February 2013

VA, DOD criticized for e-records delays

2/28/2013 - Congress criticizes VA, DOD on e-records process

For years, the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have been working toward coming together to create an all encompassing electronic database of medical records.  read more »

Documentary focuses on military dogs

2/28/2013 - Documentary features military working dogs

Military working dogs have played a vital role in the Armed Forces for decades, but their contributions may go unnoticed by the civilian population. However, a recent documentary on Animal Planet gave the four-legged soldiers their due recognition. read more »

Suicides on the rise in the military community

2/27/2013 - Suicide remains a big issue in military community

Suicide is undoubtedly one of the biggest issues facing the military community. Whether it is soldiers who have separated from service, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan or active duty troops, it's clear that the rate of servicemembers taking their own lives is on the rise. read more »

Dr. Jill Biden speaks to governors on behalf of military spouses

2/27/2013 - Dr. Jill Biden speaks on behalf of military spouses

Soon after Michelle Obama called on governors to make it easier for members of the military to find jobs after separating from services, second lady Dr. Jill Biden spoke out on behalf of their spouses. read more »

Financial tips for Military Saves Week

2/25/2013 - Financial tips for Military Saves Week

Those who have loved ones in the military face many challenges, and many of them relate to finances. read more »

Pre-war factors could play role in PTSD

2/25/2013 - Pre-war psychological factors could play role in PTSD

An estimated 20 percent of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the condition is one of the greatest health concerns among the servicemember population. read more »

Military families have many tax breaks to take advantage of

2/25/2013 - Military families should take advantage of certain tax deductions

The deadline for filing taxes is approaching more quickly than some military families might realize. While this process might not be stressful for some people, others may struggle with knowing exactly what deductions they can take. read more »

Training, readiness threatened by budget cuts

2/22/2013 - Training, readiness threatened by budget cuts

As the Army continues to brace itself for potential cuts to its budget, some officials say the future could see the military return to a time when only small units are prepared for deployment. read more »

Universities prepare as veterans head to college

2/21/2013 - Universities across the country prepare for increase in veteran students

With thousands of soldiers re-entering civilian life after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of them may choose to use their GI Bill benefits and head back to the classroom. read more »

Bill would extend healthcare benefits to military families

2/21/2013 - New bill would provide healthcare coverage to military families

There are many bills making their way through Congress that could impact the benefits available to military families, and one of the newest pieces of legislation could have a significant impact.  read more »

Younger vets still struggle to find employment

2/20/2013 - Younger vets still face employment hurdles

As the economy slowly continues to improve, the unemployment rate for the country as a whole is improving with it. Unfortunately for the veterans who have served in the year following the September 11 attacks, this is not the case.  read more »

Obama urges Congress to act on sequester

2/19/2013 - Obama addresses looming budget cuts, urges Congress to act

As sequestration draws closer, President Barack Obama spoke directly to Congress on Tuesday and called on lawmakers to act now to avoid the drastic cuts that could greatly hurt servicemembers and first responders. read more »

U.S. troops will not enter Mali, officials say

2/19/2013 - White House officials: U.S. ground troops will not head to Mali

As French troops continue the fight in Mali against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the United States remains committed to not becoming directly involved, but some foreign policy experts say that it may become increasingly difficult to stay that way. read more »

Sequestration could result in extended deployment, Odierno warns

2/15/2013 - Odierno says sequestration would result in extended deployments

As Congress inches closer to the March 1 deadline for sequestration, many of the military's top officials are warning lawmakers of the potential impact the across-the-board budget cuts could have. read more »

VA should change its approach to mental health, panel says

2/15/2013 - Better approach, not more spending, can help VA address mental health

Properly addressing mental health is one of the biggest concerns of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but some experts say it may be going about it the wrong way. read more »

Military families react to announcement of Afghanistan troop withdrawal

2/14/2013 - Military families react to announcement of Afghanistan troop reduction

On Tuesday, President Obama's State of the Union address attracted a great deal of attention, but it was his announcement of the withdrawal of 34,000 troops from Afghanistan over the next year that arguably garnered the most attention. read more »

National Guard help woman give birth during weekend snowstorm

2/14/2013 - Massachusetts National Guard plays vital role in child's birth during winter storm 

A historic blizzard hit New England last weekend, and while most emergency responders were focused on snow removal, some members of the Massachusetts National Guard were helping out in a much different way. read more »

