Military News

Saturday, May 03, 2014

AF Negotiation Center of Excellence wins prestigious award

by Senior Airman William Blankenship
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs


4/30/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.  -- The Air Force Negotiation Center of Excellence here was awarded the General Counsel's Alternative Dispute Resolution Award for 2013.

The annual award is given to the organization that distinguished itself as the premier unit that most advanced the goals of the Air Force ADR program.

The Air Force NCE accepted the award from Joseph McDade, deputy principle general counsel of the Air Force, during a video teleconference at the Judge Advocate General School here April 30.

"This group has set themselves apart this year and are well deserving of this award," said McDade. "I am pleased to present this award to Dr. [Stefan] Eisen and his team."

In 2013, the organization developed and distributed multiple courses, seminars and curriculum in excess of 400 hours, reaching more than 29,000 students. Those accomplishments led them to earning this award for the second time, the other being in 2010.

"We have been charged with bringing the skillset of adaptive negotiations to the Air Force," said Eisen, the director of the Air Force NCE. "On top of that, the joint community is now using our product in pre-deployment training and other areas where it can assist, which is a great step for our team."

Last year, the NCE separated itself from others in course development, to included original programs such as the Joint Knowledge Online course. They also spearheaded a 10-week continuing education program for Moody Air Force Base, Ga., and a seminar for the Army's Warrant Officer Career College.

"Despite budget cuts and restriction of [temporary dutys], we have been innovative in our ability to conduct seminars around the DOD without physically going to other installations," said Eisen. "We have been able to train others around the globe on how to conduct our courses at their own installations, saving the Air Force large amounts of funds that would have paid for us to be on the road."

While maintaining a consistent workload supporting Air University, the NCE broadens its reach by developing and implementing courseware such as computer simulations, mobile apps and courses for 28 distinct organizations and 145 colleges and universities.

"Looking forward, we want to develop a program that allows non common access card users to take our courses," said Eisen. "Our charge is to reach everyone, to include Air National Guard and Reserve Airmen. We want them to be able to access our curriculum at home. We believe we have the material and concepts. We are just finding the vehicle and platform to make it useful."

Eisen's team consists of Hank Finn, deputy director NCE, Paul Firman and Dave O'Meara.

"We feel proud of our achievements," said Eisen. "The words "innovation" and "let's try it" are part of our lexicon, and we will continue to do that moving forward."

Australian air force makes home at Luke

by Staff Sgt. Luther Mitchell Jr.
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


5/2/2014 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- 
The buildup of F-35 operations at Luke Air Force Base has begun, and the Royal Australian air force will soon be Luke's first international partner to train here on the F-35A Lightning II. 

The 61st Fighter Squadron and 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit will house the RAAF personnel. The goal is to build a cohesive, working understanding of the F-35A program with Luke's international partners for increased success in joint operations. 

"It's one more step in the long road to making this aircraft combat capable," said Capt. Dan Langan, 61st AMU officer in-charge. "The idea is in future conflicts nobody is going to be going at it alone. We'll have our allies with us. The idea behind this aircraft was to make it easier to operate with our multinational partners, understand the same tactics, operate with the same logistics base, and figuring out how to do that starts right here. We are laying the foundation and it's pretty exciting to be on the ground floor of that effort." 

Luke will act as ground zero for international partners to build their expertise in F-35A operations. The RAAF is the first partner to start their spin-up operations and are expecting their first aircraft by the end of this year. 

"We are really pleased to come in and be the first partner to stand up operations here," said squadron leader Maj. Nathan Draper, 61st AMU participant maintenance liaison officer and RAAF senior officer. "We are pretty lucky to get to come here first." 

The RAAF plans to eventually have 14 aircraft at Luke, with their goal to have a complete working picture of U.S. Air Force F-35 operations, then return to the home base they are setting up for the F-35.
"One of the biggest things I hope to achieve is the successful transition of our aircraft from the production line to the Luke training environment and the commencement of training operations alongside our Air Force colleagues," Draper said. "If we can do that in a safe and efficient streamlined manner, leveraging the Air Force processes and systems, it will be a pretty good day." 

The RAAF expects their first pilot to arrive at Luke the beginning of next year. Draper is part of an acquisition project called Joint Strike Fighter Division, and he now considers himself a team member of the 61st AMU. 

"We have a really good, close working relationship with our colleges in the Air Force, and we are looking forward to the next few years of joint operations here," he said. 

