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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Intelligence Strategies Seek to Predict Enemy Actions

“The problem we deal with now is much more complex with enemies that will not only hide among the population, but will also open fire on our ground forces from amongst the population,” Air Force Col. Eric Holdaway, AFCENT/AFFOR director of intelligence, told bloggers and online journalists during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, April 23. To combat these challenges, the Air Force devised new strategies for gathering information to target the enemy. “The purpose of all intelligence is to help our commanders get ahead of the enemies decision cycle so that we are able to anticipate what they are likely to do… so that we can obtain our objectives,” Holdaway said. Joining us on the call were Jarred Fishman,; David Axe,; Chuck Simmons,; Noah Schachtman,; Greg Grant,;

Tuskegee Airmen Use Social Media to Share Experiences

As the Defense Department ventures into social media, even the famed Tuskegee Airmen are using popular social media tools to engage others and inform the world about their service to their country. An Air Force public affairs officer accompanying the airmen on a recent trip to Southwest Asia to visit with U.S., joint and coalition forces and thank them for their service shared highlights from their trip on Facebook and Twitter. “Troops are following this journey on Facebook,” Maj. Andra Higgs, director of public affairs for 4th Air Force and assigned to Air Forces Central Command for this trip, said during a “DoD Live” bloggers roundtable April 24. “We’ve got this capacity now to communicate by way of satellite around the world in real time.” One of the four Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson said that he is "taken aback by the technology of the young people, the technological expertise," he said. Jefferson served during World War II as a fighter pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group's 301st Fighter Squadron in Ramitelli, Italy.

Joining on the call were Chuck Simmons and U.S. Air Force Live.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Coast Guard Discusses their Green Initiatives

Coast Guard Office of Environmental Management’s Thomas Granito spoke with bloggers and online journalists, April 21, about the Coast Guard’s environmental initiatives over the past 10 years and how their environmental focus has changed for everyone in their service branch. “Today, it's a -- sort of a different world, and ‘environmental’ has taken a whole new meaning, and environmental is part of everybody's job,” added Granito. He also addressed Coast Guard's green initiatives, their Academy Award-winning recycling program, and an electronic systems detachment cell that harbors wind and solar energy systems. “We're also looking at seeking alternative and renewable fuels, eventually developing a good carbon footprint by assessing our impact from fuel usage and emissions,” he said.

Joining us on the call were Chuck Simmons and Andrew Bochman.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

General Provides Insight into the Joint Bilateral Exercise Balikatan '09

Exercise Balikatan ’09, a joint bilateral exercise between the United States and Philippines, is the 25th in the series as it relates to U.S.-Philippine participation. U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald Bailey, deputy commanding general, III Marine Expeditionary Force; commanding general of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and U.S. director of Balikatan ’09 told bloggers, April 21 about the three events that they will be participating in during the exercise, which ends on April 30. “Our first one is the humanitarian and civic assistance projects. The second is a scenario-based staff exercise that we’ll run from Manila with the joint force management headquarters, Philippines. And the final one involves field training activities in the Central Luzon and the Cavite province,” Bailey said. Balikatan is a term that means shoulder to shoulder. “The term ‘Balikatan’ is a Tagalog term which means ‘shoulder to shoulder,’ and for us it characterizes the philosophy and intent of the exercise,” he added.

Joining us on the call were Andrew Lubin and Jim Dolbow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Progress Update Provided by Director of Iraqi Center for Lessons Learned

Col. Evan Jay Trinkle, director of the Iraqi Center for Lessons Learned talked with bloggers and online journalists on DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable April 9 about the center’s lessons learned in Iraq to date. “The government of Iraq is making enormous progress in developing a professional military force that is capable of collecting and analyzing data from the variety of current and historic sources. This includes operations and training events that produce reports and viable training, lessons for military commanders, staff and students,” said Trinkle. “The mission of MNSTC-I is to … be of assistance to the Iraq government. In that, we must make certain the necessary steps of ensuring the nation’s self-sufficiency during the critical transition from coalition- to Iraq-led operations in support of the security agreement are all in place.”

Joining us on the call were Chuck Simmons and Sean Pillai

Thursday, April 9, 2009

General Provides Iraq Update

“We continue to operate under the security agreement as of 1 January which means more and more of the security responsibilities are being passed to the government of Iraq and their security forces,” Maj. Gen. David Perkins, director of Strategic Effects, CJ-9, Multi-National Force – Iraq, told bloggers and online journalists. MNF-I has already transitioned over 40 bases, areas, and facilities back under the guidance of the Iraqis, Perkins added.

