The Scout Report 65th Edition
Military, Veterans and Defense Industry Issues and Analysis
May 14, 2012
We just completed our participation in the Milblog Conference and it was a fascinating opportunity to meet with the unique voices in the military community. It was also a week of launches in the military and veterans communities with Hollywood jumping into help veterans, Facebook adds a new tool to help military families in crisis and Blue Star Families found that many service members are simply not seeking treatment for PTSD. A stay-at-home dad is this year’s Military Spouse of the Year and there was an outstanding look at how snipers are changing warfare in today’s military. There is lots of good stuff all the way to the bottom of this weeks report and a happy belated Mothers Day to all of our mom readers!
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The week ahead:
Themes: The Senate is gearing up for their NDAA markup session next week so this week promises to be a lot of maneuvering as everyone digests the results of the House Armed Services Committee markup last week and what it all means. The Senate will be looking at the transition from DoD to VA for disability ratings of service members and that promises to be a tough one for both departments after years of attempting to meld their health record and personnel systems they still struggle with the handover.
NDIA 2012 Joint Armaments Conference (Mon-Thurs, 14-17 May) Seattle, Washington
The Joint Armaments Conference, Exhibition and Firing demonstration theme this year is “21st Century Weapons Systems-Providing the Right Response” and along with its typical focus on small arms systems and gun and missile systems will also include unconventional and emerging armaments.
AFCEA and USNI Joint Warfighting Conference 2012 (Tue-Thurs, 15-17 May) Virginia Beach, VA
The theme this year is “Joint Forces Inflection Point: What to Hold and What to Fold?” and boasts a star studded line up of panels and speakers including keynotes from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey and a VTC speech from ISAF Commander General John Allen. This free event will surely include a lot of discussion on the new defense strategy released two months ago and its implications on the military. To follow along on Twitter the conference hashtag is #JWC12.
Congress: The full Congress is in session this week.
Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Wed, 16 May)
Full committee hearing on “Seamless Transition: Review of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System.”
Location: 216 Hart Senate Office Building
House of Representatives:
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (2:00 PM, Mon, 14 May)
Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee field hearing on “Honoring our Nation’s Veterans: Examining the Veterans Cemetery Grants Program.”
Location: Fillmore County Courthouse, 101 Fillmore Street West, Board Room, Preston, Minn.
House Rules Committee – Meeting (10:00 AM, Tues, 15 May)
Full committee meets to formulate a rule on H.R.4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013.”
Location: H-313, U.S. Capitol
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Wed, 16 May)
Health Subcommittee hearing on “Optimizing Care for Veterans with Prosthetics.”
Location: 334 Cannon House Office Building
House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (2:00 PM, Wed, 16 May)
Economic Opportunity Subcommittee hearing on “Examining Executive Order #13607 and Its Impact and Schools and Veterans.”
Location: 340 Cannon House Office Building
Think tanks and other news events:
Homeland Security Policy Institute: A Conversation on Cyber Strategy with General James E. Cartwright, Washington, D.C. (5:00 PM, Mon 14 May)
Description: This event features General James E. Cartwright, USMC (Ret.), former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Cartwright will offer an assessment of U.S. cybersecurity, and share his thoughts on how he hopes it will evolve moving forward — with a focus on effective deterrence strategies, and a discussion of offensive capabilities. His remarks will place cyber issues and challenges into context, and convey insights relating to cyber strategy. RSVP online.
Participants: General James E. Cartwright, USMC (Ret.), former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Location: Elliott School of International Affairs, Seventh Floor, City View Room, 1957 E Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20052
AEI, CNAS, and the New America Foundation: The U.S. National Security Budget, Washington, D.C. (1:00 PM, Tues 15 May)
Description: The American Enterprise Institute, the Center for a New American Security and the New America Foundation panelists will discuss an issue sure to face the next administration: U.S. defense spending in light of American grand strategy. With the “sequestration” mechanism set to cut at least $500 billion from the Department of Defense, on top of budget reductions in recent years, discussants will consider how these cuts could affect defense policy. RSVP online.
