Thursday, April 30, 2009

U.S., India, Japan Increase Interoperability during Malabar 2009

United States, Indian, and Japanese forces gathered in Sasebo, Japan, April 26 to kick off the trilateral exercise Malabar 2009.

The annual, Indian-led, exercise Malabar is designed to increase the interoperability between navies and strengthen the stability of the Pacific region.

During the exercise, approximately 4,000 personnel from the three participating maritime forces will execute anti-submarine warfare; surface warfare; air defense; live-fire gunnery training; and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) evolutions.

"Malabar is our premier blue water exercise with the Indian navy," said Lt. Aaron Kakiel, 7th Fleet's South Asia policy and exercise officer. "We value this opportunity to increase our interoperability with our regional partners," he added.

Traditionally a bilateral exercise between the U.S. and Indian navies, this year's Malabar will also include the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF).

"Adding the JMSDF is of particular benefit to the U.S. and Indian navies," Kakiel said. "All three navies have unique ways of conducting similar operations, exercising together allows us to help develop common practices."

Sailors will embark on their counterpart's ships during Malabar to enhance the interoperability by sharing information and learning from their allies.

"Sailor exchanges provide a valuable professional experience," said Kakiel. "The free exchange of ideas and trust that develops from these swaps proves invaluable in developing a framework for future engagements."

During Malabar, VBSS teams from the three nations will jointly board USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and the Indian supply ship INS Jyoti (A58) to share with each other how they conduct maritime interdiction operations (MIO).

"Taking different teams and integrating them together in a coordinated effort to achieve a common goal is a good way to share knowledge with each other," said Ensign James Lamb, force protection officer for USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62). "We have our way of doing things," he said, "but if we see the Indians or Japanese have a better way of accomplishing the same task, we can take there procedure and incorporate it into our own.

The United States will be represented by the 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), guided-missile destroyers Fitzgerald and USS Chafee (DDG 90), fast attack submarine USS Seawolf (SSN 21) and various P-3C Orion and SH-60 Seahawk aircraft.

Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, the U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, covering more than 48 million square miles, with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned to it at any time.

Matthew R. White (NNS)


US Army Gets First NanoSatellites

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command took delivery of eight four-kilogram satellites at the end of a one-year contract effort on April 28. The first of the SMDC-ONE nanosatellites will be placed into orbit in 2009 and the remaining seven at a later date.

"This marks a real milestone for the Army," said Dr. Steven Messervy, deputy to the commander for Research, Development and Acquisition, USASMDC/ARSTRAT at Redstone Arsenal.

The SMDC-ONE satellites each weigh less than 10 pounds and are about 10x10x32 centimeters or approximately 4x4x13 inches in size.

Each of these nanosatellites can be placed into a Low Earth Orbit to receive data files from a ground command and control center. The ground station for the first SMDC-ONE demonstration will be at USASMDC/ARSTRAT on Redstone Arsenal. The primary objective will be to receive data from a ground transmitter and relay that data to a ground station. The intent of this technology demonstration is to build a number of identical satellites and deploy them together into Low Earth Orbit to simulate enhanced tactical communications capability and evaluate nanosat performance.

Messervy stated that USASMDC/ARSTRAT Commander Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell had announced the nanosatellite program goals at a meeting of the National Space Society in April, 2008. Satellites traditionally take many years to develop and cost billions of dollars, but these were produced in under a year at less then $1 million each.

"These are technology demonstrators, not an operational capability, that we hope will someday lead to an operational capability," said Nanosatellite technology manager and SMDC-ONE program manager John London, of the USASMDC/ARSTRAT Technical Center. "The cost estimate to integrate, test and prepare for flight for each satellite is in the 150-200k range," London continued.

One message that London has is that these are pretty robust pieces of hardware and USASMDC/ARSTRAT IS display them in an open room to the public today because they do not have to be in a "white room" setting. Because these are communications satellites and there are no optical elements on them, a "white room" is not necessary to protect the optics on a satellite.

To better meet warfighter needs, USASMDC/ARSTRAT is considering mission enabling upgrade features for future nanosatellites to include on-board GPS capability for greater on-board autonomy, addition of a S-band communications link for increased data transmission, inclusion of a software defined radio for greater transceiver frequency flexibility, and modification of the communications element (radio) to increase available volume for payloads.

To achieve enhanced capabilities for the warfighter from space, an approach that holds great promise is the deployment of constellations of nanosat-class satellites into Low Earth Orbit. Because the unit cost for a nanosat is lower (less than $1M), large numbers for each specific mission could be built and deployed. What a nanosat may lack in performance and reliability when compared on a per-unit basis to a large traditional military satellite, it makes up by its low cost and potential for a persistent presence over given theaters of operation through constellation proliferation.

A nanosat constellation populated by inexpensive spacecraft could be useful in humanitarian support, stability and support operations and nation building. If some satellites are lost, they could be rapidly reconstituted. Nanosats can provide coverage across specific regions, as well as, globally. The use of nanosats in such a fashion will enable UAV-like performance for communication from spaceborne assets that can provide data directly into theaters of operation.

John Cummings


USAF UAV Optics Could Benefit From Moth Research

Researchers at National Taiwan University are expanding on the anti-reflective properties of moth eyes to make better protective skins for U.S. Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles.

With funding from the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development (AOARD) -- an international detachment of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research -- Prof. Li-Chyong Chen has produced an anti-reflective nanostructure surface using arrayed silicon nanotips.

Chen's silicon nanotip surface mimics the naturally formed surfaces found on many plants and animals. The color on butterfly wings, camouflage for cicadas and night vision for moths are all made possible by tiny surface structures that absorb certain wavelengths of light.

A key aspect of Chen's research has been finding an efficient and easy-to-integrate approach for preparing the nanotips on a single surface. Her patented electron-cyclotron-resonance (ECR) method offers the opportunity to do so in only one step.

This plasma-assisted method selectively dry etches a single silicon wafer by masking and unmasking certain portions. The un-etched portions form an array of nanotips.

Because of the high density of plasma in the ECR method, Chen has been able to create a thick forest of silicon nanotips. Of equal importance, she can produce them uniformly over a large area, recently demonstrating the approach on a 6-inch wafer.

The resulting nanostructure surface not only mimics the moth eye, but also surpasses its function in anti-reflection by absorbing almost all of the direct light that falls on it.

"The new silicon nanotip surface demonstrates a low hemispherical reflectance of <1% from the ultraviolet to the infrared region and shows significant suppression of specular reflection in the far-infrared to terahertz region," explains Dr. Thomas Erstfeld, AOARD senior advisor.

In addition, these findings are nearly unaffected by the angle of the light source shined on the surface, allowing Chen to add broadband anti-reflection and quasi-omni-directional anti-reflection to the list of properties that show promise for Air Force optical defensive applications.

Molly LaChance


NanoTech Muscles Could Make Soldiers Super-Strong

Research on a new kind of carbon nanotube artificial muscle for Air Force aerospace and space applications, conceived and invented, at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) is receiving primary financial support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

Dr. Ray Baughman, director of the NanoTech Institute at UTD, and his team of researchers have been working on artificial muscles for more than twenty years. The current phase of his pioneering work stems from an exploratory research program supported by AFOSR program manager, Dr. B-L "Les" Lee since 2006. The team invented many new types, including electrochemical carbon nanotube and conducting polymer muscles, as well fuel-powered muscles. The latter, powered chemically by alcohol or hydrogen, operate similarly to natural muscles. But they are limited in that they cannot function at extreme temperatures and have low efficiencies for energy conversion.

The nano-based muscles, which are 30 times stronger than natural muscles are made of very thin sheets of nanotubes (1/10,000th of the diameter of a human hair) that on a weight basis are "strong as steel" in one direction and as elastic as rubber in two other directions. These properties and their deployment for giant stroke artificial muscles were described in the March 20, 2009 issue of Science.

These non-electro chemical carbon nanotube artificial muscles can operate at extreme temperatures, which makes them especially attractive for space applications. They are also being viewed as a means for endowing soldiers with super-human strength through the use of exoskeletons, which would be advantageous in battlefield emergencies. Artificial muscles may also be used to actuate "smart skins," which would give Air Force aircraft the ability to change their appearances in situations of danger.

"We want to use the carbon nanotube sheets to affect the boundary layers on Air Force micro air vehicles and even larger vehicles to provide a new type of controllability and increase flight efficiency," Baughman said.

"The carbon nanotube aerogel sheets are a remarkable state of matter that show rubber elasticity, and they are lighter than air. The sheets rise in the air like smoke," said Baughman who remains amazed by their properties.

Baughman and his colleagues activate the artificial muscles by injecting a small amount of positive charge into the carbon nanotube sheets.The positive charge repulses the other positive charges within the carbon nanotube sheet.

"Natural muscles contract at about 20 percent per second, but the artificial muscles' rate can exceed 30,000% per second," he said.

Up ahead, scientists expect these latest man-made muscles to have very large response rates that as of right now are not possible.

"To use our muscles of this type to generate large forces, we must learn how to assemble hundreds of the individual sheet strip muscles to make ones having large cross-sectional areas," he said.

