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Veterans Affairs Media Summary and News Clips for May 17, 2017. Read here…
VA Issues Proposed Rule to Revise, Update, and Streamline Its Acquisition Regulation. On May 17, 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to revise and streamline the VA Acquisition Regulation (VAAR). Public comments are invited and must be submitted no later than July 17, 2017, to be considered in formulating the Final Rule. Codified acquisition regulations may only be amended and revised through formal rulemaking under the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act. To read more about the Proposed Rule and a VAAR Section-by-Section synopsis of the proposed changes and how to submit comments: http://fedbizassist.com/proposed-rule/va-issues-proposed-rule-to-revise-update-and-streamline-its-acquisition-regulation/ Sent in by our good friend Wayne Simpson, Principal, FedBizAssist, L.L.C. Thanks Wayne!
Stars and Stripes Talk with Russians ‘wholly appropriate,’ Trump adviser says. The White House on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump’s disclosure of classified information to senior Russian officials as “wholly appropriate,” as officials tried to beat back criticism from fellow Republicans and concerns from international allies.
New York Times Israel Said to Be Source of Secret Intelligence Trump Gave to Russians . The classified intelligence that President Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information. The revelation adds a potential diplomatic complication to the episode.
The Hill CIA director will brief House Intel Committee Tuesday. CIA Director Mike Pompeo is expected to brief House Intelligence Committee members on Tuesday night, in the wake of reports that President Trump disclosed highly classified information to top Russian officials.
Associated Press Trump, Turkish leader hail ties despite US arming of Kurds. The presidents of the United States and Turkey vowed Tuesday to repair a relationship battered by years of disputes over Syria’s civil war and its various fighting groups, even as they broached a new disagreement over U.S. plans to arm Kurdish fighters.
US News & World Report ‘Areas of Active Hostilities’: Trump’s Troubling Increases to Obama’s Wars. The Defense Department is quietly scrambling to define a little-known term coined by the Obama administration that conveys vast authority over how and where it can fight wars, fearing that existing ambiguities could make military commanders less accountable and more liable under the administration of President Donald Trump.
Stars and Stripes: Pentagon issued ‘bad paper’ discharges to tens of thousands of troops with mental health conditions. More than 13,000 servicemembers separated from the military for misconduct in recent years suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or another disorder and were prevented from receiving treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs because of their discharge status.
Task & Purpose: 1 In 5 Troops Discharged For Misconduct Between 2011 and 2015 Had PTSD or TBI, Report Finds. Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury can impact the behavior of service members, and may lead to separations for misconduct, according to the findings of a Government Accountability Office study published today. In a four-year period, three out of five service members dismissed from the military for misconduct were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, drinking, or other adjustment-related issues two years prior to their separation.
VVAVVA Calls on Trump to Save PTSD Veterans with Bad Paper. “The report issued today by the Government Accountability Office is immensely disturbing,” said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America. That’s why we are, once again, calling on President Trump to exercise…
Defense News ‘Performance enhancing drugs’ considered for Special Operations soldiers. Special Operations Command wants to create super-soldiers through pushing the limits of human performance, and its looking to nutritional supplements and even performance enhancing drugs as options.
Military Times Research shows insomnia and sleep apnea rates are on the rise in the military. After an extensive review of the Defense Medical Epidemiological Database, an online system containing inpatient and outpatient records for active-duty military personnel, researchers found both insomnia and sleep apnea are on the rise based on data from 2005 to 2014, according to the Journal of Sleep Research.
The Washington Post (Fact Checker): Trump’s claim Veterans received ’42 percent more’ approvals to get non- VA health care. “Already this year, using the Choice Program, veterans have received 42 percent more approvals to see the doctor of their choosing. But that’s just the very beginning of what we have planned. So much more is coming.” — Trump, remarks signing executive order on improving accountability and whistleblower protection, April 27 – This 42 percent statistic jumped out at The Fact Checker, as it seemed to be a significant jump in the number of veterans getting authorized…
Task & Purpose: It’s Time to Expand VA Support to All Military Caregivers. To our country’s credit, we now recognize the service and sacrifice of caregivers who bear the burden of helping severely wounded veterans find some semblance of quality of life. The passage of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 allowed the Department of Veterans Affairs to extend services to caregivers of veterans who served during the post-9/11 era.
