VA Veterans News for Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Thanks to Kevin Secor, VA, VSO Liaison.
5. DOD reassessing plans for new medical center near Ramstein.
14. Bridge On; Now Who Gets Jobs?
15. State Launches Initiative To Hire Veterans.
16. Two New Nursing Homes For Veterans To Open In NC.
17. Conn. Veterans Agency To Offer Discount Card.
18. VA Threatens To Dump Contractor Building Orlando Hospital.
19. Returning Troops Find New Enemy At Home: Driving.
20. VA For Neb., Iowa Expanding Mental-Health Services.
21. Frontlines Of Fatherhood: Catching Up After War.
22. Purple Hearts For PTSD Debated.
23. Hundreds Come Out To Honor Wounded Veterans.
24. Veterans Affairs Medical Center Youth Volunteer Receives $20,000 Scholarship.
25. Ohio Group Works To Document War Of 1812 Graves.
26. Va. Initiative Targets Veteran Unemployment.
27. Local Veterans Outraged Over Phony Colonel’s Early Release.
28. Dayton Announces Women Veterans Day.
29. Wounded Warrior Hoffman Wins National Recognition.
30. VA / VSO-MSO Hearings as June 19, 2012:
31. Today in History:
1. 3-day Veteran Hiring Fair to include 22K job postings. The Detroit News More than 22000 federal and private-sector job openings across the U.S. will be … The Department of Veterans Affairs, which is organizing the June 26-29 event …
2. Univ. of Wisconsin offers online courses for active-duty soldiers. Matt Beilfuss is part of a group of active military members enrolled this summer in online UW courses in foreign policy and international relations geared to troops. Students are stationed overseas, on an aircraft carrier at sea and at military bases around the country.
3. Disabled vets’ families fight VA over fiduciaries. Across the country, disabled veterans’ families are in bitter battles with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, trying to oust VA-appointed fiduciaries from their lives.
4. Purple Hearts for PTSD debated. With more than 2 million service members returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury have become the signature wounds of both conflicts. But while the Pentagon has decided TBI, or mild concussions received as a result of enemy action, qualify for the status of a Purple Heart, the military hasn’t yielded on PTSD.
5. DOD reassessing plans for new medical center near Ramstein. Defense Department officials say they are reassessing plans for a new military hospital to replace Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. A recent congressional report found calculation errors, improper documentation and other problems with the department’s initial proposal.
6. Military’s new R&R plan doesn’t include leaving Afghanistan. The U.S. military is rolling out a new rest and recuperation program for troops fighting in Afghanistan. But don’t pack your bags for a nice long break on a sunny beach or a visit home — you won’t be leaving Afghanistan under the “rest-in-place” program.
7. Bloomberg study: Drones most accident-prone Air Force craft. The U.S. military’s three biggest drones are the most accident-prone aircraft in the Air Force fleet, according to military data compiled by Bloomberg.
8. Ferris State University offering transportation to job fair for veterans. Michigan Business Review - MLive.com Ferris State University will provide veterans in the Big Rapids area … next week to a job fair in Detroit hosted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
9. VA threatens Orlando hospital contractor. HealthLeaders Media Long-simmering tensions between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and one of its largest contractors boiled over Friday when the agency warned.
10.Some Vets’ Money Managed — & Stolen — By Scoundrels. LoanSafe But hundreds of mentally disabled veterans. … thieves who have been handed control of disabled veterans’ finances by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, …
11.HUD adds .5 million to help 380 homeless veterans. AGBeat U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced today …
13.Two new nursing homes for veterans to open in NC. News & Observer The new homes were built with a combination of money from the state and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA set aside $14.6 million for the home …
14.Bridge On; Now Who Gets Jobs? Crain’s Detroit Business ”Friday’s announcement that Michigan and Canada have reached an accord to build a $2.1 billion highway bridge over the Detroit River will fuel a mini-employment boom for the heavy construction trades on both sides of the border.” Crain’s Detroit Business adds, “The jobs are going to be a good place for the hiring of returning veterans…said Patrick Devlin, secretary-treasurer of the Detroit office of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council.” Devlin “said ongoing programs such as ‘Helmets to Hard Hats’ aim to move veterans into construction jobs.” Devlin added, “There’s a lot of training programs available for returning vets.” The bridge project, he said, “is going to be a very big plus for them.”
