Defense Roundup: You Get a Job, You Get a Job, 200,000 Veterans Get Jobs! Veterans Day Brings Reflection

Posted by Fred Wellman

Pentagon’s Budget-Cut Response Risks Higher Costs Later

Tony Capaccio (@acapaccio), Bloomberg. The Government Accountability Office released a sort of “no kidding, really?” report last week that found after careful analysis that many of the budget cuts the Pentagon is making today to meet sequester guidelines will mean that weapons may cost more later or be delayed. The report looked at how the first year of sequester cuts weren’t as disastrous as originally predicted as defense department leaders drained contracts of padded buckets, delayed development and testing of some systems, and made other short term gain decisions that won’t be as readily available in the second year of cuts. All of these short term decisions are having a double whammy effect as Congress and others have seen that DoD and the defense industry’s dire predictions didn’t come true so they are less likely to stop the next round of cuts while driving up overall costs of programs down the road through delayed development costs and rising prices. Meanwhile, defense focused lawmakers are becoming increasingly frustrated at how no one seems to be listening to the dire warnings. Once again they held hearings where the service chiefs had to hash through the burgeoning drop in readiness and once again it was all more or less ignored. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that no one really is listening and things will only be tighter going forward.

The Pentagon’s Top 6 To Do

Philip Ewing (@philewing), Politico. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has issued guidance to the military service chiefs and combatant commanders on his priorities for the DoD. While it’s interesting to note his goals, it is also a little bit like things we’ve heard before that haven’t always worked out. His top six include 1) Institutional reform to cut the proverbial “back office” that is regularly targeted as the root of much of the budget woes in the department. 2) Revise force planning in light of massive budget cuts as there simply won’t be the same amount of troops available for many war plans on the shelves today. 3) Prepare for a “prolonged readiness challenge.” 4) Protect investments in space, cyber, special operations, and ISR which has been the goal for two or more years. 5) “Balance” is the euphemism for let’s not completely empty out the Army…but pretty much we’re going to do it in the end. 6) Personnel and compensation policy “reforms” because it’s those darn retirees that are bleeding us dry and so lawmakers will change pay, benefits, and other costly personnel areas to buy another F-35. How these priorities turn in to actions is the step that always seems to get lost in translation

VA secretary: Vet Homelessness Improving, but Elimination Might Be Impossible

Leo Shane (@LeoShane), Stars and Stripes. In a recent roundtable with reporters, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki repeated the administration’s pledge to end veteran homelessness by 2015, but admitted the economy and other factors may make meeting that goal difficult. Last year, the number of homeless veterans had dropped 17 percent since 2009 to a little over 62,000. New numbers are expected soon and while both Shinseki and HUD Secretary Donovan have hinted that the number will have dropped, there will still be a large population of homeless veterans to help. Advocates have long lauded VA, HUD, and the administration for making funding available for community housing initiatives, supportive housing, and other programs. The homeless population that will need help next, though, will need more than beds. Shinseki noted that programs that assist veterans with employment, substance abuse, mental health issues, and other risk factors for homelessness. With two years left in the commitment, the National Alliance to End Homelessness and The Home Depot Foundation (and ScoutComms client) launched the Never Another Homeless Veteran pledge. Sign the pledge here:

Veterans Battle High Tuition Costs

Howard Altman (@haltman), Tampa Tribune. The Post-9/11 GI Bill recently counted its one-millionth beneficiary since its inception in 2009. One challenge some veterans have faced, though, is the surprising cost of out-of-state tuition while the GI Bill only covers in-state costs. Due to the frequent moves during military life and many veterans choosing to move to new states to start their civilian lives, not all have established their long-term residency by the time they start college. States are making varying attempts to adjust their policies for veterans or simply covering the additional costs themselves, but in Florida said legislation has yet to pass. The state’s public schools, which stand to lose about $8 million in revenue should the laws change for veterans, are nevertheless supporting a shift that would allow more veterans to attend their classes. At the federal level, bills have been introduced in the House and Senate that would require states to waive residency requirements for student veterans. As more veterans choose to continue their education, it is encouraging to see states and schools step up despite the cost to welcome more veterans into their programs.

How the Military Isolates Itself — and Hurts Veterans
Phil Carter (@inteldump) and LTG David Barno (Ret.), The Washington Post
Help Veterans by Taking Them Off the Pedestal
Alex Horton (@AlexHortonTX), The Atlantic
Your absolute must-reads from Veterans Day weekend about a favorite topic at ScoutComms: the civilian-military divide. The boys from CNAS write that FOBs aren’t an anomaly found only overseas. Rather, they write, military bases in the US similarly isolate themselves from the civilian world. Most bases have grown much larger after decades of base realignments that consolidated smaller posts into larger, more rural ones. Now bases are largely self-sufficient cities cut-off from the outside world. This isolation hurts troops when they leave the military as they are faced with a civilian world that knows as little about them as they know about it. Too often, Horton writes, that civilian world puts these veterans on a pedestal of hero worship rather that appreciating veterans as people. That pedestal, too, frames veterans’ service as the pinnacle of their lives rather than indicative of their future potential. Let’s look to veterans’ futures, Horton says, and not focus our efforts simply on a handshake for what they did in the past.

