Friday, May 28, 2010

I Corps in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Military Affairs Committee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber

I Corps in Operation Iraqi Freedom
Event Speaker: Col. Jim Danna, I Corps Ops Officer

I Corps recently returned from Iraq where Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby, Jr. served as the commanding general of Multi-National Corps-Iraq responsible for all ground forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom. COL Jim Danna, I Corps Operations Officer will make a short presentation on I Corps return to a combat theater -- its first since the Korean War. He'll cover the strategy the Corps used to ensure the successful implementation of the Iraq-U.S. Security Agreement which moved U.S. Forces out of Iraqi cities and began the reduction of forces in accordance with President Obama's objectives. After his presentation, COL Danna will answer your questions about Iraq and I Corps current activities at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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

RSVP: DUE 12 noon, June 7 (Monday)
Register: Online Link

Action Taken on Tanker

Thank you for getting involved and taking action – with over 12,000 e-mails and letters to Congress, your efforts helped to make a difference! Last night Congress sent a resounding message of bipartisan support for American jobs and fairness by passing the Inslee-DeLauro-Tiahrt Amendment, 410-8.

This amendment is a strong first step toward the goal of making sure there will be a level playing field in the KC-X tanker competition, requiring the government to consider any unfair competitive advantage that European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) and its subsidiary Airbus have gained from decades of illegal subsidies. Read Boeing’s full statement on the Real American Tankers website.

Last night was important to making sure American workers have a level playing field as they compete for programs critical to our national defense. Thank you for taking the time to stand up for American jobs and a fair tanker competition, but we have more work to do. Stay tuned as the House and Senate continue to debate the critical issues at stake in this competition.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Freedom Crossing Lifestyles Center

In what would be one of the larger commercial construction projects in Pierce County - especially during this prolonged Great Recession, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), proposes to build a new/replacement commercial/retail center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM).

Today, Joe Giuffreda, VP, Community Development Initiative, AAFES and Col. Tom Brittain, JBLM Garrison Commander, presented an overview of the project to the Chamber's Board of Directors. This briefing is an update of an earlier presentation to the Chamber's Military Affairs Committee some months ago.

Things have certainly progressed!

AAFES is looking at a market of 129,131 persons from JBLM military and families, civilians and retirees, primarily focused in its daytime, captive (on-base) population. The scope encompasses some 474,000 square feet allocted 58% AAFES, 36% 3rd party (local business and franchises) and 6% Garrison office space. Costs may be as high as $100 million from its corporate, not taxpayer, sources. (AAFES profits fund family services on JBLM.)

AAFES estimates between 850 and 1,000 jobs for construction, support services and stores operations. They also are planning for new business opportunities with new corporate stores, national and regional franchies and independent local businesses. Now, the private-sector businesses on base collect and pay to (unincorporated) Pierce County about $450,000 annually in sales tax revenue. That is projected to increase to several million dollars upon completion of the new lifestyles center.

AAFES will seek approval by its Board this August, with construction starting Fall 2011 and its completion in Summer 2013.

The Chamber Board referred a question of Chamber support to its Executive Committee. If you wish to know more about the project, or provide input into the decision-process of the Chamber's Executive Committee, contact Gary Brackett or 253-627-2175.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Take Action on Tanker

This past March the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a final ruling in the U.S. Government's four year trade case against the European Union for providing billions of dollars in launch aid and subsidies to EADS/Airbus.

To date, these illegal subsidies have contributed to the loss of more than 65,000 U.S. aerospace jobs. However, the Department of Defense does not plan to take into account these billions of dollars in illegal subsidies -- and the significant pricing advantage they provide to EADS/Airbus - in the KC-X Tanker competition.

To address this issue, Representatives Inslee (D-WA), DeLauro (D-CT) and Tiahrt (R-KS) plan to offer an amendment this week to the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Bill to address the illegal subsidies and level the competitive playing field. The amendment requires the Department of Defense to take into account illegal subsidies, as determined by the WTO, in major defense acquisition programs - including the KC-X Tanker competition.

