Posts Tagged ‘USN’

UAVs Help Fight Pirates

February 3, 2009

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The guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) brings an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capability to Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, which enhances the counterpiracy task force’s effectiveness.

This UAV supports the CTF 151 counterpiracy mission by providing maritime surveillance and cueing on suspicious activity.

“This is a significant step forward and is reflective of the increased use of UAVs across the spectrum of military operations,” said Cmdr. Steve Murphy, Mahan’s commanding officer.

The unique attributes of a UAV – namely the ability to stay airborne for long periods and cover hundreds of square miles of ocean during the course of one mission, all the while sending imagery in real time back to Mahan and other assets in the task force – provide a significant tactical advantage.

“It can fly day or night in a covert or overt posture, making it much harder for pirates to hide” said Murphy.
“It is also important to note that the images and information obtained [by the UAV] at sea is shared with our coalition partners, thereby improving overall mission effectiveness and strengthening key partnerships between navies.”

As part of Combined Task Force 151 Mahan is coordinating and deconflicting counterpiracy efforts with approximately 14 nations also operating in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

Taken in context with other aircraft and ships operating in the area, the UAV is considered by Murphy and other leaders in the task force as a force multiplier. The information the UAV generates also helps CTF 151’s leadership determine where to position all available units.

“It provides high quality imagery in real time, speeding decision making and is a significant advantage in stopping piracy on the high seas,” said Murphy. “It is versatile and very responsive, able to change operating areas and change missions in mid-flight.”

Mahan has integrated the UAV into every mission it has conducted while on deployment, gathering valuable information on maritime traffic patterns and the patterns of those suspected to be involved in illicit activity.

According to Murphy, it also helps protect the ship and crew, providing extended surveillance and early indications of potential threats.

“[The UAV] has great significance as a developing effort to apply 21st century technology to the 21st century challenges that our Navy faces.”

The civilian and Sailor team operating the unmanned aerial vehicle on Mahan is documenting lessons learned during this mission and throughout the ship’s deployment. This information is expected to contribute to the U.S. Navy’s plans for the future of UAVs at sea.

(NNS)

US 2nd Fleet Tests New Command and Control Concept

February 1, 2009

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The commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet embarked USS Bataan (LHD 5), the designated 2nd Fleet flagship, Jan. 26 to test command and control of the Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) during the CSG’s final exercise before deployment.

Vice Adm. Mel William Jr. and his staff embarked Bataan which was pierside at Norfolk Naval Base.

During the previous week, 2nd Fleet information technology specialists set up a modular command and control system, the 2nd Fleet demonstrator (2FD), aboard Bataan to facilitate communications and collaboration with the Ike CSG and the 2nd Fleet Maritime Headquarters.

The 2FD is a distributed deployable command element which was jointly developed by Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet and the deployable joint command and control joint program office. The 2FD provides the afloat joint task force commander a command and control capability at the operational level of war that is able to rapidly deploy afloat.

Under normal circumstances, without this DDCE type capability, it could take weeks to establish the structure and programs necessary for a flag staff to “set up shop” aboard a ship, according to Capt. Jeff Link, 2nd Fleet’s director for C4I, Networks and Information Assurance.

“The 2FD allows the joint task force commander and his staff to embark a designated flagship and have mobile command and control capabilities that utilize systems identical to his maritime headquarters with only four days for notification and equipment installation.”

The 2nd Fleet commander used the Eisenhower Composite Unit Training Exercise (COMPTUEX) as an opportunity to reach out to the CSG via video teleconference (VTC). During the VTC, Williams was briefed by the Ike CSG commander and his warfare commanders on the exercise scenario and their actions against the notional opposing force.

“As a matter of routine, we will endeavor to include the fleet commander and staff’s operational level of war perspective with strike group’s tactical level of war training events,” Williams said.

(NNS)

US Navy, Partners Deter Pirate Attacks

January 31, 2009

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The presence of partner nations and the newly formed task force to reduce the number of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden seem to be working, according to the commander of Combined Task Force 151.

“I think the combination of the coalition working together [with] the maritime community has decreased the pirate activity over the last couple of months,” Navy Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, also the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 2, told bloggers and online journalists during a Defense Department bloggers’ roundtable Jan. 29.

