Military News

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Face of Defense: Dedication Pays Off for Recruiting Center Leader


By Alun Thomas, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Phoenix

RIO RANCHO, N.M., Nov. 9, 2017 — There’s a credo Army Staff Sgt. Michael Stone lives by -- always try your hardest to the best of your abilities.

In 2017, Stone has lived up to his personal creed by pursuing and achieving excellence at the highest levels in U.S. Army Recruiting Command.

Stone, the center leader for the Rio Rancho Recruiting Center, Albuquerque Recruiting Company, New Mexico, finished as runner-up in the USAREC Center Leader of the Year competition. This year he also was the distinguished honor graduate in his senior leader course and was inducted into the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club.

Leadership Competitions

Stone’s eventful year began with various center leader competitions, which he won at the battalion level in Phoenix, before winning the 5th Recruiting Brigade portion, allowing him to compete nationally at USAREC in April.

“I had to really push myself at every competition. At the brigade event I was competing against the best center leaders in the brigade and it was extremely competitive,” he said. “I managed to win though and went on to USAREC, which was even more challenging.”

Stone went through a series of events at the culminating USAREC center leader competition, with a ruck march, weapons qualification, a written essay, an Army Physical Fitness Test and a board appearance, all components of the event.

“It was hard … I was competing against the best of the best and ended up finishing second,” he said. “The soldier who beat me was from special operations recruiting. We were clearing houses, performing battle drills, medical lanes, call for fire lanes … I felt I held my own considering the quality of the competitors.”

Despite finishing runner-up, Stone said he gained an immense feeling of satisfaction and pride at his performance, helping showcase himself and the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion.

“I wanted to go up there and represent my battalion and brigade to the best of my abilities. That’s how I approach everything in my life,” he said. “I don’t consider it competing against other people. Instead, I think of it as competing against myself and being the best I can be.”

Striving to be the Best

Stone added, “Sometimes you succeed and sometimes your best isn’t enough, but at least you’re happy with your results because you’re doing the best you can.”

Following the competition, he attended his senior leader course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in August, where he attained tremendous results among his class of 62 noncommissioned officers in the recruiting field.

“I had tough competition in my class, but I had the top [Army Physical Fitness Test] score and the highest grade point average, which got me the distinguished honor graduate award,” Stone said. “I was also nominated as the distinguished leader by my peers.”

But the icing on the cake was competing to become part of the hallowed Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, an honor bestowed on a select few NCO’s.

“The week after graduating SLC I went straight into the USAREC Audie Murphy competition,” Stone explained. “I’d already been through the brigade Audie Murphy board, which was a grueling 90 minutes of sitting in front of the battalion sergeants major and being asked different questions. So I was prepared.”

In addition to the board appearance, he took another APFT, wrote a 1,000-word essay and performed a written examination on various Army subjects.

This allowed Stone to reach the final USAREC level, which was similar to the brigade event, but one he was prepared for.

“When you get to USAREC Audie Murphy, you’ve been nominated based on who you are and what you do on an everyday basis,” he said. “The way I view the Audie Murphy club is: I’m there because of what I do day in and day out, because you’re not competing against anyone to win.”

Being inducted into the club was the result of extensive research and training for the board, Stone said, which was intense and demanding.

“The preparation was no joke. Not only was I learning every Army skill, but every subject and regulation possible,” he explained. “You’re also learning the Army Creed, Army Song, the NCO Creed … and on top of that is Audie Murphy’s history, which is very long.”

The hard work was validated when he was inducted, which Stone said was both a proud and humbling moment.

“To be recognized like that into a club that’s so prestigious was a proud moment and one I hope can motivate other NCO’s to do the same,” he said.

Stone said his motivation for achieving his successes comes from always pushing himself to do his best.

“I try to do everything to the best of my ability. And to set yourself apart, you have to be willing to do things other people aren’t willing to do,” he said. “You’ve got to go above and beyond. So the way I look at it, no matter where I am or what position I’m going to be in, I’m going to do everything to reach my potential.”

Family Tradition of Service Drives Deputy Secretary Shanahan



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2017 — Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan has only one picture hanging on the wall of his Pentagon office: that of his father, Mike, a Vietnam veteran who instilled a sense of service in his son.

