Retiree & Veteran Affairs News 13 November 2012 

11/13/2012 

171,000 Retirees Likely To Lose TRICARE Prime Option

Philpott | November 08, 2012

With the presidential election over, Defense officials are expected to announce soon that military retirees and their dependents living more than 40 miles from a military treatment facility or base closure site will lose access to TRICARE Prime, the military's managed care option.

These beneficiaries would be expected to shift to TRICARE Standard, their fee-for-service insurance option, which would mean an increase in out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries who are frequent users of health services.

A total of 171,000 retirees and dependents are expected to have to shift coverage when remote Prime networks go away.  Tentative plans are for this to occur April 1 in the West Region, which would coincide with UnitedHealth Military and Veterans Services taking over the region's support contract from TriWest Healthcare Alliance after 16 years.

The North and South TRICARE regions are expected to close down Prime service areas beyond 40-mile catchment areas of bases or base closure sites by Oct. 1, 2013, the date when current Prime enrollment periods expire for most beneficiaries.

Active duty members and their families generally would not be impacted.  Drilling National Guard members and reservists living far from military bases could see small increases to health costs.  This would occur if they have been taking advantage of modest discounts available under TRICARE Reserve Select when network providers are used.  Such discounts would end in areas far from bases if the Prime option goes away.

Under TRICARE Prime, beneficiaries get managed care through providers in the network.  They pay an annual enrollment fee of $269.28 for individual coverage or $538.56 for family coverage.  Retirees and family members also are charged co-pays of $12 for each doctor visit.

Under TRICARE Standard, beneficiaries can choose their own physicians and pay no annual enrollment fee.  But when they need care, retirees must cover 25 percent of allowable charges.  Retirees also have an annual deductible of $150 for the individual or $300 per family.  Total out-of-pocket costs, however, are capped at $3000 per family.

In most Prime service areas, about half of eligible retirees already choose to use Standard rather than enroll in the network.

The end of Prime outside of 40-mile "catchment" areas of military treatment facilities has been anticipated since 2007, when Defense officials drafted the third generation of TRICARE support contracts.  It called for returning the managed care option to its original concept of being a backup network to military clinics and hospitals when they can't provide managed care to all beneficiaries living nearby or in areas where bases have been closed and military health facilities shuttered.

Through the first two TRICARE contracts, on the assumption that managed care saved money for the government, contractors had financial incentive to establish networks beyond 40-mile catchment areas.  In the South Region, for example, the contractor has offered Prime everywhere.  But experience has shown that providing Prime far from bases can add costs to the system, TRICARE officials concluded.

Though they wrote the new generation of support contracts to constrict Prime service areas, health officials wanted the shift to occur across all regions simultaneously.  That hasn't been possible until now because of delays in finalizing contract awards, the result of multiple protests and even a few reversals of original contract awards.

Contracts for every region are now settled.  Health Net Federal Services has been running the North Region under the new contract since April 2011.  Humana Military Healthcare Services has operated the South Region under the new contract since April this year.  But all Prime service areas have been maintained with contract modifications, awaiting final word from Defense that Prime area restrictions are to be implemented.

The new contracts were drafted during the Bush administration and are intended to be more comprehensive and efficient.  But sensitive to how a change in Prime eligibility might be used by politicians this fall, Defense officials ordered plans to end Prime for retirees living outside catchment areas, including draft notification letters, shelved until after the election.

Plans for implementation have not changed, congressional and health sources said.  But they also have not been announced officially yet. 

"The Department is considering whether to maintain the same number of PSAs (Prime service areas) as it has now," said Cynthia O. Smith, a spokeswoman for the Department of Defense.  Until a decision is final on reducing PSAs, the department won't confirm the number of beneficiaries potentially impacted or the likely dates for executing the changes.

Some members of Congress already are concerned.  Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) told Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, in recent letter he was "dismayed" by news reports that Prime "will be cut for many of the military families and constituents I represent, not only in Reno but also throughout the northern part of the state."

