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Month: October 2017

FBI: Security Clearance Process

It is the policy of the FBI to share with law enforcement personnel pertinent information regarding terrorism. In the past, the primary mechanism for such information sharing was the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).
In response to the terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001, the FBI established the State and Local Law Enforcement Executives and Elected Officials Security Clearance Initiative. This program was initiated to brief officials with an established “need-to-know” on classified information that would or could affect their area of jurisdiction.
Most information needed by state or local law enforcement can be shared at an unclassified level. In those instances where it is necessary to share classified information, it can usually be accomplished at the Secret level. This article describes when security clearances are necessary and the notable differences between clearance levels. It also describes the process involved in applying and being considered for a clearance.
State and local officials who require access to classified material must apply for a security clearance through their local FBI Field Office. The candidate should obtain from their local FBI Field Office a Standard Form 86 (SF 86), Questionnaire for National Security Positions; and two FD-258 (FBI applicant fingerprint cards). One of two levels of security clearance, Secret or Top Secret, may be appropriate. The background investigation and records checks for Secret and Top Secret security clearance are mandated by Presidential Executive Order (EO). The EO requires these procedures in order for a security clearance to be granted; the FBI does not have the ability to waive them.
Secret Clearances
A Secret security clearance may be granted to those persons that have a “need-to-know” national security information, classified at the Confidential or Secret level. It is generally the most appropriate security clearance for state and local law enforcement officials that do not routinely work on…

Army US Vets declares victory on a 50-year battle

Army US Veterans Clinton Lanier, first graduate of Savannah’s STAR programBy Lanelle W. Strawder, MA, Public Affairs Specialist
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Last November, Vietnam War Unites States Veterans Clinton Lanier, Jr. walked into the Savannah Vets Affairs Outpatient Clinic on a mission to change the course of his life. Lanier began using opium, heroin and marijuana while deployed to Thailand and Vietnam in the late 60s. The drugs, he said, were a respite from the horrors he witnessed during the months he spent in theater. However, Lanier had no way of knowing his antidote to war would spiral into an addiction lasting 50 years.
But late last year, everything changed for the 70-year-old.
“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I stopped because I wanted to stop. Even a cancer diagnosis in 2007 didn’t stop me,” Lanier says of his drug habit. “I stopped because I didn’t even know what it felt like to be sober.”
Lanier’s decision to get clean could not have come at a more opportune time. At the end of last year, the Substance Treatment and Recovery program, or STAR, was just taking shape at the Savannah Veterans Affairs clinic. After completing a 45-day detox program at the Dublin Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Lanier was quickly accepted into the program.
“I made a decision that I wanted to succeed at this thing,” Lanier said. “When I came here, I was offered the STAR program. It’s helped me out a lot and it keeps me on the right track.”
Lanier’s commitment has paid off. Earlier this year, the Army Veteran became the first graduate of the Savannah Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic’s Substance Treatment and Recovery (STAR) program. Savannah’s STAR program is an intensive, outpatient substance abuse treatment program that offers individual assessment and treatment plans for US Veterans struggling with addiction. Participants are required to complete a comprehensive…

Ready to Start a Small Business?

Retired Tech. Sgt. Alfredo Sibucao Jr. flips the open sign to his retail store in Las Vegas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika)
Vets and most successful entrepreneurs have a lot in common. Both groups have discipline, organization, responsibility, leadership skills and determination. In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurs are Veterans such as Dave Thomas, founder and CEO of Wendy’s, and Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine. If you’re an ambitious USA Veterans with a great business idea, it may be time for you to start your own small business.
Are you ready?
Before you commit to entrepreneurship, there are a few questions the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends you ask yourself:
Am I a self-starter? It will be the entrepreneur — and only the entrepreneur — to develop a product, follow through with details, and prioritize time.
How well do I get along with different personalities? Everyone is different. A business owner has to deal with a cranky receptionist, a demanding client, pushy lawyers, rude bankers, etc. Having a successful business hinges on the ability to handle problematic employees and clients.
Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business? Veterans have completed the most grueling obstacle courses in boot camp and might have gone through worse while deployed. But, business ownership is very demanding. It’s possible to work six, seven or 12 hour work days every week.
How well do you plan and organize? Poor planning is responsible for most business failures, according to the SBA. Good organization of finances, inventory and schedules may help a first-time business owner avoid many pitfalls.
Is your drive strong enough? Running a business may feel like an emotional burden. Some entrepreneurs burn out early. Strong motivation will prevent burnout and slowdowns.
How will this affect my family? The first few years…

Veteran: “Art is an awesome outlet.”

