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IAVA Daily News Brief – November 5, 2015

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Sailors man the rails as the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan departs Busan after a goodwill port visit. Ronald Reagan and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Senators call on Army to investigate 22,000 misconduct discharges
A group of 12 senators on Wednesday called on the Army to investigate a recent report that the service discharged for misconduct as many as 22,000 soldiers who had been diagnosed with mental health problems. The lawmakers, led by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., called on the Pentagon to conduct a “full U.S. Army Inspector General investigation” into the allegations, according to information from Murphy’s office. | Army Times >>

A Recent Air Force Sexual Assault Case Displayed The Cascading Problems With Military Justice
The sexual-assault trial of Senior Airman Brandon T. Wright revealed a number of nagging problems with the military justice system. Senior Airman Brandon T. Wright was found not guilty of sexual assault in October. That brought to an end a case that has been languishing in the military justice system for over three years. About the only positive thing that can be said about this case is that it is over. | Task & Purpose >>

Pentagon Paid Up To $6.8 Million Of Taxpayer Money To Pro Sports Teams For Military Tributes
The Department of Defense doled out as much as $6.8 million in taxpayer money to professional sports teams to honor the military at games and events over the past four years, an amount it has “downplayed” amid scrutiny, a report unveiled by two Senate Republicans on Wednesday found. | Huffington Post >>

Afghanistan

Northern Afghanistan includes nine provinces stretching from Faryab along the Iranian border to the west to the soaring cliffs and gemstone mines in Badakhshan to the east. Long known as one of the country’s safest places, the region has more recently seen the temporary fall of Kunduz, a major strategic city, to the Taliban and other violent groups. | Washington Post >>

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assured the rulers of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on Tuesday of U.S. support for Central Asian security against the spread of Islamic militancy from neighboring Afghanistan but urged them not to overreact in crackdowns on political Islam at home. | Reuters >>

A deadly U.S. airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital last month has triggered an international outcry and investigations by the Pentagon and NATO. But it was not the only U.S. aerial assault to cause significant damage in this northern city. | Washington Post >>

Iraq

U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today. Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports. | Department of Defense >>

American-backed Iraqi forces have been unable to cut off the Islamic State’s use of the Euphrates River as a major supply line into Ramadi, allowing the militants to continue bringing weapons and people into the city on boats and barges, a defense official said. | Military Times >>

Mayada Abdul Rhani and her children fled their home after Islamic militants overran Mosul and the neighboring villages. As a Christian she was forced to make a stark decision: convert to Islam, or face execution. Now, she told CBS News she doesn’t trust any Muslims. | CBS News >>

Military Affairs

The first official integrated Ranger School class kicked off Monday — but the Army is refusing to say how many female soldiers are participating. “We’re ready to train whoever shows up here and whoever meets the standards,” said Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. “It doesn’t matter to us who shows up here. If they can meet the standards, we’re ready to train them and put them through Ranger School.” | Army Times >>

The service members at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, are performing demanding duty without complaint as they represent the United States, first lady Michelle Obama told troops on the base Nov. 3. | U.S. Air Force >>

The Army is working on a new, universal transcript that would better catalog a soldier’s education, training and experience — and hopefully earn the soldier more college credits. This new transcript would be different from and in addition to the existing Joint Services Transcript and has already gained the attention of officials in the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. | Army Times >>

#VetsRising

American military veterans need work, and American agriculture needs farmers. So why not, figuratively, convert those who wielded swords into those guiding plowshares? It is a question that has inspired a small number of American charities, and they are acting on the proposition. Among them are the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Davis, Calif.; Troops to Tractors of western Pennsylvania; and Ground Operations of Ojai, Calif. | New York Times >>

Much of what Riccardo Medrano will tell you about his four years as a U.S. Marine isn’t all that surprising. It’s a brotherhood, he says. It changes you. Medrano, 26, got out of the service in 2013. When he later decided to pick up a paint brush for the first time what showed up on canvas was a soldier’s creation. | Lansing State Journal >>

A motivational speaker, a Princeton Tiger, a CEO, and a kid from South Side Chicago all share one thing in common, but it’s something that most people wouldn’t assume by looking at them. They’re veterans, and yet there’s much more to them than their collective identity. That’s the idea behind a campaign launched Monday by the veteran-focused nonprofit Got Your 6.  | TakePart >>

Inside Washington

The U.S. Army began preliminary talks with Congress on cutting the size of its civilian workforce in tandem with the continuing downsizing of the active duty ranks. Army officials were meeting with staffers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss the process and methodology for the civilian cuts suggested by the military. | Military.com >>

The Defense Department says it is not bearing down on veterans groups that may be violating or irresponsibly replicating DoD insignia and seals, aside from recent reports. The United Veterans Council of Santa Clara County said officials received a cease and desist order after the group used official seals on a flier during a Memorial Day commemoration ceremony, according to a letter written by Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s office. | Military Times >>

More than three in four soldiers say they are struggling to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq but getting mental health care remains a struggle for them, according to a new survey released Wednesday by the Wounded Warrior Project. Of the 23,000 injured current and former troops surveyed, 76.2 percent said they suffer from PTSD, an increase from 75.2 percent who said they struggled with the disorder in 2014. | Washington Times >>

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