Veterans News for December 8, 2016

Veterans News


NAVSEA Wounded Warrior (WW) Candidate Listing.  Sent in by Ms. Diana Murray, Naval Sea Systems Command HQ.  Attached is the latest NAVSEA Wounded Warrior (WW) Candidate Listing.  If any of the candidates on this list appear to qualify for opportunities in your workforce, please let me know and I will provide their resume. Please note – NAVSEA defines a Wounded Warrior as a wounded, ill or injured veteran with a disability rating of 30% or greater, as determined by the Department of Veteran Affairs, or VA.  Thank you for considering a Veteran or Wounded Warrior!  Very Respectfully,Diana Murray, Outreach Liaison & Event Coordinator, Naval Sea Systems Command HQ, Veteran & Wounded Warrior Program Office. Office:  202-781-3945  E-mail:



Defense News Early Bird Brief for Wednesday, December 7, 2016.



Defense News Early Bird Brief for Tuesday, December 6, 2016.



VA Works with Veteran-Run Company to Offer Veterans More Secure, Convenient Online Services.  VA is First U.S. Government Agency to Meet “Level of Assurance 3” IT Standard.  Please see attached pdf.



Reserve Officers Association (ROA) SmartBrief for Wednesday, December 7, 2016.


DOD Contracts Awarded on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.



DOD Contracts Awarded on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.



A Variety of Veterans News from a Variety of Sources.


Walk the decks of the battleship USS Arizona with new virtual reality appWith virtual reality technology, anybody now walk the decks of the battleship USS Arizona just before the attack, witness the attack on Battleship Row and visit the USS Arizona Memorial.


Associated Press   USS Arizona survivor, 96: ‘The flames blew right through and cooked me right there’.  This week, Lauren Bruner, 96, plans to visit a memorial over the Arizona’s sunken wreckage and attend a remembrance ceremony at Pearl Harbor on the 75th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack.


Stars & Stripes   Pearl Harbor, 75 years later: Memories of a day of infamy.  In a two-hour surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii, America lost 2,403 fighters with more than 1,100 wounded. The brutal Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, reverberated around the country and drove the U.S. into World War II.


Stars & Stripes   Pearl Harbor’s legacy lives on in focus on readiness, intelligence.  Few survivors remain from Japan’s stunning attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago and the epic global war that followed. But the legacy of the assault and the subsequent U.S. response live on in the DNA of the country’s readiness-fixated military and global focus on intelligence gathering.


Washington Post   Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.


Associated Press   U.S. wars grounded in law, White House says.  The White House shed new light Monday on the legal foundations for President Barack Obama’s expansive use of U.S. military power to target extremists overseas, in a report that also offered the first confirmation that the U.S. now deems the al-Shabab group in Somalia to be inherently linked to al-Qaida.


Defense News   Pentagon Leaders, International Allies Show Support for Mattis.  The nomination of retired Gen. James Mattis to be President-elect Donald Trump’s first secretary of defense was hailed as a great positive by both Pentagon officials and key defense allies this weekend.


Associated Press   Carter confident Mattis will be ready to take commandDefense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday he believes his designated successor, if confirmed by the Senate as expected, will be a quick study regarding the responsibilities of the office.


Associated Press   Carter’s Asia trip spotlights issues for next Pentagon head.   Ash Carter’s final swing across Asia as Pentagon chief shines a spotlight on tough issues to be inherited by his successor, from concern in Tokyo and Seoul about being forced to pay more for U.S. military protection to worry across the region about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.


Military Times   Sextortion: The U.S. military’s dirty little secret is a growing national security concernAmerican military personnel are particularly vulnerable, authorities say, because they have a steady income and their conduct is closely regulated. Hundreds of service members every year are falling into this trap, and many are handing over thousands of dollars with hopes the problem will go away.


Military Times   Army-Navy Monday six-pack: What you need to know to kick off rivalry week.   The conference title games are over. The spirit spots are blooming. It’s Army-Navy week, and if you’re not up to speed on the final acts of the 2016 college football season, here’s a half-dozen things to know as the rivalry resumes.


