Please Note: The Veterans News compiled and transmitted by Wayne M. Gatewood, Jr., USMC (Ret), does not endorse the views and/or facts presented, or any commercial products that may be advertised or available on external links. The presence of a link to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring of that site, or the views or privacy policies contained therein).
Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide. The Virginia attorney general has released a 33-page guide to legal resources for service members, their families and veterans which will be distributed by the state Department of Veterans Services and Veterans service organizations. The guide explains the unique rights and protections afforded the military, covering employment, consumer protection, education, state taxes, family law, voting and other laws. Read here... Sent in by our fellow Veteran, Alan Bunting, USAFR (Ret). Thanks Alan!
A Variety of Veterans News from Variety of Sources
Associated Press Russian surveillance plane creates buzz in Washington. A low-flying Russian airplane created a buzz in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, but it turns out the surveillance flight over the Capitol, Pentagon and other sites was cleared by the U.S. government under a long-standing global treaty.
Associated Press Guam's worries grow as tensions rise between US, North Korea. Residents of the tiny Pacific island of Guam say they’re afraid of being caught in the middle of escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea after Pyongyang announced it was examining plans for attacking the strategically important U.S. territory.
Bloomberg Pentagon's Silicon Valley Unit Helps Target Terrorists. U.S. pilots flying combat sorties against Islamic State and al-Qaeda offshoots may soon be directed to hit “pop-up” targets -- such as fleeing vehicles, ambushes and attempts to plant roadside bombs -- through streamlined planning tools crafted in Silicon Valley.
Kitsap Sun Navy extends Nimitz stay in Middle East. The Navy informed families Saturday that the USS Nimitz, which was involved in a second incident with Iran Tuesday, will extend its stay in the Persian Gulf.
Stars and Stripes The fight to derail senators' military compensation squeeze. The Congressional Budget Office, in estimating the impact of key provisions in House and Senate defense authorization bills for fiscal 2018, also spotlights the higher out-of-pocket costs that military folks would face if various Senate-devised personnel initiatives survive negotiations with the House to shape a final bill.
WFED (AM-1500): VA’s Shulkin blows his stack. Great CEOs keep the big picture in mind and make sure everyone knows where the organization is going. But they also know which details to bore in on when necessary, lest a localized problem blossoms into cancer. Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin has bored into one situation like a dentist’s drill.
Townhall: A Pathetic Show of Bureaucratic Garbage. On Wednesday, we learned that the Department of Veterans Affairs has been forced to rehire the former director of the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Brian Hawkins had been fired in July after the completion of an internal investigation.
Government Executive: VA Secretary Vows to Re-Fire Former DC Health Center Chief. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin on Wednesday blasted a decision by Merit Systems Protection Board Vice Chairman Mark Robbins to issue a stay in the firing of the former director of the VA medical facility in Washington, D.C. Brian Hawkins was relieved of his duties at the D.C. medical center in April after a report faulted the center for deficiencies in how it handles medical supplies.
New Hampshire Public Radio: Manchester VA Officials Removed, Reassigned to Regional Office. Two high-ranking officials removed from the Manchester VA medical center last month have been reassigned to positions at the VA New England Healthcare System in Bedford, Massachusetts. Danielle Ocker, former director of the Manchester VA, and James Schlosser, former chief of staff, were both criticized by whistle-blowers in a Boston Globe article containing allegations of poor care and unsanitary conditions at the hospital.
