Category Archives: Military Personnel

Updated: Navy's New Sexual Assault Plan Adds Counselors, Restricts Booze

Updated: Navy’s New Sexual Assault Plan Adds Counselors, Restricts Booze

A Central Michigan University educator speakers to Sailors and Marines during the “No Zebras, No Excuses” sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) program aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island in 2012. US Navy Photo

A Central Michigan University educator speakers to Sailors and Marines during the “No Zebras, No Excuses” sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) program aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island in 2012. US Navy Photo

The Navy has issued its new plan to combat sexual assaults in the service that include limiting alcohol sales on Navy installations and increasing personnel trained to handle sexual assault cases, according to documents provided to USNI News on Thursday.

The changes in the Navy’s policy to handle sexual assault cases and prevention comes while some in Congress are pushing a bill that would limit commander’s discretion to prosecute alleged offenders under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Read More

Eugene P. Wilkinson: Nuclear Navy Pioneer

Eugene P. Wilkinson: Nuclear Navy Pioneer

Vice Adm. Eugene P. Wilkinson. US Naval Institute Photo

Vice Adm. Eugene P. Wilkinson. US Naval Institute Photo

The following is an excerpt from the introduction of Vice Adm. Eugene Parks Wilkinson’s oral history for the U.S. Naval Institute. Parks died on July 11 in Del Mar, Calif. at the age of 94.

Eugene Parks Wilkinson was born in Long Beach, California, on 10 August 1918, the son of Dennis William and Daisy Parks Wilkinson. He attended Holtville, California, High School and San Diego State College. He graduated from the latter in 1938 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in chemistry. He taught chemistry there for a year. He also filled in and taught a course in mathematics. During this year he attended the University of Southern California. The next year he had a teaching fellowship in chemistry at USC. During those two years he completed all of the course work for a doctor’s degree but never did a thesis or received any graduate degree. Commissioned ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 12 December 1940, he was transferred to the regular U.S. Navy on 28 August 1946. Read More

Opinion: Military Pay and Benefits Unsustainable

Opinion: Military Pay and Benefits Unsustainable

Sailors assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, wait for a uniform inspection on June, 17 2013. US Navy Photo

Sailors assigned to Naval Branch Health Clinic at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, wait for a uniform inspection on June, 17 2013. US Navy Photo

Study after study show that the U.S. military’s pay and compensation system is unsustainable. Defense experts from all across the Washington Beltway forecast a steep decline in readiness and capability due to escalating personnel costs and overall declining defense budgets. There is an urgent need for a frank discussion on pay and compensation reform throughout the ranks.

Whereas the think tanks and defense experts have offered up all manner of fiscal programs, processes and policies to the chopping block of change or disposal, the fact is military pay, compensation and benefits have received particular attention—and with good cause. The money we make, the money we are promised in retirement, the money that maintains our health care—and that of our families—is eroding our ability to do our jobs. Read More

Polar Star Leaves for Sea Trials

Polar Star Leaves for Sea Trials

US Heavy Ice Breaker Polar Star (WAGB-10). US Coast Guard Photo

US Heavy Ice Breaker Polar Star (WAGB-10). US Coast Guard Photo

The U.S. Coast Guard’s decades-old heavy icebreaker is currently undergoing sea trials off the coast of Alaska, according to a Friday report from Alaska Public Radio Network.

USCSC Polar Star (WAGB-10) left Friday for ice trials to put the ship and its crew through a training regime focused on Arctic planned to last several weeks. Read More

Opinion: Despite Arms Deal U.S. Influence of Syrian Rebels Limited

Opinion: Despite Arms Deal U.S. Influence of Syrian Rebels Limited

Free Syrian Army fighters. Reuters Photo

Free Syrian Army fighters. Reuters Photo

As the United States begins providing arms to Syrian rebels , it enters an increasingly complex arena of arms-trafficking and proxy warfare. The highly factionalized Syrian rebellion and the combined third-party actors supporting it—often with competing aims—mean U.S. attempts to shape the Syrian conflict through military support will depend not simply on American resources and intentions, but the dynamics of the civil war and the network of actors that facilitates its logistics. With the U.S. role in Syrian arms-trafficking shifting from one of restraint to one of support, the difficulties encountered in producing viable political outcomes in Syria are likely to persist. Read More

Updated: History of U.S. Policy and Law on Gays in the Military

Updated: History of U.S. Policy and Law on Gays in the Military

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down provisions in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The restrictions in the act prevented federal employees in same sex marriages from receiving federal benefits. The Pentagon and the rest of the government will now sort through the ruling and the changes to federal law.

“The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act,” Secratary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a Wednesday statement.
“The department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court’s decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses — regardless of sexual orientation — as soon as possible. That is now the law and it is the right thing to do.” Read More

The Legacy of Adm. Frank Kelso

The Legacy of Adm. Frank Kelso

An undated file photo of the 24th Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Frank B. Kelso II. US Navy Photo

An undated file photo of the 24th Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Frank B. Kelso II. US Navy Photo

On Sunday former Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Frank Kelso, died in his home state in Tennessee, “following a fall this week that resulted in a severe head injury,” according to a report from al.com.

The following is an excerpt of 2009’s preface to Kelso’s U.S. Naval Institute oral history.

The early 1990s were a time of substantial-even tumultuous-change in the United States Navy. Adm. Frank Kelso presided over the service during that era as the Chief of Naval Operations and faced a host of daunting challenges. Read More

Document: Guardian Grounding 'Wholly Preventable'

Document: Guardian Grounding ‘Wholly Preventable’

The following is from the May 22, 2013 U.S. Pacific Fleet investigation findings from the Jan. 17, 2013 grounding of the minesweeper USS Guardian (MCM-5). The report was released by the Navy on June 20.

Causation: This tragic mishap was wholly preventable and was the product of poor voyage planning, poor execution, and unfortunate circumstances. This investigation uncovers no single point of failure; instead, there were numerous links in the error chain leading up to the grounding. Had any one of which been appropriately addressed, the grounding would have been prevented. USS GUARDIAN leadership and watch teams failed to adhere to prudent, safe, and sound navigation principles which would have alerted them to approaching dangers with sufficient time to take mitigating action. Read More