29 July 2009

Navy Christens New Guided Missile Destroyer Jason Dunham

The Navy will christen the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Jason Dunham, Aug. 1, 2009, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

Designated DDG 109, the new destroyer honors Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dunham was born in Scio, N.Y., Nov. 10, 1981, sharing the same birthday as the U.S. Marine Corps.

On April 14, 2004, Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in Karabilah, Iraq, when his battalion commander's convoy was ambushed. When Dunham's squad approached to provide fire support, an Iraqi insurgent leapt out of a vehicle and attacked Dunham. As Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground, he noticed that the enemy fighter had a grenade in his hand and immediately alerted his fellow Marines. When the enemy dropped the live grenade, Dunham took off his Kevlar helmet, covered the grenade, and threw himself on top to smother the blast. In an ultimate selfless act of courage, in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of two fellow Marines.

Retired Gen. Michael W. Hagee, former commandant of the U. S. Marine Corps, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Debra Dunham will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her late son. In accordance with Navy tradition, she will break a bottle of champagne across the ship's bow and christen the ship.

Jason Dunham, the 59th Arleigh Burke class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Jason Dunham will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower," the new maritime strategy that postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world.

Cmdr. M. Scott Sciretta, born in South Amboy, N.J., is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Jason Dunham is being built by Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Additional information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers is available online at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=900&ct=4.

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28 July 2009

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced yesterday today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Pfc. Donald W. Vincent, 26, of Gainesville, Fla., died July 25 of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced yesterday the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Spc. Justin D. Coleman, 21, of Spring Hill, Fla., died July 24 in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit using small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fires. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

25 July 2009

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom Friday.

Sgt. Ryan H. Lane, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pa., died July 23 of wounds suffered while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

24 July 2009

HUD-VA Vouchers

On July 15, HUD announced the final allocations for more than 10,000 HUD-Veterans' Affairs (VA) Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers. The HUD-VASH program provides rental assistance vouchers to public housing agencies across the country. The public housing agencies work closely with VA Medical Centers to provide rent assistance, supportive services, and case management to homeless veterans. Under the FY 2009 allocation for HUD-VASH, HUD was able to provide 10,290 vouchers to public housing agencies.

Georgia Allocations

Atlanta 140 vouchers $1,127,269
Dublin 105 vouchers $609,645
Augusta 35 vouchers $208,557

State Total: $1,945,471

From Georgia Coalition to End Homelessness, Inc.

23 July 2009

DOD Announces Death of Two Soldiers

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died July 22 in Zabul Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle. They were assigned to the 4th Engineer Battalion, Fort Carson, Colo.

Killed were:

Sgt. Joshua J. Rimer, 24, of Rochester, Pa.; and

Spc. Randy L.J. Neff, Jr., 22, of Blackfoot, Idaho.

22 July 2009

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced Monday the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Cpl. Benjamin S. Kopp, 21, of Rosemount, Minn., died July 18 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington of wounds suffered July 10 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga.

Army Partially Terminates Future Combat Systems Manned Ground Vehicle

The Department of the Army announced Monday that it will partially terminate the Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) development effort under the Future Combat Systems (FCS) Brigade Combat Team (BCT) System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract with the Boeing Company. The partial termination is for the convenience of the government.

The Army is taking this action to comply with both the Secretary of Defense's recommendation to cancel the FCS BCT program as well as the June 23 FCS BCT acquisition decision memorandum. The Army issued a stop work order for MGV and Non-Line of Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) efforts on June 24, in preparation for the partial termination.

The termination of the MGV effort will also negatively impact the development of the NLOS-C, which remains under a stop work directive. The Army, in conjunction with the Department of Defense (DoD), is working with the Congress to determine a viable path forward for the NLOS-C related efforts.

In coordination with the DoD, the Army is conducting a 120-day requirements analysis for a new ground combat vehicle (GCV) program. Incorporating lessons learned and threats encountered from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army will continue to leverage the work accomplished during the FCS MGV development efforts into the new GCV.

