ALABAMA COUNCIL OF
MILITARY OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
LEGISLATIVE & PERSONAL AFFAIRS
NOVEMBER 2014 REPORT
Compiled by LTC Jim Wallace, USA (ret)
Vice President and Legislative Chairman
October 29, 2014
1. CONVENTION 2015 - As voted by the Chapters - Each Chapter will submit a chapter half page advertisement for the convention brochure at a special price of $200.00. Other advertisements for the convention brochure procured by each chapter from their local organizations or businesses are to be charged as per the recent email sent to each chapter reflecting prices for advertising in the convention brochure. Time to get started in this project is now. Who should you contact? What about local American Legion and VFW chapters, local chamber of commerce, universities, manufacturing companies, and your local and federal legislators. Please be sure you are in contact with our Lew Nyman ( email Lnyman@knology.net or telephone-334-273-9655 ). Lew is handling the total brochure for the convention.
2. We only have two months left in the 2014 recruiting year. The chapter-recruiting program ends December 31, 2014. So submit your new member gains as soon as possible to ensure your chapter receives credit for this year. In order to receive a monetary incentive, each new chapter member also must be a member of national MOAA. When recruiting former officers into the chapter, always offer them Basic national MOAA memberships. If the new chapter member is already a national MOAA member in good standing, no additional action is required. MOAA encourages you to submit your new MOAA member gains quickly by using the online Chapter Member Gains Form. If you have difficulty in submitting the form you can call MOAA's Member Service Center at (800) 234-6622 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT- Over the past 12 fiscal months both overall and core prices are up 1.7 percent. The increases are well below the 2 percent target for inflation set by the Federal Reserve. As of January 1, 2015 the COLA for the military and social security monthly payments will increase by 1.7 percent.
4. ALABAMA VA OFFICIALS: CARE IS BETTER - Officials said services at the troubled central Alabama Veterans Affairs health care facilities are improving, with more staff and shorter waits for new patients to get appointments. The southeast director of the VA stated at a news conference "We are focusing on rebuilding trust." The new wait time is now 48 days to get an appointment rather than previously 75 days average waiting time. Veterans deserve a waiting time of not more than 14 days, so much still has to be done to meet this requirement.
5. HACKERS HAVE LIKELY HIT ALL AREAS OF U.S. GOVERNMENT - Top cybersecurity experts acknowledged during testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that most , if not all, of the government has been hacked to some degree. "The bottom line is we're losing a lot of data, money, and innovation to hackers", said Robert Anderson of the FBI's Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services branch. He and other experts said the best way to combat the threat is through collaboration and sharing information with the private sector at unprecedented levels. All veterans should remember that your ID card can be read by hackers, "Some barcode readers, including those available as applications on cell phones, can scan the bar code on the front of the card, and reveal the veteran's Social Security number. Meanwhile, veterans should treat their current ID cards as just as careful as they do their Social Security card to prevent identity theft. Some of the card readers that can be purchased on the internet can only be near your wallet to read the ID card. A simple method to avoid a identity theft is to place a piece of aluminum foil over the ID card in your wallet.
6. SENIORS A GROWING SEGMENT ELIGIBLE FOR VA UNEMPLOYABILITY BENEFITS - A Veterans Affairs benefit known as individual unemployability is a growing expenditure in the VA's disability system, and many of the recipients are retired seniors. The classification can mean between $1,100 and $1,900 in additional monthly disability pay.
7. TROOPS IN IRAQ FRUSTRATED OVER U.S. MESSAGES ON ISIL - America's GI "boots on the ground" in Iraq are so frustrated with the White House statement about their mission against the Islamic State - which Vice President Biden vowed to chase "to the gates of Hell" - that they're wondering how they'll accomplish the mission "when we can't even leave the front gate of our base." President Obama said, "As your commander-in-chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our Armed Forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq. After a decade of massive ground deployments, it is more effective to use our unique capabilities in support of partners on the ground so they can secure their own countries' future, and that's the only solution that will succeed over the long term." Our CIA estimates the Islamic State has tripled it's military to over 31,000 troops and growing daily.
8. POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS DEADLY TO U.S. - Lieutenant General Thomas G. McInerney, USAF (ret), who retired from the Air Force in 1994, spoke recently about the current threats facing our nation. He particularly focused on events surrounding the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya. He said, "Unless we're harsh we're going to lose this nation, We are losing it fast." The General said, " U.S. leaders failed to attack during the Benghazi attack. Our leaders were derelict of duty and have since covered up their actions. Benghazi is bigger than Watergate, but the media is complacent in covering up the Benghazi attacks. I can tell you our nation has never seen such dereliction of duty, such lying, and the media is covering it up. He said, "Political correctness is killing us. Our American leaders are afraid of offending Muslims, and the radical Muslims have hidden behind their religion. These are dangerous times for America, we are leading from behind, and that's why these things are happening. You cannot lead from behind. Someone has to lead."
9. EBOLA MILITARY DEPLOYMENTS - The Army will stick to the plan to begin ramping up deployments to West Africa despite concerns expressed by top health officials about increased risk to soldiers, said General Dan Allyn, the new Army vice chief of staff. "We've been taking an aggressive stance" in preparing units slated to deploy in terms of training and equipment, Allyn said, including "aggressively communicating" to families of the troops the steps taken by the Army to mitigate the risks. To date, there have been no instances of soldiers refusing to deploy to West Africa or asking to be removed from the lists slated for deployment. Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control, said that "we have a situation where only 20 percent of patients with Ebola are being treated in treatment units." " So there are a lot patients who have Ebola who are not in a protected environment, "Besser said. "So the possibility of a soldier getting Ebola is very real and something we have to be ready for." Any service member falling ill with Ebola virus during deployment to Liberia will likely be evacuated the same way as nine other U.S. patients already transported on one of two jets specially equipped to provide medical treatment and prevent transmission of the very contagious and deadly disease. More than 3,000 U.S. service members are set to be deployed to Liberia.
10. HAGEL TO CONGRESS: STOP SEQUESTER OR PUT SOLDIERS AT RISK - Calling on Congress to stop sequestration cuts to defense, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel this week said the funding squeeze due to hit in 2016 will endanger the lives of U.S military personnel. "If Congress does not act, it will return in 2016, stunting and reversing the Army's readiness, just as we've begun to recover and requiring even more dramatic reductions in force structure."
11. OUR ONLY COURSE OF ACTION - "VOTE" On November 4, 2014 we will have our individual responsibility to our nation to VOTE. Be sure you have proper identification for voting and GO TO THE POLLS. No excuses from your family. All voting age must vote if we want to preserve and protect our FREEDOM!
QUOTE OF THE MONTH: "With a good conscience our only sure reward with history being the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love."
John F. Kennedy, President of the United States.
LTC Jim Wallace, USA(Ret)
Vice President and Legislative Chairman,
Alabama Council of Chapters of MOAA
Material compiled for this report is subject to copyright 2011 and 2012, Military Officers Association (MOAA), Military.com, RAO, DAV, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, VFW, and The Office of Senator Sessions, all rights are reserved. Except for MOAA affiliated organizations, it may not be used without written permission.