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Volume 6, No. 15 ©SS 2014

FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2014

ADDING COLOR TO KAISERSLAUTERN Graffiti work makes local artist a household name in Germany

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‘MY KIND OF PARTY’ Street artist finds purpose, livelihood as he makes mark on city BY M ATT M ILLHAM Stars and Stripes

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany alk around this city’s downtown and you’re bound to see graffiti that looks too good to have been quickly scrawled by some delinquent. There’s the angry eye on the electrical box where Spittelstrasse becomes Fischerstrasse; the ornate candy land on a utility substation on Mainzer Strasse; the arms rising from clouds on the electrical box near St. Martin’s church. The pieces, if a bit cartoonish, look like art. That’s because they are. They’re the work of Carl Kenz,

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Graffiti artist Carl Kenz’s work, which can be seen on electrical boxes and sub-stations around the city of Kaiserslautern, Germany, is often highly detailed and, unlike many hastily scrawled graffiti tags, beautiful.

a local artist who has managed to earn an honest living and growing recognition from his graffiti, an art form perfected on the walls of subway trains and in the shadows of underpasses. In the past year, he’s been invited to paint or exhibit works in the United States, Australia, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan and about a dozen German cities and other locales he can’t recall on three hours’ sleep. British dart manufacturer Winmau just released a line of flights featuring his work. He’s sponsored by Red Bull, which — given his sleep and work habits — is a fortunate pairing. “I’m a nervous, very critical guy and I always want more,” Kenz, 31, said during an interview in his

Kaiserslautern studio. “I think that’s the reason why I don’t sleep that much.”

Beginnings As a teen in the late 1990s, Kenz fell in with some American kids, the children of servicemembers stationed in the Kaiserslautern area. He was into skateboarding and hip-hop, and kids who hailed from the States carried a certain cachet in these diversions. “They were knowing what they were talking about because they just came from the U.S.,” Kenz said. There was one gaping hole in their street knowledge, though: They didn’t know graffiti.

see page23 SEE PAGE

PHOTOS BY M ATT MILLHAM / Stars and Stripes

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As a group, Kenz and his crew fell into graffiti almost by accident. Hanging out in Kaiserslautern, they stumbled upon local street artists by the names of Yale, Arte and Daniel who tagged walls with complex scripts that impressed and awed the teens. “We stood over there with our mouths wide open and like, ‘Wow, what the [expletive]? What are they doing over here?’ ” Kenz said. “From that point, the idea became clear that I wanted to do something like that for sure.” Kenz and his friends went home and started sketching. Soon, they were out on the street leaving their own mark on the city. Graffiti quickly became Kenz’s passion. He said he never did anything illegal, but did take part in graffiti jams where artists get together to paint, collaborate and learn from each other. As he got older, and it came time to figure out what he was going to do with his life, the idea of becoming a professional

graffiti artist didn’t seem viable. So he trained in a field he thought would scratch his creative itch — graphic design. He spent three years in a German dual-track education program, apprenticing for a design firm four days a week and going to a vocational school in Neustadt, a wine town about a half-hour from Kaiserslautern, two days a week. When he was done, he signed on with a firm designing a vast array of products, from advertising materials and logos to CD covers and letterhead for clubs, banks and numerous medium- and large-size companies. It was a living, but working for a company stressed him out, he said. He left the firm to start his own business designing album covers, posters and other materials for clubs, DJs, rappers and musicians. Working with artists, he hoped to find the creative freedom he had on the street. What he got was “stupid [expletives] sitting there telling you, ‘Nah, do a blue background,’ ” he said. “It’s always like that.

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You can’t be really creative” when you’re designing for somebody else. Dentists, he noted, don’t have the same problem. “You trust him and let him do his job.” While working as a designer during the day, he spent his free time on graffiti. The streets became the outlet where he could fully express his vision. It was just a hobby, but one for which his reputation was growing among Kaiserslautern’s skater crowd. In 2008, a local skate shop owner asked Kenz to exhibit some work in his store as part of a 10-year anniversary promotion. Kenz said he’d always thought graffiti belonged on the street, but the idea of putting spray paint to canvas intrigued him. By that time, he’d been his own boss for three years. But the exhibition’s success gave Kenz confidence to shutter his design firm and try his hand as a professional graffiti artist. He founded his own brand, Ars Vivenda, a Latin phrase that translates to “Art is living.” Soon, the jobs started rolling in. SEE PAGE 4

