Military News - Week of March 25, 2013

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Military News - Week of March 25, 2013

#1 Postby boardman » Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:43 pm

Military News - Week of March 25, 2013

VITA Helps Troops File Taxes
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance/Electronic Filing (VITA/ELF) program is available to ensure servicemembers and their dependents receive the support they need to file their income tax returns correctly and on time. The program provides free tax-filing assistance to active duty servicemembers and their dependents, retirees and their dependents with adjusted gross incomes of less than $57,000, DoD civilians overseas or deployed with the U.S. Armed Forces, and in limited cases, military reservists. Personnel who visit a command's VITA/ELF office should bring the appropriate paperwork to ensure proper and thorough tax filing. To find the nearest VITA center, or for more information, visit the ( Navy JAG Corps website.
For more tips on your taxes, including details on military-related items, visit the ( Tax Center.

New Joint Services Education Transcript
The Sailor Marine Corps American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART), the Army American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS) and the Coast Guard Institute (CGI) have been aligned to implement one collaborative transcript program called the Joint Services Transcript (JST). The JST is now the official transcript tool for Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard personnel. Servicemembers can join upcoming webinar sessions on the new JST by ( registering. For more information on the JST, contact Laurine Anderson, JST Program Manager at (850) 452-1001, Opt 3, Ext. 1097. For information about the Military Evaluations Program through ACE, contact Sandra Winborne at (850) 452-1111 Ext 3213. For information on DANTES, visit the ( DANTES website.
For more on military education benefits and programs, visit the ( Education Center.

VA Wait Times Still Too Long
The American Legion testified recently at a congressional hearing that examined how long America's veterans have to wait for their scheduled appointments at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities. Through its ( System Worth Saving (SWS) program, the Legion has been acutely aware of wait time problems for a decade. In its testimony, the Legion offered three specific recommendations to help alleviate lengthy wait-times for VA appointments: Devote a greater effort in filling all empty VA staff positions, improve information technology solutions, and develop a better plan for scheduling appointments outside traditional business hours.
For complete guides on veteran benefits, visit the ( Benefits Center.

AF Announces Captain Promotions
97 were selected for promotion to captain during the recent 2012E Chaplains, Line of the Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps, Nurse Corps, Medical Service Corps and Biomedical Sciences Corps quarterly captain selection process. The list is available on the ( ... 19-023.pdf) Air Force Personnel Center website. For more information about promotion processes and other personnel issues, visit the ( myPers website.
For more Air Force news, visit the ( News Center.

A Look at the Army Furlough Process
With Army civilian furloughs anticipated, 27,000 employees of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) were expected to receive their notification letters starting March 22. Those employees will be notified directly by their supervisors. Once employees are notified, they will first acknowledge in writing their receipt of notification. They will then have seven days to exercise their right to reply. Employees may appeal orally or in writing to the designated reply official. Also, supervisors will inform employees of their exact furlough schedule and when to begin the furlough schedule. For more information on how sequestration and furloughs affect the IMCOM workforce, visit the IMCOM G-1 Human Resources webpage at ( .
To keep up with the latest sequestration news and how it affects the military, visit the ( Sequestration section on

Security Clearance Wanted in 2013
Top companies are actively hiring and paying top salaries to Veterans with Security Clearance in 2013. Make this your best year yet -- ( ... visit to see who's hiring, apply for jobs, get industry tips and more.

Military and Spouse Career Fair
MOAA is sponsoring a free career fair in the Washington DC area on April 2, targeted specifically for servicemembers, veterans and their spouses. All ranks of active duty, retired, former, and reserve/National Guard service members and their spouses, as well as government employees, are encouraged to attend. For more details, see ( ... hington-d/) this Veterans Job blog article.
For more military job fairs around the country, visit ()'s Upcoming Job Fair schedule.

Army Emergency Relief Update
The ( Army Emergency Relief (AER) Annual Campaign is conducted from March 1st through May 15th in order to increase Soldier awareness of this benefit, as well as to give Soldiers the opportunity to help their fellow Soldiers by donating. Local commanders can adjust their campaign dates as their mission dictates. AER assistance is available to Soldiers, retirees and their families wherever they are located. The amount of assistance is only limited by the amount of the valid need. They should contact their chain of command or local AER office. For more information, read the ( ... id=standto) Stand-To! Article and visit the ( Army Emergency Relief website.
For more military family support resources, visit the ( Family Center.

Army Contracting Website Wins Award
The U.S. Army has announced that, Army Contracting Command's recruiting website, has been named the Army's best website. is a collaborative effort involving the staffs of the ACC chief information officer G6, deputy chief of staff, Human Capital G1 and Public Affairs. will now compete in the annual Thomas Jefferson Award competition for Department of Defense military and civilian print and broadcast products.
For more Army news, visit the ( News Center.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Hiring Veterans
Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to hiring the extraordinary men and women who have acquired valuable skills and expertise in the selfless service of protecting our nation. Military and veteran candidates can be among the best providers of talent to support our mission -- helping doctors and patients fight disease. As a global BioPharma leader, we have career opportunities in many departments and geographies. And our own Veterans' Community Network can help you ( ... transition from your military specialty to a successful civilian career.

