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Veterans Benefits Information

USAA Tips: How military intelligence builds business intelligence

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Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Chad Storlie

Military intelligence excels at gathering, assessing and analyzing information into actionable data (intelligence) and distributing it to key individuals and teams. The purpose of business intelligence is to understand customers, competitors, and markets to design, create, and deliver better products and service to new and existing customers. Military intelligence specifically focuses on the definition, identification, tracking, and systematic analysis of threats to the military force's primary and secondary objectives.

Combining the discipline and methodology of military intelligence with the needs of the business creates a solid foundation for business intelligence.

Business Intelligence Must Be Universally Distributed and Used to Focus an Organization.

Ask any of the top ten or so executives in a company what their top three threats are, and you may get a similar top threat from everyone. However, the remaining threats will be scattered and different. For a business to effectively plan and act against the competition, everyone needs to know what the same top threats are. Military intelligence excels in distributing a common threat picture to an entire organization. The same relative perspective on what the threat is, what the threat is working on, and what the threat plans to do is invaluable to coordinating an organization's activity. How many businesses give the same reports on the competition to the same groups in a regular fashion? The combination of the military intelligence process looking at external threats combined with the existing business intelligence process looking at key internal success measures is a powerful combination.

How to Create A Personal Business Intelligence Process – Start with Google Search.

The use of a simple web search tool such as Google News and Google Alerts helps collect key information on the competition, customer trends, and market influences from public news sources, the web, and social media. Using competitor names, product names, key customers, and associated technology are great starting points for regular Google Alerts. The Google Alerts can then be placed into a Business Intelligence Report which can then be pushed in an email to the company's leadership, sales, new product development, and operations. This process gives everyone in the organization the same view of what is happening, builds a news database on the competition, and is a great time saver for key leaders.

Adapt A Common Set of Themes & Regular Distribution.

Once you have a consistent delivery of information, then create an email or document format so the Business Intelligence Report is consistent every time in format and delivery schedule. Consistency in the format is critical so people can browse and read it consistently. Delivery timeliness is critical, so people can incorporate the Business Intelligence Report into their daily / weekly / monthly business process.

Ethics Must Guide the Business Intelligence Process.

A highly ethical focus must be your most important guide as you implement a business intelligence process. It is vital that as you collect information on the competition you follow good business ethics, complete adherence to the law, and a focus on never acting in any way that would embarrass the company. In addition, legal review and coordination with your company's corporate relations department is a must.

The key to building a competitive intelligence process is to start small, build success and consensus, and then expand the process to the entire organization. Improved products and services that “wow” customers are the greatest success from a solid company business intelligence process.

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USNS Comfort to deploy to Central and South America

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NORFOLK, Va. — The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is scheduled to depart Naval Station Norfolk, Oct. 11, en route to South America and Central America where it will conduct an 11-week medical assistance mission working closely with host-nation health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Honduras.

The purpose of the deployment is to help relieve pressure on host nation medical systems partly due to an increase in migrants crossing their borders and provide care to the appropriate communities.

This mission marks the sixth time the hospital ship will provide medical assistance in the region and reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the Americas. Since first deploying to the region on a similar mission more than a decade ago, the hospital ship has visited 18 nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. During those missions, military medical professionals worked with host nation and civilian partners to provide medical treatment to nearly 390,000 people, including more than 6,000 surgeries.

The ship’s crew will include more than 200 U.S. and partner nation military doctors, nurses, and technicians. In addition, about 60 medical and dental professional volunteers from non-governmental organizations will be on board to support the medical assistance mission. They will be joined by a smaller team of civil service mariners who will oversee the ship’s operation and navigation.

During the mission, USNS Comfort will visit Esmeraldas, Ecuador; Peru (port to be determined); Riohacha and Turbo in Colombia; and Puerto Castilla, Honduras. Specific dates for each port visit will be announced several days prior to the hospital ship’s arrival.

As part of the planning for USNS Comfort’s mission, health ministries in each country will select patients with medical needs that can be evaluated and treated by the hospital ship’s on-board surgical services and capabilities. Other medical services will be available to individuals on a first-come, first-served basis at the USNS Comfort’s land-based medical sites.

