Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"One significant thing that we've seen, up until September of 2007, there were 23 SPSS events that we estimated in a 6-1/2-year

period leading up to September of 2007,but those numbers ballooned in fiscal year '08. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, we went from, as I said, 23 total estimated events in the past 6-1/2 years to 62 total events in only the first three quarters of this fiscal year." U.S.Coast Guard Commander Cameron Naron, Deputy Chief, Coast Guard Office of Law Enforcement told us today on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable.

Cmdr. Naron spoke to us about the increasing number of self-propelled semi-submersibles discovered during drug interdiction efforts.

On the call with us today was Eagle 1 from EagleSpeak and David Axe of War is Boring.

"I'd also like to express our profound respect for the 2,218 Retired Reserve soldiers who, since 9/11, have volunteered to come back to active duty."

U.S. Army Col. Wanda Good, Commander of the St. Louis, Mo. branch of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command said on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable. "Three-hundred and eighty-four of them served in Iraq, and 122 of them have served in Afghanistan."

Col. Good discussed the process for mobilizing Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) soldiers and the return of volunteers from the Retired Reserve program. “Most soldiers will serve three or more years on active duty and then transfer to reserves,” Good said. “Every IRR soldier knows he has not been discharged from the military. He knows he’s been released from the active component. He also knows that he’s still in the reserves and that he could be mobilized out of this reserve.”

On the call with us was Jonas Hogg of The Ball Gunner.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

“We work very hard to develop the (Afghan) National Army Air Corps to get them into the current fight,” said Maj. Gen. Jay Lindell,

commander of Combined Air Power Transition Force. Lindell, who has been in Afghanistan for 13 months leading a joint team of 170 military, civilian and contractor personnel to initiate an air corps for the Afghan National Army, spoke with bloggers and online journalists during a DoD Live Bloggers Roundtable, Sept. 23.

“Our goal is to develop this air corps to be fully independent and fully operational and capable – linked to security requirements of Afghanistan,”
said Lindell.

Joining us on the call were Christoper Radin, Longwarjournal.com; and Sharon Weinberger, blog.wired.com/defense/.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Marines Host ‘Shura’ to Address Afghan Needs

HELMAND PROVINCE, Forward Operating Base Sangin, Afghanistan – At a patrol base near the Sangin District Center here, a group of Marines joined a “shura,” or meeting, held by local village leaders, Sept. 3. By participating in the shura, which is similar to a town hall meeting, the Marines can determine what the villagers’ need and identify the best ways to improve quality of life for local residents.

Maj. Mark DeVito, team leader, 3rd Civil Affairs Group, TF 2/7, talks to local village leaders at Patrol Base Nabi during a shura held Sept. 3. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Steve Cushman)

Since deploying here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, has focused its efforts on bringing peace and prosperity to the Afghan people. Organizing and working with local Afghans on various civil military operations projects is one of many tools used by civil affairs Marines to strengthen relations with local residents.

“The people think highly of the Afghan National Army; they want to support the government, and they want the Taliban out,” said Maj. Mark DeVito, team leader, 3rd Civil Affairs Group, TF 2/7. “As a community, they need to determine what affects the most people. They sometimes have a hard time working on the prioritization for the projects they want completed. Their biggest concerns are improvements to irrigation and the renovation of several mosques.”

While the primary focus of the shura was to meet with Afghan leaders and adult males in the community, civil affairs Marines are also engaging young adult men in separate shuras. CAG Marines have found that trying to influence the young men is important because they feel they are more likely to be negatively influenced by the Taliban.

“We had around 20 young adults show up for the first teenage shura. One of the biggest things they all wanted was jobs. They were all willing to work,” said Cpl. Eric E. Cuevas, a civil affairs NCO (noncommissioned officer).

“When we asked them what they needed to benefit their community, they responded by saying a mosque. No matter how we tried to get around it, they kept saying they wanted more mosques,” Cuevas explained. “They also said they needed a water pump, because they haven’t had power for almost a month. We asked what other things they wanted, and they said they wanted a school.”

Helping the Afghans rebuild their schools is one of the Marines’ top initiatives, as education is very important to the local people. The parents all seem to understand the importance of education, and they want their children to go to school. Likewise, the teens and younger children have also expressed a desire to return to school.

