Military News

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Air Force Nutritionists Develop Better Diet for Special Operators



By Air Force Staff Sgt. Victor J. Caputo, 24th Special Operations Wing

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla., March 7, 2018 — Air Force special operations forces project airpower onto the battlefield. Dozens of different factors may influence their performance, but there’s one area that can be easily overlooked: nutrition.

Lindsey Pfau, a dietitian with the 720th Special Tactics Group, is setting out to make people rethink how special operations airmen should be fed in a deployed environment.

“We’ve got years of nutritional science to tell us what foods are good for our bodies from a health perspective and from a performance perspective,” Pfau said. “This is to push your body to the limit, to be bigger, faster, and stronger, to stay awake longer, to avoid muscle fatigue, to prevent cramping, to think more clearly.”

Diet Makes a Difference

She added, “The food you’re eating throughout the day out in the field is affecting your decision-making, and your precision, speed and movement as you’re carrying 60 pounds of kit and gear. Your decision potentially impacts you, your team, your unit and your country.”

Due to high-intensity missions, special operations forces have unique nutritional needs to meet daily operational demands, Pfau said.

“The idea is to provide these warfighters with food that is more performance based than traditional field feeding and gives access to larger portions to provide the calories they need to perform their duties,” she said. “These guys are easily burning up to 4,000 calories in a day just to do their job, so we can’t base their nutritional necessities on a generic 2,000-calorie-per-day diet.”

Emerald Warrior is an annual irregular warfare exercise directed by U.S. Special Operations Command here. This year’s installment, which started Feb. 22, was the first time that Pfau and Socom’s deployment cell personnel were able to collaborate on providing an updated, specialized menu to special operations forces personnel.

The exercise operates out of a simulated deployed forward operating base with a dining facility running out of a tent, hosting hundreds of patrons during the three meals offered daily.

More Hot Meals

Pfau worked to increase the number of hot meals available per day from two to three, provide more fresh vegetables and fruit. Troops served themselves as opposed to having set portion sizes.

“We need food that is going to be digested well, satisfy them, give them sustainable energy, and, once their mission is done, will help with muscle recovery,” she said.

The long-term goal, Pfau said, is to develop the nutrition plan to benefit all special operations forces.

“We’re starting to evolve the menu planning for all of Socom, so it’s not just for Special Tactics but also SEAL teams and other special operations forces,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Flint Almiron, a services craftsman with Socom’s deployment cell. “Right now, we have more fresh-item selection, more variety and the quality of the food is much better -- it’s not just MREs.” Military field rations, known as MREs or meals ready to eat, are the meals often provided to service members in the field.

The realities of being a special tactics operator involve a lot of hard, physical and cognitive work, Pfau said. The tough work those airmen go through requires special care, and the nutritional side of recovery is just as important as physical and mental fitness.

“These jobs place a lot of stress on your joints and your bones. There’s a lot of inflammation going on. And then, if we’re serving up high-inflammatory foods throughout their career, it takes a toll,” Pfau said. “That’s why on our menu, we have lots of anti-inflammatory foods like avocados, blackberries and blueberries. We’re trying to reduce our saturated fat intake, we’ve reduced the amount of butter in our recipes, and we’re using leaner-quality meats and fresh ingredients.”

U.S., Japanese Sailors Participate in MultiSail 2018 Exercise



By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara B. Sexton, Task Force 70

APRA HARBOR, Guam, March 7, 2018 — Units and personnel from the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force are scheduled to participate in the annual bilateral training exercise MultiSail 2018, March 8-14.

MultiSail is an annual bilateral training exercise that improves interoperability between U.S. and Japanese forces. In 2018, the focus of the exercise will be on improving fundamental skills such as tracking and defeating submarines, combating other surface forces, live-fire training and interoperability with U.S. and JMSDF units.

Boosting Combat Effectiveness at Sea

"MultiSail is an opportunity for our ships to increase our combat proficiency at sea," said Navy Capt. Jon Duffy, commander, Destroyer Squadron 15. "We have designed MultiSail to exercise how we detect, locate, track and engage simulated units at sea, in the air, on land, and underwater with our Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force allies to help us increase our interoperability in a range of mission areas."

Participants include USS Antietam, USS Curtis Wilbur, USS Benfold, USS Mustin, JS Fuyuzuki, and a number of subsurface and other special units.

