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Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Topic Started: Feb 13 2018, 09:20 AM (9 Views)
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Michael Isam
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Thanks to Kevin Secor

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- Tuesday, 13 February 2018

- Did you know:

- Pentagon seeks $686.1 billion to 'restore and rebuild' U.S. military.
- Army: Budget would increase force, speed modernization.
- Marines: Slight increase in end strength proposed.
- Navy: 7 percent increase in budget request.
- Air Force: $10 billion more to fight global threats.
- VA budget would climb to nearly $200 billion under Trump proposal.
- Trump’s 2019 Budget Would Grow VA by $12 Billion.
- Agency-by-agency highlights of Trump’s 2019 budget.
- Trump Releases FY 2019 Budget Proposal – Includes $68 billion for HHS continues push for ACA repeal.
- OPM retroactively changed retirement benefits without notice.
- 150 retired generals ask Congress not to cut diplomatic spending.
- Democrats offer legislation to block Trump's military parade.
- Trump to appoint Schadlow as deputy national security adviser, official says.
- Mattis: ‘Too early to tell’ if Olympics will lead to North Korea breakthrough.
- Battlefield acupuncture? Yes, it exists, and the military is using it to fight troops’ pain.
- Budget boost in hand, Pentagon skips cost-saving base closure request.
- Why Oklahoma’s attorney general is backing a pardon from Trump for this Army vet.
- Army’s $182 billion FY19 budget request seeks to fill capability gaps.
- Marine Corps’ fears about enemy missiles prompts top secret meeting at Quantico.
- US Navy pressing towards major reorganization.
- US Navy wants more sailors, jets and an extra ship in 2019.
- Surgical team on front lines of ISIS war to receive Bronze Stars.
- US Air Force requests $156.3 billion in FY19, plans to retire B-1, B-2 fleets.
- The history of African-Americans in Coast Guard combat.
- VA spending up again in Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget plan.
- Trump’s infrastructure plan includes new rules for VA property sales.
- VA wants new budget line for commercial health record.
- Federal agency hits VA for unfair barriers to organ transplant.
- Breaking down benefits: VA healthcare.
- Teaching Veterans Kindness: VA Embraces Mindfulness, Whole Health.
- New partnership hopes to tackle military suicides.
- VA Medical Center, Hospital Partnering on Electronic Records.
- Lenders who prey on Veteran hurt other homebuyers as well.
- Lawyers for VA Secretary offer ‘robust’ response to forthcoming IG report on travel.
- VA watchdog to say chief wrongly accepted Wimbledon tickets, airfare, but his lawyers blast findings.
- 2017 Was Tough For Veterans Nonprofits – Here’s How To Weather 2018.
- 'Hello Girls' answered the call, served as telephone operators in France during WWI.
- William H. Carney: The first black soldier to earn the Medal of Honor.
- Veteran of the Day – Claire VanLandingam.



Did you know:

VA Careers Facebook Chat: Mental Health: On Valentine’s Day, we’re hosting a Facebook Chat for mental health professionals interested in caring for America’s Veterans. It’s another part of our Mental Health Hiring Initiative, which aims to add 1,000 new providers to our team this year, including psychologists, psychiatrists and more.


Stars and Stripes Pentagon seeks $686.1 billion to 'restore and rebuild' U.S. military. The Pentagon is seeking a 10 percent hike in funding, asking Congress for $686.1 billion next year to grow the size and might of the U.S. military while investing in modern hardware, primarily in response to China and Russia’s growing capabilities.

Stars and Stripes Army: Budget would increase force, speed modernization. WASHINGTON – The Army wants to grow its active force by 4,000 soldiers and speed up modernization programs for key warfighting platforms as it seeks to regain its “eroded” battlefield advantage over potential foes including Russia and China, according to 2019 budget request documents.

