Joining Forces Blog
- Posted byon January 8, 2013 at 2:13 PM EST
Editor's note: This post was originally published on va.gov.
Today is the day. After a lot of planning and hard work, VA is launching the first phase of the new look and feel of our homepage VA.gov. The Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration, and National Cemetery Administration homepages have also been revamped.
Over the past few years, we’ve been listening to your input—the Veterans, family members, and loved ones. We heard you: our website was clunky, outdated, and difficult to navigate. Now, we’re implementing the changes you want to see. You’ll notice a new look and feel on our main pages, updated navigation, improved search capabilities, and more up-to-date VA content and information.
Now, we need some more help from you. Throughout the next year, we’ll be rolling out additional changes to VA’s numerous pages and we want your input. Tell us what you like and don’t like about the new websites. Each piece of feedback is useful and we want to make sure that by the end of 2013 we have the best website in the Federal government, according to our users.
Please click around and let us know what you think!
Lauren Bailey is the Deputy Director of Online Communications at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Posted byon December 30, 2012 at 11:44 AM EST
In August of 2011, President Obama challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. In August of this year, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Mayport Naval Station in Florida to announce that 2,000 American companies had stepped up to the challenge, and had already exceeded that goal, hiring 125,000 veterans and military spouses more than a year ahead of schedule.
In addition, those companies doubled down on their commitment to our troops and military families and made a new promise, a pledge to hire or train an additional 250,000 of our nation's heroes, including 50,000 military spouses.
- Posted byon December 11, 2012 at 6:21 PM EST
Holidays can be a busy time for everyone. It is also a time for us to take note of the family and friends in our lives who mean so much to us. Aside from traditional holiday festivities, the holiday season can also bring or heighten feelings of loss and grief. While these feelings can impact anyone across the nation, I’d ask that we pay close attention to our military, veterans, and their families, many of whom are dealing with the impact of separations, medical issues, and loss.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention gives us some indicators to consider; are there any observable signs of serious depression (unrelenting low mood, hopelessness, desperation, anxiety, withdrawal, and sleep problems); is there increased alcohol and/or other drug use; has there been recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks, and has there been unexpected rage or anger. This list is not all inclusive, but the presence of one or more of these in one individual may indicate more serious issues.
At Ft. Bliss, TX earlier this year, President Obama stated "Seeking help is a sign of strength". He then issued an Executive Order for Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families. This Order serves as a foundation for bringing the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs together to facilitate access to education, services and research.
To strengthen internal commitment to end suicides amongst our military, the Department of Defense formed the Defense Suicide Prevention Office to lift up suicide awareness and develop prevention strategies. This Public Service Announcement, produced by the Defense Media Activity, prompts service members, veterans, and their families to know the signs of stress that can lead to suicide and to contact the Military Crisis Line through Militarycrisisline.net or by calling 1-800-273-8255, press 1. The Crisis Line is staffed by VA professionals who can help 24/7.
Rosye Cloud is the Director of Policy for Veterans, Wounded Warriors and Military Families
- Posted byon November 30, 2012 at 5:16 PM EST
Editor's note: Military Family Month reminds us to take a moment to reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of our military families. As President Obama said in his proclamation declaring November as Military Family Month, “When a young woman signs up to defend our Nation, her parents are enlisted as well. When a father deploys to a combat zone, his children are called to serve on the home front. And when the men and women of our military serve far from home, their families feel the strain of their absence.”
- Posted byon November 29, 2012 at 11:26 AM EST
Dr. Jill Biden speaks at the Ceremonial Groundbreaking of The Education Center at The Wall on November 28, 2012. (Photo by Bill Petros)
Along with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, members of Congress, military leaders and other Gold Star families, we gathered for the Ceremonial Groundbreaking of The Education Center at The Wall, a future national landmark that will bring to life the stories of the more than 58,261 Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
Located on the National Mall, the Education Center will uniquely bridge past, present and future by connecting veterans from all eras to one another. In addition to Vietnam veterans, the Education Center will also serve as a memorial to the lives of service members lost in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Posted byon November 21, 2012 at 12:30 PM EST
Earlier this week at the Pentagon, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that the Navy’s next Virginia-class attack submarine will be named the USS Delaware – and that it will be sponsored by Dr. Jill Biden, a longtime Delaware educator and proud military mom.
At the announcement, Secretary Mabus said the Navy names its ships for states and other places in America to serve as a visible representation of America in every port around the world and that there is “always a strong connection between the people of a state and the ship that bears its name.”
“It's a special honor for me to sponsor this submarine, because I'm such a proud military mom,” Dr. Biden said. “Four years ago … I stood in Dover, Delaware, watching as our son, Beau, prepared to deploy to Iraq with the Delaware Army National Guard. I remember it like it was yesterday. And this year, I'm looking forward to standing with our son, Hunter, when he is commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy. He follows in the footsteps of two of his grandfathers, who have also served in the Navy.
Secretary Mabus also recognized Dr. Biden for her work with First Lady Michelle Obama on the Joining Forces initiative, “providing support and expanding opportunities, for veterans and active-duty personnel and their families.”
Dr. Biden said that the Navy tradition of having civilian-sponsored vessels “helps to cement the critical connection between our service members and the civilians back home who love them, miss them, and owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Construction of the USS Delaware will begin next year; its service will begin in 2018.
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