The United States Air Force Academy has 10 Public Affairs specialists currently assigned (active duty officers, active duty enlisted, and DOD civilians). The Public Affairs operating budget is approximately $30 thousand annually.We asked the academy to clarify the dollar figure, because "$30 thousand" is only $30,000, and we seriously doubt you could hire 10 people with that measly amount.
Simply, if you need help solving a complex communications challenge, we're your firm. If you find yourself stuck and need experienced strategic thinkers to help you get unstuck, we're your firm. If you're in an industry that faces opposition, we're your firm.According to his bio included on his website, Holdren says he played "senior roles" several places, including Centura Health. So we checked on that one and were told that he worked at Centura from July 17, 1997, to Feb. 12, 1999, as a "public relations specialist." We'll leave it to the reader to decide if PR specialist is considered a senior role.
Mr. Richard Quest is a distinguished journalist with CNN, who is internationally renowned for his coverage of people and places throughout the world. We feel that Mr. Quest's stellar professional credentials and ringing endorsement by CNN made him the right person to draw positive national attention to the U.S. Air Force Academy during graduation week with an interview with Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, our Superintendent. Furthermore, his videotaped Thunderbird orientation ride helped publicize the fact that America's Air Force, and the air power it epitomizes, is second to none in the world. With 35 million viewers worldwide tuning in, Mr. Quest and his CNN team provided a rare look at some of our fine Airmen, their capabilities, and America's newest crop of leaders, the commissioned officers of the Class of 2015.Anyhow, Johnson's normal three-year stint at the academy is nearing an end, unless President Obama decides to leave her there for a fourth year as was done with her predecessor, former superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould.
Mikey,The request was submitted in 2011 and a lawsuit was filed recently to try to jar loose the documents. While we can't say if there are any gems in those documents worth reporting, the academy seems to have taken the lawsuit seriously.
Pursuant to an agreement reached with the Air Force Academy’s (AFA) lawyers after MRFF filed its lawsuit, last week the AFA finally produced nearly 3,000 documents that are the subject of the lawsuit. The AFA intends to produce more documents in the near future.
MRFF’s attorneys, Vincent Ward and Amber Fayerberg of Freedman, Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward, PA, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are currently reviewing the documents to ensure the AFA has fully complied with all FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requirements.
This is a significant victory for open government and the mission of MRFF.
In January 2015, the Office of Inspector General received an allegation that the PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom Outpatient Clinic, a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Colorado Springs, CO, did not provide veterans’ access to the Veterans Choice Program when the CBOC did not provide veterans timely VA care. One affected veteran sent the complaint, along with examples of issues affecting clinic services provided in audiology, mental health, neurology, optometry, orthopedic, and primary care. We substantiated the allegation that the veteran, as well as other eligible Colorado Springs veterans, did not receive timely care in the six reviewed services. We reviewed 150 referrals for specialty care consults and 300 primary care appointments. Of the 450 consults and appointments, 288 veterans encountered wait times in excess of 30 days. For all 288 veterans, VA staff either did not add them to the Veterans Choice List (VCL) or did not add them to the VCL in a timely manner. For 59 of the 288 veterans, scheduling staff used incorrect dates that made it appear the appointment wait time was less than 30 days. For 229 of the 288 veterans with appointments over 30 days, NVCC staff did not add 173 veterans at the CBOCs in the Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) to the VCL in a timely manner and they did not add 56 veterans to the list at all. In addition, scheduling staff did not take timely action on 94 consults and primary care appointment requests. As a result, VA staff did not fully use Veterans Choice Program funds to afford CBOC Colorado Springs veterans the opportunity to receive timely care. We recommended that the ECHCS Director take actions to ensure appointments are scheduled using clinically indicated or preferred appointment dates, all veterans eligible for the Veterans Choice Program are added to the VCL in a timely manner, and scheduling staff timely act on consults and appointment requests. The acting director of the ECHCS concurred in principle with our recommendations. ECHCS executed a number of corrective actions to become compliant with current VHA scheduling guidance. Based on actions already implemented, we consider Recommendation 1 closed. We will follow up on the implementation of the remaining recommendations until all proposed actions are completed.Colorado's congressional delegation immediately reacted with harsh criticism.
It is intolerable that investigations continue to uncover these unacceptable practices at the VA. Our veterans deserve better.
Veterans waiting too long must have the option to access care through the Choice program and scheduling processes must be followed correctly. We’ll review the report’s findings and recommendations, ensure that the appropriate corrective steps are taken, and determine if any additional policy changes are needed. It’s clear from this report that we must continue to demand accountability at the VA and that strong oversight is still essential.
