Military News

Friday, April 20, 2018

Department of Defense Employee Pleads Guilty to Sexually Abusing Co-Worker on Military Base

A Department of Defense civilian employee pleaded guilty today to sexually abusing a co-worker while on a temporary duty assignment to the U.S. Naval base in Yokosuka, Japan in January 2016.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes for the Western District of Washington and Special Agent in Charge Ron Beltz of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s (NCIS) office in Bremerton, Washington made the announcement.

Michael S. Cerera, 36, of Port Orchard, Washington, pleaded guilty to one count of abusive sexual contact before U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura of the Western District of Washington. Sentencing has been scheduled for Aug. 9.

In pleading guilty, Cerera admitted that on or about Jan. 23, 2016, while a civilian employee of the Department of Defense in Yokosuka, Japan, he engaged in sexual contact with a female co-worker when she was physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating her unwillingness to engage in, that sexual contact because she was asleep.  Specifically, Cerera admitted that in the early morning, he was present in the victim’s hotel room and climbed into her bed while she was unconscious.  The victim woke to discover that, without her permission, Cerera had pushed her shirt up and was kissing or licking her right side and had placed one hand down the back of her underwear and digitally penetrated her vagina.

NCIS investigated the case.  Trial Attorney Rami S. Badawy of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Grady Leupold of the Western District of Washington are prosecuting the case. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Army, Marine Corps Stress Importance of Ground Forces Modernization

WASHINGTON -- Army and Marine Corps officials stressed to lawmakers yesterday the urgency in modernizing ground forces amid an increasingly challenging security environment.
Soldiers from Task Force Stalwart, composed of soldiers from 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry

"We are at an inflection point, and we can no longer afford to choose between near-term readiness and modernization,” Lt. Gen. John M. Murray, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for programs, told the House Armed Services Committee’s tactical air and land forces subcommittee.

The development of new capabilities has been slowed, deferred, and in some cases halted due to the Army’s focus on the demands of ongoing campaigns, combined with constrained resources and an industrial age organizational model, Murray said.

“Meanwhile, our adversaries have or are quickly attaining a competitive advantage," he said.

Murray appeared before the panel with Army Lt. Gen. Paul A. Ostrowski, military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology; and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Robert S. Walsh, deputy commandant for combat development and integration and commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command; and Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commander of the Marine Corps Systems Command.

Investments to Restore Military

The Army and Marine Corps leaders welcomed lawmakers’ support for defense spending, saying the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget and the fiscal year 2019 budget request seek to restore the military after years of decline.

The investments, they said, support the National Defense Strategy and aim to build a more lethal and agile force.

“The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win one under the most difficult of circumstances,” the Marine generals said in their written statement, adding that this requires “new operational concepts, an aggressive approach to force development and a consistent, multiyear investment to restore warfighting readiness.”

Modernization Focus

The Army, Murray said, plans in fiscal year 2019 to selectively upgrade equipment that is critical to near-term readiness and focus on areas crucial to combat. Those areas, he told the panel, include long-range precision fires, next generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, the network, air missile defense and soldier lethality.

For the last several decades, the Army possessed overmatch based on its qualitative edge in capabilities, Murray and Ostrowski said in their written statement.

“It enabled our Army to defeat enemy formations, underpinned credible deterrence, and served as a critical pillar of joint force capabilities in all domains – air, land, maritime, space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum,” they said.

“Now, a combination of strategic, technological, institutional and budgetary trends places at risk the Army’s competitive edge over near-peer adversaries in the next fight,” they warned.

Walsh outlined priorities for the Marine Corps for fiscal year 2019 as information warfare, long-range precision fires, air defense command and control in a degraded environment, protecting mobility and enhanced maneuver, and supporting the defense secretary’s priorities to increase lethality, resilience, agility and build a flexible and dynamic force.

“The Marine Corps’ ground programs modernization strategy will ensure the individual Marine enjoys a qualitative military edge over any adversary,” Walsh and Shrader said in their written statement, adding that the goal is to adequately equip the Marine to ensure “combat formations capable of closing with and destroying the enemy.”

Face of Defense: Army Helicopter Mechanic Earns Officer Scholarship

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- In 2010, the most destructive earthquake in Haiti’s history struck the Caribbean island, killing more than 100,000 people and leaving about 1.5 million others homeless.

Sixteen miles from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake’s epicenter, Army Spc. Carl Denis and his family, natives of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, were among the people suffering in the aftermath.

More than eight years later, he is one of four soldiers in the 7th Infantry Division selected this year to receive a Green to Gold scholarship to be a commissioned officer upon college graduation.

Green to Gold is a two-year program that provides eligible active duty enlisted soldiers an opportunity to complete a baccalaureate degree or a two-year graduate degree and earn a commission as an Army officer. “It was my own determination that helped me out and my initiative as well,” said Denis, who works as a mechanic repairing UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with the 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment.

'Like an Impossible Feat'

“When I finally got the [scholarship] letter, it was pretty much like an impossible feat that came into reality,” he said.

This achievement continues his path forward.

Denis will enroll at Arizona State University this fall to major in information technology with a focus on cybersecurity.

“When I commission, I plan to enter the cyberwarfare field, which is a pretty new career field in the Army,” Denis said.

Commitment, Dedication

The competition to receive a Green to Gold Scholarship is fierce, and it takes commitment and dedication to earn the scholarship -- both common concepts to Denis.

From his humble life in Haiti, at age 16, Denis moved to the United States shortly after the natural disaster. As a teenager, Denis struggled to speak English. “It wasn’t a language I spoke regularly in Haiti,” he said. “I knew some English, but I wasn’t as proficient as I am now.”

Despite the adversity, Denis took advantage of his bilingual skill, joining the Army through the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program.

“I enlisted under the MAVNI language program because I speak Creole,” Denis said. “I received my citizenship when I graduated [from basic training].”

Despite living in an earthquake-stricken country and immigrating to a country with an unfamiliar language, Denis continues forward down his path.
“It’s great to see a young soldier like Specialist Denis receive the Green to Gold [scholarship],” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Sakpraneth Khim, Denis’ flight platoon sergeant. “We always want our soldiers to do better than us. He is a shining example of that.”