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Information and Communication Technologies to Promote Social and Psychological Well-Being in the Air Force

September 1, 2014 Comments off

Information and Communication Technologies to Promote Social and Psychological Well-Being in the Air Force
Source: RAND Corporation

This report presents the findings from a pioneering exploratory survey of 3,479 active-duty, guard, and reserve Airmen on their use of information and communication technology (ICT), the association between ICT use and social and psychological well-being, and the potential for Air Force mental-health professionals to use ICT to meet the needs of Airmen. The survey data were weighted to ensure that the analytic sample would be representative of the gender, age group, rank (officer, enlisted), and affiliation (active, guard, reserve) composition of the U.S. Air Force. Rates of ICT usage by Airmen are presented, along with Airmen’s perceptions of the relationship between social support and ICT use, their attitudes about seeking and receiving health information via technology, and the differences in ICT use, social support, and psychological well-being among different groups of Airmen. Finally, recommendations are presented on ways the Air Force can leverage ICT to promote the social and psychological well-being of Airmen.

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Spillover from the Conflict in Syria: An Assessment of the Factors that Aid and Impede the Spread of Violence

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Spillover from the Conflict in Syria: An Assessment of the Factors that Aid and Impede the Spread of Violence
Source: RAND Corporation

All roads lead to Damascus and then back out again, but in different directions. The financial and military aid flowing into Syria from patrons and neighbors is intended to determine the outcome of the conflict between a loose confederation of rebel factions and the regime in Damascus. Instead, this outside support has the potential to perpetuate the existing civil war and to ignite larger regional hostilities between Sunni and Shia areas that could reshape the political geography of the Middle East. This report examines the main factors that are likely to contribute to or impede the spread of violence from civil war and insurgency in Syria, and then examines how they apply to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan.

Transgender Service: The Next Social Domino for the Army

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Transgender Service: The Next Social Domino for the Army (PDF)
Source: Military Law Review

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was repealed on September 20, 2011. As a result, lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers can now serve openly and are no longer subject to administrative separation based on homosexual acts, homosexual statements, marriage, or attempts to marry a person of the same biological sex. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community championed this historic change. However, a growing, well-funded, organized minority argues that the repeal of DADT was not enough.

The repeal of DADT did not change the prohibition of service for transgender personnel; their service is currently prevented by regulation. In the Army, Army Regulation (AR) 40-501, Standards of Medical Fitness , prohibits servicemembers from serving in the military if they have “a history of, or current manifestations . . . of transsexualism, gender identity disorder to include major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia such as change of sex or a current attempt to change sex . . . .” The medical diagnoses that prevent transgender servicemembers from serving in the military have a close re lationship to the diagnosis criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The most recent edition, the DSM-5, contains revisions to the diagnoses of those who are not conten t with their assigned gender or who identify with the opposite gender. These changes more accurately define the diagnosis, reduce the stigma associated with transgender terminology, and remove the diagnosis from being grouped with sexual dysfunctions. In part, based on these changes, the military’s perception of transgender individuals is also changing.

DoD — Small Business and Strategic Sourcing: Lessons from Past Research and Current Data

August 28, 2014 Comments off

Small Business and Strategic Sourcing: Lessons from Past Research and Current Data
Source: RAND Corporation

The Department of Defense (DoD) may face challenges as it attempts to maintain its goal of spending about 23 percent of its prime-contract dollars for goods and services with small businesses and at the same time apply strategic-sourcing practices to reduce total costs and improve performance in ways that will not conflict with small-business goals while making DoD purchasing more effective and efficient. Strategic sourcing practices, for example, recommend consolidation of the supply base to reduce total costs, which can lead to fewer, larger, longer-term contracts with fewer and, often, larger suppliers.

Precipitating Circumstances of Suicide among Active Duty U.S. Army Personnel Versus U.S. Civilians, 2005–2010

August 27, 2014 Comments off

Precipitating Circumstances of Suicide among Active Duty U.S. Army Personnel Versus U.S. Civilians, 2005–2010
Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior

To help understand suicide among soldiers, we compared suicide events between active duty U.S. Army versus civilian decedents to identify differences and inform military prevention efforts. We linked 141 Army suicide records from 2005 to 2010 to National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) data. We described the decedents’ military background and compared their precipitators of death captured in NVDRS to those of demographically matched civilian suicide decedents. Both groups commonly had mental health and intimate partner precipitating circumstances, but soldier decedents less commonly disclosed suicide intent.

The “Militarization” of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense’s “1033 Program”, CRS Insights (August 20, 2014)

August 26, 2014 Comments off

The “Militarization” of Law Enforcement and the Department of Defense’s “1033 Program”, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Recent clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, MO, have raised questions about the “militarization” of law enforcement. Such concerns have focused almost exclusively on the expanding role of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. Congress has also turned its attention to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) “1033 Program” and what role it might play in the militarization of law enforcement.

Review of Alleged Patient Deaths, Patient Wait Times, and Scheduling Practices at the Phoenix VA Health Care System

August 26, 2014 Comments off

Review of Alleged Patient Deaths, Patient Wait Times, and Scheduling Practices at the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

This is the final report addressing allegations of gross mismanagement of VA resources, criminal misconduct by senior leadership, systemic patient safety issues, and possible wrongful deaths at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. The OIG found patients at the Phoenix VA Health Care System experienced access barriers that adversely affected the quality of primary and specialty care provided for them. Patients frequently encountered obstacles when patients or their providers attempted to establish care, when they needed outpatient appointments after hospitalizations or emergency department visits, and when seeking care while traveling or temporarily living in Phoenix.

In February 2014, a whistleblower alleged that 40 veterans died waiting for an appointment but the whistleblower did not provide us with a list of 40 patient names. However, we conducted a broader review of 3,409 veteran patients identified from multiple sources, including the electronic wait list, various paper wait lists, the OIG Hotline, the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee and other congressional sources, and media reports. We were unable to assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the deaths of these veterans.

This report includes case reviews of 45 patients who experienced unacceptable and troubling lapses in follow-up, coordination, quality, and continuity of care. The patients discussed reflect both patients who were negatively impacted by care delays (28 patients including 6 deaths), as well as patients whose care deviated from the expected standard independent of delays (17 patients including 14 deaths). In addition to 1,400 veterans waiting to receive a scheduled primary care appointment who were appropriately included on the Phoenix VA Health Care System Electronic Wait List, we identified over 3,500 additional veterans. Many of the 3,500 veterans were on what we determined to be unofficial wait lists and were at risk of never obtaining their requested or necessary appointments.

Since the Phoenix VA Health Care System story first appeared in the national media, the OIG received approximately 225 allegations regarding health care at Phoenix and approximately 445 allegations regarding manipulated wait times at other VA medical facilities. The VA OIG Office of Investigations opened investigations at 93 sites of care in response to allegations of wait time manipulations. We are coordinating our investigations with the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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