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IAVA | November 20, 2015

IAVA Daily News Brief – November 20, 2015

Two C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, are parked on the ramp in Cheyenne, Wyoming. High winds and cold temperatures brought snow from the west and temporarily ceased flying operations at the 153rd Airlift Wing. | Military Times >>
Two C-130H Hercules aircraft assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, are parked on the ramp in Cheyenne, Wyoming. High winds and cold temperatures brought snow from the west and temporarily ceased flying operations at the 153rd Airlift Wing. | Military Times >>


Today’s Top Stories

Moral injury: Troops talk of how war assaults conscience
Former Army Reserve Capt. Josh Grenard thought the anguish of losing men in combat would eventually wane in the years after a deployment to Iraq. But when soldiers from his unit began committing suicide, the wounds reopened — fresh, raw and painful. | Military Times >>

In 4 Years, Obama Cut the Number of Homeless Veterans on the Streets by 50%. Here’s How.
In 2010, the Obama administration unveiled Opening Doors, the federal government’s first strategic plan to put an end to homelessness nationwide. That vision is slowly reducing the homeless population of the country, which stands at over 500,000 people on any given night. | Mic >>

New VA Choice program proposed to improve vets’ access to private care
Acknowledging that the Veterans Affairs Department’s private health care referral system is “too complicated” and “saddled with a confusing array of authorizations and mechanisms,” VA officials pressed lawmakers Wednesday to consider streamlining several programs into a single initiative designed to improve veterans access to medical services. | Military Times >>


Combat operations in Afghanistan are over, White House and Pentagon officials say, but those deployed still face a variety of attacks in what commanders call “non-combat” operations – even when driving to work at dawn on a base with a 13-mile perimeter, like Davis. | Washington Post >>

A former Russian military tank commander awaiting sentencing in the U.S. on terror-related charges is on a hunger strike but isn’t refusing food completely, a U.S. official said. A federal jury convicted Irek Hamidullin in August of planning and leading a Taliban attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan. | Associated Press >>

Taliban militants wearing Afghan army uniforms launched a suicide and gun attack on a police headquarters near Kandahar Thursday, killing one soldier before the attackers were shot dead, authorities said. | AFP >>


Sounding a new note of urgency, the U.S.-led coalition combating the Islamic State is pressing Iraq’s armed forces to launch a final assault to recapture the key city of Ramadi, a campaign entering its sixth month with only limited progress. | USA Today >>

An international coalition led by the United States conducted 19 air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq on Wednesday, targeting the militant group near Kirkuk, Kisik, Mosul, Ramadi and Sinjar, according to the U.S. military. | Reuters >>

The Kurdish fighters who recently captured this city were impressed to glimpse for themselves a warren of tunnels and underground bomb shelters built by now-vanquished Islamic State occupiers, describing it as a feat of engineering. | Wall Street Journal >>

Military Affairs

Turkey, ham, beef, eggnog and marshmallows have been prepositioned to provide a taste of home to U.S. troops on Thanksgiving Day, whether they’re in Afghanistan or aboard ship in the Indian Ocean. Getting the items to remote outposts in Afghanistan and other areas requires considerable planning, and the Defense Logistics Agency began in May, gathering holiday meal requirements from the services. | Military Times >>

The Navy will need to spend $4 billion to $7 billion more on shipbuilding each year to sustain current presence levels into the future, according to a report released Wednesday by a Washington, D.C.,-based think tank. | Stars and Stripes >>

An Army noncommissioned officer with 33 years of service has been selected as senior enlisted adviser to Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell will replace Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia as the military’s top enlisted servicemember in December, when Battaglia is slated to retire after 36 years of service, Dunford announced Wednesday. | Stars and Stripes >>


ATF was founded last year by David Vobora, a former NFL linebacker who suffered a career-ending shoulder injury. “I recognized that my gifts could match those with needs right in front of me,” he said. Many of the people he helps at his gym are veterans. They start each new class by sharing stories of how their bodies were broken, talking about injuries that came from things like homemade bombs and shrapnel. Many of them were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. | WFAA 8 >>

Cathy Cook personally sees the impact of her work with a charity that provides donations of all sorts of equipment and tools to veterans. Sometimes, when veterans are notified about what they will receive, they are moved to tears, said Cook, executive director of Work Vessels for Veterans, one of 29 military and veterans organizations that received a combined $1.5 million in donations from Newman’s Own Foundation. | Military Times >>

If you want them here so badly, why don’t you take in a refugee? That was the inevitable response from some of congressman Seth Moulton’s critics this week, after he called out Governor Charlie Baker for saying he didn’t want Syrian refugees coming to Massachusetts until his concerns over security are assuaged. Actually, Moulton has opened his home to a refugee. | Boston Globe >>

Inside Washington

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an interview broadcast Thursday that the U.S. “will defeat” ISIS, the militant jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria that has claimed responsibility for the Paris terror attacks. “We have to defeat ISIL, we will defeat ISIL,” Carter said using another acronym for ISIS in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It is something that must be defeated.” | CNN >

A social worker at the troubled Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix has been placed on leave after he wore a Halloween costume to work that appeared to mock a disabled Marine who was punished for reporting the mishandling of suicidal veterans. | Washington Post >>

First responders to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. are using the backdrop of the carnage in Paris to urge Congress to act on a languishing proposal to renew their health care benefits. | Washington Times >>

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