Heller said the plan would cause "more out-of-pocket expenses and longer drive times…I am very troubled by these changes and am concerned that these alterations are not being made in a transparent manner.  If changes are made, I hope you will notify those affected immediately."

A spokesman for Heller said Woodson had not yet answered the letter. Given the nation's debt crisis and the budget cuts looming for defense programs, Congress is not expected to block this long-standing plan to tighten access to Prime if the intent is to hold down costs.  Doing so likely would require lawmakers to find equivalent budget savings elsewhere.

Write Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, or email milupdate@aol.comor twitter: Tom Philpott @Military_Update.

November is Warrior Care Month

Warrior Care Month, initiated in 2008, is observed by the military services each November. This is a time to reaffirm a commitment to quality health care, education and careers for our nation's wounded, ill and injured Servicemembers. The theme for this year's joint observance is "Success through Transition - Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship." For more information, visit the U.S. Army's Stand-To! website at: http://www.army.mil/standto/archive/issue.php?issue=2012-11-01

AUSA Military Family Fora Available for Viewing

The purpose of AUSA’s 2012 Military Family Fora was to bring to the forefront the issues surrounding reintegration and highlight the resilience of Army families. Through the presentations offered on October 22-24, 2012 various speakers and panelists were able to discuss matters and activities pertaining to behavioral health, wounded warrior family support, surviving family member support, and the education and resilience of our military children. In addition, we were honored to have Army senior leadership share their thoughts and ideas for the way forward to an in-house and virtual audience of close to 900 participants.  To view the 2012 Military Family Forums click:   http://www.ausa.org/resources/familyprograms/Pages/default.aspx

Army Report on Sustainability

The U.S. Army has released the Army Sustainability Report 2012, which describes the Army's sustainability efforts and progress during years 2010 and 2011. This fourth Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) -based report documents the Army's status, achievements, and trends associated with relevant indicators of sustainability. Like the previous report, the Army Sustainability Report 2012 is oriented to the four core enterprises: materiel, readiness, human capital, and services and infrastructure. Each section addresses topics of note, reports progress against the relevant sustainability metrics, and highlights successes. The U.S. Army Sustainability Report 2012 is available online at: http://usarmy.vo.llnwd.net/e2/c/downloads/269536.pdf

New York National Guard Troops Aid Neighbors

Members of the New York National Guard distributed critically needed fuel throughout the New York City area as residents and local authorities continue with cleanup and recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast. The fuel was provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and distributed at National Guard armories in Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn as a response to gas stations and other infrastructure being shut down as a result of Sandy. In addition to fuel, they are also helping to distribute food, water, some much needed clothing and blankets as the weather gets colder. The response from the community has been especially supportive and appreciative to the National Guard as well.  View more at: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118446

Guardsmen Send Supplies to Storm-stricken Communities

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) tapped the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing here as a staging area to push out much-needed relief supplies to West Virginia and East Coast residents hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.  The collaboration continues to illustrate the dedication and commitment levels of the men and women who serve in the joint operating environment of the West Virginia National Guard.  West Virginia National Guard worked in tandem to ensure that emergency supplies trucked in from around the country were distributed to those in need. Some areas of West Virginia reportedly received up to 80 inches of snow.  To read further about this subject, please see: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118441

Presidential Inaugural Support Remains Vital Military Mission

The U.S. military takes great pride in the centuries-old tradition of supporting the presidential inauguration and recognizing the president as Commander in Chief.  Military involvement in ceremonies welcoming a president dates back to the very first inauguration, when the militia and Revolutionary War veterans escorted then-President [George] Washington to New York for his inauguration.  The 57th presidential inauguration will have about 5,000 Servicemembers involved and a total of 12,000 participants.  So the military continues to carry on a long tradition of supporting and recognizing the commander-in-chief as the world looks on. For the entire article, please click: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118471