In addition to AFOSR, funding is being provided by the Office of Naval Research, the Strategic Partnership for Research in Nanotechnology, and the Robert A. Welch Foundation.

Maria Callier


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

DARPA CROSSHAIRS to Protect US Soldiers

A lot of questions are likely to rush through your head when you're out on the battlefield and the enemy projectiles come flying. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency officials are making big strides on a program to respond with life-saving speed and accuracy.

The goal of DARPA's CROSSHAIRS, or Counter Rocket-Propelled Grenade and Shooter System with Highly Accurate Immediate Responses, program is to develop a threat detection and countermeasure system for light tactical vehicles, program manager Karen Wood explained.

As envisioned, Ms. Wood said, CROSSHAIRS will be able to detect and locate enemy shooters firing threats ranging from bullets to rocket-propelled grenades to anti-tank guided missiles to direct-fired mortars. In addition, it will engage the shooters and notify other friendly forces of the threat.

"In an engagement, what am I worried about?" she asked. "The first thing I have got to know is what is coming at me. So the CROSSHAIRS system has to be able to identify the threat coming in."

Next, Ms. Wood said, "I need to know, 'Is it going to hit me or not?' So CROSSHAIRS has to be able to track whatever is coming in."

"The third thing you want is to know where that shooter is so you can retaliate or put down suppressive fire" or take some other action, she said. "Then lastly, if something like an RPG is coming in, can I have self-protection?" she asked. "Do I have an active protection system to help me with vehicle survivability?"

CROSSHAIRS aims to do all this, then share details about the attack and the enemy's precise location with other friendly forces.

"I can seamlessly network that information to other vehicles in my convoy and let them know there is a shooter here," Ms. Wood said. "That way, if I am busy with survivability, they can do the retaliatory fire or respond to the shooter."

The CROSSHAIRS program builds on another DARPA effort: the Boomerang II acoustic gunshot detection system. This vehicle-mounted anti-sniper system "listens" for a bullet's shockwave and muzzle blast and transmits the shooter's location to the vehicle crew, all in less than a second.

The Army ordered about 8,000 Boomerang systems, and about half of them already have been deployed to the combat theater, Ms. Wood said.

But test results during earlier stages of the CROSSHAIRS program determined that radars are the best way to detect larger projectiles. The contractor ultimately selected came up with a system Ms. Wood said was "head and shoulders above the rest" in successfully identifying the type and source of incoming fire.

The "Cross-Cue" sensor system combines low-cost radar and acoustics technology with signal processing.

The CROSSHAIRS system marries the two sensor technologies to respond to a full array of threats.

"Now we have the Boomerang for gunshots and the Cross-Cue radar solution for everything else." Ms. Wood said.

The CROSSHAIRS program got a shot in the arm when the Army's Rapid Equipping Force agreed to team with DARPA to apply the technology to the Vanguard vehicle it was developing. In December, DARPA engineers took CROSSHAIRS' dual detection systems, along with its networking piece, and automatic weapon "slew-to-cue" capability and put the system through the paces at the Redstone Technical Test Center in northern Alabama.

"We don't make it easy for these contractors," Ms. Wood said. CROSSHAIRS had to stand up to gunshots, RPG rounds and machine-gun fire, all coming from different sources and often all at once. And as it responded, it simultaneously networked the information to another vehicle, which demonstrated an automatic weapon slew-to-cue to the shooter location based on the information received from the vehicle under fire.

Even Ms. Wood was surprised at the results.

"The system really kind of hit a home run," she said. "Very rarely do you get to go before your director and say, 'We met all the objectives we were going after in this phase of the program.'"

The program, now in its final phase, then turned to developing an active protection system for CROSSHAIRS. The engineers faced two major challenges, Ms. Wood said. The system had to be affordable enough to deploy on light, tactical vehicles, and deployable in a way that didn't cause additional collateral damage.

"We are not gong to be spraying shrapnel or blowing something up at a distance, because innocents could get killed," she said.

After exploring numerous options, the DARPA team ultimately settled on another system their agency had initiated: the Iron Curtain. This system, mounted on the roof of a Humvee, defeats incoming projectiles using a shoot-down system to dud the round before it strikes the vehicle.

Because Iron Curtain shoots directly down from the rooftop and engages the incoming round just inches away from the vehicle, it causes little or no collateral damage, Ms. Wood said.

She explained how the integrated CROSSHAIRS system works. The radar detects and tracks the incoming round. An embedded optical sensor gives a profile of the round.

"Based on a lot of shots, we know exactly where to hit that RPG to make it dud," she said.

Meanwhile, the vehicle crew is able to monitor the process, seamlessly networking the shooter's location and threat type to other friendly forces.

"It's quite amazing what we have done," Ms .Wood said of the system. "We are just marching on, developing these capabilities and hoping it is going to save soldiers' and Marines' lives."

If the program gets adopted by the services, as Ms. Wood said she fully expects, she said it will bring tremendous additional capabilities to warfighters.

"I've got the best job in the whole world," she said. "It's incredibly rewarding to have things go out that you know are going to protect our men and women."

With two nephews in the military, one who has seen combat in Iraq and a niece who will be deployed at the end of the year, Ms. Wood takes the mission personally.

"If there's anything I can do to help the warfighter, I'm all about it," she said. "It's very rewarding, and it's very satisfying."

Donna Miles (AFPN)


Schwarz Discusses USAF Irregular Warfare Ops

As combat requirements evolve, so must the Air Force's unique capabilities to engage the enemy, the service's top officer said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz discussed the role of Airmen in counterinsurgency operations and irregular warfare April 24 at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

During the event, hosted by the 21st Century Defense Initiative, General Schwartz answered audience questions and spoke about the challenges the Air Force will face while combating more sophisticated insurgencies and future irregular threats. He also noted one of the Air Force's most formidable assets: Airmen.

"Today's Airmen are truly remarkable," General Schwartz said. "There's no lack of talent out there.  It's our responsibility as leaders to ensure we lead (our Airmen) well, train them properly and that we're honest with them."

Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Peter Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative and author of the new book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. Dr. Singer offered insight about the metamorphosis of security, the economic environment and most significantly, the Airmen who serve today.

"We have a changing generation entering into service," Dr. Singer said. "We have 'millennials' joining, digital natives who've never known the world without computers ... a generation that, to them, the Vietnam War is as distant as World War I was to the Baby Boomers."

General Schwartz expounded on Dr. Singer's remarks, noting another significant dissimilarity between today's generation of Airmen and those of yesteryear.

"I think one of the key differences is less the character or the conviction of today's generation, but the fact that when you and I were younger, the Air Force was two-thirds single, one-third married and now the statistics, I believe, are exactly the opposite for each of the services: one-third single and two-thirds married."

The general said this inversion of numbers amounts to a service-wide focus on taking care of Airmen and their families.

"When you're talking about the people and skills we need to do this work, we're talking about family and spouses," General Schwartz said. "Are we catering to families? You bet we are!   We're listening. If we don't do that, we're going to have long-term problems in terms of keeping and attracting the type of talent we need."

The general said he has full confidence not only in the ability, but the motivation of today's Airmen.

"Airmen are fully invested and performing spectacularly.  They believe in what they're doing," General Schwartz said. "When they grow up to be leaders it'll be a different Air Force because of that visceral experience Airmen share with their joint brethren side by side."

The general added that Airmen are one factor in a combination of winning strategies that includes enhanced border security and tailored organizational structure and equipment.

"We have to be as skilled, as wise as and even more capable than our adversaries,"

General Schwartz said. "We need presence and surveillance in the Afghan-Pakistan border areas.  It's critical that we partner with our Pakistani partners to disallow the sanctuaries from which the insurgents come."

The strategy to make it more costly and difficult to infiltrate into Afghanistan is valid and the additional troop presence is, in part, intended to help address that issue, the general said.

General Schwartz also indicated Air Force leaders plan to consider adapting an inventory of manned fighters with a "light strike" platform optimized for irregular warfare operations. A turbo prop aircraft dual-purposed for pilot flight training and building partner capacity may be on the horizon, he said.

"We want to minimize things that are single-purpose ... the way ahead is to have assets that can easily work both lower-end and higher-end kinds of requirements," the general said. "There is a legitimate need to talk about the light strike and building partner capacity roles, and we certainly intend to have that discussion in the coming months."

The general added that senior leaders would explore the development of an air wing dedicated to irregular warfare during this summer's discussions. He emphasized the Air Force's overall mission against the landscape of counterinsurgency and irregular warfare.

"We are part of the larger tapestry of Department of Defense capability," General Schwartz said. "Our basic strategy is to do whatever is necessary to make the defense team successful."

Amaani Lyle (AFPN)


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deal could be near to extend use of Manas Air Base

U.S. officials could be nearing a deal with the Kyrgyzstan government to extend U.S. access to Manas Air Base, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters April 28.

Mr. Morrell reported progress in negotiations he called "reason for hope" about reversing Kyrgyzstan's previous decision regarding the base.

Kyrgyzstan's foreign ministry notified the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek in February that it had six months to leave Manas, a major logistical and refueling center that supports troops in Afghanistan.  About 15,000 troops and 500 tons of cargo move through the base every month.

