May 2022 — M2CC Newsletter

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News from M2CC


Russian Soldier Pleads Guilty

at Ukraine War Crimes Trial

See page 17

Monthly Newsletter

Military Throwing Cash at

Recruiting Crisis as Troops

Head for the Exits

Hints that the armed services might

soon face a problem keeping their

ranks full began quietly, with

officials spending the last decade

warning that a dwindling slice of

the American public could serve.

Only about one-quarter of young

Americans are even eligible for

service these days, a shrinking

pool limited by an increasing

number of potential recruits who

are overweight or are screened out

due to minor criminal infractions,

including the use of recreational

drugs such as marijuana.

But what had been a slowmoving

trend is reaching crisis

levels, as a highly competitive job

market converges with a mass of

troops leaving as the coronavirus

pandemic subsides, alarming

military planners.

"Not two years into a pandemic,

and we have warning lights

flashing," Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas,

the Air Force Recruiting Service

commander, wrote in a memo

-- leaked in January -- about the

headwinds his team faces.

For now, the services are leaning

on record-level enlistment and

retention bonuses meant to attract

and keep America's military staffed

and ready -- bonuses that continue

to climb.

In an interview with Military.com

last month, Thomas didn't mince

words. He knows he is competing

against the private sector to hire

people, from technology giants to

regional gas stations.

"If you want to work at Buc-ee's

along I-35 in Texas, you can do

it for [a] $25-an-hour starting

salary," Thomas said. "You can

start at Target for $29 an hour

with educational benefits. So you

start looking at the competition:

Starbucks, Google, Amazon. The

battle for talent amidst this current

labor shortage is intense."

Paired with those competitive offers

for workers are a large number of

service members retiring, some

having delayed leaving the ranks

during a pandemic that saw huge

instability in the job market.

Since fiscal 2020, the U.S.

Department of Labor's Veterans'

Employment and Training Service

-- known as VETS -- has anticipated

that around 150,000 service

members would transition out of

the military annually as part of its

budget justification documents.

But in 2020, the Transition

Assistance Program, or TAP,

the congressionally mandated

classes that prepare troops for

life outside the military, helped

counsel 193,968 service members

on their way out of the military,

said Lisa Lawrence, a Pentagon

spokesperson. That's nearly onethird

more newly minted veterans

than the Labor Department had

planned for.

In 2021, that number grew to

196,413. Prior to 2020, the

Department of Defense did

not report the total number of

TAP-eligible service members

transitioning, although Lawrence

said the number has been

somewhere between 190,000 and

200,000 annually in recent years.

Payouts aimed at attracting new

service members to replace those

outgoing veterans are at all-time

highs. The Army started offering

recruiting bonuses of up to $50,000

in January, and last month the

Air Force began promoting up to

$50,000 -- the most it can legally

offer -- for certain career fields.

The Navy followed with its offer

of $25,000 to those willing to ship

out in a matter of weeks. It says

Continued on page 12


the bonuses are the result of an

"unprecedentedly competitive job


Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman

for the sea service's recruiting

command, told Military.com in a

recent phone interview that "the

private sector is doing things we

haven't seen them do before to try

and attract talent, so we have to

stay competitive."

Benham said the scope of the

Navy's offer -- a minimum of

$25,000 to ship out before June

-- has "never happened before to

anybody's collective knowledge

around here."

Courting and Paying for Talent

The pandemic economy has placed

private-sector workers in the

driver's seat, pushing employers

to offer more lucrative incentives

such as better benefits, flexible

work-from-home schedules or

massive signing bonuses to make

hires. That is putting major pressure

on the military as it tries to attract

recruits who may be considering

the civilian job market.

It's all been complicated by

the military's myriad of other

difficulties getting new troops

in the door, such as recruiting

efforts quashed by the pandemic, a

shrinking pool of eligible recruits,

and social media silos complicating

advertising. And amid public

scandals, such as the 2020 murder

of Vanessa Guillén and suicides

on the aircraft carrier USS George

Washington, military service may

seem like a less attractive choice

for young Americans.

2 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

Navy Christens Destroyer Named for First Black

Marine General Officer

CHARLESTON, South Carolina With

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro calling

it “the very best ship that our nation has to

offer,” the U.S. Navy christened Aegis-class

destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG

121) during ceremonies in Charleston, S.C.,


The Petersen, built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in

Pascagoula, is named in honor of U.S. Marine

Corps Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen Jr., the first

black Marine Corps aviator and the first black

Marine to rise to the rank of three-star general.

Serving two combat tours Korea in 1953

and Vietnam in 1968 Petersen flew more

than 350 combat missions and had over 4,000

hours in multiple fighter and attack aircraft.

In 1979, Petersen was promoted to brigadier

general, becoming the first Black general

officer in the Marine Corps. He retired in 1988,

with awards and honors including the Defense

Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with

Combat “V”, Distinguished Flying Cross;

Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal,

Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with

Combat “V”, and the Air Force Commendation


Petersen died in August 2015 at the age of 83.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

WWW.M2CC.US Monthly Newsletter | 3

Saturday’s keynote speaker was Carlos

Campbell, former Navy aviator and assistant

Secretary of Commercie for Economic

Development, who served alongside Petersen

and spoke of Petersen’s courage and dedication.

