Rao bulletin 1 December 2015 html edition this bulletin contains the following articles

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1 December 2015
HTML Edition
Pg Article Subject

* DOD * .
04 == DoD/VA Seamless Transition [32] -- (JLV System’s Interoperability)

05 == Army Retention Program --------- (Re-Enlistment Opportunity | 2016)

06 == DCoE Webinar ----------------------- (How Blue Light Can Hurt Sleep)

07 == POW/MIA Recoveries ---------------- (Reported 151116 thru 151130)

* VA * .
10 == VA Appeals [14] ---- (No Mechanism to Prevent Endless Challenges)

11 == VA Privatization [01] --------- (New Poll Indicates Vets Not in Favor)

12 == VA Caregiver Program [30] --------- (Alzheimer’s Awareness Month)

13 == VA Scandal News ------ (Exorbitant Relocation Allowances | 151220)

14 == Agent Orange Exposed Ships [03] ----- (Nov 2015 Updated List | VN)

15 == VA Health Care Enrollment [05] ---- (Post-9/11 Combat Vets Denied)

16 == VA Vet Choice Program [25] ---------------------- (New VCP Proposal)

17 == VA Pharmacy [05] --------------------------- (2016 Copay | No Increase)

18 == VAMC Albany NY -------- (Director Placed on Administrative Leave)

20 == VAMC Washington DC [01] ------------------ (Home Care Wait Times)

20 == VAMC Richmond VA [01] ------- (OSHA Unsafe Workplace Notices)
. * VETS * .
21 == Homeless Vets [70] ---------------------------- (Small Decrease in 2014)

22 == Stolen Valor ------------------------------- (Reported 15115 thru 151130)

24 == Vet Documentaries ----------------------------------- (PBS Florida Links)

24 == Vet Data Source --------------------------------- (www.veteransdata.info)

25 == WGU Salute to Veterans --------------- (50 New Scholarships Offered)

25 == Vet Cemetery Hawaii [04] - (Construction Stopped at Maui Veterans)

26 == Retiree Appreciation Days ------------------------ (As of 28 NOV 2015)

26 == Vet Hiring Fairs --------------------------------- (1 Dec thru 31 Jan 2016)

27 == WWII Vets 95 --------------------------------------------- (Hudson~Frank)

29 == Vet State Benefits & Discounts -------------------- (Rhode Island 2015)

29 == VA Family Caregiver Assistance [02] ---------- (H.R.2894 Introduced)

30 == VA Bonuses [29] ------------- (H.R.1338 | 2016 $2M Senior Exec Cap)

31 == NDAA for 2016 [17] ---------------------------- (Obama Signs Into Law)

32 == SSA COLA 2016 ---- (S.2251 | One Time Payment in Lieu of COLA)

32 == Vet Employment/Education/Healthcare Improvement Act - (H.R.3016)

33 == Vet Bills Submitted to 114th Congress ---------- (151115 thru 151130)

35 == USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000) [04] ---------------- (Nearing Completion)

37 == USS Lake Erie (CG-70) Update [01] --------------------------- (Mascot)

38 == USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) -------------- (A Navy Ship Built for Speed)

39 == Gravestone Coins [01] --------------------------------------------- (Origin)

40 == Military Retirement System [20] -------------- (New Proposal Update)

41 == Military Retirement System [21] -------- (New One Signed Into Law)

42 == Military Enlistment Standards 2015 [07] ------------------- (Education)

42 == Medal of Honor Citations ------------------ (Hartsock, Robert W. | VN)

44 == Aviation Art --------------------------------- (Cat and Mouse over Wake)

44 == Remember the 80’s Navy [01] --------- (Things that No Longer Exist)

45 == Military Trivia 115 --------- (Civil War Casualties & Troop Ethnicity)

46 == Military History ------------------------ (Nuremberg IMT Trial Results)

46 == Military History Anniversaries ------------------------- (01 thru 15 Dec)

47 == WWII Ads ------------------------------------------------------ (Baby Ruth)

47 == D-Day --------------------- (Recuing Survivor off Normandy Jun 1944)

