Military News

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wolf Pack Day: A day for resiliency

by Senior Airman Taylor Curry
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


3/22/2015 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- The 8th Fighter Wing took a day to focus on the strategic importance of resiliency here, March 16, during what is now officially called, Wolf Pack Day.

The morning began with a wing-wide "fun run" to not only foster unity but camaraderie amongst the wing. Airmen from all units across base, including deployed members from the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard, lined up for a team photo before Kunsan leadership led a two-mile run along the runway.

Following the run, Airmen split into their squadrons to participate in small-group discussions with facilitators leading the group in focusing on suicide prevention.

The training is considered a critical element of the Air Force Suicide Prevention Program, which leverages the wingman culture of Airmen looking out for each other. It also encourages Airmen to seek help early and intervene when a fellow Airman is in distress.

"Suicide is an issue not only in the armed services, but our society as a whole, and all of us share the responsibility of preventing it," said Col. Ken "Wolf" Ekman. "A key part of this is encouraging resiliency, through which we strive to reduce the risk factors that may lead to suicide and help individuals see the warning signs in others.

"To accomplish this, we are dedicating an entire day to small group discussions and group physical activities," he added. "We are also going to look in-depth at warning signs, early intervention, helping resources and following up."

A particular focus of the training was the Ask, Care, and Escort model used when dealing with a fellow Airman in distress. Asking someone if they have thoughts about suicide serves as the first step and is important in early intervention. Caring encourages individuals to take responses seriously and seek helping resources should an individual need it. Last, escorting the individual serves as a protective factor, ensuring that person gets to the help they need.

"Our goal is to arm our Airmen with the skillset to be able to recognize and assist a fellow Airman in distress," said Capt. Claudia Santos, 8th FW sexual assault response coordinator. "Being vigilant and establishing genuine connections with others are important in preventing suicide. Once you get to know someone it increases your ability to recognize a change in a person's behavior, even in its early stages.  This is where wingmen can take the first step to helping that person."

Another focus of the day was discussing the Comprehensive Airman Fitness pillars of social, mental, spiritual and physical fitness.

"Having a balance of each of the four pillars helps ensure an individual is healthy in all aspects of his or her life," said Staff Sgt. Lawrence Robinson, 8th Comptroller Squadron wing staff agencies resource advisor and Wolf Pack Day facilitator. "A noticeable decline in one of these areas can be a sign of distress in an individual's life. When you recognize that in someone, it might be worth it to get involved."

Following the group discussions, the day's activities came to a close with one final event, a "Ruck for the Wounded" event.

Every Airman was invited to participate in a ruck walk and run in remembrance of those who have made sacrifices for their country, while promoting individual and team resiliency. Airmen were encouraged to carry a pack with 25 pounds of weight, while they completed a six-mile ruck.

"The turnout for the ruck was very successful, with more than 300 Airmen in attendance," said Staff Sgt. Jessica Osgood, 8th Medical Operations Squadron family advocacy program NCO in charge. "The reason we did the ruck was to bring something new to Wolf Pack Day. The distance was also longer than most "fun runs," because we wanted to represent the distance we will go to continue to support those who have been wounded, physically or mentally."

The ruck succeeded in bringing units across the base together. Members of the 8th Security Forces Squadron showed up in full battle-rattle along with the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron's fire department donning their fire suits for the run.

"There were also teams that formed in a line, so everyone could cross the finish line at the same time," Osgood added. "I do hope we do something like this again, being it was an amazing turnout, and it was a great way to show our resiliency here at the Wolf Pack!"

Fire, ice mix for imperative training

by Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


3/20/2015 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- With ambient temperatures well below zero already sending the body into early stages of hypothermia, an icy bath in a lake or river will plummet core temperatures into dire conditions.

Fire protection Airmen from the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron train yearly for circumstances such as this to rescue anyone who has taken the polar plunge.

"As the ice begins to melt, some individuals may still be trying to take advantage of getting out to fish, unaware of how thick the ice actually is," said Marc Hughes, 354th CES fire protection flight training manager. "Some are even still utilizing snow machines to cross the lakes or run rivers. Any weight can cause thin ice to give way."

