The Intersect
Feb. 22, 2011

Republicans, Democrats draw lines on shutdown
The Wall Street Journal
House Republican leaders, facing a crucial budget face-off with the White House and Senate Democrats, are scrambling for ways to avoid a government shutdown—or at least the blame for one. Fresh from winning House approval of a landmark spending-cut bill, GOP leaders now are preparing a short-term spending measure to keep the government open for about two additional weeks while broader budget talks are conducted.More

Gates defends health-care fee increase for retirees
The Washington Post
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates defended his plan to increase by $5 a month the fee retired working-age military personnel pay for family health-care coverage, after a member of Congress called it a "breach of trust." Appearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Gates described it as "a modest increase" in the enrollment fee to TRICARE, the Pentagon's health-care plan. While the family rate would go up $5 a month, the cost for a single working-age retiree would rise $2.50.More

Air Force details plan to cut up to 2,000 officers
Military Times
The Air Force is cutting officers to meet its congressionally mandated end strength of 332,800 by the end of fiscal 2012. About 3,000 enlisted airmen received their walking papers in fiscal 2010 and the Air Force plans to hold the line on enlisted end strength; the service will let another 2,500 or so go in the next 18 months using programs already in place such as date-of-separation rollbacks and time-in-grade waivers.More

Acupuncture used to treat GI concussions
The U.S. military is applying an ancient Chinese healing technique to the top modern battlefield injury for American soldiers, with results that doctors here say are "off the charts." "Battlefield acupuncture," developed by Air Force physician Col. Richard Niemtzow, is helping heal soldiers with concussions so they can return more quickly to the front lines.More

Leaders outline improved health care services
U.S. Department of Defense
The Defense Department has taken a number of recent steps to improve health care and family support services for military members and their families, the department's two top leaders told a Senate panel. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee about several areas of improvement during a hearing about the department's fiscal 2012 budget.More

JPMorgan apologizes, adds programs for military clients
USA Today
JPMorgan Chase announced programs geared toward military customers and veterans, and apologized for overcharging thousands of active-duty service members on mortgages and improperly foreclosing on more than a dozen. The steps include a program making certain military personnel eligible for reduced-rate mortgages; enhancing a mortgage modification program for personnel who are having trouble making payments; and a pledge not to foreclose on any active personnel while they're deployed.More

March 4 is final day to claim 'stop loss' pay
U.S. Department of Defense
People whose military service was involuntarily extended or whose retirement was suspended between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, have until March 4 to file for retroactive payments of $500 for each month of their extended service under the "Stop Loss" policy. The deadline ends the second extension for eligible people to apply to receive the retroactive pay. "This is a timely payment for services already rendered," said Lernes "Bear" Hebert, the Defense Department's director of officer and enlisted personnel management. "It's a no-strings-attached program — one where they fill out a simple form and attach a few documents verifying their service."More

Reserve breaks ground on new facility
Construction of the new $19.6-million headquarters for the Office, Chief of the Army Reserve officially began with a ceremonial groundbreaking on the future site of the 88,000-square-foot facility. "This building is in part due to the understanding by Army leadership that the Army Reserve is no longer a strategic reserve, but an operational one. We are a part of the total Army," said the chief of the U.S. Army Reserve, Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, during the ceremony.More

National Guard (in federal status) and Reserve activated as of Feb. 15
U.S. Department of Defense
This week the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Navy announced an increase. The net collective result is 772 fewer 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