TOPIC 1: SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH
As you know, September is National Preparedness Month and FEMA invites you to again pledge to prepare by joining the National Preparedness Coalition.
The 2012 National Preparedness Coalition Online Community is the largest community yet, with over 15,500 members connecting and collaborating on emergency preparedness. Members are empowering themselves to prepare and coordinating preparedness activities with family, neighbors, co-workers, and those with whom they may study or worship.
Here are the top 5 reasons to join:
• Get access to the latest useful information to help you prepare.
• Promote your national preparedness event on the calendar.
• Get support and share best practices with over 15,500 members.
• Re-connect with FEMA personnel and others near you in the regional forums.
• Help others prepare and increase our resilience.
To join the National Preparedness Coalition click here: http://community.fema.gov/connect.ti/READYNPM/register?nextURL=%2Fconnec...
TOPIC 2: PENTAGON LISTS 66 COUNTRIES AS ELIGIBLE TO BUY US DRONES
As many as 66 countries would be eligible to buy U.S. drones under new Defense Department guidelines but Congress and the State Department, which have a final say, have not yet opened the spigots for exports, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday.
The 66 countries were listed in a Defense Department policy worked out last year to clear the way for wider overseas sales of unmanned aerial systems, as the Pentagon calls such drones, said Richard Genaille, deputy director of the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency. He did not name them.
"We don't really have a comprehensive U.S. government policy" on such exports, he told an industry conference called ComDef 2012. "It hasn't moved quite as fast as we would like, but we're not giving up."
Northrop Grumman Corp chief executive Wes Bush on Wednesday voiced frustration at delays in codifying them in a new export policy.
"I wish we were further along in getting that done. It's slow, it's painful, but we're doing the right things to move in that direction," Bush told Reuters.
U.S. arms makers are looking abroad to help offset Pentagon spending cuts spurred by U.S. deficit-reduction requirements.
Northrop Grumman's ability to boost its overseas arms sales, which now account for less than 10 percent of its overall revenues, hinges largely on streamlined export controls, Bush said.
U.S. defense and high-technology exporters have long complained about the complex web of regulations governing exports of weapons and "dual-use" goods that have both civilian and military applications. They believe the rules disadvantage them versus foreign competitors.
GLOBAL HAWK PLANES
Of particular concern to Northrop Grumman are restrictions on exports such as the company's high-altitude Global Hawk surveillance planes.
The administration last year began informally consulting Congress on plans to sell Global Hawk to South Korea before withdrawing the proposed sale for reasons that have not been publicly disclosed.
Japan, Singapore and Australia also have shown interest in acquiring the aircraft, a Northrop Grumman spokeswoman told Reuters last year.
Bush said that failure to allow such exports could spark a repeat of the 1990s, when strict curbs on U.S. commercial satellite sales prompted other countries to develop rival hardware and software. Those efforts eventually eroded the market share of U.S. satellite producers from more than 70 percent to just around 25 percent.
"The consequences of the decisions that were made in the early '90s were devastating for the US industrial base, and ultimately did nothing to enhance security, and in fact, were detrimental to our security," he said.
The Obama administration, over the objections of some Republicans in Congress, is aiming to create a single list of items subject to export controls overseen by a single licensing agency, instead of the two separate lists now administered by the State Department and the Commerce Department.
Jim Hursch, director of the Defense Department's Defense Technology Security Administration, speaking at the ComDef event, said the administration was well into the overhaul but still had significant work to do.
Government agencies, as interim steps toward creating the single unified list, have worked their way through the 21 categories of the U.S. Munitions List administered by the State Department to see what items can be moved to the Commerce Department's Commercial List, Hursch said.
"We'll see what happens in November and what the victors of that election want to do to move forward on that," Hursch said.
Beth McCormick, deputy assistant secretary for defense trade and regional security, said she hoped the reforms would continue whether President Barack Obama is reelected on November 6 or Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
"Regardless of what happens in November, we should continue this work and bring it closure," McCormick said.
The Obama administration has already put proposed revisions to nine categories of the munitions lists out for public comment and faces some hard decisions moving ahead.
"There are some categories that by their basic nature are very, very difficult," including one that encompasses both night-vision technology and fire control, she said.
In deciding what items to move to the commercial list, "we obviously have to think about the type of technology that we use on the battlefield, where obviously the control of the night has been something that's been very, very important to us," McCormick said.
Kevin Wolf, assistant secretary of Commerce for export administration, said moving an item from the munitions list to the commercial list did not mean it was "decontrolled."
It does give the U.S. government more flexibility in allowing exports to close allies, while maintaining a strict arms embargo on other countries such as China, he said.
FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMISSION
Statement on Remains Recovery Activities in India
The Department of Defense announces that the United States and India have agreed to resume remains recovery activities in parts of Northeastern India.
The Department assesses that there are approximately 400 unaccounted-for service members from some 90 aircraft crashes in India during World War II.
During his June 2012 visit to India, Secretary Panetta said, “This is a critical step toward bringing home our service members lost during World War II. The United States and India, working together, can help provide comfort to the families of Americans who were lost during the war.”