Stars and Stripes Marines: Slight increase in end strength proposed. The Marine Corps would get a 1 percent boost in end strength under the Pentagon’s budget proposal released Monday, accounting for 1,100 of about 15,000 active-duty servicemembers that would be added in fiscal year 2019 if Congress approves the plan.

Stars and Stripes Navy: 7 percent increase in budget request. After playing two years of readiness catch-up, the Navy wants to expand its strength and fighting capabilities in fiscal year 2019 to meet the demand for a “more lethal, resilient and agile force,” the Navy said in the presidential budget request released to Congress on Monday.

Stars and Stripes Air Force: $10 billion more to fight global threats. The Air Force said Monday that a proposal to boost its annual budget in 2019 by $10 billion will help accelerate the service’s readiness and modernization efforts in the face of new global threats.

Stars and Stripes: VA budget would climb to nearly $200 billion under Trump proposal. The Department of Veterans Affairs would get another multibillion-dollar increase in 2019 under President Donald Trump’s new budget proposal, which includes cuts to domestic agencies and social programs while boosting spending for defense, homeland security and the VA. The proposal, released Monday, asks for $198.6 billion for the VA for fiscal 2019 – significantly more than the $186 billion budget that Congress is working to approve for the current fiscal year.

Task & Purpose: Trump’s 2019 Budget Would Grow VA by $12 Billion. For the second year in a row, President Donald Trump’s budget proposal will include an increase in spending for the Department of Veterans Affairs, bringing the department’s allowance to $198.6 billion in fiscal 2019 — roughly $12.1 billion more than this year. If approved, the increase would mark a significant boost for the VA’s budget at a time when federal agencies that don’t wage wars or cover vets are facing historic cuts.

ABC News (AP): Agency-by-agency highlights of Trump’s 2019 budget. The Veterans Choice health care program would get a big boost under Trump's 2019 budget. The budget proposes an overall increase of $8.7 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, primarily to strengthen medical care for more than 9 million enrolled veterans. A key component is a proposed $11.9 billion to revamp the Veterans Choice program, a Trump campaign priority.

MedPage Today: Trump Releases FY 2019 Budget Proposal – Includes $68 billion for HHS continues push for ACA repeal. The new budget proposal suggests directing $83.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, representing an $8.7 billion, or 11.7%, increase from the 2017 enacted level, the document noted. "It is our Nation's duty to ensure veterans have access to the medical treatment they need, when they need it -- and that they have a choice when it comes to their care," wrote President Trump in a letter that preceded the budget document.

Federal Times OPM retroactively changed retirement benefits without notice. Divorced former federal employees getting annuity supplements received a surprise in their financial statements in 2016, as the Office of Personnel management retroactively changed their policy on whether a portion of those annuity supplements is due to a retired employee’s ex-spouse, according to a Feb. 5, 2018, Inspector General report.

Washington Examiner 150 retired generals ask Congress not to cut diplomatic spending. More than 150 retired three- and four-star generals signed a one-page letter sent to congressional leaders Sunday asking them not to cut diplomatic spending.

Military Times Democrats offer legislation to block Trump's military parade. Democratic lawmakers have introduced measures to stop President Donald Trump’s idea of a massive military parade to highlight Defense Department might, calling it a waste of time and resources.

Bloomberg Trump to appoint Schadlow as deputy national security adviser, official says. President Donald Trump will appoint Nadia Schadlow to replace Dina Powell as his deputy national security adviser, according to an administration official familiar with the decision.

Military Times Mattis: ‘Too early to tell’ if Olympics will lead to North Korea breakthrough. While the Olympics provides a backdrop for the highest level communications between North and South Korea in years, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is warning not to overestimate what may be said.

Military Times Battlefield acupuncture? Yes, it exists, and the military is using it to fight troops’ pain. The U.S. military has added the ancient holistic therapy of acupuncture to its arsenal for fighting opioid abuse in the ranks.

Defense News Budget boost in hand, Pentagon skips cost-saving base closure request. The Pentagon is taking a break from BRAC.

