Monday, April 13, 2015

Team Osan begins 51 Days of Resiliency

by Staff Reports
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/13/2015 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea  -- Team Osan kicked off their 51 Days of Resiliency campaign with an installation-wide formation followed by a fun run and family festivities April 10 at Osan Air Base.

The campaign, designed to encourage the honing of mental, social, spiritual and physical resilience, will charge through May 31. 

Throughout this expansive and unprecedented program, Team Osan is set to stampede to the front with almost two months of daily activities and offered programs in an effort to foster resiliency skills across all members.

"People are the greatest strength of any team and it is even more so at Team Osan," said Col. Brian Carr, 51st FW vice commander. "Guarding the freedom of 51 million people necessitates a strong operations tempo with our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, civilians, and families experiencing full and rewarding days. Although extremely fulfilling, you must also take time for regular maintenance."

The intent of this campaign is to make everyone aware of the base's Community Action Program which focuses on reducing alcohol related incidents, improving physical fitness, and emphasizing the opportunities and benefits of volunteering.

The 51st FW CAP is a useful tool helping enable all members of Team Osan to make sound choices.

"We want to highlight all the great organizations that are here to help and care for us by pulling out all the stops to make sure everyone knows about all the programs, classes, events and services offered by our helping agencies," said Carr.

"My husband and our children just recently moved here," said Aimee Johnson. "We are excited to see what activities are available over the next few weeks."

There are many military focus areas in the month of April including, Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, Month of the Military Child, Alcohol Awareness Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Mental Health Month.

Yet, as the Mustangs yet again lead the charge in these areas, they're encouraged to strengthen their resolve and resiliency at even greater rates in the upcoming 51 days, ensuring that the base, and team, remain a pillar of excellence in the Republic of Korea, and Air Force.

JBLM children experience the deployment process

by Master Sgt. Todd Wivell
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/13/2015 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The deployment process for most Airmen on McChord Field is routine. They proceed through the deployment processing line, get their equipment issued, are verified current on all of their records and then start their journey off to their deployed location.

Statistics show that military members with families often struggle during the deployment, especially when it is the first time Mom or Dad are gone for that long.

In an effort to help JBLM families understand the deployment process and to help with that struggle, JBLM hosted the Kids Understanding Deployment Operations event, April 11 at McChord Field.

More than 200 children, ages 5-12, of Soldiers and Airmen participated in the KUDOs event in which they processed through the deployment line, got equipment and gear issued to them, boarded a bus and transported to and back from a special deployment location on McChord Field.

Five different chalks, groups of children, processed through the deployment processing line in which they received helmets, dog tags, t-shirts, special paperwork military members receive on deployments, water bottles and other equipment.

From there the children, by themselves and without their parents, boarded a military 44-passenger bus and were transported to their special deployed location, which was Hangar 9 on McChord Field.

Once off the bus, they were greeted by Col. Chuck Hodges, JBLM installation commander, who welcomed them to their deployed location and gave them a small brief on what to expect.

Immediately inside the hangar the first thing they did was to get camo paint on their faces, from there they went to different statics around the hangar which included explosive ordinance disposal, the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron, a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and the JBLM Fire Department.

While in the hangar they had a chance to watch a small K-9 dog demonstration and participate in a bag drag race as well.

To finish off their process, volunteers served them a free lunch from the Pacific Northwest United Service Organizations.

As they finished their meals and right before boarding the bus to depart their deployed location, they were met by Col. David Kumashiro, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, who thanked them for their service and for being a part of this deployment process. He presented each of them with a small doll that they could use when their Mom or Dad deployed in the future.

The buses then drove them back to the deployment processing line and the children were met by their parents who greeted them with welcome home signs as if the children were returning from a true deployed location.

"This event was a huge success and we met our goal in helping children understanding what their parents go through when they deploy," said Tech Sgt. Nalopa Hansen, KUDOs lead coordinator. "This was a great event for the first time here at JBLM and we look forward to when we can do this again."

Springtime weather means pothole repair for 773d CES Airmen

773d Civil Engineer Squadron

4/13/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Alaska's extreme temperature fluctuations create numerous potholes.

Cold weather freezes moisture in the ground, causing it to expand and crack the asphalt surface.

More water then penetrates the crack and further deteriorates the pavement over time.

The combination of freezing and thawing, water and the flow of traffic, creates potholes. But if they are identified and repaired in a timely manner, their severity will be reduced.

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson has more than 120 miles of paved road and a climate which is hard on pavement, so potholes may appear before the 773d Civil Engineer Squadron's Horizontal Section completes a road maintenance inspection.

If you are the lucky finder of a pothole, there are two basic steps to take.

