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IAVA Daily News Brief – March 18, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

Revamped website examines health care challenges veterans face at home
Today Knight grantee Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) launched a new version of its The Wait We Carry website. The tool takes government data about veteran disability claims, wait times in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, and more, and presents the information in a way that’s easy to see and use. | Knight Foundation >>

VA, Congress trade barbs over trust, transparency
A year after the Veterans Affairs Department was rocked by findings of hidden patient wait lists and manipulated records, House Republicans are accusing the department’s new leadership of doing little to fix the transparency problems. | Military Times >>

VA watchdog overhauls policies on investigative reports
The chief watchdog at the Veterans Affairs Department is overhauling its policies for making public the findings of dozens of investigations into veterans’ health care. | USA Today >>

Afghanistan

The top U.N. envoy in Afghanistan said Monday that recent reports indicate the Islamic State extremist group has established a foothold in Afghanistan, a view echoed by Russia which urged the Security Council to stop its expansion. | Associated Press >>

Afghanistan hasn’t been able to bring the Taliban into peace negotiations ahead of President Ashraf Ghani’s planned visit to the White House next week, officials said, depriving the Afghan leader of a pivotal achievement ahead of the visit. | Wall Street Journal >>

Rahimullah used to be a farmer — just a “normal person living an ordinary life,” as he put it. Then he formed his own militia last year and found himself swept up in America’s exit strategy from Afghanistan. | New York Times >>

Iraq

Iran has deployed advanced rockets and missiles to Iraq to help fight the Islamic State in Tikrit, a significant escalation of firepower and another sign of Iran’s growing influence in Iraq. | New York Times >>

The commander is proud of his fighters and of the ground they’ve taken from ISIS. He points across a huge new front line in northern Iraq and says “this was all ISIS territory and now it’s ours; Peshmerga.” | NBC News >>

President Barack Obama is calling the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria an “unintended consequence” of the United States invading Iraq in 2003. | CBS >>

Military Affairs

U.S. Army Europe’s Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges has selected Command Sgt. Major Sheryl Lyon as the next senior enlisted leader for U.S. Army Europe, breaking new ground for a position that until now has always been held by male combat arms soldiers. | Stars and Stripes >>

Every year for the past four decades, the US Air Force and its NATO allies have staged a series of mock battles — dubbed Red Flag events — to provide soldiers with “real-world” experience before actually throwing them into active combat. But this year’s Red Flag marks a significant departure from its predecessors in that the 2015 exercise will be the first to virtually integrate warfighters from around the country using cutting-edge flight simulators. | Engadget >>

Pentagon officials say all four of the services are on track to open all military jobs to women by next year, and expect rules for those changes to be in place by this fall. | Marine Corps Times >>

New Greatest Generation

Iraq War veteran and double amputee Noah Galloway blew away the judges Monday night on the season 20 premiere of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” after dancing a cha-cha with troupe member Sharna Burgess. | Washington Times >>

On Saturday, less than three years after that life-altering incident, Anderson will take the field for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. The Wounded Warriors will face a squad made up of players from The Citadel’s 1990 College World Series team at 11 a.m. at Riley Park. | The Post and Courier >>

A team of American veterans took first place competing against several hundred other injured service members from around the world at the fifth annual Marine Corps Trials at Camp Pendleton. The paralympic-style games drew about 270 wounded warriors to the competition March 3-11 hosted by the Wounded Warrior Regiment on base. | U-T San Diego >>

Inside Washington

On Jan. 23, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposed to amend its regulations governing entitlement to VA Pension. The VA helps veterans and their families by providing supplemental tax-free income through the Veterans Pension benefit. | Houston Chronicle >>

The Arizona Republic, led by senior investigative reporter Dennis Wagner, has won the prestigious Scripps Howard Foundation investigative reporting award for its coverage of the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal in 2014. | The Arizona Republic >>

The family of a Central Texas veteran who committed suicide is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs, claiming a VA hospital should have involuntarily held him for treatment. | Associated Press >>

 

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