Monday, July 27, 2009

Senate Approves 2010 National Defense Authorization Act

Includes Military Overseas Voting Amendment Sponsored by Chambliss, Isakson

U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Veterans’’ Affairs Committee, praised the Senate’s passage Thurday night of the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that authorizes funding for our servicemen and women and their families, critical military construction projects at Georgia bases, as well as Georgia-made weapons systems. Additionally, the bill includes a provision, sponsored by Chambliss and Isakson, to ensure that all ballots cast by U.S. troops overseas are counted in elections.

“This is an important bill that addresses many critical quality-of-life issues for our military men and women, said Chambliss. “I’m pleased an amendment to ensure that our military men and women serving overseas are able to participate in the electoral process was included in the final bill."

“Georgia is a big winner in this Defense Authorization bill, thanks in large part to the work of Senator Chambliss on the Committee,” said Isakson. “This legislation sets the priorities for our nation’s military needs, and I am proud of the strong commitment it shows to Georgia.”

The bill authorizes $679.8 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Defense. It provides a 3.4 percent, across-the-board pay raise for all military personnel, authorizes a total of $163.5 billion for military members, including costs of pay, allowances, bonuses, death benefits, permanent change of station moves and health care. It also reauthorizes more than 25 types of bonuses and special pays aimed at encouraging enlistment, reenlistment and continued service by active-duty and reserve military personnel.

The bill includes the following provisions sponsored by Sen. Chambliss:

The Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act (“MOVE Act”), which requires all states to provide military voters with ballots no later than 45 days before an election. It also requires states to institute and maintain an electronic and fax system for sending voter registration applications and absentee ballot applications.

A requirement for the Department of Defense to submit a report to Congress detailing the types of duties performed for the National Guard by non-dual-status technicians, a description of the current requirements for non-dual-status technicians, and a description of various means of addressing any shortfalls in meeting such requirements, including both temporary and permanent shortfalls.

A provision directing the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to take appropriate steps to monitor and manage changes to requirements when program requirements are first established and the time when those program requirements are formally incorporated into a Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP), and to ensure that changes are not made without appropriate consideration of cost impacts.

A provision requiring the task force on care and treatment of wounded warriors, as established in the bill, to examine the extent to which the Department of Defense, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, has established public and private partnerships to assist in the training of medical care case management personnel needed to support America’s returning wounded and ill service members.

A provision directing the secretary of defense, in conjunction with the secretary of the Air Force, to conduct a review and report on the feasibility of adding anti-jamming capability to commercial communications satellites no later than March 1, 2010.

A requirement for an additional report on the feasibility of exporting the F-22 to be prepared by a federally funded research and development center. This report will be in addition to the report on exporting the F-22 required by the Department of Defense.

A requirement for a report by the secretary of the Air Force on the alternatives for and value of re-engining the Joint STARS aircraft, stationed at Robins AFB, including a prohibition against the Air Force taking any actions that would adversely affect the re-engining effort until the report is delivered to Congress

A provision, sponsored by senators Kerry and Chambliss, making the reserve retirement provision enacted in the FY08 NDAA retroactive to include duty performed since Sept. 11, 2001.

A provision, sponsored by Sen. Lincoln, which allows for an increase in the Department of Defense’s share of expenses for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program to 100 percent of operating costs in the first two years of a state’s program, and 75 percent of operating costs for future years. The National Guard Youth Challenge Program trains and mentors at-risk youth between the ages of 16 and 18 who have dropped out of high school, and puts them on the path to become productive, employed and law-abiding citizens.

The bill also includes an amendment co-sponsored by Chambliss and Isakson that would establish a pilot program within the Department of Veterans Affairs to pair service dogs with veterans who have returned from service with physical or mental wounds, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Chambliss offered an amendment to restore military construction (MILCON) full funding for the brigade complex at Fort Stewart, but the amendment was not agreed to by the committee.

