This era’s returning wounded warriors get decent care, but it could be better. What’s needed now is a public-private partnership combining vision and strategy. Here’s how we can begin.
As we enter the second decade of a war on terrorism, with the war in Afghanistan coming to an end, now is a good time to have a candid discussion of how we will continue to address the future needs of those who have served in harm’s way—particularly our combat wounded and their families—and what lies ahead. Advances in medical practice, battlefield medicine, and complex casualty care have saved many who in earlier conflicts would have died of their wounds. Survival rates from combat-related injuries are the highest in history. That said, George Washington had it right: Our ability to attract and retain a quality volunteer force in the future depends, in part, on how well it is perceived we treat the current force, especially the combat wounded.