23 February 2010

Gen. McChrystal's Statement to the Afghan People



Gen. McChrystal issued the message in Pashtu, following military action in Uruzgan. The following is the complete text of his remarks, as delivered in English:

The Great People of Afghanistan, Salam Alaikum. Sunday morning, the International Security Assistance Force, while conducting a mission with Afghan Security Forces, launched an attack against what we believed to be a group of insurgents in Kotal Chawzar, in Southern Afghanistan. We now believe the attack killed and injured a number of Afghan citizens. I have spoken with President Karzai and apologized to him and the Afghan people. I have instituted a thorough investigation to prevent this from happening again. We are extremely saddened by this tragic loss of innocent lives. I have made it clear to our forces that we are here to protect the Afghan people. I pledge to strengthen our efforts to regain your trust to build a brighter future for all Afghans. Most importantly, I express my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. We all share in their grief and will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
Operation Moshtarak, RCS2010.

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A Small Team of Sustainment Experts

Fort Bragg's 1st Theater Sustainment Command deployed a small team of sustainment experts to Afghanistan to facilitate overall sustainment during the massive flow of equipment in support of the buildup in Operation Enduring Freedom. This tailored team of logisticians is assisting during the transition of subordinate elements to ensure the seamless efficient support to our Soldiers in Afghanistan.

This initiative directly supports the Third Army Commanders stated intent for support for the buildup of forces in Afghanistan.

"Everyone is working hard to overcome the challenges of moving equipment into Afghanistan. We are moving as much as we can as fast as we can with the help of the United states Air Force and U.S. Transportation Command," said Lt. Gen. William G. Webster, Third Army commanding general.

Those efforts include approximately 350 vehicles which are in transit with 650 on the ground at Kandahar and Bagram, ready for issue to troops deploying to Afghanistan as part of the build-up.

Of the 650, that includes over 300 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Two variants are currently being delivered, the MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle and the MaxxPro which is a larger vehicle with an increased load carrying capacity. The intent is to have much of the required equipment for the troop build-up on the ground in Afghanistan before the forces arrive.

"We are engaged in sustainment operations across the entire Central Command area of operations," said Xavier P. Lobeto, the 1st TSC's deputy commanding general. "We're involved with the drawdown of Iraq and the buildup of Afghanistan, this effort is huge and we're here to support and sustain as a team. It's a team effort and always will be," Lobeto said.

The 1st TSC's role in Southwest Asia is to establish single logistics command and control by establishing steady state logistics operations.

They synchronize and tailor logistics for units throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and throughout the CENTCOM area of responsibility.
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Savannah's 118th Field Artillery Returns from Afghanistan

Photo: Brigadier Gen. Maria Britt, Georgia Army Guard command, shakes the hands of Soldiers from Springfield's Battery A, 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery, as they disembark the aircraft that brought them from Afghanistan to Hunter Army Airfield's Departure and Arrival Terminal.

Stepping off a chartered airliner early this morning, more than 100 members of Springfield's Battery A, 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery, began the last leg of their yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

"You have no idea how great it is to be home," said Sgt. David Clark of Offerman. "Unless you've been there and back, you just don't realize how good it is to be back on Georgia soil."

This was the first group of Citizen-Soldiers redeploying to Georgia in the next two months. Arrival times for other returning flights, and dates for upcoming welcome home ceremonies are expected soon, but remain somewhat up in the air.

The Soldiers of Battery A are among the more than 2,000 members of Macon's 48th Infantry Brigade Combat (IBCT) who left in June of last year to support Operation Enduring Freedom. Their mission was to train and mentor the Afghan army and National Security Force so the Afghans can fully take on the role of protecting that war-torn country's citizens.

"I don't know that I can ever fully express how proud I am of these guys," said the unit's commander, Capt. Patrick Grover of Savannah. "From the lowest to the highest rank, they carried out every task and mission asked of them and continually made me and the Georgia Army Guard look good in the eyes of everyone they dealt with.

"If any one ever deserves credit for the success of our deployment, it's them, not me," he added.