“I am also disappointed the bill does not include funding for the 7 additional F-22s included in the bill as reported out of Committee”, said Chambliss. “Air Force leaders have consistently affirmed their requirement for at least 60 additional F-22s, and it is regrettable that the bill does not support this requirement.”
““I’m extremely disappointed the Senate did not recognize how essential the continued production of the F-22 is to our national security. This aircraft is the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world with the latest stealth technology to reduce detection by radar, and this plane is vital to 21st century American military superiority,” Isakson said.
Additional Georgia-related projects included in the bill:

Transplantation for Combat Wounded Repair - $2 million – Intended for Emory University – Using this funding, Emory University will conduct research to develop methods to better support tissue repair and repair of lost limbs or organs.
Bioengineering for Enhanced Soldier Survivability - $2.5 million – Intended for Georgia Tech – Using this funding, Georgia Tech will conduct research in advanced tissue and bone regeneration and wound care and treatment issues relevant to military trauma care.
Advanced SAM Hardware Simulator Development - $4 million - Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) – This will allow for an in-depth understanding of the Chinese surface-to-Air missile (SAM) system to help the U.S. predict and identify weaknesses and potential aggression from the Chinese.
Cognitive Map-Based Modeling and Simulation for Tactical Decision Support - $4 million – Intended for Columbus State University – This supports a partnership between Columbus State University (CSU) and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) which aims to explore cognitive map-based modeling and simulation to support tactical decision-making by military planners in training and operational scenarios.
National Nanotechnology Manufacturing Center Research - $4 million – Intended for the National Nanotechnology Manufacturing Center in Swainsboro – Using this funding, the National Nanotechnology Manufacturing Center will deliver innovative solutions to warfighter needs and gaps by utilizing nanotechnology enabled materials, devices and supporting equipment.
Integration of Design and Manufacturing (lDM) through Product Life-Cycle Management (PLM) - $2 million – Intended for School of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology - This technology could result in improvements to flight technology and support advances in vertical takeoff and landing operations.
Advanced Lithium Battery Scale-Up and Manufacturing - $5 million – Intended for Excellatron Solid State, LLC, in Atlanta – This technology shifts the paradigm in battery performance by delivering more than five times the performance of the current state-of-the-art lithium battery.
Saft High Energy Li-Ion Technology for Aviation Batteries - $2 million – Intended for Saft America Inc. in Atlanta – Li-ion batteries will save weight on board aircraft, thus reducing fuel consumption and, ultimately, cost.
VICE - $4.9 million – Intended for Dynamic Animation Systems, Inc., in Fairfax, Va. – This project provides soldiers improved training capabilities and exposes soldiers to different, realistic scenarios. A major portion of the project will be conducted at Fort Benning Infantry School.

Military Construction Funding Authorized for Georgia:

Battle Lab $30,000,000
Combined Arms Collective Training Facility $10,800,000
Dining Facility $15,000,000
Fire and Movement Range $2,800,000
Trainee Barracks Complex, Phase I $74,000,000
Training Area Tank Trails $9,700,000
Training Battalion Complex $38,000,000
Training Battalion Complex, Phase I $31,000,000
Training Battalion Complex, Phase I $31,000,000
Warrior in Transition (WT) Complex $53,000,000


Forensic Lab $10,800,000

Barracks & Dining, Increment 2 $80,000,000
Brigade Complex $48,000,000
Warrior in Transition (WT) Complex $49,000,000


TOTAL ARMY (GEORGIA) $483,100,000

Fort Benning Readiness Center $15,000,000

Atlanta Army Reserve Center/Land $14,000,000

Fort Benning, Blood Donor Center $12,313,000
Fort Benning, Dental Clinic $4,887,000

Fort Benning, SOF Expand BN HQ $3,046,000

Fort Benning, Wilson ES Gymnasium $2,330,000
Fort Stewart Elementary School $22,501,000

Rescue Operations/Maintenance $8,900,000
Headquarters Facility

Hunter Army Aviation Readiness Center $10,509,000


Fort Benning AAFES Troop Store $1,950,000
Fort Benning Armed Forces Reserve Center $18,000,000
Fort Benning Equipment Concentration Site $43,000,000
Fort Benning General Instruction Complex 2 $58,000,000
Increment 2
Fort Benning Maneuver Center $42,000,000
HQ & CDI Building Expansion
Fort Benning Medical Facility, Increment 2 $77,000,000


Additionally, the bill authorizes fiscal year 2010 active-duty end strengths for the Army of 547,400; the Marine Corps, 202,100; the Air Force, 331,700; and the Navy, 328,800. It also authorizes the secretary of defense to increase the Army’s active-duty end strength by 30,000 above 2010 levels during fiscal years 2011 and 2012 if sufficient funding is requested in the budgets for those fiscal years.

The bill also prohibits retirement of C-5 aircraft before the Air Force completes testing and reports on the results of tests of the C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining program (RERP). It requires the secretary of the Air Force to submit certain analyses before retiring any of the strategic airlift aircraft after that prohibition expires.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Guantanamo Bay Closure 'On Track,' Pentagon Lawyer Says

Plans to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within President Barack Obama's one-year time frame are on track, the Pentagon's top lawyer said today.

