Tuesday, May 31, 2011

President Barack Obama announced his choices

Obama Taps Dempsey, Winnefeld as Chairman, Vice Chairman

By Jim Garamone 
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2011 - President Barack Obama announced his choices as chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a Rose Garden ceremony today.
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Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, President Barack Obama's nominee as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walks with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the current chairman, before the National Memorial Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., May 29, 2011. DOD photo by U.S Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley 
Obama intends to nominate Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey as chairman and Navy Adm. James A. "Sandy" Winnefeld, Jr., as vice chairman. Dempsey currently is the Army chief of staff and Winnefeld is the commander of U.S. Northern Command.
Dempsey will replace Navy Adm. Mike Mullen when his term ends Sept. 30, and Winnefeld will replace Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright when his term ends in July.
The president intends to nominate Gen. Raymond T. Odierno to succeed Dempsey at the Army post.
The Senate must approve the nominations and the president called on the body to act expeditiously so the military transition will be "seamless."
"The men and women of our armed forces are the best our nation has to offer," Obama said during the ceremony. "They deserve nothing but the absolute best in return – that includes leaders who will guide them, support their families with wisdom and strength and compassion."
The president said the men he has chosen will make an extraordinary team at the Pentagon. "Between them, they bring deep experience in virtually every domain – land, air, space, sea, cyber," he said. "Both of them have the respect and the trust of our troops on the frontlines, our friends in Congress, and allies and partners abroad. And both of them have my full confidence."
The president called Dempsey one of America's most respected and combat-tested officers. "In Iraq, he led our soldiers against a brutal insurgency," the president said. "Having trained the Iraqi forces, he knows that nations must ultimately take responsibility for their own security. Having served as acting commander of Central Command, he knows that in Iraq and Afghanistan security gains and political progress must go hand in hand."
Dempsey has a reputation of pushing his forces to change and adapt and the president said he expects that, as chairman, Dempsey will do the same for all forces, "to be ready for the missions of today and tomorrow."
Winnefeld led the USS Enterprise carrier battle group in some of the first strikes against al-Qaida in 2001. "Having served as a NATO commander, Sandy is well-known to our allies," Obama said. "Having served on the Joint Staff, he is known and trusted here at the White House. Most recently as the head of Northern Command, Sandy has been responsible for the defense of our homeland and support to states and communities in times of crisis, such as the recent tornadoes and the floods along the Mississippi."
Obama called Odierno one of the Army's most accomplished soldiers. Currently serving as the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, Odierno served three defining tours in Iraq, the president said. They included commanding the troops that captured Saddam Hussein, partnering with Army Gen. David H. Petraeus to help bring down the violence, and then transferring responsibility to Iraqi forces, allowing the United States to redeploy more than 100,000 troops and end the combat mission in the country.
"After years on the frontlines, Ray understands what the Army must do: to prevail in today's wars, to prepare for the future, and to preserve the readiness of the soldiers and families who are the strength of America's families," Obama said.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates gave an enthusiastic endorsement of the three nominees. "General Dempsey, Admiral Winnefeld and General Odierno have all excelled in key command and staff roles within their services and in the joint arena," the secretary said in a prepared statement.
"They possess the right mix of intellectual heft, moral courage and strategic vision required to provide sound and candid advice to the president and his national security team," Gates continued. "Above all, they are proven leaders of men and women in combat operations over the past decade, and are uniquely qualified to guide and shape our military institutions through the challenging times ahead."
Obama said he's been grateful for the advice and leadership of the current chairman and vice chairman. "Like President Bush before me, I've deeply valued Mike's professional steadiness and his personal integrity," he said. "On his watch, our military forces have excelled across the whole spectrum of missions, from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to relief efforts after the Haiti earthquake."
Mullen has helped revitalize NATO, helped re-set relations with Russia, and has helped steer important relationships with China and Pakistan, the president said. "I believe that history will also record Mike Mullen as the chairman who said what he believed was right and declared that no one in uniform should ever have to sacrifice their integrity to serve their country," Obama said, referring to Mullen's public support for supporting repeal of the law that prevented gays from serving openly in the military.
Obama called Cartwright a rare combination of technical expert and strategic thinker. The general has lead U.S. thinking on cyber, space and nuclear issues. "I'll always be personally grateful to Hoss for his friendship and partnership," the president said. "And as he concludes four decades of service in the Marine Corps that he loves, he can do so knowing that our nation is more secure, and our military is stronger, because of his remarkable career."
Gates echoed Obama's testimonials of the two men. "I have enjoyed working with Admiral Mullen and General Cartwright and benefited greatly from their wise counsel," he said. "All Americans owe these two fine officers and their families a debt of gratitude, and I look forward to paying fuller tribute to their accomplishments at the appropriate time."
Robert M. Gates
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey
Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld 
Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno
Related Sites:
Obama's Remarks
Gates' Statement on Dempsey Nomination
Mullen's Statement on Dempsey Nomination 

