Good morning, Legionnaires and veterans advocates, right now is Thursday, January 3, 2019, which is Pageant of Sleep Day, J.R.R. Tolkien Day, Memento Mori Day and Nationwide Write to Congress Day.
As we speak in Historical past:
· 1924: Two years after British archaeologist Howard Carter and his workmen found the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen close to Luxor, Egypt, they uncover the best treasure of the tomb–a stone sarcophagus containing a strong gold coffin that holds the mother of Tutankhamen.
· On January 3, 1967, Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub proprietor who killed the alleged murderer of President John F. Kennedy, dies of most cancers in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Courtroom of Appeals had lately overturned his dying sentence for the homicide of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a brand new trial.
· On January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower indicators a particular proclamation admitting the territory of Alaska into the Union because the 49th and largest state.
· On today in 1993, backup quarterback Frank Reich leads the Buffalo Payments to a 41-38 extra time victory over the Houston Oilers in an American Soccer Convention (AFC) wild card playoff recreation that may eternally be recognized to soccer followers as “The Comeback.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
· Army Occasions: New in 2019: VA’s well being care guidelines shall be utterly rewritten this yr
· Army Occasions: New in 2019: Advocates hope to reignite debate over long-term results of burn pits
· Army Occasions: Trump insists he fired Mattis, says former protection secretary was ‘not too good’ on the job
· Marine Corps Occasions: Marine veteran detained by Russia on suspicion of espionage was an admin clerk whereas within the Corps
· New York Occasions: The Military, in Want of Recruits, Turns Focus to Liberal-Leaning Cities
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Army Occasions: New in 2019: VA’s well being care guidelines will probably be utterly rewritten this yr
By: Leo Shane III | 14 hours in the past
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has been promising expanded well being care decisions for veterans courting again to his election marketing campaign in 2015.
However 2019 might be the yr his administration truly makes that occur.
Veterans Affairs has been engaged on expanded group care guidelines for veterans’ medical appointments since final summer time, when Congress accredited the VA Mission Act. Particulars of that work are anticipated to be launched in early 2019, and a full set of latest laws is scheduled to be launched in early spring.
Amongst different priorities, the laws mandated a retooling of the division’s insurance policies for veterans looking for private-sector care, an enormous enterprise that supporters have hailed as giving extra flexibility and freedom to veterans who face lengthy strains at VA hospitals and clinics.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie in December hailed the work as a part of “a real transformational period at the department.”
However critics have attacked the work as step one towards privatizing key elements of the VA mission.
Democrats, together with Home members who shall be taking management of the chamber this yr, have promised intense oversight into the brand new outdoors care guidelines, to make sure they aren’t written to siphon off wanted federal assets to non-public companies.
As written, the laws requires VA to stay a core coordinator of veterans well being care plans but in addition to make sure “the scheduling of medical appointments in a timely manner,” “continuity of care and services,” and “no lapse in health care services.”
That leaves a big quantity of labor to be settled within the particulars of VA’s implementation plan.
Presently, the VA’s Selection program — one of the best recognized and most used of the group care packages — is restricted to veterans who reside greater than 40 miles from a VA facility or face a wait of greater than 30 days for VA providers.
The brand new packages will possible jettison these guidelines in favor of a looser set of tips, together with language for veterans who face “an unusual or excessive burden” getting their care at VA amenities.
Veterans teams have advocated for extra flexibility for care choices but in addition warned towards abandoning the present Veterans Well being Administration, a key security internet for tens of millions of veterans throughout the nation.
A congressional listening to previewing the Mission Act implementation work was scheduled for early December however was postponed because of the demise of former President George H.W. Bush. That has solely added extra thriller and urgency to the drafts into account by prime VA officers.
Army Occasions: New in 2019: Advocates hope to reignite debate over long-term results of burn pits
By: Leo Shane III | 14 hours in the past
WASHINGTON — Poisonous publicity from fight burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan isn’t a brand new matter, however veterans advocates hope it should get new consideration in 2019.
A number of teams — most prominently, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America — in current months have been pushing the difficulty again into the general public highlight, in hopes of spurring extra public coverage response from lawmakers.
The hope is that Congress and Veterans Affairs officers can transfer extra shortly on analysis and help providers earlier than one other era of former army personnel begins displaying grave well being results from the chemical poisoning.
In truth, a lot of 2018’s veterans coverage on Capitol Hill revolved round Vietnam veterans’ publicity to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange throughout that battle. Many years later, the substance has been linked to quite a few uncommon cancers and different detrimental well being results, and veterans teams are nonetheless lobbying VA to broaden their sickness definitions to broaden veteran advantages.
