Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Boeing Puts New Trainers at McChord, W-P

The Air Force Magazine Online reports the Air Force has awarded Boeing a $44 million contract to supply C-17 integrated training centers to three Globemaster bases, the company announced.

Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, will receive the first ITC in the first quarter of 2012. JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., which has 54 C-17s, will receive the second system in the third quarter of 2012, and an undisclosed third location will receive the third in early 2013.

"We are proud to add to the Air Force's training capability and support warfighter readiness with these new devices," said Mark McGraw, who oversees Boeing's training systems.

The ITCs consist of a weapon systems trainer, pilot and co-pilot station, loadmaster station, and related courseware and support equipment. The contract could be worth up to $72 million if two options are exercised. Wright-Patt is set to receive next year the first of eight C-17s that the Air Force will bed down there.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hear About JBLM Growth Coordination Plan

Military Affairs Committee
Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber


Featuring: Final Report Growth Coordination Plan for JBLM.

Dan Penrose, City of Lakewood lead planner, will report on the Final Growth Coordination Plan for the Department of Defense/Office of Economic Adjustment funded study of the growth impacts associated with the expansion of JBLM.

The road map for improved collaboration in the South Sound - the Joint Base Lewis McChord Growth Coordination Plan - has been posted to the public website for your review and future use. The consultants have taken considerable time to work on improving the tone of the Plan, streamlining recommendations and strategies, and alerting our audience of the importance of JBLM to this region and the incredible opportunities before us.

The JBLM Growth Coordination Plan is available for downloading through the link provided here. To facilitate reviewing and downloading, both the Executive Summary and the Plan are provided in separate files. For those of you interested in the technical materials that support the recommendations of the Plan, stand-alone files of each Appendix are provided.

Date & Time: WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Place: La Quinta Inn, 1425 E. 27th St., Tacoma 98421
Price: $13.00 pre-paid on or before Jan. 7
$15.00 pre-paid after Jan. 7
$20.00 walk-ins/at the door
Information: Monique Shields, (253) 627.2175
RSVP: DUE 12 noon, Jan. 10 (Monday)
Register: Online Link


C-9 Blog The Chamber’s newest blog: C-9 Blog, focuses on the armed forces and civilian relationships, with an emphasis on the Pacific Northwest. Please visit and subscribe to this free information source.

2010-11 Calendar: as of Aug. 18, 2010

Chamber on Facebook You can now find an official Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Facebook page.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Leadership Speaks About DADT

Statement by Secretary Robert Gates on Senate Vote to Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

"I welcome today's vote by the Senate clearing the way for a legislative repeal of the 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' law.

"Once this legislation is signed into law by the President, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully. This effort will be led by Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and himself a retired Marine Corps major general and infantry officer.

"The legislation provides that repeal will take effect once the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that implementation of the new policies and regulations written by the Department is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. As I have stated before, I will approach this process deliberately and will make such certification only after careful consultation with the military service chiefs and our combatant commanders and when I am satisfied that those conditions have been met for all the Services, commands and units.

"It is therefore important that our men and women in uniform understand that while today's historic vote means that this policy will change, the implementation and certification process will take an additional period of time. In the meantime, the current law and policy will remain in effect.

"Successful implementation will depend upon strong leadership, a clear message and proactive education throughout the force. With a continued and sustained commitment to core values of leadership, professionalism and respect for all, I am convinced that the U.S. military can successfully accommodate and implement this change, as it has others in history."

Statement by Adm. Mike Mullen on Senate Vote to Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

"I am pleased to see the Congress vote to repeal the law governing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Handling this through legislation preserves the military's prerogative to implement change in a responsible, deliberate manner.

"More critically, it is the right thing to do. No longer will able men and women who want to serve and sacrifice for their country have to sacrifice their integrity to do so. We will be a better military as a result.

"I look forward to working with Secretary Gates and the Service chiefs as we set about the task of preparing and certifying the joint force to implement the new law. And I am committed to making sure that process is well-led, maintains our combat readiness and upholds our high standards."

Friday, December 17, 2010

FINAL: Joint Base Growth Coordination Plan Available

The road map for improved collaboration in the South Sound - the Joint Base Lewis McChord Growth Coordination Plan - has been posted to the public website for your review and future use. The consultants have taken considerable time to work on improving the tone of the Plan, streamlining recommendations and strategies, and alerting our audience of the importance of JBLM to this region and the incredible opportunities before us.

The JBLM Growth Coordination Plan is available for downloading through the links provided here. To facilitate reviewing and downloading, both the Executive Summary and the Plan are provided in separate files. For those of you interested in the technical materials that support the recommendations of the Plan, stand-alone files of each Appendix are provided.

Thank you to all of the stakeholders that have devoted their time and energy to support this process and their dedication to improving the quality of life in the South Puget Sound region.

Smith Wins Post as Ranking Member

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., is to be the next ranking (Democrat, Republican as Chair) member of the House Armed Services Committee.
The contest for the top Democratic job on the A-list committee came down to Smith and Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., but the seven-term Washington Democrat ultimately won.
“I appreciate the support and vote of confidence from my colleagues on the Steering and Policy Committee,” Smith said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday night. “After a thorough and lengthy vetting process, which allowed all members of the Steering and Policy Committee to fully understand the positions, policies, and experience of all three candidates, it is an honor to receive the nomination to serve as ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee.”
House Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, had also vied for the Armed Services job.
Smith now serves as the chairman of the Armed Services Air and Land Subcommittee, which oversees Army and Air Force programs and is arguably the most powerful of the panel’s seven subcommittees. He previously served as chairman of the Terrorism and Unconventional Threats Subcommittee.
Smith today (serving now as the Chair, Air and Land Forces Subcommittee) commented on the 2011 National Defense Authorization Bill:
“This legislation supports the men and women of our Armed Forces by ensuring that they have the resources they need. It places our policies and priorities exactly where they belong – on our troops and their families.
“The bill authorizes a 1.4 % pay raise for our troops, strengthens military health care and family support programs, and authorizes numerous other programs that will assist military families. It builds on the Committee’s efforts to support our military personnel and ensures that our military is properly resourced to meet the threats we face today, as well as those of the future.
“In addition to accomplishing these goals, this legislation contains vital provisions that will improve the Department of Defense acquisition system to ensure that the Pentagon spends taxpayer dollars in the most efficient and effective manner.
“As the Chairman of the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, I am pleased to see this legislation authorizes funding for the procurement and research development programs to ensure that our soldiers and airmen have the equipment and resources they need to carry out their missions. This includes funding for programs such as Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles, equipment for the National Guard and Reserve, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems, as well as other vital equipment and systems used by the Army and Air Force.
“This bill is vitally important to our national security and I am proud of the support that it provides to our troops and their efforts to keep us safe. I believe it strikes the right balance between fighting the conflicts of today, while preparing our forces for the conflicts of the future.”

