Topic: Policy

A mobile vet center opens its doors for tours during a ceremony commemorating the partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and Veterans Affairs to provide the mobile vet center services to eligible service members at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia, in 2022. Vet centers offer confidential help for veterans, service members, and their families in a nonmedical setting. The 300 vet centers and more than 80 mobile vet centers are used as points of care to enhance the existing support service provided by the Marine Corps. Photo by Ashley Boster, courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Vet Center Changes ‘a Stab in the Back’ as Delays, Counselor Shortages Grow

Vet centers may be losing what led veterans to depend on them after a slate of changes clients and counselors say have been damaging.
As the military prepares to move sexual assault out of military commanders’ hands, The War Horse team looked at military women’s noncombat, not-from-natural-causes deaths since 9/11 and found a high rate of self-inflicted deaths after sexual assault, a bureacracy that promises cultural change but faces the same egregious headlines year after year, continuing problems with domestic violence, and punishment for those who do the right thing. But the team also found examples of units where women felt safe and respected based on culture change buy-in from their unit leadership. Art by Sarah Flores/for The War Horse.

Short Changed: No Justice at Fort Hood for Another Woman Soldier and a Commander Who Tried to Help

As Vanessa Guillén’s body was found, a commander who tried to do the right thing after false accusations lost his career.
Midshipmen march to lunch at the U.S. Naval Academy during the National Discussion on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at America’s Colleges, Universities, and Service Academies in 2019. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas, courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

Short Changed: Military Women’s Deaths by Suicide Linked to Sexual Trauma

While men in the military have alarmingly high rates of suicide, the rates among military women are rising faster, and their reasons are different.
The Army Honor Guard meets Saria Hildabrand’s body as it arrives in Utah. Photo courtesy of Meredith Barney.

Short Changed: Military Comes with Unique Risks for Domestic Violence, Can Silence Survivors

A War Horse review of military women’s noncombat deaths since 9/11 found domestic violence often ended in death.
Raub Nash, center, wondered for years why he dreaded the holidays. Turned out he never fully reflected on the awful events he experienced around this time of year. Photo courtesy of the author.

This Story Is More Than a Revelation of Why I Hated Christmas

It is 2023—the holiday season. This exercise of looking in the mirror, of learning who I am and why, has been hard. But it has been healing.
A Land-based Phalanx Weapon System fires at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. The LPWS is part of the Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) system that Cameron McMillan’s battery used to help protect coalition troops and assets from rockets and drones fired by Iranian-aligned militias. Photo courtesy of the author.

We Did Not Fight. This Was Our War, if You Could Call It That.

Veteran Cameron McMillan sifted through his memories as the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approached. Officially, the war is over. But is it?
It took a decade for the author to talk about what happened to her while deployed. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

He Spent Years Learning Other People’s Secret Pains. I Spent Years Hiding Mine.

E.V.’s husband spent years serving military sexual trauma survivors, unaware that she, too, was one.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III speaks to servicewomen at the Military Women’s Memorial 25th Anniversary Ceremony at the Military Women’s Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, in October 2022. Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Kubitza, courtesy of the Defense Department.

Short Changed: Military Women Face Assault, Harassment, Death. Is Culture to Blame?

The history of the military's response to women’s service has led to an entrenched separate-and-unequal environment.
Adrienne Barillas leans against a Humvee in South Korea. “She was so proud of wearing that uniform and all that it supposedly represented,” her mother says. “Sometimes I get mad at her for choosing to wear that uniform, then I feel guilty for those bitter thoughts and emotions.” Photo courtesy of Emogene Barillas.

Short Changed: How The Army Failed Spc. Adrienne Barillas

Adrienne Barillas was found naked outside of an Army barracks. The Army ruled her death a suicide. Soldiers and family members say there's more to the story.