Friday, August 21, 2015

U.S. Outlines Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity
Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy

WASHINGTON, August 21, 2015 — The United States has spelled out its maritime security strategy so that all nations understand the American position, David Shear, the assistant secretary of defense for Asian-Pacific security affairs, said during a Pentagon news conference today.

The U.S. will continue to use diplomacy, multilateral institutions and continued engagement to protect free and open access to maritime Asia, while focusing on safeguarding the freedom of the seas, deterring conflict and coercion, and promoting adherence to international law and standards, Shear said.

And he reemphasized previous statements by U.S. officials that the United States takes no position over competing claims for land claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

“We have a vested interest in ensuring that the claims are resolved peacefully and without conflict or coercion,” Shear said, adding, “however, there are several trends -- including rapid military modernization growing resource demands and territorial maritime disputes -- which have the potential to create instability in this vital region.”.

China’s expansion of disputed features and artificial island construction in the Spratly Islands is a concern, he said.

“While land reclamation is not new, and China is not the only claimant to have conducted reclamation, China’s recent activities outweigh other efforts in size, pace and nature,” he said.

DoD Investing in Capabilities in Asia-Pacific

Shear made it clear the United States will maintain the necessary military presence and capabilities to protect U.S. interests and those of allies and partners against potential threats in maritime Asia.

The United States, he said, is strengthening its military capacity in the region to deter conflict and coercion and respond decisively when needed.

“DoD is investing a new cutting-edge capability, deploying our finest maritime capabilities forward, and distributing these capabilities more widely across the region,” he said. As Defense Secretary Ash Carter has said, “the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as U.S. forces do all around the world,” Shear said.

The United States will continue working with allies and partners across the region to build their maritime capacities.

Leveraging Defense Diplomacy

“We’re building greater interoperability and developing more integrated operations with our allies and partners,” he said.

U.S. officials are leveraging defense diplomacy to build greater transparency, reduce the risk of miscalculation or conflict and promote shared maritime rules of the road, Shear said.

U.S. officials are working with Chinese leaders and with regional officials to put risk reduction measures in place, he said. There is already an agreement for ship-to-ship encounters, Shear noted, adding that he hopes to see an agreement for air-to-air encounters by the end of the year.

The United States is working to strengthen regional security institutions and encourage development of an open and effective security architecture, Shear said. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is an increasingly important DoD partner, he said, and the department is working closely with that organization.

“Through these venues, we aim to promote candid conversations about ongoing challenges in the maritime domain and encourage greater information-sharing and cooperative solutions,” he said.

Soldier Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be buried with full military honors.

Army Maj. Dale W. Richardson of Mount Sterling, Illinois, will be buried Aug. 29, in Mountain View, Ark. Richardson was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, and was the passenger aboard an UH-1H Iroquois (Huey) helicopter that was en route to Fire Support Base Katum, South Vietnam, when it was diverted due to bad weather. After flying into Cambodian airspace, the aircraft came under heavy enemy ground fire, causing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia. The Huey’s four crewmen and its four passengers survived the landing. One crewman was able to evade being captured by enemy forces and later returned to friendly lines. The other three crewmen and one passenger were captured. Two of the captured crewmen were released by the Vietnamese in 1973, and the remains of the other two captured men were returned to U.S. control in the 1980s and identified. Richardson died at the site of the crash during a fire fight with enemy forces. His remains were not recovered after the fire fight.

From 1992 through 2008, joint U.S. / Kingdom of Cambodia (K.O.C.) teams investigated the site without success. On Feb. 18, 2009, a joint team interviewed witnesses in the Memot District of Cambodia who claimed to have information on the loss. The witnesses identified a possible burial site for the unaccounted for servicemen. The team excavated the burial site but was unsuccessful locating the remains.

From Jan. 16, 2010 to March 11, 2011, joint U.S. / K.O.C. teams excavated the area, but were unsuccessful recovering the crewman’s remains.

