The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has scheduled a town hall-style meeting for active duty service-members, National Guard, Reservist and family members set to begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Madison County Courthouse, 157 N. Main St., Edwardsville.
The town hall will serve as an open forum for all service members and a listening session for VA leadership, with the goal of ensuring Veterans, their families, and beneficiaries have the opportunity to be heard, and have their concerns addressed by senior VA officials.
The town hall is open to the public, including Veterans, family members, or other beneficiaries, as well as, Congressional stakeholders, veterans service organizations, non-governmental organizations, and community partners. The VA will hold a concurrent resource fair and will have individuals on site to answer questions about health care eligibility, applying for benefits, information on mental health services, burial benefits and much more.
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Despite key votes in Congress, it remained unclear Friday whether the United States is closer to a historic move requiring women to register for the military draft, according to Stars and Stripes.
The Senate was wrapping up an annual defense bill that calls for opening the Selective Service to women despite opposition from some conservative lawmakers. Meanwhile, the House reached an opposite outcome in May when Republicans successfully blocked a measure integrating the draft.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle cried foul, claiming the issue did not get adequate debate. Now, as Congress pushes ahead with its annual defense budget, the House and Senate face brokering a compromise between lawmakers who are deeply divided over requiring women between 18-25 years old to register with Selective Service — and potentially forcing them to the front lines of future wars.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's proposals for sweeping changes to the Pentagon's military and civilian personnel systems were likely to remain just that — proposals — on the limited agenda of Congress in an election year, according to Military.com.
“We're looking forward to reviewing them” but “it's kind of late in the process to be sending these up,” a House Armed Services Committee staffer said Friday on background.
The main proposals from Carter, which require congressional approval, would most likely be shelved for possible consideration next year, when a new administration and Congress will be in place, he said.
The gloomy outlook for the plan on Capitol Hill contrasted with Carter's own remarks in unveiling the proposals in a Pentagon courtyard address on Thursday.
The secretary said "we're pleased with the positive support we've seen" from lawmakers for his so-called Force of the Future initiative aimed at modernizing the Pentagon's bureaucracy along with the personnel system on promotions and career choices.
The L.A. Times recently published a story about the deep losses the Islamic State’s leadership cadre has suffered as a result of targeted U.S. air strikes carried out by drones and war planes. So far, the U.S.-led campaign has singled out and killed more than 120 Islamic State leaders, commanders, propagandists, recruiters and other so-called high-value individuals so far this year, officials said.
The leadership attacks have picked up recently due to intelligence collected by special operations teams on night raids, from captured militants, and from intercepted of email, cellphone and other communications.
The focus on Islamic State's command and control structure, including its recruitment and funding systems, has helped weaken the Sunni extremist group as Iraqi, Syrian and Kurdish forces press the militants on the battlefield.
The targeted killings are so well known that militants have built “counter-drone screens” of cardboard and plywood to hide leaders and fighters in parts of Raqqa, the group's declared capital in Syria. They also have belittled the attacks as insignificant.
“America, do you think that victory comes by killing a commander or more?” a spokesman, Abu Mohammed Adnani, said in a recorded message released May 21. “We will not be deterred by your campaigns and you will not be victorious.”