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COVER STORY ONLINE

To see more work from Carl Kenz around Kaiserslautern, go to stripes.com/go/color

FROM PAGE 3

Living the dream Before Kenz painted them, Stadtwerke Kaiserslautern’s utility boxes and substations were a constant target for amateur graffiti writers. “So I went to them and told them, ‘Hey, let me design it like nice, so you don’t got to paint it white like 10 times a year,’ ” Kenz said. In 2008, the utility company commissioned Kenz to paint nearly four dozen of its boxes and substations around Kaiserslautern. Nearly eight years later, many of them still bear his original works. Some have been tagged or deteriorated, and Kenz occasionally goes back to update or fix his work. In November, he spent four days repainting a substation on Mainzer

Strasse to look like a paradise of sweets. It’s on one of the main routes into Kaiserslautern, and hundreds if not thousands of cars pass by every hour. The response from most passersby was overwhelmingly positive, he said. But some folks, apparently startled by the sight of a guy spray-painting a building, called the cops. The police have to respond when they get a call, but his conversations with them tended to be short, he said. “Are you Kenz?” they’d ask. “Yeah,” he’d reply. “OK, bye.” The work he produced is unmistakably Kenzian, involving a wide color palette and his signature characters, the Devmonz, which he dreamed up a few years ago. They look like little white devils, which he depicts in various costumes and scenes. “You can show so much emotion and

style and tell stories in just a simple character,” he said. Some of that can be seen on the wall outside of Kaiserslautern’s Kammgarn, which has allowed Kenz to turn the place into his own outdoor art gallery. There, hundreds of feet of brick wall are covered in works by Kenz and his friends. The art brings him joy, but “it’s also hard work,” Kenz said. The art market is small, and there are a lot of good artists out there, “so it’s not enough to say, ‘Hey, I’m crazy, I’m out of the box.’ You really need to put blood, sweat and tears into this [expletive] to move forward.” That reality results in Kenz living a life far different from what one might expect of a guy who has devoted his life to an art made famous by American gangs. He’s not a big partier. He

sleeps four to five hours a night. The rest of the time he’s painting, sculpting, sketching, answering emails from galleries, traveling to exhibitions, talking with the press, organizing and running workshops for kids and aspiring painters and working more hours than he ever did as a 9-to-5-er at a graphic design firm. He’s caught flak from some old friends for not living the hip-hop, skater, street life he embraced when he found graffiti. Instead, his routine looks more like this: He arrives in some new city at 8 p.m. and meets up with other artists. They sketch until 4 or 5 in the morning, sleep a few hours, then get up at 8 and spend the rest of the day painting. “This,” Kenz said, “is my kind of party.” millham.matthew@stripes.com

The Bill of Rights THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution. RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz. ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution. Content provided by A1 Publications, Alaska.


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The Bill of Rights Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Amendment III No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. Content provided by A1 Publications, Alaska.


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PACIFIC

The U.S. wants to look toward China, but will restraints on defense spending limit its vision? ILLUSTRATION

BY

C HRISTOPHER SIX /Stars and Stripes

Defense budget constraints could alter military’s plan for the Pacific BY JON H ARPER Stars and Stripes

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WASHINGTON udget constraints and force requirements in other regions will likely stall the Pentagon’s plans to beef up the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and to send more high-tech weaponry to deter a rising China, officials and analysts say. The DOD released its $496 billion fiscal 2015 budget request this month. Due to caps imposed by Congress’ bipartisan budget deal in December, the Pentagon is requesting $45 billion less than what it anticipated it would need to carry out the national defense strategy when it submitted last year’s budget request. The DOD also released its Future Years Defense Program, which calls for $115 billion more in military spending than current law allows over the course of the next five years. “Right now, the pivot is being

AP

Chinese destroyer Wuhan leads a fleet of naval ships, heading to take part in a joint exercise with Russia in the Sea of Japan on July 3. looked at again, because candidly it can’t happen,” Katrina McFarland, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, said at an Aviation Week conference in Arlington, Va., on March 4, according to multiple news reports. Later that day, McFarland issued a statement through a spokeswoman in what appeared to be an attempt

to walk back her remarks. “When I spoke at a conference, I was asked a question about the budget … and how it relates to our pivot to Asia,” the statement read. “I was reiterating what Secretary [Chuck] Hagel said last week: that the shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific requires us to ‘adapt, innovate and make difficult budgetary and acquisition

