Donate

IAVA Daily News Brief – February 23, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

VA suicide hotline film wins Oscar
A film that turned the camera lens on those who work behind the scenes to keep veterans from committing suicide took home an Academy Award on Sunday night. As the feature film “American Sniper” stole headlines and has grossed more than $428 million worldwide, a small documentary short, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” touched Academy members with its riveting portrayal of the employees who staff the VA’s suicide hotline in Canandaigua, New.
| Military Times >>

VA offers millions in grants to help homeless veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs has made $300 million in grants available to community organizations fighting veterans homelessness, officials said. The grants are available to nonprofit organizations and other groups that serve veterans through the VA’s Support Services for Veteran Families program. | Associated Press >>

MTP Follow-Up: Sec. McDonald ‘Misspoke’
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald’s appearance on ‘Meet the Press’ last week has gotten a fair amount of attention because of something he told Chuck Todd. Namely, that 60 people have been fired from the department for their role in the wait times scandal that caused former General Eric Shinseki to resign from that post last year. | NBC News >>

Afghanistan

Four days into his tenure as defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday morning and opened up the possibility of slowing the withdrawal of the last American troops in the country to help keep the Taliban at bay. | New York Times >>

After more than a decade of warfare, negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban are set to begin, officials, diplomats and experts said as President Ashraf Ghani declared that peace is closer now than at any time since the war began following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. | New York Post >>

“Green on Blue” tells the story of the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of an Afghan orphan. NPR’s; Rachel Martin speaks to the unlikely author: Elliot Ackerman, a former U.S. marine. | NPR >>

Iraq

Looking to take back a city that has high strategic and symbolic value, the Iraqi military will launch an offensive against fighters from the self-proclaimed Islamic State in the coming months, a senior U.S. military official says. | NPR >>

ISIS has released a new propaganda video showing what appears to be Kurdish Peshmerga fighters paraded down Iraqi streets in cages. The video features a man saying the Peshmerga soldiers were captured by ISIS. | CNN >>

The US-led coalition staged six air strikes against Islamic State (Isis) targets in Syria and Iraq in the past 24 hours, the Combined Joint Task Force said on Saturday morning. | The Guardian >>

Military Affairs

The U.S. military’s Operation Atlantic Resolve will expand into Romania and Bulgaria beginning in late March amid continued fighting and increased tensions in the region. | Army Times >>

The Army could remove the bulk of its forces in Alaska under cost-saving plans that will cut active-duty ranks by tens of thousands of troops, the military said. | Stars and Stripes >>

Picking up on the danger signs for someone considering suicide is very difficult, even for therapists, says Carrie Elk, a certified trauma expert specializing in military mental health. “We can only go with what the person reports and presents to you,” says Elk, founder of the Elk Institute for Psychological Health & Performance. | Tampa Bay Tribune >>

New Greatest Generation

The public has a clear favorite heading into the Academy Awards on Sunday night: “American Sniper.” Many more people named the movie — a biographical drama about a Navy SEAL, starring Bradley Cooper — as the best they had seen in the past year than named any other, according to a survey conducted for The Upshot using Google Consumer Surveys. | New York Times >>

Since 2006, Jennifer Karady has been making elaborately staged portraits of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Neither a journalist nor a documentary photographer, the Brooklyn-based artist invites us to think differently about war by using photography to bring some of its consequences — and otherwise invisible realities — into sharp focus. | Los Angeles Times >>

Marine veteran Staff Sgt. Charlie Linville isn’t letting the partial amputation of his right leg stop him from reaching the summit of Mount Everest this spring — and when he gets there, he will plant a flag bearing the names of those who died in Iraq and Afghanistan and bow his head. | Marine Corps Times >>

Inside Washington

Video: Here’s why a veterans suicide prevention bill is so crucial. | MSNBC >>

Far fewer veterans than expected are taking advantage of a new law aimed at making it easier for them to get private health care and avoid the long waits that have plagued Department of Veterans Affairs facilities nationwide. | Fox News >>

The Oakland office of Veterans Affairs improperly filed and then lost about 14,000 unprocessed veterans benefit claims, some dating back to the 1990s, a federal government investigation found. | Associated Press >>

We help transitioning veterans receive their benefits.

Help us serve more than 2,000 vets this year