Military News

Monday, December 03, 2012

Face of Defense: Chaplain Serves Deployment in Antarctica

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Murphy
185th Air Refueling Wing, Iowa Air National Guard

MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica, Dec. 3, 2012 – As the cool winter air begins to roll into Sioux City, Iowa, Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) William Vit is feeling a much colder breeze.


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Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) William Vit of Sioux City, Iowa, stands at the geographic South Pole. Vit, a priest at the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City and a member of the Iowa Air National Guard's 185th Air Refueling Wing, is in the Antarctic for a two-month deployment with the National Guard in support of Operation Deep Freeze. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Murphy
  

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Vit, an Air National Guard chaplain with the 185th Air Refueling Wing and a priest for the Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City, has been deployed here since October with the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing in support of Operation Deep Freeze. He provides ministry services to military and civilian personnel conducting their mission on the world's coldest continent.

"I enjoy the diversity of the people who are here,” the chaplain said. “From military to scientists and everything in-between, I am able to meet a wide variety of people."

In addition to serving the population at the McMurdo Station, Vit also serves about 160 people stationed at the geographic South Pole. The most difficult part of this deployment, he said, is dealing with the harsh environment.

"Equipment doesn't always work like it does when everything is warm,” he explained. “I tried to take pictures with my digital camera at the South Pole, but with wind chills of 50 below zero, the electronics don't even work. At the South Pole, when we finally found a well-insulated camera that functioned in the cold, it was still hard to take the picture, as the flash button is not designed to accommodate a shivering person with two layers of gloves."

While coping with the extreme temperatures, Vit said, he enjoys working with researchers and has found a common interest: the desire to seek the truth. “While our fields of study may be vastly different, our desires and motivations are strikingly similar,” he said. “As a chaplain, I have enjoyed hearing about all of this work and sharing my appreciation for their research and mission."

Vit said he is moved by the support he received at home concerning his deployment. "I spoke with members from my local church to make sure I could be away for the given time,” he said, “and was actually encouraged by them to participate."

Air Force Chaplain (Maj.) Steven Peters, the full-time Chaplain with the 185th, said Vit's dedication to the Air National Guard and its mission is impressive, especially considering his responsibilities with his parish.

"Chaplain Vit is incredibly busy with his position in his parish. Yet, he feels called to military chaplaincy, and he has made serving the Air National Guard his priority," he said. "Whenever he takes something on, he does it with passion and goes above and beyond what is expected."

Vit will return from this deployment in the coming weeks and another chaplain will deploy to replace him. "As the new priest takes my place, we are fortunate that he can begin where I end and serve the Lord's people living and working here in Antarctica,” Vit said.

Panetta Awards Nunn, Lugar Highest Civilian Defense Honors

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2012 – At a symposium at National Defense University here on the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta today recognized the program’s founders with the Defense Department’s highest civilian honor, the Distinguished Public Service Award.


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Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter addresses Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, left, and former Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia, center, at the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Symposium at National Defense University, Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2012. DOD photo by Erin Kirk-Cuomo
  

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Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar and former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn stood on stage at the National Defense University as Panetta pinned small medals on their lapels.
 
“At the Pentagon, our primary mission is to keep this country safe. These two gentlemen have kept our country safe by virtue of what they've done. Their dedication, their leadership, their efforts at trying to ensure that we do everything we can to control the spread of weapons of mass destruction has been an incredible legacy of two individuals committed to trying to protect this world.”

The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, established in 1991 as part of the Nunn-Lugar Act, is a critical part of the U.S. approach to reducing the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related materials. It provided U.S. funding and expertise to help the former Soviet Union and other countries safeguard and dismantle stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, related materials and delivery systems.

The program also promotes collaboration with international and nongovernmental partners to advance regional engagement and multilateral cooperation.

At the event, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter credited both with lasting accomplishments.

“It is and will forever be the privilege of my lifetime to have been an eyewitness to the history that you two wrote and are still writing and that we honor today,” he told Lugar and Nunn.

