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Monday, 12 February 2018
Topic Started: Feb 12 2018, 06:04 AM (14 Views)
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Michael Isam
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Thanks to Kevin Secor

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- Monday, 12 February 2018

- Did you know:

- Iran-backed militias obtained 9 US-made Abrams tanks in Iraq, report says.
- PLA scrambles Su-35s, J-20s to S China Sea as US Navy sails in.
- North Korean leader’s sister delivers summit invitation to South Korean president.
- Mattis says North Korea can't drive wedge between South, US.
- Latest short, confusing government shutdown could be the last one for a while.
- Budget deal clears the way for $1.4 trillion, two-year military funding plan.
- What’s in the whopping budget deal Congress just passed? – A basket of goodies.
- Trump taps Adm. Harry Harris Jr. to be US ambassador to Australia.
- Vice Adm. John Aquilino is nominated to be commander of US Pacific Fleet.
- Trump administration wants to turn International Space Station into commercially run venture.
- Basic training overhaul coming for the Army will focus on discipline, morale.
- Army Futures Command might be in a city.
- It’s official: Army unveils brown beret, new patch for military advisers, SFAB.
- Three tech problems the Navy and Marines are worried about.
- Pentagon 'publicly exonerating' Marines blackballed by war-crimes case, congressman says.
- Neller: Future Marine Corps Could be an ‘Older, More Experienced’ Force.
- Navy wants Mattis to delay shock testing for $12.9 billion super carrier.
- Navy Program Aiming For Intelligence In Prosthetics.
- Troops, veterans are now 'protected' from deportation.
- False alarms highlight weaknesses in national alert system.
- ‘Hire the best and fire the worst’: Trump proposes biggest civil service change in 40 years.
- Rep Walz: VA audit would not be a ‘punitive hammer’.
- Secretary Shulkin: Take time to appreciate Veterans .
- Salute a Veteran for Valentine’s.
- 56 Vets were on ‘secret’ wait list for eye care at Norfolk VA clinic.
- VA leverages HER data to assess care quality for mini-stroke patients.
- Many Questions as Expert Committee Begins Study of Legionella in Plumbing.
- Should Veterans be allowed to use medical marijuana for post-combat stress?
- Help for struggling Veterans may lie in underutilized VA program.
- New Study: Service dogs help suicidal Vets suffering from PTSD.
- Sex harassment can make victims physically sick, studies reveal.
- Vets receiving help with legal issues have improved mental health, less homelessness.
- Jumping through hoops: Local Veterans, advocates speak out on struggles with VA programs.
- Audit: Michigan Could Save Money by Steering Vets to VA.
- Elizabeth Curda: GOA finds holes in VA’s plan for new appeals process.
- Feds put 9 lenders on notice about ‘aggressive, misleading’ VA loan practices.
- VA OIG finds cybersecurity flaws at Orlando VA Medical Center.
- Former Veterans Affairs hospital in Brecksville to be listed on National Register of Historic Places.
- Salute to Veteran Patients Week start Sunday; volunteer opportunities abound.
- Veteran of the Day – Agnes Helen Gomez Patterson.


Did you know:

Secretary Shulkin and three other VA employees named to HillVets 100 List: HillVets released their list for HillVets 100 2017 Friday morning that included Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin, Senior White House Adviser Jake Leinenkugel, Relationship Manager Theodore Wong of the Veterans Experience Office and Vantage Point’s own Timothy Lawson, host of VA’s Borne the Battle podcast. “The purpose of the HillVets 100 is to bring …


Stars and Stripes Iran-backed militias obtained 9 US-made Abrams tanks in Iraq, report says. During the chaotic battle with the Islamic State, Iran-backed militias got their hands on M1A1 Abrams tanks the United States originally provided to the Iraqi army, a Pentagon watchdog has found.

Asia Times PLA scrambles Su-35s, J-20s to S China Sea as US Navy sails in. Beijing has responded to the US Navy’s ramped-up presence in the South China Sea – an aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson has been scheduled to call at Vietnamese ports next month – with squadrons of advanced fighters including Su-35s and J-20s that will soon start patrolling the 3.5-million-square-kilometer sea.

