Veterans News & Events | December 20, 2016
“Thank You for Your Service” film at Angelika Mosaic Cinema – Jan 24, 7:30 PM. A screening of the documentary film, Thank You For Your Service, hosted by Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 227, will take place at the Angelika Film Center on Tuesday, January 24, 7:30 PM. Dealing with the mental health issues confronting many recently returning veterans, this is described as one of the best films of the year. For more information, see the movie trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNJrXxHCGDU To purchase tickets, visit: http://gathr.us/screening/18521. There is no other way to buy tickets. The price is $14, set by the organization that is providing the film. The film takes aim at the failed mental health policies within the U.S. military and their tragic consequences. It tells the stories of four struggling Iraq War veterans, along with interviews of top military and civilian leaders. Observing the systemic neglect, the film argues for significant internal change and offers a roadmap of hope. Interviews include Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen, Generals David Petraeus and Loree Sutton, Sebastian Junger, Nicholas Kristof, Dexter Filkins, Senator Patty Murray, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Colonels Lawrence Wilkerson and Dave Sutherland.
Defense News Early Bird Brief for Monday, December 19, 2016.
Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA) Advocacy Newsletter for December 19, 2016.
Reserve Officers Association (ROA) SmartBrief for Monday, December 19, 2016.
Women Veterans Alliance Supporter News for December 2016. Sent in by Melissa Washington, Navy Veteran, Women Veterans Alliance President/Founder.
For My Fellow Vets in Business – SBA Advocacy Background Paper for 2009 – 2016. The Background Paper on the Office of Advocacyis a resource for stakeholders that includes a history of Advocacy and provides extensive reference materials. It is the most comprehensive single publication on the office and includes important new legislation, Executive Orders and special initiatives, with a focus on the accomplishments of the office from 2009 – 2016. Small business organizations, trade associations, congressional offices and executive branch agencies will find this document useful in understanding and working with the Office of Advocacy on behalf of small business. Go here to download: https://www.sba.gov/node/1547396 Big shout out for our friends at Advocacy that look out for us, Major Clark and Joe Sobota!
DOD Contracts Awarded on Monday, December 19, 2016.
A Variety of Veterans News from a Variety of Sources.
Stars and Stripes Thousands honor fallen service members in Wreaths Across America at Arlington and around the country . Gold Star family member Dan Robinson turned 63 on Saturday. Rather than celebrating, he chose to be one of the thousands of people who braved freezing rain to join Wreaths Across America in laying pine laurels at gravesites in Arlington National Cemetery
Stars and Stripes Mourners pack auditorium for John Glenn’s life celebration . Roughly 2,500 people gathered at Mershon Auditorium on the Ohio State University campus for “a celebration of life” for the former fighter pilot, history-making astronaut and longtime Democratic U.S. senator from small-town Ohio.
Washington Examiner Warren and McCain could be unlikely allies on armed services. Sen. Elizabeth Warren could become an unlikely ally to Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee looking to hold the Pentagon accountable and cut waste and fraud, experts said.
Associated Press For Guantanamo prisoners, questions loom as Trump era begins. The prison’s future will be up to President-elect Donald Trump, who has said he would prefer to keep it open and even “load it up with some bad dudes.”
Military Times Some combat-wounded vets could see a windfall thanks to a congressional tax fix. Thousands of combat-wounded veterans are in line for big payouts from the Defense Department after lawmakers passed a fix to severance package problems before leaving town last weekend.
Stars and Stripes Philippines’ Duterte to US over aid issue: ‘Bye-bye America’. President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday threatened to terminate a pact that allows U.S. troops to visit the Philippines, saying “bye-bye America” as he reacted with rage to what he thought was a U.S. decision to scrap a major aid package over human rights concerns.
Associated Press Army: Number of sexual misconduct allegations against senior leaders increases. Sexual misconduct and harassment allegations against senior Army leaders increased this year and more were substantiated than in 2015, according to a closely held report by the Army Inspector General.
Stars and Stripes Army to review problems plaguing senior officers. The Army has named a three-star officer to review its burgeoning problem of sexual misconduct among senior officers and the shocking suicide this summer of a general, Army Secretary Eric Fanning said
CW6 Marines being told to pay up or get out. Electricity bills for on-base housing at Camp Pendleton are skyrocketing for no apparent reason and now Marines are being told to pay up, or get out.
