Military News

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dempsey: U.S. Forces Must Adapt to Deal With Near-Peer Competitors



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

COPENHAGEN, August 17, 2015 — For the first time since the end of the Soviet Union, the United States is facing a near-peer threat, and that is unsettling to many in the services, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

Following meetings with Danish Chief of Defense Army Gen. Peter Bartram and his staff, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey spoke at the Danish Army Academy about the changes he has seen in his 41 years in uniform.

The chairman said the first 15 years of his Army career were dominated by confronting the security threat posed by the Soviet Union. His first assignment was as a tanker with the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment on the border with the Warsaw Pact.

“We had one threat with which we were confronted and with which we were dealing,” he said. “That threat went away with the fall of the Soviet Union and we had a 10-year period where we were doing small peacekeeping missions and contingencies. But there was nothing that really threatened the homeland during those years.”

Then 9-11 happened and the United States military found itself fighting a counterinsurgency/counterterrorism war from 2001 to 2011.

In 2012, the Russian Federation decided “to annex Crimea, to change the borders of Europe, to stir up ethnic tensions and to threaten the credibility of NATO,” Dempsey said. Added to this, he said, al-Qaida morphed into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“It’s the first time in 41 years we’ve had a legitimate risk emanating from state actors, and we clearly have a persistent threat emanating from sub-state and non-state actors like ,” the chairman said. “That makes for a very volatile mix and makes it difficult for us to balance our resources to deal with these multiple threats simultaneously.”

Eighty percent of those serving in the U.S. military haven’t lived in a world where United States military power wasn’t preeminent and dominant, he said. “As some of these other nations begin to develop capabilities, it’s very unsettling for them,” Dempsey said.

“It’s unsettling for me, too, because my job is to never allow the nation to be coerced, which is about as good a description as I can give it. Constraints -- left unaddressed -- can become coercive,” the chairman said. “So the 20 percent of us who grew up in a world where the United States had peers and near-peer competitors understand how to live in that world, understand how to use the military instrument in that world, understand the meaning of deterrence, understand the meaning of maneuver and how to set a theater.”

That 20 percent needs to ensure the rest of the force understands how to prevail in that environment, he said.

“The rest of the force is a little unsettled right now because they’ve never been confronted with constraints,” Dempsey said. “We have to lead our way through that period and reeducate ourselves and rekindle some lost attributes and we can do that.”

Naval Hospital Bremerton holds Change of Command



By Douglas H Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMRTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Capt. Christopher Quarles turned over responsibilities as commanding officer of Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) to Capt. David K. Weiss during a change of command ceremony, Aug. 14, marking Quarles' third successful tenure assigned to NHB.

"It's hard to believe that two years have gone by so fast," said Quarles, addressing distinguished guests, staff members, family and friends.

The Kansas City, Missouri, native completed his internship in Family Medicine at NHB after receiving his medical degree in 1992 from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, School of Medicine, where he was commissioned a lieutenant. After that initial NHB stint, he served as a general medical officer at-sea, before returning and completing his Family Medicine Residency in 1997.

"I am pleased to see many of our longtime supporters of all things NHB... We truly appreciate our collective work together to provide care for American's veterans," Quarles added.

During his time as NHB's commanding officer, Quarles lead staff members in fostering a unique partnership with Madigan Army Medical Center and Naval Hospital Oak Harbor, to take care of beneficiaries and provide as much care within the military care system as possible. Additionally, he ensured the culmination of several years of negotiation between NHB and Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System by signing a Sharing Agreement in 2014 that linked both organizations in providing specific types of medical care to current Veterans Affairs eligible beneficiaries.

Guest speaker, Rear Adm. Bruce L. Gillingham, Commander, Navy Medicine West, focused his remarks on the solid legacy that Quarles built upon as commanding officer and the continuing tradition of excellence by the staff.

"This is a day of celebration to honor the accomplishments of the departing skipper," the admiral said. "The NHB staff has set the standard that many others hope to emulate. The staff are hungry to build and anxious to prove. NHB has been essential in ensuring the fleet is healthy and ready and they will continue to meet and exceed expectations."

Much of Quarles comments were directed to NHB's approximately 1,400 active duty, activated reservists, civil service, contractor, and American Red Cross volunteers.

