Friday, January 29, 2016

Noteworthies with a Local Link

The chief of staff, Army announced the assignment of Brig. Gen. Robert J. Ulses, deputy commanding general (support), 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to deputy chief of staff, G-3/5/7, Army Training and Doctrine Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Massing of the Colors 2016

The Massing of the Colors is a patriotic ceremony honoring those who have served in the United States of America and honoring the youth of today who carry on the patriotic tradition.

The world-class I Corps Army Band, which creates bonds between the United States Army and the Pacific Northwest community, will be playing their inspiring selection of music celebrating George Washington, our first patriot in the long line of patriots who have served our country well.

Massing of the Colors began in 1919 by military officers who served in the Great War (World War I/WW I).  In 1923, the Military Order of the World War assumed responsibility for the Massing of the Colors nationwide and still has the responsibility across the nation.

Attendance is free to the public.

Youth and adult organizations can participate by contacting Col. Carroll Dickson by Feb. 12. 2106.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Boeing Provides Training to NATO

The Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) program will soon train C-17 aircrews at Boeing’s [NYSE: BA] C-17 International Training Centre (ITC) in the United Kingdom under a new $8 million contract.

SAC is comprised of ten NATO countries and two NATO Partnership for Peace countries. The program will begin training its multinational aircrews early this year. Prior to this contract, the SAC program sent aircrews to the United States for training.

“Boeing met the customer need to have access to affordable, high-quality training for aircrews from smaller countries with limited resources,” said Larry Sisco, C-17 training program manager. “Having regional training is a big cost and time savings for the SAC Program.”

As part of the contract, the U.S. Air Force inspected and recognized Boeing’s C-17 training simulators at the ITC as being fully able to train C-17 aircrews. The ITC houses a weapons systems trainer, loadmaster station and an integrated maintenance procedure trainer.
“The U.S. Air Force gave us their stamp of approval,” Sisco said. “They were thrilled with our simulator capability and how concurrent the simulators are with the C-17 aircraft.”

On behalf of the SAC program, the NATO Airlift Management (NAM) Programme Office requested this capability to meet the requirements of nations who make up this multinational program. In addition, the NAM Programme Office has ownership and is responsible for acquiring, managing and supporting NATO’s Strategic Airlift Capability aircraft, including three Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifters, that member nations can call upon to fulfill national operational needs.

“This contract to deliver training to NATO forces demonstrates Boeing’s commitment to the C-17 fleet and a truly global approach to our training service,” said Joanne Finch, head of Boeing Defense United Kingdom Training Systems and Government Services.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

JBLM to conduct test firing of HIMARS RRPR in March

JBLM announced today it plans to conduct test firing of up to 27 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) Reduced Range Practice Rockets (RRPR) over a three-day period at JBLM during the week of March 14-18 to measure the noise from the rocket firing.

In March 2015, JBLM initiated an Environmental Assessment (EA) to measure the level of noise that would be created by a field artillery unit executing the RRPR test firing. Today, the JBLM Garrison Commander signed the Finding of No Significant Impact for the EA entitled “Noise Assessment for Test Launches of the Reduced Ranged Practice Rocket at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.”

“I have decided that the information and data we will obtain from a series of test firing of the RRPR at JBLM is valuable enough to authorize this action to move forward,” said, Col. Daniel S. Morgan, JBLM garrison commander.

During the proposed test firing, a HIMARS battery will fire up to nine RRPR a day — one at a time — for three days.

The RRPR would be fired in the morning, afternoon, and evening each day from the Hayes Hill firing point southeast into JBLM’s Lewis-Main Artillery Impact Area. The firing point is located about a half-mile east of I-5; and north of I-5 exit 114.

The exact firing dates and times will be publicized prior to the test firings.
JBLM will host an open house to explain the test firing and noise monitoring process prior to the scheduled live firing dates.

RRPR Characteristics: Reduced range rockets (RRPRs) have a range of 5-9 miles and they do not carry any explosives. The rockets reach supersonic velocity in about one second and remain supersonic for about 3.7 miles. The rockets will hit their targets in about 5-6 seconds. For the JBLM test firings the rockets will fly at an altitude of 1,300 feet. RRPRs are unarmed, blunt-nose, high-drag rockets. All fuel is expended within 2-3 seconds after launch, so the rocket will be an empty shell on impact.

