Citing research showing that one-third of newly separated service members opt to remain in the last community where they served, Jim Lorraine, president and CEO of America’s Warrior Partnership, told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee last month that transitioning personnel need strong community support to be successful.
“With the collective leadership of communities throughout the nation, I know that we can have a strong and vital national veteran network that not only strengthens its communities, but can also improve our military for tomorrow,” Lorraine told lawmakers, according to a press release.
Lorraine’s testimony largely focused on the positive results of community integration programs, but he also shared his concerns about DOD’s existing Transition Assistance Program. Four years ago, he told the committee that the military’s transition support was incomplete because it did not incorporate community resources.
“Since then, not much has changed,” Lorraine said. “The current transition program is not focused on the individual veteran; instead the focus is on the outputs of attendance and post-class evaluations at a time when the service member’s life is nothing but unknowns.”
America’s Warrior Partnership is a national nonprofit supporting six regional communities. In 18 months, its affiliated communities have served more than 17,000 veterans, according to the organization. Lorraine credited a model of private-public partnerships between local nonprofits and government agencies for its successes and encouraged senators to strengthen those relationships to better serve veterans.