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is a leader in nonprofit transparency and the public reporting of the organization's independent financial audits. We are an open book. We owe that to those who support us and to those we serve - wounded warriors.—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
The chair of Wounded Warrior Project's Audit Committee, Richard M. Jones, a prominent tax attorney and certified public accountant, is the Executive Vice President, General Tax Counsel, and Chief Veteran Officer at CBS Corporation. Mr. Jones stands by our financial statements, our reporting methods, our public filings, and our independent audits.
CBS News did not reach out to Mr. Jones prior to airing a story with false information about our finances.
Wounded Warrior Project provides more than 20 needs-specific, free programs and services to more than 83,000 wounded veterans, who we call Alumni, and more than 15,000 family support members. We are constantly expanding our services to better support warriors. We just launched the Warrior Care NetworkT to help provide world-class mental health care for wounded veterans. Warrior Care Network represents a $100 million investment to ensure warriors struggling with the hidden wounds of war get the help they need. We have already committed $110 million to our long-term support initiatives - the Independence Program and Long-Term Support Trust - two programs that directly help the most severely injured veterans.
To be clear, Wounded Warrior Project is trusted by nearly 100,000 veterans, their caregivers, and families, to provide them with critical care programs and services every day. Alumni regularly praise our organization for making a life-altering impact. The demand for our services continues to grow as evidenced by the more than 1,200 new registrations we receive from the wounded each month. And, we are proud to welcome so many of our Alumni as WWP staff. Their belief in - and passion for - who we are, what we do, and why it matters, is evidenced in their very lives.
Many people like to talk about the need to support wounded warriors - Wounded Warrior Project is actually doing it - every day and in record numbers.
As for the Daily Beast, I am not familiar with any new reporting from them.
Former employees say spending has skyrocketed since Steven Nardizzi took over as CEO in 2009. Many point to the 2014 annual meeting at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs as typical of his style.The story is accompanied by a photo of The Broadmoor.
"He rappelled down the side of a building at one of the all hands events. He's come in on a Segway, he's come in on a horse."
About 500 staff members attended the four-day conference in Colorado. The price tag? About $3 million.
"Donors don't want you to have a $2,500 bar tab. Donors don't want you to fly every staff member once a year to some five-star resort and whoop it up and call it team building," said Millette.
Wounded Warrior USA, a small Colorado charity with a $15,000 operating budget, had a Wounded Warrior Project lawyer reach out to them to demand they change the free clip art they were using as a label on coffee packages they were using for fundraising. “They got really nasty with us,” said Wounded Warrior USA founder Dave Bryant.According to the WWP tax report for the most recent year available, the only Colorado entity receiving money from the parent organization was the Vail Veterans Foundation, which received $100,000.
For more than 10 years prior to joining WWP, Steve worked as an attorney representing disabled veterans for several veterans service organizations. He spent nine years with the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA), taking on increasingly responsible roles. He eventually became director of EPVA’s benefits service department and subsequently served as associate executive director of member services.Read the 990 tax form here:
The United States Air Force Academy places a high value on the rights of its members to observe the tenets of their respective religion or to observe no religion at all. Recently the United States Air Force Academy received a complaint about its football players kneeling in prayer. An inquiry was initiated, which found the football player's actions to be consistent with Air Force Instruction 1-1 and its guidance on the free exercise of religion and religious accommodation. The United States Air Force Academy will continue to reaffirm to cadets that all Airmen are free to practice the religion of their choice or subscribe to no religious belief at all. The players may confidently practice their own beliefs without pressure to participate in the practices of others.So that means Falcon football players most likely will kneel in the end zone tomorrow when Air Force plays University of California Berkeley in Fort Worth in the Armed Forces Bowl, starting at noon mountain time on ESPN.
Let us not forget that it was hardly a respected, deconflicted and disinterested third party entity or outside agency that inquired into MRFF’s charges against the Academy of unlawful, orchestrated, Christian-sectarian team praying by its football players. Indeed, having the Air Force Academy's very own Athletic Dept. essentially “investigate itself” in this sordid unconstitutional matter of fundamentalist Christian triumphalism and supremacy is about as "impartial and effective" as having Pol Pot “investigate" himself for his killing field crimes against humanity or having Bernie Madoff direct the “investigation” of his investment business for allegations of pyramid or Ponzi scheme illegalities.
