Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Navy Weeds Out Slackers,Extra Personnel

We have a retention problem,says Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West,the service's senior non-commissioned officer:a lot of people want to stay,and that's good.In response,however,the U.S. Navy has instituted a program called Perform to Serve,or PTS.It's a way for the service to scrutinize its junior personnel at reenlistment time,weeding out the underperformers and reassigning others in overstaffed fields.With so many sailors seeking to reenlist,as MCPON West points out,the Navy can not only afford to be choosy;it has to be.
Indeed,MCPON West observes,sailors have to fight to stay in the service their whole careers.Frankly,Perform to Serve really begins the moment you set foot in that command.At 15 months from separation,sailors should already have a package to submit.Beyond 15 months,opportunities could be lost.It's that sailor's responsibility to see that the package is ready.And PTS applications have to be submitted every month until a decision is rendered.
Nonetheless,it appears that most of those who make a good effort have a more than decent chance of staying in the service and their chosen specialty.They just can't take it for granted anymore.In 2008,about 90% of those wishing to reenlist got to stay in their rating,or Navy job.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Marine General Supports RQ-4A Global Hawk

General James E.Cartwright,USMC,Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,has expressed full support for the Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial System despite a cost overrun.The Joint Requirements Oversight Council has reaffirmed the 2009 requirements and key performance parameters for the Northrop-Grumman product.
General Cartwright described the Global Hawk as essential to national security.The big reconnaissance drone has exceeded its cost estimate by more than 25%,which triggers a mandatory review and recertification process.The cost overrun is attributed to the Pentagon's halving of its purchase from 44 to 22 aircraft,as well as sourcing and logistics issues.
The Global Hawk is flying missions even now over Iraq and Afghanistan,plus other areas of interest.It is particularly adept at ground surveillance because of its advanced radar technology.The 10 aircraft are operated by the U.S. Air Force's 12th Reconnaissance Squadron.Providing high altitude,long endurance ISR capability,it is slated to replace the manned U-2 spy plane.
The U.S. Navy fields its own version of the RQ-4A,called the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator(BAMS-D).The RQ-4A sensor suite has been optimized for maritime surveillance operations by integrating maritime search and movement indicator modes into it.
Northrop Grumman(NOC)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Iraq War:Considerable Resistance Still Met

The Iraq War,now known as Operation New Dawn,continues as U.S. troops are still subjected to substantial enemy fire,particularly in the south of the country.There,Shiite militia groups roam about,firing rockets,mortars,small arms and grenades at the Americans,as well as placing armor-piercing IEDs along U.S. supply routes from Kuwait.
Around 46,000 U.S. forces remain in Iraq.The Iraqi government is currently deliberating on whether to request further U.S. military help beyond the withdrawal deadline of 31 December.In the north,Sunni militants aligned with al-Qaida have been the problem.The Shiite militants in the south are believed to be Iranian-supported.
Only a small number of U.S. maritime forces remain alongside U.S. Army units in Iraq,mostly,if not entirely,as individual augmentees assigned to the advise,train and assist mission.
The Iraq War began in 2003,and at its peak in 2007,about 170,000 U.S. troops were in country.Around 4500 American service members have died in the war.In April 2011 alone,11 were killed in Iraq,five of them during military operations and six in non-combat incidents.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Intellectual Marine To Head CENTCOM

Marine Lieutenant General John Allen has been chosen to replace General David Petraeus as commander,U.S. Central Command.General Petraeus is slated to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency.Lt.Gen.Allen is currently deputy commander of CENTCOM.As commander,he will lead coalition forces in the Afghan War.
Lt.Gen.Allen taught political science at the U.S. Naval Academy.He earned three master's degrees himself.In 2006,the general became a deputy commander in Anbar province,Iraq,and distinguished himself as a skilled political operative there.He persuaded Sunni Muslim leaders in the region to reject al Qaida in Iraq and align themselves with the Iraqi government.
Described as quiet and unassuming,Lt.Gen.Allen cultivated relations with the tribes and sheikhs of Iraq,based on his study of the nation's history.He is regarded as one of the architects of their tribal movement called the Awakening,which transformed Anbar province from tempest to tranquility,and into a template for other Iraqi provinces.
As deputy commander of CENTCOM,the general has become respected in the region,and has been deeply involved in planning and executing Afghan War strategy,according to President Barack Obama,who nominated him for the commander's post recently.Lt.Gen.Allen doesn't believe the war can be won without diplomacy such as he practiced earlier in Iraq.