48 == WWII Prewar Events ------- (Italian Fascist Party Headquarters 1934)

48 == WWII PostWar Events ----- (German Toxic Bomb Destruction 1946)

49 == Spanish American War Image 78 ----- (Presidential Campaign Poster)

49 == WWI in Photos 103 ------- (Archduke Franz Ferdinand Assassination)

50 == Faces of WAR (WWII) ----------------------------- (Italy May 23, 1944)

50 == Ghosts of Time ------------- (Then & Now’ Photos of WWII Sites (05)
51 == TRICARE Online [03] ----------------------------------------- (Resources)

51 == TRICARE Webiner - (TYA, Open Enrollment &Health Care Options)

52 == TRICARE Help --------------------------------------------- (Q&A 151130)
54 == Road Usage Tax --------- (Possible Traditional Gas Tax Replacement)

56 == IRS Audit [05] ----------------------------- (Now Less Than 1% Chance)

57 == Pet Owner Tax Deductions ------------------ (Six Allowable Write-offs)

58 == Saving Money ------------------- (Air Conditioning Operating Expense)

60 == Fake Customer Service Numbers Scam ----------------- (How it Works)

61 == Personal Email Impersonation Scam -------------------- (How it Works)

61 == DFAS SmartDocs Email Scam --------------------------- (How it Works)

62 == Tax Burden for Alaska Retired Vets ------------------ (As of Nov 2015)

63 == Tax Burden for Massachusetts Residents ------------ (As of Nov 2015)

64 == Thrift Savings Plan 2015 ------------------ (Returns as of 27 Nov 2015)

65 == Notes of Interest ----------------------------------- (15 thru 30 Nov 2015)

65 == Prescription Drug Advertising -------------------- (AMA Calls for Ban)

66 == Household Item Longevity ------------------------------ (What to Expect)

68 == Presidential Retirement Benefits --------------- (Former Presidents Act)

69 == Robocalls [01] -------------------------------------- (Blocker Test Results)

70 == Mexican Inventions ----------------------------------- (10 Amazing Ones)

71 == WD-40 -------------------------------------------------------------- (44 Uses)

72 == Brain Teaser ----------------------------------------------- (Odd Word Out)

73 == Vision Test ---------------------------------------------- (Hidden Image 01)

73 == Photos That Say it All -------------------------------------- (Remembered)

74 == Most Creative Statues ------------------------- (Oxford, UK | The Shark)

74 == Interesting Inventions ------- (No more Rear View Mirror Blind Spots)

74 == Moments of US History -------------- (Wall Street Crash Suicide 1929)

75 == Parking ------------- (Revenge Tactic #8 against Inconsiderate Parkers)

75 == Have You Heard? -------------------------------------- (Did You Know 3)

76 == Have You Heard? ------------------------------------------- (Beretta Story)

77 == Help!!! -------------------------- (Things that might make you say it (01)

77 == Brain Teaser Answer ------------------------ (Odd Word Out)


1. The page number on which an article can be found is provided to the left of each article’s title

2. Numbers contained within brackets [ ] indicate the number of articles written on the subject. To obtain previous articles send a request to raoemo@sbcglobal.net.


