AFSA HQ Newsletter – February 1st

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 & OTHER NEWS

113th Congress; 1st Session

  • Senate: In Session – contact lawmakers via DC offices.
  • House: In Recess (pro Forma only) – contact legislators via local offices.
  • Capwiz: open 24/7/365 – communicate with Congress any time on any subject.

AFSA on the Hill

NewspaperAFSA visited 35 different congressional offices this week, focusing primarily on those individuals who serve on the Armed Services and Veterans’ Committees. The purpose of this first round of meetings is simple: (re)introduce AFSA and its legislative priorities, solicit their input or feedback on critical issues, and solidify or develop new relationships which are necessary for continued success here in Washington.   In less than 30 days DoD faces deep cuts in its spending unless Congress acts to prevent them. Next, the continuing resolution that has been keeping the government running for the last four months expires in just 55 days.  The  Senate and House voted to suspend the nation’s debt ceiling until mid-May. The bill would also withhold lawmakers’ salaries if their respective chambers fail to pass a budget by April 15. We intend to sustain this aggressive effort on Capitol Hill not only to advance AFSA’s objectives, but also to prevent adverse actions against pay and existing benefits. Now is the time for you to get aggressive and support AFSA’s efforts through regular communication with your elected officials. Either as an individual or in a good old fashioned letter writing campaign, CapWiz makes it easy. Check other actions to take under our Legislative tab.

113th Congress: Fewest Veterans Since WW II

The number of veterans serving in the US Congress has been steadily declining over the past 40 years. The 113th session of Congress, serving in both the House and Senate has just 19 percent of their 535 members reporting military service on their resume—down from a peak in 1977 when nearly 80 percent of lawmakers boasted military service. Although past history has shown military service is not a prerequisite to be a positive advocate for those who serve or have served, it does aid their understanding of what military service entails for both the service member and their family. This dwindling level of military experience in Congress accentuates the need for AFSA members to communicate their service-related challenges, experiences and sacrifices with their elected officials. To communicate with your elected officials you may phone Congress at 1-888-762-8760 or send them correspondence via AFSA’s CapWiz page. The list of both the US House and Senate with military service can be found HERE, where the Republicans are listed in Red, Democrats are listed in blue.

Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel Faces SECDEF Confirmation Hearing

Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, began the process of confirmation for the top job in the Defense Department. While Sen. Hagel brings with him the respect of being an enlisted Vietnam Vet who was injured twice, he also faces some controversy with regard to various countries in the Middle East. If not confirmed, DC rumors indicate another candidate might be Ashton Carter who presently serves as Deputy to current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Director of ANG Retires

(Copied from www.ang.af.mil) Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, Air National Guard director, retired after more than 40 years of military service during a ceremony Tuesday hosted by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin at Joint Base Andrews, Md. The Air Force Chief of Staff Air Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Chief Master Sgt. James A. Cody and other dignitaries attended.

Wyatt, an Oklahoma Air National Guardsman, served as the ANG director since Feb. 1, 2009. He was responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, plans, and programs affecting more than 106,700 ANG members in 89 wings and more than 200 geographically separated units throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

Following Wyatt’s departure, Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, the commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, 1st Air Force, a ssume d  the top leadership role in the ANG in late February.

Passing of the former acting Secretary of VA Gordon Mansfield

On January 29, VA announced the passing of former Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gordon H. Mansfield. “Mansfield triumphed over debilitating combat wounds to earn the respect and admiration of veterans of every generation through his years of devotion to Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Wounded Warrior Project, and to VA,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said in a statement. “On behalf of America’s 22 million veterans, I salute the memory of a brave man, a great patriot, a devoted public servant, and a tireless advocate for all veterans.” Funeral arrangements for the former secretary are pending and will be announced when the details are finalized. On behalf of all of the men and women of AFSA, Gordon’s presence and leadership will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time.

LEADERSHIP THOUGHTS

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

“Don’t be afraid to challenge the pros, even in their own backyard.”

“Learn from the pros, observe them, seek them out as mentors and partners. But remember that even the pros may have leveled out in terms of their learning and skills. Sometimes even the pros can become complacent and lazy. Leadership does not emerge from blind obedience to anyone. Xerox’s Barry Rand was right on target when he warned his people that if you have a yes-man working for you, one of you is redundant. Good leadership encourages everyone’s evolution.”

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

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS

Insurance: Property & Casualty

Protect what’s important to you with affordable insurance from USAA. USAA offers top-rated coverage at low rates. Combine that with award-winning service — in fact, USAA was ranked one of Business Week’s top two “Customer Service Champs” the last four years in a row. To make it easy for you, you can do it all online — quote, buy, print ID cards, and much more. Call USAA at (800) 531-8722 or go online here.

Apple Systems

Thinking about buying a Mac, iPod, or IPhone? Shop through the AFSA partnered website here, or call (800) MY-APPLE (be sure to request your AFSA member discount when calling Apple).

Dell Computers

Dell offers exclusive discounts and promotions for AFSA Members on notebooks, mini laptops, work stations and much more. Check by logging on 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.


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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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