The Intersect
Nov. 30, 2010

Pentagon: Letting openly gay troops serve won't hurt military
Allowing openly gay or lesbian troops serve in the military would have little lasting impact on the U.S. armed forces, according to a long-awaited Pentagon review of the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Repealing the policy would have "some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention," the year-long study found, but the effects would not be long-lasting or widespread.More

Lawmakers press White House to include GE engine for F-35 in stopgap bill
A bi-partisan group of U.S. lawmakers fighting to include General Electric Co.'s Joint Strike Fighter engine in a stopgap spending bill has extended its lobbying to address the White House. In a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and White House budget director Jacob Lew, the lawmakers said the money for the alternative JSF engine should be part of a so- called continuing resolution that keeps most government programs at current spending levels. Earlier this month, the group urged Norm Dicks, the outgoing chairman of the House defense appropriations committee, to support their proposal.More

White House bows to political realities on military pay
National Journal via Govenment Executive
The White House sidestepped the politically volatile issue of military pay by exempting troops from a two-year federal pay freeze that will affect all other federal employees. Had military pay been included in the Obama administration's deficit-cutting proposal, it would almost certainly have been met with stiff resistance on Capitol Hill, where efforts to rein in military benefits have long been dead on arrival.More

Allen West, one of two black Republicans just elected to House, goes against grain
The Washington Post
Allen West, a 22-year Army veteran, is preparing for Washington a bit like he would for a battlefield. His "high and tight" hairstyle will be one of the only buzz cuts in Congress. He plans to carry a camouflage bag, not a briefcase. And on a recent morning, while others in the Republican Party's large incoming freshman class jockeyed for office space, he declared himself largely indifferent. Freshman Congressman Allen West is an ROA member.More

Traditional vets groups turn to social media
Army Times
Some traditional veterans' groups have updated their recruiting campaigns, using social media to attract younger veterans. Groups have opened Facebook and Twitter accounts and written blogs to connect with roughly 4.3 million veterans who have served since the Persian Gulf War — and to replenish a steep decline in membership. Lost membership and dues have forced groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars to close down some social clubs across the country, as about 1,650 veterans from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars die each day.More

Civilian soldiers' suicide rate alarming
National Guard soldiers who are not on active duty killed themselves this year at nearly twice the rate of 2009, marring a year when suicides among Army soldiers on active duty appear to be leveling off, new Army statistics show. Eighty six non-active-duty Guard soldiers have killed themselves in the first 10 months of 2010, compared with 48 such suicides in all of 2009.More

Disabled veteran challenges VA's rating system
The Daily Press
Douglas Strand broke his leg in July 2008. Months later, he was still having problems. The leg remained painful and swollen long after he should have been walking. On a pain scale of one to 10, his life was a constant seven. It turned out he had developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It's a condition that affects the central nervous system.More

After decade of war, focus on combat stress has heightened
The San Diego Union-Tribune
A young soldier who returned from Iraq drives across the country to visit a buddy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The patient's legs have been blown off by a rocket-propelled grenade. "Help me end this," the wounded soldier pleads. You've got to be tough, his friend, James, replied. "It's our job to look out for each other."More

National Guard (In Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of Nov. 23, 2010
The U.S. Department of Defense

This week the Navy and Air Force announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard announced an increase. The net collective result is 797 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.