Serving America’s Veterans

A Reference Handbook

Book from Lawrence J. Korb, Sean Duggan, Peter Juul, and Max Bergmann analyzes the full range of veterans' needs and offers solutions for addressing pressing challenges.

SOURCE: book cover

About the book


Reviews and press coverage

About the authors

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About the book

The infrastructural, administrative, and health care challenges facing the Veterans Administration, policymakers, and the American people are laid out in an authoritative handbook of veterans affairs in the United States.

They fought for their country, enduring hardship and separation from loved ones, perhaps forfeiting jobs or education. All too often, they came home with physical and/or psychological wounds that made it difficult to reintegrate into their former lives. What does America owe its veterans—and how do we ensure that we can pay?

Serving America’s Veterans: A Reference Handbook comes from an impeccable source. Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations, and Logistics Lawrence J. Korb. Korb and his team of experts survey, analyze, and evaluate the infrastructural conditions, administrative and health care service challenges, policies, and politics affecting veterans affairs in the United States. They overview the historical context of contemporary veterans affairs and project the capabilities of the Veterans Administration to cope with the needs of active, reserve, and retired veterans. Most critically, they provide practical prescriptions and policy recommendations to address veterans’ many, pressing needs.

The full spectrum of veterans issues is examined: changing personnel policies in the armed forces; unprecedented levels of National Guard and Reserve mobilization; societal reintegration and funding adequacy when the professional military is a relatively small fraction of the U.S. electorate; rising costs of medical technology; and the growing proportion of veterans with conditions requiring protracted rehabilitation or lifelong intensive care.


The U.S. government has asked its citizens to volunteer or has drafted them to fight this nation’s wars since the country’s inception. From the Revolutionary War against the British to the conflicts currently being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, some 100 million men and women have taken up arms in the defense of the United States. As our first president and first commander in chief George Washington noted, “the willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars are appreciated by our nation.”

Proper appreciation of our veterans must involve more than welcome home parades or bumper stickers on cars; it must also involve treating the physical wounds suffered while in service and the mental problems resulting from the stress of combat as well as helping these men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life.

Veterans of all wars have faced these challenges. However, the nearly two million veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have left or been forced to leave the military face unique challenges. These challenges are a result of at least nine factors that are unique to this group of servicemen and women and the wars they are fighting.

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Reviews and press coverage

"A must read for those who believe that America must live up to it’s obligations for those who served. Larry Korb and his authors have hit all the key issues that effect care for veterans today."
-Gen. (Ret.) Wesley K. Clark, Former NATO Allied Supreme Commander Europe

"Much more than a reference handbook, Serving America’s Veterans spotlights the need for major modifications in programs to treat veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This well-organized and hard-hitting book is a must read for concerned citizens."
-Lt. General (USA, Ret.) Robert G. Gard, Ph.D., Chair, Board of Trustees, Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation

"This book is a wake up call to the Nation but more importantly the new Obama administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. From retrospective analysis to present day issues, this book spells out what was inherited and what needs to be done to fix it. This should be required reading for Congress and policy makers."
-Mr. Steve Robinson, Government Relations, Swords to Plowshares
Author of The Hidden Toll of Iraq: Mental Heath and the Military

"Serving America’s Veterans is a comprehensive diagnosis of the scope and scale of the issues we as a nation must tackle in order to properly care for all of our veterans. From soldiers just returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to veterans from earlier wars, this crucial work outlines the challenges we must confront to keep the faith with our US servicemen and women who have served so bravely and given so much and rightly expect the US government to fulfill its promises to them."
-Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause, and former six-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1975 – 1987).

About the authors

Lawrence J. Korb

Lawrence J. Korb is a Senior Fellow at American Progress and a Senior Advisor to the Center for Defense Information. Prior to joining American Progress, he was a senior fellow and director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. From July 1998 to October 2002, he was council vice president, director of studies, and holder of the Maurice Greenberg Chair.

Prior to joining the council, Mr. Korb served as director of the Center for Public Policy Education and senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution; dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh; vice president of Corporate Operations at the Raytheon Company; and director of Defense Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Dr. Korb served as assistant secretary of defense (manpower, reserve affairs, installations, and logistics) from 1981 through 1985. In that position, he administered about 70 percent of the defense budget. For his service in that position, he was awarded the Department of Defense’s medal for Distinguished Public Service. Mr. Korb served on active duty for four years as Naval Flight Officer, and retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of captain.

Dr. Korb’s 20 books and more than 100 articles on national security issues include The Joint Chiefs of Staff: The First Twenty-five Years; The Fall and Rise of the Pentagon; American National Security: Policy and Process, Future Visions for U.S. Defense Policy; Reshaping America’s Military; and A New National Security Strategy in an Age of Terrorists, Tyrants, and Weapons of Mass Destruction. His articles have appeared in such journals as Foreign Affairs, Public Administration Review, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Naval Institute Proceedings, and International Security. Over the past decade, Mr. Korb has made over 1,000 appearances as a commentator on such shows as "The Today Show," "The Early Show," "Good Morning America," "Face the Nation," "This Week," "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer," "Nightline," "60 Minutes," "Larry King Live," "The O’Reilly Factor," and "Hannity and Colmes." His more than 100 op-ed pieces have appeared in such major newspapers as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Baltimore Sun, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Sean Duggan

Sean Duggan is a Research Associate for national security at American Progress. He works primarily on military affairs and other related U.S. foreign policy and international security issues.

Duggan’s work has been featured in The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, and The Boston Globe. He has also been published in The Nation, the Johns Hopkins University’s Transatlantic Relations Journal, and Political Science and Politics Magazine. Sean’s first book, Serving America’s Veterans, which he co-authored with his colleagues at the Center, was published in August 2009.

Before joining the Center in 2006, Duggan spent a year studying in Cadiz, Spain and graduated from the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in 2005 with a degree in foreign policy, diplomacy, and peace and security studies. Sean is a native of Seattle, Washington.

Peter Juul

Peter Juul is a Research Associate at American Progress, where he specializes in the Middle East, military affairs, and U.S. national security policy. He holds degrees in international relations from Carleton College and security studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Max Bergmann

Max Bergmann is Deputy Policy Director at the National Security Network and is a regular contributer to Democracy Arsenal. Prior to joining NSN, Bergmann was a Research Associate for National Security at the Center for American Progress from 2004 to 2007. Bergmann has been published by The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, The Washington Times, the Baltimore Sun, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He co-authored the reports: “How to Redeploy: Implementing a Responsible Drawdown of U.S. Forces from Iraq,” “Marine Corps Equipment After Iraq” and “Beyond the Call of Duty: A Comprehensive Review of the Overuse of the U.S. Army in Iraq.” Bergmann received his master’s degree from the London School of Economics in Comparative Politics with a concentration on Ethnic Conflict Regulation and the European Union. Max is from Gainesville, Florida and received his B.A. from Bates College.

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Lawrence J. Korb

Senior Fellow

Peter Juul

Former Former Senior Policy Analyst

Max Bergmann

Former Former Senior Fellow