IAVA Daily Brief 6.29.11
Posted by Isabel Black on June 29
Here are some of today's top stories and happenings at IAVA. Prefer to receive real-time updates about major stories and legislation that IAVA is tracking? Follow us on Twitter @IAVAPressRoom or subscribe at www.IAVA.org/DailyNewsBrief.
A squad of up to eight Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen laid siege to a landmark hotel overlooking the Afghan capital late Tuesday, sparking an hours-long firefight that ended only when NATO helicopters shot dead several insurgents who had commandeered the building’s roof. The audacious and heavily armed assault, for which a Taliban spokesman quickly asserted responsibility, shattered any sense of security in the sprawling capital.
Every day, 18 veterans of the nation’s armed forces become casualties by their own hands. One thousand more attempt to take their own lives every month. The numbers are as grim for active duty and reserve soldiers: The Army just reported 27 suspected suicides for the month of May, higher than any other month this year.
The Justice Department is investigating the mishandling of remains at Arlington National Cemetery in a broad criminal inquiry that is also seeking evidence of possible contracting fraud and falsification of records, people familiar with the investigation said Tuesday. A federal grand jury in Alexandria has been subpoenaing witnesses and records relating to the scandal at the nation’s most venerated military burial ground.
Coalition efforts to build up a viable Afghan army and police force continue to suffer from desertions, suicide attacks, and Taliban infiltrations, including a May 22 bombing that killed 6 people.
As Obama administration officials look beyond the planned drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan, one path dominates their thinking about how to finally exit the war- a negotiated deal with the Taliban.
Vice Admiral William McRaven, President Obama’s nominee to lead Special Operations Command, has publicly supported keeping some Special Operations Forces in Iraq beyond the withdrawal deadline at the end of the year.
China’s largest oil company has begun operations at Al-Ahdab oil field in Iraq, making the field the first major new area to start production in Iraq in 20 years.
Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen, the new commanding officer in Afghanistan, struck an optimistic tone regarding President Obama’s new drawdown plan, acknowledging the need for the Afghans to take on a greater share of the fighting.
In an effort to reduce the number of deaths from improvised explosive device attacks in Kandahar province, the 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team has implemented a tourniquet policy that requires soldiers to wear the small life-saving device in their right shoulder pockets with its red pull-tab exposed.
Two cuts in military retired pay are under discussion as part of negotiations between Congress and the White House over the size of the US national debt, but getting an agreement is proving difficult.
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