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IAVA Daily News Brief – November 11, 2014

Today’s Top Stories

VA restructuring includes customer service branch, advisory councils
VA officials will add a new customer service branch and a national network of veteran advisory councils in what is being touted as the largest restructuring of the department in its history. | Military Times >>

Vets can make out with several freebies on Veterans Day
Let’s say you’re a veteran with lots of free time — and big ambitions to rake in plenty of pay-back for your service to your country. Well, some of America’s biggest and most patriotic brands have three words of advice for you: go for it. | USA Today >>

New push for military to renew focus on mental health
Even though the Iraq War has ended and the U.S. role in Afghanistan is winding down, many active military personnel continue their own personal fight off the battlefield. Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland spoke to Alex Nicholson, legislative director at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), about the increasing number of “invisible injuries” among service members. | Fox News >>

Afghanistan 

Two attacks targeting Afghanistan’s police killed at least 10 officers and a civilian on Monday, underscoring an uptick in violence in the country since the inauguration of a power-sharing government in September. | Washington Post >>

Optimism – not a word you have heard a lot in Afghanistan of late. But in Kabul right now, you hear it. Maybe it is because there is a deep sigh of relief that the country has survived a months-long political crisis over a presidential election torn by fraud and two powerful camps adamant that they had won. | BBC News >>

Nazar Mohammad gave up opium farming two years ago in a Taliban-dominant river valley in southern Afghanistan to make 10 times less working as a local policeman. Now he regrets the move. | Bloomberg >>

Iraq

John Ismay was in the business of tracking explosives and bombs in surge-era Iraq. His first week there introduced him to an open secret: Coalition forces routinely found chemical weapons, and within a month, a soldier in his unit suffered a mustard blister on his leg the size of his hand. | The Atlantic >>

Since Iraq is too dangerous at the moment, the U.S. military will begin delivering the F-16s the Baghdad government bought last year to Arizona, where Iraqi pilots will be trained, the Pentagon said Monday. | Business Insider >>
Wounded U.S. veterans and family members of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq sued five European banks on Monday, seeking to hold them responsible for shootings and roadside bombings because they allegedly processed Iranian money that paid for the attacks. | Reuters >>

Military Affairs

As a result of military-funded programs, vets are becoming the research platform for cybernetic technologies that are decades beyond commercial state of the art and that could one day elevate humanity beyond its natural biological limitations. | Defense One >>

Today the United States celebrates the strength, courage and accomplishment of the U.S. Marine Corps on its 239 birthday. These photos give an in-depth look into Marines as they train and fight for our country. | The Daily Signal >>

Four ships, one air wing and more than 5,000 sailors of the Bush carrier strike group are scheduled to return home Saturday after a nine-month deployment to 5th and 6th Fleets that caught national attention as the carrier led airstrikes against Islamic State group militants. | Navy Times >>

New Greatest Generation

What are the advantages of hiring someone who has been in the U.S. military — specifically, hiring them for a non-military job? The below points can help you make a more informed decision when it comes to hiring veterans. | Mashable >>

We all know our veterans are heroes and deserve the recognition they get on Veterans Day and every day. However, we happen to have a soft spot for one particular subset of vets — moms and dads who often sacrifice many precious days of parenting to serve our country. | Today >>

Every Wednesday Patrick Dugan, a judge at the Philadelphia Municipal Court and a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves JAG Corps, presides over a special kind of courtroom. | CBS News >>

Inside Washington 

Ahead of VA chief Robert McDonald’s plans to restructure the organization, the IAVA’s Paul Rieckhoff joins Morning Joe to discuss what he expects. | MSNBC’s Morning Joe >>
New Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald spends considerable time these days talking about restoring trust and changing the culture in the scandal-plagued agency. It’s a message the former Procter & Gamble CEO has been repeating to Congress and on a blitz of more than 40 VA facilities across the country, including a two-day visit to Atlanta last month. | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution >>

When Retired Army Captain Scott Davidson decided to headquarter his business, Veteran Soldier Management Services, in New York City in June, he believed there would be plenty of opportunities to do business with the City. | Gotham Gazette >>

Careful observers can see it every time former President George Bush is in the presence of active duty military personnel, veterans and even cadets at Texas A&M: The pride and respect the 41st president has for these men and women often brings slight tears to his eyes. | The Eagle >>

The new Republican-controlled Congress could mean some relief for the Army as it struggles to balance shrinking budgets with increasing demands for soldiers around the world, experts say. But they also caution that partisan gridlock could mean business-as-usual on Capitol Hill. | Army Times >>

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald says he has a list of more than 1,000 people that could be fired from the VA, and indicated the department is slowly working through that list to see who should be removed. | The Blaze >>

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