Military News

Monday, February 01, 2016

AF Selective Re-enlistment Bonus program list triples



By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs, / Published February 01, 2016

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials released details on the fiscal year 2016 Selective Re-enlistment Bonus program Feb. 1. This year’s program, consisting of 117 Air Force specialties eligible to receive bonuses, is a substantial increase from the previous year’s program where 40 Air Force specialty codes were eligible.

The program’s expansion coincides with Air Force plans to grow the force to meet mission demands in the face of changing geopolitical situations, and to address key gaps in nuclear, maintenance, cyber, intelligence, remotely piloted aircraft and support career fields through fiscal 2017.

According to Col. Robert Romer, the chief of military force policy for the Air Force, the criteria used to determine career fields eligible for re-enlistment bonuses includes current and projected manning levels, re-enlistment trends, career field force structure changes, career field stress levels, and the cost levels associated with training new Airmen.

“This year’s SRB list increased by nearly threefold as we focused on retaining key experience while continuing our deliberate plan to grow our force,” Romer said. “We are increasing our accessions and training pipeline to support the increased growth, but these new enlistees won’t be seasoned for some time. Retaining the experience we have is critical to our success in reaching target end strength.”

All AFSC bonus changes are effective Feb. 1, 2016.

For more information, contact the local military personnel flight re-enlistment section.

Face of Defense: Marine Bags Five-Peak Challenge



By Marine Corps Cpl. Angel Serna I Marine Expeditionary Force


MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., February 1, 2016 — Like many before him, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Kenneth Bell learned quickly that being a triathlete isn't about some lofty, beautiful talent -- it's about hard work and dedication.

Late last year, Bell participated in the Mission Trails Regional Park Five-Peak Challenge. The challenge, which takes place in the mountains east of San Diego, is to hike at one’s own pace to the summits of Cowles Mountain, Pyles Peak, Kwaay Paay, and North and South Fortuna -- all five peaks in the park. The total vertical elevation surpasses 6,000 feet.

Triathletes and other participants wanted to make it even more difficult and asked event officials if they could run -- not walk -- the 21-mile course.

“I just saw the challenge and thought that it looked pretty difficult, but I wasn’t going to get a running opportunity like that on Camp Pendleton,” said Bell, a helicopter mechanic with Headquarters Co., I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group. “It took me five hours and ten minutes to cover the 20 miles and all five peaks. It’s still probably one of the most challenging runs that I’ve ever done.”

Getting in Shape

Bell said he wasn’t into physically demanding challenges or the even concept of fitness until he joined the Marine Corps in June 2000.

An Atlanta native, he played basketball recreationally as a teen, but upon arriving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, he said he recognized that he was not as fit as he had hoped.

“I realized when I arrived at basic training that I had to run almost every other day, swim long distances, go on hikes and do a lot of pushups and pull-ups,” Bell said. “That’s when the physical fitness aspect of my life ramped up. I needed to get in shape.”

Bell completed basic training and went to his first military occupational specialty school to train as a helicopter/tiltrotor dynamic components mechanic. He said he was not content with that job, but wanted to stay in the same field and do more hands-on work. After four years, he became a helicopter mechanic.

Around the same time, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program was introduced, and Bell said it gave him an opportunity to challenge himself physically.

Lifestyle Change

MCMAP combines existing and new hand-to-hand and close-quarters combat techniques with morale- and team-building functions and instruction in the warrior ethos.

“My physical fitness peaked once MCMAP was introduced,” Bell said. “That was when I began to focus more on bettering myself, and it became easier when I found friends that had the same goals in mind.”

However, in 2008 Bell deployed to Iraq, where, he said, his training took a backseat. He rarely got to the gym, and, he said, when he came back home he knew his fitness level wasn't sufficient. He said he decided then to always make his workouts a priority and be a model Marine.

Eventually, Bell said, he stopped associating fitness with his identity as a Marine -- it just became a lifestyle.

