May 17, 2014
Newly leaked Marine Corps’ documents detail yet another military urban training center that more closely resembles a small U.S. town than a foreign combat zone.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has put in an acquisition request to buy body armor — specifically, “ballistic vests, compliant with NIJ 0101.06 for Level IIIA Ballistic Resistance of body armor,” the solicitation stated.
The request was put in writing and posted on May 7 — just a few days before the same agency sought “the commercial acquisition of submachine guns” equipped for 30-round magazines, Breitbart reported.
The May 7 solicitation reads: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, [seeks] Body Armor [that’s] gender specific, lightweight, [containing] plate/pad (hard or soft) and concealable carrier. [Also a] tactical vest, undergarment (white), identification patches, accessories (6 pouches), body armor carry bag and professional measurements,” Breitbart reported.
The solicitation also reads that “all responsible and/or interested sources may submit their company name, point of contact and telephone number,” the media outlet reported. And “timely” respondents “shall be considered by the agency for contact,” Breitbart said.
Add it to the list of federal agencies making requests for guns and ammunition in recent months.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Postal Service requested the go-ahead to buy “assorted small arms ammunition,” via a website posting. A year ago, the Social Security Administration put in a request for 174,000 rounds of what that agency described as “.357 Sig 125 grain bonded jacketed hollow-point” bullets.
And the Department of Homeland Security raised eyebrows with its recent request for 450 million rounds — at about the same time the FBI asked for 100 million hollow-point rounds.
On top of that, the Department of Agriculture itself sought 320,000 rounds within the last year or so.
By Jonathan Bullington
3:56 p.m. CDT, May 17, 2014
A U.S. citizen previously hospitalized in Indiana with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, has passed the potentially fatal virus to an Illinois man, federal health officials said Saturday.
Health officials originally contacted the Illinois resident earlier this month after learning that he had met with the Indiana patient on two occasions prior to the Indiana man’s hospitalization, according to a release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An initial test of the Illinois man on May 5 came back negative for an active MERS-CoV infection, officials said. But further testing revealed that the man had in fact been previously infected with the virus.
The Illinois man did not require medical care, officials said, and is reportedly feeling well. Local health officials are continuing to monitor the man’s health condition, officials said.
The man’s body likely developed antibodies that fought off the MERS virus, health officials said.
“This latest development does not change CDC’s current recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS,” Dr. David Swerdlow, head of the agency’s MERS response team, said in the release. “It’s possible that as the investigation continues others may also test positive for MERS-CoV infection but not get sick.”
State and local health officials will partner with the CDC to continue the investigation into possible cases of the disease.
A second case of MERS in the United States was reported on May 11 in Florida. The virus was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, and has spread to 572 confirmed cases in 15 countries, health officials said. The potentially fatal disease has claimed 173 lives.
We’re not being told the story; no one seems to be interested in being honest with veterans
The VA has dropped painkiller prescriptions by 85% – and vets should know why
(Photo courtesy of AP Images)
A New York Times piece this week detailed the unsettling fluctuation of prescription pain medications in the Defense Department and the VA. The differences are difficult to overstate – five years ago the report said that 8 out of every 10 vets received some form of painkiller (or “opioid” if you want to be fancy) as part of their treatment.
Now that figure is only 1 out of 10 – a drop of over 85% in five years!
It turns out that this is probably a good thing. The VA, along with the larger medical community, has determined that a more holistic treatment yields better results while avoiding the increased likelihood of suicide.
Win – win, right?
Almost, but not quite. While the outcome may be positive, we’re not being told the story. No one seems to be interested in being honest with veterans. Scan the VA Health Care website and you’ll find it offers boring and useless information, mostly cooked up by public affairs folks with no sympathy for the patients.
A little explanation would be helpful, especially if the VA is serious about engaging the community in some new ways thanks to the explosion of digital media. Veterans seeking VA treatment are basically the same folks as we were five years ago, but the treatments are completely different. Why is this happening? Who was responsible for the overprescription back then? Are they under-prescribing now? How do we know any of this?
The VA does a pretty good job managing millions of patients, despite some notable failures over the years and some high-profile criminal cases just in the last few months. These cases should not distract the veteran community from engaging the VA.
It’s so tempting to just start complaining about how bad everything is. There are vets who have been doing exactly that since the VA began. However, complaining won’t get us anywhere; it will just leave us with what we already have. Instead, let’s focus on demanding explanations for big changes and taking responsibility for our role in the medical care.
It’s our health, after all.
About the author
William Treseder William Treseder, Military1 Advisor, writes about well-designed approaches to national security issues ranging from technology to veteran careers. He co-founded BMNT Partners, where he helps start-ups grow by solving government problems from advanced manufacturing to veteran employment. William enlisted in the Marines in 2001 and served until 2011, including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. A Rising Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution where he studies 21st century conservatism, William also contributes to other national outlets such as Foreign Policy, TIME.com, and Breaking Defense.