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IAVA Daily News Brief – March 19, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

Veterans have a place to talk about delays in care
Veterans who want to be heard about their struggles to receive health care or earned benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs have a place to go. | USA Today >>

Pentagon chief says House defense budget faces veto
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Wednesday that the president would veto the proposed House defense budget that uses an emergency war fund to skirt defense spending limits. | Stars and Stripes >>

Base facilities deteriorating under budget squeeze
Facilities on military installations are deteriorating at an ever-increasing rate, a visible result of ongoing budget constraints, service installation officials told lawmakers Wednesday. | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

The U.S. military bases in Kandahar and Jalalabad are likely to remain open beyond the end of 2015, a senior U.S. official said, as Washington considers slowing its military pull-out from Afghanistan to help the new government fight the Taliban. | Reuters >>

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 >>

President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan is taking a risk most leaders would shun: He is proposing to improve Afghanistan’s contentious relations with Pakistan in the hope of paving the way toward both peace with the Taliban and regional economic cooperation. Much of the Afghan public is skeptical, because Pakistan has long treated Afghanistan like a client state. Mr. Ghani will need to show results fast. | New York Times >>

Iraq

For the Islamic State, or ISIS, the social media site Twitter, with its 2.7 million users, remains core to the group’s recruiting, messaging and communication. A new report estimates there are possibly as many as 90,000 Twitter accounts that support ISIS, fueling the popular narrative that Twitter is helpless to cleanse itself of the Islamic State. | Defense One >>

Iraqi planes dropped hundreds of thousands of leaflets over Mosul overnight Wednesday urging civilians to collaborate against the Islamic State ahead of a military push, the Defense Ministry said. | Washington Post >>

Dozens of Iraqi villages that were under the control of the militant group the Islamic State suffered from looting and extensive property destruction after being retaken by pro-government forces, according to a study released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch. The study examined evidence from more than two dozen villages near Amerli, a town about 100 miles from Baghdad. | New York Times >>

Military Affairs

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in a parachute accident in Perris, California, near Riverside, a U.S. Navy official tells CNN. | CNN >>

Upwards of 130 Americans are known to have gone the Middle East to fight for or against the Islamic State. Some US veterans say that they see in the anti-IS fight a clear vision of the enemy that they never found in combat. | Christian Science Monitor >>

American forces used a drone to target and kill a member of the al-Shabaab terrorist network who was tied to the terrorist attack at a luxury shopping mall in Kenya two years ago, the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday. | Defense One >>

New Greatest Generation

John Lowe grew up in a military family in West Tennessee. His grandfather, who raised him, served in World War II and Korea. Lowe always wanted to serve his country, but said he had a child when he graduated high school and didn’t feel the time was right to join the armed forces. | The Jackson Sun >>

Texas and the nation continued to see unemployment rates for veterans decline last year thanks to a better economy and programs specializing in helping vets get hired. | Dallas Morning News >>

Rodney Angier served in the Navy during the Korean War. Harry Auman and Kenneth Smith both served in the Marine Corps, Smith during the Vietnam War and Auman not long after. | Statesman Journal >>

Inside Washington

The White House on Wednesday will tap the head of a prominent New Jersey medical center and an outside information technology expert to fill a pair of high-ranking Veterans Affairs Department leadership posts, sources familiar with the announcement said. | Military Times >>

The Veterans Affairs Department no longer will include net worth as a factor in determining whether a veteran is eligible for VA health care. | Military Times >>

The United States’ efforts to “win hearts and minds” as it fought the Taliban in Afghanistan seem to have created a cruel and fatal paradox. | Defense One >>

 

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