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IAVA Daily News Brief – June 4, 2015

Landing Craft, Air Cushion 60 lands on the beach in Virginia Beach, Va. | Military Times >>

Landing Craft, Air Cushion 60 lands on the beach in Virginia Beach, Va. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

In Vegas, VA chief pitches end to homelessness among vets
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald and two other White House cabinet members made a pitch Tuesday in Las Vegas to end homelessness among veterans, a long-sought goal of the Obama administration. | Las Vegas Review-Journal >>

VA Whistleblower Reports Intimidation After Revealing Billions In Illegal Healthcare Spending
Jan R. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics at the Department of Veterans Affairs broke the silence on billions spent illegally to purchase non-VA health care Monday. Like other whistleblowers, Frye has suffered retaliation. | Daily Caller >>

What It Will Really Take To End Vet Homelessness By The End Of The Year
Much to the fanfare of VA officials, a fourth U.S. city announced on Monday that it has ended chronic veteran homelessness. But while skeptical advocates welcome the progress, they say other cities won’t follow suit fast enough to meet the looming deadline. | Huffington Post >>

Afghanistan

Gunmen barged into the compound of an aid agency in northern Afghanistan early Tuesday, killing nine workers before fleeing, officials said. | New York Times >>

Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, is the one of the last oases of calm in the war-torn country. But that is increasingly coming under threat. As a resurgent Taliban make their most intense push in recent years in the northern provinces of Afghanistan, residents here are worrying about war spilling into their city. | Reuters >>

Militants attacked a remote guesthouse and killed nine Afghans working for a Czech charity on Tuesday, as a new report by a U.S. university warned that almost 100,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. | Associated Press >>

Iraq

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants said Tuesday it has a winning plan in Iraq despite recent setbacks, including the fall of Ramadi last month. | USA Today >>

Western and Arab states carrying out air strikes on Islamic State fighters backed on Tuesday Iraq’s plan to retake territory from the jihadist movement after being accused by the Iraqi premier of not doing enough to help Baghdad push back the insurgents. | Reuters >>

As U.S., European and Middle Eastern officials gathered in Paris on Tuesday to discuss how to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Iraq’s Prime Minister told reporters that hundreds of crack foreign fighters had flooded into Iraq in recent weeks to join ISIS. | TIME >>

Military Affairs

Batman better get his act together if he wants to keep up with the US Army. It’s now testing a tiny and arguably kind of creepy new tool designed to deploy directly from a utility belt — mini surveillance drones. | CNET >>

The Army, which is making a concerted push to recruit and retain cyber warriors, is for the first time offering selective retention bonus specifically to cyber personnel. | Defense Systems >>

The College Football Playoff is considering a workaround for Navy regarding bowl placement as the academy enters its first season in a conference, multiple sources have told CBSSports.com. | CBS Sports >>

#VetsRising

A San Diego-area veteran who lost both of his legs while fighting in Afghanistan is hand-cycling to Arlington, Virginia, on a 52-day journey to raise money for charity. Toran Gaal, of Escondido, started his journey Monday in downtown San Diego for his Ride Across America. | NBC San Diego >>

Meet an up-and-coming country music star who is on a mission to help our troops. His name is Joey James of Dallas, and he is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He served on board the USS Abraham Lincoln during Iraqi Freedom. | Dallas Morning News >>

Marine veteran George Hood held a record-breaking abdominal plank for more than five hours on Saturday while also raising money for a veterans’ charity, NBC San Diego reports. | We Are The Mighty >>

Inside Washington

House appropriators want to reinforce Congress’ importance in authorizing military intervention in the Middle East, even if so far lawmakers have done little on the issue. | Military Times >>

Top officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledged to House lawmakers Tuesday that they have been spending billions of dollars a year on private medical care for veterans without contracts, and said it would be too costly and cumbersome to put them in place. | Washington Post >>

Colorado lawmakers are urging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to submit a plan “as soon as possible” that would spell out how the agency would pay for a troubled VA hospital project in Aurora, which is over-budget by hundreds of millions of dollars and at risk of running out of money this month. | The Denver Post >>

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