Click photo for screen-resolution imagePresident Barack Obama announced Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a Rose Garden ceremony on May 30, 2011. Here, Winnefeld, commander of U.S. Northern Command, speaks at a conference of the National Guard Association of the United States in Austin, Texas, Aug. 22, 2010. U.S. Army file photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill 
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Academy Grads Look to Future of Service

By Donna Miles 
American Forces Press Service

ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 27, 2011 - Thomas Yuhaniak knew when he was just 5 years old what he wanted in life: to become a pilot, then ultimately, an astronaut. But it was when he was in fourth grade, and his family visited the U.S. Naval Academy here during a vacation to Washington, D.C., that Yuhaniak laid eyes on the Freedom 7 space capsule at the academy's visitor center and sealed his decision to go Navy.
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Thomas Yuhaniak celebrates living out his boyhood dreams at his May 27, 2011, graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Yuhaniak moves on to Naval Flight School at Pensacola, Fla. DOD photo by Donna Miles 
Today, Yahaniak moved a step closer to his dream as he joined 1,005 other Naval Academy graduates who received commissions in the Navy and Marine Corps. As a new Navy ensign, Yahaniak is among 225 graduates headed to Naval Flight School at Pensacola, Fla.
"This is always what I have wanted to do," he said as he prepared to march onto the field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to receive his commission and degree in aerospace engineering. Now, he said, his task is to build on the education and leadership experience gained during four years at Annapolis.
"I am going to take it to the fleet and be the best officer I can," he said.
Nicholas Hanson of Monmouth, N.J., is among 260 members of the Class of 2011 commissioned today into the Marine Corps. It's a decision Hanson said came easily; his brother is an Army Ranger deployed to Afghanistan's Logar province, and Hanson hopes to follow his example as a Marine Corps officer.
It's a calling he said he's been preparing for, academically as well as mentally. He majored in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies and studied Arabic for the past four years at the Naval Academy. Now, he plans to continue those language studies in Morocco under a State Department scholarship program before deploying to the combat theater.
The biggest lesson Hanson said he learned at the Naval Academy, and that he plans to take to the Corps, is the importance of the unit over self. Individual achievements -- being first in his high school graduating class and its football team's most valuable player, among them -- fade in importance at the academy, he said.
"After graduation, nobody cares about you as an individual," he said. "It's not about you. It never is and never will be about you. It is about those above you and under you and around you."
Joe Kurtenbach of Nevada, Iowa, is among 30 academy graduates destined for the elite Navy Special Warfare field. And although the SEAL community has received a lot of attention, particularly since the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Kurtenbach said he always knew he wanted to be a SEAL.
Attracted by the caliber of the men in the Special Warfare community and the challenges their mission entails, he said, he started intensive preparations after his junior year. While at the academy, he got the opportunity to train with a SEAL team during a summer cruise at Little Creek, Va.
"I had high expectations going in, but that exceeded everything," Kurtenbach said.
Already an overachiever, Kurtenbach attended graduate school at Georgetown University while at the Naval Academy and undergoing SEAL preparation training. After receiving his master's degree in national security studies in December, he will head to Coronado, Calif., to begin his Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training.
Today, Kurtenbach savored the accomplishments made so far as his brother, Army Capt. Dan Kurtenbach, a 2007 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, administered the oath of office.
"This is just a beginning," he said of his graduation and commissioning. "I feel honored to be here, and I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead."
Related Sites:
U.S. Naval Academy 
Related Articles:
Gates Offers Leadership Lessons to Naval Academy Grads 
Gates: Bin Laden Mission Reflects Perseverance, Determination 