“He received a (fragment) wound, he was

treated in the field, and returned to combat,”

Campbell recalled of Petersen.

“It is fitting that a name synonymous with

service and sacrifice be emblazoned on the steel

of this American warship,” said Chief of Naval

Operations Adm. Mike Gilday. “Sailors aboard

this mighty warship will deploy wherever,

whenever needed, with General Petersen’s

fighting spirit and tenacity, for generations to


Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David

Berger, was also among the dignitaries on


“General Petersen was a man of many firsts,”

Berger said. “There’s a saying that ships take

on the characteristics of their namesakes, and

if that’s true, then God help any adversary to

ever confronts the Frank E. Petersen Jr.”

Members of Petersen’s family were on hand

for the christening, with his daughter, Gayle

Petersen, speaking for the family and paying

tribute to one special person in her father’s life.

“We would not be having this ceremony today

if not for a gentleman named Robert Adams,”

Gayle Petersen said. “When my dad was shot

down in Vietnam, he was rescued by Robert


She also paid tribute to the Ingalls shipbuilders

who brought DDG 121 to life.

“I would like to thank all who had a hand in

building this ship, from stem to stern.”

The Petersen’s commanding officer, Cmdr.

Daniel Hancock, reported the ship ready, and

assisted by Gen. Petersen’s daughters Gayle

Petersen, Dana Petersen Moore, Lindsay

Pulliam and Monique Petersen ship sponsor

D’Arcy Ann Neller gave the traditional order

to “man our ship and bring her to life.”

Neller is the wife of former Marine Corps

Commandant Gen. Robert Neller. Co-sponsor

Alicia J. Petersen, Gen. Petersen’s widow, died

last September.



4 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

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Focus on Oversight a Key for Success at


In the corrections industry, maintaining high standards of

operation is imperative to meeting the needs of the individuals

in our care. That's why CoreCivic adheres to a stringent set of

guidelines set forth by our own standards, as well as those of our

government partners and the American Correctional Association


Founded in 1870, the ACA is considered the national benchmark

for the effective operation of correctional systems throughout

the United States. To become accredited, a facility must achieve

compliance with ACA mandatory standards and a minimum of

90 percent non-mandatory standards. CoreCivic facilities adhere

to ACA standards, and in 2020, CoreCivic earned an average

ACA audit score of 99.6 percent across all facilities.

Key ACA audit areas include facility personnel, resident reentry

programs, resident safety, health care, and more.

holds our facilities and staff to a high standard. To be able to

represent our facility and receive reaccreditation in person is an


Adhering to ACA standards is only one part of CoreCivic's

commitment to robust oversight. When government partners

utilize CoreCivic's services, we are held not only to our own

high standards and those of the ACA, but we are often held to

the same or higher accountability of our public counterparts

through stringent government contracts, unfettered access to

our facilities for our partners, and hundreds of on-site quality

assurance monitors.

We provide access to our government partners, with most of

our facilities having government agency employees known as

contract monitors who are physically on-site to ensure we are

operating in line with partner guidelines.

Recently, the ACA held in Nashville, Tennessee, its 151st

Congress of Corrections, an annual convention that brings

together corrections professionals from across the country. In

addition to various workshops and events at the convention, the

ACA Commission on Accreditation also held panel hearings to

award accreditation to correctional facilities that meet the ACA's

rigorous requirements. Listed below are the seven CoreCivic

facilities that earned reaccreditation this year, with mandatory/

non-mandatory scores:

• Bent County Correctional Facility - 100/99.0

• Citrus County Detention Facility - 100/100

• Eloy Detention Center - 100/100

• Lake Erie Correctional Institution - 100/99.3

• Saguaro Correctional Center - 100/99.8

• Stewart Detention Center - 100/100

• Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility - 100/100

"The accreditation process is very important," said Warden

Fred Figueroa from Eloy Detention Center, one of the seven

CoreCivic facilities that was awarded reaccreditation. "ACA

To maintain our own high standards, annual on-site audits covering

all operational areas are administered to ensure compliance with

contractual and regulatory obligations and corporate-mandated

requirements. Each CoreCivic Safety facility is audited by our

internal quality assurance division, which is independent from

our operations division. Facilities are expected to be audit-ready

year-round, maintaining continuous compliance with numerous

applicable standards.

CoreCivic employs 75 staff members dedicated to quality

assurance, including several subject matter experts with extensive

experience from all major disciplines within our institutional


"A lot of hard work goes into preparing for these audits,"

Figueroa said. "Once they're complete, the staff can see their

accomplishments and feel proud."

Having multiple levels of oversight helps CoreCivic maintain

a safe environment for those in our care. By holding ourselves

accountable to our own high standards, along with our

government partners' and ACA's standards, CoreCivic continues

to be a trusted partner working to better the public good.

