Eleven thousand military retirees and dependents now without access to DEERS!


The American Embassy in Manila pushed out a Message for U.S. Citizens, dtd 29 Jan 14 to their Embassy Wardens that announced the immediate closure of the DEERS office.

The following is extracted from their message:

“The U.S. Embassy wishes to advise U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families that, effective immediately, the acceptance and processing of military ID card applications and DEERS enrollments at the Embassy has been suspended, due to equipment problems and staffing shortages. These functions are the responsibility of the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), and DMDC currently has no trained personnel in the Philippines to process ID cards.clip_image001

The U.S. Embassy is working with DMDC on scheduling equipment repairs and sending a representative to the Philippines as soon as possible so that they can continue to support our veterans and dependents.”

Immediately we noticed some significant issues with what the Embassy was saying.

We know the Embassy and JUSMAGPHIL were adamantly opposed to assisting military retirees and their families when the DEERS office was first proposed by DMDC and it was delayed for the better part of a year while negotiations went on with the State Department because they refused locally. When it was first opened it offered walk-in service three half days a week, much like another Embassy offers. Then it went to appointment only and required retirees access a, mostly nonoperational, web page to obtain one of a very few appointments available two half days a month. So the Embassy and JUSMAGPHIL reduced service from walk-in to appointment only and from twelve (12) half days a month to two (2) half days a month. But at least there was a few slots if one was willing to wait for a few months to get an appointment.clip_image002

How are military retirees in some other countries treated?

In Thailand there are 570 military retirees. There the Embassy, JUSMAGTHAI and a local RAO work together to provide access to DEERS and ID cards.

In Australia there are 537 military retirees. There the Embassy and the Defense Attaché Office offer appointments by calling real people at one of three numbers for DEERS and ID cards.

In the Philippines there are 3,702 military retirees. Here the Embassy and JUSMAGPHIL no longer provide access and expect DMDC to do the job for them.

Remember above where the Embassy said, “These functions are the responsibility of the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), and DMDC currently has no trained personnel in the Philippines to process ID cards.” and “The U.S. Embassy is working with DMDC on scheduling equipment repairs and sending a representative to the Philippines as soon as possible so that they can continue to support our veterans and dependents.” We know from past experience that DMAC does not provide staff to operate DEERS offices; it is and always has been the responsibility of the local military group. We confirmed that is still the policy yesterday with DMDC.

We know that not too long ago the RAO in Manila offered to assist with staffing the DEERS office and even went so far as to provide the names of those that would provide the manpower. The RAO offer was turned down when they were informed by JUSMAGPHIL that Embassy “management” had disapproved the offer.

So in other locations where there are DEERS offices the local military provides the staffing including in Thailand and Australia. In Thailand the offer by the local RAO to assist with manpower was accepted and is working well.

clip_image004

The very old military motto of “We take care of our own” seems to be alive and well in Thailand and Australia and obviously in many other locations. But it seems to have been forgotten by those at the Embassy and JUSMAGPHIL in the Philippines while they try to place the blame for a total closure of the DEERS office in the Philippines on DMDC!

As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now you know the rest of the story.”

We recommend veterans contact the one or more of these individuals.

Col Adrian R. Farral, Office of the Inspector General, USPACOM.

By mail: USPACOM, ATTN: J004, Box 64043, Camp H.M. Smith, HI 96861-4043

By Facximile: (808) 477-0005

By Phone: (808) 477-5101/5165

Your Congressman or Senator; find contact information at House and Senate.

About TRICARE Overseas Philippines

We are U.S. Military retirees working to insure we obtain the medical benefit promised in spite of the Defense Health Agency.
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3 Responses to Eleven thousand military retirees and dependents now without access to DEERS!

  1. Sam Houston says:

    This is the results of my complaint concerning the closing of the RAPIDS site at JUSMAGPHL sent to:
    Col Adrian R. Farral, January 31, 2014
    Office of the Inspector General, USPACOM.
    USPACOM, ATTN: J004
    Box 64043, Camp H.M. Smith, HI
    96861-4043

    OIG Hotline (State) oighotline@state.gov
    Feb 11 (2 days ago)
    Dear Mr. Houston,

    The OIG has reviewed your complaint and we have determined that the appropriate office to address your concerns is the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Executive Office (CA/EX). Your information has been forwarded to that office for action, reference hotline number H20140385. OIG requested that the Executive Office contact you directly for follow up and to gather any additional information that may be needed.