With hundreds of bodies of water close by, Hughes said water rescues should be more common. Fortunately, prevention has been an effective rescue method; however, rescue crews have to be ready at any time.

"Just because it hasn't happened recently does not mean the fire protection flight shouldn't be prepared," he said, adding that his motto is "don't train until you get it right, train until you can't get it wrong."

Airman 1st Class August Mays went through the training for the first time this year. His experience was unique after coming from McComd, Mississippi, where there is no ice on the water.

"I couldn't believe people would be out on the ice so much," he said. "This is the first place I've ever been that a frozen lake is a recreation point."

For the Magnolia State native, learning ice rescue was a huge reward.

"Not every firefighter from around the nation is going to get this training," Mays said. "With our station being 100 yards from a lake and miles from 20 others, this could become useful real quick."

A rescue truck is equipped with the seasonal equipment, which can be at any location on base in less than 10 minutes. With only one minute to dawn their yellow dry suits and seconds to crawl across the ice to a victim, speed becomes a huge challenge and teamwork is essential.

"When you are talking scenarios like this, seconds matter not minutes," Mays said. "Stress can get high and anticipation can be gut-wrenching, but training is key to overcome the odds. We are lucky to have these opportunities; although, we will be even luckier if we never have to use our skills."

Military aids Homer out of a "Rock and a Hard Place"

by Tech. Sgt. John Gordinier
Alaskan Command Public Affairs


3/24/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Alaskan Command and U.S. Army Alaska, along with other federal and state entities, participated in Exercise Rock and a Hard Place in Homer, Alaska, March 19 through 22.

Exercise Rock and a Hard Place was a scenario where state and federal resources responded to assist the community of Homer and the Kenai Borough following a significant simulated mudslide that damaged the South Peninsula Hospital in Homer and severed road and communications lines, said Army Lt. Col. William Kays, Alaskan Command medical operations and plans director. The mass casualty-causing event required the rapid medical response of the state's Health and Social Services emergency response capabilities and the movement of patients from the damaged hospital to the Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, Alaska.

The state's Department of Health and Social Services, through partnership with Alaskan Command, provided an opportunity for Title 10 (active-duty Department of Defense) resources to participate in this hospital drill, Kays said.

When Title 10 forces provide assistance in natural disaster crisis such as this, it is called defense support of civil authorities (DSCA).

"DSCA remains an important ALCOM mission, whereas active-duty forces could be requested by the state to prevent the loss of life, mitigate suffering and mitigate the loss of property. "This drill allowed us to work with local and state responders, improve our interoperability and exercise an element of the federal Alaska disaster response playbook; specifically, the patient movement courses of action on the Kenai Peninsula," Kays explained.

U.S. Army Alaska provided patient movement DSCA assistance with two medevac Black Hawk helicopters operated by crews from C Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment who are part of the USARAK Aviation Task Force based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

"The MEDEVAC aircraft deployed and became [tactical control] to the Alaska Army Guard Aviation Task Force during the exercise," Kays said. "Following years of back-to-back deployments, the involvement of Title 10 MEDEVAC aircraft in support of response efforts in Alaska will renew collaborative relationships."

Alaskan Command provided an emergency response vehicle for DSCA support during the exercise, said Tim Woodall, ALCOM command, control, communications, and computer systems, joint frequency management division chief, DoD area frequency coordinator/joint frequency management office Alaska, and expeditionary communications. The ERV provides initial 72-hour emergency communications, including land mobile radio, phone and Internet. For this exercise, those services were provided to the emergency operations center, triage and state aeromedical staging facility. The ERV was flown in a C-17 aircraft from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to Homer, Alaska, along with the ERV operators--Air Force Senior Master Sgt. John Jennings Jr. and Army Staff Sgt. Lacey Steward.

"Our involvement in the exercise was a success," said Steward, ALCOM command, control, communications, and computer systems, deployable communications NCO in charge.  "Despite never setting up our equipment before in Homer, we were able to set the Rapid Response Kit up, which provided connectivity for phones and wireless data. We had 15 phones in the EOC and one in the triage, as well as wireless Internet to both locations. This gateway provided the ability to track in- and out-bound patients. In a disaster scenario, the ERV ensures information technology services to improve disaster response."

