BY JUSTIN CONSTANTINE
Although the Republican presidential contenders already had their foreign policy debate, I would still love to see them on Tuesday night answer questions related to our military Servicemembers and Veterans. After deploying to Iraq, I have worked for almost 10 years now with many organizations focused on wounded warriors and their caregivers, veteran employment, and community services for Veterans and their families. Many of us are concerned about future deployments, the transition out of the military, and numerous problems associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Below are five questions I would love the candidates to answer, which hopefully would offer us a glimpse into their mindsets on issues that are very important to our community.
1. After the war in Iraq, we have seen the problems associated with deploying our forces without a specific endgame and exit strategy. If you believe we should deploy more of our military forces to Syria and Iraq now, what is your overall strategy to support that?
2. After seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan less than 1% of our population fighting our nation’s battles, which often resulted in multiple tours of duty, what do you think about imposing a draft like we have done in the past?
3. Many military Servicemembers state that the current services provided to them as they transition from the military to the private sector are not helpful and do not prepare them for their new lives. Have you thought about how to resolve this important issue?
4. Many senior officers argue that our military cannot solve all of our problems, and that Congress should give the State Department and USAID larger budgets so that they can help countries be more stable on the front end. What is your opinion on that?
5. Our government has clearly not provided many of our Veterans the care that they need and deserve. Appeals of their cases can take close to a decade to adjudicate, the Veteran suicide rate is through the roof, and Post Traumatic Stress still has a huge stigma attached to it. What specific measures would you take to rectify these problems?
Justin Constantine is an inspirational speaker, leadership consultant, entrepreneur and TED fellow who serves as a liaison between the military and corporate communities. He is senior advisor to the US Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes Campaign and is a fellow with the Truman National Security Project. Justin also serves on the board of directors of the Wounded Warrior Project and co-founded the Veteran Success Resource Group. He received a Purple Heart for his service in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps. To learn more, visit: www.justinconstantine.com.