Acap newsletter(0612)


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Acap newsletter(0612)

  1. 1. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success. Jun 12Soldier Service Center, Building 5700, Room 185, Phone: 334-255-2558/2546Office Hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1600 – Also open on DONSA daysWEBSITES: and ACAP ON-LINE and ACCESS TO JOB LEADSLook for a Job at “Fort Rucker ACAP” on FACEBOOKWe now rely on to keep you up-to-date with the latest events and information. Search for“Fort Rucker ACAP”, or else click on (!/FortRuckerACAP). Click on“Like” and check it often. Get real time updates and information quickly. Employers post their linksand job vacancy announcements on our facebook page or else we post it for them. Check it daily!____________________________________________________________________________________ VA Window of Opportunity Ensure You File Your VA Disability Claim 180-60 Days Prior to ETS/Retirement Date VERY IMPORTANT TO GET YOUR VA CLAIM IN ON TIME!_______________________________________________________________Bryan Tharpe, ACAP Transition Services Manager, Email: Alexander, ACAP Center Contract Manager/Counselor, Email: Chandler, ACAP Counselor, Email: Boozer, AL Veterans Outreach Rep (Wed 1000-1500), Email: Brent.boozer@alcc.alabama.govBritt Redmond, AL Veterans Outreach Rep (Wed 1000-1500), Email: Britt.redmond@alcc.alabama.gov__________________________________________________________________________________VIEW THE AIR JOBS DIGEST: Find dozens of aviation jobs. TECHNICAL CERTIFICATIONS/ARMY e-LEARNING PROGRAMThe Army e-Learning Program is a resource that provides courses to help prepare Soldiers for varioustechnical certifications. The courses are free to the Soldier and their organization. The program does notprovide the certification exam, however it does provide courses, practice tests, and on-line books to helpprepare for the actual certification exam. Visit the following link for more information. 1
  2. 2. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success. NEW!! Hero to Hired Website THE ARMY’S PREMIERE WEBSITE FOR SOLDIERS AND EMPLOYERSThe Army has implemented as an interim solution to connectingSoldiers/Veterans/Family members interested in seeking employment opportunities with privateindustry. Check it out! This Army website helps transitioning Soldiers and vets connect with50,000 employers who have vowed to employ them! ATTENTION ALL ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIERS WHO ARE RETIRINGVA PHYSICALSPrior TRICARE authorization is required for ALL ADSM appointments which happen outside of theMTF.It has been brought to our attention that all Soldiers who are still on AD status and retiring must have areferral entered by their PCM specifically requesting the VA Physical before the Soldiers go to their VAphysical exam or doctor appointment. After the PCM enters the referral the TRICARE authorizationprocess takes 7-10 business days to complete. The SM will get authorization letters in the mail fromTRICARE with approval for the VA visit(s).Failure to contact your PCM for the referral before going to the appointment will result in the Soldierbeing billed for all costs associated with the appointment(s). Currently soldiers who have failed to getpreauthorization are billed $525.00 per VA visit. Most often the bill comes by mail after the ServiceMember has retired._____________________________________________________________________________ TRI-STATE NEWSPAPERS ON-LINE (AL – FL – GA)NEWSPAPERSAlabama NewspapersFlorida NewspapersGeorgia Newspapers_________________________________________________________ *** (MARK YOUR CALENDAR) (Please support these monthly employer visits. Manycompany representatives travel a long distance just to meet with you. If these 2
  3. 3. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for aren’t well attended, in the future, these employers may choose not to cometo Ft Rucker any more.) Most are Fortune 200-500 Companies.We will try to host multiple employers instead of just one at a time in 2012.EMPLOYER VISITS SCHEDULED THIS MONTH Waffle House CSX RailroadU.S. Navy ReserveMeet and GreetThe Ft Rucker ACAP Center is proud to host Waffle House, CSX Railroad, and US Navy Reservesfor an Employer Day on 20 Jun 12 in Building 5700, 2nd Floor Break Room, from 1000 – 1400.Please come and network with these great military friendly employers. Even if it’s a while beforeyou transition, it’s never too early to network.___________________________________________________________________________FEDS HIRE VETSA Federal job web site ( launched by the OPM will help veterans andtheir families find employment in Federal Civil Service. This website will be the main source forveteran’s employment information and resources for veterans as well as hiring officials._________________________________________________________________________________As the Fort Rucker, Garrison Army Alumni Career Program (ACAP), Transition Services Manager, Iwould like to cordially invite you to become an ACAP client. As the spouse of a transitioning Soldier,this is an entitlement provided to you by Congress. Your participation in the program will add synergy toyour spouse’s endeavor to make a smooth transition into the civilian work force.Even if you are not actively seeking employment at this time, you can still become an ACAP client. Youand your spouse can effectively work as a team to support each other in this life changing event. Themore you understand about the job search process and your spouse’s benefits and entitlements, the lessstressful the transition will be for you and your family.Whether you will be seeking employment, or just trying to find more information, our 3.5-Day TAPEmployment Workshop will teach you the job search process, including how to prepare an effectiveresume and interviewing skills. The VA will also brief on veterans benefits. Additionally, after attendinga workshop, we have numerous resources in the ACAP Center, including one-on-one assistance with anACAP Counselor, to help you produce an effective resume and provide any advice you may need.Unfortunately, we do not provide child care. If applicable, please make arrangement for child care beforecoming to your appointment. Since the information and assistance that we provide is critical to yoursuccess, we discourage bringing your children with you to an ACAP appointment or event. 3
