Army Occasions: VA eyeing new partnership with states to assist forestall veterans suicide
By: Leo Shane III | 20 hours in the past
WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs officers in coming weeks will roll out new partnerships with at the very least seven states to focus consideration and assets on stopping veterans suicide, re-upping a profitable software from their earlier campaigns to finish veterans homelessness.
Dr. Keita Franklin, director of VA’s workplace of suicide prevention, stated Tuesday throughout a congressional employees briefing on the subject that division officers might be saying a brand new “governor’s challenge” to increase ongoing prevention packages to audiences outdoors the veterans group.
“VA must lead on this, and it’s our responsibility to prevent veterans suicide,” she stated. “But when I can have a partner take our training, have them pass out our crisis number, develop peer mentoring models in workplaces, if I can help them make sure veterans have access to health care, that’s when we know we’re doing the work.”
“We’re shifting from a model that says ‘let’s sit in our hospitals and wait for people to come to us’ and take it to them.”
About 20 veterans a day nationwide commit suicide, a determine that has remained largely unchanged in recent times. Of that quantity, about 14 could have had little or no contact with VA well being providers.
For the final yr, VA officers have been utilizing a “mayor’s challenge” mannequin to work with 27 giant cities on methods to raised share VA disaster assets, practice staff in suicide consciousness and intervention, and coordinate present help packages with nationwide ones.
The transfer adopted comparable outreach actions surrounding veterans homelessness. Advocates have praised the strategy as a strategy to embrace communities in efforts to assist veterans, creating extra significant connections at an area degree.
“We know that integration of care is vital, not only within health systems, but within entire communities, to address challenges like suicide in the veteran population,” stated Heather O’Beirne Kelly, director of army and veterans well being coverage on the American Psychological Affiliation.
“VA was instrumental in addressing veteran homelessness through a similar mayoral challenge, and we’ve seen success in other arenas. The Memphis police department’s crisis intervention team, for example, works with the VA medical center to ensure that veterans who come into contact with the criminal justice system get appropriate diversion and wraparound care.”
Franklin stated the “mayor’s challenge” will now increase to statewide workplaces in an preliminary set of state companions: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia.
“The key is to work on a local plan,” she stated. “Who are the local influencers? What are your measures of effectiveness over time?”
Work may even be coordinated with the Division of Well being and Human Providers.
Dr. Richard McKeon, chief of suicide prevention efforts on the Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Providers Administration, stated many veterans in misery might first attain out to native hospitals or docs for assist. That makes informing these organizations of veteran-specific assets important.
VA officers are anticipated to formally announce the brand new state partnerships subsequent month.
To contact the Veteran Disaster Line, callers can dial 1-800-273-8255 and choose choice 1 for a VA staffer. Veterans, troops or their households members can even textual content 838255 or go to VeteransCrisisLine.internet for help.
USA At present: Furloughed staff to get again pay as soon as authorities shutdown is over
Michael Collins, USA TODAY
Revealed four:42 p.m. ET Jan. 16, 2019 | Up to date 9:40 p.m. ET Jan. 16, 2019
WASHINGTON – Federal staff who’ve been pressured to take unpaid depart due to the partial authorities shutdown will get again pay.
President Donald Trump signed laws Wednesday guaranteeing that furloughed staff can be paid retroactively.
The laws, which cleared each the Home and the Senate final week, doesn’t spell out particularly when staff will see the cash however says they are going to be paid as quickly as attainable when the shutdown ends.
“The partial government shutdown represents a failure to govern and harms not only those who need to interact with the closed agencies, but also hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their families who don’t know when they will receive their next paycheck,” stated Sen. Susan Collins. R-Maine, one of many invoice’s sponsors.
Some 380,000 federal staff from 9 departments and a number of other smaller businesses have been pressured to go on furlough due to the federal government shutdown, which is now in its 26th day – the longest in U.S. historical past.
One other 420,000 staff – many in public-safety positions – are working with out pay as a result of their jobs are thought-about important. They have been assured of again pay as soon as the shutdown is over.
With out laws, nevertheless, there was no assure that furloughed staff would obtain again pay when funding to their businesses is restored, though that has been the apply following earlier shutdowns.
Final Friday marked the primary time that affected staff haven’t acquired a paycheck because the shutdown started on Dec. 22.
The invoice that Trump signed into regulation applies not solely to staff furloughed through the present shutdown. It mandates that staff furloughed in future shutdowns additionally get again pay.