Luke's relationship with the RAAF goes back a long way. Air Marshal Mark Binskin, soon to be the top Australian Defence Force officer, was stationed at Luke in the late 80s. 

Follow-on squadrons, to include the 62nd, are scheduled to bring in additional partner countries including Italy, Norway, Canada, Turkey and the Netherlands.

Fox, Philippine Vice President Discuss Bilateral Ties



American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2014 – Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine H. Fox met at the Pentagon today with Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay to discuss enhancing bilateral defense ties and regional security issues.

James Swartout, a spokesman for Fox, said the acting deputy secretary congratulated Binay on the recent signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which deepens U.S. engagement with the Philippines. She also reiterated the U.S. commitment to helping the Philippines develop its maritime domain awareness and maritime security capabilities, he added.

In addition, Swartout said, the pair commented on the productive discussions between U.S., Philippine and other regional leaders at the recent U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Forum hosted in Hawaii by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Binay complimented Fox on the success of President Barack Obama's recent trip to the Philippines.

The two leaders also discussed regional security developments, including recent events in the South China Sea, Swartout said.

Sexual Assault Prevention Chief Wants to Build on Progress



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

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2014 – Despite headway regarding victims reporting sexual assault, the Defense Department is not content with its progress, the director of the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention Office said yesterday.

Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Snow, joined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Dr. Nathan Galbreath, senior executive advisor to Snow’s office, discussed the latest annual report during a Pentagon news conference.

“While we see indications that our efforts over the last year and a half are having an impact, it does not mean that we are satisfied with our progress,” Snow said. “We will continue to encourage greater reporting while reducing the occurrence of this crime by improving our prevention measures.”

The general reminded reporters, as Hagel did, that sexual assault is an underreported crime, so the department took steps to increase victims’ confidence in the response system.

“The department takes action in every case where it has jurisdiction and sufficient evidence to do so,” Snow said.

“This year, commanders had sufficient evidence to take disciplinary actions against 73 percent of alleged offenders.” This is up from 66 percent from the prior year, he added.

Discussing details of the congressionally mandated annual report, Snow noted that this year’s report was organized by the five lines of effort approved in Hagel’s strategic plan last year: prevention, investigation, accountability, advocacy, and victim assistance and assessment.

“In the report, we have detailed the policy and program enhancements made in [fiscal year 2013] to prevent and respond to the crime,” he said, highlighting three of the efforts.

“We created the special victims counsel program,” he said. This offers legal consultation and representation to victims of sexual assault throughout the justice process, with more than 185 attorneys directly supporting victims, Snow said.

Additionally, Snow said, new methods of assessing the performance of military commanders and enlisted leaders in establishing command climates of dignity and respect were enacted through a system of unit surveys and performance evaluations.

The general’s third example of “numerous” efforts detailed in the report was that each of the services has fielded a special victim capability. “This is a program designed to improve collaboration between specially trained investigators, prosecutors and legal personnel who respond to allegations of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence,” the general explained.

“This capability improves our ability to identify evidence, support victims, and hold offenders appropriately accountable,” he added.

Snow said the department’s assessment of increased willingness of victims to report the crime of sexual assault is supported by an additional metric showing an increase in reports of incidents occurring prior to military service. “Ten percent of reports made this year were for incidents of sexual assault that occurred prior to military service,” he said. “This figure has never exceeded 4 percent.”

The percentage of alleged sexual assault offenders receiving some kind of disciplinary action has been growing each year, Snow said. “We believe this reflects an investment in the training of our investigators and prosecutors,” he added.

The bottom line, he said, is that commanders are taking allegations of sexual assault very seriously and are holding offenders appropriately accountable.

Snow said prevention is the best way to stop sexual assault, and he pointed to the Hagel’s updated sexual assault prevention strategy designed to institutionalize a comprehensive approach across the department. “Using this strategy,” he said, “we will intensify our efforts at every level of military society to prevent this crime.”

The general discussed directives designed to enhance DOD sexual assault programs, such as promoting healthy relationships, evaluating commander training, reviewing alcohol policies, increasing male reporting and an online forum to share resources and innovation.

Snow said the department is “encouraged” by the increase in reports, which he said reflects senior-leader focus and improved victim confidence.

Galbreath said he believes the increased reporting reflects the department's “seriousness in looking at this crime.” What was discovered, he said, is that because of the underreporting of sexual assault, commanders rarely saw these events out in the field.

