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Print & Post: Week of February 09, 2015


Sequestration's Impact on Navy Readiness
The chief of naval operations testified recently before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert said the Navy's fleet readiness likely will not recover from the ship and aircraft maintenance backlogs until about 2018. He said a return to sequestration would further delay critical warfighting capabilities, further reduce contingency response force readiness and jeopardize ship and submarine procurement. A video of the hearing as well as statements and testimonies are available on the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services website at (http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/15-01-28-mpact-of-the-budget-control-act-of-2011-and-sequestration-on-national-security) www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/15-01-28-mpact-of-the-budget-control-act-of-2011-and-sequestration-on-national-security.
For more Navy news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.

Group Calls for Accurate Vet Portrayals
A group dedicated to the entertainment industry's realistic representation of veterans has announced a new seal of approval for portrayals of military men and women in films and television shows. Called "6 Certified," the program is launching with the support of First Lady Michelle Obama. The campaign seeks to shift perception of veterans in pop culture. Studios, producers and other content creators will be eligible for the certification badge if the work contains "a representative and balanced depiction of veterans" and fulfills at least one of six pledges. For more information, visit the Got Your 6 website at (http://www.gotyour6.org/6-certified/) www.gotyour6.org/6-certified/.
For more on military-related entertainment news, visit the (http://www.military.com/off-duty) Military.com Off-duty section.

2016 VA Budget Proposal
The President has proposed a $168.8 billion budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in fiscal year 2016. The budget includes $73.5 billion in discretionary funding, largely for healthcare, and $95.3 billion for mandatory benefit programs such as disability compensation and pensions. In the coming months, the Administration will submit legislation to allow the Department to reallocate a portion of unused funding from the Veterans Choice Program to support essential investments in the VA system. Highlights from the President's 2016 budget request for VA are available on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website at (http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2675) www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2675.
For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the (http://militaryadvantage.military.com) Military Advantage blog.

Change to myPay
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service has announced that (https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx) myPay is now easier to use. Password requirements have been reduced from 15 to 9 characters. An established password will remain current for up to 150 days. Officials advise updating accounts for easy access during tax season.
For more on military pay benefits, including the latest pay charts and a pay calculator, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/military-pay) Military.com Pay Center.

2016 Navy Budget Proposal
The Department of the Navy (DoN) recently released its proposed $161 billion budget for fiscal year 2016. This budget is part of the proposed $534 billion defense budget. To view the proposed FY16 DoN budget documents, visit the Fiscal Year 2016 DoN Budget Materials webpage at (http://www.finance.hq.navy.mil/fmb/PB/BOOKS.htm) www.finance.hq.navy.mil/fmb/PB/BOOKS.htm. For more information and to view the entire fiscal 2016 budget proposal, visit the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request website at (http://www.budget.mil) www.budget.mil and download the "Overview - FY 2016 Budget."
For more Navy news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.

DoD Launches MilitaryChildCare.com
The Department of Defense recently launched a new website, (http://militarychildcare.com/) MilitaryChildCare.com, an online resource to help military, DoD civilian and contractor families find an array of military-operated and military-subsidized child care options for children between the ages of 4 weeks and 12 years. MilitaryChildCare.com is a "single gateway" for families to enter as they request child care. Families can customize their search, put their children on waiting lists and monitor requests for placement. A help desk online and at 1-855-696-2934, toll-free, is also available to help personalize families' searches. More installations are being added to the website. The website is expected to be fully functional worldwide in September, 2016.
For more veteran and family support resources, see (http://www.military.com/spouse/military-life/military-resources/family-support-services.html) this Military.com Spouse Channel article.