  4. 4. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.Please call the ACAP Center at (334) 255-2558 or go to the ACAP Express web site: to enroll in ACAP and make an appointment to get started. I lookforward to your first visit at the ACAP Center.Spouses of retiring Soldiers are highly encouraged to attend the VA Benefitsbriefing along with their sponsor. They may still have benefits even after theirsponsor dies. Spouses are cordially invited to attend all events with the sponsor.____________________________________________________________________________________ DOD Resumes Military Career Spouse Program The Department of Defense recently announced the resumption of the Military Spouse CareerAdvancement Account - MyCAA - program. Beginning March 13 at 12 p.m. EST, the 136,583 militaryspouses who are currently enrolled in the program will once again be able to receive tuition assistance. “We made a commitment to our military spouses when they established a career advancementaccount and we will be true to our promises,” said Tommy Thomas, deputy under secretary of defense,military community and family policy. The first phase of the reinstated program will enable the department to continue to pay up to$6,000 in tuition assistance for spouses currently enrolled. The department is working hard to adjust andmeet the demands of the program and develop a long-term solution for spouses not yet enrolled whowould like to establish an account. The program was launched March 2, 2009, to assist military spouses in attaining portablecareers in high-demand, high-growth occupations. An unexpected spike in enrollment prompted theDefense Department to pause the program on Feb. 16. A thorough review began immediately to assurethe program was accomplishing its intended goals. “When we determined that an operational pause in the program was critically needed, we failedto notify our spouses in a timely and appropriate manner,” said Thomas. “As a result of our failure, weknow we will have to work hard to restore their faith in us. We are committed to earning that trustthrough improved communication and by delivering services.” The Defense Department is currently developing options for the long-term management of theprogram and expect to be able to announce the details soon. Until new accounts can be created, MilitaryOneSource Spouse Education and Career Consultants will continue to be available to provide educationand training, career exploration, assessment, employment readiness and career search assistance.ACAP CENTER RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO YOU:3.5-day TAP Job Assistance Workshops Automated writing toolsOne-on-one counseling assistance Internet/selected websitesPractice interviewing skill/tools Fax machinesEmployer visits Copier & Digital Sender 4
  5. 5. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.Salary tools Telephone linesDepartment of Labor Rep Resource library___________________________________________________________________________________NOTE: The VA Military Service Coordinator is now working out of the Wiregrass VA Cliniclocated on the 2nd floor of Lyster Army Health Clinic. Office hours are 9:15 to 1:30 Tuesdays andWednesdays. GET YOUR VA RATING SHORTLY AFTER YOU GET OUT!Benefits Delivery at time of Discharge (BDD); We have the Military Service Coordinator – SouthernArea, from the VA Regional Office in Montgomery, in the Wiregrass VA Clinic, room 262A, located onthe 2nd floor of Lyster Army Health Clinic to help transitioning Soldiers apply for their VA DisabilityRating, before they separate or retire. The goal is to get the VA rating either by, or shortly after, a Soldierseparates or retires. The current process takes approximately one year after separation/retirement toreceive a rating. You can only apply for this program NLT 2 months and NET 6 months prior toseparation or retirement date. Otherwise, you will need to make an appointment with your county VARepresentative. You must bring a copy of your medical records to the appointment (DO NOT make anappointment without having a copy of your medical records). You should go to Lyster CommunityHealth Clinic, Administrative Section, to request copies of your medical records. Please be aware that itcan take 45 days or longer for your medical records to be copied. Please give Medical Records as muchadvance notice as possible. Thank you. MESSAGE FROM THE VA REPRESENTATIVE“It is critical that Soldiers apply for their VA disability rating in the window of NET 6 month from theirseparation or retirement date, and NLT 2 months from their separation or retirement date. If you wait, andhave less than 2 months remaining on active duty to turn in your paper work, then, your VA disabilitydocumentation stays in Montgomery, AL and is processed there. The VA Regional Office in Montgomeryis not staffed to expedite your claim. If you apply within the 6-2 month window, then your claim is sent toa VA Regional Office in another state that is staffed to expedite your claim. Help me help you; turn yourclaim in to me before you get within 60 days of your separation or retirement date. Waiting just one daypast the 60-day cut-off could make a lot of difference in when you begin receiving your disabilitycompensation.” Veteran Services Coordinator_________________________________________________________________________________VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities: If filing a VA Disability claim, you may want to reviewthis website. 5
