Military Connection: Video Game Trains Sailors on Missile Defense

Navy Video GameBy Joel Silva

As a Veteran of the U.S. Navy, I can tell you  first-hand that today’s Navy infuses honored traditions with advances in modern technology to maintain dominance as the leading sea power. One of the latest innovations that the Navy is embracing is the use of a video game to help familiarize sailors with the very real threat and consequences of missile attacks to surface warships.

When I was in the Navy, one of my A-school instructors, OS1 Bowles, drove home a very sobering point to me and my class. “How many of you joined the Navy thinking that it was the safest military branch, as far as not getting killed?” OS1 Bowles asked. Most of us raised our hands. “Well,” he continued, “that’s stupid. Navy warfare is no joke. When ships start shooting at each other, people die by the hundreds, even thousands. One shot can kill several hundred sailors, just like that.”

Most of us in the class were just out of basic training, and had yet to set foot aboard our first ship. OS1 told us this, not to scare us into wishing we had joined another branch, but to shape us into being vigilant sailors once we got to the fleet. It worked for me.

Now the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring a video game that is supposed to simulate a visual that could, in essence, drive home the same message that OS1 taught me about the very real threats involved with naval warfare. The game, developed at MIT, is called “Strike Group Defender: The Missile Matrix,” and it teaches players how to  react immediately in the event of missile attack.

“Strike Group Defender” is the Navy’s first multi-player, game-based training program, and so far, it has been implemented to train sailors on approximately thirty ships.

The ONR sees playing “Strike Group Defender” as an affordable and realistic way to teach naval personnel about the dangers of missile attacks, as well as how their Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) systems are intended to work.

Players are exposed to different missile attacks, along with the best ways to counter such assaults. Players are required to choose from several tactical responses in order to defend their ships. The game also familiarizes players with a variety of different types of missiles.

It’s one thing to be taught to press a button or follow a procedure for hypothetical attacks in a training exercise. But it’s another thing to see the results of what can happen when proper procedures are followed and when they are not. This video game does just that. Seeing a ship blow up in the game might provide a better visual of hundreds of sailors dying if they don’t do their job.

While some “Old Salts” may hear about a video game being used for training and scoff at the kinder, gentler ways of the new Navy, many, including myself, will look at the simulation from “Strike Group Defender” and wish for this type of training when we were still in uniform.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Video Game Trains Sailors on Missile Defense: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Pentagon Already Eying Sixth Generation Fighters

Sixth gen aircraft

By Debbie Gregory

Recently, the Pentagon unveiled part of its strategy for developing its next generation fighter, for both the Navy and the Air Force, as Acquisition Chief Frank Kendall unveiled his strategy to members of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).

Kendall revealed that at the core of his strategy is what he referred to as the Aerospace Innovation Initiative. The project is also set to include the development of a next-generation engine.

“The intent is to develop prototypes for the next generation of air dominance platforms, X-plane programs, if you will.” Kendall said.

The program and its research will initially be managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and will include the Navy and the Air Force as well. Both service branches have already been looking into a next generation fighter that would replace the Navy’s F/A-18s and the Air Force’s F-22s.

There are currently a large number people working as part of the design teams for major programs, including the Long Range Strike Bomber and the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike program. Kendall stressed to the HASC the need to act on creating this next generation aircraft while current design teams are still intact, stressing that once these design teams are gone or disbanded, there is no getting them back. In a response to a question asked by HASC chairman, Rep. Mac Thornberry, Kendall said the following:

“In very specialized areas, like you mentioned electronic warfare, that’s a very special skill set and you can’t develop somebody who is an expert at that overnight; it takes time. And you get that expertise by working on programs, by developing new cutting-edge things.”

The announcement of the initiative to develop a sixth generation aircraft could also have a major impact on a wide array of new technologies and capabilities, including high speed strike weapons, an advanced new jet engine, unmanned undersea vehicles, high energy laser and rail gun technology.

Newer, more advanced aircraft development will also challenge industry giant Lockheed Martin, who’s F-35 is just now transitioning into its operational phase after long, costly delays and setbacks in the program. The F-35 joint strike fighter was billed as one plane that can address the varying needs of the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, while the next generation fighter will most likely be two different planes, for different functions, that will share common parts.