“Physical fitness is my hobby,” he said. “It’s something I take great enthusiasm in. It’s my equivalent to how some people like to play video games, or others who like going fishing or riding motorcycles, but physical training is what I like to do.”

Enter Bicycle

Eventually, the fitness hobby -- and, he said, a movie about a bicycle messenger -- led Bell to buy a fixed-gear bicycle, which he started using to commute to and from work.

“One day I was zipping by on my bicycle and someone I know told me, ‘Hey, you’re pretty good on that bicycle. You should try participating in a duathlon. You just run, bike and run again,’” Bell said. “After that, I just got hooked.”

After participating in a duathlon, Bell said he was determined to try a triathlon, but he wasn’t a good swimmer. So, he practiced until he found a whole new level of fitness.

Bell said his first few events were unremarkable -- he was mostly competing to test himself. It wasn't until the 2015 Ironman 70.3 SuperFrog event that he said he was actually impressed with his results.

“My greatest accomplishment was at the SuperFrog Ironman,” Bell said. “My completion time was five hours and 14 minutes. That race was truly a testament to hard work and consistent training, because I had improved in all three disciplines of the sport and completed each event at my personal best.”

He has now participated in more than 25 endurance training events and was recently named a 2016 Bronze Ironman All World Athlete. Bell said one of his new goals is to earn a professional card as a triathlete.

“I don’t know if that route would turn into a career but, if I got to spend one year as a pro, that would be one of my top achievements,” said Bell.

673d SFS offers guidance for base weapon registration

by Airman 1st Class Javier Alvarez
JBER Public Affairs


2/1/2016 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Recently, 673d Security Forces Squadron provided guidance for privately owned weapon registration, storage and transportation to ensure the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson community remains compliant with current regulation.

On base, JBER Instruction 31-107, Weapons Registration and Child Access Prevention Policy, dictates proper weapon registration, transportation and storage.

"People with unregistered weapons on base, once discovered, will be detained and charged with an Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, failure to obey order or regulation," said Tech. Sgt. Jose Ramirez, 673d Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of reports and analysis. "Civilians are charged with carrying on federal property and [Anchorage Police Department] will be called in for that."

"Weapons will be confiscated ... [and] punishment will be given by the unit commander," he said. "It can ... [be any] form of non-judicial punishment."

"Part of what drives weapon registration on base is the need for full accountability," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Barrey, 673d Security Forces Squadron NCOIC of base access. "This allows first responders to know they are going to a location that has weapons and can take the proper precautions when reporting to a scene."

Units have a POW monitor/armorer assigned by the commander. POW monitors are in charge of ensuring all weapons owned by assigned troops living on base are in compliance.

"Those who wish to bring weapons on base are required to declare and register their POWs at the visitor control center, at either Richardson or Boniface gate, prior to entering base," Barrey said

He said, registrants will fill out AF Form 1314 [Firearms Registration] at the VCC and the information will be put into [the Security Forces Management Information System].

"[On JBER, it is] not allowed to carry concealed [weapons], with the exception of designated local, state and federal law enforcement personnel." Barrey said.

Those registering POWs will complete DD Form 2760, Qualification to Possess Firearms or Ammunition, acknowledging they don't have any prior convictions or anything on their record that restricts them from owning a weapon, he said.

The sale of any weapon registered on base must be reported within 48 hours from the point of sale, Barrey said.

"[673 SFS] Form 0107 can be picked up at VCC or people center," Ramirez said. "The wallet-sized form serves as proof of registration and allows individuals to transport their POWs on base."

"POWs will only be transported to and from their place of storage or purchase, to authorized sporting events or activities on or off the installation," he said. "Weapons are not allowed to be stored in vehicles."

Weapons of any kind are not allowed in the dormitories, barracks, temporary housing, billeting or any government-owned building on JBER, except for storage in security forces, Marine Corps and Army armories, Barrey said.

During transport, the weapon cannot be loaded, and both the ammunition and weapon have to be separated, he said.

In base housing, similar storage rules apply.