The present shutdown was triggered by a struggle between Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for a wall alongside the united statesMexico border. Trump needs $5.7 billion to construct the construction, however Democrats say a wall can be pricey, ineffective and – within the phrases of Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi – an “immorality.”
Related Press: Coast Guard households attend free dinner at Rhode Island college throughout shutdown
By: Jennifer McDermott, The Related Press | 15 hours in the past
BRISTOL, R.I. — Spouses of U.S. Coast Guard members stated they appreciated a college in Rhode Island internet hosting a free dinner for his or her households Tuesday, as they tightened their budgets because of the partial federal authorities shutdown.
Roger Williams College invited active-duty Coast Guard members in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts and their households to the Bristol campus Tuesday night time. About 75 individuals attended.
“It means a lot to us to be able to come here. Banding together is important,” stated Rachel Malcom, 32, whose husband serves within the Coast Guard in Rhode Island. They went to the dinner with three of their 4 younger youngsters.
Malcom and different Coast Guard spouses stated they’re selecting inexpensive gadgets on the grocery retailer, going fewer locations to save lots of on gasoline and on the lookout for different methods to chop prices.
“I’m really scaling back on everything at this point,” stated Mariah Battermann, whose husband serves within the Coast Guard in Rhode Island. They went to the dinner with their two youngsters.
A number of Coast Guard members stated they couldn’t converse publicly concerning the shutdown. The Coast Guard, a part of the Division of Homeland Safety, isn’t funded in the course of the shutdown. Different army providers are receiving funding by means of the Protection Division.
President Donald Trump has stated he’s prepared to maintain the federal government closed to get funding to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
John King, vice chairman of scholar life at Roger Williams College, stated the Coast Guard patrols the native waters that college students and close by residents swim and sail in.
“They’re always there for us. We wanted to do a small act of kindness and gratitude for them,” he stated.
The Coast Guard has about 330 individuals in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, together with a group in Bristol that maintains aids to navigation.
Washington Submit: Suicide blast kills 4 People in Syria, an indication of remaining extremist hazard
By Louisa Loveluck and Missy Ryan | January 16 at 7:09 PM
BEIRUT — 4 People have been killed in a suicide assault in Syria on Wednesday, the most important lack of life within the Pentagon’s conflict towards Islamic State militants there and an indication of the potent menace that is still because the Trump administration begins to withdraw.
Officers stated a bomber detonated an explosive vest as a gaggle of People, together with two service members, a Pentagon civilian and a U.S. contractor slain within the assault, met with native army officers at a restaurant within the northern metropolis of Manbij.
Three further U.S. service members have been wounded, U.S. Central Command stated in a press release.
The incident happens because the Pentagon begins its drawdown from Syria consistent with President Trump’s announcement final month that the Islamic State had been defeated and troops can be coming residence.
The president’s shock Dec. 19 announcement upended plans, backed by army leaders and Trump’s prime nationwide safety advisers, for an ongoing mission in Syria and drew widespread criticism, together with from Republican allies who warned a untimely departure might permit militants to return. Almost a month after Trump’s preliminary pronouncement, conflicting statements from senior officers, together with the president himself, have fueled ongoing confusion about what exactly the administration’s plan entails.
The Islamic State, in a message posted by its unofficial information company, Amaq, asserted duty for the Manbij blast however offered no proof to again up that declare.
Surveillance digital camera video confirmed the explosion erupting on a busy sidewalk, sending a toddler operating from the flames with palms clasped over his ears. Our bodies and blood trails could possibly be seen unfold throughout the bottom in pictures taken in the course of the quick aftermath.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated a minimum of 19 individuals have been wounded or killed.
White Home press secretary Sarah Sanders praised the “brave American heroes” who died within the assault. “Our service members and their families have all sacrificed so much for our country,” she stated in a press release.
The White Home stated Trump had been “fully briefed” on the incident, probably the most lethal since U.S. troops arrived in Syria in 2015. Beforehand, two American service members had been killed in motion there.
Talking on the State Division a number of hours after preliminary casualty studies appeared, Vice President Pence didn’t point out the incident however hailed Trump’s management in combating the militants in Syria.
“We are bringing our troops home,” Pence stated in an tackle to greater than 180 U.S. ambassadors and chiefs of missions overseas gathered for a convention in Washington. “The caliphate has crumbled, and ISIS has been defeated.”
In a press release issued by his workplace later within the day, Pence provided sympathy to the households of the People who have been killed, condemned the assault and stated the USA would “never allow the remnants of ISIS to reestablish their evil and murderous caliphate — not now, not ever.”