  6. 6. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.VA Benefits Website - eBenefits: All military personnel and veterans with DoD CACcredentials can register quickly and have immediate access to a wide variety of information to assist themin understanding their benefits and tracking their VA Disability Claims. Visit Check it out!_____________________________________________________________________________ If you are within 6 months of your approved retirementdate and have not yet submitted your retirement biography or your supervisor has not submitted you for aservice award, please call MPD/AG, (334) 255-3525. We want to ensure that you get properlyrecognized upon your retirement. Help the AG help you!ALSO: Although you have already had your pre-separation briefing with ACAP, retiring Soldiers mustalso attend a mandatory pre-retirement briefing with the Retirement Services Officer (RSO), Mr. ChrisMoore, (334) 255-9124, before your retirement date.___________________________________________________________________________________COMBAT-RELATED SPECIAL COMPENSATION (CSRC)Are you a retired veteran (or know of a retired veteran) with combat-related injuries? Combat relatedinjuries may have occurred while training for combat. You may be eligible for additional compensationwith CSRC.Eligibility: (Must meet all 4)1. 20 years of military service2. Have 10% or greater VA rated injury3. Receive military retired pay4. Military retired pay is reduced by VA disability payments (VA Waiver)__________________________________________________________________________________ Have you considered staying in? It’s not too late.An active duty Army Career Counselor can help you reenlist today; just call 334-255-6512. Also, aReserve Component Career Counselor is always on duty to assist you in transitioning to the Guard orReserve. Please call 334-255-9120 for further information.“Yet despite the questions we all are asking, regardless of the fears we may be experiencing, one fact isclear: We will pull together as a nation during this time of crisis.” - Jimmy Carter________________________________________________________________________ 6
  7. 7. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.Change to Army Regulation could affect Aviators on Transition Leave.AR 95-1, Flight Regulations, paragraph 2-3d & e, states in part,… Crewmembers are prohibited fromperforming aircrew duties:d. Military aviators in an authorized leave status when employed by a contractor to serve as acrewmember.e. Officers of other government agencies while on terminal leave from that agency and employed by acontractor to serve as a crewmember.Ensure that you check with JAG before you take an aircrew job from a contractor to see how it affectsyou.____________________________________________________________________________________ American Corporate Partners (ACP) programACAP has become aware of a civilian sponsored program which may be of interest to many Soldiers whohave served since 11 September 2001. It is the American Corporate Partners (ACP) program anddesigned to offer networking and career planning opportunities for Americas finest enlisted personneland officers as they transition from military to civilian lives. It is open to Soldiers of all grades in thecities with corporate mentors - Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles,New York, Norwalk, CT, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio, the San FranciscoBay area, Tulsa, and Washington, DC. Corporate members are follows:Campbell Soup Company, Energy Future Holdings, General Electric Company, The Home Depot, Inc.,IBM Corporation, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc., Morgan Stanley, News Corporation, PepsiCo,Inc., URS Corporation, Verizon Communications Inc., The University of Oklahoma and The Universityof Texas System.Spouses of deceased or wounded Soldiers are also encouraged to participate.This is not a jobs program, but a way to help veterans develop key relationships and skills critical toadvancement in the business sector. Protégés will be matched one for one with mentors by city, withconsideration given to mentoring preferences. ACP will make all decisions concerning the final selectionof all protégés, based on their own criteria.Protégés and mentors participate in the program for a period of one year and meet for about four hourseach month. Both have the opportunity to extend for a second year. Anyone interested in beingconsidered for the initial ACP protégé group should apply on line as soon as possible, and be prepared tosubmit supporting documents, as requested by ACP, on a timely basis. To find out more, go to ._____________________________________________________________________________________ UPCOMING ACAP SPONSORED DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WORKSHOPS 7
  8. 8. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success. SCHEDULE FOR 2012 FORT RUCKER, AL Call (334) 255-2558 for more details19 – 22 JUN 10 – 13 JUL 7 – 10 AUG4 – 7 SEP 2 – 5 OCT 7 – 9 NOV 4 – 7 DEC***Class dates may change in the near future CAMP SHELBY, MS SCHEDULE 26 – 29 JUN 28 - 31 AUG 27 – 30 NOV Call (601) 558-2298 for more details_____________________________________________________________________________________ ATTENTION: EXISTING AND POTENTIAL SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS! 2012 ONE-ON-ONE FREE COUNSELING IS AVAILABLEAreas of counseling may include, but are not limited to:  Advertising  Organizational Structures  Financial Planning  Inventory Controls  Management  Marketing  Personnel Planning  Pre-business Planning  Sales Techniques14 June, 13 Sept, 6 DecTIME: Session begins at 9:30AM, Room 390, Bldg 5700 Call 255-3949 to schedule an appointment.____________________________________________________________________________________CAREER ADVICE SECTION(Reprint from Are You a Commodity in the Employment Marketplace? Competition is Fierce, So Its Essential to Distinguish Yourself By Eric P. Kramer Career Coach and Author 8
