Print & Post: Week of December 15, 2014

Work Where Passion Meets Possibility, Search Jobs at Dell

Dell plays a critical role in enabling affordable and accessible technology through the transformation of computing, providing high quality solutions and empowering people to do more. Dell was recently named Top Veteran Company "Best of the Best 2013", an honor that was bestowed by U.S. Veterans Magazine and in a recent survey, was found to be the number one employer for U.S. veterans that allow them to feel happy and fulfilled in their private career sector career. ( Learn more.

AF Changes Enlisted Eval System

The Air Force continues the phased implementation of its Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS) changes with the convening of a master sergeant evaluation board scheduled for May 2015. The revamped master sergeant promotion process will be divided into two phases. Under Phase I, promotion eligible technical sergeants, as of the Nov. 30 promotion eligibility cut-off date (PECD), will be scheduled to complete their WAPS tests (specialty knowledge test (SKT) and/or promotion fitness examination (PFE)) during the February - March 2015 testing window. During phase II, board members will follow the same process as the current senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant boards. For more information about the two-phase master sergeant promotion process and enlisted evaluations and promotions changes, visit the ( myPers website.

For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News Center.

AF Band Holiday Performance

The holiday is time of year when the U.S. Air Force Band surprises the world with another musical flash mob. The band recent holiday flash mob took place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. The performance provided the perfect backdrop to the band's commitment to positively impact the local community while reaching a worldwide audience through various online and social media platforms. A video of the performance is available on the ( U.S. Air Force website. For more information on the bank, visit the U.S. Air Force band website at (

For more on military-related entertainment news, visit the ( Off-duty section.

Navy ShipShape Weight Management Program

The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) has announced the launch of a revitalized website for the Navy's ShipShape Program. The ShipShape program is the official Navy weight management program that assists active-duty Sailors, Navy beneficiaries, and government civilians with making healthy behavior changes in order to lose weight. The program consists of eight sessions that focus on three important components for weight management: Mindset, nutrition and physical activity. For more information, visit the new ( ShipShape website.

For more military-grade fitness tips and workouts, visit the ( Fitness Center.

Virtually There Travel System Removed

The software program Virtually There, a service allowing government travelers and commercial travel offices to download travel invoices, is no longer available. Because of this, individual travelers and CTOs can no longer request copies of missing invoices through that software. As a result, travelers should keep the original copy of their invoice, issued by email at the time of ticketing. Omega World Travel, Manassas Travel and CWTSato can obtain replacement invoices. For information, visit the ( Defense Travel Management Office website. It is important for individual reservists to maintain their original, e-mailed invoice

For military discounts on travel and other services, visit the ( Discount Center.

Sponsored Discount: Nissan's got your back with exclusive savings

You watch our back. Now we've got yours. Nissan is proud to provide eligible military personnel with the best savings program in the country. It's the same pricing we give our family & friends. (;107547039;j) Read More.

New Thrift Savings Plan Limits

The Internal Revenue Service has announced increased limits for 2015 Thrift Savings Plan contributions. The maximum contribution amount for traditional and/or Roth TSP will be $18,000. Also, the maximum amount of 2015 catch-up contributions is $6,000. To be eligible for catch-up contributions, civilian and military employees must be 50 or older in the year in which the first deduction from pay occurs. They must also be in a pay status and be able to certify they will make, or have made, the maximum "regular" employee contributions of $18,000 to a TSP or other eligible account by the end of 2015. For more information, visit the ( myPers website, select "Search All Components" from the drop down menu and enter knowledge article number "23799" in the search window. ( Learn more at

AF Program for Emerging Leaders

Eligible Air Force officers and civilians have until Dec. 19 to submit applications for the National Defense University Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction Program for Emerging Leaders. Candidates must have responsibilities related to security and have a secret security clearance. Officer applicants must be active duty captains or majors, and civilians must be GS-11 through GS-13 (or payband 2). For more information and application instructions, visit the ( myPers website, select "Search All Components" from the drop down menu and enter "2015 National Defense University (NDU) Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Program for Emerging Leaders (PEL)" in the search window.

For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News Center.