As the Army transitions to a holistic BCT modernization plan, the Boeing Company will continue to perform as a prime contractor on the Early-Infantry BCT (E-IBCT) spin out effort. The first increment of this plan (insertion of FCS technology to the E-IBCTs) will provide the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams an enhanced network capability, improved situational awareness and a remote indirect fire capability.
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DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Brandon T. Lara, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, died July 19 while supporting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

On the Ground: U.S. Forces Provide Training, Humanitarian Aid

U.S forces delivered new skills, and hope, to Iraqis in recent training and humanitarian operations, military officials reported.

Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, and the 19/5 Military Transition Team recently provided training to their counterparts from 5th Iraqi Army Division's 19th Brigade.

"Our main goal with these events is to provide these medics with the knowledge they need to save lives," said Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Mackey, a transition team medic. "Beyond the actual training, we are coaching the [Iraqi] brigade's medical leadership in planning and implementing brigade-level training."

Mackey said the soldiers chose a hands-on approach to the training, as opposed to using PowerPoint software presentations.

"The evaluation time consists of a trauma lane with casualty players and wound mock-ups," he said. "[Iraqi soldiers] are not only evaluated on patient treatment, but also how well they apply principles of trauma combat casualty care."

Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Walker, the platoon sergeant for the regiment's medical platoon, is on his second tour in Iraq. He has trained Iraqi medics before, and he noted they've come a long way.

"We know we cannot pull all of the medics out of the fight, so we are going with a 'train-the-trainer' approach, which builds on itself every time we meet, and then we challenge them to take the information to their units and share with their soldiers," Walker said. "So we are not only training these medics, but also encouraging them to 'grow' their [noncommissioned officer] corps as well.

"It is good to see that the Iraqi medics are progressing," he added.

Elsewhere, 21 new Iraqi firefighters concluded their training for the Defense Ministry's Basic Firefighter Course on July 15 with a live-fire exercise and graduation at the National Fire Academy.

The course marks the first time Iraqi instructors have conducted the training without assistance from Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq advisors.

"We need to congratulate the instructors for their accomplishment," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Kane, commanding general for Iraq Training Advisory Mission Air Force. "I'm proud of all of you and the way you have conducted this course."

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Military Academy in Rustamiyah graduated 281 Iraqi army and 86 Iraqi air force cadets July 14 from Basic Officers Commissioning Course 99.

The 12-month commissioning course includes leadership and ethics training, and works to instill the values and standards required of future Iraqi military leaders. The course also covers tactics, weapons training, physical fitness, first-aid, current affairs and geography.

A new officer course that starts in January is designed for cadets to earn university degrees, and will last three years.

NATO Training Mission Iraq has supported the academy since 2005. More than 2,500 cadets have graduated in the past four years.

In humanitarian efforts, soldiers of the Iraqi army's 5th Division and the U.S. 25th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team conducted the first humanitarian-aid drop in Diyala province since U.S. combat forces left Iraqi cities June 30.

The July 15 drop lasted nearly seven hours and served hundreds of families in Mujema, a neighborhood in Baqubah. Local residents and Iraqi soldiers unloaded five large trucks filled with about 1,000 bags of rice and flour, 600 bags of sugar and 600 bottles of cooking oil.

In a separate aid mission, soldiers of the 12th Iraqi Army Division and the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, brought bags of food and a message of hope to families July 14 in the Hiteen neighborhood of Hawijah.

"Hiteen has been identified by the Hawijah city council as the poorest area of Hawijah," said Army 1st Lt. Sean Spencer, medical officer for the 1st Battalion. "The food delivery by the [Iraqi security forces] and U.S. military supports Hawijah residents by fulfilling attainable goals, which will make a difference for the people here."

The Iraqi army plans to visit all of the small villages in Kirkuk province, said Army Spc. Andrew Harris, a forward observer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment.

