Military/Veterans Transitionnews for 2/27/14

Military transition and veterans affairs news of the day for 2/27/14

Good news story of the day

In Commitment to Troops, Actor Gary Sinise Treats Wounded Veterans to Hollywood Trip  (ABC News) It’s been 20 years since “Forrest Gump” took its place in motion picture history. And since its release, the story about the incredible journey of an innocent everyman with a low I.Q., has inspired actor Gary Sinise to take an unexpected journey of his own.

Military Transition

Transition GPS arms Airmen for life outside military  (52d Fighter Wing Public Affairs)  In these times of fiscal restraint and force drawbacks, the time to explore options and potentially prepare for a life outside of the military is here.

Secretary expects personnel cuts to be less severe than previously estimated  (Air Force Times)  The Defense Department’s 2015 budget request, to be unveiled next week, will propose cutting fewer than the previously estimated 25,000 airmen over five years, and the majority of those cuts will come from the active duty, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Wednesday.

Fort Meade: Retired Marine lands a job with help from transition program  (TMC News)  After 20 years with the Marine Corps, Hank Brown decided to work for an entrepreneurial company

Transition GPS program helps Sailors prepare for civilian life  (Ventura County Star)  By definition, “transition” means the “process of change,” and a process is a  series of actions. Put them together and you have a pretty accurate description  of what the Transition GPS program is all about.

Veterans fair to assist in job hunt  (Aiken Standard)  U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R–S.C., will hold his second Veterans Fair next week to  give veterans and local agencies a chance to discuss job opportunities in the  CSRA.

Fox: Pentagon will plan for possible carrier cut in 2015  (The Hill)  The Pentagon will take steps next year to retire an aircraft carrier in case Congress does not lift sequestration by 2016, a top defense official said on Wednesday.

Winnefeld: A Brave Congress Needs to Accept Base Closings  (Sea Power)  The Pentagon announced this week that it’s fiscal 2015 budget submission would include another round of base closures and a significant force reduction.

DoD Has a Detailed Sequester Back-Up Plan  (Defense News)  The Pentagon has a detailed five-year spending plan that adheres to federal defense spending caps should sequestration return in 2016. Just don’t expect to see it anytime soon.

Despite ‘historic’ cuts, the US will still have 450,000 active-duty soldiers  (The Guardian)  “Hagel plans to shrink the United States Army to its smallest force since before World War II,” blared the lede in yesterday’s New York Times. The Defense Department “proposed cutting the Army to its smallest size in 74 years,” said the Washington Post.


New Veterans Center Opens After Controversy  (NBC San Diego)  A new facility aiming to prevent homelessness among veterans opened its doors in San Diego Monday, but not without some controversy to start.

College kicks disabled vet, dog off campus  (Tampa Bay Online)  Bill Smith, a 100 percent disabled retired Green Beret colonel, survived the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon, several deployments to war zones and ailments seen and unseen as a result.

Veterans at Home, on a Mission of Compassion  (The New York Times)  Rachel Gutierrez was an army sergeant in Iraq, but back home in Phoenix she leads a platoon.

Air Force rules Minn. veteran’s cancer caused by base accident  (Fox News)  A retired U.S. airman got great news just weeks after the Fox 9 Investigators  questioned whether an accident on a military base that exposed him to high  amounts of radiation caused his brain tumor.

Pleas for more help for military veterans to recover from sexual assault (Christian Science Monitor)  When Jeremiah Arbogast was a lance corporal, he was drugged and then raped by his boss, a fellow Marine.

Gunman killed in standoff identified as Vietnam Veteran  (CBS 8)  An apparently suicidal 62-year-old man who was shot and killed after raising a rifle toward officers has been identified as a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD.

Veterans Affairs

Move to speed up vets benefits paying dividends  (Union Tribune)  A twofold campaign to accelerate the collection of veterans benefits after years of leaving millions of federal dollars unclaimed appears to be paying early dividends, including in San Diego County.

The facts about VA health care and benefits  (Tampa Bay Online)  America’s veterans deserve the very best this nation can offer to honor their service and sacrifice.