DoD Submits Sexual Assault Report

The Department of Defense (DoD) has submitted a sexual assault prevention and response progress report (SAPR) to President Barack Obama, Dec. 2, 2014. The report's intent is to demonstrate progress across five primary lines of effort: prevention, investigation, accountability, victim advocacy/assistance and assessment. The progress report includes preliminary results of the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study, which estimates sexual assault prevalence rates for the Department of Defense. This SAPR progress report does not replace the DOD's annual report on SAPR, which provides an in-depth analysis of reported sexual assaults and is expected to be released in April 2015. The DoD report is available ( online.

For more news related to sexual assault and the military, see ( this section.

Mount Soledad Cross May be Sold

The controversy surrounding the Mount Soledad Cross may be nearing a conclusion. A bill in Congress would authorize the Secretary of Defense to transfer a parcel of federal land in the La Jolla section of San Diego, to a private group. The parcel contains the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial whose dominant feature is a white cross that has been the focus of much litigation over a period of years. The bill would transfer the land containing the memorial to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association Inc., a private group that has been maintaining the facility. For more information about the memorial, visit the Mount Soledad Memorial Association website at ( and the ( Wikipedia website.

For discounts to military museums, visit the ( Discount Center.

Vets on Ice

The third annual Vets On Ice fishing event will take place Jan. 31 on Evergreen Lake in Colorado this year. Vets On Ice was created to introduce military veterans to the Colorado outdoors through an ice fishing event put on by a collaboration of local pro-veteran, nonprofit groups. The event is free and open to all veterans and active duty military members. It includes a lunch. Anyone can volunteer at the event or donate. The event starts for participants Saturday, January 31st, 2015 at Evergreen Lake, Evergreen CO. The Golden VFW Honor Guard will begin the day with a presentation of the colors at 8 am. For more information, call Shawn Buckendahl at 720-300-1647 and follow Vets on Ice on Facebook.

For more on military-related entertainment news, visit the ( Off-duty section.

AF Selects 400 Officers for Command

More than 400 Air Force officers from various career fields have been selected for logistics, mission support, materiel leader, operations support and air base squadron command. Non-selected members will remain on the candidate lists and eligible for unprojected command opportunities until 2016. To see the selection list and for more information about other personnel issues visit the ( myPers website. Select "Search All Components" from the drop down menu and enter "CY15 Consolidated Squadron Command Release" in the search window.

For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Hepatitis C in Veterans

The U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs recently held a hearing on Hepatitis C in veterans. Testimonies and a video of the hearing are available on the ( U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs website.

WWI Coin Act Passes

The U.S. Congress has passed the World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, which President Obama is expected to sign into law. The Act directs the United States Mint to strike up to 350,000 silver dollars in 2018 to help celebrate the centennial signing of the armistice with Germany, which ended World War I. The new coins will be struck in 90% silver and be available from the U.S. Mint in calendar year 2018. Other great conflicts have been memorialized on United States commemorative coins, but not World War I. The text of the Act as passed in the U.S. House of Representatives is available on the ( website.

Navy Distributes NeRD e-Readers

The Navy General Library Program (NGLP) has announced the arrival of the Navy e-Reader device (NeRD) to the surface fleet. The single, portable device is now an essential component of the U.S. Navy's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation program. The e-readers were produced to enhance leisure time, while promoting professional growth. They contain most of the 18 titles that comprise the Chief of Naval Operations Professional Reading Program. Current plans call for 1,170 NeRDs to be distributed, with 1,140 going to the fleet and 30 going to shore libraries. While there are not enough NeRDs for every Sailor, there are enough to share. For more information on accessing the Navy Libraries' On-line Resources, visit the Navy Library Digital webpage at (

For more Navy news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Veterans, Johnson Controls is Hiring

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Their 162,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. ( Learn more.

House Passes Suicide Prevention Bill

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America Veterans Act passed the House and was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The bill calls for independent evaluations of all mental health-care and suicide-prevention programs in VA and the Defense Department, a student loan repayment program that would offer up to $120,000 per year to recruit psychiatrists who commit to working for VA, and a program that would take back unneeded prescription drugs from patients at VA facilities. A ( similar bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives. An estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day, according to a ( report released last year by VA.

For mental health guides and tips, visit the ( Mental Health and Wellness section.