  9. 9. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.In a competitive and crowded marketplace, every product and service must differentiate itself. It is notenough to be simply “as good” as all the rest. In addition, with easy access to cheap (or even free)Internet marketing, there is a great deal of advertising that makes it difficult to differentiate services andmake buying decisions. As an example, just think of all the “pop-up ads” you see online. In theemployment marketplace, this is exemplified by the thousands of job web sites and hundreds of resumessubmitted over the Internet in response to advertised jobs.To rise above the flood of advertising, successful companies establish powerful branding and distinct“value-adds.” You can adopt the same strategy to rise above the flood of your competition in theemployment marketplace.“Value-add” refers to an extra feature or benefit that goes beyond the standard expectations andprovides a more compelling reason to purchase. A value-add makes the service or product more desirableand positively influences the buying decision. However, a value-add has no impact if it is not provided inaddition to good service. Always having on-time delivery, for instance, does not make a difference if thepizza tastes lousy.The worst characterization of a service is to be “a commodity.” A service is a commodity when it isequivalent to what all the competitors offer. A provider of a commodity service can easily be exchangedfor another provider of the same service who offers a lower price. For example, many dry cleanersprovide a commodity service. Customers will change to another dry cleaner if they can find one that costseven slightly less. In the employment marketplace, many employees (even mid- and senior-levelemployees) are commodities in that they provide a service that can be replaced easily. In bad economies,companies replace more expensive “commodity” employees with cheaper employees. So, the bigquestion is: are YOU a commodity in the employment marketplace?If you are a commodity, it will be difficult to differentiate yourself in interviews. However, most of us arenot commodities – we just haven’t defined our value-adds, or learned how to articulate them. Here aresome tips to determine your value-adds:Know YourselfTake an inventory of your skills. Do not limit the inventory to skills applicable to the job for which you areinterviewing; do a full inventory. This inventory should include skills connected to your job, interests,hobbies, and leisure activities. When you have a full inventory, you can choose which skills serve asvalue-adds for the type of jobs you are seeking.Know Your ProfessionEvery profession has areas of concentration and a large skill base. For example, within human resources,you might be applying to be a Compensation Manager. But the human resources field has a number ofother specialty areas and required skills, such as diversity management, employee retention, benefits,training, and international employment. So, even though you’re applying to be a Compensation Manager,having international employment experience could be a differentiating value-add for a multinationalcompany, or a company that is expanding internationally.Once you have determined your value-adds, be sure to clearly communicate them in your interviews.This could make all the difference, and ultimately lead to more job offers! To learn more about value-adsin interviews go to visit my Blog and share your comments!Copyright © 2012, Career Potential, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 9
  10. 10. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution:Copyright © 2012, Career Potential, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Ford R. Myers, a nationally-known Career Expert andauthor of "Get The Job You Want, Even When No Ones Hiring." To explore working with a professional Career Coach,register now for your Complimentary Initial Consultation by clicking here____________________________________________________________________________________ACAP ARTICLEBy: Bryan Tharpe, ACAP Transition Services ManagerBEGINNING THE TRANSITION PROCESSSo, you just looked at your countdown calendar, and, in about a year, youre going to be parting companywith the Army. "Wow," you think, "that time will pass fast!" Youre suddenly overcome with a gnawingfeeling that you ought to be doing something to get ready for this major change in your life. Then youremember one of your friends talking about how valuable ACAP services had been when she completedher military service, so you grab the phone and call ACAP. The voice on the other end of the line isfriendly and gives you the answer you want to hear. The ACAP staff member explains that transitioningsoldiers normally begin working with the Center 18 months to one year from ETS or two years fromretirement. "Hey," you think, "thats still a long way out to get started." Your first impulse is to voicethat fact in no uncertain terms to the person on the other end of the line. Fortunately, some of your humanrelations training kicks in, and you simply say, "well, I guess by starting earlier I can better preparemyself for the transition."If you see yourself in this scenario, read on--indeed, it may be too far out to start sending out resumes, butthere are some things you can do while youre waiting for that separation or retirement date to drawcloser. Furthermore, the earlier you start using ACAP services, the more latitude you have to scheduleappointments around your unit mission requirement. Start networking. You can get started networking(talking) with relatives, friends, and acquaintances to let them know youll be looking for a job in about ayear. Youll probably be pleasantly surprised at just how helpful network contacts can be. Most peopleyou talk to will be more than willing to help. Of course, the more specific you can be in terms of whatyou want to do and where you want to live, the more valuable your network contacts can be. The value ofnetworking in job search is illustrated by the fact that almost 80% of job seekers find their jobs throughsome form of networking.Attend an ACAP Job Assistance Workshop. Knowing how and where to look for a job is half the battle.You can never begin too soon to start learning all you can about the job search process, how to producegreat resumes and cover letters, and acquiring excellent interviewing skills that make you look andsound polished while you are trying to market your abilities. Take advantage of all the services theEducation Center offers. Of course, the obvious thing here is to further your education and training tomake you more marketable. You may wish to work on a degree or brush up on your computer skills(computer classes and skills are especially good for your resume). Either way, the Education Center canhelp you. Additional training and education will usually increase your options for employment. And, if 10