I Corps Picked for Afghanistan

The Department of Defense identified today eight major units to deploy as part of upcoming rotations of forces operating in Afghanistan. The scheduled rotation for these replacement forces will begin in early 2011 and continue through the fall of 2011.

The announcement involves one headquarters:  I Corps Headquarters, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
The headquarters totals 800 personnel. 

Other units:  two combat aviation brigades totaling 5,500 personnel, and five infantry brigade combat teams totaling 18,000 personnel.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New BAH Rates for 2011

The Department of Defense released today the 2011 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates, which take effect Jan. 1, 2011. While overall rates will decrease an average of 0.59 percent, because of the individual rate protection provision, the average change service members will see is a 1.1 percent increase.

Individual rate protection ensures that individual members already assigned to a given location will not see their BAH rate decrease, though they will receive the increase if the rate goes up. This assures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area's housing costs decrease. Any decreases only apply to members newly reporting to a location.

A typical junior enlisted member with dependents will find his/her BAH about $39 per month higher than last year, while a senior non-commissioned officer with dependents will receive about the same amount as last year.

Three components are included in the BAH computation: median current market rent; average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) and average renter's insurance.

Total housing costs are calculated for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area. BAH rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents. An estimated $19 billion will be paid to over 1 million service members in 2011.

For more information on BAH, visit this site.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanks to Air Force Falconaires Band

The Air Force Academy Falconaires Jazz Band performed recently to over 400 concert-goers in the Mt. Tahoma High School Auditorium.  For more than their excellent performance and the enjoyment of the evening, we say "Thanks!"

The Chamber encourages you to also say "thanks" to these local businesses and organizations whose supportive effort gave the Falconaires the opportunity to present the Air Force image and message in our community:

  • TriWest Healthcare Alliance
  • Air Force Association - McChord Chapter
  • Famous Dave's
  • Vic's Espresso
  • The News Tribune
  • Swarner Communications Ft. Lewis Ranger and McChord Airlifter
  • Tacoma Public School District
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Report

In a statement issued yesterday, President Barack Obama urged the Senate to act swiftly so he can sign the repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law this year, citing the Defense Department’s report as proof that the nation “can transition to a new policy in a responsible manner.”

Here is the full text of the president’s statement:

As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law because it weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness and equality by preventing patriotic Americans who are gay from serving openly in our armed forces. At the same time, as Commander in Chief, I am committed to ensuring that we understand the implications of this transition, and maintain good order and discipline within our military ranks. That is why I directed the Department of Defense earlier this year to begin preparing for a transition to a new policy.

Today’s report confirms that a strong majority of our military men and women and their families -- more than two thirds -- are prepared to serve alongside Americans who are openly gay and lesbian. This report also confirms that, by every measure -- from unit cohesion to recruitment and retention to family readiness -- we can transition to a new policy in a responsible manner that ensures our military strength and national security. And for the first time since this law was enacted 17 years ago today, both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have publicly endorsed ending this policy.

With our nation at war and so many Americans serving on the front lines, our troops and their families deserve the certainty that can only come when an act of Congress ends this discriminatory policy once and for all. The House of Representatives has already passed the necessary legislation. Today I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally. Our troops represent the virtues of selfless sacrifice and love of country that have enabled our freedoms. I am absolutely confident that they will adapt to this change and remain the best led, best trained, best equipped fighting force the world has ever known.

Here is the press conference by the SecDef and others.

Monday, November 22, 2010

AUSA Recognizes Chamber Leader

Making a special trip this snowy morning, George Coan, (Col., ret., USA), Director, National Security Studies with the Association of the U.S. Army, recognized David Graybill, retiring Pres./CEO of the Chamber.

In the picture are David Graybill (l) accepting an "AUSA" Commemorative watch from George Coan (r).

Coan worked with Graybill for many years through their connections with Fort Lewis-the Pentagon-Washington, D.C. links.  Graybill started the Chamber's annual Washington-to-Washington, D.C. trips where local Tacoma-Pierce County delegations met with Pentagon and Congressional members to discuss local base and defense issues. 

Graybill frequently called on AUSA and George Coan for up-to-the-instant briefings of current doings on Capitol Hill.  Coan prepped the local delegations with "read aheads" covering people-ware, hardware and program issues. 

Through their work together, both the community and the Army benefitted.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Noteworthies With a Local Link

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

Army Brig. Gen. Lloyd Miles has been nominated for appointment to the rank of major general. Miles is currently serving as deputy commanding general, I Corps and Joint Base Lewis McChord, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

C-17s for ANG

The Air Force announced today its preferred basing decision for eight C-17 aircraft at an Air National Guard location.

The preferred base approved by the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force is: Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y. Along with the C-17 basing action, 12 C-5A aircraft assigned to Stewart will be retired.

"The Air Force has completed its initial analysis of a full range of alternatives and determined that basing the C-17 at Stewart is the preferred alternative," said Kathleen Ferguson, Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations.

"This is not a final basing decision; it is the alternative we believe will fulfill our mission responsibilities while considering economic, environmental, and technical factors," she said.

Once the environmental impact analysis process is complete then a final decision will be made.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Military Citizen of 2010 Announced

Today, the Chamber presented the 32nd annual John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award to SMSgt. Michael Lantz.  The award was presented by sponsor George Cargill, TriWest Healthcare Alliance at the Veterans Day meeting of Tacoma Rotary Club #8.

SMSgt. Michael Lantz and George Cargill, TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

The presentation of the John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award was begun to commemorate the civic contributions by our resident military personnel. It is named for John Anderson, who served as Tacoma’s Mayor, as our Chamber of Commerce Chair of the Board and as a successful businessman.

SMSgt. Lantz is a worthy role model, not only for uniformed personnel, but for all the citizens of our community. Although our many uniformed military personnel give to the community eachday, every day, we bestow this honor on a single person as representative.

SMSgt. Lantz is currently the first sergeant for the 361st Recruiting Squadron, JBLM-McChord Field.

Since arriving with his unit, SMSgt. Lantz became involved with the Seattle gift sharing program, delivering Christmas presents to low income youth centers, foster care groups, elderly centers and at risk youth programs. During the back-to-back snow storms of 2008, SMSgt. Lantz and his fellow volunteers securing four-wheel drive vehicles and worked almost to midnight guaranteeing Christmas to the less fortunate. Over the past three Christmases, SMSgt. Lantz and his volunteers have delivered over 9.000 Christmas presents.

SMSgt. Lantz became involved with the Paint Tacoma Beautify program in the summer of 2008. He volunteers to be a partial crew lead and took on the responsibility of a home identified by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Over five weeks, he and his team prepared, primed and painted the house. Then they weeded the garden and trimmed trees and shrubbery. Next year, SMSgt. Lantz became a member of the Paint Tacoma Beautiful planning committee. Through his efforts, there were 10 military teams, donating over 1,000 hours for 12 newly painted homes.

