Home » DOD News

Category Archives: DOD News

DOD Expands Trauma Registry to Include Front-line Care

Combat medics work through the “blood lab” at ...

Combat medics work through the “blood lab” at the Department of Combat Medic Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The school has two “blood labs” in which the students sharpen their skills as soldier medics. One lab simulates the scene of a suicide bombing in a market place, and the other simulates a bombing in an office building. DoD photo by Fred W. Baker III See more at Army.mil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2013 – Traveling around the combat theater over the past four months, Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) James Geracci was on a quest.

Like his contemporaries in military medicine, Geracci, a family physician and operational medicine specialist, is thrilled about advances over the past 12 years of conflict that have elevated casualty care to a whole new level.

Every soldier, Marine, airman and sailor on the ground is now trained as a medical first responder in basic lifesaving skills. Medical evacuation response times have dropped dramatically, and the system now moves casualties through progressive levels of care faster than ever imagined possible. Advanced lifesaving techniques are applied throughout the continuum of trauma care, reducing blood loss, controlling brain swelling, salvaging limbs and saving lives.

But the military trauma community sees its glass as half empty rather than half full. Instead of celebrating the advances that enable 98 percent of U.S. combat casualties that reach an advanced treatment facility to survive, they’re focused on improving the odds for those who don’t.

So as Geracci recently traveled around the combat theater, he went directly to the front-line commanders and combat medics he and his fellow medical professionals believe hold the key. All were familiar with new reporting and documentation procedures that require them to document the care they provide at the point of injury and as casualties are evacuated to advanced-level care.

But what Geracci quickly realized hadn’t trickled down through the chain of command was the “So what?” So he and his team took that message directly to more than 1,400 medics assigned to small combat outposts and forward operating bases across Afghanistan, as well as to their nonmedical commanders and noncommissioned officers.

“We looked them in the eye and said, ‘This is why this is important,'” Geracci said. “We tried to explain that although this is an enterprise-level initiative, it has to start at the ground level. And as we talked to them, it was amazing. A light bulb suddenly went on.”

Air Force Col. (Dr.) Mark Mavity, the U.S. Central Command surgeon, calls that recognition one of the most significant new developments in casualty care for troops in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense Trauma Registry, established in 2005 as the Joint Theater Trauma Registry, offers detailed information about every trauma patient treated at an advanced theater facility. It tracks patients from the moment of arrival at the closest field hospital or other facility, through each movement to more advanced levels of care, and ultimately through rehabilitation.

The registry also includes autopsy results from every casualty who died.

Eight years since its introduction, the registry has become the world’s largest combat casualty care databank. By studying it, medical professionals have been able to verify which treatments were the most successful and which weren’t, and to flag areas where new or different procedures or technologies might improve survival rates and patient outcomes.

“This gave us an opportunity to step back and understand the population of patients that have moved through the continuum of care and to try to derive information about the care they received and the outcomes associated with that care,” said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Jeffrey Bailey, the Joint Trauma System director. “By being able to analyze and evaluate our practices, we have found points where we can make improvements that provide a survival advantage or some other advantage to our casualties.”

Lessons learned through the registry have resulted in “best evidence-based best practices,” he said, propelling many of the advances in caring for casualties and preventing them in the first place.

The formal documentation of injury patterns, for example, led to improvements in personal protective equipment ranging from protective ballistic undergarments to ancillary plating that protects the groin, shoulders and neck.

The registry also provided statistical evidence of the importance of immediate intervention during the so-called “golden hour.” That led then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to institute a policy in 2009 reducing the timetable for medical evacuation to 60 minutes.

Data provided by the registry also validated the use of tourniquets and led to new approaches to transfusions, resuscitation procedures and hemorrhage control.

But trauma surgeons recognized a glaring weakness in the registry. Because it was based on care delivered at treatment facilities, it omitted critical information about the care provided before the patient ever got there. That “prehospital environment” was where most combat deaths occurred. “So that is where we saw the greatest opportunity to make improvements,” Bailey said.

“Some people call helicopter evacuation the ‘golden hour,’ but others have described what happens on the ground as the ‘platinum 10 minutes,'” he said. “It became clear that we needed to understand what was going on on the ground during those platinum 10 minutes before the helicopter showed up.”

