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Author: TriSec    Date: 12/10/2019 10:53:49

Good Morning.

We often bring bad news and concerning issues here at AAV...but today we've got what feels like a rare positive story.

It does come from the Pew Research Center. I can't say I know much about them, but Wikipedia at least claims they are non-partisan.

U.S. military veterans and their families have consistently had higher standards of living than non-veterans over the past 40 years, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Households headed by veterans have higher incomes and are less likely to be in poverty, on average, and this is especially the case for veterans in racial or ethnic minority groups and those with less education.

In 2017, the median annual income for veteran households was about $88,700, compared with roughly $76,100 for non-veteran households, a difference of more than $12,000. Both groups have experienced income growth since 1980, when the median income was roughly $77,000 for veteran households and about $61,500 for non-veteran households. Still, the gap between the two groups has persisted over about four decades.

Incomes in this analysis are adjusted for household size, scaled to reflect three-person households and expressed in 2018 dollars. The analysis is restricted to people during their prime working years between ages 25 and 54 to control for the fact that veterans tend to be much older than non-veterans: 46.9% of veterans are 65 and older compared with 19.1% of non-veterans.

But that's not all - the article goes on to compare education levels vs. income differences, and perhaps a key metric; poverty among veteran and non-veteran households.

Veteran households also fare better than non-veteran households when looking at other economic measures, including poverty. In 2017, the poverty rate for non-veteran households was 6.4 percentage points higher than the rate for veteran households (13.0% vs. 6.6%). However, the poverty rate has grown more for veterans since 1980. The rate increased slightly from 12.7% to 13.0% in 2017 for non-veteran households during that span, while it has increased from 4.4% to 6.6% for veteran households.

Some of the differences are admittedly small - but the key takeaway is that there IS a difference.

But moving on, let's talk about JEDI. No, not those fictitious force-sensitives from long ago and far away, but rather the Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure plan. It's a massive contract to rebuild the Pentagon's computer systems. Microsoft and Amazon were finalists, but then the President got involved.

Amazon says President Donald Trump's “improper pressure" and behind-the-scenes attacks harmed its chances of winning a $10 billion Pentagon contract.

The Pentagon awarded the cloud computing contract to Microsoft in October.

Amazon argues in a lawsuit unsealed Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that the decision should be revisited because of “substantial and pervasive errors" and Trump's interference.

Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos have been a frequent target of Trump, even before he became president. Bezos personally owns The Washington Post, which Trump has referred to as “fake news” whenever unfavorable stories are published about him.

Amazon said it lost the deal due to Trump's “personal vendetta against Mr. Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post.”

Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith said in a statement Monday the decision to select Microsoft “was made by an expert team of career public servants and military officers" and without external influence.

Formally called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure plan, or JEDI, the military’s computing project would store and process vast amounts of classified data. The Defense Department has said it will help speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities and enable the military to advance its use of artificial intelligence.

Amazon and Microsoft became the finalists after Oracle and IBM were eliminated in an earlier round of the contract competition. Oracle had also sued, arguing the bidding was rigged in Amazon's favor. Trump publicly waded into the bidding process over the summer, saying he heard complaints and wanted the Pentagon to take a closer look.

“The department is confident in the JEDI award and remains focused on getting this critical capability into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and efficiently as possible," Smith said.

Finally today, we'll wrap up with yet another new National Memorial. Well of course it's going on the mall in DC. At this rate, there won't be much open space in the city. And no offense to anyone, but do we really need a national memorial for this? Read the story - it's essentially being pitched as "atonement" for Vietnam.

The final concept for a National Desert Storm Desert Shield War Memorial has been unveiled.

The design — a stone, sand-colored sweeping left hook around an elevated pool of water — symbolizes the left hook that U.S.-led coalition forces, coming out of Saudi Arabia, used to sweep into southern Iraq and Kuwait, outflanking Iraqi troops.

Earlier designs did not include the pool of water and had a raised wall rather than one built into the ground.

The concept was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts recently and unveiled at a ceremony in Fredericksburg, Texas, at the site of one the partners of National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.

Some details may change, but the basic structure and overall look of the memorial will fit into the concept that’s been approved by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

In an email to Military Times, Scott Stump, president and CEO of NDSWM Association, explained some of what happens next.

“This essentially approves the design footprint and layout. We continue to work on developing the commemorative content and details such as quotes, carvings, statues, relief, etc. to be included on the memorial. We would then go before the CFA for final design approval, projected to happen sometime next year,” Stump wrote.

At a February dedication ceremony at the future site of the memorial, next to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. speakers linked the quick victory in the Persian Gulf War with cultural memory from the Vietnam War, which stands within sight of the newest memorial off the National Mall.

Some of those sentiments were echoed in the design unveiling on Thursday.

“The world needs to know about the victory and how the country treated veterans differently than what they treated Vietnam veterans. And Desert Storm helped that pivot to come about,” Cee Freeman, vice president, National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.

This was "my" war - a handful of my friends served at that time and a couple of them did wind up in Iraq the first time around. I suppose I will have to go see it someday.


3 comments (Latest Comment: 12/10/2019 15:07:29 by Scoopster)
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