Carter himself contributed to the U.S. understanding of what it would mean for the government of a superpower like the Soviet Union to disintegrate while it had nuclear weapons. He had just completed a study titled, “Soviet Nuclear Fission: Control of the Nuclear Arsenal in a Disintegrating Soviet Union.” And at a November 1991 meeting in Nunn’s office, according to moderator David Hoffman, Carter drove home to Nunn, Lugar and others at the meeting that the Soviet collapse was an immense security threat.

“As the Soviet Union disintegrated,” Carter said, “[Lugar and Nunn] realized before anyone else that the danger of a Soviet nuclear attack was being replaced by a new and unprecedented danger: the possibility that its nuclear arsenal might fall into entirely new and unaccustomed hands -- instantaneous proliferation on a massive scale, and worse and totally new, the specter of nukes falling into nonstate, even terrorist hands, events for which deterrence would not offer protection.”
Nunn and Lugar were right, the deputy secretary added, “and just as importantly, they were able to persuade the governments of the United States and Russia and all the successor states of the former Soviet Union to follow suit by making it physically and above all socially and politically possible for them to do the right thing, which was to reduce the nuclear threat.”

Because of the senators’ efforts, Carter said, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus all denuclearized. By the mid 1990s, all the former Soviet states became signatories to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and Russia was reducing and safeguarding the former Soviet Union’s nuclear arsenal.

Today, he explained, the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program is evolving in three ways. One is geographic expansion.

“The disaggregation and increasing sophistication of terrorist organizations coupled with leaps in technology that reduce the barriers to [weapons of mass destruction] acquisition,” Carter said, “has required the U.S. and our partners to increase the global reach of the program beyond the former Soviet Union, to close to 80 countries in all.”

Second, he said, the program has increased its emphasis on countering the threat of biological and chemical weapons.

“Countering these threats was always part of the Nunn-Lugar program, but scientific and technological advancements have made these weapons more dangerous and more widespread,” the deputy secretary said.

On the biosecurity front, the CTR program is partnering with foreign governments and international health organizations around the world to counter emerging threats, Carter said. One such partnership is the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Tbilisi, Georgia, which opened this year.
The facility is a regional biosurveillance hub, he said, that hosts Defense Department researchers from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, public health experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and experts from Georgia's own health security agency.

“The center pursues three goals that are the foundation of CTR's biosecurity work around the world,” Carter said.

“The first is to improve information flow about disease outbreaks. We want a leg up in determining whether an outbreak is naturally occurring or manmade,” he said.

The second is to improve partner capacity, the human factor in biosecurity, the deputy secretary added, including better laboratory practices and systems to guard against insider threats.
The third is to keep the most dangerous pathogens on Earth consolidated and secured in a minimum number of well-guarded facilities.

“The biothreat spans the realms of national security and public health and the public and private sectors. CTR is trying to bridge these gaps as it looks forward, and the Lugar Center is a major step in that effort,” Carter said.

Another change in the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program has to do with the character and tenor of its interagency and international partnerships, he added.

“Here at home, we find that the increasing integration with other federal agencies is amplifying our threat-reduction efforts,” Carter said. “While we have worked closely with the departments of State and Energy … right from the beginning, we are tapping into valuable partnerships with agencies in nontraditional areas,” he said.

“The [CDC] and the [Agriculture Department’s] Foreign Agricultural Service, for example, have unique health engagement relationships that the CTR program is relying on to secure biological facilities and increased biosurveillance of especially dangerous pathogens,” such as anthrax, the deputy secretary added.

Overseas, he said, the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program emphasizes the importance of putting threat reduction into the hands of frontline international partners. “By building the capacity of other responsible nations, we are increasing their security and minimizing the likelihood that threats materialize across borders, including in the United States,” he added.

Carter said the work of the two senators will endure through future generations. “CTR will forever be a part of human governance because we can never forget what we know about these destructive weapons,” he said, “and it will forever be associated with two names: Nunn and Lugar.

Later, as Panetta prepared to present the awards, he said it was his privilege to recognize the legacy of both men, calling their leadership “a symbol of the kind of public service that is so important to our country, now and in the future.”

