Monday, June 24, 2013

Joint Navies Kick Off Pacific Bond Exercise

Joint Navies Kick Off Pacific Bond Exercise

U.S. Navy joined forces with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) to participate in a tri-lateral exercise Pacific Bond 2013, June 22-26.

Pacific Bond is a multi-national naval exercise designed to advance participating nations' military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multi-warfare environment.

"We are honored to have the opportunity to work with our Royal Australian Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force counterparts," said Capt. Paul Lyons, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15. "As we continue to execute our strategic pivot to Asia as a nation, strong relationships and proven interoperability between our navies at the tactical level of execution will be even more vital in underwriting peace, security and stability in the region, as well as preserving the national interests of the U.S. and our allies and partners."

Pacific Bond events include anti-submarine warfare exercises, anti-air warfare exercises, a helicopter visits, board, search and seizure exercise, and liaison officer exchanges.

"Pacific Bond is about conducting quality multi-national maritime warfare maneuvers, with this year's exercise having a heavy focus on anti-submarine warfare," said Cmdr. Karl Brinckmann, HMAS Sydney's commanding officer. "One of the consistent highlights of the Pacific Bond series of exercises is the exchange of personnel between navies, and this year it is no exception with personnel exchanges between Sydney, JS Murasame and USS Preble. It doesn't get much better than operating with modern warships from two extremely professional navies."

Exercises like this are routine and demonstrate the continuum of training necessary to achieve greater levels of proficiency in complex mission areas. They enhance participating nations' ability to conduct multinational operations in-stride with little prior coordination. This is imperative to meeting and flexing to the demands of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

"The purpose of our participation in this exercise is to improve our skills and to deepen our interoperability by conducting training together with the U.S. and Australian navies," said Capt. Hiroyuki Izumi, commander, Escort Division 1 of Murasame. "Conducting this tri-lateral exercise with the naval forces of Japan, the U.S. and Australia, all of whom have high operational skills and sophisticated equipment, is an excellent opportunity for improving JMSDF tactical skills. Through this exercise, we can make the relationship among our three nations even stronger. We would like to take every opportunity to continue these tri-lateral exercises."

Participants in Pacific Bond 2013 include the guided-missile destroyers USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93); members of the forward deployed Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15; P-3C aircraft from Commander, Task Force 72; one submarine from Commander, Task Force 74; helicopters and personnel from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 and personnel from Naval Special Warfare Unit (NSWU) 1 joined forces with Royal Australian Navy guided-missile frigate HMAS Sydney's (FFG 03) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship, JS Murasame (DD 101).

USS Freedom Supports Marine Amphibious Assault Force in CARAT Malaysia

USS Freedom Supports Marine Amphibious Assault Force in CARAT Malaysia

Sailors aboard USS Freedom (LCS 1) had a unique opportunity to support amphibious assault exercise when Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard USS Tortuga (LSD 46) conducted an amphibious raid with Malaysian Army paratroopers, June 22.

The littoral combat ship Freedom and the forward deployed amphibious dock landing ship Tortuga are in Malaysia participating in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2013.

Sailors assigned to Freedom's surface warfare mission package acted as safety observers from the ship's 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB), while the embarked crew of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 73 provided aerial support with Freedom's MH-60R helicopter. With its shallow draft, Freedom was able to anchor closer to the beach than other units and monitor the landing events.

"It was a good proof of concept for LCS and the squadron of the capabilities we could provide to the mission," said Lt. Mike Roselli, attached to HSM 73. "The Romeo was able to provide maritime support to the amphibious force. We could if needed provide Hellfire [missiles], torpedos or a Search and Rescue swimmer."

With just 91 Sailors on board, the Freedom crew routinely supports more than one evolution a day. CARAT Malaysia was another opportunity for these Sailors to show their dedication and drive.

"I was on the picket boat that provided security for the ship," Engineman 3rd Class Jennifer Ordenana. "Since CARAT started, I've been part of multiple exercises with both the engineering department and VBSS - from refueling the helo in the pump room to being a small boat engineer on an 11-meter RHIB. It's been cool."

CARAT is a series of bilateral naval exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

Continuing through June 23, CARAT Malaysia 2013 consists of ten days of shore-based and at-sea training events designed to address shared maritime security concerns, develop relationships, and enhance interoperability among participating forces. Participation in the CARAT exercise series is among the key milestones during Freedom's maiden rotational deployment to Southeast Asia.

Fast, agile and mission-focused, LCS platforms are designed to operate in near-shore environments and employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surfaces warfare, mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare. Homeported in San Diego, Freedom is currently on its maiden deployment and is manned by her "Gold" crew. Midway through the deployment, a crew-swap will be conducted with her "Blue" crew.

More than 1,200 U.S. Sailors and Marines are participating in CARAT Malaysia 2013. Additional ships in CARAT Task Group 73.1 are the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) with embarked Destroyer Squadron 7 staff, the dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) with embarked USMC Landing Force, and the diving and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) with embarked Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1.

Navy Receives First F-35C Lightning II

Navy Receives First F-35C Lightning II: The U.S. Navy's Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 received the Navy's first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant aircraft from Lockheed Martin today at the squadron's home at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The F-35C is a fifth generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.

The F-35C will enhance the flexibility, power projection, and strike capabilities of carrier air wings and joint task forces and will complement the capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which currently serves as the Navy's premier strike fighter.

By 2025, the Navy's aircraft carrier-based air wings will consist of a mix of F-35C, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers electronic attack aircraft, E-2D Hawkeye battle management and control aircraft, Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) air vehicles, MH-60R/S helicopters and Carrier Onboard Delivery logistics aircraft.

VFA 101, based at Eglin Air Force Base, will serve as the F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron, training both aircrew and maintenance personnel to fly and repair the F-35C.