The military held about 240 detainees at the center when Obama pledged days after his inauguration in January to close the facility. Since then, the interagency group assigned to reviewing the cases has made recommendations on more than half, including approving the transfer of more than 50 detainees to other countries, Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department general counsel, told the House Armed Services Committee in a prepared statement.

"Additional reviews are ongoing, and the process is on track,", Johnson said. "We remain committed to closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within the one-year time frame ordered by the president."

Obama announced plans for the closure of Guantanamo Bay as part of a series of executive orders signed Jan. 22. That legislation created two task forces, one of which is responsible for going file by file through each detainee at Guantanamo Bay, making decisions about how to render justice consistent with U.S. laws and values.

The groups comprise officials from the departments of Justice, Defense, State, and Homeland Security, and from the U.S. military and intelligence community.

White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs this week said a request for a six-month extension for a task force progress report on interrogation policies would not delay the closure. "The task forces and the president believe we continue to make progress and can meet the goal of closing Guantanamo Bay in a year," he said in a July 21 news conference.

Addressing Congress, Johnson said the panel has made progress on another presidential directive issued in May: reforming military commissions, the process through which detainees are tried in U.S. military courts.

Echoing Obama's call to reform the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Johnson said he welcomes the opportunity to help change military commissions into a more viable forum.

"By working to improve military commissions to make the process more fair and credible, we enhance our national security by providing the government with effective alternatives for bringing to justice those international terrorists who violate the law of war," he said.

Under the Senate's recent Defense Authorization Act, several provisions were made to reform the 2006 legislation. Johnson expressed confidence in the ability of the Obama administration and Congress to continue working together to improve the law.

"Military commissions can emerge from this effort as a fully legitimate forum," he said.

The new legislation proposes changes that ban in-court use of statements obtained by cruel interrogation methods, which Johnson said will "go a long way towards improving the process."

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Defense Agency Simulates Biological Attack on Pentagon

The risk of attack against senior government and military officials always has been high, making protection of the Pentagon and other buildings in the national capital area a top priority, a senior official involved with a recent bio-attack drill said.

Paul Benda and Christina Murata -- director and deputy director, respectively, of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency's chemical, radiological, nuclear and explosives directorate -- spoke about preparing for a biological attack on the Pentagon during a July 22 webcast of "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" on Pentagon Web Radio.

Benda and Murata explained how they used a commercial garden powder to simulate a biological attack in a July 11 test of response procedures and decontamination methods, and how the findings of their test will affect future response to bio-weapon attacks.

More than 200 people participated in the test, including 87 volunteers who were exposed to the garden powder and washed down. The Pentagon Force Protection Agency has conducted tests regularly since 2005 to gather data to better protect people in the event of a biological attack.

"We spread [the powder] across the reservation," Benda said. "We had volunteers that got exposed to it. The building was exposed to it. We tracked where this powder went and where it went on our volunteers."

The directorate tested different options for decontamination, from portable showers to what Benda described as a "wall of water." More than a dozen organizations participated in the test in hopes of finding the easiest and most effective methods.

"We wanted to compare the different decontamination strategies," Benda said. "What's the fastest way to clean these people? What works the best?"

The quickest, most effective cleaner they found was water, Murata said. Simply flushing items with water cleaned more than 95 percent of contaminants from the road and more than 90 percent from vehicles.

"It's that old fireman's adage that there's no problem that enough water can't cure," Murata said. "Point for point, water did the best."

For personnel contaminated with a biological weapon, the best cleaning method was to make a "wall" of water using five fire trucks. Four pumper trucks fired water against each other while a ladder truck released water from above. Volunteers walked through the streams, scrubbing their body and hair to remove contaminants.

"This is a standard capability that every fire department has," Benda said. "Whether it's a volunteer fire department or a professional fire department, they're able to use their standard nozzles, connected to a hydrant, to create this decontamination capability."

The beauty of using fire trucks, beyond their accessibility regardless of location, is their effectiveness. It's not a new technology, but it performs on par with other decontamination methods.

"It works as well, if not better than specific technologies, and it gives us faster through-put," Benda said.

Once the team sorts the data from this test and figures out which questions have been answered and what new questions have arisen, they'll share the findings and begin planning for the next test.