That led to the stand-up of the Pre-Hospital Trauma Registry initiative earlier this year.

Army Col. (Dr.) Russ Kotwal, a family and aerospace medicine specialist assigned to the Joint Trauma System at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was a pioneer in championing this concept. Working for more than a decade with the special operations community, much of it with the 75th Ranger Regiment, he formulated a precursor to the militarywide prehospital registry in the late 1990s.

“I saw a huge gap,” he said, lacking any documentation of patient care at the initial point of injury and on evacuation platforms.

But getting those who provided that initial care to take time out to annotate exactly what they were doing was no easy task, he acknowledged. “A lot of people find it more exciting to provide the care than to actually document the care,” Kotwal said. “Some don’t understand the big picture and how crucial it is to capture what you are doing for historical purposes, but also for performance improvement.”

So Kotwal made it his personal mission to change that. “I convinced the line command that if everybody has the potential to be a casualty on the battlefield, especially in a line unit, everybody has the potential to also be a first responder,” he said. “And if you don’t capture that information about what you are doing, that data, it is hard to effect performance improvement in that realm.”

Knowing that the success of his effort would depend on the first responders, Kotwal made the documentation process as simple and straightforward as possible. He and his senior medics changed an outdated field medical card that was standard at the time to one that focused solely on tactical combat casualty care.

Every 75th Ranger Regiment member was issued a card as part of their basic equipment, and required to keep it in a standardized location on their uniform. That way, first responders knew exactly where to look for the card if they had to report the care they provided a comrade.

“They filled it out as they provided care if they could,” Kotwal said. Sometimes they were overwhelmed with providing care or the evacuation process was so quick that they couldn’t immediately get to it, he said. “But they did it at the first opportunity,” he added.

As a double-check to ensure the reporting wasn’t overlooked, Kotwal also got the requirement integrated into the after-action review process. “This is something line guys do very well. Every time they come off a mission, they go directly into an AAR and do reports based on the mission so they can assess it and make improvements,” he said.

“The medical community didn’t do it at that level,” Kotwal said. “So we instituted a [medical] AAR that had to be done within 72 hours after a mission.”

Through this process, the 75th Ranger Regiment developed a rudimentary pre-hospital trauma registry, refined it over time and expanded across the special operations community, Kotwal reported.

Kotwal later joined the Joint Trauma System team to expand this concept to conventional forces.

Geracci, a former division surgeon in Afghanistan, said he, too, was “excited about the advancements taking place in facilities-based care,” many attributable to the Joint Trauma System and its trauma registry.

“But I was also frustrated that we hadn’t been able to apply the same degree of rigor in the prehospital environment,” he said. “I saw this as a blind spot in the JTS process. So my goal was to help [the military medical community] go after that blind spot.”

Geracci said he “jumped” at the chance to be one of the Centcom Joint Theater Trauma System’s first pre-hospital directors in the combat theater to address the gap.

“We’re building on the work already proven for about a decade on the special operations side and taking those exact same principles and importing them into the [combat] theater,” he said.

Just months after the Pre-Hospital Trauma Registry was introduced, Geracci said, he’s already seeing its rewards. We have already seen tangible benefits from putting that in place,” he said. “This is proving to be an incredibly valuable tool.”

He credited combat medics and their commanders on the ground who are putting that tool to work as they complete casualty-care cards and AARs.

“They are the reason we have seen success in such a short period of time,” Geracci said. “They understand that this information, and the data they produce, provides better care not only for their comrades, but for anyone who passes through the different levels in the continuum of care.”

(Follow Donna Miles on Twitter: @MilesAFPS)

Pentagon Comptroller Details Recalls, ‘Painful’ Decision to Exclude Some Workers

Office of the Secretary of Defense Identificat...

Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2013 – The Defense Department‘s top financial official provided details on which DOD civilians would and wouldn’t be able to return from furlough following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel‘s determination some could return under the Pay Our Military Act.

Robert F. Hale, DOD comptroller and chief financial officer, first and foremost, emphasized that the defense secretary values all DOD employees and views their jobs as critical, even though some will be unable to return immediately, and described it as a “painful” decision.

“They do essential and important work, and I want to underscore that, but it is less directly related to military [support],” Hale said.

In a couple of cases, he noted, certain areas simply were not covered by POMA, which was signed into law on Sept. 30.

