22 August, 2019 06:16

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Thursday, August 22, 2019 which is National Tooth Fairy Day, African American Women’s Equal Pay Day, National Bao Day and National Eat a Peach Day.
This Day in Legion History:

  • Aug. 22, 1941: The U.S. Navy commissions the USS American Legion, and her World War II career begins, including landing some of the first troops at Guadalcanal, supplying a hospital, conducting rescue missions and training exercises. American Legion receives two battle stars during World War II before she is decommissioned in 1946 and sold for scrap two years later.
  • Aug. 22, 2009: Harrisburg Post 472 in Houston, Texas, begins a six-year winning streak at The American Legion Nation Convention Color Guard Contest. The six-year run ties Speedway Post 500 in Indiana for most continuous national titles in the contest, which claimed it from 1993 to 1998.

This Day in History:

  • 1485: In the last major battle of the War of the Roses, King Richard III is defeated and killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field by Henry Tudor, the earl of Richmond. After the battle, the royal crown, which Richard had worn into the fray, was picked out of a bush and placed on Henry’s head. His crowning as King Henry VII inaugurated the rule of the house of Tudor over England, a dynasty that would last until Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603.
  • 1992: In the second day of a standoff at Randy Weaver’s remote northern Idaho cabin atop Ruby Ridge, FBI sharpshooter Lon Horiuchi wounds Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris, and then kills Weaver’s wife, Vicki.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

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Military Times: Trump orders easier process to forgive disabled vets’ student loans
By: Leo Shane III   14 hours ago

President Donald Trump on Wednesday directed the Department of Education to find new ways to wipe out remaining student loan payments for nearly 25,000 disabled veteransfacing significant debts despite existing relief programs designed to help them.
“The debt of these disabled veterans will be entirely erased. It will be gone. They will sleep well tonight,” Trump told a crowd of veterans at the annual AMVETS convention in Louisville, Ky. “That’s hundreds of millions of dollars in student debt held by our severely wounded warriors. It is gone forever.”
Veterans who are 100 percent disabled are already eligible to have their federal student loan debt completely erased, but government officials have struggled to get all of that group to take advantage of the program.
Despite a public education campaign on the assistance over the last year by the Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs, about 25,000 veterans eligible for the program still have not signed on. Federal officials say many of those have already defaulted on federal loans, creating additional financial problems.
Earlier this year, Rep. Connor Lamb, D-Pa. and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., each sponsored legislation to make the loan forgiveness automatic, putting the impetus of clearing the debt on federal agencies instead of the veterans.
Trump’s announcement on Wednesday appears to be looking at the same idea. In a separate fact sheet put out by White House officials, they described the sign up process as “too burdensome” and said the goal of the new memorandum is to ensure “disabled veterans have their federal student loan debt discharged with minimal burdens.”
The announcement came amid a wide-ranging speech on veterans and military issues by the commander-in-chief, who touted both his administration’s work in reforming VA policies and Defense Department spending as crucial to national security.
The legislation under consideration in Congress includes loan forgiveness for federal student loans that disabled veterans take out for their children’s education. Trump did not say what the scope of his new order will entail.
White House officials said the average federal debt carried by the disabled veterans is around $30,000.
Veterans who think they may be eligible for the debt forgiveness program can visit the Department of Education web site for more information.

Military Times: Trump orders VA to buy controversial antidepressant in an effort to stem veterans suicide
By: Leo Shane III   17 hours ago
2.2K

