July 2013

Pentagon facing bigger budget cuts in 2014

7/31/2013 - Pentagon staring down larger cuts for 2014

When sequestration was enacted in March, it triggered $34 billion in across-the-board cuts to the Pentagon budget, and unless lawmakers repeal the process, the Department of Defense will experience even more significant reductions next year. read more »

Odierno supports lower pay raises for troops

7/30/2013 - Army chief of staff supports lower pay raises for troops

One of the most controversial aspects of the money saving proposals put forth by White House and Pentagon officials has been a planned 1 percent pay raise for active duty troops - lower than the 1.8 percent recommended by Congress. read more »

JetBlue honors Hurricane Sandy first responders

7/30/2013 - Hurricane Sandy first responders honored by JetBlue

When Hurricane Sandy rocked the East Coast last year, first responders played a vital role in keeping citizens in New York, New Jersey and elsewhere safe, and now they're being thanked for their exemplary efforts. read more »

Service academies earn praise on Forbes' annual list of best colleges

7/30/2013 - Service academies earn praise on Forbes list of best colleges

Service academies are recognized almost as much for their academic tradition as they are the quality of their graduates, and in Forbes' recent rankings of the best college in the U.S., they performed particularly well. read more »

White House announces latest recipient of Medal of Honor

7/29/2013 - White House announces latest Medal of Honor recipient

The 2009 battle at Afghanistan's Combat Outpost Keating left eight American soldiers dead, but it also highlighted the exemplary bravery of U.S. troops. read more »

Finding veterans suitable housing is only half the battle

7/29/2013 - Homelessness on the way down, but that's only part of the battle

In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the White House pledged to end homelessness among veterans by 2015. In the years since, they have funneled a considerable amount of energy and funding into the initiative, and there has been a 17 percent decline in the number of homeless veterans since. read more »

House passes Defense spending bill

7/26/2013 - House passes 2014 defense spending bill

The House of Representatives approved a much-debated defense spending bill on Wednesday night that could have a significant impact on the Pentagon's operations in 2014.  read more »

Prolonged outdoor activity can help vets, study suggests

7/25/2013 - Outdoor activities can help vets improve mental health, study suggests

Veterans have a variety of options at their disposal when it comes to managing the long-term psychological challenges they face. Some choose to follow artistic pursuits while others may benefit from therapy. read more »

Soldier 2020 program could open up new positions to female troops

7/25/2013 - Soldier 2020 program could open up new positions to women

The Army has taken significant strides in recent months to open up an increasing number of combat roles to female soldiers, and thanks to a new initiative that figure could grow.  read more »

Shinseki has mixed news for VFW conference

7/24/2013 - Shinseki reports mixed results to VFW conference

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has certainly faced his fair share of challenges during his time in office. Tasked with eliminating a lengthy disability claims backlog, tackling veteran homelessness and improving vets' access to services, he has often encountered a considerable amount of criticism. read more »

Study: Wars take toll on military children

7/24/2013 - Study highlights emotional toll war has on military children

More than 12 years of war has certainly taken its toll on the military community, and a new report from the nonprofit group Child Trends reveals how significant an impact it has had on children of servicemembers. read more »

Hagel speaks at VFW conference

7/23/2013 - Chuck Hagel addresses budgetary challenges at VFW conference

The Department of Defense has had to make highly publicized budget cuts as a result of sequestration, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently spoke at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars conference about the challenges of operating under reduced spending. read more »

Spending bill includes $675 million for first responders

7/23/2013 - Homeland Security spending bill includes $675 million for first responders

As the wildfires plaguing much of Arizona, Colorado and California proved, skilled firefighters are invaluable, and thanks to the recent progress of the 2014 Homeland Security spending bill, they will likely have the federal funding they require. read more »

VET Act could help veterans navigate GI Bill benefits

7/22/2013 - VET Act would provide schools with access to veterans' records

Many veterans plan to head back to the classroom once they've separated from service, but sometimes there are obstacles in their way. Despite having the benefits afforded to them by the Post-9/11 GI Bill, sometimes it can be difficult for them to know exactly what they're entitled to. read more »

For veterans with PTSD, confronting their fears may be best

7/19/2013 - For veterans with PTSD, confronting their fears may be best

When veterans develop post-traumatic stress disorder, one of the last things they want to do is think about the painful experience that affected them so greatly. read more »

Veterans running into tuition trouble

7/18/2013 - Some vets run into tuition troubles

Having to pick up and move is well-known part of life for servicemembers. Not only can this be a stressful endeavor, but as many veterans are finding out, it can be costly. read more »

VA, Army teams up combat behavioral health issues

7/18/2013 - VA, Army combat behavioral health issues together

Soldiers face a number of obstacles upon returning home from the battlefield, and some of the most significant are behavioral health challenges. read more »

FTC recognizes July 17 as Military Consumer Protection Day

7/17/2013 - FTC designates July 17 Military Consumer Protection Day

Military families often face greater financial challenges than their civilian counterparts, and those issues may be compounded when they encounter unscrupulous lenders looking to take advantage of their situations.  read more »