Participants: Michèle Flournoy, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, David Barno, Senior Advisor and Senior Fellow at Center for a New American Security, Thomas Donnelly, Resident Fellow and Co-Director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Waltz, Senior National Security Fellow, New America Foundation and Former Advisor on South Asia to Vice President Cheney
Location: American Enterprise Institute, 1150 17th St. NW, 11th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Digital Diplomacy: A New Era of Advancing Policy, Washington, D.C. (9:00 AM, Thu 17 May)
Description: In a world of likes and hashtags, governments are using social media tools to reach beyond traditional diplomacy. Ministries and embassies are adopting new strategies for the digital age and exploring innovative ways to reach and engage domestic and foreign constituencies. Join leading thinkers in diplomacy and communications for a discussion on the evolution of public diplomacy and the ways visionary diplomats are using these powerful new tools to connect cultures, increase awareness, and advocate policy positions. RSVP online.
Participants: Amb. Arturo Sarukhan, Amb. Harold Forsyth, Alec Ross, Sarah Wynn-Williams, Martha Boudreau, Tom Carver
Location: 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Center for Strategic and International Studies: Challenges to Access and the U.S. Response: The Joint Operational Access Concept, Washington, D.C. (1:00 PM, Fri 18 May)
Description: A Military Strategy Forum event with Lieutenant General George J. Flynn, Director, J-7, Joint Staff speaking about Challenges to Access and the U.S. Response:
The Joint Operational Access Concept followed by a panel discussion. RSVP online.
Participants: Lieutenant General George J. Flynn, Director, J-7, Joint Staff
Location: The St. Regis Hotel, 923 16th & K Streets NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
Major themes and issues from last week:
ScoutComms Client and Partner News:
One of ScoutComms partner agency’s, Edelman, has launched a new service offering called PERISCOPE that will help companies enter foreign markets. With the growth of cross border business as more of a norm than a rarity this new product offering will help companies understand the landscape for their products and mitigate risk while setting them up for success. ScoutComms is proud to be one of the partners in this program assisting with issues surrounding the aerospace and defense market space. Check it out and contact Chris Hayes at Edelman for more information on this unique program.
Veterans and Military Issues:
The American Legion
One aspect to the challenge of providing health care for the millions of veterans seeking care with the VA is the many who are located in rural areas far from the nearest health center. The VA classifies over 37% of its enrollees as either “rural” or “highly rural” and this can translate into three hour drives or longer to the nearest VA healthcare facility. The American Legion produced a report this week with a number or recommendations for the department including creating a transportation division within the Veterans Health Administration, expansion of community-based outpatient and mobile clinics and expansion of telehealth capabilities among others. The answer is not building more hard facilities as demographics tells us that the number of veterans while rising today will start seeing precipitous falling numbers as the Korea and Vietnam generations begin to pass away in the next decade.
Sandy Cohen, The Associated Press
An interesting new initiative launched this week in Los Angeles called ‘Got Your 6’ as an unusual gathering of Hollywood players from normally fiercely competitive circles. The campaign is being led by Universal Studios chief, and Marine veteran, Ron Meyer and is an outgrowth of a call to action from the First Lady for Hollywood to do its part to help veterans transition to civilian life, reduce the stigma’s associated with the scars of war and contribute to the national dialogue surrounding our military. The effort has six pillars of jobs, education, health, housing, family and leadership and is partnering with a host of organizations including ScoutComms non-profit associates The Mission Continues and Team Rubicon. Look for veteran focused story lines and projects in the coming year as Hollywood turns its attention to the veterans’ community like never before.
Kristina Wong, The Washington Times
The military support group Blue Star Families released their annual survey of military families this week and it revealed some interesting and counter-intuitive aspects to military life. Most significantly was confirmation of something many of us have been saying that in spite of the military’s extensive efforts to de-stigmatize mental healthcare and encouraging troops to seek help 60 percent of those surveyed said they have not sought help for PTSD symptoms. The reasons were varied but centered on a military culture that still feels mental health issues are a sign of weakness. Interestingly that issue is not the number one concern for military families, however. Number one was concerns about changes to benefits and retirement.
Full Report and Infographic here: Blue Star Families 2012 Military Family Lifestyle Survey
Military, Budget and Industry Issues:
David Alexander, Reuters
In what is like the next phase of robotic vehicles the military and industry are experimenting heavily with autonomous vehicles of varying sizes to allow delivery of transport of loads of supplies without human guidance. While true autonomy is likely far off it is increasingly likely that following type systems such as convoy vehicles or the currently being tested Squad Mobile Support System will see service in coming years. These systems mean there are less soldiers and Marines on the road and at risk while increasing logistics capacity.
