Saturday, November 09, 2013

Hagel Honors Marine Corps’ 238-year Legacy

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel commemorated the Marine Corps’ 238th birthday here today by praising the legacy of “one of the world’s oldest, and most admired and respected fighting forces” and vowing to work to keep it strong for the future.

“Whenever our nation has called, the Marines have been ready,” Hagel said during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Iwo Jima Memorial.

“That’s been especially true during the past 12 years,” he said, noting the more than 7,000 Marines currently serving in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. There, Hagel said, they are “doing what they do best: showing the Afghan people they have no better friend, and showing our adversaries they have no deadlier enemy, than a Marine.”

The Second Continental Congress passed a resolution establishing the Continental Marines on Nov. 10, 1775. Since then, the Marine Corps has served in every U.S. armed conflict around the world.

Those in harm’s way today reflect the Marine Corps’ long legacy of heroism, Hagel said. He noted just a few examples of that service and sacrifice: 70 years ago this month during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II, in Tarawa; 45 years ago during the Battle of Hue City in Vietnam; and 30 years ago during the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut.

“For 238 years, the Marines have made a vital difference,” Hagel said. “And in today’s volatile, complicated and unpredictable world, the Marines are as relevant and essential as ever before. For there is no force that can match their agility, flexibility, and expeditionary capabilities.”

Hagel said he looks forward to continuing to work with Gen. James F. Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, and Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr., the deputy commandant, to build on that legacy for the future.
Together with every member of the Corps, they will strive “to ensure that they are strong and ready” as they make a strategic transition back to their amphibious roots, he said.

“Our nation owes the entire Marine Corps a great debt of gratitude for all they have done to ensure our security for more than two centuries, and all they will continue to do long into the future,” Hagel said.

Tumor fails to stop Airman in her tracks

by Senior Airman Nicole Leidholm
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

11/8/2013 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Ashley Bean had become interested in running marathons after participating in two overseas.

She even planned on running in two more this year. Bean was preparing for an upcoming marathon and made a goal to beat her old time, but that all changed this summer.

After having migraines and dizzy spells at work, she made an appointment with a neurologist where they did coordination and walking tests. From that, they determined she needed an MRI to further determine what was wrong.

The MRI showed a golf ball-sized tumor wrapped around her brain stem and near the ear canal.

"The tumor had been growing for 10 years," said Bean, a tech sergeant with the 13th Intelligence Squadron imagery analyst at Beale Air Force Base. "The doctors were surprised I had no symptoms that are usually associated with this kind of tumor. I had perfect hearing."

Bean was diagnosed with acoustic neuroma. Although benign, because of the location with the tumor pressing on the brain stem, the doctors decided to operate immediately.

"I'd been preparing for an upcoming marathon when they told me I needed to stop running," Bean said. "I even ran five miles the day of the MRI."

Bean had surgery Sept. 4, 45 days before the marathon. Despite the challenges, she still participated Sunday in the Nike Women's half-marathon in San Francisco.

"I decided to participate after surgery to prove to myself that I could still do it," she said. "I wanted to at least walk it, but I ended up running half of it. I hadn't ran more than a mile and a half before then."

Because of the location, Bean still has 15 percent of the tumor left. She will undergo radiation surgery in December to try to remove the remaining tumor.

Throughout the challenging experience, Bean said her husband was her greatest support.

"He was there by my side throughout it all," she said. "He was there from finding out to surgery to recovery."

Bean's husband, Staff Sgt. Phillip Bean, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, stationed at Travis, helped by being by her side.

"I did anything and everything for her," Phillip Bean said. "Anything she needed I was there for her. I was out of work during the surgery to be by her side.

Phillip Bean's squadron even helped out by providing the family with meals the week of the surgery.

"My unit did a food train for us and all my leadership from my supervisor to squadron commander called daily to see how my wife was doing," Phillip Bean said. "They even raised money for fuel to go to and from appointments. My first sergeant ensured I had approval for my non-medical escort so I didn't have to worry about the paperwork. They were a great support system for us.

For Bean, it's hard for her to believe she had a tumor and surgery but says having a great support system helped her stay resilient.

"Having people to talk to, family and co-workers, really helped me pull though," Bean said. "It's important to have this support system to stay resilient."

Hagel to Participate in Veterans Day, USMC Birthday Observances

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will provide remarks and take part in a wreath-laying ceremony during a Marine Corps birthday observance Nov. 9 at the Iwo Jima Memorial here, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters today.