decisions to ensure that our military remains ready and capable.’ That’s exactly what we’ve done in this budget (proposal). The rebalance to Asia can and will continue.” “[McFarland] obviously was disciplined and retracted those remarks,” Sen. John McCain, RAriz., said at a budget hearing the next day. Adm. Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said the resources currently at his disposal are insufficient to meet operational requirements. “The ability for the services to provide the type of maritime coverage, the air coverage of some of the key elements that we’ve historically needed in this part of the world for crisis response, have not been available to the level that I would consider acceptable risk (due to recent budget cutbacks),” he told lawmakers March 5. During a March 4 budget briefing at the Pentagon, defense officials disputed the notion that the strategic shift will stall. SEE see PAGE page12 7

The Bill of Rights Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. Content provided by A1 Publications, Alaska.


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PACIFIC see page FROM PAGE611 “We are going forward with a variety of issues that aren’t primarily financial (including realigning forces in the region),” Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale told reporters. “We have a fairly robust shipbuilding program, averaging about nine a year, which over the long term will contribute (to the pivot). So I think the budget (request) definitely supports the rebalance, and we’re not reconsidering it.”

The fiscal factor But Todd Harrison, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent think tank in Washington, said there’s reason to doubt that DOD will be able to fully resource the pivot, given ongoing fiscal constraints and other strategic commitments. “It’s coming close to the limits on what you can do in terms of scaling back the size of the department while still trying to increase our presence in the Asia-Pacific region. You know, fundamentally one of the conflicts that’s going to arise within this (defense) strategy is that we’re trying to increase our presence in the Asia-Pacific region while maintaining our presence in the Middle East and in Europe and other areas, and I don’t think we can actually do all of those things in the long run with less funding,” he said. Republican hawks share those concerns. “The administration has committed to a rebalance to the AsiaPacific while also sustaining a heightened alert posture in the Middle East and North Africa. … A declining defense budget, reduction in troop strength and force structure and diminished readiness suggest that we can’t do both, or if we do, we do so at an increased risk to our forces and their missions,” Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said at a hearing March 5. Doubts about the pivot are not confined to political and military circles in Washington. America’s Asian allies also question whether the shift to their neighborhood will continue. In the face of continuing Chinese belligerence and North Korean unpredictability, many countries in the region are increasing their defense spending and buying new weapons platforms even as they encourage the U.S. to play a more active role in the area and hope the Pentagon moves more of its forces there.

C OURTESY

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A Chinese navy nuclear submarine takes part in a nuclear safety drill at the Qingdao submarine base in east China’s Shandong province. China is devoting increasing resources to its naval forces to safeguard its maritime interests and assert its territorial claims. Christine Wormuth, the deputy undersecretary of defense for Strategy, Plans and Force Development, acknowledged the problem at a March 10 conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “I’m well aware that there is concern in the region about whether we will be able to sustain the rebalance. We hear those messages as well, and part of why we’re as engaged talking to countries in that region is to assure them that even in the face of some greater fiscal austerity than we’ve seen in the past decade, we are very committed to that region,” she told attendees. The fate of the rebalance may ultimately depend on events elsewhere in the world, according to Harrison. “[DOD] would favor continuing the pivot to the Pacific, but reality and the facts and the situation on the ground may draw you back to the Middle East — or to Europe, for that matter — regardless of what your intentions are,” he said. “There’s a significant possibility [that the rebalance will be scaled back], and that will be driven by external events like what we’ve seen in Syria and what’s happening right now in Ukraine. World events can cause you to shift your focus in a way that you didn’t intend.”

The Ukraine factor The Ukraine crisis appears to have done just that. In the wake of Russia annexing Crimea, America’s NATO allies fear further aggression.

“The old idea of NATO … predicated on a Europe that no longer has any threats — that, unfortunately, has turned out, with the actions we’ve seen against Ukraine, no longer [applies],” Estonian President Toomas Ilves said March 18 during a joint press conference with Vice President Joe Biden in Warsaw. The U.S. has tried to reassure its regional allies by deploying 12 F-16s to Poland and augmenting American involvement in NATO’s Baltic air policing program. The Navy also sent another destroyer to the region and kept the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea longer than planned. “We’re exploring a number of additional steps to increase the pace and scope of our military cooperation, including rotating U.S. forces to the Baltic region to conduct ground and naval exercises as well as training missions,” Biden said. “We’re exploring a number of additional steps to increase the pace and scope of our military cooperation, including rotating U.S. forces to the Baltic region to conduct ground and naval exercises as well as training missions,” he said.

