Military News

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Panetta Spells Out DOD Roles in Cyberdefense


By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta spelled out in detail the Defense Department’s responsibility in cybersecurity during a speech to the Business Executives for National Security meeting in New York, today.

Panetta has stressed the importance of cybersecurity since taking office last year. In addition, the secretary has warned about a “cyber Pearl Harbor” many times, including during testimony before Congress.

The speech before BENS aboard the USS Intrepid Museum is the secretary’s clearest discussion to date of DOD’s responsibility in the cyber domain.

“A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11,” he said in prepared remarks. “Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation.”

The secretary pointed to denial of service attacks that many large U.S. corporations have suffered in recent weeks, but also cited a more serious attack in Saudi Arabia. In that attack a sophisticated virus called “Shamoon” infected computers at the Saudi Arabian state oil company, ARAMCO.

“Shamoon included a routine called a ‘wiper,’ coded to self-execute,” he said. “This routine replaced crucial system files with an image of a burning U.S. flag. It also put additional ‘garbage’ data that overwrote all the real data on the machine. The more than 30,000 computers it infected were rendered useless, and had to be replaced.”

There was a similar attack later in Qatar. “All told, the Shamoon virus was probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date,” Panetta said.

Enemies target computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants, and guide transportation networks.

“We also know they are seeking to create advanced tools to attack these systems and cause panic, destruction and even the loss of life,” he said.

“An aggressor nation or extremist group could gain control of critical switches and derail passenger trains, or trains loaded with lethal chemicals,” he said. “They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.”

Cyber attacks could be part of a major attack against the United States, and this could mean the cyber Pearl Harbor the secretary fears. This is “an attack that would cause physical destruction and loss of life, paralyze and shock the nation and create a profound new sense of vulnerability,” he said.
DOD has a supporting role in cyber defense, he said. The Department of Homeland Security is the lead federal agency, with the FBI having lead on law enforcement. Still the overall DOD mission is to defend the United States.

“We defend. We deter. And if called upon, we take decisive action,” the secretary said. “In the past, we have done so through operations on land and at sea, in the skies and in space. In this new century, the United States military must help defend the nation in cyberspace as well.”

DOD has responsibility for defending its own networks, and can also help deter attacks. “Our cyber adversaries will be far less likely to hit us if they know we will be able to link them to the attack, or that their effort will fail against our strong defenses,” he said. “The Department has made significant advances in solving a problem that makes deterring cyber adversaries more complex: the difficulty of identifying the origins of an attack.”

DOD has improved its capability of tracking attacks to point of origin. “Potential aggressors should be aware that the United States has the capacity to locate them and hold them accountable for actions that harm America or its interests,” he said.

But improved defenses will not stop all cyber attacks. “If we detect an imminent threat of attack that will cause significant physical destruction or kill American citizens, we need to have the option to take action to defend the nation when directed by the President,” Panetta said. “For these kinds of scenarios, the Department has developed the capability to conduct effective operations to counter threats to our national interests in cyberspace.

“Let me be clear that we will only do so to defend our nation, our interests, or our allies,” he continued. “And we will only do so in a manner consistent with the policy principles and legal frameworks that the Department follows for other domains, including the law of armed conflict.”
DOD is finalizing a comprehensive change to rules of engagement in cyberspace. “The new rules will make clear that the Department has a responsibility not only to defend DOD’s networks, but also to be prepared to defend the nation and our national interests against an attack in or through cyberspace,” he said. “These new rules will make the Department more agile and provide us with the ability to confront major threats quickly.”

The private sector, government, military and international partners operate in cyberspace. “We all share the responsibility to protect it,” he said. “Therefore, we are deepening cooperation with our closest allies with a goal of sharing threat information, maximizing shared capabilities, and deterring malicious activities.”

All U.S. leaders have discussed cyber security with foreign leaders. Panetta raised the issue with Chinese leaders during his recent trip to Beijing. “I underscored the need to increase communication and transparency so that we can avoid misunderstanding or miscalculation in cyberspace,” he said. “That is in the interest of the United States, and it is in the interest of China.”

But businesses have the greatest interest in cybersecurity. Businesses depend on a safe, secure, and resilient global digital infrastructure, and businesses own and run many of the critical networks the nation depends on. “To defend those networks more effectively, we must share information between the government and the private sector about threats in cyberspace,” the secretary said.

While there has been progress in sharing public-private cyber information, “we need Congress to act to ensure this sharing is timely and comprehensive,” he said. “Companies should be able to share specific threat information with the government without the prospect of lawsuits hanging over their head. And a key principle must be to protect the fundamental liberties and privacy in cyberspace that we are all duty-bound to uphold.”

Baseline standards must be set for cyber security and that means Congress must act, Panetta said. He said the bipartisan Cybersecurity Act of 2012 “has fallen victim to legislative and political gridlock. That is unacceptable to me, and it should be unacceptable to anyone concerned with safeguarding our national security.”

One option under consideration, Panetta said, is an executive order to enhance cybersecurity measures. “There is no substitute for comprehensive legislation, but we need to move as far as we can in the meantime,” he said. “We have no choice because the threat we face is already here. Congress has a responsibility to act. The President has a Constitutional responsibility to defend the country.”