Hale said areas here included chief information officer functions, but not Internet protocol and cyber functions; legislative and public affairs functions, but not internal public affairs communications; deputy chief management office functions at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and component levels, and auditors and related functions.

This list also included, according to a Defense Department new release, work done in support of non-DOD activities and agencies except the Coast Guard, and civil works functions of the Department of the Army.

“Let me say again that those on this list that we’re not going to recall from furlough do critical functions,” Hale said. “What they do is important, but because of the letter of the law, and the advice from the Department of Justice, we had to identify those with less direct impact on military members.”

Hale explained how the Defense Department came to the determination they could bring some DOD civilians back.

“When we got POMA … we immediately began working with the Department of Justice on how to implement it,” he said. “The [Department of Justice] expressed the opinion that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all DOD civilians.”

The Department of Justice did say that we can undertake a careful review of civilians who support members of the armed forces and determine who to recall,” Hale added. “Needless to say, it has been a difficult process and time consuming one, but we now have … guidance, which the secretary issued in his determination today.”

Hale said under DOD’s current reading of the law, the standard for civilians who provide support to members of the armed forces requires that qualifying civilians focus on the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of military members that occurs during a lapse of appropriations.

With this in mind, he said, DOD established categories of civilians beginning with some excepted civilians who already are working to ensure military operations of safety, lives and property.”

“They’ll be working now, and under POMA, we can pay them in a timely manner their Oct. 11 pay will be on time and in full,” Hale stated.

The Pentagon comptroller highlighted two categories of DOD civilians that, under POMA, the Defense Department will recall, and he noted the act ensures the military will be paid on a timely basis “next payday, Oct. 15, and future ones.”

“We’ll recall a category of civilians who provide ongoing support to military members,” he said, such as health care activities and providers, sexual assault prevention and response providers, behavior health and suicide prevention, transition assistance programs for military members in active service, commissary and payroll operations and family support programs and activities, among others.

“We’ll also recall a second category of civilians whose work, if interrupted by the lapse for a substantial period, would cause future problems for military members,” Hale said.

Falling into this category, he said, are acquisition program oversight, contract logistics, financial management, intelligence functions and supply chain management.

Hale said it also appears an act approving retroactive pay will be approved soon, because while Senate approval is pending, “the House passed it 407-0 and the president has said he would sign it.”

“If this act is passed, everyone, even if they remain on furlough, will eventually be paid,” he said. “Those who remain on furlough will not be paid until we have an appropriation.”

Hale also offered a “final note of caution” stating DOD can recall “most of our civilians and provide pay and allowances,” but doesn’t have the authorities to enter into obligations for supplies, parts, fuels, and such unless they are for excepted activities tied to “safety to a military operation or safety of life and property.”

“So as our people come back to work, they’ll need to be careful that they do not order supplies [or] material for non-excepted activities,” he said.

Hale said the military services will be responsible for identifying those they will recall, and believes it will leave no more than “a few tens of thousands who will remain on furlough,” if not less than that.

“I hope we can get a substantial number back by Monday, we’ve got to give the services time enough to identify and notify those that will come back,” he said.

Unfortunately, Hale said, the law doesn’t cover other departments of government, only “DOD employees and those employees of the Department of Homeland Security that support the Coast Guard.”

“I think this underscores the point that although this is very important and we’re glad we’re getting most of our employees back, we haven’t solved all the problems associated with the lapse of appropriations by any means,” he said.

“And we still very much hope that Congress will act quickly to end this government shutdown and this lapse of appropriations,” Hale said.

Statement by Secretary Hagel on the Pay Our Military Act

Official seal of the United States Department ...

Official seal of the United States Department of Defense. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I am announcing that most DoD civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week.

Immediately after President Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, I directed DoD’s Acting General Counsel to determine whether we could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown. The Department of Defense consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians.  However, DoD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.

Consequently, I am now directing the Military Departments and other DoD components to move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories. I expect us to be able to significantly reduce – but not eliminate – civilian furloughs under this process.  Employees can expect to hear more information from their managers starting this weekend.

We have tried to exempt as many DoD civilian personnel as possible from furloughs. We will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible. Ultimately, the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a Department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government.