Northrop has already confirmed that it has teams assigned to developing sixth generation aircraft. It can be assumed that Lockheed and Boeing are also working on concepts.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Pentagon Already Eying Sixth Generation Fighters: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Lawsuit Claims Too Few Women at DOD Academies

Women at westpoint

By Debbie Gregory

On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, a lawsuit was filed that is intended to force the Pentagon to divulge recruiting information regarding female cadets. Of particular interest are the policies and statistics regarding the recruiting of these cadets into the different service academies.

The plaintiffs in the suit claim that a request filed in November, 2014 under the Freedom of Information Act, concerning the number of women enrolled at the service academies, was not adequately responded to. The request was made by the Service Women’s Action Network and the American Civil Liberties Union, which are pursuing the data as a starting point for what the groups have described as a broader challenge of the admissions policies at the academies.

This most recent complaint was filed at a federal court in Connecticut by Michael Wishnie, an attorney with the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School. According to the complaint, women make up less than one quarter of all students at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland, and the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colorado, combined.

The complaint also says that, even though the three Pentagon-ran academies have enrolled women since 1976, they remain overwhelmingly male as a matter of policy. The complaint claims that West Point has goals for women to make up 14 to 20 percent of its cadets, the Naval Academy caps the number of female midshipmen to under 25 percent, and the Air Force Academy caps their female cadets at 23 percent.

“The underrepresentation of women at the Military Service Academies contrasts starkly with the wide range of opportunities for military leadership open to women after graduation, particularly in light of the Department of Defense’s elimination of gender-based restrictions on women’s service in combat units and specialties,” Wishnie said.

The lawsuit is intended to draw attention to the underrepresentation and the lack of transparency regarding the imbalance of gender equality.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, spokesman for the Pentagon, said that as a matter of policy the Defense Department does not comment on pending litigation.

 

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Lawsuit Claims Too Few Women at DOD Academies: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Secretary McDonald Present at Homeless Count

Sec McDonald at PIT

By Debbie Gregory

Every year, during the last ten days of January, the annual point-in-time (PIT) count is conducted in cities across the country. PIT counts are planned, coordinated, and carried out locally, in accordance with guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The annual count is an attempt to determine how many people are living on the streets (or in shelters) on any given night in America, and as a census for what demographics are susceptible to becoming homeless. The data gathered from PIT counts is used to gauge the effectiveness of outreach programs, and to see where resources and services are needed. For major urban areas where there are larger homeless populations, these PIT counts are crucial to streamlining and improving the programs that serve the homeless.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald was one of the volunteers who took to the streets of Los Angeles in late January to help with the PIT count.The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which has a goal to end homelessness among Veterans by the end of 2015, has a vested interest in these PIT counts.

“One of the things you learn in the Army is you never leave a buddy behind,” Secretary McDonald told more than 100 PIT count volunteers. “Unfortunately, we’ve left some people behind, and they’re our homeless Veterans. But I’m here to tell you that we, at VA, are totally committed to achieve the goal of ending Veteran homelessness by the end of the year.”

Los Angeles has the largest population of homeless Veterans in the U.S., and has recently been targeted by the VA for major campaigns against Veteran homelessness. Secretary McDonald will dedicate the West Los Angeles VA campus to serving homeless Veterans and Veterans in need. Secretary McDonald will appoint a special assistant to oversee a plan to provide the necessary resources and support.

Secretary McDonald and the VA are committed to combating homelessness among Veterans in Los Angeles, often called the “Homeless Capital of the World.” If the VA can successfully end Veteran Homelessness in L.A., it will prove that it can effectively end homelessness in all cities.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Secretary McDonald Present at Homeless Count: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill Passes in Senate

Clay Hunt Bill Passes Senate

By Debbie Gregory

On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act H.R. 203 was passed in the U.S. Senate, just weeks after the 2014 version of the bill failed.

It has been a hard-fought battle to get this bill to the president’s desk, one that made giant strides forward last year, only to lose ground, and ultimately fail. But in the end, the perseverance of Veterans and those who care for the well-being of these heroes won the day. Their fortitude pushed to make sure that the Clay Hunt SAV Act 2015 passed through both the House and the Senate.

