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IAVA Daily News Brief – December 9, 2014

Today’s Top Stories

Male military sex assault victims slow to complain
Greg Nelson had just turned 21 when he went out partying with friends in Southern California and got really drunk. So, when a man he didn’t know offered to let him crash in a nearby apartment, his friends urged him to accept. | Associated Press >>

The shrinking of America’s veteran population, in one map
There’s a growing gap between American civilians and the military. Since the US ended the draft, the percentage of Americans who serve has declined. This time-lapse map of the percent of young Americans who are veterans does a great job illustrating this trend. | Vox >>

HUD secretary, in Baltimore, announces more vouchers for homeless veterans
With the deadline set by President Barack Obama for ending homelessness among veterans now just a year away, U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro traveled to Baltimore on Monday to announce fresh funding for a program that helps former service members get into homes. | Baltimore Sun >>

Afghanistan

Shortly after the speeches concluded, the flags were folded and the band silenced, the last American general to lead combat operations in Afghanistan offered his candid assessment of the war. | New York Times >>

The United States will keep about 1,000 more troops in Afghanistan than planned early next year to fill a temporary NATO troop gap in the new mission to train and advise Afghan security forces, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday on his final visit to this war-weary country as Pentagon chief. | Associated Press >>

Sad times for Afghans–and a nationwide poll proves it. A Gallup survey published Friday found that more than six out of 10 Afghans say they are “suffering,” a record high anywhere in the world since Gallup started asking people to evaluate their lives. | Wall Street Journal >>

Iraq

U.S. allies have committed to send about 1,500 forces to Iraq to help train and advise Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers battling the Islamic State, which increasingly appears on the defensive, the top U.S. commander guiding the coalition effort said on Monday. | Reuters >>

Allied warplanes and Iraqi ground troops are increasingly isolating Islamic State militants in the captured city of Mosul, prompting Iraqi officials to push for a winter offensive to wrest control of the area months ahead of the previous schedule — and over American warnings. | NY Times >>

Coalition aircraft are continuing their high rate of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, with statistics showing total airstrikes in support of Operation Inherent Resolve since August almost double the number of all airstrikes in Afghanistan this year. | Air Force Times >>

Military Affairs

The U.S. Army Reserve needs to grow in order to then shrink the right way, says the organization’s top enlisted leader. (Stars and Stripes)
http://www.stripes.com/news/army-reserve-must-grow-to-shrink-leader-says-1.318036

The U.S. military has developed numerous forms of body armor during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, offering increased protection, comfort and durability. One development has lagged: Fitting body armor to women, who comprise about 15 percent of an active force of 1.3 million troops. | Washington Post >>

The U.S. military was on guard Monday for a possible violent reaction from ISIS and other terror groups to a report on alleged use of torture by the CIA in interrogations of terror suspects. | Military.com >>

New Greatest Generation

Rumi Spice, a small, enterprising company in Brighton, Mass., is trying to build an Afghan saffron connection for lovers of the spice in the U.S., and cultivate peace through trade. Behind Rumi Spice is a group of veterans who served in Afghanistan who are now business school students, a lawyer, an Afghan water specialist and farmers the vets met while serving there. | NPR >>

Taps sounded from a horn Monday as about two dozen people saluted and observed a moment of remembrance for veterans at the Vietnam Memorial at the state Capitol. | Deseret News >>

Every year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awards grants to help promising graduate students in the sciences and engineering fund their research and education for three years. Lately, the NSF has made encouraging diversity in science their highest priority — a mission that includes helping veterans who want to become scientists. | NationSwell >>

Inside Washington

The deadline to end veteran homelessness is closing in, but a hotline devoted to the issue let thousands of calls go unanswered, a new report has concluded. Established in 2012, the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans serves as the primary vehicle to connect vets on the streets with VA health and shelter services. | Huffington Post >>

A new $10 million addition to the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center will enhance the ongoing clinical research that scientists here are able to conduct for veterans with mental health needs. The hospital in Charleston treats almost 60,000 patients every year. Nearly a third require mental health services. | The Post and Courier >>

Veterans seeking mental-health services at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System still have among the longest waits in the country, according to federal statistics. | Associated Press >>

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