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IAVA | January 15, 2015

IAVA Daily News Brief – January 15, 2015

Today’s Top Stories

VA Bonuses for Bad Employees Targeted Again
The secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department would have clear authority to order employees to repay bonuses under legislation introduced Monday in the House. | Defense One >>

Without Help, Navigating Benefits Can Be Overwhelming For Veterans
Retired Brig. Gen. Jim Bauerele has spent years working to match veterans with their benefits. “I think Indiana has neglected veterans,” he says. “I think veterans are uneducated as to what their benefits are, and there has been little effort undertaken to communicate and get that to veterans.” | NPR >>

Montana Sen. Tester introduces Veterans Affairs legislation
Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester introduced four bills Wednesday aimed at improving access to health care for veterans and their families. | Associated Press >>


No stranger to engaging in power politics with its Asian neighbors, China’s diplomatic corps has in recent months been trying on a new role: talking with the Afghan Taliban in an effort to play peacemaker. | New York Times >>

Despite heavy fighting since coalition forces withdrew from southwestern Afghanistan a few months ago, there are no plans to redeploy Marines to Helmand Province, a Marine spokesman said Wednesday. | U-T San Diego >>

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has told The Hill in an exclusive interview that he is “worried” about terrorists making a comeback unless U.S. and Afghan forces keep pressure on them. | The Hill >>


Iraqi authorities say a mass grave containing the bodies of 16 men, each shot in the head, has been found northeast of Baghdad in an area once controlled by the Islamic State group. | Associated Press >>

France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier is ready to be used to support military operations against Islamic State in Iraq, French President Francois Hollande told military personnel aboard the vessel on Wednesday. | Reuters >>

The rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamist militant group that has seized a chunk of land stretching from northern Syria to central Iraq, has struck fear into the hearts of leaders around the world. CNN explains ISIS’ roots, what it controls, and where its support comes from. | CNN >>

Military Affairs

About 30 officers from the South Korean army will become part of the 2nd Infantry Division headquarters Thursday as part of a sweeping and unprecedented restructuring of the American headquarters. | Army Times >>

The first woman to serve aboard a Navy fast-attack submarine has reported to the USS Minnesota. She is one of six officers expected to join fast-attack crews in the months ahead. | Stars and Stripes >>

An Afghan man’s heroism inspired a movie as he risked it all to save in American, but he himself has become the one in need. | CBS News >>

New Greatest Generation

A wounded veteran in Lubbock has been reunited with his therapy dog after it went missing on Sunday and was accidentally run over on Tuesday morning. | KCBD >>

The Illinois National Guard veteran spent eight years in the service, which included 15 months in Iraq. She knows she could have returned with post-traumatic stress disorder or even not at all, but she came back inspired to pursue a master’s degree and better the life of her family. | The State Journal-Register >>

One Marine veteran from Chesnee and his buddy are taking a hike for heroes. They plan to hike 2,200 miles along the tough terrain of the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, GA, to Maine. | Fox Carolina >>

Inside Washington

Less than 5 percent of Congress served in Iraq or Afghanistan, but almost one-quarter of the new House Armed Services Committee lineup boasts recent wartime credentials and experience. | Military Times >>

Members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation are jumping on an investigative report that suggests that doctors at a Wisconsin Veterans Affairs hospital prescribed pain medication to patients “like candy.” | National Journal >>

A new Phoenix VA Hospital whistleblower says veterans are in danger when they need help the most. Brandon Coleman, an addiction therapist at the VA hospital and a U.S. Marine Corps vet, said veterans are continuing to fall through the system’s cracks. | ABC 15 >>


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