The secretary will also participate in Veterans Day ceremonies on Nov. 11, Little said, with details yet to be released.

On Veterans Day, the U.S. military “will provide support to 192 events across the country,” Little said.

The press secretary said Hagel is currently in his home state of Nebraska, attending the funeral of his “friend, former boss and mentor” former Nebraska Representative John Y. McCollister.

Little added the secretary is expected to return here later today.

Spartan leaders tour JBER in effort to enhance Soldier resilience

by David Bedard
JBER Public Affairs

11/8/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARSON, Alaska -- During a typical terrain walk, military leaders tour an historic battleground in an effort to bring the past to life. The dry pages of a textbook - with its dates, figures and narratives - come to life when leaders can see how exposed Confederate Maj. Gen. George Pickett's division was when it charged Cemetery Ridge, or how steep and daunting the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc were when Army Rangers left the relative safety of the English Channel for the unprotected beaches of Normandy.

In much the same fashion, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson agencies charged with enhancing Soldier readiness became more than numbers in a phone book, when leaders of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division; and 2d Engineer Brigade, toured base facilities Nov. 1 for the U.S. Army Alaska Ready and Resilient Terrain Walk.

"Today is all about understanding the resources we have on the installation to help our Soldiers," said Army Maj. Gen. Michael Shields, USARAK commanding general, during his opening remarks at the Post Theater. "What we want are Soldiers who are resilient emotionally, physically, medically and otherwise. And we want them to be ready - ready to accomplish the missions assigned by the (Pacific Command) and (Northern Command) commanders."

Following Shields' remarks, the leaders boarded buses and circulated to locations peppered around the base - including 673d Medical Group's Lynx Wing (mental health), the Troop Health Clinic's Behavioral Health Services clinic, Outdoor Recreation's Warrior Adventure Quest program, the Family Life Center and Army Community Service.
Each bus group was led by a chaplain. Army Chaplain (Capt.) Brad Kattelmann, 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, defined resiliency.

"Resiliency is the ability to bounce back and recover from setbacks," he said. "We want to teach Soldiers how to be resilient, and we want to build resilience in them. There's going to be setbacks, whether that's deployments and death, or going to the field and missing out on birthdays. That's just the nature of life."

Kattelmann said promoting resiliency follows a holistic approach and often requires help from a wide range of base services.

"Soldiers have different issues, different needs," the chaplain said. "The goal is to attack the problems from all angles and to get them the care they need."

Resiliency the theme
Resiliency themes were repeated throughout the day by providers and subject matter experts like Air Force Capt. Joel Cartier, a 673d MDG family advocacy officer. His office is responsible for preventing and addressing family maltreatment.

"Our goal is to make sure every Airman and Soldier who comes through that door is a mission-ready, resilient arctic warrior who is ready to get out there and do the mission," he said.

Operating one of the largest family advocacy centers in the Air Force, Cartier said the agency employs six treatment managers as well as licensed clinical social workers who assess troops and families for risk and who offer treatment. Family advocacy also offers preventive counseling to families.

Army Staff Sgt. Michael Houp, THC Behavioral Health Services noncommissioned officer in charge, said small-unit leaders are best positioned to identify when Soldiers are struggling and to get them the help they need.

"We have to engage those Soldiers," he said. "We have to recognize there's something going on in their lives. As leaders, we should know those Soldiers better than anyone up the chain of command."

Houp said Behavioral Health Services employs psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who can address a wide range of behavioral health issues and prescribe medication if necessary. Additionally, the THC supports an embedded behavioral health clinic in the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, which includes all of the THC functions except prescribing medication.

Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Warrior Adventure Quest is a Department of the Army-directed program, which uses adventure recreation like snowmachine trail riding to reduce high-risk behaviors. The events involve entire small units who undertake the adventures during duty hours as part of a pre-deployment or redeployment training schedule.

R.C. Harrop, Warrior Adventure Quest program director, said Department of the Army studies indicate Soldiers who participate in the program show a marked decrease in suicide, accidents and trouble with the law.

"For Soldiers, that's a better chance of keeping money in their pocket and rank on their collar," Harrop said. "For you as their leadership, it means less phone calls at two in the morning on Saturday."

The Chaplain Family Life and Training Center provides individual, marriage and family counseling to the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson community. Army Chaplain (Maj.) Matt Atkins, Installation Family Life chaplain, said CFLTC bridges the gap between pastoral counseling and clinical counseling.

The chaplain said it is important for leaders to take the time to understand their Soldiers in the effort to maintain wellness.

