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1. Often overlooked, defense and foreign policy are integral parts of candidates’ platforms. In the last few months alone, the U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed, insider attacks in Afghanistan have skyrocketed, looming defense cuts have consumed Congress’ attention.
2. Where they stand: Obama on foreign policy, military and vets issues. Stars and Stripes asked President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for responses to a broad range of national security and veterans affairs questions in an effort to help military voters make their decisions this November. Here are the Obama campaign’s responses.
3. New initiative aims to train 100K veterans in high-tech manufacturing. Officials from General Electric, Alcoa, Boeing and Lockheed Martin announced a new initiative Monday to train 100,000 veterans in advanced manufacturing jobs, with the dual goals of repaying their service and restocking the talent needed for those high-tech jobs in the coming years.
4. Experts: ballot requests from overseas servicemembers lag. It’s easier than ever for overseas servicemembers to vote this election, but that doesn’t mean they will. Based on ballot requests so far, researchers and political analysts are predicting an underwhelming number of ballots from military members and dependents stationed on foreign bases in November compared to 2008.
5. Movie portrays “crazy vet” seeking redemption. Vets cringe at Hollywood’s botched attempt to explore PTSD.
6. Marine’s goal for Veterans Day is to read the names of all war dead. Brandon Blackstone, an Arlington Marine, is accustomed to the double take people do when he says that this Veterans Day he wants their help reading aloud the names of U.S. servicemen and women killed in wars. Not just in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not back to Vietnam. Not since World War I. All of them.
7. Research on engaging disabled veterans in STEM-related careers. WSU News While 12 percent of the U.S. population has some kind of disability (National Science Foundation, 2011), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics show nearly 3.5 million are disabled veterans. Because the identity and status of being disabled …
8. Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs is all about helping. AnnArbor.com There is a great local resource for area veterans: the Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs. Michael Smith, the director of … Their mission is to help them pursue all veteran-related federal, state and county benefits. Michael explained …
9. Shinseki: VA “Very Pleased” That 19 Hospitals Have Been Recognized As Top Performers. Erie Times-News The Veterans Affairs hospital in Erie “was one of 19 Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities recently recognized by The Joint Commission as top performers on key health-care quality measures for 2011-2012.” In a recent news release, Secretary Shinseki said, “We at VA are very pleased with The Joint Commission recognition,” which “demonstrates the hard work that each and every VA medical staff member undertakes to serve Veterans.” He added, “We are proud of the medical facilities that made this list, proving VA’s commitment to providing the high-quality care our veterans have earned through their service.”
10. Courts, VA Helping Vets Who Get In Trouble With The Law. CBS News’ 60 Minutes Veterans Affairs “tells us about 20%” of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans come home from war with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Texas State District Judge Marc Carter noticed that some of those vets were getting in trouble with the law, and he knew that the DeBakey VA in Houston “had plenty of empty seats in programs for PTSD and addiction.” CBS News, which said VA is “getting a lot of credit these days for developing innovative PTSD” therapies, noted that in 2009, Carter started a veterans’ court in Harris County, Texas. The court has been successful, as have 99 similar courts in other parts of the country. Currently, 100 more such courts are in the planning stages. CBS News concluded its story by pointing out that Iraq veteran Kevin Thomas, who has been helped by the court in Harris County, Texas, is rebuilding his relationship with his two children.
Have You Heard?
Special Courts Give Veterans a Second Chance
Veterans treatment courts have popped up across the country to help troubled Vets integrate with VA care to get the help they need. The courts were featured on a recent edition of 60 Minutes.