Wounded warrior gets help with new battle buddy



by Tammy Cournoyer
Air Force Personnel Center Warrior and Family Operations Center


JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – An Air Force wounded warrior has a new buddy that is helping him cope with his physical and mental pain, thanks to the Train A Dog – Save A Warrior program.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Goligowski struggles with post-traumatic stress and the pain caused by sarcoidosis, a disease with no cure that causes inflammation in the lymph nodes, organs, joints, and other tissues. For Goligowski, the disease strikes his joints at times making it painful to even bend his arms, and causes masses in his lungs making it difficult to breathe.

Goligowski was serving as a military training instructor with the 321st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, when his symptoms began. Once a military working dog handler with four combat deployments under his belt, Goligowski was not only in pain, but he became withdrawn and depressed, and needed help.

“I didn’t want to do anything,” said Goligowski. “I was grumpy and moody. All I could think about was that I was never going to be able to do my job in the Air Force again; then I’d think about not having a job at all, and having no health insurance.”

The negative thoughts wouldn’t go away. Then he met Mali, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, through the Train A Dog – Save A Warrior program.

“She’s a reason for me to get out of bed in the morning,” said Goligowski. “The walls don’t get small when I’m with her. And because she’s a working dog, there’s a special bond. She’s my battle buddy.”

Goligowski’s improvement has become evident to others as well.

“I had not known Andrew very long before he was teamed up with Mali, but, I did notice that he was more cheerful and had a more positive outlook on his current situation,” said Charles O’Connor, Goligowski’s nonmedical care manager at the Air Force Personnel Center Warrior and Family Operations Center here.

Mali’s life has also been a struggle, as well. After becoming certified as a service dog, the TADSAW program placed her with a former Air Force working dog handler who was a Vietnam veteran living in California. Sadly, the veteran died of a heart attack six months after getting Mali. His family couldn’t keep Mali so she was returned to the program. She spent the next several months in a kennel not working.

During that time, the program director, Bart Sherwood, spoke with Goligowski about helping train the rescue dogs Sherwood fosters on his 80-acre ranch near San Antonio. That’s where Goligowski met Mali, and their bond was born.

Although she had already been certified as a service dog based on Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, Mali needed to be recertified after being “unemployed” for so long.

Working with Goligowski, Mali passed her recertification with flying colors.

“There is a rapport between us,” said Goligowski, who has been with Mali for four months. “We’re a pack, and I’m the pack leader. I just feel better around her. She lowers my blood pressure, and gets me outside walking.”

There are other members of the pack at home. Married five years, Goligowski and his wife, Whitney, have a 3-year-old son, Hayden. “My wife is the pack leader of me,” admits Goligowski.

How does his wife feel about the new female in her husband’s life?

“I noticed his attitude change right away,” said Whitney. “He was like a kid in a candy store or a kid on Christmas Day. Something had lifted. Mali knows – she senses – when Andrew’s feeling down and is there to help.”

Mali accompanies Goligowski everywhere, even to work at Lackland where Goligowski is the charge of quarters for the 321st while he awaits the results of the Medical Evaluation Board.

He urges other wounded warriors to consider getting a service dog to help with the tough times. Those who already have a family dog can pursue getting it certified as a service dog.

“If you already have a pet and it can pass the test, it can be certified as your battle buddy,” said Goligowski.

When not on the job, Mali enjoys being a family pet, playing with toys and playing catch.

“I love her,” Whitney added. “She has such a personality.”

“Before being teamed up with Mali, Andrew was not one to venture out into social events or activities,” said O’Connor. “He explained to me how much of a difference Mali has made not only in his life, but on his family. He now goes everywhere and has taken his family on a couple of vacations.”

Goligowski needed help, and Mali needed a job – in the end, they both got what they needed.

Justice Department Announces Lawsuit to Protect Rights of Military and Overseas Voters in Vermont

The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the state of Vermont and its chief election official to help ensure that military servicemembers, their family members and U.S. citizens living overseas have the opportunity to participate fully in the Nov. 6, 2012 federal general election.
 
The lawsuit, brought under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), was filed in federal district court in Vermont, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont.  The department brought this enforcement action after the state failed to send more than 20 percent of the absentee ballots requested by Vermont’s military and overseas voters for the Nov. 6, 2012 federal general election by the 45th day prior to the election, as required by UOCAVA.   The United States seeks an order requiring the state of Vermont to ensure that military and overseas voters will have sufficient opportunity to receive, cast and return their ballots in time to be counted by extending the deadline until Nov. 16, 2012, for the receipt of ballots from affected UOCAVA voters.  The lawsuit also seeks relief requiring Vermont to notify affected UOCAVA voters, to provide reports to the United States about Vermont’s compliance with UOCAVA, and to take all necessary actions to ensure UOCAVA compliance in future federal elections.
 
“Our armed forces, their families and overseas citizens deserve a meaningful opportunity to fully participate in our nation’s elections,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “ We are filing this lawsuit to ensure that Vermont’s military and overseas voters will be provided the full 45 days guaranteed by UOCAVA to receive, mark and return their ballots in the upcoming November general election.
 
