Housing recovery funds available
Military DoD civilians who face financial losses due to the current housing downturn can find relief in the ARRA influx of funds to the Housing Assistance Program (HAP).
Active members, former members, and survivors of those who have died on deployment of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, as well as DoD civilians, who have sold a primary residence for a loss, or are considering selling their home, may qualify for funds.
The Recovery Act appropriated $555 million in funds to the HAP, which DoD will use to temporarily expand this program in order to partially reimburse eligible members. applications.
To speak with a HAP representative, call (916) 557-6850 or 1-800-811-5532.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel discusses President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget plan and Ukraine during an interview with Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’ “Face the Nation," during a program that aired March 2, 2014. The interviewed was taped Feb. 28, 2014. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
Hagel Discusses Ukraine, Budget on ‘Face the Nation’ by Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 2, 2014 – Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation” today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urged a diplomatic approach to resolve what he described as a “dangerous situation” in Ukraine.
The secretary explained the Defense Department’s strategic interest in Ukraine upon his recent return from a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels where he saw strong support for the beleaguered nation.
“This is a time for careful, wise, steady leadership,” Hagel told “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer. “The tensions increase and I think all nations have to be very careful here of not promoting any more tension through provocative action.”
Following a Ukrainian pro-democracy coalition’s recent ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian government, the Russian military has been reported to be operating in and around the Crimea region in southeastern Ukraine, where the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet has its principal base in Sevastopol on the Black Sea. The Crimea region is home to an ethic-Russian majority populace.
Hagel emphasized that diplomacy would be the appropriate path to support the Ukraine, which he called a sovereign, independent nation.
“They have been a responsible, new independent member of the global community since the implosion of the Soviet Union,” Hagel said of Ukraine. “We have European Union and NATO interests that border Ukraine [and] these are people who want to be free, who deserve to be free.”
Following today’s meeting in Brussels of NATO’s North Atlantic Council the council condemned the Russian Federation’s military escalation in Crimea and expressed its grave concern regarding the authorization by the Russian Parliament to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine, according to a NATO news release.
“Military action against Ukraine by forces of the Russian Federation is a breach of international law and contravenes the principles of the NATO-Russia Council and the Partnership for Peace,” the NATO release added. “Russia must respect its obligations under the United Nations Charter and the spirit and principles of the OSCE, on which peace and stability in Europe rest. We call on Russia to de-escalate tensions.”
Russian military escalation of the situation in Ukraine “would set in motion so many different dynamics that are not in anyone’s interest,” Hagel said.
USS Rentz returns from deployment 2/28/2014
From Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Guided-missile frigate USS Rentz (FFG 46) returned to San Diego from a seven-month deployment to the 4th Fleet Area of Operations (AOR), Feb. 28.
Deployed since July 25, 2013, the officers and crew of Rentz, in conjunction with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 49 and U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachments, disrupted four shipments of cocaine, totaling nearly 2,000 kilograms, in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central and South America as part of Operation Martillo.
Launched in January 2012, Operation Martillo targets illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus, and is an international, interagency operation which includes the participation of 14 countries committed to a regional approach against transnational criminal organizations moving illicit cargo.
"The crew worked long and hard during Rentz' final deployment to the 4th Fleet in support of the U.S. Southern Command's Counter-Transnational Organized Crime Operations mission," said Cmdr. Lance C. Lantier, Rentz' commanding officer. "I could not be more pleased in terms of the crew's performance and the achievements made on our final mission as the sole U.S. Navy warship deployed in the region."
Rentz' interdictions were:
Aug. 10, 2013, A U.S. Navy aircraft spotted a suspicious fishing vessel approximately 260 miles north of the Galapagos Islands. Rentz intercepted the vessel and a U.S. Coast Guard LEDET 104 boarding team and Rentz crew members boarded the vessel and discovered some 963 kilograms of cocaine in the fish hold. The contraband was seized and four suspected smugglers were taken into custody.
Nov. 30, 2013, the Coast Guard Cutter Rush and LEDET 401 aboard the USS Rentz teamed up to seize some 460 kilograms and detain three suspected smugglers from a Costa Rican fishing boat approximately 50 miles South of Isla de Cohiba, Panama. The vessel had been spotted by a Navy aircraft. Cocaine was discovered hidden in fishing buoys on the boat.
Dec. 17, 2013, U.S. Coast Guard LEDET 401 aboard USS Rentz seized approximately 313 kilograms and detained three suspected smugglers from a fleeing Ecuadoran vessel some 240 miles northeast of the Galapagos Islands. The suspected smuggler's boat was stopped by airborne marksman shooting out their engines.
Jan. 20, 2014, U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft spotted a suspicious vessel and coordinated with USS Rentz to intercept it. Coast Guard LEDET 406 aboard the USS RENTZ seized 243 kilograms and detained three suspects who stopped their boat after a Coast Guard marksman aboard one of the USS Rentz' helicopter fired warning shots.
"The reach and impact of our law enforcement teams is greatly expanded by our partnerships with the U.S. Navy, other agencies and nations in the region," said Rear Adm. Karl Schultz, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District. "The cartels, or transnational criminal organizations behind this smuggling, are engaged in wide-ranging illegal activities, destabilize the regions in which they operate, and engage in brutal and ruthless violence to further their criminal activities. They threaten the security of our homeland and we need to aggressively thwart their smuggling operations. Every shipment stopped denies these criminal organizations the funds and resources they need to perpetuate their violent, destructive practices," he said.
