Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No Injuries in MH-53 Helicopter Hard Landing

From U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- No one was injured when an MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter assigned to Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 15 made a hard landing Aug. 22, following an engine malfunction.

The hard landing at Bahrain International Airport caused damage to the tail section of the aircraft.

Airport operations remain normal.

The incident is under investigation.

People Fuel Military Cooperation, Dempsey Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, Aug. 22, 2012 – The “software” of personal relationships is more important than hardware in building military-to-military ties between nations, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today while returning from a visit to Afghanistan and Iraq.

After two days of talks with U.S. and Afghan officials in Kabul, Afghanistan, the chairman met yesterday in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Gen. Zebari Babakir, Iraq’s defense chief.

“It’s about the software. It’s about relationships,” he told reporters traveling with him aboard a C-17 en route to Joint Base Andrews, Md. “We almost always talk about the hardware – the F-16s, the radar, the tanks. We went through that [with Iraq]. It’s part of the conversation. But we managed to talk about software – the human dimension of this thing.”

The various U.S. defense and service war colleges now have 154 Iraqi officers as students. The program, funded via the State Department, provides a world-class professional military education experience for foreign officers. Dempsey said he is passionate about this program, and it has results. Dempsey and his Pakistani counterpart, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, first met when they were Command and General Staff College students, the chairman noted.

“I’m a passionate proponent of that,” he said. “I can go around the world where we are having some of our most significant challenges and find someone who has been to one of our schools. It’s a great foundation on which to build.”

But this takes time, he acknowledged, and Americans have never been particularly noted for being patient.

“I’ve invested half a decade in my relationships in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Dempsey said. “It’s time. You can’t blow into a room in any culture, but particularly Arab culture and South Asia,” and expect to understand what is going on or be even remotely effective, he added.

This will grow even more important as the U.S. strategy emphasizes the Asia-Pacific region, Dempsey said.

“Touch-and-go landings are antithetical to relationships,” he said, employing an aviation analogy to make his point that leaders cannot simply land and take off somewhere and expect awareness of a culture or an understanding of problems, conditions and challenges.

“I think you only develop a feel for a relationship and sense when it is genuine over time,” he said.

This was why the U.S. military has tried to return service members and units to areas in Afghanistan where they have served before, Dempsey said. “We deliberately started rotating people back to the same battle space so they could fall in to some extent on existing relationships,” he explained.

This must be done consciously, he said, adding that rebalancing the U.S. military focus to the Asia-Pacific region never was intended to be a light switch that’s off today and on tomorrow. “I’ve said early and often that this will take us some time – six, seven or eight years,” the chairman said. “The reason I said it would take time is exactly because I know what we’ve still got to do and the issues that confront us.”

Dempsey said the military must “start shifting our intellectual bandwidth” to get in tune with Asia-Pacific nations. The military needs to develop the people who have the necessary levels of cultural awareness and linguistic ability now for the force the nation needs in 2020, he said.

“I call it the three mores: we’ve got to pay more attention, [have] more engagement, and then we’ll send more of our better quality people,” he added.

Though some people have said the U.S. shift would provoke China, Dempsey said, he disagrees. “I’m of the exact opposite opinion,” he said. “I think the chance of miscalculation increases in our absence, not in our presence.”

Dempsey also discussed some standards of his leadership. He said he is currently reading “Beautiful Souls” by Eyal Press, a book that examines the nature of dissent.

“I often think about how I provide my advice and on what basis,” he said. “I talk about my moral compass, and how I make sure I stay true north – or, to use that phrase out of ‘The Marine Corps Hymn,’ how I keep my honor clean. So I’m always thinking about how do I balance the competing priorities and make the best recommendations.”

And, Dempsey said, he is not afraid of criticism.

“It’s how you react to it,” he said. “If someone comes in and tell me I stunk at a particular speech or I gave bad advice or I was dismissive of a particular idea, if I react badly to that, the chances of them coming back are pretty slim. On the other hand, I don’t have to agree, but I need to listen. It’s really how I react to it.”

Dempsey: Political Activity Erodes Public Trust in Military

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, Aug. 22, 2012 – Using the uniform for partisan politics erodes the trust the American people have in their military, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said today.

During a discussion with reporters aboard a C-17 returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff addressed a question about a group of Navy SEALs who have put together a political action committee.

Dempsey has been outspoken that service members have truly earned their right to vote, and that all Americans are entitled to private and personal opinions.

But, the chairman said, he and his fellow members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are the stewards of the profession of arms, and must ensure service members don’t cross an important line.

“One of the things that marks us as a profession in a democracy is it’s most important we remain apolitical,” he said. “That’s how we maintain our trust with the American people. The American people don’t want us to become another special interest group. In fact, I think that confuses them.”

Dempsey said he believes partisan groups made up of former service members cloud the issue as well. “If someone uses the uniform for partisan politics, I’m disappointed in that,” he said. “I think it erodes that bond of trust we have with the American people.”

