Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Reaches Milestone
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 30, 2009 The advisory board of a new program mandated by the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act held its inaugural meeting here today.
The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program fulfills the requirement of establishing a national combat veteran reintegration program. The program’s goal is to prepare servicemembers and their families for mobilization, sustain families during mobilization, and reintegrate soldiers with their families, communities, and employers upon redeployment.
“[Post-traumatic stress disorder], the specter of suicides and all sorts of things have told us that it’s critical to make sure that our troops and their families are readjusting properly,” said Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. “We recognized that when … active Guard and Reserve [servicemembers] go off to conflict and come back, and then demobilize or go back to their home base, it’s really necessary that they get back together with their families and have a chance at a 30-, and a 60-, and a 90-day point to talk about their experiences, to see if everything’s going OK.”
The undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness serves as the program’s executive agent and established the Office for Reintegration Program within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.
To provide servicemembers and their families with a wide range of options as close to home as possible, Defense Department officials are working to unify efforts among the services, the reserve components, other federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
The advisory board includes representatives of small-business associations, veterans associations, the services, and the Guard and reserves, Hall said.
“I think we have the right people highlighting and working the problem,” he said. “It was an important first meeting, and we look forward to the future.”