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Defense & Veterans Roundup: Second Shooting at Ft. Hood, Link Between PTSD and Media Frenzies

Posted by Fred Wellman

Two Keys to the Future: 3-D Printing and Employing Veterans

Catherine Cheney (@catherinecheney), NationSwell. Over the last two weeks, an unusual storefront has popped-up in DC on Connecticut Avenue as the Garages Powered by GE hosted a hands-on high tech lab right here in town. Last Monday, GE hosted a Military Monday series of events that brought local veterans and those who support them over to see for themselves what modern Advanced Manufacturing has to offer as a career today. NationSwell and others chatted with GE’s Seth Bodnar and the Manufacturing Institute’s Jennifer McNelly about why veterans are a great fit for manufacturing and how the Get Skills to Work coalition is helping close the manufacturing skills gap and help veterans at the same time. –FPW

Wanted: Heroes

Greg Jaffe (@gregjaffe), Washington Post. In the second part of the Washington Post’s series drawing from their recent survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with the Kaiser Family Foundation, Greg Jaffe takes a look at the employment landscape for post-9/11 veterans. As it turns out, if you add up all of the many jobs that companies have pledged to create or set-aside for veterans it numbers well over a million seeking some 200,000 unemployed veterans. So, why isn’t every single veteran picking from five jobs? Like many issues in the veteran’s world, it’s an issue with many layers and Jaffe does a great job peeling back the onion. He profiles four veterans and one of the great guys trying to help them, Eric Eversole, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes effort. Stories show veterans settling far from where jobs are located for personal health reasons, overestimating their worth or value in the job market, and others just lost in the process of how to find a job. Eversole has made it his personal mission to hunt down those overwhelmed by it all and do whatever he can to help them even if it means calling in some favors. While this week saw more good news as the unemployment numbers continue to improve for veterans, there is still this huge population struggling to make their way in the world in spite of the almost herculean efforts of companies and non-profits to help. –FPW

The Unsung Heroes Behind the Wounded Warriors

Teri Whitcraft and Brinda Adhikari, ABC News. Our friends at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, led by the relentless former Senator herself, released the second phase of their research on military and veteran caregivers from the RAND Corporation last week and the numbers were staggering. RAND’s researchers found that there are some 1.1 million caregivers supporting our wounded warriors and disabled veterans. More disturbing: nearly 30% gave up their jobs to care for their loved ones, nearly a third lack their own health insurance, and almost 40% are at risk for major depression due to their roles. It is a situation felt deeply by Jessica Klein as she takes care of her husband, Army Captain Flip Klein, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan. Jessica tells her story to Diane Sawyer in the video for this piece and it’s worth your time to see how challenging the life these folks face is and why it’s imperative we focus on their needs and support their efforts for years to come. You will be hearing a lot more about the plight of our caregivers in the years to come thanks to women like Jessica and advocates like Senator Dole. –FPW

DoD Sends Congress $36B Wish List, But Passage Unlikely

Marcus Weisgerber (@MarcusReports), Defense News. As promised the DoD sent Congress a wish list of unfunded priorities in hopes of finding blood from a stone to fund many of its “nice-to-have” items. Items include a spare F-35 here and there, maybe some helicopters, a lovely new set of C-130Js for the Air Guard, a sprinkling of EA-18s to keep the lights on in St. Louis, and a heavy load of hoped for training, maintenance, and construction funds that have all been cut in the last three years. The Army is looking for $10.6 billion, the Navy another $10.6 billion, Marines $2.5 billion, Air Force $8 billion, National Guard $1.5 billion and Air Guard another $2.6 billion. It has to be disheartening to a hard working military staff officer to finally get his labor sent over to Congress and immediately hear the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee declare that it has zero chance of passing seeing as how they’ve gone and done the budget for this year already. I guess that’s why it’s a wish list and not a shopping list. –FPW