U.S. seeks to buy into Israeli missile programs

U.S. seeks to buy into Israeli missile programs

The U.S. Congress is pushing for U.S. participation in developing Israel's Iron Dome counter-missile system, which would make the Americans partners to some degree in all the systems constituting the Jewish state's unique missile defense shield. The U.S. House of Representatives this month tripled President Barack Obama's request for boosting U.S. funding of Israeli missile defense systems from $96 million to $284 million. This followed earlier increases in U.S. support for the Israeli missile programs. U.S. financial backing for the missile defense systems began in the 1980s with the high-altitude Arrow program for which the Americans have paid the lion's share of the $1 billion development costs. All this is separate from the $3 billion in military aid Israel receives from the United States every year. The House Armed Services Committee approved the $284 million funding hike June 6. That includes an additional $15 million in funding for the Iron Dome system developed by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Haifa.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

MEADS Tactical BMC4I Software Demonstrates Interoperability in NATO Exercises

MEADS Tactical BMC4I Software Demonstrates Interoperability in NATO Exercises: The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) has successfully demonstrated network interoperability with NATO systems during Joint Project Optic Windmill (JPOW) exercises held in May and June.
In these JPOW exercises, MEADS tactical battle management command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (BMC4I) software connected to a NATO test site in the Netherlands using a transportable air defense test bed at the German Air Force Air Defense Center at Fort Bliss, Texas.
MEADS demonstrated its battle management capability to transmit, receive and process Link 16 messages, as well as other elements of threat engagement and target intercept. JPOW's objective is to demonstrate all facets of theater air and missile defense, emphasizing interoperability and refinement of tactics for participating systems.

Raytheon unveils Excalibur with dual-mode guidance

Raytheon unveils Excalibur with dual-mode guidance

Raytheon has initiated an internally funded program to enhance its combat-proven 155mm Excalibur GPS-guided projectile with a new guidance and navigation unit (GNU) with a semi-active laser (SAL) end-game targeting capability. Addition of the SAL seeker will allow the munition to attack moving targets, attack targets that have re-positioned after firing, or change the impact point to avoid casualties and collateral damage. "No other gun-launched GPS-guided artillery round is as precise as Excalibur, which in its current design gives one the ability to hit within 4 meters of the target 90 percent of the time," said Kevin Matthies, Excalibur program director for Raytheon Missile Systems. "Now we're ready to take this to the next level, giving the warfighter the ability to not only re-target the munition in flight, but leverage Excalibur's maneuverability to use the pinpoint precision of a semi-active laser seeker to hit targets on the move." This new Excalibur variant using SAL guidance paves the way for GPS-guided Excalibur Ib customers to upgrade their Excalibur Ib guidance and navigation units with a GPS/SAL capability. Recent tests of the SAL seeker have demonstrated the robustness of the design in a severe gun-firing environment. In addition to 155mm artillery land forces worldwide, the GPS/SAL capability will be available for both 155mm and 5-inch (127mm) naval guns to address moving targets on land and at sea.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Top Official Admits F-35 Stealth Fighter Secrets Stolen « Breaking Defense

Top Official Admits F-35 Stealth Fighter Secrets Stolen « Breaking Defense

Yesterday, at a subcommittee hearing attended by just half a dozen Senators, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer made a blunt admission: The military’s most expensive program, the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has been hacked and the stolen data used by America’s adversaries. Under Secretary Frank Kendall didn’t say by whom, but the answer is almost certainly China, a cyber superpower whose People’s Liberation Army Air Force has recently rolled out some suspiciously sophisticated stealth fighter prototypes of its own. The Russians also have skilled hackers and “5th Generation” stealth jet programs, but they’re not suspected of such direct copying, at least not yet.
“I’m confident the classified material is well protected, but I’m not at all confident that our unclassified information is as well-protected,” said Kendall, the Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. “It’s a major problem for us…. What it does is reduce the costs and lead time of our adversaries to doing their own designs, so it gives away a substantial advantage.”
The bad news isn’t new news: That someone had hacked F-35 subcontractor BAE Systems was first reported six years ago, and just this February Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima obtained leaked information naming the Chinese as having compromised not just the F-35 but two dozen other weapons program. Administration officials have been publicly pressuring China to rein in its hacking. But it’s still remarkable that such a senior official would so bluntly admit that US interests have been so directly harmed.

Raytheon delivers first Standard Missile-3 from new Alabama missile integration facility

Raytheon delivers first Standard Missile-3 from new Alabama missile integration facility: Raytheon has delivered the first Standard Missile-3 to the U.S. Navy from its new integration and testing facility in Huntsville, Ala., on May 23. The SM-3 missile is designed to destroy incoming short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats by colliding with them in space, a concept sometimes described as "hitting a bullet with a bullet."
"SM-3 is a critical part of our nation's defense against ballistic missiles," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems.
"SM-3s are deployed around the world today in this life-saving, defensive role. Combatant commanders consistently echo the need for more robust inventories of SM-3s in the fleet, and this factory will ensure their urgent needs are met."
Delivering both SM-3 and SM-6 interceptors, Raytheon's new $75 million, 70,000 square-foot, all-up-round production facility at Redstone Arsenal features advanced tools and the latest processes for missile production. The facility enables Raytheon to streamline processes, reduce costs and add value for the warfighter.

Raytheon awarded contract to keep Patriot capabilities ahead of evolving threats

Raytheon awarded contract to keep Patriot capabilities ahead of evolving threats: Raytheon has received a $115.9 million contract to provide engineering services for the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. Through this contract, Raytheon will continue to deliver ongoing capability enhancements in support of the U.S. Army and Foreign Military Sales customers as they rely on their Patriot systems to stay ahead of evolving threats. The contract was awarded in Raytheon's first quarter of 2013.
Under the contract, issued by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., Raytheon will provide systems analysis, software development, testing and logistics support, and other country-specific system requirements.

US scraps tons of gear as it leaves Afghanistan - report

US scraps tons of gear as it leaves Afghanistan - report

The US military has destroyed more than 77,000 metric tons of military equipment -- including mine-resistant troop transport vehicles -- as it prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan in late 2014, the Washington Post reported Thursday. More than $7 billion worth of military equipment is no longer needed, or would be too expensive to ship back to the United States, and much of it is being shredded and sold locally as scrap metal, the Post reported, citing US military officials. Donating the gear to the Afghan government is difficult because of complicated bureaucratic rules, plus US officials do not believe the Afghans could maintain the gear. Plus, it would also be too expensive to sell or donate the gear to allied nations because of the cost of getting the equipment out of Afghanistan.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Joint strike fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

Joint strike fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

Joint strike fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

Posted 6/19/2013 Email story   Print story


by Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

6/19/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Indications are that the F-35 joint strike fighter program -- the most expensive aviation program in Defense Department history -- is on track, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told a Senate panel here June 19.

Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee this morning, Frank Kendall said the F-35 will be the premier strike aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

"The department's and my focus has been on the efforts to control costs on the program, and to achieve a more stable design so that we could increase the production rate to more economical quantities," Kendall told the senators. "Indications at this time are that these efforts are succeeding."

The program, begun in President George W. Bush's administration, is about 90 percent through the development program and 40 percent through flight testing.

Kendall said he anticipates being able to complete the development effort within the planned cost and schedule.

"However, we may need to make some adjustments as events unfold," he added. "On the whole, however, the F-35 design today is much more stable than it was two or three years ago."

Production of the aircraft was in real jeopardy in 2011 amid uncertainty in how design issues would be solved, the undersecretary said.

"The F-35 is one of the most concurrent programs I have ever seen, meaning that there is a high degree of overlap between the development phase and the production phase of the program," he said.

Kendall said he believes those questions have been answered, and he told the committee he will review the program later this year to decide whether to increase the production rate significantly in 2015, as is currently planned.

"At this point, I am cautiously optimistic that we will be able to do so," he said.

Costs per aircraft are coming down, Kendall said. "Since 2010, production costs have been stable and are coming down, ... roughly consistent with our estimates," he said. "We have been tightening the terms of production contracts."

The aircraft builder, Lockheed-Martin, is required to share costs associated with design changes due to concurrency, and the Defense Department is negotiating the next two buys.

"In these lots, and all future lots, Lockheed will bear all of the risks of overruns," Kendall said. "At this point we have a solid understanding of the production costs, and believe that they are under control."

The undersecretary said he believes sustainment costs represent the greatest opportunity to reduce life cycle costs of the F-35 going forward.

"We are now focused on ways to introduce competition, and to take creative steps to lower those costs as well," he said. "The bottom line is that since 2010, we have been making steady progress to complete development, stabilize the design, and control costs."

Much remains to be done with the program, and surprises may still happen, Kendall acknowledged, but he added that he is "cautiously optimistic that we will be able to increase production to more economical rates beginning in 2015 as planned."

Air Force sets plan to integrate women in combat jobs by 2016

Air Force sets plan to integrate women in combat jobs by 2016

The Air Force released details of the service's plan to fully integrate women into previously closed career fields June 18.

The implementation plan was recently submitted to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel for review.

More than 99 percent of Air Force positions are currently already open to female Airmen. In fact, 2013 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Department of Defense allowing women to serve as combat pilots.

The Air Force plans to open the remaining seven career fields -- all tied to special operations -- by Jan. 1, 2016.

"The Air Force has been actively integrating women into nontraditional skills since 1972," said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, the director of force management policy and deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. "Today, less than one percent of all positions - Active, Guard, and Reserve - are closed to women. This equates to approximately 4,700 positions in a total force of 506,000 people."

The current Air Force specialty codes that do not allow females to enter due to the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule include: combat rescue officer; special tactics officer; special operations weather officer; enlisted combat controller; enlisted tactical air command and control party; enlisted pararescue and enlisted special operations weather.

According to the Air Force's plan, the service will validate occupational fitness standards for every career field.

Once the standards are validated for the seven skills currently closed to women, the Air Force will notify Congress of its intent to open these skills to women and begin recruiting into these skills.

Grosso expects recruiting will begin Oct. 2015.

This implementation plan came as a result of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta rescinding the 1994 Direct Ground Combat exclusion rule for women in January 2013. This rule restricted women from assignments in special operations and long range reconnaissance units.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

U.S. mulls countermeasures against threat of enemy UAVs

U.S. mulls countermeasures against threat of enemy UAVs: Senior U.S. military officials are looking into ways to counter the potential risk of enemy forces, including terrorists, acquiring unmanned aircraft to attack U.S. targets.
Discussion of the growing risk has dominated some security forums for more than a year. Brookings Institution analyst John Villasenor warned in a Los Angeles Times article last year the opening of U.S. airspace to authorized drones could also pose risks of terrorist attacks using them.
At the time such threat perceptions were met with derision and discounted as hysterical and improbable.
But Villasenor wrote technology capable of producing a backpack-size drone fitted with a camera and a warhead already exists.
This week the debate moved forward with senior U.S. Defense Department aides reported to be holding talks to focus on developing anti-UAV technology, Defense News and C4ISR Journal reported.

Pentagon reveals 'indefinite detainees' list

Pentagon reveals 'indefinite detainees' list: The Pentagon released Monday the names of Guantanamo Bay's 46 "indefinite detainees," terror suspects considered too dangerous to transfer from the prison and who cannot be tried in court.
The 15-page list, unveiling details about the prisoners for the first time, was released to The New York Times and The Miami Herald in response to freedom of information requests.
It also included the names of all 166 detainees who remain at the US military jail in southeastern Cuba.
The men designated for indefinite detention include 26 Yemenis, 12 Afghans, three Saudis, two Kuwaitis, two Libyans, a Kenyan, a Moroccan and a Somali.
Two of those men, both Afghans, have died. One committed suicide and the other died of a heart attack.
The captives' status is one of the most controversial aspects of the notorious prison camp.
US official say that because the men were subjected to harsh interrogation techniques, such as the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, denounced as torture, they cannot be prosecuted because the evidence against them is tainted cannot be admitted in court.

Faster, More Precise Airstrikes Within Reach

Faster, More Precise Airstrikes Within Reach: Air-ground fire coordination-also known as Close Air Support or CAS-is a dangerous and difficult business. Pilots and dismounted ground agents must ensure they hit only the intended target using just voice directions and, if they're lucky, a common paper map. It can often take up to an hour to confer, get in position and strike-time in which targets can attack first or move out of reach. To help address these challenges, DARPA recently awarded a contract for Phase II of its Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) program to the Raytheon Company of Waltham, Mass.
PCAS aims to enable ground forces and combat aircrews to jointly select and employ precision-guided weapons from a diverse set of airborne platforms. The program seeks to leverage advances in computing and communications technologies to fundamentally increase CAS effectiveness, as well as improve the speed and survivability of ground forces engaged with enemy forces.

