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IAVA Daily News Brief – July 8, 2015

An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat squadron 25 positions itself to pick up cargo from the the fleet replenishment oiler Tippecanoe during a vertical replenishment on Sunday onboard the amphibious dock landing ship Ashland. | Military Times >>

An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat squadron 25 positions itself to pick up cargo from the the fleet replenishment oiler Tippecanoe during a vertical replenishment on Sunday onboard the amphibious dock landing ship Ashland. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

D.C., Chicago in Dead Heat Over Veteran Homelessness
Two of the country’s most politically savvy and competitive cities are now in a tight race to end veteran homelessness by the end of the year. In the nation’s capital, a small group of advocates is shaking things up on the ground and energizing city decision makers and service providers to get to the finish line on time. Before Chicago, that is. | Huffington Post >>

Blinded veterans say not enough research money goes toward vision injuries
Even though eye wounds are the second most common combat injury in recent years behind hearing loss, a disproportionate amount of research money goes to prosthetics for soldiers who have lost limbs and studies on traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, said Mr. Zampieri, a board member of the Blind Veterans Association in Washington D.C. | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette >>

New rule will help stop for-profit colleges money grab
On July 1, the Department of Education’s long awaited “gainful employment” regulation finally took effect. This rule – which protects students at for-profit colleges from abusive and deceptive practices – is a welcome improvement to a sector that has routinely preyed on veterans, minorities, and the poor. | The Hill >>

Afghanistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday he had sent a delegation to Pakistan to meet Taliban representatives, his first acknowledgement of official talks with insurgents who are fighting to topple the government in Kabul. | Reuters >>

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has made inroads in Afghanistan as U.S. troops have drawn back from remote areas of the country to larger bases near major cities. U.S. and Afghan officials say ISIS is now in three provinces in Afghanistan, and over the weekend, Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar announced he would support ISIS. | The Hill >>

McCain criticizes withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan: Sen. John McCain said the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 would be a “serious mistake,” Defense News reports. | Washington Post >>

Iraq

New day, old tensions. For the first time in months, there’s some real tension building over where the U.S.-led coalition should focus bombing efforts in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. | Foreign Policy >>

Hundreds of Sunni fighters are being trained to fight against the Islamic State by U.S. advisers who recently deployed to Al Taqaddum Air Base in Iraq, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told lawmakers on Tuesday. | Washington Times >>

Reggae music star Shaggy has a plan to defeat ISIS terrorists, and it involves a lot of weed and reggae music. The man behind “Boombastic” was asked how to counter the terrible band of murderous militants in Iraq and Syria in a recent interview in the Miami New Times, and he certainly delivered. | We Are The Mighty >>

Military Affairs

Imagine an MRAP with a robotic arm and a 3-kilowatt laser, which the user aims and fires using a PlayStation 4-like controller. It may sound like the fever dream of a weapons designer, or the result of a video game cheat code, but the RADBO vehicle — short for Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordnance — is very real, developed by the Air Force to clear unexploded bombs from runways, and modified and tested with help from Army officials at Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal. | Army Times >>

The Navy’s Energy Training & Education Plan was formally approved July 2 by Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations, & Environment) Dennis McGinn, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower & Reserve Affairs) Anne Davis, and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics Vice Adm. Philip H. Cullom (N4). This signifies a major step toward Secretary Mabus’ goal of enhancing energy training for all levels of Navy leadership. | Military.com >>

Federal authorities are investigating a midair collision over South Carolina involving an Air Force fighter jet and a small civilian plane. The two planes that collided Tuesday morning were an F-16 fighter and a Cessna 150, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which said it is investigating the collision. | Washington Post >>

#VetsRising

Chad Pfeifer turned to golf as part of his recovery and healing after he lost his left leg above the knee while serving in Iraq. It has taken him one step below the PGA Tour. | Associated Press >>

The Humane Society of Tennessee Valley has launched a new program that teaches veterans how to train shelter dogs. The goal of “Heroes and Hounds” is to help prepare the animals for adoption and veterans adjust to life back home. | WATE 6 ABC >>

Steve Buchanan leveraged his business skills and military training to develop ChooseVets, an online marketplace that connects veterans with valuable work opportunities. | Task & Purpose >>

Inside Washington

Investigators have finished a probe expected to identify the employees responsible for pervasive problems at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs benefits office, but say they aren’t releasing the findings while the agency is considering disciplinary action. | Philadelphia Inquirer >>

Looking into a complaint filed last year, the Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General found that the Pittsburgh VA “occasionally” delayed reporting test results for patients suspected of having Legionnaires’ disease, but the delay did not affect treatment. | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette >>

America’s top two military leaders on Tuesday defended President Barack Obama’s strategy to defeat Islamic State militants amid blistering criticism from Republican senators who argued that the administration’s program to train and equip thousands of moderate Syrian rebels is faltering. | Associated Press >>

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