"The ERV efforts met the requirements of the customer," said Jennings, ALCOM command, control, communications, and computer systems plans and future operations superintendent. "We were able to successfully demonstrate the air worthiness of the ERV. We identified a generator limiting factor and identified several process improvements that will enhance our efficiency and effectiveness when called upon. It's very important to exercise our capabilities with our partners and seeing that team come together and be successful increases confidence with or partners and the community."

"The state conducts medical response exercises a few times annually, but many do not lend to a Title 10 response," Kays added. "This exact scenario would not likely require a Title 10 immediate response, but the exercise provided an opportunity for us to cross-train with our partners, improve interoperability, and validate elements of the federal and state disaster response playbook. ALCOM is committed to continued collaboration with the state and will continue to look for opportunities to train with our partners."

Stratcom Commander Emphasizes Need to Modernize Nuke Triad



By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2015 – Stretching from under the sea to satellite orbit to cyberspace, U.S. Strategic Command’s areas of responsibility cover the globe, Stratcom’s commander, Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, said today during a news briefing at the Pentagon.

“For 70 years, we have deterred and assured. And while our nation's nuclear enterprise is safe, secure and effective, we cannot take it for granted any longer,” the admiral told reporters.

“For decades, we have sustained while others have modernized their strategic nuclear forces, developing and utilizing counter-space activities, increasing the sophistication and pervasive nature of their cyber capabilities and proliferating these emerging strategic capabilities around the globe,” he said.

Russia is modernizing their nuclear triad, which is bombers, missiles and submarine-launched missiles, and associated industrial base, Haney said, and Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to provoke the international community.

“China has developed a capable submarine and intercontinental ballistic missile force and has recently demonstrated their counter-space capabilities,” the admiral said.

“North Korea claims to have possession of a miniaturized warhead and frequently parades their KN-O8 nuclear-capable ballistic missile,” Haney said.

“And Iran recently launched a space vehicle that could be used as a long-range strike platform,” he added.

Strategic Deterrence

But strategic deterrence is more than nuclear deterrence, the admiral noted.

It also includes space -- a contested, congested and competitive environment -- and cyberspace, where intrusions around the globe are also increasing at an unprecedented and alarming rate, Haney said.

President Barack Obama’s proposed defense budget for 2016 balances national priorities with fiscal realities, the admiral said, noting it “leaves no margin to absorb new risks.”

The United States simply cannot afford to underfund its strategic capabilities, he said.

“Any cuts to the president's budget, including those imposed by sequestration, will hamper our ability to sustain and modernize our joint military forces and put us at real risk of making our nation less secure and able to address future threats,” Haney said.

Deterrence is a whole-of-government effort; no combatant commander can do it alone, the admiral said.

“It requires us all to work together … so that we can provide the nation with the requisite capability for our national security,” he said.

DoD Advances Elements of Joint Information Environment



By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2015 – Defense Department Chief Information Officer Terry Halvorsen held a media roundtable recently to discuss progress on elements of his department’s transition to an information environment that’s faster, safer and less expensive for the DoD.

The Joint Information Environment is a framework for the transition. Its newest elements include a joint regional security stack, or JRSS, and a mobility program for smartphones that DoD personnel can use for unclassified and classified work.

Halvorsen’s team is working on all the elements, but his priority is the JRSS, which he has called the first step in getting the department to the JIE.

“What JRSS will do when we have it right is enable a central view of all of the data that is more commonly shared by all the levels where we want to share it, which is a lot,” Halvorsen said.

Joint Regional Security Stack

The JRSS itself is a series of 19-inch racks in cabinets, with network applications and appliances in the racks, JRSS lead Dave Cotton said.

The JRSS technology enables “a consolidated view of the network activity and potential anomalies,” he added.

This will give defense or military command centers, “where they're worrying about networks and operations, a sense of the cyberspace piece and [the ability] to plan their operations appropriately around what's taking place,” Cotton explained.

