Tuesday, April 28, 2009

DoD Allocates More ARRA Dollars to WA

Today, the DoD announced details of more than 850 additional facility improvement projects funded by the ARRA. The $835 million budget for these new projects represents the remaining funds of the first ARRA infrastructure investment list.

These projects will be conducted at Army and Army National Guard facilities. This amount is in addition to the funding allocations of the stimulus bill first announced on March 20, 2009.

For a complete list of old and new projects go to this website. Washington state has new projects #2167-2179, totaling $27,562,000 increased monies over the earlier list. Ft. Lewis: $24,554,000; Yakima: $3,008,000.

Noteworthies with a Local Link

From the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
April 28, 2009

Rear Adm. (lower half) William D. French, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as commander, Navy Region Southwest, San Diego, Calif. French is currently serving as commander, Navy Region Marianas/U.S. Pacific Command Representative, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau/commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas, Guam. RAdm. French formerly served as Commander, Navy Region Northwest in 2007-08.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

WA Sets Site for Returning Vets

Gov. Chris Gregoire and The Adjutant General, Major General Timothy Lowenberg, announced a new web site to support members of the Washington National Guard and their families as they transition home from deployments.

“As our brave citizen soldiers and airmen are serving their country and this state so very well, it is our responsibility to serve them and their families as they transition home,” said Gregoire. “While in Iraq last January, I heard again and again that a major concern of soldiers was the economy and having a job once they get home. This web site is a starting point to address their concerns and support them in this challenging economy.”

The new Families & Veterans web site is designed to be a one-stop center for all Washington National Guard Veteran and Family Readiness services. Dedicated National Guard staff and state workers stand ready to help by providing resources that helps soldiers with job searching and career development, and programs to support family health, counseling and other services.

"Taking care of our Guard members and their families continues to be our chief priority. I am excited about the wide access and array of resources available on this web site," said Lowenberg.
Employers are encouraged to visit the web site as well to find more information on how they can reach out to transitioning Guard members.

The Washington Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Employment Security Department and other state agencies are working together with the Washington National Guard to ensure the best possible service for our troops.

For more information please visit Families and Veteran’s web portal.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reflection Park on P.C. List

Ft. Lewis's Reflection Park is on the Pierce County budget for $10,000 in funding reports Dick Muri, Pierce County Councilmember.

“Pierce County has a long history of memorializing our military heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This small appropriation is a good start to constructing the memorial park at Fort Lewis,” Muri says.

Reflection Park is to be six acres in the heart of Fort Lewis. Although at the Army post, all uniformed Services: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Washington State National Guard, will be honored.

The Park will memorialize the names of fallen servicemen and women with ties to Washington state. The memorial will span all major conflicts, coincident with the history of Fort Lewis, from the Great War (WW I) through the current conflict with provision for future sacrifices.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leg Passes Interstate Schools Compact

The Washington State Senate at 5PM Monday concurred with the House amendment on SSB 5248 and voted 43-1-1 to pass the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. Now on to Governor Gregoire, who is expected to sign it.

The House amendment struck the null & void clause for funding that was in the Senate's original bill. The fiscal note will indeed be funded at $49K annually, out of the state budget.

Many thanks to all who helped in this effort, including the Task Force membership, military family-friendly legislators, the Puget Sound Regional Council, School District Superintendents, OSPI leaders, School Liaisons from the military installations, the Tacoma News Tribune, and most especially to the military families who showed up to testify. Sincere thanks go to Senator Steve Hobbs and Representative Christine Rolfes, our diligent sponsors for this effort.

As the seventh largest military state, our 29,000 active duty military-dependent school children, and activated Guard/Reserve member school children, will now join at least 14 other states (the compact is now on the Governors' desks in Alaska, Maryland and Hawaii, with other states to follow) as a compact state seeking a level playing field for the difficult school transition issues that arise when military families move from state to state while serving our Nation.

As soon as we know of the bill signing ceremony, Mark San Souci will pass on the time and place for those interested in attending. The effective date of the bill is 90 days after adjournment of the legislative session in which the bill is passed: July 25, 2009.

As we learn more about implementation of the compact in our state, based on creation of the State Council prescribed in the law, Mark will pass that information on to you also.

It's a great day for our military families!

Friday, April 17, 2009

PNWNSF Grand Success

Without a doubt, attendees were treated to an overall exceptional afternoon at the annual Pacific Northwest National Security Forum.

Ambassador Darryl Johnson gave a remarkably forthright keynote address, balancing insights from diplomatic experience with knowledgeable evaluations of the competitive and partnering between China and the U.S. over the years.

