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News | Oct. 4, 2016

FRCSW/COMFRC Clips for Week of Sept. 26

By frcsw

LOCAL COVERAGE Honoring more than six decades of service FRCSW, FRCSE Collaborate on JASDF E-2C Requirement Mission mattered most in West's work for warfighter FRC East Team DINO wins NAVAIR Challenge   WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS Budget Deal Avoids Government Shutdown, Finalizes Next Year's VA Budget Top Marine aviator: 'Ways to go' before enough aircraft are flyable Readiness Worries Deepened By Hill Ineptitude On Budgets Engine Upgrades For The F-35 Expected In Mid-2020s Federal Employee Health Premiums To Rise 6.2 Percent On Average Commentary: Why the military's controversial F-35 fighter jet is more relevant than ever Commentary: How Does Military Deal With Acts Of Civil Disobedience   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ WE'RE SOCIAL! Follow us on Twitter @COMFRC_Sustains, Facebook at and YouTube at   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ LOCAL COVERAGE +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Honoring more than six decades of service (FLEET READINESS CENTER EAST, 29 Sept 16) . Fleet Readiness Center East Public Affairs   MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Freddie Dawkins only planned to be a civil service employee two additional years after relocating from Alameda Naval Air Station, California to Fleet Readiness Center East in 1995.   And now 21 years later he is being honored for more than 60 years of federal service, and he has no plan of hanging it up just yet.   "I'm 81 years old. I might stay until I'm 100," said Dawkins, who has worked as a pneudraulics systems mechanic - disassembling, assembling, repairing and overhauling various turbine compressor assemblies daily - with Naval Air Systems Command since January 1981. "I feel good that FRC East is still allowing me to serve."   According to Dawkins, his lengthy federal service career began in 1953 when he enlisted in the United States Air Force in the aircraft and engine mechanic career field.   "I had to do something," he said, as he talked of growing up in Washington, D.C. in the time leading up to the Civil Rights Movement. He said the job market was scarce for African-American males at that time in the nation, and he had to find a means of earning money.   He said, having attended a military preparatory school, "I always knew, some way or another I was going into the military." So when his hope of attending West Point and becoming a pilot did not materialize he sought another route into the military.   "I went to the recruiter, and it was a lucky day for me, because only the Air Force and Army recruiters were there," he said, holding in his mind that his hope of flying might still be realized. "It was an opportune time for me because the Air Force was accepting more African-Americans."   "I had to really, really talk to my mom about signing me up," said Dawkins, who was then 17 years old, the older of two children and sensing his mother's apprehension of the matter, as the U.S. was engaged in the Korean War.   And while the situation in the military was not ideal for people of color, as segregation and prejudice were prominent then, Dawkins's said he did not let that deter him. "I just wanted to serve," he said.   "I overcame the prejudice and discrimination. I was well-aware of it, but at some point you have to progress," he said, acknowledging a resilient attitude and self-motivation as his internal propellers through a 26-year active-duty military career (and now more than 35 years in civil service). "I believe I can do anything I want to do when I'm ready to do it. I thought, 'despite what's going on, I'm going to make me better.' . I'm kind of stubborn a little bit too, you know."   Dawkins credits a strong work ethic, "good support systems" and "the man upstairs" for enduring in service. "I didn't get here by myself," he said, giving an instinctive nod to family, church, friends, doctors and various social organizations.   He also attributes some of his success to admonishment from an "old sergeant."   "He said, 'You're not going to make it because of what you're doing,'" Dawkins recalled, telling of how his off-duty activeness, which equaled his work intensity, drew unfavorable attention of his superiors. "I worked hard, but I also partied hard.   "He walked me up to the line. He said, 'you are very skilled and can do anything, but here is the line that you do not cross.' I kept myself out of trouble by that resonating in my head."   Dawkins served in the earlier part of his career in the distinguished Strategic Air Command, noting that while assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing at Turner Field, Ga. he worked some with the historic Tuskegee Airmen. He became a flight engineer after about five years of service. He served a couple of tours in the Vietnam War between 1966 and 1969 where he earned the Air Medal - with five oak leaf clusters, representing 125 combat missions flown - and the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was awarded to him for performing the mission in the Republic of Vietnam.   Dawkins retired from the Air Force in 1979, but he quickly realized he would have to get another job when he saw that he would not be able to partake of benefits the way he did while he was enlisted.   "I rolled up to the clinic and the guy said, 'Sarge it's a little different now that you're not on active duty," he said.   He used his Montgomery GI Bill to take some classes at a community college, where he studied aircraft and engine maintenance - what he already knew.   He worked with a military contractor, working on C-5 aircraft, for a short while before landing a federal service position at Alameda. The naval air station was on the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission list to close, subsequently displacing much of its workforce around the country. Dawkins received orders to relocate to the Navy Depot at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and started in January 1995.   Through the years his focus has remained resolute on serving his nation.   "Every day I think of the importance of getting the details right for the troops who use these products in the field," said Dawkins, commenting on his role in generating combat air power for America's Marines and Naval forces.   According to the man affectionately known around FRC East as Mr. Fred, the reason he has stayed so long is because he has "met such beautiful people here."   "It wasn't a perfect journey. It was a rough and rugged road," he said. "But I liked what I was doing. It's a collection of good days and bad days; I've had more good (ones) than I've had bad."   And for those asking, "When will Mr. Fred retire," he said, the people and mood around the depot are still pleasant. "When we start bothering each other, I'll be the first to go," he said.   The FRC East Commanding Officer Col. Vincent Clark presented Dawkins the Secretary of the Navy Certificate of Service and pin for 60 years of federal service Sept. 7 during a special ceremony in the command Conference Room, honoring his comprehensive military and civilian service, calling him "a national treasure."   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   FRCSW, FRCSE Collaborate on JASDF E-2C Requirement (FLEET READINESS CENTER SOUTHWEST, 23 Sept 16) . Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Public Affairs   NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND - In a move that exemplifies teamwork and cooperation, Fleet Readiness Centers Southwest (FRCSW) and Southeast (FRCSE) recently joined forces to ensure the timely return of E-2C Hawkeye components to the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF).   Work on the JASDF E-2C assets was derived from a 2011 Repair Commercial Services Agreement (CSA) between FRCSW and Aeronautical Systems Incorporated (ASI). ASI provides maintenance, repair, overhaul and logistical support to foreign militaries.   The JASDF operates approximately 13 E-2C aircraft, and was in need of crucial repairs to the nose steering assembly units of eight aircraft to meet mission requirements. Steering assembly units enable pilots to taxi the airplane prior to takeoff and after landing.   Under the terms of the CSA, FRCSW ordered all repair materials through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and provided the touch labor to service the steering assemblies, said Lee Strother, performance-based logistics program coordinator, who ensured the on-time delivery schedules and cost requirements of the project.   "We do a complete overhaul to these," said hydraulics/pneudraulics shop supervisor Jack Jackson. "That means we'll completely disassemble the unit, evaluate, order any outstanding material required; then send it out for cleaning, remove any corrosion, run a non-destructive inspection on them and assemble and test them before they're sent to paint and returned to the customer."   