A recent Defense Department report says the number of sexual assaults reported by military members rose by 8 percent in 2014 as compared to last year – an increase that Secretary Chuck Hagel attributes to confidence among survivors. DoD fielded almost 6,000 sexual assault reports in 2014, up 5,500 reported in 2013.
Personal identity verification at the Defense Department could become more compatible with mobile devices, since the department approved Nov. 24 the first vendor to provide security credentials for Android, Apple and Microsoft mobile devices.
The IG said IPv6 hasn't been made a priority by the chief information officer and U.S. Cyber Command. Additionally, DoD's CIO, CYBERCOM and the Defense Information Systems Agency didn't have an effective and coordinated effort nor did it use available resources toward transition to the higher protocol.
A former second-in-command at the Pentagon is expected to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, according to CNN. Ashton Carter formerly served as deputy defense secretary under both Leon Panetta and Hagel.
The Project on Government Oversight criticized the Defense Department for not being able to bring service contract spending under control. In a Nov. 25 letter (pdf) to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, POGO charged the DoD with hindering efforts to reign in its service contract spending.
An Army-developed containment system fitted into an aircraft is being used for the first time to quarantine Ebola patients being flown out of West Africa. The Aeromedical Biological Containment System is a tent-like, modular system that has been installed in a specially modified Gulfstream III air ambulance. Several successful missions have been conducted already.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will be leaving his post once a successor is nominated and confirmed, a Nov. 24 Defense Department news release says. Obama praised Hagel's service and noted he became the head of the DoD at a particularly difficult time. "When I asked Chuck to serve as secretary of defense, we were entering a significant period of transition," Obama said in the news release.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called for an increased Defense Department budget, despite the looming threat of another year of sequestration related budget cuts in fiscal 2016. Chairman Martin Dempsey said even with the partial sequestration relief written into the fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015 budget framework, the $535 billion spending cap isn't enough.
Support for bill that would overhaul the Veterans Affairs Department's suicide prevention strategy gained steam on both sides of the aisle in the Senate after the mother of a combat vet who committed suicide testified to the troubles with the current system. "Clay's story details the urgency needed in addressing this issue," Susan Selke, said at a Nov. 19 Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. "Despite his proactive and open approach to seeking care to address his injuries, the VA system did not adequately address his needs. Even today, we continue to hear about both individual and systemic failures by the VA to provide adequate care and address the needs of veterans."
With the two year sequestration reprieve that came from the Murray-Ryan budget deal last year, the Defense Department has begun to rebound from the automatic spending cuts, but that could all be for naught if those cuts come back next year, DoD Deputy Secretary Robert Work said at a Nov. 12 Center for Strategic and International Studies event. The budget deal expires at the end of fiscal 2015 and if sequestration is reinstated in full, it would cause major problems for the DoD, Work said at the event.