Youthful veterans see comparisons in that struggle with the burn pits. The trash fires — some small, short-time disposal areas, others large waste burns fueled by gasoline — typically contained a mixture of totally different harmful chemical fumes.
However as a result of the dimensions and composition assorted from base to base, amassing arduous scientific proof on the hostile well being results has been troublesome.
Advocates have pushed for expanded analysis and higher monitoring instruments for veterans uncovered to the fires. Lawmakers have been sympathetic but in addition sluggish to motion on the difficulty.
In the meantime, whereas well being care is out there to veterans dealing with critical penalties from poisonous publicity, VA officers have been leery to increase incapacity advantages to these veterans and not using a higher scientific backing.
Using unregulated burn pits has all however disappeared for U.S. troops abroad, however the well being results gained’t fade away as shortly. Advocates insist they should remind Congress and federal officers of that reality as typically as potential.
Army Occasions: Trump insists he fired Mattis, says former protection secretary was ‘not too good’ on the job
By: Leo Shane III | 16 hours in the past
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump claimed he had fired Protection Secretary Jim Mattis and stated his progress in Afghanistan was “not too good” throughout a gathering of his new Cupboard on the White Home on Wednesday.
The feedback come simply two days after Mattis stepped away from his Pentagon management submit and present an growing degree of animosity between the commander in chief and his former army chief.
Mattis introduced his resignation from the Cupboard submit on Dec. 20, saying the transfer would permit the president to seek out “a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours.” In his resignation letter, he took goal at Trump’s previous criticism of overseas allies and his determination to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria within the months forward.
Mattis had deliberate a departure date of late February, however Trump introduced simply three days later that Deputy Protection Secretary Patrick Shanahan would assume the appearing protection secretary position on Jan. 1, forcing the previous Marine Corps common out early.
Initially, Trump referred to as Mattis’ departure a “retirement” and praised the outgoing protection secretary for “tremendous progress” in implementing his plans to construct up army funding and readiness.
However on Wednesday, with Shanahan in attendance for a White Home management assembly, Trump instructed that Mattis had underperformed in his job.
“What’s he done for me? How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good,” Trump stated.
“I’m not proud of what he has accomplished in Afghanistan. And I shouldn’t be. I want him properly. I hope he does nicely. As you realize, President [Barack] Obama fired him, and primarily so did I. I would like outcomes.”
Mattis was relieved of his U.S. Central Command management submit months early in 2013 due to considerations from some within the Obama administration he had develop into too aggressive in coverage suggestions to counter Iran.
Final month, throughout his Shanahan announcement, Trump additionally talked about the Obama firing and instructed that Mattis was much less common than the media has portrayed him.
“When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance,” Trump tweeted. “Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should. Interesting relationship-but I also gave all of the resources that he never really had. Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S.”
A Army Occasions ballot carried out in late September discovered that almost 84 % of troops had a positive view of Mattis’ work main the armed forces. Amongst officers, the determine was virtually 90 %.
Mattis’ departure has drawn vital concern from each Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, lots of whom have publicly praised Mattis’ regular demeanor and army information for serving to average a few of Trump’s impulsive coverage selections.
On Monday, in a farewell letter to Protection Division staff, Mattis wrote that the army’s management “remains in the best possible hands” and inspired all troops and civilians there to “keep faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes.”
On the Cupboard assembly, Trump pushed again on stories of a speedy troop withdrawal from Syria, confirming solely that it’ll occur “over a period of time.” He additionally repeated his claims that Islamic State fighters have been defeated within the Center East, regardless of army commanders’ previous public feedback expressing reservations about declaring victory within the area.
“I’m the only person in the history of our country who could really decimate ISIS,” Trump said. “Everyone gives me credit for decimating ISIS … but I’m the only one who could do that and get bad publicity.”
He stated that Syria “was lost long ago.”
“We are talking about sand and death,” he stated. “We are not talking about vast wealth.”
Shanahan spoke on the Cupboard assembly earlier than the president’s feedback on Mattis, and didn’t supply a response to the remarks afterwards. He stated the army has been working intently with the Division of Homeland Safety and different businesses on southern border safety efforts.
“The threat is real, the risks are real,” he stated. “We need to control our borders.”
Marine Corps Occasions: Marine veteran detained by Russia on suspicion of espionage was an admin clerk whereas within the Corps
By: Shawn Snow | 17 hours in the past
A Marine veteran arrested Friday in Moscow on suspicion of espionage doesn’t boast the resume of a covert intelligence agent ― at the least in not in his Marine Corps background.
Paul Whelan served within the Marine reserves for almost 14 years as an administrative clerk and acquired a nasty conduct discharge for a number of fees associated to larceny following a conviction at a particular court-martial on Jan. 14, 2008, in line with the Marine Corps.