The units were inducted into the FRCSW components program in Building 472 last August and September and were returned in less than five months, thanks to cooperative problem solving between the two FRCs.   "As the first few units were nearing completion of repair, ASI was notified that the test bench for the nose steering assembly was down for service," wrote Carlos Pichardo, ASI director of operations in his April 12, 2016, letter of commendation to FRCSW.   "(Then FRCSW Components IPT Lead) Wade Wendell took initiative to identify solutions for testing. Mr. Wendell worked directly with engineering at FRCSW to see if there was any way to bring the test stand back up, and when it was deemed that it would take a number of weeks, Mr. Wendell identified that there was an active test bench located at FRCSE. This out-of-the-box thinking allowed ASI to work with FRCSW for the repair of the assets and the final testing was performed by FRCSE so that the final delivery made it to the customer within their fiscal year requirement."   Pichardo noted that ". any items not delivered within the JASDF fiscal year lose funding."   "ASI has recently sent additional JASDF assets to FRCSW for repair and with the assistance of the Components Integrated Product Team at FRCSW and its management, we look forward to continued success in the support of availability delivered for United States allies," Pichardo wrote.   The FRCSW test bench used to assess the E-2C nose steering assembly units is currently under an update modification.   In addition to E-2C components work, FRCSW also services legacy Hornet Aircraft Mounted Accessory Drives (AMAD) under its service agreement with ASI.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Mission mattered most in West's work for warfighter (FLEET READINESS CENTERS, 21 Sept 16) . Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers Public Affairs   MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Accomplishing the mission by getting capability and capacity to the warfighter was Dennis West's raison d'etre over the course of his 32-year career.   On Aug. 31, West departed his position as deputy commander, Commander, Fleet Readiness Center (COMFRC), Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and leaves as his legacy a resource sharing organizational system, a competency aligned organization/integrated program teams (CAO/IPTs) in the Fleet Readiness Center (FRCs), a strategic plan for readiness named Vision 2020 and sound advice for the next generation.   West began his career as a General Service-5 aerospace engineer at what was then the Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF), Cherry Point, North Carolina, and is now FRC East (FRCE). During the course of his service, he worked in many capacities at FRCE: starting as a pneumatics engineer on the shop floor; production support engineer for aircraft and support equipment; research and engineering group head; director of logistics; and the industrial group head.   "My career has been very, very rewarding," he said. "Every job I've had, I've really enjoyed and have enjoyed every subsequent job more than the last one."   In 2012, West was appointed to the Senior Executive Service and became deputy commander, COMFRC.   Rear Adm. Paul Sohl, Commander, Operations and Test Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR), Norfolk, Virginia, came onboard as COMFRC in Aug. 2013 and served with West through June 2016.   "When I first met Dennis," Sohl began, "I could tell right then he thought, not from an engineering standpoint, but from an FRC one, and he always had in his mind, 'What do the fleet and the warfighter need and how can I get it to them' There were times you could see him get impatient because some of us were just thinking in terms of getting the warfighters what they needed today. And he was thinking one step ahead, thinking 'What will they need tomorrow'"   This forward-thinking led West to lay the foundation for Vision 2020, a strategic plan for regaining readiness across naval aviation and for optimizing capability and capacity. The ultimate achievement of Vision 2020 will be the inception of a global maintenance management system, which will recognize a failing aircraft as soon as it happens and immediately route parts, materials, artisans, equipment -- whatever is needed -- to the aircraft to fix it in real time.   "We've got to progress the sustainment system to operate near real time, like the airlines do, if we're going to fix the future readiness issues," West said. "Even though we have readiness issues now, if we don't fundamentally change the way we're doing sustainment, we're going to have a serious problem going into the future.   West considers a few of his accomplishments to be key enablers that have paved the way for a plan such as Vision 2020 to succeed: the FRC resource sharing effort that led to the implementation of the workload management system (WMS), enabling prioritization and task management across sites; the completion of the NAVAIR Depot Maintenance System (NDMS) that ended more than 38 FRC-unique systems and shut down three FRC data centers, going from 484 servers to fewer than 90, resulting in a 34 percent reduction in cost and no degradation in service, thus paving the way for faster upgrades, more consistent maintenance processes and supporting cyber security.   Also important is the implementation of the digital thread infrastructure across the FRCs which allows for the seamless movement of digital data from an engineer's desk directly to the industrial manufacturing environment, regardless of the site in which either reside. And, a significant accomplishment is the implementation of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), a theory of constraints tool to improve line production, at three of the FRCs, which has increased the speed of F/A-18 Hornet throughput significantly as well as other aircraft lines.   West is also credited with helping to grow the next generation of technical leaders through his personal involvement and professional development events where he shares his philosophy for being successful.   To those just beginning their careers and facing roadblocks, West said you should "recognize that every rule, every process you encounter as a barrier, was written by somebody. The key to your success in removing these barriers and moving forward is to find out who wrote the rule or process that is holding you up, and then have some discussions with that person to try to figure out what you can do. Don't get stopped dead in your tracks; don't let it keep you from accomplishing the mission. Some human somewhere wrote it and all you have to do is find out who. Usually, they wrote it for a specific reason, for a specific case, and if yours doesn't fit, they're most likely willing to rewrite it so you can do what you need to do."   West also said managing your own career is vital.   "Do not expect anyone to be wake up every morning trying to figure out how they can help you," West said. "It's your responsibility to manage your career and figure out where you want to go and then enlist the help of people who can help you do that."   To the COMFRC workforce, West offered parting guidance: "Keep up the fight; keep working on cross-site coordination and relationships; and continue to centralize functions where it makes sense and where it benefits the whole. Everyone should continue to work to understand where what they do fits into the mission. "   West said what he will miss most is "Working with people and working to make sure the mission is successful."   "I can't overstate all he has brought to COMFRC," Sohl said. "He was my close confident at COMFRC, and we were able to talk deeply on a great many and wide variety of topics and not just things in the FRC world. He is a man of great intelligence. All of us will miss him greatly."   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   FRC East Team DINO wins NAVAIR Challenge (FLEET READINESS CENTER EAST, 29 Sept 16) . Fleet Readiness Center East Public Affairs   MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (Sept. 29, 2016) - Six members of Fleet Readiness Center East's Propeller Integrated Product Team of In-Service Support Center won the first Naval Air Systems Command Data Challenge that culminated in a two-day summit Sept. 13-14 at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.   The Data Innovations Negating Obsolescence Team, or Team DINO, consisting of Derrick White, Jonathan Markl, Chris Parry and Andrew Hunter of the Propulsion and Power Engineering Department, and Pam Lawley of the Aviation Readiness and Resource Analysis Department, and Glenn Pangburn of the Industrial and Logistical Maintenance Planning Sustainment Department beat out 33 teams for the initiative that focused on improving readiness by using NAVAIR data sources.   "This team was a perfect blend of experienced individuals and recently hired engineers producing a unique level of creativity," said Mark Meno, Research and Engineering Group (Air-4.0) head.   The initiative began in March, led by Rear Adm. Francis Morley, NAVAIR vice commander, and the Integrated Business Capabilities Team, and sought to create visualizations, algorithms and data manipulation methods that could help identify and predict factors affecting readiness.   After months of collaboration and thousands of hours of work, five teams emerged as finalists who presented their ideas to NAVAIR leadership and data science specialists from private industries at the summit.   "What we discovered during the Data Challenge is that, within NAVAIR, we have all of the personnel and tools to address and mitigate readiness issues, but they are spread out between different teams and sites," said Markl, an aerospace engineer with Team DINO. "Creating a community centered on data science will hopefully bring some of these ideas to the forefront and allow them to become standard practices within the command."   Insight from all teams will improve data validation methods and enhance tools implemented in future developments to Vector, a web-based tool that integrates more than 15 data sources and provides visualizations. Vector is the web-based version of the powerful Integrated Logistics Support Management System readiness data analysis tool that each type/model/series team has been using to help identify and manage readiness and cost degraders affecting their specific TMS platforms.   Team DINO focused its efforts on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of Vector. They found that Vector was an effective tool for determining what parts were affecting readiness, but proved ineffective in pinpointing reasons and projecting future action once parts are identified.   The team tackled these questions by incorporating methods used by the Research and Engineering Group, Air-4.0, for root cause analysis and predictive models for component failures. By combining data sources from Vector and incorporating additional data from the Joint Deficiency Reporting System and the Integrated Reliability-Centered Maintenance System, the team was able to automate data scrubbing processes and cross-check sources for validation. Being limited to only those programs available on an Navy Marine Corps Intranet seat, the team developed a spreadsheet tool using Program Management Activity 231 aircraft and maintenance data as a proof of concept. The tool included aircraft level visualization for inventory and flight hour tracking, and component level analysis. The component-level tools included modules for risk assessment, root cause analysis and metric comparison tools by TMS, squadrons and bureau numbers.   Crunching the numbers   Team DINO focused on component level predictive tools that use a Monte Carlo Simulation to project future component failures to address the challenge of improving readiness. Monte Carlo is a mathematical method of using a random number generator with a known distribution to project the likelihood of possible outcomes. Applying this method to a Weibull distribution - a continuous probability distribution that models the life of a component to failure - revealed accurate failure times for a given population. The Monte Carlo method also allows for "what-if" scenarios to be programmed into the outcome to account for factors affecting supply such as aircraft procurements or retirements, overhaul interval changes, component reliability changes, and wartime part use surges.   Application of the knowledge and insights gained throughout the Data Challenge will help NAVAIR PMAs improve platform readiness. The Propeller IPT is using the tool created by Team DINO to quickly diagnose failure causes and supply shortages, and aid the team in providing mitigation. One example was a known supply shortage. The team was able to use the tool to identify the cause of an increase in failures and provide suggestions for mitigation through maintenance awareness training.   "They were able to fully leverage their blended skills resulting in the development of a powerful tool that will undoubtedly provide broad readiness improvements going forward to not just the propeller community but Naval Aviation at large," said Meno. "We are proud (and in awe) of our Cherry Point teammates."   Team DINO plans to continue to use and develop their tool to address future readiness issues and to lead the way in moving from reactive to proactive to predictive in the Propeller IPT and beyond.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ WORLD/NATIONAL NEWS +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Budget Deal Avoids Government Shutdown, Finalizes Next Year's VA Budget (MILITARY TIMES 28 Sept 16) ... Leo Shane III   Congress averted a government shutdown with a rushed budget deal on Wednesday that also settles the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction budget for all of fiscal 2017.   The measure gives VA officials $74.4 billion in discretionary spending next year, a nearly 4 percent increase but about $700 million below what the White House requested in its budget plan. Still, department leaders have signaled support for that level of funding, especially considering more significant cuts proposed by House lawmakers.   It also includes $7.72 billion for more than 200 military construction projects, a decrease of almost 6 percent but nearly $300 million above the president's request. About $1.3 billion of that is slated for military housing projects scheduled to get underway in coming months.   Those two agency budgets are the only ones to get a full-year spending plan approved before the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.   Lawmakers approved a 10-week extension of federal funding at fiscal 2016 levels for all other government programs, and will need to adopt a long-term budget deal after the November elections are complete.   The move means a delay in new program starts for the first quarter of the new fiscal year, but that is less disruptive than the possibility of a partial government shutdown, which would have started Oct. 1 without a deal.   Senate Democrats and Republicans had sparred in recent days over a budget extension, largely because of the absence of emergency funding to help with drinking water contamination in Flint, Mich.   Early on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was satisfied that issue will be dealt with in the lame duck congressional session later this year.   The final deal passed by a margin of 72-26 in the Senate and 342-85 in the House.   Party leaders will also have to decide in November whether to pass another temporary budget measure, bridging federal funding into the next administration, or simply pass a full fiscal year budget, as Congress often belatedly does at the end of the calendar year.   But VA operations and military construction projects will move ahead regardless. The construction allocation includes $350 million for improvements to military medical facilities, $272 million for upgrades to Defense Department schools and $673 million for Guard and reserve projects.   VA funding, which will top $176.9 billion when mandatory spending is included, features $65 billion for medical programs, including $7.2 billion for medical appointments and treatment outside the VA system. Also, $5.7 billion is set aside for specifically for medical care of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.   The bill also sets aside $675 million for medical and prosthetic research, $535 million for health care specifically for women veteran, and $284 million for traumatic brain injury treatment.   Lawmakers inserted $260 million for continued work on the VA electronic health record system, but restrict access to those funds until certain interoperability benchmarks are reached. Another $900 million is set aside for major and minor VA construction projects.   President Barack Obama is expected to sign the budget bill into law later this week.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Top Marine aviator: 'Ways to go' before enough aircraft are flyable (MARINE CORPS TIMES ONLINE 21 Sept 16) . Jeff Schogol   Engineers and mechanics are working furiously to keep enough of the Marine Corps' aging planes and helicopters flying longer than originally intended until the service gets new aircraft to replace them.   Years of war and maintenance delays have worn out many Marine airframes. That, combined with delays in the controversial F-35 joint strike fighter program, has left the Marine Corps with a shortage of flyable planes and helicopters.   "Our readiness numbers are ticking up, but they are still shy of what they should be," Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, told Marine Corps Times. "We're not satisfied at all. We have a ways to go before we achieve full readiness recovery."   As of July 31, 465 of a total of 968 Marine aircraft are flyable, said Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns. The Marine Corps' plan to boost the number of flyable aircraft and the flight hours that pilots get calls for having 589 out of 1,065 fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft flyable by July of 2019, Davis said.   Last month, Davis ordered all non-deployed squadrons to stand down for 24 hours. The move followed three F/A-18 Hornets crashes between June and August. Two Marine pilots were killed in the accidents.   "Enough things came together for me to go: I want everybody to take a knee and tell me what they see from their foxhole," Davis said. "Everybody did that. We didn't see anything systemically wrong with that squadron or the F/A-18."   The Marine Corps' aviation readiness crisis has gained national attention this year. Marine Corps Times reported in April that only a third of the Corps' Hornets could fly. Later, the Marines had to take Hornets out of storage from "the Boneyard" in Arizona.   Currently, 90 of the Marine Corps' 273 F/A-18 Hornets are able to fly, in part because of deep "sequestration" budget cuts that deferred maintenance when depots had to shut down and many civilian artisans who repair Marine aircraft quit.   Under its readiness recovery plan, the Marine Corps expects to have 162 flyable Hornets by mid-2017 or early 2018, depending on how much work the planes need in depot, Davis said. But the demand for Marine aircraft may pick up before then -- in January, a new president will take office, and he or she may decide to increase airstrikes over Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.   Davis said the Marines would send all available aircraft to support an increase in combat operations, but he added, "I think it would stress the system to do that" because the Marine air component has been at war since Operation Desert Storm in 1991.   Keeping score   Davis constantly keeps track of how many planes and helicopters are flying. He has a chart that shows the number of flyable aircraft per month that he shares with members of Congress and Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller.   "Gen. Neller, he sees this chart all the time," Davis said. "This is my scorecard. This is how I'm doing as a [deputy commandant for aviation]."   Of all Marine aircraft, the CH-53E Super Stallion fleet faces the most serious readiness problems, Davis said. About 27 percent of the Marine Corps 146 CH-53Es are unable to fly because they need spare parts. Along with the AV-8B Harrier jump-jet, Marine helicopters like the Super Stallion have the Corps' highest mishap rates, according to Naval Safety Center data from fiscal years 2011-2015.   Over the next three years, the Marine Corps will repair all of its CH-53Es, he said. The process is expected to yield 16 refurbished helicopters every 110 days. The Marine Corps also plans to replace the CH-53Es with 200 brand new CH-53Ks between 2019 and 2029.   One way the Marine Corps hopes to speed the healing process is by asking Congress for money to buy more F-35s and CH-53Ks per year as part of the service's unfunded priority list, Davis said.   "If I could buy F-35s faster, I could stand down first Hornet and then Harrier squadrons," he said. "If I got 53Ks faster, I'd be able to get a little bit faster out of the 53E."   Davis also wants to make sure that the Marine Corps is keeping its best pilots, aircrew and maintainers, whom he worries could be lured away by the high-paying private sector.   "I see what the airlines are doing," he said. "They are hiring a lot of folks. Their demand signal for pilots and maintainers is pretty astounding and concerning."   Overall, the Marine Corps has enough pilots, but certain communities such as MV-22B Osprey squadrons need more enough qualified pilots and maintainers, Davis said.   "We're actively leaning forward at Gen. Neller's direction to make sure that we get out in front of a potential problem," he said. "I worry about everything, but that's one of the things I worry about a lot."   While Davis is confident that the Marine Corps will meet its goals of getting more aircraft flyable, he stressed that this push is more than a wing and a prayer.   "I don't use the word 'hope,'" Davis said. "If I said 'hope,' [you] can slap me around a little bit. Hope is not a method. We have a plan that drives us to that."   Looking to the future, the Marines are looking at new ways to use the K-MAX remotely piloted helicopter, which was used to move cargo in Afghanistan, Davis said.   Ultimately, the Marine Corps wants to develop a ship-based unmanned aircraft similar to the Air Force's MQ-9 Reaper, which can fire Hellfire missiles at targets, he said.   "I'd actually like to get a better capability than the Reaper but with a vertical takeoff and land capability that we can put aboard a ship," Davis said. "We've got about three prototypes that are in development right now."   --Staff reporter Meghann Myers contributed to this report   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Readiness Worries Deepened By Hill Ineptitude On Budgets (MILITARY ADVANTAGE BLOG 22 Sept 16) ... Tom Philpott   For an eighth straight year, a period spanning the wartime presidency of President Obama, Congress will fail to pass a defense budget on time. It's a wasteful misstep caused again by bitter partisanship, weak leaders and alarming apathy over the harm being done to military readiness, say senators on the armed services committee.   That harm is deep and widespread, uniformed leaders of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps told the committee last week in urging Congress both to avoid five more years of defense spending caps and to shelve its destabilizing habit of passing late-hour "continuing resolutions," or CRs, instead of detailed and on-time defense budgets.   Accepting the inevitability of another CR this October, service chiefs still pleaded that it last weeks not months. The fear is that a lame duck Congress in November will decide newly elected lawmakers should cut the next budget deal, delaying approval of a fiscal 2017 defense budget into next calendar year, thus aggravating fiscal uncertainties for a force under stress.   Defense dollars wasted by failure to pass budgets by Oct. 1, start of the fiscal year, are estimated to be enormous. Under a CR, spending is capped at previous year levels, which delays new construction projects and weapon buys, driving up contract costs across the department.   Politic gridlock, therefore, is gobbling up chunks of real budget savings, including from spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 and enforced through the mindless tool of sequestration. After a two-year hiatus, BCA caps are set to resume in fiscal 2018.   That threat and uncertainty created by another CR were dominant themes at Thursday's hearing. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), committee chairman, delivered a scathing indictment of the budget mess Congress has created for the military. Republicans, Democrats and the president should share the blame, he said, and have the "courage to put aside politics" in finding a solution.   Operating on stopgap deals like "continuing resolutions, omnibus spending bills and episodic budget agreements, are a poor substitute for actually doing our jobs..." said McCain. "Is it any wonder why Americans say they are losing trust in government"   Dysfunction in Washington "has very real consequences for the thousands of Americans serving in uniform and sacrificing on our behalf ... Are we serving them with a similar degree of courage The answer, I say with profound sadness, is: We are not."   McCain noted how five years ago, to address the nation's ballooning debt, Congress opted to pass the BCA, which imposed arbitrary spending caps for a decade on discretionary spending including defense, rather than tackle the real issue, "the unsustainable growth of entitlement spending."   Democrats argue the BCA resulted from the brinksmanship of Republican leaders who threatened to force a default on America's debt rather than agree to a balanced budget deal that include raising taxes on the wealthy or closing tax loopholes that benefit special interests.   With the current defense budget $150 billion less than in 2011, McCain said, the military is struggling "to sustain higher operational tempo with aging equipment and depleted readiness, and doing so at the expense of modernizing to deal with the threats of tomorrow."   Meanwhile forces are too small "to train for and meet our growing operational requirements against low-end threats" and still prepare "for full-spectrum warfare against high-end threats."   