Tuesday, October 27, 2015

USS Farragut Departs Marseille, France

From U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

MARSEILLE, France (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) departed Marseille, France, Oct. 26 after the completion of a scheduled port visit.

During the port visit, Farragut Sailors spent time with French dignitaries and the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) Mess "Ganteaume", and provided shipboard tours to various supporting organizations in France.


"I enjoyed learning more about the French culture through its people and historic sights. I hope to come back again!" - Quartermaster 2nd Class Alex Hitchens

"It was enjoyable visiting and experiencing the French culture after working with the French navy in the 5th Fleet area of operation." - Lt. Danny Williams, USS Farragut (DDG 99), electronic materials officer

Quick Facts:

Cmdr. Cory R. Applebee, Farragut's commanding officer, Cmdr. Megan Thomas, Farragut's executive officer, and several other Farragut officers attended a luncheon at the residence of the Commandant la Marine a Marseille, Capt. Frederic Paillat. Monique Quesada, Consul General in Marseille and other French dignitaries were also in attendance.

Farragut previously operated with the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle while in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operation. Farragut's crew once again enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the people of France; this time in the beautiful city of Marseille.

Farragut Sailors participated in various Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours of Marseilles and Avignon. Several Farragut Sailors were hosted by the French NCO Mess "Ganteaume" for a luncheon and a tour of Marseille.

Farragut, homeported in Mayport, Fla., is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.

U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

USNS Lewis and Clark Arrives to Support KOA MOANA 15-3

By Grady Fontana, Military Sealift Command Far East

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Military Sealift Command's (MSC) dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE 1) arrived at Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati, Oct. 24, as part of its continuing support of Exercise KOA MOANA (KM) 15-3.

Exercise KM 15-3 is a four-month international exercise allowing participants from the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to work with host nation participants from various countries in the Pacific Island Nations of Oceania.

The first portion of the exercise was in Tahiti, followed by a leg in Fiji, where Marines conducted theater security cooperation (TSC) activities with host nation partners.

After Tarawa, the Lewis and Clark, which is also part of Maritime Prepositioning Ships Squadron (MPSRON) 2, will carry her personnel and cargo to Vanuatu for more TSC events, then finish off the exercise in Timor Leste in November. The Lewis and Clark is scheduled to return to its homeport in early December.

While training in Tarawa, the Marines will conduct military-to-law enforcement activities with local police. Members of the Navy and Coast Guard will participate in Oceanic Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) operations, as they did in Fiji, in support of maritime law enforcement operations along with partners from the Police Maritime Unit Tarawa.

"While the Marines are training on the island with the host nation military or law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard has taken this opportunity to use USNS Lewis and Clark, which is the platform for KOA MOANA 15-3, to conduct OMSI patrols with the nations these TSCs have been scheduled," said Navy Capt. Paul D. Hugill, commodore, MPSRON-2.

OMSI is a Secretary of Defense program aimed to diminish transnational illegal activity on the high seas in the Pacific Island Nations of Oceania's exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and enhance regional security and interoperability with partner nations.

The Coast Guard is responsible for patrolling the waters around the numerous islands associated with the U.S. throughout the region. Each of these islands has territorial waters stretching out to 12 miles from shore. Beyond that, stretching out 200 nautical miles are EEZs, an area defined by international law that allows each nation exclusive rights to the exploration and use of marine resources.

During the OMSI portion of KM 15-3, law enforcement agents from the Police Maritime Unit Tarawa, and Navy and Coast Guard personnel, will ride the Lewis and Clark and intercept and board commercial fishing vessels operating inside the Kiribati EEZ. The combined team will be looking for potential violations.

According to Taraa Teekea, vessel monitor system officer for Police Maritime Unit Tarawa, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has a significant negative effect on Kiribati's economy.

Outside of KOA MOANA, the Police Maritime Unit Tarawa conducts their own operations about six to eight times a year. Their missions are typically 10 days at-sea, with boarding an average of 30 suspected fishing boats during each operation.

"We are looking for those who are conducting illegal fishing," said Teekea. "Some of the common violations are invalid fishing license, no license to transit through our EEZ, over-fishing certain types of fish, and vessels with no [EEZ] entry and exit reports."

The OMSI memorandum of understanding between the Department of Defense (DoD), the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helps to deter and prevent various threats to maritime security and transnational crime, encourage mutually beneficial partnerships with Pacific Island Nations, promote interoperability, enhance maritime domain awareness and improve economic stability throughout Oceania.