Whelan attained the rank of employees sergeant in 2004, and was separated from the Corps on Dec. 2, 2008. He had joined Might 10, 1994, and had deployed twice in help of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He served as an 0151, administrative clerk, 0149, administrative chief, and his final obligation station was Marine Air Management Group 38 Headquarters, third Marine Plane Wing aboard Miramar, California, in response to his service document e-book.
Since 2017, Whelan has been working because the director of worldwide safety for BorgWarner, a Michigan-based auto elements provider. He was arrested Friday, in accordance with The Related Press.
The previous Marine was in Moscow attending a marriage when he was arrested on Friday. Russian Federal Safety Service said Whelan was caught finishing up an “espionage operation.”
His brother, David Whelan, posted a message on Twitter from the household saying that his lack of communication on Dec. 28 “was very much out of character for him.”
Simply earlier than his arrest, Whelan had taken a gaggle of wedding ceremony friends on a tour of Kremlin museums after which failed to point out up for the marriage, his brother stated in an interview.
“We are deeply concerned for his safety and well-being. His innocence is undoubted and we trust that his rights will be respected,” the household assertion reads.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated on Wednesday whereas on a go to to Brazil that the U.S. is “hopeful within the next hours we’ll get consular access to see him and get a chance to learn more.”
Pompeo was in Brazil for the inauguration of latest Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
The Russian authorities says it’s now allowed Whelan to have entry to U.S. consular representatives. A spokeswoman for the Russian Overseas Minister is quoted by state information company Tass and personal company Interfax as saying entry was granted Wednesday.
The Russian spying expenses carry a jail sentence of as much as 20 years.
New York Occasions: The Military, in Want of Recruits, Turns Focus to Liberal-Leaning Cities
By Dave Philipps | Jan. 2, 2019
SEATTLE — Military recruiters in Seattle can earn a Friday off for every new soldier they enlist. However in a metropolis with a thriving tech business and an extended historical past of antiwar protests, the recruiters haven’t gotten many lengthy weekends.
“It’s no secret we’re a little behind,” Sgt. First Class Jeremiah Vargas, who heads the town’s recruiting station, advised 4 recruiters at a morning pep speak in early December. With every week left to go within the 30-day reporting interval, he wrote the station’s aim — eight recruits — on a white board, after which the present tally: two.
“What do we need to make mission?” he requested.
One recruiter responded with a shrug, “A miracle.”
The Military isn’t fairly relying on miracles, however after falling 6,500 troopers in need of its aim nationwide for the fiscal yr that ended Sept. 30, it’s making an attempt a brand new technique which may appear virtually as unlikely.
Moderately than concentrate on extra conservative areas of the nation that historically fill the ranks, the Military plans an enormous push in 22 left-leaning cities, like Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, the place comparatively few recruits have signed up.
“We want to go into Boston, Pittsburgh, Kansas City,” Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, the top of Military Recruiting Command, stated. “These are places with a large number of youth who just don’t know what the military is about.”
The strategy might look like looking for snow in Miami. However Military leaders say that each one they should appeal to enlistees in these cities are a surge of recruiters and the best gross sales pitch.
The pitch they’ve used for years, enjoying down fight and emphasizing job coaching and schooling advantages, can work properly when civilian alternatives are scarce. However it’s a robust promote nowadays in a spot like Seattle, the place jobs are plentiful and the native minimal wage of $15 an hour beats the bottom pay for privates, corporals or specialists.
As an alternative, Common Muth stated, the Military needs to border enlistment as a patriotic detour for motivated younger adults who may in any other case be sure for a company cubicle — a detour that guarantees an opportunity for public service, journey and journey.
“You want to do a gap year?” the overall stated. “Come do your gap year in the Army.” (Figuratively talking, in fact: Enlistees decide to serve for 2 to 6 years.)
For many years, Military recruiting has relied disproportionately on a crescent-shaped swath of the nation stretching from Virginia via the South to Texas, the place many army bases are discovered and lots of households have traditions of service. Younger individuals there enlist at two to 3 occasions the speed of different areas.
Against this, within the massive metropolitan areas of the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast, younger individuals are much less more likely to have a mother or father, instructor or coach who served within the army, which could be a main think about deciding to enlist. And in these areas, many excessive faculties brazenly discourage recruiters from interacting with college students.
When the Seattle recruiters go to faculties, they’re typically met by antiwar “counter-recruiting action teams” who name consideration to civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and the excessive price of sexual assault within the army.