BCA spending caps set to resume in the budget Congress will begin work on in February, McCain said, so "we are fooling ourselves, and deceiving the American people, about the true cost of fixing the problem."   The current five-year defense budget plan already is $100 billion above BCA caps. In addition, $30 billion of annual spending for base defense requirements is buried in the OCO, or Overseas Contingency Operations account, a House gimmick adopted so as not exceed the spending caps.   "What this means is that, over the next five years, our nation must come up with $250 billion just to pay for our current defense strategy and our current programs of record," McCain said.   "Put simply, we have no plan as of yet to pay for what our Department of Defense is doing right now, even as most of us agree that what we are doing at present is not sufficient for what we really need," he warned.   The service chiefs said deployed units are fully ready to confront and defeat any adversary. But the tradeoff for keeping frontline units ready using constrained budgets, and after 15 years fighting against insurgent forces, is degraded longer term readiness to confront near-peer powers like China, Russia or even Iran and North Korea.   The Army, said chief of staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, is "more capable, better trained, better equipped, better led and more lethal than any other ground force in the world today." That said, he added, Army chooses to "prioritize and fully fund readiness" versus needed end strength, modernization and infrastructure. "In other words we are mortgaging future readiness for current readiness," Milley said.   Milley said he stood by an assessment given months ago that the Army would be at risk of taking unacceptably high casualties if it had to fight two near-simultaneous wars against nation state powers.   Adm. John M. Richardson, chief of naval operations, laid out a "triple whammy" of challenges Navy faces, the first being the high pace of operations for 15 years that has strained ships, aircraft and families.   Number two is budget uncertainty. "Eight years of continuing resolutions including a year of sequestration have driven additional costs and time into just about everything that we do," Richardson said. "The services are essentially operating in three fiscal quarters per year now. Nobody schedules anything important in the first quarter. The disruption this uncertainty imposes translates directly into risk for our Navy and our nation."   The third whammy, he said, are spending caps that lowered readiness rates of ships and aircraft that would be needed in a wartime surge.   Marine Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller said Marines are meeting all current force requirements by "pushing risk and the long-term health of the force into the future." He noted the Corps' list of unfunded budget priorities totals $2.6 billion, "the largest we've ever submitted" to Congress.   "Repealing sequestration, returning to stable budgets without extended continuing resolutions and allowing us the flexibility to reduce excess infrastructure and make strategic trades are essential" to address long-term challenges, said Gen. David L. Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff.   The four leaders agreed with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that unless BCA is repealed or suspended, it could do more damage to force readiness than any adversary can, short of war. Graham, unlike most Republicans, will consider tax hikes to get a better budget deal.   Asked if he would too, McCain's didn't comment by our deadline.   "Do you want to do revenue to fix it I'll do revenue," said Graham. "But what I'm not going to do is keep playing this silly [BCA] game."   "If sequestration goes back into effect [after] 2017, are we putting people's lives at risk" by squeezing available training dollars, Graham asked.   "Yes," each service chief responded.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Engine Upgrades For The F-35 Expected In Mid-2020s (DEFENSE NEWS 26 Sept 16) ... Aaron Mehta   WASHINGTON - The F-35 joint program office is eyeing the middle of the next decade for when major upgrades to the engines on the joint strike fighter can proceed.   Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, who heads the JPO head, said at last week's Air Force Association conference that the "mid-2020s" is when the power plant on the joint strike fighter could be refreshed, whether through improvements to the Pratt & Whitney F135 design currently used or through a new engine design from another competitor.   "I would expect ... that somewhere in the mid-2020s much of the work being done in the labs right now with our industry partners will find its way onto the F-35," Bogdan told an audience Sept. 21. "Whether it finds its way onto the F-35 in the current engine or some modified engine remains to be seen, but we do fully expect in the mid-20s to include some advanced technologies on engines."   The Air Force is currently funding the early stages of the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) competition, with both Pratt and General Electric Aviation participating. The goal of AETP is to see if the companies can successfully add a third stream of air inside the engine. The program's goal is to "demonstrate 25 percent improved fuel efficiency, 10 percent increased thrust, and significantly improved thermal management," according to an Air Force statement.   Both companies received contracts worth $1.01 billion over the summer to fund the research under AETP, with a period of performance ending in September 2021.   While the AETP competition will likely be the source of the F-35 power plant of the future, its official focus is whatever the service decides to do with the so-called "sixth generation" fighter development. Theoretically, engine improvements could also be rolled into the B-21 Raider bomber, which is expected to enter production by the mid-2020s. Pratt & Whitney is the engine supplier on the program; and although neither they nor Northrop Grumman, the prime on the B-21, have said what engine is being used, speculation is that some form of the F135 engine will power the bomber.   Bogdan made it clear it is too early to make any decisions about how engine improvements could be rolled into the F-35 program.   "We have to take a look and see if they are 1) applicable and can be integrated into the F-35, and 2) the right time and place to do that," Bogdan said. "A lot of that comes from the warfighter telling us what he or she needs and wants on the airplane, but relative to engine technology, just like sensor technology, just like materials technology, engine technology is moving along also. And there is a lot of work being done in the labs right now to improve the range [and] capability of our engines, the thrust capability on the size and weight of our engines."   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Federal Employee Health Premiums To Rise 6.2 Percent On Average (FEDERAL INSIDER (WASHINGTON POST) 28 Sept 16) ... Eric Yoden   The enrollee share of premiums in the health-care program for federal employees and retirees will rise 6.2 percent on average in 2017, an increase about in line with the general trend for employer-sponsored health insurance, the government announced Wednesday.   The announcement of premium rates in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program comes in advance of an annual open season, which this year will run Nov. 14-Dec. 12, during which enrollees may change plans or change types of enrollment for the following year. Also, employees who are not currently enrolled may join the program, although retirees generally may not newly join.   The increase in premiums overall averages 4.4 percent, but because of the way the formula works for setting the government and enrollee shares, the enrollee share on average is increasing by more than the government share. The government pays about 70 percent of the total premium and enrollee pays the rest; the U.S. Postal Service pays a somewhat larger share for its employees, although not for its retirees.   "We are at the lower end of what is being experienced around the country," John O'Brien, Office of Personnel Management director of health care and insurance, said at a briefing for reporters. OPM said that two outside assessments project increases of 6 to 6.5 percent in private-sector plans.   The FEHBP, the largest employer-sponsored health insurance program in the country, is open to almost all federal employees, while federal retirees can continue coverage if they were covered for the five years before retiring.   