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IAVA Daily News Brief – March 16, 2016

Seaman Conor Magill, a buoy deck crewmember aboard the Coast Guard cutter Katherine Walker, cuts chain with a torch aboard the cutter while transiting the New York Harbor. Petty Officer 3rd Class Frank Iannazzo-Simmons/Coast Guard | Military Times >>

Seaman Conor Magill, a buoy deck crewmember aboard the Coast Guard cutter Katherine Walker, cuts chain with a torch aboard the cutter while transiting the New York Harbor. Petty Officer 3rd Class Frank Iannazzo-Simmons/Coast Guard | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

When It Comes to Burn Pits, Veterans Might Be On Their Own
As Congress defunds research into the health effects of burn pits, veterans are forced to be their own advocates. By now you’ve probably heard of former Marine and Army Sergeant Joseph Hickman’s new incendiary book, “The Burn Pits: The Poisoning of America’s Soldiers.” It’s a provocative look behind the massive burn pits of Iraq and Afghanistan, detailing a chilling history of sickness and systemic neglect from higher ups. | Task & Purpose >>

VA reprimands DeVry University based on federal lawsuit, GI Bill complaints
The Veterans Affairs Department today reprimanded DeVry University, largely over allegations of deceptive marketing made by the Federal Trade Commission, but the institution fired back, saying the move is based on unproven claims still being litigated. | Military Times >>

8 Great Jobs For Veterans In 2016 (And What They Pay)
Job search info site, CareerCast.com, just completed an analysis that shows which positions were very well suited to former military personnel looking for new careers. Referencing careers tracked in its Jobs Rated report, high-employment sectors per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and top hiring companies of veterans, CareerCast.com spotlighted eight professions for servicemen and women transitioning to the civilian workforce. | Forbes >>

Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s president said Tuesday that Islamic State militants are “on the run” following a massive military operation that included elite commando units in remote districts on the border with Pakistan. | Associated Press >>

A senior American general has proposed resuming offensive strikes against the Taliban, exposing a rift between the military and senior administration officials over the U.S. role in the war in Afghanistan, according to military officials. | Washington Post >>

Pakistani officials threatened to expel Afghanistan’s Taliban from bases in Pakistan if they did not join peace talks this month, but the militants rebuffed their traditional patron, two officials said, casting doubt on how much influence Islamabad retains over them. | Reuters >>

Iraq

A Virginia man who surrendered to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Iraq on Monday is believed to be the the first U.S. citizen captured on the battlefield after joining ISIS. But it’s not clear that U.S. authorities will seek to extradite him, or that the Iraqi government would be willing to turn him over. | Daily Beast >>

Terrified residents were fleeing the Iraqi town of Hit as security forces closed in Tuesday and jihadist fighters hunkered down to defend one of their main bastions in Anbar province. | AFP >>

Iraq’s embattled military chiefs announced they will try to impose conscription for the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The draft law would be sent to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the country’s parliament for approval. | NBC News >>

Military Affairs

A Republican lawmaker said Monday he’s been assured the Navy has resolved a procedural glitch that caused combat rifles used by SEAL teams based in San Diego to be taken from them unnecessarily. | Fox News >>

The Air Force is still relying on tens of thousands of airmen to carry out its mission overseas — but the type of airmen being deployed is changing greatly. The number of airmen deployed last year has dropped from fiscal 2013, according to statistics provided by the Air Force Personnel Center. | Air Force Times >>

The Army is rethinking how it will conduct Network Integration Evaluations (NIE) in the future as it reduces in size and works with a smaller budget top line, according to the military deputy to the Army’s acquisition chief. | Defense News >>

#VetsRising

Homegrown by Heroes is a branding tool sponsored by the Farmer Veteran Coalition, which began in 2009 in California. The coalition’s membership has grown to 7,000 veterans in the organization, with 410 participating in the Homegrown By Heroes program. Those who are part of Homegrown by Heroes receive labels for their products that mark the product as something grown by veterans. | Meadville Tribune >>

The MusiCorps Band is a conservatory-level music rehabilitation program in response to the crisis of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The program was established at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007 by founder Arthur Bloom, a composer. Bloom got the idea visiting a soldier at the facility who had lost his leg in a roadside bomb and wanted to know if he could ever play the drums again. | Headline & Global News >>

In Tobin Stokes’ “Fallujah,” said to be the first opera written about the Iraq war and given its premiere by Long Beach Opera over the weekend, U.S. Marines and Iraqis alike know that “war made me,” a refrain that haunts Heather Raffo’s potent libretto. But these are ultimately victims caught up in a chain of events they can neither comprehend nor control, only make worse. | LA Times >>

Inside Washington

The 120,000-square-foot Eugene Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic opened its doors to veterans on Jan. 25 after a grand opening ceremony. The Roseburg VA Healthcare System, which manages the facility and clinic, announced the availability of a number of new medical services. But a closer look reveals that some important services are being neglected. | The Register-Guard >>

Military service members favor two surprising presidential candidates among the six still campaigning. According to a survey of about 1,000 members of the military conducted by the Military Times, 27 percent of respondents chose real estate mogul Donald Trump and 22 percent chose Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) when asked their favorite among the six candidates still in the race. | Huffington Post >>

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and several of his colleagues have introduced legislation aimed at ensuring veterans have access to the mental health care treatment they need. The issue has been thrust to the forefront as more veterans with obvious medical histories of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries have been improperly discharged for minor misconduct rather than receiving a medical discharge or being retained in the military for treatment and rehabilitation. | Minneapolis Star Tribune >>

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