Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Deputy Director of ANG receives the Order of California

by Senior Master Sgt. Jerry R. Bynum
Air National Guard Public Affairs

4/24/2013 - WASHINGTON -- The Deputy Director of the Air National Guard was presented the Order of California by Army Major Gen. David S. Baldwin, the adjutant general of California, at the Pentagon here Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. James C. Witham received this prestigious award for exceptionally meritorious service during his tenure as the Commander of the California ANG from Nov. 15, 2011, through Nov. 15, 2012.

"This is the highest award that we give in California," said Baldwin. "We give it to mainly senior leaders who have made a profound difference in the strategic direction of our force; General Witham absolutely did that as the Commander of the California Air National Guard."

Witham's leadership instilled an organizational culture that embraced the Air Force Core Values. His strategic perspective, command and staff experience, and his decisiveness ensured the right leadership was in place to meet operational challenges and oversee implementation of complex Total Force Integration initiatives contributing to the success of the California ANG.

"[General Witham] is very dynamic," Baldwin said, "he had a view to take the Guard to the next level in California and set a lot of things in motion that will benefit our Airmen for the years to come."

An understanding of doctrine, span of control and future vision led to support and refinement of an organizational change request that established diverse missions in the California ANG of cyber, space intelligence and expeditionary communications. Witham tenaciously embraced force development by inaugurating a chartered force development council. His actions laid the foundation for personnel advancement and qualifications to fill key leadership positions.

Within the Air Division and Headquarters Air Staff, Witham established civil support as a mission priority. He identified resident, dual-use capabilities and ensured coordinated deliberate operational planning with the Army National Guard and state-level joint staff. This renewed spirit of cooperation included appointment of four ANG officers in joint command or key leadership positions and led to validations and certification in all supported civil missions sets.

The Order of California is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the state of California or the nation by a member of the California National Guard, State Military Reserve, or Naval Militia in a position of great responsibility. Qualifying service must have been within the scope of a special requirement or extremely difficult duty. It may also be awarded to civilians and members of other military services.

Mobility Air Force C-130s to continue legacy of fighting forest fires

from Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

4/24/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- As the National Interagency Fire Center reports increasing fire danger for parts of the west and southwest, and portions of the U.S. Central and South regions, Mobility Air Forces will continue to help fight forest fires, as they have for more than four decades.

"Having worked through significant budget cutbacks, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130 aircraft units, which fly with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System, remain prepared to support the U.S. Forest Service this year," said Lt. Col. Jeff Grimes, AMC airlift training branch chief.

Last year was a challenging year fighting fires. Just in Colorado Springs alone more than 30,000 residents and the Air Force Academy were evacuated after the Pike National Forest fire burned 23 square miles. More than 1,400 firefighters fought the fire and all four Air Force MAFFS units responded.

In preparation for this year's firefighting season one of those MAFFS units, the 302nd Airlift Wing, based at Peterson AFB, Colo., held its annual MAFFS certification for C-130 aircrews April 19-23.

"We are providing annual MAFFS certification training for all four units and if our assistance is requested, we will provide fully-qualified aircrews prepared to support firefighting operations," Grimes said.

MAFFS is an interagency program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service. This effort is part of a long-standing relationship between the DoD, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Interagency Fire Center and local authorities that began in the early 1970s.

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

DMAA illegal for military members

by Senior Airman Kristina Overton
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/24/2013 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The road to staying fit to fight branches off in different directions for military members. For some, a regular workout schedule, or a change in diet may be sufficient to produce desired results. For others, shakes, supplements and vitamins may be included for building muscle or preparation for an increased workout schedule. When buying products, it's important to know which are off limits.

Dimethylamylamine, also known as DMAA, geranium oil and several other names, is commonly used in products promising weight loss, performance enhancement and muscle building such as Oxy Elite Pro and Jack3D, and is banned by the Food and Drug Administration. Dietary supplements containing this ingredient was placed on medical hold by the Department of Defense due to concerns about related adverse health effects and are currently not for sale on military installations. With the FDA ban, consuming any product that contains DMAA is illegal.

"It's important to know what's in your supplements in general," said Tech. Sgt. Vanessa Arthur, 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron health promotion flight chief. "These ingredients were causing severe health issues to include elevated blood pressure, and could lead to cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, shortness of breath and tightening of the chest. Illnesses reported include heart problems and nervous system and psychiatric disorders."

Supplements are often unregulated, meaning that the dosage of an ingredient may not be consistent with each different purchase. The Osan Health and Wellness Center encourages members to pay attention to labels when purchasing items and how often or how long supplements should be taken.

Each supplement may go by a number of different titles as well. In checking labels, it's important to know the numerous synonyms associated with a product. A list of all the names can be found on

"In most cases you don't even need a supplement," Arthur said. "The only time a supplement should be used is when it comes to some kind of extreme workout program, or you have extreme goals like a triathlon or body building competition. For the average military member, in most cases a good multivitamin, a balanced diet and good eating habits will produce results. Regardless, always do your research. You need to also be aware of what effects it may have with any medication you're taking or what side affects you may be facing."

