Jun 29, 2011

Military takes top U.S. confidence rankings

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2011 -- Americans continue to express high confidence in the armed forces, with more than three-quarters of those surveyed in a recent Gallup poll reporting higher confidence in the military than in other national institutions for the 14th consecutive year.

Seventy-eight percent of the 1,020 respondents in the poll, taken earlier this month and released last week, reported high esteem for the military.

Forty-seven percent said they have a “great deal” of confidence in the military, the highest rating, and 31 percent reported “quite a lot” of confidence. That rating was 14 percent higher than for the second-ranking institution, small business, and 22 percent higher than for the third-ranking institution, the police.

Other organizations rankings, in descending order of high confidence, were: organized religion, 48 percent; the medical system, 39 percent; the U.S. Supreme Court, 37 percent; the presidency, 35 percent; the public schools, 34 percent; the criminal justice system, 28 percent; newspapers, 28 percent; television news, 27 percent; banks, 23 percent; organized labor, 21 percent; big business, 19 percent; and health maintenance organizations, 19 percent. Congress received the lowest high-confidence ranking, at 12 percent.

The military has been the top-ranked national institution every year since 1998, and also from 1989 to 1996, Gallup officials reported.

Confidence levels in most of the institutions polled this year were below historical averages, with the notable exception of the military. The 78 percent military confidence ranking for 2011 was 11 points above the historical average.

Public confidence in the military tends to run high when the United States is actively engaged in military operations, officials said, citing the all-time 85-percent high confidence ranking in early 1991 just after the first Persian Gulf War ended. Ratings have ranged between 69 percent and 82 percent over the last decade during U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, officials reported.

Another Gallup poll, also conducted earlier this month and released June 21, 2011, demonstrated that Americans consider the ground forces most essential to national defense. Twenty-five percent of the 1,020 adults surveyed ranked the Army the most important service, up from 18 percent in 2001.

The Marine Corps ranked second this year, at 24 percent, up from 14 percent in 2001.

Seventeen percent of respondents called the Air Force the most important service branch to national defense, compared to 42 percent in 2001; 11 percent cited the Navy, compared to 15 percent in 2001; and three percent cited Coast Guard, which was not included in the 2001 survey.

Forty-six percent of the respondents named the Marine Corps the most prestigious branch of the armed forces. The Army ranked second, at 22 percent; followed by the Air Force, at 15 percent; the Navy, at eight percent; and the Coast Guard, at two percent.

Jun 28, 2011

Survey suggests Army focus on improving leader development

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, June 24, 2011) -- The results of a recent survey indicate that Army leaders are seen as effective on a wide range of criteria, but that leadership development has not been receiving the attention that it once did at the unit level.

"Unit leader development appears to be less of a priority," said John Steele at the Center for Army Leadership, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Steele is the project lead for CAL's Annual Survey of Army Leadership, known as CASAL.
The latest CASAL, completed during November and December, had more than 22,000 Army leaders respond -- sergeants to colonels -- from both the active and reserve components.
Army leaders who reported their unit/organization placed a high priority on leader development was at an all-time low of 46 percent (compared to 53 percent in 2009 and 55 percent in 2008).


"If an individual is not getting leader development in the field, not seeing it as a priority, and the classroom is not effective in teaching leaders how to develop subordinates, then we need to figure out how to improve this." Steele said, adding that the current operations tempo has affected the time and attention that can be devoted to professional development.
Only 57 percent of Army leaders reported that they have time to carry out the duties and responsibilities for developing subordinates. This was down from 63 percent in 2009.


"A real value of CASAL is the detection of shifts or changes over time, since it is often the changes that occur gradually that can end up being the really big problem," Steele said.
This latest CASAL, completed during November and December of 2010, is an on-going effort by the Center for Army Leadership and the Combined Arms Center to assess Army leader attitudes on leader development, the quality of leadership, and the contribution of leadership to mission accomplishment.
"These perceptions not only affect behavior, learning processes, and learning outcomes, but ultimately and most importantly, mission accomplishment. We are constantly updating, changing, and utilizing what we learn about leader attitudes to maintain an accurate pulse of how leaders see their Army," said Steele.
From year to year the survey responses overall are more positive than negative, yet the Army desires to detect and act on initial signs of issues.


Only 38 percent of respondents of the latest survey agreed that, “The Army is headed in the right direction to prepare for the challenges of the next 10 years.” The number one explanation was a perception of a “lack of discipline” or that the “Army is too soft.”
While 74 percent of junior noncommissioned officers selected lack of discipline as a reason, only 35 percent of company-grade officers did. Members of deployable units selected lack of discipline more often than leaders serving in the generating force.
This item was a follow-up to qualitative feedback obtained in 2006. Comments claimed the Army has become “soft” and discipline and respect are not instilled in new recruits. Some of the comments cited lowered entrance standards, such as physical fitness.


