deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence, which has hit our military family especially hard.

Four of the victims served in the military – including Air Force Staff Sergeant Jesse Childress, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Larimer, Jonathan Blunk, a former Sailor, and Rebecca Wingo, a former Airman. Other DoD personnel and family members were also injured in this cruel attack.

I know that many are struggling to understand why these innocent lives were taken from us, and how such a tragedy could occur in this country. Even as we try to make sense of this evil act, we are also moved to learn more about the actions of men and women like SSgt. Childress, who threw himself in front of his friend in the movie theater to shield her from the gunman. His selflessness saved her life, at the cost of his own.

These acts of heroism and sacrifice are the essence of what military service is about – putting your life on the line to defend those who are part of the American family.

Let us all honor the victims of this tragedy by committing ourselves to the hard work and sacrifice of protecting this country. Bravery, courage, and dedication are the hallmarks of our men and women in uniform – our heroes.

May God bless each and every one of you, and the United States of America.

Farris praises wing for MAFFS support, sees mission firsthand

by Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Collier
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


7/17/2012 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- With the Waldo Canyon Fire finally out, the 302nd Airlift Wing received praise and support for their involvement in aerial fire fighting from Maj. Gen. Wallace W. "Wade" Farris, Jr., during his visit to the wing July 14 here.

Farris, 22nd Air Force commander, parent organization to the 302nd AW, traveled to Colorado to see the wing's mission firsthand, especially after the high operations tempo during the Waldo Canyon Fire call up. The general had an opportunity to see and meet Airmen from several of the wing's squadrons, including the 302nd Logistics Readiness, Maintenance, Aeromedical Staging, Aerial Port and Force Support Squadrons as well as the 302nd Communications Flight.

Commenting on the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, or "MAFFS" mission, Farris said the aerial firefighting mission is "always important to many communities around the country, especially out west where fires are simply a fact of life."

"Obviously, that (MAFFS) mission became extremely important in Colorado Springs as fires were burning right in your backyard and many of our folks in the 302nd (AW) had to evacuate and saw their neighbor's homes go up in flames," Farris said. "And the response from our folks for that fire was outstanding. Every time I turn around I hear another story of some outstanding performance of folks working in the 100-plus degree temperatures on the ramp or our fuels folks servicing the MAFFS aircraft in as little as 15 minutes. That's just an outstanding response. The fact they that helped contain the fire and kept it from burning down more houses and doing more damage than it did was huge."

Farris continued by pointing out it was much more than just the C-130 aerial firefighting mission that defined the volunteerism of the 302nd AW.

"Something else that struck me about the 302nd (AW) during this emergency was how folks took in evacuees in the spirit of cooperation so folks didn't have to go to the shelters. It must have meant a lot to those who evacuated and I'm sure it did. So the whole response from the 302nd (AW) made me proud to be a Reservist and proud to be its (numbered air force) commander. This wing should definitely hold its head high after these last couple of weeks."

The general also presented his commander's coin to a number of Airmen who had gone above and beyond in their respective organizations. Staff Sgt. Timothy Parker, a logistics plans specialist with the 302nd LRS, and one of those Airmen who received a coin, said it meant a lot to him because he's "never met someone that high ranking before."

"It was an honor [to meet the general] and you never really think about that until it happens," he said. "I could never have gotten this recognition without my squadron and my commander giving me the support I needed."

Farris, who has served in the Air Force since 1974, also pointed out that despite ongoing budget cuts and other adversities in the Air Force, he could still see the "sense of pride in doing the job" of an Air Force Reservist.

"With all our units in 22nd Air Force, the motivation and enthusiasm is everywhere. Stepping in when need be to deploy, taking care of a fire in your backyard or even when you need to go somewhere else to fight a fire, our Airmen are still willing and eager to step up to the job and that always impresses and energizes me when I visit the units and listen to our Airmen talk. Their concerns are 'how can I train better,' 'when can I deploy' and 'what can I do more to be a better Airman.' That always makes me feel good and gives me a lot of confidence."

