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A Board Of Directors For The VA Will Only Make Things Worse
On Sept. 7, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs held “From Tumult To Transformation,” a hearing to review the Commission on Care’s 18-point final report presented to the president via the VA secretary last June. Despite some solid recommendations, such as consolidating community care and revamping the VA’s antiquated IT system, the controversial decision to create a board of directors to govern the VA gained the most attention — a decision that will only reinforce the status quo at the VA and will further add to the politicization of this agency.
The Commission on Care was created as part of the Choice Act, which aimed to address the egregious errors that led to the scandal at the VA hospital in Phoenix in 2014. However, since its inception, the commission has been plagued with disagreements over whether the VA should or should not be privatized — pitting fans of the Veterans Health Administration against Koch brothers-funded members of Concerned Veterans for America and other hospital-industry executives.
The struggle came to a head when one-fifth of the commission members refused to sign the final report due to disagreement over its final recommendations. Because of this, I can only see the recommendation to govern the VA via an unelected board as yet another partisan roadblock that will prevent stakeholders from address pressing issues, as well as further decreasing the VA’s efficiency.
The biggest hurdle for supporters of the board to overcome is its constitutionality. According to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, "Such a board is neither feasible nor advisable for both constitutional and practical reasons."
In a statement released Sept. 1, McDonald noted, "Most problematically, this proposal would seem to establish VHA as an independent agency, which would frustrate ongoing efforts to improve the veteran's experience by integrating veterans health care and services across VA, making it more difficult for veterans to receive the quality care where, when and how they need it."
Commission chairwoman Nancy Schlichting asserts that there could be ways around the constitutionality of the proposal, but has not offered specifics. Without a concrete plan to address the legality of this recommendation, the battle will continue, while issues like the growing appeals backlog continue to grow unnoticed.
Similarly, one of the VA’s biggest current problems is the inability of the secretary to do anything productive without battling one of the largest bureaucracies in the nation. It is difficult to imagine things functioning more smoothly if McDonald has to run everything he does by a hyper-partisan board of unelected officials. This suspicion is only compounded considering one of the least productive congresses put together the original Commission on Care and they couldn’t even agree on their own Commission’s recommendations. The likelihood that a board appointed the same way would somehow achieve better results just seems laughable.
Creating an unelected board of directors to govern the Unites States’ second largest bureaucracy will not solve the problems plaguing the VA. The agency already has a reputation for sluggishly addressing veteran needs, and adding another decision-making layer will not help this. Partisan gridlock in Congress has already harmed veterans. Carrying that into the Department of Veterans Affairs seems more like just another plan to paralyze the VA in an effort to strengthen the privatization argument, not to ensure our heroes get the care the deserve, when they need it.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.
R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.
Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.
The U.S. Air Force has two of its most elite aircraft — the B-2 Spirit bomber and the F-22 Raptor — training together in the Pacific, reassuring America's allies and sending a warning to strategic competitors and adversaries about the sheer power the U.S. brings to the table.
These stunning photos show the powerful aircraft tearing across the Pacific, where the U.S. has increasingly found itself facing challenges from a rising China.