Military Families and Veterans Issues and Analysis
Monday, August 15, 2016
Look in the right hand column. See that? That nothingness? That’s August in Washington, DC. The good news is that means you don’t have to leave the air conditioning to attend any events.
In this week’s Scout Report, Fred discusses Trump’s support amongst veterans and service members, Brian looks at transgender service member integration and recruiting and suicide among female veterans, while I highlight the importance of organizations taking part in collective impact.
Use this week to catch up on all your unopened Scout Reports and don’t forget to convince your work wife or husband to subscribe. –LJ
The week ahead:
Tradeshows and Conferences:
No tradeshows this week.
Congress is in recess.
Think Tanks & Other Events:
No events this week.
Major themes and issues from last week:
Veterans and Military Issues:
One-stop shop for veterans: Colorado Springs center with ‘no wrong door’ brings help
Tom Roeder (@xroederx), The Gazette
In Colorado Springs, the Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence is showing how the “no wrong door” approach to veterans services can work to harness a vast array of local resources for veterans seeking help. The idea behind “no wrong door” is that a veteran could call up Mt. Carmel and get resume and job application assistance, but also get help with their VA benefits or find a local family counselor. Mt. Carmel isn’t the first to use this model, organizations like IVMF, America’s Warrior Partnership, and RP/6 are also implementing collective impact models. America’s Warrior Partnership is in five communities working with local organizations to coordinate services among themselves. RP/6 has been the leader in the Seattle/JBLM-area in being the one-stop-shop for veterans, service members, and their families. Like Mt. Carmel, RP/6 has a physical building that houses staff who know the local networks of companies and organizations that can make a difference in veterans’ lives. Communities looking to better serve veterans and attract transitioning service members should look at how organizations like AWP and RP/6 are using local knowledge to inform their work on behalf of veterans and their families. The future of veteran serving organizations isn’t in competition, it’s in working together. There are so many options and opportunities out there for veterans, it’s important for unbiased arbiters exist to connect those veterans to the best or right services for them. –LJ [Ed. Note: IVMF, AWP, and RP/6 have all been ScoutComms’ clients at one point.]
Navy, Marines to accept transgender recruits by July 2017
Hope Hodge Seck (@HopeSeck), Military.com
Do your job and the military will accept you for who you are. That message may seem simple, but it has opened the door to a wide number of personnel policy changes in the military in the last few years, including the open acceptance of gay service members, of women in combat positions, and now of transgender service members. Despite legitimate procedural concerns about logistical challenges—and not-so-legitimate fear mongering about the impending destruction from within of our military—these changes have thus far proved to have relatively minor costs, while at the same time reducing barriers to service and emphasizing a focus on the ability of any service member to do the job that he or she is asked to do. The Department of the Navy is now tackling the logistical and administrative challenges of openly welcoming transgender service members and recruits into the Navy and Marine Corps, announcing that it will issue a leadership handbook by 1 October. This handbook and related guidance will be critical for the smooth implementation of the long-term policy shift so that Navy and Marine Corps leaders at all levels understand the changes, how to deal with them, and how to communicate them, so that they can provide clear guidance with their commands and units. –BW
Trump’s loose lips on the military may not sink support with veterans
Molly O’Toole (@mollymotoole), Foreign Policy
If Donald Trump had literally come up with a plan to try and alienate veteran and military supporters it wouldn’t be much different than the things he has done. Molly reels through the highlights with Trump’s quips from saying he likes heroes that weren’t captured, his five draft deferments from Vietnam, his tussle with a Gold Star family, and his most recent funny that he’d always wanted a Purple Heart after one was given to him by an Iraq war veteran supporter. Yet, most polls and anecdotal evidence still shows Trump with relatively strong support among the traditionally conservative veteran and military voter population. O’Toole spoke with veteran supporters in Virginia to back up her synopsis but all of that might be more fleeting than it seems. The fact is that Trump has gone against many of the values that many who have served hold dear from honoring those who have served and lost to a dedication to values and national security constructs. While there are those who will never leave Trump and are hard core against Hillary, there is clearly a growing movement of veterans and national security hawks walking away from the Republican Party in unprecedented numbers. Constituencies that should really be a “no-brainer” for the Republican nominee are truly questioning their support. Sig Christenson spoke with Gold Star Families in San Antonio and the things Trump is dropping horrify them. While many of the 20.9 million veterans will undoubtedly stick with Trump there is clearly a movement among many to question the qualifications of the GOP’s nominee. –FPW
