Saturday, March 2, 2013

Military Suicides and the money behind them

Military Suicides and the money behind them
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
March 2, 2013

When you read about suicides going up, think of all the money spent on "doing" something to prevent them. Here's a good place to start.

Warnings Ignored on “Soldiers’ Fitness”
from The Warrior SAW, Suicides After War

It should come as no surprise that Resilience Training was a failure after reading more and more committed suicide. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone but few noticed the connection.

In 2006 the Army released a warning that redeployments increased the risk of PTSD by 50% and it was reported in the Washington Post. It was however treated as the “answer to all” by the Department of Defense despite many mental health professionals pointing to the deplorable results this “training” created. Midway through 2012, the deadliest suicide year, a group of psychiatrist felt compelled to write about this program calling it “flawed” and a “dangerous idea.”

Concerns raised by critics span a wide range of significant issues (and led to Congressional inquiries last year): the questionable empirical evidence behind the rapid creation and implementation of CSF; indications that CSF is actually a research study involuntarily imposed upon troops without appropriate protections such as independent ethical review and informed consent; the possibility that CSF may distract attention from addressing the documented adverse effects of multiple and lengthy deployments and high levels of combat exposure; potential negative effects of CSF, common in prevention programs, that have not been carefully considered or monitored; concerns as to whether the “spirituality” component of CSF is inappropriately promoting religion; the insufficient examination of ethical questions posed by efforts to build “indomitable” soldiers; issues concerning the awarding of a $31 million no-bid contract to Seligman’s positive psychology center at the University of Pennsylvania for CSF development; and the seemingly uncritical embrace and promotion of CSF by the American Psychological Association (of which Seligman is a past president). (Psychology Today June 4, 2012 by Roy Eidelson, Ph.D.)

The report went on to say that “Master Resilience Trainer” is placed into an Army unit after 10 days of training. They were “charged with equipping fellow soldiers with thinking skills and strategies intended to help them more effectively handle the physical and psychological challenges of military life, including, most especially, combat operations.” The analysis added this, “However, the public that has paid over $100 million for the CSF program and, even more, the one million soldiers who are involuntarily subjected to CSF’s resiliency training deserve much better than the misrepresentations of effectiveness aggressively promoted.”

That’s how we got to where we are today. In the following chapters you will read where the news went from bad to worse.

But that is not the worse report from 2012. In October the Department of Defense Military Suicide Research Consortium decided they had $677,000 laying around and thought it would be good to spend in on finding out how 100 military families felt after the suicide loss of someone they loved and it would be worth the two years it would take thee the University of Kentucky to do it. You read that right. $677,000. (Study seeks out families touched by suicide, Mark Brunswick Star Tribune October 31, 2012) Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky happens to be on the Department of Defense Committee as well as Appropriations, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

But then you also have the contracts the DOD has been paying for medications.

Prescriptions for Seroquel have exploded in the past decade, especially in the armed forces, where it often is prescribed off-label as a sleep aid.

In 2003, service members were diagnosed with insomnia at a rate of 30 per 10,000; by 2009, the rate had risen to 226 per 10,000. Prescriptions for Seroquel, or quetiapine, have subsequently soared, multiplying 27-fold in the same time period.

The drug is known to cause drowsiness and chase away nightmares associated with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Navy Capt. Mike Colston of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs said medications become popular as providers learn about them and as they receive new approvals for use by the Food and Drug Administration — in the case of quetiapine, as an add-on therapy for antidepressants.

Yet questions have been raised over whether its off-label use for insomnia was more than a grass-roots movement by physicians. In April 2010, manufacturer Astra-Zeneca agreed to pay $520 million to the federal government to settle a civil suit alleging that it illegally marketed Seroquel for a host of off-label uses such as Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, PTSD and sleeplessness.

According to The Associated Press, in 2009, the Pentagon spent $8.6 million on the drug, while the Veterans Affairs Department spent $125.4 million.