15.State Launches Initiative To Hire Veterans. Kentucky Press News Service On Friday, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear “announced a statewide effort to connect returning members of the National Guard, Reserve and other veterans with job openings in Kentucky. Joined by military, veteran, workforce and business leaders at the annual state convention of Disabled American Veterans, Beshear unveiled the Hiring Kentucky Heroes partnership and web resource that will bring together veterans seeking jobs with employers needing workers.” The Kentucky Press News Service adds, “The Hiring Kentucky Heroes is a partnership” of several organizations, including the US Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service and the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.
16.Two New Nursing Homes For Veterans To Open In NC. Raleigh (NC) News & Observer ”The N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs will open two skilled nursing facilities for veterans in the next several months, expanding the state’s capacity to care for its elderly soldiers.” It is “‘going to be great to have this space available,’ said Greg Hughes, chief of social work for the Durham VA Medical Center, which will oversee the medical care provided at the home in Kinston.” Medical care at the home in Black Mountain, meanwhile, will be overseen by the VA hospital in Asheville. The News & Observer adds, “The new homes were built with a combination of money from the state” and the US VA.
17.Conn. Veterans Agency To Offer Discount Card. AP ”Connecticut’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs is partnering with a national program to offer the state’s veterans and their families discounts at a network of retailers, restaurants and service providers.” Connecticut Gov. Daniel P. Malloy “announced the partnership on Friday. Veterans Advantage partners with private corporations that want to honor the military and offer discounts on their goods and services, ranging from rental cars to clothing.”
18.VA Threatens To Dump Contractor Building Orlando Hospital. Cox Communications Veterans Affairs is “threatening to dump” Brasfield & Gorrie, the “contractor building its new…hospital in Lake Nona,” because of “cost overruns and a lack of progress. Brasfield & Gorrie now has a little over a week to come up with a plan to speed up construction of the 1.2-million-square-foot hospital. The contractor says it’s not to blame, but rather the VA which keeps changing blueprints for the 650-million-dollar hospital.”
19.Returning Troops Find New Enemy At Home: Driving. FOX News ”The No. 1 killer of combat troops returning to the US is not suicide. It’s car accidents, according to the Veterans Affairs Department.” That agency, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Defense are “combining forces to reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes among veterans, particularly those returning from the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
20.VA For Neb., Iowa Expanding Mental-Health Services. AP “A veterans’ health care network that serves Nebraska and western Iowa is planning to expand its mental-health services.” The “Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System is planning to add more staff in Lincoln, Omaha and other locations. The 10 percent increase in staff comes as the Veterans Administration prepares to deal with more cases of post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems.”
21.Frontlines Of Fatherhood: Catching Up After War. NPR
22.Purple Hearts For PTSD Debated. Dayton (OH) Daily News
23.Hundreds Come Out To Honor Wounded Veterans. Frederick (MD) News-Post
24.Veterans Affairs Medical Center Youth Volunteer Receives $20,000 Scholarship. Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail
25.Ohio Group Works To Document War Of 1812 Graves. AP
26.Va. Initiative Targets Veteran Unemployment. AP
27.Local Veterans Outraged Over Phony Colonel’s Early Release. Jacksonville (NC) Daily News
28.Dayton Announces Women Veterans Day. Minnesota Public Radio
29.Wounded Warrior Hoffman Wins National Recognition. Easton (MD) Star Democrat
30.VA / VSO-MSO Hearings as June 19, 2012:
June 19, 2012: The House Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on VA’s Veterans Benefits Management System. 2:00 P.M.; TBD
June 21, 2012. HVAC, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity will hold a hearing on pending legislation. 10:00 A.M.; 334 Cannon
June 27, 2012. SVAC will conduct a legislative hearing. The agenda is comprised mainly of bills regarding health care, disability compensation, and NCA matters. 10:00 A.M.; 418 Russell
- Today in History:
- 1306 – The Earl of Pembroke‘s army defeats Bruce’s Scottish army at the Battle of Methven.
- 1846 – The first officially recorded, organized baseball match is played under Alexander Cartwright‘s rules on Hoboken, New Jersey‘s Elysian Fields with the New York Base Ball Club defeating the Knickerbockers 23-1. Cartwright umpired.
