Official Wire » Defense Department News http://www.officialwire.com You are the news. Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:02:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Acting Deputy Secretary Visits Troops, Observes Training http://www.officialwire.com/news/acting-deputy-secretary-visits-troops-observes-training/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=acting-deputy-secretary-visits-troops-observes-training http://www.officialwire.com/news/acting-deputy-secretary-visits-troops-observes-training/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121638 American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine H. Fox, the highest-ranking female official ever to serve in the Defense Department, visited with soldiers and sailors yesterday on her first such trip since taking office in December. Fox’s first stop was Fort Riley, Kan., where she observed training and […]

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine H. Fox, the highest-ranking female official ever to serve in the Defense Department, visited with soldiers and sailors yesterday on her first such trip since taking office in December.

Fox’s first stop was Fort Riley, Kan., where she observed training and met with soldiers and leaders of the 1st Infantry Division. Later, she traveled to San Diego, where she visited the Naval Special Warfare Command and toured the littoral combat ship USS Freedom, which recently participated in typhoon disaster relief efforts in the Philippines.

The acting deputy secretary remained in San Diego overnight. Today at 11:30 a.m. EST, she will deliver keynote remarks at a conference organized by the U.S. Naval Institute. The Pentagon Channel will carry her speech live.

Appointed to the Pentagon’s No. 2 position by President Barack Obama upon the retirement of former Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Fox most recently served as a senior advisor to the national security analysis department at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Before that, she was the director of cost assessment and program evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving as the secretary’s principal staff assistant for analyzing and evaluating plans, programs and budgets in relation to U.S. defense objectives and resource constraints.

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Face of Defense: Hard Work Earns Recognition for Marine Cook http://www.officialwire.com/news/face-of-defense-hard-work-earns-recognition-for-marine-cook/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=face-of-defense-hard-work-earns-recognition-for-marine-cook http://www.officialwire.com/news/face-of-defense-hard-work-earns-recognition-for-marine-cook/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121639 By Marine Corps Cpl. Cody HaasRegional Command Southwest CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Feb. 11, 2014 – Infantry Marines stationed at Patrol Base Boldak with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, have few luxuries while patrolling an area in Afghanistan’s Helmand province that’s roughly half the size of Rhode Island. But one luxury they do have […]

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By Marine Corps Cpl. Cody Haas
Regional Command Southwest

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Feb. 11, 2014 – Infantry Marines stationed at Patrol Base Boldak with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, have few luxuries while patrolling an area in Afghanistan’s Helmand province that’s roughly half the size of Rhode Island.

But one luxury they do have is a warm, satisfying meal three times a day, thanks to Marine Corps Sgt. Marcus Myers.

Since September, Myers — a food service specialist with Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, Regional Command Southwest — has single-handedly prepared nourishing entrees and handmade side dishes for Marines and sailors at the patrol base.

The 26-year-old native of West Palm Beach, Fla., said he prides himself on giving the Marines and sailors what they need to get back in the fight while keeping morale in the unit high.

“I always tell my Marines never to settle for mediocrity and to push themselves toward a higher work ethic each day by serving a homemade-style meal,” said Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Aviel Smith, food service specialist chief for Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, stationed here.

Myers is responsible for ordering, stocking, cooking and serving meals for all of Charlie Company. His attention to detail and careful preparation ensure the Marines and sailors are continuously supplied with fresh, healthy sustenance.

Myers clearly takes great pride and puts a significant amount of effort into making wholesome meals. At no time was this more evident than on Christmas Day, when he prepared a six-course meal, one of the best the company had ever enjoyed — without any running water and with just a simple grill.

While many benefited from Myers’ cooking, one person in particular took notice. During a holiday visit, Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, saw the hard work of one corporal serving food for his entire company of Marines and sailors.

Amos was so impressed by Myers’ work ethic that he wrote him a personal letter thanking him for his hard work.

“We were highly impressed by your ability to produce so many outstanding meals for your fellow Marines while simultaneously handling supplies,” Amos wrote. “You did an amazing job of taking care of your fellow warriors, and we couldn’t be prouder of your performance and fidelity.”

Because of Myers’ hard work on Christmas Day and throughout the battalion’s current deployment, he was meritoriously promoted to sergeant and received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for superior performance of his duties while serving as the only field mess noncommissioned officer at Patrol Base Boldak.

