Featured Article: An Interagency Experience with the Department of Veterans Affairs
The experience of the past decade of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan has demonstrated the value of holistic thinking and problem-solving. Terms such as “team of teams” and “interagency coordination” have become fashionable, as military leaders seek ways to deal with complex challenges that defy one-dimensional solutions. While much professional discourse has focused on this topic within the context of counterinsurgency or national security strategy in general, there are other challenges facing the nation that require a similar, multi-faceted outlook. Recent headlines describe on-going challenges associated with providing benefits to returning veterans, a task that has never been more important. The obstacles to fixing this problem are numerous, and it is beyond the capability of a single agency to find a solution alone. The backlog in benefits claims, although only one of many such issues confronting the federal government, offers a clear illustration of the growing importance of true interagency cooperation and the need to educate military leaders to better facilitate this type of close coordination in the future.
The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSG) Interagency Fellowship is an invaluable program that not only provides professionally broadening experiences to those officers fortunate enough to participate, but also contributes to the synergy between the Department of Defense (DoD) and other agencies of the federal government. The fellowship has three objectives: (1) improve synchronization between the various agencies and the U.S. Army, (2) ensure continued partnership between the Army and those agencies, and (3) enhance interagency operations overall within the U.S. government. Recent conflicts as well as economic trends and other conditions within our country and across the globe portend an increased focus on interagency coordination in the coming decades. Therefore, this year-long fellowship that offers Intermediate Level Education credit is likely to remain an important program in the professional development of the Army’s officer corps…
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Major Khanh T. Diep was born in Saigon, Vietnam and commissioned into the U.S. Army from the United States Military Academy. She is currently a U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Interagency Fellow serving ten-month exchange assignment with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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