The Washington factor Some say the future of the pivot is in Congress’ hands. Locklear told lawmakers that the pivot is underway, but he questions whether it will maintain its momentum. “If you come to my headquarters, we’re moving forward with the aspects of rebalance. I mean, we’re working hard on the alliances, on

the exercises that underpin them. We’re moving our force structure into places we need to. The real question is whether or not the force that Congress will eventually buy to give us, is it adequate for the security environment that’s changing?” he said. “Whether or not we can resource to meet the challenges and remain the pre-eminent guarantor of security in the Pacific area, I think that’s the question.” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations, told members of the House Armed Services Committee last week that eliminating an aircraft carrier and a naval air wing from the fleet, which would be necessitated by sequestration, would put the pivot in jeopardy. “The Asia-Pacific is important, and we are rebalancing toward it. (But) if you go from 11 to 10 carriers, you exacerbate what is already a very difficult (force requirement) problem to the point where … the deterrence factor goes down dramatically when you have gaps (like that),” he said. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and other senior defense officials have repeatedly warned that a failure to eliminate sequestration would result in “unacceptable risks” to America’s ability to execute its defense strategy. But many analysts are doubtful that Congress will give the Pentagon the money it says it needs. “I don’t think there is the will in the Congress to increase the defense budget for a bit, number one. And I don’t think you have a president pressing them hard to do so. ... I’m not necessarily sure [the sequestration cap] is even a floor (for how low the defense budget will go),” Barry Pavel, director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, said at a conference hosted by the Atlantic Council on March 5. “I think DOD has made the best case they can, [but] I think you’re going to continue to have a disconnect in Congress that’s been shockingly, in my mind, united on both sides of the aisle, saying even if they don’t like it, they don’t see a way out of [the Budget Control Act],” according to Maren Leed, a senior analyst at CSIS. “So I personally would be surprised if any of that (desired budget increase) is achieved. So what else can [Pentagon leaders] do? They can keep talking, [but] I don’t think it will matter.” harper.jon@stripes.com Twitter: @JHarperStripes

The Bill of Rights Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense. Amendment VII In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

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‘A mockery of military justice’

General’s punishment draws more calls for change in the system BY JENNIFER HLAD Stars and Stripes

Members of Congress and victim advocacy groups reacted with horror and resignation last week to news that Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair will avoid jail time and instead be reprimanded and fined after pleading guilty to adultery, mistreating the female captain with whom he had a three-year relationship, misusing a government credit card to pursue the affair and other charges. Sinclair must still go before a review board that will determine at what rank he will be allowed to retire, but the punishment is far less severe than life in prison, as he had once faced. The possible sentence was reduced when sexual assault and other serious charges were dropped in return for his agreement to plead guilty to the other crimes. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., called the punishment “laughable.” “This sentence is a mockery of military justice, a slap on the wrist nowhere close to being proportional to Sinclair’s offenses,” Speier said. “The misuse of government funds should be enough to fire Gen. Sinclair,” Speier said. “There are plenty of former government employees who have been canned for less.” Greg Jacob, a former Marine and current policy director for Service Women’s Action Network, said the case illustrates why prosecution authority should be removed from the defendant and victim’s chain of command, as proposed in a bill by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. “Today’s sentencing is reflective of a case that fell apart long before today,” Jacob said. “The Gen. Sinclair case will go down in history as yet another reason we need Sen. Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act.” The bill failed to reach the threshold necessary to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, but Gillibrand has vowed to keep fighting until a similar measure passes. Sexual assaults can be hard to prosecute, and the Sinclair case is particularly complicated, said Sarah Feldman, a spokeswoman for Sen. Claire McCaskill, who opposed

