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IAVA | March 10, 2015

IAVA Daily News Brief – March 10, 2015

Today’s Top Stories 

Lawmakers plan Wisconsin hearing on ‘Candy Land’ VA facility
House and Senate lawmakers will hold a field hearing in Wisconsin at the end of March to look into problems at the Tomah Veterans Affairs facility, nicknamed “Candy Land” for its alleged high number of pain medication prescriptions written by officials. | Military Times >>

Agent Orange debate renewed by bill, VA decision
Senators on Monday intensified a push on Capitol Hill to cover Vietnam-era “blue water” sailors for Agent Orange exposure, just as another long-awaited decision on VA benefits for crews of repurposed C-123 cargo aircraft was expected this week. | Stars and Stripes >>

Suicide down among reservists, National Guardsmen: report
Military suicides for the first three quarters of 2014 are down among members of the National Guard and reserves, according to Defense Department data released Monday. | Washington Times >>


Afghanistan’s historic struggles against British imperialism and Soviet invasion will have been in vain if the country succumbs to pressure from neighboring Pakistan, Hamid Karzai has warned in an interview with the Guardian. | The Guardian >>

After a year of Taliban gains in multiple battles, even an outside chance of opening a diplomatic channel strikes many officials as a crucial effort. And indications from Afghan officials that an initial meeting could happen within a week or two from now have heartened Mr. Ghani’s supporters. | New York Times >>

A senior Afghan lawmaker has warned President Ashraf Ghani about relying on Pakistan to help broker peace talks with the Taliban, citing what he said was Islamabad’s history of supporting the insurgents.  | Reuters >>


The Department of Defense only has about 250 civilian contractors in Iraq supporting the 2,700 US troops deployed there; but a handful of new solicitations and potential contracts may soon add to that number, according to items posted to a federal contracting Web site. | Defense News >>

The Islamic State group’s wanton destruction of treasured historical sites, priceless antiquities and works of art at places like Mosul and Nimrud is heartbreaking to most and worrisome to those who believe the extremist network may be earning a place among history’s most destructive conquerors. | U.S. News & World Report >>

Are Americans moving beyond their war weariness? A series of recent polls shows that public opinion about military operations in Iraq and Syria is shifting as more civilians support more aggressive action. | Military Times >>

Military Affairs

Marines moving through one of the Corps’ three infantry immersion trainers last year experienced the sights, sounds and smells of an Afghan town. Next year, the technology might be used to immerse troops in a Somali or Filipino village — and both worlds might be created back-to-back in the same trainer. | Marine Corps Times >>

Just one month into his tenure, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey already has an extensive to-do list as the service grapples with a drawdown, increasing demands around the world and shrinking budgets that threaten readiness, family programs and morale. | Army Times >>

Canada has lost one of its best. Sergeant Andrew Doiron, from the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR), was killed by friendly fire on Friday afternoon in Iraq. | The Rebel >>

As it faces yet more political backlash over the mothballing of the A-10 warplane, the Air Force is launching a new effort to prove that it truly cares about the mission of supporting ground troops with massive firepower. | Business Insider >>

New Greatest Generation

Getting ready for spring, Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, and The Marcus Foundation worked with more than 50 Atlanta-area US military veterans to transform the Active Oval at Piedmont Park in Atlanta on Feb. 27. | Atlanta Journal Constitution >>

The Milaca woman had seen a news story on Facebook last month about a Colorado veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and whose beloved Saint Bernard was near death. She shared the article with Tom Berger and Drew Austin, two Sartell men whose Saint Bernards had given birth to a litter of puppies last fall. | St. Cloud Times >>

It is fair to say the life of Representative Steve Russell, Republican of Oklahoma, became considerably more sedate after he was elected to Congress. | New York Times >>

What do two smart, young, fun-loving army veterans do when it’s time to leave the military? They do their research, apply their skills as logistics experts, take the leap and become “vetrepreneurs.” | Alt Daily >>

Brotherhood, loyalty and commitment aren’t just concepts to Marine Sgt. Jeremy Anderson. For him, as an athlete from Wounded Warrior Battalion – East competing in the 2015 Marine Corps Trials, those words are a way of life. | DoD News >>

Inside Washington

A manager at the Roudebush Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis appears to mock the mental health problems of returning combat veterans in an email to her employees. | The Indianapolis Star >>

The head of veterans employment services at the Labor Department will step down at the end of May, giving the White House less than three months to find his replacement. | Marine Corps Times >>

The Kentucky Republican and his New Jersey and New York Democratic colleagues will propose legislation that allows states that have passed medical marijuana laws to enact those programs without operating illegally under federal law. That bill would also allow veterans in states with medical marijuana programs to receive care from the government, according to guidance issued by their offices. | Politico >>

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