In the case of a member being unsure of the safety of a product, the HAWC can assist in researching supplements, and also educate members on how effective the supplement may be with any additional medications.

"The HAWC mentioned in our Monday morning medical brief that several supplements were off limits so I went down to check mine out and get clarification," said Tech. Sgt. Damon Tatum, 51st Medical Support Squadron resource management office flight chief. "Having the excellent nutritional medicine staff here was really helpful in providing the information and helping to determine what is and isn't safe. That knowledge is really beneficial and can save lives."

Deputy Defense Secretary Receives Missile Defense Award

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter received the 2013 Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Award yesterday for his contributions in advancing missile defense as a critical U.S. defense capability.

Navy Vice Adm. James D. Syring, Missile Defense Agency director, and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James A. Abrahamson, previous director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization and recipient of the 2004 Reagan Award, presented Carter with the award during the Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Forum at Fort Belvoir, Va.

As missile defenses have expanded to play a vital role in the national defense strategy, Carter has been instrumental in defining the relationship between the Missile Defense Agency, the developer, and the military services, which operate the ballistic missile defense system. His perspective has shaped thinking on a national level to meet a real-world evolving threat, officials said in a Pentagon news release announcing the award.
While serving as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics from April 2009 to October 2011, officials said, Carter led the department's efforts to accelerate the fulfillment of urgent operational needs, increase the department's buying power and strengthen the nation's defenses against emerging threats.

Hagel Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Egypt’s Emerging Democracy

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

CAIRO, April 24, 2013 – On the fourth day of his inaugural trip to the Middle East, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spent time here today with Egypt’s top government and defense officials, reaffirming U.S. support for that country’s fledgling democracy.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, right, shakes hands with Egyptian Maj. Gen. Abd Al Halim Fouad as Maj. Gen. Mohamed Said al-Assar looks on in Cairo, April 24, 2013. Egypt is Hagel's fourth stop on a six-day trip to the Middle East to meet with defense counterparts. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The trip, which began April 20 and will end April 26, so far has taken the secretary to Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. On his final full day in the region, Hagel will visit his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates to discuss common interests.

This morning aboard his military aircraft as it approached Cairo, Hagel told his staff that he had wanted to visit Egypt as soon as possible into his tenure as secretary of defense, a senior defense official said.

“I wanted to stop in Egypt to reaffirm American commitment to Egypt’s emerging democracy [and] encourage the democratic and economic reforms that are under way,” the secretary told reporters during a briefing here today.

“Egypt’s been an important partner to the United States for many years and I wanted to get acquainted with the new president,” he added. “I did not know him [but] I knew many of the military leaders, so today was the day to get acquainted and get reacquainted and reaffirm America’s commitment to this emerging democracy.”

Hagel’s visit here began with a tea ceremony during which he was welcomed by Maj. Gen. Mohammed Zamaloo, the Egyptian Central Military Zone chief of staff. Afterward, at the Ministry of Defense, Hagel met with Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who hosted an official lunch.

According to a senior defense official, al-Sisi gave Hagel a warm reception and expressed condolences for the Boston bomb attacks and a deadly Texas fertilizer plant accident that occurred during the same week.
During their meeting, Hagel reaffirmed the importance of strong U.S.-Egyptian military ties. He also expressed U.S. support for political and democratic reforms in Egypt and encouraged them to continue for several reasons, including stability in Egypt and the region. The secretary commended the Egyptian military for the responsible role it has played during a difficult transition period in the country.

Al-Sisi said that Egypt understands and takes responsibility for security throughout the country, including Egypt's borders, and the two men exchanged views on Syria, Iran and other regional security matters, the defense official said.

“It is not easy. This is a difficult part of the world,” Hagel said of Egypt and the region. “This is a large country, an important country. They are undertaking the right course of action -- human dignity and freedom, democratic norms and governance. We are committed to helping any nation that does that.”

Before visiting the presidential palace to meet Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Hagel took the time to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The memorial is sited along a major thoroughfare, according to a pool report, and has a 73-meter-tall pyramid sculpture-monument. Beneath are two tombs.

Then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat ordered the memorial’s in 1974 to honor Egyptians who died in the 1973 October War. The memorial was inaugurated in October 1975, then later chosen as the place for Sadat’s tomb after his assassination in October 1981.

Today, at the somber ceremony a large honor guard and a military band were present. A black marble square is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and, a few steps away, a white marble square is Sadat's tomb. Hagel laid a wreath at each tomb.

Later, during the cordial meeting with Morsi, the secretary reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Egypt military relationship, a senior defense official said, adding that Morsi “very much appreciated that affirmation and himself reaffirmed the importance.”

Discussions included the Egyptian domestic situation, he added, and Morsi offered his thoughts to the secretary about the situation there.

“We talked about Syria at some length in terms of the president offering his views on the situation in Syria and again in terms of the perception of the threat and what Syria’s future may mean for all of us, whether in the region or for the international community more broadly,” the defense official said.

