January 29, 2008
1. President Bush Addresses Military Families in State of the Union:In the State of the Union address delivered on January 28, PresidentBush spoke directly to military families. He said "Our militaryfamilies also sacrifice for America. They endure sleepless nights andthe daily struggle of providing for children while a loved one isserving far from home. We have a responsibility to provide for them. SoI ask you (Congress) to join me in expanding their access to childcare, creating new hiring preferences for military spouses across thefederal government and allowing our troops to transfer their unusededucation benefits to their spouses or children. Our military familiesserve our nation. They inspire our nation, and tonight our nationhonors them."
The National Military Family Association thanks the President forrecognizing the important role that families play in support of theGlobal War on Terrorism and for championing issues that have beenhighlighted by NMFA for several years. We will continue to pursue theseissues as we prepare our testimony for this year.
2. 2008 NDAA Signed Into Law: Aftermonths of political maneuvering and an unexpected Presidential veto,the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4986) was signed intolaw yesterday, January 28, 2008. Among other provisions it contains a3.5 percent pay raise for military personnel and significantenhancements in programs for wounded service members. In coming weeksNMFA will highlight specific provisions of this legislation in theGovernment and You ENews.
3. New PTSD Study Published: OnJanuary 15, 2008, the British Medical Journal published an article onnew onset and persistent symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder inU.S. service members after deployment and exposure to combat. Data wasextracted and analyzed from the Millennium Cohort that was gatheredprior to the Global War of Terror (July 2001 to June 2003) and comparedto health outcomes data (June 2004 to February 2006).
The findings were:
- Those who deployed to theater and experienced combat were threetimes more likely to self-report PTSD symptoms or be diagnosed thanthose who forward deployed but did not experience combat.
- Thosewho were female, divorced, or enlisted and self-reported as a currentsmoker or problem drinker were at a higher risk for PTSD.
- There were no differences found between Services.
- More than half who self-reported PTSD symptoms prior to deployment no longer self-reported PTSD after deployment.
Their findings suggest new onset self-reported PTSD symptoms ordiagnosis may be attributed to combat exposure in those who deploy. Italso suggests that deployment in itself is not the determinant factor,but rather the exposure during deployment is the key factor. Those whoinitially self-reported PTSD, but did not during the follow-up impliesthe presence of resiliency or recovery in the service member. Theunpredictability and intensity of urban combat, constant risk ofroadside bombs, multiple and prolonged tours, and complex problems ofdifferentiating enemies from allies was not examined further and wasfelt it could leave service members with high stress levels andpossible long lasting health effects. (Source: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/bmj.39430.638241.AEv1)
4. Autism Conference to be Held at Camp Pendleton:The second annual Marine Corps Installation West and Naval HospitalCamp Pendleton Autism Conference will be held on Thursday, 21 Februaryat the Staff NCO Club at MCB Camp Pendleton. The conference is intendedfor policy makers, senior executives, military and civilian health careproviders and support personnel, other Navy and Marine Corps leaders,TRICARE Regional Office West Staff, TriWest Staff, education communityrepresentatives and military family members. Information andregistration information can be found at http://www.cpen.med.navy.mil/nhcp.cfm?xid=wap&f=x833A678B.
5. Determining Residency for Voting Purposes:Determining residency for voting purposes can be complex for militaryfamily members. These general guidelines from the Federal VotingAssistance Program may be helpful.
- Generally your state of legal residence is the state in which youvote. While you may have only one legal residence at any time, you mayadopt a new legal residence each time you move.
- To establish legal residence in a state one must have physical presence in that state and the intent to remain in the state.
- Eachstate has specific physical presence and other requirements forresidency, check with your state to determine specific requirements.
- Once legal residence is changed, a person may not revert to the previous residence without re-establishing physical presence.
- Military spouses do not automatically assume the state of residency of the military member when they marry.
- Militarychildren typically assume the legal residence of either parent whenthey turn 18, however, they also have the option of establishing theirown legal residence, which may be different from either parent. Theymust, however, meet the individual requirements for the state in whichthey wish to establish residency.
- Once established, legal residency remains intact until legal residency is established in another state.
Family members with questions about residency should contact theirinstallation legal office for information specific to their situation.
6. Scholarships Available for Military Children - Deadlines Approaching:Scholarship deadlines are fast approaching! Don't miss your opportunityto apply for the Defense Commissary Agency's annual scholarship.Applications are currently being accepted and must be submitted byFebruary 20th. For complete information, visit the website at: http://www.militaryscholar.org/.
In addition, The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation "Honors Marinesby Educating Their Children." Since its founding in 1962, theorganization has distributed over 21,000 needs-based, collegescholarships and bonds totaling over $34 million. The Foundationprovides assistance to the children of Marines, or Navy Corpsmenserving with Marines, with special consideration given to childrenwhose parent was killed or wounded in action.
To be eligible to apply, a student must be the child of a currentU.S. Marine or the child of a Marine retired or deceased. Applicantsmust also be high school graduates, or registered as an undergraduatestudent at an accredited educational institution. Scholarships are notoffered for graduate study. Scholarship recipients must have a familyincome $77,000 or less. This limit increases if siblings apply.Children whose parent is participating or has participated in OperationIraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom may qualify for additionalscholarship funding.
Upcoming application deadlines are March 3, 2008 for graduating highschool seniors and first-time college freshman; and April 15, 2008 forall other students. To learn more about the Foundation and itsscholarships, visit their web site at http://www.mcsf.org/ or call 800-292-7777.
7. Apply for the NMFA Military Spouse Scholarship:The National Military Family Association's Joanne Holbrook PattonMilitary Spouse Scholarships are awarded to spouses of UniformedServices members (active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees,and survivors) to obtain professional certification or to attend postsecondary or graduate school. Scholarships range in amount from $500 to$1,000, and the number awarded each year varies depending on funding.Scholarship funds may be used for tuition, fees, and school room andboard.
Scholarship selection is based on completion of some surveyquestions that will help NMFA advocate for education changes on yourbehalf, short-answer questions, and an essay question that will help usget to know you better. To be considered, applications must becompleted by midnight March 15, 2008. Apply Now!