The JRSS will offer a better picture for taking immediate action and a better picture for examining analytics, he said, to get “better future planning than we have today.”

DoD Smartphone Mobility

On the department’s mobility program for smartphones, Halvorsen said progress is being made on dual-persona unclassified Blackberry smartphones, which are now in use, and a modified commercial Android phone that DoD personnel can use to do Secret-level security work.

“I have ongoing mobility pilots and … I've got to be able to protect different levels of data,” Halvorsen told the reporters. “I need all data to be somewhat mobile and today I've got pretty good answers [about] how I can make unclassified data mobile.”

He added, “I have some pretty good answers about how to make secret data mobile, and above that I'm still working.”

The CIO said the mobility pilot programs are going very well.

Fielding Classified Devices

“We've got some new classified devices coming out and I am very happy with where they are,” Halvorsen said. “I am a little anxious about how many of them we can field on what timeline, and we’re having some very good discussions with DISA about that.”

He added, “It's a little more complicated than on the unclassified side because of the way we have to write the contract restrictions, the extra security pieces.”

On the unclassified side, he said, the department has begun fielding the dual-persona phones, which DoD personnel can use for official business and also for personal e-mail and some applications.

The phones “are in distribution today. The biggest problem I have with that is just getting the numbers up,” said Halvorsen, adding that personnel who get the phones first are “the high-demand users from a mission perspective, at all levels.”

Ramping Up the Numbers

To date, Halvorsen said, the department has distributed about 1,500 of the unclassified phones, including those that were in the pilot. “That is now going fully operational and those numbers will start ramping up fairly rapidly,” the CIO added.

For smartphone vendors on the dual-persona unclassified side, Halvorsen said the challenge is not so much keeping the wrong data off the phones but keeping the right protection levels on the phones.

“We have required the vendors to meet a set of technical requirements that provide me a level of comfort that they can protect the data and I can operate that way,” the CIO said.

“I’ve got to be very careful,” he added. “I don't require that the vendors do anything with their own devices. I require them to meet a standard requirement.”

Bring Your Own Device

This summer the CIO said he will put out a new pilot called B-Y-O-D: bring your own device.

“I'm probably going to do most of [the pilot] with the DoD headquarters staff because I think that represents a big enough user base that it will be a controllable test,” Halvorsen said.

The challenges of such a program are many, and the CIO said they include how he ensures each smartphone meets minimum security levels, “which is the first question I've got to get answered.”

If the smartphone meets those requirements, Halvorsen said, “then let them go use it.”

In that case, he added, “How do I track the security measures around that? The hardest thing on all of this is how do I assure myself that when they're [using their own devices] that I'm being secure?”

Tracking Security Measures

The CIO added, “I'm not going to lie to you -- that is the parameter. How to measure [security] in meaningful ways is the one that's driving me a little crazy.”

Lots of big enterprises are rescinding their bring-your-own-device programs, he said, adding that isn’t the right answer everywhere.

“What I suspect will happen in DoD is, because of our size and all the businesses we're in, there will be places where bring-your-own-device is going to work and a whole lot of places where it doesn't,” Halvorsen said.

Halvorsen said he’s working to set up an open mobility day during which people from the department, industry and elsewhere can ask questions and get information directly from him and his team.

JIE and what it means to you

Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

3/24/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Airmen will soon be seeing changes to their network services as the Air Force, in partnership with the Army and Defense Information Services Agency (DISA), transitions to a Joint Information Environment.

The Joint Information Environment (JIE) is a shared, modern IT infrastructure providing enterprise services with a single security architecture. The goal of the JIE is to enable the Depart of Defense to achieve full-spectrum superiority and improve mission effectiveness by allowing warfighters to focus on the core cyber mission instead of manpower-intensive network maintenance.

The four foundational pillars of the JIE are connecting our Airmen, protecting our information, providing secure and efficient compute and store for mission applications, and delivering secure, modern enterprise services.

General John E. Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, highlighted the four JIE pillars in a recent speech at the AFCEA Cyberspace Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.  He reiterated, "We have to connect our forces; we have to connect our coalition partners; we have to connect and secure weapons.  We have to connect all those pieces and then we have to protect that information.  Those simple, yet key aspects of creating a fluid, connected, and secure force is what this is all about."

