National security

Veterans, the armed forces, and their families

America must fully commit to supporting veterans.

"I believe in making sure that people who sacrifice for us are given all the care and the benefits and support that they need. And I believe strongly that taking care of our veterans is part of our solemn duty as Americans."

Hillary, JUNE 18, 2015

Hillary has fought throughout her career to ensure that all veterans have access to the opportunities and tools they need to succeed upon returning home.

Hillary’s father, Hugh Rodham, was a chief petty officer at Naval Station Great Lakes during World War II. He instilled in Hillary at an early age the importance of supporting our men and women in uniform, military families, and veterans, and an empathy for the challenges that many service members and veterans face.

As a senator and member of the Armed Services Committee, Hillary:

  • Increased assistance for families caring for veterans. Hillary introduced the Heroes at Home Act of 2006, and fought to establish new services for military members and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries. She successfully amended the 2007 Defense Appropriations Act to establish a traumatic brain injury family caregiver training curriculum for DOD and VA hospitals, and she championed efforts to create programs that make it easier for military family members to provide care for their loved ones.

  • Expanded health care coverage for Reservists and National Guard members. Hillary worked across the aisle with Senator Lindsey Graham to expand veterans’ access to military health insurance, ensuring that all members of the Reserves and National Guard—and their families—had access to military health benefits even when they’re not deployed.

  • Protected family members caring for wounded warriors. Hillary collaborated closely with Senator Chris Dodd to author and introduce new legislation that aimed to broaden protections afforded by the Family and Medical Leave Act to the family members of wounded service members. She is proud that the legislation was enacted as part of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.

  • Supported survivors of fallen service members. Working with Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Hillary sponsored legislation to expand benefits afforded to surviving spouses. She and Republican Senator Chuck Hagel also introduced a bill to increase the gratuity paid to family members of fallen veterans from $12,000 to $100,000; the proposal was enacted as part of the 2005 supplemental appropriations act. Hillary also served as an honorary board member for the non-profit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which provides resources and support to family members of those who have died in military service.

  • Joined efforts to build veterans rehabilitation center. Hillary joined with Republican Senator John McCain to personally raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Their efforts were critical to building the Center for the Intrepid, a new $50 million state-of-the-art physical rehabilitation facility in San Antonio, Texas, designed specifically to help seriously wounded service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Hillary believes that by supporting our veterans, we strengthen our military, our economy, and our country, and she knows that we cannot separate supporting our veterans from our broader commitment to take care of our troops—soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and their families.

Long wait times for health care, crippling claims backlogs, little or no coordination between different government agencies responsible for serving veterans. These problems are serious, systemic, and absolutely unacceptable. They need to be fixed—and fixed now.

Hillary has developed a comprehensive plan to support our veterans and ensure they have access to the opportunities and tools they need to succeed upon returning home. As president, she will:

  • Fundamentally reform veterans’ health care to ensure access to timely and high quality care and block efforts to privatize the VA. Hillary was outraged by the recent scandals at the VA, and as president, she will demand performance and results. Hillary’s plan will transform the VA into an integrated health care system and care coordinator, and improve access and services for women and LGBT veterans. She also understands the unique challenges faced by many veterans and will ensure the VA and DoD remain national leaders in vets-specific health issues while expanding access to mental health services and treatment. And Hillary will fight as long and hard as it takes to prevent Republicans from privatizing the VA as part of a misguided ideological crusade.

  • Modernize and refocus the full spectrum of veterans’ benefits across the government by implementing a “New Bradley Plan” in the spirit of General Omar Bradley, who solved the crisis in VA access and benefits after World War II. Hillary will create a standing President’s Council on Veterans to ensure the highest levels of government are fully involved and synchronizing their efforts to get veterans the benefits they’ve earned. Her New Bradley Plan also will end the claims and appeals backlog through initiatives that streamline and simplify the process and innovative solutions that ensure it won’t happen again.

  • Overhaul VA governance to create a new veteran-centric model of excellence. The VA cannot be fixed without accountability. Hillary’s plan will hold every employee, from the top leadership to mid-level managers to entry-level employees, accountable for upholding the highest workplace standards and putting veterans first. But unlike some plans put forward by Republicans, Hillary’s plan includes whistleblower protections – because those who come forward to report wasteful programs or inefficient practices embody the spirit of reform and excellence that the VA must champion, not silence.

  • Empower veterans and strengthen our economy and communities by connecting their unique skills to the jobs of the future. Hillary believes we have to invest in our vets and make sure that the men and women who risk their lives for our country have access to a good education and good jobs when they come home. Her plan will expand and solidify educational benefits and programs that help veterans get jobs after their service. To make sure they get a fair shot, she will strengthen measures that protect veterans from predatory schools and businesses, and improve programs that help them get back on their feet.

Hillary is committed to a strong and resilient military, built by the extraordinary men and women who volunteer to serve and the families who serve alongside them. As president and commander-in-chief, she will:

  • Sustain and strengthen the all-volunteer force, including the reserve and National Guard components. As a senator and member of the Armed Services Committee, Hillary was a champion for our men and women in uniform. Her policies will continue to support a strong pay and benefits package that expands access to mental health care and ensure the health needs of military women are fully met. And Hillary is committed to modern and inclusive personnel policies that take advantage of America’s strengths while embodying its values.

  • Strengthen services and support for military families, a cause that is near and dear to Hillary’s heart. She recognizes that military family readiness is a critical part of total force readiness, and her plan promotes policies that give families opportunities and flexibility, like expanded access to child care and initiatives to boost spouse employment. And Hillary will ensure that family members have access to the benefits and support services they need, because she believes nobody should have to choose between serving their country and taking care of their family.

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