Click photo for screen-resolution imageJoe Kurtenbach of Nevada, Iowa, is among 30 members of the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 2011 destined for the elite Navy Special Warfare field. The class graduated May 27, 2011. DOD photo by Donna Miles
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageNicholas Hanson of Monmouth, N.J., right, and Chris Aument of Chicago are among 260 members of the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 2011 commissioned into the Marine Corps. Their academy class graduated May 27, 2011. DOD photo by Donna Miles
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageFamilies and friends pack Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md., for graduation and commissioning ceremonies for the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 2011, May 27, 2011. DOD photo by Donna Miles
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageMembers of Strike Fighter Squadron 143 based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., conduct a flyover during the graduation and commissioning ceremonies for the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 2011, May 27, 2011. DOD photo by Donna Miles
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dr Kunal Jain joined CMC Ludhiana

Dr Kunal Jain
Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana offers comprehensive oncology services for the care of cancer patients and their families. Dr Kunal Jain has recently joined as a consultant in medical oncology after completing 3 years of advanced training in Medical Oncology from Australia. He completed his MBBS and MD from CMC Ludhiana and then trained as an advanced trainee in Medical Oncology at Royal Adelaide Hospital for 2 years. He also had the opportunity of working as a Research Fellow in Medical Oncology at Flinders Medical Centre, South Australia for 1 year and was involved in many clinical trials. He specializes in breast, lung, colorectal and oral cancers and also has keen interest in cancer research.
With addition of full time Medical Oncology services, CMC Ludhiana has now got a complete range of oncology services including
1.      Hematology and bone marrow transplant services
2.      State of the art Radiation Oncology facilities
3.      Pain and palliative care services
4.      Intervention Radiology facilities 
5.      Experienced Surgical units including various super-specialties.
6.      Special laboratory facilities for oncology patients.

Director, Dr Abraham G Thomas added that with all these services coming under one roof, it would be even more convenient for the cancer patients of this region. CMC Ludhiana is known for its highly motivated staff providing compassionate and quality patient care.

Dr Jain is available for OPD consultations between 11am – 2pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. For any further inquiries, please contact Oncology Office: 0161-5037957, Oncology Helpline: 9780005333 or Email: cmc.oncology@yahoo.com 
By Shalu Arora and Rector Kathuria 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Shooting Survivor Inspires Others