  11. 11. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for arent sure what you want to do when you finish your military service, the Education Center can helpyou complete an interest inventory that will indicate what types of occupations you appear be best suitedfor.Gather information. Once you start your job search, youll need a great deal of information to accuratelycomplete job applications and to develop an effective resume. You can start gathering that informationnow. This will include such things as the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of previoussupervisors and where you worked and the inclusive dates you worked there for at least the last 10 years.Additionally, gathering other documents, such as personnel records, training certificates, diplomas, etc.will make it much easier to write an effective resume and to answer interview questions. If you wait untilyoure out of the military to start gathering this information, the task will be much more difficult.Research. You can start researching companies, salaries, and cost of living in particular areas of thecountry. Researching companies can help you decide if you really want to send a resume to a particularcompany and can help you shine when you go for an interview with the company. Additionally, you canget started researching the salaries for the kinds of jobs youre interested in as well as the cost of living inareas where you might relocate. This research can pay big dividends for you. One major benefit is that itwill help you decide if salaries in the industry and area youre considering are adequate. Of course, tomake a good decision on salary, youll need to know how the cost of living in one area compares withother areas. The information regarding salaries and cost of living will also be very valuable if you havethe opportunity to negotiate salary.Develop a positive "I wont procrastinate" attitude. Perhaps the best thing you can do between now andthe time you start working with ACAP is to develop a positive attitude that includes a determination notto procrastinate. Get started on all the things mentioned above. Allow yourself to be positive about yourworth in the marketplace--its a fact that employers are looking for people like you who have a good workethic, who are motivated, and who know how to work as a team member. Resolve that the first day youreeligible to work with ACAP, youll stop by the Center and sign up for ACAP services. Additionally,resolve that youll take advantage of all the services ACAP offers with the knowledge that individualswho work with ACAP generally get jobs sooner and get higher starting salaries than soldiers who do notuse the full range of services. As you can see, there are a number of things you can do to be moreproactive in your transition process while waiting for your separation or retirement date.For more suggestions, contact the Ft Rucker ACAP Center at (334) 255-2546, or drop by the ACAPCenter located in the Soldier Service Center, Bldg 5700, Room 185. Soldiers assigned to Camp Shelbyand surrounding area may contact the Camp Shelby ACAP Counselor at (601) 558-2298. Additionally,you can register for ACAP services by going to ._____________Civilian Job Postings:; Click on “Active Component Soldiers;” then, “Jobs.”GOVERNMENT JOBS: There are several jobs listed for Alabama on .___________________________________________________________________________________ 11
  12. 12. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.Mr. Britt Redmond, Department of Labor Representative from the Dothan Career Center, is available inthe ACAP Center on every other Wednesday from 1000 – 1530 (first- come-first-serve) for yourconvenience. He is here to help veterans find employment. Why go to the Alabama Career Center(Employment Office) when you can get the same service at the ACAP Center, usually without any waiting.Usually, there are approximately 500 jobs listed in their network at any particular time. They can refer youfor a job if you are staying in the local area after separation or retirement. Mr. Redmond’s number is 255-1151. Visit the Alabama Job Link at: Defense Contractors won Contracts and where are they Located?Interested in working for a defense contractor, but don’t know where to start? Want to find out whatdefense contractors are located near you? You are in luck. The federal government has websites to helptransitioning service members find out what companies are winning defense contracts, and how muchthose contracts are worth.The Federal Procurement Data System Next Generation (FPDS-NG) is now the official site for all federalprocurement data and reports. The FPDS-NG site requires registration for a user account, and is free tothe public ( ( also contains current Department of Defense (DoD)procurement data, and should be the starting point for your search. The site lists defense contractors bylocation, company name, product provided, and service provided: and it lists the top 100 contractors andtheir subsidiaries.The site was launched as part of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. Thatlaw requires a free, searchable website, accessible to the public, showing for each federal award: - The name of the entity receiving the award - The amount of the award - Information on the award, including transaction type, funding agency, etc. - The location of the entity receiving the award - A unique identifier of the entity receiving the awardTOP 50 MILITARY FRIENDLY EMPLOYERS (Ranked by GI Jobs Magazine):G.I. Jobs Top 50 Most Military-Friendly Employers® WITH IMMEDIATE OPENINGS: Click on the link below. 12