“I was just doing my job,” Myers said. “I didn’t think anyone would see any differently, much less notice. I will always strive to be better, because that’s what [the Marines and sailors] deserve. I take pride in myself, and it shows in my work.”

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Special Report: Travels With Fox http://www.officialwire.com/news/special-report-travels-with-fox/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=special-report-travels-with-fox http://www.officialwire.com/news/special-report-travels-with-fox/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121640 American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine H. Fox, the highest-ranking female official ever to serve in the Defense Department, visited with soldiers and sailors on her first such trip since taking office. Learn more about her trip in this American Forces Press Service Special Report: Travels With Fox.

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine H. Fox, the highest-ranking female official ever to serve in the Defense Department, visited with soldiers and sailors on her first such trip since taking office. Learn more about her trip in this American Forces Press Service Special Report: Travels With Fox.

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Locklear Kicks Off 33rd Cobra Gold Exercise in Thailand http://www.officialwire.com/news/locklear-kicks-off-33rd-cobra-gold-exercise-in-thailand/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=locklear-kicks-off-33rd-cobra-gold-exercise-in-thailand http://www.officialwire.com/news/locklear-kicks-off-33rd-cobra-gold-exercise-in-thailand/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121641 By Terri Moon CronkAmerican Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – In a ceremony at Camp Akatosarot in Thailand today, Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, kicked off the 33rd iteration of Exercise Cobra Gold. Cobra Gold 14 is designed to advance regional security and provide effective response to […]

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By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – In a ceremony at Camp Akatosarot in Thailand today, Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, kicked off the 33rd iteration of Exercise Cobra Gold.

Cobra Gold 14 is designed to advance regional security and provide effective response to regional crises through a multinational force from nations that share common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region, officials said.

Noting that Thailand is the oldest U.S. ally in the region – the U.S.-Thai alliance is entering its 181st year — Locklear called Cobra Gold the Pacific’s signature exercise and one of the largest and most important multilateral exercises in which the United States participates.

In 2012, U.S. and Thai defense leaders signed a joint vision statement to update the defense relationship between the two nations, which expanded the nations’ regional partnership to focus on challenges that include disaster relief and other global security contributions, Locklear said.

“Events like Cobra Gold allow us to work together multilaterally to exercise those commitments,” he added. “Since 1980, Cobra Gold has served to develop, better respect and understand all the participants. This 33rd annual event, with over 13,000 participants, is no different.”

But Cobra Gold 14 is more than just the United States and Thai forces, as myriad nations are represented in the exercise, he noted. “Whether you are a participant or an observer, whether you have been here from the beginning or this is your nation’s first Cobra Gold, your presence here demonstrates your country’s resolve to support peace and stability in the region,” Locklear told the kick-off ceremony’s audience.

This year’s exercise “will prepare us for a whole spectrum of challenges,” from field exercises and live firing events, the admiral said. Humanitarian civic assistance projects also are important to the event, he added.

“Cobra Gold truly replicates the dynamic security environment we find ourselves in today, and what we will face in the future,” Locklear said. “We must continue to build on the rich history of cooperation that events like Cobra Gold provide for us.”

Aspiring to work closely with all nations in the region to confront common challenges and continue peace and prosperity is critical, he added.

“Together, we can build a common view on security interests,” he said, adding that through such bilateral and multilateral engagements, participating nations will improve and share understanding, and enhance trust.

“I look forward to the opportunity when we can continue to work together to solve problems that each of our nations face,” the Pacom commander said, “and toward a brighter future for the entire region for ourselves, our children, and their children.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkAFPS)

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DOD to Mandate Documentation for Lost, Stolen CAC Cards http://www.officialwire.com/news/dod-to-mandate-documentation-for-lost-stolen-cac-cards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dod-to-mandate-documentation-for-lost-stolen-cac-cards http://www.officialwire.com/news/dod-to-mandate-documentation-for-lost-stolen-cac-cards/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121642 By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Later this year, the Defense Department will begin fully enforcing a previously optional policy regarding the reissuance of lost or stolen common access cards, a defense official said here today. Sam Yousef, a program manager for identity and […]

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By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Later this year, the Defense Department will begin fully enforcing a previously optional policy regarding the reissuance of lost or stolen common access cards, a defense official said here today.

Sam Yousef, a program manager for identity and benefits policy at the Defense Human Resources Activity, discussed an update to the current CAC issuance policy during an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.