UOCAVA requires states to allow uniformed service voters (serving both overseas and within the United States) and their families as well as overseas citizens to register to vote and to vote absentee for all elections for federal office.  In 2009, Congress enacted the MOVE Act, which made broad amendments to UOCAVA, including the requirement that states transmit absentee ballots to voters covered under UOCAVA, by mail or electronically at the voter’s option, no later than 45 days before federal elections.
 
More information about UOCAVA and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice website at www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/misc/activ_uoc.php .   Please report any complaints to the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.

Defense Intel Agency Director Outlines Changes Under Way


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

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2012 – The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency shared his vision of accelerating change and building capacity within the agency during a symposium yesterday in Orlando, Fla.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn spoke to the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation about reshaping defense analysis and professional development of the workforce, but began with his plan to use the Defense Clandestine Service to integrate the intelligence community.

"I’m going to use this to integrate the entire agency,” Flynn said. “This is not a marginal adjustment for DIA. This is a major adjustment for national security.”

The idea is increasing partnerships, he said, as well as increasing capacity and capabilities while putting the agency’s presence where it’s needed.

It’s also about offsetting risk, preventing strategic surprise and retaining U.S. competitive advantage, Flynn said, “and I think that’s really important.”

Flynn discussed reshaping defense analysis for the agency and lauded the operational community for its understanding of intelligence.
“The operational community understands intelligence, [in] many, many cases, particularly in the surveillance and reconnaissance realm, much more than they did five years ago,” Flynn said, “[and] definitely [more] than they did 10 years ago.”

The general also touched on professional development, in particular, focusing on the civilian side of the workforce, which until recently, hasn’t had the same opportunities as their military counterparts.
“I went and studied post-World World II, post-Korea, post-Vietnam and post the collapse of the Soviet Union and end of the Cold War,” Flynn said. “In all four examples, the Department of Defense killed training and professional development.”

Flynn noted DIA has a “fairly healthy budget,” and he said he has made professional development one of his priorities.

“It’s an area that I’m very comfortable with, and it’s something that we will invest in -- particularly, leader training,” he said.

Flynn also emphasized the importance of building capacity within DIA, and the intelligence community at large.

“When we’re getting ready and adjusting for whatever the next conflict is going to be, we have to use our training and education system to drive change, build trust and instill this culture,” he said.
“Everything is under attack, [and] everything is challenged,” Flynn added. “One of the things that we have a responsibility to do is understand some of [the] issues and then prioritize accordingly, based on the direction that we are given from our leadership.”

The general underscored the value of DIA in the U.S. national defense strategy.
“It is [an] indispensable element of the military dimension of our national defense posture,” Flynn said. “[This is] what the Defense Intelligence Agency gives this nation.”
 

Alaska Raptors return from Depot

by Capt. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs


10/11/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- The 302nd Fighter Squadron flagship F-22, Aircraft 05-4102, is now back in Alaska after getting a tune up at the depot facilities at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

The 302nd FS flagship and a second F-22, both of which are assigned to the 3rd Wing, underwent modifications as a part of the Structural Retrofit Plan at the Ogden Air Logistics Center.

"Most of this maintenance is in the form of time compliance technical orders which are essentially maintenance actions that must be complied with within an allotted timeframe," said Senior Master Sgt. Paul Hennig, 477th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, production superintendent. "Our aircraft are scheduled for depot maintenance depending on fleet health needs. There is a fleet-wide depot schedule which outlines each airframe and its scheduled depot induction date. Depot schedules aircraft in a manner that allows the entire F-22 fleet to have required modifications performed within the prescribed timeframe."

The F-22s go through maintenance at the depot facilities instead of at home station because it allows for extended downtime of the aircraft and maintenance to be performed without taking away from the daily flying mission requirements and over tasking home station maintenance personnel. When depot performs the F-22 TCTOs, it allows active duty and Reserve Airmen from the 3rd and 477th maintenance squadrons to focus on meeting the home station flying schedule without over committing manpower or incurring extreme amounts of aircraft downtime.

"We keep pretty close tabs on our aircraft and pride ourselves on knowing the ins and outs of each airframe," said Hennig. "Any time an aircraft is off-station or down for an extended period of time there are uncertainties. Fortunately, we have a good working relationship with the F-22 depot, and we receive a quality product from them when the aircraft return."

Both of the aircraft received the increment 3.1 upgrade as a part of their scheduled depot. Increment 3.1 consists of software and hardware upgrades, a part of the F-22 modernization plan, allowing pilots to map the ground using the radar before dropping munitions. Previously they had to rely on outside sources to locate targets and provide coordinates before dropping a weapon.

"The jets coming out of depot receive the latest hardware and software upgrades enabling full air-to-ground functionality. Increment 3.1 gives the F-22 the ability to precisely locate, engage and target emerging ground threats," said Lt. Col. David Piffarerio, 302nd FS commander. "The depot delivers first class products on time and on schedule."

