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IAVA Daily News Brief Monday, August 10, 2015

SealsMarines

Marines and Navy SEALs debrief during a joint visit, board, search and seizure exercise as part of composite training in the Atlantic Ocean. | Military Times >>


TODAY’S TOP STORIES

Military veterans fare well in recovering job market
Bringing U.S. troops back home from far-flung conflicts takes them out of harm’s way. But it also sends many looking for a new job. As the drawdown of American forces continues in the Middle East, the Army announced in July it will reduce troop strength by some 57,000 soldiers over the next two years. That news helped push the level of expected layoffs to a four-year high, according to a monthly survey from outplacement consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas. | CNBC >>

Pending disability claims backlog shrinks at Waco office
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ regional office in Waco has significantly reduced its pending disability claims backlog, but despite the rosy numbers, it’s unlikely it will meet a goal to eliminate its entire backlog by year’s end. | Associated Press >>

How The VA’s Aurora Hospital Project Spiraled Out of Control
The biggest construction failure in VA history began with a handwritten note signed two days before Veterans Day 2011. On that Nov. 9, project officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs were locked in a 7½-hour meeting with executives from Kiewit-Turner, the construction team tapped to build a hospital in Aurora for the agency. | Denver Post >>

AFGHANISTAN
A NATO coalition soldier and eight Afghan contractors were killed in an attack on an American military base in Kabul, NATO said Saturday. It was one of three attacks to shock the capital Friday. The nationality of the soldier in the attack Friday night was not immediately confirmed. CNN and Fox News reported that the servicemember was an American. The New York Times, citing a U.S. military source, reported that nine contractors died in the assault . | USA Today >>

At least 29 members of a pro-government militia have been killed in an attack in northern Afghanistan, officials say. Four commanders are said to be among those killed on Saturday when a Taliban suicide bomber targeted a gathering in the province of Kunduz. | BBC News >>

An ex-Soviet army officer turned Taliban commander has been found guilty in a federal court in Richmond, Va., on 15 counts related to a 2009 attack on Afghan and U.S. soldiers at Camp Leyza in Afghanistan’s Khost province. Irek Hamidullin, 55, is a former Soviet tank commander who stayed behind in Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in the late 1980s. | NPR >>

IRAQ
Iraq’s cabinet on Sunday backed proposed steps by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to root out corruption and overhaul the political system, including the removal of his predecessor from a largely ceremonial post, in the boldest moves yet to defuse widespread street protests. | Wall Street Journal >>

U.S.-led forces conducted 16 air strikes in Iraq and seven in Syria on Saturday against Islamic State targets, the U.S. military said. In Iraq, five air strikes near Mosul, three near Ramadi and three near Sinjar aimed to beat back the militants, destroying excavators, tactical units, buildings and weapons, the Combined Joint Task Force said on Sunday in a statement. Other strikes were located near Kirkuk, Falluja, Tal Afar, Makhmur and Kabbaniyah, it said . | Reuters >>

Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the start of U.S. and coalition airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS. Since then, the military coalition against ISIS has launched nearly 6,000 coalition airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria and the cost of U.S. military operations has risen beyond $3.2 billion. The airstrikes first began a year ago to prevent a humanitarian disaster in northwestern Iraq where ISIS fighters had surrounded thousands of Yazidi refugees trapped on Mount Sinjar. | ABC News >>

MILITARY AFFAIRS
The U.S. deployed six F-16s and roughly 300 airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, to support operations against the Islamic State. The small detachment of F-16s arrived at Incirlik on Sunday from Aviano Air Base, Italy, according to a post on U.S. European Command’s Facebook page. | Air Force Times >>

The Army will honor the 75th anniversary of the American paratrooper with – what else? – a large jump into Fort Benning, Georgia. The commemoration, led by the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, will mark 75 years since the War Department approved the formation of a test platoon of airborne infantry from Fort Benning’s 29th Infantry Regiment. | Army Times >>

The Navy is doing away with the much-maligned neck-and-torso tape test that many have criticized for years as wildly inaccurate, but Marines have something new to be hot about: relaxed physical fitness standards for sailors that allow higher body fat percentages. | Marine Corps Times >>

#VETSRISING
A new documentary looks at how suicide affects veterans from every battle since World War II. The statistics are staggering: 22 veterans commit suicide every day and 75 attempt suicide. Many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A new documentary hopes to change all that. Steffan Tubbs, co-host of Colorado’s Morning News on 850KOA titled “ACRONYM: The cross-generational battle with PTSD.” | CBS 4 Denver >>

A local nonprofit is aiding our military veterans and saving dogs at the same time. The Canine Angels program in North Myrtle Beach specializes in training and providing certified canine assistants to perform endless tasks for disabled vets, according to the Canine Angels website. | WMBF News >>

Back in 2012, U.S. Marine combat veteran Sean Gobin mimicked Earl Shaffer’s 1948 Appalachian Trail through-hike, using the long-distance national scenic trail as a therapeutic means to “walk off the war.” Since then, Gobin has been working to help others do the same. | Valley News >>

INSIDE WASHINGTON
Somedays, the Department of Veterans Affairs catches more criticism than any other federal agency. That was not the case Saturday in a packed ballroom at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. The national convention of Disabled American Veterans greeted VA Secretary Robert McDonald with a standing ovation and applauded his remarks. | Denver Post >>

An Ohio senator’s office says the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating into delayed appointments for pulmonary care patients at a southwestern Ohio VA. Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown told the Dayton Daily News he has contacted VA Secretary Bob McDonald about apparent scheduling irregularities at the Dayton VA. | Military Times >>

Sen. John McCain introduced a bill Wednesday that would extend the VA Choice Card program indefinitely and expand eligibility to include every veteran enrolled in VA health care. Saying the Veterans Affairs Department has been “slow to implement the program” since enactment a year ago of the law broadening private care options for veterans, the Arizona Republican believes his bill would remove any lingering uncertainty about the program, which will end in 2017. | Military Times >>

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