30 September 2009

About time...

I am in part of the DoD which deals with acquisition. For any fans of history, the Navy A12 fighter was one of the greatest disasters of DoD acquisition and heralded a wave of reform and reorganization. Now we are seeing aspects of real reform in the field. The M-ATV is a vast improvement over the unwieldy and far too heavy MRAPs in the Iraqi theater. Although the MRAPs were near invulnerable, they lacked maneuverability, could not cross some roads and limited quick response.

The newest and most effective wave of acquisitions are developed from battlefield needs, frequently can be filled with COTS (commercial off the shelf) gear and don't take years to deploy. The news of the entry into the Afghanistan theater of the M-ATV will be welcome news to troops who are seeing a substantial uptick in roadside bombings.

From: info106@info.govdelivery.com [mailto:info106@info.govdelivery.com] On Behalf Of American Forces Press Service
Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:17 PM
Subject: New Protective Vehicles Head to Afghanistan

New Protective Vehicles Head to Afghanistan
Wed, 30 Sep 2009 16:11:00 -0500

New Protective Vehicles Head to Afghanistan Overnight

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2009 - The first parcel of an influx of vehicles designed to protect troops from deadly roadside bombs is expected to arrive overnight in Afghanistan, a Defense Department spokesman said today.

The expected delivery comes soon after the department awarded an order for more than 6,600 of the mine-resistant, ambush-protected all-terrain vehicles -- known as M-ATVs -- to be fielded over the next year.

"That is just the first wave of a massive production and transportation program that will see at least 6,644 of these life-saving vehicles delivered to our forces in Afghanistan over the next year or so, making it one of the fastest and highest-priority acquisition programs in the history of the Defense Department," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters today.

Three M-ATVs were loaded onto a C-17 and four onto a C-5 at the Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., yesterday and flown to Afghanistan. Morrell characterized the shipment as an "extraordinary achievement" considering that the contract for production of these highly maneuverable armored trucks was awarded to the Oshkosh Corp. just three months ago.

Conventional MRAP vehicles feature a V-shaped hull to deflect roadside bombs, and are proven to be lifesavers on the battlefield. The M-ATV provides troops a smaller and more maneuverable vehicle that can travel off-road and navigate Afghanistan's difficult, mountainous terrain, Marine Corps Systems Command officials said.

Morrell said the department would like the M-ATVs to have an effect in Afghanistan similar to the one that MRAPs had when they were delivered en masse to Iraq, leading to a reduction in casualties resulting from roadside bombs.

"These new vehicles are urgently needed, because improvised explosive devices are claiming the lives of more U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan than ever before," he said. "The hope is that the M-ATVs will have the same impact in Afghanistan as the MRAPs did in Iraq, providing our troops the best counter-IED protection money can buy so that they can defeat the terrorist networks responsible for planting these bombs, and ultimately win the trust and confidence of the Afghan people."

The M-ATV supports small-unit combat operations in highly restricted rural, mountainous and urban environments that include mounted patrols, reconnaissance, security, convoy protection, communications, command and control, and combat service support. It is designed to replace the up-armored Humvee in Afghanistan. The M-ATV will carry up to five personnel: four plus a gunner.

Morrell added that the vehicle has captured the attention of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who previously made it a personal mission to oversee the expedited fielding of the MRAP vehicle in Iraq.

"With so much riding on this program, of course Secretary Gates will be watching it like a hawk in the coming months, just as he did the MRAPs," Morrell said.

Related Articles:
First M-ATVs Deploy to Afghanistan

25 September 2009

Foiled again...

The threat to the United States continues to exist, relatively unabated.  The recent spate of news regarding foiled plots is likely partly intentional.  I would hope that the current administration is reminding our enemies that we will not relax our efforts to eliminate the threat of terrorist attack.  Despite the grim news from Afghanistan, it is likely a good sign as it will force the administration and its allies to get serious about dealing with the nearly ungovernable region of the world.

FBI, Navy Foiled Alleged Terror Plot on Quantico
Fri, 25 Sep 2009 14:50:00 -0500

FBI, Navy Foiled Alleged Terror Plot on Quantico

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2009 - An indictment handed down yesterday in a North Carolina federal court charges three men with plotting to attack Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., with the intent to murder U.S. military personnel.

The men -- two American citizens and a legal U.S. resident from Kosovo – are Daniel Patrick Boyd, 39; his son, Zakariya Boyd, 20; and Kosovo native Hysen Sherifi, 24, according to Justice Department and Marine Corps news releases.

