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Military News Briefs for the Week of Dec. 15, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2000 – (This is a summary of the American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending Dec. 15, 2000.)



Defense Secretary William S. Cohen will appoint a panel to look at the MV-22 Osprey program in the wake of the second tilt-rotor aircraft crash since early April.

Four Marines died Dec. 11 when their Osprey crashed near Jacksonville, N.C. The crash was the fourth accident involving the tilt-rotor aircraft since 1991. The Navy and Marine Corps have grounded all MV-22 Osprey flights until further notice.

Military officials recovered the aircraft's "black box" in good shape. An aviation accident board will investigate.

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The new Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies will open its doors in 2001 at the National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., Pentagon officials announced.

The center will provide a forum for defense leaders from 20 countries stretching from Morocco to Bangladesh. It will be the newest of five DoD centers dedicated to promoting stability and fostering communications between militaries in different regions. The others are the George Marshall Center in Germany; the Asia Pacific Center in Hawaii; the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, both also at the NDU.

"DoD's five centers really foster the education of the world's military officers and civilian national security officials," said Alina Romanowski, newly appointed director of the center. She called the centers academic institutions that offer tailored courses to regional leaders on such subjects as defense decision-making, civil-military relations and budget planning.

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TRICARE officials propose to make co-payments for prescription drugs uniform for all beneficiaries and based on whether a generic or brand-name medication is dispensed.

If the proposal is approved, it would kick off DoD-wide April 1, 2001, when the TRICARE Senior Pharmacy program begins. Under the proposed changes, beneficiaries would pay $3 for generic drugs and $9 for brand-name drugs at TRICARE-affiliated retail drug stores for up to a 30-day supply or through the National Mail Order Pharmacy program for up to a 90-day supply.

TRICARE Prime enrollees who choose to obtain their prescription drugs from non-TRICARE affiliated retail outlets would continue to pay a 50-percent point-of-service penalty after meeting their deductible. All others would pay the greater of a 20 percent co-pay or a $9 charge per prescription.

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