VFW National Security & Foreign Affairs

Washington Office Weekly Update

13 Jan 06



v      New Military Equipment:  Army Humvee crews in Iraq and Kuwait are testing 500 new liquid-filled cooling vests designed to mitigate soldier heat stress in tactical vehicles.  The Army is also assessing a new ‘light’ remote weapon station for possible applications on a wide range of combat support platforms.  Also, the USMC has taken initial delivery of a new 40mm multi-shot grenade launcher.


v      England Appointed as Deputy SECDEF:  The President made the recess appointment of Gordon England as Deputy Secretary of Defense.  A recess appointment in made while Congress is in recess and comes without Senate confirmation.  The Deputy Secretary of Defense is delegated full power and authority to act for the Secretary of Defense and exercise the powers of the Secretary on any and all matters for which the Secretary is authorized to act pursuant to law.


v     President Signs Defense Authorization: President Bush signed the Defense Authorization Act which became PL 109-163.  The legislation authorizes an array of personnel issues including a 3.1% across-the-board pay raise, an extension of TRICARE health coverage for Reserve Component members, an increase in Servicemembers Group Life Insurance and death gratuity payments, and additional provisions related to conducting the war on terrorism.


v     New Destroyer Honors Vietnam War POW and Medal of Honor Recipient: The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer will be named in honor of Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale (1923-2005), the legendary leader of American prisoners of war (POWs) during the Vietnam War.  The USS Stockdale will soon join other guided-missile destroyers, which operate independently and in conjunction with carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious groups and replenishment groups.


v      President Addresses VFW: President Bush discussed his strategy for victory in Iraq on Tuesday at a VFW-sponsored event in Washington.  The President accepted the VFW’s invitation to speak after the VFW Council of Administration passed a national resolution on Jan. 3 to formally support the war in Iraq as part of the larger global war on terrorism.  Included in the audience of 425 veterans were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, VA Secretary Jim Nicholson, military leaders, government official, other veterans’ organizations and military associations, and more than a dozen soldiers currently recuperating from their wounds at nearby Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  The complete text of the President’s remarks can be found on the White House webpage at


v      Reserve Component Mobilization: The total number currently on active duty in support of the partial mobilization for the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 113,476; Navy Reserve – 4,014; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve – 7,670; Marine Corps Reserve – 7,115; and the Coast Guard Reserve – 414. This brings the total number of activated Guard and Reserve personnel to 132,689, an decrease of 3,317 from last week.


v      War Death Status:                      Iraq (OIF) – 2,211                    Afghanistan (OEF) – 255




Michael H. Wysong, Director

National Security and Foreign Affairs

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.