Amber Corrin, Federal Computer Week
There are certain contracts that are worth so much that every player in the industry is waiting for the Request for Proposals with their breath held for years. The Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) is one of those contracts and with a potential $10 billion at stake to build the Navy’s next computer network and it will be hotly contested. The system aims to take the entire enterprise in-house to the Navy with a contractor only operating the system instead of owning it and all of the major players in the defense IT sector are jumping to get some if not all of the contract which closes July 18th.
Zachary Fryer-Biggs, Defense News
A joint Homeland Security and DoD program that allows intelligence agencies to share cyber threat information with participating companies has been formally expanded from an initial group of 20 firms to any companies in the defense industrial base who meet certain requirements. The program is not without criticism as companies have been reluctant to share information with DoD while participants have said the intel they have gotten hasn’t been terribly useful. As is typical in government, things have been improving between DoD and the industry participants recently…so they transferred the whole thing to HLS to manage and everyone is back to square one in trust building.
Michael Fabey, Aviation Week
AW is out with a pretty tough report on the Lockheed Martin built LCS-1 USS Freedom and the challenges the ship is having in testing surrounding corrosion, design and manufacturing issues that don’t seem to find resolution. The Navy was forceful and direct in responding to the article calling it speculation, third party and dated information but the fact is that there are a lot of folks asking what is wrong with this ship design that will make up half the LCS fleet when its all said and done. Congress is getting very tired of hearing its all going to be okay as the next ship in the class prepares for its sea trials shortly.
Social Media and Communications Issues:
Karie Fugett, MilitaryFamily.com
This week was Military Spouse Appreciation Week, the Milblog Conference and Mothers Day so it only seems appropriate to highlight an interesting post on how many military spouses are finding shared connections and coping with tough times via blogging. Fugett features a host of fascinating spouse bloggers and many of them were in town for the Milblog Conference this weekend. The community has shifted dramatically with nearly half or more of the attendees at the conference being spouses and not service members or veterans at all. This growing community really represents the next wave of voices after ten years of war.
Sarah Kessler, Mashable
Facebook partnered with Blue Star Families and the Department of Veterans Affairs to launch a new extension of their previously launched crisis service which intervenes when content is deemed as possible indicators that someone intends to hurt themselves. Now specific resources for military members and veterans will be highlighted and sent to Facebook users who are in crisis such as the Veterans Crisis Line or Military One Source. 86% of military families on Facebook say they use the service daily, especially for connecting with deployed loved ones, so it’s a natural place for intervention during a crisis.
Other Items of Interest:
Jim Michaels, USA Today
USA Today took a deep look at how the growth of snipers in the Army and Marines has quietly but dramatically changed the dynamics in combat today. The nature of a shot coming from 600 meters away and killing a target precisely has become a psychological tool even more effective than our multi-million dollar drones circling above. Thanks to technology and better training today’s snipers are more effective than any in world history and will continue to play an increasing role as the military shrinks and effective yet inexpensive combat tools become ever more important. The story has some fascinating information and multi-media worth checking out.
Jay Reeves, Associated Press
A little heralded military effort is under way in the South providing free health care in poor areas of the region and its most recent stop in Alabama has treated more than 12,000 people in less than two weeks. The DoD’s Innovative Readiness Training program is essentially designed to take National Guard and Reserve healthcare providers and train them in going into new areas to establish clinics after disasters or in combat zones. As they train they also treat locals in everything from dental care to basic check ups and free medicines. The program is winning rave reviews with little fanfare. It’s actually a little ironic as so many people complain that we are using military troops for nation building overseas but not here at home—when they actually already are doing just that.
Michelle Tan, Army Times
As the Army is facing a reduction in size a group called the Human Dimensions Task Force is taking a look at how the service recruits and trains the future leaders of the service. Currently there is little measurement of how a recruit will succeed in the military. The existing Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or ASVAB test is actually some 60 years old and has little measurement of how a soldier will actually perform in the Army. The task force aims to find better ways to match recruit aptitudes with the right jobs and ways to train those recruits most effectively for the future. Its an interesting mission that is long overdue.
Kristina Wong, The Washington Times
For the first time ever a man was selected as the Military Spouse of the Year by Military Spouse magazine this week. Jeremy Hilton is a stay-at-home dad and Navy veteran married to an Air Force officer at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. As a parent of a special needs child he has become a vocal advocate of military families with children with challenges. The reaction among the spouse community was by all accounts welcoming and enthusiastic.
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Upcoming event? Have an event you would like us to include on our look ahead? Drop us an email at fwellman@ScoutCommsUSA.com and we will make sure we let our readers know.