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IAVA Daily News Brief 06.28.12
Posted by Gretchen Andersen on June 28

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.

MUST READS

1.) Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Law

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act, a 2006 law that made it a crime to lie about having received the Medal of Honor and other prized military awards. The court voted in favor of Xavier Alvarez, a former local elected official in California who falsely claimed he received the Medal of Honor. Alvarez was sentenced to three years of probation, a $5,000 fine and community service. His attorneys appealed, arguing that his lie wasn’t criminal and should be protected under the First Amendment. 

2.) Vet-targeted website to be turned over to feds

A California-based company accused of preying on veterans for their education benefits agreed Wednesday to pay $2.5 million to 20 states and turn over its website, GIBill.com, to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

3.) Families team up, raise funds for vets groups

Three generous families introduced the Veteran Support Fund on Wednesday, a fundraising challenge that aims to raise at least $30 million for five prominent veteran support organizations, including IAVA. The founders are: Glenn Garland, president of Texas-based energy optimization company CLEAResult, and his wife, Philip Green, president of Washington health care consulting firm PDG Consulting, and Jim Stimmel, executive vice president of CLEAResult. They have raised $1 million  in initial funds that will support IAVA, Operation Mend, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Operation Homefront and the National Military Family Association.

AFGHANISTAN 

  • U.S.-led troop deaths from IEDs in Afghanistan are dropping sharply even though the number of these devices planted by insurgents are near record levels, Pentagon data shows.
  • Entrepreneurial Afghan women who have broken cultural barriers by running truck fleets, supplying construction material, designing software programs and making furniture are anxious to find new clients as they prepare for the 2014 drawdown of U.S. troops.

IRAQ 

  • Bombings in and around Baghdad killed 14 people and wounded more than 45 on Thursday. The attacks pushed the monthly death toll up to 200, the highest since January.
  • The State Department will spend up to $115 million to upgrade the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad, already its biggest and most expensive in the world, according to pre-solicitation notices published this month.

MILITARY AFFAIRS

  • For the first time in Army history, a double amputee is taking the reins as garrison commander of a major installation. Col. Gregory D. Gadson lost both legs above the knee and suffered a severe injury to his right arm while in Baghdad.
  • Ed Wenzel will be honored by the Civil War trust for his work to preserve the Ox Hill Battlefield, where a Civil War battle took place.
  • Marie Tillman, wife of Pat Tillman, discusses her new memoir, “The Letter” and the final letter her husband left for her before he passed away in a friendly-fire incident.

THE NEW GREATEST GENERATION

  • Adrian Bonenberger shares his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder and urges people to educate themselves about the invisible injury.
  • Retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, head of the Department of Veterans Affairs, discusses veteran unemployment on NPR.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI) is releasing a report today that recommends that the VA’s Veterans Health Administration increase its service capacity by including community mental health agencies and private practitioners as providers. 
  • Watch a video about the “VA for Vets Hiring Fair,” in Detroit, here.

INSIDE WASHINGTON

  • New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, along with three national security experts, called for Congress to act immediately to address sequestration — a budget-control plan that will cut more than half a trillion dollars from the Pentagon’s budget starting in January.
  • Nevada Rep. Joe Heck offered a new Stolen Valor Act that achieves almost the same ends as the one overturned by the Supreme Court. This proposed legislation steers clear in regards to free speech.
  • President Obama's defense cuts came under question as wildfires ravaged Colorado with only eight planes available to help put out fires.

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.