The Intersect
Jan. 25, 2011

White House beefs up support for military families
The White House unveiled a sweeping new government initiative to help the nation's service members and their families cope with wartime deployments — and help care for men and women in uniform when they return home from duty. In an East Room announcement, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and second lady Jill Biden said the unified, government-led effort — which features participation by nearly 50 federal agencies — will ensure that troops and their families get "the support they deserve" for serving the nation. More

Tea partiers say defense in mix for budget cuts
The Associated Press via Google News
Tea partiers clamoring for the debt-ridden government to slash spending say nothing should be off limits. Tea party-backed lawmakers echo that argument, and they're not exempting the military's multibillion-dollar budget in a time of war.More

Boeing C-17 program enters 2nd phase of production rate and work force reductions
PR Newswire
As part of a transition announced last year, Boeing confirmed it will deliver 13 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters in 2011 as the company moves to a new production rate of 10 C-17s per year. Boeing will reduce the production program's work force by approximately 1,100 jobs through the end of 2012. The company delivered 14 C-17s in 2010.More

US Senate hearing on Air Force tankers set for Jan. 27
The Senate Armed Services Committee will convene a hearing Jan. 27 to examine the inadvertent release of data from the bids of Boeing Co. and European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. on the U.S. Air Force's new aerial tanker. Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., the committee chairman, promised the hearing based on concerns from Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., that the release may have tainted the competition.More

Fiscal 2012 could boost bomber, F-16, F-15
Aviation Week
A new F-16 life extension, bomber and space-procurement plan will be included in the U.S. Air Force's forthcoming Fiscal 2012 budget proposal. These efforts are possible during a time of belt-tightening because the service found $34 billion worth of projects to cut in order to fund higher-priority initiatives, says Air Force Sec. Michael Donley.More

Rescue crews prepare for the extreme
Florida Today
Pararescuers, in camouflage and weighed down with climbing gear, frantically lowered a life-sized dummy and an airman to the ground, guiding them from about 10 stories overhead. From more than 120 feet above, the men from the Air Force Reserve 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida, and other pararescuers from bases in Arizona, Georgia and Oregon, worked together diligently, steadily and swiftly — as if they were in a timed race, but with lives at stake.More

EU: Rescues endanger pirates' hostages
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Despite successful raids by the Malaysian and South Korean navies that rescued two ships and their crew members from Somalian pirates, the European Union Naval Force said it would not follow suit because such raids could further endanger hostages. Malaysia's navy was holding seven Somalian pirates who were apprehended in the second dramatic commando raid within hours on ships seized near the African coast, authorities said.More

5 sets of brothers to deploy to Afghanistan together
Houston Chronicle
The Henrichsens are among five sets of brothers deploying with 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, a Houston-based Reserve unit also known as "The Lone Star Battalion." Lindsay Wise interviewed three other pairs of brothers by e-mail from Camp Pendleton in California, where they are training for the upcoming deployment.More

'Virtual world' helps with post-traumatic stress
American Forces Press Service
The Defense Department is using virtual-world interactivity to educate and help war fighters and others who are reluctant to seek more direct care to deal with post-traumatic stress, said an official at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, also known as "T2."More

Guard program creates troop, family support networks
U.S. Department of Defense
Two signs stand at the entryway to Farmington, Minn. One displays the city's population and, just underneath, another sign states "Yellow Ribbon City," a message to all who pass by that this city stands for military family support. These signs are cropping up on city borders and on company walls across the state, thanks to a Minnesota National Guard program that's bolstering community support of troops and their families.More

Army reports rise in National Guard, Reserve suicides
The U.S. Army reports that while the number of suicides in the active-duty force declined in 2010, the number of suicides in the Army Reserve and National Guard increased, a senior Army official said. The increase in Reserve and National Guard suicides is among troops who are in the United States and not activated for duty. The senior Army official said more than half of those troops were never deployed to a war zone. The official said one possible explanation for the increase in suicides is economic pressure and rising unemployment, but he emphasized that the Army simply does not have answers.More

Website aims to increase awareness of PTSD
The Virginian-Pilot
The Defense Department has launched an interactive simulation designed to help those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. The National Center for Telehealth and Technology developed the "Virtual PTSD Experience" to help veterans and their families and friends learn about causes and symptoms of PTSD and resources for getting help. Visitors to the site remain anonymous.More

Congress to investigate pentagon decision to deny coverage for brain injured troops
Pro Publica
A key congressional oversight committee announced that it was opening an investigation into the basis of a decision by the Pentagon's health plan to deny a type of medical treatment to troops with brain injuries. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the chairman of the subcommittee on contracting oversight, said she wanted to examine a contract issued by Tricare, an insurance-style program used by soldiers and many veterans, to a private company to study cognitive rehabilitation therapy for traumatic brain injury. Such injuries are considered among the signature wounds of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.More

Virginia considers judicial approach for vets
Daily Press
In 2009, the American Journal of Public Health reported that nearly 40 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans receiving care in VA hospitals suffer from mental disorders. That same year, a Stanford University study predicted that the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder among Iraq veterans alone could be 35 percent, because PTSD often develops over time. Combat stress can lead to a lot of things, including jail.More

Court program helps veterans get back on their feet
The Arizona Republic
The court system hopes to help veterans get back on their feet with a new program that connects them with medical resources and works to reduce their chances of winding up in jail. The Veterans Court kicked off in Phoenix with its first calendar of cases. It is run out of Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona, and joins the ranks of similar programs across the country.More

Women serving in combat: US panel to recommend ban be lifted
The Christian Science Monitor
A U.S. commission is expected to say that women should be allowed to fight on the front lines. The reality is that women are already serving in combat, says Army's Vice Chief of Staff.More

Chase spends $2 million to fix errors on military mortgages
USA Today
JPMorgan Chase is issuing checks totaling $2 million to 4,000 service members after discovering overcharges and errors in their mortgages. "We made mistakes, we deeply regret them and are working to fix it in the hopes that this does not happen again," JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Kristin Lemkau said. Fourteen service members were improperly forced into foreclosure. Chase has resolved 13 of cases and is working on the remaining one, Lemkau said.More

National Guard (in federal status) and Reserve activated as of Jan. 18
U.S. Department of Defense
This week the Navy and Marine Corps announced a decrease in activated Reservists, while the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard announced an increase. The net collective result is 365 more reservists activated than last week. At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease.More