In February 2012, another joint U.S. / K.O.C. team re-interviewed two of the witnesses. The witnesses identified a secondary burial site near the previously excavated site. The team excavated the secondary burial site and recovered human remains and military gear from a single grave.

In the identification of Richardson, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) analyzed circumstantial evidence and used forensic identification tools, to include mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister.

Today there are 1,627 American service members that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

From throttle to brakes ACMS maintainers make RPA missions possible

by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

8/21/2015 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada  -- Imagine a wire entangled room laden with the sound of humming computer drives, or a crowded air-conditioned ground control station dimly lit by the glow of computer screens. In these locations one might also find Airmen of the 432nd Aircraft Communications Maintenance Squadron attending to one of the many antennas strung throughout the base.

These Airmen are part of approximately 130 Air Force members at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada who make the remotely piloted aircraft enterprise mission possible every day through their communication maintenance.

In a world where cockpits aren't in the plane, these traditional communications Airmen are put in a maintenance environment to link the ground control station, aka "the RPA cockpit" to the aircraft. This capability allows the pilot and sensor operator to control  the plane both locally and thousands of miles away, in an effort to provide the necessary intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance so desperately needed by combatant commanders  of the joint U.S. forces and its allies.

"Essentially we maintain all the communications equipment such as the antennas, ground data terminals, relays, and links needed to fly an RPA," said Airman 1st Class Tyler Hosler, 432nd ACMS RPA satellite communications technician. "We also troubleshoot communication issues if needed."

When an RPA flies, it's first controlled by the pilots via line-of-sight. Once the aircraft reaches a certain altitude the ACMS passes it to a satellite link allowing the air crew to fly in worldwide areas of responsibility, 24/7. In addition to the aircrew and maintenance personnel, ACMS maintainers are required to synchronize all the moving parts so RPAs are able to fly.

The Airmen of the ACMS make fighting the war and saving lives possible every day.

While not unusual to see traditional cyber trained Airmen at other RPA locations maintaining GCSs, the ACMS is the only unit in the Air Force where communications Airmen have step beyond their traditional Air Force Specialty Code responsibilities to fully maintain the entire communications network of the RPA enterprise.

"There is no other unit in the Air Force that does what we do," said Maj. Raymond Chester, 432nd ACMS commander.  "Not only do we maintain the GCSs here at Creech used for combat across the globe, we also maintain local GCSs used in the formal training unit here to teach launch and recovery and train our operators."

This unique unit isn't just part of a seemingly ubiquitous mission; ACMS Airmen are paving the way to the future of RPA communications support while setting the foundation for the new era every day.

"Our Airmen were previously assigned to the flying squadrons and then maintenance before the ACMS stood up in 2011," said Master Sgt. William Quinn, 432nd ACMS lead production superintendent.

In addition to being a special breed of Airmen, there is no official training school for cyber Airmen to prepare to do the RPA mission at Creech AFB.

"We're made up of radar frequencies and cyber transport Airmen, but because of what we do here, the training we received in school doesn't really apply at Creech," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Wellens, 432nd ACMS RPA communications technician. "Everything we do is learned through on-the-job training which can be a difficult transition especially for those who have been to other bases."

The challenging feelings are shared by Airmen of all rank and skill levels.

"It's definitely a steep learning curve for everyone," said 1st Lt. Joyce Jackson, 432nd ACMS systems maintenance unit officer -in- charge. "These Airmen are expected to still be able to do their 'normal' jobs they've learned in technical training when they move to another base."

In addition to the unique learning requirements Airmen describe the most difficult challenge ACMS maintainers face is adapting to a constantly evolving weapons system while combating low manning and a junior force.

"We're getting new modifications for the equipment almost every day and that can be a challenge for us to keep up but also for the follow-on training schoolhouse," Quinn said.