Total Force C-130 operations building opens at Peterson

by Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Collier
302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


7/17/2012 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- With a snip of the ceremonial scissors, Air Force Reserve and Active Duty Airmen ushered in the opening of a new Total Force C-130 operations facility July 17 here.

The new $5.6 million facility is the next milestone in the 302nd Airlift Wing's integration with the Active Duty 52nd Airlift Squadron. The 12,500-square foot building will house both the 52nd AS and the AF Reserve's 731st Airlift Squadron under one roof. The two squadrons, as well as C-130 Hercules aircraft maintenance, merged under the Air Force's Total Force Integration program.

Known as 'TFI,' the integration allows Active Duty, Air National Guard and AF Reserve organizations to make more efficient use of facilities, personnel and aircraft. For the 52nd AS and 302nd AW, that means performing both training and real-world airlift and airdrop missions together, as well as matching maintenance personnel to maintain the wing's 12 tactical airlift aircraft.

Officiating the historic moment, leadership from both the AF Reserve and Air Mobility Command took center stage to cut the bright, red ribbon. Grasping the scissors, AF Reserve Col. Jay Pittman, 302nd AW commander, and Col. Brian Robinson, 19th AW commander from Little Rock AFB, Ark., sliced through the ribbon, marking the official opening of the facility.

Just before the ribbon cutting, Pittman stood in front of the audience, highlighting the significance of the day's event.

"We've been waiting over a year for this building to be finished. It's been worth the wait and this is a fabulous facility," Pittman said. "I love talking about this TFI; I believe in it and I'm passionate about it. From day one, the 52nd AS pulled together, and since then we've been through combat together and we've been inspected together. This building is really going to be the icing on the cake. It's the last piece we need to look like a long-term, professional organization. We used to call this [area] the Reserve campus; this is now the TFI campus."

Pittman pointed out some of the highlights of the new facility, including a 200-seat auditorium, which he said was necessary for the many organizations looking for adequate space on Peterson. The colonel said he was also excited to see continued improvements in the area, with a newly-landscaped courtyard, lighting and a partially-covered area.

The colonel also proudly proclaimed his vision for the new facility.

"This campus is going to be the showcase of the Air Force Reserve Command and the TFI community at large."

Mirroring the Active Duty relationship with their AF Reserve counterparts here, Robinson also spoke highly of the TFI partnership.

"I can tell you that Colonel Pittman has the same amount of enthusiasm about this project that he had over our very first phone call," Robinson said. "I just want to say thanks to all the organizations out here that have taken care of the 52nd AS. You know, I don't worry about this unit at all. Everyone here is committed to success and they're doing it right."

The 52nd AS, which first activated in October 2009, has seen their share of combat deployments. The squadron has deployed several times, supporting tactical airlift and airdrop operations throughout Southwest Asia. The squadron achieved full operational capability in late 2011 as its end strength reach approximately 200 Airmen.

Dreams take flight for 728th Airlift Squadron pilot

by Tech. Sgt. Tanya King
446th Airlift WIng Public Affairs


7/18/2012 - MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- Lt. Col. Kimberly Scott, a 728th Airlift Squadron pilot here, is being recognized for her military and civilian aviation accomplishments at the Eleanor Williams Dreams Take Flight Celebration during the International Black Aerospace Coalition Conference in Las Vegas on Aug. 1.

The award honors two pioneers in aviation history: Bessie Coleman, who in 1921 became the first American to obtain an international pilot's license; and Eleanor Williams, who in 1971 became the first African-American female air traffic controller. This year's conference focus is on military personnel.

"Both Eleanor Williams and Bessie Coleman were trailblazers in aviation; they had to be very persistent to achieve their dreams," said Scott, who is one of five recipients of the annual award. "It is very humbling to be considered in their company. I am honored if young people can be inspired by learning about my contributions to military and civilian aviation."

Inspired by her family and seeing aerial demonstrations at various air shows, Scott became the first African-American female pilot for both the Air Force's C-17 Globemaster III and Alaska Airlines.

Scott said her success is a function of the support she's received throughout her life and career.