  14. 14. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.RESULTS. IN 2003 THE ARMY STOOD UP THE ARMY SPOUSE EMPLOYMENT PARTNERSHIP,A VERY SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM WITH CORPORATE AMERICA, TO ENSUREMILITARY SPOUSES COULD REALIZE THEIR EMPLOYMENT AND CAREER ASPIRATIONS. TODATE THIS EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE HAS YIELDED OVER 114,000 EMPLOYMENTOPPORTUNITIES. THE SUCCESS OF THIS INITIATIVE WAS RECOGNIZED BY SENIORLEADERS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE RESULTING IN ITS EXPANSION ACROSS ALLSERVICES AND THE COAST GUARD. ON JUNE 29, 2011, THE MILITARY SPOUSEEMPLOYMENT PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM WAS LAUNCHED AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE WHITEHOUSES JOINING FORCES INITIATIVE. THE MSEP PROGRAM NOW BOASTS 96 FORTUNE500 PLUS COMPANIES, NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.4. COMMANDS ARE ENCOURAGED TO HAVE THEIR ACTIVE DUTY AND RESERVE FORCEMEMBERS, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS FOLLOW THIS EXCITING INITIATIVE THROUGH THEJOINING FORCES WEBSITE AT HTTP://WWW.WHITEHOUSE.GOV/JOININGFORCES.INDIVIDUALS ARE ALSO ENCOURAGED TO SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES AND FOLLOW THEINITIATIVE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER ATHTTP://WWW.WHITEHOUSE.GOV/JOININGFORCES/STAY-CONNECTED.5. HQDA POC FOR THIS MESSAGE IS MS. CAPELLA-WEINARD, 703-692-1432.6. THIS MESSAGE EXPIRES ON 07 JUNE 2012.Classification: UNCLASSIFIED_________________________________________________________________________________ Disabled American Veterans Department of Alabama Legislative Report – May 2012Budgetary restrictions due to the National debt are impacting virtually all legislative actions beforeCongress. Its going to be interesting to watch, but without corrective congressional action, the Januarysequestration required by the Budget Control Act (BCA) would force an additional $60B in automaticcuts to DOD for FY2013, in addition to the $45B already taken. This sequestration would result inmassive force reductions of more than 200,000, leaving the smallest ground forces since 1940. Such cutswould have far reaching effects upon our national defense forces that have made great wartime sacrificesin the last few years. In addition compensation, healthcare, and other support for servicemembers,retirees and their families may well be degraded. Currently reductions in Army staffing is slated to drawdown 70,000 in the next five years. As such near 24,000 enlisted personnel and 4,500 officers could beforced to leave the Army. Attrition should take care of the remaining required reductions. It is anticipatedthat even more of force structure will be shifted to reserve forces. Your help is needed to contact ourCongressmen to preclude DOD from taking this devastating hit. DOD gets only 17% of thenational budget but would have 50% of the cuts. DOD should not have such a disproportionate share.Along with all this the White Houses Office of Management and Budget announced that the VAhealthcare programs are not subject to sequestration. This ends months of speculation about how across-the-board budget cuts would be applied in January. You are also aware that TRICARE remains under attack. DOD continues to push forTRICARE increases, saying that without increases in fees, further cuts in end strengths must be made.This is a real dilemma, so again let Congress know your feelings. 14
  15. 15. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success. The FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act is being worked in the House and is aimed atsetting the base defense budget at about $554B, $4 billion above the Presidents request and $8B abovethe caps set by the BCA. No mention has been made of the TRICARE fee hikes proposed by theAdministration - maybe these will continue to be ignored. Also planned troop reductions (above) wouldbe limited to 15,000, and 5,000 per year for the Army and Marine Corps respectively. The current draftalso includes:  Authorize a troop pay increase of 1.7%  Provide new regulations and procedures for combating and prosecuting sexual assault  Extend access to family housing for six months and Commissary and Exchange benefits for two years for troops who are involuntarily separated. Another proposal from DOD is asking Congress to approve a special commission to recommendchanges in the military retirement system for future military personnel. This system would not allowCongress or the President to modify recommendations but only accept or reject the commission’s finalproposals. It is expected that proposals would scrap the 20-year retirement for one more like a civilian-style, tax-deferred savings plan that would offer troops with as few as 10 years of service to have someretirement. Comparing military pensions and benefits to the average worker in the private sector is notfair. Guaranteed retirement benefits are essential to recruitment and retention of our military forces andshould be commensurate with the sacrifices that our forces endure. We ought to be able to afford thecurrent retirement system for those who defend it with a lifetime of service. The Senate passed its Postal Service overhaul bill that seeks to trim the workforce by about100,000 employees through attrition. This bill delays efforts to eliminate Saturday delivery and to closesome post offices. The House has yet to pass its version of the bill. The Postmaster estimates the agencyneeds to trim $22B in operating costs to remain in business. The House passed a bill that would keep the interest rate for government-subsidized studentloans at 3.4%. The rate is scheduled to rise to 6.8% on July 1, 2012. To offset the estimated $6B cost ofmaintaining the current interest rate, a repeal of $12B from the Prevention and Public Health Fund createdby the 2010 healthcare reform bill would be required. Last year the Department of Labor reported that the average unemployment rate for all veteranswas 7.7% and 12.1% for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans between the ages of 35and 64 continue to make up near two-thirds of all unemployed veterans. Overall, nearly one in twelve ofour veterans are unemployed. Last year Congress passed the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) toHire Heroes Act of 2011 which is intended to provide seamless transition for servicemembers, expandededucation and training opportunities, and tax credits for employers who hire service-connected veterans.VOW authorized