Military News

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Hagel Urges Expanded U.S.-Indian Defense Cooperation



By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today called for the United States and India to do more to transform their defense relationship through increased partnerships in production and technology, given the edge he said both nations have in science and innovation.

Speaking in New Delhi to business leaders and scholars on the final day of his first visit to India as defense chief, Hagel told the Observer Research Foundation that the future of both nations rests on a stronger strategic partnership and global engagement, and he said he came away from meetings with Indian leaders reassured about that.

“The fundamentals of the U.S.-India partnership are strong,” Hagel said. The question is whether India and the United States can achieve the enormous potential for this partnership -- whether we can transform our potential into results. Following my conversations yesterday, I’m more confident than ever that we can.”

Hagel said the United States welcomes new proposals from India on defense issues in areas where both countries can partner in production and development, ranging from big data to cognitive sciences to chemical and biological defense and material sciences while building on the scale and complexity of joint military exercises and maritime operations.

“Bureaucratic red tape within either of our governments must not bound the limits of our partnership and our initiatives,” he added. “That is especially true for our defense industrial cooperation.”

Hagel noted that more than $9 billion in defense contracts have been signed between both countries over the past six years. “But we can do more to forge a defense industrial partnership, one that would transform our nations’ defense cooperation from simply buying and selling to co-production, co-development and freer exchange of technology,” he told the audience.

The key means for doing so is the U.S.-India Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, begun in earnest two years ago and aimed at taking U.S.-India military relations to a new level through closer, long term partnerships, including within the defense industry. The initiative, he said, now has more than a dozen specific proposals for cooperation.

“But the challenge today is not a shortage of proposals,” the secretary said. “Instead, for both our nations, the challenge is to seize the opportunities.” One such opportunity, he said, is a plan for both nations to jointly develop a next generation anti-tank missile. “This is an unprecedented offer that we have made only to India and no one else,” he emphasized.

While calling the fundamentals of the U.S.-Indian relationship strong, Hagel did acknowledge strains come up at times. “We will not agree on every issue, on every proposal, nor do the closest of friends,” he said, but he added that as India looks east and the United States rebalances to the Asia-Pacific region, U.S. and Indian interests across the full span of the Indo-Pacific region are aligned more closely than ever.

In closing, he told his audience, “I leave India today confident that, together our two nations will achieve the historic potential of this special partnership.”

Hagel had characterized his trip as a get-acquainted visit with the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while seeking to expand common interests. It comes just a week after a visit by Secretary of State John F. Kerry. Both visits are intended to prepare for a White House visit by Modi next month.

SURFLANT Empowers Deckplate Leaders at 3D Printing Symposium



By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Brown, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (CNSL) hosted its first 3D printing symposium directed at waterfront warfighters Aug. 6 at Naval Station Norfolk.

Among those warfighters was Machinery Repairmen 1st Class Shane Chapman, who attended the four-hour symposium with two engineering shipmates from amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), to learn about this revolutionary technology and its vast applications to the fleet.

"I didn't know much about the process and capabilities of 3D printing before I got here and I'm very impressed by what it can do," Chapman said. "It can be very cost-effective for creating a one-off part, or something that isn't manufactured anymore. It would require a lot less time printing a part, instead of machining it."

CNSL held this symposium to proactively reinforce command priorities of improving surface warrior tactical and technical competence, delivering combat-ready warships and synchronizing lines of effort.

"At its very core, this technology further enhances the leadership opportunities of our Sailors," noted symposium coordinator Lt. Matthew Hipple, a CNSL action officer.

"For challenges in your engineering plant, at your console, or on the bridge - additive manufacturing could one day allow Sailors to create their own novel solutions, or overcome pauses from logistical delays," he continued. "That's ownership, and an important part of cultivating new generations of leaders and experts."

About a dozen Sailors and civilians attended the symposium on 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing.

3D printing is the conceptual opposite of subtractive manufacturing, a process by which material is removed (often by lathing, cutting, chipping or grinding) to create a final product. 3D printing constructs three-dimensional objects by adding layers of material (usually plastic or metal) and shapes can be created not otherwise possible through traditional manufacturing techniques.

There are six industrial methods for 3D printing; the Navy favors one called "material extrusion," in which material - often thermoplastic - is melted and extruded onto a build platform.

The Navy has been exploring and implementing this technology for more than 20 years, and its applications have been embraced by communities as diverse as surface, aviation, submarines, special warfare and medicine. On Nov. 13, 2013, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert designated OPNAV N4 (Material Readiness and Logistics) as the Navy lead for additive manufacturing technology. Additionally, the CNO's Rapid Innovation Cell project "Print the Fleet" has been stood up to introduce Sailors to 3D printing.

"'Print the Fleet' was created to push junior deckplate leadership - the guys who are doing the technical work, the maintainers who are encountering the day-to-day problems to harness 3D printing technology for their uses," Hipple explained. "It's a great opportunity for them, not to just decrease their man-hours spent working on equipment, but also to increase the amount of leadership and input they have into this new technology."

During the symposium, Chapman and others in attendance learned that 3D printing has the capability to bring parts to the warfighter quickly and cheaply. By printing parts on nearby military installations or eventually, on ships at sea, inventory can be reduced and shipping costs can be nearly eliminated for many items. Within days or hours of identifying a needed part, a model can be designed and uploaded to a database for printing, allowing for a more rapid response to warfighters' needs.

This was good news for Kearsarge engineers, enthusiastic to brief their chain of command about the ease with which 3D printing could manufacture common items, including oil reservoir caps and deck drain covers.

"We have manufactured these ourselves, but if there's a faster process, that would obviously be ideal," Chapman said. "These are things that we encounter very often."

Hipple hopes that enthusiasm spreads to the other 70-plus CNSL ships.

