Welcome to the new and improved ScoutReport in a new and exciting year for ScoutComms. We are thrilled to roll out our flagship newsletter with a new look and approach that will make it more of a touchstone resource for our readers. When I started this effort just after founding ScoutComms, it was a labor designed to keep me busy when the phone wasn’t ringing too much and since then it has become a key part of the week for so many of our readers, clients, friends and fellow advocates in the veteran and military community. Check it out, share it with your friends, colleagues and let us know what you think! We appreciate your support and readership. — Fred Wellman, CEO and Founder of ScoutComms
MANY CHANGES AND CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR VA HEALTHCARE IN 2019
After a turbulent year for the VA, where leadership changes, staffing scandals and debates about VA Choice funding dominated the public consciousness, don’t expect 2019 to be any quieter. As Leo Shane writes for Military Times, the impact of the VA Mission Act will begin to be felt as new regulations for the VA’s community care programs are drafted and published in the spring. At the same time, Rep. Mark Takano, the new House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman, has promised more rigorous oversight of the VA, with a focus on protecting the VA’s ability to serve as the central care coordinator for veterans. He is bound to call into question any new regulations that open the door to significant increases in community care for veterans, particularly if those increases come at the expense of the VA’s internal resources and capabilities. There are many more issues at hand in 2019, including the VA’s effort to develop a new electronic health record system, which will be overseen by VA CIO Jim Gfrerer, who was finally confirmed this week. — Brian Wagner, COO of ScoutComms
IS TRUMP DONE WITH THE GENERALS?
With Defense Secretary James Mattis, a four-star Marine Corps general with 44 years of service, out at the Pentagon and President Donald Trump, who dodged the Vietnam draft five times, claiming that he would have made a great general, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether military service should put on a pedestal — especially when it comes to politics and national security. After nearly two decades of seemingly endless war, the military-civilian divide is still deep and that’s a problem, to be sure. But in government, it’s actually built to work that way. Ret. Adm. James Stavridis writes in TIME this week that Trump “has had enough of generals.” As we navigate complicated foreign policy issues, remember that the military is made up of a vast number of incredibly diverse people. That holds true whether you’re a private or a general. Having their voices in the White House and the halls of Congress is important, not just for our national security but as another hallmark of the diversity of our nation. — Stephanie Gaskell, Senior Manager of ScoutComms
VA RESEARCHER DR. KIERSTEN DOWNS JOINS SCOUTCOMMS
Dr. Kiersten Downs, PhD, an Air Force veteran, accomplished Department of Veterans Affairs health services researcher, and board member of Student Veterans of America, will join ScoutComms as research manager on February 1.
THE ARMY, IN NEED OF RECRUITS, TURNS FOCUS TO LIBERAL LEANING CITIES
By Dave Phillips/The New York Times
Rather than focus on more conservative regions of the country that traditionally fill the ranks, the Army plans a big push in 22 left-leaning cities, like Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, where relatively few recruits have signed up.
COMBAT VET REUNIONS DESIGNED TO COMBAT VETERANS SUICIDE
By Jake Briggs/Connecting Vets
To prevent veteran suicides in 2019, The Independence Fund and the VA are looking to reunite combat veterans, in hopes that the friendship they forged in battle can now save their lives at home.
FOOD PANTRY TEAMS WITH DELIVERY APP TO SERVE TROOPS AND VETERANS
By Rose Thayer/Stars & Stripes
KILLEEN, Texas — Operation Phantom Support has always known that some people can’t get to its food pantry. Now a partnership with the delivery app JoyRun is helping to fill that gap. Read more
RACHAEL RAY SHOW AND VET TIX GIVE AWAY BROADWAY TICKETS TO VETERANS
From the Rachael Ray Show:
We teamed up with Vet Tix, a national nonprofit that takes donated event tickets and gives them both to vets and men and women who are currently serving. They helped us find a lovely family of four — both the mom and dad are vets — and we gave them all the “King Kong” tickets! Read more
BUILDING A PERSONAL BRAND CAN HELP YOU GET A JOB. HERE’S HOW TO GET STARTED
By Natalie Gross/Military Times
Don’t know what you want to do after the military? Try getting to know yourself first. Personal branding expert Lida Citroën recently offered attendees of the Student Veterans of America National Conference practical tips on how to sell yourself to civilian recruiters. Chief among them: “Being an expert on you.” Read more
Student Veterans of America
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Center for Strategic & International Studies