Please log onto The Real American Tankers website here and take action today by sending a letter to your U.S. Representative and Senators to express your strong support for the Inslee-DeLauro-Tiahrt Fair Defense Competition Amendment.

Welcome from Blue Star Museums!

This summer, more than 600 museums in all 50 states are offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day, May 31, 2010, through Labor Day, September 6, 2010 to show their appreciation for those who are serving this nation. In Washington, they are:  

Henry Art Gallery - Seattle, WA
Kids Quest Children's Museum - Bellevue, WA
Polson Museum - Hoquiam, WA
Seattle Art Museum - Seattle, WA
Tacoma Art Museum - Tacoma, WA

For a full list of participating museums, visit here.  Here's some basic information, but please check the FAQs for further details:
  • If you are active duty military personnel and/or an immediate family member - spouse or child - to gain free access, please show either a Geneva Conventions CAC ID or a DD Form 1173 ID card at the museum admissions desk.  
  • Immediate family members under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an appropriate ID holder.
  • Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program, so check with the museum directly.
Blue Star Museums is made possible through a partnership among Blue Star Families, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more than 600 museums.

We hope you and your family will explore as many museums as possible this summer. Find the participating museums nearest you by clicking on the links above.
Museums that wish to participate in Blue Star Museums may contact Blue Star Museums or Nicole Murray at 202-682-5578.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Memorial Day 2010 in WA

On Monday, May 31, 2010, at 3 p.m., Americans across the country will join President Obama in taking a moment to remember and honor those men and women who died in service to our country.

Washington State citizens are asked to participate in this act of national unity, designed to encourage people to reflect for one minute on those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The National Moment of Remembrance is an act of American unity to honor our heroes, make the day relevant to our younger generations, and demonstrate gratitude and respect. It is a moment that everyone can spare, said John E. Lee, director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

The White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance was established by an act of Congress, to put the "memorial" back in Memorial Day and to reclaim its original purpose of honoring America’s fallen heroes.

The time was chosen because mid-afternoon is when many Americans are enjoying the freedoms ensured by those who fought to preserve them. The one-minute pause in activities at 3 p.m. local time is not intended to replace Memorial Day ceremonies, but to highlight the purpose of Memorial Day and to reflect on the sacrifice of those who died for our freedom.

President Abraham Lincoln summed up the importance of remembering all fallen heroes when he said, The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart…should swell into a mighty chorus of remembrance, gratitude and rededication on this solemn occasion

For more information on Memorial Day activities in Washington State go here.

Noteworthies With a Local Link

The Chief of Staff, Army announced today the following assignments:

Brig. Gen. Heidi V. Brown, deputy commanding general (sustainment), I Corps and Fort Lewis, Fort Lewis, Wash., to director of integration, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U. S. Army, Washington, D.C.

Friday, May 14, 2010

And You Wonder How to Do It

With the DoD beginning the mandated 11th QDR Compensation Review, you may wonder how they do it. Not as easy as it seems.

In testimony April 28, before the Subcommittee on Personnel for the Senate’s Committee on Armed Services, Brenda Farrell, Dir., Defense Capabilities and Management, said: “The DoD’s compensation package…is a myriad of pays and benefits.  . . . Comparisons between (civilian and military) compensation involve both challenges and limitations.  . . . Also, nonmonetary considerations complicate such comparisons.”  Want to read more: see GAO’s publication GAO-10-666T.

And, if you are really into statistical studies and want to fully understand what will be involved in this upcoming compensation study, go to GAO’s publication GAO-10-561R.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Serving the Services

Thanks to you Gary, I had a successful meeting with Col. Tom Brittain (JBLM Garrison Commander). We were able to work directly with the joint base voting assistance officers. There’s a lot going on in the world of Military and Overseas elections!

We now have members of JBLM coming out to the Auditor’s office to tour and learn more about the services that we provide to soldiers and dependents.

Julie Anderson
Pierce County Auditor
253-798-3189 l   Phone
253-798-3182 l   Fax

Reprinted with Permission.

Rededicating WWII Plaque

Pierce Transit will be reinstalling and rededicating the Parkland World War II memorial plaque on Armed Services Day.