The decision was to end the arrangement the United States and Kyrgyzstan established three years ago that gave the U.S. annual renewal rights through July 2011. The United States pays $17.4 million a year to use the base.

But officials made it clear from the start that they hoped to get Kyrgyzstan representatives to reconsider their decision.

"We ... have been engaged in conversations with them about extending our use of that facility," Mr. Morrell said. "And I think we see reason for hope there that that can be worked out... We hope we're getting closer."

In the meantime, he said the military has been looking for alternative air bases in the event that that doesn't happen

"We have found a number of suitable ones" to support its northern distribution network, he said. "Should it become necessary to find other bases to fly out of and trans-load our personnel into Afghanistan, I think we've got suitable alternatives within the region."

Donna Miles (AFPS)

      # END

US Navy and the Swine Flu Pandemic

According to a report in Army Technology, the US Navy is a front line player in the war on the new swine flu pandemic.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Army Testing "Light" Heavy Machine Gun

The Army wants to field a new .50-caliber machine gun that's about 64 percent lighter than the venerable Ma Deuce, reports Army Times.

Weapons officials classified the General Dynamics-made lightweight .50-caliber machine gun as the XM806 in March, clearing the way for further testing of the radical new design.

While it would not replace the M2 .50-caliber machine gun, also known as Ma Deuce, the Army hopes to field the 30-pound XM806 in 2012 as a lightweight alternative to the 84-pound M2, said Lt. Col. Mike Ascura, product manager for crew-served weapons.


US Army to Launch Nanosatellites

The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's SMDC-ONE technology demonstration will design and test nanosatellites weighing as little as four-kilograms.

These nanosatellites can be placed into a low Earth orbit to receive data files from a ground command and control center. The ground station for the first SMDC-ONE demonstration will be at USASMDC/ARSTRAT on Redstone Arsenal, Ala. The primary objective will be to receive data from multiple ground transmitters and relay that data to a ground station.

The intent of this technology demonstration is to build a number of identical satellites and deploy them together into low Earth orbit to simulate enhanced tactical communications capability and evaluate the nanosat performance.

On 28 April 2009, eight SMDC-ONE nanosatellites will be delivered to USASMDC/ARSTRAT after a one-year contract effort. The first SMDC-ONE nanosatellite will be placed into orbit in 2009 and the remaining seven at a later date.

To better meet warfighter needs, USASMDC/ARSTRAT is considering mission enabling upgrade features for future nanosatellites to include on-board GPS capability for greater on-board autonomy, addition of an S-band communications link for increased data transmission, inclusion of a software defined radio for greater transceiver frequency flexibility, and modification of the communications element (radio) to increase available volume for payloads.

To achieve enhanced capabilities for the warfighter from space, an approach that holds great promise is the deployment of constellations of nanosat-class satellites into low Earth orbit. Because the unit cost for a nanosat is lower (less than $1 million), large numbers for each specific mission could be built and deployed. What a nanosat may lack in performance and reliability when compared on a per-unit basis to a large traditional military satellite, it makes up by its low cost and potential for a persistent presence over given theaters of operations through constellation proliferation.

A nanosat constellation populated by inexpensive spacecraft could be useful in humanitarian support, stability and support operations and nation building. If a satellite ceases to function, it could be rapidly reconstituted. nanosats can provide coverage across specific regions, as well as globally. The use of nanosats in such a fashion will enable UAV-like performance for communication from spaceborne assets that can provide data directly into theaters of operation.

Source: US Army


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Quadrennial defense, nuclear posture review begin

Pentagon officials kicked off the Defense Department's 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and Nuclear Posture Review processes April 23 to determine what types of capabilities will be required to maintain U.S. national security now and in the coming years, senior officials said.

"The QDR takes a long-term, strategic view of the Department of Defense and will explore ways to balance achieving success in current conflicts with preparing for long-term challenges," Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III stated in a Defense Department news release issued April 23.

The QDR "will also look at ways to institutionalize irregular warfare capabilities while maintaining the United States' existing strategic and technological edge in traditional warfare," Mr. Lynn said in the release.

The NPR establishes the nation's nuclear deterrence posture, policies and strategies for the next five to 10 years. It will be conducted in consultation with the U.S. departments of Energy and State.

Both reviews will be conducted over the summer into fall, officials said. Final reports from both reviews will be provided to Congress early next year. Recommendations provided by the 2010 QDR and NPR will be employed in developing the Pentagon's fiscal year 2011 budget.

The QDR is performed every four years; previous QDRs were conducted in 1997, 2001, and 2006. The most-recent NPR was completed in 2002.

Other senior defense officials briefed reporters on QDR and NPR issues and procedures at a Pentagon news conference.

The 2010 QDR, a senior defense civilian official told reporters, will delve into questions such as, "What's the world going to look like? What are the challenges going to look like? What are the military missions going to look like?" in the near- and long-term.

Then, the civilian official continued, the QDR and NPR reports will identify the types of capabilities required to deter potential threats to U.S. national security.

"Throughout the QDR processes, we will be seeking to capture and institutionalize the lessons we've learned from Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere," the civilian defense official said, "and we're going to seek to further adapt our forces and capabilities to asymmetric and irregular forms of warfare."

The 2010 QDR and NPR will employ a "whole-of-government" approach, the civilian official said, noting that other U.S. government agencies, allies, as well as nongovernmental agencies and "think-tanks," would be consulted during the process.

The 2010 NPR will reflect the Obama administration's pledge to confront global nuclear weapons proliferation, the senior civilian defense official said. Consequently, the civilian official said, the United States will seek talks with the Russians to further reduce both countries' nuclear-weapons arsenals by reaching a follow-on agreement to replace the strategic arms reduction treaty of 1993, known as START II.

"In the NPR, we'll be seeking to ensure that our nuclear policies help deter our enemies, reassure our allies and also further our nonproliferation agenda," the senior civilian official said.

A key QDR challenge, the civilian official said, involves balancing investment for capabilities required by today's warfighters against investing in capabilities that tomorrow's troops might need.

"Sometimes we're lucky and there's good overlap between those two, and sometimes those things pull us in different directions and there's some hard tradeoffs and choices to be made," the civilian official said. "So, I think that is something we've been struggling [with], frankly, since the end of the Cold War."

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates addressed that issue during a March 10 appearance on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" program.

American military planning, going back at least two decades during the twilight of the Cold-War, has been predicated on fighting two major combat operations simultaneously, Gates said on the radio program.

"I think one of the central questions that this department will face in the Quadrennial Defense Review, which will begin shortly, is whether that model makes any sense in the 21st century, and whether what may have fit in a Cold War environment or an immediately post-Cold War environment really has application in today's world," Secretary Gates said.

Secretary Gates will provide direction for the QDR and NPR reviews, as well as Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a senior military official told reporters.

The purpose of the QDR, General Cartwright said in the news release issued April 23, is "to assess the threats and capabilities the nation faces, and then integrate strategies, resources, forces, and capabilities necessary to prevent conflict or conclude it on terms that are favorable to the nation now and in the future."

Mr. Lynn will be paired with General Cartwright to provide direct oversight for the QDR, the senior military official said. Service chiefs and combatant commanders, the military official added, will be consulted to provide input into the QDR and NPR.

Much of the 2010 QDR and NPR process, the senior military official said, could be described as finding balance "between near- and long-term risk" and achieving balance between procuring expensive, "exquisite" weapons systems and having "high-quantity, lower-cost-type" systems and equipment.

Gerry J. Gilmore (AFNS)


US Air Defense Needs Upgrade

New commitments need to be made to the nation's Airmen and others who defend North America from threats to its air sovereignty, the Air National Guard's senior officer told members of Congress April 22.

Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt, director of the Air National Guard, testified before the House Armed Services' readiness committee in a hearing on the nation's air sovereignty alert operations.

Air Guardsmen operate 16 of the 18 ASA sites located across the United States to protect its airspace. The ASA mission relies on a host of agencies including U.S. Northern Command, North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Federal Aviation Administration.

"Their service displays a commitment to job number one, defense of the homeland," General Wyatt said. "Our reluctance to treat air sovereignty alert as an enduring mission continues to impact the men and women serving in this very important mission area."

The general explained that past funding for the mission has been inconsistent and equipment is quickly nearing the end of its service life.

About 80 percent of the Air Guard's F-16 Fighting Falcons, which fly the largest portion of the nation's ASA missions, will reach the end of their life span in eight years.

Officials also said the average age of Air Guard aircraft is more than 25 years, with KC-135 Stratotankers being the oldest at 49 years. KC-135s also support the ASA mission through aerial refueling.

General Wyatt said if Air Guard units received the "fifth-generation" fighters, such as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter sooner, the readiness issues could be avoided.

"Every day without a solution, this situation becomes more and more urgent,"
General Wyatt told the committee. "The risk of doing nothing is unacceptable and we are examining all options to address recapitalization of these aircraft."

In addition to equipment, General Wyatt pointed out the need to recognize ASA as a steady-state mission, which would provide predictability to Guardsmen serving on year-to-year state active duty tours to support it.

