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IAVA Daily News Brief – January 27, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

Paul Rieckhoff talks ‘American Sniper’ on The Nightly Show
IAVA’s CEO and Founder joined host Larry Wilmore and three panelists to talk about the film ‘American Sniper,’ and veterans’ issues. | Comedy Central >>

VA: Major restructuring will streamline services, set standard regional boundaries
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced a major restructuring effort Monday to streamline its often disjointed bureaucracy by standardizing service regions in the country and increasing coordination between them.  |

Stars and Stripes >>

New Simplified Map For Veterans Affairs
Veterans Affairs Department officials who promised to simplify the agency are touting major progress after settling on a single map of the United States. | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

In his State Of The Union address, President Obama touted the end of the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan, but a new book says it could turn out to be the defining tragedy of the 21st century. | WBUR >>

Not every power seat has to be a corporate one, or even a startup one. For the world to benefit from more than 50 percent of the population’s management style and vision, we need women leaders to rise in organizations everywhere. This is why More Power Seats is proud to welcome Shoshana Stewart-Clark, CEO of Kabul-based Turquoise Mountain. | Forbes >>

President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, Lisa Monaco, visited Afghanistan over the weekend to meet with new President Ashraf Ghani and discuss the country’s security situation after the official end of the U.S. combat mission there. | The Hill >>

Iraq

The captain of Iraq’s football team Sunday urged fans to refrain from shooting in the air after celebratory gunfire reportedly wounded dozens following a victory against Iran. | Global Post >>

Iraqi forces have “liberated” Diyala province from the Islamic State jihadist group, retaking all populated areas of the eastern region, a top army officer said on Monday. | Yahoo! News >>

Seven months into the takeover of Iraq’s second-largest city by Islamist extremists, electricity, rice, flour and medical supplies are dwindling. The water is mucky. Religious minorities are confined to prison camps, and the overwhelmingly Muslim population of Mosul is subject to strict and increasingly arbitrary religious rules. | Los Angeles Times >>

Military Affairs

He did two tours in Iraq, but it wasn’t until he came home that Sen. David Knezek lost a buddy from his unit.The man committed suicide. | Lansing State Journal >>

Bases stateside will be seeing tighter security for non-Defense Department visitors this year as more resources become available for bases to conduct background checks. |  Military Times >>

For the Pentagon, drones are cheaper to buy and to operate than regular fighter jets. An armed MQ-9 Reaper drone runs about $14 million, compared to $180 million or more for an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. But unlike barrel-rolling a jet, the business of actually operating a unmanned aerial vehicle, UAV, for the military is lonely, thankless, and incredibly difficult. | Defense One >>

A government-issued pill intended to protect troops from nerve agents may have made some troops more vulnerable to a chronic condition marked by headaches, cognitive problems, pain and fatigue, researchers say. | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review >>

New Greatest Generation

Now almost a week removed from its release date, American Sniper has sparked controversy that has all but surpassed its record-breaking box office earnings. American Sniper marks the biggest January weekend ever — and the second highest R-rated debut behind The Matrix Reloaded at $91.7 million. | Huffington Post >>

As a veteran returning from Iraq, it took a while for Shaun Garry to get back on his feet. After four years struggling to find work and accumulating $30,000 in debt, Garry heard about 2Toots from a fellow veteran. The train-themed restaurant concept was like nothing he had heard of before. Even better, 2Toots was searching for veteran franchisees. 2Toots wants to become the first predominantly veteran owner-operator franchise in the U.S. Here’s how Garry and 2Toots are working together to achieve business success. | Entrepreneur >>

A couple of former Arizona State University football stars are expected to take part in A Tribute to Heroes, Game of Honor, a charity flag-football game between the Wounded Warriors Amputee Football Team and NFL Alumni on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix. | AZCentral.com >>

Inside Washington

During his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress “to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant].” The White House has claimed repeatedly that such an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) is not legally required because the president already has the authority to conduct operations “against Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces” as provided in the 2001 AUMF. | Defense One >>
The Senate Finance Committee will consider its first piece of legislation of the new Congress on Wednesday, marking up a bipartisan measure to incentivize the hiring of veterans and tweak ObamaCare. | The Hill >>

Air Force veteran and congressman Adam Kinzinger said Sunday that “American Sniper,” the Oscar-nominated film that’s packed theaters while reigniting the nation’s culture wars, is the most authentic depiction of the Iraq conflict that he’s seen. | Washington Times >>

Virginia House Republicans are pushing the state to build two 230-bed nursing care facilities for veterans in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. |  Washington Post >>

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