Several things that may impact our brothers and sisters still in uniform!
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
With the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell", service members can expect 2011 to be the first year gays can serve openly in uniform. The precise timeline remains unclear, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signaled that preparations for the change will take about a year. Be ready for a political battle between Pentagon leaders and activists for the gay community as
they wrangle over implementation details and the pace of change. Don't expect any new barrack construction projects for gay troops. But 2011 will probably be filled with new training session on how to work alongside gay troops and how commanders should respond to potential problems. Also, expect new reminders on the military's rules against public displays of affection for all troops, gay and straight.
Changes On Subs
Two changes will affect the Navy's undersea warriors in the upcoming year: female shipmates and no smoking. The Navy's first female submariners, now enrolled in the officer training pipeline, will begin arriving in the fleet at the end of 2011. They will join the ballistic-missile subs Wyoming and Maine and guided-missile subs Georgia and Ohio. Both blue and gold crews will receive two female officers, along with a female supply lieutenant who's there to serve as a role model. There are 21
women in training. Two more subs will be integrated in 2012, followed by one each year until 2015, according to the plan. There are no plans to integrate the more cramped attack subs, and the Navy is studying ways to integrate the enlisted ranks.
Another change will effect Jan. 1: The smoking light extinguishes across the sub fleet at the stroke of midnight.
The DoD is due for a major shake-up in 2011 with the retirement of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. On the job since 2006, before Iraq the surge of troops in Iraq, Gates said he plans to retire in 2011. That could have a big impact on Pentagon budgets, since Gates was among the strongest advocates for cutting some big weapons systems like the Air Force's F-22 and the Army's Future Combat Systems. For troops, the biggest may be whether Gates sticks around long enough to push for health care reform. Gates famously said the military's health care costs are "eating us alive", and some fear that will mean fees for Tricare beneficiaries. It's unclear whether Gates retire before the end of the surge in Afghanistan and controversial drawdown the White House promised for July.
The 2010 congressional are a career-ender for many moderate to conservative House Democrats who had spent political their careers on military issues. In an election turn control of the House over to Republicans, the most prominent
among the defeated was 17-term Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the House Armed Services Committee chairman, who had fought for improvements to professional military education and family support programs â€” and balked at any reductions in the size of the military. Five of the six most-senior Democrats on Skelton's committee were also defeated, as were 13 of 18 Democrats on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee. However, the freshman class of incoming representatives, mostly Republicans include 18 veterans, nine of whom served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Information Via AFVN American Forces Vietnam Network http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AFVN/message/62681
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
All Americans remember and appreciate those who have served on active duty and thank them for their sacrifice and dedication to preserving our freedom. Veterans Day is an opportunity to commemorate the contributions of living veterans and is a day we fly the flag at full mast. Across the land, the grounds of virtually every state capital and county courthouse host monuments, memorials and plaques honoring those who served. They date back as far as the American Revolution and as recent as Iraq and Afghanistan.
As a nation, it is essential that we keep this date of November 11 as the one specifically reserved for the American people to demonstrate recognition in public or in private for the 23.8 million veterans living today.
Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have fully joined the ranks of America’s veterans, VFW generations who span WWI to the present day. We thank each and every one of you!