During the 2008-2009 school year, SMSgt. Lantz was nominated to the Carter Lake Site Council. From this position, he tackled the communications between parents and teachers. After implementing new communications tools, parent volunteerism doubled and complaints drastically reduced. Before the 2009-2010 school year, SMSgt. Lantz suggested a “Clean Up Carter Lake Day.” The resulting over 50 volunteers pressure washed sidewalks, trimmed bushes, dug flower beds, painted hallways and bathrooms, raked leaves and spread two dump trucks of beauty bark.

There is no question that SMSgt. Lantz devotes countless hours and boundless energy to improving and serving his community.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

CDL For Military Training

Beginning November 1, getting a CDL just got easier for military personnel with specialized truck driver training, thanks to the new Military Training Certification Process.

The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) and Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) have joined forces to help veterans.  The Chamber has been a long time advocate for recognizing applicable military training for professional licenses and certifications.

Here’s how it works:

WDVA staff will assess the training a military member or veteran received in the military and verify whether it meets the required minimum commercial motor vehicle driver training requirements in Washington State. Once verification is made, a Commercial Drivers Military Training Certificate is provided.

Military member and veteran applicants must pass the applicable knowledge and skills test, pay all basic license and commercial drivers license fees, and present the Commercial Drivers Military Training Certificate to DOL in order to be issued a CDL.

Veterans have one year following their release from the military to take advantage of this new program.

We often hear of the challenges our men and women in uniform face when they leave the military and try to find jobs that they qualify for,” said WDVA program manager Ric Price. “This is a tremendous step forward in removing a financial barrier to a smoother transition from military to civilian employment.”

In the past, veterans were required to attend additional and often expensive commercial drivers training programs to learn the skills they had used for years in the military. WDVA’s Helmets to Hardhats liaison Todd Mitchell questioned why this training had to be repeated and worked with a number of organizations to develop this new process. Thanks to the hard work of WDVA, DOL, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Army Reserve Employer Relations, Washington Trucking Association, Teamsters Union and the Washington Defense Partnership, the transition from a military job to a civilian one will require one less step.

This new program allows WDVA to verify an individual CDL applicant has the required minimum commercial motor vehicle driver training requirements provided and documented by a military service.

"This is another instance of agencies working together to make things more seamless for Washingtonians,” said DOL director Liz Luce. “This program is important so that our service members can utilize the training they've received and get right to work in the civilian sector."

For additional information about this new program, contact WDVA at 1-800-562-2308 or contact Ric Price.
In addition to Ric Price, other team members who worked to accomplish this first licensing based on military training are Todd Mitchell, DVA, John Patterson, Army Reserve Employer Relations, Olivia Robinson, Washington Military Partnership and Gary Brackett, Tacoma-Pierce Co. Chamber. Thanks also go to the Washington Truckers Assn. and the Teamsters.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Your Chance to Write 'Em Up

The Department of the Army has published in today’s Federal Register a “Notice of Availability” (NOA) for release of a draft Programmatic EIS for stationing of Army aviation assets.

The addition of the CAB at JBLM was covered earlier in this blog.

Please send written comments on this PEIS to:

Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Environmental Command
Attention:  IMPA–AE
1835 Army Boulevard, Basement (Building 2000)
Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234–2686

The PEIS can be accessed at this website.  Final deadline for comments is 45 days after today's publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two For One

 Our community is honored to have one of our own recognized for two exemplary honors:  the Association of the U.S. Army's Bainbridge Medal and the USO's Volunteer of the Year.

USO Puget Sound Area (USO PSA) volunteer, Herb Schmeling continuously gives his all to the USO, putting our nation’s service members first. As one of the center’s most committed volunteers, he regularly gives 60-80 hours a month, and is always available at a moment's notice. 

Herb eagerly passes on information about USO PSA to the thousands of troops and their families stationed Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base (now JLM). He represents USO PSA at Combined Federal Campaign events and Family Deployment Fairs, making sure the JBLM military community is aware of USO PSA’s programs and services. He was also instrumental in successful Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives, helping serve holiday meals to more than 400 military families.

Affectionately called the “Godfather of Fort Lewis,” Herb was honored for his exceptional efforts, being selected as Fort Lewis’ Volunteer of the Year for 2008. He also was featured on the front cover of the FOCUS, Fort Lewis’ monthly magazine. USO PSA is extremely thankful for the commitment and enthusiasm that Herb displays on an ongoing basis. He inspires everyone around him and is an excellent pick for the Stateside Volunteer of the Year!

The Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) bestowed its prestigious Bainbridge Medal to CMS (ret.) Schmeling at its Oct. 25th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

As a tribute to the Army NCO Corps, the Association of the United States Army established a Noncommissioned Officer Distinguished Service Medal in the year 2000. This award, named for the fifth Sergeant Major of the Army, William G. Bainbridge, USA, Retired and its first recipient is presented to a noncommissioned officer during the opening ceremony at the AUSA Annual Meeting.

The Bainbridge Award recognizes the special role of the noncommissioned officers in America's Army - their responsibilities, accomplishments and the vital role they play in the defense of our nation. The award also highlights the important contributions that NCOs make to America long after they take off the uniform. It recognizes an NCO who has devoted a lifetime of selfless service to our Army, the NCO Corps and to the local community. The Bainbridge Award is presented to a noncommissioned officer - active, reserve component or retired - whose contributions to the NCO Corps and the local community have been significant.
Schmeling served in the Army for 30 years but, AUSA notes, has continued his devotion to the Army and his compassion for soldiers and their families. He volunteers for a variety of local and national military service and support organizations.
As a long-standing member of the Capt. Meriwether Lewis (formerly Ft. Lewis) Chapter of the AUSA, Schmeling personally bid farewell and welcome home to more than 15,000 troops that deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). 
The Godfather of Ft. Lewis has said, his greatest honor came last year when his picture and bio were place on the Madigan Army Medical Center's NCO Wall of Fame.  Schmeling may be seen at any function serving service members and their families as well as representing their interests and well-being as a forthright spokesman throughout the community.  When you see him, as you will, say "Thank you."

Monday, November 1, 2010

NDTA Rolls On (and Off)

The Puget Sound Chapter, NDTA, coordinated a training event allowing members and guests an opportunity to see roll-on/roll-off ships in person and hear from her crew what they do to support the surge of military support when needed. When not in use the ships are part of the Ready Reserve Fleet managed by the Maritime Administration.

Below is a picture taken at the stern ramp of the CAPE ISLAND currently berthed with her sister ship the CAPE INTREPID at the Sperry Ocean Dock, off Ruston Way.