    Please contact the Executive Office in CA for any future inquiries regarding this matter, reference hotline number H20140385. Telephone numbers for the Executive Office are not provided. However, you may contact the Executive Office via the mail at:

    U.S. Department of State
    Bureau of Consular Affairs
    Office of the Executive Director
    2401 E Street, N.W., Room H-1001
    Washington, DC 20520.

    OIG plans no further action regarding this complaint. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

    And then:
    OIG Hotline (State) oighotline@state.gov

    8:07 PM (16 hours ago)

    Dear Mr. Houston,
    The Bureau of Consular Affairs, Executive Office (CA/EX) determined that the appropriate agency to address your concerns is the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General (VA/OIG). Your information has been forwarded to that office for action; reference number H20140385 (Same).

    Please contact VA/OIG for any future inquiries regarding this matter, reference hotline number H20140385. You may contact the Department of Veterans Affairs, OIG Office via the mail at:

    VA Inspector General Hotline (53E)
    810 Vermont Ave., NW
    WASHINGTON, DC 20420

    Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

    AND THEN:
    VA OIG Hotline vaoighotline@va.gov
    1:40 AM (10 hours ago)

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline received your submission forwarded from the State Department regarding DEERS. The VA OIG’s mission is to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse within VA programs. The Hotline accepts tips or complaints that, on a select basis, result in reviews of:
    • VA-related criminal activity.
    • Systemic patient safety issues.
    • Gross mismanagement or waste of VA resources.
    • Misconduct by senior VA officials.

    Because we receive more complaints than the OIG has resources to review in depth, we limit investigative efforts to issues that have the most serious potential risk to Veterans and VA operations or for which the OIG is the only forum for relief. Due to the highly selective nature of our cases, we recommend that parties having ongoing health care, claims, business, or dispute issues with VA continue working with the responsible Department office while waiting to see if the OIG will open a case on their complaint.

    The following information concerning how to contact VA directly with your concerns is provided for your convenience:

    VETERANS AND DEPENDENTS – VA’s Inquiry Routing and Information System (IRIS) provides information on how to contact VA facilities and programs, including toll-free numbers, addresses, and how to file a web-based inquiry. You may access IRIS at https://iris.custhelp.com/. In addition, the following frequently-used VA telephone numbers may be of assistance:
    • Health Care Benefits: 1-877-222-8387
    • VA Benefits: 1-800-827-1000
    • Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255

    CONTRACTORS – VA’s Office of Acquisition and Logistics provides contact information concerning VA procurement offices at http://www.va.gov/oal/business/dbwva.asp. Additional information concerning the Veterans Health Administration’s Procurement and Logistics Office may be found at http://www.va.gov/plo/.

    VA EMPLOYEES OR APPLICANTS – Allegations of VA employment discrimination should be referred to the VA Office of Resolution Management at

    http://www.va.gov/orm/. Complaints of prohibited personnel practices,

    including whistleblower reprisal, should be referred to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel at http://www.osc.gov/. Mismanagement, waste, and compliance concerns not resulting in OIG cases should be reported directly to responsible VA leadership.

    Our Hotline is not staffed to support emergency responses. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or, if appropriate, your local VA police.

    Your information will be carefully reviewed by our Hotline Staff and other OIG subject matter experts within the next 6 weeks to determine the appropriate course of action. We will contact you again only if we open a case or need additional information. Complaints that do not result in formal cases may be used in planning future OIG inspections and audits, or, if not confidential, referred to VA officials for their information. We cannot provide status reports or information regarding the disposition of submissions that do not result in cases.

    Additional information concerning the types of complaints OIG accepts for review is located on our website at http://www.va.gov/oig/contacts/hotline.asp.

    Thank you for contacting the VA OIG Hotline.

    IS THE THE RUN-AROUND/ NOBODY ANSWERED THE QUESTION.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Obviously none of them give a squat about retired military and in particular those in the Philippines and obviously the Dept of State has some second grader working their OIG complaints who doesn’t know the difference from day or night. But considering how the embassy operates it seems par for the course.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Walter H Graue says:

    The government as usual ignors our communications by replying using a thousand meqaninglss, self-contradicting and meaningleess words and terms or more.

    Liked by 1 person

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