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IAVA Daily News Brief – May 22, 2015

Francis Scott Key Elementary School children greet veterans from the Northeast Indiana Honor Flight at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., marking the 400th Honor Flight by U.S. Airways. | Military Times >>

Francis Scott Key Elementary School children greet veterans from the Northeast Indiana Honor Flight at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., marking the 400th Honor Flight by U.S. Airways. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Providing care for those who ‘have borne the battle’
For more than a decade, less than 1 percent of America’s brave men and women have borne the burden of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. To date, more than 2.8 million service members are now part of this growing cohort of men and women who have deployed in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. It is these veterans who have overcome challenges — seen and unseen — that demonstrate the promise of this next generation of leaders. | The Hill >>

Aurora VA hospital: House leaders pass stop-gap plan to continue work
With only hours left to seal a deal, the U.S. House leaders on Thursday passed legislation that would keep work going on a troubled VA hospital in Aurora that has seen its price tag balloon to $1.73 billion. | The Denver Post >>

Faith leaders, advocates champion military caregivers on Capitol Hill
Advocates on Capitol Hill Thursday urged leaders in the religious community to learn more about the issues facing military caregivers, who say their faith is often what got them through the darkest times. Former Sen. Elizabeth Dole made helping caregivers a priority after seeing their struggles first hand when her husband was being treated at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. | Washington Times >>

Afghanistan

The southern Afghan city of Kandahar was the birthplace of the Taliban and has long been considered one the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan. But the city has grown peaceful in recent years, and much of the credit has been given to an American ally: Lt. Gen. Abdul Raziq, the provincial police chief. | NPR >>

The former U.S. Army general who overruled commanders in the field to approve the construction of a $36 million building that went unused in Afghanistan retired earlier this year as the service’s inspector general. | Military.com >>

The Islamic State is on the move and has partnered with another terror organization known as “The Higg” who is giving them a hand in their hostile takeover of Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer said on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” Wednesday night. | Fox News >>

Iraq

A senior State Department official acknowledged Wednesday that ISIS’s seizure of Ramadi, Iraq, over the weekend was major blow in the fight against the terror organization. | CNN >>

ISIS fighters are digging trenches and building berms in the Iraqi city of Ramadi as they prepare for a push by the Iraqi military to retake the city, U.S. officials told NBC News on Thursday. The officials said it would take a week or more for the 7,000 Iraqi forces who fled Ramadi last weekend to regroup and prepare for a counterassault. | NBC News >>

The Pentagon announced on Thursday it is sending 2,000 anti-tank weapons to Iraq, following the rout of U.S.-backed forces in Ramadi by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The weapons will arrive as early as next week, said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren. | The Hill >>

Military Affairs

The Navy has released video that shows how closely the Pentagon is tracking China’s military expansion in the region, one day after news emerged that the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a U.S. surveillance plane to leave a contested area of the South China Sea. | Washington Post >>

The military needs to address its challenge of having enough science, technology, engineering and math expertise to keep up with the technology advancements of potential adversaries, the Air Force’s top scientist said Wednesday. | Air Force Times >>

After years of conducting counterinsurgency operations while being largely being left out of the Pentagon’s new strategy for Asia called “Air Sea Battle,” the U.S. Army is being urged to play a greater role in the region. | Washington Times >>

#VetsRising

Fresh from the battlefields of Afghanistan, three former soldiers from South Florida who once targeted Taliban fighters are learning computer forensic skills to help law enforcement agencies track down pedophiles and sex traffickers. | The Sun Sentinel >>

Tammy Tubbs has fond memories of Friday nights as a child spent eating Papa Murphy’s pizza and playing cards with her sisters. Last year, as a veteran and mother of three, Tubbs decided she wanted to allow her community to create similar memories. So, she became a Papa Murphey’s franchisee, bringing the chain to Southern California. Here’s what she has learned. | Entrepreneur >>

Ryan Cameron is in what can be a unique position for a high school teacher — particularly when he’s covering military history because, at times, he’s teaching a bit of his own history. | Pittsburgh Tribune >>

Inside Washington

House and Senate lawmakers are ducking major reforms to Tricare, the military’s healthcare program. While they aren’t completely ruling out reforms for the program before the end of 2015, most say the issue needs to be studied more before any changes are approved. | The Hill >>

Members of Congress plan to put forward legislation that would allow veterans to use their benefits under the GI Bill to start businesses instead of attending college. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, is drafting legislation that would direct the Veterans Affairs secretary to establish a program that would allow qualified veterans to start or buy a business. | The Hill >>

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday advanced a $77.6 billion funding bill for military construction and veterans benefits that includes an amendment allowing Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend the use of medical marijuana. | The Hill >>

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