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IAVA Daily News Brief – October 28, 2015

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A member of the Leap Frogs, the Navy parachute team, descends into Reser Stadium before an NCAA college football game in Corvallis, Ore. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

Veterans’ groups fire back at Clinton’s VA comments
Some veterans groups are firing back after a comment Hillary Clinton made about the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal. The former secretary of state suggested in an interview late last week that the controversy which shook the VA last year was overblown, and Republicans used it to serve their own agenda. | CNN >>

U.S. weighing ‘direct action on the ground’ in Iraq
The U.S. is considering increasing its attacks on ISIS through more ground action and airstrikes, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday. Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. “won’t hold back” from supporting partners carrying out such attacks or from “conducting such missions directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.” | CNN >>

How Post-Traumatic Sleep Disorders Became a Nightmare for American Veterans
As the longest war in U.S. history drags through its 13th year, America’s armed services are discharging an increasing number of soldiers with serious sleep problems. The RAND Corporation found earlier this year that 48.5 percent of service members reported such poor sleep quality it would qualify as a “clinically significant sleep disturbance” on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. | Inverse >>

Afghanistan

Britain will extend its military presence in Afghanistan by a year due to the ongoing security challenge faced by Afghan forces, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said on Tuesday. The Taliban has launched sustained attacks since the withdrawal of most foreign troops late last year, straining the limited resources of Afghan forces. Many districts across the country are now fully or partially under Taliban control. | Reuters >>

As part of the U.S. military’s slow withdrawal from Afghan battlefields, PJ units received an order last year: those deployed to Afghanistan would consolidate their mission here to Bagram, and no longer commonly carry out medical evacuation missions, said Lt. Col. Chris Richardson, the squadron’s commander. | Washington Post >>

Afghan authorities rushed 150 “dangerous” inmates from a prison in the restive southern province of Helmand to the capital Kabul at the weekend, officials said, part of a drive to secure prisons after Taliban militants orchestrated two major jailbreaks in recent weeks. | Reuters >>

Iraq

At least four people were killed by bomb blasts in Iraq on Tuesday and mortars targeted a police training facility, security and medical sources said, wounding two officers. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but Islamic State militants who seized swathes of northern and western Iraq last year regularly target security and civilian targets. | Reuters >>

Washington believes there are fewer than 2,000 Iranian troops in Syria helping the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and more than 1,000 in Iraq supporting the Baghdad government, the top U.S. military officer said on Tuesday. | Reuters >>

Their ISIS captors whipped their feet until they couldn’t walk, smashed their teeth, suffocated them with plastic bags and jolted them again and again with electric shocks. Like many of their fellow prisoners, they expected sooner or later to be taken outside and shot. But these Iraqi men were saved from their brutal captivity by a daring raid by U.S., Kurdish and Iraqi forces last week. | CNN >>

Military Affairs

Gen. Robert Neller is so eager to wish Marines a happy 240th birthday, his first as their commandant, that he has sent out his birthday message two-and-a-half weeks early. Neller released a video message Oct. 23, ahead of the service’s Nov. 10 celebration, alongside Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green at Marine Barracks Washington. | Military Times >>

The U.S. Navy plans to deploy a squadron of underwater drones within the next four years, including the Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, or LDUUV, a 10-foot, highly autonomous, and very, very yellow subdrone, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said today. | Defense One >>

Fewer women are becoming interested in cyber careers, a new study found, posing a challenge not only to businesses, but also to the military, at a time when the Pentagon is trying to open more roles to women. | Military Times >>

#VetsRising

Emily Núñez Cavness grew up the child of an Army officer and would often wonder what happened to surplus items that she saw piled up across the bases where she lived. Much of the clothing, bags, tents, and other items were destined for the landfill, she learned, and that sparked an idea. So Emily sat down with her sister, Betsy Núñez, for lunch one day in 2012 and sketched out a plan to put all of those condemned threads to use. | Stars and Stripes >>

Air Force veteran Jimmy Petrolia hopes to break two world records as he raises awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. One special operations veteran is taking his charity work a lot farther than most — more than 30,000 feet farther. | Task & Purpose >>

When Eli Williamson returned from two deployments to the Middle East, his hometown of Chicago felt at times like a foreign battleground, the memory of desert roads more familiar than Windy City central thoroughfares. As he relearned the city, Williamson noticed a strange similarity between veterans like himself and the young people growing up in tough parts of Chicago. Too many had witnessed violence, and they had little support to cope with the trauma. | Huffington Post >>

Inside Washington

With a two-year budget deal in place, the heads of the House and Senate Armed Services committees see a relatively smooth path ahead for the recently-vetoed 2016 defense authorization bill. That means new life for a plan to radically overhaul military retirement, for proposed defense acquisition reforms, and for a host of other critical program renewals. | Military Times >>

Officials from the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments should receive an earful this afternoon, with lawmakers wondering what’s to show for the billions spent on trying to exchange patient records between the two systems. | Politico >>

The Army has settled with an employee who was reprimanded after reporting unsafe patient conditions at a major military hospital, revelations that led to the hospital’s chief being relieved of command. | Stars and Stripes >>

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