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IAVA Daily News Brief 06.13.12
Posted by Gretchen Andersen on June 13

Here are some of today's top stories and happenings that IAVA is tracking. Prefer to receive real-time updates about major stories and legislation that IAVA is tracking? Follow us on Twitter @IAVAPressRoom and click here to get the News Brief delivered to your inbox every morning. 


1) IAVA Testifies on Critical Jobs and Education Legislation

IAVA Deputy Policy Director Tom Tarantino testified today before the Senate Veteran Affairs Committee on crucial bills pending to tackle veteran unemployment and protect the New GI Bill against predatory for-profit schools. Read his full testimony before the Senate here.

2)  VA to hire more mental-health personnel

The VA said it has put together a team of experts and established a recruiting and retention program to meet VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's goal of hiring 1,600 more mental-health clinicians. VA officials said they hope to fill most of the positions within six months, except for hard-to-fill jobs such as psychiatry, which they hope to fill by spring 2013.

3) DoD to break ground on Belvoir TBI, PTSD center

A groundbreaking will take place today for a $10 million research and treatment center for brain injuries, post-traumatic stress and other war-related injuries. The facility is planned to be the first in a series of smaller-scale centers. 

4) U.S. Troops Return to Afghanistan’s “Lost Province”

U.S. troops returned to a remote Hindu Kush region that controls several access routes to Kabul. Coalition commanders say this area -- where the coalition suffered one of its biggest reverses in the war -- could be the target of a planned Taliban offensive. 


  • A new United Nations report details that children have been increasingly bearing the brunt of the war in Afghanistan.
  • An Afghan police officer accused of killing two Marines and wounding four others during an attack last year in Helmand province told investigators he was motivated by “God’s will,” according to a report outlining the incident. The case remains under investigation.


  • A coordinated wave of car bombs hit Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad and several other cities today, killing at least 65 people and wounding more than 200 in one of the deadliest days in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew from the country.
  • Here’s a timeline of the deadliest attacks in Iraq since the U.S. pulled out in December 2011.


  • U.S. drone strikes targeted al Qaeda hideouts in southern Yemen today, killing at least nine suspected militants, three senior security officials said.
  • Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced this week that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, had been identified as 27-year old Lt. Bill Swanson and are being returned for proper burial.
  • Army Lt. Gen. James Terry assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command during a ceremony Tuesday in Kabul.Terry succeeds Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti.


  • Fred Pollino of Boynton Beach, a former Army Chief Warrant Officer and Chinook helicopter pilot, accepted a $40,000 grant from non-profit, Pathway to Business Success, Inc. to grow his company.
  • At a Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Omaha, veterans and their families were able to look for jobs -- such as Miki Griffen, who worked for an Army aviation unit in Germany. The article particularly highlights unemployment among female veterans.


  • On Tuesday, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said that even if Congress finds a compromise to avoid looming automatic defense spending cuts it might not come quick enough to avoid a serious blow to the nation’s economy. The Pentagon faces about $50 billion in spending trims each of the next 10 years.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia of sending helicopter gunships to Syrian President Bashar Assad's security forces in an escalating conflict with rebels that a top U.N. official recently said had become a full-scale civil war.

A wide-range of views, positions, and publications are represented in these articles. These views, positions and publications are not endorsed by nor do they necessarily represent the views of IAVA.