6 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

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8 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

Space Force Offering

Bonuses Up to $20,000

for New Guardians with

Tech Backgrounds

The Space Force has unveiled a wave of bonuses to lure

recruits with highly specialized tech backgrounds to become


Bonuses range from $12,000 to $20,000 for certain

technology certifications that could be used for the Space

Force's cyber career fields, according to a press release from

the Department of the Air Force's Recruiting Service.

Earlier this month, the Department of the Air Force unveiled

more than a dozen bonuses as a way to entice new recruits

amid a national labor shortage and a pandemic economy.

But while the Air Force said it's facing headwinds to fill its

ranks, the Space Force is having no problem getting recruits

into the small number of spots it has, as interest continues to

grow in the newest military service branch.

Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, the Air Force Recruiting Service

commander, told Military.com that last year they had more

than 42,000 leads on people interested in joining to fill just

500 spots.

"Space Force recruiting is on very solid ground right now,"

Thomas said.

The Space Force is the smallest of the military service

branches. It has grown to 8,400 Guardians since being

created at the behest of former President Donald Trump in

2019 and is expected to grow by 200 new recruits in 2023.

For Space Force Guardians who have already joined the

ranks, the Department of the Air Force is also offering

reenlistment bonuses for a dozen careers, such as cyber


WWW.M2CC.US Monthly Newsletter | 9





contact Nathan.Stiles@mhce.us

intelligence analysts and communications specialists, to

retain their specialized knowledge and skills.

Unlike other services, the Space Force does not have a

reserve or National Guard component; Air Force Secretary

Frank Kendall is floating a proposal to have Guardians

either be part-time or full-time instead.

Gen. John Raymond, the chief of space operations, has

spoken publicly about the full-time and part-time concept

as a possible way to recruit talent from the private sector to

fill the highly specialized roles in the Space Force's ranks.

"We would be giving opportunities for people to go to the

commercial industry, to go to NASA, and then come back,"

Raymond told Space News earlier this month. "Maybe at

certain times in their life, if they want to have children, they

can go part-time for a while and then come back without

having to get out of active duty and then go into the reserves."

The Space Force will make history next month when 72

men and women start the first Guardians-only boot camp at

Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

10 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

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12 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

"This is arguably the most

challenging recruiting year since

the inception of the all-volunteer

force," Lt. Gen. David Ottignon,

the Marine Corps officer in charge

of manpower, told the Senate

during a public hearing April 27.

All of the military's service

branches are scrambling to find

ways to compete for a younger

generation of talent that has plenty

of employment opportunities.

"The military provides a

wonderful option for young

people, but it's not the only option

and so recruiters, I think just

like other employers, are trying

to understand what the different

options are for young people and

to address those effectively," said

Joey Von Nessen, an economics

professor at the University of

South Carolina.

The bonuses that serve as one of

the most immediately tangible

lures for new recruits, while

escalating, aren't uniform across

or even within the services.

Most of the bonuses offered for

new Air Force recruits range

around $8,000 for certain career

fields. But for two of the most

dangerous jobs, Special Warfare

operations and explosive ordnance

disposal, the service is making

its maximum allowed offer of

$50,000 for people to join.

"It is necessary. I think these are

two of our hardest career fields to

recruit toward," said Col. Jason

Scott, chief of operations for the

Air Force Recruiting Service.

"It is absolutely necessary to do

$50,000 for each of those, and

actually $50,000 is the highest

initial enlistment bonus amount

that we can give."

Overall, the Air Force is dedicating

$31 million to recruiting bonuses

in 2022, nearly double what was

originally planned for.

The Army faces the same problem

-- and is putting up the same big


"We're in a search for talent

just like corporate America

and other businesses; almost

everyone has the same issue the

military does right now," Maj.

Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of U.S.

Army Recruiting Command,

told Military.com. "We're trying

to match incentives for what

resonates. For example, financial

incentives. Nobody wants to be

in debt, so we're offering sign-up

bonuses at a historic rate.

"We've never offered $50,000 to

join the Army," he added.

In addition to the sign-on bonuses,

the Army is also offering new

recruits their first duty station of

choice -- an unprecedented move

as new soldiers are typically placed

at random around the world. New

recruits can choose locations such

as Alaska, Fort Drum in New York,

and Fort Carson in Colorado.

"Youth today want to make their

own decisions. We're letting them

do that," Vereen said.

The services are also trying to keep

troops from leaving, knowing that

a raft of employment opportunities

are available for them if they get

fed up with military life.

The Army, Air Force and Navy

have all announced reenlistment

bonuses for certain career fields

and specialties, some of them in

the six-figure range.

The Air Force is offering up to

$100,000 reenlistment bonuses

based on experience and career

field. The Navy is also offering

those incentives, with fields

such as network cryptologists

WWW.M2CC.US Monthly Newsletter | 13

and nuclear technicians making

anywhere from $90,000 to

$100,000. The Army is offering

a more modest cap of $81,000 to

reenlist for some jobs.

