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IAVA Daily News Brief – July 9, 2015

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 negotiate obstacles during their inaugural Ironman Challenge at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. | Military Times >>

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 negotiate obstacles during their inaugural Ironman Challenge at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Congress OKs new ID cards for all veterans
Congress on Tuesday approved plans to offer new veteran ID cards to honorably discharged service members, in an effort to more easily prove their military service. | Military Times >>

How Government Coaches Can Help Veterans With Their Money
To help service members with those struggles, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently launched a Financial Coaching Initiative aimed at the 250,000 service members who leave active duty every year and other vulnerable consumers. Based out of job centers and nonprofits around the country, 60 financial coaches are available to meet with veterans to help them get on top of their finances. | U.S. News & World Report >>

Suicide Attempts Most Common in Newer Soldiers, Study Finds
War-time suicide attempts in the Army are most common in newer enlisted soldiers who have not been deployed, while officers are less likely to try to end their lives. At both levels, attempts are more common among women and those without a high school diploma, according to a study billed as the most comprehensive analysis of a problem that has plagued the U.S. military in recent years. | Yahoo News >>

Afghanistan

Pakistan said Wednesday that the first official face-to-face discussions between Afghan government officials and the Taliban have made progress, with the two sides agreeing at a meeting near Islamabad to work on confidence-building measures and hold more such talks after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. | Associated Press >>

David Petraeus, former CIA director and retired Army general, urged President Obama in an op-ed Wednesday to reconsider his plan to withdraw most U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year. | The Hill >>

Two drone strikes targeted militants loyal to Islamic State in Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing between 25 and 49 insurgents, according to differing estimates by Afghan and foreign officials. | Reuters >>

Iraq

An Iraqi court sentenced 24 militants to death Wednesday over the killing of hundreds of mainly Shiite soldiers during an ISIS offensive in northern Iraq last year. | NBC News >>

U.S. aircraft are coming back from most combat missions in Iraq without dropping any bombs, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said Tuesday. | Air Force Times >>

Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina and GOP presidential hopeful, said he would increase the U.S. military presence in Iraq to about 10,000 troops if elected to the office. | Military.com >>

Military Affairs

The Army plans to cut 40,000 soldiers from its ranks over the next two years, a reduction that will affect virtually all its domestic and foreign posts, the service asserts in a document obtained by USA Today. | USA Today >>

Defense Secretary Ash Carter this week promised continued U.S. airlift and air refueling support for French aircraft battling extremists in Mali. | Air Force Times >>

A virtual training range developed for the Marine Corps to prepare troops for cyber operations has been adapted to do everything from prepare for offensive actions to secure networks defensively against hacking threats like the Heartbleed security bug, Marine officials said. | Washington Post >>

#VetsRising

WDBJ 7 caught up with Marine Corps veteran Toran Gaal in Lexington on Wednesday. Gaal lost both of his legs in 2011 while serving in Afghanistan. He’s been traveling across the country on a hand-cycle since June 1. | WDBJ 7 >>

Inspired by the story of “Lone Survivor,” Labs for Liberty was established by Joan Nold, who started the organization with a desire to give back to American veterans who have made incredible sacrifices. | Salt Lake Magazine >>

A U.S. Navy veteran on a mission to swim the Mississippi stopped at Camp Ripley Tuesday to meet with some of the families his trek aims to honor. | Grand Forks Herald >>

Inside Washington

Acknowledging the “crisis” last year over long patient wait times, the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs said the agency is “making progress, we’re making improvements, but we’re not where we need to be yet.” | The Honolulu Star-Advisor >>

Defense spending is always one of the largest spending categories in the Federal budget. According to USGovernmentSpending.com, defense spending will account for 21-22% in spending in fiscal year 2015. That percentage is topped only by health care costs (27%) and pensions (26%). | Fox News >>

Genetic and health data will play a large role in new studies by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to better understand some of the most pressing chronic illnesses veterans face. The four new studies will focus on heart disease, kidney disease and substance use, according to an announcement from the VA. | Fierce Health IT >>

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