"I think many falsely believe this mission only includes a handful of fighter pilots," he said. "They forget about the maintainers, communicators, command and control, life support, intelligence officers, security forces and others who are also critical components to the execution of this mission."

In total, excluding tanker support, there are more than 3,000 Airmen responsible for the air sovereignty alert mission, said officials.

General Wyatt said that also impacts retention, readiness, and employer and family support.

"Recognition that air sovereignty alert is within the steady-state portion of the global defense posture, requiring long-range planning and consistent funding, is extremely important to providing predictability to the units supporting this mission area," he said.

"Our Airmen are leaning forward, standing side by side with their joint and coalition partners, to maintain the safety of our skies and our borders," said General Wyatt. "We, all of us, have a responsibility to add stability to their funding and to bridge the equipment capability gaps that exist on the horizon."

Mike R. Smith (AFNS)


Friday, April 24, 2009

Key US House Lawmakers Unveil Pentagon Reform Bill

Leaders of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday unveiled legislation to reform massive waste in the Pentagon's biggest weapons programmes, joining a rising chorus of voices calling for change, reports Army Technology.
Representative Ike Skelton, chairman of the committee, said he looked forward to working with the Senate Armed Services Committee, whose leaders Senators Carl Levin and John McCain have introduced their own defence acquisition reform bill.


US Army Reiterates Need for Cargo Aircraft

Army Technology reports that the US Army still needs a way to get critical equipment deep into the battlefield quickly, despite signs that Pentagon leaders plan to sharply scale back the L-3 Communications Holdings Joint Cargo Aircraft programme, an army general said on Thursday.
"Nothing has changed with respect to the requirement," Brigadier General Walter Davis, director of Army Aviation, told the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee at a hearing. "We still have a requirement for the capabilities that the JCA provides."


Rep. Giffords Warns of "Unacceptable" Fighter Gap

During Wednesday's House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on the future of DOD's air sovereignty alert (ASA) mission, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) called the fighter gap facing the Air National Guard, which bears the brunt of this mission, "simply unacceptable," reports the Air Force Association's Daily Report.

She said that ongoing failure to "adequately study legitimate options for resourcing the mission" has put ASA in "a virtual reality" realm rather than "a real case situation." She pointed to the Tucson-based 162nd Fighter Wing, an Air Guard unit with one of the best F-16 maintenance records for ASA units, but which she said would have no flyable aircraft in just six years.

"Tucson is just the tip of the iceberg," she declared. Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt, ANG director, confirmed Giffords' analysis saying that eight of the 11 ANG F-16 units conducting ASA missions, have aircraft that reach the end of their service lives between 2015 and 2017. Wyatt said the Air Guard had made "some progress" in working with Air Combat Command to " push forward or accelerate the fielding of the F-35 and F-22 into Air National Guard units." (That work includes formalizing mission statement documents.) Still, he added, "The only plan that I've seen that's been published to date has the Air National Guard getting into these weapons systems, as you say, about 10 years late to need." (Wyatt's written testimony)

Source: AFA


Gates could shortchange Army on cargo aircraft

Despite settling a bitter, years-long battle to protect a coveted cargo aircraft program, the Army is now likely to be left empty-handed, reports The Hill.

The Army, and in particular the Army National Guard, likely will no longer receive the C-27J Spartan, also known as the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA), under a new Pentagon plan, according to multiple sources at the Defense Department, in Congress and the defense industry.


187 F-22: a "High-Risk Number"

There clearly wasn't enough analysis done to justify Defense Secretary Robert Gates' decision to truncate the F-22 buy at 187 airframes, writes the Air Force Association's Daily Report.

That was the consistent comment they took from speakers at a Center for Strategic and International Studies program on tactical aviation issues Thursday in Washington. "There was no analysis," underlying Gates' choices, said retired Gen. Gregory Martin, adding, "It was driven by a budget drill."

Retired Adm. John Nathman, retired Vice Chief of naval Operations, said the F-22 cut—as well as other choices Gates made about new ships, fighting vehicles, and aircraft—showed no analysis of the effect such decisions would have on the industrial base. He said that without some new program in strike fighters, "we are about to lose … capacity in [aircraft] design." Nathman asserted that the lack of "a strategic model" was "one of the key gaps" in justifying the decisions.

Nathman and Martin said a national debate is needed on assessing the need for the F-22—and Nathman emphasized that Gates' decisions are a starting point for that debate, not the end. Rebecca Grant of the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies said that 187 was certainly a "made up number" as it did not originate from any Air Force study. She declared, "I would characterize it as a high-risk number."

Source: AFA


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Military services align, sign new working group charter

The first big step towards achieving commonality and interoperability of expeditionary basing equipment in the joint force was taken April 13 as the service logistics chiefs came together in Washington DC to sign the Joint Expeditionary Basing Working Group charter.

The lead JEBWG organizations are the Air Force's A4/7, the Army's G4, the Navy's N4, the Marine Corps' I&L/LP and the Joint Staff's J4. The goal of the working group is "Achieving commonality and interoperability through joint solutions."

The members of the working group will review the services' expeditionary basing capability requirements, potential hardware solutions, availability, procurement timelines and current and future acquisition objectives in order to develop common hardware procurement.

That equates to reduced research and development efforts due to less service-unique R&D, officials said.  It also equates to leveraging economies of scale and effective and efficient total lifecycle management.

"We are all in tune with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs" of which the first level is physiological needs," said Army Lt Gen. Mitchell Stevenson, the Army's deputy chief of staff for logistics. "In other words, everyone needs food, water, sleep, etc, and the equipment and facilities that accommodate these needs can be standardized across the battlefield."

Lt. Gen. Loren Reno, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations and mission support, expanded on that point.

"Common procurement and utilization of expeditionary basing equipment decreases the footprint in a deployed environment and places less of a burden on the overall supply chain," he said.

The working group members determined the group's initial focus areas will be tents and insulation, power generation, environmental conditioning units and lighting systems.  All of the initial focus areas fall perfectly in line with an ongoing effort at the Army's National Training Center known as the "Net Zero + Joint Capability Technology Demonstration" which can be leveraged to compare "as is" equipment with "potential to be" equipment.

The second phase of focus for the JEBWG will be laundry, kitchens and hygiene systems -- shower, shave, latrine.  The Expeditionary TRICON Systems that Army engineers have developed, demonstrated and evaluated in the both operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom are being reviewed by the working group as a potential common hardware solution for the focus areas in phase two.

These two phases cover a lot of expeditionary basing capabilities and can lead to substantial gains in the operational effectiveness of the joint force, according to JEBWG officials.


Army halts use of WoundStat

Service pulls blood-clotting product in war zone over health effects, reports the Stars & Stripes.


4th ID to get new body armor, lightweight gear

The Army will begin fielding new, lighter body armor and other lightweight equipment next month, starting with 4th Infantry Division troops headed into Afghanistan, the Army Vice Chief of Staff told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Members of the division's 4th Brigade Combat Team, currently training at Fort Carson, Colo., will receive the new Modular Body Armor Vests starting May 11. Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said they'll finish training with the new vests in hand before heading overseas at the start of the summer, reports the Stars and Stripes.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Air Force Tests ScramJet Engine

Officials at the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) are heralding a successful first freejet test on a dual mode, combined ram/scramjet hypersonic engine in the center's Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit (APTU), a major milestone on two fronts.

"Not only did we complete a successful first hot-flow test on DAPRA's (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Falcon Combined Cycle Engine Test (FaCET) article, but this test also represents our first entry for a customer since APTU underwent an extensive multi-year facility upgrade," said Matthew Bond, the Air Force manager for APTU.

"The main purpose of this program is to test the common combined cycle flow path at Mach 4, he explained. "What is unique about this test article is that it combines two propulsion systems into a single package which could be used to power a flight vehicle from zero airspeed out to hypersonic flight and back."

"The test is to verify that the flow paths are designed correctly," Bond said. "The most critical issue in a turbine engine, or a ramjet is making sure you can manage the airflow. Each propulsion mode has different airflow requirements. For example, with a ramjet, even though the vehicle is going Mach 3 or Mach 4, when the air comes in the inlet, it actually gets choked down to subsonic flow."

He said the challenge to getting a combined cycle propulsion system to function properly is to manage the flow transition between supersonic and subsonic.

"APTU is a fixed Mach facility, you install a nozzle and you run one Mach number," Bond said. "You can't vary the Mach number during the run. So, you try to run a set of test points that capture the different modes of the test article.

"In the original test plan, we were going to run several Mach 3 conditions, which has the bypass door to the turbine partially open so it will test being able to split those flow paths. Next we would run the test article under Mach 4 conditions, which is a ramjet mode and then at Mach 6 conditions which gets into scramjet mode, distinguished by supersonic combustion.

"We would test at the different modes - and it basically allows our customer to verify that they've got their airflow calculations right and that they get the right flow through the engine to actually light the fuel/air mixture in the combustor and maintain that combustion."

Regarding APTU's Initial Operational Capability (IOC) milestone, Bond said that process has been performed in progressive steps over the years with a major objective being realized two years ago.

