Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gen. Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award unveiled

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, along with Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry O. Spencer, unveiled the "Innovation Award" named in honor of Spencer during a ceremony in the Airman’s Hall at the Pentagon June 29.

The award conceptualized by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, is intended to annually recognize Airmen who come up with creative and efficient ways to save money and time.

“The award is new, but what’s not new is the laser focus on innovation and the passion that General Spencer has brought to us in many ways,” James said. “General Spencer has put much of his personal time into innovation and efficiency.”

According to James, the programs championed by Spencer, the Every Dollar Counts campaign and the Airman Powered by Innovation website, are working so well that the Air Force is saving more than $35 million annually.

“As I have traveled the Air Force, I see it working,” James said. “I see that Airmen are finding new, innovative and cost-saving ways to get our mission done.”

Not only did Spencer champion the ideas of innovation and saving with the programs, he also spent time personally responding to emails and hosting video teleconferences with Airmen around the world.

“The real innovation is out in the field, and we need to cultivate those ideas and encourage those Airmen,” Spencer said. “There are great ideas out there and we owe it to our Airmen to listen to them.”

The Gen. Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award will be awarded for the first time July 23 at the Pentagon.

Dyess Airmen participate in CAPEX

by Senior Airman Kia Atkins
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

6/29/2015 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS -- Twenty Dyess Airmen from the 7th Munitions Squadron participated in the Pacific Air Forces' 2015 Combat Ammunition Production Exercise at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, May 31- June 6.

CAPEX evaluates a host unit's mission readiness. It also provides training in mass, live munitions production supporting combat sortie generation. The exercise evaluates combat ammunition production techniques and determines if current munitions planning is adequate to support wartime operational plans and wartime consumption rates based on War and Mobilization Planning.

"The scenarios we were tasked with were derived from real-world operation plans and validated that ammo troops can be deployed from anywhere in the world to support any airframe and merge into an effective team to meet any mission requirement," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Luster, 7th MUNS non-commissioned officer in charge of conventional munitions maintenance.

More than 250 Airmen from Dyess, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Kadena Air Base, Japan, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska and Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, worked together to build various live munitions in large quantities during this annual exercise.

While participating in the exercise, Airmen were assessed on their ability to safely produce and transport hundreds of bombs in real-time, while meeting all demands of a wartime exercise scenario.

"This exercise was a great training opportunity for us. It's a great way to validate munitions tactics, techniques and procedures as well as ensuring we have the capability to do what the Air Force needs us to do--build bombs," Luster said. "We're specialists; we can build bombs for any aircraft."

The exercise required Airmen to build the types of munitions needed if they were tasked to the Pacific region. Overall, the Airmen built more than 1,100 munitions.

"It was a great opportunity to showcase our ammo pride," said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Lee, 7th MUNS conventional munitions maintenance supervisor. "We all came together as one and built munitions. It didn't matter where we were from, we all worked together to show what we could do."

After the munitions were built, they were torn down and restored as components in Anderson's stockpile.

Hunters save lives through RPA Human Performance Team

by Tech. Sgt. Nadine Barclay
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

6/30/2015 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada -- As the persistent demand for remotely piloted aircraft support increases, the burden on the Airmen who fly, maintain, and support these operations also increases, often times leaving some questioning their ability to continue in this rewarding but highly stressful job.

Providing disciplined war-fighters, who dominate the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and kinetic operations globally, 24/7, for our nation and its coalition partners, is a daunting and sometimes stressful task.  Fortunately, those closest to the fight recognize the need to take care of their most valuable asset: the Airmen.

"Every single day this base is at war," said U.S. Air Force Col. James Cluff, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "What we do here isn't autonomous. It starts with the people, and the people are the heart of it. The manpower it takes to operate this enterprise is at the heart of this system and we must do what we can to protect them."

Normally reserved for special operations commands, human performance teams focus on helping Airmen win today's fight while they prepare for tomorrow through physical, social, spiritual, intellectual and emotional support.

Considering the demands facing the RPA enterprise, Team Creech has formed their own human performance team to meet the needs of those supporting RPA operations at this one-of-a-kind deployed-in-place location.

"Our vision with this program is to shape the future of airpower," said Chaplin (Maj.) Mark Williams, a member of the human performance team. "Through motivated, innovative, and trained warriors, we can deliberately develop and take care of our Airmen."

The Creech HPT consists of an operational physiologist, an operational psychologist, operational medicine, and the Chaplin corps who together treat the five areas of wellness for all Creech Airmen.

Due to the sensitive nature of the Team Creech mission, the HPT are cleared to the top secret and sensitive information levels to allow them access to Airmen's work centers to allow greater day-to-day availability to help those in need.

"Having access to the Airmen in their units allows us to break down the stigmas associated with getting help," said Williams. "Whereas before we were seen as outsiders, we are now viewed as part of the team since we can observe what they experience firsthand."

In a 2012 RPA survey, Air Combat Command Airmen rated their top five contributors affecting stress and morale as unit manning, shift schedules, extra duties and administrative tasks, working long hours and having sleep issues.

Armed with this information, the Creech HTP tailored training to give Airmen the tools needed to remain resilient against those factors.

The wing operational physiologist, Maj. Maria Gomez-Mejia, works to fill the non-traditional aspects unique to Creech through educational training aimed at fatigue mitigation, performance enhancement, risk management analysis and observations, and RPA specific human factor threats.