"I loved hearing how my parents described their proud service with the U.S. Army and about the wonderful experiences they had while stationed in Europe," Scott said. "We would drop my father off at the airport and take him to the gate. I always wanted to get on the airplane and to see what was at the end of the jetway! I knew then that I also wanted to serve in some capacity."

After graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1990, Scott served on active duty as a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot until 2001 and flew combat support missions for operations in Kosovo and Bosnia, as well as post Desert Storm operations and Operation Southern Watch.

In 2001, she left active duty and became a Citizen Airman in the 446th Airlift Wing assigned to the 728th AS. Since then, she has flown combat support missions including Operations New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.

Scott encourages young women and underrepresented youth to pursue aerospace careers.

"Unfortunately there are very few African-American female pilots in the Air Force," Scott said. "We make up less than one percent of pilots. I am very encouraged by taking part in recruiting events including Women Fly at the Seattle Museum of Flight, Women in Aviation, the Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson Aerospace Program and those with the Tuskegee Airmen."

The veteran pilot said she loves volunteering for aerospace education organizations because it allows her be that mentor to someone else who needs the encouragement and advice she got when she was pursuing her aerospace career. The advice Scott has for others who want to follow in her footsteps is similar to the advice her family and mentors gave her and are consistent with the qualities award honorees Bessie Coleman and Eleanor Williams embodied.

"Work hard, be prepared, be persistent, work towards excellence, keep a positive attitude and don't give up," is Scott's advice to those she mentors. "If you face challenges, learn from your mistakes and then keep going."

Barksdale A-10 unit demonstrates maritime capabilities

by Staff Sgt. Ted Daigle
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


7/20/2012 - Barksdale AFB, La. -- Pilots of the 47th Fighter Squadron demonstrated the maritime capability of the A-10 Thunderbolt II by sinking an abandoned naval vessel July 14 during the Rim of the Pacific exercise at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii

The exercise was unique in that it required A-10 pilots to take on a maritime target instead of the more traditional land-based target, according to Lt. Col. Jim Travis, 47th Fighter Squadron commander.

Maj. Grant McCall, 47th FS pilot, coordinated the event and said the quick sinking of the naval vessel surprised some of the RIMPAC planners.

"I think they underestimated the ability of the A-10," he said. "Other groups were supposed to shoot at the target after we took our turn, but never got the chance because we sank it."

Travis said a four-ship formation of A-10s dropped four inert, 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs on the vessel. The bombs inflicted heavy damage on the ship, with the first bomb completely penetrating the hull.

After dropping the bombs, the pilots continued the attack, inflicting heavy damage on the ship with 30-millimeter rounds until it plunged beneath the surface of the ocean, according to Travis.

"The 30 millimeters were pounding the ship and sending monster geysers of water up in the air. It was a spectacular sight, like something out of old World War II footage." he said.

In addition to sinking the ship, pilots from the 47th FS were also able to participate in a unique exercise in which they helped F-22 Raptor pilots from the Hawaiian Air National Guard by generating coordinates for their bombing practice, said McCall.

Travis said the point of the exercise was to introduce coordinates to the F-22s and have them launch an attack on those points.

"It was a big success because we were able to send them coordinates and they were able to launch their attack in less than five minutes," he said. "It was the first time this type of coordination has ever been attempted with these F-22s, so their timely response and perfect hits on the coordinates was impressive."

Travis added the ability to provide direct and indirect maritime support adds another dimension to the capability of the A-10.

"RIMPAC has provided us an opportunity to expand our maritime air support capabilities. Where else could you drop a ship in a SINKEX, defend allied ships from a small boat attach and practice close air support with some of the special operations teams?" said Travis.

The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans.

NBA supports Nellis

by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hughes
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


7/23/2012 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The Nellis Warrior Fitness Center basketball court was packed to capacity with more than 100 if the base's youth awaiting the mentorship of six USA Basketball Legends during the Hoops for Troops event July 10, 2012.

