Military News

Thursday, July 09, 2015

2 SOPS triumphs during Operation Razorback

by 2nd Lt. Darren Domingo
50th Space Wing Public Affairs


7/9/2015 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 2nd Space Operations Squadron successfully completed a transfer operation of Global Positioning System satellite control authority to the Alternate Master Control Site at a backup location, June 6.

Transfer operations occur as a validation of the alternate site's abilities to carry on the mission in the event that Schriever could no longer conduct GPS command and control.

In order to fully validate an alternate site would be fully operational in a contingency situation, members must physically go there and practice transferring everything.

Capt. Moses K. George, 2 SOPS flight commander, was the site commander for the transfer, designated Operation Razorback, and explained how their work affects users worldwide.

"There is a myriad number of users who are affected by GPS, so we are making sure that all of our users have the data that they need to make sure they can do their missions," said George.

Transfer operations are a tremendous logistical feat.

The weekend-long event took two extensive months of preparation between 2 SOPS and various agencies across the world.

To prepare, 2 SOPS crews ran training scenarios that drove them into contingency transfer situations. The exercises challenged not only military personnel, but the contractor and government civilian force as well. They are an integral component to 2 SOPS GPS operations, said George.

Thirty seven Team Schriever members went on the trip including active duty, reservists and government contractors.

"A successful transfer requires the expertise of a GPS team to find solutions and make sure that GPS is working," said George.

There were however, a few obstacles 2 SOPS dealt with before arriving at their end state.

One issue was the hardware contrasts between Schriever and the alternate site's satellite operation technologies. Although the technological differences did create difficulty for the crews, George explained it was a lesson learned and they were still able to successfully accomplish procedures at the alternate site.

"We're taking a look at some of the hardware changes we need to make and some of the comms we can install out there to make it easier for us," said George.

More pressure was applied during the crew's flight from Colorado Springs to the AMCS.

Halfway through the trip, the plane began to suffer a critical oxygen depletion which caused an emergency return to Colorado.

"When the pilot told us the oxygen level was depleting, it was definitely a bit worrying, but the next thought was whether we'd be able to complete the operation," said 2nd Lt. Mark Skinner, 2 SOPS Assistant GPS flight commander.

Such a delay significantly affected the operation and needed to be communicated to several agencies.

"Our Resource Administrator, Kim Wilson, really pulled through for us and was able to get us on a backup flight within three hours," said Skinner.

Fortunately, all crews were safe and eventually able to get back to their destination.

George explained how the reality of going through a real transfer taught him an important lesson.

"No matter how much you practice it, when you do it for real, it's just a little bit different and you've got to be on your toes," said George. "You've got to be able to anticipate some of the challenges that actually come up and our crews did great on that this time."

This year's transfer was complex due to some of the necessary hardware installments and software upgrades. Foresight of squadron leadership pushed the team to do the transfer early, in order to get proficient with procedures.

"I think it's going to really pay dividends for us when we go into these more complex transfers because we have a tremendously proficient crew force right now that has seen some of the challenges already," said George.

Lt. Col. Todd Benson, 2 SOPS commander, spoke highly of the performance of the transfer crews.

"I could not have been more impressed with the efforts of the active duty, reserve, contractor and government civilian personnel of Team Black Jack," said Benson. "It truly took the efforts of many to make this one of the most successful operations transfers in recent times."

Schriever Air Force Base is the Master Control Station for more than 30 GPS satellites.

New GP director takes charge of "Green Monster"

by James Spellman, Jr.
Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs


7/9/2015 - LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- Col. Steven Whitney accepted the reins of responsibility as incoming director of the Global Positioning Systems Directorate from Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, presiding official and commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center during a change of leadership ceremony today in the Gordon Conference Center. He succeeds Brig. Gen. William Cooley, the outgoing director, who leaves for his new assignment at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama with the Missile Defense Agency after leading the GP Directorate at SMC for the past two years.

Although the ceremony itself was brief and a departure from the typical pomp and circumstance normally reserved for a change of command ceremony, the significance of the event was not lost on the audience and invited guests.

"There is nothing we do here at SMC that is as ubiquitous, that affects as many people around the world as GPS," said Greaves. "Maintaining GPS as the world's gold standard for position, navigation and timing requires and all-star team and all-star leaders, so it is no surprise that in his time here, Bill has led the 'Green Monsters' (mascot of the GP Directorate) to some amazing accomplishments."

Greaves explained how the Air Force has been talking about GPS modernization "since the 1990's, but last year, we started broadcasting the first new GPS navigation signals in 37 years - three years ahead of schedule."