Vet Anthony Jones and his works of artBy Sarah M. Tolstyka, Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Deputy Public Affairs Officer
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
“Art therapy is no different from working out at the gym. It is an awesome outlet to resolve your issues,” according to U.S. Army Airborne Infantry US Veterans Anthony Jones.
Coming from an artistic family, he felt it natural to utilize the art therapy program after he enrolled in health care at the Martinsburg VAMC. “In 2015 I decided I needed to change, I dedicated myself to the health care and programs offered at the Vet Affairs.” Jones said.
Nationwide, Veterans Affairs medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help Veteran recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities.
Across the country each year, US Vets enrolled at Government Affairs health care facilities compete in a local creative arts competition. The competition includes 51 categories in the visual arts division this year that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits.
In addition, there are 100 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing. Through a national judging process, first, second and third place entries in each category are determined.
Jones participated in the Martinsburg VAMC Creative Arts Festival in 2016 and 2017, receiving first place both years in Fine Arts and Mixed Media. The festival provided him the opportunity to showcase his artwork and prepared him for a larger audience.

The annual competition raises the visibility of creative achievements.”

Recently Jones was given the opportunity to create a piece of artwork on his largest canvas to date by partnering with another local artist to showcase their art and vision on a tractor-trailer. “I’m very excited about it being out there.” Jones said.
Jones at work in his studio
He volunteers his time…

Win at Your Career with Five Poker Strategies

How is poker like your job? For the answer, check out five tips from Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, the highest-placed woman in the 2005 Globe Poker Tour (WPT) Championship, for using the game’s techniques to win at work:
Go All In
Betting everything is called going all in. “Going all in is a big risk,” notes Mercier, who practiced law before joining the WPT. “When I do it, it’s either because I have a really big hand and I’m trying to get paid off for it, or it’s because the all-in move has been dictated by heart.” The key is evaluating the potential rewards versus the risk, Mercier says. “In real life, if the direct consequence of taking a risk is your own happiness or fulfillment, then my advice is to go for it, and you won’t be disappointed. Even though it can be stressful, you’re better off jumping without a safety net and trying instead of just wondering how it would have been if only you had tried.” Russ Carr of St. Louis took a calculated risk — and lost. He quit a job he liked, sold his house and entreated his wife to move to Florida, all to take a new position. After about three weeks, he knew he’d made the wrong choice. “But then with nothing left to lose, I was a far more ambitious player, and I got a better job and new career as a result,” he says.
The couple returned to St. Louis, and Carr got a job with The Sporting Vets — and a sizable raise. “It was 50 percent more than I was getting in Florida,” he says. “About a year or so later, I got promoted, and my salary took another huge bound forward.” Carr is currently the publication’s prepress manager.
Size Up the Situation

