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IAVA Daily News Brief – November 10, 2014

Today’s Top Stories

Robert McDonald: Cleaning up the VA
The day before Veterans Day, the new head of Veterans Affairs will announce the biggest reorganization in the history of the VA, which comes after the agency’s biggest fiasco. It was last spring that we learned that tens of thousands of vets were waiting months for medical care while managers cooked the books to hide the delays. | CBS News >>

Needing to Hire, Chief of V.A. Tries to Sell Doctors on Change
The longtime corporate executive entered the college lecture hall to make a pitch the medical students had probably heard before: He was offering good starting salaries, well-financed research opportunities and rewarding work with patients in great need. | New York Times >>

Justice Department’s influence in VA cases up for debate
When Congress passed new rules for firing Veterans Affairs executives in July, the goal was to get rid of problem employees faster and without bureaucratic confusion. So far, it’s done neither. | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

A 21-year-old Army veteran who recently returned from Afghanistan was fatally shot after a dispute on a Sylmar street early Sunday, police said. | LA Times >>

Prince Harry joined British troops in Afghanistan for a Remembrance Sunday service at Kandahar Airfield honoring fallen soldiers. The UK combat mission in Afghanistan draws to an end this year, which also marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. | NBC News >>

A suicide bomber attacked police headquarters in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, officials said, killing one person and injuring six others. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the heavily-fortified compound. | NBC News >>

Iraq

Pentagon officials expressed skepticism Sunday over Iraqi claims that airstrikes wounded the head of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. | Fox News >>

President Obama has authorized the deployment of an additional 1,500 American troops to Iraq in the coming months, doubling the number of Americans meant to train and advise Iraqi and Kurdish forces. | NY Times >>

Iraqi government forces have seized large areas of the town of Baiji – home to Iraq’s biggest oil refinery – from Islamic State fighters, officials say. | BBC >>

Military Affairs

The former Navy SEAL who says he fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden says he doesn’t care if people believe him. | CNN >>

Marines with a Spain-based task force were some of the first U.S. troops dispatched to West Africa to help combat the spread of Ebola, and since arriving in early October they’ve been kept busy laying the foundation for what’s expected to become a large-scale, long-term humanitarian mission. | Marine Corps Times >>

The U.S. Army has issued an apology and will no longer use the term “Negro” in a document on policies and procedures as an acceptable alternative to African American. | Reuters >>

New Greatest Generation

A convenience store in Swansea, Illinois, was the scene of not one but two random acts of kindness by anonymous veterans. | ABC News >>

Wes Moore is an Army combat veteran and Rhodes Scholar whose first book “The Other Wes Moore” became an instant New York Times and Wall Street Jour­nal bestseller. In honor of Veterans Day, Moore shares his service experience and his work with the Franklin Project, a new initiative to provide young Americans with civilian national service opportunities. | Mic >>

It was just after sunset on a fall evening in Brooklyn, and Matt Gallagher was mulling a breaking and entering. The 31-year-old writing instructor and former Army cavalry officer was to lead a class in ten minutes, but the library where he normally taught had been accidentally shuttered for the night. | PBS >>

Inside Washington 

Veterans Day has to be the most confusing holiday on the calendar. And, yes, it is a holiday — unlike some of those quasi-holiday observances we sometimes confuse with the real deal, such as Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween. Veterans Day is a federal holiday. However, it is not a holiday that everybody takes. More on that later. | Times Record News >>

Robert Rosebrock writes an op-ed for City Watch LA: “During the entire coverage leading up to Tuesday’s mid-term election, the Los Angeles Times never made Veteran homelessness, or the crime, corruption and malfeasance at the Los Angeles VA an issue.” | City Watch LA >>

The midterms are over, and a number of new members of Congress are post-9/11 veterans and reservists. Here is a rundown on the eight veterans confirmed to be joining the House and Senate next year. | Task & Purpose >>

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