As number of veteran students increases, schools adapt

7/17/2013 - As number of veteran students increases, colleges adapt accordingly

Upon separating from service, troops take a wide variety of paths, but many plan on making use of their education benefits and heading back to the classroom. While earning a degree is a popular activity for veterans, it is not without its fair share of challenges. read more »

Grounded Air Force planes take to the skies

7/17/2013 - Grounded Air Force squadrons hit the skies again

The sequestration cuts had a significant impact on much of the military, and that included the Air Force, which was required to ground about one-third of its combat fleet. read more »

Yellow Ribbon Program helps out military families

7/16/2013 - Yellow Ribbon Program helps military families in variety of ways

Servicemembers and their families face a number of substantial challenges. Whether they're coping with having a loved one deployed overseas or navigating the process of re-integrating into civilian life, it's important for military families to reach out to the myriad service available to them. read more »

Trio of troops take on ultramarathon for charity

7/15/2013 - Trio of troops head to Death Valley for ultramarathon

Being an active duty servicemember often requires troops to survive in some of the harshest conditions in the world, so it should come as no surprise that several of the participants in the upcoming Badwater Ultramarathon have served in the military. read more »

Danger pay could come to an end for some troops

7/15/2013 - Imminent danger pay could come to an end for some troops

Being deployed overseas is a challenge for all servicemember?s, but this is especially true for troops who are stationed in particularly dangerous locations. As a result, the military offers some of its members with imminent danger pay, which can sometimes be as high as an extra $225 a month. read more »

VA issues $300 million in grants to end homelessness

7/12/2013 - VA issues $300 million in grants to end veteran homelessness

Among the most ambitious initiatives launched by the Department of Veterans affairs in recent years is the commitment to end homelessness among veterans by 2015. The VA has made considerable progress as of late, but the most recent figures put about 62,000 vets still living on the streets. read more »

App helps veterans familiarize themselves with benefits

7/11/2013 - Veteran designs app to help others learn about benefits

Veterans often have a wide variety of benefits available to them upon separating from service, but all too often they may not realize exactly what they're entitled to. read more »

DOD, VA officials testify about progress on creating electronic records

7/11/2013 - DOD, VA officials speak before Congress on electronic recordkeeping

Creating electronic medical records has been a focus of officials at both the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs for much of the last several years. A new system would ensure that troops transitioning from active duty to veteran life will have their medical records seamlessly follow them. read more »

Work remains in fight against veteran unemployment

7/11/2013 - Work remains in fight against veteran unemployment

Thanks to initiatives led by both the public and private sectors, the job market for veterans has steadily improved in recent months. Yet, while the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans has fallen below the national average, experts say there is still some work to be done. read more »

Fort Rucker purchases specially designed boat for wounded warriors

7/10/2013 - Fort Rucker purchases specially designed boat for wounded warriors

Many wounded warriors find it difficult to return to their previous levels of activity, and this can be especially challenging for servicemember?s who were used to spending time outdoors before their injury. One base in particular has taken steps to help them out. read more »

Senate panel rejects TRICARE fee hikes

7/9/2013 - Senate panel rejects TRICARE fee hikes

The Pentagon and White House has proposed a number of changes that could impact the financial future of military families, but one of the most controversial was an increase to retail pharmacy co-pays and fees for TRICARE beneficiaries, mostly retirees. read more »

Three brothers admitted to same West Point class

7/9/2013 - Three brothers admitted to same West Point class

Getting accepted to West Point is an impressive achievement for anyone, so one family from Texas is certainly filled with pride. read more »

Smartphone app designed to help vets find one another

7/8/2013 - New app can help veterans find one another

Transitioning from active duty service to civilian life can be a challenge for a number of different reasons. Problems finding a job, family stress or difficulty adjusting to a new lifestyle can often play a significant role. read more »

National Guard feels pinch of sequestration

7/8/2013 - National Guardsmen see furloughs from sequestration

The impact of sequestration-required cuts is beginning to be felt in military communities across the country, and now those effects are extending to the National Guard. read more »

C-130s deployed to help battle Arizona wildfires

7/5/2013 - Air Force C-130s help Arizona firefighters

Much of the southwestern corner of the U.S. has been plagued by wildfires in recent days due to extreme heat and dry conditions. read more »

Troops still hesitant to seek out mental health treatment

7/3/2013 - Troops still unlikely to seek mental health treatment

Mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder are among the greatest challenges facing returning troops, and there has been a concerted effort by the Pentagon and the White House to improve treatment. read more »

Communities ready to honor troops on July 4

7/2/2013 - 'Price Is Right' leads military tributes on July 4

Most people are familiar with Drew Carey thanks to his self-titled sitcom, his stint as the host of "Whose Line Is It Anyway" and most notably his gig with "The Price Is Right." However, they're likely less familiar with his military past. read more »

Arizona wildfires claim lives of 19 firefighters

7/1/2013 - Arizona wildfires claim lives of 19 firefighters

Extreme heat has plagued the southwest for the last several days, which has led to a slew of intense wildfires, and in Arizona the fight against these intense blazes just took a turn for the worse. read more »