Veterans News for December 13, 2016

Veterans News for December 13, 2016


Defense News Early Bird Brief for Monday, December 12, 2016.×4/db614c8d



Non Commissioned Officers Association – NCOAdvocate Newsletter for December 12, 2016.



Reserve Officers Association (ROA) SmartBrief for Monday, December 12, 2016.



From VA – New Regulation Decreases Cost of Outpatient Medication Copay for Most Veterans.  Please see attached pdf.



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



DOD Contracts Awarded on Monday, December 12, 2016.



A Variety of Veterans News from a Variety of Sources.


Patient Access Data:   At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), our most important mission is to provide the high quality health care and benefits Veterans have earned and deserve — when and where they need it. To support that mission, we measure and release patient access data.  Regularly updated patient access data is available for all VA Medical Centers and Community-Based Outpatient Clinics including average wait times, number of patients waiting for a scheduled appointment and number of patients that cannot be scheduled for an appointment in 90 days or less.


Task and Purpose   John Glenn Had This Reply To A Politician Who Said He ‘Never Held A Job’.  When his Senate primary opponent, Howard Metzenbaum, challenged his military service, John Glenn had the perfect response


Stars and Stripes  Appeals court wrestles with question of combatant immunity.  The prosecution of a former Russian military officer accused of leading a Taliban attack on American forces is a radical departure from the U.S.’s long practice of treating fighters as enemy combatants instead of criminals, the man’s attorney argued Friday


Stars and Stripes  Adding 200 more troops to Syria, US deepens involvement.  Drawing the U.S. deeper into the Syria conflict, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Saturday he is sending 200 more troops to accelerate the push on the Islamic State’s self-declared capital of Raqqa.


Washington Examiner   Poll: Sequestration has hurt military’s trust for political leaders.  A new study on military families released Thursday found that sequestration is more than just a Washington buzzword.


The Hill    Oversight panel demands answers on Pentagon waste reportA bipartisan group of 31 House lawmakers sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday demanding answers after a news report alleged the Pentagon tried to hide a study that showed $125 billion in waste.


Wall Street Journal   Donald Trump’s Cabinet Selections Signal Deregulation Moves Are ComingBusiness leaders are predicting a dramatic unraveling of regulations on everything from overtime pay to power-plant emission rules as Donald Trump seeks to fill his cabinet with determined adversaries of the agencies they will lead.


Associated Press   Admiral: ‘You can bet’ Pearl Harbor survivors and victims always stood for the national anthem.  U.S. Pacific Command Commander Adm. Harry Harris says those who served during the attack on Pearl Harbor never failed to stand for the national anthem.


Army Times   Army reopens investigation into former Green Beret Matthew Golsteyn.   The Army has reopened its investigation into a decorated former Green Beret accused of killing an unarmed suspected bomb maker in Afghanistan.


Military Times   Private label groceries coming to commissaries in MayCommissary customers worldwide will start seeing private label products on their stores’ shelves in May 2017, with an initial assortment of about 400 items, officials announced today.


Army Times   Army speeds up vetting process for training apps.  The Army’s Training and Doctrine Command is speeding up the process it uses to vet and approve mobile apps that soldiers can use on their smartphones and tablets.


Washington Post   Judge throws out Marine Corps decision to remove officer who sent classified warning to colleaguesA federal judge has tossed out a Marine Corps decision to remove an officer from the service after he sent classified information through an unclassified email server while warning colleagues in Afghanistan about the security threat posed by a police chief whose teenage servant later killed three Marines.


Associated Press   Navy’s futuristic-looking USS Zumwalt arriving in homeport.  The U.S. Navy’s biggest, most expensive and most technologically advanced destroyer arrived at its homeport on Thursday after a nearly four-month transit that included some hiccups, such as a high-profile breakdown in the Panama Canal.