Blue Star Family Survey

How has your Army family fared after 11 years of war? Blue Star Families wants to know! The annual BSF Military Family Lifestyle Survey is open from now through early December for all active duty, National Guard, Reserve and veteran families and Servicemembers. This is the fourth annual survey conducted by Blue Star Families, and previous results have informed local and national policy and have been referenced by civilian and military officials at all levels, including Congressional leaders, the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama. Make your voice heard and take the survey now. http://tiny.cc/2013AUSA

Ten Tips to Boost Resilience

Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands. It’s a skill that can be learned and sharpened with practice. Building flexible strength is a hallmark of resilience and necessary for recovering peak performance after stressful events. Read more: http://www.dcoe.health.mil/blog/article.aspx?id=1&postid=423

DoDEA Names Daniele Massey 2013 Teacher of the Year

Daniele Massey, an Algebra I teacher for students at Vilseck High School in Germany, is the Department of Defense Education Activity's (DoDEA)Teacher of the Year.  Massey is a military spouse and accompanied her husband to Vilseck in 2006, where she was offered her first DoDEA teaching position. Before moving to Vilseck, she taught at Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville, N.C. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education and mathematics, and continued her education at Central Missouri State University, earning a Master of Science degree in college student personnel administration. The DoDEA Teacher of the Year program recognizes and promotes excellence in education. The competition is the oldest awards program for teachers in the country. For details, please go to: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118475

New Rules Help Troops Gain Commercial Driver's Licenses

Servicemembers who are licensed to drive a range of military vehicles now have an advantage gaining a commercial driver's license.  In 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted the commercial learner's permit rule. It allows states to substitute two years of safe driving experience in qualifying military vehicles for the skills-test portion of the commercial driver's license test.  The Military Commercial Driver's License Act of 2012, which took effect in October, adds another boost for Servicemembers with military licenses who seek civilian credentials. The new legislation permits states to issue commercial driver's licenses to members of the Armed Forces who are stationed in a state, but not a resident of that state. To learn more about these rules, please see: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118467

US Army and Air Force Exchange to open at 4 a.m. on 'Black Friday'

Military shoppers can come early and gobble up the savings as the Army and Air Force Exchange Service will open its Main Stores doors in CONUS, Alaska, and Hawaii at 4 a.m. Friday, Nov. 23 for “Black Friday” sales.  The day after is the unofficial holiday season for many Exchange shoppers. The deals we will be serving up will offer plenty of incentive to get up early. Beginning at 0400, 23 November, locations across the United States will pass out take-a-tickets for the most popular “doorbuster”  items as well as bounce back coupons that can be used throughout the weekend that add value and excitement to this year’s event. Authorized shoppers can call their nearest Exchange for additional information. Contact information is available through the “Exchange Stores” at shopmyexchange.com.

Buffets, Inc.® And Charlie Daniels Help Make Christmas Merry For Military Families

Buffets, Inc.® and legendary music icon Charlie Daniels will be bringing holiday cheer to guests and military families alike with the launch of a new Christmas CD called Hallelujah It's Christmas Time Again starting this week for just $8.99. Available exclusively in Buffets, Inc. restaurants, the CD features a wide range of classic and original holiday music including "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Hallelujah," as well as a special bonus track reading of Daniels' "Carolina Christmas Carol." In the spirit of the holidays, profits from the CD will be donated to the Armed Services YMCA® (ASYMCA) for Operation Outdoors, a camp program that assists the children of military personnel during deployment.  Daniels echoed the importance of Christmas, family and giving back. The Buffets, Inc. brands are providing a way to celebrate Christmas through music and help the children of our military at the same time. Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/07/4968785/buffets-inc-and-charlie-daniels.html#storylink=cpy

Giants visited by Gen. Odierno

The Giants were visited Friday by U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, who talked to the team about some of his experiences during the recovery effort in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Odierno was also at Sunday's game against the Steelers. It was one of the NFL’s Salute to Service games. Coughlin, head coach of the NY Giants, said GEN Odierno, who has 10,000 Soldiers in New York City, was there Friday, 2 November, to address the team without even being asked. He spoke about the resiliency of the people in New Jersey and New York area, and how they’re tough and no matter what, they are not going to let these circumstances dictate them.  Additionally, Coughlin has been known to bring in military officers to address the team before games. To read more about this topic, please see: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/giants/post/_/id/19020/giants-visited-by-general-odierno