- 1862 – The U.S. Congress prohibits slavery in United States territories, nullifying Dred Scott v. Sandford.
- 1865 – Over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas, United States, are finally informed of their freedom. The anniversary is still officially celebrated in Texas and 13 other contiguous states as Juneteenth.
- 1867 – Maximilian I of the Mexican Empire is executed by a firing squad in Querétaro, Querétaro.
- 1870 – After all of the Southern States are formally readmitted to the United States, the Confederate States of America ceases to exist.
- 1875 – The Herzegovinian rebellion against the Ottoman Empire begins.
- 1910 – The first Father’s Day is celebrated in Spokane, Washington.
- 1913 – Natives’ Land Act in South Africa implemented.
- 1934 – The Communications Act of 1934 establishes the United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
- 1944 – World War II: First day of the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
- 1953 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed at Sing Sing, in New York.
- 1961 – Kuwait declares independence from the United Kingdom.
- 1964 – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate.
- 1978 – Garfield, holder of the Guinness World Record for the world’s most widely syndicated comic strip, makes its debut.
- 1982 – In one of the first militant attacks by Hezbollah, David S. Dodge, president of the American University in Beirut, is kidnapped.
- 1982 – The body of God’s Banker, Roberto Calvi is found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London.
- 1985 – Members of the Revolutionary Party of Central American Workers, dressed as Salvadoran soldiers, attack the Zona Rosa area of San Salvador.
- 1987 – Basque separatist group ETA commits one of its most violent attacks, in which a bomb is set off in a supermarket, Hipercor, killing 21 and injuring 45.
- 1990 – The current international law defending indigenous peoples, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989, is ratified for the first time by Norway.
- 1991 – The Soviet occupation of Hungary ends.
- 2009 – Mass riots involving over 10,000 people and 10,000 police officers break out in Shishou, China, over the dubious circumstances surrounding the death of a local chef.
- 2009 – War in North-West Pakistan: The Pakistani Armed Forces open Operation Rah-e-Nijat against the Taliban and other Islamist rebels in the South Waziristan area of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Lowering of the United States Flag and Maryland State Flag to Half Staff. “This is to advise you that Governor Martin O’Malley has ordered the United States Flag and Maryland State Flag flown at half-staff on Wednesday, June 20, 2012, from sunrise to sunset. This is in memory of Sergeant Julian C. Chase, of Edgewater, Maryland, who died on May 28, 2012, in the Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. This action is taken under the Protocol for the United States and Maryland State Flag.” (May God Rest the Soul of this Dear and brave young Man; one of America’s Best…Sergeant Julian C. Chase).
From Lee Dougherty, U.S. Army Ranger and Attorney - VetWorking Networking Breakfast at Tysons Corner, McLean, VA, June 26, 2012. All, please see the attached flyer to post and distribute among your networks. We have put a lot of work into making this event valuable to Veterans who have recently transitioned into the business world or who will be transitioning soon. Encourage your Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard folks and your fellow Veterans take advantage of this opportunity. Please contact me if you have any questions about the event. V/r Lee
Big Three Automotive Participation at Detroit 2012 Veterans Small Business Conference. Please see attached Poster and Automotive Agenda sent in by our friend Ed Ronders, Michigan Veterans Small Business Round Table. Ed is also Executive Director of VetBizCentral, Flint, MI. Thanks Ed. I know our Veterans in Michigan are especially elated that this Conference is being held in their home State.
The National Resource Directory provides online support and access to over 10,000 services and resources. Please visit: www.NationalResourceDirectory.gov. Also Please be sure to check your particular state for any additional benefits that may be offered.
Reserve Officers Association (ROA) SmartBrief for June 19, 2012. http://www.smartbrief.com/servlet/wireless?issueid=7E1DAB6F-D462-47DB-8379-A4B02F03106C&sid=22cbe9eb%2d3ef0%2d4eca%2d8105%2def9f466dc32d
More Mental Health Staff Headed to Rural Areas. http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/7211/more-mental-health-staff-headed-to-rural-areas/
On June 26th the SBA, in partnership with GM, Ford, and Chrysler will host an all-day, extraordinary event for conference participants interested in building relationships in this important industry sector.
Network with Auto Industry executives, acquisition and contract specialists, Buyers and First Tier Suppliers who are looking for Veteran Small Business partners in the following industry sectors:
· Health Care Services
Interested individuals, who are not registered for the conference, will be able to attend the event at a cost of $150.00.
