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Military News Briefs for the Week of Jan. 26, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2001 – (This is a summary of the American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending Jan. 26, 2001.)

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DoD LAUNCHES WEB SITE FOR SPECIAL NEEDS FAMILIES

Need to know if your next duty station can accommodate a handicapped family member? If so, you can now turn to the Internet for information.

DoD's Special Needs Network, a Web site for military families with special medical or educational needs, went on line Jan. 24, 2001, at mfrc.calib.com/snn. "Special needs" is an umbrella term for a wide range of services -- everything from assignment and coordination, to family support, to special education.

The site features simple design and straightforward point-and-click access to information. Menu options include assignment coordination, federal and state programs, and health and education. Other menu topics include relocation, community support, advocacy and resources.

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RUMSFELD GETS IN TOUCH WITH SENIOR MILITARY LEADERS

The new man at the Pentagon's helm wasted no time getting in touch with the services' senior military leaders. On Jan. 24, his fourth day in office, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff in the morning, then called for the top enlisted members that afternoon.

For nearly an hour and a half, the secretary talked with Sgt. Maj. of the Army Jack L. Tilley, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Frederick "Jim" Finch, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James L. Herdt, and Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Alford L. McMichael.

Finch said he was impressed that the secretary wants to hear from a variety of sources on what they think are the main issues affecting the force. Rumsfeld's approach, he said, seemed to be, "Let’s see if we can get our heads together and work on things."

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TASK FORCE SPEARHEADS EL SALVADORAN RELIEF

The U.S. military led the way in helping the people of El Salvador dig out from a Jan. 13 earthquake that killed hundreds and left an estimated million people homeless.

The quake registered 7.6 on the Richter scale. Forty-six members of Joint Task Force-Bravo, Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, arrived Jan. 15 aboard helicopters of 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment.

“Our initial focus was to bring immediate assistance to the citizens and provide a country team to assess the damage,” said Col. Michael Wood, JTF-Bravo commander. The Americans delivered tons of food, ferried hundreds of relief workers and El Salvadoran soldiers, and helped reunited families.

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SAY GOODBYE TO CHAD, DoD TESTS INTERNET VOTING

There’ll be no more chads -- hanging, pregnant or dimpled -- if the Voting Over the Internet test program is expanded.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program sponsored the test during the 2000 election cycle in association with state and county governments. Counties in South Carolina, Texas, Utah -- and Florida -- participated. Officials were looking for about 50 eligible volunteer voters from each site to vote using the World Wide Web.

“This was a proof-of-concept demonstration,” said Federal Voting Assistance Program director Polli Brunelli. “We weren’t set up for mass voting. This was simply to demonstrate that this could work.” She said a report about the test is being prepared and should be available in March or early April.

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