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DoD audit readiness
A bill proposed by four Senators would impose penalties on the Department of Defense if the department does not meet its goal of being audit ready by the end of 2017.

The Audit the Pentagon Act of 2015 (S. 327) was introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) last week.

In a press release, Sen. Manchin said “it is simply unacceptable that the Department of Defense is the only major federal agency that has not completed a financial audit. Our bill will help to solve that problem.” Noting that DoD has consistently expressed its commitment to achieving a full audit, Manchin said “Congress should hold them to that.” A similar press release was issued by Sen. Wyden.

Both Manchin and Wyden expressed frustration that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) continues to label “the Department of Defense “High Risk” for waste, fraud abuse and mismanagement due to the agency’s inability to adequately manage its funds.”

Under the proposed bill, if DoD does not meet its audit goal in 2017, congress will increase its oversight every year thereafter leading to the termination of reprogramming a transfer authority of funds. However, If DoD achieves an unqualified audit “which analyzes both the internal systems of control and the details in the agency’s financial records,” the department will get additional transfer authority to use in the following year.
 
 
Army Materiel Command Leadership Team Assesses Logistics Role in Pacific

A leadership team from the U.S. Army Materiel Command, or AMC, recently assessed the organization's role in South Korea, a country where the United States has sustained a 60-plus year alliance touted as one of history's most successful partnerships.

AMC Commander Gen. Dennis L. Via led a team there in early February that included the organization's highest ranking civilian, most senior enlisted leader, and top logistician. The team evaluated the capabilities and requirements of the command to respond to the needs of commanders and forces in the Pacific region.

In his third command visit to South Korea as AMC commander, Via said he was impressed with recent modernizations and praised cost-sharing efforts that are providing support for labor, supplies, services and construction.

The United States invests about a $1 billion annually to station U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula, while South Korea contributed about $867 million to the effort in 2014, following a recent agreement spanning to 2018. That share stimulates the economy through salaries to host-nation workers and supply and service contracts.

Read more.. .

 
Ashton Carter sworn in as secretary of defense
Ashton Carter was sworn in Tuesday as President Barack Obama's fourth secretary of defense.

The 25th defense chief was sworn in at the White House by Vice President Joe Biden. He replaces Chuck Hagel.

Biden called Carter a "profoundly capable manager" who has the "universal respect and affection" from the people he works with.

"If anyone is made for this job, if there's a job description that fit a person, this is the guy that fits the job description," Biden said.

Carter said the position is the "highest calling" and he wanted to make three commitments to the department, the Obama administration and the country's citizens.

He said he wants to "help our president make the best possible decisions about our security and the security of the world" and "make sure our department executes our decisions."

Carter said he's also committed to protecting the men and women of the Department of Defense, and "building a force for our future."

 Read more...

 
Department of Defense holds public meeting to discuss budget cuts

In lieu of budget cuts, the Department of Defense has been tasked to cut the nation's defenses across the world, and Fort Benning will be affected.

The Department of Defense is conducting listening sessions all across the country to discuss how these potential cuts could impact the regions where U.S. military bases are located. 

Governor Nathan Deal, Congressman Sanford Bishop, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and a host of other heavy hitters attended the meeting to discuss just how big of an impact downsizing Fort Benning will be to this community.

Both the private and public sectors in the Greater Columbus region have invested about $3.6 billion just to meet the needs of the soldiers on Fort Benning.

That includes, among other things, the building of new homes, new schools, and new infrastructure.

Now, the Army has to cut almost 14,000 jobs; that's military personnel, civilians, and contractors. So if those jobs leave the region, it could potentially reduce our population by about 27,000 people and according the Chamber of Commerce that could mean a loss of about $1.3 billion in total wages, retail sales, and tax collections.

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Proposal would make it more difficult to discharge transgender soldiers

The decision to discharge transgender soldiers from the U.S. Army would be made by a top, senior civilian official under a plan outlined in a draft document obtained by USA Today.

 The newly discovered directive, obtained by USA Today, does not eliminate the rule that allows transgender soldiers to be discharged for their gender identity, but the proposal would make it more difficult to remove such troops from service.

Instead of being made by lower-level Army officers, the memorandum says, the decision to discharge transgender soldiers would be made by the assistant secretary of the Army for personnel.

Currently, transgender troops can be automatically dismissed from service on medical grounds once they are identified.

Read more...