About one-fourth of Army leaders responding to the survey said they believe that honest mistakes are held against them in their unit/organization. Nearly one-third believed that their unit/organization promotes a zero-defect mentality.
About one in five Army leaders reported that their immediate superior demonstrates some negative leadership behavior. Four out of five Army leaders (83 percent) reported they observed a leader who demonstrated toxic leadership behavior in the past year.
However, almost all (97 percent) also reported that they observed an extraordinary leader in the past year.


Information collected in the CASAL provides research guidance for policy decisions and program development, Steele said
The bottom line, he said, is that CASAL findings inform diverse groups or consumers of information and are applied to a wide range of products, such as informing the Army Influence Trainer, FM 6-22, and various handbooks and training packages, as well as connections to areas with a broader focus, such as human dimension and providing baseline information for Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.
"CASAL allows us to see how the Army is doing in leader development, is a tracking and management tool to know what the field thinks, and empowers the field by providing opportunity for direct feedback," Steele said.
"It is a best business practice, and results in a database used for senior leader queries, such as broadening task force, effectiveness of Captains Career Course and MSAF," explained Steele, adding that the Multi-Source Assessment and Feedback, or MSAF, Army 360-degree program is widely used, has been well-received and is showing positive results.
This year was the first year CASAL examined the MSAF program in-depth and found its effectiveness is improved by increasing program engagement such as sharing results with others, and using the pool of trained coaches.


More than 100 items in this year's survey covered topics on the quality of leadership and leader development. Responses were both quantitative (select a response) and qualitative (a brief typed answer).
"Survey items assess ongoing and current issues such as the work environment, trust, unit effectiveness, ethics, leader development in units, institutional education, self development, leader development practices, workload, Soldier care, and subordinate development, leadership quality, leader attributes and competencies, toxic leadership, officer/NCO dynamic, leadership at combat training centers, deployment preparation, leader effectiveness while deployed, satisfaction in the Army, retention and commitment " Steele said.
Each year items have been dropped, added, or modified in order to balance survey size and respondent fatigue/time required, with the need to cover a wide range of topical leadership issues.


"This year there was more focus on command climate. In addition, a more extensive exploration of PME (professional military education) was conducted with particular emphasis on course attendance, course relevancy and being up-to-date and transferring course content back to the job," Steele said.
CASAL is a reliable source because a rigorous scientific approach -- based, in part, on a large random representative sample and high precision -- is used for survey development, data collection, and data analysis. This year's survey had a response rate of 16.1 percent. This strong participation in the CASAL provides an overall sampling error of plus or minus .6 percent.
"What sets CASAL apart is the longevity of the data collection effort which allows for trend analysis as well as truly being a representative sample," Steele said.
"CASAL is another way for the Army to see itself and be made aware of the problems in leadership and leader development that matter most to the field," Steele said.

For more information on the Center for Army Leadership including, interactive training products and copies of recent CASAL reports, visit: http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/digitalpublications.asp#CAL

For archived reports and other Army research, visit: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/announcements/DOAC.html.

Jun 23, 2011

U.S. Army to buy 3,053 lightweight M240L 7.62mm machine guns.

The U.S. Army has ordered 3,053 of the new, lightweight, M-240L 7.62mm machine-guns, for $9,200 each. This model of the M-240 is 1.7 kg (3.75 pounds) lighter than the previous, M-240B. This was accomplished by using some lighter (titanium) components. Some other new components are also more durable. The reduction in weight makes a big difference for anyone carrying one of these up and down hills in Afghanistan for hours on end.
SOCOM (Special Operations Command) took a different approach. A decade ago they began using the Mk 48 7.62mm machine-guns. These are 8.2 kg (18.3 pound) weapons. That’s lighter than the 10.1 kg (22.2 pound) M-240L or the current standard, 11.8 kg (26 pound), M240B. SOCOM troops need the light weight for commando operations. But that light weight comes at the expense of durability. The lighter components don’t last as long. For example, the M240 bolt and receiver are both good for 100,000 rounds fired. But on the Mk 48, the bolt has to be replaced after 15,000 rounds and the receiver after 50,000. This was not a problem with the commandos, who made sure they had plenty of spares available, and kept track of the (approximate) number of rounds fired. Not so hard to do, you just have to pay attention.

Jun 17, 2011

US Army order of M4/M4A1 Carbine, 5.56mm

This requirement for the M4 Carbine 5.56mm, Part Number: 9390000, NSN: 1005-01-231-0973; and the M4A1 Carbine 5.56mm, Part Number: 12972700, NSN: 1005-01-382-0953; will be awarded as a five (5) year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract.