Here are some more contacts the DOD spent money on at the same time the troops are worried about cuts to what matters to them under sequester. Department of Defense Contracts over $6.5 million they have to report
More contracts from the Department of Defense for March 2013

Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Wayne, N.J., was issued a modification exercising the first option year on contract SPM2D0-12-D-0002/P00006. The modification is a fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum $49,401,788 for various pharmaceutical products. Location of performance is New Jersey with a March 5, 2014 performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013 Warstopper funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

Tennier Industries*, Boca Raton, Fla., was awarded contract SPM1C1-13-D-1028. The award is a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $15,551,438 for universal camouflage patterned jackets. Locations of performance are Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia and Georgia with a Feb. 28, 2014 performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2014 Defense Working Capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

Exide Technologies, Milton, Ga., was awarded contract SPM7LX-13-D-0029. The award is a fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract with a maximum $6,754,515 for procurement of storage batteries. Locations of performance are Iowa and Georgia with a Feb. 24, 2014 performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2012 Defense Working Capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Columbus, Ohio.


DLT Solutions, Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $23,212,706 firm-fixed-price contract (FA8771-13-F-8100) for procurement of software maintenance and support for perpetual enterprise Oracle software licenses. The location of performance is Herndon, Va. Work is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2014. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013. The contracting activity is AFLCMC/HIK, Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Ala.

L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace L.L.C., Madison, Miss., is being awarded a $8,076.281 contract modification (FA3002-09-C-0006, P00022) for aircraft flightline maintenance for the F-16 aircraft in support of Taiwan's F-16 program. The location of performance is Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Work is expected to be completed by Feb. 28, 2014. Type of appropriation is international funding. The contracting activity is AETC CONS/LGCI, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Contract involves Foreign Military Sales.


General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $14,648,643 modification to previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00024-10-C-4401) to exercise options for repairs and alterations for the USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) non dry-docking fiscal year 2013 chief of Naval operations (CNO) availability. The CNO availability consists of various repairs and alterations such as engine replacement/repair, jacket water cooler, lagging and insulation, ballast tank repair/preserve, well deck repair, cylinder head and components, etc. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by August 2013. Fiscal 2013 funding in the amount of $14,648,643 will be obligated at time of award, and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Norfolk Ship Support Activity, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

Canadian Commercial Corp., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, is being awarded a $9,839,099 firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for services and supplies for land and sea-based modeling, testing and risk reduction flights for the U.S. Navy and the governments of Australia, Spain, Japan, South Korea and Norway. In support of these efforts, the contractor will utilize a Vindicator II System comprised of contractor-owned unmanned air vehicles and high-speed maneuvering unmanned surface vehicles, as well as a contractor-owned helicopter radar signature simulator. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), Pt. Mugu, Calif. (30 percent); the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii (30 percent); NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. (15 percent); Virginia Capes, Dam Neck, Va. (15 percent); NAWCWD China Lake, Calif. (5 percent); and Key West, Fla. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2018. Fiscal 2013 Operations and Maintenance, Navy contract funds in the amount of $262,723 will be obligated at time of award, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to the FAR 6.302-1. This contract combines purchase for the U.S. Navy (8,264,844; 85 percent) and the governments of Australia ($314,851; 3 percent); Spain ($314,851; 3 percent); Japan ($314,851; 3 percent); South Korea ($314,851; 3 percent); and Norway ($314,851; 3 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-13-D-0005).


HRL Laboratories L.L.C., Malibu, Calif., is being awarded a $10,150,974 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (HR0011-13-C-0027). This work is under the Structural Logic program, which seeks revolutionary structural designs that make up the basis for modern military platforms and systems by passively adapting to varying loads and simultaneously exhibiting high stiffness and high damping over a wide dynamic range. The goal of the Structural Logic Phase II is to demonstrate that this radically new approach to structural design can be applied to relevant and real world tactical systems. During Phase I of the program a wide range of relevant tactical applications were evaluated for the Structural Logic concepts and technologies including: space, armor, aerodynamic, hydrodynamic and civil engineering structural systems. The government has selected a hydrodynamic application, in particular a high speed boat (watercraft) for the Phase II demonstration. Work will be performed in Malibu, Calif. (34.3 percent); Baltimore, Md. (26.6 percent); Champaign, Ill. (18.6 percent); Chesapeake, Va. (8.2 percent); Austin, Texas (6.8 percent); Akron, Ohio (4.0 percent) and Portland, Maine (1.5 percent). The work is expected to be completed by Feb. 27, 2015. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the contracting activity.

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