Plan your trip! Please view the customized webpage just for Conference attendees to make your visit to Detroit a memorable one. Check out dining, attractions, and discounts, including a printable coupon book here: www.meetdetroit.com/veterans2012.
WASHINGTON ( June 19, 2012) – The Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program (VR&E) will host several workshops aimed at helping Veterans understand the many benefits and programs that promote Veteran employment during the VA for Vets Hiring Fair being held in Detroit June 26-28.
As part of the Veteran Open House, VA will educate Veterans on vocational rehabilitation and employment services, register them for VA’s online employment toolkit, www.VetSuccess.gov , and provide tools that help Veterans find meaningful careers, receive accommodations for disabilities at their place of employment, and start a small business.
“At VA, we know the skills and characteristics Veterans bring with them to a new career can only benefit an organization,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “Our VR&E program is committed to assisting Veterans find meaningful careers, whether in the federal government or in the private sector.”
VA is hosting three major events at Detroit’s Cobo Center June 26-29: The VA for Vets Hiring Fair, the Veterans Open House, and the National Veterans Small Business Conference and Expo. The events are expected to attract thousands of Veterans, business owners and federal employees, with an economic impact estimated at $11 million for the city.
More than 24,000 federal and private-sector job openings across the country will be available at the free Veteran Hiring Fair June 26-28. VA will bring together partners like the First Lady’s “Joining Forces” initiative and Hiring Our Heroes, along with private sector companies, during the fair. Not only will the fair provide Veterans an opportunity to showcase their skills to potential employers, it will also assist Veterans with resume preparation, interview techniques and career coaching to help Veteran attendees become career ready. VA hosted a similar event Jan. 18 in Washington, D.C., which attracted over 4,100 Veterans and resulted in over 2,600 on-the-spot interviews and more than 500 tentative job offers.
The Open House gives Veterans and their families the chance to find out about the wide range of financial and health-care benefits, services and resources that are available from federal, state and community agencies. Veterans can conveniently enroll in VA care, sign up for eBenefits and MyHealtheVet, and get their questions answered face to face.
The National Veterans Small Business Conference and Expo is the premier government event for Veteran-owned businesses. Last year’s conference in New Orleans drew almost 5,000 attendees, and more than 6,000 participants are expected this year. VA will provide Veteran-owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-owned businesses with a wide range of information to help them maximize opportunities in the federal workplace.
Known historically as the world’s capital for the transportation industry, the Detroit metro area is reinventing itself with six booming industries: medical research, defense, entertainment, green tech, urban farming, and aeronautics. About 330,000 Veterans are served by the city’s VA medical center, and more than 704,000 Veterans live in Michigan.
VA invites all interested persons and businesses to attend. More information about the small business conference is available at www.nationalveteransconference.com. Information and registration for the hiring fair is available at www.VAforVets.VA.Gov/Detroit.
Make The Connection – It was strange to find myself without a battle buddy after I got out of the Army. The first and probably most important thing ingrained in all of us at infantry school was this: Always have someone there to back you up, whether it be in on a battlefield or a dark street in Seattle. I could always count on my friends, and they knew I had their backs. But when we left the service and went back to our civilian lives all over the country, that close support system vaporized. We still kept up, but it wasn’t the same as sitting on your buddy’s cot after a patrol, telling jokes and daydreaming about going home.
Going back to civilian life can be difficult for that very reason—support just doesn’t seem available, and pretty soon, you might feel it’s because you’re the only one with adjustment problems. So in an effort to battle that disconnect, VA has launched Make the Connection—a campaign that allows Veterans of all eras and experiences to not only learn more about resources and conditions they may have, but listen to the stories of other Vets who served alongside them.
The connection starts with an information field that filters to your specific needs. The selections account for gender, service branch, service era, and combat exposure. There are even different resources pages for Veterans, National Guard or Reserve, families, active duty folks, and clinicians.
