Friday, November 15, 2013

The first C-5A Galaxy returns to Dover AFB to rest

by Senior Airman Jared Duhon
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/13/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The Air Mobility Command museum unveiled the newest edition to its aircraft collection Nov. 9, 2013 here.

The C-5A Galaxy was delivered to Dover AFB in 1971, which makes it Dover AFB's longest serving aircraft type and now the first aircraft of its kind to be in a museum.

"It was the very first C-5 to be factory delivered to Dover AFB," said Michael Leister, AMC museum director. "It is exciting to have it returned to us."

The C-5 reached the museum after its final flight Aug. 7, 2013, from the Tennessee Air National Guard unit in Memphis, Tenn.

"There is a great sense of relief because we have been working on this for some time and think when people come to see the C-5 they will really be impressed," said Leister. "The airplane display is pretty impressive inside and out."

Staff Sgt. Donald Cridlebaugh, 436th Maintenance Group qualification training program instructor, said the C-5 is an amazing machine and a great asset to the Air Force's global reach mission

"It cannot be described in photos or video, it must be experienced," said Cridlebaugh. "I wish we could send everyone on a mission, giving them firsthand experience of what it can do, but since we can't, letting them interact with it is the next best thing."

Before the C-5 could begin its rest amongst the other aircraft nine aircraft had to be towed out, repositioned and finally parked after the C-5 was in place.

"I think this experience will be a big part of my Air Force career," said Airman 1st Class Jose Rosado, 436th Maintenance Squadron C-5 crew chief. "It will help when I go down range to understand how to use the tow bars of other aircraft. Also, being a part of the team that put a piece of history in to the museum was kind of fun."

Cridlebaugh said he looks forward to people being exposed to the C-5.

"When we moved the C-5 to its parking spot I felt something that I normally only feel while not at Dover AFB," said Cridlebaugh. "Many Air Force brothers and sisters of mine have experienced the same feeling. The feeling when you work day in and day out the Air Force feels like a regular company and it can feel like a job. But, when I go home on leave to see my friends and family, the contrast between the civilian world and the military world helps me to see that what I do as a job every day is amazing."

DOD: 7,559 Air Force Reservists activated as of Oct. 30

11/14/2013 - WASHINGTON -- The Air Force Reserve had 7,559 reservists activated as of Oct. 30, 2013, according to data released by the Department of Defense.

The Army National Guard, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve announced this week a decrease in activated National Guard members and reservists, while the Army Reserve, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve announced an increase of activated reservists. The net collective result is 105 fewer activated National Guard members and reservists in comparison to last week.

At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. The total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 32,782; Navy Reserve, 4,298; Marine Corps Reserve, 1,990; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 7,559; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 373. This brings the total National Guard and reserve personnel who have been activated to 47,002, including both units and individual augmentees.

Face of Defense: Airman’s Car Builds International Relations

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Angelique N. Smythe
65th Air Base Wing

LAJES FIELD, Azores, Nov. 14, 2013 – When Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua VanHorn arrived two years ago with a car that was the only one of its kind here, he quickly gained the attention of car enthusiasts both on and off this mid-Atlantic base on the island of Terceira in Portugal’s Azores archipelago.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua VanHorn dons his helmet before a rally race in Praia da Vitoria, Azores. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angelique N. Smyth

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"It's the fastest car on the island," he said of his current turbo-powered white Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. "It has an all-wheel drive turbo, and it's built to drive on a track. That got me a lot of attention and a lot of friends."

VanHorn, a 65th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician, loves cars of all sorts and enjoys upgrading and personalizing his own cars.

"I love fabricating parts on cars; I love making it my own," he said. "Ever since I got my first car in high school, I realized having the same car as everyone else was kind of boring to me. … If you're a car guy, then your car represents your personality."

