Military News

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

JTF-Civil Support tests deployment readiness ahead of Presidential State of the Union Address

by U.S. Navy Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Brian Dietrick
Joint Task Force-Civil Support Public Affairs


2/20/2013 - FORT EUSTIS, Va.  -- Joint Task Force-Civil Support conducted a deployment readiness exercise, or DRE, Feb. 11 to ensure the unit's preparedness to support the Presidential State of the Union Address.

The exercise tested the command's readiness and ability to respond quickly to a National Special Security Event within two hours of notification of a catastrophic event in the homeland, whether man-made or a natural disaster.

"The DREs ensure the command is at a higher level of readiness for the events in order to respond rapidly to an incident in accordance with established guidelines," said U.S. Marine Col. David Olszowy, deputy commander of JTF-CS. "Periodic DREs, whether they are deliberate or no-notice evaluations, will help instill and reinforce an expeditionary mindset throughout the command."

After the simulated notification of a catastrophic event, JTF-CS members received a mission brief, inspected bags, packed vehicles and accounted for all responders to ensure readiness within the two-hour window.

Following inspections, responders split up into deployment teams, loaded bags into trucks, conducted a convoy brief and awaited the order to deploy.

The result? JTF-CS was ready to respond quickly in the event of a crisis in the Washington, D.C. area.

Along with the readiness exercise, JTF-CS deployed a team of medical, logistical, communications and response experts to Washington D.C. on Feb. 10 to assist Joint Task Force National Capitol Region with response planning efforts for the State of the Union Address.

JTF-CS plans to conduct additional DREs in the coming months. "These exercises give us the opportunity to hone our deployment procedures and processes to ensure that we are prepared for rapid deployment at all times. This is critically important if the NSSE will take place after hours, on weekends or holidays," Olszowy said.

As with any response, time is a critical factor -- the quicker the response, the quicker life-saving and life-sustaining personnel and equipment can be employed. Regular exercises to test the command's response ability help ensure readiness, according to Olszowy. Gear can be pre-packed and pre-staged, vehicles inspected and fueled, and teams assembled in pre-determined locations at pre-designated times. All this allows JTF-CS to cut down on the time needed to respond. Further, these exercises simulate response to a natural disaster or a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear incident, the command's primary mission.

When directed, JTF-CS provides command and control of 5,200 federal military forces - known as the Defense CBRN Response Force - located at more than 36 locations throughout the U.S.

Although CBRN and NSSE incident response are the command's primary focus, the unit also has the expertise and training to respond to natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

In November 2012, JTF-CS rapidly deployed to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. During the command's two-week deployment, JTF-CS coordinated a variety of federal military support to aid relief efforts, including 80 strategic airlift missions conducted by the Air Mobility Command, 600 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel currently pumping 11 tunnels and waste water treatment plants in both New York and New Jersey, and more than two million meals delivered by the Defense Logistics Agency.

Dyess engineers hone warrior skills

by 1st Lt. Forrest McLain
7th Civil Engineer Squadron


2/20/2013 - Fort Bliss, Texas -- Nine Airmen from the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, joined 172 engineers from across the Air Force to complete the Army's Combat Skills Training course Feb. 4, 2013, at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The 22-day course focused on providing deployed engineers the ground combat skills necessary to operate and prevail in a wartime environment.

The course utilized Fort Bliss' 992,000 acre maneuver area, to teach field medical care, mounted land navigation, small unit tactics, convoy operations and base defense. Throughout the course, engineers were certified as Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected drivers, crew serve weapon gunners and combat life savers.

The curriculum was taught by Army personnel with years of first-hand combat experience. The engineers were presented the information in an academic situation where they learned the specified skill set. From there, they were plunged into a hands-on exercise to ensure the skill set was understood and the muscle memory was developed.

Another unique lesson was the Short-Range Marksmanship course. Through the SRM course, engineers practiced firing and reloading an M-4 and switching to their M-9 when needed, all while maneuvering on foot without breaking their focus on simulated enemy combatants only yards away.

"CST allowed Airmen to train in a controlled environment which allowed us to focus mentally and physically on our wartime skills in order to prepare us for any type of contingency," stated Lt. Col. Michael Harner, 7th CES commander.

Harner took command of the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron, responsible for troop labor construction throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

Upon completion of CST, the Dyess engineers deployed to undisclosed locations imbedded within the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group which operates over-the-horizon missions as Air Force's sole theater engineer force throughout Southwest Asia. The 1st ECEG works directly for the Air Force's U.S. Central Command commander providing engineer forces across the entire area of responsibility.

