by Pam Zubeck
Military leaders unveiled the Quadrennial Defense Review today, outlining the needs of the fighting force in the next four years. In it, the Pentagon pledges to provide better health care and family support for troops.
"Years of war have imposed considerable strain on the force," the QDR says. "Multiple long deployments are taking a serious toll on our people and their families, and the Department remains focused on their health and welfare. As part of this focus, the QDR has elevated the need to preserve and enhance the All-Volunteer Force and included this priority in our force planning and our strategy deliberations. From the care of our wounded warriors, to family support, to the recruiting and retention of personnel, we must tend to the health of the All-Volunteer Force, for it constitutes the foundation of our national defense."
Among the announced initiatives are:
— Improve health benefits for military members and their families by increasing funding
in FY 2011 to provide more than 1000 additional personnel for Wounded Warrior
— Increase overall health care funding by 9 percent from FY 2010.
— Establish Centers of Excellence for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of military eye injuries, including those related to traumatic brain injury, hearing loss and auditory system injuries, and traumatic extremity injuries and amputations.
— Increase funding and attention to wounded warrior initiatives across the Military Departments, including the Army’s $530 million investment in the construction of six
Wounded Warrior Complexes and twenty Soldier Family Assistance Centers, as well as the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regimental Headquarters and Wounded Warrior Battalions; increasing the number of Air Force Recovery Care Coordinators; and expanding the Navy’s Safe Harbor program, which reviews, evaluates, and provides a range of assessment, support, and treatment programs to Active and Reserve Sailors and their families.
The QDR is important, because it sets the stage for the military's priorities for coming years, including emphasis on certain weapons systems, size of the force and other key elements. To view the whole report, go here.