Retirement Investment Tips for Servicemembers
There are several ways servicemembers can prepare better for retirement. The first step is to educate yourself on your finances (for personal finance tips visit the ( Money section). The biggest mistake people make is overspending and carrying some sort of consumer debt. First, pay down debt if you have it. Next, begin saving and letting compound interest work on your behalf. Servicemembers can enroll in the thrift savings plan (TSP), or a similar retirement plan, as soon as possible. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help as solutions may be one calculation away. For more information on TSP, visit the ( ... vings-plan) Thrift Savings Plan section.

VA Loan Foreclosure? Call a Regional Loan Center
Many eligible borrowers obtain VA loans without fully realizing the tremendous support system they have at their fingertips. Nine VA ( ... Regional Loan Centers (RLCs) throughout the country serve the general VA home loan benefits mission to assist veterans, active duty military members and surviving spouses to buy and keep homes in appreciation of their dedicated service to our country.

College Grant for Surviving Children
The Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant is provided by the U.S. Department of Education to children of U.S. servicemembers who died as a result of injuries incurred in Iraq or Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. Eligible students may receive the full Pell Grant of $5,645 for the 2013-2014 academic year. If applicants are not eligible for Pell Grants, they may receive an equivalent amount from the Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant. Applicants may receive one or the other, but not both. The Pell Grant is based on a family's financial need. Both it and the Iraq Afghanistan Service Grant are not loans and do not have to be repaid. For more information, contact the ( Federal Student Aid office.
For more military family support resources, visit the ( Family Center.

DoD Pilots Healthy Living Programs
Thirteen pilot sites will participate in the Healthy Base Initiative, a demonstration project for the Defense Department's Operation Live Well, which is aimed at increasing the health and wellness of the total force. Participating installations will be examined for their ability to create environments that enable sustainable healthy lifestyles. Best practices will be shared with the services for further implementation throughout the force. For more information, visit the Health Base Initiative information on the ( Military OneSource website, the ( Operation Live Well webpage, the ( ... live-well/) U.S. Department of Defense Operation Live Well webpage, and listen to the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable on the ( ... nitiative/) Healthy Base Initiative.
For more military family support resources, visit the ( Family Center.

Plan Early for Household Moves
The main moving season typically runs from May to August with the peak moving season running between Memorial Day and July 4. Military members are encouraged to request a preferred move date as soon as they get their orders. The moving process should begin with military members contacting their transportation or personal property shipping office to explore their options including a personally procured move. Military members must confirm move dates by coordinating with their transportation service provider and completing a pre-move survey. For more information about the moving process, contact your local personal property shipping office or installation transportation office: call 800-462-2176 or 618-220-SDDC or visit at ( or email (
For more relocation and PCS resources, visit the ( PCS page.

Deal of the Week: Special FREE TurboTax Offer
TurboTax's Military Edition was custom-built for military, and now junior enlisted personnel (E5 and below) can file state and federal returns for FREE! (;266811177 ... 4_52200486) Get your biggest refund, guaranteed.

AF 1st Sgt Academy Moves to Hybrid Model
The U. S. Air Force First Sergeant Academy has transformed its curriculum from a traditional "brick-and-mortar" education experience to a mixture of facilitated distance learning and in-resident classroom time to teach future first sergeants. What was once a three-week in-residence course is now four weeks of distance learning followed by two weeks at the academy, which is located on Gunter Annex at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The online curriculum includes subject areas such as administration, human resource management, maintenance of discipline and readiness. The blended learning experience allows students in the field the opportunity for mentoring from their own first sergeants before traveling to the school for training. For more information, visit the USAF First Sergeants Academy webpage at (
For more on military education benefits and programs, visit the ( Education Center.

VA Loan Limits for 2013
The maximum guaranty amount of a VA loan is typically $417,000, but you may qualify for much more depending on the county where you live. VA has announced new loan limits for 2013 for certain counties, with some limits as high as over $1 million. These limits apply to all loans closed January 1, 2013 and afterwards. For the full chart of every county and contact information for regional VA loan centers, ( ... see this updated article.
( ... Next Steps: Interest rates are at all time lows. Find lenders ready to help you use your VA loan.

Calculate Your 2013 Pay
The President and House of Representatives have proposed a 1.7 percent across-the-board pay increase for 2013. Calculate your gross monthly pay by rank, location or duty assignment. Calculations include Base Pay, BAH, Duty Pay, COLA, Special Pay and other bonuses, special pays and allowances. ( ... Use the Pay Calculator.