Fewer Veterans to Serve in Congress in 2013

The Senate will have six fewer veterans and the House may see little or no change in veterans’ representation as a result of Tuesday’s election, a disappointing result for those hoping to see more veterans in Congress.  The Senate has twenty-six veterans today, but that number will fall to 20.  Thirteen senators were up for election on Tuesday, four incumbents and nine challengers.  None of the challengers won, and one incumbent, Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass, was defeated.  To read this article in full, please go to: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/11/military-fewer-veterans-in-congress-in-2013-110712w/ 

Think Tank Puts Out Report Calling For Complete Overhaul of Military Benefits

A new report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank that is influential in the White House, released a report last week that called for a complete overhaul of military benefits. The proposed changes call for capping active-duty pay raises, eliminating military health benefits for retirees who are covered by an employer-provided plan and raising fees for those that stay on TRICARE, instituting a 401K style retirement system and making active-duty retirees wait until age 60 to receive it.

The report, called “Rebalancing Our National Security” was released October 31 and is in line with many of the proposals in the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan that we fought against last year. The report also tracks closely with proposals that have been put forth by the Department of Defense.

The report also calls for cutting the number of active-duty troops stationed in Europe and Asia (33,000 in Europe and 17,000 in Asia).

The Pentagon has put forth plans to have a .5% raise for the active duty in 2015, a 1% raise in 2016, and a 1.5% pay raise in 2017 to bring military pay levels back in line with what they call “parity” with the private sector.

It also has put forth plans, mainly endorsed by the report, that would stick military retirees and their families with TRICARE fee hikes and would reduce “overutilization” of TRICARE resources and force service members with access to employer-sponsored healthcare onto those plans. Another idea in the report would require TRICARE for Life members to pay for the first $500 of costs per year and then would only pay for 50% of the next $5,000. 

As has pointed out before, changing the rules of the game for those who have already served a career in service to their nation is a violation of a moral contract, and it would force those currently serving, as well as those who are considering a life of service, to think long and hard before they spend 20-plus years away from their families in health and life-threatening conditions. Frankly, it could not be in worse taste to do so after more than 10 years of constant warfare. Those who have answered the call deserve better than this.

Latest Rumor About The NDAA

The election is over so we are gearing up for the lame duck session that will start on Tuesday November 13th. The latest rumor is that Congress will not take up the National Defense Authorization Act until after Thanksgiving. If that is correct there is still time to contact your representatives and urge them to adopts the House version of the TRICARE Pharmacy program and refuse to take up the “BRAC” like commission to study and change the present military retirement system. THERE IS STILL TIME

2012 AUSA Annual Meeting

The Association of the United States Army wants to thank all AUSA members, military and civilian employees of the United States armed forces and their families for attending and being a part of a successful AUSA’s Annual Meeting held on 22-24, October 2012 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The Annual Meeting included four Military Family Forums in which Army senior leaders and experts in the field of family readiness provided their views on the status of the Army family and Army family readiness programs. Additionally, all forums were live-streamed across the country and overseas. You may still view the four Military Family Forums online and view some of the presentations by going to: http://www.ausa.org/resources/familyprograms/Pages/default.aspx . . Thank you, again, for making our 2012 AUSA Annual Meeting a sensation!

