American Forces Press Service
Officials from the Defense Information Systems Agency Friday described plans to reduce operating costs through the use of expanded voice-over Internet protocol.
DISA official Cindy Moran called the proposed changes a milestone toward enhancing the joint information environment connecting war fighters. Users long tethered to desk phones and computer screens would instead receive tablets or laptops with telephone applications as part of their software.
“It just becomes an application on your computer instead of handing you a suitcase full of different devices to do work that can all be done on your computer,” Moran said.
Cost as well as convenience and practicality play a significant role in the shift, officials said.
“An IP telephone to sit on a desktop today can cost anywhere from $300-500 a telephone, depending on capabilities … directories and what the features are,” Moran explained. “A soft phone is $50—from the same vendor.”
For telecommuters who only need a headset and a $50 licensing fee for the software, the decision makes financial sense to DISA officials.
“The savings to the department for that person who may not need a desktop telephone is significant,” Moran said.
DoD, VA establishes two
joint reserve consortiums
Department of Defense
In response to President Obama’s Executive Order, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs highlighted Saturday the establishment of two joint research consortia, at a combined investment of $107 million to research the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury over a five-year period.
“VA is proud to join with its partners in the federal government and the academic community to support the President’s vision and invest in research that could lead to innovative, new treatments for TBI and PTSD,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. “We must do all we can to deliver the high-quality care our service members and veterans have earned and deserve.”
The Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, a collaborative effort between the University of Texas Health Science Center—San Antonio, San Antonio Military Medical Center and the Boston VA Medical Center will attempt to develop the most effective diagnostic, prognostic, novel treatment and rehabilitative strategies to treat acute PTSD and prevent chronic PTSD.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 2.5 million American service members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Military service exposes service members to a variety of stressors, including risk to life, exposure to death, injury, sustained threat of injury and the day-to-day Family stress inherent in all phases of the military life cycle.
To improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions, the president released an Executive Order directing the federal agencies to develop a coordinated National Research Action Plan.
DoD extending benefits
for same sex marriage
Department of Defense
Yesterday, the Department of Defense announced its plan to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilian employees.
After a review of the department’s benefit policies following the Supreme Court’s ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies, the Defense Department will make spousal and Family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.
The Department of Defense remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their Families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs.
Entitlements such as Tricare enrollment, basic allowance for housing and Family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision. Any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted. For those members married after June 26, entitlements begin at the date of marriage.
We recognize that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry. That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur. This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married.
For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the Department of Defense will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor’s guidance to ensure that the same benefits currently available to heterosexual spouses are also available to legally married same-sex spouses.