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Face of Defense: Army Helicopter Mechanic Earns Officer Scholarship

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. —
In 2010, the most destructive earthquake in Haiti’s history struck the Caribbean island, killing more than 100,000 people & leaving about 1.5 million others homeless.
]]>Sixteen miles from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake’s epicenter, Army Spc. Carl Denis & his family, natives of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, were among the people suffering in the aftermath.
More than eight years later, he is one of four soldiers in the 7th Infantry Division selected this year to receive a Green to Gold scholarship to be a commissioned officer upon college graduation.[1]
Green to Gold is a two-year program that provides eligible active duty enlisted soldiers an opportunity to complete a baccalaureate degree or a two-year graduate degree & earn a commission as…

Mattis, Qatar’s Defense Minister Discuss Mutual Security Interests

WASHINGTON —
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis welcomed Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah of Qatar to the Pentagon today to reaffirm the strategic security partnership between the United States & Qatar, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said. [1]
]]>In a statement summarizing the meeting between the two defense leaders, White said Mattis & the defense minister discussed mutual security interests, including the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria, support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan, & improvements to Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar.[2]
Gratitude for Support
In welcoming remarks before the meeting, Mattis thanked his counterpart for Qatar’s long-standing support of America’s commitment to regional security, including information sharing & counterterrorism efforts.
“Your nation’s continued generous…

Speed Must Accompany Innovation, Pentagon Official Tells Senate

WASHINGTON —
The United States military has plenty of innovators, but it doesn’t have much time, the new undersecretary of defense for research and engineering told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee today.
Michael D. Griffin told the senators that the speed of innovation will become the differentiating factor. [1]
]]>“In a world where pretty much everyone today has equal access to technology, innovation is important, & it will always be important,” the undersecretary said. “But speed becomes the differentiating factor. How quickly we can translate technology into fielded capability is where we can achieve and maintain our technological edge.
“It is not about speed of discovery, it is about speed of delivery to the field,” he said.
The United States military is still the…

DoD’s Underfunded Maintenance Backlog Exceeds $116 Billion, Official Says

WASHINGTON —
The requested $10.5 billion in military construction and family housing programs in the president’s fiscal year 2019 budget request makes significant progress to recapitalize facilities, but it will not reverse the impacts of six years of sequestration, the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment said today.
“We currently have an underfunded maintenance backlog exceeding $116 billion; 23 percent of the department’s facilities are in poor condition, [and] another 9 percent are in failing condition,” Lucian Niemeyer told the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on readiness.[1]
“My frank assessment [is that] it may be too costly to buy ourselves out of this backlog,” he said. “We must work to remove unneeded capacity to fund higher priorities. As noted in…

Service Members Seeing First Fruits of Army Acquisition Changes

FORT BELVOIR, VA. —
Army Undersecretary Ryan D. McCarthy visited here yesterday to see the results of the service’s new modernization strategy. [1]
Three leaders of the Army’s cross-functional teams accompanied McCarthy. Program Executive Office Soldier sponsored the visit. [2]
]]>All of this is in support of the Defense Department’s priority of building a more lethal force. Much of the equipment that was on display outside the Night Vision Lab is also part of the Close-Combat Lethality Task Force established by Defense Secretary James N. Mattis.
McCarthy said he wanted to meet the scientists, engineers & subject matter experts. “Normally, you are in the Pentagon & you are making decisions based on what’s on a Power Point slide,” he told reporters at the event….

DoD Must Be More Agile in Technology Development, Official Says

WASHINGTON —
The Defense Dept. must embrace a more agile approach to technology development to keep pace with rapidly evolving adversaries, the undersecretary of defense for research & engineering told lawmakers yesterday.
]]>Michael D. Griffin appeared before the House Armed Services Committee for a hearing on promoting DoD’s culture of innovation. He spoke alongside the chairman of the Defense Innovation Board, Eric Schmidt, who is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Google & its parent company, Alphabet Inc.[1][2][3]
Adversaries Present New Challenges
“Our adversaries are presenting us today with a renewed challenge of a sophisticated, evolving threat,” Griffin said. “We are in turn preparing to meet that challenge & to restore the technical overmatch of the United States armed forces…

Air Force Inspectors Comb Aircraft for Potential Problems

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. —
Gloved hands pull a vital aircraft component from glowing, toxic pools of chemically laced liquid designed to reveal otherwise unseen dangers.
]]>A nondestructive inspection airman searches for cracks capable of taking down an aircraft by analyzing the suspect piece with eyes specially trained for the job.
Airmen from the 19th Maintenance Squadron’s nondestructive inspection shop here perform aircraft integrity checks at set intervals & upon request, using liquids & a variety of other methods to assist them in searching for cracks in aircraft parts and other imperfections.[1]
“NDI’s mission is to test aircraft and aircraft parts for integrity purposes & structural health,” said Air Force Airman 1st Class Tye Braden, the maintenance squadron’s nondestructive inspection…

