Tuesday, February 25, 2014

HAWC trains PTLs on standards

by Airman 1st Class Hailey Staker
18th Wing Public Affairs

2/25/2014 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airmen in the Air Force physical training uniform filtered into a room filled with indoor cycling machines for a Spin class during PT Feb. 20 here. These Airmen are physical training leaders, attending a course designed to train them on Air Force PT standards.

Per Air Force Instruction 36-2905, "Fitness Program," PTLs must attend an initial PTL training course and each year must attend a refresher course in order to maintain their certification.

"The PTL course is a condensed version of a personal training course," said Christie Cornell, Kadena Health and Wellness Center exercise physiologist. "We cover proper running form, and then we do drills (the PTLs) can do with their Airmen during PT to help reinforce proper running techniques. We also go over fitness design or program design where they design their own programs and then teach it to each other."

Cornell said that during the course, Airmen also learn different segments of an exercise session, how to put a session together and finally how to instruct a program and provide a well-rounded PT session to their units.

Tech. Sgt. Mark Obeng Duro, 18th Force Support Squadron Fitness Assessment Cell NCO in charge, said PTLs are the backbone of the program and aid in training and putting together PT programs for their units.

"(The course) is important because PTLs are the front line to making sure that people are doing proper pushups, proper sit-ups and have good running form because they are actually out there with the Airmen doing PT," Cornell said.

Additionally, PTLs are brought into the fitness assessment cell to administer tests and ensure all Airmen are performing with proper form during each exercise of their test.

"The overall goal of the PT program is to motivate Airmen to participate in year-round exercise or physical conditioning in order to stay in shape and be healthy," Obeng Duro said. "The Air Force standard tests Airmen based on four components: abdominal circumference; muscular component; and the aerobic component. Each test is different based on age and gender."

Cornell and Obeng Duro explained how year-round exercise and maintenance is essential to remaining fit to fight, and that waiting until the last minute to test could result in injury.

"You have to exercise and maintain a good diet throughout the year in order for you to maintain (the Air Force PT) standards," Obeng Duro said. "If you wait around until the last minute, it makes it a lot more difficult to try and get back in shape before your test."

Cornell said that year-round fitness and continued participation in unit PT programs are important, as is being specific in a training regimen.

"I also recommend that everyone, especially those that are having some difficulty, practice the PT test as they would take it, at least once a week," Cornell added. "It gets your body into the rhythm of doing the PT test, so if you chose to do sit ups first, then do sit ups and wait your three minutes, do your pushups and then go out to the track and do your run."

There are many resources available to Airmen in order to aid in maintaining good physical fitness such as cardio and strength classes, offered by the HAWC every other week. Airmen can speak with Cornell regarding their fitness needs during a one-on-one session.

For more information or to schedule for a class, call the HAWC at 634-2499.

Experienced Airmen wanted: continue to serve with the Reserve

by Master Sgt. Shawn J. Jones
Public Affairs, Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service

2/25/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Force management programs will push many Airmen out of their full-time active-duty positions, but that doesn't mean they have to give up the retirement plan or the other hard-earned benefits they had come to expect.

Transitioning into the Air Force Reserve allows Airmen to continue to serve their country while providing benefits such as tuition assistance, the Post 9-11 G.I. Bill, reduced-cost health insurance and the opportunity to continue working toward a military retirement plan.

Airmen with active-duty experience are especially valuable to Reserve units because they already understand the Air Force culture and don't require as much training as an inexperienced recruit.

Experienced Airmen do not repeat basic military training, and those who remain in the same career field do not require technical school training.

"When regular Air Force Airmen transition into the Reserve, everyone wins," said Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, commander of Air Force Reserve Command. "We are doing our absolute best to retain as many of these fine Airmen and our investment in them."

"The Airmen retains the benefits of continued service, the Reserve gets experienced Airmen who can contribute immediately and the nation retains a valuable asset for national security," Jackson added.

Airmen who are ready to separate don't have to wait until their original enlistment or commission is complete. The Palace Chase program enables Airmen to separate from their active enlistment or commission as long as they continue their service with the Reserve Component.

Airmen should be aware the recruiting process is somewhat different from when they joined the active-duty Air Force. Having experience is helpful, but Airmen must work with a recruiter to find the best positions.

