John Kamensky, senior fellow at the IBM Center for the Business of Government, details a new report about how the government can work to interlink the benefits network for veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to integrate several of its programs into one network. While the agency has stood up the Office of Veterans Experience and launched an improved website, veterans get some of their benefits outside of the department. John Kamensky, senior fellow at the IBM Center for the Business of Government says that the center’s new report on this issue calls for further integration of veterans services, beyond the agency level. “A veteran doesn’t come back to a program, they come back to their community… There’s about 40,000 programs that are veteran specific that are run through nonprofits, state and local governments, county-level, etc., and they aren’t considered as part of this network,” Kamensky said. “It is not just the federal government that hasn’t created a holistic plan. There hasn’t been one that includes the state, local, and nonprofit sectors.” Kamensky said that the authors of the report believe that there needs to be a cross agency program to create this network, and that the White House should take the lead. “There is some communication, but It is not like an institutional mechanism that reaches across. There are ways of doing this. What the recommendation is from the authors of this report is that this needs to come out of the White House, it cannot be done by the agencies themselves,” Kamensky told Government Matters. “They recommend that an inter-agency group be established and that it be chaired through the domestic policy council, or someplace high up in the White House, so that there is this ability to reach across organizational boundaries.”