19 April 2011

Boost in Defence's internet services

Defence has signed an industry contract to provide high level and high speed internet services to industry, government, service personnel, employees and the public.

The contract, signed with Verizon Business, is worth $52.9 million and will involve the replacement of Defence’s existing single internet gateway with parallel managed services providing a five-fold increase in capacity. These gateways will be housed in separate locations further strengthening the system’s reliability, eliminating the risks associated with a single gateway.

This upgrade is said to improve Defence’s ability to ensure delivery of internet services (web, email and eBusiness services) to users within Defence and to external parties including other government agencies, industry partners and the general public.

This capability will also form the basis for the provision of Internet Gateway services to eight other Commonwealth agencies as part of Defence’s role as a lead agency under the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s Internet Gateway Reduction Program.

Defence will make savings by closing its current single internet gateway and an additional amount through the reduced power consumption and equipment decommissioning.

18 April 2011

This week in Congress (18 April 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

Both the House and the Senate are in recess until 2 May 2011.
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For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

17 April 2011

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (18 April 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament is in recess until 10 May 2011. There are committee hearings being conducted during the recess.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Joint House and Senate Committee on Cyber-Safety, hearing on Cyber-Safety, 0900 - 1230 hours. The Terms of Reference can be found here. To review the submissions received go here.

High Court of Australia

Monday, 18 April 2011

Hearings occurring in Sydney via video link from Melbourne can be found here. None of the case involve the subject matter of this blog.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Hearing occurring in Melbourne can be found here. None of the cases involve the subject matter of this blog.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 16 and 17 June 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

15 April 2011

Aussies reminded by MINVET about ANZAC Day commemorations

With Anzac Day just over a week away, the Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today reminded Australians of the many commemorative events taking place both domestically and overseas this year.

The Anzac tradition was born 96 years ago on the shores of Gallipoli in Turkey during the First World War where the feats of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps forged a legend of mateship, determination, courage and resourcefulness. It is these qualities that have been proudly displayed by Australian defence forces in every theatre of war since 1915.

“There are many opportunities for Australians to gather in towns and cities across the country to pause and reflect on the more than 102,000 Australian service personnel who have lost their lives serving our country.

“Attending a local service is the best way to pay our respect to those men and women who have helped shape our nation. Commemorative activities are conducted by community and ex-service organisations at hundreds of sites around the country. I thank all these organisations and their members across Australia for their hard work in organising local Anzac Day events.

“In the week leading up to, and including, Anzac Day, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will support over 800 separate activities,” Mr Snowdon said.

Australia’s Federation Guard will be involved in Anzac Day activities in Canberra, Sydney, Gallipoli, Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt in France and at the Menin Gate in Belgium. The Principal Chaplain for Navy will say prayers at a service in London. Commemorative services will also be held on the Kokoda Track (Papua New Guinea), in Sandakan (Malaysia) and at Hellfire Pass (Thailand).

“I urge all Australians to remember our current serving men and women, who embody the Anzac spirit around the globe. At present, more than 3,300 ADF personnel are deployed on operations protecting Australia and our national interests.

“Many ADF contingents deployed throughout the world in places like Afghanistan will conduct dawn services followed by traditional gunfire breakfasts, and games such as two-up within the parameters of continuing daily operational requirements and host-nation laws,” he said.

In the lead up to Anzac Day, Mr Snowdon will visit France to attend the interment of Second Word War Spitfire pilot, Flight Lieutenant Smith, whose remains were recovered in 2010. Mr Snowdon will then travel to Gallipoli, Turkey, for Anzac Day.

“I am very fortunate to be going to France where Australians served in two World Wars, and then to deliver addresses on Anzac Day in Gallipoli at the dawn service and at Lone Pine. It will be a privilege to walk in the footsteps of so many brave Australians,” he said.

Contact your local RSL, or visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website for details of services here.

13 April 2011

New England Journal of Medicine features VA infection control practices

A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) initiative that reduced the global health care issue of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections by more than 60 percent in intensive care units (ICU) across the Nation is featured in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. It reports data from the first three years of the initiative that is now in its fourth year of implementation, and which continues to be associated with decreased rates of MRSA infections.

“This is a landmark initiative for VA and health care in general,” said VA’s Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Robert Petzel. “No one should have to worry about acquiring an illness or infection from the place they trust to deliver their care. I am proud that VA is leading the way.”

