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Mullen: Personnel, Health Costs ‘Not Sustainable'


Mullen: Personnel, Health Costs ‘Not Sustainable'

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Sept. 22, 2011 – Acknowledging that changes are needed to deal with unsustainable personnel costs, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff emphasized here last night that the United States can't break faith with military members and their families.

President Barack Obama recommended this week that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction form a commission to come up with a plan for a new, future retirement system, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.

That commission is expected to make recommendations as part of a plan to address the national debt that Mullen called “the No. 1 threat to our national security.” “We as a country have got to get a grip on that,” he said, recognizing that the Pentagon, too, must do its part.
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Air Guard Steps Up When Needed:

Air National Guard units provide an incredible amount of experience and capability for a fraction of the cost of comparable active duty organizations, something which needs to be reemphasized in the upcoming budget cutting and restructuring, ANG Director Lt. Gen. Harry Wyatt told attendees Tuesday at AFA's Air & Space Conference. "Some folks say the Guard is not accessible; I would say they are innocently misinformed," Wyatt said of internal debates at the Pentagon, but he added that there could also be an element of purposeful disinformation going on. He highlighted the Air Guard's role in March's Operation Odyssey Dawn/Unified Protector, the Libya no-fly zone enforcement, noting it was Brig. Gen. Roy Uptegraff—commander of the Pennsylvania ANG's 171st Air Refueling Wing and a veteran KC-135 pilot—who was tapped to set up a expeditionary wing at Moron AB, Spain, to support refueling operations. Uptegraff led the effort to muster 22 air refueling aircraft—14 of which were Guard tankers—to Spain in less than a week, Wyatt said. "There was no mobilization authority for Libya," Wyatt noted, but Uptegraff mustered a force of more than 800 active duty, Guard, and Reserve airmen days after the resolution came down. The Guard was accessible even without mobilization authority, Wyatt said, as the President had a great deal of ability within current legislation to use Air Guard forces. "What part of accessibility am I missing here?" Wyatt asked.
—Marc V. Schanz Air Force - Magazine

Debt is Biggest Threat to National Security, Chairman Says
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2011 – Looming budget reductions are the biggest threat to the United States' national security, said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during remarks to business executives today.
“I've said many times that I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is our debt, so I also believe we have every responsibility to help eliminate that threat,” he said. “We must, and will, do our part.”
Speaking to the Business Executives for National Security, the chairman discussed budget concerns and sought the executives' experiences to help formulate strategic fiscal planning.
“All of you have dealt with downturns in the business cycle,” Mullen said. “Many of you have turned around troubled corporations, or restructured firms. Our challenges will not precisely be yours, but I'll bet we can take a lesson or two from what you've seen.”
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Study: Preserving defense capacity ‘imperative' as DOD budgets shrink
Source: The Hill, By John T. Bennett
The United States is at risk of losing its capacity to build cutting-edge weaponry unless the Defense Department moves to manage the defense sector in an era of budget cuts, a think tank with close ties to the Pentagon warned Wednesday.
The Pentagon is mulling ways to trim about $350 billion over a decade in the wake of the August debt deal. And if a special congressional panel fails to find around $1.2 trillion in additional federal cuts, the Pentagon would be forced to absorb a large chunk of $600 billion in further security cuts.
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Arizona Guard embarks on resiliency training
By Army Sgt. Edward Balaban
Arizona National Guard
PHOENIX (9/22/11) - The Arizona National Guard is establishing a new standard for its personnel in response to the stresses and strains on service members and their families as a result of serving a nation that has been involved in overseas conflicts for almost a decade.

Known as the "Be Resilient Program," this new endeavor focuses on the prevention - before -, intervention - during - and postvention - after - phases of one's ability to cope with stress and adversity, and the willingness of that individual to find and use resources that can aid in dealing with those sources of stress and adversity.

"In the past, efforts were aimed at trying to prevent a service member from falling over the edge of the cliff [suicide]. The Be Resilient Program seeks to keep service members from getting close to that edge by imparting skills and intervening way before that point," said Army Capt. John Harrison, a liaison officer from the Arizona National Guard's 98th Aviation Troop Command.
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NATO Extends Operations in Libya
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2011 – NATO will extend its security mission in Libya to protect civilians there against continued threats, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced today. Rasmussen, who visited New York this week for meetings of the U.N. General Assembly, said NATO's North Atlantic Council decided today to extend the mandate of Operation Unified Protector, “while keeping the situation under regular review.”
“Together with our partners, NATO has been remarkably successful in fulfilling the mandate of the United Nations,” he said. “But while threats to civilians persist, we will continue to protect them under the mandate” of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2009, and at the request of the National Transition Council, Libya's interim national government.
NATO began the operations with U.S. military support last spring to protect Libyan civilians during a widespread uprising that drove longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi from power. The National Transition Council was formed in the wake of the rebel fighters' victory. Representatives of 60 nations attended a “Friends of Libya” summit in Paris on Sept. 1 to discuss the country's way forward.

“We are determined to continue our mission for as long as necessary, but ready to terminate the operation as soon as possible,” Rasmussen said today. “While the technical rollover is for up to 90 days, the review will allow us to end our tasks at any time.”
NATO's decisions to end the operations will be done in cooperation with the United Nations and Libyan authorities, he said.“This decision sends a clear message to the Libyan people,” Rasmussen said. “We will be there for as long as necessary, but not a day longer, while you take your future in your hands to ensure a safe transition to the new Libya.”

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