And though certain information in tests related to security for Defense Department and other government employees is safeguarded, the information that applies to organizations nationwide will be spread through professional conferences and published articles.

"We do our best to get the information out that will protect the nation as a whole," Benda said.

By Ian Graham
Special to American Forces Press Service
(Ian Graham works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Forces Kill Enemy Fighters, Detain Others in Afghanistan

Afghan and coalition forces killed enemy fighters, detained others and seized weapons in Afghanistan in the past four days, military officials reported.

Afghan National Army and NATO International Security Assistance Force soldiers killed 10 anti-Afghan fighters in Pech district of Afghanistan's Kunar province July 17 after receiving small-arms fire while on a routine patrol. Coalition close-air support from the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield aided the force.

No ISAF soldiers were killed in the incident.

This was the second time in a week that ISAF and Afghan National Army forces eliminated a significant anti-Afghan threat in the district. An Afghan army-led operation July 15 resulted in the death of two Taliban subcommanders and the capture of four more anti-Afghan forces.

In other operations in Afghanistan:

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force searched a compound in Khost province last night to disrupt a Haqqani terrorist network bomb-making cell. The joint force searched the compound near the village of Ya Qubi, northeast of the city of Khost, after intelligence indicated militant activity. The force detained a suspected militant.

-- A joint Afghan and coalition force in southern Helmand province searched a compound last night thought to be used by a Taliban commander. The commander is believed to be responsible for the flow of foreign fighters, drug trafficking, and coordinating attacks in the region.

The force searched the compound after intelligence indicated militant activity. The force detained two suspected militants and confiscated eight shotguns, more than 100 bags of ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient used in explosives, and poppy seeds. No Afghan or coalition forces or civilian casualties were reported.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan and Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)

Forces Probe Rocket Attack, Detain Suspected Terrorists in Iraq

U.S. forces made headway in an investigation of a rocket attack on a base in Iraq, and Iraqi-led forces detained suspected terrorists and seized weapons in recent operations in Iraq, military officials reported.

U.S. soldiers pursued criminals suspected of launching a rocket attack against Contingency Operating Base Basra on July 16 that resulted in the deaths
of three Multinational Division South soldiers.

Following the attack, U.S. troops were flown by helicopter to the suspected launch location, northeast of Basra Airport, where the soldiers were met by 14th Iraqi Army Division soldiers.

A U.S. patrol pursued a suspicious vehicle to a nearby house and searched for evidence related to the rocket launch. Meanwhile, a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol investigated another house nearby. Three men were questioned and released, and the investigation into the attack continues.

"The quick action of the 14th Iraqi Army Division inspires confidence that the criminals who committed this act will be brought to justice," said Army Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, commanding general of Multinational Division South. "We will not tolerate such acts of violence against our soldiers."

Elsewhere, the Iraqi 4th Emergency Response Battalion, aided by coalition advisors, arrested a suspected terrorist July 19 in Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad. The suspect is believed to have built and emplaced roadside bombs in support of a terrorist cell that targeted Iraqi security forces convoys.

In southern Iraq, Iraqi police from the Basra special weapons and tactics team, along with coalition advisors, arrested two suspected terrorists July 18 during an Iraqi-led operation.

The suspected terrorists are believed to be linked to an insurgent cell operating in Basra and are suspected of murder and roadside bomb and rocket attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces.

The force also uncovered four previously used 107 mm launch tubes, four 107 mm high-explosive rockets, a 107 mm rocket-launch rail system and various bomb-making materials.

(American Forces Press Service; Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Eleven Missiles Fired by North Korea Propels Their Capability to Threaten the United States

/PRNewswire/ -- Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) explains why the actions of North Korea on July 4th dictate the need for our nation to have a strong missile defense program, and that the ballistic missile tests by North Korea send a strong message to our nation about the need for missile defense. His comments are as follows:

"Seven North Korean ballistic missiles were fired on July 4th from North Korea into the East Sea, the body of water that separates Japan from North Korea. The seven missiles launched were a mixture of Scud - C short-range ballistic missiles and Rodong/Nodong medium-range ballistic missiles with ranges from 350 miles to 800 miles. These North Korean ballistic missiles were liquid fueled, mobile land-based systems and as such their launch pads and locations were not known prior to their launching. Satellite intelligence can only provide post-launch analysis of backtracking the trajectories to the launch locations after the missiles have been fired. The North Korean demonstration of our lack of detection prior to launch provides very difficult challenges for pre-emptive military action to disable or destroy North Korean ballistic missiles prior to launch in possible future scenarios."

