Shulkin to VFW: We want Veterans to get the right care at the right place: On Monday, July 24, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin addressed an audience of VFW and Auxiliary members at the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) 118th National Convention in New Orleans. In his remarks, Shulkin spoke on the five key priorities he has identified to transform VA. The first of those five priorities is to give Veterans greater choice. “When I talk about greater choice, right now we have a system that I would call a rules-based system,” Shulkin said, highlighting how administrative rules, such as how far a Veteran lives from a VA, dictates whether that person can get care in their local community. “I believe we need a system that’s not based on rules, but is based on your clinical needs.”
Stars and Stripes Pentagon: Chinese fighters intercepted US Navy spy plane. Two Chinese fighter jets performed a dangerous intercept of an American spy plane Sunday over the East China Sea, forcing the Navy EP-3 reconnaissance jet to maneuver to avoid a mid-air collision, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.
New York Times North Korea could cross ICBM threshold next year, U.S. officials warn in new assessment. North Korea will be able to field a reliable, nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile as early as next year, U.S. officials have concluded in a confidential assessment that dramatically shrinks the timeline for when Pyongyang could strike North American cities with atomic weapons.
Military Times Official: US Navy ship fires warning shots near Iranian ship. A U.S. Navy ship fired on a fast approaching Iranian ship Tuesday in the latest U.S. skirmish with Iranian vessels in the northern Persian Gulf.
Defense News Navarro: Trump ordered US defense-industrial base study to help 'rebuild' military. The executive order President Trump signed Friday ordering a governmentwide review of America’s defense industry aims to help fulfill Trump’s promise to “rebuild” the military, a top U.S. trade official says.
Defense News McCain back in DC, but DoD policy bill still stuck behind health care. Sen. John McCain made dramatic return to the Senate Tuesday to cast a vote to start debate on the GOP’s Obamacare overhaul and said he hoped to shepherd the 2018 defense policy bill through the Senate soon.
DefenseOne Annual Defense Bill Aims to Rein in Pentagon Outsourcing. Supporters say measure would protect federal employees from seeing their jobs contracted out.
Military Times Mattis: Get unnecessary training off warfighters’ backs. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered a review of all the administrative and training requirements that prevent trigger pullers and pilots alike from focusing on warfighting.
Army Times Jordan's military releases footage of 3 U.S. Green Berets killed last November. Jordan’s military released the security camera footage of the Nov. 4 shooting that killed three U.S. Army service members outside the al-Jafr base in southern Jordan.
Marine Corps Times Marine’s 4-year-old son melts hearts across the country. Marine Sgt. Joshua Newville and Senior Airman Emily Leehan exchanged wedding vows in front of their closest friends and family over the weekend, but it was Leehan’s vows to Newville’s 4-year-old son Gage that captured hearts across the country.
Defense News US Navy releases video of encounter with Iranian patrol boat. The U.S. Navy has released video Tuesday of a close encounter between an Iranian and U.S. Navy patrol boats, which prompted the patrol craft Thunderbolt to fire warning shots.
Stars and Stripes Changes to Air Force PME program prove popular with airmen. Recent changes to the Air Force’s professional military education program for enlisted airmen were met with enthusiastic praise in work centers, dining facilities, online communities, and pretty much anywhere airmen talk.
Associated Press Air Force study: Firefighting chemicals got into groundwater. An Air Force study released Tuesday confirmed that toxic chemicals in firefighting foam used at Colorado’s Peterson Air Force Base leached into surrounding groundwater.
Military Times Bringing back the draft. Restarting the military draft after more than four decades of an all-volunteer force would be complicated. But it could be done.
Military Times: House Veterans Affairs Chairman Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer. The chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee announced Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, but does not expect it to interfere with his legislative schedule. In a statement, staffers said Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., received the news following a recent routine physical and will undergo treatment in Tennessee during the August work period.
Military Times: Trump promises huge increase in private sector care for Veterans. President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening promised to triple the number of veterans “seeing the doctor of their choice” in coming months as part of an ongoing, ambitious reform plan at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The comments, which came at a veterans rally in Ohio, are likely to again stoke concerns among administration critics of large-scale privatization of VA responsibilities.
The Vindicator: Trump rubs shoulders, lauds Veterans during Struthers stop. President Donald Trump stopped by Struthers to rub shoulders with a small group of veterans before his big rally at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown. He spoke to an audience of about 150 at Struthers AMVETS Post 44, 305 Elm St., arriving at 6:26 p.m. and accompanied by first lady Melania Trump.
WKBN (CBS-27, Video): Trump spoke to Veterans AMVES Post 44. Prior to his rally at Covelli Centre Tuesday night, President Donald Trump spoke at AMVETS Post 44 in Struthers. He said he is committed to helping veterans and — while not getting into specifics — hinted that a new VA healthcare facility could be coming to the area. “In my administration, we will always protect those who protect us,” he said.
The Pavlovic Today (Video): Remarks By President Trump Saluting American Heroes. Read the full remarks by President Trump saluting American Veterans […] Now, I went all over Ohio, but I went all over almost every state, and the veterans were a very, very big topic for me. You know that. And I think what we’re doing, it’s never been done before. We just had a bill — the VA Accountability bill. They’ve been trying to get it for many, many decades.