Ahead of his remarks at the AMVETS national convention on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced he has instructed Veterans Affairs officials to make a massive purchase of the antidepressant Spravato in an effort to stem veterans suicide.
The president said the drug — developed by a subsidiary of the pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson — has shown a “tremendously positive” effect in early testing and he is optimistic it can help with mental health problems in the veterans community. VA research shows that nationwide, about 20 veterans a day die by suicide.
“This is a form of a stimulant where, if someone is really in trouble from the standpoint of suicide, it can do something,” Trump said. “It’s pretty well known, it just came out. We have calls in to Johnson & Johnson now, we’ve been talking to them for two months on buying a lot of it.”
Earlier this year, the Center for Public Integrity reported that Trump was pushing VA officials for quicker adoption of Spravato — a ketamine-like drug with the formal name esketamine — in mental health treatments despite concerns from some medical experts about its effectiveness.
In June, a VA medical advisory panel declined to put the drug on its list of VA-approved medications. The move did not ban use of the drug but does require VA physicians to provide additional justification for why patients may need the medication, and mandates additional monitoring for potential side effects.
Despite that, Trump on several occasions has mentioned the drug as a potential solution for depression and suicidal thoughts. The medication is available as a nasal spray.
“Hopefully we’re getting it at a really good cost,” he said.
In recent months, Johnson & Johnson has touted the medication “a breakthrough medicine” and said they are working with VA officials to ensure broader access to it.
The president’s comments came in response to a question about the administration’s response to the problem of veterans suicide. Trump also mentioned the interagency task force he established this spring, which is scheduled to release a report early next year on new approaches and policies to help struggling veterans.
Veterans experiencing a mental health emergency can contact the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and select option 1 for a VA staffer. Veterans, troops or family members can also text 838255 or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net for assistance.

The Hill: Trump calls on other nations to take up fight against ISIS

BY BRETT SAMUELS AND REBECCA KHEEL – 08/21/19 12:19 PM EDT 389

President Trump called on other countries to take up the fight against ISIS on Wednesday, the day after his secretary of State acknowledged the terrorist group is regaining strength in certain areas.
Trump singled out Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey as countries that should do more to combat the Islamic State.
“At a certain point, all of these other countries where ISIS is around — they’ve been decimated by the way, badly decimated — but all of these countries are going to have to fight them, because do we want to stay there for another 19 years? I don’t think so,” Trump told reporters outside the White House.
“The United States, we’re 7,000 miles away,” Trump added.
The president’s latest remarks come one day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there are places where ISIS is becoming powerful, despite Trump having repeatedly referred to the terrorist organization as “defeated.”
“It’s complicated,” Pompeo said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.” “There’s certainly places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago."
“But the caliphate is gone, and their capacity to conduct external attacks has been made much more difficult. We’ve taken down a significant risk,” he continued. “Not all of it, but a significant amount. And we’re very pleased with the work we have done.”
Pompeo had been asked about a New York Times report that said ISIS is regaining strength in Iraq and Syria.
Trump has long expressed discomfort with the idea of the U.S. serving as the world’s police force.
In December, he announced he would withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria.
He was later convinced to back off a full withdrawal amid fierce bipartisan backlash and warnings that it would leave a vacuum in which ISIS could regroup, as well as leave U.S. partner Kurdish fighters vulnerable to Turkish attacks.
But the administration is still in the process of a considerable drawdown in Syria.
Trump is also hoping to withdraw from Afghanistan. His administration has been negotiating with the Taliban to that end.
Questions have risen in recent days, however, about whether negotiations with the Taliban would end the Afghan violence after ISIS’s Afghanistan branch claimed responsibility for a Saturday attack on a wedding in Kabul that killed 80 people.
In Syria, a recent inspector general report from the Pentagon, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development found the drawdown means the United States does not have the resources to monitor a refugee camp where “ISIS is likely exploiting the lack of security to enlist new members and re-engage members who have left the battlefield.”
The Trump administration has also been trying to convince countries, with little success, to repatriate citizens who joined ISIS for prosecution in their home countries. U.S.-backed forces in Syria are detaining an estimated 2,000 foreign fighters.
On Wednesday, Trump said if other countries do not take back their citizens, he will have no choice but to release them into those countries.
“If Europe doesn’t them take, I’ll have no choice but to release them into the countries from which they came, which is Germany and France and other places,” he said. “We beat them. You captured them. We’ve got thousands of them, and now, as usual, our allies say, ‘Oh, no, we don’t want them,’ even though they came from France and Germany and other places.”
Trump also appeared to rule out detaining the foreign fighters at Guantánamo Bay, alluding to cost concerns.
“So we’re going to tell them, and we’ve already told them, take these prisoners that we’ve captured because the United States is not going to put them in Guantánamo for the next 50 years and pay for it,” he said.
Military Times: Army civilian staffer among five charged in benefits fraud scheme which stole millions from service members

