A veterans advocate in Indiana wants the state to do more to help the men and women who have served the country transition to civilian life, saying the state lags behind others in the services it provides.
“The state of Indiana has not recognized veterans as an economic positive impact. And they have not taken action to help veterans,” said James Bauerle, who retired from the Army as a brigadier general.
Bauerle pointed to a 2014 report by the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs that found the agency conducts little outreach, delivers inconsistent service, has a workflow “heavily based on the movement of paper” and faces “barriers to efficiently serving the veteran population statewide,” reported Stars and Stripes.
The report found that in 2013 Indiana spent $3.67 per veteran, while several states spent $16 or more.
James Brown, director of the state Veterans Affairs Department, said Gov. Mike Pence (R) has taken steps to enhance support for veterans, including nearly doubling the veterans department’s staff.
“We’re proud and can show where we started and where we’ve come to,” Brown said.
Concern about the state’s ability to deliver services to veterans comes as the Army continues to draw down from two wars and struggles to meet stringent budget caps.
“It is a problem and there is a high demand,” said Brig. Gen. Malcolm Frost, the Army’s chief of public affairs. “That population is going to continue to depart the military for the next decade,” Frost said.