Monday, July 14, 2014

ISR Agency becomes part of newest Numbered Air Force

Air Force creates Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency is being realigned from Headquarters Air Force as a Field Operating Agency to become part of a new operational Numbered Air Force, or NAF, under Air Combat Command, or ACC, officials said July 11.

"The primary focus of this realignment is to establish an ISR NAF (25th Air Force) to enable closer synchronization and integration of Air Force ISR activities and effects,” said Lt. Gen. Bob Otto, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. “We do this by combining ISR aircraft, PED (production, exploitation and dissemination), targeting and analysis under a single NAF focused on operational mission execution, employment, deployment, and readiness issues."

With operational control of many Air Force ISR capabilities, ACC will, in addition to its contribution to wartime missions, retain the ability to provide multi-disciplined intelligence, including: analysis, imagery, targeting and other capabilities in support of international emergency relief and other peacetime operations. Flight operations and data analysis will be streamlined, allowing integration of tactical, regional, and national ISR capabilities.

The new Numbered Air Force headquarters will be located at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. A team of experts from ACC, Air Force ISR Agency and Headquarters Air Force is already at work developing the program action directive which will assign responsibilities for the actions needed to complete the realignment. Further details will be provided as the realignment plan is fully developed.

"As a result of the realignment, the Air Force will build on its existing, preeminent ISR enterprise and continue to provide proactive intelligence, responsive ISR operations, and comprehensive analytical assessment products,” Otto said. “This is critical for decision making at the tactical, strategic and national levels."

In its more than 65-year history, through several name changes and alignments, Air Force ISR Agency has had an incredible legacy of leadership executing ISR operations in concert with the national intelligence community, Defense Department combat support agencies, and joint and coalition partners.

The realignment as part of 25th Air Force under ACC builds on the foundation of cooperation and collaboration by enhancing critical tactical and national relationships, and more closely aligns Air Force ISR forces and capabilities with combat support agencies such as the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

"When AF ISR forces are needed, we've established a simpler process through a single force provider; think of it as dialing 1-800-ISR to access our significant capabilities, which are now organized under a single Numbered Air Force commander," Otto said.

“This change puts collection, exploitation, analysis, and targeting together under a single organization,” he added. “Its beauty is in its simplicity."

Air Force Changes Headquarters Manning, Organization

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014 – The Air Force is deactivating and realigning organizations at its headquarters, major commands, numbered air forces and field operating agencies, resulting in savings of $1.6 billion in the next five years, Air Force officials announced today.

"I will work to ensure the world's best Air Force is the most capable at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer," said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said. "Everyone knows our economy is still not where it should be. We have a responsibility to ensure that every dollar adds value to the taxpayers and our national defense."

The changes are a result of a comprehensive effort to reduce overhead costs, increase efficiencies, eliminate redundant activities and improve effectiveness and business processes, also known as Air Force Management Headquarters Review, officials said. The efficiencies created through the reorganization will help to meet a Defense Department directive to reduce costs and staff levels by at least 20 percent, eliminating 3,459 positions at headquarters across the Air Force, both in the United States and overseas, they added.

As part of ongoing cost-savings initiatives, the Air Force also will continue to reduce contract spending, operating budgets and travel expenditures.

To minimize the effect on civilian personnel, officials said, the Air Force will initiate Voluntary Early Retirement Authority programs and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay to foster voluntary reductions before pursuing involuntary measures. As part of ongoing efforts to responsibly shape the force, military members were offered a variety of voluntary incentive programs.

"We are aggressively pursuing reductions within the first year, rather than spread them out over five years as allowed by DoD," James said. "It's better for airmen, because it provides them predictability and allows us to re-stabilize our workforce sooner. It also allows us to harvest the savings earlier so that we can plow it back into readiness and some of our key modernization programs."

The Air Force's goal is to go beyond the 20-percent reduction mandated by DoD, officials said, so any additional savings can be achieved from staff functions above the wing level and set to provide additional combat capability to the combatant commanders.

"The Air Force has been making incremental changes in our business practices for the last several years, but we must change the way we are doing business if we are to meet the Air Force's goal to reduce staffing functions by more than 20 percent," explained Bill Booth, the Air Force’s acting deputy chief management officer. "Reducing higher headquarters' staffs means we can save money that can be re-invested in getting ready for combat missions at the wing level."

The largest initiative will include centralizing policy and oversight of installation and mission support activities within a newly created Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, which will report to Air Force Materiel Command. Execution will remain at the local level.