Stars & Stripes   Carter: Slowdown unlikely for Navy’s Japan-based fleet.  The Navy’s operational tempo in the Asia-Pacific region isn’t likely to relax anytime soon as North Korea’s threat continues, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told sailors.


Air Force Times   Congress readies smaller pilot bonus hike than James requestedAlthough Congress is poised to boost the maximum annual pilot retention bonus to $35,000, that would still fall far short of the $48,000 per year the Air Force says is necessary to keep fighter pilots from leaving to fly for commercial airlines.


Military Times  This week in Congress: Guard bonus scandal, wrap-up work.   In what could be lawmakers’ last week of work for the current legislative session, several committees will work to tie up loose ends and set up their defense priorities for what looks to be a busy 2017.


Washington Examiner   Lawmakers push to increase visas for Afghan interpreters.  The fiscal 2017 defense policy bill provides fewer than half of the visas for Afghan interpreters that the administration asked for, sending advocates and lawmakers back to the drawing board on how to allow the 12,000 who have applied to come to the U.S.


The Hill   GOP senator calls on Obama to halt Guantanamo detainee transfers.  Sen. Tom Cotton, who sits on the Armed Services Committee, said the latest transfer showed that President Obama is more concerned with fulfilling his campaign pledge to shut down the detention facility than national security.


The Hill: A Veteran’s Call To Action For President-Elect Trump.  On the campaign trail, President-elect Donald Trump spoke a great deal about the challenges facing America’s 21 million veterans. Now, looking toward day one of his administration, he must place these challenges high on his priority list. Veterans need Trump to turn campaign promises into presidential action.


The Hill: Trump VA secretary considerations full of reform-minded candidates.  Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass), and former Concerned Veterans of America Chief Executive Officer Pete Hegseth have been discussed as possible VA Secretary nominees. These potential candidates have strong practical experience working on VA issues in Congress, and share a similar reform ideology that would focus on making VA care more timely and efficient for veterans.


WFED (AM-1500): Lawmakers punt major issues to next Congress.  In the final few days of the 114th Congress, the House easily passed a series of bills Tuesday afternoon that make small changes to veterans health care and benefits. Yet the package doesn’t address several controversial issues that Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald and veterans committees in both chambers of Congress have spent the past year debating: a solution to the veterans appeals process, new accountability procedures for VA employees or an extension or alternative to the Veterans Choice Program.


Washington Examiner: House passes sweeping legislation to aid Veterans.  The House easily approved a draft of veterans-related bills on Tuesday, most notably catch-all legislation addressing everything from health-care access to homelessness. “This omnibus measure with more than 70 provisions is broad and comprehensive in scope and scale,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said after the House approved the eponymous Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act.


The Spokesman-Review: VA may be ordered to take online appointments.  Veterans would be able to schedule medical appointments online at VA centers under a bill that passed the House Tuesday. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the bill’s top GOP co-sponsor, said it was time for the Department of Veterans Affairs to embrace 21st Century technology the rest of the country uses to make scheduling more convenient.


The Desert Sun: Raul Ruiz’s VA physician recruitment bill passes House.  A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz that is intended to help Veterans Affairs’ hospitals attract and keep qualified emergency room physicians and assistants passed the House on Tuesday. The bill is based on a legislative proposal put forth by VA officials who’ve determined that the department’s inflexible 40-hour-a-week schedule is at odds with private sector standards. Earlier this year, those same officials testified that their system was short nearly 4,000 physicians.


The Washington Post (Fact Checker): Democrats’ misleading claim that Concerned Veterans for America wants to ‘privatize’ VA. The two Democrats, who serve on the Senate and House committees on veterans affairs, are resurrecting the stale Democratic talking point that Concerned Veterans for America wants to “privatize” the Department of Veterans Affairs. Concerned Veterans for America, or CVA, is a veterans advocacy group in the Koch brothers’ political network and has been one of the most vocal critics of VA since the 2014 wait-time scandal.