"Behaviors always make sense in context," he said. "If you know somebody's story, if you know a little bit of their background, the way that they act, and the things that they're doing that seem problematic usually make a lot more sense."

Army Community Service programs assist the JBER community by providing services, which help promote self-reliance, resiliency and stability, and to equip Soldiers and families with the resources needed to face the challenges of military life.

Doug Armon, ACS Financial Readiness Program manager, said financial fitness is critical to Soldier wellness, and he urges leaders to be cognizant of how their Soldiers are handling their finances. He cited one recent example where a first-term Soldier bought a German luxury car with $750 monthly payments.

"Let's talk to your Soldiers before they do that," Armon said. "Take a close look at your Soldiers and ask questions about their finances."

Different avenues for help
Army 2nd Lt. Anita Kaiser, Distribution Platoon leader, 3-509th Infantry, said the terrain walk helped her see how she can leverage JBER's Army and Air Force services.

"If [Soldiers] are not comfortable with a particular route, we can go another way as far as helping them," she said. "There are a lot of opportunities on JBER for help for whatever Soldiers are going through. There are a lot of resources that are very helpful.

"The training was beneficial, especially at the platoon level," Kaiser continued. "I am a new platoon leader, I am new to the base, so going around, there are a lot of services I didn't know existed. Being a platoon leader, it's my responsibility to make sure all of my Soldiers are at 100 percent."

Face of Defense: Twin Brothers Inspire Passion for Music

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Elizabeth Case
III Marine Expeditionary Force

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Nov. 8, 2013 – As the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band begins its performance, the horn section can be heard playing their melodies. When an audience member looks to match the sound of the trombones to the musicians, they may think they are seeing double.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Sgt. Wayne Geary, second from right, and his twin brother, Marine Corps Sgt. John Geary, high-five another set of twins following a III Marine Expeditionary Force Band concert in 2012. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Sergeants John and Wayne Geary are identical-twin trombone players, who along with their shared passion for music also share a sense of duty to the Marine Corps and their nation.

“We have experienced things together throughout our whole lives, and being able to serve alongside each other has brought us together even more,” John said. “When we were in college or high school, we were always in different musical ensembles, so we never really worked together before the Marine Corps. For once, we are finally learning together and developing our careers together.”

The Geary brothers have maintained a strong friendship their entire lives. Their father was in the U.S. Army, and they moved every three years, but they call Manassas, Va., home. As they moved through different schools, they discovered their passion for music and developed a desire to join the military.

“When we got to high school, our band teacher was really passionate about music and he really conveyed that to us,” John said. “That was when we knew what we wanted to do. We wanted to be music teachers.”

The twins went on to earn music education degrees at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and used their knowledge as a basis for their Marine Corps careers.

“We both want to be music teachers, but we know we are not ready right now to begin teaching,” Wayne said. “We want to play more first, and by playing in the III MEF Band, when we actually get to teach, we will be able to tell our students what it is like to be a musician in the real world.”

The twins’ drive and motivation to be better at music is seen in every aspect of their lives, according to Marine Corps Sgt. Joshua T. Crissey, a euphonium musician with the band.

“They are both very ambitious,” Crissey said. “They take plenty of time out of their personal schedules to practice music, and it is clear they are experienced. They always work on their own time to help their fellow Marines.”

John and Wayne were promoted at the same time and continue to compete against each other to achieve new skills.

“We always try to find a new way to be better than one another,” Wayne said. “Whether we are doing Marine Corps Institute classes or when we became martial arts instructors, or just learning something new for music, we compete a lot with each other.”

Many join the Marine Corps for the sense of brotherhood, but the Geary brothers are able to enhance an already existing relationship through their passion for music and teaching.

“When you teach music to someone, you need to have the patience and the ability to help them look toward end goals,” Wayne said. “I feel this translates directly to the Marine Corps because we always get put in these situations where we need to overcome adversity and reach goals here, too.”

As the brothers move throughout their military careers, they will continue to succeed and inspire future musicians and fellow Marines, Crissey said.

“I had to play the trombone for a concert once before, and they both took the time to help me become a better trombone player,” said Crissey. “They both lead by example. They are good at everything they do and the junior Marines have an advantage because of that. They learn, then teach, and they always find some way new to make themselves and others better.”

Veterans Day legacy to bring community together

by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Raughton
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

11/7/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- A Fall holiday, often celebrated with parades and barbecues, actually got its start almost 100 years ago.

Veterans Day is a federal holiday celebrated Nov. 11, in which Americans honor those who have served in the military, both living and deceased.

