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IAVA Daily News Brief – October 22

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Military personnel hold the flag before the football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots in Indianapolis. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Lawmakers subpoena VA employees over relocation scandal
In yet another tense House hearing Wednesday, lawmakers accused Veterans Affairs officials of hiding from Congress and wishing away potential criminal abuse cases to avoid confronting the latest management scandal to hit the embattled department. | Military Times >>

Veterans still facing major medical delays at VA hospitals
Appointment wait times at the Department of Veterans Affairs are not getting better. Despite billions of extra dollars poured into the agency in the last year and numerous reforms intended to improve veterans’ access to care, whistleblowers and internal documents obtained by CNN reveal some VA facilities continue to grapple with appointment wait times of months or more. | CNN >>

Vets With PTSD Require More Sedation In Intensive Care Than Other Veterans
Researchers at the University of Buffalo recently found that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder who were being treated with mechanical ventilation in intensive care units required greater amounts of sedatives than other veteran patients. Researchers analyzed data from 1,569 patients, collected between 2003 and 2013, in New York’s Veterans Health Administration System. | Task & Purpose >>

Afghanistan

The Army’s $5 billion intelligence network, designed to give commanders battlefield awareness but criticized for years as a boondoggle, was not working in Afghanistan during the recent American air attack on a hospital, according to a member of Congress in touch with military whistleblowers. | Associated Press >>

Afghan government forces, bolstered by hundreds of fresh troops and elite commandos, battled on Wednesday to push the Taliban back from around the capital of the southern province of Helmand after fierce fighting a day before. | Reuters >>

The Republican leader of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday backed President Barack Obama’s plans to slow the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, but said he favored keeping 10,000 there rather than reducing the force by half under a plan announced last week. | Reuters >>

Iraq

The U.S. has told Iraq’s leaders they must choose between ongoing American support in the battle against militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and asking the Russians to intervene instead. | CBS News >>

The humanitarian situation in Iraq is deteriorating and growing more complex, as conflict protracts, coping capacities diminish, and funding falls short, according to a report issued today by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). | UN News Centre >>

Canada’s new leader-in-waiting says he intends to follow through on his campaign promise to pull the country out of the U.S.-led bombing campaign against ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq. Justin Trudeau, who led the Liberal Party to a stunning victory in elections Monday, said he has already told U.S. President Barack Obama of his plans. | CNN >>

Military Affairs

With 54 countries and more than 2,000 languages in its area of operations, U.S. Army Africa has launched a new program to synchronize its training and partnership efforts across the continent. African Horizons is “our strategy from a bilateral or multilateral standpoint for how we deal with our African partners,” said Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, commanding general of U.S. Army Africa. | Army Times >>

The U.S. Navy accepted the delivery of the future USS Milwaukee, making it the sixth littoral combat ship to be delivered to the Navy. The Milwaukee is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship, and was accepted during a ceremony at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard on October 16 after completing testing in September. This transfer of authority from manufacturer Lockheed Martin to the U.S. military marks the final milestone before the ship is formally commissioned. | UPI >>

A US Marine Corps pilot has died in an F-18 jet crash, close to an RAF base. The jet came down on farmland in Cambridgeshire, with the alarm raised at 10:30 BST. The Hornet aircraft, which had taken off from RAF Lakenheath but was not connected to the base, crashed four miles from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. | BBC News >>

#VetsRising

At the height of the Iraq War, Bolender entered the U.S. Marine Corps as an officer after having already served in the Navy. He was expected to run on a regular basis, carrying heavy equipment and for long periods of time. At first, it was a miserable experience, he said. But then, something changed. “I noticed on one run that I had escaped time and it was over even though 50 minutes had gone by,” he said. | Bluffton Today >>

Staff Sgt. Toby Hensley doesn’t tell his family much about his experiences in Iraq. “There are things I haven’t said that I probably won’t tell anyone,” Hensley said. He’d like to figure out how. His desire to share his story with his loved ones was one of the reasons he joined a special project at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He and other soldiers this week are learning new ways of communicating behind handheld cameras. | The Olympian >>

A Chico veteran is biking more than 500 miles along with other injured veterans as part of the UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery California Challenge. The seven-day, 516-mile bicycle ride winds along the California coast from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles. | KRCR TV >>

Inside Washington

First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are set for appearances next month in the Lifetime special “Women of Honor,” a celebration of female veterans and caregivers. The hourlong program, set to air Nov. 9 in connection with Veterans Day on Nov. 11, will highlight the emotional experiences of three women, two of them who were in the service, the other a caregiver to her husband who lost both legs in Afghanistan. | Variety >>

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, a 2016 candidate, argued on the Senate floor Tuesday that the government should be able to fire Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) workers who don’t do their jobs. However, the senator has faced questions about his own attendance record at work. | CBS News >>

LaVerne Council, the new chief information officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, has laid out an aggressive timeline to change technology efforts within the agency, focusing on projects that can be completed within six months, those that will take six to 18 months and those that will take longer. | Fierce Health IT >>

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