"The current and projected fiscal climate make it essential to centralize management and streamline support to the maximum extent possible in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as deliver more standardized levels of service across the Air Force," Booth said. Support functions currently spread across major command staffs will be centralized at the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center.

The Air Force will also make changes to the headquarters Air Force staff organization by splitting Operations, Plans and Requirements, or A3/5, and Strategic Plans and Programs, A8, and reorganizing them into a new Operations, or A3, organization that will stand alone and merge the planning staffs into the new A5/8 organization. The current programming functions from A8 will be merged into the service's financial management organization.

"We will now have an organization, A5/8, that is responsible for developing, managing and constantly assessing an Air Force strategy that is bounded by long-range resource projections and another organization, FM, that deals primarily with the day-to-day budget activities involved in running the Air Force," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III explained. "Keeping organizations aligned will ensure we keep moving towards our long-range strategic goals despite the short-term budget upheaval we face regularly."

The Air Force also will realign several functions that currently report to the headquarters in an effort to better support combatant commanders and will realign some field operating agencies to operational major commands and will merge forward operating agencies with similar missions and deactivate others.

The Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency also is being realigned from headquarters Air Force as a forward operating agency to become part of a new operational numbered air force under Air Combat Command.

Realigning the Air Force ISR Agency into the new 25th Air Force within ACC ensures warfighting commands will have the best possible intelligence from integrated national and tactical ISR capabilities, officials said, while appropriately realigning operational activities and the agency’s "organize, train and equip" responsibilities from execution by Headquarters U.S. Air Force to a major command.

AMC commander immerses in JB Charleston

by Airman 1st Class Clayton Cupit
628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

7/11/2014 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Gen. Darren McDew, Air Mobility Command commander, and his wife Evelyn, met with Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and their families here recently to learn about their issues and concerns.

He spent much of his visit July 9 through 11, 2014 touring the JB Charleston - Weapons Station, seeing a variety of missions performed by the more than 17,000 Department of Defense employees there.

Though not a stranger to Charleston, having commanded the 14th Airlift Squadron here from 1997-1999, McDew's tenure preceded the formation of joint basing.

"In my previous role I really concentrated on just one aspect of this installation. This visit, I was able to explore the totality of Joint Base Charleston," he said.

McDew commented on the enormity of the mission, to include the Navy's nuclear power training mission and Army logistics. He also noted the benefit joint basing has brought, in terms of learning from different services.

"I've had a number of joint assignments, and I enjoy getting the slightly different view of a problem from a different service. What I found is great answers and great solutions really don't know a uniform color."

When asked about the success of joint basing here, McDew said:

Charleston is producing "great Airmen and Sailors, winning awards at great levels and not willing to rest on their laurels ... not waiting and just watching history, but actually making new history - and that's impressive."

McDew and his wife, Evelyn spent much of their time meeting with DOD civilian employees, contractors and local civic leaders along with servicemembers and their families. They learned about their jobs and concerns, and shared perspective from the AMC headquarters level.

The general also used meal times as an opportunity for less formal conversations with servicemembers, hosting a breakfast with 20 junior enlisted members July 10 and then again, for 20 company grade officers the next day. During these meetings, the general addressed topics ranging from future joint base improvements to recent services centralization to force management, and offered leadership perspective from his 32 years on active duty.

A major theme included the need for bold leadership from servicemembers at every level.

McDew also addressed the way ahead for the armed services in a time of ongoing budget difficulties.

"One thing I want all (servicemembers) to know is that we will face any and all challenges together. We are all in this together ... we will be able to get through it because we have each other.

"The second thing I want servicemembers to know is the secret, that antidote, for the things we will face is leadership. It is leadership at every level, leadership from every person. Everybody should feel empowered to be helping ... and I'm convinced that on the other side our bold Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen will get us through this challenge and our next challenge just like they always have."

McDew took command of AMC May 5, 2014, becoming its 11th commander. He is responsible for more than 130,000 active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and DOD civilian employees comprising AMC.

Air Force creates Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center


7/14/2014 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force is centralizing its installation support management within a newly created Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, Air Force officials announced July 11.

The change resulted from a comprehensive effort to reduce overhead costs; increase efficiencies; eliminate redundant activities; improve effectiveness and business processes; and will help meet the Defense Department's directive to reduce costs and staff levels by at least 20 percent.

The new AFIMSC will report to Air Force Materiel Command. Air Force officials announced Maj. Gen. Theresa Carter as the AFMC special assistant to the commander. She is charged with developing the strategy and implementation plans for this new center.