The Associated Press Why Oklahoma’s attorney general is backing a pardon from Trump for this Army vet. Oklahoma’s attorney general said Friday that he acted on his own when he sent a letter to President Donald Trump supporting a pardon requested by a former U.S Army soldier convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone.

Defense News Army’s $182 billion FY19 budget request seeks to fill capability gaps. The Army’s $182 billion fiscal 2019 budget request is a major funding boost over recent years and seeks to continue readiness recovery and fill capability gaps.

Marine Corps Times Marine Corps’ fears about enemy missiles prompts top secret meeting at Quantico. The Corps is scrambling to piece together a new operational concept to counter growing threats around the globe, especially the new long-range cruise missiles and other sophisticated technology from near-peer competitors like Russia and China.

Defense News US Navy pressing towards major reorganization. The Navy is pressing toward a major organizational change that could strip U.S. Pacific Fleet of some or all of its manning, training and equipping functions and consolidate that power under U.S. Fleet Forces Command on the East Coast.

Defense News US Navy wants more sailors, jets and an extra ship in 2019. The U.S. Navy's total shipbuilding budget request seems to make little headway toward the 355-ship fleet called for in a review last year.

Air Force Times Surgical team on front lines of ISIS war to receive Bronze Stars. The Air Force will award Bronze Stars to five Special Operations Surgical Team airmen next week, including four who saved many lives under grueling conditions on the front lines of the war against the Islamic State in 2016.

Defense News US Air Force requests $156.3 billion in FY19, plans to retire B-1, B-2 fleets. The fiscal 2019 budget for the U.S. Air Force plans to grow the service from 55 to 58 combat squadrons over the next five years, while buying dozens of high-end aircraft.

The Maritime Executive The history of African-Americans in Coast Guard combat. In 228 years of Coast Guard history, African-Americans have been the first minority group to fight and the first to sacrifice. During the early years of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, many African-American cuttermen were slaves as well as free men of color. Regardless of their status, blacks served side-by-side with their white shipmates.

Military Times: VA spending up again in Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget plan. President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal includes another increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs but also the return of a controversial proposal to round-down cost-of-living increases for veterans benefits. The $198.6 billion budget plan for next year comes as lawmakers are still working to finalize VA spending for the current fiscal year. That is expected to land in the $186 billion range…

Military Times: Trump’s infrastructure plan includes new rules for VA property sales. President Donald Trump’s sweeping new infrastructure plan unveiled Monday includes provisions for the Department of Veterans Affairs to keep profits from real estate sales and to more easily trade existing properties to for more favorable leases, moves designed to help better manage the agency’s national footprint. The plan calls for $200 billion in direct government spending coupled with additional state and local funding to launch wide-ranging infrastructure improvements…

Federal Computer Week: VA wants new budget line for commercial health record. The Trump administration plans to establish a $1.2 billion budget account for modernizing the electronic health record management system at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The budget line goes beyond simply paying to adopt the Cerner EHR system to sharing infrastructure and common software with the Department of Defense, as was announced by VA Secretary David Shulkin in June 2017.

KARE (NBC-11, Video): Federal agency hits VA for unfair barriers to organ transplant. A scathing report by the government watchdog agency assigned to investigate whistleblower complaints accuses the Department of Veterans Affairs of failing to properly address systemic flaws that limit access to life-saving organ transplants for veterans nationwide.

WLUC (NBC-6): Breaking down benefits: VA healthcare. Serving millions of veterans nationwide, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is broken down into three administrations focusing veteran’s benefits, healthcare, and the national cemetery administration. "We want to take care of veterans from the time they leave the service through their life, until their final resting place," said Brad Nelson, the public affairs officer for the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center…

WUNC (NPR-91.5, Audio): Teaching Veterans Kindness: VA Embraces Mindfulness, Whole Health. The VA hopes to roll out a national "whole health" program for veterans, offering them acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, and other alternative mental health therapies. Seated on a garden bench next to a gurgling fountain in the warm Southern California sunshine, Greg Serpa leads a mindfulness meditation, encouraging his audience to focus solely on breathing.

