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Around the Force

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A spot check of events happening in the military

Deputy Defense Secretary
Ash Carter retires

American Forces Press Service
Senior Defense Department, White House and congressional leaders bade farewell to Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter Monday in a Pentagon ceremony marked by both laughter and tears.
Carter’s final working day was yesterday, but the ceremony marked his official goodbye to the department.
During the recent sequestration-related furloughs of Defense Department employees, the deputy secretary—exempt from furlough—returned a fifth of his pay in solidarity with furloughed workers.
In his two tours at the Defense Department, Carter served under 11 defense secretaries.
To read the entire speech, visit http://www. defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121262.
NATO’s Rasmussen
urges accord signature

American Forces Press Service
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen opened the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels Tuesday  welcoming the Loya Jirga’s endorsement of the U.S.-Afghan security accord and urged the Afghan government to give it a “timely signature.”
Speaking to reporters at the two-day ministerial, Rasmussen called the bilateral agreement important to the legal framework for the NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces post-2014.
Everything, he emphasized, hinges on a signed security agreement.
Deploying civilians, contractors train at Camp Atterbury
Camp Atterbury Public Affairs
Although military mobilizations are scaled down and unit deployments are no longer a primary mission set here due to the drawdown of troops overseas, hundreds of contractors from various agencies or contract companies from around the nation continue to deploy civilians to regions around world from Camp Atterbury.
That mission is called the Individual Replacement Deployment Operations—better-known as IRDO. It is a world-class training program for deploying contractors and civilians who are authorized to accompany U.S. military forces in combatant commands operating overseas.
IRDO is a six-day, 40-hour program of instruction. According to Indiana Army National Guard Capt. Matthew Limeberry, IRDO operations officer, the program is designed to meet all command theater entry requirements and validates personnel prior to deployment.
Dempsey hosting town hall
on Facebook today

American Forces Press Service
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is looking forward to interacting with a range of people during a town hall meeting on Facebook today.
Questions have already come to Army Gen. Martin Dempsey’s Facebook page, with more than 150 questions and comments so far over a wide range of topics.
People can submit questions in the comments section on the chairman’s Facebook page or vote for questions they want answered during the session, which starts Dec. 5 at 1:45 p.m. EST. The chairman will answer the questions from his Pentagon office.
Dempsey sees the town hall as a way to see what people are thinking across a range of audiences and to be able to interact with them on a personal level, said Air Force Col. Ed Thomas, the chairman’s spokesman.
The Facebook town hall continues the chairman’s outreach efforts. Every time he travels, he makes it a point to speak with service members, and he often holds news conferences in the Pentagon briefing room.
As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the chairman had 35,843 followers on his Facebook page. If this event proves successful, Thomas said, Dempsey will host more.
Tax season approaches,
gather your documentation

American Forces Press Service
With a month left before the start of tax season, service members should begin gathering documentation to file their 2013 taxes, the director of the Pentagon’s office of family policy and children and youth said.
In a recent interview, Barbara Thompson suggested visiting the Military OneSource website for tax filing resources, and to learn what will be necessary to file, such as W2 forms, Social Security numbers and receipts for deductions such as child care, education, medical expenses and donations, among other write-offs.
And tax preparers at Military OneSource will do short-form tax filing free of charge for service members and their families, Thompson said. Those tax preparers are up to date on changes in tax laws, and can answer military-specific questions, Thompson said.
Relocations and deployments have tax implications, Thompson noted. For example, deployed service members can receive an extension to file taxes after the normal April 15 filing date, she said.