IAVA Daily News Brief 06.27.12
Posted by Gretchen Andersen on June 27
Here are some of today's top stories and happenings that IAVA is tracking. Prefer to receive real-time updates about major stories and legislation that IAVA is tracking? Follow us on Twitter @IAVAPressRoom and click here to get the News Brief delivered to your inbox every morning.
IAVA launched the Veteran Support Fund today, a groundbreaking new initiative that challenges Americans to raise $30 million in support for critical nonprofit programs and resources benefiting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. The Veteran Support Fund, pioneered by entrepreneurs and philanthropists Philip D. Green and his wife Dr. Elizabeth Cobbs, Glenn and Laurie Garland, and Jim and Patty Stimmel, establishes a centralized platform where Americans can support and donate to a consortium of effective and trusted best-in-class veterans’ organizations including IAVA, Operation Mend, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Operation Homefront and the National Military Family Association. Read more here.
The Supreme Court will rule on Stolen Valor Act, a 2006 law that makes it illegal for falsely claiming to be the recipient of military honors and decorations. The law was challenged by lawyers for Xavier Alvarez, an individual who lied at a public meeting about receiving a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor in combat. In 2007, Alvarez -- who had never served -- was convicted and sentenced to three years probation, a $5,000 fine and community service for violating the Act. Jonathan Libby, Alvarez’s lawyer, argues that Stolen Valor violates a person’s right to lie under free speech. The government argues that specific lies fall under a special category of speech that is not protected by the First Amendment -- when the speech could do harm.
IAVA received a grant last week from the Knight Foundation to fund the creation of a digital map designed to track, in real-time, the gaps in health services and the wait times for veterans seeking assistance -- from psychotherapy to physical exams -- across the country.
MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow profiled the power of IAVA’s veteran advocacy and presence on Capitol Hill last night. She spoke about how the government poorly handles veterans’ issues, and IAVA’s push for transparency and accountable for the long waits veterans face for disability claims and mental health evaluations. The segment preceded an interview with former HVAC Chairman Rep. Bob Filner who questioned the power of VSOs in remarks about converting the VA disability claims model to a system like the IRS.
- Insurgent attacks in several parts of Afghanistan killed 10 police officers over 24 hours, officials said today.
- U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, is expected to visit Pakistan amid heightened tensions over militant networks allegedly based on Pakistani soil and still-closed military supply lines.
- Lance Cpl. Niall W. Cotisears, 23, of Arlington, Va., died Saturday while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
- Two bombs exploded southeast of Baghdad today, authorities said, killing at least eight people in the latest wave of bloody attacks in Iraq this month. A series of attacks in June have left nearly 180 people dead, according to CNN estimates.
- The body of an American contractor who was found dead in Baghdad was flown back to the U.S. on Tuesday after a two-week bureaucratic debate over whether the Iraqi government would perform an autopsy on his remains.
- The third annual National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day is today, and will be marked on Capitol Hill with an event promoting public understanding of the issues faced by many returning servicemembers.
- The cost of unemployment compensation for troops who’ve returned home without jobs approached one billion dollars last year.
- The Navy is putting unprecedented attention on the issue of sexual assault this year. High-ranking Navy leaders are likening it to their crusade years ago to stop rampant drug abuse and say it is not only dehumanizing to the victims but also threatens their operational readiness.
- The new Mental Health Center at the VA Palo Alto campus is an example of how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' national expansion of mental health services will try to meet the record number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking help for mental health care such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
THE NEW GREATEST GENERATION
- The organization Battling Bare was born out of a group of military wives who wanted to raise awareness for P.T.S.D. Military spouses post pictures of themselves with hopeful messages concerning P.T.S.D.
- Over 7,000 Detroit-based veterans pre-registered for the the free "VA for Vets Hiring Fair," which runs through Thursday. It features 230 employers, 25,000 job openings, and according to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official Mary Santiago, it's "the largest hiring event that the VA has ever done."
- QuinStreet Inc., a marketing company accused of misleading veterans and steering them toward for-profit colleges, will hand over its GIBill.com domain to the Veterans Affairs Department and pay $2.5 million to cover investigation costs under an agreement signed Tuesday with the attorneys general of several states.
- Leon Panetta outlines several ways the Department of Defense is combating P.T.S.D. in an opinion piece.
- The way the Department of Veterans Affairs awards disability claims needs to completely change, Representative Bob Filner (D-Calif.) said Tuesday night.
- Lockheed Chairman and CEO Robert Stevens and his EADS counterpart Sean O’Keefe met with Panetta and his top aides yesterday to ask for Panetta’s help with the proposed defense budget cuts.
A wide-range of views, positions, and publications are represented in these articles. These views, positions and publications are not endorsed by nor do they necessarily represent the views of IAVA.
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