"The impact of GPS is huge," Greaves said. "The new civilian signals will increase accuracy by up to 21 percent for over one billion customers. The new modernized military signals will be essential to American and allied warfighters for decades to come."

According to Greaves, an accomplishment like that is "not just about flipping a switch. It requires coordinated space, ground and user efforts, and the Green Monsters do it all. In the past couple of years, the space team has charged through the most aggressive launch campaign since 1993, including launching four satellites in nine months last year."

After thanking his GP leadership team, staff and family for their support during his two-year tenure, General Cooley in his final outgoing remarks saluted the Directorate for embracing the theme of GPS as the "gold standard" of global navigation satellite systems.

"It's an aspirational goal, one that requires continuous improvement," Cooley said. "Other program offices may view this with cynicism because all programs have strengths and weaknesses, but it is taking on the challenge to be as good as we can that matters."

Cooley cited the team effort it took during his tenure to set a high standard for everything, from acquisition strategies to turning taskers and Public Affairs responses to the news media.

"I'm not sure if we achieved it, as 'Gold Standard Program Office' is intentionally not well defined," said Cooley. "But I'm very proud of the quality and progress we made over the past two years, and whether I retire in 10 or 20 years from now, when I'm reflecting on what I was most proud of in my career, modernizing GPS will be at the top of my list."

"Wow! General Cooley, you were right," said Col. Whitney in his opening remarks after taking command of the GP Directorate. "This is pretty cool!"

Singling out members of his former User Equipment Division of the GPS Directorate at SMC "to thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives and serve you - it means more to me than you will ever know," Whitney turned his attention to the members of the Green Monster.

"You are an incredibly talented group of individuals and I am inspired by your dedication to the mission and the passion you show each and every day," Whitney said. "We have a great many challenges ahead of us, but I am confident that together, we can meet these and not only succeed, but do so with the style and grace befitting the 'Gold Standard'. I'm excited to continue to be part of this team and I look forward to serving you as we move forward together."

The mission of the Global Positioning Systems Directorate is to acquire, deliver and sustain reliable GPS capabilities to America's warfighters, allies and civilian users. The GPS Directorate is a joint service effort directed by the U.S. Air Force and managed by Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif. The directorate is the Department of Defense acquisition office for developing and producing GPS satellites, ground systems and military user equipment.

Joint Medical Exercise Trains for Future Interoperability



By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2015 – One of the largest Defense Department field medical training exercises, combining 1,600 active-duty and reserve personnel from 17 states and three countries, wrapped up June 26.

Exercises Global Medic and Combined Joint Atlantic Serpent came together for the first time beginning June 6 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, for the two-week exercise involving U.S., British and Canadian medical forces, Joint Staff officials said.

Army Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Nadja Y. West, the Joint Staff surgeon, explained that in a simulated combat-medicine scenario, the joint exercise helps prepare active-duty and reserve troops from all three countries with capabilities for any situation they could be called upon to support in the future. In addition to combat medical scenarios, the exercise also included scenarios for potential humanitarian and disaster relief missions, she noted.

Partner Interoperability

Critical partner interoperability, an important element from an international standpoint, is outlined in the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations written by Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, West said. The chairman places a premium on partnerships and emphasizes that in the current environment, the United States has to rely on global partners, she added.

“To have our medical partners participate allows us [to] practice interoperability” for future missions, the general said. The interoperability piece was important, West said, because although the basics of medicine are universal, types of equipment and medical terminology can vary from nation to nation. And whenever partners can exercise together, they learn from one another, she said.

A Benefit to Joint Force 2020

The joint exercise also supports the chairman’s vision of support for Joint Force 2020, West said. And because interoperability is a high Joint Staff priority, “future operations and conflicts will most likely require small-footprint, agile, adaptable units,” she explained. “We have to be prepared for any scenario.”

Global partner capacity also assists DoD in meeting its national security objectives in a timely manner, West said. “Some will say the future is unknown and unknowable,” she said. But the one thing that can be known is that the attributes needed to respond quickly in any environment are agility and adaptability, she added. “So it will take leaders at all levels to be able to maneuver in [any] environment,” she said.

Lessons Learned Shared

The joint exercise helped to capture lessons that can inform the future, West noted. The ingenuity and innovation of young service members “will allow each nation to enhance their capabilities by working together and identifying capabilities that can be improved,” she said.

U.S. military medical personnel who served in Iraq and Afghanistan helped to formulate what is now becoming the DoD standard for seamless procedures such as evacuation and joint-trauma registry protocols, West said. “Standard procedures and new, innovative techniques to increase survivability” identified during those 13 years of war were used in the exercise, she said.

