On April 18, 2018, Congressman Don Bacon introduced H.R. 5553, the Loya-Sears Warrior Transition Assistance Reform Act. This bill requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to implement an action plan to improve the DoD Transition Assistance Program (TAP) by mandating earlier pre-separation counseling, standardizing curriculum, increasing participation rates, and improving transition assistance resources. The bill also requires the development and measurement of long-term metrics to assess outcomes and provide continuous feedback to DoD transition assistance program managers, in coordination with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor.
Current policy allows retiring service members to start TAP two years before they retire and separating service members to start the program one year, but no later than 90 days, before getting out of the military. DoD does not track averages of when service members go through the program, but a recent Government Accountability Office report found more than half of service members, 53.3 percent, are not completing TAP by the 90-day mark, and only 2.6 percent are completing the program nine months or more before leaving the military. In addition, there is little oversight to ensure that the program includes veterans service organizations (VSOs) like the DAV, to be incorporated in its workshops.
This bill would require service members to start TAP one year before separation, establish reporting metrics that can be used to glean successes of the program, and would ensure unit and installation compliance with applicable statutes governing TAP program management, to include VSO participation.
H.R. 5553 is in accordance with DAV Resolution No. 122, which calls for Congress to monitor the review of the Transition GPS program, its workshops, training methodology and delivery of services, and the collection and analysis of course critiques; and to ensure the inclusion of DAV and other VSOs in workshops, in order to confirm the program is meeting its objective, and to follow up with participants to determine if they found gainful employment following such training.
Please use the prepared letter to write your Representative to cosponsor and support passage of H.R. 5553, the Loya-Sears Warrior Transition Assistance Reform Act. Thank you for your efforts and support of the DAV Commander's Action Network.