By Micah Garbarino
72nd Air Base Wing

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.:"Control your breathing, lie still, play dead."
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Air Force Staff Sgt. Deondra Parks credits her security forces training for her ability to stay calm when a stranger shot her in a bookstore. U.S. Air Force photo 
During the most devastating moment of her life, Air Force Staff Sgt. Deondra Parks couldn't believe her brain was behaving so rationally.
"So this is what a massacre is like?" she asked herself as a madman with a shotgun wreaked havoc around her.
Parks, a 72nd Security Forces Squadron member, experienced danger and witnessed death during a deployment in Iraq, but nothing prepared her for the night of April 20, 2010. At a bookstore and coffee shop in Wichita Falls, Texas, she wasn't a target for being a police officer or an airman, but for being African-American.
After changing duty stations for the fourth time in almost five years, Parks applied for retraining as an aerospace medical technician in 2009. She was accepted, and her training began April 6, 2010, at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
The night of the shooting, she and two classmates moved a study session from the base library to a coffee shop in town.
"We had a big test on the airway the next day," Parks said. "I'd been [there] before, so I suggested it. I'd always been totally comfortable there."
Air Force Staff Sgts. Jade Henderson and Tanya Jesser were sitting with Parks at a table in the bookstore's coffee shop when it happened.
"I wasn't really paying attention to him when he came in," Parks said. "Then I felt someone next to me. I looked up into his eyes. I thought he was going to try and start a conversation, but his eyes were vacant, totally checked out, like there was no one there."
Then, 22-year-old Ross William Muehlberger said, "Hey [racial slur], it's Hitler's birthday." He lifted a shotgun and fired right at Henderson's head, who was sitting across the table from Parks. The first shot grazed her; the second shot did not.
"I thought he shot her twice in the head," Parks said. "I found out later that she put her hand up, which saved her life."
Jesser dove under a table. The shooter was standing between Parks and the door.
"I got up and ran," she said. "I was tripping over tables and chairs. I just wanted to get behind the bookshelves. I heard another shot and felt something graze past my face and hair. Then I dove to the floor."
Parks said she laid there trying to control her breathing. From the training she received as a member of security forces, she thought if she played dead the shooter would ignore her. Instead, he stood over her and fired point-blank into her lower leg, shattering her bones.
"I didn't scream," Parks said. "I didn't move. I forced myself to be still so he wouldn't want to shoot me again, like a dead animal. About 20 seconds after he shot me, I heard someone scream, 'He's gone.'"
Parks screamed for Henderson and dragged herself until she could look her in the eyes. Some people came to help them and waited with them until police and ambulances arrived. They were transported by helicopter to a hospital in Dallas.
Muehlberger continued his rampage through Wichita Falls, killing 23-year-old Iraq war veteran Timothy Donley before going to a house and shooting himself dead.
From the moment Parks went into her first surgery after the shooting until now, she said she knows the Air Force has been looking out for her. She woke up in the emergency room and first saw now-retired Air Force Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz, commander of the Air Education and Training Command.
"The first thing he asked was, 'Is there anything I can do for you?' and he assured me that my family was on the way," she said.
Parks asked him not to take her training slot away. "He told me to focus on getting better and said when I was ready, I may return to training."
The recovery care coordinator here, retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John Wood, did everything he could to assist Parks' family when her mother, sister and brother came to stay with her in Dallas for two weeks.
"In a sense, he was like a father," said Parks, who, along with Henderson, stayed at the Fisher House in Dallas while they were recovering.
"I never had to worry about setting anything up," she said. "It really proved me right. I always knew that when I joined the Air Force, if I put my all into it, they'd have my back."
Parks focused on her recovery, which took its toll. After four surgeries in less than a year, she felt like giving up. She didn't want to do rehabilitation anymore and was tired of the struggle, she said.
However, Parks had to work at regaining her strength if she wanted to maintain the physical standards required to stay in the Air Force and avoid a forced medical separation.
"Then I realized that anyone can quit, but not giving up when everyone else would understand shows true strength," Parks said.
Her leaders encouraged her to continue on. She went from a wheelchair to a walker to crutches and was told she would be out of commission for three months. But Air Force Lt. Col. Troy Roberts, her squadron commander, asked her to begin coming in every day for as long as she could stand it, even if it was only to answer phones.
"At first, I wasn't really happy about it, but now I'm so glad he asked me to do it," Parks said. "I needed to be around people, and without them I wouldn't be as far along as I am."
Roberts said what he saw Parks go through would have sent most people into a physical, mental, spiritual and career tailspin.
"Sergeant Parks has fought through and triumphed over multiple surgeries and hours of painful physical therapy," Roberts said. "She reached out to sources for strength such as wingmen, friends and family. She is one of the most resilient airmen I know."
The gunshot wound wasn't the only trauma Parks suffered last April. She has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is receiving treatment.
"I was never bitter, because I knew what could have happened that night, but didn't; I'm still alive," Parks said. "Putting all my trust in God, I don't carry a burden around day to day. Jade and I talked about forgiveness when we were at the Fisher House. Jade told me, 'His hate was not stronger than God's love for us.' Forgiving him was the first step in our recovery."
The trauma of the shooting, however, still haunts her. She has terrible nightmares, and when she enters a business or a restaurant, she plays out in her head what she would do if a shooting occurred "as if I were already shot," she said.
Parks said she's learning to deal with these issues. She credits her leaders at the 72nd Security Forces Squadron for their proactive response. Roberts and Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Melissa Garrett, the squadron's first sergeant, contacted the 72nd Medical Group and had a mental health professional contact Parks within days of the shooting.
Parks said she hopes other service members will seek help for post-traumatic stress rather than suppressing it. "The therapy is awesome," she said.
Although she's willing to share her story with other airmen who are looking for inspiration to continue through struggles, she doesn't want to always be known as "the girl who got shot."
"I am not going to let this control the rest of my life," Parks said.
Lorenz kept his word, and Parks will return to aerospace medical service apprentice technical training in June. Her goal, she said, is to retire from the Air Force as a chief master sergeant.
"The injuries she suffered could have negatively affected her Air Force career, but Sergeant Parks is back on track," Roberts said. "If you think you have a reason to quit, come talk to Sergeant Parks. You will come away with a new perspective." (Issued n-May 27, 2011)

Say No To GM Seeds

For Seed Sovereignty Agriculture and Food Security 

To save seed-agriculture and food sovereignty of country
To stop IPRs on seeds/germplasm/planting material or products
To reclaim farmers’ inherent natural right over seeds as real custodian
To protect our seeds and food from being contaminated by Genetic modification 
To protect Seed research in public sector and seed public sector institutions
Become a part of 3rd War of Independence, Be a savior of nation’s freedom   

Seed Sovereignty for Farmers’ freedom and Nation’s food security
Beej Swaraj Conference
Monday, 30th May 2011
10 AM onwards
Punjabi Bhawan, Ludhiana
Seed is not a commodity, but the basis for food security and national sovereignty
Issues to be discussed:
1. Constitutional issues
Several laws related to farming are proposed to be tabled in the Union Parliament even though 'agriculture' is a State subject. Entry 14 of the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India (that includes matters on which the Legislature of the State has powers to make laws) reads: "Agriculture, including agricultural education and research, protection against pests and prevention of plant diseases."