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle 'closes capability gap,' Army says | Article | The United States Army

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle 'closes capability gap,' Army says | Article | The United States Army

While the Humvee has served the Army well for some 25 years, there's a "capability gap" in what it can do for warfighters on a 21st-century battlefield, said the Soldier responsible for overseeing its replacement.

That replacement is the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, said Col. John Cavedo, manager, Joint Program Office, or JPO, for JLTV, during an off-road demonstration at the Transportation Demonstration Support Area here, June 14.

Cavedo said the JLTV "closes the capability gap" left by the Humvee.

Marine Lt. Col. Mike Burks, deputy, JPO, JLTV explained the gap.

"We've been trying to break the laws of physics by overloading the Humvee with survivability measures," Burks said. "The Humvee is overloaded even before a Soldier or Marine gets inside."

The other vehicle used to transport Soldiers and Marines around the battlefield, the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, known as an MRAP, has the necessary armor to defeat improvised explosive devices and has saved many lives. However, Burks said the MRAP lacks mobility.

One of the MRAP variants weighs as much as three JLTVs, Burkes said. The weight of that MRAP means it can't be transported by the Army CH-47 Chinook or the Marine CH-53E Super Stallion, the heavy-lift helicopters of the services.

Burkes also said that an additional concern for the Marine Corps, in regard to the MRAP, is that it can't be moved from ship-to-shore like other light wheeled vehicles.

The Army, the lead for the JLTV portfolio, plans to purchase some 49,000 JLTVs, with 5,500 for the Marine Corps. The average production cost will not exceed $250,000 per vehicle, said Cavedo.

Various JLTVs may also be specialized with kits for performing different missions, including fording, combat buffering or command. That specialization may change the cost of a particular vehicle.

Despite sequestration and budget shortfalls, the JLTV program is still on track for fiscal year 2015, Cavedo said. At that time, the JLTV contract will be awarded and the 20-plus year production cycle will begin.

The plan calls for a phase-in of JLTVs, with Humvees and MRAPs still being used, commensurate with mission requirements, said David Branham, PEO Land Systems Marine Corps.


Last year, three manufacturers were selected and are now competing for the JLTV contract. Competition is "fierce and the stakes are high because the winner takes all," said Cavedo, who noted that an important part of his job is to ensure a "level playing field" during the competition.

The three competitors include Oshkosh Defense, which builds MRAPS and other Army vehicles; Lockheed Martin, which produces High Mobility Artillery Rocket System vehicle; and AM General, who builds the Humvee.

Improvised explosive device, or IED, blast and shot testing have already been conducted at Aberdeen Test Center, Md. While not at liberty to say the levels of the blasts, Cavedo said the JLTV's survivability is comparable to the MRAP.

The next milestone comes in mid-August 2013, when each competitor will turn over 22 JLTV prototypes for testing. Those 66 vehicles will undergo 14 months of rigorous testing in a variety of battlefield scenarios conducted by Soldiers and Marines, said Cavedo.

Testing areas include Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz.; Redstone Test Center, Ala.; and Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Additionally, both the Marine Corps and the Army will conduct helicopter trials of the vehicles at various locations, and there will be ship-to-shore testing conducted at Little Creek, Va.

Reliability, availability and maintainability, called RAM testing, will determine the winner, Cavedo said. Additionally, input from Soldiers and Marines "will absolutely be taken very seriously."

RAM testing includes the "iron triangle of performance," Cavedo said. That includes evaluations of performance, protection and payload. The vehicles will also be evaluated for transportability, mobility, expeditionary capability, network-readiness and affordability.

In early fiscal year 2015, following user testing, the requirements document will be revalidated to ensure the original requirements are still pertinent. After that, a winner will be chosen, Cavedo said.

During the demonstration runs at Quantico, Va., all three of the JLTVs in the competition ran smoothly at high speed over the roller coaster-like hills which followed alongside power transmission lines. The vehicles didn't protest turns at high speed, and bumps and ruts barely registered. Inside the vehicles there was plenty of room for network gear, blue-force tracker, GPS, and other networking and communications equipment. Seating was comfortable as well.

"All three vendors absolutely meet the key requirements, all could close that critical and substantial capability gap in our light tactical wheel portfolio," Cavedo concluded. "In the end, the government will pick very best of best. We're in a fortunate situation."

NSA head: Surveillance helped thwart more than 50 terror plots

NSA head: Surveillance helped thwart more than 50 terror plots: Intelligence officials said Tuesday that the government’s sweeping surveillance efforts have helped thwart 50 potential “terrorist events” since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and the officials revealed two new examples for the first time.
In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, officials cited a nascent plot to blow up the New York Stock Exchange and a case involving an individual providing financial support to an overseas terrorist group.
“In recent years these programs, together with other intelligence, have protected the U.S. and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe to include helping prevent the terrorist — the potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11,” National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander told the House Intelligence Committee.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Army harnesses sun to reduce casualties from sniper attacks | Article | The United States Army

Army harnesses sun to reduce casualties from sniper attacks | Article | The United States Army

The U.S. Army is harnessing the elements to help reduce casualties from sniper attacks on forward operating bases.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's research laboratory and aviation missile and communications-electronics RD&E centers -- the Army Research Laboratory, or ARL, the Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, and the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC -- have integrated and deployed wind and solar harvesting systems to provide continuous energy to company-level, force protection systems used by U.S. Army combat units in theater.

A joint venture by ARL, Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, known as AMRDEC, and industry, the Hostile Fire Detection Sensor, or Firefly, is a 360-degree surveillance system that uses acoustics fused with Short Wave Infrared detectors to locate enemy shooters for more accurate return fire.

Firefly detects line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight hostile fire and classifies these as small arms, heavy machine gun or rocket/mortar. It calculates geo-location of the shot and provides self-position and heading in a standard cursor-on-target format. The Firefly can be either a mobile or fixed system, attached to the Soldier's backpack while on patrol, or mounted at forward operating bases.

The Firefly system was initially deployed to Afghanistan in May 2012 to support a fires detection requirement. However, deployment sites faced challenges in sustaining conventional power delivery to Fireflies along perimeter walls due to enemy attacks when Soldiers were above the wall line changing batteries.

