Saturday, July 30, 2011

Community Challenge for Joining Forces

In an effort to recognize those citizens and organizations with a demonstrated, genuine and deep desire to be of service to military families, the First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have established the Joining Forces Community Challenge.

The Challenge was established with the expectation that recognizing and celebrating those who are dedicated to improving the lives of military families will have the added benefit of encouraging others to do so as well.

The Joining Forces Community Challenge will award several national prizes that recognize citizens, communities, schools, non-profits, faith-based institutions, philanthropic organizations and local governments for their efforts in supporting military families. These are non-monetary awards.

Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

Citizens and organizations providing programs, services or support designed to ease the burden and alleviate the emotional and mental stress on service members and their families are encouraged to apply for the Joining Force Community Challenge. Nominations will also be accepted.

The Joining Forces Community Challenge will be conducted in two stages. During the first stage, a panel of judges will review applications and nominations and select and announce 20 finalists on November 30, 2011. In the second stage, finalists will be profiled on where the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite – the People’s Choice winner. Public voting and additional judging will take place after finalists are announced and continue to January 2012.

Winners selected by judges and the People’s Choice winner will be announced in January 2012. Winners’ profiles will be featured at Champions of Change, the Administration’s website where extraordinary community efforts in the areas of innovation and education are celebrated.

Prize winners will be recognized at an event in Washington, D.C. in February 2012.

Joining Forces:
  • Brings attention to the unique needs and strength of America’s military families.
  • Inspires, educates, and sparks action from all sectors of our society – citizens, communities, businesses, non-profits, faith based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government - to ensure veterans and military families have the opportunities, resources, and support they have earned.
  • Showcases the skills, experience, and dedication of America’s veterans and military spouses to strengthen our nation’s communities.
  • Creates greater connections between the American public and the military.
In this ongoing effort, they’re highlighting issues that are of special importance to the military families they have met with across the country, including the areas of employment, education, and wellness.

Employment. In many cases, military spouses move from one community to another when their spouses are assigned to new duty stations. These transfers can make it very difficult for spouses to continue with their careers or to find similar jobs in new locations.

Joining Forces:
  • Highlights the workforce potential of veterans and military spouses;
  • Expands employment and career development opportunities for veterans and military spouses; and
  • Helps employers create military family-friendly workplaces.
Education. Military children move frequently due to a parent’s reassignment. These moves can make it difficult to transfer records, secure spaces in courses, stay included in extra-curricular activities, and complete required testing on time.

Joining Forces:
  • Supports the academic achievement of military children by helping schools become more responsive to the unique needs of military children and families; and
  • Promotes and supports higher education institutions and programs that expand education opportunities, eases transferability for military-connected students, and expands job training opportunities for military spouses and veterans.
Wellness. The stress of war, multiple deployments, and frequent moves can affect the wellness of military families. Children and spouses can experience anxiety, changes in relationships with family and friends, isolation or emotional challenges in dealing with deployments, illness or injury, and high mobility.

Joining Forces:
  • Calls attention to the critical issues facing veterans and military families; and
  • Expands access to wellness programs, and resources for military spouses and families.
Joining Forces provides ways for all Americans to step up and show their gratitude to our service members and their families. Through this effort, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden ask Americans to do more for those who have done so much for us. They are highlighting outstanding American citizens, communities, and businesses that are supporting our troops and making commitments to serve our nation’s military families. They are asking Americans to get involved in any way they can.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Noteworthies with a Local Link

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced today that the President has nominated Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., U.S. Army, for appointment to the grade of general and for assignment as commander, U.S. Northern Command/commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

Jacoby is currently serving as the director, Strategic Plans and Policy, J-5, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C. and formerly served as Commanding General, I Corps & Ft. Lewis.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Remember the Love

Camp Erin is looking for children, specifically for those children grieving the loss of their parent or sibling who served in the Armed Forces.

Camp Erin TAPS/Grief Camp at Fort Lewis will be held at Black Lake Bible Camp in Olympia, WA on August 1-3, 2011, for children between the ages of 6-17.

The Moyer Foundation is proud to partner with the United Service Organizations (USO) and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to bring this experience to communities near four of Americans largest military installations.

Camp Erin is The Moyer Foundation’s free weekend bereavement camp for kids and teens who have experienced the death of someone close to them. With over 40 camps nationwide, Camp Erin is the largest bereavement camp in the country offering fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support.

Surviving families of our fallen military interested in signing up for the camps will be able to register on the TAPS website at or contact Tina Saari at 202-374-1040. Registration is required.

The Moyer Foundation was founded in 2000 by All-Star MLB pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife Karen, with the mission to empower children in distress by providing education and support – helping them to live healthy and inspired lives.