Now VanHorn is living his dream. He races cars in the Azores while building friendships and host-nation relations in the community. His Portuguese landlord, who is a professional driver, connected him with a few new friends, who then introduced him to some of the island's racing events.

"I joined the Air Force to travel, to see the world, so this has just been a great opportunity for me," he said.

Although he'd always loved racing, VanHorn said, his first opportunity to race didn't come until after being stationed here. He first participated in rally cross and autocross racing here last year.

"Rally cross is wheel-to-wheel racing; I have to focus on driving with all the other cars around me," he said. "Autocross is a timed competition on a planned course. Only one car goes at a time, and it allows me to just really focus on my driving."

At first, VanHorn said, he was the only American visiting the Olavo Esteves Competitions track in Praia da Vitoria. However, he added, he was welcomed by the Portuguese people there.

"They embraced me," VanHorn said. "They love seeing Americans here. The more I come to these events, the more other Americans come, and they're usually people I've invited. I love spreading the word about the track, because it's so close to base, yet no one really knows about it."

As for his rally car, VanHorn recently purchased a small European vehicle from a Portuguese friend and continues to customize and upgrade it for races. The car is equipped with complete safety measures, such as a full roll cage, bucket seats with racing harness seatbelts, and a fire extinguishing setup. When he’s racing, VanHorn wears a full fire-retardant suit, gloves and a helmet for personal protection.

On the outside, his electric blue two-door Nissan Micra displays several logos of local sponsors as well as an American flag with his last name on the rear driver's-side window.

"As the only American out here representing the U.S., I have the American flag on the side of my car," he said. "That kind of makes me a target during competitions -- a friendly one. When we're on the track, it's aggressive and competitive. But off the track, these guys will do anything they can to help me compete. It's all just for the fun of the sport."

VanHorn, who said he knows enough Portuguese to get around, added that he usually enlists the help of his friends in translating.

"It's fun to just hang out, show off your car, talk about cars -- new cars, old cars -- cruise around together and just show off your personality," he said. "It's all about the love of cars, no matter what language you speak or where you're from. I have an amazing Portuguese rally mechanic that I trust with both my everyday car and my race car. He translated to me, 'I don't know what you're saying, but I know cars.'"

VanHorn considers himself an adrenaline junkie and said he feels great adding race car driver to his resume, which includes being a certified scuba diver and personal trainer and being a registered emergency medical technician for the Air Force.

"When I first started out at Lajes, I worked in ambulance services," he said. "When the phone rings, I'm excited; I get pumped. I'm not afraid of emergency -- I'm confident in my job, and I've literally had people's lives in my hands before. It's almost the same with racing. It's just an adrenaline kick. You get in there, and you're surrounded by other drivers. The light turns green, everybody goes at once, and the dirt starts flying."

Some of VanHorn's co-workers said they enjoy attending the races because it allows them the opportunity to interact with local people who are interested in the same things.

"Sergeant VanHorn is always accepting a challenge," said Air Force Senior Airman Hannah Meza, a medical technician. "At work, he's a great leader, and I think it's great that he's building such great relations with the Portuguese. Sometimes [they] seem surprised to see Americans [at the track], so we try to talk to them, even though they don't always understand us. But it usually works out one way or another."

Olavo Esteves, who has been a rally driver for more than 16 years and has owned the track for four years, said VanHorn has become a good friend since they met a year ago. "It's always nice to have Americans racing here,” he said, “because they're very respectful people and they do everything by the rules."

November Honors Military Families’ Sacrifices, Contributions

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2013 – Service members’ families also serve the nation and are the force behind the total force, a senior Defense Department official said yesterday.

“Our military members are as effective as they can be because of the support their families provide them,” Barbara Thompson, director of DOD’s office of family policy and children and youth told American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel. “[DOD] wants to make sure the people who are important in the lives of our service members -- spouses, children, parents, partners, aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins -- are part of the military family.”

