Military/Veteran Headlines for Tuesday – April 19, 2016

Several VA Employees Disciplined in Enrollment Scandal –

Several employees of the Veterans Administration face disciplinary action for their involvement in a scandal with the health care enrollment system with the VA. A report from the Office of the Inspector General revealed 847,882 pending applications, some dating back 20 years, including at least 300,000 veterans who have since died. The VA has faced criticism in the past months regarding the way employees are disciplined, but it was announced in December that the VA will no longer have to wait for outside investigations before taking action with employees.
Beginning Memorial Day, veterans can apply for healthcare online at http://www.vets.gov/

Tension Rises Over GI Bill Cuts –

Proposals have been made to potentially cut GI Bill benefits, but many veteran organizations and some Democratic lawmakers have vowed to block any legislation regarding the cuts. A measure was passed in the House earlier this year which would cut the housing stipend in half for dependents of veterans attending school on GI Bill benefits. Some who oppose stated that cutting the benefits would be “going back on a promise,” while some supporters state the Post 9/11 GI Bill was intended for veterans and is overly generous to some dependents.

US Sending More Troops and Apaches into Iraq –

U.S. Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, announced on Monday that 217 more troops will be sent to Iraq to serve as advisers and trainers providing aviation support and force protection. In addition, the US will also send in Army Apache helicopters that are anticipated to assist Iraq in combating ISIL. The new addition of troops will set the number of service members in Iraq above 4,000.

U.S. Military Joins Efforts to Help Japan Earthquake Victims –

This past Monday, the U.S. military joined relief efforts in Southern Japan to assist those in areas devastated by two recent earthquakes. It is estimated that 42 had died, 1,100 were injured, and thousands still without power, and possibly water, following the quakes. The US forces will help search for missing persons and provide aerial support to feed and provide supplies to those seeking shelter.