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.”

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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.

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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 , ,

More Veterans Day News from your AUSA Chapter

1.  Veterans’ Day Luncheon: All AUSA members are invited to a Chapter Veterans Day luncheon on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, at 12:30 in the Lone Star Steakhouse on Route 13 in New Castle.  The room will be open at Noon, and a short program with lunch will begin at 12:30.  Cost is $15.00.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Gary Dawson at (302) 230-6074, or contact Laura Sievert at lauralsievert@gmail.com or (302) 545-6736.

2.  Veterans’ Day Ceremony:  The Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and the Military Order of the Purple Heart will host the Veterans Day Ceremonies on Tuesday, November 11, 2014. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day (observed on November 11), this day is intended to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is our citizens’ opportunity to thank living Veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served have sacrificed and done their duty. The program, scheduled to commence at 10:30 a.m., will be held at the Memorial Plaza, Delaware Memorial Bridge, New Castle, Delaware.

The National Veterans Day Committee in Washington, DC has designated Veterans Day in New Castle, DE, as a 2014 Regional Site. This is our twenty-third year of participation along with 67 similarly recognized sites throughout the United States and it’s territories.

3.  Veterans’ Day Discounts:  Military.com has posted a comprehensive list of Veterans Day discounts and free resources on their website under their Veterans Day Center. This is an excellent resource for military members to explore and includes the history of Veterans Day, tributes to Medal of Honor recipients, ways to honor veterans and much more.

News Flash:  National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) and the Association  of the U.S. Army Join Forces Against Budget Cuts!

Two of the nation’s leading military associations have joined together to urge Congress to get rid of automatic, across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration. Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, the NGAUS president, and retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, president of the Association of the United States Army, wrote a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee leadership last week. The letter urges committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., to “end sequestration now.”

“The continued effects of sequestration on the Department of Defense will cause the Army, Active, Guard and Reserve, to fall into unreadiness,” they warn.

“The nation will be left with its smallest ground forces since 1940 – unable to carry out our defense strategy,” they said. “Troop levels so low put at risk our role as a guarantor of world security and embolden our enemies.”

Sequestration, which was enacted as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, cuts funding for Defense Department initiatives without regard to the importance of the individual program. The Pentagon was able to avoid the full impact of the cuts thanks to a legislative deal last year, but without additional action by Congress the cuts will come back in fiscal 2016.

“It’s no secret that we have some different priorities than AUSA, but there is no daylight between us on this issue,” said Hargett. “These cuts hurt our ability to defend the nation and respond in the homeland, and it’s time to get rid of them for good.”

Posted in Army National Guard, Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs, Events, Family, Free, Membership, News, Soldiers, Veterans | Tagged , , ,

Veterans Day discounts and free resources

Military.com has posted a comprehensive list of Veterans Day discounts and free resources on their website under their Veterans Day Center. This is an excellent resource for military members to explore and includes the history of Veterans Day, tributes to Medal of Honor recipients, ways to honor veterans and much more.

Posted in Free, Programs, Veterans | Tagged ,

Coach Krzyzewski receives the George Catlett Marshall Medal

Coach Krzyzewski, Duke’s renowned head basketball coach, received the George Catlett Marshall Medal for his support of Soldiers and their families during the Marshall dinner at the AUSA annual meeting. The Marshall Medal is the highest award presented by AUSA.

http://www.dvidshub.net/video/embed/371243

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Report: Fewer Veterans in the U.S. Congress

Fewer than 100 veterans could be serving in Congress when a new House and Senate are seated in January. An analysis by the group Veterans Campaign found only 183 of the 865 major-party candidates on ballots next month have served in the armed forces. Forty-six of them served in Afghanistan or Iraq.

If the number does fall below 100, it will be the first time since the 1950s that veteran representation has been that low, according to a story on the report in Military Times. Back then, World War II veterans were on the ballots across the country.

Currently, 106 veterans are among the 535 House and Senate members in the nation’s capital.

According to the National Guard Association of the U.S., more than 30 current and former National Guard members are on ballots next month seeking re-election or election for the first time.

The nonpartisan Veterans Campaign says it is the first time in recent memory that fewer than 200 veterans are running for Congress.

“We’re used to seeing this steady decrease every two years, but this could be an even steeper drop than we normally expect,” Seth Lynn, the executive director of Veterans Campaign, told Military Times. “This is going to be the election that puts us below earlier levels.”

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Proposal to Freeze Military Pay

The Administration’s contention that military pay has drastically increased is accurate, but there is much more to the story.   Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, military pay was capped by Congress below private-sector wage growth which resulted in a 13.5% gap between military and civilian pay and was a serious retention and recruiting crisis by the early 2000s.  Why would good soldiers remain in uniform if they were earning less that comparable jobs in the civilian sector?  Over the last decade, Congress has worked hard to fix the pay gap, ensuring it kept pace with the private sector. But now, history is repeating itself. The Fiscal Year 2015 administration budget submission keeps pay caps in place for not just a second straight year, but for six straight years!  Therefore pay would remain stagnant for military jobs that often require, long hours, hazardous duty, and overseas deployment.

It has taken Congress 10 years to make military pay competitive with the civilian sector again. It would be a travesty to undo that.

Posted in Legislature, News, Soldiers | Tagged , , ,

**Fourth of July **

On July 4, 1776, not even a month after the U.S. Army was formed, the thirteen colonies proclaimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Conflict between the colonies and England was already a year old when the colonies convened a Continental Congress in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776. In a June 7 session in the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall), Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution with the famous words: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” Lee’s words were the impetus for the drafting of a formal Declaration of Independence. On June 11, consideration of the resolution was postponed, but a Committee of Five was appointed to draft a statement presenting t o the world the colonies’ case for independence. Members of the Committee included John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. The task of drafting the actual document fell on Jefferson.
On July 1, 1776, the Continental Congress reconvened, and on the following day, the ‘Lee Resolution’ for independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies, New York not voting. Discussions of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence followed, but the spirit of the document was unchanged. John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence. It is said that he signed his name “with a great flourish” so England’s “King George can read that without spectacles!”
Happy Independence Day!

Posted in News