After turning in weapons and other sensitive equipment at the terminal, the Guardsmen boarded buses waiting for them outside the airfield's main terminal, and headed for Fort Stewart in Hinesville. Marching onto the post's Cottrell Parade Field with Grove leading it, Battery A received a resounding welcome home from more than 200 family members, friends, fellow Soldiers and dignitaries such Brig. Gen. Maria Britt, Georgia Army Guard commander.

Stepping to the microphone, Britt welcomed the unit back, and then told its members how proud she and Maj. Gen. Terry Nesbitt, Georgia's Adjutant General, are of them.

"When we stop and think of how being born free is 'really an accident,' we realize that our staying free is paid for by our veterans, veterans such as yourselves," Britt told the Soldiers standing in formation before her.

"And just as we will always remember the eight who lost their lives during this deployment, we're also grateful to have all of you back safely with us," she added.

Britt then turned her remarks toward the families who crowed the grandstand behind her.

"You sacrificed as much as our Soldiers did, and yet you stepped up time and again to let them know you are always there for them in these challenging times," she said. "That love and support is so greatly appreciated and we ask, yes we know, that you keep it coming."

In no short order after Britt finished her remarks, the crowd rushed the formation, each family finding its Soldier, then hugging and holding on tight as if afraid that the homecoming would be short-lived.

That's the way it seemed to Rashedah Barringer of Columbus and her little girl Morgan, age 3. Frantically searching the formation, mother and daughter found what they were looking for among the sea of Army Combat Uniforms.

Running to her father, Morgan jumped up into Sgt. Joseph Barringer's arms, and hugged him with an intensity he had never known. Holding his little girl with one arm and holding his wife with the other, Joseph Barringer seemed to cringe, just a little.

"I really don't know what to say at this moment," the one-time business major from Columbus Technical College said. He'll be returning there to finish his degree once he's back home. "I'm excited and overwhelmed with the fact that I'm finally home. I just don't know what to say about it, other than I'm proud of who I am and what my unit has accomplished, but Lord am I glad that I'm home."

For little Morgan it's about having her father home and finally having him buy her the "princess dress" he promised her before he left.

"I'm going to be so pretty because daddy promised me he'd buy my princess dress and some shoes," she said, clinging to Joseph's neck.

by Sgt. 1st Class Roy Henry
Photos by Sgt. Jerry DeAvila and Sgt. 1st Class Roy Henry

Georgia Department of Defense Public Affairs Office
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19 February 2010

DoD Adds Blog to Military Science Dialogue

Science has seized the popular imagination. There are magazines, popular books, Web sites, webcasts, blogs, documentary films, and even television channels devoted to science and technology.

The practical applications of science and technology also can be found in almost every aspect of military operations, a topic that is discussed in great detail in the award-winning weekly webcast "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military," produced by the Defense Media Activity.

The popularity of the Armed with Science webcast in its first year has prompted the Defense Media Activity to expand its on-line presence. A new Armed with Science blog, http://science.dodlive.mil, premiered in late January. The new blog includes articles, archived webcast episodes, transcripts, images, and videos.

"Expanding into the blogosphere will allow us to develop a dialogue between our listeners and the scientists, engineers, operators and administrators who are involved in DoD science," said Brian Natwick, general manager of The Pentagon Channel and acting director of DoD's Emerging Media Directorate. The new blog will provide a better forum to highlight the critical role of science and technology in military operations, Natwick said, while demonstrating how research conducted to meet military requirements often benefits society as a whole.

Les Benito, director of the Defense Media Activity's Public Web Directorate, said the blog also will provide an opportunity to experiment with emerging social technologies and implement strategies that better engage the public. It will bolster a social media portfolio that already includes efforts on Twitter, Facebook, and BlogTalkRadio.

"We hope to develop a more user-centric and interactive Web site that evolves over time to meet the needs of our audience," Benito said. "Consider this is an experiment in progress."

John Ohab, a new technology strategist at the Defense Media Activity's Public Web Directorate and host of the weekly webcast, said the blog will place specific emphasis on the men and women who are involved in research, development, and education at the Defense Department. By focusing on their individual stories, Ohab hopes the blog will help break down traditional myths about science and technology that hinder some people from pursuing related careers.

"Science isn't just for scientists," Ohab said. "Not only does science and technology help make our servicemembers safer and more effective, they also impact virtually everything we do in civilian life."