“Beginning in late March [or] early April of this year, we are going to begin fully enforcing current common access card policy, which will require individuals to bring supporting documentation if they have had their ID cards lost or stolen,” he said. “If you have your card lost or stolen, you should work with your local security office or the individual sponsoring you for that ID card.”

People requesting a replacement card will need to produce a document on component or agency letterhead that explains that the card has been lost or stolen, he added. Yousef noted the document should be signed, and individuals must bring it with them to have a new card issued.

“If the card has been stolen,” he said, “they may also bring in the police report that accounts for that,” he added. “This will not only get the department in full compliance with our policy, but it will also create better accountability for individuals who have had their cards lost or stolen.”

Though this has been a part of the current policy, Yousef noted, it was not mandated at CAC card-issuing locations.

“Previously, in the last couple of years, we have actually updated the system to capture this documentation on an optional basis,” he said. “So what will happen in late March [or] early April is it will be required as part of that reissuance to bring supporting documentation with you.” The supporting documentation will be scanned and stored in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, he added.

This will affect all common access card-eligible individuals, both military and civilian, Yousef said.

In addition to being an additional security precaution, Yousef said this measure will help to prevent people from replacing their cards just as a matter of personal convenience.

“It creates better awareness with our local security offices [and] our individuals that are sponsoring our contractors for common access cards,” he said. “So this way, they have full oversight if someone is losing multiple ID cards.”

Following the update in requirements this spring, Yousef emphasized, it will be important for people to ensure they bring this documentation with them to have a card reissued, noting that most ID card-issuing sites already have been requiring it for quite some time.

(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS)

 

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DOD Official: U.S. Will Not Allow Iran to Acquire Nuclear Weapon http://www.officialwire.com/news/dod-official-u-s-will-not-allow-iran-to-acquire-nuclear-weapon/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dod-official-u-s-will-not-allow-iran-to-acquire-nuclear-weapon http://www.officialwire.com/news/dod-official-u-s-will-not-allow-iran-to-acquire-nuclear-weapon/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121643 By Nick SimeoneAmerican Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Amid ongoing skepticism among lawmakers about Iran’s nuclear intentions, a senior Defense Department official told Congress today the United States will not allow Tehran to build a nuclear weapon, and that if Iran decided to use nuclear talks as a cover for developing one, […]

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By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Amid ongoing skepticism among lawmakers about Iran’s nuclear intentions, a senior Defense Department official told Congress today the United States will not allow Tehran to build a nuclear weapon, and that if Iran decided to use nuclear talks as a cover for developing one, Washington would be able to detect it.

Elissa Slotkin, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told the House Armed Services Committee the military remains prepared for all options if Tehran would decide to secretly develop a bomb while engaging in diplomacy.

“Any comprehensive agreement that we ever negotiate will emphasize verifiable means,” Slotkin said. “And importantly, we remain confident that we could tell if Iran was making a dash toward a weapon, and if that decision was made, it would take at least a year” for a nuclear device to be developed.

After years of suspicion about its nuclear program from Western nations, Iran reached an agreement with the international community in November in which it pledged to temporarily halt some of its nuclear activity in exchange for a lifting of some sanctions. Negotiations are set to resume later this month in Vienna on a comprehensive accord that would ensure Iran does not move forward with a nuclear weapons program.

But some lawmakers remain skeptical about Tehran’s intentions, and measures have been introduced in the Senate to toughen sanctions against the country.

“We are now focused on testing the prospects for a comprehensive nuclear deal based on verifiable actions that convince us and the international community that Iran is not trying to obtain a nuclear bomb,” Slotkin said.

Iran maintains that its nuclear program is for energy and medical proposes, but U.S. and other Western officials believe the impact of strong international sanctions account for the country’s interest in negotiations and today. Anne Patterson, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, told the committee sanctions have left Iran’s economy “in shreds.”

There was also extensive questioning at the hearing of U.S policy toward neighboring Iraq, in particular from lawmakers who asked Slotkin whether a new outbreak of Sunni violence in Anbar province could have been dealt with more quickly if the United States had not withdrawn all combat troops after the two countries failed to reach a status of forces agreement in 2011.

Slotkin said the United States is encouraging the Iraqi government to address Sunni grievances, but disputed the notion that a reduced U.S military presence in the country could have made a substantial difference in the current unrest.

“At the height of the American presence in Iraq, at the height of the surge, 170,000 troops, we had levels of violence that we’re seeing right now in Anbar,” she said. “So, I’m not sure that a remaining force of 10,000 would have been able to prevent this.”