San Antonio Express-News  Study finds Iraq-Afghanistan veterans with epilepsy more at risk of death.  The study examined the records of 2,187 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with epilepsy receiving VA care in 2010 and 2011. Over the next five years, these veterans with epilepsy were much more likely to have died than similar veterans without epilepsy.


Mother Jones: The VA’s Women Problem, With more female Vets on board, the department struggles to update its gender-specific health care.  Now that women can serve in combat roles in the US military, the number of female veterans is expected to climb in the coming years—and most of them will turn to the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care. A new report by the Government Accountability Office raises some serious doubts as to whether the VA is fully prepared to handle this influx of female patients.


The Huffington Post (The Blog): After Fire: The Challenges Facing Women Veterans.  “Every day is Veteran’s Day,” says a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) team in After Fire, a documentary by Brittany Huckabee. They are canvassing Capitol Hill on behalf of top issues impacting those who have served. Unfortunately, this is not the case. After Fire takes an on-the-ground look at how three female veterans are struggling to cope and move forward in the aftermath of their service.


Medscape: Sharp Drop in Inpatient Suicides With VA Checklist.  Implementation of a set of standards that address the physical environment in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals has been linked to a significant and sustained drop in inpatient suicides. “Use of the MHEOCC [Mental Health Environment of Care Checklist] was associated not only with an initial reduction in the number of suicides on inpatient mental health units but also with a sustained reduction over more than seven years,” the authors report.


KDLT (NBC-46): Delegation Meets With VA Secretary in DC Following Hot Springs Visit.  U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and John Thune (R-S.D.), and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today met with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald following his Nov. 30, 2016, visit to the Hot Springs, South Dakota VA campus.


The Washington Times (AP): Woman gets 18 months for using Veteran’s ID to get VA  loan.  A southwest Iowa woman has been imprisoned for using a veteran’s name and military service information to falsely obtain a Department of Veterans Affairs home loan. Prosecutors say 34-year-old Mandy Whipple was sentenced Friday to 18 months in federal prison. She’d pleaded guilty in June to mortgage fraud for falsifying loan papers to buy a house in Fremont County.


Outer Banks Sentinel: VA podcasts get a thumbs up.  The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a weekly podcast titled “This Week at VA” that includes benefit information and interviews with veterans. So far it’s pretty good. One episode features a blind Navy vet who’s a Paralympic Gold Medalist. Bradley Snyder is currently the world record holder for the 100-meter freestyle swim event. His description of how he’s adapted to his blind life (he lost his vision in an IED explosion) is inspirational.


Stars & Stripes   German WWII vet left $485,000 to Scottish village where he was held as POW.  A former German soldier has left his life’s savings to a small Scottish village where he was held as a prisoner of war during World War II.


Stars and Stripes   Pearl Harbor, 75 years later: Memories of a day of infamy.  In a two-hour surprise attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii, America lost 2,403 fighters with more than 1,100 wounded. The brutal Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, reverberated around the country and drove the U.S. into World War II.


USA Today   Two Recipients of the Navy Cross Recommended For Upgrade To The Medal of Honor.  A military-wide review of commendations for valor has concluded that two recipients of the Navy Cross should be upgraded to receive the Medal of Honor, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told USA TODAY. The review was conducted by all services for those who received service crosses or the Silver Star for actions in combat over the last 15 years.


Stars and Stripes   Republicans look to make it easier to install Mattis as defense secretary.  Republican leaders in the House and Senate are considering adding a measure to the upcoming year-end spending bill that would make it easier for retired Gen. James Mattis to be confirmed next year as Donald Trump’s secretary of Defense.


ABC News   Petraeus on His Mishandling of Classified Information: ‘I Made a Serious Mistake’.  Retired Gen. David Petraeus, a former CIA director, responded to reported concerns of some Republican senators about his possible nomination for secretary of state by acknowledging he “made a serious mistake” in mishandling classified information while he ran the nation’s chief spy agency.