(By Ian Graham, Special to American Forces Press Service. Ian Graham is assigned to Defense Media Activity's Emerging Media Directorate)
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08 February 2010

Clayton State Student Veterans Association Hosts Workshop/Presentation on Homecomings

The Clayton State University Student Veterans Association (SVA) is hosting a workshop/presentation on Thursday, Feb. 25. Entitled, “Homecomings: Community Responsiveness to Troops, Veterans and their Families,” the presenters will be LTC Peter Bauer, MS, USAR; LCSW, LMFT, BCD, and the Rev. Alan Roof, staff chaplain at the Shepherd Center. The event will take place in the Clayton State Student Activities Center Ballroom from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

In addition to inviting the Clayton State campus and the general public, SVA will also be personally inviting local mental health professionals, medical professionals, law enforcement personnel, and clergy to attend.

The workshop/presentation is designed to provide community members (i.e., civilians) with information about the challenges active military troops and veterans face when transitioning back into civilian life and how communities can help them through this process. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be discussed, as well as how to support active military troops and veterans who are experiencing these challenges. In addition to providing information on supporting the impacted military personnel, ways to support the military families will also be addressed. Contact information for help resources will be available as well.

“Veterans, for the most part, do not want to be treated special – they just want to be treated with respect and consideration, just like anyone else,” says SVA’s Diana Peters. “The SVA believes this workshop/presentation will help strengthen the foundation of Clayton State University as a military-friendly campus.”

The Student Veterans Association supports The Shepherd Center/SHARE Initiative (www.shepherd.org) and Veteran’s Heart Georgia (www.veteransheartgeorgia.org).
A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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07 February 2010

FRC Statement on New Policy Requiring Military Bases to Carry 'Morning After' Pill

The Family Research Council criticized a decision by the Obama Administration to require military based worldwide to carry Levonorgestrel, or 'Plan B.'

Jeanne Monahan, FRC's Director of the Center for Human Dignity, released the following statement:

"Family Research Council opposes requiring military bases worldwide to carry Levonorgestrel, or 'Plan B,' because the drug can prevent a fertilized embryo from implanting in the uterus and thereby destroy a human life. We can all agree that there is a huge difference between preventing and destroying human life. And women in uniform deserve to know the truth about their medications.

"In the last year we have witnessed the Obama Administration move from the status quo of abortion as legal and available in health care plans to aggressively promoting U.S. government funded abortions. In the same way, the fact that Plan B is optional for military facilities is not sufficient for the Obama Administration, so now military facilities will be compelled to carry and disseminate Plan B.

"Moreover, a requirement to carry this drug would be a violation of the conscience rights of military personnel who have moral objections to providing it, not to mention the majority of American taxpayers supporting military operations. Taxpayers should not be required to pay for military medical personnel to carry Plan B anywhere in the world.

"Recently the FDA changed its approval of Plan B from a prescription drug to an over-the-counter drug for women ages 17 and up. This change was made despite the fact that Plan B is composed essentially of high doses of regular contraceptive drugs (which still require a doctor's prescription). However, because extensive testing for those under the age of 17 has not taken place, the drug can only be obtained by prescription for girls 16 and under. Forcing military professionals to carry over-the-counter Plan B will make it more difficult to enforce age requirements for a drug not widely tested on young girls.

"Finally, the requirement to carry Plan B on military bases doesn't include a parental notification provision in cases in which a minor obtains Plan B by prescription. This new policy undermines the right of parents to properly care for their daughters' physical well-being. In a society that requires teachers to send students to the nurse for a band-aid, the Administration's approach on something profoundly more important than a paper cut defies common sense."
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02 February 2010

Air Force fiscal 2011 budget balances for today's fight, postures for future challenges

Air Force officials here reinforced their commitment to fund and support today's operations while posturing for future challenges through the service's portion of the president's fiscal year 2011 budget Feb. 1.

The $119.6 billion budget proposal supports the Air Force's unique capabilities and core functions and how the service supports its people at home and abroad as it continues to rebalance the force, senior leaders said.

Balancing today's operations

The FY11 Budget Request supports a balanced approach to prevail in today's operations while ensuring new capabilities, force structure, skills and technologies to meet tomorrow's challenges.

