MRFF did not receive any response to the Request from USAFA within twenty (20) daysEven the documents that were produced were "improperly redacted," the lawsuit alleges.
of its Request, as mandated by FOIA. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i).
MRFF did not receive any notice from USAFA of unusual circumstances requiring an
extension of the statutory deadline within twenty (20) days of its Request, as mandated by FOIA. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(b)(ii).
USAFA did not respond to MRFF’s August Request until March 2, 2012, approximately
seven months after the statutory deadline to respond.
On March 2, 2012, USAFA notified MRFF that it was working on the Request and would
produce responsive documents at the earliest possible date (“Notification”). The Notification is attached as Ex. 2 and is incorporated herein.
MRFF received a “first interim response” (“First Response”) from USAFA on May 17,
2012, which included 1,000 pages of documents responsive to only two of the eight categories included in MRFF’s Request.
1. An order directing USAFA to release all records requested in MRFF’s FOIA Request;The case was filed in federal court in Albuquerque where MRFF is based.
2. An injunction against USAFA from relying on Exemption 6, as well as any other
FOIA exemption not previously relied upon in its withholding of documents;
3. An order stating that USAFA’s actions violate the terms of FOIA;
4. A finding that USAFA’s actions are arbitrary and capricious; and
5. An order directing USAFA to pay all costs and attorney fees associated with the filing
of this litigation.
My alma mater promotes and prides itself on instilling only the highest degree of honor, character, truth and integrity into the 4,000 cadets being educated at taxpayer expense to become officers in the United States Air Force. When the senior Air Force leaders at the Academy, starting with the Superintendent, Lt. General Michelle Johnson, who are charged with conducting that costly education, egregiously violate the basic rubrics of the very Federal law which exists to promote and provide open transparency into the sacred trust of their daily fiduciary dealings on behalf of the American people, it is a terribly tragic day indeed. When that violation of Federal law continues over many years, it becomes both scandalous and outrageous. What kind of hideous example is Lt. General Johnson and her staff providing to the Cadet Wing with such clearly illegal actions thwarting the intent and letter of the clear Federal law here?We've asked the academy to comment on the lawsuit and will update if and when we hear back.
Due to USAFA’s deliberate malfeasance transpiring over many years now, MRFF has been left with no other alternative but to force and compel USAFA to follow the law of the land in Federal Court.
And what has USAFA done here? The Academy is unlawfully refusing to release critical records on MRFF’s many clients, supporters and allies existing within its walls as well as any records on me and my own children who are recent graduates, as well as my wife. In this regard, let us not forget that the most recent prior Dean of the Faculty, Brigadier General Dana Born, made the waging of a counter-insurgency against MRFF a top written priority to one of her most senior Academy faculty subordinates. Further, one of MRFF’s most visible clients at USAFA, a former member of that same faculty, had his innocent service dog almost poisoned to death on the Academy’s premises. The Federal law requires the Academy to timely release all responsive documents on these and other germane matters to MRFF or, alternatively, to explain on the record the legal justification for not doing so. None of these legal requirements have been remotely satisfied.
Thus, MRFF is now at war with the Air Force Academy in Federal Court to force it to stop its scurrilous illegal actions and to follow the law.
On behalf of its almost 43,000 armed forces active duty and veteran clients, which includes approximately 13.5% of all Muslim-Americans serving in the United States military, and its 224 clients stationed at Fort Carson, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) expresses unmitigated outrage that the Army leadership at Fort Carson permitted the selling of that virulently Islamophobic and disgusting T-Shirt at its official Post Exchange store. The juxtaposition of that shocking image and text message on that T-Shirt epitomizes the wretched plight of prejudice and bigotry which innocent Muslim-Americans all too often suffer whileso honorably serving in today’s service branches.
MRFF has provided substantial testimony to the United States Congress specifically on this sad matter on more than one occasion.
The fact that this matter happened at Fort Carson, a major military installation which has had so many of its soldiers killed and grievously wounded in the War on Terror, only miserably magnifies the malfeasance of permitting that “Shirt of Shame” to be sold at its Post Exchange.
MRFF demands that the Army Inspector General’s Office in Washington D.C. initiate an immediate and aggressive investigation of this sordid event and that all Fort Carson personnel who either directly or indirectly allowed this travesty to happen be appropriately and visibly punished.
Increased dust and noise levels from the training can be expected during this time period, due to live fire training and heavy vehicle traffic throughout the training area. Field training includes day and night live-fire exercises incorporating small arms weapons.Prescribed burns:
The purpose of the training is to prepare Soldiers and other military members for any possible mission should the unit be called to support any contingency around the globe. During the exercise, crews will engage simulated targets using different scenarios to build team cohesion and ensure they are proficient in their skills.
Fort Carson is committed to balancing our training mission with protecting and preserving PCMS' natural environment and historical properties. Environmental personnel are involved in all levels of planning for military training, construction and other activities that could affect the PCMS environment.
The installation prescribed burn program is critical in reducing potential for wildland fires and will only be conducted depending on weather conditions. The prescribed burns will cover approximately 7,000 acres on Fort Carson and 11,000 acres at PCMS. The burns are conducted to facilitate military training with 21 areas which are carefully planned and executed to reduce heavy vegetation in training areas that could provide potential fuel to a wildland fire.
The prescribed burns are conducted in accordance with permits issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in coordination with El Paso and Las Animas counties. The installation also works with state and local air quality authorities on smoke management. Each burn is conducted with a focus on safety and the potential impact for off-site effects of smoke on public health and visibility. By combining favorable weather conditions with a variety of fire management techniques, Fort Carson officials work to keep smoke impact to a minimum.
Fort Carson continues to be supportive and understanding to the concerns of the surrounding community regarding air quality and the threat of wildland fires. The prescribed burn program continues the installation’s dedication to the preservation of the environment and wildland fire risk management in Colorado.
Concerned community members are encouraged to direct complaints to Fort Carson at (719) 526-9849. We take every complaint very seriously and strive to address concerns in a timely and thoughtful manner.
Regional water supply
Regional stormwater management
Compatible alternative-energy development
Development near airfield operations
Regional airspace use
Competition for electromagnetic spectrum
Formal policies and procedures for military participation and cross-jurisdictional coordination in community development review and planning processes
An implementation strategy with specific actions and monitoring responsibilities identified by year
Worksites for cadets will range in location from Peyton to Florissant, and from Monument to Widefield. Start times vary depending on the distance the work location is from the Air Force Academy, with cadets arriving at most El Paso County sites by 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. for other locations. Work will continue until 4 p.m., or until the work at each site is completed, unless otherwise noted.
Organizations the cadets will be working for include:
* American Red Cross, Southeastern Colorado Chapter, for its one-day Home Fire Campaign event, sending teams of cadets and other volunteers door-to-door to test, repair and install fire alarms at homes in El Paso, Douglas, Chaffee, Teller, Pueblo and Otero counties.
* Black Forest Together, helping with fire recovery and mitigation work at several homes within the area affected by the Black Forest wildfire.
* Coalition for the Upper South Platte, thinning overgrown trees and brush near Woodland Park to be used as firewood for the needy, as well as trail maintenance at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for both events.
* City of Manitou Springs, removing debris from Fountain Creek and Williams Canyon to aid the city's continuing flood recovery and mitigation efforts.
* City of Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Department, building a hiking trail at Ute Valley Park; clearing and maintaining Promonitory Point Open Space, and working at two other sites.
* National Dog Mill Rescue kennels in Peyton to clean, prep the kennel play yards for artificial turn, make blankets for adopted dogs, as well as socializing and walking some severely traumatized dogs.
* The Salvation Army in downtown Colorado Springs, cleaning and painting its Winter Warming Shelter, performing upkeep on its mobile canteen that provides meals to the homeless, and performing labor and setup for a senior citizens lunch.
Other organizations the cadets will work with include: Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Venetucci Farm, The Marian House, Rocky Mountain Veterans Village Foundation, Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Partnership for Child Development, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Flying W Ranch, Pikes Peak Urban Gardens, Al Kali Shriners Mule Team, and several elementary and middle schools across the region.
This cadet volunteer work is organized by the Air Force Academy's Center for Character and Leadership Development center, via its Cadet Service Leadership program, which connects community organizations with cadet volunteers. Cadets performed more than 30,000 hours of community service during the 2013-2014 academic year. Academy cadets have averaged more than 30,000 hours of community service work each academic year, for the past decade.
Organizations that wish to request cadet volunteers for future community service efforts can request cadet volunteers online at: http://www.usafa.edu/Commandant/cwc/cwcx/csl/csl_inputform.cfm?catname=csl
Community Meeting on Use of New Santa Fe Regional Trail Has Been Rescheduled to October 5
Interested Trail Users Encouraged to Attend
El Paso County, CO, September 23, 2015 – The community meeting on the New Santa Fe Regional Trail which was originally scheduled for September 28, 2015 has been moved to October 5, 2015.
El Paso County Parks is hosting the meeting to discuss public use of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail through the Air Force Academy. Interested residents are encouraged to attend the meeting on Monday, October 5, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at Academy International Elementary School, 8550 Charity Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.
El Paso County has had an easement for the seven mile section of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail through the Air Force Academy since 1989. The trail section has been closed to general public use since May, 2015 due to an increased threat assessment by the US Northern Command.
El Paso County and the Air Force Academy have been in discussions regarding public access to the trail and an update on those talks will be provided. The public is encouraged to attend and provide input on the future use of the trail.
For further information, please contact County Parks at 520-7529.
Community Invited to Meeting on Use of New Santa Fe Trail Through U.S. Air Force Academy
Public May Provide Input on Future Trail Use
El Paso County, CO, September 14, 2015 – El Paso County Parks will host a community meeting to discuss the public use of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail through Air Force Academy property.
The meeting will be Monday, September 28, 2015 at 6 p.m. at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Offices, 4255 Sinton Rd., Colorado Springs, CO 80907.
El Paso County has had an easement for the seven mile section of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail through the Air Force Academy since 1989. The trail section has been closed for general public use by the Air Force Academy since May, 2015 due to security concerns.
El Paso County and USAFA have been in discussions regarding public access to the trail and an update on those talks will be provided. The public is encouraged to attend and provide input on the future use of the trail.
For further information, please contact County Parks at 520-7529.
FORT CARSON, Colo. - Four Fort Carson Soldiers, to include one of the first female Soldiers, graduated the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia, Friday.
First Lt. Shaye L. Haver, an AH-64 Apache pilot, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and another female officer were the first women to graduate from Ranger School out of 400 soldiers, including 20 women that were selected for Ranger School April 19. It was the first Ranger class in Army history to include female candidates.
Haver is a 2012 West Point Academy graduate from Texas and a platoon leader of Company D, 1st ARB. She has been in the Army for more than three years.
"We are extremely proud of Lt. Haver's distinguished accomplishment as one of the first female Ranger School graduates." said Col. Lori Robinson, commander, 4th CAB. "Her dedication and determination in completing the course served as a tremendous example for all Soldiers and leaders in 4th CAB, 4th Inf. Div., and the Army. The skills she has learned
will enhance her capabilities as an Army Aviator and tactical Leader in the Army."
"On behalf of the entire 1-4 ARB, 4th CAB, and the Ironhorse Division, we congratulate Lt. Haver on graduating Ranger school and helping to pave the way for our female service members as a result of this magnificent milestone," said Lt. Col. Stephen Gilbertson, commander, 1st ARB. "Lt. Haver demonstrated outstanding dedication, perseverance, and physical toughness through this arduous process. We are extremely proud of her accomplishment, her ability to break barriers, and we look forward to her returning to our team and resuming her platoon leader position in the near future."
Other Fort Carson graduates were Staff Sgt. Michael C. Calderon, who was the William O. Darby Distinguished Honor Graduate which is awarded to the Ranger that shows the best tactical and administrative leadership performance, has the most positive spot reports and has demonstrated being a cut above the rest. The recipient must also pass all graded leadership positions, peer reports, and may not recycle. The award is named in the honor of Brig. Gen. William O. Darby, who organized the 1st Ranger Battalion in 1942 with handpicked volunteers leading the way onto the beaches of North Africa. Calderon is a Menifee, California, native and is assigned as an infantryman to 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. He has been in the Army for more than five years.
Sgt. 1st Class Cyril L. Komanecky II is a native of Dekalb, Illinois, and has been in the Army for more than 11 years. He is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., as an infantryman. Spc. Logan A. Williams is a native of Leesburg, Virginia, and has been in the Army for more than 2 years. He is assigned to 2nd IBCT, 4th Inf. Div. as infantrymen.
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. — Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, respond to an exercise at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station with Strykers and Humvees July 15.
Existing support agreements ensure support between 21st Space Wing assets and Fort Carson during real world situations. The blocking force exercise tested the ability of Fort Carson and CMAFS to execute a joint mission, manage resources, stewardship of manpower and equipment readiness.
Owned and operated by the 21st SW on Peterson Air Force Base, CMAFS is designated as the Alternate Command Center, the primary being at North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command also located on Peterson AFB.
"The exercise demonstrates our joint commitment to protect the strategic missions of national significance in continuous operations at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station," said Col. Gary Cornn, 721st Mission Support Group and installation commander. "This is an important exercise showing the capability of Fort Carson's response if there is an increased threat."
The 4th ID, 1SBCT responded to provide a physical blocking force on key avenues of approach to CMAFS. In the event of a real world situation, the vehicles and personnel from Fort Carson would also be used for extra firepower, medical support, engineering and logistical support.
Strykers are eight-wheeled combat vehicles that are road legal and able to deploy immediately on and off road. The vehicles are capable of executing an array of missions and scenarios; more so than any other vehicle in the Department of Defense, said Maj. Kevin Boyd, 4th ID, 1SBCT public affairs officer. The Strykers give the 4th ID unique capabilities other Fort Carson units do not have.
"Working together in this joint security exercise was valuable for us as we worked the 759th Military Police Battalion from Fort Carson to open a closed gate to facilitate our movement up the mountain, and with the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station security forces to conduct link-up and support their security posture," said Boyd. "For our Soldiers it is important to know our neighbors and how we can conduct mutual aid for them to understand exactly what is needed and where to respond in a time of crisis cuts down our response time and enables us to bring the proper equipment."
We don’t want any cuts to Fort Carson. However, in light of the scope of today’s announcement, it is clear the Pentagon recognizes the strategic importance of Fort Carson and its missions, the critical role troops stationed there serve in protecting our national security, and all that Colorado offers our service members and their families. We commend the state and local communities for working together during this process to successfully emphasize those points to the Department of Defense.
Our office will continue to support efforts in Colorado Springs and throughout the state to further enhance the vital relationship between Colorado and our armed services. We will also continue to fight to replace the sequester, which is bad policy that could make these reductions worse and result in indiscriminate cuts to the Department of Defense and throughout the federal government.
As reductions are made, the Pentagon should provide service members with any resources needed for transition. Colorado’s communities stand ready to provide support for service members and their families.
General Johnson was the keynote speaker and one of several individuals honored by the DAR for their contributions to the nation's defense during DAR's National Defense Night as part of its 124th Continental Congress.
The Corbin Award honors the memory of Revolutionary War heroine Molly Corbin, who stepped up to man her husband's cannon when he was mortally wounded in the Battle of Fort Washington in 1775. She became the
first woman pensioner of the United States military in 1779.
The award pays tribute to women in all branches of the military for distinguished military service. General Johnson is the first woman to lead a Department of Defense service academy. She has also held numerous command and operational assignments since graduating from the Academy in 1981.
"It is a tremendous honor to receive the Corbin Award from the Daughters of the American revolution," said General Johnson. "Molly Corbin was one of our country's first warrior heroes, and the DAR has helped preserve her memory and valor with this award. I seek to uphold the honored legacy of American heroes like Molly Corbin."
National Defense Night also included awards to several other individuals, including retired Col. Lee Ellis, a former POW and author who spoke at the Academy's 2013 National Character and Leadership Symposium; Diane Carlson Evans, president of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation; and J.R. Martinez, actor, author, motivational speaker, spokesperson and former U.S. Army soldier who served in Iraq in 2003.
The DAR is an active and vibrant women's service organization focused on promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism. DAR's Continental Congress is a time-honored tradition held in the nation's capital as its annual national membership meeting, and drew 3,500 attendees this year.
The DAR has been a supporter of the Air Force Academy for many years, and sponsors annual academic awards to the top cadets majoring in History and Mechanical Engineering.
Established in 2004, the National Homeland Defense Foundation was formed as a non-partisan, nonprofit forum for the United States’ response to the presence of terrorist threats.
Since its inception, NHDF has provided a public forum for the discussion and presentation of various homeland defense and security issues and solutions. The Foundation also hosted the annual National Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense for United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) for nearly a decade, as well as supported educational events, including the National Security Innovation Competition and Thought Leadership Conference.
In 2012, NHDF expanded its services and changed its mission to include a broader scope of work and provide support for defenders of the homeland – military veterans and first responders.
As part of that new mission, NHDF reached an agreement with Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments to establish and operate Peak Military Care Network, which provides services to and partners with other agencies to meet the holistic care needs of military members, veterans and families in the Pikes Peak region.
Since then, supporting Peak Military Care Network activities has become the focal point of the organization. To reflect that transition, NHDF’s Board of Directors decided to change NHDF’s name to Peak Military Care Network (PMCN).
“NHDF has contributed greatly to Homeland Security matters over the last decade, with lasting impacts to the nation,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Ed Anderson, former President of NHDF and Chair of the PMCN Board of Directors.
“The NHDF/PMCN Board sees addressing the needs of our military, veteran and first-responder community as a critical focus moving forward. By changing our name to the Peak Military Care Network, we will be able to concentrate our identity and efforts on the collaborative and coordinating work of PMCN in order to serve our homeland defenders and their families.”
At least one in four residents of the Pikes Peak region is a former or current member of the military, making the area home to one of the highest concentrations of service members in the nation.
PMCN connects the needs of the community’s military service members, veterans and their families to the highest-quality resources by providing a central source for information, navigation and integrated services.
In turn, PMCN’s partner agencies are committed to understanding military and veteran culture and the unique challenges faced by service members, veterans and their families, working together to meet the needs of individuals and families to provide support for the military and veteran community.
About Peak Military Care Network
Peak Military Care Network supports collaboration among community, military and veteran service providers to assist those providers and service members, veterans, and their families in identifying resources and streamlining access to services to meet their needs. Connecting individuals and families to information and the highest quality resources, PMCN facilitates seamless transitions between service providers by providing a central source for information, navigation, and integrated services.
PMCN and its partner agencies offer a broad range of information and assistance to support the whole individual and family, including advocacy, behavioral health, child welfare and family support, crisis intervention, education, employment and workforce readiness, medical and physical health, social services, and transition and reintegration.
In addition, PMCN provides training and information-sharing opportunities to partner agencies to ensure community-based agencies understand the unique needs of the military and veteran community and are aware of available resources (including military and VA services) to keep individuals and families out of crisis and improve health and well-being.
Care to learn more? Visit our group on Facebook through this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NACMTPT/
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