Most memorable was a concluding comment by BG (ret.) Neal Sealock, former U.S. Defense attache', China. When asked how our current considerations to forgo additional F-22 and missile defense development and production, he replied: (If you're asking me) "where we're going as a nation - I can probably give you the Chinese answer before I can give you ours."

More comments on the PNWNSF will be added to this blog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Noteworthies with a Local Link

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced that the President has made the following nomination(s):

April 2, 2009
Navy Reserve Capt. Douglas J. Asbjornsen has been nominated for appointment to the grade of rear admiral (lower half). Asbjornsen is currently serving as deputy commander, Navy Region Northwest, Reserve Component Command Northwest, Everett, WA.

April 16, 2009
Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert R. Allardice has been nominated for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general with assignment as commander, Eighteenth Air Force, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, IL. Allardice is currently serving as director, strategy, plans and policy, J-5, Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL.

Military Spouse Career Fair

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Invisible Man Wears Camo

Lakewood today began a regional coordinated response to the growth occurring - and more ahead - at Fort Lewis.

About 30 agencies and 84 registered attendees spent this morning understanding the issues of education, transportation, housing, utilities & emergency services and quality of life/support network along with consideration of economic opportunities and workforce development. The session was facilitated by Erika Schmidt, Pres., Frause.

Thanks: Ft. Lewis

Issue synopses were presented by:

  • Tom Knight, Deputy Garrison Commander, Ft. Lewis

  • Gaylord Higa, Deputy Base Civil Engineer, 62nd AW, McChord AFB

  • Amanda Fagan, Project Manager, Office of Economic Adjustment/DoD

  • James A. Noone, Clark & Weinstock
Fort Lewis has been an exceptional story in the region's economy. But that growth has been invisible to most. To some extent, its growth has been hidden by deployments and to some extent its growth has been hidden in this large metropolitan area. But grow Ft. Lewis has to a giant economic force!

Local governments are awakening to that invisible force, recognizing that it has needs and impacts just as any other major employer does. The purpose of today's event was to develop a comprehensive approach to addressing those needs for the benefits of soldiers, their families and all their friends and neighbors around the installation.

Today's activity was a follow-up and expansion of an OEA-approved grant to Lakewood focused on the Lakewood-Ft. Lewis segment of Interstate 5. After the many agencies representatives spent brainstorming time on the issue categories, and a report-back session, forum organizers promised a compilation and opportunity to contribute further. A next session is planned for September.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Corps Takes Up Duties

Our I Corps at work and in the spotlight. Please enjoy the photos provided by Frank A. Grippe, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, CSM.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Amoeba Splits, Abeoma Joins

With the inexorable progress down the road to Joint Basing for various installations - and especially for us here in the PNW, it pays to be attentive to discussions of Joint Basing.

The GAO (Government Accountability Office) has just released a new report on the standards and costs at Joint Bases. If you've not noticed, Joint Base Lewis-McChord (or McLewis as the wags would have it) is in our horizon, and its component parts do make mention in the GAO report.

The bottom line is that DoD is underfunding base sustainability. At McChord, the GAO found 82% of standard service levels met while at Ft. Lewis, 65% of current service levels met the standard. For 2008, the Army budgeted at 89% and the Air Force at 90% of sustainment requirements.

One could only hope that the current levels of funding anticipated from ARRA (Stimulus Bill) will catch up that funding shortfall.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Chamber Seeks Citizen-Soldier/Airman

Our nation continues its reliance on the citizen-soldiers for the many and diverse missions in support of our defense. These citizens perform a dual role as defenders and civilian contributors to our community. They are citizens of our community and soldiers of our nation.

The Chamber wishes to recognize, with the 28th annual presentation, the Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year. Your nominee is desired. Nominees may currently be called to active duty.

Guidelines are:
1. A Reservist or National Guard member, any service;
2. A resident of Tacoma or Pierce County;
3. Professional in both military and civilian occupations;
4. An exemplary volunteer in the community.
5. Additional consideration will be given if the nominee is an employee of a Chamber member or owns a business that is a Chamber member.

Selection of the honoree will be made by the Military Affairs Committee of the Chamber. Presentation of the Award will be at the May 5, 2009 meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Tacoma, 11:45 a.m. at the Elks Club, 1965 So. Union Street, Tacoma. You will be informed of the ceremonies if you submit a nomination.

Submit nominees to the Chamber. Include: Nominee’s name, unit and contact info as well as the reasons for nomination. The deadline for submitting nominees is April 24, 2009.

Thank you for your cooperation and acknowledgement of the importance of our citizen-soldiers.