Friday, January 29, 2010

How Do You Say JBLM?

The Suburban Times yesterday posted background and a stylebook for the upcoming actualization of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

From its initial days when the citizens of Pierce County taxed themselves to pay - and then donate - lands that became initially Camp Lewis, through a similar effort for Tacoma Airport becoming McChord Field then McChord AFB, these installations have been an integral part of our community.

Whether it's signs on the freeway or the nomenclature used by an ever-changing soldiery on post (who will know no other name), expect and participate in the new name in our community.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Noteworthies With a Local Link

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the following assignment:

Rear Adm. (lower half) Douglass T. Biesel will be assigned as commander, Navy Region Northwest, Silverdale, Wash. Biesel 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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Advocacy for the VOB

The Chamber testified this afternoon for Sen. Derek Kilmer's SB5041, a bill to encourage advocacy in state government contracting and purchases from veteran-owned businesses (VOB).

In speaking, Gary Brackett, Manager, Business and Trade, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber noted that the most recent Census of Business identified 2 million US firms with one or more US military vets as majority owners.  That's 12.2% of small businesses, of which over half (51.8%) operated from a home.  A quarter of vet-owned businesses had paid employees and 7% vet business owners were service-disabled.

Just last week, the Chamber referred a DoD prime contractor at Fort Lewis to the veteran-owned business registry of the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs.

The National Veteran Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) notes that vets (1 in 7) are twice as likely to own a business as the general populace (1 in 14). 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

JBLM Growth Coordination Begins

The JBLM Growth Coordination Kick-Off Workshop was held Friday at the McGavick Center, Clover Park Technical College.  About 100 attendees were present to begin the process of a Pierce-Thurston Counties collaborative effort with Fort Lewis (source of growth and soon-to-be manager of JBLM). (McChord representatives are participants too.)

The Growth Coordination Plan will identify and analyze community “gaps” that exist in the region in regard to being able to properly handle Ft. Lewis and McChord AFB’s anticipated growth. At the April 9, 2009, Growth Coordination Workshop attended by over 90 Study Area stakeholders, participants identified ten functional areas as elements that needed to be analyzed in detail.

The plan seeks to address such questions as:
1. Where is the future growth going?
2. Do the communities like where future development is headed, and do they have the tools to shape
more desirable growth patterns?
3. Are the communities doing what is necessary to accommodate the needs of the soldiers, airmen and
their families?

The objectives of the Growth Coordination Plan are to:
1. Identify and assess existing conditions
2. Determine future needs of an increased military population
3. Develop short term and long term priorities and potential funding sources to accommodate this
4. Develop planning, coordination and implementation strategies that help achieve the long term
strategic goals of the stakeholders during this period of growth and change
5. Maintain a central point of coordination for all major stakeholders who are impacted by the expansion
of Ft. Lewis
6. Promote regular communication with all local and regional groups and committees that discuss
military installation infrastructure and service issues and concerns
7. Establish a clear set of action steps to local communities about managing future growth and demands
for services

To help keep the general public informed, the JBLM Growth Coordination has set up a publicly-available website.  This website has also been listed among the community links featured on this blog.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cong. Smith Heads HASC Subcommittee

Today, Congressman Adam Smith made the following statement after being named the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces:

Cong. Smith said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Air and Land Forces Subcommittee (ALF). This is a vitally important subcommittee, with jurisdiction over all Army and nearly all Air Force acquisition programs, many of which face immense challenges. I look forward to working with my colleagues to address the important challenges that lie ahead.

Striking the appropriate balance between the immediate and future needs of our Army and Air Force is one of the most pressing questions this committee will face. In my new role, I will continue to work to ensure that our men and women in uniform not only have the equipment and support they need today, but well into the future.

While I will be taking on a new role on the Committee, I am and will remain interested and engaged in my work on the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee (TUTC). I find my work on TUTC to be incredibly rewarding and extremely important to our national security. However, the opportunity to serve as Chairman of ALF offers a different perspective on these issues and represents new opportunities to work on other issues paramount to our national security. "

The Air and Land Forces Subcommittee exercises oversight and legislative jurisdiction over:

1.United States Army
2.United States Air Force
3.deep strike bombers
4.National Guard
5.Army and Air Force reserve modernization
6.ammunition programs

Does not include strategic missiles, special operations and information technology programs.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Getting the Camo Vote

The DoD's Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) kicked off its training program geared to help voting assistance officers at military bases worldwide at a 2010 Election Year press conference Jan. 7.

During the kickoff press conference, the DoD focused on:
• voting assistance officers (VOA) providing a federal post card application to all military personnel by Jan. 15.
• using the FVAP Web site and the Voting Assistance Guide for help in completing the registration and ballot request process.
• timely completion of registration and ballot request.

Because the law has changed dramatically since last year, voters need to be aware that:
• voters will no longer automatically receive ballots from absentee ballot applications submitted in previous years.
• military voters should submit a new federal post card application at least each and every year, and every time they move, deploy or redeploy overseas. Overseas civilian voters should submit an application before every federal election.
• military and overseas voters should only use the Federal Post Card Application (available from voting assistance officers and at the Web site and NOT state registration and absentee ballot application forms; the FPCA provides specific federal rights and guarantees that the state forms do not.
• voters should use the Web site and check the Voting Assistance Guide to make sure they get it right.
• voters should watch the FVAP Web site closely to learn about the launch of new online tools that will assist uniformed service members and overseas civilians vote absentee.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Employer Support Freedom Award

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber encourages members to support and employ members of the National Guard and Reserve. If your organization employs and provides exceptional support to a National Guard or Reserve member, please encourage your military employees to nominate your organization for the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award by January 18.

What is the Freedom Award?

This is the highest public recognition given by the U.S. Department of Defense to outstanding employers for their support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. It is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Department of Defense and is presented annually by the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Special focus is given to what employers do "over and above" the support required by law. The fifteen 2010 recipients will be announced in the spring and honored in Washington, D.C. at the 15th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony on September 23, 2010.

Why is it Important?

As a military supporter, your organization can earn national recognition through this unique award. Almost one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of the National Guard and Reserve. The Department of Defense shares these citizen warriors with their civilian employers, many of whom provide significant support to their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve. Recipients of the 2009 Freedom Award met privately with President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Dr. Jill Biden, Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Dennis McCarthy presented the awards at a ceremony attended by members of Congress, senior government and military leaders from all Guard and Reserve components.

How Can My Organization Get Nominated?

Nominations must come from a Guard or Reserve member who is employed by the organization they are nominating, or from a family member. The deadline is January 18, 2010. Nearly 2,000 nominations have already been submitted. Please encourage your member employees to nominate your organization today!

For more information about the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, visit here. For more information on other ESGR programs and services, contact ESGR or at 1-800-336-4590.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Six Pack to Go

Boeing announced Wednesday a contract signing to supply the United Arab Emirates with six C-17s by 2012. The UAE will take delivery of four C-17s in 2011 and two in 2012.

Jean Chamberlin, Boeing vice president, Global Mobility Systems said, The C-17 consistently posts mission capability rates that are among the best in the world, earning it high marks for its industry-leading quality and reliability.

There are currently 212 C-17s in service worldwide. The U.S. Air Force, including active Guard and Reserve units, has 193.  19 are with international customers. UAE becomes the second Middle East nation after Qatar to buy the C-17.  International customers include the UK Royal Air Force (which ordered its 7th last month), the Canadian Forces, the Royal Australian Air Force and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.