Community Role in Supporting Veterans Persists, DOD Official Says

As she prepares to step down from leading DOD’s community and family programs before moving to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rosemary Freitas Williams underscored the crucial role nonprofits and community-based organizations play in supporting service members, their families and veterans.

“You have heard me say countless times how important it is to close the gap between DOD and VA, now more than ever,” Williams, who has served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy since July 2013, said in an email newsletter obtained by Military Times.

“DOD is leaning forward with new ideas like access to Military OneSource for 365 days after transition. Meanwhile, VA is going through a remarkable transformation. But no matter how forward the two agencies reach towards each other, there will always be a gap. And that is where the community-based providers, state programs, non-profits — large and small, schools, churches, synagogues and mosques come in,” she said.

William said in her new position she plans to help integrate the support offered by Veterans Affairs with that offered by local groups.

“I intend to join VA’s mission of transformation and to help where I can to help weave that net of community-based support in concert with VA,” she said.

Williams will become VA’s assistant secretary for public affairs, effective at the beginning of April, according to the story.

In her current post, Williams has been responsible for policy, advocacy and oversight of all community support to service members and their families, quality-of-life issues, child care and youth programs, family violence prevention and intervention, casualty and mortuary affairs, morale, welfare and recreation programs, commissaries and exchanges, military spouse career advancement and voluntary education programs for service members.

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen
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