Gillibrand’s legislation but pushed for a slate of other significant changes to the military justice system. Still, the case highlights “what we already know: that commanders are often more aggressive than prosecutors in pursuing prosecutions and vetting those cases,” Feldman said. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, the cochair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, said he is deeply disappointed by the sentence. “This unfortunate outcome bolsters our call to increase mandatory minimum sentencing in cases of sexual assault and sexual misconduct,” he said. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., who serves as the other co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, said she was shocked when she heard Sinclair’s sentence. “Military leaders must be held to a higher standard, but this sentence undermines that standard of accountability,” Tsongas said. “It is clear that Brig. Gen. Sinclair abused his authority and perpetuated a toxic military culture that is accepting of unprofessional, inappropriate and criminal behavior.” The case will send a “chilling message” to victims of sexual assault and likely discourage them from reporting attacks, said Nancy Parrish, president of Protect Our Defenders. “The military’s promises of ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual offenses continue to ring hollow as yet another high-ranking official is let off the hook,” Parrish said. “This case demonstrates how high-ranking bad, abusive and even unlawful behavior is tolerated. The level of tolerance is too often dictated by the number of stars you have on your shoulders.” Mallika Dutt, president and CEO of Breakthrough, a human rights organization, said the sentence also sends a

clear — and troubling — message about violence against women. “We look to our military to at the very least uphold their own values of honor, integrity, respect and more. It is deeply disappointing when instead they are seen to uphold the cultural norms that say women are less-than, inferior, dispensable,” Dutt said. “This is the very culture that allows discrimination and violence against women and girls to continue.” Military leaders have made efforts to address sexual assault in the ranks, including working with Congress to implement changes to the way the military justice system handles the assaults and helps victims. But, said Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, military leaders know they must do better.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair was allowed to remain in the military, kept his pension and avoided jail time under a plea deal that dropped the most serious charges.

“We take the crime of sexual assault very, very seriously,” he said last week. Kirby declined to comment on the Sinclair case or sentence but said leaders are concerned about victim confidence in the system and about “the ability of leadership and the system itself — the justice system itself — in making sure that those who are found guilty are held properly accountable.” Also last week, a Naval Academy football player accused of sexually assaulting a female midshipman during an off-campus party in 2012 was found not guilty. The academy superintendent previously decided not to prosecute two other midshipmen who had originally been accused of sexual assault in the case. The case raised more questions about whether victims should feel comfortable reporting assaults. But, Kirby said, despite such high-profile examples of acquittals or cases that do not go to trial, “there are plenty of other cases that go all the way to trial and get convictions.” “And look,” he said, “prosecutions and convictions, while important in terms of holding people accountable, that’s not the ultimate goal here. The ultimate goal here is zero sexual assaults in the military. That’s what we’re after.” Jon Harper contributed to this report.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair TED RICHARDSON /AP

The Bill of Rights Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. Amendment X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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DOD to review awards system Purple Hearts, drone medals to be included in 3 studies BY JON H ARPER Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department will reconsider the sensitive issue of whether drone operators and cyberwarriors will receive a medal for their service far away from combat areas, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters last week. Lawmakers, meanwhile, have ordered two separate reviews that look at how the military awards Purple Hearts, largely due to disagreements over whether victims killed and injured in the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, and at a recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark., should be entitled to the medal. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement last year that a new Distinguished Warfare Medal had been created for outstanding drone pilots and cyberoperators drew heavy fire from veterans, politicians and others who objected to it being ranked above the Purple Heart and other decorations earned in direct combat. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel canceled the medal soon after he took office, and said DOD would instead create a new device to affix to existing medals. But that decision is being revisited as part of an upcoming study of the military’s decorations-and-awards system that Hagel ordered March 20. The “comprehensive” yearlong review, to begin June 1, will be led by Jessica Wright,

acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, who will work closely with Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, the services, and the combatant commanders. “[The study] will determine the best way to recognize servicemembers who use remote technology to directly impact combat operations, such as through cyber and remotely piloted aircraft … That’s part of the review, whether or not we should have a special device to go on another ribbon or [a new] medal,” Kirby said. The review team will also look at the processes and procedures for how medals for valor are nominated in order to determine whether they can be improved, according to Kirby. Based on his own military experience, Hagel is concerned that many acts of valor are going unrecognized for bureaucratic reasons. “[Hagel] talked about seeing his own comrades there in Vietnam doing incredibly brave things, and that many of those things will go completely unheeded because they were never written up because of the pace and speed of war and … the constant pressure to keep going,” Kirby said. “Many heroic acts never got — never got noticed, never got written up, never got submitted.” “[Hagel] believes it is imperative that DOD conduct this review as we conclude combat operations in Afghanistan,” Kirby said. Another aim of the study is to consider whether to create

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more uniformity among the services when it comes to recognizing valor. “There are some awards and medals you get that are service-unique [such as the Navy Cross]. It’s a fair question to ask: Do we need to look at the kinds of awards that we give, particularly for combat valor, in a more joint nature than perhaps some of them are? It doesn’t mean that there will be changes, but I think [Hagel] wants to look at everything across the whole scope,” Kirby said. The services don’t always use the same criteria when judging whether a combat veteran is worthy of receiving an award. The Marine Corps, in particular, has been accused of being stingy when it comes to approving medals for valor. “[Hagel] wants to examine the degree to which the services submit and evaluate and decide on major combat awards. I think he would like to get a better sense of what discrepancies there may be between the services and do those discrepancies need to be closed. The answer may be no, but I think he wants to ask those questions,” Kirby said. Hagel realizes that the awards system will always be imperfect, regardless of what changes are made. “It’s not a science, and I don’t think he’s trying to make it a science. But he does think it’s time, after 13 years of war, to take a fresh look at how we think about this,” according to Kirby. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. harper.jon@stripes.com Twitter: @JHarperStripes

This publication is a compilation of stories from Stars and Stripes, the editorially independent newspaper authorized by the Department of Defense for members of the military community. The contents of Stars and Stripes are unofficial, and are not to be considered as the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. government, including the Defense Department or the military services. The U.S. Edition of Stars and Stripes is published jointly by Stars and Stripes and this newspaper. The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the DOD or Stars and Stripes of the products or services advertised. Products or services advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use, or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron.

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Television’s ‘Army Wives’ ends but real life goes on

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s the “Army Wives” history. television show Perhaps to atone for the concludes its sevenloose ends, earlier this month season run, the end Lifetime aired a two-hour is also near for the last of the special called “Final Salute to real-life wars the program por- Army Wives.” It did not resolve trayed. When the show began the stories in the drama, but it airing on the Lifetime Network did reunite many of the origiin 2007, the U.S. was at war nal cast members, who talked in both Afghanistan and Iraq. about their experiences. The show portrayed the friend“For a show to be given the ships, romances and struggles opportunity to have a reunion of Army spouses at a fictional special … is really unique and Army base, through wars and a nod to how popular the show other more personal conflicts. was,” said Biank, who was “There’s irony there, that featured on the final show, as the show ended as (the war) is were stars SPOUSE CALLS like Brigid winding down in Afghanistan,” said Tanya Biank, author of Brannagh, “Army Wives: The Unwritten Sally PressCode of Military Marriage,” man, Brian the nonfiction book on which McNamara, the show and its fictional charKim Delacters were based. aney and “Jeff Malvoin, the executive others. producer, said the show was “Do I (Lifetime’s) longest-running think the show to cover the longest-runshow ran ning war in our history,” she its course? I Terri Barnes said. don’t,” Biank Join the conversation with Terri at The war is said. “The stripes.com/go/spousecalls ending, and executive the serial producer told drama about me he thought military spouses and families we had many more meaningis over, but real military life ful and worthy plotlines and goes on, as does global conflict. stories to share. He said we “We live in such a volatile still had some mileage. When world … Our military will he talks about ‘Army Wives,’ always be deployed to danger he had that little twinkle in his zones,” said Biank, who is eye, and that is so important.” an Army wife, daughter and In spite of her disappointsister. “We’re always going ment, Biank said she chooses to have soldiers on hardship to focus on the positives. tours. “The show meant so much “I hope the American to fans and impacted them in public doesn’t forget about the so many positive ways. So I’ve sacrifices that these men and been celebrating that fact since the show was canceled,” she women are making — and said. their families,” she said. “That Biank described a restaurant was the great thing about ... — in her husband’s Ohio home‘Army Wives.’ It showed the town — where photographs of human side of service.” every person from the town The show was canceled last fall, after Season 7 was already who has served in uniform are displayed on the wall. completed, so the final episode “I think that just tells you left the characters — and the something: that even though show’s many fans — hanging. you might not have a personal “We did not know that the connection to the military, it show would be ending when still matters,” she said. Season 7 ended last June,” said “We live in a country where Biank. “If we had known that it people like Miley Cyrus and was going to be a series ending Justin Bieber grab headlines, and not just a season ending, but (that wall) tells me that there would have been more serving one’s country matters; of a conclusion. The plot lines those who serve alongside at would have been resolved with the home front matter. I think a nice send-off for the charthat sacrifice, honor and seracters,” said Biank, who also vice to nation will never go out served as a military consulof fashion.” tant to writers and producers throughout the show’s run, Terri Barnes writes Spouse Calls weekly for Stars and Stripes. the longest in the network’s

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