Military News

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Face of Defense: Volunteer Knits Items for Pediatric Patients



By Elaine Sanchez
Brooke Army Medical Center

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Nov. 22, 2013 – Shirley Adcock, an 86-year-old lifelong knitter, is hoping to weave her hobby into some holiday cheer for children receiving medical treatment.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Shirley Adcock, a volunteer at the Burn Center, displays her hand-knitted stuffed dolls and animals at San Antonio Military Medical Center, Nov. 19, 2013. Adcock donated dozens of handmade toys to the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic. U.S. Army photo by Robert Shields 
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Adcock, a volunteer at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center here, donated dozens of her hand-crafted dolls and stuffed animals to the San Antonio Military Medical Center’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic.

“I hope they bring some joy to the children,” said Adcock, who sits surrounded by the fruits of her labor -- elephants, bears, koalas, pandas and frogs -- all painstakingly crafted down to the colorful laces on their knitted shoes.

As a volunteer in the Burn Intensive Care Unit, Adcock offers comfort to family members waiting to see their loved ones after a surgery or treatment. When the waiting room is empty, she reaches for the knitting needles that have become nearly an extension of her hands since she started knitting as a very young girl.

“The toys are an outlet for me,” Adcock said with a trace of an Australian accent -- a remnant of her youth in Sydney. “I’m hoping to teach some of the ladies in the waiting room so they can fill the time.”

Adcock’s grandmother first taught her to knit when she was 4 years old. She knitted socks and sweaters for her family until they were “socked out.” As a teen in the early 1940s, she helped the war effort by knitting wool socks and balaclavas, a type of ski mask, to keep the Australian soldiers warm. One night a week, she and other ladies would set up shop in an empty store in the Sydney suburbs and sew camouflage netting.

Soon after, she was selected to work for the U.S. Army Air Corps and shipped to the Philippines, where she did administrative work for several American generals, including Curtis LeMay. She was en route to Washington D.C., for a new job when she met her husband, a Detroit police officer and World War II veteran named Benton Adcock. That was 65 years ago, Adcock said proudly.

While her husband served in the Army Reserve and the Border Patrol, Adcock took on a number of office jobs over the years, but never lost her passion for knitting. After retirement, she decided to volunteer one day each week at BAMC, where she and her husband are enrolled for medical care, and launched her stuffed toy venture on the side.

“I wanted to put my knitting to good use,” she said. “There’s no better way to do that than giving to children.”

Each night, Adcock and her husband sit side by side and watch their favorite shows, the rapid clicking of her knitting needles a nearly constant companion. Adcock can polish off a small toy in a day or two and a large one in a week, she said.

At 86 and “with nothing left to buy, this gives me something to do,” she said with a smile.

With her first batch of stuffed toys delivered, Adcock plans to start on a new set that will include some firemen, policemen, ballerinas, and more. While she has a few ideas, “I want to make the toys the children want,” she said.

She also hauled in several large stuffed clowns this week that will be displayed on the first floor of the hospital. One has a Christmas theme, complete with a wish list stuffed in a knitted pocket and a snowman perched on a winter hat.

As she walked across the hospital parking lot, clowns in hand, several people stopped her and asked her if the dolls were for sale.

She told them all no.

“I’ll never sell them,” she said. “I do this for the children.”

A taste of Air Power

by 2nd Lt. Christopher Sullivan
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


11/22/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- A decorated combat veteran who has commanded troops in two theaters gained a new perspective on the battlefield this week from the cockpit of a B-52H Stratofortress.

Army Brig. Gen. William B. Hickman, Commander of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, La., flew from Barksdale Nov. 14 in support of an ongoing Green Flag training mission at Fort Polk.

Hickman visited Barksdale at the invitation of Col. Andrew Gebara, 2nd Bomb Wing commander, and departed on a B-52H Stratofortress to engage in a close air support training mission in coordination with ground forces at Fort Polk.

Since the dawn of mechanized flight, the specific capabilities of air power and its role in the fight have been a difficult hurdle for leaders to incorporate into strategy. Hickman's experience provided the general a hands-on view of air power in action and its role in today's fight.

"Activities like this are important for the long-term development of our force," said Gebara. "Today's brigadier general is tomorrow's lieutenant general, and these experiences will help determine the choices they make in the future."

Although this flight was his first trip in the bomber, it is not the general's first time working with Barksdale. Hickman and the JFTC have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the installation, its Airmen, and the Air Combat Command owned 548th Combat Training Squadron, located here for several years.

