Compiled by Frank Matranga

The VFW was present at the White House when president Donald Trump signed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law on June 23.

The law gives the VA secretary the authority to discipline or fire any senior executive during a 21-day grievance process.

All other employees would have actions appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board, with a review process of no more than 180 days.

Furthermore, employees in the appeals process are now prohibited from being paid while they appeal. With the law comes the establishment of an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower’s Protection within the department.

“I believe this is going to dramatically improve morale, not hurt morale,” VA Secretary David Shulkin said. “This will improve recruitment, not hurt recruitment because there is nothing more demoralizing than being in an organization, working alongside people that everybody knows no longer share the values, the morals and ethics of the vast majority of people who go to work every day for the right reasons and serve veterans.

More U.S. troops
headed for Afghanistan

Nearly 4,000 troops are expected to deploy to Afghanistan. The need for additional forces comes after the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said there weren’t enough forces to combat the Taliban insurgency.

The bulk of troops will be training and advising Afghan forces. Others will be assigned to counter-terror operations against the Taliban and Islamic State (ISIS) extremists.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told The Associated Press in June that the defeat of al-Qaeda and ISIS “will come about only by giving our men and women on the ground the support and the authority they need to win.”

Frank Matranga, of Sonora, served in the U.S. Air Force for nearly 40 years. If you have veterans’ information, call him at 588-1926.