Legends Lenny Wilkens, Gary Payton, Chris Mullin, Spencer Haywood, Jerome Williams and Teresa Edwards, engaged the youth and taught basketball techniques during a one-hour basketball clinic.

For Lenny Wilkens, the coach with the most wins in NBA history, the event provided an opportunity to make a positive impact on today's youth.

"These are legends who their parents might have talked about or saw on TV, but now they're actually out on the court with them -- it can only be positive," Wilkens said. "The Legends show the [children] that they care, that they do matter and that if they aspire, they can achieve anything they set their minds to."

Chris Mullin, a member of the 1992 USA Olympic Basketball team known as the "Dream Team," said for him, the experience has just as much of an impact on him as it does the military family members.

"I think it's nice to spend some time with the kids, share some ideas, see the kids smile, and spend some time with their families," said Mullin. "We just appreciate everything the military does for us. That's what it's really all about."

During the visit, USA Basketball Legends also taught the youth fundamentals of dribbling, rebounding, shooting and passing. Throughout the event, the Legends took the time to converse and interact with youth participants.

To show their appreciation, the NBA donated 30 basketballs to the Warrior Fitness Center, and the NBA Legends presented an autographed basketball to Maj. Gen. Bill Hyatt, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center commander.

Senior Enlisted Advisor to CJCS visits Nellis

by Senior Airman Jack Sanders
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


7/23/2012 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev -- U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Nellis, Creech and the Nevada Test and Training Range to see and better understand Airmen and their capabilities.

"It's been a very, very good trip," Battaglia said. "[My wife,] Lisa and I have learned a whole lot in a short amount of time."

During his time at Nellis, Battaglia toured the base visiting Airmen on the job. He said his visit was insightful, and mentioned how impressed he was to see how much Airmen, at all tiers, are accomplishing.

While touring, the SEAC took time out to speak to Airman and their families. During his time speaking, he discussed the CJCS' top four priorities, the importance of resiliency and development, and took part in a question and answering session.

The CJCS' top four priorities are to achieve our national objectives in the current conflicts, develop Joint Force 2020, renew our commitment to the profession of arms and keep faith with our military family.

"We're changing the culture and lifestyle of how we as service members and families live," Battaglia said. "So, if you're familiar with Comprehensive Airman Fitness for example - those four domains, we want those domains to serve as ingredients to every Airman to be built into your daily menu or lifestyle for both you and your family. You're practicing those domains each and every day to build resiliency so that you and your family and your unit maintain a degree or a level of optimum performance."

The SEAC spoke several times during his trip about resiliency, development and pride.

"Resiliency is one of many things, from a leader's standpoint, that needs to start from the top as well as it starts at the bottom," he said. "The video [N.O.W.] has resonated very nicely among the force. Resiliency programs play a huge part in the individual, the family, the unit and the organization, and that happens in a garrison-style environment, as well as it does for combat. You'll see as time goes on, resiliency will continue to grow and grow amongst our force."

As the force grows and develops, the role development plays doesn't change, Battaglia said.

"Development is going to take place, whether it be in garrison or in combat - any operational theater for that matter," Battaglia said. "Development never stops. As a matter fact, even at my level I feel that I'm still being developed. Development may come in various forms of OJT - on-the-job training - to formal school. I see development maintaining its current course. "

Battaglia is the second person to serve in the role of Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. His predecessor, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. William Gainey, was the first person to hold the position from 2005 until 2008, when he retired. Battaglia said that while his position may be sort of new and growing, there are some challenging pieces to it.

Battaglia said a major concern of military leadership, and to him personally, is the issue of suicide.

"It's a problem or a challenge that we have yet to crack the code [on]," he said. "One of my priorities as this SEAC is to at least develop some effective courses of action to implement or institutionalize into the service member or the service branch in and of itself to help reduce suicides throughout our force. It's been very challenging, and that makes it very important in my mind."

Battaglia also said he is proud of the new generation of service members.

"Over the past 10 years, while our nation's been in conflict, young men and women have been joining our military - and it tells you they have been joining knowing the possibility or risk to be deployed to harm's way," he said. "That's taking place, and some, sadly enough, have given their life to protect our nation and our freedoms, and I don't think there's anything more proud than you can be to see young men and women of our country, our society, joining our ranks and files and wearing the cloth of our nation."

