New G.I. Bill worth every penny

July 30, 2008

Here is a link to the official Army story on the new G.I. Bill (S.22).  This puts teeth to the phrase “Support the troops.”

Here’s a link to the Department of Veterans Affairs site on the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008

As you may know, I like opinion writing.  There were several strong Op-Eds that brought needed attention to the debate over Veterans educational benefits.  They are here, here, and here.

And here’s some video about this issue:

Unfortunately, there was political back & forth on what seems to be such a simple issue–though debate is a key part of democracy.  A few blogs followed the politics of this bill.  Huff Post, Grassroots on Web helps GI Bill pass, Senators debate G.I. Bill .

If you know anyone who’s served since 9/11 be sure they are aware of the tremendous benefits of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008.

Here is a FACT SHEET about the bill.  Enjoy!

Where else can you work for 2-3 years, leave your job, and get 100% of your tuition paid for with over $1,000 cash for living expenses?


Black Officers are becoming scarce

July 23, 2008
Lt.Gen Lloyd Austin welcomes Sen. Barack Obama to Iraq

Lt.Gen Lloyd Austin welcomes Sen. Barack Obama to Iraq

A few friends sent me links today about the shortage of Black officers in the military.

LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer published a story (7/23/08) titled “After 60 years, black officers are rare

A few months ago I wrote an Op-Ed that addressed the current recruiting woes; as a means to bring about conversations that will lead young people to consider military service.

The first version (More than ever, black men should consider military service) appeared in the Petersburg Progress-Index here in December 2007.

I updated it (Combating the Trends: Military Service Can Alleviate What Ails Black America) and it ran in the Richmond Times-Dispatch here on 1/27/08.

An excerpt from my RTD OpEd…

Additionally, I’m concerned by the rapid decline in black enlistment rates (20 percent in 2001 to about 12 percent today; officer commissions are down to 8 percent). This will result in a less diverse senior leadership in about 20 years, and fewer families benefiting from Army service.

This week I’m attending the UNITY ’08 conference of journalists in Chicago. I certainly hope to find great earned media opportunities so we can buck the current trend on enlistment and officer commissionings. One of the solutions for retention and mentoring of officers is The Rocks, Inc. Great generals like Colin Powell, Julius Becton, Johnnie Wilson, and others have benefited from the two-way mentorship opportunities in the Rocks.

What do you think about the news reports? Were you aware that the #2 General in Iraq is African-American?  Does is matter if we have a diverse force?

The military truly values diversity and all of us as Americans have a stake in this fight. I believe education of the general public is a great start to increasing our accessions. Let’s go!

ADVISORY: I’m NOT a military recruiter…but will put you in touch with one if you want

UPDATE1:  Here’s an article from a DoD source that paints a positive picture of opportunties for minorities in the military.

Factcheck: The military embraces blogging

July 20, 2008

RUMOR:  The military does not allow servicemembers to blog.

FACT:  The military embraces blogging and even runs a few blogs on the .mil domain (See examples of official blogs, here, here, here, here)

Military bloggers provide the Naked Conversations that much of the general public can benefit from.

I found it really interesting that my Social Media classroom blog run by Professor Garrett Graff is linked to a large Military blog.

I agree with Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, IV that the military should embrace blogging (and other Social Media).  Caldwell was previously Senior Spokesperson for Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF-I).  His current duties include serving as Commandant of the Command & General Staff College.  He has published a policy letter that encourages blogging on .mil and commercial websites.

Caldwell’s views on the importance of internet/social media (as outlined in the policy letter):

Interactive internet activities are an essential part of our responsibilities to provide information to the public, usher in a culture of change within our Army’s officer Leadership, Development, and Education and support military operations.  Leaders within the Army need to understand the power of the internet and leverage as many communications means as possible to communicate what the CAC is doing and more importantly to “Share the Story” of those serving in uniform and highlight the incredible sacrifices they and their families are making.

Here is one of the blogs from a classroom of Army Majors.

In fact the Army has accounts at twitter, youtube, and flickr.  Though they don’t have many followers, subscribers, contacts, respectively; consider these sites a sign that Senior Leaders are embracing social media.

UPDATE 1:  I just found this link where Pete Geren, Secretary of the Army says:

Senior Army leaders have fallen behind the breakneck development of cheap digital communications including cell phones, digital cameras and Web 2.0 Internet sites such as blogs and Facebook, Army Secretary Pete Geren said at a trade conference on July 10. That helps explain how “just one man in a cave that’s hooked up to the Internet has been able to out-communicate the greatest communications society in the history of the world — the United States”.