The secretary added that his biggest national security concern today “is whether or not those who are elected to office have the will and courage to be able to govern this country and to be able to find the answers to the problems that confront us.”

Lugar and Nunn, Panetta added, “have spent their lives working to solve problems, to govern this country and therefore to do everything in their power to make our democracy work better and keep this country safer.”

Obama Warns Syria Against Using Chemical, Biological Weapons


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

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2012 – President Barack Obama today warned Syria’s Bashar Assad regime that the use of chemical and biological weapons would be “unacceptable.”


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President Barack Obama thanks Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, center right, and former Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia, center, for their work to help in denuclearizing countries after the fall of the Soviet Union at the National Defense University in Washington D.C., Dec. 3, 2012. Prior to the president’s speech, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, left, presented Nunn and Lugar with the Defense Civilian Service Award, the highest award the Defense Department can give a civilian. DOD photo by Erin Kirk-Cuomo
  

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Speaking to at the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Symposium at the National Defense University here, Obama addressed concerns of the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in Syria.
 
“Today, I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command [that] the world is watching,” he said. “The use of chemical weapons is, and would be, totally unacceptable. And if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there where be consequences, and you will be held accountable.”

The president said it has been critical to continue investing in threat reduction programs over the past four years of his administration.
“We simply cannot allow the 21st century to be darkened by the worst weapons of the 20th century,” Obama said. “And even as we make some very tough fiscal choices, we’re going to keep investing in these programs, because our national security depends on it.”
The president noted even after the destruction of thousands of missiles, elimination of bombers and submarines and deactivation of warheads, much work remains to be done.

“There’s still much too much material -- nuclear, chemical, biological -- being stored without enough protection,” he said. “There are still terrorists and criminal gangs doing everything they can to get their hands on it.”

If these criminals get these weapons, they will use them, potentially killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and perhaps triggering a global crisis, the president said.

“[This is] why I continue to believe that nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to global security,” he added. “[And] why working to prevent nuclear terrorism is going to remain one of my top national security priorities as long as I have the privilege of being president of the United States.”

The president emphasized that the United States must sustain efforts across the government to strengthen threat reduction programs such as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which he called “one of our most important national security programs.”

“[This is] why we haven’t just sustained programs like Nunn-Lugar over the past four years,” Obama said. “We’ve worked with all of you to strengthen it, expanding it to some 80 nations, far beyond the old Soviet Union - moving ahead with the destruction of chemical weapons - partnering with others, countries from Africa to Asia and global health organizations to prevent the spread of deadly diseases and bioterrorism.”

The work ahead will not be easy, Obama said. “It took decades and extraordinary sums of money to build those arsenals,” he explained. “It’s going to take decades and continued investments to dismantle them.”
Obama also said while this painstaking work rarely makes headlines, it is “absolutely vital to our national security and to our global interests.”

“Missile by missile, warhead by warhead, shell by shell, we’re putting a bygone era behind us,” he said. “Inspired by Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar, we’re moving closer to the future we seek -- a future where these weapons never threaten our children again, [and] a future where we know the security and peace of a world without nuclear weapons.”

The president also told the audience that the United States will continue to support the “legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people” by engaging with the opposition and providing them with humanitarian aid and by working for a transition to a Syria that’s free of the Assad regime.
 

Official Discusses Enhanced Sustainability, Cost Reduction

By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2012 – The assistant secretary of defense for maintenance and policy today outlined the issues and challenges facing the maintenance community with consideration to current conflicts and steep costs.

Speaking at the Defense Logistics 2012 conference, John B. Johns examined future maintenance, sustainment and cost reduction goals and stressed the importance of prioritization with across-the-board spending cuts looming if a sequestration mechanism in the Budget Control Act takes effect in January.
“If sequestration does happen, there would have to be significant effort on prioritization, and [a] focus on providing the best value to the warfighter given the threat environment as assessed by the department,” Johns said.

