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Western Illinois University - General Studies

Description: A flexible, non-majored online bachelor's degree serving the unique educational needs of military personnel allowing them to earn credit for their military experience and training.


Veterans in Congress bring rare perspective to authorizing war
The New York Times
Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now serving in Congress have emerged as some of the most important voices in the debate over whether to give President Obama a broad authorization for a military campaign against the Islamic State or something much more limiting. In other conflicts, Congress shaped military policy with a certain remove from the battlefield. But as lawmakers deliberate whether to give authority for a military operation to a president for the first time since 2002, there are 26 veterans from the United States’ two most recent wars serving in the House and Senate, according to the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. To them, this fight is not a distant foreign conflict. They have an intimate understanding of battling the same kinds of deadly extremists.
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Do I Need to File a Tax Return?
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New compensation proposals face skepticism in Congress
Military Times
An independent commission's proposal for overhauling military retirement and health care benefits faced scrutiny and initial skepticism on Capitol Hill as lawmakers got underway with committee-level review of the suggested changes. The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission's January report calls for shrinking the size of traditional military retirement pay by about 20 percent and also offering a new defined-contribution benefit for troops who separate before 20 years of service.
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  Bradley Original Smoker Designer Series

The Bradley Digital Food Smoker includes all the features of the Bradley Original Smoker, along with the benefits of digital technology. Temperature, time, and smoke are completely controllable. Perfect for entertaining, creating gourmet foods in your own backyard or just to enjoy that great smoky flavor. The Bradley Digital Smokers offer an easy way to automatically roast, smoke and barbecue in the outdoors.

OMB warns of consequences if sequestration returns in 2016
Federal News Radio
The White House is warning Congress and agencies that if cuts from sequestration return in fiscal 2016, the impact would be great. In a report sent to Congress on Feb. 2, but posted only in the last week or so, Shaun Donovan, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote that if lawmakers don't act, agencies would have to reduce their discretionary budgets by more than $90.4 billion.
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McCain on ISIS fight: We should not restrain the president
NBC News
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., said Feb. 15 that Congress should not restrict the president's broad authority in authorizing the use of military force against the terrorist group known as ISIS. "If we don't like what the commander-in-chief is doing, we can cut off his funds for doing so. But to restrain him in our authorization of him taking military action, I think frankly, is unconstitutional," McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." He added that restraining the president's authority to take military action "eventually leads to 535 commanders-in-chief," referring to the total number of members of Congress.
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New defense secretary sworn in
Voice of America
Ashton Carter, 60, was sworn in Feb. 17 as the new U.S. secretary of defense, becoming the fourth defense chief during President Barack Obama’s six-year tenure in the White House. He replaces former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. With a snowfall closing most federal government offices in Washington, Carter was sworn in at the White House in a ceremony hosted by Vice President Joe Biden.
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Air Force sending 'tankbuster' jets back to Europe
The U.S. Air Force is sending its "tankbusters" back to Europe. The service's European Command said recently that 12 A-10 Thunderbolts would be deployed to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which was formed after Russia's intervention in Ukraine over the past year. "The Air Force is increasing rotational presence in Europe to reassure our allies and partner nations that our commitment to European security is a priority," Lt. Gen. Tom Jones, vice commander, United States Air Forces in Europe — Air Forces Africa, said in a statement.
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Panel: Beef up troops' financial literacy
Military Times
Service members need better and more frequent financial literacy training — to the tune of about $400 million over the next five years, a congressional commission has recommended. "Existing financial literacy programs do not adequately educate service members and their families on financial matters," states the recently released final report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.
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VA: Far fewer veterans use choice card and private health care than expected
The Washington Post
Only 27,000 veterans have made appointments for private medical care since the Department of Veteran's Affairs Choice Card program rolled out at the start of November, Secretary Robert "Bob" McDonald said recently. It's such a tiny number compared with the 9 million people who use VA health care that McDonald has asked for "flexibility" to reallocate billions of dollars for other pressing matters, from hiring more claims officers to help wade through a vast veterans' benefits backlog to managing other patient medical needs.
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Analysts: Carter to focus on threats, Hill
Defense News
Key defense-minded lawmakers are hopeful the incoming defense secretary will force Pentagon reforms, but analysts say domestic politics and crises abroad will dominate his tenure. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to the Senate floor on Feb. 13 before the chamber confirmed Ash Carter, 95-3, to say he expects Carter will be frozen out of most major national security and foreign policy decisions. Still, McCain believes Carter will be granted freedom by the White House to manage the Pentagon. And in his signature fashion, McCain has a few goals for an inward-focused Secretary Carter.
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New docket aims to help veterans rather than punish them
The Washington Post
Army veteran Steven Daniel said he has struggled with drinking for three decades, a destructive cycle that repeatedly has left him without work, on the street and sometimes incarcerated. The pattern seemed to be playing out again after a recent arrest for being drunk in public. But instead of heading back to jail, the Fairfax County, Virginia, resident went before a court recently launched to help veterans like him.
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