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IAVA Daily News Brief – April 9, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

One year after Phoenix, the VA is under more scrutiny than ever
One year after revelations that a VA hospital was denying veterans care and falsifying data to hide it, the federal agency tasked with looking after Americans who have served in the military is under more scrutiny than ever, with many growing impatient with pace of the agency’s overhaul. | Stars and Stripes >>

VA makes little headway in effort to shorten waits
A year after Americans recoiled at new revelations that sick veterans were getting sicker while languishing on waiting lists — and months after the Department of Veterans Affairs instituted major reforms — government data shows that the number of patients facing long waits at VA facilities has not dropped at all. | Associated Press >>

Report: Poor coordination of support efforts hurts vets
Veterans struggling to adapt to post-military life face a bounty of support resources, but poor coordination of those efforts potentially leaves them confused and without help, according to a new study released Wednesday. | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

A U.S. soldier was reported killed in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday after a visit to the area by a senior American diplomat, in what Afghan officials described as an insider shooting. | LA Times >>

It is a strangely detached scene for the close of America’s longest war: military trainers bouncing between multi-million dollar, high security bases, on Black Hawks, miles from the front line. | CNN >>

The Marine Corps said Tuesday that a gunnery sergeant will receive the service’s second-highest award for enduring heavy assault in Afghanistan while his team leader and another Marine were ushered to safety after being shot and seriously wounded. | Associated Press >>

Iraq

The Iraqi Army and militia forces carried out an attack against the Islamic State outside the city of Ramadi on Wednesday, with some local officials claiming it was the beginning of a major offensive in western Anbar Province, though others said that was premature. | New York Times >>

An Iraqi Kurdish security official says the Islamic State group has released more than 200 Yazidi elderly and children after eight months of captivity. | Associated Press >>

About 500 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division will deploy this summer to Iraq and other locations in the region to support Operation Inherent Resolve. | Army Times >>

Military Affairs

The US Navy will soon operate as a cyber warfighting platform, ready to attack rogue nations when ordered by the White House. A top military commander tipped the initiative at a defense conference, saying “you don’t win a knife fight without swinging a knife.” US intelligence services already launch limited cyber strikes, as they did against North Korea following the Sony hacking incident. | Engadget >>

The US Army is drafting doctrine for the first time that would govern its robotic and unmanned systems, with the service’s sights set on robots for supply convoys, tactical reconnaissance and as robotic wingmen for soldiers on foot. | Defense News >>

The two-and-a-half year period in which the Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course became gender-integrated for research will end without a single female graduate. | Marine Corps Times >>

New Greatest Generation

Camo is not your average dog. He and his owner, Navy veteran Larry Barfield, visited Deerfield-Windsor Wednesday to talk about PTSD, and a fundraiser to help other veterans get service dogs. | WALB >>

Magers is project director for Malibu, Calif.-based Save A Warrior — a 501(c)(3) organization founded by veteran Jake Clark that uses evidence-based resiliency programs such as equine therapy and counseling, a ropes course, group trust exercises, and the practice of meditation to help restore broken lives of active-duty and returning veterans. | The Kansas City Star >>

Eric Greitens’ new book was born out of a cry in the dark. When the Navy Reserve SEAL lieutenant commander and best-selling author received a call in 2012 from a longtime friend and fellow SEAL who was suffering from PTSD, addiction issues and a failing sense of purpose and meaning, the two began talking and writing nearly every day. | Navy Times >>

Inside Washington

The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee says the VA could consider selling or scaling back the over-budget Denver veterans hospital to find the money to complete it. | Associated Press >>

While Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) was formally launching his 2016 presidential campaign Tuesday, still-not-a-candidate Jeb Bush was in Colorado, where he called for privatizing some parts of veterans’ health care. | Wall Street Journal >>

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is filling legislation to require states to offer a percentage of construction jobs related to transportation projects to veterans. | The Hill >>

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