By:Leo Shane III   18 hours ago
853
A former Army civilian employee stole thousands of troops’ personal information and collected millions of dollars in fraudulent military benefits as part of an international identity theft ring, according to a new federal indictment released on Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors arrested five individuals on charges of conspiracy, theft and fraud they say targeted current and former military members by opening fake benefits and bank accounts, then routing the money through several countries to disguise the wrongdoing.
“The crimes charged today are reprehensible and will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. “These defendants are alleged to have illegally defrauded some of America’s most honorable citizens, our elderly and disabled veterans and service members.”
Veterans Affairs and Defense Department officials said they are coordinating with the Justice Department to notify the individuals victimized in the crimes, some of whom may not be aware of any unusual activity with their benefits.
Both agencies also promised more details soon on steps taken to “secure military members’ information and benefits from theft and fraud.”
Federal prosecutors did not detail how many victims or how much money was stolen, but said the scheme dates back as far as 2014.
The indictment alleges that Fredrick Brown, a former civilian medical records technician with the 65th Medical Brigade at Yongsan Garrison in South Korea, took photos of medical files for thousands of service members and veterans, including their Social Security numbers, military ID numbers and current addresses.
That information was used to open up fake accounts in the military and VA online benefits systems, and reroute money to other bank accounts.
Two other U.S. citizens — Trorice Crawford and Robert Wayne Boling Jr. — were charged along with Allan Albert Kerr (an Australian citizen) and Jongmin Seok (a South Korean citizen) in the criminal ring. Boling, Kerr and Seok were arrested in the Philippines earlier this week. Crawford was arrested in San Diego, and Brown was arrested in Las Vegas.
The group also used the information to gain access to some troops’ bank accounts, siphoning cash away from them and into their own pockets. They targeted several military focused banking institutions, including the Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union and USAA.
The five men employed a network of “money mules” to help move the funds around to avoid detection. Prosecutors said evidence of all five’s connection to the fraud came to light earlier this year.
If a defendant is found guilty, wire fraud — which each of the five men were charged with — can carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Other charges in the indictment could add more time to that total.

Military.com: Two More US Troops Die in Afghanistan in Deadliest Year Since 2014

21 Aug 2019
Military.com | By Hope Hodge Seck
Two U.S. service members were killed Wednesday in Afghanistan, military officials said, continuing what has become the deadliest year for troops in that country since the formal drawdown of combat operations in 2014.
Officials with Operation Resolute Support, the joint sustainment mission in Afghanistan, did not disclose the service branch of the troops or where they were killed. In accordance with Defense Department policy, names are withheld until 24 hours after the next of kin are notified.
To date, 77 troops have died supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the U.S. advisory and assistance mission that began after the U.S. announced the formal end of the war. This year is now the deadliest for that mission, with 12 hostile deaths and three in non-hostile circumstances, in addition to the two announced Wednesday.
It has been less than a month since Army Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer, 20, of Stryker, Ohio, and Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, 24, of Chicago, both paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were killed July 29 in a reported insider attack in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan.

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21 August, 2019 08:43

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Wednesday, August 21, 2019 which is National Brazilian Blowout Day (a hair treatment I’ll never have to worry about), Poet’s Day, National Senior Citizens Day and National Spumoni Day.
REMINDER: In the American Legion World Series, Idaho Falls Post 56 and Fargo Post 2 were rained out and the game will be continued today at 10am on ESPNU.
This Day in History:

