Friday, November 21, 2014

Striker Trident program sends USAF missileers to work with Navy

by 1st Lt. Christopher Mesnard
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

11/21/2014 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE La. -- U.S. Air Force Capts. John Mayer and Patrick McAfee, recently completed various training programs, spread over the course of three months, in preparation for their final destination: assignments with the Navy.

The new assignments are part of the dual-service exchange program between the Air Force and Navy, dubbed Striker Trident by Air Force Global Strike Command. The program serves as an opportunity for greater facilitation of process and idea interchange between the two services, specifically in regard to the nuclear enterprise.

"At this juncture, I think they've done a great job [preparing us]," McAfee said. "The proof will really be six months to a year from now, where we see how what we've learned applies to our new job. I know I've learned more about this enterprise in the past three months than the years before this!"

Some courses have focused on teaching advanced nuclear and deterrence strategies as well as preparing the two for inception into their respective Navy staffs.

"We know we can learn a ton, and I'm sure there are some areas we can teach and share what the Air Force does well," Mayer said. "There are a lot of commonalities; the weapons themselves are similar, there are a lot of DOD-wide programs like PRP that we have in common."

With an expanded view of nuclear deterrence, the participants will have increased awareness of how the DOD conducts nuclear operations throughout the entire triad.

"Pat and John represent two of our best in the field, and they're going to work with the Navy for the next couple of years to enhance the nuclear triad as a whole," said Maj. Gen. Michael Fortney, AFGSC Air, Space and Information Operations director. "This is the first inter-service exchange program for the missile community. We're excited to make it a lasting program, enhancing our capabilities across the nuclear enterprise."

During a recent speech at the Technology and Innovation Symposium at Global Strike Challenge 2014, Vice Adm. Michael Connor, commander of Submarine Force Atlantic, outlined the benefits both services could expect to see from the interchange program.

"We've been doing these complementary missions in stovepipes, more or less, and it's very likely that there are things that we're both very good at," Connor said. "There are tactics, techniques and procedures that have developed throughout our nuclear force. I have no reason to believe we have all the best ideas, therefore I'm looking for a forum where we can share our best thoughts so that we're both better than before."

Currently, Mayer is scheduled to report to Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Virginia, to work for the Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic and McAfee will report to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to work for the Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet. McAfee graduated from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, and Mayer is an alumni of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

UNC celebrates the 69th anniversary of the United Nations in Japan

by Osakabe Yasuo
374th Airlift Wing public affairs

11/20/2014 - TOKYO, Japan -- Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Korea traveled to Tokyo as the host and guest speaker at a reception honoring the 69th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations held Tuesday evening at the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo.

The reception was attended by Japanese and international dignitaries who gathered to honor the founding of the UN, recognizing what UNC and United Nations Command-Rear contributed and accomplished in the region for the over 60 years.

Addressing the reception, Scaparrotti said, "The mission of the United Nations Command and its Sending States is to maintain the Armistice, preserve stability, enhance deterrence, and it the event of conflict, lead and provide multinational military support to the defense of the Republic of Korea."

Scaparrotti expressed deep appreciation for the work done by UNC-R.

"This small yet capable group [UNCR] maintains the Status of Forces Agreement for UN Forces in Japan and is prepared to support UNC operations within Japan and facilitate the movement of Sending States' forces to Korea in a time of war," Scaparrotti said. "Additionally, UNC-Rear conducted several orientation visits of the bases UNC forces would use in the event of a contingency. These visits build trust and develop a greater mutual understanding among Sending States and the Republic of Korea."

Hagel Offers Condolences Following Romanian Helicopter Crash

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today offered his deepest condolences to the families of eight Romanian service members killed in a helicopter crash earlier today while en route to a joint exercise with U.S. forces.

In a statement released today, Hagel praised Romania as a “stalwart ally and partner of the United States.”

The American military, he said, “deeply appreciates the dedication and sacrifices of Romanian troops who have served alongside U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Europe.”

The secretary continued, “As we mourn this loss, we reaffirm our commitment to defending our shared interests and values, and to strengthening our collective defense. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen, their loved ones, and the Romanian people.”

Hagel Meets with Saudi, Qatari Ministers

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met here today with Saudi Arabia's Minister of the National Guard Prince Mitib bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Affairs Maj. Gen. Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah.

Pentagon Spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby summarized the meetings in a statement released today, calling Saudi Arabia and Qatar “integral to ongoing coalition efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”

In separate meetings with the two ministers, Kirby said, Hagel “expressed appreciation for the strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and Qatar and thanked the ministers for their countries' support in the fight against the ISIL.”

Hagel highlighted Saudi and Qatari participation in coalition airstrikes as well as their support to train and equip the moderate Syrian opposition, Kirby said. Hagel and the two ministers, he added, “underscored their desire to continue working closely to confront ISIL and other security challenges in the region.”

Intel specialists graduate AFGSC course

by Senior Master Sgt. Corey Clements
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

11/21/2014 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Fifteen intelligence specialists graduated from Air Force Global Strike Command's Intelligence Formal Training Unit course, Nov. 21, culminating three weeks of familiarization with nuclear and conventional operational missions in the command.

Active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and civilian Airmen of all ranks who are new arrivals to units in AFGSC, complete the course, which is offered five times a year, to gain necessary tools to perform intelligence functions specific to the command's B-52 and B-2 bomber aircraft and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile platforms.