Stars and Stripes: Plan to institute military oath against suicide could backfire, some experts say. Kelly said the APA wants the Defense Department and VA to use evidence-based suicide prevention practices. Bryan, an Iraq war veteran, led a study comparing the effectiveness of no-suicide contracts with an alternative approach -- to create a crisis-response plan people can use when struggling with suicidal thoughts. The study was published in January in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
U.S. News & World Report (AP): Manchester VA Partners with Catholic Medical Center. Some Manchester VA Medical Center providers will be seeing patients at Catholic Medical Center while repairs are made to the veterans hospital after recent flooding. A burst pipe caused severe flooding at the Manchester facility last month, just after the Boston Globe published allegations of substandard care and conditions. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin visited the hospital last week, has removed three top officials and ordered an investigation.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Manchester VA Partner with Catholic Medical Center. Filing an application for enrollment is the first step veterans must take to gain access to health care at the more than 150 VA hospitals across the country. But a scathing new federal review finds the health enrollment system overseen by a national VA office in Atlanta is in disarray. Poor oversight and mismanagement of the enrollment system resulted in delays to health care access for some veterans…
WPTV (NBC-5): Inspector General finds West Palm Beach VA Medical Center delayed care for hundreds of Veterans. Did the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center delay care for hundreds of veterans with cardiology issues? A new report from the Department of Veterans Affairs' Inspector General says yes. According to a recently released report, The Office of Inspector General received two separate anonymous complaints in 2014 and 2015, alleging delay of care and potential manipulation of wait-time statistics at the VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The Columbus Dispatch: Women Veterans in Ohio gathering in Columbus for conference. That’s one reason Baun, who is the Ohio director for the Military Women Across the Nation organization, plans to be a part of Saturday’s Ohio Women Veterans Conference hosted by the state Department of Veterans Services at the Ohio Union on Ohio State University’s campus. The day-long conference, first hosted in 2006, is among the largest of its kind in the nation, with more than 500 women already registered.
ExecutiveBiz:VA Issues Mobile Cloud Services Infrastructure RFI. The Department of Veterans Affairs has released a request for information on potential contractors that can support the development of a mobile cloud services infrastructure for VA. A FedBizOpps notice posted Tuesday says the VA MCS system will replace the department’s mobile infrastructure services platform that works to facilitate common controls sharing and management across several applications and enclaves.
Veteran sexual trauma victims: You are not alone: Mary spends her time raising three children and volunteering to serve other Veterans. Her father was a Vietnam Vet. She loved soccer and Barbie dolls. But, her love of the military began when she was in ROTC. She loved the lifestyle and the discipline. She enlisted in the U.S. Army immediately after she completed school. During her four years in the Army, she was sexually assaulted on multiple occasions. She is not alone.
Stars and Stripes Mattis warns North Korea that military action would lead to its destruction. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned North Korea on Wednesday against forcing the United States to use its military power to destroy them. North Korea “should cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people,” Mattis said.
Stars and Stripes Trump tough talk on North Korea seen in 1999 TV interview. In a conversation with the late Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press," Donald Trump said that, as president, he would "negotiate like crazy" with North Korea, but added "if that negotiation doesn't work, you better solve the problem now than solve it later."
Stars and Stripes American aircraft carrier to visit Vietnam next year, Pentagon says. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis met Tuesday with Ngo Xuan Lich, Vietnam’s defense minister, to discuss further steps in their mutual defense relationship and regional security challenges. The two also agreed to expand naval cooperation and the sharing of information.
Stars and Stripes Marines: Ospreys in Japan safe to fly following deadly crash. The Marine Corps has deemed its Japan-based MV-22 Ospreys safe to fly despite the Japanese government’s request to ground the fleet of tilt-rotor aircraft after a deadly crash off the coast of Australia, a top general said Wednesday.
The HillDevaluing Human Life Is No Way To Thank Wounded Veterans For Their Service. For a veteran facing a lifetime of paralysis after suffering a spinal cord injury, hope is often the last thing to die. Yet, the recently introduced House bill, H.R. 3197, threatens to crush what little hope to which I, and the approximately 60,000 veterans living with spinal cord injury, cling. The act proposes to reduce investment in medical research, and the reason is as simple as it is controversial: animal research. Introduced by Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), the Act follows reports of experimentation on dogs at the McGuire VA Medical Center in the congressman’s home state. Purportedly disturbing reports revealed that animals were being given amphetamines and suffering heart attacks, among other research-based details that aren’t easily digestible by those outside of the scientific community. The mainstream gut reaction that followed these revelations was easy to predict. When contemplated in a vacuum, the thought of animals experiencing induced pain would bother any reasonable person. However, I do not enjoy the luxury of contemplating these thoughts in a vacuum.
