In a recent op-ed, Retired Army Col. David Sutherland, chairman of the Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services in Chicago, writes, “When it comes to addressing the needs of returning veterans, bigger isn’t better,” stating that although it might sound counterintuitive, there simply are too many disparate organizations ineffectively trying to address the needs of veterans. In military parlance, it is termed” groundswell without focus.”  Col. Sutherland shares his concern that the large numbers of groups providing services will lead to competition for scarce resources, and a duplication of efforts that will have a negative impact, particularly if funders are not able to see the outcomes they expect. As an alternative, Col. Sutherland suggests groups consolidate efforts, include veterans and their families in planning and implementation, and work together to address the needs of the people they serve.

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For a local response to this article, please read Randy Marsh’s comments (Raleigh-area Military and Veterans Resource Coalition) in the News and Observer.