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IAVA Daily News Brief – December 17, 2014

Today’s Top Stories

Senate fails to pass suicide prevention aid
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Paul Rieckhoff of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America join msnbc to discuss the fury over Congress’ failure to pass suicide prevention aid for war veterans with PTSD despite bipartisan support in both Houses. | MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell >>

Military suicides total 144 in 1st 6 months, on rate to surpass 2013
The number of suicides by active-duty, reserve and National Guard servicemembers during the second quarter of 2014 declined by about 5 percent from the first three months of the year, dropping from 74 deaths to 70. | Stars and Stripes >>

The Man Who Killed The Bill To Combat Veterans Suicide
It is doubtful that any single senator of the post-9/11 era has managed to piss off as many veterans as Tom Coburn has over the last week. | Task & Purpose >>

Afghanistan

As of Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2014, at least 2,213 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. | Associated Press >>

President Barack Obama declared this week that the U.S. military has reached a “turning point,” but when NATO’s military coalition begins a new mission in Afghanistan at the end of the month, little is likely to change for the thousands of troops whose deployment extends into next year. | Stars and Stripes >>

The Department of Defense announced Monday the death of two Fort Hood soldiers after their vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. | KVUE >>

Iraq

“Ghost soldiers” collected tens-of-millions of dollars in payments from the Iraqi government before Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi could put a stop to some of the corruption. | Washington Times >>

As the U.S. helps the Iraqi government in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the country’s military is missing one vital ingredient, air power. Tuesday, the Iraqis will get their first shipment of American-made F-16s, but they’ll be delivered to a base in Arizona because Iraq is still too dangerous, reports CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan with this exclusive, inside look. | CBS News >>

Iraq will receive roughly 250 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from the U.S. in 2015 — for free — to deal with roadside bombs set by the Islamic State group. | Washington Times >>

Military Affairs

Tom Coburn’s final act as a U.S. senator hurts thousands of veterans by blocking a bill to help suicide prevention. Ed Schultz is joined by Montel Williams who gives an impassioned plea for the need for Congress to help our veterans. | MSNBC’s The ED Show >>

Fort Carson is participating in a study to help set physical performance standards for Army occupational specialties, starting with jobs that are currently closed to women. | Associated Press >>

Off-roading fans are in for one humdinger of a day. On Dec. 17, the first public auction of military HMMWVs will give civilians a chance to own a Humvee. | Fox News >>

It looks like the days of hearing about the Navy’s “global force for good” are over. The service debuted a new recruiting ad campaign during the Army-Navy game Saturday, highlighting the protection the sea service provides for everyday Americans. | Washington Post >>

After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point near the top of his class in 2008, Second Lt. Lawrence J. Franks Jr. went on to a stellar career with three deployments, commendations for exceptional service and a letter of appreciation from the military’s top general. The only problem: None of it was in the United States military. | New York Times >>

New Greatest Generation

This year’s Vettes for Veterans Corvette car show raised $17,000 for injured military members. The event over Veteran’s Day weekend showcased 170 cars and drew a crowd of hundreds to the parking lot of TGIFridays in Carlsbad. | U-T San Diego >>

Matt Victoriano, the military sniper-turned-coffee entrepreneur is back – and so is Intrepid Life – it’s just no longer a coffee shop. Yes, there’s still coffee brewing. And yes, there’s still beer in the refrigerator. | Triangle Business Journal >>

A veteran owned and operated business in our region is helping the community. These “grunts” will move your junk, shovel snow off your roof and help you make your big move. “Couple of us came back from Afghanistan and Iraq and decided it’s kind of tough to get back into the work force cause you’re so used to doing this other thing then all the sudden you come home and you’re like, what do I do?” said Chris Jablonski, who works for Grunts Move Junk. | WCAX Burlington >>

Inside Washington

For 24 years, Navy Cmdr. Jeff Hawker served his country, leaving active duty to continue treating his military brethren as a Department of Veterans Affairs doctor. After he started working at the Salem VA Medical Center, though, he said it took just a few months for officials at the medical center to oust him and to destroy his career after he reported dangerous medical practices. | Stars and Stripes >>

A lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard and the first female combat veteran in the Senate. A former Army Ranger and captain educated in the Ivy League. A lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves who worked on former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s national security staff. These are the three newly elected senators who will serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Republicans announced Monday. | Defense One >>

In a joint statement on Monday, IBM and the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced they’ll be using IBM’s Watson to develop a clinical reasoning system to help primary care physicians treat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Watson will ingest the electronic medical records for millions of veterans to find patterns — the kind that will help the Veteran’s Health Administration (part of the V.A) healthcare professionals make diagnoses and find solutions more quickly for the 8.3 million veterans currently in its care. | Mashable >>

The Department of Veterans Affairs provided misleading or false information to Congress and the media multiple times this summer about a year-plus review of unresolved patient consultation requests, according to an internal watchdog’s report issued Monday. | Wall Street Journal >>

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