The imperatives for better serving our veterans and their families are plentiful and urgent. Today, the U.S. military is operating in 40% of the world’s countries.2 We are expansively deploying our military in the name of our nation’s defense, and yet the sustainability of the all-volunteer force has never been more at risk.
In 2018, the Army missed its recruiting goal for the first time since 2005.3 The military is stretched thin, and yet the cost of war since 2001 reached nearly $6 trillion dollars and future costs expect to reach $15 trillion.4 Nearly 7,000 US soldiers have died in these efforts, bearing significant social and human costs as well.5 In other words, the United States is disengaged and disconnected from significant looming financial and security challenges.
All this, and still more veterans have died from suicide than from combat in either Iraq or Afghanistan.6,7 In the past ten years, the number of military veterans who have taken their own lives totals over 60,000. That’s a suicide every 80-minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We must begin by better serving our veterans today. The post-service experiences of many of our veterans and military families should be better. These guiding principles should be the foundation of good public policy aimed to make it so.
“If it is our hope that not every young person is called to a draft If it is our hope that we continue to be safe and secure without bankrupting our nation If it is our hope that those who have served have an equal chance at a happy and healthy post-service life”