NEXCOM Survey Released
The results of the 2014 Navy Exchange Service (NEX) Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) survey score show it reached a new high of 86 on a 100 point scale. The CSI survey shows how customers rate the NEX in a number of different areas including customer service, pricing, problem resolution and merchandise. Looking into 2015, NEXs will continue to place a high priority on pricing, merchandising, including assortment and in-stock rates, as well as sales flyers. NEXs will also continue to focus on store signs, checkout, merchandise returns and store environment to keep scores in those areas near 90. NEXCOM began surveying its customers in 1998. Nearly 13,500 NEX customers around the world were asked to participate in this year's survey. For more information on NEX, visit the Navy Exchange Service website at (http://www.mynavyexchange.com/) www.mynavyexchange.com.
For more discounts for military families, visit the (http://www.military.com/discounts) Military Discount Center.


Registration Open for Washington DC Job Fair
The American Legion's Veterans Employment & Education Division will host a series of events Feb. 19-20 at the Washington Hilton to help veterans, service members and spouses find meaningful careers in the civilian workforce. The events will take place in conjunction with the Legion's annual Washington Conference. On Thursday, Feb. 19, The American Legion will be hosting its Employment and Empowerment Summit from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. This full day of workshops and educational sessions will include opportunities for one-on-one career coaching and resume review, corporate panels and benefits discussions. Additionally, programs tailored towards women veterans and spouses will be offered. For more details, see (http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/search/2015/02/06/registration-open-for-dc-employment-workshops-career-fair.html) this Military.com article.

AF Enlisted Eval Deadline
Enlisted evaluation and promotion changes announced in July 2014 will continue with establishment of a May 31 enlisted performance report static closeout date (SCOD) for regular Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve chief master sergeants. Also, change of reporting official EPRs will be eliminated for all chief master sergeants. For more information about enlisted evaluations and promotions, and other personnel issues, visit the (https://mypers.af.mil/) myPers website. To read the chief master sergeant SCOD knowledge article, select "Search All Components" from the drop down window and enter "28616" in the search window. To visit the evaluation page for regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve or ANG, select the appropriate component and corps from the drop down menu and click on the evaluations link under "Learn More About."
For more Air Force news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.

AF Expeditionary Courses Online
The U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Operations School (EOS) recently began two new distance learning courses. The courses "Air Force Expeditionary Site Survey Process" and "AF Fundamentals of Expeditionary Mobility Operations" are open to all Active, Reserve, Air National Guard, and Civilian Department of Defense members with a desire to learn Expeditionary Mobility skills. The curriculum is designed for new to mid-level personnel. The amount of time it takes to complete a course varies, from 3-36 hours. To enroll in one of these online courses, visit the (https://amc.csd.disa.mil) Air Mobility Command Advanced Distributed Learning Service website from any computer on the government network. For more information about distance learning opportunities, as well as other education and training programs, contact the USAF EOS, at (609) 754-7824.
For more on military education benefits, visit the (http://www.military.com/education) Military.com Education section.

Tactical Fitness: Developing Strong Core Muscles
Former Navy SEAL and Military.com fitness guru Stew Smith has some suggestions for improving core fitness. You can mix in core exercises throughout your workout; it's never a bad idea to mix extra core work into your week. But, don't just focus on abdominal exercises like sit-ups. Think about hip mobility, shoulder girdle movements, and lower and upper back exercises and stretches. For more details and some suggested workouts, visit the (http://www.military.com/military-fitness/ask-stew/tactical-fitness-with-stew-smith-developing-strong-core-muscles) Military.com Fitness Center.

Black History Month
Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans. African Americans have made a profound impact on America that continues in many areas including history, education, entertainment, literature, science, sports, politics, culture, and the military. A list of contributions made by African Americans through the years is available on the (http://www.robins.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123437969) Robins Air Force Base website. For more information, visit (http://www.military.com/Content/MoreContent1?file=BH_Index) Military.com's Black History Month page, the (http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/research/blackhistorymonth.asp) National Museum of the U.S. Air Force website and the Library of Congress (http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/) website. Read the (http://www.army.mil/article/142116/National_African_American_History_Month_2015/) President's Proclamation.