Article by Cpl. Steve Cushman, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division

“We’re going to be moving from (Web) 1.0 to 1.2 to 2.0 to 2.5, and … the challenge and the problem is we shouldn’t take the status quo

as an acceptable position,” Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Thad W. Allen told bloggers and online journalists during a DoD Live Bloggers Roundtable, Sept. 22.

Adm. Allen discussed plans to adopt social-media practices to modernize the Coast Guard and make the organization more transparent, both internally and to the public. “We need to keep improving wherever we can, whether it’s my presence inside or outside the Coast Guard, how we deal with the American public, but more importantly, how we deal with the folks in the Coast Guard.”

Joining us on the call were Jim Dolbow, an Unofficial Coast Guard Blog; Eagle1, www.eaglespeak.blogspot.com; Pentagon Channel; David Axe, www.warisboring.com; Marc Danziger, www.armedliberal.com; Peter Stinson, www.cgblog.com; Daren Lewis, an Unofficial Coast Guard Blog; and Navy Times.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"We're charged with coordinating the potential federal response in the land domain for any domestic operations or disasters, to include CBRNE --

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosive response operations," Col. Lou Vogler, Chief of Future Operations, U.S. Army North explained to us today on the Army Bloggers Roundtable. U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel James Shores, Chief of Plans for Joint Task Force - Civil Support joined Col. Vogler to discuss the Vibrant Response exercise and the Consequence Management Response Force and the training efforts to mitigate a CBRNE incident in the U.S.

On the call with us today was Terri from A Soldier's Mind and Chuck Simmins of America's North Shore Journal.

"There were 35 attacks a week a year ago; now there are two. Sometimes less ....

and they're pretty ineffective. That's because of the increase in the capabilities of the Iraq Security Forces," Col. Dominic Caraccilo told us today on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable. Col. Caraccilo is the Commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division currently assigned to Mult-National Division-Center.

On the call with us today were Andrew Lubin of Get the Gouge, Grim from Blackfive, John Nagl with the Center for a New American Security, and Claire Russo from the Institute for the Study of War.

Read this:

From Steeljaw Scibe.

Friday, September 5, 2008

“It’s been a busy week for us here at Coast Guard Atlantic, but we’ve got some great people,”

said Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, Commander, Atlantic Area, U.S. Coast Guard on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable today. Vice Adm. Papp talked with us about the U.S. Coast Guard's planning and preparedness for the multiple storms lining up across the Atlantic during this hurricane season.

Joining us today was Peter Stinson and Jim Dolbow with An Unofficial Coast Guard Blog, Lauren King of the Virginia Pilot, and Jennifer Hlad from jdnews.com.

"The data we collect increases the accuracy of the forecast by 30% for the National Hurricane Center. At a cost of approximately a million

dollars per mile of coastline to evacuate ... (our mission) saves millions of dollars with every flight that we fly," Maj. Chad Gibson, Chief, Public Affairs, said of the work of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron "Hurricane Hunters" of the 403rd Wing of the U.S. Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Maj. Gibson and Lt. Col. Jon Talbot, Chief, Aerial Reconnaissance Weather Officer, joined us today for a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable.

Joining us today for the call was Grim from Blackfive, Jennifer Hlad of jdnews.com, and Colin Clark of DoD Buzz.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"I am very impressed with the professionalism and the willingness of the Iraqi army to out there and fight and go after the insurgents,

smugglers or other special groups out there. I am very surprised at the proficiency and the sacrifice that the Iraqi security forces are making," said Col. Philip F. Battaglia, Commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the Long Knife Brigade, based out of Fort Hood, Texas, during a DoD Bloggers Roundtable Sept. 3.

Col. Battaglia spoke with bloggers about the 4-1 mission in Iraq since deploying in mid-June 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Col. Battaglia's brigade is currently partnered with the 10th Iraqi Army Division and other Iraqi security forces in three southern provinces in Iraq. These provinces include Muthanna, Dhi Qar, and Maysan. Col. Battaglia highlighted the sacrifices of the Iraqi security forces and their continuing desire to enlist in both the Iraqi police and the Iraqi Army. "To me, that shows their confidence in their system ... their confidence in Iraq and the future of Iraq," said Battaglia.

Joining us on the call were Jarred Fishman, airforcepundit; Marisa Cochrane, understandingwar.org; and Grim, blackfive.net.