Military News

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Panetta: U.S., Chinese Troops Can ‘Carry Relationship Forward’



By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

BEIJING, Sept. 19, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told a group of Chinese officers and cadets today that the level of cooperation they and their U.S. counterparts achieve will determine much of the Asia-Pacific region’s future stability and prosperity.

“One day, it will be your responsibility to help carry the U.S.-China relationship forward,” he said.

The secretary delivered a speech to some 300 members of the People’s Liberation Army’s engineering academy here on the second full day of his three-day trip to China.

Panetta told them the meetings he has attended during his visit, including one earlier today with Vice President Xi Jinping, made clear that leaders of both countries are working to build “a sustained and substantive United States-China defense relationship that supports the broader United States-China cooperative partnership.”

That partnership began to take root in February 1972, he noted, when then-President Richard M. Nixon visited Beijing as the first U.S. head of state to visit the People’s Republic of China, established in 1949.

Panetta said one of his early U.S. government jobs was in Nixon’s administration. The president’s historic trip was known then as “the week that changed the world,” he added: “A week when our two countries cast aside decades of fear, division, and estrangement in favor of engagement.”

Chinese leaders’ reception of Nixon set the course for the current engagement between the United States and China on “a full range of diplomatic, economic, and security issues,” he said.

Now, he added, the relationship between the two major powers, the world’s two largest economies, will be essential for global security and prosperity in the 21st century.

Panetta cautioned that while he believes deeply that the U.S-China relationship holds long-term promise, “it is clear that this journey is not yet complete – particularly for our two militaries.”

In the security realm, suspicion and a “lack of strategic trust” often gain more attention than cooperation and engagement, the secretary said.

“In [the] spirit of building trust,” he said, “let me share with you today my thoughts on the role that the United States military wants to play in the Asia-Pacific region … [and] how a constructive U.S.-China defense relationship complements that vision.”

The United States’ strategic focus on the Asia-Pacific region rests on the recognition that America’s security and prosperity in the 21st century “will be linked to the security and prosperity of Asia more than any other region on Earth,” he said. The economically dynamic region is of growing importance to U.S. diplomatic, economic, development and security interests, Panetta said, noting that it also faces clear threats that include terrorism, the prospect of natural disasters, maritime security issues, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy and drug trafficking.”

In response to both opportunities and threats, the secretary said, the U.S. government is expanding trade and economic ties, increasing diplomatic engagement and developmental assistance, and rebalancing its military forces.

Despite U.S. defense budget cuts, the Defense Department will expand training and exercises with regional allies and partners, and will build new defense relationships with “a whole range of countries,” he said.

“We are also developing new approaches to military presence and posture across the Asia-Pacific region,” Panetta said. “[And] we are making investments in the capabilities we need to operate and partner effectively.”

As an example, he added, the United States is enhancing its ballistic missile defense capabilities in the region.

“Let me make clear that it is aimed solely at one threat: the threat from North Korea,” the secretary emphasized. “It is no secret that the United States is deeply concerned about the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles striking our allies, striking the United States, striking our forward-deployed forces [and] striking our homeland.”

North Korea has tested nuclear devices and continues to enrich uranium and test ballistic missiles, he noted. Ballistic missile defense systems, like the rebalancing effort itself, are designed to foster peace and sustain the region’s security and prosperity, Panetta said.

For more than 60 years, he said, America has fought to counter tyranny and support a system of rules, norms and institutions in Asia that underpinned the region’s transformation into the “economic powerhouse it represents today.”

As it rebalances to the region, the United States will continue to be guided by what Panetta called a basic set of principles, including:

-- Free and open commerce;

-- A just international order that emphasizes rights and responsibilities of nations and fidelity to the rule of law;

-- Open access by all to the shared domains of sea, air, space and cyberspace; and

-- Resolving disputes peacefully without coercion or the use of force.

Panetta said China’s rise as a major power “made it a key stakeholder in this system,” under which all Asia-Pacific nations can “work together to achieve common objectives – particularly in areas like maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and peacekeeping.”