Betrayed Military Spouses Often Keep Quiet for Fear of Losing Benefits

David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times. With yet another military leader getting out of serious allegations of misconduct with little more than a wrist-slap, many wonder why leniency is often granted in the UCMJ process to known criminals. One unique aspect is how juries and judges often go easy on perpetrators to protect their families from losing their military benefits when the husband goes to jail or is kicked out. The former wife of disgraced Army Colonel James Johnson has been leading a charge to get approval for change to law that would allow for the families of accused military personnel to keep their military benefits package in spite of the husband’s demotions or removal from the service so the fear of “hurting the families” is taken off the table in military courts. This simple fix, it’s believed, will encourage spouses to not just grin and bear it when they see their husbands breaking the law in order to ensure their families support. The idea isn’t without its loud and angry detractors as many military personnel find it ridiculous that a spouse would be entitled to 50% of the husbands pay when he retires in the first place. They may not get any vote in the matter as Johnson is seeing interest in Congress as yet another sexual assault case fell apart for the beleaguered military justice system and Members of Congress are eager to make some kinds of changes to address deficiencies in the military justice process. –FPW

Hood Shooter Suffered from Depression and Anxiety, Officials Say

Patricia Kime (@patriciakime), Military Times. The tragedy of a second mass shooting at Ft. Hood had many news outlets scrambling to provide a motive for incomprehensible tragedy. Ultimately, we may never know what compelled Spc. Ivan Lopez to murder, but an argument with another soldier about a leave form coupled with preexisting mental health issues may be factors. As stated by Secretary of the Army John McHugh before a Senate hearing, Lopez struggled with sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression. Lopez was under the care of a psychiatrist, and was “undergoing a diagnosis process to determine if he had PTSD” but was not diagnosed with the injury nor was he characterized as prone to violence. Much has been made in the national media about Lopez’s brief deployment to Iraq along with conjecture about PTSD and TBI, but the military and veterans media has been sticking to the facts. –LJ

PTSD Does Not Equate To Violence

Reynaldo Leal (@ReynaldoLealJr), VAntage Point. Though Ft. Hood shooter Lopez was never diagnosed with PTSD, plenty of pundits and others in the media were quick to begin linking the injury and combat exposure to Lopez’s unconscionable violent act. As Leal notes on the VA’s official blog, there is no research or data that shows a link between PTSD and violence or that veterans with PTSD are more prone to violence than others. By stigmatizing PTSD, the media both perpetuates the myth of “crazy veterans” among civilians and also could lead to service members and veterans being less likely to seek treatment. Instead of the media creating a story about a “crazy veteran” with PTSD, it could have told the story of the heroic combat veterans who stepped in to stop the violence. –LJ

VA Notes New Low in Backlogged Claims

Leo Shane (@LeoShane), Military Times. The backlog of disability claims is well on its way to end by 2015 the VA says. The latest data shows the number of backlogged claims is fewer than 350,000, the backlog’s lowest point since February 2011. A move to paperless claims, better training for claims workers, and mandatory overtime are all reasons the backlog has been drastically reduced according to the VA—notably leaving out advocacy efforts and increased oversight by Congress as motivating factors. –LJ

Zero U.S. Troops Died In Combat In March, The First Time In More Than A Decade

Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown), Think Progress. In March, the Pentagon reported zero combat deaths for the first time since July 2002. With the war in Afghanistan winding down, so too are combat operations, though every day coalition and American troops are on the front lines—in fact, while the U.S. suffered no fatalities in March, NATO forces suffered two casualties. It’s also not the first 30-day period with no combat fatalities—that happened as recently as January 20-February 22, 2013. –LJ

A Blast and a Wedding

Thomas Gibbons-Neff (@TMGNeff), New York Times At War. Major wounds do not mean an end to living a happy life. Gibbons-Neff captures the joy of brotherhood and love of being a Marine and makes it known that it shouldn’t be unexpected that men who have overcome trauma and tragedy will ultimately triumph. –LJ 

Tradeshows & Conferences

Give an Hour Celebration of Service (Sun-Tue, 6-8 April); Studio Theatre, Washington, DC

Housing Assistance Council Symposium: Serving Rural Veterans (Wed, April 9); Capitol Visitors Center, Washington, DC

Navy League Sea Air Space 2014 (Mon-Wed, 7-9 April); Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, MD

AUSA ILW LANPAC (Tue-Thu, 8-10 April); Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, Honolulu, HI

View our full list of upcoming tradeshows.

Congressional Hearings

Congress: Both chambers are in session this week.