Constant modification changes coupled with being approximately 40 people short of the personnel needed to meet manning requirements according to an Air Force Manpower Study conducted in 2013, the ACMS members are always on the go.

"We're especially undermanned with non-commissioned officers," Chester said. "That makes it challenging when we need training tasks signed off because only an NCO can do it."

Manning issues have been challenging since before the squadron existed.

"For a while the pilots and sensor operators were locked into Creech meaning they couldn't leave," Quinn said. "What most people don't know is that we were too. Now that the hold has been lifted we had a lot of people who changed duty stations, and most were replaced by brand-new Airmen, so a lot of experience is gone."

Like other RPA career fields Airmen retention after their first enlistment has proven to be challenging.

"It can be hard trying to keep people here because they can go down the road and get a job fairly easily and make more money," said Master Sgt. Timothy Serrano, 432nd ACMS first sergeant.

Maj. Chester added that the Air Force gives the Airmen quality training and then they can be hired by a civilian contracting company for substantially more pay. For those who stay, it's mostly because of a passion for serving their nation. Sometimes knowing they can make more money in the private sector, the Airmen choose to stay out of that passion and devotion.

Despite the struggles and difficulties, the ACMS works 24/7, 365, to ensure the ISR mission is completed.

"I'm so amazed at the intellect and skills of everyone in the unit," Chester said. "I see the passion, they're proud of what they do, which is supporting the mission every day and it's incredible."

British woman to run AF half-marathon in girl's honor

by Amy Rollins
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

8/21/2015 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The daughter of two Airmen stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base may cross the finish line of the U.S. Air Force Half Marathon Sept. 19 -- in the arms of either her father or a British woman who is coming to run in her honor.

Grace Golembiewski, 2, the daughter of Tech. Sgt. Paul Golembiewski and Tech. Sgt. Amanda Golembiewski, is part of a group called I Run 4. The group assigns abled runners to individuals who are unable to run themselves. Helen Hart, a woman from Derbyshire, England, was matched on Aug. 4, 2013, with Grace, who was diagnosed with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita at birth.

Arthrogryposis is an umbrella term that describes anyone who has two or more joint contractures -- joints that are stiff and hard to move. Grace has a severe case of this condition as she is affected in all her limbs: fingers, wrists, shoulders, elbows and hips. Grace also has a multi-cystic right kidney. Her right kidney was destroyed by cysts while she was developing in the womb.

Tech. Sgt. Paul Golembiewski is a training and marketing NCO at the 338th Recruiting Squadron, and Tech. Sgt. Amanda Golembiewski is a public health instructor at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine.

The Golembiewski family keeps in touch with Hart via mail, Facebook and daily email messages.

"When we first started this journey, Helen made it a goal to run the total amount of miles from Derbyshire, England, to Dayton," Amanda Golembiewski said. "She is an inspiration to us. When Grace has an accomplishment, Helen celebrates with us by running. When Helen runs an extra five miles or pushes herself on a run, Grace does a little bit more physical therapy that day. They are a team, and Grace wouldn't be where she is at without the love and support of a total stranger, who is now our family."

Whenever Hart runs a race, she sends Grace her medal and bib.

"These medals are hung in Grace's room to remind us that someone else out there is supporting Grace and wants Grace to succeed just as much as we do," she said.

On days when Amanda Golembiewski has felt challenged as a parent of a special needs child, she often receives a message from Hart saying she had run six miles that day or a 5K in Grace's honor. That helps the mother feel she wasn't alone.

"I owe a lot of that to Helen. On days I might have given up, I was reminded that if a person half a world away is running for Grace I can make it through one more day of therapy or have the courage to agree to the next surgery," she said.

Both women's determination has led to real results for Grace. After two years of therapy, six months of serial casting and three surgeries, the 2-and-a-half-year-old is standing and walking with orthotics and a mini-walker. She can stand up to an hour now with assistance.

