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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Notations From the Grid (Mid-Week Edition): Out & About

1  Medical Transformation
Speaking at a conference on Army medical transformation, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin expressed concern that a consequence of medical downsizing is sending beneficiaries to get treatment from doctors who are part of an outside network. That means the quality of their care is outside of the Army’s direct control.

What to Watch: Martin sees medical care as an important part of the Army’s renewed emphasis on people. He also wants Army medicine to maintain its high profile to aid in recruiting the best medical talent.
2  Clearing Clearances
There has been a dramatic 70% reduction in the security clearance backlog since the Defense Department took responsibility for the process. This is good news for industry and good news for the government, declared Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman. In 2018, the backlog stood at 725,000 applications. Today, it is about 200,000.

What to Watch: Reaching what the intelligence committee views as a “steady state” considering the volume of federal and civilian workers who need clearances, the reform effort is considered a big success that helps fill jobs. Burr said long delays that lasted years for some people requiring a clearance to start a job led them to get discouraged and find other employment.
3  Handling Rejection
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, Army Recruiting Command commander, said he knows it is hard to be a recruiter. “They swim in a sea of rejection,” he said, noting that 40 prospects will say no for every person who enlists. “It is ‘no, no, no’ until one ‘yes,’ ” he said. “Emotionally that takes a huge amount of strength.”
What to Watch: In his remarks at a ceremony recognizing the Army’s top 16 recruiters, Muth praised their hard work. Despite the rejection, “they are still winners and still accomplish the mission."
4  Cross-Domain Tech Tests
Fort Benning, Georgia, will be the site of joint U.S.-British testing of cross-domain maneuver prototype weapons, scopes, sensors and soldier performance equipment. Called the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment 2020, the idea is to use the items in realistic scenarios.
What to Watch: Squad- and platoon-level maneuvers will run through March 17. The Maneuver Battle Lab staff will write a report on the results that will help determine future requirements.
5  Budget Today
The fiscal year 2021 defense budget will be released today at the Pentagon, revealing what new steps are planned under a National Defense Strategy focused on the challenges posed by China and Russia. As part of a budget deal reached last year, the fiscal 2020 budget signed into law in December provides $738 billion with $740 billion allocated for fiscal 2021.

What to Watch: The Army is expected to unveil some of the trade-offs it is making to fund modernization programs. Lt. Gen. Thomas Horlander, military deputy to the Army comptroller, will speak at AUSA on Feb. 18 about the budget. Advance registration for the event closes Feb. 13. For more information, click here:

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