Working With a Jerk? Here's 10 Ways to Deal

Dealing with your former drill sergeant was painful. But try working with a nightmare coworker — i.e. passive-aggressive behavior, inappropriate, unmotivated, or rude. In the service you dealt with conflict head-on, but if someone is bother you the direct approach may not work in the civilian workforce. If you have a new job, and you work with someone who’s a little difficult — or just plain drives you crazy — here’s 10 ways to handle it in a professional manner, according to a report from
Identify the problem. It’s not hard to spot the “toxic” coworker. This person can be a back-stabber, a gossip, a meddler, an instigator or just a nasty competitor, reports
Beware if the toxic person is the boss. If your boss is meddlesome, or worse, a competitive instigator, then you have to evaluate if you confronting your boss is worth losing your job. If you do confront your boss, avoid putting him or her on the defensive.
Assess your situation. Initially, you might be shocked that you’re treated unprofessionally. Take a deep breath, and try to understand exactly what is happening to you. Realize that you are not alone.
Take concrete action. Once you’re fully aware of your toxic co-workers behavior, you can decide to live with the situation or do something about it. In fact, it’s best to nip the situation in the bud. Talk to your co-worker privately, and address the problem in a non-confrontational way. If the problem gets worse, warn your coworker that you will escalate the problem to a higher authority.
Don’t let the problem fester. Take action swiftly. You may eventually become so angry that your efforts to address the situation could become irrational. It’s far better to tackle the problem while you can¿and try to maintain some objectivity and emotional control.
Safeguard your…

Unites States Veterans Showcase Talents at National Creative Arts Festival in Buffalo, N.Y.: Exhibit, Stage Show Open to Public and Media

USA Showcase Talents at National Creative Arts Festival in Buffalo, N.Y.: Exhibit, Stage Show Open to Public and Media
October 20, 2017, 03:21:00 PM
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Veteran Showcase Talents at National Creative Arts Festival in Buffalo, N.Y.
Exhibit, Stage Show Open to Public and Media 
WASHINGTON — Nearly 120 USA Veterans from across the country will participate in the National Creative Arts Festival in Buffalo, New York, beginning Oct. 23. 
The festival is hosted by the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (Veterans Affairs.GOV) Western New York Healthcare System and will culminate with an art and writing exhibition and stage show performance on Oct. 29. 
“Veterans at the Creative Arts Festival are an example of the tremendously talented men and women who have worn the uniform in service of our nation,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “The festival is a chance to recognize the progress and recovery of US Veterans who are accessing VA’s art and music therapy programs, and represents VA’s continued commitment to providing a full spectrum of health-care options.” 
Attendees can view the work of featured artists and meet featured writers from noon to 1:45 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Atrium Lobby of the Center for the Arts on the campus of the University at Buffalo. Performing artists will present a stage show at 2 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Center for the Arts, Mainstage Theatre. Tickets are completely free to the public and can be obtained by calling 716-862-6814. 
The National Vet Creative Arts Festival is sponsored by US Vets Affairs and the American Legion Auxiliary. The festival features selected winners of year-long, national, fine-arts talent competitions at Vets Affairs medical facilities across the nation, in which nearly 3,500 Vet participated. During the festival, Unites States participate in workshops, rehearsals and artistic interaction sessions, and the culminating event — Sunday’s exhibition and stage show performance.
Participating in the festival encourages artistic…

US Vets Affairs Seeks Partnerships to Build and Improve Health-care Facilities

VA.Gov Seeks Partnerships to Build and Improve Health-care Facilities
October 19, 2017, 02:29:00 PM
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WASHINGTON — This day, the U.S. Dept. of US VA (VA.Gov) released a Request for Information (RFI) seeking interest from potential partners who want to support efforts to build world-class health-care facilities for America’s Vet.
Public Law 114-294, the Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed for Vets Act of 2016, also known as the “CHIP-IN Act,” authorizes Veterans Affairs.GOV to accept donations from up to five non-federal entities to help fund and expedite the construction of health-care related capital projects.
The CHIP-IN Act aligns with Vet Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin’s efforts to modernize the Department and enhance service to Vets by streamlining and instituting infrastructure improvements to health-care facilities.
“Our strategic partnerships are one of many valuable tools that allow us to provide assistance to our US Vets,” Shulkin said. “Donations through the CHIP-IN Act will help us deliver health-care facilities for our Vet in a faster, more cost-effective manner.”
The first CHIP-IN Act partner is helping to build a new Ambulatory Care Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The center will provide a much-needed facility to Government Veterans in the region faster than a traditional funding and construction timeframe, and with a reduced burden on the taxpayer.  Washington VA is looking forward to developing similar partnerships for future CHIP-IN Projects through the RFI.
The RFI, eligible on the Federal Business Opportunities website, is seeking interest from non-federal entities, including 501(c)(3) nonprofits, private entities, and donor groups, for the remaining four partnership opportunities. The donations must be: (1) real property that includes a constructed facility or that is to be used as the site of a facility constructed by the donor, or (2) a facility to be constructed by the donor on VA-controlled property. Interested parties must respond by Jan. 15, 2018.