Partnership, Engagement Highlight Africa Policy

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2012 – Say “Africa” to most Americans and they think of “the Dark Continent” – a land beset by problems and disasters, far enough away that anything that happens there cannot possibly affect America.

And they would be wrong, said Amanda J. Dory, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs.
“What happens in Africa definitely affects the United States,” she said during an interview. “This is why military engagement [between the United States and African nations] is so important.”

Africa is the second-largest continent in both area and population, and it is “stunningly diverse,” Dory said. Africa comprises 54 nations in an area that includes triple-canopy jungle, the largest desert in the world, range lands, rift valleys and mountain ranges.

The people are even more diverse, with more than 2,000 different languages from five major groups spoken on the continent. From Arab and Muslim North Africa to Christian and Animist sub-Saharan Africa, it is a continent of contrasts.

Given this diversity, it is tough to develop a defense strategy to cover the whole continent, Dory said. The hallmarks for U.S. military strategy for the continent are based upon partnership and engagement. Military-to-military contacts on the continent are tailored to each country and proceed at the pace that each is comfortable with, she said.

The bottom line of the strategy is that while overall the U.S. military will shift focus to emphasize Asia, Dory said, Africa will not be ignored.

“When you start to focus on specific concerns, they are typically at the country level or regional level,” she said. “To develop opportunities for engagement with partners, you have to really drill down into the regional or country-specific base to do that.”

The underlying premise of U.S. strategy in Africa “is the idea that African security impacts on U.S. security, and African prosperity has benefits for American prosperity,” Dory said. “We do have shared interests in security and prosperity that allow us to engage with Africa at a time when people are talking about rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific and the importance of the Middle East.

“That doesn’t mean that we fail to have important interests with Africa,” she continued, “particularly in the security domain, and with economic possibilities as well.”

Africa seems to get into the news in the United States only when there is a natural disaster, famine or war, or when Americans are killed there. Parts of Africa – Mali, Somalia, Sudan and Libya – have serious problems. Other parts – generally those with stable governments with secure populations – have economies growing at six, seven or eight percent a year.

“When you look at the population in Africa, it is very youthful,” Dory said, and the nations of the continent need to develop opportunities for these young men and women.

“If these countries are able to translate the dynamism of these growing populations into productive output – agricultural or growing urbanization – they will do well,” she explained. “They need stability and security to succeed.”

DOD officials, obviously, follow security concerns. “Our worries are of growing extremism in parts of Africa,” Dory said.

This is a good-news, bad-news sort of situation. The bad news is that al-Qaida in the Maghreb is growing in Mali and other ungoverned or under-governed areas of North Africa, she said. “These are places with vast geography and insufficient governance and economic underdevelopment,” Dory said. “It’s a recipe for violent extremist organizations to begin to penetrate and take root.”

The good news is in Somalia, where the opposite is happening. Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group based there, has taken a severe beating. “In a geography that most Americans have long forgotten – they remember Blackhawk Down – there are really some very encouraging signs,” Dory said.

Regional forces, with international aid, have squeezed al-Shabaab out ofits Somali haven. Earlier this year, international forces kicked the group out of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. Earlier this month, Kenyan forces flushed al-Shabaab out of Kismayu, the country’s second-largest city.

“The key factor is the neighbors and region stepping up,” Dory said. “For the past five years, the neighbors were unwilling to allow Somalia to continue to fester.”

A second factor has been the support of the international community, “because the neighbors alone would not have been able to resource the effort,” she said.

A third factor is the role of the United States, which is to train, advise and assist the troop-contributing countries from a security perspective, she said.

“The final factor was the sense of strategic patience – that this was going to take a period of time, that you have an African-led effort being supported by the international community, and that it will unfold on its own timeline and [therefore] requires a certain amount of patience,” Dory said.

Those same ingredients helped in the antipiracy task force off Somalia’s coast, she noted. A “coalition of the willing” from the international community -- including the United States, China, Japan, Pakistan, India, Turkey and European nations -- has worked with regional nations to counter pirates operating from Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. There have been no successful attacks for the past six months, Dory said.
“The threats, though, don’t go away completely; they are displaced somewhat,” she added. “In piracy, some have moved to look for more hospitable shores – to Yemen or the nations nearer the Mozambican Channel.”
On land, she said, the terrorists moved to Mali or Sudan.

The same patient, careful, thoughtful approach that worked in Somalia can work in other areas, Dory maintained. Partnership programs and engagement with individual countries and regional coalitions can make Africa a more stable and secure continent, she said, and this will make America more secure as well, Dory said.

Brig. Gen. Witham nominated as ANG deputy directo

by Col. Nahaku A. McFadden
National Guard Bureau


10/11/2012 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Brig. Gen. James C. "JC" Witham has been named the next deputy director of the Air National Guard. Witham had served as the chief of staff of the California National Guard and the commander of that state's Air National Guard.

"I am thrilled and humbled for the opportunity to lead the best Air National Guard in our nation's history; a force that is proven in combat and domestic crises," Witham said. "I look forward to ensuring the investment the American people have made in the Air Guard continues to pay dividends."