The Washington Post (Federal Insider, Video): Gingrich urges Trump to take aim at the federal bureaucracy, starting with VA. In a Washington Post Live interview Friday with The Post’s James Hohmann, the former House speaker attacked veterans’ service organizations and the union representing VA workers. He urged Trump to adopt a simple message: “Do you think people who kill veterans should stay in their jobs … [should] we make the government union people happy and keep in their jobs people who we know broke the rules and killed veterans?”
Townhall: Trump’s Test: Why Secretary of Veteran Affairs Must Be Top Priority. For good reason, the hunt for the Trump administration’s Secretary of State—featuring a cast of heavy-hitting potential candidates bested, ultimately, by the unexpected choice of Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson—has overshadowed several forthcoming cabinet appointments. Among these, perhaps none is more significant to Donald Trump’s campaign agenda than the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Washington Examiner: Scott Brown says he’s still in the mix to run the VA. Former Sen. Scott Brown is still in the mix for becoming the next secretary of veterans affairs under President-elect Trump, he said on Fox news Friday. Brown said the embattled agency needs to be shaken up and he wants to be the pick to come in and have the presidential authority to get people in the agency working.
USA Today: Senators to team Trump: VA still troubled. Two key Republican senators are weighing in about ongoing problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs as President-elect Donald Trump mulls his choices for a nominee to lead the agency. The chairmen of the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., wrote a letter Thursday to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is leading Trump’s transition effort.
St. Cloud Times: USA Today misleads with anti-AV mindset. Editor’s note: The report referenced here is “Exclusive: Internal documents detail secret VA quality ratings,” published Dec. 7 by USA Today. The St. Cloud Times provided a local report that same day, “St. Cloud VA earns high marks.” Gannett Corp. owns both news organizations.
AL.com: Trump Mobile visit raises difficult issues for Veterans. Ahead of Donald Trump’s visit to Mobile Saturday, powerful national veterans’ groups are asking the president-elect to hold off on appointing a new Veterans Affairs Secretary amid concerns that it will undo the progress made by the agency after years of mismanagement.
Providence Journal: Veterans Journal: Think tank recommends Veterans’ benefits be privatized. President-elect Donald Trump could be the first commander-in-chief to address and fix the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to Washington, D.C., think tank The Cato Institute. The recommended solution is to privatize all veterans’ benefits.
Albuquerque Journal: VA care better than reported. It must be noted that I am not with the VA; we are the state-level veterans’ agency which primarily helps veterans file for their VA and state veterans’ benefits. Many of these veterans we encounter have moved here from other states and tell us their experience with New Mexico’s VA hospital surpasses the service at the VA facility from where they left.
MedPage Today: Nurse Anesthetists Planning to Oppose VA Rule, Will show data in their quest to practice independently within the VA. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) decision not to allow nurse anesthetists to practice independently in VA facilities will not be the last word on the subject — if the nurse anesthetists have anything to do with it. “We definitely have a strategy — we are not unprepared, just like in our anesthesia lives we’re not unprepared,” Cheryl Nimmo, DNP, president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, told MedPage Today in a phone interview.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Tainted CDC: Deadly water at VA hospital demands answers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some explaining to do after a series of stories by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Sean D. Hamill raised troubling questions about the agency’s handling of an investigation into an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System.
Dodge Globe: Sen. Moran praises passage of Toxic Exposure Research Act. U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, this week praised the Senate’s unanimous passage of a bipartisan veterans care reform package (H.R. 6416), including the Moran-Blumenthal Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2016. These provisions prioritize studying toxic exposure and the potential connection of toxic exposure to heath conditions affecting descendants of veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: Feds slow to assess health impacts of Camp LeJeune’s toxic water. The federal government has been in no hurry to assess the health impacts of two harmful chemicals found in a water supply that Marine veterans from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, blame for cancer and other maladies. Nor is it in a hurry to finalize a Veterans Affairs rule that would streamline the process for Camp Lejeune veterans to collect compensation for certain health problems.
ProPublica, The Virginian-Pilot: The Children of Agent Orange. For decades, Vietnam veterans have suspected that the defoliant harmed their children. But the VA hasn’t studied its own data for clues. A new ProPublica analysis has found that the odds of having a child born with birth defects were more than a third higher for veterans exposed to Agent Orange than for those who weren’t.
ProPublica: How We Obtained the Government’s Data on Agent Orange and Birth Defects. The Veterans Administration refused to release what it had learned about possible links between birth defects and exposure to Agent Orange. ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot found a novel way to obtain the information under procedures historically used for scientific research by academic scholars.
