Since taking over as commander-in-chief, at least 23,000 veterans and service members have died by suicide, according to data reported in 2008 by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the Department of Veterans Affairs. As Obama prepares himself and his cabinet for the second term of his presidency, a new report from the Center for a New American Security titled, “Upholding the Promise: A Strategy for Veterans and Military,” says the president must confront two serious problems on veterans issues: rampant suicides and more than a million unprocessed veterans benefits claims, mostly filed by combat-wounded men and women who volunteered to fight for America during the two military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Getty)
CNAS Report Warns Obama Faces Hard Choices for Veterans in Second Term
by Steve Vogel
Washington Post, Nov. 10, 2012
A report being issued this week by the Center for a New American Security warns that the Obama administration will “face an array of hard choices” involving veterans and the military community as it tries to cope with problems ranging from military suicide to veterans disability claims during the president’s second term.
“These choices will be made more difficult by significant downward pressure on spending, requiring the next administration to make hard choices with profound implications for the men and women who serve us in uniform, and those who came before them, as well as for our national security,” the report from the Washington national security think tank says in its executive summary.
“Upholding the Promise: Supporting Veterans and Military Personnel in the Next Four Years,” which is to be released Friday, is written by Phillip Carter, a senior fellow at the center and a former Army officer who served in Iraq and later as a political appointee in the Obama administration, responsible for detainee policy at the Defense Department.
The report identifies three broad priority areas for the Obama administration. The first includes issues such as military suicides, combat stress and veteran homelessness, which “must be decisively addressed by the next administration, in ways that exceed the work done during the past four years, simply because veterans and military personnel continue to suffer.”
The second area of priority would be to “make substantially more progress” in improving government service, chief among them reversing the growth of the claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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