"I think they picked the perfect town for this," Harris said. "We don't really get to travel through [Hiteen] often. But when you come through there and give them food, it makes a big difference."

Eighty of the 165 families in the village received help during the mission, and the Iraqi army is planning to distribute more aid in the near future.

"One bag of food can make a big difference if you're hungry," Harris said.

(Armed Forces Press Service; Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

21 July 2009

Chambliss Statement on Senate’s Passage of Amendment to Strip F-22 Provision

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today made the following statement regarding the passage of Amendment 1469 to the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act to remove an authorization to procure seven additional F-22s.

“I am obviously disappointed with today’s vote. We’ve been fighting a headwind from the White House and the Pentagon leadership for weeks now. For whatever reason, the White House expended a lot of political capital to seek to terminate the F-22 program. The authorizers and appropriators in the House have spoken in support of additional F-22s. That means this issue will be on the table as we go to conference. We will continue to pursue the potential for foreign military sales of a scaled-down version of the F-22 if interest persists from our strong allies.”

Isakson Statement on F-22

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today made the following statement regarding the Senate’s approval of an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that would strip out an authorization to procure seven additional F-22s, which are built at Lockheed Martin’s plant in Marietta, Ga. The Senate approved the amendment by a vote of 58 to 40.

“We must be prepared for whatever will come in the 21st century, and we have learned that you cannot underestimate what may come. The F-22 is the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world with the latest stealth technology to reduce detection by radar, and this plane is vital to 21st century American military superiority,” Isakson said. “I’m extremely disappointed the Senate did not recognize how essential the continued production of this aircraft is to our national security as well as to the many local economies and thousands of workers that will be devastated as a result of these cuts.”
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20 July 2009

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced yesterday the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died July16 in Basra of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their unit using indirect fire.

Killed were:

Spc. Daniel P. Drevnick, 22, of Woodbury, Minn.;

Spc. James D. Wertish, 20, of Olivia, Minn.; and

Spc. Carlos E. Wilcox IV, 27, of Cottage Grove, Minn.

All three soldiers were assigned to the 34th Military Police Company, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard, Stillwater, Minn.

DoD Identifies Operation Enduring Freedom Soldier

The Department of Defense announced today (7/19/09) the identity of a soldier listed as Missing-Captured on July 3 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, of Ketchum, Idaho, was declared Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN) on July 1 and his status was changed to "Missing-Captured" on July 3.

Pfc. Bergdahl is a member of 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

DoD Identifies Air Force Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two airmen who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died July 17 in a F-15E crash near Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.

Killed were:

Capt. Thomas J. Gramith, 27, of Eagan, Minn. He was assigned to the 336th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.

Capt. Mark R. McDowell, 26, of Colorado Springs, Colo. He was assigned to the 336th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.

18 July 2009

Study Reveals Differences Between Military and Civilian Cancer Rates

By David Loebsack Health.mil

A recent study of Department of Defense and National Cancer Institute statistics shows that active-duty military personnel may have lower risks of developing certain kinds of cancer compared with the general public.

These findings came to light after a group of researchers from the Military Health System and the National Institutes of Health compared cancer rates between members of the armed forces and the general U.S. population.

"Cancer risk may be affected by multiple factors. It is known that certain behaviors or exposures such as tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, obesity, radiation, and certain chemicals are associated with cancer," said Dr. Kangmin Zhu, a scientist at the U.S. Military Cancer Institute and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences who led the research project.

"The military population may be different from the general population in its exposure to these factors and therefore cancer incidence rates may differ in the two groups," said Zhu.

Zhu’s team sought to take a broad picture of the effects of cancer on military members by comparing the frequency of six kinds of cancer—lung, colorectal, prostate, breast, testicular and cervical—between military and civilian populations. The study focused on adults aged 20 to 59 years old who were diagnosed with one of the six cancers between 1990 and 2004. Data was taken from two databases: the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program of the National Cancer Institute, and the Defense Department’s Automated Central Tumor Registry (ACTUR).