the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) by VA and DOL that offers 12months of training assistance to 99,000 unemployed veterans who are at least 35 years old but no olderthan 60. Participants will be paid at the full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill (currently$1,473 per month), but must be in a program leading to employment in a high demand occupation.Qualified veterans may apply beginning on May 15, 2012. For more information go to There remains serious problems in the VA claims backlog as still there are 897,566 opendisability claims. The error rate is 16% and 65% of the claims are pending for more than 125 days. Thisbacklog is expected to grow to 1.2M by the end of the year as veterans return from the Middle East. VAsobjective remains to have no claim older than 125 days, with 98% accuracy. VA announced that 1,900 mental health professionals would be hired this year to meet thegrowing demand for services. Heres a note that maybe only the swabbies may know. In case you are wondering how ourmorning coffee became a cup of Joe, when Josephus Daniels, the Secretary of the Navy during World 15
  16. 16. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.War I, banned alcohol on ships in 1914, the phrase was initiated as sailors had to give up alcohol and goto the next strongest drink on the list - coffee! Below are some bills of interest to us. Some are new and others we have monitored for sometime. An update on cosponsors is shown in parenthesis; most bills remain in various committees.HR 5 (134) Protecting Access to Health Care Act would repeal the Medicare Independent PaymentAdvisory Board (IPAB) that resulted from the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” orObamaCare. ObamaCare has become increasingly unpopular and in part because of the creation of theIPAB charged with making reductions in Medicare. The IPAB is considered a “death panel” because ofpossible restrictions that would limit costs for those over age 70.HR 178 (188) and S 260 (50), Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act would repeal the SBP/DICoffset.HR 186 (28) Chapter 61 CRDP Eligibility would expand eligibility for concurrent receipt of militaryretired pay and VA disability compensation to Chapter 61 veterans regardless of the disability ratingpercentage.HR 238 (10) Military Retiree Health Care Relief Act of 2011 would allow a refundable tax credit for Part B(Medicare) premiums paid to enroll military retirees and spouses and spouse survivors.HR 303 (90) Retired Pay Restoration Act would allow retirees with service-connected disability toreceive both retirement pay and disability compensation from VA and eliminate the phase-in period undercurrent law for concurrent receipt.HR 333 (155) The Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act would allow concurrent receipt of retiredpay and VA disability compensation for those rated 50% disabled, and eliminate the phase-in period forconcurrent receipt to Chapter 61 disability retirees with less than 20 years of service.HR 396 (22) TBI Treatment Act would direct DOD and VA to implement a pilot program to outsourceTBI/PTSD patients to non-DOD and non-VA providers.HR 648 (1) Pledge of Allegiance Saluting would authorize veterans and members of the Armed Forcesnot in uniform to salute during the Pledge of Allegiance. Previous codifications regarding saluting to thepassing of the US flag did not apply to the Pledge of Allegiance.HR 1092 (27), Military Retirees Health Care Protection Act commits DOD and the nation to healthbenefits for retired military personnel and would constraint growth of healthcare spending so as not todisadvantage or require large fee increases for these beneficiaries.HR 1154 (69) and S 769 (8) Veterans Equal Treatment for Service Dogs Act would prevent VA fromprohibiting the use of service dogs on VA property.HR 1460 (0) would provide for automatic enrollment of veterans returning from combat zones into theVA system.HR 2051 (41) provides burials for unclaimed veteran remains identified by the Missing in Americaproject.HR 2074 (7) Veterans Sexual Assault Prevention and Health Care Enhancement Act has beenreferred to the Senate and offers improvement in VA to include: • improving personal safety and security in VA facilities • clarify that service-connected veterans gain full access to skilled nursing, adult day health and domiciliary care provided in state veterans homes • improve rehabilitative care and services for veterans suffering from TBI • allow veterans accompanied by service dogs to freely enter VA properties without restriction • establish a program for veterans to train dogs as a therapeutic option in VA mental healthHR 2182 (44) and S 1734 (12) would help get new infectious disease products to patients more quickly;this would help troops exposed to highly resistant and contagious strains of bacteria. 16
  17. 17. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.HR 3279 (0) would clarify that caregivers for veterans with serious illnesses are eligible for VA programsof assistance and support. This bill provides seamless transition for caregiver services between DOD andVA.HR 3483 (57) Veterans Educational Equity Act of 2011 would help veterans who do not qualify for in-state tuition to pay for out-of-pocket costs to attend public schools of their choice.HR 3612 (84) and S 1629 (12), Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2011 would add certainVietnam territorial seas for presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure tocertain herbicides.HR 3670 (21) would require the Transportation Security Administration to protect re-employment rightsof Reserve Component members and veterans activated for national emergencies. Thus giving the rightfor reemployment in jobs left behind with the same seniority, status, pay, and benefits that would haveresulted if not called to active duty.HR 3723 (7) Enhanced Veteran Healthcare Experience Act of 2011 would direct VA to providecertain veterans with non-VA health service where VA is incapable of furnishing services due togeographical inaccessibility or lack of capability at VA facilities.HR 3895 (38) and S 2128 (3) Protect VA Health Care