The task force was formed earlier this month and comprises three ships — USS San Antonio (LPD 17), USS Mahan (DDG 72) and HMS Portland (F 79) — that are collaborating with other nations to deter future pirate attacks.

While a number of factors — even the weather — can impact the number of attacks, McKnight gave credit to the European Union and the nations involved in anti-piracy operations, as well as the task force, with helping to decrease attacks since early December.

“Some things have changed that have helped us in this case to combat piracy,” McKnight said. “The United Nations has come out with several resolutions … that give us more authority to combat piracy.”

U.N. Resolution 1846, approved by the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 2, authorizes states and regional organizations cooperating with the Somali transitional government to enter Somalia’s territorial waters and use “all necessary means” to combat piracy. Two weeks later, U.N. Resolution 1851 was approved, and calls for those states and organizations to “actively participate in defeating piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, and through seizure and disposition of boats and arms used in the commission of those crimes.”

The other recent change that has assisted in combating piracy is the maritime community itself, McKnight said.

“We have tried very hard to say to the maritime community, there are just not enough Navy ships out there to cover 1.1 million square miles,” he said.

McKnight added that creating a safe corridor allows the nations involved in combating piracy to offer protection to the maritime vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden.

In standing up Combined Task Force 151, McKnight said, he hopes to “make it unpleasant to be in the pirate business.”

“Right now, we have about 14 nations out here with about 20 ships,” he said. “We’ve had some encouraging signs from other ships and other nations to join the task force. I expect that by the spring we will have quite a few ships joining.”

McKnight said these and other nations involved and those interested in participating in the future all share the same goal of “free commerce.”

“We have to make sure that we have free commerce throughout the open seas and throughout the world,” said McKnight.

Jennifer Cragg (NNS)

Mine Warfare ‘Shifts Colors’ to Southern California

December 28, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009

Naval Calendar 2009

Our Naval Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US Navy and allied naval forces in action. Buy the Naval Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

The Navy’s mine warfare community is “shifting colors” from Texas to Southern California. The mine warfare ships, squadrons and support units will begin to leave prior to the end of this fiscal year 2009.

Sailors negotiating for orders in support of mine warfare (MIW) should know that the mine warfare community is planning to move from Ingleside, Texas, to Southern California.

Naval Station Ingleside has been the Center of Excellence for Mine Warfare since the base opened in 1992.

“Sailors know that there is a fleet concentration area here, specifically for surface mine warfare,” said Chief Navy Counselor Malcolm T. Schneider, Navy counselor for the mine warfare community.

“Many Sailors who take orders here are either from Texas, want to retire here or know that because there is a surface mine warfare fleet concentration here, they can go from sea duty or shore duty and back without moving their families,” said Ingleside’s Senior Enlisted Leader Senior Chief Dewite Wehrman.

However, Naval Station Ingleside is slated to close in September 2010, based on a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure decision.

“The mine warfare community is shifting homeports beginning Spring 2009,” added Schneider, an 18-year Navy veteran who is a native of Cleveland.

With that shift, goes the fleet concentration center. The mine countermeasures ships, along with dedicated personnel, equipment and support will move to the San Diego area.

“As the transition of the ships and staffs take place, supporting systems such as CMS/ID (career management system/identification), will reflect the changes,” Schneider said. “Sailors within their projected rotation date window now, who are negotiating for orders to any mine countermeasures (MCM) crews or ships, are headed to Southern California, not Texas.”

In addition to the MCM ships moving, other mine warfare commands moving to the West Coast include MCM Crews, MCM Class Squadron, MCM Squadron 1, MCM Squadron 3, Mobile Mine Assembly Group, and Mobile Mine Assembly Unit 15.

“Having realistic expectations and maintaining a positive outlook for the impending move to San Diego is the best thing that Sailors can do,” said Lt. Cmdr. Tracey Mays, who manages Sea Special Programs for Navy Personnel Command. “As many of the Sailors in this area have spent the majority of their careers in Texas and with the current economic situation, many will be faced with various challenges that will require tough decisions. As such, command leadership is vital to ensuring the smoothest transition possible for these Sailors.”