WTIC (FOX-61, Video): Finding treatment for PTSD helps one Veteran heal. Allan Gackstetter is a proud veteran who served five years oversees in the 1960’s, part of that time in Vietnam. He had a distinguished military career, and served in the color guard for President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s funeral. “I ate, slept and drank military,” said Gackstetter, who now lives in New Haven. Gackstetter said that the things he saw overseas became burned into his memory, although he didn’t realize it at the time.
The National Law Review: VA Study to Follow Mild TBI Patients for Decades. According to the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium (CENC), nearly 20 percent of the 2.5 million service members and veterans who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan sustained at least one mild traumatic brain injury (mild TBI). A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense study aims to track mild TBI (mTBI) over a decades-long period.
WFED (AM-1500): Federal employee groups say Senate VA bill does little to tackle entrenched accountability problems. Frustration over accountability procedures at the Veterans Affairs Department has been brewing in Congress since 2014, when lawmakers heard about wait time scandals at the agency and demanded visible action from VA. But after three years and multiple attempts at changing current accountability legislation that VA later said wasn’t meeting its needs, frustration with Congress and department seems to be at the boiling point.
Military.com: More People Using Transferred GI Bill Eligible For In-State Tuition. You may be aware that some veterans along with their spouses and children are eligible for in-state tuition at public schools when they are using the GI Bill. A new law going into effect July 1, 2017 expands that eligibility to children and spouses of active duty members.
Spokesman-Review: Idaho approves second state Veterans cemetery, set for eastern Idaho. Plans for a second Idaho state veterans cemetery in eastern Idaho won approval from the state Land Board on Tuesday, nearly a decade after plans for a North Idaho state veterans cemetery were dropped. That earlier plan was foiled when the feds chose a site for a new veterans cemetery in Spokane County, across the state line from Idaho’s planned Kootenai County location.
Forbes: I AM A Vet Who Thinks The VA Should Get Less Money. For years, I’ve grown accustomed to poor customer service, sub-par medical assistance and a general disrespect at the VA. Money has been funneled into this same system with the same results. It follows that the biggest problem is money being thrown at the problem, and this twisted logic, masked as a solution, is threatening — even ending — veterans’ lives and endangering their well-being.
GCN: VA seeks indoor navigation app. The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for an app that can provide veterans, visitors and staff with turn-by-turn navigation, both indoors and out, at its medical facilities. The goal of the MyVA Way app is to offer 24/7 navigational assistance to the different floors, buildings and outpatient clinics associated with VA Medical Centers.
Task and Purpose: 9 Lessons From The World’s First Conference For Veteran Entrepreneurs.Veteran entrepreneurship is again a hot topic. America needs job creators now more than ever, and veterans are a great pool to draw from. We are resourceful, driven, work well in teams, and can get stuff done. The perfect archetype for an entrepreneur. The numbers tell a different story, though. Veterans aren’t …
Boston Globe: Former Whitman police sergeant pleads guilty to embezzling from disabled Veterans. A former Whitman police sergeant pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling money from disabled veterans while preparing false income tax returns, according to a release by the U.S. attorney’s office. Glenn P. Pearson, 60, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, misappropriation by a federal fiduciary, preparation of fraudulent tax returns and obstruction of the Internal Revenue Service, the release stated.
The Patient Safety Huddle Podcast: The VA National Center for Patient Safety recently launched “The Patient Safety Huddle Podcast” as a venue to discuss patient safety concepts, initiatives, programs, projects, and topics with patient safety professionals throughout VA and the larger patient safety community. Check out https://www.patientsafety.va.gov/podcasts.asp
Washington Post Syria using crematorium to hide executions, State Department says. The Syrian government has constructed and is using a crematorium inside its notorious Sednaya military prison outside Damascus to clandestinely dispose of thousands of prisoners it continues to execute inside the facility, according to the State Department.
Stars and Stripes US accuses Syria of mass executions and burning bodies. The Syrian government has constructed and is using a crematorium inside its notorious Sednaya military prison outside Damascus to clandestinely dispose of thousands of prisoners it continues to execute inside the facility, according to the State Department.