I think it is helpful to see USAFA end zone praying as yet another "territorial conquest" of the Christian Right. This stands in a long line of conservative Christian usurpation of government space via supposed voluntary demonstrations of Christian piety. See praying "at the flagpole" in public schools, student prayers at graduations, public address prayers prior to high school sporting events. All of these demonstrations have in common the use of students or other non- government, and non-official individuals which engage in supposed voluntary and/or spontaneous religious piety at government sponsored events or in government regulated space. These demonstrations assert the cultural appropriateness of attaching a Christian power discourse to governmental action. They promote, by repetitive association within official government settings, the idea that culturally the United States is a Christian Nation and that the power of the US government ought be (and is) deployed in support of Christian perspectives.
Of course, in the case of the USAFA football players, conservative Christians have moved on from using unofficial actors and instead have embraced the use of official government actors (cadet football players). In this way the former locker room banner assertion that "We are team Jesus..." is now paraded onto the field, performed before the pluralistic crowd and displayed on television.
As with most issues of civil liberty there is wide latitude for opinion ...
At question here is where to draw the line - is one player pointing upwards after scoring permissible? Tim Tebow performing much more symbolic gesture on the sideline? Two players kneeling together? 3? 4? The full team?
In my view it seems best to start from what is clearly should not be condoned and work down from there until the line between personal liberty and political correctness gets murky.
Not permissible is for a government organization to compel members to perform any religious activity - period - during the conduct of official business. The AFA team is conducting official business during football games and practice on and off the field.
If the coaching staff says there is no coercion to join prayer circles, I'd argue that if most players or even just key individuals call for a religious prayer, those choosing not to participate are by definition "not on the team." They are trained to be good teammates - that's a grading/loyalty criteria - so they will naturally feel compelled to join.
This leads to the second reason to discontinue the practice - it's not permissible for a coaching staff to allow sub-groups that can alienate some team members based on religious differences. Football coaches need to ban activity that might break down the cohesion of their team.
The third and last problem in my view is that public sporting events aren't confined to stadiums or the boundaries of the U.S. They are available globally. If our Islamic Extremist propaganda experts use a little imagination the images of cadets praying together on the football field can be equated to servicemen and women conducting a crusade on Middle Eastern battlefields. This plays easily into the hands of those trying to portray Muslims as victims of the West, and who make a case to justify defensive jihad.
Bottom line: Academy leaders and coaches should ensure religious observances in groups are kept off the field and out of the locker room.
Regardless of the constitutional “legalities” of essentially the entire USAFA football team praying so visibly en masse in public before the game, the optics of that striking visual “message”is just completely unacceptable for the rest of the nation and the world to see. The reasons are made clear below but the very real fear of our Islamic fundamentalist enemies capitalizing on the whole AF football team praying, in order to reinforce their jihadist narrative, is the most consideration important from my view.... The optics are not just bad but potentially deadly.A senior Air Force officer had this to say to Weinstein:
I'm a fervent fan of all AFA sports and, in the last 15 years at least, I've only seen this sort of thing occur with our football team. Other teams have huddles, and I'm not certain some of those huddles don't include prayers, but there's no obvious and outward sign to the ticketed or viewing public that it's a meeting centered on ONE religious viewpoint. It's obviously a christian prayer at the football games because ALL of the participants (and it seems like it's all of the team except for the obviously heathen kickers, punter, and long-snappers) are doing a full-fledged "Tebow" in the end-zone, simultaneously. That's NOT a coincidence and their intent is quite clear.Lastly, this reportedly came to Weinstein from a football player:
I am a member of and play on the Air Force Falcons football team. We have a bad problem going on here now. And I have asked the MRFF to please help me and others on the team in a certain matter regarding public religious practices.
Please keep my name out of all of this because of what they could do to me for going to you.
The problem is specifically the kneeling down in public prayer by most of the members of our football team. Certainly the majority. This has been done prior to our games on the playing field right in front of everyone in attendance in the stadiums. And I and others ask for the MRFF to help us get it to stop.
The coaches and others are not officially or directly making us do it together. But some clearly favor it. That is for certain. It is certain cadets on the team who are viewed as leaders (and even some who are not but still have team influence) who are leading the public praying. If you don’t go along with it you are not going to be viewed as a good follower or teammate. I am not alone. There are enough of us who feel pressured to conform and this is wrong. I have not seen any of our opponents do what our so many players on the AFA team have been doing. I mean virtually the whole team kneeling down and praying on the field in front of the crowds. This is wrong for several reasons which I shouldn’t have to go into because it’s obvious.
