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Military News Briefs for the Week of June 15, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2001 – (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending June 15, 2001.)

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ADVISORY PANEL PROPOSES SWEEPING PERSONNEL CHANGES

The American public holds the military in high regard, but "the propensity to serve is very low," retired Adm. David Jeremiah, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters June 13 while discussing the far- reaching review of quality-of-life and morale issues he led at the request of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

He briefly went over the panel's 60-some recommendations. Examples: improve the pay of mid-grade enlisted members; end current up-or-out promotion systems; adopt more flexible retirement systems; close excess bases to free money to maintain bases that remain; do more to recruit Hispanics; and spend more immediately on family housing.

High operations tempo and the increased use of Guard and Reserve forces were also noted as quality-of-life problems. "This is a world in which we're not at war and we're not at peace," Jeremiah said. "The peace that we're in is the absence of major war, but it isn't peace as we know it, and it demands an enormous amount of activity on the part of the military members in the force."

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DoD SLOWS ANTHRAX VACCINATION PROGRAM AGAIN

DoD is further curtailing the anthrax immunization program due to inadequate supplies of the vaccine, DoD officials announced June 11.

Effective immediately only service members assigned to "special mission units" will receive the shots. There are currently a bit more than 24,000 doses of vaccine available for use now.

This third slowdown is necessary because of delays in DoD receiving FDA-approved vaccine from Bioport, the sole source of the vaccine. Officials said they estimate Food and Drug Administration approval of the Bioport Lansing, Mich., facilities for full production around first quarter 2002.

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REFUND CHECKS DUE MILITARY TAXPAYERS, TOO

If you owed federal income taxes for 2000, a check for up to $600 will be in the mail for you by September. Plans now call for the first checks to be mailed on July 20 and the last batch on Sept. 28. Taxpayers will receive letters in July explaining how much to expect and when.

Anyone who had a federal tax liability in 2000 is eligible providing they weren't claimed as someone else's dependent. If you filed a joint return last year and had at least $12,000 in taxable income, you'll receive a $600 refund. If you filed as head of household last year and had at least $10,000 in taxable income, you'll get a refund of $500. Most taxpayers who filed as single last year and had at least $6,000 in taxable income will get a refund of $300.

Eligible taxpayers need only ensure the Internal Revenue Service has their correct mailing address by notifying their post office or filing IRS Form 8822, "Change of Address," with the IRS.

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NORDIC-BALTIC MINISTERS TALK NEW NATO MEMBERSHIPS

Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania hope it's their turn to join NATO when the alliance starts its next round of expansion discussions soon. The three have actively sought membership since the end of the Cold War.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld attended the annual Nordic-Baltic Defense Ministerial June 9 in Turku, Finland. Talk turned to NATO enlargement during a post-meeting news conference.

"The three Baltic nations have made good progress and they have indicated a desire to be a part of NATO," Rumsfeld told reporters. He noted the United States and other NATO members will begin expansion talks soon and then deflected further speculations. Finland was his last stop in a weeklong trip to Europe. Other stops included Turkey, Greece and Belgium.

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NEW CONCEPT BRINGS MORE CONTACT WITH RECRUITERS

The military began shopping for recruits in a suburban Virginia mall last December, and after six months, Army recruiter Sgt. 1st Class Trent Riley is convinced it's a good idea.

"Visibility is the key," Riley said of DoD's experimental multiservice recruiting station in Potomac Mills Mall outside Washington. "This is a highly populated mall," he added, noting the many young people who shop at the sporting goods store across the hall.

The recruiting station's bright storefront-type entrance, big-screen TV and multimedia programs are designed to draw people's attention and keep it. DoD leaders are reserving judgment on building more such stations in major malls around the country until they see how this one pans out.

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Also visit the DoD Recruiting and Retention Web site at www.defenselink.mil/specials/recruiting/ for an in-depth look at recruiting and retention in the new millennium.

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