Legislative Issues Facing Vietnam Veterans of America By Kevin Fallon

Founded in 1978 in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is dedicated to representing the interests of Vietnam veterans and their families. VVA maintains an active involvement in a variety of veterans’ issues, including health care, public perception, and the support of future generations of American war veterans. Through its legislative advocacy program, VVA serves as a voice for Vietnam veterans in a number of important capacities. Here is a brief overview of the legislative agenda of VVA.

Military Medical History

VVA encourages the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to reform its health care policies and provide a more comprehensive range of medical services to veterans of American wars. In particular, VVA supports legislation requiring clinicians at VA hospitals to compile a complete military medical history as a component of each patient’s treatment record. Because many medical conditions only begin to appear years after a veteran has completed his or her military service, VVA stresses the importance of physicians asking whether a patient has served in the U.S. Armed Forces. With this knowledge, doctors can proceed with a special interview designed to reveal medical conditions potentially sustained during active duty.

Oversight and Accountability

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the organization responsible for the distribution of compensation and pension for American veterans, is currently experiencing an ever-expanding backlog of appeals and claims. To ensure that all veterans receive the benefits promised them, VVA presently works to redesign the entire compensation and pension system. In addition to drawing upon cutting-edge information technology to streamline the process, VVA supports competency-based testing to determine the skills and qualifications of all VA adjudicators and service representatives. For the new system to succeed, however, the VBA must seek out highly trained managers and implement a reliable system of oversight and accountability.

PTSD and Substance Abuse

For many veterans, even those returning home without physical injuries, mental health issues have a profound effect on their quality of life. In particular, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has emerged as one of the most significant mental health issues among veterans returning home from war. To provide much-needed mental health support for American veterans, VVA works closely with members of Congress to fund diagnoses and treatments for veterans with PTSD. In the same vein, VVA encourages the VA and the Department of Defense to develop and implement programs that address problems of substance abuse among veterans.

To learn more about Vietnam Veterans of America, visit www.vva.org.

About the Author

A longtime supporter of Vietnam Veterans of America, Kevin Fallon is a successful entrepreneur and President of Fallon Associates, LLC, in Denver, Colorado. Fallon contributes to a number of other charities and community service organizations, including Colorado UpLift, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, and the American Heart Association.

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How to Keep Your Password Safe and Secure By Kevin Fallon

In today’s digital world, people use the Internet for many purposes, ranging from email and blogging to shopping and banking. With the sharp rise in online activity over the past two decades, a pronounced need for identity security has arisen. To protect their online accounts and safeguard their personal information, people usually rely on the ubiquitous first line of defense: the password. One of the first developments in the field of Internet security, the password represents an individualized code that allows users to log in to their accounts. As such, it is important for Internet users to understand what constitutes a strong password and how they should protect their passwords from would-be identity thieves.

Don’t use the same password for multiple sites

Using the same password for every website is much like owning one key for multiple houses; if you lose the key and someone finds it, that person has immediate access to all of your property. Although using the same password on multiple sites may help you remember your password without having to write it down, it nevertheless increases your risk of identity theft.

Stay away from common passwords

Studies have shown that humans are notoriously bad at creating the necessary entropy for a secure password. Passwords such as “12345” and “asdfgh” are classic examples of insecure passwords that anyone can guess. In the same vein, you should avoid passwords with repeating combinations of characters. You should also steer clear of passwords containing dictionary words, the names of romantic partners, or biographical information such as a Social Security number.

Use different types of characters

When hackers attempt to steal your password, they typically start with words from the dictionary. Unfortunately, many people only use combinations of dictionary words in their passwords, often to help them remember. In general, the most secure passwords mix up character classes, which include lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Instead of using a password such as “football,” you should consider writing the word as “Fo0tB@Ll,” which incorporated four different character classes.

Keep your password private

After you have developed a secure password, you must make an effort to keep it safe. When you use a computer at an Internet café or hotel, always make sure that you have logged off all websites and closed the browser. Protect your wireless router with a password so people can’t access your information remotely. If you use online banking services, you should check your account at regular intervals for suspicious activity.

About the Author

A successful entrepreneur and business leader with years of experience in a number of fields, Kevin Fallon spent two years as the President of MX Logic, Inc., an Internet security company based in Denver, Colorado. During his time with MX Logic, Fallon raised more than $5 million in venture capital and increased revenue to $4.5 million per year within 15 months.

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