Why female veterans have a higher rate of suicide than civilian counterparts
Mark Muckenfuss (@PEedwriter), Los Angeles Daily News
While the exact ratios are not settled, it is clear that women veterans die by suicide at a higher rate than male veterans and women civilians. Because the population of women veterans is becoming an increasingly significant proportion of the overall veteran community, this recent round of research has generated the most extensive conversation yet about suicide by women veterans. As Muckenfuss notes in his article, sexual assault plays a huge role in this problem, both military sexual assault and sexual assault committed against women veterans prior to their military service. While the growing number of women in roles throughout the military could eventually help encourage a culture shift and result in a reduction in these sexual assaults—and by extension, potentially result in a decline in the suicide rate for future women veterans—it is critical that the military get ahead of the problem by working to reduce behaviors that fall within the context of the Continuum of Harm, which connects a broad range of deeply rooted beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that lead to sexual violence. Our client, the Service Women’s Action Network, hosted a conference earlier in the year on this topic that was broadcast by C-SPAN. It is well worth your time to better understand the cycle of interpersonal violence leading to sexual assaults, bullying, and mobbing in the military. –BW
5 years on, military spending caps haven’t brought total disaster so many predicted
Leo Shane (@LeoShane), Military Times
Leo Shane examines how the budget constraints put into place under the Budget Control Act in 2011 have impacted the military five years after they kicked in amongst dire warnings about their long-term impact on the military. He finds that in many ways the worst of the predictions have not come true or that the cuts that have been implemented likely would have occurred anyway as the armed forces adjusted to the reality of the drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan. The caveat that must be recognized is that Congress has been throwing millions of dollars towards DoD using Overseas Contingency Funds as a stopgap measure. There is no guarantee that the new Congress or Administration will continue to support that maneuver to avoid actually passing a proper budget or…you know…like doing Congress stuff. So, while Leo and defense analysts find that the most dire forecasts have not come to fruition, it’s only by budgetary trickery and Band-Aids that has happened. At some point we can only hope that Congress and the Executive branch will decide to do their Constitutional duties and pass proper budgets, compromise to find best solutions, and provide the military with steady and predictable funding for the long haul. Just kidding. We know that won’t happen any time soon. –FPW
5 reasons why an emergency fund will save your life
Scott Halliwell (@USAAEF_Scott) for Task and Purpose
Scott Halliwell, Financial Readiness Program Manager at the USAA Educational Foundation, shared five reasons why young service members, military spouses, and veterans need an emergency fund. For reasons ranging from a PCS costs to a flat tire on the way to work, the USAA Educational Foundation advises all people to start with an emergency fund of $1,000 and build from there. To learn more about why you need an emergency fund, we recommend that you check out Scott’s article and the USAA Educational Foundation’s website for more resources. –MC
Chaplain battles demons through comedy
Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard, 663rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
After years of delivering the worst form of bad news to military families, retired U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James King realized that while he was helping others cope, he wasn’t doing a very good job of helping himself. His depression was taking a toll on his life and relationships, so he decided to seek help and happiness through humor. Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) has given King an outlet to convey his struggles and gain strength and resilience via comedy. Learn more about the organization on their website asapasap.org. –AB
CPCC will host entrepreneurial training for veterans this month
Katherine Peralta (@katieperalta), The Charlotte Observer
