Military Report - Week of August 26, 2013

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Military Report - Week of August 26, 2013

#1 Postby boardman » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:55 am

Military Report - Week of August 26, 2013

Rates Can Drop for Activated RC Members
Members of the Guard and Reserve with Military Star TM Card accounts can see interest on existing Military Star TM Card balances reduced to 6 percent under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act when activated. Keep in mind that the special interest rates guaranteed by the SCRA apply only to debt incurred before the start of active military service, not to purchases made while on active duty.
For more information about the Military Star TM Card, visit the Exchange's Credit Card Services webpage at ( For more information about SCRA, visit ( ... rview.html) the SCRA section.

$100,000 Protection = Family Security from $7 a Month
Don't wait any longer to protect your family's future. ( ... Get $100k life insurance coverage starting at $7 a month.

Law School Helps VA Reduce Backlog
The Department of Veterans Affairs today welcomed William & Mary Law School's Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic to the Fully Developed Claims (FDC) Community of Practice. The Puller Clinic is the first law school clinic in the nation to join the FDC Community of Practice, which was established to promote the submission of FDCs and speed the processing of veterans' disability compensation claims by providing all available evidence needed by VA to reach a disability rating decision. VA recently announced that veterans filing their first-ever compensation claims as FDCs may be entitled to up to one year of retroactive disability benefits. Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense-VA web portal eBenefits at (
For complete guides on veteran benefits, visit the ( Benefits Center.

$1 Million Protection: As Low as $41 a Month
$1 Million life insurance protection can help your family survive financially, if the unthinkable happened to you. ( ... Get $1 Mil coverage starting at $41 a month.

TRICARE Prepares Children
Most primary schools in the United States require students to have an annual physical and to be up-to-date on immunizations before starting the school year. TRICARE covers necessary physical exams children ages 5-11 need to enroll in school, and age-appropriate immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at ( . Babies and teens also need to stay fully vaccinated. A downloadable parent's guide is also available at ( ... de-508.pdf) ... de-508.pdf. TRICARE beneficiaries should visit their primary care physician for a school physical. For help finding a new doctor, contact your regional health care contractor listed on the ( ... tabase=web) TRICARE site. For more information, visit the TRICARE Back to School webpage at (
For more on TRICARE benefits, visit the ( TRICARE section.

Updated Petty Officer Leadership Courses
Updated versions of the U.S. Navy's Petty Officer Selectee Leadership courses have been released. Changes apply to the Petty Officer Selectee Leadership Course (POSLC), the Petty Officer Second Class Selectee Leadership Course (PO2SLC), and the Petty Officer First Class Selectee (PO1SLC) Leadership Course. Commands must update their curricula to ensure they are teaching the correct version of these courses to newly selected E-4 to E-6 petty officers. Commands should visit the ( NKO website to download the updated courses, then follow the directions in the change letters to make the required changes to integrate the new content into the printed leadership course materials they already have. Or they can download the entire revised courses with the changes already made.
For more Navy news updates, visit the ( News section.

Pioneering Therapy for War Veterans
A pioneering treatment for servicemen and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is soon to be tried in Scotland for the first time. Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) is expected to be offered by Scottish nurses later this year. The therapy aims to turn negative images and sensations into positive ones, re-programming the brain. The University of Stirling has teamed up with the University of South Florida to offer training to senior NHS nursing staff, as well as a workshop for its own staff and students. In the United States, it has been shown to "substantially reduce" symptoms associated with PTSD. It has also helped other common mental health problems. For more information, visit the ( Accelerated Resolution Therapy website and read the article on the ( ... dy-reports) University of South Florida website.
To keep up with the latest news in veteran benefits, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

Hurricane Preparedness
For hurricane preparedness, every family should have unique evacuation plans and hurricane preparedness kits. Every hurricane preparedness kit should include important documents, clothing, medication, tools, food and water, hygiene items, first aid supplies, kitchen items and comfort items. Every kit and plan should have the specific needs of different family members. Everyone should also have an established pet plan. Hurricane season ends Nov. 30. For more information, visit the ( National Hurricane Center website, the ( American Red Cross website, the ( Centers for Disease Control Hurricanes webpage, and the ( ... ricane.htm) Texas Department of Safety website.

Navy Plan to Cut Flag Officer Billets
The Secretary of the Navy has approved the initial step to reduce, eliminate or consolidate a net of 35 Navy flag officer positions in the ranks of rear admiral (lower half) (O-7), rear admiral (O-8), and vice admiral (O-9). This plan will enable the Navy to absorb future reductions in headquarters and staff due to sequestration. The Navy also plans to submit the elimination of an additional six flag billets with the FY15 defense budget. A list of specific billets affected by this plan is available ( online.
For more Navy news updates, visit the ( News section.