TRICARE Increases Rx Copays
New copayments for prescription drugs covered by TRICARE went into effect February 1, 2015. Most pharmacy copays will increase by $3. Drugs from military pharmacies and generic drugs from TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery still cost beneficiaries $0. Copays at non-network retail pharmacies will also change, based on the changes to retail copays. For more details, visit the TRICARE pharmacy costs webpage at (http://www.tricare.mil/pharmacycosts) www.tricare.mil/pharmacycosts. These changes overrule previous rules that connected TRICARE pharmacy copays to the retiree cost of living adjustment (COLA).
For more on TRICARE, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/tricare) Military.com TRICARE section.

Theft Causes OCONUS Mail Delays
Service members and civilians in Europe, and embassy personnel in Thailand who never got that holiday card or present they were expecting might want to monitor their post offices and be ready to track down their mail if it does not show up by mid-February. Some military priority mail parcels and first class letters destined for Germany, England and other recipients in Europe, as well as the 96546 ZIP code in Thailand, may have been delayed due to the theft of a United States Postal Service-contracted tractor-trailer Jan. 2. The container was subsequently recovered Jan. 5. Customers who believe they may have been affected should allow 45 days for delivery from the date the item was postmarked before filing a claim with the USPS. Claims may be filed by mail, at any post office, by telephone at 1-800-ASK-USPS, or (https://www.usps.com/help/claims.htm) online.
For more on shipping packages overseas, see (http://www.military.com/benefits/shipping-packages-military-guide.html) this Military.com guide.

AF Ups Marathon Registration Fees
Prices for the U.S. Air Force Marathon increased on Feb. 2, 2015. Prices for the full and half are currently $95 and $85 respectively, while the 10K is $45 and the 5K is $35. Another price increase will occur on April 2, 2015. All registered runners receive a tech shirt, towel, patch and goodie bag. Everyone who finishes a race also gets a medal. All races begin and end at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on Sat., September 19, 2015 except the 5K. For more information, visit the U.S. Air Force Marathon website at (http://www.usafmarathon.com) www.usafmarathon.com.
For more Air Force news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.

Hardship Duty Pays Sailors Millions
Hardship Duty Pay-Tempo (HDP-T) eligible Sailors have received $4.2 million in their paycheck as of Jan. 28. The Sailors received HDP-T at $16.50 daily, and did not exceed the $495 monthly maximum when they were operationally deployed beyond 220 consecutive days. HDP-T took effect Sept. 17, 2014, and Sailors and Marines will receive the pay on a monthly basis. Reservists serving in individual augmentee assignments that meet the 220-day threshold will receive their pay upon completion of their mobilization. The DoD has authorized HDP-T for two years.
For more on military pay benefits, including the latest pay charts and a pay calculator, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/military-pay) Military.com Pay Center.

WWII Museum: Campaigns of Courage
From faltering first battles in North Africa to the bloody struggle at Germany's doorstep, the immersive galleries in Road to Berlin recreate actual battle settings and villages--complete with crumbling walls, bomb-torn rooftops, icy pathways, and a chillingly realistic soundscape. The result is a richly layered, multimedia journey that recreates the citizen soldier's experience with striking immediacy and impact: Visitors walking in the shadow of Normandy's brutally dense hedgerows can imagine the challenges that followed D-Day; attending a mission briefing with the Bomber Boys brings visitors inside America's all-important Air War strategy; seeing personal artifacts--cigarette boxes, photographs--scattered over real Normandy sand offers a touching perspective on the human cost of the war.
(http://www.nationalww2museum.org/campaigns-of-courage/) Learn more about Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters.

Sound Off on Pay and TRICARE Proposals
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission offered (http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2015/01/military-compensation-commission-recommendations/) sweeping reforms to military pay and benefits. Let the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) know what you think about some of the more controversial proposals. (http://www.moaa.org/MRmcrmcsurvey) Take MOAA's brief survey.

