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IAVA Daily News Brief – March 3, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

Kevlar for the Mind: Hopeful research for stopping suicides
Researchers from the University of Memphis, University of Utah, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Fort Carson, Colorado, found that a particular form of short-term cognitive-behavioral therapy reduced suicide attempts in active-duty personnel by 60 percent. The results were published online Feb. 13 by the American Journal of Psychiatry. | Military Times >>

House approves bill to force VA executives to give back bonuses in misconduct cases
The House on Monday approved a bill allowing the Veterans Affairs secretary to force senior executives to repay bonuses if the employees engaged in misconduct. | Associated Press >>

Study: Female veterans have different heart ills
Female veterans face different issues in a home front battle against heart disease that’s significantly different from male veterans — and from women who have never served in the military, a study published in an American Heart Association journal reveals. | Star Tribune >>

Afghanistan

The Afghan Taliban have grown stronger and more deadly over the past 13 years, something Pakistan is often blamed for by Afghans and some in the international community. Thus, Pakistan is seen as the key player in bringing the Taliban to the negotiation table. | Foreign Policy >>

Women’s shelters are one of the most provocative legacies of the Western presence in Afghanistan. | New York Times >>

In a clash between Western ideals and Afghan realities, an effort to elevate the status of women by recruiting them to the police force has often backfired. | New York Times >>

Iraq

Iran’s military is playing a significant role in helping Iraq drive the Islamic State from Saddam Hussein’s hometown, raising U.S. concerns about growing Iranian influence and increased sectarian tensions in Iraq. | USA Today >>

In a smoky living room in a makeshift military headquarters, Brett, a former U.S serviceman with tattoos of Jesus etched on his forearms, explained how he hopes to help keep the church bells of Iraq ringing. | Washington Post >>

Iraq’s Shia-dominated armed forces, backed by allied militiamen and a handful of Sunni tribesmen, have launched an operation to clear the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or Isis, from former president Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit. | Financial times >>

Military Affairs

More than 30 positions are included in this year’s Training with Industry program for enlisted soldiers, including several opportunities with such high-profile organizations as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Disney, the American Culinary Institute and the National Football League. | Army Times >>

Recruiting doesn’t come natural to most soldiers, according to Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Morrison. “Every recruiter I’ve ever come across, including myself, has said at first: ‘this isn’t what I expected.’ Then ‘I hate it.’ Then ‘I accept it.’ And they start to get a little better at it,” the center leader in Weatherford, Texas, told Army Times. “Eventually people start to love it and start to thrive on the challenge of it.” | Army Times >>

The Navy Reserve marks its centennial Tuesday with a series of events starting in Washington, D.C., and continuing at installations around the country during the year. The events will highlight the history of the Navy Reserve and the contributions Reserve sailors have made, and continue to make, to the nation’s security. | Navy Times >>

New Greatest Generation

Around last April, LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Guericke was approached by Yinon Weiss about supporting an interesting twist on the social media networking model that he helped introduce back in 2003. Weiss, who served for 10 years on active duty as a Marine Corps scout and sniper platoon commander as well as an Army Special Forces officer, met with Guericke to discuss RallyPoint, a professional network for active duty members of the military and veterans alike. | Fox News >>

Investors extended more than $700,000 in financing offers during the Entrepreneurs’ Organization-Houston Veterans Business Battle. The competition, held at Rice University over the weekend, was a chance for veterans to pitch their businesses to a panel of investors. Several companies are also still in talks with investors. | Houston Chronicle >>

Veteran Jon Dorn of Minden thought there should be a new veterans memorial at the Kearney County Courthouse, so he enlisted help to raise funds for the project. | Kearney Hub >>

Inside Washington

The Army, Navy and Marine Corps do not know how many enlisted troops they have separated for mental conditions that don’t merit disability pay — a failing that prevents Pentagon officials from knowing whether troops with combat-related disorders were wrongly discharged, a new government report says. | Military Times >>

More than 96 percent of the veterans who sought care from the eight facilities in the VA Portland Health Care System in December completed their appointments in 30 days or fewer, according to the latest figures from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. | The Oregonian >>

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald says he is eager to get a series of investigations regarding long wait times and other issues at VA facilities around the nation behind him. | The State >>

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made a splash last week by saying he’s “very open-minded” about transgender people serving in the U.S. military. But if Carter is serious about revisiting the ban on transgender troops, he also needs to turn his attention to another issue: how the Defense Department responds to transgender veterans who need to update official military records to reflect their new gender. | Huffington Post >>

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