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Intelligence Leaders Detail Global Threats to Senate Panel http://www.officialwire.com/news/intelligence-leaders-detail-global-threats-to-senate-panel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=intelligence-leaders-detail-global-threats-to-senate-panel http://www.officialwire.com/news/intelligence-leaders-detail-global-threats-to-senate-panel/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121644 By Cheryl PellerinAmerican Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Global threats most critical to U.S. national security include Syria’s civil war and its spillover, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and deep cuts to America’s defense budget, two top intelligence leaders told a Senate panel here this morning. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper […]

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By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Global threats most critical to U.S. national security include Syria’s civil war and its spillover, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and deep cuts to America’s defense budget, two top intelligence leaders told a Senate panel here this morning.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Jr. and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the contents of the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, released Jan. 29 and based on information available as of Jan. 15.

“Looking back over my more than half a century in intelligence,” Clapper said, “I’ve not experienced a time when we’ve been beset by more crises and threats around the globe.”

Clapper’s list of threats included “the scourge and diversification of terrorism, loosely connected and globally dispersed, … as exemplified by the Boston Marathon bombing and by the sectarian war in Syria [and] its attraction as a growing center of radical extremism and the potential threat this poses to the homeland.”

Despite different missions and audiences, Clapper and Flynn described similar priorities, among them widespread dangers inherent in Syria’s sectarian war, harm to the intelligence community and the nation of Edward Snowden’s unauthorized release last year of classified National Security Agency documents, and the effect on the intelligence community and military services of deep budget cuts.

In Syria, Clapper said, the insurgency’s strength is an estimated 75,000 to 115,000, organized into more than 1,500 groups of widely varied political leanings.

“Three of the most effective are the Al-Nusrah Front, Ahrar al-Sham and the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant, or ISIL as it’s known, whose numbers total more than 20,000,” the director of national intelligence added.

At least 7,500 foreign fighters from 50 countries have gravitated to Syria, he said, among them a small group of Afghanistan-Pakistan al-Qaida veterans “who have aspirations for external attack in Europe if not the homeland itself,” Clapper said.

Other related threats include the spillover of the Syrian conflict into neighboring Lebanon and Iraq, he added, and the destabilizing flood of nearly 2.5 million refugees into Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

For DIA, the situation in Syria ties into one of three global threats that are of special concern to the agency, Flynn said:

– The threat of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of nonstate actors and proliferation of the weapons to other state actors;

– The emergence of foreign militaries with capabilities approaching those of the United States and its allies; and

– Increasing tensions in the Pacific.

“The current instability in Syria presents a perfect opportunity for al-Qaida and associated groups to acquire these weapons or their components,” he added.

While the Bashar al-Assad regime controls Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapon materials, moving the materials for disposal or other reasons drastically increases the risk of such components falling into the wrong hands, Flynn explained.

“There is also the very real possibility that extremists in the Syrian opposition could overrun and exploit chemical and biological weapons storage facilities before all the materials are removed,” the general said.

Outside Syria, Flynn added, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and associated technologies is an ongoing challenge.

On DIA’s other priorities, Flynn said the armed forces of China and Russia are fielding new weapon systems that challenge the United States’ conventional military superiority, and both are restructuring their militaries and improving command and control to better operate in an information-dominated combat environment.

These efforts are a marked departure for both countries, the general added, “and although it will take time for each to integrate these new capabilities and force structures into their militaries, we cannot afford to ignore these developments.”

On the issue of increasing tensions in the Pacific region, Flynn called Kim Jong Un’s regime in North Korea highly unpredictable and possibly the region’s most destabilizing force.

“The disputed areas in the East and South China Seas also remain important flash points [and] the announcement in November that the Chinese are establishing an air identification zone over portions of the East China Sea raised regional tensions, particularly with Japan,” Flynn said.

Such tensions, he added, “raise the prospect for further incidents that could lead to an escalation involving military force.”

On the topic of last year’s theft and release of National Security Agency intelligence documents by former contractor Edward Snowden, Clapper called the crime potentially the most damaging in U.S. history.

Clapper, as the nation’s senior intelligence officer, noted the profound damage the disclosures have caused and continue to cause.

“The nation is less safe and its people less secure. What Snowden has stolen and exposed has gone way beyond his professed concerns with so-called domestic surveillance programs,” Clapper said, noting that the nation has lost critical intelligence sources.

Clapper said terrorists and other adversaries are going to school on U.S. intelligence sources, methods and tradecraft.