“Legally, the high schools have to let us in, but a lot of times, they’ll just ignore our calls,” Sergeant Vargas stated. “A lot of schools don’t want us to talk to their kids. They want them to go to college, and see the military as a last resort.”
Mother and father might be simply as leery. “They say ‘Thank you for your service, but stay away from my kid,’” stated Capt. Carlos Semidey, the Seattle recruiters’ firm commander.
These chilly shoulders have been straightforward to disregard when the jobless fee was above 6 % and the Military’s most reliable recruiter, Sgt. Arduous Occasions, was driving highschool graduates to enlist. However now, unemployment has fallen to 50-year lows.
“Whenever that happens, the Army faces recruiting challenges,” stated David R. Segal, a sociologist who advises the army on recruiting. “But they have always doubled down on areas where they know they can get results. This is a 180-degree turn.”
The Military has begun redirecting its advertising towards digital-native urbanites and suburbanites who’re looking forward to pleasure. Out went the Military’s sponsorship of a drag-racing workforce; in are groups of troopers who compete in combined martial arts, CrossFit, and aggressive video gaming, or e-sports.
Advertisements on community sports activities broadcasts are being scaled again in favor of focused advertisements on Fb and Twitch, Amazon’s live-streaming gaming platform. Recruiters will quickly be required, not simply inspired, to publish on Instagram.
“Kids aren’t watching network TV anymore,” Common Muth stated. “They are not at the mall. And they don’t answer calls from numbers they don’t know. But we know they want to serve their community, so we have to start that conversation with them.”
In contrast to the Military, the Air Pressure, Marine Corps and Navy have been capable of meet 2018 recruiting objectives — partially as a result of every requires lower than half the Military’s numbers.
However squeezed by the identical forces, all army branches should sweeten their enlistment offers, including sign-up and retention bonuses and loosening medical requirements on childhood circumstances like bronchial asthma and attention-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction. The Navy is even providing a “golden ticket” that permits some enlisted personnel to take a yr off and return with the identical job and rank.
The Military has needed to change techniques earlier than to fill its ranks, and it has typically stumbled. Towards the top of the draft within the early 1970s, the Military up to date its slogan to say “The Army wants to join you,” and dispatched recruiters on bikes to carry “rap sessions” with prospects, speaking about how the Military was loosening up on haircuts and early-morning formations, placing beer machines in barracks and educating sergeants to to not be so sq.. The Marine Corps shortly made enjoyable of the try at cool, and the marketing campaign got here to be reviled within the Military as nicely.
This time, the Military plans to give attention to blue cities with touring interactive reveals that showcase Military careers in well being care, engineering and computing. Its sky-diving workforce and its touring rock band will work to attract crowds, and prime brass will converse at occasions selling management and patriotism. The Military can also be placing lots of of further recruiters within the subject and growing enlistment bonuses.
However some specialists query whether or not the plans will make a lot of an impression on the audience.
“They need to see that the Army is made up of people like them,” stated Emma Moore, who research Military recruiting on the Middle for a New American Safety, a analysis institute in Washington. She added, “Coders, engineers, women — there are a lot of people out there that the Army could use that don’t see themselves as having a place.”
The Seattle recruiters typically really feel as if they’re getting nowhere. Two of them stood for hours at a current job truthful within the shadow of the Area Needle with out getting a single prospect. An final Frisbee coach with an engineering diploma stopped to speak, however he stated later that he did it principally as a result of they “looked a little lonely.”
At a highschool occasion later within the day, college students have been completely happy to enroll to for a skateboard raffle, however none made an appointment to satisfy with a recruiter.
Even those that stroll in to the recruiting station aren’t a positive guess. Myles Pankey, 19, match the profile of a blue-city journey seeker, displaying up in denims and a plaid flannel shirt. A yr after graduating from one of many metropolis’s prime excessive faculties, he was working development, which paid nicely however bored him. Following in his accountant father’s footsteps held no attraction, he stated; he needed a problem.
“If I were you, I’d go infantry,” Sergeant Vargas advised him. “There’s an $11,000 bonus right now if you can ship in a few weeks.”
They talked for greater than an hour about alternatives within the Military, however Mr. Pankey stated he felt pulled in lots of instructions. His mom and father weren’t loopy about him enlisting, he stated. His boss, a former Particular Forces soldier, had talked up the expertise, however one other pal who had served in Vietnam referred to as it a horrible concept. None of his highschool buddies had joined, so he’d be happening his personal. He lastly informed the sergeant he would wait every week earlier than making up his thoughts.
“I can get a good job here, but I want to serve my country,” Mr. Pankey stated on his method out. “I guess I have some thinking to do.”
Every week later, there was a slot open within the airborne infantry, with a $10,000 bonus. Mr. Pankey signed up.