"The weapon will be unloaded while in the residence and the weapons will be locked up," Barrey said. "Ammunition can be stored in the same locked container, if the container cannot be easily penetrated or located in a spot where kids can get to it and put the two together."

Each military sponsor is responsible to ensure all weapons are registered, stored unloaded and secured in a locked container with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety devices.

"This is a big base, and you trust your neighbors are doing the right thing," Barrey said. "The biggest thing to remember is anything that you are allowed to have on the installation is a privilege."

Dover Security Forces Squadron implements Staff Arming Program

by Senior Airman William Johnson
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


2/1/2016 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- The threat to global security is ever present and with the rise of homegrown violent extremism and lone wolf attacks, the Air Force has reviewed its force protection and security policies, programs and procedures to better protect its Airmen and their families.

Since the fall of 2015, security experts and senior leadership at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, have worked meticulously on selective arming initiatives, called the Eagle Shield Program, to enhance the protection of all base personnel. One of these selective arming programs under Eagle Shield is the Security Forces Staff Arming Program.

Under the Security Forces Staff Arming Program, all security forces staff members have the ability to arm up with a M4 rifle or M9 handgun. This affords Team Dover additional armed defenders, providing a 200 percent increase in their response force.

"Now staff members are able to respond in the case where our patrols run into an active shooter incident or any incident where they might need backup," said Lt. Col. Dana Metzger, 436th Security Forces Squadron commander. "We have an immediate response capability that reduces the amount of time it takes to respond to an event that is happening."

Col. Michael Grismer, 436th Airlift Wing commander, has also authorized, under Air Force Instruction, security forces staff members to transport their government weapons in their privately owned vehicles on the installation.  This allows armed staff members to respond to emergency events in a greater capacity, potentially saving lives in the process.

"We can't stop an active shooter incident from happening," said Metzger. "But what we've found is that by getting to a scene quicker, we can limit that individual from doing the maximum amount of damage. The more patrolmen that I have enables us to reduce that time frame; saving lives and reducing damage."

Staff Sgt. Joshua Botto, 436th SFS trainer, said it takes only a few minutes to arm one defender, so by arming SFS staff members at the start of the duty day, they are saving valuable time in the event they need to respond to an emergency.

"They are armed with a M9 and they have all of their gear with them at work," said Botto. "So if there were a situation where they are needed, we don't have to spend that extra time to go and arm them up."

To cut down response time, additional SFS staff members will perform their daily duties while being armed and outfitted with the same gear as on-duty patrol forces. If called upon, they are available for immediate response and will respond in designated SFS vehicles. If additional responders are needed, other staff members can quickly don the rest of their gear and respond in additional security forces vehicles or POVs as needed.

Staff Sgt. John Broughal, 436th SFS unit training manager, said the biggest challenge with the program has been getting the base populace accustomed to seeing more security forces Airmen with guns, but he said this challenge also comes with its advantages.

"It acts as a deterrence tool," said Broughal. "It gives us more presence out there and enables us to shift the mindset that there are more cops carrying a firearm on the installation."

As terrorist and lone wolf attackers continue to evolve their tactics and target selections, the 436th SFS will continue to defend its flock as effectively and safely as possible.

"This is the first time that the Department of Defense, the Air Force and Dover has actually started to change our mindset on how we are going to react to these new threats we are going to be faced with," said Metzger. "We are trying to change the culture and change the mindset of everyone around us so that they know we got their six and we are changing our tactics to match and counter that of the bad guys."

Commissioners Discuss Report on Recommendations for Army’s Future



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, February 1, 2016 — Three members of a commission on the Army’s future shared their findings with defense reporters here last week.

Retired Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commission’s co-chairman, was joined Jan. 29 by Robert F. Hale and Kathleen H. Hicks at a Defense Writers’ Group breakfast to discuss the report they submitted to Congress earlier in the week. Hale is a former Defense Department comptroller, and Hicks formerly served as the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.

The commission recommended a total Army of 980,000 soldiers, with 450,000 in the active Army, 335,000 in the National Guard and 195,000 in the Army Reserve. Ham called this number the “absolute minimum” needed to defend the United States, its allies and its interests.

