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IAVA Daily News Brief – December 10, 2015

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Paratroopers from 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, exit an Army CH-47 Chinook at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

VA: Accountability means more than just firing people
Facing renewed accusations of corruption and incompetence, Veterans Affairs Department leaders charged lawmakers with substituting rhetoric for evidence and seeking vengeance rather than accountability in the department’s workforce. | Military Times >>

General: The 273 active-duty suicides this year ‘breaks my heart’
The Defense Department must find better ways to support troops and personnel, the head of Air Force Space Command said Tuesday, adding he is worried about high stress and suicides in the military. “The number that has scared the heck out of me is 273,” Gen. John Hyten said Tuesday. | Military Times >>

For Muslims in the U.S. military, a different U.S. than the one they swore to defend
Many American Muslims say they are living through a difficult time in this country. For the Muslims who are former and current service members, the prejudice and anti-Muslim rhetoric is particularly painful. Those interviewed for this story said that hateful comments have driven a wedge between them and the country they swore to defend. | Washington Post >>

Afghanistan

Afghan security forces on Wednesday battled Taliban militants who stormed the airport complex in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar in an assault that killed 37 civilians, officials said. | Los Angeles Times >>

A little more than a year after commanding international forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford returned to the country in a different role but to a familiar landscape Tuesday in his first visit as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. | Stars and Stripes >>

The Afghan foreign minister urged Pakistan at a conference in Islamabad on Wednesday to help revive peace talks between his government and the Taliban, but news of a major Taliban attack in Afghanistan dimmed hopes of dialogue. | Reuters >>

Iraq

Shi’ite paramilitary groups with ties to Iran threatened to use force against Turkey on Wednesday unless it withdraws its troops from Iraqi territory, after a 48-hour deadline set by the government expired. | Reuters >>

The United States is prepared to deploy advisers and attack helicopters if requested by Iraq to help it “finish the job” of retaking the city of Ramadi from Islamic State, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday. | Reuters >>

Decades of irresponsible arms transfers to Iraq fueled the Islamic State group’s firepower and ability to carry out atrocities on a massive scale, Amnesty International said in a report published Tuesday. | AFP >>

#VetsRising

Meet Justin Stout. When he walks the stage in December, each step will be painful. The repaired left shoulder and left knee, the rods and plates throughout his right leg following major reconstruction, the wires edging his spine to help control the pain— they’re all pieces from 24 surgeries following seven years as a combat medic in the Army. | UTSA Today >>

Keeping the troops well fed is a big part of how the military works, and Navy veteran and pop-up chef August Dannehl knows this better than most. In the WATM series “Thank You For Your Service” Augie cooks a four-course meal for his fellow vets, and each course is inspired by a veteran story from his or her time in uniform. | We Are the Mighty >>

Monrovia, California native William McFarland joined the U.S. Army because he knew he wanted to do something with his life that was truly meaningful. After enlisting, McFarland was sent to South Carolina’s Fort Jackson for basic training. Like many recruits, he had a hard time adjusting to life in the military, and to South Carolina’s humidity. Right off the bat, his instructors told him one of the most important things he needed to know as a soldier: There is no “you” in the Army. Instead of becoming more intimidated, McFarland found his instructor’s words comforting. He believed his drill sergeant’s promise to make him into a better man. | CBS Houston >>

Inside Washington

States with large military bases are filling what is traditionally the federal government’s role by picking up the tab for construction and repairs, saying they can’t afford not to. The number of states willing to spend taxpayer money to fix infrastructure in military facilities, and the scale of the projects, has increased steadily in the past five years. | Associated Press >>

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has launched a review of the landmark 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act that has defined military careers and organizational structure for decades, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday. “The secretary feels (it) is important to take a look at the department and the structure right now within the DoD and to make sure that we’re doing things as efficiently as possible,” said Peter Cook, Carter’s primary spokesman.| Military Times >>

Throughout the course of 2015, the veteran community has been pleased to see VA patient data reflect an increasingly aggressive approach to treating HCV within the veteran population. In fact, as we neared the end of the fiscal year in September, the VA was treating up to 1,700 new veterans each week for HCV infection. | The Hill >>

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