Military Family Month recognizes the sacrifices and contributions that family members make for national security, Thompson said, adding that it’s important for families to know the country appreciates their tireless efforts to support their service members and communities.

During Military Family Month, military installations will vary in their celebrations to recognize families, and family support centers will offer information on what’s available, Thompson said. Year-round, however, support services exist through the Family Readiness System to help family members navigate any challenges they might face in their military lifestyle, she added. The system also includes resources for families who don’t live on military installations.

And that’s where there’s a growing need for community support of military households, Thompson said. For example, DOD offers a system involving professionals in a variety of fields, agencies, programs and services who are educated to meet the needs of military families.

Two other initiatives that bring civilian resources together with military needs are the Military Families Learning Network and the How to Help program.

The network comprises programs, services, people and agencies that promote quality of life for service members and their families, Thompson explained. Through the network, service members and families learn to take on new skills and challenges in all stages of their military life. The network primarily focuses on personal finance, child care, family development and network literacy, she added, but it is expected to expand to include military caregivers, community capacity building and relocation services.

In the How to Help program, early childhood educators, extended family, friends, neighbors, financial professionals and experts in higher education also have learned how to help military families, using evidence-based guidance on how to help families with practical suggestions and links to community resources, she said.

And individually, people who live in communities with military families can help to support their service member neighbors in several ways, Thompson said.

“People in the civilian sector who are not affiliated with the military need to realize that military members are an integral part of their communities,” she said. “It’s important to start by asking a question such as ‘Have you served, or are you serving? And how can I help?’”

One way people in the civilian community can begin to help their military neighbors is to learn about Joining Forces, an initiative established two years ago by First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, to mobilize support from every sector of American society to help service members, their families and veterans, Thompson suggested.

Another community option to help support service members and their families is the Military OneSource website, which explains the military lifestyle and families’ particular needs while living off an installation and in a neighborhood.

“It’s important for the community to know where to go if they want to support military members and their families, … especially during this month, since we’re recognizing military families,” Thompson said.

Top Air Force Official Stresses Need for Modernization

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2013 – The Air Force must modernize to confront the threats of the future, acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning said at the Defense One Summit here today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning makes a point about his service’s need to modernize during the Defense One Summit in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14, 2013. U.S. Air Force photo by Scott M. Ash

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Fanning echoed previous testimony and comments in saying the service will fight to maintain modernization programs. He specifically cited the joint strike fighter, long-range strike bomber and next-generation air-to-air tanker programs.

These programs go to the root of Air Force capabilities, he said to Defense One’s Stephanie Gaskell. “We need to be able to move quickly [and] strike quickly anywhere in the world, and we need to be able to monitor things anywhere in the world,” Fanning said.

The service has to invest in these next-generation platforms, he said. “We cannot over the next 10 years just invest in modernizing legacy platforms,” Fanning said. “Even if you modernize … a fourth-generation fleet, when it goes against a Chinese or Russian fifth-generation aircraft, it’s dead before you even know an adversary is in the air.”

Still, Fanning said, he is not concerned about the U.S. Air Force losing its dominance, “as long as we keep focusing on the investments, as we are now.”

These capabilities are crucial as the threats are changing and growing geographically, he said, with more nations – and even groups – fielding advanced weaponry. “We need to maintain investments in next-generation platforms so we have that agility, that mobility, that ability to strike,” he added.

Aside from these programs, Fanning said, he believes the Air Force must develop its cyberwar, space, special operations and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the future.

The biggest threat to the service today is budget uncertainty, the acting secretary said, adding that Air Force budget planners have no idea what the service budget topline will be for fiscal year 2015.

Sequestration spending cuts, as they stand, will take an extra $20 billion from the Defense Department’s budget across all accounts in January. What is even more damaging, Fanning said, is that the law mandating the cuts does not give the services the flexibility needed to make them in a smart manner. Last year, Congress did give the military this flexibility, and DOD officials expect the Congress will probably do that again, but this is not a given, he added.