Defense Department Continues Supporting Storm Response

The Defense Department (DoD) continues to provide disaster response resources and capabilities as requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Given the size and scope of the storm and its continuing impact throughout the eastern and northeastern United States, the department is actively posturing forces to support civil authorities via U.S. Northern Command and the National Guard Bureau, with a particular emphasis on flood mitigation and energy restoration.  About 10,000 National Guard Soldiers and airmen are on duty supporting the governors in 13 Eastern Seaboard states. View more at: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118402

Coast Guard Aids Sandy Victims on Eastern Seaboard

Coast Guard helicopter crews are busy responding to requests to rescue people who were trapped in their homes, while other Coast Guard members are providing additional response and recovery assistance in the wake of Hurricane Sandy's assault on the nation's Eastern Seaboard. Despite the hard work of emergency responders, people are still in need.  More than a dozen Coast Guardsmen from stations in Ohio and Michigan deployed to the East Coast to support Sandy response operations.  As the nation continues to assess the storm's impact on communities along the Atlantic Seaboard, Coast Guard units will respond and remain at the ready. For details about this article, please click: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118391

Guard Provides Hurricane Response in Nation's Capital

About 150 members of the District of Columbia National Guard are providing hurricane response aid in the nation's capital today, assisting with street closures, damage assessment and emergency response as well as manning traffic control points.  Washington officials have asked the National Guard to provide support through 4 November. The Guard forces are organized into multi-function response packages equipped with medium tactical trucks, Humvees and guardsmen.  They will be deployed to locations determined through coordination with The District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. For more, go to: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118373

DOD, FEMA, Other Agencies Aid Storm-Impacted Areas

At the direction of President Barack Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has/is coordinating with federal government assistance, including Department of Defense (DoD)-provided aid, to support states in response and recovery of Hurricane Sandy, according to a FEMA news release.  Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta has directed that the Department of Defense provide any available disaster response resources requested by FEMA and state authorities as states throughout the Northeast begin to recover from Hurricane Sandy.  More than 1,900 FEMA personnel worked to support Hurricane Sandy disaster response and recovery operations, including search and rescue, situational awareness, communications and logistical support, according to the FEMA release. To read the entire article, please click: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=118387 

Army Professional Program Focuses on Discipline

The Army will launch a servicewide education and training program in 2013 that is a follow-up to the Profession of Arms campaign and surveys of two years ago.  The education and training program will begin in January in all Army commands, Army service component commands and direct reporting units.  It will be conducted quarterly around these themes: First quarter-Standards and discipline; Second quarter- Army customs, courtesies and traditions; Third quarter- Military expertise; and Fourth quarter- Trust.  The 2013 education and training campaign is the opening salvo in a long-term effort to institutionalize Army-as-a-profession concepts through the active and reserve components, and with Soldiers and civilian employees.  The training and education program will be administered in units by commanders and other leaders, with training support packages being provided by the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic, (CAPE). For further information, please view: http://bit.ly/S9V0mj

New Program to Help Transition Process

Servicemembers will soon get more help transitioning from military to civilian life. On 21 November, the Veterans Opportunity to Work or VOW to Hire Heroes Act will require every Soldier attend the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). What can Soldiers expect to see when the VOW Act is implemented? The initial TAP will feature pre-separation classes ranging from health care, life insurance and disability to higher education, vocational training and home loans. Parts of the VOW Act will be implemented in phases until the end of 2014. By the end of 2013, Transition Goals-Plans-Success (GPS) will replace TAP. GPS will be a classroom and one-on-one session with Servicemembers and their spouses to formulate a plan, including a detailed budget.  For more information, please see: http://www.military.com/military-transition

Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Linked to Childhood Brain Development Problems

Heavy drinking during pregnancy disrupts proper brain development in children and adolescents years after they were exposed to alcohol in the womb, according to a study supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study is the first to track children over several years to examine how heavy exposure to alcohol in utero affects brain growth over time.  Researchers found that brain growth patterns in children whose mothers drank heavily while pregnant differed from normal patterns of development seen in children who were not exposed to alcohol before birth. The findings suggest that children with heavy alcohol exposure have decreased brain plasticity – the brain's ability to grow and remodel itself based on experience with the outside world. Such adaptation continues throughout one’s life and is crucial to learning new skills and adapting to the environment.  For more on this subject, please go to: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/oct2012/niaaa-31.htm

