Six Military and Veterans’ Stories to Watch in 2013

A U.S. Marine braces himself before being engulfed in a cloud of dust caused by an MV-22 Osprey aircraft in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 9, 2012. (DoD photo by Sgt. John Jackson, U.S. Marine Corps

A U.S. Marine braces himself before being engulfed in a cloud of dust caused by an MV-22 Osprey aircraft in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Dec. 9, 2012. (DoD photo by Sgt. John Jackson, U.S. Marine Corps

In the Tampa Bay Region

The region is home to MacDill Air Force Base, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations as well as two of the busiest VA Medical facilities, James A. Haley in Tampa and Bay Pines in Pinellas County, which means there are several ongoing stories to monitor this new year.

  • The Patraeus Scandal – Will the admitted affair by former CIA director David Patraeus, revealed by a Tampa socialite, chill the once warm relationship between the Tampa civilian community and military leaders serving at U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and MacDill Air Force Base where Patraeus once led CENTCOM.
  • The KC-46 Tanker – Home to 16 older Eisenhower-era KC-135 Stratotankers, will MacDill Air Force Base be awarded the new KC-46A aerial refueling tankers? A decision due in 2012 was postponed.
  • Chairman Rep. Bill Young – How will the reappointment of the 82-year-old C. W. Bill Young, a Republican from Indian Shores, to Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee influence Department of Defense spending in Florida?
  • 2013 National Veterans Wheelchair Games – Get ready – Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Hospital is hosting the 33rd annual national wheelchair games that will attract thousand of contestants to compete at local venues from July 13-18. Locals can volunteer to help with events and organization.

National and International

  • Sequestration and Military Pay – It appears that Congress and the White House have temporarily delayed the self-imposed “sequestration” or automatic budget cuts – 50 percent of which are to come from defense spending. Last summer, President Obama promised that pending cuts would not affect active-duty pay, but military families are concerned. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta laid out his strategy that may include civilian personnel furloughs if a budget deal isn’t struck.
  • Afghanistan – The Department of Defense is highlighting its progress transition such as Afghan forces taking responsibility for the safety of 87 percent of the Afghan population. However, more Afghan police and troops were killed in 2012 and there was an increase in insider attacks.
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