Sailors interested in the exceptional opportunities within the mine warfare community, should speak with a detailer or command career counselor.

Fifi Kieschnick (NNS)

Transfer of Navy Logistics Functions will Enhance Warfighter Support

December 28, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009

Naval Calendar 2009

Our Naval Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US Navy and allied naval forces in action. Buy the Naval Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

More than 200 Navy positions at Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FSIC) San Diego’s Fleet Readiness Center (FRC) Southwest detachment will transfer in place to the Defense Logistics Agency North Island, Calif., when it activates Feb. 15, 2009.

This action is the result of a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decision to transfer all supply, storage and distribution (SS&D)functions at service-run maintenance depots, industrial sites and shipyards to DLA to optimize military readiness.

DLA North Island will continue to provide supply, storage and distribution support to maintenance activities on base.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Andy Busch, commander, Defense Supply Center Richmond (DSCR); Bill Bickert, deputy commander, Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers (COMFISC); and Capt. Glenn Robillard, commanding officer of FISC San Diego, met with the detachment’s work force and supervisors Nov. 17. Robillard described the process in place to accomplish the transition.

“This is a well thought-out process. The planning time is over; now it’s execution time. We need to look at how to make this happen. The purpose [of today’s meeting] is to get your questions answered. DLA is ready; FRC Southwest is ready, and the Navy is ready,” Robillard said.

Busch said the BRAC transfer is aimed at achieving inventory efficiencies and enhancing warfighter support. He said BRAC is not just something DLA was told to do; it’s public law.

“As a result of the BRAC-related addition of 12 locations across the country, the total DSCR workforce will add up to nearly 4,500 people. DSCR is leading the way in DLA, and I’m committed to a smooth transition,” said Busch.

“There is no mandate to change or do a manpower reduction; I’m looking for inventory efficiencies to achieve the savings we need to make and to break down the barriers between wholesale and retail,” he said.

Bickert told the group that the big benefit of the SS&D transfer to DLA will come from inventory savings.

We’re watching Cherry Point and Jacksonville and [those transfers] have gone very, very smoothly. This is a testimony to Brigadier General Busch’s leadership,” Bickert said.

He encouraged the FISC employees to embrace the changes ahead.

“We hate to lose mission work, but we think it’s going to benefit DoD in the long run. I encourage you to be excited about this,” Bickert said. “You’re the leading edge of supply chain management.”

DLA and the Navy are working together to smooth the transition for realigned employees, while ensuring continuity of service to warfighters. Similar transfers have already taken place at Navy FRCs at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., in August and at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., in October.

COMFISCS provides an array of integrated global logistics and contracting services to Navy and joint operational units across all warfare enterprises. COMFISCS is responsible for facilitating best business practices and efficiencies across the seven FISCs located in San Diego; Norfolk; Jacksonville, Fla.; Yokosuka, Japan; Pearl Harbor; Bremerton (Puget Sound), Wash.; and Sigonella, Italy; and for optimizing the performance of base supply functions and standardizing levels of service across 13 regions and 79 Navy installations.

COMFISCS comprises more than 7,500 military and civilian logistics professionals, operating as a single cohesive team providing global logistics services from nearly 135 locations worldwide.

A component of the Naval Supply Systems Command, headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pa., COMFISCS is part of a worldwide logistics network of more than 25,000 military and civilian personnel providing “One-Touch Supply.”

(NNS)

Joint Region Marianas to Stand Up at Andersen AFB, Guam

December 27, 2008
Glacial Guam

Glacial Guam

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OR

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The Joint Region Marianas will stand up in January as Andersen Air Force Base officials will relocate installation management functions to the commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas located on Guam.

This was a result of almost four years of planning to implement this change to the law as a result of Base Realignment and Closure Commission legislation in 2005.

To address concerns from base members, Andersen AFB leaders held two town hall meetings Nov. 21 to discuss issues base appropriated funded employees may face when installation management oversight and funding transfers to the Navy. Comparable meetings for nonappropriated fund employees are scheduled for Dec. 5.

