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The Catalyst: Making the All-Volunteer Force Work for More People

April 28, 2017 3 minute Read by William McKenzie
The needs of veterans and their families is an ongoing priority at the George W. Bush Institute, so one section of the spring edition of The Catalyst looks at how the nation can make the all-volunteer force work for more people, including families.

The needs of veterans and their families is an ongoing priority at the George W. Bush Institute, so one section of the spring edition of The Catalyst looks at how the nation can make the all-volunteer force work for more people, including families.

  • Colonel Miguel Howe, USA (Ret.), director of the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative, draws upon the stories of transitioning veterans to show how businesses, communities, and the nation can benefit from the leadership of returning veterans. As he writes, their skills apply from the shop floor to the front office.
  • Corporal Jeffrey Cleland, USMC (Ret.), manager of the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative, and Laura Collins, deputy director of the Bush Institute’s Economic Growth program, detail how veterans are ready to fill the skills gap that industries experience, from manufacturing to hospitals to trucking. The pair also propose changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill and hiring initiatives to help more veterans fill those gaps.
  • Three veterans whom President Bush painted for Portraits of Courage, his recent book and special exhibit at the Bush Center in Dallas, share their experiences in transitioning back to civilian life. In an electronic roundtable, retired Army Sergeant Leslie Zimmerman, retired Air Force Master Sergeant Roque Urena, and retired Army Sergeant Bryce Cole open up about how they identified their post-traumatic stress, sought help, and worked with others through a difficult process.  
  • Colonel Matthew Amidon, USMCR, deputy director of the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative, reports on how networks of peers are often the best way to prompt struggling veterans to seek quality care for post-traumatic stress and other invisible wounds of war. Communities matter, Amidon writes.
  • Sheila Casey, chair of Blue Star Families and spouse of General George Casey, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, explains how military families face their own needs, from spouses struggling to find meaningful employment to children needing quality child care and schools to families searching for good health care. As in all of our pieces, she offers solutions, including engaging the private sector to hire highly-educated and qualified military spouses. 

You can read the entire Catalyst, which is devoted the military the nation needs, at this link.


Author

William McKenzie
William McKenzie

William McKenzie is editorial director for the George W. Bush Institute, where he also serves as editor of The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute.

Active in education issues, he co-teaches an education policy class at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. He also participates in the Bush Institute’s school accountability project.

Before joining the Bush Institute, the Fort Worth native served 22 years as an editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News and led the newspaper’s Texas Faith blog. The University of Texas graduate’s columns appeared nationwide and he has won a Pulitzer Prize and commentary awards from the Education Writers Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the Texas Headliners Foundation, among other organizations. He still contributes columns and essays for the Morning News and The Weekly Standard.

Before joining the News in 1991, he earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at Arlington and spent a dozen years in Washington, D.C. During that time, he edited the Ripon Forum.

McKenzie has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, on the board of a homeless organization, and on governing committees of a Dallas public school. He also is an elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, where he lives with his wife and their twin children.

Full Bio