Monday, March 30, 2015

Andrews named Air Force Installation Excellence Award winner

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs, / Published March 30, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced Joint Base Andrews, Maryland as the 2015 Air Force Installation Excellence Award winner March 25.

Andrews was named as one of two finalists in November 2014, and competed at the Air Force level against Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom. A selection board consisting of four colonels visited both bases in January 2015, before making their final recommendation to the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

In addition to being named the Air Force's best installation, Andrews will receive $700,000 to invest in quality-of-life projects on base.

Col. Brad Hoagland, the commander of the 11th Wing, said it is an honor for Joint Base Andrews to be recognized for this prestigious award.

“We want to make sure that we are providing the best quality of life for our installations’ 17,000 members while maintaining a cost-conscious culture,” Hoagland said. “This award is a testament to the seamless integration of our six mission partners and more than 80 tenant units here on (Joint Base Andrews). We’re thankful for their partnership and the support of the local community. We will continue collaborate in order to ensure America’s Airfield executes its multiple no-fail missions with the highest standard of excellence.”

Established by the President of the United States in 1984, the Commander-in-Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence is to recognize the outstanding efforts of people who operate and maintain Department of Defense installations and effectively use their resources to support the mission. This award encourages commanders to create an environment promoting innovative and creative ways of enhancing base-level services, facilities and quality of life.

In a March 4 letter, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark Welsh congratulated Joint Base Andrews and all Air Force bases for the hard work Airmen around the service accomplish every day.

“It is our privilege to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the men and women who operate and maintain our Air Force installations,” the letter read. “We thank them for a job very well done.”

As the Air Force's top installation, Andrews will compete for the Department of Defense’s 2015 Commander in Chief's Installation Excellence Award.

The Air Force Installation Excellence Award team also named the 2015 Air Force Special Recognition nominees. The special recognition category is a secretary of defense award, recognizing units, teams and individuals for exemplary achievement in support of installation excellence.

The Air Force nominees are:

11th Civil Engineering Squadron
11th Force Support Squadron
11th Security Forces Squadron
11th Wing Command Post
11th Wing Inspector General Office
113th Aircraft Maintenance Team
811th Operations Support Squadron
89th Aircraft Maintenance Team
Air Force Legal Operations Agency (AFLOA) Claims and Tort Litigation Division (JACC)
Senior Airman Victor J. Abreu, 811th Security Forces Squadron
Senior Airman Joshua S. Burch, 11th CES
Staff Sgt. Journey E.L. Henderson, 11th SFS
Senior Master Sgt. David J. Austin, 11th CES
Capt. David W. Nugent, 811th SFS
Cindy A. Kahahawai, 11th CES
Michael E. Thomas, 11th FSS
Anne T. Young, 11th FSS

(The 11th Wing Public Affairs Office contributed to this story.)

SERE: Helping flyers return home

by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
15th Wing Public Affairs

3/30/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The worst-case scenario has the potential of becoming an overwhelming reality for flight crews that fly in the Pacific area of responsibility.

Tech. Sgts. Jeffrey Ray and Michael Garcia, 15th Operational Support Squadron Survival Evade Resist and Escape specialists, ensure all flight crews assigned to the 15th Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam are prepared to handle emergency situations by conducting refresher SERE training.

According to Ray, training is conducted 12 months a year, including six unit-training assembly weekends for the National Guard and Reserve units. Every month, he teaches the Code of Conduct training that includes water survival, emergency parachute, conduct after capture, contingence SERE indoctrination, combat survival training, local area survival and radio familiarization training.

Ray said, because of Hawaii's geographic location and the Pacific Command's area of responsibility, the water survival training is one of the more important types of training.

"No matter where the aircrews are flying, they are over water at some point," Ray said. "If an aircraft were to go down in the ocean, it could be difficult for the recovery force to locate the crew. That is why it is important they know how to use their emergency equipment properly and know how to stay alive long enough for a personal recovery team to find them."

Equally important is the combat survival training, added Ray. This training simulates the aircrew going down in a hostile environment. The aircrew uses teamwork to conceal their location, evade opposition forces and practice proper recovery procedures.

"[Combat survival training] is very beneficial," said Maj. Dan Allen, 96th Air Refueling Squadron pilot evaluator. "It gives us the opportunity to practice survival skills we don't use a lot, like using the equipment, how to navigate, conceal, evade and how to get rescued."