Stars and Stripes  Navy’s surgeon general aims for reforms in military medicine.  Nearly a year into his job as the Navy’s top doc, Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III wants to make wide-ranging reforms designed to better heal millions of sailors, Marines, military retirees and their families.


Aviation Week   U.S. Air Force Is Looking For A Long-Range Stealthy UAV.   The U.S. Air Force is “aggressively” pursuing a long-range, stealthy unmanned surveillance aircraft to go places its high-altitude Lockheed Martin U-2S and Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk cannot, according to the Pentagon’s director for defense intelligence warfighter support.


Washington Examiner    New law would increase survivor benefits for fallen Guardsmen and reservists.  Melinda Barnes Runk remembers that summer day in 2007 when a uniformed service member and a religious leader showed up at her house to tell her that her husband, an Apache helicopter pilot in the Utah National Guard, had died in a helicopter crash.


Stars and Stripes  Veteran says Iran-Contra fallout holds up combat-zone recognition.  When he twice went to Honduras in 1984, he was told it was just training and war games, but Richard Grell maintained he was part of an actual war.


The Hill: Senate passes dozens of bills on way out of town.  The Senate cleared dozens of bills early Saturday morning as lawmakers prepared to leave Washington until next year. The upper chamber passed more than 70 pieces of legislation by unanimous consent during a rare Saturday session. Most senators had already left the Capitol after averting a government shutdown with a short-term spending bill just before midnight Friday.


The Washington Times (AP): What the 114th Congress did and didn’t do.  Congress wrapped up the 114th session early Saturday, a tumultuous two years marked by the resignation of a House speaker, a fight over a Supreme Court vacancy, bipartisan bills on health care and education and inaction on immigration and criminal justice. The new Congress will be sworn-in Jan. 3… A bill that boosts government suicide prevention efforts for military veterans.


Military Times: Former Army doctor plans a health care focus for house Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  Rep. Phil Roe has been a licensed physician for the last 46 years, so it comes as little surprise that health care issues will be among his top priorities when he takes over the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee next year.


FOX Business (Video): Fmr. VA Head Hopes for trump-Like Chief to Take Over.  President-elect Donald Trump has not yet chosen who will lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, but former Secretary Jim Nicholson says the best choice would be someone like Trump himself. “I don’t have a candidate, I just hope that the President-elect will appoint someone who is like him, who’s a change agent,” Nicholson told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.


Military Times (Video): VA Secretary McDonald hopes his work serves as a blueprint for the Trump administration.  Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald believes his department has seen tremendous improvements in just the last two years. He hopes his replacement sees it too, and continues that work. “This transformation has probably gone farther and faster than any I’ve been involved in, but also it’s not yet far enough,” said McDonald, who is preparing to end his tenure leading the department when President-elect Donald Trump takes office next year.


Military Times (Video): Veterans group push Trump to keep VA Sec McDonald.  Veterans groups are pushing President-elect Donald Trump to keep current VA Secretary Bob McDonald on into the next administration, calling his transformation efforts critical to the future of the department.


DAV: DAV urges President-elect Trump to consider retaining Bob McDonald as VA Secretary.  DAV Executive Director Garry J. Augustine today released the following statement on President-elect Trump’s upcoming decision about the next Veterans Affairs Secretary…


The Washington Times (AP): Veterans Affairs officials to visit Phoenix, Tucson.  Officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will be hosting meetings and open houses in Phoenix and Tucson this upcoming week. In Tucson on Monday, VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson is scheduled to meet with employees, veterans groups and congressional delegates to discuss care access.


Federal Times (Video): Sean Kelley is helping transform how the VA operates.  Sean Kelley has a model for his vision of efficiency at the Veterans Benefits Administration: the private sector. As deputy CIO and IT account manager for the VBA and the Veteran Experience team, Kelley is tasked with transforming how the VA operates with an eye toward customer service.