MCPON on Chiefs Mess Training
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens recently took a moment to answer questions from the fleet about executing the first year of CPO 365. CPO 365 is a year-round training initiative that Chiefs Messes throughout the Navy take on to prepare first class petty officers to become chiefs. Phase II of CPO 365 begins when the chief petty officer selection board results are released, which occurred Aug. 1 this year. A copy of the question-and-answer session is ( available.
For more Navy news updates, visit the ( News section.

Agencies to Study PTSD and TBI
The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) have established two joint research consortia at a combined investment of $107 million to research the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) over a five-year period. The Consortium to Alleviate PTSD will attempt to develop the most effective diagnostic, prognostic, novel treatment, and rehabilitative strategies to treat acute PTSD and prevent chronic PTSD. Also, the Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium will examine the factors which influence the chronic effects of mild TBI and common comorbidities in order to improve diagnostic and treatment options. A key point will be to further the understanding of the relationship between mild TBI and neurodegenerative disease. For more information on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), visit DoD's ( Traumatic Brain Injury Special Report webpage.
For more resources on PTSD, visit the ( ... rview.html) PTSD section.

Bar Association Website to Assist Vets
The American Bar Association has unveiled a ( ... twork.html) website for volunteer lawyers interested in helping to ensure veterans receive disability compensation. The new ABA pilot program, ( ... twork.html) ABA Veterans Claims Assistance Network (VCAN), aims to reduce the backlog of veterans' claims by engaging pro bono lawyers to provide free assistance to unrepresented veterans with claims pending at the St. Petersburg, Fla., and Chicago regional VA offices. Interested lawyers can visit the ( ... twork.html) ABA VCAN website and join the volunteer roster, with the case referral system expected to launch this fall. The volunteers will be contacted about no-cost continuing legal education courses on preparing veterans' claims as well as information about how to become VA-accredited.
To keep up with the latest news in veteran benefits, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

2014 AF Squadron Command Selectees
The Air Force selected 25 lieutenant colonels and lieutenant colonel-selects for projected calendar year 2014 squadron command vacancies across Air Force Space Command, Air Combat Command, Air Education and Training Command, National Air and Space Intelligence Center and National Reconnaissance Office units. In addition, the board nominated seven members to AETC for training and recruiting squadron command opportunities. Those who were not matched for a command position will remain on the eligible candidate list. To see the selectee and candidate list, visit the ( ... 15-036.pdf) Air Force Personnel Center website. For more information about leadership opportunities and other personnel issues, visit the ( myPers website.
For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News section.

TRICARE and A Healthy Weight
TRICARE beneficiaries should consult their primary care manager (PCM) to plan a healthy diet. By getting an accurate body measurement and body mass index (BMI), it will be easier to determine how much weight you may need to lose to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. TRICARE covers body measurement as part of one of its preventive services. While typical "annual physicals" are not covered, many of the services offered in a physical are covered under a "clinical preventive exam." For more information, visit Preventive Services webpage at ( . Beneficiaries whose BMI classifies them as morbidly obese or obese with certain obesity related conditions have additional procedures available to assist them in achieving a healthy weight including vertical banded gastroplasty, gastroplasty (stomach stapling), and adjustable gastric banding (i.e., adjustable LAP-BAND(R)) for morbid obesity when certain criteria are met. For more information on TRICARE's obesity treatment, visit ( ... yTreatment) ... yTreatment.
For more on TRICARE benefits, visit the ( TRICARE section.

Agent Orange and Lung Cancer
Were you exposed to herbicides during service and now have lung cancer? You may qualify for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and disability compensation. Visit VA's ( Agent Orange webpage to find out more about Agent Orange and VA benefits.
For complete guides on veteran benefits, visit the ( Benefits Center.

Donations Sought for PTSD Movie
Thunder Road is seeking donations in order to make a movie about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among veterans. The script follows one soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) returning home from war during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The movie explores the psychological repercussions of combat life to the soldier and the collateral damage on the civilian world. For more information, visit the ( ... m?ref=live) Thunder Road-Feature Film website.
For more resources on PTSD, visit the ( ... rview.html) PTSD section.

