Army Enticing Cyber Gurus


By Debbie Gregory.

The Army is in the midst of growing its cyber force of commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, and warrant officers. And the good news for potential officers is that they can better use their skills above and beyond what they could do as civilians.

Cyber professionals are often bound by what the law allows in their private-sector jobs. But those same skilled cyber professionals may be able to cut loose if they were in the military. In fact, that potential for greater freedom in cyberspace might entice some of those professionals to enlist. It may also serve as an enticement for cyber professionals who are already serving in the Army to stay in the Army, the Army’s vice chief of staff said.

The Army currently has 397 officers, 141 warrant officers and 560 enlisted Soldiers in its ranks, and is on track to increase the current 41 teams to a total of 62 teams.

In March 2017, enlisted Soldiers will for the first time attend Army Advanced Individual Training for cyber. Also in March, Army-developed AIT to defend the network will begin at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Some 300 Soldiers are expected to graduate from that course.

Attracting and retaining cyber talent remains a concern for the Army. Digital ROTC would be one way for the Defense Department to compete with the private sector for cyber talent. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has been working on ways to bring Silicon Valley expertise and new ways of addressing complex problems to the military.

It’s not just Army networks that need to be protected — commercial networks require protection as well — and the Army must compete with the private sector to attract the best cyber talent.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Setting Down Roots? The Best & Worst Cities For Veterans

best cities

By Debbie Gregory.

Personal finance website WalletHub has released the results of the best/worst cities for veterans, and the Lone Star State can lay claim to 40% of the best.

When looking at factors such as the availability of military-skills related jobs, veteran unemployment, economic health, overall veteran population and access to Department of Veteran Affairs administered healthcare, the cities of Laredo, Plano, Austin and El Paso are among the nation’s best for vets.

The six other cities in the top ten are Scottsdale, AZ, Irvine, CA, San Diego, CA, Colorado Springs, CO, Tampa, FL and Orlando, FL.

The cities at the bottom of the survey include Detroit, MI, Newark, NJ, Cleveland, OH and Memphis, TN.

Included in the study was data analyzed from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the VA.

The results are slightly different when you break up cities by size.

For large cities with a population of 200,000 or more, the top ten are: San Diego, CA, Virginia Beach, VA, Colorado Springs, CO, San Antonio, TX, Honolulu, HI, Oklahoma City, OK, Seattle, WA, Aurora, CO, El Paso, TX and Denver, CO.

For medium sized cities, with populations of at least 75,000 but fewer than 200,000, the top ten are: Alexandria, VA, Arlington, VA, Centennial, CO, Pearland, TX, Columbia, MD, Lakewood, CO, Mission Viejo, CA Olathe, KS, Torrance, CA and Overland Park, KS.

For small cities, with fewer than 75,000, Maryland comes out on top. The top ten are: League City, TX, San Clemente, CA, Bethesda, MD, Kirland, WA, Ellicott City, MD, Dale City, VA, Waldorf MD, Rockville, MD, Rio Rancho, NM and Eagan, MN.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Civilian Hiring Managers Value Veteran Employees, but Struggle to Understand Military Culture

Veterans in the workplace

By Debbie Gregory.


A new survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program found that while civilian hiring managers have great respect for veterans and see them as valuable recruits, they struggle to understand the culture.

The study, conducted between 2015 and 2016, surveyed 400 human resource professionals nationwide, as well as 1,000 veterans who have transitioned out of the military in the last five years on their perceptions during the recruiting and onboarding processes.

Hiring managers actively look to hire veterans, see them as ideal employees, and value the contributions they make. Managers listed military experience as one of the top three recruiting priorities for their firms, with 77 percent calling their skills an important addition to the work force. Eighty percent ranked finding employees with higher education degrees that same level of importance.

With that said, they also express some concerns about hiring veterans. More than half of the hiring managers surveyed said they had little to no understanding of military rank and structure, making it difficult to match veterans’ experience with appropriate jobs.

The study, which included interviews with 400 hiring professionals and 1,000 veterans, found that business leaders have helped make their corporate culture more welcoming to transitioning troops in recent years.

The Merck Foundation funded the study.

The study also revealed that HR managers overwhelmingly see veterans as more disciplined, collaborative and hard-working than their civilian counterparts.

While less than 25 per cent of managers think their workplaces have negative biases against veterans, nearly half of the veterans surveyed said they have faced negative attitudes and treatment in civilian jobs.