ISIS Contained in Syria, Changing Tactics, OIR Spokesman Says

WASHINGTON —
Iraqi security forces & Syrian Democratic Forces continue to contain Islamic State of Iraq & Syria fighters in areas of the middle Euphrates River valley, an Operation Inherent Resolve[1] spokesman said yesterday.
]]>Army Col. Ryan Dillon briefed reporters at the Pentagon from Baghdad & said that SDF forces, with coalition support, “continue to look for opportunities to exploit ISIS weaknesses & conduct strikes & attacks against these remaining terrorists.”
Syrian forces are continuing to secure areas they have liberated, especially in & around Raqqa, which was the capital of the self-proclaimed ISIS caliphate. Syrian internal security forces are removing thousands of improvised explosive devices & weapons caches the terror group planted, Dillon said.
Some Territory Under ISIS Control
ISIS does continue…

Service Dog Lends War Veterans a Helping Paw

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. —
What if you are screaming for help, but no one can hear you? What if your life starts to crumble? Do you know where to turn or what options are available to Veteran & service members?
]]>That is exactly how retired Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brandon Jones felt as he reached a breaking point in his military career & decided it was time to reach out to military agencies to get the help he desperately needed.
Jones reminisced on his childhood days growing up in Fayetteville, Georgia, & his love for airplanes.
“My dad would take me to the store & ask what I wanted for my birthday,” Jones said. “I would always pick an airplane….

Mattis Reaffirms U.S. Albanian Defense Relationship

WASHINGTON —
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis welcomed Albanian Defense Minister Olta Xhacka to the Pentagon today to reaffirm the strong defense relationship between the United States & Albania, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White[1] said.
]]>Significant Contributions
In a statement summarizing the meeting between the two defense leaders, White said Mattis praised the significant contributions Albania has made to global and coalition operations, including nearly 300 personnel serving in four major NATO[2] operations.
“He thanked Minister Xhacka for Albania’s strong leadership in the Western Balkans,” White said, “and for its efforts to counter Russian malign influence in the region.”
Mattis praised Albania’s recent increase in defense spending & its plan to meet the pledge alliance nations made at NATO’s 2014 summit in…

Bureau Chief Details National Guard’s Contributions in Senate Hearing

WASHINGTON —
In support of the National Defense Strategy, the National Guard’s focus remains on the war fight, defending & securing the homeland, & building enduring partnerships, the chief of the National Guard Bureau said on Capitol Hill today. [1][2]
]]>“The Guard is tremendously appreciative for this committee’s support in enabling us to accomplish these missions,” Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel said during a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on defense.
On any given day, 20,000 men & women of the National Guard work seamlessly with the Army & Air Force as part of the joint force protecting the nation’s interests around the worldwide, he said. With about 850,000 deployments since 9/11, Guard soldiers & airmen conduct complex operations…

Iran Using Yemen as ‘Test Bed’ for Malign Activities, DoD Official Says

WASHINGTON —
Iran is exploiting the situation in Yemen, arming opponents of the internationally recognized government and using the country as a “test bed” for malign activities, a top Defense Department official told lawmakers today.
The United States, as Defense Secretary James N. Mattis has said, supports efforts for a United Nations-brokered settlement to the conflict, Robert S. Karem[1], assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy in Yemen.
]]>The conflict, which began more than three years ago, threatens regional security & U.S. national security interests, which include the flow of commerce in the Red Sea, he said.
“Yemen has become a test bed for Iran’s malign activities,” he said, adding that…

Face of Defense: Guard Soldier Earns ‘Mrs. Texas Galaxy’ Title

AUSTIN, Texas —
The southernmost tip of Texas falls into what is colloquially known as “The Valley.” No one really knows why it’s called this, because the actual Rio Grande Valley consists of just Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy & Starr counties and the nearest mountains are hundreds of miles away.
]]>The land is flat, tropical and the home of a predominantly Hispanic population.
It was there, in what she calls the “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” town of Premont, that Texas Army National Guard Staff Sgt. San Juanita Escobar took the first steps that would both change her life & the lives of hundreds of young women in Texas & around the world.[1]
These first steps consisted of beauty pageants in the nearby & even smaller town…

Guard Bureau Chief: 965 Guard Troops Deployed To U.S.-Mexico Border

WASHINGTON —
There are 965 National Guard troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border, the chief of the National Guard Bureau told a Senate panel today. [1]
]]>Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel spoke at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on defense.
On April 4, President Donald J. Trump signed a proclamation directing the Defense Dept. to assist the Homeland Security Dept. by providing security on the border, Lengyel said. The Defense Department authorized use of the National Guard to assist U.S. Customs & Border Protection, he told the Senate panel, noting that Defense Secretary James N. Mattis authorized up to 4,000 troops through Sept. 30 in the ongoing effort.[2]
National Guard troops were deployed April 6, Lengyel said, with…

Air Force Squadron Strengthens International Bonds

ABDULLAH AL-MUBARAK AIR BASE, Kuwait —
Over the past few months, the 387th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron has increased joint security operations through host nation cooperation here, where a large-scale, temporary cargo facility is under construction.
]]>U.S. forces are working with their Kuwaiti counterparts to move aerial port operations to Cargo City, a previously undeveloped area adjacent to an available ramp at the Kuwait International Airport. 
Since both the Kuwaiti air force & U.S. military coalition are temporarily located there until the new West Al-Mubarak Air Base is complete, it provides a strategic opportunity to work closely with host nation counterparts while implementing essential changes to security operations and procedures. 
Air Force Lt. Col. Vanessa Schoon, the 387th ESFS commander, said the…

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