Pentagon Revamps Approach to Industrial Base, Official Says

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

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2013 – The Defense Department has revamped its approach to communicating and interacting with the defense industrial base after applying lessons learned from previous economic downturns, a senior defense official said here today.

Brett B. Lambert, deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base, spoke during an Atlantic Council panel session.

Lambert said he was asked in 2009 to figure out a perception that DOD’s communication with the defense industry was lacking.

A lot of people thought it was political, he said, but that proved not to be the case.

“It became obvious to me very, very quickly it had nothing to do with politics or parties,” he said. “It had everything to do with 10 years of double-digit, year-over-year growth. There was no need to talk to each other. Everyone was happy. When we had a program that was bleeding, we cauterized the wound with money, because we had it. Expediency was the most important thing.”

Lambert said the defense industry delivered what was asked of it, but that over time, the interaction between DOD and the industrial base broke down.

“So we came in with strategic guidance to try to re-establish, if you will, communications -- specifically with industry,” he said. “But I came in with another specific task.”

The deputy assistant secretary said then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was aware of the coming downturn. “He knew well the times of double digit growth were over,” Lambert said. “And so we knew we were entering a time of downturn.”

With that in mind, Lambert said, officials reviewed the four previous downturns’ effects on the industrial base.

“Basically we were 0-4,” he said. “We got it wrong in every case. We got it wrong for a variety of different reasons, so we went back to look at what we could do better.”

That effort made clear the need to engage industry up front, Lambert said. “And we needed to understand how dramatically the industry has changed since the last downturn -- the post-Cold War downturn,” he added.

Lambert said the department reviewed lessons learned and crafted a plan, agreed to by Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, and Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, to act on those lessons.

“One: better communications,” he said. “We’re doing that through outreach -- through working with organizations like the Atlantic Council to communicate, to get our ideas out, and to get feedback.”
The Defense Department received more than 500 inputs from industry from the “Better Buying Power 1.0” initiative, Lambert said.

“Many were implemented,” he added. “We have even more industry inputs for Better Buying Power 2.0. And they are being reviewed, and many of our changes you’ll see coming out in the final document will reflect the industry’s comments.”

The second element, he said, places more emphasis on internal mechanisms and what the Defense Department could do better in working with industry partners, such as educating the DOD workforce on what those partners are all about.

“The third thing I was asked to take on was policies that were both enduring and flexible,” Lambert said, noting that a new Defense Department acquisition instruction will be issued in the coming weeks. Lambert said the new instruction represents a new way to look at industrial base analysis and policy, and that every major program will be affected.

“Instead of thinking about industrial base as an afterthought once program decisions are made,” he added, “industrial base will now be … part of major decisions.”

Lambert said he believes the department now is well prepared, despite changes in the defense industrial base over the past decade.

“Moving forward, I feel comfortable that we have the tools to deal with some of the more complicated industrial base issues, including the transaction issues we’re going to see,” Lambert said.

“At the same time,” he added, “cuts are coming across the board, or likely to come across the board to the whole department,” referring to a mechanism in budget law that will take effect March 1 unless Congress comes up with an alternative plan.

“Those cuts will also come to the very institutions we’re trying to set up to mitigate the effects of those cuts,” Lambert said, “so on that regard, I’m not terribly optimistic right now.”

U.S. Air Force aircraft to perform at Avalon Air Show

from Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

2/20/2013 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The U.S. military will be represented at Australian International Airshow International Air and Aviation Trade show at Avalon Airport, Victoria, Australia, from February 26 through March 3.

A cross-section of U.S. military aircraft and equipment are scheduled to be present through static displays and aerial demonstrations including the USAF F-22 Raptor, C-17 Globemaster III, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-52 Stratofortress, and KC-135 Stratotanker, and a U.S. Marine CV-22.

Through participation in airshows and other regional events, the United States is able to demonstrate its commitment to the stability and security of the Asia-Pacific region, promote the standardization and interoperability of equipment, and display capabilities critical to the success of military operations. It also serves to strengthen long-standing mil-to-mil relations between the U.S. and Australia.

Gen. Herbert J. "Hawk" Carlisle, Commander, Pacific Air Forces, will attend and speak at the aerospace symposium held in conjunction with this event.