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VA Secretary Pulls Out Of Speaking Gig For Student Veterans
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie will no longer attend the Student Veterans of America National Conference on Thursday, where he was scheduled to give a speech to about 2,000 student veterans from across the country.
Wilkie was due to speak sometime on Thursday morning at the conference in Orlando, Florida, but abruptly canceled the trip on Wednesday, a source familiar with the matter told Task & Purpose. A statement from a VA official blamed the partial government shutdown, despite the agency being fully funded for fiscal year 2019 and its own website proclaiming it was not affected by the shutdown, which is now in its second week.
"Due to the partial government shutdown, Secretary Wilkie will remain in Washington to ensure the VA continues to provide benefits and services to all our nation's Veterans with zero interruption," VA spokesman James Hutton told Task & Purpose.
Hutton did not respond to follow-up questions asking how Wilkie traveling to Florida would have any effect on benefits and services for veterans, or why the government shutdown was to blame for the cancellation.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
The SVA National Conference is the nation's largest gathering of student veterans, according to the SVA website.
Update on 1/4/2019 at 8:47 AM: Wilkie spoke to the SVA conference on Friday morning via a livestream from Washington.
The command chief of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from his position last month after his chain of command received evidence he disrespected his subordinates.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."
Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.
He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.
WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.
The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.