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DoD budget highlights technology for military's future

In President Barack Obama's 2016 federal budget, Defense Department priorities include a number of tech-focused initiatives that officials hope will start to mold the military of the future.

DoD's $585 billion budget request looks to undo the damage of sequestration by modernizing the military and many of its aging systems, as well as by training and equipping a smaller, more agile force. The budget includes billions in science, technology, research and development spending, and outlines investments for improving acquisition and driving innovation.

"The budget finishes the job of reversing mindless austerity budgeting and makes needed investments in key priorities, even while setting the nation on a fiscally responsible course," the budget documents state. "The proposed increases in the discretionary budget caps make room for a range of domestic and security investments that will help move the nation forward."

Read more...

 
$70M sought for new sewage treatment plant at West Point

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) - Sen. Charles Schumer says he'll fight to make sure $70 million in funding for a new wastewater treatment plant at West Point stays in President Barack Obama's proposed federal budget.

The Times Herald-Record of Middletown reports (http://bit.ly/18NlLvD ) the New York Democrat announced this week that the proposed funding was included in the spending plan that Congress will consider.

The money would be used to replace the U.S. Military Academy's aging sewage plant, built in 1956 and upgraded 16 years later.

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Army revokes Silver Star award for USMA 2002 grad

Capt. Mathew L. Golsteyn was leading a Special Forces team in Afghanistan in 2010 when an 80-man mission he assembled to hunt insurgent snipers went awry. One of the unit’s five vehicles sank in mud, a gunshot incapacitated an Afghan soldier fighting alongside the Americans, and insurgents maneuvered on them to rake the soggy fields with machine-gun fire.

Golsteyn, already a decorated Green Beret officer, responded with calm resolve and braved enemy fire repeatedly that day, according to an Army summary of his actions. He received the Silver Star for valor for his actions during a 2011 ceremony at Fort Bragg, N.C. Top Army officials later approved him for an upgrade to the prestigious Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor in recognizing combat heroism by U.S. soldiers.

In a rare reversal, however, Golsteyn, now a major, no longer has either award. The officer, a former member of the 3rd Special Forces Group and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., was later investigated for an undisclosed violation of the military’s rules of engagement in combat for killing a known enemy fighter and bomb maker, according to officials familiar with the case. The investigation closed last year without Golsteyn’s being charged with a crime, but Army Secretary John M. McHugh decided not only to deny Golsteyn the Distinguished Service Cross, but also to revoke his Silver Star.

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ACLU/woman's group sues DoD

Advocates for military women are suing the Department of Defense for information about how the Naval Academy and the other military service academies recruit female students — part of a campaign, they say, to expose ongoing gender bias at the elite training grounds for the nation's officer corps.

The Naval Academy "directs no specific recruiting efforts toward women and has failed to admit women in numbers even closely equivalent to those of men," the American Civil Liberties Union and Service Women's Action Network allege in the suit, filed Tuesday morning in federal district court.

The groups argue that the limited numbers of women admitted to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, contribute to discrimination and sexual harassment at the institutions.

The groups filed the lawsuit after receiving what they say was an insufficient response to federal Freedom of Information Act requests in November.

In those requests, they sought detailed records about the recruitment and admission of female students, information about any quotas on female students, and how the academies handle reports of sexual assault and harassment.

 

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Zilinski Memorial Fund donates funds to NJ Vietnam veterans
Representatives of the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II  Memorial Fund recently visited the NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial to make a special donation of $5,000 toward the Annual Interdisciplinary Forum on the Vietnam Era.

The fund was created and founded in 2006 in order to honor local resident 1st Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II, United States Army, who was killed in action while deployed in Iraq on November 19, 2005.

Continued education of our youth is paramount to understanding the Vietnam War, said Dennis W. Zilinski, a Vietnam Veteran and the proud father of 1Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II.

Part of the mission of the Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski, II  Memorial Fund is to bring awareness of the sacrifices made by our military servicemen/women, which include Veterans of the Vietnam War.
 
 
US military explores biometric replacement for passwords
The US military is investing millions of dollars in a biometric identification system which could replace the traditional password for web users.

As reported by Sky News, the US military has signed a multimillion-dollar deal for researchers at West Point, the home of the agency's military academy. The team is working on what are called "cognitive fingerprints," which do not use physical characteristics to identify someone, but behavioral traits.

West Point hopes to develop cognitive fingerprint algorithms which learn and recognize patterns of behavior based on how someone uses a mobile device. Whether this relates to how someone swipes their smartphone screen or moves a cursor, patterns are identified and applied to a user in order to verify who they are.
 
 
DoD to review 15 recommendations on compensation, retirement
The military retirement system, health care and commissaries and exchanges are some of the targets of a new report that looks at overhauling military pay and retirement, health benefits and quality of life programs.
 
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission released a 300-page report Thursday.
 
The report on military compensation and retirement modernization included 15 recommendations that will be reviewed by the Department of Defense.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the recommendations would guide the Department of Defense as it moves forward.
 
"We have to remember the two highest and most solemn obligations this country has to its military: to ensure our troops and their families are fairly and appropriately compensated and cared for during and after their time in uniform," Hagel said in a news release.
 
President Rivlin Visits West Point US Military Academy
On the second day of his visit to New York, President Reuven Rivlin visited West Point US Military Academy, where he was received by Dean of the Academic Board, Brigadier General Timothy E. Trainor.

The President was welcomed with a Guard of Honor, and the playing of both the Israeli and US national anthems. During his visit, the President met with around 40 cadets and heard from them about their training and expectations of their military service.

Rivlin laid a wreath at the grave of Gen. David Daniel “Mickey” Marcus, known as the first IDF General, who came to Israel from the USA to join in the War of Independence, and greatly contributed to Israel’s fledgling military abilities. He was tragically shot and killed by ‘friendly fire’ and brought back to the US for burial at West Point.
 
Fort Hood lacked system to identify soldier as threat
 A U.S. Army report says Fort Hood did not have a system in place that could have anticipated a deadly rampage last April that left four soldiers dead and 16 wounded.

The report released Friday says there were no clear warnings that Spc. Ivan Lopez would go on a two-block shooting spree before killing himself. It concluded Lopez's supervisors would have had difficulty recognizing any personal problems leading up to the attack.

The report found that no single factor prompted the incident, despite Army investigators' previous findings that Lopez was in an argument over a leave request before the shooting.
 
 
DoD won't change social media policy
espite the high-profile Jan. 12 hacking incident that resulted in the takeover of U.S. Central Command's official Twitter and YouTube accounts, Defense Department officials have no plans to reevaluate policy on the use of social media, according to a DoD spokesperson.

Currently, official DoD social media accounts are subject to guidance from September 2012 that outlines military members' use of social media. In the wake of the CENTCOM incident, DoD officials called for passwords to be changed at more than 50 Office of the Secretary of Defense-level social media accounts. But no new or special guidance has been issued for the thousands of other official, military-affiliated social media accounts as leaders are reviewing practices, DoD spokesman Col. Steve Warren said in a Jan. 13 press conference.
 
 
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