Message from Fred Wellman, President

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ScoutReport: ScoutComms weathers epic storm, veterans back Trump even when civilians don’t, IVF treatments are under attack, and more …

ScoutReport – 7/12

It’s been a crazy week in Washington…no…seriously…it freaking flooded on Monday. They were doing boat rescues on Constitution Avenue. I’m sure there is some kind of cosmic meaning to that but I’ll have to think about it. In the meantime we have exciting news: we’ve moved! ScoutComms World Headquarters is now located at 950 Washington Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia. As the firm continues to grow and evolve, it makes sense to be closer to DC and the terrific pool of potential employees, clients and opportunities. This week, check out the latest polling from Pew on veterans’ support for the President and their views on the post-9/11 wars, as well as disappointing news on continued restrictions on the abilities for wounded veterans to get IVF treatment to conceive children. Share this with your friends…and tell them to sign up instead of using your copy of the ScoutReport all the time! – Fred




Trump Draws Stronger Support From Veterans Than From the Public on Leadership of U.S. Military

Pew Research Center, Ruth Igielnik (@RuthIgielnik), Kim Parker (@kim_c_parker) and Anthony Cilluffo

There is a lot to unpack in Pew’s research, but fundamentally, the findings are not particularly surprising. We know that veterans are more likely to be Republicans than Democrats in general, and the survey’s respondents skewed nearly 60% Republican or Republican-leaning. Beyond the numerical advantage, though, “the partisan divide in views of Trump among the military and all Americans mirrors the partisan divide in views of Barack Obama when he was commander in chief.” So in general, it appears that veterans view President Trump like they viewed President Obama: through the filter of their political affiliation. Notably, though “Republican veterans are even more supportive of Trump policies than Republicans overall.” While one might assume that older veterans are more supportive of Trump than younger veterans, given the broader American age gap in public opinion, Pew actually found that “among today’s veterans, approval of Trump does not differ significantly by era of military service. Looking specifically at veterans who served before 9/11 and those whose service extended beyond 9/11, nearly identical shares say they approve of the way Trump is handling his job as commander in chief.” At the same time, on specific policy issues, older veterans were more likely to support the President’s policies than younger veterans, and male veterans were significantly more supportive than female veterans. Of note, in a separate article based on the same survey, Pew found that veterans’ opinions of Afghanistan and Iraq closely mirrored the public’s, with nearly identical majorities responding that neither war was worth fighting. I highly recommend reading both Pew articles, keeping in mind that you should read the conclusions with the appropriate context, as discussed in this analysis, to avoid overreacting to any specific finding or data point. Brian Wagner, President of ScoutComms


Abortion arguments at play in limiting veterans’ IVF benefit

Associated Press, Julie Carr Smyth (@jcarrsmyth)

One of the most successful campaigns we had the privilege to be a part of was supporting Wounded Warrior Project and a coalition of 16 veteran service organizations that managed to get in vitro fertilization treatments approved through the Department of Veterans Affairs for wounded veterans. For years advocates had tried to pass this common sense program that allowed those unable to conceive children due to their injuries in service  to have support from VA but were stymied by anti-abortion groups opposed to IVF due to embryos not used being disposed of. That victory should have been the end of it but those same groups have continued to undermine this important benefit by keeping it from being a permanently funded benefit in Congress and pushing legislative and administrative rules that make it nearly impossible to use even for those that need it. They have managed to quietly enact restrictions to mean that only veterans who are married, heterosexual, able to produce their own sperm and eggs and, if they’re female, able to carry the baby in their own uterus can get assistance. So barely a handful of the nearly 2,000 veterans we estimated would be able to get help can, leaving private organizations like the Bob Woodruff Foundation to provide assistance that can reach upwards of $30,000 per round of treatments, leaving wounded veterans to do things like mortgage their free adaptive homes to find the money to have a family. It is unacceptable that religious objections of any kind are impacting the healthcare and support of men and women who have literally sacrificed their bodies for our country. The groups quietly doing this include the Catholic church and others and they claim to “support veterans” but this ain’t it. These men and women can’t have normal lives because we sent them to war. We owe them that right without restriction. It’s bad enough when budgets were the excuse. It’s outrageous that someone’s religious views are blocking it now. –Fred Wellman, CEO & Founder of ScoutComms