West visited Fort McCoy and observed a simulated mass casualty event as well as the preparation of “mock casualties” at a moulage center, where surgical teams used mannequins and “cut suits” –- made of silicon with Kevlar covering -- to practice trauma procedures. Robotics ensured the simulated bodies seemed “real,” with eyes that blinked and pupils that reacted, West said.

Training Was Innovative, Realistic

A lot of innovative techniques were being practiced, she said, which created a very good and robust training opportunity for all of the medical personnel at the event. Bringing both active-duty and the reserve component together also added to the benefits of the joint, three-nation exercise.

“It cannot be overstated how important our reserve component is,” West said. “We rely heavily on our reserve colleagues.”

Exercises are crucial to readiness, she added, and the medical element is just as important. “When you really look deeper into what we do in [medicine], we are here as medics to make sure that America’s sons and daughters ... are taken care of,” West said. “That is what we take as a solemn responsibility.”

The training with medics carrying litters off helicopters was taken very seriously by participants, “because they knew the next time it might be a real person who is in dire need of medical services,” she said. “I was very pleased with the level of motivation, intensity -- the real willingness to learn and to perfect their craft.”

It was heartening to see they will be ready to care for wounded personnel if they are called upon, West added.

Army Announces Force Structure, Stationing Decisions



DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2015 – Army officials today announced force structure decisions and stationing plans for the reduction of the regular Army from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers.

The reduction of force structure will occur in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. The end-strength reduction of 40,000 will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2018, and will be accompanied by the reduction of 17,000 Army civilian employees, officials said, adding that the cuts will affect nearly every Army installation in the United States and overseas.

As part of these reductions, the number of regular Army brigade combat teams, the basic deployable units of maneuver in the Army, will continue to decline from a wartime high of 45 to 30 by the end of fiscal year 2017.

The Army will convert the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Benning, Georgia, and the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, into smaller units -- maneuver battalion task forces -- by the end of fiscal 2017.

Brigade combat teams consist of about 4,000 soldiers; the battalion task forces will have about 1,050 soldiers.

Additional Changes

The 25th Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team will remain a brigade combat team, but will convert its primary maneuver platform, officials said. Currently a Stryker brigade combat team, it will become an infantry brigade combat team without Stryker combat vehicles.

Additionally, officials said, the Army is analyzing a proposal to use the brigade combat team’s current Stryker equipment to convert an Army National Guard brigade combat team in the Pacific Northwest to a Stryker configuration.

The Army selected these brigade combat teams for reorganization based on a variety of factors, including strategic requirements and the inherent military value of the installations where they are based, officials said in announcing the changes, adding that the force structure decisions best posture a smaller Army to meet global commitments.

Necessitated by Budget Constraints

Budget constraints are forcing the Army’s reduction, said Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for operations and plans.

“These were very difficult decisions to make as all of our installations and their communities offer tremendous value to our Army and the nation,” he said. “In the end, we had to make decisions based on a number of strategic factors, to include readiness impacts, mission command and cost.”

If no change takes place regarding sequestration spending caps scheduled to return scheduled Oct. 1, the Army’s end-strength will be further reduced to 420,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2019, officials said, resulting in a cumulative loss of 150,000 soldiers from the regular Army -- a 26 percent cut over a seven-year period.

The resulting force, they added, would be incapable of simultaneously meeting current deployment requirements and responding to the overseas contingency requirements of the combatant commands.

Future Air Force leaders visit Barksdale

by Senior Airman Joseph A. Pagán Jr.
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


7/9/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Have you ever saluted an individual who wasn't an officer?

Their shiny rank may be confusing and from a distance they appear to be lieutenants, or you may have noticed that they were Air Force Academy and Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets touring the base.

"The Operations Air Force Program is a summer program for the cadets going into their sophomore and junior years [of college]," said Maj. Matt Gross, 2nd Medical Squadron medical logistics flight commander. "It's a two-week program and Barksdale is hosting three sessions."

The program is designed for cadets to experience what life is like in the Air Force and let them see the different jobs they may like to do.

"They've  gotten a lot of exposure here to include things like the initial Barksdale's Best brief, they've had aircrew training, ejection seat and parachute training," said Gross. "About half of them received incentive flights to fly around the country."

When the cadets weren't visiting units in groups, they each shadowed career fields of their own interest.

"I really enjoyed the specific career shadow days," said Phillip Resnick, Air Force Academy cadet. "This allowed me to have a better understanding and appreciation for the specific Air Force Specialty Codes, so at the end of my junior year when I'm putting down my job preferences, I'll have a good sense of what I'm signing up for."