Joining us on the call were Greg Grant, Jeremy Domergue, and Jarred Fishman.

Friday, April 3, 2009

North Dakota Adjutant General Discusses Flood Relief Efforts

Maj. Gen. David A. Sprynczynatyk, the adjutant general, North Dakota National Guard, discussed the current relief efforts the National Guard is providing to the flooded region in North Dakota, in a special roundtable with bloggers and online journalists. Sprynczynatyk described the flooding as "epic" but applauded the efforts of National Guard soldiers and airmen from North Dakota, as well as Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri, who have all contributed to the flood effort. "We have done everything we can to bring together the resources, the equipment, the people, to assist those communities," said Sprynczynatyk. "In a matter of five days we went from zero on state active duty to over 2,400."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Marine Corps Officer Discusses 2009 Fiscal Year Recruiting

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Robert Milstead, commanding general of the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Command said that the Marine Corps has not been negatively affected by the struggling economy. Milstead spoke with online journalists and bloggers during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, April 1. “I would tell you, for the enlisted, that it has not made a difference,” Milstead told online journalists and bloggers during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable March 31. “It’s increased the number of young men and women walking in the doors,” he said.

Joining us on the call were Andrew Lubin,; Kevin Baron, Stars and Stripes-Central; Bryant Jordan,

CFACC Discusses the Air War in Afghanistan

Air Force Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, commander, 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., spoke with online journalists and bloggers during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, April 1 and explained his role as the combined force air component commander of U.S. Central Command, since February 2006. In this capacity, North has been overseeing the air war in Afghanistan along with all air operations for Iraq and other areas of Central Command’s theater. "We anticipate in 2009 that we will at least surpass 16 million pounds and most probably be up between 20 million and 25 million of pounds of air dropped equipment and supplies as the fight continues," said North. He added that another part of their mission is air medical evacuation. "[It] is a large portion of what we do to ensure either with rotary wing or light fixed wing that we're able to extract our wounded from forward operating locations, bring them to a theater level hospital in Afghanistan and then be able to [transport] them out to a regional hospital in Europe and then back to the states as required," he added.

Joining us on the call were Greg Grant,; Noah Shachtman,; Jim Dolbow,; David Axe,; CJ Grisham,; and Andrew Lubin,

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Language and Cultural Knowledge Improve Military Readiness

The Defense Language Institute’s Foreign Language Center views language and culture as “inextricably intertwined.” Col. Sue Ann Sandusky, commandant, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center spoke with bloggers and online journalists during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, March 30. Sandusky said that its instructors are native speakers recruited from the areas of the world where the languages being taught are spoken, giving students the opportunity to learn history, art, culture, politics and customs at the same time they learn languages the U.S. Military urgently needs to master. The FLC is just one piece of the Department of Defense’s commitment to enacting the National Security Language Initiative, a U.S. Government program to encourage foreign language education for Americans.

Joining us on the call was Chuck Simmons, of America's North Shore Journal.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Contracting Directorate Discusses MoI Financial Systems and Processes

"I have seen a lot of progress in the past 14 months that from a person looking on the outside may not appreciate as being a significant gain, but the people that are left here in Iraq, they possess the ability to withstand 30 years of the former regime. And, they have succeeded in keeping themselves alive and keeping their jobs and doing what they need to do to move Iraq forward," Col. Roy Gray, director, Finance and Contracting Directorate, Ministry of Interior Transitional Team told online journalists and bloggers during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, March 30. Gray shared his perspective on Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq's ongoing efforts to assist the Ministry of Interior in developing and maintaining financial systems and processes.

Joining us on the call was Chuck Simmons, America's North Shore Journal.

Friday, March 27, 2009

American Contractors held by the FARC Discuss their Time in Captivity

Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes, and Keith Stansell, American contractors held captive by FARC"And when my memory came back, I was a prisoner of the FARC. I'd already been strip-searched and there were people -- FARC with AK-47 rifles on either side of me and I was looking up at the -- a minigun of a Colombian army helicopter. And that began the period of captivity," said Tom Howes, one of three American contractors that were held by the terrorist organization known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the military arm of the Colombia Communist Party established in the 1960s. On Feb. 13, 2003 Marc Gonsalves, Howes, and Keith Stansell, crashed in the mountainous jungle of Colombia. Dazed and shaken, they awoke battered and covered in blood with automatic rifles pointing at their faces. Gonsalves and Howes shared their personal story with bloggers and online journalists during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, March 26.

