Democratic contender and Navy vet Pete Buttigieg pledges to create better, more 'veteran-centric' VA

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a fund-raising fish fry for U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at Hawkeye Downs Expo Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — On Veterans Day, Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is proposing a "veteran-centric" Department of Veterans Affairs that will honor the service of the men and women of the military who represent "the best of who we are and what we can be."

Buttigieg, who served as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan, said service members are united by a "shared commitment to support and defend the United States" and in doing so they set an example "for us and the world, about the potential of the American experiment."

"But while not everyone can serve in the military, we can all follow their example of service," Buttigieg said. "Let us honor the sacrifice of those serving, and those who served before, by joining hands with them and finding ways for each of us to give back to our communities and serve our nation."

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has said he was inspired to serve, in part, by the veterans he met while knocking doors in Iowa for Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.

He has released a three-part plan that calls for healing the wounds of war — visible and invisible — and other service-related injuries by creating a better VA focused on the kinds of comprehensive care that veterans need.

"Serving in uniform can be the defining experience of a lifetime — but it can also lead to challenges that last a lifetime," Buttigieg said. "During my time in Afghanistan, I served beside Americans from all walks of life who were willing to risk their lives to promote security and peace.

"When I returned home, like so many others, I felt disoriented," he said. "Too many veterans like those I have served with have suffered from post-traumatic stress and, tragically, some have died by suicide."

Buttigieg's plan also calls for supporting 1 percent of Americans who keep the other 99 percent safe, including members of the immigrant and LGBTQ communities as well as their children and spouses.

"And the sacrifice isn't limited to the service members alone," he continued. "Our service members and their families deserve a commander-in-chief who understands and holds the service of our veterans sacred, and honors them in word and deed."

The third part of his plan is to more than just say "thanks for your service," Buttigieg said. He wants to enlist entire communities to help restore the normalcy and sense of community veterans need by individually and collectively making sure they know they belong, and give them the tools to thrive.

To help veterans transition from active duty, Buttigieg will support programs to help them start businesses and offer entrepreneurship education programs.

His plan calls for caring for veterans of all eras, ending veteran homelessness and making sure the VA hospital system is equipped to meet the needs of female veterans.

For more on Buttigieg's plans for veterans, visit


©2019 The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.

"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.

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WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."

"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.

"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

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The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.

We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.

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This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."

"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"

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