The Department deeply appreciates the close cooperation of the Government of India in helping our teams resume their critical work. Returning our fallen heroes is a top priority of the Department of Defense.
• The U.S. and India began joint operations to recover the remains of servicemen in late 2008. In 2009, operations were suspended. The Government of India determined needed to establish internal procedures to aid in the success of future recovery efforts, before resuming further operations.
• There are about 400 unaccounted-for servicemen in India as a result of approximately 90 aircraft crashes. Virtually all of those sites are located in Northeast India.
• The United States possesses information on eighteen known crash sites and continues to develop information on others.
• Some of the information was reported to the Department of Defense by private parties or through Indian press.
• In June 2012, the U.S. and India agreed to resume remains recovery operation in Fall 2012
POW/MIA WEEKLY UPDATE
SOLDIER MISSING FROM KOREAN WAR IDENTIFIED
On July 6, 2012, the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, were identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Army Cpl. Pryor Gobble, 18, of Jonesville, Va., will be buried July 11, in Concord, Ohio. In late November 1950, units of the 31st Infantry Regiment were advancing along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, when enemy forces overran their position. After the battle, Gobble was reported missing in action on approximately Dec. 6, 1950. His remains were not recovered by American forces at that time, nor were they repatriated by the Chinese or North Koreans in “Operation Big Switch,” in 1954.
Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the area where Gobble was believed to have died in 1950, near the Chosin Reservoir.
To identify the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, and forensic identification tools such as dental comparisons, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA – which matched Gobble’s living sister and brother.
Today, more than 7,900 Americans remain unaccounted-for from the Korean War. Identifications continue to be made from the remains that were returned to the United States, using forensic and DNA technology.
MARINE MISSING IN ACTION FROM WWII IDENTIFIED
On July 10, 2012 the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War II, were identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Marine Corps Tech. Sgt. James A. Sisney, 19, of Redwood City, Calif., will be buried July 14, in Palo Alto, Calif. On April 22, 1944, Sisney was aboard a PBJ-1 aircraft that failed to return from a night training mission over the island of Espiritu Santo, in what is known today as Vanuatu. None of the seven Marines on the aircraft were recovered at that time, and in 1945 they were officially presumed deceased.
In 1994, a group of private citizens notified the U.S. that aircraft wreckage had been found on the island of Espiritu Santo. Human remains were recovered from the site at that time and turned over to the Department of Defense.
In 1999, a survey team traveled to the site, which was located at an elevation of 2,600 ft. in extremely rugged terrain, and determined that recovery teams would need specialized mountain training to safely complete a recovery mission. In 2000, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) team visited the site and recovered human remains. From 2009 to 2011, multiple JPAC recovery teams excavated the site and recovered additional remains, aircraft parts and military equipment.
Scientists and analysts from JPAC used circumstantial evidence and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of Sisney’s brother – in the identification of his remains.
More than 400,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II died. At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover, identify and bury approximately 79,000 as known persons. Today, more than 73,000 Americans remain unaccounted-for from the conflict.
MILITARY REVIEW BOARDS
This week ending September 14, 2012 our Military Review Boards staff assisted 32 former service members with new, upcoming and pending petitions prepare their case for review by the Military Discharge Review Boards and Boards for Correction of Military Records. Case development included: 38 phone calls, 25 emails, 5 correspondences, 3 service officer inquiries.
One of our success stories for this week was a former Marine Corps Private First Class, now 28 years of age, separated General (Under Honorable Conditions) in June 2008 following 4 years of total active duty service due to completion of required active service in accordance with Marine Corps Separation and Retirement Manual (MARCORSEPMAN) 1005.
Positive aspects of this former member’s service included award of the Rifle Marksman Badge, Pistol Expert Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2), Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and acceptable Proficiency/Conduct Markings of 4.2/3.8.
This Applicant’s record of service reflected no violations of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or adverse counseling entries.
This former Marine contended his discharge is inequitable based on his record of service. Although the Applicant deployed twice to Iraq, both during turbulent times, his proficiency and conduct markings seemed to suffer due to his inability to maintain physical standards. The Navy Discharge Review Board (NDRB) failed to locate any documentation in his service record that attempted to correct his deficiencies besides giving him low Pro/Con marks. The Applicant ran a 1st Class Physical Fitness Test on his last test, which at least shows he was performing well for his unit. The NDRB concluded that the command did this former member a disservice by not properly counseling and assigning him to the Body Composition Program, per Marine Corps regulations. Even though the Applicant bears the responsibility to maintain Marine Corps standards, the NDRB determined that the command failed the Applicant by not following proper regulations. Therefore, an upgrade to the Applicant’s characterization would be appropriate. Relief granted.
After a thorough review of the available evidence, to include the Applicant’s summary of service, service record book, record entries, and discharge process, the Board found the discharge was proper but not equitable. Therefore, the awarded characterization of service shall change to Honorable and the narrative reason for separation shall remain completion of required active service.
John Stovall, Director
National Security-Foreign Relations Division