More Cyber Please

Delaware has a long tradition of signal readiness. With cyber and electronic warfare capabilities being a top priority for the Army’s new cyber directorate, this bodes well for our first state Soldiers.

To that end, BG (P) Patricia Frost who heads the new cyber directorate, spoke recently at the two-day symposium “Mad Scientist 2016: The 2050 Cyber Army” held at the U.S. Military Academy. Her charge is to oversee electronic warfare and cybersecurity and to optimize exploits in the two arenas. The Army has fielded 41 of the 133 defense-wide teams that Congress has mandated be established by 2018. Frost believes, however, there are offensive and defensive gaps that will need to be filled at a tactical level.

For more on the story, check out AUSA’s post “Giving Field Commanders More Cyber Muscle

Cyber Warriors
photo by: US Army

 

Defense Spending Stalled Again

[Editor’s Note: From AUSA National]

It’s a 99.9% probability that Congress will pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government running past the Oct. 1 deadline. How they reach their goal is the billion dollar question.

Any optimism the Senate had that they would be able to pass the defense spending bill was dashed Tuesday when the legislation failed to garner the 60 votes needed to proceed. This is the third time Democrats have blocked the measure.

Democrats are not necessarily opposed to the language in the bill, rather it is a tactical maneuver. They believe they will have more leverage over Republicans to secure additional domestic spending in the final FY17 spending package that presumably will be passed after the November elections.

There is nothing to suggest the path to passing a CR will be any easier.

The Senate leadership is in discussions with the minority leaders and the White House to move a continuing resolution to the floor next week. The stop-gap measure would expire Dec. 9.

There is some speculation that if the Senate can actually pass the measure next week, they would adjourn early, thus tying the House’s hands – either pass the Senate’s version or allow the government to shut-down, not a pleasing prospect any time much less in an election year.

House Republicans are divided on the duration of the measure with some agreeing to the shorter CR and, others, namely the House Freedom Caucus who do not favor lame-duck sessions and want the CR to last until March 2017.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus have indicated that they will support the short term continuing resolution if the leadership includes language dealing with Syrian refugees, an idea that will certainly be rejected by Democrats.

Round and round it goes!

AUSA prefers passage of routine spending bills in a timely manner. However, since that is unlikely, we strongly favor a short-term continuing resolution.

There hasn’t been a full year’s appropriation, adopted on time since 2007. While CRs are far better than government shut-downs, they are not a substitute for actual appropriations.

Under CR funding, the Army cannot move money around where it’s actually needed or start new contracts. Budget dollars are placed against needs and priorities of previous years, leaving the priorities and needs of the current year unfunded. The end result of all this is, at a minimum, things cost more and they take longer to get.

Congress is demanding that the Army spend less money but they are making it more difficult to achieve that goal. It’s no way to do business and unfortunately, we don’t see any return to regular order on the horizon.

Stay tuned.

Principles for Revitalizing American Leadership

The following article was published by AUSA.

A group of 29 distinguished defense and foreign policy experts gathered by the Association of the U.S. Army has produced a set of guiding principles intended to renew a sense of American identity in the United States, ensure a safe and prosperous future for its citizens, and provide focus for America’s role in the world.

Called “America’s Purpose: 21st Century Principles to Revitalize the American Identity,” the paper is the result of an effort launched last year by retired Army Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, the former Army chief of staff who was AUSA’s president and CEO. Sullivan, who stepped down on June 30 as AUSA’s leader, viewed the project as an effort to create a document that would shape American policy, both domestic and foreign. The principles envisioned by Sullivan are not part of an international agreement, but are aimed at a domestic audience.

Historians, academics, defense and foreign policy experts, former diplomats, retired generals, and high-ranking executive branch leaders took part in discussions over several months that led to the final set of principles.

A preamble explains how the end of the Cold War and the singular focus on the former Soviet Union led to a loss of American identity and global focus.

“Since the end of the Cold War, the United States seems to have lost the centering mechanism that unified the nation. Without a clearly identifiable foe—the Soviet Union—the United States is facing a global landscape of foggy uncertainty, with occasional outbursts of destabilizing violence and dangerous regional instability,” it says. “It should not take a war for the United States to revitalize its sense of purpose and once again embrace its role as a world leader.”

“When America unites, its people win and the world is safer. ‘America’s Purpose’ provides a unifying framework to overcome domestic and foreign challenges, resulting in a safer, stronger America and a more stable and secure world.”

Key principles include a commitment to promoting world peace, advancing freedom and human rights for all people, promoting access to education, supporting legal immigration, and fostering cooperative global security.

Here is a link to the paper:
https://www.ausa.org/sites/default/files/publications/Americas_Purpose_131400Jul16.pdf

AUSA to host a Family Readiness forum in NJ

The Family Readiness Directorate of the Association of the U.S. Army has planned an event in September aimed at Army National Guard and Reserve families.

On Sept. 22, a forum focusing on National Guard and Army Reserve spouses will be held at the New Jersey National Guard Armory in Bordentown, N.J.

The forum for National Guard and Reserve spouses will look at help that is available for spouses and families when not located in a military community. The discussion will focus on where to find help, how to build a support network and practical tips.

Homefront United Network, an organization founded by Army National Guard spouse Angela Caban, is a co-sponsor of the event. Caban, the New Jersey National Guard Spouse of the Year 2013, and Bianca Strzalkowski, 2011 Military Spouse of the Year, will speak at the event.

Register for the Guard and Reserve spouse event here:

http://homefrontunited.com/spousetalks/

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.

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

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.

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.”

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/

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