Veterans News for December 6, 2016

Veterans News – December 6, 2016



Short Notice – Public meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development.    Dear veteran small business stakeholders:  The Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development (IATF) meeting will meet this week onWednesday, December 7, 1-4 pm EST, at SBA HQ, 409 3rd Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20416.  The meeting is open to the public, and may also be attended via phone at: 1-888-858-2144 Access: 7336572#   To receive the presentations for this meeting via email, please RSVP to     Past IATF meetings were held on Thursday mornings the second week of December, March, June and September.  The December 7 meeting, and future IATF meetings, will be held on Wednesday afternoons.  The date of the next IATF meeting is scheduled for March 8, 2017.



Attended the Objective Rally Point (ORP)/Code of Support Foundation (COSF) Holiday Dinner on Saturday evening.  Was a great event.  Want to thank V.A. Secretary Bob McDonald for his attendance as our Guest Speaker and for staying with us through Dinner.  The Secretary’s presence was much appreciated, and he took the time to meet with as many Veterans, Troops and other guests as possible.  We were also blessed to have Matthew “Griff” Griffin and his lovely Wife Michelle attend the event.  Griff is the owner of Combat Flip Flops, has appeared on Shark Tank, and is running an amazing Company that gives back to humanity.  Griff is also a former Army Ranger who served one combat tour in Iraq and three combat Tours in Afghanistan.  Please take a look at Combat Flip Flops and Griff’s operation at:  For you ORP members that could not make the event, hope to see you at our next ORP Breakfast Meeting.



Defense News Early Bird Brief for Monday, December 5, 2016.



Stars and Stripes   House passes defense bill with biggest troop pay raise in years.  The House on Friday passed an annual defense policy bill that includes the largest troop pay raise in six years and puts the brakes on an Army drawdown.



Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) – “The Evening CSIS” – Presented by H. Andrew Schwartz, CSIS Chief Communication Officer.



Reserve Officers Association (ROA) SmartBrief for Monday, December 5, 2016.


DOD Contracts Awarded on Monday, December 5, 2016.



A Variety of Veterans News from a Variety of Sources.


Nomadic nature of the military necessitates a health record just as mobilePeople in the military and their families move around a lot, from more permanent assignments every few years to temporary assignments every few months. Packing up and moving across the country or, in some cases, across the world, is challenge enough without having to worry about whether health records are in the suitcases and handbags of those uprooting their lives. That’s why they deserve a health record that moves with them electronically.


Associated Press   Legislation honoring WWII spies awaits Obama’s signature.  Congress sent President Barack Obama legislation to give the Congressional Gold Medal to World War II spies who served behind enemy lines in Nazi Germany and the Pacific theater.


Stars and Stripes Former OSS members to be recognized with Congressional Gold Medal.  OSS members gathered critical intelligence in support of D-Day and supported, trained and led resistance movements in Axis-controlled territories.


Stars and Stripes   House passes defense bill with biggest troop pay raise in years.  The House on Friday passed an annual defense policy bill that includes the largest troop pay raise in six years and puts the brakes on an Army drawdown.


Washington Examiner   Defense policy bill would bring the biggest organizational changes in 30 years.   The changes included in the compromise bill, which will be considered in the House on Friday, range from a restructuring of the Pentagon’s acquisition department to reducing how long a member of the military must serve in a joint billet to advance.


Washington Examiner  Trump’s new foreign policy: ‘We will stop looking to topple regimes’ “We will destroy ISIS. At the same time, we will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments, folks,” Trump told attendees at the U.S. Bank Arena. “Our goal is stability, not chaos because we want to rebuild our country. It’s time.”


Stars and Stripes   At defense forum, Trump’s promises on spending draw praise, but other questions linger.  Panel discussions centered on security threats from Russia, North Korea and Islamic State, as well as cyber-attacks and the strength of U.S. forces.


Stars and Stripes   Conferees reject more pruning of military compensation.  House Armed Services Committee conferees, in negotiating a final fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill, succeeded in blocking every substantive initiative aimed at slowing military compensation growth as had been backed by the Senate, the Obama administration and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Washington Post   How Trump picking Mattis as Pentagon chief breaks with 65 years of U.S. historyPresident-elect Donald Trump choosing retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis as his secretary of defense breaks with decades of U.S. military history, putting a retired senior military officer in the job 65 years after Congress passed legislation that said it was “the sense” of lawmakers that “no additional appointments of military men to that office shall be approved.”