Stars and Stripes North Korean leader’s sister delivers summit invitation to South Korean president. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korea’s president to a summit in Pyongyang, officials said Saturday, his latest move in a flurry of diplomacy that saw athletes from both countries march together under a unified flag in the Olympics opening ceremony the day before.

Stars and Stripes Mattis says North Korea can't drive wedge between South, US. U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says it's too early to tell if any of the overtures between North and South Korea during the Olympic Games are creating a chance for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Defense Newa Latest short, confusing government shutdown could be the last one for a while. The nine-hour government shutdown came as lawmakers reached a budget deal they hope will prevent any more shutdowns until at least late 2019.

Stars and Stripes Budget deal clears the way for $1.4 trillion, two-year military funding plan. An agreement reached in the midst of a short-lived federal government shutdown Friday will let lawmakers move forward on a plan to bust budget caps for a $1.4 trillion, two-year defense budget

USA Today (Video): What’s in the whopping budget deal Congress just passed? – A basket of goodies. Congress passed a $400 billion budget deal Friday that busted through spending caps and suspended the debt limit for a year. It included money for disaster relief, opioid treatment and veterans, as well as a six-week spending package to keep the lights on at government agencies while a year-long spending bill gets drafted. The whopping 652-page document has plenty of additional provisions tucked in. Here are a few:

Stars and Stripes Trump taps Adm. Harry Harris Jr. to be US ambassador to Australia. Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr. is completing a three-year assignment as head of U.S. Pacific Command, where his tough stance on North Korea and Chinese military adventurism drew notice and approval from the Trump administration.

Stars and Stripes Vice Adm. John Aquilino is nominated to be commander of US Pacific Fleet. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced Friday that President Donald Trump nominated Vice Adm. John C. Aquilino for the rank of four-star admiral and the important Hawaii job at a time of concern over fleet operations and safety in the region and extreme tensions with North Korea.

Stars and Stripes Trump administration wants to turn International Space Station into commercially run venture. The White House plans to stop funding for the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory, and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector.

Stars and Stripes Basic training overhaul coming for the Army will focus on discipline, morale. The Army will hold recruits to higher physical fitness standards, send them on more realistic combat training exercises and increase its efforts to teach basic skills such as first aid, arm signal communication and shooting rifles using only iron sights, said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, the commander of the Army’s Center for Initial Military Training.

Defense News Army Futures Command might be in a city. Details are scant on what the Army’s new Futures Command will look like or how it will be organized, but the service’s under secretary said it could reside in a city.

Army Times It’s official: Army unveils brown beret, new patch for military advisers, SFAB. Last October, when photos of a colored beret designed for the newly formed Security Force Assistance Brigade first leaked online, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley responded to the backlash by vowing to redesign the cover to an unequivocal shade of brown.

Fifth Domain Three tech problems the Navy and Marines are worried about. During the Feb. 8 closing panel at the AFCEA West 2018 conference in San Diego, California, leaders from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard discussed a road map for their services and how to best prepare for future conflicts.

Stars & Stripes Pentagon 'publicly exonerating' Marines blackballed by war-crimes case, congressman says. A North Carolina congressman says the Marine Corps is "publicly exonerating" several military veterans it wrongly accused of committing war crimes more than a decade ago in Afghanistan, but those blackballed by the ordeal remain skeptical of the Pentagon's sincerity.

USNI News Neller: Future Marine Corps Could be an ‘Older, More Experienced’ Force. The Marine Corps has a long, storied history as a formidable – and young – fighting organization. But will the future force that must lean on highly-skilled, technical warfighters expert in areas like cyberspace, electronic warfare and information warfare require an older, more seasoned force?

Navy Times Navy wants Mattis to delay shock testing for $12.9 billion super carrier. The Navy has asked Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to delay shock testing on the super carrier Gerald R. Ford, a traditional process ships undergo to determine how well they can withstand an attack.