"Reserve units love fully qualified Airmen who can hit the ground running," said Col. Steve Fulaytar, commander of the Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service. "But finding the best positions for new recruits takes time, so they can help themselves by contacting a Reserve recruiter as soon as possible."

Hagel to Visit Troops at Langley AFB, Fort Eustis in Virginia

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will visit troops today at Langley Air Force Base and Fort Eustis in the Norfolk, Va., area, senior defense officials said.

In 2010, Langley and Fort Eustis were combined to form Joint Base Langley–Eustis.

One of the oldest Air Force facilities, Langley is home for Headquarters Air Combat Command. The 1st Fighter Wing, 633rd Air Base Wing, the 480th Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing, and the Virginia National Guard’s 192nd Fighter Wing also operate there. The base also hosts the Global Cyberspace Integration Center. Hagel will discuss the Air Force’s future during that leg of the trip.

At Fort Eustis, home of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, Hagel will discuss the Army’s future force structure. At TRADOC, the secretary will meet with soldiers and leaders of the organization responsible for training the Army's future force.

Fort Eustis is an Army military installation near Newport News, Va. In addition to TRADOC, the post is the home to the Army Transportation Corps and Army Aviation Logistics School.

TRADOC was created in 1973 under Army Gen. William E. DePuy, and today it’s responsible for recruiting and training soldiers and training support units, developing Army and civilian leaders, guiding the Army through doctrine, and building and integrating formations, capabilities and materiel.

TRADOC oversees 32 Army schools organized under eight centers of excellence. The centers train more than 500,000 soldiers and service members each year.

Pease airmen recognize Manchester Police Department for donation to international mission

by 1st Lt. Alec Vargus
157th Air Refueling Wing

2/21/2014 - Manchester, N.H. -- Members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing here presented an award to the Manchester Police Department Feb. 20 in appreciation of their contribution to the New Hampshire National Guard State Partnership Program.

The State Partnership Program pairs National Guard units with partner nations in order to build lasting relationships and to foster the mutually beneficial exchange of expertise in the military, civic, business and educational arenas. The New Hampshire National Guard is aligned with the Central American country of El Salvador.

Female members of the 157th Security Forces Squadron traveled to El Salvador last year to conduct a subject matter exchange with female members of the Salvadoran military. The purpose of the mission was to exchange security tactics, procedures and techniques.

When Manchester Police Sgt. Brian O'Keefe learned that the airmen were seeking donations of equipment to use in the exchange and leave to the Salvadoran military, he didn't hesitate to find out what the department could do to help.

"We've always had a working relationship with the National Guard. We had the extendable batons that we retired last year when we were issued tasers," he said. "I approached the Chief and Assistant Chief [of Police], and they decided to donate the equipment to a worthy cause rather than having it sit in a closet. It was a no-brainer."

That exchange included drills such as defensive rifle fighting, baton striking, and defensive knife skills. The equipment donated by the Manchester Police Department, which included more than 100 extendable batons as well as foam training mats, was critical in effectively conducting the drills in a realistic manner.

Chief Master Sgt. Brenda Blonigen participated in the exchange and reflected on the generosity of The Manchester Police Department.

"The donation made an incredible impact. It's very difficult to demonstrate these tactics without the right equipment, and to practice safely without the training mats," she said. We would not have been able to physically perform the drills without their donation."

The award consisted of the flag of El Salvador in a custom frame and engraved with a personalized message thanking the Manchester Police Department. Several members of the department were present to receive the award, including Chief of Police David Mara and Assistant Chief of Police Nick Willard.

Willard, who is a retired Air Force veteran himself, spoke about the importance of a good partnership between the police and National Guard.

"When we learned about the need for equipment, we said that anything we can do, anything we can provide, we will because we understand that their mission is vitally important," said Willard.

Willard went on to speak about the unique skills and abilities that National Guardsmen bring to their communities.

"We have a deep belief in our veterans. When we assess a candidate for employment, the very first thing we assess is veteran status, even before a college degree," he said. Veterans have already served their country, and now they want to serve their community. They bring dedication, discipline, and integrity."

The New Hampshire National Guard conducts several subject matter exchanges with El Salvador every year. Planned events for 2014 include training in medical triage, air traffic control and K-9 police dogs.