The contractor will also be required to provide ancillary equipment as specified by the contract. The contractor(s) is responsible for providing all materials, equipment, tooling, personnel, and facilities necessary to manufacture, test, produce, and deliver the quantities of deliverables specified by the contract.

The total estimated quantity is 70,000 to 100, 000 weapons. The Government anticipates ordering 25-30% in each of years 1 and 2 and 13-17% in each of years 3 through 5. Award is intended to be acquired through best value competition restricted to the U.S. & Territories. The carbines will be produced in accordance with the M4/M4A1 Technical Data Package (TDP) and the license agreement between the U.S. Government and Colt Defense, LLC.

Jun 15, 2011

Revision Releases ExoShield

Ballistic eye protection designed by and for operators to provide extreme low-profile defense for fast-moving, dynamic missions.

  • High impact system exceeds ANSI Z87.1 and U.S. military (MILDTL-43511D, clause 3.5.10 and MIL-PRF-31013, clause ballistic impact requirements
  • Close-fitting lens optimizes NVG and gear compatibility during air and ground assaults
  • Flow-coat lens technology provides powerful OcuMax® fog and high-endurance anti-scratch protection
  • Adjustable quick-release strap for ambidextrous, single-handed operation during fast-moving, dynamic missions
  • Optical-grade polycarbonate lenses provide superior visual clarity and 100% UV-A-B-C protection

Jun 13, 2011

Picatinny engineers deliver safer, more lethal gun mounts to helicopter crews

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -- Three Picatinny engineers recently received U.S. flags flown by 10th Mountain Division helicopter crews over Afghanistan for designing better gun mounts for door and window guns in CH-47 “Chinook” helicopters.

Receiving the tribute were David Javorsky, chief of the Weapons Technical Support Branch, Adam M. Jacob, project officer for In-Station Gun Mounts, and Michael Colonnello, mechanical engineer.
The men, who work for the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center , or ARDEC, also received certificates of appreciation.
Javorsky has applied for a patent for his M24E1 machine gun mount design that holds the new M240H machine gun.
It features a swinging arm to allow easier passage through the aircraft’s openings, holds 400 rounds of ammunition and collects spent links and cases.
Javorsky’s design replaces the M24 armament subsystem that has been used since the 1960s to hold the M60 machine gun.
The Army began replacing the M60 in 2005. In 2007, the Army documented a requirement for improvements, including a mounting arm that could be easily moved from the deployed to stowed position.
Because the M24 mount was fixed in the aircraft’s passageways, Soldiers needed to climb over or slide under the arm to pass into and out of the helicopter.

In addition to slowing troop movements, Javorsky noted, the arm’s position was a safety concern if troops need to quickly pass through the openings during emergencies. Additionally, the M24 held only 200 rounds. Troops wanted greater capacity, as well as something to catch the spent links and rounds.
In March of 2007, when the Army’s project managers for Crew-Served Weapons and Cargo Helicopters agreed to a proposal by ARDEC to design the new mount, Javorsky had already been mulling over ideas for the new arm.
The form and fit process started at Picatinny and was based on crude measurements and photographs, Javorsky recalls.
Javorsky, Jacob and Colonnello needed to travel to the nearest Chinooks for the form fitting, eventually taking so many two-hour trips to Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., and five-hour trips to Fort Drum, N.Y. They lost count of how many trips they had to make to get the product right.

They typically departed Picatinny carrying either metal or plastic mockups of the preliminary design to test fit them into Chinooks.
They met Army testers and flew on training missions with Soldiers to get their feedback on ways to improve mount’s initial design.
“They were great and continue to be great,” Jacob remembers of how they were received by the people at the installations -- despite the frequent visits.
Once they met with Soldiers, the visiting Picatinny trio found them very willing to analyze the design and offer suggestions.
“Soldiers would get right up into it,” said Colonnello.
“The mount was something the Soldiers had been waiting for for a while,” explained Jacob. From an engineering standpoint, the challenge was the very limited space in which to make the design work.

Competing for whatever space was available near the aircraft’s door and window openings were objects like a crew chief’s seat, a folding step ladder and new things “that always seems to be going in there.”
“We did a lot of tweaking with the design to make sure the pin-tile was in the right place,” said Javorsky, referring to the arm’s pivot point.
In August 2008, Javorsky completed his technical design and contracted with a firm to produce four prototypes, beginning the next phase of engineering and flight testing. Modifications to resolve several design issues were incorporated and, upon successful completion of flight tests, a decision was made to build mounts for a long-term user evaluation.
As the evaluation hardware was delivered, Jacob and Colonnello would conduct new equipment training with the Soldiers, first on the ground, then by participating in aerial gunnery training.