Attachment - Veteran Legislation as of 30 Nov 2015

Attachment - Nuremberg IMT Trial Results

Attachment - Rhode Island Vet State Benefits & Discounts NOV 2015

Attachment - Military History Anniversaries 01 thru 15 Dec

Attachment - Retiree Activity\Appreciation Days (RAD) Schedule as of 28 NOV 2015

* DoD *

DoD/VA Seamless Transition Update 32 JLV System’s Interoperability
After a long struggle for interoperability, the Department of Defense has announced that its Joint Legacy Viewer EHR system has met the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (NDAA), meeting EHR interoperability standards. According to DoD’s article at www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/630810/dod-meets-interoperability-requirements-for-electronic-health-records , the department has combined its multiple EHR systems into one integrated system called the Joint Legacy Viewer (JLV), bringing together information from over 300 data sources. The JLV is reportedly completely secure, requiring government credentials for access. Additionally, the JLV has a mechanism that monitors who accesses certain patient information.
The JLV is also accessible by personnel at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), increasing the interoperability efforts between the two departments, aligning with their goals for high-quality patient care through care coordination. "What we really want to be able to show is the progress we've made and demonstrate our commitment to making sure that we're providing tools that are useful for our providers but also making things better for our service-member veterans and their families," said program executive for Defense Healthcare Management Systems Chris Miller. Additionally, the JLV tracks a service-member’s health information throughout his or her entire military career. This includes from his or her start with the military, up until he becomes a veteran and receives benefits through the VA.
Although the DoD has reached the NDAA standards, the agency acknowledges the long path ahead to securing complete and reliable interoperability. In fact, the JLV EHR is still undergoing tests, according to Miller. "We've done a lot to get this information to a point where it's both shared and it's usable, but we recognize that we're going to continue to have to do more things to actually continue to make it as useful as possible," Miller confirmed. It has been a long road for both the DoD and VA in establishing interoperable EHR systems. After ending a project to create an integrated EHR system between the two agencies in 2013, both the DoD and EHR were tasked with creating their own EHRs that were still completely interoperable with one another.
The VA opted to enhance its VistA EHR system, while the DoD opted to adopt a private vendor’s EHR system. Earlier this year, the DoD announced it was going with Cerner as its EHR vendor, and thus began implementation. However, it has taken the VA and DoD longer than anticipated to adequately implement these systems, causing tension between the two agencies and other government officials. Those tensions culminated in a House hearing where members of Congress expressed frustrations at the implementation timelines. “I don’t mean to understate the enormity of the challenge of integrating the two largest federal bureaucracies,” said Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX), “but it’s clear to me that our inability to integrate these two systems is a failure of leadership rather than technical feasibility. This is not an issue of data standardization. This is management 101.”
Additionally, officials from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reiterated the urgency for DoD and VA to create adequate interoperability goals and timelines. GAO reported that the agencies did not meet the October 2014 deadline allotted them by the NDAA, and that they also failed to create adequate goals or plans for creating interoperability. “Accordingly, we recommended that the departments, working with the IPO, establish a time frame for identifying outcome-oriented metrics, define related goals as a basis for determining the extent to which the departments’ modernized electronic health records systems are achieving interoperability, and update IPO guidance accordingly. Both departments concurred with our recommendations,” said GAO Director of Information Technology Valeria C. Melvin. As the DoD has finally reached the NDAA interoperability guidelines, they will need to carry those goals out in conjunction with the VA, creating interoperability of service-members’ health information throughout all points of their careers. [Source: DoD News | Lisa Ferdinando | November 20, 2015 ++]
Army Retention Program Re-Enlistment Opportunity | 2016
The Army may be getting smaller, but it still has room for thousands of quality soldiers who want to extend their military careers over the next year. The 2016 re-enlistment opportunity window for the active Army applies to two general categories of soldiers whose terms of service:

  • Expire before Oct. 1, 2016, the end of fiscal 2016.

  • Expire during fiscal 2017, which begins Oct. 1, and ends Sept. 30, 2017.

The retention effort for 2016 is comparable to the 2015 re-up campaign, which resulted in nearly 50,000 soldiers extending their active-duty service. Because the Army is entering a period of large force reductions, some 40,000 over the next two years, the retention program is tightly managed, especially for soldiers who are in over-strength specialties. The Army continues to manage retention by three general personnel categories: first-term soldiers with six or fewer years of service; mid-career soldiers with six to 10 years of service, and careerists with 10 or more years of service. Staff sergeants and senior NCOs with 10 or more years of service usually are required to take an indefinite enlistment to remain on active duty. The Army's long-standing practice of offering five re-enlistment options remains in effect for fiscal 2016. The options are:

  • Regular Army (E1). This option does not guarantee an assignment, training or stabilization. Soldiers will be assigned to meet the needs of the Army, unless they are re-enlisting to meet a service-obligation.

  • Current Station Stabilization (E2). This option generally provides stabilization of one to 12 months for soldiers who re-enlist for three, four, five or six years, except that soldiers who re-up for a location-specific retention bonus may be stabilized for up to 24 months, depending on their unit location.