While the Air Force's Base Information Transport Infrastructure (BITI) initiative focuses on delivering wired and wireless network services at each Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard base, another initiative, in collaboration with the Army, focuses on increasing the connectivity to the DISA Information Network (DODIN) by 40 to 100 times the current bandwidth.  Together, these initiatives will enable fast, reliable, and secure connectivity that will dramatically improve every Airman's ability to access information.

To protect our critical information resources, DISA, the Army and the Air Force have begun working toward a Single Security Architecture (SSA).  The first step in achieving the cyber security needs of the department is the Joint Regional Security Stack (JRSS).  The JRSS is a comprehensive suite of hardware and software specifically tailored to meet the unique cyber defense needs of the services and the department as a whole, including the ability to share information with our mission partners and access cloud services securely.  The Navy agreed to migrate to JRSS beginning in 2017 which will complete the joint commitment to this effort.

"So if you think about the 'protect' piece, the JRSS is the key piece of the puzzle," said General Hyten.

JIE reimagines the compute and store environment to deliver resilient applications more efficiently at a lower cost.  The compute and store pillar includes Core Data Centers (CDC), milCloud, commercial cloud, and local base data centers known as Installation Processing Nodes (IPN).  CDCs, milCloud, and commercial cloud will support functional, mission, and enterprise applications.  IPNs provide local hosting capability for services and applications that cannot be provided by any of the other methods for technical or economic reasons or are mission essential even when a base is disconnected from the DODIN.

The fourth JIE pillar, enterprise services, builds upon the foundation of the other three pillars.  The JIE's next generation of enterprise services will result in more efficient use of information assets by providing resilient and cost effective commercial capabilities to the warfighter.  These eServices will enable warfighters to focus on the core cyber mission instead of managing manpower-intensive IT commodities like e-mail and Sharepoint.  It will also increase resilience and agility through the use of scalable commercial services and deliver modern applications which integrate the Airman's desktops, tablets, or smartphones.

The JIE architecture provides the foundational elements to connect our Airmen to their data, provides a modern security model, improves application delivery platforms, and leverages industry expertise to deliver enterprise services supporting a diverse and mobile workforce.  The four JIE pillars will provide a single, secure, information environment that interconnects warfighters securely, reliably, and seamlessly at a reduced cost.

Operation Atlantic Resolve Exercises Begin in Eastern Europe



DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2015 – Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren announced two Operation Atlantic Resolve training exercises in a briefing with reporters here today.

U.S. Army Europe began training in Romania and Bulgaria on March 24. The 173rd Airborne Brigade jumped into Smardan Training Area, Romania, for a combined, multinational training exercise with Romanian allies.

Simultaneously, USAREUR's 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment is conducting a simulated ground assault from Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base to link up with the paratroopers, conducting a forward passage of lines and conducting follow-on training exercises.

Combined Operation

About 200 paratroopers and heavy equipment, including howitzer artillery pieces, parachuted in to the training area, linked up Romanian forces on the ground, conducted a combined operation to seize an objective, and conducted artillery live-fire training.

Second Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, will have about 600 soldiers participating in various locations spread across Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Germany.

Following their relief of 173rd paratroopers at Smardan, Romania, a contingent from 2nd Squadron will conduct situational training exercises with their Romanian counterparts.

Soldiers Deploy for Operation Dragoon Ride

U.S. soldiers assigned to 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, deployed March 21 in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve and began Operation Dragoon Ride.

The road march covers more than 1,100 miles and crosses five international borders. The lead series left Estonia this weekend and will pass through Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic before returning to their home station in Vilseck, Germany.

The mission will exercise the unit’s maintenance and leadership capabilities and demonstrate the freedom of movement that exists within NATO.

As the unit road marches through each country, they will conduct numerous community engagements with forces from the participating nations. Along with the road-march movement, the engagements will provide a highly visible demonstration of U.S. commitment to the residents in each of the nations and the resolve of NATO as an alliance.