In Brief: Pressure on Obama; Contractor Success; New TBI Push

Mike O'Brien

PRESIDENT OBAMA will come under increasing pressure this week from international allies and Congress to intervene in the Syrian civil war.

On Thursday he will meet with the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has blamed Syria for two bomb attacks in Turkey on Saturday that killed 46.

On Monday he is meeting British prime minister David Cameron for an update on the moves for a diplomatic solution and a conference that would bring together Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's government and the rebels.

Congressional hearings are also scheduled this week on Syria, in which some members will undoubtedly call on the president to take action.

Among Mr. Obama’s options are forcing Assad and his inner circle to leave Syria, arming the rebels and introducing No-fly zones.

GOOD NEWS for America’s top government contractors: New figures show they made more money from federal awards in 2012 than they did the year before.

Despite budget cuts, 64 percent of the $516.3 billion spent on contracts in 2012 went to the top 200 companies that work with the government.

Defense contractors topped the list, with top five being Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.

Bloomberg Government, which analyzed data from 24 agencies and in 20 categories of federal purchases, found that the most successful companies were those that focused on areas less affected by budget pressures, such as space vehicles, drones, health information technology and cyber security.

DATA IS being collected from 3,000 National Guard members in eight states as part of new research on traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Like other U.S. service members, Guard personnel take the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics, or ANAM, test before deployments. But currently there is no data specific to the National Guard so that its members may be compared to their peers.

Dr. Kristin Heaton, a neuropsychologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Natick Soldier System Center, said: "We've been in active data collection now for a while. We're aiming for a diverse geographic representation. Having a meaningful, representative data set like this could be really helpful for interpreting scores, both before and after injuries."

She said Guard members represent a different demographic of soldier. "For example, they tend to be older, have families and children, and have dual careers," she said.

"There is some evidence in the literature that they may respond to deployments, both during and after, somewhat differently than their active-duty counterparts, all of which may impact not just the Soldier, but his or her family, as well."

TBI will be among the subjects discussed at IDGA’s DoD/VA Healthcare 2013 summit next week. For more information, go to