"In our attempts to solve the power issue, we discovered that CERDEC had sponsored the development of RENEWS power kits, which offered more complete solutions for charging the power supplies," said William Lawler, an electrical engineer in ARL's Sensor Integration Branch. "They immediately provided us with several kits, which we sent to AMRDEC for integration with Firefly and testing. Once it was determined that this solution satisfactorily extended the power supply, CERDEC provided several solar versions of the kits for deployment."

The Reusing Existing Natural Energy, Wind & Solar system, or RENEWS, enables the harvesting and utilization of wind and/or solar power and is intended to produce up to 300 watts of energy field usage in silent, remote operations where the supply of power and fuel resupply is difficult or risky, noted Daniel Berka, an electronics technician in CERDEC's Command, Power & Integration directorate, or CERDEC CP&I.

RENEWS consists of a wind turbine, three 124-watt flexible solar panels, a power conditioner, an AC inverter, and a battery storage/charging unit that contains six BB-2590 rechargeable batteries; it can be hooked into either the solar panels or the wind turbine for continuous charging. The BB-2590 battery, which was developed by CERDEC CP&I, is lighter than the standard BB-390 battery and features better capacity.

"RENEWS offers options; solar was preferred in this case, using the solar panels to charge the six-pack of batteries during the day. We connected a cable from the RENEWS kit to the Firefly, giving them 1.2 KW of continuous energy to run the Firefly system. There still was some maintenance to check the Six-Pack and clean the dirt off the solar panels, but the Soldiers are not going up there every day because the solar panels are within the walls, so they're not exposed to enemy fire," Berka said.

Limited pairings of the two systems have gone to theater as a package, with the most recent deployment being April 24.

"Integration is absolutely a critical, relevant and priority S&T (science and technology) investment, and RDECOM is uniquely positioned to provide this to the Army," said Dale Ormond, director of U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, known as RDECOM. "We are the only organization that has the flexibility and technical expertise to execute the Army S&T mission across a broad portfolio of services. We can draw on a wide range of strengths and technical competencies from each of our centers and laboratories to develop holistic solutions that meet real operational needs. It provides better technical solutions for Soldiers and it enhances the Army's ability to be more flexible and adaptive against asymmetrical threats."

The integrated solution also provided an opportunity for CERDEC CP&I to gather additional operational feedback to be used in efforts to reduce Soldier load and logistical support, said Pedro Passapera, chief for CERDEC CP&I's Experimentation and Simulation Branch.

"Changing power sources and delivering fuel can be dangerous for Soldiers in the field. We are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with other organizations in order to address small unit power issues while reducing the logistics footprint," Passapera said.

"Operational feedback allows us to see areas for improvements that would make the technology more effective for mission support," Passapera continued. "Other Soldiers will benefit from this because we will use the feedback to make adjustments to the current or next generation system and provide the data back to the appropriate decision makers. This was a perfect fit." said.

CP&I has deployed 40 complete RENEWS systems and more than 60 solar systems to units, Passapera noted.

AMRDEC is seeking to transition Firefly to a program of record in late fiscal year 2013, noted Timothy Edwards, Ph.D., lead for AMRDEC's Firefly team.

RDECOM, whose mission is to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers, is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.

"This integrated solution has been very successful and is still serving the warfighters in Afghanistan. Working across RDECOM truly is the best way to support the warfighter," Edwards said.

Raytheon to improve US Army air defenses, better identify targets

Raytheon to improve US Army air defenses, better identify targets

Raytheon under a contract modification from the U.S. Army, is adding new capabilities to the Identification Friend or Foe interrogator to reduce Radio Frequency (RF) emissions and enhance target identification for the warfighter. "We understood that the warfighter needed an improved identification capability, so Raytheon is both increasing the capability of the interrogator system and reducing RF emissions," said Glen Bassett, director of Advanced Communication and Countermeasures for Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems business. The addition of Mode S, awarded to Raytheon in September 2012, will allow the warfighter to query targets individually and has the ability to track and identify targets passively rather than filling the airspace with RF.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tiny Submersible Could Search for Life in Europa's Ocean

Tiny Submersible Could Search for Life in Europa's Ocean: One of the first visitors to Jupiter's icy moon of Europa could be a tiny submarine barely larger than two soda cans. The small craft might help strike the right balance between cost and capability for a robotic mission to look for alien life in the ocean beneath Europa's icy crust.

The idea for the incredible shrinking submarine originally came from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California and Uppsala University in Sweden. Such a vehicle would help keep mission costs low at a time when launching objects into space can still cost tens of thousands of dollars per kilogram. The mission concept also would have the advantage of only requiring a small borehole drilled through the ice covering Europa's surface.

"What I think is exciting with this is to be able to explore previously inaccessible areas, to explore where no "man" has explored before," said Jonas Jonsson, an engineer now with Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies Inc. at NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

Helicopter takes to the skies with the power of thought

Helicopter takes to the skies with the power of thought: A remote controlled helicopter has been flown through a series of hoops around a college gymnasium in Minnesota. It sounds like your everyday student project; however, there is one caveat...the helicopter was controlled using just the power of thought.

The experiments have been performed by researchers hoping to develop future robots that can help restore the autonomy of paralysed victims or those suffering from neurodegenerative disorders.

Their study has been published in IOP Publishing's Journal of Neural Engineering and is accompanied by a video of the helicopter control in action which can be viewed here

Official outlines challenges in securing DOD communications

Official outlines challenges in securing DOD communications

The threat of a cyberattack that would disrupt or deny connectivity is one of many information technology challenges the Defense Department faces, the Pentagon's chief information officer said here June 12.

"There's nothing that we do in DOD from the standpoint of mission security that does not rely on connectivity," Terri Takai told an audience of private-sector leaders and government information technology communities at the FedTalks 2013 conference.

Everyone seems to take connectivity for granted, Takai said, but maintaining it requires security measures, and a cyberattack could circumvent those measures.

"We have to think about how we will operate when that connectivity is disrupted or denied," she said.

It's an enormous challenge. With a budget of $39 billion spread across all four military branches and 40 defense agencies, Takai is charged with providing secure communications for the entire military.

"I support over 3.3 million people," she said. "We're located in 153 countries, and many of those countries are a challenge for being able to get connectivity. And then we're probably in more than 6,000 locations all over the world."