Anecdotally, military families

are describing on social media

an inability to find open slots

for TAP's sessions. Each inperson

class is generally limited

to 50 people, but Lawrence, the

Pentagon spokesperson, denied

the program is being overwhelmed

since classes are also available in

live online, on-demand or hybrid


The urgency described by leaders

who are putting their money

toward keeping skilled service

members is a sign of the worry

about a brain drain.

Unlike the broader enlistment

bonuses, many military career

fields don't offer cash for

reenlistment, and some of these

incentives existed prior to the

pandemic. But the job market has

put pressure on the services to pay

up to keep service members in the


Overweight and Hard to Reach

The military's difficulties

attracting recruits go far beyond

making the right bonus offer. The

forces working against recruiting

increased during the grinding

global pandemic -- lockdowns

kept recruiters home and young

Americans are refusing vaccines,

for example -- and are also

rooted in longer-term societal

shifts in physical fitness and


"The aggregate effects of two

years of COVID is that is two

years of not being in high school

classrooms, two years of not

having air shows and major

public events like being in those

public spaces, where our potential

applicants or potential recruits are

getting personal exposure, faceto-face

relationships with military

recruiters," Thomas said.

Only about 40% of Americans

who are of prime recruiting age

are vaccinated against the virus.

Outright refusal to get the shot

immediately precludes joining

the force and short-circuits any

pitch from recruiters. COVID

vaccines are among at least a

dozen inoculations mandated by

the Defense Department.

"Seventeen-to-24-year-olds are

not getting vaccinated, and those

[are] people we aren't having a

conversation with," Vereen said.

Even when potential recruits

are interested and big bonuses

motivate them to sign on the

dotted line, only about 23% of

young Americans are even eligible

for service.

Past legal run-ins or a drug

history prevent potential recruits

from joining, and more and

more Americans are overweight.

According to the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention,

40% of adults aged 20 to 39 are

obese. That problem has been

deemed a national security risk

by somebecause it causes an

increasingly shallow pool of

potential recruits.

The confluence of challenges has

others loudly alerting the public

that there's a problem.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., the

ranking member of the Senate

Armed Services Committee

personnel panel, says the military

is on the cusp of a recruiting crisis.

"To put it bluntly, I am worried we

are now in the early days of a longterm

threat to the all-volunteer

force. [There is] a small and

declining number of Americans

who are eligible and interested in

military service," Tillis said during

an April 27 hearing.

He added that "every single

metric tracking the military

recruiting environment is going in

the wrong direction." Just 8% of

young Americans have seriously

considered joining the military,

while only 23% are eligible to

enlist, according to Tillis.

Meanwhile, the prime demographic

for recruiting -- 17-to-24-yearolds

-- is getting harder to reach.

The military is running high

production value recruiting ads on

TV, but most younger Americans

are watching YouTube, Twitch

and other streaming services. On

those platforms, ads are dictated

by algorithms based on a person's

search history, and prime-age

viewers may never be exposed

to recruiting spots if they don't

already have a general interest in

the military.

The military has relied on

Facebook, with its user base that

skews much older, and Instagram

pointing users to ads based on their

existing interests. The Defense

Department banned TikTok from

government-issued phones in

2019, shutting out Generation Z's

social media platform of choice.

However, some recruiters have

ignored the ban on the Chineseowned

platform, which is seen by

some as a security risk.

"I know a lot of young people are

on TikTok and we're not," Vereen


When the military does get

widespread exposure and makes

the news, it can be due to scandals

such as the slaying of Guillén

at Fort Hood, Texas, or other

problems that raise questions

about safety and the quality of life

in the services.

Following a wave of suicides

and disclosure of a lack of basic

ameneties such as hot water and

ventilation aboard the George

Washington, Master Chief Petty

Officer Russell Smith, the Navy's

top enlisted leader, was asked

by a sailor why the service was

spending so much on new recruits,

specifically mentioning the hefty

$25,000 bonus.

"I gotta use those bonuses to

compel something. ... A post-

COVID workforce doesn't love

the idea that they have to, they

actually have to go to work, talk

to people, see them face-to-face,

exchange ideas and do work,"

Smith told the crew, according to

a Navy-provided transcript. "They

would rather phone it in or work

from home somehow and, with the

military, you just can't do that."

Some sailors said it didn't seem

like the service was prioritizing

making its current ranks happy or

financially incentivizing them to

stick around. Smith said the Navy

already offers some bonuses to indemand

specialties and that if a

particular job doesn't offer one it's

because enough of those sailors

"love the work that they do ... and

when they do, I don't have to use

money as leverage."

Smith also told the sailor that

he "can compel [them] to stay

right here for eight years."

Most contracts have an inactive

period of reserve service built in

following the end of active duty

that the Navy can tap into.

"So, you want me finding sailors

to come in and relieve you on

time," Smith added.

The military services hope the

new bonuses will overcome all the

difficulties and that they will meet

recruiting goals for the year. But

the numbers are not encouraging

so far.