The dissonance between the vice chairman’s preliminary assertion and the bloodshed on the bottom in Syria displays conflicting inner assessments about the place the marketing campaign towards the Islamic State stands.
Trump, saying final month that the pressure of greater than 2,000 U.S. service members can be leaving Syria, heralded categorical victory over the Islamic State greater than 4 years after U.S. forces launched a world coalition to dislodge militants from their self-declared “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq.
The president’s declaration generated consternation from overseas companions, together with France and Britain, and accusations of abandonment from a U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish drive that has suffered hundreds of casualties. Protection Secretary Jim Mattis resigned the subsequent day.
Since then, Trump and different senior officers have at occasions used extra cautious rhetoric in addressing the Islamic State, which the Pentagon has stated retains vital fight energy, particularly in japanese Syria, the place it continues to carry territory.
Regardless of Trump’s preliminary suggestion that troops would depart instantly, the White Home subsequently has stated there isn’t a timeline for the U.S. departure. Compounding the confusion, army officers say they’re continuing with orders to withdraw inside about 4 months.
On Friday, the army introduced it had begun withdrawing gear however not forces. It’s not clear what weaponry or gear has been faraway from Manbij, which was reclaimed from militants in 2016.
A whole lot of U.S. troops have been stationed in Manbij in an try to stop extremists from regaining power and to foster stability in an space strategic to each NATO ally Turkey to the north and Syrian Kurdish forces who’ve been the chief U.S. companion towards the Islamic State.
Turkey considers some Syrian Kurds, together with U.S. companion forces, to be a part of a terror group.
U.S. troops have been extra seen in Manbij than they’ve in different areas, flying U.S. flags as a part of their stabilization effort there.
Lawmakers of each events seized on the assault as proof that Trump ought to rethink his Syria plans. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who has gone between lauding and excoriating the president, made an impassioned speech initially of William P. Barr’s affirmation listening to to function lawyer common, imploring Trump to rethink his place in mild of the carnage.
“My concern about the statements made by President Trump is that you set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting. You make people we are trying to help wonder about us, and as they get bolder, the people we’re trying to help are going to get more uncertain. I saw this in Iraq, and I’m now seeing it in Syria,” Graham stated.
“I know people are frustrated. But we’re never going to be safe here unless we’re willing to help people over there who will stand up against this radical ideology,” he added. “To those who lost their lives today in Syria, you were defending America in my view . . . and I hope the president will look long and hard at what we’re doing in Syria.”
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), at a gathering of HillVets, a Washington veterans group, stated america was failing to reveal the worldwide management it had proven up to now.
“Today’s very tragic situation is a reflection that ISIS is not gone and done with,” he stated. Reed stated it was very important to maintain army strain on the group and warned that ISIS leaders interpreted Trump’s requires a withdrawal from Syria as “a great relief of the pressure on them.”
Because the Pentagon begins its withdrawal, it stays unclear whether or not the White Home plan will embrace an exit for a number of hundred troops now stationed on the Tanf garrison in southeast Syria. Whereas nationwide safety adviser John Bolton has advised that base, seen as key to constraining Iran’s affect in Syria, might stay open, army officers are planning to close it down.
Washington Submit: Pentagon creating plan to scrutinize recruits with inexperienced playing cards and different overseas ties, memos present
By Dan Lamothe | January 16 at 6:33 PM
The Pentagon, citing terrorism and espionage fears, is creating a plan to scrutinize potential recruits with overseas ties, together with some U.S. residents, after a associated effort concentrating on hundreds of green-card holders was blocked by a federal decide final yr.
The brand new coverage, nonetheless in improvement, can be distributed to the army providers by no later than Feb. 15, based on two Protection Division officers and a number of other division memos obtained by The Washington Submit. The officers spoke on the situation of anonymity due to the difficulty’s sensitivity.
The brand new vetting is more likely to display hundreds of recruits per yr who’ve what the Pentagon considers “foreign nexus” dangers, together with some People who marry a overseas partner or who’ve relations with twin citizenship, the memos stated. Anybody recognized for the screening wouldn’t be allowed to attend recruit coaching till they’re cleared, a course of that would take days for some however drag on for much longer for others.
One draft doc, labeled “predecisional,” has circulated in current weeks amongst senior officers and others who oversee recruiting. It’s attributed to Joseph D. Kernan, the undersecretary of protection for intelligence, and James N. Stewart, who performs the duties of undersecretary of protection for personnel and readiness, a submit President Trump has left with no everlasting political appointee since Robert Wilkie left it to run the Division of Veterans Affairs.
