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IAVA Daily News Brief – October 7, 2015

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Benfold departs Naval Base San Diego bound for Yokosuka, Japan to join the forward-deployed naval forces. | Military Times >>

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer Benfold departs Naval Base San Diego bound for Yokosuka, Japan to join the forward-deployed naval forces. | Military Times >>

 

Today’s Top Stories

VA Unaware of Prudential ‘Profiteering’ off Veteran Insurance Payouts
The Veterans Affairs Department was not aware that Prudential Insurance encouraged its counselors to keep casualty pay-out monies in-house as a way to boost company profits, or that its agents were schooled to try to change the minds of surviving family members who sought a traditional lump-sum payment. | Military.com >>

Special Ops commander tries to lessen the stigma of getting help
The head of the U.S. military’s most elite forces doesn’t just talk the talk of ending the stigma of seeking mental health help. He has walked the walk — into the counselor’s office himself. Army Gen. Joe Votel, commander of U.S. Special Forces Command, has used the support programs offered by the U.S. military for his own family. | CNN >>

Dem wants DOJ probe into VA misconduct
The top Democrat on Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate allegations of misconduct at the VA, after a watchdog found that officials have used their positions for personal gain. | The Hill >>

Afghanistan

Lingering problems with local security forces and the resurgence of Taliban fighters may force U.S. troops to stay longer in Afghanistan than previously planned, the top American military commander in the region suggested on Tuesday. | Military Times >>

About two dozen Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday sent President Obama a letter urging him to keep 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through 2016. The letter, led by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), comes as the White House deliberates the pace of the drawdown of U.S. troops in the country and ahead of a committee hearing with the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, on Thursday. | The Hill >>

VIDEO: White House spokesman Josh Earnest says there are currently three investigations into the recent air strike that killed 22 people at a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. | Reuters >>

Iraq

More than a year after the U.S. led the formation of an anti-ISIS coalition, the extremists still hold large parts of western and northern Iraq. In the west, ISIS took the desert provincial capital, Ramadi, four months ago. A much-anticipated counteroffensive never materialized. | NPR >>

The Iraqi government would welcome Russian airstrikes against Islamic State targets inside Iraq, although it has not formally asked the Russians for help, Air Force Times has learned. Russia recently began conducting airstrikes in Syria, but the U.S. and Russia disagree over whether the air attacks have been against the Islamic State or rebel groups allied with the U.S. | Air Force Times >>

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a series of attacks that rocked different parts of Iraq and killed at least 56 people the night before. The extremist group said a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden car among Shiite militia members in the Shiite-majority town of al-Khales in the country’s eastern Diyala province. Iraqi officials said the attack hit a commercial area, killing at least 32 people and wounding 58 others. | CBS News >>

Military Affairs

The Army’s desertion case against Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has progressed a step, with an investigating officer who oversaw a hearing last month sending a report with his recommendations on what the service should do next to a four-star general’s command, Bergdahl’s lawyer said Monday. | Washington Post >>

The Navy’s next big JSF test is set for mid-October, if weather permits. Two F-35Cs, the Navy’s carrier-landing variant, are set to spend 10 days training with carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower off the Virginia coast. | Navy Times >>

Pvt. Camille Coffey has big plans for her first Army holiday ball. Six-foot-five, 290-pounds big. NFL All-Pro big. Fitness magazine cover model big. Taking a page from the military social-media date-seeking pioneers before her, Coffey put together a video last month asking Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt to the 780th Military Intelligence Brigade’s annual holiday ball: | Army Times >>

#VetsRising

There’s not much at stake here, just $30,000 for a member of the military. Luckily for that person, the gunner’s belief paid off in full, as Smith swished the shot. And, true to form, Smith did one of his trademark celebrations afterwards, just to let everyone know, in case they forgot, that he is still J.R. Smith. | Uproxx >>

Trainers and staff of Rockwall-based Patriot PAWS saw their hard work come to fruition Friday, Oct. 2, when the organization officially united five of its trained service dogs with a group of American veterans during a public Graduation Day ceremony. | Blue Ribbon News >>

In a series of photographs released exclusively by People, model Rebekah Marine, who was born without a right forearm, and amputee Iraq war veteran Brian Taylor Urruela, posed together in an effort to, according to Marine, empower “people who may not see the brighter side of the cards they were dealt.” | Mic >>

Inside Washington

A new bipartisan bill announced Tuesday would help provide military families with more stability when service members are required to move to a new post. Most members of the military have to move every few years, but the bipartisan effort led by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) would allow military families to remain in place for six months before or after a service member’s permanent change of station (PCS). | The Hill >>

On the brink of shutting down a Los Angeles city park located on Veterans Affairs property, the agency has agreed Monday to meet first with Los Angeles city officials hoping to keep the park open. | NBC Los Angeles >>

The NFL might soon be pressured for a nearly $7-million donation to the military or veteran charity of its choice. That is the money the league has reaped during the past three years from the Army National Guard for paid troop tributes during games – a practice that triggered outrage on Capitol Hill when it was revealed earlier this year. | Stars and Stripes >>

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