Stars and Stripes   ACLU wants Obama to commute sentence for Chelsea Manning.  The American Civil Liberties Union and gay-rights groups are lobbying President Barack Obama to commute the prison sentence of a transgender soldier who leaked classified government and military documents


New York Times   Afghan Security Crisis Sets Stage for Terrorists’ ResurgenceAfghanistan’s security crisis is fueling new opportunities for Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other extremist groups, Afghan and American officials say, voicing concerns that the original American mission in the country — removing its use as a terrorist haven — is at risk.


National Defense  Trump Defense Plan Still a Guessing Game.  Defense officials and industry executives are grasping for clues into the Trump administration’s thinking on how it plans to deliver on his pledge to strengthen the U.S. military and toughen the nation’s security stance.


Reuters   Netanyahu says will discuss with Trump ‘bad’ Iran nuclear deal.  Netanyahu has been a harsh critic of the nuclear deal, a legacy foreign policy achievement for President Barack Obama. But he had largely refrained from attacking the pact in recent months as Israeli and U.S. negotiators finalised a 10-year, $38 billion military aid package for Israel.


Stars and Stripes   NATO seeks closer cooperation with EU ahead of Trump inauguration.  Top NATO officials will seek closer cooperation with the European Union on a range of security measures during a two-day meeting that opens Tuesday in Brussels.


Defense News   Frank Kendall on the NDAA and the End of AT&L.  Less than a day after the House voted overwhelmingly on a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that eliminates his job, Frank Kendall – now potentially the last Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics – is relatively calm about the change.


Washington Examiner  Sequester special report: Military men and women hardest hitSequestration was supposed to be the poison pill never swallowed, proof that Congress can do the right thing once all other options are exhausted. But across-the-board spending limits set into motion by Congress in 2011 actually happened, and they either failed miserably or succeeded brilliantly, depending on your perspective.


Stars and Stripes   Defense bill requires A-10 showdown with F-35.  Lawmakers want to make certain the aging A-10 gets at least one more air-power showdown before retiring into the history books.


C4ISRNET   Army operationalizing cyber, EMSWhile all military services are working to operationalize the cyber domain through the joint Cyber Command, its mission force and respective service cyber components, the Army is working to operationalize the electromagnetic spectrum and similar disciplines.


The Ledger  These Marines are the last to let fallen comrades downOf all 182,000 active-duty Marines, there are just 10 Body Bearers, making the unit based at the 8th and I barracks in Southeast Washington one of the smallest of the Corps.


Navy Times  The Ike is heading home on time – seven-month deployments can actually happenThe carrier Eisenhower and its strike group are currently on track for a seven-month deployment, which would mark a significant achievement for Navy leaders who have struggled to give sailors more predictable deployment lengths while meeting the service’s presence commitments in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East. The erratic deployment schedule also plays hell with the Navy’s ability to plan scheduled maintenance in the shipyards.


Stars & Stripes   Pacific Air Forces sends team to address uptick in suicidesPACAF has sent a team to investigate the Yokota incidents, and will also evaluate Misawa and Kadena air bases, the 374th Wing commander said.


Fayetteville Observer   PTSD treatment getting scrutiny in clinical trials at three military hospitals.   At Fort Bragg, Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, officials are hoping to gather data on at least 240 patients to provide the first scientific proof of the procedure’s efficacy as a PTSD treatment.


Task and Purpose  Could Ecstasy Revolutionize Treatment Of PTSD? The FDA Seems To Think So.  For decades, MDMA has been fueling all-night dance parties around the world. But soon it might also be used for something else: healing the invisible wounds of war.