  • 1831: Believing himself chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery, Nat Turner launches a bloody slave insurrection in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner, an enslaved man and educated minister, planned to capture the county armory at Jerusalem, Virginia, and then march 30 miles to Dismal Swamp, where his rebels would be able to elude their pursuers. With seven followers, he slaughtered Joseph Travis, his owner, and Travis’ family, and then set off across the countryside, hoping to rally hundreds of enslaved people to his insurrection en route to Jerusalem.
  • 1971: Antiwar protestors associated with the Catholic Left raid draft offices in Buffalo, New York, and Camden, New Jersey, to confiscate and destroy draft records. The FBI and local police arrested 25 protestors.
  • 1863: The vicious guerilla war in Missouri spills over into Kansas and precipitates one of the most appalling acts of violence during the war when 150 men in the abolitionist town of Lawrence are murdered in a raid by Southern partisans.
  • 1944: On August 21, 1944, representatives from the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and China meet in the Dumbarton Oaks estate at Georgetown, Washington, D.C., to formulate the formal principles of an organization that will provide collective security on a worldwide basis—an organization that will become the United Nations.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

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Military Times: Former VA medical official charged in deaths of three patients
By: Leo Shane III   14 hours ago
567
Federal prosecutors from Arkansas charged a former Veterans Affairs pathologist with three counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of former patients whose medical reports he mishandled due to his own substance abuse problems.
The criminal case against Robert Morris Levy also includes numerous charges of fraud and lying to investigators. His arrest comes after more than a year of investigation by the US Attorney’s Office with help from the VA Inspector General’s office.
“These charges send a clear signal that anyone entrusted with the care of veterans will be held accountable for placing them at risk by working while impaired or through other misconduct,” VA Inspector General Mike Missal said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the veterans and their families affected by Dr. Levy’s actions.”
Levy served as the chief of pathology and laboratory medical services for the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks from 2005 to 2018, when VA officials fired him.
According to federal prosecutors, Levy has been under investigation for drinking alcohol while on duty as far back as 2015. In 2016, he entered a three-month in-patient treatment program program, and was reinstated by department and state medical officials on the condition that he remain sober.
But prosecutors allege Levy cheated drug tests and falsified records to cover up his relapses. As a result, he continued reviewing sensitive patient medical information while intoxicated, potentially issuing incorrect or dangerous diagnoses for thousands of veterans.
In at least three cases, investigators believe that directly resulted in patient’s deaths. On two of those occasions, the indictment says, Levy doctored medical records to make it appear that other pathologists agreed with his mistaken work.
Duane Kees, U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas, said in a statement that the indictment “should remind us all that this country has a responsibility to care for those who have served us honorably. Our veterans deserve nothing less.”
Earlier this year, officials from the Fayetteville VA hospital said as many as 12 patient deaths may be connected to Levy’s crimes. KFSM reported that nearly 34,000 medical cases that Levy handled during his tenure had been reviewed for mistakes after his firing, with nearly 10 percent showing errors.
Members of Congress have been monitoring the investigation and were informed of the coming indictment last weekend, a Hill staffer said.

Military Times: Trump promises continued US presence in Afghanistan amid withdrawal talks
By: Leo Shane III   15 hours ago
316
President Donald Trump vowed he will bring home some — but not all — of the U.S. military force currently deployed to Afghanistan, amid reports of ongoing negotiations with Taliban leaders on an end to the nearly 18-year-old war.
“We’ll always have intelligence and we’ll always have someone there,” Trump said during an unscheduled press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday. “That does seem to be the Harvard University of terrorism. So we’ll always have someone there.”
Amid questions from reporters, Trump confirmed reports that U.S. officials are discussing withdrawal plans with both the Taliban and Afghanistan government officials. About 14,000 U.S. troops are currently stationed in the country.
Trump signaled that his preference would be a full withdrawal of American personnel from the country, but “it’s a dangerous place, and we have to keep an eye on it.” But he also called the open-ended U.S. military mission there “ridiculous” and said changes must be made.
“We’re not really fighting, we’re more of a police force … and we’re not supposed to be a police force,” he said.
“As I’ve said several times, not using nuclear, we could win that war in a week if we wanted to fight it. But I’m not looking to kill 10 million people. I’m not looking to kill 10 million Afghans, because that’s what would happen.”
Asked if Taliban negotiators will honor any agreement, the U.S. president responded “nobody can be trusted” but added that “the Taliban would like to stop fighting us” because of the casualties they have suffered.
“The Taliban does not respect the Afghan government,” he said. “They haven’t been exactly getting along for a long time. But we’ve been a peacekeeper there for 19 years, and at a certain point you have to say ‘That’s long enough.’
“I go to Walter Reed and I see young men that stepped on a bomb, they lose their legs or lose their arms, and in some cases they lose both and their face on top of it. And they’re living.”
Trump made similar pledges to end the military mission in Afghanistan during his presidential campaign but increased the number of troops deployed there after taking office on the advice of Pentagon officials. He has also said that Defense Department leaders have opposed his plans to bring more troops home.
Earlier in the week, in response to concerns from critics that the president may adopt too aggressive a withdrawal schedule, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the goal of the talks is to find “a comprehensive peace agreement, including a reduction in violence and a ceasefire, ensuring that Afghan soil is never again used to threaten the United States or her allies.”