The two leaders also discussed the importance of a close relationship with Israel, he added, and both reaffirmed the tenets of the Camp David Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Later, Hagel said he’d had a good meeting with Morsi.

“We discussed, the president and I, many issues this afternoon …,” the secretary said. “I spent a lot of time with the defense minister and a number of his representatives, some I’ve known over the years. So I was very happy that I stopped here and pleased that we spent the day, to really take my own assessment of the situation here.”

25 years of dominant Strike Eagle airpower

by Airman 1st Class Brittain Crolley
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/24/2013 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Airmen from across the globe, and the decades, celebrated the 25th anniversary of the F-15E Strike Eagle here, April 12, 2013. The aircrew, and the operational capability of this dual-role fighter aircraft, have faced formidable threats and significantly shaped the battlefield for more than a quarter of a century.

Airmen and their family members reunited to commemorate the historic achievement of this combat-tested aircraft.

"This anniversary (was) an opportunity for Strike Eagle Airmen, past and present, to get together in shared comradeship to celebrate their service and dedication to this great aircraft and its history," said Col. Jeannie Leavitt, 4th Fighter Wing commander.

The first production line of Strike Eagles was delivered to Luke Air Force Base, AZ, in April 1988 for initial training. In September 1989, the aircraft reached operational capability at Seymour Johnson AFB. Currently, the 4th FW hosts two F-15E squadrons and the only two F-15E Formal Training Units across the Air Force.

"I've been with the airplane ever since day one," said Ret. Lt. Col. Bob Halverson, former 4th Training Squadron commander. "I really feel like it's a part of me and I've been working on it continuously for 25 years. This event could not be missed because of its importance and because it is a truly unique airplane. It is the best fighter ever built, that is uncontested."

Since its induction into the Air Force's arsenal, the Strike Eagle has been equipped with many upgrades to keep its efficiency current. An array of avionics improvements coupled with a sturdier airframe designed to double the life expectancy of earlier variants have contributed to the longevity of the aircraft.

With no slated replacements, the F-15E is expected to continue its reign as one of the Air Force's most potent and capable fighters for years to come.

"The F-15E is going to be around for at least another 25 years and it is not the same airplane that it was 25 years ago," said Halverson. "It's the next generation. We're putting new radar on it; we're putting new computer processors on it. The enemy knows that they're going to have a really bad day when a squadron of Strike Eagles shows up on their doorstep."

Top Acquisition Official Unveils ‘Better Buying Power 2.0’

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 – Defense acquisition professionals need to apply common-sense thinking as they make decisions, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics said here today.

Frank Kendall issued a memo on the “Better Buying Power 2.0” that re-emphasized the power people have in the acquisition process and seven common-sense ways that acquisition and contracting personnel can achieve greater efficiencies and productivity.

Kendall is building on the original Better Buying Power memo issued three years ago. He stressed that the 2.0 version is a continuous improvement process.

“It’s not about acquisition reform, or transformational change,” he said during a media roundtable at the Pentagon. “It’s really about attacking all the many problems that exist in how we do acquisition and making incremental improvements wherever we can.”

The memo directs personnel to achieve affordable programs, to control costs throughout products’ life cycles, to provide incentives for industrial productivity and innovation, to eliminate unproductive processes and bureaucracy, and to promote effective competition.

The memo also calls on personnel to improve tradecraft in the acquisition of services and to improve the professionalism of the total acquisition workforce.

“There is a flavor that runs through 2.0 of, ‘Here are the tools you need, and here is the way you should be thinking about the problems that you have to solve. But you have to solve them,’” Kendall said.

The memo tells acquisition personnel first to think -- to apply their education, training and experience to the process. It also talks about good decision making and the need to streamline the decision-making process.
“People, to me, are central to this [process],” Kendall said. “I’ve also made it a point that it will take cultural change to do a better job.”

It sounds like an oxymoron, but money has value, Kendall said. And while the Defense Department always has tried to be a good financial steward, the incentives often seem to work against that.

“Obligation rates as a key example of that -- where we effectively punish people for not spending their money,” he said. “That’s not how you negotiate a good contract.”

If acquisition professionals can return money to the department or buy additional product for their service or program, that should be rewarded, Kendall added.

“People shouldn’t just take the budget as a given and take it as their job to spend that budget,” the undersecretary said. “Their job is to get as much value as they possibly can -- one way is to get more content for that money, and another is to not spend as much.”

Kendall said he believes contracting personnel are embracing that idea and that it’s becoming institutionalized throughout DOD.

Leadership is part of the whole process, and Better Buying Power 2.0 emphasizes the need for people to lead, he said.

“We have a lot of very good people, but I think we can improve,” he added. “We need to build our professionalism.”

The importance of DOD getting its money’s worth is especially important now that money is tight and sequestration has hit, Kendall said.

“Even though the workforce is out there trying to come to grips with sequestration, we also have to improve how we do our business in general,” he said. “This is not going to go away, no matter what the fiscal situation is.”