Washington Examiner Congress reacts to Trump’s ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis pick.  Congressional leaders reacted both in support of and opposition to President-elect Donald Trump’s Thursday night announcement that he will nominate retired Marine Corps. Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis as his defense secretary.


USA Today  White House: Obama supports registering women for military draftPresident Obama supports requiring women to register for Selective Service when they turn 18 — becoming the first president to endorse universal draft registration since Jimmy Carter.


Houston Chronicle: Mental Health Package Skirts Gun Politics In Congress.  The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., at the hands of a mentally disturbed gunman sparked a heart-wrenching debate about gun control, but very little action from Congress. Now, close to the four-year anniversary of Sandy Hook, Congress is poised to finalize health policy legislation with wide-ranging reforms for the nation’s mental health system.


The Arizona Republic General: Army struggles to meet goal of 80,000 recruits.  The U.S. Army is having trouble recruiting the 80,000 new soldiers it needs this fiscal year because most people don’t meet the requirements to join or are misinformed about the military, according to its chief recruiter


Stars and Stripes  Army chief of staff visits Bragg, tells troops to be ready.  Gen. Mark A. Milley, the Army chief of staff, had a simple message for the 82nd Airborne Division and Fort Bragg during a visit Friday. “Be ready,” he said noting that “none of us know what the future holds.”


Marine Corps Times Pilot error led Osprey to crash onto ship.  The pilot of an MV-22B Osprey was at fault for a December 2015 crash aboard the amphibious transport dock New Orleans, an investigation into the incident found.


Bloomberg Troubled $29 Billion U.S. Warship Sows Fresh Doubt on WorthCongress must decide “whether a ship that costs twice as much yet delivers less capability than planned warrants an additional investment,” the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report issued Thursday as the Senate Armed Services Committee met to review the $29 billion program.


Voice of America   US Air Force Has Severe Shortage of Pilots.  The United States Air Force is reporting a shortage of pilots of fighter airplanes. The lack is so severe that some generals say it may affect the service’s ability to carry out operations as soon as next year.


Stars and Stripes   Senate passes measure celebrating Air Force Academy women.  The U.S. Senate last week passed a belated resolution celebrating women at the Air Force Academy


WCMH/NBC-4 (WSAV/NBC-3, Video): National Veterans Group Appeals For Pardons For Those With Bad Discharges.  The effort to get tens of thousands of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans with less than honorable discharges medical and mental health services from the VA is going national.  This week, Vietnam Veterans of America sent letters to President Obama and President-elect Trump calling for all of the vets to be pardoned.


Military Times: Roe tapped to lead House Veterans’ Affairs Committee next year.  Republican House leaders on Thursday tapped four-term Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe to lead the chamber’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee next session, putting the former Army doctor in charge of their continued VA reform efforts. Roe’s appointment to the post was expected following the retirement of Florida Rep. Jeff Miller, who has chaired the committee for the last six years.


Government Matters (Video): Priorities for the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2017.  In this eight-minute video, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Ca.), ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, discusses what veterans issues President-Elect Trump should address in his first 100 days.


The New York Times: Vets Who Could Use an Assist From Mr. Trump.  What if there were some issue, some cause, some job that Donald Trump could take on as president, something he could unite many people behind, a mission even his bitterest critics could applaud? And what if this effort did not benefit cronies or corporations, but instead protected the lives and dignity of vulnerable, disadvantaged Americans, members of one of the few such groups Mr. Trump did not demean during the campaign?


Reuters: Contenders, picks for key jobs in Trump’s administration.  U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview aired on Friday that he expected to have most members of his Cabinet announced next week. Trump takes office on Jan. 20. Below are people mentioned as contenders for senior roles as Trump works to form his administration before taking office on Jan. 20, according to Reuters sources and media reports.


Military Times: VA’s top congressional critic could become the department’s next secretary.  Rep. Jeff Miller insists he has a largely positive view of the Department of Veterans Affairs, even if he has spent the last six years repeatedly blasting problems in the system. “I hate the idea that I’m always out pounding on the Department of Veterans Affairs,” the outgoing House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman said in an interview with Military Times this past week.


