Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chairman’s European Trip Will Concentrate on NATO

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

LONDON -- Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford arrived here today beginning a trip that will concentrate on the North Atlantic alliance.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is meeting with his British counterpart Gen. Sir Nicholas Carter of the British army, the chief of defense staff.

The two men will journey to Warsaw, Poland, for the NATO Military Committee Meeting.

The committee, made up of all the alliance defense chiefs, will discuss the way forward following the successful NATO summit in July. To counter Russia, alliance heads of state agreed to raise the readiness of forces and make them more mobile. The leaders agreed to form two new commands to safeguard the link between North America and Europe, and a logistics command in Europe. The United States will host the Atlantic command, and Germany the logistics command.

Cyber Operations Center

The leaders also approved a new cyber operations center and counter-hybrid support teams.

The alliance also looked to combat terrorism, approving a new training mission in Iraq; more support for Jordan and Tunisia; a fully operational hub for the South in Naples in Italy, and more.

NATO defense chiefs will examine the road ahead and how each of these tasks will be accomplished.

Dunford and Carter have worked together in the past, most recently when Dunford commanded the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and Carter was the deputy commander. Carter took his position in June 2018 and this is his first Military Committee Meeting.

Face of Defense: Guard Soldier Competes in ‘American Ninja Warrior’

By Army Sgt. Zane Craig, Joint Force Headquarters, Pennsylvania National Guard

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania National Guard soldier competed in the “American Ninja Warrior” television show in Philadelphia, May 19-20.

Army Sgt. Tyler Waters, a motor transport operator with the 337th Engineer Battalion, 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, placed 17th in the competition.

“I've been a fan of the show for years and I've always felt that I had the combination of strength and athleticism to excel on any of the ever-changing courses,” Waters said.

Waters came within seconds of advancing to the national competition held in Las Vegas, which would have required finishing in the top 15.

‘The Experience Was Great’

“The experience was great,” he said. “It was interesting to see the different competitors from different walks of life that excelled in the course. Simply being physically fit, as some of the competitors appeared to be sculpted from stone, wasn't enough.”

Waters credits both his family and his unit for supporting him through the competition.

“Being in the Army definitely helped to sharpen what I already envisioned as a strength of mine; my mental focus and toughness,” he said.

In his civilian life, Waters is a Pennsylvania State Trooper, which he said has many similarities to a military career and allows him to carry the same mindset he’s cultivated as a soldier at all times.

This mentality enabled Waters’ success in the American Ninja Warrior contest, and he said he hopes to compete again and reach the finals.

EOD Technicians Describe Their Equipment, Mission

By Marine Corps Sgt. David Staten, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- As part of the Defense Department's “Showcasing Lethality” series, three Air Force explosive ordnance disposal technicians from the 11th Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, briefed reporters at the Pentagon today on what their EOD unit does in the national capital region.

Master Sgt. Aaron Lin, Staff Sgt, Javier Martinez, and Staff Sgt. Hunter Eckwall -- natives of Nevada, California and Wisconsin, respectively, all have served multiple deployments overseas, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The airmen emphasized how well prepared they are for any situation, noting that the Air Force has invested a lot in them, from the initial $1 million in training during their first year to the additional money spent on keeping them up to date and sharp in their specialty.

Martinez said the investment paid off when he served as the team lead in identifying and containing a suspicious package at a Secret Service mail facility on Andrews.

The EOD technicians spoke in front of a display that featured a variety of tools and equipment they use to help them get the job done. They control all of the equipment during an operation, they said, and their robots do not do anything without the team controlling them.

Equipment on Display

Among the equipment on display was a PackBot 310, which performs dismounted operations such as surveillance and EOD and route-clearance measures, and the micro tactical ground robot.

The MTGR offers EOD airmen a technologically advanced option to operate in a safer environment, they said, while its lightweight build delivers the flexibility to perform missions in otherwise unreachable locations.

An EOD technician’s mission is to make sure everyone gets home safe, they emphasized, including themselves. Though they sometimes have to don a bomb suit, they said, advances in technology continues to provide them with safer and safer options.