The Nov. 11 holiday is born from "Armistice Day," which was established in 1919 to honor the veterans of World War I and to commemorate the end of the war between the Allied powers and Germany.

Other allies of the United States during World War I and II, such as France, Britain, Canada and Australia, also remember their veterans on or near Nov. 11.

Britain knows the holiday as "Remembrance Day," while "Remembrance Sunday" is the second Sunday of November in Australia and is often signaled by a moment of silence at 11 a.m. In the U.S., Veterans Day is commemorated by a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Department of Veterans Affairs website states that June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day of celebration to honor America's veterans for patriotism, love of country, willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

"Veterans have a lot of benefits, such as being able to continue using base facilities," said retired Cmdr. Monty Wyche, a veteran of the Army and Navy. "My wife and I go shopping on base all the time. There are also medical benefits."

In celebration of the upcoming holiday, the local community will offer its support in festivities.

"[My husband and I] are going to the Veterans Day parade downtown," said Staff Sgt. Cecily Yandell, 2nd Medical Group immunizations technician.
"Veterans Day is a way for us to remember what people in the military have done and are continuing to do for this country."

Airmen and their families can seek information from local newspapers or websites to find out what Veterans Day community activities are available in the local area.

"It's all about respecting those who have been in the military," said Airman 1st Class Cody Damron, 2nd Munitions Squadron cruise missile maintainer, who will spend the holiday camping with his friends. "I'm proud of what [veterans] have done for us, so it's important for us to take time to remember them."

AF Portal goes mobile, gets face-lift

by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

11/7/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Expected to launch by the end of 2013, the Global Combat Support System-Air Force, or GCSS-AF, is rolling out a revamped portal, which simplifies navigation, improves performance on low-bandwidth connections and works from mobile devices.

"The old system had become cluttered, difficult to navigate and was in need of an update," said Danielle Dunn, GCSS service area lead. "The new system is orderly, simple to navigate, and updated with a fresh look and feel."

With more than 750,000 active users and an average of 400,000 weekly log-ins, the Air Force Portal is the service's primary Web gateway, giving Airmen worldwide secure access to a broad range of information and applications.

In January 2010, the Air Force removed username and password access to the portal, requiring users to log-in using a common access card or public key infrastructure certificate. While the same requirement is still in effect, the redesigned portal will now support PKI/CAC-enabled mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets.

When users log-in on a mobile device, the portal will detect the device's screen size and adapt the display automatically, paring down the feature and functionality that works best for that device.

"The team studied industry trends and acknowledged the shift to mobile information access anywhere, on any device," said 2nd Lt. Rett Rayhill, Air Force Portal service area lead. "In order for us to remain relevant, it was a logical next step to support mobile access."

The redesign stemmed from a requirement to support users in bandwidth-constrained locations, such as overseas bases within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and geographically separated units within the United States.

According to Rayhill, the new system will continue to enable Airmen to do their job whether deployed or in the U.S.

"It will provide a more consistent user experience to forward operating bases as afforded to those stateside," he said.

In addition to the system operating on a low bandwidth and from CAC/PKI-enabled mobile devices, users will notice that the AF Portal was reorganized and streamlined to make the system easier to use and navigate -- another key component to the redesign.

"The look and feel has been updated to reflect today's Air Force," Dunn said. "The design helps users find their applications and information more quickly and efficiently."

The updated navigation menu clearly highlights news and announcements, base/organization and functional areas, career and training, life and fitness and references. "My Stuff," one of the new design features, focuses on user personalization by providing quick access to each user's alerts, workspaces, applications and favorites.

Another new feature within the system focuses on information sharing.

Users will be able to join groups and compile information then transfer it to other users before leaving a location -- similar to a continuity binder.

"This new portal will definitely increase productivity while enhancing Airmen's personal and professional endeavors," Dunn said.

Total Force team excels at inspection

by Staff Sgt. Katherine Holt and Tech. Sgt. Ted Daigle
2nd and 307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

11/7/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- The 2nd and 307th Bomb Wings demonstrated excellence and the ability to carry out the mission during a Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection Oct. 28- Nov. 5, announced Col. Bernard Dodson, Air Force Global Strike Command Deputy Inspector General, during the IG team's outbrief at Hoban Hall Nov. 6.

The wings' overall nuclear operational readiness inspection's four graded areas included force generation, employment, reconstitution and surety.

The Total force team effectively demonstrated the deployment and generation of sorties during the inspection, noted Dodson.