2. Seed Bill, 2010
Changes to the existing Seed Act (1966) have been on the cards since even before 2004; a revised Bill is pending passage in both houses of the Indian Parliament. The text of the proposed Bill has not been made open. The new seed law will not help farmers' seeds, on the contrary it might outlaw the sale of seeds that do not meet (industry) standards of 'quality'. Moreover, the Bill does not prohibit the registration of transgenic seeds for sale.

3. BRAI Bill
The country's rules for GMOs date back to 1989; they are on the brink of being revamped through a new law. This new biosafety law that proposes to set up a regulatory authority is being pushed by the Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Official discussions are focussed on a proposed BRAI (Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India) Bill, the text of which is marked as 'secret'!
Special Guests:
Vijay Jardhari, Seed Keeper farmer, Uttrakhand
Yudhvir Singh , National General Secretary , BKU- Tiket
Shalini Bhutani, Ecological Agriculture Activist, Delhi

Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan( BKU-Ekta Ugrahan)
Sukhdev Singh Bhopal (Manav Kudrat Kendrit Lok Lehar)
Pishora Singh Sidhupur (BKU-Ekta Sidhupur)
Lehmber Singh Taggar (All India Kisan Sabha)
Satnam Singh Pannu (Kisan Sanghersh Committee)
Balraj Singh Rana (Punjab Kisan Union)
Jasdev Singh Jassoval
Prof Jagmohan Singh
Dr Inderjeet Kaur
Dr Amar Singh Azad
Dr Arun Mittra
Satnam Singh Manak
Dr Ernest Albert

Let us not forget what Kissinger-Doctrine says, "you control petrol, you control nations and if you control food, you control people"....we don't need to find out that this doctrine is still the backbone of US police in certain matters"

Since a nation’s food sovereignty as well as farming communities’ livelihoods is closely linked to seed sovereignty – who controls what seed is supplied, when, in what quantities, with what restrictions, at what prices and so on. This is closely connected to allowing most seed trade to be taken over by the private sector, coupled with legal regimes that allow for exclusive marketing rights in the hands of a handful of companies, along with monocultures encouraged of a few crops and few varieties even as farmers are encouraged to move away from their traditional systems of seed breeding, selection, saving and exchange. Policy makers and planners have to appreciate the intrinsic potential dangers of such a scenario; this is further borne out by the example of cotton seed in India, where an overwhelming majority of the market today is controlled by one large seed company in numerous ways; further, non-GM cotton seed is not available in the market and seed pricing has become a vexatious issue where state governments that want to protect farmers’ interests are being confronted by the seed companies against any statutory framework that regulates price and are even threatening to stop supply of seed – meanwhile, physical seed stocks with farmers and others have disappeared during the period that they depended on company-supplied seed. This scenario is potentially possible with other crops too and Seed Sovereignty is an issue that the government has to take seriously.
·         The seed industry seems to believe that their returns can be maximized and their R&D efforts rewarded only if exclusive ‘ownership’ rights are conferred, linked to marketing rights of course. Civil society groups including farmers’ organizations believe that this is antithetical to the very culture of agriculture in India, which thrived for thousands of years due to the open sharing of resources including knowledge.
·         Let us demand that Agri-research and extension systems have to prioritise in their projects and outlays, varietal development and distribution; farmer-led, participatory breeding programmes are to be prioritized to address issues of quality and local suitability.
·         For all those seed technologies which bring in potential environmental and health hazards, such seed should be allowed even for open air trials only if there are no other alternatives present and after biosafety has been cleared through independent, long term testing in a participatory and transparent decision-making regime. In this case too, like in Point 4, state governments should be allowed their constitutional authority over agriculture for exercising their own decisions through appropriate regulatory regimes at the state level, including licensing etc.
·         Regulatory regimes should also pro-actively watch out for seed monopolies/oligopolies building up and prevent the same.
·         Farming communities all over India should have first priority and access to all the germplasm collections all over the country.