"This is a fundamental paradigm shift in how the Air Force has historically controlled and delivered installation support capabilities," said Bill Booth, the Air Force's acting deputy chief management officer. "As we look ahead to 2023, this new command structure will focus on consolidating installation support responsibilities from the Headquarters Air Force, major commands and multiple field operating agencies."

The Air Force currently delivers installation support capabilities through a decentralized control, decentralized execution concept of operation. Consequently, each MAJCOM developed staffs and often created unique processes for the same functions, generating duplication of effort and inefficiencies.

"The current and projected fiscal constraints have driven the Air Force to make strategic decisions to reduce its size while retaining its combat effectiveness. Centralization of management support to the maximum extent possible improves our efficiency and effectiveness in providing installation and expeditionary combat support capabilities to our wing commanders and mission partners, and delivers more standardized levels of service across the Air Force," Booth said. "While efficiency is our goal, we will not lose sight that installations are combat platforms for the Air Force; we deliver Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power from our installations in garrison and at deployed locations around the world."

Chaplains help Airmen transition From Loss to Hope

by Airman 1st Class Joseph Raatz
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

7/14/2014 - Barksdale Air Force Base, La. -- In the face of swelling numbers of servicemembers being involuntarily separated from the military, the Air Force Chaplain Corps has created a video resource to help those affected deal with the transition.

Due to a shrinking budget, many members of the armed forces have received notice that their service is no longer required and they must leave military service. This notification can leave members stunned, unsure of what to do and where to turn.

"It's a grieving process," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Gregory Jans, Air Force Global Strike Command deputy command chaplain. "No one may have died, but there is a loss that forces a change. These Airmen go from what they knew and what they thought they'd be doing, to suddenly having to do something new and unknown."

The video series, entitled Force Shaping: From Loss to Hope, is designed to walk Airmen through the emotions they may well experience during this tumultuous time.

"Those types of feelings are normal," Jans said. "How each person processes those feelings will be different; they may experience them in a different order, they may take a different amount of time, but the feelings that come are normal."

The video, consisting of nine vignettes, walks the viewer through the grieving process and explains how each step might be handled. This forward-looking step-by-step guide features chaplains and other caregivers from around the Air Force sharing their personal experiences and viewpoints, assuring the viewer that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"It's a process to go from the sense of loss, one that's so typical and normal when facing something like this, towards hope and recognizing that there is life after the Air Force," Jans said. "Sometimes, just to be able to name something, to say 'this is normal' can be the first step to healing."

The healing that comes from acceptance is an important part of the process, Jans explained. Without acceptance, people can fixate so much on the negatives of the past that they are unable to enjoy what's coming to them in the future.

"It's important to say goodbye well, so that you can say hello well," Jans said. "We're trying to help with that. It's not about helping people move out of the Air Force, it's about helping people move on from the Air Force."

Copies of the From Loss to Hope DVD can be picked up at any chaplain's office.

"This resource is all about showing Airmen that what they're going through is normal and that we're here to help them through it," Jans said. "For these Airmen to know that they are not alone, that there are people who care and will walk beside them through this transition, that's something powerful and important."

DoD Official Outlines Issues for September’s NATO Summit

By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014 – As NATO prepares for a summit in September, a senior Defense Department official today characterized the alliance as being at a turning point, with questions emerging about the kinds of missions it should take on post-Afghanistan, appropriate levels of defense spending by its members, and whether NATO publics will question the alliance’s relevance going forward.

“For NATO to continue to be seen as relevant to our publics, it needs to be seen as addressing the security issues that are relevant to our publics, so that’s why as an alliance we need to work harder,” Derek Chollet, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said during a "Transatlantic Talks" discussion at the German Marshall Fund of the United States here.

Chollet, whose Pentagon portfolio includes department policy on Russia and Ukraine in addition to alliance issues, said the NATO summit set to be held in Wales will come at a critically important time for the alliance, given the uncertain security situation in Eastern Europe and the scheduled end of NATO’s combat mission in Afghanistan in December, as well as other possible responsibilities that its 28 members could be asked to take on in the future.

“As we are approaching the end of this year with Afghanistan transitioning to a train, advise and assist mission, we are once again facing for the alliance a moment where we are asking, ‘What is the alliance for?’” he said.

The crisis in Ukraine, Chollet said, has served to bring some of these issues to the forefront, including the question of capabilities, which inevitably touches on defense spending by European governments.