Carter Describes Asia-Pacific Strategy in New Delhi

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

NEW DEHLI, July 23, 2012 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter today described the U.S. Asia-Pacific strategy during a speech to Indian defense industry representatives, journalists and others here.

Setting the context for the U.S. desire to improve its military cooperation with India, Carter explained that two central tenets for the new U.S. defense strategy are an increased focus on the Asia-Pacific region and a new approach to security cooperation through enhanced partnerships with other nations.

“The last 10 years have had a profound impact on world affairs, affecting the United States but also countries across the Asia-Pacific and around the world,” he noted.

Carter said that after a decade of conflict, the United States has ended the Iraq War and, with coalition partners, is transitioning security responsibility in Afghanistan to that nation’s own forces over the next two years.

“But while we’ve been fighting insurgency and terrorism there, the world has not stood still, our friends and enemies have not stood still, and technology has not stood still,” he noted. “The successes we’ve had in Afghanistan, and in counterterrorism, mean that we can now focus our attention on other opportunities and challenges.”

A second strategic force shaping future U.S. strategy, Carter said, is the need to keep the nation’s fiscal house in order, as outlined under the Budget Control Act that Congress passed last year.

“While the U.S. base defense budget will not go down under this plan, neither will it continue to rise as we had earlier planned,” the deputy secretary noted. “But the wind-down of Iraq and Afghanistan gives us capacity to turn the strategic corner without an ever-rising budget.”

Strategic history and fiscal responsibility led U.S. leaders to design a new 21st century defense strategy, he said.

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta steered that effort, and the resulting strategy will build a force for the future that will be what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey calls the Joint Force of 2020, Carter said.

“As Secretary Panetta has said, it’s going to be agile, lean, ready, technologically advanced, and able to conduct full-spectrum operations and defeat any adversary, anywhere, any time,” said he added.

The shift of focus to the Asia-Pacific region as outlined in the strategy involves several factors, Carter explained.

“[It] is reflected in force structure decisions we make -- that is, what we keep and what we cut; in our posture and presence -- that is, where we put things; in new investments we’re making in technology and weapons systems; in innovative operational plans and tactics; and in alliances and partnerships in the region,” he said. “Importantly, here in India, our rebalance extends to Southeast Asia and South Asia.”

Increased focus on the Asia-Pacific will maintain an environment of peace and security the region has enjoyed for more than 60 years, Carter said. That stability has allowed Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, China and India to rise and prosper, the deputy secretary said.

“The wellsprings of that security have not been found within the region itself -- there’s no NATO here,” he noted. “In the absence of an overarching security structure, the United States military presence has played a pivotal role in ensuring regional stability. We intend to continue to play that role. It’s good for us, and good for everyone in the region.”

The rebalance is not about China, the United States, India, or any other country or group of countries, Carter said. “It’s about a peaceful Asia-Pacific, where sovereign states can enjoy the benefits of security and continue to prosper,” he explained.

To carry out the strategy, the United States military posture in the Asia-Pacific will increase relative to other theaters, he said.

“We intend to have 60 percent of our naval assets in the Pacific by 2020,” Carter said. “We are developing new concepts of rotational presence as opposed to traditional basing, with Marines in Australia, littoral combat ships in Singapore, and forward stationing in Guam.”

The Defense Department also is investing in new platforms and technologies relevant to the region, including a new bomber, new submarine-launched conventional weapons, cyber capabilities, and “a host of upgrades in radars, electronic protection, space and electronic warfare,” the deputy secretary said.

“These and other future-focused investments are another central tenet of our new strategy,” he added.

To those who doubt the United States has the needed resources to realize those investments, Carter said, “I would, to the contrary, point out two factors that make it eminently possible.” With the Iraq War ended and Afghanistan slated to wind down, capacity will be released that can be allocated to the Asia-Pacific region, he said.

