New Army Chief of Staff

General Mark A. Milley’s nomination to become the 39th Army chief of staff was approved Wednesday by the Senate, and President Obama nominated an Iraq War veteran to become under secretary of the Army. Milley will succeed GEN Raymond T. Odierno, who will retire after 39 years of service.

GEN Milley told Congress that he believes his 35 years of Army experience qualified him to lead the Army. “I had the honor to lead soldiers in combat as a captain and major along with combat leadership as a brigade commander, division deputy commander and corps commander,” he said to the Senate Armed Services Committee. “With service in Special Forces and conventional units, as well as operational experience in a variety of contingencies around the globe. I have a broad perspective of the Army, its processes and capabilities, and my experience includes operations in the Sinai, Somalia, Panama, Haiti, the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, along with tours in Korea and Colombia.

Milley’s most recent deployment had him serving as the III Corps commanding general and heading U.S. and multinational forces in Iraq, which he said gave him “the opportunity to apply the full range of Army, joint, combined and coalition capabilities in complex environments on my third tour in Afghanistan while commanding all the ground forces in combat and security force assistance operations. ”The Army, GEN Milley said, “is and must remain the world’s premier ground combat force, capable of conducting sustained campaigns on land to achieve U.S. national security objectives.”

Also, Patrick J. Murphy, the 41-year-old nominee to be Under Secretary of the Army, was the first Iraq War veteran to be elected to Congress, where he championed improvements in the GI Bill and veterans’ employment programs. Defeated for re-election in 2010, he has been working at a Philadelphia law firm and as a fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that works on progressive policies. Murphy was commissioned through an ROTC program and served two overseas deployments; deploying to Bosnia in 2002, and Iraq in 2003 as part of the 82nd Airborne Division.

If confirmed, Murphy would fill a position currently held by an acting undersecretary, Eric Fanning. It is not clear when the Senate will take up his nomination.

Posted in News

Happy 240th Birthday!

Two hundred forty years ago this Sunday, our founding fathers established
the Continental Army. Today, the Army is the strategic land power of the
joint force; called upon to prevent, shape, and win against our adversaries.

This year, we celebrate 240 years of selfless service to the nation.
Selfless service is at the core of what it means to be a Soldier – putting
the welfare of others ahead of oneself. The willingness of our Soldiers – to
place themselves in harm’s way and to protect our nation’s freedoms – is
what makes us the premier all-volunteer force. The Army has served proudly,
faithfully, and selflessly for 240 years, and we remain steadfast in our
commitment.

Happy Birthday, United States Army!

We also celebrate Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of
the United States by the Second Continental Congress.

FRANCIS D. VAVALA
Major General
The Adjutant General of Delaware

Posted in News

Farewell to Beau Biden

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Biden family as we mourn the loss of Beau; beloved and respected by all who knew him. The former Attorney General of Delaware was also a Major in the Delaware Army National Guard who deployed to Iraq in 2009. When our AUSA Chapter organized the first ‘Our Community Salutes’ event in 2012, Beau agreed to be our first keynote speaker. Although our event was new to Delaware, Beau did not hesitate to join the many community leaders, military members, parents and friends to say ‘Thank you’ to the high school seniors who were joining the military after graduation that year. Farewell to a good man indeed.

Posted in News

Memorial Day Events 2015 Around Delaware

The Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs is conducting two events to commemorate Memorial Day.  On Monday, May 25, 2015 at 11:00 am, they will conduct a Memorial Day Service at the Delaware Veterans Memorial on the parade field of the cemetery grounds at 2465 Chesapeake City Road in Bear, Delaware.  On Saturday, May 30, 2015 at 10:30 am, the Commission will conduct a Memorial Day Service at the War Memorial Plaza, Delaware Memorial Bridge, New Castle, Delaware.

Posted in AUSA, Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, News | Tagged , , , ,

Our Community Salutes of Delaware

[Published From Our Community Salutes Web Site, an AUSA Delaware sponsored event]

Wilmington University and the Delaware Chapter, Association of the US Army co-sponsored the fourth annual “Our Community Salutes” ceremony in Delaware on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at Wilmington University. We recognized and thanked those high school seniors from Delaware who have chosen a military career after graduation.

Tim Furlong of NBC 10 Philadelphia returned as emcee. We were honored to have Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn and Major General Glenn Lesniak, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army Reserve as our speakers. Student enlistees received letters of appreciation signed by U.S. Senators Carper and Coons, and U.S. Representative Carney. Students also received letters from the State of Delaware House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees, and an ‘Our Community Salutes’ challenge coin.

Mr. Justin Null, a high school counselor at St. Georges’ Technical High School, was presented The General Colin L. Powell award in recognition of his help assisting students interested in beginning their career in the military.