Star Tribune: Vet crisis line scrutinized.  President Obama signed into law last week a bill that will strengthen oversight of the veteran crisis line at the Department of Veterans Affairs. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was one of the cosponsors of the measure, which came after revelations that crisis calls went unanswered. The crisis line is a toll-free number that provides confidential support to veterans and their family members 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 5 Things to know this week: Veterans Service Organizations to meet again with transition team.  Members of the “big six” veteran service organizations — including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and American Veterans — plan to meet again with officials from the president-elect’s transition team. The meeting, set for Friday, follows a bigger one held last week in which 30 veterans groups sat down with about 10 members of Trump’s team…


Military Times: Commentary: The way forward for much-needed VA reforms.  The Veterans Affairs Department is the second-largest federal bureaucracy, yet it is the first in need of major reform. Republican majorities in both the House and Senate attempted sweeping reforms in the 114th Congress, but gridlock in the Senate was largely responsible for stalling many of these much-needed changes.


Washington Examiner: The fake ‘privatization’ battle brewing over the VA.  Democrats and some veterans service organizations are already sounding the alarm over what they see as plans by Republicans to “privatize” the Department of Veterans Affairs, even though Republicans and groups that align with the GOP say privatization fight is a strawman argument being used to distract from the VA’s ongoing failures.


Naples Daily News: Q&A with Rep. Jeff Miller, possible future head of Dept. of Veterans Affairs.  Florida Rep. Jeff Miller, who has chaired the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee since 2011, is retiring from Congress in January. After years of drawing praise and scorn for his efforts to hold the Obama administration accountable for its care of veterans, Miller, 57, is mentioned as one of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s favorites to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, a massive agency that has been criticized for neglecting veterans and protecting lousy employees.


ABC News (AP): VA Dentist Accused of Using Improperly Cleaned Tools Resigns.  A dentist has resigned from his position at a Wisconsin Veterans Affairs hospital amid accusations he treated hundreds of patients with improperly cleaned equipment. The VA in Tomah, Wisconsin, announced the dentist’s resignation Friday, ahead of a scheduled Monday meeting of a panel used in situations that could warrant firing.


Snopes: The VA says there is no indication infections were transmitted by a dentist using unauthorized equipment, but all who were treated by him will be tested.  Nearly 600 veterans treated by a dentist at the Tomah Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center in Tomah, Wisconsin may be at risk for contracting HIV or hepatitis, administrators of the facility announced on 29 November 2016. Hospital authorities said that the dentist, who worked at the hospital between October 2015 and October 2016, used his own equipment instead of disposable instruments as required by VA rules…


La Crosse Tribune: VA, VAF spar over eviction, although lawyers reach accord.  The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Tomah and the Veterans Assistance Foundation continue to duel over of the pending eviction of the foundation’s programs, although their agreement now calls for it to vacate one of two floors by next week. The VA initially gave the Tomah-based VAH a 90-day notice that it would terminate the foundation’s lease for the second and third floors of Building 407, where it provides housing and programs for homeless veterans…


WNEP (ABC-16, Video): 13-Year-Old Donates to Luzerne County VA Medical Center’s Homeless Veterans.  Workers at the VA Medical Center near Wilkes-Barre were sorting through bags and bags of gifts, including winter hats, toothbrushes, crossword puzzles and more. All of it was donated for its homeless veterans program by Jonathan Harpster of Milton. “They fought for our country, they could have died while they were fighting for their country, but they took their whole life to make sure this country is still free after it all,” said the seventh-grader.


Fayetteville Observer   Podcasts to look back at 82nd Airborne’s history.   The year 2017 will be filled with events marking the historic achievements of the All Americans.


KOIN (CBS-6, Video): 77-year OR Holiday tradition for Vets spreads across US, American Legion Auxiliary program began in Portland in 1939.  In 1939, a program by the American Legion Auxiliary began at the Portland VA Medical Center. Now, 77 years later, it’s in most of the VA facilities in the US and is still growing. The American Legion Auxiliary Holiday Gift Shop lets veterans pick out 4 gifts — one personal item and 3 gifts for family members. Volunteers wrap the gifts and ship them, if necessary. Linda Liebenow has been volunteering at the Holiday Gift Shop for more than 20 years.


Task and Purpose  This Navy Vet’s Christmas Decorations Will Put Yours To Shame.  He could win $50,000 for the crazy Holiday-themed light display.