Cadet Jordan Boyce was able to see first-hand what enlisted Airmen his age are doing on base.

"I was at maintenance and there was a lieutenant who explained to us that he has a 19 year-old Airman who's helping to fix engines on planes," said Boyce.

Boyce said this was something he couldn't have done at the age of 19 and now has a better understanding that everyone's job is important.

Not only has this experience given the cadets a feel for active duty, but the Airmen on base received invaluable training as well.

"The cadets let us validate our training protocols through their questions and feedbacks," said Gross. "Getting good feedback during these visits helps to let others know that not everyone is from their particular AFSC, so they need to slow down and explain things a little more."

No matter what AFSC these cadets enter, they are our future leaders and one day soon, we'll find ourselves saluting them for commissioning as a second lieutenant.

U.S. Air Force moves to the cloud with Collaboration Pathfinder

by AFSPC Public Affairs

7/9/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo, -- The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO) awarded the Collaboration Pathfinder through competition to Dell Federal Systems, L.P. on 19 Jun 2015 with a Period of Performance starting on 22 Jun 2015.

This pathfinder will leverage a dedicated Department of Defense Microsoft® Office 365 cloud platform that includes significantly improved email, instant messaging, desktop voice/video communications, productivity, and user storage capabilities.

These eServices will enable warfighters to focus on the core cyber mission instead of managing manpower-intensive IT commodities like e-mail and SharePoint®. The move to the cloud will also allow the Air Force to realign critical resources to Cyber Mission areas in a secure and reliable environment.

As noted in DISA's 2014 - 2019 Strategic Plan, cloud computing plays an increasingly vital role in the Department of Defense (DoD), with DISA leading the DoD in teaming with industry to build out DoD public and private clouds, beginning with Defense Enterprise Email (DEE).  Both the Army and portions of the Air Force have moved to DEE.

"Enterprise email 2.0 unclass will be a completely commercial solution," said Terry Halvorsen, speaking Jan. 29 during an industry day at the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C.

Now the Air Force, in partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), is leading the way in exploring the future of secure and scalable cloud-based services delivered by industry partners at an affordable price.  The Collaboration Pathfinder demonstrates the ability to conduct a focused evaluation to ensure the successful integration of industry technologies with DoD systems and operations.

The capabilities of Office 365 allow the Air Force to pursue the next generation of enterprise services in a cost-effective and efficient way that boosts the productivity and collaboration of Service members.  The next generation Information Technology environment will be dominated by users seamlessly connecting to and through the cloud. The lessons learned from the Collaboration Pathfinder will provide metrics to evaluate broader Cloud Service Provider (CSP) solutions.

The Collaboration Pathfinder cloud environment provided by Microsoft aligns with the Joint Information Environment (JIE) and accelerates the Air Force toward a consolidated DOD mobile, messaging, and collaboration platform.

The Collaboration Pathfinder's Office 365 core services will provide a more integrated user experience and a dynamic approach to security, leveraging commercial best practices, while incorporating the unique security requirements of the DOD.

Face of Defense: Reserve Airman Saves Child



By Air Force Staff Sgt. Lausanne Kinder
944th Fighter Wing

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz., July 9, 2015 – Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jude Joseph, a medical technician with the 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron here, saved the life of a child who was found at the bottom of a swimming pool July 2.

Joseph is a member of the Air Force Reserve and also an eight-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department. In that capacity, he responded to a 911 call and was the first to arrive at a residential backyard to find two children lying on the poolside patio.

"My immediate thought was that I have two babies who need help,” Joseph said. “I needed to triage the worst-injured, but still provide some care to the other baby and update [the] Phoenix Fire [Department] with information."

Quickly assessing the situation, he instructed a man who was with the children to monitor the child who was vomiting, and he administered CPR and rescue breathing to the unresponsive child until Phoenix Fire arrived.

Tragedy Averted

"Both children were transported to a local hospital and doctors are reporting that not only are the children expected to survive this near tragedy, but they are cautiously optimistic the children will recover with no permanent effects of the drowning," Phoenix police officials said in a statement. "Officer Joseph’s immediate response to the home, his calmness under great pressure and his training all contributed to the recovery of the 1- and 2-year-old victims."

Joseph said his CPR and emergency medical technician training taught him to keep the first baby's airway clear due to vomiting and to check the second baby for "CAB," short for circulation, airway and breathing.

Joseph has been with the 944th ASTS for almost 12 years, and he credits his success to the military and civilian training he's received. “To be able to assist in saving the lives of two babies in one incident using my training as a med tech was great," he said.