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President George W. Bush addresses more than 300 individuals dedicated to helping veterans.

Stand-To: It’s Time to Lead and Adapt Veteran Transition

June 28, 2017 4 minute Read by Colonel Miguel Howe, USA, Ret.
By fostering a successful transition, we not only ensure our veterans and their families lead full and meaningful lives, we ensure we leverage a national cadre of determined and experienced leaders who will serve in new ways and with renewed purpose for the decades to come.

For the first time, a national convening brought together public and private sector leaders to address the full range of issues affecting transitioning veterans: employment, education, and health and wellbeing.  More than 300 individuals and more than 70 major corporations, non-profits, higher-education institutions, think tanks, federal agencies and community organizations came together to identify common goals and set priorities to effectively close the gaps across the wide spectrum of services and supports for veterans, their families, and their caregivers.

During these task force sessions and panels, the participants committed to creating a unified mission and framework that specifies what a successful veteran transition is when health and wellbeing, education, and employment organizations work together. They also pledged to establish a system to improve data collection, sharing, and analysis within each area of need, and across veteran transitions. This will create accountability and allow organizations to measure and assess outcomes and stewardship.

This is a tall order. These issues are complex and complicated and resource intensive. No one entity can accomplish these commitments alone. We know for it to be fully effective, public-private partnerships must be enhanced and strengthened. Our current administration and government can also take the lead in strengthening these relationships by:

  • Establishing an office in the White House for veterans and military families
  • The VA and DOD healthcare system can be modernized through enhanced public private partnerships, realigned authorities, and regulations, improved policies and expanded outreach efforts The two organizations can also work to connect veterans to community organizations and resources to provide services that make veterans whole i.e. education and employment.
  • Ensuring long term viability of the post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Improving pre-transition activities and veteran readiness by expanding apprenticeships, fellowships, internships, and ID opportunities to customize TAP

However, this alone will not help solidify the road to a successful veteran transition.

  • Businesses must commit and take action to codify a new era in veteran and military spouse employment by improving corporate recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and retention.
  • Leaders in higher education must foster a national effort for veteran recruiting, admissions, on campus interaction, education success, and career placement.
  • Health care providers, nonprofits, and community organizations working to advance health and wellbeing must improve and streamline service delivery, and improve integration and coordination of effort across all sectors, from national to community level.

The task forces must now continue working together and strengthen their relationships to empower veterans and their families. In so doing, these task forces, along with the Bush Institute, will help shape and drive legislation, policy, resourcing, programming, messaging, research, data-evaluation, and accountability.

By fostering a successful transition, we not only ensure our veterans and their families lead full and meaningful lives, we ensure we leverage a national cadre of determined and experienced leaders who will serve in new ways and with renewed purpose for the decades to come.

 To learn more about the civilian-military divide and Bush Institute veteran resources:

 


Author

Colonel Miguel Howe, USA, Ret.
Colonel Miguel Howe, USA, Ret.

Colonel Miguel Howe, USA, Ret. is the inaugural April and Jay Graham Fellow of the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. As an endowed Fellow, Colonel Howe represents the Bush Institute's work to improve the transition of post-9/11 veterans to civilian life, and to foster veteran leadership to enhance our businesses, communities and nation. In this role, he advocates for post 9-11 veterans and builds awareness for the issues that affect their transitions, with a focus on employment, education, and health and wellbeing.

Colonel Howe retired from the United States Army where he served for over 24 years in a myriad of command and staff assignments to include in Iraq and Afghanistan. He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as the commander of the Afghan National Army Special Operations Advisory Group, Camp Morehead Afghanistan. He also deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Chief of Staff for the NATO Training Mission in Al Rustamiyah, Iraq. A Special Forces Officer, he has commanded special operations forces on numerous deployments throughout Latin America with the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Colonel Howe served as the Special Assistant to the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and commanded the U.S. Army Southern California Recruiting Battalion. He began his Army career in the 25th Infantry Division as a Rifle Platoon Leader.

Colonel Howe was selected in 2006 by President George W. Bush to serve as a White House Fellow. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and earned a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He is married with two children.

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