(Washington, D.C. ) – “I am pleased to announce
that Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) has accepted the invitation to become
the first dues-paying Associate Member of the recently formed Veterans
Coalition,” VVA National President John Rowan said. The Coalition is behind
the efforts of the new Commission on the Future of America’s Veterans, which
held its inaugural meeting yesterday in the Cannon House Office Building.
“We are in total agreement with
Coalition President Harry Walters, former Administrator of the Veterans
Administration, the precursor to the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Rowan
said. “Mr. Walters has noted that, ‘Too often our government gets bogged
down in short-term cycles of elections and budgets,’ with ‘strategic
planning often restricted to less than two years.’
“The purpose and goal of the Veterans
Coalition, and the commission, is to take a longer view of things, to set a
strategic direction for the VA in providing benefits and services to the
next generations of veterans,” Rowan said. “There really is no long-range
planning by the VA, or vision as to where its programs and services ought to
be in ten or 20 years.
“In 20 years, the World War II veterans
will mostly have died and been replaced by a very different population of
older Vietnam veterans, veterans of the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars, and veterans of future conflicts that we can only imagine
today,” Rowan said. “And many of these veterans will be members of the
Reserves and National Guard. On Veterans’ Day we remember and honor
veterans of every generation, but at the same time we must be planning for
future needs of those serving today and who will serve in the future.
“VVA believes that the Veterans
Coalition will fill a very real need in the veterans’ community, and we’re
pleased to be part of this effort,” Rowan concluded.