"There is a close partnership between JFTC and Barksdale," said Hickman. "They provide routine support for our exercises and are so committed with ground controllers and aircraft. We would not [have a partnership] without Barksdale."

This partnership highlights the interoperability between the land and air forces needed for today's missions. From strategic airlift to close air support, the Army and Air Force depend on each other to get the mission accomplished.

"If a unit gets in trouble, they start looking for the power of America, and that comes in many forms," said Hickman. "In the end, you're looking for an Air Force asset over the top of your head that can look down and find the enemy for you."

Hickman sees the Army and Air Force's relationship only becoming more involved in the future. The Army will be fighting in smaller formations than in the past, and America's forces will become more reliant on the joint concept.

"In the future, we face a hybrid threat, from small elements causing problems to near peer competitors," said Hickman. "We are not going to be successful without the Air Force getting us to the field and providing the close air support needed to accomplish the mission and keep our soldiers safe."

International Officers Bring New Perspectives to Pacom



By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 – When Royal Australian Navy Commodore Ian Middleton arrived at the U.S. Pacific Command headquarters this summer, the sea change it represented for the Pacom staff wasn’t immediately clear.

As one of six combatant commands with responsibility for geographic regions, Pacom has a long history of hosting liaison officers in its Hawaii headquarters. Typically mid-grade officers, they serve as representatives of their home militaries who coordinate bilateral issues and activities with the Pacom staff on a daily basis.

But Middleton represented the first wave of a new initiative that Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, Pacom’s commander, is introducing to integrate senior allied officers into his staff.

The first international senior flag-level officer to arrive at the headquarters, Middleton serves as Pacom’s deputy director in the J5 Planning and Policy Directorate. A member of the Australian senior executive service, Cameron Ashe, arrived soon after to serve as deputy director in the J2 Intelligence Directorate. Another international officer, Canadian Air Force Brig. Gen. William Seymore, came on board as the international operations and engagements Officer in the J3 Operations Directorate.

All three positions previously had always been held by U.S. flag officers.

The international officers work for Locklear and his senior staff rather than their own militaries’ chains of command. Referred to as “embeds,” they serve just as any U.S. flag officer in their positions would -- performing the same duties, attending the same meetings and planning sessions and accessing the same intelligence networks.

“They work the theater cooperation plans just like any other officer,” Locklear said. “They travel on my behalf and speak on my behalf.”

But as Locklear noted during an interview here with American Forces Press Service, they also bring an added dimension to the staff in terms of regional insights and experience.

“The way I look at this, this is more about an internationalization of my thinking versus the staff,” he said. “These officers bring perspectives from their countries that enter into the way I and my staff execute our authorities throughout this region.”

Looking across Pacom’s vast area of operations, Locklear said he feels well served by senior U.S. officers who command U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan. A four-star U.S. officer in South Korea -- currently Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti -- focuses on military issues and operations there and the overall strength of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. A three-star U.S. commander in Japan – Air Force Lt. Gen. Salvatore A. “Sam” Angelella -- commands U.S. Forces Japan with a commitment to enhancing the U.S.-Japan alliance.

But particularly as the United States implements a strategy focused heavily on the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Locklear wanted more opportunity to coordinate closely with other allies and key partners in the region.

“The Pacific rebalance underscores the importance of making sure our alliances are as strong as they can be, and that we are coordinating our future alliance activities together the best we can across all our activities,” he said.

“That’s increasingly important in the environment we are in today,” he said, particularly in light of “a regional set of problems that are going to have to be addressed by our allies and partners in a more robust way.”

Increasing the synergy in how regional partners respond to these issues is the precise job Middleton conducts on a daily basis at the Pacom headquarters. Rather than limiting his focus to bilateral U.S.-Australian issues as a liaison officer might, he has taken on the bigger challenge of increasing multinational planning and engagement.

With more than 30 years with the Royal Australian Navy with multiple deployments across Southeast Asia, he recognizes that he brings something to the table that most U.S. officers can’t.

“Having international officers brings a broader international perspective to the staff,” Middleton said.

“The majority of staff planners here at Pacom have been trained through the U.S. military,” he said. “I was trained in a different system and also have had different experiences. So I look at things differently. And I think that diversity of ideas adds to the richness of Pacom’s thinking when it comes to planning operations.”

One of Middleton’s big challenges is to areas where allies and partners can better share the burden and costs involved in promoting regional security and stability. That applies, he said, whether it’s building partner capacity in areas such as maritime domain awareness, teaching regional nations how to police their own economic zones, defending against pandemic threats or conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions like the one underway in the Philippines.