Navigating the tabs
There are a few tabs with information, so here’s a handy breakdown:
Life events and experiences: From reintegration to the death of family or friends, ways to cope with events in our lives
Stories of connection: Video interviews with Veterans about their experiences in war and the challenges back home. The videos can be filtered by gender, era and combat exposure
Signs and symptoms: Helps identify common ailments that affect Veterans, along with their associated conditions
Conditions: Post-traumatic stress, TBI, suicide and other issues are associated with traumatic experiences. Learn their symptoms, signs and where to get help
Resources and support: It’s time to find the support you need. Take a self-assessment test and punch in your ZIP code and find VA resources and programs in your area. You can also search the National Resource Directory for information on benefits and compensation, employment, housing and more.
It takes just one deployment to go to war, but a lifetime to come home. It’s never been easy and never will be. But there are ways to receive help if you know where to look. Poke around Make the Connection and let us know if it helped you.
From: Mitchell, Amy [Amy.Mitchell@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 3:43 PM
Subj: More Promises from VA as Backlog Continues to Increase
IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 19, 2012 CONTACT: Amy Mitchell (202) 225-3527
More Promises from VA as Backlog Continues to Increase
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held an oversight hearing entitled “Reclaiming the Process: Examining the VBA Claims Transformation Plan as a Means to Effectively Serve Our Veterans.” At the hearing, the Committee learned that VA has yet to completely implement a comprehensive transformation plan to provide veterans with a paperless disability claims process that relies on accuracy the first time a claim is submitted.
“Various initiatives have great potential, but despite repeated promises, the backlog continues to grow,” stated Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “In addition, the rate of accuracy and processing time has remained stagnant. Since 2009, Secretary Shinseki has promised to ‘break the back of the backlog.’ Instead, three years later, the backlog has grown by half a million claims.”
The hearing focused on VBA’s transformation plan, which centers on the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), a program that is supposed to digitize disability claims and make the process more timely and accurate. Yet, only a handful of Regional Offices are using VBMS to help process claims with full roll out scheduled later this year. VA has consistently referred to VBMS as the cornerstone of its transformation process.
VA’s main partner to digitize veterans’ claims is the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Their contract with VA expires next week and NARA officials cited the need for an estimated 4,000 additional employees to address the current backlog.
VA announced earlier today that the backlog increase due to the processing of retroactive Agent Orange claims has been largely addressed, and that should free up claims processors around the country. As of today, however, VA’s backlog stands at 839,028 claims, of which more than 55% have been pending more than 125 days.
In addition, the Committee continued to question VA on its justification of exorbitant bonuses to well-paid senior executives who oversee the worsening claims process, especially in light of today’s tough economy and tight fiscal climate.
“Secretary Shinseki estimates that more than 1 million veterans from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom are expected to enter VA. What will happen to the backlog then? Will veterans be stuck in the system indefinitely? It is time for VA to uphold its responsibility, to our veterans and to the American people, to break this cycle of unproductively and deliver the benefits that VA was created to provide,” said Bilirakis.“Every one of these claims represents a veteran and their family patiently waiting, not just a stack of paper on a bureaucrat’s desk. Technology should and must be used as there is a lot of innovation in the marketplace today to address many of these issues. But technology alone is not the silver bullet, and it is clear to me it will take continued oversight and pressure from Congress and veterans before VA turns a corner.”
For more news from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, please visit:
From: Mitchell, Amy [Amy.Mitchell@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 11:54 AM
Subj: Miller, Johnson, Roe Introduce VA Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012
IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 19, 2012 CONTACT: Amy Mitchell (202) 225-3527
Miller, Johnson, Roe Introduce VA Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Rep. Bill Johnson, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Rep. Phil Roe, issued the following statement on the introduction of the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 5948):
“As Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I am dedicated to ensuring VA is responsible to the very people it serves,” stated Rep. Jeff Miller. “VA has ignored these problems for far too long and has allowed reckless behavior to pervade the system, and we have yet to see any meaningful reforms. Therefore, the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act will require VA to clean up its fiduciary program by implementing new accounting practices and increasing transparency to the veteran. This legislation, the result of years of oversight, will better protect our veterans and their earned benefits.”
“For too long, VA fiduciaries have abused the system and subverted the rights of the veterans they were entrusted to protect, in some cases for personal gain,” stated Rep. Bill Johnson, sponsor of H.R. 5948. “This program has long been in need of reform. Our veterans and their families must trust VA and its agents to act lawfully and ethically on their behalf, and yet time and again, that trust has been broken, despite VA’s claims to the contrary.”
