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IAVA Daily News Brief – April 29, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 10.51.41 AMArmy Cpl. Drew Dobbs, right, assigned to the 766th Ordnance Company (EOD), 63rd Ordnance Company (EOD), helps Staff Sgt. Denver Colin attach his protective helmet at a vehicle-borne improvised explosive devise scenario during the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD) Team of the Year 2016 competition at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, Greenville, Ky., on April 26.  Staff Sgt. Brian Kohl/Army | Military Times >>

Today’s Top Stories

Senator: Large veterans reform bill promises ‘a new VA’
Senate leaders unveiled a massive veterans reform package Thursday that includes sweeping new accountability rules for Department of Veterans Affairs employees, a dramatic expansion of the veterans caregiver program, and promises of changing the agency to a more veteran-friendly culture. | Military Times >>

After Combat Stress, Violence Can Show Up At Home
Stacy Bannerman didn’t recognize her husband after he returned from his second tour in Iraq. “The man I had married was not the man that came back from war,” she says. | NPR >>

Report: VA office in Kansas manipulated data on appeals


A government review shows a Veterans Affairs regional office in Kansas listed erroneous medical conditions for three dozen patients who filed appeals after having their claims rejected.| Associated Press >>

Afghanistan

Camp Phoenix has been turned into a large and heavily fortified drug rehabilitation center. Walls that once kept the Taliban’s bombs out, now keep those struggling with heroin addiction in. | CNN >>

In 2013, Prince Harry shocked reporters with a candid assessment of the five months he had spent supporting ground troops as an Apache helicopter pilot during his second combat tour in Afghanistan. | Task and Purpose >>

Unknown gunmen in police uniforms have kidnapped a female foreign aid worker from Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan. | Voice of America >>

Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq Thursday for a visit intended to help resolve a political crisis that’s hindering efforts to defeat the Islamic State group. | NBC News >>

No matter where you turn when covering the Islamic State’s two years of terror in Iraq and Syria, one name repeatedly crops up: Tal Afar | Defense One >>

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Wednesday the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq will be ready to begin the long-awaited assault on Islamic State’s base in Mosul by June, but warned lawmakers that proposed Capitol Hill cuts to the Pentagon’s budget could undermine that effort and other operations worldwide. | Washington Times >> 

Military Affairs

The Air Force will likely have high-speed, long-range and deadly hypersonic weapons by the 2020s, providing kinetic energy destructive power able to travel thousands of miles toward enemy targets at five-times the speed of sound. | Scout >>

You might assume the Navy spends most of its weapons budget on its fleet of aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers and other ships. But you would be wrong. | Government Executive >>

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. won an $82.7 million contract to launch a satellite for the U.S. Air Force, giving Elon Musk’s closely held company military revenue to go with what it earns serving NASA and private companies. | Bloomberg Technology >>

#VETSRISING

More than 700 cyclists, including nearly 175 disabled veterans, rode two routes — either 110 miles from Arlington, Virginia, or 120 miles from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, — and met up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as part of World T.E.A.M. Sports’ annual “Face of America” ride. | Defense.gov >>

A new play premieres Thursday night at the Yale Cabaret that brings together Iraqi and Afghan refugees and U.S. veterans who tell their stories. | WNPR >>

Coffee has proven to be a staple for students and those in the workforce trying to kick start their day, but for service members in combat, coffee can be a way to stay alert in life-threatening situations. | NBC Houston >>

Inside Washington

Rare arguments before the highest military court in the land Wednesday came down to whether a Marine’s refusal to obey orders to remove signs from her desk containing a biblical passage were her exercising her right of religious freedom or just plain insubordination. | Stars and Stripes >>

The Pentagon is due to release a report on an internal investigation into one of the most infamous episodes of the war in Afghanistan: a special operations airstrike on a hospital in the north of the country last year that left 42 civilians dead. | The Guardian >>

Women will have to register with the Selective Service and would be eligible to be drafted in the military, under a provision narrowly approved by a House panel on Wednesday. | Military Times >>

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