IAVA Daily News Brief 07.11.12
Posted by Gretchen Andersen on July 11
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.
Aaron Helstrom, who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, injured his spine in Iraq in 2003. Several months prior to his retirement, Helstrom submitted a disability claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Seven months after retiring, he received a monthly form letter from the VA: "We're still processing your application for compensation." Allison Hickey, the VA's director of benefits, says the VA is swamped with claims from Vietnam veterans filing claims for Agent Orange and that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are filing claims at a record rate. After the CBS News report, Helstrom got a call from the VA scheduling him for several appointments.
After the Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act two weeks ago, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said the Pentagon is exploring options to create database of valor awards and medals. Watch Little’s press conference here, and read IAVA’s statement on the Stolen Valor Act of 2011.
The Obama campaign is reaching out to veterans through a grassroots strategy called Operation Vote. The Veterans and Military Families for Obama group held kick-off events earlier this year in places like Norfolk, Va. and Fayetteville, N.C., and is focusing campaign events in states with larger veterans’ populations. According to a Gallup poll from late May, veterans as a whole still overwhelmingly opt for the Republican choice, with Romney favored by a margin of 58 to 34 percent in that survey.
- Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the Pentagon’s point man for overseeing the drawdown in Afghanistan, said transporting military gear out of Afghanistan will cost billions of dollars and prove far more difficult than last year’s withdrawal from Iraq.
- A crowd of 50 demonstrators in Kabul protested the public execution of an Afghan woman on Wednesday.
- The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq, claimed it was behind more than 73 attacks that mainly targeted Shi'ite pilgrims and security officials. June was one of the bloodiest months in Iraq after U.S. troops withdrew in December 2011.
- After 10 years, the Army is ending its NASCAR sponsorship, a decision that comes as Reps. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., and Jackson Kingston, R-Ga., are pushing an amendment that would prohibit military sponsorship of sports.
- A new “ethics stand-down” called for by Commandant Gen. Jim Amos began yesterday, requiring Marine Corps commanders to discuss good decision making with their troops following a series of embarrassing scandals in the service.
- After two more pilots were forced to land their F-22s in recent weeks, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., have renewed their calls to the Air Force to pinpoint the cause of problems that plague the service’s stealth fighter.
- According to a report jointly prepared by the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Office of Employee Development and Training, “challenge training” has led new VA workers to be more efficient and productive.
THE NEW GREATEST GENERATION
- In Colorado, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are helping fight wildfires as part of the Veterans Fire Corps.
- Read about Director Kirby Dick’s new documentary, “The Invisible War.”
- Loree Sutton, a retired Army brigadier general, and Garry Trudeau argue for an an independent special victims unit completely outside the unit chain of command, under civilian oversight, to investigate sexual assaults and rapes in the military.
- Five hundred companies and organizations including freight, intercity passenger and commuter railroads, as well as rail supply companies will hire more than 5,000 veterans in 2012 as part of the Joining Forces initiative.
- Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said the Defense Department is working to avoid the possibility of budget sequestration. “That’s what we want and we believe that’s what the American people want,” Little told reporters.
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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