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IAVA Daily News Brief – November 13, 2014

Today’s Top Stories

One in Six Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans Might Have PTSD
More than one in six soldiers who served in the country’s most recent wars may have post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s the finding of the National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans, according to the Veterans Health Administration, which sent out an update Wednesday on the study. | National Journal >>

Concert for Valor: Massive show shines spotlight on veterans’ issues
Thousands of troops and veterans gathered in the capital Tuesday night for a mega-concert in honor of Veterans Day, with servicemembers and performers sharing the same message: The spirit of the Concert for Valor must endure long after the music fades away. | Stars and Stripes >>

Transforming VA presents huge challenge, leadership test for new Secretary Robert McDonald, management experts say
The big question: Will McDonald be able to change the culture at VA that was such fertile ground for widespread dishonesty that failed veterans? The agency of more than 300,000 employees suffered one its lowest moments in its history when a scandal broke earlier this year about falsified wait times that impacted thousands of veterans across the country. | Atlanta Journal Constitution >>

Afghanistan

Cultivation of opium poppies in Afghanistan has hit new records this year as Nato pulls out combat troops. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said opium production was up by 17% since last year. | BBC >>

When U.S. Marines withdrew from Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan’s Helmand province last month, they faced a task that was something like cleaning out a stuffy attic covering 10 square miles. In a series of multibillion-dollar decisions, the Marines and Pentagon planners decided what stayed, what went and what got tossed into the trash or burned. | Washington Post >>

Closed-circuit television cameras in Kabul’s police headquarters captured a well-dressed man walking through the complex on Sunday, but apparently beneath his suit were explosives that he used to kill himself and a senior police officer, as well as wounding six others. | VICE News >>

Iraq

U.S.-led forces conducted 16 air strikes in Syria, most of them around Kobani near the Turkish border, and seven in the oil-producing northern region of Iraq since Monday, the U.S. Central Command said. | Reuters >>

Disguised in Iraqi army uniforms and driving stolen Humvees, Islamic State group militants stormed Camp Saqlawiyah in Iraq’s western Anbar province, sending some 700 soldiers fleeing. At least 40 soldiers were killed and another 68 taken prisoner, later to be paraded through the streets of the city of Fallujah. | Associated Press >>

Kurdish leaders in Iraq have quietly expanded a request to Washington for sophisticated arms and protective equipment to battle the Islamic State, but American officials have so far rebuffed the appeals out of concerns about defying the Iraqi government, according to Kurdish officials.  | Washington Post >>

Military Affairs

The Army is developing a way to predict which soldiers might be at higher risk of committing suicide by using a scientist-developed algorithm. The six-year-long effort could help commanders and health care workers intervene before a suicide occurs, a problem that has plagued the Army since fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan began. | USA Today >>

The number of U.S. troops deploying to West Africa to help battle the Ebola epidemic could grow to 3,000 by the middle of December, but likely will not expand to the 4,000 soldiers that military officials had expected to send just weeks ago. | Washington Post >>

A proposal that would transform the military retirement system by promising smaller monthly checks but also giving troops a lump sum “transition pay” immediately upon retirement could turn out to be very popular among most service members, according to a new study. | Marine Corps Times >>

New Greatest 

This is what Veterans Day looked and sounded like as one Manhattan-bound B train crossed the Manhattan Bridge this morning. | MSNBC >>

Veterans Day was once nothing more than a day off school for Zachary Stinson. But four years and one day after his legs were blown off by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, he stood Monday before Chambersburg Area Senior High School students to explain why they should have a different perspective. | Chambers burg Public Opinion >>

Young transformed from military volunteer to disabled veteran to antiwar activist and became the subject of the scathing documentary “Body of War.” For many, he symbolized the unending cost of battle. On Monday, Young died at age 34, 10 years after the sniper’s bullet pierced his spinal cord. | LA Times >>

Inside Washington

A group of retired Navy admirals and Marine Corps generals have sent Congress a letter warning of “unsustainable” extended deployments for the Navy if if the nation does not make a significant investment in ships, aircraft, equipment and personnel soon. | Washington Times >>

Rep. Tim Walz writes an op-ed for The Hill: Following in the footsteps of my father, I volunteered at age 17 to join the U.S. Army National Guard because I believed in something greater than myself — the ideals on which our country was founded: self-governance, freedom and opportunity for all. I retired from the military 24 years later as command sergeant major (CSM). In that role, my sole mission, much like that of the House Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee, was to take care of our troops. | The Hill >>

With their unemployment rate at 9%, military veterans are highly susceptible to for-profit college pitches about job guarantees. Compounding this predilection is the high amount of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) among returning vets, who often lack the psychological wherewithal to navigate unstructured civilian life, let alone the deceptive mine field set by for-profit college marketers claiming to be operating in their interest. | Forbes >>

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