Friday, August 14, 2015

VCJCS visits Warren, conveys importance of nuclear mission

by Lan Kim
90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

8/14/2015 - F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Gen. Paul J. Selva, the 10th--and newly appointed--vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited the 90th Missile Wing Aug. 13-14 to meet with ICBM combat crews, tour a missile alert facility and get a glance of the operational environment of the ICBM leg of the nuclear triad.

F.E. Warren was the first stop for Gen. Selva, as he visits all three legs of the nuclear triad. As the nation's second highest ranking military officer, Selva fulfills several nuclear enterprise oversight roles for the country's intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-capable bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

"I am extraordinarily proud of the men and women of F.E. Warren Air Force Base," Selva said.  "Maintaining a strong, credible nuclear deterrent is a key element of U.S. National Security Strategy, and the vigilant professionals who operate and support our nuclear assets provide our leaders with combat capability for a more peaceful world."

This visit to Warren marks his first visit to an Air Force base, since being sworn in as VCJCS on July 31, and demonstrates the importance of the nuclear deterrence mission and the ICBMs that the 90th MW controls.

"Gen. Selva's visit, within days after assuming the position of vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, clearly conveys the critical importance that our ICBM force provides to the defense of our nation," said Lt. Col. Russell Williford, 320th Missile Squadron commander.

"Gen. Selva stated in his July confirmation hearings the greatest threat to our nation are the nuclear-capable countries that present an existential threat to the United States; his immediate visit to F.E. Warren communicates the immeasurable value and capability of ICBMs in securing our way of life," he said.

During his visit to Warren, Selva emphasized the responsiveness and reliability of the ICBM leg of the triad, and the exceptional Airmen who provide that power. In meeting with ICBM combat crews and touring a MAF, he was able to get first-hand insight into the operations of the ICBM force.

"Those who execute the nuclear mission are some of the most skillfully trained and educated the U.S. military has to offer, and safeguarding the health of our nuclear deterrent force is among the most important things we do," he said. "Rest assured that your leaders are committed to invest in you ... to train, encourage and empower you to succeed in this no-fail mission."

According to the DOD, it is the mission of the ICBM force to stand ready in providing a safe, secure and effective deterrence against potential adversaries, and to assure allies within the complex security environment facing the nation.

USS Essex Conducts Strait of Hormuz Transit

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Irwin D. Sampaga, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3 Public Affairs

ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) transited the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Arabian Gulf Aug. 6.

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and freedom of navigation is critical for all vessel movement in and out of the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, according to Master Chief Quartermaster Ryan F. Curylo, the ship's leading quartermaster.

Essex's navigation team was in a modified navigation detail while transiting and maintained a heightened level of navigation readiness while in close proximity to land and the other shipping traffic also transiting the Strait.

"I wouldn't say it's a dangerous evolution, but it is an area where Sailors aboard Essex need to have an escalated posture of readiness," said Curylo. "It is a complex area with a lot of traffic and we need to ensure we abide by all conventions and rules of the sea."

While still in San Diego, Essex conducted basic and advanced phase training to ensure they were ready to conduct this transit.

The Essex Amphibious Ready Group, and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

A Case for Aircraft Carriers and Air Wings

By Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker, Commander, Naval Air Forces

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Today, more than ever, U.S. national interests require the speed, endurance, flexibility and autonomous nature of the U.S. Navy's nuclear powered aircraft carrier, which deploys, operates and is prepared to fight as part of a carrier strike group (CSG).

The CSG provides our national command authority with options, access and forward presence that allows for a rapid response to a wide spectrum of threats or natural disasters. Even when faced with contested waters and airspace, the composition and maneuverability of a CSG ensures survivability of the carrier while its embarked carrier air wing uses its integrated capabilities to project power, thus enabling the U.S. to continue its role as a key guarantor of peace and stability around the world.

CSGs, typically comprised of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier (CVN) and its embarked air wing, one guided-missile cruiser, a couple of guided-missile destroyers, and a supply ship, train and deploy as a team with well-established integrated tactics, techniques, and procedures that allow for freedom of maneuver in the global commons. Operationally, the combined strength of the CSG remains vastly greater than the sum of its parts. As a complex, joint force multiplier, with command and control and organic logistical capabilities, there exists no comparable way to quickly generate the effects crucial to American diplomatic and economic interests that carrier aviation offers.

