IAVA Daily News Brief 06.18.12
Posted by Gretchen Andersen on June 18
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.
1) Workers Point Finger at Their Own Agency Amid a Backlog in Veterans’ Benefits
Workers from the Veterans Benefits Agency’s regional office in Columbia, S.C. are hoping to bring attention to what they consider root causes of their system’s breakdown: lack of accountability, inadequate resources, hopelessly complex policies and demoralizing work conditions. As James Dao from The New York Times reports, almost no regional office has been immune to backlogs of claims.
2) Why Can’t Government Get the Easy Stuff Right?
On Friday, TIME's Joe Klein wrote a scathing column about VA Secretary Shinseki's lack of response addressing the VA backlog and mental health wait times - Klein went as far as to suggest he consider resigning from his post.
3) Disabled vets' families fight VA over fiduciaries
Across the country, disabled veterans' families are in bitter battles with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, trying to oust VA-appointed fiduciaries from their lives. Two attorneys, Doug Rosinski of Columbia, S.C., and Katrina Eagle of San Diego, have taken on VA in cases involving allegations of bureaucratic mistreatment.
- Afghan authorities say a remote-controlled bomb has killed 5 people in a bazaar in Tagab district.
- According to Regional Command Southwest, poppy production has declined 40 percent in the Helmand province since 2008.
- Fawzia Koofi is campaigning for the presidency of Afghanistan, defying the Taliban’s role of women. The election is slated for 2014.
- On Saturday two car bombs in Iraq's capital killed at least 26 people on the last day of a Shiite pilgrimage already hit by bombings last week, raising the week's death toll to more than 100 people.
- Drones, small special ops teams and more high-tech warfare allows Obama to target what the administration sees as the greatest threats to U.S. security, without the cost and liabilities of sending a swarm of ground troops to capture territory; some of them almost certainly would come home maimed or dead.
- The new U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center features a 16-bed intensive-care unit, two operating rooms, a much larger rehabilitation center, an outpatient clinic and access to a rooftop helicopter landing pad.
- Several high-profile incidents involving alcohol, as well as numerous studies, suggest that alcohol abuse has reached epidemic proportions among active-duty Marines, sailors and soldiers.
THE NEW GREATEST GENERATION
- The Veterans Writing Workshop for military men and women at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus has built an anthology that includes stories about war. The workshop gives its members a sense of familiarity and camaraderie.
- IAVA member Don Gomez blogs about the sobering news regarding Army suicides last week, relating the mental health crisis to Mass Effect.
- A conference scheduled for this June 20-23 this week in Washington on suicide among U.S. military personnel and veterans will bring top officials, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, VA Undersecretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel and others together to discuss the topic.
- Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said the construction of the new Orlando Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center is already two years behind schedule. Miller called the delay “inexcusable .”
- Obama and Putin are set to meet on the sidelines of the Group of 20 economic gathering in Mexico that will otherwise focus largely on the European economic crisis.
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.