"Most of our Airmen here at Creech spend long periods of time sitting between flying and the drive to and from work in addition to the shift work, so it's vital that we target the physical aspects of this job," said Gomez-Mejia. "The partnership of the program is essential."

Annually the HPT collects 9,000 standardized aviation risk management reports from crewmembers who receive personal stressor scores from the operational physiologist, psychologist, or the Chaplin as needed.

In addition, the psychological aspects are also addressed to optimize performance, improve organizational climate, unit moral, team dynamics, operational readiness and combat effectiveness.

"Among ACC RPA Airmen we are focused on energy management, goal setting, improving home relationships, mental resilience and work relationships," said Maj. Eddie, wing operational psychologist.

If a problem persists and cannot be treated through non-medical avenues Airmen can partner with flight medicine.

"We like to remind the Airmen that seeking help is a sign of strength and it is not detrimental to their career," said Lt. Col. James Senechal, 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron flight doctor. "We are committed to solving the problem and getting Airmen back in the seat."

The HPT is focused on getting Airmen to the right expertise for their issues, which occasionally requires multiple aspects of the team at once to treat the five areas of wellness.

"A hundred feet from our door, our Airmen are at war," said Williams. "We must do everything we can to keep our Airmen and their families healthy."

Treating the source of the problem is a huge part of the HPT's mission and families are strongly encouraged to seek help along with their Airman from this unique group.

"Sometimes its nutritional help an Airman is seeking and throughout the conversation we discover they have an issue sleeping which makes them irritable and thus affects the family dynamic," said Gomez-Meija. "So, we educate both the Airman and the spouse on ways to cope with the changes in mission and schedules."

For Airmen who have been helped by the program, its impact is immeasurable and speaks volumes for the amount of caring the wing leadership has for its Airmen's well-being.

"I think that in this aspect, the Air Force is doing something right," said Col. Brent Caldwell, 726th Operations Group commander, a total-force unit comprised of members from both the Nevada Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. "We didn't wait for this to become an acute issue before we started treating it; we're attacking it head on."

Army Explores Ways to Expand ROTC’s Geographic Reach

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2015 – The Army is looking at ways to make its ROTC program more representative of the nation, the commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command said here today.

Army Gen. David G. Perkins told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast that he has had talks with Army leaders about the need to expand ROTC into underserved areas.

Alabama, with a population of just 4.8 million people, has more colleges offering ROTC than in New York City or Los Angeles, a senior Defense Department official said last week at a Center for a New American Security symposium.

More than 3.8 million people live in Los Angles and about 8.4 million live in New York City.

Brad Carson, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness said 10 Alabama colleges are associated with ROTC.

By comparison, he said, the entire state of New York has 12, and California has a like number.

Many colleges dropped the ROTC program during the latter years of the Vietnam War, and disagreement with the now-repealed policy prohibiting gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military kept many colleges from associating with ROTC.

But this is changing, Perkins noted. Harvard University re-established an Army ROTC unit at its Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus in 2012, he said, and other colleges are interested.

Geographical and Regional Representation

“One of the things we work very hard in the Army to get is diversity,” Perkins said. “But there are a lot of aspects to diversity, and one of them is geographical and regional representation. If we are the United States Army, then the Army ought to come from [all of] the United States. It shouldn’t be just from one part of the country.”

Over the years -- sometimes in the interests of efficiency -- the Army has tended to focus its efforts in the Midwest and the South, where the propensity for service is high, the general acknowledged.

“I think it is important for our Army to be representative of all economic strata, all political persuasions, all geographic areas, because that really is the strength of our nation – this diversity,” he told the defense writers.

Differing Viewpoints

The diversity would give leaders throughout the Army differing viewpoints of problems and how to solve them, Perkins said. “If we have officers from the Northeast, the West Coast, Alaska, Mississippi [and] Florida -- and the influences that come with them -- we will be a much more capable Army,” he added.

Part of the effort is tied to the service getting smaller, the general said, noting that the Army will need fewer lieutenants in the future. “ROTC is going to have to get smaller, but not [by] giving up certain parts of the country,” he said.

Service leaders will consider what attributes they believe young officers should have entering the force, the general said, and the quality of students entering the force from the various universities and colleges. Also, he said, some savings may be achieved by expanding the command and control reach of ROTC battalions and brigades.

Carter, Brazilian Counterpart Discuss Defense Relationship

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2015 – With Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House today, Defense Secretary Ash Carter hosted Brazilian Defense Minister Jaques Wagner at the Pentagon yesterday to discuss the U.S.-Brazilian defense relationship.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Pentagon officials said Carter commended Brazil's contributions to peacekeeping operations in Africa and around the world and discussed ways the United States and Brazil can continue to collaborate in support of international partners.

Deepening Cooperation

“Secretary Carter and Minister Wagner discussed the importance of deepening trade and defense technology cooperation, noting opportunities for future co-development and co-production,” the statement said.

They also discussed the recent ratification of the defense cooperation agreement and general security of military information agreement by the Brazilian legislature as signs of deepening cooperation between the U.S. and Brazilian militaries, officials added.

The defense leaders also discussed security preparations for next year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and Wagner invited Carter to visit Brazil ahead of the games, officials said.