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IAVA Daily News Brief – May 1, 2015

A Boy Scout lifts body armor during a ship tour on the amphibious assault ship Wasp in New Orleans, on Saturday. The Wasp is participating in Fleet Week New Orleans 2015, a weeklong collaboration with the community and ships. | Military Times >>

A Boy Scout lifts body armor during a ship tour on the amphibious assault ship Wasp in New Orleans, on Saturday. The Wasp is participating in Fleet Week New Orleans 2015, a weeklong collaboration with the community and ships. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Retirement reform faces challenge from veteran lawmakers
House lawmakers pushing for military retirement reform on Wednesday had to fight off opposition from veteran colleagues who warned against moving too fast and upsetting current service members. | Military Times >>

Not all veterans struggle when they come home, new study shows
The first-ever examination of civic involvement of veterans, released Thursday, shows results that debunk stereotypes of the wounded former service members struggling to adjust to civilian life. | Washington Post >>

House panel issues subpoena in Philadelphia VA probe
A House committee voted Thursday to issue a subpoena of the Department of Veterans Affairs for personnel and complaint files at its Philadelphia office, part of an expanding probe into mishandling of veterans’ disability and pensions claims. | Associated Press >>

Afghanistan

A government watchdog says the Obama administration has no idea how many Afghan soldiers and police are available to fight the Taliban, after nearly a decade of the U.S. paying for training and equipping those security forces. | Washington Times >>

The defense ministry says four Romanian soldiers were injured when a booby-trapped car exploded in Afghanistan. The ministry said they were on a patrol some 8 kilometers (5 miles) south of the military base in Kandahar Thursday morning as part of the “Resolute Support” mission when the vehicle blew up. | Associated Press >>

A Fort Drum soldier from upstate New York is being awarded a posthumous medal for bravery nearly a year to the day that he died from wounds suffered in an attack in Afghanistan. | Associated Press >>

Iraq

The head of the European Union’s humanitarian aid department warned on Thursday that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating rapidly while the world is preoccupied with crises elsewhere. | Associated Press >>

Iraq is poised to deploy Shi’ite paramilitaries backed by Iran to Sunni tribal areas west of Baghdad, a move supporters say is needed to defeat Islamic State militants but opponents say could inflame more sectarian violence. | Reuters >>

Iraq’s besieged military was supposed to be flying front-line American F-16 fighters by now, joining other Arab forces in a daily air war against the Islamic State terrorist army controlling western and northern Iraq. Instead, prospective Iraqi pilots are anchored in the United States, still undergoing training. The Iraqi air force, such as it is, is confined to dated Russian attack jets — compliments of Iran — helicopters and missile-firing AC-208 Cessnas. | Washington Times >>

Military Affairs

Can you sum up your service, your commitment, your strength in a marketing slogan, five words or less, encapsulating everything the Army has and ever hopes to stand for? Don’t sweat it. Army officials didn’t think so, either. | Army Times >>

The venerable A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jet — a mainstay of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — would fly at least another year under a version of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act expected to be passed Thursday by the House Armed Services Committee. | Arizona Daily Star >>

House lawmakers are limiting the amount of time the Navy will be able to lay up portions of its fleet of cruisers from four years down to two years, citing combatant commanders’ need for the ships’ ballistic missile defense technologies. | Military.com >>

#VetsRising

Matt Griffin and Andy Sewrey felt triumphant as they drove through Kabul on the back of a pickup truck. The brothers-in-law sat on 2,000 pairs of designer sandals they had just commissioned from an Afghan factory to launch their own business. | Seattle PI >>

Michael, whose parents Clif and Karen White live in Marion, has been giving hugs since January. A Marine veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and discharged in 2004, the 34-year-old from Portland, Oregon, had been exploring other forms of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. | The Southern Illinoisan >>

A military working dog was reunited Wednesday in Jacksonville with the U.S. Air Force veteran who was her handler for three years in Iraq and Guam. Tech Sgt. Justin Gatti of Valdosta, Georgia, had been separated from Fedro for three years, and the two reconnected at Jacksonville International Airport. | WJXT 4 >>

Inside Washington

Predatory lending practices affect plenty of Americans, but as NBC News reported earlier this year, military families are “especially vulnerable.” The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report in December calling for greater protections. And right now in the U.S. House, there’s an important fight underway about just how far those protections can go. | MSNBC >>

House Republicans on Wednesday night abruptly pulled their first spending bill of the year off the floor after it became clear that a bipartisan amendment to strike part of a multibillion-dollar Pentagon budget increase might actually pass. | Politico >>

A new Department of Veterans Affairs report concludes that every alternative to finishing its half-built Aurora hospital would be unpalatable. | Denver Post >>

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