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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 05:43 PM
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New VA Numbers: The Enormous Challenge Ahead

Numbers: The Challenge Ahead
by: Brandon Friedman
Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 15:16:54 PM EST

On the day that retired General Eric Shinseki is confirmed, we get some new numbers concerning the Iraq and Afghanistan wars courtesy of Paul Sullivan at Veterans for Common Sense. Here's what they've compiled through FOIA requests to the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs (via email):

Number service members ever deployed = 1,828,624
Number service members deployed twice or more = 717,688
Number now eligible for VA = 969,471
New VA patients = 400,304

That's over 400,000 new patients into the system since 9/11. That's an immense crush for the bureaucracy to handle. And, of course, it's only going to get worse. With over half a million now eligible, but not yet using, and with no let-up in terms of the operational op-tempo, this is worse than I thought.

Also worth noting is the fact that barely one half of one percent of the American population--0.6 percent, to be exact--has ever served in uniform in Iraq or Afghanistan. Less than one percent is not good--and it presents a number of challenges the military community will be forced to overcome.
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