Let us not forget what Kissinger-Doctrine says, "You control petrol, you control nations and if you control food, you control people".... we don't need to find out that this doctrine is still the backbone of US police in certain matters…Oppose food colonialism

Let us join hands to initiate a struggle to protect nation’s seed sovereignty & food self reliance  


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gates: Defense Cuts Must Be Prioritized, Strategic

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he is determined that the department not fall victim to the mistakes of the past, "where the budget targets were met mostly by taking a percentage off the top of everything, the simplest and most politically expedient approach both inside the Pentagon and outside of it."
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Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates addresses the audience at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., May 24, 2011. DOD photo by Cherie Cullen 
"That kind of 'salami-slicing' approach preserves overhead and maintains force structure on paper, but results in a hollowing-out of the force from a lack of proper training, maintenance and equipment -- and manpower," Gates said during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research here today. "That is what happened in the 1970s -- a disastrous period for our military -- and to a lesser extent during the late 1990s."
In delivering his last major policy speech during his tenure as defense secretary, Gates laid out the department's cost saving initiatives over the past few years, and outlined what he expects from a comprehensive review he launched last week.
Gates said the review should ensure that future spending decisions are focused on priorities, strategy and risks, and are not simply a math and accounting exercise.
"In the end, this process must be about identifying options for the president and the Congress, to ensure the nation consciously acknowledges and accepts additional risk in exchange for reduced investment in the Department of Defense," Gates said.

Gates said the analysis will include going places that have been avoided politically in the past, such as re-examining military compensation levels, retirement, pay and pensions and spiraling health care costs.
The review also will examine force structure -- the military's fighting formations such as Army brigades, Marine expeditionary units, Air Force wings, Navy ships and supporting aviation assets.
"The overarching goal will be to preserve a U.S. military capable of meeting crucial national security priorities even if fiscal pressure requires reductions in that force's size," Gates said.
"I've said repeatedly that I'd rather have a smaller, superbly capable military then a larger, hollow, less capable one. However, we need to be honest with the president, with the Congress, with the American people, indeed with ourselves, about what those consequences are -- that a smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and be able to do fewer things," he said.
Gates said that in considering cuts, some assumptions that historically have been used to guide defense funding should be questioned.
For example, the assumption behind most military planning since the end of the Cold War has been that the United States must be able to fight two major regional wars at the same time.
"One might conclude the odds of that contingency are sufficiently low, or that any eruption of conflicts would happen one after the other, not simultaneously," the secretary said. "What are the implications of that with respect to force structure, and what are the risks? One can assume certain things won't happen on account of their apparently low probability.
"But the enemy always has a vote," Gates added.
Still, those are the kinds of scenarios the department and U.S. officials need to consider, he said.
"If we are going to reduce the resources and the size of the U.S. military, people need to make conscious choices about what the implications are for the security of the country, as well as for the variety of military operations we have around the world if lower priority missions are scaled back or eliminated," Gates said.
American needs to understand that a smaller pool of forces could mean greater impacts on troops and families, should the United States find itself in another protracted war.
"To shirk this discussion of risks and consequences -- and the hard decisions that must follow -- I would regard as managerial cowardice," Gates said.
In the end, the secretary said, the tough choices ahead are about the kind of role the American people -- accustomed to unquestioned military dominance for the past two decades -- want their country to play in the world.
"Since I entered government 45 years ago, I've shifted my views and changed my mind on a good many things as circumstances, new information, or logic dictated. But I have yet to see evidence that would dissuade me from this fundamental belief -- that America does have a special position and set of responsibilities on this planet," Gates said.
"I share Winston Churchill's belief, that 'The price of greatness is responsibility ... [and] the people of the United States cannot escape world responsibility.' This status provides enormous benefits -- for allies, partners, and others abroad to be sure, but in the final analysis the greatest beneficiaries are the American people, in terms of our security, our prosperity, our freedom," Gates said.
Gates acknowledged that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war.
"But there is no doubt in my mind that the continued strength and global reach of the American military will remain the greatest deterrent against aggression, and the most effective means of preserving peace in the 21st century, as it was in the 20th," he said.
Robert M. Gates
Related Sites:
Gates' Speech 