Embattled veterans political committee abruptly shut down

The Center for Public Integrity, Sarah Kleiner (@sarahkleiner9)

Amidst scrutiny over raising millions of dollars in the name of military veterans, and spending that money on telemarketing, salaries and overheads, Put Vets First! PAC has closed down. When previously questioned about these allegations, Brian Arthur Hamption, head of the committee, shut down concerns by stating that he was constantly working. They are currently unreachable and without communication.


Military struggles to recruit best, brightest in booming economy

The Washington Times, Ben Wolfgang 

Due to the current thriving U.S. economy, military recruitment has become increasingly difficult. The employment markets have successfully added 224,000 jobs in the past month, and military recruiters are having a hard time pitching a career in the armed forces to young men and women.  


Controversial changes to GI Bill transfer rules delayed until next year

MilitaryTimes, Leo Shane III (@LeoShane)

The proposal to change education benefits rules to no longer allow troops with 16+ years of service to transfer their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their spouses or children has been postponed from the original July 12 enactment date. Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness James Stewart conveyed that the delay is meant to allow for implementation of the changes, and is not a reconsideration of the decision.


Women In National Security Push To Move Beyond ‘The First’ and ‘The Only’

NPR, Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam)

A growing movement seeking to balance the representation of women within the national security field by addressing stigmas and highlighting women role models has resulted in a variety of efforts that push for representation. Among them is The Leadership Council for Women in National Security, founded by Gina Abercrombie-Winstanler and other like-minded women. The council recently launched a challenge to all 2020 presidential candidates to pledge gender parity in national security posts if elected, of which 15 have signed up. The development and momentum that these organizations are pushing for are needed to ensure that women interested in National Security are able to walk into a room and be surrounded by a diverse group of individuals in order to ensure innovation and effective problem-solving.




Washington Business Journal names the top veteran-owned business in D.C.

Connecting Vets, Elizabeth Howe

At the first annual Veterans in Business Awards ceremony, the Washington Business Journal recognized the top 12 veteran-owned businesses in the greater Washington, D.C. area. The keynote speaker for the ceremony was retired Army Master Sgt. Cedric King, President and CEO of the PenFed Foundation Speakers Bureau. When giving advice to attendees, King said, “Disappointment teaches a great curriculum. One of the best. One of the best. I’ll tell you this: Be a willing student.”


HR Certification Institute has programs for veterans – that your GI Bill will fund

Connecting Vets, Elizabeth Howe (

HR Certification Institute (HRCI) provides HR certifications for every stage of one’s HR career; and they acknowledge the many service members in the HR industry. Joanna Graham, HRCI’s chief marketing officer and a military spouse, says, “there are just some gaps that can exist in the civilian-military divide, and one of the things that HRCI is recognizing is that there are parallels in HR roles and functions in the military and civilian world. So one of the ways we can bridge that gap is by helping folks who are actively serving to pursue a certification while they are still serving.” In addition to Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits, HRCI is waiving the application fee for veterans, active duty service members and military spouses.


To Improve Care, Veterans Affairs Asks Patients Their Life Stories

The Wall Street Journal, Ben Kesling (@bkesling)

No more are patients just a series of lab results and diagnoses at the Madison VA Medical Center, thanks to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ implementation of narrative medicine. One-on-one interviews are conducted with veterans in the program “My Life: My Story,” providing patients with the opportunity to share their history – from family to wartime stories. According to a resident at the VA hospital, these narratives help providers “to really get a full grasp of who this person really is, beyond the objective data.” This program has been approved by the VA for expansion across the country for those medical centers that want it.




ScoutComms Fall Intern

We are currently seeking an intern for Fall 2019 in our new Alexandria, VA office. ScoutComms interns provide support to staff by conducting media and issue research, media and community outreach, project and event support, social media content, report creation and other company tasks. Current students, recent graduates, veterans, and military family members are encouraged to apply at


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