Anticipated Noise Level: Noise levels directly under the rockets’ flight path may exceed 140 decibels. Sonic booms may occur. For the RRPR test firing, noise monitoring equipment will be strategically placed around the rockets’ flight path. Noise data from these devices will be gathered to assess the rocket noise throughout the testing region. If noise levels exceed an average of 130 decibels a day (e.g., based on the average noise level of nine rockets) at any monitoring station then stopping the tests will be considered.

The EA and FNSI will be available HERE.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

USAF Also Seeks Rebalance in Civilian Jobs

In a continuing effort to meet Defense Department funding targets and rebalance the civilian workforce, some Air Force installations will implement civilian reduction in force authorities effective through April 4.

Following a major command needs assessment in early August, more than 1,000 civilian overages were identified across 48 Air Force installations going into fiscal year 2016. Having the RIF authorities will assist in the placement of employees not assigned against funded positions and allow greater flexibilities for employees to be placed at their installations while retaining their grade or pay.

“Voluntary efforts to balance the civilian workforce since fiscal year 2014 have moved us significantly closer to our target manning levels,” said Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “We have reduced the number of affected employees through several rounds of voluntary separation and retirement programs as well as reassignments to vacant positions.”

Overage positions have been reduced through pre-RIF placements, hiring controls and several rounds of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay in fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The Air Force no longer has the ability to carry overages when the position is not funded and will use RIF authorities to help place most of the remaining civilians on funded positions.

The RIF authority allows each location to use additional placement options such as: change to lower grade, retain pay/retain grade protections, and waiver of qualifications to place additional affected employees. The remaining employees will be offered registration in the DOD Priority Placement Program and receive consideration for future vacancies according to their registration.

“Although we have made great strides, we still have a number of affected employees to place into funded vacancies, and RIF authorities will enable us to achieve that goal,” said Debra Warner, the director of civilian force management policy. “The Air Force recognizes and strives to balance the invaluable contributions of our civilian workforce with the fiscal realities under which the DOD and the government as a whole are operating.”

The processes available use RIF procedures to determine employee placement rights into vacancies as well as provide the flexibility to waive qualifications to create more placement options.

“We will take care of our civilian Airmen by using every possible measure to minimize personal financial hardship for our civilian workforce and their families,” Grosso said. “We are committed to assisting each individual through this transition.”

The fiscal 2016 civilian RIF implementation is separate from sequestration actions.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

SSMCP Announces New Program Manager

The new South Sound Military & Communities Partnership (SSMCP) Program Manager is William (Bill) Adamson. Bill recently retired as a colonel after 30 years in the United States Army. He and his family are happy to return to the South Sound after two previous duty assignments at (then) Fort Lewis.

Monday, January 4, 2016

MAF: Intros Col. Morgan & I-5 at JBLM

Military Affairs Committee

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber

Date & Time:  Wednesday, Jan. 20, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.

Event Sponsor:

The event fee will be complimentary, hosted by our sponsor, for invited Military Personnel who reserve with Janice Hutchins, (253) 683-4882 or


1)       Col.  Daniel S. Morgan, Joint Base Commander
An Introduction


Bill Elliott, WSDOT Olympic Region
I-5, JBLM Vicinity - Congestion Relief

                                                                                                                            A presentation will be provided by Bill Elliott, WSDOT Project Manager, on the status of the work and delivery plan for the corridor improvements. With Connecting Washington transportation revenue approved by the legislature, WSDOT is moving forward to deliver improvements along the I-5 corridor through JBLM to relieve chronic traffic congestion.  There have been some changes since October regarding JBLM's DuPont Gate and possible I-5 improvements in that area of the corridor. 


February 10             Monthly Military Affairs Forum
June 15                    Evergreen Fleet Cruise


Visit the “Tacoma-Pierce Co. Veteran & Business Service” Facebook page.  Like the page to stay informed of workplace opportunities for transitioning vets and vets as well as current information.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Santa's Trip to be Tracked

NORAD officials say the command does plan to provide live tracking of Santa's travels on Dec. 24, a program the bi-national command has maintained since 1955. 

The Website provides holiday games and activities and will begin live feeds with "up-to-the minute reports and streaming videos from key stops on Santa's trip around the world," says a NORAD release

In 2007, the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site received more than 10.6 million unique visitors from 212 countries. The NTS Operations Center, staffed by 1,012 volunteers last year, responded on Christmas Eve to nearly 95,000 phone calls and received 140,000 e-mails.