The Hill: Trump asserts he could win Afghanistan war ‘in a week’ without ‘using nuclear’

BY REBECCA KHEEL – 08/20/19 04:08 PM EDT 819
President Trump on Tuesday reiterated his claim that he could win the Afghanistan war "in a week" while maintaining that such a plan would not involve the use of nuclear weapons.
Trump made the comments while speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon in the Oval Office during a meeting with the Romanian president.
“As I’ve said, and I’ll say it any number of times — and this is not using nuclear — we could win that war in a week if we wanted to fight it, but I’m not looking to kill 10 million people,” Trump said.
“I’m not looking to kill 10 million Afghans, because that’s what would have to happen, and I’m not looking to do that.”
The president did not elaborate on how he would go about bringing a quick end to the conflict in Afghanistan, which has spanned 18 years.
The remarks followed similar comments Trump made in July when he asserted that he could bring an end to the war "in a week," drawing speculation about how he would go about such a plan.
“I could win that war in a week. I just don’t want to kill 10 million people,” Trump said during a meeting with Pakistan’s prime minister at the time.
“If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth. … It would be over in — literally, in 10 days.”
Those comments left many scratching their heads and questioning whether Trump was referring to using a nuclear weapon.
Afghans were alarmed and infuriated, with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last month seeking “clarification” on Trump’s comments through diplomatic channels.
On Friday, Trump was briefed by his national security team on efforts to negotiate an end to the war in Afghanistan.
The United States has about 14,000 troops in America’s longest war on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban, and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.
Special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has been negotiating with the Taliban for months on a deal that would see the United States withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for assurances from the insurgents that they would not allow terrorists to launch attacks against the United States from Afghanistan.
The State Department announced Tuesday that Khalilzad is traveling to Qatar for another round of talks with the Taliban, followed by a trip to Afghanistan.
Finalization of a deal has been stymied by the Taliban’s refusal of inter-Afghan talks that the United States has been pushing for. The Taliban considers the Afghan government illegitimate.
Further underscoring the difficulties of ending the war, ISIS’s Afghanistan branch has claimed responsibility for a Saturday attack on a wedding in Kabul that killed 63 people, a stark reminder that violence is likely to continue even if the Taliban agrees to stop.
On Tuesday, Trump played down expectations for reaching a deal, saying of the ongoing talks with the Taliban, “I don’t know whether or not that plan’s going to be acceptable to me.”
“Maybe it’s not going to be acceptable to them, but we are talking, we have good talks going, and we’ll see what happens,” he added.
Still, he said, the Taliban “would like to stop fighting us.”
Trump also said it’s “ridiculous” that the United States has been in Afghanistan for 18 years, reiterating his belief that U.S. troops are acting as a “police force.”
Still, he said Afghanistan is a “dangerous place” and indicated he’s open to leaving a residual force in a place he said “does seem to be the Harvard University of terrorism.”
“It’s a dangerous place and we have to always keep an eye on it,” he said. “We are bringing some of our troops back, but we have to have a presence.”
“We’ll always have intelligence, and we’ll always have somebody there,” he added.