More than 400 Airmen applauded then erupted in cheers as the results were announced.

"Congratulations on an outstanding inspection," said Dodson. "The message you just sent is that the Air Force nuclear enterprise is alive and well."

NORIs are extremely detailed and demand the absolute highest standards of compliance and accountability. NORIs constantly test, assess, evaluate, compare and hone processes, procedures, and readiness. By design, it evaluates safe, secure, and effective unit nuclear mission capability.

"NORIs are awesome because we have the ability to prove how well the 2nd and 307th work together," said Col. Andrew Gebara, 2nd BW commander. "You guys hit it out of the park, absolutely outstanding results."

The performance reflected months of hard work and preparation by Airmen at all ranks and units, officials said.

"This capstone event marks the completion of our initial efforts to build a nuclear deterrence capability within the Reserve Command," said Col. Jonathan Ellis, 307th BW commander. "The partnership between the 2d Bomb Wing and the 307th Bomb Wing has proven to be extremely successful, and I am proud of and humbled by the efforts of every Barksdale Airmen, whether Active Duty or Reserve. The results of this inspection are proof to all what we have known from the beginning...the men and women of the 307th and 2nd Bomb Wings are outstanding."

Gebara expressed the importance of the results and the impact on the nuclear enterprise.

"This report is amazing results," said Gebara. "What you have done has made all the difference in the world to our nuclear enterprise."

Maj. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, 8th Air Force commander, said the inspection just verified what he already knew.

"You are all in rarified air," he said. "This is a wonderful thing. It validates what we already knew: the 2nd and 307th BW are doing it right. I am privileged and proud to be a part of this team again."

Hawker Hunters 'ATAC' Airmen

by Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/8/2013 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- During the 11th Max Thunder, the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company played the role of the opposition force challenging Airmen in a variety of scenarios, Nov. 7, 2013. The ATAC Hawker Hunters were pitted against the combined force that employed 8th Fighter Wing F-16 Fighting Falcons, 51st Fighter Wing A-10 Thunderbolts II and F-16s, Marine Air Group 12 F-18 Hornets, AV-8B Harriers II, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 18th Wing E-3B Sentries, numerous ROKAF aircraft and accompanying support personnel during the two-week exercise.

Max Thunder roars on

by Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/8/2013 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- Airmen from the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and the Republic of Korea Air Force continued their participation in scenarios and planning cycles in a robust exercise setting that simulated combined operations against a hostile force, Nov. 5, 2013. This combined large-force employment exercise includes 8th Fighter Wing F-16 Fighting Falcons, 51st Fighter Wing A-10 Thunderbolts II and F-16s, Marine Air Group 12 F-18 Hornets, AV-8B Harriers II, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 18th Wing E-3B Sentries, numerous ROKAF aircraft and accompanying support personnel.

DOD CIO Takai to Receive Award for Leadership Excellence

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2013 – During a Nov. 8 black-tie gala in her home state of Michigan, the Defense Department’s Chief Information Officer Teresa M. Takai will receive the 2013 Excellence in Leadership Award, presented by officials from the Michigan Chapter of Women in Defense.

The award, to be presented in Rochester, recognizes women who have made significant contributions to national defense and security. Women in Defense is a nonprofit professional networking and development organization for women and men across the state involved in national defense and security.

Takai was born and raised in Michigan, and at the University of Michigan earned a Master of Arts degree in management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics. She later worked for three decades for the Ford Motor Co. among other firms, and then spent five years as CIO for the state of Michigan and two years as CIO for the state of California. She also serves on the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government.

“In my time in Michigan I never envisioned that I would be here at the Department of Defense doing what I’m doing,” Takai told American Forces Press Service. “So it’s in some ways nostalgic.”

She added, “By the same token it’s a great honor to be able to go back to my home state in a role at the Department of Defense and then to have them recognize me. That combination of … things is really exciting and I’m very thankful to [WID] for considering me.”

Takai said she appreciates Women in Defense and similar local women’s organizations because they’re important sources of support and professional development for women in defense careers.

“It’s a good mix of women that are in government and in industry supporting government,” she said, “and it gives them an opportunity to know each other and see what others are doing.”

The organizations also have women in many different career stages, some interested in mentoring, some in networking, and nearly all such organizations have scholarship programs for women’s educational development, Takai said.

In terms of contributions recognized by the Excellence in Leadership Award, Takai said she’s worked hard since arriving at the Pentagon three years ago this month to better define her role as CIO in terms of advising the defense secretary and the deputy defense secretary on the nearly $39 billion a year spent on technology.