The Army has an uphill climb

for the rest of the year, having

recruited just 23% of its target in

the first five months of the fiscal


The Navy said that, in order to reach

its recruiting goal this year, it will

have to reduce the delayed-entry

program -- allowing someone to

enlist before they plan on actually

shipping out -- to below "historic

norms," which could in turn cause

recruiting issues in future years.

There's likely no relief in sight,

according to experts.

U.S. population demographics

are going in the wrong direction

and will make the recruiting job

increasingly hard. The millennial

and Gen-Z generations are

smaller than previous generations,

meaning there is a dwindling

workforce to pull from. And only

a small percentage of those youths

appear likely to meet the physical

qualifications to join in the first


"I think it's likely that the labor

shortage is going to be longlasting,"

Von Nessen said. "This

is not a short-term phenomenon. It

was exacerbated by the pandemic,

but it wasn't created by the

pandemic exclusively."

14 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

Pandemic-era Asylum Limits in Hands of Federal


LAFAYETTE, Louisiana

(AP) An attorney arguing

for 21 states urged a federal

judge Friday to block Biden

administration plans to lift

pandemic-related restrictions

on migrants requesting

asylum, saying the decision

was made without sufficient

consideration on the effects

the move could have on public

health and law enforcement.

Drew Ensign, an attorney

for the state of Arizona,

told U.S. District Judge

Summerhays the lawsuit

Arizona, Louisiana and 19

other states filed to block

the plan was "not about the

policy wisdom" behind the

announcement to end the

plan May 23.

But, Engsign said, the

Centers for Disease Control

did not follow proper

administrative procedures

requiring public notice and

gathering of comments

on the decision to end the

restrictions imposed under

what is known as Title 42

authority. The result, he said,

was that proper consideration

was not given to likely

resulting increases in border

crossings and their possible

effects, including pressure

on state health care systems

and the diversion of border

law enforcement resources

from drug interdiction to

controlling illegal crossings.

Jean Lin, with the Justice

Department, argued that the

U.S. Centers for Disease

Control was within its

authority to lift an emergency

health restriction it felt

was no longer needed. She

said the CDC order was a

WWW.M2CC.US Monthly Newsletter | 15

matter of health policy, not

immigration policy.

"There is no basis to use Title

42 as a safety valve," Lin told


Summerhays gave no

indication when he would

rule, but he noted that time

is short and he told attorneys

they did not need to file

post-argument briefings. In

addition to deciding whether

to block the policy, he also

will decide whether his

ruling applies nationwide or

in specific states.

So far, Summehays' rulings

have strongly favored

those challenging the


Migrants have been

expelled more than 1.8

million times since March

2020 under federal Title 42

authority, which has denied

them a chance to request

asylum under U.S. law

and international treaty on

grounds of preventing the

spread of COVID-19.

it had already begun phasing

out the pandemic restriction

by processing more

migrants under immigration

law instead of Title 42,

Summerhays ordered the

phaseout stopped.

An appointee of then-

President Donald Trump,

Summerhays wrote last

month that winding down

restrictions before May 23

would inflict "unrecoverable

costs on healthcare, law

enforcement, detention,

education, and other services"

on the states seeking to keep

the policy in effect.

He also said the administration

likely failed to follow federal

rule-making procedures in

planning the May 23 end of

the policy. Friday's arguments

pertained to whether to keep

restrictions in place beyond

that date while litigation


Several migrant advocacy

groups have asked

Summerhays to at least allow

Title 42 to be lifted as planned

in California and New

Mexico, two border states

that have not challenged the

administration's decision.

Separately, Congress has

presented another potential

obstacle to ending Title 42.

Several moderate Democrats

have joined Republicans to

voice concern that authorities

are unprepared for an influx

of migrants.

Large numbers of illegal

crossings have emboldened

some Republicans to try

to make the border and

immigration an electionyear

issue. U.S. authorities

stopped migrants more

than 221,000 times at the

Mexican border in March, a

22-year high. Many of those

were repeat crossers because

Title 42 carries no legal or

criminal consequences.

Title 42 authority has been

applied unevenly across

nationalities. Mexico has

agreed to take back migrants

from Guatemala, Honduras,

El Salvador and Mexico

and limited numbers

from Cuba and Nicaragua.

High costs, strained

diplomatic relations and

other considerations have

made it more difficult to

remove migrants from other

countries, who must be flown


Title 42 is one of two major

surviving Trump-era policies

to deter asylum at the border.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme

Court heard arguments

on whether to allow the

administration to force

asylum-seekers to wait in

Mexico for hearings in U.S.

immigration court. That case

originated before another

Trump-appointed judge, in

Amarillo, Texas.

On April 1, the CDC

announced President Joe

Biden's plan to end the

restriction by May 23,

drawing criticism from

Republicans and some

Democrats who fear the

administration is unprepared

for a widely anticipated

influx of migrants.

Arizona, Louisiana and

Missouri quickly sued and

were later joined by 18 other

states in the legal challenge

being heard Friday. Texas

sued independently.

After the administration

acknowledged last month that

16 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION




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Prosecutors plan to continue presenting evidence against Shishimarin

following his guilty plea, although the trial is like to be shorter.