All of the training provided by Ray is to make sure of one thing.

"We want to ensure all aircrew and high-risk personnel are prepared to survive, evade, resist and escape in every scenario worldwide and return with honor," Ray said.

Carter Outlines Future Force’s Needs at Fort Drum

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2015 – During a troop talk at Fort Drum, New York, today, Defense Secretary Ash Carter thanked the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division and shared his vision for building what he calls “the force of the future.”

Carter said the United States has “the finest fighting force the world has ever known, and that’s you. But I must think ahead by one or two generations to make sure our country has what you represent: the best of the best in every generation.”

The secretary said he doesn’t want to lose the best people with the best skills, acknowledging that those people have other places in society where they can apply their skills. “If we want to keep you,” he said, “we need to think carefully and be innovative, because you have other choices.”

Military Must Be More Relevant

The Defense Department must be open for new ideas and keep the “wonderful traditions” it has as one of the nation’s oldest and most-respected institutions, the secretary said. But it also much change so the military is more relevant, attractive and exciting to service members and later generations, he added.

Carter outlined his thoughts on how to make the military force of the future more modern and attractive:

-- Bring in highly skilled people who can be rewarded and promoted based on performance and talent.

-- Use more 21st-century technology to enhance performance evaluations and to ensure that assignments fit life goals of service members and their families.

-- Broaden experience for service members by allowing them to gain experience outside the military so they can bring back more honed skills, or pause their service for education or family needs.

-- Blend retirement options to offer troops something similar to 401(k) plans, because “80 percent of our troops leave service before 20 years are up, which leaves them nothing,” he said. “We want to see if we can open up opportunities to get people to join and stay … and give us more of your excellent service [with] a future to build upon.”

Leadership Must Also Change

But for change to work, the secretary said, DoD’s military leadership must think more broadly and differently by preserving the best of the old -- honor, tradition, discipline and commitment to country -- and also commit to the concept of change in career. “People want choices, … and we need to compete if we’re going to succeed,” he said.

The secretary emphasized how much he appreciates what the service members do, and noted that in 14 years of two wars, only two months existed in which an element of the 10th Mountain Division did not deploy.

“That’s amazing history,” he said. “I deeply admire what you are doing for our country. It’s very much a privilege for me to be associated with you and this great mission and great institution. Please thank your families for their support of you.”

Advising, Assisting Iraqi Forces

Some service members have just returned from Afghanistan, and some are readying to deploy there, he acknowledged.

“And some of you –- and this is important -- will go to Iraq to train, advise and assist the Iraqi security forces so they can be the force that sustains the defeat of [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], after it is defeated, which it will be,” Carter said.

“To sustain that defeat, we need a force on the ground, and that’s what you’ll help create,” he said.

The world is changing rapidly, Carter told thee soldiers. “The threats to our world and our people change, [and] the face of terrorism is one of those challenges that changes all the time,” he said. “We can’t meet them in garrison. We have to be out there.”

That is why, Carter said, the military needs soldiers like those of the 10th Mountain Division engaged around the world. He added that he knows it’s not easy and the military and that he is asking a lot of them.

“For those deploying soon, I hope you know now I’m behind you 100 percent each and every day,” the secretary said. “You’re what I think about from the minute I wake up, [and] I’ll try to make sure everyone in Washington remembers that.”

Carter: New Generation is Future of National Security

By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2015 – On the first day of a two-day domestic trip, Defense Secretary Ash Carter today visited the high school he attended in Abington, Pennsylvania, to speak with students whose generation, he said, represents the future of national security.

Carter -- Abington class of 1972 -- got a standing ovation as he took the podium. After he spoke and answered a round of questions from students in the packed high school auditorium, they stood, clapped and cheered as he thanked them for their attention.

On his first domestic trip as defense secretary, Carter is also scheduled to visit Fort Drum in Jefferson County, New York -- home of the 10th Mountain Division. There, he plans to meet with troops who recently served in Afghanistan.

Before traveling back to Washington, the secretary will stop at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, to discuss the department’s commitment to building what he calls the “force of the future.”

Joining the Military

In his remarks, Carter referenced the 150-plus Abington graduates who had joined the military before and after attending college since 2000.