Below the picture, hangs his father's Bronze Star Medal from Vietnam, and his father's badge as chief of police at the University of Washington.

‘I Grew Up in a Family That Values Service’

"I grew up in a family that values service," Shanahan said in his first interview since taking office. "People ask me, 'Why did you take this job?' I think about the people who go to Afghanistan or wherever they are deployed and how hard that is, and they do it multiple times.

“My Dad was the tough guy,” he continued. “I only saw him cry once in my life: It was when he had to leave his family to go to Vietnam. If [today's service members] do that all the time, then how hard is it to come here and work on what's important here?”

The deputy secretary came to the department from Boeing, where he worked on commercial aircraft as well as military programs like missile defense and rotor aircraft. He is an engineer, with a twist.

“People are the answer, not the problem,” he said. “Here, the talent is incredible.”

At Boeing, the secretary ran a building twice as big as the Pentagon and with twice as many people. The scale of the Pentagon does not bother him. “The dynamics, the human nature part is the same,” he said. “The difference is the consequences. If you get something wrong here, it’s huge. The operational part is not intimidating, but the consequences are.”

Supporting Service Members

The deputy secretary’s job is to ensure that service men and women downrange get all the resources they need. Shanahan’s mission is to “make their lives easier,” he said. “That's my fuel.”

Shanahan said he and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis make a good team.

"He understands the lethal part and I am the engineer who can get it," Shanahan said of his work relationship with Mattis.

Coming from the aerospace industry, Shanahan’s biggest concern has always been safety. “In DoD, that means the safety of our men and women and country and that supersedes everything,” he said. “But there is also the solvency side of this.”

Balancing Security, Solvency

Mattis and he are a one-two punch, Shanahan said. Mattis has the vision, he said, and "I have a lot of experience at being able to deliver the effects at the right price. A big part of my job is to take the complexity out of this building and the department so we can do more. I think of it as how do we reduce the stress and the pressure on our team.”

That's where readiness is so important, he said, which includes delivering the right kinds of training, the right mix of personnel and making sure the health care delivers at the right level.

“My job here is to get the resources through the budget process, avoid being sucked in to reacting so you can spend your time really working on some of these longer-term issues,” the deputy secretary said.

Planning for the Future

This is difficult for people in the military because most “grow up doing nothing but operations,” he said. “You have to have this duality: the trains need to run on time, but you have to lay track for the future.”

The deputy said he works on two-, five- and 10-year horizons. “Two years is really the period in which you can have an operational effect,” Shanahan said. “Five years is where you can start to develop the capability, and 10 years is how long it takes to really change the culture in such a way that it will perpetuate.”

Since taking office in July, the deputy secretary said he has been doing more listening and learning than speaking. Still, he has been tasked to deliver a strategy driven budget “that allows us to compete and win,” he said.

The strategy has to have the resources dedicated to it to enable it to work, Shanahan said. The United States must plan for a military capable of confronting the threats of the future, he said, and it must fight today’s battles.

Streamlining Processes

Shanahan said the DoD budget must restore readiness and then reorganize so things don't take as long. That means, he added, streamlining processes wherever possible.

The department, he said, has accumulated processes to the extent that red tape can overwhelm sense. “You have to just cut it like the Gordian Knot,” Shanahan said.

And, groups working in the Pentagon are making progress on this, the deputy secretary said. Contrary to popular belief that Congress ties the hands of the department, many of the changes these groups propose can be done with a minimum of hassle, he said.

One example involves changes to make acquisition more effective, Shanahan said. “We haven’t found anything to stop us from being more efficient today,” he said. “We will run into some, at some point in time, but there is nothing in the short term preventing us from making significant changes.”

Developing the strategy and tying the resources tightly to strategy will be key, he said, and there are technologies that will help. “We’re not going to buy the future, but with the right technology we will enable our men and women to compete differently, and that’s where we will get the edge,” Shanahan said.

Looking Forward

The department is working on these technologies and processes, the deputy secretary said. “People like to read that the future is bleak and that really bad things are going to happen to us,” he said. “I would argue that we have sufficient resources and talent.”

