Dec. 4, 2018

The Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs met Dec. 4, 2018, in conjunction with NCSL's Capitol Forum in Washington, D.C. The meeting was held at the Pentagon. 

The task force was created in 2007 to address issues affecting military-community relations and the health and well-being of veterans. The task force consists of 57 state legislators and legislative staff from 32 states.

The Pentagon, Washington, DC.Opening remarks by task force co-chair Representative Tina Orwall, Washington 

Pledge of Allegiance

Introductions of task force members and guests

NCSL staff updates

Introduction to DoD Regional Environmental Coordinators

  • Stan Rasmussen, regional environmental coordinator, U.S. Army Regional Environmental & Energy Office—Central

Troops in Transition

Moderator: Representative Tina Orwall, Washington

Active duty service members and their spouses offer a unique set of skills, experiences and leadership abilities, yet many still struggle to find and maintain employment, both after and during military service. For recently discharged veterans, skills translation and self-marketing play a role. For spouses, challenges stem from frequent moves, occupational licensing regulations and more. This session explored current DoD programs and initiatives related to employment and transition broadly, and describe how states can go further.


  • Fred Drummond, deputy assistant secretary, Defense, Force Education and Training 
  • Karin Orvis, director, DoD Transition to Veterans Program Office 
  • Marcus Beauregard, director, Defense-State Liaison Office | Presentation

Sharing Priorities: Military, States and Communities

Moderator: Representative Tina Orwall, Washington

Even though military installations are federally owned and operated, state and local governments are critical to the success of the military mission. Speakers discussed how the military is working with diverse partners to understand current and long-term training requirements and address other concerns.


  • Robert McMahon, assistant secretary, Defense for Sustainment
  • Patrick O'Brien, director, DoD Office of Economic Adjustment

Special Briefing with Secretary of the Air Force

Moderator: Senator Terri Haverly, South Dakota

The ability of military spouses to obtain jobs and sustain careers through frequent moves is vital to the stability and readiness of an all-volunteer force. The Air Force and the other services are committed to working with states to ease burdens on military families and will consider favorable state laws when making future basing and mission decisions.

  • Heather Wilson, secretary, United States Air Force

Advancing Cybersecurity

Moderator: Senator Bryce Reeves, Virginia

Technological advances are changing the nature of warfare. Our speaker discussed the future of U.S. military operations in the cyber domain, including efforts to identify and defend against cyber threats, and train service members and veterans for careers in the field.

  • Paul Tortora, director, Center for Cyber Security Studies, U.S. Naval Academy | Presentation
Task Force Brief Roundtable and Wrap Up

Pentagon Tour 

The Pentagon houses approximately 26,000 employees, both military and civilian, who contribute to the planning and execution of the defense of the United States. This one-hour tour followed a 1 1/2-mile route and included the mission of the Department of Defense and each of its branches of service. The tour included numerous displays highlighting and depicting significant moments in military history.

Task force adjourned.

Dec. 6, 2018

Entrepreneurship and Economic Opportunities for Veterans

This was a discussion about innovative approaches to creating job opportunities and business development for military veterans.

Moderator: Representative Dean Dohrman, Missouri

  • Speaker: Charles ‘Lynn’ Lowder, Veteran Business Project, Illinois


  • Larry Stubblefield, Office of Veterans Business Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, Washington, D.C.
  • Mike Zacchea, Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, Connecticut | Presentation