The research team found that certain cancers – colorectal, lung and cervical – appeared less frequently in the military population than in the general population. They also found that breast cancer among women and prostate cancer among men are more common in the military than in the general population. Testicular cancer appeared to affect both military and civilian populations equally.

Studies on cancer incidence in the U.S. Armed Forces are few and far between. Zhu’s team identified only two previous cancer studies in the military, and both were limited in size and scope. In 1999, a team of researchers conducted a study on the incidence of testicular cancer in the Defense Department. Then in 2006, another more general study was conducted, but only within Air Force personnel.

Although it is unclear why certain groups of military personnel demonstrated different rates, the research team offered some speculation in their article published last month in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. According to their interpretation, differing cancer frequencies between military and civilian populations were most likely due to greater access to medical care and higher rates of cancer screening in the military. There also might be different levels of exposure to cancer risks such as smoking, alcohol use, and low physical activity. The differences between the two reporting systems could have also played a role in creating those disparities.

All in all, Zhu said, his team plans to continue this kind of analysis after more data has been collected. Descriptive epidemiological studies, he says, may provide clues for further research as well as provide evidence to support existing hypotheses

"Analysis of the frequency, distribution and pattern of various cancers can be the first step in understanding their etiology" said Zhu. "In the past, studies of cancer incidence rates in the U.S. military population have been very limited. One of the important research goals of the United States Military Cancer Institute, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and its collaborator, the National Cancer Institute, is to understand cancer patterns in the military. We hoped that this descriptive study would provide basic information on cancer incidence in the military."

To read the full article in the June issue of Cancer, Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention click here.
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Gates Considers Temporary Increase of Soldiers, Spokesman Says

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is considering proposals to temporarily expand the Army to relieve stress on the force, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Gates has discussed the possibility of a temporary expansion with Army Secretary Pete Geren, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., and others, Geoff Morrell said at a Pentagon news briefing yesterday after being asked by reporters about the proposal.

Army leaders, as well as U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, are "advocating to increase the size of the Army to get them through what is still a stressful period as we draw down in Iraq and continue to plus-up in Afghanistan," he said.

Asked how Gates feels about the idea, Morrell said, "I think he obviously has a great deal of concern about the stress that the Army has been under for a number of years now. And he understands that his prescription that they reduce their dependence upon stop-loss to keep units intact when they deploy has created additional stress on the force.

"He obviously appreciates the stress that the force is under and is listening intently to the arguments that are being made by General Casey and others," he added.

Gates earlier this year announced a phase-out of the Army's "stop-loss" policy, which keeps some soldiers in uniform beyond the terms of their enlistment contracts.

Morrell stressed that Gates has made no decisions about increasing Army troop strength. "He is right now still in the consultation process," he said. "But he is clearly considering it."

Casey has argued for the expansion as a "temporary fix to a near-term problem" of about two more years of considerable stress on the force due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Morrell said.

Even temporary, a plus-up "will be very expensive," he said. "Our personnel costs, in total I think, in the 2010 budget are north of $160 billion. Our health-care costs alone are $42 billion. Every person you add has enormous costs -- legacy costs, especially. And that is clearly part of the consideration here."

Gates spoke out this week against efforts in Congress to fund more F-22 aircraft than the department has requested, and Morrell reiterated those concerns yesterday.

"It looks as though the Army believes it needs additional soldiers to do the job that we have asked them to do," he told reporters. "So, buying more F-22s would very much inhibit our ability to even temporarily grow the force."

Although any increase is meant to be temporary, Morrell said, "It is always hard to do things on a temporary basis in this building. They have a way of becoming permanent."

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
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16 July 2009

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced Tuesday the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Chief Warrant Officer Rodney A. Jarvis, 34, of Akron, Ohio, died July 13 in Baghdad of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 46th Engineer Battalion, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Fort Polk, La.

The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.

