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IAVA | August 17, 2015

IAVA Daily News Brief – Monday, August 17, 2015

Airmen prepare for chinups during an Army pre-Ranger physical assessment at Aviano Air Base, Italy. | Military Times >>
Airmen prepare for chinups during an Army pre-Ranger physical assessment at Aviano Air Base, Italy. | Military Times >>


‘Souls in anguish’: How veterans help each other heal
While the idea of warriors feeling remorse over battlefield horrors is not new, moral injury has gained more attention following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as mental health providers point to it as a reason why veterans aren’t improving with PTSD treatments. More than 390,000 veterans of those conflicts have sought help through the VA for PTSD. | Associated Press >>

Questions and answers about the war wound known as moral injury, its differences with PTSD
A psychological wound known as moral injury is gaining attention in the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with veterans now being treated for these injuries to the soul – even as medical experts debate whether moral injury is a condition unto itself or a subset of post-traumatic stress disorder. | Associated Press >>

Watchdog: DoD and VA Need Better Metrics For Health Record Interoperability
The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs don’t have sufficient metrics to demonstrate their progress toward health systems that communicate with each other, according to a new report. In a recent audit, the Government Accountability Office concluded DOD, VA and the Interagency Program Office overseeing the effort to make their electronic health record systems interoperable “lack results-oriented (i.e., objective, quantifiable and measurable) goals.” | NextGov >>

Amid the horrors of war in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, it’s become easy to overlook Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan? Back in the mid-2000s, it was known as the “forgotten war,” eclipsed by the bloodshed in Iraq. Now it’s overshadowed all over again. But there’s plenty of reason to pay attention. | NPR >>

Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda, broke a record 11-month silence this week, issuing a video proclaiming his loyalty to the new head of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. After the announcement last month that Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar died two years ago, some experts wondered if Al-Zawahiri was also dead. | The Hill >>

Self-proclaimed Islamic State militants are gaining a foothold and conducting limited military operations in Afghanistan, for now primarily targeting Taliban insurgents and their territory, a defense official said. The apparent growth of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan is a “great concern” to U.S commanders and could influence plans for ending the 14-year American military mission there next year, the defense official said. | Military Times >>

Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called on parliament and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday to focus their anti-corruption campaign first on improving the judiciary. Parliament unanimously approved a sweeping reform plan this week proposed by Abadi in the biggest shake-up in the country’s governing system since the 2003-2011 U.S. military occupation. | Reuters >>

A car bomb at a popular auto dealership Saturday killed 13 people and injured 52 in eastern Baghdad’s volatile Sadr City neighborhood, where a market bombing two days earlier killed dozens, police said. | Associated Press >>

An Iraqi parliamentary panel has called for former PM Nouri Maliki to face trial over the fall of the northern city of Mosul to Islamic State. More than 30 other officials including former Mosul governor Athil al-Nujaifi were also blamed in the report. The militants seized Mosul in a sweep across north and west Iraq last year. | BBC News >>

The three Marines who lowered the flag at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba 54 years ago will have the honor of raising it again Friday as diplomatic relationships between the two countries are restored. A moving video released by the State Department on Wednesday shows retired Gunnery Sgts. Mike East and Jim Tracy and Cpl. Larry Morris reminiscing about their final day of embassy guard duty in Havana on Jan. 4, 1961. | Marine Corps Times >>

Odierno has been exceptionally clear on the direction he believes the Army needs to go next, especially as his time in the service comes to an end. He has always been vocal about his support of our troops often going out of his way to create a dialogue with his soldiers. Here are seven videos highlighting some of his more memorable moments. | Task & Purpose >>

The cost of transition-related care for transgender personnel would be “negligible,” according to a newly published study, which comes on the heels of talk that the Pentagon may lift its ban on transgender people openly serving in the military. | CNN >>

Long snapper Nate Boyer, a 34-year old undrafted rookie free agent long snapper and former Green Beret, made his debut for the Seattle Seahawks in their preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Friday night. Boyer got a chance to snap on punts and on a successful field goal attempt. | 247 Sports >>

It was an abandoned Bullmastiff called Boo who saved Jenny Pacanowski’s life. Pacanowski had a friend who ran a rescue organization for abused and abandoned dogs: Bullmastiff Rescue Inc. One day, the friend, Andrea Kelly, said to Pacanowski’s mother, “What about we give her a dog to care for?” | Ithaca Voice >>

It’s called the Soldier Ride, a cycling event to help military veterans transition back to civilian life. Retreats are held in various cities across the country, and focuses on healing, camaraderie and cycling. Fifty-three military veterans participated in the 12-mile Soldier Ride that started at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia, the ride continued toward the Art Museum area, before finally finishing back at the Linc. | CBS Philly >>

The Veterans Administration as opened a new health clinic in northern New Hampshire, as part of a plan to expand coverage to veterans. New Hampshire Public Radio reports the new clinic opened in Colebrook, located about eight miles from the Canadian border. | Associated Press >>

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, the first U.S. combat troops arrived there in March of 1965. About 58,000 Americans died in the war. Now, many who survived, are fighting diseases the government now recognizes were caused by a toxic chemical used in the jungle war zone. A local VA leader tells WIS, she has a renewed mission to make sure veterans know about “Agent Orange” and that they may qualify for benefits. | WIS TV >>

The Department of Veterans Affairs is issuing a final rule to amend its policy and allow service animals on Veteran Affairs property. The final rule expands the current VA regulation to allow service animals on VA property when individuals with disabilities – employees, veterans and visitors – accompany the animal. | The Hill >>

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