"APTU went IOC with the new Combustion Air Heater (CAH) burner in September 2007," he said. "We went through a big modernization program to put that new heater into the facility, and it took time to get it to operate properly at all the different Mach numbers."

He said the facility's current configuration still only allows the facility's operators to put in one nozzle at a time for a test run.

"The ultimate objective for APTU is to provide a real-time variable Mach capability. The current design is based on having a flexible walled nozzle, similar to what's in our 16-foot supersonic and 16-foot transonic wind tunnels," Bond continued. "Then we can vary the Mach conditions as we're running the facility and this would allow us to actually simulate the vehicle accelerating and test those transitions from turbine to ram or from ram to scram.

"That capability is still in the future," Bond admitted. "Our primary objective right now is to deliver as much data as we can with the FaCET test article to support future combined cycle engine development."


Female Combat Engineer Could Be Army's Best

Being named one of the best will bring special meaning to a Soldier from the 31st Engineer Battalion at Fort Leonard Wood (MO).

1st Lt. Christine E. Murray, a competitor in this year's fifth annual "Best Sapper" competition, is the first female to ever compete in this challenging event.

Besides being the first ever, she is also the only female in this year's competition.

"I heard several people talking about the event and I though it would be good training. So when my battalion executive officer asked if I would be interested, I said yes," said Murray. "When I signed up, I didn't know that there had never been a female competitor, and that I would be the only female competing this year."

The Best Sapper Competition is the Engineer equivalent of the Best Ranger Competition, showcasing the Army's elite Soldiers in combat engineering military occupation specialties.

The competition is open to any Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine who has earned the Sapper tab by successfully completing the 28-day Sapper Leader Course, where fewer than 50 percent of the students graduate. Engineers in the 21 career series, who don't have Sapper tabs, are also allowed to compete.

A total of 34 teams representing 12 different posts, from as far away as Germany and Hawaii, will compete this week in a variety of demanding and exhausting events. They include land navigation, mountaineering, helocasting, road marches, weapon assembly and disassembly, knots and rope systems, and what engineers like to do best, blow things up.

Phase I of the competition begins at 4 a.m., with a physical fitness test which will include doing as many pushups and sit-ups as possible in five minutes, as many pull-ups as possible in three minutes, and run three miles as fast as they can, wearing Interceptor Body Armor plates.

Murray, her drill sergeant partner, and the other two-man teams, will face a grueling 52 hours of physical and mental challenges to determine who will be named "Best Sapper."

"To prepare for the six-phase competition, I focused on upper body lifting to increase strength, ran, conducted ruck marches, practiced day and night land navigation, and worked on some of the other technical events like poncho raft, skedco rappel, and demolition.

Sappers have fought in every war in American history. Designation as Sapper is earned as an additional proficiency.

"To be named the 'Best Sapper,' the best of the best, is quite an accomplishment. It is an extremely prestigious award. To earn the Sapper tab itself is very difficult, so to be named the best in the entire engineer regiment, would be quite an honor" Murray said.

The 2009 winners will be announced at the end of competition on April 22.
Dona Fair


Army speeds testing of robotic systems

The U.S. Army has traditionally acquired weapon systems through a process that can take several years, but the ongoing fight in Afghanistan and Iraq has shortened the time frame considerably.

Robotic systems that can save lives on the battlefield are getting into Soldiers' hands more rapidly than ever before, and the Army Developmental Test Command is transforming its business practices to support that effort.

James Johnson, DTC executive director, said test and evaluation to support rapid fielding of both manned and unmanned systems have been streamlined in recent years.

"In a traditional program, we would test in a hot, cold and tropical environment, and maybe do a lot of other environmental testing," he said. "For some of the rapid acquisition programs, we have left out testing in the cold, for instance, and left out the tropics. So we know fairly well how systems are going to behave in Iraq or Afghanistan."

Developing test reports for acquisition program managers and Army evaluators also has become a speedier process. Instead of issuing a "pass/fail" report for many of the systems the Army needs, ATEC provides reports on their capabilities and limitations. The command also deploys testers to the theater of operations to help the Army Test and Evaluation Command assess how systems perform there, Johnson said.

"Because we are not getting to do as much testing as we would necessarily like on this end, we are sort of catching up to the equipment out in the field," he said. "We're seeing how the equipment is operating, and we're providing expert advice to the Soldiers who are operating that equipment. That is quite different."

Rapid acquisition is not the only issue DTC is working to address. Keeping costs down for test customers is a key objective of the command, Johnson said, noting that DTC is constantly tackling the challenge of reducing costs to customers.

"We've always got to have a reasonable cost, do testing on time and provide a quality product to the customer," he said. "When you get into these newer commodity areas like unmanned ground systems and aerial systems, that adds to the challenge because we have to learn a new technology, maybe something we've never tested before. Then we're trying to do all of that in a period when budgets are tight. Shrinking budgets are always on our minds, and we're trying to figure out how we can cut our costs and be more efficient in order to answer budget challenges."

DTC has the instrumentation and facilities needed to tackle the challenges associated with testing the new unmanned systems, but its test procedures must evolve to be appropriate for them, both on the ground and in the air, Johnson said.

"For those new commodities, procedures are being developed, and it comes down to safety concerns, for example," he said. "We talk about unmanned aerial vehicles operating in the same airspace as manned vehicles, and we haven't yet come to grips fully with how we can operate in the same airspace. That's something we're working on with the Federal Aeronautics Administration. Right now, it is driving a lot of tests out to our western ranges, where there is a lot of airspace and not a concern with them running into a manned aircraft."

The operation of unmanned ground vehicles on DTC ranges also poses procedural challenges for testers, Johnson said.

"If you remotely operate a large vehicle like a Humvee, for example, and the vehicle goes out of control because the remote operator loses contact with it, it could run over and kill somebody," he said. "So procedurally we're taking a look at how we test those kinds of things."

DTC's test customers for robotic systems include the Army's Rapid Equipping Force as well as the Defense Department's Robotic Systems Joint Project Office and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. They are all involved in the acquisition of various robotic systems intended to enhance war-fighting capabilities and prevent casualties from roadside bombs and other threats.

The RSJPO is aligned to support, field and sustain ground robots along three primary mission areas: maneuver, maneuver support and sustainment, said Jeffrey Jaczkowski, one of the people working the acquisition of unmanned systems at the Program Executive Office, Ground Combat Systems, in Warren, Mich.

Some of the most urgently needed and fielded systems are Soldier-portable unmanned ground vehicles. Among these are the PackBot, TALON and MARCbot and their variants. These are relatively small robotic systems whose payload and configurations depend on the mission they are used for, Jaczkowski said.

Systems such as these are "tele-operated," meaning an operator can control them while looking at video feedback for command and control decisions and local situational awareness. The payloads that can be mounted onto system platforms depend on their mission. In the future, some may include weapons, Jaczkowski added.

In the sustainment category, the Marine Corps is developing a tele-operated front-end loader, Jaczkowski said. Another tele-operated system is integrated on a Humvee, designed to be a decoy out front of a convoy, he said. The Defense Department also is looking to field a system called the Saratoga, designed with sensors to detect chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats, he added.

The Multifunction Utility/Logistics Equipment vehicle, or MULE, is another unmanned platform that will require both developmental and operational testing. The MULE variants are designed to transport equipment and supplies in support of dismounted maneuver elements.

"For the robots that we have fielded, the mission application includes surveillance and extended standoff from the Soldier/operator to around the corner, into a building, structure, cave, tunnel or dwelling," Jaczkowski said. "That basically allows the Soldier or Marine about a kilometer of standoff to go do some surveillance or interrogation."

Jaczkowski said such systems include the MARCbot and xBot -- both are Soldier-portable systems. Larger systems include the MV-4, used for area clearance. The 5-ton MV-4, for instance, is a remotely operated tracked vehicle using a flail and hammer to dig up and destroy or activate mines. Its small dimensions and low track-ground pressure allow the machine to pass over difficult terrain, including steep slopes.

"That is approaching Milestone C, but we have contingency systems in use for both Iraq and Afghanistan," Jaczkowski said. Milestone C signifies that a system has gone through system development and demonstration and is ready to enter the production phase of acquisition.

Both Jaczkowski and James Van Coillie, chief of the Product Assurance/Test and Configuration Management Division within the RSJPO, said DTC has done a good job of facilitating the fielding of unmanned systems through expeditious testing. They see DTC as a reliable partner in the acquisition process, and it is generally very supportive of fast-track acquisitions, Van Coillie said.

"When we get operational needs statements and joint operational needs statements that are funded through a REF or a JIEDDO initiative, it is a very fast acquisition process to meet some very streamlined schedules," Van Coillie explained. "We work together with DTC and ATEC, coordinating the appropriate tests in order to evaluate these platforms for users and certify that they are safe and that we acknowledge any kind of limitations they have. We are challenged to perform all necessary tests in order to determine the system's capabilities and limitations, and meet the Soldier's needs for urgent fieldings.