As the inaugural war-crimes case in Ukraine, Shishimarin’s prosecution

was being watched closely. Investigators have been collecting evidence of

possible war crimes to bring before the International Criminal Court in The


Venediktova’s office has said it was looking into more than 10,700 potential

war crimes involving more than 600 suspects, including Russian soldiers

and government officials.

With help from foreign experts, prosecutors are investigating allegations

that Russian troops violated Ukrainian and international law by killing,

torturing and abusing possibly thousands of Ukrainian civilians.

Man Sentenced to Prison

for Derailing Train Near

Hospital Ship at LA Port in

Pandemic’s Early Weeks

KYIV, Ukraine A 21-year-old Russian soldier facing the first war crimes

trial since Moscow invaded Ukraine pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing an

unarmed civilian.

Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin could get life in prison for shooting a a 62-year-old

Ukrainian man in the head through an open car window in the northeastern

Sumy region on Feb. 28, four days into the invasion.

Shishimarin, a captured member of a Russian tank unit, was prosecuted

under a section of the Ukrainian criminal code that addresses the laws and

customs of war.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova previously said her office

was readying war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offenses that

included bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting.

It was not immediately clear how many of the suspects are in Ukrainian

hands and how many would be tried in absentia.

Shishimarin's trial opened Friday, when he made a brief court appearance

while lawyers and judges discussed prosecedural matters. After his plea on

Wednesday, the proceedings were continued until Thursday, when the trial

is expecgted to resume in a large courtroom to accomodate more journalists.

Ukrainian authorities posted a few details on social media last week from

their investigation in his case.

Shishimarin was among a group of Russian troops that fled Ukrainian

forces on Feb. 28, according to Venediktova’s Facebook account. The

Russians allegedly fired at a private car and seized the vehicle, then drove to

Chupakhivka, a village about 200 miles east of Kyiv.

On the way, the prosecutor-general alleged, the Russian soldiers saw a man

walking on the sidewalk and talking on his phone. Shyshimarin was ordered

to kill the man so he wouldn’t be able to report them to Ukrainian military

authorities. Venediktova did not identify who gave the order.

Shyshimarin fired his Kalashnikov rifle through the open window and hit

the victim in the head, Venediktova wrote.

“The man died on the spot just a few dozen meters from his house,” she said.

The Security Service of Ukraine, known as the SBU, posted a short video

on May 4 of Shyshimarin speaking in front of camera and briefly describing

how he shot the man. The SBU described the video as “one of the first

confessions of the enemy invaders.”

“I was ordered to shoot,” Shyshimarin said. “I shot one (round) at him. He

falls. And we kept on going.”

Russia is believed to be preparing war crime trials for Ukrainian soldiers.

18 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

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20 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

A third of US should be considering masks, officials



are increasing in the United States – and

could get even worse over the coming

months, federal health officials warned

Wednesday in urging areas hardest hit

to consider reissuing calls for indoor


Increasing numbers of COVID-19

infections and hospitalizations are

putting more of the country under

guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers

for Disease Control and Prevention that

call for masking and other infection


Right now, about a third of the U.S.

population lives in areas that are

considered at higher risk mostly in

the Northeast and Midwest. Those are

areas where people should already be

considering wearing masks indoors

but Americans elsewhere should also

take notice, officials said.

"Prior increases of infections, in

different waves of infection, have

demonstrated that this travels across the

country," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky,

the CDC director, said at a White House

briefing with reporters.

For an increasing number of areas, "we

urge local leaders to encourage use

of prevention strategies like masks in

public indoor settings and increasing

access to testing and treatment," she


However, officials were cautious about

making concrete predictions, saying

how much worse the pandemic gets will

depend on several factors, including to

what degree previous infections will

protect against new variants.

Last week, White House COVID-19

coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha warned in

an interview with The Associated Press

the U.S. will be increasingly vulnerable

to the coronavirus this fall and winter

if Congress doesn't swiftly approve

new funding for more vaccines and


Jha warned that without additional

funding from Congress for the virus

would cause "unnecessary loss of life"

in the fall and winter, when the U.S.

runs out of treatments.

He added the U.S. was already falling

behind other nations in securing supplies

of the next generation of COVID-19

vaccines and said that the domestic

manufacturing base of at-home tests is

already drying up as demand drops off.

Jha said domestic test manufactures have

started shuttering lines and laying off

workers, and in the coming weeks will

begin to sell off equipment and prepare

to exit the business of producing tests

entirely unless the U.S. government has

money to purchase more tests, like the

hundreds of millions it has sent out for

free to requesting households this year.

WWW.M2CC.US Monthly Newsletter | 21

That would leave the U.S. reliant on

other countries for testing supplies,

risking shortages during a surge, Jha

warned. About 8.5 million households

placed orders for the latest tranche of

8 free tests since ordering opened on

Monday, Jha added.

The pandemic is now 2 1/2 years old.