About 4 million people, roughly evenly split between active employees and retirees, are enrolled, and about an equal number of family members - spouses and children under 26, with no cutoff for disabled children - have coverage through those enrollments.   The increases in non-postal employee premiums break down to an average of 6 percent for self-only coverage, 5.4 percent for self-plus-one and 6.6 percent for self-and-family coverage. In dollar terms, that's an average of $5.27, $10.32 and $12.97 biweekly. Retirees pay premiums at the same level, although on a monthly basis; also, unlike active employees, retirees may not pay premiums on a pre-tax basis.   Within the averages there is a wide range of costs and changes in premiums among the plans, a few of which are holding their rates virtually steady or even decreasing them slightly. A total of 245 plans will participate in 2017, 15 of them available nationally, with the rest being health maintenance organization-type plans available regionally.   In the Washington area, a total of 31 plans will be available, officials said.   Rates for non-postal enrollees in the largest plan, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard option, will rise by $5.81 to $105.99 biweekly for self-only coverage, by $9.46 to $240.77 for self-plus-one and by $15.99 to $254.23 for family coverage.   The Blue Cross standard option accounts for about 40 percent of all enrollments, while a lower-cost Blue Cross option accounts for another 24 percent.   As in past years, officials attributed the rise largely to increasing prescription drug costs, which make up about a quarter of the total costs in the program, general inflation and the aging of the covered population.   There will be only minimal changes in out-of-pocket costs such as copayments and deductibles, they said.   Full details of each plan's terms will be in brochures to be released just ahead of the election period. Blue Cross announced Wednesday that it will increase the financial incentives for its enrollees who have diabetes to get a health assessment and monitor and control their blood sugar levels.   The most significant change program-wide will be a standard requirement to cover applied behavior analysis for children on the autism spectrum. Some plans already provide that coverage, but terms vary.   The enrollee share of premiums rose 7.4 percent on average for 2016, following four years of increases in the 4 percent range - what OPM officials called the longest stretch of increases that small on average over six years in the program's history.   However, several organizations representing federal employees and retirees decried the latest increase. "Like most other Americans, federal employees and retirees have seen their standard of living decline due to stagnant incomes and cost increases for basic goods and services," American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement. "This is an unacceptably high increase that will force many families to make difficult decisions about how to pay their bills."   "While the increases in FEHBP premiums for 2017 are relatively modest, they add to already skyrocketing costs incurred by federal retirees," said National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Richard G. Thissen.   Federal employees are in line for a raise averaging 1.6 percent, varying somewhat by location, in January. Federal retirees will learn in late October about a January cost-of-living adjustment to their benefits; with one month to go, the inflation count used in that calculation stands at below 1 percent.   OPM officials added that many enrollees with only one eligible family member could benefit by switching from family coverage to self-plus-one, an option introduced into the program last fall for this year. They estimate that 1 million FEHBP enrollees have just one eligible family member, but about half of them are still in the generally more expensive family coverage.   "We're hoping that those who have not looked at self-plus-one will consider it," O'Brien said.   However, in about 40 plans, which account for about 5 percent of enrollments, self-plus-one is more expensive than family coverage. That's largely due to the overall higher cost of insuring the relatively high percentage of retirees and older employee couples with no eligible children who are most likely to choose self-plus-one, officials said.   The open season also is the annual opportunity to join or change options in a separate program, the Federal Dental and Vision Insurance Program. That program offers federal employees and retirees the choice of a smaller number of vision and/or dental coverage plans with no government subsidy. Rates are increasing 1.9 percent on average for dental plans and 6.3 percent on average for vision plans.   In both the FEHBP and FEDVIP programs, coverage continues year to year, subject to the new premium rates and benefits, unless the enrollee makes a change.   However, a new election is required each open season in the separate flexible spending account program, which allows active employees, although not retirees, to set aside money pre-tax to pay for certain health care and dependent care expenses. The 2017 maximums will remain $2,550 and $5,000, respectively, OPM said.   The announcement comes just ahead of the close of election periods for the two other government-sponsored insurance programs for federal employees and retirees.   In the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance program, active employees can newly enroll or increase existing coverage during an open season ending Friday. Open seasons in that program are rare and such changes otherwise can be made only after experiencing certain life events or on passing a medical exam.   Also, an "enrollee decision period" ends Friday in the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program. That offers enrollees facing premium increases in November averaging 83 percent to restructure their benefits - for example, reducing inflation protection - to soften or eliminate the increase. Most of those affected also can invoke a paid-up provision allowing them to stop paying premiums while remaining eligible for a benefit, although a much-reduced one.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Commentary: Why the military's controversial F-35 fighter jet is more relevant than ever (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 26 Sept 16) . Deborah Lee James and David L. Goldfein   Back in the summer of 2008, "Black Hawk Down" author Mark Bowden wrote a story in the Atlantic magazine detailing how Russian and Chinese military forces were making rapid strides to close the performance gap with American fighter planes and fighter pilots. In a piece bemoaning the Pentagon's decision to cap production of the high-tech F-22 Raptor at the relatively small number of 183 jets, Bowden noted that some foreign-built fighters "can now match or best" another front-line American fighter, the F-15 Eagle, in aerial combat.   Eight years later, the gap between U.S. capabilities and those of Russia and China has narrowed even more significantly at a time when both nations routinely and provocatively test our air defenses around the world. That's why a few weeks ago, with the announcement that the Air Force has declared the new F-35 fighter jet combat ready, we reached an important point for our nation's national security.   In recent months, it has been all too common for Russian and Chinese aircraft and ships to make bold - and in some cases dangerous - provocations as they operate near our warplanes over Europe and in the Pacific. This stands in sharp contrast to the more than 50 years we have been intercepting each other in a professional and predictable manner. The Air Force's declaration the F-35 has achieved what we call "Initial Operational Capability" could not come at a more crucial time. As the service leading the air campaign in the fight with ISIL, we are stretched thin as we grapple with shortages of pilots and mechanics and damaging sequestration budget cuts as we turn our eyes to these new threats.   The F-35 is what the Pentagon calls a fifth-generation fighter, a stealthy, data-driven jet that will help reverse an erosion of U.S. air dominance that began in the mid-1990s. As recent RAND Corp. study "China Scorecard" showed, the Chinese have made a concerted effort to develop large numbers of anti-aircraft missiles and combat aircraft specifically designed to blunt U.S. advantages in the region. The unclassified 2015 report noted that the Chinese have now achieved near parity with U.S. airpower if we had to go to war in the Taiwan Straits.   