The number is controversial, because the service is on a glideslope to go below it. Ham said the commissioners deliberated long and hard on the right number and component breakdown for the force. “So in regard to the 980,000 force broken into the components, the phrase ‘minimally sufficient’ was carefully thought through,” he said, “meaning if you go below that, you start to increase risk pretty rapidly.”

Part of the Joint Force

The commission never lost sight of the fact that the Army is always part of the joint force, Ham said, noting that the services are now intertwined. “That is a strength,” he added, increasing reliance of each service on the others in terms of the capabilities they bring to the battlefield.

The Army is the executive agent for a number of different capabilities in the Defense Department, ranging from delivering mail to chemical demilitarization, Ham noted, as well as providing significant baseline forces for theater structure.

“Those are the less sexy parts of the Army, but they are nonetheless essential for joint operations anywhere in the world,” he said. “There is a tendency to focus on the brigade combat teams, aviation brigades – kind of the pointy end of the spear – [but] the sustaining parts, the generating force, are equally important to the Army, and we tried to make that point throughout the report.”

The commission made 63 specific recommendations, but these are not pie-in-the-sky options, Ham said. “If it was unconstrained,” he added, “we would obviously have many more recommendations about size and capability, but we felt that it was responsible to stay within reasonable bounds of what we anticipated the level of resourcing might be.”

The commissioners decided that the level of funding in the president’s budget for fiscal 2016 “is the minimum level of funding necessary to sustain the Army at levels of readiness and modernization to meet the nation’s security objectives,” Ham said.

‘Hard Choices Are Necessary’

The commission recommended keeping some AH-64 Apache helicopters in the National Guard, and offered a specific offset to pay for that, Hale said, stressing that “hard choices are necessary.” Aviators need more flying hours, he said, and the Army should station an armored brigade combat team in Europe. Air defense and missile defense capabilities all need to be built up, Hale added. The service should even look to disestablishing two infantry brigade combat teams to pay for these and other recommendations, he said.

“It’s always hard to get people to talk about offsets,” Hale said. “But we need to raise that issue, unless the budget is going to go up significantly.”

The bottom line, Hicks told the reporters, is that there are too many missions for the available force.

“We felt it was our responsibility to point out this mismatch,” she said. “We have set forth a set of missions and conditions for the Army participate in through the joint force, and the way we have it set up – including through modernization and structure – probably is not sustainable in the long term.”

The reduction of two infantry brigade combat teams highlights “the very hard choices the nation is going to have to make,” Ham said. The threats are out there, and in some cases, they are here, he said. What is new, Ham said, is the breadth of threats facing the United States, its allies and its interests.

“What I heard from the combatant commanders is they are concerned about the complexity, the diversity and the ever-evolving nature of the threats we have to face and the time we have to face them,” Ham said. “Think back to the campaigns the U.S. military has engaged in. In most cases, there has been time to prepare and respond to a threat.

“One of the concerns we heard was in this emerging security environment that we anticipate for the future, that time may not be there,” Ham said.

Hicks said commanders are concerned about the diffusion of technology and the effect that is having in thinking through how a land force can engage in the world.

“Many [commanders] are concerned that the United States cannot count on a modernization edge in many types of conflicts,” she said. “You have to make sure you have the leadership training and agility … to adapt quickly.”

Army Statement

Brig. Gen. Malcolm Frost, the Army’s chief of public affairs, issued a statement on the commission’s report shortly after it was released Jan. 28.

“The Army appreciates the independent insights and recommendations provided by the National Commission on the Future of the Army,” he said. “We are currently assessing the report and expect its recommendations to provide opportunities to strengthen the effectiveness of our force.”

The secretary of the Army and the Army chief of staff are leading that effort, which will include the coordinated efforts of the Army National Guard director and the chief of the Army Reserve, Frost said.

“The Army's evaluation of the costs, benefits and risks outlined is just now beginning,” he said. “We thank the commission for their insights and hard work.”