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IAVA Daily News Brief – September 15, 2015

An airman assigned to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron prepares a pallet before it is loaded onto a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. | Military Times  >>

An airman assigned to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron prepares a pallet before it is loaded onto a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan. | Military Times >>


 

Today’s Top Stories

The Presidential Candidates Aren’t Talking About Vital Veterans Issues
With the media saturated with stories about the 2016 presidential election, it’s hard to believe it’s still 16 months away until we choose the next leader of this free nation. Candidates are scrambling to assemble their teams, create their messaging, and build their platforms — all out of key issues that are close to the hearts of the American people. So far, there have been myriad issues raised — from women’s rights, to Iran, to the economy. Veterans and their families, however; the backbone, strength and protection of this nation, have taken a back burner in the national discussion. | Task & Purpose >>

Donating PTSD Soldiers’ Brains To Science For Research Encouraged By Doctors, Veterans
The call for soldiers to commit to donating their brains posthumously comes as the Department of Veteran Affairs’ new PTSD brain bank and the Defense Department’s brain tissue repository begin testing to look for cures to brain ailments such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and various forms of physically inflicted brain trauma. | International Business Times >>

Air Force takes new tack to prevent sex assaults
The Air Force is changing its sexual assault prevention training to focus on mitigating the risk factors that could lead airmen to commit the crime. “We know what we need to do in the future is have positive training,” said Maj. Gen. Gina Grosso. “Instead of saying, ‘Don’t do this and don’t do this’ — ‘do this.’ | Military Times >>

Afghanistan

An explosion in eastern Afghanistan on Monday allowed hundreds of inmates to escape from a maximum-security prison in an attack claimed by Taliban insurgents. Following the 2 a.m. blast at the entrance to the prison in the capital of Ghazni province, south of Kabul, gunmen raided the facility and cleared the way for 355 prisoners to escape, Interior Ministry officials said. | AFP >>

Mullah Omar, founder of the Afghan Taliban, died of natural causes in Afghanistan, his son said in a statement calling for unity and quashing rumors about his father’s mysterious death amid a leadership dispute. | Reuters >>

Gunmen in northern Afghanistan captured and torched five vehicles belonging to the World Food Programme (WFP) at the weekend, in another sign of the increasingly hostile environment facing humanitarian workers in the war-torn country. | The Guardian >>

Iraq

There are few places on earth where Christianity is as old as it is in Iraq. Christians there trace their history to the first century apostles. But today, their existence has been threatened by the terrorist group that calls itself Islamic State. More than 125,000 Christians — men, women and children — have been forced from their homes over the past year. | CBS News >>

Russia is using an air corridor over Iraq and Iran to fly military equipment and personnel to a new air hub in Syria, openly defying American efforts to block the shipments and significantly increasing tensions with Washington. | New York Times >>

A U.S.-led coalition attacked Islamic State militants on Sunday with 18 air strikes in Iraq and four in Syria, the military said in a statement released on Monday. The Iraq attacks were concentrated near Baiji and near Kisik, the Combined Joint Task Force said in the statement. Four air strikes near Baiji hit tactical units, and also destroyed six buildings, three vehicles, an anti-aircraft weapon and another structure belonging to Islamic State militants, it said. | Reuters >>

Military Affairs

The Army has entered the world of higher education with the launch of “Army University,” a new program designed to improve soldier learning — and hopefully net soldiers’ more college credit in the process. | Army Times >>

Okinawa’s governor said Monday that he was preparing to revoke approval for work needed to relocate a U.S. military air base from one area of the southern Japanese island to another, just days after the work was restarted. | Military Times >>

The U.S. Air Force on Monday said it is still examining a possible “block buy” that the Pentagon hopes to put together to lower the cost of U.S. and foreign military purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet in coming years. | Reuters >>

#VetsRising

When Army Capt. James Eisenberg began active duty nearly 20 years ago, he took a disposable camera with him wherever he could. The now-41-year-old Greenwich Village resident had a feeling the places he was going to see — even “mundane stuff” that makes up soldier life — would be worth capturing. | New York Post >>

Laughter and joking filled the air at the Temecula Duck Pond early in the morning hours on Saturday, Sept.12. The festivities felt like an early morning picnic to those in attendance, rather than reflecting the seriousness of the reason for the gathering. But as the 80 plus active duty, veterans and their family members laced up their combat boots, it became evident the reason they were there was not just to have a good time, but to raise awareness of a cause near and dear to their hearts, the loss of 22 veterans a day to suicide. | Valley News >>

Alan Wenkus, a writer and co-exec producer on “Straight Outta Compton,” is on board to adapt Iraqi War drama “Code Name: Johnny Walker” for 28 Entertainment. Producers are meeting with buyers about the project at the Toronto Film Festival. 28 Entertainment acquired the movie rights to the book early last year, shortly after publication by William Morrow. | Variety >>

Inside Washington

The new director at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital is calling for change after less than two months on the job. Joe Battle says he is working on a new master plan for the medical center, which includes upgrading buildings. | Bay News 9 >>

Legislation that would make it easier to demote or fire employees at the Veterans Affairs Department also would give 190,000 workers new appeal rights to challenge those personnel decisions. | Government Executive >>

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Monday said officials plan to cut veterans’ wait time to access medical care at VA clinics. But veterans told McDonald they wanted a “full-fledged” veterans hospital, Lionel Hinojosa of the Catholic War Veterans told reporters after McDonald’s press conference. | Valley Morning Star >>

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