First, take note of the hole's location; be specific and provide a street name, intersection, or nearby building number.

Second, if the hole is in a housing area, contact Aurora Housing at 753-1091; for all other JBER roads, call the 773d CES pothole repair line, 552-2994. The hotline is operating 24 hours a day until May 1, when the section moves to summer hours, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The section's goal is to repair potholes within 24 hours of notification. However, due to mission constraints and weather, it may take longer. The location of a pothole may also require time to coordinate traffic-control devices so repair crews and motorists are safe.

Initiative Provides Incremental Acquisition Improvement

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2015 – The basic idea behind the Defense Department’s Better Buying Power initiative, now entering its third iteration, has been to improve acquisition through continuous improvement in many areas simultaneously, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief said here today.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, discussed acquisition reform and the tenets of Better Buying Power 3.0 in a speech at the Brookings Institution – a public policy think tank located here.

“Underlying all of the Better Buying Power initiatives has been the idea that the way you … improve acquisition is through a process of continuous improvement,” he said. “The way to make progress is to make incremental progress in lots of different areas all at the same time.”

Kendall said he’s seen many “fads” regarding acquisition reform that have attempted to do a few big things in trying to make a huge difference.

“History doesn’t suggest that that’s a success,” he told the audience. “In fact, it’s suggested when you try to move everything in the same direction and sort of adopt a uniform policy, you tend to do as much breakage as you do fixing of things. And you have to be very careful about that.”

Kendall said that’s been the idea with Better Buying Power since the initiative debuted about five years ago, when Defense Secretary Ash Carter was the department’s top acquisition official.

Legislation A Limited Tool

Kendall applauded the amount of discussion about acquisition reform that has included members of Congress, but he added that he thinks legislation is limited in what it can do.

Citing his own background as an engineer and technical manager, Kendall said “there’s very little that you can do from the point of view of legislation that will make somebody a better engineer, or a better program manager, or a better contracting person.”

“At the end of the day,” he said, “whether you’re in industry or government, that’s the sort of thing we have to have. We have to have people who are very, very good at what they do.”

Increasing Professionalism

One of the fundamentals of Better Buying Power, Kendall said, is the increased emphasis on professionalism and on building professionalism within the workforce.

“There’s an awful lot that I can do with existing legislative authorities,” he said, “but there are some things that I can’t do. I can’t, for example, remove some of the things that burden our program managers.” One initiative DoD officials shared with the House Armed Services Committee is designed to remove some of the overhead placed on the department’s people that actually distract them from doing their real jobs, Kendall said.

Motivated by Technological Superiority

Kendall said innovation is a key component of Better Buying Power 3.0. “That’s, I think, part of a growing recognition that we do have a problem with technological superiority,” he added. “The thing that motivated me more than anything else to do another edition … of Better Buying Power was that concern.”

The initiative, Kendall said, is set up with a “punchline” of achieving dominant capabilities through technical excellence and innovation. “That’s a return to focusing attention on the products that we build,” he said, “and the superiority of those products relative to potential adversaries.”

Kendall said while earlier versions of Better Buying Power were about efficiency, productivity and professionalism, version 3.0 is a “change back toward thinking about our products and focusing particularly on the results we’re trying to achieve.”

Better Buying Power’s Cultural Aspect

A cultural aspect also runs through every version of Better Buying Power, Kendall said.

The first version emphasized cost consciousness and best buying practices, he said, and the second iteration moved in the direction of professionalism and judgment.

“Now in 3.0,” Kendall said, “it’s a focus on a culture of technical excellence, which is the fundamental thing underpinning of 3.0. I want to emphasize more than anything else this is more about continuity than about change.

“The idea here is a shift in emphasis -- not a fundamental break with what we’ve been doing in the past,” he continued. “It’s a realignment and a slight shift in direction, but not a fundamental change.”

Grooming Potential Workforce

In addition to discussing Better Buying Power 3.0, Kendall noted a longer-term concept: the need for science, technology, engineering and math education.

For the sake of the country, the economy, quality of life and national security, he said, it’s “very important that this country develop and nurture people who are going to go into these fields and contribute to our society.”

“The department has a limited role in that, but it has a role that matters,” he said. “You need to capture people when they’re young, or you’re not going to capture them.”

While it’s not impossible to go back and get the necessary technical courses after high school, Kendall said, it’s difficult. “It’s best if you start out and get those courses that you need to put you on the track to be in a technical field earlier on,” he said.

Critical thinking: you can decide

by Air Mobility Command Enterprise Learning Office

4/13/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- According to the Air Mobility Command Enterprise Learning Office, Airmen who practice effective critical thinking skills accomplish the mission more safely and effectively, while also saving resources.