  • Army Training (E3). This option guarantees attendance at a school of choice for specialty or language training for soldiers who re-up for three to six years.

  • Overseas Assignment (E4). This option is targeted at soldiers who re-enlist for such areas as Europe, South Korea, Alaska and the Pacific region. Soldiers must re-up for four to six years for a long-tour area, and three to six years for a short-tour area.*

  • Continental U. S. Station of Choice (E5). This option guarantees an assignment of 12 months or more at a stateside post for soldiers who re-enlist for three to six years. Note, however, that soldiers currently assigned to a non-tactical unit, such a non-deployable headquarters, must re-enlist for assignment to a tactical unit, such as a deployable battalion, brigade or division. Soldiers are not allowed to re-enlist for back-to-back assignments to TDA (non-tactical) units.

The availability of these options is determined by a soldier's management category (first-term, mid-career or career) and the strength status of his or her military occupational specialty as follows:

Initial Term Soldiers

  • First-termers who are serving in an overstrength MOS (as displayed in the 9OCT In/Out Reclassification Calls) are limited to Options 1 or 2, but must reclassify to an understrength or balanced MOS. Exceptions are authorized for soldiers who re-enlist for assignment to an airborne position.

  • Soldiers who are serving in a balanced MOS are eligible for Options 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. However, if they chose Option 3 (Training), but they must reclassify to a shortage MOS.

  • Initial-term soldiers who are serving in a short-handed MOS are eligible for Options 1, 2, 4 and 5.

Mid-Career Soldiers

  • Soldiers who are in an overstrength MOS are limited to Options 1 or 2, but must reclassify to an understrength or balanced MOS. Exceptions are authorized for soldiers who re-enlist for assignment to an airborne position.

  • Soldiers who are serving in a balanced MOS are eligible for Options 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. However, if they chose Option 3 (Training), they must reclassify to a shortage MOS.

  • Soldiers who are serving in a short-handed MOS are eligible for Options 1, 2, 4 and 5.

Careerist Soldiers

  • Sergeants and staff sergeants with fewer than 10 years of service who are in an overstrength MOS are limited to options 1 or 3, but must reclassify to a Tier 4, or higher, MOS in the latest Selective Retention Bonus announcement.

  • Sergeants and staff sergeants with fewer than 10 years of service who are serving in a balanced or short-handed MOS are limited to Option 1.

  • Sergeants and staff sergeants with 10 or more years of service must re-enlist under Option 1. Staff sergeants in this category will be placed in the Indefinite Re-enlistment Program.

  • Soldiers in this category can request retraining and reclassification to a Tier 4 SRB specialty in conjunction with their assignment to the Indefinite Re-enlistment Program.

  • Promotable staff sergeants and higher, regardless of the strength status of their MOS, will be limited to Option 1 if they have fewer than 10 years of service.

While researching a possible job change, soldiers also should research the promotion potential for candidate specialties. A good information source for junior enlisted soldiers are the monthly cutoff scores for advancements to sergeant and staff sergeant. Soldiers who want to research NCO promotions should review the MOS selection statistics that are released with the annual senior NCO promotion lists. This information can be accessed from the "Career" link on the homepage of Human Resources Command, www.hrc.army.mil. When researching a job change, soldiers also should check out the Army's two major retention incentive programs for enlisted soldiers. Those are the:

  • Tiered Selective Retention Bonus program which offers cash bonuses of up to $72,000 for qualified first-term and mid-career soldiers. The most recent SRB charts took effect Oct. 9, and can be accessed at http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/benefits/pay/2015/09/28/new-re-up-bonuses-and-reclass-calls-take-effect-oct-9-nco/72748682 .

  • Critical Skills Retention Bonus program offers bonuses of up to $150,000 for senior NCOs in priority specialties who are at, or near, retirement eligibility. The most recent CSRB rates took effect Oct. 22, and are targeted at Special Forces soldiers.

