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IAVA Daily News Brief – June 23, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 4.11.29 PMArmy paratroopers with 82nd Airborne Division provide security after jumping onto Point Denis drop zone in Gabon on June 20. Paratroopers are supporting U.S. Army Africa’s exercise Central Accord 2016, an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operations. Staff Sgt. Candace Mundt/Army. | Military Times >>

Today’s Top Stories

The VA already has to review its suicide prevention and mental health programs annually under the Clay Hunt SAV Act. The Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act requires the VA to produce separate data and statistics on female veterans. “The current rate of suicide among women veterans is heartbreaking and unacceptable,” Boxer said in a statement. | Los Angeles Times >>

While an ongoing battle over how the Department of Veterans Affairs best holds its employees accountable wages on Capitol Hill, VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David Shulkin sought to show what reform progress has already been made. “In my view, VA has always had really excellent strategy,” he said. “Our problem has really been in execution of the strategy, so that’s where our focus has been this past year.” | Federal Times >>

Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals in Texas improperly manipulated patient appointment scheduling data last year in a manner much like that which led to systemwide investigations in 2014, the department’s watchdog said Monday. | Wall Street Journal >>

Iraq and Afghanistan

Long before Falluja was known the world over for deadly jihadists, it was known all over Iraq for its kebab — fatty lamb, ground and mixed with onion, grilled on a skewer over an open fire and served with a pinch of sumac — at a joint called Haji Hussein. Everyone, it seemed, ate at Haji Hussein: locals, soldiers, tourists and businessmen traveling the Baghdad-to-Amman highway that runs through the city. | New York Times >>

An Afghan official says a roadside bombing in the country’s east has killed a traffic policeman and a civilian. Deputy police chief of Nangarhar province, Abass Sadat, says the explosion took place in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, on Wednesday. He says the explosion also wounded two civilians. | Associated Press >>

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees issued a direct appeal to the U.S. on Tuesday, requesting $17.5 million to help “meet the immediate needs of more than 85,000 people who have fled the embattled city in the past month.” The U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund has already sent $15 million dollars to the region after Islamic State forces flooded the city. | Washington Examiner >>

Military Affairs

At an “organ summit” held June 13 at the White House, surgeons from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, announced a first-of-its-kind program that will transfer a kidney from a deceased donor into an ill patient who has a designated living donor, but who can’t receive his or her kidney because it is not an exact match. | Military Times >>

“In hindsight, it was a misstep for the USMC to not have purchased the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, but only because the F-35 has seen such extensive delays and complications in production,” Omar Lamrani, senior military analyst for global intelligence firm Stratfor told FoxNews.com. “If the F-35 had entered production as originally scheduled and at the expected price, then the USMC would have been able to successfully transition straight from the F/A-18 Hornets to the F-35.” | Fox News >>

Lead staff for the Senate and House armed services committees are readying for what is likely a summer-long conference process to reconcile differing defense policy bills, where the toughest issues are said to be funding, military health care reform and acquisition reforms. | Defense News >>

#VetsRising

“Veterans are comfortable operating in high-pressure environments that are changing rapidly, where they’re constantly forced to make decisions with incomplete information,” said Zachary Scheel, a former civil engineer for the United States Navy and a co-founder of a construction technology start-up, Rhumbix. | New York Times >>

Some pushed one leg in front of the other, rigid little robots just trying to stay upright. Others waved their sticks at pucks, sometimes hitting them, sometimes whiffing. A small boy melted into tears each time his father gently placed the helmet cage over his head. All of it swirled around Rich Garrison, the leader of this most unusual hockey team. He knelt at the ice’s edge, determined to get a 9-year-old ready for practice. | USA Today >>

On June 1, Reid Meyer, an eight-year veteran Marine, responded in person to a local veteran struggling with thoughts of suicide. That’s not unusual; pretty much any military veteran would do the same. What is out of the ordinary is how he wound up on that mission and what he did afterward. | The Herald- Tribune >>

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