“The bottom line is that the U.S. can’t do it on its own,” Middleton said. “It is just too big an area. So the more we can promote partnership and more coherent planning, the better we are able to spread that burden around.”

With the internationalization initiative only in its initial phase, Locklear said he’s open to the prospect of bringing more international officers on staff in the future.

“Right now, we’re prototyping it to see the benefits, not only to my staff, but also to the nations who send the officers,” he said.

But based on his initial assessment, Locklear said he sees the arrangement as a win-win for everyone involved.

“It gives the officers sent by some of our key allies the ability to help us broaden our view of the theater, and it helps the countries that send them to understand better the U.S. and Pacom positions in the theater,” he said.

Sharing insights from their own militaries’ perspectives, the international officers are helping Pacom “look at where we can partner better, where we might have duplication of efforts and where we can identify efficiencies so we can improve our efforts together,” Locklear said.

In announcing last March Australia’s decision to send two senior officers to Pacom, Australian Chief of the Defense Force Gen. David Hurley recognized the doors the arrangement would open.

“These two embed positions will provide increased opportunities for our personnel to work together on security issues of common interest,” he said. “It will also allow us to deepen our cooperation, particularly through multilateral exercises with a range of allies and partners.”

Middleton said he’s learning every day in his new role at Pacom.

“I work with a very dedicated team of military professionals with different experiences, so I am learning from them and getting new insights into how they do operational planning,” he said.

At the same time, Middleton said his position at Pacom underscores the importance of the longstanding U.S.-Australian alliance.

“Increased engagement with Pacom sends a positive message to the region that stronger partnerships are integral to security and the future peace and prosperity of the region,” he said.

U.S., Canada Sign Asia-Pacific Cooperation Framework



By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Nov. 22, 2013 – The United States and Canada will increase their security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, American and Canadian defense leaders announced here today.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson signed the Canada-U.S. Asia-Pacific Cooperation Framework today as both leaders take part in the Halifax International Security Forum. The forum continues through the weekend, but Hagel will return to Washington late today.

Hagel said that signing the agreement on America’s day of remembrance for President John F. Kennedy reminded him of a speech Kennedy made to the Canadian parliament in 1961.

The secretary quoted from that speech: “The warmth of your hospitality symbolizes more than merely the courtesy which may be accorded to an individual visitor. They symbolize the enduring qualities of amity and honor which have characterized our countries’ relations for so many decades.”

Canada has long been among America’s most valued allies, Hagel said.

“Our bilateral defense relationship -- symbolized by NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command], the world’s only true bi-national command -- is one of the strongest in the world,” the secretary said.

The new agreement, he said, “is another example of our two nations being able to leverage each other’s strengths in order to help address global challenges.”

Canada and the United States are both Pacific nations, and each can benefit by working together, Hagel said.

“The United States and Canada will establish an annual strategic defense dialogue on the Asia-Pacific within the context of the Canada-U.S. Permanent Joint Board on Defense, which will meet for the 232nd time next month,” the secretary said.

Hagel added that the dialogue will help establish clear parameters for coordination of operations among the United States’ Pacific Command, Canadian Joint Operations Command, and the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

“It will also help foster ties among our respective defense attach├ęs in the region, as well as improve coordination for high-level visits and military-to-military activities where appropriate,” he said.

Hagel noted that an area of particular emphasis for both nations is humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“At a time when both the U.S. and Canadian armed forces are proud to be providing relief to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, implementing this framework will help us coordinate these activities even more effectively going forward,” he said.

In response to a reporter’s question, the secretary reiterated that America’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is based on national interests, alliances and partnerships in the region.

“Our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is about more than just military-to-military relations,” Hagel said. “It’s economic, it’s trade, it’s social, it’s cultural, it’s education, it’s security, it’s stability -- all of these are part of relationships in an interconnected world.”

The Canadian minister said Canada has no greater or closer friend and ally than the United States.

“As the global security environment grows ever more complex, we also continue to seek ways to work together beyond the hemisphere,” he added.

Nicholson said Canada recognizes the importance of maintaining security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region to ensure its continued peaceful growth.

“Both Canada and the United States share with our Asian partners an interest in promoting stability,” Nicholson said.

Amphibious Ships Replace USS George Washington in Philippines



III Marine Expeditionary Force/Marine Corps Installations Pacific

CAMP AGUINALDO, PHILIPPINES, Nov. 22, 2013 – The Armed Forces of the Philippines and Joint Task Force 505 welcome the amphibious ships USS Ashland and USS Germantown in the concerted efforts to extend relief efforts to families affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in Visayas, the Philippines.