Those opportunities won’t come to pass, he said, unless the U.S. and Chinese governments and militaries work together to seize them. “That is why I will continue to make it a priority for the Department of Defense to expand our defense dialogues, our defense exchanges with China,” he added.

Renewed senior-level engagement and military exchanges between the two nations have built momentum, Panetta said, noting that less than a week ago, U.S. and Chinese ships participated in a joint counterpiracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden, off Somalia.

“This is an area of strategic and economic priority to both of our countries, and both the United States and China benefit from ensuring the free flow of commerce through the gulf,” he added. The exercise allowed the two navies to increase their capacity to confront the threat of piracy and gave U.S. and Chinese sailors a chance to work alongside each other toward a common objective, he said.

“These kinds of opportunities are invaluable when it comes to building trust between our two militaries,” the secretary said. He added he has invited China to send a ship to participate in the Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, exercise in 2014. RIMPAC is the world’s largest multilateral naval exercise, held every two years off Hawaii. This year’s exercise involved more than 20 nations’ navies.

Panetta said he is committed to identifying additional opportunities for Chinese participation in multilateral exercises in pursuing the goal of building a military-to-military relationship between the two nations that is healthy, stable, reliable, continuous and transparent.

Some see the U.S. focus on the Pacific “in terms of a zero-sum game, where China’s rise will inevitably put it into conflict with the United States,” the secretary said, but Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama have rejected that view. “It is not what our new defense strategy is all about,” he added.

The rebalance is an attempt not to contain China, but to engage it and expand its role in the Pacific, Panetta told the Chinese officers and cadets. Like many Americans, he added, he admires China’s transformation over the past decades.

“China’s rise has brought millions out of poverty and helped to make the world a more prosperous place,” he said. “I believe that it can also make the world a more secure place, if we work together … to build an enduring foundation for military-to-military relations between the United States and China.”

Both nations’ people can create opportunities today as they did 40 years ago, the secretary said, to move toward more cooperation and “a better and safer future for our children.”

Panetta is the first U.S. defense secretary to visit the academy, and he thanked the school’s leaders for their hospitality during his visit. The secretary traveled to Japan before arriving in China, and will end his trip later this week with a stop in New Zealand.

More than 900 take part in 'One Tough Cookie' inaugural mud run



Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office

More than 60 service members and veterans joined approximately 900 women and girls to prove they are "One Tough Cookie" Saturday (Sept. 15) in a 5K mud run adventure at Oakwood Knoll Girl Scout Camp in East Troy, Wis.

The Wisconsin National Guard Recruiting and Retention Command co-sponsored the event with the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland Council, with the goal of promoting physical activity. Race Director LaShell Lentz said the inaugural event went extremely well.

"There will definitely be a next year," she said. "We had double or triple the spectators we were expecting. I think we'll easily double our participants for next year. We've gotten tons of really great feedback."

Warrant Officer 1 Kari Wagner, who has led Girl Scout Troop 2651 in McFarland, Wis., for the past year, also led six Girl Scout moms and two other women through the course.

"We did awesome," she said. "We started together and we all finished together."

Wagner said they tackled the course to show the girls in Troop 2651 that fitness is important.

Lentz described the difficulty level of the obstacle-filled course - designed by two Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans from the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 1158th Transportation Company - as beginner to intermediate, but said it still challenged many of the participants.

"The course is as hard as you make it," she said.

Obstacles included jumping through tires, climbing walls, low-crawling through mud and swimming in icy, murky water. Wagner recounted part of the course where one participant was reluctant to scale the wall, but overcame the challenge with help and encouragement from others.

"She was out of her element," Wagner observed. "She was crying afterward, but she was happy that she did it."

The "One Tough Cookie" was the first such race for Col. Joane Mathews, deputy chief of staff for personnel with the Wisconsin Army National Guard, and her 15-year-old daughter Shannon.

"We really enjoyed it," Mathews said. "It was a good time for us to connect while exercising and having fun. It also gave us both the urge to do more of these because it was so fun."

Lentz said that an age-appropriate course will be offered next year for girls 14 and under.