“Second, within our budget, we can and are prioritizing investments relative to the Asia-Pacific theater rather than, for example, counterinsurgency, where we have put so much effort over the last decade,” he added. “So the rebalancing is entirely practical.”

The deputy secretary said the central point in the new strategy, as in the decades-long historical U.S. commitment to the region, is to build partnerships that leverage the unique strengths of the nation’s allies and partners. Strong partnerships can help in confronting critical challenges and meeting emerging opportunities, he added.

“So we are taking a strategic and comprehensive approach to security cooperation, as well as to our posture,” he told the Indian audience. “We are streamlining our internal processes and security cooperation programs to share and cooperate with our partners better.”

My job is prosecuting sexual assault

by Commentary by Col. Don M. Christensen
Chief, government trial and appellate counsel


7/23/2012 - 7/19/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Here's a simple truth...sexual offenders reject our core values of integrity, service and excellence, in favor of following their own base, undisciplined, criminal desires. Most sexual assaults committed by Airmen are "blue on blue," or Airmen victimizing other Airmen. So in addition to rejecting our core values, these undisciplined Airmen reject the Wingman concept that we prize in the Air Force. They represent a direct threat to unit morale, good order, and discipline. They degrade combat readiness but with the combined efforts of command, law enforcement, and our team of prosecutors, they will be held accountable. Together, as a team, we will protect other Airmen and protect our strength and combat readiness as the world's greatest Air Force.

Detecting and prosecuting sexual assault is our priority. Recently, we posted on the internet significant Air Force sexual assault prosecutions. The posting may be found here: http://www.afjag.af.mil/sexualassaultprosecution/index.asp. As you can tell from a quick review of this information, we will prosecute sexual offenders anywhere they are found. From reviewing these cases, you can see sexual assault in the Air Force carries substantial penalties.

Our partners in AFOSI thoroughly investigate each allegation to provide commanders with timely, accurate, and prosecutable evidence. They pass the ball to commanders, who call upon my team to prosecute the offender to the maximum extent allowed under law.

Our team of prosecutors is better than any you will see in the civilian community or on TV. I have 17 highly skilled senior trial prosecutors, who are selected from among hundreds of judge advocates for their top notch trial skills. They have the very best trial skills in the Air Force JAG Corps. They prosecute the Air Force's most serious courts-martial. Seven of my senior trial prosecutors have been identified as "Special Victim Unit (SVU)" prosecutors, due to their training and experience in combating sexual assault. They are dedicated to bringing justice to victims of sexual assault and ensuring commanders are able to appropriately hold offenders accountable.

In the typical case we prosecute, the accused Airman exploits his victim's intoxicated state to commit the sexual assault. We are very effective in prosecuting these offenders, and the law encourages us to prosecute Airmen who use alcohol to facilitate sexual assault of substantially incapacitated victims. Prosecuting this kind of case is one of our core specialties.

The Air Force has done a great job training Airmen about respecting other Airmen and not sexually abusing their fellow Airmen. Training can reach many Airmen who might be tempted to commit this crime. For others, who cannot be persuaded by training, my team, the Senior Trial Prosecutors - Special Victims Unit, stands at the ready to vindicate the victims.

Officials Announce 2012’s Top Guard, Reserve Employers

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2012 – Fifteen public and private-sector employers have been chosen to receive the 2012 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The award represents the highest recognition the U.S. government provides to employers for their support of employees who serve in the National Guard and reserves.

The recipients are:

-- Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Bismark, N.D.;

-- Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill.;

-- Citi, New York;

-- Crystal Springs United Methodist Church, Crystal Springs, Miss.;

-- Delta Airlines, Atlanta;

-- Gary Jet Center, Gary, Ind.

-- iostudio, Nashville, Tenn.;

-- Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Kalamazoo, Mich.;

-- L-3 Communications, New York;

-- Nyemaster Goode, Des Moines, Iowa;

-- Port of Seattle;

-- Siemens Corp., Washington, D.C.

-- Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, Tenn.;

-- Uniform Color Co., Holland, Mich.; and

-- Verizon Wireless, Basking Ridge, N.J.