15 July 2009

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Pedro A. Barbozaflores, 27, of Glendale, Calif., and Master Sgt. Jerome D. Hatfield, 36, of Axton, Va., died July 11 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. They were assigned to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

14 July 2009

TriServ Likely to Protest Decision

/PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Defense has selected United Health Military & Veterans Services, LLC to serve as the TRICARE provider for the South Region. This decision comes at the completion of a process that has gone on for well over a year.

After a Wednesday debriefing from the TRICARE Management Activity, TriServ will review all available information and likely file a formal bid protest with the government in an effort to reverse the Defense Department's decision.

"It is difficult to understand the logic of the process that brought the Department of Defense to this conclusion." Charlie Abell, TriServ's CEO said, "The robustness of our provider network and our competitive pricing proposal, combined with the excellent past performance of our owner companies makes our loss very hard to accept. We remain hopeful that the decision will be reversed and the contract awarded to TriServ, thereby protecting the military beneficiary's access to the highest quality, most affordable health care."

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Court-Martial Appeals Would Change Under New Bill

24-7 - A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee is considering a military justice bill that would allow service members to appeal court-martial convictions to the Supreme Court. Current law limits the right to appeal for military members, giving them what critics charge are fewer rights than those accorded to illegal immigrants or enemy combatants.

The Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2009 (HR 569) was passed by the House last year by voice vote but never made it through the Senate. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., reintroduced the bill this year. Davis chairs the House Armed Services Committee's military personnel panel.

Davis says the current appeals limits for GIs denies them the right to direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, an avenue open to civilians, immigrants and enemy combatants.

The bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wis.).

Supporters of the bill have stressed that the fears that financial costs to the military would be exorbitant are unjustified. They argue that the high court takes few cases and that, regardless of possible legal fees, rights shouldn't have price tags attached.

Estimates of the costs of a court-martial appeal range from $30,000 to $1 million per appeal, an expense the Pentagon would likely bear because most GIs convicted in court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice use military lawyers for appeals.

Critics of current law argue that service members possess the same rights to due process and equal protection of the law as citizens and lawful immigrants, but that access to those rights is unfairly restricted.

While GIs can appeal cases to the Supreme Court, the technical demands placed on their appeals -- hurdles civilians don't have to clear -- effectively eliminate the possibility of the highest court in the land ever reviewing their cases. The Military Justice Act of 1983 enabled the Appeals Court and Solicitor General to each unilaterally limit the military appeals that could be presented for review to the Supreme Court.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers also backs the Equal Justice for Our Military Act.

Article provided by National Military Justice Group

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Department of Defense Announces Awards for Third Generation of TRICARE Contracts

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) announced today that it has received word from the Department of Defense (DoD) that the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Humana Military Healthcare Services was not awarded the third generation TRICARE program contract for the South Region.

Under its existing TRICARE contract, Humana Military provides managed care services supporting the DoD’s delivery of health benefits to approximately 2.9 million active duty service men and women, their dependents, as well as retired service members and their families in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. That contract is currently set to expire on March 31, 2010.

“Humana Military is disappointed with the decision by the Department of Defense and looks forward to obtaining further clarity via a debriefing on the bidding process,” said Dave Baker, president and CEO of Humana Military. “Our company will evaluate its strategic options with respect to the government’s decision, including protesting the award, and will act expeditiously to best position Humana for continued success.”

Due to the complexities of the bid award and protest processes, the company can not yet anticipate what impact, if any, the loss of the TRICARE contract may have upon its earnings for the year ended December 31, 2009.