The article reviews a bundle of four infection control practices that marked a dramatic improvement in preventing hospital-acquired MRSA infections. MRSA infections are a serious global health care issue and are difficult to treat because the bacterium is often resistant to many antibiotics.

The prevention practices consist of patient screening programs for MRSA, contact precautions for hospitalized patients found to have MRSA, and hand hygiene reminders with readily available hand sanitizer stations placed strategically in common areas, patient wards, and specialty clinics throughout medical centers. The strategy also involved creating a culture that promotes infection prevention and control as everyone’s responsibility.

“MRSA is a serious threat to patient health that can be minimized with a few achievable strategies,” said Dr. Rajiv Jain, VA’s chief consultant for specialty care services and lead author of the study. “I am extremely grateful I work for an agency with 152 integrated medical centers across the Nation so these strategies could be implemented, assessed, and ultimately, shown to work on a vast scale of many different environments. These results mean better health care for Veterans and a way for the people they defended to also benefit from this effort in the future.”

“These are the types of results hospitals should be striving for,” said Dr. John Jernigan, chief of the interventions and evaluation section in the division of healthcare quality promotion at the Centers for Disease Control. “The bottom line is that MRSA prevention and control is possible.”

More than 1.7 million screening tests for MRSA were done on Veteran patients during the period reported in the analysis. VA operates the largest integrated health care system in the United States with more than 1,000 medical facilities throughout the United States serving more than six million Veterans a year. To review the article in the New England Journal of Medicine, go here.

12 April 2011

Appointments made to Australian War Memorial Council

Three appointments to the Australian War Memorial Council were announced today by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon.

Air Vice-Marshal Julie Hammer AM CSC (Retd) and Ms Jane McAloon will join the Memorial’s Council and Mr Kerry Stokes AC has been reappointed.

Mr Snowdon said the appointments were for a period of three years and had been approved by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

“I congratulate all three members on this honour and I am sure that their vast experience and knowledge will bring great benefits to the Australian War Memorial,” Mr Snowdon said.

“The Australian War Memorial is a national icon and it is fitting that leaders of Australian industry, former senior military personnel and other luminaries are at the helm.”

Air Vice-Marshal Hammer brings considerable military and technical experience to the Council. She was the first serving female Australian Defence Force member to achieve one-star and two-star ranks as well as the first woman to command an operational unit in the Royal Australian Air Force, for which she was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross. She has also been an active member of professional associations representing engineers, and has served as the National President of Engineers Australia. Her contribution has been recognised through a number of awards, including being appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2004 and as Australian Capital Territory Australian of the Year in 2005.

Ms McAloon has extensive business expertise and experience in government and business administration. She is currently the Group Company Secretary of the BHP Billiton Group and has held senior positions in the Australian Gas Light Company. Previously she held a number of senior positions in the New South Wales Government, including Director-General of the Department of Energy and Utilities and Deputy Director-General of the New South Wales Cabinet Office.

Mr Stokes was appointed to the Council for a three year term on 19 August 2007. A businessman with broad interests and investments in a range of major business sectors, he has a deep and long-standing interest in the arts. He was appointed an Officer and Companion of the Order of Australia in 1995 and 2008 respectively for his service to business and commerce, to the arts and to the community. He also holds Honorary Life Membership of the Returned and Services League of Australia.

The Australian War Memorial Council is an independent body responsible for the strategic direction of the Australian War Memorial.

11 April 2011

This week in Congress (11 April 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, hearing on Inspect What You Expect: Construction Contracting Practices at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 1000 hours, 334 Cannon House Office Building.

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, hearing on Veterans' Employment: Improving the Transition from the Battlefield to the Workforce, 1000 hours, room 418 Russell Senate Office Building.

Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Personnel, Enlisted Personnel Issues, 1330 hours, 222 Russell Senate Office Building. Note the top enlisted advisors of each service will be testifiying.

House Armed Services Committee, hearing on Guantanamo Detainee Transfer Policy and Recidivism, 1430 hours, Room 2118 Rayburn House Office Building.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Accountability at Arlington National Cemetary, 1400 hours, Rayburn House Office Building.

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, hearing on Deconstructing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Construction Planning, 1030 hours, Room 334 Cannon House Office Building.

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For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

10 April 2011

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (11 April 2011)

[ANOTHER SLOW WEEK]

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament is in recess until 10 May 2011. There are committee hearings being conducted during the recess but none this week pertain to the subject matter of this blog.