The Gazette: New partnership hopes to tackle military suicides. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention announced a new partnership with the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs which aims to reduce service member and veteran suicide. The announcement came on Jan. 30 at the foundation’s annual Chapter Leadership Conference and marks the first time the three organizations have worked together on the issue, according to a Defense Department press release.

U.S. News & World Report (AP): VA Medical Center, Hospital Partnering on Electronic Records. The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Vermont and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire have partnered to electronically share veterans' health information. Veterans who receive care from the hospitals can take advantage of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record Health Program. It enables non-VA health care providers to gain VA medical data, such as health problems, medications, immunizations, and some lab test results.

Miami Herald: Lenders who prey on Veteran hurt other homebuyers as well. Here’s what’s happening: According to officials, some lenders active in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home-mortgage program have been inducing borrowers to refinance their loans frequently in order to generate fat fees for the lenders themselves, rather than benefiting veterans with lower costs or better loan terms.

CNN (Video): Lawyers for VA Secretary offer ‘robust’ response to forthcoming IG report on travel. Lawyers representing Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin say they have submitted a "robust response" to the findings of a review of Shulkin's European business trip last summer and that Shulkin "has not done anything improper." The VA's inspector general has been reviewing Shulkin's July business trip to London and Denmark, which included meetings with Danish and UK officials as well as a stop at Wimbledon.

USA Today (Video): VA watchdog to say chief wrongly accepted Wimbledon tickets, airfare, but his lawyers blast findings. Department of Veterans Affairs investigators are poised to claim Secretary David Shulkin improperly accepted Wimbledon tickets and used taxpayers' money to pay his wife's airfare during a European trip last summer — findings Shulkin’s lawyers are blasting as questionable and unfair. The report by the VA inspector general is scheduled to be released sometime this week, but some of its key findings can be inferred from a point-by-point rebuttal drafted by Shulkin's lawyers and obtained by USA TODAY.

Task & Purpose: 2017 Was Tough For Veterans Nonprofits – Here’s How To Weather 2018. According to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, demand for services by veterans peaks about four decades after a conflict ends. The year 1978 was relatively quiet for active American military personnel, besides a brief Air Force involvement in South Zaire. Yet today, in 2018, the demand for veteran services is as high as many observers can remember it ever being.

Stars and Stripes 'Hello Girls' answered the call, served as telephone operators in France during WWI. The "Hello Girls" took oaths to join the U.S. Army Signal Corps, underwent training by AT&T before boarding ships to Europe, heading to war before most of the American doughboys arrived in France, connected 26 million calls and ultimately proved to be a significant factor in winning the war. And then they were forgotten.

Military Times William H. Carney: The first black soldier to earn the Medal of Honor. From slave to sergeant, a Civil War hero's story.

Dept of Veterans Affairs Veteran of the Day – Claire VanLandingam. Navy Veteran Claire VanLandingam. Claire was born and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was commissioned a Navy Dental Corps officer on Dec. 9, 2013 and graduated from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in early 2017. While still in school, Claire worked in clinics to provide services to low-income and disabled patients.

Claire’s first tour was at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Illinois. She worked at the USS Osborne Clinic at the Naval Station Great Lakes Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes Illinois, the Navy’s largest dental operation. Claire helped to provide advanced dental care for new recruits and was described by her officers as a fast learner and fantastic dentist who quickly made her mark on colleagues and patients. She completed the FHCC Tactical Combat Casualty Care course to advance her deployment readiness level in the Navy, despite not being required to do so as a dentist.

Claire unexpectedly passed away at the age of 27 on Jan. 3, 2018 in Lake Forest, Illinois. We honor her service.

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