This has been a very disruptive year for our people – including active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel, and DoD civilians and contractors. Many important activities remain curtailed while the shutdown goes on.  Civilians under furlough face the uncertainty of not knowing when they will next receive a paycheck. I strongly support efforts in Congress to enact legislation to retroactively compensate all furloughed employees. And I will continue to urge Congress to fulfill its basic responsibilities to pass a budget and restore full funding for the Department of Defense and the rest of the government.

Alexander: Cybercom Activates National Mission Force HQ

United States Cyber Command logo is displayed ...

United States Cyber Command logo is displayed during the activation ceremony of the USCYBERCOM. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2013 – U.S. Cyber Command has activated the headquarters for its Cyber National Mission Force, the one of its three forces that would react to a cyber attack on the nation, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, Cybercom’s commander, said at the National Press Club today.

The other two forces are the Cyber Combat Mission Force that is assigned to the operational control of individual combatant commanders, and the Cyber Protection Force that helps operate and defend the Defense Department’s information environment.

Speaking at the 4th Annual Cybersecurity Summit, the general, who is also director of the National Security Agency, said Cybercom teams are now fully operational and working side by side with NSA to defend the nation.

“We will ensure that we have the best force anywhere in the world,” Alexander said.

Federal, military and industry officials listened as the general detailed five aspects of cybersecurity that NSA and Cyber Command are working to improve.

“Look at what’s happened in the past year,” Alexander said. “Over 300 distributed denial-of-service attacks on Wall Street. We saw destructive attacks in August 2012 against Saudi Aramco and RasGas [Co. Ltd.].”

There’ve also been “destructive” cyberattacks against South Korea, he added.

“What that says to me is that this is going to pick up. It’s going to get worse and we have to get a number of things done to protect this country,” Alexander said.

The top priority, he said, is a trained and ready force.

“The best [force] in the world — that’s what the American people expect of our military and of our intelligence community and that’s what we’re doing. Why? In this area, technical skills really matter,” the general said. “So we’re engaged in a multiyear effort with the services to train our forces.”

The Army, Navy and Marines trained about a third of the force in 2013 and they will train a third in 2014 and another third in 2015, he said.

“That’s a huge step forward and the service chiefs have stood up and pushed those forces forward despite sequestration and despite all the battles that are going on in the Pentagon,” Alexander said. “They’ve stood up and they’ve all agreed that this is a threat that we have to address for the good of the military and our nation.”

Cybercom also is conducting exercises such as Cyber Guard and Cyber Flag, the general said. These include the combatant commands, the National Guard, the reserves and interagency participation to develop the tactics, techniques and procedures and working relationships needed to conduct operations in cyberspace.

“Cyber Command provides cyber support elements to every combatant command today,” Alexander said. “We’re refining our operational concepts and our command and control. And I think … coming up with the operational concepts and the command and control is absolutely vital to the future.’

The second area critical to cybersecurity, especially in the Defense Department, is to move from the legacy information technology architecture in use today to a defensible architecture, the general said.

In fact, the Defense Information Systems Agency, working with Cybercom, NSA and the services, is beginning to implement a Joint Information Environment that will eventually upgrade the DOD legacy system.

“I think the cloud architecture that’s been pushed forward for the Joint Information Environment and the intelligence community’s IT environment is where our nation needs to be,” Alexander said. “A thin [or very minimalized] virtual cloud environment offers some great capabilities for the future.”

In such an environment, he explained, patching for many computers could be done at network speed with 100-percent accuracy, essentially fixing an entire network within minutes.

“You could remove humans from the loop in that [operation] and put them where you need them — protecting the networks,” the general said.

In this environment, he said, “we can break down each system we see being scanned by an adversary and put it in a new place. You can jump networks, you can jump databases, and you can jump your phone system, [making] it very difficult for adversaries to exploit them.”

Shared situational awareness is a third area of critical importance to the nation, Alexander said, describing it as a common way for people to understand events that happen in cyberspace.

“Ask the IT people to draw you a picture of a recent exploit into your network,” the general said. He then drew examples in the air to demonstrate the likely confusion that would ensue with no common framework.

“How does it look? How are we going to fix it?” he asked.

Such a framework will be even more important, the general said, when “forces in cyberspace must ask questions like, ‘Where is the adversary coming from? Where are they getting into the country? What is Cyber Command’s role? What is NSA’s role? How do our allies see that? How do we work together?'”

The answer is, he said, “nobody sees it today. We don’t have the shared situational awareness we need and this is going to be a key capability for the future.”

As a result, Alexander said, Cybercom, NSA and the Defense Department are developing a common operational picture and will share it with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, with all the combatant commands, and with some U.S. allies.

The fourth area that’s critical in cybersecurity is that government must work with industry, the general said.

“Industry owns and operates 85 percent to 90 percent of our networks,” Alexander said. But the government, led by the president, he added, has to be responsible for defending the country from attack and for attacking back.

“We have to share what we know about [cyber] threats and [industry] has to tell us what they see. This is where the Internet service providers are critical. Not just here but with our allies and others,” the general said.

“But we have to work with industry because we can’t see the threat,” he added. “And if we can’t see it we can’t respond to it.”

Government and industry must come together and figure out how that will work, Alexander said, adding that industry is critical to defending the United States in cybersecurity, and U.S. allies are critical partners in this.

“If we can’t share information with industry,” he said, “we won’t be able to stop it.”

The fifth area that’s critical to the United States in cybersecurity involves authorities, Alexander said.

“We need to work with Congress on additional legislation regarding cybersecurity and private industry — specifically, how we will share information and how we will provide liability protection to them,” he said. “Those are the key issues that have to come out of this.”

Rules of engagement also must be clarified, the general said, including what is expected of Cybercom.

“This is a difficult topic,” he said. “We don’t want NSA and Cyber Command doing something irresponsible. On the other hand, we don’t want NSA and Cyber Command waiting for the authorities while Wall Street is taken down in [a] cyber[attack]. So we have a dilemma. How do we work that?”

He said officials at Cyber Command and NSA are working within the Defense Department and the interagency to study the authorities and processes needed.

“It very closely follows what you would expect us to do if this were a missile attack on our country,” Alexander said. “How do we go through those authorities? How do we set up the conference calls? How do we go to the secretary of defense and the president and get the authorities we need and give them the options?”

He added, “We’re working our way through that and I think the government has done a great job moving that forward.”

Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander

Related Sites:
Special Report: The Cyber Domain

Wright Vows to Focus on People, Readiness as Undersecretary

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 – If confirmed as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, Jessica L. Wright told Congress today, she will continue to advocate for the Defense Department’s No. 1 asset, its people, as the military deals with budget challenges and new operational requirements.

“It is evident to me that our people and those that support them are the department’s greatest assets and our strength,” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee during her confirmation hearing.

Wright, a retired Pennsylvania Army National Guard major general, has served as acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness since Jan. 1. She previously served as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs.

Testifying today, she attributed her 35 years in uniform and her family’s long tradition of military service with giving her unique insights into the challenges military members and their families face every day.

Wright called her late father, John Garfola — a combat medic during World War II who was buried just this week — her hero and role model for her family. In addition, her husband, Chuck, is a retired Army officer, and her son, Mike, is an Army lieutenant deployed to Afghanistan.

“The department has two sacred obligations. One is to care for its people who are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to protect the national interest. And the second is to ensure the national security of the United States,” Wright told the committee. “I bring a special understanding to both obligations.”

This understanding, she said, will guide her as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s senior policy advisor on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, 680,000 DOD civilians, and in overseeing the overall state of military readiness.

“I fully acknowledge that there are many challenges facing the department,” particularly the constrained fiscal climate, she said. But in confronting them, she promised to remain a staunch advocate for service members and their families, whose sense of duty drives them to “selflessly put the interest of our nation first.”

By doing so, she told the panel, they have made the U.S. military one of the most trusted institutions in society, and ensured the continued success of the all-volunteer force.

Wright said she will support Hagel’s commitments to the force and to ensuring it remains an agile, capable force for the future. That involves addressing what she called one of the most significant challenges facing it: stress resulting from more than a decade of deployments and high-tempo operational requirements.

“Although our service members never hesitate to answer the nation’s call, this call causes the toughest challenges on the battlefield and here at home,” she said. “Our service members and their families are under significant strain. Their minds, their bodies, their spirits require healing.”

Wright said she will ensure, if confirmed, that the department’s efforts to care for its people continue.