Because the Defense Department's materiel maintenance operations support a spectrum of weapon systems that includes about 280 ships, 14,000 aircraft, 800 strategic missiles and 350,000 ground combat and tactical vehicles, the distribution of maintenance workloads between the public and private sectors is instrumental in maintaining a robust and viable industrial base, program officials said.

Johns also noted the maintenance and logistics community’s need to understand and adjust as the U.S. military pivots its focus to the Asia-Pacific region. “The maintenance and logistics community’s priorities need to follow the warfighting priorities,” he said.

As the United States sharpens its focus on innovation in space and cyberspace, maintenance priorities also must encompass emerging technology, Johns said.

“A shift toward [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], any systems that require software and all of our programs, to include sustainment of those systems, need to reflect that shifting priority,” he said.
The conference, which runs through Dec. 5, is bringing government and military officials together with defense contractors, and is sponsored by defense-related industries.

Official Explores Cost-saving Logistics Initiatives

By Amaani Lyle

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2012 – A senior Defense Department official today underscored the importance of contractors, industry partnerships and allies at a time of fewer federal dollars and amid a transition to a post-war era.

Gary J. Motsek, deputy assistant secretary of defense for program support, told the Defense Logistics 2012 conference that the post-Iraq and Afghanistan transition is leading the U.S. military to streamline efficiencies across the services and focus on performance-based logistics improvements to meet unique, modern-day challenges.

“We have helped our combatant commanders … make efficient use of our department’s contributions, … but we have to preserve our U.S. military forces for the highest-priority mission,” Motsek said.
Government, military and defense contractors are attending the conference, which is being sponsored by defense-related industries. At today’s session, Motsek cited the emergence of contractor solutions to logistics issues.

“Twenty-five years ago, if one of our combatant commanders required surgical capability downrange, … we could send them a combat support hospital,” he said, explaining that the Defense Department now enables commanders to subdivide and specify components of a hospital or a unit they need deployed.

“In Iraq today, there are no U.S. military hospitals, [and] there are no U.S. military hospital teams,” he said, noting contractor support of what U.S. military still remain there, attached to the embassy.

Motsek also explained the significant role of international partners in seeking more efficient ways to build sustainment and deliver support and services downrange.

“Our partners look to us for that strategic movement, by and large. … No one can do the sustainment of our forces better, and we’ve proven that over and over again,” Motsek said. “We’re examining commonalities of efficiencies and effectiveness to support and gain budget savings. We’re developing Web-based programs where we and our allies can put up on a screen the holes that we see in our logistics [and support] packages that may need filling and see how other nations can contribute.”

NATO has made a seminal change by combining several agencies and developing a derivative of materiel commands and the defense logistics agency, Motsek noted, enabling the alliance to contract and send support staff to the field.

“More and more contracting support will be required in the future,” he said. “There is value to consolidating contracts. I believe you’re going to see more and more contracts that reduce redundancy and excess supply services.”

Of the major lessons learned from the Iraq transition, flexibility is perhaps the most vital, Motsek said.
“We have to plan our contracting support and logistics base to support no wars or tens of thousands of troops,” Mostek said, citing the need to optimize the contracts as missions dictate. “Everything is going to have to be synchronized far better than we have in the past,” he said. “We don’t have the luxury of analyzing, building some doctrine, testing the doctrine and executing in the field.”

Mostek touted the Better Buying Power initiative, designed by former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter. The program was introduced in September 2010 to deliver the capabilities needed for the money available by getting better buying power for warfighters and taxpayers. The 23-point strategy was designed to restore affordability in defense procurement and to improve defense industry productivity.

“Better Buying Power 2.0 establishes a paradigm where we can talk again,” Motsek said. “We have had walls established between the contract community and the acquisition, logistics and sustainment … community that are extraordinarily high and extraordinarily thick.”

Mostek said contracted players, playing themselves in joint exercises —as opposed to military members acting as surrogates -- will be among the markers of success.

“We’re in a transition today in Afghanistan, and we’ll build … a support structure as necessary … with partners,” Mostek said. “My job is to synchronize what the U.S. is doing with NATO [and] other allies.”
He also noted the need to understand the costs of efficient logistics and avoid the knee-jerk reaction to simply increase funding. “Throwing money against the problem is not the solution any more,” Motsek said. “We have to be far more sophisticated.”