Thank you for your 2 emails sent 1 Dec at 1608 and 1609 MST Mr. Weinstein.Weinstein points to a 1974 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said:
I would like to refer you to the USAFA Inspector General, Col David Kuenzli at 719-333-3490. If you or any of your contacts choose to file a complaint or grievance it will be processed in accordance with Air Force standards, instructions and law.
Have a great evening.
While the members of the military are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections. The fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it.Such as barring outward displays of a certain religious faith while in uniform and representing the U.S. government's lethal arm, the military.
No one is a bigger fan of Air Force Academy football than I am. In fact, most of MRFF’s 143 USAFA cadets, faculty members and staff who have asked for MRFF’s help in this current unconstitutional outrage are huge fans of the team. This number includes Air Force football players who are currently ON that team as well as 11 other active duty and veteran USAF members who are not stationed at the Academy. However, ALL of MRFF’s 154 clients realize that it is far more important to be fervent “fans" of the United States Constitution. The Academy’s unfettered endorsement of mass pre-game, football team prayers, on the field of play, both at Falcon Stadium and in the football stadiums of its opponents, is clearly violative of Air Force regulations (specifically, AF Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12) and the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as well as the No Religious Test mandate of Clause 3, Article VI of the Constitution. These cadet-led, cadet-initiated public prayer demonstrations run directly counter to the U.S. Supreme Court’s specific prohibition of such activities as held in its seminal 2000 ruling of "Santa Fe Independant School District vs. Doe, 530 U.S. 290”. Additionally, as the football players and most Academy Air Force personnel are also active duty military members, as buttressed by the fact that all football games are absolutely mandatory military formations for both the football players and the Cadet Wing and many other Academy staff, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling significantly limiting the First Amendment rights of military members in the landmark 1974 case of “Parker vs. Levy, 417 U.S. 733” also fully applies here.
You know, the Air Force Academy has strict prohibitions against “PDA” or "public displays of affection" by its cadets, faculty and staff. You’re not even allowed to be caught holding hands in public with one’s girlfriend or boyfriend, significant other or spouse. Given its horrific record of unconstitutional, abhorrent church-state violations scandalously spanning multiple decades now, it’s quite obvious that USAFA has NO such prohibitions on “PDR” or “public displays of religiosity”.
Indeed, apparently the only allowed, or maybe I should say “encouraged” PDA is holding hands in public with Jesus."
As always, we used a rigorous, more-than-120-question survey to evaluate schools. In addition, newly released public data allowed us to consider more information, from more sources, than ever before as part of the process.(To learn more about what makes a school succeed with veterans, read the entire Military Times article here.)
We pulled data from the Veterans Affairs Department, Defense Department and three Education Department databases for information on everything from veteran-related policies to average salaries after graduation.
MRFF did not receive any response to the Request from USAFA within twenty (20) daysEven the documents that were produced were "improperly redacted," the lawsuit alleges.
of its Request, as mandated by FOIA. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i).
MRFF did not receive any notice from USAFA of unusual circumstances requiring an
extension of the statutory deadline within twenty (20) days of its Request, as mandated by FOIA. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(b)(ii).
USAFA did not respond to MRFF’s August Request until March 2, 2012, approximately
seven months after the statutory deadline to respond.
On March 2, 2012, USAFA notified MRFF that it was working on the Request and would
produce responsive documents at the earliest possible date (“Notification”). The Notification is attached as Ex. 2 and is incorporated herein.
MRFF received a “first interim response” (“First Response”) from USAFA on May 17,
2012, which included 1,000 pages of documents responsive to only two of the eight categories included in MRFF’s Request.
1. An order directing USAFA to release all records requested in MRFF’s FOIA Request;The case was filed in federal court in Albuquerque where MRFF is based.
2. An injunction against USAFA from relying on Exemption 6, as well as any other
FOIA exemption not previously relied upon in its withholding of documents;
3. An order stating that USAFA’s actions violate the terms of FOIA;
4. A finding that USAFA’s actions are arbitrary and capricious; and
5. An order directing USAFA to pay all costs and attorney fees associated with the filing
of this litigation.
My alma mater promotes and prides itself on instilling only the highest degree of honor, character, truth and integrity into the 4,000 cadets being educated at taxpayer expense to become officers in the United States Air Force. When the senior Air Force leaders at the Academy, starting with the Superintendent, Lt. General Michelle Johnson, who are charged with conducting that costly education, egregiously violate the basic rubrics of the very Federal law which exists to promote and provide open transparency into the sacred trust of their daily fiduciary dealings on behalf of the American people, it is a terribly tragic day indeed. When that violation of Federal law continues over many years, it becomes both scandalous and outrageous. What kind of hideous example is Lt. General Johnson and her staff providing to the Cadet Wing with such clearly illegal actions thwarting the intent and letter of the clear Federal law here?We've asked the academy to comment on the lawsuit and will update if and when we hear back.