The meeting was an interactive forum for Brig. Gen. Philip M. Ruhlman, the 36th Wing commander, to outline some of the details. During the briefing, the general explained the Joint Region Marianas structure and said the transition would be as transparent and uneventful as possible. While the majority of Andersen AFB civilian employees will become Navy employees, they will work in the same place, doing the same thing, for the same organization and boss. He also explained how he will continue to serve as both mission and installation commander for Andersen AFB, while acquiring a third “hat” as deputy commander of Joint Region Marianas.

General Ruhlman described the resources that would be transferred to the Navy. He said 49 installation support functions will move from Air Force to Navy running the gamut from fire protection and emergency services to children and youth programs.

During the meeting, civilian employees voiced a variety of concerns to include loss of jobs, retention of pay and seniority and if they had to physically move to Navy.

While the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s official guidance allows for reduction in forces and other force shaping measures, their unofficial stance has been to encourage joint bases to minimize or avoid these if possible, according to officials in the Andersen AFB Development Office. At present, there are no plans to use these measures as Andersen AFB stands up Joint Region Marianas. There will be no change in pay upon transfer to Navy.

Employees will transfer in their current position and be paid at their current pay grade and salary. Seniority relative to other employees will be determined after the transfer, and will depend on whether the employee remains in the existing organization or is part of a merged function.

Furthermore, as it stands today, no appropriated fund employees will have to move to a new duty location as a result of Joint Region Marianas implementation.

Andersen AFB officials will begin to transfer installation management functions to the Navy on Jan. 31, 2009, and is required to complete the process by Oct. 1, 2009. However, base officials expect the impact of this to be relatively minor due to the unique structure of Joint Region Marianas, whereby Andersen AFB retains its Air Force commanding officer and identity.
Jamie LeSard (AFNS)

Is a 325 Ship Navy Optimal?

December 20, 2008

The Washington-based think tank  Center for National Policy recommends that the Navy should grow its fleet to 325 ships by 2025 — 12 more than the Navy has planned — and pay for the increase by moving to lower-cost platforms and cutting unnecessary requirements like the top speed on the new Littoral Combat Ship. The study is titled: Agility Across the Spectrum: A Future Force Blueprint. Read the full report

USS Ohio Completes First 15 Month Deployment as SSGN

December 14, 2008

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USS Ohio (SSGN 726), the first operational Trident guided-missile submarine, pulled into Naval Station Pearl Harbor Dec. 8, before returning to its homeport of Bangor, Wash., from its maiden deployment.

“It’s a great opportunity to be in Hawaii,” said USS Ohio Commanding Officer Capt. Dennis Carpenter. “Our ship has been deployed for 15 months, and for a lot of our guys it’s their first time here. We’re also excited some of the families were able to come out and welcome their guys home in paradise before we actually have to go home to winter.”

The submarine departed Naval Base Kitsap, Oct. 14, 2007, for its maiden deployment, which began a month ahead of schedule. Claiming many firsts, Ohio was the first Trident guided-missile submarine to complete an equator and prime meridian crossing, the first to achieve SEAL/diver dry deck shelter certification, the first to complete three highly-successful national tasking missions and the first to earn two Navy Expeditionary Medals.

“It’s unprecedented,” Carpenter continued. “To get out there and conduct mission after mission and demonstrate to our allies our capabilities; it’s extraordinary.”

Ohio visited Busan, Republic of Korea; Subic Bay, Philippines; Yokosuka, Japan and Guam, where the submarine conducted crew exchanges between the Blue and Gold crews, which allowed the submarine to remain on station in support of national tasking. During her visit to Busan, Ohio accomplished another submarine first: the ship hosted a joint special operations task force during Exercise Key Resolve/Foal Eagle to demonstrate the joint command and control capability of the new SSGN platform.

“That’s the great thing about USS Ohio; we can go anywhere in the world in a relatively short period of time,” Carpenter said. “We’ve put a lot of miles on our submarine.”

Another memorable event during Ohio’s maiden deployment was the burial at sea of a veteran of World War II. Ohio crew member Machinist’s Mate 1st Class (SS) Jason Witty spread the ashes of his grandfather, Eugene Stanley Morgan, in the Philippine Sea, honoring Morgan’s request to be buried with his shipmates of the World War II cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35). Morgan was one of 316 survivors of the sinking of the cruiser on July 30, 1945.