Videos to Help Vets Start New Businesses

Aspiring veteran entrepreneurs have a valuable resource in a new, comprehensive 12-part video series which highlights essential best practices for veterans to start and grow a small business. The American Legion Entrepreneur Series, released by the Legion's Veterans Employment & Education Division and ADP, is available free ( online. Key topics in the series include generating start-up capital, navigating the crucial first year of business, winning contracts and utilizing value-added marketing.

For more veteran job news, job postings and transition advice, visit the ( Veteran Jobs Center.

AF 2015 Selection Board Schedule

The U.S. Air Force Selection Board Secretariat has posted the calendar year 2015 selection board schedule to the ( myPers website. The schedule includes dates for master, senior master and chief master sergeant evaluation boards, active duty officer, special selection boards and a command screening board. To see the schedule, visit myPers, select "Search All Components" from the drop down menu, and enter "CY15 USAF Selection Board Schedule" in the search window.

For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News Center.

AF Selects 164 Test Pilot Candidates

The 2014 U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School Selection Board recently considered 164 candidates for pilot, flight test engineer, combat systems officer, and remotely-piloted aircraft pilots. Thirty-eight Airmen have been selected to attend the U.S. Air Force, U.S Naval, British, and French test pilot schools, with classes slated to begin in July, 2015. Program graduates will earn a Master of Science in Flight Test Engineering through Air University. To see the selection list and for more information on other personnel issues, visit the ( myPers website. Select "Search All Components" from the drop down menu and enter "2014 USAF Test Pilot School (TPS) Selection Board Results" in the search window.

For more Air Force news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Naval Museum Opens USS Thresher Exhibit

The Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport, Washington, held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the unveiling of its new USS Thresher (SSN-593) exhibit. USS Thresher was the Navy's most advanced submarine when it sunk April 10, 1963, with all hands on board. The loss initiated major changes in safety, construction and quality assurance programs throughout the submarine fleet. Since the initiation of the SUBSAFE program, no certified submarine has ever been lost. For more information on the museum, visit the ( Naval Undersea Museum website.

For more Navy news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Navy Streamlines Transcript Process

Sailors can expect their requests for Joint Services Transcript (JST) updates to take less time with a streamlined process that began Dec. 15. Sailors will now submit JST requests directly via mail, email or fax to ( JST Operations at Naval Education and Training Professional Development Technology Center (NETPDTC) in Pensacola, Florida. Sailors and veterans will also send their documents directly to JST operations, which Sailors may contact directly at NETPDTC, ATTN: JST Operations Center, N615, 6490 Saufley Field Road, Pensacola, FL 32509, Email: (, Fax: (850) 473-6013 or DSN 753-6013.

For more Navy news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Understanding VA Records Request Fees

Veteran and lawyer Ben Krause answers veterans' questions about issues with requesting records from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the fees VA charges for records servicing. VA has been trying to charge for things that are prohibited in its regulations. ( Read Ben's full article to learn more.

Navy Launches Wellness Website

The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) recently announced the launch of its redesigned and enhanced Health Promotion and Wellness (HPW) Wounded, Ill, and Injured (WII) website. The HPW WII website offers information, resources, and tools to support the healing, rehabilitation, recovery, and resilience of wounded, ill, or injured Sailors and Marines. The website targets health information disseminators as well as WII servicemembers, their families, caregivers, and others who support and assist servicemembers during the recovery and transition process. To learn how NMCPHC HPW programs can facilitate recovery and strengthen resilience, visit the ( HPW WII website.

For more Navy news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Senate Panel Probes Prices

The U.S. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee recently held a hearing on exorbitant prices charged by drugmakers for new treatments for hepatitis C. Gilead, the leading manufacturer of the drugs, refused to testify at the hearing about the $84,000 it charges for a 12-week regimen of Sovaldi and the $94,500 price tag for a newer drug, Harvoni. Even with bulk-purchase discounts, the Department of Veterans Affairs spent $370 million in the past year on new treatments. Outlays are projected to soar by an additional $1.3 billion for the next two years. The treatment cost is especially significant to the VA because the disease affects veterans -- particularly Vietnam-era veterans -- at a rate higher than the general population. Approximately 174,000 veterans currently enrolled in VA have been diagnosed with hepatitis C.