Due to USAFA’s deliberate malfeasance transpiring over many years now, MRFF has been left with no other alternative but to force and compel USAFA to follow the law of the land in Federal Court.
And what has USAFA done here? The Academy is unlawfully refusing to release critical records on MRFF’s many clients, supporters and allies existing within its walls as well as any records on me and my own children who are recent graduates, as well as my wife. In this regard, let us not forget that the most recent prior Dean of the Faculty, Brigadier General Dana Born, made the waging of a counter-insurgency against MRFF a top written priority to one of her most senior Academy faculty subordinates. Further, one of MRFF’s most visible clients at USAFA, a former member of that same faculty, had his innocent service dog almost poisoned to death on the Academy’s premises. The Federal law requires the Academy to timely release all responsive documents on these and other germane matters to MRFF or, alternatively, to explain on the record the legal justification for not doing so. None of these legal requirements have been remotely satisfied.
Thus, MRFF is now at war with the Air Force Academy in Federal Court to force it to stop its scurrilous illegal actions and to follow the law.
On behalf of its almost 43,000 armed forces active duty and veteran clients, which includes approximately 13.5% of all Muslim-Americans serving in the United States military, and its 224 clients stationed at Fort Carson, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) expresses unmitigated outrage that the Army leadership at Fort Carson permitted the selling of that virulently Islamophobic and disgusting T-Shirt at its official Post Exchange store. The juxtaposition of that shocking image and text message on that T-Shirt epitomizes the wretched plight of prejudice and bigotry which innocent Muslim-Americans all too often suffer whileso honorably serving in today’s service branches.
MRFF has provided substantial testimony to the United States Congress specifically on this sad matter on more than one occasion.
The fact that this matter happened at Fort Carson, a major military installation which has had so many of its soldiers killed and grievously wounded in the War on Terror, only miserably magnifies the malfeasance of permitting that “Shirt of Shame” to be sold at its Post Exchange.
MRFF demands that the Army Inspector General’s Office in Washington D.C. initiate an immediate and aggressive investigation of this sordid event and that all Fort Carson personnel who either directly or indirectly allowed this travesty to happen be appropriately and visibly punished.
Increased dust and noise levels from the training can be expected during this time period, due to live fire training and heavy vehicle traffic throughout the training area. Field training includes day and night live-fire exercises incorporating small arms weapons.Prescribed burns:
The purpose of the training is to prepare Soldiers and other military members for any possible mission should the unit be called to support any contingency around the globe. During the exercise, crews will engage simulated targets using different scenarios to build team cohesion and ensure they are proficient in their skills.
Fort Carson is committed to balancing our training mission with protecting and preserving PCMS' natural environment and historical properties. Environmental personnel are involved in all levels of planning for military training, construction and other activities that could affect the PCMS environment.
The installation prescribed burn program is critical in reducing potential for wildland fires and will only be conducted depending on weather conditions. The prescribed burns will cover approximately 7,000 acres on Fort Carson and 11,000 acres at PCMS. The burns are conducted to facilitate military training with 21 areas which are carefully planned and executed to reduce heavy vegetation in training areas that could provide potential fuel to a wildland fire.
The prescribed burns are conducted in accordance with permits issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in coordination with El Paso and Las Animas counties. The installation also works with state and local air quality authorities on smoke management. Each burn is conducted with a focus on safety and the potential impact for off-site effects of smoke on public health and visibility. By combining favorable weather conditions with a variety of fire management techniques, Fort Carson officials work to keep smoke impact to a minimum.
Fort Carson continues to be supportive and understanding to the concerns of the surrounding community regarding air quality and the threat of wildland fires. The prescribed burn program continues the installation’s dedication to the preservation of the environment and wildland fire risk management in Colorado.
Concerned community members are encouraged to direct complaints to Fort Carson at (719) 526-9849. We take every complaint very seriously and strive to address concerns in a timely and thoughtful manner.
Regional water supply
Regional stormwater management
Compatible alternative-energy development
Development near airfield operations
Regional airspace use
Competition for electromagnetic spectrum
Formal policies and procedures for military participation and cross-jurisdictional coordination in community development review and planning processes
An implementation strategy with specific actions and monitoring responsibilities identified by year