Friday, July 30, 2010

ROA meets with President on Veterans Issues

President Barack Obama drops by a veterans service organizations meeting, co-hosted by National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Maj Gen David R. Bockel, ROA Executive Director, was among a handful of leaders invited to the west wing of the White House July 29 as President Obama continues to ramp up direct engagement with Veterans and Military Service organizations to get feedback on Veterans issues.

Gen Bockel's key discussion point at the meeting regarded the need to better coordinate treatments for Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress since there is disparity between DoD, the individual services, Tricare and the VA. He also pointed out the issue is unique for members of the Reserve and Guard who often have to deal with all 3 health care systems for an issue that has latent effects long after redeployment.

President Obama attended the meeting where the group expressed pleasure at the President's desire to engage with associations, getting feedback from Veterans groups directly for the first time in many years. Representing the Reserve Component voice through ROA, Gen. Bockel was one of only a small group of individuals from various associations asked to attend the hour and a half meeting hosted by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and National Security Advisor Gen James Jones. The meeting was a two-way street, whereby Secretary Shinseki and Gen. Jones gave updates on the progress to implement automated systems for GI Bill payments, efforts to reduce veteran homelessness, and reduce the disability claims backlog.

Also discussed was the need of administration’s support for Sen. Daniel Akaka's (D-Hawaii) bill to correct several important oversights on the Post-9/11 GI Bill law - most particularly the importance of authorizing payments for non-degree granting vocational and job training programs, which ROA has advocated in both House and Senate hearings. Many returning veterans are not interested in college degrees, but would rather have technical training or work in apprentice programs. Other veterans can only get education through distant learning, which currently does not pay non-resident students cost of living expenses.

1 comment:

Capt Cindy Harris said...

Kudos to you ROA for engaging and being invited to sit with the President, Sec Shineski, and NSA Jones. Wow! This really motivates me to become more involved and to pay attention to the newsletters you send me each week. This edition really got me to sit up and pay attention. Thank you for fighting on behalf of Reserve and ANG officers everywhere. We don't tell you enough how much you're needed and appreciated.

Capt Cindy Harris