May 06, 2008 17:55 UTC
Over the next 5 years, the US Army plans to invest some $40 billion in military construction on American bases, in order to provide lodgings and facilities for soldiers and their families. As “The Army’s Building Boom” [PDF] notes, many of these facilities are leveraging construction ideas and even designs from suburban America. Some of the military’s existing facilities, however, still need to be upgraded, and project delays can have serious public impacts when soldiers return home. A recent YouTube video by a soldier’s father has triggered scrutiny and action at Ft. Bragg, NC, and also illustrated the changing power of distributed media with respect to the military and information operations.
Sgt. Jeff Frawley of the 82nd Airborne, 2-508 recently returned from Afghanistan to a barracks that had been partially renovated in terms of heating, ventilation and air conditioning, but still had issues like backed up sewage that was several inches deep, broken toilets, peeling lead-based paint, broken drinking fountain pipes with escaping sewer gas, and other issues. His father Edward Frawley says he had seen the barracks in these conditions several times over the last few of years. He says that he finally decided he would go public after the unit returned from Afghanistan and he still saw a building that “should be condemned.” In the modern era, however, Frawley did not have to find a media outlet interested in doing a story about his son’s barracks. He simply posted his pictures and narration on YouTube on April 22/08. Distribution picked up quickly, leading to a flurry of attention from Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Dick Cody, Sen. Elizabeth Dole [R-NC], CNN and other news outlets, a tour of Congressional staffers, and releases from the military itself.
Sgt. Frawley’s and Charlie company had returned a month early. Even so, given the conditions, the military has apologized and reacted swiftly in the wake of the video. Edward Frawley has told CNN that there has been good progress since these details became public. Nevertheless, the issue of older builds and conditions goes beyond this one installation. There are 23 similar buildings at Fort Bragg, each built in the 1950s during the Korean War. All are scheduled to be taken “out of the inventory” in next 5 years, as new barracks come on line in a flurry of construction. In the wake of this incident, and the obvious potential for repeats, senior leadership in the Army has directed all barracks Army-wide receive walk through inspections to determine if they might exhibits similar failures of standards, and to implement immediate fixes if not. See: Edward Frawley’s YouTube video, incl. his narration | CNN Story | CNN video | US Army follow-on release.
May 06, 2008 17:28 UTC
Few of us would argue that soldiers returning from the battlefield deserve treatment for stress as well as wounds, as a moral obligation. Not to mention preventative programs and techniques similar to those discussed in Grossman’s On Combat book and “Bulletproof Mind” presentations, Richard Strozzi-Heckler’s work in SOCOM’s Trojan Warrior Project (1980s), the Marine Martial Arts Program, the new Warrior Mind Training et. al.
DID has covered a number of programs and issues related to soldier medical care. When analyzing current or proposed situations, however, it helps to know some math. This is true for all military programs, and it is true here. Since DID often provides statistics, and the issue appears to be current, we offer these:
If Bloomberg news is correct, 1.6 million American troops have been to Iraq or Afghanistan during this war, and about 4,560 have died to this point. If those 1.6 million people have exactly the same rate of suicide as the general population for the rest of their lives, the national rate of suicide in 2005 for ages 15 and up was 13.14 per 100,000. Assume that the average age of the soldiers is 30, and a conservative estimate gives them 40 years of exposure to the risk of suicide. 1.6 million x (13.14/100,000) x 40 years = 8,409 suicides at rates exactly equivalent to the American population as a whole. Versus about 4,560 killed so far in almost 7 years of combat. Media coverage that is surprised by this casualty comparison, and portrays soldiers as generally unbalanced on that basis, opens itself to serious professional questions. Perhaps enlistments in Raytheon’s Math Moves U program could be arranged.
You would also wish to know military statistics for suicide, of course (17.3/100,000 overall, 19.9/100,000 for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan), as well as general population statistics for men age 20-44 (21.82/100,000) and women age 20-44 (5.54/100,000) per 2004/05 figures. Adjusted for US military figures of 17% women, an equivalent general American population would have a near-term annual suicide rate of 19.06 per 100,000.
May 06, 2008 12:45 UTC
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As of July 2007, Raytheon Technical Services held the US Army contract for live training support, Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) carries the contract for virtual training (simulators), and General Dynamics the one for constructive training (computer models & game-like simulations). More than 3,400 contractors served more than 150 manned sites and 458 unmanned sites with training devices world-wide.
The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office, Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI) office has been working for the last couple of years on a new approach that does away with the 3 domains, in order to put the full focus on delivering whatever training support is needed and appropriate, in whatever manner works best. The Warfighter Field Operations Customer Support (Warfighter FOCUS) contract would consolidate operations, maintenance, systems integration and engineering support services for the Army’s live, virtual and constructive training systems into a single 10-year, $11-12 billion package once existing contracts expire on Oct 31/07.
On one side was the Warrior Training Alliance (WTA), led by prime contractor Raytheon Technical Services Company LLC and Computer Sciences Corporation. One the other side was the Warfighter FOCUS Alliance (WFA), led by General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Saab. Each team had a roster that included other major and minor players, and DID details both teams below. The winner was the Raytheon-led WTA, and integration is now proceeding…
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May 06, 2008 11:44 UTC
Key AMRAAM derivatives include a ground-launched version intended to provide short-medium range mobile anti-aircraft coverage and cruise missile defense. In the USA, the derivative is known as SLAMRAAM, or CLAWS (by the US Marines, who withdrew in 2006). Internationally, Norway and the Netherlands have bought ground-launched AMRAAMs as part of a Raytheon/ Kongsberg system called NASAMS.
The DoD Inspector General found that the Army needed to “rebaseline” the $623 million contract due to “contractor technical difficulties” and “increased contract costs” – and blames the Army. The Army disagrees. Meanwhile, field testing has begun.
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