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IAVA Daily News Brief – January 26, 2016

Marine Corps Sgt. Don Killian, motor transport operator with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force — Crisis Response — Central Command, monitors Alaskan barriers as they are placed on a flatbed at Al Taqaddum Air Base, Iraq. | Military Times >>

Marine Corps Sgt. Don Killian, motor transport operator with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force — Crisis Response — Central Command, monitors Alaskan barriers as they are placed on a flatbed at Al Taqaddum Air Base, Iraq. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Kevlar for the Mind: Recovering from traumatic brain injuries
Every time you turn on the TV or read the paper there seems to be a story about how tens of thousands of service members have suffered traumatic brain injuries during combat. There’s no doubt that tens if not hundreds of thousands of men and women are dealing with the aftereffects of this cruel and devastating consequence of war. | Military Times >>

The Department Of Veterans Affairs Might Be Violating Policy By Spying On Whistleblowers
The Department of Veterans Affairs may be in total violation of Office of Special Counsel (OSC) policy not to use monitoring technologies to retaliate against whistleblowers. | The Daily Caller >>

Carter Signals US Plans to Deploy More Troops to Iraq
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has again addressed the controversial issue of U.S. “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Syria, saying that more American troops would be deployed in an “enabling” role. | Military.com >>

Afghanistan

As a bloody offensive by the Taliban spreads in Afghanistan and with American combat operations there officially ended, anxious Chinese leaders find themselves under pressure to take a more active role in the long-stalled peace process, according to scholars and current and former diplomats. | New York Times >>

After months of ferocious fighting, Afghan army units battling the Taliban in southern Helmand province are facing major restructuring and leadership changes, with several key commanders being replaced, a U.S. military official said Monday. | Associated Press >>

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has promised to “bury” the so-called Islamic State (IS) militant group, whose local offshoot has clashed with government forces and Taliban fighters, in an exclusive interview. Mr Ghani said IS was “not an Afghan phenomenon” and its atrocities had “alienated the people”. | BBC News >>

Iraq

Last week, fighting between security forces and Islamic State militants in Iraq’s Anbar province continued alongside clashes across the border in neighboring Syria — where the United States and Russia could be setting up new air bases. | UPI >>

The nation’s top military officer says it’s possible U.S. troops may edge closer to the battlefield with Iraqi forces as they prepare to retake Mosul from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. told reporters Sunday that he would make recommendations to President Obama after discussions with top U.S. commanders in Iraq and Iraqi officials. | The Hill >>

An 11-year-old Christian girl who fled Iraq because her family was threatened by ISIS has become an Internet sensation after her “The Voice Kids” performance went viral. Mirna Hana, a Chaldean Christian, sang an Iraqi classic followed by “Frozen’s” “Let It Go” during her audition to an impressed group of judges on the show, which is a kids-only version of the popular televised singing contest. | Fox News >>

Military Affairs

The Army-Navy men’s basketball rivalry came within minutes of making its Madison Square Garden debut Saturday afternoon, but an impending travel ban forced the game’s postponement as more than 2 feet of snow piled up on the streets of New York City. | Army Times >>

A command and control system for all types of unmanned vehicles has been tested recently by the U.S. Navy on a submersible platform. The successful testing of the newly developed Common Control System, or CCS, took place at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport in Puget Sound, Wash., and demonstrated its ability to provide command and control to a surrogate Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle. | UPI >>

Amid the Department of Defense’s historic change to open all combat jobs to women, the Marine Corps accepted the first female applicants to the sister service branches’ special operations command (MARSOC), Military.com reports. “We’ve actively identified all the females in the Marine Corps writ large who meet all the prerequisites just like with our normal screening teams,” MARSOC Commander Major General Joseph Osterman told Military.com. | Business Insider >>

#VetsRising

They were soldiers and Marines during the Vietnam War, all of them killed in action. Now, 50 years later, five post-9/11 veterans are going through tens of thousands of dog tags, cleaning them and preparing them to be shown in an exhibit called the Above and Beyond Memorial. The exhibit will open Feb. 20 at Harold Washington Library. | DNAinfo >>

For kids in some Chicago neighborhoods, walking up and down the same street where there was a beating or a shooting or a body is just part of life — one that isn’t always talked about. That’s something the Urban Warriors program is trying to change. The YMCA of Metro Chicago project connects kids like Courtney-Clarks, who live in high-violence neighborhoods, with veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and who might understand what they’re going through. | NPR >>

When a military wife’s furnace broke down, a Pennsylvania repairman stepped in and fixed the malfunctioning unit at a huge discount. He charged her $1. “He said that the $1 was a joke and to thank my husband for his service,” Bridget Stevens wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post that has gone viral. | Fox News >>

Inside Washington

A Washington state lawmaker who served in the Arizona Air National Guard has altered his official online biography after a newspaper raised questions about medals he claimed to have earned. | Associated Press >>

The massive snowstorm that buried Washington and much of the East Coast has forced Congress to reschedule its work week, a move that will create several headaches for military planners. | Navy Times >>

Elaine Harmon was one of about 1,000 female pilots who served stateside during World War II to free up male pilots for combat. After the war, she fought to persuade Congress to recognize the women’s service and grant them veteran status and benefits. | LA Times >>

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