Defense News CNO urges faster path to a bigger Navy. The U.S. Navy needs more ships and needs them fast, said the chief of naval operations (CNO), but beyond that, the service might be on the verge of something which could transform naval warfare.
Military Times Best for Vets: Employers 2017. Benny Kinsey retired from the Army in 2010 thinking his experience as a command sergeant major with two bachelor’s degrees and an MBA would make it easy to land a job in the civilian workforce.
The Hill: Trump’s promised Veterans hotline not set up nearly 4 months later. The Trump administration has not yet set up a promised White House hotline for veterans’ complaints nearly four months after President Trump took office, the Military Times reported. Trump promised that the private hotline would be “devoted to answering veterans’ complaints of wrongdoing at the [Department of Veterans Affairs] and ensure no complaints fall through the cracks.”
WFED (AM-1500, Audio): Agencies escape sequestration cuts in FY 2017. Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin announced the establishment of the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. He named Peter O’Rourke, a veteran and former consultant, as senior adviser and executive director of the office. Shulkin created the office in response to an Executive Order from President Donald Trump.
ExecutiveGov: Peter O’Rourke to Head VA Office for Accountability & Whistleblower Protection. Peter O’Rourke, senior adviser to the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been appointed as a senior adviser and the executive director of the newly established office of accountability and whistleblower protection within the VA. VA said Friday that O’Rourke will bring more than a decade’s worth of leadership experience to aid the department secretary on the use of available authorities to discipline personnel…
FedSmith: Bipartisan Support for VA Accountability Bill. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is a bipartisan bill. Its intent is to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by allowing the secretary to dismiss employees who are not performing. It is also intended to ensure appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers.
Sunshine State News: Marco Rubio’s VA Reform Gains Steam as David Shulkin Backs It. Last week, Rubio, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., unveiled the “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act” which would “reform the VA by allowing the secretary to dismiss bad employees, and ensure appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers.” If the legislation was passed, the VA secretary would have more power to remove or demote under-performing and incompetent employees…
WFED (AM-1500, Audio): VA recruitment possibilities under potential new legislation. Congress is never finished with the Veterans Affairs Department. Fresh after extending the Choice Act, the House has passed a bill to overhaul the way VA recruits, trains and retains its staff. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to go more in depth on this potential legislation.
Houston Chronicle: Perry joins effort to collect health data from Veterans. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry gave blood in Houston on Monday – not as a donor, but as a participant in a federal study that has amassed the largest genomic database in the world. The program, conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs, is collecting DNA and health data from veterans as part of research that scientists believe could unlock new prevention and treatment strategies for disease.
KPRC (NBC-2, Video): Rick Perry volunteers for ‘Million Veteran Program’ aiming to identify PTSD trends. Identifying who is at risk for these illnesses is the focus of a new program, a push to get one million veterans participating in a health study called the Million Veteran Program (MVP), which aims to identify trends in PTSD, suicide, heart and prostate disease. On Monday, the United States Department of Energy and the VA hospital announced a partnership on the project.
WUSF (NPR-89.7, Audio): White House Meeting Clears Way For Two Florida VA Nursing Homes. Plans for the nursing home were delayed because of a federal design change. When Florida first planned the Port St. Lucie home, it did so using conventional architectural designs. But the federal VA – which provides 65 percent of the construction costs – wanted a newer concept called community living centers. That design costs more and serves eight fewer veterans. Redrawing the plans delayed the project.
Task & Purpose: The VA’s Improper Payments Are Getting Worse, Not Better. The Department of Veterans Affairs cost taxpayers $5.5 billion dollars in improper payments last year, according to a new report by the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General published Monday. An improper payment is any payment that “should not have been made or that was made in an incorrect amount under statutory, contractual, administrative, or other legally applicable requirements,” according to the report.
Stars and Stripes British WWII veteran, 101, breaks skydiving record. A 101-year-old D-Day veteran has become the oldest person in the world to skydive.
Record & Herald: Montclair boy donates 3,000 comics to soldiers, Vets. Carl Scheckel, 10, a fourth-grader at Hillside School and an avid comic book reader, has given more than 3,000 comic books, including those he’s collected and others donated by collectors and dealers, to the Lyons VA Hospital in Basking Ridge and to the troops, through Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington and Ocean counties.