Health services provided in this year’s USNS Comfort deployment include general surgery, ophthalmologic surgery, dermatology, medical evaluation and treatment, preventive medicine, dental screenings and treatment, optometry screenings, eyewear distribution, and public health. Medical capabilities aboard the hospital ship include surgical and post-surgical rooms, a CAT-scan unit, four X-ray machines, a dental suite, an optometry lab, a physical therapy area, two oxygen-producing plants, and a 5,000-unit blood bank.

During each visit, Comfort’s medical team expects to treat approximately 750 patients per day at each medical site on shore, and anticipate conducting up to 20 surgeries per day aboard the vessel.

A U.S. Navy hospital ship has the capacity to provide afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facilities to the U.S. military, and is an optimal platform to provide hospital services in support of U.S. humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations worldwide.

In the aftermath of a destructive earthquake near Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2010, the ship deployed there, where it supported a large-scale foreign disaster assistance mission under the leadership of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), treating more than 870 victims seriously injured during the disaster and performing nearly 840 surgeries.

The USNS Comfort mission demonstrates U.S commitment to the Americas and is part of a continuum of support provided by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). SOUTHCOM-sponsored civic assistance and humanitarian missions are conducted in close cooperation with partner nations in the region as well as with U.S. interagency partners at the U.S. Department of State and USAID. Similar missions include Continuing Promise, New Horizons, Beyond the Horizon, medical readiness training exercises and the Medical Civil Action Program.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

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A chance to both honor and heal

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Over the course of a few early October days, a group of more than 40 American Legion Riders departed their home state of South Carolina for the nation’s capital. They came to Washington, D.C., to clean the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Oct. 7 as a way to honor those whose names are on the wall.

But it was a little more personal for Casey Koerner, a Legion Rider from Horry Post 111 in Conway, S.C., and a Vietnam War U.S. Air Force veteran. Koerner’s cousin, U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Frank M. Koerner, was killed in action in Vietnam in 1969.

“He and I, we grew up pretty much in the same house like brothers,” said Koerner, who served in the Air Force from 1973 to 1982. “I come up every Memorial Day. This was our first opportunity to come up and wash the wall. I made sure I washed (his cousin’s panel).”

Koerner said cleaning his cousins panel was “very emotional. Very moving. He’s actually buried in West Virginia, but I feel closer to him here than I do actually at his gravesite. We’re fellow veterans, and I came back and he didn’t.”

Some of the Legion Riders rode as many as 500 miles to take part in the cleaning after having cleaned the Vietnam Veterans Memorial five years ago. “We’ve always wanted to do it again,” said South Carolina Legion Riders Director L.V. Harrison Jr., a member of Richland Post 6 in Columbia, S.C. “This has been in the works for the last year to get a date secured and to get everyone committed to come. It’s something that we’re going to continue to do in the future.”

Harrison said the Riders appreciated the opportunity to “be able to give back, and show that honor and respect to those that have served our country – especially our brothers and sisters that served in Vietnam.”

Harrison coordinated the effort through the National Park Service. U.S. Park Ranger Mark Morse, a U.S. Army veteran, met the group in the early hours on Sunday with all the materials needed to do their job.

Morse said groups will volunteer to clean the memorial at least once a week from mid-April to mid-November. And while the volunteers provide “an incredible value” to the Park Service, Morse said what the volunteers get back from their effort is equally valuable. “This wall was built to heal wounds of war. When you have (someone with a family member) on this, and he or she gets to wash that name, there’s still that connection of family.”

Seeing that connection is why Morse had no problem meeting up with the Riders at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning to help with their project. “I love to see the camaraderie between all of us veterans and the families that come out here,” he said. “A lot of time for Vietnam vets, it’s their first time out here. Their panel with their buddies’ (names) on the wall, that panel is reserved for them to wash and honor.”

Ralph Wainright, a Legion Rider from Jesse C. Lynch Memorial Post 71 in North Augusta, S.C., served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1993. He left South Carolina on Oct. 4, making the trip in two days “because we’re getting old,” he said.

But age wasn’t going to stop Wainright from participating in the volunteer effort. “For me, it’s an honor,” he said. “I had a brother who served in Vietnam. He survived Vietnam, only to come home and get killed about two years later in an industrial accident. I do it in his honor. I do it for my brother Joe.”

The cleaning effort also provided an opportunity for camaraderie for Wainright and the other American Legion Riders.

