Consider some of these military recruiting slogans: “Stand Up, Stand Out,” “Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines! What a great place – it’s a great place to start!” and “Get an Edge on Life.” The suggestion that the military offers a “leg up” continues to define military recruiting campaigns today.
But what happens when the next generation of potential soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines sees this generation of veterans struggling to find jobs, and struggling in other ways? What happens when future generations dismiss the suggestion that military service confers “an edge on life”?
When that day comes, the fears of those who laid the blueprint for America’s experiment with an all-volunteer force become realized. When that happens, we are all less safe, and that truth is embedded in the doctrine that informs our national defense.
The National Security Strategy, which emphasizes all of the nation’s resources as an element of security, says that rededicating "ourselves to providing support and care of wounded warriors, veterans, and military families" is fundamental to America's defense posture. The National Military Strategy adds that America's leaders "are the strongest advocate" for the nation’s commitment to caring for our wounded veterans and their families.
Thankfully, key government leaders understand this. To emphasize the relationship between veteran welfare and national security, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki hold regular “summit” meetings focused on recovery coordination for the wounded, ill, and injured; the disability evaluation system; and transition programs.