The aircraft's development has not been without controversy, overcoming delays and notable cost increases as the Defense Department struggled to field the F-35 variants for the Air Force, Navy and Marines and our coalition partners, a daunting engineering and logistical challenge. It is the most expensive weapons program in history at $1 trillion and its critics have labeled it an unnecessary albatross. However well-intentioned, those critics are as wrong about the F-35 as they were about the CV-22 Osprey, the F-16 and the F-15, modern-day pillars of American air dominance that were also decried as costly and unnecessary by critics at similar stages in development. By 2019, we expect the cost of an F-35 to fall to $85 million, roughly equal to the price tag for new versions of the much less-capable planes it will be replacing.   While there are no silver bullets or panaceas in the complex world of networked modern warfare, the F-35 will undoubtedly help to tip the scales back toward U.S. air supremacy. How will it do that Although some of the details are classified, the F-35 will be significantly less visible to tracking radars, much better at jamming those radars and able to sense and avoid threats in ways none of our current fourth-generation fighters can.   The Air Force will soon take possession of its 100th F-35 and we now have a combat squadron ready to deploy should regional military commanders decide its capabilities are needed in global hotspots. We follow the Marine Corps' declaration of IOC last year and look forward to the Navy bringing its own F-35 fleet online in the next few years.   This highly capable jet will be fielded by many key allies in the near future and the synergy will strengthen ties that benefit us and our many overseas friends and allies. The F-35 will quickly become the quarterback of joint and coalition campaigns as we use big data and a networked approach to combined arms.   This airplane and the rest of our fifth-generation fleet is a means to hedge against potential Russian military resurgence and to assure our Pacific partners that they can continue to count on stability in the region. Make no mistake, advanced Russian and Chinese anti-aircraft missiles are menacing to many of our older fourth-generation fighters such as the F-15 and F-16. In Ukraine, advanced Russian-built fighters were blasted from the sky by these missiles, which have the ability to inflict lethal damage at increasingly longer ranges. The F-35, like its workhorse predecessors did a generation ago, is certain to shift that balance back in our favor.   Deborah Lee James is the secretary of the Air Force.   (return to top)   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   Commentary: How Does Military Deal With Acts Of Civil Disobedience (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE 28 Sept 16) ... Carl Prine   The Navy remained mum Wednesday on the fate of Janaye Meishawn Ervin, the petty officer who refused to stand for the national anthem in Pearl Harbor, and she has also clammed up.   That wasn't her strategy on Sept. 21, when the reservist assigned to North Island's Navy Operational Support Center posted to her Facebook page that she felt like a "hypocrite" singing about the "land of the free" when those rights were given only to "some Americans."   Reached by phone Tuesday evening, Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Ervin said that she "couldn't answer any questions" and hadn't hired an attorney.   Public affairs officers on North Island didn't return messages seeking comment and her command wouldn't answer multiple phone calls from The San Diego Union-Tribune.   Ervin, who is black, has served in the Navy for eight years and lives in Riverside County's Moreno Valley.   Historical researchers and activists told the Union-Tribune that her social media dissent is a 21st century spin on a long tradition of protest within the ranks.   It also arrives in the wake of ongoing stadium demonstrations by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who takes a knee when the Star-Spangled Banner is played.   And in early September, an online video surfaced of an unidentified sailor who refused to stand for morning colors when played in early September at Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Fla.   Navy Regulation 1205 requires sailors in uniform to face the flag and stand at attention when the anthem is played. Violating the order could trigger a sailor's prosecution or separation from the service and the Navy can strip her security clearance.   The 37th Judge Advocate General of the Navy, retired Rear Adm. Donald J. Guter, said that he couldn't recall a case similar to Ervin's in his 32 years of service.   "I think it could spread," said Guter, who retired from the service in 2002 and now helms the Houston College of Law in Texas. "I think that the ideas that this young sailor tried to express are widely felt by others, but the way that she chose to express them becomes the issue."   Guter said that while service members don't surrender all free speech rights when they enlist, some Constitutional protections are curtailed to protect good order and discipline in the ranks and ensure that personnel don't bring dishonor to the military or the nation it defends.   U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, a Marine combat veteran, called for swift action.   "How do you have somebody who serves the country and fights for the flag not salute it That's preposterous," he wrote in an email message to the Union-Tribune. "If somebody is in the military, and he or she chooses not to salute the flag, it's grounds for removal. The Navy and the taxpayer should be spared the hassle of an investigation."   Chris Lombardi, a Philadelphia-based author who penned "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore," a book about civil disobedience within the military, said Ervin's protest isn't that unusual.   In the Mexican-American War from 1845-47, more than one out of every 10 soldiers deserted, many after they began to view the campaign as an unjust invasion that spread slavery across the continent, she said.   With his troops facing Jim Crow discrimination aboard a troop transport during World War I, a black colonel refused to embark his all-black regiment at Newport News, Va. In France, however, his doughboys fought with great valor, Lombardi said.   In unit formations during the Vietnam War, GIs drawn to the Black Power movement held up their fists in protest - an image repeated in May when an online photo of graduating black female West Point cadets raising the same sign went viral, Lombardi added.   She also pointed to Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier serving 35 years behind bars for leaking classified information to online activists to protest the Iraq war. Like Ervin, Manning was a junior enlisted intelligence analyst.   "That's not a coincidence. I think that what you'll find is that the sailor in San Diego is very intelligent, that she sees protest as a distinct and vital form of patriotism, and that her conscience led her to do what she did," said Lombardi, whose book is slated for publication in 2017.   According to college records and her online rsums, Ervin holds a 2011 Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. She works a civilian job as a microbiology lab technician in San Bernardino County.   Riverside County Superior Court records reveal Ervin paid $564 in fines and traffic school costs in 2011 after being cited for running a red light, apparently her only previous brush with the law.   "She intentionally made remarks online before she made her protest, so her motive was established in advance. If the government wanted to play hardball, they have a pretty solid case to pursue over good order and discipline," said Morris "Mo" Davis, a retired colonel who headed the U.S. Air Force Judiciary and served two years as the chief prosecutor of the Guantanamo military commissions.   "But in my 25 years in the Air Force, I can't remember any case like it, except for service members who made derogatory remarks about the commander in chief during heated elections. And in those cases, we treated them administratively, not through court martial."   Morris pointed to Jesse Thorsen, the Army reservist who wore his uniform during a fiery address to an Iowa rally for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul in 2012, running afoul of military regulations barring partisan political speech.   A corporal, Thorsen wasn't prosecuted or discharged from the military but he drew a reprimand for violating Army policies.   To former Navy legal ace Guter, Ervin's moment of dissent could spark a wider discussion within the services between commanders and junior troops over a range of hot-button topics, including race.   He recalled his duty as a young Navy officer in 1970, when sailors protesting discrimination would set fire to ships and race riots erupted at sea. To defuse the anger, he kept his hatch open to enlisted personnel.   "There was this one sailor who treated our talks as an outlet. Talking it out prevented many of the problems that occurred elsewhere in the Navy," Guter said. "That was a good thing."  

