The Office of Veteran and Military Affairs is proud to recognize eight outstanding scholars, as part of the University’s commitment to veterans and military-connected students. These awards are possible thanks to philanthropic commitment from generous donors. They provide distinguished military-connected…
Vice Chancellor Haynie Delivers Congressional Testimony on Difficult Military Transitions During Pandemic
J. Michael Haynie, Ph.D., vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity on May 12. Haynie testified in a hearing titled “Military Transition in the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Haynie said the central theme of his testimony was the best use of resources designated to support the post-services lives of our nation’s veterans to ensure a successful transition from military to civilian life. “This is because separating from military service represents an event that goes well beyond a vocational transition, but instead extends to a transition of identity, relationships and community-connectedness,” he said. Based on a decade of IVMF research with military families and directly working with over 150,000 veterans in the past 10 years, Haynie said the service member transition to civilian life has a wide-ranging impact on success socially, economically and overall wellness.
“We do this because we know, as research-informed fact, that a successful transition sets up the veteran and their family for long-term economic prosperity, enhanced wellness and connectedness to the communities where they live and work,” said Haynie. “Conversely, the effects of a sub-optimal transition experience can compound for decades, contributing in many cases to devastating post-service outcomes such as homelessness, financial instability and suicidal ideation.”
The stress of a military transition was only compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, said Haynie. “Findings from the IVMF-Military Times Poll indicate that 59% of respondents cited inadequate community support, 41% reported persistent needed financial assistance and 30% needed food assistance,” said Haynie. He also cited data based on IVMF’s AmericaServes, a national coordinated system of public, private and nonprofit organizations working together to serve veterans. “Data from the IVMF’s AmericaServes program confirms this trend. During April and May of last year, food assistance was the most requested service nationally.”
To drive home the impact of the testimony, Haynie proposed four calls to action for the committee to consider. These proposals will enhance the support available to transitioning veterans and families during the time of COVID. And Haynie reiterated that “if we do not act swiftly and with intention, veterans and their families will shoulder the burden of inaction in the near-term, and for decades to come.:
A recording of the hearing can be viewed at this link.