Military takes center stage at SOTU

2/13/2013 - Military takes center stage at Obama's SOTU

President Barack Obama gave his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday night, and he touched on everything from healthcare spending to immigration reform. read more »

Obama to discuss Afghanistan withdrawal at State of the Union

2/12/2013 - Obama to announce further troop withdrawals from Afghanistan

Ending American involvement in Afghanistan has been one of the cornerstones of President Barack Obama's agenda since he took office, and he is expected to announce the next step in that plan during his State of the Union on Tuesday night. read more »

Army gears up for 'Ready and Resilient' campaign

2/12/2013 - Military prepares for launch of 'Ready and Resilient' campaign

Members of the military and their families face many challenges other than combat. read more »

Study examines nutritional needs of special operations forces

2/11/2013 - Researchers look at nutritional needs of special operations forces

It should not come as much of a surprise that active duty soldiers require more energy on a day to day basis than the civilian population. Experts estimate that typical servicemembers in a garrison take in about 3,250 calories every day. read more »

Budget cuts may cause extended deployments

2/8/2013 - Longer deployment under budget cuts worry military families

The impending budget cuts facing the Armed Forces have left many top officials worried, but the concerns extend to military families. read more »

FMLA offers benefits to military families

2/8/2013 - Military families benefit from FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) recently celebrated its 20th birthday, and in recognition of the milestone the Labor Department announced that it would be extending some of the benefits to the families of servicemembers. read more »

Baseball stars head to Germany to visit troops

2/8/2013 - Baseball stars head to Germany to visit troops

With baseball season quickly approaching, many troops stationed overseas may be starting to miss America's pastime, but a group of soldiers serving in Germany recently got a little taste of home in a big way. read more »

Panetta to recommend military pay cuts

2/7/2013 - Pentagon sources: Leon Panetta to suggest cutting military pay

The Pentagon avoided sequestration - a series of across-the-board budget cuts - when Congress took action toward the end of 2012, but the move only delayed the cuts to March 1. read more »

9/11 first responders receive first payments

2/6/2013 - 9/11 first responders receive payments

First responders and recovery workers who rushed to the scene on 9/11 have been embroiled in a long battle to receive payments for the medical treatment required due to their time at Ground Zero, and late last month the first group of recipients was paid. read more »

VA to study health effects of Iraq, Afghanistan

2/6/2013 - VA to launch study on health effects of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan presented the military with many challenges not seen before in combat history. Everything from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to a nebulous enemy made fighting more difficult, but also created the potential for some adverse health effects troops of the past did not encounter. read more »

Study: Soldiers have trouble sleeping

2/5/2013 - Study: Soldiers have trouble sleeping upon return home

Soldiers often face a difficult transition upon returning home from the battlefield. It can be a challenge to reconnect with family members and also to acclimate to a different environment, and a new study found that active duty soldiers also tend to experience significant problems sleeping after leaving combat zones. read more »

The Pentagon lifted on the ban on women in combat roles, but now questions of physical strength are arising.

2/5/2013 - Debate over women in combat builds as it turns to physical strength

The Pentagon lifted the ban on women serving in combat roles last month, opening thousands of new positions up to women in the military. Although this progress was good news for many, some are now expressing doubts about whether women have enough physical strength to take on certain positions, USA Today reports. read more »

Veteran unemployment rate sees spike in January

2/1/2013 - Unemployment rate for post-9/11 vets grows in January

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest unemployment findings on Friday, and while the national jobless rate stayed the same, the news wasn't quite as good for Post-9/11 veterans. read more »

DOD urges military families to take stock of finances

2/1/2013 - DOD urges military families to examine finances

Military families often face a number of financial challenges. Frequent moves can weigh heavily on the loved ones of servicemembers, and sometimes lead to debt and unemployment. read more »

Millions of Americans participate in Holiday Mail for Heroes

2/1/2013 - Millions of Americans participate in Holiday Mail for Heroes

The Holiday Mail for Heroes program, which is organized by the Red Cross and Pitney Bowes, helps bring some cheer to servicemembers and their families during the holiday season, and this year the program was especially successful.  read more »

Air Force grad heads to Super Bowl

2/1/2013 - Air Force grad heads to Super Bowl with 49ers

It's not very often that members of the service academies make it to the NFL, and this year one of them is heading to the Super Bowl.  read more »