Cautionary Statement

This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in investor presentations, press releases, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and in oral statements made by or with the approval of one of our executive officers, the words or phrases like “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “likely will result,” “estimates,” “projects” or variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, including, among other things, information set forth in the “Risk Factors” section of our SEC filings, a summary of which includes but is not limited to the following:

* If Humana does not design and price its products properly and competitively, if the premiums Humana charges are insufficient to cover the cost of health care services delivered to its members, or if its estimates of benefits payable or future policy benefits payable based upon its estimates of future benefit claims are inadequate, Humana’s profitability could be materially adversely affected. Humana estimates the costs of its benefit expense payments, and designs and prices its products accordingly, using actuarial methods and assumptions based upon, among other relevant factors, claim payment patterns, medical cost inflation, and historical developments such as claim inventory levels and claim receipt patterns. These estimates, however, involve extensive judgment, and have considerable inherent variability that is extremely sensitive to payment patterns and medical cost trends.
* If Humana fails to effectively implement its operational and strategic initiatives, including its Medicare initiatives, the company’s business could be materially adversely affected.
* If Humana fails to properly maintain the integrity of its data, to strategically implement new information systems, or to protect Humana’s proprietary rights to its systems, the company’s business could be materially adversely affected.
* Humana is involved in various legal actions, which, if resolved unfavorably to Humana, could result in substantial monetary damages. Increased litigation and negative publicity could increase the company’s cost of doing business.
* As a government contractor, Humana is exposed to additional risks including reimbursement and payment changes that could adversely affect its business or its willingness to participate in government health care programs.
* Humana’s industry is currently subject to substantial government regulation, which along with possible increased governmental regulation or legislative change, could increase Humana’s cost of doing business and could adversely affect the company’s profitability.
* Humana is also subject to potential changes in the political environment that can affect public policy and can adversely affect the markets for its products.
* Any failure to manage administrative costs could hamper Humana’s profitability.
* Any failure by Humana to manage acquisitions and other significant transactions successfully could have a material adverse effect on its financial results, business and prospects.
* If Humana fails to develop and maintain satisfactory relationships with the providers of care to its members, the company’s business could be adversely affected.
* Humana’s mail order pharmacy business is highly competitive and subjects it to regulations in addition to those the company faces with its core health benefits businesses.
* Humana’s ability to obtain funds from its subsidiaries is restricted by state insurance regulations.
* Downgrades in Humana’s debt ratings, should they occur, may adversely affect its cost and availability of funds.
* Extreme volatility and disruption in the securities and credit markets may adversely affect Humana’s business, results of operations and financial condition.
* Changes in economic conditions could adversely affect Humana’s business and results of operations.
* Given the current economic climate, Humana’s stock and the stock of other companies in the insurance industry may be increasingly subject to stock price and trading volume volatility.

In making forward-looking statements, Humana is not undertaking to address or update them in future filings or communications regarding its business or results. In light of these risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, the forward-looking events discussed herein may or may not occur. There also may be other risks that we are unable to predict at this time. Any of these risks and uncertainties may cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements.

Humana advises investors to read the following documents as filed by the company with the SEC for further discussion both of the risks it faces and its historical performance:

* Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008;
* Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2009;
* Form 8-Ks filed during 2009.

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12 July 2009

Chambliss, Isakson Co-Sponsor Legislation to Ensure Counting of Overseas Military Ballots

U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today announced that they are co-sponsoring legislation to ensure that all ballots cast by U.S. troops overseas are counted in elections.

The Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act (“MOVE Act”) requires all states to provide military voters with ballots no later than 45 days before an election. It also requires states to institute and maintain an electronic and fax system for sending voter registration applications and absentee ballot applications.

The bill addresses problems military and overseas voters face in registering to vote from outside the United States and it bars states from rejecting military ballots for lack of a notary signature, which can be difficult to obtain on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Of the 992,000 military and overseas absentee ballots requested for the 2006 election, more than 660,000 never reached election officials,” said Chambliss, the bill’s lead Republican sponsor and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “This is simply unacceptable. Our military men and women serving overseas to defend and promote our national values at very least deserve to participate in the electoral process.”

“Our men and women serving overseas are deployed in defense of freedom and democracy,” said Isakson. “It is imperative that we do everything in our power to ensure they are able to participate in our nation’s democratic process.”