Nov. 21, 2023

FRCSW at Fleet Week San Diego

On November 8 2023, Fleet Week in San Diego unfolded as a grand spectacle of innovation and technology, transforming the Port Pavilion Building into a vibrant hub of the future.

Nov. 10, 2023

Honor Flight San Diego’s Tribute to American Veterans

Veterans Day not only offers a moment to reflect upon the sacrifices of service members, but also serves as a poignant reminder of the price of liberty and the importance of acknowledging those who have borne its cost. This day reinforces the timeless truth: freedom is never free, and gratitude towards its guardians is eternally owed. Building on this spirit of reverence, organizations like Honor Flight San Diego (HFSD) work tirelessly to show tangible appreciation to these heroes.

Sept. 5, 2023

FRCSW STEM in Action

When Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) STEM ambassadors visit local communities, their goal is to utilize the STEM outreach program to inspire and create valuable opportunities to learn for both students and educators. The program also tries to empower both the students and FRCSW employees by fostering meaningful connections between Naval STEM efforts and the upcoming generation.

July 20, 2023

FRCSW Engineer Receives Assistant Secretary of Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers of the Year Award

FRCSW Engineer Receives Assistant Secretary of Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers of the Year Award

May 15, 2023

FRCSW Comptroller Receives Department of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Financial Management Awards

FRCSW Comptroller Receives Department of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Financial Management Awards

April 27, 2023

FRCSW E-2D Team Wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

FRCSW E-2D Team Wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

April 18, 2023

FRCSW Sailors Named 2023 Sailor of the Year

FRCSW Sailors Named 2023 Sailor of the Year

April 6, 2023

FRCSW Ally Support Strengthens Royal Australian Air Force

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) successfully completed a first of its kind reconfiguration of a U.S. Navy EA-6B Growler for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

March 31, 2023

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest - Eliminating Waste and Improving Efficiency

For over 100 years, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) has provided the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps with the highest quality products and services in the most efficient manner possible. One of the state of the art management systems that makes this possible is the “Lean” process which focuses its attention on eliminating waste and error. FRCSW began the command’s most recent “Lean” process by integrating pre-expendable bins (PEB). Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Legg, Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Industrial Supply Officer, in collaboration with the other PEB managers, played a pivotal role in the improvement of PEB inventory.

Sept. 26, 2022

FRCSW Navy’s Sole Maintainer of Rotodome Radar

A primary tool of the Hawkeye’s defensive posture is the rotodome radar system, maintained by Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW).