WASHINGTON — Researchers at the Center for a New American Security offered a scathing report this week on that status of veterans care in America, calling the current systems inefficient, full of gaps and unfriendly to community groups looking to lend a hand.
The report, Veteran Reintegration and American Communities, states that only a few troops leave the service with enough information to handle critical employment, education, and health care questions. “Inevitably – but too often at a point at which the veteran has fallen through society’s cracks – the burden of care is placed on under-resourced community-based providers that are neither familiar with service-related needs nor knowledgeable about how to address them effectively,” the report states.
Authors note that the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments lack any official process to transition troops from active-duty programs to civilian resources, both in the VA and with other community charities.
Researchers also noted that “although VA is mandated by law to provide for all veterans, in practice, it only serves those who enroll proactively.” That leaves many veterans searching for help, even when appropriate resources are available.
The think tank, which has close ties to President Barack Obama’s administration, calls for an interagency plan to provide more resources and transition care for separating servicemembers, as well as “guidance for the longer-term process of successful reintegration.” They also said charities need to better document the services they provide to veterans, in order to build a more successful public model on that transition.
The full report is available at the CNAS web site.