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As efforts to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs continue, there’s an ongoing debate about the best way to fix a system mired in bureaucracy and haunted by past scandal. While some argue in favor of VA privatization, either in part or in full, others and most recently, the president, are in favor of continued VA reform.
"The notion of dismantling the VA system would be a mistake," said President Barack Obama during a June 2 exclusive interview with The Colorado Springs Gazette. "If you look at, for example, VA health care, there have been challenges getting people into the system. Once they are in, they are extremely satisfied and the quality of care is very high."
The president said attempts to privatize the VA would delay the progress his administration has made toward modernizing the department.
"It's a big ocean liner, and on any given day, given how far-flung the agency is, we're still seeing problems crop up that we have to correct,” said Obama, who spoke to The Gazette’s Megan Schrader while visiting the Air Force Academy in Colorado where the president delivered the commencement speech. “I think the main message is that we've still got a lot of work to do. It's an all-hands-on-deck process."
Currently, the VA does allow for some private care, though it’s limited to specific situations due to the Veterans Access, Choice And Accountability Act, which Obama signed into law in 2014. The bill created the Choice Program which required the VA to contract with private providers if veterans lived more than 40 miles from a VA clinic or had waited longer than 30 days for an appointment. However, the initial launch of the Choice Program was fraught with confusion, with both patients and care providers unclear on the requirements for eligibility.
The subject of whether — and to what extent — veterans are able to obtain health care from private industries has been the subject of contentious partisan debate. Sen. John McCain of Arizona has proposed a new plan that makes the Choice Card universal and permanent, which would allow all disabled veterans to receive care from community doctors, regardless of distance or wait time.
Alternatively, others, including Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana who would rather see VA policy and plans further reformed instead of repealed or replaced by private care.
In May, the Veterans First Act was passed allowing for greater latitude in dealing with bad actors, and safeguards for whistleblowers within the VA, as well as provisions designed to provide patients with greater flexibility.
“The mission for the VA is clear: Make sure veterans can get the care they need in a timely manner,” Tester wrote in an op-ed for Task & Purpose. Tester helped write part of the bill. “With the Veterans First Act, I believe we give the VA the tools it needs to succeed and Congress the tools it needs to ensure the VA keeps its promises.”
The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.
The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.
The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.
Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.
Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.
Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.
These CIA officers were the first US boots on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11 — and one was 'Marine Todd'
Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."