The immediacy of the cuts also causes problems, Fanning said, noting that the majority of the cuts will have to

be from operations and maintenance funds. Budget instability makes this enormously hard on the service to build a budget as detailed and solid as people would like, he said.

“It forces the institution into a shorter and shorter and shorter ‘do loop,’” he said. “The stability of the process is weakening. I keep thinking, … ‘It can’t get any crazier, and we will be able to fix it.' And somehow, we manage to fix ourselves into more craziness.”

Under sequester, the Air Force will reduce by about 25,000 people and 550 aircraft, Fanning said. “Even before sequestration, Air Force readiness was not vectored in the right direction,” he said. “[Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III] and I think we were not building a sustainable Air Force for 10 years down the road.”

Personnel costs take up 40 percent of the Air Force budget, and this is an area that needs attention, Fanning said, emphasizing that the service is not looking to cut pay and benefits, but rather to slow the growth. The Air Force simply cannot afford to maintain the current growth rate, he said.

“It is unsustainable,” he added. “It will collapse. It won’t be there for people if we don’t do something about it. We just need to rationalize what we’ve done over the last 10 years.

“If we allow it to continue to grow, we’re going to have a force that has aging platforms, and that is going to have an effect on morale more than anything,” he continued. “People don’t join the Air Force to fly old planes or look at old planes on the ramp from the ready room.”

Eucom Promotes Cooperation Among Arctic Partners

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2013 – When travel brochures feature Arctic expeditions, adventure-seekers think of a once-unreachable fantasyland rich with wildlife and a pristine frozen tundra stretching as far as the eye can see.

Coast Guard Capt. Ed Westfall, chief of U.S. European Command’s Arctic strategy branch, thinks more of the second- and third-order effects of the melting polar icecap, in terms of not just tourism, but also its effect on maritime traffic, fishing and oil and gas exploration.

Although analysts’ forecasts range from about five to 25 years, almost all envision a day when the Arctic has no significant ice coverage for at least part of the summer.

“The conditions in the Arctic are changing, and we are already seeing increased human activity indicative of that easier access,” Westfall said during a phone interview from the Eucom headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

The United States, along with the seven other nations whose territory rings the Arctic Circle, recognize the commercial, energy and security implications, he said.

As members of the Arctic Council, all have committed to ensuring the Arctic remains peaceful and stable. But they also know more human activity raises the risk of mishaps ranging from shipwrecks to oil spills that could exceed their respective civil authorities’ response capabilities, Westfall noted.

“Often the military forces end up having the actual capabilities needed in terms of range and the hardiness of equipment to support the civil authorities in what they are trying to do,” he said.
The Defense Department, in support of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, works closely with other federal agencies and the United States’ Arctic partners to ensure they are ready to provide that support, if needed in the event of a crisis.

“The Arctic is an incredibly harsh environment, and everybody who operates there faces common challenges,” Westfall said. “Because the infrastructure is so sparse and the distances so vast, the resources that any individual nation is going to have [available to support a contingency] are likely to be limited.

“So it instantly becomes a team sport,” he said. “You are going to be calling upon all your neighbors, and anyone who happens to be around to help support whatever is going on.”

The Defense Department modified its Unified Command Plan in 2011, in part to reflect the growing importance of the Arctic. The plan assigned U.S. Northern Command responsibility for overseeing the Arctic frontiers in Alaska and Canada. Eucom focused its attention on the six Arctic nations within its theater. With that charter, the two commands collaborate closely with their Arctic partners to ensure they’re ready to respond to a crisis in the Arctic.

Their senior officers sit down together discuss the issues involved through the annual Arctic Security Forces Roundtable that the United States and Norway co-sponsor. “It’s an opportunity to share ideas, focusing on communications among security forces, domain awareness and just knowing what is going on in the Arctic with the increase in traffic,” Westfall said.

