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IAVA Daily News Brief – April 21, 2015

Cpl. Michael Foster and his military working dog, Nero, play before conducting detection training aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. | Military Times  >>

Cpl. Michael Foster and his military working dog, Nero, play before conducting detection training aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Service Members Are Left in Dark on Health Errors
Tens of thousands of serious medical mistakes happen every year at American hospitals and clinics. While a handful of health care organizations have opted for broad disclosure amid calls for greater openness, most patients and their families still face significant obstacles if they try to find out what went wrong. But as Mr. Moore’s case illustrates, the nation’s 1.3 million active-duty service members are in a special bind, virtually powerless to hold accountable the health care system that treats them. | New York Times >>

VA Sued for Delays in Providing Veterans With Health Records
A veterans’ organization and a public advocacy group filed suit in federal court on Monday against the Veterans Affairs Department, claiming the agency has kept some veterans waiting longer than two years for records needed to apply for benefits. | Military.com >>

VA still undecided on punishments for Philadelphia regional office staff
The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it has not decided whether any employees at a Philadelphia regional office will be punished following an inspector general investigation that found widespread mismanagement and dysfunction. | Stars and Stripes >>

Afghanistan

Even by the grim standards of Afghanistan, the attack was shocking: A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vest in a crowd of people lined up to collect paychecks at a bank. | Wall Street Journal >>

Taliban militants attacked a police station in southern Afghanistan, killing three officers, and abducted 19 people working for a land mine clearance project in the country’s east, officials said on Monday. | Reuters >>

Saturday’s massive suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan claimed by the Islamic State shows how shortcomings in coalition intelligence gathering may have made it difficult to gauge the militants’ strength in the country and enabled them to gain a foothold under the radar. | Stars and Stripes >>

Iraq

Fighting between Islamic State and Iraqi security forces has displaced at least 90,000 civilians in the past several days, the United Nations said on Sunday, as a new humanitarian crisis unfolded on the fringes of the capital. | Wall Street Journal >>

Iraqi Kurdish officials say a suspect has been arrested in connection with a bombing near the U.S. consulate in the northern city of Irbil. A statement from the Kurdish Regional Security Council on Monday says the suspect will remain in custody until an investigation is completed. It did not identify the suspect. | Associated Press >>

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group has left the Middle East after six months of supporting combat operations in Iraq and Syria. The carrier conducted 2,383 combat missions and dropped 869 precision-guided munitions totaling more than half a million pounds of ordnance, the U.S. Navy said in a statement. | Stars and Stripes >>

Military Affairs

At a time when the Pentagon arguably is losing a battle with industry for top tech talent, the Army is offering companies the resumes of its best cyberwarriors. It’s just one strategy U.S. organizations are trying out to deal with a workforce challenge as persistent as the cyber threat. | Defense One >>

The first-ever Army Ranger School with female students opened Monday with 16 of 19 female soldiers passing the initial physical fitness test, as the Pentagon continues to assess which new combat roles women should have. | Washington Post >>

Marine Corps fighter pilots are refining a new plan for air-to-air combat as they integrate the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter with older jets, and it will mirror aspects of how the Air Force adapted its fleet to the F-22 Raptor. | Washington Post >>

#VetsRising

Veterans and community members came out to the Coastal Bend State Veterans Cemetery in Corpus Christi on Monday to honor the life of a Marine veteran who had no next of kin. | KRIS TV 6 >>

For disabled veterans, a dog that can retrieve a tee from a golf green or a beer from the refrigerator, transfer a load of laundry from washer to dryer, predict seizures or soothe night terrors and flashbacks can help treat the trauma of life after combat. | The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette >>

On Mike Doyle’s fly-fishing adventure, he snagged a couple of trees, waded into a swift, rising Roanoke River and swapped a few tall tales over barbecue. Not bad for a first-timer. Doyle, who is blind, is one of the latest recruits for the Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing program hosted through Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center. | The Roanoke Times >>

Inside Washington

A top Veterans Affairs official said Monday that the Philadelphia VA office was the only one in the nation to “misinterpret” a memo from headquarters in 2013 that resulted in employees falsifying the dates on veterans’ benefit claims to make it appear the VA was handling claims in a timely fashion. | Washington Times >>

The House Armed Services Committee is scheduled this week to mark up the annual defense policy bill. Formally known as the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, it authorizes funding for the Department of Defense and all of its activities, as well as the defense activities of the Department of Energy. | The Hill >>

The President has pledged not just to address veteran homelessness, but to end it. The Administration has made historic investments, using proven strategies in partnership between HUD and VA, to achieve this goal. | The White House >>

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