In America's Veterans: A Sound Investment, the latest in CNAS' "Voices From the Field" series, LTG William B. Caldwell IV, USA and Major Crispin J. Burke, USA argue that society should leverage the latest generation of men and women leaving the military, and the skills, expertise and experience they bring to the civilian workforce.
The authors examine the employment challenges facing the nation's nearly 2.6 million post-9/11 combat veterans as they transition to civilian jobs. They note that recent veterans "have struggled with unemployment rates that exceed the national average" despite recent survey findings that showed "most managers felt that military veterans were "better" or "much better" than civilians in areas such as teamwork, reliability, openness to other cultures and races, and work ethic."
This "Voices from the Field" report builds on earlier work by CNAS's Military, Veterans, and Society research program, including the much-cited 2012 report Employing America's Veterans: Perspectives from Businesses by Dr. Margaret Harrell and Nancy Berglass, which provided empirical data on the experiences of 69 companies and concluded that firms believe it is good business to hire veterans.
As in the 2012 CNAS study, General Caldwell and Major Burke knock down several stereotypes about recent veterans such as the myth that most service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The authors offer recommendations that business and government can undertake to help veterans successfully navigate the civilian labor market. For example, they urge the U.S. government to inform mid-level hiring managers about the qualities veterans bring to the work force and to better educate veterans about how to effectively navigate the civilian job market. More must be done to leverage the tremendous asset
that veterans are to society and to "dispel the myths that impede veterans from finding employment and achieving their full potential," the authors stress.
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The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is an independent and nonpartisan research institution that develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies. CNAS leads efforts to help inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow.
Kay King JaRel Clay
Senior Advisor and Communications Associate