Sabattus man admits to theft of VA services  (Sun Journal)  A Sabattus man pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to stealing U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs travel benefits.

DoD, VA issue new concussion care guide  (Military Times)  The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments have published new guidelines on post-concussion care — a detailed, step-by-step road map for returning to duty that embraces rest and nixes activities such as driving and video games.

Quirk-Silva Seeking Support for OC Veteran’s Cemetery  (Orange County Breeze)  Assembly Bill 1453 would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to apply to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs State Cemetery Grant Program for the construction of a Southern California Veterans Cemetery in Orange County.

Veterans Beat: New Veteran Health Identification Cards is easier to use  (Twinsburg Bulletin)  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced Feb. 20, the phased rollout of newly designed, more secure Veteran Health Identification Cards.

County consolidates Veterans’ Affairs department  (Gettysburg Times)  The Office of Veterans’ Affairs is no longer an individual Adams County department.

VA Defends Deleting Veteran Medical Appointments  (  The Department of Veterans Affairs on  Wednesday denied wrongdoing in the alleged deletion of thousands of medical  appointment requests at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Medical Center  beginning in 2009.

Top VA official disputes mass purge of medical appointments cited in ‘scurrilous’ Examiner investigation  (Washington Examiner)  Revelations by the Washington Examiner of a mass purge of backlogged medical appointments by the Department of Veterans Affairs were dismissed as a “scurrilous newspaper report” by the agency’s top health official Wednesday.

VA Cites Drop in Opiate Prescriptions, but Some Lawmakers Skeptical of Progress  (ABC News)  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs senior officials told a panel of skeptical House lawmakers today that the VA has reduced the number of veterans receiving opiates by 20,000 since October in response to congressional pressure and media scrutiny.

Concerned Veterans for America starts Veterans Affairs accountability project  (The Augusta Chronicle)  Support is growing for a new law that would ease the process of firing and demoting senior executives within the Department of Veterans Affairs, including the directors of VA medical centers.

Veterans Affairs execs who quit can avoid discipline, agency leader tells  Congress  (TribLive)  Veterans Affairs officials can escape punishment for deadly lapses on their  watch if they quit before they’re disciplined, one of the agency’s top leaders  told Congress on Wednesday.

Executives responsible for Augusta VA consult delays likely won’t face punishment  (The Augusta Chronicle)  The senior-level executives responsible for delays in care at veterans affairs medical centers in Augusta and Columbia probably won’t face punishment because they retired before they could be disciplined, VA leadership testified before Congress Wednesday.

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health Hearing  (Insurance News Net)  Good morning.


Top enlisted members: Don’t mess with commissaries  (Military Times)  The Marine Corps’ senior enlisted adviser told lawmakers Wednesday that he believes focusing on the commissary benefit as a potential source of defense budget savings is a mistake.

Veterans groups to Senate GOP: Don’t tie Iran sanctions to our bill  (The Hill)  Two of America’s largest veterans organizations on Wednesday urged Republicans to abandon their push to attach Iran sanctions to pending benefits legislation.

Veterans Groups Slam GOP Effort To Tie Iran Sanctions To Their Benefits Bill  (The Huffington Post)  Two top veterans groups have come out against a Senate GOP effort to insert an Iran sanctions amendment into an unrelated veterans bill, putting the party at odds with a constituency that leans Republican.

Jeanne Shaheen To Introduce Measure To Give Equal Veterans Benefits To Gay Married Couples  (Huffington Post)  Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) is set to introduce an amendment Wednesday to sweeping veterans benefits legislation that would extend federal benefits to legally married gay couples.

Senate Debates Bill to Extend Health Care to Vets  (Military Times)  The Senate on Tuesday debated a bill that would extend Department of  Veterans Affairs health care to hundreds of thousands more veterans, provide  assistance for families to care for veterans at home and add new services for  veterans with fertility issues.

Military Compensation Savings About 10 Percent of Cuts  (Bloomberg)  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed reductions in military compensation, such as housing allowances, amount to only about 10 percent of cuts being sought over the next five years, the No. 2 U.S. military official said.

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