Friday, February 26, 2010

U.S. Hopes NATO's Proposed Reforms Ready This Year

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 26, 2010 - U.S. officials hope a series of reforms envisioned for the 28-country NATO alliance will be available for review by member nations when they convene later this year, a senior defense official said today. Those reforms, spelled out broadly by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates this week, include sweeping changes to a 61-year-old institution suffering from deep problems in how it perceives and responds to threats in an era when its scope has widened beyond traditional Cold War boundaries.

Providing further clarity on the timeline of those expectations, Alexander Vershbow, assistant secretary of defense for international strategic affairs, said today he hopes proposed NATO changes would be ready ahead of a NATO meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, slated for November.

"We are hoping that allies will have the chance to approve a package of reforms that will help us meet the vision and the ambitions set out in the Strategic Concept," Vershbow told reporters at the Foreign Press Center here.

The remarks this week came as the alliance undergoes a self-assessment that will culminate in the Strategic Concept, a once-per-decade process of redefining and articulating the alliance's purpose and capabilities in light of the often mercurial security environment that frames the organization.

While Gates said the new concept would not attempt to "reinvent the wheel," he acknowledged dramatic changes in the security landscape since similar self-analyses in decades past. Threats such as transnational terrorism emanating from failed states, for instance, were mostly theoretical concerns when the collective security group outlined it in the 1999 concept paper.

In light of the altered security climate, senior defense officials have put under the microscope what has been characterized as shortfalls in NATO's level of commitment to its mission in Afghanistan and responsible budgeting.

Speaking to NATO representatives at the National Defense University here about the culture of pacifism that emerged in Europe following World War II, Gates this week said "the continent has gone too far in the other direction."

"The demilitarization of Europe -- where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it -- has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st," he said.

Expressing similar concerns, Vershbow today said he hopes NATO members use the forthcoming meeting in Lisbon to recalibrate the alliance's solidarity.

"We hope it will be an opportunity to recommit to one another's defense, to better understand the variety of new challenges the alliance is facing, and to prepare ourselves to face these challenges that lie ahead," he said. "We want this to be a vehicle to help our publics, our parliaments, especially the rising new generations, to better understand what NATO means, what it's for, [and] what it can do in the 21st century."

In his remarks this week, Gates praised the beefed-up troop commitment that member nations have pledged in Afghanistan, where non-U.S. troops will increase from roughly 30,000 last summer to 50,000. He urged NATO to muster the same commitment and willingness in its approach to a much-needed overhaul of its current institutional practices.

"All of this should be a wake-up call that NATO needs serious, far-reaching, and immediate reforms to address a crisis that has been years in the making," he said. "And unless the Strategic Concept spurs operational and institutional changes like those I just mentioned, it will not be worth the paper it is printed on."

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against Fresno County, California to Protect Employment Rights of Navy Reservist

February 26, 2010 - WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with the county of Fresno, Calif., on behalf of Navy Reservist Porotesano Faapouli. The complaint in this case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleged that the county violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by failing to promptly and properly reemploy Mr. Faapouli when he returned from active military duty with a service-related disability. The parties’ settlement is embodied in a consent decree which, if approved and entered by the court, will require Fresno County to pay Mr. Faapouli $57,000 in monetary relief, and will enjoin the county from committing future violations of USERRA.

USERRA, enacted to minimize disruption in the lives of returning service members by providing for their prompt reemployment following military service, recognizes the additional burdens faced by returning service members who suffer injuries in the line of duty. The law requires employers to make reasonable efforts to accommodate service members who return with a service-related disability by locating a position for which the service member is qualified that is the nearest in seniority, status, and pay to the service member’s pre-service position.

Mr. Faapouli was a Senior Juvenile Correctional Officer in Fresno County’s Probation Department when he was called to active duty with the Navy in June 2004. During a training exercise, Mr. Faapouli suffered severe injuries requiring multiple surgeries and a long period of recuperation. Following his honorable discharge, Mr. Faapouli reported back to work for the County in September 2007. It took Fresno County over nine months to re-employ Mr. Faapouli, and the position in which the county re-employed him had a substantially lower status and pay than Mr. Faapouli’s pre-service position.

"The men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to serve our country deserve to know that they are not also risking losing their jobs when they return home," said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The department is committed to safeguarding the employment rights of our men and women in uniform."

The Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigated and attempted to resolve Mr. Faapouli’s USERRA complaint before referring it to the Department of Justice for litigation. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department’s Web site at and

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 26, 2010


General Dynamics, National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., San Diego, is being awarded an $824,642,437 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-02-C-2300) for construction of T-AKE 13 and T-AKE 14, which shall include design and construction, technical manuals, special studies, analyses and reviews, engineering and industrial services, and data. Work will be performed in San Diego, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2013 for T-AKE 13 and Nov. 2014 for T-AKE 14. Contract funds will not expireat the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $114,003,000 letter contract for long-lead time material in support of the anticipated construction of DDG 115 under the DDG 51 class destroyer program. Work will be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio (32.6 percent); Indianapolis, Ind. (23.7 percent); Coatesville, Pa. (12.3 percent); Charlottesville, Va. (10.9 percent); Erie, Pa. (6.9 percent); Walpole, Mass. (5.4 percent); Bath, Maine (1.2 percent); Warminster, Pa. (1 percent); and various other locations (6 percent). Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-2311).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $67,308,982 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5301) for the fiscal 2010 Standard Missile II (SM-2) option for the production of 46 SM-2 Block IIIA and 16 SM-2 Block IIIB missiles and associated data. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (2.07 percent), and the governments of Korea (96.15 percent), Taiwan (1.16 percent), Japan (.19 percent) and Canada (.43 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (74 percent); Andover, Mass. (18 percent); Camden, Ark. (5 percent); and Farmington, N.M. (3 percent), and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin, Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $14,788,646 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5103) to exercise an option for fiscal 2010 Aegis Platform Systems Engineering Agent activities and Aegis Modernization Advanced Capability Build engineering. The Platform Systems Engineering Agent manages the in-service combat systems configurations as well as the integration of new or upgraded capability into the CG57 class of ships and the DDG 51 class of ships. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Rogers, Lovelock & Fritz, Inc., Winter Park, Fla., is being awarded a $14,515,155 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract (N40080-10-C-0151) to increase the dollar value of the contract for the dental clinic replacement at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility. The work to be performed provides for engineering, architectural and comprehensive interior design services as necessary to support the design effort for the ambulatory care center which will be constructed in two phases. Phase I will provide a diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic services center, a parking structure, and ambulance shelter. Phase II will provide a primary and specialty care center and renovation of Building 1058 with a building connector between the new and renovated facility. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $15,529,753. Work will be performed in Camp Springs, Md., and is expected to be completed by April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Better Built + Clark, LLC*, Middletown, Ohio, is being awarded an $11,300,000 firm-fixed price contract for the design and construction of a new Armed Forces Reserve Center at the Akron-Canton Airport. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a concrete and steel facility. The project will be a replacement for both Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center Akron and Navy Reserve Center Cleveland. The contract also contains two unexercised options which, if exercised, would increase cumulative contract value to $12,050,000. Work will be performed in Akron, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by June 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site,with 17 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Midwest, Great Lakes, Ill., is the contracting activity (N40083-10-C-0021).

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., Baltimore, is being awarded a $10,400,000 modification under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N40085-07-C-1900) for the design-build and construction for the Academic Instruction Facility expansion at the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) complex, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a single-story building with reinforced concrete footings and floors, exterior stud walls with brick veneer, and standing seam metal roof. The work will include complete mechanical/electrical systems as well as paving and site improvements. The facility will consist of classrooms, offices, instructor workspace, library, instructor lounge, student break area, rest rooms, and staff locker room. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by May 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Progeny Systems Corp.*, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $10,394,565 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-6278) to exercise an option for Navy-wide implementation of portal technology for internal and external information sharing requirements and to design, prototype, and demonstrate a common technical architecture for a non-tactical data processing sub-system information automation and reduced manning system or engineering development models. The processes and prototype products developed will apply to submarines, surface ships, surveillance and air platforms. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va., and is expected to be completed by Feb. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.


Oshkosh Corp., Oshkosh, Wis., was awarded a $640,122,400 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 1460 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles and 1460 basic issue items. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wis., with an estimated completion date of May 2012. Five bids were solicited with five bids received. TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

KDH Defense Systems, Inc., Johnstown, Pa., was awarded a $87,000,003 firm-fixed-fee contract for 150,000 improved outer tactical vests. Work is to be performed in Eden, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eight bids received. U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command, Contracting Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-09-D-0049).

Alliant Techsystems Inc., Plymouth, Minn., was awarded a $53,542,304 firm-fixed-price contract for 30,000 M865 120mm cartridges; 15,000 M1002 cartridges; and container handling efforts for the M865 cartridge. Work is to be performed in Middletown, Iowa, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-08-C-0011).