Work: Continued Fiscal Uncertainty Creates Cascading Effects

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 – Continued fiscal uncertainty has the potential to create cascading effects across all elements of the Defense Department’s enterprise, President Barack Obama’s nominee to take the Pentagon’s No. 2 post said today.

“Having a stable fiscal picture will help the department avoid inefficiencies and maximize the resources allocated to it,” Robert O. Work said in written answers submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing as deputy secretary of defense.

If the Senate confirms him for the position, Work said, he’s aware of the challenges he’ll face.

“Clearly, the first challenge and responsibility is to get the entire department behind the secretary’s priorities,” he said. “While doing so, the deputy secretary must carefully manage its diminished resources. Indeed, the dynamic fiscal environment is a major challenge, since it relates to the principal function of the deputy and [chief management officer] roles.”

Another challenge, Work said, will be implementation of the National Security Strategy, consciously and deliberately managing risk and applying resources in accordance with the strategy’s priorities.

“I also foresee the need to carefully manage our science and technology investments,” he told the senators. “I agree with recent comments [from the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics] about not taking our technological dominance for granted. We should deliberately prioritize our long-term needs and carefully allocate funding to key programs and potential game-changing technologies that meet our strategic requirements.”

Two key elements of the Defense Department’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal outlined yesterday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were reductions in force structure and a corresponding request to Congress for a new round of base realignments and closures in fiscal 2017. Work said the need to assess and define the department’s force structure design with its strategy while making resource-informed decisions about force levels.

“A force-sizing construct will be a key aspect of the upcoming [Quadrennial Defense Review] to help define those force levels against various levels of risk,” he said.

If sequestration-level spending cuts remain the law, Work said, they not only would force deep reductions in force structure, but also would starve DOD of funds for readiness and maintaining the U.S. technological edge.

“I understand that Budget Control Act spending caps remain in place for [fiscal] 2016 and beyond,” he said, “and there is significant lead time involved in adjusting military end strength levels. This may inhibit the military services from using any of the additional [fiscal years 2014 and 2015] budget authority provided by the Bipartisan Budget Act for this purpose.”

On BRAC, Work said examining the Defense Department’s supporting infrastructure is necessary, both for alignment with strategic needs and opportunities to reduce unneeded capacity. “BRAC provides a fair and comprehensive way to do that,” he added.

Reining in health care costs also figures prominently in the budget request, and Work said that if confirmed, he would seek the best ways to do so.

“As I understand the situation, health care consumes nearly 10 percent of the department’s budget and could grow considerably over the next decade, taking an ever-larger bite of our ability to invest in our people or in enhanced warfighting capability,” he said. “I realize the health care benefit is a key component of retention for our men and women, so I will work closely with the health care leadership in DOD to find reasonable and responsible ways to stem this growth without breaking faith with our troops and their families.”

He also pledged to be a proactive participant in making certain the necessary resources are in place to properly take care of recovering wounded, ill and injured service members and their families. “I am particularly interested in understanding the research initiatives we have in place to evaluate the effects of [post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury],” he said, “making certain we are addressing these signature issues of our most recent conflicts in a meaningful way.”

Work also addressed quality-of-life programs, which he said improve the well-being and resilience of service members and military families and enhance the department’s ability to recruit an all-volunteer force. “Taking care of our service members and their families is one of the department’s top priorities,” he told the senators. “If confirmed, I will continue to prioritize those quality-of-life programs that effectively meet our service members’ needs and [those] of their families.”

For the last year, Work has been the CEO for the center for a New American Security. He noted that he has been part of or has analyzed and studied the Defense Department and the services for his entire life, having grown up in a Marine Corps family before earning his commission through the Navy ROTC program and serving for 27 years as a Marine Corps artillery officer, retiring as a colonel.

“I was married for 23 of my 27 years in the Marine Corps, and was a father for 11,” he said. “I watched my wife cope with frequent moves and the stress of me being away. Then, I missed some of my daughter’s birthdays, school plays and dance recitals. As a former member of a military family, I knew how hard it was to be constantly on the move and not having my dad around. But now it was me often leaving my wife and daughter to take care of themselves.”

Work spent his last two years on active duty as the military assistant and senior aide to then-Navy Secretary Richard Danzig. “During this time, I observed what it was like to lead a military department, where strategy, service cultures, politics, programming and budgeting come into play,” he said. “I observed the 2001 QDR from the Department of Navy level, recognizing the Navy-Marine Corps team was very much more than the sum of its two parts. In the process, I became an ardent departmentalist, seeking cooperation and understanding across institutional boundaries.”