AMC's goal is to foster an environment where Airmen are encouraged to learn how to think critically and then use those abilities at work and at home.

What is critical thinking? Many Airmen may not fully understand what critical thinking means, or how they can incorporate it into what they do.

The AMC ELO defines critical thinking as using one's mental skills and strategies in a way that contributes to the richness and accuracy of understanding.  It's a disciplined form of thinking that is rational, open-minded, informed by evidence, purposeful, reasoned and goal oriented. Critical thinking can apply to all facets of life and is one of the key traits to good problem-solving skills and resiliency.

Critically thinking is a learning process. It requires practice and experience.

"AMC Airmen are accomplished warriors, but sometimes with the high ops tempo they forget to stop and take the time to make the best decisions, both personally and professionally," said William Hammerli, AMC ELO strategic planner. "Thinking critically adds to an Airman's capabilities and allows every Airman to give their best."

He also added, "In another sense, critical thinking makes you a juror of your own actions and thoughts."

Critically thinking allows you to understand a situation and equips Airmen to consider all possibilities. Every Airman is essential in accomplishing the Air Force mission. Critical thinking may be the difference between life and death, on or off duty.

To facilitate the development of critical thinking, the AMC ELO developed a critical thinking toolkit with a series of tools and modules that challenge all Airmen to enhance their skills.

The toolkit was sent to AMC wings October 2014 and is available on SharePoint.

In addition, ELO is adding a Critical Thinking toolkit within the Advanced Distributed Learning Service enterprise.   

Hammerli spoke with AMC community support coordinators and master resiliency trainers from across the command, about the toolkit during the most recent AMC Comprehensive Airman Fitness conference at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. 

The toolkit lesson plans cover a wide range of topics, including how to become an improved critical thinker.

One toolkit example is the 'quality of information' check. This diagnostic technique helps an individual form a solid foundation when making a decision.

Another method asks individuals to challenge ideas, which helps to prevent groupthink.

"It's imperative that our Airmen are empowered to be effective leaders and problem solvers with top-notch critical thinking skills as we continue to navigate the challenges in providing unrivaled safe and efficient rapid global mobility for the nation," said Gen. Darren W. McDew, AMC commander. "Our Airmen are up to the task and it's our job to create a positive culture and provide opportunities for the highest quality of learning - such as these new AMC critical thinking skills modules."

The toolkit also contains several exercises aimed at applying the knowledge gained from these techniques at the technical, tactical, operational and strategic levels.

"I am excited about what the AMC CAF Conference attendees accomplished," said Ivera Harris, AMC Community Support Program Manager. "The entire conference focused on enhancing or adding tools to our CAF toolkit."

Upon return to their respective units, coordinators and trainers will be vital in deploying this capability throughout AMC wings.

According to Mr. Hammerli, "The bedrock of the critical thinking toolkit is the self-development tool.  For the toolkit to be effective, each individual must want to improve these skills."

By answering eight simple questions in the self-development tool, individuals can assess their abilities and track their improvement as they progress. These tools will help Airmen determine areas in which they struggle or could use additional practice and development, while also allowing them to practice critical thinking to maximize efficiency.

Face of Defense: Soldier, Family Help Accident Victim

By Army Sgt. William Begley
3rd Combat Aviation Brigade

SAVANNAH, Ga., April 13, 2015 – Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Mike Carman and his sons, Miguel and Enrique, were recognized in an April 9 ceremony at Hunter Army Airfield for efforts that potentially saved a young woman’s life after a February car accident.

Carman, aviation mission survivability officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, was in Atlanta with his sons Feb. 14 for a soccer tournament.

The family witnessed a car accident in which a teenage girl who was not wearing her seatbelt was thrown from a vehicle her older sister was driving. Their father was in another vehicle at the scene. The girl had cuts on her face and was losing blood.

“We immediately stopped and saw the father and sister running around and very emotional,” Carman said. “They saw their daughter/sister, who was unresponsive and bleeding, and they panicked.”

Meanwhile, Carman and his sons began treating the victim. Carman immediately drew upon his combat lifesaver training and said he checked the ABCs: airway, bleeding and circulation.

“At first, I didn’t know what to do,” said 10-year-old Enrique. “Then my brother Miguel told me to get the first aid kit, so I did and handed it to my dad.”

A Valuable Lesson

Enrique said he learned a valuable lesson from the experience. “There were a lot of people just standing around doing nothing, and I didn’t think that was right,” he said. “I think the lesson I learned was don’t just stand around, take action.”

Miguel, 13, called 911 immediately and followed his father’s directions. “I just listened to my dad’s orders, because it was obvious he knew what he was doing,” he said. “I’m just glad we could help out.”

Carman said he is proud of his boys.