And the U.S. has seen depending

how you count them five waves of

COVID-19 during that time, with the

later surges driven by mutated versions

of the coronavirus. A fifth wave

occurred mainly in December and

January, caused by the omicron variant.

The omicron variant spread much more

easily than earlier versions.

Some experts are worried the country

now is seeing signs of a sixth wave,

driven by an omicron subvariant. On

Wednesday, Walensky noted a steady

increase in COVID-19 cases in the past

five weeks, including a 26% increase

nationally in the last week.

Hospitalizations also are rising, up 19%

in the past week, though they remain

much lower than during the omicron

wave, she said.

In late February, as that wave was

ebbing, the CDC released a new set

of measures for communities where

COVID-19 was easing its grip, with less

of a focus on positive test results and

more on what's happening at hospitals.

Walensky said more than 32% of the

country currently live in an area with

medium or high COVID-19 community

levels, including more than 9% in the

highest level, where CDC recommends

that masks and other mitigation efforts

be used.

In the last week, an additional 8% of

Americans were living in a county in

medium or high COVID-19 community


Officials said they are concerned

that waning immunity and relaxed

mitigation measures across the country

may contribute to a continued rise

in infections and illnesses across the

country. They encouraged people

particularly older adults to get


Some health experts say the government

should be taking clearer and bolder


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The CDC community level guidelines

are confusing to the public, and don't

give a clear picture of how much

virus transmission is occurring in

a community, said Dr. Lakshmi

Ganapathi, an infectious diseases

specialist at Harvard University.

When the government officials make

recommendations but do not set rules,

"it ultimately rests on every single

individual picking and choosing the

public health that works for them.

But that's not what is effective.

If you're talking about stemming

hospitalizations and even deaths, all of

these interventions work better when

people do it collectively," she said.

22 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

Sailors Must Wait

5 Weeks for Mental

Health Appointments

as Navy Battles

Suicides, Top Enlisted

Leader Says

WASHINGTON It takes more than a month

for sailors struggling with thoughts of suicide

to get a mental health appointment, the Navy’s

top enlisted leader told House lawmakers


Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell

Smith was speaking from experience when he

addressed the issue during a subpanel hearing

of the House Appropriations Committee.

WWW.M2CC.US Monthly Newsletter | 23

“For those who are on the precipice of suicide,

appointment times average five weeks,” Smith

told members of the subcommittee on military

construction, veterans affairs and related

agencies. “I can personally attest to this as I

sought care last year and we had to use a private

provider at my own expense – something our

sailors should never have to endure.”

Smith did not elaborate on his personal

experience, but he said the coronavirus

“pandemic exacerbated an already critical need

for greater mental health care capacity.”

Smith’s comments come as the Navy copes

with the suicides of seven sailors assigned to

the USS George Washington. All the sailors

took their own lives since 2019 when the

aircraft carrier began an overhaul in Newport

News, Va.

Four of the suicides took place in the past year,

with three happening during one week in April,

the Navy has said.

A five-week wait is unacceptable for mother

of a George Washington sailor who she said

survived a suicide attempt last week. Her son is

now awaiting a spot in an in-patient treatment

facility because many are full, she said.

Stars and Stripes is not naming the mother and

sailor due to privacy concerns.

Smith said it’s not just access to mental health

care that’s contributing to the problem – keeping

sailors aboard the ship for long periods of time

while it’s in the shipyards hurts morale.

For example, hundreds of the George

Washington's 2,700-person crew were living

aboard the ship earlier this year as its overhaul

was scheduled to end. However, the schedule

changed and the ship’s time in Newport News

was extended to March 2023. The crew was

eventually moved off the aircraft carrier again

last month after the string of suicides made


24 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION


WWW.M2CC.US Monthly Newsletter | 25

The Navy mother said her

son can attest to the ship's

harsh living conditions,

which he told her included

with power outages leading

to hot water shortages and

no air conditioning in the

stuffy ship.

“The way he was treated,

he would much rather be

at boot camp than to be

on the ship – and he's like,

‘And no, I'm not putting

[the difficulty of] boot camp

lightly, Mom,” she said. “So

that's a bold statement.”

Another reason driving the

spike in suicides is sailors

receive disappointing

job assignments during

maintenance periods

unrelated to their Navy

specialties, Smith said.

“Everybody who’s there

have those jobs [that are]

not, frankly, what they were

paid to do,” he said.

When House lawmakers

asked Smith what the Navy

can do to address the issue,

the master chief was blunt –

those jobs are necessary for

the aircraft carrier to remain

in service.

“The pragmatic answer is

to be honest with [sailors]

and acknowledge and

validate as they're feeling

the frustration … while still

telling them that if [they’re]

not willing to do what they

do, the George Washington

doesn't have another 25

years of life to defend this

nation,” Smith said.

The master chief on April

22 visited the ship where,

during a speech to the

crew, he made insensitive

comments comparing their

living situations to those of

service members in combat,

according to a Navy


“What you're not doing is

sleeping in a foxhole like

a Marine might be doing,”

Smith said during his speech

to the George Washington

crew. “What you are doing

is going home at night, most

nights, unlike the [USS]

Harry S. Truman.”

The Harry S. Truman,

another aircraft carrier,

is now deployed to the

Mediterranean Sea to

support NATO allies during

Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Smith also expressed

pessimism about finding a

way to end suicides in the

Navy during the speech,

saying “beating suicide

is like beating cancer,”

according to the transcript.

The Navy has two

investigations into the

George Washington suicides

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In the meantime, most

George Washington sailors

have moved off the ship

and into other facilities

in the area, he said. Still,

about 184 sailors chose to

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WWW.M2CC.US Monthly Newsletter | 27


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28 | M2CC - News www.m2cc.us MAY 2022 EDITION

exposed to Agent Orange. Specifically, it

would add Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam,

American Samoa and Johnston Atoll to the

list of places where veterans were exposed to

Agent Orange and so can get coverage.

Deal for Sweeping Toxic Exposure

Bill Reached in Senate

Lawmakers have reached a bipartisan

agreement on a historic expansion of health

care and disability benefits for millions of

veterans exposed to toxic chemicals during

their military service.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman

Jon Tester, D-Mont., and committee ranking

member Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., announced

in a Wednesday morning statement that they

have reached an agreement on what they called

"the most comprehensive toxic exposure

package the Senate has ever delivered to

veterans in this country's history."

"For far too long, our nation's veterans have

been living with chronic illnesses as a result

of exposures during their time in uniform,"

they added. "Today, we're taking necessary

steps to right this wrong with our proposal

that'll provide veterans and their families with

the health care and benefits they have earned

and deserve."

The bill could help an estimated 3.5 million

veterans who were exposed to burn pits and

other airborne hazards while serving to get

medical coverage and other benefits they

have often been denied under Department of

Veterans Affairsarguments that there was not

enough evidence linking their diseases to their

military service.

The full text of the agreement was not

immediately released, but a summary included

in Tester and Moran's news release indicates it

retains some of the key provisions of a wideranging

House-passed toxic exposure bill,

such as designating 23 diseases, including

hypertension, as presumed to be linked to

burn pits and other airborne hazards.

The bill, now named the Sergeant First Class

Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act in

honor of a veteran who died of lung cancer

after being exposed to burn pits in Iraq, would

also create a framework for establishing future

presumptions of service connection related to

toxic exposure, according to the summary.

The House passed its sweeping toxic exposure

bill in a 256-174 vote in March. But most

Republicans bristled at its $208 billion price

tag and opposed the House legislation.

A cost estimate for the new agreement was not

immediately released.

In response to critics of the price, senators had

previously planned to address toxic exposure

in three prongs, the first of which was easily

approved by the upper chamber in February.

But veterans advocates decried the piecemeal

approach, and President Joe Biden made

passing comprehensive legislation one of his

top priorities.

Biden, who believes his son Beau's fatal brain

cancer may have been caused by burn pits in

Iraq and Kosovo, said in a statement last month

that if Congress passes a comprehensive bill,

he "will sign it immediately."

Right now, the VA makes case-by-case

decisions on most claims by post-9/11 veterans

that their illnesses were caused by toxic

exposure, requiring vets to produce proof their

disease is connected with their service. Some

illnesses are already presumed to be linked to

service, including asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis

and several respiratory-related cancers.

In addition to expanding benefits for post-9/11

veterans, the agreement announced Wednesday

broadens coverage for Vietnam-era veterans

The agreement also includes provisions to

strengthen federal research on toxic exposure,

increase toxic exposure-related training for

VA personnel, establish 31 new VA health

care facilities in 19 states, and invest more

money in VA claims processing and the VA

workforce, according to the summary.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer,

D-N.Y., announced from the Senate floor

that he "strongly" supports the agreement

and plans to have his chamber vote on it the

week of June 6, the first week back from the

Senate's Memorial Day recess.

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman

Mark Takano, D-Calif., also said in a statement

he was "elated" at the agreement -- indicating

it will pass both chambers of Congress and

become law.

"I'm proud that both the House and Senate

have now taken monumental steps forward

to advance this historic legislation, and I look

forward to continuing to work with Sen. Tester

and Sen. Moran on the final details to ensure

this vital legislation heads to President Biden's

desk without delay," Takano said. "We cannot

let cost or implementation hurdles get in the

way of making good on our promise -- toxicexposed

veterans do not have time to wait."

Advocates who have been pushing the Senate

to take up the House bill and knocking

Republican opposition hailed the agreement


Rosie Torres, who cofounded Burn Pits 360

in 2009 with her husband, Le Roy Torres,

an Armyveteran who developed a rare lung

disease, constrictive bronchiolitis, as a result

of his deployment to Iraq, called the agreement

a "victory" for all veterans who have died as

a result of illnesses caused by environmental


"After 13 years of Burn Pits 360 veterans

and families knocking on doors and being

'boots on the ground' in Washington, we are

encouraged by the progress," Torres told

Military.com. "We are seeing Congress stand

on the side of justice in support of our nation's


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