The three allegedly were involved in a plot to procure maps of the base and assemble weapons as a precursor to an attack, the releases say. They also are named with four other men -- including another Boyd son, Dylan, 22 -- in a sealed indictment July 22 for alleged involvement in a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, as well as conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad, the releases say.

Agents from the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Quantico's headquarters' staff collaborated on an investigation that uncovered the alleged plot at the base.

"We have been in close coordination with NCIS and FBI agents and other officials throughout the Boyd investigation," Quantico's base commander Marine Col. Dan Choike said in a Marine Corps news release.

"We have ensured that the safety and protection of our Marines, their families and civilians who call Quantico home, received our first and absolute attention," Choike said. "That attention in all matters continues to be our main focus."

Others indicted in the alleged broader terrorism activities include:

-- Anes Subasic, 33, a naturalized U.S. citizen;

-- Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 22, a U.S. citizen; and

-- Ziyad Yaghi, 21, a U.S. citizen.

All seven men are residents of North Carolina.

The defendants were arrested July 27 at various locations. All are being held without bond.

"These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far-away land, but can grow and fester right here at home," U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said in the Justice Department news release.



16 September 2009

The greatest sacrifice...

The Medal of Honor, MOH, in its current form represents the highest level of sacrifice a citizen can make.  What has always struck me about this award is the simple bravery which was exhibited by a member of the armed forces in the face of overwhelming danger and chaos. 
- CD

Obama to Award Medal of Honor to Soldier
Wed, 16 Sep 2009 11:31:00 -0500

Obama to Award Medal of Honor to Soldier

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2009 - President Barack Obama is scheduled tomorrow night to award the Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti at a White House ceremony.

The ceremony will mark Obama's first award of the nation's highest military honor, and the sixth Medal of Honor awarded since Sept. 11, 2001.

Obama will present the award posthumously to Monti's family. His parents, Paul and Janet Monti, are scheduled to accept the award. He also is survived by a brother, sister and niece.

Monti, of Raynham, Mass., was 30 when he was killed June 21, 2006, in a firefight in Gowardesh, Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. He was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Squadron, 71st Calvary, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, out of Fort Drum, N.Y.

Monti enlisted in March 1993 and attended basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Okla. His military honors include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, five Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, three Good Conduct Medals and three National Defense Service Medals.

He was posthumously promoted to sergeant first class.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to servicemembers who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in military action against an enemy of the United States.

The award for extraordinary merit has been bestowed on 3,447 men and one woman since President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law Dec. 21, 1861. Five servicemembers have received the Medal of Honor -- all posthumously -- for service since 9/11.

Related Sites:
Special Report: Medal of Honor

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08 September 2009

Latest to go...

A long time ago I took up a direct commission in the Navy Reserve.  It was 1997.  The internet boom was in full swing, Clinton was POTUS and it looked like most of the free world would continue to expand and things would chill out. 


That was not to be the case.  The USS COLE (DDG 67) was bombed in Aden harbor, our embassies in Africa were attacked and things just went south from there.  As a consequence, I was shocked (but perhaps not surprised) when the World Trade Center was attacked almost eight years ago. 


At that time I was the CO (commanding officer) of a maintenance unit in Norfolk, Virginia.  A lot of my sailors were recalled to active duty and assigned to security across military facilities around the nation.  What many people fail to remember is that until 2001, almost all military installations were open bases.  That is almost anyone was permitted to drive around on base, with a few exceptions.   I was turned away from Fort Knox when I asked to conduct a spot citizen’s inspection.


I was an officer with NPS (no prior service) at the time.  As part of my community, we were rotated through various schools, training evolutions and assignments UI (under instruction) to build up our credentials and experience enough to make us useful to the Navy.


One of my very good friends, Steve Michaels, is now deploying to Afghanistan.  Steve is a great guy, a competitive marathoner, piano player, Eagle Scout and uber-geek (anyone with a masters in Electrical Engineering qualifies).  He is also dedicated to his beliefs and committed to our nation.


I spent time with Steve in New York at the New York Maritime University’s campus under the Throgg’s Neck Bridge.  It was for a two week course in basic naval engineering.  We were instructed by the saltiest of merchant mariners and billeted aboard the school’s break bulk freighter, the Empire State.   


Steve is an enthusiastic member of our nation’s armed forces.  He stayed the course when a lot of our colleagues fell by the wayside.  Spend some time reading about his experiences at Major FUBAR.