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IAVA Daily News Brief – November 21, 2014

U.S. paratroopers assigned to 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, alongside a K-9 Military Working Dog Team with 615th Military Police Company, conduct an assault in an urban environment during training at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area.

U.S. paratroopers assigned to 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, alongside a K-9 Military Working Dog Team with 615th Military Police Company, conduct an assault in an urban environment during training at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area. | Military Times >>


Today’s Top Stories

Military moms: Suicides prove VA must improve services
The mother of an Army National Guard soldier who killed himself less than seven weeks ago pleaded with Congress on Wednesday to do more to save troops and veterans suffering from combat-related mental health conditions. | Military Times >>

Ten things veterans should know about burn pits
Just five months ago, VA launched the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry in response to concerns that Veterans were experiencing a range of respiratory illnesses possibly associated with exposure to burn pits. The registry is open to many Veterans and active-duty Servicemembers who deployed to various locations. This post describes why you should participate in the registry and how it might help uncover links between exposures and certain health conditions. | Department of Veterans Affairs >>

Day of Hope: First VA official fired under new procedures
Months after Congress passed legislation making it easier to fire officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the first official has finally been fired under the new process. VA Secretary Robert McDonald had come under fire from members of Congress over the last few months for not using the process against the many officials who played a role in the VA health care scandal, or those involved in other scandals. | The Blaze >>

Afghanistan

India, so goes the conventional wisdom, is deeply concerned about the international troop drawdown in Afghanistan. According to this view — one often propounded by the government in New Delhi — Indians across the board fear that the withdrawal will strengthen the Taliban and other entities that pose threats to India and its interests. | Foreign Policy >>

The Afghan capital has become a city under siege as the Taliban stage almost daily attacks against government and foreign targets, penetrating layers of heightened security and fueling concerns that insurgents have infiltrated the security forces. | Associated Press >>

Maryam Zar writes a blog for Huffington Post: There was an assassination attempt in Kabul last week. Shukria Barakzai, Afghan feminist leader, member of parliament, and outspoken politician who was critical of Taliban, was targeted for assassination this week. She survived. But three bystanders, including a young girl, did not. Shukria was hunted to be silenced because she had a voice. | Huffington Post >>

Iraq

Iraq’s prime minister said on Thursday that his country and neighboring Turkey have agreed on closer security and intelligence cooperation in the face of the threat posed by the Islamic State group. | Business Week >>

An Islamic State leader has been killed in an airstrike in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, residents and a local medical source said Thursday. They said Radwan Taleb al-Hamdouni, whom they described as the radical militant group’s leader in Mosul, was killed with his driver when their car was hit in a western district of the city on Wednesday afternoon. | Business insider >>

After watching ISIS roll over Iraqi security forces this summer, stealing equipment the U.S. provided, Congress has been hesitant to sell Baghdad more. | Foreign Policy >>

Military Affairs

Whether they’ve been in Afghanistan for months or in West Africa or Iraq for a few weeks, troops will have plenty of turkey, cranberry sauce and other fixings on their plates for Thanksgiving Day. About a ton of turkey and 300 pounds of cranberry sauce are among the items on the menu for troops in Liberia supporting the Ebola mission. | Military Times >>

Japanese officials appear to be laying the groundwork for shifting some Marine Corps Ospreys to the mainland from Okinawa, where some residents have grumbled over their deployment. | Stars and Stripes >>

Pentagon guidance on religious accommodation has sparked a “tsunami of confusion” among military commanders, chaplains and personnel, lawmakers were told Wednesday by witnesses on both sides of the debate over religious practice versus proselytizing in the military. | Military.com >>

New Greatest Generation

Veteran Marine Capt. Phil Klay’s fictional account of the Iraq War earned one of literature’s most esteemed awards Wednesday night. “Redeployment,” a collection of short stories about the conflict told from the point of view of a variety of narrators, won the 2014 National Book Award for fiction. | Marine Corps Times >>

A national veterans organization based in Maine has been rescuing dogs from kill shelters in the south and training them to be buddies for soldiers returning from battle. These pooches saved from death are in turn helping veterans overcome their toughest battles, which includes becoming members of society again. | WCSH 6 NBC >>

Volunteer work after military service has been billed as a way for veterans to better connect to their communities and build new relationships. Now, a new study says it also might help them find better jobs. | Military Times >>

Bottom line: if someone volunteers to risk taking a bullet to protect me, I should stand up and help out. This might date back to my mid-teens, towards the end of the Vietnam war. I saw returning vets getting treated without respect. At that time, I knew that was wrong, but couldn’t articulate it. | CraigConnects.org >>

Inside Washington

A day after Rep. Tim Walz (Minn.) had his hopes of becoming the top Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee dashed, he says he is in talks with Democratic leaders to join the powerful House Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress. | The Hill >>

CNS Response Chairman Thomas Tierney and CEO George Carpenter provided testimony in support of HR 5059, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, at the request of the of the House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee on Health. | CNBC >>

A law that protects returning veterans from having their homes foreclosed for a year after they leave the service expires at the end of the year and U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, has introduced legislation to make the benefit permanent. | Orlando Sentinel >>

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