The security environment those people will be called upon to face in the future will be characterized by shifting operational requirements abroad, evolving threats to national security and continued budget challenges, Wright said.

“If confirmed, I would be vigilant and ensure the department provides the leadership in vision necessary to rebalance, adapt and evolve the all-volunteer force as it has done so well over the last 40 years,” she said. “I’m also committed to ensuring that we maintain the military’s status as the strongest, most capable, most respected fighting force in the history of the world.”

Also testifying at today’s hearing was Deborah Lee James, nominated to be the next Air Force secretary, and Marcel J. Lettre II, the nominee as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and Kevin A. Ohlson, nominated as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Message from Secretary Hagel on Suicide Prevention Month

English: United States Army Suicide Prevention...

English: United States Army Suicide Prevention Poster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Department of Defense has no more important responsibility than supporting and protecting those who defend our country and that means we must do everything possible to prevent military suicide. As we observe Suicide Prevention Month, the entire DoD community Service members, civilians, members of our families and leaders at every level must demonstrate our collective resolve to prevent suicide, to promote greater knowledge of its causes and to encourage those in need to seek support. No one who serves this country in uniform should ever feel they have nowhere to turn.

           The Department of Defense has invested more than $100 million into research on the diagnosis and treatment of depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse, as well as interventions for relationship, financial and legal issues all of which can be associated with suicide. We are working to reduce drug and alcohol abuse and we are steadily increasing the number of mental health professionals and peer support counselors. Effective suicide prevention training is critical to all these efforts and we are instructing our leaders on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of crisis and encourage service members to seek support. We are also reaching out to military families and the broader community to enlist their support in this cause.

           Seeking behavioral health care is a choice that embodies moral courage, honor and integrity. Those values are at the foundation of what that we stand for and what we defend. The Military Crisis Line is there for all who need it. I encourage anyone in need to call 1-800-273-8255 and press one to speak to a trained professional, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This service is confidential and available to all service members and their families.

           Always remember that our most valuable resource is each other. When one of us faces a challenge, we all must stand together. By fighting as one team, we can and we will help prevent suicide. Thank you.

DOD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for Fiscal 2013 Through May 2013

English: Air Force Reserve Command HQ, Robins ...

English: Air Force Reserve Command HQ, Robins AFB, Georgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Department of Defense announced today recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for fiscal 2013, through May.

             Active Component.

             Recruiting.  All four active services met or exceeded their numerical accession goals for fiscal 2013, through May.

                          Army — 45,947 accessions, with a goal of 45,435; 101 percent

                          Navy — 24,344 accessions, with a goal of 24,344; 100 percent

                          Marine Corps — 17,214 accessions, with a goal of 17,174; 100 percent

                          Air Force — 18,695 accessions, with a goal of 18,695; 100 percent

            Retention.  The Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps exhibited strong retention numbers for the eighth month of fiscal 2013.  The Navy exhibited strong retention numbers in the mid-career and career categories; however, the Navy’s achievement of 90 percent in the initial category relates to reduced accessions from four to six years ago.

            Reserve Component.

            Recruiting.  Five of the six reserve components met or exceeded their fiscal-year-to-date 2013 numerical accession goals.  While the Army Reserve met its May 2013 goals, it remains 1,662 accessions short of its fiscal goal.

                          Army National Guard — 34,034 accessions, with a goal of 33,266; 102 percent

                          Army Reserve — 17,815 accessions, with a goal of 19,477; 91 percent

                          Navy Reserve — 3,594 accessions, with a goal of 3,594; 100 percent

                          Marine Corps Reserve — 5,804 accessions, with a goal of 5,766; 101 percent

                          Air National Guard — 6,732 accessions, with a goal of 6,732; 100 percent

                          Air Force Reserve — 4,856 accessions, with a goal of 4,439; 109 percent

            Attrition— All reserve components have met their attrition goals.  Current trends are expected to continue.  (This indicator lags due to data availability.)

DOD Must Stay Ahead of Cyber Threat, Dempsey Says

English: USCYBERCOM Logo

English: USCYBERCOM Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 – In its mission to defend the nation, the Defense Department must stay ahead of the ongoing technological revolution and its attendant rise in “anywhere, any time” cyber threats, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

“As the defense community begins to focus inward on the implications of changing resources and this thing called sequestration, I think it’s important that we force ourselves to continue to look outward, at the changing world around us,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told attendees at a Brookings Institution forum.