 
Army releases verdicts of January courts-martial

The following January courts-martial results were released last week by the Army:

First Judicial Circuit

  • On Jan. 7 at a general-court martial convened at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C., 2nd Lt. Eric J. Wilson was convicted by a military judge of one specification of absence without leave and one specification of disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer. The military judge sentenced the accused to be reprimanded and to forfeit $2,000 pay per month for two months.
  • On Jan. 14 at a special court-martial convened at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Spc. Anthony D. Vallone was acquitted by a military panel composed of officer members of one specification of the wrongful use of marijuana.
  • On Jan. 21 at a general court-martial convened at Fort Drum, New York, Spc. Gerald M. Kinloch was convicted by a military judge of three specifications of misappropriation of more than $500 and three specifications of impersonation with intent to defraud. The military judge sentenced the accused to be reduced to E-1, to be confined for 18 months and to a bad conduct discharge.
  • On Jan. 22 at a general court-martial convened at Fort Campbell, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah D. Austin was convicted by a military judge, pursuant to his pleas, of one specification of sexual abuse of a child. Contrary to his pleas, the military judge convicted the accused of one specification of aggravated sexual contact with a child, four specifications of sexual abuse of a child, one specification of indecent acts with a child and one specification of an indecent act. The military judge sentenced the accused to be reduced to the grade of E-1, to be confined for 10 years and to a dishonorable discharge.
 
Study: 'U.S. Army officers lie' routinely
U.S. Army officers often resort to "evasion and deception," and everyone at the Pentagon knows it, according to a new study conducted by the U.S. Army War College.

"In other words, in the routine performance of their duties as leaders and commanders, U.S. Army officers lie," reads the study, which was conducted by the War College's Strategic Studies Institute.

The 33-page report, compiled following interviews with officers across the Army, concluded that the Army's culture is rife with "dishonesty and deception" at all levels of the institution -- from the most junior members to senior Army officials.

The study's results come after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel -- who officially left his post Tuesday -- had raised concerns over ethics in the military. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon's press secretary, said two weeks ago that Hagel was "deeply troubled" over a spate of ethics investigations in the military.

"I think he's generally concerned that there could be at least at some level a breakdown in ethical behavior and in the demonstration of moral courage," Kirby said of Hagel.

Read more...

 
Lombardi Jr. says dad's sweater should be 'treasured'
he son of Vince Lombardi is a little surprised that a West Point football sweater worn by his famous father nearly 65 years ago is going to fetch more than $20,000 at an auction this weekend.

On a personal level Vince Lombardi Jr. has wonderful memories of the five years his father spent as an assistant football coach at the service academy before going on to become an assistant coach with the New York Giants and then to the Green Bay Packers as head coach.

The sweater in question was purchased for 58 cents by Sean and Rikki McEvoy of Knoxville at the Goodwill Outlet on Patton Avenue last summer. The sweater will be sold Saturday night during Heritage Auctions Platinum Night in New York City. There is a bid for $22,000 on the piece of clothing that has some holes in it but otherwise is in decent shape.

Read more...

 
US military to train Kiev troops fighting in E. Ukraine

Previously, the Pentagon said that the US military training would be provided to 600 members of the Ukrainian National Guard, The Washington Post reported.

The officers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in northeast Italy will be deployed to Ukraine as part of the plan, said Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman.

According to Hillman, the military aid requested by the Kiev authorities was to help the formation and strengthening of the National Guard, which Kiev launched shortly after the coup in February 2014.

Read more...

 
McHugh visits Service members at Joint Task Force Guantanamo

Describing their unique mission as often misunderstood and certainly under-appreciated, Secretary of the Army John McHugh met with Soldiers who comprise the guard force at the detention facilities at Joint Task Force Guantanamo, Cuba, or JTF-GTMO, Feb. 9.

This was McHugh's second trip to GTMO, although it was his first as Army secretary. McHugh said the last time he was on the island -- located just 90 miles from the U.S. mainland -- was more than 20 years ago when he was a U.S. Congressman from New York. That was long before the JTF was established.

While much has changed in two decades, "The one constant over that whole time is our Soldiers' willingness to serve," McHugh said.

McHugh said he was honored to meet the Soldiers and Service men and women who perform a vital security mission for the United States. Their hard work and dedication help to make America and the world a safer place, he said.

"I'm here today as your secretary," McHugh said during a town hall meeting, "greatly humbled by what you do each and every day."

Read more...

 
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