“We get to see the other Riders from the state,” he said. “We’re all over the state, so we only get together 2-3 times a year. So it’s kind of an honor for all of us to work together as a team. Each post or each chapter does their own things in their areas, but it’s like once or twice a year we get together and do something together.”

Though he was much too young to serve in the Vietnam War, Harrison sees what being at the wall means to those veterans who did. “This is a healing process for the Vietnam veterans,” he said. “This wall means so much to them, and they hold it in such high regard because this is where their brothers’ and sisters’ names are inscribed (and) that paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

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Bells of Peace expands with mobile app

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Earlier this year, the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Washington National Cathedral, announced the national "Bells of Peace" campaign.

The "Bells of Peace" campaign calls for a national bell tolling across the country at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, to mark the centennial of the end of World War I.

Now, Bells of Peace has a smartphone app to help groups or individuals who want to participate – especially those who do not have access to bells. The new app is free, and is available for either Apple or Android platforms. Search for “Bells of Peace” in either app store or go to for links.

The Bells of Peace app has a number of helpful features for those leading a group commemoration event, or for those who want to mark a moment of contemplation.

The app includes a built-in countdown timer, a variety of different bell sounds, links to World War I websites, and the ability for people to post photos from their local or personal commemoration.

The Bells of Peace app offers people an opportunity to join in a simultaneous tolling, from all the phones running the app. As the built-in countdown timer reaches 11 a.m. local time, bells will toll from every device, together, 21 times, in a remembrance of the moment, exactly 100 years ago, when the war finally ceased.

“Throughout history church bells have been used to mark moments of great sadness and joy,” says the Very Rev. Randolph ‘Randy’ Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral. “As we make the centennial of the end of World War I it is appropriate that pause for a moment to honor those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.”

Bells of Peace is an initiative that began in 2014 by the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, at Arlington National Cemetery. It is co-led by Washington National Cathedral, sponsored by the World War I Centennial Commission and endorsed by The American Legion. The program is designed to commemorate the service and sacrifice of those who served in World War I, and all veterans.

The initiative calls for all Americans everywhere to toll bells 21 times, at three-minute intervals, at 11 a.m. local time Nov. 11.

More than 350 partner organizations have joined the Bells of Peace initiative. In addition,30 states have issued official proclamations supporting the program.

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'This is how we give back'

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A July fire at the Village Inn Apartments left more than 80 Battle Creek, Mich., families displaced. But thanks to the efforts of three local American Legion posts, those families will now have some of their items lost in the fire replaced.

On Oct. 6, Capt. Oscar Brady Post 298 and American Legion Post 54 in Battle Creek teamed up with SSG Michael A. Dickinson II Post 257 in Augusta to host a Fill-The-Truck event at Post 298. The goal was to fill a 28-foot U-Haul moving truck with items such as microwaves, linens, lamps, pots and pans, dishware, silverware and kitchen utensils, and warm clothing to provide to the families.

Post 298 Commander Brian Mohlman said the idea for the event came about when post service officers from Post 298 and 257 were at service officer training in Lansing, Mich., in August, and talked about the fire and the possibility of the three area posts helping out.

“They approached and sold the idea to the (post) commanders and management, and it was ‘go’ from Day 1,” Mohlman said. “We do a lot in the community, and we felt there was a need – almost an emergency-type need – to help out these victims of the fire.

“A lot of them are lower-income families, and they just don’t have the means to recover from something like that. They just need things to help them get back on their feet and get started again.”

On Oct. 6 at Post 298, the U-Haul truck started out empty but didn’t end that way – despite uncooperative weather. “We started off at 9 o’clock and it was raining,” Mohlman said. “We actually had about a monsoon at around 10:30, but people will still showing up with carloads and truckloads of items. By the time 3 o’clock rolled around the whole truck was full.

“We’re just amazed. We never expected an outpouring of generosity like that. The community of Battle Creek and the surrounding communities, other Legionnaires and other organizations just chipped in and made it all happen.”

The items will be delivered to Charitable Union, an organization that provides clothing, bedding and small household items to families in need, for distribution to the families.

Mohlman said helping out the victims of the fire was an opportunity to show those in the community the posts’ appreciation for its support. “We depend on the support of the local community for our existence, really, when it comes right down to it,” he said. “This is how we give back and show our appreciation to the community, especially during times of need.”

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