To Take Best Care of Vets, It Will Take More Than Proposed VA Budget Increase
Released this week, President Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2019 proposes an overall increase of more than $8.5 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Nicholas Armstrong is the Senior Director for Research and Evaluation at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. When it comes to the budget, Armstrong says we must ask ourselves – what else are we doing to integrate all resources to work together toward a common objective to care for vets?
“I’m not surprised by the planned increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs as part of the White House’s 2019 fiscal year budget proposal. In terms of understanding the cost associated with caring for veterans, it typically rises in the decades after a conflict and continues to rise three to four decades after the fact. The proposed increase reflected in the 2019 budget plan is the consequence of the accumulating costs associated with caring for the sacrifices made by service men and women over many decades.
“As it relates to the budget, the VA plays an absolutely essential role in providing veterans care and benefits. But caring for veterans is bigger than any one agency. There’s also an entire system of federal, state, and local agencies, nonprofits, colleges and universities, and private sector organizations that support veterans too. The broader narrative is that the VA should take care of everything. In reality, when a service member transitions to a community, there are an array of other services available to meet their needs. We have to ask ourselves – what else are we doing to integrate all of these resources to work together toward a common objective to care for vets? A broader conversation and national strategy would be helpful to make better choices on how resources are allocated.
“The military today is very much a family business. One of the best pipelines for future service members are the young men and women in military families. If we don’t care for veterans and their family members post service via an array of services and programs, not just the VA, it poses a risk to future recruiting and readiness of the force.”
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