“Anybody wearing this uniform would do the exact same thing,” Carman said. “To see two young men get involved in a situation and provide aid to someone who is in desperate need of it while a lot of folks just stood there watching says a lot about their character. I could not be more proud.”

General Counsel Charts Use of Force Law’s Evolution

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2015 – Though the very idea of law sounds immutable and concrete, the law evolves as circumstances change, the Defense Department’s general counsel told the American Society of International Law here April 10.

Stephen W. Preston updated the group on the latest thinking behind the legal framework for military options and on how that thinking has changed.

Preston explained the history behind the authorization for the use of military force that allowed operations against al-Qaida in 2001. The AUMF, as it is commonly abbreviated, was not a traditional declaration of war against a state, he said.

“We had been attacked, instead, by a terrorist organization,” he said. “Yes, the Taliban had allowed [Osama] bin Laden and his organization to operate with impunity within Afghanistan. But it was not Afghanistan that had launched the attack. It was bin Laden and his terrorist organization.

“The authorization for the use of military force that Congress passed aimed to give the president all the statutory authority he needed to fight back against bin Laden, his organization and those who supported him, including the Taliban,” Preston added.

Associated Forces

Congress, the executive branch and the courts agreed in 2011 that the 2001 AUMF covered associated forces, too: al-Qaida, the Taliban and certain other terrorist or insurgent groups in Afghanistan; al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen; and individuals who are part of al-Qaida in Somalia and Libya, the general counsel said.

“In addition, over the past year, we have conducted military operations under the 2001 AUMF against the Nusrah Front and, specifically, those members of al-Qaida referred to as the Khorasan Group in Syria,” he added. “We have also resumed such operations against the group we fought in Iraq when it was known as al-Qaida in Iraq, which is now known as [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant].”

Putting groups into this category is done only at the highest levels of the U.S. government, Preston said.

He stressed that American actions against ISIL are consistent with international and domestic law. ISIL grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq, and Americans and American interests have been targets of the terror group since 2004, he said.

ISIL’s recent split from al-Qaida does not change the situation in respect to law, Preston told the group. ISIL considers itself to be the true inheritor of bin Laden’s legacy and groups that have pledged loyalty to ISIL, he explained, adding that this alone covers the group under the 2001 AUMF.

Authorization for Force in Iraq

Preston stressed that the president’s authority to fight ISIL is further reinforced by the 2002 authorization for the use of military force against Iraq. “That AUMF authorized the use of force to, among other things, ‘defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq,’” he said.

Though the AUMF was directed against Saddam Hussein’s regime, “the statute … has always been understood to authorize the use of force for the related purposes of helping to establish a stable, democratic Iraq and addressing terrorist threats emanating from Iraq,” he said.

For current operations in Iraq, he noted, the Iraqi government requested American help against ISIL. “In Syria, the United States is using force against ISIL in the collective self-defense of Iraq and U.S. national self-defense, and it has notified the U.N. Security Council that it is taking these actions in Syria consistent with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter,” he said. Article 51 allows for self-defense actions.

Though the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan ended in December, the 2001 AUMF remains valid, Preston said.

“Although our presence in that country has been reduced and our mission there is more limited, the fact is that active hostilities continue,” he said. “As a matter of international law, the United States remains in a state of armed conflict against the Taliban, al-Qaida and associated forces, and the 2001 AUMF continues to stand as statutory authority to use military force.”

The roughly 10,000 U.S. service members in Afghanistan have two missions, Preston told the group. The first -- a NATO mission -- is to continue training Afghan security forces. The second is a counterterrorism mission aimed at the remnants of al-Qaida and to prevent an al-Qaida resurgence or external plotting against the homeland or U.S. targets abroad, the general counsel said.

“The use of force by the U.S. military in Afghanistan is now limited to circumstances in which using force is necessary to execute those two missions or to protect our personnel,” he said.

Adapting Law to the ISIL Fight

Preston then turned to current discussions over an AUMF aimed directly at ISIL. President Barack Obama wants ultimately to repeal the 2001 AUMF and to tailor its authorities to better fit the current fight and the strategy going forward, he said. In February, the president submitted draft legislation authorizing use of “the armed forces of the United States as the president determines to be necessary and appropriate against ISIL or associated persons or forces.”

“This raises the question: If the president already has the authority needed to take action against ISIL, why is he seeking a new authorization?” the general counsel asked. “Most obviously and importantly, as the president has said, the world needs to know we are united behind the effort against ISIL, and the men and women of our military deserve our clear and unified support. Enacting the president’s proposed AUMF will show our fighting forces, the American people, our foreign partners and the enemy that the president and Congress are united in their resolve to degrade and defeat ISIL.”