According to a January 6 Military Times story by Leo Shane III, House Republicans will use a veterans jobs bill to help launch the new congressional session. The measure, the Hire More Heroes Act, would allow businesses to hire veterans without having them count as full-time employees under the Affordable Care Act. Under the law, companies with 50 or more full-time workers must offer health insurance for their employees.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced the formation of a new agency to coordinate disparate efforts at accounting for and recovering the missing and dead from the nation’s wars. The new agency within the Defense Department, which has yet to be given a name or a home headquarters, would merge the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO), the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), and several forensic laboratories under a new director to be appointed by President Obama. Navy Rear Adm. Mike Franken, the former vice director for strategy at U.S. Central Command, will lead the new agency as interim director during the consolidation until a permanent director is named when the agency is fully operational next year.
January 17 marked 24 years since the official commencement of the Persian Gulf War. With this important conflict falling in time between the war in Vietnam and those of Iraq and Afghanistan, unfortunately its veterans are sometimes forgotten. The Gulf War served as a model military operation. America’s service members accomplished their mission on schedule, and without fail. Despite the war’s relatively short duration, each of its veterans played an integral role in shaping a truly historical event. Approximately 695,000 servicemen and women served in the Kuwait theater leading up to and during the war. It left 467 wounded and claimed the lives of another 374. Though victory was expeditiously achieved, it did not come without great cost.
Let us NOT forget those who served in the Gulf War for they deserve to be honored
Education benefits may be transferred with the Post-9/11 GI Bill under certain criteria. If you have at least 90 days of aggregate active duty service after Sept. 10, 2001, and are still on active duty, or if you are an honorably discharged veteran or were discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days, you may be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The transferability option under the Post-9/11 GI Bill allows servicemembers to transfer all or some unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. Family members must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and be eligible for benefits at the time of transfer to receive the education benefits. For more information, visit the Military.com website.
As many of you know, Battle Buddies is a program supported by the Disabled American Veterans, Department of Oklahoma.
One of the Veterans groups is in need of #4 – 4 ply worsted yarn in yellow, pink, red, white, and blue. They have a project where they knit caps for homeless veterans and their families. If you or your chapter can help contact Ronald Pandos at the Department Office in Oklahoma City.
As the nation transitions from a country at war on two fronts, much of the focus has been on veteran unemployment, which, while falling, continues to remain higher than for civilians.
But there is a growing group of veterans who aren’t looking for jobs; they are looking to create them.
Veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than people with no military experience. Aging census data show that at least 2.4 million U.S. businesses are veteran-owned, but experts say the number could be twice that.
The sentiment may be particularly true among recent veterans. Exit surveys of new vets leaving the military found that nearly one quarter are interested in starting or buying their own small businesses. The percentage is even higher among women veterans
The Defense Department could slash its enormous health care budget by requiring Tricare beneficiaries not on active duty to get health care coverage through Affordable Care Act exchanges, according to several current and former congressional budget experts.
In the past several budget cycles, the Pentagon has sought to reduce its $52 billion health budget by asking Congress to approve cost-savings measures that include increased Tricare fees for retirees, fees for Tricare For Life beneficiaries and cost-shares for active-duty families.
Some proposals, such as reducing prescription costs by promoting use of military and mail-order pharmacies, have been implemented, but for the most part, Congress has resisted changes to the status quo for those who use the military health system and its private health care network.
But, the budget analysts said, the Defense Department could realize tremendous savings if it tapped into the resources offered by the general, civilian health care system and coverage available through federal or state exchanges.
Secretary of Defense Hagel announced new guidelines regarding the September 3, 2014, Department of Defense (DoD) guidance to Military Department Boards for Correction of Military/Naval Records (BCM/NR) when considering petitions regarding discharge upgrade requests by veterans claiming Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, who received Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharges,” said VVA National President John Rowan.
“It is the right thing to do, especially for our Vietnam veterans. Many of our brothers and sisters were inappropriately discharged under other than honorable conditions after serving their country, because PTSD was not recognized at that time. In many cases, a PTSD diagnosis was not made until decades after their service was completed. And, because of their OTH discharge, they were unable to receive VA benefits. VVA has been advocating for these veterans for a long time, and we are very grateful that Secretary Hagel has taken this action,” said Rowan.
As stated in the September 3 guidelines, “…in cases where service records or any document from the period of service substantiate the existence of one or more symptoms of what is now recognized as PTSD or a PTSD-related condition during the time of service, liberal consideration will be given to finding that PTSD existed at the time of service. Liberal consideration will also be given in cases where civilian providers confer diagnoses of PTSD or PTSD-related conditions when case records contain narratives that support symptomatology at the time of service, or when any other evidence which may reasonably indicate that PTSD or a PTSD-related disorder existed at the time of discharge which may have mitigated the misconduct that caused the under than honorable conditions characterization of service.”
According to an article in Air Force Times by Oriana Pawlyk –
If you want your fitness records that predate July 2010, you must download them by Dec. 30 or they will be lost forever.
The Air Force is closing down the Air Force Fitness Management System and transitioning to the improved Air Force Fitness Management System II between Dec. 31 and Jan. 11. AFFMS II will not include information older than July 2010, according to an Air Force Personnel Center news release.
The new system will improve accessibility through the Air Force Portal for both airmen and fitness managers, and will have additional security features to protect members’ information, the release said.
“This system will provide Total Force Airmen with a more up-to-date, user-friendly fitness management system that will better support the overall Air Force Fitness program,” 1st Lt. Nathan Strickland, AFPC Special Programs branch chief, said in the release.