The Ashland and Germantown have aboard a combined total of approximately 900 Marines, elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, based in Okinawa, Japan.

"Having amphibious ships here, along with the 31st MEU, brings more logistical capability and capacity to augment our on-going relief operations in Visayas," said Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Alan R. Luga.

The USS Ashland and the USS Germantown, both dock landing ships, replaced the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, which had been operating in the area since Nov. 14.

"We are very thankful to the United States armed forces for sending one of their aircraft carriers to the Philippines and immediately supporting our humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations following the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda," Luga said.

Luga added that the USS George Washington played an important role in air transport when most Philippine airports are non-operational in critical areas in eastern Visayas. The amphibious ships, he said, have a more robust ship-to-shore movement ability.

The Ashland and the Germantown carry landing craft, both air-cushioned and utility, for moving large amounts of cargo and equipment ashore, and the 31st MEU brings heavy equipment which can be used to move debris.

"In addition to the enhanced capabilities of the Ashland and Germantown, the Japanese navy will be surveying the eastern coast of Samar and identifying additional impacted areas for relief support," said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler, Joint Task Force-505 commander. The task force is coordinating humanitarian and disaster relief operations in the Philippines.

"These are more suitable assets,” Wissler said, “and combined with the naval vessels from Japan, Australia, and other nations, we continue to be postured to help wherever the Philippine government and the armed forces of the Philippines needs us and we will remain here until our unique capabilities are no longer necessary.”

At Naval Academy, Carter Details Strategic Tasks for 21st Century



By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 – During an address on national security leadership today in Annapolis, Md., Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter detailed for 250 midshipmen four strategic tasks facing the Defense Department as the 21st century unfolds.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Deputy Defense Secretary Carter answers a question from a midshipman after speaking to a group of about 250 midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Nov. 22, 2013. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo  
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Carter spoke at the U.S. Naval Academy, and as he began his remarks told the midshipmen that after nearly five years serving President Barack Obama and defense secretaries Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta and Robert Gates, first as undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics and for two years in his current position, on Dec. 4 he will return to private life.

“There is no higher calling and no job on the planet more satisfying than serving our sailors, soldiers, airmen, Marines, DOD civilians and contractors, who together make up our total force, as well as our veterans and military families,” the deputy secretary said.

Carter, trained as a physicist, told the midshipmen he was honored to address them in a hall named for a personal hero of his -- four-star Adm. Hyman Rickover, who directed the development of naval nuclear propulsion and today is known as the father of the nuclear Navy.

The deputy secretary added, “It was 50 years ago today that another personal hero of mine … was assassinated. Two years before he was killed, President Kennedy spoke here at the Naval Academy. And in a speech to the midshipmen of his time, he told them, ‘The answer to those who challenge us so severely in so many parts of the globe lies in our willingness to freely commit ourselves to the maintenance of our country and the things for which it stands.’”

Carter said Kennedy’s call to action is why the deputy secretary was speaking at the Naval Academy today, to give the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps a sense of the security challenges and opportunities ahead for the world and what will be asked of them in the years to come.

The four strategic tasks Carter described involve maintaining a technological edge over U.S. adversaries, rebalancing defense resources and attention to the Asia-Pacific region, strengthening the nation’s web of international alliances, and internalizing lessons learned from the past decade of war.

“Because, now more than ever, maintaining a technological edge over our competitors is the surest way to deter conflict,” Carter said of the first task. “We must continue to invest in technologies that will be essential to 21st century defense.”

That is why Obama and Hagel have insisted that DOD go out of its way to protect critical investments, even in times of budget austerity, he said, adding that DOD is increasing its investments in the cyber domain because of the growing threat cyber poses to national security and critical infrastructure.

And in the space domain, Carter said, the department is rebalancing its portfolio “to improve our capabilities to defend against threats, degrade enemy space capabilities and operate in a contested environment.”

The defense department is requesting funds for more sensors to increase space situational awareness and investing in jam-resistant technologies and new operating concepts to enhance the survivability of U.S. satellites, he added.

DOD is also investing in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and unmanned assets, including platforms that launch from land and sea, and operate well above the earth’s surface and deep under the sea, Carter said.

On the second task, the deputy secretary said, along with civilian counterparts from across the government, the department must fully implement Obama’s strategy to rebalance resources and shift attention to the Asia-Pacific region.

