Friday, February 06, 2015

Tactics symposium brings international partners to Missouri

by Tech. Sgt. Michael Crane
139th Airlift Wing

2/3/2015 - ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center at the Rosecrans Air National Guard Base here held its 33rd Annual Tactics and Intelligence Symposium Jan. 26-29 that included U.S. and several allied nations.

This year's theme was "international innovation and integration in mobility air forces."

The keynote speaker for the symposium was Royal Australian Air Force Group Capt. Carl Newman, commanding officer of the 84th Wing, Royal Australian Air Force.

"The training we get here provides a great deal of adaptability for our crews," said Newman. "Coming into a different environment, operating with different forces ... our crews become better operators and trainers back home."

The symposium brings the best of the best in the mobility flying community around the world.

"This school is a treasure for the Air Force and Air National Guard," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau. "It is fundamentally changing the culture of tactics and innovation in our airlift community."

Tacticians, operators, and intelligence officers from around the world converge here to discuss best practices to take back to the field.

"I hope they continue to do what they are trained to do...that is to quickly and rapidly solve tactical issues for our airlift crews who are engaged in combat because that saves lives and resources," said Lengyel.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard also attended the symposium and met with some of the international partners.

"In the world wide discussion of airlift amongst the air forces of the world, they talk about St. Joseph and the 139th and the AATTC," said Danner. "Missouri is leading the way in air tactics."

Official Recognizes African American Military, National Contributions

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2015 – An annual presidential proclamation and Department of Defense memorandum urges the services to highlight the contributions and sacrifices of black soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen in recognition of African American History Month.

Clarence Johnson, director of the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, reflected on current and past positive impacts of integration and its necessity in maintaining an edge as an organization nationally and abroad.

DoD Leads in Diversity

“The Department of Defense has led the nation in assimilating diversity into our workforce,” Johnson said in a Dod News interview. “African Americans have played heavily in the diversity and the mission landscape for the DoD.”

In line with this year’s theme, “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture,” Johnson recounted DoD’s diversity milestones throughout the decades.

From President Harry S. Truman’s executive order integrating the services, to removing barriers for civilians and later opening doors to disabled employees, women in service and repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” to grant rights to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community, Johnson described the evolution of the department’s diversity as a force multiplier.

Johnson noted that African Americans over the last 100 years have not only contributed to military history, but to national history.

“I see America as a big piece of tapestry, where we all … contribute to that tapestry and certainly black life, history and culture is important,” Johnson said.

Military icons such as Crispus Attucks, the first black to die in the Revolutionary War, to the Buffalo Soldiers in World War I and World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, and Navy Adm. Michelle Howard, the first black woman to achieve the rank of four stars, reflect beacons of hope and resilience in the face of adversity.

“Diversity … gives us a strategic advantage and the opportunity to have everybody participate in decision making and readiness,” Johnson said.

But diversity, Johnson emphasized, extends beyond race and gender.

“We can use the talents and skills sets of all our folks because … diversity not only improves the productivity of the individual,” he said, but also of the team and overall organization. “There’s a war for talent out there and [it] doesn’t know any race or gender, it’s inherent in all populations.”

Military Offers Opportunities to Learn and Lead

Johnson shared his personal experience as a schoolteacher in Mississippi before joining the Air Force as a second lieutenant. Despite myriad opportunities extended to him from outside the Air Force, he said, he opted to remain a blue-suiter due to the service’s team concept and many opportunities to learn, improve and lead.

With 40 years of military and civil service, ascension to colonel and now leading in a critical senior executive service role, Johnson credits his physics teacher and late father for presenting moral and character attributes into his life and propelling him to achieve.

“The military provides you the opportunity to get leadership responsibility fast,” Johnson said. “Nowhere in America will you be able to lead and manage resources as fast as in the military.”

Follow the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity Office on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @ODMEO to learn more about observance events and diversity across the total force.

Global ASNT moves past preliminary design review

by Justin Oakes
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

2/4/2015 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Recently, the Global ASNT program office -- which is responsible for acquiring and sustaining nuclear command, control and communications terminals -- completed their preliminary design review, gaining ground within the first of three incremental phases.

"The program is progressing right on schedule," said Lt. Col. Kenneth Decker, program manager for the Air Force's Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal here.

In December 2013 the Air Force awarded Raytheon a $134 million Increment 1 contract, a 36-month development effort where the company is responsible for developing new nuclear C3 terminals for the service's nuclear bomber mission. The effort will result in secure, survivable ground terminals at wing command posts that have the ability to receive emergency action messages, which are then relayed to bomber, tanker and reconnaissance aircrews for action.

"These terminals are the latest in the contractor's NC3 product line of Advanced Extremely High Frequency terminals ... and we are taking advantage of as much reuse as possible, given differing missions, capability requirements and environments," said Denise Williams, deputy program manager.

With the completion of the review, the program office starts "seeing different aspects of the design of the system, instead of just tracking requirements," Decker said.

The terminals will consist of an antenna, a power distribution rack and the "brains" of the unit -- a radio and mission equipment cabinet. The cabinets and antenna are required to withstand appropriate after-effects of a nuclear event.

The operational requirement calls for 90 terminals, roughly half of which must be transportable. While not an airborne system, the transportable terminals will be identical in design to the fixed ground locations and able to be moved to different locations as the mission dictates.

Based on the outcome of the PDR, the next significant hurdle to clear is the critical design review, which is anticipated for April, according to the program office. CDR is the stage where the design plan is finalized, as Global ASNT moves toward Milestone C. The "bending metal" phase begins after CDR, which progresses to both contractor and government test and evaluation to prove out the design. During Milestone C, the team will show the program's readiness to enter the production phase, according to Decker.