“Few of them really knew the counterintuitive nature of this crime and how offenders worked,” Galbreath said. “We’ve been working very, very hard to educate them, and also our criminal investigators and our attorneys that work these crimes.

“We believe that what you see is a return on our investment -- that people are smarter about how sex offenders behave,” he said. “They’re no longer buying into the rape myths that are common in our society. And this is a direct reflection on our training and investment.”

In elaboration he provided to American Forces Press Service, Snow explained how, under the direction of the Hagel and Congress, the department’s response system is fundamentally different from the system that existed two years ago.

“We have constructed a system of checks and balances,” he said, enhancing the department’s capabilities with professionally certified victim advocates and specially-trained investigators and prosecutors.

“Senior leaders have put the full weight of the department towards implementation of the more than 60 provisions of law since [fiscal year 2012],” said the general added.

He noted that the current National Defense Authorization Act has provided the most sweeping reform to the Uniform Code of Military Justice since 1968, and that DOD continues to work toward being a national leader on sexual assault prevention and response.

“We welcome continued collaboration with leaders in Congress,” Snow said.

USNS Spearhead Departs U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Operations After Completing Series of Africa Partnership Station Engagements By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's first-in-class joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) left the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, May 2, after more than three months of operating in the European and African theaters. Since entering the theater in late January, Spearhead conducted maritime security operations in the Mediterranean, participated in multinational maritime exercises Saharan Express and Obangame Express, conducted a bi-lateral maritime law enforcement operation, and delivered more than 22.5 tons of humanitarian supplies under the U.S. Navy's Project Handclasp program. "I am extremely proud of the work Spearhead has achieved in theater, primarily for her efforts in supporting Africa Partnership Station and the pillars that program represents," said Vice Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, who recently visited the ship during a port visit in Gabon. "I commend the Sailors and civilians who performed superbly over the course of their work here in U.S. 6th Fleet. They accomplished a wide range of mission sets and had a positive impact on maritime security." In addition to the Express series exercises, Spearhead conducted Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) with Ghana, patrolling Ghanaian waters with an embarked boarding team consisting of Ghanaian navy and marine police personnel, a Ghana fisheries agent, and members of a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment. The combined boarding team boarded three vessels fishing illegally, and the fisheries agent recorded six infractions under Ghana fisheries regulations. "Missions like AMLEP showed just how important those types of activities are to partnerships and maritime security," said Capt. Marc Lederer, Africa Partnership Station mission commander embarked on Spearhead. "The civilian mariners and military detachment exemplified an outstanding synergy to execute this deployment. We acted as one team and integrated our African partners into that unity for each engagement." Spearhead also embarked a U.S. Marine Corps squad for a crisis response exercise off the coast of Liberia. The vessel hosted Liberian coast guardsmen for a shipboard familiarization visit while the Marine Corps personnel launched ashore. Spearhead concluded her time in Africa with a port visit in Libreville, Gabon, where the civilian and military crew conducted a community service project to assist the country's national art school. The ship also hosted a reception for Gabonese dignitaries. Civil service mariners aboard Spearhead were glad to play a part achieving the multi-faceted missions while Spearhead was deployed to U.S. 6th Fleet. "In my 25 years with MSC, this is the best group I've ever sailed with, CIVMAR and military," said Capt. Doug Casavant, civil service master aboard Spearhead. "We have worked hard together, and we're leaving a good legacy." After it leaves U.S. 6th Fleet, Spearhead will briefly return to its layberth at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., for a maintenance period before continuing its maiden deployment as scheduled to U.S. 4th Fleet. U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other partners in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.



By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's first-in-class joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) left the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, May 2, after more than three months of operating in the European and African theaters.

Since entering the theater in late January, Spearhead conducted maritime security operations in the Mediterranean, participated in multinational maritime exercises Saharan Express and Obangame Express, conducted a bi-lateral maritime law enforcement operation, and delivered more than 22.5 tons of humanitarian supplies under the U.S. Navy's Project Handclasp program.

"I am extremely proud of the work Spearhead has achieved in theater, primarily for her efforts in supporting Africa Partnership Station and the pillars that program represents," said Vice Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, who recently visited the ship during a port visit in Gabon. "I commend the Sailors and civilians who performed superbly over the course of their work here in U.S. 6th Fleet. They accomplished a wide range of mission sets and had a positive impact on maritime security."

