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IAVA | February 4, 2016

IAVA Daily News Brief – February 4, 2016

Today’s Top Stories

VA promises new punishment for embattled execs
Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson is promising new disciplinary action against a pair of senior executives accused of gaming the department’s internal promotion system, after appeals panels have rejected plans to demote the pair. | Military Times >>

‘Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’ to Spotlight Women Veterans
In the premiere episode of TBS’ new late night talk show, “Full Frontal,” Samantha Bee investigates how the Veterans Administration will be prepared for the needs of women, given that combat jobs will now be open to them. Guest columnist Dr. Jackie Maffucci offers her perspective on the needs of women in the service, and how they’re treated once they leave active duty. | Variety >>

Senators to Army: Stop misconduct discharges until review is completed
A group of lawmakers wants the Army to stop discharging soldiers who have been diagnosed with mental health problems because of their service in Iraq or Afghanistan. | Army Times >>


A senior enlisted SEAL will be the first sailor in a decade to receive the Medal of Honor, for a mission to rescue an American civilian hostage in Afghanistan in 2012, according to a Tuesday release from the White House. | Navy Times >>

Afghanistan’s economy is worsening and its security deteriorating despite more than a decade of U.S.-led reconstruction efforts and more than $100 billion poured into the country, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, an independent oversight agency created by Congress in 2008. | CNBC >>

A 10-year-old Afghan boy who was declared a hero after fighting the Taliban has been shot dead by insurgents while on his way to school, officials said Wednesday. Wasil Ahmad, who had fought the Taliban alongside his uncle on many occasions, was killed Monday near his home in Tirin Kot, capital of the southern Uruzgan province, said deputy police chief Rahimullah Khan. | New York Post >>


Iraq said Tuesday it is building a wall and trench around Baghdad in an effort to secure the city from terror attacks. The Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, said work began this week on a 65-mile stretch of the wall and trench around the capital, the Associated Press reported. The wall will be 10-feet high and partially made up of concrete barriers, he said. | USA Today >>

Sunni Muslim Arab fighters backed by Kurdish forces and U.S.-led air strikes retook a village in northern Iraq on Wednesday in an example of effective military cooperation on the ground between them against Islamic State insurgents. | Reuters >>

Iraq’s Sunnis must be given a greater role in the political process of the war-torn country in order to prevent the possible rise of organisations even more extreme than the Islamic State (IS), an Iraqi tribal leader told AFP on Wednesday. | AFP >>

Military Affairs

The US Air Force cut five F-35As from its fiscal year 2017 budget request while fully funding the Long Range Strike-Bomber and KC-46 tanker, sources said. | Defense News >>

A Pentagon plan to deliver an additional brigade’s worth of tanks and rotational troops to Europe will provide crucial firepower along NATO’s eastern flank, but a gaping hole remains for the general leading the Army’s efforts on the Continent. | Stars and Stripes >>

Smarter smart bombs, mini railguns, and swarming robot boats to watch man-made islands are a few of the key technology areas that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sees as vital to U.S. military superiority in the next decade. | Defense One >>


Retired Staff Sgt. Travis Mills lost his arms and legs in an IED attack in Afghanistan, but that hasn’t stopped him from living his life to the fullest. In the video above, watch Mills — one of the few survivors from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with these injuries — explain how he’s persevering and what he’s doing to help other amputees “be comfortable with their new normal.” | Huffington Post >>

The premiere of a documentary film about veterans using sports to recover from the physical and emotional wounds of war will be held February 15 at the Cedar Lee Theatre, 2163 Lee Road, in Cleveland Heights. The 7-9:30 p.m. event, supported by local cycling company Hirobel, LLC of Cleveland Heights, features the film “Recovering,” which tells the story of vets overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other wounds. | The Plain Dealer >>

Surveillance cameras were rolling inside the store as the suspect walked up to the clerk and threatened him with a weapon. When the suspect handed the clerk a bag to put the money inside, he had enough. The clerk, who happened to be a veteran who did multiple tours of duty in Iraq, immediately tackled the suspect and began punching him. | KFOR 4 >>

Inside Washington

The “Preventing Veteran Suicide – A Call to Action” summit will bring together VA and DoD leaders, mental health professionals, Veteran Service Organizations, Veterans and their families, and other key partners. These national leaders will direct their attention to how we can best help Veterans and their families access appropriate mental health services. | VA Blog >>

Donald Trump‘s unscripted style leaves him open to remarks on which his detractors pounce. But it’s also letting supporters claim he didn’t really mean what he said. At a Monday rally in Cedar Rapids, Mr. Trump fired off a series of statements that set of a storm of criticism on social media and among those who already dislike him. Supporters met the remarks with cheers, or a “that’s just Donald” shake of the head. | Wall Street Journal >>

A bill opposed by veterans groups that affects people poisoned by asbestos triggered strong debate Wednesday during a first hearing in the Senate. | Stars and Stripes >>

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