Pictured from right COL Jim Sagen (G3, JBLM), Stephanie O'Donnell (Global Outreach), Damir Sabanovic (DHL), Mary McGarry (Boeing), Lee Noble and Chris Smith (Global Trans), LTC John Redinger (833d), Christina Cyrus (Global Trans), Claudia Roberts (TOTE), Bob Casey (Independent Dispatch), Michael Dayton (TOTE), William Lynn, Gary Coy (Sperry Ocean Dock), MAJ Jim Anderson (833d), Gary Brackett (Tacoma-Pierce Co. Chamber) and SGM Rickey Patterson (833d).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ceremony for 32nd Military Citizen of the Year

Military Affairs Committee presents the 32nd John Anderson Military Citizen of the Year, sponsored by TriWest HealthCare Alliance. 

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee will present the 32nd annual John Anderson Military Citizen of the Year at the Veterans' Day program of Rotary Club No. 8 of Tacoma.  Keynote Speaker is Lt. Col. Daniel Dudek, CO, MAMC’s Warrior Transition Btn.
Lieutenant Colonel Daniel J. Dudek is the commander of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. A former Wounded Warrior, LTC Dudek was approved to remain in the Army due to the continuation on active duty program. As the WTB commander, he oversees the successful healing and transitions of hundreds of Wounded Warriors as they return to the regular Army or become successful civilian Veterans.

Date: Thursday, November 11
Time: 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.
Event: Rotary Club of Tacoma No. 8
Place: Landmark Conference Center
47 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma 98402
Price: $14 with RSVP
No prepayment, collect at the door only

Register: Online
Information: Gary Brackett or 253-627-2175

The Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award is presented to an exemplary recipient who has demonstrated the contributions that active-duty persons make to our community.

About John H. Anderson
John H. Anderson served as Tacoma’s mayor in the early to mid 1950s. He was also a past Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Board of Directors, as well as a successful local businessman.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Military Big Spenders for Retailers

The Washington Retail Association, in today's online edition of Washington Information Network, reports the state is swelling with military personnel who offer retailers a significant customer base.

With 18,000 Army troops returning home this year, the military population at Joint Base Lewis-McChord has grown 45% in the past five years, from 31,000 to 45,000, the Retail Association attributed to Ken Swarner, publisher of The Fort Lewis Ranger newspaper and other publications.

They say Swarner points to Washington's Office of Financial Management statistics to show why retailers should consider military customers in their marketing plans:
  • Military payroll in the South Sound region is $1.8 billion a year. Those funds go to military bank accounts eligible for spending with retailers.
  • Pierce County has the nation's second largest concentration of military retirees, many working second jobs, who collect about $525 million a year in annual pension checks.
  • Military personnel at Joint Base Lewis-McChord account for 20% of Pierce County payrolls.
  • Lewis-McChord accounts for 14% of Pierce County's employment. In smaller counties, it accounts for far more: 68%in Island County, home of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and 36% of Kitsap County, home to the Bremerton Naval Station and Bangor Sub Base.
  • Of the 75% of Lewis-McChord families who live off base, 40% reside in Thurston County.
The Retail Associations says Swarner offers a simple message to retailers struggling to survive the recession; remember the presence of military members in your midst and the difference they can make in improving business.

Reaching out to this market takes using all available means to tell active and Reserve military, veterans and retirees that you appreciate them, he said. You'd be amazed at how a poster in your window or a message on your reader board stating that you support the military can increase your connection with this important group of potential customers. Offer discounts, connect on Facebook, do whatever it takes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nominations Open for Military Citizen Award

Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen compose a vital part of our community. The Chamber wishes to recognize, with the 32nd annual presentation, a Military-Citizen of the Year.

The Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee will make the selection of the honoree. Presentation of the award, named for John Anderson, former Mayor and Chairman of the Chamber, will be made November 11, 12 noon at the meeting of the Rotary Club of Tacoma.

You are requested to submit nominees for this award. The guidelines are:
  • An active-duty Soldier, Airman, Sailor or Marine
  • Residing in Tacoma or Pierce County
  • Professional in military occupation
  • An exemplary volunteer in the community
Nominations should be no longer than two pages, no photos. While military professionalism is important, this is usually a given standard. It is recommended that the nomination focus on the nominee's volunteerism in the community.

The deadline for submitting nominations is Nov. 1. Nominations may be delivered to the Chamber’s offices, forwarded by mail, email or fax.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Should WA Have a Defense/Military Initiative

Egils Milbergs, Executive Director, Washington Economic Development Commission, shared at the Chamber's Military Affairs Forum, an overview of the latest economic impact report:  Washington State's Defense Economy.

Milbergs' presentation was not one-dimensional, as he cast the defense/military industrial sector within the global challenges between nations and economies.  His drill down thesis was how Washington State was going to be an economic winner in the 21st Century.

In exploring these economic dynamics, Milbergs didn't leave us with a question, but posed the actions for an initiative by the State in pursuing and achieving our economic goals.

The next step, deciding among ourselves and convincing our State's leadership of our challenges, our in-hand assets and our opportunities.

Another C-17; This One to Kuwait

The Air Force Magazine Online reports the Defense Department has notified Congress of the possible foreign military sale of one C-17 transport and associated equipment and support services to the Kuwaiti air force under a deal with a total potential value of $693 million.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major non-NATO ally which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East, reads the Defense Security Cooperation Agency's notice.

Kuwait would be the third Middle East C-17 customer. C-17 maker Boeing has already delivered two C-17s to Qatar and is under contract to provide six to the UAE. Other international customers include the UK Royal Air Force, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jobs for Vets Pilot Launches

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS)  agency Monday announced the launch of a 14-state pilot program to help veterans find employment after service to our nation.

Thomas Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, Military veterans are prized by the business community not just for their technical expertise, but also for their leadership skills and dedication.

By leveraging a network of state and local chambers of commerce, this effort will expand on the U.S. Chamber’s “Hiring Our Heroes” initiative, which launched in 2008 to focus on the employment of wounded, ill and injured veterans as they transition from military service. This program involving the U.S. Chamber and DOL VETS will educate employers on the value of hiring veterans and help connect employers with veteran talent.

To support this program, Chamber executives will collaborate with the DOL VETS directors in their states to discuss sponsorship of events that offer veterans the opportunity to network with prospective employers. The pilot program launched in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Georgia. The Chamber’s goal for 2011 is to expand the program into all 50 states.

