By G-1 for STAND-TO!February 1, 2010
What is it'
In July of 2008, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Army chief of staff, asked retired Gen. Frederick Franks Jr. to review the current Physical Evaluation Board (PEB)/Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) process and recommend improvements to supporting the Army's wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and their families. Gen. Franks sought guidance from numerous experts within the Army, across the services and from several allied nations. Franks produced three strategic and 43 tactical recommendations designed to create a PEB/MEB process with greater trust and transparency.
What has the Army done'
Brig. Gen. Richard Mustion, the adjutant general and commanding general, U.S. Army Physical Disability Agency, and Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek, commander, Warrior Transition Command and Assistant Surgeon General for Warrior Care and Transition, will execute Gen. Franks' report. The vice chief of staff of the Army is holding regular video teleconferences with senior commanders to review progress of key tasks. One of the major improvements already implemented was to apply the Warrior Transition Command's organization inspection findings across the Army to drive standardization and improve its procedures and familiarity with the Disability Evaluation System (DES) through centralized "Communities of Practice" where physicians and case managers collaborate and share best practices.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future'
The Army will take part in the Disability Evaluation System Pilot program with the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (DVA) to streamline disability evaluations and remove duplicative processes. Additionally, the Army will engage with the DOD and DVA to shift the emphasis of the PEB/MEB from disability and compensation to ability and supporting servicemembers in their effort to realize their full potential through rehabilitation, training and appropriate compensation. Currently Gen. Franks is conducting a strategic review of the reserve-component's medically not ready Soldiers, and their access to the Disability System to provide recommendations to improve reserve-component unit medical readiness and board processes.
Why is this important to the Army'
The entire Army family will do all it can to provide wounded, ill and injured Soldiers with the resiliency, self-reliance, re-education and employment options to return to the service or civilian life. The Army will refocus the process on of rehabilitation and transition, without loss of entitlements. With the help of Congress, Veterans Service Organizations, and other government agencies, we can execute another Gen. (Ret.) Franks' recommendations - to continue a national dialogue about what our nation should do for our wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.
STAND-TO! edition: May 20, 2009: Expanded Education Benefits for Children of Fallen Soldiers
Related article: Franks recommends streamlining disability evaluations
Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors
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