One of the subjects this website addresses is the transition issues that veterans face navigating the civilian world after a long stay in the military. I would not be doing my duty, if I did not include correspondence from the DAV (Disable American Veterans) on important issues facing veterans today.
The transition training provided to the military member before he or she leaves military service is very inadequate. A civilian spends 8-13 weeks in boot camp to prepare them for life in the military. A week in a classroom before someone transitions out is not enough to prepare someone for civilian life after the military service.
I am not saying a command should loose a military member for two months of civilian training before they get out; but more attention should be given to our solders, sailors, airmen, and marines to prepare them for life on the outside. Sometimes TAPs (Transition Assistance Program) classes can help in retention. I went through TAP twice-once before I retired and once when I was contemplating getting out about midway in my career. The knowledge I learned from that first class, helped me mentor sailors in their decision on to stay in or get out. Whatever their decision is, they need to have as much information as possible. The grass is not always greener on the other side and once you are out, it is either sink or swim.
I believe part of the problem is that some civilians do not have a clue what the military does and what benefits military training can be to an employer.
One half of one percent of the American public is currently serving in our military
With the high pace of deployments affecting our all volunteer force, a broad swathe of American society is largely unaffected. The diminishing percentage of Americans who serve or have family members who have taken together with the military and civilian sense of being separate cultures are viewed as indicative of a large civilian-military gap. James Mattis and Kori Schake addresses this Civilian-Military Divide in the book Warriors & Citizens “American Views of Our Military” Most Americans know roughly as much as the US military as they know about the surface of the moon.
One a veteran lands a good job, they may feel like a fish out of water and the new coworkers might not understand the way a veterans thinks. It is foreign to them. That is why it is important to for the veteran prepare for the differences between the daily operation of a military organization and how a civilian organization operates.
Below is a message from the
DAV national commander.
On April 18, 2018, Congressman Don Bacon introduced H.R. 5553, the Loya-Sears Warrior Transition Assistance Reform Act. This bill requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to implement an action plan to improve the DoD Transition Assistance Program (TAP) by mandating earlier pre-separation counseling, standardizing curriculum, increasing participation rates, and improving transition assistance resources. The bill also requires the development and measurement of long-term metrics to assess outcomes and provide continuous feedback to DoD transition assistance program managers, in coordination with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor.
Current policy allows retiring service members to start TAP two years before they retire and separating service members to start the program one year, but no later than 90 days, before getting out of the military. DoD does not track averages of when service members go through the program, but a recent Government Accountability Office report found more than half of service members, 53.3 percent, are not completing TAP by the 90-day mark, and only 2.6 percent are completing the program nine months or more before leaving the military. In addition, there is little oversight to ensure that the program includes veterans service organizations (VSOs) like the DAV, to be incorporated in its workshops.
This bill would require service members to start TAP one year before separation, establish reporting metrics that can be used to glean successes of the program, and would ensure unit and installation compliance with applicable statutes governing TAP program management, to include VSO participation.
H.R. 5553 is in accordance with DAV Resolution No. 122, which calls for Congress to monitor the review of the Transition GPS program, its workshops, training methodology and delivery of services, and the collection and analysis of course critiques; and to ensure the inclusion of DAV and other VSOs in workshops, in order to confirm the program is meeting its objective, and to follow up with participants to determine if they found gainful employment following such training.
If you feel this is important to you. Please write your Representative to cosponsor and support passage of H.R. 5553, the Loya-Sears Warrior Transition Assistance Reform Act.
I am interested to know what you think. Did TAP as it stands today prepare you for life in the civilian world? What changes do you think need to be made to the program? Leave your comments below.