Brian Wagner is a Vice President with ScoutComms, an award-winning veteran-owned benefit corporation that helps for-profit and not-for-profit organizations effectively work with veterans and military families. He currently serves as a Navy Reserve officer and is a student at the Naval War College, as well as a Partner at the Truman National Security Project. All opinions are his own.
In the world examined by veterans advocacy group Got Your Six, veterans are not broken. They are not dangerous. They are not troubled. Instead, they are diligent community members. They vote. They volunteer. By all accounts, they are more engaged in their communities than non-veterans.
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee
Over the last 15 years, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been studied and dissected from innumerable angles. No group has spent more time studying their needs, habits, challenges and strengths than the nonprofit RAND Corporation, which focuses on developing public policy solutions to complex national problems.
No number is as wrought with consequence in the veterans community as 22, which has become a rallying cry for a wide range of groups and concerned individuals seeking to reduce the daily veteran suicide rate. At the same time, no number is so misleading or misunderstood.
After more than a half-decade operating in a favorable recruiting environment that allowed the U.S. military to be increasingly selective and to meet most recruitment goals, the new environment is “likely to become significantly less fertile in the near future," according to a new summary report released by CNA.
When you work in the veterans community, you get used to uncertainty. You don't know how many veterans commit suicide every day. You don't know which veterans and military family programs are the most effective. And you are never sure if the United States really needs 40,000-plus veterans nonprofits. The lack of clear, consistent data is a recurring theme.