On December 9, 2014, the Clay Hunt SAV Act 2014 H.R. 5059 passed the House and was rushed into the Senate, with a chance of being passed before Congress broke for the year. The bill was blocked from a Senate vote by Senator Tom Coburn. Coburn stated that the bill did not do enough for its $22 million price tag, and didn’t add anything new that other federal, state and local programs weren’t already attempting to provide for Veterans in crisis. Coburn had already announced that his retirement from politics would commence at the end of 2014.

In mid-December, supporters of the Clay Hunt SAV Act vowed to retry the bill as soon as possible. At the start of business in 2015, the House passed the 2015 edition of the Clay Hunt SAV Act H.R. 203 by a vote of 403 to 0, with 29 representatives not voting.

The Clay Hunt SAV act then headed once again to the Senate, where many speculators felt that the bill would be met with little resistance this time around. Only three weeks after failing in the Senate the first time, the measure was passed by a vote of 99-0 with one senator not voting.

The Clay Hunt SAV Act is intended to be a major remedy for the high rate of suicides among Veterans, which is estimated to number approximately 8,030 per year, an average of 22 per day.

Provisions in the bill are expected to increase Veterans’ access to mental health care by:

  • Creating an all-inclusive website that will contain information about all VA mental health services
  • Expanding combat eligibility requirements for VA mental health services
  • Authorizing a student loan repayment program for psychiatrists who work for the VA.
  • Creating provisions for the establishment of a peer support and community outreach program to help transitioning service members gain access to VA mental healthcare.

The bill also aims to improve the quality of mental health care at the VA by requiring evaluations of all mental health care and suicide prevention practices and programs at the VA. This will reveal what tactics are working, what’s not working, and allows for recommendations to improve care.

The Clay Hunt SAV Act now heads to the White House, where it is expected that President Obama will sign the bill into law.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill Passes in Senate: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Obama Proposes $168.8B for 2016 VA Budget

obamabudget

By Debbie Gregory

President Obama has proposed a $168.8 billion budget for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for fiscal year 2016. The budget is expected to support the VA’s current goals to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare Veterans receive through the VA healthcare system. It will also be spent on programs aimed at ending homelessness among Veterans, as well as the expansion or continuation of scores of other VA campaigns.

Included in the budget is $73.5 billion in discretionary funding, which is expected to be used primarily on healthcare initiatives. The discretionary funding limit is 7.5% higher than the fiscal 2015 amount. There is also $95.3 billion set aside for mandatory benefits programs, including disability compensation.

The breakdown of the proposed VA budget is as follows:

Major Expenditures within the Proposed VA budget are:

  • $7.5 billion for mental health
  • $2.8 billion for prosthetics
  • $556 million for spinal cord injuries
  • $232 million for traumatic brain injuries
  • $243 million for readjustment counseling
  • $7.5 billion for long-term care
  • $1.2 billion in tele-health funding
  • $446 million for health care services specifically designed for women
  • $598 million for the activation of new and enhanced health care facilities
  • $1.1 billion for major construction projects
  • $86.6 million for improved customer service applications, namely online self-service portals and agent-assisted call center inquiries
  • $5.9 million to bring two new national cemeteries into full operation, opening in 2015, and to activate one new national cemetery and one rural National Veterans Burial Ground in 2016
  • $290 million to support the electronic claims processing system – the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS)
  • $141 million for Veterans Claims Intake Program to continue conversion of paper records, such as medical records, into electronic images and data in VBMS
  • $300 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) to promote housing stability
  • $374 million for the HUD-VASH program wherein VA provides case management services for at-risk Veterans and their families, and HUD provides permanent housing through its Housing Choice Voucher program
  • $201 million in grant and per diem payments that support temporary housing provided by community-based organizations
  • $266 million to administer the VA-run system of 133 national cemeteries
  • $4.1 billion for information technology (IT), including investments to modernize Veterans’ electronic health records, improve Veterans’ access to benefits, and IT infrastructure
  • $1.7 billion in construction, cemetery grants, and extended care grants to include nine VHA major construction projects and four gravesite expansion projects

The $168.8 billion budget may seem a bit hefty. But due to the VA’s holistic provisions of benefits and care, there are numerous programs and initiatives that require VA funding.

