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IAVA Daily News Brief – January 11, 2016

An Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon over Afghanistan in support of the Resolute Support mission. | Military Times >>

An Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon over Afghanistan in support of the Resolute Support mission. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Reforms to military retirement will pay off for troops and taxpayers
With good news a rarity in a gridlocked Washington these days, you may have overlooked a positive development at the end of last year when Congress passed a historic overhaul of the outdated military retirement system. | The Hill >>

Army announces Iraq, Afghanistan deployments for 1,800 soldiers
About 1,800 soldiers from two separate units will deploy to the war zone in the coming months, the Army announced Friday. About 1,300 soldiers will deploy to Iraq this spring to support Operation Inherent Resolve. The other 500 soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. | Army Times >>

VA ‘presumption’ regulation could help up to 15K Camp Lejeune veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs expects up to 15,000 seriously ill veterans who served at Camp Lejeune, N.C., before 1988, when base drinking water was contaminated, to be helped by a faster-track compensation process proposed last month. | Stars and Stripes >>

Afghanistan

Afghan forces are struggling to man the front lines against a resurgent Taliban, in part because of untold numbers of “ghost” troops who are paid salaries but only exist on paper. | CBS News >>

It has been a difficult week in Afghanistan for U.S. troops. A team of Green Berets working alongside an Afghan military unit in the violent district of Marja was attacked on Tuesday, leading to the death of one Special Forces soldier and wounds for two more. | Washington Post >>

Afghan officials have opened a new drug treatment center in an abandoned NATO military base in Kabul, in the latest attempt to stamp out the country’s massive problem of drug abuse. | Reuters >>

Iraq

Clashes between a joint Turkish-Iraqi force and Islamic State militants near a training camp outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul have left at least 18 IS fighters dead, the Turkish president and a former Iraqi governor said Friday. | Associated Press >>

An attempted attack by Islamic State on a military base in northern Iraq shows Turkey’s decision to deploy troops there was justified, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, suggesting Russia was stirring up a row over the issue. | Reuters >>

The second deputy of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed during an Iraqi air force strike in the city of Barwana, just east of Haditha, the Iraqi military said Saturday. Assi Ali Mohammed Nasser al-Obeidi was a top ISIS military commander in western Iraq and eastern Syria, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said. | CNN >>

Military Affairs

One of the prime attributes of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers is the design’s 78-megawatt integrated power system, able to switch electrical power between propulsion, sensor and weapon systems. It’s long been touted as the best platform to field new energy-gobbling weapons like rail guns and lasers. | Military Times >>

One of the Navy’s high-speed catamarans has arrived in Spain for a four-month deployment to African waters. The USNS Spearhead is a first-in-class Expeditionary Fast Transport Vessel, a 2,500-ton aluminum catamaran designed to move people and cargo quickly between foreign shores. The Navy has received four of a planned 10 catamarans to date. | Stars and Stripes >>

The Army’s active component shrank by nearly 1,600 soldiers in November, bringing personnel strength for the second month of this fiscal year to 487,134 troopers, some 12,100 shy of the drawdown goal for 2016 of 475,000. | Army Times >>

#VetsRising

This week at the annual conference for Student Veterans of America in Orlando, thousands of student veterans will also use this time to address the unique challenges of transitioning from the military to college and a career. | Orlando Sentinel >>

Chopper is going to have a big job to do. But first he needs to learn how to sit. The 17-week-old, golden retriever and Maremma sheepdog mix, will become a comfort dog for a Vermont Air National Guard veteran through the Blue Star Mothers of Vermont service dog program. Before he joins his veteran, Chopper will live and learn with the Kerstetter family in Ira. | The Barre Montpelier Times Argus >>

Army medic Rachael Rodgers was among more than three dozen military personnel who participated in the 2016 Soldier Ride in the Florida Keys, many used specially adapted bicycles for riders who had lost one or more limbs. | Associated Press >>

Inside Washington

An internal investigation by the U.S. Veterans Affairs department has found that the San Diego VA system botched its care of former Camp Pendleton Marine Jeremy Sears, who killed himself at an Oceanside gun range in October 2014. | San Diego Union-Tribune >>

Federal officials for the first time will extend veterans housing grants to 26 Native American tribes, a move that could speed finding shelter for this previously underserved community. | Military Times >>

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday two high-ranking officials were finally demoted in response to a federal probe that found they manipulated the agency’s personnel system for their own gain, but a key lawmaker is asking why they weren’t prosecuted. | Fox News >>

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