Understanding New Health Insurance
Visit ( ... ance.shtml)'s Health Insurance webpage to learn about the new Health Insurance Marketplace and other types of health coverage. Starting October 1, 2013, you can fill out an application for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. You will be able to compare your options side-by-side and enroll in a plan that fits your budget and meets your needs. Coverage takes effect as early as January 1, 2014.

AF Improves Reserve Tuition Assistance
The Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) will implement a new tuition assistance payment process Oct. 1 that will eliminate up-front fees reservists pay for classes by enabling tuition payments to go directly to a university or college. Reservists currently have to wait up to 120 days after submitting their grades to be reimbursed for classes. Under the new process, they will still apply for tuition assistance through the Air Force Virtual Education Center. However, payment issues are taken out of their hands and handled by the Air Force, which will pay the school through an automated system. Airmen will be able to apply under the new process in mid-September for classes beginning Oct. 1 or later. If an institution is unfamiliar with the process and system, the approving education and training office can provide instructions. If additional assistance is needed, AFRC will connect the institution with a system expert.
For more on military education benefits and programs, visit the ( Education Center.

Group Seeks Veteran Entrepreneurs
( Vetransfer, a Milwaukee group that runs an entrepreneurship training program for military veterans, is ( ... 013-class/) accepting applications for its fall class. The five start-ups chosen to participate in the class will receive seed capital of $15,000 and access to more than $500,000 worth of perks and discounts through the ( Global Accelerator Network. The start-ups will spend 12 weeks identifying customers and learning about how to grow their businesses. Vetransfer was initially funded by a two-year, $3.2 million contract from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and has helped 24 veteran-led startups since 2011. For more information, visit the ( Vetransfer website.
For more veteran job news, listings and tips, visit the ( Veteran Jobs Center.

More Vouchers for Homeless Veterans
The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs today announced the second round of HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) funding to local public housing agencies across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The $7.8 million will provide housing and clinical services for 1,120 currently homeless veterans. A .pdf file containing the state and local distribution of the assistance is available for ( ... ondrnd.pdf) download. This new, supportive housing assistance is provided through the ( ... s/hcv/vash) HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA. HUD-VASH is a critical part of the Obama Administration's commitment to end Veteran and long-term chronic homelessness by 2015. ( Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness serves as a roadmap to achieve this goal.
To keep up with the latest news in veteran benefits, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

DoD Proposes Changes to Ed MOU
The DoD issued a proposed rule to update the ( DoD Volutary Education Partnership MOU. Colleges and universities which intend to participate in the DoD's Tuition Assistance program must sign memorandum. The proposed change incorporates the President's ( ... -instituti) "principles of excellence" which was ( ... to/132145/) issued in 2012. It requires institutions to provide servicemembers with "meaningful information" and bars them from using "unfair, deceptive, and abusive recruiting practices" to entice servicemembers to enroll. ( ... ation-mou/) Read more on the Military Advantage Blog.

The Navy's 2014 -- 2018 Navigation Plan
U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Jonathan Greenert, recently released his Navigation Plan for the Navy for 2014 to 2018. The Navigation Plan defines the course and speed the Navy will follow to organize, train and equip over the next several years. Greenert also addresses budgetary concerns about Continuing Resolutions, Sequestration and preparations for the FY2014 budget in the document. The document also addresses the rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region. To view the CNO's Navigation Plan, visit (
For more Navy news updates, visit the ( News section.

ID Cards for Same-Sex Spouses
DOD facilities are gearing up to issue identification cards to same-sex spouses beginning Sept. 3. The department will make the same benefits available to all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as servicemember-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate from a jurisdiction -- including those overseas -- that recognizes same-sex marriage. Entitlements such as basic allowance for housing and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court's decision -- June 26, 2013. As operational requirements permit, commanders may allow military personnel in same-sex relationships up to 10 days of non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction that allows same-sex couples to be married if they are stationed more than 100 miles from one of those areas.
( ... ge-travel/) Read more about the expanded benefits offered same-sex spouses and their families.

View Your Military Pay Charts
With basic pay and 70 types of special pays and allowances, including BAH, military pay is customized to your situation. Changes in pay grade, duty status, your military occupation, duty station, or deployment status can have an impact on your pay. ( ... See 2013 Pay Charts, Flight Pay, Basic Housing Allowances, Advance Pay Enlisted Breakouts and more.

Student Loan Repayments, Forgiveness
Many members of the military with student loans are spending way too much to pay off those loans. They are not accessing the student loan repayment protections and forgiveness benefits that have been granted to them under Federal rules. ( ... Pty_EUnOgQ) The Action Guide for Servicemembers with Student Loans (PDF) shows you step-by-step how to take advantage of the repayment protections mandated by Congress. Learn more about student loan repayment and forgiveness options for members of the military at the ( ... issing-out) Blog.
For more on military education benefits and programs, visit the ( Education Center.