WPHT (W1, Audio): VA Secretary: Department Is Modernizing, Cutting Down Wait Times. David Shulkin, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs appeared on The Rich Zeoli Show on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT to discuss the improvements that have been made since the Department became entangled with scandals in recent years over veterans being delayed in receiving the care or, in some cases, dying before they get it, saying that the situation continues to improve.
The Virginian-Pilot: In Norfolk, VA Secretary outlined 5 priorities for overhauling Veterans’ care. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin described the VA system much like he might a patient. “The VA has a lot of problems right now, and I describe it as being in critical condition,” Shulkin told reporters Wednesday. “That means we need to intensively monitor the progress of the organization, but I believe we’re moving in the right direction.”
Daily Caller: VA Secretary: My Only Clinical Priority IS Decreasing Vet Suicides. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said in an address Monday morning that his only clinical priority at the moment is making sure the veteran suicide rate drops. “The last priority and really my only clinical priority that I talk about right now is suicide and veteran suicide,” Shulkin said Monday at the 118th Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Military.com: Vets More at Risk of Opioid Abuse in Private Care: Inspector General. Veterans using the VA's Choice program allowing private-sector health care face a "significant risk" of opioid abuse in the treatment of chronic pain, according to the VA's Inspector general. Policies in place at the Department of Veterans Affairs to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions do not necessarily apply to private-sector doctors, the IG said.
The Fix: VA Calls For Review Of Opioid Policies for At-Risk Veterans. A new report found that a lack of communication and inconsistent guidelines may be putting veterans at a higher risk of overdose. The Department of Veterans Affairs has released a report calling for changes in how opioids are prescribed to at-risk veterans, particularly those with chronic pain and co-occurring mental health issues, focusing on better communication between VA healthcare providers and doctors outside the VA system.
News-Express: Moran pushes for reforms in VA health care. Dr. David Shulkin believes lessons of the television show “Shark Tank” can be applied to improving the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shulkin, the VA secretary, said Tuesday that the program fostering entrepreneurs rewards those business ideas that solve problems. And the VA, he conceded, has problems. “I firmly believe we can fix this system,” he said at the VA Center for Innovation.
Daily News Journal: Visiting VA exec: MTSU Veterans center ‘tremendous’. Incredible and tremendous are just two of many words national Veterans Affairs official Scott R. Blackburn said about the facilities and people connected with Middle Tennessee State University’s Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center. Blackburn, interim deputy secretary of the VA, toured the center and had lunch with university President Sidney A. McPhee, five student veterans and others Tuesday.
The Washington Post (AP): VA forced to rehire director of DC Veterans hospital. A former director of the veterans hospital in the nation’s capital who had been fired for poor leadership has been rehired. Brian Hawkins was put back on the Department of Veterans Affairs payroll after he appealed the decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Hawkins was let go last month after audits found mismanagement at the facility.
The Washington Post: Federal panel blocks firing of head of troubled DC Veterans’ hospital. A federal board has blocked the firing of the director of D.C.’s troubled hospital for veterans, setting up a showdown with the Trump administration as it pursues expanded authority to clean house at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Brian Hawkins, who until recently served as the head of the VA Medical Center in Washington, was removed from his post in April and fired two weeks ago for what VA officials said was a failure to “provide effective leadership.”
The New York Times: VA Plans to fire Its DC Medical Director - Again. The head of the Veterans Affairs Department told lawmakers he intends to try out a new law that makes it easier to fire — and keep fired — deficient department employees. The test case: the former director of the agency’s main medical center here. The center’s director, Brian Hawkins, oversaw an operation that the department’s inspector general said was plagued by the “highest levels of chaos.”