CBS News (Video):  Commentary: Send Romney to the VA, not the State Department.  There is a fantastic job in the incoming administration for Mitt Romney, and it’s not at State. It’s at the Department of Veterans Affairs, where his skills as a turnaround artist could save lives. Before we get to that, though, let’s take a look at whether it’s a good idea for Romney to be made Donald Trump’s Secretary of State.


Washington Examiner: Whistleblowers want Pete Hegseth to fix the busted VA.  Four whistleblowers with a history of revealing incompetence and corruption at the Department of Veterans Affairs are calling on President-elect Trump to make veteran Pete Hegseth as the next VA secretary. Hegseth, a Fox News contributor and former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, is in the running for the job, along with veteran and former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla.


McClatchyDC (Video): Who should be Donald Trump’s voice for Veterans? Some Vets weigh in.  A politically active liberal veterans organization has slammed three of the names rumored to be on President-elect Donald Trump’s shortlist to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran who’s the chairman of, said none of the three were qualified because of their records.


Fortune:  Obama’s CEO Secretary Warns Trump: Don’t Privatize The VA.  The former P&G CEO says the VA can run like a business, just don’t privatize it entirely. Bob McDonald, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, is a rare breed in the Obama administration: An official who brought top-level corporate executive experience to the job. As the former Procter & Gamble CEO makes way for a president who’s only ever worked in business…


Politico Magazine: Veterans groups fear Trump will ‘burn down’ VA.  Donald Trump won the White House pledging to use his business acumen to overhaul the Department of Veterans Affairs, the poster child for government mismanagement — even if he has to “pick up the phone and fix it myself.” But Trump’s leading candidates to run the troubled Cabinet department strike fear in many veteran’s advocates, current and former agency officials and members of Congress…


The Hill: To reduce mental health stigma among Veterans, higher education must be the catalyst.  A recent Morning Consult survey from the University of Phoenix, College of Social Sciences, demonstrated that misconception and stigma complicate the support for veteran mental health. According to the survey, one in five Americans believe people with mental illnesses are dangerous and 24 percent said they wouldn’t tell anyone if they had a mental illness. Furthermore, 10 percent of Americans don’t believe that mental illness is a real medical problem.


Stars and Stripes   Study: Survivors of service members who commit suicide should get full benefits.  Suicide, now seen as a tragedy usually resulting from mental illness or despair, no longer automatically prevents families from receiving all benefits. But some suicides — by those of “sound mind” — are still determined to be misconduct, not “in the line of duty.”


The Bellingham Herald: The struggle continues for female Veterans, more so for minority women Vets.  Post 9/11 veterans have been returning from their service over the last decade to a country that isn’t entirely prepared to meet all of their needs, specifically women veterans of color, veterans advocates say. According to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, there are currently more than 213,000 women in the “active component” of the armed forces and about 190,000 women in the reserves and National Guard.


The Hill: Nearly 600 VA dental patients may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis.  Nearly 600 dental patients at a Wisconsin Veterans Affairs medical center may have been exposed to HIV and hepatitis B and C, CNN reported Friday. A dentist at the Tomah VA Medical Center violated VA rules by reusing old medical equipment instead of using sterilized, disposable instruments, according to officials.


Washington Examiner: Tomah VA dentist resigns after Vets possibly infected with HIV, hepatitis.  The dentist at the troubled Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center who potentially infected 600 veterans with HIV and hepatitis resigned Friday, according to officials at the medical center. The dentist, who has not been named, resigned only a day before a Summary Review Board was to be held to determine the dentist’s future.


FOX News (AP):  4 quit after Oklahoma Veteran with maggots in wounds dies.  Four staff members have resigned from a southeastern Oklahoma veterans facility rather than face the possibility of getting fired, after a resident was found to have maggots in a wound. Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs executive director Myles Deering said the maggots were discovered while the patient was alive at the facility in Talihina, about 130 miles southeast of Tulsa.


Tulsa World: Physician assistant who resigned in wake of Veteran’ death rehired at another Oklahoma VA Center (he resigned after maggots found in Veteran’s wound).  A physician assistant who resigned in the wake of a patient death at the Oklahoma Veterans Center at Talihina has a history of disciplinary action and has already been rehired at another veterans center, the Tulsa World has learned. Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs officials said previously that four staff members — one physician assistant and three registered nurses — had resigned after Vietnam veteran Owen Reese Peterson was found with maggots in a wound and later died on Oct. 3.


