May 18, 2010 - The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is proud to announce two new initiatives as part of its Future of the U.S. Military series - The Military Wellness Initiative and A Two Year Report Card: Implementing the Recommendations of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves. The men and women of our armed forces have played an indispensable role in protecting the United States at home and abroad since the Revolutionary War. Today’s ongoing wars and diffuse security threats have forced us as a nation to rethink how we recruit, sustain and care for our service members.
Under the leadership of CNAS Non-Resident Senior Fellow Nancy Berglass, the Military Wellness Initiative will address our nation’s capacity to care for our troops and veterans and to address the impact of deployment on their families and communities. With the pledge that “we take care of our own” now hanging in the balance, the Military Wellness Initiative seeks to change how we take care of our troops, veterans, and military families by involving nonprofit, philanthropic, business and civilian leaders as stakeholders.
Nancy Berglass brings unique expertise to this initiative. As the director and driving force behind the groundbreaking Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund (IADIF), administered by the California Community Foundation, Ms. Berglass has overseen the distribution of nearly $250 million to nonprofit organizations serving the unmet needs of those affected by deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. From her cutting edge approach to philanthropy that addresses the domestic impact of foreign war, to her stewardship of the effort as its influence has been felt by the troops and at the policy level, Ms. Berglass - who was a recipient of the 2008 Department of Defense Distinguished Humanitarian Award - has demonstrated the power of community partners to leverage the impact of overwhelmed government and military agencies.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have upended the traditional conception of the National Guard and Reserves as a strategic reserve force. To assess the more operational role played by the reserves in the 21st century, Congress created the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves (CNGR) in 2004. In January 2008, the Commission released a comprehensive final report featuring six major conclusions and 95 recommendations. While some recommendations were implemented immediately, others required long-term efforts to fully implement.
Led by CNAS President John Nagl and former Chairman of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves Major General Arnold Punaro USMC (Ret.), CNAS has partnered with the former members of the Commission to produce a “report card” on the status of implementing the Commission's recommendations. Through this joint assessment, CNAS and former CNGR Commissioners will call attention to continuing challenges, provide high-quality analysis of those challenges, propose potential solutions and encourage the U.S. government to enact needed reforms to ensure that the National Guard and Reserves continue to play their indispensable role in protecting the United States at home and abroad.