Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs Agenda and Presentations | 2014 Forum


This 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 59 state legislators and legislative staff from 27 states.

Tuesday | Dec. 9

NCSL Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs Convenes

Opening Remarks by Task Force Co-Chairs:

Representative Dan Flynn, Texas and Representative Ken Ito, Hawaii

Pledge of Allegiance

Military Mission Sustainability: A Community Perspective

This session will explore the impact of encroachment and other military mission sustainability issues on surrounding communities.

Presiding: Representative Dan Flynn, Texas

Opening Remarks: Kristin Thomasgard, Program Director for Policy, Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations and Environment)

Speaker: Tim Ford, CEO, Association of Defense Communities 

Recent Reforms to the VA

Invited speakers will discuss the impact of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 and ways in which states can partner with the VA in delivering various benefits and services, including health care and education.

Presiding: Representative Dan Flynn, Texas

David Montoya, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 
Robert M. Worley II, Director, Education Service, Veterans Benefits Administration  PDF PRESENTATION  
Steven Gonzalez, Assistant Director, Veterans Employment and Education Division, American Legion
Louis Celli, Director, Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division, American Legion 
Nathan Bergerbest, Office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska 

Help for Wounded Warriors

Warriors Speak, a program of the Wounded Warrior Project, brings together wounded veterans and caregivers to raise awareness for the needs of injured service members and their families by sharing their personal stories of service and sacrifice with the public.

Presiding: Representative Ken Ito, Hawaii

Speaker: Erick Millette, Warriors Speak Program, Wounded Warrior Project

Understanding the Needs of Veterans and Military Families

Many returning veterans struggle to make the transition to civilian life. Finding a job, obtaining education benefits and housing can all be a challenge, especially for disabled veterans. This session will focus on efforts to end veteran homelessness and support those affected by mental illness.

Presiding: Representative Ken Ito, Hawaii

Jeannie Campbell, Executive Vice President, National Council for Behavioral Health PDF PRESENTATION
Elisha Harig-Blaine, Principal Housing Associate (Veterans & Special Needs), National League of Cities 

Lunch: Task Force Members Legislative Roundtable

Presiding: Jim Reed, NCSL

Possible topics for discussion:

  • Employer tax credits for hiring veterans, Representative Cosgrove, Utah
  • U.S.-Mexico border issues and the National Guard, Representative Flynn, Texas
  • Impact of minimum wage increases on the military, Representative Wilson, Wyoming

Update from the U.S. Department of Defense

Invited speakers will provide an update from their respective offices on a number of initiatives to assist military personnel and dependents.

Presiding: Representative Dan Flynn, Texas

Frank DiGiovanni, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness), U.S. Department of Defense 
Dr. Thomas Langdon, Director, State Liaison & Education Opportunity, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness), Military Community & Family Policy  PDF PRESENTATION

DoD Budget & The National Guard

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

Presiding: Representative Dan Flynn, Texas

Speaker: Col. Peter Duffy (Ret.), Director of Legislation, National Guard Association of the United States

Task Force Wrap-Up

Presiding: Jim Reed, NCSL

Additional Resources