Vets, Take 2 Years to Prep for Private Jobs

Anita Bruzzese (@AnitaBruzzese), USA Today. With recent announcements that the 100,000 Jobs Mission is nearing its initial goal and doubling down to 200,000 jobs for veterans, Starbucks’ commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses over five years, and unemployment numbers showing positive gains for veterans young and old alike, it would seem the crisis stage of veterans’ employment is over. But every day, veterans are still trying to make that successful transition from military careers to civilian ones and what may serve them best is time. Many companies want to hire veterans, and many veterans are looking for careers, but friction enters the equation when the two try to communicate. Tools from LinkedIn, like their special microsite, are helping veterans better connect with employers and share tips with each other. Two veterans developed RallyPoint, a LinkedIn specifically for service members and veterans, in order to connect veterans with companies that have veterans’ programs and initiatives. Putting time into the career search helps service members find the right company and job for them out of the gate. The veteran in this piece left his first job as a government contractor after only a few months when he realized what he really wanted to do. It’s a common refrain from veterans, one we’ll be looking into more over the next few months.

Two Admirals Face Probe in Navy Bribery Scheme

Craig Whitlock (@CraigMWhitlock), Washington Post. The unfolding bribery scandal involving Navy officials and the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia continues to just get worse and worse. The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock has been leading the coverage of what is becoming the biggest scandal to hit the sea service since the disastrous Tail Hook sexual harassment events twenty years ago. The ‘bad news’ window of a late Friday news release on a holiday weekend was used by the Navy to announce that two of the most senior intelligence officers in the service have been suspended from access to classified materials and placed on leave. Vice Adm. Ted Branch, chief of Naval Intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, the Director of Intelligence Operations, are implicated but not yet charged in the bribery scheme that steered US ships to select ports where Glenn Defense could overcharge for support and pay for the help with prostitutes and Lady Gaga tickets in Asia. Earlier in the week Whitlock had already laid out how CEO Leonard “Fat Leonard” Glenn Francis had used moles and insiders in the Navy’s own investigative service to stay ahead of allegations against him. He was boasting in emails about having insiders and winning multi-million dollar contracts even as NCIS was investigating him and his cohorts. One thing is certain at this point that this is going to get far uglier and could take out some very senior officers in its wake.

Tradeshows & Conferences

IAVA 7th Annual Heroes Gala (Tue, 12, November); Cipriani 42nd Street, New York City, NY
(Lauren is looking for tickets and has sequins to spare.)

Armaments & Munitions Forum (Tue-Wed, 12-13, November); Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

Our website has a full list of upcoming tradeshows

Congressional Hearings


Committee on Homeland Security: Cyber Side-Effects: How Secure is the Personal Information Entered into the Flawed Who: Ms. Roberta “Bobbie” Stempfley, Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Ms. Soraya Correa, Associate Director, Enterprise Services Directorate, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Luke Chung, President, FMS, Inc. When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

Committee on Foreign Affairs: Examining Nuclear Negotiations: Iran After Rouhani’s First 100 Days Who: Mr. Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Ms. Danielle Pletka, Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute, Mr. Colin Kahl, Associate Professor, Georgetown University When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Where: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: “Correcting ‘Kerfuffles’ – Analyzing Prohibited Practices and Preventable Patient Deaths at Jackson VAMC” Who: Dr. Phyllis Hollenbeck, M.D., FAAFP, Former Physician of Family Medicine, G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, Dr. Charles Sherwood, M.D., Former Chief of Ophthalmology, G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, Erik Hearon, Maj. Gen. (Ret.), United States Air Force, Mr. Charles Jenkins, President, American Federation of Government Employees, Local 589, Ms. Rica Lewis-Payton, Network Director of VISN-16, G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, Dr. Gregg Parker, M.D., Neurologist and Chief Medical Officer of VISN-16, G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, Mr. Joe Battle, Director, G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday. November 13, 2013 Where: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity: VA’s Independent Living Program-A Program Review When: 2:00 PM, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Where: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence: The Insider Threat to Homeland Security: Examining Our Nation’s Security Clearance Processes Who: Mr. Merton W. Miller, Associate Director of Investigations, Federal Investigative Services, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Mr. Gregory Marshall, Chief Security Officer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Brian Prioletti, Assistant Director, Special Security Directorate, National Counterintelligence Executive, Office of Director of National Intelligence, Ms. Brenda S. Farrell, Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, Military and DOD Civilian Personnel Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office When: 2:00 PM, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa: US Foreign Policy Toward Iraq Who: Mr. Brett McGurk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State When: 2:00 PM, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 Where: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency: DHS Financial Management: Investigating DHS’s Stewardship of Taxpayer Dollars When: 9:30 AM, Friday, November 15, 2013 Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building


Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Hearings to Examine Threats to the Homeland Who: The Honorable Rand Beers, Acting Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The Honorable James B. Comey, Jr., Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, The Honorable Matthew G. Olsen, Director, National Counterterrorism Center, Office of the Director of National Intelligence When: 10:00 AM, Thursday, November 14, 2013 Where: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Think Tanks & Other Events

Heritage Foundation: National Security in an Uncertain Age Who: General Barry R. McCaffrey, USA (Ret.) When: 4:00 PM, Tuesday, November 12, 2013 Where: 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20002

National Security Law Journal: Blinking Red: Crisis and Compromise in American Intelligence After 9/11 Who: J. Michael Allen, former Staff Director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, former Senior Director for Counterproliferation Policy at the National Security Council, Gen. Michael V. Hayden (Ret.), former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Chuck Alsup, former Associate Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Policy, Plans, and Requirements, former Professional Staff Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee When: 6:00 PM, Tuesday, November 12, 2013 Where: 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201

Defense One: Summit Who: The Honorable Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense When: 7:00 AM, Thursday, November 14, 2013 Where: 1000 H St NW, Washington, DC 20005

Fred Wellman, President ScoutComms, brings us his weekly review of defense industry news via The Scout Report. Fred served over twenty years as an Army officer in both aviation and public affairs. You can follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 8:47 am

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