1. The Marine Corps announced the 2015 Officer Women Leadership Symposium hosted by Academy Women from March 5-7 at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The event provides military women the opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues and to grow professionally, according to the Feb. 15 Marine administrative message. Information on registration for the event can be found at http://goo.gl/9nojEe.2. March is Women's History Month. For information about women's history in the military, feature articles and related websites, visit the DOD's Web page dedicated to this national observation at www.defense.gov/specials/womenshistory. JBM-HH will host its own women's history month observance March 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Fort Myer Officer's club.3. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter detailed his commitments and priorities during a standing-room-only, all-hands gathering in the Pentagon's auditorium Feb. 19. He acknowledged that budget and resource constraints present challenges. "If we're going to convincingly make the case to our people that they need to spend more on their defense - which I believe they do - we need to, at the same time, show them that we know we can do better at spending that money," Carter said.4. New Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has chosen former acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning to become his chief of staff. Fanning, the first openly gay man to hold the post, favors allowing openly transgender persons to serve in the military. Though he has never served in uniform, Fanning previously was a deputy undersecretary of the Navy, an associate producer at CBS News in New York, a public relations executive and a congressional and White House staffer for President Bill Clinton.5. Experts urged Army leaders to reach out to male victims of sexual assault, noting people should not view sexual violence as a crime perpetrated exclusively against women. Jim Hopper, a psychologist and researcher, and Russell Strand, a retired criminal investigative service special agent, spoke about sexual assaults on men during the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program Summit Feb. 19 in Tyson's Corner, Virginia. "[About] 10,800 men are sexually assaulted every year in the military," Strand said. "[Roughly] 8,000 women are assaulted." Few military males report being victims of sexual assault, he said. Only 1,134 men reported attacks - roughly 13 percent of those attacked. With women, 39 percent reported attacks.6. Preparations are underway by coalition and Iraqi forces to retake Mosul, Iraq, the country's second-largest city, from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists, an operation that could begin as early as April and will require an Iraqi-led military force of at least 20,000 troops, a U.S. Central Command official said Feb. 19. The official, who briefed Pentagon reporters on background, said military planners would like to see the battle for Mosul begin in the April or May time frame, but said the timing will be dependent upon Iraqi and Kurdish forces being adequately prepared for the fight. Later than that, he said, the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the onset of hot weather in the region could complicate matters.7. The Obama administration announced Feb. 17 that it will allow the export of military "unmanned aerial systems," or drones. As a result, the United States has established a new policy designed specifically for U.S.-origin military and commercial UAS. This new policy, governing the international sale, transfer and subsequent use of U.S.-origin military UAS, supplements and builds upon the U.S. Conventional Arms Transfer Policy and is consistent with the requirements of the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act which govern all U.S. military transfers, according to a release by the U.S. State Department.8. Operation Freedom's Sentinel is a qualifying operation for award of the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Department of Defense announced in a release issued Feb. 19. Additionally, the transition from Operation Enduring Freedom to Freedom's Sentinel also marks a new campaign phase, "Transition II," for the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Garfola Wright signed a memorandum authorizing these changes retroactive to Jan. 1. Qualifying operations, phases and inclusive dates can be found online at www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=128207.9. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Feb. 13 the availability of $300 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and other groups that serve veterans through VA's Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. The SSVF program assists low-income veteran families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The $300 million grants are available to current grantees seeking renewals, according to the release.10. The DOD continues to seek input from the public to "glean information that will explore and develop new technologies and approaches to war fighting," according to a Feb. 24 press release. Input is sought on current and emerging technologies and/or projections of technology-enabled concepts that could provide significant military advantage to the U.S. and its partners and allies as part of the broader defense innovation initiative, according to the release. The information will be used to study and prioritize "novel or unconventional" technology applications that would provide "significant, enduring capability advantage" for DOD operations in the 2030 time frame. For more information, visit http://goo.gl/vcx2ub.Contact staff writer Damien Salas at dsalas@dcmilitary.com.