Military News This Week: July 8 2022
Here’s a roundup of some of the important military news stories from the last week affecting currently serving troops, military families, and veterans. These are not necessarily breaking news items, information on military operations, or developments in hardware or tech. The stories we bring you here affect military families and are not necessarily focused on the “tip of the spear” so to speak.
Military News For Friday, July 8, 2022
The New York Times reports that there’s a bipartisan effort to restore a sea-launched nuclear missile program (a weapons system President Joe Biden tried to cancel) to the U.S. defense budget. Critics of the system say it is redundant and potentially destabilizing.
When the President was campaigning for office, he ran on a platform that included lowering the nation’s nuclear stockpile or at least the DoD’s dependence on it. Some critics of current U.S. nuclear policy point to a lack of a “no first use” doctrine for U.S. nuclear operations as a problem.
Politico.com reports some on the House Appropriations Committee sided with the President on the new cruise missile but notes the committee is “likely to put pressure on appropriators” when talking about compromises in the defense budget for the program.
Navy Improves Sexual Assault Policies
The Department of the Navy has taken a stand; those who report sexual assault will no longer be punished themselves for “minor misconduct” according to Navy Times. How does this help?
A sailor who is sexually assaulted by another service member cannot be punished for infractions like underage drinking where such charges might normally apply. Other scenarios where the new rules apply–the sexual assault was involved during an unprofessional relationship with a superior, and situations where the victim was in violation of curfew or other orders.
Those who come forward to report a sexual assault will not be penalized for these activities under the new rules; the Navy’s priority is to support the victim. That does not mean the Navy won’t refer sexual assault victims to substance abuse counseling if the chain of command thinks it is warranted, but such counseling is not punitive.
PCS Season Could Be Getting Better
Army.mil reports U.S. Transportation Command and the U.S. Army Sustainment Command have taken aggressive moves to make Permanent Change of Station moves more efficient. Since May of last year, efforts to improve areas such as how military members will interact with contractors such as moving companies, and simplifying household goods claims processes.
Simpler claims are further enhanced by recent changes to the deadlines for such claims. If you have had household goods damaged, destroyed, or lost by a contractor you now have 180 days to file a claim as opposed to 75 days under previous guidelines.
Do It Yourself PCS moves, sometimes known as “DITY” moves are now reimbursed up to 100% of the actual cost of the move.
DoD Begins Early Childhood Education Curriculum
The Defense Department announced the start of its early childhood education curriculum called, Early Learning Matters. Developed in partnership with Purdue University, the program is the first early childhood education curriculum created for the Department of Defense child development program.
This program is being pilot-tested at select base Child Development Centers and allows CDC workers to “customize the learning experience to each child based on their individual developmental needs.” according to a DoD press release.
If you are interested in this program, reach out to your nearest Child Development Center to learn if that location is using Early Learning Matters
VA Expands Donor Care And Support
The Department of Veterans Affairs now offers expanded help–“live donor support”–for those who wish to donate organs or bone marrow to veterans who need transplant operations. As of July 1, 2022, VA support for these donors will include initial screenings, tests, and any studies needed to qualify a potential donor. The VA also provides support for care and services needed for the donation procedure.
In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs now offers post-donation follow-up services to help the donor recover from the procedure. Some financial benefits are also possible including reimbursement for “necessary travel” and lodging for both the donor and a “needed attendant”.
One major development in this new support is the notion of informed consent; the donor has the right to revoke that consent at any time (and for any reason) before the procedure. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the agency receives well over 3,000 referrals for transplants and performs nearly 500 procedures a year related to “solid organ” and bone marrow transplants.
Anti-Vax Army Reserve Troops Face Punishment
Military Times reports that as of the end of June 2022, 12% of the Army Reserve had not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Anti-vax troops who do not comply with the Army’s vaccination mandates are not allowed to drill or participate in weekend exercises. The Army has gone on record stating it will discharge vaccine refusers, but at press time no information is available on how soon those proceedings might start for Guard/Reserve personnel.
COVID-19 vaccines have been widely available for some time and are used by literally millions of people; COVID-19 vaccine deniers choose to ignore this. But those in uniform won’t be able to escape the Army mandate for the vaccination or the consequences of refusing it.