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IAVA Daily News Brief – April 8, 2016

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A medical student from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences perform field exercise drills during Operation Gunpowder at Naval Support Activity Bethesda in Bethesda, Md., March 21, 2016. Seaman Matthew Hobso/Navy. | Military Times >>

Today’s Top Stories

See the results of VA wait-time probes in your state
Following the Department of Veterans Affairs’ scandal in Phoenix in 2014, the VA inspector general launched more than 100 investigations at facilities across the country. Newly released reports from the probes reveal supervisors instructed schedulers to falsify wait times at VA medical facilities in at least seven states, and employees at 40 medical facilities in 19 states and Puerto Rico regularly “zeroed out” veteran wait times, which masked growing demand as new waves of veterans returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and as aging Vietnam veterans needed more care. | USA Today >>

Suicidal Thinking Relatively Common among Veterans
A two-year study from Veterans Affairs (VA) reveals that nearly 14 percent of veterans reported suicidal thinking either at the beginning or end of a recent evaluation. Investigators surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. veterans on two occasions as part of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. | Psych Central >>

Near ISIS front, U.S. Marine artillerymen ‘fire every day’
Day-to-day life in Iraq is busy for the 100-plus U.S. Marine artillerymen who are forward deployed at a firebase near the Islamic State group’s front lines southeast of Mosul. “They fire every day in support of Iraqi maneuvers,” Army Col. Steve Warren said of the firebase near the Kurdish-controlled city of Makhmour. | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

For the hundreds of Afghans who lined up before sunrise here at Kabul’s only passport office one recent morning, their slow steps were the first of a long, desperate journey out of their war-stricken nation. | Washington Times >>

Dozens of suspected militants attacked a Pakistani security post along the Afghan border before dawn Thursday, sparking an hours-long gun battle in which 12 insurgents were killed, a local government administrator said. | Associated Press >>

The latest in a string of unexplained deaths in the province, Reyan’s case has gained attention because of claims by family members that he was tortured by security forces – and allegations by the government that he was a Taliban sympathizer. | LA Times >>

Iraq

A video clip broadcast on Saudi-owned television on Thursday suggested that a former right-hand man to late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein who Iraqi forces and Shi’ite militias said had been killed a year ago may still be alive. | Reuters >>

Residents in the Iraqi city of Fallujah are starving, says US-based campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW). Government forces trying to recapture the area from so-called Islamic State (IS) militants have cut supply routes, and IS stops people from leaving. | BBC News >>

Turkish warplanes conducted air strikes on Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq on Wednesday, destroying caves and shelters used by the rebels, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday. | Reuters >>

Military

Gender integration, fundamental changes to the enlisted promotion system and an analysis of the benefits of a longer basic training period are among the items on the 2016 agenda for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, its commander said Thursday. | Stars and Stripes >>

Five years ago, Navy SEALs switched their close-combat training from a system they’d used for more than 20 years to a new mixed martial arts-style program, and a California lawmaker wants to know why. | Navy Times >>

The Air Force is moving forward with a key step in developing a dedicated close-air support plane to replace the A-10 Warthog, a top general said Thursday. | Defense News >>

#VetsRising

Now, after many years of struggle, Nevins is helping other veterans heal as well as himself, as a yoga instructor and motivational speaker. His new life has brought him opportunities around the world, including a chance to teach on the White House lawn during the annual Easter Egg Roll. | Today >>

A group of military men and women hiked the roads of Logan County earlier this week through Active Heroes, a mission to support U.S. military service members, veterans and their families through physical, educational, and emotional programs providing coping skills in an effort to eliminate suicide. | News-Democrat & Leader >>

Uber: 50,000 military veterans and spouses hired. Company announced it has met goal set in 2014. | Fox News >>

Washington

The Army chief of staff said Thursday that an effort in Congress to reverse deep troop cuts will be a national “disaster” without increases in the service’s budget, a prospect that remains remote among divided lawmakers. | Stars and Stripes >>

It took Perry Whisman a year to receive the back surgery he needed through the VA’s Veterans Choice Program. Whisman, 52, an Army veteran from Melbourne, was set to have his surgery with one physician. But shortly before the procedure, the doctor ceased being a provider for the program. | Florida Today >>

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is asking the VA to see if anyone should face criminal charges for the agency’s $1.7 billion hospital in Aurora, a project that’s been called the biggest construction failure in VA history. | The Denver Post >>

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