The development of military robotic systems is moving from platforms that are tele-operated to those that have autonomous capabilities, meaning they can sense their environment, adapt to it and respond without a command from an operator, Jaczkowski said. Properly testing such systems will require a close collaboration between the acquisition community and testers, he said.

"There are challenges to work through that I see in the future, especially with FCS coming. The test community and the PMs need to start thinking about how are we going to test and get through this together."

Because the Defense Department still has a long way to go in developing the capabilities of robotic systems, DTC will continue to adapt, to support the testing that future unmanned systems will require, Johnson said.

"The Department of Defense has not tapped into all the capabilities that these unmanned systems can bring to bear," he said. "That just brings it back to DTC and how we've got to make sure we're progressing along with those unmanned systems, in our expertise, in our capabilities and in our instrumentation, so that as unmanned systems become more and more prevalent, we're going after that business. It's an exciting time to be involved in that kind of commodity."

Mike Cast (ANS)


Monday, April 20, 2009

Behavior studies may improve irregular warfare techniques

Scientists in the Defense Department's Modeling and Simulation Coordination Office, or MSCO, are doing their part to improve irregular warfare techniques by studying human social and cultural behaviors.

"Modeling and simulation is just the representation of the real world," Jesse Citizen, MSCO director, said during an April 15 "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" audio webcast on Pentagon Web Radio.

Modeling and simulations are enabling tools that improve our lives today and provide a means to meet national security challenges, Mr. Citizen said.

"Modeling and simulation is a technology that provides our warfighters, our operators, users, with the ability to understand complex interactions, to apply emerging technology capabilities as force multipliers and to imagine the yet-to-be-imagined, for providing innovative solutions to meet our national security challenges," he said.

Army Col. Michael Sanders, MSCO's deputy director, added that as they relate to irregular warfare, the human social and cultural behavior aspects of modeling and simulation are challenging to understand.

"We're faced with many technological challenges in the 21st century," he said. "How do we use all the knowledge we've acquired for standard conventional warfare in kinetics models and experiment? And how do we further apply that knowledge to do some of the social-science applications that's associated with it? This is what M&S can do for the modern warfighter.

"Anybody who's been in the (warfighting) business knows that we're very good at modeling and using simulation to look at the kinetic effects of conventional warfare," Colonel Sanders continued. "What we're finding, though, is that understanding some of the algorithms and some of the technologies dealing with human social and cultural behavior, we're just starting out trying to do that."

In addition to irregular warfare, Colonel Sanders said, MSCO experts are studying how modeling and simulation tools can help with proprietary technology, the notion of systems within a system engineering environment and protecting the cyberspace domain.

In 2007, the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus declared that modeling and simulation is a critical national technology. Mr. Citizen added that universities across the nation are currently involved in advancing this technology.

"We are involved with universities in several arenas, and many of them are used as the performers upon what we call our high-level tasks," he said. "We have a lot of universities across the nation that are available and that participate in that level of activity."

Jennifer Cragg (AFNS)


US Army Eyes Thermal Sight Technology

The US army has awarded DRS Technologies a $120m order for low-power uncooled thermal weapon sight II bridge systems to help warfighters see what cannot be seen with the naked eye.
DRS's TWS II bridge family of light, medium and heavy-weapon sights use commercially available L-91 AA batteries for power and offer advanced, uncooled thermal imaging sensors.
The sight technology allows users to look deep into the battlefield through darkness, smoke, dust, fog and degraded weather conditions. The lightweight sights produce crisp thermal images of critical targets to improve surveillance and target-acquisition ranges while enhancing situational awareness and decision making.


Friday, April 17, 2009

National Security Personnel System goes under microscope

The federal government's largest pay-for-performance system, the National Security Personnel System, is under review at the request of officials in the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management.

Since October 2006, about 205,000 defense employees were brought under the new NSPS, which replaced the 50-plus-year-old General Schedule system.

"With new leadership under a new administration, this review provides an opportunity for the department and OPM to gain a full understanding of NSPS, including how the system is operating, what the issues are and the various stakeholder viewpoints and perspectives," said Bradley Bunn, NSPS program executive officer. "The results of the review will assist leadership in determining the future of the program."

The review was announced March 16 and should take three to six months, Mr. Bunn said. The findings and recommendations are expected to be delivered in late summer.

The structure of the review is still being determined, Mr. Bunn added. It likely will be an external review to provide an objective assessment, which is how the department has approached reviews of other significant issues.

"We expect the review to include a thorough and comprehensive examination of the NSPS policies, regulations and practices, as well as the underlying design principles of the system," he said. "We also expect the review to consider reports and evaluations already conducted on NSPS by external organizations such as the Government Accountability Office, Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Personnel Management."

The review also may include outreach to a number of stakeholders, including senior leaders, managers and supervisors, employees, labor and professional groups, Congress, and experts in human resources policy, Mr. Bunn said.

"It will be important to gain the perspectives of those affected by NSPS," he said. "We expect that civilian employees will have an opportunity to make their views known, although we don't know how that will happen yet."

Defense Department officials have suspended conversions of GS positions to NSPS until at least October, according to the NSPS Web site.

Samantha L. Quigley (AFNS)


F-22 exchange pilot helps strengthen U.S., Australian ties

A Royal Australian Air Force pilot assigned to the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron has had the opportunity to fly the Air Force's premier fighter, the F-22 Raptor, as part of a foreign pilot exchange program.

Squadron Leader Matthew Harper is an F-22 instructor pilot and the 90th EFS flight commander in charge of scheduling and training. Squadron Leader Harper began his three-year assignment here in the spring of 2008.

The pilot exchange program has been an important part of the military relationship between the U.S. and Australia for many years, according to Squadron Leader Harper, dating back to World War II before the U.S. had entered the war when U.S. aircrews would travel to Europe to join the Royal Air Force and RAAF to fight.

"The purpose of the pilot exchange is to embed experienced exchange aircrews within a squadron, allowing them to become part of the host country's air force for a three-year period," said Squadron Leader Harper. "During this time, the exchange pilot has an opportunity to learn about Air Force procedures, tactics and capabilities and learn about the cultural differences between the two countries and their air forces. Exchange aircrews offer the hosting unit a different perspective than what they are used to."

The exchange program is bilateral, with Air Force aircrews integrated into Australian fighter squadrons flying the F/A-18 Hornet as well.

During the exchange, the foreign pilots are fully integrated into the squadron.

"If the squadron deploys, you are right there with them, filling U.S. Air Force billets and jobs. It is designed to be a seamless integration," said the 11-year pilot and Australian fighter combat instructor, which is the equivalent of a weapons officer.

This is the second time Squadron Leader Harper has been assigned to an allied unit. The first was when he embedded into the RAF.

"I am very fortunate to have been able to fly with both the RAF, and now the U.S. Air Force," Squadron Leader Harper said. "The opportunity to participate in an exchange program has been invaluable. Having a perspective on our allied partners tactics and capabilities helps enable the RAAF to be in a position to support any integrated operation seamlessly."

Embedded Australian fighter pilots are flying F-15 Eagles and F-15E Strike Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, Navy F/A-18A-F Hornets and Super Hornets, and now F-22s.  Although the exchange program has been in place for years, Squadron Leader Harper is the first and only Australian pilot embedded into an F-22 squadron.

"Australia has a history of having an exchange pilot with the 90th back when they flew F-15Es," he said. "When the (squadron) transitioned to the F-22, the position was continued, allowing the first Australian to fly the F-22."

Transitioning from a fourth-generation platform like the F/A-18 aircraft Harper originally flew in Australia to the fifth generation F-22 has many unique challenges. Learning new tactics, capabilities and differences is relatively straightforward however, due to the strength of design in the F-22.

"The F-22 is a phenomenal airframe," he said. "It combines the strengths of stealth, supercruise, thrust vectoring, integrated avionics and sensor fusion, providing the pilot a clear tactical picture that enables them to make very smart tactical decisions. It is the world's most sought after aircraft and to be able to fly it is an incredible experience."

The exchange program provides the two countries not only deeper military integration, but a way to foster friendship while learning new ideas, tactics and techniques from each other, according to Squadron Leader Harper.

"The experience so far has been fantastic," he said.  "I don't think I have ever flown with such a professional, proficient team of pilots and maintainers than those in the 90th EFS.  Programs like this really show the level of commitment between Australia and the United States. Our two countries share a very strong and special friendship."

Squadron Leader Harper is deployed here with the 90th EFS from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, as part of a regularly scheduled Air Expeditionary Force Rotation.

Ryan Whitney (AFNS)


Foreign aircrews train in US for multi-national mission

Instructors at the Air Force C-17 Aircrew Training Center at Altus Air Force Base (Oklahoma) are preparing foreign aircrews for a first-of-its-kind mission in Hungary.

A multi-national consortium consisting of 10 North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries and two Partnership for Peace nations created the Strategic Airlift Capability Program's Heavy Airlift Wing at Papa Air Base, Hungary, and together they will provide strategic airlift to 12 nations throughout Europe.

"(The HAW) is highly visible politically so it is really important that this works," said Norwegian Maj. Christian Langfeldt, a C-17 Globemaster III student who will be the wing's director of operations. "Without the training that (Altus AFB) gives us, there would not be a HAW."