House:

Armed Services: National Defense Priorities from Members for the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Where: 2118 Rayburn

Veterans Affairs: A Continued Assessment of Delays in VA Medical Care and Preventable Veteran Deaths When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Where: 334 Cannon

Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel: Beneficiary and Advocacy Overview of the FY15 President’s Budget Who: Mr. Michael F. Hayden Colonel, USAF (Ret)., Director, Government Relations, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Mr. Rick Jones, Legislative Director, National Association for Uniformed Services When: 2:00 PM, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Where: 2212 Rayburn

Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness: Readiness Posture Who: General John F. Campbell USA, Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army, Admiral Mark Ferguson USN, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Unites States Navy, General John M. Paxton Jr. USMC, Assistant Commandant, United States Marine Corps, General Larry O. Spencer USAF, Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force When: 8:00 AM, Thursday, April 10, 2014 Where: 2212 Rayburn

Senate:

Armed Services: Army Active and Reserve Force Mix Who: General Raymond T. Odierno, USA, Chief Of Staff Of The Army, General Frank J. Grass, ARNG, Chief Of The National Guard Bureau, Lieutenant General Jeffrey W. Talley, USAR, Chief Of The Army Reserve And Commanding General Of The U.S. Army Reserve Command When: 9:30 AM, Tuesday, April 8, 2014 Where: G-50 Dirksen

Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland: Army Modernization Who: General John F. Campbell, USA, Vice Chief Of Staff, United States Army, Lieutenant General James O. Barclay III, USA, Deputy Chief Of Staff, G-8, United States Army, Major General Major General (P) Michael E. Williamson, USA, Military Deputy And Director, Army Acquisition Corps Office Of The Assistant Secretary Of The Army For Acquisition, Logistics And Technology When: 9:30 AM, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Where: 232-A Russell

Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel: Active, Guard, Reserve, and Civilian Personnel Programs Who: Lieutenant General Howard B. Bromberg, USA, Deputy Chief Of Staff (G-1), United States Army, Vice Admiral William F. Moran, USN, Chief Of Naval Personnel/Deputy Chief Of Naval Operations For Manpower, Personnel, Training And Education (N-1), Lieutenant General Samuel D. Cox, USAF, Deputy Chief Of Staff For Manpower, Personnel And Services (A-1), United States Air Force, Lieutenant General Robert E. Milstead Jr., USMC, Deputy Commandant, Manpower And Reserve Affairs, United States Marine Corps, Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael D. Stevens, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett  When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Where: 222 Russell

Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense: Defense Health Programs Who: Lieutenant General Patricia Horoho, Surgeon General of the United States Army, Vice Admiral Matthew L. Nathan, Surgeon General of the United States Navy, Lieutenant General Thomas W. Travis, Surgeon General of the United States Air Force, Mr. Christopher Miller, Program Executive Officer for Defense Healthcare Management System When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Where: 106 Dirksen

Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs: Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Requests from the Air Force and Navy Who: The Honorable Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, Department of the Navy, Vice Admiral William French, Commander, Navy Installations Command, Department of the Navy, Major General Juan Ayala, Commander, Marine Corps Installations Command, Assistant Deputy Commandant, Installations and Logistics, United States Marine Corps, The Honorable Kathleen I. Ferguson, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Performing Duties as, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Installations, Environment, and Logistics), United States Air Force, Major General Maryanne Miller, Deputy Chief, United States Air Force Reserve, Brigadier General James Witham, Deputy Director, United States Air National Guard When: 2:30 PM, Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Where: 124 Dirksen

Armed Services: Posture of the Air Force Who: Honorable Deborah Lee James, Secretary Of The Air Force, General Mark A. Welsh III, USAF, Chief Of Staff Of The Air Force When: 9:30 AM, Thursday, April 10, 2014 Where: 106 Dirksen

Think Tanks & Other Events

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Restructuring Army Aviation Who: Brigadier General John G. Ferrari, Military Deputy, Program Analysis and Evaluation, Headquarters U.S. Army, G8, Colonel Frank Tate, Chief of Aviation Force Development, Headquarter U.S. Army, G8, Colonel John Lindsay, Director of Aviation, Headquarters U.S. Army, G3/5/7 When: 10:30 AM, Tuesday, April 8, 2014 Where: CSIS, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

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. Follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 07, 2014 12:42 pm

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