By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
December 29, 2016

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A recently signed law gives official veteran status to National Guard members who served 20 years or more. Previously, Guard members were considered veterans only if they served 180 days or more in a federal status outside of training.

"As long as you were deployed on active duty for at least 180 days and you didn't get a dishonorable discharge or a bad conduct discharge coming off those orders, then you could be considered a veteran," said Army Sgt. Maj. Matthew Krenz, a legislative liaison at the National Guard Bureau who provided background information to Congressional members working on the bill.

By Cheryl Pellerin, DoD News, Defense Media Activity
December 27, 2016

WASHINGTON -- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is making available to military amputees the first production versions of a groundbreaking upper-limb prosthesis, according to a DARPA press release.

Dr. Justin Sanchez, director of DARPA's Biological Technologies Office, delivered the first two advanced "LUKE" arms from a new production line during a ceremony Thursday -- evidence that the fast-track DARPA research effort has completed its transition into a commercial enterprise, DARPA officials said.

By Spc. Tynisha Daniel
December 23, 2016

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Every year U.S. and international service members conduct a joint airborne operation that provides toys to children who might otherwise not have any waiting for them under their tree on Christmas morning.

Founded by Sgt. 1st Class Randy Oler in 1998, the Operation Toy Drop is also an annual training exercise that prepares Soldiers to support the military in theaters of operation around the world. Each December at Fort Bragg, U.S. and foreign paratroopers gather to conduct the charitable training and airborne operation.

By Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Today, the Navy released an update to the Selective Reenlistment Bonus (SRB) award plan for active component (AC) and full time support (FTS) Sailors in NAVADMIN 212/16.

This update, NAVADMIN 284/16, increases 16 SRB award levels, decreases 49 awards, adds 49 new eligible skills and removes seven skills eligible to receive bonuses from the Navy's most recent SRB NAVADMIN released this past October.

From Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) has announced the Navy's 2017 Installation Excellence Award Winners.

This installation excellence award program recognizes the Navy's top three large and small installations, and rewards installation performance in accordance with the command's strategic goals and Office of the Secretary of Defense criteria for the DoD-wide Commander-in-Chief Installation Excellence Awards. 

From Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- On Dec. 21, the Navy announced that effective immediately, Sailors may continue to be addressed by their Rating Titles.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral John Richardson, with the support of Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Steve Giordano, made the announcement in NAVADMIN 283/16. 

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2016 — Vietnam veteran and former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel returned to the Pentagon today to join Defense Secretary Ash Carter in officially opening an exhibit honoring the estimated 9 million Americans who served in the Vietnam War.

A two-time Purple Heart recipient, Hagel joined Carter and other Pentagon officials for the official ribbon cutting of the display, which spans a swath of a third-floor corridor.

By U.S. Army
December 21, 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- For 60 years, North American Aerospace Defense Command, otherwise known as NORAD, and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa's flight.

The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put children through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The director of operations at the time, Col. Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

December 20, 2016

In December, families often take time to come together and celebrate the holidays. Whether you are taking part in traditions that have been in your family for generations or creating new ones with your own kids, the holiday season is a perfect time to reinforce the values of charity and generosity. It’s easy for kids to become wrapped up in getting presents, but during the holidays, you can show them that spending time giving back to others can be just as fun and much more rewarding!

Depending on the age of your kids, you may want to talk to them about what it means to give back to the community and why it is so important. Remind them that it is not the amount you give or even giving money at all. Time and effort can make all the difference. PBS Parents recommends framing this conversation around how your kids’ actions will affect others, since children often operate from a center of self. Similarly, the Family Dinner Project (link is external) suggests starting out by asking kids, “What can you give or do for someone that doesn’t cost any money?” Or, for older kids, “Invent a superhero who protects something you care about. What is s/he fighting for? How does s/he create change?”

WASHINGTON- The Department of Veteran Affairs cut the ribbon today for its new Veteran Crisis Line (VCL) satellite office in Atlanta allowing the life-saving hotline to expand capacity by nearly 600 Veterans each day essentially doubling VA’s ability to help Veterans in need.

As a part of the MyVA initiative, the largest restructuring in the Department’s history, improvements of the VCL are a key priority, with the goal of providing 24/7, world-class suicide prevention and crisis intervention services to Veterans, servicemembers and their family members across the globe.

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