Stripes: Space Command to relaunch this month, officials say

By JENNIFER H. SVAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 21, 2019
U.S. Space Command, the Pentagon’s 11th combatant command and the first new one in 10 years, will stand up at a ceremony on Aug. 29, according to the U.S. military’s highest-ranking officer.

“We will immediately assign 87 units under a single combatant commander” after the ceremony, Gen. Joe Dunford, the outgoing commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday at the sixth National Space Council meeting in northern Virginia.

Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is expected to take command of the Space Command, Vice President Mike Pence said at the meeting.
The new command’s capabilities will include missile warning, satellite operations, space control and space support, Dunford said.

“The direction is clear, we understand it and we’re moving out,” Dunford said.
No location for the new headquarters has been announced.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last year establishing U.S. Space Command. The last combatant command created was U.S. Africa Command in 2009.
The Pentagon is actually bringing back U.S. Space Command: it was active from 1985 to 2002, based in Colorado Springs.

Combatant commands provide command and control of military forces. Pence has said U.S. Space Command will serve alongside other functional commands like Strategic Command and Special Operations Command.

Its mission will be to integrate space capabilities across all branches of the military, developing space doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures, Pence said last year at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, when the administration announced plans for a new Space Command and separate Space Force.

The Space Force would be a sixth branch of the armed forces and would require Congressional approval.

The White House is still working with Congress to stand up the Space Force, which would become the lead military service for space operations, Pence said Tuesday at the National Space Council meeting.

“As the President has said and we all recognize — it’s been frankly true for decades — in his words, space is a warfighting domain,” Pence said.

Separately, Pence said the U.S. intends to return to the moon by 2024. The “next man and first woman on the moon will be American astronauts,” he said.

