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1. NFL draft broadcast to feature 2nd Cav troops. Who better to cheer for Cowboys than a bunch of soldiers in Stetsons?
2. House subcommittee endorses 1.7 percent pay raise for 2013. The House Armed Services’ Military Personnel Subcommittee released its draft of the personnel section of the annual defense authorization bill on Wednesday, one of the first steps in the long legislative process that will eventually establish pay, benefits and various protections for servicemembers in the coming year.
3. US, Japan delay announcement on Pacific force realignment. The U.S. and Japan have delayed unveiling a new agreement on the realignment of military forces in the Pacific due to concerns raised by the U.S. Senate this week, the Japanese government confirmed.
4. US condemns North Korea plans for nuclear test. The White House and State Department on Tuesday both urged North Korea not to carry through with suspected plans to conduct an underground nuclear test.
5. Marine sergeant booted for criticism of Obama. A Marine sergeant who criticized President Barack Obama on Facebook pages is being dismissed from the service with an other-than-honorable discharge, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday.
6. Senators blast VA over deficiencies in mental health care. Angry senators attacked Veterans Affairs officials Wednesday over failures to fix lengthy wait times for mental health appointments and misleading information that covered up the problem for months.
7. First Lady Michelle Obama to speak at 2012 Warrior Games. Boxscore News The competition, hosted by the USOC, is also supported by the Department of Defense, US Department of Veterans Affairs, USO, Fisher House Foundation, The Daniels Fund, AT&T, BP, DeVry, Anheuser Busch and Chobani, will take place April 30 – May 5, 2012.
8. VA increasing workforce for vets’ mental health care. San Antonio Express The US Department of Veterans Affairs will add approximately 1600 clinicians — to include nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers — as well as nearly 300 support staff, to its existing mental health workforce of 20590, Veterans …
9. Report: VA Mental Health Treatment Stats Misleading. NPR The US Department of Veterans Affairs has been tightening standards to ensure that vets get mental health care as soon as they need it. Now, a Senate committee has heard evidence that those standards are meaningless, and that some VA …
10. Veterans bring up key issues with Lt. Gov. Kleefisch at session. The Oshkosh Northwestern About 25 veterans spoke during a mostly-private meeting at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and a team of state officials tasked with increasing veteran employment. Members of the media were not allowed to sit in …
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More Veteran News
- House Appropriations Committee Proposes Funding. Washington Post “The House Appropriations Committee released allocation targets that the 12 subcommittees should work toward” in terms of fiscal 2013 spending. Among other things, the committee proposed $71.7 billion for Military Construction/Veterans Affairs. Senate appropriators have proposed $72.2 billion for Military Construction/Veterans Affairs. The House Appropriations Committee will vote on its proposal today. CQ “House and Senate appropriators are setting out in strikingly different directions on spending bills for the coming fiscal year, with the House allocating more to the Pentagon and less to the State Department and labor, health and education programs than the Senate.” CQ adds, “Under the House plan, the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bills would receive roughly level funding. The other bills” for 2013 “would see decreases.”
- Miller: VA Budget Assurance Comes Too Late. Army Times “The White House’s Monday announcement that veterans’ health programs would not be subject to reductions under sequestration was too little, too late” for US Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), who chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Miller , who “said the White House could have offered the same assurances nine months ago,” has “vowed to continue pushing Congress to pass” HR 3895, also known as the Protect VA Healthcare Act of 2012. But US Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), who introduced a similar bill in the Senate, “appeared satisfied with the White House legal decision, calling it the ‘right thing to do.'” The decision was also praised by Veterans of Foreign Wars’ national commander, Richard DeNoyer. The Hill Feedback from DeNoyer and that Miller said, “It’s about time” that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) “issued this decision and got serious about sequestration and VA.” Miller, “however, expressed some concern that the OMB letter said it was not addressing ‘other potential sequester programs,’ such as the “federal administrative expenses” provision, and said he was seeking clarification from OMB.”