Let there be no doubt, the Chamber is committed to our military heroes for the long haul, Donohue said. If we’re going to put America back to work and create 20 million jobs, it should start with the veterans who have protected our freedom.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Impact of Defense in Washington State


Date & Time: WEDNESDAY, Oct. 13, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Place: La Quinta Inn, 1425 E. 27th St., Tacoma 98421
Price: $13.00 pre-paid on or before Oct. 8
$15.00 pre-paid after Oct. 8
$20.00 walk-ins/at the door
Information: Monique Shields, (253) 627.2175
RSVP: DUE 12 noon, Oct. 11 (Monday)
Register: Online Link


Egils Milbergs, Executive Director, Washington Economic Development Commission
“The Impact of the Defense/Military Industry in Washington State”

Mr. Milbergs, Executive Director of the Washington Economic Development Commission, will present the recent report prepared by Berk and Associates for the WEDC: Washington State's Defense Economy: Measuring & Growing the Impact. The purpose of the report is to: 1) Create an updated analysis of the economic impact of Washington's bases and defense-relate economy; 2) Identify new and emerging opportunities for WA-based businesses based on trends in national defense strategy; and 3) Develop recommendations for a statewide economic development strategy building on the military presence and expanding Washington's share of national defense contracting.

The Washington Economic Development Commission is an independent, non-partisan commission charged by the legislature with the mission of creating a comprehensive statewide strategy to guide investments in economic development, infrastructure, workforce training, small business assistance, technology transfer and export assistance. The WEDC membership is comprised of business, labor, academic, associations and government leaders

The report is online at: http://www.wedc.wa.gov/Publications.htm should you wish to review it before the meeting.


C-9 Blog
The Chamber’s newest blog: C-9 Blog, focuses on the armed forces and civilian relationships, with an emphasis on the Pacific Northwest. Please visit and subscribe to this free information source.

2010-11 Calendar: as of Aug. 18, 2010

Chamber on Facebook
You can now find an official Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Facebook page on the popular networking site used by over half a billion people.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tacoma Economic Development Committee Focuses on Military

At the invitation of the Tacoma Council's Economic Development Committee, Tuesday I presented an overview of the military contributions and impact on our community.

Tacoma was most interested, understandably, in how our local military, as an industry and as a major employer, effects them.  They were also interested in the economic opportunities that may be generated from a closer relationship.  With the new community partnership between Tacoma and Madigan Army Medical Center, those opportunities play to strengths of Tacoma.

It was gratifying that Tacoma Councilmembers recognize too, the civic contributions of service members, and their "get 're done" attitude.  The positive experiences that Councilmember David Boe shared, with some of his clients as retired military, and how vets become great entrepreneurs, valued employees and community volunteers, was a testimonial to their civic contribution.

I look for an increasingly active and committed response from Tacoma developing and supporting our area servicemembers and installations.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Draft JBLM Growth Coordination Plan Released

Nancy Bird, JBLM Growth Coordination Plan consulting lead (AECOM), reports the release of the Draft JBLM Growth Coordination Plan. An Executive Summary, the Draft Plan, and supporting Appendices are now available on the public website for your review and consideration:

JBLM Growth Coordination Plan or http://www.jblm-growth.com/

It is important to note that the recommendations and strategies included in the Draft Plan may look quite different than those last seen during the Expert Panel discussions. Staff took stakeholder comments to INTEGRATE recommendations seriously, and have developed seven overarching draft recommendations with an accompanying series of strategies within each.

They also recognize that many will still be interested in seeing strategies by Expert Panel resource area. Please refer to the summary tables following the recommendations to help you navigate directly to strategies by resource area, cost, and type.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

National TBI/PTSD Symposium Here

Is this symposium about your business?  Are you a health care specialist supporting or treating potentially injured service members?  Consider how you or your business may participate or gain visibility at this conference.  For more info, contact:  Colonel Jerome Penner or Pamela Foe Colonel Penner's secretary.

The new Tacoma Subchapter of the Capt. Meriwether Lewis Chapter is looking for donations of cup cakes and cakes from bakeries and caters for the TBI/PTSD Symposium being held on November 4th, for military members and their families. Additionally, they are seeking raffle/door prizes for attendees: Certificates and New Items.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Input for Proposed CAB at JBLM

NOTICE:  The Environmental Protection Agency published today (Dec. 17, 2010) in the Federal Register (page 78993) an amended notice (see below) for a Department of the Army action. If you or your organization is commenting on this action, you now have until January 7, 2011 to provide comments to the Army.

EIS No. 20100438, Draft EIS, USA, CO, Programmatic--Growth, Realignment, and Stationing of Army Aviation Assets, Evaluates Environmental Impacts of Stationing Army Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Carson, CO and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA,.

Comment Period Ends:  01/07/2011, Contact: Mike Ackerman 210-295-2273.  Revision to FR Notice Published 11/05/2010; Extending Comment Period from 12/20/2010 to 01/07/2011.


The Army (U.S. Army Environmental Command) is requesting input on proposed combat aviation brigade stationing.

All interested members of the public, including native communities and federally recognized Native American Tribes, federal, state, and local agencies, are invited to submit written comments to identify environmental issues and concerns to be analyzed in the programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS). Written comments will be accepted until Oct. 10. Comments can be sent to Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Environmental Command, 5179 Hoadley Road, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010, e-mailed to:

or faxed to (410) 436-1693.

The Army needs to increase the availability of rotary wing assets to meet current and future national security requirements and intends to prepare a PEIS to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with the proposed growth, realignment, and stationing of new and existing Army aviation assets.

The proposed action includes the consolidation and reassignment of existing aviation units, and the establishment and stationing of one or more Combat Aviation Brigades (CAB). This will allow the Army to organize existing aviation assets to promote more effective training and force management.

The PEIS will include the construction and renovation of garrison facilities and additional training needed to support the establishment and realignment of aviation units.

The Army is considering the following alternatives in the PEIS:

(1) Realign and consolidate existing aviation elements of up to a full CAB at Fort Carson, Colo., or Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.;

(2) Implement those actions discussed in alternative 1; in addition, establish a new CAB and station it at Fort Carson or Joint Base Lewis-McChord; and

(3) No-Action Alternative, which would retain the Army aviation force structure at its current levels at their current locations in their current configuration.

No more than one additional CAB would be assigned to either of the stationing locations being considered. As part of alternatives 1 and 2, aviation units would conduct training on existing training land at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, Colo., or the Yakima Training Center, Wash., to maintain training proficiency and support integrated training with ground units. Land acquisition is not being considered as part of this action.

Fort Carson and Joint Base Lewis-McChord are the only stationing alternatives that meet all of the Army's stationing requirements for new CAB stationing. These locations provide an existing runway and airfield, provide adequate maneuver and airspace for CAB operations, and are equipped with existing aviation training ranges.

Fort Carson and Joint Base Lewis-McChord are the only major installations that have three or more ground maneuver brigade combat teams, allowing the Army to maximize integrated air/ground training. Neither site has a CAB dedicated to provide aviation support for training.

The PEIS will assess, consider, and compare the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental effects from the stationing of up to one additional CAB at each installation. The primary environmental issues to be analyzed will include potential impacts to air quality, soils, airspace, cultural resources, natural resources, noise, and socioeconomics. In addition, the Army will consider those issues identified by the public and other organizations as the part of the scoping process.

Predicted environmental impacts associated with the implementation of the proposed action at Fort Carson and Joint Base Lewis-McChord include increases in aviation activity, potential for wildlife disturbance, as well as additional impacts to soils, biological resources, surface water, and vegetation will be analyzed. Additional vehicle traffic and growth in school population associated with an increase in Soldier populations will also be analyzed.

At the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, cumulative impacts to soils are predicted to be manageable with current dust control mitigation techniques. At the Yakima Training Center, a higher risk of wildfires is anticipated with potential for vegetation and habitat degradation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Environmental Command, 5179 Hoadley Road, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010-5401; (410) 436-2556.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It’s Your Money; Come and Get It

Don’t leave anything on the table!

The Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay deadline for eligible military personnel to submit their claims for this special pay is Oct. 21, 2010. The average benefit is $3,800, and there are over 145,000 eligible service members and veterans. (Only 58,000 claims have been paid.)

DoD and the Services are working hard to remind folks to submit claims!  It’s not a scam. And it’s not a joke. It’s YOUR money, so go get it.

Just in case you had forgotten, the 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act authorized retroactive stop loss special pay of $500 for every month/partial month served in stop loss status. Servicemembers, veterans, and beneficiaries of servicemembers who were involuntarily extended under stop loss between 9/11 and September 30th 2009 are eligible.

The Congress set aside $534.4 million to pay out those funds, but as of the end of last month only $219 million in claims have been paid. Qualifying individuals have served — or are still serving — their country nobly and deserve to be paid the money they’ve earned.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , says: The application process is simple and straightforward. No strings attached. But once the deadline passes, by law it cannot be extended. So jump online and check it out here. at: http://www.defense.gov/stoploss.

Noteworthies With a Local Link

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has nominated Army Maj. Gen. John D. Johnson for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and assignment as commanding general, Eighth U.S. Army/chief of staff, U.N. Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea.  Johnson is currently serving as deputy commanding general, I Corps and Fort Lewis, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Harborstone Credit Union Named 2010 Air Force Credit Union of the Year

Harborstone Credit Union named 2010 Air Force Credit Union of the Year

South Sound institution honored for outstanding service to Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Lakewood, WA (September 16, 2010) – The United States Air Force has awarded its 2010 Air Force Credit Union of the Year honors to Harborstone Credit Union for its commitment to all military personnel and their families on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM).

Harborstone, a Washington state institution serving South Sound and one of the “official” Defense credit unions on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), also won the prestigious national award in 2006.

The 2010 Air Force Credit Union of the year recognizes Defense credit unions that provide exceptional service to local military communities. Harborstone was specifically commended for its extensive support on JBLM-McChord Field, for the fallen Lakewood police officers and military personnel returning from deployments, the Air Mobility Rodeo participants, and numerous events and programs supporting military families.

“We’re passionate about supporting the military personnel—both active and retired—in the communities we serve,” said Phil Jones, Harborstone CEO. “It’s the same approach we take for all of our members. We care about them and want to be a productive partner in their financial lives.”

Harborstone is also known for increasing community awareness and for implementing programs that support the military population. The Military Selection Panel also noted Harborstone’s efforts to combat predatory payday lending by offering financial management training as part of multiple Professional Military Education courses. Harborstone has also been one of the catalysts in forming and leading the Pierce Military & Business Alliance, which manages over $100,000 in annual contributions from local businesses to military causes supporting the military's morale, readiness and retention efforts.

In the award letter to Harborstone, Jamie M. Morin, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Finance Department, commended Harborstone’s “responsiveness to the needs of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, outstanding level of community outreach, financial management training for our Airmen and volunteer initiatives.”

Harborstone was also recognized for its employees’ active involvement with military service organizations, charity fundraising and local recognition programs. In addition, the selection committee praised the level of customer communication through Harborstone’s periodic town-hall meetings and active solicitation of customer feedback in order to improve financial services. Finally, Harborstone was noted for its support of the “Military Saves” program. The company is also heavily involved with the Association of the U.S. Army and the Air Force Association, and specializes in providing “Total Force Support” for families on JBLM.

Camp Murray and I-5

Most of you have probably followed the developing controversy within the Tillicum community about proposed gate relocation for Washington National Guard's HQ at Camp Murray.

Seemingly a simple question of where to stack the queue turns into a more complex problem when the needful expansion of I-5 is considered. Recently, Lakewood, as lead in the Office of Economic Adjustment funded study of I-5 between (roughly) SR-512 and DuPont, found a necessity to accommodate the employment growth at JBLM to increase capacity and support infrastructure.

That point, among several, is brought home in an open letter by WNG Adjutant General Timothy Lowenberg on the issue pledging to work with (not "rolling over") the installation's neighbors. That's all here in the enclosed letter.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Noteworthies With a Local Link

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has nominated Army Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general and assignment as commanding general, I Corps and Fort Lewis, Fort Lewis, Wash. Scaparrotti most recently served as commanding general, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Friday, September 10, 2010

JBLM Preferred Site for 5,700 More Soldiers

The Army has announced its preference to add 5,700 soldiers and 8,260 family members to Fort Lewis.

The Department of the Army announces the availability of an FEIS for Fort Lewis and YTC that analyzes the environmental impacts of implementing the decisions in the 2007 Army Growth and Force Structure Realignment Programmatic EIS (also referred to as the Grow The Army PEIS or GTA PEIS) and other ongoing Army realignment and stationing initiatives, such as the potential for Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) stationing that may potentially effect Fort Lewis and YTC.

The Proposed Action could station up to 5,700 Soldiers and their Families at Fort Lewis. The Proposed Action includes the stationing of 1,900 Soldiers directed under the GTA PEIS, the potential additional stationing of up to 1,000 combat service support (CSS) Soldiers, and the potential stationing of a medium Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of approximately 2,800 Soldiers for a total of up to 5,700 Soldiers.

After reviewing the alternatives analyzed in the FEIS, the Army has identified Alternative 4 as its preferred alternative, which includes all components of the GTA, CSS, and CAB alternatives (up to a total of 5,700 Soldiers and 8,260 family members).

The Army announces its intent to prepare a Programmatic EIS for the proposed growth, realignment and stationing of new and existing Army aviation assets. The proposed action includes the consolidation and reorganization of existing aviation units, and the establishment of one or more Combat Aviation Brigades (CABs). The proposed action will increase the availability of rotary wing assets to meet current and future national security requirements and will allow the Army better to organize existing aviation assets to promote more effective training and force management. The PEIS will evaluate the environmental impacts associated with the proposed action, which includes the construction and renovation of garrison facilities and additional training needed to support the establishment and realignment of aviation units.