Moving With Family Pets

PCSing with pets in-tow makes an already hectic process a little more complicated. Before traveling, pet owners must get medical records, health certificates and vaccines for their pets before they can ship. Here are some steps you can take to prepare: (1) contact your local veterinary clinic, and ask what to do; (2) visit the website of the country of your next duty station. For those heading to an OCONUS duty station, particularly Japan, Korea, Guam, the Philippines or England, this step is essential; (3) contact the Veterinary Treatment Facility at your new duty station for guidance; (4) update vaccinations and records; (5) contact the airline for its standards on shipping pets; (6) buy a pet ticket; and (7) obtain a health certificate within 10 days of the flight. To find out more about PCSing with a pet, contact your local veterinary clinic.  For more news and guides to military pets, visit: http://www.military.com/off-duty/pet-corner

Win a Laptop! Send Your College Entrance Essay

The Military Times EDGE College Essay Contest is back for its third year. Each year we recruit a panel of college admissions officers to judge the essays that are sent; the ones you turned in with your college application packets. They are accepting essays 31 October to 11 November. If you think you wrote a gem, retrieve it from the depths of your hard drive and send it in.  This year’s prize is a Dell Inspiron “Switch” laptop from Purchasing Power.  To enter, copy the following form, found at: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/10/military-college-essays-103112/,  into the email message box accompanying your entry. Complete all fields, and email the form and your college admissions essay to mailto:collegeessays@militarytimes.com. Be sure to write “College Essays” in the email subject line.

Exchange "Lithium Ship to Store"

In response to a May, 2012 U.S. Postal Service ban on international shipments of electronics with lithium batteries, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service now has a way for overseas shoppers to get those must-have gadgets, gizmo and devices just in time for the holidays.  Exchange shoppers simply go to www.shopmyexchange.com and select one of approximately 80 products with a “Lithium Ship to Store” logo. Once items are selected, the shopper chooses the country and Exchange where they would like the item to be delivered. Customer service associates at the overseas location will contact the shopper via email when the order arrives. Orders may be picked up during regular store hours at the Customer Service desk with a valid ID and a copy of the email/order number confirmation.

More Than $8,500 in Prizes Up For Grabs Through Exchange Toyland Sweepstakes

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is giving shoppers an opportunity to win a trip for four to Universal Studio in Orlando, FL with its “Toyland Sweepstakes.” The grand prize winner will spend four nights and five days at Universal Studios with hotel, transportation, airfare and passes included.  Additional giveaways include sixteen Exchange gift cards valued up to $1,000, six LeapPad 2 tablets and two large stuffed Mickey or Minnie plush toys. Additionally, one shopper per store will take home their choice of a Lalaloopsy Interactive Doll or Big Wheel. The Toyland Sweepstakes ends Nov. 21. Eligible Exchange shoppers worldwide can visit their nearest Main Store to register. Contact information is available through the “Your Exchange” link at www.shopmyexchange.com. In-store drawings will take place on or about Nov. 27.  Participants must be 18 or older to enter and no purchase is necessary.

Exchange "Shuttles" Increased Selection to Smaller Facilities

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is delivering increased selection with its “Shuttle Program.”  This Exchange initiative shuttles merchandise in between Exchange facilities to fulfill specific customer requests. Everything from furniture to tactical gear can be transferred through the “Shuttle Program,” meaning shoppers everywhere are guaranteed the largest possible selection of competitively-priced goods. The Exchange “Shuttle Program” ensures military families living and working near smaller installations enjoy the same selection and savings as bigger locations. To use the program, shoppers can go to an Exchange Customer Service area and ask to speak to a manager. After recording the request and checking availability, shoppers will be advised of a projected arrival date.  The “Shuttle Program” is a free service at all Exchanges, Troop Stores and Expresses around the world.  For more, click: http://publicaffairs-sme.com/pressrelease/?p=1043 