For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

Retirees: Eliminate Out of Pocket Costs with MBA TRICARE Supplement

Doctor and hospital bills are expensive even when you're covered by TRICARE. Help minimize or even eliminate out-of-pocket expenses with the ( MBA-sponsored TRICARE Insurance Supplement Plan.

VA Releases 2015 Compensation Rates

This year the Veterans Disability Compensation and Veterans Pension payments will increase by 1.7%. The increase is based on the 2014 rate of inflation (consumer price index). Take a look at the VA's rate tables to see what your 2015 Disability and Compensation payments will be at the ( 2015 Disability Compensation Rates page.

Congress Restores Commissary Funding

House and Senate conferees negotiating a package to fund the Department of Defense through September 2015 have protected commissary operations by restoring 90 percent of a planned $100 million cut. Once again lawmakers thwarted a cost-saving initiative targeting military compensation and endorsed by the Joint Chiefs as a way to dampen personnel costs so more dollars can be spent on training, weapon buys and other readiness accounts being victimized by arbitrary "sequestration" cuts.

( Read the full Military Update article.

Time to Track Santa

The North American Aerospace Defense Command's 'NORAD Tracks Santa' website at ( is ready to track Santa's flight across the globe on Christmas Eve. Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores. Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+ by searching "@noradsanta". Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD's "Santa Cams" will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Then, at 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa's whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to ( Any time on Dec. 24, Windows Phone users can ask Cortana for Santa's location, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to find Santa.

For more military news updates, visit the ( News Center.

Top Army- Navy Rivalry Videos

The Army-Navy game is one of America's greatest college football rivalries. Of all the famous college rivalries, none generate the kind of elaborate spirit videos that now constitute a modern tradition. ( Check out some of the best Army-Navy videos on's Under the Radar.

$1 Mil Coverage From Just $1.50 a Day

Protection for less. Get $1,000,000 Coverage from only $1.50 a Day. ( Could your family survive if something happened to you?

MilConnect for Personal TRICARE Info

TRICARE sponsors, spouses, and their dependent children 18 years and older have access to their personal information, health care enrollments, eligibility and other information through MilConnect. A new initiative gives separating servicemembers and their families more time to access this important information. The DS Logon of separating servicemembers does not expire and can still be used to access certain applications such as milConnect. Also, eligible family members 18 and over will be given an six additional months to sign up for a DS Logon for use in accessing MilConnect after their sponsor's separation. For information about transitioning from the military, visit the TRICARE Separating from Active Duty webpage at ( For information about creating an account or other secure services that can be completed online, visit the milConnect Information webpage at (

For more on TRICARE, visit the ( TRICARE section.

An Inside Look at the DoD's 2015 Budget

Last week MOAA reported on the ( FY 2015 defense bill and the results were mixed. When you look closer, the results could be considered good, bad, and potentially ugly. Find out why by reading the ( Bottom Line: The Good, the bad and the Ugly the article at Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

Software Training for Veterans

The nonprofit program NS2 Serves teaches veterans how to use the data management software from the SAP Corporation. SAP's software is used in banking, factory operations, and military intelligence. A certificate from the program gives veterans a credential they can use in looking for jobs. For more information on NS2's SAP Program, visit the SAP NS2 website at ( or phone 877-9-SAPNS2 (877-972-7672) or e-mail (

For more veteran job news, job postings and transition advice, visit the ( Veteran Jobs Center.

Waiting to Use Your $0 Down Benefit?

Now is the time to use your VA Loan. Rates are near historic lows and you don't have to pay PMI or have a large down payment. Plus you can get financing up to $417,000. ( Use your VA Loan Benefit today.

( Want more information about this great benefit?

Military 'Top Dog' Lucca Gets Her Own Book has a slideshow featuring images from Maria Goodavage's new book Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca. The book tells the story of Lucca, a German Shepherd mix trained to sniff out IEDS, and her legendary exploits alongside handlers Marine Staff Sergeant Chris Willingham and Corporal Juan Rodriguez. Top Dog is a sequel to Goodavage's 2012 bestseller ( Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America?s Canine Heroes.

For the slideshow and more info, visit the ( Under the Radar blog.

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