"MultiSail 2018 provides us a valuable opportunity to increase JMSDF tactical capabilities and to strengthen our interoperability with our U.S. Navy allies," said Cmdr. Kazuteru Hirano, JS Fuyuzuki's commanding officer. "The Japan-U.S. alliance is stronger than it has ever been, and it is growing stronger."

The participating forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of our combined forces, officials said. These capabilities range from maritime security operations to more complex anti-submarine and air defense exercises.

The lessons learned from exercises like MultiSail 2018 will assist the U.S. Navy and the JMSDF to develop regional capabilities that provide a full range of options in defense of their interests and those of their allies and partners around the world.

Intel Chiefs Tell Senate Committee of Dangers to America



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 6, 2018 — These are dangerous times, and the threat of war is greater now than at any time since the end of the Cold War, the director of national intelligence told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.

Dan Coats and Army Maj. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr., the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, gave the committee their assessments of the threats facing America.

“We have entered a period that can best be described as a race for technological superiority against our adversaries, who seek to sow division in the United States and weaken U.S. leadership,” Coats said.

The director said the cyber threat is one of his greatest concerns and is his top priority. “From U.S. businesses to the federal government to state and local governments, we are under cyberattack,” he said. “While state actors pose the greatest cyber threats, the democratization of cyber capabilities worldwide has enabled and emboldened a broader range of actors to pursue their malign activities against us.”

Russia will pursue even more aggressive cyberattacks with the intent of degrading U.S. democratic values and weakening American alliances. “Persistent and disruptive cyber and influence operations will continue against United States and European countries and other allies, … using elections … as opportunities to undermine democracy and sow discord and undermine our values,” he said.

Coats expects China, Iran and North Korea to continue their cyberattacks.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

The director switched to weapons of mass destruction, saying that “North Korea will be the most volatile and confrontational WMD threat this year, and Russia will remain the most capable WMD power and is currently expanding its nuclear weapons capabilities.”

Syria used chemical weapons on its own people and terror groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are pursuing the capability, Coats said.

The terror threat remains from ISIS to al-Qaida to Lebanese Hezbollah, he said. Iran remains the major facilitator of these groups.

“North Korea is a critical threat to the United States and our allies in Northeast Asia,” Ashley said. “North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pressed his nation down a path to develop nuclear weapons and deliver them with ballistic missiles that can reach South Korea, Japan, Guam and the United States.”

The rapidly growing China is a concern to intelligence professionals, “In 2017 China’s armed forces continued implementing sweeping organizational reforms to enhance the ability of the People's Liberation Army to conduct joint operations, fight short-duration, high-intensity regional conflicts at greater distances from the Chinese mainland,” the general said.

“China's military modernization plan includes the development of capabilities for long-range attacks against adversary forces that might deploy or operate in the Western Pacific Ocean,” he continued. “China is leveraging its growing power to assert sovereignty claims over features in the East, the South China Sea, and the China-India border region.”

Looking ahead, Ashley said he believes China’s increasingly lethal joint force will be capable of holding U.S. and allied forces at risk at greater distances from the Chinese mainland.

Russian Revanchism

Russia sees the United States as a major threat. “The Kremlin seeks to establish a sphere of influence over former Soviet Union states, prevent further eastward expansion of NATO and ensure that no major international issues are addressed without Russia's input or at its expense,” Ashley said. “The Kremlin views the powerful survivable strategic nuclear force as a foundation of Russia's national security, and sees modernized general-purpose and nonstrategic nuclear forces as critical to meeting its conventional military threats.”

In Afghanistan, he sees Afghan forces building on incremental success by continuing to develop offensive capabilities. The Taliban will threaten Afghan stability, the general said, and undermine public confidence by conducting intermittent high-profile attacks in urban areas, increasing influence in rural terrain, threatening district centers and challenging vulnerable Afghan forces locations.

“Iran remains the primary nation-state challenger to U.S. interests and security within the Middle East,” Ashley said. “Iran continues to improve its conventional capabilities to deter adversaries and defend its homeland. Iran has the region's largest ballistic military arsenal. They can strike targets throughout the region up to 2,000 kilometers from their borders.”

Iran remains committed to modernizing its military, building the capacity of its partners in the region, while balancing a desire to gain from its integration into the global economic system, he said.