Posted in Veterans News

Injured Veterans Benefit from Summer Sports — Veterans Health Administration

Rehabilitation events allow Veterans to reach their full potential.

by Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer

Monday, September 16, 2013

It’s called kayak football and it may never make it to prime time but for dozens of injured Veterans, it brought out an energy and spirit that that not only strengthened their bodies but helped to improve their confidence and self worth.

Kayak football is just one of the activities of VA’s Summer Sports Clinic underway this week in San Diego, Calif.

The unique sport involved the Veterans’ families and coaches, who were cheering loudly from the dock. The game tested dexterity and balance and the ability to throw a wet football while seated in a kayak.

After multiple spills into the water, all participants came out laughing, smiling and wet. One Veteran noted that, “Being here has given me the inspiration, the help and the confidence to stay committed. Being able to meet such great people…this has really had a big impact on me.”

The annual clinic offers adventure sports and recreational activities such as sailing, surfing, track and field events, kayaking and cycling (hand and tandem) to those who were recently injured.

Here’s a video of the sailing…

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Defense Innovation Board to tackle DoD’s software acquisition problems, using software

When the Defense Innovation Board first came into existence a year and a half ago, its chairman, Eric Schmidt, and his fellow panelists vowed that they would not be in the business of writing reports. There are enough federal advisory committees that do that sort of thing already, they reasoned.

That abstention hasn’t lasted long, because Congress does not share the Silicon Valley-centric group’s distaste for voluminous, paper-based descriptions of problems and how to solve them. The DIB’s first official tasking from Capitol Hill, directed in this year’s Defense authorization bill, is spend the next year writing a report on one of the Defense Department’s thorniest problems: software acquisition.

At their quarterly meeting last week, members vowed to take the project seriously, but suggested the end product is not likely to be a PDF document that analyzes and explores DoD’s track record on acquisition.

Again, there are enough of those, said Richard Murray, one of the board members who’s been tasked with leading the study.


“Can’t we just go out and essentially grab all of those data and do machine learning on very large data sets and pull together stuff…

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Selva Describes Reality of Great Power Competition > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article



WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2018 —

Great power competition is back, and its emphasis in the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy is a recognition of something “we should have recognized 10 years ago,” the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast today.

Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva said the strategies recognize that competition among the United States, Russia and China will dominate foreign relations in the coming years.

“We have spent the last 10 years observing a world where China is ascendant and Russia is accumulating wealth and influence across the Asian and European continents,” he said. “And the United States is engaged with both.”

If there were no conflict or friction points among the nations, then it would be “just normal commerce,” Selva said. But that is not the case, he added. Russia took two provinces from the former Soviet republic of Georgia in 2008. It illegally annexed Ukraine in 2014 and continues to support insurgents in the eastern part of the country. Russia supports the regime of Syrian strongman Bashar Assad.

China is building artificial islands in the…

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Missing but Not Forgotten — Veterans Health Administration

“A symbol of our unswerving commitment to resolving the fate of all servicemen still missing.”

by Darlene Richardson, Historian, Department of Veterans Affairs

Thursday, September 19, 2013

This Friday, September 20, 2013, marks the 34th annual observance of National Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day in America.

Since our country’s beginnings, hundreds of soldiers, sailors and Marines who left their homes to fight America’s wars were imprisoned and held against their will by our enemies, or they never returned home; their fates, as yet, unknown.

Roughly 16 million Americans served in World War II, and at the end of the war 79,000 were missing. Today, 73,000 from World War II remain missing and unaccounted for.

In the Vietnam War’s aftermath, over 2,500 Servicemembers were missing and their families pressed the government for action. While the military continued its efforts to locate and account for all of the missing, a joint resolution of Congress and a presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter called on the nation to remember those who had not returned home and pronounced July 18, 1979 as the first National POW/MIA Recognition Day in the U.S.

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Shanahan Asks All DoD Personnel to Read, Internalize New Defense Strategy > U.S. Pacific Command > 2015

WASHINGTON — All DoD personnel need to read and internalize the new National Defense Strategy, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said here Jan. 19. 2018.

“This is not a document; it is a means to an end,” the deputy secretary said in an interview. “The strategy creates alignment and transparency.”