The program leverages DoD assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting maritime law enforcement operations in Oceania.

According to USCG Lt. Lisa M. Hatland, OMSI liaison, U.S. Coast Guard District 14 out of Honolulu and on board the Lewis and Clark for KM 15-3, since the Coast Guard doesn't have all the assets it requires in order to patrol this region as often as they would like or to enact all the bilateral ship rider's agreements that they have with partner nations, the [memorandum of understanding] (MOU) with the Navy allows them to use naval vessels.

"Through OMSI, the Coast Guard exacts an MOU with the DoD in order to supplement Coast Guard cutter deployments with naval assets that are transiting across Oceania," the lieutenant added. "The MOU allows us to put Coast Guard boarding teams on board DoD ships to conduct Coast Guard missions, and it also permits us to embark foreign maritime law enforcement agents so they can enforce laws in their own sovereign waters."

Initiatives like OMSI help the U.S. to project a maritime law enforcement presence beyond what the U.S. Coast Guard can do alone.

KOA MOANA also serves as a test for the Lewis and Clark on how well cargo and ammunition ship platforms will perform in this type of mission. The exercise is the first time a dry cargo and ammunition ship is being used for a Coast Guard mission.

"The Lewis and Clark is performing well. During KOA MOANA, we're doing everything that a [US combatant ship] can do with regards to command and control," said Hugill. "The reasons the Lewis and Clark is a good platform are the abundance of space, the capabilities of the deck crew and the ability to carry out around the clock operations."

Commander, Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron 2, currently embarked aboard USNS Lewis and Clark and operating in the Southern Eastern Pacific, maintains tactical control of the 10 ships that are forward deployed to Diego Garcia and carrying afloat prepositioned U.S. military cargo for the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. The squadron's mission is to enable the force from the sea by providing swift and effective transportation of vital equipment and supplies for designated operations.

MSC operates approximately 115 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at-sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

Exercise KOA MOANA 15-3 is a Marine Forces Pacific-sponsored exercise designed to enhance senior military leader engagements between allied and partner nations with a collective interest in military-to-military relations, and to discuss key aspects of military operations, capability development and interoperability.

Alaska Reservist presented decoration for Nepal relief efforts

by Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

10/27/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii  -- An Alaska Reservist was presented with a commendation medal for her work while supporting earthquake relief efforts in Nepal during a ceremony in the Courtyard of Heroes at the Pacific Air Force Headquarters Oct. 16.

"I deployed as the Joint Air Component Coordination Element Public Affairs officer in early May," said Maj. Ashley Conner, 477th Fighter Public Affairs officer. "The JACCE staged out of Thailand, but a small group of us went forward to Nepal with the 36th Contingency Response Group."

Once arriving in Nepal the CRG assisted the Nepalese accelerate airfield operations to increase the capacity to bring in aid via airlift, and ultimately distribute aid faster to those affected by the earthquake. Conner and Staff Sgt. Melissa White made up the Air Force Public Affairs team that went to work documenting the relief efforts, facilitating interviews and building relationships with partner nations.

Then on May 12 a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit just more than two weeks after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the nation.

"I had never felt an earthquake that strong before. In the distance you could see plumes of dust rising in the air as buildings began to collapse," she said.

The JTF had established a flightline aid station to receive injured Nepalese citizens that were transported to the airport from remote villages on U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys and UH-1Y Huey helicopters.

"When I arrived I saw children being treated for head injuries and other children being consoled while their parents received care. As a mom of two little girls, it was one of the hardest things to see," said Conner. "There were at least seven military photographers already documenting the activities, so I put down my camera and asked where they needed help."

The medical team lead sent Conner to the litter carry line to assist carrying patients from the aircraft to the medical tent.

"The first woman we transported was an elderly woman who had lost her leg in the earthquake. She was turned toward me on the cot and was chanting.  At one point she reached up to touch my face. I couldn't think of anything to say besides 'You are going to be okay'," said Conner.

"My grandmother saw these photos and said 'if I had been in that woman's situation, seeing your face would have been comforting.' That sentiment really hit home for me. Women, Peace and Security places importance on the need for women in relief and recovery operations to address the specific needs of women and children. My role and involvement that night was very small and there were many others who had a much greater impact, but I hope in some small way that my interaction -- whether through the women I helped that night or just my daily presence at the airport -- that I was able to have a positive impact on others during this operation."