In addition to the Express series exercises, Spearhead conducted Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) with Ghana, patrolling Ghanaian waters with an embarked boarding team consisting of Ghanaian navy and marine police personnel, a Ghana fisheries agent, and members of a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment. The combined boarding team boarded three vessels fishing illegally, and the fisheries agent recorded six infractions under Ghana fisheries regulations.

"Missions like AMLEP showed just how important those types of activities are to partnerships and maritime security," said Capt. Marc Lederer, Africa Partnership Station mission commander embarked on Spearhead. "The civilian mariners and military detachment exemplified an outstanding synergy to execute this deployment. We acted as one team and integrated our African partners into that unity for each engagement."

Spearhead also embarked a U.S. Marine Corps squad for a crisis response exercise off the coast of Liberia. The vessel hosted Liberian coast guardsmen for a shipboard familiarization visit while the Marine Corps personnel launched ashore.

Spearhead concluded her time in Africa with a port visit in Libreville, Gabon, where the civilian and military crew conducted a community service project to assist the country's national art school. The ship also hosted a reception for Gabonese dignitaries.

Civil service mariners aboard Spearhead were glad to play a part achieving the multi-faceted missions while Spearhead was deployed to U.S. 6th Fleet.

"In my 25 years with MSC, this is the best group I've ever sailed with, CIVMAR and military," said Capt. Doug Casavant, civil service master aboard Spearhead. "We have worked hard together, and we're leaving a good legacy."

After it leaves U.S. 6th Fleet, Spearhead will briefly return to its layberth at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va., for a maintenance period before continuing its maiden deployment as scheduled to U.S. 4th Fleet.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full range of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in concert with coalition, joint, interagency, and other partners in order to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Department of the Navy Hiring Conference Connects Employers, Wounded Warriors, veterans



From NAVAIR Corporate Communication

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- Many wounded warriors and veterans would still be on the battlefield today if an improvised explosive device (IED) had not detonated nearby.

For retired Army Capt. Eivind Forseth, it was an IED in a taxi in Mosul, Iraq, in 2005 that paralyzed his right hand and disabled his arm. However, after 23 surgeries and three years of recovery, Forseth remains committed to the men and women on the front lines.

"I knew my Army career was coming to an end, but I also knew I wanted to stay in the fight," he said. "I still wanted to use my background, specialized training and tactical experience to support the warfighter."

That attitude led him to his job at Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), Point Mugu, California, where he serves as a civilian sea range test manager for the MQ-8C Fire Scout, and facilitates upcoming tests of the F-16 Seek Eagle stationed at Edwards Air Force Base.

"I'm so grateful to NAVAIR and NAWCWD for the opportunities I've had," he said. "I honestly don't know where I'd be if I weren't here."

Forseth is one of thousands of wounded warriors hired by NAVAIR, other DoD commands, federal agencies and private industry - several of which will be attending the 4th Annual Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference May 28-29 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Day one of the free two-day conference offers employers, human resources professionals, hiring managers and perspective leaders the opportunity to discuss challenges and resolutions; develop relationships between the private sector and military transition commands; discover best practices to enrich wounded warrior and veteran hiring programs; and share knowledge. Several wounded warriors and veterans will share their perspectives during a panel discussion.

Day two features the Hiring Heroes Career Fair with more than 60 federal agencies and private industry employers with job opportunities for wounded warriors, veterans and their spouses.

Vice Chairman Addresses Graduates at Alma Mater Georgia Tec



By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 3, 2014 – The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stepped up to the podium last night at the Georgia Institute of Technology doctoral and master’s commencement ceremony in Atlanta to talk to the new graduates about change, leadership and humility.

Navy Adm. James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld Jr., the nation’s second-highest-ranking military officer and a 1978 Georgia Tech aerospace engineering graduate -- told the graduates that every academic discipline they represented touched one or more of the major challenges facing the world.

The admiral counted off challenges the graduates will face: energy and infrastructure, population growth and hunger, water resources and climate change, the risks and opportunities associated with an interconnected world, a rapidly changing economic landscape, evolving threats to global security, and others.

“Many of you will rise to leadership in a field,” Winnefeld told them, “in business or academia or government or some other profession, charged with tackling one or more of those challenges.”

Paraphrasing Leon Trotsky, he added, “You may not be interested in change, but change is interested in you.”