Retention still seems to be an issue. Veterans who left a job within a year of being hired cited difficulty relating to colleagues and the company’s operations and culture.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Post 9/11 Disabled Vets Still Opting for VA Health Care

va wait

By Debbie Gregory.

It appears as though the Veterans Affairs (VA) wait-times scandal has not curbed the flow of disabled veterans who want care through the department.

In fact, the percentage of disabled post-9/11 vets with health insurance through the Veterans Affairs Department has increased 11 percent over the last few years.

According to a survey done by the Wounded Warrior Project, 71  percent of injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans said they had VA health care coverage in 2016, compared to 66 percent in 2015, and 59 percent in 2014.

The 2014 Veterans’ Access, Choice, and Accountability Act expanded health insurance options for many vets, allowing them to use private health care providers in cases where VA could not meet their needs.

The survey revealed the most common injuries and health problems respondents reported: post-traumatic stress disorder (77 percent); sleep issues (76 percent); back, neck or shoulder problems (72 percent); and depression (70 percent).

But all of the news wasn’t favorable: disabled vets who participated in the survey reported difficulties accessing physical and mental health care through the VA and outside providers. Thirty-five percent of respondents reported mental health care access problems, with the most common reason cited being “personal schedules that conflicted with the hours of operation of VA health care.” The fourth most commonly-cited reason was “difficulty in scheduling appointments” (32 percent). For those seeking physical health care, 40 percent of those with VA and other types of health care said they’d experienced problems scheduling appointments, the top reason in that category, while 45 percent of those respondents with VA as their primary health care provider cited difficulties with scheduling appointments.

Thirty-seven percent of those using VA as their primary health provider cited a lack of availability in VA specialty clinics (compared to 31 percent of all respondents), while 37 percent of respondents using VA as their primary health care said the department’s requirements made it difficult to get referrals for necessary specialty treatment for physical problems, compared to 31 percent for all respondents with those issues.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Family Fights for Veteran’s Recovery


By Debbie Gregory.

On October 25th, a heartbreaking post appeared on Angela Tuckett’s Facebook page, addressed to the Hampton VA Medical Staff.

“My Father is retired Chief Msgt Roger Maynor, room 419A, he was transferred to your hospital on Friday Night from McGuire veterans hospital. We were told that he was here temporarily for a rehab treatment for 3 weeks and would then be transferred back to McGuire for further treatment. But this morning we are told that he is being sent to a nursing facility to basically just lay in a bed.”

Maynor, 63, retired from the Air Force after serving 30 years, including being stationed at Langley AFB. He was doing volunteer work in 2014 in a remote section of the Philippines when he fell from a ladder and sustained a major brain injury.

The family’s struggle to arrange Maynor’s care has involved two long years, thousands of miles, nearly $50,000 and a bureaucratic mess with the Veterans Administration.

Although Maynor has been comatose since the injury, daughter Teri Vick sadi, “We know he’s in there. We talked to him, he nodded his head at me.”

The cost of a special medical flight to get him back to the U.S. was $45,000. His family learned it was not covered by insurance. They appealed to lawmakers, the military, and the VA, but were denied any financial help. Maynor remained in the Philippines for two years.

Maynor’s family was finally able to raise the money for the flight and he was transported to Richmond McGuire Veterans Medical Center, a pioneer in the VA medical system for a brain injury therapy known as emerging consciousness.

Emerging consciousness therapy aims to keep the body as healthy as possible, so that the patients injured brain will be more receptive to stimulation.

However, after getting a discouraging prognosis, Richmond doctors told the family that Maynor had to be transferred to Hampton.

But following the Facebook post, doctors told the family that Maynor would be sent back to the Richmond VAMC to get the vital therapy.

Maynor’s family says they’re grateful that the VA is giving him a fighting chance.

“We’re not going to a nursing home,” Michelle Maynor said. “We brought him all this way. We paid all this money — for help. Not to be shoved under a rug and forgotten. That’s our fear – getting lost in the system. We’re not going to let that happen.

Daughter Teri gave a special shout out to our friends at Fisher House. She said, “The Fisher House has not only been an island in the storm, it’s been like finding a resort when all you needed was a bed and a shower. Maybe a little dignity if at all possible. We are eternally grateful for the hospitality offered by the Fisher House while we endure this long journey ahead. We feel just that much more human. I know that others have and will continue to receive this blessing.”

We second that, and send our best wishes to this family.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.


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