WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 22, 2013) – The Army’s vice chief of staff opened the second quarterly Veterans Service Organization/Military Service Organization Summit by telling attendees that while the Army can be bureaucratic at times, it’s still a learning organization that is, and will continue to be, flexible and adaptable to change no matter what that may be.
Fresh from visits to various installations where he talked about the importance of the Ready and Resilient Campaign, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John F. Campbell said though the Army continues to be the best led, equipped, trained and manned force in the world, the transition to a smaller force means very tough decisions will have to be made based on the fiscal environment and an ever-changing world situation.
The general said the Army cannot afford all the support programs it currently offers. Some programs will need to be cut, and Campbell said it’s important the right decisions are made about what to cut and what to reorganize.
“We have a lot of great programs out there, but the bottom line is we can’t afford all of those as we move forward,” he said. “What may be good at one post, camp or station may not be good at another post, camp or station.”
With 153 programs to be assessed, the vice chief said the hard part remains the uncertainty of the budget. Additionally, he said, the Army doesn’t want to take a cookie-cutter approach to what programs are discontinued, because reversing such decisions down the road is unlikely.
“We want to give as much flexibility as we can to commanders on the ground, with the understanding there is a certain set of expectations out there that we can work through,” he said. “Candidly … we’ve grown a culture of expectation out there. We have to change the culture a little bit. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just the world we live in. We’ve got to work with our Soldiers and our families on that.”
Veteran Service Organizations, or VSOs, and Military Service Organizations, or MSOs, include hundreds of sponsors which must all be non-profit, national in scope, and possess a good reputation in order to be listed by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Additionally, these organizations must have been in existence for a minimum of three years, be dedicated to a wide range of veteran’s issues and have a membership of at least 1,000 or be congressionally recognized.
“We need all of your help,” Campbell said. “You provide resources, energy and passion to help our Soldiers.”
Campbell told members of the VSOs and MSOs that he doesn’t want to lose what they provide. He told them the knowledge they have in the way of helping Soldiers is going to be important, because the Army is going to have to make difficult cuts.
“Your insight is going to be more important, because we really do have to make changes in our Army … much of that is based on fiscal restraints that we’re going to live by,” he said.
Campbell offered the suggestion that one area in which the Army could do better when it comes to assisting Soldiers with the services offered by VSOs and MSOs is to have a centralized point where Soldiers can go to get access to such services.
For more information on ways to support reintegration of our Soldiers, veterans and their families into their local communities, please visit www.army.mil/soldierforlife.