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IAVA Daily News Brief – Wednesday, August 19, 2015

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Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division prepare to board a C-130J for a proficiency jump into the Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C. | Military Times >>

 

TODAY’S TOP STORIES
VA weighs PTSD care that avoids traumatic memories
Revisiting a traumatic event in a therapy session can open a door to relief for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But confronting bad memories may not be the answer for everyone. After years of emphasizing trauma-focused psychotherapy as a preferred treatment for PTSD, researchers and clinicians with the Department of Veterans Affairs are considering forms of therapy that steer clear of traumatic memories, including those focusing on mindfulness. | Stars and Stripes >>

VA amends access rules for service dogs at facilities
The Veterans Affairs Department will put new rules in place next month to ensure that veterans and visitors to VA facilities can bring their service dogs to appointments. The regulation – in the works since 2012 when Congress ordered the VA to expand access for assistance animals – will let any service dog enter a VA facility as long as it is under a handler’s control and is trained to perform tasks or work for a person with a disability, whether it be physical, psychiatric or intellectual. | Military Times >>

Reno VA office among 10 hit with surprise inspections
The Department of Veterans Affairs claims office in Reno was one of 10 regional centers picked for surprise inspections last month as the agency investigated document-shredding practices in its outposts, officials said Monday. Inspectors showed up unannounced on July 20 to examine the contents of shredding bins. Besides Reno, VA offices examined were in Atlanta; Baltimore; Chicago; Houston; New Orleans; Philadelphia; Oakland, Calif.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. | Las Vegas Review Journal >>

AFGHANISTAN
An extremist group allied with Islamic State has emerged as a potent force on the battlefield in northern Afghanistan, threatening to further destabilize the country and sow instability throughout Central Asia, senior Afghan officials say. | Wall Street Journal >>

At least five Afghan police officers were poisoned and then shot to death in the southern province of Helmand late on Sunday, according to Afghan officials, who said the attack was the third of its kind in the province in less than two weeks. | New York Times >>

At first, Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum tried to get help from his own government, lobbying the National Security Council to intervene as a Taliban offensive began making serious inroads on his home territory, a once relatively quiet northern region of Afghanistan. | New York Times >>

IRAQ
Since early 2014, Iraq has suffered a serious economic decline after the Shiite-led government in Baghdad started losing territory to the Sunni militants of the Islamic State group. Low oil prices exacerbated the decline, wreaking havoc on Iraq’s national budget, of which oil revenue makes nearly 95 percent. | Associated Press >>

Iraq’s former prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, on Tuesday denounced as worthless a parliamentary report which blamed him and others for the fall of Mosul to Islamic State last year and called for them to be referred to the judiciary. | Reuters >>

The group responsible for monitoring adherence to the global ban on chemical weapons said Monday that it had contacted Iraq over reports of the possible use of such munitions there. A statement by the group, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, came a few days after United States officials said Islamic State militants appeared to have used such munitions, possibly mustard gas, on Kurdish fighters in Iraq. | New York Times >>

MILITARY AFFAIRS
Two women have passed the Army’s Ranger School, becoming the first females to complete the grueling combat training program and earn the right to wear Ranger tabs on their uniforms. The Army’s Ranger headquarters in Fort Benning, Georgia, says the women and 94 men passed the tough 62-day course that tests their ability to overcome fatigue, hunger and stress during combat operations. | Associated Press >>

Large Scale Exercise 2015 (LSE-15) is designed to enable live and virtual training for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.) and all four elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force: command, ground, air and logistics. This scenario-driven military operation is designed to train the brigade’s command element in small-scale conventional warfare – working alongside coalition partners . | The Desert Sun >>

The military is sending in reinforcement for the battle against wildfires that are burning across the West. Late Monday, the Pentagon said it will provide 200 active duty soldiers to help with a fire in Washington State. Fires are burning in seven states. | CBS News >>

#VETSRISING
A Navy veteran is now working to make a difference for American service members who are still working abroad. Jimmy Wayne Rogers Jr. joined the Nayvy in 2011 and learned not only how to serve his country but also how to encourage others to give back. | KTRK ABC 13 >>

“Here,” on a sunny and warm Monday morning in mid-August, was at Swansea Country Club, where Bachelder was teeing it up with his teammates – fellow veterans practicing for the Simpson Cup, a Ryder Cup-style competition held annually between teams of injured servicemen and vets from the United States and Great Britain. | Providence Journal >>

John McCormack of Coloma nearly lost his life three years into his service in the U.S. Navy due to a traumatic brain injury in 2012. He was injured in an on-base fall in California, but beat the odds and survived and served until his discharge last year. He is now working with his father to open Valor Training Center, a non-profit physical fitness complex in Geneva Township. | WSJM FM >>

INSIDE WASHINGTON
Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, painted a sobering picture of the Veterans Administration on Monday at a veterans town hall meeting in Reno. He said the lumbering and massive federal bureaucracy that takes care of the nation’s former military members needs to change issues with its management if it is ever going to improve. | Reno Gazette-Journal >>

The federal Department of Veterans Affairs’ inspector general is investigating reports that a southern Missouri patio and staircase is made out of military gravestones. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Navy veteran Ed Harkreader of Mountain Home, Arkansas, posted on social media last week photographs of the arrangement he found on property in Ozark County, near the Arkansas line. | Associated Press >>

“It catches the eye, doesn’t it?” said Christopher Roemhildt, an Army veteran and outreach specialist for the Vet Center – an offshoot of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that conducts itself as a sort of special forces for outreach and readjustment counseling. | Duluth News Tribune >>

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