Photos of this event can be found at OCSDE.org/2015-photos

OCS Class of 2015

Posted in AUSA, Events, News, Our Community Salutes, Soldiers | Tagged , ,

Army Gets $7 Billion Budget Boost

[From AUSA National]

The Army would get a $7 billion increase in its base budget for 2016 under the Obama administration plan unveiled Monday.

The increase primarily goes to operations, maintenance and weapons modernization programs.

The administration requests $147 billion for the Army in fiscal 2016, $2 billion less than the current budget in a reduction resulting from reduced funding for contingency operations.

For fiscal year 2015, the Army received $121 billion in the base budget and $28 billion in operating contingency funds. For fiscal 2016, the administration proposes boosting the base budget to $127 billion while cutting the contingency budget to $21 billion.

The 2016 budget was announced Feb. 2, at a time when the Army has 140,000 soldiers serving in 150 foreign countries, and with nine of the Army’s 10 active divisions having headquarters actively engaged in ongoing operations.

The modest boost for the Army is part of a decision by the administration to ask Congress for a 2016 defense budget that is $38 billion over spending caps set in the Budget Control Act, something that will require consent from lawmakers. While the Army would receive $7 billion more than current spending, the budget would provide a $16 billion increase for the Air Force and an almost $12 billion increase for the Navy, according to Defense Department briefing charts.

Forty-five percent of the Army’s base budget goes for personnel costs, with 36 percent for operations and maintenance and 18 percent for weapons programs. Spending on personnel is flat, even though the Army expects to be smaller in 2016, a result covering the cost of modest increases in pay and benefits. The budget includes a 1.3 percent basic pay hike, an average 1.2 percent increase in housing allowance and a 3.4 percent increase in subsistence allowance.

Active-duty personnel levels would drop from 490,000 today to 475,000 by Oct. 1, 2016, under the plan. Army National Guard strength, now 350,200, would drop to 342,000. Army Reserve strength would remain at 198,000.

There is $16.1 billion allocated to Army weapons procurement in the budget request, up from $13.9 billion in 2015. Increases are spread over aircraft, missiles, track vehicle and ammunition programs, but Army officials said a top priority is modernizing Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopter fleets in support of the Aviation Restructuring Initiative, a controversial topic where an independent commission could end up deciding details and timing.

Ninety-four Black Hawks, 64 Apaches and 39 Chinooks would be purchased in 2016, an increase from the 87 Black Hawks, 35 Apaches and 32 Chinooks funded in 2015. Money also is included to buy 450 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and upgrades for 87 Strykers.

For more headlines, click here.

Posted in Army National Guard, Army Reserve, AUSA, Legislature, News, Programs, Soldiers, Training | Tagged , , , ,

GEN (Ret) Sullivan remarks about seeking stability and sanity in Breaking Defense

[From AUSA National]

Unhealthy and unnecessary friction in the Total Force is a consequence of the larger budget pressures facing the Army. We need to make certain the suboptimal decisions foisted on the Army’s leaders don’t damage the overall cohesiveness of what is shaping up to be a much smaller active, Guard and Reserve force.

You can read the entire op-ed article published in Breaking Defense on January 19, 2015 here. Included you will also find links to MG (Ret) Gus Hargett’s comments for NGAUS’s perspective on the current budget crisis facing the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army in particular. Regardless, GEN (Ret) Sullivan is right in that the “most precious, capable, and flexible weapon system is people.”

Posted in Army National Guard, Army Reserve, AUSA, Legislature, News, Soldiers | Tagged , , ,

AUSA sets meeting schedule for new year

[From AUSA National]

2015 will be a big year for big meetings for the Association of the U.S. Army, including a robust series of one-day “Hot Topics” events focusing on key issues for the Army and defense industry.

The first Hot Topic will be about Army aviation. Scheduled for January 29 at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., the keynote speaker will be Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn. http://www.ausa.org/ausameetings/ht/aviation/

In March, AUSA returns to Huntsville, Ala., to hold the Global Force Symposium and Exposition. The 2014 meeting in Huntsville drew more than 6,000 attendees. The 2015 event, March 31 through April 2, features the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, the command behind the new Army Operating Concept called Win in a Complex World which looks at the force, doctrine, equipment and training needed for the Army of 2020 to 2040.http://ausameetings.org/globalforce

In May, AUSA holds LANPAC in Honolulu, Hawaii, a world-class international event highlighting the role of land forces in the Asia-Pacific theater. Held May 19 to 21, this event will bring together U.S. and foreign military officers, including top commanders from throughout the Pacific, along with academia, industry and non-government organizations discuss the role of land power in the Indo–Asia Pacific region. http://ausameetings.org/lanpac/

AUSA is also participating in 2015 in two other major international exhibitions, IDEX in Abu Dhabi, UAE and IDEF in Istanbul, Turkey.  Both events bring tens of thousands of attendees and feature scores of international representatives of government and defense industries.