With approximately 9.4 million individuals enrolled, the VA manages one of the largest healthcare systems in the nation. The VA also operates the tenth largest life insurance program in the U.S., providinf monthly pensions, survivor benefits and disability compensation to over 5.2 million recipients. The VA is also responsible for more than 2 million mortgages to Veteran homeowners, and disperses education/vocational benefits to over 1.2 million Veteran students.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Obama Proposes $168.8B for 2016 VA Budget: By Debbie Gregory

 

Military Connection: How Oil Prices are Impacting the Military

 

By Debbie GregoryOil

Americans are relishing the falling prices at the pump when they fill up their gas tanks. The lower fuel prices that we are enjoying should cause a ripple effect that could see lower prices for most other goods as a result of lower costs of transporting them to your neighborhood. The current fuel prices are a result of a more than 40% drop per barrel in the price of crude oil.

While the American gas-buying public is enjoying savings at the pump, the price of crude oil could be damaging to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and to the U.S. economy, as privately-owned defense firms sales of weapons to oil-rich nations could be affected.

Over the last several years, oil-rich countries, including Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have all been increasing defense spending, with the majority of their money going to the DOD or private U.S. firms. In 2015 alone, these countries are expected to spend more than $95 billion on defense. These projected numbers could take a dive if the price of oil continues to drop.

Some have speculated that the DOD would see a savings in its cost to fuel the military, and then float this money to benefit research and development or other costs. But this, unfortunately, is not so.

The current price of oil has dropped below $50 per barrel. The division of the DOD that purchases energy for the U.S. military, called the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), uses a set price to buy its oil. That price is currently at $134 per barrel. Because the price of oil fluctuates, the DLA uses this set price, and has both benefitted and suffered from the rise and fall of crude oil prices. That means that right now, the DLA, and subsequently the DOD, is taking a loss of more than $84 per barrel of crude oil. Either Congress or the secretary of defense could ultimately force the DLA to lower its rate, but that is unlikely, as the price of oil will eventually rise again. And while the price that the DLA is paying per barrel is a loss, it is a cost that is already factored in to the defense budget.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: How Oil Prices are Impacting the Military: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: A New Battle Plan for US Navy Submarines?

US Navy Subs

By Debbie Gregory

The U.S. boasts having the “world’s finest Navy” at its command. There are few old salts, modern pirates, or shipping magnates who would disagree. Although the extent of the U.S. Navy’s reach and projection of power is currently unmatched by any other naval power, the USN is constantly researching and upgrading its tactics and technologies to maintain dominance.

A recentCenter for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) report, entitled, “The Emerging Era in Undersea Warfare,” sheds light on the USN’s submarine developments. Submarines and Undersea Warfare (USW) are a crucial component to sea dominance and rapid evolutions in technology that are reshaping the future of USW. Authored by Bryan Clark, the report claims that these technological upgrades could negatively impact the stealth of USN subs, resulting in a major impact on the future of the Navy.

In his report, Clark urges the USN to give up its current USW concepts and establish itself as a leader in an emerging new field within undersea warfare.

Since World War II, the U.S. and all major world powers with sizeable navies have heavily invested in developing Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). During the Cold War, the U.S. sought to render Soviet subs ineffective by developing methods to locate and track them, rather than sink them. In the years since the Cold War, other navies have been working on methods of locating and tracking U.S. submarines. Clark recommends working now to develop new USW technologies, with companion tactics, in order to stay ahead of other navies.

Clark points out that while using low-frequency sonar and flashing light emitting diode (LED) and other methods are making submarines easier to detect, they also make it easier for subs to communicate with each other. It is for this reasons that Clark suggests that the Navy develop a new strategy of USW that moves away from the traditional solitary submarine, acting independently, into more of a flotilla of subs hunting in pods, like orcas.

The strategy that Clark suggests includes pods or packs of submarines working together, operating near 200 nautical miles from their targets by serving as mother-ships for unmanned mini-subs and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).