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Defense Department agency, to recognize exceptional support from the employer community.

Guard and reserve service members, or family members acting on their behalf, submitted 3,236 nominations for this year’s awards. The winners will be honored at a banquet in the nation’s capital in September.

Face of Defense: Airman Returns to Afghanistan as Mentor

By Jason Nelson
Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SMART, Afghanistan, July 23, 2012 - Air Force Maj. John Matthews was assigned to the Pentagon after a successful tour in Afghanistan, and soon volunteered to return.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Afghan brothers wait for their father to come out of a community meeting in Afghanistan's Zabul province. Photo courtesy of Air Force Maj. John Matthews

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"My first tour involved mentoring the Afghan National Army as they developed their own internal infrastructure," he said. "We were able to establish a bank, administration shops for the army and other programs that helped them to function better as a professional organization. I left after that deployment feeling that I had made a real and lasting difference."

So when the opportunity came up to return to Afghanistan as a mentor, the Pittsburgh native left the comfortable confines of the Pentagon in hopes of making another lasting impact on the Afghan people.

"It was different this time around, in that we received extensive language training," Matthews said. "That, coupled with my knowledge of the local culture, would hopefully help as we continued to mentor the Afghans through the development of government infrastructure."

Matthews was selected to be the mentor for the Peace and Reintegration Program in Zabul province. A key facet of the security stabilization plan in Afghanistan, reintegration is a way for former and active insurgents to rejoin their communities. The Afghan-led program has had an immediate impact, and its success has directly decreased the number of enemy combatants in the region. The major said he has worked hard in Zabul to ensure the program would achieve its goals of reducing insurgents and helping to mend fractures in communities.

"The program is effective, because it allows Afghans to reach out directly to other Afghans," he explained. "By conducting small [meetings], talking directly to village elders and showing the local population the benefits of reintegration, we are able to achieve greater success."

Earning the trust of the local population was one of the first hurdles that Matthews had to overcome as he worked with the local peace and reintegration team. By building on mutual goals, he said, they were able to see past glaring cultural differences and come up with creative and effective solutions.

"Every time that I visited with them in their office, every day that I was willing to come to them to make the project work, I could sense that there was a level of trust being built," he said. "I dressed as they did, ate with them and respected their needs and wishes. I didn't want to force my ideas when it was they who were most likely to understand the best way to proceed."

Now, with his deployment concluded, Matthews said, he hopes to bring the lessons he learned home with him for future deployments. A meeting with community leaders early in his tour made a lasting impression, he said.
"We were outside waiting for [the meeting] to conclude when I noticed a young boy holding his even younger brother," he said. "They were obviously waiting for their father to come out, and I wanted to take a picture. It wasn't until after I had taken the picture that I noticed the look of despondence in their eyes. They lacked hope. A year later, I feel like their government, and this program, is giving them the hope they both need and deserve."

Active, Reserve Forces Meet Recruiting Goals Through June


WASHINGTON, July 23, 2012 - The military's active and reserve components met or exceeded their recruiting goals for fiscal 2012 through June, Pentagon officials reported today.
Here are the numbers for the active services:

-- Army: 42,538 accessions, 101 percent of its goal of 42,250;

–- Navy: 24,854 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 24,848;

-- Marine Corps: 18,391 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 18,346; and

-- Air Force: 21,332 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 21,332.

All four services exhibited strong retention through the ninth month of fiscal 2012, officials said.
Here are the reserve component numbers:

-- Army National Guard: 36,508 accessions, 102 percent of its goal of 35,876;

-- Army Reserve: – 19,918 accessions, 101 percent of its goal of 19,736;

-- Navy Reserve: 5,841 accessions100 percent of its goal of 5,841;

-- Marine Corps Reserve: 6,927 accessions, 104 percent of its goal of 6,649;

-- Air National Guard: 6,453 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 6,439; and

-- Air Force Reserve: 6,458 accessions, 100 percent of its goal of 6,458.

All reserve components are on target to achieve their fiscal year attrition goals, officials said.