Combat-Related Special Compensation
The (http://www.afpc.af.mil/library/combat.asp) Air Force Combat-Related Special Compensation program (CRSC) is managed by the USAF Physical Disability Division of the Air Force Personnel Center. The CRSC board is made up of former military and civilian personnel whose experiences include war-time duties, flying duties and medical training. The review board conducts a detailed analysis of your application to determine if in-service evidence exists to confirm your conditions were the direct result of a combat-related event or injury. If so, the board will authorize a special monthly payment to you called CRSC. For more information, visit the (http://www.afpc.af.mil/library/combat.asp) Combat-Related Special Compensation webpage.
For more on combat-related special compensation, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/military-pay/special-pay/combat-related-special-compensation.html) Military.com CSRC page.

Army Integrated Training Portal
Army commanders now have online access to the best practices for conducting training exercises that combine live and virtual training. The resources are available on the Integrated Training Environment (ITE) on the ITE Portal. It is located on the Army's (https://ite.army.mil) Milgaming Network. The site requires a Common Access Card. The portal explains how the ITE leverages live, virtual and constructive training technologies to help leaders create tough, realistic exercises at a home station. The Army has fielded the ITE to posts around the world, but some commanders are not aware of the benefits of combining training technologies. The ITE portal links to videos and reference materials to help at each stage of the training management process. It also carries a link to the Leaders Guide to Training.
For more Army news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.

GI Bill Likely To Change
The recent (http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/01/29/panel-proposes-overhauling-military-retirement-and-tricare.html) Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) report once again highlights the fact that the current, amazingly generous Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits aren't guaranteed to remain so glorious. Historically, educational benefits have shrunk during times of military downsizing, and we are in the middle of a serious downsize. Plus, I've said since day one that the current Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are more than our country can afford to sustain. If you have earned the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and you think you have a plan to maximize the benefit to your family, then you might want to consider having a plan B. You might also need a plan C and a plan D. For more details, see this (http://paycheck-chronicles.military.com/2015/02/04/gi-bill-likely-change/) Paycheck Chronicles post.

Suicide Intervention Training

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is for everyone 16 or older -- regardless of prior experience -- who wants to be able to provide suicide first aid. The ASIST model teaches effective intervention skills while helping to build suicide prevention networks in the community. During the two-day interactive session, participants learn to intervene and help prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Over 1,000,000 people have taken the workshop, and studies have proven that the ASIST method helps reduce suicidal feelings for those at risk. To get involved: (1) attend an ASIST workshop in your area, (2) organize or sponsor an ASIST workshop, or (3) learn how to become an ASIST trainer and provide workshops to others. For more information, visit the (https://www.livingworks.net/programs/asist/) ASIST website.
For more mental health and wellness guides and tips, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/mental-health-and-wellness) Military.com Mental Health and Wellness section.

2016 AF Budget Proposal
The Air Force presented its fiscal year 2016 President's Budget request following the Defense Department and sister services budget briefings. The Air Force fiscal year 2016 budget continues readiness recovery, and reduces the short-term capacity risk assumed in the fiscal year 2015 budget while placing significant investments in the nuclear enterprise, space, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and command and control capabilities. The Air Force requested a topline budget of $122.2 billion in Air Force controlled funding that supports a total force end strength of 492,000 personnel. For more information, watch the video on the (http://www.c-span.org/video/?324123-5/us-air-force-briefing-fiscal-year-2016-budget-request) C-Span website and read the Overview of the U.S. Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2016 (http://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2016/FY2016_Budget_Request_Overview_Book.pdf) Budget Request.
For more Air Force news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.


4 Dangers of Increasing Your Credit Card Limit
It can be quite flattering when your credit card company sends you a notification in the mail saying you are eligible for a credit line increase. Obviously, the company thinks you're doing a great job managing your credit card -- or, at the very least, you're paying the minimum balance. However, before you get too flattered by your credit card company's approval of a higher spending limit, figure out if it's the right decision for your finances. For more details, see (http://www.military.com/money/personal-finance/credit-debt-management/4-dangers-of-increasing-your-credit-card-limit.html) this Military.com article.