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla., was awarded a $46,257,600 firm-fixed-price contract for 30,000 M865 120mm cartridges and 15,000 M1002 cartridges. Work is to be performed in Middletown, Iowa, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 2011. Two bids were solicited with two bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-08- Comtech Mobile Datacom Corp., Germantown, Md., was awarded a $13,750,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the satellite bandwidth, engineering, services and support for Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and Blue Force Tracking (BFT) systems. This is for the continued support of all FBCB2/BFT channels employed worldwide for six months, with one new channel spanning nine months, and support of new software version 6.5. Work is to be performed in Germantown, Md., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth., N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-07-D-J402).

Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif., was awarded a $10,729,252 cost-plus-fixed fee contract. This contract is related to the TRUST in Integrated Circuits program to advance science and technology for ensuring integrated circuits can be trusted regardless of their origin and fabrication process. In Phase III, Raytheon will further refine their techniques to protect all stage of the application specific integrated circuits design process. Work is to be performed in El Segundo, Calif. (39 percent); San Jose, Calif. (3 percent); Lexington, Mass. (9 percent); Albuquerque, N.M. (25 percent); Burlington, Mass. (15 percent); and Santa Clara, Calif. (9 percent), with an estimated completion date of Feb. 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 29 bids received. Defense Advances Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-08-C-0005).

American Heroes Radio 100th Anniversary Show Update

American Heroes Radio will broadcast its 100th show, tonight, February 26, 2010, at 1700 hours Pacific. Guest for the Anniversary Show will include:

Former USMC Major Richard Botkin; Private Investigator Jimmie Mesis; former San Francisco Police Department Detective Linda Flanders, former Deputy Sheriff Brian Kinnard; former marine and Howard County Police Department police officer James H. Lilley; Vietnam Veteran Arthur Wiknik; former St. Louis County Police Department law enforcement official Ken Dye; the son of Colonel James R. Haun, a World War II fighter pilot; attorney and former police officer Sean Rogers; Senior Sergeant Martin Katz, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (ret.); Special Agent Bob Hamer, Federal Bureau of Investigation (ret.); Vietnam Veteran and former New York Police Department police officer Joe Sanchez; Vietnam Veteran and retired New York Police Department Detective Alan Sheppard; Retire New York State Correction Officer Al Bermudez Pereira; retired Sergeant Gregory Allen Doyle, Upland Police Department; Lieutenant Art Adkins Gainesville Police Department; Dr. Andrew J. Harvey, retired police captain, educator and author; Detective Don Howell, Huntington Beach Police Department (ret.); and, Captain Frank Root, Arizona Department of Public Safety (ret.).

Listen Live

Mullen Discusses Marja, Personnel Policy Issues

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 26, 2010 - Progress in Afghanistan's Helmand province, the decision to allow women to serve on Navy submarines, and the year-long "don't ask, don't tell" review now under way are the topics the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff discusses in his latest podcast. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said the mission of Operation Moshtarak -- the anti-insurgent offensive in the former Taliban stronghold of Marja in central Helmand -- has transformed from the "clear" phase to the "hold" phase.

Yesterday's raising of the Afghan government flag at a ceremony in Marja symbolized the end of Taliban dominion in the region.

"The raising of the [Afghan] flag is a significant symbol that that's changed," Mullen said.

In a rare glimpse at their playbook, U.S. and NATO military officials for months before the offensive remarked publicly on the strategic importance of the southern Afghanistan region and the goal to clear the area of Taliban fighters. The rationale for such a declaration of intent was to allow low-level Taliban fighters the chance to flee, and to warn civilians of the impending attack, officials said.

"We clearly informed the population before the operation," Mullen said in his podcast, recorded yesterday. "One of the signature events, as far as I'm concerned, was a meeting of 450 Afghan elders from the area for almost two days, and they all signed up to this."

Speaking about the decision to allow women to serve aboard U.S. Navy submarines, Mullen called the move "a natural progression."

Officials previously had cited a lack of privacy and the cost of reconfiguring submarines as obstacles to allowing female crew members to serve aboard the vessels. But in a push that began late last year, senior defense officials began publicly advocating a reversal of the long-standing Navy policy.

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has notified Congress of the Navy's intent to reverse the ban.

"I think it's a very positive step to be taken in terms of the further integration of women into combat roles," Mullen said.

