AFSA HQ Newsletter – January 11th

This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

The 4 Minute Revolution

On January 3, 2013, at 11:56AM EST, the 112th Congress of the United States adjourned “Sine Die.”  Then, as a result of the recent General Election, it was out with the old and in with the new.  Four minutes later, the gavel was struck to convene the 113th Congress at 12:00PM.

Latin for “without day,” in legislative context sine die means to adjourn without appointing a day on which to assemble again.  Each Congress has two one-year sessions, and adjourning sine die indicates elections have occurred, the second session is over, and a new Congress will follow.

According to the Senate Historian’s office, starting in 1933 a new Congress was sworn in and convened on January 3rd.  In the 80 years since, there have only been five occasions when Congress was still actively in session between Christmas and New Years…most recently in 1995 when Speaker of the House Gingrich and President Clinton battled over budgetary issues.  Also of note, in 2009 the 110th Congress was holding pro forma sessions (meaning the House was out and Senate was in) and also adjourned/convened on January 3rd.

Who We’re Dealing With

Congress is out on recess and will return on January 14th (House) and January 21st (Senate).  So while there’s no active legislation, here’s a snapshot of the make up of the 113th Congress.

113th Congress

Senate

House

Total

Ratio

Voting Members

100

435

535

100%

Total Military Veterans

18

89

107

20%

USAF Veterans

2

15

17

3%

Leadership Changes on Key Committees

There are a few changes in the leadership of congressional committees that AFSA routinely deals with. Last week, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) was named Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Inhofe, who has served on the Committee since 1994, replaces Senator John McCain (R-AZ) whose term as the lead Republican has expired.   There won’t be a change in the top slot on the SVAC though as Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) remains chairman of the Committee. Likewise there will be no change of leadership on the House Armed Services Committee where Representative Buck McKeon (R-CA) serves as chair and Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) as Ranking Minority Member.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the new Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, where Senator Richard Burr continues as Ranking Minority Member.   Across the Hill Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) continues to lead Veterans efforts with the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee new Ranking Minority Member, Mike Michaud D-ME).

Nomination for SECDEF

On Monday afternoon President Obama nominated former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next defense secretary and John Brennan as CIA chief. His announcement brings an end to weeks of speculation as to who would get the nod for the Pentagon’s top slot.  If confirmed, Hagel would be the first prior enlisted member to serve in the position. Senator Hagel earned two Purple Hearts while serving as a US Army infantry squad leader in the Vietnam War.

Despite having served in the Upper Chamber, approval by his peers is not expected to come easy.   A number of senators from both sides of the isle have voiced concerns with his nomination.  The President urged the Senate to act promptly to confirm both individuals.  “When it comes to national security, we don’t like to leave a lot of gaps between the time that one set of leaders transitions out and another transitions in,” he said. “So we need to get moving quickly on this.”

FY14 Budget Delay Likely

The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (P.L. 67-13) requires the President to submit his budget request for the upcoming fiscal year no later than the first Monday of February.  In a normal year this event kicks off the yearly budget process but again we stress, “In a normal year.”

Recent battles over FY 2013 appropriations, the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling have created an environment in Washington that can be described as anything but normal.  Several months ago AFSA predicted a late budget submission for FY14 and this belief was strengthened on Monday when DoD comptroller Robert Hale said the Administration will almost certainly be late in sending Congress its yearly request.  Mr. Hale declined to give a deliberate timeframe but some experts’ are saying the budget could be delayed by as much as a month or two this go-round—much longer than the week or two as seen in the past.

DoD Safe Helpline

DoD Safe Helpline, operated by RAINN on behalf of the Department of Defense, is a secure, anonymous and confidential crisis support service that connects members of the military community to live sexual assault professionals for one-on-one support.  You can access DoD Safe Helpline 24/7 from anywhere in the world by calling 877-995-5247 or visiting their website.   To find help near you, text your zip code, installation or base name to: 55-247 (in the U.S.) or 202-470-5546 (outside the U.S.) RAINN will not share your name or any other personally identifying information with DoD or your chain of command.

LEADERSHIP THOUGHTS

From Colin Powell (former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State) as compiled by Oren Harari.

“The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

If this were a litmus test, the majority of CEOs would fail. One, they build so many barriers to upward communication that the very idea of someone lower in the hierarchy looking up to the leader for help is ludicrous. Two, the corporate culture they foster often defines asking for help as weakness or failure, so people cover up their gaps, and the organization suffers accordingly.  Real leaders make themselves accessible and available. They show concern for the efforts and challenges faced by underlings, even as they demand high standards.  Accordingly, they are more likely to create an environment where problem analysis replaces blame.

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS

AFSA Insurance – Life & Health

For information and applications on any of these insurance plans please contact Marsh Affinity Group Servicestoll-free at (800) 882-5541,or online here.  Please note; coverage may vary or not be issued in all States.

  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance Plan
  • Cancer Expense Insurance
  • Group Dental Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Short-Term Recovery Insurance Plan
  • TRICARE Supplement Insurance
  • Life Line Health Screenings

Air Force Junior ROTC (AFJROTC) Employment Opportunities

AFJROTC has employment opportunities for retired or retiring Airmen. AFJROTC operates 880 units worldwide consisting of over 1,900 instructors and 103,000 high school students. For more information about instructor opportunities, call toll free (866) 235-7682, ext. 35112 or 32535. The DSN number is 493-5112 or 2535. You can also click here for complete instructor requirements and application information.

AFSA Partners with LegalShield

No matter how traumatic. No matter how trivial. Whatever your situation, we are here to help. From real estate to divorce advice, identity theft and beyond, we have your rights covered. In addition to this prepaid legal services plan, you can get the experts on your side with the optional Identity Theft Shield plan. Services include access to your credit report (or consumer credit disclosure), consultations, expert restoration and more. To access and login, click here.

Over 20 Other Items of Interest

For a complete and detailed listing of the many benefits to AFSA membership, go to the AFSA webpage and click on the left menu listing “Member Benefits” or just click here.

Scholarships for Air Force Enlisted Members Dependent Children and Air Force Sergeants Association

AFSA and the Airmen Memorial Foundation (AMF) joined together to conduct a scholarship program to financially assist the undergraduate studies of eligible, dependent children of the Total Air Force which includes Air Force Active Duty (AFAD), Air National Guard (ANG) , and Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) enlisted members in active duty, retired, or veteran status. Applications are screened and verified for eligibility prior to submission to the respective selection committee(s). AFSA programs have membership requirements, but there are no association membership requirements for the AMF or CMSAF programs.

Applications for the upcoming academic year will be available between January 1 and March 31.  Completed application packages with all required documents can be sent to AFSA Headquarters between January 1 and March 31.  Incomplete packages or packages received after March 31 are ineligible for consideration.

FROM THE FIELD

What’s On Your Mind?

Is there a particular area of interest you think we should be covering in more detail?  Is there a political situation or definition that we could explain, educate or expound upon that would be beneficial to our membership?  Fill in the blanks…

“I THINK AFSA SHOULD __________.”  Send inputs to: afsaoc@hqafsa.org.


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This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

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