U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) today announced that the New Hampshire National Guard will receive the funding needed to support the Guard's Deployment Cycle Support Program (DCSP) for the remainder of the fiscal year. The announcement comes after Shaheen and Ayotte, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, working closely with the state's Guard leadership, highlighted the clear value of the program in hearings and in direct communications with Pentagon officials.
New Hampshire is one of seven states that will receive the necessary end-of-fiscal-year funding, which comes through the Pentagon's existing budget, for Guard reintegration programs. The Department of Defense has committed to providing funds for the program across all seven states, with New Hampshire's precise share to be determined.
"Our citizen-soldiers of the New Hampshire National Guard deserve the best possible services," Shaheen said. "This New Hampshire Deployment Cycle Support Program has been tremendously successful and has helped address the unique needs of our returning Guard members and their families. I am glad the Department of Defense has recognized the importance of this outreach and reintegration program."
"Our New Hampshire service members and their families deserve the very best support we can provide, especially when they must endure a deployment," said Senator Ayotte. "The New Hampshire Deployment Cycle Support Program provides this support in a cost-effective way, and serves as a model for other states and the Department of Defense. Given tight budget constraints at the Pentagon, I'm pleased that DCSP was able to successfully compete for funding. This is a proven public-private program that makes a huge difference for military families."
Major General William Reddel, Adjutant General of the New Hampshire National Guard, said, "The Deployment Cycle Support Program is vital to the well-being of New Hampshire's military service men and women. Deployments take an enormous physical and emotional toll on military families. We owe it to them to provide as much support as they need to transition back to civilian life. This funding will allow us to continue to provide those community-based services."
In February, Senators Shaheen and Ayotte joined Senators from other states in a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta requesting that the Pentagon support these vital outreach and reintegration programs.
The New Hampshire DCSP prepares and supports service members and their families before, during, and after deployment, and assists returning service members as they transition back to civilian life. An integrated partnership between the New Hampshire National Guard, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Easter Seals, and civilian and veteran service organizations, DCSP combines public funding and private resources to establish an integrated, sustainable, and fiscally-responsible service delivery framework.
Since the program was instituted in 2007, 1,972 service members have been enrolled with the Deployment Cycle Support Program. In 2011 alone, more than 3,500 service members and family members were enrolled in the program. The effort has generated meaningful results in many areas, including homelessness, unemployment, mental health, and family life issues. Based on surveys completed in 2011, 90 percent of service members and families reported that DCSP helped with issues related to military experience and trauma. Ninety-one percent reported that the program helped with financial issues, 88 percent with housing issues, 86 percent with marriage and relationship concerns, and 86 percent said the program helped with employment issues. Perhaps most notably, the program provides professional suicide prevention for returning service members and their families, and all of those members considered "at-risk" of suicide are being actively assisted with licensed support services. Care coordinators successfully intervened in 21 such suicide risk cases in 2011.