Admiral targets lawlessness
Interviewed on "The News-Hour with Jim Lehrer" last week, Adm. Dennis Blair, head of U.S. forces in the Pacific, said: "We have focused on stamping out terrorism in our part of the world. We're using a lot of the skills we had before, fighting things like drugs and piracy and terrorism, but we really intensified it, widened it and put a lot more emphasis on it."
Asked where the real problem areas are in the Pacific, Blair talked of an arc that stretches from the southern Philippines to northern Malaysia, through parts of Indonesia and up into Myanmar the last country being a source of a lot of heroin and methamphetamines in Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.
"So it's this seam of lawlessness where not only terrorists find a place to work from but also pirates and drug runners and gun runners and people who are a threat to the region and the United States," Blair said.
Blair also said the United States has faced terrorist threats in the past out of countries such as the Philippines, where Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf has been linked to Osama bin Laden.
In the 1990s, Ramsey Yousef, convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, plotted to down 12 airplanes coming out of Manila, many of them with Americans on board, Blair said.
Ecstasy use easier to detect
Beginning in January, Navy drug screening labs will triple their ability to detect the drug ecstasy with tests that will be used in all Department of Defense labs.
The new reagent, or chemical detection, will make it possible to detect the presence of ecstasy for an additional 24 to 48 hours, the Navy said.
Ecstasy produces a feeling of euphoria and is popular at dance clubs because of the energy it provides and because it leaves the body quickly, creating less of a chance for detection.
Yeoman wins readiness award
Navy Yeoman 1st Class Douglas Frisbie, who monitors the manning of submarines in the Pacific Fleet, has been recognized with the Combined Staff Submarine Personnel Readiness Award.
"I take care of our sailors on the waterfront and ensure all of our boats in the Pacific Fleet are fully manned for deployment," said Frisbie, who is from Mexico, Mo.
The commander of the Naval Submarine Forces Command presents the award annually to a sailor assigned to the submarine force.