By rethinking how to utilize our submarines and integrating our superiority with unmanned undersea and aerial vehicles, the USN could most-definitely extend its reign as the “world’s finest Navy.” ­­ At least long enough to develop another technology.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: A New Battle Plan for US Navy Submarines? By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Great Online Resource for VA Healthcare Users

myhealthevet

By Debbie Gregory

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has received plenty of news coverage over the last year. Unfortunately, most of the mainstream media has focused on the negative, citing deficiencies found in the federal agency. Despite what you hear in the news, the VA does an incredible amount of good for Veterans, and is constantly improving their methods for delivering quality healthcare and other benefits to Veterans and their families.

One of the most notable improvements that the VA has made to their healthcare system is the creation of the “My HealtheVet” web portal. My HealtheVet is the VA’s online personal health record. The system provides Veterans and their families enrolled in the VA system access to information about their healthcare benefits, links to federal and other VA resources, and a Personal Health Journal. My HealtheVet even gives users access to online prescription refills.

My HealtheVet was designed for Veterans, service members, their dependents and caregivers. The system is designed to give users the ability to make informed decisions and manage their health care, in a partnership with their VA healthcare team. Check out all of the features that My HealtheVet provides below:

The Personal Information page helps users keep track of their contact information, emergency contacts, healthcare providers, treatment locations, and health insurance information.

The Wallet ID Card page allows users to print their personal information on a pre-formatted wallet card for ease of use. The ID card also provides spaces for users to list allergies and other critical medical information.

The Military Health History page allows users to record important events from their military service, including incidents such as injuries and exposures to chemical, biological or radiological agents, as well as assignments related to their health history.

The Medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbals and supplements page allows users to record the name, starting and ending date, prescription number, and dosage for their medications.

The Allergies page assists users in keeping track of their allergies by date, severity, reaction, diagnosis, and comments.

The Tests page keeps track of users’ examinations and assessments by test name, date of test, location where test was performed, provider’s name, results, and any comments.

The Medical Events page lists illnesses, accidents or other events by logging their date, treatment prescribed or comments regarding the event.

The Immunizations page logs all immunizations and vaccinations by date received, method used, and any reactions that occurred.

The Health eLogs will keep a running record of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, temperature, weight, heartrate, and any occurrences of pain.

In the future, My HealtheVet users will be given access to view copay balances, and portions of their VA medical records online. And the VA is constantly working to improve this and other systems. Keep utilizing these resources so that you aren’t just receiving the negative headlines. Veterans and other VA healthcare members should visit www.myhealth.va.gov/ to get started using this great benefit.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA’s Plans to End Veteran Homelessness in L.A.

west la va

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced its commitment to ending homelessness among Veterans in Los Angeles County.

Currently, Los Angeles is home to the nation’s largest population of homeless Veterans, and Veterans with disabilities. VA Secretary Robert McDonald is in the process of familiarizing himself with the issue of homelessness among Veterans by participating in this year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) Count in Los Angeles. Each year, in January, the PIT Count is conducted in cities around the country to gauge the homeless Veteran population.

The January, 2014 PIT Count revealed that 49,993 Veterans were homeless on a single night, which was a 33% decline in homelessness among Veterans since 2010.  In fiscal 2014, more than 72,000 Veterans and their family members were placed in permanent housing or prevented from becoming homeless. This was accomplished through multiple homeless programs committed to eliminating Veteran homelessness by the VA.

This week, Secretary McDonald and attorneys representing homeless Veterans in Los Angeles announced an agreement that will dedicate the West Los Angeles VA campus to serving homeless Veterans and Veterans in need. The agreement commits the VA to developing a plan to end homelessness among Veterans in Los Angeles County.  This action is an important step in carrying out President Obama’s commitment to do everything possible to ensure that no Veteran is forced to live on the streets, or forego medical and psychological services.

Under the agreement, the VA will formulate a written plan to help end Veteran homelessness in Los Angeles by February 13, 2015.  The plan will focus on serving homeless Veterans, female Veterans, aging Veterans and disabled Veterans. Reporting directly to Secretary McDonald will be a special assistant, appointed to oversee the project, and implement it with the necessary resources and support.

Also, under the agreement, the VA will launch an accelerated process to develop a new long-term Master Plan for the future use of the West Los Angeles campus. This Master Plan is intended to prioritize the provision of bridge housing and permanent supportive housing. The VA will utilize members of  L.A.’s Veteran community to provide input to the Master Plan, along with other stakeholders, including the local community.