Stars and Stripes: Navy Program Aiming For Intelligence In Prosthetics. Two years ago, two Iraq War amputees received the first implantable prosthetic legs through a Food and Drug Administration trial at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Salt Lake City. The trial is ongoing and has been expanded to include more veteran amputees.

Military Times Troops, veterans are now 'protected' from deportation. The approximately 800 service members whose military service was put in limbo by President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program will not be deported, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday.

Stars and Stripes False alarms highlight weaknesses in national alert system. Last month's bogus ballistic missile warning in Hawaii and this week's tsunami alert snafu have highlighted trouble spots and prompted calls for change in the nation's increasingly complex system for alerting Americans about dangerous weather, active shooters, kidnapped children, plant explosions and other emergencies.

USA Today: ‘Hire the best and fire the worst’: Trump proposes biggest civil service change in 40 years. President Trump will seek to "hire the best and fire the worst" federal government employees under the most ambitious proposal to overhaul the civil service in 40 years, officials said. The measures will be outlined in the budget plan that Trump will send to Congress Monday, said four Office of Management and Budget officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the budget hasn't been released.

WFED (AM-1500, Audio): Rep Walz: VA audit would not be a ‘punitive hammer’. While reforms at the Veterans Affairs Department have generally garnered congressional support, one lawmaker says it’s not enough to simply throw money and resources at the department’s problems. Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) told the Federal Drive with Tom Temin that it’s also important to make sure that money and those resources are being applied in the most effective manner.

Telegram & Gazette (Dear Annie): Secretary Shulkin: Take time to appreciate Veterans . Dear Annie: In the past year, the Department of Veterans Affairs has tackled many issues for our veterans, and we are proud to participate in the largest transformation of VA in recent history. Our volunteers and community partners form a large part of this effort, allowing us to bring programs and services to our veterans that otherwise would be unavailable.

Valdosta Daily Times: Salute a Veteran for Valentine’s. This Valentine’s Day, many veterans who fought to preserve our freedoms will be hospitalized, receiving the medical care they earned, but separated from the homes and communities they defended. No one should be alone on Valentine’s Day, and with the help of our grateful community, no veteran should be.

Omaha World-Herald: 56 Vets were on ‘secret’ wait list for eye care at Norfolk VA clinic. Veterans Affairs employees in Norfolk were trying to “do the right thing” when they jotted down the names and phone numbers of veterans interested in a new type of eye exam. But the employees’ use of an unauthorized waiting list violated Department of Veterans Affairs rules and led to disciplinary action against several employees at a Norfolk VA medical clinic.

Health Data Management: VA leverages HER data to assess care quality for mini-stroke patients. The Department of Veterans Affairs is using electronic health record data to assess the quality of care for patients who have experienced a transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke, effectively replacing labor-intensive and expensive manual chart reviews, the current gold standard for tracking these medical incidents.

Circle of Blue: Many Questions as Expert Committee Begins Study of Legionella in Plumbing. Researchers, government officials, and technical experts met February 8 in Washington, D.C. for the first meeting of a National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine investigation on minimizing the spread of Legionella bacteria in building plumbing and municipal water systems.

Los Angeles Times: Should Veterans be allowed to use medical marijuana for post-combat stress? Frustrated with traditional therapies for chronic pain and post-combat stress disorders, a growing number of military veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are turning to medical marijuana for their treatment, a move that has put them at sharp odds with the Trump administration.

Chillicothe Gazette: Help for struggling Veterans may lie in underutilized VA program. Army veteran Mark Elkins' story does not stand like a lone sentinel on the landscape facing veterans returning home from the service. Traumas, trouble adjusting to life without military structure and discipline and trying to fit back into everyday life and family responsibilities can sometimes contribute to alcohol and drug abuse, issues with the law and estrangement from loved ones.

WTLV (NBC-12, Video): New Study: Service dogs help suicidal Vets suffering from PTSD. Can science prove service dogs help suicidal veterans with PTSD? The non-profit K9s for Warriors, which trains rescue dogs for warriors, is announcing a new study. It could be the first step in scientific documentation the dogs do work.

