Task Force on Military and Vetwerans Affairs | 2016 NCSL Capitol Forum


Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs

A regular meeting of the Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs was held on Dec. 6, 2016 in conjunction with NCSL's Capitol Forum in Washington, D.C. The meeting was  held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd., N.W., Washington, D.C.

The task force was created in 2007 to address issues affecting military-community relations and the health and well-being of veterans.  Among the issues covered: development near military installations; military-community partnerships to respond to mission change; veteran hiring and procurement preferences; mental health, substance abuse and family relationships facing returning veterans; and benefits for military personnel, veterans and their dependents. The task force consists of 54 state legislators and legislative staff from 29 states.

NCSL Capitol Forum conference logo.Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016

NCSL Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs Convenes

Representative Dan Flynn, Texas Opening Remarks by Task Force Co-Chairs

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Introductions

Improving Veterans Health Care

This session examined the state of the VA healthcare system, including implementation of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 and expansion of telehealth services. Speakers assessed opportunities for states to partner with the VA to improve access to care.

  • Representative Dan Saddler, Alaska | No Presentation
  • Dr. Jennifer Lee, Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services, Veterans Health Administration | Presentation

Veterans Treatment Courts

Mental health disorders common among veterans can lead to involvement in the criminal justice system. Veterans courts are designed to meet the particular needs of veterans through a coordinated approach that emphasizes treatment and personal accountability over incarceration. 

  • Representative Dean Dohrman, Missouri | No Presentation
  • Scott Swaim, Division Director, Justice for Vets, Alexandria, VA | No Presentation
  • Representative from Prince George’s County Veterans Treatment Court, Maryland |  Presentation

State Spotlight: Virginia Veterans Programs

This session explored innovative programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia that provide transition resources to separating service members and help employers recognize the value veterans can bring to their workforce.

  • Representative Dan Flynn, Texas | No Presentation
  • Charlie Palumbo, Director, Transition and Employment Program, Virginia Department of Veterans Services | No Presentation
  • Carrie Ann Alford, Director of Policy & Planning, Virginia Department of Veterans Services | No Presentation

NCSL Official Release | Preparing for Duty: State Policy Options to Sustain Military Installations

This updated report highlights the importance of the military on state economies and provides state policy options to strengthen the relationship between bases and surrounding communities.

  • Jim Reed, NCSL | Presentation
  •  Kristin Thomasgard-Spence, Program Director, Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI), U.S. Department of Defense | Presentation

DoD Office of Economic Adjustment Update

The Office of Economic Adjustment has helped communities in all 50 states and several U.S. territories develop strategies to adjust to defense industry cutbacks, base closures, force structure realignments and base expansion.

  • Representative Dan Flynn, Texas | No Presentation
  • Patrick O’Brien, Director, Office of Economic Adjustment, U.S. Department of Defense | No Presentation

DoD State Liaison Office Update

Each year the DoD State Liaison Office identifies 10 key policies states can explore to assist military members and their families.

  • Representative Dan Flynn, Texas | No Presentation
  • Marcus Beauregard, Director, Defense-State Liaison Office, U.S. Department of Defense | No Presentation

Policies Priorities for the National Guard

This session focused on issues directly impacting members of the National Guard and their families, including budget cuts, force structure, infrastructure improvements, benefits, etc.

  • Representative Earl Jaques, Delaware | No Presentation
  • Col. Mike Hadley (Ret.), Director of Legislation, National Guard Association of the United States | No Presentation


Additional Session: Thursday, December 8

Workforce Development for People with Disabilities Breakfast Session

Joint session of the Labor and Economic Development, Education, Health and Human Services, Budgets and Revenues Committees and Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force

Individuals with disabilities, visible and otherwise, are a large and vital part of our nation's workforce. A new report was presented by NCSL/CSG National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities with policy options for how states can help meet the needs of these workers and how businesses can harness the unique perspectives of these employees to drive innovation and improvement.

  • Senator John Hoffman, Minnesota | Presentation
  • Leslie Wolfe, General Manager, MAXIMUS UK | Presentation
  • Taryn Williams, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. | No Presentation