Proceeds from the run benefited the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland Council.

DCoE Releases Clinical Support Tools to Treat Dizziness Symptoms



By Corina Notyce, DCoE Strategic Communications

While most patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as concussion, completely recover within days to weeks, some individuals experience persistent symptoms such as dizziness. Dizziness is a common symptom following mTBI and if left unresolved or untreated, can have a significant impact on a service member’s quality of life.

Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) developed “Assessment and Management of Dizziness Associated with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Reference Card and Clinical Recommendation” to give primary care providers a quick and easy way to help evaluate and manage dizziness symptoms in patients who have been diagnosed with mTBI.

“Usually dizziness associated with mild TBI resolves within seven days,” said U.S. Public Health Service Capt. Rita Shapiro, chief of clinical practice guidelines for DCoE TBI directorate. “However, approximately 20 percent of patients can present with chronic or recurring episodes of dizziness symptoms that require additional examination by a provider to determine the cause and make appropriate referrals.”

There are three basic types of dizziness:

■Vertigo: a false sense of motion
■Disequilibrium: being off-balance or unsteady while standing or attempting to walk
■Lightheadedness: feeling faint or other vague sensations such as disconnect with environment

The reference card and clinical recommendation provides differentiation between the different types of dizziness, so providers can accurately categorize a patient’s symptoms and provide a focused assessment.

“When someone is regularly experiencing dizziness symptoms it can make daily activities challenging and for severe cases, almost impossible,” said Shapiro.

The clinical recommendation includes information on red flags that require urgent referral to appropriate specialists, medication side effects, patient management and referral options. According to Shapiro, this resource allows providers to get detailed information and reasoning behind each step in the algorithm card.

The reference card provides a listing of focused diagnostic tests and specific comorbid conditions (e.g., migraines, sleep disorders, psychological disorders and visual disturbances) which should be explored based upon a patient’s symptoms. It is intended for use by primary care providers and can be carried in their pocket for quick reference on the job.

Additionally, training slides corresponding to the clinical recommendation and the reference card are available for providers.

To request hard copies of the “Assessment and Management of Dizziness Associated with Mild TBI Reference Card and Clinical Recommendation,” contact DCoE at DCoEProducts@tma.osd.mil. To download these tools and other TBI resources, visit the Health Professionals section of the DCoE website.

DCoE recently released a clinical recommendation and reference card for neuroendocrine dysfunction screening following mild TBI, and will be releasing similar tools focused on the evaluation and management of prolonged visual disturbances associated with mild TBI next.

Navy Commissions Littoral Combat Ship Fort Worth



The Navy will commission the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship Fort Worth (LCS 3) Sept. 22, during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony at the Port of Galveston, Texas.

The ship’s name honors the city of Fort Worth, Texas, which has supported the U.S. military as home to ranger outposts, training facilities, aviation depots, and defense manufacturing for more than 140 years.  Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, the ship's sponsor, will give the command to "man our ship and bring her to life" during the ceremony.

Fort Worth, the third LCS delivered to the Navy and the second of the steel, semi-planing monohull Freedom variant, is designed to operate quickly in shallow water littoral environments to counter challenging threats in coastal regions, specifically mines, submarines and fast surface craft.  The Fort Worth will maintain a forward presence and deter hostility while projecting power and maintaining sea control.

A fast, agile, and innovative surface combatant, LCS 3 is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots and can operate in water less than 20 feet deep.  Fort Worth will be a platform for launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vehicles, serving to enhance maritime security and performing the core capabilities that define the Navy.  Its modular design will support interchangeable mission packages, allowing the ship to be reconfigured for antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, or surface warfare missions on an as-needed basis.

Fort Worth will be manned by one of two rotational crews and augmented by one of three mission package crews during focused mission assignments.  The prospective commanding officer of the Blue crew is Cmdr. James R. Blankenship, from Ironton, Ohio.  The prospective commanding officer of the Gold crew is Cmdr. Warren E. Cupps, from Fort Worth, Texas.

More information on the LCS can be found at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=1650&ct=4