International Business Times (Video): What is Agent Orange? Military Pesticide-Birth Defects Link in Vietnam War Veterans’ Children Ignored by VA, Investigation Finds. An estimated 11.4 million gallons of the chemical pesticide known as Agent Orange were sprayed over millions of acres of Vietnam forests from 1962 to 1970. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs has long acknowledged the link between the substance and diseases like cancer in veterans, but when veterans began reporting having children with birth defects, the VA stayed mostly mum.
The Gazette: Suicide try at Colorado Springs VA clinic prompts support conversation. The VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System in Denver is educating veterans about support services after one man tried to take his own life in an Colorado Springs VA clinic Friday. The VA “has special programs to help veterans get through holiday blues,” the health system said in a news release.
WBAA (NPR-105.9, Audio): Veterans Turn to Yoga to Help treat PTSD. An estimated 8 million people in the United States suffer from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. In Indiana, as many as 50,000 Hoosier veterans could be dealing with it. But a new program is exploring a novel treatment, yoga. U.S. Navy veteran Larry Dodd has had multiple surgeries.
New Castle News: Fewer Vets are homeless, but advocates worry gains won’t stick. Pennsylvania has helped 2,500 homeless veterans find a place to live over the last two years, but despite the success, advocates fear the problem is getting worse.. “It’s one of those scenarios where every time one goes out the door, another comes in,” said Ron Conley president of the Pennsylvania American Legion’s Housing for Homeless Veterans.
KENS (CBS-5, Video): VA’s adopt-a-vet program helps San Antonio Veterans with Christmas. All one vet wants for Christmas is toilet paper. Basics like toilet paper, cleaning supplies and diapers are among the items needy veterans ask for as they take part in an adopt-a-vet program with the V.A. It’s been a rough year for the Sotos. Gil Soto served in Afghanistan. When he returned home, the veteran lost his job and house after he was injured.
Health Data Management: VA lays out plans for cloud-based Digital Health Platform. The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed a blueprint for a cloud-based technology platform that will integrate veteran data from VA, military and commercial electronic health records, as well as apps, devices and wearables, so that the information is available to providers in real time.
The Washington Times (AP): California VA doctor, shoe store owner accused of bilking VA. A Department of Veterans Affairs doctor and the owner of a Sacramento, California shoe store face federal fraud charges for allegedly trying to illegally bill the VA for $1.7 million worth of orthopedic and therapeutic shoes for veterans. The Sacramento Bee reports that the men are accused of billing the VA for specialty shoes costing as much as $1,682 apiece, while giving the veterans “off the shelf” products.
POLITICO Morning Defense for Monday, December 19, 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 15, 2016 – January 15, 2017. http://www.legionpost328.org/events.html Sent in by our fellow Veteran Tim Wirkus. Thanks Tim
Schedule of Training Events for Virginia Department of Veterans Services, Virginia Values Veterans V3 Program for the period December 15, 2016 to January 6, 2017. http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1114049469943&ca=9c428aba-042d-48ef-94f3-2c3ec32e3246
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.https://www.jobzoneonline.com/complete-schedule.aspx
Updated Federal Business Council (FBC) List of Conferences and Events for Period November 2016 to May 2017: Lot of events going on. https://www.fbcinc.com/search.aspx
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: http://conference.studentveterans.org/?utm_source=SVA%20Member%20Network&utm_campaign=db7cc9ca77-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2016_11_15&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_47cc5800cc-db7cc9ca77-127346201 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.
Women Veterans Alliance 3-day Spring Unconference “Nourish Your Soul” March 24th-26th, 2017, Sacramento, California. For more information: http://www.womenveteransalliance.org/events/unconference/
Women Veterans Alliance in partnership with our nonprofit partner California Capital Financial Development Corporation will be hosting the Women Veterans Alliance Unconference. These 3 day events are the largest outreach to women Veterans in California that will provide resources and an amazing experience for all women that served from WWII to current, representing all branches. Our goal is to equip, empower, and encourage participants by providing opportunities to connect with service providers, fellow women Veterans, employers, and through interactive workshops.
Women Veterans Alliance 3-day Fall Unconference “Nourish Your Soul” October 13th-16th, 2017, City of Industry, California. For more information: http://www.womenveteransalliance.org/events/unconference/