In addition to cyber threats, Takai said, the Defense Department's information technology community also must work through shrinking budgets, challenges posed by nations or groups that DOD partners with, and changing missions.

For example, she said, the Defense Department's shift toward the Asia-Pacific region means fewer U.S assets on the ground and more in the air and at sea. This requires new arrangements for a range of communications, including increased use of satellites, both government and commercial.

"It changes the dynamics of the way we look at how we provide communication capabilities," Takai said, and new partners in the region will have to be included in secure communications networks.

"That's a whole different group of countries to work with," she added, "and for me it's a whole different set of countries to be thinking about, 'How am I going to connect in a very secure way?'"

Friday, June 14, 2013

SECNAV: We have too many camo uniforms | Navy Times |

SECNAV: We have too many camo uniforms | Navy Times | Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters on Thursday that he supports the push to reduce the services’ number of camouflage uniforms.
“The notion that we’ve got all this camouflage doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” he said at the Defense Writers Group breakfast meeting in Washington. “I think it’s worthwhile to see if we can shrink the numbers here.”
Mabus’ comments follow the introduction of a new bill by House lawmakers that would require a common combat uniform no later than October 2018. There would be some exceptions, allowing variants for geography, such as desert and woodland patterns.

House rejects plan to drop carrier requirement to 10 | Navy Times |

House rejects plan to drop carrier requirement to 10 | Navy Times | The House of Representatives voted Thursday to reject a proposal that would’ve reduced the legal requirement for operational aircraft carriers from 11 to 10.
The Navy has just 10 carriers while waiting commissioning of the Gerald R. Ford — the first of a new class of carriers — which won’t join the fleet until late 2015 or early 2016, under current plans. Congress granted a waiver to the existing 11-carrier requirement as part of the fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, allowing the Navy to operate with 10 carriers from the inactivation of the Enterprise in December 2012 until the Ford arrives.
Thursday’s vote came on an amendment to the 2014 defense budget offered by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., that would’ve required the fleet to have 10 carriers but would allow for more.

US military proposes no-fly zone over Syria: report

US military proposes no-fly zone over Syria: report

US military proposals for arming Syrian rebels include establishing a limited no-fly zone over rebel training camps and delivering small arms, US media reported Friday.
Up to now Washington has only provided -- at least officially -- non-lethal aid to the rebels.The proposed no-fly zone would stretch up to 25 miles (40 kilometers) into Syria, and would be enforced by warplanes flying inside Jordan and armed with long-distance air-to-air missiles, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed US officials.The Journal also reported that President Barack Obama has issued a classified order directing the Central Intelligence Agency to coordinate with US allies on arming the rebels.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Northrop Grumman to Support U.S. Navy on Minehunting Integration

Northrop Grumman to Support U.S. Navy on Minehunting Integration: Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract to support the U.S. Navy's integration onto an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) of the Northrop Grumman-built AQS-24A Side Look Sonar System to look for bottom and volume mines remotely.

The repackaging of the sonar for USV use will build upon the proven capabilities of the AQS-24A. The AQS-24A and its predecessors, the AQS-24 and the AQS-14, all built by Northrop Grumman, are airborne minehunting search systems used by the Navy for the past 28 years.

The AQS-24A is a high-speed minehunting system that is primarily towed from the MH-53E helicopter, but has been tested from USVs since 2002 by Northrop Grumman. With a track record of reliability and performance across the globe, the system's high-resolution side-scan sonar detects, localizes and classifies both bottom and moored mines in real time at high area coverage rates.

Japan, US stage joint island retaking drill

Japan, US stage joint island retaking drill: Japan and the United States have started a joint drill to practise retaking remote islands, the Japanese government said Tuesday, as Tokyo and Beijing continue to face off over a disputed archipelago.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who has previously stressed "Dawn Blitz" was not aimed at China, told reporters that the joint exercise was designed to "significantly contribute to our capability".

It is the first time all the three arms of Japan's Self Defense Forces -- army, navy and airforce -- have taken part together in a drill based on the US mainland.

Of some 1,000 Japanese personnel participating in the multi-national amphibious exercise, the bulk are naval troops from three destroyers of the Maritime Self Defense Force, according to Japanese media.

Canada, New Zealand and military observers from seven other nations are also taking part in the US-led exercise in California, which will last until June 28 according to the US Marine Corps. Japan's participation lasts until June 26.

Lockheed Martin Delivers Modernized Laser Range Finder For Apache Helicopter

Lockheed Martin Delivers Modernized Laser Range Finder For Apache Helicopter: Lockheed Martin recently delivered the first Modernized Day Sensor Assembly (M-DSA) Laser Range Finder Designator (LRFD) to the U.S. Army for the AH-64D/E Apache helicopter.

"The new laser is the first component to be fielded in the Modernized Day Sensor Assembly," said Lt. Col. Steve Van Riper, U.S. Army product manager of Apache Sensors.

"The U.S. Army looks forward to a lasting relationship with the Lockheed Martin and Selex team; we anticipate continued success as we quickly ramp-up to our planned production rate and begin fielding."

The modernized LRFD is the first phase of upgrades for the M-DSA program. The modernized LRFD mitigates obsolescence and provides enhanced performance to the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (M-TADS/PNVS) system.

The modernized LRFD is also the chief targeting aid for the Apache, establishing the range to target for accurate weapon aiming.

Boeing gets $4 bn US Army helicopter deal

Boeing gets $4 bn US Army helicopter deal: US aerospace giant Boeing announced Tuesday it has received a multi-year $4 billion order from the US Army for 177 more CH-47F Chinook helicopters.

The five-year deal includes an option for the army to buy 38 additional Chinooks, a multi-mission, twin-engine transport helicopter, Boeing said in a statement.

"This order would eventually bring the Army's CH-47F total procurement close to its target of 464 aircraft, including 24 to replace peacetime attrition aircraft," the Chicago-based company said, noting the army currently has 241 of the F-model aircraft.

Deliveries are to begin in 2015.

France keen to buy 12 US Reaper drones: minister

France keen to buy 12 US Reaper drones: minister: France wants to buy 12 Reaper drones from the United States, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday, as ministry officials put the cost at 670 million euros ($889 million).