Interacting with the Soldiers was a “99.9 percent positive experience,” said Jacob. Nevertheless, he found that old habits die hard.
Although the new gun mount swung open, “the most experienced Soldiers had become so accustomed to swinging under the legacy gun mount they kept doing it anyway.”
On May 11, 2011, the team was involved in the packaging and delivery of the 120th new M24E1.
This met the number required for the operational evaluation and providing the system to all units in the theater of operations.
“It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career,” said Javorsky.

FastMag™ Pistol

The FastMag™ Pistol [FMP] is built from the same hi-strength, GhillieTEX™ IR reducing, anti-fragmentation polymer as the original FastMag™. Our new FMP reduces reloading time for the operator and can be mounted in the up or down position. This system eliminates the need for traditional top closures, while providing a secure point of access. The enhanced urethane tension strap is adjustable to meet the users preference for removal tension. The FMP is also designed to 'double-stack' on all FastMag™ Gen III & FastMag™ Heavy.
The FastMag™ Pistol Duty Belt is designed with an adjustable/removable belt slide that fits most belts including rigger and duty belts.  The FMP Duty belt is also uniquely designed for 'double-stacking' by removing the adjust belt slide.
  • GhillieTEX™ IR Signature Reduction Technology
  • Compatible with most double stack 9mm, double stack .40 cal, single & double stack .45 cal magazines
  • Reduces reload cycle time
  • High-Impact resistant polymer case with anti-fragmentation properties
  • Mount to any MOLLE/P.A.L.S. 1" web system, up or down [operators preference]
  • Optional ‘double-stack’ capablities with both FastMag™ GEN.III and FastMag™ Heavy [operators preference]
  • Magazine stays secure without pouch flap, hook, cover, or bungee
  • Enhanced urethane tension strap can be moved up or down for additional tension
  • Resistance to solar heating
  • Duty belt version available
  • Exclusively distributed by ITW Military Products
  • Designed, developed and manufactured by Down East Inc.

Jun 3, 2011

Army sergeant to get Medal of Honor for Afghanistan heroics.

The White House announced May 31, 2011, that Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Petry, now serving as part of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., will receive the Medal of Honor.

An Army Ranger who lost his right hand while tossing an enemy grenade away from fellow soldiers in Afghanistan will be awarded the Medal of Honor, the U.S. Army announced this week.
Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry will be the second living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Iraq and Afghan wars, according to the military. President Barack Obama will present the award to Petry on July 12.
“It’s very humbling to know that the guys thought that much of me and my actions that day, to nominate me for that,” Petry said, according to an Army News Service report.
Petry is being awarded the medal for actions on May 26, 2008, in Paktia, Afghanistan.
Already wounded by a bullet that went through both his legs, Petry picked up an enemy grenade that landed near him and two fellow Rangers and threw it back toward the enemy, according to the Army News Service report. The grenade detonated and amputated Petry’s right hand. Petry applied a tourniquet to his wound and called for help.


Essex Junction, VT, USA – Revision, leading developer of protective eye-wear for militaries worldwide, introduces the Tan 499 Desert Locust Goggle Kit with enhanced camouflage for the war-fighter. The new color configuration is designed to better integrate with the U.S. MultiCam uniforms currently in service in Afghanistan. The new kit features a Tan 499 frame and strap with MultiCam anti-reflective sleeve and carrying case. The Desert Locust Goggle is the first and only MultiCam eye-wear on the U.S. Army Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL).

“Revision is committed to meeting the specific needs of soldiers through innovative, custom eye-wear solutions,” says Dan Packard, Senior Vice President of Military Sales for Revision. “That’s why we’re proud to deliver the Tan 499 Desert Locust Goggle Kit. This new kit has all the same ballistic features of the original Desert Locust Goggle, but with the added benefit of better camouflage – something that soldiers in today’s hostile environments require and deserve.”

The Tan 499 Desert Locust Goggle combines the best ballistic protection and widest field-of-view with optimal fit and superior camouflage making this the ultimate goggle for extended use. Its high-performance OcuMax® coated lenses protect against fogging and scratching while the filtered ventilated frame keeps sand, wind and dust at bay.

The goggle exceeds ANSI Z87.1-2010 and military ballistic impact requirements (MIL-DTL-43511D, clause 3.5.10); ensures flawless optics for distortion-free vision; and provides rugged durability to protect and perform through all the rigors of combat. The Tan 499 Desert Locust Goggle U.S. Military Kit retails for $99.99 MSRP.
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