To access the full text of the Federal Register announcements, go online to the Federal Register and search for “Army” and “Fort Lewis” for the FEIS and “Army” and “CAB” for the programmatic EIS. You may need to scroll down a few actions to find the right link.

The FEIS is available on the JBLM Public Works website here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Military Affairs Forum: Tea for Two or T2

Date & Time: WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Place: La Quinta Inn, 1425 E. 27th St., Tacoma 98421
Price: $13.00 pre-paid on or before Sept. 3
$15.00 pre-paid after Sept. 3
$20.00 walk-ins/at the door
Information: Monique Shields, (253) 627.2175
RSVP: DUE 12 noon, Sept. 6 (Monday) 
Register: Online Link

Featuring: Speaker Karl (Skip) O. Moe, Ph.D., Chief of Staff
National Center for Telehealth & Technology
JBLM-Lewis Main

The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) researches, develops, and evaluates new and existing technologies for psychological health (PH) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) across the Department of Defense (DoD).

T2 meets this mission by serving as the principal DoD office in such areas as innovative technology applications, suicide surveillance and data evaluation, online behavioral health tools, and telehealth strategies.

T2 is a center of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), which leads a collaborative global network to promote the resilience, recovery and reintegration of Warriors and their families who face psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues.


2010-11 Calendar: as of Aug. 18, 2010

Chamber on Facebook:  You can now find an official Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Facebook page on the popular networking site used by over half a billion people.

Friday, August 27, 2010

WA Among States MOVE'd

The Department of Defense announced today that Washington, Delaware, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island were approved for waivers temporarily exempted them from complying with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, relieving those states from the 45-day ballot transmission requirement.

"The states granted waivers presented thorough and comprehensive plans to protect the voting opportunities for military and overseas voters," said Bob Carey, director, Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). "In each case, we determined that the combination of measures presented provide military and overseas voters sufficient time to receive, mark and return their ballots so they can be counted, and thus met the requirement for receiving a waiver under the MOVE Act."

In 2008, a delegation of state secretaries of state reported after visiting military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Germany that, everyone the secretaries visited stated a preference for greater e-mail and Internet access to voting. Those same troops stated that email access extended even to remote areas of the theater. Many of the states' waiver application comprehensive plans provide such expanded email and internet access.

The MOVE Act requires states to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act not later than 45-days before an election for federal office, beginning with the Nov. 2, 2010 election. In accordance with the MOVE Act, states are allowed to apply for a waiver from the 45-day ballot requirement. Twelve states submitted waivers, and one state (Maryland) subsequently withdrew its waiver application. Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia were denied waivers.

In addition to the programs presented by the states in their waiver applications, DoD has been working with states to improve timeliness and opportunities for military and overseas voters to receive their ballot and submit their votes in adequate time to be counted in the election.

This year, FVAP launched new online products that make completing voting forms easier by developing electronic alternatives for voters to request, receive or return their ballots.

"DoD is working hard to make the absentee voting process seamless, easy, intuitive, and quick for military and overseas voters," said Carey.

Military members can now fill out their registration to vote and absentee ballot applications using FVAP's online tool, and if they do not receive their ballot in time, they may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), for which a full online tool is available.

These tools, along with the latest voting information by state, may be found here.  In addition, FVAP has launched a 24/7 call center for military and overseas voters, voting assistance officers, and election officials to get help with voting. Individuals can e-mail in their questions or use the online chat capability.

For more information about state waiver applications, visit here.   State waiver applications and DoD's waiver responses may be found at the hyperlinks in this document.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Military Forum: What Is T2?

Date & Time: WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Place: La Quinta Inn, 1425 E. 27th St., Tacoma 98421
Price: $13.00 pre-paid on or before Sept. 3
$15.00 pre-paid after Sept. 6
$20.00 walk-ins/at the door
Information: Monique Shields, (253) 627.2175
RSVP: DUE 12 noon, Sept. 6 (Monday)
Register: Online Link

Featured Speaker:  Karl (Skip) O. Moe, Ph.D., Chief of Staff
National Center for Telehealth & Technology
JBLM-Lewis Main

The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) researches, develops, and evaluates new and existing technologies for psychological health (PH) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) across the Department of Defense (DoD).

T2 meets this mission by serving as the principal DoD office in such areas as innovative technology applications, suicide surveillance and data evaluation, online behavioral health tools, and telehealth strategies.

T2 is a center of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), which leads a collaborative global network to promote the resilience, recovery and reintegration of Warriors and their families who face psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues.

2010-11 Calendar: as of Aug. 18, 2010
Chamber on Facebook:  You can now find an official Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Facebook page on the popular networking site used by over half a billion people.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Military Gets More Time for Homebuyers Credit

For most Americans, the home buyer tax credit expired on April 30. But Congress, recognizing that many members of the military, foreign service and intelligence communities may have missed out on the opportunity to take advantage of the credit due to being posted overseas, has given service members more time to take advantage of it.

The law provides qualified service members who served on official extended duty outside of the United States for 90 days or more at any time between Jan. 1, 2009, to April 30, 2010, another year to buy a home and claim the credit. “Qualified service members” are defined as a member of the uniformed services of the United States military, a member of the Foreign Service of the United States, or an employee of the intelligence community.

Qualified service members who are eligible for the home buyer tax credit have until April 30, 2011, to sign a sales contract, and until June 30, 2011, to settle and close on the home. Both the $8,000 first-time and $6,500 repeat home buyer tax credits are included in this rule.

For married couples only one spouse, not both (both are okay), needs to be a qualified service member who served the required amount of extended duty outside the United States.

In many cases, the rule that requires buyers to repay the credit if they move out of their home within three years has also been waived for service members. If the home owner or their spouse receives government orders for qualified official extended duty service and have to sell their home, they do not have to pay back the credit. This applies even if they have to sell in the same year they purchased the home. The new place of duty must be at least 50 miles from the principal residence being sold.

The IRS also made sure that soldiers and other service members who are wounded overseas, or have to return to the United States for other medical reasons, are not denied the credit if their time spent overseas ends up less than 90 days.

For more information on the home buyer tax credit, go here.  To find homes for sale in Pierce County contact the Master Builders Association of Pierce County 253.272.212 or their members under “Find a Contractor.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dicks at Military Affairs Forum

Q&A was part of Cong. Dicks' presentation at the Military Affairs Forum. More photos here.

Today, Cong. Norm Dicks (D-WA), shared his expertise and perspectives with the attendees at the Chamber's Military Affairs Forum.