The partners also regularly test their response capabilities through tabletop exercises and field and maritime drills based on disaster scenarios.

In early September, for example, U.S. military forces joined participants from Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Russia and Norway during SAREX Greenland Sea 2013, a Danish-led search-and-rescue exercise centered on a notional cruise ship disaster between Iceland and northeastern Greenland that required a massive rescue.

The United States sent two New York Air National Guard aircraft and crews that regularly support scientific research missions in both the Arctic and Antarctica. In addition, U.S. Coast Guard members served as observers and subject-matter experts in command centers the Danish government operates in Greenland. Westfall was an observer aboard the Danish exercise control ship HDMS Vaedderen.

In the coming year, U.S. European Command and U.S. Northern Command plan to co-sponsor a multilateral tabletop exercise called Arctic Zephyr that will focus on search-and-rescue issues in the Arctic, Westfall reported. Other Arctic partners have indicated that they hope to host additional multinational exercises as well, he said.

Westfall said he anticipates that exercises will increasingly incorporate scenarios involving environmental disasters such as oil spills to reflect other pressing concerns in the region. He noted a maritime oil pollution and response agreement was signed this past spring under the auspices of the Arctic Council.

“That’s definite an area for growth in terms of exercising what this would mean among the different states, and how they would work together to respond,” he said.

This multilateral training is invaluable to U.S. forces that are relative newcomers to the Arctic, Westfall emphasized. “We recognize that we have a lot to learn from others that already do a lot of operating up there,” he said.

As non-Arctic nations increase their presence in the Arctic, Westfall said, the United States will welcome them as partners in keeping the region safe, secure and stable. “From the U.S. and DOD perspective, we welcome increased interest in the Arctic from any country that is assuming responsibilities consistent with their economic and national capabilities,” he said. “We welcome the positive benefits from that cooperation in the Arctic.”

Meanwhile, U.S. and partner nations are building on the foundation already laid as they learn about each other’s capabilities and how they can work together, if required, in a crisis response.

Training now for the “what-ifs” helps to establish important relationships while building a spirit of cooperation and confidence among the Arctic partners, Westfall said. “And that is going to matter if something bad happens,” he added.

“Responding to contingencies in the Arctic is a team sport,” Westfall said. “It is a lot easier to work together … in a mass disaster response when you already know each other and have had an opportunity to form those relationships to make it successful.”

Armed Services YMCA presents annual art, essay contest

by Master Sgt. Bob Barko Jr.
910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office

11/14/2013 - YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio -- The Armed Services YMCA is presenting its annual art and essay contest. It allows children to express their emotions for their military heroes and reminds us of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform and their families make each day for our country.

Nancy Rubino, 910th Services Manager here, wanted to help spread the word about this national contest to the communities and schools surrounding the air station.

"This is a great opportunity for children of Servicemembers here in the Mahoning Valley to participate in this national contest," said Ms. Rubino. "We hope that parents and teachers will go to the website and click the link to download the contest package and work with their kids to help them get involved."

The ASYMCA contest webpage is at

According to ASYMCA, hundreds of applicants participated in the 2012-2013 contest.

The annual Armed Services YMCA Art and Essay Contest is officially launched every November and is open to all eligible children of U.S. active duty, reserve component or retired Servicemembers.

Winners of both the art and essay contests have their winning entries displayed at 33 Armed Services YMCA Branches and affiliate locations, as well as military bases worldwide during Military Family Month each November. Winners also receive electronic devices as special prizes to help youth create and express themselves.

"Our annual art and essay contest allows children to express their love, appreciation and admiration for their military heroes," said (Retired) U.S. Navy Capt. Mike Landers and CEO of ASYMCA. "Their essays and artwork also serve to remind us of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform, and their families, make each day for our country."

Entries for the art contest depict the theme, "My Military Family." The art contest promotes art among children in grades K-6 of active duty or retired (with 20+ years of service) members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard/Reserve families.