NORAD to Conduct Air Defense Exercise in National Capital Region

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), announced today that they will conduct an air defense exercise in the National Capital Region (NCR), between midnight and 2 a.m., beginning on Dec. 4 and concluding early Thursday.

The exercise is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center (JADOC), the Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR’s Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors.

 Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as to operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System and to certify newly assigned Command and Control personnel at JADOC.  Participating in the exercise will be Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16 fighters and a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will take place the following evening.  If bad weather continues, officials will then make a decision to postpone or cancel the exercise.

 For further information, please contact NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs at 719-554-6889.

Reservist earns top basic training award, credits AFRC training

by Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs


12/2/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- A member of the 477th Fighter Group was named top graduate out of 620 Airmen completing Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 9.

Airman 1st Class Andrew Morgan is a traditional reservist who will be assigned to the 477th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron as an F-22 avionics specialist. Morgan is a resident of Anchorage, Alaska.

The top honor goes to the Airman who excels in the challenges of Air Force Basic Military Training. Morgan was the weapons monitor, scored a 97 on his end of course test, and completed the mile and half run in 10 minutes and 34 seconds in addition to 52 sit-ups and 48 push-ups.

"The training I went through before leaving for BMT helped out immensely," said Morgan, "I was way ahead of the game because of what we did with the Reserve training prior BMT."

Morgan's success can be attributed in part to his participation in the 477th FG Development and Training Flight, a new Air Force Reserve initiative which prepares enlistees for BMT by educating them on Air Force customs and courtesies, drill and ceremony, and physical fitness prior to arrival at BMT.

"The D&T flight has sent 21 trainees off to basic training so far," said Tech. Sgt. Travis Marshall, 477th FG D&T Flight facilitator. "Eight members have returned after training, a few of them held roles such as dorm chiefs and element leaders, but Morgan is our first trainee to be recognized as the Top Graduate. We will continue to provide them with the tools that they will need to successful in BMT."

Prior to the stand-up of D&T Flight program new enlistees only contact with the military was twice a month contact with their recruiter and weekly contact during the month prior to leaving for BMT. This training so far has proven to increase the success rate of Airmen in BMT. According to Chief Master Sgt. Laura Wilkes, Development and Training Flight program manager, there is a 7 percent discharge rate of Reserve Airmen who were not in a D&T Flight prior to coming to BMT and only a .5 percent discharge rate for those who were.

"Trainees can be a part of the program for as short as one month up to one year as they await their training dates," said Marshall. "As of right now they are averaging six to seven months in the program before leaving for BMT."

There are currently 37 active D&T flights in the Air Force Reserve.

"Prepare yourself mentally, but don't stress about it," said Morgan. " Most trainees get used to the conditions of BMT after a while, but being able to handle one's self under pressure is the biggest thing to overcome. The sooner you can get a start on that, the better, and the D&T Flight at the 477th FG did that and more."

Retired JDF General Oriki receives Legion of Merit

12/3/2012 - Retired Gen. Ryoichi Oriki, former Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff, Japan Self Defense Forces, receives The Legion of Merit medal pinned by U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, at Yokota Air Base, Nov. 30, 2012. Oriki received the award for meritorious conduct, performance and achievement during bilateral disaster relief operations at the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake last year. Oriki retired in January 2012. The Legion of Merit was established by Congress on July 20, 1942; by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Legion of Merit is also awarded to members of armed forces of friendly foreign nations who have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Osakabe Yasuo

Soldier Missing from Vietnam War Identified



The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Sgt. John R. Jones, of Louisville, Ky., will be buried Dec. 6, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On June 4, 1971, Jones was part of a U.S. team working with indigenous commandos to defend a radio-relay base, known as Hickory Hill, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.  When enemy forces attacked the site, Jones and another serviceman took up a defensive position in a nearby bunker.  The following morning, Jones was reportedly killed by enemy fire and the other soldier was captured and held as a POW until 1973.