Joining us on the call were Bryant Jordan,; Beth Wilson, homefrontinfocus; David Axe,; and AirForceLive.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program Discussed

“We’re currently building seven new prototypes to that new design. Those vehicles are currently going through fabrication and machining the hulls at Join Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio. They’ll be in assembly this summer,” USMC Col. Keith Moore, program manager for the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program said in a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, March 25. Moore added that in May of this year, the first vehicles are expected to be delivered to the Marine Corps for testing.

Joining us on the call were David Axe,; Beth Wilson, Homefront in Focus; and AirForceLive; Andrew Lubin, military observer; and Jason Sigger, armchairgeneralist.

Monday, March 23, 2009

“While there’s a lot of friction and things don’t always move smoothly, there’s definitely

progress forward," said Navy Cmdr. John Muth, director of Special Staff for the Ministry of Interior Transitional Team. Muth participated in a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, March 18, in which he discussed several topics including Rule of Law, human rights, the Inspector General, and the Ministry of Interior court system.

Joining us on the call were Beth Wilson,; and DJ Elliot,

"I think the Army certainly has bent over backwards to make great opportunities for

women ... I don't think there could be a more open, transparent and fair process, if you're willing to put in the extra effort," said Col. Margaret Burcham, commander of the Gulf Region North district. Joining Burcham was Joanne Milo, deputy district engineer for the Gulf Region South district who discussed their current positions with the Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq and their almost fifty years of combined experience serving with the U.S. Army. They took questions on topics including what projects are currently underway, and what it has been like to be a woman serving in the Army.

"I think one of the critical benefits to working here is the involvement of partner nations

in the planning process," Capt. Cynthia Thebaud, Commander Destroyer Squadron 60, commanding officer of Africa Partnership Station, aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Nashville (LPD 13) told bloggers and online journalists, March 18. "One of the things that we hear said the most frequently is the ... opportunity to come and work in a collaborative and cooperative environment with members of other west and central African navies."

Joining us on the call were David Axe,; and Jim Dolbow,

"We bring a knowledge of current operations

in the military," said Master Sgt. Barbara Rubio, current Congressional Fellow working on Capitol Hill. "We keep Congress updated and tell them about our experiences." Joining Rubio was Capt. Mariah Smith, also a Congressional Fellow who joined bloggers and online journalists to discuss their positions. The Army Congressional Fellowship Program educates and trains selected officers, civilians and for the first time, non-commissioned officers, in all aspects of congressional activities. Rubio, as a part of the first class of NCOs participating in the program, discussed how the program assists Congress, as well as advancing the NCO Corps. In the military, officers are the ones issuing the orders, and NCOs implement them, said Rubio. Including NCOs in the Congressional Fellowship Program for the first time provides a new perspective to the program.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"This is great news for the Army family and for our soldiers who have sacrificed for their country and served so well for an

extended period of time," said Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, deputy chief of staff for Personnel. "Limiting stop loss balances our need for unit effectiveness with the impact on individual Soldiers and their families." Joining the Army Bloggers Roundtable discussion about the decision to phase out stop-loss were Maj. Gen. Gina Farrisee, director, Military Personnel Management; and Col. Debbra Head, deputy director of Military Personnel Management.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

USNS Comfort: Continuing Promise '09

“Africa Partnership Station responds to (East) African requests for training by providing a delivery vehicle for international, interagency

and non-governmental organization assistance,” said Commander, APS, USS Robert G. Bradley, Navy Capt. Nick Holman said. “The U.S. government and our Navy are committed to helping all African nations and regions achieve stability and economic prosperity and East Africa is looking for help.” Holman participated in a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable, March 11, just days after his return from leading the mission to Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania in which he explained the growing initiative and its impact in Africa.