Georgia Tech has equipped the graduates with the best possible foundation from which to start, the admiral said. “I would submit that you are blessed with this knowledge and thus have a responsibility to use it in some kind of positive way,” Winnefeld added. “So make the most of it.”

Having tried to emulate a few remarkable people who managed to lead change well, the admiral said, he offered what he called a few humble observations about what it takes to do so. To lead change, he told the graduates, “fundamentally, you have to do two things.”

“First, … have a good idea in which you believe, and then … push that idea through whatever poor, unsuspecting system it is in which you operate,” he said.

It’s that simple and it’s that hard, he added, but it also can be exciting, rewarding and fun.

“Leading change begins with the creative process, when someone like you challenges the assumptions and connects the dots from different fields into previously unknown combinations, then unveils either an incremental or revolutionary idea people haven’t yet seen,” Winnefeld explained. Such creative synthesis most often emerges from a single person’s mind or from a small group. It’s almost never done as a herd, he told the graduates.

Those who walk out of the ceremony with specialized diplomas and expect to lead change and to breathe life into new ideas that matter, the admiral said, will have to broaden themselves in ways that allow them to graft different -- sometimes very different -- expertise onto their own.

“This fusion of disparate knowledge can come to you in the most fascinating ways at the most unexpected times. … But these flashes of insight, as exhilarating as they are, don’t arrive free of charge,” he observed. “Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, ‘I wouldn’t give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I’d give my life for the simplicity on the far side of complexity.’”

He added, “If you’re a relentlessly curious person and are willing to do the hard work to get to the other side of complexity, then you have a great start on leading the first part of change.”

Making things happen in the world requires many things, but above all, one must be bold -- and surprisingly few people are, Winnefeld said, adding that he’s constantly reminded that incredibly bright adults will work long hours perfecting fundamentally flawed concepts because they aren’t bold enough to break out of the existing paradigm.

“Someone has to lead them out of all this, and that would be you,” he said. “Think of it as guiding people on a journey through a series of concentric circles of discovery, [and] you’ll know you’re there when other people start enthusiastically leading the change for you.”

Being bold also means taking risk, the admiral said, “which means you’re sometimes going to fail.”

“People just hate to fail, me included, but there’s simply no escaping the fact that success is the daughter of failure,” he added.

Those who reach the other side of complexity and lead people through the concentric circles will experience the exhilaration of change, the admiral told the graduates.

“What will it look like?” Winnefeld asked them. “Well, you might change the underlying framework for looking at a problem. We’ve had to do a lot of that lately in the balancing act we call national security.”

Or they might increase agility by breaking things down into more granular bits so they can better be rearranged into better and faster combinations, he said. After all, he added, speed is life in his business, and it may be the same in the businesses of the new graduates.

“Or perhaps you might build greater versatility, the way we find new things for an existing unit, platform or person to do, and enable them to switch quickly from one role to another,” he said. “Or you might pioneer fresh integration, like how our special operations forces have fused intelligence and operations to dramatically increase their effectiveness.”

But no matter what the change looks like, he told the graduates, a little humility will do a lot of good along the way.

“I want to let you in on one of the secrets of why the U.S. has the most capable military in the world,” Winnefeld said. “The quickest way for a young fighter pilot or platoon commander or submarine watch officer to lose credibility in my business is to lack humility, by denying mistakes or taking credit where it’s not due or even taking credit where it is due.

“You don’t have to be a rock star to lead change,” he continued. “Your people will be more eager to follow you if they know they’re doing it for the betterment of something other than your own reputation.”

This, Winnefeld said, is what has motivated him throughout his career.

“Other than the privilege of working with the remarkable young men and women who wear the cloth of our nation,” he said, “the exhilaration of finding a better idea and pulling it off is what I live for in my professional life, and I hope it ends up as part of yours.”

In leaving the graduates with a final thought, the vice chairman cited some of the nation’s strengths -- geography, demographics, diversity, energy and other natural resources, the freedom to be innovative, the quality of our economy, the world’s best military and excellence in higher education -- “all of which refute, at least for me, any narrative that we are a nation in decline.” His hope, he added, is that the graduates will remember that America is more than just a nation.

The United States “remains an idea about freedom and liberty. And more people are trying to get into this country to share in that idea than are trying to leave,” the admiral said. “And there are hard-working young men and women out there somewhere tonight who are willing to risk their lives to keep that idea alive for you.”