Carrier strike groups provide access - access often denied or diplomatically slow to attain through other military and civilian channels. CSGs afford options to deny an adversary's objectives, preserve freedom of action, and assure access for other joint and coalition forces. While political dynamics and host nation sensitivities can restrict the use of land-based aircraft in the initial stages of conflict, CVNs and their embarked air wings can reach nearly any spot on the globe without having to ask permission. We continue to live in a turbulent and unsettled world, and the strategic options and flexibility our CSGs provide remain in high demand by our combatant commanders around the world.

When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant suddenly and viciously expanded across the Middle East in the summer of 2014, and the President needed immediate options to curb ISIL's advance, the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group was on station in the Arabian Gulf and ready within 30 hours of being tasked. The Bush CSG was the only strike option on station for the first 10 days of the conflict and remained there for a total of 54 days as the only viable U.S. option until the order was given to conduct air and cruise missile strikes. Since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve, in fact since well before 9/11, CSGs continue to be present in that region of the world, with seamless transitions among those strike groups as they rotate in and out.

The continuous forward presence carriers provide around the world comes with a cost. After nearly 14 years of sustained combat operations, Naval Aviation forces must reset and recapitalize in an effort to ensure readiness in the future. The frequency and extended durations of carrier strike group deployments has accelerated the wear on the force and has led to increased maintenance and repair requirements, resulting in lengthened maintenance availability periods. Deliberate planning and resourcing has Naval Aviation on a path to recover our readiness in the coming months and years, ensuring the carrier force is where it needs to be, when it needs to be there.

The value of stability and security operations is often manifested in what does not occur - such as tensions that are quietly defused and do not escalate into armed conflict. In April 2015, while on station in the Arabian Gulf, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transited the Strait of Hormuz to the Arabian Sea, joining other forces conducting maritime security operations off the coast of Yemen to ensure vital shipping lanes remained open and safe. Following Theodore Roosevelt's move, an Iranian convoy transiting toward Yemen reversed course, underscoring the stabilizing effect the carrier force can have overseas. As an agent of American diplomacy, CSGs communicate our nation's commitment to maritime security, regional stability and the uninterrupted flow of goods and services that is critical to continued economic prosperity for all nations.

The value of forward presence acts not only as a deterrent, but also enables rapid response to disasters as demonstrated by USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) immediately following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. The carrier produced and delivered potable water for thousands of displaced families, airlifted tons of food and supplies ashore, and conducted search and rescue operations. CVNs, working with allies and partner nations, remain ready to save lives, provide immediate relief, and set the conditions for effective civilian response without relying on damaged or inaccessible ports or airfields ashore. In the next few months, Ronald Reagan will return to Japan, replacing USS George Washington (CVN 73) as the centerpiece of our Forward Deployed Naval Forces in northeast Asia and delivering our most capable Nimitz-class CVN to that critical region of the world.

The Future Of Naval Aviation
Naval Aviation continues to evolve to out-pace threats. A truly innovative ship, the Gerald R. Ford-class CVN will be the nucleus for our future carrier strike groups and a critical enabler of U.S. naval power for the 21st century. A major redesign of the Nimitz-class, Ford incorporates visionary advances in technology resulting in significantly improved combat capability and enhanced service life. Rear Adm. Mike Manazir recently released an article describing the unmatched value of the Ford-class, explaining the carrier's often overlooked return on investment over a lifespan of 50 years, and the ability of the ship to remain survivable, sustainable and relevant while its embarked air wing continues to evolve to keep pace with technological advances and incorporate future capabilities - a characteristic of Naval Aviation that cannot be overstated.

The Ford-class design enables the Navy to operate the carrier with less manpower, saving more than $4 billion in total ownership costs over the life of the ship when compared to today's Nimitz-class CVNs. CVN 78, the first in the Ford class, is on track to deliver next spring. Historically, the first of any class of ship or aircraft costs more than follow-on platforms, and the significant leap in combat capability, growth capacity for new technologies and life cycle cost reductions that were built into the Ford-class came with an associated initial cost. CVNs 79, 80 and the rest of the Ford-class ships will continue an acquisition strategy that will further drive down cost while delivering unmatched capability for the future. USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the most recently inactivated U.S. CVN, served the nation for 51 years, supporting generations of new aircraft while remaining at the forefront of national defense and providing decades of power projection options to our nation's leaders.

The carrier air wing, as the CVN's "weapons system," must also continue to transform to pace the future threat capabilities of potential adversaries. In order to project power we must first be able to understand the operating environment through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) efforts and establish local air superiority for our forces to operate. Investments in platforms, payloads, sensors and communications are required to assure access, project power, and enable sea control in the future fight. Each platform assigned to the future carrier air wing will contribute to overall mission effectiveness and lethality by accomplishing a variety of missions.

