Serving America's Veterans: A Reference Handbook

Serving America's Veterans: A Reference Handbook

Serving America's Veterans: A Reference Handbook

Serving America's Veterans: A Reference Handbook

Synopsis

In this authoritative handbook, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense lays out the infrastructural, administrative, and health care challenges facing the Veterans Administration, policymakers, and our veterans themselves.

Serving America's Veterans: A Reference Handbook comes from an impeccable source—former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations, and Logistics Lawrence J. Korb. Korb and his team of experts survey, analyze, and evaluate the infrastructural conditions, administrative and health care service challenges, policies, and politics affecting veterans affairs in the United States. They overview the historical context of contemporary veterans affairs and project the capabilities of the Veterans Administration to cope with the needs of active, reserve, and retired veterans. Most critically, they provide practical prescriptions and policy recommendations to address veterans' many, pressing needs.

The full spectrum of veterans issues is examined: changing personnel policies in the armed forces; unprecedented levels of National Guard and Reserve mobilization; societal reintegration and funding adequacy when the professional military is a relatively small fraction of the U.S. electorate; rising costs of medical technology; and the growing proportion of veterans with conditions requiring protracted rehabilitation or lifelong intensive care.

Excerpt

With the appointment of General Erik Shinseki to head the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), President Barack Obama made it clear that the needs of all veterans, particularly those who suffered physical and mental wounds, would be a high priority in his administration. General Shinseki is arguably the most distinguished person ever appointed to head the Department of Veterans Affairs or its precursor, the Veterans Administration.

General Shinseki, a native Hawaiian, graduated from West Point in 1965, served two combat tours in Vietnam, first as an artillery forward observer and then as a cavalry troop commander. During his time in Vietnam, the General was wounded twice, once so severely that he lost his foot. As a result, the army wanted to discharge this wounded veteran but Shinseki pleaded to remain on active duty and the army, which was hemorrhaging experienced officers as a result of Vietnam, agreed.

Over the next 35 years, General Shinseki rose through the ranks in army command and staff positions. He commanded the 1st Cavalry Division in 1994 and 1995 and led nato forces in Bosnia from 1997 to 1998. in 1999, President Clinton appointed him as the 34th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.

During his time in office, General Shinseki has displayed the same type of courage that he had shown on the battlefield. During the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, General Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to occupy and stabilize Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, rather than the 30,000 the Bush administration had been planning on.

For his candor, the General was ridiculed by members of the Bush administration, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a Vietnam draft evader. Wolfowitz said that it was ridiculous to argue that more troops would be needed after the war than during the war. Moreover, none . . .

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