KATC (ABC-3, Video): Crowley Veterans fed up with lack of handicap access at VA office.  Acadia Parish veterans are fed up with the lack of access to their local VA office. Many of the veterans who visit the office use wheelchairs and the building does not have a ramp, making it difficult for them to conduct their business.


NBC News (Video):   Student Sues Walden University: ‘I Wasted Six Years of My Life’.  Jennifer Wright, an ex-Marine Corps officer who teaches grade schoolers in the California desert, had a dream. She wanted to get her doctorate in education while her two elderly parents were still alive — and while continuing to teach the low-income students she felt really needed her. Six years after enrolling in a distance learning program with one of the nation’s best-known for-profit schools, however, Wright, 51, still doesn’t have her degree.


The Daily Texan:  McCombs partners with VA to solve fraud, inefficiency problems.  The McCombs School of Business recently partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help solve problems of fraud and inefficiency within the VA using data analytics. Four students within the Master of Science in Business Analytics program are working alongside an analytics team at the VA Financial Services Center in Austin to develop a capstone project.


Los Angeles Daily News: If Trump wants to help Veterans, he can start with LA’s homeless.  This is not just a cute idea. I promise. Question: What is the biggest, most immediately solvable problem in Los Angeles? Answer: veteran homelessness. Question: Who do we all know who has proved that he knows how to build and do so on time and under budget? And can he cut through red tape that has prevented construction? Answer: Donald J. Trump.


Houston Chronicle:  Former officer’s courtroom is filled with a sense of duty, loyalty.  State District Judge Marc Carter remembers sizing up the man before him in late 2009: a grim-faced, middle-aged guy with a U.S. Marine’s bearing and politeness, but with eyes closed off to the world, skeptical of everyone and everything.


Task and Purpose  UNSUNG HEROES: The 2 Green Berets Who Fought Valiantly To Repel A Massive Taliban Ambush. Outnumbered in a remote Afghan province, two Special Forces soldiers stepped up to save their beleaguered allies, and then turned their attention to the enemy


St. Cloud Times: 75 years after Pearl Harbor, war leaves its mark.  They’re usually meant as a compliment, but even well-intentioned words sometimes become unwelcome reminders for Gerald Olson. “People come up and say, ‘Are you really a World War II vet? You don’t look old enough,’ ” said Olson, 89, from his room at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System.


Johnson City Press: Pearl Harbor attacks, Veterans remember in VA ceremony.  The bell tolled seven times in the museum at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home on Sunday next to seven white candles that burned in memory of the seven local veterans who died in the Pearl Harbor attacks 75 years ago.



POLITICO Morning Defense for Monday, December 5, 2016. A Daily Briefing from Inside Washington’s National Security.



Your 6:00 am GovConWire – Top News from Executive Mosaic.



Your 12:00 pm Daily ExecutiveBiz Headlines.



Your 5:00 pm Daily ExecutiveBiz Headlines.







American Legion Post 328, Southfield, Michigan Listing of Current Events in and around the Metro Detroit Area for and about Veterans, for the period December 1 – 15, 2016   Sent in by our fellow Veteran Tim Wirkus.  Thanks Tim



Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation – List of Job Fairs. Updated every quarter.  Sent in by our fellow Veteran,  Jorge Cruz, Maryland, DLLR, U.S. Army (Ret).



Updated List of 2016-2017 Job ZONE Job Fairs for DC, MD, VA area.  Sent in by our friend Janet Giles, President/CEO, Job ZONE.



Updated Federal Business Council (FBC) List of Conferences and Events for Period November 2016 to May 2017:  Lot of events going on.



National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) Wednesday, December 14, 2016, DC Metro Chapter Dinner Meeting.  4:00 PM to 8:30 PM, Arlington, VA.   For more information and to register please go here:



Student Veterans of America National Conference. January 5 through 7, 2017. Join your peers in January 2017, when more than 1,500 leaders in the student veteran  community convene at the beautiful Disneyland® Hotel and Resort in Anaheim, California.  Register today:    SVA was founded in 2008, as a grassroots, chapter-based organization that unites veterans, military family members, and civilians to support veterans’ success in higher education and beyond.