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IAVA Daily News Brief – November 9, 2015

First Lt. Brady Amack, 95th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor pilot, waves before takeoff from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., flight line during a training mission. | Military Times >>

First Lt. Brady Amack, 95th Fighter Squadron F-22 Raptor pilot, waves before takeoff from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., flight line during a training mission. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Veteran unemployment hits 7-year low in October
Unemployment among all veterans reached a seven-year low last month, and the jobless rate among Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans set a new record low in October, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday. | Military Times >>

VA secretary challenges Congress
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald pushed back Friday against increasing criticism from lawmakers, putting the onus on Congress to pass legislation to aid revamping the beleaguered agency. | Stars and Stripes >>

VA plans stand down to review medical access issues
Veterans Affairs officials will have a one-day “access stand down” to review lingering problems with health care appointments throughout the department, VA Secretary Bob McDonald said on Friday. | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

At a news conference in Kabul on Thursday, the international medical organization said that more than a month after the attack the United States military had yet to offer an explanation for why a clearly marked hospital was struck, other than to say it had been hit by mistake. | New York Times >>

Islamic State militants kidnapped and killed seven people, including three women, in the southern province of Zabul, a police official said on Sunday, amid heavy fighting in the region between the group and Taliban insurgents. | Reuters >>

Guts, grit and grace aptly describe the slight figure sitting on the floor of a mud shack in Afghanistan’s capital. Aziza Rahimzada has accomplished more in her 14 years than most adults could hope to in their whole lives. Her persistent cajoling helped convince the government to allow children from her encampment without identity documents to attend school. | NBC News >>

Iraq

The pace of U.S. airstrikes targeting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is set to increase after a period of several weeks in which attacks slowed, said a senior U.S. military official in the Middle East. | Wall Street Journal >>

The 101st Airborne Division headquarters will deploy to Iraq and Kuwait early next year to support Operation Inherent Resolve, the Army announced Friday. The headquarters, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, will serve a nine-month deployment. | Army Times >>

Iraqi security officials say three blasts in different parts of Baghdad have killed at least six people and wounded 18. One roadside bomb targeted a residential area in north Baghdad’s Saba al-Boor neighborhood on Friday, killing three and wounding nine. | Associated Press >>

Military Affairs

The Navy’s 272-ship force is straining under today’s security challenges, some experts say — and one glaring symptom is a shortage of aircraft carriers. For the first time in almost a decade, the Navy does not currently have a single aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf area to execute the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or to keep Iran in check. | The Hill >>

The U.S. Army teamed up with the U.S. Air Force in deploying Stryker vehicles north of the Arctic Circle for the first time. The deployment was part of a multi-agency exercise known as Operation Arctic Pegasus, which tested the deployment capability of the Army’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. | UPI >>

Six F-15Cs from the 48th Fighter Wing based at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, landed Friday at Incirlik Air Force Base, Turkey, to protect Turkish airspace, according to U.S. European Command. | Air Force Times >>

#VetsRising

After leaving the military, Bettis pursued her dream of going to law school, thanks to the GI Bill. Today, she’s an Assistant District Attorney in the Queens DA’s office. “I was working with staff sergeants up to generals during my deployment and being able to speak to those individuals helps me to facilitate how I work here in the Queens District Attorney’s office.” | Pix 11 >>

Thirty years in the Marine Corps taught Sequoia Aldridge a few things about adapting and overcoming tough challenges, and now she’s bringing these skills to her next mission: teaching science to seventh graders. | Marine Corps Times >>

One Hoosier Hero, who’s using paint to get past his trauma, had his artwork on display at the Indiana State Museum this month. Tanner Archibald, of Columbus, served in Iraq from 2005 through 2007 until a vehicle he was driving was hit by improvised explosive device. | WTTV 4 >>

Inside Washington

Veterans groups that have clashed with Mayor Bill de Blasio during the first two years of his administration are hoping a City Council plan to turn the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs into a full-fledged city agency will improve their troubled relationship with City Hall. | DNA Info >>

Today, legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate to reinstate GI Bill benefits to people attending a school that closes during their enrollment. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and co-sponsor Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced Senate Bill 2253; and Representatives Mark Takano (D-CA), a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and co-sponsor Chris Gibson (R-NY) introduced the companion House Bill 3991 in reaction to the closure of several colleges earlier this year. | Military.com >>

President Obama has signed into law a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch aimed at giving federal workers who are also veterans extra time off to seek medical care. The new law provides the employees with 104 hours of what Lynch calls “Wounded Warrior leave” during their first year in the federal workforce so that they can seek medical treatment for service-connected disabilities without being forced to take unpaid leave or forego their appointments. | Associated Press >>

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