from Budget Cuts would protect VA health careprograms from automatic cuts under "sequestration" .HR 4072 (4) the Consolidated Veteran Employment Services for Improved Performance Act of2012 would move DOLs Veterans Employment and Training Service to VA thus bringing all veteranemployment programs under one roof.HR 4079 (3) Safe Housing for Homeless Veterans Act would prohibit VA from contracting housing orhousing services unless a certificate is submitted to VA that the building proposed would be incompliance with all local codes for operations and levels of care provided.HR 4114 (11) the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2012 would provide aCOLA adjustment for veterans benefits beginning 1 December 2012.HR 4142 (6) would automatically adjust the COLA increase for disability compensation and DICto the same percentage as social security COLA, thereby eliminating the need for legislationevery year. The bill would also eliminate the “rounding down” of COLA increases.HR 4155 (2) Veterans Skills to Jobs Act, and S 2239 (3) would help veterans qualify for federaljobs by requiring federal agencies to use military training and experience as the equivalent offederal licensing and certification.HR 4168 (10) Caring for the Fallen would place the Clark AFB Military Cemetery under control of theAmerican Battle Monuments Commission to ensure proper care where US veterans are buried.HR 4329 (6) Disabled Military Child Protection Act would provide long-term care for severelydisabled children of retired service members. The legislation would authorize a Special Needs Trust thatwould allow more than 1,000 severely disabled military dependents to receive SBP annuities withoutlosing their Medicaid and Social Security disability assistance.HR 4341 (3) would create a working group to improve the policies of TRICARE for military children.HR 4482 (0) would make permanent home loan guaranty programs for veterans regarding adjustable ratemortgages.S 2179 (9) the Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act of 2012 would require schoolsparticipating in VA and DOD educational assistance programs to meet the same educational standardscurrently required for federal Pell Grants. Alabama Developments Here is an update on a number of bills in the legislature that we are tracking. 17
  18. 18. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success.HB 96 would include a “resident student” as a person with one or more years of military service with anhonorable discharge / a service related medical discharge for the purposes of instate tuition. Secondreading in House; first reading in the Senate.HB 97 would provide for members of the Alabama National Guard to be classified eligible for instatetuition. Passed in House; second reading in Senate.HB 121 would provide unemployment compensation for military spouses when a spouse loses their job toaccompany the service member during a permanent military transfer. Passed in House; second reading inSenate.HB 122 would grant free admission to active and retired military personnel to state parks on state andfederal holidays. Passed in the House and on second reading in the Senate.HB 152 and SB 163, The Heroes for Hire Act would permit small business owners (50 or lessemployees) to receive a $1,000 income tax credit for each recently deployed and now discharged,unemployed veteran newly hired. The bill also creates a $2,000 tax credit to recently deployed and nowdischarged, unemployed veterans who start their own businesses. Passed and headed to the Governor.HB 238 and SB 176 would extend the footage to 1000 feet from the entrance of the property for militaryfunerals. Currently there are criminal sanctions for protesters who do not stay at least 500 feet from theentrance. Passed House, second reading in Senate.HB 336 This bill would require the designation of “Veteran” on state driver’s licenses. Passed in House;being read in Senate.HB 711would provide for the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.,and the Noncommissioned Officers Association, Inc., to make nominations for membership on the StateBoard of Veterans Affair.SB 347 amends Alabama G.I. Dependents’ Scholarship to eliminate the wartime service requirement foreligibility. In second reading in Senate.SB 441 would amend the Veteran Tag Program to provide for 2 tags: Desert Shield/Desert StormVeterans who received the National Defense Service Medal and Desert Shield/Desert Storm Veteranswho received the Southwest Asia Service Medal. First reading in Senate and assigned to committee.Hal HicksLegislative Director, DAV, Department of Alabama____________________________________________________________________________________Alabama Department of Industrial RelationsNews ReleaseFor Immediate Release: May 15, 2012New Program Provides Job Training for Older Unemployed VeteransMONTGOMERY – Beginning today, older unemployed veterans may sign up for a new job trainingprogram called Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), which is designed to providetraining and education that will lead to high-demand jobs. VRAP was established as part of the VOWto Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which was signed by the President on November 21, 2011.Veterans may apply for this program if they: 18
  19. 19. ACAP NYOU; preparing the best for success. -60 -9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GIBill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance) -employability)VRAP will offer up to 12 months of training assistance at the rate of the Montgomery GI Billpayment, which is currently at $1473 a month. Participants must enroll in VA approved educationprograms at community colleges and technical schools that lead to an associate’s degree, non-collegedegree, or a certificate that will lead to employment.There are limited spaces in the program. Those interested in applying can do so online at or by visiting a local Career Center. A listing of CareerCenters can be found at is estimated that there are 11,000 unemployed veterans in Alabama.###Members of the media needing more information should contact Public Information Manager TaraHutchison at (334) 242-8616. 19