On Thursday, VA announced an updated version of its 1959 mission statement:
“To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise to care for those who have served in our nation’s military and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.”
The new mission statement is inclusive of all those who have served in our nation’s military—including women Veterans—as well as Veteran families, caregivers, and survivors. VA currently serves more than 600,000 women Veterans, the fastest growing cohort of Veterans. VA also serves more than 50,000 Veteran caregivers, more than 600,000 Veteran survivors, and millions of Veterans who did not serve in combat.
In crafting the new mission statement, VA surveyed roughly 30,000 Veterans. Among Veterans surveyed, the new version of VA’s mission statement was chosen over the current version by every age group; by men and by women; by LGBTQ+ Veterans; and by white, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian and American Indian/Alaska Native Veterans.
“Whenever any Veteran, family member, caregiver or survivor walks by a VA facility, we want them to see themselves in the mission statement on the outside of the building,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “We are here to serve all Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors—and now, our mission statement reflects exactly that.”
In addition to two rounds of surveys, VA conducted dozens of small-group engagements with Veterans to understand what was most important to them in a VA mission statement, then incorporated that feedback into quantitative research. The new mission statement reflects that VA serves all of the heroes who have served our country, regardless of their race, gender, background, sexual orientation, religion, zip code or identity.
The previous mission statement was: “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise ‘to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan’ by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.” The previous mission statement is posted in roughly 50% of VA’s facilities. Over the coming months, VA’s new mission statement will replace the previous version.
Secretary McDonough hosted an event commemorating the new mission statement, featuring speeches from a woman Veteran, a caregiver and a survivor about what it means to feel included in VA’s mission.
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