"NHB staff, thank you. It is your efforts, your care for our patients and your mutual respect for one another that make this command what it is. Any measure of success that we enjoy is because of your hard work and dedication to all that we do," Quarles said. "You changed our baseline services while continuing to provide cutting edge, safe patient care, and maintaining our exceptional readiness services to the fleet, including supporting the Navy's global missions by providing a ready medical force. It is no stretch to say you have exceeded all expectations. As NHB Sailors have done for the last century, you have further added to our reputation of service excellence."

Under Quarles' leadership, NHB has been endorsed and accredited by a host of outside organizations such as the Joint Commission, National Council of Quality Assurance, and other independent auditors. NHB has garnered two consecutive annual Department of Defense (DoD) -wide patient safety awards, as well as had five staff members nationally recognized for their expertise in the past six months.

Capt. Weiss reports to NHB after serving as Command Surgeon, United States Africa Command.

"Capt. Quarles has ably lead the last 24 months with timeless and steadfast leadership," Weiss said. "I'm delighted to join the team. I solemnly pledge to be ready and look forward to the challenges."

Weiss is a native of Nassau Bay, Texas, a 1986 graduate of Baylor University, and a 1990 graduate of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He has served with the initial surgical company to enter Iraq, assigned to 2nd Medical Battalion, 2nd Force Service Support Group, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force as platoon leader for the Shock, Stabilization and Triage Platoon. He has also deployed to the Horn of Africa, and commanded the medical treatment facility USNS Comfort (T-AH-20), a tour highlighted by leading approximately 850 staff members in support of Operation Continuing Promise, in 2011 to nine countries in the Caribbean and South America.

USNA Welcomes Family, Friends of the Class of 2019



By Mass Communication Specialist Second Class Nathan Wilkes, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Thousands of family members and friends arrived at the U. S. Navy Academy (USNA) to witness the culmination of the Class of 2019's Plebe Summer training during Plebe Parents' Weekend, Aug. 13-16.

Plebe Parents' Weekend provided an opportunity for parents to reunite with their sons and daughters after the intensive six weeks of Plebe Summer that leads into a midshipman's freshman year.

Plebe Summer, which began July 1, is a demanding, fast-paced boot camp-style orientation that begins four years of preparation before commissioning as naval officers. Plebes are subjected to physical and mental challenges, with the purpose of developing leadership ability, motivation, moral strength and physical skills.

Of the 1,191 men and women that began Plebe Summer six weeks ago, only 13 voluntarily dropped from the training; one of the lowest attrition rates of recent history. The USNA staff attributed the success to a focus on safety and well-planned training.

"The Class of 2019 has worked hard and done extremely well during their six weeks here at the academy," said Commandant of Midshipmen, Marine Corps Col. Stephen Liszewski. "This year we had one of the lowest attrition rates that we have seen in a long time, and by no means has the summer been easy. We have pushed them; molded them. They have endured and earned their place here."

The Class of 2019 is composed of 859 men and 324 women from all over the United States, as well as 12 international students. Ninety-two percent of the class competed in varsity athletics during high school and 32 percent come from college and post-high school preparatory programs.

"We are proud to say that this new class is one of the most culturally diverse and highly competitive that we have ever had at the academy," said Vice Adm. Ted Carter, USNA superintendent. "This is also the largest class of women and varsity athletes that we have ever had."

Many parents said they didn't recognize their sons and daughters, as, in just over a month, most of them had changed drastically. They stood taller and straighter, saying "sir" and "ma'am" and use Navy terms, acronyms and abbreviations with ease.

"This being the first time that we have been away from our child, it's been really hard and a huge adjustment for our family," said Wynette Bodily, mother of Midshipman Fourth Class Kalib Bodily. "We couldn't be more proud and we are so excited to see him."

During the three-day weekend, parents watched the plebes' formal parade, toured the dorms at Bancroft Hall, and met with faculty and staff members to get a glimpse of the life at the Naval Academy.

"We are incredibly excited and this is all really a lot to take in," said Mary Colton, mother of Midshipman Fourth Class J.P. Colton. "It's great to have the opportunity not only to support him during this huge time in his life, but to be able to get involved in some of the things that the plebes experience just makes you feel better about the whole thing."

The Class of 2019 is scheduled to join the entire Brigade of Midshipmen during a reform ceremony, Aug. 18. After the ceremony, plebes will move to their permanent company spaces in preparation of the academic school year.