Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
The Defense Department has expanded its zero tolerance for the use of illicit drugs to include synthetic marijuana, also known as “spice,” said the director of DOD’s drug testing and program policy recently.
In an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Army Lt. Col. Tom Martin said that in addition to the broad range of drugs for which the military already randomly tests service members, synthetic marijuana will also be included.
“The message we’re getting out now is that when you participate in our random urinalysis program, synthetic marijuana products or synthetic marijuana will now be tested along with our other drugs,” he said. “It’s been known in the general population, both in the medical community and various media reports, that synthetic marijuana drug use is a serious health concern.”
Martin noted that while the military typically has a much lower level of drug use than in society at large, synthetic marijuana “still poses a significant risk to both the safety and readiness of our force.
“Prior to synthetic marijuana being banned,” he said, “the department went out and did a random study looking at a sampling of military urine specimens from all the different services to see if synthetic marijuana was being used by our members.”
All eligible service members, dependents and retirees — including same-sex couples — are now able to obtain Defense Department identification cards in every state, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently announced.
Hagel called on the chief of the National Guard Bureau to work with the adjutants general of several states to fully implement DOD policy by providing DOD ID cards to all eligible military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation.
“All military spouses and families sacrifice on behalf of our country,” Hagel said in a statement. “They deserve our respect and the benefits they are entitled to under the law.”
The entire DOD is committed to pursuing equal opportunities for all who serve the nation, the secretary said.
“I will continue to work to ensure our men and women in uniform, as well as their families, have full and equal access to the benefits they deserve,” he said.
More than 300 officers have been selected for advanced academic degree and career broadening opportunities, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced Dec. 16.
Selection for an advanced academic degree, or AAD, or special experience exchange duty, or SPEED, slot is an important step in an officer’s career, said Sophia Barnard, of the AFPC staff and special duty assignments.
Through the program, officers selected will complete a degree in a discipline consistent with their Air Force career field, and after completion will use that advanced degree in support of Air Force mission needs. That could include working in the National Reconnaissance Office or serving as an U.S. Air Force Academy or Air Force Institute of Technology faculty member.
Advanced degrees are only one aspect of the program. Applicants selected for the SPEED program will work temporarily outside their career fields, either with other Air Force functions, other federal agencies or for civilian companies.
“Special program selections are some of the earliest opportunities for officers to begin building complementary skill sets,” Barnard said. “The experience they garner during their exchange tour will help them understand the broader scope, how they affect and are affected by other functions — which is critical for Air Force leaders.”
Nominations for the 2014 Non Commissioned Officers Association Vanguard Award are due to the Air Force Personnel Center by Jan. 28, Air Force officials said.
The award annually recognizes one enlisted member from each of the uniformed services for an act of heroism that results in saving someone’s life or preventing serious injury. The act must have occurred between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013.
The act must be a voluntary action initiated by the nominee and not a result of directions or orders. Further, it must also have been a legitimate attempt to save a life or prevent serious injury to another person or people.
Each major command, combatant command, field operating agency and direct reporting unit may nominate one person in each category. Organizations and base-level personnel must contact their MAJCOM, COCOM, FOA or DRU for applicable suspense dates and additional information regarding nomination procedures.