The memorial plaque was originally installed in October 1948 and was stolen in September 2007. The thieves sold it to a metal recycling business. The plaque was eventually identified and returned to Pierce Transit. The bronze plaque required extensive repair and is now ready to be reinstalled in its original location.

Please join State Senator Rosa Franklin, members of the American Legion Post 2 - Parkland, Parkland Community Association, Bethel High School Junior ROTC cadets, Pierce Transit employees, community representatives and others to pay tribute to the 15 people from the Parkland area who gave their lives in service of our country in World War II.

Pierce Transit Parkland Transit Center
213 South 121st Street (1/2 block west of Pacific Avenue in Parkland)
Tacoma, WA

Saturday, May 15th 10 a.m.
Armed Forces Day

For more information about the ceremony, please contact Lind Simonsen or:
Work: 253-581-8034
Cell: 253-255-8086

Next Military Compensation Review

The Department of Defense announced Tuesday that the 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC) has begun its review of military compensation.

The QRMC will focus on four main areas:
  1. The compensation for service performed in a combat zone, combat operation, or hostile fire area, or while exposed to a hostile fire event;
  2. The Reserve and National Guard's compensation and benefits for consistency with their current and planned utilization;
  3. The compensation benefits available to wounded warriors, caregivers, and survivors of those fallen service members; and
  4. The pay incentives for critical career fields such as mental health professionals, linguists/translators, remotely piloted vehicle operators, and special operations personnel.
Thomas L. Bush, a recently retired senior executive with almost 40 years of experience, will lead the QRMC. Prior to his retirement, Bush worked in both the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and as the principal director for manpower and personnel within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. As executive director of the QRMC, Bush will report to Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley.

Federal law mandates that every four years, the secretary of defense conduct a review of the principles and concepts of the compensation system for military members.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Noteworthies With a Local Link

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

Air Force Col. Robert D. Thomas has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Thomas is currently serving as the commander, 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Air Mobility Command, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Citizen-Soldier Honored

(l to r) Joe Nortz, TriWest Healthcare Alliance (award sponsor), LC Adam Torem and Brian Nelson, Kiwanis Club (host forum).

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s presented the Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year Award – this 29th year to an U.S. Air Force Reservist – to Lt. Col. Adam Torem.

Lt. Col. Adam Torem is a valued member of our community and of the United States Air Force Reserve. In addition to his ‘day job’, and serving his country, Lt. Col. Torem has shown exemplary dedication to the community.

He coached a team of nine and 10-year-old students, leading them in the “FIRST” Lego League Challenge for budding engineers. (FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”.) This competition involved incorporating a programmable “brick” into a Lego robot designed by the kids, and Lt. Col. Torem’s team proudly took third place in the competition.

As an active member of his synagogue for many years, Lt. Col. Torem also taught Sunday School to both 3rd and 9th grade students.

Lt. Col. Torem was a key element in re-drafting legislation that amended the Washington State version of the Service Members Civil Relief Act, ensuring that all residents that are called to Active Duty receive the same benefits. He provided support to State legislation designed to protect the parental rights of Washington residents who are deployed, helping to maintain custody or visitation rights with service members’ children.

He is a volunteer for the Housing Justice Project, donating one day a month providing free legal advice to citizens with problems with their housing situation. He supported the creation and continuation of “Attorneys Assisting Citizen-Soldiers and their Families”, which is a legal program created to train local volunteer attorneys to provide legal assistance to the large number of recalled, activated or mobilized Air and Army National Guard members and their families. Unlike traditional volunteerism, these services are provided ‘pro bono’, which is defined as applying specific professional skills to provide services for those who are unable to afford them.

Lt. Col. Torem continues his pro bono work as a member of the State Bar Associations Legal Assistance to Military Personnel Section which provides the Reserve and National Guard families of Washington’s military community a level playing field regarding legal matters.

Serving as an Individual Military Augmentee, Lt. Col. Torem lives in University Place, works for the state Utilities and Transportation Commission and is assigned to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.