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IAVA Daily News Brief – February 18, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

Bringing a Rare Perspective to Authorizing War
Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now serving in Congress have emerged as some of the most important voices in the debate over whether to give President Obama a broad authorization for a military campaign against the Islamic State or something much more limiting. | New York Times >>

VA looking at its own version of BRAC
Veterans Affairs Department officials want their own version of a base closure round, targeting aging hospitals and clinics they no longer need. | Military Times >>

The Foxhole: Yochi Dreazen on PTSD, suicide, and other silent battles of the US Armed Forces
Back in the days when he was an intrepid correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, spending a total of five years in Iraq and Afghanistan to cover the wars there, Yochi Dreazen started hearing voices. They were not the faraway sirens of ghosts or fear, but the voices, rather, of the men returning from battle with all their limbs and eyesight but still, somehow, not whole. | Fox News >>

Afghanistan

Four suicide attackers stormed a provincial police headquarters in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 22 police in an attack claimed by the Taliban. | Reuters >>

Carter Malkesian, interviewed by Octavian Manea in Small Wars Journal: “To say that counterinsurgency didn’t work is not a fair assessment. If you look at a variety of places in Iraq and Afghanistan you can see that counterinsurgency tactics — particularly the ones related to the use of military force, patrolling, advising, and small projects — worked in pushing insurgents out of a specific area. From a tactical perspective, counterinsurgency worked. | Foreign Policy >>

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing outside police headquarters in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Tuesday that left at least six people dead and many more injured, citing the government’s recent move to execute people convicted of terrorism. | VICE News >>

Iraq

Shiite militiamen shuttle back and forth to the nearby front lines from a sprawling military base near the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk. They hoist billboards of their commander, bellow Shiite prayers from mosque loudspeakers and chant the name of their spiritual leader. | Associated Press >>

ISIS fighters launched a major assault Tuesday night southwest of Irbil in the Kurdish region of Iraq, Kurdish officials said. | CNN >>

On Tuesday, Kurdish media outlet Rudaw reported that a wave of foreign fighters hoping to join the front lines with Kurdish peshmerga forces had to be turned away. “The Peshmerga is a professional fighting force,” Ministry of Peshmerga spokesman Helgurd Hekmat explained to Rudaw. “Just last week, an American man arrived wanting to volunteer. | Washington Post >>

Military Affairs

The U.S. Army has said it wants to expand its reach into the Pacific and soldiers hope that includes a new boot designed for tropical environments versus the arid and mountainous climates soldiers faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. | Military.com >>

The 8½-week journey from recruit to airman will no longer end in a regimented march on a Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland parade field. Beginning March 23, 400 recruits will take part in that rite of passage after 7½ weeks of basic military training — then turn back around for a five full days of interactive classroom instruction focused on character development. | Air Force Times >>

The Army Reserve has partnered with universities and private companies across the country to recruit and grow cyber security professionals. The new Cybersecurity Private Public Partnership was launched Feb. 10 during a ceremony on Capitol Hill. | Army Times >>

New Greatest Generation

When junior Navy officers Alex Roodhouse and Mike Taylor were leading small gunboats up and down the Euphrates River in Iraq eight years ago, they never could have imagined how their combat experience would prepare them to launch their own company. | Military Times >>

Entrepreneurs often gain experience in their field before starting a business. But valuable experience can come from other sources as well. For Daniel Kemelman, that experience came from his time in the military. | Small Business Trends >>

First Data, the global leader in payments technology and services solutions, today announced a new seven-year, $7 million commitment to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University to fund education, research, training and opportunities for transitioning veterans entering the business community. | First Data >>

War literature tends to have its own particular flavor, whether it’s the elegiac tones of World War I novels or the corrosively ironic voices that came out of Vietnam. But the extraordinary outpouring of fiction written by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan—wars that remain raw, incomplete, and ill-understood—have been markedly diverse in style, ranging from haunted lyricism (machine gunner Kevin Powers’s The Yellow Birds) to mordantly gut-wrenching (public affairs officer Phil Klay’s National Book Award–winning short stories, Redeployment). | Vogue >>

Inside Washington

The family of a man who overdosed on methadone at the Minneapolis Veterans Home in 2012 is suing the state Department of Veterans Affairs. | Associated Press >>

It was considered one of the biggest breakthroughs when Congress overhauled the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical centers last year. Veterans who have been waiting more than 30 days for an appointment or who live more than 40 miles from a VA facility could use a new “Choice Card” to seek treatment or tests from a private doctor or hospital. | The Fiscal Times >>

The VA is hiring more than 19,000 doctors, nurses and other personnel to bolster services in the wake of reform legislation passed last year. | Federal Times >>

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