Computers continue to be integrated into in everyone’s daily lives, the chairman said. “By this time next year, I’m quite certain that my toaster will be connected to the Internet and probably tweeting,” he joked. “But the spread of digital technology has not been without consequence. It has also introduced new dangers to our security and our safety.”

Dempsey told the audience that in his two years as chairman, he has focused on what this revolution means for the military. He has spoken with information technology experts, major tech company security teams, and spent time with an Internet service provider. He even met with a venture capitalist, he said.

“One thing is clear: cyber has escalated from an issue of moderate concern to one of the most serious threats to our national security,” Dempsey said. Now, the entire country could be disrupted by the click of mouse, he added.

To address these threats, the military must take on new missions, the chairman said.

“Cyber incidents have steadily escalated over the past year,” Dempsey said. Banks and oil companies have been targeted by sophisticated attacks, he said, and more than 20 nations now have military cyber units.

“This is the new normal in cyberspace,” Dempsey said. “Disruptive and destructive cyberattacks are becoming a part of conflict between states, within states, and among nonstate actors. The borderless nature of cyberspace means anyone, anywhere in the world, can use cyber to affect someone else.”

It isn’t enough to just strengthen cyber defenses on military systems, the chairman said. Intrusion attempts on critical civilian infrastructure systems have increased 17-fold over the last two years, he said. “The gap between cyber defenses deployed across critical infrastructure and offensive tools we now know exist presents a significant vulnerability for our nation,” Dempsey said.

In response to the threat, the Defense Department is growing its capacity to protect its own networks, and it’s adding a new mission: defending the nation, when asked, from attacks of significant consequence — those that threaten life, limb, and the country’s core critical infrastructure, the chairman said.

Over the next four years, 4,000 cyber operators will join the ranks of U.S. Cyber Command, and $23 billion will be invested in cybersecurity, he said.

Three types of teams will operate around the clock at Cyber Command, Dempsey said. National mission teams will counter adversary cyberattacks on the United States. “A second and larger set of teams will support our combatant commanders as they execute military our missions around the globe,” Dempsey said. “The largest set of teams will operate and defend the networks that support our military operations worldwide.”

The most immediate priority is securing the “dot-mil” domain, the chairman said. “But in the event of a domestic cyber crisis,” he added, “our cyber forces will work in support of the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, who lead our nation’s response in the dot-gov and dot-com domains.”

To ensure this force is able to operate quickly, the Defense Department now has a “playbook” for cyber, Dempsey said, noting that a presidential directive codifies how each part of the government will respond in the event of a serious cyberattack. Under this directive, the department has developed emergency procedures to guide its response to imminent, significant cyber threats, the chairman said.

The Defense Department is updating its cyber rules of engagement for the first time in seven years, he added, and also is improving mission command for cyber forces.

While cyber may be the nation’s greatest vulnerability, Dempsey said, it also presents the military with a tremendous asymmetric advantage. “The military that maintains the most agile and resilient networks will be the most effective in future war,” he told the audience. “This is the kind of force we are building for the future.”

Each branch of the military is doing its part, the chairman said, by investing in equipment and personnel that will ensure the joint force can operate in cyberspace as capably as it can on land, sea, air, and space. The next step is the planned Joint Information Environment, he said — a single, easy to secure, joint network delivering data to the department’s personnel wherever and whenever they need it.

“As part of this new Joint Information Environment, we’re building a secure 4G wireless network that will get iPads, iPhones and Android devices online in 2014,” the chairman said. “With tools like this, the smartphone generation joining our military will help us pioneer a new era of mobile command and control.”

Although the Defense Department has made significant progress in embracing cyber, the nation’s effort to protect critical civilian infrastructure is lagging — a worrisome vulnerability, the chairman said. Sharing information about cyber threats is one of the most important ways to strengthen cybersecurity across the private sector, he added, but threat information primarily is shared in only one direction: from the government to critical infrastructure operators.

“That has to change,” Dempsey said. “We can’t stop an attack unless we can see it.”

The country is debating the proper purpose and limits of intelligence collection for national security, the general said, but these are two entirely different issues, and it is a mistake to combine them.