As deputy director, Witham will be part of the leadership team responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, plans and programs affecting more than 106,000 Air Guard members in more than 88 flying wings and 200 geographically separated units throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

Lt. Gen. Harry "Bud" Wyatt III, Air National Guard director, said Witham is the right person at the right time.

"JC is an outstanding leader and we're glad to have him on our team," Wyatt said. "His wealth of command and staff positions will help shape and guide the Air Guard as we forge ahead to the future."

Witham is no stranger to key Pentagon and leadership positions. He has served at the National Guard Bureau director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, and NGB's director of Air, Space and Information Operations. Additionally, Witham has been the District of Columbia National Guard's director of operations and its operations group commander. As the California Air National Guard's air commander, he was responsible for command and control oversight of five major field-level organizations comprised of nearly 4,700 military and civilian personnel serving at 10 locations.

Witham also was nominated for appointment to the rank of major general. The nomination is pending U.S. Senate confirmation.

Witham was commissioned in 1980 as a distinguished graduate from the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo. He also was a distinguished graduate from undergraduate pilot training and subsequently the outstanding graduate from the F-15 Fighter Weapons Instructor Course. He served on active duty for 10 years flying the F-15 before joining the District of Columbia Air National Guard in 1990, where he flew the F-16.

On September 11, 2001, Witham was responsible for executing the initial airborne defense of the National Capital Region and establishment of the permanent alert facility at Andrews AFB, Md. A command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours, primarily in F-15 and F-16 aircraft, Witham has combat flying experience in Operations Northern Watch, Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom. As a Citizen-Airman, Witham is an American Airlines Captain.

SecNav Highlights Heritage and Warfighting in Birthday Message to the Fleet

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- This year's celebration of our 237th birthday is highlighted by anniversaries that have defined us as the greatest maritime warfighting force in history. Across the country, cities held Navy Week celebrations for the bicentennial of the War of 1812 which guaranteed our independence and ensured our future. These events have shown the contrasts of our modest beginnings with the original six frigates at the start of the 19th century to today's 21st century modern fleet.
This year is the 70th anniversary of Guadalcanal which was one of our Navy's most important World War II victories in the Pacific. 2012 is also the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis that allowed President Kennedy to stand firm during the Cold War confrontation with the might of 140 ships of the fleet in the Caribbean. Since then, the Navy has continued to provide the flexibility our Commander in Chief needs to meet high-end conventional or asymmetrical threats, or provide humanitarian assistance in response to natural disasters. We have remained a nation committed to the seas and to a strong Navy.

While we have innovated and built the world's greatest fleet through the years, what makes our Navy part of the best expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known is our Sailors. You are standing the watch and sustaining peace in the global commons.

The new defense strategy announced by the President in January is a maritime-centric strategy, so America needs your continued best. This is a time and a future when so much depends on our naval services and we will continue to take care of our Sailors and their families to make sure they have all they need to take care of our nation. You are part of a Navy warfighting team that is reliable, flexible and ready to respond worldwide - on, above and below the sea. I look forward to all we will accomplish in the years ahead.

Thank you, happy birthday and semper fortis.

Wolf Pack participates in Red Flag-Alaska, Distant Frontier

8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/11/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- More than 150 personnel and 14 aircraft from the 8th Fighter Wing particpated in Distant Frontier and Red Flag-Alaska at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska during September and October. Distant Frontier and Red Flag-Alaska both assess the capabilities and effectiveness of military personnel and equipment. This included numerous simulated combat scenarios and training missions designed to re-create real-world situations pilots might face in a combat environment. Participants in the exercises usually include squadrons from around the Air Force and from other nations including Japan and Singapore.

F-22 Raptors integrate operations with Kadena aircraft

by Airman 1st Class Brooke P. Beers
18th Wing Public Affairs


10/11/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- For more than two months, the 27th Fighter Squadron from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., has been deployed to Kadena Air Base, training alongside Kadena's F-15 Eagles from the 44th and 67th Fighter Squadrons.

"We loved the opportunity to work with the F-15s," said Lt. Col. Cavan Craddock. "It's valid training that we wouldn't get at home."

Although the F-15 Eagle and F-22 Raptor fighter jets have the same type of weapons and play similar roles, the Raptor uses stealth technology to clear enemy airspace other aircraft.

F-22 Raptors, which are capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, are a critical component to the Air Force's arsenal. The aircraft combines stealth, precision, super cruise and maneuverability to gain advantage over other aircraft.

"We're here as part of the Pacific theater command's security obligation," said Craddock, 27th Fighter Squadron commander.

Under the direction of the 18th Wing, the 27th FS has integrated its operations alongside Kadena's two F-15 Eagle squadrons as well as the KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 Sentry units here.

"The F-22 Raptor deployment was important for signifying our continued commitment to regional partners," said Col. Pete Milohnic, 18th Operations Group commander. "It sends a clear message that the U.S. is serious about maintaining security and stability in the region and it provided our Airmen outstanding fourth and fifth generation fighter integration training. The deployment has been a complete success."

Hundreds on October supplemental promotion list



by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - RANDOLPH, Texas More than 500 Airmen were selected for promotion as part of the October enlisted supplemental promotion process, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced today.


