In the News: Changes slated for military Tuition Assistance - Changes to the military’s tuition assistance program are expected to limit the number of college courses that active-duty students can take during the year. The new policy, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, will cap the number of semester hours that the tuition assistance benefit will fund and will enforce tighter eligibility rules. Soldiers who meet Army requirements and have no adverse flags will be allowed to have up to 16 semester hours per fiscal year eligible for the benefit. Army spokesman Troy Rolan said qualified soldiers are eligible to receive tuition assistance for up to 130 credit hours.
In the News: Study Examines Homelessness, Military Sexual Assault Among Female Veterans - The findings "suggest MSA is more common among homeless female veterans than MST among the general treatment-seeking female veteran population," the researchers wrote. They added that while MSA "may be a risk factor for homelessness among female veterans ... other factors are likely to play a substantial role."
In the News: Prosecuting rapes in the ranks: Our view - USA Today endorsed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s military sexual assault bill. The decision should be put in the hands of professional military prosecutors, as Gillibrand's measure would require. That's how major criminal cases are prosecuted in the civilian world and by the militaries of many U.S. allies, including Australia, Canada, Great Britain and Israel.
In the News: Texas Guard to let same-sex couples sign for benefits - The Texas National Guard will immediately begin letting same-sex couples register for benefits after the Defense Department approved a new procedure for enrolling National Guard members and their dependents for benefits.
In the News: The Untold Story of Military Sexual Assault - According to the Department of Defense’s Military Sexual Assault Report for 2012, an estimated 26,000 members of the United States military, both men and women, were sexually assaulted in that year. The Pentagon survey almost certainly underreports the scale of the issue. Of those sexual assaults, 53 percent (approximately 14,000 in 2012) were attacks on men. A vast majority of perpetrators are men who identify themselves as heterosexual.
In the News: Women Veterans' Employment - On Wednesday, the Department of Labor announced the new Women Veterans' Program within the Office for Veterans’ Employment and Training Services (VETS). This program will increase awareness of department resources available to women veterans and educate potential employers about the capabilities and contributions of women veterans.
In the News: Senate showdown over military sexual assault bill - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has secured public support from nearly half the Senate, but not enough votes, for her proposal to give victims of rape and sexual assault in the military an independent route outside the chain of command for prosecuting attackers. The Senate this week is set to consider an annual defense policy bill that would strip commanders of their ability to overturn jury convictions, require dishonorable discharge or dismissal for any individual convicted of sexual assault and establish a civilian review when a decision is made not to prosecute a case.
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14 Facts About Veterans’ Struggles and Triumphs You Didn’t Know - Every year on the 11th day of November, we formally stop to thank and remember those who serve our country. Some give all, but all give some and politics aside, the courage of military service is something everyone can appreciate. But, our veterans do not always leave the military with the best circumstances in life. Some struggle, while others find great success. We should recognize some of the tough circumstances veterans face.
In the News: At 95, Potsdam High grad remembers her service during World War II - Vivian Gregware of Malone, 95, served as an army nurse from April 1, 1943 to Nov. 18, 1945 while she was in her mid-20s. Though MS. Gregware was not allowed to go near any of the conflict, for about a year she served on the U.S. Army Hospital Ship Wisteria and that gave her a front row seat to the men that served on the war’s front lines.
In the News: Martha Burke: The Forgotten 14% -- Our Female Vets - Today, women serve in all branches of the armed forces, and constitute 14 percent of the veteran population. Most people would agree that how we treat our vets is a measure of our character as a country. We do pretty well in some areas, but fall down in others. Homelessness is one of the worst. It's way too high for both male and female vets -- and this is one place where women are catching up to men. Men constitute 86 percent of active duty forces, and make up 90 percent of the homeless veteran population. For women, the numbers are 14 percent and 10 percent respectively.
In the News: Women Vets: A Battle All Their Own - While female service members confront the same problems as male veterans, they also face distinct struggles as women. Meet two brave women on their emotional journey from the front lines back home.
In the News: Army to Dedicate First Women in Combat Statue - The modern female warrior statue will be introduced in a special ceremony Nov. 7 at the U.S. Army Women's Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia. "The full-size statue is a first for the Army; it is the only statue located on an Army post recognizing the service of Army women," Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Alayne Conway said in an Army press release.
In the News: Reports of Military Sexual Assault Rise Sharply- Reports of sexual assault in the military increased sharply during the last fiscal year, new Pentagon figures showed Wednesday, just weeks before a defense bill with provisions to tackle the problem is expected to reach the Senate floor. The release of the new data comes at a time when Congress is considering changes to the military justice system that would give sexual assault victims more resources and possibly reduce the power of military commanders to reverse the convictions of offenders.