Asia is home to 60 percent of the world’s population, and countries bordering the Pacific Ocean account for more than half the global economy. The United States has been a Pacific nation for much of its history and will remain a Pacific power far into the future, the deputy secretary said.

“The logic of our rebalance is simple,” Carter explained. “The Asia-Pacific theater has enjoyed relative peace and stability for over 60 years. This has been true despite the fact that there's been no formal overarching security structure there, no NATO, to make sure historical wounds are healed.”

During those years, first Japan then South Korea rose and prospered followed by many other countries in Southeast Asia. Today India and China are rising politically and economically and the United States welcomes all, he added.

While the Asian political and economic miracle was realized first by the hard work and talent of the Asian people, it was enabled by two critical American contributions, Carter said.

-- One is enduring principles the U.S. has stood for in the region, including commitment to free and open commerce, a just international order that emphasizes rights and responsibilities of nations and fidelity to the rule of law, open access by all to the shared domains of sea, air, space, and now cyberspace, and the principle of resolving conflict without using force.

-- Two is the pivotal role of U.S. military power and presence in the region that provided a critical foundation for U.S. principles to take root.

Carter said the third task facing the department is continuing to strengthen the web of international alliances that have underwritten global security since World War II, and deepening new partnerships that will advance American interests and a just international order in the years to come.

“Working with allies and partners takes constant attention and hard work,” Carter said.

“As with any relationship, sometimes differences of opinion emerge and those differences must be worked through,” the deputy secretary added. “But remember this: the United States is the security partner of choice for the vast majority of nations around the world. This is a state of affairs that our adversaries and competitors don’t enjoy, and that gives us and our partners a tremendous advantage -- one worthy of our continued investment.”

Maintaining this advantage means continuing to invest in NATO and urging the United States’ closest European allies to do the same, Carter added, so as NATO winds down its Afghanistan operations it stands ready to address 21st century threats ranging from ballistic missiles to piracy to cybersecurity.

“It means reinvigorating crucial alliances in Northeast Asia, such as those we enjoy with Korea and Japan [and] breaking down bureaucratic barriers to increase security cooperation and defense trade with new powers such as India, an effort I’ve dedicated a significant amount of my personal attention to in the last several years,” he said.

Maintaining the advantage also means growing DOD participation and support for new multilateral forums like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to increase regional trust, transparency and cooperation, the deputy secretary said.

And, he told the midshipmen, “it demands that each and every one of you take personal ownership for strengthening our partnerships by being uniformed ambassadors for the United States everywhere you serve.”

The fourth task, Carter said, “even as we rightfully focus on and invest in the future, we must take care not to lose lessons gained through the last decade of war.”

Such lessons include the tremendous competencies developed and honed by our special operations forces, and the capabilities brought to bear by innovations in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and intelligence-operations fusion, he said.

“We must also institutionalize what we’ve learned about quickly responding to urgent warfighter needs -- for example, our rapid fielding of MRAPs and other [roadside bomb] countermeasures -- and ensure that in the future the department’s acquisition processes stay as focused on today’s fight as tomorrow’s,” Carter said.

The adversaries always adapt so the department must maintain a focus on agility, the deputy secretary said.

“This means constant personal attention from senior leaders on enabling rapid acquisition of new technology, it means maintaining flexible funds that can move emerging capabilities quickly from the laboratory to the field, it means identifying disruptive threats as early as possible, and it means rapid validation and assessment of solutions,” he said.

The focus on agility already has paid dividends, Carter said. The department has begun to use processes designed for Iraq and Afghanistan to upgrade munitions and targeting systems for operations over water to respond to the potential use of speedboats by Iran to swarm U.S. naval vessels in the Persian Gulf.

DOD also has developed and made prototypes for improvements to a penetrating bomb that would allow it to target hardened, deeply buried facilities, the deputy secretary added.

Last year the department decided to build the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, he said, a transportable system that can destroy chemical weapons stockpiles wherever they are found.

It was developed months before the United States knew it would be discussing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, he said, adding, “It is now ready for deployment whenever required -- a capability that enabled our government to include this possibility in its recent negotiations with Damascus.”

As he came to the end of his remarks, Carter told the midshipmen that they’ve chosen an exceptional time to become ensigns and second lieutenants in the greatest maritime force the world has known.

“The road ahead will not be an easy one,” the deputy secretary said, “yet the very fact that you’re sitting here today tells me the easy path isn’t what motivates you. The challenges of tomorrow will require all your talent and determination, and I’m confident you’re up to the task. This is what our sailors and Marines have the right to demand.”