May 10, 2019
Team ScoutComms was busy on the speaking circuit this week. CEO Fred first shared lessons on entrepreneurship with the latest class of fellows at Dog Tag Bakery, and then spoke at the annual gathering of the Army Public Affairs Association, where we sponsor the Joe Galloway Lifetime Achievement Award. And I had the opportunity to speak on a Veteran Jobs Mission panel—moderated by Bunker Labs founder Todd Conner—about doing business with corporations as a veteran-owned small business. We love to have the opportunity to talk about the ups and downs, and twists and turns, of running a small business, but we never forget that even when we are the ones doing the talking, we still are on a constant journey of learning. Thanks for coming along with us—whether in person or through the ScoutReport—and hopefully the ride is worth the price of admission. -Brian
Task force to highlight ‘forgotten’ and ‘invisible’ women veterans
Military Times, Leo Shane III (@LeoShane)
I have high hopes for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s new women veterans task force. Not only is it focused on a demographically relevant population, as women continue to increase their proportional representation in the military and the veterans community, it is also led by Friend of ScoutComms—and fellow sailor—Andrea Goldstein, who left her post at Service2School to lead this critical effort. In the last few years, women have made major progress toward equal opportunity in the military with the end to barriers preventing them from competing for combat positions. But little change has occurred in the veterans community, where VSOs are still dominated by men, the VA is still largely oriented toward meeting the needs of men, and the American populace tend to question whether a woman who parks in a veterans-only parking space is really a veteran. To be fair, it is not irrational to assume that most veterans are men (they are), but the makeup of the population is changing, and it no longer makes sense to assume that a man is a veteran and a woman is not. If a woman veteran walks into the VA, she has a right to expect that she will immediately—without question—be treated respectfully and not be automatically assumed to be a spouse or sibling of a veteran. Hopefully the new task force will be able to work productively to identify systemic hurdles that women veterans face, provide recommendations, and have those recommendations taken seriously by leaders of both parties as well as by VA leadership. I wish the best to Andrea and the task force members, and look forward to seeing their work come to fruition and positively influence legislation, policy and discussion. – Brian Wagner, COO of ScoutComms
Trump says he may allow service academy athletes to go straight to pros
The Hill, Jordan Fabian
During a Rose Garden event celebrating the winning of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy to the United States Military Academy football team President Trump announced that he is looking at rescinding the Department of Defense policy that prohibits graduates of the service academies going into professional sports upon graduation. This standing policy was solidified under former Secretary of Defense Mattis to focus on military readiness and reaffirm the mission of the academy’s to produce leaders for the military services. Trump doesn’t appear to have done any work discussing the policy with military leaders and says they could serve their military obligation after their athletic careers. Aside from the sheer improbable logistics of someone doing multiple years of body breaking professional athletics and then going back to serve in the military, the idea undermines everything the academy’s exist to accomplish. They are taxpayer paid education’s with the sole purpose to build future officers for the military services. That’s it. Athletic programs are part of that development to fulfill the vision of General Douglas McArthur who famously remarked that “On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days, on other fields will bear the fruits of victory.” Having athletes there to pursue professional careers will undermine discipline, training and damage the entire corps of Cadets and Midshipmen. This is the kind of poorly thought out ideas that undermine military good order and discipline in pursuit of things that have nothing to do with the military mission to fight and win the nation’s wars. Hopefully this idea will simply die on the vine. – Fred Wellman, CEO and Founder of ScoutComms
Marine Corps Commandant: Boot Camp Will Never Be Completely Coed
Military.com, Gina Harkins (@GinaAHarkins)
After reviewing the performance of the first fully coed company, Marine Corps leaders are looking for additional areas to blend training. However, Lt. Gen. David Berger, the general officer nominated to replace Neller as commandant, told lawmakers that Marine Corps boot camp can’t ever be 100 percent coed for reasons including limitations on long-term housing and already partially-blended training.
VA and union clash in negotiations for a new contract
Federal Times, Jessie Bur (@jessie_bur)
The Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Federation of Government Employees are disagreeing on a newly proposed collective bargaining agreement. VA officials say that the agreement will “improve medical care, customer service and staff accountability.” However, union officials believe that the proposal “strips significant protections offered under the current agreement.”
Innovation From Within: How One Employee-Built Tool is Revolutionizing VA
NextGov, Frank Konkel (@Frank_Konkel)
LEAF – Light Electronic Action Framework – is stream-lining and digitizing everything from resource requests and travel reimbursements to onboarding employees at the VA. One VA hospital claimed their hiring and on-boarding of new employees now takes 80 days instead of 120 days, thanks to LEAF. VA’s Innovation Coordinator, Blake Henderson, said, “one common thread unites these diverse LEAF applications – front-line personnel saw a problem in their workplace and used LEAF to solve it.”
Trump Pardons Ex-Army Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Man
New York Times, Mihir Zaveri (@mihirzaveri)
Former Army Lieutenant Michael Behenna was granted a full pardon from President Trump Monday. Mr. Behenna was found guilty of “unpremeditated murder in a combat zone” after he killed suspected terrorist Ali Mansur during Mansur’s interrogation in Iraq.
Student Veterans of America (SVA) will hold its 12th Annual National Conference (NatCon) in Los Angeles on January 3-5, 2020. As the largest annual gathering of student veterans, higher education leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders, NatCon is the premier event for improving student veteran success. SVA is accepting conference proposals until June 7 for one-hour breakout sessions. Learn more and submit your proposal here.
Leading from the Front: Lessons Learned in the Military and Applied in Business
Next Thursday (May 16, 2019), Arlington Economic Development’s Creative Economy will be hosting a panel on how military leadership experiences can be applied in business. The panel, moderated by Fred Wellman, ScoutComms’ CEO and Founder, will be followed by a reception and located at Marymount University at Ballston Center. Learn more about the event here.