Airmen on the supplemental list tested outside of their required cycle because of an extended temporary duty assignment or deployment in support of a contingency, said Master Sgt. Gisela Hawthorne, noncommissioned officer in charge of enlisted promotions and testing.

Selection is based on overall promotion scores derived from Weighted Airman Promotion System factors, including time in grade, time in service, enlisted performance reports, decorations, promotion fitness examination score and specialty knowledge test score, Hawthorne explained. For promotion to senior or chief master sergeant, it also includes board scores.

Promotion selections are tentative until the data verification process is complete; generally 10 days after the promotion release date, Hawthorne said.

Locklear Encourages Closer U.S.-Bangladesh Military Ties

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2012 – Praising Bangladesh as a global model in both peacekeeping and disaster management, Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told Bangladeshi leaders and reporters yesterday he welcomes more opportunities for the United States and Bangladesh to work together to support their mutual security interests.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, is escorted by Bangladeshi military personnel during a troop-review ceremony in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Oct. 10, 2012. Military-to-military relations between the United States and Bangladesh underlined Locklear's visit to Bangladesh. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Carl N. Hudson
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Locklear visited Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital city, where he met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Army Chief Gen. Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan and Navy Chief Vice Adm. Zahir Uddin Ahmed.

The United States, Bangladesh and other regional neighbors all stand to benefit from a strong U.S.-Bangladeshi military-to-military relationship, Locklear told reporters following the meetings.

“As I look across this part of the world, having a prosperous, secure and safe Bangladesh is a cornerstone to the future security of this part of the world,” he said.
Locklear recognized strides Bangladesh -- the world’s seventh-most-populated country -- has made as it learns not to prosper in a challenging geographic environment.
With a long history of devastating natural disasters, Bangladesh has made tremendous strides in managing their effects, the admiral said. “I think it is a model for others to follow,” he said, expressing hope that the United States and Bangladesh can “learn from each other and strengthen our cooperation in some of these key areas.”

In addition, Bangladesh has become “the world standard for peacekeeping operations,” Locklear said. “And there is a lot that other nations can learn from what your forces do globally in support of U.N.-sanctioned peacekeeping operations,” he added.

Bangladesh also recently built and launched its first ship, “quite an accomplishment” toward building a maritime force, he said.

Locklear congratulated both Bangladesh and Burma for taking their dispute over territorial seas, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in the Bay of Bengal to the international law of the sea tribunal. The tribunal handed down its judgment in March.

Calling this “an excellent model” for other nations around the world, Locklear said the tribunals offer a way to deal with contested maritime areas in the South China Sea, East China Sea and elsewhere around the world.

Asked by a reporter, Locklear said any support from the United States to help Bangladesh defend its waters as defined by the tribunal would be at the request of the Bangladeshi government.

“And we will help in ways that would improve their capacity to be able to monitor what is going on in their maritime areas and to respond when their maritime interests are at stake,” he said.

Assigning “a very good grade” to the military-to-military relationship between the United States and Bangladesh, Locklear said he would like to build on it to become stronger partners in ensuring a positive security environment.

He cited the biannual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, or CARAT, exercise series, in which the two militaries train together to increase interoperability. This year’s exercise included the navies of the United States and Bangladesh, as well as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and, for the first time, Timor Leste.

In another measure under discussion, but not yet concrete, the United States could transfer a retired U.S. Coast Guard cutter to the Bangladeshi navy.

Locklear and the Bangladeshi military leaders discussed these and other issues, agreeing to annual general-officer-level meetings to assess progress and chart the way forward for the military-to-military relationship.
While hoping to lock in key events such as exercises and senior-level visits as part of a five-year plan, Locklear said, he hopes to foster “a pretty free-flowing, living relationship like you would expect from any other partner.”

The United States has no problem with Bangladesh advancing relationships with other regional nations, particularly China, Locklear said in answer to a reporter’s question.

“In the end, we should have a security environment where everyone participates … in their own interest, but also in the collective interest of everyone else,” he said.

He emphasized that the U.S. rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region is not designed to “contain” China, as some have argued. “It is a strategy of looking at how do we ensure peace and prosperity and enhance a security environment for the decades, for the years to come in this part of the world where the United States, like China, like Bangladesh, like India have shared interests,” he explained.

“There are too many problems facing the world today for everyone to line up and take sides,” Locklear said. “We have to be able to be productive together and to create an environment that is better for our children and for their grandchildren. We have to be positioned with our military and our capabilities across all our nations, to be able to deal with massive humanitarian disasters that we know will come again. We have to ensure that the maritime, the cyber, the global commons are secure and safe, so that everyone can have access to them and so economies can grow.

“So the expectation would be that if Bangladesh chooses to have multiple relationships, it would be healthy for the security environment,” Locklear said.