The chairman noted he has expressed this opinion before on his blog, and he said he has had incredible conversations in the blogosphere on the subject. He also discussed this soon after a young Army reservist appeared in uniform at a campaign rally, he said.

“We must understand why our military as a profession embraces political neutrality as a core value,” he wrote in his blog in June. “We show fidelity to the Constitution every day by embracing this foundational principle. We are not elected to serve; rather, we elect to serve.”

And maintaining this bond of trust between the American people and its military is key to the survival of both, the chairman said. The American people trust that the professional military will remain out of partisan politics, he added. The U.S. military does not stage coups to topple governments and place their own in charge, he said, and the American military is justifiably proud of serving the Constitution and following the orders of elected leaders.

“We’re not a profession simply because we say we’re a profession,” Dempsey wrote in a letter to the joint force upon assuming office as the nation’s top military officer last year. “We must continue to learn, to understand, and to promote the knowledge, skills, attributes and behaviors that define us as a profession.”

Labor Department Awards Grants for Veteran Job Training

From a Department of Labor News Release

WASHINGTON – The Labor Department today awarded grants totaling $11.53 million through the Veterans’ Workforce Investment Program to provide an estimated 5,500 veterans with job training and skills development services.

“These grants will increase the skill sets of veterans and result in training and credentialing for jobs in high-demand industries,” Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said. “Our veterans made sacrifices on behalf of our nation, and I ask all employers to renew their commitment to veterans, because the best way to honor our veterans is to hire them.”

Eleven grants were awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and community organizations, in 10 states. These agencies are familiar with the areas and populations to be served, and have demonstrated that they can administer effective programs, officials said.

The funds will be used to provide training in fields including software and computer services, construction, auto mechanics, security, logistics, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, hospitality and the culinary arts, among others.

Today’s grants are part of efforts by the department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service to expand educational opportunities for veterans, support incentives for businesses to hire unemployed veterans, ensure priority “Gold Card” services for veterans through the American Job Center network and help veterans match skills related to their military occupations with those required by civilian jobs.

More information on the Department of Labor’s employment and re-employment programs for veterans can be found at

CNO Returns to the Submarine Capital of the World, Discusses Future of the U.S. Navy

By Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Commander, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert visited Naval Submarine Base New London, the Submarine Capital of the World, and spoke with more than 1,300 Sailors during an all hands call, Aug. 22.

During the nearly two-hour conversation with Groton-based Sailors, which was streamed live online via, Greenert spoke on a variety of topics to include undersea dominance, cyber warfare, future manning levels and the future of the force as a whole.

"This is a great opportunity for Sailors across the U.S. Navy Fleet to watch the all hands call, join the conversation and ask questions through the live chat feature on the website," said Greenert in a Facebook post a few days prior to the event. During the conversation, Greenert also took questions both from the audience and online viewers.

While addressing the packed auditorium at Dealey Center, Greenert reflected on returning to Naval Submarine Base New London, where his professional career began.

"This is like coming home," said Greenert, who added that the last time he sat in the auditorium at Dealey; he watched the popular movie, the Matrix.

"I was professionally born here and all submariners are born in Groton, Conn., at the Naval Submarine Base," said Greenert. "This is where we build and launch our submarines to go to sea and this is the place where we intellectually build our submariners."

Greenert added that having the base in proximity to where we launch our submarines "on time and under budget" is also where "we launch our best minds" of the submarine force.

Greenert also reflected on how the Naval Submarine base has evolved and its importance to the U.S. Navy and submarine force.

"We must continue to own the undersea domain," said Greenert.

The CNO also discussed the Navy's shift to the Asia-Pacific Region and the submarine force's role.

"We are rebalancing to the Asia Pacific that is the key part of our maritime defense strategy and another key part of the defense strategy is we have to own the undersea domain which is very clearly written and the submarine force is the centerpiece of that," said Greenert.

Before the all hands call began, the CNO reenlisted six Sailors from Naval Submarine Base New London assigned commands. He thanked the Sailors families for their ongoing support.

"Thank you for your support of your son or daughter," said Greenert, who instructed all Sailors to call, text or email their mothers this week and thank them for her support.

The Sailors who were reenlisted by the CNO include: Information Technology Submarines Second Class (SS) Timothy E. Cockrell, USS San Juan (SSN 751); Logistics Specialist Second Class (SS) Andrew J. Jolley, USS San Juan (SSN 751); Engineman Second Class John C. Kovac III, Naval Submarine Base New London Port Operations; Personnel Specialist Second Class Shana L. Michaud, Naval Operational Support Center New London; Logistics Specialist Third Class Rafael Munoz, USS Dallas (SSN 700), and Electronics Technician Third Class Nestor Gallardo, Naval Submarine Support Facility.

Prior to the all-hands call, the CNO also met with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) at Naval Submarine Base New London.

During the CNO's visit to the base, he also saw firsthand the continuing infrastructure improvements to include a 500-foot-long, 65-foot-wide pier; a six-lane, synthetic track and field with a 400-meter rubberized surface; and a high-tech, 20-lane indoor small arms range.