Le Drian said he wanted two Reapers to be deployed in sub-Saharan Africa, where France is battling Islamist militants in Mali.

The 10 others would be deployed in French and European skies.

The deal needs the approval of Congress.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Israel gets ready for F-35s and KC-135s

Israel gets ready for F-35s and KC-135s: Israel's air force is getting ready to absorb its first squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the combat jet that will assure the country's aerial supremacy for years to come.

But it's getting other U.S. aircraft as well as part of the $100 billion Middle Eastern arms deal announced by the Pentagon in February.

These include Boeing KC-135 aerial tankers that will greatly extend Israel's strategic reach.

No number has been specified, but expanding Israel's in-flight refueling capacity, potentially doubling it, greatly enhances its prospects in mounting preventive airstrikes against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The air force is also getting as many as 30 Italian-built M-346 Master advanced jet trainers as part of a $1 billion contract signed in early 2012 with Alenia Aermacchi.

PAC-3 MSE Missile Flight Tested At White Sands

PAC-3 MSE Missile Flight Tested At White Sands: Lockheed Martin's PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) Missile successfully engaged, intercepted and destroyed two different threat representative targets during a flight test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

The first target engagement involved two PAC-3 MSE Missiles ripple fired against an advanced Tactical Ballistic Missile (TBM) target. The first MSE Missile successfully engaged a TBM target, while the second missile self-destructed as planned. A third PAC-3 MSE Missile engaged a BQM-74 cruise missile target. Preliminary data indicates that all test objectives were achieved.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Navy Looks to Relieve Administrative Burdens from Fleet

Navy Looks to Relieve Administrative Burdens from Fleet

The Chief of Naval Operations has developed a working group focused on reducing the administrative overhead on commands, allowing Sailors to spend more time and energy on "Warfighting First."

"Our goal is to give back to our warfighters, and includes everyone from the CO to the deckplate leaders, more time to focus on the things they need to do," said Rear Adm. Herman Shelanski, deputy to the director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, and director for the working group.

"These Sailors need to be mission ready, they need to understand their weapons systems, they need to know how to get their ship underway safely, and they need time to do that."

Instead, feedback from the fleet indicates that Sailors are spending far too much time on administrative tasks, such as duplicative training or competing requirements. CNO is hoping that a review of these requirements with an eye toward restoring balance will allow our force to be more efficient and effective.

"We plan to accomplish this task in phases," said Shelanski. In phase one we plan to really gather information, and look at the broad brush picture of everything out there that can affect us. In phase two we plan to narrow the scope and take a hard look at what we can take care of very quickly. Phase three is about putting that information into action - then repeat. This will be a flywheel where we constantly repeat the cycle to continue to find balance."

Within the week the team plans to have a Website up, which will allow Sailors to begin submitting feedback immediately. The hope is that some commands have already identified ways to reduce some of these administrative burdens and will now have access to a broader audience in which to share that information. A survey will also be going out to solicit even more information from commands to find out what they are spending the most time on and get it fixed.

"We want amazing, innovative creative young Sailors of any rank to write in to us," said Shelanski. "Here is an administrative process that I'm spending all my time on and if I had an IPAD and an App, I could save three hours a day."

With that input they plan to move ahead quickly to get some affect back to the fleet and buy them some time. And Although they want fast action from the fleet on this, they don't want this process to become another time drain on our Sailors.

"We just need to know what is hurting everyone's head," said Shelanski. "Training is a big one, and we think there is a way to make that more efficient. Take something as common as a zone inspection. Walking around with an officer, followed by a petty officer, we've got a process in place that is sucking up time and this guy is writing things down, then he's got to go to a computer and fat finger the notes into a data base so there's got to be someone who has an idea on how to make that a little more efficient.

The hope is that in a couple of weeks, once the team has a full excel spreadsheet of inputs; they can narrow the focus to some of the things that they can handle. Maybe the training piece cause I think that is one that tends to affect a lot of the commands throughout the fleet.

"We think there is going to be a flood of information," said Shelanski. "So putting together that information in a proper manner so we can systematically go through it will be a challenge. But an even bigger challenge is the cultural change that we hope to effect in the future."

The team will also look at Websites that hold repetitive information and try to find an IT solution to the problem.

"If our sailors are burdened by systems like that then certainly it's one of the things we want to address," said Shelanski. "It's our obligation to Sailors to give them the time that they need to do the right things."

Task Force Examines Integrating Enlisted Female Sailor on Subs

Task Force Examines Integrating Enlisted Female Sailor on Subs

Commander, Naval Submarine Forces in Norfolk established a flag officer-led task force in May to focus on effectively integrating enlisted women Sailors on board multiple submarine platforms.

Vice Adm. Michael Connor stood up the task force to specifically look at best integration practices for SSBNs, SSGNs, and VIRGINIA-class SSNs.

Commander of Submarine Group Two, Rear Adm. Kenneth Perry is leading the task force. The group is charged with developing a comprehensive Plan of Actions and Milestones (POAM) by January 2014.

This POAM will mirror the previous deliberate process used to successfully integrate female officers by including feasibility studies, potential courses of action and candidate timelines. Pending the results, a detailed implementation plan will be presented to the Chief of Naval Operations by March 2015.

Female officers have been successfully integrated on board OHIO-Class SSBNs and SSGNs, and will be integrated onboard VIRGINIA-Class SSNs in fiscal year 2015.

The Navy is working with industry to design the Ohio replacement SSBN to support both officers and enlisted mixed-gender crews. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Nerve and Muscle Interfaces Aid Wounded Warrior Amputees

New Nerve and Muscle Interfaces Aid Wounded Warrior Amputees: Since 2000, more than 2,000 servicemembers have suffered amputated limbs. DARPA's breakthrough research with advanced prosthetic limbs controlled by brain interfaces is well documented, but such research is currently limited to quadriplegics; practical applications of brain interfaces for amputees are still in the future.

In contrast, nerve and muscle interfaces allow amputees to control advanced prosthetics in the near term. Recent demonstrations may give Wounded Warriors hope that they can soon take advantage of these breakthroughs.

DARPA's Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program researched the long-term viability of brain interfaces and continues research to develop high-performance, reliable peripheral interfaces.

