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Military News Briefs for the Week of May 11, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2001 –  (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending May 11, 2001.)




 Visit the DoD "Public Service Recognition Week" web site at www.defenselink.mil/specials/publicservice/.







 First lady Laura Bush announced May 8 that her husband has requested a tenfold increase in funding -- from $3 million to $30 million -- for the Troops to Teachers program next year.


 "I hope that sends a message about how important it is to encourage people to choose teaching, and particularly how important it is to encourage retiring military," Bush said in an American Forces Information Service interview during a visit to Fort Jackson, S.C.


 "Men and women of the United States military, you answered the call to serve your country in the finest armed services in the world," Bush said to the several hundred Fort Jackson soldiers in attendance. "So as you prepare to leave the military, we ask you to turn your attention to the homefront, to Uncle Sam's classrooms, where we need your service as teachers."


 The Troops to Teachers program is run by the Defense  Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support. The current program provides referral assistance and placement services to military personnel interested in becoming teachers after their military service


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 A small team of Fort Detrick, Md., scientists played a crucial role in tracking down one of the more visible public health threats to hit North America in the past decade. And they're still working to make it easier for public health departments to fight the disease.


 Scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases here worked closely with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to identify the West Nile virus when it first appeared in North America. In 1999, the virus killed seven people and countless birds in and around New York City. It has since spread up and down the East Coast.


 West Nile virus was first identified in 1937 in Uganda. Today its range sweeps from the southern tip of Africa through southern Europe, southwestern Russia and east as far as India and Pakistan. It generally causes low fever and very mild cold symptoms in people, but can kill the very old or sick. 


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 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld unveiled to transform the management and organization of America's defense and intelligence space program. The plan, unveiled May 8, calls for consolidating military space programs under the Air Force and creating a new four-star general position as the chief advocate for space programs.


 Air Force headquarters and field commands will be realigned to more effectively organize train and equip for space operations, Rumsfeld told reporters during a Pentagon press conference. Changes involve the office of the secretary, the military departments, National Reconnaissance Office and the U.S. Space Command.


 "A more comprehensive management and organizational approach is necessary to assign clear responsibilities and accountability for national security space programs," said Rumsfeld, who led a congressional commission on space programs before being tapped for the defense secretary job.


 The commission recommended that DoD enhance military space technology and study ways to project power from space.


 Rumsfeld told reporters that the changes "will help the U.S. to focus on meeting the national security space needs of the 21st century."


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 Anyone who has gone to the field lately will admit that military chow has gotten much better. The folks behind the effort to improve rations are in the DoD Combat Feeding Program. The scientific and technological focus lately has been on reducing the weight and volume of the rations and the fuel needed to heat them," said Gerald Darsch, joint program director at the Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command in Natick, Mass.


 One new meal is the first-strike ration. Its intent is to allow service members to eat on the move. "Warfighters  won't have to stop to use even a spoon," Darsch said. The ration prototype consists of shelf-stable pocket sandwiches, and pouches of carbohydrate-enhanced "Zapplesauce" product and Ergo high-energy drink powder.


 New items are being added to the MRE ration line for 2001. Service members will start seeing seafood jambalaya, beef enchiladas and mashed potatoes. Pork chow mein and "smoky franks" are toast.


 In 2002, service members will see beefsteak with mushroom gravy, multigrain cereal, cappuccino and hamburger patties. Beefsteak and chicken with rice will disappear.


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