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IAVA Daily News Brief – November 6, 2014

Today’s Top Stories

Younger veterans heading to Congress in bigger numbers
Next year’s Congress will boast the largest class of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans yet, even as the overall number of lawmakers with military experience continues to decline. Military Times >>

Program trains police to defuse confrontations with troubled veterans
Casualties of the After-War – Last in a four-part series: Clouds of smoke plumed from the spinning wheels of a white Cadillac pinned between two Las Vegas police cars. Officers had ordered the driver to exit the vehicle, and when he failed to comply, they devised a plan to flush him out. One officer would fire a beanbag round to shatter the car’s rear window. Another would then shoot a canister of pepper spray.  Stars and Stripes >>

Justice Department undercuts VA explanations on not firing executives
The VA says it has held off for months on firing top management linked to a nationwide health care scandal because of ongoing criminal probes by the Department of Justice. Stars and Stripes >>

Afghanistan 

Struggling to jump start Afghanistan’s fledgling economy, the United States reportedly turned to an unlikely country for help. Fox News >>

The U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division concluded its operations in Afghanistan on Tuesday. Military.com >>

It was late 2010, and Sgt. Philip A. McCulloch Jr. was locked into what may have been the darkest battle of America’s longest war. Marine Corps Times >>

Iraq

The United States continued its assault on Islamic State militants this week, conducting 14 airstrikes in recent days in Syria and Iraq, U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Wednesday. Reuters >>

Another crisis is percolating in Iraq beneath the onslaught of Islamic State militants: a shrinking economy and a widening fiscal deficit that politicians and analysts worry will further undermine the country’s ability to fight off the insurgents. Wall Street Journal >>

When Islamic State militants retreated from the embattled town of Jurf al-Sakher last week, the Iraqi military was quick to flaunt a rare victory against the extremist group, with state television showing tanks and Humvees parading through the town and soldiers touring government buildings that had been occupied by the militants since August. Fox News >>

Military Times

U.S. Army weapons officials are testing a sophisticated rifle-scope that let’s shooters zoom in and out on near and far targets faster than ever before. Military.com >>

The Army has asked more than 35,000 soldiers to prioritize services offered by their installations via an online survey, but a new approach to the questions could give greater insight to Army planners dealing with dwindling budgets. Army Times >>

Christian Beekman writes a blog for Task & Purpose: A scene from the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise, Advanced Warfare, has been the target of plenty of mockery from the gaming community. The scene in question involves the player attending the Arlington funeral of his fellow Marine and close friend who was killed in a previous operation. Task & Purpose >>

New Greatest Generation

SoldierSocks, a non-profit foundation focused on helping veterans, announced that their ambassador, Dan Rose, a veteran living with paralysis, was a special guest at WWE’s SmackDown in Albany, N.Y. Miami Herald >>

Sometimes talking isn’t the best therapy for veterans scarred by what they have seen and experienced. “Dealing with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is really a dark place,” said Austin Simpson, who served in Iraq. “It’s not easy to just ‘snap out of it.’ Your brain knows what you need to do, but you just can’t do it.” Sarasota Herald-Tribune >>

Motorists travelling along Capital Circle Thursday morning near the Tallahassee Regional Airport may find themselves doing a double-take if their timing coincides with a huge motorcycle procession escorting the Cost of Freedom military tribute to Tom Brown Park. Tallahassee Democrat >>
Inside Washington 

Three military veterans were elected to the Senate on Wednesday, reversing a 32-year decline in numbers, according to Veterans Campaign, a nonpartisan group that seeks to prepare veterans for public office. The Hill >>

The U.S. Navy has transferred hundreds of acres of land to the Department of Veterans Affairs for an outpatient clinic and national cemetery that will eventually house the remains of 300,000 veterans. AP >>

Researchers are inching closer to creating medical tests to detect post-traumatic stress or mild traumatic brain injury — conditions that now are diagnosed only with self-reported symptoms and subjective exams. Navy Times >>

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