Joint Staff General Gives ‘E’ Ring View of State of World

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2013 – The Joint Staff’s director of strategic plans and policy spoke about how the world looks from the Pentagon’s “E” ring -- where the military’s top officials work -- during a presentation at the Defense One Summit here today.

Army Lt. Gen. Terry A. Wolff told National Journal reporter James Kitfield that as the United States winds down operations in Afghanistan, more assets, emphasis and attention will move to the Asia-Pacific region.

America will continue to strengthen ties with treaty allies South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand, Wolff said, and U.S. leaders will engage with other countries in the region, such as China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Military-to-military relations with countries in the region play a role in the U.S. “whole-of-government” approach. Wolff said the United States “has certain sorts of activities, training, opportunities that we work with our partners.”

Wolff emphasized that the U.S. shift to the region is not aimed at countering China. The U.S. relationship with China is on the upswing, he said, and the tone of the relationship under President Xi Jinping has improved. Still, “it’s a work in progress,” he said.

Wolff shifted to Afghanistan, saying the Afghan security forces have proven their worth over the past year. “Their fighting prowess against the Taliban over this past year? They’ve done pretty well,” the general said.

Ahead are Afghan elections in April and the end of the NATO International Security Assistance Force mission in the country. Then, as the NATO mission changes to Operation Resolute Support, 8,000 to 12,000 alliance troops will remain in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist Afghan forces, and provide maintenance and logistics support. Some U.S. forces will have a counterterrorism mission in the country.

All this is predicated on Afghanistan approving a bilateral security agreement with the United States that will go before a nationwide council later this month.

Syria remains a tragedy, Wolff said. While the country has met the deadlines for declaring its chemical weapons stockpile, the international community now has to figure out what happens to the chemical weapons material, the general said. No one should underestimate the difficulty of securing, safeguarding and ultimately destroying this material, he added.

The Syrian refugee crisis has grown, and American allies in the region are being stressed to deal with more than 1 million refugees who have fled the country and another 6 to 7 million internally displaced. “This is putting pressure on Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, and the numbers continue to climb,” Wolff said. The United States is working with the United Nations and allies in the region to help alleviate these problems – especially as winter approaches, he added.

Wolff ended his “tour of the world” discussing NATO. “I think it is pretty amazing what NATO has done,” he said. “Ten years ago, there were discussions about transitioning the regional commands [in Afghanistan] to NATO lead nations. The conditions changed -- they became significantly more violent. NATO responded to that challenge. They hung tough with us.”

The question, Wolff said, will be what NATO envisions for its future.

Air Force Leader Discusses Opening Communication With China

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2013 – Opening up lines of communication with China is good for the United States, the region and the world, the Air Force chief of staff said here today.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III meets with People's Liberation Army Air Force Commander Gen. Ma Xiaotian in Beijing, Sept. 25, 2013. U.S. Air Force photo by Scott M. Ash

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III spoke about his recent trip to China with the Defense Writers Group this morning.

The general said he was treated very well by his counterpart and that his group may have benefited from a Chinese “charm offensive” following earlier meetings between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Welsh said he toured Chinese air bases and saw demonstrations by Chinese pilots. He was able to speak with Chinese pilots and got “up close and personal” with some Chinese aircraft, he added.

“My biggest takeaway was I think we can communicate -- we can cooperate in a way that helps prevent misinformation and miscommunication [and] accidental confrontation,” Welsh said. “There are opportunities to continue that kind of engagement.”

Military-to-military contacts will never be the main pillar of the Sino-American relationship, he said, “but I think it can be part of the connective tissue.”

The U.S. Air Force is working with the Chinese in many different areas. There are professional military education exchanges, and Chinese and American service members are working together in various exercises. The two nations are building a working relationship for search and rescue operations, the general noted, and are cooperating on disaster assistance and humanitarian relief exercises as well. One such exercise is happening right now in Hawaii, he said.