VA Loan Forms
In order to receive your Certificate of Eligibility for VA loan benefits, you will need to submit your request for a Certificate of Eligibility (VA Form 26-1880), as well as your service record. ( ... Visit to get all your VA loan forms.
Your VA Home Loan is worth $417,000 and can be used to buy or refinance a house with $0 down. ( ... Connect with lenders ready to help you use your benefit.

Some Vets Say Gay Marriage Leave Unfair
In this week's Military Forum many of Tom Philpott's readers sound off about the recently announced ( ... ge-travel/) DoD policy to grant uncharged leave for gay and lesbian servicemembers to travel to a state where same-sex marriages are legal. Many veterans don't oppose gay marriage, but do have issues with what they see as special treatment for a select group of servicemembers. Visit Tom Philpott's ( ... nfair.html) Military Forum to see what vets are saying about this issue.

Same-Sex Mil-Benefits to Start Sept. 3
The Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as servicemember-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate. For those members married after June 26, 2013, entitlements begin at the date of marriage. The department will implement policies to allow military personnel non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction where a same-sex marriage may occur. For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the DOD will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor's guidance.
( ... ge-travel/) Check out the Military Advantage Blog for more on this subject.

Jewelry and Accessory Gift Guide
Shopping for a gift can be tricky if you're living the military lifestyle and especially if you're giving a gift to someone deployed. Factors like shipping and convenience are key aspects in the decision-making process. ( ... Read More.

Get Your VA Loan Answers Here
Wondering how you can get the most out of your VA Loan? Follow the VA loan blog to stay up to date with tips and get the real facts about the benefits of using your VA loan. ( Read More.

AF Updates Belly Size in PFT Policy
The U.S. Air Force has announced enhancements to the Air Force's Physical Fitness Assessment program, to be implemented Oct. 1. Of the changes coming Oct. 1, the most significant is to the abdominal circumference portion of the test. The AC assesses an Airman's body composition. The other program modifications include realigning the fitness appeal process back to wing commanders, adjusting passing standards for Airmen who can only test on one component of assessment, and changing and simplifying the walk test. In addition to these efforts, senior leaders are reviewing how fitness performance is documented on performance reports.
( ... -fail.html) Read the full article on

TRICARE and Using VA
Many TRICARE For Life (TFL) beneficiaries use Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities for care related to their service-connected disabilities. But, as TFL is a comprehensive Medicare wraparound coverage, beneficiaries are reminded they run the risk of unexpected out-of-pocket costs if they use a VA facility for care not related to a service-connected disability. For more information about TFL, beneficiaries may contact the TFL support contractor Wisconsin Physicians Service (WPS) at 1-866-773-0404 or visit the TRICARE for Life website at ( To find Medicare-certified providers visit the TRICARE Find a Doctor webpage at ( For more information about the VA, visit the Veterans Health Administration webpage at (
For more on TRICARE benefits, visit the ( TRICARE section.

Celanese Committed to Hiring Veterans
Start your civilian career with a company that can provide endless opportunity and a career path that lets you choose where you want to be. ( ... Read More.

AF Offers Online ASVAB Pretest
Applicants who hope to join the Air Force can now take the Armed Services Aptitude Battery pretest from any computer with Internet access. The Pre-screening, Internet-delivered Computer Adaptive Test (PiCAT) is an unproctored version of the full ASVAB that currently provides recruiters with the ability to effectively determine if an applicant is qualified before sending them to a military entrance processing station or military entrance test site. Recruiters will provide applicants with a unique access code. The applicant must start the test within 72 hours. Once the test is started, he or she will have 24 hours to complete the test. After the test is complete, the recruiter will have the ability to view the applicant's score instantly. PiCAT is expected to count as the official ASVAB as early as January 2014. For more information about this new test, please contact Air Force Recruiting Service at (
For more on ASVAB, including test tips and practice test, visit ('s ASVAB section.

MOAA Offers Tips to Help Focus Resumes
If you've started working on your resume, but have hit a wall, you should take a step back and figure out exactly what you do. According to the Military Officers Association of America, failing to indicate a specific job, industry, or career field, is one of the most frequently identified weaknesses in post-military resumes.
( Read the full article at the Military Officers Association of America website to learn why focusing your resume can make all the difference. For more on putting together an effective resume, visit the ( Veteran Jobs Center.
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