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Military News Briefs for the Week of Dec. 8, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2000 – (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending Dec. 8, 2000.)



The armed forces are stepping into the 21st century with a new approach -- high-tech recruiting stations in shopping malls. They opened the flagship station Dec. 5 at Potomac Mills, one of the largest and busiest shopping centers in the Washington, D.C., area.

With state-of-the-art technology, the station represents a new, exciting way for the military to interact with the public, said Bernard Rostker, defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness. "It's a way of getting people to come in and talk to our recruiters, who can convey the excitement, the thrill and the honor of serving our country," he said. "I was here one Saturday and it struck me that this mall was wall-to-wall people, many of them teen-agers."

When Rostker asked awhile back why the services weren't already in mega-malls, he was told the area recruiting station in a nearby lower-rent strip mall. "The rent was cheap for a reason," he pointed out. "That's not where people go." The Potomac Mills station isn't cheap, he admitted, but the military needs to try different approaches to meet the recruiting challenge.

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DoD plans to recruit hundreds of reserve component information technology specialists in coming years to fill positions in at least five new military “cyber-security” organizations under plans approved recently by Deputy Defense Secretary Rudy de Leon.

The mission of the new organizations will be to ensure that U.S. warfighters dominate the military computer information realm in future conflicts.

Members of the Reserve and National Guard are often way ahead by the very nature of their civilian employment, trained in their workplaces to exploit technology, DoD officials said. The department will seek 182 reserve component officers and enlisted members to man the five organizations for fiscal 2001 and 2002, they said. Numbers of people in each organization will vary. The total number of people in the units is expected to grow to more than 600 through fiscal 2007.

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The Korean War looked all but over on Nov. 27, 1950. Allied forces had chased a retreating North Korean army for two months and sat poised on the North's border with China. On that Thanksgiving Day, 200,000 Chinese troops took the Allies by surprise, routed the 8th U.S. Army and surrounded 10,000 Marines of the 1st Marine Division at the Chosin Reservoir.

The Marines' fighting withdrawal to safety from Nov. 27 to Dec. 9 is considered by many to be one of the more harrowing campaigns in U.S. military history. Those veterans have called themselves the "Chosin Few" ever since, and the association they formed met in San Diego the week of Dec. 5 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that icy "trip through hell," as many of them described it.

"Only you can feel and vividly recall that sacrifice. You truly have a bond that characterizes such heroism, devotion and courage," said Gen. Jim Jones, commandant of the Marine Corps. "The standard that we measure today's Marines against is you. Above all, the one thing that today's Marine does not want to do is disappoint you."

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Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Russian Defense Minister Field Marshal Igor Sergeyev met Dec. 6 after the NATO Defense Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss weapons sales to Iran, a U.S.-Russia early warning center and other mutual concerns.

The Russians raised U.S. concerns in November by announcing they would resume arms sales to Tehran. Sergeyev told Cohen that Russia would only sell defensive weapons to Iran -- much of which would only help Tehran maintain and service old Soviet equipment. A U.S. official said Cohen's response was that it's not in Russia’s or anyone else’s interests to further destabilize the region.

Cohen and Sergeyev also discussed the delay in establishing a shared early-warning center in Moscow. Both sides want the center, but construction is hung up by an internal Russian government dispute. Sergeyev said he would look into the situation. If approved the center could be operational next year.

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Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen ordered additional units to deploy to the Middle East to beef up port security in response to a request by area commanders. His order comes in the aftermath of the Oct. 12 terrorist bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said stateside Navy and Coast Guard port security units will deploy in coming weeks to strengthen port security in the region. He told reporters "there's a great desire to relax" security restrictions, "to have a more comfortable and relaxed standard of living for our sailors and Marines in that area." But, he emphasized, "the first priority has got to be force protection."

"We have to deal with the capabilities of any given nation, the physical layout of their port structure and what services they can provide that we could use," Quigley said. "You're going to find a different answer, I think, at each and every port."

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DoD awarded a two-year, $72 million contract Dec. 6 to a Maryland firm for unlimited use of its global, satellite-based, secure telephone network. The contract was awarded through the Defense Information Systems Agency to Iridium Satellite LLC (IS) of Arnold, Md.

Dave Oliver, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said the contract will give DoD increased communications ability around the globe and a conduit to private-sector innovation.

DoD will pay $3 million a month for unlimited airtime for 20,000 government users over the Iridium satellite network. Contract options, if exercised, could increase the contract value to $252 million and extend the contract period to 2007.

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