A Variety of Veterans News from a Variety of Sources
VA and Community Partners Collaborating to Address Veteran Deaths By Suicide: Suicide prevention is the primary clinical priority of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Dr. David Shulkin, secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Dr. Poonam Alaigh, acting under secretary for Health, know VA “can’t do it alone” and emphasize the importance of partnerships with community nongovernmental organizations to meet the complex and comprehensive needs of Veterans. Dr. Alaigh highlighted successful partnerships between VHA medical centers and their local communities to showcase best practices for “Collaborating with Community Partners to Prevent Suicide Amongst Veterans 50 Years and Older,” the theme for the 2017 Community Partnership Challenge. Partnering with the community to address this national crisis makes sense for many reasons including the fact that more than two-thirds of Veterans dying by suicide seek care outside the VA system.
New York Times Iraqi Prime Minister Arrives in Mosul to Declare Victory Over ISIS. Dressed in a military uniform, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived here in Mosul on Sunday to congratulate Iraq’s armed forces on their victory over the Islamic State and mark the formal end of a bloody campaign that lasted nearly nine months, left much of Iraq’s second-largest city in ruins, killed thousands of people and displaced nearly a million more.
Agence France-Presse North Korea warns of nuclear 'tipping point' over US-South Korea bomber drill. North Korea on Sunday (July 9) lashed out at a live-fire drill the United States and South Korea staged in a show of force against Pyongyang, accusing Washington of pushing the peninsula to the "tipping point" of nuclear war.
Defense News Poland signs memo with US outlining road map to buy Patriot, but no done deal yet. Poland announced a two-phased plan to buy a missile defense system from the U.S. in a memorandum of intent that makes political headway but is no closer to minting an actual deal than it was earlier this year when the country said it would buy Patriot missile defense systems by the year’s end.
Military Times Lawmakers want to extend bigger buyouts for defense civilian workers. House lawmakers want to extend bigger payouts for Defense Department civilian employees who leave their jobs early.
Defense News House Armed Services panel unveils $696.5 billion defense authorization bill. The House Armed Services Committee unveiled its $696.5 billion defense policy bill on Monday, which reflects an emerging deal among House Republican leaders but falls short what pro-defense lawmakers sought.
Washington Examiner Mark Warner warns Jim Mattis not to kick out noncitizen recruits. The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee warned Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that any attempt to cancel enlistment contracts with thousands of noncitizen military recruits will be met with "strong, swift action" on Capitol Hill.
Military.com Army Will Not Hold More MHS Tests Between Glock and Sig Sauer. The U.S. Army has no plans to reopen its Modular Handgun System competition, at the request of Glock Inc., to conduct more testing between the winning Sig Sauer P320 and the Glock 19, according to an Army spokesman.
Army Times Take three years off: Army expands Career Intermission Pilot Program. The Army is expanding opportunities for soldiers to participate in its Career Intermission Pilot Program, according to a new directive from the secretary of the Army.
Navy Times Congressman hopes to rename Department of the Navy, incorporate US Marine Corps. A North Carolina congressman is continuing in his quest to rename the Department of the Navy, reports the Jacksonville Daily News.
Marine Corps Times Watch President Trump retrieve a Marine's cover. President Donald Trump retrieved a Marine's cover that had blown off while he boarded Marine One at Joint Base Andrews on Saturday.
Associated Press Diego Hernandez, once Navy's highest-ranking Hispanic officer, dies. Family members say retired Vice Adm. Diego "Duke" Hernandez, once the highest-ranking Hispanic officer in the U.S. Navy, has died. He was 83.
Navy Times Lawmakers push back against Navy peacoat changes. House lawmakers are pushing back against a Navy plan to make the iconic peacoat an optional piece of attire in a sailor’s seabag.
Air Force Times Air Force rolls out extended Squadron Officer School. The Air Force is expanding its Squadron Officer School from five weeks to six and a half weeks as part of Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein's effort to revitalize squadrons and better develop joint leaders.
NBC News Meet Esther Blake, the First Woman to Join the Air Force. After her eldest son was shot down while flying a B-17 and reported missing during World War II, Esther Blake became a woman on a mission — to enlist in the military herself and help end the war. She joined the Women’s Army Corps in 1944 and, 69 years ago today, on July 8, 1948, the 51-year-old became the first woman to enlist in the Air Force.
Military Times Home-front help: 14 tips for dealing with deployment, from spouses who've been there. At times while her husband was deployed, Cindy Brewer was so busy that when he called, she would just set up the laptop in the middle of the room for a video chat, and he would simply watch and listen to all the activity.
Military Times: Representative wants departing troops to take an oath to help fellow Veterans. Afghanistan war veteran Rep. Brian Mast wants all service members leaving the ranks to take an oath to continue taking care of themselves and their fellow troops, as a way to stem suicides among veterans.
The Oregonian: Iraq Veteran who grew up in Portland arrested by ICE. An Iraq war veteran who grew up in Portland is being held by federal immigration agents in a Tacoma detention center and could be deported to South Korea. Chong Hwan Kim, 41, has lived in Portland since his family immigrated with documentation when he was 5, his friends said.
Military Times Veteran unemployment rises again in June. The first month of summer may have brought an extra 200,000 jobs for Americans, but veteran employment took a slight hit.
Stars and Stripes: Lawmakers to take on veterans issues after weeklong recess. As they return this week from a July Fourth break, lawmakers are set to discuss Department of Veterans Affairs health care, its 2018 budget, how veterans are affected by the opioid crisis and how the VA handles claims for Gulf War Illness – all while facing a short timeframe to do something about quickly diminishing funds in the VA Choice program.