In 2011 President Obama signed an Executive Order instituting a National Action plan on Women Peace and Security which recognizes that that promoting women's participation in conflict prevention, management, and resolution, as well as in post conflict relief and recovery, advances peace, national security, economic and social development, and international cooperation.

"The Air Force and the Department of Defense see the intrinsic value of women's roles in supporting areas affected by natural disasters," said Col. David Piffarerio, 477th Fighter Group commander. "Maj. Conner is a consummate professional and represented the U.S. military well in her support to the relief efforts in Nepal."

Air Force Awards Contract for Long Range Strike Bomber

Air Force News Service

WASHINGTON, October 27, 2015 — The Air Force announced today the contract award of engineering and manufacturing development and early production for the Long Range Strike Bomber, or LRS-B, to Northrop Grumman Corp.

"Over the past century, no nation has used air power to accomplish its global reach -- to compress time and space -- like the United States," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a Pentagon briefing announcing the contract. "Today, it's vital to innovate and reinvest in the people, strategies and technologies that will allow America's military to be dominant in the second aerospace century. I’ve made such innovation a hallmark of my commitment to the future of America’s military.

"Building this bomber is a strategic investment in the next 50 years, and represents our aggressive commitment to a strong and balanced force," Carter continued. "It demonstrates our commitment to our allies and our determination to potential adversaries, making it crystal clear that the United States will continue to retain the ability to project power throughout the globe long into the future."

Critical to National Defense

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the LRS-B is critical to national defense and is a top priority for the Air Force. “We face a complex security environment,” she said. “It’s imperative our Air Force invests in the right people, technology, capability, and training to defend the nation and its interests – at an affordable cost.”

The future threat will evolve through the introduction of advanced air defense systems and development of more capable surface to air missile systems. The LRS-B is designed to replace the Air Force’s aging fleets of bombers – ranging in age from 50+ years for the B-52 to 17+ years for the B-2 – with a long range, highly survivable bomber capable of penetrating and operating in tomorrow’s anti-access, area denial environment. The LRS-B provides the strategic agility to launch from the United States and strike any target, any time around the globe.

“The LRS-B will provide our nation tremendous flexibility as a dual-capable bomber and the strategic agility to respond and adapt faster than our potential adversaries,” said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force. “We have committed to the American people to provide security in the skies, balanced by our responsibility to affordably use taxpayer dollars in doing so. This program delivers both while ensuring we are poised to face emerging threats in an uncertain future.”

The Long Range Strike Bomber contract is composed of two parts. The contract for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development, or EMD, phase is a cost-reimbursable type contract with cost and performance incentives. The incentives minimize the contractor’s profit if they do not control cost and schedule appropriately. The independent estimate for the EMD phase is $21.4 billion in 2010 dollars.

The second part of the contract is composed of options for the first 5 production lots, comprising 21 aircraft out of the total fleet of 100. They are fixed price options with incentives for cost.  Based on approved requirements, the Average Procurement Unit Cost (APUC) per aircraft is required to be equal to or less than $550 million per aircraft in 2010 dollars when procuring 100 LRS-B aircraft. The APUC from the independent estimate supporting today’s award is $511 million per aircraft, again in 2010 dollars.

Based on current LRS-B independent cost estimates, the Air Force projects the APUC for the program will be approximately a third of the previous B-2 stealth aircraft.

‘A Reasonable and Achievable Estimate’

“We believe this is a reasonable and achievable estimate. If we remain disciplined and keep program requirements stable, we should beat this estimate,” said Dr. William A. LaPlante, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

The Air Force program office conducted design efforts with industry over the last three years to ensure requirements for the aircraft were stable and allowed for the use of mature systems and existing technology while still providing desired capability.

With that said, agile acquisition processes have been built into the LRS-B development and production efforts to ensure the Air Force delivers system capabilities for the best value.  The program also effectively incentivizes industry to achieve cost, schedule and performance goals.

The LRS-B is designed to have an open architecture allowing integration of new technology and timely response to future threats across the full range of military operations. This open architecture also provides the opportunity to retain competition across the life cycle of the program.

“The program acquisition strategy has carefully integrated lessons learned from previous programs and considered all elements of life cycle costs in its design for affordability,” Dr. LaPlante added. “We are primed to deliver this capability in the most affordable, efficient way possible.”
Basing decisions and future program milestones for the aircraft will take place over the next several years.