AFSA HQ Newsletter – May 10th

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; Week of May 12- 18, 2013

  • Senate: In Session – contact lawmakers via DC offices
  • House: In Session – contact legislators via DC offices
  • Capwiz: open 24/7/365 – communicate with Congress at any time on any subject

SECAF Asked for Money; Sexual Assault Ruled

In what was likely his last appearance at the Senate Armed Services Committee before his retirement June 21st, Secretary of the Air Force Mike Donley was joined by CSAF General Mark Welsh to discuss USAF budgets for FY14 and beyond.  What ensued was anything but financially related.

In their opening statements, SASC Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK) both mentioned sexual assault in the military and highlighted recent headline events associated with the USAF.  Both Secretary Donley and General Welsh stayed on script with their opening statements and focused on fiscal concerns.  “We’ve been consuming Air Force Readiness for years,” said Donley in the early questioning.  “But with FY13 cuts, the hole we’ve been trying to dig out of has just gotten deeper” he went on to say.

Then, as if on cue, the deluge of sexual assault questions began.  Topics ranging from Lackland’s BMT scandal to allegations of sexual battery by the service’s top officer for sexual assault prevention stole the show.  Almost every member of the committee chimed in, but without a doubt Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was the most outspoken.  At one point the exchange between her and General Welsh became quite tense.  The Senator made her case rather pointedly but the General responded with his military bearing on full display.  In the end, it became clear that both Sen. Gillibrand and Gen. Welsh want to resolve sexual assault.

Overshadowed in the lengthy hearing was the subject of proposed budgets.  What many news agencies missed was a brief line of direct questioning from the SASC Chair; but it was not lost on your AFSA advocate in the room.  Sen. Levin framed his question by first listing issues like the TRICARE enrollment fees and Pharmacy co-pays being increased as part of the Administration’s proposed FY14 budget.  He then asked to both individually “Do you support the president’s proposals?”  Secretary Donley and General Welsh both answered “yes.”

HVAC Handles Business

When describing legislative action on Capitol Hill, it’s not often the words speedy and efficient make the headlines.  Not the case in Wednesday’s House Veterans Affairs Committee “mark up” hearing.  It was amicable and productive as Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Ranking Member Mike Michaud (D-ME) ran a precise hearing with the help of a well prepared and fully attended Committee.  From start to finish it took roughly 30 minutes to cover amendments and vote on nine different bills.  With two exceptions, all passed unanimously and will be reported to the full House of Representatives; a significant step in the process of getting legislation signed into law.  A listing of the bills covered follows:

  • H.R. 357 (Rep Miller R-FL), GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013
  • H.R. 570 (Rep Runyan, R-NJ), American Heroes COLA Act
  • H.R. 602 (Rep Miller, R-FL), Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act
  • H.R. 671 (Rep Pingree, D-ME), Ruth Moore Act of 2013; includes military sexual trauma as a consideration for PTSD with regard to disability claims in the VA.
  • H.R. 1405 (Rep Titus, D-NV), requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to include an appeals form in any notice of decision issued for the denial of a benefit sought.  {{This bill absorbed three other bills into it as amendments, they are: H.R. 679 (Walz, D-MN), Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act; H.R. 733 (Runyan, R-NJ), Access to Veterans Benefits Improvement Act; and H.R. 894 (Johnson, R-OH), improves the supervision of fiduciaries of veterans under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.}}
  • H.R. 1412 (Rep Coffman, R-CO), Improving Job Opportunities for Veterans Act

Help When You Need It

Moving Forward is an online program that helps overcome life’s challenges.  Designed specifically for Veterans and military service members, but can anyone can use it to make problems more manageable.

Total Force Community Assessment

For the first time, the USAF will run an assessment that will be administered to the Total Force.  Members from all three USAF components (Active Duty, Guard, Reserve), their spouses and civilian employees will each be able to submit their inputs. The assessment plays a key role in identifying where resources are needed most to enhance the well-being of the entire Air Force community.

“Everything we do depends on our people, the living engine of our Air Force,” said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. “The entire Air Force leadership team is committed to doing all we can to support our Total Force Airmen and their families. We know that through your valuable input, the state of our Air Force will remain strong, ready and capable of delivering airpower, whenever and wherever the nation calls.”

For the full story and contact information click here

AFSA POLL STILL OPEN

What’s Important to You?

To get a better sense of how to answer this question, we’ve created an informal Poll on CapWiz so you can tell us what you value the most. We’ve created a list on a number of benefits that AFSA hears is important to you.  While all have value, help us dial in on what is most important by prioritizing your top 10.  Use the tabs on the AFSA web page or just click here.

LEADERSHIP THOUGHTS

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

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

“Effective leaders understand the KISS principle; Keep It Simple, Stupid. They articulate vivid, over-arching goals and values, which they use to drive daily behaviors and choices among competing alternatives. Their visions and priorities are lean and compelling, not cluttered and buzzword-laden. Their decisions are crisp and clear, not tentative and ambiguous. They convey an unwavering firmness and consistency in their actions, aligned with the picture of the future they paint. The result: clarity of purpose, credibility of leadership, and integrity in organization.”

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS

AFSA New Member Term Life Insurance Benefit

New AFSA members under the age of 40 receive $10,000 of Term Life Insurance provided at no-cost for 12 months. For more information click here, or call Marsh Affinity Group Services toll-free at (800) 882-5541.

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.

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.

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.

MOVING?   Please keep AFSA informed of your new mailing address to facilitate timely receipt of your magazine.  Easy to do, just call us at 1-800-6380594 or email staff@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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