The Washington Post: Federal employee civil service protections outdated? The experts speak. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is a game-changer for the federal workforce and a reason to worry about the future of due process for federal employees. At the legislation’s recent White House signing ceremony, President Trump put the government’s workforce in general on notice when he said “outdated laws kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.”
National Monitor: Can the Trump Administration Deliver on its Promises to War Veterans? Will America’s beleaguered war veterans finally get the care and respect they deserve? In a promising sign, President Trump has made overhauling the Veteran’s Administration (VA) – the nation’s second largest government bureaucracy – a top White House priority.
CBS News: Hundreds of VA officials fired since Trump’s inauguration. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that more than 500 officials have been fired for misconduct since President Trump took office earlier this year, according to data posted online. In an effort for more transparency and accountability within the VA, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin announced that a public list of employee "accountability actions" will be posted online and updated weekly.
Military Times: VA to make public all employee firings. Veterans Affairs officials on Friday announced plans to publicly list firings and demotions for any department employee as part of their pledge to bring more accountability to the bureaucracy. In a statement, VA Secretary David Shulkin said the move shows that his department is focused on both improving veterans’ care and providing greater transparency into government operations.
ABC News (AP): VA makes public its disciplinary action against employees. The Department of Veterans Affairs is posting a weekly list of disciplinary actions taken against its employees, part of an overhaul effort pushed by President Donald Trump. VA Secretary David Shulkin said Friday the effort is aimed at improving accountability at the struggling department after Trump signed a bill last month to make it easier to fire, suspend or demote department employees.
Stars and Stripes: VA employee disciplinary actions are now public information. The Department of Veterans Affairs made public Friday a list of employee terminations, demotions and suspensions that it will update weekly, which agency officials said is an attempt at transparency following action by Congress to give the VA secretary unprecedented disciplinary power.
Government Executive: VA Becomes the First Federal Agency to Publicly Post All Major Disciplinary Actions. The Veterans Affairs Department has begun publicly posting all major disciplinary actions taken against its employees, saying the action will send a message about the new culture the Trump administration is imposing at the agency.
WPLG (ABC-10, Video): Dr. David Shulkin aims to improve healthcare for military Veterans. With no end in sight to the global war on terrorism, U.S. combat veterans continue to return to South Florida with traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and other disabilities. The veterans have been coming home to an opioid crisis and a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with scandal-plagued facilities and sweeping mismanagement.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: VCU and McGuire VA hospital are powerful partners for Veterans – and the rest of us. In recent years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has come under intense scrutiny and heavy criticism for a variety of reasons. My experience with the VA, however, has been nothing but positive. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 13 years ago. My service in the Army during the Vietnam War qualified me for drug trials at the comprehensive Parkinson’s disease center at the McGuire VA hospital in Richmond.
San Antonio Express-News: Troops survive battlefields only to be forsaken at home / Military boots Vets with service-related mental illnesses for misconduct. Dustin Greco returned from Iraq feeling bored and mystified. Life without war lacked urgency or meaning, and with his mind aflame after a year in the combat zone, he turned to pot and beer to subdue his thoughts. He failed a drug test a few months later. Within weeks, at age 20, he found himself out of the Army and deprived of the career he had wanted since boyhood.
Star Tribune: Minnesota’s medical marijuana clinics opening doors to PTSD patients, State will enroll them, VA urges caution. Marine Corps veteran Ed Erdos tried medical marijuana to ease his pain, and found that it also eased his mind. He enrolled with the Health Department’s Office of Medical Cannabis last year in search of relief from the pain and muscle spasms caused by injuries he suffered in a helicopter crash. But along with pain relief came relief from the anxiety, intrusive thoughts and fear that haunted him for years as a result of service-related post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Exponent Telegram: VA programs help Vets suffering from PTSD. Long after wars have ceased and peace treaties have been signed, the effects on the combatants can linger. Health-care professionals at the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center know this all too well.
Philadelphia Inquirer: VA stepping up efforts to prevent Veteran suicide. The most recent Department of Veterans Affairs statistics show that 20 veterans a day die by suicide. While this is an improvement over the 22 per day reflected in a 2012 report, we at the VA know that much more needs to be done. Getting to zero is our goal, and ending veteran suicide is one of five designated priorities of the VA.
The Fresno Bee: A second chance for Veterans who bring the war home with them. It is a Friday afternoon and I am standing next to a young man in a Fresno County Superior Courtroom, listening as he reads a letter to the judge that he has written. He is expressing his gratitude for being allowed to enter a program that is helping him turn his life around.
The Wall Street Journal: ‘People Are Dying Here’: Federal Hospitals Fail Tribes. The IHS, a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services, operates a network of hospitals and clinics, much like the Veterans Health Administration. Under U.S. treaties that date back generations, the service is legally responsible for providing medical care to about 2.2 million tribal members.
The Washington Post (Video): Why Ted Cruz faced off with a ‘dirty’ liberal and other health-care opponents this week. During a week most Republican senators spent in the political equivalent of the witness protection program, Sen. Ted Cruz willingly stood trial before his constituents all across this sprawling state over his push to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act. He debated a self-described “dirty liberal progressive.” He met a psychologist who told him that he and his colleagues were “scaring the living daylights” out of her.
Houston Chronicle: In Houston, Ted Cruz gets temporary reprieve from health care debate. After a week of traveling the state, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz finally got what he was looking for. For nearly an hour Saturday, the Republican from Houston hosted a town hall meeting about veterans issues with hardly any interruptions from protesters who overtook similar events in Austin and, to a lesser extent, Dallas earlier this week.