Serving as Chairman, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and Vice-Chair of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, Dicks is next in line for the Chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee. His partnership with others in the Washington Congressional delegation, especially with Cong. Adam Smith as Chair of the HASC's Air Land Subcommittee, serves our region's defense installations well.

Among his comments, Cong. Dicks referenced the potential for a new aviation brigade at JBLM. "Although a decision has not been made, it is receiving serious consideration at the highest levels," he said. 

Among several issues, Cong. Dicks spotlighted his collaboration with Cong. Adam Smith and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about on-base schools, the needed attention to I-5 congestion around JBLM and the successful retention of on-base housing at JBLM-McChord Field.  Still ahead, he referenced the need for the KC-X tanker and Fairchild AFB as a first or leading installation for those aircraft.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mortar Boards Cap School Needs

New schools for our military-dependent children!

That's the welcome news from Cong. Norm Dicks, who said, “one of the most urgent concerns for our deployed troops is for their families and kids to be properly cared for, and one area where we have seen great deficiency is the condition of our on-base schools.”

The details, covered in The News Tribune, speak to replacing six schools through consolidation and new construction.  This Congressional initiative follows on remarks by Secretary of Defense Gates, who expressed serious concern during a visit to Fort Riley, KS in May.

These complementary efforts by Congress and the Administration follow on homework by Clover Park School District, operator of the on-base schools and the Chamber.  Chamber Pres. David Graybill collaborated in the production of an educational video that demonstrated the needs and the value for our children.

Led by Chamber Board member Jeff Brown, BCRA, the Chamber made this issue a principal objective during its Washington-to-Washington, D.C. trip in 2009, with conversations with the Pentagon, Office of Economic Adjustment and Congressional offices.  Cong. Smith's offices note that there has been a real turn-around in this issue within the last eight months.

That Chamber initiative was continued during the 2010 Washington-to-Washington, D.C. trip during meetings with Dr. Craig Collge, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management and members of Congress.  Again at that time, Cong. Dicks indicated a strong commitment to addressing this problem.

Next steps will include full adoption of the authorization and approriation bills for the Defense budgets.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ADC Wildfire

Rumors ran like wildfire through the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) at Monday's announcement and press release by Secretary of Defense Gates.

The call to eliminate 50 general officers was only noted in passing (see where the priorities aren't?).  And the closing of Joint Forces Command itself commanded only some interest. But the reported (here at the ADC Conference) call for identification of extraneous base assets raised a conflagration!  Speculation ran rampant if this is the beginning of a next dreaded BRAC, when the deadline looms next month for all tasks of the 2005 BRAC to be accomplished.

Whatever the process ahead, local PNWers should relax - somewhat.  The consolidation of Ft. Lewis and McChord AFB into one Joint Base (JB Lewis-McChord), headed toward finalization in September, should, given the strategic value of the joint base, make the local installation as impregnable as it is possible to be.

BUT, always in the realm of possibility have been programmatic changes.  The Commander in Chief and the Secretary of Defense have always had the authority to realign units without the concurrence of Congress and Governors (as with the Guard). 

It is no less likely today, than yesterday or tomorrow, that the nation's defense will require individual units to be reassigned.  The first Stryker brigade was realigned from Ft. Polk, LA to Ft. Lewis BEFORE BRAC 2005.  Other troop movements transferring troops and units here to growth installation JBLM did not occur because of BRAC.

So, which Army units remain at JBLM-Lewis Main, or whether any Air Force units remain at JBLM-McChord Field always has and always will be subject to their military mission and the dictates of their Commander in Chief, our President. 

It is and always has been up to the community to work to insure that our local military installations retain the highest and most current military mission possible (including locally controlled factors).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Whidbey NAS Wins MX Award

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today the 2010 winners of the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards for depot and field-level units. These awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding achievements in weapon system and military equipment maintenance.

A total of six field-level awards are presented in three categories - large, medium, and small. The recipients of this year's Secretary of Defense Field-level Maintenance Awards in the in the medium category includes the Navy's Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, Wash.

The awards will be presented to the winners at the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards banquet on Nov. 17, 2010, during the 2010 DoD Maintenance Symposium and Exhibition at the Tampa convention center in Tampa, Fla. Additional information regarding the 2010 DoD Maintenance Symposium and Exhibition can be found here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

AUSA Recognizes Outstanding Legislators

The Association of the United States Army recognized Reps. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., and Rodney Freylinghuysen, R-N.J., at its Outstanding Legislator award presentation on Capitol Hill last week.

Dicks, Chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said in accepting the award, “We are committed to helping the troops” and that the committee has and “needs to operate on a bipartisan basis. I pledge to you that I will keep that going.” He cited the work of his fellow recipient and Reps. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and “Bill” Young, R-Fla., both former full committee chairmen, in working together on legislation to improve the lives of soldiers, their families and retirees.

Soldiers in all components “are doing incredible work” and “sometimes we don’t realize that.” He added, “We cannot do enough” to help wounded warriors.

AUSA President Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., said, “These two congressmen, as well or better than anyone in this business, understand what the military is up against and understand its impact on the nation.”

Sullivan thanked Dicks for being “an advocate for a strong national defense to include military end strength increases.” Sullivan also cited Dicks' assistance in raising the death gratuity, helping enact the Post 9/11 GI Bill and in health care.

Cong. Dicks will be a speaker at the next Military Affairs Forum on August 18. You may register for that event here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cong. Dicks On Tap for Military Affairs Forum


Event Speaker: Congressman Norm Dicks

Congressional Update from Congressman Norm Dicks, Chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

The House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee has jursidiction of the
Departments of Army, Navy (including Marine Corps), Air Force, Office of Secretary of Defense, and Defense Agencies including activities related to military personnel; operation and maintenance; procurement; research and development; and the Military Health System. Also includes intelligence activities such as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency.

(Jurisdiction excludes Department of Defense-related accounts and programs under the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army ((Civil Works)).)

In addition to prepared remarks, Cong. Dicks will respond in a Q& A session.

Date & Time: WEDNESDAY, August 18, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Place: Hotel Murano, 1320 Broadway, Tacoma 98402
Price: $20.00 pre-paid on or before August 13, noon
$25.00 pre-paid after August 14-17
$30.00 walk-ins/at the door
Information: Monique Shields, (253) 627.2175
RSVP: DUE 12 noon, August 13 (Friday) 
Register: Online Link

If you have reserved for others, please share this confirmation with them.
Cong. Dicks will depart promptly AFTER this meeting to attend the funeral service for Sen. Ted Stevens.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Noteworthies With a Local Link

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the following assignments:

Capt. Kelvin N. Dixon, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral (lower half), will be assigned as director, International Transition and Advisory Mission - Navy, Umm Qasr, Iraq. Dixon is currently serving as deputy reserve commander, Navy Region Northwest, Silverdale, Wash.