"It is with appreciation, that the current Administration understands the future regional threats and has increased $900 million to the 2010 Missile Defense budget. That $900 million for 2010 is allocated for an increase in missile interceptors with the THAAD20land-based mobile system as well as the Aegis ship based missile defense system."

The launching of these seven ballistic missiles on July 4th followed four short-range ballistic missiles on July 2nd by North Korea thus providing more confidence, reliability and robustness of ballistic missile technologies for the North Korean military-industrial complex. These types of multiple tests collectively provide more assurance and technical confidence for those systems as well as for the development of the long-range ballistic missile TaepoDong-2. The first stage of the TaepoDong-2 is made up of three to four rocket engines with the same commonality of liquid fuel for combustion that are exactly used in the one rocket engine ballistic missiles that were fired on July 4th. The second stage of the TaepoDong-2 has the same technologies and rocket engine similarity to the missiles launched on July 4th."

"Admiral Timothy Keating Commander of the US Pacific Command stated in Honolulu this weekend that he believes North Korea has the capability to fire a long-range ballistic missile (ICBM) that will reach the United States or Hawaii. 'We believe they have the capability to do so but they haven't yet demonstrated the intent.' It is apparent with these comments by the head of the Pacific Combat Command and with the still deployed Sea-Based X-band radar that the long-range ballistic missile threat to Hawaii and the United States is and remains real."

"With North Korea continuing to flaunt, deploy and actively test ballistic missiles to provoke our nation and our allies along with its nuclear weapons, it is with hope, great expectation and nonsensical belief that our United States Congress can rectify the Administration's budget decision made against overwhelming public support to decrease our nation's only deployed proven long-range ballistic missile defense system, the ground-based interceptors deployed at Fort Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base."

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Global Zero Leaders Respond to Obama/Medvedev Joint Statement on Nuclear Weapons

/PRNewswire/ -- "Of course -- as is always the case in serious negotiations -- there are a host of difficult issues that must be resolved in order to reach a new arms control agreement," said Ambassador Richard Burt, who was the top U.S. negotiator for the START 1 negotiations and now leads Global Zero, an international coalition working to eliminate nuclear weapons. "But the presidents' joint statements today make it clear that they will not let these issues stand in the way of the priority goal they set April 1: establishing joint U.S.-Russian leadership to reduce their two arsenals and to lead an international effort for the elimination of all nuclear arsenals to zero."

"The key to achieving global nuclear disarmament is the improvement of US Russia relations," said Senator Mikhail Margelov, Chair of the Committee of International Relations in the Russian Federation Council and a founding member of the Global Zero initiative. "We face a number of stumbling blocks including the expansion of NATO and missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, but these are issues we can work through. Our main goal must be to create a world without nuclear weapons."

"In Russia, both President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin believe in global zero," said Igor Yurgens, senior adviser to the President and a founding member of the Global Zero initiative. "They believe that a world without nuclear weapons must be the goal both for the Russian Federation and for mankind. We hope and trust that the commitment on START negotiations agreed during President Obama's visit will be a step in the right direction."

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AIM: Hondurans Plead for Balanced Coverage From International News Media

/PRNewswire/ -- Accuracy in Media editor Cliff Kincaid today published some of the messages he has received from Hondurans upset at the international media's pro-Zelaya news coverage. He called for thorough, balanced reporting of events in Honduras, rather than acceptance of the ousted leader's explanation that he was deposed in a "military coup."

"The so-called 'military coup' in Honduras was a successful effort by Honduran patriots to preserve their constitutional system of government from an international alliance of communists and socialists backed by Iran," Kincaid wrote in a column published at

"I continue to receive messages from Honduran citizens upset at the international media for their distorted coverage of the situation in the Central American country. The people support the ouster of Manuel 'Mel' Zelaya, who is considered a puppet of Venezuelan Communist ruler Hugo Chavez. They are mystified that an American president would want to return this Chavez puppet to power in Honduras," Kincaid continued.

One Honduran citizen wrote in a message to Kincaid, "Mr. Zelaya broke the law on several occasions even after the Supreme Court stated that it was illegal. He had no respect for our laws and our Constitution... And I hope the international media investigate very deeply. Send your people here and interview people from Congress and Supreme Court. Thank you again for reading our side of the story. We want a democracy, peace, freedom, and a president who doesn't believe he is above the law."

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