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IAVA Daily News Brief – October 27, 2015

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A member of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade shows a gun to a young boy on the armored vehicle during the meeting with local residents at the Cathedral square in Vilnius, Lithuania. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Bringing the Individual Ready Reserve into the ‘total force’
The Reserve Forces Policy Board, a federal advisory group, has suggested that a revamped IRR might seek to tap inactive veterans for a wider range of potentially short-term missions, creating a relationship similar to the private sector’s use of part-time consultants. | Military Times >>

It’s costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to pay the school fees for veterans who have dropped out
The Department of Veterans Affairs is overpaying hundreds of millions of dollars to schools and veterans under the post-9/11 GI Bill when students drop a class or leave school, letting $416 million go uncollected in fiscal 2014 alone, a newly released report says. | Washington Post >>

Soldiers facing other than honorable discharges struggling
Two of three Fort Carson soldiers who faced other-than-honorable discharges over the past few years say they still struggle, despite getting federal benefits to help cover medical costs, because the discharge also affects pensions and other benefits earned for service. | Associated Press >>

Afghanistan

A massive earthquake rocked northeastern Afghanistan on Monday with devastating tremors rippling across the region, leaving more than 215 dead amid collapsed buildings, panicked stampedes and fears of landslides. Officials braced for even more casualties. | Washington Post >>

Afghanistan, battered by worsening security, is reaching out to an old ally and patron—Russia—just as the Kremlin is seeking to reassert its position as a heavyweight on the world stage. | Wall Street Journal >>

Two security guards working for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission were killed in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Monday when a roadside bomb blew up as their vehicle passed, a police official said. | Reuters >>

Iraq

In an interview aired Sunday, the United States’ principal ally in the Iraq War has said there are “elements of truth” to the argument that the 2003 invasion of Iraq led to the rise of the Islamic State. | Washington Post >>

An Iraqi Trade Ministry media adviser killed last month by a bomb attached to his car had been about to hand over files accusing the ministry of corruption to the country’s Integrity Commission, officials in the ministry’s legal department told Reuters. | Reuters >>

Footage emerged over the weekend reportedly showing the daring U.S.-Iraqi commando raid on an Islamic State group prison that freed dozens of captives and resulted in the death of a member of the U.S. Army’s secretive Delta Force, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler. It’s a scene that will be repeated in the near future, U.S. officials say, amid the need for the specialized skills on the ground only Americans can provide. | U.S. News & World Report >>

Military Affairs

Adm. John Richardson, the new Chief of Naval Operations, faces the same dilemma as his predecessor — how to meet the growing needs of U.S. commanders with a limited number of resources. The challenges were apparent as Richardson toured overseas naval bases in the Pacific, Mideast and Europe barely a month into his tenure. | Stars and Stripes >>

Army 2nd Lt. Trevor Lafontaine bested 30,000 runners in his first ever marathon at the 40th annual Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday with a time of 2 hours 24 minutes. Drizzly weather and competition from runners of all ages and experience didn’t slow down Lafontaine, who found a good pace the others couldn’t maintain. | Military Times >>

A Marine Corps study examining the impact of integrating women into combat occupations is “inherently flawed” for failing to establish basic standards for such positions, say researchers who obtained the report, which has not been publicly released. | Stars and Stripes >>

#VetsRising

A group of military veterans is embarking on a 23-mile walk Saturday to raise awareness of veteran suicide. Hundreds of people will start in South St. Paul and will walking past the state capitol and then return to South St. Paul. The event is called “Ruck Up For Life.” A ruck is a military maneuver where someone goes from one place to another carrying lots of weight. | WDAY 6 ABC >>

Alejandro Villanueva is a former West Point lineman and Army Ranger who got his first start at tackle on Sunday as the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. He took on the high-pressure role of protecting the “blind side” of backup quarterback Landry Jones, who’s in due to starter Ben Roethlisberger’s injury. | We Are The Mighty >>

Sitting behind a desk as a personnel information management specialist for the majority of her four years with the U.S. Army at Fort Riley in Kansas, Alexsias Szkolnicki learned that office work was not for her. However, she also learned valuable lessons in self-motivation and self-discipline she believes serve her well as a college student. | Houston Chronicle >>

Inside Washington

A civil lawsuit filed Monday by a U.S. Navy veteran who is neither male nor female accuses the U.S. Department of State of discrimination for refusing to give the person a passport. The lawsuit by Dana Alix Zzyym, 57, names Secretary of State John Kerry and Sherman Portell, director of the of Colorado Passport Agency of discrimination, after refusing to give the U.S. Navy veteran a passport. | The Denver Post >>

Animal rights advocates in the United States say the country not only needs to take care of its veterans but also the military dogs that have risked their lives on the battlefield. Some members of Congress have also joined the call to honor America’s canine heroes. At an event on Capitol Hill organized by the American Humane Association, Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar said it is important to strengthen the bond between soldiers and military dogs. | Voice of America >>

A $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will go toward four projects using existing VA electronic health data to apply precision monitoring to transform care. | Fierce Health IT >>

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