“It’s been a good initiative to get into, and if we can do nothing else, it will set a new high-water mark for military-to-military relations,” he said. “Any step forward is a good step right now.”
Improving communications will help in the long run as U.S. and Chinese forces interact on land, at sea or in the air, Welsh said.

“We will come close together more and more and more in that part of the world, and being able to communicate better is going to be a good thing,” he added.

Reserve Advisory Council looking for innovative ideas

by Col. Bob Thompson
Air Force Reserve Public Affairs

11/14/2013 - WASHINGTON -- Got a great idea that can improve things for your fellow reservists?

The Air Force Reserve wants your input and has tasked the Reserve Advisory Council to represent all categories of Citizen Airmen and to bring their ideas to the attention of Air Force senior leaders.

Scheduled to meet on Nov. 18, the council has 13 members representing Air Reserve Technicians, Traditional Reservists, Individual Mobilization Augmentees and Active Guard and Reserve members.

"The Reserve Advisory Council is represented by 7 officers and 6 enlisted reservists to ensure connectivity to all ranks as well as various career fields," said Col. Carlos Hill, liaison to the council, and director of Policy Integration for Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon. "We want everyone in the Air Force Reserve to feel comfortable reaching out to the council no matter what your rank or duty status."

For more than 10 years, the council has brought several ideas forward helping to shape new Air Force policies and even new federal laws. Travel pay for reservists performing Inactive Duty Training more than 100 miles from their homes was funded by Congress thanks to the council's input in 2010.

"We want all reservists to know their opinions matter and their ideas can get through to make our Air Force Reserve better," said Chief Master Sgt. Desriann L. Stevens, chief, Policy Integration and liaison to the council. "When you contact a member of the Reserve Advisory Council, you're accessing someone who has input to the highest levels of our Air Force, Department of Defense and law makers on Capitol Hill."

The council is chaired by Brig. Gen. Karen A. Rizzuti, the mobilization assistant to the commander of 24th Air Force, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Besides the general and her two liaisons, the council includes:

· Lt. Col. John A. Boccieri, commander of the 773rd Airlift Squadron, 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Vienna, Ohio.

· Lt Col. Tony Polashek, deputy commander, 514th Operations Group, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

· Lt. Col. Tim Welter, Individual Mobilization Augmentee, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott AFB, Ill.

· Capt. Philip A. Spencer, 566th Intelligence Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.

· 1Lt. Kristen E. George, flight nurse, 459th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md.

· Chief Master Sgt. Richard A Dawson, superintendent, Cyberspace Operations for the Operations Division, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins AFB, Ga.

· Chief Master Sgt. Michael Du, superintendent, 4th Combat Camera Squadron, March ARB, Calif.

· Senior Master Sgt. Stephanie A. Moncalieri, superintendent, Business Analyst Division, Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center, Buckley AFB.

· Senior Master Sgt. Sandra L. Plentzas, first sergeant, 944th Medical Squadron, 944th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, Ariz.

· Master Sgt. Jennifer B. Lynch, flight chief, Readiness and Emergency Management, Civil Engineer Squadron, 944th FW, Luke AFB.

If you have an innovative idea, contact a member of the council today.

Yokota supports Operation Damayan

374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/13/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 374th Airlift Wing deployed a C-130 Hercules aircraft Nov. 13, 2013, to support Operation Damayan in the Republic of the Philippines in response to the devastation of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

The aircraft carried a full complement of crew members and aircraft maintenance personnel who will stop briefly at Andersen Air Base, Guam, to pick up supplies destined for the typhoon-stricken area.

"Team Yokota stands beside the people of the Philippines," said Col. Clarence Lukes, 374th Airlift Wing vice commander. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families as we airlift aid to restore stability and normalcy to those affected in the region."