Last but certainly not least, our premiere event of the year, the Annual Meeting and Exposition held in Washington, D.C., will take place October 12-14 at the Walter E. Washington Convention center.

    Hot Topics in 2015 Schedule:

  • Army Aviation | January 29 | Crystal Gateway Marriott
  • Army Air & Missile Defense | February 12 | Crystal Gateway Marriott
  • Army Installation Management | March 10 | Crystal Gateway Marriott
  • Army Sustainment | June 3 | Crystal Gateway Marriott
  • Army Network | July 16 | Crystal Gateway Marriott
  • Army Medical | September 22 | TBD
  • Army Cyber | November 10 | TBD

To see a list of all 2015 AUSA meetings, go to http://www.ausa.org/ausameetings/

Posted in AUSA, Events, Membership | Tagged ,

No Surprise – Most Deployments are Soldiers

5 Weight of Deployments Fell on Soldiers

While all of the services contributed to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 9/11 attacks, the burden was greatest on soldiers, according to a RAND Corp. report. Of 1.6 million deployments between September 2001 and December 2012, 59 percent were Army, 15 percent Air Force, 14 percent Navy and 12 percent Marine Corps. The percentages include reserve components. The Regular Army provided 70 percent of the Army’s contribution, while the Army National Guard provided 21 percent and the Army Reserve provided nine percent.

What to watch: The report, Measuring and Retaining the U.S. Army’s Deployment Experience, was evaluating the substantial loss of combat experience facing the area, a serious problem as a result of normal turnover and the reduction in the size of the Army. While not it’s intention, the report provides a good reason to rethink Army force cuts.

Posted in News

Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014

[This came to our chapter leadership from AUSA National Headquarters]

An Open Letter to America’s Veterans

At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we have one of the most noble and inspiring missions in Government. I accepted this job and joined this mission to better serve you-our Veterans-and improve the delivery of the care and benefits you have earned. It is our privilege to serve you, and I have made clear that as we move forward as a Department, we will judge the success of all our efforts against a single metric-the outcomes we provide for Veterans.

The Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), enacted less than 3-months ago, goes a long way toward enabling VA to meet the demand for Veterans health care in the short-term. VA has put considerable focus and attention on ensuring the law is implemented seamlessly, without confusion, and without creating hardships for Veterans. This legislation provides authorities, funding, and other tools to better serve Veterans in the short-term. We are appreciative of this temporary measure to improve access while we build capacity within the VA system to better serve those who rely on us for health care.

From June 1 to September 30, 2014, VA completed more than 19 million Veteran appointments in our facilities and made nearly 1.1 million authorizations for Veterans to receive care in the private sector and other non-VA health facilities-a 46.6-percent increase over the same period in 2013. This was all done under existing programs prior to the passage of VACAA, and sets the stage for strengthening existing partnerships between VA and the private sector. We have much we can share with one another to the benefit of Veterans.

VA has signed contracts with two private health care companies to help VA administer the Veterans Choice Program (Choice Program) under VACAA. The Choice Program is a new, temporary benefit allowing some Veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than waiting for a VA appointment or traveling to a VA facility. It does not impact your existing VA health care or any other VA benefit you may be receiving. We will begin implementing this benefit on November 5, as required by law. A call center is now operational to answer your questions and verify your eligibility for this program.

As part of this new program, we are issuing a Veterans Choice Card to every Veteran who is potentially eligible for the new, temporary health benefit. The Choice Card allows Veterans to elect to receive care outside of VA when they qualify for the new program based on the distance of their residence from a VA care facility, or when wait times for VA health care exceed the standards established in law. The Choice Card does not replace the identification card you already use to access other VA benefits; please do not throw away that identification card.

The Choice Card will be issued in three phases. The first group of Choice Cards along with a letter explaining eligibility for this program is currently being sent to Veterans who may live more than 40 miles from a VA facility. The next group of Choice Cards and letters will be sent shortly thereafter to those Veterans who are currently waiting for an appointment longer than 30-days from their preferred date or the date determined to be medically necessary by their physician.

The final group of Choice Cards and letters will be sent between December 2014 and January 2015 to the remainder of all Veterans enrolled for VA health care who may be eligible for the Choice Program in the future.

We are continuing to work with our partners-Congress, Veterans Service Organizations, and others-to get the information about this health program out to Veterans in as many ways as possible. Please visit our Web site at www.va.gov/opa/choiceact<http://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact> where we have provided helpful information on Choice Program eligibility. We will work with our partners to keep you informed as we improve our delivery of high-quality, timely care.

Thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Sincerely,

Robert A. McDonald

Posted in Legislature, News, Programs, Veterans | Tagged , ,