Engaging. Not a word which many Veterans typically use to describe their relationship with the Department of Veterans Affairs. A more common word associated with VA and its interaction with Vets? Adversarial.
It’s disappointing, but that’s the reality. For too many Veterans (and families), communicating with VA can be such a hassle that it affects the Department’s ability to carry out its mission of providing benefits and services to America’s former service members. If Veterans and VA are talking past each other—or not talking to each other at all, then two things happen: Vets don’t know what they’re entitled to or how to get it, and VA doesn’t know what needs Veterans have.
At VAntage Point, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, that same old way of communicating (or not communicating) goes out the window. Here, VA employees will provide Veterans with a wealth of information. We will talk about things you might not have been aware of and we’ll break down and explain processes which might have bewildered you. But it doesn’t end there. If you’re a student on the GI Bill, a Vietnam Vet, a VA employee, the spouse of a VA patient, or anything else, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute. We’ve opened the comments section of each of our front-page posts and we have a special section for “Guest Posts” where you can submit your own writing for publication.
For us at VA, this is just a start. It’s the beginning of a new relationship between the Department and those we serve—where we strive to get the right information to the right Veteran at the right time. And we hope you’ll join us in making it happen.
Meet the Team:
Acting Director of Online Communications
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
As VA’s New Media Technologist, Josh Tuscher serves as the team’s creative director and ensures the Department uses the most current communications platforms to engage with Veterans. Prior to joining VA, Josh worked as a graphic designer and web developer in the private sector. During that time, he served for eight years as an infantryman in the New Hampshire Army National Guard and Army Reserve. In 2004, Josh deployed to Balad, Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment. After returning in 2005, Josh again mobilized—this time for duty in New Orleans assisting with relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. While in Iraq, Josh kept extensive video footage, later contributing it to the combat documentary “The War Tapes” (for which he received a credit). The film went on to win “Best Documentary” at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. Josh graduated in 2006 with a BFA from Keene State College.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Alex Horton is the senior writer for VAntage Point. He is best known as “Army of Dude,” the title of his blog and nom de guerre as an enlisted infantryman at Fort Lewis, Washington. He deployed to Iraq in 2006 with the Third Stryker Brigade, Second Infantry Division for a fifteen month tour, where his unit saw some of the heaviest fighting during the troop surge in 2007 in Baghdad and Diyala Province. Along with his writing at Army of Dude, Alex’s work has been published at The Atlantic, on the New York Times blog At War, Time’s Battleland, and in the St. Petersburg Times. He has been profiled by CNN, BBC, The Washington Post, NPR’s All Things Considered, Dallas Morning News, Stars & Stripes, and several NPR affiliates. Prior to arriving at VA, Alex lived in Austin, Texas. He currently studies English at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.