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It’s been a tumultuous week for the Department of Veterans Affairs, after a scathing inspector general report surfaced detailing abuses and errors in VA Secretary David Shulkin’s 10-day trip to Europe last summer. But the fall-out from the investigation hints at a power struggle over the department and its priorities.
For the second year in a row, President Donald Trump’s budget proposal will include an increase in spending for the Department of Veterans Affairs, bringing the department’s allowance to $198.6 billion in fiscal 2019 — roughly $12.1 billion more than this year.
A contingent of roughly 400 Marines are headed home from Syria after three months of providing fire support to U.S.-backed Kurdish and Syrian Arab Forces who battled Islamic State fighters in the militant group’s former capital.
A Marine Raider who sprinted through enemy fire to man an exposed shooting position in the back of an open truck and successfully broke an ambush by ISIS militants in Iraq was awarded the military’s third highest award for valor on Oct. 30.
Since 1954, when then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower renamed Armistice Day as Veterans Day, the Nov. 11 federal holiday has been an opportunity for Americans to reflect on the sacrifices made by military service members — living or dead — in both war and peacetime. And in recent years, it’s provided ample opportunity for active-duty military and veterans to binge eat at chain restaurants, where patriotism flows like the free soda and cheap appetizers. Oh and there’s usually a bunch of parades, public services, solemn reminders of sacrifice, and a deluge of introspective coverage from the media.
Whatever prejudices you hold about officers vs. enlistees — or ground-pounding grunts vs. managerial fobbits, flyboys, and squids — you’re probably about to cling to them a little tighter.