The Washington Post: Sex harassment can make victims physically sick, studies reveal. When Rebecca Thurston read the accounts of 150 women and girls sexually abused by a Michigan athletic doctor, one of the first things she worried about was their health — not the psychological effect of the abuse, but the long-term physical toll it could take on their bodies.

The Day: Vets receiving help with legal issues have improved mental health, less homelessness. Veterans receiving care at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center who also accessed legal help for civil issues they were facing, experienced improvements in mental health and fewer days of homelessness, according to a recent study of medical-legal partnerships at VA facilities in Connecticut and New York.

Cherokee Tribune & Ledger: Jumping through hoops: Local Veterans, advocates speak out on struggles with VA programs. The Veterans Choice Program is designed to help those veterans who are more than 40 miles from a VA clinic receive service through transportation, referrals to local doctors who participate in the program and other means, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Roper said when he first began seeking medical assistance from Veterans Affairs and Choice, he quickly began physical therapy.

U.S. News & World Report (AP): Audit: Michigan Could Save Money by Steering Vets to VA. State auditors say Michigan could do a better job of identifying veterans who might be eligible for federal benefits. The audit released Friday says the state could save money if veterans on Medicaid switched to health programs run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

WFED (AM-1500, Audio): Elizabeth Curda: GOA finds holes in VA’s plan for new appeals process. Recent legislation requires the Veterans Affairs Department to come up with a new disability claims appeals process. The agency will need to create and test the new process while using the current one, which has saddled the agency with a backlog of 500,000 cases. Elizabeth Curda, director of education, workforce and income security issues at the Government Accountability Office, spoke with Eric White on Federal Drive with Tom Temin, about VA’s plans and what it’s missing that would enhance chances of success.

Military Times: Feds put 9 lenders on notice about ‘aggressive, misleading’ VA loan practices. Government officials have put nine lenders on notice that they’ll be kicked out of the primary finance program for VA loans if they don’t stop “loan churning” practices that are allegedly hurting veterans and putting the benefit at risk.

Healthcare IT News: VA OIG finds cybersecurity flaws at Orlando VA Medical Center. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General found security at the Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) was vulnerable, due to the facility setting up a wireless network without coordinating with the VA Office of Information and Technology. In doing so, the medical center introduced vulnerabilities that could have been leveraged to gain authorized access to VA systems.

The Plain Dealer: Former Veterans Affairs hospital in Brecksville to be listed on National Register of Historic Places. A proposed commercial redevelopment of the former 103-acre U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, at Brecksville and Miller roads, would include a memorial park, under an agreement between the city, VA and Ohio's State Historic Preservation Office. The park would commemorate the site as a former VA hospital and would include a flagpole, monuments representing each military branch…

The Exponent Telegram: Salute to Veteran Patients Week start Sunday; volunteer opportunities abound. Bob Stemple and Bruce Walls enjoy volunteering to help veterans at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg. And they can always use more help, as volunteers play a key role in providing a positive health-care experience. The community is encouraged to visit the VA Medical Center for National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, which runs Sunday through Saturday.

Dept of Veterans Affairs Veteran of the Day – Agnes Helen Gomez Patterson. U.S. Air Force Veteran Agnes Helen Gomez Patterson. Agnes served during the Cold War from 1950 to 1952. Agnes was highly influenced by her mother to enlist in the military following in her two older brother’s footsteps. Upon graduating high school, she choose the Air Force. Agnes went to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas for basic training and went to Cheyenne, Wyoming for training as a teletype operator.

Agnes was stationed in Donaldson AFB in Greenville, South Carolina for a year before being transferred to Larson AFB in Washington State. After leaving the service, Agnes began to work for the Department of Commerce as a clerk-typist on Grand Coulee Dam in Washington. She later transferred to Norton AFB in California to be near her family. Agnes was glad to be close to her family again and she utilized her G.I. Bill benefits to for college. Agnes learned about military contracting, which allowed her to become the Air Force representative to the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.

In 1970, Agnes married an Army captain she had met during her time in logistic school in Pasadena, California. Agnes continued her career and worked with the Red Cross in Ohio and as an educational technician for the Navy in Hawaii. Thank you for your service, Agnes!

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