IAVA Daily News Brief 08.20.12
Posted by Hallie Seegal on August 20
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 @IAVA and click here to get the News Brief delivered to your inbox every morning.
There were two more "green on blue" attacks by Afghan troops on U.S. and coalition forces late last week. Meanwhile, the U.S. military saw active-duty and veteran soldier suicides in July double since June. Jeffrey Brown talked to Time magazine's Mark Thompson about the situation in Afghanistan, and the increase in suicides.
The weak economy is helping to drive thousands more college graduates into the U.S. military. Since the recession began in 2007, there's been a steady increase in the number of college graduates joining the armed forces. The Navy and Army have seen the biggest jumps. About 60 percent more college grads joined the Navy last year than in 2007.
In a state where military suicides are a continuing problem, researchers at the University of Kentucky are studying their effects on Kentuckians who have lost a military or veteran family member, friend or fellow service member to suicide. The two-year study, Suicide Bereavement in Military and Their Families, is funded by a $677,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense's Military Suicide Research Consortium. During the first six months of 2012, a reported 11 active-duty Army soldiers stationed in Kentucky died by suicide, with a total of 56 since 2009.
- In a telephone call Saturday, Defense Secretary Panetta encouraged President Hamid Karzai to work closely with the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan to counter green-on-blue attacks. There have been a record 31 attacks on NATO forces by people wearing Afghan security force uniforms this year. DoD has ordered that U.S. service members now be armed at all times, inside and outside their bases.
- NATO forces said that three international servicemembers were killed in a bomb attack on Sunday. At least 41 international troops have been killed so far this month in Afghanistan.
- Seizures in Afghanistan of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the main explosive used in Taliban bombs, more than doubled in the first seven months of 2012 compared with the same period last year. But despite that increase, senior U.S. officials said, the number of IEDs manufactured with the chemical compound is on pace to surpass the record levels of 2011.
- A 15-year old teenage assailant who killed three Marines last week on a U.S. military base in southern Afghanistan had easy access to the Afghan police’s arsenal of weapons as the unpaid, underage personal assistant of the district police chief.
- Iraq has been using a network of financial institutions and oil smuggling operations to help Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed because of its nuclear program, according to a report in Sunday’s New York Times.
- A bomb struck the convoy of a senior Sunni cleric in western Baghdad on Sunday morning, killing four and critically wounding the anti-extremist Muslim leader Sheik Mahdi al-Sumaidaie.
- Every Ramadan, the diverse residents of Kirkuk gather to play a game called Siniyah, which remains one of the few apolitical traditions in the disputed city of northern Iraq. This year, in a bright spot, a multi-ethnic team has emerged victorious in the annual city-wide tournament.
- Only a quarter of the Army’s officers and enlisted soldiers believe the nation’s largest military branch is headed in the right direction — a survey response that is the lowest on record and reflects what some in the service call a crisis in confidence.
- Maddow reports on the unsafe workspace in the Winston-Salem VA, where paperwork files were so densely stacked up that floors began buckling. The photos of the disorganization from within the facility lent some explanation as to why 870,000 veterans nationwide are still waiting on disability claims.
- REMINDER: Tricare beneficiaries who live in one of the regions served by the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan have until Monday, August 20th to apply for the program if they want to stay in it when they become Medicare-eligible.
- Sealed Mindset Firearms Studio, based in New Hope, Minnesota, offers people the opportunity to participate in a simulated reenactment of the Osama bin Laden raid. The role-playing game costs a cool $325.
THE NEW GREATEST GENERATION
- VFW posts, once vital parts of small communities in Minnesota, have seen ranks fall drastically over the last few decades as older veterans pass away. But officials say they're seeing an influx of women like Maj. Kristin Auge joining the organization after coming back from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Sgt. David Drumar, who lost his leg in Afghanistan, received the surprise of a lifetime when Kid Rock presented him with a mortgage-free, 2600 square foot property designed to accommodate his disability.
- More than 1,830 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered pelvic fractures and genitourinary injuries since 2003 that could affect their abilities to reproduce. A bill being considered in the Senate would expand the VA's medical benefits package including in vitro fertilization and to pay for procedures now provided for some critically injured active-duty soldiers.
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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