UCLASS (Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike) will be the next step in the Navy's revolutionary integration of unmanned air systems into the CSG and will provide the strike group commander with persistent ISR plus time critical targeting and precision strike capability. The real advantage this system brings to the fleet is its ability to operate in anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) environments and provide increased situational awareness of potential threats ahead of the CSG, essentially serving as the commander's initial "eyes and ears" in contested air and water space.

F-35C Lightning II will be an absolutely critical addition to the CSG's integrated warfighting package with stealth advantages that allow it to penetrate threat envelopes, the ability to detect and fuse information from many sources, and link that fused picture to other CSG aircraft, ships and decision-makers. F/A-18 Super Hornets, with the ability to carry large payloads of advanced weapons will continue to provide lethality and flexibility, and complement the F-35C to provide a very capable high/low mix of strike-fighters that can deliver responsiveness and firepower across the range of military operations.

EA-18G Growlers will dominate the electromagnetic spectrum, providing advanced airborne electronic attack capabilities, screening CVW and CSG assets conducting their missions, and protecting joint forces operating ashore by disrupting enemy communications. E-2D Hawkeyes have new radars that significantly improve their ability to search for and track targets while providing critical CSG command and control, and coordination of a range of missions, including integrated air and missile defense, and long range anti-air and anti-surface warfare. MH-60R and S helicopters remain a potent combination for defense of the CSG, with MH-60Rs acting as the primary anti-submarine platform in close proximity to the carrier.

Finally, the critical, future logistical connector for the CSG, CV-22 Ospreys will provide organic re-supply and transport services, as well as the flexibility to support other mission areas as required. Although external to the CSG, the integrated capabilities of P-8A Poseidons, working with Triton MQ-4C UAVs, will be key to successful strike group operations, enabling access, providing maritime ISR and conducting critical anti-submarine operations.

Through judicious application of resources and a focused, evolutionary investment strategy, the CVN and carrier air wing of the future will continue to be the primary platform called upon to deliver assured access, power projection and sea control well into the future. Absolutely critical to national security and stability in the 21st century, future CSGs will have the right platforms and new capabilities to operate in highly contested environments when required, while continuing to provide a persistent, flexible, forward-deployed force that will remain a stabilizing presence where it matters, when it matters, in an all too uncertain world.

President Proclaims Employer Support of Guard, Reserve Week

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2015 – President Barack Obama today called upon all Americans to join him “in expressing our heartfelt thanks to the members of the National Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers” as he proclaimed August 16 through August 22, 2015, as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week.

Here is the text of the president’s proclamation:

The United States military is the finest fighting force the world has ever known -- not just because of our weapons or technology, but because of the spirit, skill, and selflessness of our devoted military personnel. For more than two centuries, patriotic Americans have served our Nation and protected our values, making enormous sacrifices to defend freedom and democracy here at home and around the globe. Today, the women and men of the National Guard and Reserve carry forward this proud legacy with honor and distinction. During National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week, we salute our country's citizen-warriors and the families, employers, and communities who support them.

More than one million citizen-Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen protect our Nation as Guardsmen and Reservists. Beyond serving their communities, raising their families, and playing a vital part in America's workforce, these heroes find time throughout the year to train and prepare for new challenges and missions in the event their Nation needs them. With unmatched skill and professionalism, they have answered our country's call to serve -- responding to disasters in the United States and carrying out tours of duty far from home, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As a Nation, we must make it our mission to serve all our military members as well as they serve us -- and this includes supporting their families, who step up and make enormous sacrifices while their loved ones are away from home. My Administration will continue to provide our unwavering support and ensure all those who sacrifice for our Nation have access to the services, benefits, and care they deserve. And as part of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces initiative, we are encouraging all Americans to do their part to lift up our heroes. Around our country, communities and business leaders have recognized that they too can help America meet its obligations to the women and men of the Guard and Reserve by providing workplace flexibility and opportunities for advancement in their civilian careers. As Commander in Chief, I am grateful to our employers and business leaders who go above and beyond to ease the burden on those who serve, and I encourage all Americans to join in their efforts.

Our Nation has made a sacred promise to all members of the Armed Forces, and every person can play a part in honoring that promise. This week, we celebrate the women and men who keep our country safe and defend the way of life we cherish. As a Nation, let us join together to thank our Guardsmen and Reservists, as well as their employers -- who know the value service brings to the workplace, who see service members as an essential part of their teams, and whose support is vital to the readiness and strength of the greatest fighting force on Earth.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim August 16 through August 22, 2015, as National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week. I call upon all Americans to join me in expressing our heartfelt thanks to the members of the National Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers. I also call on State and local officials, private organizations, and all military commanders, to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.