National Guard Initiative Extends Focus of ‘Joining Forces’

The National Guard has launched an effort in conjunction with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) expanding the “Joining Forces” campaign to focus attention on identifying grassroots solutions at the community level to support veterans, service members and their families.

“After 10 years of [continued operations] … all of the services — not just the National Guard — have been reaching out to communities to help solve community-based problems and bring solutions to our service members, families, and veterans,” said Army Brig. Gen. Marianne Watson, director of manpower and personnel at the National Guard Bureau.

The National Guard Bureau and CNCS will collaborate to develop a network of support in the three critical areas that Joining Forces, the initiative spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, focuses on — employment, wellness, and education.

“As the budget situation gets tighter and tighter, this network of support is even that much more important because of the reduction of resources and our ability to continue that support,” Watson said. “We need the communities in the states [and the organizations within] to come together and to build that network for our members.”

One goal of the new initiative, “Joining Community Forces,” is to establish liaisons in communities who can identify and aggregate local resources for those who might need them, reported the National Guard Bureau.

Although Joining Community Forces is a National Guard initiative, the effort is not meant for Guard and Reserve personnel alone.

“This effort is for all service members, all veterans, and all families of service members across the U.S.,” Watson she said. “It doesn’t matter what reserve component or what active component, either still on active duty or you’ve transitioned to a community, this network is for everyone — active, Guard or reserve.”

Dan Cohen
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