SHAHEEN, AYOTTE: FUNDING SECURED FOR NEW HAMPSHIRE NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYMENT CYCLE SUPPORT PROGRAM

Funding will allow Guard to support largest returning deployment of troops since World War II

May 13, 2011

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today announced that the New Hampshire National Guard will receive $2 million to support the Guard’s Deployment Cycle Support Program. The funding comes after Shaheen and Ayotte, working closely with the leadership of the state’s Guard leadership, highlighted the clear value of the program in several direct communications with Pentagon officials.

“This New Hampshire Deployment Cycle Support Program has a tremendous track record of success in providing unique and critical services to our returning Guard members and their families, and I am pleased that Congress found the money needed to continue operation of this program,” said Senator Shaheen. “Without an additional source of funding, the New Hampshire DCSP could have ended this summer, just as members of the Guard return home from the state’s largest National Guard deployment since World War II. Our citizen-soldiers of the New Hampshire National Guard deserve the best possible services. I will continue to look for ways to support this important program as we move forward.” 

“With our country at war, we ask a lot of our citizen soldiers and their families, many of whom have completed multiple tours of duty,” said Senator Ayotte. “Coming from a military family, I know how hard deployments are and how important it is to have a strong support network in place. This public-private partnership delivers critical reintegration assistance to New Hampshire’s troops and their families. It’s a model for the nation, and I am so pleased that the Pentagon has decided to support this essential program.”

New Hampshire is one of eight states that will receive funding under the bill. 

The funding comes from an additional $16 million included in the FY11 compromise budget bill for outreach and reintegration programs nationwide that help troops and their families.

In March, Senators Shaheen and Ayotte joined Senators from these seven other states in a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh and National Guard Bureau Chief, General Craig McKinley, requesting additional funding to support these vital outreach and reintegration programs.

The New Hampshire Senators also sent a letter to Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, requesting that the military find a way to support and assist in funding the New Hampshire DCSP program.  Senators Shaheen and Ayotte, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also spoke in committee to highlight the program.

As Guard members nationwide continue to play an increased role in the country's military strategy, meeting their needs is now more important than ever. 

Through the DCSP, all New Hampshire National Guard members and their families are assigned a professional care coordinator who proactively checks in on family members.  The program also assists returning Guard members as they transition back to civilian life.  DCSP is designed to prepare and support service members and their families during the full cycle of mobilization, deployment, and reintegration. 

The DCSP was created by the New Hampshire National Guard to offer services to supplement those offered through the national Yellow Ribbon program. The Yellow Ribbon program sponsors informational events to update returning soldiers on any support services they might need. This includes mental health services, counseling, marriage counseling, financial counseling, and veterans' benefits.

This program has relied on congressionally directed funding over the course of the last several years. Since the program was instituted in 2007, more than 800 families and 4,000 individuals have utilized DCSP and the effort has generated meaningful results.  For example, the Guard has found that military members involved in DCSP are four times more likely to stay married, four times more likely to stay in the military, and five times less likely to be homeless.  Perhaps most notably, the program provides professional suicide prevention for returning Guard members, and 100 percent of those members considered “at-risk” of suicide are in active prevention with licensed support.

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