“The insights they’re gaining are making our job in the intelligence community much harder, and this includes putting the lives of members or assets of the intelligence community at risk as well as those of our armed forces, diplomats and citizens.”

“We’re beginning to see changes in the communications behavior of adversaries, particularly terrorists,” he said.

Clapper and Flynn called on Snowden and his accomplices to return the rest of the stolen documents to prevent even more damage to U.S. security.

“In my professional military judgment, Mr. Snowden’s disclosures have done grave damage to the Department of Defense and go far beyond the act of a so-called whistleblower,” Flynn said.

“I have no doubt that he has placed the men and women of our armed services at risk,” the general added, “and that his disclosures will cost lives on our future battlefields.”

Clapper told the Senate panel that substantial U.S. budget reductions will amplify the impact of losses caused by Snowden’s disclosures. “The intelligence community is going to have less capacity to protect our nation and its allies than we’ve had in the past,” he said, adding, “We’re thus faced collectively … with the inescapable imperative to accept more risk.”

Clapper called it “a plain hard fact and a circumstance that the community must and will manage, together with [Congress] and those whom we support in the executive branch.”

Flynn said that though there is increasing pressure to reduce defense spending, “I would note that the demands on the United States intelligence system have skyrocketed in recent years, and these demands are only expected to increase in the years to come.”

Such reductions must occur, he added, “and we will have to accept greater risk … [but] defense intelligence must continue to be able to provide timely and actionable intelligence across the entire threat spectrum.

The general said that together, his agency and Congress must “address the very delicate balance between critical defense needs and our nation’s long-term fiscal health.”

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinAFPS)

 

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Fox Discusses Posture, Threats in Asia-Pacific Region http://www.officialwire.com/news/fox-discusses-posture-threats-in-asia-pacific-region/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fox-discusses-posture-threats-in-asia-pacific-region http://www.officialwire.com/news/fox-discusses-posture-threats-in-asia-pacific-region/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121645 By Amaani LyleAmerican Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine H. Fox warned today against assuming a permissive environment for U.S. naval air and sea assets, saying threats continue to grow from rival military powers as well as from the proliferation of more advanced anti-ship munitions around the […]

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By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine H. Fox warned today against assuming a permissive environment for U.S. naval air and sea assets, saying threats continue to grow from rival military powers as well as from the proliferation of more advanced anti-ship munitions around the globe.

Speaking at a defense industry conference in San Diego, Fox said only through re-shaping and re-balancing the United States’ defense institutions will the resources be available to buy modern capabilities and invest in the next generation of electronic warfare.

As the DOD completes its 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, Fox said it will continue to convey the need for American military power and leadership, but in light of the fiscal realities, the department cannot postpone further difficult decisions about the military’s size and operating costs.

“When all is said and done, an enterprise of the U.S. military’s size, complexity and global reach requires a substantial administrative and support operation,” she said.

Meanwhile, without tough choices based on strategic priorities like the maritime strategy, Fox noted, readiness and modernization will continue to suffer as security threats grow and multiply.

Overall signs point to the military getting smaller over the next five years, which Fox said is not an ideal course of action and not without its risks. “[G]iven current realities, it is the only plausible way to generate the savings necessary to adequately fund training, readiness, modernization, and avoid the prospect of a ‘hollow force’ in the future.”

Even so, Fox said the Defense Department has already committed to focusing 60 percent of the Navy’s fleet on the Pacific Command area of responsibility. “The Marines … began rotational deployments in Australia, the first of its kind since the Korean War … and up to four Littoral Combat Ships will deploy regularly to Singapore.”

In Japan, Fox noted, U.S. force posture will shift by moving several thousand Marines from Okinawa to Guam with plans to relocate the naval-air station at Futenma. “These efforts will all help maintain a well-distributed and politically sustainable force posture throughout the Pacific.”

Of China’s economic dynamism, Fox described the country’s regional and global growth as a “welcome development,” but she also emphasized the importance of carefully managing U.S. ties to strengthen transparency and trust.

“Improving that defense relationship and understanding China’s intentions is so important because of the comprehensive military modernization program being pursued by the People’s Liberation Army,” Fox said. “It is no secret that China is developing its military capabilities designed to thwart the freedom of movement of others in the region and to expand their influence.”

And in an era when China’s defense budget is increasing at around 10 percent annually, the United States – due to a variety of political and fiscal factors – is disproportionately reducing the very investments that are intended to sustain its technological superiority, Fox said.