From 1993 to 2010, joint U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted several investigations, surveyed the site and interviewed multiple witnesses, including those involved in the battle.  During that time, analysts from JPAC and DPMO evaluated wartime records and eyewitness accounts to determine possible excavation sites.  In 2011, another joint U.S.-S.R.V team located human remains in a bunker suspected to be the last known location of Jones.

For the identification of the remains, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental records and mitochondrial DNA that matched Jones’ mother and brother.

Since 1973 more than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from the Vietnam War, and returned to their families for burial with military honors.  The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

CSAF talks leadership with wing commanders

by Senior Master Sgt. David Byron
Air Force Public Affairs Agency


12/3/2012 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III met with more than 140 wing commanders from across the Air Force Nov. 28 at Joint Base Andrews, Md., to underscore, face-to-face, his expectations of them as leaders and to discuss Air Force issues.

"Operationally, we're doing great ... mission-wise we're doing everything we're supposed to be doing and we're doing it in outstanding fashion," Welsh said. "The bottom line is performance."

He emphasized that performance comes from taking great care of Airmen and their families as well as making sure they are proud of what they do. This includes addressing the problems of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the service.

The chief of staff stressed that the goal for sexual assault in the Air Force is zero and that commanders who are not directly and aggressively involved in fixing this issue are not part of the solution, but part of the problem.

"The environment inside our Air Force is changing. It's been changing for the last 25 to 30 years, but it hasn't changed enough and it hasn't changed in all the right ways to ensure integration of all Airmen," Welsh said. "And so you and I are going to change it -- immediately and definitively. We must ensure that every member of our Air Force is treated with respect and feels like a critically important part of the team."

Eliminating sexual assault and preventing an environment conducive to sexual harassment takes strong and effective leadership, especially at the unit level. Ridding the Air Force of these problems is a change for the good.

Every Airman has a story and Welsh stressed that leaders learn and know the stories of their people. "The more we know and care about each other, the more we will take care of each other," he said.

NORAD Provides Website, Apps to Track Santa

From a North American Aerospace Defense Command News Release

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Dec. 3, 2012 – Children of all ages will be able to track Santa Claus on his annual journey, thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The “NORAD Tracks Santa” website at http://www.noradsanta.org is up and running. The site features a holiday countdown, games and daily activities, video messages from students around the world and more, officials said, and it is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.

Official apps also are available in the Windows Store, Apple Store, and Google Play so parents and children can count down the days until Santa’s launch on their smartphones and tablets. Tracking opportunities also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.

Starting at midnight Mountain Standard Time on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make the preparations for his flight. Then, at 4 a.m. Mountain time, trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com.

NORAD’s “Santa Cams” also will stream videos as Santa makes his way over various locations.
NORAD Tracks Santa is possible, in large part, to the efforts and services of numerous program contributors, officials said. New to this year’s program are Bing, HP, iLink-Systems, Kids.gov, Microsoft’s Windows Azure, BeMerry! Santa, and SiriusXM. Returning collaborators include the 21st Space Wing, Acuity Scheduling, Air Canada, American Forces Network, Analytical Graphics Inc., Avaya, Citadel Mall, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council, CradlePoint, Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, the Federal Aviation Administration, First Choice Awards and Gifts, Globelink Foreign Language Center, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Meshbox, the National Tree Lighting Ceremony, Naturally Santa’s, the Newseum, OnStar, PCI Broadband, the Pentagon Channel, RadiantBlue, Space Foundation, TurboSquid, twtelecom, UGroup Media, Verizon and VisionBox.

Santa’s Countdown Calendar and the Santa Cam videos will feature music by military bands, including the Naden Band of the Maritime Forces Pacific, the Air Force Academy Band, the Air Force Band of Liberty, the Air Force Band of the Golden West, the Air Force Band of the West, the Air Force Band, the Air Force Heartland of America Band, the U.S. Army Ground Forces Band, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Band, the Air Force Band of Mid-America, and the West Point Band.

It all started in 1955, when a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa direct – but the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. NORAD has carried the tradition on since the command was created in 1958.