Author Archives: Fred Wellman

Veterans Roundup: The Army’s PR Problem, the Salute Seen Around the World

New Army Vice Chief Expects Worse Manpower Conditions
Michelle Tan, Army Times. The Army’s new vice chief, Gen. Daniel Allyn, said that he expects sequestration to rear its head again in 2016 at a recent AUSA Hot Topic professional development forum. Allyn said that the Army must be prepared for “extreme fiscal constraint” as it will have to drop down to 420,000 soldiers in the case of another sequestration. This dropdown would likely result in more involuntary separations. –MC
Bottom line: It’s truly a sad statement that the first public remarks from the new Vice Chief of Staff of the Army surrounds the all too likely idea that sequestration will…

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Veterans Roundup: VA IG Report Raises Voices on the Hill, Veteran Homelessness Taking on a New Face

Criminal or Victim?
Greg Jaffe (@GregJaffe), The Washington Post. Robert Carlson, a former soldier dealing with PTSD symptoms, had an outburst of anger, assaulted his wife, and fired gunshots, which led to a court-martial and eight year jail sentence after a civilian grand jury decided not to go to trial. Also this week, an article this week by Jordain Carney, examined servicemembers who received less than honorable discharges, in turn locking them out of VA care. This story follows a veteran, Brian Lewis, who received a less than honorable discharge because of a personality disorder, but may have actually been suffering from PTSD symptoms instead. Stories of veterans such…

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Veterans Roundup: VA Has 100-Day Reform Plan, Fallacy of Military Reunion Videos

McDonald Launches 100-day VA Reform Plan
Leo Shane (@LeoShane), Military Times. VA secretary McDonald recently announced a new initiative, “Road to Veterans Day,” to help rebrand and reform the VA, whose culture has been described as closed and unfriendly. McDonald’s reform initiatives are a reaction to the recent VA scandal and although an audit by the Inspector General found no direct link between VA wait times and veteran deaths, they did find employee-manipulated wait times and are questioning the role VA leaders played in these abuses. Last week, Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that assists injured post-9/11 veterans, released survey results about its members’ challenges with VA

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Veterans Roundup: Thousands of Veterans May be Added to VA Backlog, Employment Numbers Looking Up

New Rules May Allow Benefits Long Denied to Vietnam-Era Veterans
Dave Philipps (@David_Phillips), New York Times. On Wednesday, the Defense Department released new guidelines for military discharge review boards and addressing post-traumatic stress disorder. As a result, many Vietnam-era veterans who received less-than-honorable discharges and suffered from PTSD symptoms may be eligible for discharge upgrades and new access to benefits. The conversation began when a group of Vietnam veterans and Vietnam Veterans of America filed a class action lawsuit claiming the military denied upgrades to veterans whose cases involved PTSD. The lawsuit estimates that 250,000 Vietnam-era veterans received other than honorable discharges and up to 80,000 of those veterans…

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Veterans Roundup: President Promises Mental Health Care Fixes, DOD Looking at Overhead

CBO: Why VA Claims Exploded and Ways to Slow the Trend
Tom Philpott, (@Military_Update), Stars and Stripes. A new report by the Congressional Budget Office explains why even though the population of America’s veterans has decreased significantly in recent years, the number of veterans receiving disability compensation has significantly increased. The reason for this disconnect is not because more Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are claiming disability, but is the result of looser “service connected” ailment disability compensation requirements particularly among Vietnam War veterans, an expanded VA list of diseases linked to Agent Orange, a weak labor market, increased outreach to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and a looser definition of…

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