But despite the ebbs and flows of U.S. relations with any country, she explained, the U.S. must maintain its decisive advantage against other military powers or risk the loss of influence, increase in regional rivalries and security dilemmas and even risk conflict due to miscalculation.

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleAFPS)

 

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Unknown WWII Service Member Receives France’s Highest Award http://www.officialwire.com/news/unknown-wwii-service-member-receives-frances-highest-award/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=unknown-wwii-service-member-receives-frances-highest-award http://www.officialwire.com/news/unknown-wwii-service-member-receives-frances-highest-award/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121646 By Claudette RouloAmerican Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – The sacrifice made nearly 70 years ago by the unknown U.S. service member from World War II “helped change the tide of human history and deepen the bonds between [France and the United States],” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a ceremony today at […]

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By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 – The sacrifice made nearly 70 years ago by the unknown U.S. service member from World War II “helped change the tide of human history and deepen the bonds between [France and the United States],” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a ceremony today at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

At the ceremony, French President Francois Hollande presented the Legion of Honor, France’s highest military award, to the unknown service member. The ceremony was part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that led to the liberation of Europe.

“While this soldier’s identity is unknown, the meaning of his sacrifice is not. He died helping liberate a continent, building a just peace, and upholding the right to be free,” Hagel said.

The medal presentation honored the sacrifices made by American service members and the links between France and the United States, Hollande said. These links were “forged from the common conception of democracy and freedom,” he said.

“[The medal] bears testimony of a solidarity which forever unites our two countries,” Hollande added.

“Today we honor that service and the service of all Americans who served and died in World War II,” the defense secretary said. “And we celebrate centuries of friendship between our nations and between our militaries.”

That friendship endures even today, Hagel noted. “Together the United States and France are partners around the world in defending our shared values and building a more hopeful future. We are proud to be writing the next chapter in this long and storied friendship.”

(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter @rouloafps)

 

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Face of Defense: Marine Trains With Unmanned Aerial Vehicles http://www.officialwire.com/news/face-of-defense-marine-trains-with-unmanned-aerial-vehicles/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=face-of-defense-marine-trains-with-unmanned-aerial-vehicles http://www.officialwire.com/news/face-of-defense-marine-trains-with-unmanned-aerial-vehicles/#respond Mon, 10 Feb 2014 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121635 By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Keenan Zelazoski1st Marine Logistics Group CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Feb. 10, 2014 – Because part of being a Marine is finding ways to improve unit effectiveness and efficiency, most units have training noncommissioned officers who find beneficial courses and classes for their subordinates and peers. Marine Corps Sgt. Cynthia Zermeno, training […]

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By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Keenan Zelazoski
1st Marine Logistics Group

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Feb. 10, 2014 – Because part of being a Marine is finding ways to improve unit effectiveness and efficiency, most units have training noncommissioned officers who find beneficial courses and classes for their subordinates and peers.

Marine Corps Sgt. Cynthia Zermeno, training NCO with 1st Medical Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, recently participated in an unmanned aerial vehicle course here.

The purpose of this training is to familiarize Marines and sailors with the knowledge and equipment necessary to operate UAVs, which are remotely controlled and are used for general surveillance and reconnaissance.

“Not many people know about these courses,” said Zermeno, a Torrance, Calif., native. “As the training NCO, I want to find out what types of courses are available for my Marines and how each course can benefit them, and this one would be useful for everyone.”

In the course’s first three days, students learn how to work with the systems that control the UAVs, learning vital skills such as plotting a course and how to launch and land the systems. After they learn the basics, they start practical application. Flying the UAVs is an art that requires practice.

“A lot of people in a logistics unit might not see the benefits of these skills,” said Bill Peek, the senior instructor for the Remote Audio Visual Engagement Network course. “The capabilities of a UAV are limited only to battery life and your imagination.”

With a UAV, Marines and sailors conducting convoy operations can silently observe potential hazards up to a few miles away on their planned route prior to leaving friendly lines. During the course, students also train to conduct covert operations and silent surveillance.

“Battle damage assessment is important as well,” said Peek. “Being able to get eyes on an objective — without actually having to send a person into a dangerous area that you don’t know much about — is a huge asset to have in an expeditionary environment.”

Marines prepare for the worst-case scenario, Zermeno said, noting that they often encounter unexpected situations while deployed. This training provides an additional life-saving skill to take with them overseas, she added.

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