For information and assistance in applying for re-enlistment and/or reclassification, soldiers should contact their local career counselor. Officials expect that fewer than 15 percent of the soldiers who re-enlist this year will come from the 2016 cohort, with the remainder coming from the cohort with ETS (expiration term of service) in fiscal 2017. Under instructions recently issued to career counselors in the field, a soldier's individual re-enlistment opportunity window opens 15 months in advance of their ETS, and closes 90 days before the ETS. The retention campaign described above will end Sept. 30, 2016.

[Source: ArmyTimes | Jim Tice | November 23, 2015++]
DCoE WebinarHow Blue Light Can Hurt Sleep
What’s the last thing you do before bed? Do you check your phone or other electronic device? Do you fall asleep with the TV on? The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury will host a webinar to discuss detrimental effects of blue light from electronics on sleep from 1-2:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Mariana G. Figueiro, a professor from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, will discuss how certain types of light applied at certain times of the day can increase sleep efficiency in older adults and reduce symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Webinar participants will learn:

  • Ways to measure circadian rhythms.

  • How lighting affects shift workers’ circadian rhythms.

  • How sleep and circadian rhythms are often disrupted in the military.

This Activity begins on December 3rd, 2015 and will be available until December 17th, 2015. To register for this presentation refer to http://dcoe.cds.pesgce.com/eindex.php. [Source: DCoE Public Affairs | Myron J. Goodman | November 24, 2015 ++]

POW/MIA Recoveries Reported 15116 thru 151130
"Keeping the Promise", "Fulfill their Trust" and "No one left behind" are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation. The number of Americans who remain missing from conflicts in this century are: World War II (73,515) Korean War (7,841), Cold War (126), Vietnam War (1,627), 1991 Gulf War (5), and Libya (1). Over 600 Defense Department men and women -- both military and civilian -- work in organizations around the world as part of DoD's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. For a listing of all personnel accounted for since 2007 refer to http://www.dpaa.mil/ and click on ‘Our Missing’. If you wish to provide information about an American missing in action from any conflict or have an inquiry about MIAs, contact:

  • Mail: Public Affairs Office, 2300 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301-2300, Attn: External Affairs

  • Call: Phone: (703) 699-1420

  • Message: Fill out form on http://www.dpaa.mil/Contact/ContactUs.aspx

Family members seeking more information about missing loved ones may also call the following Service Casualty Offices: U.S. Air Force (800) 531-5501, U.S. Army (800) 892-2490, U.S. Marine Corps (800) 847-1597, U.S. Navy (800) 443-9298, or U.S. Department of State (202) 647-5470. The remains of the following MIA/POW’s have been recovered, identified, and scheduled for burial since the publication of the last RAO Bulletin:

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced the identification of remains belonging to Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth L. Cunningham, 21, of Ellery, Ill. He was assigned to the 225th Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade. On October 3, 1969, pilot 1LT Paul L. Graffe and observer PFC Kenneth L. Cunningham departed Phu Hiep, South Vietnam, in an OV-1C Mohawk aircraft during the early evening on a surveillance mission of targets located in the northwest portion of MR2 (Military Region 2) in the tri-border area of Cambodia, Laos and South Vietnam. The aircraft (serial #61-02679) failed to return at the scheduled time. The last radio contact with Graffe and Cunningham was at 1800 hours when another OV-1 aircraft had been informed by Grasse that they were going to continue their mission for about 30 more minutes, and then begin the return trip to Phu Hiep. All further attempts at electronic contact with the missing OV-1 were unsuccessful. On the morning of October 5, search and rescue aircraft located the wreckage of an aircraft atop a 7,000 foot peak in a mountain range north of the city of Kontum. This wreckage was positively identified as that of Graffe and Cunningham. Efforts were made to insert a ground team at the site on October 5 and 6, but inclement weather prevented the team from being inserted. On neither occasion was either visual or electronic contact made with the downed crew. On the morning of October 7, another attempt was made to insert a ground SAR team. However, the SAR pilots noticed a change in position in the aircraft wreckage, and the SAR aircraft was receiving continuous beeper signals from the ground. Since this continuous beeper signal was not compatible with established emergency radio procedures, the SAR flight leader directed that the site was probably a trap and withdrew from the area. Both crewmembers were declared Missing in Action

sgt kenneth leroy kenny cunningham

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