Preparing for Deployment? Get Your Personalized Checklist
If you have a family, the single most important thing to think about when it comes to deployment is ensuring that they're well taken care of while you're away. ( ... Finances are a big part of this, but they can also become a source of friction.

Navy Suspends Early Transition Program
The Navy has announced suspension of the Early Career Transition Program (ECTP), which will no longer accept requests to transition to the Selected Reserve under this program. Requests submitted and received at NPC prior to March 14 will be accepted and processed. Requests received after March 14 will be returned without action. Previously approved requests are unaffected. ECTP has allowed active duty and Full Time Support (FTS) Sailors with at least two, but less than 16 years of service to leave active duty and affiliate with the Selected Reserve to finish out the remainder of their Navy contract. ECTP may be reinstated in the future as required.
For more Navy news, visit the ( News Center.

AF Education Opportunities
Eligible active duty Air Force officers and civilians are now able to apply for intermediate and senior developmental education opportunities. Officer applications are due to the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) April 5, and civilian nominations are due May 1. Programs include the Air Command and Staff College, Air Force Institute of Technology, Air Force and defense fellowships, Army War College, the Air Command and Staff College with an Air War College follow-on, and more. Requirements and eligibility vary, so applicants should carefully review the program guide before preparing application documents. Full eligibility criteria and application requirements for officers are available on the ( myPers website. Enter IDE/SDE/CDE or PSDM 13-19 in the search window. For more information and full application instructions for civilian developmental education, visit ( myPers and scroll to the "Force Development" link on the left side of the page. For general information about civilian career opportunities, visit the Air Force Civilian Careers website at ( For information about other Air Force personnel issues, visit ( myPers.
For more on military education benefits and programs, visit the ( Education Center.

Planning Your Financial Future
With furloughs coming, now is the time to take a look at your funds and start planning for possible troubles. Here are several tips: (1) take a look at your budget immediately, (2) differentiate between want and need, (3) contact your creditors right away--see if your lenders have special programs, (4) build up your credit options--learn about Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) loans on the ( ... sics.shtml) TSP website, and (5) know your rights against creditors--immediately see a Legal Assistance attorney if you're being harassed by creditors. If you have issues with creditors or other legal concerns, schedule an appointment with a Legal Assistance Division attorney at your base's Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. For more information on TSP, visit the ( ... vings-plan) Thrift Savings Plan section.

$400k Protection Starting at $26 a Month
Is SGLI too much for your family? Find low cost alternatives designed for your family's needs. ( ... Get $400k protection for as low as $26 a month.

Army Reserve Retirement Services
In an effort to increase Army Reserve Soldier's awareness and understanding of their retirement benefits, the Army Reserve created dedicated Retirement Services Offices within each Regional Support Command (RSC) in April 2012. These offices are staffed by two trained Soldiers - an officer and a senior non-commissioned officer. Their purpose is to provide timely and accurate benefits information to all retiring and retired Soldiers, surviving spouses and their families. For more information, read the ( ... id=standto) Stand-To! article and view the ( list of Retirement Services Offices around the country.

Free Alterations for Wounded Soldiers
In an effort to support and assist severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is offering free alterations and modifications for this select group at all 79 Army Military Clothing stores around the world. This Army-led initiative ensures all wounded Soldiers receive free alterations and modifications on all issued uniforms in accordance with the Wounded Warrior Clothing Support Program to include the Army Service, Combat and Improved Physical Fitness uniforms as well as undergarments. Eligible Soldiers must present an approved Army Form 3078 along with the prescribed modifications by the physical or occupational therapist to receive free services.
For more military family support resources, visit the ( Family Center.

Naval Museum Opens Exhibit
The Naval History and Heritage Command's National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla. has opened a new exhibit featuring the path women have taken from their support of naval aviation as "yeomanettes" to pilots on the front lines. The centerpiece of the new exhibit, "From Typewriters to Strike Fighters," is a video wall on which appear historic images and footage of women in naval service and excerpts of interviews conducted by museum staff members. The exhibit is unique in the museum in that it will be constantly evolving. As more interviews are conducted, they will be edited and added to the video presentation, telling new stories of women in naval aviation. For more information, visit the National Naval Aviation Museum website at ( or call Hill Goodspeed at 850-452-3604 x 3135.
For more on military history, visit the ( History Center.

Naval Research Office Issues Challenge
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is encouraging young women to become scientists through the Technovation Challenge, which runs through May 1. The Technovation Challenge--funded by ONR to introduce girls to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers--provides an opportunity for girls from around the country to design and pitch mobile phone apps to leaders in computer science and business. The challenge spans 12 weeks and ends May 1, at the World Pitch event in San Francisco. During the challenge, teams of high school girls are mentored in design, computer coding and business; nearly every mentor is female. For more information, visit the ( ... nge/about/) Technovation Challenge website, the ( Office of Naval Research (ONR) website, or telephone the ONR at (703) 696-5031.
For more Navy news, visit the ( News Center.
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