“One primary concern associated with qualifying for these positions relates to the potential counterintelligence or terrorism risks,” the memo says. ” . . . The Division should implement expanded overseas vetting and screening protocols to determine and mitigate the overseas nexus dangers.”
Protection officers declined to touch upon the memos, saying the brand new coverage is present process authorized evaluations and that some modifications might be made.
The paperwork present the Pentagon to be grappling with the twin problem of completely screening potential recruits for potential safety threats and discovering sufficient women and men prepared to hitch the army. The armed forces have lengthy sought green-card holders as recruits, advertising such jobs as an opportunity to achieve U.S. citizenship.
The initiative comes because the Trump administration continues to take unprecedented steps to curb immigration to america. Lots of its efforts have been halted by federal courts, together with the president’s efforts to bar Central People from looking for asylum in the USA, finish a deferred-action program for younger, undocumented immigrants and withhold funds from “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with sure immigration enforcement efforts.
Among the many individuals who could possibly be targets of the foreign-nexus screening are individuals who have overseas contacts, overseas citizenship, twin citizenship, a birthplace outdoors the USA if born to overseas mother and father, relations who will not be U.S. residents, and fast relations who’ve twin citizenship, in accordance with one of many memos.
Different elements that would require such screening embrace possessing a non-U.S. passport, having monetary pursuits overseas, residing outdoors america for greater than three of the earlier 10 years and dwelling within the nation for lower than the final 5 consecutive years until the circumstances concerned work associated to the U.S. authorities.
A Dec. 21 memo ready by Stephanie P. Miller, who oversees recruitment coverage for the Pentagon, says the Protection Division acknowledged gaps related to its screening of people with overseas ties “since the receipt of specific reporting beginning of 2016,” although the memo doesn’t specify what that info covers. However the concern stretches to some Americans, too, she argued.
“DoD recognizes that some U.S. citizens pose a similar risk by virtue of their foreign associations, foreign travel, marriage to a foreign spouse, or dual citizenship,” she wrote. “It is imperative to treat the risk related to a foreign nexus in a similar fashion for any recruit or Service member, regardless of citizenship.”
The Pentagon is getting ready the brand new coverage after Kernan’s workplace and the Military mixed in the summertime of 2018 to display green-card holders already within the army by way of a brand new course of that depends on dozens of present intelligence databases, one Protection Division memo stated. The screening detected extra derogatory details about the service members in much less time than conventional background checks managed by the Workplace of Personnel Administration, the memo stated.
The memo promised that the brand new course of — referred to as overseas nexus screening and vetting, or FNSV — “can be completed in a matter of days or, depending on the analysis required for detected anomalies, in a few weeks, as compared to the months and years” required beneath conventional background checks. The brand new screening course of, the memo stated, “can process up to 1,600 cases per day.”
Traditionally, about 70 % of all recruits with inexperienced playing cards are processed shortly, protection officers stated within the memo. Beneath the brand new coverage, the opposite 30 % would nonetheless be withheld from recruit coaching till their screening has been accomplished, however the course of would in principle be quicker.
The brand new screening course of nonetheless faces a serious hurdle: one other courtroom injunction.
In November, Decide Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Courtroom for the Northern District of California dominated that it was unreasonable for the Pentagon to require all green-card holders to bear a full background verify and obtain a positive willpower in a safety assessment. He issued a preliminary injunction, forcing the Pentagon to start delivery a backlog of hundreds of green-card holders to recruit coaching.
The Protection Division has continued to battle the case in courtroom. Miller argued in a Dec. 14 declaration that if the courtroom doesn’t keep its order, “the harm to the military and national security could be significant and irreparable.”
“Foreign nationals, including those with [green-card] status, raise unique counterintelligence and counterterrorism concerns because of the heightened susceptibility to influence by foreign governments and organizations and because of the difficulty in verifying information about them that is maintained overseas,” Miller’s declaration stated.
The injunction has not been lifted, however the Protection Division memo from Kernan and Stewart stated the Pentagon is getting ready to place in place its new coverage inside 30 days of the courtroom’s approving it. It’s unclear whether or not the courtroom will achieve this.
Individually, the Pentagon faces litigation after ending in 2017 one other program referred to as Army Accessions Very important to the Nationwide Curiosity, or MAVNI. It promised expedited citizenship to immigrants the Military recruited to take hard-to-fill language and medical jobs, however was ended as protection officers cited safety considerations.
Greater than 10,400 immigrants entered the army via the MAVNI program. Final yr, the Military sought to drive out some troopers recruited this manner however reversed course after a number of lawsuits have been filed.