"This is about helping Sailors overcome acquisition problems," he pointed out. "And it's about using taxpayers' dollars well. 3D printing is a new process that can streamline our logistics and give the Sailor new problem-solving tools.

"You and I have been given these resources by the American people and it is our job to use them wisely; 3D printing looks like it's going to be one way to do so. We're investigating if this can give the Navy, our Sailors, and the people the best bang for our buck."

Another CNSL 3D printing symposium will be held Aug. 20 from 1 - 3:30 p.m. at Naval Station Norfolk's Building C-9 (1731 Gilbert St.), on the second floor, in conference room 2. Registration is not required. Inquiries can be addressed to: CNSL_PAO@navy.mil.

Vella Gulf Conducts Exercise with Turkish Navy



By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Weston Jones, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East Detachment Europe

BLACK SEA (NNS) -- The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) conducted a division tactics exercise with the Turkish navy fast attack craft TCG Tuzla (P 1200) in the Black Sea, Aug. 8.

Vella Gulf and Tuzla conducted tactical maneuvering during the exercise. U.S. Navy ships regularly hold similar events with allies and partners to foster relationships and strengthen interoperability.

"Once again, Vella Gulf was pleased to participate in an at-sea training exercise with our NATO ally Turkey," said Capt. Robert Katz, Vella Gulf's commanding officer. "Our continuing interactions with the Turkish navy during this deployment have increased cooperation and strengthened interoperability through regular combined training events."

The surface exercise required Vella Gulf to be a guide ship and give tactical maneuvering commands to Tuzla. The ships then executed maneuvers simultaneously.

Vella Gulf, homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, is conducting naval operations with partners and allies in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in order to advance security and stability in Europe.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

Surface Line Week 2014 Kicks Off in San Diego



By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Donnie W. Ryan, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The 33rd annual Surface Line Week (SLW) kicked-off in San Diego, with the commencement of the sailing competition in San Diego Bay, Aug. 8.

SLW, sponsored by the staff of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, will run through Aug. 15, and features a series of activities dedicated to friendly competition in a variety of professional and sporting events.

"Surface Line Week 2014 consists of 18 athletic events and 15 professional events culminating in an awards ceremony on Aug. 15," said Lt. Aimee Smith, this year's event coordinator. "The overall winner will also be recognized at the Surface Warrior Ball held the evening of Aug. 15."

According to Smith, SLW athletic events include: a 5K run, basketball, billiards, bowling, dodge ball, flag football, golf, push-up/pull-up endurance and cross fit. There will also be a chili cook-off and a salsa cook-off on the final day of competition.

Smith said SLW professional events include: cake decorating, a damage control marathon, lathe work, marksmanship, medical diagnosis/stretcher bearer race, moboards, photo competition, rescue swimmer, a Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) race, sailing, seamanship, ship handling, valve packing, visual communications and welding and cutting.

"Competition participants must be active duty, regularly assigned Navy Reserve, or other military personnel and government civilians formally attached to a Navy command," said Smith.

Last year, USS Essex (LHD 2) took first place in the overall large command category, USS Spruance (DDG 11) took it for the medium commands and Naval Base San Diego received the small command trophy.

"This year's Surface Line Week promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding event," said Smith. "Maximum participation is desired from all commands to the extent their operational schedules allow."

USS Coronado Holds Change of Command Ceremony



By Lieutenant Christopher Euans, USS Coronado Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors stood in formation on the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) while pierside at Naval Base San Diego to take part the time-honored Navy tradition of a change of command ceremony, Aug.8.

With the traditional exchange of salutes, Cmdr. Shawn Johnston turned over command of the newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship to Cmdr. Peter Kim.

Capt. Randy Garner, commander of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1, presided over the ceremony and Capt. Ryan Tillotson, commander of Destroyer Squadron 14, served as the guest speaker.

The ceremony marked the end of a very successful 34-month command tour of 'The Royal Punch' for Johnston. He led the gold crew/LCS crew 204, one of Coronado's two pre-commissioning crews, through an extensive fleet introduction process.

Highlights of his tour included hosting the ship's commissioning ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island in April with more than 5,000 guests in attendance, final contract trials, successful execution of a busy underway schedule in support of combat systems ship qualification trials, and the first developmental testing of the surface warfare mission package aboard an Independence-variant littoral combat ship.

Additionally, the crew interacted closely with allied and partner navies during the multi-national Rim of Pacific 2014 exercise where Coronado showcased innovative employment concepts for explosive ordnance disposal dive teams and U.S. Marine Corps reconnaissance teams.

"I will always remember my time as the commanding officer of 'The Royal Punch' and Coronado as a challenging and rewarding experience," said Johnston. "The efforts of the crew inspired me on a daily basis and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead and serve alongside such a dedicated group of Sailors."

Johnston said that he would miss the group athletic events and small crew camaraderie most of all.

"I am leaving behind a great group of Sailors and feel confident that 'The Royal Punch' and Coronado rests in good hands," said Johnston.

Johnston's next tour will be as part of the LCS requirements shop in the Chief of Naval Operations Surface Warfare Directorate (OPNAV N96) in Washington, D.C., after completing a 10-week joint professional military education course student at the Joint Force Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia.

Kim most recently served as the executive officer on board Coronado.

"It is truly an honor to take command of LCS Crew 204 and Coronado," said Kim. "I have thoroughly enjoyed working with this fine crew as the executive officer and I look forward to the exciting times ahead."

Coronado is currently continuing core seaframe initial testing and surface warfare mission package developmental tests and will undergo an extensive post-shakedown availability later this fall. Coronado is currently moored at its homeport of Naval Base San Diego and is assigned as part of LCS Squadron 1.