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IAVA Daily News Brief – November 5, 2015

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron is pushed inside a hardened facility by members of the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Osan Air Base, South Korea. | Military Times >>

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron is pushed inside a hardened facility by members of the 36th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Osan Air Base, South Korea. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

VA sends to Congress plan for consolidating private care programs
The Veterans Affairs Department hopes to consolidate its programs that administer private health care to veterans with the goal of improving veterans’ access to treatment and broadening their choices for health services. | Military Times >>

New York City Mayor Reverses Opposition On Veterans Department Bill
On Nov. 4, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reversed his opposition to City Council Bill 314, which would permanently establish a Department of Veteran Services in New York. The bill’s passage, spearheaded by Councilman Eric Ulrich and the veteran service organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, will allot greater resources to New York City’s 230,000 veterans. | Task & Purpose >>

House lawmakers: VA health streamlining system of care
The Veterans Affairs Department is positioning itself to create a health care system focused on service-connected conditions and ready for the bolus of veterans who will need care as Iraq and Afghanistan vets age, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee members said Wednesday. | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

Last month’s U.S. airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders medical compound in Afghanistan appeared precisely focused on the main hospital building, the charity said in its internal review of the strike released Thursday, noting that the building’s GPS coordinates had been provided earlier to the military. | CNN >>

A recent Brookings paper paints optimistic prospects for children in Afghanistan. Indeed much progress has been made since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. However, vast grounds remain to be covered. Persistent gender disparity, lack of infrastructure, shortage of qualified teachers, cultural barriers continue to keep more than three million children, the majority of which are girls, out of school. | Forbes >>

A breakaway Afghan Taliban faction has appointed its own leader, underlining deep divisions in the group following the death of founder Mullah Omar. Mullah Mohammad Rasool was chosen to lead the splinter group at a meeting of fighters in western Farah province. | BBC News >>

Iraq

Since the first U.S. combat death in the fight against the Islamic State last month, the administration and its critics have been at odds about whether U.S. troops are back in combat, and how combat is even defined. | Washington Examiner >>

Eighteen people were killed in clashes with the military in southeastern Turkey on Thursday, lifting this week’s death toll to almost 40 in the mainly Kurdish area and dampening prospects for a ceasefire. The military killed 16 PKK rebels in a rural area near the town of Yuksekova near the Iraqi border, the General Staff said in a statement on its website. The army killed 15 PKK fighters and lost two soldiers there on Wednesday. | Reuters >>

The Federal Reserve and Treasury Department temporarily shut off the flow of billions of dollars to Iraq’s central bank this summer as concerns mounted that the currency was ending up at Iranian banks and possibly being funneled to Islamic State militants, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and other people familiar with the matter. | The Wall Street Journal >>

Military Affairs

Explosions, smoke and dozens upon dozens of military vehicles gradually filled a valley here on Wednesday afternoon for the latest show of force for Exercise Trident Juncture 2015. Hundreds of military leaders, dignitaries and media watched as NATO troops maneuvered through the San Gregorio Military Training Area and, later, as hundreds of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division dropped from the sky. | Army Times >>

Like any major naval operation, an elaborate spirit spot can take over a year to execute. Spearheaded by Midshipman 1st Class Rylan Tuohy, a group of mids shut down an Annapolis city block in October, dancing and lip-syncing in their choker whites to a send-up of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” music video that has gone viral since its Nov. 1 release. | Navy Times >>

In September, the U.S. Marine Corps released a four-page summary of a yearlong study that found that all-male units were faster, more lethal and able to evacuate casualties in less time than mixed-gender units. The study, which can be viewed in full below, was bashed by critics for being biased. | NPR >>

#VetsRising

Perhaps the most admirable thing about veterans is their desire to serve, even after they finish their time in the military. “I really have to feel like I’m doing something that is making a difference,” said Brian Adam Jones, a marine veteran who is now a senior at Columbia University. | Pix 11 >>

Noah Galloway, an Iraq war veteran and former finalist on ‘Dancing with the Starts, visited Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital on Thursday to inspire patients facing rehabilitation struggles. | MLive >>

Veterans Affairs support groups and medication is not always enough and many veterans are turning to a new, unusual kind of therapy called Equine Therapy that is bringing relief and even allowing some to move forward from their PTSD. | Fox 28 >>

Inside Washington

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., went on the Senate floor last week to defend the University of Phoenix and excoriate the Defense Department for placing the country’s largest for-profit university on probation. In his Oct. 28 floor speech, McCain singled out Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., for leading the charge against the university for its recruiting practices, disclosed by Reveal in June. | Reveal >>

Just hours after filibustering the spending bill that funds the Pentagon, Democrats relented and allowed a separate funding measure that pays for military construction and veterans programs to advance on the Senate floor on Thursday. On Thursday afternoon, senators voted 93-0 to advance the military construction bill to the floor. | Politico >>

At a recent congressional hearing focusing on electronic health record interoperability–or lack, thereof–between the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said to officials from both agencies that after nearly two decades of failed efforts to play nicely together, and billions of dollars spent, perhaps it’s time to punish noncompliance of federal requests. | Fierce Health IT >>

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