How the resources and talent are marshaled needs to change, he said.

Shanahan stresses the talent he has found in DoD. The department has people who understand the different domains and technologies and how they fit together to produce military capabilities. “Every door I look behind, I am blown away,” he said.

The military is a team, and service men and women prove that in the joint forces, Shanahan said. “We are looking to embody that at the [Office of the Secretary of Defense] and DoD levels,” he said.

Shanahan said Pentagon teams are looking at strategy, technology, acquisition.

“The one that is fun lately is getting on the Cloud,” he said.

“When I interviewed with the secretary for the job, I asked him what his goals were for the department … he talked about lethality, he talked about the importance of expanding and strengthening our alliances and partnerships, but he [also] said he wanted organizations outside the government to benchmark DoD for effectiveness,” the deputy secretary said.

Matching the Speed of Business

Right now, the speed of government lags behind the speed of business, said Shanahan, noting the Pentagon reform groups that he’s empaneled want to reverse that.

“With the scale we have and the smart people, I think we can be faster than business,” he said. “We are spending a lot of time streamlining and the cloud is an example. When you enable the infrastructure the right way, you can move at incredible rates of speed. If you ask what’s the most important attribute, it’s speed.

“We are trying to be as fast and as nimble as the men and women downrange,” he continued. “We are putting in place the tools needed to compete and win. Whether it is business or government, speed is the measure of performance.”

DoD’s impetus has to be the men and women actually doing the work, Shanahan said.

“My Dad’s picture is a constant reminder to me,” he said. “We need to have deep appreciation of the missions that they do and the sacrifices they make.”

The Marine Corps’ secret agents get their own 007



By Ashley Calingo, Marine Corps Systems Command

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- The Marine Corps is equipping Marines with a new weapon, providing enhanced concealed carry capabilities at an accelerated rate and lower cost to the Corps.

The Glock 19M—called the M007 by the Corps—replaces the M9 service pistol for personnel requiring a weapon that can be easily concealed.

The Marine Corps requires that all accredited Marine Corps Criminal Investigators, both civilian and military, be armed with a concealable pistol when on duty in civilian attire. This concealed weapon capability ensures those performing official duties—such as law enforcement or security personnel—are not readily identified as being armed.

“The M007 has a smaller frame and is easier to conceal, making it a natural selection to meet the Marine Corps’ conceal carry weapon requirement,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Nelson, Individual Weapons project officer at Marine Corps Systems Command.

In coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which adopted the weapon in 2016, the Corps fielded the M007 earlier this year to Marines and civilians in the Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Division, as well as members of Helicopter Squadron One—also known as Marine One.

Aside from concealability, the M007 has several physical improvements over its predecessor. The grip lacks finger grooves but has a textured frame, improving the ergonomics of the weapon and providing a consistently comfortable grip with traction for a wider range of users. The ambidextrous slide stop allows for both right- and left-handed use. The magazine release of the M007 can also be changed and the magazine well is flared, making the system easier to reload, said Nelson.

Collaboration between the product team at MCSC and the FBI played a key role in the Corps’ ability to hasten the otherwise lengthy acquisition process.

“The fielding of the M007 is an example of how we can streamline the acquisition process by reviewing another service or agency’s test data to see if it fits the Marine Corps’ need,” said Lt. Col. Paul Gillikin, Infantry Weapons team lead at MCSC. “We received the initial request for a new concealed carry weapon system in April 2016. By collaborating with the FBI, we were able to procure, establish sustainability plans and start fielding the weapon to Marines by May 2017.”

Typically, the acquisition process of a new weapons system—from the time the requirement is received by MCSC to the time the system is fielded to the fleet—takes months, if not years, to complete. By leveraging thorough test data performed by the FBI, MCSC’s team reduced their own testing time. The team also carefully planned to ensure the M007 is fully supported, sustainable, and meets all logistics and safety requirements, enabling MCSC to meet and deliver the concealed carry weapons systems Marines need in a relatively quick turnaround time, said Gillikin.

Program Manager Infantry Weapons, which falls under MCSC’s Ground Combat Element Systems portfolio, manages the concealed carry weapons program for the Marine Corps.