In the News: Gillibrand puts a hold on a Navy nominee after 'shocking' answers on assault - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has placed a hold on the nomination of Jo Ann Rooney, the Obama administration's nominee for undersecretary of the Navy, due to her position on handling military sexual assault cases. Gillibrand, who has led a bipartisan push to reform the way sexual assaults are handled in the armed forces, said she was "extremely troubled" by the suggestion cases should not be based on the evidence.
In the News: Hagel Blasts States on Same-Sex Benefits Policy - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday sharply criticized U.S. states that are defying the Pentagon by refusing to allow National Guard facilities to issue ID cards that enable same-sex spouses of military members to claim benefits. "Not only does this violate the states' obligation under federal law, their actions have created hardship and inequality by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they're entitled to," he said.
In the News: 2 Democrats Split on Tactics to Fight Military Sex Assaults - A sweeping Pentagon policy bill that would make significant changes to how the military deals with sexual assault has turned into a battle between two powerful and determined Democrats who have offered competing proposals. The two, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, are lobbying fellow lawmakers on the Senate floor — sometimes when there is no way to gracefully escape — papering senators’ offices with letters from victims, and nudging them for meetings to press their cases.
In the News: Military Families Who Want to Home-School Their Children Find Support - More military parents are embracing home schooling, rejecting the age-old tradition of switching schools for their children when they are redeployed. They are finding support on bases, which are providing resources for families and opening their doors to home-schooling cooperatives.
In the News: Veterans Feel Shutdown's Sting - The government shutdown is decimating federal services for military veterans and their families as it stretches on into a second week.
In the News: Military Creates 'Catch-22' for Sexual Assault Survivors Seeking Benefits, Washington Post Columnist Writes - "The latest, infuriating entry in the ham-handed handling of sexual assault in the military involves a Catch-22," Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus writes. She explains that the "Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) acknowledges that such assaults can have consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder," and that "most incidents" go unreported, but "for purposes of determining eligibility for benefits, the failure to report sexual assault can be used as evidence that it did not occur."
In the News: Why a Victim of Military Rape and Domestic Violence Is Speaking Out - It's time to do away with the taboos and stigmas of rape and domestic abuse. HREF="http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/196212/now-available-military-veterans-status-on-your-nys-drivers-license/">Now available: Military veterans status on your NYS driver's license
- Starting Thursday, New York State residents who are military veterans can apply for a special designation on their driver's license. The special licenses are intended to eliminate the need for veterans to carry separate documentation proving their military service in order to take advantage of discounts or other programs available to vets.
In the News: Military Families and Food Stamps- Military families receive food stamps — about $100 million this year. Alarmingly, this year has seen a massive increase in the number of military families seeking assistance.
In the News: Does the Future of the Senate Belong to Generation X? -
Why Sen. Gillibrand’s agenda challenges Senate power brokers on military sexual assault remedy.
The future of the Senate, however, belongs to Gillibrand and her fellow Gen Xers who, according to social scientists, tend to rebel against authority, have little regard for seniority in the workplace, and believe in solving problems immediately—qualities that, especially when possessed by a woman, will jar any observer steeped in the conventions of an earlier generation.
Veterans Head Back to School - Since the most recent GI Bill was enacted in 2008, more than 500,000 veterans and their families have used its benefits to pay for higher education. As one report put it, “institutions have not faced such a significant influx of veteran students on campus since World War II.” Women make up approximately 15 percent of the armed forces, and their role will only expand as they move into combat roles.
In the News: V.A. Expands On-Campus Counseling For Veterans - A federal program that provides student veterans with on-campus educational and career counseling will nearly triple its footprint across the country this fall, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Thursday. Under a program called VetSuccess on Campus, the V.A. plans to provide 62 more campuses with counselors, on top of the existing 32 institutions already participating in the program.
In the News: Army Women Qualify for Tank Maintenance Duty - Four female soldiers, including two with the Army National Guard, made history here Aug. 1 when they became the first women in the Army to obtain the 91A M1 Abrams Tank System Maintainer military occupational specialty.
In the News: Gay Spouses of Members of Military Get Benefits - In February, officials estimated that about 17,000 military personnel and veterans would apply for partial benefits for their domestic partners, 5,600 of whom were active-duty service members.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs launched a Women Veterans hotline – 1.855.VA.WOMEN (829.6636) – to help women veterans and their families learn about the department's healthcare services and resources.