July 16h, 2018
U.S., North Korean military officials mark progress on efforts to bring home fallen American troops
WASHINGTON — U.S. officials held high-level military talks with North Korean representatives on Sunday for the first time in nine years, a move that veterans advocates hope will be a breakthrough in efforts to recover the remains of thousands of fallen American troops, according to MilitaryTimes.
In a statement Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the meeting between general officers from the two countries was “productive and cooperative” and also “resulted in firm commitments” from the North Korean contingent.
The resumption of recovery and return efforts was a key talking point of last month’s summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Numerous veterans groups had lobbied the White House to emphasize the importance of the work in advance of the meeting, and praised plans to eventually bring home the fallen troops.
According to Pentagon officials, they believe North Korean officials currently have about 200 sets of U.S. remains that can be quickly transferred back to America once political and logistical issues are settled.
July 15th, 2018
IG Announces DoD School Sex Assault Investigation
The inquiry, ordered in a June 5 report from the Senate Armed Services Committee, will look at whether “the DoD and DoD Education Activity (DoDEA) have adequate policies and procedures to respond to incidents of serious student misconduct including sexual assault and sexual harassment,” the announcement states. “We will also evaluate the Department and referrals to DoD law enforcement organizations, as well as referrals to military and civilian child advocacy and health services.”
The investigation comes after a series of news stories over the last several years highlighting cases of apparent student-on-student sexual assault in the system’s schools met by little or no action from school or Pentagon officials.
“It is disturbing to learn that the DoD’s policies and procedures may prevent efforts to help child victims of misconduct, including sexual harassment and sexual assault, and to rehabilitate and hold child offenders accountable,” the Senate conference report stated.
Visit the DoD Safe Helpline for information.
July 13th, 2018
The FDA has approved the use of this potential life saver for troops on the battlefield
After a year full of discussion and disagreement over whether freeze-dried blood plasma would be accessible for use by the Department of Defense, the FDA has approved the use of the potentially life-saving product to treat injuries to U.S. troops, according to MilitaryTimes.com.
Plasma plays an important role in the human body, and it has clotting properties that can stop bleeding, especially in life or death circumstances on the battlefield.
Freeze-dried plasma is easier to transport than the liquid form of plasma, especially in an environment like the battlefield. Plasma needs to be kept cold, so freeze-drying the solution avoids the need to keep it at an optimal temperature while in a medical kit in combat. The product has a shelf life of about two years.
July 11th, 2018
VA secretary nominee promises care for all vets, including transgender veterans
WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert Wilkie promised lawmakers that suicide prevention will remain the department’s top clinical priority and transgender veterans will not see any benefits changes if he is confirmed for the post this week.
Wilkie, 55, was advanced by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee members on Tuesday, likely setting up a full chamber vote on his appointment later this month. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., voted against Wilkie, the first time a senator has opposed a VA secretary nominee since the department was reorganized into a Cabinet-level post 30 years ago.
Wilkie said he recused himself from that decision because he was confirmed to his Defense Department post well after the legal challenges had begun. In response to concerns about how those cases may affect VA policies, the nominee promised he has no plans to make changes.
After he was asked if this included transgender veterans, he said, “The department is proud to provide care, benefits and othe VA services to all veterans, including transgender veterans.”
“That policy will remain unchanged.” He said in the statement.
He added that he values “the service of all veterans regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, and they will all be treated with the respect and the support they deserve.”
July 13th, 2018
George Batsakis Joins Accenture Federal Services’ Defense & Intelligence Team
Former CSRA executive vice president, George Batsakis was hired to head defense and intelligence portfolios at Accenture Federal Services. Batsakis has worked in defense for the past 25 years. Now, he will manage certain aspects of technological platforms used by U.S. federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. Accenture Federal Services provides services including fraud protection, risk management, federal workforce planning.
“As the DoD prepares to modernize its IT systems and rapidly deploy innovative solutions that reduce costs and increase efficiency, George’s expertise will help our clients find the right solutions for their most complex challenges and meet the needs of service members, veterans and their families,” says chief executive of Accenture Federal Services, John Goodman according to Defense News.