svan.jennifer
Twitter: @stripesktown

Forbes Opinion: How Budget Games In Congress Endanger The Lives Of U.S. Troops

Loren ThompsonSenior Contributor
Aerospace & Defense
I write about national security, especially its business dimensions.
America’s military faces a rising tide of threats to its survival in future conflicts. Robotic drones. Hypersonic missiles. Cyber attacks. Suicide bombers. Pentagon planners are struggling to train and equip the force for a rapidly expanding spectrum of dangers.
But there is one homegrown threat for which the military has no solution. It’s the U.S. Congress, which seems constitutionally incapable of completing budgets in time for the beginning of the new fiscal year.
Congress hasn’t delivered a complete federal budget in time for the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1 even once in this century. The last time it accomplished that seemingly routine function, my twins hadn’t been born yet. They graduated from college this year.
The reason Congress doesn’t get its budget work done on time is because there are almost no political penalties for delaying. Maybe the government closes for a few days, but critical functions are exempted from shutdown and several days of pain for federal workers has become a rite of Autumn in our political system.
What members of Congress and the general public don’t notice is the devastating impact budget delays can have on military readiness and modernization. The longer delays last, the more damage is done to training schedules, equipment maintenance, munitions purchases and other vital activities.
The delays are so frequent that it is reasonable to ask whether military accidents and equipment failures might not be linked to lack of timely funding. If pilots can’t get in their flying hours or warships are not inducted into maintenance centers as planned, that obviously has the potential to degrade the performance of the force.
The mechanism that Congress uses to keep things running when it fails to complete new budgets on time is called a “continuing resolution.” Basically, both chambers of Congress resolve to continue prior-year spending levels in each military account until a new budget is passed—which may be many months into the new year.
How bad can that be? Well think about this. Because the law prohibits entering into financial obligations for which no funding has been enacted and planners can’t be certain how much money each account will ultimately receive, training exercises have to be deferred. Replenishment of depleted supplies is delayed. New programs can’t be started, and old programs can’t be expanded. Recruitment and hiring are put off.
Consider the Army’s efforts to modernize equipment in response to growing challenges from China and Russia. If Congress fails to agree on funding levels for fiscal 2020 and a “CR” goes into effect for several weeks, six new procurement programs for items like navigation equipment can’t start; increased production of 13 programs such as the Black Hawk helicopter and Stryker fighting vehicle can’t commence; and 11 research programs developing next-generation weapons can’t ramp up.
If the continuing resolution stretches many months into the fiscal year, it eventually impacts nearly 30 new procurement programs, impedes purchases of basic warfighting items like Hellfire missiles, and delays over 30 research efforts focused on game-changing technology like hypersonic weapons. At some point, it becomes impossible to recover all the ground that has been lost, and the whole modernization program gets delayed, maybe by years.
These problems don’t occur in China and Russia, where budget approvals for military spending are largely a formality. Those countries have been investing continuously in new military systems like hypersonics and space weapons for two decades, during most of which time the U.S. military was bogged down fighting rag-tag terrorists in Southwest Asia.
Military budgeting in Washington is a much more disjointed, baroque process. First the House and Senate have to agree on budget levels for the coming fiscal year. Then authorizing committees have to agree on program and policy priorities. Then appropriators have to agree on actual spending levels. Then the President has to sign the appropriations into law. There are a dozen steps in this process where funding can get detoured or delayed.
For instance, even if the President gets an appropriations bill on time, he might object to the absence of requested money for a wall on the southern border, so he vetoes the bill. Then it has to return to Congress for further consideration. Obviously, having different parties in control of each legislative chamber complicates deliberations. So defense analyst Byron Callan got it right recently when he observed, “There may have been a bit too much comfort over the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which raised budget caps for defense” over the next two fiscal years.
No doubt about it, we are probably headed for another continuing resolution—or maybe four, as occurred in preparing the 2018 budget. CRs only extend prior-year spending levels for fixed timespans, and Congress often underestimates how long it will take to reach agreement on a new budget. Funding for the military managed to escape that trap in the current fiscal year, and as a result major progress was made in sustaining training, maintenance and modernization at desired levels.
But that was probably an anomaly. We look headed for yet another CR on October 1, of uncertain duration. Which means Air Force pilots will not be flying training exercises as frequently as they should be, soldiers will be operating equipment more prone to breakdown due to deferred maintenance, and sailors will be stuck in port rather than preparing for Pacific challenges.
Pentagon managers often complain about the colossal waste of money that results from budgeting in this fashion. Billions of dollars are burned up through the resulting inefficiency most years. But maybe what Washington should be focusing on is the lives that might be wasted because troops didn’t get the training they needed, or the munitions they needed, or the repaired weapons they needed, when they needed them.
Military emergencies often arise without warning. That’s why readiness is the Pentagon’s top goal. Unfortunately, with the way budgets get put together in Washington, Congress may be the biggest threat to the readiness of the joint force.

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Post 11, Douglas Arizona September 6-7 Centennial Event

Spread the word and make your way if able to

help American Legion Post 11

CELEBRATE our 100Years!

Post Home

1325 N. G Ave,

Douglas, Arizona

85607

P.O.C. Scott Babicky 5203645171

Show & Shine on September 6, 2019 THEN!

Parade and after Parade, Band, Poker Runs, Kid Zone and more on

September 7th, 2019

Emergency Fuel referrals suspended

Attention Post Commanders and other referral sources.

American Legion in Maricopa County are notified today that our fuel supplier has not had a delivery until further notice; they don’t have a deliver date as yet.

Please insure that your Post Service Officers do not recommend

this emergency fuel assistance to Veterans until we notify that there is fuel again that we can help supply.

Other vetted suppliers/systems are being sought.

Thanks,

Angel

Angel Juarez

State Adjutant

Arizona American Legion

(602) 264-7706 Fax (602) 264-0029

"Ora et labora et lege; Deus adest sine mora”. (Pray and work and read, God is there without delay)

How can you be connected? Call | Match | Learn

24/7 Support Line: 1-866-4AZ-VETS

American Legion Department of Arizona District Meetings Schedule

Arizona District Meeting Schedule is updated; while some meetings are still pending assignment.

Please check with the District Adjutant for further details or to request time on the District

their agendas.

District Meetings 2019-2020.pdf