- Vets’ Car-Crash Risk Rises After Deployment, USAA Says. Bloomberg News A study that was to be released on Tuesday by the insurer USAA “shows troops are 13 percent more likely to get” in car “accidents where they’re at fault after serving overseas than before starting their tours of duty. The insurer, which caters to military” families, “plans to use the study results to educate returning troops and their families about readjusting to US roads after deployment, especially in the case of reservists and members of the National Guard who may not come back to a base where they have the structure of active-duty troops.”
- “Told Ya So…” A new report on how long it takes Veterans Affairs to provide mental healthcare to vets who seek such care continues to generate extensive, somewhat negative coverage for the department. Time “Vets have been saying for years that mental-health care at the Department of Veterans Affairs has been inadequate.” Dr. Robert Petzel, Veterans Affairs’ top health official, is not arguing with the findings of a new report from VA’s inspector general, which says VA “does not have a reliable and accurate method of determining whether they are providing patients timely access” to mental healthcare services. Time adds, “‘At VA, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to anticipate the needs of returning Veterans,’ the agency said after the release of the IG report. ‘We have made strong progress, but we need to do more.'” Army Times A VA spokesman “said…the Veterans Health Administration, responsible for the VA’s medical system, concurs with the report findings and has ‘already begun taking actions designed to improve veterans’ access to mental health care.’ In anticipation of the report, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced last week that VA will hire 1,600 mental health providers and 300 support staff to address staffing shortages and improve care across the system.” American Veteran AMVETS National Commander Gary L. Fry has “expressed his support…for the decision to increase mental health staffing at the Department of Veterans Affairs by 1,600 professionals,” as well as 300 support staff. American Veteran adds, “VA hopes the new personnel will help to meet the needs of an increasing number of veterans who are seeking” mental healthcare.
- Some Advocates Worried About VA’s Ability To Help Troubled Vets. Stars And Stripes After bringing the case of Jacob Manning, a vet who took his own life, to the attention of Veterans Affairs “officials, Jan Kemp, the head of suicide prevention efforts, acknowledged that ‘obviously the right thing didn’t happen’ in Manning’s case,” since he called a VA hospital in Columbia, Missouri, for help before killing himself. Kemp, who “has ordered retraining” for that hospital’s staff, “said she’s proud of the work done and believes Manning’s was an isolated case.” Outside advocates “question whether that is true.”
- Army Encourages New Way Of Looking At PTSD. Los Angeles Times “In a move to improve treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, the Army is discouraging the use of traditional definitions such as feelings of fear, helplessness and horror – symptoms that may not be in a trained warrior’s vocabulary.” The Army is “also is recommending against the use of anti-anxiety and antipsychotic medications for such combat stress in favor of more proven drugs. The changes are reflected in a new policy document released this month, one that reflects a growing understanding of the ‘occupational’ nature of the condition for many troops.”
- Should FDA Assess Medical Device Defenses Against Hackers? Information Week The “Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, which advises the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), recently proposed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or another federal agency assess the security of medical devices before they’re sold.” The “FDA has so far received no reports of patient safety incidents tied to the hacking of medical devices such as heart monitors and infusion pumps. But a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) study showed that between January 2009 and spring 2011, there were 173 incidents of medical devices being infected with malware,” which led VA to “use virtual local area networks to isolate some 50,000 devices.”
- Martinez VA Focuses On Finding Permanent Homes For Veterans. KCBS-AM “Many war veterans in the Bay Area who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan have no place to live due to chronic homelessness. Now, the Department of Veterans Affairs in Martinez is working to find permanent housing for these vets.” Patrick Kowalski, who supervises the VA Supportive Housing Program, “aid that the Veterans Affairs Department is making vouchers available for permanent Section 8 housing.”
- Hire Our Heroes Helps Vets Find Jobs. WOWT-TV
- Meditation Training Program Available To Veterans, Active Soldiers. Naples (FL) Daily News