Amanda Golembiewski also acknowledged the work, care and therapies Grace has received at United Rehabilitation Services of Greater Dayton, where the little girl attends child care.

"Grace being able to stand on her own for 30 seconds and for an hour, assisted, is because of URS and the weekly physical and occupational therapy they do with her," she said.

Grace and her family will be along the running path and at the finish line cheering on Hart and Paul Golembiewski.

"If we are lucky we will be able to have Grace and Helen cross the finish line together, as a team," Amanda Golembiewski said. "Helen has been an inspiration to me and my family as Grace has been for her family. They are two strangers who have formed a bond of love and support. It is truly amazing. They are a team."

The family is excited to meet Hart in person on Sept. 17 and plans to host a large gathering featuring a homemade pasta dinner on Sept. 18, the night before the marathon. Amanda Golembiewski's Air Force "family" from her office also will be in attendance.

"It will be the first time our family gets to meet someone who has selflessly encouraged and supported our daughter," she said.

But the big moment for the Golembiewski family will occur the next day.

"The plan is to have either Helen or my husband carry Grace across the finish line -- depending on who is fresher," Amanda Golembiewski said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

AF adopts new dragon

Air Force Office of Information Dominance and Chief Information Officer / Published August 20, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Lt. Gen. Bill Bender, the Air Force chief information officer, and Maj. Gen. Martin Whelan, the Air Force director of future operations, have partnered to increase awareness of the importance of operations security and cybersecurity to protect the Air Force mission, personnel and their families.

“We are thrilled with this new partnership,” Whelan said. “Cybersecurity is such an integral part to ensuring operations security in our Air Force. We want our Air Force personnel to understand that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility and that their daily actions can make or break a mission and/or put themselves and their families at risk.”

Bender agreed. “We are hoping that by pairing our OPSEC and new cybersecurity logos together it will remind personnel of the relationship that OPSEC and cybersecurity share in keeping our personnel and our mission safe.”

OPSEC has always been an important factor in the military. The official OPSEC program launched during Vietnam in 1966 with Operation Purple Dragon. “Purple Dragon” was the unclassified nickname, given by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for a study done on the loss of B-52 Stratofortresses in Southeast Asia. National leadership became concerned that there was a security breach since U.S. B-52 bombers were being shot down at a very high rate. It was apparent that the North Vietnamese had been gaining prior knowledge of bombing mission times and locations. Thus, Operation Purple Dragon was born and it was soon discovered that existing procedures allowed flight plans to be received directly by Hanoi.

OPSEC has since become an established process used by military, federal, state and local agencies, as well as private companies. Each year, additional businesses realize the importance of OPSEC in their day-to-day operations to help protect proprietary and sensitive information from disclosure, espionage and exploitation. Even at home, OPSEC can help protect a person’s identity, family and home from those who strive to exploit their information for personal gain.

In today’s world, modern technology instantly enables any individual to share information around the globe. Though people may intentionally share this information with relatives and business partners they could also be unintentionally providing access of this same information to terrorist and criminal organizations. Cybersecurity and OPSEC can help protect personal and critical information. As threats around the world continue to grow, OPSEC will always be there to protect a precious commodity: information.

Today, the OPSEC (Purple) Dragon symbolizes the importance of protecting critical information and observable actions about mission capabilities, limitations and intentions in order to prevent or control exploitation by an adversary. The new Cybersecurity Dragon falls in the same family by symbolizing the importance of cybersecurity to protect and secure our personnel and their mission allowing the Air Force to fly, fight and win in a cyber-contested environment.

The OPSEC Dragon has done a superb job reminding Air Force personnel of the importance of operations security for decades. When partnered with the new Air Force Cybersecurity Dragon, the two act as a powerful reminder to help protect Air Force personnel, their missions and their families.

“Virtually every mission across the range of military operations depends on cybersecurity and every Airman has an important role to play with respect to OPSEC and cybersecurity,” Bender said. “We are much more effective when everyone plays their part.”