After retiring from the Marine Corps, Work spent most of the next eight years at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a national think tank, where he studied, wrote and spoke extensively on strategy, global posture, revolutions in war and maritime affairs. He assisted the “Red Team” for the 2006 Quadrennial Defense review, testing key assumptions and challenging major objectives.

This body of experience, Work said, prepared him well to be undersecretary of the Navy. In that position, he led the Navy’s efforts on the 2010 QDR and participated in the 2011 Strategic review. Throughout that time, he said, he gained a “great appreciation” for DOD civilians, who he called “a vital part of the total force.”

“Although no job will ever prepare someone for the expansive responsibilities of the deputy secretary of defense,” Work told the Senate panel, “I believe this body of experience qualifies and prepares me to tackle the duties of the deputy secretary of defense.”

JBER civil engineers garner high honors for deployed service

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Blake Mize
JBER Public Affairs

2/25/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- The 673d Civil Engineer Group recognized three Airmen Feb. 19 for exceptionally meritorious service in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

During an early-morning ceremony on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Air Force Col. Anthony Ramage, 673d CEG commander, presented Air Force 1st Lt. Josef Kallevig, 673d CEG executive officer, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Scott Rice, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance technician, Bronze Star Medals and Senior Airman Andres Fossi, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron engineer technician, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

The three civil engineers distinguished themselves while on separate deployments to Afghanistan during 2012 and 2013.

While deployed, Kallevig was handpicked to be the officer in charge of Regional Training Center-Herat and was responsible for the safety and accountability of 120 U.S., coalition and civilians at an Afghan National Police training center. He was also the Infrastructure Transition Advisory Group site leader at Regional Support Center-West. According to his BSM citation, Kallevig's leadership was instrumental to the success of RC-West.

"Like so many of our fellow Air Force engineers, this deployment asked us to expand on our skill sets and take on new challenges," Kallevig, of Sidney, Mont., said. "I am truly proud of the progress we made during the deployment and how well we represented the engineers in our command."

During his time in Afghanistan, Rice, from Boise, Idaho, served as an EOD team leader on more than 60 EOD missions and completed 16 post-blast analyses. He led multiple demolition operations, destroying more than 7,000 pieces of foreign unexploded ordnance and eliminating 7,272 unserviceable U.S. military munitions.

Among his many responsibilities while in Afghanistan, Fossi, who was an airman first class at the time of his deployment, managed 12 Afghan interpreters who transitioned mission-critical documents from English to Dari and vice versa. He was responsible for the translation of more than 500 documents, including military-related technical manuals, laws, government relations, engineering policies, technical specifications and legal documents.

"I wasn't doing those things to get something out of it," Fossi, a Hackensack, N.J., native, said. "The way I see it, I was just doing my job. So it feels good to get the recognition and know the things I did actually mattered."

According to the Air Force Personnel Center, the Bronze Star Medal is awarded to those in any branch of the military who, while serving in any capacity with the armed forces of the United States, distinguished themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy.

The Defense Meritorious Service Medal is awarded for non-combat meritorious achievement or service that is incontestably exceptional and of magnitude that clearly places the individual above his peers while serving in one of the assignments for which the medal has been designated.

‘GI Josh’ toy dog engages children of deploying Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers

Click photo for screen-resolution imageBy Vaughn R. Larson
Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs

CAMP WILLIAMS, Wis. (2/25/14) - While nothing can replace a mother or father in uniform deploying halfway across the world for up to a year, state officials are hoping a plush toy dog named "GI Josh" can soften the pains of separation.

During the Feb. 22 sendoff ceremony for 65 members of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, the state adjutant general, held up a GI Josh and asked the children in attendance if they had received one yet.

"I want you to take lots and lots of pictures of where you're at with this dog," Dunbar said. "I want you to send those pictures to us, and we'll share them with Lt. Gov. [Rebecca] Kleefisch, U.S. Sen. [Tammy] Baldwin, and with our brave men and women overseas."

The plush toy came with a book and a letter for adults explaining how GI Josh can be therapeutic for children dealing with a deployed parent.

