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IAVA Daily News Brief – November 3, 2015

Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and Italian Army soldiers from Folgore Brigade are conducting an airborne operation from a C-130 aircraft during a combined air assault and seizure of Lidia Drop Zone, Siena, Italy, during Mangusta 15 exercise. | Military Times >>

Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and Italian Army soldiers from Folgore Brigade are conducting an airborne operation from a C-130 aircraft during a combined air assault and seizure of Lidia Drop Zone, Siena, Italy, during Mangusta 15 exercise. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

White House official won’t rule out raids with Syrian partners
A senior White House official on Monday left the door open for U.S. troops deploying to Syria to conduct raids. Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, said at the Defense One Summit 2015 that raids would not be the troops’ “principle” function. “The norm is not going out in raids,” he said, but added, “I’m obviously not going to rule anything out.” | The Hill >>

Clinton’s comments spark VA talk on campaign trail
Republican lawmakers are hoping to use Hillary Clinton’s latest comments on problems in the Veterans Affairs Department to widen conversation on the campaign trail about recent missteps in providing care and benefits to former service members. | Military Times >>

Paving the Way From Warrior to Worker
A veteran hiring initiative that already has placed hundreds of thousands of returning U.S. soldiers into the civilian labor force over the last several years is expanding its goal and scope of operations, now aiming to find work for 1 million veterans. | U.S. News & World Report >>

Afghanistan

Nearly $43 million of U.S. taxpayers’ money was spent on building a gas station in Afghanistan — 140 times more than it should have cost, according to a government watchdog. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) also said that one of the most “troubling” issues is how the Department of Defense was unable or unwilling to explain why the “ill-conceived” project was so expensive. | NBC News >>

A splinter group of the Afghan Taliban announced its own leader Monday, underscoring deep divisions in the insurgency following the death of its longtime emir. The dissident faction’s announcement is believed to be the first public and official split of the Afghan Taliban since the group formed in the 1990s. There was no immediate response to the announcement from the Afghan Taliban. | NBC News >>

An Afghan official in Kabul says authorities will take back all Afghan citizens deported from Germany, which is struggling to accommodate the hundreds of thousands who have arrived this year seeking safety. | Associated Press >>

Iraq

As U.S. airstrikes on the ISIS stronghold in Sinjar, Iraq intensify, Yazidi men are joining the battle to drive the extremist group from the town, and from their homeland. CNN’s Nima Elbagir reports. | CNN >>

In the struggle to transform Iraq from a dictatorship to a democracy after the American-led invasion in 2003, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the highest spiritual authority for many of the world’s Shiite Muslims, stood out as a singular champion of the effort to hold direct elections and ensure that politicians, and not clerics, rule the country. | New York Times >>

In spite of airstrikes from allied and Russian forces, Islamic State fighters captured the town of Maheen in Homs province, Syria, after two suicide car bombings inside the area to lead the assault on Syrian government forces. Suicide bombings are a favorite ISIS tactic and the prize included a large government complex and ammunitions dump inside the town. | Washington Times >>

Military Affairs

One of the Army’s low-profile but high-impact intelligence agencies is scouting current and former officers, warrant officers and NCOs for two special career programs. The same organization also has noncareer broadening opportunities for noncommissioned officers who would like to serve overseas as enlisted defense attaches. | Army Times >>

The U.S. Navy’s elite submarine force is stepping up stress-managementservices for its sailors, responding in part to elevated numbers of unexpected dropouts among younger service members. | Associated Press >>

Every day at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, crew chiefs, flightline avionics and other maintenance airmen can be found crawling over, looking under and digging through the guts of the base’s 46 F-22 Raptor fighters, looking for problems and keeping them in the air. But when it comes to the most experienced crew chiefs and flightline avionics airmen — the so-called 7-skill-level craftsmen — Langley’s 1st Maintenance Group is painfully undermanned. | Air Force Times >>

#VetsRising

The Challenges Of Transitioning From Soldier To Full-Time Mom: A former Army captain reflects on learning to connect with civilian parents. | Task & Purpose >>

Every morning when Marcus Abbott wakes up, his eyes find their way to his right wrist. Abbott looks at the tattoo, which reads “9-21-10.” Then he gets out of bed and starts another day of class and football at Lamar University. | Beaumont Enterprise >>

Despite terrible disabilities, the brave half-dozen will have completed a shattering 1,000-mile journey from the north of Scotland to London to raise money for his charity, Walking with the Wounded. It will be a cheering moment of satisfaction for Harry, too. Whatever the criticism wilder antics draw, no one can doubt his commitment to the cause of injured veterans. But among the small group of warriors drawing breath at the special reception laid on for them, none should feel more proud than Kirstie Ennis, an Afghan veteran like Harry, and the sole woman to take part in the 72-day expedition. | The Daily Mail >>

Inside Washington

On October 29, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Student Veterans of America (SVA), and the National Student Clearinghouse signed a Memorandum of Agreement to track and measure the academic outcomes of student veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The program is known as the National Veteran Education Success Tracker and it builds upon the SVA Million Records Project. | Military.com >>

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Saturday announced a plan to reform the veterans health system at a rally in Norfolk, Va. “We’re going to take care of those wounded warriors and we’re going to take care of our vets better than anybody.”he said, speaking in front the USS Wisconsin — the same spot where now-Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was formally introduced as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. | The Hill >>

The VA’s mission statement is “to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise ‘To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan’ by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans.” This quotation is from Lincoln’s second inaugural address, given on March 4, 1865. VA adopted this portion of the address as its mission statement in 1959. A plaque with the quotation engraved on it appears outside VA’s Central Office in Washington, DC. | The Hill >>

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