10 July 2009

Pelosi Statement on House Passage of Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act

/PRNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today on House passage of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which will provide critical funding for veterans' health services and the construction of key facilities for training and housing our military. The bill passed today in the House by a vote of 415 to 3.

"Ensuring that the needs of our veterans are met is a top priority of this Congress. We honor their service and sacrifice by investing in health care for those who have worn our nation's uniform and the construction of key facilities for training and housing our military.

"With passage of this bill, the New Direction Congress has provided a 58 percent increase in funding for veterans' health care and benefits since January 2007.

"I am pleased that this legislation also includes advance appropriations for 2011. This ensures timely and predictable funding for the veterans' health care initiatives upon which so many Americans depend.

"Just last weekend, on July 4th, we celebrated the freedom that is uniquely available to us as Americans. Today we have honored our troops and our veterans who ensure this freedom with real investments in their well-being."

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06 July 2009

VA Secretary Announces Opening Alabama National Cemetery

/PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officially opened its 129th national cemetery June 25 with the first burials at Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo.

"With the opening of this new national shrine, many thousands of Alabama Veterans and their families will have a no-cost burial option nearby, in a setting that is worthy of their service," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "Providing lasting tributes to their sacrifice is one of VA's most honorable missions, one we are proud to fulfill."

The new 479-acre national cemetery in the Birmingham area will serve Veterans' needs for at least the next 50 years. The cemetery is located on State Highway 119, 15 miles south of Birmingham, just north of the town of Montevallo and west of Interstate Highway 65.

In October 2008, VA awarded a construction contract for $3.7 million to BSI Contracting Inc., a service-disabled, Veteran-owned small business in Birmingham, to develop a small burial area. That 12.7-acre section, with 1,095 casket gravesites and nearly 1,000 in-ground cremation sites, will provide approximately two years of burials, enabling VA to begin providing services while the remainder of the cemetery's larger first phase of development is completed.

When complete, the first phase will consist of approximately 45 developed acres with more than 6,000 additional gravesites and 2,700 columbarium niches, as well as facilities needed to operate and to provide burials for approximately 10 years. The new cemetery will include an administration and public information center complex, including an electronic gravesite locator and public restrooms, a maintenance building, an entrance area, a flag assembly area, a memorial walkway and two committal shelters for funeral services. Other infrastructure elements include roadways, landscaping, utilities and irrigation.

The new cemetery serves approximately 200,000 veterans in the region and will be the third national cemetery in Alabama. The state's other national cemeteries are in Seale and Mobile.

Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Other burial benefits available for all eligible veterans, regardless whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or marker. Families of eligible decedents may also order a memorial headstone or marker when remains are not available for interment.

In the midst of the largest expansion since the Civil War, VA operates 130 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than three million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA's national cemeteries on nearly 18,000 acres of land.

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03 July 2009

Keeping Faith with Those Who Serve

/PRNewswire/ -- On the eve of the anniversary of our nation's founding, Lt. General Claudia Kennedy and Col. Don Fowler, Co-Chairs of the Democratic National Committee's Veterans and Military Families Council released the following statement lauding the efforts of the President and Democratic Congress to support our veterans:

"On the week of the anniversary of the birth of the United States, the President enacted into law the 2009 supplemental appropriations bill which extends new benefits to those Americans who, like their ancestors of 1776, have voluntarily put their lives on the line to protect the American people.

"The men and women serving in the armed forces of the United States deserve access to the highest quality health care facilities and mental health programs available to help with their transition to civilian life. The President's budget request includes the largest increase to veterans funding in 30 years, building on recent efforts to modernize veterans hospitals and facilities and improve care for those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.

"And the historic benefits provided by the New GI Bill, which ensures a bright future for our warriors returning to a civilian life, will now be available to the children of those who have lost their lives in active duty."

