Military, Veterans, & Society

Within Military, Veterans, & Society

The Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) program addresses issues facing America’s service members, veterans, and military families, including the future of the All-Volunteer Force, trends within the veteran community, and civil-military relations. The program produces high-impact research that informs and inspires strategic action; convenes stakeholders and hosts top-quality public and private events to shape the national conversation; and engages policymakers, industry leaders, Congress, scholars, the media, and the public about issues facing veterans and the military community.

In the past year, the program released two major reports and conducted extensive outreach with stakeholders. As part of CNAS’ Papers for the Next President series, the MVS team released “Passing the Baton: A Bipartisan 2016 Agenda for the Veteran and Military Community,” in which it outlined a comprehensive overview of issues facing the veteran and military community and a plan with recommendations for how the next president can best serve this community. The paper includes a “first 100 days” agenda for the next president that advocates for establishing White House priorities and staff for this area, appointing and confirming key agency leaders, developing budget submissions to fully support this community, and issuing statements early to address policy on key issues such as funding priorities and the value of public-private partnerships. The MVS team briefed the report to professional staff members on the House and Senate Armed Forces and Veterans committees as well as to senior civilian leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, and senior military leadership within the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In researching “Charting the Sea of Goodwill,” the program conducted a comprehensive landscape analysis of the military and veteran-service organization space and its funding sources. The report finds that while the support needed by more than 21 million veterans in the United States is growing, philanthropic support is fragmented, and charitable contributions are not keeping pace. The team briefed its findings to military and nonprofit leaders, including the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Acting Secretary of the Army, and key leadership within the philanthropic community.

Over the past year, the team brought members of the military and civilian communities together to explore recent additions to the growing body of literature in the military-veteran space. In September 2015, the MVS program hosted a book launch and panel discussion of Bryan Doerries’s The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today. The panel included Ellyn Dunford, the wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps and then-incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of StaffDr. Jason Dempsey, former Army officer and expert in civil-military relations; and Terri Tanielian, Senior Behavioral Scientist in military and veteran health policy at Rand. In March, the team hosted a book launch for Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield. An opening discussion between CNAS co-founder and CEO Michèle Flournoy and author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon was followed by a panel discussion that focused on the contributions that female soldiers—whether in female engagement teams or integrated units—made in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the future of women in ground combat. In 2017, the MVS team will continue to focus its efforts on projects including the future of the All-Volunteer Force, veteran economic performance, and women in national security.

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