The Facts and the Future
Marine Corps Makes Progress in Retaining Wounded Marines
The USMC has relaxed its rules regarding the retention of combat-wounded marines who want to remain in the corps. They no longer need to face a retention board each time they want to re-enlist. The details are spelled out in an article published on September 1, 2016, by the Marine Corps Times. Read the article.
What Does it Mean to Have a Disability?
The progress that has been made to integrate those with disabilities into everyday life has been remarkable. But we have more work to do, as evidenced by the Why Can't We Serve documentary project. An opinion piece published by the New York Times on August 19, 2016, takes a larger look at what Marty Klein calls "Disability Liberation." Read the article.
Vets' Suicide Rate Drops Slightly - More Data to Come
Federal authorities have come out with more precise data that show that the suicide rate among veterans averages 20 per day. That's slightly below the 22 per day that was reported earlier, but the problem remains a serious one. An article published on July 7, 2016, in USA Today quotes statistics that were released by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Read the entire article. The statistics are part of a more comprehensive study that is expected to be released in a few weeks.
Defense Secretary Announces End to Ban on Transgender People in the Military
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced on June 30, 2016, that the Pentagon is ending its ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces. "We don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or marine who can best accomplish the mission. We have to have access to 100% of America's population," said Carter, according to a report by CNN. Read the entire report. It’s clear that Carter is talking about inclusion of all of our country’s talented citizens. Well, we know he’s still missing one group: the disabled population. But this event makes the case for Why Can't We Serve even more credible today than it was yesterday. Carter's announcement came a year after he was quoted by the Huffington Post as saying that equality and diversity are key components of our military, and that "Discrimination of any kind has no place in America's armed forces." Read the entire article. Those comments were made during his keynote speech at the Pentagon's annual LGBT pride month event in 2015. Watch and listen to the speech. Carter is well known as a supporter of equal opportunity for all. He may play a very important role in our efforts to change military policy with regards to people with disabilities.
OPM Report on the Employment of Individuals with Disabilities Shows Steady Gains
In October 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management reported that our government had made great strides in hiring people with disabilities. Its report stated that people with disabilities accounted for about 13.5 percent of the current federal workforce. This percentage slowly but steadily increases each year. The statistics in this report prove that intelligent, committed people with disabilities can obviously hold down important jobs, and are a good addition to the workforce. Read the entire report.
U.S. Representative Sponsors Bill for an Air Force Program that Would Hire Deaf People
California congressman Mark Takano is sponsoring a bill that would create a two-year pilot program allowing the U.S. Air Force to hire servicepeople who are deaf or hard of hearing. "Think of the talent and dedication we are missing out on because of a hearing test," Takano wrote in an op-ed piece that was published on April 5, 2015, in the Air Force Times. Read the entire article.
Editorial Says U.S. Military Should Allow Those with Disabilities to Serve
An editorial calls for the U.S. armed forces to follow the lead of the Israeli Defense Forces, which is creating an official policy for enlisting people with disabilities in noncombat, active-duty positions. The editorial, published by Heritage Newspapers of Southeast Michigan on May 31, 2011, was originally published by The Oakland Press. Read the entire article.
Commission Says People with Disabilities Should Be Able to Serve in U.K. Military
In 2009, The Telegraph newspaper in Great Britain reported that country’s Equality and Human Rights Commission stated that the ban on people with disabilities was discriminatory, and that all three branches of the United Kingdom’s armed forces should allow people with disabilities to serve. Although the article shares both points of view on this idea, it clearly states that wounded soldiers are, of course, allowed to continue their military careers in noncombat positions. Read the entire article.