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis unveiled the bones of the strategy during a speech at the Johns Hopkins Paul Nitze School for Advanced International Studies in Washington. An 11-page summary of the strategy is available on the Defense Department’s website.

Shanahan said he wants the more than 2 million members of DoD to be in alignment with the strategy to create a powerful impetus to making the joint force more lethal, helping DoD to strengthen old alliances and build new partnerships, and reforming the way the department does business.

“When you have a common understanding of priorities and a common lexicon, we’re the most powerful team in the world,” Shanahan said.

Foundational for Future Budgets

The NDS is foundational, the deputy secretary said. “As we put together the fiscal 2019 budget, it was derived from the framework of the National Defense…

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VA and Partners Helping Homeless Vets — Veterans Health Administration

Stand Downs are collaborative events between VA and other agencies which serve homeless Veterans.

by Hans Petersen, VA staff writer

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stand Downs are one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to provide services to homeless Veterans.

Stand Downs are one to three day events providing health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment. Stand Downs are collaborative events coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies and community agencies which serve homeless Veterans.

Seventeen VA Medical Centers will host a VA Homeless Stand Down in late September. More than 6,700 homeless or at risk Veterans are expected to attend these events. Expected attendance ranges from 80 Veterans in Minot, N.D. to 3,000 in Compton, Calif.

The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego, Calif. Since then, Stand Downs have been used as an effective tool in reaching out to homeless Veterans.

Stand Downs are held by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in conjunction with many community agencies…

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Trump wants to give every cabinet secretary authority to remove employees

President Donald Trump is calling on Congress to expand the Veterans Affairs Department Accountability Act to all of the government and end the Defense sequester.

In his first State of the Union, Trump said he wants to make agencies and the government more accountable to the taxpayers.

“I call on the Congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers — and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people,” Trump said Tuesday night. “Since its passage, my administration has already removed more than 1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care they deserve — and we are hiring talented people who love our vets as much as we do. I will not stop until our veterans are properly taken care of, which has been my promise to them from the very beginning of this great journey.”

President Donald Trump called on Congress to expand the VA Accountability Act to all of government during his 2018 State of the Union.

The President signed the VA Accountability Act into law in June. It aimed to fix an accountability process that many said was broken, particularly in the wake of the 2014 scandal at the VA hospital in…

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Trump Calls for Ending Sequester, Keeping Guantanamo Open > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article



WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2018 —

The United States faces myriad dangers from rogue regimes and global competitors, and the nation must have a strong defense to discourage these rivals and forge a world of peace, President Donald J. Trump said in his State of the Union address tonight.

The president said these regimes – including China and Russia – “challenge our interests, our economy and our values.”

A strong defense is necessary to deter adversaries, the president told a joint session of Congress. “For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defense sequester and fully fund our great military,” Trump said.

Sequestration is a provision of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that imposes across-the-board spending cuts if Congress and the White House cannot agree on more targeted options.

The president stressed that the United States must modernize and rebuild the nation’s nuclear triad to make it so powerful that it will deter any thought of aggression by any country. “Perhaps someday in the future there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons,” he said….

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VA Creating Housing for Homeless Vets and Their Families — Veterans Health Administration

“Those who have served this Nation as Veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope.” — VA Secretary Eric Shinseki

by Tom Cramer, VA staff writer

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Minneapolis VA Medical Center will convert five old buildings at Fort Snelling into 58 apartments for homeless Veterans and their families.

Renovations work expected to begin in late 2013 or early 2014. The project represents one aspect of VA’s nationwide effort to end Veteran homelessness by 2015.

“Building Utilization Review and Repurposing (BURR) is a Department-wide effort to identify empty buildings and land for repurposing,” explained Ralph Heussner, public affairs officer for the Minneapolis VA. “This contributes to two important VA goals: fighting Veteran homelessness and decreasing VA’s inventory of vacant and underutilized buildings.

VA’s $15 million Fort Snelling project covers six acres and renovation of five buildings.

“A third benefit,” he added, “is that it allows VA to preserve and restore some of its many historically valuable structures.”

Fort Snelling is what is known as an ‘unorganized territory’ located near…

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