Face of Defense: Soldier Makes Mark at Firing Range

By Army Staff Sgt. Antuan Parrish
5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

ORCHARD COMBAT TRAINING CENTER, Idaho, Oct. 11, 2012 – For Army Pfc. Samuel Oehring, who grew up in the rural areas of Texas and Arkansas, shooting was a part of everyday life.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Sgt. Raymond Ramos, left, counts Army Pfc. Samuel Oehring's hits after firing an M240B machine gun at Orchard Combat Training Center, Idaho, Oct. 7, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Antuan Parrish
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Even though Oehring -- an allied trade specialist assigned to Forward Support Company, 864th Engineer Battalion -- has shot many other weapons, he explained that shooting the M240B machine gun takes a lot of skill and focus.

“The 240 has more recoil,” he said. “If you don’t pay attention to the recoil and tuck it tight into yourself, you’ll lose your sight picture. Also, if you put too much of your finger on the trigger, the weapon will pull left and right. You have to pay attention to the small details to properly shoot this weapon.”

Oehring’s company went to the range here Oct. 7 to fire their M240B machine guns during their battalion’s deployment preparation training. For Oehring, it was only his second time firing the weapon, and he admitted the first time wasn’t that great of an experience. He didn’t qualify, scoring only a 33.

“I didn’t do so well during the last qualification,” he acknowledged. “The [noncommissioned officers] have been coaching and teaching us on how to use the weapons properly.”

Army Sgt. Raymond Ramos, who was working safety at the range, said he ensures that Oehring and the other soldiers in the platoon know every aspect of the weapon and not just how to pull the trigger.
“I first make sure they always clean their weapons,” said Ramos, a native of Pacifica, Calif. “I also teach them function checks, assembly and disassembly, and to know all the parts.”

Oehring later qualified with a 35, which is the minimum score to qualify. He was ecstatic when walking off the range about how he had improved.

“I just want to make sure they know what they’re doing before going to combat,” said Ramos, a 10-year veteran.

Oehring’s father served in the Army and was part of the reason he joined two years ago.

“My father passed while I was in [advanced individual training],” Oehring said. “I promised him before he passed that I’d do my part to serve my country.”

Oehring said he is looking forward to the upcoming deployment and is confident in his leaders' abilities.
“They’ve got us ready for whatever comes our way, and have done a great job at doing it,” he said.

Airmen rally, register to save lives

by Tech. Sgt. Tammie Moore
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


10/11/2012 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Nearly 200 Airmen fromf Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., added their names to the C. W. Bill Young Marrow Donor Center database as willing bone marrow donors during a registration drive Sept. 27.

Airmen and base community members teamed together to make the event, coordinated by Capt. Amber Millerchip, a success.

"I put the request out across the wing for volunteers, and it was amazing to see so many stepped-up and raised their hand to help," said Millerchip, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs chief.

The idea for the drive was originally devised by Millerchip to assist a fellow public affairs specialist, Chief Master Sgt. Richard Simonsen, the public affairs senior enlisted leader at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Md. In 2009, both of his children were diagnosed with dyskeratosis congenita, a type of inherited bone marrow failure syndrome. His daughter Sarah, 19, received a transplant from an anonymous donor, Aug. 9. His son Seth however, still waits for a matching donor.

"I feel honored that there are people at Seymour Johhson willing to go into the database," Simonsen said. "The chances of matching any particular non-relative is remote, but by being in the database you could be called upon to save a life."

In addition to helping Seth, drive volunteers also shared the story of three other military children in need of bone marrow donations.

Registration drives are important because there is a constant need for bone marrow donors. Most patients in need of a bone marrow transplant will not find a match in their family; this is a way to increase their odds of finding a match," said Tech. Sgt. Crystal Ybarra, 4th Medical Support Squadron NCO in charge of laboratory services. "Also, this is for DOD personnel, so it is just another way to help out our brothers and sisters in arms. They sacrifice so much every day, why make them sacrifice their spouse or child if there is a possibility of a cure."

It is not too late for individuals who missed the event to register as bone marrow donors. People who have a military ID card can do so at the 4th Medical Group laboratory.

"Registering is a painless process. You have about a one in 200 chance of being selected," Ybarra said. "If selected, and you happen to pass the physical part of the interview, you will be put under anesthesia for the procedure. The recipient, on the other hand will not, and many of them are little children. Whatever pain or fear you may have about the actual donation procedure, it is nothing compared to what the potential recipient has already gone through."

A family-friendly deployment

by Airman 1st Class Victor J. Caputo
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


10/10/2012 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.  -- More than 150 McConnell Airmen, spouses and children braved the cold weather and the harsh wind to experience the Family Mobility Line Oct. 6, 2012, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan.

Sponsored by the Airman and Family Readiness Center, spouses and children learned what it was like to deploy.

After meeting at the A&FRC, the participants splintered into smaller groups and marched to Building 1090 for "out-processing" and their mission briefing. Once this was accomplished, they were given the chance to tour a KC-135 Stratotanker before heading to Camp Kids Understanding Deployment Overseas.

"It's pretty realistic," said Senior Master Sgt. Roberto Carreno, 22nd Contracting Squadron superintendant. "We go through the same kind of processes when we deploy."

Carreno took his son David, 10, to the mobility line.

Several Airmen led the groups in a short physical training session to help everyone stay warm in the cold weather and strong, Kansas wind.

Col. Kyle Kremer, 22nd Air Refueling Wing vice commander, spoke to the different groups at the camp about how a deployment works and stated the importance of ensuring that their family members are safe and cared for is a top priority at McConnell, he said.