"The uniqueness of AFGSC's IFTU is that it's not like any other normal mission, because we have the nuclear capability where everyone else is solely conventional," said Airman 1st Class Bryan Nixon, assigned to the 509th Operations Support Squadron at Whiteman AFB, Missouri.

During the course, the students received lectures and briefings about the command's missions, and completed classroom exercises and hands-on intelligence support system instruction. The course is capped with a two-day scenario-based mission planning exercise.

"This has allowed me to see how the units work so I can understand how to support them," said Senior Airman Raushanah Walker, an intelligence analyst assigned to the 608th Air Operations Center, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.

In addition to receiving briefings and lectures, the Airmen also toured AFGSC facilities and aircraft, and networked with other intelligence specialists.

"I also toured the B-52, which was really cool. I don't work at the units with the pilots, but I got to see a part of their life and what they do - and that's important," Walker said.

The IFTU course also offers a first-hand look at the 608th AOC, a B-52 simulator and weapons loading, which helps intelligence specialists perform their duties.

"That was cool for me, because my job is built around dropping bombs," Nixon, who is a geospatial analyst targeteer, said. "I'm always sitting behind a computer - I run programs, I see how things are going to work based on data. It was different to actually see, in person, the munitions that could be dropped," he added.

Course attendees also understand that it's not just about the kinetic weapon system.

"Intelligence is about networking, it's about reaching out to other resources, and just starting out you don't know what that is," said 2nd Lt. David Greenberg, an Air National Guardsmen newly assigned to the 131st OSS, Whiteman AFB. "The most important part of this course is understanding where to go and who to talk to."

The course is administered by AFGSC's Directorate of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and began in 2010.

AETC unit called in on difficult recovery effort

by Jim Fisher
377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

11/21/2014 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Kirtland's 58th Special Operations Wing took part in a search and recovery operation to locate an aircraft missing near Pagosa Springs, Colo. since Sunday.

The effort concluded Wednesday with the discovery of the crash site and the extraction of the remains of two Albuquerque residents who perished in the crash.

While the effort had a tragic outcome, aircrews from the 58th were honored that they were able to play a key role in bringing the search to a conclusion, according to commander Col. Dagvin Anderson.

"Though our primary focus is to preserve life wherever possible, the mission prepares you for the possibility of a rescue becoming a recovery," Col. Anderson said. "We were able to provide our unique capabilities to the search effort, locate and airlift the remains out of very difficult terrain in what was often an equally difficult weather environment. We were glad to bring some resolution for the victims' families and our local community."

The wing trains special operations and personnel recovery aircrews, including search and rescue Airmen, to conduct these activities in support of worldwide operations. Capabilities including Forward Looking Infrared Radar and night vision goggles combined with the ability of wing's aircraft to overcome conditions and locate the crash site and victims. The search focused on an area covering 10 miles at elevations ranging from 9,000 to 11,000 feet, in what was zero visibility shortly after the wing joined the effort on Tuesday, according to Maj. Jacob Hess, an aircraft commander on an HC-130P Combat King that searched the area on Tuesday.

"It was zero visibility and no moonlight as well, so we had to rely on our infrared capability to search the area," Maj. Hess said. He explained that technology and the search and rescue aircraft flown by the wing mean they can bring capabilities to a search effort are not readily available anywhere else within the region. When these capabilities become necessary, civil authorities reach out to the Air Force.

The civil search team reached out Tuesday, when the Kirtland unit responded to a request to augment the ongoing Pagosa Springs operation from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. The wing committed an HC-130P Combat King rescue aircraft to the search Tuesday, and an HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter and another HC-130P were actively taking part at the time of the recovery Wednesday. 58th aircrews were augmented by Airmen from the New Mexico Air National Guard's 150th Special Operations Wing, also at Kirtland.

Because of their unique search and rescue capabilities, the wing regularly conducts rescue missions in New Mexico and the region.  Since 1971, the 58th has been credited with saving 240 lives by performing more than 300 search & rescue missions in support of local civil authorities.

U.S. Delivers Radar Systems to Ukraine

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2014 – The U.S. military delivered three lightweight, counter-mortar radar systems yesterday to Ukrainian armed forces, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters today.

The radar systems are the first few of 20 that will be delivered during the next several weeks and U.S. military members will begin training Ukrainian armed forces in mid-December, Warren said.

Systems ‘See’ Incoming Mortar Fire

“The radar systems see incoming mortar fire and quickly calculate the point of origin of a mortar round fired by the enemy, and allows friendly forces to react appropriately,” the Pentagon spokesman said.

The Ukrainian armed forces will determine how, where and when they will employ the systems, he added.

“It’s also up to the Ukrainians if they attach these radar [systems] to a fire-direction system, which will allow for counter battery fires, or if they use them independently and react with ground forces,” Warren said.

The radar systems are part of the $118 million in equipment and training the United States has committed to assisting Ukraine’s armed forces.

“We’re working closely with the Ukrainians through the interagency process,” the colonel said.

A U.S. team of about 12 people also recently completed some medical training in Ukraine.

“[The team] assessed Ukraine’s need for immediate care, looked at potential long-term capacity building and conducted some battlefield medical training,” Warren noted.