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IAVA Daily News Brief – April 26, 2016

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Air Force crew chiefs with the 153rd Maintenance Group, Wyoming Air National Guard, tow an aircraft inside a hangar to facilitate maintenance, Apr. 21, 2016, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Maintainers must tow the aircraft in the hangar when wind gusts exceed limits to perform certain types of repairs.  Master Sgt. Charles Delan/Air National Guard | Military Times >>

Today’s Top Stories

Obama boosts Islamic State fight, asks Europe to do the same
Evoking history and appealing for solidarity, President Obama on Monday cast his decision to send 250 more troops to Syria as a bid to keep up “momentum” in the campaign to dislodge Islamic State extremists. He pressed European allies to match the U.S. with new contributions of their own. | Army Times >>

MCCAIN: Here’s My Plan To Reform The VA

First and foremost, our veterans are not receiving the quality health care they have earned and deserve. Despite enacting historic VA reform legislation more than a year ago that provided billions of dollars of funding for additional VA doctors and nurses, wait times at the VA continue to rise. | Task and Purpose >>

States Step Up To Help Traumatized Veterans

A staggering share of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been returning home with mental illnesses brought on by their time overseas. But as hundreds of thousands struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, many are going without the help they need, which is prompting several states to step in. | Huffington Post >> 

Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s national flag flew at half-staff in government offices and special prayers were offered in mosques across the country Friday to pay respects to the victims of this week’s deadly Taliban attack in Kabul. | Voice of America >>

The Kremlin is currently concerned that Afghanistan might turn into a new hotspot amidst the end of NATO combat missions and the gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops. | The Diplomat >>

President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan changed course on Monday and warned that he would lodge a complaint with the United Nations Security Council if Pakistan refuses to take military action against Taliban leaders operating from its soil to wage an increasingly deadly insurgency across Afghanistan. | New York Times >>

Iraq

The United Nations’ deputy high commissioner for human rights said both Baghdad and its international supporters were too focused on defeating Islamic State and had no strategy for mending the country after that. | Reuters >>

A suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden car Monday in a commercial area in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing at least 12 civilians, officials said. | USA Today >>

Oil exports from southern Iraq have reached a record monthly rate so far in April as OPEC’s second-largest producer resumes the supply growth that has added downward pressure on prices. | Reuters >>

Military Affairs

Today’s presence of cyber, space and ballistic-intercontinental missile capabilities have changed the character of war, and the U.S. military must adapt to confront these challenges, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said. | Defense.gov >>

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the top U.S. military officer, made his second trip to Egypt in two months this weekend, a visit that underscored growing concern about Islamic State-linked militants and ongoing efforts to address friction in the countries’ military partnership. | Washington Post >>

New legislation set to be introduced Tuesday would require the Pentagon to create a database tracking incidents of hazing in the military, carry out an annual survey of U.S. troops on the issue and boost training so it is better recognized and handled. | Washington Post >>

#VETSRISING

When she was a senior in high school, Christina Bilyk took an Advanced Placement course in psychology. The class awakened in her a fascination with the human mind that inspired her to become a clinical psychologist. | GI Jobs >>

A saffron dream that first took root in Afghanistan is now growing on Chicago’s South Side, where two Army veterans are carrying out what they consider to be “unfinished business.” | Chicago Tribune >>

Former U.S. Marine and Iraq War veteran Daniel Torres returned to the United States Wednesday afternoon – five years after he was forced to leave when it was discovered he was undocumented. | KSWB >> 

Inside Washington

The Pentagon thinks it has a winning argument for why Congress should allow a new round of military base closings. The case goes like this: The Army and Air Force have vastly more space for training and basing troops than they need, and trimming the surplus would save money better used to strengthen the military. | WAVY >>

President Obama announced Monday that the United States would send an additional 250 Special Operations forces to Syria, a small but significant escalation in America’s ongoing campaign in the region. | Washington Post >>

“In accordance with federal law, criminal prosecution or conviction for off-duty misconduct does not automatically disqualify an individual from federal employment,” Shulkin said. “As is true in private-sector employment, a federal employee generally cannot be terminated for off-duty misconduct unless there is a clear connection between the misconduct and the individual’s employment.” | Government Executive >>


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