On the current law that prohibits openly gay people from serving in the armed forces, Mullen said a year-long review now under way will seek objective data about the kind of impact a repeal of the law would create.

"Keeping military readiness and effectiveness is at the top of our priorities," he said. "The review seeks that kind of feedback -- done in a systematic way -- where we would understand objectively what the potential impact would be should this change go into effect."

In a congressional hearing earlier this month, Mullen embraced overturning the policy, calling it an issue that strikes at the integrity of the U.S. armed forces as an institution and that of individual servicemembers.

"Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do," Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee Feb. 2.

"No matter how I look at this issue," Mullen told committee members, "I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."

Flag Officer Announcement

February 26, 2010 - Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has made the following nominations:

Navy Reserve Capt. Thomas E. Beeman has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Beeman is currently serving as deputy chief of staff for wounded, ill, and injured, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Washington, D.C.

Navy Reserve Capt. Paula C. Brown has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Brown is currently serving as deputy chief of staff for engineering, U.S. Naval Forces Korea.

Navy Reserve Capt. Charles D. Harr has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Harr is currently serving as commanding officer for Medical Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, New Orleans, La.

Navy Reserve Capt. Gregory C. Horn has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Horn is currently serving as deputy chaplain, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Arlington, Va.

Navy Reserve Capt. Margaret A. Rykowski has been nominated for appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half). Rykowski is currently serving as reserve fleet surgeon, Third Fleet, San Diego, Calif.

18th Annual DOD Photographer’s Workshop

February 26, 2010 - The workshop is hosted by the Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, MD. The purpose of the workshop is to improve professional knowledge, proficiency and qualifications of DOD Photographers and Photojournalists. Highly renowned workshop faculty members will provide technical instruction to increase the effectiveness, ability, and visual communication skills of attendees to provide the highest quality imagery to the Department of Defense.

Personnel from all Services specializing in Photography and Photojournalism, and DOD employed civilian photographers may apply. Selection for attendance will be competitive and limited to 25 Photographers / Photojournalists. To ensure maximum benefit, those attending the workshop are required to have a strong background and working knowledge in still photography. Attendees will be selected based on their portfolio and command recommendation, which must be received by 2 April 2010.

Details and guidelines for portfolio submissions can be accessed via the worldwide web at under special events.

Attendees will be notified the week of 30 April 2010 of their selection to attend. Pertinent details outlining the workshop schedule, TDY orders, funding, billeting and required equipment can be accessed via the worldwide web at under special events.

Please direct any questions to TSgt Larry Simmons; Comm. Tel: 301-677-7652 / DSN: 622-7652 / Email:

Rohbock Finishes Sixth in Olympic Bobsled Event

By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 26, 2010 - Army National Guard Outstanding Athlete Program bobsled pilot Sgt. Shauna Rohbock teamed with Michelle Rzepka to finish sixth in the Olympic women's bobsled event Feb. 24 at the Whistler Sliding Centre here. Rohbock, of Park City, Utah, finished 1.78 seconds off the winning pace at the treacherous, 16-turn venue with a four-run time of 3 minutes, 34.06 seconds in USA 1.

Canadians Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse broke the track record in their first three heats en route to winning the gold medal in 3:32.28. Helen Upperton and Shelly-Ann Brown took the silver aboard Canada 2 with a time of 3:33.13.

Erin Pac, 29, of Farmington, Conn., and Elana Meyers, 25, of Douglasville, Ga., claimed the bronze with a time of 3:33.40 in the USA 2 sled.

"It wasn't the Olympics that I dreamed of for four years, but the U.S. got a medal today, and that's amazing," said Rohbock, a silver medalist at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. "That's awesome. That's all I want to see is the U.S. on that medal stand. I didn't drive the four runs to be on the medal stand and Erin did, so she deserves it. I didn't put together the runs to be on the podium anyway."

Bree Schaaf of Bremerton, Wash., and Emily Azevedo of Chico, Calif., teamed to finish fifth in USA 3 with a time of 3:34.05.

Although North Americans filled the podium and had five of the top six sleds, Team USA competitors struggled to find the fastest lines.

"I figured it out a little too late," said Rohbock, who held the women's track record of 53.53 seconds prior to the games. "It would have been nice to have more runs on this track. You have two of the best drivers in the world, Sandra Kiriasis and [Cathleen] Martini [of Germany] are probably the best drivers in the world, and Martini crashed. So it's a very, very difficult track. It's just a tough one."

