AFSA HQ Newsletter – March 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 Session – contact legislators via DC offices
  • Congressional Switchboard: 1 (888) 762-8760 (Note: the operator will help you contact your elected officials).
  • Capwiz: open 24/7/365 – communicate with Congress at any time on any subject

“Cliff Diving”

By this time this weekly round-up hits the AFSA webpage, sequestration will have been triggered, and a slow but steady series of changes with defense-related programs will have begun.  A pair of half-hearted attempts (one Republican, one Democrat) to stop the automatic cuts failed miserably in the Senate on Thursday.  In truth, neither proposal stood a chance of being approved because neither party has compromised their position enough to facilitate its passage.  A growing number of folks in here Washington say it will be some time before we will see a fix applied.  More to come folks!

FY 2013 Appropriations Update

In our travels this week, AFSA learned that House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) will soon introduce a new continuing resolution that keeps most federal agencies running at fiscal 2012 funding levels for the remainder of the year and a pair of stand-alone bills for defense and Military Construction-VA.  Our sources say this legislation could be dropped as early as Monday, March 4.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

On Wednesday March 6th at 10:00 AM your AFSA CEO will testify before a special session of the House and Senate Affairs Committees.  “Doc” will discuss a number of veterans-related concerns currently on the AFSA legislative platform to include the VA claims process; veterans education benefits and survivor benefit programs.

AFSA in the Room(s)

DoD Fiscal Challenges – House Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense heard testimony from the five Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding impacts of sequestration upon their respective services. While they all had valid points that would correlate between branches there were some noteworthy comments from CSAF General Mark Welsh. He said if enacted, sequestration would cost the USAF 35 million man-hours in furloughs and 200,000 flying hours. Given that 40% of the USAF cyber workforce is civilian and that over half of the pilots out of training would no longer be mission ready, sequestration not only affects budgets it has a direct impact on USAF capabilities.

Electronic Records About Face –The House Veterans Affairs Committee heard testimony on Wednesday from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense regarding their recent plan to abandon pursuit of an integrated electronic health record system, commonly referred to as iEHRS.  Also present was a representative from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) who provided a telling report on the lack of planning and oversight by both departments. There were many heated moments during the hearing and   to some observers,   it appeared that the DoD had drawn most of the fire from Congress. Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL) said, “The discussions over the past decade did NOT have expectations( that)   the outcome would be more discussions.” Rep. Miller and other members on the committee were obviously bothered by the continued talk and lack of results.  AFSA shares in this frustration.  Later that evening your AFSA team had an opportunity to discuss these matters in person with Rep. Miller.  All four of your Congressional Advocates took the time to share examples of your “claims” and stories of processes delays and frustrations and their adverse impact on you.

Military Medical Experts Urge Caution on Dietary Health Supplements

On Monday the Health.mil staff issued a caution to beneficiaries who use dietary health supplements. Considering the risks these substances pose if used improperly, we felt it appropriate to share their sage advice [excerpted] below.

“In an effort to adopt a healthier lifestyle, many people reach for nutrient-rich vitamins, energy drinks and dietary supplements to pursue the goal of total wellness. But, there are health risks attached to taking dietary supplements, especially for those with pre-existing conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. While there is no single federal banned list of dietary supplements or ingredients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found that many dietary supplements—especially weight-loss, bodybuilding, and sexual-enhancement products—may contain ingredients that could be harmful. In some cases, ingredients in supplements may produce unwanted results in urinalysis testing as well. DoD’s Human Performance Resource Center, Operation Supplement Safety webpage (http://hprc-online.org/dietary-supplements/opss) offers online information for the military community about the safety of energy drinks and answers frequently asked questions. Additional information related to dietary supplements and drug testing can be found by reading DODI 1010.01, Military Personnel Drug Abuse Testing Program (MPDATP).

Exchange Looking for Team Spirit

DALLAS – Sports fans understand the importance of loyalty, sacrifice, and devotion better than most and the Exchange wants to see their spirit in action. Whether it’s a great tailgating experience, your best friends spelling out” D-FENCE” in the freezing cold, or just you and your family basking in the glory of a hard fought win. Show off your team spirit, send us a photo, and you could win a Sharp 60” LED TV.

The Exchange’s “Show Us Your Team Spirit” contest sponsored by Sharp, Jack Links, Just Born and Hershey, begins March 4 and authorized customers have until April 10 to submit their spirited photos. For complete rules and a link to the contests Facebook App go to shopmyexchange.com/patriotfamily.

“There are some huge sports fans out there, and we want them to share their experiences with us,” said the Exchange’s Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Tony Pearson. “This contest, through social media, will show the passion these fans have for their teams. It should be really exciting”

To enter, upload a digital photograph of yourself alone or with friends or family members showing your team spirit to the Exchange’s Facebook contest application. Five winners will be randomly selected. Prizes include a Sharp 60” LED TV or 1 of 4 Exchange gift cards valued at $250 each.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is a joint non-appropriated fund instrumentality of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors which is responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force through the Service Chiefs of Staff. The Exchange has the dual mission of providing authorized patrons with quality merchandise and services at competitively low prices and generating non-appropriated fund earnings as a supplemental source of funding for military morale, welfare and recreation programs. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site, click here.

Deadline for the Illinois Special General Election

The State of Illinois will conduct a Special General Election on Tuesday, April 9, 2013, for the 2nd Congressional District in order to fill the recent vacancy created by the resignation of Jesse Jackson, Jr.   This district consists of parts of the City of Chicago, south suburban Cook County, Kankakee County, and Will County. Every military and overseas voter from the 2nd Congressional District who wishes to participate in this election must submit a new Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for 2013 elections if you have not already done so this year. Your FPCA can be submitted electronically or by mail or fax. You may choose to use the automated tool at FVAP.gov to prepare and print your forms. FPCA forms are also available in embassies, consulates, and military installations around the world.

LEADERSHIP THOUGHTS

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

“Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.”

Too often, change is stifled by people who cling to familiar turfs and job descriptions. One reason that even large organizations wither is that managers won’t challenge old, comfortable ways of doing things. But real leaders understand that, nowadays, every one of our jobs is becoming obsolete. The proper response is to obsolete our activities before someone else does. Effective leaders create a climate where people’s worth is determined by their willingness to learn new skills and grab new responsibilities, thus perpetually reinventing their jobs. The most important question in performance evaluation becomes not, “How well did you perform your job since the last time we met?” but, “How much did you change it?”

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS

AFSA Insurance – Life & Health

For information and applications on any of these insurance plans please contact Marsh Affinity Group Services toll-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

Hyatt Hotels Discount

The Air Force Sergeants Association is thrilled to announce our newest member service provider, Hyatt U.S.A. AFSA and AFSA International Auxiliary members are able to book rooms at any Hyatt Hotel in the U.S. at a discount of 5% off the Government Per Diem rate Thursday through Monday and receive the Government Per Diem rate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, based on availability. For more information, please visit our website at www.hqafsa.org under Services – Member Benefits, or call Member & Field Relations at (800) 638-0594.

Great Wolf Lodge Discount

AFSA members get 10% off Great Wolf Lodge’s best available rates! Clear your calendar, pack your swimsuit, and head to any of Great Wolf Lodge’s eleven Resorts. Just imagine — colossal indoor waterparks, exciting arcade, a luxurious spa and fantastic restaurants — all under one roof. After all, you deserve a little fun for all your hard work! click here, or call (800) 905-9653 and use corporate code AIRF207A.

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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