"They are not toys intended to distract," the letter states, "but through a compelling story as shared by Josh, the Golden Retriever, who is going through his own difficult situation, your child can find comfort that they are not going through their difficulty alone."

The book, "GI Josh: I'll Be O.K.," is one in a series of books that author Randall L. Lange, a veterinarian, wrote about Josh that explore the human-animal bond. Lange encourages parents and adults to adapt the story for each family's situation.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch also encouraged the children to send photos.

"I can assure you that, when Sen. Baldwin and I get those photos, we'll share them," Kleefisch said to the children's parents, "as we will share your stories of tremendous courage and the pride that we have in calling you friends and fellow Wisconsinites."

DOD Asia Policy Nominee Encourages Close Watch on China

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 – The man nominated to be the Defense Department’s top policy official for the Asia-Pacific region said today he believes the United States must do more than just watch and analyze China’s military, and he called for encouraging Taiwan to develop a defense force capable of thwarting Beijing’s efforts to coerce its rival.

“We are paying particular attention to Chinese investments in technology development, as well as what they are fielding,” David Shear said in written answers to questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is considering his nomination to be assistant secretary of defense for Asia and Pacific security affairs, adding that it’s also necessary to understand what is shaping those investments.

He pointed to work by the Defense Department’s Minerva Initiative, designed to help assess future security challenges, which he said can help defense officials understand the social, cultural and historical factors driving China’s strategic priorities.

While Shear said Washington welcomes the rise of a peaceful China, the growth of the Chinese military remains a concern, especially Beijing’s investments in technology. He described China’s increasing defense spending as part of a long-term military modernization program lacking transparency but aimed at winning high-intensity, short-duration regional conflicts, primarily focused on Taiwan.

His answers were largely echoed by Robert Work, nominated to be deputy secretary of defense, who appeared at the same confirmation hearing.

Shear described Sino-U.S. relations as having elements of both competition and cooperation, saying he believes the United States should remain the pre-eminent military power in the Asia-Pacific -- two years after the United States announced a military rebalance to the region. But getting the relationship with China right “will be critical to the future of U.S. national security, as well as international security, for decades to come,” he said.

Relations between Washington and Beijing are often affected by U.S. ties to Taiwan, and if confirmed, Shear said, he would urge Taiwan to increase its defense budget to 3 percent of its gross domestic product, while at the same time the United States would continue providing Taiwan with what the island needs to maintain its defense, telling the committee “our priority should be to assist Taiwan in implementing an asymmetric and innovative defense strategy to deter aggression from China.” Doing so, he said, would be consistent with the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, in which the United States committed to Taiwan’s self-defense capability.

In addition, Shear said the United States will continue to assert its right to conduct military operations in the East China Sea in an area where China has unilaterally declared an air defense identification zone in response to an ongoing dispute with Japan over contested islands.

“If confirmed, I would support the DOD position that China’s announced ADIZ will not change how the United States conducts military operations in the region.”

On North Korea, Shear said leader Kim Jong Un remains unpredictable, pointing out last year’s execution of his uncle Jang Song-thaek, a key figure who was considered a mentor to the young leader, in what was widely reported as a power struggle over the control of exports.

Work, in his answers to committee questions, said “my understanding is that Kim Jong Un remains in full control and is consolidating his power.” A strong possibility exists of more North Korean provocations, he added, as Pyongyang attempts to coerce the United States back into negotiations on its own terms.

Hagel to Attend NATO Defense Ministers Meeting in Brussels

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will travel to Brussels later today to attend a NATO defense ministers meeting.

The secretary, who is visiting military bases in Virginia, announced his trip today in a statement about contingency planning for a possible full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by year’s end in the absence of a signed bilateral security agreement.

The two-day meeting begins tomorrow, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said yesterday, adding that ahead of the first working session, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will make a statement that will focus on defense capabilities.

The second working session will focus on defense capacity building, cyber defense and maritime security, along with NATO’s Connected Forces Initiative, which involves improving operational collaboration with other military forces.

Afterward, Rasmussen will hold a news conference followed by a working dinner, Lungescu said, “and I expect that the ministers will be discussing Afghanistan and Ukraine over dinner.”

On Feb. 27, the defense ministers will meet with International Security Assistance Force contributing partners and Afghanistan’s defense minister, she added.