“Declining defense budgets [and] declining capabilities remain a challenge, they remain a problem, and they remain something we worry very much about, and that’s why these issues have been on the agenda at NATO at ministerials, and that’s why they will be front and center at the summit,” Chollet told his audience of journalists, think tank members and diplomats.

It was an echo of warnings by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his recent predecessors, who have publicly called on NATO’s European members to pick up an increasing share of the alliance’s budget, the bulk of which is paid by the United States.

Chollet said demonstrating the importance of holding the line on defense spending is one reason why President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve up to $1 billion to fund the European Reassurance Initiative, a program he announced last month intended to reassure U.S. allies of American support on the continent through security operations that include exercises and troop rotations.

“Think of it as a challenge pledge,” he said. “We’re showing that we’re still willing to try to buck the political trends here and continue to spend on European security, and we expect our European partners to show the same.”

U.S., Qatar Sign Letters on $11 Billion in Helicopters, Defense Systems

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today hosted Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah at the Pentagon to sign letters of offer and acceptance for Apache helicopters and Patriot and Javelin defense systems valued at $11 billion.

"Today's signing ceremony underscores the strong partnership between the United States and Qatar in the area of security and defense and will help improve our bilateral cooperation across a range of military operations," Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.

Hagel also used the meeting to express his appreciation for the support that Qatar provides U.S. forces in the country, the statement said. Today's visit followed Hagel's visit to Qatar’s capital of Doha last fall, where he met with Attiyah to sign and renew the U.S.-Qatar Defense Cooperation Agreement.

"This is a critically important relationship in the region," Kirby said, “and the secretary is pleased to be able to continue to make it stronger."

Destroyer Squadron 7 Changes Command

From COMDESRON 7 Public Affairs

SINGAPORE (NNS) -- Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 held a change of command ceremony at Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific in Singapore, July 14.

Capt. Paul J. Schlise turned over command to Capt. Fred W. Kacher, who had recently served as DESRON 7's deputy commodore since October 2012. Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, presided over the event.

"As the operational face of our theater security cooperation activities in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 is strengthening relationships and enhancing interoperability in ways that tangibly support America's re-balance to the Asia-Pacific," said Williams. "Much of this success is owed to Capt. Paul Schlise's superb leadership."

The ceremony marked the end of a successful 22-month command tour for Schlise, who previously served as the squadron's deputy commodore for 19 months. During his tenure as commodore, he spearheaded DESRON 7's historic forward deployment to Southeast Asia. He also led Southeast Asia's premier naval exercise series, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), which helps develop regional maritime security capability and capacity, strengthen navy-to-navy relationships and enhance interoperability among the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations. Further, he served as operational commander for USS Freedom's (LCS 1) maiden rotational deployment to Southeast Asia.

As Deputy, Schlise embarked USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), deploying to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf, as well as participating in Operation TOMODACHI relief efforts and serving as sea combat commander for the Ronald Reagan Strike Group in the U.S. Fifth Fleet Area of Responsibility.

"It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve at sea with my incredible shipmates, the Golden Arrows of DESRON 7," said Schlise. "I'm particularly proud of the accomplishments this team has achieved since joining the forward-deployed naval forces of Seventh Fleet. While departing command is bittersweet, I couldn't be more pleased to turn over the watch to my friend and shipmate, Fred Kacher. He's exactly the right guy to lead this team as it continues to operate and advance relationships with regional partners in Southeast Asia and undertakes new challenges in this vital region."

Kacher, a native of Oakton, Virginia, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1990 with an honors degree in English. A veteran of multiple overseas deployments and sea tours, he commanded USS Stockdale (DDG 106) from 2008 to 2010. Prior to reporting to DESRON 7 as deputy, he served as lead speechwriter and special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also holds a Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School and was selected as a 2006-2007 White House Fellow, where he worked at the White House on issues related to homeland security and counter-terrorism. A winner of the Arleigh Burke Leadership Award and Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Award for Visionary Leadership, he is the author of the book, Newly Commissioned Naval Officer's Guide (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2009).

"I am honored to take command of DESRON 7," said Kacher. "We have an incredibly talented team and I look forward to building on the legacy of excellence Paul Schlise established leading the first Destroyer Squadron forward deployed to SE Asia in more than 40 years."

COMDESRON 7 is scheduled to complete the 2014 CARAT exercise series in late fall and will take operational control of USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) during her maiden deployment at the end of 2014.