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IAVA Daily News Brief – October 14, 2015

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Bell V-280 Valor on display at the annual Association of the United States Army conference at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

The Civilian-Military Gap Is More Of A Drift Than A Divide
As Marjorie Morrison, chief executive officer and founder of PsychArmor, stated at the event, “Americans with no military affiliation don’t think of themselves as civilians. To them, the word ‘civilian’ refers to Department of Defense employees who work on base but are not uniformed military personnel.” However, the term “civilian-military divide” actually speaks to the understanding gap between those who have served in the military and those who have not. | Task & Purpose >>

Lawmakers demand answers from VA on ‘shockingly unethical misuse of funds’ by two executives
Senior members of Congress are investigating the case of two Veterans Affairs executives who abused their positions to get plum jobs and perks, part of a pattern of unjustified moving incentives and transfers identified by the agency’s watchdog. | Washington Post >>

Government Probes Invasion Of Whistleblower’s Medical Records
The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights is now investigating the unauthorized access of medical records of whistleblowers at numerous Veterans Affairs hospitals. | Daily Caller >>

Afghanistan

U.S. airstrikes and Afghan ground forces dismantled al Qaeda training sites in southern Afghanistan over five days in one of the largest joint operations the two countries have undertaken, the U.S. military said Tuesday. | CNN >>

With nearly all U.S. troops scheduled to leave Afghanistan in little more than a year, Brig. Gen. David David Julazadeh is planning in “excruciating detail” when to withdraw aircraft and airmen while continuing to provide air support for the shrinking U.S. footprint. | Air Force Times >>

When reports began emerging last year that some Afghan militants had shifted their allegiance to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the government and international response remained measured. Experts noted that in Afghanistan, the Islamic State represented more of a splintering of the Taliban than a major expansion of the core group out of Syria and Iraq. | New York Times >>

Iraq

A worsening political dispute on the front lines of the fight against the Islamic State group threatens one of the few silver linings for U.S. policy in the Middle East. Since last week, five people have died and four ministers have lost their jobs in Iraqi Kurdistan, the semi-autonomous region of Iraq whose Western-backed fighters have retaken nearly all the territory they briefly lost to the Islamic State group, or ISIS, and become heroes in the U.S. | Huffington Post >>

The U.S.-led bombing campaign has killed an estimated 20,000 Islamic State fighters, an increase from the 15,000 the Pentagon reported in July, according to a senior military officer. | USA Today >>

The hardline Islamic State group confirmed on Tuesday that one of its senior members had been killed in an airstrike in Iraq earlier this year, the SITE monitoring service said. Islamic State’s spokesman said in an audio message that Abu Mutaz Qurashi, also known as Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, had been killed, SITE said. | Reuters >>

Military Affairs

Army Spc. Jared Tansley and Staff Sgt. Andrew Fink on Monday were named the 2015 Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, respectively. The soldiers were selected after this year’s Best Warrior Competition, which kicked off Oct. 5 at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. | Military Times >>

The Navy gives the US the ability to project power around the globe even without frequent ground deployments, and is already an indispensable aspect of American policy and national security. To celebrate the 240th birthday of the US Navy, we’ve pulled out some of the coolest photos from the archives. | Business Insider >>

Active-duty and some reserve officers who are slated to deploy could have their retirements denied — or delayed — under a newly updated “stop loss” provision, according to a recent change to the Air Force’s retirement rules. | Air Force Times >>

#VetsRising

For the first time, the Semper Fi Fund and its offshoot, America’s Fund, are at this year’s Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The goal is to get the word out about the help the group can provide to troops and their families, said Wendy Lethin, the group’s vice president for community outreach. | Military Times >>

Those suffering from PTSD are often anxious, jittery and depressed. They tend to have negative feelings and show a sense of hopelessness. Tiner found help in 2008 when he got involved with Warrior Outreach Inc., a nonprofit organization. Its founder, Sam Rhodes, a command sergeant major now retired from the Army, discovered that being around horses helped him with his own struggles, and he decided it could help fellow soldiers as well. | Ledger Enquirer >>

Donohue survived his tour of duty in Afghanistan, but came home with psychic scars from things that he witnessed. For Donohue, getting up on stage to perform stand up comedy on Saturday night in Bethpage was nearly as nerve-wracking. “Anxiety is the number one factor, you know it takes a lot to get up there on stage,” he said. Donohue founded Project 9 Line for returning Long Island veterans, the non-profit volunteer organization uses the arts, including stand up comedy, to help veterans overcome the trauma of war. | CBS New York >>

Inside Washington

Hollyanne Milley and her husband, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, have already been meeting with soldiers and their families and listening to their concerns related to budget cuts, Mrs. Milley said Monday during a family forum at the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington. Army officials are working to streamline and consolidate family programs, she said, but vowed the quality of those programs won’t change. | Army Times >>

As female soldiers are becoming more integrated into combat roles in the Army, Congress will eventually have to decide whether women will have to register for the draft, Army Secretary John McHugh said Monday. Mr. McHugh argued that if “true and pure equality” is the goal in the U.S. military, then the possibility of women registering for the draft, is likely. | Washington Times >>

Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) have introduced a bill that would allow Department of Veterans Affairs physicians to provide telehealth services across state lines, FierceHealthIT reports. | iHealthBeat >>

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