Soldiers Describe Life in Paktika Province

By Karen Parrish 
American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE TILLMAN, Afghanistan, May 23, 2011 - Where and how you live as a soldier deployed to Afghanistan depends on the mission of the unit to which you're assigned.
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Soldiers at Forward Operating Base Tillman in Afghanistan's Paktika province sort through mail, their main means of receiving personal items. DOD photo by Karen Parrish 
Large bases housing strategic-level headquarters offer wireless Internet, post, coffee and souvenir shops, barber shops and beauty salons.
But here and on Combat Outpost Munoz, where most of the soldiers live who are assigned to the 101st Airborne Division's 4th "Currahee" Brigade Combat Team, 'Dog" Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, there's not a shop to be found.
Army Sgt. Justin Payne, a team leader for 1st Platoon, said soldiers receive many of their needs through the mail, sent from family and friends at home. "Tobacco is a big thing," he said. "Snacks, candy, ... stuff like that. Magazines."
Most soldiers at Tillman have personal computers they use to watch movies, Payne said, while seven public computers with Internet connections and two phones are available for the troops to keep in touch with their families and friends.
Barracks space is divided into small plywood cubicles, Payne said, so the soldiers who live at Tillman have some personal sleeping space.
"The living conditions here are pretty good," he said. "Much better than I've had on previous deployments. You get a room and a shower and a chow hall, and that's all you really need -- and the ability to call home now and then. It's nice here."
Army Staff Sgt. Harold B. Smith, Headquarters Platoon sergeant and mayor of Tillman, coordinates contracted services including trash removal and electrical, plumbing and carpentry support for the roughly 150 soldiers based here.
Life support at Tillman takes a combination of big contracting companies and local-national contracts, Smith said.
"We have one of the very few waste-water treatment plants here in Afghanistan," he said. "That is a huge plus, because it allows us to have hot and cold running water, which many of the [forward operating bases] don't."
Contracts with Afghan companies provide heavy equipment to fill large barriers with rocks and dirt and to move supplies and equipment to and from the base's helicopter landing zone, Smith said. Local workers also provide kitchen support, cleaning and trash removal services for Tillman, he added.
About 40 life-support contractors work at Tillman, with an additional 80 force-protection workers who man the entry control point, guard towers and one of the observation points in the hills overlooking the base, Smith said. Four new guard towers have improved security within and around the base, he added.
Soldiers at Tillman agree the base is in much better condition than it was when they arrived, but it's the Munoz outpost, about five miles to the northwest, where Dog Company has created the most dramatic improvements.
Army Capt. Edwin Churchill, company commander, said Munoz was the unit's base of operations for the first three months of their deployment, when the headquarters element moved to Tillman.
The previous unit at Munoz had only about 30 soldiers living there, Churchill said, and the force protection conditions were not good. Munoz sits in a bowl surrounded by hills, and the base regularly is attacked from those peaks by enemy rockets and machine-gun and small-arms fire.
Churchill manned the post with 75 to 90 soldiers at a time after his company moved in, and they set to work filling barriers and sandbags to protect against enemy fire. Soldiers also added fortified firing positions and mortar points to defend the outpost.
The labor was very physically demanding, with all of Munoz involved, Churchill said, noting that when the unit arrived, it had no heavy equipment to help with the work.
Churchill and his troops have added several large barriers throughout the Munoz compound to provide cover during attacks, and have built up the base defenses. "We added extra indirect systems. ... The enemy can't suppress all of them at once," he said.
Churchill said through practice, the soldiers at Munoz have learned how to defend the outpost quickly and effectively.
"The nice thing about [the enemy] is they're absolutely predictable; they use the same positions every time," he said. "So we have a lot of the [targeting] information dialed in on them."
Dog Company has suffered no serious injuries or deaths at Munoz, the commander said, though they've been attacked as many as four times in one week.
Churchill said the company has also worked to make the base more comfortable for soldiers.
"When we got here, ... two soldiers lived in each 60-square-foot room. It was ridiculously tight -- very poor living conditions," he said.
Dog Company added plywood buildings for storage, and built small cubicles inside brick-and-mortar structures to provide more privacy in soldier living space, Churchill said.
Dog Company is closing Munoz, as their year in Afghanistan comes to an end. Churchill said the outpost essentially is in a cul-de-sac in Paktika province's Gayan district, and soldiers can be more effective in the counterinsurgency fight closer to more trafficked and populated areas.
Army Spc. Jonathan Lounds, a team leader for Dog Company's 2nd Platoon, has lived at Munoz for eight months.
"You get used to it, and it becomes like home," Lounds said. "We put up a shower the other day; that was nice."
Munoz has no running water, so soldiers use bottled water for everything, Lounds said. Bathroom facilities consist of urinal tubes set into the ground, with small plastic "wag bags" provided for solid waste, which is burned.
Army Sgt. Brandon England is the signal support systems specialist for Dog Company, and has spent most of the deployment at Munoz. He said the company's soldiers worked hard to make the outpost safer and more defensible.
"The guys, from sunup to sundown, just busted their butts," England said. "The [company commander] put us to work."
Dog Company added enough walls and barriers to make Munoz feel secure, England said.
"We've built it up quite a bit," he said. "It's not bad now – I actually like it more here [than at Tillman]. Something's always going on, and it's small, so you don't have to go searching for people.
"We've had some pretty good fights out here," said he added. "It made time go by fast."
Related Sites:
Special Report: Afghanistan 2011 

Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Spc. Jonathan Lounds brushes his teeth with bottled water at Combat Outpost Munoz in Afghanistan's Paktika province. The outpost has no running water. DOD photo by Karen Parrish 
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Spc. Jonathan Lounds discusses Combat Outpost Munoz in Afghanistan's Paktika province, his home for much of the past year. DOD photo by Karen Parrish 
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageBarriers at Combat Outpost Munoz in Afghanistan's Paktika province display the result of enemy rocket attacks. The small base has received as many as four enemy attacks a week. DOD photo by Karen Parrish 
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe view from inside a fighting position at Combat Outpost Munoz in Afghanistan's Paktika province shows the hills ringing the installation. The small base has received as many as four enemy attacks a week. DOD photo by Karen Parrish 
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Monday, May 23, 2011

A new chapter by CMC Ludhiana

Now Stem Cell Cryopreservation & Transplant in CMC
First center in Punjab to have this facility
Stem cell harvest
Ludhiana: 19 year old boy (Mr AKW) was diagnosed to have acute myeloid leukemia (a type of blood cancer) which required stem cell transplant for curing the disease. As he was the only son and parents were not HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) identical, (HLA matching is important when bone marrow stem cell transplants are done between 2 individuals), it was decided to perform autologous stem cell transplant.' 
However, as there is a delay between the chemotherapy and stem cell infusion, it was important to freeze these stem cells under special facility.  So after the initial chemotherapy, Mr AKW’s stem cells were collected by a stem cell apharesis machine and they were cryopreserved (a process by which stem cells are mixed with a chemical called DMSO and frozen at minus 80 degree celcius) under strict aseptic conditions. 
Stem cells and the cryoprotecant
These stem cells were later infused after many days into the patient.  Now patient has completed 4 months after the procedure and doing well.  Since then stem cells have been collected and stored in a patient with relapsed lymphoma. 
When doing stem cell cryopreservation, it is important to follow strict protocols in preventing infection and to maintian the stem cell viability. 
Stem cell cryopreservation and autologous stem cell transplant is basically offered to patients with relapsed lymphoma and certain patients with acute myeloid leukemia.  
CMC Ludhiana established its transplant programme in October 2008 and since then the team has performed 20 transplants (15 allogeneic and 5 autologous) for patients with 1 ½ years to 62 years.  The spectrum of diseases for which transplants have been done were thalassaemia, aplastic anemia, multiple myeloma, Philadephia positive ALL, Acute myeloid leukemia, CML in blast crisis and Wiskott Aldrich syndrome). 
The team who infused the stem cells
A comprehensive team of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and office staff are behind this endeavor and CMC Ludhiana is one of the centers taking part in the CIBMTR (Center of International Blood and Marrow Transplant Registry) apart from the ISCTR (Indian Stem Cell Transplant Registry). 
Stem cells with the
cryoprotectant before
dump freezing-Copy
Giving more information regarding this, Dr M Joseph John, head of Clinical Haematology, Haemato-Oncology & Bone Marrow (Stem cell) Transplant Unit, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana said that it is the first time this facility is established in Punjab and North of Delhi.  Dr Abraham G Thomas, Director added that with a new 5 bedded ‘state of the art’ transplant unit coming up, the team is would be able to perform more transplants with improved facility. He also added that in future, the team would be venturing into matched unrelated and cord blood transplantation.  
Dr M Joseph John, MD, DM
Associate Professor, Clinical Haematology, Haemato-Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant Unit
Christian Medical College
(M): 08054959525, (O): Direct: 0161-5037957 or 0161-2600270 Ext 4823/5022