In 2009, more than 24 foreign pilots and loadmasters will learn from Altus instructors how to fly and load Globemasters. Two loadmasters will be the first HAW students to graduate May 28, followed a week later by two pilots.

"The training is almost exactly like what we put the pilot initial-qualification students through," said Maj. Bernie Allemeier, Airlift Student Flight commander. "The majority of (it) consists of (computer-based training) and several hours in simulators. They start out with non-motion, going through checklists and finding out switches."

After that, students train in full-motion simulators to learn about different configurations, some tactics and low-level flying, said Major Allemeier. The culmination of simulation training leads to three real flights.

"The first flight will be during the day and they will be doing low-level pattern work to include tactical arrival and tactical departure," he said.

The aviators also work with loadmasters on ground operations, including combat offloads, aircraft backing and engine-running offloads.

The second flight includes a mix of traditional night landings and those in which pilots wear night-vision goggles.

"Their third flight is during the day and that will be their check ride," said Major Allemeier.

Capt. Oeyvind Haaheim, a veteran Norwegian air force pilot, complimented the Globemaster training.

"(It) is very effective," he said. "We have been here just more than a month and now we are starting to feel we can operate the aircraft. All of the instructors are very helpful and all of the training guides and training aides are easy to understand."

Captain Haaheim said learning still takes hard work.

"There is still a lot of training ahead of us, but after the three months of training here I am very confident that we'll learn everything needed to pilot the C-17," he said.

Major Langfeldt welcomes the challenge of providing airlift to 12 countries.

"Working at the HAW is going to be a lot of fun," he said. "It will be a great experience to work with all of the different nations. It'll be an honor to represent my country as a part of this multi-national force."

Clinton Atkins (AFNS)


CBRNE Training To Detect WMD Terrorism

Training. From the first day of arriving at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, to the time Airmen separate from the Air Force, they train. Airmen enhance their skills from life saving techniques to ensuring aircraft are able to carry out global operation contingencies.

One training experience valuable to every Airman is chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives training, known as CBRNE.

Instructors in the readiness section of the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron here provide the ability to survive and operate in a hazardous environment in a deployed location or at home station.

"We start the students off with a lecture and end with them demonstrating what they've learned," said Senior Airman John Buckley, a CBRNE instructor and responder. "There is so much information to learn that we don't expect each student to know everything, but we're here to help them understand the basics."

One of the basic tasks students have to demonstrate is donning their gear, but wearing it properly only goes so far.  Ppeople's attitudes about it also can play a vital role.

"If there is one thing the students should walk away with after going through CBRNE training, it's to trust their equipment, mask and suit," said Senior Airman Cassandra Beard, assistant prime beef manager. "This should give them the confidence to do their job in a contaminated environment."

In conjunction with training others, readiness flight instructors must keep up with their own training as well. Being prepared to encounter any situation is not only smart, it's their job.

"We aren't just CBRNE instructors," said Airman Buckley. "When something occurs, we respond suited up.  Then everything seems to roll together which helps mitigate the situation and make it safer."

Experts in their field, readiness personnel ensure the base populous can work and survive in a chemical environment and they are also savvy when it comes to hazardous materials. Not all events they respond to are deliberate. Accidents occur as well.

"We are ready at a moment's notice for the wide range of situations that may come our way," said Airman Beard. "CBRNE can also be a HAZMAT incidence, such as white powders, leaking tractor trailers, suspicious packages and pipeline spills. What doesn't change is the importance of being prepared and capable."

Even what may initially seem to be a HAZMAT accident can end up being a malicious act.  The threats are real and the readiness flight knows the importance of what they do, said Airman Buckley.

"The United States armed forces still face significant threats," he said  "Without CBRNE training, our forces would not be as effective down range.  Our enemy's technology is changing rapidly. It's integral that we ensure our forces attain the best training available to protect themselves from a CBRNE attack."

Christopher Boitz (AFNS)


High-Velocity Maintenance To Speed Bomber Deployment

A team of high ranking Air Force officials visited Tinker AFB (Oklahoma) recently in an effort to determine whether to change the way maintenance is performed on the B-1B Lancer strategic bomber.

Called the "Red Team," the group from Air Force Materiel Command, Air Combat Command and the Air Staff are considering implementing a concept called High Velocity Maintenance, or HVM. This will reduce the amount of time the B-1 spends in maintenance and on the ground.

At issue is how Air Force maintainers handle scheduled depot maintenance and both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance in the field. The overarching goal is to revitalize Air Force-wide maintenance practices to increase aircraft availability through improved requirements development, maintenance analysis, planning and materiel support.

"Our case for change is all the B-1s trapped in maintenance right now," said Sam Malone, deputy director of the 427th Aircraft Sustainment Group. "Last year we averaged 28 aircraft available. Thirty-six were in some type of maintenance. It's unacceptable and that's why we're doing HVM."

The HVM concept was developed in 2007 at Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center, Ga., to speed turnaround time and reduce maintenance inefficiencies for the C-130 Hercules, a transport aircraft in high demand. The process involves reducing the variability of aircraft maintenance and supporting the mechanic. This is achieved by reorganizing work done during both field and depot maintenance, shortening the intervals between depot maintenance and boosting the number of man-hours worked during maintenance by better organizing tools, workers, task schedules, parts and other materials, and technical data.

"Really, we're trying to maintain a quality jet," Mr. Malone said. "This is concentrating on aircraft availability, keeping in mind our cost pressures. We are missing sorties required by Ops because of aircraft in maintenance.

"Our biggest driver is unscheduled maintenance," he said. "HVM processes are designed to accumulate all resources before we begin the job to ensure the mechanic doesn't have to wait. This will make us more efficient and allow us to accomplish more workload."

If the Red Team approves the concept, a test case for HVM on the B-1 could begin as early as next year. The results of that test case could then be studied and applied throughout the B-1 fleet.

HVM represents a change in how maintenance is viewed by Air Force officials, Mr. Malone said. Studies show that by doing progressive, staggered maintenance, commercial aircraft spend less time on the ground than their military counterparts. Mr. Malone said that the average commercial operator spends 500 to 800 man-hours per day working on commercial aircraft during heavy (depot) maintenance while Air Force maintainers average 145 hours.

"In fact," he added, "when we visited American Airlines in Tulsa, they were getting 900 hours per day. The B-1 Programmed Depot Maintenance line has a fantastic record and has improved their contribution to aircraft availability. They have accepted the challenge to achieve continued gains in aircraft availability using HVM."

By scheduling smaller amounts of regular maintenance at shorter intervals, Mr. Malone said, the aircraft should spend less time in maintenance. Under the HVM program, the B-1 will visit the depot for heavy maintenance four times in five years with two light HVM cycles scheduled in the field between depot visits.

"We're going to see the aircraft in some scheduled maintenance every 150 days," he said. And this increases maintenance predictability and supportability."

Knowing what repairs are going to be performed and when also will help with scheduling skilled repair crews and spare parts more efficiently when they are needed. Inspections also will be done more often so that future maintenance sessions will know exactly what type of work and parts will be needed ahead of time, further speeding maintenance.

"Parts are always an issue and this is the best way to solve the parts issue I've seen," Mr. Malone said. "This is exactly what happens in the commercial world."

Mr. Malone said HVM represents a significant change in how the Air Force maintains its aircraft. Rather than waiting for something to break, HVM is designed to provide a fix before that happens through a more comprehensive analysis of each aircraft.

"We're moving from a traditional Air Force model that's been out there for 40 or 45 years and moving to a non-traditional, commercial model," he said. "It's a significant change using a proven concept."

But, Mr. Malone says, there is high-level support for HVM and he is confident the Red Team will give full support. HVM for the B-1could be fully implemented as soon as October 2010.

Howdy Stout (AFNS)


DOD's eye in the sky supporting troops on the ground

For the troops on the ground in hot zones all around the world, there are many items they rely on that are vital in their day-to-day operations: their weapons, their wingmen, their body armor. But what about their space assets?

The Defense Department's space assets don't always come to mind as key items in the daily operations of the commander on the ground in operational areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. And perhaps no other unit has as much of a direct affect on those operations than the Joint Space Operations Center, or JSpOC, here.

The JSpOC is a busy mix of U.S. servicemembers from the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines; foreign servicemembers from Australia, Great Britain and Canada; and a select group of civilian counterparts, who provide a focal point for the operational employment of worldwide joint space forces. These are the people who enable the commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space to integrate space power into global military operations.

"We provide operational command and control for the space forces that are assigned to the Joint Functional Component Command for Space in (U.S. Strategic Command)," said Col. Richard Boltz, the JSpOC director. "We provide the overall guidance, direction and execution of the space mission through the Joint Space Operations Center."

And while many of those requests come from STRATCOM, many actually come directly from commanders in the field.

"We obviously receive tasks directly from STRATCOM," Colonel Boltz said. "However, we have relationships set up with directors of space forces in each one of the combatant commands, and, often times, the request for space support within a theater will typically come from (a lieutenant colonel) or (a colonel) out in the field directly to the JSpOC asking for a specific service. We'll answer the request however it may happen to come to us."