FedScoop: VA CIO creating IT demand management office.  Ron Thompson, who was the principal deputy assistant secretary and deputy CIO for VA’s Office of Information and Technology, will lead the creation of a new Demand Management Office, CIO LaVerne Council announced in an email to staff this week.


WFED (AM-1500, Audio): A possible solution to the shared services funding problem emerges.  Shared services have hit a brick wall. Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration leaders say without a new source of funding, it could take decades to move agencies off of legacy back-offices systems and on to new shared platforms.


Boston Herald: Editorial: VA’s secret star system.  While the president-elect continues to ponder his pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, a newly revealed internal ranking system for its medical centers shows just how much work remains to be done on the ailing system.


Washington Examiner: Veterans Affairs chief: ‘No VA medical facility is bad’.  Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald argued no VA hospital is “bad” in a letter to USA Today on Friday, just one day after the publication exposed an internal rating system that showed several clinics in Texas and Tennessee had received low marks.


The Progressive: Agent Orange-its Legacy Endures.  Forty years ago, on December 10, 1976, the United Nations General Assembly passed the “Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques” by a vote of 96 to 8. It was the first time the international body had addressed the issue of the use of defoliants in military conflicts.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: CDC emails on VA Legionnaires’ investigation raise questions.  Four people had been infected with Legionnaires’ disease. That’s all the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention knew when the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System requested help from the federal agency on Nov. 1, 2012.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Did bias skew the CDC’s Pittsburgh VA Legionnaires reports?  Early in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s investigation into the Legionnaires’ outbreak at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System in 2012, epidemiologists wondered if the deadly Legionella bacteria had started to spread because it had developed resistance. VA to Let Vets Pre-Select Cemetery Burials Before Death.   A rule change at the Veterans Affairs Department will allow veterans to apply for burial in national cemeteries before their death, rather than requiring family members to apply on their behalf after it. Veteran burial benefits previously were approved at the “time of need.”


The Times: Federal bill addresses problem of unclaimed remains of nation’s Veterans.  The cremated remains of thousands of veterans sit unclaimed on shelves and in storage rooms across America, but a federal bill to begin addressing the heartbreaking situation and eventually see the remains properly laid to rest has passed the U.S. House.


The San Diego Union-Tribune (Video): Helping homeless Veterans, one RV trip at a time.  The big RV from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lumbers up to the curb. It has made the 75-mile trip from Orange County to spend another Friday morning with San Diego’s homeless veterans, in what’s believed to be a one-of-a-kind VA outreach effort in the nation.


Wyoming Public Radio (Audio): On Rural Reservations, Homelessness Less Visible Than Elsewhere.  There’s a housing crisis going on at the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming. For its fast growing population of 15,000 residents, there aren’t nearly enough homes to go around, and very little funding to build more. The problem has led to high rates of homelessness in Fremont County. But on rural reservations like Wind River, homelessness doesn’t look much like it does in big cities.


Press Tribune: Holidays see spike in local Veterans suicides, many are reluctant to talk about it but help is available.  On Nov. 7, Daniel Avegalio made his way to Chapel of the Valley in downtown Roseville. The supervisor for the Veteran Resource Center at American River College in Sacramento, Avegalio had helped Donald Keith Holdener II process his GI Bill paperwork so he could work toward a degree in automotive alternative fuels.


Star Tribune   Fundraiser that targeted veterans banned in Minnesota A Michigan fundraiser that targeted veterans and seniors will be banned from operating in Minnesota and has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle a lawsuit that accused it of engaging in deception and failing to provide required disclosures about what it does.


Stars and Stripes  Cigars, once banned, fire up troop morale in Afghanistan.  Military, civilian and contractor members of the Tali-banned Cigar Aficionado Club in Kabul say cigar smoking is more than a nicotine fix. It’s a bond of friendship, an escape from the drudgery of deployed life and a taste of home.



POLITICO Morning Defense for Monday, December 12, 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 8, 2016 – January 14, 2017   Sent in by our fellow VeteranTim 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.