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IAVA Daily News Brief – June 13, 2017

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Today’s Top Stories 

After a record-low unemployment rate in April, the percentage of unemployed post-9/11 veterans ticked up again in May. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.6 percent of post-9/11 veterans were unemployed last month, compared to 3.9 percent in April – the lowest on record. Meanwhile, 4 percent of nonveterans were unemployed in May. | Military Times >>

“More than 25 percent of respondents had to contact the VA facility between two and five times to schedule their appointment,” Rice’s office said. “Roughly 13 to 18 percent of those who tried making an appointment at a VA medical center were unable to schedule one, depending on the facility.” | Washington Examiner >>

Jim Sampsel, a lead analyst within the Department of Veterans Affairs’ compensation service, told a VA advisory committee in March that he believes much of the renewed attention to Agent Orange – used during the Vietnam war to kill brush and deny cover to enemy troops — is the result of media “hype” and “hysteria,” according to a transcript of the meeting released to ProPublica. | Stars and Stripes >>

Iraq and Afghanistan

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have pushed toward a medical complex in western Mosul, trying to dislodge Islamic State militants from two neighborhoods they still partly hold outside the Old City. Brig. Gen. Mustafa al-Azzawi of the Iraqi army’s 36th Brigade told The Associated Press on Monday that his forces had established a foothold at the edge of the medical complex, overcoming heavy resistance. | Stars and Stripes >>

The attack happened in Nangarhar Province, the same area where three U.S. Army soldiers were killed and one was wounded over the weekend. The Taliban claimed responsibility for that incident, which is believed to have been an insider attack perpetrated by an Afghan army soldier. | ABC News >>

The gruesome remains were among at least 26 blindfolded and handcuffed bodies found in government-held areas in and around Mosul, Human Rights Watch said in a report last week, in what it concluded were extrajudicial killings probably carried out by government forces since the start of the operation to retake the city from Islamic State in October. | Los Angeles Times >>

Military Affairs

“We are combining Boeing’s preeminent [unmanned underwater vehicle] maritime engineering team with our nation’s leading shipbuilder and Navy technical services company to get operational vehicles to the Navy years ahead of the standard acquisition process,” said Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works. | Navy Times >>

Introduced in late-May, the proposal calls for removing eligibility limits on the dollar-for-dollar contributions that will be made to troops’ 401(k)-style investment accounts, a key feature of the Defense Department’s new “blended” retirement plan. Current rules halt those payments once personnel reach 26 years of service. By lifting that cap, careerists who ascend to the military’s senior-most ranks could collect tens of thousands of dollars in additional retirement savings depending on the stock market’s performance over time.  | Military Times >>

U.S. forces, in cooperation with the Somalia government, are “conducting operations against al-Shabab in Somalia to degrade the al-Qaida affiliate’s ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in America,” AFRICOM said in a statement. | Military.com >>

#VetsRising

Growing up on a 15-acre family farm in central California, Morgan Boyd never dreamed of a career in agriculture. He recalled harvesting corn by hand in the sweltering heat in the Huasna Valley and hawking produce at farmer’s markets around San Luis Obispo County. | Military.com >>

When he’s riding horses, Cody Beach doesn’t remember the bullets flying past him, or the explosions that caused him to lose 80 percent of his hearing. It’s the only time he can truly relax. Beach is one of about 20 veterans who commute from Lincoln to Hickman to participate in horse-assisted therapy at Guide to the Soul Equitherapy. Owners Jana Christensen Bauman and Tony Bauman provide free sessions to veterans and anyone in need. | Lincoln Journal Star >>

The civilian job market is always changing, but one thing will remain constant: businesses will always need savvy employees to manage their finances. If you’re looking for an industry that offers endless opportunities and room for growth, then consider breaking into the financial job market. | Task and Purpose >>

 

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