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IAVA Daily News Brief – May 27, 2015

An F-16 Fighting Falcon sits in a hangar prior to departing Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. F-16 students from the 311th Fighter Squadron, a tenant until from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., are flying night operations as part of their syllabus. | Military Times >>

An F-16 Fighting Falcon sits in a hangar prior to departing Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. F-16 students from the 311th Fighter Squadron, a tenant until from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., are flying night operations as part of their syllabus. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Obama at Arlington: Never stop paying tribute to the fallen
President Barack Obama on Monday saluted Americans who died in battle, saying the country must “never stop trying to fully repay them” for their sacrifices. He noted it was the first Memorial Day in 14 years without U.S. forces engaged in a major ground war. | Associated Press >>

VA construction fight damages ties with Congress
Construction of the embattled Denver Veterans Affairs hospital is safe for now, but the goodwill that VA officials have tried to build with Congress over the last year appears to be in ruins. | Military Times >>

A Special Focus On Caring For Vets At The End Of Their Lives
Caring for the nation’s veterans at the end of their lives can be a complex task. Service members — especially combat veterans — can struggle with guilt, abandonment and regret. The Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs are working to help them. At one Army hospital south of Seattle, its mission is to make those last days meaningful. | NPR >>

Afghanistan

Kabul has been increasingly counting on local armed groups in some provinces, in some cases giving them ammunition, where Afghan security forces aren’t enough, government officials said. The pressure to do so is rising as insurgent attacks spread across the country’s north, in areas far from the Taliban’s traditional southern and eastern strongholds. | Wall Street Journal >>

Heavy gunfire and explosions echoed through an upscale neighborhood in Afghanistan’s capital late Tuesday night, as police surrounded a guesthouse popular with foreigners thought to be under attack by insurgents. | U.S. News & World Report >>

An intelligence-sharing pact with Pakistan has sparked anger and confusion in neighboring Afghanistan and fresh criticism of President Ashraf Ghani’s approach to ending the conflict with Taliban insurgents. | LA Times >>

Iraq

A Shiite militia group said Tuesday it has arrested hundreds of Islamic State militants in embattled Anbar province as Iraq announced a major military operation to regain control of the region. | USA Today >>

The operational name given by a Shiite militia to the counter-offensive against Ramadi went against U.S. efforts to promote Sunni-Shia unity in Iraq, the Pentagon said Tuesday. | Military.com >>

The United States and its allies staged 19 air strikes on Islamic State targets in a 24-hour period ending Tuesday, a coalition statement said. Twelve of the strikes were near the Iraqi cities of Bayji, Fallujah, Hit, Mosul, Sinjar and Tal Afar, hitting tactical units, vehicles, heavy machine guns and buildings. | Reuters >>

Military Affairs

On Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetery swells with visitors bearing flowers, flags and tokens for loved ones buried on this sacred ground. People come to remember fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who fought and died for their country. But Arlington is more than this one day in May when we remember. POLITICO offers a look at a year inside our nation’s cemetery. | Politico >>

In the air and on the ground, Sailors and Marines dazzled a crowd of nearly 6,000 visitors with a variety of troop insertions and flyovers during an aviation demonstration at Eisenhower Park as part of Fleet Week New York (FWNY), May 23. | Military.com >>

Take-off is swift on the U.S. Navy’s P8-A Poseidon — there’s no slow roll down the runway on military flights — and within minutes, the turquoise blue of the South China Sea comes into view from the window of America’s most advanced surveillance and sub-hunting aircraft. | CNN >>

#VetsRising

Jon Stewart might not have been a proponent of the Iraq War, but he is all in favor of helping the war’s veterans. The TV host has developed a “five-week industry boot camp” that helps veterans find work in television, including his own show. | New York Daily News >>

What is Memorial Day about to you? Perhaps it means family gatherings, the first donning of a swimsuit since the previous summer or the smell of smoked meats simmering over graying charcoal as unseen insects chirp rhythmically nearby. But for one Cartersville resident, the day symbolizes something much, much different. | The Daily Tribune News >>

Elsa Zarate, a military mom and veteran, is making bracelets out of old uniforms to honor the country’s armed forces. Called Bands4Courage, her business supports troops and donates part of its sales to support military members and their families, Today.com reported. | Huffington Post >>

Inside Washington

Under a 23-year-old law, VA is prohibited from covering IVF. Congress adopted the ban as the result of conservative opposition to assisted reproduction and concern that some fertilized embryos might be discarded. | Washington Post >>

The Department of Veterans Affairs blocked more than 1 billion cyber threats in April, as it did in March, according to the department’s monthly information security report. | NextGov >>

The Defense Department wants service members to know there’s no stigma in seeking mental health care, a DoD Health Affairs official said here today. “We want troops and their families to know DoD has great emphasis on gaining access to mental health care, reducing barriers, and following where the research goes to provide them the best possible care,” said Navy Capt. (Dr.) Michael J. Colston, psychiatrist and director of mental health policy, health services policy and oversight. | Defense.gov >>

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