Martini's driving mistake in the complicated 11-12-13 curve combination flipped Germany 2. Brakeman Romy Logsch was ejected from the sled and sent sliding down the track on her back. They were disqualified.

"I feel like if I had 10 more runs I could have figured a lot of stuff out," Rohbock said. "Every run I was just trying something different.

"That last run, I tried something different in 11 and almost dumped it," she added with a laugh. "It didn't work out, so I wouldn't do that again."

Team USA bobsledders estimated that they made about 40 runs down the Whistler track, compared to 160 or more by the Canadians.

"Definitely, home-field advantage gave them that edge, for sure," Rohbock said. "They drove four great runs. Every run, I was just trying something new, because what I did before wasn't working. We tried to figure some stuff out, and everybody put their two cents in during the week."

By the same token, Rohbock found it interesting that North Americans were the primary beneficiaries of the track the Europeans found too tough to tame.

"I think it speaks volumes how difficult the track was to have no Germans on the podium," she said. "They've dominated the sport since it started, really. For them not to be on the podium, I think, speaks volumes about the difficulty of the track."

Despite the track's degree of difficulty that drew media scrutiny, the lady bobsledders expressed little fear of one of the most exciting rides of their life.

"We're in the spotlight right now because of the Olympics, but there were 15 crashes when the World Championships were in Altenburg, Germany," Rohbock explained. "I separated my shoulder, and people were breaking their backs and stuff like that. It is in the limelight, and of course the tragedy that did happen here, that's horrible, but it does happen at other tracks, and nobody really hears about them.

"Because it is the Olympic Games," she continued, "everybody wants to build it up. Our sport is dangerous, that's the down part of it, and everybody is aware of it."

Rohbock represented the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program when she struck silver at the 2006 Winter Olympics. She delivered another worldwide boost of military morale from Whistler.

"I'm in the National Guard," she said. "I definitely would not have the silver medal without them, and I wouldn't have had such an amazing year. I had a great season this year, and I've had amazing seasons leading up.

"It's sad that one race defines you to the world, because this is all they really see," she added. "There are a lot of amazing drivers that didn't get on that podium today, and they've been amazing for years, and nobody will know this because they only see this one day."

Although these likely were Rohbock's last Olympic runs, she is not ready to slide off into the sunset just yet.

"I'd like to maybe end in Konigssee, Germany, next year," she said. "I race really well there. Maybe get a world championship, since I missed one in Lake Placid [winning silver in 2009]. It would be awesome to get a world championship on a German track, because I've won there before and I know I can drive very well there."

So she's not ready to park the sled.

"I don't think this year, no, but I don't know about four more," Rohbock concluded. "I don't want to say 'no,' because I don't want to be that person that says I'm done."

(Tim Hipps works in the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command public affairs office.)

Academy Women to Become First Female Submariners

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 26, 2010 - Female sailors will begin serving on submarines by the end of next year, with Naval Academy graduates leading the way, Navy leaders told a Senate committee yesterday. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Navy is in a good position to move forward with integrating women onto submarines.

"We think we learned a lot about integrating women in the services years ago, and those lessons are relevant today," Mabus said. Those lessons, he said, include having a "critical mass" of female candidates, having senior women to serve as mentors, and having submarines that don't require modifications: the SSBN ballistic missile and SSGN guided-missile subs.

Finally, Mabus said, "We have the lesson learned to make sure any questions are answered, ... and we're very open and transparent on how we'll do this. We think this is a great idea that will enhance our warfighting capabilities."

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates notified Congress on Feb. 19 of the intended change to Navy policy. Mabus had pushed for the change since taking office in May. Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, endorsed the change, saying in a statement released in September that his experience commanding a mixed-gender surface-combatant ship makes him "very comfortable" integrating women into the submarine force. The Navy changed its policy to allow women to serve on combatant ships in 1993.

"We have a great plan, and we're ready to go for the first women to come aboard in late 2011," Roughead told the Senate committee yesterday. In a prepared statement to the committee, he said the change would enable the submarine force "to leverage the tremendous talent and potential of our female officers and enlisted personnel."

Besides the incoming officers from the academy, the first women submariners will include female supply corps officers at the department head level, Roughead said. The change will be phased in over time to include enlisted female sailors on the SSBN and SSGNs, he said. Women will be added to the Navy's SSN fast-attack submarines after necessary modifications can be determined, he said.

"This initiative has my personal attention, and I will continue to keep you informed as we integrate these highly motivated and capable officers into our submarine force," Roughead told the committee.