The C-130H is a heavy cargo and personnel transport that is capable of operating in the most austere environments, delivering cargo on rough, dirt strips or via aerial delivery methods. It is capable of airdropping loads up to 42,000 pounds. Additionally, the C-130H can be rapidly reconfigured for various types of cargo such as palletized equipment, floor-loaded material, container delivery system bundles, vehicles and aeromedical evacuation equipment.

"Our personnel are trained and ready to support disaster relief operations," Lukes said.

As the primary airlift hub in the Western Pacific, Yokota has provided airlift support to major humanitarian aid operations, including Operation Tomodachi following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

DOD Seeks Value, Quality in Modernizing Health Records System

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

BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 14, 2013 – The Defense Department's senior official leading the competitive acquisition to modernize its health care management system has said he’s committed to ensuring the best value for taxpayer dollars while safeguarding quality of care.

Speaking yesterday at an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association event, Christopher Miller, program executive officer for the DOD Healthcare Management System, talked specifically about the path of this modernization over the past two months in concert with the Veterans Affairs Department.

"I think there're a lot of people out there curious about what's been going on," Miller said. "I want to take this opportunity to share what I've been doing the last 60 days, as well as where I think the departments are going."

In addition to his duties as a program executive officer, Miller is the acting Interagency Program Office director as DOD and VA develop the IPO's way ahead. "It is important that I do represent and honor those two hats, because they both need each other to be successful," he said.

In his DOD capacity, Miller explained that he works for Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. He also relies on partnerships with Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and with Defense Health Agency officials.

In his IPO capacity he works for both DOD and VA.

A key objective of the departments, he said, is seamless integration of VA, DOD, and private provider health data and the interoperability of the electronic health record systems that manage it.

"It's important that we don't forget the private provider health data. We do a lot of care through our commercial care partners, so we've really got to think about this in a multidimensional way," Miller said.

Interoperability is the most important factor, he added, in supporting the continuum of care "all the way from when you enter active duty that continues when you become a veteran."

"My focus," he said, "really comes down to modernizing our systems and figuring out how to really get our data from the point where we're just sharing data to where it's actually helping make better decisions. We're trying to make sure that our clinical community can make the best decision possible to improve health outcomes.

"We are not just one or two hospitals in a region," he added. "We are an integrated, global delivery network with more than 9.6 million beneficiaries in major medical centers, clinics, and even ships."

Modernizing the system's infrastructure is a priority, Miller said. "And we're trying to do that as smartly as we can," he added. "On the Department of Defense side, we want go through a competitive process. I do believe that's the right process. We will include and are open to many different kinds of opportunities and offerings."

He emphasized that VA is a central part of that process, "so that we really do make the best decision moving forward."

After initial delivery of the interoperability accelerators in December, he said, the next key piece for the IPO is national standards. The DOD and VA, he added, will be technical leaders and actively contribute to national standards for health data sharing.

"When you put us together in the area of standards, we have a lot to add to the national standards," Miller said. "And this is an area where I think we've got to [make] a stronger effort."

Miller said he believes a technical organization under the IPO is necessary to drive the standards to support what the organization wants for seamless sharing of health data. For example, he said, if he asked how many operating systems the audience members use, the answers would range from Microsoft, Apple, Linux and even Android.

"But at the end of the day, you can also send emails to each other, right?" Miller asked. "Well, the reason why you can do that is because we have a good standards underpinning that figures out the interoperability. We've got to get to the same point with our medical [information technology] data."

Miller said he recognizes it will take time to go through the competitive acquisition process to modernize DOD's legacy medical health record infrastructure. We need to do this right, he said.

Miller said he is very proactive in cost controls and he encourages his staff and industry to "think like a taxpayer."

"I'm looking for the best value," he said. "There [are] no preconceived ideas or notions. We are just trying to make sure we get the best value that meets our requirements that really sets us forward where we need to be for the future."

"There is a critical partnership between the DOD and the VA," he added. "We can't get there alone. We need to support and partner with each other."