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Veterans need to take the lead in defense-related agencies

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Veterans need to take the lead in defense-related agencies

BY MARTIN J. CARAWAY

As this nation prepares to inaugurate the new President, we must consider the implications of who Congress will choose to run the government.

Leadership in the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and the Congressional Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committees is a top concern among veteran’s advocacy organizations.

The growing divide between military and civilian leadership is the result of the loss of concise focus on the institutional objectives to serve those who have borne the battle in the service of America. As we resume our daily lives, many of us; Veterans of the nation’s longest and costliest wars, want leaders that have the intimate personal understanding of the burden war and its implication men and women who carry that burden.

It is imperative our leaders focus on effective management and implementation of policy married with the consideration and understanding of the lifelong impact that wartime military service sustains on America’s citizens and warriors. American military leadership, in both the combatant and medical administration fields, should be sought to lead and support our nation’s veterans.

Veterans like General James Mattis, Congressman Phil Roe, and Congressman Tim Walz are examples of who should be in leadership roles in the new Administration and Congress.

It would behoove the Administration and Congress to consider these experienced military leaders who have shown diligent and effective leadership abroad on the battlefield and here at home when selecting cabinet secretary positions and congressional committee leaders.

These leaders are best suited to support long-term policy objectives that benefit the American veteran.

In the 2015 Wall Street Journal article: The Meaning of Their Service; Retired Marine General James N. Mattis stated during an address to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans that “American colleges and businesses know your pedigree for commitment, reliability and loyalty. This is why so many corporations and startups aggressively recruit Veterans. As San Francisco-based Uber sums it up: Veterans deliver higher value. Bellwether companies like Microsoft, Uber, Starbucks and more act on that premise.”

As congress begins to deliberate on the choices delivered by the respective committees on matters of foreign affairs, national defense, homeland security, and Veterans affairs, let us remind our elected representatives in the sentiment of General Mattis that those appointees that have a history of military service deliver higher value, have a high pedigree for service, loyalty, and steadfast reliability. As our elected representatives, take heed to our input.

We demand leadership with the aforementioned high pedigree of experience, reliability, and integrity. Choose wisely the men and women that will lead the charge in the selfless service of America. We elected you to be our voice, we will hold you accountable for the implications of your decision-making on behalf of the America’s Veterans.

Martin J. Caraway, a United States Marine, is a two-time combat Veteran of the war in Iraq; and is a recognized expert in veteran law and advocacy. He is the first vice president and legislative chairman of the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers.

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