"I work with the different geographic commanders and their space liaisons and make sure that they receive whatever they need in regards to space," said Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Drayer, a space operations duty officer. "We will take what we do and tinker it to fit the need that the commander may have for any particular mission. Whether it's GPS or communications satellites, instead of just making sure it's up and running, we try to maximize the potential of those assets."

One of the most common requests to the JSpOC has to do with GPS. Most people think they can simply turn on their GPS unit and everything will be fine. However, GPS systems are sensitive to things like the number of GPS satellites in view. And, while many people wouldn't notice or could simply wait out a problem, the military GPS units are much more relied on and need to be extremely accurate when called upon.

"There are aircraft out there with older GPS navigation units on them and they will have specific GPS needs like how many satellites are in view," Sergeant Drayer said. "We will do a prediction for them saying, 'If you are flying this route with this aircraft, at these waypoints, your GPS navigation system will operate properly.' This way the pilots know whether or not they can use their GPS as a navigation tool or not."

When not working directly with the warfighter, JSpOC operators also work 24-hours per day monitoring the more than 19,000 pieces of space debris currently orbiting the planet. This particular mission led to their direct involvement in one of the most high-profile operations they have been a part of to date: Operation Burnt Frost. This nationally publicized event thrust the JspOC to center stage of the national media.

In this operation, a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite had lost power and began making its gradual decent out of orbit. While many items fall out of orbit and make the rapid decent back toward earth, most of those items never make it all the way to the ground. This particular, rather large satellite, however, would not burn up completely in the atmosphere, and due to the fact that it failed shortly after launch, it had a nearly full tank of hydrazine, a particularly hazardous material used as a fuel source on the satellite.

For this mission, the JSpOC operators provided command and control for the global network of sensors known as the Space Surveillance Network to track the satellite's movements. They also assessed the solar environment's effects on the Earth's atmosphere, which impacts how a satellite's orbit decays. All of the information gathered was then shared with each agency involved in the operation.

"The Aegis missile system didn't have radar track of the satellite when it launched its missile," Colonel Boltz said. "It was launching to a specific point in space where the satellite was predicted to be at a specific time. Our sensors had been tracking that satellite and our operators were the ones who provided that point in space to shoot at. They provided the target quality positional data of where that satellite was expected to be, which enabled the Navy to shoot, in the blind essentially, to that specific point."

And while the JSpOC team played an integral role in the destruction of the wayward satellite, the job didn't stop there. The destruction added approximately 150 more pieces of space debris to the more than 19,000 already tracked.

The JSpOC has come a long way since its activation in May of 2005. And the unit will continue to strive for success in its support of all space-related DOD functions while still growing into its full potential in the coming years.

"Anything that we can provide to help out the troops in a war zone, that's what we're here for," Sergeant Drayer said. "I personally take pride in what I do while I'm doing what I can to support the guys out there living in the dirt, roughin' it. The guys trying to talk on the radio having problems because at certain times of the day the atmosphere messes with their radio communications, that's the important stuff. Those guys need to be able to count on their communications and GPS. They expect it to be there. They don't get up in the morning and say, 'I hope it's working today.' It's important for us to do what we can to ensure they have what they need."

Raymond Hoy (AFNS)


ONR Demonstrates Revolutionary New Counter-Mine Technology for Ships

Using a high-temperature technology developed by the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Navy has successfully launched a new counter-mine tool to protect its fleet at sea.

In a time of increasing irregular warfare threats, the Navy has devised and successfully demonstrated a revolutionary technology to help reduce the risk of naval mine strikes to U.S. Navy ships.

Installed aboard the USS Higgins (DDG 76) in July 2008, the prototype degaussing coil counters underwater mines utilizing superconducting ceramic materials, instead of traditional copper cables, to neutralize the magnetic signature of the ship.

Developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NSWCCD) Ship Engineering Station Philadelphia, the high temperature superconducting (HTS) degaussing coil produced a "full coil effect" April 1 as the Higgins completed a pass over the U.S. Navy Magnetic Silencing Range in San Diego. This was the first-ever measurement of an HTS degaussing loop installed on a naval combatant.

"We were pleased to have been selected as a test platform," said Cmdr. Carl W. Meuser, USS Higgins commanding officer. "The benefits of HTS degaussing will give us a great warfighting advantage going forward. This technology has a myriad of potential applications that will help make our U.S. Navy even more prepared to conduct prompt and sustained naval operations."

In short, a future the HTS degaussing coil system can act like a cloaking device to eliminate the magnetic signature of the ship, interfering with undersea mines' ability to detect and detonate when a large magnetic field – like the one created by a ship – comes within close proximity.

"As on land, mines at sea remain a lingering threat long after they are deployed," said George Stimak, ONR's lead program manager for HTS degaussing. "Finding better ways to mitigate the threat of naval mines is something the whole program team takes a lot pride in because we know our work will save lives. HTS degaussing technology will provide new options to the naval architect in designing future advanced degaussing systems."

Naval mine strikes are the root cause of 77 percent of U.S. Navy ship casualties occurring since 1950. Most recently, the modern warships USS Samuel B. Roberts, USS Princeton (CG-59) and USS Tripoli (LPH-10) were severely damaged by mine warfare during Persian Gulf conflicts. With increased operations in the coastal areas (or littorals) of the world's oceans, U.S. Navy ships potentially face an increasing threat from naval mines.

"The super conductivity of this new degaussing system means less energy is required, yet it enables greater degaussing performance. Additionally, there is significant weight savings – up to 80 percent in some cases," said Brian Fitzpatrick, an engineer working from NSWCCD Philadelphia.

HTS coils, cooled by a cryogenic compressor to nearly minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit, can be operated at current densities that are a factor of 100 to 200 times higher than that of room temperature conductors. This allows the magnetic flux generation from the degaussing loop to be generated at a fraction of the weight of room temperature legacy copper wire systems.

"The demonstration of a rugged and reliable HTS degaussing coil is a true milestone," said Michael D. Riley, degaussing warrant holder for the U.S. Navy. "HTS degaussing coils will give the ship designer the ability to lower the weight and size of the degaussing system with all the advantages that entails."

The HTS degaussing systems projected for ship classes with advanced degaussing systems show an estimated 50 to 80 percent reduction in total system weight, which offers significant potential for fuel savings, or options to add different payloads.

"None of this is possible without our partners," Stimak says. "The support from the USS Higgins, Naval Station San Diego and the Magnetic Silencing Range has been invaluable, as well as all the developmental support from NAVSEA and industry."

Partners on the HTS degaussing system include American Superconductor, Nexans GmbH, PHPK Industries, Cryomagnetics, Cryomech, Navy Small Business Innovation Research investments under ONR and the Naval Sea Systems Command.

Peter Vietti (NNS)


New Procurement Program Advances Navy 'Green' Initiatives

The new Department of the Navy Green Procurement Program Implementation Guide is harnessing the fleet's purchasing power in support environmentally friendly and energy-efficient technologies and products.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations and Environment BJ Penn and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Sean J. Stackley signed the Department of the Navy Green Procurement Program Implementation Guide Feb. 5.

The Guide, written jointly by Naval Supply Systems Command's (NAVSUP) Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP) and Marine Corps Headquarters, makes it easy to set up a Green Procurement Program (GPP) for an installation or activity, and makes buying green products—like energy efficient items, biobased products, non-ozone depleting substances, recovered material, and recovered material—easy. It also helps Department of Navy (DON) personnel understand and execute Department of Defense (DOD) GPP policy.

"The Guide provides a clear methodology for implementing the Department of Defense's Green Procurement Program strategy within the organizational structure of the Navy," said Blair Collins, Navy point of contact for green procurement at NAVICP.

"One of the easiest ways to go green is through the purchase of green products," Collins said. "Green products are available from the General Services Administration ( When accessing the Web site, go to "Special Programs" and click on "Environmental."

Additionally, green products are available on the Department of Defense EMALL ( When accessing this Web site a green tree appears beside all green products, along with two capital letters that designate a specific environmental category.

Buying green can be applied to all purchases of products and services by NAVSUP personnel and their contractors, regardless of how the products or services are purchased or what the dollar value is. Examples include commodity purchases, construction contracts, service contracts, items bought from base supply stores, and items used for in-house construction and services. Buying green pertains to all NAVSUP facilities, operations, and systems. Policy requirements apply to all developers, contracting officers, and Government purchase card holders.

The guide is available for all activities in the NAVSUP Enterprise to use and has been posted on the Joint Service Pollution Prevention and Sustainability Technical Library at
The guide supersedes NAVSUP Publication 728, dated September 2001.

NAVSUP's primary mission is to provide U.S. naval forces with quality supplies and services. With headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and employing a diverse, worldwide workforce of more than 25,500 military and civilian personnel, NAVSUP oversees logistics programs in the areas of supply operations, conventional ordnance, contracting, resale, fuel, transportation, and security assistance. In addition, NAVSUP is responsible for quality of life issues for our naval forces, including food service, postal services, Navy Exchanges, and movement of household goods.