Army Reserve Is Hiring
The Army Reserve needs 5,000 more soldiers to meet this year's end-strength objective. While Soldiers with valuable skill sets -- engineers, doctors, lawyers and so on -- are sought after, there are other skills needed by the Reserve. Soldiers should see their career counselors or an Army Reserve representative at least a year before separation to determine if they are a good fit. Even if Soldiers do not have high-demand skills, there could be opportunities to retrain for a different military occupational specialty while still on active duty. For more information, visit the Army Reserves webpage at (http://www.army.mil/news/reserves/) www.army.mil/news/reserves/ and the Army Reserves newspage at (http://www.usar.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx) www.usar.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx.
For more guides on joining the military, visit the (http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces) Military.com Join the Military section.

AF Mandates Vaccine in Japan
The Japanese encephalitis (JE) vaccine will now be mandatory for active-duty Airmen who are either permanently stationed or who will be temporarily assigned for more than 30 days to Japan or South Korea. Members currently stationed in Japan and South Korea saw their individual medical readiness status turn yellow Feb. 1, and will have one year to receive the two-dose vaccination series. When you are outdoors, use an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)-registered insect repellent that contains DEET, IR3535, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Wearing long sleeves, long pants and socks can help. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at (http://www.cdc.gov/japaneseencephalitis/) www.cdc.gov/japaneseencephalitis/.
For more Air Force news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.

Veteran Careers in Manufacturing
As the U.S. manufacturing resurgence grows, veterans will play a critical role in strengthening the core of the manufacturing and technical service industries, which are poised to hire 230,000 workers over the next five years. Vet2Tech is a non-profit organization helping military veterans find employment in manufacturing and technical service careers. With the help of Military.com, Vet2Tech was able to train and employ numerous veterans this year. The goal for 2015 is to find great career opportunities for more than 150 veterans. For more details, see (http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/career-advice/2015/02/03/helping-veterans-find-new-careers-in-manufacturing.html) this article.

2015 AF Assistance Fund
The 2015 Air Force Assistance Fund Campaign has kicked off and will run until May 1. Air Force bases worldwide are participating in this fundraising event which raises money for four Air Force charities. The Air Force is using a three-campaign grouping where all Air Force bases are assigned to one of the following three six-week campaign periods: Group I -- Feb. 2 - March 13; Group II -- March 2 - April 10; and Group III -- March 23 - May 1. New this year is an updated (http://www.afassistancefund.org/) Air Force Assistance Fund website, which features information about all of the affiliate charities, a link to the donation forms, videos, assistance stories and FAQs.
For more Air Force news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.

Commission Ideas Draw Bipartisan Praise on Capitol Hill
There is rising confidence across the Senate and House armed services committees that 2015 will be the year Congress passes legislation to modernize military compensation, with an alternative to traditional 20-year retirement and perhaps replacing the triple-option TRICARE health program. After decades of rejecting military compensation studies, whether from teams of Pentagon analysts or independent blue ribbon panels, Congress this year appears to be embracing the clever weave of proposals prepared by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. For more details, see this post on the (http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2015/02/commission-ideas-draw-bipartisan-praise-on-capitol-hill/) Military Advantage Blog.

House Hearing on Transition Assistance
Dr. Susan Kelly, Director Transition to Veterans Program Office, recently testified before the U.S. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs regarding the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The new TAP will help more than 1 million servicemembers transition from active duty in the next four years. The foundation of the redesigned TAP is a set of career-readiness standards that are verified for all transitioning servicemembers no later than 90 days prior to their separation from the military. If civilian career readiness standards are not met, servicemembers receive further training or are referred to inter-agency partners who ensure they receive post-separation assistance. A list of those testifying at the hearing is available on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs website at (http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/a-review-of-the-transition-assistance-program-tap-1) veterans.house.gov/hearing/a-review-of-the-transition-assistance-program-tap-1.
For more veteran job news, job postings and transition advice, visit the (http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs) Military.com Veteran Jobs Center.

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Retired AF 1971-1998

When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius


“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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