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Military News Briefs for the Week of July 7, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2000 – Prepared by the American Forces Press Service

(This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending July 7, 2000)

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DOD ANNOUNCES SCHOOL-AGE CARE FEES

Defense officials recently announced the range of fees for school-age child-care programs for the 2000-2001 school year.

Fees will be charged as listed on the accompanying chart. The fee ranges have been increased to accommodate for inflation anticipated in 2001. DoD family policy officials review and update school-age care fees annually.

Commanders may implement the fee ranges at anytime between Aug.1 and Oct. 1.

Fees are based on the number of program hours and total family income. This includes all earned income -- wages, salaries, tips, long-term disability benefits and voluntary salary deferrals. It also includes service members' combat pay, housing and subsistence allowances, and the value of meals and lodging furnished in-kind to military personnel residing on military installations.

Commanders may reduce the fees by 20 percent for each additional child in the same family. They may also adjust fees on a case-by-case basis if special financial circumstances warrant a reduction.

The rates include all meals and snacks when provided. If food is not provided during full-day summer programs, fees must be reduced by 20 percent.

The optional high cost fee may be used in areas where it is necessary to pay higher wages to compete with local wages, or at those installations where wages are affected by high cost of living allowances or locality pay.

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FIFTH NMD TEST FLIGHT SLATED

Pentagon-based reporters will be pulling a late shift here July 7, standing by for the results of the fifth test flight of a prototype National Missile Defense system.

The system being designed to protect the United States from a limited intercontinental ballistic missile attack, consists of ground-based interceptors, command, control and communication, X-band radars and upgraded early warning radars.

Defense officials are slated to conduct the fully integrated test flight between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. EST, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said at a July 6 news conference. Sometime within that four-hour window -- depending on the weather -- Air Force officials will launch a modified Minuteman target missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., he said.

"We give ourselves that four-hour window so that the fog at Vandenberg can dissipate," he said. "If we wait 30 minutes and the safety controllers at Vandenberg have that visual on the missile, we're good to go."

About 20 minutes later, about 4,300 miles away at Kwajalein Atoll in the (Pacific's) Marshall Islands, another missile will launch the interceptor. "Ten minutes after that, about one hundred miles above the Pacific," he said, "we anticipate the hit-to-kill technology intercepting the target from Vandenberg."

Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Office, will brief reporters at the Pentagon on the test results shortly thereafter. The general will show a 20 to 30 second videotape from the visual seeker on the kill vehicle. Pentagon officials will make additional video from Vandenberg and Kwajalein available later that morning.

The test is designed to demonstrate the ability of the exoatmospheric kill vehicle, or EKV, to intercept the target. The kill vehicle is the bullet of the weapon system in the NMD architecture. Using a hit-to-kill concept, it destroys a target using only kinetic energy or the force of impact.

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COHEN BOUND FOR CHINA, AUSTRALIA

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen's upcoming China visit will mark full resumption of military-to-military relations following the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during NATO Operation Allied Force.

Cohen is slated to meet with senior government officials in Beijing and Shanghai, China, July 11 to 14. From China, the secretary will travel to Sydney, Australia, for a two-day visit with officials there.

Cohen last visited China in January 1998. The upcoming visit is designed to promote military relations and to improve lines of communications between both leaderships, a senior defense official told reporters here. Cohen and Chinese officials will "conduct high-level policy dialogue on a broad range of global, regional and bilateral issues," including recent positive developments on the Korean Peninsula and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. plans for a National Missile Defense System will also be a topic of discussion, the official said. "We know it's a matter of concern to the Chinese," he said, "and Secretary Cohen will try to dispel all of the fears and concerns they have about this potential system."

Discussion is also expected to focus on the U.S. commitment to provide for Taiwan's self-defense under the Taiwan Relations Act. "I'm sure the Chinese will express their concern about many of the different (air defense weapon) systems that are being proposed and Secretary Cohen will express our continuing interest, obligation and commitments with regard to Taiwan," the defense official said.

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PENTAGON HONORS RECRUITERS OF THE YEAR

Twelve military recruiters, six family members, top Pentagon officials and guests listened as Deputy Defense Secretary Rudy de Leon praised the Recruiters of the Year for excelling in "one of our greatest military challenges."

"The men and women we honor today face the toughest of tasks every day -- providing our nation with soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen to protect America's interests and ideals around the world," said de Leon. He noted that the mission of America's armed forces from Kosovo to Korea, and the peace, security and prosperity of the nation, would be impossible without the hard work of America's outstanding corps of recruiters.

De Leon said the military needs quality recruits because of the military's increasing reliance on sophisticated technologies, and because service members are asked to be warriors, diplomats and engineers.

De Leon said recruiting is "one of the most challenging missions in the armed forces today." He said the mission becomes harder with every drop in unemployment and every rise in wages in America's "red hot economy."

"But despite the enormity of the challenge of recruiting, nearly 30,000 young people every month, America's recruiters have demonstrated that they're up to this job," de Leon said. "That's why we are supporting our recruiters with increased enlistment bonuses and educational benefits and by a major rise in recruiting advertising over the last year."

De Leon said the 12 recruiters the Pentagon honored this year "are the best of the best" in their daily labor of keeping America's armed forces robust and ready. "They stand for the more than 20,000 active duty, National Guard and reserve recruiters who deliver the message of military service opportunities to the American people every day," he noted.

"Representing each service … these men and women were chosen because they have excelled beyond their peers in a very tough and challenging business," de Leon said.

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FORCE PROTECTION: KEEPING THE WOLF AT BAY

Marine Corps Brig. Gen. John F. Sattler admits he gets "fired up" about his job. A podium or a script can't confine him when he talks about "keeping the wolf at bay."

The 'wolf,' he refers to is terrorism.

"Terrorists are vermin," Sattler told 84 top NCOs at the first Senior Enlisted Advisors Forum at the Pentagon in late June. "They are not raptors. They are not looking for the strong. They are looking for the weak. They are looking for a road kill they can come in and claim."

Commanders must ensure their defenses are strong, he said. "Do you want to be perceived as a lion or a lamb?" the general asked.

 

"'Perception' is the key word there. When terrorists come around and they see a lion, they move on down the road. It's your responsibility to make sure that they don't see your base as the lamb."

Sattler is the Joint Staff's deputy director of operations for combating terrorism. His office conducts over 90 integrated vulnerability assessments each year to ensure military bases worldwide are protected. "We're doing everything in our power to make sure the tools in your commander's tool box meet the threat," he said.

Osama bin Laden and others continue to pose a threat, he said. In 1998, bin Laden put out a religious decree that says it is the duty of all Muslims to kill Americans men, women and children. "The key word here is 'duty,'" Sattler stressed. "It doesn't say, 'In your spare time or if you have the opportunity.'"

Bin Laden's decree is still on the books. "He would probably strike today if the FBI, CIA, State Department, DoD and other agencies weren't constantly staying after him so that he can't get set and comfortable and throw the punch he'd like to throw," Sattler said.

Terrorism is not just an international threat, he added. Timothy McVeigh is an example of the domestic terrorist security officials must defend against. In Oklahoma City, he said, McVeigh killed more Americans than Osama bin Laden.

Unfortunately, most people still believe it won't happen here, the general said. "But how much gas would it have taken for that rented truck to drive across a borderless United States and go to any place," he asked. "Name a base. Name a location. They could have struck there if they wanted to."

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