Ohio, the first Trident submarine ever built, returned to the fleet February 2006 after a $250 million, year-long refueling and a $750 million, two-year conversion from a ballistic missile submarine. With this conversion, Ohio and the subsequent convert submarines provide the fleet with the ability to quickly embark and deploy to provide command and control functions for special operations forces and a large volume strike platform in its operating theater.

Cynthia Clark (NNS)

Nations Gather to Prep for Black Sea Interoperability Exercise

December 14, 2008

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OR

Find this and other exciting images on tee-shirts, caps, and other casual clothing, as well as on beer steins, mousepads, clocks, and dozens of other office and gift items. Visit The Military Chest today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

Commander, Carrier Strike Group 12, hosted representatives of 11 nations Dec. 2-4 for the initial planning conference for the 37th annual Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel.

BALTOPS 2009 will take place in the Baltic Sea June 8-19, 2009 and is the largest international exercise organized in the Baltic.

The purpose of BALTOPS is to promote mutual understanding and maritime interoperability between U.S. Navy, NATO and Partnership for Peace (PFP) participants through a series of multilateral training exercises. Carrier Strike Group 12 is assigned as the primary planning, coordination and execution command for the exercise.

For the 2009 BALTOPS exercise, 12 countries are scheduled to participate: Estonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“The purpose of BALTOPS is to bring all of the nations together in one exercise,” said Cmdr. J.G. Olaf Albrecht, the head of the delegation from the German Navy Fleet Headquarters. “We learn how other navies work and how to live together in the Baltic Sea, especially the nations which are former Soviet nations such as Lithuania and Latvia. It’s a very educational experience.”

The initial planning conference is only one step in the preparation for a successful BALTOPS.

“We have more planning conferences left; the main planning conference will be hosted in Germany,” said Lt. Sam Bethune, Carrier Strike Group 12 exercise lead planner for BALTOPS. “And the final planning conference will be hosted by Poland. Not only are these nations helping to plan the exercise, but they’re hosting our conferences so we can learn a little bit about their country and culture as we do the planning.”

BALTOPS is an important experience because it improves interoperability among the participating nations and creates forces that are able to easily integrate into multinational, multiwarfare operations.

“It’s a great exercise and a great experience for everybody who will take part because it’s unique,” said Albrecht. “Normally, we don’t train with the United States, so this is the only time we have training with Americans inside the Baltic. It’s a very important thing.”

Through the dedication and the hard work of everyone involved, Bethune hopes this upcoming BALTOPS will be as successful as the previous 36 BALTOPS.

“We had great participation at this conference,” said Bethune. “We hope for even better participation at our next conference in Germany. We accomplished all of our goals, so we’re moving ahead in pretty good shape. It was a very successful event, and having it here in downtown Norfolk was a treat.”

Clark Meredith (NNS)

Hampton Roads Boaters Ignore Naval Vessel Protection Zone

December 13, 2008
Naval Calendar 2009
Naval Calendar 2009

Our Naval Calendar 2009 features 13 images of US Navy and allied naval forces in action. Buy the Naval Calendar 2009 exclusively at the PatriArt Gallery for only $ 19.99. Worldwide delivery available.

The Coast Guard is encouraging boaters in the Hampton Roads area to familiarize themselves with the federal regulations governing the security zone surrounding all naval vessels more than 100 feet in length.

Recently boaters have been approaching naval vessels too closely within the Port of Hampton Roads. Protecting naval vessels from sabotage and terrorist acts is one of the country’s and the Coast Guard’s highest priorities.  For this reason, Congress mandated a 500-yard Naval Vessel Protection Zone to be established around all U.S. naval vessels more than 100 feet in length.

When within 500 yards of a naval vessel, all boaters, both commercial and recreational, shall operate at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course.  In addition, boaters must comply with all direction given by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel inside the 500-yard zone.  No vessel or person may approach within 100 yards of the naval vessel unless authorized by the Coast Guard or the naval vessel.
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