Breast Cancer Awareness Information for Veteran

Staff at the Louis A. Johnson VA.Gov Medical Center participate in a PINK OUT every Monday in October to promote breast cancer awareness.By David Reeder
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Louis A. Johnson VAMC Women’s Clinic has exciting DC. The Women’s Clinic in its commitment to giving the best and most advanced screening detection has acquired a new state of the art 3D imaging mammography unit.
This new technology allows our Women’s Clinic to achieve superior imaging which leads to earlier detection combined with conventional 2D imaging alone.
What is 3D mammography?
3D mammography is an FDA approved advanced technology that takes multiple, layered images or X-rays of breast tissue to create 3D image of the breast. You may also hear it referred to as tomosynthisis, or tomography. It is different than traditional imaging because 2D mammography only gives a single image. Both are read on specialized work stations. These multiple images of tissue “slices”, (about one millimeter thick), give the doctors much clearer images of breast tissue. The goal is for earliest possible detection. The LAJVAMC Women’s Clinic is FDA Certified.
Who should get a mammogram?
In May 2017 the Veterans Administration announced it has adopted the American Cancer Society Mammogram Screening Guidelines. For the last 19 years the American Cancer Society (AMC), has recommended that women over 40-45 should get annual mammograms, and can change to having mammograms every other year beginning at age 55. Women should have a choice to start screening with yearly mammograms as early as age 40 if they want to.
According to the CDC, women are at a higher risk with the following risk factors:
Family history of cancer, smoking tobacco , early menstruation, late or no pregnancy, menopause after age 55, not being physically active, overweight or obese after menopause, having dense breasts, hormone…

VA.Gov.GOV Announces WA Coordinated Access & Rewarding Experiences (‘CARE') Act: Replaces Current ‘30-day/40-mile' System With Patient/Provider-centric Decision-making

VA Announces USA Veterans Coordinated Access & Rewarding Experiences (‘CARE’) Act: Replaces Current ‘30-day/40-mile’ System With Patient/Provider-centric Decision-making
October 16, 2017, 01:00:00 PM
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Replaces Current ‘30-day/40-mile’ System With Patient/Provider-centric Decision-making 
WASHINGTON — This day, the U.S. Department of VA (Washington VA.Gov) announced that it has presented the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees with the administration’s draft proposal of the Vets Coordinated Access & Rewarding Experiences (CARE) Act, designed to improve Veterans’ experiences with and access to health care, building on the best features of VA’s existing community care programs and strengthening VA’s ability to furnish care in its facilities. 
In order to meet Veterans’ needs quickly and in a way that is easy to understand, the bill aims to:
Clarify and simplify eligibility requirements,
Set the framework for Unites States Vets Affairs to continue to build a high-performing network,
Streamline clinical and administrative processes,
Implement new care coordination support for USA Veterans, and
Merge and modernize community care programs.
“We want Vet to work with their VA.GOV physicians to make informed decisions that are best for their clinical needs, whether in the Vets Affairs or in the community, and this bill does just that, while strengthening VA services at the same time,” said DC Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. 
The bill would replace the current wait-time and distance eligibility criteria under the Choice Program (“30-day/40-mile”) with criteria that:
Place the US Veterans and his or her physician at the center of the decision process on how and where to get the best care available,
Ensure Vets Affairs.GOV is improving medical facilities and staffing levels to meet Veterans’ needs in areas where Vets Affairs.GOV care is substandard, and
Offer options for Vet to use a network of walk-in clinics for minor illnesses and injuries.
The CARE Act also includes: 
Proposals for new workforce tools to assist in maintaining and strengthening VA’s world-class medical staff,
A number of business process enhancements…

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