COMPACT WITH VETERANS
-Honoring the Men and Women Who Stand Strong for Freedom-
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”
In keeping with the wise advice of our nation’s first General and Veteran, our first President and Commander-in-Chief, George Allen has a proven record of working on behalf of Veterans and their families to honor their service to our nation. He recognizes that America enjoys its freedoms today because there are men and women willing to stand strong for freedom.
On their behalf, George Allen makes the following compact as Virginia’s next Senator:
A committed partner and advocate for Veterans in the United States Senate. George Allen will listen to the voices of Virginia’s Veterans and their families and will use his office to work on their behalf with the Department of Defense; the Veterans Administration (VA); other members of Congress; state, local, and municipal leaders; major Veterans’ service organizations and private businesses to respond to the challenges and unique needs of our services, our military service members, our Veterans, and their families, whether it is navigating the claims process or ensuring that America keeps her promises to those who have served. He will have a member of his staff whose assigned job will be dedicated to assisting Veterans and their families.
Keeping our promises to our Veterans and their families. Our nation has built an unsurpassed, quality, all-volunteer military force by employing a carefully balanced package of incentives and earned benefits for recruitment and retention. Our serving active, guard, and reserve forces, our Veterans, and our retirees should not have to be concerned about whether their service will be recognized nor worry about whether they and their families will be afforded the benefits they have earned through their sacrifice and been guaranteed to them by our government. These promised benefits must be a priority, and George Allen will see that benefits are funded. Whether it is health care, education, retirement, or quality of life benefits for the military, retirees, Veterans and their families, George Allen will insist that our nation keep its promises to those who have served and sacrificed and those who are currently serving in the cause of freedom.
Honoring service and sacrifice. Honoring service extends beyond a warm homecoming or a moment of silence on Memorial and Veterans’ Day. It is reflected in the cemeteries that honor the fallen and the memorials that remind future generations of the sacrifices of generations past; in the care provided the wounded and the opportunities extended to returning Veterans to make a successful transition back to civilian life.
Jobs for Veterans. Unemployment among Veterans tends to be even higher than it is for their civilian counterparts, both nationwide and in Virginia, particularly among our younger troops . As Virginia’s U.S. Senator, George Allen will work to help these brave men and women continue to contribute to the nation and provide for their families. He supports efforts to help Veterans transition from the military and match their skills and experience with the needs of private-sector and public-sector employers as well as a comprehensive workforce development initiative for Veterans, with special emphasis on those with service disabilities and the scars of war. George Allen believes the federal government should lead by example in providing job opportunities for Veterans as intended by current Veterans’ preference hiring laws as well as the law requiring federal agencies to implement plans to increase business with small firms owned by service-disabled Veterans. In the Senate, he will insist that agencies proactively apply and that the Office of Personnel Management aggressively enforce Veterans’ preferences for open government positions and demand that Congress be given full information on and exercise careful oversight of these laws.
Treating our Wounded Heroes. Care for our wounded warriors is a moral obligation to those who have sacrificed so much defending our freedom. George Allen believes the Veterans’ Administration must be resourced and staffed to promptly and appropriately address the needs of wounded and service-disabled Veterans and their families. As he has in the past, George Allen will work to provide full concurrent receipt to all active duty and reserve component disabled retirees, regardless of disability rating or cause, and to support research and proper treatment and diagnosis of blast-related traumatic brain injuries. He will work to eliminate the backlog of VA claims and to streamline the application and appeals process and take full advantage of technology to make the process faster and easier and less stressful and frustrating for Veterans to navigate. In this and other areas, he will work to ensure seamless operations between State and federal offices.
Guaranteeing the Right to Vote. Nearly 12,500 military and overseas ballots requested from the Commonwealth were not sent out by Virginia election officials by the deadline in 2008, and more than 3,000 ballots that arrived after Election Day were not counted. Ensuring that the men and women who serve in our armed forces can exercise their civic responsibility through voting is very important to George Allen, who has been a leader on the issue of military voting rights for our service members, their families and Veterans living overseas. He will work to continue and expand reforms that guarantee those who are fighting to protect our fundamental freedoms the opportunity to cast their vote and have it counted.
Protecting Our Memorials, Remembering Our Heroes. Those who have served the nation – particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice – should be afforded a dignified burial and a resting place that appropriately expresses the gratitude of the nation for their service and stands as a permanent tribute to their memory. George Allen will ensure that issues of poor management and neglect at Arlington National Cemetery – from mislabeled remains to archaic record-keeping – are corrected and that proper steps are in place at Arlington and all 131 of our National Cemeteries to ensure appropriate care and respect for the remains of fallen heroes entrusted to their keeping. He will insist that the United States government persevere to achieve the fullest possible accounting for all U.S. military personnel missing in action from our nation’s wars.
Keeping America Strong for Freedom. The highest constitutional responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the national defense. In the Senate, George Allen will support the entire military community in its mission to prepare for and fight our nation’s wars and protect our homeland from its enemies. He will work to provide our troops with the best training and most technologically advanced armaments and equipment our nation with all its resources can provide and will fight vigorously against policies that senselessly waste taxpayer dollars – such as the current in-sourcing drive and the proposed costly relocation of an aircraft carrier group to Florida. While efficiency and budgetary stringency are essential to get our nation’s staggering deficit under control and our economy moving, George Allen recognizes that dangerous cuts to defense spending risk our troops’ safety as well as our nation’s security.
Virginia is home to over 340,000 Active duty, Guard, and Reserve military members and their families. Additionally, over 823,000 Veterans and military retirees reside in the Commonwealth.
Virginia’s and America’s Veterans can depend on George Allen to steadfastly advocate keeping America strong for freedom and oppose reactionary decisions that endanger our national security, put our citizens at risk, create a hollow military force, or violate the promises made to those who have served to keep us free.