The New York Times: Future Unclear for Veterans Choice Program After House Bull Falters. Congressional lawmakers struggled on Tuesday to reach an agreement to prop up a popular multibillion-dollar health care program that allows veterans to see a private doctor at government expense. This was supposed to be a relatively easy task, meant to buy lawmakers time as they debated the future of the program.
Military.com: Struggle in Congress to Revive VA Choice Program Extension. The House and Senate scrambled Tuesday to come up with a bill that could pass bipartisan muster on extending the Veterans Choice Program on private health care before it goes broke next month.
The Washington Times: House GOP leaders go back to drawing board on VA ‘choice’ measure. House Republican leaders were working Tuesday on a plan B to fund the popular “Veterans Choice” health care plan after the full House rejected a bill Monday night. House Veterans Affairs’ Committee Chairman David P. Roe, Tennessee Republican, is talking with senators and Democratic lawmakers “about the path forward,” said committee spokeswoman Tiffany Haverly.
Healthcare IT News: House passes VA medical scribes bull to reduce wait times, improve care. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Monday that would provide medical scribes to 10 Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers for the next two years. The pilot program, proposed by Reps. Phil Roe, MD, R-Tennessee, and Greg Walden, R-Oregon, is designed to help unburden VA doctors to increase the number of patients seen.
The Washington Post: New GI Bill unanimously passes House, heads to Senate. The House voted unanimously late Monday to approve a new GI Bill that would expand access to higher education for veterans, those wounded on the battlefield and the surviving family members of troops killed in combat. The new bill, called the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, received broad bipartisan support and was passed 405 to 0, with 28 House members not voting.
Stars and Stripes: Let GI Bill meet 21st-century academic needs. App developer, robotics technician, digital animator and advanced manufacturer — what do all of these careers have in common? They didn’t exist 73 years ago when the GI Bill was signed into law. When our fighting forces shipped out to the Pacific and to the battlefields of Europe, near a fourth of Americans were farmers. Today, that number is around 0.01 percent.
Rose Unplugged (Audio): Rose speaks with Secretary David Shulkin. In this eight-minute interview, Secretary David Shulkin speaks with Rose Tennett about the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, modernizing IT, President Trump’s commitment to improving VA, the unanimous House vote to expand the GI Bill, and increasing Choice.
The Boston Globe: VA Secretary expands probe of embattled Manchester, NY hospital. The top Veterans Affairs official on Tuesday expanded the agency’s investigation of the Manchester VA Medical Center, ordering the VA’s inspector general to launch its own “separate, wholly independent review” of conditions at New Hampshire’s only hospital for veterans.
NH1 News (TV-1): Manchester VA Medical Center to host town hall following poor care allegations. The Manchester Veterans Affairs Medical Center is holding a veteran town hall and listening session following allegations of poor conditions and patient care. The session will be held at Manchester Community College on Wednesday at 6 p.m. to hear concerns from veterans and interested stakeholders and to provide an update on progress at the medical center.
The Mike Gallagher Show (SRN, Audio): VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin @SecShulkin and Mike discuss how to stop Veteran suicides. In this seven-minute interview, Secretary David Shulkin speaks with Mike Gallagher about veteran suicide and the importance of not privatizing VA.
Military Times: PTSD disability claims by Vets tripled in the last decade. More than one in five veterans receiving federal disability payouts suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, a figure that has spiked in the last decade. Veterans Affairs officials told lawmakers Tuesday that the number of disability cases related to PTSD has nearly tripled in that time, from around 345,000 cases in fiscal 2008 to more than 940,000 cases today.
The Huffington Post: Shortchanging Gulf Vets. The federal government has been using the delayed onset of undiagnosed illnesses in Gulf War veterans to cast doubt on some battlefield cause and effect justifications for benefit claims. It is reminiscent of the government in the 1990s’ trying to cut costs by initially rejecting Vietnam veterans’ illness claims. Those vets sought compensation for sicknesses alleged to have resulted from exposure years earlier to the toxic battlefield defoliant, Agent Orange.
KCEN (NBC-9, Video): Waco VA responds to Gulf War illness claims. According to a recentmystatesman.com article, the Waco VA has denied 92 percent of claims related to Gulf War illness. Channel 6 investigated the incident Monday. The VA estimates 44 percent of veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91 have medical issues. In order to qualify for compensation, the veterans must have a diagnosable condition or an undiagnosed illness such as abnormal weight loss, fatigue, psychological problems, etc.
NPR (All Things Considered, Audio): Study: CE Found In Nearly All Donated NFL Player Brains. As the country starts to get back into its most popular professional team sport, there is a reminder of how dangerous football can be. An updated study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association on football players and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy reveals a striking result among NFL players.
The Washington Post (Video): The latest brain study examined 111 former NFL players, only one didn’t have CTE. Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.
The American Prospect: Trump’s Budget Would Eliminate Agency Tasked with Ending Homelessness. Included in President Donald Trump’s proposed $6 billion cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development is the elimination of a small but vital program that has been a crucial force in driving down the U.S. homeless population. The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) has a scheduled sunset date of October 2017 and, for the first time since the Clinton administration, it may not be reauthorized.
Stars and Stripes Medal of Honor Theater opens at Marine Museum. The National Museum of the Marine Corps celebrated the newly-opened Medal of Honor Theater Sunday with showings of “We, The Marines,” narrated by Academy Award-winning actor and Marine Gene Hackman.