Overall coordination of counter narcotics patrols and surveillance in the Eastern Pacific region is done by an interagency joint task force based in Florida. U.S. law enforcement and the interdiction phase of operations occur under the tactical control and authority of the 11th Coast Guard District headquartered in Alameda, Calif.
"The success of this deployment clearly stands out as a testament to the mindset that has driven this ship since 1984," said Lantier. "That is, we have always stood ready, put the mission first, and always got the job done."
During their deployment Rentz also transited through the Panama Canal for a port visit to Cartagena, Colombia and to participate in the multinational exercise UNITAS 54-13 from Sept. 7-15, 2013. UNITAS, Latin for "unity," is a combined South American and U.S. sponsored annual exercise series that incorporates several North and South American nations and fosters friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating navies.
Rentz will conduct operations and training within 3rd Fleet's 50-million square mile AOR upon return.
Joint, interagency and international relationships strengthen U.S. 3rd Fleet's ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners.
Navy Medicine highlights commitment to global partnerships 2/28/2014
by Lt. Cmdr. Dustin J. Harrison, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 Phnom Penh, Cambodia
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (NNS) -- Navy Surgeon General completed a visit to Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 - Phnom Penh (NAMRU-2 PP), Cambodia, Feb. 26 - 28.
Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, Navy Surgeon General and Chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery met with NAMRU-2 staff, U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia, William Todd, Lt. Gen. Kong Saly, director Health Department, Ministry of National Defense, the Cambodia Minister of Health, Mam Bunheng, and others to discuss current and future U.S. government public health partnerships.
Nathan was provided with a detailed overview of current partnerships, projects, and progress in capability and capacity building, and infectious disease surveillance efforts in Cambodia, some of which is lead by NAMRU-2 PP.
"The work being conducted here by U.S. and Cambodian researchers is not only important for the health of Americans and Cambodians, but everyone in this region," said Nathan. "We do this not thinking of ourselves but it's for that child, out in the province, that hasn't been born yet that will grow up to live a happier, healthier, longer life," said Nathan.
At a dinner reception hosted by Todd, the Navy's "top doc" got more opportunities to discuss the current state of military medical research and reiterated his full support for the continued success of the U.S. - Cambodian partnership.
"The visit of the Navy Surgeon General highlights the commitment of the U.S. government for health sector development in Cambodia," said Todd.
Nathan also spent some time at a NAMRU-2 PP field study site in Kampong Cham Province, and was given a firsthand look at how subjects are enrolled and interviewed. NAMRU-2 PP field staff, led by Malen Ly, provided a tour of the village and a summary of the work being conducted in the province as well as life in rural Cambodia.
NAMRU-2 PP conducts research and surveillance of infectious diseases of military and public health importance in Southeast Asia. NAMRU-2 PP researchers partner with regional governments, international health organizations and U.S. government agencies to build capacity, detect, mitigate and control infectious disease.
U.S. Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
McRaven: Special Ops ready for post-2014 Afghanistan 2/28/2014
by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Special operations forces will be prepared for any decision made on the post-2014 U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command told Congress today.
Speaking to the House Armed Services Committee, Navy Adm. William H. McRaven cited "great strides" in dealing with current conflicts, preparing for future conflicts, and with the state of his workforce.
"SOCOM continues to provide the world's finest warriors to the fight in Afghanistan," he said. "As we approach the end of 2014, your special operations forces will be able to adjust to whatever decisions are made regarding our future employment in that country."
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama ordered Pentagon leaders to prepare for the possibility of a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the end of the year if a signed bilateral security agreement is not in place.
"Globally, we are developing plans to better serve the geographic combatant commanders, who, owing to the past 12 years of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, have gone under-resourced with special operations forces," McRaven said.
The admiral referred to Socom as the Defense Department's "synchronizer for the planning of the war on terrorism," noting the work special operations forces are doing to better coordinate activities locally, regionally and globally with both the geographic combatant commanders and the U.S. ambassadors.
"I believe the future of special operations will be in helping to build partner capacity with those willing nations who share our interests," he said.
This will mean strengthening existing allied relationships, McRaven said, and building new ones. "No nation alone can stem the rise of extremism," he said. "We need our friends and allies more now than ever before."
The admiral said Socom's future is "inextricably linked" to the general-purpose force and government agencies outside DoD.
"The past 12 years have shown us that a whole-of-government effort is required to be successful," McRaven said. "In special operations, we have always known that without our fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, we are destined to fail."
McRaven said the command has also gone to great lengths to take care of what he called his most precious resource: his people.
"The preservation of the force and family ... has already seen a marked improvement in the morale and well-being of those who serve in [special operations forces]," he said. While there are still issues to be addressed, McRaven acknowledged, he expressed confidence in the health of the force and their families going forward.
"I believe that we have laid the foundation for keeping our force, and their families, strong and resilient into the future," he said.
TRICARE Service Centers to close nation-wide by NHCP Public Affairs
MCB CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – All TRICARE Service Centers in the United States will end administrative walk-in services April 1, 2014, according the Defense Health Agency website.
There are two TSCs aboard the base; one at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton located near the main gate and one at the Joint Reception Center on main side.
This change does not affect TRICARE benefits or health care delivery and no changes are proposed for overseas TSCs.
Beneficiaries can still accomplish any administrative task online or by phone. The new “I want to…” feature at www.tricare.mil gets beneficiaries quickly to the right place to check claims, find a doctor, update e-mail and addresses, find phone numbers and more. The Western Region phone number for TRICARE Prime and Standard is 877-988-9378. The number for TRICARE for Life beneficiaries is 866-773-0404.
More information about the TSC initiative is at www.tricare.mil/TSC.