“The Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012 will mandate that all VA fiduciaries go through a background and credit check. This legislation also institutes an appeals process to ensure that veterans and their families have recourse should they lose confidence in a VA-appointed fiduciary. Furthermore, this bill will add a layer of protection to a veteran’s savings, and in cases of misfeasance, VA will ensure monies are returned to the veteran,” said Johnson.
“Too many veterans have been poorly treated under this program by the very people entrusted to protect them,” said Rep. Phil Roe. “It is clear that VA has lost control of the program, its employees, and there is no accountability or leadership. This begs the question, who is manning the ship? We will not, and cannot, tolerate any veteran being mistreated by VA-appointed fiduciaries. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass this legislation quickly and begin enactment immediately.”
For more news from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, please visit:
From: Mitchell, Amy [Amy.Mitchell@mail.house.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 6:03 PM
Subj: MEDIA ADVISORY: Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to Meet for Legislative Hearing
IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 19, 2012 CONTACT: Amy Mitchell (202) 225-3527
***** MEDIA ADVISORY *****
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to Meet for Legislative Hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 334 of the Cannon House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a legislative hearing on H.R. 2985, H.R. 3730, H.R. 4481, and H.R.5948.
WHO: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
WHAT: Legislative Hearing on H.R. 2985, H.R. 3730, H.R. 4481, and H.R.5948
WHEN: 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, June 20, 2012, Room 334, Cannon House Office Building
The Honorable Todd Akin
United States House of Representatives
Dave McLenachen, Director of Pension and Fiduciary Service
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Ralph Ibson, National Policy Director
Wounded Warrior Project
Lauren Kologe, Deputy Director of Veterans Benefits Program
Vietnam Veterans of America
Heather Ansley, J.D., Vice President of Veterans Policy
Lori Perkio, Assistant Director
Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission
The American Legion
Summary of legislation to be discussed:
H.R. 3985: Veteran’s I.D. Card Act, introduced by Rep. Todd Akin
H.R. 3730: Veterans Data Breach Timely Notification Act, introduced by Rep. Joe Donnelly
H.R. 4481: Veterans Affairs Employee Accountability Act, introduced by Rep. Phil Roe
H.R. 5948: Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012, introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson
For more news from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, please visit:
Russian Warships Said To Be Going To Naval Base In Syria
(New York Times) A tiny, frayed Russian military base on Syrias Mediterranean coast has jumped into international focus amid concern over how far Russia might go to bolster the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Face To Face, Obama Tries To Persuade Putin On Syria
(New York Times) President Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, finally had their face-to-face meeting on Monday, as Mr. Obama pressed Mr. Putin to work with him to ease President Bashar al-Assad of Syria out of power, a move increasingly viewed by the West as the only way to end the bloodshed that has been under way there for more than a year.
Take A Deep Breath, America
(TheDailyBeast.com) Before jumping into Egypt or Syria, the U.S. needs to think about what comes next, next, and next. And then, dont jump, writes Leslie H. Gelb.
Time For U.S. To Rattle The Saber
(Washington Times) As the United States and five other world powers engage in talks in Moscow with Iran over its production of high-grade uranium, Washington ought to meaningfully deploy the instrument of military power from its oft-cited all-options-on-the-table rhetoric. The United States sat down Monday with Iranian officials and counterparts from China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany to address Tehran’s growing stockpile of enriched uranium.
Our Nukes Cost More Than You Think; Stimson Pegs Annual Nuke Spending At $31B
(AOL Defense (defense.aol.com)) The defense budget is going down…have you heard? The presidential campaign is shedding a lot of heat, but very little light on this reality; you won’t hear much of substance about how or where it will go down. Or much sensible or reasonable discussion about how we manage a defense build-down in a way that saves money while ensuring we continue to be as secure as we are today.
U.S. Navy Places $42 Billion Bet On Carriers In China?s Sights
(Bloomberg Government (bgov.com)) The U.S. Navy is betting $42 billion on a new class of aircraft carriers, the world?s biggest and costliest warships ever, even as the Pentagon budget shrinks and China and Iran arm themselves with weapons to disable or destroy the behemoths.
Drones Most Accident-Prone U.S. Air Force Craft
(Bloomberg.com) The U.S. militarys three biggest drones, made by Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., are the most accident-prone aircraft in the Air Force fleet.