Upcoming Veteran Events
American Legion Post 328, Southfield, Michigan Listing of Current Events in and around the Metro Detroit Area for and about Veterans, for the period May 10 – August 18, 2017.
NAVAL DISTRICT WASHINGTON, Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor Inaugural Scocial, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda MD, May 23, 2017. For details please go here…. For additional information, please contact Mr. Gary Simpson, USMC (Ret), Transition Care Coordinator, United States Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor, Walter Reed national Military Medical Center, Bethesda MD 301-400-0576, Gary.J.Simpson.firstname.lastname@example.org
Objective Rally Point (ORP). Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 7:15 AM – 9:00 AM, Army-Navy Country Club, 1700 Army Navy Drive, Arlington, VA 22202. You are invited to join us for our monthly Veteran networking breakfast on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. ORP is a forum for military Veterans in business and those who support them, or wish to team with them, to meet and connect. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to network with other Veterans committed to success in business. Although the focus of ORP is on the connections made between and with Veterans, we do have a presentation each month. This month we have MG Richard Sherlock (USA Ret.) as our guest speaker. MG Sherlock will discuss applying leadership lessons learned in the military to civilian life. It isn’t enough that military service has given Veterans leadership ability if those skills cannot be translated into the civilian market. MG Sherlock will also discuss his experience transitioning to leading two large non-profits and provide insight into what to look for when supporting a Veteran focused non-profit. Cost is $35.00. For more information and to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/objective-rally-point-may-2017-tickets-34359887348
Veterans History Project Panel Discussion: VHP and National Institute of Corrections Explore – The Effects of PTSD on Crime and Recidivism. At Noon on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, a panel will speak on the effects of PTSD on veterans and how the Veterans Treatment Courts (VTC) support those who have run afoul of the law by proving appropriate treatment. The Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress will host a panel discussion on the effects of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the veteran community. For details and to register, go here…..
GOVCONECTX Doing Business with DoD Spring Showcase – Thursday May 25, 2017, 6633 Arlington Blvd, Falls Church VA, 22042 at the Best Western. There is a Cost. This particular event is Military intensive. Meet with key representatives from the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and DOD. Keynote Speaker: VADM Lou Crenshaw USN (Ret.), Crenshaw Consulting Associates. For Veterans, use the Coupon Code “Vet” and take $100.00 off the cost. For additional details and to sign up, go here….
National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) VETS-17, June 12 – 14, 2017, Norfolk Waterside Marriott in Norfolk VA. A great Business Development Conference created by Veterans for Veterans. Early Bird registration is now through March 31st. Pay now, save now! The Waterside Marriott in Norfolk, Virginia always sells out quickly. NSSBC does not have other hotels contracted, so if you want the convenience of staying at the Riverside Marriott, please consider booking ASAP. Go here for more scoop and to register: http://www.veterantrainingsymposium.com/Hope to see you folks there!
2017 Virginia Women Veterans Summit, June 22 – 23, 2017, Chesapeake, VA. This event brings together Veterans, employers, community leaders and government agencies from federal, state, and local levels to raise awareness about the services and benefits offered specifically for women veterans through expert presenters, panel discussion and exhibits. The conference will feature speakers such as Dorothy McAuliffe, First Lady of Virginia (Invited) and Deshauna Barber, Miss USA 2016, U.S. Army Reserve Captain and more! The Virginia Department of Veterans Services encourages women veterans who have, currently are, or will be transitioning into civilian life to register for this event. If you do not meet this qualification, kindly respect those who do by not registering for this event. Registration for this event is required. For details and to sign up, go here…
Non Commissioned Officers Association Annual Conference – July 11 -14, 2017. The Golden Nugget, Las Vegas, NV. Go here for more information and to register for this event: https://www.ncoaconference.org/
Mount Vernon Celebrates Purple Heart Day – Monday, August 7, 2017. You are cordially invited to celebrate National Purple Heart Day at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. It is our honor to have you join us as we commemorate the oldest military decoration in the United States at the beloved home of its founder. Here is information you might find helpful in planning your visit. http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=2313d2141f19dbc004908589e&id=04795fbcf8&e=
14th Annual Elite SDVOB National Conference, August 16 – 18, 2017, Orlando, FL. Convention website here: http://www.sdvobconference.com/ Go here for Hotel Information and Reservations: