VFW Leadership in Washington

Advocacy actions vital to countering program budget cuts

WASHINGTON — The top three leaders of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. concluded a full week in the Nation's Capitol today with a political and military affairs briefing at the State Department, a "way ahead" briefing by Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Tom, commander of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, and a visit with wounded troops recuperating at the new Walter Reed National Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md. 

VFW Commander-in-Chief Richard DeNoyer of Massachusetts, Senior Vice Commander John Hamilton of Florida, and Junior Vice Commander Bill Thien of Indiana, were in Washington to immerse themselves with the legislative advocacy and veterans service work conducted by the VFW Washington Office, as well as to meet senior military and administration officials. 

Today's schedule followed earlier meetings by the VFW national commander with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and other senior VA officials on current issues and challenges regarding their department's service to America's disabled veterans' populations from all generations.  National security issues were discussed with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Army Secretary John McHugh and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler, Air Force Secretary Mike Donley and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy, and the senior enlisted advisor of Reserve Affairs, Command Sgt. Maj. John Gipe.  Update briefings were also provided by the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office and the Army Family Readiness Group to Hamilton and Thien.   

"It's been a very full and very beneficial week," said DeNoyer, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran who leads the 2 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. 

"The Washington Office complements the direct troop support activities of the National Headquarters by helping to create and protect programs and services that impact the quality of life of our nation's military and veterans' communities, plus they help almost 100,000 veterans annually to recoup more than $1.4 billion in earned VA compensation and pension," he said. 

"The work the national VFW team does is even more important now that the nation's fiscal problems may eliminate or curtail a number of those hard fought for programs, starting with the cost of healthcare for military retirees and suggestions to significantly change the military retirement system." 

Threats to the military retirement system and TRICARE are just two of 10 services and programs that the VFW believes Congress or the Administration want to reduce or eliminate to help pay for 10 years of war.  Click here to read the latest about the "10 for 10" plan, as well as how you can help stop efforts to balance the budget on the backs of veterans, service members and their families.