The secretary mentioned of some of his favorite high school teachers and coaches, some of whom were in the audience. He also named Lt. Matt Capps, a Navy helicopter pilot and 2000 graduate, whose mother Carole, a school employee, was in the audience.

“Movies like ‘American Sniper,’ video games like ‘Call of Duty’ and TV commercials with troops coming home are most likely where you see our military in your everyday lives, unless you have a family member or friend who is serving,” Carter said. Those images are somewhat true, he added, but they’re only part of what the 2.3 million men and women in uniform do every day in their jobs and in their lives.

The Future of National Security

“I wanted to come here today because your generation represents the future of our country and the future of our national security,” Carter told his audience.

“We now have the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” he said to applause, “and they’re not just defending our country against terrorists in such places as Afghanistan and Syria and Iraq -- they’re helping defend cyberspace, too.”

Service members work with cutting-edge technologies such as robotics and in fields such as biomedical engineering, the secretary said.

When disaster strikes, military forces deliver aid all over the world, he added, from the 2011 nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan to super storm Sandy in the United States. And they mobilized to Africa to save thousands of lives, helping to keep the deadly Ebola virus disease from spreading around the world.

Evolving Military Missions

“Our country’s military missions continue to evolve rapidly as our world changes and technology continues to revolutionize everything we do,” Carter said, “and … the institution I lead, the Department of Defense, must keep pace with that change as well to keep our nation secure.”

The secretary told the students that some people join the service right after high school and pursue a college education over time while serving. Some in college participate in the ROTC, a college-based program for training commissioned officers.

“In all cases, college and higher learning are encouraged, because we need our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to be the best and the brightest this country has to offer,” Carter said.

Nearly 40 percent of military officers come from ROTC programs at colleges and universities, he added, noting that the services send many members to top-notch graduate programs, such as civil engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, medical school at Stanford University, and business school at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

The New GI Bill

Everyone who serves, Carter added, can get college benefits through the GI Bill –- now called the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 -- which over the past five and a half years has helped more than 1.3 million Americans pay for college.

“You don’t have to join the military to serve your country –- I didn’t,” Carter said. “But Matt and all those other Abington graduates are the foundation of our future force.”

The future force has other pieces too, he added, such as having the best technology and the best planes, ships and tanks. “But it all starts and ends with our people,” he added. “If we can’t continue to attract, inspire and excite talented young Americans like you, then nothing else will matter.”

To help build the future force, the department must be able to attract young people and put the current generation’s command of technology to work for the nation, the secretary said.

Building the Future Force

Carter mentioned the kind of data-driven technology that allows Netflix to suggest movies and TV shows, Twitter to suggest who to follow and Facebook to suggest who to add as a friend. He said the same technology could be applied to chart how people are doing every day in all aspects of their jobs.

“We also need to use 21st-century technologies –- similar to LinkedIn and –- to help develop 21st-century leaders and give our people even more flexibility and choice in deciding their next job when they’re in the military,” he added.

The department has internships, fellowships and pilot programs that allow people to pause their military service for a few years while they get a degree, learn a new skill or start a family, the secretary said, but he added that such programs are still small.

“These programs are good for us and our people, because they help people bring new skills and talents from outside back into the military,” Carter said. “So we need to look not only at ways we can improve and expand those programs, but also think about completely new ideas to help our people gain new skills and experiences.”

Equal Opportunity, Better World

Carter said the department also plans to keep making sure that anyone who is able and willing to serve their country has a full and equal opportunity to do so, drawing talent from a range of gender, racial, religious, cultural, economic, and educational backgrounds.

“Whether you’re a man or woman, gay, lesbian or straight -- no matter what walk of life your family comes from -– we’ll make sure you’re treated with dignity and respect,” Carter told them.

The secretary said the services will be competing hard around the country for talent like that represented by the students at Abington.

“I know that not everyone here is thinking about military service, and that’s okay,” he said. “If you’re like I was and you’re still interested in serving your country and making a better world, we need to be ready to help with ways you can serve as a civilian. Right now that’s not something our local recruiters offer, but we have to rethink that.”

The department wants people to consider military and public service because, “when it comes to working in national security, no matter what you do –- military or civilian –- you will be better off for having been a part of this incredible mission,” Carter said. “Whether it’s the people, the skills or the experiences, nothing else compares. I guarantee it.”