Veterans, service members, and military spouses have the opportunity to learn about starting or growing their own business viaBoots to Business Reboot. The two-day training program, followed by an eight-week online course taught by Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University instructors, provides an invaluable starting point for future entrepreneurs. –AB
Wounded Warrior Project CEO to focus less on events, more on long-term care
Kristina Wong (@Kristina_Wong), The Hill
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Linnington, the new CEO of Wounded Warrior Project, said last week in an interview that the organization will begin to focus more directly on veterans’ long-term care. Wounded Warrior Project has been under scrutiny for accusations of spending too much on overhead and not enough on veterans, and Linnington intends to focus WWP’s spending on additional areas such as mental health and helping veterans connect in their communities. -MC
Enlisted veterans preparing to head back to school with ‘academic boot camp’ at UA
Janice Yu (@JaniceYuNews), Tucson News Now
Tens of thousands of veterans are using their post 9/11 G.I. Bill, however, the transition from military life to a four-year university can be a very difficult one. That is why the Warrior-Scholar Project offers intensive, week-long academic boot camps that prepare enlisted veterans for academic careers. WSP hosts programs all over the country at universities such as Yale, Harvard, and Vassar. Last week they hosted their program at the University of Arizona in Tucson. To find learn more, visit the Warrior-Scholar Projectwebsite. –JG
‘Warrior-Scholar’ program helps vets become US students
Arizona Public Media
Nationals park hosts career fair for veterans
Alex Lederman, ABC News
Hiring Our Heroes hosted a Hiring Expo in Washington, DC, to help veterans, transitioning active duty service members, and their spouses find employment around the nation’s capital. Hiring Our Heroes connects veterans and their families the DC area, and at hiring fairs across the country, to employers offering meaningful employment opportunities. To find out if a hiring fair is coming to a city near you, visit the Hiring Our Heroes website. –JG
Marine Corps vet, grandmother, chosen as ‘roadie’ for KISS concert
Meagan Beck (@BeckMeagan), Michigan Live
KISS has partnered with Hiring Our Heroes to hire one local veteran at each concert on the KISS ‘Freedom to Rock’ tour as a “Roadie for a Day”. The roadie and a guest of their choice spends the day backstage helping set up equipment for VIP events and tops off their experience with an opportunity to be on stage with KISS during a patriotic dedication that recognizes the sacrifice of our country’s service members. –JG
‘Warrior-Scholar’ program helps vets become US students
Arizona Public Media
KISS hosts area service as “Roadie for a Day”
Fox 11 News
Meet Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the voice for all enlisted military personnel
Andrew Tilghman (@andrewtilghman), Military Times
Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the highest ranking enlisted noncommissioned officer in our nation’s military. Troxell serves as the voice of our nation’s enlisted troops to the four-star generals and others who make decisions that impact ranks in which they never served. Last week, Andrew Tilghman sat down with Troxell for a Q&A session about the challenges facing enlisted service members and our changing military. –MC
Marine vet wants other injured warriors to stay ‘on the move’
Charlsy Panzino (@charlsypanzino), Military Times
Often in times of tragedy and loss, it’s easy to resort to isolation and inactivity. Former Cpl. Noah Currier, paralyzed from a car accident, is living proof that an active lifestyle and human interaction is crucial. He promotes his passion for being “on the move” through his Oscar Mike apparel company. –AB
The Scout Report is a weekly analysis of news and events in the veterans and military family communities produced by the staff of ScoutComms, Inc. and is emailed each Monday morning except on holidays. Follow us on Twitter at @ScoutComms to get up to the minute news on defense and veterans issues all week. Did you get this as a forward? Subscribe yourself for free here right now!
About Us: ScoutComms, Inc. is an award winning social enterprise communications, corporate social responsibility, and philanthropic strategy firm supporting veterans, military families and organizations committed to their well-being. Our mission is to empower veterans and military families through communications grounded initiatives and collaborative alliances that lead to greater awareness of veterans’ needs and expanded access to economic and social resource opportunities. We are one of the first Benefit Corporations, B-Corps, focused on veterans and military family issues in the nation. We accomplish our mission by supporting companies, non-profits and foundations who are providing programs and charitable giving efforts in support of veterans and military families. To learn more about what we can do for your organization visit our website at www.ScoutCommsUSA.com.
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