For more information on The Moyer Foundation, to get involved or to find a Camp Erin near you, visit

Rodeo International Teams Reception

The Air Mobility Command's Rodeo International Teams Reception was held for hundreds of competing and observing teams from around the world at the Foss Waterway Seaport. 

Airmen from Belgium, the Netherlands, Pakistan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Sweden are participating this year, while representatives from more than 20 other countries are observing the event, which kicked off on July 24 and runs through July 29. Among the observing nations are first-timers Algeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa.

The Chamber posted an album on Facebook, which is available linked here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Northwest Connectory Buyer-Supplier Database Free

The Pacific Northwest is home to an impressive array of world-class companies with state-of-the-art product lines, technical expertise and manufacturing capabilities, ready and able to supply customers anywhere on the globe. 

The Northwest Connectory is a online database containing detailed profiles of those companies. Profiles span across all industries at every level of the supply chain.  

This is a free service - There is no cost to either participation or use.

For more information please email or visit


Monday, July 11, 2011

House Passes Budget, Senate Next

AUSA reports that after three days of debate, the House passed a $649.2 billion defense spending bill (H.R. 2219) for federal fiscal 2012 (October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2012). The bill passed 336-87.

The bill would provide $530.5 billion for the Pentagon, which is $8.9 billion less than President Obama requested but $17 billion more than fiscal 2011 levels. It also includes $118.7 billion for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is approximately $40 billion less than current funding.

Some highlights of the bill include:
  • Funding for a 1.6% military pay raise
  • $32.2 billion for the Defense Health Program
  • $5.9 billion to purchase 32 F-35 jets
  • $453 million for production of the M1A2 SEP Abrams tank
  • Approximately $10 billion for missile defense programs
An amendment that would prohibit prisoners currently held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from being transferred to the United States was adopted as well as one that would prohibit the use of funds to implement a training curriculum for military chaplains related to the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The House also adopted a series of amendments aimed at boosting spending for research on post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, prostate cancer and illnesses affecting veterans of the first Gulf War.

Because the Senate is still holding hearings related to their version of the defense spending bill, since it has not adopted a fiscal 2012 budget resolution that would set top-line spending limits, the House's work will remain on hold.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

JBLM Community Covenant Signed

Communities neighboring Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) recently signed the Military Community Covenant, a formal commitment of support by state and local communities to Active, Guard and Reserve service members and their families.

The ceremony was conducted the first meeting of the Elected Officials Council of the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership at the McGavick Conference Center on the campus of Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood. The meeting culminated with a signing ceremony of the Military Community Covenant.

The event opened at 1pm with an Army band performing the National Anthem and introductory remarks from the Lakewood host community's Mayor Doug Richardson, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, and Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela.

Army and Air Force senior commanders, including Lt. General Curtis “Mike” Scaparrotti, I Corps Commanding General, and Col. Richard G. Moore, Vice Commander of 62nd Airlift Wing, attended for the signing of the Military Community Covenant. The Covenant is designed to foster and sustain effective state and community partnerships with the services to improve the quality of life for service members and their families, both at their current duty stations and as they transfer to other states.

The South Sound Military & Communities Partnership, an outgrowth of the recently completed JBLM Growth Coordination Plan, provides a framework for collaboration with local governments, military installations, State and Federal agencies to better coordinate efforts.

In addition to the Elected Officials Council, a Steering Committee composed of staff leadership in local municipalities and agencies and private sector representation by the United Way of Pierce County and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber will work in areas such as military relations, transportation and land use planning, environment protection, emergency preparedness, data coordination, grant applications, health care coordination, population forecasting, workforce, education, housing and community development, economic development, and other issues that may arise.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Tech Personnel Exchange with DoD

The Department of Defense announced today the availability to participate in a new pilot program that provides an avenue for information technology professionals to exchange best practices with the private sector.

Authorized by the fiscal 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, the Information Technology Exchange Program (ITEP) pilot permits the DoD to assign information technology civilian employees to private sector organizations and to accept information technology employees from the private sector.

"The Defense Department recognizes that sharing information and leveraging best practices are critical components of education and continuous learning," said Teri Takai, DoD Chief Information Officer. "Under this collaborative learning venture, DoD and private industry organizations have a unique opportunity to share best practices through the exchange of high performing information technology professionals in areas such as service oriented architectures and cyber security. ITEP provides an opportunity for both industry and DoD to learn from each other -- to enhance employees' IT competencies and technical skills."

The personnel assignments will be from three months to one year in length. The first opportunities range from work regarding mobile devices to cloud computing and infrastructure management within the DoD.

Interested participants should visit for more information about the ITEP pilot.