“One is collecting the intelligence necessary to locate foreign terrorists and their potential domestic co-conspirators,” he explained. “The other is sharing information about malware to protect our critical infrastructure from a different kind of attack.”

Ultimately, he said, “it will take legislation to significantly strengthen our ability to withstand cyberattacks while safeguarding civil liberties.”

Information sharing is just one path to safer network operations, the chairman said. Others include improved cybersecurity standards and the establishment of internationally recognized rules for responsible behavior in cyberspace.

“The rise of cyber is the most striking development in the post-9/11 national security landscape,” Dempsey told the audience. “We are doing everything we can inside the military to be ready to operate in cyberspace. I call on our elected officials and the private sector to match the urgency. Together, we must place this nation on surer footing against the cyber threat.”

DOD Releases Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Strategy

English: WASHINGTON (March 26, 2010) A poster ...

English: WASHINGTON (March 26, 2010) A poster supporting the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program. The SARC summit, hosted by the Department of the Navy in New Orleans, La., was held to bring awareness to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program, which replaced the former Sexual Assault Victim Intervention (SAVI) program in November 2009. (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, the Department of Defense released the fiscal 2012 Annual Report
on Sexual Assault in the Military and announcing a series of actions to
prevent and respond to sexual assault in the armed forces.  

Annually, as required by the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2011
, the department released Fiscal Year 2012
Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military.  To date, this is the
ninth report DoD has issued.

In fiscal year 2012, there were a total of 3,374 reports of sexual
assault involving service members as victims or subjects, an increase
from the 3,192 reports received in fiscal 2011.  These reports involved
offenses ranging from abusive sexual contact to rape.

“This is a defining time for our entire military community,” said Maj.
Gen. Gary S. Patton, director, DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and
Response Office. “Our continuing focus is on the health and safety of
our service members.  Our troops take care of each other on the
battlefield better than any military in the world, and now we must
extend that same ethos of care to combating sexual assault.  Based on
long-standing traditions of excellence and leadership, I am confident in
our ability to eliminate sexual assault from our military environment.”

The annual report also includes findings from the 2010 National
Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey,a joint effort between the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of
Justice, and DoD.  This survey used a common approach to assess
representative samples from the civilian, military, and military spouse
populations.  After adjusting for age and marital status differences
between the samples, survey results showed risk of contact sexual
violence is the same for military and civilian women in the past year,
the past three years, and their lifetime. 

The 2012 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, which also
includes findings from the 2012 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of
active duty and reserve component members, is available at http://www.sapr.mil .

DOD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for Fiscal 2013, Through March 2013

    The Department of Defense announced today recruiting and retention statistics for the active and reserve components for fiscal 2013, through March.  

            Active Component.  

            Recruiting.  All four active services met or exceeded their numerical accession goals for fiscal 2013, through March.  

                          Army — 33,857 accessions, with a goal of 33,520; 101 percent

                          Navy — 17,350 accessions, with a goal of 17,350; 100 percent

                          Marine Corps — 13,010 accessions, with a goal of 12,978; 100 percent

                          Air Force — 13,989 accessions, with a goal of 13,989; 100 percent 

            Retention.  The Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps exhibited strong retention numbers for the sixth month of fiscal 2013.  The Navy exhibited strong retention numbers in the mid-career and career categories. However, the Navy’s achievement of 90 percent in the initial category is a result of reduced accessions from four to six years ago. 

            Reserve Component.   

            Recruiting.  Five of the six reserve components met or exceeded their fiscal-year-to-date 2013 numerical accession goals.  The Army Reserve finished January 1,501 accessions short of its goal.  

                          Army National Guard — 26,100 accessions, with a goal of 25,005; 104 percent

                          Army Reserve — 12,976 accessions, with a goal of 14,477; 90 percent

                          Navy Reserve — 2,700 accessions, with a goal of 2,700; 100 percent

                          Marine Corps Reserve — 4,518 accessions, with a goal of 4,472; 101 percent

                          Air National Guard — 4,875 accessions, with a goal of 4,875; 100 percent

                          Air Force Reserve — 3,685 accessions, with a goal of 3,685; 100 percent 

            Attrition — All Reserve Components have met their attrition goals.  Current trends are expected to continue.  (This indicator lags by one month due to data availability.)