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IAVA | August 11, 2015

IAVA Daily News Brief Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Senior Airman Paul Cauge, a 274th Air Support Operations Squadron joint terminal attack controller, uses a Special Operations Forces laser rangefinder designator for a close-air support training mission at Grayling Air Gunnery Range in Grayling, Mich., during Northern Strike 2015. | Military Times >>
Senior Airman Paul Cauge, a 274th Air Support Operations Squadron joint terminal attack controller, uses a Special Operations Forces laser rangefinder designator for a close-air support training mission at Grayling Air Gunnery Range in Grayling, Mich., during Northern Strike 2015. | Military Times >>


House veterans chairman: VA should fire bad workers faster, and rest of government should, too
The chairman of the House Veterans Committee says the troubled Veterans Affairs Department should fire problem employees faster and that Congress should make it easier for the entire government to dismiss bad workers. In Denver, Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida on Monday defended his proposal to streamline the VA’s firing process but said he’s open to changes. | Associated Press >>

Cost-of-living hike on track for disabled vets
Congress appears poised to give disabled veterans a cost-of-living increase in 2016 after a series of legislative maneuvers in the days before their August break. But veterans and federal officials will not know how much the hike is for another two months. | Military Times >>

VA critic calls for Obama’s involvement in Aurora hospital project
The leading congressional critic of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs called on the president Monday to become personally involved in finding money to finish the over budget and delayed VA hospital project in Aurora. | The Denver Post >>

A Taliban suicide bomber has attacked a checkpoint near the entrance to the international airport in the Afghan capital Kabul, killing five people. Local officials said at least 16 people were injured in the blast. The incident is the latest in a series of recent deadly attacks following the announcement of a new Taliban leader. | BBC News >>

Violence surged in Afghanistan over the weekend including three separate bombings in the capital Kabul in one day-a wave of attacks that left at least 77 people dead. | Wall Street Journal >>

An Army Green Beret from Rhode Island was killed in Afghanistan just a month after he was honored at the historic Fourth of July parade in his hometown of Bristol. The 7th Special Forces Group to which he was assigned said Sunday that 1st Sgt. Peter Andrew McKenna Jr., 35, died Friday in Kabul during an attack on a NATO facility. The Pentagon said he was struck by enemy small arms fire. | Associated Press >>

Facing widespread protests against government corruption and poor services, as well as a crucial call for change from the country’s top Shiite cleric, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi proposed on Sunday to radically reshape the dysfunctional political system of Iraq that has been entrenched since the American-led invasion in 2003. | New York Times >>

At least 47 people were killed and nearly 100 injured in two bomb attacks on Monday in eastern Iraq, security and medical sources said, underscoring a continued threat from Islamic State militants in a province previously considered freed of them. | Reuters >>

A severe funding shortfall in Iraq is pushing the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to cut the amount of aid it delivers to nearly one million displaced people in the war-torn country, the Organization has confirmed. | UN News Centre >>

As the Army prepares to cut 40,000 more soldiers in order to fit into a shrinking budget, the service is in danger of becoming too small for an increasingly dangerous world, the Army’s top officer said, and that may embolden our enemies to act. | Army Times >>

Marines and sailors are working to distribute emergency supplies in the wake of Typhoon Soudelor, which struck the island of Saipan on Aug. 2 through Aug. 3. About 600 Marines and sailors of the 31st MEU, embarked with the dock landing ship Ashland of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group, are assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency and local governments in the Pacific to deliver water, equipment and Meals, Ready-to-Eat to the most populated island in the Northern Mariana Islands, according to a Marine Corps release. | Marine Corps Times >>

The Navy’s top officer said the service “will be forever grateful to the citizens of Chattanooga” for its response to the deadly July 16 shootings at a reserve center there. “The professionalism and outpouring of support continued beyond the initial response, from FBI investigators who kept us informed of developments, to the Tennessee Air National Guard who opened their doors, providing a workplace for our Navy and Marine Corps team,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert said in an Aug. 9 open letter published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. | Navy Times >>

Murphy is joining a growing number of organizations around the country that are designed to connect soldiers to agriculture. Farming, with its rigorous schedule, physical activity and sense of purpose, is a good fit for many former military personnel, proponents say. | Baltimore Sun >>

The decision took an instant, and it wasn’t hard. “I didn’t want to think I could have saved him and didn’t,” said Josh Munoz. “I had to do it. He’d been there for me so many times.” And so it was that Munoz, a healthy, 33-year-old Iraq War vet who grew up in Santa Ana, chose to become one of an estimated 5,500 Americans a year who, while living, give a kidney to someone in need, The recipient was his father, Rudy Munoz. | Orange County Register >>

“X Sports 4 Vets” is a non-profit program that gives veterans the opportunity to participate in extreme sports as a way to help them deal with Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Veteran Anton Johnson helped get the program up and running. | NBC Montana >>

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan is hosting meetings in Alaska to hear from veterans on health care provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Listening sessions are scheduled for Aug. 24 in Fairbanks and Kenai. Sullivan’s office, in a release, said the VA undersecretary for health will attend. | Associated Press >>

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will begin amending its regulations to possibly cover more conditions affecting veterans exposed to contaminated drinking water at the Marine Corps base in N.C. between 1953 and 1987. | The Providence Journal >>

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is pushing to expand the Department of Veterans Affairs’s (VA) Choice Card program, which would give more veterans access to private care. McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has introduced legislation that would make the current three-year Choice Card program permanent, and would make all veterans eligible for the program. | The Hill >>

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