U.N. Investigator Decries U.S. Use Of Killer Drones
(Reuters.com) A U.N. investigator has called on the Obama administration to justify its policy of assassinating rather than capturing al Qaeda or Taliban suspects, increasingly with the use of unmanned drone aircraft that also take civilian lives.
National Guard Vice Chief Nominated, New Air Force Safety Chief: President Obama nominated Maj. Gen. Joseph Lengyel for promotion to the rank of lieutenant general for his assignment as vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, announced the Pentagon June 18. Lengyel has served since June 2011 as the senior US defense official in Cairo. A provision in the Fiscal 2012 defense authorization act established the vice chief post as a three-star position. Also on June 18, the Pentagon announced that Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz assigned Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward to be Air Force chief of safety, replacing Maj. Gen. Gregory Feest, who’s held that position since August 2010. Woodward has been special assistant to the deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements since May.
Military Isn’t Quick To Kill Its Killers
(Tacoma News Tribune) Two soldiers are awaiting courts-martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on multiple charges of murder that could send them to the Armys death row. But recent history suggests a military jury would be reluctant to use that punishment on defendants whose alleged crimes were committed in a combat zone.
Food Stamp Cuts Could Hit Military Members, Veterans
(HuffingtonPost.com) Congress’ push to cut food stamps could cause collateral damage in the military, hitting everyone from active-duty members to retirees, who together have used more than $100 million in federal food aid on military bases over the past year, a Huffington Post review of the data found.
Renewables No Fix For U.S. Military Fuel Woes: Study
(Reuters.com) Renewable fuels for U.S. military ships and jets are likely to remain “far more expensive” than petroleum products absent a technological breakthrough, a study for the U.S. Air Force found on Tuesday, questioning a Pentagon push for alternative energy.
Texas: Third Delay Possible In Fort Hood Rampage
(New York Times) Nidal Hasan, charged with shooting 13 fellow soldiers to death and wounding 31 others in a 2009 rampage at Fort Hood, will ask that his military trial be delayed a third time, until December, an Army spokesman said on Monday. His lawyers have not given a reason for the request. The trial was postponed previously because the defendant switched lawyers, and then his new lawyers asked for more time to prepare his defense.
NSA: It Would Violate Your Privacy To Say If We Spied On You
(Danger Room (Wired.com)) The surveillance experts at the National Security Agency wont tell two powerful United States Senators how many Americans have had their communications picked up by the agency as part of its sweeping new counterterrorism powers. The reason: it would violate your privacy to say so.
VA Neglect Lets Money Managers Cheat Vets
(San Francisco Chronicle) They survived the Nazis, the Viet Cong and the Taliban. But hundreds of mentally disabled veterans suffered new wounds when the country they served put their checkbooks in the hands of scoundrels.
Pentagon Concerned About Egypt’s Military’s Moves
(Boston Globe (boston.com)) Pentagon officials say they will continue to urge Egypt’s military council to transfer power to the new, democratically elected government, and are hopeful it will happen.
Defense Minister New Heir To Throne In Saudi Arabia
(New York Times) Saudi Arabias Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who was governor of Riyadh for nearly 50 years until his recent promotion to Saudi Arabias defense minister, was officially named crown prince on Monday, making him the heir apparent to the 88-year-old King Abdullah.
Pentagon Is Pressed On Afghan Inquiry
(Wall Street Journal) A congressional committee asked the Pentagon to investigate allegations by senior U.S. officers that an Army commander obstructed an inquiry into reports of abuses at Afghanistan’s main military hospital because he feared the news would embarrass President Barack Obama before the 2010 elections.
McCain Says U.S. Should Go Outside UN For Syria Action
(Bloomberg.com) President Barack Obama should go outside the United Nations to lead a multilateral military response to the violence in Syria, Senator John McCain said.
Philippines And China Ease Tensions In Rift At Sea
(New York Times) Chinese fishing boats near the disputed Scarborough Shoal off the Philippine coast were heading back to port on Monday after Philippine vessels withdrew from the same area in an easing of tensions in the South China Sea, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
Chinese Hit New Space Heights
(Wall Street Journal) China successfully achieved its first manned space docking, an important step in the country’s quest to launch a space station by around 2020.
(Aerospace Daily & Defense Report) Although Bell-Boeing and the U.S. Marine Corps are stepping up efforts to secure an export order for the V-22 tiltrotor, such a sale is still some time off, says Mark Kronenberg, vice president for international business development at Boeing Defense, Space & Security.