NPR (Audio): US Moves to Amend Secret Mustard Gas Tests On Veterans. A wrong against a group of World War II veterans is about to be righted. There will be new acknowledgment that tens of thousands of troops were used as human test subjects for the Army's experiments with one of the most dreaded weapons of the time — mustard gas. And for the few who still survive, there's a new promise of health benefits.
KJZZ (NPR-91.5, Audio): What Are Differences Between GI Bill and Forever GI Bill? The original GI Bill was passed in 1944 and is one of the most impactful pieces of legislation Congress has ever approved. It gave veterans greater opportunities to attend college and buy homes. Earlier this summer, the House unanimously passed the Forever GI Bill, an expansion of a post-9/11 GI Bill.
Health Data Management: IT is top priority for VA as it tries to compete with private sector. The Department of Veterans Affairs will ultimately fix its health system through transparency about the many challenges that the agency is struggling to address, including information technology issues, according to VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD. Only through openness and honesty about the VA’s myriad problems will the agency be able to find creative and innovative solutions that are effective in transforming veteran healthcare, contends Shulkin.
FedScoop: Legacy systems hinder Veterans Affairs’ DATA Act compliance, report says. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ decades old financial management system makes it all but impossible for the agency to fully comply with the financial reporting requirements of the DATA Act, a recently-released report states. The audit, commissioned by the VA’s Office of the Inspector General and completed by CliftonLarsonAllen LLP in November 2016, was released publicly on Tuesday.
Task & PurposeThe Marine Corps Doesn’t Know Why It Chose ‘Semper Fi’ As Its Motto. The few, the proud, the Marines: custodians of a proud martial tradition dating back to Nov. 10, 1775. So it might surprise you to know that the Marine Corps doesn’t know why its motto is Semper Fidelis. The iconic phrase, Latin for “always faithful,” has captured the spirit of Marines, past, present, and future, since the 1880s. But the reasoning behind its selection is still unknown. No, really. We asked the Marine Corps, and they …
Upcoming Veteran Events
American Legion Post 328, Southfield, Michigan Listing of Current Events in and around the Metro Detroit Area for and about Veterans, for the period August 8 - November 18, 2017.
Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) offering Relationship Building Course for Military/ Veteran couples, August 18 -20, 2017, Richmond, VA. Details here…..
American Legion will be hosting a Career Fair as well as an Employment Summit in conjunction with the American Legion Annual Convention in Reno, NV. Employment Summit is August 18 – 19, 2017. Details here… Veterans Employment Workshop and Veterans Career and Benefits Fair is August 22, 2017. Details here…
Objective Rally Point (ORP). Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 7:15 AM - 9:00 AM, Army-Navy Country Club, 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202. You are invited to join us for our monthly Veteran networking breakfast on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. ORP is a forum for military Veterans in business and those who support them, or wish to team with them, to meet and connect. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to network with other Veterans committed to success in business. Although the focus of ORP is on the connections made between and with Veterans, we do have a presentation each month. This month we are very fortunate to have our annual panel of Federal Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Directors. Confirmed to participate on the panel are, Dr James Galvin, Deputy Director for Portfolio Management & Outreach, DoD Office of Small Business Programs, David Canada, Procurement Analyst/Program Manager, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Also invited to participate are Veterans Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security and OSDBUs from the military services. This is an incredible panel of government small business representatives and advocates who will provide information and perspective from several different agencies on how Veterans can be successful in marketing and winning contracts. Any Veteran interested in contracting with the government needs to attend and gain the benefit of decades of small business experience on the panel. Cost is $35.00. For more information and to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/objective-rally-point-august-2017-tickets-36778817433
Marine Week – Detroit, MI. September 6 – 10, 2017. Marine Week, hosted by the United States Marine Corps in one city per year, is a celebration of Community, Country and Corps – providing the American public the experience of directly connecting with hundreds of Marines. From September 6 –10, 2017, Marine Week Detroit will feature hands-on static displays, live demonstrations, time-honored Marine Corps traditions, musical performances and other events to showcase the history, military capabilities and community involvement of the Corps. For details: http://usmarineweek.com/