"The Operation and Maintenance budget is focused on new and emerging requirements as well as on-going operations," said Maj. Gen. Al Flowers, Air Force budget director. "We have balanced resources across the full spectrum of operations to meet the increasing demands of today's fight."

In FY11, the Air Force's baseline budget totals $119.6 billion which provides resources across several appropriations that provide pay and allowances for people, readiness, and infrastructure and modernization. An additional $20.8 billion was requested for overseas contingency operations to support ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In keeping with the Air Force's tradition of taking care of its Airmen and their families, General Flowers explained that the Air Force will invest about $1billion for quality of life programs such as child development centers; spouse counseling and employment programs; school liaison officers; and childcare programs.

The general also said the submission will support a basic pay increase of 1.4 percent for both Airmen and civilians. In addition, Airmen can receive increases of up to 4.2 percent for basic allowance for housing and 3.4 percent for rations.

Personnel funding continues to be a priority for the service, with $29.3 billion devoted to active duty, Guard, and Reserve end strength preservation. The budget also provides for increases in critical skills recruiting and retention bonuses, and personnel plus ups in stressed career fields.

"Airmen can expect to see increased emphasis on bonuses -- about $645 million -- for areas such as combat controllers, intelligence, pararescue, explosive ordnance disposal, tactical air control party, contracting, and survival, evasion, escape and resistance," General Flowers said.

In addition to recruiting and retention, the general asserted that education will remain a priority in the FY11 request.

"Tuition assistance is a mainstay in each budget and we will continue to provide Airmen off-duty education," General Flowers said.

In addition to education, the Air Force's budget request maintains investments in the organization, training and equipping of Airmen supporting OCOs.

To increase flexibility and lethality that meets the needs of combatant commanders in the AOR, the Air Force will continue to support efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the general said. The budget request includes a $6.1 billion FY10 supplemental request in addition to the $15.2 billion in OCO funding received in the FY10 appropriation.

Investing for future challenges

As the strategy facilitates funding increases for contingency operations, the Air Force will sustain its investment in new capabilities and a force structure to meet tomorrow's challenges.

"We are modernizing and recapitalizing within our means," Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz said. "In developing the budget request, we also carefully preserved our approach to taking care of Airmen and our Air Force families."

The Air Force's top priority continues the efforts to strengthen the nuclear enterprise with $5.2 billion earmarked for ongoing support and maintenance of the service's nuclear forces.

"In addition to the establishment of Global Strike Command, the Air Force has developed a more rigorous inspection and positive inventory control process while taking steps to correct nuclear force development," said General Flowers.

As ground forces draw down in Iraq and sustain in Afghanistan, the Air Force will see intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and irregular warfare operations increase, the general said.

The new budget provides for 36 baseline and 12 OCO MQ-9 Reapers, four additional RQ-4 Global Hawks and 662 active duty personnel associated with the increased ISR missions. General Flowers said service officials will also seek to develop a normalized training and basing posture for the MC-12 Project Liberty.

The budget proposal provides "enhancement to legacy fighters to ensure today's capability is compatible with future or fifth generation fighters as we develop and bed down the F-35," General Flowers said.

The enhancements include F-15 modernization and radar upgrades and EC-130H Compass Call modifications. Common configuration upgrades and software development for the F-22 will ensure compatibility with new models coming off the line. In addition, the Air Force will continue modernizing the C-5, C-130 and C-17 fleet through programs such as avionics modernization; reliability, enhancement, and re-engining; and large aircraft infrared countermeasures.

The service will also continue its efforts toward emerging missions, the general said.

"We're increasing our ISR combat air patrols to 50 by the end of FY11 and by the end of FY13 we'll be at 65," he said. "Each CAP will have a manpower tail attached and much of the end strength relates to increased demand of ISR support in the AOR."

"We're investing in maturing technologies as we work toward concept exploration for a long-range strike capability," General Flowers said of the $200 million endeavor.

The Air Force will continue building a robust space program while investing in both secure and non-secure satellite communications including a missile warning satellite.

Air Force officials said the FY11 budget helps the service achieve the right balance to meet today's commitments while posturing for future challenges, adding that there is now have a blueprint to improve existing capabilities and pursue new technology while ensuring stewardship of national resources.

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