What veterans and service members want from the next commander in chief

what-veterans-and-service-members-want-from-the-next-commander-in-chief

As ballots continue to be counted, the race for the presidency will soon be decided and this contentious election finished. With it, the next commander in chief will be determined. Whether President Donald Trump will retain the job or be replaced by former Vice President Joe Biden, veterans, active duty service members and advocates have weighed in on what they want to see done for the military community over the next presidential term.

Hey service members/veterans: what do want to see a Commander-in-Chief do for the military community over the next four years?

— Sarah Sicard (@smsicard) November 3, 2020

Twitter users in response to this query proposed everything from policy changes and pay raises to family support and equipment upgrades.

For some, the hope lies within prioritizing where the Pentagon is using its budget.

Aggressive investment in Cyber / AI defensive and offensive capabilities. Rebuild multinational alliances. Reassure allies of US commitment to mutual defense. Improve living conditions for on base housing. Restore the DoDs planning to incorporate climate change effects in plans.

— John Macready (@macready_john) November 3, 2020

One user hopes to see more diversity among the ranks and withdrawal from the “Forever War” in Afghanistan.

Increase diversity in the highest leadership positions of all branches and a peace deal in Afghanistan.

— 𝕤𝕜𝕠𝕠𝕞𝕒 (@skoomabxh) November 4, 2020

Many veteran respondents shared their thoughts about the Department of Veterans Affairs in particular and the need for sweeping reforms.

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Making veteran mental health a priority. Also a serious revamp of the VA.

— Nick Jennings 🇺🇲 (@nickajennings) November 3, 2020

Alex Hollings, a Marine Corps veterans who works for Sandboxx, wrote specifically about the need for better mental, not just physical, health care.

Take legitimate steps toward providing counseling in conjunction with prescription anti-anxiety and antidepressant meds. The data clearly shows it leads to better results – while we all pretend we don’t understand why more PowerPoints and push ups aren’t solving the problem.

— Alex Hollings (@AlexHollings52) November 3, 2020

Burn pit exposure was another issue of note.

Compel the DoD to give the VA complete servicemember data, so that VA can adequately research toxic exposures. I pitched this to the current administration and was scoffed at.

— Chad Baer (@ChadBpa) November 3, 2020

On the more jocular but still valid side, there was a request for better dining options.

I just want some better/edible food tbh. That’d be cool. https://t.co/c7YVY64t2l

— 🐺 (@efrainb__) November 4, 2020

And there was a suggestion that the next commander in chief should report fitness scores the same way soldiers are required.

I want to see the Commander-in-Chief’s ACFT score https://t.co/zdBI4To4uQ

— Spooky Steve 👻 (@StevenBeynon) November 3, 2020

About

Sarah Sicard is the Digital Editor of Military Times. She previously served as Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, Defense News, Fast Company, Business Insider and AdWeek.

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