VetJobs Career Fair

VetJobs is pleased to announce the final in a series of virtual Career Fairs for 2012 co-hosted with PSI. The Virtual Career Fair will be open November 1st thru the 15th, with early registration for veterans.  This Job Fair is open to Officers and Enlisted, Active Duty, Transitioning Military, Reservists, Veterans, Retirees, of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, National Guard, Navy, NOAA and Public Health Service along with Trailing Spouses, Eligible Former Spouses, Widows, Widowers and Dependents and DOD civilians. The Job Fair site is now open for early posting of resumes. The career fair will start on November 1st. To access the career fair to post a resume or apply to jobs (starting 11/1), go to www.vetjobs.com, then to Search Jobs and click on the Career Fair advertisement. 

New Hiring Program for Veterans

The Department of Defense (DoD) along with participating corporations has announced a new hiring program that aims to train and place 100,000 veterans in advanced manufacturing and related jobs by 2015. The "Get Skills to Work" program seeks to match veterans with some of the more than half-million unfilled high-tech manufacturing jobs in the United States. The new program will offer veterans an online skills assessment and badging system for those who are already qualified for high-tech manufacturing jobs, and will train other veterans through partnerships with community colleges and technical training schools in 10 states. For more information, visit the Get Skills to Work website at: http://www.getskillstowork.org/  

2012 Veterans Day Discounts and Freebies

Each year businesses honor Veterans and Servicemembers by offering Veterans Day discounts on goods, services, and dining. Military.com has put together a list of 2012 veteran and military discounts, Buy One Get One (BOGO) offerings, and even some of the offerings include honest-to-goodness free meals.  Keep in mind that most businesses require some proof of military service.  Additionally, Not all franchise locations participate in their national chain’s Veterans Day programs, be sure contact your nearest establishment to be sure they are participating.  To view the list of discounts and freebies, go to: http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2012/10/veterans-day-discounts-and-freebies-2012/ 

Army Seeks to Employ Former Soldiers

The U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) is seeking to hire and retain former soldiers in the Army civilian workforce. Federal service may be an ideal opportunity for wounded warriors and disabled veterans through a process called "schedule A" appointment authority where qualified candidates with disabilities can be hired non-competitively. This speeds up the recruitment process, helping our wounded warriors gain employment while filling critical vacancies quickly. There are many opportunities for Soldiers transitioning out of the Army, regardless of their status, to continue their service by joining the IMCOM team. To learn more about civilian job opportunities within the Installation Management Command, visit the IMCOM homepage at www.imcom.army.mil.

Resources for Soldiers Seeking Employment

Soldiers and Veterans seeking employment assistance can visit: (1) the Army Career & Alumni Program (ACAP) website; (2) each state Department of Labor employs Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) representatives and Local Veterans Employment (LVER) Representatives who work in the one Stop Career Centers. To find your local DVOP/LVER, visit the DVOP/LVER locator website; (3) the Hero2Hired (H2H) website was created to make it easy for servicemembers to connect to and find jobs with military-friendly companies; and (4) the Army's Warrior Care and Transition Program (WTC) supports the rehabilitation and successful transition of wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers back to active duty or to veteran status. 

Featured Job: AT&T is Hiring Veterans

It's a different kind of action, but exciting nonetheless: In the military, you contributed to a disciplined, motivated and successful team. You'll be right at home with AT&T. We continuously recognize the contributions of our armed forces. In every area of AT&T, you'll find retired military and active reservists who made the transition to civilian life.

November is Military Family Month

President Obama recently declared November as Military Family Month when all Americans should honor military families for the tremendous contributions they make in support of our servicemembers and our Nation. The presidential proclamation is available on the Marine Corps website. You can also visit Military.com's Military Family Appreciation Month section.

Study Finds Ties to PTSD

A study in the in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, for the first time provides clear evidence that smaller amygdala volume is associated with PTSD, regardless of the severity of trauma. But it's not clear whether the physiological difference was caused by a traumatic event, or whether PTSD develops more readily in people who naturally have smaller amygdalas. An abstract of the article is available on the Archives of General Psychiatry website.