Joining us on the call were Chuck Simmons, North Shore Journal; and David Axe,

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"In the most part, the U.S. has already withdrawn out of a lot of the cities. In fact, since the height of the surge, we have already

reduced our forces by over 20 percent. So, if you took a look at the number of the forces here at the surge, and take a look now, over a fifth of them have already gone home. In that same period, the Iraqi security forces have increased by at least 130,000," Maj. Gen. David Perkins, director of Strategic Effects, CJ-9, Multi-National Force-Iraq discussed with bloggers and online journalists MNF-I's role in the new emerging Iraq, March 5. "I think what's important is not just the numbers, but their capabilities have increased. In addition to the drawdown in U.S. forces, he said that they have also seen a decrease in violent attacks," said Perkins.

Last year they had weeks where they averaged over 190 attacks a day in Iraq, but routinely now they have days where they have less than 10 attacks a day throughout Iraq, Perkins added.

Joining us on the call were Paul McLeary, aviationweek; CJ Grisham, Soldiers Perspective; Spencer Ackerman, washingtonindependent; Bruce McQuain,; and Greg Grant.

"The culture of the Army is that of a team," said Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Peter Chiarelli. "And anytime one of our own feels so lost

that he or she sees no other option than to take their own life, than we've failed as an organization." Chiarelli joined bloggers during an Army Bloggers Roundtable, March 5, to discuss what the Army is doing to prevent suicide, as well as offer a leader's perspective on the upward trend of suicides in the Army. Chiarelli dedicated much of his time to assuring those participating in the roundtable that the Army understands the severity of the problem, and is doing everything it can to prevent even a single suicide from happening.

"From joy to frustration, I've seen change in our society. I have seen changes in the views of our society on women serving in the military. And,

most definitely, I've seen changes in the military," Sgt. 1st Class Helen Gillespie, 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, joined bloggers and on-line journalists, March 4, for a special blogger's roundtable in honor of Women's History Month and the Year of the NCO. Gillespie joined the Army in 1971 as a part of the Women's Army Corps. "Now, I believe that we are looked on as an integral part of the military machine that defends our geographic country, as well as our policies and our values world-wide," Gillespie added.

“Our role is to help the Iraqi security forces’ intelligence organizations” with manning, equipping, training, basing and sustaining

in support of the Iraqi ministries of Defense and Interior, Col. Benjamin D. Lukefahr, senior advisor, Intelligence Transition Team told bloggers March 4. Lukefahr discussed how Iraq’s internal intelligence apparatus is gradually making the transition from war-time to peace-time operations.

Joining us on the call were Christian Lowe,; Sharon Weinberger,; Spencer Ackerman, washingtonindependent; Jarred Fishman, airforcepundit; Chuck Simmons, northshorejournal; and Sean Gallagher.

"What we're really trying to do is look into the

future," Tad Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, told bloggers for a special roundtable discussion, March 6, concerning Army environmental efforts. "Look down the road 25 or 30 years from now and determine, hey, what are those critical things that we need to look into now so that 25 or 30 years from now we are going to have the resources we need."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"When I look at the mission statement and the specific objectives, I think the Coast Guard's ability to contribute to the joint force and

deliver our unique competency and capability, in rounding out the combatant commander's tools that are available to him, to address his maritime security requirements is clear," Capt. Michael Giglio, Chief of Law Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters told online journalists and bloggers in a Bloggers Roundtable, Feb. 17.

Giglio added that the Coast Guard's contributions is "one small example of the ways in which the Coast Guard, partnering with the U.S. Navy, can deliver a very broad mix of skills to address what is a pretty broad spectrum of threats in the maritime environment today."

Capt. Charles Michel, Chief of the Office of Maritime and International Law, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters also addressed bloggers and spoke about the Coast Guard's involvement in global anti-piracy efforts.

Participating in the roundtable were: Christian Lowe,; David Axe,; Jim Dolbow, www.cglog,org and/or; Chuck Simmons,; Eagle1,; Bruce McQuain,; Bill Nagle,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

“The war in Iraq began to make us understand better that there are a lot of targets that we need to go after ...

IEDs were just the tip of the iceberg,” explained U.S. Army Col. Laurie G. Moe Buckhout, Chief, Electronic Warfare Division, Army Operations, Readiness and Mobilization (HQDA G3/5/7) during a Army Bloggers Roundtable. “The new career field gives the army one of the largest professional electronic warfare cadre of all the services.”

Buckhout discussed the Army’s new Electronic Warfare (EW) 29-series career field for officers, warrant officers and enlisted personnel with bloggers and online journalists Tuesday 10 Feb.

