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Prevention vs. Cure: A New Military Mission and a New Model for Veteran Success

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Prevention vs. Cure: A New Military Mission and a New Model for Veteran Success

The Alarm
It was posted on Facebook.

One of the authors of this article vividly recalls the gut-kick shock he felt when learning that one of the first soldiers he’d led had committed suicide as a civilian.

That soldier had been one of the best men any officer had the privilege to lead — a soldier who could and did excel far beyond others. He was mature, smart, and dedicated. Now, 9 years later, something had clearly failed him and he was gone. His death was — for one of us personally and tragically, but for both of us equally — a chilling, alarming cry for change.

Something is wrong with our military service and transition system and we need to fix it.

Troubling Data
Post 9/11 veterans commit suicide more, are homeless more, and are jobless more than their civilian counterparts. Underscoring these bleak outcomes, top policy makers have noted that the “evidence appears to be that [serving in the military] is not an advantage.” Supporting this conclusion, data shows that military veterans tend to earn lower wages over time than counterparts who have not served.

These statistics are even more striking when you consider that the military is extremely selective. Only a third of the nations’ young people are qualified to join, because of stringent standards around education, fitness levels, physical and mental health, and lack of criminality. And while waivers are sparingly granted for some of these factors, the overall applicant pool can be described as elite in comparison with their peers in the general population.

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