These new peripheral interfaces use signals from nerves or muscles to both control prosthetics and to provide direct sensory feedback. Ongoing clinical trials present compelling examples of both interface types.

Raytheon, US Navy complete first phase of RAM Block 2 developmental testing

Raytheon, US Navy complete first phase of RAM Block 2 developmental testing: The U.S. Navy completed the first series of developmental and operational testing (DT/OT) of Raytheon's Rolling Airframe Missile Block 2. In at-sea tests conducted from the U.S. Navy's Self-Defense Test Ship, RAM Block 2 missiles engaged two targets in tactical dual-salvo scenarios designed to demonstrate the advanced missile's defensive capabilities.

The DT/OT tests successfully engaged high-speed, maneuvering and sub-sonic, maneuvering targets with all four RAM Block 2 missiles meeting test objectives.

"RAM Block 2's success in these developmental tests follows the completion of a series of guidance test vehicle flight tests," said Rick Nelson, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Naval and Area Mission Defense product line.

Pentagon weighs larger post-2014 force in Afghanistan

Pentagon weighs larger post-2014 force in Afghanistan

The Pentagon is weighing a proposal for a larger, temporary US force to remain in Afghanistan after most NATO combat troops withdraw in 2014, a spokesman said Monday.
Officials had previously suggested President Barack Obama's administration was considering a smaller force of up to 8,000-12,000 troops to stay in Afghanistan after the bulk of a NATO-led contingent departs as planned at the end of 2014.But the former US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, retired general John Allen, and a former top Pentagon official, Michele Flournoy, floated the idea last week of a "bridging force" that would expand the post-2014 presence by several thousand troops for up to three years.

Monday, June 3, 2013

With drawdown in Afghanistan, Army regional alignments likely to increase | Article | The United States Army

With drawdown in Afghanistan, Army regional alignments likely to increase | Article | The United States Army

Globally, and across the total force in fiscal year 2013, the Army could engage in nearly 6,000 different activities, in more than 160 countries, and involving as many as 60,000 Soldiers and Army civilians as part of its "regionally aligned forces" concept.

Brig. Gen. Kimberly C. Field, with Army G-3/5/7, spoke May 30, during a media roundtable at the Pentagon to provide an update on the Army's regionally aligned forces, or RAF, concept.

The general said regionally aligned forces can include Army capabilities in direct support of combatant commanders, or COCOMs, every day. They also include personnel and units assigned to a theater, U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. European Command have the bulk of these.

Regionally aligned forces also include those units in an "allocated" status, given to a combatant commander for a specific mission for a specific period of time and under his direct control, Field said.

"Regionally aligned forces are also the other capabilities that support the combatant commander, but are Army-service retained," Field said. "These are individuals and small teams providing reach-back support or on regular temporary duty missions to a region, or conducting contingency planning for the combatant commander."

As the Army draws down from the Middle East, from Afghanistan, Field said the service will likely increase its efforts with RAF.

"We are working hard to respond to the increasing complexity of the global security environment," she said. "By deliberately aligning forces regionally, the Army meets the enduring needs of COCOMs in a way that ensures responsiveness, consistent availability, and a higher level of training and expertise."

In April, the Army provided regionally aligned forces to U.S. Africa Command to support the East Africa Response Force there. Stationed in Djibouti, 129 members of the 2-1 Infantry Division are ready to respond as needed to the security of U.S. facilities in Africa, Field said.

"It really was a directive from the Secretary of Defense to look forward, look at these areas that might have a Benghazi-like situation that could happen again, and to pre-position forces to do that," Field said. "They arrived in April. They train and they stay ready to be able to respond to these crisis."

The Army total force, including the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard, specifically the State Partnership Program, will provide some 4,500 personnel to the continent in order to conduct 660 activities in 34 countries in support of the combatant command in fiscal year 2013. Most of these forces are based in the continental U.S. until they are needed.

Field said aligned forces in Africa have already been involved in providing training support to Nigeriens who are part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali, for instance.

"We've deployed trainers to Niger, and are working with the Department of State, and we did that on fairly short notice," she said. "And then there are the smaller things. There are 37 smaller familiarization exercises, one of which, an example, is training Ugandan military police for route security. There are a range of activities."

The Army is also discussing with the Department of State the idea of providing training support for the United Nations Mission in Darfur.

In fiscal year 2014, Field said, a brigade combat team from 1st Cavalry Division will provide "European Rotational Force" support to U.S. European Command, and will be dual-hatted as the NATO response force. Additionally, III Corps will be aligned with U.S. Central Command.

Right now 1st Corps is already aligned with U.S. Pacific Command, while the 18th Airborne Corps remains in "global" alignment as the Army's global response force.

Also in fiscal year 2014, the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, with the National Guard, will be regionally with U.S. Southern Command. The unit is preparing now to send Soldiers to Guatemala to mentor and advise military forces there on command and control operations, logistics, communications, and small unit tactics. About 166 Soldiers will participate.


Field said the goal of RAF is to provide better support to COCOMs by providing them with forces prepared with cultural, language and specific mission capabilities that match up with a commander's particular region of the world.

Those forces will help COCOMs address mutual threats and interests with partners; build capabilities of partners so they can handle things themselves; and increase influence and ability to have access if needed.

Regional alignment leverages the great strengths built in the past ten years of war, Field said.

"It is a fundamental orientation different from other drawdown periods," She said. "We are staying externally focused, leveraging all we have learned about the human terrain and what strategic landpower means and we're building on this."

While the Army is looking in the future to "habitually align" both division and corps-level headquarters with a particular COCOM in order to provide each geographic combatant command a JTF-capable headquarters, Soldiers themselves will likely pass through several units during their Army careers, each unit aligned to a different COCOM.

Field dismissed the idea that the cultural and language training provided to a Soldier when he is aligned with one unit will be wasted when he moves on to another unit. Simply participating in that type of preparation is a payoff for the Army, she said.

"We will give Soldiers who are aligned for that year some culture, some language, some expertise," she said. "We think the biggest benefit in regional alignment, to the cultural and language aspect of this, is that you now have a force that is much more culturally savvy. [A force] that can get on the ground in a foreign environment and can quickly get situational awareness, situational understanding, a better understanding of the problem they have to solve, and then come up with solutions."