"Increment 1 provides the backbone and infrastructure for Increments 2 and 3," said Decker, who also stated there is no guarantee that those contracts will fall to the current contract holder. "The remaining two contracts will be full and open source competition."

While Increment 1 focuses on the engineering and manufacturing development of the C3 terminals, Increment 2 will be geared toward the distribution of emergency action messages via personal alerting, radios and klaxons. Increment 3, the last of the contract stages, will provide a redundant receive capability utilizing low frequency/very low frequency channels.

"The successful completion of PDR is a big step for our program and we are right on track for CDR this spring," Decker said. "I couldn't be more pleased with our government/contractor team, and the dedication to delivering this crucial NC3 capability to the warfighter."

Air National Guard, Air Force participate in Navy's future of warfighting scenarios

by Master Sgt. Roger Parsons
116th Air Control Wing

2/4/2015 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Air Force E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft, also known as JSTARS, flown by the Air National Guard's 116th Air Control Wing and Air Force's 461st ACW, participated in naval exercises here Jan. 30 to enhance joint-service training in a contested environment.

The Navy's Composite Training Unit Exercise tested crews' ability to respond to a variety of threats for which the E-8C Joint STARS long range radar capability provided land and sea radar information to the Navy's Carrier Strike Group 4 based out of Norfolk, Virginia.

"Six years ago when we initiated the Air Force/Navy integration effort, the E-8C was one of the first Air Force aircraft to participate," said one of the seasoned JSTARS Liaison Officers. "Being on the ship, I saw how JSTARS was looked at as the expert in now what is known as Navy JAM-GC, short for Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons."

Supporting the new joint warfare concept, JSTARS joined more than ten different aircraft types, providing one-of-a-kind command and control, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and battle management capabilities.

Flying on board JSTARS was Navy Lt. j.g. John Duffner, a naval flight officer with the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 126 out of Norfolk.

"The precision of the radar and the sheer size of the crew on JSTARS enables them to do more things simultaneously than we can do," said Duffner. "It's been a very interesting week and I definitely know a lot more about how JSTARS works than I did before and I've been impressed."

During the missions, the naval aviator received hands-on training and got to compare the Navy E-2C Hawkeye aircraft command and control platform that he's accustomed to with the JSTARS platform.

"I came here as a liaison officer to gain a better understanding of what JSTARS can do so I can take it back to my squadron and see how we can work together to better accomplish our mission set "said Duffner. "I was also able to help the JSTARS crewmembers gain a better understanding of how the Navy does things."

The U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) along with its carrier strike group (CSG-12), shipped out to sea Jan. 8 to begin a series of exercises designed to prepare the ship's crew for deployment later this year.

Army Approves Purple Hearts for Fort Hood Shooting Victims

From a U.S. Army News Release

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2015 – Army Secretary John M. McHugh announced today that he has approved awarding the Purple Heart and its civilian counterpart, the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, to victims of a 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, following a change in the medals' eligibility criteria mandated by Congress.

Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 were wounded in the attack by Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was convicted in August 2013, of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

"The Purple Heart's strict eligibility criteria had prevented us from awarding it to victims of the horrific attack at Fort Hood," McHugh explained. "Now that Congress has changed the criteria, we believe there is sufficient reason to allow these men and women to be awarded and recognized with either the Purple Heart or, in the case of civilians, the Defense of Freedom Medal. It's an appropriate recognition of their service and sacrifice."

Law Expanded Eligibility

Under a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015, Congress expanded the eligibility for the Purple Heart by redefining what should be considered an attack by a "foreign terrorist organization" for purposes of determining eligibility for the Purple Heart. The legislation states that an event should now be considered an attack by a foreign terrorist organization if the perpetrator of the attack "was in communication with the foreign terrorist organization before the attack" and "the attack was inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization."

In a review of the Fort Hood incident and the new provisions of law, the Army determined that there was sufficient evidence to conclude Hasan "was in communication with the foreign terrorist organization before the attack," and that his radicalization and subsequent acts could reasonably be considered to have been "inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization."

Previous criteria required a finding that Hasan had been acting at the direction of a foreign terrorist organization.

Identifying and Notifying Those Now Eligible

McHugh directed Army officials to identify soldiers and civilians now eligible for the awards as soon as possible, and to contact them about presentation of the awards. Soldiers receiving the Purple Heart automatically qualify for combat-related special compensation upon retirement. Recipients also are eligible for burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Following his 2013 conviction, Hasan was sentenced to death by a general court-martial. He is incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, while post-trial and appellate processes continue.

Air Force Takes Part in Off-station Training with Greece

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2015 – Air Force personnel are in off-station training in Elefsis, Greece, to promote and maintain joint readiness, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters today.

Some 220 airmen and three C-130 aircraft from the 37th Airlift Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in addition to a C-130 out of the 317th Airlift Group from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, are participating in the training, Warren said.

The training began Jan. 30 and runs through Feb. 14.

Building Capabilities, Partnership, Interoperability

“The training … will evaluate aircraft and personnel capabilities and train in NATO operations with the Hellenic air force to promote and maintain joint readiness, while also building interoperability capabilities with a NATO partner,” he said.

The mission will train participating units in formation, low-level and night-vision-goggles flying, and dropping heavy equipment and personnel loads with the Hellenic air force, Warren added.

The off-station training builds upon the nations’