The first-hand experience was a big part of the event's draw.

"It gives your family a good perspective of what we go through when we deploy," said Carreno. "It lets them feel like [they're] a part of it."

A military working dog demonstration finished the event. The afternoon managed to fulfill both educational and entertainment goals with everyone who came.

"The event was great and we got a lot of very positive feedback," said Maryann Barry, 22nd Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant. "A lot of moms, dads and kids had a great time experiencing how it all comes together."

Army Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Facilitating Theft of Fuel in Afghanistan

Second Guilty Plea Stemming from an Investigation of Fuel Theft at FOB Fenty in Afghanistan
 
WASHINGTON – U.S. Army Sergeant Christopher Weaver pleaded guilty today to bribery charges for his role in the theft of fuel at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Fenty, near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, announced Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer.
Weaver, 29, of Fort Carson, Colo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Marcia S. Krieger in the District of Colorado to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of bribery.
Weaver’s plea is the second guilty plea arising from an investigation into fuel thefts at FOB Fenty.  On Aug. 3, 2012, Weaver’s co-conspirator Jonathan Hightower, 30, of Houston, pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme.   

According to court documents, from approximately January 2010 through June 2010, Weaver and Hightower were involved in overseeing the delivery of fuel from FOB Fenty to other military bases.  As part of this process, documents generally described as “transportation movement requests” (TMRs) were created, which authorized the movement of the fuel.  Weaver pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy in which fraudulent TMRs, which purported to authorize the transport of fuel from FOB Fenty to other military bases, were created even though no legitimate fuel transportation was required.  After the trucks were filled with fuel, these fraudulent documents were used by the drivers of the fuel trucks at FOB Fenty’s departure checkpoint in order to justify the trucks’ departures from FOB Fenty.  In truth, according to court documents, the fuel was simply stolen.

Weaver pleaded guilty to receiving payments from a representative of a military contractor that was responsible for transporting fuel in Afghanistan in exchange for facilitating the theft of approximately 100 fuel trucks.  According to Weaver’s signed plea agreement, the loss to the United States as a result of the scheme was in excess of $1.5 million.  According to court documents, Weaver sent cash back from Afghanistan to the United States, in part, by mailing the money inside a stuffed bear.

According to court documents, Hightower worked in Afghanistan as an employee of FLUOR Inc., a U.S. government contractor, from January 2010 to June 2010, where he served as a petroleum supply specialist and was responsible for receiving and disbursing fuel – primarily jet fuel known as JP-8 – for use at FOB Fenty or for transport to other military bases.  According to court documents, Hightower, Weaver and others would receive cash from a representative of a military contractor that was responsible for transporting fuel in Afghanistan, and the money would be apportioned among the conspirators.

Hightower pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez in the District of Colorado to two counts of conspiracy to receive bribes – one count involving his conspiracy with Weaver, and another count involving his conspiracy with another alleged co-conspirator at FOB Fenty.  Hightower admitted facilitating the theft of over 100 trucks of fuel and a loss to the United States in excess of $1.5 million.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark W. Pletcher of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, formerly of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Special Trial Attorney Mark H. Dubester of the Fraud Section.  The cases were investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction; the Department of the Army, Criminal Investigations Division; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the FBI; and the Department of the Air Force, Office of Special Investigations.  Valuable assistance was also provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.

AFPC Airman: Please don’t forget, they’re not all home



by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas
– It wasn’t the first time she had been to the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, but Staff Sgt. Danielle Harris’ Sept. 21 visit was as emotionally energizing as if she’d never been there.


Annually, during the National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day events, New York City officials honor Department of Defense agencies responsible for managing the POW/MIA Personnel Accounting program.

Harris, an Air Force Missing Persons Liaison assigned to the Air Force Personnel Center, and six other DoD representatives participated in the day’s events, which included a closing bell ceremony on the exchange floor and participating in a N.Y. Yankees home plate tribute to service members past and present.

“When we walked onto the exchange floor, everybody quit working and turned toward us. They clapped and didn’t stop until we were all on the podium,” Harris Said. “It was amazing.”

Representing the Air Force at the annual ceremony was an honor, the 28-year-old Wisconsin native said. But, she explained, the point of the trip and all the events was to remind people that 83,000 Americans are still unaccounted for from World War II to today.

“It wasn’t about me, or any of us. It was about our missing service members and their families,” said Harris, one of 600 Department of Defense military members and civilians committed to the POW/MIA Personnel Accountability mission.

As a wife and mother, Harris feels strong empathy for the families of America’s missing service members, as well. Working with family members is one of the more gratifying aspects of her job.

“We represent our missing servicemen and their families. Honoring them and their sacrifices was the whole point of the New York visit, for me,” she said. “I don’t want people to forget that not everybody came home, and those service members still unaccounted for are not forgotten.”

For more information about the DoD mission to account for missing Americans, visit the Defense POW/Missing Person Office website at www.dtic.mil/dpmo. For more information about Air Force personnel issues, visit the myPers website at www.mypers.af.mil