Record Political Contributions From Defense Industry Going To Republicans
(NationalJournal.com) The nation’s biggest defense contractors are on pace to make record amounts of political contributions this election cycle. Unfortunately for Democrats, the vast majority is going to the GOP.
(Los Angeles Times) The history of U.S.-Pakistani relations is one of wild swings between feigned friendship and ill-disguised mistrust. When the United States needs Pakistan, Washington showers Islamabad with money, weapons and expressions of high esteem. Once the need wanes, the gratuities cease, often with brutal abruptness. Instead of largesse, Pakistan gets lectures, with the instruction seldom well received.
Navy’s Troubled Minesweeper Shows That Smaller Programs Need A Closer Look, Too
(Washington Post) When will the Navy – all the services, really – learn that it takes a lot more than wishing when it comes to building multimillion-dollar weapon systems?
The Legacy Of 1812
(Baltimore Sun) Grand anniversaries often make us ponder the links between our past and our present. Baltimore’s superb bi-centennial commemorations for the War of 1812 have been no exception. Watching the buzz of commercial activity in the harbor has reminded me vividly that our reliance on the sea is even more relevant now than it was when the Royal Navy blockaded Baltimore’s port all those years ago.
Deployment Creates New Kind Of Family
(Anchorage Daily News) Army life is nomadic, and deployments are full of uncertainty. But over the last seven months, the women have found stability in each other. They have helped with moves, watched soccer games, shoveled roofs, fixed computers, cooked meals, cared for kids, rescued each other on roadsides, pushed strollers for miles, coached one another through bitter days, and seen one baby born.
A Leaderless World
(Wall Street Journal) Not so long ago much of the world griped about an America that was too assertive, a “hyperpower” that attempted to lead with too little deference to the desires of those attending the G-20 meeting today in Mexico. Well, congratulations. A world without U.S. leadership is arriving faster than even the French hoped. How do you like it?
Newspapers Discuss How U.S. Should Respond To Latest Events In Egypt
(New York Times; Washington Post; Los Angeles Times; USA Today) Four newspapers discuss how the U.S. should react to a controversial interim constitution decreed over the weekend by Egypt’s council of generals.
Long-time Air Force Deserter Comes Forward: David Hemler, who deserted the Air Force in February 1984 and has lived secretly in Sweden since then, has come forward, revealing his identify and contacting his family back in the United States, according to press reports. Hemler was 21 when he left his unit, the 6913th Electronic Security Squadron in Augsburg, Germany, and began living under an assumed name in Sweden after becoming disillusioned, reported Reuters June 17. He has been one of the Air Force’s top fugitives. Now 49, Hemler decided the time was right to come forward, though his is unsure of his fate. “My dream scenario is that the responsible authorities realize I have already been punished quite severely for my actions. . . . I have been living 28 years in lies,” he said, reported Reuters. Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Jennifer Spires told the Daily Report June 18 that Hemler’s matter is under investigation. “While the investigation continues, it is inappropriate for the Air Force to discuss the specifics of Senior Airman Hemler’s case,” she said. “The Air Force works in every case to ensure the subject of, and parties to, an investigation are not unfairly prejudiced by publicity.”
New Reserve Building at Robins: The first of some 400 occupants last week began moving into Air Force Reserve Command’s newly constructed two-story administrative building at Robins AFB, Ga. The 93,000-square-foot building is part of an effort to consolidate seven off-base and on-base facilities into one headquarters complex at Robins for AFRC, according to a June 15 Robins release. The facility will temporarily house offices, including the manpower and personnel directorate (A1), logistics shop (A4), installations and mission support (A7), and the Readiness Management Group, states the release. (Robins report by Jenny Gordon)
Commando Posthumously Awarded Silver Star: SrA. Mark Forester, an Air Force Special Operations Command combat controller, last week posthumously received the Silver Star medal for his gallantry in action in Afghanistan in 2010. An insurgent sniper’s bullet killed Forester, 29, on Sept. 29, 2010, while he was helping a fallen teammate during an assault on an insurgent safe haven in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, according to a June 15 AFSOC releasesaid Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, AFSOC commander. “We commit his actions forever to memory as is due a true hero and bother-in-arms.”)