Perhaps some good will come from the bait and switch that took our nation’s focus away from the Veterans Administration waiting list scandal after Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was traded for the five Taliban prisoners jailed at Guantanamo Bay.
Last Wednesday, less than a week after the controversial swap, first lady Michelle Obama announced the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness by 2015.
The challenge already has the commitment of 77 mayors, four county commissioners and four governors to help meet this goal.
Knowing how government works, they’ll probably move the homeless veterans to the other 46 states, 3,140 counties and many of the various cities in the USA in order to meet their goal.
Mrs. Obama was joined in the East Room of the White House during the announcement by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, who had announced in HUD’s annual Homeless Assessment Report for 2013 that it was estimated 58,000 veterans were homeless on any given night across the U.S.A.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, there are many factors contributing to veterans becoming homeless that involve the transition from the duty of their military occupations and training as they attempt to enter into the civilian workforce.
Basic Training, Part I — The basic training a soldier might receive as they enter into their selective branch of military can be anywhere from 10 to 14 weeks.
Plus an additional six to 52 weeks, depending on their Advanced Individual Training, where recruits train in the specifics of their chosen field.
That’s a lot of strong weeks.
Basic Training, Part II — The basic training a soldier might receive as they enter into the civilian workforce from their selective branch of military can be anywhere from five to seven days.
Which includes a three-day Department of Labor workshop where they are drilled in resumé writing classes, mock job interviews and online practice job searches along with two days of core curriculum training where they learn about personal finances, VA benefits and family adjustments.
Plus two days of optional focused tracks for those who need more information on career technical training, small business startups or college.
That’s a weak week.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans is a nonprofit organization governed by a 16-member board of directors who strongly believe all programs to assist homeless veterans must focus on helping them obtain and sustain employment.
Now I hate to put the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans out of business but what they are advocating needs to be done before members of our military become Veterans.
Our 113th Congress needs to use the legislative powers that are detailed for Congress in Article I Section 8 to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces.
This way they can mandate the Department of Defense with the authority to carry out a policy that will require members of the military to have 10 to 14 weeks of Basic Training to ready them as they re-enter civilian way of life in the U.S.A.
The basics of basic training are designed to be highly intense and challenging. Not just the physical training but also the psychological adjustment to an unfamiliar way of life.
After their hitch, they have to make another psychological adjustment to what once was a familiar way of life.
Without the highly intense and challenging training they received going in that they probably need going out.
Most of our veterans hopefully have earned a positive afterlife from their military service but with an exit basic training in place it would mean all members of the service when they leave their branch of the military will have a chance to have a chance.
The one thing the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans has proven is, even more than our elected officials in Washington, or their wives — nobody helps veterans of the U.S.A. more than veterans of the U.S.A.