After September 11, 2001, tens of thousands of Americans answered the call of duty and signed up to serve their country. Since then, under the Bush administration's stop-loss policy, they have been asked to serve double and triple tours of duty - putting a huge emotional and financial burden on service members and their families. As enacted by the President and Democratic Congress, the supplemental compensates those veterans who were asked to bear the extra burden by providing a $500 allowance for every month served under stop-loss orders since September, 10, 2001.

The bill also includes important provisions to support family members of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and lost their life in service to their country. The Fry Scholarship, a new benefit included in the bill, provides extended GI Bill of Rights college education benefits for children of service members who die in active duty.

To support military families, the bill also provides $1.8 billion for defense health programs that provide family counseling and traumatic brain injury and psychological health research. The bill supports the construction of nine wounded warrior support complexes to help wounded soldiers recover and invests $488 million in military hospital construction, as well as investments to complete construction at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

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01 July 2009

Gates Plan May Be Beginning of the End of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

/PRNewswire/ -- In the wake of yesterday's unexpected Pentagon announcement about gays in the military, experts say the "don't ask, don't tell" policy may be on the brink of irreversible change that would speed up its demise. After speaking with President Obama last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked military lawyers to explore how to modify enforcement of the policy in ways that are "more flexible until the law is changed." The President Monday reiterated his intention to end discrimination against gay troops, saying he is working with Congress and the military to do so.

Christopher Neff, political director of the Palm Center, said the remarks by Secretary Gates marked the first time the Defense Secretary has made clear that the Pentagon is onboard with the President's determination to lift the ban. "'Don't ask, don't tell' is a package -- both a law and a policy -- that hasn't been penetrated for fifteen years," Neff said. "This is a crack in humpty dumpty, and it gets the ball rolling for a political solution since it gives cover to lawmakers who have been waiting for a nod from the Pentagon."

Neff said that even a small change in how "don't ask, don't tell" is enforced could represent a seismic political shift, even if it does not have a substantial operational impact on most gay troops, who would still be subject to discharge. If the military stops applying certain provisions of the policy, as Gates says it is considering, it would send a signal to Congress about the inevitability of change. "That's why executive action is the key to unlocking the political stalemate," said Neff. "Even the statements themselves, although they do await follow-up action, have changed the political landscape."

Last month, the Palm Center published a report which outlined several legal and political rationales for executive branch discretion in regulating, and even halting, discharges provided for by federal statute. One of those rationales is closely linked to the new review announced by Secretary Gates. According to the Palm Center study, "the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy itself, as codified by Congress, also grants authority to the Department of Defense to determine the procedures under which investigations, separation proceedings, and other personnel actions under the authority of 10 U.S.C. Section 654 will be carried out ... The Secretary of Defense has discretion to determine the specific manner in which 'don't ask, don't tell' will be implemented." Prior to the release of the Palm Center's report, most observers had assumed that only Congress or the federal courts end the firings of gay troops.

Amidst mounting public pressure, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said this week that he thought "don't ask, don't tell" would be repealed by the end of the President's first term. Nathaniel Frank, senior research fellow at the Palm Center, said this week's developments were politically significant. "Serious discussions have been launched by the President himself," said Frank. "Obama has said this is a failed policy that harms national security, so these measures are not just fixes, but may be the beginning of the end." Frank added that any regulatory changes that fall short of halting all discharges will be "window-dressing," but he focused on the implications for further political change. "This means the hot potato party may finally be over, as the President understands where the buck stops."

In the wake of this week's developments, the Palm Center announced that it is preparing a more extensive legal analysis of administrative options for relaxing the application of certain provisions of "don't ask, don't tell." Neff said that the Defense Department should invite public input as the rules are re-drafted, which would be consistent with past processes when military regulations have been changed. "This review should be no different," he said.

Organizations and individuals who have endorsed or endorsed consideration of the use of executive action based on the legal theories outlined in the Palm Center's study include Secretary Gates, 77 members of Congress, the New York Times editorial page, Center for American Progress, Human Rights Campaign, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker, the political consultant Robert Shrum, and former White House aide Richard Socarides.

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