October 10, 2022

Who Gets to Call Themselves a ‘Combat Veteran’?

Featuring Katherine L. Kuzminski

Source: Task and Purpose

Journalist Jeff Schogol

Indeed, we live in an age when some vocal veterans are constantly arguing over who should be considered a combat veteran — or even veteran at all, said Katherine Kuzminski, director of the military, veterans, and society program at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, D.C.

“It truly is splitting hairs and it does seem to feel like there is a lot of debate within the veteran community,” Kuzminski told Task & Purpose. “There’s a lot of gatekeeping about who counts as a veteran and who doesn’t.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs defines combat veterans as troops who have received hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay at any time during their service, earned a combat service medal, or have military service documentation that show they were in a combat theater, Kuzminski told Task & Purpose.

The debate over who counts as a combat veteran and who doesn’t becomes even more pronounced when politicians tout their own military service, Kuzminski said.

Read the full story and more from Task and Purpose.


  • Katherine L. Kuzminski

    Senior Fellow and Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Katherine L. Kuzminski (formerly Kidder) is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) Program at CNAS. Her research specializations include Dep...