High Court of Australia

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hearings occurring in Sydney can be found here. None of the case involve the subject matter of this blog.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Hearing occurring in Melbourne can be found here. None of the cases involve the subject matter of this blog.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 16 and 17 June 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.

06 April 2011

Defence Minister questioned by Sky News regarding Academy incident

Yesterday, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith, was interviewed by Sky News' David Speers regarding allegations of an incident in which a male cadet filmed having sex with an 18 year old female cadet live via a web cam on Skype which was then viewed by his mates. The transcript of that interview can be found here.

Earlier this week the female cadet went public with her allegations because she feared that Defence officials at the Australian Defence Force Academy would not take the allegations seriously. Both the Australian Federal Police and the Defence Force Investigative Service have now undertaken an investigation. Yesterday I posted on this, which can be found here.

"But there is one very concerning new aspect, which I need to bring to public attention immediately. [Yesterday] at 11 o'clock the young woman concerned was subject to a hearing under the Defence disciplinary proceedings. This related to events in March, which were suggestions or allegations of being absent without leave and drinking. And a scheduled hearing, which was set some time ago, was held [yesterday] morning. I very strongly believe that the holding of such a hearing [yesterday] in the aftermath of these events is not only inappropriate, insensitive and wrong, it's almost certainly faulty in law," Smith said in the interview.

05 April 2011

Australian Defence Force: plagued by another sex scandal

Today The Sydney Morning Herald's Dan Oakes reports here that a female cadet at the Australian Defence Force Academy claims a male cadet filmed them having sex which he then allegedly broadcast live to his mates. Defence has yet to make a formal statement on this latest sex scandal. Both the Australian Federal Police and the Defence Force Investigative Service are now looking into the allegations.

Last year an inquiry was held on the HMAS Success incidents which I have previously written about here, here, here, here and here.

04 April 2011

This week in Congress (4 April 2011)

The following legislative activities, which affect U.S. servicemembers and veterans or concern military justice issues, are occurring this week in the U.S. Congress and in Commissions:

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

House Appropriation Committee, Subcommittee on Defense, hearing on Medical Programs, 1000 hours, H-140 Capitol.

House Veterans' Affairs Committee, hearing on Deconstructing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Construction Planning, 1030 hours, Room 334 Cannon House Office Building.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, hearing on nominations of Allison Hickey to be Under Secretary for Benefits and Steve Muro to be Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, 1000 hours, Room 418 Russell Senate Office Building.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

House Armed Services Committee, hearing on Review of Implementation Plan for the Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, 1300 hours, 2118 House Rayburn Building.


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For this week in military justice go to CAAFlog here.

U.S. VA extents post-incarceration health care in hopes of reducing repeat offenders

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will extend health care to eligible Veterans in halfway houses and other temporary, post-incarceration housing under a new program aimed at cutting back on repeat offenses.

“There’s hard evidence that lack of access to health care, including mental health care, for newly released inmates is a factor in people becoming homeless or returning to prison and jail,” said Jim McGuire, director of VA’s Veterans Justice Outreach Programs. “These are Veterans who otherwise qualify for VA health care.”

A long-standing rule has barred VA from providing health care to Veterans for whom another federal, state or local government has an obligation to provide health care. Frequently, that means inmates of prisons and jails.

Under the changed rule, that prohibition would be amended and VA would be allowed to provide health care to Veterans in halfway houses and other temporary, post-incarceration housing.

An Urban Institute study in 2008 found that good health care in the first months of community reentry played a key role in easing readjustment and reducing recidivism.

About 29,000-56,000 Veterans are released annually from state and federal prisons, and at least 90,000 Veterans are released each year from city and county jails, according to Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics

02 April 2011

This week in Parliament, Courts and Tribunals (4 April 2011)

[SLOW WEEK]

The following legislative activities, which affect Australian servicemembers, veterans or concern military justice issues, relate to freedom of information or national security, are occurring this week in the Parliament of Australia:

Parliament is in recess until 10 May 2011. There are committee hearings being conducted during the recess but none this week pertain to the subject matter of this blog.

High Court of Australia

Friday, 8 April 2011

Special leave applications being heard in Canberra and Sydney. None of the special leave applications involve the subject matter of this blog.

Federal Court of Australia (Full Court)

No cases are being heard this week which involve the subject matter of this blog.

Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal

The DFDAT next sits on 16 and 17 June 2011.

Veterans' Review Board


For a full list of this week's cases in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney go here.