Sergeant Major Addresses Body Armor Concerns

Sgt. Major Thomas Coleman, sergeant major of Program Executive Officer Soldier, joined bloggers and online journalists Feb. 6 to discuss the DoD IG's recommendation to return about 33,000 body armor ESAPI plates. Coleman emphasized the Army's confidence in the armor, stating that the DoD's own testing agency had concurred that Army tests on the armor were valid. The Army is moving forward with the return as a precautionary measure and looks forward to the resolution of this matter, which has been referred to the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Admiral discusses U.S. Coast Guard aquisition projects

U.S. Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Acquisition Rear Adm. Gary Blore highlights six current acquisition projects to include the Sentinel patrol boats and the National Security Cutter programs on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable with Jim Dolbow, Chuck Simmins, Raymond Pritchett, Mandy Smithberger, and John Conrad.

U.S. Army Pacific Commander discusses exercise Cobra Gold

LTG Benjamin Mixon, Commanding General, U.S. Army Pacific joined bloggers and online journalists to discuss exercise Cobra Gold and the promotion of peace and security in the Pacific. This year the Royal Thai Army, Navy and Marines, as well as U.S. Army Pacific, with support from U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, U.S. Air Force Pacific, and contingencies from the militaries of Indonesia, Japan, and Singapore are all participating in the exercise, being held Feb. 4-17. "It's a multifaceted exercise which allows us to get some great training with our partners out here in the Pacific, and certainly shows the interest that we have in creating those partnerships with Thailand and also all the other countries," said LTG Mixon. For more information and photos from the exercise, visit

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

“While SETAF [Southern European Task Force - U.S. Army Africa] has trained, exercised and

deployed to Africa in the past, our focus and mission in Africa changed December 3rd when the announcement was made in Rome by the Italian and U.S. Governments that SETAF and Naval Forces Africa would become the Army and Navy components to U.S. Africa Command,” Army Maj. Gen. William "Burke" Garrett III, commanding general, U.S. Army Africa, said in a Bloggers Roundtable to discuss the new mission of SETAF and the organization’s future role.

Attending the call were Jim Dolbow,, David Axe,; Greg Grant,; and Chuck Simmons,

Friday, January 16, 2009

"This is a historic time, we're really at a point, where we are supporting our warriors and loved ones recognizing that never in the history

of our republic has so much been borne on the shoulders of so few on behalf of so many for so long," said Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Loree K. Sutton, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury during a DoD Bloggers Roundtable yesterday. "Every possibly support, every possibly measure that we can take to help support warriors and their loved ones whether you are on the battlefront, whether you are on the home front or suffering from injuries seen or invisible that is what we are all about."

Brig. Gen. Sutton participated in a roundtable to announce the opening of a new 24-hour outreach center, which will be open 365 days a year and is staffed by behavioral health consultants and nurses. This center will provide service members, veterans and their families a new resource for psychological health problems and traumatic brain injuries.

The center can be reached by calling 866-966-1020 toll-free, or by sending an e-mail to

Joining us on the call were Carla Lois, and Bruce McQuain

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

12th Air Force Commander Says Air Force UAS Force is "All In"

"Next year, the US Air Force will procure more unmanned aircraft than manned aircraft," Air Force Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, commander of Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern), said Monday. The general explained how the Air Force has 85 percent of its UAS capability currently deployed in support of operations in Southwest Asia. The other 15 percent are stateside to train UAS pilots and for operational test and development.

Lt. Gen. Seip discussed the Air Force's unmanned aerial systems and pilot track, activities in Central, South America and the Caribbean, and A-10 Thunderbolt II wing cracking issues. Joining Gen. Seip on the roundtable were Sagar Pathak with, Chuck Simmins at America's North Shore Journal, David Axe with War is Boring, and Colin Clark of DoD Buzz.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"What we consider the leading edge of reconciliation in Iraq is the Sons of Iraq

Program,” U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeffrey Kulmayer, Chief of Reconciliation and Engagement for Multi-National Corps-Iraq said today.
Lt. Col. Kulmayer discussed the progress of reconciliation in Iraq and the transfer of the Sons of Iraq program to the Government of Iraq when he joined Andrew Lubin, David Axe, Claire Russo, Greg Grant, David Tate, and Chuck Simmins for the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Air Force LIVE

Really good stuff going on over at Air Force Live.