“That’s not to stop it or to say we shouldn’t spend that much,” she said. “It’s more to say are there areas where we could spend it better?”

Takai also works to evaluate technology trends for the organization.

“We felt very early on that we needed to be able to introduce commercial mobile devices, effectively smart phones, into DOD while ensuring that we were managing the security risks. Each service was doing it … in its own way,” the CIO explained.

The challenge, she said, “was that we weren’t going to get uniform security, we weren’t potentially going to get smart phones that talked to each other, and in fact we weren’t putting together the necessary infrastructure to be able to do it.”

As a result, Takai said, her team championed an effort to have the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA, create a single way to bring mobile devices in, test them and make sure they were secure.

“We’re now in the process of rolling that out,” the CIO said. The DOD’s mobile device management solution will allow the use of different kinds of smart phones that all will be programmed in the same way and controlled in the same way and will work around the world. An application store will be available for DOD and service-specific apps, she said.

Takai’s office also has been working hard, at President Barack Obama’s request, the CIO said, to free up some of its exclusive-use areas of the electromagnetic spectrum to be used by commercial industry.

“To do that is very challenging. We use that spectrum to train our warfighters because the bulk of our training is done in the United States,” Takai said. “One thing my team has done is to come up with some very innovative ways to share spectrum with the commercial industries so we don’t have to completely vacate it.”

That’s critical, she said, because the United States is trying to promote its economic growth through the use of wireless devices and is producing revenue by auctioning-off spectrum through the Federal Communications Commission.

Takai said later this month DOD will roll out its Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy in support of the president’s wireless broadband initiatives.

“Right now we’re looking at the 1755 MHz to 1780 MHZ band and that’s where our most innovative solutions are,” Takai said, “but the strategy includes the entire spectrum.”

One of the department’s most forward-looking technology efforts is the Joint Information Environment, or JIE, a framework for modernizing DOD information technology systems and making them more secure.

The JIE consists of overarching architectures, standards and specifications; common ways of operating and defending DOD networks; and common engineered solution designs.

The CIO said JIE is coupled with two cybersecurity strategies in progress -- one for defending DOD networks and the other for the cyber workforce.

“The Joint Information Environment is being rolled out in Europe now and we’re in the process of rolling it out in terms of planning for all of our operations,” Takai said.

“The reason we rolled out in Europe initially is because Europe had an initiative that was sort of the beginnings of JIE. They had been working on it between [European Command and Africa Command] for at least a couple of years so we thought they were a great pilot to … prove out the concepts, look at some areas around the way operations centers would work, as well as … for what JIE would cost, and then comparing that to the way we’re currently running the infrastructure,” the CIO said.

JIE will improve DOD technology roll-outs and security, technology efficiency and reliability, and redundancy and cost, she added.

To date, Takai’s team has proven a number of concepts in Europe and developed a costing model, she said. DISA has the lead through its Joint Technology Synchronization Office, the JTSO.

About 120 engineers, some from each service, are coming in to develop engineering specifications and the services have been asked to develop plans for implementing the engineering specifications in their own networks, Takai said.

Each service also has committed to reorganizing their data centers, she said. “They’re going to close some data centers down and some data centers will need to be made more resilient to meet cyber threats, so we have that planned for them. And we’re also working with the services on defense enterprise e-mail,” the CIO added.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter has issued direction to the services to include the JIE in their fiscal year 2015 budgets, Takai said, and she’s working with DOD acquisition officials to determine exactly how to characterize the JIE money in those budgets, how to manage the service implementation plans and how to make sure future programs build to JIE engineering specifications.

For a CIO who by necessity always has an eye on the future, Takai is looking even farther ahead.

Over the next five to 10 years at DOD, she said, “we are going to be much better at building cybersecurity into our technology and we’re going to be much better at knowing how to run our technology so that it is secure. I predict that we will do that.”

With JIE, Takai added, “we will change the way our networks look and we’ll change the way that Cyber Command can actually protect our networks. That will happen.”

The CIO also wants to be able to introduce new applications of technology faster than is possible today by building on a secure platform from the beginning so infrastructure doesn’t have to be rebuilt every time something changes.

“With smart phones I’m hoping that for small things we can start to put more of that capability in the hands of individuals who need it and have to do less with really large acquisition programs,” Takai said.

“Some of our technologies will still have to be done that way,” she added, “but we need a range of ways to do the technology and we have to take advantage of the innovations that are going to be coming to us from industry.”

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinAFPS)