Veterans News for August 8 and 9, 2012

by Ray Hyson on August 9, 2012

Happy Thursday good people.  Hope you and yours are doing well and are in the best of health.

For Today:   “The thorough man of business knows that only by years of patient, unremitting attention to affairs can he earn his reward, which is the result, not of chance, but of well-devised means for the attainment to ends.”                                                                                                                                                   -Andrew Carnegie

(On Tuesday, September 11, the Veterans News will be moving to http://VeteransNews.org)

VA Veterans News for Thursday, August 9, 2012. Thanks to Kevin Secor, VA VSO Liaison.

 

1. Unraveling her father’s Cold War secrets.

2. FAA official ‘very optimistic’ on rules for drones in US skies.

3. Submarine base safe in 2013, but BRAC looms on not-so-distant horizon.

4. Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria.

5. Veterans received $5.12 million worth of benefits.

6. 3 Roadblocks to Effective Quality Measure Management.

7. VA Supports Gulf War Veterans on Multiple Fronts.

8. Daytona Beach hosts AMVETS convention this week.

9. Military bonds draw veterans to mental health jobs.

10. VA, Veteran Representatives Partner in Fully Developed Claims Process.

11. New VA Hospital Offering Simplified, Expanded Services Is Completed.

12. Business Training Offered To Marines.

13. VA Hospital Spokesman Encourages Vets To File For VA Disability Benefits.

14. DoD, VA Pursue Joint Immunization System For iEHR.

15. Electronic Data Breaches Fade From VA Security Reports.

16. VA ADVANCE Program ROI Overestimated, Says OIG.

17. VA And Bon Jovi Launch Mobile App Contest To Help Homeless Vets.

18. Proposed Bill Would Change VA Small Business Contracting Process.

19. Muscle-Building Dietary Supplement Creatine Can Fight Depression.

20. As The Need For Service Dogs For PTSD Vets Grows, So Do The Obstacles.

21. Retiring War Dog Reunited With Iraq Vet.

22. Family Buries Marine Who Went Missing Decades Ago.

23. Vietnam Veterans Of America Donates To Homeless Veterans Fund.

24. Invisible Injuries Of War: What Heals And Who’s Listening?

25. Not Every Government Agency Is Inefficient.

26. VA Benefits: For-Profit Universities.

27. The Nuts And Bolts Of The Sequester.

28. Summer At VA Hospital An Eye-opener For Students.

29. Couple’s Post-War Trauma Experience Spawns Book.

30. VA Working Collaboratively With Faith-Based And Community Organizations.

31. Rapid Resolution Therapy Helping Soldiers With PTSD.

32. VA / VSO-MSO Hearings as August 9, 2012:

33. Today in History:

1. Unraveling her father’s Cold War secrets. When her father left home for work he was sworn to secrecy. Now, a half-century later, the declassified national secret allowed a reporter to learn about her father’s Cold War era profession, which involved helping to invent America’s first spy satellite.

 

2. FAA official ‘very optimistic’ on rules for drones in US skies. With the prospect of thousands of unmanned aircraft flying around U.S. airspace beginning in 2015, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration pledged that new regulations are in the works to keep skies safe and protect people’s privacy.

 

3. Submarine base safe in 2013, but BRAC looms on not-so-distant horizon. The head of the state’s Office of Military Affairs said Tuesday that he believes the Defense Department’s request for a round of base closures in 2013 was really just a way to start the conversation.

 

4. Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria. Some rebels in the Free Syria Army — which the U.S. has been indirectly aiding in toppling President Bashar Assad’s regime — are now fighting for al-Qaida, according to a report in The Guardian.

5. Veterans received $5.12 million worth of benefits. York Daily Record The amount of federal and state financial support flowing to local veterans through the York County Department of Veterans Affairs increased by 31 percent in 2011-12 compared to the previous year, the county announced today. “Our office, being an …

6. 3 Roadblocks to Effective Quality Measure Management. Becker’s ASC Review Kaiser Permanente, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the ECRI Institute and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. NQF hosted the webinar as part of its involvement in HHS’ Measure Registry Needs Assessment Project, which aims …

7. VA Supports Gulf War Veterans on Multiple Fronts. Business Wire … to them while we invest in research that helps us understand and treat Gulf War Veterans’ illnesses.” “The Department of Veterans Affairs has not forgotten the service and dedication of Gulf War Veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K …

8. Daytona Beach hosts AMVETS convention this week. Daytona Beach News-Journal
The Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort is the site of the 68th annual convention for AMVETS, an event that will include speeches by top officials from the U.S. and Florida departments of Veterans Affairs on issues most important to veterans and …

9. Military bonds draw veterans to mental health jobs. CNN An estimated 11% to 20% of veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from the condition, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. That’s between 220000 and 400000 of the 2 million troops deployed since the September 11 …

10. VA, Veteran Representatives Partner in Fully Developed Claims Process. MarketWatch The Department of Veterans Affairs hosted an event July 31 for 10 Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) to collaborate in VA’s effort to eliminate the claims backlog. The main focus … Claims are considered …

11. New VA Hospital Offering Simplified, Expanded Services Is Completed. Las Vegas Sun On Monday, Word War II veteran Dean Whitaker “stood in the brightly lit halls of the new VA hospital in North Las Vegas, one of about 1,000 people who had come to see the dedication of the $600 million building, and marveled at how far the VA health system had come.” Whitaker said VA “did a great job” with the new hospital. His “sentiments were echoed Monday by veterans and politicians, as residents and leaders gathered to celebrate the completion of a project that took nearly a decade of planning and six years of construction.” At Monday’s celebration were VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Director John Bright, who said, “This day, this event, this complex is about fulfilling America’s promise to Nevada’s veterans with the delivery of accessible, comprehensive, quality” healthcare.


12. Business Training Offered To Marines. U-T San Diego “There’s a new initiative to help jobless veterans start their own businesses, and one of the pilot locations is Camp Pendleton. The Small Business Administration is partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense to launch the Operation Boots to Business program, which will eventually be offered to all service members.” U-T San Diego adds, “The national initiative will be piloted with the Marine Corps, according to the announcement made last week by US Small Business Administrator Karen Mills and Marine Corps representatives at Quantico, Va.”

13. VA Hospital Spokesman Encourages Vets To File For VA Disability Benefits. KCCO-TV “Paul Sweeney, local VA spokesman, encourages all veterans to visit the VA hospital to file any service-connected disability.” KCCO adds, “President Obama also signed a bill into law that extends the application deadline for veterans with undiagnosed illnesses from Desert Storm for five years.”

14. DoD, VA Pursue Joint Immunization System For iEHR. Government Health IT Tricare Management Authority (TMA) “wants details about how industry can build a joint immunization function for the integrated electronic health record (iEHR), which is being developed by the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments.” Government Health IT adds, “TMA, on behalf of the iEHR Interagency Program Office, seeks vendor and open source community approaches for a shared system to manage, document and report immunization information for DOD and VA patients, according to an Aug. 3 request for information announcement in Federal Business Opportunities. Responses are due Aug. 17.”

15. Electronic Data Breaches Fade From VA Security Reports. Government Health IT “Each month, Roger Baker, CIO of the Veterans Affairs Department, briefs reporters about the previous month’s electronic and paper data breaches and near misses.” Over time, there have been fewer reports of VA data breaches. A “major reason for the improvement in electronic health information security is that VA has now encrypted all its laptops, save the few that are not used for information operations.” iHealthBeat “The Veterans Affairs Department hasn’t solved the problem of lost computers containing personal health information, but it has managed to contain the damage. Six years after a lost VA employee laptop compromised 26 million veteran health records, hard-drive encryption has at least made it difficult for would-be thieves to access the information.” That is according to VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker, who made his comments at a monthly news briefing earlier this month.

16. VA ADVANCE Program ROI Overestimated, Says OIG. Fierce Government “Officials running human capital training and recruitment programs at the Veterans Affairs Department paid too much in interagency contracting fees to the Office of Personnel Management and used questionable assumptions to calculate return on investment, the VA office of inspector general says.” In a recent report, VA’s “OIG says the department has spent $864 million from fiscal 2010 through the current year on human capital programs known as ADVANCE (which doesn’t appear to stand for anything but which the VA apparently capitalizes out of a desire to be emphatic). Included in those programs are VA’s Learning University and CSEMO (which does stand for something: Corporate Senior Executive Management Office) efforts for which VA obtained goods and services support contracts from the Office of Personnel Management.”

17. VA And Bon Jovi Launch Mobile App Contest To Help Homeless Vets. Cult Of Mac “Vet Reach Out is one of the finalists in the Project REACH app contest sponsored” by Veterans Affairs and musician Jon Bon Jovi’s Soul Foundation. The “name Project REACH stands for Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless. The goal is to create a mobile app that can those individuals and organizations that work with the homeless to find essential services more easily and quickly.”

18. Proposed Bill Would Change VA Small Business Contracting Process. Washington (DC) Business Journal A bill sponsored by US Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) “would make it easier for service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses to participate in a set-aside program at the Department of Veterans Affairs.” The Business Journal says that under the bill, veterans would no longer “have to prove they control 100 percent of their companies’ decision-making to be eligible” for the program. Federal News Radio The lawmaker said, “It makes absolutely no sense that a veteran who owns 51 percent of the company, which is the majority of the company … would not be considered in control of the company.” Johnson, was referring to what he says is VA’s “‘misinterpretation’ of current law.” A spokeswoman for the agency, Josephine Schuda, said, “VA is constantly looking to improve its processes for ensuring eligible veterans have priority in getting VA contracts.”

19. Muscle-Building Dietary Supplement Creatine Can Fight Depression. Medical News Today “According to a new study published in the August 3 edition of the online issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, women who suffer from major depression may benefit from creatine, a muscle-building dietary supplement to feel better.” Dr. Perry F. Renshaw, who helped conduct the study, is “medical director of the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Health Care System.”

20. As The Need For Service Dogs For PTSD Vets Grows, So Do The Obstacles. Mother Nature Network “Many dogs provide support to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, but although more veterans are being diagnosed with the anxiety disorder, a new Army policy has made it more difficult for soldiers to obtain service dogs.” Researchers “at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Fla., are conducting the first study that looks at benefits of pairing veterans with PTSD with specially trained dogs. Congress recommended the three-year study, permitting the Department of Veterans Affairs to match as many as 200 veterans with dogs, but only 17 participants are currently enrolled.”

21. Retiring War Dog Reunited With Iraq Vet. San Antonio Express-News “After five years of separation, an Iraq veteran was reunited Tuesday with his old war buddy, a mature but loveable yellow Labrador retriever that has been rewarded with a life of leisure for doing two combat tours.” The 34-year-old Logan Black “said he now is studying acting at home in Kansas City, Mo., and has been diagnosed by the Department of Veterans Affairs” with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

22. Family Buries Marine Who Went Missing Decades Ago. AP The remains of Marine Pfc. Richard W. Rivenburgh were “buried Monday at Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.” Several family members attended the service for Rivenburgh, who was “one of four Marines who remained missing for 37 years after a helicopter carrying them was shot down in 1975 off the Cambodian coast. Their remains were recovered from Southeast Asia…after US military officials received word that scavengers had buried them and local people knew the location of the sites, the Marine Corps said.”

23. Vietnam Veterans Of America Donates To Homeless Veterans Fund. KFVS-TV “The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #1056 recently made a donation to the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center Homeless Veterans Fund. According to the medical center, the donation is specifically designated to help keep homeless families together.” The hospital pointed out that “while funding exists to provide housing for homeless Veterans, it may not cover their families.”

24. Invisible Injuries Of War: What Heals And Who’s Listening? Huffington Post by Coming Home Project President Joseph Bobrow.

25. Not Every Government Agency Is Inefficient. McClatchy Criticized Medicare officials for not having removed “Social Security numbers from Medicare cards.” McClatchy pointed out that Veterans Affairs “stopped issuing ID cards and health authorization cards showing Social Security numbers.”

26. VA Benefits: For-Profit Universities. Veteran Journal

 

27. The Nuts And Bolts Of The Sequester. AP Answers key questions about automatic budget sequestration cuts that will kick in early next year “unless Congress figures out over the next five months a way to avoid the reductions.” Veterans’ benefits would be spared from sequestration cuts, according to the AP.

28. Summer At VA Hospital An Eye-opener For Students. Tampa (FL) Tribune

 

29. Couple’s Post-War Trauma Experience Spawns Book. AP

 

30. VA Working Collaboratively With Faith-Based And Community Organizations. WSFA-TV

 

31. Rapid Resolution Therapy Helping Soldiers With PTSD. WTLV-TV

 

32. VA / VSO-MSO Hearings as August 9, 2012:

 

August 13, 2012. The HVAC full Committee will hold a field hearing on construction issues in Orlando. The hearing will take place in Orlando.

September 13, 2012. HVAC, Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the Patient-Centered Community Care (PCCC) and Non-VA Care Coordination (NVCC) programs.

33. Today in History:

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VA Veterans News for Wednesday, August 8, 2012. Thanks to Kevin Secor, VA VSO Liaison.

 

1. Leaders ask public’s help in pushing for budget compromise.

2. As returning veterans transition to civilian life (and college) UTA there to help.

3. More Latino Veterans Suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

4. $600M VA Hospital Dedicated In North Las Vegas.

5. Governor Requests Audit Of Veterans Affairs Department.

6. Growth Hormone May Stem Cognitive Decline In Elderly.

7. Too Much Fat In Your Diet Equals Worse Sleep.

8. Gaps In Health Care For Native American Vets.

9. Bill Curbs Bonuses At VA.

10. Report Card: VA Fails To Speak Plainly.

11. Oakland VA Office Makes Some Progress Since May 21 “Fix-It” Event To Address Claims Backlog.

12. Veterans Bill Should Help Speed Claims Process.

13. How Mobile Apps Are Helping Homeless Veterans.

14. iEHR GUI Will Be Based On Janus.

15. Request For Information On iEHR Immunizations System Was Recently Sent Out.

16. iEHR Will Ensure “Seamless Transition” From Military To Veteran Status.

17. Researchers: Athletes, Veterans Suffer Same Brain Disease.

18. Teenager Raising Money For Families Of Fallen Soldiers.

19. USF Course Aids Health Providers With Vets’ Care.

20. Veterans In Finger Lakes Region Can Learn About Online Health Program.

21. Veterans Affairs Implementing RTLS Across Seven Midwest Hospitals.

22. Robins Air Force Base Talks PTSD Treatment.

23. Employers Court Troops, Spouses, Vets At Job Fairs.

24. What We Know About Treating Brain Disorders.

25. Can A Viral Video Help Unemployed Veterans?

26. VA / VSO-MSO Hearings as August 8, 2012:

27. Today in History:

 

1. Leaders ask public’s help in pushing for budget compromise. Congressman Sanford Bishop calls it “the sword” once poised over a special congressional budget “super committee” charged with cutting $1.2 trillion in federal discretionary spending.

2. As returning veterans transition to civilian life (and college) UTA there to help. MidCitiesOnline.com That figure represents a little more than a 50 percent increase over the 525 veterans that enrolled at the University during both the fall and spring 2009 semesters. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says many veterans returning from the war zone …

3. More Latino Veterans Suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Center For American Progress The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently reported that 15 percent of veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq currently suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The situation is even more severe for Latino veterans. There are more than 1.2 million …

4. $600M VA Hospital Dedicated In North Las Vegas. AP “Officials say opening a $600 million Veterans Affairs medical center in North Las Vegas keeps a promise with almost 165,000 veterans in and around Las Vegas and another 70,000 veterans in other parts” of Nevada. On Monday, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki “and other dignitaries christened” a building that will “serve the 46,000 people currently enrolled in the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System.” Officials “say it’ll start treating patients next week.” Las Vegas Review-Journal During Monday’s dedication ceremony, Shinseki said the new hospital is “about promise making and promise keeping, and in this country that counts for a lot.” Las Vegas Sun The new VA hospital in Las Vegas “will transform the way veterans receive health care in the valley, consolidating services that were once scattered across some 20 medical offices in the valley. It will be the first-ever VA hospital in Southern Nevada and the first new VA hospital to open since the 1990s.” Similar VA facilities are “under construction in New Orleans, Denver and Orlando, Fla.”

5. Governor Requests Audit Of Veterans Affairs Department. Tulsa (OK) World “In light of the recent resignation of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs executive director, Gov. Mary Fallin is calling for an audit of the organization. That is standard procedure after the head of an agency retires, according to a press release” from Fallin’s office. The Oklahoma VA, according to the World, “has been in the spotlight recently after reports of abuse and neglect at the veterans centers in the state.”

6. Growth Hormone May Stem Cognitive Decline In Elderly. Bloomberg News “Healthy older adults and those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) given a drug that spurs hormones important to normal brain function had improved concentration, decision-making skills and verbal memory,” according to a study published online August 6 in the Archives of Neurology. The “healthy adults given Theratechnologies Inc. (TH, 705K)’s Egrifta [tesamorelin], a drug that spurs the release of human growth hormone, had executive function improvements that were more than 100 percent greater than those in a placebo group, while verbal memory improvements were 50 percent greater,” said the study’s lead author, Laura Baker. Bloomberg News adds, “The results show that the treatment ‘has benefits in cognition not only for healthy older adults, but also for adults at increased risk for Alzheimer’s dementia,’ she said.” According to Bloomberg News, the “study was supported by the US National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Veterans Affairs.”

7. Too Much Fat In Your Diet Equals Worse Sleep. Fort Wayne (IN) News-Sentinel “Diet Detective” column, Charles Stuart Platkin said researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Veterans Affairs hospital in Minneapolis “found that prolonged exposure to a high-fat diet reduces the quality of sleep.” The “researchers believe that the disruptive sleep cycle results from a decrease in sensitivity to a brain chemical called orexin, which is important for stabilizing sleep and wake states.”

8. Gaps In Health Care For Native American Vets. Army Times “Native Americans, who serve in the military at higher proportional rates than any other ethnic group, report unmet health care needs at four times the rate of other veterans, according” to US Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), who serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and “leads the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. To better serve this population, the Veterans Affairs Department and Indian health Services must collaborate to improve access to care, advocacy groups told senators during” a late May hearing. The Times adds, “VA and IHS have signed an agreement to improve outreach and care for Native American veterans.”

9. Bill Curbs Bonuses At VA. Government Executive “Legislation that would limit the amount of bonuses the Veterans Affairs Department can pay its top employees would save $13 million during the next four years, according” to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). An amendment to the bill, which the House Veterans Affairs Committee approved in July, “requires the VA secretary to provide caskets or urns for veterans with no next of kin and insufficient resources to cover burial and funeral expenses.” The bill also “aims to improve outreach to service members and veterans on the education benefits available to them and create a registry to track military members exposed to toxic chemicals caused by open burn pits.”

10. Report Card: VA Fails To Speak Plainly. Army Times “The Veterans Affairs Department has received failing grades from the Center for Plain Language for not complying with Plain Writing Act of 2011.” That act “requires federal agencies to take certain steps toward making their rules and policies easier for the general public to understand.” In a statement, Josephine Schuda said VA is “confident that future ‘report cards’” on Plain Writing Act compliance will have better grades for VA.

11. Oakland VA Office Makes Some Progress Since May 21 “Fix-It” Event To Address Claims Backlog. Contra Costa Times Veterans Affairs’ regional office in Oakland, California, “reports progress has been made since the May 21 ‘Fix-It’ event hosted” by US Reps. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) “to address the horrendous backlog of veteran claims: 215 veterans were seen at the event or contacted by phone” after the event; “208 veterans have had ‘actions taken to move them forward through the claims” process; and “49 veterans have had their claims resolved.”

12. Veterans Bill Should Help Speed Claims Process. Army Times “An omnibus veterans bill” that Obama was to sign on Monday has “provisions that will immediately affect some new or soon-to-be veterans. For example, the bill takes steps to speed up the veterans claims process, such as approval of electronic communication between veterans and the Veterans Affairs Department.”

13. How Mobile Apps Are Helping Homeless Veterans. FedTech “What do homelessness, mobile apps and rock music have in common? They’re all part of Project REACH (Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless), a mobile app development program launched jointly by the Veterans Affairs Department and New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi.” Project REACH will award $25,000 to the “developer who can build an app that scales to a national level, connecting the homeless – one out of six of whom is a veteran – with food kitchens, health clinics, housing services and other resources.”

 

14. iEHR GUI Will Be Based On Janus. FierceGovernmentIT “The forthcoming integrated electronic health record, or iEHR, will use Janus as the basis for its graphical user interface, said the interagency program office in a statement relayed by Veterans Affairs Spokesperson Josephine Schuda.” FierceGovernmentIT adds, “During a July 25 House hearing, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said he and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saw a demo of the interface at the North Chicago facility in May 2012. ‘It is impressive, and it represents a major step forward for the iEHR,’ he said.”

15. Request For Information On iEHR Immunizations System Was Recently Sent Out. NextGov “Add an immunization system to the early projects that together will create an integrated electronic health record — planned for full deployment by 2017 — to serve the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments.” The “TRICARE Management Activity, which helps manage information technology development and operation for the military health system, put out a request for information to industry last Friday.” TRICARE “said it was open to using either open source or commercial software for the iEHR immunization system.”

16. iEHR Will Ensure “Seamless Transition” From Military To Veteran Status. DoD Live Barclay Butler, director of the Department of Defense/Department of Veterans Affairs Interagency Program Office (IPO), offers details on the iEHR project, saying “it will ensure the seamless transition of care when service members go from active duty to veteran status.”

17. Researchers: Athletes, Veterans Suffer Same Brain Disease. Army Times “Boston University researchers have found at least 19 military veterans, including three exposed to head-jarring explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan,” with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the “same brain-wasting disease” that has been found in “some athletes who play contact sports.” Dr. Anne McKee, neuropathology director for the New England Veterans Health Care Systems and Brain Banks, “said the research, combined with studies done on mice, indicate that veterans exposed to blasts or who suffered concussions are at risk for developing CTE.”

18. Teenager Raising Money For Families Of Fallen Soldiers. CBS Evening News 13-year-old Will Thomas is making basketball shots “for the families of the 30 special operators killed when their helicopter was shot down on a night raid in Afghanistan one year ago today.” Through his “Operation Hawkeye,” Thomas “raised $50,000 for the families.” This Labor Day, Thomas will shoot more baskets, aiming to “raise $300,000.”

 

19. USF Course Aids Health Providers With Vets’ Care. Tampa (FL) Tribune The University of South Florida College of Nursing will soon offer an online course “called ‘Introduction to Military and Veteran Health.’” Altman adds, “With the College of Nursing just across Bruce B. Downs Boulevard from the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, there is natural synergy, said Carla Nye, who also helped create the course. The VA, through its VA Nursing Academy, and USF have a strong working relationship, said Nye, an academy member, nurse practitioner and USF assistant professor.”

20. Veterans In Finger Lakes Region Can Learn About Online Health Program. Canandaigua (NY) Messenger Post

 

21. Veterans Affairs Implementing RTLS Across Seven Midwest Hospitals. RFID Journal

 

22. Robins Air Force Base Talks PTSD Treatment. Warner Robins (GA) Patriot

 

23. Employers Court Troops, Spouses, Vets At Job Fairs. American Forces Press Service

24. What We Know About Treating Brain Disorders. NPR

25. Can A Viral Video Help Unemployed Veterans? Yahoo! News

 

26. VA / VSO-MSO Hearings as August 8, 2012:

August 13, 2012. The HVAC full Committee will hold a field hearing on construction issues in Orlando. The hearing will take place in Orlando.

September 13, 2012. HVAC, Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the Patient-Centered Community Care (PCCC) and Non-VA Care Coordination (NVCC) programs.

27. Today in History:

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VA Hires Veterans to Serve Veterans. http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/20120809a.asp

RAND Study Project, “Improving Federal and Department of Defense (DoD) Prime Contract Support of Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses.  Please see attached MEMO signed by Mr. Andre J. Gudger, DoD Director, Office of Small Business Programs.  Personally, I am happy with the energy and commitment Mr. Gudger has demonstrated since his assignment at DoD Small Business Office!  Although still lagging behind other Federal Agencies in terms of their SDVOSB Goal…I believe DoD just may get their under Mr. Gudger’s leadership!

 

VA Supports Gulf War Veterans on Multiple Fronts. Twenty-two years after the First Gulf War, VA still remains dedicated to providing high-quality care and benefits to Gulf War Veterans. Learn more

 

Association of the United States Navy (ausn) E-News for August 9, 2012. http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=4f7cdeba96d116bf638ba67b2&id=9971c5b43f&e=9b27824cad

ROA ReserveVoice Newsletter for August 8, 2012. http://www.roa.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=17621.0&dlv_id=39221

Reserve Officers Association (ROA) SmartBrief for August 9, 2012. http://www.smartbrief.com/servlet/wireless?issueid=853190BE-A700-463A-822E-3FF7E89DBF95&sid=22cbe9eb%2d3ef0%2d4eca%2d8105%2def9f466dc32d

Reserve Officers Association (ROA) SmartBrief for August 8, 2012: http://www.smartbrief.com/servlet/wireless?issueid=88223D41-7B11-456D-923E-E7F2E407EA5D&sid=22cbe9eb%2d3ef0%2d4eca%2d8105%2def9f466dc32d

President Obama Signs Camp Lejeune Water Bill. On Monday, President Obama signed into law legislation to provide medical care for Veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune and may have developed any of 15 conditions potentially associated with exposure to toxins that were in the base water. Learn more (Considering I was stationed at Camp Lejeune in 1966, think I will take a good read of this Bill…suggest you do as well if in fact you were stationed aboard the Base during the specified period).

 

Prayers and blessings for you and your loved ones and for our selfless Troops and their loved ones everywhere.  They are the Best of America…the 1% of America that Serves.

Sincerely…….Wayne

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From: JS Pentagon OCJCS Mailbox Warrior and Family Support

Sent:  Thursday, August 09, 2012 12:45 PM

Warrior & Family Support News – “Keeping Faith with the Military Family”

 

COMMUNITIES IN ACTION

Soldier Surprises Daughter at SeaWorld After Year Away

thestir.cafemom.com

The shows at SeaWorld always offer plenty of thrills and excitement, but one 4-year-old girl recently got a whale of a surprise, and Shamu had nothing to do with it.  Alexis Espinosa, 4, hadn’t seen her father in a year. An Army specialist, Eric Espinosa had been serving in Afghanistan for a year, and had been gone for about one-quarter of her life…

Band of Brothers pairs veterans with music to raise PTSD awareness
Daily Local News
Bands of Brothers will star 12 veterans organized into three bands and will culminate in a concert at World Café Live in Philadelphia on Veterans Day. Unlike other reality shows, the webisodes will focus on the veterans’ struggles with their music

Long-awaited veterans clinic celebrated in Lewiston
Bangor Daily News
“The more veterans that come, the more services we will be able to provide,” said Dr. Michael Mayo-Smith, director of the VA New England Healthcare System. About 2500 veterans have visited the clinic since it opened in February near Maine Turnpike Exit

WELLNESS

Military mental health: Is the approach working?
Embassy
Jetlysaid a support program is in place to make troops more mentally healthy. “One of our absolute claims to fame within NATO and other groups is our Road to Mental Readiness,” he said, calling it a “resiliency, mental health training, and education

Military bonds draw veterans to mental health jobs
CNN
“We, as the veteran students, wanted to see that we could create more of a military cohort at our school,” Chester said. “We really wanted to put something together where we can help our fellow veterans by providing mental health services in that

Couple’s post-war trauma experience spawns book
San Francisco Chronicle
So she’s written a book talking about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder from the spouse’s perspective. On Nov. 2, 2003, a Chinook helicopter carrying men in Wes’ unit was shot down, killing 15 and injuring 26. Wes was devastated. Not only

EDUCATION

How Higher Ed Can Better Support Military Students
Huffington Post (blog)
Those active duty military personnel and veterans coming to our institutions have fought for our freedom and have served our country well. It is important that colleges and universities respect that by developing training programs that educate staff

St. Charles Community College forms student veterans organization
STLtoday.com
The inspiration for a student veterans organization formed at St. Charles Community College in May came partly from an explosion in Afghanistan two years ago. SCC psychology professor Beth Finders became involved with the school’s veterans after her

Local veteran trying to change tuition costs
WECT-TV6
This would equalize education benefits for Veterans attending school. In-state tuition for veterans is covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Veterans recieve up to $17500 per academic year. The Veteran’s Education Equality Act would cover tuition for all

EMPLOYMENT

ECHO gets $130000 grant to help local homeless veterans get jobs
Evansville Courier & Press
Free office space, furniture and equipment for their employment resource center? Check. A variety of existing housing programs and partnerships with landlords? Check. “We can find a homeless (veteran) and get them a skill set, but that doesn’t get them

Veteran tech CEO’s key to success is finding a “champion”
Washington Post (blog)
For Perdew, entrepreneurship comes naturally. As a seasoned businessman and veteran, Perdew’s advice for new entrepreneurs hinges on networking. “You need to find a champion who will speak highly on your behalf to their networks,” he said. Success

ASU To Nurture Collaborative Environment for Veteran Startups
College Times
The Rapid Startup School, a Military/Defense/Veterans (MDV) program, will help stimulate new startups in the greater Phoenix area free of charge to its participants. Gordon McConnell is the Assistant Vice President of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and

Our best regards …Randall E. “Smitty” Smith, Lt Col, USAF

Deputy Director, Warrior & Family Support

Office of the Chairman

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News from Al Bunting, Col, USAF, Ret. in NJ.  Thanks Al!

Air Force’s Confidence Crisis in Congress

New Law Counters Westboro Protests
Congress took action where the Supreme Court didn’t to curb Westboro Baptist Church’s followers from protesting the funerals of fallen troops and veterans. Full Story

New Spy Airship Tested Over N.J.
(Asbury Park (NJ) Press) The biggest aircraft to cruise the skies over Ocean County since the golden age of airship travel more than 70 years ago is a high-tech spy blimp for the Army.

Airman’s Training Saves Brother
(San Antonio Express-News) One of the lessons in boot camp was a 40-minute course that taught Goff, 18, how to do CPR, but little did she know how quickly she’d use it. A day after graduating from basic training, she used the life-saving technique to save her brother Amadeaus Foster, 6, after he nearly drowned in a motel swimming pool here.

Air National Guard
(CBS) Finally tonight, the Air National Guard has played a major role in America’s defense. Its jets were the first to respond to the 9/11 attacks. But in recent years, the Guard has been averaging fewer than 10,000 new recruits a year. This year, though, recruitment is soaring.

Obama May Act To Stop Infrastructure Cyberattacks
(Yahoo.com) The Obama administration is weighing plans to use its executive power to press U.S. businesses to better protect critical industries from potentially crippling computer attacks, after Congress failed to pass such legislation last week.

Book Details Soviet Plans To Wage Post-Nuclear Germ Warfare
(Washington Post) In the Soviet playbook for all-out war with the United States, the wasting of U.S. cities by nuclear bombs was to be followed by something equally horrifying: waves of plagues to kill any survivors. Soviet scientists spent decades preparing for the second attack, concocting new kinds of biological weapons more lethal than any ever invented.

Defense Contractors Downsized In Good Times, Report Finds
(GovExec.com) “There’s ample evidence to say there is an overreaction to what this will mean in terms of jobs for government contractors,” Freeman told Government Executive. “We simply couldn’t find a correlation between spending on government contractors and the people they employed. The evidence we did have was that as dollars from government contracts went up, the number of people they employed went down.” The top contractors received $96 billion in government awards in fiscal 2006, a sum that rose to $113 billion in fiscal 2011. That marks more than a 10 percent increase in funding after adjusting for inflation, while the number of people employed collectively at the five companies decreased by 10 percent in the same period.

DoD, State Cooperation Vital, Official Says
(ArmyTimes.com) A top Pentagon official praised today’s “unprecedented” partnership between the State and Defense departments at a discussion Wednesday, calling it vital to the country’s self-defense capabilities.

Missile Defense Agency May Go In New Direction With New Chief, Advocate Says
(GlobalSecurityNewswire.org) The Obama administration’s nomination last week of an admiral to head the U.S. Missile Defense Agency has issue observers wondering if new leadership could lead to new operational focuses for the organization.

Bomb Threat At Walter Reed Medical Center
(Yahoo.com) A bomb threat has been called in to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, forcing a building to be closed for three hours at the facility outside Washington.

Training For Race War In The Army?
(CNN) Investigators are taking a closer look at Wade Michael Page’s military service. Fellow soldiers say his White supremacist beliefs were evident even then. So was he preparing himself for racial warfare while he was in the Army? Our Pentagon correspondent, Chris Lawrence, is working the story for us.

Navy Delays Combat Tests Needed For Carrier, Weapons Tester Says
(Bloomberg Government (bgov.com)) The Navy is inappropriately delaying or scaling back $70 million in needed combat testing of the USS Gerald R. Ford, an aircraft carrier that may cost $14.2 billion, in the name of cutting costs, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester.

Navy Uses Bay To Perfect Its Underwater Drones
(Honolulu Star-Advertiser) Compared with aerial drones, the undersea vehicles can be challenging to control from a distance. The water distorts the transmission of signals, and the drones have to contend with boat traffic, swirling currents and obstacles on the ocean floor.

Rebuking Critics Of Leaks, Top Counterterrorism Adviser Seeks A Little Room
(New York Times) In wide-ranging remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations here, the adviser, John O. Brennan, directed some of his strongest language at accusations of high-level leaking.

Counterterror Chief Defends Yemen Strikes
(Washington Post) President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday defended the administration’s strategy to stem the growth of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, saying its use of targeted killing is part of a wider approach that includes humanitarian, development and military assistance.

Roscoe Bartlett Hits GOP Sequestration Uproar
(Politico.com) Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is not exactly toeing the party line when it comes to this winters threat of looming, across-the-board restrictions in military spending. A senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee and chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, Bartlett says the uproar among his GOP colleagues over the potential cuts amounts to what some would describe as a hysteria parade.

U.S. Begins Agent Orange Cleanup In Vietnam
(Philadelphia Inquirer) For the first time since the Vietnam War, the United States will begin cleaning up dioxin left from the defoliant Agent Orange at a former U.S. air base.

US Blueprint For War With China Flawed And Could Spark Nuclear Strikes, Says Expert
(Sydney Morning Herald) THE US government might like to deny it, but Barack Obama’s former intelligence chief has confirmed China is a principal target of a major US war plan

Defense Department Having Money-Managing Problems
(Washington Post) In proposing the fiscal 2013 defense budget, he said, top military and civilian officials looked at every area “to determine where we can achieve legitimate savings.” These included efficiencies, reducing force structure, modernization, weaponry and compensation. What he left out is this: The Pentagon has excess money, appropriated in past years for programs that were canceled or delayed but remain in five-year budget plans.

U.S. Buys Afghan Arms From Russia While Criticizing It On Syria
(Bloomberg Government (bgov.com)) For the past year, the Obama administration has been criticizing Russia for selling weapons to Syria and blocking the United Nations from condemning the conflict that’s killed more than 10,000 people. At the same time, the U.S. has been buying military helicopters from an unlikely source: the same Russian-government-owned company that Congress says is arming the Syrian regime.

Fatal Attack Shows Plan To Unsettle Afghanistan
(New York Times) Three NATO soldiers and an Afghan civilian were killed Wednesday in a suicide attack in the middle of the provincial capital of Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan.

U.S. And Gulf Allies Pursue A Missile Shield Against Iranian Attack
(New York Times) The United States and its Arab allies are knitting together a regional missile defense system across the Persian Gulf to protect cities, oil refineries, pipelines and military bases from an Iranian attack, according to government officials and public documents.

Egypt Targets Militants In Sinai
(Washington Post) Egypt showed new toughness Wednesday in confronting militants in the restive Sinai Peninsula, with the military launching overnight airstrikes and President Mohamed Morsi ordering a security shake-up.

Rebels Pull Back As Syrian Military Continues Moving In On Aleppo
(New York Times) Rebel fighters in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, said Wednesday that government forces had opened a ground assault, forcing them to pull back from parts of the city because their ammunition was running low, as new disputes arose around the contentious issue of foreign military support for President Bashar al-Assad, and for the opposition.

Syrian Defector’s Escape Piled Deception On Deception
(Washington Post) Prime minister made government think he was already in Jordan.

White House Official Says Syria No-Fly Zone Not Off Table
(Reuters.com) A senior aide to President Barack Obama did not rule out on Wednesday the eventual creation of a no-fly zone over a patch of Syria that increasingly appears to be controlled by anti-government rebels.

Japan, U.S. Hold Talks Over Safety Of Marines’ Osprey Aircraft
(Kyodo News) Japan and the United States held consultations Thursday aimed at ensuring the operational safety of the U.S. Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey aircraft ahead of its deployment at a base in Okinawa Prefecture, the Foreign Ministry said.

Agni-II Successfully Test Fired
(Press Trust of India) Sharpening its missile teeth, India today successfully test-fired its medium range nuclear capable Agni-II missile with a strike range of 2000 km as part of a user trial by the Army from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast.

U.S. Compensates Indian Man’s Family
(Dawn.com) The United States has compensated the family of a dead Indian fisherman and given assistance to three survivors of a U.S. Navy ship’s firing on their small boat near Dubai last month, the U.S. Embassy said. The money will not influence the investigation into the July 16 shooting, embassy spokesman Lee McManis said.

North Korea Able To Test Nukes In Two Weeks, Study Says
(Bloomberg.com) North Korea is technically capable of conducting a nuclear test in as little as two weeks, according to a study published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Huntington Ingalls Reports 25 Percent Growth In Second Quarter
(Newport News Daily Press) Huntington Ingalls Industries reported Wednesday that its earnings had grown by 25 percent in the second quarter over a year ago, when the company was still a fledgling stand-alone.

America Needs A Business Pivot Toward Asia
(Wall Street Journal) Economic engagement should augment military presence. Start with free trade agreements.

Iran’s Role In Syria
(Washington Post) Tehran is ready to host a regional summit on the crisis.

Obama AWOL In Syria
(New York Times) William Perry, a secretary of defense under Bill Clinton, told me that if he were in the Pentagon today, he would be recommending a military intervention in Syria–conditioned on Turkey’s participation and without ground forces. Specifically, he said he would favor imposing a no-fly no-drive zone in northern Syria.

Forcing Our All-Volunteer Force To Fail
(Washington Times) Concerns raised by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and four of her colleagues on the proper vetting of Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, provoke larger questions about Muslim Brotherhood penetration and influence in our government agencies, particularly the Department of Defense (DOD).

Don’t Go Overboard Banning Military Contractors
(Reuters.com) We are now seeing a disturbing trend: new rules and outside pressures that would limit, and even eliminate, the ability of officials like me to exercise that discretion. Companies are being “blacklisted” often for lengthy periods, sometimes automatically without due process, and often based solely upon the actions of a few rogue employees, with little consideration of whether such action is needed or fair.

The Afridi Dossier
(Wall Street Journal) Perhaps somewhere at CIA headquarters at Langley is a medal of honor for Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor whose bogus hepatitis vaccination scheme helped the agency locate Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. As things now stand, however, it may be a long while before Dr. Afridi sees that medal.

Defense Secretary Will See Firsthand Why Falls Air Base Should Remain Open
(Buffalo News) To the knowledge of Merrell Lane, who should know, Thursday’s visit to the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station by Leon Panetta will mark the first time in memory that a defense secretary has come to the base.

US-Vietnam Agent Orange Clean-Up Sets A Model
(Christian Science Monitor (csmonitor.com)) For the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, the United States will start to clean up the herbicide Agent Orange used to defoliate forests during that guerrilla conflict.

Syria’s Hard Core
(Washington Post) The only workable policy in Syria is one that aims at ending the civil war as quickly as possible with a victory for the opposition. A coup by regime elements that removes Mr. Assad may still be possible, but only if generals perceive that the war is lost. That means supplying the rebels with the arms they need to stop the tanks and planes of the Assad forces

Obama Signs Sequestration Transparency Act: President Obama signed H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, into law on Aug. 7. The legislation requires the White House’s budget office to submit a report to Congress within the next 30 days that details the effects of budget sequestration on federal programs, including the US military’s activities, in Fiscal 2013. Some lawmakers have previously charged the Administration with not being forthcoming with such information. Unless Congress and the White House act to prevent it, the Budget Control Act’s sequester will kick in on Jan. 2, 2013, stripping $1.2 trillion from federal spending accounts through Fiscal 2021, including some $500 billion from the Pentagon. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has repeatedly warned that sequestration would be “devastating” to the US military, given that the BCA has already cut $487 billion from the Pentagon’s budget through Fiscal 2021. Congress sent H.R. 5872 to the President in late July. “The time for fingerpointing and political recriminations has passed,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) in an Aug. 7 statement urging Congress and the Administration to prevent sequestration. (Includes AFPS report by Amaani Lyle)

Virtual training gets tighter oversight
The Air Force has formed a new “Council of Colonels” as part of its response to the recent Government Accountability Office report that the service’s virtual training efforts lack oversight and create inefficiencies.
The Live, Virtual, and Constructive Operational Training (LVC-OT) Council of Colonels is intended to “identify the gaps/shortfalls” and “prioritize and focus budget/program deliberations across the operational training communities,” said Lt. Col. Max Despain, a public affairs officer for the Air Force. [ Read More ]

U.S. State Dept. Working To Solidify Gains in Influence

The U.S. State Department has earned a greater say in international security policy, aided by years of joint nation-building in the Middle East that have improved cooperation with the Pentagon, a top State official said Aug. 8.   … more

Analysts See Unmanned Aircraft Market Growing

LAS VEGAS – The global unmanned aircraft market will continue to grow in the coming decade as many nations increase spending on these types of systems, according to analysts.   … more

U.S. Army Targets Refrigerated Transport

The U.S. Army Contracting Command has turned to Klinge Corp. of York, Pa., to help develop refrigerated containers that function in adverse conditions and are easier to handle and transport.   … more

‘Golden Cargo’ Exercise Offers Real World Challenge

For two weeks in July, this year’s “Golden Cargo” exercise demonstrated that reservists and guardsmen are ready to roll, should they be called to active service.   … more

Report Suggests Possible Military Pay Freeze

New Law Counters Westboro Protests

Tailhook Whistleblower Wants Lackland Hearings

Featured Deal: Lowes 10% Military Discount Year-Round
Financial Checklist for Deployment
The Air Force’s Record-Breaking B-1 Deployment

UnitedHealth Group Now Hiring Military Professionals
Congress, With Much Left to Do, Takes 5 Weeks Off

Dems Reject GOP Move to Force Defense Layoff Notices

Questions in Army Captain’s ‘Lost’ MoH Nomination

McDew Takes Helm at 18th Air Force: Lt. Gen. Darren McDew assumed command of 18th Air Force during a ceremony at Scott AFB, Ill. McDew, who previously oversaw the Air Force District of Washington at JB Andrews, Md., pinned on his third star immediately before becoming 18th AF boss on Aug. 6. McDew replaced Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsay at the helm of Air Mobility Command’s sole warfighting numbered air force, which is also the Air Force’s largest NAF overall. “Nothing happens until something moves and that’s what the team that’s assembled here does,” said Ramsay,

Bogdan Tapped to Lead F-35 Program Office: President Obama nominated Maj. Gen. Christopher Bogdan for a third star for his new assignment as director of the F-35 program office in Arlington, Va. If the Senate approves of this nomination, Bogdan would succeed Vice Adm. David Venlet, who has overseen the F-35 program since May 2010. Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin told the Daily Report that “there is no indication at this time” when Venlet would leave the director’s job. Bogdan’s nomination reached the Senate Armed Services Committee on Aug. 2. Bogdan is currently the deputy director of the F-35 program office, having just transitioned to that role at the end of July, F-35 spokeswoman Cmdr. Kyra Hawn told the Daily Report on Aug. 7. Before that, Bogdan led the Air Force’s KC-46 program office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. In May, Chief of Staff  Gen. Norton Schwartz announced that Bogdan and then F-35 deputy director Maj. Gen. John Thompson would be switching positions. Thompson moved into the KC-46 leadership post last month. (Pentagon release)

Vets with degrees struggling to find work
With a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s in information systems management, former Army Pfc. Antonio Montenegro III thought he was all set for a career in a high-demand, high-paying field.
Instead, he’s spent the past few months sleeping on a couch in his father’s Las Vegas apartment. [ Read More ]

How a soldier won the hardest race on Earth
DEATH VALLEY, Calif. — It’s just after 1 a.m. and the car heater is running at full blast. The temperature has dropped more than 40 degrees, and 75 is unbearably cold.
Army Master Sgt. Mike Morton, 40, is two-thirds of the way through the Badwater Ultramarathon, the race he’s dreamed of running for 14 years. [ Read More ]

Bomb threat at Walter Reed forces short closure
WASHINGTON — A bomb threat has been called in to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, forcing a building to be closed for three hours at the facility outside Washington.
A military official says someone phoned in a threat minutes before 9 a.m. EDT Wednesday, saying a bomb would detonate about an hour later in the center’s America building, which contains a group of clinics. [ Read More ]

U.S. starts Agent Orange cleanup in Vietnam
DANANG, Vietnam — Vo Duoc fights back tears while sharing the news that broke his heart: A few days ago he received test results confirming he and 11 family members have elevated levels of dioxin lingering in their blood.
The family lives in a two-story house near a former U.S. military base in Danang where the defoliant Agent Orange was stored during the Vietnam War, which ended nearly four decades ago. Duoc, 58, sells steel for a living and has diabetes, while his wife battles breast cancer and their daughter has remained childless after suffering repeated miscarriages. For years, Duoc thought the ailments were unrelated, but after seeing the blood tests he now suspects his family unwittingly ingested dioxin from Agent Orange-contaminated fish, vegetables and well water. [ Read More ]

DOD Increases Hiring of People with Disabilities

08/07/2012 08:34 PM CDT

Leadership Speakers Tout Community Partnerships

08/07/2012 09:07 PM CDT

Obama OKs deadline on sequestration details
The White House has a month to explain how it will handle across-the-board budget cuts set to take effect early next year, under legislation signed by President Obama on Tuesday. [ Read More ]

First Air National Guard F-35 Instructor Pilot: Maj. Jay Spohn, a Florida Air National Guard pilot assigned to the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, became the Air Guard’s first F-35 instructor pilot, announced Eglin officials on Aug. 7. Spohn concluded the last of his six qualification flights on Aug. 3 and is now able to teach pilots to fly the F-35A model, according to Eglin’s release. “It felt really good,” said Spohn of the final qualification flight. He added, “Today’s flight was the culmination of two-and-a-half years of hard work.” Spohn is currently serving as assistant director of operations for Eglin’s 58th Fighter Squadron and chief of standards and evaluation for the 33rd Operations Group. He was selected in November 2009 to be part of the initial F-35A pilot cadre and help develop the strike fighter’s flight syllabus. In May, the 33rd FW began allowing non-test pilots to fly the F-35, clearing the way for Spohn’s qualification flights. (Eglin report by Maj. Karen Roganov)

Fortifying Curiosity: Air Force researchers played an important role in testing and evaluating technology that went into NASA’s rover Curiosity that successfully touched down on Mars this week, according to service officials. Much of the rover’s difficult-yet-flawless landing was “directly related” to subsystems that Air Force engineers with the Arnold Engineering Development Complex “helped develop and validate,” said Dan Marren, director of AEDC’s Hypervelocity Tunnel 9 in White Oak, Md. AEDC’s role included evaluating the rover’s heat shield in the tunnel and supporting testing of Curiosity’s full-sized parachute at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex in California, the world’s largest wind tunnel, according to AEDC’s Aug. 7 release. After travelling 352 million miles over the course of 36 weeks, Curiosity landed on the Red Planet early on the morning of Aug. 6 US East Coast time. The rover will spend the next two years investigating whether Mars ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life. (Arnold report by Philip Lorenz III) (See also NASA release and Los Angeles Times report.)

Enduring Presence: The Air Force will have a mission in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of combat ground forces in 2014, but the mission specifics have yet to be decided, said a senior US defense official on Aug. 8. Afghanistan has agreed to an “enduring mission” for the Air Force there after 2014, but “all the NATO partners may play some role,” said this official in a meeting with reporters in Washington, D.C. The division of labor is still in negotiation and it’s still too early to say who will do what, said the official. The Air Force is expected to help the fledgling Afghan air force with training, maturing its organization, and acquisition of hardware, said the official. Presumably, the Air Force will also provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support and close air support to the Afghan armed forces, since the Afghan air force will be unable to deliver that on its own for some time, said the official. The Pentagon is trying to wean itself off overseas contingency operations funding—which is separate from its base budget—to cover the costs of this future support, noted the official. (See also Afghanistan Declared Major US Non-NATO Ally and NATO Affirms Post-2014 Commitment to Afghanistan.)

—John A. Tirpak

Mind the Gap: Air Force senior leaders are trying to find ways to close the roughly 10-year gap between an airman attending Airman Leadership School and then going to a Noncommissioned Officer Academy, said CMSAF James Roy. “That timeframe is very important for airmen because that’s the time in which they find themselves supervising others,” he said in an Aug. 8 release. The answer may be found in a new initiative for enlisted professional military education dubbed “EPME Next.” Its goal is to develop airmen earlier in their careers so they are better equipped to meet the Air Force’s mission, said Roy. “We need to continue focusing on training and get as much as we can out of every dime we put into training and exercises,” he explained. “We have to take advantage of every education opportunity because they are not going to be abundant.” (AFNS report by TSgt. Benjamin Rojek)

Off With its Radome: The Air Force Satellite Control Network’s Colorado tracking station at Schriever AFB, Colo., commonly known as “Pike,” ceased frontline operations and transitioned to a backup tracking and test role. “As we go forward, Pike is going to continue to be important . . . for testing, troubleshooting, and contingency operations,” said Lt. Col. Scott Angerman, 22nd Space Operations Squadron commander, at Pike’s Aug. 3 cessation-of-operations ceremony. Since beginning operations in 1988, the space telemetry radar station tracked more than 300 US military and NASA space launches, including space shuttles, and made more than 180,000 contacts with orbiting satellites, according to an Aug. 7 Schriever release. The station made its final operational contact with a satellite—a GPS spacecraft—on July 9, states the release. The Air Force is removing Pike’s radar for reuse at the Thule tracking station in Greenland. (Schriever report by SSgt. Julius Reyes)

Blended Reincarnation Takes Off: The X-48C, a reworked remotely controlled model of Boeing’s blended-wing-body research aircraft, lifted off for the first time during a test flight at Edwards AFB, Calif., announced the company. The airplane climbed to 5,500 feet and flew for nine minutes during the Aug. 7 flight, according Boeing. The X-48C is an 8.5 percent replica mimicking the characteristics of a subsonic military airlifter with a 240-foot wingspan, states the company. X-48B—the previous iteration of the design that flew from 2007 to 2010—”proved that a BWB aircraft can be controlled as effectively as a conventional tube-and-wing aircraft during takeoffs and landings,” said Boeing Project Manager Robert Liebeck. “With the X-48C, we will be evaluating the impact of noise-shielding concepts on [the aircraft's] low-speed flight characteristics,” he added. Engineers replaced the X-48B’s tri-jet propulsion with a pair of higher thrust turbojets. They also swapped the B model’s winglets for a pair of vertical stabilizers, and extended the aircraft’s aft deck. (See also NASA release and Boeing special report, including link to flight video.)

Human Factors Led to Midair Near Miss: Air traffic controllers’ erroneous directions caused the near collision of an Air Force C-17 and an American Airlines Boeing 777 carrying 250 passengers in the skies near New York City last January, reports Reuters. Controllers at the New York air traffic control center mistakenly vectored the two aircraft to converge at the same point roughly 90 miles southeast of New York’s JFK airport on the night of Jan. 20, 2011, according to the news service’s Aug. 7 report. It cites the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board’s incident investigation. The airliner’s collision-avoidance system detected the C-17 descending from a refueling rendezvous. Still, the two aircraft came within less than 2,000 feet of each other while flying at the same altitude, according to NTSB’s incident narrative from Aug, 2. “That guy passed us now and that was not good,” radioed a member of the 777 crew to an air traffic controller. “I understand that and I apologize,” responded the controller. The Air Force crew—flying formation with a second C-17—continued to JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. (NTSB factual report)

Air Force 101 for Spouses: Suzie Schwartz, wife of Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, and Paula Roy, wife of CMSAF James Roy, have created a “spouse battle book” called Air Force 101: A Back-to-Basics Guide for Air Force Spouses, announced service officials Aug 7. The two ladies want the document to serve as “a one-stop resource on the basics of life in the Air Force,” according to the guide’s introduction. The guide is designed to familiarize military spouses with the Air Force’s mission, organizational and rank structure, and traditions. It also covers a broad range of issues like spouse employment and dealing with deployment. “We hope this guide better equips you to take an active role in helping our dynamic community be more successful and informed,” wrote the two ladies in the introduction. (Air Force 101 full document; caution, large-sized file.)

Health Benefits for Soldiers Returning from Combat Zones

08/02/2012 04:00 PM EDT

 

 

The Nuts And Bolts Of The Sequester
(Yahoo.com) Republicans and Democrats are sounding the alarm: The budget sequester is coming and we have to do everything to stop it.

White House Gives Itself Deadline On Sequestration Details
(FederalTimes.com) The White House has a month to explain how it will handle across-the-board budget cuts set to take effect early next year, under legislation signed by President Obama on Tuesday.

Lugar Urges U.S. And Russia To Team Up To Rid Syria Of Chemical Weapons
(New York Times) Senator Richard G. Lugar, the Indiana Republican who has been a leading proponent of joint efforts by the United States and Russia to reduce their arsenals of nuclear and chemical weapons, urged on Tuesday that the two countries team up to eliminate the stockpile of chemical weapons in Syria.

U.S. At Junction Regarding Syria
(Washington Post) The collapse of the U.N. initiative on Syria, rebel gains that opened a corridor from Turkey to Aleppo, and a rash of high-level defections mark a turning point in the Syrian crisis and in the Obama administrations plans for influencing the outcome.

Pentagon Asked To Mull Contract Cut-Off For UTC
(Yahoo.com) Two key U.S. senators have called on Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to consider barring a United Technologies Corp. subsidiary from Pentagon contracts for illegally exporting software to China.

Army Test Verifies Glitches In Software
(Washington Times) The Army’s intelligence-processing software that was developed to help soldiers in Afghanistan understand the enemy and predict actions suffers from “poor reliability” and is “not survivable” against cyberattacks, the service’s top tester said in a confidential memo to the Army chief of staff.

Army Opens $7 Billion Renewable Energy Program To Bidders
(Bloomberg Government (bgov.com)) The U.S. Army opened competition today on a renewable energy program potentially valued at $7 billion over a decade, an official with the service said.

U.S. Navy Distribution Processes Under Scrutiny

An initiative is under way to review a broad swath of U.S. Navy distribution and transportation processes to improve efficiency.   … more

Congress’ Leaky Logic
(Boston Globe) The heads of the intelligence committees in Congress, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican Representative Mike Rogers, are right to be angered by recent leaks about intelligence operations involving a CIA informant inside the Al Qaeda network, drone strikes in Yemen, and a cyberattack on Iran. Unauthorized disclosures, of course, can undermine US security. But Congress’s bipartisan push for more stringent anti-leak laws may do as much harm as good.

U.S. Spending Bills Suddenly Irrelevant

Rather than try to pass appropriations bills for fiscal 2013, U.S. congressional leaders have decided instead to pass a six-month-long stopgap spending measure that would keep funding at 2012 levels until the end of March.   … more

Glimpse of China’s New Fighter Fuels Rumors

TAIPEI — Rumors, guesstimates and doctored photos are all part of the labyrinth of Chinese military blogs. Western analysts often dismiss or ignore them — but not videos.   … more

NATO Employee Charged With Stealing Secret Data
(Yahoo.com) A 60-year-old German civilian who worked at NATO’s air command headquarters in Germany has been charged with stealing secret data, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Military Limiting Guantanamo Detainee Access To Lawyers
(Security Clearance (CNN.com)) The Obama administration has begun limiting the legal rights of terror suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, telling a federal judge Tuesday the government alone should decide when the prisoners deserve regular access to their counsel.

Blackwater Successor To Pay Fine To Settle Arms Charges
(New York Times) The military contractor formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide has agreed to pay a $7.5 million fine to settle charges of arms-sales violations, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

U.S. Sweetens Taliban Prisoner Proposal In Bid To Revive Peace Talks
(Reuters.com) The Obama administration, in a move aimed at reviving Afghan peace talks, has sweetened a proposed deal under which it would transfer Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for a U.S. soldier held by Taliban allies in Pakistan.

Commander Lauds Work Of Hawaii Forces In Afghanistan
(Honolulu Star-Advertiser) Halfway through what is currently the largest deployment to Afghanistan by Hawaii troops, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade soldiers and helicopters are flying 3,500 hours a week as the United States continues a troop drawdown that will leave 68,000 American service members in the country by October.

Resentment Against U.S. Builds In Syria
(Washington Post) As the Arab worlds bloodiest revolt continues to maim, kill and ravage lives on an ever-escalating scale, anti-American sentiments are hardening among those struggling to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, in ways that could have profound consequences for the country and the region in a post-Assad era.

Northrop CEO Pay Tops Dimon As Guns Beat Finance
(Bloomberg Government (bgov.com)) Top defense industry bosses are earning more than their counterparts in banking, and their pay probably wont slide even if the U.S. trims military spending.

Defense Vs. Food Stamps?What Would You Choose?
(Wall Street Journal) Washington is battling these days over “sequestration,” the $500 billion additional cut to the defense budget looming in January. The White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill insist that intransigent Republicans are risking cuts that no one wants. This is a charade. By his own admission, President Obama has always wanted to cut the defense budget dramatically.

More National Security Work Ahead
(Politico.com) As the belt tightens on the Pentagons budget, it would seem that U.S. defense contractors face tough times over the next 10 years. As the U.S. defense market shrinks, however, significant opportunities are emerging to supply security technology to non-traditional customers like developing states grappling with transnational threats. Meeting this demand will bolster businesses bottom lines and U.S. national security as well as poorer countries development aspirations.

Who’s To Blame For Defense Spending Cut Threat?
(CNN.com) The real purpose of the GOP’s Potemkin town halls? To redefine Congress’ unfinished task of deficit reduction as an Obama administration leadership failure that has put both national security and swing-state jobs at risk by playing games with defense spending.

An Ugly War Myth
(New York Post) The first thing we heard yesterday about the monster who shot up the Sikh temple on Sunday wasnt his name, but the fact that

Iran Envoy Casts Syria As Part Of Wider Conflict
(New York Times) Iran moved on Tuesday to reframe the Syrian conflict as part of a wider battle with the United States and other hostile world powers, dispatching the personal representative of its paramount leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to Damascus for a televised display of solidarity with Syrias president as battles raged and dozens of Iranian hostages in rebel custody were threatened with death.

Ripped in Half

Guard reaction to a proposal to cut weekend drill pay has been swift, overwhelmingly negative and duly noted. By William Matthews

Party Bristles At Military?s Push For More Sway In China
(New York Times) During a holiday banquet for Chinas military leadership early this year, a powerful general lashed out in a drunken rage against what he believed was a backhanded move to keep him from being promoted to the militarys top ruling body.

India’s First Nuclear Submarine Set For Trials
(Yahoo.com) India on Wednesday said its first home-built nuclear submarine was set for sea trials, as it detailed billion-dollar projects to arm its navy with warships, aircraft and modern weaponry.

Iraq Vet Reunites With His Pal Diego
(San Antonio Express-News) After five years of separation, an Iraq veteran was reunited Tuesday with his old war buddy, a mature but loveable yellow Labrador retriever that has been rewarded with a life of leisure for doing two combat tours.

Sikh Temple Shooter Was Outspoken On Racist Views
(Stars and Stripes) The gunman in the Sikh temple shooting here was steeped in white supremacy during his Army days and spouted his racist views on the job as a soldier, according to some who served with him.

Third Littoral Class Ship Much Improved, Navy Says
(U-T San Diego) As the third ship in the Navys littoral class left a Wisconsin shipyard this week, the inaugural step toward its eventual home in San Diego, the Navy billed it as an exponential improvement over the controversial first vessel in the line.

Carrier Abraham Lincoln Arrives In Norfolk
(Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) In the year since Morgan Miller married her sailor husband, she has seen him off on a deployment, given birth to their first child and moved all of their belongings 3,000 miles across the country.

Eight AFA Cadets Accused Of Cheating No Longer At Academy
(Colorado Springs Gazette (gazette.com)) Eight Air Force Academy cadets accused of cheating on a math test in April are no longer at the academy, officials said Tuesday.

A Year On, Marines Divided On Repeal Of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
(At War (NYTimes.com)) In preparing this article, I interviewed 20 active duty service members, both officers and enlisted. Eight were strongly against gays serving openly. The other twelve welcomed gays serving openly.

Marines Mark 70th Anniversary Of Guadalcanal
(WashingtonExaminer.com) The Marine Corps on Tuesday marked the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Pacific Theater fight that Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos called the “baptism by fire” for the corps during World War II.

Help Needed

Most Guardsmen have a unique skill set that should be coveted in the job market. Unfortunately, some employers see it differently. By Ron Jensen

Securing Big Events

High-profile gatherings are attracting targets for mayhem. That’s why authorities like to have the Guard on hand–just in case. By Ron Jensen

Lessons Taught

Sorting through the labyrinth of available educational benefits can be confusing, which makes it wise to consult with someone who’s already been through it. By Andrew Waldman

Officials: U.S. Drones Kill 10 Militants
(Washington Post) U.S. drones killed 10 al-Qaeda militants — one believed to be a top bombmaker — in separate strikes targeting moving vehicles in Yemen, officials and state media said Tuesday.

US Vows To Improve Counterterror Work With Egypt
(Yahoo.com) The U.S. is vowing to improve counterterrorism cooperation with Egypt after 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed by suspected Islamist militants.

Germany: Criticism Over Man Suspected As Bin Laden Guard
(New York Times) German security officials are coming under fire for allowing a Tunisian man they believe may have served as a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden in 2000 to live in western Germany for years, despite being considered a dangerous jihadist who they say is spreading extremist views.

= he was a US Army veteran. Jeff Gloor, the newsreader on CBS This Morning, screwed up his face into a nimbus of horror at the very thought. A veteran!

Obama’s Empty Asia Pivot
(Washington Times) A debate has raged for the past few months about what to call President Obama’s Asian strategy. To be honest, it really doesn’t matter whether you call the shift toward Asia a pivot, a refocus or a rebalancing. What does matter is that it’s a relatively hollow move which belies something of much greater concern: The administration is effectively jeopardizing American national security interests by promoting a foreign policy approach far too reliant on soft-power diplomacy.

Five Things The U.S. Can Do In Syria
(Washington Post) The United States has a window to facilitate an orderly transition in Syria without deploying military force. But the window is narrowing — and the Obama administration will need to adjust its political strategy to succeed.

How Iran?s Spies Are Losing The Shadow War With U.S. And Israel
(TheDailyBeast.com) The powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, its infamous expeditionary unit, the Quds Force, and the network of Hezbollah operatives it supports around the world, are starting to look like the proverbial gang that couldnt shoot straight. Theyre still dangerous, to be sure, but a series of recent incidents widely attributed to these groups suggest that as spies, assassins, and terrorists, they just arent what they used to be. And Tehran is getting worried.

Backfire In Bahrain
(Washington Post) When the Obama administration resumed military sales to the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain in 2012, it explained the decision as an effort to bolster moderate elements in the monarchy, whose Sunni ruling family has resisted demands for greater democracy from the mostly Shiite population. In particular, the aim was to strengthen Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, who was visiting Washington at the time and who had led an abortive effort to negotiate a settlement with opposition leaders.

(News and comments provided by Wayne Gatewood)

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